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Arrest of two Kenyan judges condemned
July 24, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Judges Aggrey Muchelule and Said Juma Chitembwe.Photo credit Twitter

Lawyers have protested the arrest of two Kenyan judges Aggrey Muchelule and Said Chitembwe, accusing the government of mischief.

The two High Court Judges were arrested on the afternoon of Thursday, July 22, during a raid of their offices by sleuths from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).

They were nabbed alongside their drivers and secretaries and transferred to the DCI headquarters, where they were interrogated for two hours before being set free.

Judges Muchelule and Chitembwe are alleged to have accepted bribes for the various cases they were assigned. One of the judges is purported to have received a piece of land related to a case he determined, and the other is accused of pocketing $50000 in a case that was to be determined on July 22.

Following the incident, Kenya Judges and Magistrate Association rushed to court on Friday morning, July 23, seeking an order to bar the DCI from arraigning and prosecuting them.

The association, through its lawyers, also wants the court to stop any planned re-arrest of the two judges.

Lawyers Cliff Ombeta, Danstan Omari, and Shadrack Wambui condemned the arrest and interrogation of the justices, saying it amounts to interference with the Judiciary’s independence.

They also condemned how they were arrested, arguing that the detectives did not produce an arrest warrant.

“The due process was not followed, if there are issues, you first inform the JSC not proceed to arrest them,” said lawyer Omari.

Meanwhile, Kenya’s Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin Haji has distanced himself from speculations that he sanctioned the arrest and grilling of the two.

Haji noted his office “is not aware of circumstances that led to the arrest or questioning of the two Judges; neither has his office received any investigation files on the matter.”

Responding to the arrest, Chief Justice Martha Koome said she did not receive a formal report as the Head of Judiciary or the Chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission on the arrest of judges.

She pledged to issue a statement after the findings of the investigations.

“The arrest of the two Judges has caused anxiety among Judges and Judicial Officers. I assure all Judges and Judicial officers that the independence of the Judiciary and their constitutional duties protected by the Constitution,” she said.

The two are among six judges President Uhuru Kenyatta failed to promote to the Court of Appeal over alleged integrity issues.

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Malawi’s former leader facing probe by the Anti Corruption Bureau .
July 19, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Joseph Dumbula

Former President Mutharika has denied any wrong doing and thinks the present administration of using the witch hunt against him to mask its gapping short comings.Photo courtesy

Malawi’s Anti Corruption Bureau will from tomorrow start interviewing former President Peter Mutharika over how his taxpayer identification number (TPIN) was used by other individuals while he was in office.

There have been reports that his TPIN was used to import 800 000 bags of cement worth K5 billion from Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Among other things, Mutharika’s personal bodyguard Norman Chisale and State Residences chief of staff Peter Mukhito.

They are answering various charges including money laundering, abuse of office, falsifying documents with intent to deceive, smuggling, aiding and abetting smuggling.

A statement from the ACB has however insisted that the interview is a normal process that people should not draw out of proportion.

Previously, Mutharika has been denying any wrong doing and has publicly said his regime was not corrupt.

At a recent press briefing, Mutharika blamed the current administration over rising cost of living and a series of corrupt acts reported including the alleged mismanagement of Covid19 funds.

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African Heads of State Call for an Ambitious Replenishment of the IDA20 to Support Their Recovery Agenda.
July 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

ABIDJAN, July 15, 2021 – Thirteen African Heads of State and governments concluded their one-day meeting in Abidjan today with a strong resolution to accelerate economic recovery from the shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, scale-up investments in human capital, and increase their job creation efforts.

They called for a robust twentieth replenishment of the World Bank Group’s International Development Association (IDA20) to support these efforts. In a joint declaration endorsed at the meeting, the Heads of State emphasized that economic recovery, job creation, and investments in human capital – including expanding access to vaccines – are critical to help people recover from the shocks of the pandemic, get out of extreme poverty, and build a more resilient and inclusive future. 

“The funding process that begins in Abidjan this week, will conclude at the end of this year with a policy and financial package to support specific projects in the 74 IDA countries over the next three years. The goal to mobilize an IDA20 replenishment envelope of at least $100 billion, for three years, would be the largest amount raised in IDA’s history. This is a good opportunity to demonstrate that solidarity is effectively essential for the good of all and that we can act together to return to the path of income convergence that we were on prior to the pandemic and build a safer and prosperous world,” said President Alassane Ouattara of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire.​

 “We know that when the World Bank has the backing of all its stakeholders, it has the capacity and oversight to make a difference.” On jobs, the leaders committed to job creation efforts by developing the private sector, with emphasis on improving productivity through broad based digitalisation, mechanisation, African manufacturing – including vaccines, and improved access to finance and better business environment.

On human capital, the leaders called for education systems that support the acquisition and use of skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow, and resilient health systems, adaptive safety nets and service delivery systems. On economic recovery, the Heads of State expressed their determination to support structural and spatial transformation of economies, through better economic diversification and regional development within countries and regions, coupled with macroeconomic stability with special attention to public debt sustainability, security and peacekeeping issues, as well as better preparedness to protect economies and populations from various crises. 

Acknowledging the high financing volumes needed to match the level of ambition of their development agenda, the leaders highlighted the importance of maximising both domestic and external financing resources. They observed that with the continent’s additional financing needs estimated at $285 billion over the next five years, to fight the pandemic, climate change, and accelerate economic recovery, their enhanced domestic resource mobilization efforts would fall short. They therefore called for an earlier IDA20 replenishment of at least $100 billion by the end of 2021 to meet with aspirations for the continent. 

“Today we heard from the Heads of State how this pandemic has affected their countries and their need for stable future financing to meet their development ambitions. IDA is a big part of financing and recovery solutions for all these countries,” said Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank Managing Director for Operations

“An ambitious IDA20 will be a powerful force helping countries with a green and inclusive recovery to get back to the 2030 goals.”  The meeting was attended by leaders of Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritania, Madagascar, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda, as well as Heads of regional commissions including the West African Economic and Monetary Union, Economic Commission for West Africa, Central African Economic and Monetary Community, and the African Union. The meeting was also attended by World Bank Group leadership and representatives of IDA donor governments. 

 About IDAThe International Development Association (IDA) is one of the largest sources of funding for fighting extreme poverty in the world’s lowest income 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 lowest income countries. 

*World Bank

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2023: Nigeria’s political vehicles need a makeover.
July 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Richard Mammah

Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Professor Chukwuma Soludo is a front in the Anambra gubernatorial elections Photo courtesy.

Unfolding events in the Nigerian political space signal that a major make-over moment may soon be in the works.

And if current developments are anything to go by, the forthcoming Anambra 2021 gubernatorial polls may be the first major outward development in that regard.

At the moment, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Professor Chukwuma Soludo is rated by bookmakers as the man to beat given that he has currently secured the platform of the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance in the state.

But that in itself does not bring endearing comfort as the party is presently enmeshed in what analysts say is a critical challenge of definition.

Indeed, the APGA challenge has been one that it has grappled with since its inception. At that time, factional conflicts between two of the leading lights of the party, Victor Umeh and Chekwas Okorie dragged on endlessly such that the only unifying elements were its control of Anambra State and the all-towering image of its founding leader, the iconic Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.

However, Ojukwu’s transition, the untidy succession from Peter Obi to incumbent Governor, Willie Obiano and the emergence of the fractious Victor Oye leadership of the party, and most significantly Obiano’s failure to rise up to the task of leading a massive redefinition and reconstruction of the party has led to a situation where the party’s potential capacity to play the beautiful bride in the political arena has continued to be hobbled.

It is against this backdrop then that APGA is entering the gubernatorial fray this time around and rather than being the surefooted pacesetter, it is coming across as a most vulnerable drunken elephant that has been set up for the poachers knives.

Feelers at the moment are that talks may be ongoing between the APGA leaders and the All Progressives Congress, APC with a view towards literally integrating APGA into the APC machinery.

While the APC has not made any pretence of its avowed intention towards ensuring that it overcomes its perceived liability of being an hamstrung vehicle that has serious sustainability challenges through incorporating as many of Nigeria’s political players from far and near into its fold. Sources close to the party say that this is a deliberate measure towards ensuring that its candidate secures presidential victory in 2023, but there is also a poser in the seeming willingness of the lead drivers of the APGA ship to capitulate to the APC’s overtures as there is very little rational explanation for what APGA as a party stands to benefit in the process.

Indeed, the caution from the political commentator, Clem Obanya is that APGA’s leaders should be wary of getting themselves enmeshed in the same disturbing scenario that the leaders of the then ACN had gotten themselves into through their laid-back subordination of all the values that they and the South West region had long been known for in their 2014 merger with the CPC party that had since led to a wholesale marginalisation of the ACN tendency in the Nigerian political field of play. 

On his part, the explanation from Kola Ologbodiyan, spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP is that a lot of the defection and absorption going on in the political field at the moment is being driven chiefly by intimidation. According to him, the defectors, including three of his own party’s governors who have already made the switch, have only moved over because they are afraid that the incumbent central ruling party may come after them.

There is however a third reading, and that namely has to do with the tendency of Nigerian politician to do everything possible to align with any party that they perceive has the upper edge in the political arena.

This is also the reason why commentators believe that there would even be some more defections that would be witnessed even as the political process continues to unfold.

Says Obi Azukor:

‘As things are turning out now, some governors in the South East may defect from their existing frames to pursue their senatorial and other ambitions. As for the parties themselves, the PDP and perhaps APGA may remain in one form or the other but evidently there would be more alignments and realignments going forward across the board.

And you could also have some defectors who are now going over to the APC now on account of the lure of central power returning to their old fold or making even new moves on account of their interests not being properly accommodated on getting there. So at the bottom, it returns to self-interest.’

The circus continues.

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Ghana Trades Union Congress – ‘It Is Simply Not Right’ To Pay President’s Spouses.
July 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

Ghana’s Trade Union Congress (TUC) has weighed into the conversation of the recommendation by the Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu committee for spouses of presidents and vice presidents to be given monthly salaries.

The recommendation came after the committee was tasked in 2019 by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to review emoluments of Article 71 office holders.

It has since submitted its report, which has been consequently approved for implementation by Parliament.

But since the disclosure of this was made by Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah in an interview, many, particularly the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), have expressed disgust about the move.

The party’s representatives in Parliament say they are unaware of the purported approval in the last Parliament.

Led by South Dayi Member of Parliament (MP) Rockson Nelson Etse Dafeamekpor, they have filed a writ at the Supreme Court to seek interpretation of the 1992 Constitution on payments of Article 71 office holders.

On Sunday, July 11, the TUC issued a statement to also disagree with the recommendation by the committee on the spouses of presidents and vice presidents.

According to Dr Yaw Baah, Ghanaians appreciate what the first and second ladies are doing to support women’s rights, children’s rights, and other noble initiatives towards social and economic development of our country. But neither the Constitution of Ghana nor the laws of the land assign them any official duties and responsibilities.

He added that the TUC “cannot support the payment of salaries to the spouses of presidents and vice presidents, even if the Committee recommended the payment of such salaries”. In the statement it said that it is simply not right for anyone who has not been officially assigned duties and responsibilities in the public service to receive monthly salaries.

The Committee sought to rationalize or regularize allowances that were being paid already, hence its recommendation to convert such allowances into salaries. The TUC also observed that the committee did not recommend the back payment of the salaries as being speculated. It said per the report payment has since been made.

Salary arrears dated back to January 2017 have since been paid to the wives of President Akufo-Addo and Vice President Bawumia, in accordance with the Committee’s recommendation which was approved by NDC and NPP Members of Parliament.

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South Sudan: No Return To War – Kiir Vows In 10th Independence Speech
July 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

I assure you that I will not return you back to war again, says President Kiir

Juba – South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir pledged that he would not return the country to war, in a speech marking 10 troubled years of independence.

‘‘I assure you that I will not return you back to war again,” said president Kiir on Friday. “Let  us work altogether to recover the last decade and put our country back to the path of development in this new decade,” he added.

The independence anniversary hasn’t been celebrated in the country as a result of the covid-19 pandemic and Kiir took to a televised public address to assure his country of sustainable peace.

The East Africa’s youngest nation, war – torn South Sudan mired in conflict, economic and political instability and faced with a deteriorating humanitarian crisis.

The world’s newest nation declared independence from Sudan on July 9, 2011 after a decades of civil war, ending the longest conflict in the Africa’s continent.

Just two years later it was plunged into a devastating civil war that claimed almost 400,000 lives and displaced four million people.

President Kiir’s message also comes a day after he warned in an interview with a Kenyan television that he would do anything within his power to ensure that the country does not plunge into the war again.

‘‘There are people who are still bloodthirsty who would like to see people die in South Sudan. I don’t subscribe to that. I think it will not happen,’’ he remarked.

He went on to reassure: ‘‘If South Sudanese accept themselves to stay in peace, in 10 years, South Sudan will be a great country.’’

The observers say despite that, there is no regret nor reverse gear for the independence, whose freedom was accomplished with the precious blood of 2.5 million’s Southerners for over  five decades.

Despite a 2018 ceasefire between president Kiir and his rival ex- rebel leader Riek Machar who now serves as a vice president, the country remains in the grip of political instability, economic ruin and a deep hunger crisis.

But president Kiir said calm had returned to many areas of the country save for certain parts that are still in turmoil.

President kiir also says government is implementing a series economic reforms, which have led to the appreciation of the South Sudan Pound SSP against the US dollar. 

Kiir said the current “cessation of hostilities is because of a new spirit of dialogue among the parties to the peace agreement which has reduced the huge trust deficit.”

He said the priority of the Transitional Government of National Unity was full implementation of the power-sharing accord, “with focus on security sector and economic reforms” in the oil-rich country.

“These two priority areas will stabilise our country and ensure economic growth through an increase in production leading to socio-economic development,” said Kiir.

He said more oil fields have been opened and a refinery to supply the domestic market and export to neighbouring countries “will soon be fully operational”.

“Pardons 15 Prisoners”

“To mark this an important occasion, I am granting a full pardon to 15 prisoners who were serving jail terms in various prisons across South Sudan,” said Kiir.

Since the conflict broke out in late 2013, unknown numbers of the citizens were reportedly arrested across the country.

“Insecurity”

President Kiir signalled the National Salvation Front led by Gen. Thomas Cirilo as one of the holdouts still contributing to instability in some pockets of the country, particularly in Equatoria regions.

This coupled with cattle rustling and occasional inter-communal fights have caused insecurity in certain states and must be solved, the president acknowledged.

To achieve total peace, Kiir said there is an ongoing engagement with the SSOMA leaders in Saint Egidio, Rome, peace which he said is promising a good fruits.

Last month, the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin, recently wrote to the conveners of the negotiation to postpone the talks to allow room for the preparation of the independence.

“Salary Increment” 

President Kiir said that his government has increased salaries of all civil servants by 100 percent, days after the executive arm announced a fiscal budget of over 600 billion South Sudanese Pounds on Wednesday.

“In the 2021-2022 budget, the government has resolved to increase salaries by 100 percent as phase one with immediate effect and fully review late on during the fiscal year when the economy improves,” Kiir told reporters in Juba.

The current salary for civil servants can’t pay for their food, housing, transport, education and other needs.

They often go for nearly 4 to 5 months without salaries.

President Kiir, howeever said that he is aware of the situation and promised to adjust the payment system.

“I am aware that our civil scales are not been paid on time and they have endured irregularly salaries payment for a long time and I am also aware that salary structure has not been reviewed since we reline our currency in 2015,” Kiir said.

President further directed the Ministry of Finance and Petroleum to allocate 5,000 barrels for payment of salaries of government employees.

“I am directing the two ministries of Finance and Economic Planning and Petroleum to dedicate 5,000 barrels of crude oil per day to strengthen the financial standing of the government in order to regularize salaries and operation fund payment,” he said.

“Graduation Of Unify Forces” 

 President also reiterated the parties’ commitment to the revitalized peace agreement and said a force of 53,000 troops from various parties to the revitalized peace agreement is ready and will be graduated urgently.

“Fifty-three thousand forces from the entire security sector are now ready for graduation. We are committed to graduating them as a matter of urgency for security purposes,” Kiir added.

President Kiir, Dr. Riek Machar and other political leaders have formed a government in Juba implementing a three year deal that is billed to return the country to the path of democracy with elections at the end.

Across the country, citizens and groups including nongovernmental organizations see nothing to be proud of yet.

Agencies say 8.3 million people including women, children and the elderly are facing unprecedented multi-sector humanitarian needs.

Of this, over 7.2 million are facing the worst ever hunger crisis in the country, with some on the brink of famine, Save the Children said in a statement on July 09.

Both the international community and organization warned the situation “will most likely deteriorate in coming months due to ongoing violence, high food prices, climatic shocks, and barriers to humanitarian access, unless urgent national and global action is taken.”

The observers urge president Kiir’s administration to curb communal violence and fast track the implementation of the peace deal, to address some of the root causes of the hunger crisis.

More so, the world’s attention and support are needed now as much as ever to ensure the next ten years of the world’s newest nation do not repeat the tragedy of the past decade.

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South Africa: Will Zuma the Cat With Nine Lives Survive This Time?
July 9, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

Zuma is known to be a tough fighter

Former South African President Jacob Zuma handed himself over to the police on July 7, 2021 to begin a 15-month prison sentence. Zuma was found guilty of contempt for failing to appear before a commission investigating state capture and corruption accusations against him by the South African Constitutional Court.

Celebrated for most of his political life as a fearsome fighter against Apartheid, Zuma during his second term as the country’s President found himself under immense pressure and scrutiny over his relationship and dealings with the Gupta Family. The close relationship between Zuma and the Gupta Family quickly led to the assumptions that Zuma was operating under the whims of the Family hence the Family had effectively captured Zuma and with him, the entire country.

The allegations of state capture and corruption against Zuma in favoritism of the Gupta Family ultimately led to his demise as he was ousted as the leader of South Africa’s ruling party ANC (African National Congress). Zuma’s dethronement from the party leadership post saw him vacate his seat a few months later as the country’s President. Unfortunately for Zuma, his dethronement didn’t end the state capture and corruption accusations but rather exacerbated them.

Shortly after losing his position as South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma was invited to appear before a Commission of Inquiry into state capture. At the same time, his corruption charges from way back in the early 2000s were also resurrected. Feeling like he was being targeted and made a political scapegoat by the new leaders in the ANC, Zuma time and time again refused to appear before neither the Commission of Inquiry nor the Courts citing different reasons one after the other. In late June 2021, the South African Constitutional Court had, had enough of the excuses from Zuma and charged him of contempt for not appearing before the courts. He was given a deadline to hand himself over to the police or faces the ultimate embarrassment of being hunted down by the police.

On July 7, 2021, just 40 minutes before the midnight deadline to hand himself over to the police; the former South African president took the decision to hand himself over. Zuma handed himself at the Estcourt Correctional Centre. Before Zuma handed himself over, drama had occurred at his Nkandla home as hundreds of his supporters came from all corners of the country to give him support while others were determined to block any arrest attempts by the police stating they would rather die first defending him before the police could arrest him.

Though he handed himself over, Zuma together with his supporters still believe that he is just a political scapegoat. However, leader of the main opposition party John Steenhuisen said the arrest of Zuma is an important victory for the rule of law. The arrest “sends a message to all those who have aligned themselves with the Zuma faction and who have become emboldened by his dismissive attitude, that the law cannot be mocked and challenged with impunity. If the leader can go to prison, then so can anyone. Last night was a warning flare for the architects of state capture and the handmaidens of Zuma, Steenhuisen said.

Zuma becomes the first ever South African president post independence to be arrested.

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Kenya:Raila expects fair verdict on Building Bridges Initiative.
July 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

File Picture.President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga lead Kenyans in signing BBI

Kenya’s main opposition leader Raila Odinga believes judges will deliver fair judgment on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

The BBI appeal hearing kicked off on June 29 and ended on July 2. The case was heard by a seven-Judge bench led by the Court of Appeal’s President Daniel Masinga.

Justice Masinga’s led court set August 20 as the day it will deliver its verdict after going through all documents presented both by appellants and defenders.

The ODM party leader said that should the ruling favour them; there is still time to hold the referendum.

Mr. Odinga noted that the BBI crusaders would respect the court’s decision should they uphold the High Court’s ruling that declared the initiative unconstitutional.

“When the lower court declared the BBI process illegal, we respected their decision but sought redress from the higher court. Our teams presented our case and we were well defended, I believe the judges will be fair in their verdict and serve justice to the people of Kenya,” Odinga said during a live radio interview on Thursday.

At the same time, the AU special envoy rubbished claims that President Uhuru Kenyatta is seeking to extend his tenure through the popular initiative. He defended his handshake brother, saying he had said he will leave when his term expires.

He also refuted allegations that BBI is being imposed on Kenyans by the government, saying that the document is suitable for Kenyans and will lower the cost of running the government plus many other benefits.

“If this Referendum sails through, it will be a great relief to the ordinary citizens. For instance, a prime minister will be an MP receiving salary through Parliament. We shall not be having Cabinet secretaries outside Parliament like we do currently. Instead, all Cabinet ministers will be Members of Parliament,” he added.

The former Prime Minister also dismissed claims that he is seeking President Kenyatta’s endorsement, noting that he would only need the latter’s vote should he choose to go for the country’s top seat.

“I am not looking for an endorsement from anyone. I don’t depend on endorsements in my life. My whole political career has been about service to the people not endorsements,” Odinga reiterated.

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APO Group Remains The Largest & Most Trusted Provider Of Corporate News Content In Africa- Founder and Chairman Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard
July 5, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Both our Public Relations and press release distribution business units have seen higher demand, with a 30% increase in the volume of press releases distributed by APO Group in 2020,says Founder and Chairman Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard

Despite the challenges and chaos created by COVID-19, the African Press Organization -APO is waxing strong and remains the largest and most trusted provider of corporate news in Africa, says its Founder and Chairman Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard.

“We have actually grown significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Both our Public Relations and press release distribution business units have seen higher demand, with a 30% increase in the volume of press releases distributed by APO Group in 2020,” Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard affirms in an interview with PAV.

Beyond the growing volume of its press releases distributed, the vitality of the APO is also seen in the high-profile partnerships it continues to sign with corporate entities and sporting establishments and institutions of global repute. Under the astute leadership and strategic vision of Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, the APO has continued to ink partnerships, with Getty Images, and European and French football giants Olympic Marseille been the latest .

“For us, sports represents one of the best ways of supporting development in Africa, so our interest in working with major African sporting organizations and federations is not a new thing,” says Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard in the interview which also covered current challenges and media trends across Africa.

Thanks for accepting to grant this interview, the APO under your leadership just signed a partnership with Olympic Marseille, could you shed some light on this new partnership for us?

Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard : Olympique de Marseille (OM) has the strongest links to Africa of any elite football club in Europe. They are also one of the most iconic clubs for Africa’s millions of passionate football fans. The work OM does for grass roots sport in Africa is fantastic and APO Group shares OM’s vision for using sports to promote development across the continent – particularly when it comes to young people. Partnering with Olympique de Marseille is a great way to showcase some of the positive stories that are coming out of Africa every day.

Olympique Marseille is household name in French and European football, may we know how this partnership was conceived and what does it mean for African football?

Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard : It is hard to over-estimate the role OM has played in African football over the years. You only need to look at some of the African players that have played for the club: Global stars like Abedi Pelé, Didier Drogba and Mamadou Niang have blazed a trail, and now dozens of African players compete in Europe’s top leagues. This, in turn, makes African national teams more prominent and competitive on the world stage. We want to help OM continue this positive trajectory. Our network is at their disposal, and this means stories about their initiatives will reach new audiences in Africa and beyond. News of training camps, schools, academies and fan zones are helping to demonstrate OM’s commitment to Africa. Other European clubs might be reaching out to the lucrative Asian and American markets, but OM is the only elite club that is making Africa a priority. It is their -only- area of focus.

From Left to Right Olympique de Marseille Managing Director, Laurent Colette, and APO Group Founder and Chairman, Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard. Partnering with Olympique de Marseille is a great way to showcase some of the positive stories that are coming out of Africa every day, says Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard

In additional to the partnership with Marseille, the APO has a stake in Rugby, it has a partnership with Basketball Africa, what is the logic behind this pivot towards sports for the APO?

Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard : For us, sports represents one of the best ways of supporting development in Africa, so our interest in working with major African sporting organizations and federations is not a new thing. We have been the Main Official Sponsor of World Rugby’s African association, Rugby Africa, since 2017, and have seen a huge rise in the popularity of the sport right across the continent. More people in Africa are playing rugby than ever before, and that is only going to grow as a result of the international exposure we are helping to generate. We are also the exclusive Pan African communications consultancy for the NBA in Africa and the Basketball Africa League – and we are a sponsor of Team Qhubeka NextHash, the only professional African cycling team on the UCI World Tour. These relationships enable us to promote health, education, peace, violence prevention, and gender equality for every African, particularly youngsters and people from deprived areas. Sport has a unique power to bring people together, so clearly it is a major priority for us.

The APO was also in the news for a partnership with Getty images, may we get more insights on this as well and what impact it could have on the media landscape in Africa?

Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard: Our partnership with Getty Images has been important on a number of levels. It has been a real game-changer in press release distribution, in that we are now able to deliver not just images, but text content too through one of the biggest and most renowned media organizations in the world. Getty Images has more than a million global subscribers, so our content about Africa has the potential to reach further than ever before. That is crucial in our mission to change international perceptions about Africa.

How important is the partnership with Getty Images in fostering the overall vision that the APO has?

Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard: It is hugely important. Our overall mission is to change the narrative about Africa, and show people around the world what a fantastic, richly diverse continent it is. For too long, Africa has been synonymous with negativity. The only stories being told were about conflict and poverty. Since we started out in 2007, we have been trying to turn those perceptions around. We have built up a network of hundreds of clients, many of whom are multinational organizations operating in Africa. The stories they have to tell – along with news about African business, and the sporting endeavours I have already mentioned – are showing the world that we have a continent we can all be proud of. Getty Images is carrying that message far and wide, giving their subscribers in newsrooms all over the world a clearer picture of the ‘real’ Africa.

The APO has been the Main Official Sponsor of World Rugby’s African association, Rugby Africa, since 2017, and have seen a huge rise in the popularity of the sport right across the continent. For us, sports represents one of the best ways of supporting development in Africa, says Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard.Photo credit Getty Images

In terms of business, how did the APO navigate the challenges posed by COVID 19, what impact did it have for the APO as a business entity?

Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard : We have actually grown significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Both our Public Relations and press release distribution business units have seen higher demand, with a 30% increase in the volume of press releases distributed by APO Group in 2020. The pandemic has changed the way companies and institutions communicate. Even before COVID, we were seeing a shift in the mix of communications spend, with businesses allocating less budget to advertising, and more to Public Relations. COVID has simply accelerated that. APO Group is the largest and most trusted provider of corporate news content in Africa. The media knows us, and that gives our clients a big boost when we distribute news on their behalf. Let’s not forget that the APO acronym stands for ‘African Press Organization’. We are the credible channel they need to attract media coverage and get their message out during these unprecedented times.

Could you sum up the engagement that the APO had with diverse stakeholders in supporting and strengthening the African response to COVID 19?

Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard : At the beginning of the pandemic, we set up our APO Group Coronavirus Initiative for Africa. We are in the privileged position of being able to facilitate many aspects of the African response to the crisis, as we have access to a vast network of African and international media, and are also a trusted partner for hundreds of multinational organizations operating in Africa. One of the first things we did was to offer pro bono press release distribution for governments and health agencies looking to reach the public with vital information about the pandemic. To date we have distributed more than 12.000 announcements from authorities all over Africa. We have worked closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) in Africa and the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), coordinating regular online press conferences and making introductions to some of our prominent clients. We also joined the UNESCO Global Coalition for Education where our job is to help UNESCO in making sure that children in Africa are able to return to school, and given opportunities to access remote learning. Above all, we have seen it as our responsibility to deliver critical – and sometimes life-saving – information to people in all 54 African countries.

For Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard , the partnership with Getty images is a game changer as the APO is now able to deliver not just images, but text content too through one of the biggest and most renowned media organizations in the world.

From the vantage position you have, what do you make of the role played by the media in the African response to COVID 19, what was done right and what could have been done better in the challenging circumstances?

Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard : I think the pandemic has provided the media with an opportunity to reclaim some of the trust that has been lost in recent times. The value of real, impactful journalism has been diminished, and people have lost their trust in traditional news values. But in times of crisis, people need reassurance, and a strong, reliable line of communication that has both credibility and authority. That’s when they turn back to national newspapers and broadcasters – and away from the chatter and noise of social media. The pandemic has reminded us all that responsible journalism is a vital tool in fighting misinformation and division.

In the face of the hardship that most media networks are going through, any recommendations or survival tips from the seasoned professional you are?

Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard : Media in Africa face many challenges, not least from the competition provided by multinational counterparts taking up audience share and advertising revenue. If major international news outlets are operating alongside local publications and broadcasters, they struggle to compete for the best talent. It is not really a fair competition. Of course, you want to encourage young journalists to go out and get the best deal and work at the top publications – but in the end that is detrimental to the local African media that was here first. My hope is that the two can coexist – but for that to happen, local media needs to be supported, invested in and protected.

What next for the APO in the months and years to come, any other big projects or partnerships in view?

Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard : We have another big announcement coming soon relating to sport in Africa, and we are currently working on several new media relations services that are specific to broadcasting in Africa. At the same time, we continue to build and innovate when it comes to technology. By June 2022 we will look to unveil a revamped fully digital press release distribution platform, which makes the user experience rewarding and insightful for both our clients using the platform, and the media who receive the content.

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South Sudan: President Kiir Reconstitutes Council of States
July 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

President Salva Kiir

Juba – South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has reconstituted the Council of States, the upper chamber of the national legislature in South Sudan.

On Saturday night; president picked nominees from parties to the agreement, the SPLM-IG, the SPLM-IO,the South Sudan Opposition Alliance, SSOA, Other Political Parties (OPP) and the Former Detainees were appointed per the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan. 

This move completes the loopholes of the reconstituted transitional national legislative assembly into a functional legislature vital in the enactment of laws and reforms in the agreement. 

The Revitalized Transitional Government has been without its legislative arm since May when the two houses were dissolved.

The reconstitution comes after the president dissolved the parliament in May 2021, and subsequently named 550 members of the Reconstituted National Transitional Legislative Assembly as per the dictates of the 2018 peace deal.
However, the TNLA was reconstituted a month later but its members are yet to be sworn in.

The two August houses should have been reconstituted in 2020 after the announcement of the formation of the executive arm of the peace government.

Under the 2018 peace deal, the reconstituted Council of States would be expanded from 50 to 100 members representative of all the parties to the peace deal.

This expected to boost the quest by the government to function smoothly especially on grounds that the legislature will be able to carry out its functions to support the peace process.

The transitional government said members of both August houses will take the oath of office on July 9th, 2021, the day when South Sudan will also be commemorating 10 years of independence.

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Ghana Ranked 3rd In Global Cybersecurity Index.
July 2, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

Ghana has been ranked 3rd, with a score of 86.69% in the Global Cyber security Index of the International Telecommunication Union.

According to the 2020 Global Cyber security Index report of the ITU, Ghana’s current score on the metric shows major progress from the previous ratings in 2017 and 2018 of 32.6% and 43.7% respectively.

Ghana’s 3rd place ranking in Africa is also a major leap from the 10th and 11th places attained in the previous ratings and projects Ghana among the best in the region and globally.

Among the interventions meriting this rating include the revision of the National Cyber security Policy and Strategy to provide a national direction and implementation plan for Ghana’s cyber security development; the passage of the Cyber security Act, 2020 (Act 1038) to provide a legal basis for its cyber security development; the institutionalization of cyber security to foster domestic cooperation and collaboration; and the ratification of relevant cybercrime/cyber security international conventions and treaties such as the Convention on Cybercrime also known as the Budapest Convention and African Union Convention on Cyber Security & Personal Data Protection also known as the Malabo conventions ECOWAS’ Regional Cyber security Cybercrime Strategy and the Regional Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) Protection Policy to strengthen Ghana’s international response in fighting cybercrime and improve on cyber security.

Other key factors contributing to Ghana’s rating include the development of Ghana’s Computer Emergency Response Team ecosystem, the country’s persistence in capacity building and awareness creation, notably the institutionalization of the annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) in October as a result of the launch of the National Cyber security Awareness Programmed (safer Digital Ghana). Other areas that the country has shown commitment in the fight against cybercrime is the deployment of the Cybercrime/Cyber security Incident Reporting Points of Contact to enable individuals and organizations report cyber-related incidents with ease and to receive advisories. The achievement according to the National Cyber Security Centre is proof of the government’s commitment to developing the country’s cyberspace to be secure and resilient for a sustained digital transformation. It added that this commitment is evidenced by the efforts of the government through the Ministry of Communications and Digitalization working with the members of the National Cyber Security Inter-Ministerial Advisory Council and the National Cyber Security Technical Working Group in the implementation of critical interventions in the country’s cyber security ecosystem.

Government through the Ministry of Communications and Digitalization are also working closely with other relevant Ministries, agencies, international partners and private sector stakeholders remain committed in its efforts to ensure that the various digitalization interventions rolled out are secured. Given this, the National Cyber Security Centre  is expected to transition into the Cyber Security Authority  in the coming weeks per Section 2 of the Cyber security Act, 2020 (Act 1038), to regulate cyber security activities in the country and to further lead Ghana’s cyber security development.

Since the launch of the GCI in 2015, it has been a trusted reference, measuring countries’ commitment to cyber security and raising awareness of its importance.

The level of each country’s development or engagement is assessed along the five strategic pillars of the Union’s Global Cyber security Agenda that is Legal Measures, Technical Measures, Organizational Measures, Capacity Building, and International Cooperation. This is then aggregated into an overall score.

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SADC approves $12m budget for military force in Cabo Delgado.
June 30, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has approved a $12m budget to send a regional military force to fight terrorism in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, the Angolan foreign minister, Tete António, said.

According to António, the money will come from a contingency fund of the SADC and a $7m contribution from member states, with all the money to be given by 9 July.

The SADC understood that the region was under threat and that the contributions were “a matter of survival”, António said. Detailed plans for the intervention are to be drawn up by technical committees in the next few days, he said.

The meeting that aproved the budget was organised by the SADC Secretariat, under a guideline issued at the third extraordinary summit this year in Maputo, the Mozambican capital.

SADC is composed of 16 member states, namely, Angola, DRC, Eswatine, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho, South Africa, Comoros, Mauritius, Madagascar, Seychelles, Tanzania, Malawi, Botswana, which hosts the headquarters, and Mozambique, which assumes at this moment the rotating presidency.

The Islamic extremists’ violent campaign in Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado has caused a rapidly escalating humanitarian crisis. The jihadi violence is blamed for the deaths of more than 2,000 people and has caused more than 700,000 to flee their homes.

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Nigerian Petroleum Minister Timipre Sylva to lead Nigerian delegation to African Energy Week in Cape Town.
June 28, 2021 | 0 Comments

H.E. Minister Sylva will lead a Nigerian delegation, including executives from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Department of Petroleum Resources.

H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum of Nigeria. Photo credit Dailyconcord News

H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum of Nigeria, has confirmed his attendance at African Energy Week (AEW) 2021, on the back of several VIP confirmations; Under the leadership of H.E. Minister Sylva, Sub-Saharan Africa’s leading oil producer is driving Africa’s energy future via large-scale gas development plans and progressive policy reform; H.E. Minister Sylva will lead a Nigerian delegation, including executives from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to AEW 2021.

The African Energy Chamber (AEC) is honored to confirm the attendance of Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva at African Energy Week (AEW) 2021. H.E. Minister Sylva will lead a Nigerian delegation that includes executives from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to AEW 2021, taking place on November 9-12 in Cape Town, South Africa. The participation of sub-Saharan Africa’s largest oil-producing economy speaks to the caliber and magnitude of the event, and follows a series of VIP confirmations in the past week alone.

Since his appointment in August 2019, H.E. Minister Sylva has played a pivotal role in not only facilitating investments into the Nigerian oil and gas sector, but also positioning natural gas at the forefront of the country’s energy agenda. Most recently, the Federal Government launched its ‘Decade of Gas’ initiative, under the theme ‘Towards a gas-powered economy by 2030,’ in conjunction with its National Gas Expansion Program, aimed at bolstering gas development for domestic use and industrialization.

Nigeria’s ‘Decade of Gas’ initiative succeeds the 2020 ‘Year of Gas’ declaration, which launched a range of projects, including the $2.8 billion, 614Km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline connecting the eastern, western, and northern regions of the country, as well as the construction of $10 billion Nigeria LNG Train 7.

The Federal Government has also reaffirmed its stance on funding for gas and fossil fuel projects in Nigeria and has highlighted that funding for these crucial projects should be sustained during the global transition to net-zero emissions.

Under H.E. Minister Sylva’s leadership, Nigeria is poised to exploit the country’s enormous gas resource potential ­– which ranks among the 10 largest worldwide and is estimated to be in excess of 600 trillion cubic feet (tcf).

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is set to be passed by in July. This important legislation seeks to ensure an increased level of transparency and accountability in the sector and overhaul the Nigerian oil industry, while offering new fiscal incentives to investors and while restructuring the way energy projects in Africa’s largest crude producer are operated and funded.

“Nigeria intends to advocate for an Africa-centric approach to the clean energy transition – one that is able to meet our developmental goals and eliminate energy poverty, while achieving substantial reductions in global carbon emissions,” said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman, the AEC. “The monetization of gas resources – of which Nigeria holds 600 trillion cubic feet – will be a critical instrument for diversifying our national economies, generating regional income, boosting electrification rates and curbing gas flaring practices. AEW 2021 is a key platform to exchange best practices on transitional strategies, as well as showcase the contributions that Nigeria has made – and has yet to make – to a more sustainable future.”  

Moreover, the government expects additional marginal field production to begin next year, following its second marginal field bid round which was hosted by the DPR in 2020, whereby 591 companies applied to win 57 oil fields located onshore and offshore. The new activity is expected to generate revenue of $600 million.

“Minister Sylva has been a long-time champion of Nigerian energy development, and there can be no discussion of Africa’s energy future without the presence of its leading economic and energy powerhouse. From advancing the Petroleum Industry Bill to its final stages, to successfully launching Nigeria’s first marginal fields bid round in nearly two decades, Minister Sylva has been resolute in his efforts to revitalize the oil and gas industry and unwavering in his support of a pro-African energy narrative,” continued Ayuk.  

With key topics including making energy poverty history before 2030 and the future of the African oil and gas industry ­– the four-day AEW 2021 event will define and promote the African energy agenda through a series of elite networking events, innovative exhibitions, and one-on-one deal-making.

Since its launch two weeks ago, AEW 2021 has gained confirmation of attendance from an impressive line-up of government officials, top executives and industry leaders across the African energy value chain, including two of the top oil producers on the continent ­– as it pioneers a reputation for promoting Africa as the destination for African-focused events and elevating African voices within the energy transition.

For more information about Africa’s premier energy event, please visit www.AEW2021.com or www.EnergyChamber.org  and/or reach out directly to Amina Williams at amina.williams@energychamber.org

For registration related enquiries, please contact registration@aew2021.com  

For sales-related enquiries, please contact sales@aew2021.com 

For media-related enquiries, please contact media@aew2021.com 

For speaker opportunity-related enquiries, please contact speakers@aew2021.com.

*Source African Energy Chamber

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Cameroon: Dr Christopher Fomunyoh Wins The Herald Tribune’s Man of the Year Award.
June 28, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

(In all blue) Dr Christopher Fomunyoh presents a relief material to a displaced family living in Nigeria

Dr Christopher Fomunyoh of the US-based NDI has been awarded the Herald Tribune’s Man of the Year Award. The distinction was made recently in Yaounde during the Herald Tribune’s 10th Anniversary Award Night based on his philanthropic works and generosity.

This is the second time Dr Christopher Fomunyoh is winning this award after picking up a similar one in 2015. That time, he was voted Man of the Year by the Guardian post in 2015.

Dr Christopher Fomunyoh, who founded the Fomunyoh Foundation more than sixteen years ago in Bamenda, has continued to help Cameroonians across the board. This help has greatly been stepped up with the ongoing crisis in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon currently facing violence with many now internally displaced and others have lost their source of livelihoods.

The support to humanitarian causes and democratisation in Cameroon and across the African continent is indelible with many less privileged persons, orphans, and widows who have all benefited from him and his Foundation’s donations.

Dr Christopher Fomunyoh

Dr Christopher Fomunyoh in partnership with the Community Refugee Relief Initiative back in April undertook a visit to displaced persons from Cameroon in Nigeria. The team visited refugee camps in Cross River State, Benue State and those living in Abuja community and at every stop heard the perilous ordeals these displaced persons have been going through.

Some twelve camps were visited and at every point were offered food and non-food items. To Dr Fomunyoh, these persons are leaving in a “precarious state of pain” and many were receiving their first humanitarian aid since March 2020.

“I have seen first-hand the precarious state of pains, sufferings and as one of the settlers said, tell our brothers and sisters not to forget us. We are dying in silence,” Dr Fomunyoh said after carrying out the 10-days visitation back in April.  

The Fomunyoh Foundation has also carried out various humanitarian donations in the past couple of weeks. The Foundation has provided food and non-food items to Orphanages in Buea, Wotutu and over the weekend was in Limbe for a similar donation exercise.

Dr Christopher Fomunyoh who holds a PhD in Political Science from Boston University is currently the Senior Associate and Regional Director of Central and West Africa at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) based in Washington, USA.

The adjunct professor of African politics and government at Georgetown University is one of the few personalities who continue to call for an end to the ongoing violence in the country. On numerous outings, he has stated that the violence in Cameroon has not improved.

“In the North West and South West Regions, it is nothing short of an atrocity situation, consisting of widespread and systematic crimes against humanity against the civilian population and serious violations of international humanitarian law or the laws of war against civilians as protected persons, amounting to war crimes,” Dr Christopher Fomunyoh said back in May.

“Since 2019 the official deaths in this conflict has stayed unbelievable at 3,000, whereas we know that people are being killed daily and even since January 2021, more than 60 people have already been killed. Yet, on all official report, you see it refers to 3,000 deaths.  The data on this crisis is underreported due to so many factors (blackouts in the country and the difficulties faced by humanitarian organizations).”

“There has been a bad faith of the Francophone majority to assimilate the Anglophone minority into the Francophone majority. Since 1969 Cameroon has had just two presidents, all Francophone and there has been dissatisfaction on the part of Anglophone,” Dr Christopher Fomunyoh, adjunct professor of African politics and government at Georgetown University said in his opening remarks at Canada’s Sub-Committee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.

Dr Fomunyoh at a book Donation in Yaounde

More on the Fomunyoh Foundation

The Fomunyoh Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1999 by Dr Christopher Fomunyoh and a dedicated group of philanthropists and advocates in the international democratic community.

It partners with philanthropists and democratic and human rights constituencies within Cameroon, as well as internationally, to improve the well-being of people and strengthen institutions and human rights in Cameroon.

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Bone in the throat: Nigeria’s ruling party in quandary over National Convention .
June 25, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Richard Mammah

Bola Tinubu and President Buhari have been known to be strong allies

To the casual observer, Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, APC continues to largely dominate the country’s political landscape.

Beneath this veneer however are evident faultlines and cracks waiting to be managed.

Though some would even go as far as to suggest that the party has indeed continued to be a complex patchwork of conflicting tendencies since its emergence, things however were to get to a head in 2020, when a strong-willed tendency within the party moved against its then National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, and eased him out of office in a contentious push that was simply allowed to go because it was widely seen as clearly having the support and backing of President Muhammadu Buhari.

However, one year down the line, the ruling party still has a massive piece of bone stuck in its throat as the Governor Buni-led Caretaker Committee that had been given six months to clear the stables and conduct a fresh national convention from where a new statutory National Executive would be elected to run the party’s affairs had since secured an additional six months extension and on Friday secured yet another extension.

Underscoring the entire crisis in the ruling party is the discomforting situation of how the APC is to handle the inevitable Buhari succession. This is because, the same President that has evidently been the single most visible unifying factor for party members, may paradoxically also be its strongest Achilles heel.

In a sense, the APC shot itself in the foot. In building and selling the party, it literally presented the Buhari persona as its chief defining point. Asked, at its emergence, how it would address the security challenges it had complained that the then Jonathan administration was not tackling properly, it pointed to Buhari: the General would do it. Asked how it would address the widespread challenge of corruption, again it pointed to Buhari: the General would do it. Now the party is faced with a challenge that in the eyes of many, the General has clearly not done it as had been so excessively trumpeted. And to compound matters, Buhari has to go at the close of the next 24 months, with so many challenges all over the place.

Succession issues

Other than Buhari, the other single most dominant player in the original APC script is its South West and National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Indeed, for many within the South West caucus of the party, Tinubu has been the successor-in-waiting for years. But there are also those who would not hear that. And they include those who masterminded the Oshiomhole purge on grounds that included his seeming closeness to Tinubu. And that is the crux of the succession crisis that is fuelling other problems including getting an acceptable date for hosting the national convention to elect new internal drivers for the party. Evidence of the fact that there were indeed still other challenges to address before the coast is fully clear is the fact that even when dates have now been chosen for the ward, local government and state congresses component of the process without naming a substantive date for the grand National Convention.

For Oyero Akande, he is not surprised that APC is having the current challenge even as he sees Tinubu’s  challenge as some kind of payback for what he describes as  ‘his politics of sabotage and selfishness that has now come back to haunt him.’

More substantially however, he notes:

‘A Tinubu Presidency in 2023 is a big gamble.

First, It is hard for the North to relinquish power to the South in 2023 because of their excessive attachment to power within the Nigerian project. We heard this in 2019.

We also heard it recently when Buhari suggested that somebody can’t sit in Lagos and decide who will rule the country in 2023. Though his aides walked back the line, the genie had already left the bottle.

Another angle to the story is that Tinubu as a Southern Muslim, needs a Christian northerner to balance his ticket. However, apart from the likes of Nuhu Ribadu and El Rufai, there is no other valuable running mate for Tinubu in 2023 that will guarantee their absolute loyalty than these people but unfortunately, the options are Muslims.’

Thomas Egbo adds another dimension:

‘All the things happening in APC point to a realisation that without Buhari on the ballot they are not likely to win the Presidency. The cabal also knows that with Tinubu as President they would not control him hence they would prefer someone else. It’s a tough battle. An Oshiomhole would have been helpful to Tinubu’s aspirations but they have since rubbished him. They would rather fight Tinubu then than give him the President’s mantle.’

Waiting game

With the dates for the national convention not settled at the moment, many political players and would-be contenders for office in the unfolding 2023 political process are biding their time. When this correspondent spoke with a governorship contender from the North Central earlier in the week, he said that his permutations had been put on hold on account of the lingering issues in the APC. For a second governorship hopeful from the South East, there was far too much uncertainty in the horizon at the moment for him to be more definitive about his plans and moves.

Danger

With the General elections already hinted to hold on Saturday, February 18, 2023, part of the danger the APC is confronted with is that the new executive would have only a few weeks to literally settle in and resolve the anticipated tensions and fall outs from its own convention process before being tasked with the arduous burden of superintending over the process of choosing flagbearers for the party across the country’s states and the FCT and of course a successor candidate to President Muhammadu Buhari.

With the Ward Congresses slated for 24th July, the local government congresses for 14th August and state congresses on 18th September, polity watchers wager that the National Convention may not hold before November or December, 2021.

Other matters arising

Indeed, for the commentator, Eniola Atanbiyi, an even bigger challenge is that given the level of poor governance in the country at the moment and the parlous state of the economy, odds are that there may not even be a 2023 polls.

Almost underscoring this possibility, the Independent National Electoral Commission has been emphasising that the spate of attacks on its facilities in recent times was indeed a threat that needs to be frontally addressed. In fact so bothered have the leaders of the commission been about the challenge that they have taken their case to the presidency to request that the president should offer them better protection.

Not done, INEC Chairman, Yakubu in a media briefing this week, announced that the commission has presently modified its schedule for the Continuous Voters Registration, CVR exercise that precedes polling so as to provide better safeguards for its personnel in the midst of the extenuating security challenge.

President Buhari and some members of the APC

What must be must be

At the moment, the process for the holding of the convention is kicking off in July with the ward congresses and then cascading through the activities that are statutorily expected to take place at the local government and state levels before getting to the national convention proper in at the close of the year.

While part of the challenge is said to be connected with the recent membership  registration exercise, there are also indications that there may also be even bigger issues connected to ensuring that the process is very seamlessly managed in order that it would produce the kind of outcome that is favoured by the leaders of the party that had forced out the erstwhile national chairman.

The Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee had been dissolved on June 25, 2020  and replaced by the Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary National Committee. On December 8, 2020, the tenure of the caretaker committee was further extended ostensibly to permit it to conduct and supervise a fresh membership registration exercise. Now, another extension has been approved to enable the committee time to reconcile aggrieved members, finish with the supervision of the data capturing segment of the membership registration and revalidation exercise and prepare all grounds for the congresses that precede the national convention which it would also be conducting.

Polity watchers say that all things considered, the real evidence of movement may eventually come with the decision on the zoning patterns for the emergence of officers at the convention proper. Given the country’s inherent diversity and plurality, one of the things that major national political parties over time have had to watch very closely is ensuring a sense of balance and accommodation for the different ethnic, geographical and religious blocs in the country. In this wise, feelers are that the geographical and religious bloc from where the National Chairman emerges would help shed light on where the presidential candidate of the party for the 2023 polls would very likely be coming from.

And it is almost evident that one of the most interested watchers of the unfolding drama within the ruling party is the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, given that it would also have its own day in court, soon.

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Cape Town And Dubai Battle Over Africa’s Energy Future.
June 24, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Duggan Flanakin*

Photo courtesy

It was quite a shock to Africa Energy Chamber Executive Director NJ Ayuk – and an even bigger shock to the Chamber – that the London-based Hyve group decided to move the annual Africa Oil Week from Cape Town, South Africa to Dubai. It was such a shock that the AEC shortly afterward announced it was sponsoring Africa Energy Week on the same weekend (November 8-12) as the (Out of) Africa Oil Week.

Mr. Ayuk works hard to ensure the interests of African companies and citizens in African energy ventures are widely recognized. He calls the dueling conferences a major confrontation between “Cancel Fossil Fuels” (Dubai) and “Protect our Oil and Gas Industry” (Cape Town).

The Cancel Fossil Fuels movement is currently being led by the International Energy Agency, which recently declared that all oil and gas exploration must cease immediately in order to achieve compliance with the Paris climate accords – and save the world from the mythical fires of hell on Earth.

The Biden-Harris Administration, the European Union, many Western banks and now even Western insurance companies claim the world faces a “climate catastrophe” if we “cling” to fossil fuels. They are lying, of course. There is no actual catastrophe on the horizon. And they know it!

The hysteria in the press (hereherehere and here, for example) is exceeded only by the screeching of Hollywood actors like Leonardo di Caprio and Don Cheadle. Newspaper reports tout compliance with Paris as a litmus test (one of many) for determining one’s humanity.

The hoopla has been so successful that a recent Pew Research Center poll found fully a third of Americans now favor a full-on extinction of fossil fuels and engines that run on them. Only 64% of Americans prefer keeping fossil fuels in the energy mix. This in a nation with 270 million gasoline-powered vehicles and who knows how many gas furnaces and water heaters!

Hardly a day goes by without some entity virtue-signaling disdain for fossil fuels. The media imply that “no fossil fuels by 2050” is “the future.” They are dead wrong. Litigation attorney Francis Menton hit the nail on the head in a recent real-world post: “The current legal onslaught is unlikely to limit world oil production significantly.”

Menton acknowledges the “multi-front legal onslaught” against the “major” oil producing companies (not countries!). The war is not confined to lawsuits. Other weapons include new laws, regulatory initiatives and proxy contests. However, as Menton demonstrates, the oft-targeted “major” Western oil companies (ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, BP, Conoco Phillips) “are just not that big a part of world production.”

ExxonMobil, the largest of the group, was ranked just sixth, and Chevron was the only other “major” in the top ten. The top five are Saudi Aramco, Rosneft (Russia), Kuwait Petroleum, National Iranian Oil Company and China National. When is the last time you saw legal actions, major demonstrations or even public demands that those oil giants shut down?

Despite all the official kowtowing to Paris and even the IEA, not even all Western nations have any real intention of decarbonizing. Norway, for example, has openly stated its intention to increase its investments in offshore oil and gas operations in 2021. Of course, in an official “woke” statement, the Norwegian government promised to facilitate long-term economic growth in the petroleum industry “within the framework of our climate policy and our commitments under the Paris Agreement.” Huh?

Meanwhile, the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association bluntly stated that its members do not share “the assumption that OPEC members alone should account for more than half of oil and gas production for the world market in a 2050 perspective.” The reasons are obvious.

First, the result would be soaring energy prices and significant threats to global energy supplies. Second, Norway would lose revenues and jobs associated with industries like oil and gas, carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and recovery of seabed minerals.

Africans like Ayuk share similar views: that their countries cannot afford to throw away their best chances for economic growth, full employment, infrastructure development and modern living standards – to satisfy the whims and demands of wealthy Europeans.

To underscore their determination, Canada-based Reconnaissance Energy Africa is on the verge of turning the Namibian part of the Kavango Basin into a world oil capital. Exploratory drilling within the 8.5-million-acre Kavango Basin has confirmed that “Namibia is endowed with an active onshore petroleum basin,” says Namibia Minister of Mines and Energy Tom Alweendo. The country hopes oil and gas development will bring economic stimulus, increased infrastructure, access to potable water, and investments in environmental protection and wildlife conservation.

Just last year the Russian firm Rosgeo signed an agreement with Equatorial Guinea for an historic geological mapping project – the first step toward developing a domestic oil and gas industry and finding other mineral resources. (Guinea withdrew from Africa Oil Week in favor of Africa Energy Week.)

An earlier report identified 70 crude oil and natural gas projects planned for startup in sub-Saharan Africa between 2019 and 2025; it also said Nigeria would be producing over a million barrels of oil per day (BOPD) by 2025.

Two of Africa’s five largest oil and gas projects are in Mozambique: the state-of-the-art Mozambique liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility, which plans to tap into an estimated 75 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of recoverable offshore natural gas, and the 85-tcf Area 4 project, which includes the Coral and Rovuma LNG facilities.

BP just awarded a billion-dollar contract for construction of phase 1 of the 15-tcf Tortue Ahmeyim offshore LNG project, which benefits Mauritania and Senegal. Shell is planning to begin construction in 2022 of a $30 billion LNG liquefaction plant in Tanzania, which has over 57 tcf of recoverable natural gas reserves. And the East African Crude Oil Pipeline intends to transport crude oil from Kabaale-Hoima in Uganda to the Tanzanian port of Tanga.

None of these energy-rich African nations is eager to submit to IEA demands, which seem to envision only existing OPEC nations as future producers and refiners. This, it appears, is the dividing line between Africa Oil Week and the new Africa Energy Week.

A leading theme of Africa Oil Week in Dubai is “Africa’s energy transition efforts toward a cleaner environment.” The Dubai event asks, “As the pressure mounts for regions, countries and companies to meet the Paris Agreement targets on eliminating carbon emissions, where does the continent stand?” (Resistance. Is. Futile. attendees want Africans to believe.)

Africa Energy Week has already garnered an impressive list of speakers, sponsors and attendees. It has a much different theme – and no lack of chutzpah. “Replacing Africa Oil Week” is the goal. The creators say their event “seeks to unite industry stakeholders, international speakers, and movers and shakers from the African oil and gas sector … to define and promote the African energy agenda through development, deal-making and private sector participation.”

Key topics at Africa Energy Week include making energy poverty history before 2030, the future of the African oil and gas industry, the role of women in energy, and opportunities and financial challenges. The AEC says this Africa-focused, in-person energy event is fully devoted to promoting African development and growth through African-held programs.

Ayuk says that the AOW’s move to Dubai provided an opportunity for Africans to stand up for African values. “We are going to fight for our future. We are not going to give in to this crowd. I am not worried about the attacks. We are going to stand for what is right.”

*Duggan Flanakin, director of policy research for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow. 

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Strengthening the Bank’s position as the premier knowledge broker in Africa .
June 23, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Kevin Chika Urama*

Following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Africa experienced its worst recession in half a century in 2020. GDP contracted 2.1 percent, in contrast to the 4 percent growth rate that had been projected before the crisis. This year, Africa’s economic growth is forecast to recover to 3.4 percent, and, in the medium term, higher still. However, recovery remains conditional on equitable access to Covid-19 therapeutics and vaccines, a continued rise in commodity prices, and a sustainable resolution to Africa’s growing debt burden.

The African Development Bank responded quickly and proactively to support its members’ efforts to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic. The Economic Governance and Knowledge Management Vice-Presidency (ECVP) provided the knowledge base for these efforts. The Complex led the quick roll-out of the Bank’s Covid-19 Response Facility. Approvals through the Facility totaled roughly $4.07 billion or about 69 percent of total approvals. Budget support operations amounted to about $3.61 billion and accounted for 89 percent of all operations funded through the Covid-19 Response Facility.

The ECVP Complex has also been advancing its mandate to position the Bank as Africa’s premier knowledge institution. In 2020, ECVP launched Global Community of Practice (G-CoP) seminars to spur policy dialogue on the impact of Covid-19 and inform policies for recovery during and after Covid-19. The Complex hosted six G-CoP seminars which preferred policies for building resilience in key sectors of Africa’s economies. It convened over global 3,500 experts to provide sector-specific policy guidance to countries. These included macro-economic policies for building resilient economies; building resilience in food systems and agricultural value chains; building an inclusive one-health system; enhancing resilience and transparency in public and private finance management, financing natural capital and value chain development in the natural resources sector; and strengthening institutional capacity for inclusive growth and sustainable development.

In July 2020, ECVP published a supplement to the 2020 African Economic Outlook and country-specific notes addressing the impacts of Covid-19 on African economies. The AEO supplement marked a strategic decision by the Bank to address African countries’ debt challenges, which have been exacerbated by Covid-19.

Subsequently, the theme of the 2021 African Economic Outlook was From Debt Resolution to Growth: The Road Ahead for Africa. The report proffers growth-friendly policies that have the potential to diversify economies, accelerate digitalization, and promote free and fair competition, and stresses the need for bold action to improve enhance debt productivity and amplify the link between debt-financed investment and growth returns. This includes spending more efficiently, eradicating leakages in public finances, and improving transparency and accountability in debt management. The Bank’s African Development Review also published a special issue with 16 papers on the impact of Covid-19 on African economies.

The Bank approved the Strategy for Economic Governance in Africa 2021-2025, and is in the final stages of processing its Capacity Development Strategy 2021-2025 and its multi-dimensional Debt Action Plan 2021-2023 for consideration and approval by its Board of Directors. These strategies provide the framework for the Bank’s integrated efforts to work with its partners to support Africa’s recovery.

Looking ahead, the Complex will focus on strengthening resilience in the three key pillars of sustainable development: the economic, the social and the environmental. Triangulating these components of sustainability will help to build inclusive and resilient economies in Africa. The knowledge events of the 2021 Annual Meetings of the Bank are designed to provide deeper insights into how Africa can build back better and bolder beyond Covid-19, and set its countries to an inclusive, green, and resilient development path.

*Prof. Kevin Chika Urama is Senior Director of the African Development Institute/OIC Chief Economist and Vice President, ECVP, African Development Bank Group.

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Understanding Rwanda’s key budget expenditures.
June 23, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti

Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana, the Minister of Finance and Planning heading to parliement to present to both chambers the 2021-22 bufget. Courtesy

Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana, the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning on Tuesday presented the budget to both chambers of parliament and defended the 9.8 per cent increase in government spending from Rwf3,464.8 billion in the 2020/21 fiscal year to Rwf3,807 billion in the fiscal year 2021/22.

In the virtual presentation Ndagijimina told members of the parliament that the government expects that Rwf2,413.7 billion representing 63.4 percent will go into recurrent expenditure while Rwf1,393.3 billion will be spent on development related initiatives.

The recurrent expenditure is significantly higher than the Rwf1, 595.4 billion in the revised fiscal budget of the current financial year 2020/21. 

The increase in recurrent expenditure is mainly driven by increased allocations for employees’ wages arising from ongoing restructuring exercises including the creation of new structures in the public sector.

Among the key sectors undergoing restructuring are education and health sectors which have new recruits as well as increases in allowances of the security agencies.

Government will also spend up to Rwf256.6 billion for interest payments which will go into covering interest on external debt (Rwf94.4 billion) and domestic debt.

Minister Ndagijimana said that  over Rwf60 billion has been earmarked for equity and investment fund shares which will be  spent on aspects such as ongoing recapitalization of Development Bank of Rwanda as well as the inclusion of some investment projects for export diversification as well as allocation such as Bugesera Airport Company.

Infrastructure sector also stands to benefit in the next fiscal year budget especially in road network, electricity rollout value addition in the agriculture sector among others.

Several projects in the agriculture sector also set to have capital injections such as maintenance of cereal storage Rwf2.2 billion, agriculture research and development Rwf3.2 billion, the establishment of milk diaries Rwf8.6 billion, according to the minister.

Preparatory works for Gabiro Agribusiness Hub in Eastern Province will also get Rwf25 billion, he added.

Farmers are also set to benefit from feeder roads which have been allocated Rwf24.9 billion.

In the road network, there are plans to expand the road network under infrastructure development with over Rwf60 billion allocated for the construction of roads across the country.

The education sector was also not left behind as about Rwf35.6 billion will go into building and maintenance of schools while Rwf25.1 billion will go into improving the quality of basic education including the hiring of trained teachers.

University of Rwanda will see about Rwf3.9 billion go into facilities development.

The budget also made provisions for expansion and purchase of strategic fuel reserves which could serve to accommodate growing fuel consumption and fluctuations of prices on the international market.

The budget will also see ICT sector developed especially in further installation of CCTV cameras in public places with expenditure to reach Rwf1.6 billion, cyber security projects Rwf2.7 billion and establishment of innovation hubs Rwf2 billion.

MPs react on the budget

Following the presentation of the budget, some members of the parliament have raised concerns of whether the budget will benefit low income citizens.

Others talked about the sourcing and mobilization process as the world is being ravaged by COVID-19 pandemic.

“The budget should have given priority to small and medium business owners like motel owners and small businesses that were also affected by Covid-19 and not only focus on the big companies,” said MP Frank Habineza.

“How will the projected growth be attained yet the pandemic which caused problems is worsening? Sixty-seven per cent of the budget will be funded by domestic revenues how will this happen when the virus is still here and we are still fighting it?” wondered Gloriose Uwanyirigira

She asked for measures in place to ensure that all the projects are well implemented while citizens are being protected.

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Africa should produce vaccines on the continent, African Development Bank Group head says on eve of the group’s 2021 Annual Meetings.
June 23, 2021 | 0 Comments

African Development Bank Group president Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina has again urged regional leaders to focus on vaccine production and access for the African continent as the Covid-19 epidemic continues to take lives and hurt economies and livelihoods.

Adesina addressed leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at a special summit held on Saturday, just days before the Bank Group’s 2021 Annual meetings, scheduled for 23-25 June.

“Africa needs solutions to help it navigate through the very challenging times posed by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Adesina said. “But the rebound will depend on access to vaccines.”

The African Development Bank will support the continent as part of the vaccines plan of the African Union. It is planning to commit $3 billion to develop the pharmaceutical industry in Africa, Adesina said. “Africa should not be begging for vaccines,” Adesina said. “Africa should be producing vaccines,” he stressed.

In recent months, the African Development Bank president has publicly emphasized the need to rapidly build a health care defense system for the continent, to tackle Covid-19 and future pandemics.

The Bank has already channeled $2 million in emergency assistance to the World Health Organization to bolster the WHO’s capacity for infection prevention, testing, and case management. It has also provided $28 million in funding to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) for a Covid-19 response project. This will strengthen capacity to coordinate the Covid-19 response and future epidemics across Africa.

This year, the Bank is organizing its annual meetings around the theme, “Building Resilient Economies in Post Covid-19 Africa.” The meetings will provide a platform for its governors to share their countries’ experience in addressing the pandemic and the policy measures they are employing to rebuild economies and livelihoods.

In their communiqué, the ECOWAS heads welcomed the recent decision by G7 nations to provide additional vaccines to developing countries. They encouraged the West Africa Health Organization to intensify its efforts to mobilize partnerships to produce Covid-19 vaccines in Africa.

Adesina said the recent decision by the International Monetary Fund to issue special drawing rights (SDRs) provides a real opportunity to rebuild back better and greener and to tackle Africa’s debt challenges, more decisively. “The G-7 Leaders’ summit last week gave the green light for allocating $100 billion of SDRs to Africa. This will open the way for much-needed relief for Africa,” he noted.

African leaders, at a summit in Paris in May, called for the African Development Bank to receive SDRs on behalf of African countries, and to use them to on-lend to African public development banks. Adesina said it would be important to allocate some of this to buy down Africa’s “very expensive debt” owed to private creditors that will engaged with the international community.

The Bank president, who has proposed an African Financial Stability Mechanism to protect the continent against external shocks, said such a mechanism was critical. “It will require that we mutualize our resources, avoid regional spillover effects, regionalize fiscal policy rules, develop homegrown reforms and debt-resolution approaches, and provide a regional safety net that will complement the global safety net of the International Monetary Fund,” he said.

Adesina also touched on insecurity on the continent, highlighting that terrorist actions affect countries all across the continent, including the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin as well as the Horn of Africa regions which must re-direct huge resources from their development programs.

He said: “These insecurity situations now pose the biggest risks to Africa’s development. We must now link security to investment, growth and development.”

The African Development Bank is calling for the development of security-indexed investment bonds. Taking advantage of low long-term interest rates, these bonds will allow Africa to leverage resources on the global capital markets to reinforce its security in support of growth and development, and to protect investments.

The bonds can be delivered through special purpose vehicles, established on behalf of a pool of African countries. The African Development Bank and other development partners can credit-enhance them. Administering the bond proceeds would be managed under the auspices of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council and regional economic communities.

The ECOWAS leaders’ communiqué commended the African Development Bank Group for launching a facility to support African countries — including ECOWAS member states — to address the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. It also welcomed the Bank’s support to the G5 Sahel countries as they seek to strengthen national health systems, and for its support to the West Africa Health Organization.

*AfDB

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OPEC Secretary General, three major oil ministers, confirm presence at African Energy Week 2021.
June 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

Mohammed Barkindo, OPEC General Secretary, has confirmed his presence at Africa’s Energy Chamber’s landmark event in Cape Town

The landmark event has drawn an unprecedented level of support from across the continent within less than a week after it was first announced.

Mohammed Barkindo, OPEC General Secretary, has confirmed his presence at Africa’s Energy Chamber’s landmark event in Cape Town. AEW’s commitment to take place on African soil has gathered wide support from industry players and the general public alike

The Angolan, Congolese and Equatoguinean oil ministers have already confirmed their attendance, among other high-level figures.

The Honourable Secretary General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mohammed Barkindo, has just confirmed his presence at the African Energy Week (AEW) set to take place on 9th – 12th November 2021 in Cape Town, South Africa, in a demonstration of the high-level support this event has already gathered across the industry.

In a further major demonstration of support, H.E. Diamantino Azevedo of Angola, H.E. Bruno Itoua of the Congo and H.E. Gabriel Obiang Lima of Equatorial Guinea, namely the industry leaders of the second, third and fifth biggest of oil producers in Sub-Saharan Africa, have also just confirmed their presence at the African Energy Chamber’s first pan-African event.

AEW continues to gather what can only be described as an overwhelming wave of support just a week after it was first announced. Committed to organizing a pan-African energy event in 2021 on African soil, the AEW promises to be the definitive venue of the year for energy leaders from across the continent to gather and discuss the future of the continent’s oil industry, the paths and solutions for Africa’s energy transition and the promotion of further sector cooperation amongst the continent’s biggest energy players.

“It is truly a thing of wonder to see how the industry has taken on this initiative and rallied around an international event, focused on African energy, hosted on African grounds, to discuss African opportunities and our energy future in the face of mounting pressure on our continent and energy investors and producers”, said Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber.

AEW comes at a crucial time for the continent’s energy sector as the place of oil production in Africa’s economy is at the centre of heated debates, a post-covid recovery is underway and the narrative of the energy transition continues to dominate news cycles. The early confirmations of the presences of such high-level figures of the African and the globe’s energy landscape is expressive of how much weight is being put on this novel initiative, which threatens to rearrange the African energy event calendar for good.

“It’s never been this important to discuss the role and future of oil and gas in the African context, and we are just so glad to be able to gather such paramount figures of the industry at our event to foster cooperation, understanding and positive future solutions for Africa’s energy-rich future, ” Ayuk concluded.

The AEW will take place at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront on 9th – 12th November 2021 and will follow strict COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety of all attendees.

For more information about this transformative event, visit www.aew2021.com or www.EnergyChamber.org and/or email Amina Williams at amina.williams@energychamber.org.

For registration related enquiries contact: registration@aew2021.com
For sales related enquires contact: sales@aew2021.com
For media related enquires contact: media@aew2021.com
For speaker opportunity related enquires contact: speakers@aew2021.com

*SOURCE African Energy Chamber

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COVID-19 Triggers Financial Crisis in Kenya.
June 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Treasury Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ukur Yatani

The Kenyan government has disclosed that it faces severe financial challenges that have affected operations across ministries, agencies and departments.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ukur Yatani said the crisis is a result of the coronavirus, which has taken a heavy toll on revenue performance.

Mr. Yatani spoke when he appeared before   the Senate Finance and Budget Committee to shed light on the delayed release of funds to county governments.

Governors on Monday threatened to shut down counties over lack of funds, accusing the Treasury of delaying to disburse funds amounting to sh102 billion ($1.02). According to the county bosses, the delay has interfered with delivery of services, payment of salaries and clearing of pending bills.

The CS told the committee that the Ministry will release ksh39 billion ($390 million) on Friday to curb the June 24 shutdown.

The committee castigated Yatani for treating counties like “step children” while disbursing national government funds on time.

“If you look at what is going on at national government, it is business as usual; military is working, Treasury and Parliament are working but counties are under severe stress,” said Senator Moses Wetangula.

However, he denied the favouritism allegations and attributed the delay to financial crisis facing the East African nation at the moment.

“Just because we are giving priority to Parliament and Parliamentary Service Commission, you can think that the rest are also smiling. We have serious issues.

“There is no preferential treatment. It is a challenge of revenue performance as a result of slowed down economic activities,” said CS Yatani.

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GHANA WINS ELECTION AS MEMBER OF UN SECURITY COUNCIL.
June 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

Ghana has been elected to serve as a member of the United Nations Security Council by the General Assembly of the United Nations for a two-year term for the period January 2022 to December 2023

Ghana secured 185 votes out of 190 votes cast. With this, the country secured the highest votes compared to the 4 other countries that were elected. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey cast Ghana’s vote.

Ghana received unanimous endorsement from all 15 ECOWAS member states and other African countries to be elected onto the United Nations Security Council.

President Akuffo Addo campaigned on Ghana’s experience and pedigree in peace and security on the African continent which places her in a position to provide valuable insights to the Council.

Ghana congratulated Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, Albania and Gabon for their respective successful  and look forward to working closely with all the new members of the Council when her tenure commences in January 2022.

The endorsement of the African Union and the ECOWAS is deeply appreciated. With situations in Africa dominating the agenda of the Security Council, they vow to work assiduously to assist in addressing the conflicts on the continent and sustain the peace the people of Africa need.

As is well known, issues on Africa constitute 70 percent of the Security Council’s agenda. Ghana also thanks all other Member States for their confidence in Ghana’s candidacy. The broad support for Ghana confirms the trust Member States have in our membership of the Council and Ghana’s capacity to help address the challenges confronting our world today, including violent extremism, terrorism, malicious cyber threats, illicit trafficking of arms, climate change.

The effective leadership being demonstrated by H.E. Akufo-Addo provides synergy for the membership of the Security Council, particularly in addressing the conflict situations in some parts of the West Africa region and the Sahel.

Ghana will bring to bear on the work of the Council her experience in conflict mediation, prevention and reconstruction. Ghana will also use her tenure on the Security Council to seek for a stronger and deeper collaboration and cooperation between the United Nations and regional bodies in a manner that enhances complementarity and ensures effectiveness of coordinated action.

As indicated during our campaign, Ghana’s tenure on the Council will focus on Enhancing Global Peace and Security for Sustainable and Inclusive Development. Some of our priorities will include: Ghana stands ready to be an active and instrumental member of the Council for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Once again, Ghana is grateful to the African Union and ECOWAS for endorsing our candidacy and to all Member States of the United Nations for giving us the opportunity to collaborate with them and be a voice for Africa on the Council.

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South Sudan’s former Petroleum Minister urges industry to stick with Cape Town by endorsing African Energy Week
June 11, 2021 | 0 Comments

The former minister urged investors and companies to participate in the first edition of the African Energy Week

South Sudan former petroleum minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth speaking at an oil event in 2017 [Photo by Africa Oil and Gas]

The Republic of South Sudan’s former Minister of Petroleum, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth has expressed his disappointment at the decision of London based Hyve group to move Africa Oil Week to Dubai. “I think it will be unacceptable to move the Russian Energy Week from Moscow or ADIPEC from Abu Dhabi to Juba, South Sudan Africa on the basis of COVID 19. The same reasoning should apply to Africa especially Dubai has more Covid 19 cases than Cape Town.”

The former minister urged investors and companies to participate in the first edition of the African Energy Week, due to be held in Cape Town, South Africa organized by the African Energy Chamber. “Opportunities and challenges concerning the Middle East and its energy are best discussed in the Middle East, and rightfully so. It is therefore a huge lack of appreciation and a vote of no-confidence in Africa to hold this discussion outside of the continent especially when the Oil and Gas industry must have a unified position on developing our natural resources in the face of energy transition. Many of us are asking what will happen to Mining Indaba. Will they also move Mining Indadba to Dubai or London?” Mr Gatkuoth continued.

Minister Gatkuoth is yet another prominent voice in the industry that has come out against the decision to move Africa Oil Week to Dubai.

According to the African Energy Chamber, interest and support for its Africa Energy Week event has been instant and strong. The event will rally the industry in Cape Town to talk about the effects of energy transition on the continent and about new opportunities for investors across the entire energy value chain.

*SOURCE African Energy Chamber

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“We need to build a different Africa”
June 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

2021 Ibrahim Governance Weekend concludes with rallying call from Mo Ibrahim: use pandemic response to build a more self-reliant Africa.

London, 8 June 2021 – Discussing the impact of COVID-19 on Africa, the 2021 Ibrahim Governance Weekend (IGW) heard that Africa has demonstrated strong and coordinated leadership in response to the pandemic, and the continent can now leverage the recovery from the crisis to build lasting change for generations to come.

Held in a virtual format for the first time, the IGW brought together prominent voices from across Africa and beyond, including 100 members of the Now Generation Forum, a network of young African leaders from over 40 countries. Discussions were informed by the Foundation’s latest research: COVID-19 in Africa one year on: impacts and prospects, a comprehensive analysis of how the pandemic has impacted health, politics, society and economics in Africa.

Across the three days, contributors called for urgent action to ensure that Africa is vaccinated as soon as possible, and outlined the opportunities ahead for a sustainable, African-led recovery. Concluding the event, Mo Ibrahim, Chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, said: “Crises are useful in understanding what doesn’t work and how we need to change. We cannot continue to rely on old paradigms and empty commitments. We need to build a different Africa. We need to move forward and be self-reliant, leveraging the integration of our continent and the full potential of our youth.”

Mo Ibrahim speaking to panellists during the virtual 2021 Ibrahim Governance Weekend

The first session of the Ibrahim Forum – Lessons from the pandemic: an urgent call to strengthen Africa’s health capacities– explored the impact of COVID-19 on health systems, access to vaccines, and how African nations can address the critical issue of inadequate basic healthcare capacity.

Delivering the keynote address, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organisation, said: “The pandemic has underlined why it’s so important to invest in Universal Health Coverage, based on primary healthcare and strong community engagement. How can we take on a new and deadly virus if we cannot provide care for basics like maternal healthcare and the treatment of diabetes? Global health security begins in our local clinics and health systems.”

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Co-Chair, The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response,said: “How can we prevent it from happening it again? First, we must stop transmission of the current virus. This requires immediate action such as vaccine redistribution, provided in an equitable manner, worldwide. Second, we need to transform the international system of pandemic preparedness and response.”

Addressing the issue of vaccine inequity, Dr John Nkengasong, Director, Africa CDC, said: “I have a message for the leadership of the G7, which is meeting very shortly. We need vaccines now and we need them quickly on the continent. Anyone who has excess doses of vaccines, the time is now to redistribute those doses so that we can vaccinate our people at speed and at scale. If we don’t do that, Africa will definitely move towards the endemicity of this virus on the continent, and that doesn’t bode well for our collective global health security.”

Prof. Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine,said: “The top priority now is to ensure global vaccine equity. This is not only a moral imperative, but also critical for pandemic control everywhere.”

Highlighting the opportunity to boost Africa’s homegrown manufacturing capacity, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General, World Trade Organization,said: “Investing in longer-term production capacity is very important. 80% of vaccine exports come from 10 countries, in North America, Europe and South Asia. We’ve seen that that concentration does not work. It is anomalous that a continent like Africa, with 1.3 billion people, imports 99% of its vaccines and 90% of its pharmaceuticals. Production of vaccines and pharmaceuticals ought to be better decentralised.”

Prof Agnes Binagwaho, Vice Chair, Africa Europe Foundation Health Strategy Group, said:“We should trust in the capacity of Africa to innovate and contribute to the solution. Especially now, we should support the African leaders who are struggling to create in Africa the capacity to manufacture vaccines, drugs and medical tools, to stop this pandemic but also to help the continent be ready for the next one.”

Reeta Roy, CEO, Mastercard Foundation, said: “The pandemic is a crisis and an emergency, but it is more than just a public health emergency. It also taps right into some of the underlying economic risks and opportunities here on the continent.”

Gayle Smith, Coordinator for Global COVID response, US State Department, said: The US is looking at investment in local manufacturing both in the short-term – in some places injections of capital could increase production very quickly – but also in the long-term. The latter is important because Africa has a disproportionate dependence on vaccines produced outside the continent.”

Representing the Now Generation Forum, Mandipa Ndlovu, PhD candidate, Leiden University, said: “We really need to push not just for intergenerational conversation, but intergenerational cooperation. There are young people on the ground doing things that people at the top, who have seats at the table, are talking about, but there is just no communication and cooperation.”

Speaking during his one-to-one conversation with Mo IbrahimCharles Michel, President, European Council, said: “We need a global approach in order to address global challenges. This is my personal approach and it’s also the DNA of the European project… Even if sometimes it’s difficult, and sometimes there are frustrations, the multilateral approach is the best tool we have in our hands in order to make progress together.”

In the second session – Managing the fallout: setbacks in democracy and rights, and new triggers of instability – panellists discussed how COVID-19 has impacted the political and social landscape across Africa, with setbacks to recent progress in education and gender equality, and is exacerbating social unrest.

Delivering the keynote address, Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations,said:“The pandemic has reversed many of the development gains we have witnessed in recent years and made our task of achieving the SDGs by 2030 even more difficult. For the first time in two decades, we are seeing a rise in extreme poverty. Many informal workers in Africa, the majority of whom are women, have lost their jobs or experienced a dramatic loss of earnings. School closures and digital divides are jeopardising hard-fought gains in learning. While progress towards gender equality might be pushed back a generation.”

Laurence Chandy, Director of Global Insight and Policy, UNICEF, said:“Of all the least visible effects of the crisis, those on learning come near the top. Although it is relatively easy to observe the number of kids who aren’t going to school, or the number of schools that have shut their doors, it’s much harder to quantify how far children are falling behind on their learning.”

Comfort Ero, Africa Programme Director, International Crisis Group,said:“You can use whatever language you want, but it all boils down to governance. The generation of today doesn’t want to go backwards, doesn’t want a continuation of the past, but is demanding change, and we’re going to see more protest by youth across the board.”

Reflecting on the impact of COVID-19 on democratic processes, Elhadj As Sy, Chair, Kofi Annan Foundation, said: “The paradox is, on the one hand, one will say that democracy is important and we should still move ahead and uphold elections in times of COVID-19. But at the same time, governments are restricting people from gathering, blaming COVID-19. We need to prepare for shocks and hazards, to respond to them and to create an enabling environment for the democratic process to happen, while protecting people at the same time.”

Patrick Youssef, Africa Director, International Committee of the Red Cross,said:“The pandemic has been devastating for areas affected by conflicts and violence, and where healthcare systems are weak. But we can all agree that, beyond the predicted fatalities directed from COVID-19, we are all concerned about the knock-on effects, the secondary reverberating impacts on people’s welfare and security at large.”

Representing the Now Generation Forum, Abiy Shimelis, Co-founder, Addis Sustainable Life, said: “As a young person, I feel let down… Young people are changing how we express frustrations and aspirations. We are not waiting for elections, we do it constantly through social media, protests, and civic activism. Young people try to have healthier ways to express frustration, but they need to feel they are being heard.”

The final session – Looking ahead: a key opportunity to reinvent Africa’s growth model– looked at the opportunity to create more resilient, sustainable and self-sufficient economies, in response to the pandemic laying bare stark vulnerabilities in Africa’s growth model.

Delivering the keynote address, Dr Donald Kaberuka, Special Envoy on COVID-19, African Union,said: “Africa’s demographic momentum is unstoppable. For a long time in the years to come, there will be more African doctors, more African engineers, more African farmers, more African economic actors than from elsewhere in the world. We have to figure out how, within the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, we provide opportunities for our young people.”

Representing Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO, AUDA-NEPAD, Hamady Diop, said: “At the regional level one of the challenges that we have is the issue of coordination. You may have different programmes that seem consistent and coherent at the national level, but when you put them together, they are misaligned.”

Highlighting the importance of investment for Africa’s economic recovery, Dr Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa,said: “Governments need to continue, where possible, on the path of reform of the business sector, to ensure that we can attract more investment. And not just external investment, there is a lot of African investment that can go around.”

Rosa Whitaker, President and CEO, Whitaker Group, said: “This pandemic illustrates how profoundly dependent Africa is on the choices, the blunders, the actions, and even sometimes the self-interest, of others. So, as we look for a post-pandemic recovery, we should look to dismantle Africa’s dependency on western countries. One thing we could start with is vaccine dependency.”

Sandra Kramer, Africa Director, European Commission, said: “The donor-recipient thinking is behind us. What we are talking about here are equal partnerships, with responsibilities on both sides of the equation. We see partnerships as something that is to do with our policy priorities and interests, but obviously also with the interests and policy priorities of our African partners.”

Representing the Now Generation Forum, Ma Soukha Ba, said: “All the challenges Africa is facing are business opportunities for the youth. We are trying to solve each challenge, one at a time. But the problem is, we are facing multiple constraints.”

During the IGW, H.E. Mahamadou Issoufou, Former President of Niger,was honoured as the recipient of the 2020 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in Africa Leadership.Speaking during his one-to-one conversation with Mo Ibrahim at the conclusion of the weekend, President Issoufou said: “I am passionate about African integration and I can see that this is a passion that you, Mo, also share. We will work hand in hand to bring about the Africa we want: a prosperous Africa, a united Africa, a peaceful Africa, and an Africa managed by our children.”

*Mo Ibrahim Foundation

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Divorce In View As Africa Oil Week Picks Non-African Venue
June 7, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

The relocation is is not just disrespectful to Africans whose resources are being talked about but considerably delusional,” says Robin Vela, Chairman, Lonsa Group Limited, Mauritius.

Initially scheduled for 1-5 November in Cape Town South Africa, there is growing furor across the continent following the relocation of the 2021 edition of the Africa Oil Week (AOW) to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates from 8-11 November 2021.

“Delivering the event to the high standard to which our audience is accustomed and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our attendees has always been our top priority. We believe that hosting the 2021 edition in Dubai will enable us to ensure that the event experience is both safe and premium for our customers,” the AOW said in a statement posted on their website recently.

Reactions did not take long to come with the African Energy Chamber led by NJ Ayuk leading the charge in calling for a stronger commitment to conferences of African nature being held on African terrain.

Mothballing a conference in South Africa, an African nation that has handled the Covid-19 pandemic remarkably well, is a clear sign of opportunism and detachment from the pledge to support African venues and our continent, the Chamber lashed out.

“While Dubai is a fabulous venue in its own right, we do believe that events of African nature should show strong commitment to African communities, cities and the local workforce. An event of the magnitude of Africa Oil Week is a big local employer. Reneging on its long-standing partner, the African people and the continent, is a truly unfortunate sign of disinterest in African values of trust, loyalty and companionship, and is in fact very unscrupulous in nature,” said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chair of the African Energy Chamber.

“Keeping to Covid-19 travel restrictions and how they have particularly placed a strenuous burden on the conferencing industry, there are smart ways to hold hybrid conferences of both online and offline nature. Further, vaccination rates are increasing rapidly across the Northern hemisphere, which would allow business travelers to visit South Africa in a safe manner by November,” Ayuk added.

The discontent from the African Energy Chamber on the AOW decision has resonated with many Africans who are using diverse platforms to call for the prioritization of African venues for African events.

The event’s move from Cape Town to Dubai was wrong, short-term in its thinking, and sends a negative message about Africa, says Florival Mucave, President of Mozambican Oil and Gas Chamber (CPGM).

“The move underestimates our preparedness to host events that define our future economic and energy sector success. Imagine the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament being hosted in Dubai because one company says Africa is not the right place anymore because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mucave said in condemnation of the relocation.

The excuses and final decision to move the event are both unacceptable and wrong, and sends a message that when things are hard because of COVID-19, Africa should be abandoned for other locations irrespective of the loyalty and the sponsorship Africa has shown for more than two decades, Mucave charged.

“As a former Patron of the African Institute of Petroleum, I concur that a move of AOW from an African location to any other continent is not just disrespectful to Africans whose resources are being talked about but considerably delusional,” says Robin Vela, Chairman, Lonsa Group Limited, Mauritius.

“I thought I was the only one who saw something very wrong with this decision. Africa as a continent is the least affected by COVID in the whole world, we have lesser death rates, came up with several initiatives and innovations to tackle the scourge. In my opinion, Africa handled the pandemic even better than the rest of the world, so why should the continent be counted out on grounds of the global pandemic,?” Margaret Nongo -Okojokwu  , a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow and social entrepreneur from Nigeria questions.

To  the CEO  of Turaco Aviation Group Abdul Bigirumwami  from Rwanda ,African events should stay in Africa, Rwanda has handled the COVID-19 pandemic well and can support such events.

For Senior Tax and Legal Counsel from Senegal Abdoulaye DIA, “we cannot make Africa without Africans and out of Africa.”

“This is so sad for our struggling South African Event/Expo Industry . It’s all about money and bugger everyone else. “Africa” Oil Week… Dubai has never been or will ever be in Africa. Change the name of the event,” Simon Aubrey Onsite, Project / Site Manager for Overlay of Exhibitions / Sport Events opines.

The event’s move from Cape Town to Dubai was wrong, short-term in its thinking, and sends a negative message about Africa, says Florival Mucave, President of Mozambican Oil and Gas Chamber

Given the relentless attack that the oil and gas industry is facing, there is no better time for the oil and gas industry to stand with Africa but now, says the African Energy Chamber as it pledges to continue pushing for discussions on energy transition, fiscal responsibility, free markets, upstream, midstream, downstream, renewables and petrochemicals in Africa.

Beyond the criticisms on moving the AOC to Dubai, the controversial decision has prompted the Africa Energy Chamber to start exploring other avenues on what it perceives as injustice.

“As a first step, the Chamber will encourage, advocate and provide support for an energy event in October or November this year with African ministries, entrepreneurs, NOC’s, IOC’s, Civil society and possibly four African heads of States. The Chamber will continue to be the voice of the sector and work towards building bridges that brings together governments and companies in the African energy industry to find a common ground.,” a recent statement read.

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Mahamadou Issoufou honoured with 2020 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership
June 3, 2021 | 0 Comments

Former President of Niger describes award as an honour for all Nigeriens

“I was moved and proud to be chosen by the Ibrahim Prize Committee says President Issoufou

London, 3 June 2021 – H.E. Mahamadou Issoufou, the former President of Niger, was honoured today as the recipient of the 2020 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership in a special Leadership Ceremony held during the 2021 Ibrahim Governance Weekend.

Speaking from Niamey to a global audience via MIF.LivePresident Issoufou said: “I was moved and proud to be chosen by the Ibrahim Prize Committee. Through me, all the Nigerien people have been honoured. I thank President Festus Mogae and the members of the Prize Committee for choosing my modest person. I salute and congratulate Mo Ibrahim and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation for the comprehensive support they provide to the development of our continent.”

The Ibrahim Prize is a US$ 5 million award that recognises and celebrates excellence in African leadership. It ensures that the African continent benefits from the experience and wisdom of exceptional leaders once they have left national office, by enabling them to continue to contribute in other civic roles.

Outlining the decision to make President Issoufou an Ibrahim Prize Laureate, H.E. Festus Mogae, Chair of the independent Prize Committee and former President of Botswana, said: “President Issoufou made history in Niger. He paved the way for Niger’s first-ever democratic transition of power. His example shows that those who lead, whatever the challenges, can do so with the greatest reverence for both the citizens they serve and the rule of law.”

President Issoufou was congratulated by leaders from around the world.

H.E. Mohamed Bazoum, President of Niger said: “During his ten years in office, President Issoufou remarkably stabilised the institutions of our Republic, strengthened the foundations of our economy, brought about a reduction in poverty, and provided real opportunities for the future of his country. I would like to say to the members of the Ibrahim Prize Committee that, in addition to the qualities that you have identified through his governance and leadership, President Issoufou’s moral and human qualities also make him an exceptional man.”

António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations said: “The awarding of this prestigious Prize to President Issoufou is a testament to his efforts as a champion of sustainable development, democratic consolidation, peace, stability, human rights and gender equality. Niger’s growing role in the international community, as a valued partner of the United Nations, was built on President Issoufou’s commitment to regional and international cooperation and consensus building.”

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission said: “President Issoufou addressed head-on the complex challenges the region faces. He has been a long-standing friend and valued partner of the European Union. I want to commend President Issoufou specifically on what he has done for gender equality and women’s empowerment. This is a priority for both the European Union and Africa, and an agenda close to my heart.”

H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission said: “Mahamadou Issoufou’s commitment to the development and well-being of his compatriots is known to all. We will remember his relentless fight against terrorism, for peace and stability in the Sahel. We were all impressed by his strong advocacy as a champion for the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area.”

Mo Ibrahim, Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation said: “I am proud to see President Issoufou recognised as an example of exceptional leadership and I hope his legacy will inspire generations of African leaders to come. President Issoufou, I offer you my heartfelt congratulations and a warm welcome to the Foundation family.” 

The Leadership Ceremony is part of the 2021 Ibrahim Governance Weekend, which is usually held in a different African country each year but is being held virtually in 2021 due to COVID restrictions.

At the heart of the weekend is the Ibrahim Forum, which brings together a powerful coalition of African and global leaders to discuss an issue that is critical to the continent’s future. The 2021 Ibrahim Forum is discussing COVID-19 in Africa One Year On: Impact and Prospects, a new report from the Mo Ibrahim Foundation analysing the health, economic, social and political impacts of the pandemic, and highlighting key avenues for the continent’s recovery.

About the Mo Ibrahim Foundation

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation was established in 2006 with a focus on the critical importance of political leadership and public governance in Africa. By providing tools to support progress in leadership and governance, the Foundation aims to promote meaningful change on the continent.

The Foundation, which is a non-grant making organisation, focusses on defining, assessing and enhancing governance and leadership in Africa through five main initiatives:

  • Ibrahim Index of African Governance
  • Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership
  • Ibrahim Governance Weekend
  • Ibrahim Fellowships and Scholarships
  • Now Generation Network

​The Ibrahim Prize

  • Recognises and celebrates African leaders who, under challenging circumstances, have developed their countries, lifted people out of poverty and paved the way for sustainable and equitable prosperity; 
  • Highlights exceptional role models for the continent;
  • Ensures that the African continent continues to benefit from the experience and wisdom of exceptional leaders once they have left national office, by enabling them to continue in other civic roles on the continent;
  • Is an award and a standard for excellence in leadership in Africa, and not a ‘first prize’ – there is not necessarily a Laureate every year.

Criteria

  • Former African Executive Head of State or Government 
  • Left office in the last three years 
  • Democratically elected 
  • Served his/her constitutionally mandated term 
  • Demonstrated exceptional leadership

The Ibrahim Prize is the largest annually awarded prize in the world, consisting of: 

  • US$5 million over ten years

Prize Committee

The winner of the Ibrahim Prize is selected by an independent Prize Committee, appointed by the Foundation Board, comprised of: 

  • President Festus Mogae (Chair) | Former President of Botswana; 2008 Ibrahim Prize Laureate 
  • Aïcha Bah Diallo | President, Network for Education for All in Africa; Former Minister of Education in Guinea; Former Assistant Director General for Education (ADG/ED), UNESCO; Founder and Chair, Business for the Empowerment of Women
  • Mohamed ElBaradei | Director General Emeritus, International Atomic Energy Agency; Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
  • President Horst Köhler | Federal President of Germany 2004-2010
  • Graça Machel | President, Foundation for Community Development; Former Minister of Education in Mozambique; Mo Ibrahim Foundation Board Member
  • Mary Robinson | Chair of The Elders and Adjunct Professor for Climate Justice in Trinity College Dublin; Former UN Special Envoy on the Great Lakes Region of Africa; Former UN Envoy on Climate Change; Former President of Ireland; Mo Ibrahim Foundation Board Member 

*Mo Ibrahim Foundation

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Africa’s Case for Energy Transition, A Choice and A Chance
June 2, 2021 | 0 Comments

By NJ Ayuk*

NJ Ayuk, the Executive Chairman of the Africa Energy Chamber

Last month, the International Energy Agency proclaimed that the time for new oil and gas investments is behind us. In its report “Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector,” the agency’s guide for tackling the climate crisis, the IEA argued that if the world has any hope of achieving neutral greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050 and limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, then the world must make a radical shift away from fossil fuels.

Immediately.

The IEA’s roadmap to Net Zero by 2050 is hardly the first time there have been calls to usher in the world’s transition from petroleum energy sources to renewable ones as soon as possible. This momentum has been building for years, and it has made funding African oil and gas projects more challenging.

Consider the international environmental group Friends of the Earth. After threatening last year to initiate a legal challenge against the UK’s decision to provide $1 billion in funding for the Mozambique LNG project, Friends of the Earth has also taken aim at the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project.

It’s joined more than 260 environmental groups in asking commercial banks not to fund this pipeline, which will run from Uganda to Tanzania. We’ve also seen decreasing support for African fossil fuel production from international organizations, including the World Bank, and private investors, under pressure from environmental groups.

Then there was last year’s joint statement by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the IEA: They described the low oil prices caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as a “golden opportunity” for governments to phase-out fossil fuel support and usher in an era of renewable energy.

Certainly, countries around the globe should be working together to prevent the most catastrophic impacts of global warming, from extreme weather and drought to widespread political instability. And, of course, those concerned efforts must include commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

I also understand that these objectives are aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement. And that more than 125 countries have adopted, or are considering, net zero targets, including many African Countries.

However, a global mandate for an immediate shift away from fossil fuels is not the way to go. The path that will get African countries to net zero emissions should not, cannot, and must not be the same as the path that European countries travel.

Africa’s best hope for a successful energy transition…

A pragmatic approach that addresses African countries’ economic and energy needs, must harness natural gas.

Why do I say that?

Let’s start with energy poverty: More than 800 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lack electricity. Either they don’t have it, or they don’t have enough of it. It only makes sense to harness Africa’s abundant gas resources to help alleviate this problem.

Then there’s natural gas’ potential to breathe new life into struggling African economies that are still reeling from the brutal economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Natural gas, affordable and abundant in Africa, has the power to spark significant job creation and capacity-building opportunities, economic diversification and growth.

Why shouldn’t African countries capitalize on those opportunities?

Especially since a rapid move away from oil and gas in African countries  would not even pack the same environmental punch, so to speak,  as it would in developed regions of the world. If you were to combine the carbon dioxide that all African nations emitted in 2019, you’d find it was seven times less that the volumes emitted in China and four times less than in the U.S.

I am not saying that African nations should continue oil and gas operations indefinitely, with no movement toward renewable energy sources. I am saying that we should be setting the timetable for our own transition, and we should be deciding how it’s carried out.

What I’d like to see, instead of Western pressure to bring African oil and gas activities to an abrupt halt, is a cooperative effort.

Partnerships. What does that look like?

Relationships rooted in respect, open communication, and empathy. It begins with the belief that when African leaders, businesses, and organizations say the timing is not right to end our fossil fuel operations, that we have a point. That when we’re discussing our own countries, we know what we’re talking about.

In that scenario, governments, organizations and finance institutions such as, the EU, the UK, Germany, Denmark, Swedfund, CDC Group, European Investment Bank, Investment Fund for Developing Countries and others would reconsider their departures from African natural gas investments.

We know that investments in fossil fuels continue to take place around the globe:

Suriname, Guyana and Brazil, for example, are all oil and gas hot spots these days. Investments are also continuing, as they should, in North America, Europe, and Australia. And they should continue in Africa as well to ensure a just, equitable, and inclusive global energy transition,  one that protects, rather than disregards, African needs and economies.

Folks, Energy Poverty Is Real

I’d like to take a closer look at the realities on the ground in Africa, that we must consider when we talk about the continent’s energy transition. Let’s start with something I mentioned earlier: energy poverty. If you’re one of the hundreds of millions of Africans without reliable electricity, you cook your food and warm your home by burning wood, charcoal, or maybe even animal waste.

As a result, you’re regularly exposed to indoor air pollution that increases your risk of respiratory infections and other chronic conditions. If you need to go to the hospital, you’ll get treatment by lantern light  or, worse yet, in the dark.

You won’t have any access to life-saving equipment that requires electricity, like MRI machines and ventilators. And that doesn’t even touch on how the lack of electricity impacts your children’s education or holds back businesses and economies and limits your employment opportunities.

Energy poverty breeds suffering. It holds people back. Gas all the way Baby.

That’s why a comprehensive approach to battling energy poverty, one that includes gas-to-power initiatives, is absolutely necessary. And we’re seeing movement in that direction. More than a dozen African countries are already using natural gas they produce themselves or import from other countries to generate electricity. And new projects are on the way. Ghana, for example, is preparing to launch sub-Saharan Africa’s first LNG-to-power plant before the end of the year.

Cameroon plans to convert an oil-fired power plant at Limbé to a natural gas-fired facility and expand production capacity. And in Côte d’Ivoire, a new combined cycle power plant is coming to Jacqueville.

These projects will change African lives for the better. Reversing direction now would be a serious mistake. Yes, renewable energy can help meet Africa’s power needs, too. Solar and wind power in particular have great potential in Africa. South Africa, for example, has eight of the 10 largest solar plants in Africa; the continent’s largest is in Morocco.

At the same time, we’ve also seen advances in bringing off-grid, home scale solar systems to rural villages in sub-Saharan Africa.

That’s exciting!

But because wind and solar energy are intermittent power sources, they require backup to ensure a steady flow of electricity to the grid. What’s more, Africa’s population, and its power needs, are expected to surge in coming decades. Africa countries’ ability to scale up solar power infrastructure in time to meet those needs is questionable.

The IEA, in its “Net Zero by 2050” report, says its guidelines will, among other things, set the stage for universal energy access by 2030. Which is another objective in the Paris Agreement. But for African countries, ending energy power for nearly 800 million Africans in less than a decade is a very tall order. Remove natural gas from the equation, and it gets even harder.

Economy

While Africa’s energy poverty is a major consideration, it’s not the only concern. Let’s talk about African states’ economic realities. For far too long, Africa, from the global community’s point of view, has been a charity case. It’s a viewpoint rooted, most likely in compassion,  but not necessarily in respect. I have, in previous presentations, described what happens when you do a Google search for “Help Africa.”

Approximately 1.7 billion results show up. They say things like “Help children in Africa.”  “African hunger and how to 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 deficits the list goes on.

I’d like to gently suggest a better approach to supporting Africa. We don’t need help or quick fixes. We don’t need aid. We need partners and investors. We need free-market solutions that contribute to long-term stability and economic growth. And the thing is, strategically harnessing our oil and gas resources, natural gas in particular, puts those objectives within our reach.

We’re already so close. Some countries, like Senegal, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Cameroon, Algeria and Equatorial Guinea have taken steps to monetize their natural resources so that they can raise the funds to help themselves.

We need to give them time to realize the benefits of their strategic efforts. And we need to give other African countries a chance to do the same.

The idea is to use our natural gas as a feedstock to create other value-added products, like petrochemicals, from fertilizers to ammonia. Then we take the revenues to build infrastructure, from pipelines to ports and roadways. And we open the door to economic diversification.

My ideas are far from revolutionary.

Western countries have already seen fossil fuels, including natural gas,

lead to economic growth, stability, and increased lifespans. Worldwide, over the past three decades, natural gas, along with coal, has provided 1.3 billion people with electricity and helped them escape poverty.

The IEA itself wrote in 2020: “Modern energy services are crucial to human well-being (https://bit.ly/3cdnbCT) and to a country’s economic development.  “Access to modern energy is essential for the provision of clean water, sanitation and healthcare and for the provision of reliable and efficient lighting,

heating, cooking, mechanical power, transport and telecommunications services.”

While the IEA sees renewable energy as the solution to meeting those needs, we can’t discount the fact that natural gas has supported, and continues to support, economic stability around the globe very effectively.

In fact, it’s what powers many of the plants that provide backup for areas served by solar and wind facilities. Another thought to consider: Natural gas currently does even more than provide power. In Africa, it also is used for industry, fertilizer manufacturing, and cooking,

for activities that will need more than electricity to weather the transition.

Costs of transition for Africa

There are other issues, too. Money is a significant one. Clearly the continent will require an unprecedented scale of investments to achieve the Net Zero scenario that the IEA is describing. Changing the energy mix to make it compatible with a 1.5°C pathway would require $150 billion to flow into Sub-Saharan Africa annually. This is 15 times an increase on the $10 billion invested in 2018.

Africa needs to invest between $330 billion and $410 billion in U.S. dollars now and an additional $290 billion to $415 billion in U.S. dollars from 2026 to 2030 to make Africa’s energy transition a reality and if we want to ensure Africa’s economic stability and promote the continent’s economic diversification.

How can we even begin to fund that without our fossil fuel revenue? We can’t.

Concluding thoughts

Why not, instead, take a strategic approach to Africa’s energy transition? Why not set aside a portion of fossil fuel revenues to help fund the infrastructure we’ll need? And at the same time, global community. why not continue investing in African oil and gas projects, natural gas projects in particular, to move Africa closer to achieving a successful energy transition?

And why not share your technologies with us, so we can employ solutions like carbon capture, to keep carbon emissions to a minimum. Africa needs an energy transition that takes a pragmatic approach to resolving energy poverty:  by making our natural gas resources part of the solution.

We need a transition that isn’t rushed or carried out on the Western world’s timetable. We need to have a strategy in place for protecting and growing African economies.

We need a transition that factors in African goals, concerns and priorities. I’m not asking for your help to achieve this goal. But I am asking for your cooperation.

Thank you.

*NJ Ayuk is Chairman of the African Energy Chamber. Speech made at At the 14th German Africa Energy Forum

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Kenya: BBI case hearing dates set
June 2, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Kenya’s Court of Appeal has announced that the appeal case on Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) will be heard from June 29 to Jul 2.

The courts’ President Justice Daniel Musinga said a seven-judge bench would hear the case.

The case was mentioned on Wednesday in which all involved parties participated in the case management conference.

Appellants have been directed to file written submission within seven days, and the hearing will be heard in an open court at a venue to be arranged in compliance with Covid-19 protocols.

Four applications are challenging the nullification of the Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2020, filed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga, BBI secretariat, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), and the Attorney General.

The court also ordered IEBC to continue discharging its statutory functions except on matters related to BBI.

The High Court had barred the electoral agency from conducting any elections due to lack of quorum. IEBC has only three commissioners after others resigned.

Other directives include:

1. All the appeals shall be heard on a priority basis.

2. All intended appellants who have filed notices of appeal shall be at liberty to file supplementary records of appeal and/or memorandum of appeal as may be appropriate within seven days from the date hereof.

3. Any respondent intending to file a cross-appeal shall be at liberty to do so within seven days of the date hereof.

4. All appellants shall file and serve their respective submissions within seven days of the date hereof.

5. The respondents shall file and serve their respective submissions within 14 days from the date of service of the appellants’ submissions. 

6. The appellant shall be at liberty to file replies within three days of the respondents’ submissions.

7. That the respective submissions shall be limited to 40 pages and;

8. The appellants shall be at liberty to reply to the respondents’ submission limited to 30 minutes.

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Akufo-Addo holds extraordinary ECOWAS summit on Mali impasse
June 1, 2021 | 0 Comments

The Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, will on Sunday 30 May 2021, convene an extraordinary Summit in Accra on the political crisis in Mali.

Ten heads of state and their representatives have confirmed their participation in the Summit aimed at deliberating and taking consequential decisions on the evolving political and security situation in Mali.

Speaking at a press briefing in Accra on Saturday 29 May 2021, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, said that the Summit is in line with efforts by the regional bloc to ensure progressive development of member countries.

She said the Summit will be held to proffer conflict resolution strategies in accordance with relevant protocols to bring an end to the political crisis in the West African state.

The past few days have witnessed some worrying developments in Mali. The arrest and detention of the President and Prime Minister of the transition government by the military has necessitated a re-evaluation of the strategies adopted by ECOWAS to bring normalcy to the country.

“At the behest of the President of the Republic, an ECOWAS Mediation team, led by H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, ECOWAS Special Envoy and Mediator for Mali embarked on a fact-finding mission to Mali from 25 to 26 May 2021 to assess the situation and explore opportunities for the resolution of the crisis. H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan will, therefore, report to the Summit on the outcome of the mission,” Botchway said.

Akufo-Addo will be joined by other well-known dignitaries and representatives from Benin, Guinea, Cape Verde and Senegal. The summit will also see the participation of the President and Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission and the former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS Special Mediator for Mali, Goodluck Jonathan.

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Kenya:Uhuru, Ndayishimiye sign pact to enhance relations.
May 31, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

The two heads of State signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) to facilitate better relations and collaborative efforts

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Burundi counterpart Evariste Ndayishimiye on Monday held bilateral talks in the lakeside city of Kisumu, Kenya.

The meeting took place a few hours after the Burundi Head of State jetted into Kenya for a two-day state visit. He was accompanied by First Lady of Republic of Burundi Angeline Ndayubaha.

President Ndayishimiye was received by Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo, and other senior government officials at Kisumu International Airport.

The two heads of State signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) to facilitate better relations and collaborative efforts.

The countries also agreed to collaborate on Agriculture, livestock, and fisheries industries.

They also signed a deal that would see their countries working on sports culture and heritage and enhancing education standards in the region.

Kenyatta further noted that they would work together to enhance security operations. He further encouraged people-to-people relations between the two nations by enhancing trade investment.

On his part, Ndiyishimiye urged Kenyan investors to make use of investment opportunities in Burundi.

“We hope the MOUs we have signed will be implemented as soon as possible, we are committed to improving the business climate in our countries,” said Ndiyishimiye.

President Ndiyishimiye will be the chief guest during Kenya’s Madaraka Day Celebration slated for tomorrow at Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium, Kisumu.

Madaraka is the Swahili word for ‘power .’ It is celebrated in the East African nation annually to commemorate the day that Kenya took power when it attained internal self-rule in 1963.

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