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Ethiopian Prime Minister to Visit U.S. at End of July-Media
July 6, 2018 | 0 Comments
FILE PHOTO: Ethiopia's prime minister Abiy Ahmed attends a rally during his visit to Ambo in the Oromiya region, Ethiopia April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/

FILE PHOTO: Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed attends a rally during his visit to Ambo in the Oromiya region, Ethiopia April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/

NAIROBI (REUTERS) – Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will travel to the United States at the end of July to meet with members of the Ethiopian diaspora, state-affiliated media Fana said, citing the foreign minister.

The statement did not mention whether Abiy would meet with U.S. government officials.

Since taking office in April, the 41-year-old former intelligence officer has announced plans for sweeping economic and political reforms.

He came to power after his predecessor resigned earlier this year amid protests against abuses by security forces and public anger over perceived ethnic marginalization of many groups in the racially diverse country.

*Reuters

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Kenya:Flood Victims Languishing In Severe Hunger
July 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Aid workers have appealed to Kenyan Government to provide funds and support to flood victims in all parts of the country.

Kenya was hit by two months of heavy rains that submerged crops and wash away homes. About 300,000 people were displaced and at least 186 lost their lives. Even though rains have reduced, majority of them are stuck in the camps with no means of survival.

The worst victims are from the coastal region of the country because all their homes and crops were destroyed and they are yet to receive any kind of support from either County or Central Government.

“The majority of people displaced in Tana River are still in the camps as they have not received any information from authorities on whether it is safe to return or not,” noted Mathew Cousins, humanitarian director for Oxfam Kenya.

According to secretary of the Tana River County Government Salim Bagana, Dhadho Godhana’s government pledged sh.700 million ($70 million) to help survivors rebuild their homes livelihoods but there have been delays in releasing of funds by the Central Government.

“There were some delays but now the money is coming and the people should be going home. We will help them restart their lives and we ask our humanitarian partners to also help,” said Mr.Sagana.

The survivors are going through hard moment without food in the camps. Charity organizations have tried to feed them, however, they have limited resources. After last year’s drought which devastated crops, killed both people and livestock, the East African County was hit hard by the incessant rain which has slowed economy.

Cases of Cholera outbreak have also been reported due to lack of clean water and poor sanitation. Over 1000 people have been hospitalized as a result of the deadly disease.

“People need food. They do not have enough to eat. We are registering many people in the camps and many children, women and elderly are looking weak and malnourished,” reiterated Ahmed Ibrahim, head of the Charity Arid Lands Development Focus.

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Kenyan Governor Nabbed Over Graft
July 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong

Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong

The ongoing crackdown on graft in Kenya seems to be at its peak after one of the Governors was arrested on Wednesday morning over sh.20 million ($20000) fraud allegations.

Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong was apprehended by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) officials and is expected to be arraigned in court any time. His arrest comes few hours after the Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji issued his arrest warrant following the corruption cases surrounding him.

Mr. Ojaamong and his nine co-accused, who are  yet to be arrested, will face charges of abuse of office and flouting procurement procedures.

“The suspects will be charged with several offences including conspiracy to commit an offence of Economic crime contrary to section 48 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, “ said the Director of Public Prosecution.

According to EACC , Ojaamong single-sourced Madam R Ltd and awarded it a tender for waste management. However, the county paid another company with the similar name. Investigations revealed that the two different firms existed, using the same name-Madam R Ltd and Madam R Enterprise.

However, the Governor has lashed the claims that he was arrested saying he presented himself to the Anti-Corruption body.

“Ignore whatever you hear on media, I was not arrested, I handed myself to EACC. As a law abiding citizen I will cooperate with EACC in the investigations,” he said.

He defended his Government noting that only sh.8 million ($80000) was spent on waste management. Busia chief is optimistic of his vindication adding that he will not be cowed from his constitutional mandate.

“Constitutional offices should not to be used to settle political scores,” he said.

Meanwhile, the former presidential candidate James Ole Kiyiapi has blasted the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission for targeting those with mere cases while ignoring those who stole billions.

“I am always flabbergasted at workings of EACC, they arrest a Governor for sh.4 million but they have not arrested barons of poisoned sugar, they rarely arrest swindlers of billions,” said Ole Kiyiapi.

The EACC fate hangs in balance after a bill was tabled in the parliament to disband it for failure to carry out its constitutional mandate. The bill was sponsored by Aldai Member of Parliament Cornelly Serem.

“EACC has demonstrated a failure to address issues under its mandate leading to the current rampant cases of corruption in the country,” he reiterated.

The anti-corruption body’s  Chief Executive Officer Halakhe Waqo is also being accused of receiving sh.300 million ($30000) from the National Youth Service(a body which provides services to young people)  suspects to conceal evidence about the masterminds of the heist.

The bribe was allegedly received to cover the names of the prominent leaders including Governors and Cabinet Secretaries named in the graft.

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New Farm Africa project to boost Ugandan and Ethiopian women’s livelihoods and nutrition
July 5, 2018 | 0 Comments
“Nichole Sobecki / Farm Africa”


“Nichole Sobecki / Farm Africa”

Farm Africa has been awarded a grant from UK Aid Direct, the Department for International Development (DFID) fund supporting civil society organisations to achieve sustained poverty reduction.

The funding is enabling Farm Africa to work with Ugandan and Ethiopian women to set up sustainable, small-scale goat-rearing enterprises that improve nutrition amongst women and children and lift families out of poverty.

The drylands of Ethiopia’s South Omo zone and Uganda’s Karamoja sub-region are home to pastoralist livestock herders who migrate with their animals in search of fresh pasture.

In South Omo and Karamoja, goat rearing is common but unproductive. Goats are traditionally farmed for their meat, so local breeds yield little milk. A lack of suitable fodder, particularly in the dry season, and poor access to veterinary and breeding services limits milk production.

In both areas, goats are often managed by women, and goat’s meat and milk is a rich source of protein and nutrients. Yet, women are over-represented amongst those suffering from malnutrition.

Pastoralist women’s low social and economic status, coupled with poor knowledge about nutrition, often impedes women from translating improved goat production into the consumption of nutritious foods.

Farm Africa will establish 400 local Women’s Livestock Groups, through which we will provide training in goat rearing and fodder and rangeland management to over 10,000 women in Uganda and Ethiopia.

A 7,200 woman-strong revolving goat scheme will be set up, which requires each woman who receives two goats from Farm Africa to give two does (female goats) to another vulnerable woman once her herd has grown, creating a cycle of improved prosperity.

Village Saving and Loan Associations will be established, where female goat herders will unite to save and make funds available to invest in each other’s businesses. These interventions will be combined with training in goat breeding, fattening and production of dairy products so that women can grow their fledgling businesses into profitable enterprises.

Through a blend of targeted communication activities, this project will look to inspire, educate and empower 10,000 women to consume more goats’ milk and improve their families’ diets.

“Livestock are an incredibly important asset and a key source of food and income for pastoralist communities,” comments Farm Africa’s Director of Uganda Rachel Beckett. “Not only will this project grow the economic benefits communities receive from goat rearing, but by strengthening women’s economic and social position and improving their knowledge of nutrition, it will help address malnutrition amongst pastoralist women and children.”

A lack of veterinary and breeding services is limiting goat production. Farm Africa will strengthen the business capacity of 110 local vets and community animal healthcare workers and set up buck-rearing and breeding enterprises so that existing businesses can expand their operations and new businesses can provide vital services to local livestock keepers.

“NGOs come and go, but profitable businesses stay. By creating sustainable trading relationships between agribusinesses and smallholders Farm Africa will generate job opportunities in off-farm agriculture-related enterprises while improving farmers’ yields and profits,” said Michelle Wilson, Director of Programmes, Farm Africa.

Farm Africa is working in partnership with the Africa Innovations Institute, an agriculture and food systems research institute, and the Mothers and Children Multisectoral Development Organization, an NGO that works to improve the lives of disadvantaged mothers and children.

Farm Africa is an innovative charity that reduces poverty by unleashing African farmers’ abilities to grow their incomes in an environmentally sustainable way. We help farmers to not only boost yields, but also gain access to markets, while protecting the environment for generations to come.  www.farmafrica.org Twitter: @FarmAfrica

UK Aid Direct is a five-year, £150 million challenge fund designed to support the UK’s commitments to achieving the Global Goals.

UK Aid Direct is DFID’s main centrally managed funding mechanism for small and medium sized civil society organisations, based in the UK and overseas.

UK Aid Direct grants are for UK and international civil society organisations working to reduce poverty overseas and there are three grant types currently available:

  • Impact grants for between £250,001 and £4,000,000
  • Community Partnership for up to £250,000
    • Small Charities Challenge Fund for up to £50,000
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Remittance thought leaders to gather in Lagos – Nigeria for Remittance Africa Expo 2018
July 5, 2018 | 0 Comments
Remittance Africa Expo 2018 – Unlocking Opportunities in Money Transfer and Payment systems in Africa
 LAGOS, Nigeria, July 4, 2018/ — Meet the largest gathering of money transfer providers on the Africa continent at the 7th RemittanceAfrica Expo (www.RemittanceAfrica.com) that will take place across 23 and 24 of October at the Lagos Oriental hotel with the compelling headline theme ‘Unlocking Opportunities in Money Transfer and Payment systems in Africa’.  The conference will host leading thought leaders in the remittance ecosystem in Africa and beyond.
According to a recent report by the World Bank, Remittances to low- and middle-income countries rebounded to a record level in 2017 after two consecutive years of decline. Remittance inflows improved in all regions and the top remittance recipients were India with $69 billion globally and Nigeria ($22 billion) in Africa which is closely followed by Egypt ($20 billion). While Remittance inflow is improving, there is significant leapfrogging of payment systems across the continent and there is a compelling need to better align remittances and payment systems in Africa to improve transaction efficiencies and further reduce cost.

With registration for speakers, sponsors and partners now going live via the event website at www.RemittanceAfrica.com, the Event Director at mobilemoneyafrica, the remittanceafrica brand owners, West Ekhator, said ‘The formal market for international and cross border money transfer to Africa is still young and faces typical emerging markets challenges when compared to more established markets, so we are at the fore front of delivering, highly engaging event platforms for supply -side decision makers in the remittance ecosystem to network and explore partners in the evolving remittance and payment ecosystem in Africa’.

The conference will aim to create a more competitive market place for players to foster and deepen their engagements across the ecosystem will hold in Africa’s largest remittance market, Nigeria in October, 2018.

 

 

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Djibouti – Doraleh port terminal: U.S. Congressman Bradley Byrne Expresses Concern About Chinese Actions in Africa
July 4, 2018 | 0 Comments
Djibouti recently illegally seized control of the Doraleh port terminal by presidential decree, and some reports indicate Djibouti plans to gift the facility to the Chinese government
 

Congressman Bradley Byrne

Congressman Bradley Byrne

WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, July 4, 2018/ — Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) (https://byrne.house.gov), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, on March 6, 2018, expressed his concerns about recent actions by China in Africa, specifically actions in the Republic of Djibouti.

Djibouti recently illegally seized control of the Doraleh port terminal by presidential decree, and some reports indicate Djibouti plans to gift the facility to the Chinese government. Congressman Byrne fears this aggressive expansion into Africa could hinder U.S. military and intelligence efforts to operate in the strategic choke point in the Horn of Africa.

Djibouti is home to the only permanent U.S. base on the entire African continent and hosts roughly 4,000 military and intelligence personnel.

Byrne on March 6, sent a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis outlining his concerns, and he also questioned General Thomas Waldhauser, Commander of U.S. Africa Command, about China’s actions in Africa and how it could impact the United States.

Congressman Byrne said: “I am deeply troubled about recent Chinese actions in Africa and efforts to expand their influence in the region. Reports that Djibouti plans to gift a major port to the Chinese government could negatively impact the ability of U.S. military and intelligence officials to conduct critical counterterrorism operations. I encourage our military leaders to monitor the issue closely to ensure that any actions will not negatively impact our servicemembers or our important economic, military, or diplomatic efforts throughout Africa.”

The full text of Congressman’s letter can be found below:

Dear Secretary Mattis:

Last week, the Republic of Djibouti illegally seized control of the Doraleh port terminal by presidential decree.  According to reports, Djibouti plans to gift the facility to the Chinese government.  While Beijing’s aggressive expansion into Africa is not new, I am concerned our military and intelligence assets and ability to operate in this strategic choke point are increasingly under threat due to China’s growing influence with President Guelleh’s government.

As you well know, Djibouti is a key location for U.S. power projection and operations.  According to the Department of Defense, Camp Lemonnier is the only U.S. permanent base on the entire African continent and is “essential to U.S. efforts in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.”  The base hosts 4,000 military and intelligence personnel and serves as a key outpost for counterterrorism operations targeting AQIP, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, the Lord’s Resistance Army and ISIS.   Home to Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), Djibouti hosts Special Forces, UAVs, helicopters, planes, and a 150-member rapid response force.  Established in the wake of the fatal attack on our mission in Benghazi, this unit is tasked to support and protect U.S. diplomatic personnel working in austere environments across the region. 

With these sensitive operations based out of Djibouti, I am troubled by President Guelleh’s decision to allow the Chinese to obtain land to build a massive base just miles from Camp Lemonnier.  Roughly the size of New Jersey, Djibouti is the only country in the world to host both a U.S. and Chinese naval base.  With the completion of Beijing’s first foreign military base, Djibouti is primed to host up to 10,000 troops from China – more than double the U.S. presence.  As confirmed by AFRICOM commander General Thomas Waldhauser, this is the closest to a U.S. installation that a rival has been able to build a base, raising significant “security concerns.” 

President Guellah’s willingness to accommodate China is further illustrated in recent reports requesting U.S. forces leave the port town to make way for the Chinese.  Many in Congress, the intelligence community, and military have warned of the impact this growing foothold will have in the region.  During testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on February 27th, CENTCOM commander General Votel confirmed “the new military base and port allow China to project forces more permanently within the region and influence strategically valuable trade waterways.” 

However, China’s purchase of influence doesn’t stop at the port.  Beijing has financed two international airports, a rail line linking Djibouti and Ethiopia, and a new presidential palace for Mr. Guelleh – rumored to be “free of charge.”  Improper bilateral business dealings in the region represent such a challenge, AFRICOM addressed them in its 2017 posture statement: “Whether with trade, natural resource exploitation, or weapons sales, we continue to see international competitors engage with African partners in a manner contrary to the international norms of transparency and good governance. These competitors weaken our African partners’ ability to govern and will ultimately hinder Africa’s long-term stability and economic growth, and they will also undermine and diminish U.S. influence.” It is becoming clear what Chinese influence has bought today.  The concern is what will it buy tomorrow.

If Djibouti is willing to confiscate a port terminal operating under a legal 30-year agreement, what is to stop President Guelleh from reneging on the twenty-year lease the U.S. signed in 2014 for Camp Lemonnier?  The growing correlation between the billions spent by Beijing and actions taken by Djibouti harmful to the interests of the U.S. and our allies raises serious questions.  In his 2015 Foreign Affairs piece “China Comes to Djibouti: Why Washington Should be Worried”, China scholar Dr. John Lee provides a prescient answer: “Money talks, especially in small and underdeveloped states run by authoritarian governments such as Djibouti—and soon Beijing, not Washington, may have the strongest voice.” 

Your April 2017 visit to Djibouti sent a strong signal about the strategic significance and need for a robust U.S. presence.  I appreciate your statements highlighting the need for long-established international norms to be followed in and around the increasingly congested country.  As you engage your Djiboutian counterparts, I respectfully request you continue to ensure our presence and ability to operate unimpeded are respected.

Thank you for your steady leadership of the Department and continued selfless dedication to our country.

Bradley Byrne

Member of Congress

 

 

https://youtu.be/31q15c4of0Q

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The President of Burkina Faso, Marc Roch Christian Kaboré, reviews his government’s mid-term results
July 4, 2018 | 0 Comments
A positive assessment for Burkina Faso: the structural transformation of the economy, the development of human capital and the reform of the State are underway!

The President of the Republic of Burkina Faso, Marc Roch Christian Kaboré

The President of the Republic of Burkina Faso, Marc Roch Christian Kaboré

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso, 4 July 2018,- /African Media Agency (AMA)/-The President of the Republic of Burkina Faso, Marc Roch Christian Kaboré, who was democratically elected in November 2015 and inaugurated the following month, has assessed the results of his government after two and a half years of his five-year term at the head of the country.

President Kaboré was able to impose a policy that broke with the old regime by developing a new societal project that aims to establish a rule of law in Burkina Faso through institutional reform and the construction of citizenship, and to proceed with the economic and social transformation of the country.

His presidential programme is set out in the National Plan for Economic and Social Development (PNDES) adopted in 2016 and is structured around three priorities: state reforms, human capital and the development of economic growth sectors. In these three major projects, the Head of State has set himself priority objectives in all key sectors by putting in place emergency measures to boost growth, initiate socio-economic change and lay the foundations for new governance.

The Head of State’s commitments have resulted in significant progress in all areas. Burkina Faso is doing better economically than two years ago. “We must congratulate ourselves because, despite a difficult context marked by insecurity and social discontent, Burkina Faso has an economic growth rate of 6.7%,” President Kaboré said during his national television interview on the mid-term review.

President Kaboré’s vision maintains that “only a structural transformation of the economy will truly fight poverty by laying the foundations for sustainable and prosperous development for the nation as a whole”. The aim is therefore to modernise agriculture, open up the country and initiate an energy and digital revolution that will positively impact all economic and social projects, while placing human capital at the heart of development to improve the living conditions and the production ability of Burkinabé citizens.

Solar energy, dams, ongoing road and rail projects and the national internet backbone are structuring projects that serve as levers to boost growth sectors such as agriculture, particularly agricultural processing, with the Bagré growth pole’s creation of 25,000 jobs as an example.

As regards human capital, many achievements in the fields of health, drinking water, sanitation, electrification and education have already met the President’s development objectives with concrete results, including actions in favour of young people, women and the rural areas. Free health care for women and children has made it possible to handle more than 6 million interventions for women and 10 million sick children under the age of five, therefore almost 27 million free interventions. “We must work to make effective and promote women’s rights in all areas,” said the Head of State, who is intensifying his efforts to combat inequality.

The “Zero Water Drudgery” objective, one of the Head of State’s major commitments, is underway and aims to facilitate access to drinking water for 100% of Burkinabé people by 2020. Another of his strong measures concerns the recruitment of 16,000 young people in education which responds to a double objective, the creation of jobs for youth while responding to the shortage of human resources in National Education.

The efforts undertaken for the young people of Burkina Faso include structuring projects, entrepreneurship and the provision of vocational training in line with the job market and promising sectors, and aim to offer real prospects for the future for the new generation. “I invite young people in Burkina Faso to focus on promising sectors and to take an interest in those that provide jobs, especially in agriculture, livestock, crafts and the information and communication technologies”, insisted President Kaboré, who encourages young people to become fully involved in the country’s development.

The project drawn up by the Head of State more than two years ago brought to life every day with innovative projects and concrete results on the ground. However, he stresses that it must be built collectively in a spirit of solidarity and citizenship. “I appeal to everyone’s civic responsibility for the consolidation of democracy and progress,” the President reiterated. Efforts must continue, especially in the consolidation of the rule of law to perpetuate the democratic struggle of the Burkinabé people.

State reform is the foundation on which President Kaboré has based his term; among the most important achievements is the finalisation of the draft of the New Constitution, which is scheduled to be adopted by the people by referendum in 2019. Meanwhile, many reform projects have been set in motion to improve political and economic governance, modernise the administration, improve public spending, and strengthen judicial independence and human rights.

On the security and counter-terrorism front, the Head of State has shown his sense of action and resilience by strengthening the capacity of the armed forces and carrying out a series of reforms to improve the intelligence service coordination. He has made the Sahel the national priority and his advocacy and activism amongst the international community has helped rally the financial support of numerous countries for the G5 Sahel force and the PUS – Programme d’Urgence pour le Sahel.

President Kaboré’s outward-looking policy and active diplomacy over the last two years has led to numerous cooperation agreements and forging of relationships with new partners such as India and China. He has taken a strong stance in favour of the emergence of the continent and the sub-region, and is resolutely focused on strengthening regional integration and participating in the consolidation of Africa’s democratic momentum. He established a government department dedicated to the diaspora, thereby reaffirming his desire to involve Burkinabè people living abroad in the country’s current transformation.

“The new page in our glorious history will be a collective work.” With these words the President Kaboré emphasised that his project involves all stakeholders, all components, and every one of the particularities that make up the uniqueness of this great nation. At mid-term, the country’s democratic transition and economic and sustainable transformation are most definitely underway.

REVIEW: The Kaboré Presidency’s major achievements to date in Burkina Faso’s priority sectors for the economy and human capital

Economic Performance: Growth and Employment

While the growth rate stood at 4% in 2015, it reached 6.7% in 2017. Burkina Faso’s economic performance is also supported by its growth rate in the WAEMU zone – the country is in third position after Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal. This proves that, despite the difficult security and social context, Burkina Faso has seen a return to growth, due mainly to the consolidation of public finances, government reforms to improve tax revenues and the structuring projects implemented under the PNDES.

In addition, more than 183,000 salaried jobs were created in the formal sector during the first two years of the PNDES implementation, with the best performance being recorded in 2017 when the creation of salaried jobs rose by 41.3% compared to 2016.

Infrastructure and opening up the country

Major infrastructure projects to open up the country and unlock its economic potential are moving forward. With 1,240 km of rural tracks already improved, the presidential programme, which aims at achieving 5,000 km of rural tracks in isolated production areas, is going well.

Of the 15 road projects to which the Head of State is committed to completing by the end of his term, i.e. a total of 2,042 km to be tarred, more than 32% are under construction or in the start-up phase. In addition, the railway line between Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso is being rehabilitated, and the new road between Ghana and Burkina Faso should be open by 2020.

Energy

Solar energy has sparked the country’s energy revolution which is now well underway. Energy production and supply increased in 2017 with the Zagtouli and Ziga solar photovoltaic plants and the completion, on the Burkina Faso side, of interconnection works between Bolgatanga in Ghana and Ouagadougou.

The electrification of 40 rural communities and 385 socio-communal infrastructure facilities using photovoltaic solar systems, the electrical interconnection works between Ouagadougou and Ouahigouya, Kaya and Dori as well as Kongoussi and Djibo, and the installation of LED lamps and solar lamps are all achievements that have increased the number of fully electrified communities from 562 in 2015 to 1,347 today.

Digital and ICT

The all-digital change is underway in government, public services and all key sectors of the economy. President Kaboré wants to raise Burkina Faso to the level of countries that have appropriated information technologies to build prosperous economies. Connectivity has improved significantly now that the deployment of the fibre optic network is completed, including the G-CLOUD project, which will continue during the 2018-2020 period, and the introduction of Digital Terrestrial Television, making the right to information for all a reality.

Access to healthcare and the introduction of free healthcare

Free health care for women and children has made it possible to handle more than 6 million interventions for women and treat 10 million sick children under the age of five, therefore almost 27 million free interventions. This free healthcare policy has thus made it possible to reduce the maternal and infant mortality rate in hospitals, increase the assisted childbirth rate, reduce the malaria mortality rate in young children and screen women for breast and uterine cancers.

When the Universal Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) comes into effect in 2018, free health care will be deepened and extended to the entire population.

Water and sanitation

The “Zero Water Drudgery” objective, one of the Head of State’s major commitments, is underway and aims to facilitate access to drinking water for 100% of Burkinabé people by 2020. Progress was recorded in 2017 with a drinking water access rate of 66.2% in rural areas and 91.7% in urban areas.

Government efforts focused on the delivery and rehabilitation of a total of 22 dams, thousands of boreholes and other water reservoirs. These measures enabled it to achieve a surface water storage capacity of 6,135.35 million m3, which exceeds the target set in 2017.

Education and Higher Education

The state is continuing its efforts to replace straw hut schools with bricks and mortar establishments and, thus far, 1,263 classrooms out of the 4,353 expected by 2020 have already been built. Overall, the school completion rate has also improved over the last two years, especially in post-primary and secondary education, rising from 24.24% in 2016 to 32.95% between 2016 and 2017. Preventing girls from dropping out of school is another of President Kaboré’s top priorities that has had really positive results; the school dropout rate has decreased by 70% since the beginning of his term, representing a major step forward for equal opportunities for women in Burkina Faso.

In his drive to improve access and entry to higher education, the government will continue to establish new universities in the various regions that offer specialist courses related to the growth sectors of these areas. A Virtual University will also be set up to address the infrastructure deficit and offer supervision and personalised follow-up to a greater number of Burkinabé students.

Adding value to agriculture and rural areas

President Kaboré has made rural areas the priority of his term and has put in place an agricultural policy that works to modernise agriculture, reduce food insecurity and develop agricultural processing. Faced with a drop in agricultural production over the last two years due, among other things, to the vagaries of climate change, efforts have been focused on improving arable land. The government supported vulnerable people in rural areas by providing them with 35,000 tons of fertiliser, 10,000 tons of seed and 22,000 units of equipment to improve yields. In order to modernise the sector, strategic infrastructure will be built, such as the Agricultural Inputs and Equipment Purchasing Centre (CAIMA), the tractor and cultivator assembly unit, a natural phosphate mineral fertiliser production unit and the establishment of the Agricultural Seed Production Company (SOPROS.A).

Actions in favour of Women

Improving the status of women is something to which the Burkinabé Head of State is deeply committed and the reason he has been pursuing a proactive gender policy for the past two years, the aim of which is to establish a society free of all forms of inequality and inequity. In terms of tackling violence, the National Strategy for the Promotion and Protection of the Girl Child and its action plan have been ratified. Convictions of perpetrators of female genital mutilation and violence against women show that strong measures have been put in place to enforce the law and to redress the harm suffered by victims.

On the issue of land, President Kaboré’s promise that 25% to 30% of the land developed by the State would be granted to women has, to date, been more than met. In terms of empowerment, women have benefited from the allocation of a budget of 200 million CFA francs from the Burkina Faso Fund for Economic and Social Development to Finance Female Entrepreneurship. In addition, the launch of the Youth and Women’s Empowerment Programme (PEA/JF) funded more than 13,000 micro-projects and 17 women’s groups involved in agro-processing. Recently, the President also promised to substantially increase the Ministry of Women’s budget and to provide FAARF with more means for financing loans.

Youth opportunities

To promote young people’s employability, President Kaboré has focused on technical and vocational training by supporting professional integration, with the setting up of 46 agricultural processing units and the distribution of 2,964 kits to young people graduating from vocational training centres. Entrepreneurship is also a core priority: 19,862 microenterprises have been financed and the Burkina Startups Fund, worth 10 billion CFA francs, has been set up to support 500 innovative SMEs and SMIs and thus contributes to the creation of 10,000 direct jobs.

More importance has been given to vocational training for young people so that their apprenticeship meets the needs of the national economy, something President Kaboré is deeply committed to achieving. Government action to support this new positioning has led to the establishment of 45 technical and vocational training centres, as well as the construction of vocational and scientific high schools throughout the country.

Cultural industries and enhancing national heritage

Enhancing Burkina Faso’s national heritage is another of President Kaboré’s commitments. He intends to award culture a significant role in the country’s development. He has initiated actions that set a new dynamic for crafts, cultural industries, sport and tourism in reaffirming a national identity with a strong and plural culture. This culture will, in turn, generate careers for young people and jobs for women, as it is involves developing and enhancing local know-how and cultural wealth, which will promote Burkina in Africa and internationally and inspire pride in all citizens.

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2.4 million children out of school in S. Sudan
July 4, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Juba – a new latest report says up to 2.4 million children in South Sudan are not receiving an education, the highest proportion of out of school children in the world.

This was attributed to the years of conflict, resulted to mass displacement and economic collapse continue to deprive children of education, harming the future of the country.

In the statement,  new data in the Global Initiative on Out of School Children South Sudan Country Study estimates that up to 2.4 million children are not attending school in South Sudan.

It added in just [next] two years the number of children not in school will increase by a further 200,000, to 2.6 million, if conditions in the country do not significantly improve, the study warns.

“We cannot leave children behind.  They are the future of South Sudan,” said Sardar Umar Alam, UNESCO’s Representative to South Sudan.  “We must work together – everyone including the government, civil society and development partners – to urgently support and invest in teachers and getting children into schools,” Umar added.

The study mapped major barriers and challenges keeping children from going to school as displacement, recruitment by armed forces and groups, poverty, and child labor were cited as major risks to children’s education.

It calls for greater investments in collecting education data to allow for evidence-based activities while stressing the importance of functional schools with clean water, books, trained teachers and a safe learning environment free from conflict.

 “Investing in education is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do,” said Mahimbo Mdoe, UNICEF’s Representative in South Sudan.  “Educated children are able to build a better future for themselves, and the country.”

The study was conducted by Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children South Sudan Country in collaboration between UNESCO,Ministry of General Education and Instruction (MoGEI), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and development partners with support from UNICEF and the Global Partnership for Education.

South Sudan has descended to civil war in 2013 over power and resources control between president Kiir and opposition leader Dr. Machar, just two years of her independence from Sudan, a conflict in its fifth years has killed tens thousands of people and displaced four million people from their homes

 

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Kenya:Condom Burst Lands Company And Organizations In Court
July 4, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Condoms. A Nairobi resident has gone to court to protest against illegal marketing, sale and distribution of Zoom condoms. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Condoms. A Nairobi resident has gone to court to protest against illegal marketing, sale and distribution of Zoom condoms. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A Kenyan man has sued Kenya Bureau of Standards, Kenya Revenue Authority and Beta Healthcare over faulty zoom condoms.

The man, who sought  anonymity, claimed that on October 4, 2014 he bought the condoms which burst during intercourse leading to Sexual Transmitted Infection to his wife who later divorced him.

“While I was having sexual intercourse with her the said condom broke a fact which I only realized after the act. At first I brushed the incident as a non-issue and used them three days later,” he said.

In the affidavit, he said he began to notice some rushes on his private part and pain while urinating, a discovery that gave him sleepless night.

“Immediately I went to a traditional healer and sought some traditional herbal medicine which eased my pain. One week later the pain worsened and sought for further checkups in a clinic where I was diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection and treated on the same day,” he said.

His wife divorced him barely a month when she was called diagnosed with the same infection. She blamed him for unfaithfulness.

“My wife then became estranged and later left me for another man. After she left, I became distressed and burdened with guilt and even had a mental breakdown which led me to be an alcoholic and finally I lost my job,” he noted.

The man has demanded stern action to be taken against Kenya Bureau of Standard, an organization responsible for the provision of standardization, measurement and conformity of assessment services, Kenya Revenue Authority, a body which assess and account for all revenue and Beta Healthcare, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company for allowing a consignment of zoom condoms which of unquestionable quality to be sold.

This has added misery to Kenya Bureau of Standards which is also being sued for  allowing  illegal sugar to enter  the country. The sugar is alleged to contain mercury and copper which are harmful to health.

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Kenya:For Sidelining Deputy, Section of Jubilee Party Leaders Mulling Kenyatta Impeachment-Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa
July 4, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Kiminini Member of Parliament Christ Wamalwa on Tuesday, Jly 3, alleged some of DP William Ruto's allies could be planning to impeach him. Photo: TUKO. Source UGC

Kiminini Member of Parliament Christ Wamalwa on Tuesday, Jly 3, alleged some of DP William Ruto’s allies could be planning to impeach him. Photo: TUKO. Source UGC

There is a secret plot to impeach President Uhuru Kenyatta by a section of Jubilee Party leaders for sidelining his Deputy William Ruto in some of the major decisions, says Kiminini legislator Chris Wamalwa.

While speaking during a breakfast Show in Citizen television, one of the media houses in the East African country, Wamalwa claimed that Ruto’s camp is bitter with the President over the peace deal with the opposition leader and lifestyle audit.

“There are people who are bitter about the deputy president being sidelined as Uhuru’s successor. Some have even been warned by elders. I will not be surprised if there is a motion to impeach the president,” reiterated Chris Wamalwa.

Wamalwa alleged that the ruling party leaders are not drinking in one cup and that has led to emergence of two factions, one pushing for the big Four agenda and anti-graft, and the other focusing on the 2022 polls.

“The president’s focus is to leave a legacy, by working on the fight against graft and the big Four Agenda. But the issue of 2022 politics is also not going away,” the legislator claimed.

Two weeks ago, Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, Ruto’s ardent key man, confirmed that things are falling apart in the ruling coalition that was cobbled in the run to last year’s poll. Murkomen lashed at State House officials for misleading the president.

“Let me be very honest, I believe that the investment those people are putting in to drive a wedge between the President and Deputy is so huge and to a great extent it is creating faults. The concerns that these people exist and work in the President’s Office is obvious,” Murkomen alleged.

After it emerged that Jubilee Party leaders were to hold a joint parliamentary meeting chaired by President Kenyatta on July 3 to iron out the differences, the meeting was indefinitely called off on Monday according to the information sent to media by the party Secretary General Raphael Tuju.

“After due consultation and after speaking with our Parliamentary Majority Leader Aden Duale, I am able to confirm that there will be no Jubilee Parliamentary Group meeting,” Tuju said.

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OPIC LAUNCHES CONNECT AFRICA INITIATIVE TO INVEST MORE THAN $1 BILLION SUPPORTING INFRASTRUCTURE, COMMUNICATIONS, AND VALUE CHAIN CONNECTIVITY
July 3, 2018 | 0 Comments
Ray W. Washburne

Ray W. Washburne

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, today launched its Connect Africa initiative which will mobilize more than $1 billion to projects that support transportation, communications, and value chains in Africa over the next three years. The announcement comes as OPIC’s President and Chief Executive Officer Ray W. Washburne embarks on his first official travel to the continent.

“Africa is home to many of the world’s fastest-growing economies and presents both a great need for investment and a great opportunity for American businesses,” Washburne said. “But, too many barriers remain to the flow of goods and services. By focusing on connectivity, we’re not only helping build means for economic development, but also laying the foundation for future trade partners.”

Transportation and Logistics

  • Infrastructure development supports commerce by making it easier and more efficient to move goods within countries and across borders. Connect Africa will focus on facilitating investments in roads, railways, ports and airports, as well as logistics, including elements such as vehicles, warehouses, and cold storage units.
  • Information and Communications Technology

    Technology is transforming the way people work, communicate, access information, and educate their children. The initiative will focus on technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications, including internet, wireless networks and mobile phones.

  • Value Chains
  • Africa requires greater investment in order to better take advantage of global and regional value chains. The initiative will focus on facilitating investments supporting processing raw materials and helping products reach consumers.During his travel, Mr. Washburne will travel to Zambia, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, and Kenya where he will meet with Heads of State and visit several OPIC projects supporting economic development in Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa is a region of focus for OPIC, comprising more than one-quarter of the Agency’s $23 billion active portfolio.

    As part of its Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal, the Trump Administration highlighted the need for the United States Government to modernize its approach to development finance to help grow aspiring partners, promote economic relationships, and increase investment in regions important to American interests.

  • ​​​​​​​The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is a self-sustaining U.S. Government agency that helps American businesses invest in emerging markets. Established in 1971, OPIC provides businesses with the tools to manage the risks associated with foreign direct investment, fosters economic development in emerging market countries, and advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. OPIC helps American businesses gain footholds in new markets, catalyzes new revenues and contributes to jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC fulfills its mission by providing businesses with financing, political risk insurance, advocacy and by partnering with private equity investment fund managers.​​​​​​​

    ​​​​​​​OPIC services are available to new and expanding businesses planning to invest in more than 160 countries worldwide. Because OPIC charges market-based fees for its products, it operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to taxpayers. All OPIC projects must adhere to best international practices and cannot cause job loss in the United States.

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Kenya:Tensions Deepen In Ruling Jubilee Coalition over Handshake fever
July 2, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

It was a handshake that drew a line under Kenya's bruising election, left many people bewildered and swung open the starting gate for the 2022 presidential race, AFP reports on April 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SIMON MAINA

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 9, 2018 Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta (L) and National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition opposition leader Raila Odinga shake hands after addressing a press conference at Harambee house office in Nairobi.
It was a handshake that drew a line under Kenya’s bruising election, left many people bewildered and swung open the starting gate for the 2022 presidential race, AFP reports on April 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SIMON MAINA

Division widens in Kenyan ruling coalition, Jubilee Party, over March 9, 2018 handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition chief Raila Odinga.

A section of leaders demand the peace deal be revoked noting that it aims at scuttling Deputy President William Ruto’s presidential bid. Some are also pushing Kenyatta to share the details of famous handshake, arguing the current disquiet in Jubilee seem to stem from the March 9 unity deal.

Legislators allied to Ruto have called for a meeting chaired by the President to discuss the implications of handshake to Jubilee Government. They expect him to engross looming political fallout in the party that was botched prior to last year’s elections by merging The National Alliance (TNA) of Uhuru and United Republican (URP) of Ruto.

In 2013 and 2017 Ruto threw his weight behind Uhuru and his allies have said it is time for President to reciprocate back by declaring him his successor ahead of 2022 polls.

“The meeting would be timely because even a fool knows there is a crisis that is threatening to tear apart Jubilee. We need to understand some few things about the handshake and why things have changed suddenly in Jubilee,” said legislator Samuel Arama one of Ruto’s ardent supporter.

They challenged Kenyatta to come out clean on grievances that Ruto is being sidelined in the running of the Government since he agreed to work together with the opposition chief.

“When we started in 2013, the president and his deputy agreed to work together and end hostility among the communities in the country. But since the handshake things seem to be falling apart,” complained Mr.Gikaria, Uhuru’s staunch ally.

Troubles escalated when the President announced that there will be lifestyle audit to all Government officials including him and his deputy in war against graft, a move that has caused panic among the deputy president diehards. They claimed that he is being targeted by some operatives in the office of the president who are out to block him from becoming the president.

However, Ruto’s critics have blasted their colleagues for being a stumbling block in fight against corruption. They have asked Kenyatta not to succumb to political blackmail.

“The challenge we have in Jubilee is that there are certain individuals whom, when you discuss corruption, they feel they are being discussed and when you discuss them you are discussing corruption. There is a thin line between them and corruption,” said Mr. Keter, Ruto’s critic.

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