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Four Key Areas Needed to improve future Zim Elections-EU Observer Mission Report
October 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Head of the European Union Election Observer Mission of the 30 July 2018 election in Zimbabwe Elmah Brok presented a final Report on 10 October. This was witnessed in the eyes of and on behalf of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the Government of Zimbabwe, Parliament, Civil Society and other stakeholders.

Addressing a pack gang of Journalists and the above mentioned, Brok said the Report contains 23 recommendations. He pointed out clearly that this is meant to strengthen positive contributions to future Elections in Zimbabwe.

‘’This is meant to improve future elections in the country. There is need to address short-falls as outlined in the Report. These short-falls must be bench-marks for future corrections. By – so doing and abiding to this , elections in the future can be improved transitionally and democratic ‘’.

‘’Recommendations need to be followed and adhered to as spelt out here. The need to have a legal framework is vital. Secondly, the role of Electoral Commissions in all elections must be seen going on prior and post- election period. Thirdly, there is need to stamp out human rights abuses. Lastly, Let us in the future observe political rights of opposition in the country.’’

‘’I urge the flow of Democratic Transition by the Government of Zimbabwe. If this is put in place there is light and that bright future of the respect of the electorate. Zimbabwe could be on the right track as long this is observed by the Government, then delivered to the people ‘’.

Elmah Brok stressed the FOUR KEY AREAS of future focus which are Independence of ZEC . The need to improve level playing field stands not to be ignored at all. Legal Framework and Inclusiveness of the processes which are key in this field must not be ignored. The four, he said have been observed and put on the table by the Observer Mission.

‘’EUEOM suggests in-order to enhance confidence in the process, to strengthen the Independence of ZEC to ensure its effectiveness confidence to the people of Zimbabwe; this must be main future focus. ZEC must develop results management process to enhance verifiability and traceability’’

‘’The need to make Electoral process Inclusive is a point as take-away home. Areas of under-registration of voters need to be established. Multi-Party liaison committees need to be used effectively .This must follow future Democratic change towards a new Government ‘’

‘’Democratic dividends must build better life for all Zimbabweans. This is only through new Democratic direction. The need for Democratic aspirations must not be hidden. This will give Zimbabwe a new Democratic direction and Democratic reforms’’, said Elmah Brok .

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One product per person for Zim shoppers as panic buying grips nation
October 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Zimbabwe’s major supermarkets and retail shops have started to ration
products following unexpected price hikes which have seen prices of
major commodities going up exorbitantly.
Only recently, major fuel retailers were battling to cope with

supply of fuel mainly petrol and diesel resulting in long queues and
hoarding.However, as of yesterday even in the city of Harare long
vehicle queues could be seen at most fuel stations indicating that
they had been some injection of fuel to the suppliers.
As of yesterday major supermarkets in the capital Harare such as OK
supermarket registered long queues with customers in panic buying
mode.
However, it is still not clear what has triggered the price hikes

since fuel prices are still maintained at the same prices.
Some small retail shops have also started to peg their prices in the
US dollar currency.Most of the shops have of late been using the bond
note which had been pegged at the same rate with the US
dollar.However, the bond note is beginning to lose value by day due to
day to day speculative black market rates.
Zimbabwe’s major hurdle has been to contain a thriving black market

where prudent financial fundamentals are a pie in the sky.
l have just today been to Food World supermarket, one of the major
retail shops in the CBD of Harare wanting to buy a bottle of drink and
have been told that l am allowed just top buy one such product.
One young shopper in the CBD of Harare just told me here that he was

only allowed to buy one bottle of water due to the rationing of
products reportedly meant to minimise panic buying and hoarding.Some
of the buyers are reported to buy the commodities in bulk from the
major supermarkets then resale them at their verandas.But this
development was partially minimised when vendors were ordered to
vacate the CBD due to cholera.
This is coming amid reports that during the past few days shoppers,

especially in Harare were in panic buying mood grabbing most of the
basic commodities in anticipation of sporadic price increases.
However, government seems to be troubled by the price hikes
development and as of yesterday, Vice-President kembo Mohadi warned
retailers hiking prices unnecessarily that their licences would be
revoked.There have been unconfirmed reports that there might be
elements of sabotaging the economy by unspecified elements.
According to the Herald newspaper, government has directed that

prices of basic commodities increased without justification be reduced
immediately, as it moves to restore sanity on the market. Retailers
are hiking prices of basic commodities daily, triggering panic that
has led to artificial shortages.

Further, the government directed that no businesses should reject bond
notes and other electronic payments when transacting.

With regards to the proposed two cents tax per dollar, the government
said there was no need for the public to panic as this was yet to be
implemented and still being fine-tuned.

it is reported that those who defy the directives would face
drastic action and with regards to those in the fuel sector, they risk
revocation of their licences.
It is reported that the two cents per dollar tax that was announced
by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube on monday will apply to transactions
of $10 and above only and will be capped at $10 000 for transactions
of above $500 000.

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Zimbabwe :Economic Perils Threatening Democratic Gains
October 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

President Mnangagwa

President Mnangagwa

Zimbabwe continues to swim deeper into oblivion owing attention to current economic melt-down. All that used to depreciate is now decomposing to ashes. Following the introduction of 2% tax on all electronic transactions by the Minister of Finance Mthuli Ncube hell broke loose.

Food prices like cooking oil have risen from 3 dollars 50 cents to between 9 and 15 dollars. Fuel increase in price has also contributed. Some food stuffs like bread have high prices because of the short supply of flour. However, wheat is running short.

The crisis has prompted MDC T Leader Nelson Chamisa to be called for a meeting by Zimbabwe Council of Churches. Chamisa said recently that he is ready to meet ZANU PF for the meeting. The meeting, he pointed out is ready to work out on solutions.

‘’The country is under- going a crisis. I am ready to meet ZANU PF. We need to talk about issues faced by the country. As we talk, they are certain new challenges sprouting from the ground. It is important to meet with ZANU PF. This is really a crisis. As a country, let us solve this once and for all.

Chamisa according to most sections of society and church denominations is the central figure of acrimony in the Zimbabwe politics. They invited him for a meeting. Kenneth Mtata , Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches indicated that a crisis talk is the only maneuver in the Zimbabwean politics to solve thorny issues .

‘’Zimbabwe is in crisis. The only solution is to address thorny issues at hand. A dialogue of some sort is the only solution. We need to bring peace of mind to bring unity between the two. How-ever. This must not be a long hill climb.

Giving his few words comment, Dr Francis Danha said it is all about building on a new Zimbabwe. The problem lies with politics of greedy Leadership in the country. We have seen that the country is in squabbles. What then is the ultimate answer to problems we have?

‘’Politics is creating poverty for the country. This is not new. This has been on and on for some time. There can be meetings to come up with solutions but if it bounces, there is always an answer to questions remaining unanswered ‘’, he said .

Several companies have threatened to close. Big Department shops are running their day to day business because of the confidence they have with them. Many small shops in high density suburbs have remained closed for some days. To make it worse, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has separated Foreign Accounts from the Local Real Time Gross Settlements Accounts.

 

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Zimbabwe hosts international trade fair for floriculture and horticulture as it seeks to reposition sectors
October 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire
A three-day international trade fair for the floriculture and

horticulture industry has opened today in Harare, Zimbabwe running
until 11 October, 2018 as the country aims to reposition the ailing
sector to boost much needed foreign exchange.
According to Dick van Raamsdonk, General Manager of HPP

International Exhibitions group based in Holland, the first edition of
the newly established international trade fair hortiflor was
especially created for the horticulture industry of Zimbabwe.
He said that hortiflor is a platform where growers, suppliers,
traders, investors and buyers of fresh produce and fresh flowers can
meet.
“This is a platform where Zimbabwean horticulture can meet with the

world of horticulture,” Raamsdonk said.
He also said that the three day trade event in its first edition has
attracted exhibitors from 10 countries and visitors from an expected
15 to 20 countries.
“With a total of almost 60 companies that represent growers and

suppliers from the fresh flower and fresh produce sectors, it can be
called an excellent beginning of much more to come in the near future.
Since Zimbabwe has already proven to be one of Africa’s top exporters
of horticulture products in the past, it is not a new road that has to
be taken, but much more continuing on an existing road, basically in a
pretty good shape, just waiting for a good maintenance. This together
with the message of a new government of Zimbabwe, that the country is
open for business, makes it very interesting opportunity that offers
great chances to both Zimbabwean and international companies,”
Raamsdonk said.
Gorden Makoni, Chairman of the Export Flower Growers Association of

Zimbabwe (EFGAZ) said that the premier trade show, the first of its
kind in over 18 years in Zimbabwe brings together farmers, growers,
breeders, investors and buyers with one purpose of increasing
horticulture export in Zimbabwe.
Makoni said that the flower industry is going through remarkable
growth buoyed by the four rising stars, Colombia, Kenya, Ecuador and
Ethiopia.
“The US market is on the upswing, Russia market is declining but the

Netherlands remains the fulcrum of the global flower trade,” Makoni
said.
He added that to think that in the late 90s to early 2000,
Zimbabwe was only second to Kenya and third in the world in flower
production reads like a fairy tale.
“The exhibition by HPP exhibition reminds us that we have work to
do, that is to take back our spot snatched by Ethiopia,” Makoni said.
He also added that Zimbabwe had some of the best climate for cut
flower production and horticulture.
“We need to seize on this comparative advantage against our erstwhile

and it does put us in a good steady,” he added.
Makoni also called on the government to lead by ensuring that the
industry is well funded the way mining is funded, land issue is
stabilized and can be used as collateral as some farmers are failing
to use land as collateral to increase production.
He also added that value chain linkages are needed to make sure

that growth in one has the domino effect on all up and downstream
industries including marketing, freight forwarding, finance, input
suppliers, agro-chemicals, greenhouses, packaging, irrigation, cold
rooms and refrigerated trucks.
Agribank Acting CEO, Mr Francis Macheka said that his bank was
ready to create competitive facilities such as capital to support
financing for horticulture and floriculture in Zimbabwe.
He said that his bank was geared to drive exports growth and has

made progress in sectors such as tobacco farming.
He said that the bank was pleased that some farmers in Zimbabwe had
already started to launch or relaunch projects in horticulture and
floriculture and the bank was ready to offer much needed capital
finance.

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Arsenal FC and WorldRemit name Hamisi Mohamed from Kenya as the winner of the “Future Stars” youth coaching programme
October 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
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Gemfields launches ‘Every Piece Unique’ global campaign to highlight responsibly sourced Zambian emeralds
October 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Gemfields' Kagem emerald mine, Zambia

Gemfields’ Kagem emerald mine, Zambia

Gemfields, the world’s leading supplier of responsibly sourced

coloured gemstones, has launched a global advertising campaign to
raise awareness of responsible sourcing in the coloured gemstone
industry and promote Zambian emeralds from its Kagem mine in
Lufwanyama.
Gemfields believes that coloured gemstones should be mined and marketed by championing three key values – transparency, integrity and legitimacy – and seeks to challenge itself and the sector by setting new benchmarks for responsible sourcing. The campaign was designed to bring these core values and Gemfields’ associated initiatives to life, highlighting the breadth of activities involved in responsibly supplying coloured gemstones to global markets.
“We wanted to bring to life the many stories behind responsibly sourcing precious gemstones in Africa as there is far more to our business than industry-leading mining and geology”, explains Emily Dungey, Group Marketing and Communications Director. “The characters in the campaign allow us to build awareness of the many life-changing
community projects we carry out, our pioneering quest for greater transparency across the industry and the support we provide for vital conservation work protecting Africa’s biodiversity. The campaign is a snapshot of who we are: it’s fun, unexpected and non-conformist, but also gives an insight into some of the ways in which Gemfields strives
to leave a positive and lasting impact.”
The campaign film is set in a contemporary art gallery, closing for the night, when the sculptures come to life through movement and dance. Each character moves with unique style, unveiling their distinctive role in the Gemfields ecosphere. The six sculptures were designed and brought to life for Gemfields by MPC Creative using
motion capture, VFX and CGI animation.

The first character, a faceted female form, half emerald and half ruby, embodies the gemstones that underpin Gemfields’ drive for Transparency, the founding principle of the business. Gemfields’ extractive operations, combined with its proprietary grading and auction systems, are all designed to bring a reliable supply of
responsibly sourced gemstones to market with an unprecedented level of transparency.
Gemfields has partnered with Switzerland’s Gübelin Gem Lab in launching a breakthrough technology entitled ‘Provenance Proof’, empowering traceability back to the mine of origin and providing consumers and Gemfields’ Authorised Auction Partners with certainty that their gemstones started their journey with Gemfields.
As Transparency dances through the gallery, her arm brushes a second character – a petite paper sculpture featuring hand-writing and emeralds. The scroll-like figure personifies Gemfields’ Education programmes. Gemfields supports life-changing initiatives for the communities near its mines in three key spheres: Health, Livelihoods and Education.

It has constructed four schools in Mozambique and established three in Zambia, as well as providing university
scholarships in the fields of mining and geology. In total, more than 2,500 pupils are now attending these schools and classes for adults have been added to allow parents to keep up with the next generation.
Transparency and Education awaken a valiant rhino sculpture carved from wood, half-dipped in recycled green gold and replete with emerald eyes. An iconic African symbol of Conservation, the rhino was chosen to reflect Gemfields’ work with conservation partners to protect Africa’s wildlife and biodiversity, including the Niassa Carnivore
Project and Quirimbas National Park in Mozambique and the Zambian Carnivore Programme spanning several Zambian reserves.

The three characters run together through the gallery until they reach a dominating, vibrant, abstract painting featuring human forms dramatically poised around a Fabergé egg. The central figure emerges
from the painting to join the energetic trio. He represents Gemfields’ community initiatives to improve the Health care and wellbeing of those living around its mines. Before Gemfields introduced formalised mining operations, these remote communities had little or no access to healthcare. Cholera, malaria, HIV and dysentery were commonplace. Now, two mobile health clinics in Mozambique serve six remote villages of around 10,000 people. In Zambia, a further 10,000 people benefit from a significantly upgraded health centre and maternity ward. The
presence of a Fabergé egg reflects Fabergé’s role as a vital component of Gemfields’ ‘mine and market’ vision.

Wholly-owned by Gemfields Group, Fabergé is famed for its ingenious use of coloured gemstones, innovative techniques and workmasters-of-distinction to create highly coveted jewellery befitting Gemfields’ most prized emeralds and rubies.
The dance energetically builds as the characters surround a large-scale hanging installation. Comprising bright blue feathers and sparkling rubies, its colouring is inspired by the lilac-breasted roller, a native African bird. This character signifies Livelihoods, the third of Gemfields’ local initiatives and is a nod to the chicken farms created to empower local women. Gemfields set up the farms with local women, teaching them how to manage these autonomously and then transferring the projects as independent, fully functioning businesses providing self-sufficiency for the women. Gemfields strives to leave a positive, lasting legacy in the communities it touches that will
long outlive its presence and support ongoing economic sustainability, including in agricultural projects. Gemfields has created two farming associations in Zambia and nine farming associations (two of them run by women) in Mozambique. Training in agricultural techniques such as crop rotation, pest control and conservation farming has increased yields by up to 200%, advancing quality of life from sustainable
livelihoods in the local area.
The characters dance to the base of a flowering Baobab tree, the ‘tree of life’. This iconic African motif embodies Sustainability, Gemfields’ approach to communities near its mining operations. By its very nature, mining impacts the environment, but Gemfields seeks to minimise this where possible. Gemfields does not use chemical
substances that are hazardous to health or pollute. Before mining commences, seeds are collected from indigenous plants and trees to create a seed-bank and the rich top soil is stored for re-deployment. Gemfields re-fills and re-plants as part of an ongoing integrated mining process, reducing impact to the site and maintaining biodiversity. The film’s ‘tree of life’ is inspired by a real-life Baobab tree which sits directly within the mineralised ruby mining
area in Mozambique. Gemfields has mined around it, leaving the magnificent tree standing on an island, pending rehabilitation of the surrounding area.
The film concludes with an explosion of Baobab flowers, the exuberant characters poised in their original gallery positions and two gently floating flowers – with hearts of ruby and emerald – the only evidence of the magical activities. Similarly, Gemfields’ mine sites will return substantially to their original state, leaving in place the
wider positive effects of improved community healthcare, education, sustainable livelihoods and conservation efforts.
‘Every Piece Unique’ highlights how each gemstone is distinctive,possessing its own personality and character, much like original pieces of art. The film continues the narrative of Gemfields’ ‘A Story in Every Gemstone’ campaign, building a greater understanding of the vigour behind responsibly sourcing emeralds and rubies from their
origins in Zambia and Mozambique.
The campaign was created by adam&eveDDB with production carried out by Gutenberg Global and media planning and buying carried out by Havas LuxHub Media. The Moving Picture Company (MPC) in collaboration with
FutureDeluxe produced and directed the campaign film, with characters brought to life by MPC Creative, using VFX and CGI animation. Gemfields’ Every Piece Unique campaign launched globally on 1 October 2018.

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Member states endorse Economic Commission for Africa’s strategic plan for statistical development in Africa
October 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
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London: Dangote urges deepening of African economy through free trade
October 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
Speaking during “One to One Conversation” at the on-going 5th annual Financial Times African Summit, the Nigerian entrepreneur said the key to Africa’s economic growth and strength is in the development of the regional market
LONDON, United Kingdom, October 8, 2018/ — Foremost businessman, Aliko Dangote has in London called for conscious efforts at deepening African regional market by African investors and governments to aid rapid growth and development of the Continent’s economy.

Speaking during “One to One Conversation” at the on-going 5th annual Financial Times African Summit, the Nigerian entrepreneur said the key to Africa’s economic growth and strength is in the development of the regional market, saying “Regional markets in Africa must work.”

Dangote said Africans must patronize African markets which is why the free trade agreements by African nations is the direction to go to strengthen African markets.

Citing an instance of his own experience, the president of Dangote group referred to the case of neighbouring Benin Republic where the country continues to import cement from China while his Nigerian factory is only 35 miles away from the border.

“We need to trade with ourselves”, Dangote stated as he spoke glowingly about the prospect of African economy, the free trade agreement and the availability of huge raw materials to attract investors.

Asked about when the much touted listing of Dangote cement on the London Stock Exchange, he told his audience comprising of investors, business magnates, captains of Industry and African Heads of Government which included President Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Ali Bongo of Gabon, that the listing might happened in 2019.

According to him, all hands are on deck to complete the process of listing, the development which he said is being looked towards for by the business community.

Prompted by the Editor of the Newspaper, Lionel Barber to speak about difficult markets like Tanzania and Ethiopia, Dangote dismissed the issue difficulty and re-affirmed “our aim is to always provide jobs and worth. As an African investor I don’t want any investor anywhere in Africa to have a bad experience.”

Dangote repeated his central mantra for African growth urging the reduction of exports of raw materials to other continent but create greater wealth within African economies.

Said he: “We need to continue to transform the structure of African economies”. He alluded to his company’s entry into the Ghana Sugar market, pointing that he is further expanding his sugar business to Ghana for the main reason of helping to revitalize its economy. “We are going to help Ghana grow its own sugar for the first time.”

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Senegal selected as host country for the 4th Summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2022
October 9, 2018 | 0 Comments
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Why is it so hard for Africans to visit other African countries?
October 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Larry Madowo*

Many African travellers say visas and transport on the continent are too complex and expensive

Many African travellers say visas and transport on the continent are too complex and expensive

Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote has said he needs 38 visas to travel within the continent on his Nigerian passport. Many European nationals, meanwhile, waltz into most Africans countries visa-free.

African nations were supposed to scrap visa requirements for all African citizens by 2018.

It was a key part of the African Union (AU) “vision and roadmap for the next 50 years” that was adopted by all members states in 2013.

But to date, the Seychelles is the only nation where visa-free travel is open to all Africans – as well as to citizens of every nation – as it always has been.

A recent AU report found that Africans can travel without a visa to just 22% of other African countries.

It is a sensitive topic, provoking xenophobic attitudes in some of Africa’s wealthier nations despite policymakers from Cape to Cairo insisting that the free movement of people is key for economic transformation.

“Our leaders seem to go to ridiculous lengths to preserve and protect the colonial borders,” says South African travel blogger Katchie Nzama, who has visited 35 of Africa’s 55 countries.

The AU may want a borderless continent where its 1.2 billion people can move freely between nations, similar to the European Union, but it seems there is no shortage of obstacles.

Whether it is immigration officials in Burkina Faso charging an arbitrary $200 (£155) for a visa on arrival, or Tanzania arresting and deporting other East Africans who enter illegally, or Tunisia refusing visas to stranded African passengers after a cancelled flight, intra-African travel is fraught with suspicion.

Double standards?

South Africa appears to be the most visible representative of the continent’s visa double standard, remaining largely closed to other Africans but more welcoming to the wider world.

Citizens of only 15 African nations can travel to South Africa without a visa, yet holders of 28 different European passports can enter the country freely.

A graph showing the percentages of African nationalities which require visas in order to enter South Africa, Nigeria, Mauritius, Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya and the Seychelles.

The country’s Department of Home Affairs spokesman Thabo Mokgola defends its policy.

“This is an unfair assertion – visa-waiver agreements are premised on reciprocity and we are finalising such with a number of African countries,” he told the BBC.

Just how that reciprocity is applied is unclear.

Kenya, for example, gives South African citizens a visa on arrival for free. But Kenyans must apply for a visa, then pay a service fee and wait for at least five working days before travelling to South Africa.

In 2015, two years after the African Union asked members to commit to abolishing visa requirements for all Africans by 2018, South Africa did the opposite and announced stricter regulations that were widely criticised.

Hit by a recession and a drop in tourist numbers, the country caved in and recently announced that it was relaxing travel rules in the hope of reviving its struggling economy.

A beach in SenegalImage copyrightCORBIS/GETTY IMAGES

African passport

Namibia, Mauritius, Ghana, Rwanda, Benin and Kenya have all loosened travel restrictions for other African nationals, and now either grant a visa on arrival or allow for visits of up to 90 days with just a passport.

But citizens of African countriesstill need a visa to travel to more than half of the continent’s 54 countries, protecting borders drawn up by European colonisers more than a century ago.

“Somebody like me, despite the size of our group, I need 38 visas to move around Africa,” complained Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote in an interview in 2016.

He is reportedly one of the first in line to receive the African passport which was launched in 2016. The travel document is supposed to eventually replace individual nations’ passports, but is currently only available to some heads of state, senior diplomats and top AU officials.

A composite image of Rwanda's President Paul Kagame and former African Union Chairman Idriss Déby, and a close shot of an AU passportImage copyrightAFP/BBC
Image captionRwanda’s President Paul Kagame and former African Union Chairman Idriss Déby were given the first AU passports in 2016

It is easy enough to travel within regional blocs such as the East African Community, the Economic Community of West African States, the Southern African Development Community, the Maghreb, as well as the Central African Economic and Monetary Community. But it is rarely possible to travel from one region to another without restrictions.

Extortionate prices

Another impediment to African travel is that there are very few commercial flights from one region to another and when they do exist, they are prohibitively expensive.

“Flying from Kenya to Namibia is the same price as flying to Thailand, and the cost to Dubai from Nairobi is way cheaper than flying to Morocco,” says Kenyan travel blogger Winnie Rioba.

And this is on top of the visa fees.

Ms Rioba was charged $90 for a visa fir Djibouti, more than the $75 she paid for a Schengen visa, which gave her access to 26 European states.

“I’ve spent more money applying for visas than transport costs in my travels across the continent,” agrees Ms Nzama.

“This is not just money paid to embassies. It’s the time and money wasted going back and forth to embassies, and preparing the required documents, which in most cases I felt were not necessary,” the South African travel blogger says.

To help her fellow Nigerians find their way through the maze of requirements, entrepreneur Funmi Oyatogun created a colour-coded map outlining which African countries were easiest to travel to:

“Our focus is to simplify travel for Africans across Africa,” she says of her start-up TVP Adventures.

She believes these efforts are a necessary part of what she calls the “African travel spring”.

“We are breaking through the barriers that made it difficult in the past – lack of information, poor flight connections, and incorrect perceptions of other African countries.”

There is widespread support for scrapping the visa requirements for Africans travelling within the continent.

But as the 2018 deadline slips by, few believe it is likely to happen soon.

And while we wait, it might remain more attractive to leave the continent.

“How will I convince an African traveller to go with me to Angola if the trip will cost as much as travel to five countries in Europe?” asks Ms Rioba.

“They give you visas as if it is a favour.”

*BBC

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Pan-African Tourism Spirit Unites USA And UK- African People To Worship Their Heritage..
October 7, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority [ZTA] is opening Tourism Sector’s wide path for Economic Recovery and Heritage worship of those Africans in the diaspora. The Tourism Sector is the most functional among Agriculture, Mining and Manufacturing Industry. It has over the years been the pinnacle in stepping up the Zimbabwe Economy in terms of its Gross Domestic Product, Growth per Capita, National Growth and Development. In its continued effort it has invited Afro-Americans and Africans based in UK to tour their original roots in Africa.

Under the Leadership of Karikoga Kaseke the Chief Executive of ZTA, the Sector continues to move swiftly in focus of our tradition and culture linked to Tourism for Economic Sustainable Development. Zimbabwe Tourism Authority has gone through success stories. It’s planning, Leading, Organizing and controlling has fortified the Gross Domestic and National Product to better levels of Economic Stability over the recent years despite hardships created by the former Government years back.

It is an African motivational aura to pronounce the connotative meaning of Tourism Development in the country .In its marathon Mission, vision and goal endeavor, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority hook- lured 35 Member Delegation of African American origins and some from United Kingdom to visit the country. This is a positive move to show that Zimbabwe is open for Business.

The main objective of the visit is to showcase the need to re-visit Pan- Africa History, Tradition and culture in a Modernized and dynamic World. Secondly, it is time and séance to get back to the roots of Ancestor- ship. In addition, ZTA Chief Executive Officer says the country is now open for Business unlike how it used to be in the past.

‘’Zimbabwe is now open for Business more than how it used to be. The country is ready to take anyone aboard without favor. We need to embrace the spirit of togetherness, oneness and solidarity to make ourselves how we are. There is no time for our Visitors to feel in-secured. We are in a New Zimbabwe.

‘’Investors in every sector must feel free to visit and have a base-line survey. After their escapades, they are free to come back into the country and do Business peacefully and freely in this Democratic country.

‘’Our visitors shall be in the country for 2 weeks to witness the prevailing peace we have. Zimbabwe is the most recognized peaceful country under new Leadership that is working hard to build better, sustainable Economy for the betterment of all people.

‘’Our esteemed visitors shall start kick the African spirit of the love of their roots by visiting the Victoria Falls , Great Zimbabwe and some of the great monuments and Tourist Attraction areas in the country . This is the beginning of African History made in Zimbabwe to cherish Historical Pan-African values.

Standing on behalf of the Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Priscillah Mupfumira who did not attend the occasion , Douglas Runyowa said the country has the light way forward with the New Government which is ready to transform the Economy .

‘’Zimbabwe is ready to listen, take aboard and abide to International Protocols just like any other country. A New Zimbabwe means New Changes in terms of what we need to take ahead of us. A new Zimbabwe is already functioning well. We are ready to take every corner of the World as we move forward to a Middle Income Country by 2030 ‘’.

‘’Tourism is one of the main sectors of the Economy. We there –fore need to support it. Let us show the spirit of building New Zimbabwe. A new Zimbabwe looks ahead of us. We move forward with the spirit of peace building and economic solidarity and Empowerment of those who are in need of it‘’,

The visiting Social ARCHTECT Ayo Kihathi with that vivacity to see the New Africa as well in floating bounce said Africa is now its  time to re-visit its Traditional and cultural roots . The Pan African serenated woman from America said It is time for Afro-Americans to visit their roots and know where they came.

‘’ The Visit to Zimbabwe has made me revive my roots as an individual. Just imagine 400 years under repression in Slavery. We experienced the pain of Feudalism, Imperialism and colonialism. This is not just a joke. We need to look sideways and find for ourselves where we need to go, what we need to do and the way forward.

‘’This is time for Africa to go back to its roots, revive its culture and Tradition and to visit its original vestiges from where their Ancestors were born, bred and buried. We are the remaining sons and daughters of this Land who need to see a New World of African History and its future light ahead.

‘’Africa is our home for -ever. Together, we build a new Africa living under Liberalism, freedom and Independence of mind. This is another time and opportunity to come up with a new Africa. A New Africa that opens way for us to know where we came as nations’’, said the spirited African vivacious man.

The visiting delegates shall look at issues affecting YOUNG PEOPLE. The discussion is that there is need to remind the young people about our roots, where we came from and what went wrong and the new way forward. Shalo Campbell a visitor who took it with the same spirit to raise the African fire kept burning said young people are the Leaders tomorrow. She reiterated that young people need peace in the peace of mind to grow and develop their continent.

‘’Young people have got lost. We need to embrace our Heritage, Culture, Tradition and Religious values of total respect, unity, peace and social solidarity. Africa has lost its salt and light. If a country has lost its taste, saltiness and savory, its future as well is doomed as we move along as a country.

‘’Africa needs to revive itself as a continent .We need decolonize our- selves. This is only possible through Peace and Unity. However .I feel pity that Africa is still lagging behind. Worse still we are submerging fast into deep waters.’’

Apart from raising Tourism in Zimbabwe, the most important concept is to build a New Africa. Delegates also voiced that there is need for all children of those Afro-Americans and various similar ethnical groups to visit their soil and seed their love on the African soil

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Released Ethiopian Bloggers expose digital media control tactics
October 7, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Jean-Pierre Afadhali

Accra, Ghana

Released Ethiopian bloggers have expressed cautious optimism on recent political reforms started by the new Prime Minister Dr Abi Ahmed, saying some behaviors of previous regime are still lingering in the East African country.

Speaking at the just concluded forum on Internet Freedom in Africa, for the first time the young bloggers shared their experience on the control of digital media, surveillance and censorship in Ethiopia with a pan-African and international audience.

African bloggers, journalists, activists, legal experts, researchers and governments gathered in the West African city to discuss freedom of expression online amid increasing rights violation in the digital space.

The group of bloggers also known as ‘Zone 9’ talked with emotion their surveillance experience, arrests, interrogation and imprisonment in what they called torture centres in Ethiopia.

‘Zone 9’ launched their blog in 2012, after two years of activities Ethiopian government arrested the bloggers.

“After three months of interrogation they trumped charges against us,” said Mr. Zelalem Kibret, co-founder of “Zone 9” platform in an interview.

They were charging us with crime against the constitution and crime of terrorism,” Mr Kibret explained.

According to the blogger, the real accusations were working with international rights organizations to terrorize the public.

Before the new political reforms several Human rights organizations documented crack down cases against opposition and lack of media freedom in Ethiopia which led to the forced exile of many journalists, activists and opposition politicians.

It was not unexpected because there were thousands of Ethiopians by the time who were jailed as per anti-terrorism law, Kibret, further noted.

“So we expected that it was coming,”

In recent months thousands of opposition and media websites were unblocked as part of political reforms that were largely welcomed in the country and abroad.

Young bloggers narrated crackdown online with their colleagues who were allegedly monitored by security agents, including a blogger whose website was blocked 17 times despite changing domain names.

“We were forces to censor ourselves,” said one of bloggers who was on a panel during Internet Freedom Forum.

Social media played a key role in their publications. Bloggers said Facebook was also their main channel to reach their audience in Ethiopia and diaspora.

While young Ethiopians knew the risk of challenging government with a different narrative, they said that they were surprised by the extent of government reaction.

One of the bloggers revealed their phones were tapped over a year, their movements were also monitored.

Online Publications

There was not limit to the stories they posted. From sports, politics, economics to social issues.

“Most of the time we published opinions on political issues and very critical on government,” said the blogger, writer who is also a legal practitioner.

“I personally, I am a lawyer most of my blogs are on legality, constitutionalism, everything related with the law as well as politics”.

“Most of the time we focused on very difficult political topics that government does not want to be published,” said the blogger

Interned penetration in Ethiopia is very low in comparison to its East African neighbors.

According to data from International Telecommunications Union (ITU), in 2016 Internet penetration was at 15 percent.

Bloggers said their audience was diverse including those living in Ethiopia and diaspora.

“We got trust from most of people because we were genuine,” We did not hide anything”. Noted the Ethiopian writer

“There are a lot of people who hide themselves behind anonymity,”

Mr Charles Onyango Obbo, a publisher based in Nairobi, Kenya and veteran journalist described the rising power of Internet and Social media on governance and political change as “digitalcracy”.

Social media tax also dominated the conversation; some saying it hinders freedom of expression online and access to Internet.

Uganda has imposed the tax which led the loss of revenue of MTN, one of major telecom operators in the East African country.

Zambia introduced tax on Internet Voice Calls, while Benin suspended the tax reportedly due to public pressure and critics from Human rights organizations.

According to Dr Wairagala Wakabi, executive director of Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), other African countries will likely introduce Social Media tax in future.

Internet Shut-downs

Cameroon, Gabon, Togo and a host of other African countries have been cited for shut down internet connectivity within the last two years mainly for political reasons.

Olumide Babalola, a Nigerian lawyer was quoted as saying: “Internet shut down will continue with impunity unless we rise up to denounce this ill in the strongest possible terms,”

“We must also find ways to circumvent the incessant censorship by governments on cyberspace” stated Dr. Wakabi.

Some activists and internet freedom advocates said most governments use security as an excuse to shut down Internet.

“Governments will always use ‘national security’ as an excuse to shut down the internet and repress freedom of expression ”, Sulemana Braimah, executive director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) told attendees at the opening of the two-day event in Accra, Ghana last week.

 

 

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