Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7): PM Shinzo Abe says Japan will help double Africa’s rice production by 2030
August 29, 2019 | 0 Comments
|“We must end hunger in Africa. Yes, we must! Hunger diminishes our humanity” – Adesina urges|
YOKOHAMA, Japan, August 28, 2019/ — The Sasakawa Association will work with the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA), to help double rice production to 50 million tonnes by 2030. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the announcement at the Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) symposium held on Wednesday during TICAD7.
“Japanese technology can play a key role in innovation which is key to agriculture,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told delegates.
Discussions at the Symposium focused on Africa’s youth bulge, unemployment rates, agricultural innovations and technologies, solutions and job creation opportunities in the agricultural sector.
“We’ve always believed in the agriculture potential of Africa,” said Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of the Nippon foundation. “We are paying more attention to income-generating activities. We want to help shift the mindset of small-holder farmers from producing-to-eat to producing-to-sell. We are hopeful that Africa’s youth can take agriculture to a new era, and that they can see a career path in agriculture,” he added.
In a keynote address, African Development Bank Group President, Akinwumi Adesina, called for urgent and concerted efforts to “end hunger”.
“In spite of all the gains made in agriculture. We are not winning the global war against hunger. We must all arise collectively and end global hunger. To do that, we must end hunger in Africa. Hunger diminishes our humanity,” Adesina urged.
According to the FAO’s 2019 State of Food and Security, the number of hungry people globally stands at a disconcerting 821 million. Africa alone accounts for 31% of the global number of hungry people – 251 million people.
Commending the Sasakawa Association’s late founder, Ryochi Sasakawa, for his tireless efforts in tackling hunger, Adesina said: “Passion, dedication and commitment to the development of agriculture and the pursuit of food security in our world has been the hallmark of your work.”
Between 1986 and 2003, Sasakawa Association in Africa, operated in a total of 15 countries including – Ghana, Sudan, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, Mali, Guinea, Zambia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and Mozambique.
Harnessing the potential of new technologies
Adesina expressed confidence in the ability of technology to deliver substantial benefits in agriculture. To accelerate Africa’s agricultural growth, the African Development Bank has launched the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) to deliver new technologies to millions of farmers. ‘TAAT has become a game changer, and is already delivering impressive results, Adesina said.
Working with 30 private seed companies, the TAAT maize compact produced over 27,000 tons of seeds of water efficient maize that was planted by 1.6 million farmers.
Tackling climate change: a top priority
Hiroyuki Takahashi, founder of Pocket Marche, a platform that connects Japanese farmers and producers with consumers, shared insights and lessons learnt from Japan’s experiences, historic cycles of climate disasters and the country’s rebound.
“The power to choose what we eat is the power to stop the climate crisis and bring sustainable happiness to a world with limited resources,” Takahashi said.
It is estimated that Africa will heat up 1.5 times faster than the global average and require $7-15 billion a year for adaptation alone. Limiting the impacts of climate change is expected to become a top priority for Africa.
“Africa has been short changed by climate change. But, it should not be short changed by climate finance,” Adesina said in his concluding remarks.
“Let’s be better asset managers for nature. For while we must eat today, so must future generations coming after us. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that we do not leave empty plates on the table for generations to come,” Adesina concluded.
NJ Ayuk in Billions at Play Explains How Energy Underpins the African Dream
August 28, 2019 | 0 Comments
The energy sector, in particular, holds great potential to revitalize African economies and empower the growth and development
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, August 27, 2019/ — African economies are undergoing a transformative period. The energy sector, in particular, holds great potential to revitalize African economies and empower the growth and development. This, is a subject NJ Ayuk dives into in great detail in his sophomore book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals.
Now available for pre-order on Amazon, Billions at Play tells us how energy can work better for Africans.
With a foreword by OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Billions at Play sets out to answer the questions: How did Africa get here and what comes next? How do African countries and societies get the most value from their resources? What exactly can African leaders do to put their countries on a sustainable, profitable path? And how can all parties win in Africa’s energy deals of the coming decades?
In a straightforward approach, the Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber outlines the fortunes and misfortunes in Africa’s petroleum industry and presents to us that Africa can learn from itself to build competitive economies. In particular, he proposes that:
“If African governments, businesses, and organizations manage Africa’s oil and gas revenues wisely, we can make meaningful changes across the continent.”
Using his experience and knowledge of the global energy sector, Ayuk challenges key players to be more active in developing their resources and local content skills, and encourages decision-makers to put Africa’s people at the center of economic growth plans.
Making the case for the petroleum industry having the power to support and transform emerging economies, he unpacks key issues including what and how Africa can learn from itself, the role of natural gas in Africa’s energy future, effective and sustainable investment strategies, strategic oil and gas revenue management and, the role of women in the African petroleum sector.
The latter he insists is vital in the success of Africa’s oil and gas sector.
He asserts that the low number of women represented in the global energy sector is an opportunity missed. “I believe this is unacceptable, short-sighted, and, frankly a real stumbling block to African countries that want to realize the full socio-economic benefits that a thriving oil and gas industry can provide.”
Ayuk says that, “Africans are more than capable of making our continent successful.” However, global participation in the African energy landscape can produce greater benefits. Speaking on U.S.-Africa relations specifically, he stresses that Africa needs companies that are willing to share knowledge, technology and best practices, and businesses that are willing to form positive relationships in areas where they work.
In his foreword, H.E. Barkindo describes Ayuk as a dreamer who has “taken the time to develop a detailed roadmap for realizing that dream” and prompts people all over the world to take the time to read Billions at Play in order to “play a part in making his dream of petroleum-fueled economic growth, stability and improved quality of life happen for Africa.”
Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Order your copy today.https://amzn.to/2NxkNLP
Watch out for upcoming interview with NJ Ayuk at www.panafricanvisions.com
African Development Bank President Adesina leads delegation to 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development, TICAD
August 27, 2019 | 0 Comments
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 26 August 2019 – A high-level African Development Bank delegation, led by President Akinwumi Adesina, is set to join global leaders at the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development, TICAD7 from August 28-30.
TICAD7, hosted by Japan and co-organised by the United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on Africa (UN-OSSA), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), aims at “promoting high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and development partners.”
President Adesina, is expected in Tokyo on Tuesday. Whilst in Japan, he will address the second plenary session of TICAD on the theme: “Accelerating Economic Transformation and Improving Business Environment Through Innovation and Private Sector Engagement”.
Several other engagements are also scheduled for Adesina and senior Bank management, including an International Finance Corporation/African Development Bank side event: “The Digital Africa 2020 and Japanese investment Panel: Creating markets to digitize Africa, and a side event co-hosted by the World Food Programme and the African Union Commission on “Strategic investments in Africa: Food security, human capital, sustainable agriculture, innovation and private sector partnership.”
The Bank’s senior management attending TICAD7 include, Dr. Celestin Monga, Bank’s Chief Economist and Vice President, Economic Governance and Knowledge Management; Dr. Jennifer Blanke, Vice-President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development; Ms. Bajabulile “Swazi” Tshabalala, Vice President for Finance and Chief Finance Officer; and Khaled Sherif, Vice-President, Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery.
VP Monga will address a panel on “Africa’s Socio-economic Transformation through Innovation” while VP Sherif will be a speaker on another panel:“Building a Better World through Business – Challenges in Humanitarian Assistance in Africa and the Role of Private Sector,” held at Waseda University.
VP Blanke will take part in sessions on “Investing in Human Capital Development in Africa- A case for Education & Skills, Nutrition, Health and Jobs for Youth”, and an African Leaders for Nutrition event: Designing sustainable and resilient societies.
A major announcement is expected in support of the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance (EPSA) Initiative, an innovative, multi-component, multi-donor framework.
The initiative seeks to support development to meet the infrastructure needs of Africa, with a special focus on the private sector.
The 7thTokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), led by Japan, started in 1993. African heads of states and key business leaders from around the world are scheduled to attend, providing an opportunity to explore investment opportunities. The event, held every 3 years, has been convened alternately in Japan and Africa since 2016. The last TICAD was held in Nairobi, Kenya.
Nigeria has become another theater to be fought over -Prof Bolaji Akinyemi
August 26, 2019 | 0 Comments
‘There are two files in the British secret archives affecting Nigeria
*Government does not do what is right unless it is pushed
* 20 thousand people can paralyze the work of the national Assembly
* Those afraid are those benefiting from the overwhelming power attached to the centre
* There is need to criminalize acts that demonized any religion in the country
* Nigeria has become another theater to be fought over
By Olumide Samuel
Professor Akinwande Bolaji Akinyemi’s involvement in Nigeria’s statecraft spans over 43 years. The former Minister of External Affairs in a chat with newsmen, maintained issues he believes are affecting the Nation which he said is in the British secret archive in two files re-embargoed by the British government for another 50 years and other issues that resulted to religious and ethnic intolerance, Youths unemployment, banditry, kidnapping, killings among others. Excerpts:
What in your estimation is state of insecurity in Nigeria?
There is very little I can add to what everyone has been saying. The likes of Sheikh Gunmi, the Sultan, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Baba Ayo Adebanjo and General Obasanjo (Rtd), even the President himself and the governors. I can’t add to their list of dissatisfaction on the state of the nation. So insecurity, Youths unemployment, hate and unguarded speech by people who should know better.
What now looks like religious conflicts, when I was growing up, there was religious tolerance. At least I come from a culture where you could hardly have a family that does not have Christians, Muslims and Traditional worshipers among them and they coexist happily. All of a sudden to be confronted by intolerance, murder, mayhem targeting people of other religion. I find it very very disturbing indeed. My grandfather once told me a story to illustrate the tolerance towards various religious groups in ancient times. He said an Oba of a neighbouring town sent a delegation to the Oba of our town, asked the Oba of our town to send a delegation to join them in a celebration. So the Oba of our town then asked the delegation what they wanted celebrate, and they said they want to welcome one of theirs whom had gone on a pilgrimage. So the Oba of our town sent a delegation to rejoice with them and take part in their celebration. When the delegation came back and they briefed our Oba the story of the celebration. He called a meeting of the heads of the quarters in the town and to them, that the other town now has an Alhaji, while our town don’t. What he did was to levy every quarters, every religious institutions in the town including Anglican, Methodist and Aladura. So that we can send somebody from our town to Mecca the following year and we also can claim we have an Alhaji. And that was what happened. How did we come to a situation where even among Yoruba we are starting to talk about religious intolerance? You have governors in the South-west who for political reasons are exhibiting religious intolerance not to talk about the whole country. It’s very disturbing and very unnerving.
But some are of the view that religious intolerance had been before independence….
We had four sources through which religion penetrated into Nigeria before the Europeans came. The first was through traders from Mali. Then, we had Islamic religion that came through Turkey to the Southern part of Nigeria. That’s why you have titles like Shita Bay in Lagos and then you also have Christian missionary who came into the Southern part of Nigeria. The last was the Jihad which came from the Futa Jalon that led to the establishment of the Sokoto caliphate. However, the penetration of Islam from Mali, Turkey and the Christian missionaries were peaceful but the Jihad was not. So that was where problems of intolerance started. The moment you decide to establish a religion by force then you talk about intolerance. Intolerance was evident when the British came but they were able to sustained it but it has never left. It’s just that organization and movements respond to external factors. For instance; what is going on in other part of the world in term of conflicts: ISIS, the Taliban ,the problem between the Shiites and the Sunnis Muslim. All these are world phenomenon and Nigeria is not immune to these phenomenal. Nigeria has just become another Futa Jalon. be fought over by all these phenomenon.
The Northern Christian Elders Forum recently argued that the nation’s democracy battles with Islamism as a form of government, what your thought on this?
They made a good point and I think we shouldn’t loose sight of that point. And that is the point I also try to make. They said the problem is not with Islam as a religion, this is what I meant when I said we had Islam from Mali, from Turkey there was no problem. They said the problem started when those advocating that Islam should not be more than a religion but a political religion. It meant that you put your religion in competition with other religions. There is a problem with Islamic Jihad and Christianity. The Jihad embodies competition, conflicts, imposition and violence. The way forward is to separate Islam as religion from Islam as a political weapon.
So how do we separate Islam as a religion while some forces within the system are using it as political weapon?
Laws should be enforced to protect each religion from intolerant acts by another religion. We all have to be accept that Nigeria is a multi religious nation. Both Muslims and Christians have a right to exist in Nigeria. And to also there is need to criminalised speeches and acts that demonized any religion in the country.
What is your thought on ‘REVOLUTION’ that have been misconstrued by some quarters?
The Constitution provide as a right for peaceful protest. The moment you go beyond the margin of a peaceful protest, then you are asking for a push-back by the institutions of governance. You could see it in Hong Kong, when the protest by the activists are peaceful, the push-back by the police is peaceful. When the the protest by the activists crossed the red line into violence, then the push-back by the police is violent. People who are dissatisfied with the way things are in Nigeria are entitle to a peaceful advocacy. What they are not entitled to is violent advocacy because the push-back from the system is then likely to be violent.
But we observed the push by DSS even before the protest commenced ….
Peaceful protest is a right and entitlement by people who are dissatisfied with what is happening. What is not an entitlement is violent protest. Whether that violent is by language or activities. Language could be violent. If I am planning a Revolution, I will not go on the pages of News paper or radio to argue and advocate for a Revolution. I will plan under ground. That is the way you do it if you are planning a Revolution. You do it underground, hold secret meetings because the moment you broadcast that you are planning a revolution, the push-back by the system is also likely to be revolutionary in terms of being violent and that what you got in this case you’re referring to. However, to have progress in any country, it is either the government itself takes care of the interest of the people or there would always be elements within the country that would always fight for the people. Anthropologist will tell you that that is how progress comes about. Progress doesn’t come from people laying back hoping that government would do something that is right. Yes, there may be times when government do what is right but most often than not, government does not do what is right unless it is pushed. Look at the United States, in the 60s. How many times did Martin Luther King go to jail? he kept protesting and kept pricking the conscience of the American people until it became a movement for change that could not be ignored by the government. But they paid dearly. He was eventually assassinated. I was in the United States at that time, the brutality of the police towards civil rights activists was severe, they killed a lots of them. Secondly, look at what is happening globally on the environment, demonstration are being held, things are being paralyze because people feel they are fighting for the future of the planet. There are government who are in self denial about environmental degradation in the world. So there are demonstration going on and people haven’t gone to sleep. If there is dissatisfaction with what is going on in Nigeria, expect the youth to rise up and say this is our future we are fighting for. Because unless things change, Nigeria is in trouble. The economy is not growing, Youths unemployment have been described as a time bomb. Elections were rigged mercilessly. Elections have always been rigged in Nigeria, but I don’t even see a mass movements for electoral change . I served on Justice Muhammed Uwias committee for electoral reform, we wrote a report that we felt addressed the issue but that report was buried by the government of the day. No reaction but the law of karma had actually set in that the government of the day is now the opposition, they’re now screaming their head of about how elections were rigged. When we submitted the report to them, they did nothing about it. Now they are screaming.
Former Governor of old Kaduna state, Alhaji Balarabe Musa once referred to the calling for restructuring as a Separatists agenda, what is your thought on this?
I am always scared to react to statement by people because sometimes you always confer too much weights on what is been said especially when it doesn’t make sense. How can the call for restructuring be equated to separatism? People who are calling for restructuring say look at the the Constitution at Independence or if you like look at the Constitution of 1963 compare it the Constitution we have now and you will see that there is too much power vested in the centre and very little power at the State and local government level. It was not like this at independence, at the eve of the coup. It was the military that changed it. Now that the civilian are in charge let us go back to 1963 so that local government can manage affairs at the local government level, State government can manage affairs within the State environment and that the Federal government would then manage very limited issues like foreign affairs, defense among others. Bring out the 1963 Constitution, bring out the 1999 Constitution and look at the subject listed under State government and look at what is listed out for the Federal government, you will see, the blind will see the deaf will hear the difference. Let us go back to what functioned for Nigeria. That is all restructuring is all about. So what has it got to do with separatism? I was the deputy chairman of the national conference, all these issues came up with 600 recommendations. And each recommendation was adopted unanimously. The report is there, if you don’t like the report, set up a committee to take a look at all the reports on structural changes in the country that have been advocated and take the one addressing the problem of the day. I don’t see how that amount to separatism unless you want to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it. In any case has the El-Rufai committee not also called for restructuring?
Who then is afraid of Restructuring?
I don’t know. Maybe Balarabe Musa. People who don’t like restructuring, are the people benefiting from the overwhelming power attached to the centre.
What is your take on the call by Professor Wole Soyinka for State of emergency on security in South-west?
What would be achieved by the call because all the element on security are under the control of the Federal government . Without changing the Constitution, you cannot transfer some of those powers to the States. You cannot transfer by just declaring a state of security emergency. Declaring a state of emergency will not give governors power over the Nigerian army within the South-west region . Prof. Soyinka means well as himself is fed up with the state of insecurity. He’s angry about it and he came up with what he think is solution to it but if we think is not going to yield the desired result, let us think about other alternatives.
How can Nigeria live in peace and unity?
The totality of what we desire is to allow local government to handle what should be handled at the local government level, State government to handle what needs to be handled at the State level. That’s the sum total of what will work. At the local government level they know the criminals among them. If there is synergy between the authorities at the local government and the local government police, if there is trust, people themselves will inform the local police where bad group hang out and the local police will investigate because they know the nooks and cranny of the village. But when the security in the village is depended on decisions taken in Abuja, it won’t work. Secondly, the decision that affect unemployment cannot be taken in Abuja for the whole country. Panadol doesn’t cure every headache. But, the State government has the power and the resources to fix the roads under there jurisdiction, that would provide employment if the state have control over whatever it is that is localized in there area, they can address a lot of these issues. Finally, policies that are then made by the local government or the State government cannot violet the custom and culture of that particular area . It cannot because they are aware of the peculiarity culture over land. I cannot go to my village and want to build on a plot of land. But if I come from an area where the policies are different. In other words, let the local government do what can efficiently be done by them rather than some colossus called federal government. Restructuring was advocated even when Obasanjo was President, it was advocated when Jonathan was President. After-all Jonathan was in power when the 2014 national Conference was flagged off and we created the blue print for decentralization of the country. All I am saying is not targeting Buhari but targeting a bad constitution which need to be rewritten.
But its the responsibility of the National Assembly to determine better constitution?
The National Assembly will not do it if the NGOs and civil society groups seat on their behind and not put pressure on the nation’s Assembly.
Is the 9th Assembly a rubber-stamp?
I don’t know if they are rubber-stamped or Guguru stamped or Epa stamped. All I am saying is it has to be a synergy between the people. It’s easy to blame the the government but what are the NGOs and the civil society organisations doing? There are so many case that should go to court. You know the Court can amend the constitution through interpretation. But if you don’t take a case to court, how can the court help to amend the constitution. If cases are not taken to court? Unfortunately civil society organisations, NGOs are busy fighting other big battles maybe because where they get their money from they have their own agenda different from the agenda at home. How will the national assembly feel the heat from the people if there are no demonstration. When I say demonstration, I don’t mean a one million match. 20 thousand people can paralyse the work of the national Assembly. Demonstrations everyday with focus on what they want. When the National Assembly feels the heat, they will start to respond but if they don’t feel the heat from the people, they feel the people are not ready for change. But in fairness there have been silent changes in the nation’s Asssembly from 1979 up till now. Not enough changes but they have amended the constitution not enough but they have made changes.
What is your thought on the issue of presidential zoning ?
That is not the major problem facing Nigeria. There are many more critical issues affecting the existence of Nigeria than talking about zoning ahead of 2023.
What is more existential in Nigeria than the controversial Presidential zoning ahead of 2023?
We have the issue of Ruga. We have youth unemployment. We have the issue of an over burdened federal government as against decentralization we have been talking about. We have the issue of State police, local government police, are these not issues that have an immediate impact on the existence of Nigeria? After all from 1979 up till now, we have rotated offices, what good has it done this generation in providing employment for the youths? What good has it done the standard of education in our universities? It hasn’t raise the status of our universities to being among the first 100 in the world. Instead we clap for being among 20 in Africa. In the 60s, I grew up at a time when Nigerian university is rated among the best in the world. We keep going down. There was a time a coup took place and they announced that one of the reasons was because our University teaching hospitals are mere consulting clinics, has it gotten any better since then? And we are talking about zoning presidency. Please!
How did we get here ?
We got here because we have never been allowed to have free, fair and transparent election in Nigeria. Even the British rigged elections in Nigeria. I was reading how the British rigged election in Nigeria. There are two Nigerian files in the British secret archives affecting Nigeria history. These files are suppose to have been declassified so scholars could have access to it. The British two years ago re-embargoed it for another 50 years. What is in those two files that the British don’t want us to know? What exactly are there? They want this present generation to die off before the declassify those files. We have never been allowed to choose our leaders, maybe that’s how we got to where we are. Because they are going to rig elections, do programmes matter, do party manifestos matter, even if they allow you to vote, they won’t count your vote. This means you cannot pick your leader and you cannot punish leader who don’t deliver, you can not show preference of leaders with better appreciation of the problems and you cannot change leaders when they are failures. That how we got to where we are.
Is there light at the end of the tunnel?
It maybe the light of the train that is going to crush all of us. But I don’t see any light at the end of any tunnel. I don’t even see the end of the tunnel not to talk about seeing a light.
Do you agree with Prof. Soyinka that Nigeria is heading toward extinction?
It heading that way but It doesn’t mean it will get there because of that indomitable spirit in people to fight back. Maybe when we actually see the edge, all of us would say no, we are not going to allow this. Never give up hope. Keep hope alive. Human history is not made by people giving up hope. It has never been and it will never be. We just haven’t got to our own stage of fighting back. We will get there. We will eventually fight back.
Gambia:Sheikh Omar Faye is New Defence Minister
August 23, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Ajong Mbapndah L
In a cabinet shakeup in Gambia, President Adama Barrow has appointed Sheikh Omar Faye as Minister of Defence. Omar Faye a former Ambassador of the Gambia to the USA was until his appointment Consul General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Acting under sections 71 (3), 71 (4), 167, and 168 of the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia has made the following changes in his Cabinet with effect from Thursday, 22nd August, 2019 , the shakeup saw the departure of Ebrima M.Mballow as Minister of Interior. He was redeployed to the Foreign Service. Former Inspector General of the Gambia Police Force Yankuba Sonko is the new Minister of Interior
The Permanent Secretary at the Office of the President Muhammed B.S. Jallow was appointed as the new Secretary General and Head of the Civil service in replacement of Ebrima O.Camara redeployed to the Foreign Service.
The new Defence Minister Sheikh Omar Faye served his country with brio in the tumultuous transition period. He was the first high profile Diplomat to publicly urged President former President Yaya Jammeh to peacefully hand over to Adama Barrow who had been proclaimed as the winner of the 2016 elections. For this, Faye was fired by Jammeh before been reinstated.
Gambians and friends of Gambia gave Faye great credit for the tact and patriotism that guided his actions during chequered transition period. His stint as Ambassador saw the acquisition of a building to host the Gambian Embassy, and a more vibrant relationship with Gambians in the USA.
Kagame and Museveni agree to end hostilities
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Maniraguha Ferdinand
President of Rwanda Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has come to the agreement after signing memorandum of understanding to end years of hostilities between the two countries.
The agreement was signed this Wednesday in Luanda the capital city of Angola before the host president João Lourenço; Félix Tshisekedi of Democratic Republic of Congo and Denis Sassou Nguesso of Republic of Congo.
Inside the agreement, both parties have agreed to respect the sovereignty of each other’s and of neighboring countries, refrain from conducive to destabilization or subversion in the territory of other party and neighboring countries thereby eliminating all factors that may create such perception as well as that of acts such as financing, training and infiltration of destabilizing forces.
Rwanda has been accusing Rwanda of imprisoning, torturing Rwandans living in Uganda without giving them justice. It also accuses Uganda of supporting groups that aim at destabilizing Rwanda.
Uganda has accused Rwanda of sending spies on its territory.
Both countries have agreed to protect and respect the rights and freedoms of nationals of the other party.
Since March this year, Rwanda had advised its nationals to avoid crossing to Uganda, over ill treatment they may get if they enter. The busy Gatuna border was also closed on Rwanda side, thus bothering the movement of goods and persons.
The Agreement signed today urges both party to resume as soon as possible the cross border activities including the movement of persons and goods.
After signing, President Kagame promised to act accordingly with the agreement, and he said it is not difficult to do so.
“I think it is not very difficult to address many of the problems we have had, it may take a bit of time to understand each other but I think we have come a long way”, said Kagame adding that “I see no problem in Rwanda working with President Lourenço, President Tshisekedi and more specifically with President Museveni to address what we have agreed to address.”
Kagame emphasized that “when you have an open border, you have goods and people. When you create a problem for people to move across the border from one side to another, then you have closed the border to people and goods.”
For Kagame, respecting the agreement means respecting mediators who brought both countries together.
“We are not going to be found wanting in not only respecting the communique, but also our brothers who have brought us together to reach this understanding”, he added
President Museveni noted that even the problem was in the line of being resolved however the agreement comes as reinforcement.
“I was already in touch with President Kagame through our own channels, but this came as a reinforcement. We are just re-affirming what we have always held as principles of the African Union”.
The pact that was signed says that agreement enter into force immediately upon signature.
Cameroon: Serious Fair Trial Violations In Such A Rushed Process- ICC’s Charles Taku on Life Sentence for Ayuk Tabe & Others
August 21, 2019 | 1 Comments
By Ajong Mbapndah L
Chief Charles Taku, immediate past President of the International Criminal Court Bar Association- ICCBA, says the trial and life sentence slammed on Julius Ayuk Tabe and others does little to foster the peaceful settlement of the current dispute as articulated by the international community. In an interview with Pan African Visions, the legal luminary says there were serious fair trial violations in the rushed process that culminated in the sentence for Ayuk and others arrested in Nigeria and brought to Cameroon .
To Chief Taku, the prompt condemnation of the sentences is a clear indication that the leadership of the struggle will unite no matter what to confront this and other challenges on the way towards attaining their defined objectives
“International justice may never entirely look away from impunity and atrocity crimes;” Chief Taku said in warning to those excelling in gross human rights abuses.
Chief Taku, what is your reaction to the jail sentences to Julius Ayuk Tabe and his co-detainees abducted from Nigeria?
The trial and its outcome do not advance the objectives of a peaceful settlement of the dispute favoured by the International Community.
From what you have learned, on what grounds did the court based its arguments in giving its verdict?
The information that I have about the judgment is incomplete. However, I have learnt that the trial, conviction and judgment took place in one day, underscoring the fact that the trial might have been rushed. I cannot second guess the reasons for the rush to convict and sentence them to life imprisonment. There must be serious fair trial violations in such a rushed process.
Is there any legal precedent for this kind of cases in Cameroon?
Precedents exist within the legal framework that existed in the past. Since the enactment of a new Criminal Procedure Code a few years back, it is no longer possible to conduct a trial of this magnitude in a single day, deliberate, convict and enter judgment. Each process in a trial requires procedural fair trial imperatives that may give rise to interlocutory appeals. Without a copy of the judgment before me, I am unable to ascertain the fair trial hurdles the tribunal panel surmounted to attain this feat.
What options are available for Ayuk and others, could the judgement be appealed?
This is one case where the integrity of the trial will be tested on appeal. Fair trials and the due process of the law has taken central stage in the international human rights regime. This appellate outcome of this trial and judgment will surely define the extent to which Cameroun is compliant with international human rights treaty obligations.
Looking at the whole conduct of the case, what does this tell the world about justice in Cameroon?
The world will surely not make an informed determination about the quality of justice in Cameroon and Cameroon’s commitment to its international human rights multilateral treaty obligations based on an informed evaluation of this and other judgments. What I am certain is that, international human rights bodies have expressed strong reservations about submitting civilians to court-martials and military justice. This type of justice is unconstitutional even under the operating Cameroun’s constitutional arrangement.
Just a hypothetical question Chief Taku, if this case was on trial in the kind of common law system that Anglophones Cameroonians clamor for, how different would the process have been?
A fundamental attribute of justice is fundamental fairness. Through fair trials, the standards and precedents for future trials are established, including trials in which the judges themselves may be defendants some time along the line. This is the threshold on which the common law system that Southern Cameroonians once upon a time enjoyed and are clamoring for. To underscore the rationale for this quest for a credible system of justice where rule of law and fair trials are well-founded, permit me to quote the memorable submissions of the Hon. Justice Robert H. Jackson of Counsel for the United States before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg established to hold Nazi war criminals accountable for the crimes that shocked the conscience humanity on November 21, 1945, reminded the Military Tribunal and the world at large that: “Fairness is not a weakness but an attribute of our strength. We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants today is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well. We must summon such detachment and intellectual integrity to task that this trial will commend itself to posterity as fulfilling humanity’s aspirations to do justice”
At a time when people are calling for dialogue, what impact do you think the sentencing of Ayuk, and others could have on the present crisis?
The trial, conviction and sentencing to life imprisonment of Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and others may complicate the much sought after but so far elusive dialogue to examine the root causes of the crisis. I strongly call for the vacation of these sentences and their release to facilitate the dialogue and the peace process.
Some people have mooted the idea of a Presidential pardon or the kind of amnesty that was granted to people like Issa Tchiroma, and others accused of plotting the 1984 coup d’état, do you see this as an option?
I cannot second-guess the political calculations of the government of Cameroon in pursuing this route when the international community is insistently calling for an all-inclusive dialogue with no preconditions to tackle the root causes of the conflict. Most people believe that these sentences and others before and perhaps after, will not bring about an acceptable solution to the crisis that is claiming the lives and property of millions of civilians. The sentences will complicate and aggravate the peace and security situation. Will an amnesty or pardon attenuate the situation? I sincerely cannot tell. What I believe is that a prompt vacation of the sentences no matter how, may be a palliative to calming the storm in attempts to averting an escalation in times when the mode of the international community is for a negotiated settlement.
There has been near unanimity from all segments of the fractured leadership in condemning the verdict, could this move have the unwitting effect of uniting the various leadership factions of the Southern Cameroons struggle?
Indeed, there were clear indications that the various components of the leadership were pussyfooting towards some form of unity towards the prosecution of the struggle and the proposed peace process. This move towards unity might have been fast tracked had some activists not kept the fuel of disunity, needless rancor and misdirected antagonism alive. Activists have played a critical role in this struggle and may continue to do so. However, they must be alive to the fact that their intended audience is more sophisticated that some of them can image. They must finetune their language of delivery of their ideas or commentary to meet acceptable degrees of decency, respect and humility. The prompt condemnation of the sentences is a clear indication that the leadership of the struggle will unite no matter what to confront this and other challenges on the way towards attaining their defined objectives.
And for all those perpetrating gross human rights abuses, could the ICC that you are part of hold them accountable someday?
I am just a lawyer at the international criminal court and other international criminal tribunals but I may venture to state that International justice may never entirely look away from impunity and atrocity crimes.
Between extortion and the sanctity of Petroleum contracts in Nigeria, DRC and Senegal
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
Investors need to know that their investments are safe and that they will be protected by the law in case the other parties falter on their obligations
By NJ Ayuk*
Last week, a commercial court in the United Kingdom gave reason to a claim by engineering company Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID), which demands over USD$9 billion from the Nigerian government over a failed gas deal. The decision follows a 2017 arbitration award and turns it into a legal judgement, which could allow P&ID to seize Nigeria’s international commercial assets.
P&ID’s claim is based on a 2010 contract signed with the government of Nigeria for the construction and operation of a “gas processing plant to refine natural gas (“wet gas”) into lean gas that Nigeria would receive free of charge to power its national electric grid,” the company’s website states. Under the deal, the Nigerian government should have provided the necessary infrastructure and pipelines needed to supply gas to the plant. P&ID would build the plant for free and then operate it and commercialize the output for a period of 20 years.
The company claims that over this period it would have earned USD$6.6 billion in profit, an incredible figure that becomes ever more fantastic as the company claims that the yearly 7% interest it is supposedly charging on this capital has now accrued to USD$2.4 billion, at the rate of USD$1.2 million a day, which closes the full amount at a perfectly round USD$9 billion. The whole situation is in itself extremely puzzling. Afterall P&ID, a company created specifically for this project, is claiming it is entitled to the full amount of what it would have gained over a period of 20 years of work, even though that period would not be over for another decade and some. Further, it is already charging interests on capital it would, if the project went forward, it would still be a decade away from generating. On top of that, it has chosen to pursue the matter in a British court, and has a separate law suite in an American court, when the contract was signed in Nigeria, under Nigerian law, and should be pursued in a Nigerian court, as the Nigerian legal team has repeatedly stated.
Nigeria is seeking an appeal to the decision, but P&ID is not wasting any time in trying to seize Nigerian assets abroad, and it might well manage to do so, at least in part.
Further, P&ID has never even broken ground on the construction of this power plant, which it claims would have benefitted so many thousands of Nigerians. The company has reportedly spent USD$40 million on preparatory work, although it is impossible to attest what that work has been.
Even just looking to the amount spent, work done and compensation sought, the figures seem simply absurd. USD$9 billion corresponds to 20% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves, it would be unthinkable that a nation state would pay that much capital to a small unknown enterprise that invested not but a small fraction of that amount in the country and done none of the contracted work. Further, it is perplexing that a British court would even consider such a decision.
However, this issue represents an important cautionary tale for African governments everywhere. Very few things matter more in the struggle to attract investment and build a favourable business environment that will push the economy forward than the absolute sanctity of the contracts signed.
Investors need to know that their investments are safe and that they will be protected by the law in case the other parties falter on their obligations, as it seems to have happened with the Nigerian government. It is by no means the first time a situation like this happens. Just in March, an international court ordered the Democratic Republic of Congo to pay South African DIG Oil Ltd USD$617 million for failing to honor two oil contracts. This is an unacceptable and unjustifiable loss of capital for the people of the DRC. Particularly taking into account that the loss is incurred because the country’s leaders failed to comply with a contract that could have brought a considerable amount of wealth for the country for many years to come, in both royalties and taxes, as well as help develop its oil industry.
Senegal’s government under President Macky Sall was very smart to avoid this kind of litigation when it was confronted with the issue of the Timis Corporation and its ownership of acreage that included the Tortue field, which is estimated to contain more than 15 tcf of discovered gas resources. If President Macky Sall would have proceeded with terminating a valid contract for the acreage, the Timis Corporation would have engaged in arbitration and would have probably gotten a favorable judgment against Senegal. In the process, the gas fields would have sat dormant and produced no returns for Senegal and its citizens. Sometimes leaders are confronted with tough choices and it takes a profile in courage to find solutions and still respect the sanctity of contracts.
Even with criticism from civil society groups, Equatorial Guinea has honored contracts with U.S. oil companies that many oil analysts believe are unfavorable to the state. This principle has kept Equatorial Guinea’s oil industry stable and US firms continue to invest in new projects like the EGLNG backfilling project with Noble, Atlas Oranto, Glencore Marathon and the state.
African leaders and African nations can not afford this sort of mistakes anymore. If on the one hand, contracts must be respected, protected and followed through, the people in charge of evaluating and signing those contracts must have the project’s feasibility as the dominant reasoning behind any decision. What is the purpose of signing contracts for fantastic projects where there is neither the capital nor the conditions to pull it through. Our economies live out of their reputation too. No investor wants to work in a system where contracts are not honored and where their investments are not protected.
While P&ID’s request for USD$9 billion in compensations seems absurd, companies that see the contracts they sign with African governments, or any governments, disrespected, must have the right to claim compensation, just in the same way that African leaders must be responsible for the contracts they sign and must make sure that situations like this do not repeat themselves. Enough money has been wasted on lawsuits that could be used to benefit the lives of Africans. This is true for the oil and gas industry and in any other industries.
*NJ Ayuk is the CEO of Centurion Law Group, Executive Chairman of the Africa Energy Chamber, author of the upcoming book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals.
With Brand New Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal and a Gas Mega Hub, Equatorial Guinea Drives the African Game
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
The new plant is being built at the Port of Akonikien, on Equatorial Guinea’s mainland, by local contractor Elite Construcciones
MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, August 20, 2019/ — Equatorial Guinea made yet another step closer to becoming a gas hub for Africa today as it inaugurated the first LNG storage and regasification plant to be built on the West African coast. While West Africa is a major global exporter of gas from Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea, no import infrastructure had been installed until now to encourage the import and use of African gas within Africa itself.
The new plant is being built at the Port of Akonikien, on Equatorial Guinea’s mainland, by local contractor Elite Construcciones. With a storage capacity of 14,000 cubic metres in 12 bullet tanks, it is the first of its kind and allows LNG to be distributed on the mainland. Along with the storage and regasification infrastructure, Elite is also installing a truck loading station and 12km of gas and diesel pipelines.
Making the announcement during a visit in Kogo, at the border with Gabon, H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, said the terminal is the first of many upcoming projects under the LNG2AFRICA initiative. “LNG2AFRICA has a clear objective of developing small-scale LNG projects to supply gas to countries and regions with limited infrastructure,” declared Minister Lima. “At a time when Africa’s large-scale LNG projects are making headlines, let’s remind ourselves that smaller-scale projects addressing the needs of energy-deficient regions provide opportunities to monetise our gas for our economies, and to mobilise our local companies around key infrastructure projects for the region.”
The Akonikien project is an example of a cost-efficient and clean energy solution to the energy needs of mainland Equatorial Guinea. Once stored and regasified, gas will be transported by trucks and pipelines to various industries such as power and cement. The project demonstrates the expertise that Equatorial Guinea has gained over decades in LNG and natural gas, which can now be used to not only benefit its mainland but also neighbouring West and Central African countries seeking to increase their use of natural gas for electricity and industries.
“We congratulate the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons and Elite Construcciones on this remarkable achievement,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber (EnergyChamber.org) and CEO of Centurion Law Group, who advised on the project. “This is a beautiful example of local content development and world-class cooperation between a local company and international technical and technology partners.”
The project’s infrastructure notably includes the world’s largest factory-built cryogenic bullet tanks, built by US company Corban Energy Group. “Each tank alone will take about 12h to move the thousand metres from the port to the new plant,” explained Marisol Ovono Nchama, CEO of Elite Construcciones, main contractor on the project. “Elite Construcciones has worked closely with German companies Noorwerk and ESC on the design and construction of the plant, and we are all very proud to be part of this achievement and look forward to more LNG2AFRICA projects,” she added.
In April of this year, Equatorial Guinea had also signed the Definitive Agreements for the monetization of gas from its Alen Unit. Under the agreements, Atlas Oranto Petroleum, Noble Energy, Marathon Oil, Glencore and Guvnor, are investing close to $350 million on pooling supply from stranded gas fields in Equatorial Guinea and the Gulf of Guinea and replace declining output from the Alba field. The development of the Alen offshore gas hub was then the first step towards Equatorial Guinea’s vision to become a gas mega-hub for the sub-region by developing several offshore gas hubs to monetize neighboring gas reserves and develop downstream gas industries spurring industrial development and economic growth.
Nigeria: Supreme Court strikes out Atiku, PDP’s appeal
August 20, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Teslim Olawore
The Supreme Court on Tuesday has suspended proceedings to rule on the controversial INEC server.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the last presidential election, Atiku Abubakar had approached the apex court seeking permission to be allowed access to a supposed server.
Atiku and PDP are insisting that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC used a central server where the results of the 2019 general elections were transmitted.
Recall that the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) had on June 24, 2019, dismissed an application by Atiku and the PDP requesting permission to have access to the said central server.
It is the June 24 decision of the Tribunal that Atiku and the PDP appealed at the Supreme Court.
The Justice Datijo Mohammed-led panel of the Supreme Court, after taking arguments from Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, (for the appellants); Yunus Usman, SAN, (for INEC); Wole Olanipekun, SAN, (for President Muhammadu Buhari) and Charles Edosomwan, SAN, (for the All Progressives Congress), rose briefly to consider the arguments and return for its decision.
The Tribunal, at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, had, while dismissing the application by Atiku and the PDP, held that INEC had denied the existence of the said server and insisted that results of the election were not electronically transmitted into any server as claimed by the petitioners, adding that granting the application of PDP and Atiku would amount to deciding the central issue in the petition at the interlocutory stage.
The court’s Presiding Justice, Mohammed Garba, who read the ruling, added that granting the application would imply that the court had “indeed recognised and found out that there is a central server into which results of the held on February 23, 2019, were electronically transmitted by the 1st respondent (INEC).”
Angola proposes MoU to solve Rwanda –Uganda impasse
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Maniraguha Ferdinand
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and Uganda’s Yoweri Kaguta Museveni are expected in Luanda, Angola on Wednesday, 21th August to sign a memorandum of Understanding that will end years of hostility between both countries.
The agreement was proposed by Angolan government according to Rwanda state Minister in charge of Foreign Affairs, Olivier Nduhungirehe.
Rwanda and Uganda’s relations has been tense for about three years, with one accusing another to be a threat to its national security.
On Wednesday, four Heads of state including João Gonçalves Lourenço of Angola, Felix Tshisekedi of Democratic Republic of Congo, Yoweri Museveni and a Paul Kagame are expected to meet in Luanda.
This summit follows another one that happened in July, where issues between Rwanda and Uganda were discussed with Angola standing as a mediator.
“ We have a quadripartite meeting in Angola on Thursday. Angola has proposed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Rwanda and Uganda”, Nduhungirehe told local media
Statement from Angolan government says that the summit will kick off 11 AM, aiming at signing of the instruments that enshrine the understanding reached between Rwanda and Uganda after steps undertaken by Angola assisted by DRC.
Nduhungirehe has declined to confirm if Rwanda will sign that Mou, he however insisted that Rwanda’s side will be revealed after the summit.
Stand off between Rwanda and Uganda has taken long, and It hurt the economy of both countries so badly as the busy border of Gatuna was closed.
Rwanda said the border was not closed due to the tensions, however analysts said the matter may have contributed.
Rwanda accuses Uganda of harboring dissidents who want to destabilize its security, with its nationals being held incommunicado in Uganda. Uganda retaliates the accusations, alleging that Rwanda send spies on its territory.
Both countries deny the allegations.
DRC resorts to visa requirements from Rwandans to curb Ebola outbreak
August 16, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Maniraguha Ferdinand
Since this Thursday no Rwandan national is allowed to cross into Republic Democratic of Congo without getting a visa.
The decision was made by General Directorate of Immigration in DRC after Ebola outbreak killed more than 1800 since August last year.
Rwandans who live in Rubavu district bordering with Goma City of DRC, used to cross to DRC upon presenting their identity cards.
Now any Rwandan who want to cross to Goma, have to pay a visa worthy 20 USD with one year warranty.
Rwanda has also started asking visas DRC nationals interring its territory to curb the spread of Ebola outbreak.
Since last month, three people have died of Ebola in Goma city, raising the fear on Rwandan side.
More than thirty thousands people cross Rwanda-DRC border every day, including business people and students on both side.
Congolese officials told Radio Okapi on Friday that they aware of their people in Rwanda who are being required visas.
Rwanda has put much efforts into avoiding Ebola on its territory by screening anyone entering in the country and preparing a center were patients of Ebola could be treated if found.