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Investments in rail transport essential for the success of Africa’s free-trade area
October 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Aubrey Lekwane *

Aubrey Lekwane is Managing Director, South Africa, Bombardier Transportation

Africa is on the cusp of launching a free-trade zone that could meaningfully boost economic growth and unlock the continent’s vast potential.

Perhaps the most pressing requirement to improve economy in the region is the need for better transportation links between African states, particularly in the form of rail networks.

The establishment of a continent-wide trade bloc is an ambitious project, and one that could move the needle in terms of reducing poverty and promoting Africa’s industrialisation. Other regions, including the European Union (EU), offer good case studies on the benefits of economic integration, trade liberalisation, customs efficiencies, and the seamless movement of capital, goods and people across borders.

With its strong road, rail and air-transport links, the EU model reflects just how important it is to remove non-tariff barriers to trade. According to a May 2019 report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), non-tariff barriers in Africa are high “and represent a critical obstacle to trade”. The IMF says a reduction in ground transportation costs is “especially critical” to encouraging intra-regional trade and making a success of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The development of a comprehensive African rail network is the single biggest opportunity in that regard.

A reliable rail network would allow for the efficient movement of goods, businesspeople and tourists across the continent, while also improving Africa’s links to the rest of the world, particularly the continent’s landlocked nations. Rail is also a sustainable solution given that it is far more environmentally friendly than road and air transport – Africa’s natural environment is one of its greatest assets, and it must be protected. Rail investments stimulate economies while reducing carbon emissions and urban congestion – a major issue and growth impediment in many African cities.

As Africa is making investments in rail industry, green transportation and sustainable mobility should be a priority. Backed by new regulations and environmental groups, the global trend towards greener forms of transport is affecting multiple industries including the rail industry.

Several alternatives to diesel trains are currently being developed worldwide including:

  • Hydrogen fuel cells in trains: work by generating power through an onboard fuel cell that combines hydrogen and oxygen
  • Battery-powered locomotives: battery system that can be recharged by overhead wires on electrified tracks or by charging stations on non-electrified routes
  • Liquefied natural gas: (LNG) is being used in the rail industry as an option for dual-fuel locomotives

These investments will help develop a zero-emission, energy-efficient and cost-effective alternative to diesel trains. Deploying fuel cell and battery technology for rail transportation will usher in a new era for non-electrified routes.

Bombardier Transportation, which designed and supplied a fleet of 96 rail vehicles for South Africa’s world-class Gautrain system, sees a golden era ahead for Africa’s rail sector, which has suffered from chronic under-investment in recent decades.   

Today, African freight and passenger transport is heavily reliant on road infrastructure. In South Africa, the continent’s most advanced economy, nearly 90% of freight is moved by road, for example. That is a staggering proportion, and this overreliance means that our roads need to be constantly repaired while traffic congestion worsens in the face of urbanisation. Worse still, the lack of focus on rail until recently has placed a drag on South Africa’s exports.

Thankfully, the South African government is re-investing in the country’s rail links – a move that Bombardier Transportation fully supports. Going forward, these efforts need to be increasingly coordinated with the country’s neighbours. 

South Africa also has an opportunity to become a major rail manufacturing hub as the continent invests in railway infrastructure, including new trains, signalling systems and general maintenance. Rail will play an important role in Africa’s future, and Bombardier Transportation is keen to apply its global expertise and solutions to propel the continent forward.

Ultimately, rail’s contribution towards an integrated transport network will help Africa to attract investment and to be competitive in the global trade arena.  Rail is the only sustainable transportation solution to many of today’s environmental, social and economic challenges and Bombardier is looking forward to moving millions daily safely in the African region

*Managing Director, South Africa, Bombardier Transportation

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Oil Industry and Civil Society Congratulate “Africa Oil Man of the Year” Macky Sall on Taking Bold Steps to Develop Senegal’s Hydrocarbons Industry
October 16, 2019 | 0 Comments
The award is a recognition of Macky Sall’s work and the efforts of his government to boost the development of Senegal’s economy
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, October 15, 2019/ — The African and global energy sector is rallying behind Macky Sall’s efforts to develop his country’s oil & gas industry, which are positioning Senegal as a new energy hub in Africa. Such efforts and achievements are being celebrated this week as the President of Senegal receives the Africa Oil Man of the Year from Africa Oil & Power.

The award is a recognition of Macky Sall’s work and the efforts of his government to boost the development of Senegal’s economy, create an enabling environment for investors and ensure that future oil & gas extracted from Senegal generate jobs and growth opportunities for Senegalese companies.

“Under President Macky Sall, Senegal continues to show its commitment to transparency, to engaging with those who disagree with him, to finding consensus on extractive industry matters, and to taking all necessary actions to avoid the natural resources curse,” said Akere Muna, former Vice President of Transparency International and former Chairman of the International Anti-Corruption Conference Council. “The Senegalese people understand what is at stake with these resources coming out of the ground and their President is showing a definite engagement to ensure a transparent distribution of revenues and resources for the benefits of the Senegalese economy and its citizens. The President should use this award to make Senegal a place where Africans can be proud of the natural resource sector,” added Muna.

“As Senegal gets closer to producing first gas and increase its production of oil, we congratulate its President Macky Sall and its government on adding yet another African nation to the list of global hydrocarbons producers,” added Mahaman Laouan Gaya, Secretary General of the African Petroleum Producers’ Organisation (APPO). “African producers stand ready to cooperate with Senegal to support its economic development, and we truly look forward to following the country on its renewed journey to prosperity.”

Soon after discovering oil and gas in 2014 and 2016, Senegal engaged in a nation-wide dialogue with the private sector, foreign investors and the civil society on the next steps to develop the industry. This resulted in the creation of new entities such as the Strategic Orientation Committee for Petroleum and Gas (COS-Petrogaz) but also in a brand new Petroleum Code in 2019 and new local content regulations to ensure the creation of local jobs and the procurement of local goods and services from the industry. As a result, foreign investments increased and several international majors, national oil companies and independents entered the market.

“What Senegal and its President Macky Sall have proven is that the power of political will and leadership cannot be underestimated in this industry,” said Prince Arthur Eze, Chairman of Atlas Oranto Petroleum, currently exploring in Senegal. “Sound regulations, good governance and a political leadership aligned towards a common target of economic development and of making energy work for the people is what is making Senegal a new African success story, I salute the President and the people of Senegal, the entire Africa is praying for you” he added. 

 Senegal is notably making headlines for fast-tracking the development of its industry and not loosing time on getting resources out of the ground. The industry is notably saluting the country’s authorities for the short time it took between the first discoveries of oil and gas in Senegal and the taking of relevant final investment decisions, which is remarkable for industry standards. As a result, Senegal is set to become a global gas exporter in the near future alongside African countries like those of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, including Algeria, Egypt, Angola, Mozambique, Tanzania Equatorial Guinea, Libya, and Nigeria.

“This proves the willingness of the Senegalese government to develop these resources and the industry at large,” declared Jude Kearney, former Deputy Assistant Secretary during the Clinton Administration and current President of Kearney Africa Advisors. “More importantly, doing so has not resulted in any detriment to good governance practices and developing a sound regulatory framework,” added Kearney.

“Senegal’s President Macky Sall has established strong relations with the world, including Germany, which will be very beneficial when it comes to attracting the right capital and technology to develop its energy sector,” added Sebastian Wagner, CEO of the Germany Africa Business Forum (GABF).

The African Energy Chamber under the leadership our executive Chairman NJ Ayuk, joins the industry in congratulating President Macky Sall for taking the right steps to develop Senegal’s oil & gas sector and make energy work for all Senegalese citizens. With its partners, the Chamber will continue to assist Senegal in promoting good governance, attracting investments and building domestic capacity across the value-chain.
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Commission president reiterates; Cameroon’s peace in vital to CEMAC sub-regional development
October 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Professor Daniel Ona Ondo (left) in a handshake with President Paul Biya (photo: prc.cm)

Chairperson of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, CEMAC, Professor Daniel Ona Ondo, has reiterated that the return of peace to Cameroon is the only guarantee for any meaningful economic development within the sub region.

Speaking September 26 at Cameroon’s executive mansion during a tête-à-tête with President Paul Biya who doubles as current chairman of the CEMAC conference of heads of state, Ona Ondo expressed hope that the national dialogue will solve the sociopolitical crisis in the North West and South West regions.

Noting that Cameroon contributes some 40 percent of the sub region’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, Ondo said the economic situation of the sub region has a positive outlook.

This, he explained, were the outcome of the 2016 resolutions of the CEMAC heads of state under the leadership of President Paul Biya.

These measures, the CEMAC official noted, have resulted in economic recovery and good inflation rates across the sub region. To enhance the economic recovery of the sub region, President Biya issued new directives to Prof Ondo to make CEMAC an enviable sub regional body with an interest on the population. The president also promised his support to the CEMAC Commission enable it fulfill its assigned missions.

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MAKING AFRICA TRADE EASY (MATE) “The African Diaspora linking U.S. and African businesses” HIGH LEVEL DIALOGUE
September 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

Washington, D.C.)- September 26, 2019–BELIEVE IN AFRICA (BIA) is honored to announce its first and largest African diaspora gathering conference called “Making Africa Trade Easy” (MATE) scheduled from October 3rd to 4th, 2019 at the prestigious Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center located at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NE in Washington, DC 20004, USA.

“MATE is a collaborative and nonpartisan effort between the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center and Believe in Africa to unleash the African Diaspora potential as a catalyst for trade between the U.S. and African economies. This first edition aims at promoting the new U.S. Africa strategy “Prosper Africa” as well as advancing Africa’s economic integration,” said Mrs. Angelle Kwemo, Founder and Chair of Believe in Africa.

She added: “It is more importantly a platform that will allow two-way trade between African businesses and their U.S. counterparts, and therefore help strengthen mutually beneficial partnerships that create wealth, prosperity and lasting jobs on both continents.”

MATE’s program comprises a two-day trade fair, high level discussions, workshops on how to do business with U.S. agencies, a fashion show and cultural activities. We are expecting 200 selected high-level delegates from the U.S. and Africa, dozens of speakers and exhibitors and 1,000 visitors.

This year Award Ceremony will be hosted by Maureen Umeh, TV Host.

2019 Believe in Africa Awardees are:

  • H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson, African Union Commission
  • Aisha Babangida, Chairperson Betterlife for Rural Women,
  • Samba Bathily, Founder, AED Group and
  • Dr. Gloria Herdon, CEO GH Global Group.

This years speakers included:

Hon. Ramsey Day, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa, US Agency for International Development, Matthew Rees, Prosper Africa Coordinator, David Weld, Senior director, Africa, Millennium Challenge Corporation, Constance Hamilton, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa, Oren Wyche-Shaw, Deputy Assistant Administrator, US Agency for International Development, Alison Germack, Director of Corporate Development, International Development finance corporation, Heather Lannigan, Regional director for sub-Saharan Africa, US Trade Development Agency – Access Africa, Katie Auth, Acting deputy Coordinator, Power Africa, CD Glin, President & CEO, US Africa Development Foundation, Gregory Simpkins, Senior Advisor, US Agency for International Development, Martin Ezemma, Director of International Business, Prince Georges’s County Economic Development corporation
 
African government Officials 
Hon. Lesego Makgothi
, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Kingdom of Lesotho, His Excellency Albert M. Muchanga, African Union Commissioner of Trade and Industry, His Excellency Ambassador Fitsum Arega, Hicham Boudraa, Morrocan Agency for Development and Export, MADIE, H.E. DHR Sergio Akiemboto, Minister of Mines and Natural Resources, Suriname.
 

Aisha Babangida will be honored with an Award at MATE 2019

Actors in the Private sector:

Angelle Kwemo, Founder & President, Believe in Africa, Andrew Gelfuso, Vice president, Ronald Reagan building international trade center, Dr. Aurele Houngbedji, senior risk management officer, international monetary fund, Jeannine Scott, Board Chair, Constituency for Africa, Leila Ndiaye, President & CEO, Institute for Global Development, Flori Liser, president & CEO, Corporate Council on Africa, Scott Eisner*, president, Africa Business Council, US Chamber of Commerce, Samba Bathily, Founder ADS Group, Prof. Landry Signe, David M. Rubenstein Fellow in the Global Economy and Development Program, Brookings Institution, Yusuf Daya, senior manager, Afrexim Bank, Dr. Edem  Adzogenu, chair, executive committee, the afrochampions initiative, Wilmot Allen, ceo, VentureLift Africa, Simon Tiemtore, chairman, Lilium capital &vista bank, Reda Rami, chairman, winvestment, Mohammed Ibrahim Jega, Chief Business Development Officer, CEO Vogue Pay, Franklin Assare*, Ghana director, oracle, Dr. Mima Nedelcovitch, Partner, Africa global , Ollowo-N’Djo Tchala, ceo, Alaffia, Albert Zeufack, chief economist, world bank, Salma Seetaroo-Bonnafoux, Ivoirienne de Nois de Cajou, H.E. Aisha Babaginda, Chairperson, Better Life for Rural Women, Rahama Wright, Shea Yeleen, Member U.S. Presidential Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa, Shehnaz Rangwalla, President, Leadership Global, Dr. Sharon Freeman, President & ceo, Gems of wisdom consulting, Mariama Camara, mariam fashion production, Tebabu essefa, founder & ceo, blessed coffee, Dr. Gloria Herndon, GH Global, Andrew Gelfuso,  Vice president, Ronald Reagan Building International Trade Center, Hope Sullivan, consultant, OIC of America, Dr. Malcolm Beech, Sr., President Africa Business League – America, Lledon Stokes, President, National Business League, Stanley L.Straughter, Chairman, African and Caribbean Business Council of Greater Philadelphia, Dr. Menna Menessi, secretary,  Ethiopian  diaspora  trust fund, Awoke Semework, President, Ethio-American Chamber of commerce, Ambassador Robin Sanders, feeds, former Ambassador to Congo, Nigeria and Ecowas, Tumelo Ramaphosa, StudcCoin , Andrew Berkowitz, Crypto Media Company, Camilla Barungi, co-funder, Alliance 4 Development, Ed Thurlow, Bination, Alex de Bryn, Founder and CEO Doshex, Tamra Raye stevenson, CEO, Women Advancing Nutrition Dietetics and Agriculture, Kimberly Brown, phd, amethyst technologies, llc, Dr. Aunkh chanbalala, Director, Department of Science and Technology, South Africa, Adrian Gore, founder & ceo, discovery aid, Betty Adera, Betty Adera foundation

Believe in Africa (BIA) is an African Diaspora-led initiative founded by former U.S. congressional staffers and African leaders in the U.S., to empower young Africans, promote the role of the African private sector, harness the power of the African Diaspora, educate policy makers and the public about African economic growth and highlight the continent’s gradual rise in the global community.

To learn more about BIA visit www.believeinafrica.org

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Central Africa: President Touadera Honored With PALOMA DE LA PAZ” (PEACE DOVE) From World Organization of Peace
September 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

Juan Samuel Delgado Cedillo, President of the World Organization for Peace (OMPP/WOFP), presented the special prize La Paloma de La Paz, to Professor Faustin Archange Touadera, President of the Central African Republic and Head of State, for the results obtained during the pacification process in some regions of Africa.

The Dove of Peace is the most important symbol that the OMPP grants as a special prize to those who with their actions have sought, fought or contributed to global pacification and to the resolution of conflicts in any region of the world, without distinguishing beliefs religious, political preferences or skin color.

In an event held at the official facilities of the Presidency in the city of Bangui, capital of that country, attended by the highest officials of the government and Central African politics, as well as Ambassadors and Ministers of some countries in the region, Samuel Delgado said that peace is a universal right for those who inhabit this planet, and our existence depends on our actions and how we interact with others. Working for peace is not only  about words and good intentions, peace comes with the actions we carry out  every day, he said. Inner peace is where everything begins and is transmitted with our behavior as a species. We all need to carry out peace actions, said Delgado.

Speaking at the event, President Faustin Archange Touadera, who has become a well-known and respected interlocutor in the African continent for deactivating, through dialogue, clashes between rebel groups and authorities in Africa, highlighted the support he received from the civil society to reach the results obtained during the process of pacification of the region, an achievement that until then had been denied for many years to the inhabitants of the countries involved, although there is still much to do.

The World Peace Organization will continue to support those peace projects aimed at the population that needs it most, always in conjunction with the authorities, civil society and those public and private sectors in all countries of the world that want to carry out peace and well-being, always in favor of people.

 

 

 

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Equatorial Guinea petroleum minister continues Africa Gas Advocacy setting the stage for November Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) discussions
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
The 5th GECF Summit will showcase the role and future of gas development on the African continent

Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons

Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, August 19, 2019/ — H.E Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima invites all African oil and gas ministers to attend the 5th GECF Summit.

  • H.E Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons invites Uganda’s Minister of Energy, Irene Muloni to attend the 5th GECF Summit.
  • The 5th GECF Summit will showcase the role and future of gas development on the African continent. This will be the first time that it is held on the African continent. 

Determined to showcase Africa’s gas potential and promote intra-Africa cooperation, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, H.E Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, continues his tour of Africa to invite GECF and non-GECF nations to attend the 5th GECF Summit which will be hosted for the first time on the African continent.

Through the 5th GECF Summit, Minister Obiang Lima hopes to promote gas development on the continent as a means to drive economic growth.

During his recent visit to Uganda, Minister Obiang Lima met with Minister of Energy, Irene Muloni and invited her to attend the 5th GECF Summit. The landmark event will take place in Malabo on November 25-27, 2019.

Speaking about Equatorial Guinea’s interest in supporting the development of Uganda’s oil and gas industry, Minister Obiang Lima encouraged the country to continue with its oil and gas plans which are “the best one can find anywhere in the world,” he said.

He further stated that, should the East African country continue with its plans, Equatorial Guinea may learn from it in the years to come.

This visit follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by both countries in 2017 for cooperation in oil and gas development. Under the MoU, Equatorial Guinea will provide guidance to Uganda and assist it in achieving its oil and gas production targets, and advise it on the signing of petroleum agreements.

In a bid to transform its oil and gas sector, Uganda is developing its infrastructure in key sectors as a means to drive investment into the country.

Although Equatorial Guinea has a thriving oil sector with 1.1 billion proven oil reserves, the country – which is also a GECF member – holds great potential in its gas industry, boasting an estimated 145 billion cubic meters of proven gas reserves.

Further, Equatorial Guinea has set ambitious goals for its gas sector development including Alen Gas and Condensate Field on Bioko Island, which is said to 600 billion cubic feet of natural gas equivalent and the construction of a natural gas mega-hub project, which have resulted in it leading the LNG2Africa initiative which aims to create a continental gas market.

Upcoming stops on the tour include Egypt and Algeria.

Learn more and register for the 2nd International Gas Seminar which forms part of the 5th GECF Summit here.

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The 50th Anniversary of My First Speech at the United Nations And the Bitter Lesson I Learned
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Dr. Gary K. Busch*

Dr. Gary K. Busch

Dr. Gary K. Busch

During the 1960’s, after Sharpeville, the nations who comprised the United Nations embarked on a plan to restrict capital flows to the apartheid government of South Africa. They passed a number of rules and recommendations attempting to restrict the interaction between the South African Government and the major international banks. The UN’s Special Committee on Apartheid, under the chairmanship of  Abdulrahim Abby Farah, the UN representative from Somalia, called a meeting of the Special Committee at the UN New York Headquarters, from 17-18 March, 1969, to discuss the role of the international banks in supporting South Africa and to make a plan to expand the campaign to get these banks to boycott capital interactions with the South Africans.

Invitees to the meeting were drawn from several U.S. groups active in the anti-apartheid movement. I was invited as the specialist on Africa from the United Auto Workers (UAW) and as a Board Member of the American Committee on Africa, led by George Hauser. I had been one of the main contacts for the African liberation struggle leaders who visited the U.S. and had taken many to the House and Senate Committees for meetings. I had also arranged their meetings with groups like SNCC, CORE, NAACP, and others. I was very pleased to be invited to the meeting and hoped to contribute my thoughts on the issue.

We convened in a large conference room in the UN where, in addition to the invitees, there was a substantial group of UN delegates from countries which supported the anti-Apartheid movement. The program opened with an introduction by Ambassador Farah and followed by speeches by the Algerian and Nigerian ambassadors. Oliver Tambo was there on behalf of the ANC and he made a speech. After several more speeches we were allowed to speak.

I was more than ready to speak. In fact, I was quite upset. I had just been looking at the day’s New Yok Times newspaper where I saw a quarter-page ad by the Chemical Bank of New York Trust headlined by the line “The American Capitalist”. It descried the role of the Chemical Bank in arranging a large loan and ancillary financing of a Japanese company to buy iron ore from South Africa. This was the very thing we were meeting to discuss and, with good effort, prevent. I rose and asked permission to read the text of the advertisement into the record of the Committee. I did so and then said “Here you have a major American bank financing apartheid. You should realise that this is no rogue bank; this is the official bank of the United Nations. Your salaries and expenses are paid through this bank. It has branches inside UN installations worldwide. If you want the world to support the Banks Campaign of the UN perhaps you can start with your own bank.”

After a moment of silence heated discussions broke out. Mr Reddy, the administrator of the Committee, confirmed that Chemical Bank was the official bank of the UN. Chairman Farah called upon the Algerian delegate and the Indian delegate to speech who pronounced their outrage at what I had discovered. They. believe it or not, agreed to send a telegram to the UN Secretary-General from the floor of the meeting requesting an urgent response and review. I suggested that the UN Secretary-General’s office was only six floors above us and I would volunteer to hand deliver it immediately. I was told this telegram was the normal procedure for UN business. We broke for lunch.

I was having lunch with Oliver Tambo who was quite pleased with the proceedings so far. He did say to me “You may feel that this was an important blow for the Banks Campaign, but don’t be fooled. Nothing will happen but chit-chat and pointing fingers. The banks will go on lending as usual”. He was wise. There were stories in the press; there were earnest discussions with the anti-apartheid groups; there were fiery speeches from the African delegates. What finally happened as the result of my speech was that the copywriter of the article at the newspaper lost his job. Everything else went, as Tambo promised, out of the minds of the Committee.

I was immensely proud that I had used my opportunity to speak at the UN with some effect but, in retrospect, I had learned an important lesson. One cannot move international institutions by speeches or embarrassment. The United Nations is a permanent compromise looking for problems to work on. It was a bitter lesson for me in my youthful naivete but helped to shape my future expectations. I attach the official Committee report on my intervention and a picture of me before my speech, with Ambassador Farah.

“Although sympathetic U.N. delegations were aware of and concerned about the bank campaign, it was again in 1969 that action look concrete form. In 1966, the General Assembly resolution on the policies of apartheid had appealed to all Slates to “discourage loans by banks in their countries to the Government of South Africa or South African companies,” but in March, 1969, during a Special Committee on Apartheid seminar held at U.N. headquarters, the question of Chemical Bank, a consortium member, being the bank located at the U.N., came to a head. By chance. Chemical Bank New York Trust Company had placed an advertisement in the New York Times the same day as the seminar meeting in which it lauded the bank’s role in securing a deal between South Africa and Japan for the sale of iron. This remarkable situation, where U.N. resolutions were in essence being ignored by the United Nations itself, resulted in proposals by the Special Committee to the Secretary General asking an investigation of Chemical Bank’s role at the U.N. This culminated in a General Assembly Resolution passed in November, 1969, which called upon the United Nations and its affiliates “to refrain from extending facilities to banks and other financial institutions which provide assistance to South Africa and firms registered there.”

Dr. Gary K. Busch is the editor and publisher of the web-based news journal of international relations www.ocnus.net and the distance-learning educational website www.worldtrade.ac. He speaks and reads 12 languages and has written six books and published 58 specialist studies. His articles have appeared in the Economist Intelligence Unit, Wall Street Journal, WPROST (a leading Polish weekly news magazine), Pravda and several other major international news journals

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Rwanda denies inhumane treatment of a Kenyan nationals
August 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Thousands of people were gathered outside Kigali Convention Centre attending Kinuthia's meeting

Thousands of people were gathered outside Kigali Convention Centre attending Kinuthia’s meeting

There has been a stir in some of Kenyan media that three Kenyan nationals are detained illegally in Rwanda without a fair trail.

The trio is made of  Charles Kinuthia aka Coach Ck, Vivian Khisa Mukwan, and Rachel Matipei who were arrested in July after allegedly  organized a conference in which participants would be rewarded more than 190 dollars a day.

In the morning of 25th Day of June, thousands of youth were gathered  at  government owned Kigali Convention Centre waiting the conference to kick off.

Things started to change  when  some were asked to pay extra money to enter, besides the money they had paid upon receiving invitation.

Security organs were alerted and the meeting was cancelled. Kigali convention Centre management said they were surprised to see thousands of people storming the premises, while conference arrangers promised to bring about five hundreds attendees.

The following days, Kinuthia, the leader of Wealth Fitness International together with two other Kenyans and one Rwandan were arrested being accused conning people.

This week, Kenyan media wrote that Kunuthia with his co accused are being mistreated in detention and being abused by prison warders.

KenyaInsights.com went on saying that Kinuthia will not get a fair Justice because he is appearance  before judge keep being postponed.

Rwanda Government through National Prosecution Office denies those allegations insisting Kinuthia detention is in line with law of the land.

“Following allegations of inhumane treatment and illegal detention in the case of Charles Kinuthia,  the Rwandan Prosecution Authority hereby inform that these allegations are baseless and unfounded” reads one of Rwanda Prosecution tweet

They added that Kinuthia and his friends are legally detained by a competent and independent court of law in Rwanda, on serious grounds to believe that they have committed a crime punishable by Rwandan law

Rwanda denies inhumane treatment of accused, ensuring their rights as human being are guaranteed.

“It is important to note that Prosecution of Rwanda   we ensure that human rights in criminal proceedings are guaranteed all times, to ALL those subjected to criminal investigations before courts of law.”

On Wednesday, President Paul  Kagame while meeting with youth, he said that there is something wrong, if someone can trick thousands of youth promising them to give free money.

Every youth supposed to attend Kinuthia’a meeting, was required to first Pay 45000 Rwanda Francs (about 5 USD) or 15000 Rwandan Francs (about 16 USD).

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Cameroon angered by Equatorial Guinea’s Border Wall Plans
August 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Pan African Visions reporter, Amos Fofung covering border crisis between Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea (photo, Amos Fofung)

Pan African Visions reporter, Amos Fofung covering border crisis between Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea (photo, Amos Fofung)

Uneasy calm reigns between Malabo and Yaounde over Equatorial Guinea’s plans to construct a border wall so as to stop Cameroonians and West Africans from illegally entering its territory.

Equatorial Guinea’s announcement comes as officials of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) regional economic bloc, of which Equatorial Guinea is a member, are encouraging the free movement of people and goods to boost economic growth in the region.

Some days ago when news broke that Equatorial Guinea was building the wall and had gone as far as erected milestones on the border near the Cameroon town of Kye-Ossi, Cameroon army chief Lieutenant General Rene Claude Meka visited the border after news spread that the neighboring state was not respecting territorial limits and was encroaching on Cameroon land to erect their wall. He said the Cameroonian army would not tolerate any unlawful intrusion.

Anastasio Asumu Mum Munoz, Equatorial Guinea ambassador to Cameroon, was called up by Cameroon’s Minister of External Relations on Thursday August 8, to respond to the intrusion accusation.

The ambassador, reports hold, said his country plans to build a wall, but that reports that the its military had installed milestones in Cameroon territory are misleading.

Equatorial Guinea has always accused Cameroon of letting its citizens and West Africans enter its territory illegally.

This is not the first time Equatorial Guinea is having problems with Cameroon over border issues. On several occasion, it has often sealed its border with Cameroon, complaining of security threats posed by illegal immigration.

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Burkina Faso: Christians issue SOS over attacks from foreign backed Islamist Groups
August 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Scott Morgan

Burkina Faso Bishop Laurent Birfuoré Dabiré (© ACN)

Burkina Faso Bishop Laurent Birfuoré Dabiré (© ACN)

The World was concerned during the month of May 2019 when it seemed that a Church was attacked on a weekly basis in the West African Nation of Burkina Faso. Since January of this year 20 people have been killed and several  Churches have been  destroyed by Islamist Forces that are operating in the region.

Events in the region remain fluid at best. It does appear that some of these attacks were inspired by a video recording made by the head of IS Al-Baghdadi urging attacks against French interests in the Sahel region of Africa. The incidents in Burkina Faso can be acknowledged as part of an effort to locate a new base of operations for the group.

After a month of relative quiet in Burkina Faso the alarm bells for the country have started ringing yet again. On the first of August 2019 Bishop Laurent Dabire who currently is the President of the Bishops Conference for Niger and Burkina Faso issued a call for the World to step in and stop what he called the massacres against Christians in Burkina Faso by Foreign Backed Islamist Groups. These attacks have been gradually increasing in scope since the ouster of former President Blaise Comparie in 2014. It should be noted that in his remarks that the Bishop claimed that the Islamist Militants are better armed than the Security Forces are.

The Government of Burkina Faso is doing what they can to protect Christians. On July 12th the Vatican signed an accord with the Burkinbe Government which guarantees the legal status of the Church in the country  and to collaborate on the moral, spiritual and material well being of the human person and for the promotion of the common good. Currently it is estimated that one out of every five persons of the population of 16.5 million describe themselves as being a member of the Catholic Church.

Also during a Press Conference that was held on July 31st remarks were made by the President of Burkina Faso Marc Christian Kabore that  praised the actions of his immediate neighbors in assisting in the efforts to combat terrorism that appears to be running rampant in the region. . However in a more somber statement he did say that Burkina Faso was “paying a heavy tribute” for the attacks which he stated were impeding “efforts at National Construction.” Just like in several other nations in the area Burkina Faso does suffer from High Youth Unemployment lack of Opportunity and other factors that lead to radicalization.

The situation in Burkina Faso has not been ignored by Washington either. Earlier this year the African Country was linked to the National Guard of the District of Columbia under the State Partnership Program to assist in fighting terrorism. The Country already receives assistance from the United States under the auspices of the TSCTI (Trans Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative) program.This move is just another  of several steps that are currently being undertaken by the Trump Administration to address the acute security crisis in the region.

During the week of August 6th the White House issued a Press Release stating that the President sent the name of Sandra E Clark to the United States Senate to be nominated for the position of Ambassador to Burkina Faso. Filling this position is a positive signal from the White House showing that it is aware of the situation in the Sahel and will take the necessary steps to show those on the ground that they are not ignoring the situation in the region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Citizen’s solution in ending crisis in Cameroon: Dialogue, reinforcement of education, Protection of Borders
August 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Officials of Foretia Foundation and participants brainstorming on measures to solve crisis in Cameroon

Officials of Foretia Foundation and participants brainstorming on measures to solve crisis in Cameroon

In order for the crisis in Cameroon to be solved, various tenets have been identified such as the implementation of dialogue, reinforcement of education and the protection of the borders. Participants were speaking during the event on community involvement in promoting peace in Cameroon on August 8, 2019, at the DK Hotel, Douala, Littoral Region of Cameroon.

The event was in line with the mission of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, through the Nkafu policy institute, a think tank, to catalyze the economic transformation of African countries by focusing on social entrepreneur, science and technology, health, and the implementation of development policies that create economic opportunities for all.

During the discussions, two prominent conflicts were x-rayed by participants such as: the ongoing Anglophone crisis in the South West and North West Regions, the Boko Haram insurgencies in the North and issues in the East Regions.

Barrister Agbor Doris Ebob from Foretia Foundation while speaking said “the government should go close to the people and know what they actually want because without listening to them, they will not ain the people’s trust. From there they could come up with strategies to solve the present crisis.” “We have to live together. Accepting our brothers and tolerating one another. Before this crisis, we have never had peace in Cameroon. Peace has been lacking because individuals have refused to accept one another. If we can, then there will be peace in Cameroon.”

On solving the Anglophone crisis she said, “dialogue is paramount. The government should go close to the people and talk to them and hear what they have to say about solving the crisis.”

In her closing remark, Barrister Agbor Doris Ebob indicated that in the coming weeks, there will be the training of 50 peace advocates who will preach peace in their various communities.

Some 80 participants from the public, private and civil society organizations, journalists, and others were present to propose solutions through which Cameroon can accelerate its progress towards the resolutions of the current conflicts.

According to some participants, the issue of dialogue in solving crisis is very paramount. Dialogue implies the ability of the two warring factions to be able to sit on the dialogue table and sought their differences. With the case of Cameroon and the Anglophone crisis, participants indicated that both the government and the separatist should call for dialogue which will ease the prevailing situation presently ongoing in the North West and South west Regions.

With the case of the crisis in the East Region, participants have called for the protection of the borders, and also that of the Far North as a means of limiting the damages being caused by various insurgency groups. Protection here will entail the provision of security personnel at the borders especially in the Far North Region to curb the rate of suicide attacks on the population in that area.

The youths have equally been called upon to actively participate in the political situation in their country. The youths were urged not to just lambaste the government all the time at the sidelines while they themselves shun away from participating in governance. Many youths are mostly politicians online. They will use social media to talk about bad things the government is doing but not knowing that they have the power to change the political situation of their country.  Many youths have the notion that the winner of election is already known, and they abscond from taking part in the voting process or even owning a voters card.

Some participants equally added their voices to others in the call for the reinforcement of education and for children to go back to school in the crisis prone areas. For the past years, children in the Anglophone regions have been prevented from going to school. There are however campaigns for these children to go back to school come the new academic year that starts in September.

A report by CHRDA notes that the consequences of the prolonged school boycott, since for three years, and counting now are more than catastrophic. Before October 2016, more than Six thousand schools were operational in the North West and South-West Regions. As at December 2018, less than One hundred schools were operational in these regions, meaning that 5900 schools had shut their doors, with over 600 thousand students out of school and at least 40 schools burnt. In a UNICEF 2019 reports, at least 600 thousand students are out of school in the North West and South-West Regions.

 

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BUHARI’S CERTIFICATE CONTROVERSY AND THE ESSENTIALITY OF EDUCATION
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Omoshola Deji*

Nigeria’s 2019 presidential election has ended, but the contest is ongoing at the tribunal. Politics is a mean game – and politicians devise every means to win. That ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar is challenging the result doesn’t mean he won. He may have indeed lose and still be imploring the tribunal to return him elected. In the same vein, President Muhammadu Buhari’s insistence that he won doesn’t mean he actually did. He may have robbed Atiku and still be persuading the tribunal to pronounce him validly elected. Aside determining who really won, two major issues are before the tribunal: Atiku’s citizenship determination and Buhari’s certificate verification.

The suits are distinct. Deciding when and where to be born is beyond Atiku’s control, but Buhari could have averted the certificate controversy if he had devoted time to education. Atiku would be suffering for an action taking by the colonialist, if the court rules that he is not a Nigerian, but Cameroonian. The genesis of Atiku’s citizenship case is the 1884 scramble for, and partition of Africa. His citizenship may not have been a subject of litigation, if the western nations had not partitioned Africa. The tribunal thus has an unenviable task of determining Atiku’s eligibility to contest for president, on account of the West’s adjustment of his ancestral boundary, before he was born.

The testimonies and evidences presented at the tribunal revived Buhari’s certificate controversy which started in 2014. Buhari’s witness, Major-Gen. Paul Tarfa (retd) avowed that the Army never collected the certificate of the 1962 course officers during recruitment, as earlier claimed by Buhari. This landmark confession revealed Buhari’s claim that his certificate is with the military in 2014 is untruth. Nigerians thought then President Goodluck Jonathan ordered the military to withhold Buhari’s certificate in order to disqualify him for contesting. Suspicion brew after Buhari won the election and still couldn’t present his certificate, despite being the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The certificate-with-the-military excuse became untenable.

Buhari did not attach his certificate to the 2019 presidential nomination form, as lawfully required. To make amends, Abba Kyari, the Chief-of-Staff to the President tendered the president’s Cambridge assessment international education certified statement of West African School Certificate (WASC). Kyari claimed he personally signed and collected the document on behalf of Buhari. Atiku’s counsel argued during cross examination that colleges don’t release certificate to third parties. This assertion is untrue. Colleges do release certificate to third party on the instruction of the graduate, but certain conditions must be met. Such includes, but not limited to: a letter from the graduate indicating that his/her certificate be released to a third party; and such party must provide a valid form of identification.

To strengthen his defense, Buhari brought in Oshindehinde Adewunmi, the Deputy Registrar of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) in Nigeria to lead evidence in support of the document Kyari tendered. This unfortunately did more harm than good. When shown the document Kyari claimed to have collected on Buhari’s behalf, Adewunmi stated that the document is not a WAEC certificate, and he has never worked for the body that issued it. The witness said he cannot affirm the authenticity of the document because it does not bear his signature.

A comparison of the two documents Buhari presented – the Cambridge certified statement of WASC and the 1961 result sheet of the Provincial Secondary School Katsina – revealed some inconsistencies. One stated that Buhari sat for eight subjects, while the other stated he sat for six. The name on one is ‘Mohamed’ while the other is ‘Muhammadu’, although Buhari’s witness stressed that both names have the same meaning and are interchangeably used in Islam.

The discrepancies in the documents is making people opine Buhari would lose the case. Their argument is premised on Section 131 of the constitution, which states that ‘any contestant for the position of president of the country must have a minimum qualification of School Certificate or its equivalent’. However, they fail to take cognizance that Section 318 (1c) stated that ‘anyone with primary school certificate who has served in the Nigerian public or private sector, in any capacity, for a minimum of ten years is deemed to have the equivalent of a school certificate’. Buhari is thus qualified to contest and be president having served in the Army for over ten years. That however opens the door to new arguments.

The tribunal can only sack Buhari if his years of military service, which makes him qualify to be president under Section 318 (1c) is declared void. If Buhari joined the military with inadequate qualification, could his years of service be declared void? If Buhari was recruited into the military without a certificate and was not given a duration to produce it, who should be blamed? Buhari or the military? In any case, would it be fair to make Buhari suffer for the wrongs of the military recruitment board as the Supreme Court did to Ademola Adeleke in Osun?

The litigations and embarrassment the certificate scandal has brought upon Buhari could have been avoided if he had dedicated some time to scholarship. He had enough time to acquire more qualifications after General Ibrahim Babangida toppled his military regime in 1983. Retired General Olusegun Obasanjo — Buhari’s senior in age and in the military — bagged a Bachelor and Doctorate after he left office as President in 1999. Buhari is not an accidental president. His three unsuccessful race for the nation’s top job, cumulatively 12 years of aiming for president, is enough for him to have bagged a diploma or degree.

Buhari was yearning to lead but failed to prepare for leadership. This showed in his six-month late appointment of ministers in 2015. It is also manifesting in his abysmal performance and mishandling of sensitive national issues. His lack of ideas, narrow-mindedness and sectionalism is disintegrating the country and hampering growth. He has given little for every much expected. One cannot, in fairness, totally attribute Buhari’s shortcomings to insufficient education. The government of his predecessor who holds a doctorate was a colossal failure.

 

Nonetheless, that Goodluck Jonathan failed doesn’t mean Buhari should. Buhari’s underperformance hinge on his apologists cheering of wrongs. Justifying Buhari’s failure to get educated is moronic. Many of those defending him severely punish their children for not scoring ‘A’. They want their children to earn higher degrees, but passionately defend a president with a controversial certificate. Some of these apologists demand for Bachelor’s degree, National Youth Service Corps certificate, and five years working experience before they can hire and pay 70,000 Naira (about $200) per month. Such a brazen show of double standard is galling.

Sections 131 and 318 of the 1999 constitution needs to be amended. The framers made it possible for anyone to be president, so long as they can “read, write, understand and communicate in English language to the satisfaction of the Independent National Electoral Commission”. The best may never get to lead the rest if the constitution is not amended. The less educated ones would continue to govern; appointing and issuing directives to professors. Nigerian leaders, many of whom are not so educated, controls the resources and earn huge, while the professors and citizens earn peanuts. The professors that should be ruling the less educated are the ones conducting elections to bring them to power.

Nigerian education needs oxygen. The struggle to make ends meet has turned many professors to political job seekers and errand boy. High fees, vast unemployment, and inadequate reward for academic excellence is discouraging people from becoming educated. A friend once said “education is the master key” and “Bata re a dun kokoka” loosely translated “you would wear the best shoes if you’re educated” inspired many to invest in education, but they’ve gained nothing. Politicians and political thugs are the ones wearing the best shoes.

Everyone must endeavor to be educated despite the challenges and discouragements. Buhari and Osun state former governorship candidate, Ademola Adeleke’s ordeal is a strong lesson that the education you fail to acquire may be all you need to win tomorrow.

 

Things are turning around for the good of the educated. Education is changing the game. Faster than anyone imagined. The educated ones are bringing innovation to businesses and taking over the jobs from the uneducated. Booking taxi through apps is gradually gobbling the job of the uneducated drivers. Many people view education has the ticket to working in an office, dressing corporate. No. Education ideally gives you a knowledge of the world around you and the skill to do things in a better way.

The case of Wunmi comes to mind. Wunmi is a female university graduate who studied mass communication, but earns a living from furnishing homes. She uploads furniture pictures on e-commerce platforms and contract artisans to produce them when she has order. The artisans’ inability to open and manage an e-commerce store is fetching Wunmi money. She wouldn’t have been an intermediary if the artisans are educated. She is earning huge, thriving and expanding, while the uneducated artisans are earning less. That’s the power of education. Buhari, Adeleke, and Wunmi are lessons. Learn.

*Omoshola Deji is a political and public affairs analyst. He wrote in via moshdeji@yahoo.com

 

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