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Mozambique: Business Community Decries Growing Insecurity.
December 9, 2020 | 0 Comments

Businessmen are concerned with the wave of kidnappings for later ransom, as well as the ongoing armed and terrorist attacks in central and northern Mozambique that make investment projects impossible.

The concern was raised by Álvaro Massingue, current vice-president of Mozambique’s influential private sector association, the CTA, and B-list candidate for president of the association.

This year alone 11 cases of kidnappings have been registered, involving businessmen or their families.

“This is a situation that worries our team,” he said. “We will do everything in our power to ensure that the wave of kidnappings is eliminated because it is negatively affecting investment projects

“Our proposal is greater collaboration with the police and justice authorities so that the environment of insecurity within entrepreneurs is overcome,” he added.

Police Chief Bernardino Rafael acknowledged in an interview with daily “Notícias” that the kidnappings are holding back investments and decapitalising the state.

“Terrorists will not enter the country for fear of being kidnapped and investors will not stay in national territory,” Rafael said. “So we can say that the kidnappers are enemies of the state because that tax that should be paid is being made impossible,” Rafael added, stressing that the state will not survive without a tax and therefore the police is doing everything to capture the kidnappers and hold them responsible for their criminal acts.

Elections at CTA are scheduled for 17 December, and Massingue is running against his current president, Agostinho Vuma.

“Our aim is to ensure that the interests of our members in particular and of the private sector in general are respected and safeguarded,” Massingue said at a press conference held on Monday in Maputo to present the vision of his group.

He said that the basis of the application was to restructure the business association in order to design, implement and monitor economic policies and strategies that are capable of responding fully to the challenges that are imposed on the Mozambican economy.

This electoral moment comes at a time when the world, including Mozambique, is facing a deep economic and social crisis aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic which impacts are felt on all fronts.

Massingue promises to create an “investment fund” so that “in the medium and long term micro-enterprises can be transformed into small, small into medium-sized and medium-sized into large enterprises”.

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Kenya:Health crises as nurses and clinicians keep off work stations
December 9, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Dr. Stephen Mugusu

Operations in various public hospitals in Kenya were halted on Tuesday for a second day in a row after healthcare workers downed their tools.

Nurses and clinicians boycotted work on Monday protesting the poor working conditions in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic.

They are demanding for the provision of personal protective equipment (PPEs), salary and allowances payment among others.

Patients seeking treatment in public hospitals were turned away forcing others to go to private facilities while some returned to their homes as the workers kept off their working stations.

The workers have accused the government of taking too long to address their grievances on the fight against the novel virus. They have vowed to remain put until their plights are addressed.

So far 13 doctors, at least 26 nurses and 9 clinical officers have succumbed to the deadly disease in the East African nation since the first case was reported in March.

The latest victim is Dr. Stephen Mugusu who was attached at Stablehealth Medicare Clinic in Kitengela, Machakos County, eastern of the country.

Dr. Stephen succumbed to the virus yesterday (Monday) after struggling to breathe at the Intensive Unit Care of the Nairobi’s Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital.

His demise was confirmed by Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU).

“Devastating to announce the demise of 28 yr old Dr Stephen Mogusu who has succumbed to COVID-19 complications,” read the tweet by KMPDU.

The deceased was reported to have warned his colleagues to save themselves before it gets too late through a WhatsApp message.

“My dear colleagues, let me take this opportunity to admonish you today to get your pay or get out while you can with your health or life intact,” read part of the message.

Responding to the ongoing strike, the deputy president William Ruto castigated politicians urging health workers to shelve their demands.

The second in command said the issues raised by the frontline workers tackling the virus should be given first priority.

“I think it is reckless and irresponsible for anybody to say that we wait for political processes so that we can find the money to address the pandemic that we are in. I think that is putting the cart before the horse. Let us sort out the pandemic, the political processes will follow.”

“To be able to deal effectively with the health pandemic, there is no other place to start other than making sure that our healthcare workers are properly equipped with Personal Protective Equipment and they are paid and their allowances are taken care of and all the issues they have raised are addressed,” Ruto said.

However, he pleaded with the healthcare unions to put into consideration of the challenges the East African country is facing owing to the pandemic even as they want the government to address their concerns.

Ruto’s remarks came a day after the opposition leader Raila Odinga asked the doctors to save lives of Kenyans and not to hold the government ransom by the ongoing strike.

The coronavirus has killed more than 1500 people in Kenya.

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Ghana 2020:It is not all Dark and gloomy for Africa – NDI’s Christopher Fomunyoh
December 7, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jessica Ahedor

Dr Fomunyoh lauds Ghanaians for the hard work put in to grow and sustain their democracy

The Senior Associate for Africa at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs Dr Christopher Fomunyoh   says it is not all that “dark and gloomy” for Africa as he observes Ghana’s 2020 election. Comparing this year’s election to previous ones and the happenings on the African continent, he maintained the West African Nation, has seen a great improvement so far.

“At least it is not all that dark and gloomy for Africa. Observing successive elections in Ghana from 1996 till now there is a great improvement in a manner in which elections are conducted because I have witnessed how Ghanaians have work hard to perfect their electoral process and that is a good sign.”  

Dr Fomunyoh said as an international observer their work started even before the election day itself and from deployment of logistics and personnel to the process so far it is their hope Ghana will make Africa proud again at the end of the poll. Meanwhile voting has ended at 5pm in all 275 constituencies in 16 regions and counting has started.

* Full interview of Dr Fomunyoh with PAV West Africa correspondent Jessica Ahedor will be posted in the days ahead.

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Zimbabwe:Women remain at the receiving end .
December 7, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Nevson  Mpofu


Director of Pan-African Women Tendayi Westerhof

Pan-AFRICAN Positive Women Coalition PAPWC- has taken Zimbabwe by storm this year celebrating years of achievements towards ending HIV and AIDS by 2030. Yes, Zimbabwe has done it given the figure on ground. In felicity to this effective annual time event at Global level, the coalition cheers on this year’s theme ‘’Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility.’’

Pan-African Positive Women Coalition took it in a strive action-pack with emotions to die-down on the prevalence of HIV in the country. In achievement to this the workshop held on 2 December a day after the World AIDS day carried the objective, promoting shared responsibility and involvement of families in EMTCT, [ elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV] address Gender-Based-Violence and promote up-take of viral load testing during pregnancy and at delivery.

Taking a snap-shot from the ground Director of Pan-African Women Tendayi Westerhof says women voices must be amplified right from the grass-roots. This, done, captures all net-works from all walks of life.

‘’Let us amplify voices of women and girls living with HIV at all levels. This is done right straight from the rural community roots, in marginalized, vulnerable and poverty-stricken communities. Women remain on the receiving end. It means we have to network for that Health reason to address issues that matter most.’’

‘’The Women focused civil-Society build skills for women living with HIV in advocacy, Health Rights, Community monitoring and collection of evidence towards engagement in Unit-Health coverage.’’

‘’ As a country we are a bit step ahead because the prevalence rate of HIV transmission in adults is at 12 ,9% . It used to be far much high than that. Now that we have taken in Health interventions, prevention, treatment, care and support effort we are better than never at all.’’

‘’As an organization, we have looked at elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV in babies. Secondly on sexual and reproductive health rights looking at young girls exposed much to HIV and AIDS due to early forced marriages, early age of consent and lack of access to information. Also, we take a stretched looked out on factors fueling HIV that progresses to AIDS. ‘’

Doctor Mushavi , EMTCT  Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission  of HIV in Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Care  takes the country down memory lane  and back to the current situation on the ground .

‘’We have come a long way ‘’ , she adds  taking into accountability that 86,8% adults are aware of their HIV status . 97,0% are on ART [Anti-Retroviral Therapy] . 90,3% achieved viral-load suppression. ‘New infections rate is at 0,38% , 0,54% in women and 0,20% in men  . We have 1,23 million adults living with HIV and AIDS. It is high in women 15,3% , 10,2% men ‘’.

‘’What we are saying is that we want to see and observe complete elimination of HIV and AIDS by 2030. This is in line with the UNAIDS Goals. Moving on as we reach 2030, we completely eliminate HIV in babies born, meaning that HIV will be close to total elimination even in adults.’’

Africa Remains a burden to HIV.

Sub-Saharan Africa remains a threat to HIV dating back from the initial start. The World currently with 36 million people living with HIV, 28 million are from Africa. Africa remains impacted by issues that are social, political and economic. Social factors relate to culture and tradition like on cases of early child marriages exposes young girls to sexual transmitted infections, HIV and spread of other communicable diseases like water and food bourn, respectively cholera and gastro-intestinal infections.

Sub-Saharan -Africa especially Southern Africa is invaded by HIV-1 caused and more fueled by retroviruses which are more and most virulent than lentiviruses which are part of HIV-2 found in west Africa, Western World and American Region. It has been concluded that Africa with a total population of 1,2 billion population, above half of the total population is in absolute poverty. Still, situational poverty impacts more causing severe vulnerability. This has been an experience in Zimbabwe as result of Cyclone Idai. On top of the mentioned there are disasters, floods caused by lanina and elinina leading to types of droughts like meteorological, hydrological and Agricultural drought, a menace in many land-locked countries.

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Zimbabwe:Shamwari Ye-Mwanasikana Still Walks the Talk of GBV, Calls for Change of the Age of consent .
December 7, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu Munhumutapa

Shaking off GBV, gender-based violence took a morning motive gymnastic stretch of a bevy of women muscles to shake off gender-based-violence dust this week in Harare. Taking it on the stance against this practice of GBV now long overdue to talk of, formidable civil society organizations protecting rights of adolescents picks the fight with men.

 Stretching their bodies in Harare clad in white t-shirts this week mothers and young girls working with Shamwari Yemwanasikana , their friends  , partners and stakeholders dusted off remains of GBV declaring emancipation of women and the girl-child from the bondage of patriarchy .

Speaking to one of the young girls Nance Machokoto stresses a point that violence against women will be a thing of the past through effort of organizations like Shamwari Yemwanasikana . She points out as well that only two weapons need to be sharpened further on.

‘’It shall be a thing of the past. Organizations working with young people are out there picking fights to spread more and more of the weapons to fight back against mal-practices of patriarchy. We have done it in the great fight against GBV.

‘’It will be a thing of the past owing attention to the work done by several organizations at the front like Shamwari YeMwanasikana . We are a long way gone in terms of awareness, sensitization and advocacy. What’s next. We still work it out to further address equality and empowerment.’’

‘’Let us take it on in the long-protracted battle for emancipation of women. An equal society enjoys empowerment as well’’. ,

says a woman who had gone through aborted marriage long enough in pang of pain in forced marriage at tender Age.

‘’What we call for is an idea to talk about the age of consent. We want this to be changed. Age of 16 is still down for us. We are the adolescents we call for that change. ‘’

A lady who asked for anonymity raised a voice speaking during a one on one interview.

 ‘’Some things have changed for the best like education for all for young girls’’.

There is one area, they note it as equality and empowerment ..

Another pseudonym points out that age of consent must be higher than 16 , discussion that shall open out new ideas on how to go further .

‘’Once I taste sex at 16 years while in school it means a problem. Let us do it while in marriage. Tasting sex automatically means marriage.’’

Such was a talk with two other girls who pointed out that they are happy child marriages have been addressed but more still remains unsolved. The school age girls thank Non-Governmental organizations for their consented effort in addressing humanitarian issues in communities.

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South African Professor Daniël Christiaan de Wet Swanepoel wins prestigious African Academy of Sciences science prize
December 7, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Professor Daniël Christiaan de Wet Swanepoel

The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) is pleased to announce Professor Daniël Christiaan de Wet Swanepoel from University of Pretoria, South Africa, as the winner of the 2018 Olusegun Obasanjo Prize for Scientific Breakthrough and/or Technological Innovation.

Prof Swanepoel was selected for the prestigious award prize for his innovative and highly impactful research work in tele-health and mobile health (mHealth), specifically in the field of audiology. He has collaborated on and conducted numerous research studies on using smartphone technologies to provide equitable access to hearing healthcare services, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

Professor Felix Dapare Dakora, the President of the African Academy of Sciences, says,“Congratulations to Prof Daniël Christiaan de Wet Swanepoel for achieving this feat. This award is a testament to his ingenuity in audiology and his dedication to improving the quality of life of Africans suffering from hearing impairment.

“Prof Swanepoel has pushed the boundaries in science to come up with innovative and impactful solutions to improve ‘ear and hearing care’ in Africa. As I extend my congratulations to him, I also welcome him to our growing membership of Fellows.”


The AAS awards the Olusegun Obasanjo Prize for Scientific Breakthrough and/or Technological Innovation every two years to honour African scientists who have made outstanding contributions in scientific discovery or technological innovation. Winners automatically become Fellows of the AAS as individuals who have reached the highest level of excellence in their field of expertise and have made contributions to the advancement of the field on the African continent.

“It is an honour to receive this prestigious award and it serves as a further inspiration to see access to healthy hearing become a reality for every African” said Prof Swanepoel. 

Named after former President of Nigeria, H.E. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the prize will be given to Prof Swanepoel at the 12th AAS General Assembly (GA), themed, Converging the Sciences, Changing the Culture. As the third South African to win the AAS Prize, Prof Swanepoel will receive a prize of $5,000 and also give a public lecture at the GA event, which is taking place from 7-9 December 2020, virtually due to the current global circumstances.

As per tradition, the AAS organises the GA event with a country co-host, and this time, the continental academy is collaborating with the British University in Egypt (BUE).

Prof Barthelemy Nyasse, Secretary General of the AAS and host of the meeting, says,“We are pleased to be hosting the 12th GA in collaboration with the BUE. With this event we are not only providing a platform to showcase our achievements as an Academy but also that of science in Africa and to provide a platform to raise the profile of our scientists.”

Professor Yehia Bahei-El-Din, BUE Vice President for Research adds, “We are delighted to be the first university to host AAS GA in Egypt and we see this as an opportunity to boost collaboration between researchers across Africa as well as pave the way for exchange of scientists.”

The 12th GA, which will also induct new Fellows and Affiliates who joined the AAS in 2019, will include a session for scientists to showcase their research, which will be open to the public.
 

Professor Swanepoel is a Full Professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Pretoria and Senior Researcher at the Ear Science Institute Australia. He has 20 years of experience in ear and hearing research and is widely recognised as a leading international scholar with more than 160 peer-reviewed articles, books and book chapters. Professor Swanepoel’s research capitalises on the growth in information and communication technologies to explore, develop and evaluate innovative technologies and service delivery models to improve ear and hearing care. This translational area of research is primarily focussed on making ear and hearing health accessible, especially in low- and middle-income countries.Other South African Winners of the Prize include Professor Salim Abdool Karim and Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, who were the inaugural winners of the prize in 2011 for their highly acclaimed work on the use of the microbicide and Tenofovir gel. The third winner was the late Professor Viness Pillay
who won the Prize in 2013 for his pioneering work in developing an oral formula for administering antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to children.Professor Swanepoel’s public lecture can be watched at 10 am EAT on 9 December via the link bit.ly/2JrnQ8R

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Black-African Marketing Power-Couple Set to Launch African-themed picture books collection for Children between ages 3-8, on December 15, 2020
December 7, 2020 | 0 Comments

Kunda Kids, a company founded by marketing powerhouse couple Louisa and Oladele Olafuyi has just released a collection of 4 picture books titled Africa’s Little Kings & Queens, a beautifully illustrated collection of picture books perfect for the next generation of young leaders, thinkers, and game-changers of Africa’s great history.

Kunda Kids was birthed by husband-and-wife Dele & Louisa Olafuyi during the Covid-19 lockdown. Unable to find modern, informative, and fun content for their son about Africa’s ancient history to keep him occupied during the lockdown, they decided to create their own. Together they began writing Africa’s Little Kings & Queens, which has now spread like wildfire within their community.

Also, in light of the resurgence of Black Lives Matter and the advent of Nigeria’s #EndSars protests, Louisa and Oladele believed it was important to counter-balance the constant negative stories and depictions of Africa. Their response was to provide positive narratives focused on the contributions real African heroes and heroines have made to the world to inspire the next generation.

Commenting on the need for representation of African themed books abroad, Louisa said, “Less than 5% of children’s books published in the U.K in last year had a black character, evidence of an industry that continues to under-represent children from minority ethnic groups. Children’s books are also six times more likely to feature animals as the main characters than BAME people.”

To support her claim, Kunda Kids partner, Oladele Olafuyi added, “When children literature and content, in general, fail to provide an accurate representation of individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, and races, the inaccuracies can register within children as true and as a result, breed ignorance, prejudice, and racism in the future.”

The collection, Africa’s Little Kings & Queens, includes four rhyming fictional stories inspired by four of ancient Africa’s influential leaders – Queen Yaa (Ghana), Mansa Musa (Mali), Queen Kitami (Uganda) and Shaka Zulu (South Africa), and is suitable for children 3 – 8 years old.

Each vibrant illustration is beautifully drawn and designed by Nigerian born and based Illustrators Isabelle Irabor and Tiolu Yoloye, with stories written by Louisa (Ugandan) & Oladele Olafuyi (Nigerian and edited by Krystle Appiah (Ghanaian).

At first, Oladele and Louisa intended the book series to be a Christmas gift for their son but friends and acquaintances started requesting copies. The couple quickly identified a gap in the market for children’s adventure stories about ancient African places and characters.

Parents have given reviews but worthy of note is the similar testimonial that says, “The books are suitable for children between ages 3 – 8 years, they are perfect for reading to little-ones and great for those learning to read independently.

As part of their purpose to inspire the next generation, Louisa & Oladele, founded Kunda Kids, a content creation studio aimed at producing books, songs, and animations to normalize positive and progressive stories on African themes for children. On November 28th, Kunda Kids was announced as the winner of the BYP Network Pitch 2020 event.

“These are incredible stories to be enjoyed by ALL children and the family.” One of the judges said while applauding their initiative.

The collection will launch on December 15th, 2020. Pre-orders have already exceeded expectations of over 1,000 books sold in the first week. Pre-orders include free stickers and four downloadable activity books for children, plus free shipping to the UK and Europe, and discounted shipping rates to U.S and Canada.

Beyond Africa’s Little Kings & Queens, Kunda Kids is currently working on developing board books, a picture book series on African Empires, nursery rhymes, and animations.

About Kunda Kids

Kunda Kids is an all-Black content creation team made up of writers, illustrators, editors, musicians and animators with a single purpose, to inspire the next generation of young people about ancient and modern African history and culture. We create high-quality books, songs and animations that are insightful, fun and engaging for children 0 – 8 years.

Media Contact: Louisa Olafuyi – Co-founder, (hello@kundakids.com) | www.kundakids.com

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African Countries Must Take a Balanced Approach to the Energy Transition
December 7, 2020 | 0 Comments

The road to energy transition might be bumpy for all of us, but the idea of banning all fossil fuels makes it exceptionally treacherous, if not impassable, for Africa.

By NJ Ayuk*

NJ Ayuk is Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, CEO of Centurion Law Group

Africa stands at a precarious juncture, where the transition from fossil fuels to renewables intersects with the economic benefits of a strategically managed oil and gas industry. 

Down one road, the continent expands exploration and production of its vast natural gas and oil reserves to bring electricity, fuel, and financial power to millions. Down the other, it yields to pressure to help achieve climate targets, including outright bans on fossil fuels that would eliminate funding for natural gas projects.

Is it possible to put one foot on each path? Absolutely. Doing what’s best for Africa and what’s right for the environment do not have to be mutually exclusive. Some form of balance is always possible.

On a continent where millions of families are using traditional, hazardous biomass for cooking, where 600 million people lack access to reliable electricity, the idea of leaving valuable oil and, especially, natural gas, in the ground seems neither practical, palatable, nor appropriate. In fact, as the African Energy Chamber’s newly released African Energy Outlook 2021 says, beyond the calamity created by COVID-19, in the short-term, the drive to curb carbon emissions is one of the conventional oil and gas industry’s biggest challenges — and one of Africa’s, too.

Curbing emissions is a noble and essential goal. The problems associated with climate change aren’t something we can look on from afar and let someone else worry about. After all, Africa is considered more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than many other areas, especially since so much of the population depends on regular rainfall to grow food crops. With a warming planet bringing drought and dust storms to one part of the continent and floods to another, affecting quality of life and livelihoods, we know first-hand how important climate justice is. We also understand that it’s our responsibility as global citizens to participate in energy transition. 

Within reason, that is.

Energy transition, the so-called path from fossil-based to zero carbon, cannot be applied with a broad brush. What will work in Norway isn’t always feasible in Namibia. What makes for sensible policy in London isn’t necessarily pragmatic in Lagos.

For one thing, Africa uses so little energy now, our emissions from oil and natural gas are minimal. In fact, the World Economic Forum estimates that if all of sub-Saharan Africa tripled its electricity consumption overnight using only natural gas, the additional CO­2 would be equivalent to just 1% of global emissions.

Admittedly, as rising incomes and population growth propel energy demand in Africa — we have the fastest growing population in the world, as well as the youngest — greenhouse gas emissions are likely to increase as well. That is, unless we follow an intelligent, modern energy plan that incorporates renewables along with natural gas. There’s room for both, as well as need: While solar power and wind can help provide electricity to fill the current and impending power void, neither can furnish feedstocks for industry, gasoline for transportation, or process heat for manufacturing.

Solar Power Has Great Potential

Harnessing a renewable resource for electricity is something African has history with. We’ve been using hydropower for decades. It makes sense, then, that we can transfer our experience to the adoption of solar power.

In fact, when it comes to solar power the future, pardon the pun, seems bright. Africa has already made considerable progress using solar photovoltaics (PV) to capture and convert abundant sunlight to ample energy. 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. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) suggested that, with the right policies in place, by 2030 Africa should be able to generate more than 70 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV capacity. Considering 1 GW could realistically power 300,000 American homes, that’s a significant figure.

But is it enough?

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), demand in Africa today is 700 terawatt-hours (TWh), with the vast majority — more than 70% — of the total derived from North African economies and South Africa. But the IEA predicted that by 2040, the fastest demand growth will come from sub-Saharan nations.

Can solar scale up to meet accelerated needs in time? Without natural gas in the energy mix — especially without the gas-to-power initiatives that are part of the 2030 Roadmap — will people remain in the dark?

And what can be done to take natural gas off the banned fossil fuels list?

We Must Curb Wasteful Gas Flaring

The biggest concern about the continued use of natural gas comes down to one word: Flaring.  

Flaring is the practice of routinely burning off associated natural gas that is produced from the reservoir during oil production. Flaring is often done for technical, safety, or regulatory reasons, but there’s no denying that routine flaring, which happens when the economics don’t support using the natural gas, is a waste of a precious resource. And even though nearly all — 99% — of natural gas is combusted when flaring is done under the right circumstances, when there are problems with the flame or other operating conditions, flaring can create a significant environmental problem. Estimates from satellite data put the amount of COreleased into the air by flaring at 300,000 tons per year. And, unfortunately, that figure is on the rise: Between 2018 and 2019, the total increased by 3%.

It’s worth noting, however, that most of the increase during that period came from three countries: the United States, Venezuela, and Russia. Specifically, emissions during gas flaring rose 23% in the United States alone. Venezuela’s total increased by 16% and Russia was up by 9%. If you include Iran along with the other three, just four countries were responsible for 45% of all global gas flared between 2017 and 2019.

By contrast, in the rest of the oil-producing world, gas flaring has declined, down approximately 10% between 2012 and the first quarter of 2020.

That includes Nigeria, where flaring has dropped 70% over the last two decades, and Angola, where reducing flaring is part of a program to capture natural gas and convert it to liquefied natural gas (LNG) for export. State-owned Sonangol has partnered with four oil and gas majors, Chevron, BP, Eni, and Total, to develop a $12 billion offshore project to produce 5.2 million tonnes of LNG per year.

It’s heartening to know that five African countries – Algeria, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Gabon, and Nigeria – are among the nations, companies, and organizations that have joined in The World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR). This forward-thinking group is dedicated to identifying and overcoming the barriers to flaring reduction on a country-by-country basis. Through research, sharing best practices, and advancing flare measurements and reporting, GGFR is equipping the world to live with natural gas, the fossil fuel with the lowest carbon footprint, rather than try to live without it.

We Can Find a Balance

Like GGFR, the African Energy Chamber also seeks to balance what on the surface may seem like competing interests. While their mission is to make plentiful natural gas even cleaner so it remains a viable alternative in tomorrow’s modern energy mix, we would like to see a diversified energy industry in Africa where people and local businesses benefit from both fossil fuel activities and clean energy production.

We have only to look as far as Kenya to find a pertinent example.

The nation, which is home to east Africa’s largest solar generation plant, derives 93% of its electricity from renewables. Along with wind and hydropower, solar is responsible for increasing the proportion of the population who have access to electricity from 63% in 2017 to 75% today — a nearly 20% increase in just three years. As renewables become increasingly affordable, it is likely that wind and solar development will continue, although for now, it’s tough to find investors and financing to bring new projects online.

Economics are also at the heart of Kenya’s new oil and gas developments, and in a positive way. With the discovery of the massive Turkana fields in the nation’s north-western region, Kenya has an opportunity, albeit one that may be years away, to grow its oil and gas service sector, continue its new role as an oil exporter, and further diversify its economy. Legislation regulating oil exploration and production and outlining revenue-sharing will help local communities as much as they protect the government and companies.

This Isn’t The Time to Leave Resources Stranded

As the Chamber has stated, we are all for a diversified energy mix and are looking forward to seeing cleaner energy developments surface across the continent. Currently, however, solar and wind projects rely on global value chains, which limits their ability to support local jobs, business opportunities, and capacity building. Until this can be resolved, the renewable energy industry simply cannot offer Africa the same value as a strategic approach to our oil and gas industry. Natural gas production is particularly important, not only because of the role it can play in alleviating energy poverty, but also because of its potential to be monetized, to facilitate infrastructure development, and to foster the creation and strengthening of other sectors. And that, in turn, can lead to even more jobs, business opportunities, and economic growth for African communities.

Africa needs natural gas to light the way in both a literal and figurative sense. Our future is at stake, and we need to make our voices heard: We can curb emissions without cutting off a pathway to economic growth for the 20 African nations that have natural gas reserves. We can embrace clean energy without missing out on a critical means of giving more African households and businesses access to electricity. That’s a message we can’t let others drown out. The road to energy transition might be bumpy for all of us, but the idea of banning all fossil fuels makes it exceptionally treacherous, if not impassable, for Africa.

*NJ Ayuk is Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, CEO of Centurion Law Group, and the author of several books about the oil and gas industry in Africa, including Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals.

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Turning Blind Eye to Human Rights Violations, Corruption Hurts Africans Today and Tomorrow and the Oil and Gas Industry
December 7, 2020 | 0 Comments

By NJ Ayuk*

The recovery of the continent’s oil and gas sector requires the full cooperation of government and industry stakeholders to work together on lasting and impactful reform.

Nigeria has been attracting the world’s attention in recent months for all the wrong reasons.

Nigerians have taken to the streets to protest police brutality after social media users spread accounts of an unarmed youth being shot and killed by a police officer with the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The protests quickly grew, from their epicenter in Lagos, into a nationwide plea to end government corruption and widespread human rights abuses.

Violent police responses have only worsened the situation: At least 69 people have died across the country since protests began in October.

Calls to #EndSARS on Twitter and other social media streams are emboldening more and more citizens to demand government action. As Ayo Sogunro, a prominent Nigerian author and human rights lawyer put it, “People want some kind of systemic reform that would not just address police brutality in the present, but would also ensure that it is possible in the future.”

Police brutality is not new, and SARS has been involved in countless other examples of human rights violations — but in the past, no one was held accountable for such incidents. Today, thanks to technology and social media, the problem cannot be ignored any longer. President Muhammadu Buhari has responded with promises to dissolve the special forces, and the world will be watching to see if he follows through.

Unfortunately, the violence on the streets of Nigeria only represents one example of human rights violations taking place across Africa, from mass displacements to abductions to terrorist attacks. At the same time, government failures to address these atrocities — along with systemic corruption in many countries at the local and national levels — impact millions of Africans.

These practices must come to an immediate halt, first and foremost because they are horribly wrong.

What’s more, on top of the devastating impact that violence and corruption have on lives, on families, and on communities, they also jeopardize our opportunities to harness our natural resources to their full potential. In a free-market society, international energy companies will choose to operate elsewhere if corruption and human rights violations make a country too expensive and too risky for operations. That will result in missed opportunities that African countries cannot afford to lose. Opportunities to strategically harness our petroleum resources to grow our economies and bring about a better, safer quality of life for Africans. Opportunities to minimize energy poverty. And opportunities to lay a strong foundation for a successful energy transition.

To build a better future for Africans, we cannot be lackadaisical about addressing corruption, violence, and unacceptable treatment of men, women, and children. In addition to being wrong on every front, the devastation these activities cause today also rob Africans of a better future.

Five Million Euro Smear Advocacy, Hired Guns on Black Lives are not Human Rights and Anti-Corruption campaigners.

As a student at the University of Maryland, I was proud of my association with Amnesty international on campus and became a card carrying liberal. As the President of my law school’s student government, I decided to go to Darfur, Sudan to work with the United Nations on Human Rights and rule of law issues. Human Rights are important, and we must defend our liberty and promote justice.

We must all have a commitment to good governance and ending corruption in our continent. We must also avoid using this issue to attack the integrity of hard-working Africans and their officials. The mere accusation of an African of corruption can be career ending in the energy sector and to my greatest dismay, western companies know it and they have no hesitation branding Africans as corrupt.

Last week, Centurion Law Group accepted to litigate against corrupt Spanish Police Commissioner now in Jail, Jose Manuel Villarejo whom according to the Spanish government and its prosecutors, solicited and received 5 000 000 euros to spy, manufacture, photoshop and push for a smear campaign against Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, his teenage children, and many African businesses.

The corrupt Jose Villarejo hired Delfin Mocache Massoko the founder of Equatorial Guinea’s blog Diaro Rombe, both with a history of anti-Semitism, set up on Joint venture for their smear campaign. These two twins of deception in search for credibility, then hired OCCRP with a clear intent of publishing the fruits from a poisonous tree into mainstream outlets like Le Monde in France and El Pais in Spain. We can do better this. Too many black lives at risk for these kind of games and it will be interesting to know how much each of these parties received from Jose Villarejo Diaro Rombe Joint Venture.

If you talk about Human Rights and corruption, then you make the poster boy of your campaign a serial plagiarizer Delfin Mocache Massoko and a convicted corrupt cop Jose Villarejo that manufactures evidence, how can anyone trust the fruits of a poisonous tree. This corrupt cop Jose Villarejo has done an amazing job in convincing everyone in Spain as the government indictment claims that he is a lying, perjuring, genocidal racist, and he has testified willfully false in many cases against black and Jewish officials, black and Jewish businesses, black immigrants, and high ranking officials.

I want to apologize to Africans, jews and the people of Equatorial Guinea for the actions for Mr Delfin Mocache Massoko. His ego, anti-Semitism and love for money betrays our African spirit of Ubuntu. To team up with Jose Villarejo in his spy expedition against Mr Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima is outlandish, unfortunate and unwarranted. This is not the human rights activism we deserve and certainly not the corruption advocates that we want.

We Cannot Continue This Lose-Lose Cycle

In many cases, human rights violations and Africa’s ongoing struggle with systemic corruption go hand-in-hand. I agree with the managing director of the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa, Anton du Plessis, who has written that corruption is the most neglected human rights violation of our time.

“It fuels injustice, inequality and depravation, and is a major catalyst for migration and terrorism,” du Plessis wrote in 2016. “In Africa, the social and political consequences of corruption rob nations of resources and potential, and drive inequality, resentment and radicalization.”

In fact, the UN Economic Commission for Africa has reported that the continent loses $50 billion a year to illicit financial outflows.

As du Plessis wrote, “Corruption discourages donors and destroys investor confidence, strangling development, progress and prosperity.”

And it makes it all the harder for African countries to create a better future for their people.

Staying Competitive in a New Post-Pandemic Reality

When Standard Chartered surveyed American and European CFOs and other senior finance leaders earlier this year about potential growth markets to enter, only 13% listed Africa as one of their top three choices, and a measly 2% said Africa was their first choice.

As Standard Chartered Vice Chairman, Americas, Jeremy Amias noted in an opinion piece about the survey, the vast natural resources in Africa and abundant natural resources tend to be overshadowed by concerns about instability — at least in the eyes of foreign companies and investors.

“Africa also has a reputation as somewhere it is difficult to do business – indeed, only two African markets, Mauritius and Rwanda, currently feature in the Top 50 in the World Bank’s 2020 Ease of Doing Business rankings (although it is worth recognising that no Latin American nations feature in this group at all),” Amias wrote.

This is a particularly bad time to be perceived as an overly risky environment. If we want international oil companies to continue operating and investing in Africa — and we do — we need to consider their unique challenges and motivations.

COVID-19 has caused a dramatic plunge in demand for energy. As a result, many producers worldwide are feeling the hurt. When the pandemic-induced crash in demand, coupled with the Saudi-Russian price war, pushed us into “negative oil” territory this past spring — with producers essentially paying buyers to take oil off their hands —a number of multinational oil and gas companies began struggling to stay in business. Capital expenditures plummeted. Exploration projects went on hold. Months later, the industry is still in survival mode. And when companies do resume exploration and production operations, they’re going to be looking for locations where they stand to make a profit. They’ll seek out countries that do not pose unreasonable risks and where their investments will not make them complicit in human rights violations. It’s up to us to ensure that companies find what they’re looking for in Africa. The recovery of the continent’s oil and gas sector requires the full cooperation of government and industry stakeholders to work together on lasting and impactful reform.

Strong, straightforward leadership must establish and enforce legislation that protects human rights.

We recently made progress on that front when the African Union established the African Court on Human and People’s Rights, which adds an enforcement arm to the continent’s human rights institutions. But there is still a great deal of work to do. As Halidou Ouédraogo, head of the Union Interafricaine des Droits de l’Homme (UIDH), a network of non-governmental human rights organizations in 50 African countries, told African Renewal Magazine, African judges are often reluctant (or unable) to rule against their governments. The judges may depend on ruling parties for their positions — and in some cases, face arrest or assault for challenging their government’s actions. If judges face those obstacles, imagine how difficult it is for citizens, or even communities, to speak up or seek justice.

We must continue working to protect — and empower — Africans. And we can find examples to follow. Namibia, for instance, has an ombudsman’s office authorized to investigate human rights complaints. It is not perfect, and far too many Namibians remain unaware of their rights or lack the financial means to pursue justice in court. But it is encouraging to see Namibia’s non-governmental Legal Assistance Centre working to address this through awareness programs and volunteer efforts to expand public access to the courts.

Your People Are Watching

At the same time, African governments must strive to be transparent and work to end corruption in all forms, from the exploitation of workers to bribery to fraud. The more transparent a country’s government is, the more attractive the country is to international oil companies. Investors are drawn to the security and stability that comes with such transparency. Countries governed transparently are typically less prone to violence and corruption, as leaders are beholden to the people who can see whether their actions and their words align.

Transparency reform also must include the extractives sector and oil money management. African governments should follow guidance from groups such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative to establish best practices. Ultimately, a country’s natural resources belong to its citizens. Candidly showing how revenues make their way through the government and how they benefit the public goes a long way in fostering trust and acceptance of the operators. Rather than being wary and disdainful, an informed citizenry is more apt to support its leadership. Instead of feeling defensive and protective, a community is more likely to welcome drilling operations when it believes it, too, will ultimately benefit from the success of the extractions.

Ultimately, we must achieve what #EndSARS protestors in Nigeria are asking for — but on a much larger scale. African leaders must implement reforms that not only address human rights violations and corruption, but also ensure that they are not possible in the future.

Only then can we protect our people and communities. And only then will we be in a position to fully reap the benefits of a strategically managed oil and gas industry.

*African Energy Chamber

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Launch of the Africa Europe Foundation as a multi-stakeholder platform to reset Africa Europe partnership
December 7, 2020 | 0 Comments

Mo Ibrahim

Monday 7 December, London – The Mo Ibrahim Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of the Africa Europe Foundation. This open platform will facilitate strategic dialogue between diverse stakeholders from both neighbouring continents,  catalyse partnerships and unlock new opportunities that can reset and bolster Africa-Europe relations. Youth – the “now generation” – will play a key role in this new initiative. 

The Africa Europe Foundation is founded by Friends of Europe(a leading European think-tank) and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation(a leading African Foundation), in partnership with the African Climate Foundation(the first Africa-led strategic climate change grant-making foundation) and the ONE Campaign(a global movement and international not-for-profit organisation that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease).

The Foundation is an independent forum, creating space for honest, frank and interactive debate for better mutual understanding. Diverse stakeholders – institutions, governments, business, financing sector, civil society, experts, will gather around the same table to tackle shared challenges. It will drive fresh thinking around policy and unlock opportunities by acting as a partnership incubator for catalytic initiatives, joint projects and innovative processes in priority sectors of the Africa-Europe partnership.

Leading personalities from across Africa and Europe came together on 2 December 2020 to support the launch of this new Foundation. Speaking at the announcement of the Africa Europe Foundation, Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, Chair of the EAC (Eastern Africa Community), and Chair of the AUDA (AU Development Agency) AU/NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HOSGOC), said: “The Africa Europe partnership needs to be adapted to the times we live in today”. He added that, “Next year the Africa-EU Summit must convey this readiness for change and progress, and I look forward to the new Africa Europe Foundation preparing the ground”.

Charles Michel, President of the European Council, said: “The new EU-Africa partnership can play a leading role in putting people-to-people cooperation at the heart of the multilateral world”. He stated that he shared the ambition of the Africa Europe Foundation and that: “the Foundation is well-positioned to inspire and bring together diverse stakeholders, and to transform dialogue into action”. He added: “together we have the tools, the energy and the creativity to build a common future”.

The Africa Europe Foundation also received the firm support of personalities from across the two neighbouring continents present at the launch on 2 December. This included Mo Ibrahim, Founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation; Etienne Davignon, President of Friends of Europe; Amani Abou-Zeid, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy; Ayodeji Adewunmi Co-Founder & Director, Emprego Holdings; Zeinab Badawi Chair of the Royal Africa Society and Member of the Advisory Board of Afrobarometer; Hailemariam Dessalegn Boshe former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and former President of the African Union; Joaquim Alberto Chissano former President of the Republic of Mozambique and former President of the African Union; Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Dangote Group; Arancha González Minister of Foreign Affairs, EU and Cooperation of Spain; Donald Kaberuka High Representative for the Peace Fund of the African Union Commission and former President of the African Development Bank; Pascal Lamy Honorary President of Notre Europe-Jacques Delors Institute and former Director-General of the World Trade Organization; Festus Mogae former President of Botswana; Carlos Moedas, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Gulbenkian Foundation; former European Commissioner and former European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation,   Federica Mogherini, Rector of the College of Europe and former High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security; Louise Mushikiwabo, Secretary General of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie; Gayle Smith President and CEO of the ONE Campaign; Amina J. Mohammed Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group; Vera Songwe Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of Liberia and Nobel Peace Prize winner; Mary Robinson, Chair of the Elders and former President of Ireland; Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships.

The “High-Level Group of Personalities on Africa-Europe relations”, co-created in 2017 by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Friends of Europe and ONE, will assume the role of steering group for the Africa Europe Foundation. This includes orientating the work of five new Strategy Groups launched this week on Health, Digital, Agriculture, Energy, Transport and Connectivity, and composed of proven leaders from civil society, the youth sector, business and policymaking. The five Strategy Groups have been put together with research partners including IPEMED (Mediterranean World Economic Foresight Institute), the Policy Center for the New South (PCNS), the Next Einstein Forum, and the FERDI (Fondation pour les Études et Recherches sur le Développement International).

At the launch meeting, the High-Level Group (HLG) also endorsed the first flagship report of the Africa Europe Foundation for the Heads of State and Government. The HLG Report will be officially launched on 9 December and shows how an innovative “Africa Europe Climate Alliance” based on  mutual learning, shared interest and mutual benefits can be a key pillar for resetting the Africa-EU partnership. 

*Mo Ibrahim

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Cameroon :Gunshots, Ghost towns rock First-Ever Regional Council Elections
December 6, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Councillors voting in the North West Region in Cameroon’s first ever regional elections on December 6

Councillors in Cameroon have participated in the country’s first-ever regional council elections. The councillors went to the polls December 6, 2020, to elect their representatives at the Regional Council and those of the House of Chiefs for the South West and North West Regions.

The putting in place of Regional Councils will establish the special status for the North West and South West Regions; a strong recommendation of the Major National Dialogue.

From Mundemba, the chief town of the Ndian Division to Menji, the chief town of Lebialem Division, all in the South West Region and Wum, Menchum Division of the North West region, councillors came out in their numbers to participate in Cameroon’s first-ever regional council elections.

In compliance with the regulations in force, the polls started in the 272 polling stations at 8 a.m. and ended at 6 p.m

The paramount ruler of Nso, HRM Sehm Mbinglo speaking to the media said: “… what we want is peace, and that peace the Regional election will bring to us.” To the others who are yet to adhere to the peace endeavours, the paramount ruler said it is impossible to temper with the government.

The CPDM is running unopposed in elections in the North West for the first time since the rebirth of multiparty politics in 1990. And in the South West Region, the party faced limited resistance from other political parties as the party swept most of the council seats at the Municipal elections last year.

The proclamation of the results of this election will start as from today (December 6) by the Regional Supervisory Commission. In conformity with the legal provisions in force, the sessions as of right shall meet shortly to elect Regional Organs.

SDF Councillors defy party, participate in the elections

SDF councillors of Bamenda III, the only SDF controlled council in the North West actively voted at the December 6 polls. This was the case equally with SDF councillors in Douala. These decisions by the councillors to participate in the regional elections go against the party who had called for a boycott of the elections.

Reports from Bamenda indicated that the SDF Mayor for Bamenda III, Fongu Cletus and his assistant came out and voted alongside other councillors. When approached by Journalists for comments, he refused.

The councillors, 31 of them, arrive the former public works department at about 10 am and decided to perform their civic duties, though the SDF party is not taking part in the elections.

Ghost towns, Gunshots characterized voting Exercise in NW/SWRs

Inhabitants of the North West and South West Regions have before the D-day been living under a 3-day lockdown called by separatist fighters. Since Friday, December 4, some business premises have been shut down for fear of reprisals.

On Saturday evening, there were gunshots reported in Mile 16 after separatist fighters detonated an explosive device. No one was reportedly injured from the blast.

In Momo Division of the North West Region, a councillor of the CPDM-run Widikum council was reportedly shot dead after participating in the voting exercise, the Guardian Post reported. The Newspaper added that Encho Elias Ambi was reportedly killed during crossfire between separatist fighters and security forces outside mbengwi.

No incident likely to cast doubt on the credibility of the polls was recorded – MINAT Boss Atanga Nji

The election of Regional Councillors convened by the presidential decree of 7 September 2020 took place today Sunday 6 December 2020 in all the 58 electoral constituencies.10 236 municipal councillors and 14 002 traditional rulers, members of the electoral colleges, were called upon to vote nine hundred (900) first Regional Councillors in the political history of our country. The first, that is municipal councillors were to vote seven hundred (700) divisional delegates, while the latter, traditional rulers, were to elect two hundred (200) representatives of the traditional chiefdoms.

Considering that this election is held in a special context marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, Elections Cameroon took important precautions, in each polling station, for the respect of barrier measures in compliance with Government’s health protocol (taking of temperature, use of hand sanitizers, wearing of face mask, social distancing and handwashing with soap).

At this moment, the Minister of Territorial Administration can say in clear terms that the election of Regional Councillors took place nationwide in a serene, calm and peaceful atmosphere. No incident, likely to cast doubt on the credibility of the polls or sincerity of the results from the ballot box, was recorded.

Minister Atanga Nji further stipulated that the election of Regional Councillors of today will be a landmark in the current mandate of Greater Opportunities.

“… The election of Regional councillors today has come to complete the setting up of institutions provided for by the Constitution of our country. This election will bring the administration closer to the people and guarantee to each Region close development in the sense that citizens, at all levels, sit in Regional Councils and participate effectively from the base in constructing our common destiny.

The regional elections is part of decentralisation efforts across the country

With election results slowly coming in, the traditional rulers of Baba 1 and Bambalang, have emerged winners in Ngoketunja Division for the election to the House of Chiefs. The Division is reported to have had two lists. The December 6, 2020 elections will Institute the Regional council with 70 members and the house of chiefs with 20 members

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Commonwealth observers start work as Ghana goes to the polls
December 6, 2020 | 0 Comments

Ghanaians will vote in the presidential and parliamentary election due to be held on 7 December.

The Commonwealth Observer Group (COG), whose members are drawn from various Commonwealth countries with backgrounds ranging from political, electoral, civil society and human rights as well as legal fields, was invited by the Ghana Electoral Commission to observe the poll.

Former President of the East African Court of Justice,  Dr Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, is heading the group of observers.  The team started to arrive in Accra on 3 December and will be deployed to polling stations to observe pre-poll preparations, voting day and the results processes. 

The group has already received briefings from the electoral commission, political parties, police, and civil societies.

In a statement, Chair of the COG Dr Ugirashebuja said: “We recognise the significance of these elections to the people of Ghana and appreciate the challenges they come with as the world battles the Coronavirus pandemic. These elections are also the first the Commonwealth Secretariat has sent an observer group to since the pandemic began.”

“We are here to observe the electoral process and will act impartially and independently as we scrutinise its organisation and conduct.  We will seek to assess the pre-election environment, polling day activities and the post-election period.

“We will then take a view as to whether it has been conducted to the international and regional standards to which Ghana has committed itself, including the country’s own laws.”

The COG will issue an Interim Statement of its preliminary findings on 9 December. A final report will be submitted to the Secretary-General and made available to the public afterwards.

The Commonwealth Observer Group members are:

  • Chairperson – Dr Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, Former President of the East African Court, Rwanda
  • Musa Mwenye, SC, Former Attorney General, Zambia 
  • Baroness Denise Patricia Kingsmill, Member of the House of Lords, United Kingdom
  • Marcella Samba-Sesay, Chairperson National Election Watch (New), Sierra Leone
  • Hon Martha Karua, Former Minister of Justice, Kenya

*Commonwealth

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Cameroon:South West Regional Championship Kicks Off December 13
December 6, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

The South West Regional Championship is set to be launch this December 13 2020. The opening game will see Tiko United alias the Samba Boys facing Elame Eteki Memorial Sports Academy, EEMSA.

The game that will be played at the Tiko Town Green Stadium will commence at 3 pm with the other day One matches coming up on Wednesday, December 16, 2020.

Meanwhile, ahead of the kickoff, the Regional General Assembly Meeting has been programmed for this Saturday, December 12, 2020, at the Regional Office of FECAFOOT Buea, according to a release by the Secretary-General of the South West Regional League of FECAFOOT, Sylvester Esowe Muambo.

For the past 9 months now, football activities had been suspended in the region due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The South West Regional League like other Regional leagues across the country was abandoned since March.

Tiko United last football season had nursed the ambition to qualify for the Mini interpool and the National Interpool for a ticket to the Elite 2 football championship, a competition they had tested before their relegation to the Regional league. In the cancelled football season, Tiko United was leading their pool with a sure chance of the Mini Interpool.

In 2009, Tiko United won the Cameroon First Division for the first time in their history and a place in the CAF Champions League.

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Top US Counter-terrorism official meets Nyusi in Maputo
December 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

The United States’ coordinator for counter-terrorism, Nathan Sales, met this week with President Filipe Nyusi and foreign minister Veronica Macamo, and emphasised the need for international cooperation to defeat the insurgency in Cabo Delgado province.

“The United States is keenly interested in partnering with Mozambique,” he said, “deepening our friendship while we jointly confront the challenge of terrorism.”

More than 2,500 people have been killed and over 500,000 displaced.

US ambassador to Mozambique Dennis Hearne said that the US government was committed to working with Mozambique’s government and its private sector and civil society, to help people deal with the effects of terrorism.

He underscored the need to counter terrorism and violent extremism with security and development support, while protecting the civilian population and providing humanitarian assistance to those displaced by violence.

The U.S. Embassy has committed $42 million to humanitarian and socio-economic development projects in Cabo Delgado, complementing the priorities of the Agency for Integrated Development in the North.  Additionally, through mobile medical teams funded through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, life-saving health services continue for those displaced due to violence in northern Mozambique.  These efforts, and others, are part of the U.S. Government’s $500 million in annual assistance to Mozambique.

The violence in Mozambique has spiked this year in this aid-dependent country. The insurgents have occupied a strategic port in the town of Mocimboa da Praia since August 12.

Mozambican troops who have been deployed in the region have been overwhelmed by shortage of weapons and equipment. More importantly, they lack military training and familiarization with the northern region.

Sales is the most senior US government official to visit Mozambique in 2020.

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Mozambique: Veterans ask for support to fight terrorism
December 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

Veterans fighting terrorists in Cabo Delgado province need proper equipment and logistical support, the head of the Association of Veterans of the National Liberation Struggle, Fernando Faustino, said.

There are veterans fighting in the province’s districts of Nangade, Macomia, Palma, Mocímboa da Praia and recently they were in Muidumbe, he added.

Faustino said that the veterans’ participation in some military missions had been frequent, including in responding to attacks by the Renamo Military Junta dissident paramilitary group in the centre of the country.

Meanwhile, a Portuguese delegation will meet with the Mozambican government next week to find out what support the country needs to combat terrorism, the Portuguese ambassador to Mozambique said.

Portugal’s defence minister, João Gomes Cravinho, said last week that Portugal was prepared to provide military aid to the government. The conflict is also being discussed today by the European Parliament in Brussels.

The Portuguese members of the different parliamentary groups “have been very dynamic… in drawing attention to the problems that are happening in Cabo Delgado, to the urgent humanitarian situation in the province, that greatly concern all of us who follow this issue and have a special relationship with Mozambique,” the ambassador, Maria Amélia Paiva, said.

The violence in Mozambique has spiked this year in this aid-dependent country. The insurgents have occupied a strategic port in the town of Mocimboa da Praia since August 12. More than 2,500 people have been killed and over 500,000 displaced due the attacks.

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African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina inducted Honorary Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.
December 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

Remarks of Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, at the 2020 Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) Fellowship Investiture

Saturday December 5, 2020

Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank

Your Excellency, Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State, Mr. Ernest Ebi, Chairman of the occasion, Mr. Bayo Olugbemi, FCIB, the President and Chairman of the Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Mr. Seye Awojobi, FCIB, the Registrar of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Mr. Kunle Elebute, Guest Speaker, Members of Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Honorees, Investees, distinguished ladies and gentlemen.

Good afternoon to you all. What a great event, so extremely well organized. That’s the Nigerian gold standard!

It’s such a great honor to be here today, virtually, along with all my co-awardees, to be decorated with the emblems of admission and recognition as Honorary Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

I would like on behalf of all the awardees to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to the President and Chairman of Council, Mr. Bayo Olugbemi, the Registrar and Chief Executive, Mr. ‘Seye Awojobi and the entire members of the Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, for this great recognition and honor you have bestowed on us. 

It is such a memorable occasion to be recognized as Honorary Fellows by such an eminent and revered institution, the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

I am very proud of each of my co-Honorees for your many years of leadership and distinguished contributions to the banking profession.

No one should ever work to be recognized. But when efforts and contributions are recognized, it inspires one to continue to work even harder.

Honorary awards are deposits of trust. They come with great responsibility. Responsibility to be exemplary, to work selflessly, and to be role models in the profession and for the society.

Today, as we are being honored, consider us as “security-backed assets”. Our integrity is our honor, and our honor is our security. 

We wish to express to the Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria our commitment to carry these awards with dignity, integrity and honor.

Leadership from each one of us is needed in these challenging times of the coronavirus pandemic.

So many lives have been lost. Economies have been devastated. Africa’s economic growth this year will decline by 3.4%. Globally, economies have gone into recession, as global trade, financial flows, investments, tourism and global supply chains have been disrupted. Millions of jobs have been lost. Consumer demand and business investments have declined. With huge fiscal stimulus packages, interest rates are at all-time lows.

These are tough times for Bankers.

Yet, we must be bold, resilient and weather the storm.

The African Development Bank launched a $10 billion crisis response facility to provide immediate liquidity for countries to meet urgent financing needs.

The Bank also launched a $3 billion fight COVID19 social bond on global capital markets, the largest US dollar denominated social bond ever in world history, which is now listed on the London Stock Exchange, Luxembourg stock exchange and on Nasdaq.

I am delighted that despite the very challenging times, the African Development Bank maintained its triple-A ratings, with stable outlook, by all major global credit rating agencies, Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings.

The African Development Bank has maintained its stellar triple-A ratings for five years in a row since I was first elected President in 2015.

The African Development Bank also achieved an increase in its capital from $93 billion to $208 billion, the largest ever capital increase in the history of the Bank since its establishment in 1964.

The African Development Bank therefore stands ready to strongly support African countries, financial institutions and the private sector to accelerate Africa’s economic growth.

Times like this need audacious leadership.

Leadership that is able to navigate complexities and restore hope and confidence, to grow back, safer, healthier and with greater resilience.

That is the kind of leadership I see among the Honorary Fellows and Awardees and the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

Now, let us arise and collectively support Nigeria to recover and build back, stronger, better, with greater economic resilience. Let’s join hands and deliver greater prosperity and hope for Nigeria.  

For Nigeria to be at its best, it deserves the best from all of us.

As Honorary Fellows, we promise to continue to be beacons of hope, carrying with dignity the green and gold emblems of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

I wish to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy Christmas ahead and a prosperous and healthier New Year 2021.

Stay safe, stay well and stay healthy.

Once again, thank you very much. God bless you all.

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South Sudan inaugurates court for perpetrators of gender-based violence
December 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Justice Chan Reec Madut 

Juba – The Judiciary of South Sudan declared operationalization of the country’s first Gender Based Violence and Juvenile Court, in a commitment to end impunity for gender-based crimes and hold perpetrators accountable in the restive country. 

The court is due to handle crimes related to women and children in South Sudan.

The special court was launched on Thursday in Juba in partnership with the UN Development Program and the Embassy of the Netherlands.

However, the Ministry of Gender and UN Population Fund estimates that a total of 6,295 incidents of Gender-based Violence were recorded from January 1 – September 30, 2020.

Since the conflict broke out in late 2013 , there has been reporting disturbing stories of women and girls being gang-raped by men with guns around the country, including Juba.

The lastest incident happened at outskirt of Juba, was when three armed men molested a 15-year-old girl in front of family members in Juba.

The court was a pledge made by the Chief Justice early last year.

Speaking during the official opening ceremony of the special court  on Thursday Justice Chan Reec Madut believes those who commit gender-based violence do it out of ignorance.

“Gender based violence is a reality and it is happening every minute in our society and in our country. The opening of this court is happening at a time where the whole world is championing efforts as part of the 16 Days Against Gender Based Violence, making the opening of this court a very timely occasion,” said Reec while officially unveiling the court premises, along with high-level representatives of the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Gender, South Sudan National Police Service, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, UNDP, and members of the diplomatic community.

Reec added “Gender-based violence is a result of ignorance of some men who think that they are more superior to the women. I think such men need medical attention because the way they think is not normal.”

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ruben Madol Arol, pledged to help the Judiciary with the development of stronger legal frameworks to aid the specialized court.

“This is another significant milestone in the area of protecting human rights particularly for the most vulnerable citizens of South Sudan – who are our mothers, sisters, and women in general in South Sudan, as well as minor children. My hope is this will translate into more specialized courts in the Judiciary of South Sudan which will be the beginning of reforms expected during this period,” said Madol.

Meanwhile, Ayaa Benjamin Warille, the minister of Gender Child and Social Welfare, explained that the court will improve criminal justice response, promote accountability and early intervention, accelerate prosecution and court processes and offer timely access to services to victims and offenders.

“Counselling will be available to survivors during the course of the trial in order to psychologically prepare and support them,” Ms Benjamin said. 

Two court rooms supported by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, are designed for hearings on GBV and juvenile cases. They feature state-of-the-art video conferencing equipment to ensure privacy and well-being of victims by reducing contact with perpetrators. 

In addition, the court premises include a separated reception, two juvenile court rooms, judges chambers, case management offices, a court police facility, and IT equipment.

“We hope this court will be exemplary in giving a voice to survivors in bringing a survivor centered perspective into practice. Without access to specialized justice, people – in particular women and girls – risk re-victimization or stigmatization. They are unable to defend their rights, challenge discrimination or hold perpetrators of crime to account,” said Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Paul Huijts, in a recorded video message to attendees.

Deputy Ambassador and Head of Development Cooperation of the Embassy of Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Sudan Michel Deelen said it is part of the service delivery of a government towards its people to grant access to justice, and this court in Juba is part of providing access to justice for a specific group that really needs protection from the government of South Sudan. 

“I hope by establishing this court we can make an end to the impunity for perpetrators of gender based crimes. We hope with the new parliament being formed that pending legislation on GBV will be passed to complement this court,” said Deelen.

Proceedings at the GBV Court began in earnest in October 2019. Thirteen (13) cases of rape have come before the court, resulting in 12 convictions and one dismissal. All defendants in the cases were male. 

Four sexual violence cases prosecuted at the court involved perpetrators who were uniformed personnel (3 members of SSPDF and 1 National Security officer). 

Therefore, the official inauguration of the GBV Court is anticipated to increase this caseload and expedite more trials.

 “The opening of the GBV court is monumental and when implemented, can serve as a model for other countries to come and learn from South Sudan. By providing dedicated and quick access for gender based crimes, the GBV court is a step in ensuring all survivors use the law to defend their rights and secure justice. This is a strong signal that South Sudan can hold perpetrators accountable,” said Deputy Resident Representative Christy Ahenkora, adding that UNDP will prioritize scaling up psycho-social support services in tandem with support to the formal justice system in South Sudan.

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Secretary-General makes first official visit to The Gambia after it re-joined Commonwealth
December 5, 2020 | 0 Comments
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland will tomorrow depart for her first official visit to The Gambia.

She will be the first senior official to visit the country since The Gambia re-joined the Commonwealth family in February 2018, almost five years after leaving the association.

In the capital Banjul, the Secretary-General will have discussions with the President of The Gambia, Adama Barrow, members of his government and other public figures on issues related to the coronavirus pandemic, small states, economic slowdown and other national priorities.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said:

“The Gambia is a valued member of our family. Its government and people actively contribute to and benefit from the collective wisdom of our 54-member family, and a plethora of initiatives delivered by the Commonwealth organisations on a wide range of pressing issues for greater prosperity of all our citizens and communities.

“The visit will offer an opportunity to strengthen our collaboration and co-operation with The Gambia, better understand the concerns and priorities of a wide range of national leaders and representatives of the country, and to ensure their interests are reflected in the Commonwealth’s key programmes and global advocacy.

“Our overriding goal at the moment is our work to support small and vulnerable states, like The Gambia, as they tackle the cumulative impacts arising from the COVID-19 pandemic alongside ongoing threats such as climate change.

“This work is centred on building back better through cooperation and mutual support from among the Commonwealth’s 54 member countries.”

The Secretary-General will update the government on the agenda and preparations for the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which will take place in Rwanda in June 2021.

Throughout the seven-day visit, from 5 to 11 December, the Commonwealth delegation will comply with the national and international COVID-19 safety guidelines to minimise the risk and exposure to the virus.

*Commonwealth

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The African Development Bank launches $50 million facility to support energy access companies through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic
December 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

Dr. Kevin Kariuki, African Development Bank’s Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has approved a $20 million concessional investment from the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) to establish the COVID-19 Off-Grid Recovery Platform (CRP). The $50 million blended finance initiative, will provide relief and recovery capital to energy access businesses, supporting them through and beyond the pandemic.

The platform is anchored on a partnership with three specialized energy access fund managers selected through a competitive process: Triple Jump, Lion’s Head Global Partners, and Social Investment Managers and Advisors.  The $20 million concessional envelope will be blended with their own capital and instruments, leveraging $30-$40 million in complementary commercial funding and enabling more affordable debt products. Through these partners, the recovery platform will support energy access companies commercializing and deploying solar home systems, green mini-grids, clean cooking and other decentralized renewable energy solutions. 

“This initiative underlines the African Development Bank’s commitment to the accelerated growth of Africa’s decentralized energy industry, based on renewables, as a key driver for universal energy access goals,” said Dr. Kevin Kariuki, the African Development Bank’s Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth.

Joao Duarte Cunha, Division Manager for Renewable Energy at the African Development Bank, said the platform would fill a gap in the market.

“Understanding that time is of essence, this platform will enable the provision of tailored financial solutions by leveraging existing resources, expertise and infrastructure within the sector,” he said. In addition to providing immediate relief and recovery support, the platform will lay the foundation for a green and inclusive economic recovery post-pandemic.

“We are pleased to be selected to co-manage the COVID-19 Off-Grid Recovery Platform, which will be blended with funding from the Energy Entrepreneurs Growth Fund. The combination of funding and operational support will stabilize businesses and allow for continued investments during the COVID-19 crisis, mitigating the impact of the pandemic on energy access companies and set a sustainable trajectory for growth,” said Jan-Henrik Kuhlmann, Head of Sustainable Energy at Triple Jump.

Reflecting on the potential impact of the capital provided, Asad Mahmood, CEO and Managing Partner of Social Investment Managers and Advisors, said: “CRP is a much-needed and appreciated innovative effort of the Bank to use multiple fund managers to assist with liquidity needs of good energy businesses in Africa, currently affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The relief and recovery capital will support businesses in mitigating the impacts of the pandemic and ensuring a robust commercial recovery of the industry, and has been endorsed by leading industry associations, including the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), Africa Mini-Grid Developers Association (AMDA) and the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA).

“The Bank’s new instrument is a game changer that will sustain and strengthen the African energy access sector. The platform’s innovative co-investment structure allows fund managers like Lion’s Head to focus on what we do best – mobilizing and deploying human and financial capital to unlock sustainable power for vulnerable communities while targeting critical post-pandemic issues such as local currency funding in a period of high uncertainty and volatility,” said Harry Guinness, Managing Director of the Off-Grid Energy Access Fund, part of the wider Facility for Energy Inclusion.

The Board approval was granted on 1 December.

About SEFA: SEFA is an AfDB-managed special fund providing catalytic finance for renewable energy. SEFA’s overarching goal is to contribute to universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy services for all in Africa, in line with the Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa and Sustainable Development Goal 7. SEFA was established in 2011 in partnership with the Government of Denmark and has since received contributions from the Governments of United StatesUnited KingdomItalyNorwaySpain, and Sweden(Nordic Development Fund and Germany. SEFA is housed in the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Department (PERN) under the Power, Energy, Climate, and Green Growth (PEVP) complex.

*AfDB

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COVID-19 pandemic offers African aviation a chance to reset
December 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

  • The air transport system is really at the forefront of all our collective objectives to realize Africa as a single economic bloc – VP Solomon Quaynor
  • Nearly 5 million of Africa’s 7 million aviation and tourism industry-related jobs have been lost in 2020

Africa’s aviation industry represents a huge market that the continent’s airlines need to exploit more fully, with technology and AI offering the way forward for expansion, regional development experts said Thursday.

“Technology and smart technologies are offering this fantastic opportunity, so let’s make use of AI, let’s make use of the Internet of Things, let’s capacitate our people to revamp and to rethink our industry, to make sure that both our airports and our airlines cater for the very near future,”  said Dr. Amani Abou Zeid, African Union Commission for Infrastructure and Energy, during the opening session of a virtual workshop.

The workshop, held on 3 December, was organized by the African Development Bank under the theme, African Aviation Recovery Conference: coordinating an efficient response to the COVID-19 crisis’s effects on the Aviation sector in Africa.

Discussions touched on a number of challenges, including the urgent need of African airlines for government-supported loans, and other financial assistance in the short term, as well as the imperative to ensure that public health is a factor in efforts to build the sector back better and more competitively. 

Dr. Fang Liu, Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization, the Nigerian Government’s Minister for Aviation Hadi Sirika and the Bank’s Vice President for Infrastructure, Industrialization and Private Sector, Solomon Quaynor, also made statements.

Sirika called on African governments to embrace full liberalisation of the aviation sector, invoking the Yamoussoukro Decision, which established an arrangement for the gradual liberalization of intra-Africa air transport services. “Nigeria today has all its bilateral air service agreements with the YD and was also among the first ten countries that signed a commitment to implement the Single African Air Transport Market,” he said   SAATM, a mechanism of the Yamoussoukro Decision, is an African Union flagship project to create a single unified air transport market in Africa that will advance the continent’s economic integration agenda.   

Quaynor emphasised the centrality of the aviation sector to Africa’s long-term goals by referencing three flagship projects of the AU’s Agenda 2063 that aim to advance open skies and closer connectivity: SAATM, The African Continental Free Trade Area, and the African Passport-Free movement of people.

“The air transport system is really at the forefront of all our collective objectives to realize Africa as a single economic bloc of 1.3 billion people with a GDP of almost 3 trillion dollars, for which we want to begin to really focus and increase trade among ourselves, as well as investment.”

The conference took the form of four sessions discussing the priority needs of airlines and airports aviation services companies, as well as needed policy actions and strengthening the sector’s access to finance. 

In a presentation, the Bank Director’s for Infrastructure and Urban Development, Amadou Oumarou, made clear that the sector had been ailing even prior to the onset of the pandemic, plagued by market restrictions and high prices, as well as a poor record of safety and security. Of the 200 airlines the EU had blacklisted in 2016, over 50% were African.  

The pandemic’s aviation effects, while felt worldwide, have been sharpest in Africa, Oumarou said, a claim that was backed up by numerous panelists.  Nearly 5 million of the continent’s 7 million aviation and tourism industry-related jobs have been lost in 2020, in addition to as much as $15 billion in revenue, half of this to African airlines.

The wide-ranging discussions touched on whether African airlines needed to consolidate to be viable, and offered numerous recommendations and solutions. These included adopting aircraft leasing and other innovative practices to cut costs and build efficiencies, strengthening freight operations, which have been less hard  hit than passenger traffic, and seizing direct opportunities presented by the imminent need to distribute COVID-19 vaccines across Africa. 

Underpinning much of the discussion was the need to make public health and security a central element of the post COVID-19 recovery, as a path to restoring confidence.

A key takeaway was the urgent need for coordinated action among the sector’s actors, including governments, aviation authorities and multilateral stakeholders such as the Bank.

“The time is now. All of us who have really been working on upstream issues such as SAATM, the World Bank, ourselves, the AU and others, now is the time to really pool our advocacy and resources to make this happen once and for all because if we continue to operate as a federation of 54 states as opposed to an integrated market, our economies will continue to be sub-optimal,” said Quaynor.

*AfDB

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Ten years after the inaugural Development Effectiveness Review, the African Development Bank is once more shepherding African economies through a global crisis
December 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

“We should be in no doubt that Africa faces its gravest threat in many years, and that national health and social protection systems will be severely tested.” Akinwumi Adesina.

The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed health and economic crises across the world, including in Africa, undoing decades of economic growth and human development. Post-pandemic, comes the challenge of recovery and reviving growth.

The African Development Bank’ s 2020 edition of its Annual Development Effectiveness Review,   (ADER) marks ten years since the report was first published to assess the institution’s and Africa’s progress. The report, which evaluates the Bank’s impact in 2019 in meeting strategic and cross-cutting objectives and on strengthening development impact, is even more relevant as one looks at the COVID-19 era challenges.

The current edition, released on 19  November, assesses the Bank’s progress on achieving each of its High 5 strategic priorities: Light Up and Power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa.

Although much has changed in the last decade, one thing remains the same: the Bank remains at the forefront in guiding Africa’s economies in times of both progress and crisis.

As African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina notes in the 2020 report’s foreword: “We should be in no doubt that Africa faces its gravest threat in many years, and that national health and social protection systems will be severely tested.”

The inaugural ADER was released in 2011—covering the previous year—just as  regional member countries were emerging from the 2008 global financial crisis, which halted the continent’s impressive run of growth.  “With a collective GDP of $1.6 trillion, Africa looked on the verge of sustained economic take-off,” the executive summary noted. “Then came the global financial crisis, which reduced Africa’s growth to 3% in 2009 and set the continent back significantly. We acted swiftly to help African countries limit the effects of the global financial crisis.” In terms of the Bank’s impact and operations, the inaugural edition concluded, “Overall, over three quarters of our projects reached or surpassed their expected outputs,” noting there was room to improve.

Throughout the decade, the Bank continued to notch milestones in its operations. By 2012, its disbursement ratio stood at 22%– a significant improvement on the previous two years. Also at that time, 65% of new Bank projects were climate-proofed, a significant emerging priority for the institution.

ADER 2016 marked the first release of the report under the leadership of Adesina, and the introduction of the High 5 priorities as a benchmark for the Bank’s success while maintaining indicators from the earlier reports. The report also marked a shift toward greater decentralization of Bank operations to increase responsiveness to the needs of regional member countries. In 2015,the Bank exceeded its target of achieving a satisfactory rating on 78% of completed operations, hitting 83%.  Further, 90% of completed operations had sustainable outcomes in that year, also beating expectations.

In the foreword to the 10th edition, Adesina notes the continent “has advanced steadily along the path towards a brighter future. Its progress has been driven by Africans’ determination to fulfil their potential as productive members of society and to forge better lives for themselves and their families, supported by continuing improvements in public services and infrastructure.”

Over the past years, the institution has posted strong progress toward meeting High-5 goals.  For example, in the 2015-2019 period, 20 million people gained access to electricity, while 74 million people benefited from improvements in agriculture and 69 million people gained better access to transport.  

The backdrop to these strong results is of course the continuing pandemic.  As the 2020 report notes, “despite… the expectation that 2020 would be another year of growth, the COVID-19 pandemic will put many of Africa’s recent development gains at risk.” GDP might decline by as much as 3.4%, as a result of sharply reduced trade, tourism and remittances as well as lower prices for commodities.

The Bank’s swift response, setting up a COVID-19 response facility worth up to $10 billion has helped cushion some of the economic and health impacts.

The road to recovery is expected to be long and difficult but the Bank remains in a position to help Africa build back better and smarter, and at the same time to continue to strengthen its own operations.

*AfDB

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African Development Bank receives coveted Stevie Award during virtual ceremony
December 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank has taken home two coveted prizes at the 17th Annual International Business Awards in recognition of the institution’s 2019 Annual Report.

The Bank was awarded gold in the Best Annual Report Among Non-Profit Organizations category at a virtual event which aired on 1 December. A video produced to support the report took third place in the Video – Non-Profit Public Relations category.

“It is remarkable that the African Development Bank is being recognized with a gold first prize for the Bank Group’s Annual Report 2019, and bronze in the video category,” Hanan Morsy, the Bank’s Director of Macroeconomic Policy, Forecasting and Research, said in an acceptance speech. “Special gratitude goes to all the Bank’s entities, management and Board. It’s our collective efforts that led to this important recognition.”

Described as the “Oscars of international business,” the International Business Awards— also known as the Stevie Awards— celebrates excellence in business worldwide. IBA awards first, second and third place prizes in categories relating to business management, marketing, public relations, human resources, new product development, applications and events.

“Well done – a good report about African Development Bank and its strategies,” one judge wrote in his evaluation.

“The African Development Bank has produced a high quality, visually engaging, and informative Annual Report video,” another judge commented. “I admire the move to use video for the annual report, which is forward looking.”

Other 2020 IBA winners include IBM, which won a silver prize in the Company of the Year-Computer Services (Large) category. Eker Dairy Products, a smaller firm based in Turkey, took a gold prize in the Corporate Social Responsibility category.

The International Business Awards is the only global all-encompassing business awards ceremony. This year, more than 3,800 nominations from more than 60 nations were submitted for judging by hundreds of professionals across the globe. The 2020 edition also included COVID-19 response categories to recognize organizations and individuals that have provided much needed support services during the pandemic.

“On behalf of the Bank’s management, I am pleased to receive these two prestigious Stevie International Awards,” Morsy said. “Together, we look forward, not only for a better annual report next year and many years to come, but more importantly, to an inclusive and sustainable development for all Africans.”

*AfDB

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Treatment and support centre for survivors of GBV launched in Zimbabwe under Spotlight Initiative to Eliminate Violence Against Women and Girls
December 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

UNFPA Zimbabwe Country Representative, Dr. Esther Muia

In the 16 days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence period the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Government of Zimbabwe with the support of the European Union has today launched a treatment and support centre for survivors of Gender Based Violence also known as a “One Stop Centre” where services will be provided in one place.

The One Stop Centre is located at Bindura General Hospital in Bindura, Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland Central Province, about 100 kilometres outside the capital Harare. It is being launched under the European Union supported Spotlight Initiative to Eliminate Violence Against Women and Girls.

The European Ambassador, Timo Olkkonen, said on the occasion of the launch:

“One Stop Centres are essential assets in the fight against GBV because they ensure survivor access to all the necessary services in one location, provided by appropriately trained and sensitive personnel. This is very relevant in this era of the COVID-19 pandemic.  I am proud to say that we are playing our part in this fight, through our support to the Spotlight Initiative, and in line with this year’s 16 days campaign theme, ‘Orange the world: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect’.   I would like to call upon the Government of Zimbabwe and other stakeholders to dedicate more resources to tackling this scourge.”

The One Stop Centre will provide services such as medical care, counselling, police and legal services all under one roof. The One Stop Centre remains important as it has been reported that often, police stations and hospitals do not provide an appropriate atmosphere to report GBV. In most communities, services are often located in different physical locations thereby inhibiting rather than facilitating timely and efficient responses for survivors.

The One Stop Centre was officially opened by the First Lady of Zimbabwe, Auxilia Mnangagwa who acknowledged that one entity alone can never be able to effectively address Gender Based Violence.

“Gender Based Violence requires multi-sectoral stakeholders to respond with various services that complete the package for GBV essential services. We note that Gender Based Violence is a very traumatic experience which requires specialized services like health services, legal services, Police services and Psycho-Social support including counselling,” she said.

UNFPA Zimbabwe Country Representative, Dr. Esther Muia violence against women and girls has increased since the beginning of March with the COVID-19 crisis creating a “shadow pandemic” of GBV.  

“As we are officially opening this One Stop Centre, we are grateful to the European Union Spotlight Initiative for allowing us to expand access to services for survivors, at our time of greatest need as a country. We are very pleased with the partnership that has allowed us to fight this shadow pandemic for the protection of women and girls.”

Gender Based Violence remains a huge problem in the country. According to the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey for 2015, at least 1 in every 3 women aged 15-49 have experienced physical violence since the age of 15 while 27% percent of women 15-49 have experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives.

Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Dr. Sithembiso Nyoni said the One Stop Centre model is one of the promising models for GBV response which has been implemented since 2009.

“The One Stop Centre model effectively demonstrates the multi-sectoral response mechanism to GBV. The concept is aimed at increasing access to comprehensive multi-sectoral response service needs of adult and child survivors of GBV,” Dr. Nyoni said.

“The beauty of the One Stop Centre model is that it facilitates the provision of all these specialized services under one roof thereby affording the victim privacy as well as limiting their exposure to further victimization.”

To date there are five One Stop Centres in Harare, Gweru, Gwanda, Rusape and Chinhoyi, with further plans to expand to other areas. One stop centres were established with the broad aim of strengthening the multi-sectoral response to GBV. Following the successful implementation of the model and lessons learnt from the pilot project in Makoni District, the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community Small and Medium Enterprises Development in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, has scaled up the model to other provinces.

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Katswe Sistahood holds photo exhibition to commemorate 16 Days of GBV Activism in Zimbabwe
December 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Katswe Sistahood has held  a photo  exhibition in Harare,Zimbabwe today titled 16 women, 16 stories and 16 commitments on the 4th of December in commemoration of the 16 Days against Gender Based Violence.

 The exhibition  uses the 16 days of activism mark to address the real Gender Based Violence stories happening in the community, according to Talent Jumo, Katswe Sistahood Director.

  It is reported that  16 women, 16 stories, 16 commitments is about creating a safe space for young women to share their experiences.

   Through performance and poetry reading storytelling and monologues, young women get a chance to express themselves fully regarding their bodies and sexuality.

 It is also added that the initiative seeks to bring women from different backgrounds in life together to share their perspective and stories about Gender Based Violence.

 It is added that after the story telling, the main focus is around enhancing advocacy work being done and what can be done to prevent and end Gender Based Violence and ensuring healing and full support for survivors.

 It is also added that 16 women, 16 stories and 16 commitments provides social commentary on women and girls’ daily struggles and victories through the use of the arts and photography for social justice.

 Sixteen  women have been identified, to share their stories and the stories are shared on all social media platforms for the entirety of the 16 days.

 “With each post comes an advocacy action to anchor a standard and comprehensive Gender Based Violence package with the following components,justice/legal aid,psycho-social support/wellness,health care,economic support and welfare services,”Jumo said.

 It is also reported that the 16 days will be closed off with an exhibition that captures all the other stories and puts them into different perspectives for different actions, commitments by government and civil society organizations. 

  CSOs have also been  encouraged to commit to work on projects that end and Gender Based Violence.

  “This is a chance to collaborate and meaningfully engage government to be initiate laws that ensure the safety of women in the home and public spaces,” Jumo added.

 Some of the intended objectives include generating an increased level of awareness amongst citizens pertaining to the incidence of violence perpetuated against young women and adolescent girls , how it manifests itself within the society and the negative impact on these vulnerable groups, challenging perpetrators of these offenses to change their behavior, communicating through the most effective and appropriate channels aiming to reach the maximum number of people across the country, particularly women and young girls residing in the rural areas, engaging actively with men and boys in the discourse about combating violence in our homes, our communities and in the workplace, highlighting the stories of survivors of gender-based violence and the impact that the different projects that are being carried out have had on their lives, creating awareness around the link between, HIV/AIDS and Gender-Based Violence including abortion and Gender Based Violence.

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Kenya cautions foreign donors against meddling in its affairs
December 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

President Uhuru Kenyatta

It would be best if you were not telling us how to run our affairs, President Uhuru Kenya warned the unnamed donors.

Speaking in Nairobi during the official commissioning of G47 Ugatuzi towers that will host county government offices on Friday, December 4, 2020, the head of state reminded the alleged donors interfering with Kenya’ affairs that the East African nation has its owners and it should not be dictated on how to carry out its errands.

“Please, I ask you to refrain from interfering in or telling us or trying to direct us in which way we should go.”

“You must always remember that Kenya has its own eyes and its own eyes are 50 million Kenyans,” Uhuru said.

Uhuru told off the said donors to solve the problems bedeviling their countries instead of focusing on Kenya’s issues.

“Do not interfere because we shall not allow for you to dictate to us which direction to be taken; that should be up to Kenyans,” he added.

However, he appreciated the donors and development partners for their continuous support to help Kenya achieve its development goals.

He further asked them to join the country in supporting her endeavors.

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Kenyan journalist bags the continental media award
December 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Nation Media Group Reporter Leopold Obi.Photo NMG

Kenyan news reporter Leopold Obi has won the 2020 Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) Africa Media Awards.

Obi works with the Nation Media Group (NMG), where he reports on science, agriculture and the environment.

He was declared the overall winner during a virtual event held on December 3.

The journalist was recognized for his stories: Kenya closer to giving long-awaited GMO cotton a green light, After Bt node Kenya sets sights on biotech food crops and How Bt cotton could tighten Kenya’s grip on lucrative US market.

The Executive Director of African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Dr. Denis Kyetere lauded the media for playing a crucial role in promoting the public understanding of agricultural biotechnologies for food security, sustainable development and poverty eradication. AATF is the host of the OFAB programme.

“The media is our key partner in ensuring smallholder farmers benefit from the same innovations that are transforming food production around the globe,” said Dr. Kyetere while urging African countries to adopt favourable policies that support agricultural development through the adoption of technology, particularly agricultural biotechnology.

Obi expressed his gratitude to God, editors and the NMG for helping him realize his dream.

“I am very humbled and grateful for this recognition. This is a top award, which attracts the continent’s top journalists. Therefore, I do not take this recognition for granted. The award crowns the hard work that I have put over the years in telling African science stories and I hope it will inspire my fellow journalists to keep telling such stories,” he said.

He also won the print and online categories awards.

Other winners are Pretty Ngozi from Nigeria, who bagged the TV category award and Ugandan Sarah Natoolo, who took home the radio category award.

Obi’s win comes barely three months after Kenyan TV anchor Victoria Rubadiri won the 2020 BBC World News Komla Dumor Award.

Rubadiri works with Citizen TV and hosts the channel’s prime-time shows.

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Development Evaluation Week: African Development Bank marks 40 years of evaluating progress as experts mull SDGs and COVID-19
December 5, 2020 | 0 Comments
Ambrose Rwaheru Aheisibwe, SDGs Advisor, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa
Ambrose Rwaheru Aheisibwe, SDGs Advisor, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 3 December 2020 – The African Development Bank celebrated 40 years of evaluating its development efforts, taking the opportunity to reflect on the challenges around monitoring and evaluating progress in the SDGs.

The discussions marked Evaluation Week, a biennial event on development evaluation hosted by the Independent Development Evaluation unit at the Bank on Wednesday. The event brings together the Bank’s shareholders, management and staff, government policy and decision makers, as well as development partners, civil society and other experts.

This year’s theme is From Learning to Transformational Change in Africa: Accelerating Africa’s delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals in the Decade of Action. The first day focused on the challenges to obtaining accurate data on African countries’ progress towards the SDGs and its value.

Pascal Byarugaba, Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist at the SDG Secretariat in the Office of the Prime Minister of Uganda, and Margaret Kakande,Head of the Budget Monitoring and Accountability Unit at the Ugandan Finance Ministry, presented Uganda as a model of African countries learning from measuring SDG progress.

“One of the key achievements in fostering institutionalization of the SDGs has been the identification of baselines for 140 indicators,” Kakande said.

In 2015, Uganda became one of the first countries to integrate the SDGs in its National Development Plan, according to the UN. The East African nation ranked 19th out of 52 African countries on the 2020 SDGs Index. The SDG report praises Uganda’s “commitment to institutionalize governance mechanisms at the national level to promote awareness, bureaucracies’ capacities, and preparedness for the implementation of both Agendas 2030 and 2063.”

Stefano D’Errico, Head of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning at the International Institute for Environment and Development, noted that Uganda was a role model for how to adapt SDG indicators to the local context.

“For example, SDGs indicators are now being localized to have monitoring and reporting at district level,” Byarugaba said.

Momar Kouta and Rafik Mahjoubi of the African Development Bank Statistics Department presented the Bank’s SDG tracking portal, a data dissemination and reporting system that is available on-demand to all 54 African member countries of the Bank, as well as regional and sub-regional organizations, central banks, ministries of finance and other ministries.

Ambrose Rwaheru Aheisibwe, SDGs Advisor, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa, said the COVID-19 crisis has aggravated regional and continental data inequalities because traditional means of data collection are no longer possible.

*AFDB

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SPLM-IO’s committed, working towards sustainable peace in South Sudan– Dr. Machar
December 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Dr. Riek Machar

Juba – The leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO), Dr. Riek Machar, says his group is committed to working towards building sustainable peace in the restive country.

SPLM-IO is currently holding its first-ever national conference in Juba, the 6th since the movement was formed under the theme, “building and sustaining peace through implementation of the revitalized peace agreement.” The conference runs through December 5, 2020.

The SPLM-IO was formed in April 2014 after a political disagreement among members of the ruling SPLM party led to the 2013 civil war.

Over 500 delegates comprising of politicians, military officers, and other representatives gathered in Juba for a five-day national conference of the SPLM-IO to deliberate on ways to “build and sustain peace through the implementation of the 2018 revitalized peace agreement”.

In his remarks, Dr. Machar, who is also the first vice president, stated the main opposition party is committed to silencing the guns.

“While SPLM/A IO remain steadfast and committed to the implementation of the agreement in letter and spirit, we expect the same commitment from our peace partner so that we can better manage together the challenges impeding the implementation process,” Machar said.

“The parties to the agreement are currently engaged in the process of implementation of R-ARCSS with the overarching objectives of achieving sustainable peace, security and transition democracy,” he added.

Former rebel leader also acknowledged the slow implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan RARCSS and called on peace partners to jointly work to implement the agreement.

Dr. Machar cited some of the challenges includes limited resources, lack of political will, lack of political space, economic crises, Covid-19, unprecedented floods, widespread inter and intra-communal violence, political and administrative vacuum in states, violations of the agreement, and the hold-out groups.

Machar also said the agreement offers the best opportunity for the country to end civil wars and political instability as well as offer an opportunity for reconciliation, healing, and development.

 “On the implementation of R-ARCSS; establishment of a fund for the implementation of the agreement and to be independently managed, direct allocation of a fixed amount from the oil revenue for the fund and call for a donor conference to support the implementation,” Machar said. “Hold parties accountable for actions of defectors that join them, accelerate graduation of the Necessary Unified Forces and immediately commence phase 2 of the unification of forces, ensure the timely provision of the logistics to cantonment and training centers.”

Kiir’s side on ceasefire violations 

Dr. Machar further accused the president Kiir’s side of engaging in a series of ceasefire violations and creating a stalemate in the security sector reforms.

He believes President Kiir’s party is not discharging enough political will to implement parts of the revitalized peace deal, adding the SSPDF has been instigating and provoking violence in some parts of the country.

“We hold the SSPDF responsible for violations…of permanent ceasefire and cessation of hostilities in number of places namely, Maiwut and Maban counties in Upper Nile state, Wau County in Western Bahr El Ghazal state, Tombura County in Western Equatoria state, lately in Kajo-keji of central Equatoria state,” said Machar.

His comments comes follow last week’s report by the UN Panel of Experts on South Sudan that the political momentum has eroded after President Salva Kiir locked the opposition out of the government’s decision-making process.

According to the experts, this has contributed to political and security disputes within the peace presidency, stalling implementation of the 2018 peace agreement.

Dr. Machar revealed that consultations have not been happening as expected.

“In line of violations of the agreement, appointment without consultations, non-dissolution of ITGoNU and national legislatures, we see these as a violation,” Machar said. “These violations are clear demonstration of lack of political will in commitment to the implementation of transitional security arrangement.”

However, in response, the Kiir’s group says the president has the right to make appointments –where necessary.

The revitalized peace deal states that the new unity government is founded on the premise that there shall be collegial collaboration in decision-making and continuous consultations within the Presidency, to ensure effective governance during the transitional period.

It’s already two year on but the fragile peace deal is yet to end the bloodshed and put the world youngest nation into the path of democracy.

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African Energy Chamber Starts a Working Visit to Mozambique to Push for Natural Gas Adoption and Jobs Creation
December 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Chamber will be advocating for sound local content policies and development and a broader push for gas monetisation in order to fight energy poverty and create jobs.

The African Energy Chamber is in Mozambique this week on a working visit to meet with the country’s government authorities, representatives of the oil sector and local entrepreneurs and services providers. The Chamber will be advocating for sound local content policies and development and a broader push for gas monetisation in order to fight energy poverty and create jobs.

With the revised development plan for the Temane PSA now approved, and as Eni’s 3.4 mtpa Coral South FLNG and Total’s 12.88 mtpa Mozambique LNG projects move forward, Mozambique is set to become an African gas leader. While Mozambican gas exports are expected to benefit more than just South Africa moving forward, the monetisation of its gas at home is also set to unlock tremendous local value for Mozambicans.

The Chamber continues to firmly believe that gas monetisation stands to change the economic outlook of Mozambique and its people. Natural gas remains the best hope the country has to fight energy poverty, improve security and offer opportunities to young Mozambican women and men.

“The Chamber salute H.E. Filipe Nyusi, President of Mozambique, for providing an enabling environment for gas investors to make a play in Mozambique. The country has a unique opportunity to set new standards for the way Africans develop and monetise natural gas, and the Chamber will be once again expressing its support to all stakeholders for making this ambition a reality in the near future,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

*SOURCE African Energy Chamber

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Attitude of adult supervision has to be left in the past- Kagame tells Europe
December 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

President Kagame said that good relations will not be achived while Europe still behaves as supervisor on Africa (Photo, Urugwiro Village)

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has said that good relations between African and Europe will never be achieved while Africa is still considered as a fringe player in the partnership.

Kagame said  this on Wednesday, 2nd December, while addressing a virtual 5th meeting of the high-level group of personalities on Europe-Africa relations.

He said that as Africa and Europe strive for a better future together, their goals  will not be achieved while Europe is still behaving as supervisor in African matters.

“We also want to take the relationship to the next level in terms of a common understanding of governance. The attitude of ‘adult supervision’ has to be left in the past”, President Kagame said. “Examples of right or wrong conduct can be found everywhere. We must avoid the temptation to reduce Africa to the lowest common denominator, with blanket judgments and generalisations”, he added.

He emphasized that there cannot be  mutual respectful partnership “premised on the unspoken assumption that one party lacks values, or has defective values, while the other party is a fully-formed moral agent.”

For many times, Africa has been portrayed internationally as a continent of problems, bad leadership, ravaged by corruption and wars.

Though reach in terms of natural resources and it vibrant young population, African countries are still ranked  as the poorest in the world.

Kagame said that for Africa and Europe to overcome 21st century challenges, mutual respect is the key.

“It is about dialogue, respect, and a commitment to the more robust partnership which both Africa and Europe need in order to prevail over the challenges of the 21st century, together” he said

He urged Europe to see Africa as partner instead of an aid receiver.

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