South Sudan:Central Bank Injects 5M USD Into Market To Stabilize Local Currency, Economy
April 14, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – South Sudan’s central bank has injected 5 million U.S. dollars into the local market in attempt to stabilize the local pound (SSP) and the country’s economy.
The money will be released every week to normalize the foreign exchange rate in the East Africa’s youngest nation.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Dier Tong Ngor, Governor of the Bank of South Sudan (BOSS), said they have allocated 3 million dollars to commercial banks and 2 million dollars to forex bureaus in order to stabilize the foreign exchange rate.
“This is the new way we will start to supply the market. We will be supplying an amount of $5 million every week – $ 2 million to forex bureau and $3 million to commercial banks,” Tong told journalists in Juba.
The money were auctioned to 22 commercial banks.
According to the bank’s governor, the move will prevent further depreciation of the South Sudanese pound against the US dollar. It would also have a positive effect on the prices of food and other basic commodities.
“So all in all, we will be supplying an amount of 5 million dollars every week,” said Tong. The allocations are aimed at cushioning the weak pound against the dollar,” said Tong.
“We want to control the excess liquidity in the hands of the public because that is the main thing that affects us and it affects inflation. We feel that the pressure on the pounds is because of excess liquidity in pounds and therefore when we are doing auctions, we are trying to mop up that excess liquidity,” said Tong.
The Governor further said that they will continue with the auctioning of hard currency until the foreign exchange market is developed.
“We will be in this for a long haul, we will do this auction until we develop the foreign exchange market so that the Bank of South Sudan can withdraw from the market-making role and we leave it to banks,” said Tong.
Since December 2020, the Bank of South Sudan says it has auctioned over $30 million to the market.
The bank’s governor insists this move has resulted in the stability of the pounds against the dollar.
1 U.S dollar sells at 195 South Sudanese Pounds as indicated on the Central Bank’s website but in the parallel market, 1 dollar sells at 620 pounds.
Governor Tong believes auctioning of hard currency will counter the black market by strengthening the pound.
“I think it has made an impact because it has at least stabilized the parallel market rated for a number of months now,” said governor.
However, an economist and observers advised the government to stop floating the rate of the currency arguing that it gives room for more speculations in the country. South Sudan’s economy is struggling amid hyperinflation caused by the more than six years of the county’s conflict since December 2013.
The conflict-affected oil production in the northern oil fields causing a reduction in oil revenue earnings. In addition, COVID-19 and the floods has also impacted the economy affecting both oil and non-oil revenue.
Laurent Gbagbo And The Politics Of International Justice.
April 13, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Chief Charles Taku*
The judgment of the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court confirming the acquittal of the former President of Cote D’Ivoire and his former cabinet Minister Charles Goude Ble brings to public attention, once more, the intensity of the problem facing the Court more than two decades after it was created. The acquittal clarifies the debate which I helped to jumpstart, about the unfair and unwarranted exclusive focus on Africa by the ICC Prosecutor.
From inception, this charge was dismissed with reckless arrogance by persons who miscomprehended the original objectives of the Rome Statute which I strongly support, to be an instrument for settling political scores. Others misconstrued my concerns and criticism for support of perpetrators of atrocity crimes on the continent of Africa. This was inaccurate. I admitted at every opportunity that atrocity crimes are committed in Africa and that the perpetrators must be held accountable. My participation for over two decades in all international courts and tribunals contributing with my peers from all parts of the world, Africa in particular, in the search for international justice and the respect for the international rule of law, attests to my commitment towards accountability for international crimes.
The acquittal of President Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Goude Ble, present an opportunity once more, for the ICC to bring about the reforms which a majority of the State Parties of the Rome State and international justice seekers in Africa and the rest of the world are seeking. Here are the reasons. The ICC intervention in political conflicts which escalated into violence and atrocity crimes in Cote D’Ivoire, Kenya and Libya were perceived to be politically motivated. This criticism was validated by the high-profile public statements made by media frenzied Moreno Ocampo, the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC at the time. He has since he left office, publicly admitted this fact, at least on the situation in Kenya.
The Gbagbo trial and acquittal on a no-case submission confirmed on appeal, shows that this case should never have been brought to trial in an international criminal court or any other court. This followed the familiar path of the Kenyan cases which were either poorly investigated or should never have been brought to trial. This is one of the reasons why I expressed public concerns about the ICC intervention and its case selection. Should the ICC Chief Prosecutor intervene in African situations where atrocity crimes are committed? The answer indeed is yes. Why then criticise ICC interventions when they occur to confront impunity in the continent of Africa? The answer is that, the intervention is warranted provided it is not done to satisfy neo-colonial and neo-economic imperialism of super powers from the west and the east and former colonial powers who are still ruling the continent through proxies and stooges. These are the special interests that are behind many of the conflicts in Africa and who have been influencing ICC case selections in Africa in ways which have failed to comprehensively take the interest of victims into consideration.
The ICC intervention in disputed political conflicts in Africa, provided the opportunity for neo-colonial stooges in power or in search of power, to directly or indirectly manipulate the ICC case selection processes to engineer the removal of their political opponents and through the process, resolve their political problems. Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Goude Ble were victims of this manipulation, which I called from inception, international political justice. The reason for this political label is that despite public assurances, the authorities of Cote D’Ivoire which took over power without any form of democratic process, after the arrest of President Gbagbo, failed to co-operate with the ICC once the Prosecutor evinced an interest to look in their direction. The result is that the ICC intervention in Cote d’Ívoire and the prosecution of President Laurent Gbagbo was victor’s justice. It raised the hopes and expectations of victims on the side of victors which with this acquittal have not been realised and victims on the side of President Gbagbo who were abandoned to their fate. In this regard, the Gbagbo ICC prosecution divided Cote D ‘Ivoire and laid the ground for future conflicts.
Does the acquittal of President Gbagbo mean crimes were not committed in Cote D’Ivoire? The answer is no. Crimes indeed were committed in Cote D Ívoire and the victims on all sides were entitled to justice. The acquittals establishes that the ICC Prosecutor took the wrong persons to the Hague. This has caused significant injustice not just to the acquitted but all the victims and people of Cote d’Ivoire. The prosecution while it lasted, helped the perpetrators of the atrocity crimes who should have been brought to justice, to strengthen their hold on power, whitewash their crimes, embolden impunity and the tyranny of power. This is a grave injustice done that was done to the people using the ICC prosecution. It had to speculate whether this is what the ICC prosecution bargained for or it fell into a neo-colonial entrapment and realised late while the results began to show, like these acquittals, in Cote D’Ivoire and Kenya? Or it was complicit in the ploy? I am not able to answer with certainty. The results speak for themselves.
Lest we forget, the acquittals are not a setback for the Rome Statute and its founding objectives per se. We do not measure the success rate of a court by acquittals and convictions. An acquittal or conviction are vectors of justice which must be celebrated when justice is done and seen to be done. So, was justice done by the acquittal of President Gbagbo and Charles Goude Ble? The answer is undisputable in the positive There is an injustice when innocent people are prosecuted and spend almost a decade of their lives in detention far from home for crimes they did not commit and without compensation. The injustice lies in the perceived selective political profiling of the acquitted President Gbagbo and Charles Goude Ble and the harm caused using the mechanism of international justice.
This case brings into sharp focus the criticism of the ICC for its exclusive focus on Africa for over two decades of the Rome Statute. The Rome Statute intended the Court it established to represent the face of the universe which it was supposed to serve. The exclusive focus on Africa by the Court has not been compensated by the employment of persons of African origin in the Court or their involvement in the investigations and prosecutions. The citizens of the countries which have opposed ICC interventions outside Africa and in their own backyards have been the ones making decisions on Africa in the Court. This is indeed, unfortunate.
While Fatou Bensouda came with a determination to look beyond Africa, she is leaving after her 9-year tenure without bringing a single charge against a non-African from other parts of the world or involved in African crimes. The minerals- for-arms merchants, land grabbers, mercenaries, economic predators who are sponsoring to engineering atrocity crimes in Africa, appear to be immune from accountability. Neo-economic imperialists and neo-colonial interests that contributed to bringing Gbagbo to the ICC should be worried because even if Gbagbo does not make a comeback to power, he will greatly influence the political destiny of his country and that of progress forces in Africa for the foreseeable future. The acquittal has elevated his profile to that of a living political legend. The ferocity with which he opposed the lingering ghost of colonialism under Houphouet- Boigny, and his political offspring, will be intensified. Cote d’Ivoire and Africa will honour him as a hero. The progressive youth will be inspired and emboldened to pursue the fight for justice and the political and economic emancipation of a truly independent Africa, thanks to the resilience of Laurent Gbagbo.
Cardinal Christian Tumi: An Ardent Lover of Peace in Cameroon
April 9, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
The retired Roman Catholic Cardinal, Christian Tumi died in Douala on Friday, April 2 breaking Saturday, April 3, 2021, after what reports say of a brief illness. He was 91-years-old by the time of his death.
Many have described him as a veritable servant of God as for over 40 years his life was devoted to winning souls to Christ. Cardinal Tumi has been vocal in calling for dialogue and peace as the Anglophone crisis in the North West and South West Regions entered its fifth year.
The Archbishop of the Douala Metropolitan Archdiocese, Mgr Samuel Kleda has announced that the funeral of His Eminence Christian Cardinal Tumi will take place from the 19th to the 20th of April 2021 in Douala.
“Christian Cardinal Tumi was the first and only Cameroonian Cardinal. He was a staunch advocate for a just society, a defender of the rights of the oppressed, suppressed and marginalized. His death is a great loss to our nation and humanity. May he find eternal rest in the Lord,” Felix Agbor Nkongho “Balla”, Human Rights Lawyer and activist said.
“His Eminence Christian Cardinal Tumi was not just a religious leader within Cameroon but a father to many including me, I have lost an icon. Papa Tumi was a man of the people; he went beyond religious boundaries, descended and transcended religious boundaries…” Rt Rev Fonki Samuel Forba, PCC Moderator told a CRTV journalist as he paid homage to the fallen Cardinal.
“All I pray is that we religious leaders in Cameroon should be able to emulate him, carry on his legacies and keep them to the end. The legacies of bringing peace in our land, the legacies of justice, transparency and accountability, the legacies of being the voice of the voiceless and the legacies of bringing Cameroon into a united front…” He added.
A veritable Peace crusader
Cardinal Tumi was an ardent lover of peace and was one of those who were championing the peaceful resolution of the ongoing Anglophone crisis. He amongst other Christian Bodies like the PCC, Baptist, and the Imam of Buea initiated the All Anglophone General Conference, though the conference did not see the light of day as it was banned by the Cameroon government.
Cardinal Tumi was also amongst those who participated in the Major National Dialogue, a dialogue many have lambasted as having no barring in solving the crisis. During this meeting, a host of resolutions were taken in solving the crisis and some of them are being instituted, though observers say the government is not tackling the crisis as it should be doing.
His relentless efforts for peace have often seen him on the cross-hair of those fighting for separation. The cardinal had sometimes been accused of siding with the government of Cameroon and was even abducted by the non-state armed fighters.
In his recent outing to his village Nso, on Thursday, November 5, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. he was intercepted and abducted by the liberation fighters in Ndop; he was detained in their camp overnight for questioning (and released the following day), together with the Paramount Fon of Nso, His Majesty Fon Sehm Mbinglo (whose release took place later on Tuesday 10). They were on their way to broker peace deals in the village of Nso which has been hard-hit by the current socio-political crisis rocking the country, but unfortunately, their mission was never fulfilled.
In his last book titled: My Night in Captivity, he narrates his ordeal in the camp of his abductors. In an interview with ACI Africa Tuesday, January 12, the co-author of Cardinal Tumi’s memoir, Martin Jumbam said that it was important for the Cardinal to narrate his experience with the kidnappers because “the government has always suspected him of supporting opposition forces in Cameroon.”
“… In the book, the Cardinal makes his position very clear that he does not support these guys in the bush although the government suspected him of being one of the supporters because he tells the separatists, very clearly, that he does not support what they are doing,” Jumbam said.
Who was Cardinal Christian?
Cardinal Christian Wiyghan Tumi, Archbishop emeritus of Douala (Cameroon), was born on 15 October 1930 in Kikaikelaki, a small village in the Nso Clan, situated in the Northwest Region, of Cameroon. He resigned as Archbishop of Douala in 2009 after being head since 1991.
He was ordained a priest on 17 April 1966 (at 35) in Soppo, diocese of Buea, by Bishop Julius Joseph Willem Peeters † M.H.M. From 1966 to 1967 he carried out his ministry as a parochial vicar at Fiango (Kumba). From 1967 to 1969 he taught at the Bishop Rogan College minor seminary. In 1973, after having studied abroad, he returned to his diocese and was named rector of the major regional seminary of Bambui, archdiocese of Bamenda. He was also chaplain to the Catholic Women Association and was very involved in promoting the ecumenical movement, obtaining much esteem from Presbyterians and Baptists.
He was elected on 23 April 1982 vice-president of the National Episcopal Conference, and on 19 November 1982, he was promoted to Coadjutor Archbishop of Garoua. On March 17 1984 he was made Archbishop.
In 1985 he was elected as president of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (until 1991). He also served as president of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), 1990-1994.
Mozambique:We have asked for foreign military help, says Nyusi
April 8, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Jorge Joaquim
The government has told other countries its needs for fighting terrorism and is evaluating those needs, President Filipe Nyusi has said. Speaking yesterday, Nyusi did not go into details about what help had been requested, but said that Mozambicans had to lead the fight.
The president warned that it was divisive to attribute the terrorists’ actions to Islam, saying that they did not represent Islamic values and that Muslims were also among their victims.
Nyusi acknowledged that the war would not be won only through military means and that employment and occupation of young people were also important.
Nyusi also announced that his government has launched a thorough investigation into alleged human rights violations by members of the Defense and Security Forces (FDS) fighting insurgents in Cabo Delgado.
Such abuses would not be tolerated, “and appropriate measures will be taken,” against those found guilty, he said in a speech to the country.
The trust and cooperation of the population was essential to win the war against this insurgency, as it had been during the war of independence, he said, adding that all soldiers received instruction in ethics as part of their military training.
The human rights campaign group Amnesty International this week reiterated its demand for the investigation of possible human rights abuses by the armed forces in Cabo Delgado province.
So far, all actors in the conflict – the FDS, private security firms, mercenary troops and the insurgents – have acted with “total impunity,” according to Amnesty International.
African Presidents and Global Leaders Support Bold Action On Climate Change Adaptation For Africa.
April 7, 2021 | 0 Comments
|Africa now faces the dual onslaught of climate change – currently estimated at between $7 billion and $15 billion each year – and Covid-19, which has claimed 114,000 lives|
In a historic and united show of solidarity for a continent that contributes only 5% to global emissions, more than 30 heads of state and global leaders committed to prioritize actions that help African countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and “build forward better.”
Africa now faces the dual onslaught of climate change – currently estimated at between $7 billion and $15 billion each year – and Covid-19, which has claimed 114,000 lives. The African Development Bank expects that the impact of climate change on the continent could rise to $50 billion each year by 2040, with a further 3% decline each year in GDP by 2050.
Speaking Tuesday, during a virtual Leaders’ Dialogue convened by the African Development Bank , the Global Center on Adaptation and the Africa Adaptation Initiative, more than 30 heads of state and global leaders rallied behind the bold new Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program . The program’s objective is to mobilize $25 billion to accelerate climate change adaptation actions across Africa.
President Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and African Union Chairperson, invited his fellow leaders to: “revisit our climate ambitions and accelerate the implementation of our actions planned under our national priorities. To do this we will need to focus on actions to adapt to the impacts of climate change, these include nature-based solutions, energy transition, enhanced transparency framework, technology transfer and climate finance.”
The Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program is built to address the impacts of Covid-19, climate change, and the continent’s worst recession in 25 years. This is why today’s unprecedented show of support for the financing of African adaptation is so significant.
According to Ban Ki-moon, the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Chair of the Global Center on Adaptation, “The Covid-19 pandemic is eroding recent progress in building climate resilience and leaving countries and communities more vulnerable to future shocks. Africa must make up for lost ground and lost time. Climate change did not stop because of Covid-19, and neither should the urgent task of preparing humanity to live with the multiple effects of a warming planet.”
President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, and Chair of the African Union-led Africa Adaptation Initiative, spoke of Gabon’s record in emission reductions. He said that Gabon is one of the few countries in the world that is carbon positive. “We have to insist that equal attention be paid to climate adaptation and mitigation in climate finance. Africa calls on the developed nations to shoulder the historic responsibility and to join the program to accelerate the adaptation in Africa,” President Bongo said.
African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina said: “With our partners, we intend to mobilize $25 billion in financing for the success of the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program. It is time for developed countries to meet their promise of providing $100 billion annually for climate finance. And a greater share of this should go to climate adaptation. So far, more than 20 trillion dollars have gone into Covid-19 stimulus packages in developed countries. The International Monetary Fund’s plan to issue $650 billion of new Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to boost global reserves and liquidity will be enormously helpful to support green growth and climate financing for economic recovery. I applaud the leadership of the US government and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, especially, on this big push.”
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: “African nations are showing leadership…The Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program, and many other ambitious African initiatives, must be empowered to fully deliver on their goals. “
Guterres added: “Universal access to energy in Africa, a priority in the coming years, could be provided primarily through renewable energy. I call for a comprehensive package of support to meet these dual objectives by COP 26. It is achievable, it is necessary, it is overdue, and it is smart.”
Speaking on behalf of US President Joseph R. Biden, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said: “The United States remains a committed development partner for Africa and a huge supporter of the African Development Bank. Africa contributed the least to climate change but is suffering the worst of its effects. I congratulate the African Development Bank and the Global Center for Adaptation for developing the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program. We support the program… to help ensure that together, we can avoid the worst effects of climate change.”
The Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program, as launched by the African Development Bank and the Global Center on Adaptation, revolves around several transformative initiatives:
Climate Smart Digital Technologies for Agriculture and Food Security aims to scale up access to climate-smart digital technologies for at least 30 million farmers in Africa. The African Infrastructure Resilience Accelerator will scale up investment for climate-resilient urban and rural infrastructure in key sectors. These include water, transport, energy, and waste management for a circular economy. Empowering Youth for Entrepreneurship and Job Creation in Climate Resilience will provide one million youths with skills for climate adaptation and support 10,000 small and medium size youth-led businesses to create green jobs. Innovative Financial Initiatives for Africa will help close adaptation finance gaps, enhance access to existing finance and mobilize new public and private sector investment.
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said: “As well as facing the health and economic crisis caused by the pandemic, countries in Africa are among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Tackling this dual challenge requires putting adaptation at the heart of Africa’s recovery – so countries build resilience to climate change and spur economic activity. This pandemic has shown us the importance of investing in people. And that is so, so very valuable for Africa, which has a fast-growing young population. This begins by improving education, healthcare, and food security, and in that context, I warmly welcome the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program.”
Speaking on behalf of French President Emmanuel Macron, the Chief Executive of the French Development Agency, Remy Rioux said: “Africa is providing solutions to climate change, including the Great Green Wall and the Desert to Power initiative of the African Development Bank to build the world’s largest solar zone in the Sahel of Africa. France fully supports the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program.”
Moderating the Leaders’ Dialogue, Dr. Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation, said: “Africa has a unique opportunity to advance its development exponentially if it invests now in a climate-smart adapted future based on a deep understanding of climate risks and solutions that put nature and people at the center.”
Read the Global Call to Action here
Namibia Rubbishes Corruption Allegations against the President by Al Jazeera
April 6, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Prince Kurupati
The Namibian Presidency recently issued a harsh response to Al Jazeera following a report by Al Jazeera’s I-Unit investigation section which implicated the President in corrupt practices. The Namibian Presidency said the report amplified ‘petty’ issued with the sole aim of blemishing the ‘reputation and record’ of the President.
On April 2, 2021, Al Jazeera’s I-Unit published a report titled, “Namibian President caught in new fishing corruption allegation”. In its investigations and subsequently the penning of the report, Al Jazeera’s I-Unit worked together with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).
The report inferred that Namibian President Dr. Hage G. Geingob was a beneficial of corrupt proceeds during the Fishrot scandal which rocked the country almost a year back. it went on to state that no significant action was taken against some of the implicated individuals and the President himself was still to this present day benefiting from corrupt proceeds in the same fishing industry.
As soon as the report was released, the Namibian Presidency department promptly issued a harsh reply which questioned Al Jazeera’s I-Unit as well as the OCCRP’s motive behind the report. In the statement released on the Namibian Presidency official FaceBook page, Namibia said the report aims at blemishing the “reputation and record” of the President “crafted over decades of public service, including as freedom fighter for the liberation of Namibia, Chairperson of the Constituent Assembly, founding Prime Minister and now as the third President.”
The statement went further stating that the report is nothing but a “mere collection of petty and sensational inferences that have nothing about a popularly elected President.”
In respect to the allegations that the President benefitted from the proceeds of the Fishrot scandal and was lackadaisical in handling the issue with a firm hand, the statement did highlight several instances where President Geingob issued several statements in respect to the Fishrot Scandal as well as the actions taken by the President meant at reforming the fishing industry “for greater transparency through a public declaration of fishing rights’ owners and beneficiaries, and for benefits to accrue to a larger section of Namibians.”
The statement also exposed how the President from the word go proved his no-nonsense attitude to corruption when he unilaterally “in a bold act of transparency and accountability, though not required by law… declared in 2015 publicly his assets and those of the First Lady as a solid demonstration of leading by example in the fight against corruption.” Furthermore, the report also exposed the instance where the President cancelled a tender for the construction of an airport after investigations revealed that the invoice had been inflated from 3 billion N$ to 6 billion N$.
In the concluding remarks, the statement said the Al Jazeera report was a sham attempt “to graft Africans as unable to manage their own affairs and in need of foreign stewardship.” The Namibian Presidency also stated that it was regrettable and unfortunate that the machinations by Al Jazeera’s I-Unit and OCCRP were helped in part by the help of some Namibia citizens who helplessly work “in a self-serving manner with foreign agents to undermine their own democracy, the country’s processes, systems and institutions.”
SADC meets to discuss terrorism in Mozambique
April 5, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Jorge Joaquim
The Southern African Development Community will meet on 8 April to discuss regional measures to resolve the terrorists attacks in Mozambique, after a calling made by the president of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi, as head of the community’s body on politics, defence and security.
South Africa would be guided by the results of the meeting in how it could help Mozambique, a South African defence ministry spokesman said.
South Africa is the biggest military power in the region, and therefore its intervention is key in the conflict.
The spokesman added that over 50 South Africans reported missing after the terrorist attack on the Mozambican town of Palma had been found by their government. The deadly attack was recorded on 24 March.
Now, the town has been fully recovered from terrorists and is under the control of the Defence and Security Forces (FDS), the governor of Cabo Delgado province, Valige Tauabo, said after a visit to the town on Sunday to inspect the results of the terrorist attack.
Operations to mop up remaining terrorists continued and soon the refugee population would return to their homes, he said speaking to state-owned broadcaster TVM which was also on the scene.
Images show a scene of destruction, with buildings damaged and decomposing bodies abandoned on the road. TVM journalist Brito Simango was in the area of Palma’s Catholic church where, before Saturday, the Islamists had been continuing to fight, and said in the report that the Mozambican authorities were also controlling the Palma airstrip.
Brigadier Vidigal Chongo told journalists in Palma that the work of clearing the entire perimeter of the town had ended, and that they were now moving on to the phase of recovering the population that had fled to the forests, state-owned radio station Rádio Moçambique reported.
Chongo said that it was a critical phase which would require a lot of attention from the FDS, so as not to allow terrorists to mix with the population and create more disturbances in the town.
Kenya issues road travelling ban on South Sudan after killing of two Drivers
April 2, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – Kenya Transporters Association has issued travel advisory on South Sudan after killing of two Kenyan drivers, cited increased insecurity incidences.
The association says Kenyan trucks carrying transit goods to South Sudan will offload at Elegu, Ugandan border post for security reasons.
Association advised the transporters to withdraw their services with immediate effect.
The move is in protest of gruesome killing of Kenyan fuel tank drivers, vehicles burnt on Thursday around the Obama village and Ame junction along Nimule – Juba Highway by unknown armed men.
The oil tankers were ambushed, shot and burned inside their trucks. Two more drivers are reportedly missing after the attack. A total of 5 people were killed according to police Spokesman.
Kenya Transporters Association said “following the increase incidences of insecurity, murder and violent crimes against foreign drivers, transporters are advised to withdraw their services with immediate effect until such such time security is guaranteed.”
However, the move is expected to worsen market prices in the country as South Sudan depends on imports from Kenya and Uganda
Juba government blamed Thomas Cirilo, leader rebel group known National Salvation Front – NAS for the attack, but the NAS dismissed the accusation described it as “baseless and aimed at tarnishing the image of the Movement”.
The NAS and SSPDF has trader accusations for orchestrating the attacks.
Of recently, at least ten people were killed in three separate ambushes along the Juba-Yei road.
Despite the 2018 peace deal, the attacks on the roads are still happening across the East African’s youngest nation.
Africa Signs Historic Agreement with Johnson & Johnson for 400 Million Doses of COVID-19 Vaccines
March 29, 2021 | 0 Comments
29 March 2021 — In a historic COVID-19 vaccine procurement Agreement signed on 28 March 2021, all African Union Member States, through the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) set up in November 2020 under the African Union chairmanship of H.E President Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, will have access to 220 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot COVID-19 vaccine, with the potential to order an additional 180 million doses.
Most of the supplies will be produced at the giant pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in South Africa operated by Aspen Pharma. The vaccines will be made available to African countries through the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP), over a period of 18 months.
Meanwhile, H.E Cyril Ramaphosa will later today tour the facilities of Aspen Pharma in Port Elizabeth with Johnson & Johnson Executives to inspect preparations for the production of vaccines. The production of vaccines at the facility will be a massive boost for jobs in South Africa.
The transaction was made possible through the US$2 billion facility approved by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), who also acted as Financial and Transaction Advisers, Guarantors, Installment Payment Advisers and Payment Agents.
The successful conclusion of the Agreement was made possible by the support of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), who supported the negotiation process with Johnson & Johnson. UNICEF is also acting as procurement and logistics agent. The African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) was supported in terms of advice on various aspects by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Prior to the conclusion of the Agreement with Johnson & Johnson, African Member States were asked to make pre-orders for the vaccines and many countries showed strong preference for this particular vaccine. The countries will be able to purchase the vaccines either using cash, or a facility from Afreximbank. Most countries have already completed their pre-orders.
The direct acquisition of vaccines by the African countries through the AVATT initiative is part of the continental objective to achieve a minimum of 60% immunization of the African population, in order to eliminate COVID-19. This target is in line with targets set in other regions such as Europe and the United States. The international donor community has pledged to provide 27% through the COVAX Initiative (which is coordinated by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO), whilst Africa must find the rest. AVATT and COVAX work very closely together.
H.E Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, African Union Champion for the COVID-19 vaccine strategy and acquisition, and Chairman of AVATT, welcomed this historic Agreement, which he personally initiated directly with the company, during his tenure as Chair of the African Union.
“This Agreement is a significant milestone in protecting the health of all Africans. It is also a powerful demonstration of African unity and of what we can achieve through partnership between the state sector, the private sector and international institutions that puts people first,” said President Ramaphosa.
Professor Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said: “Afreximbank is proud to be associated with this historic and collective effort. In the midst of a very tight COVID-19 vaccine market, we are highly honoured to have been given the opportunity by the African Union to facilitate this impactful transaction under the auspices of the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT). Acting as Financial and Transaction Advisors, Guarantors, Installment Payment Facility Arrangers and Payment Agents, we look forward to beginning the deployment of the US$2 billion Vaccine Procurement facility approved by the Bank’s Board of Directors towards assisting the continent to begin to rid itself of the pandemic and rebuild its economy. This financing will support Intra-African Trade and we have already commenced engagement with our financial partners to secure the additional funding that would support procurement if Africa decides to procure the additional 180 million doses.
Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), said: “The Africa CDC recommended to the African Union that a minimum of 750 million Africans (60%) must be immunized if we are to contain the spread of COVID-19. This transaction enables Africa to meet almost 50% of that target. The key to this particular vaccine is that it is a single-shot vaccine which makes it easier to roll out quickly and effectively, thus saving lives.
Mr. Strive Masiyiwa, African Union Special Envoy signed for AVAT, while Mr. Jaak Peeters, Johnson & Johnson Special Envoy for COVID-19 vaccine, signed on behalf of Johnson & Johnson.
Mr. Masiyiwa thanked H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission for his tremendous support to the work of AVATT. He also thanked H.E Amira Elfadil Mohammed Elfadil, Commissioner for Social Affairs, Africa Union Commission, for her contributions to AVATT. Finally, Mr. Masiyiwa expressed his appreciation to the staff of Afreximbank, the Africa CDC, ECA and UNICEF for their extraordinary effort over the last three months in putting this Agreement together.
The African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), a 10-member team drawn from across the continent, was established in August 2020 to ensure that the African continent would be able to secure sufficient COVID-19 vaccine doses to achieve herd immunity. The AVATT is a key component in support of the Africa Vaccine Strategy that was endorsed by the African Union (AU) Bureau of Heads of State and Government. It is chaired by Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa and includes Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, Dr. Zweli Lawrence Mkhize, Mr. Strive Masiyiwa, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, Professor Benedict Oramah, H.E Amira Elfadi, Dr. John Nkengasong and others, as to be nominated by the Chair of the African Union and the Chairperson of the Commission.
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution with the mandate of financing and promoting intra-and extra-African trade. Afreximbank was established in October 1993 and owned by African governments, the African Development Bank and other African multilateral financial institutions as well as African and non-African public and private investors.
The Bank was established under two constitutive documents, an Agreement signed by member states, which confers on the Bank the status of an international organization, and a Charter signed by all Shareholders, which governs its corporate structure and operations. Afreximbank deploys innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that are supporting the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, accelerating industrialization and intra-regional trade, thereby sustaining economic expansion in Africa.
At the end of 2020, the Bank’s total assets and guarantees stood at US$21.5 billion and its shareholders funds amounted to US$3.4 billion. The Bank disbursed more than US$42 billion between 2016 and 2020. Afreximbank has ratings assigned by GCR (international scale) (A-), Moody’s (Baa1) and Fitch (BBB-). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo, Egypt.
About Africa CDC
Africa CDC is a specialized technical institution of the African Union that strengthens the capacity and capability of Africa’s public health institutions as well as partnerships to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks, based on data-driven interventions and programmes.
The Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) is a non-profit initiative launched by the African Union as an immediate, integrated and practical response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The online platform was developed under the leadership of the African Union Special Envoy, Strive Masiyiwa and powered by Janngo on behalf of the African Union’s Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and in partnership with African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) with the support of leading African & international Institutions, Foundations & Corporations as well as Governments of China, Canada & France.
Jack Ma Foundation Launches Africa’s Business Heroes 2021 Prize Competition
March 29, 2021 | 0 Comments
– $1.5 Million In Grants For Ten Change-Making Entrepreneurs
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
The third edition of Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition, the flagship philanthropic program of the Jack Ma Foundation spotlighting and celebrating Africa’s entrepreneurs has been launched.
After having two successful editions, the launch of the third annual edition opens up applications to all aspiring participants in 2021.
Entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries, across every sector, age group, and gender are now able to submit their applications, in either French or English, for a chance to compete for a spot among the Top 10 finalists.
The central theme of this year’s competition, “It’s African Time“, is a bold call to action for all talented African entrepreneurs who are challenging stereotypes associated with “African time” through their businesses, to leverage the ABH prize to scale their efforts as well as share their stories of how they’ve driven change and solutions.
At the grand finale later this year, ten finalists will take the stage to present their businesses and share their visions to an esteemed panel of judges, to win a share of the US$1.5 million grant. The journey to the Finale will include several rounds of rigorous evaluation panels, as well as access to a community of international leaders and innovators, industry experts, investors and accelerators, through several multi-disciplinary boot camps and training sessions, ABH media release read in part.
The mission of the Africa’s Business Heroes is to strengthen the African entrepreneur ecosystem by identifying, telling the stories of, training and awarding grant-funding to 100 Heroes across Africa over the next ten years.
The launch which took place through the Zoom platform involved Four speakers such as Jason Pau, Executive Director (International), Jack Ma Foundation; Zahra Baitie, Head of Partnership and Programs, Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition; Anita Erskine, Official Host, Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition; ABH finalists from 2019 to 2020: Christelle Kwizera, Founder and CEO at Water Access Rwanda and Chebet Lesan, Founder and CEO at BrightGreen Renewable Energy.
In 2020, the ten outstanding finalists – half of whom were female – were selected from over 22,000 applicants across all 54 African nations. They represented eight African countries – Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, and Zimbabwe – and various industries including agriculture, fashion, education, healthcare, renewable energy, and financial services, ABH’s media release indicated.
“I am proud to have been named the winner of the 2020 Africa’s Business Heroes prize. The competition was an incredible journey. 2020 was a challenging year that made us refocus from profitability to survival. I hope my win inspires Africans to believe that we have what it takes to make an impact, no matter where we are. The Prize is helping us scale our energy solution across East Africa, and we remain focused to change how Africa cooks, one kitchen at a time,” said Chebet Lesan, Founder and CEO at BrightGreen Renewable Energy.
“As we open our third annual pitch competition, we want to recognize Africa’s extraordinary entrepreneurs, whose business ventures not only are successful and profitable but are generating positive impact on their local communities,” said Jason Pau, Executive Director of International, Jack Ma Foundation.
“Despite the incredibly difficult conditions faced by entrepreneurs and small businesses around the world over the past year, Africa’s entrepreneurship has been experiencing an incredible upward trajectory, showing the magnitude of its potential and the opportunities yet to be seized. Therefore, Africa’s Business Heroes is excited to join forces with our partners to identify, spotlight and support even more passionate, innovative, and determined entrepreneurs across Africa.”
About Africa’s Business Heroes
Africa’s Business Heroes prize competition is the flagship philanthropic initiative spearheaded by the Jack Ma Foundation aimed at supporting and inspiring the next generation of African entrepreneurs across all sectors, who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future of the continent. Over ten years, ABH will recognize 100 African entrepreneurs and commit to allocating grant funding, training programs, and support for the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Each year, the ABH prize competition and the show will feature ten finalists as they pitch their business to win a share of $1.5 million in grant money.
Global leaders Graca Machel, Chair of the Graca Machel Trust Board and Ban Ki-moon, Former UN Secretary-General and Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens serve on the ABH advisory board. Also, Anita Erskine, UN SDG Advocate and Founder of the STEM Woman Project will continue to serve as the official host of the “Africa’s Business Heroes” program. This year, ABH will continue to work with strong Anchor Partners African Leadership Group, Ashesi, Dalberg, Janngo, and RiseUp, and more.
Applications will be open online from March 29 to June 7,2021, with semi-finalists announced in August, and the top ten finalists for 2021 unveiled in September. For more information about the ABH and how to apply, please visit: africabusinessheroes.org and follow ABH on Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram and Facebook .
Genocide, Africa and The French Connection
March 27, 2021 | 2 Comments
By Rebecca Tinsley*
A new report on the Rwandan genocide finds the Mitterrand government was at fault for its support of the Kigali regime. While the Duclert report, commissioned by President Macron, concludes that France was not complicit in the 1994 slaughter, it renews debate about the former colonial power’s role on the continent. The central African nation of Cameroon, a former French and British colony, is now testing whether France’s policy has evolved since Rwanda. The Norwegian Refugee Council has called the Anglophone Cameroon conflict the world’s most neglected crisis for the second year running.
A bitter anniversary
April 6th marks 27 years since the start of the Rwandan genocide. In the 1990s, as the Duclert report acknowledges, France’s aim was to maintain its economic and military position in Africa, even if that meant supporting a genocidal regime to counter Anglo-Saxon influence. France supplied weapons and training to the Hutu-dominated armed forces in the early 1990s. Rwanda expert Linda Melvern has documented how French soldiers lured members of the Tutsi minority out of hiding at Bisesero, leaving 40,000 of them to be slaughtered by the Hutu lnterahamwe. Rwandan authorities believe France still shelters individuals implicated in the genocide, including former First Lady and genocide mastermind, Agathe Kanziga.
In Cameroon, a French-English bilingual country, an armed “Anglophone conflict” has escalated over the past four years. Although France has deep economic, military and diplomatic interests there, it has held back from pressing Cameroon officials to find political solutions to the political root causes of the conflict.
A Political Problem, Not a Military Solution
English speakers in the former British Southern Cameroons believe that the majority-Francophone government denies them the self-determination they were promised at independence. In 2016, Yaoundé imposed Francophone judges and teachers in the Anglophone regions, eroding their common law system and Anglo-Saxon school curriculum. Anglophone lawyers and teachers protested peacefully, but security forces responded with disproportionate brutality, according to Human Rights Watch and International Crisis Group. The regime’s refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of moderates’ concerns ignited an extreme separatist movement and a spiral into armed conflict.
Now, impartial human rights groups report that hundreds of villages have been burnt, schools and hospitals attacked and abandoned, humanitarian workers harassed, uncooperative civilians shot or beheaded, and the economy shattered. The UN estimates that 700,000 are internally displaced, and 60,000 are sheltering across the border in Nigeria. Refugee claimants are in France, the UK, the UAE, North America, and more. There are no accurate casualty figures, but local NGOs estimate 5,000 have been killed. Anglophone civilians bear the brunt of the violence.
An estimated 800,000 Tutsi were killed in Rwanda in 1994. Cameroon’s death toll is not to this point, but it rises daily. With no end to the violence in sight, observers believe that only mediated talks can stop the bloodshed.
French influence is essential to push Cameroon to address the Anglophone conflict by attending negotiations, such as the Swiss-led peace talks on offer since 2019. The Vatican has added its voice, offering to help with mediation.
However, in a letter to French MP Jean-Jacques Bridey (dated December 10, 2020), the Quai d’Orsay repeats the Yaoundé regime’s claim that its Major National Dialogue in October 2019 resolved Anglophone grievances. Yet, most separatist leaders avoided the Dialogue, fearing arrest and indefinite detention without trial. Moreover, the root causes of the conflict were not addressed, and the violence has only intensified since the Dialogue concluded.
France has previously justified its stance because Cameroon is helping fight Boko Haram. Indeed, France has supplied weapons and funding to Cameroon’s military for this purpose. However, research in Foreign Policy shows that Cameroon has redeployed weapons intended to fight Boko Haram to the Anglophone regions, where they are used to commit atrocity crimes against Cameroon’s own citizens.
On January 1, the US Congress adopted a resolution condemning the human rights abuses against Anglophone civilians and calling for sanctions against those implicated in atrocities. The resolution also noted France’s friendship with 88-year-old President Paul Biya. A close friend of the French establishment, Biya has ruled since 1982. Transparency International ranks his regime as one of the most corrupt in the world.
Although President Macron admitted, when pressed at an event last year, that “intolerable human rights abuses are occurring in Cameroon,” France’s economic and diplomatic support persists. Yet, the Quai d’Orsay has the leverage to persuade Cameroon to talk rather than fight with its Anglophone minority, reforming its broken governance along the way.
French interests are best served by building a peaceful, stable and secure Cameroon, where corruption and systematic human rights violations are a thing of the past. There are daily atrocities in the Anglophone regions, and France knows from the Rwandan genocide that turning a blind eye is futile.
France has earned the admiration of the international community for its counterterrorism activities in the Sahel. Yet, if France is unwilling to act in the Anglophone conflict, it risks its reputation and chance to show leadership.
Perhaps President Macron is aware of this quote from the Harry Potter series: “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”
*Rebecca Tinsley is the author of When the Stars Fall to Earth: A Novel of Africa
Sudan Clears Arrears, Gains Access to $2 Billion in New World Bank Financing
March 26, 2021 | 0 Comments
WASHINGTON, March 26, 2021 –The Republic of Sudan has cleared its arrears to the International Development Association (IDA), enabling its full re-engagement with the World Bank Group after nearly three decades, and paving the way for the country to access nearly $2 billion in IDA grants for poverty reduction and sustainable economic recovery. By clearing its arrears, Sudan has also completed a key step for receiving comprehensive external debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative.
“This is a breakthrough at a time when Sudan needs the world’s help to support its development progress. The steps taken so far, including arrears clearance and exchange rate unification, will put Sudan on the path to substantial debt relief, economic revival, and inclusive development,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass. “I am grateful to the United States Government for its generosity in facilitating the arrears clearance process. I congratulate Sudan’s government for its commitment to reform, and look forward to opportunities for greater World Bank Group support to the Sudanese people.”
IDA is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries. The payment of these arrears was made possible through a $1.15 billion bridge loan from the United States government. IDA is supporting Sudan’s reform agenda through a Reengagement and Reform Development Policy operation. The reforms aim to support Sudan’s economic growth and poverty reduction program, to make the Sudanese economy more competitive, enhance transparency, increase investments, create jobs and strengthen social protection.
“With the clearance of these arrears we look forward to securing financing from the World Bank Group and other multilateral institutions to strengthen our economy and reach all corners of Sudan with transformative development projects,” said Dr. Gibril Ibrahim, Sudan’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning. “We are thankful to the US Government for facilitating this clearance process, which also supports our drive towards more comprehensive debt relief.”
After arrears clearance, Sudan will have unencumbered access to normal financing from the World Bank Group, including financing for projects under IDA, private sector debt and equity investments through the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and political risk insurance provided by the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) to facilitate foreign direct investments.
“Today, Sudan has a once-in-a-generation window of opportunity to put itself on a path of economic and social renewal,” said Hafez Ghanem, World Bank Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa. “I thank our international partners who have worked with us to bring Sudan to this important stage and look forward to opportunities for greater World Bank Group support for the Sudanese people.”
To maximize support to Sudan, the World Bank has been providing pre-arrears clearance grants that total $410 million to mitigate the impact of economic reforms through the Sudan Family Support Program, and to facilitate Sudan’s reengagement. This financing has been matched by $410 million of financing from other donors. The program aims to deliver cash transfers up to 80% of Sudanese families, or approximately 32 million citizens, to mitigate the impact of short-term economic shocks. The Program was launched on February 24, 2021.
The International Development Association (IDA) is one of the largest sources of funding for fighting extreme poverty in the world’s poorest countries. IDA provides zero- or low-interest loans and grants to countries for projects and programs that boost economic growth, build resilience, and improve the lives of poor people around the world. Since 1960, IDA has provided about $422 billion for investments in 114 countries. As an institution of the World Bank Group, IDA combines global expertise with an exclusive focus on reducing poverty and boosting prosperity in the world’s poorest countries. Learn more online: IDA.worldbank.org. #IDAworks
The Sudan Family Support Program (SFSP) is supported by several development partners through the Sudan Transition and Recovery Support (STARS) Multi-Donor Trust Fund, which includes Canada, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Netherlands, Norway, State and Peace Building Trust Fund, Sweden and United Kingdom. Together these donors are matching the support provided by the World Bank’s pre-arrears clearance grants to bring total support for the SFSP to $820 million.
Kenya Airways releases results for the financial year 2020
March 23, 2021 | 0 Comments
Nairobi, 23 March 2021 – National carrier Kenya Airways PLC (KQ) has released its full year financial results for the financial year ended 31 December 2020 at a virtual investor briefing held this morning. The year 2020 marked the worst year in the history of aviation with airline passenger traffic reducing to levels last seen in 1999 resulting in 21 years of airline passenger traffic growth being wiped out in just one year.
The Group’s total revenue during the period reduced by 59 % to Kshs. 52,805 million. This was as a result of reduced flight capacity caused by the unparalleled global downturn in commercial aviation. During the year, the airline operated a few repatriation flights and ramped up its cargo operations.
This was greatly contributed by the shutdown of the scheduled network operations from April-August 2020 following the Kenya Government directive to suspend all scheduled passenger services into and out of the country in a bid to curb the spread of the Corona virus.
The Group saw a decline of 39% in total operating costs, mainly driven by the reduced operations for the year. Of the total operating costs, direct operating costs declined by 62% whereas fixed costs declined by 3.1%. Based on the above revenue and cost dynamics, the Group recorded an Operating Loss Margin of 51% representing 50 points below the same period last year.
Kenya Airways Board Chairman Michael Joseph says, “The year 2020 was an extremely challenging for the airline due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which severely impacted the aviation industry. While nobody could have predicted the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, its continued prevalence globally, and the fact that the industry projects demand to remain at levels lower than 2019, Kenya Airways emphasises its commitment to an efficient network, improvement of service quality and delivery. We have taken bold measures to protect our people and our guests as we restructure our business to position for recovery.
“It has been a tough year where we have faced unprecedented challenges. The situation continues to be difficult even as we gradually resume our operations, mainly due to the depressed demand for air travel, with recovery to 2019 levels expected to take between 3 to 4 years. The scale of this challenge requires substantial change so we are in a competitive and resilient position to address the impact of COVID-19, withstand any longer-term reductions in customer demand and any economic shocks or events that could affect the airline” said Allan Kilavuka, Kenya Airways – Group Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer.
Kenya Airways officially resumed domestic flights on 15th July 2020 and international flights on 1st August 2020 after four months of suspended operations. In order to instil confidence and guarantee the safety of customers and staff, the airline has collaborated with key stakeholders in the aviation industry – Kenya Airports Authority, the Ministry of Health among others to put in place various safety protocols and measures.
“The global economic and geopolitical context remains uncertain due to the pandemic. Many airlines have grounded their aircraft while others have instituted other drastic measures to survive. The opportunity for Kenya Airways is to recalibrate and reset our business to adopt and thrive in this new and unexpected reality moving forward. Restoring customer confidence for business and leisure travel will be key to growing demand, as well as creating an agile, nimble, and re-energized organization that is responsive to the customer’s needs. As we look ahead, we know that we can continue to be the pride of Africa, if we make and follow through on the right strategic calls now without undue interference as we prioritise the financial viability and long term survival of the airline” said Michael Joseph – Chairman Kenya Airways Board.
Despite the challenges in the first half of the year in review, KQ continued to reunite families mounting over 30 special repatriation flights to more than 16 destinations across the world. KQ cargo also played a vital role in delivering critical supplies such as medical equipment, personal protective equipment, and food supplies. In addition, Kenya Airways stepped in to support the Kenyan exporters flying on average 6 flights to Europe to carry flowers, fruits, herbs, and vegetables weekly, accounting for over 800 metric tonnes of cargo a week and a total of 22,451 metric tonnes through the period.
Kenya Airways, a member of the Sky Team Alliance, is a leading African airline flying to 54 destinations worldwide, 41 of which are in Africa and transports over four million passengers annually. It continues to modernize its fleet with its 34 aircrafts being amongst the youngest in Africa. This includes its flagship B787 Dreamliner aircraft. The on-board service is renowned and the lie-flat business class seat on the wide-body aircraft is consistently voted among the world’s top 10.
Kenya Airways takes pride for being in the forefront of connecting Africa to the World and the World to Africa through its hub at the new ultra-modern Terminal 1A at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. Kenya Airways celebrated 43 years of operation in January 2020 and was named Africa Leading Airline 2019 by the World Travel Awards.
Tanzania to Have its First Female President Following the Death of President Magufuli
March 19, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Prince Kurupati
In the late hours of 17 March 2021, Tanzanian Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan appeared on national television announcing the passing of the country’s president John Pombe Magufuli. The news which didn’t come as a surprise to many owing to Magufuli’s mysterious 3-week absence from the public means that Tanzania will become one of the few African countries to have a female President.
According to the Tanzanian Constitution, after the passing of the President before the end of ‘his’ term, the Vice President will succeed ‘him’ for the unexpired period of the term of five years.
“Where the office of the President becomes vacant by reason of death, resignation, loss of electoral qualifications or inability to perform his functions due to physical deformity, or failure to discharge the duties and functions of the office of President, then the Vice-President shall be sworn in and become the President for the unexpired period of the term of five years and in accordance with the conditions set out in Article 40, and after consultation with the political party in which he belongs, the President shall propose the name of the person who shall be Vice-President and such appointment shall be confirmed by the National Assembly by votes of not less than fifty percentum of all the Members of Parliament.” Tanzanian Constitution Art 37 (5)
Samia Suluhu Hassan’s ascension to the presidential office makes her only the second female President in the whole of East Africa. She follows in the footsteps of Sylvie Kinigi who served as acting Burundi President from 10 July 1993 up to 7 February 1994.
As Samia Suluhu Hassan takes the reins, many eyes will be looking on her response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Her predecessor John Pombe Magufuli was one of the world’s most prominent Covid-19 deniers who refused to enforce national lockdowns when all other countries were taking that step to help contain the virus.
Magufuli was also very much skeptical of Covid-19 vaccines rather urging the nation to use prayer as the only solution to the ravaging virus. With many questions still lingering over the real cause of Magufuli’s death even though official statements say that it was a heart failure, the likeness or difference between Samia Suluhu and Magufuli will be seen from the get go owing to the direction she takes with regards to the nation’s response in light of Covid-19.
Suluhu will also have the all important task of unifying a nation that’s starkly divided between Muslims and Christians. Several Tanzanian analysts stated that the supporters of Magufuli and Christian nationalists were always against the elevation of Suluhu to the Vice President post. With her now at the helm, all eyes will be looking to see if she can win the hearts and minds of her Christian critics.
Samia served in various capacities in government since the time she left school. For long, she served for the Zanzibar government but later on moved to the Tanzania government serving as minister of state under the Vice President office. Suluhu Hassan had already broken a ceiling when she assumed the office of Vice President as she was the first female to hold the Vice President position. She became Tanzania’s first ever female Vice President in 2015 when her running partner John Magufuli won his first election.
Rwanda: Flags To Fly At Half Mast Till Magufuli Burial
March 18, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has mourned the demise of Tanzanian President Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuri who died on Wednesday and ordered that both the national flag and the East African one fly at half-mast until late Magufuli will be laid to rest.
“We are saddened by the loss of a brother and a friend, President Magufuli. His contribution to his country& to our region will not be forgotten. My deepest condolences to his family and the people in Tanzania. The people of Rwanda stand with Tanzania during this difficult time,” tweeted the president on Thursday morning.
In a communiqué released by the Prime Minister Office released an official communique which was signed by the Premier Dr. Edouard Ngirente on behalf of President Paul Kagame, the president said Rwandans stood in solidarity with the Republic of Tanzania, its people, and the bereaved family.
“His excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda has declared a period of National Mourning during which the National Flag and the Flag of the East African community will fly at half-mast on all Rwandan territory including diplomatic missions abroad” reads the communiqué in part.
“The period of mourning will last until the burial of the late president of the United Republic of Tanzania,” it added.
The death of President Magufuli, 61 was announced on Wednesday night by the Vice President Samia Suluhu on a National Television citing heart disease as the cause.
She said that President Magufuli had been battling heart disease for ten years.
She noted that the late Magufuli felt gravely ill on 6th March and was rushed to the hospital in Dar es Salaam. He was later discharged and went back to his official duties.
On 14th March, Magufuli Samia said Magufuli fell ill again and was taken to the hospital where he died.
Fourteen days of mourning were announced, while the nation prepares for his official funeral. Flags will be flying at half-mast in the course of fourteen days, Suluhu said.
In the last two weeks, rumours have circulated on social media about the health of Tanzanian President but the government kept insisting that he is in good health.
It was initially reported that he may be suffering from Coronavirus due to how Tanzania has been reluctant to take robust measures to fight the pandemic.
The last time President Magufuli, 61, was seen in public was on February 27during the swearing-in ceremony of a new chief secretary at State House in Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam.
Tanzania: Shock and Consternation As President Pombe Magufuli dies At 61
March 17, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Maniraguha Ferdinand & Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti
Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli is dead aged 61 due to heart disease, Vice President Samia Suluhu announced Wednesday, 17th March 2021.
Magufuli died from the hospital in the city of Dar es Salaam after one week of hospitalisation.
Appearing on National Television, Suluhu whith tears on her eyes , said that President Magufuli has been battling with heart disease for ten years. He felt gravely ill on 6th March and was rushed to the hospital in Dar es Salaam. He was later discharged and went back in his official duties.
On 14th March, Magufuli fell ill again and was taken to the hospital where he died .
Fourteen days of mourning were announced, while the nation prepares for his official funeral. Flags will be flying at half mast in the course of fourteen days, Suluhu said.
In the last two weeks, rumours have circulated on social media about the health of Tanzanian President but government kept insisting that he is in good health.
It was initially reported that he may be suffering from Coronavirus due to how Tanzania has been reluctant to take robust measures to fight the pandemic.
“It’s a sad comment on his stewardship of our country that it’s come to this: that he himself had to get COVID-19 and be flown out to Kenya in order to prove that prayers, steam inhalations and other unproven herbal concoctions he’s championed are no protection against coronavirus! ,” opposition leader Tundu Lissu tweeted recently in breaking news of the President’s ill health and his presence in a Kenyan hospital for treatment.
“The Man Who Declared Victory Over Corona “was transferred to India this afternoon.” Kenyans don’t want the embarrassment “if the worst happens in Kenya.” His COVID denialism in tatters, his prayer-over-science folly has turned into a deadly boomerang!” , Tundu Lissu further tweeted last week.
This last tweet prompted a response from the Tanzanian government with Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa and Tanzania’s Ambassador to Namibia Modestus Kipilimba saying the coronavirus skeptic was in good health and carrying out his regular duties.
“He’s OK, he’s going on with his job,” Kipilimba told Namibia’s state broadcaster NBC.
“I want to assure Tanzanians that your President is strong and working hard as usual. You should not worry. I even talked with him this morning about my trip in Njombe and he told me to greet you on his behalf. I talked with him on phone from Dar es Salaam and I was in Dodoma,” PM Majaliwa told a mosque in the southern region of Njombe in a video posted online
The last time President Magufuli, 61, was seen in public was on February 27during the swearing-in ceremony of a new chief secretary at State House in Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam.
Making the most of Africa’s energy potential
March 17, 2021 | 0 Comments
Pressure is building to phase out petroleum production in Africa to fight climate change. But harnessed strategically, Africa’s oil and gas industry can power a better future for Africa. Are calls to “keep it in the ground” really in Africa’s best interests?
By NJ Ayuk*
Do a Google search for ‘Help Africa,’ and you know how many results you’ll get?
1.7 Billion. ‘Help children in Africa, African hunger and how to help, Save Africa from climate change.’
There’s even a strategy for that last one: Keep Africa’s petroleum resources in the ground. The reasoning goes, if we produce fewer fossil fuels, we’ll emit less carbon and be better protected from climate change.
The international community is embracing that idea. BlackRock and Royal Bank of Scotland said they’re moving away from investments that support fossil fuel production.
Seeing how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected oil markets, they say now is a golden opportunity to phase out fossil fuels and usher in an era of renewable resources, freeing developing countries in particular from ‘dirty energy sources.’
Over the last 300 years, all of Africa has emitted seven times less carbon dioxide than China, 13 times less than the United States, and 18 times less than the combined countries of Europe.
Attempting to phase out Africa’s oil industry to prevent climate change is like snuffing out a small, controlled campfire instead of focusing your attention on kilometers of blazing forestland.
Funny that the keep-fossil-fuels-in-the-ground argument is a Western construct, promoted by countries that developed their economies with fossil fuels. I will not name names.
The head of Africa oil trading for the multinational commodity-trading firm, Trafigura, said telling Africa not to develop its resources is akin to making Africa “pay for the sins” of other regions. I say, trying to dictate what Africa does with its own resources is insulting, hypocritical, and frankly, an overstep.
But you know what, I think there’s more going on here than just climate change concerns. The oil and gas industry has been painted as a bunch of bad guys that oppress people and steal resources. Wrong.
But if that’s true, how do you explain indigenous oil and gas industry companies that provide jobs and training opportunities for local residents, and partner with local suppliers? Same story for the international companies operating in Africa.
But on top of providing jobs, international companies also share knowledge and technology and often improve the communities where they operate.
Something else to consider: Many oil and gas companies are diversifying their portfolios to include renewable energy assets. In fact, some of them are at the forefront of research that could lead to new renewable energy technologies.
So, if the goal is to move Africa toward increased renewable energy usage a healthy oil and gas industry is a good and cost-effective way to get there.
Does anyone care about energy poverty?
But the most important reason why Africa should be free to continue hydrocarbon production is this: Africa’s huge natural gas reserves are the continent’s best shot at alleviating energy poverty.
Today, more than 620 million people in sub-Saharan Africa don’t have electricity. That’s two-thirds of the population. Hundreds of millions more have unreliable or limited power.
What does that look like? Without electricity, you’re cooking your food and warming your home by burning wood, charcoal, or maybe even animal waste. Your regular exposure to indoor air pollution increases your risk of respiratory infections and chronic conditions.
If you need to go to the hospital for treatment, it will be by lantern light or, worse yet, in the dark. Equipment that requires electricity, like MRI machines and ventilators, is probably not an option.
And that’s just one aspect of your life. It doesn’t even touch on how a lack of electricity impacts your children’s school or limits economic growth in your community and your employment opportunities.
Gas-to-power technology which, incidentally, generate fewer CO2 emissions can bring reliable electricity to Africa. But we have to be allowed to unleash our resources, not constrain them.
The good news is, 13 African countries are using natural gas they produce themselves or import from neighboring nations to generate electricity. Yes, I know that renewable energy can help meet Africa’s power needs, too. But Africans shouldn’t be pressured to make either-or decisions in this area.
Energy poverty is a serious concern. Making the solution more difficult to address is simply wrong.
Freedom from aid
Now, let’s circle back to the idea that Africa needs everyone’s help. For more than 60 years, the world has poured financial aid into Africa. And where has that gotten us?
We still have hunger. We still have poverty. We still have violence, infrastructure deficit –the list goes on.
There’s no question other nations and other people want to lift us up. But the net effect of their generosity has been to keep Africa under outside control.
To achieve autonomy, we start by monetising of our oil and gas resources. This starts with using oil and gas as a feedstock to create other value-added products, like petrochemicals and fuel. Then we take the revenues to build infrastructure and diversify economies.
Senegal, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Cameroon, Algeria and Equatorial Guinea has started down this path. And with the right fiscal, tax and regulatory policies, they will be on their way to becoming major players in the world’s LNG market.
*NJ Ayuk is the executive chairman of the African Energy Chamber
Kenya:Uhuru to decide Ruto’s fate
March 16, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
All eyes are on President Uhuru Kenyatta to see whether he will okay or dismiss Deputy President William Ruto’s removal as the Jubilee Deputy party leader.
Ruto was removed from the position on Monday, March 15, by the ruling party’s National Management Committee (NMC) as reported by the Standard.
The second in command was ejected on the ground of sabotaging the party’s agenda and associating with the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party.
The new outfit fielded candidates in the recent by-elections and won one seat. Rumours have it that Ruto is expected to dump Jubilee for the UDA as his presidential quest continues to grow.
Besides, Uhuru and his Deputy have disagreed on the Constitutional Amendment Bill, calling for an expansion of the executive and many other changes.
While Uhuru is wooing Kenyans to back the document, Ruto has maintained that referendum should not be the priority during this economic hard times occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
NMC had submitted its decision to the National Executive Council (NEC) chaired by the President.
Jubilee Party Secretary-General Raphael Tuju said the President could either convene a meeting with NEC or assign the matter to be decided after his authorization.
Tuju told the publication that NMC fired Ruto in line with the party’s constitution.
“The NMC discussed the matter and resolved to remove the DP as per the party constitution. The matter is active, we have the recommendations of NMC and now only waiting for the party leader to convene a NEC meeting to deliberate on the matter,” Tuju was quoted.
Key Ruto’s have already been removed from the Parliament and the Senate’s key positions over party disloyalty.
Rwanda:Two new ministers, four governors appointed
March 16, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshituti
The President Paul Kagame on Monday appointed the minister of Local Government (MINALOC) and the minister for Trade and Industry (MINICOM) and appointed four new provincial governors.
The president appointed Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi as the Minister for Local Government.Gatabazi who until his appointment was serving as the Governor of Northern Province replaces Prof. Anastase Shyaka.
Elsewhere, BéataHabyarimana was appointed the minister for Trade and Industry (MINICOM) replacing Soraya Hakuziyaremye who has been appointed as the Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) in French Acronym.
Hakuziyaremye replaces Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa who was recently elected the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
Habyarimana has a Masters Degree in Business Administration in Finance has a stint as a senior banker in various banks in the country.
Her banking career includes a stint as the Chief Executive Officer of Agaseke bank and a She has a stint Master Of Business Administration in Finance and the head of Compliance and Risk Mitigation Manager at Bank Populaire du Rwanda.
She also served work for African Bank as Deputy Managing Director
Following the appointment both the ministers said there were grateful to the President for the trust bestowed to them and committed to selflessly serve the country.
“I am extremely grateful to your excellency Paul Kagame for this extended opportunity in serving the country as Minister of Local Government, I will never let you down and will keep on striving for the revolutionary leadership& Economic transformation, God bless you abundantly,” said Gatabazi in a tweet shortly after the announcement.
“I am deeply honored for the trust His Excellency Paul Kagame has bestowed in my person for this responsibility. I pledge to serve our country with dedication and to the best of my ability under your leadership,” Beata Habyarimana
New Governors appointed
In the same announcement, President Kagame appointed four new Governors who will be leading the country’s four provinces.
They include the former immediate Inspector General of Police Emmanuel Gasana who was appointed as the new governor of Easter Province replacing Fred Mufurukye.
Gasana has been recently removed from the position of Southern Province governor and has been off for months.
Also appointed was Francois Habitegeko as the Western Province governor. Habitegeko successfully completed his two terms as the Mayor of the rural Nyaruguru district in the same province he will be leading. There, Habitegeko replaces a seasoned governor Alphonse Munyentwari.
In the Southern Province, Alice Kayitese who was the acting governor was also appointed the governor of the same province.
African Economic Outlook 2021: Africa’s growth prospects bullish despite COVID-19 constraints and debt burden
March 13, 2021 | 0 Comments
- The economic impact of the pandemic varies across economic characteristics and regions, but the projected recovery is broad-based
- the average debt-to-GDP ratio for Africa is expected to climb by 10 to 15 percentage points in the short to medium term
- the time for one last debt relief for Africa is now – President Akinwumi A. Adesina
Despite the challenging backdrop of a global pandemic and external economic shocks, Africa is expected to recover from its worst recession in half a century and reach 3.4 percent growth in 2021, the African Development Bank said in its 2021 African Economic Outlook report, launched on Friday.
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus in December 2019 has taken a massive toll on Africa, hitting tourism-dependent economies, oil-exporting economies and other-resource intensive economies the hardest, as well as deepening inequality.
The African Economic Outlook, published annually since 2003, provides headline numbers on Africa’s economic performance and outlook. This year’s theme “From Debt Resolution to Growth: The Road Ahead for Africa”, highlights the impact of Covid-19 and government debt, offering mitigating measures to governments and policy makers.
The continent-wide projected recovery, following a 2.1% contraction in 2020, does not remove the threat of increasing poverty, the report said. An estimated 39 million Africans could possibly slip into extreme poverty this year, following about 30 million who were pushed into extreme poverty in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. The report finds that populations with lower levels of education, few assets, and working in informal jobs are the most affected and must be protected.
Presenting the report during a virtual launch ceremony, African Development Bank Vice President and Chief Economist Rabah Arezki cautioned that Africa’s predicted growth could be subject to major downside risks arising from both external and domestic factors. “The cost of inaction will be large,” he warned.
In 2020, government spending across Africa the continent skyrocketed as countries strived to support their populations through the pandemic.
This has had a direct negative impact on budgetary balances and debt burdens: the average debt-to-GDP ratio for Africa is expected to climb by 10 to 15 percentage points in the short to medium term, fueled by the surge in government spending and the contraction of fiscal revenues as a result of Covid–19.
This will result in fast-paced debt accumulation in the near to medium term. Although the average debt to-GDP ratio had stabilized around 60 percent of GDP, recent debt restructuring experiences in Africa have been costly and lengthy because information asymmetries, creditor coordination problems, and the use of more complicated debt instruments, the report said.
African Development Bank’s Covid response
The African Development Bank reacted swiftly to the Covid-19 pandemic, putting in place a crisis response facility to support countries in mitigating the health and economic effects of the pandemic. The Bank also launched a $3 billion Fight COVID–19 social bond on global capital markets, which at the time was the largest U.S. dollar-denominated social bond ever.
However, the fundamentals of Africa’s debt burden must be prioritized and not ignored, African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi A Adesina said.
“The Bank made a strategic and forward-looking choice to discuss a topic that could become a key policy concern in the near term,” he writes in the report’s foreword.
“We need to address Africa’s debt and development finance challenges in partnership with the international community. Much larger financial support is needed, and private sector creditors need to be part of the solution. The time for one last debt relief drive for Africa is now.”
The report makes important recommendations for a multi-pronged policy approach to addressing the pandemic. These include supporting the health sector with resources for health care systems to cope with the virus and other preventable diseases; monetary and fiscal support to underpin economic recovery; expanding social safety nets and making growth more equitable; minimizing the long-term implications of the pandemic on human capital accumulation by opening schools and scaling up active labor market policies to retool the labor force for the future of work through digitalization, industrialization, and diversification.
Hannan Morsy, Director of the African Development Bank’s Macroeconomic Policy, Forecasting and Research Department, said: “We have a once-in-a-century opportunity at building forward better, more equitable, more sustainable and above all more resilient. Prompt and bold measures are needed to make it happen, the report highlights the required actions.”
Earlier, Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz, recipient of the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, joined Dr. Adesina for a one-and-one conversation as the event opener. This led into a broader panel discussion to discuss the report.
Tanzania:Magufuli is not sick, says PM
March 13, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
On Friday, two Tanzania officials dispel rumors being speculated that President John Magufuli is suffering from Covid-19 and his life is in tatters.
Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa and Tanzania’s Ambassador to Namibia Modestus Kipilimba said the coronavirus sceptic is in good health and carrying out his regular duties.
“He’s OK, he’s going on with his job,” Kipilimba told Namibia’s state broadcaster NBC.
The opposition leader Tundu Lissu had revealed that President Magufuli was flown to neighboring Kenya before being taken to India on a ventilator, citing security and medical sources.
The duo has denied that, saying the President is in Tanzania despite failing to make a public appearance since February 27.
Mr. Kassim Majaliwa said the narrative is triggered by hate from his compatriots living outside the country.
“I want to assure Tanzanians that your President is strong and working hard as usual. You should not worry. I even talked with him this morning about my trip in Njombe and he told me to greet you on his behalf. I talked with him on phone from Dar es Salaam and I was in Dodoma,” Majaliwa told a mosque in the southern region of Njombe in a video posted online.
Chadema, main Tanzania’s opposition party, demanded an explanation on the President’sPresident’s whereabouts once again on Friday.
“We are forced to ask this since the PresidentPresident appeared in public some two weeks ago and no official statement has been issued after media reports that he was hospitalised. We have the right to know this,” said Chadema secretary-general John Mnyika.
Magufuli is the only African prominent leader who has mocked Covid-19 containment protocols such as lockdown and wearing face masks, saying prayers, and steam inhalation are enough to protect Tanzanians.
In January, he rejected the Covid-19 vaccine noting that it is part of a Western conspiracy to grab wealth belonging to Africans.
Magufuli’s administration last year went ahead and banned reporting of the virus cases.
Tanzania:Opposition Leader says President Magufuli Evacuated To India for Covid-19 treatment
March 12, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
Tanzania’s Chief opposition leader Tundu Lissu has once again revealed that President John Magufuli had been flown to India from Kenya’s hospital.
Mr. Lissu said he was flown to the South Asian country while in a coma without verifying.
“Latest update from Nairobi: The Man Who Declared Victory Over Corona “was transferred to India this afternoon.” Kenyans don’t want the embarrassment “if the worst happens in Kenya.” His COVID denialism in tatters, his prayer-over-science folly has turned into a deadly boomerang!” tweeted Lissu.
The Tanzanian government has remained silent amid the growing pressure on the Tanzanian leader’s whereabouts, who all along has played down the threats imposed by the Covid-19.
Tanzanians are demanding to know the real health status amid growing speculations that his condition is deteriorating.
Some prominent leaders in the country have also challenged the authorities to come out and reveal Magufuli’s health status instead of keeping the public in suspense.
“The President is a public servant, and he is accountable to the public. They must tell us if he is on holiday. And if he is sick, they should tell us. All information about the President’s health should be public,” said Maria lSarungi, a communication expert and online activist.
“It is not normal. He is a man who usually appears in public, even if it is to mock his political opponents and make his usual firm stance against this health crisis. President Magufuli is a public figure and anything that happens to him is a matter of public concern,” Africa Reported quoted the secretary-general of the ACT Wazalendo party, Ado Shaibu.
Instead of responding to public demands, Tanzania’s constitution minister Mwigulu Lameck Nchemba dismissed the reports about Magufuli’s current health status, terming them “false” and “nonsense.”
“The President is not a parish worker or duty presenter or jogging club leader to be in public every day. I warn everyone against spreading fake news. The penal code and cybercrime act remains valid for those who break the law,” he wrote on his Instagram page.
Innocent Lugha Bashungwa – the country’s information minister, had also warned the media against reporting false information.
“I call on our journalists and citizens to continue the process of obtaining information through official sources of information. Using rumours as official information is a violation of the laws governing the media industry. Avoid sharing information that you will be responsible for,” he tweeted.
The 61-year-old alias “The Bulldozer” last appeared in public on February 27, during a swearing ceremony at State House in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s capital.
Tanzania: Opposition Leader says COVID-19 Skeptic President Admitted in Kenyan Hospital
March 10, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
Tanzanian President John Magufuli is receiving treatment at a Nairobi hospital, the opposition leader Tundu Lissu told the BBC.
Mr. Lissu said Magufuli was airlifted to the neighbouring country on Monday after exhibited coronavirus-related symptoms and cardiac arrest.
“It’s a sad comment on his stewardship of our country that it’s come to this: that he himself had to get COVID-19 and be flown out to Kenya in order to prove that prayers, steam inhalations and other unproven herbal concoctions he’s championed are no protection against coronavirus!” he tweeted.
Even though Tanzania’s government has not commented on the whereabouts of President Magufuli, Kenya’s publisher, the Nation reported that an unidentified African leader was being treated for the novel virus at Nairobi Hospital.
Mr. Lissu, on Wednesday, further revealed to Reuters that several sources had informed him that there were plans to move him to India from Kenya for further treatment.
According to him, Tanzania’s Finance Minister Philip Mpango is also being treated at Kenya’s health facility.
The last time President Magufuli, 61, was seen in public was on February 27during the swearing-in ceremony of a new chief secretary at State House in Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam.
His absence has invoked speculations both online and offline, with many saying that he is contracted the virus he has persistently maintained does not exist.
The 61-year-old has been at loggerheads with health experts, including the World Health Organization (WHO), on how he has been handling the virus.
Last year, he called on Tanzanians to disregard the coronavirus containment protocols imposed by WHO, asking them to revert to prayers and herbal-infused steam therapy to overcome it.
Besides, he banned the publication of the Covid-19 cases in May 2020 and in June declared Tanzania Covid-19 free.
Furthermore, early this year, he dismissed the Covid-19 vaccines saying they are dangerous and part of a Western conspiracy.
“Vaccines are not good. If they were, then the white man would have brought vaccines for HIV/AIDS,” he was quoted by Reuters.
The deadly virus is alleged to have recently claimed the lives of prominent people in the country. Some of the deceased include chief secretary to State House John Kijazi, former deputy finance minister Gregory Teu, former governor of Bank of Tanzania Benno Ndulu, and first vice-president of Zanzibar Maalim Seif Sharrif Hamad.
The late Maalim Seif Sharrif Hamad’s political party, ACT Wazalendo, confirmed that he was Covid-19 positive before his demise.
In Tanzania, the Catholic Church had urged the public to take Covid-19 measures saying 60 nuns and 25 priests died of the virus in the last two months.
Recipients of $2-million African venture capital fund revealed
March 9, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
THREE enterprises from Kenya, two from Nigeria and one each from Madagascar and Zimbabwe are the recipients of the inaugural $2-million Jua Fund, the largest African venture capital fund by a private individual, it has been reported.
Bryt-Knowledge (Zimbabwe), GrowAgric (Kenya), Jirogasy (Madagascar), Powerstove Energy (Nigeria), Side (Kenya), Whispa Health (Nigeria) and Xetova (Kenya) all agreed to deals with the fund following a week-long “Kickstarter Olympics” during which they pitched their ideas to a high-profile panel of judges.
It is reported that the final deal closure and disbursement will be contingent on the enterprises passing a due diligence and other agreed terms and conditions.
The fund will not only provide equity to the enterprises but also mentorship and advisory support as well as put them in touch with other investors.
African industrialist Adam Molai launched the Jua [sunrise in KiSwahili] Fund last November inspired by his dream to develop Africa through the empowerment of entrepreneurs.
Molai says the exercise had over-delivered on his expectations.
“The Jua fund is a tiny drop in the ocean, in our effort to unite African grey hairs with our bright young future through funding and mentorship support. After listening to the pitches and presentations during the Kickstarter Olympics, my faith and hope has more than been repaid. We have brilliant entrepreneurs on this continent. I and my fellow judges were immensely impressed by all our finalists, even those that fell away during the week,” he says.
Molai says he was especially delighted that the recipients would deliver the impact that he wanted Jua Fund to have.
“We targeted enterprises that are scalable across the Continent and actually address the challenges that are hobbling Africa’s development, and the selected enterprises all do that. Jirogasy and Bryt will be furthering education, one through hardware the other through software; Side and GrowAgric are disrupting the value chain of goods from farm to table; Powerstove Energy is saving the environment with their cooking stove innovation, Whispa Health is taking care of wellbeing and Xetova are adding African flair to procurement. We look forward to a long and productive future for all of them,” he says.
Molai says another unexpected boon was the high number of female representation among the recipients – four of the seven enterprises have either female founders or co-founders and / CEOs.
A delighted Joseph Hundah, founder and chairman of Bryt-Knowledge of Zimbabwe, a multifaceted online educational platform that connects students with subject matter experts using technology, says the impetus behind the Jua Fund is admirable.
“I believe entrepreneurship, not politics, will lift Africa out of its current economic statis … I hope one day to have the money to do what the Jua Fund is doing,” he says.
Hundah says that the selection process had also helped them rethink and refine their business.
“The questions put to us [during the Kickstarter Olympics] really made us think. And we said to ourselves, ‘even if we don’t make it, we’ve learned so much from this process’. We thank the panel of judges for choosing us, for believing in us. I want to see Bryt-Knowledge be successful and be rolled out across Africa.”
Cathy Chepkemboi, founder and CEO of Side, an e-commerce distribution channel that leverages the power of “community” or “group buying” to provide goods to end customers more cheaply, says she is excited and is looking forward to working with the Jua Fund.
“I’m so happy. It’s my dream,” says Okey Esse, founder and CEO of Nigerian-based Power Stove Africa which uses advance technology to deliver a superior smokeless, IoT-enabled cookstove that generates electricity. “We’ve had lots of companies who want to give us funds, but I keep telling them as much as we need funds, we need people who can add value, and especially in opening markets for us. Market access is of greater importance to us than pure equity. What the Jua Fund is bringing to the table is just the boost we are looking for. We are highly appreciative of having the Jua Fund team onboard.”
The successful recipients are:
- Bryt-Knowledge, Zimbabwe – a multifaceted online educational platform that connects students with subject matter experts using technology
- GrowAgric, Kenya – a crowd-farming platform that connects farmers to much-needed working capital allowing them to scale and meet market demand while delivering profitability to themselves and their sponsors
- Jirogasy, Madagascar – manufactures, assembles and designs solar home systems and communication systems for solar; In 2019, it invented a solar-powered computer that it is currently improving for a 2nd version
- Powerstove Energy, Nigeria – uses advance technology to deliver a superior smokeless, IoT enabled cookstove that generates electricity
- Side, Kenya – an e-commerce distribution channel that leverages the power of “community” or “group buying” to provide goods to end customers more cheaply
- Whispa Health Limited, Nigeria – a mobile app that provides young people with non-judgmental access to Sexual and Reproductive Health information, products and services
- Xetova, Kenya – a technology solutions provider to the procurement ecosystem
The high-profile panel of 17 judges included Professor Benedict Oramah, President of the $20-billion Pan-African African Export-Import Bank; Dr. Amany Asfour, Chairperson of the African Business Council and Chairperson of COMESA Trade Promotions Council; Joel Nettey, the first African to be appointed president of the International Advertising Association; Brad Magrath, founder of Zoona, Zambia’s leading money transfer platform; and Anna Henry Nyimbo, founder of Cartrack Tanzania, Retriever Limited Kenya, Retriever Limited Rwanda and Neoboemi Africa.
Kenya:Countrywide distribution of Covid-19 vaccine kicks off
March 4, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday flagged off the national distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Almost half a million were released to the nine regional depots from the National storage centre in Kitengela, Kajiado County.
The nine regions are Kisumu, Mombasa, Nakuru, Kakamega, Garissa, Meru, Nyeri, level 6 hospitals, and military level 4 hospitals.
The exercise began just hours after the first batch of the vaccine landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Wednesday ahead of first jab administration on Friday.
1.02 million doses of the AstraZeneca arrived in the country from the Serum Institute of India (SII) transported by UNICEF as part of the global COVAX alliance.
Health workers will be the first people to be vaccinated, followed by teachers, security officers, and those with underlying medical conditions.
“Ours is to help these people to ensure we support them with enough doses, logistics until such time we have vaccinated our people or when we attain herd immunity … We will get more and more doses until we get the amount required.” said President Kenyatta.
Kenyatta asked Kenyans to continue observing measures put in place by the Ministry of Health to tame the spread of the novel virus-like social distancing, wearing of facemasks, and washing hands with water and soap, among others. He said the battle to combat the deadly disease is not over.
“I urge all Kenyans not to drop the guard, lets us not think that since the vaccines have arrived, life will resume normally, we have to continue protecting ourselves by adhering to the measures stipulated by the Ministry of health,” the Head of State.
President Kenyatta further called on Kenyans to desist from peddling misinformation about the vaccine urging them to ask experts any questions outside policy about execution and how it will be done.
Kenya is expected the second batch of the vaccine by the end of March or April.
New Director General of WTO: Mission is Possible for Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
March 1, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Sayed Attia*
Today, March 1, 2021, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala , a former Nigerian minister of finance and a World Bank veteran will take office as the new director of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Dr.Ngozi is the first of African descent to be appointed to oversee the rules of the world trading system.
Fortunately the key world trade players, China, USA and EU expressed their support for Dr.Ngozi, the issue that sends a positive signal that there some sort of agreement between these parties. According to Reuters, the U.S delegate at WTO, Washington is committed to working closely with Dr.Ngozi and be a “constructive partner”. Furthermore, China’s delegation pledged “full support” to her and the EU trade commissioner said he looked for forward working closely with her. However, Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff heralded the arrival of a new era of WTO leadership but cautioned that “member enthusiasm, optimism and hope need to be translated into concrete action.”, according to Inside, US trade.
Amongst the diversified fields of expertise of Dr. Ngozi is her chairmanship of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance which is a public–private global health partnership with the goal of increasing access to immunization in poor countries. This background will imperatively constitute a major factor in the policy of the WTO amid the current challenge of Covid-19 pandemic. According to African Business Magazine, Dr. Ngozi assured to be the only candidate working at the intersection of trade and public health, which she says will enable the trade system to better deliver Vaccines and medical supplies during the Covid-19 pandemic. The facilitation of movement of Vaccine from the manufacturing countries to the needy countries is the top priority at the moment. All WTO member states should collaborate and cooperate in securing the easy movement of Vaccine across the world.
The priorities of the WTO at this critical moment are numerous but they are not insurmountable. These priorities include completion of fisheries subsidies negations, starting negotiations on E-commerce to sustain the growth of the digital economy, and facilitate safe, secure and efficient cross-border e-payments and data flows, dispute settlement reform, and health measures at the time of diseases, such Covid-19 pandemic. As an example of the measures that be discussed in the health measures is to waive some intellectual property rights on COVID-19 medicines and vaccines to speed up their rollout to poor countries which do not have the affordability and access to medical products. Furthermore, there is a dire need to relax intellectual property (IP) rules in a manner that allow immediate scale-up of vaccine production and provision of medical products.
Global trade collapsed last year as border closures and supply disruptions interrupted the international provision of goods, therefore, the recovery requires improving business environment and multilateral cooperation to support the world’s economic recovery from COVID-19. At this critical moment, the international trade is in a dire need for more liberalization in this time more than any time before. The outbreak of COVID-19 had negative consequences on the global economy, therefore, recovering the dynamism of international trade is the sole guarantor for mitigating these consequences.
While the stage is being setting for a new era for the WTO and accordingly to the multilateral trading system, the situation now is better than a year before, thanks to the efforts made to manufacture of the Vaccine for Covid-19 pandemic and making it available , although on a limited scale. The global economy and trade will recover once matters back to normal. This recovery, however, is conditioned to what extent the WTO perform its full responsibility in securing ease movement of trade between member states. The WTO members to benefit from the vast experience of Dr.Ngozi in Gavi, on one hand and the commitments of large producers of Covid-19 Vaccine , such as China, to accelerate overcoming the negative consequences of such a pandemic, on the other hand.
At the end, a strong WTO is vital for the world to recover fully and rapidly from the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. WTO faces a great many challenges, therefore working collectively will make the WTO stronger, more agile and better adapted to the realities of today. The mission of Dr.Ngozi as a new Director General of WTO is difficult but is not impossible as long as there a sincere will of all members to take the organization ahead.
*Sayed Attia is an International Trade Expert based in Cairo, Egypt. This article reflects the writer’s own point of view. He has a progressive work experience as international trade practitioner of 24 years. He has a wide experience in trade remedies and trade policy formulation. He has trade negotiations experience at regional, continental and international levels with a deep conviction of the importance of trade as an engine for inclusive and sustainable development. Having a firm belief that deep industrialization, efficient internal infrastructure and simple, clear, trade facilitation, E-commerce and digitalization are key pillars for trade promotion. MA; MBA, and international trade PhD candidate with a large number of publications in trade, development and industrialization.
Kenyans urged to support the BBI
February 25, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
Political party leaders have called on Kenyans to put aside their political differences for the country’s unity.
In a joint statement, the leaders led by President Uhuru Kenyatta ODM leader Raila Odinga, Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka, Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetangula, ANC’s Musalia Mudavadi, Kanu’s Gideon Moi and Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu rallied Kenyans to back the Building Bridges Initiative (Amendment) Bill to resolve many longstanding national challenges that hold them back from realizing a united and prosperous nation.
“Now is the moment for all Kenyans to put aside partisan divides and come together to build a better Kenya; for ourselves, our children, and for generations of Kenyans yet to be born,” state part of the statement read by the KANU party leader Gideon Moi.
The BBI proponents resolved to embark on civic education to sensitize citizens on benefits available in the document.
“To ensure the voice of every Kenyan is heard and to enable every one of us to exercise their civic duty, we will undertake civic education to sensitize the entire Kenyan nation on the opportunities that lie for our homeland and nation as part of this initiative,” the statement further stated.
They further expressed their gratitude to County Assemblies for unanimously endorsing the popular report when it was transmitted to them for debate by the electoral commission.
As of Thursday, 42 Counties had approved the document, with only two rejecting it, and the remaining three are yet to vote.
“Thus far, 42 County Assemblies have considered the Bill. Their affirming voice has thundered across the Republic, in resonance with the desire of all Kenyans to further strengthen our governance by breaking the cycle of divisive elections, fostering the equitable distribution of resources by enhancing the share of revenues to County Governments, and creating a more robust and responsive framework to secure opportunities for all Kenyans including our micro, small and medium enterprises,” they said.
The leaders who spoke from the State House in Nairobi said they would hold a joint consultative meeting between Members of Parliament and County leadership on the 9th March 2021.
The BBI document will be tabled in the National Assembly and the Senate next week for debate.
Mozambique To Receive Covid 19 Vaccines From China
February 24, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Jorge Joaquim
Mozambique is receiving today (24) the first batch of the vaccine against Covid-19 from China to ensure the vaccination of priority groups, among them health professionals, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi announced on Facebook.
“Over the past two months I have maintained contacts with the President, Xi Jinping for access to the Covid-19 vaccine,” Nyusi wrote on his official account on Wednesday morning. “So I would like to share with the Mozambican people that the first batch of the vaccine arrives in the country this Wednesday afternoon, 24 February” he said.
With the arrival of this batch, the challenge continues to ensure the arrival of other doses, which negotiations are at an advanced stage with Mozambique’s partners, he added
However, it is not clear the quantity of the vaccine and the type of dose.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy in Mozambique announced yesterday that the U.S. Government is providing an additional $3.7 million to help guarantee the country’s vaccine readiness per COVAX requirements.
This includes planning the delivery and distribution of the vaccines throughout Mozambique, and technical assistance in the provision of comprehensive medical treatment to patients with COVID-19, including in the safe and effective utilization of oxygen.
Kenya:Uhuru locked Ruto out of State House meeting
February 20, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
It has been revealed that deputy president William Ruto’s absence during the top state officials’ meeting on Thursday, February 19, 2021, was orchestrated.
Emmanuel Talam, Ruto’s Communication Director, told the Star that his boss was not invited to the event.
“As far as I know, the Deputy President was not invited. But State House can clarify,” the Star quoted Talam.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s chaired meeting was attended by Cabinet Secretaries, Chief Administrative Secretaries, and Principal Secretaries.
Next to the President Sat the Interior Minister Dr. Fred Matiang’i and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua.
The President outlined his vision and priorities for this year, including completing ongoing Government projects and programmes across all sectors and regions of the country.
The officials also deliberated on ongoing National Government programmes covering the Big 4 Agenda and Vision 2030 flagship projects.
“…the President instructed the officials to ensure prudent utilization of public resources in service delivery, saying Kenyans must always get the highest value return for their money,” said the State House spokesperson Kanze Dena.
The head of state further appealed to the officials to embrace teamwork and unity of purpose to deliver the promise of a better and prosperous Kenya for all.
In recent weeks, the President and his deputy have exchanged barbs with the former daring his assistant to resign.
DRC: Joseph Kabila Has Nothing Else To Offer, It’s Time For Tshisekedi- Eloge Mwandwe
February 18, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Maniraguha Ferdinand
Twist and turns in the complex political games in the DR Congo have resulted in the emergence of a new coalition which gives President Tshisekedi an upper hand in the power struggle with his predecessor Joseph Kabila.
Kabila’s coalition had majority both in government and in parliament and on some occasions, developmental projects were blocked due to disagreements, which stalled pledges Tshisekedi had promised citizens who voted him in 2018.
In the end of 2020, Tshisekedi made some reforms. He made political consultations with other key political parties including those that had joined FCC of Joseph Kabila. In the end, they agreed to form another Coalition named ‘Union sacrée’ (Sacred Union) aimed at finding a new majority both chambers of parliament.
Senator Modeste Bahati Lukwebo, a former ally of Joseph Kabila, was named as an informant to identify a new majority coalition in the National Assembly. He presented his report to president Tshisekedi by the end of January 2021, after lobbying more than 390 lawmakers out of 500 to join Union sacrée, with majority quitting the FCC of Joseph Kabila.
The report came in the same week that President Tshisekedi accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba, two days after parliament voted him out.
Pan African Visions sat for an interview with Eloge Mwandwe, a political analyst, researcher in Rural Economics from Kinshasa and lecturer at the University of Likasi in Kinshasa. Mwandwe is also a member of AFDC (Alliance des forces démocratiques du Congo), the same party as of Lukwebo.
PAV: After the informant presented his report, what is next for DRC?
Mwandwe: A new permanent national assembly’s bureau will be put in place, and the president in respect of our Constitution, will appoint a new Prime Minister among the political leaders who form the current new identified majority.
PAV: It is said that Union sacrée aims at weakening the power of former president Kabila, what kind of threat did he pose to the current president?
Mwandwe: The new identified majority has nothing to do with individual, instead, it was formed to improve citizens’ life, It is about the country. I first of all do not think that the President Kabila whom I owe respect as former head of state, after eighteen years of power has something else to offer to Congolese. He has done what he could and now, it’s time for the current president, Felix Antoine Tshisekedi to implement his vision through the next government.
PAV: Do you think Kabila will not retaliate?
Mwandwe: We are talking about future. Honestly, Congolese people know President Kabila and know his limits as well.
PAV: What incentives did the Informant give to FCC MPs to join Union sacrée?
Mwandwe: He only presented to them as well as other members of parliament from different political organizations, the vision that the President has for the country, which you will agree with me that majority of them decided to support. As I said earlier, it has nothing to do with individual but the country.
PAV: Are you sure that they will stick to the agreement?
Mwandwe: Only God never knows. For members of parliament, I choose to remain optimistic, because the issue at hand concern the future of our country. We have reached a point where we need to decide for a better future on behalf of next generations.
PAV: Are all Congolese behind these reforms of President Tshisekedi?
Mwandwe: Even God in heaven experienced opposition, that is the reason why today we talk of Lucifer. I don’t think that the president of the republic is concerned on whether his vision has total support from Congolese, but I do think he knows that his vision will take the country to the better heights. It will give hope the country has lost a long time ago.
Before elections, we had some people who could not agree with him, but they are the ones who are supporting him today. Some did not want even to mention his name some weeks ago, however they are now defending his vision. It is a matter of time, it is a matter of political results and improving lives.
PAV: Kabila used to be a powerful figure in the army, do you think the army is behind Tshisekedi now?
Mwandwe: Thank God we can now talk of a republican army, not an individual’s army. According to our Constitution, the president of the republic is the only supreme commander of the army. Today, President Tshisekedi is the president of the republic, so, he is the most powerful figure in the army.
PAV: Observers define developments in DRC as worrisome, which could end in violence, what do you think about it?
Mwandwe: It is their opinion, I don’t see such things happening in the future. People should understand that the DRC has moved from a country which could not give hope to its citizens, to the country envisioning hope for its citizens. Majority of Congolese are focused on implementing the president of the republic’s vision.
PAV: Is there any clear difference from FCC of Kabila and new Sacred Union of Tshisekedi?
Mwandwe: The difference between FCC and Sacred Union is that the FCC was created to win elections which it failed to achieve (in 2018). On the other hand, Sacred Union was created to bring reforms in different areas, which will improve social and economic lives of the Congolese people.