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South Sudan Parties Agrees On State Ministerial Posts Sharing
September 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

President Salva Kiir and Vice President Machar are struggling to get South Sudan back on the rails

Juba – South Sudanese Parties to the revitalized peace agreement have agreed on the allocation of ministries in the states, paving way for the establishment of state governments.

It was already two years since the revitalized peace deal was inked on September 12, 2018 by President Salva Kiir and ex-rebel leader, Dr. Riek Machar, including other key groups but is yet to produce tangible results as political crisis and violence, food insecurity and economic meltdown continue to raze the world’s youngest nation.

The parties to the peace deal formed the transitional government of a national unity in late February. This was then followed by president Kiir only appointed state governors in June but many critical tasks remain unaccomplished as the country’s political leaders are still struggling to implement tasks spelled out by the deal.

According to observers and analysts, disagreements among the peace parties and financial constraints have been major obstacles to completing the peace processes.

Besides unification and deployment of government and opposition forces, the peace parties are yet to reconstitute the national legislature – the body responsible for enacting reforms stipulated in the agreement.

However, the Minister of Interior Paul Mayom Akech, chairperson for the committee of formation of state governments stated that they have now agreed to allocate state ministries among themselves.

“The outstanding issues relating to the executive branches of the states have been holistically handled. “The parties have agreed to allocate the then outstanding ministries to themselves equitably and acceptably,” Mayom told the state based television, formerly known as SSBC on Monday.

This comes after the state committee met the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar, in Juba recently.

Mayom further revealed that outstanding issues on the appointment of deputy governors and speakers for state parliaments will be resolved this week.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Mining, Henry Odwar – the deputy chairperson of the SPLM-IO – said the state ministries have been distributed fairly.

“Indeed we came up to an amicable end where the ministerial portfolios at the state levels were equitably and amicably shared,” Odwar further confirmed.

However, the observers say this is a “positive step” and having registered a “political will” toward implementation of the peace process in the country.

South Sudan gained her independence from Sudan in July 2011, but barely two years later, the world’s youngest nation descended into another civil war in mid – December 2013 and again in July 2016 after a peace deal signed in August 2015 collapsed to contain the violence.

However, after five years of brutal civil war, the country’s leaders signed 2018 deal, following ten months of intense negotiations with the aim of ending the devastating civil strife that has crippled the country and that has killed nearly 400,000 people and uprooted four million people both internally and externally.

The UN has recently reported that over 600 civilians were killed in the sporadic violence at the states in the past six months.

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A Legend In His Own Right: The Making of Stanley Enow “King Kong”
September 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Joseph Besong

With passion and hard work, Stanley Enow has become a force to reckon with in the world of music

Stanley Ebai Enow “King Kong” was born on February 8th in Bamenda, North West Cameroon. He hails from Eshobi, Mamfe Central Sub Division. The pride of his origin and tribe influenced him to assume the pseudonym ‘’Bayangi Boy’’.

Stanley grew up in Bafoussam, West of Cameroon, where he owes allegiance. He was raised in a typical Presbyterian family adhering to religious tenets. He became an entertainment enthusiast as a teenager.

After primary school, Stanley Enow’s zest for music and dancing developed significantly. He penned his first lyrics in form two while at GBHS Bafoussam. Massively inspired by Usher and peer influence, he indulged into break dancing. He says ‘’If you weren’t a break dancer, you weren’t cool in school’’. In an interview on Afternoon Express in November 2017, he disclosed his elder brother (Martin) also a sucker for Hip hop music, bought tapes of 2 Pac and Ja Rule which helped to hone his lyrical artistry.

After obtaining his Advanced Level, in 2007, Stanley moved to Douala to pursue University studies. Considering Bafoussam wasn’t showbiz-inclined, Stanley had the conviction the economic heartbeat Douala would be propitious for him to chase his dreams.

He enrolled in the University of Douala to study Business Communication and eventually graduated in 2010.

Exceptionally talented, Stanley became a young highly solicited radio host in Douala. He featured as host on The Groove and Cocktail Hit Parade, two shows with substantial and ardent following. Private radio stations sought after his skills as animator, offering him a huge platform and status.

His knack, unmatched charisma and ability to effortlessly express himself in French and English enabled him to clasp a working relationship with prominent TV host and rapper Tony Nobody. In 2010-2011, Stanley became a regular host for the Hip Hop show ‘’MBOA’’ aired Wednesdays 4pm and rebroadcast on Saturdays 4pm on Canal 2 International. He was also selected to host shows for international artists including Sexion D’Assaut as well as voice-over actor for MTN Group.

Stanley’s relationship with music industry heavyweight Tony Nobody unveiled a new horizon in his life. With unreserved humility, he served as a mentee under Blaxity alongside artist Black La Rue.

In February 2012,he gave an electrifying performance at Sefyu’s concert in Douala. He mounted the stage and chanted the national anthem brandishing Cameroon’s flag. This was the beginning of a positive twist. It was glaring, success was imminent . He was co-host with the MTN caravan at the University Games held in Buea in May 2012.

In an interview, Stanley Enow narrated a scenario which sparked his inspiration for the song ‘Hein pere’ in 2012. He says he was trying to pacify a man who had lost his cool after spending so much time in a queue trying to pay an invoice. He said to the man ‘’what else can you do, hein pere’’. This culminated into the biggest Hip Hop song ever from Cameroon. ‘’Hein pere’ is a song of motivation and hope to the youths in despair. The song was released in March 2013 under Motherland Empire imprint and rapidly earned viral rotation across Cameroon.

I remember Stanley called me saying he’s about to drop a song which was going to change the face of Cameroon’s urban music landscape. And yes! He did.

He declared himself ‘’Cameroon’s Hip Hop Messiah’’ on Facebook and in July 2013, ‘’Hein pere’’ became a chart-topper on Trace Urban. He indulged into merchandise with record-breaking sales of ‘’Hein pere’’ T-shirts and hats.

Stanley Enow has earned numerous lucrative endorsement deals with reputable brands including Guinness, BICEC, and is presently Samsung brand Ambassador

In December 2013, he won Male Artist of the Year and Urban Artist of the year at Cameroon Academy Awards (SONNAH). In 2014, he won Best Video of the Year 2013 and Trace New Artist of The Year 2013.

He later released ‘’Tumbu Boss’’ video in April 14th 2014 and ‘’Njama njama cow’’.

2014, was a massive breakthrough when he bagged Best New Act at the MTV Africa Music Award in a category comprising Burna Boy, Phyno, Heavy K and Uhuru. He also won Best Newcomer at AFRIMMA 2014, Best Male Central Africa at KORA Awards.

In 2015, he collaborated with Ghanaian superstar Fuse ODG and Olamide on ‘’Black Commando’’, a Guinness ‘’Made of Black’’ ad campaign. He also collaborated with Sarkodie on ‘’Njama Njama cow’’ remix and DJ Neptune on ‘’King Kong’’, shot in Johannesburg. ‘’Work hard (Le pere Noel) ’’ was another phenomenal song released in September 2015. The video was shot in Paris by Max Ngassa. He unleashed ‘’Soldier Like Ma Papa’’ in 2015.

He was invited to the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference in Washington DC which was held in September 2015.

In January 2016, he collaborated with Ice Prince on ‘’Yours’’ produced by Sammy Gyang. He collaborated with Locko on ‘’Bounce’’ and on May 9TH he dropped the video with South African rapper AKA without Locko, evoking polemic. From his ‘’Afro Series’’ in prep of his sophomore album, he dropped ‘’Follow me’’.

In July 2016, he collaborated with Biz Ice on ‘’We are Hip Hop’’.

In 2017, Stanley Enow released ‘’Pray’’, ‘’Love Song’’ featuring Claude Ndam and ‘’Adore You’’ featuring Mr Eazi and ‘’Caramel’’ featuring Davido, starring Lagos-based Zimbabwean TV personality Vimbai.

Stanley Enow has received numerous international awards and inspired a generation of so many other talented young Cameroonian artists

Stanley Enow delivered ‘’Elle est la’’ in March 2018 and ‘’Casanova’’ video in June 2018. He was backlashed for switching to singing, but this seemed to be a new lane for award-winning artist. In September 2018, a massive collabo with Locko and Tzy Panchak was served. It has hoarded 4.7 million views on Youtube.

He churned out ‘’Good day (Fire)’’ on March 15th 2019. ‘’Stanley Vs Enow’, a’ 12-track album in November 2019 followed by a video of ‘’La fete’’.

In January 2020 , ‘’My way’’ was remixed featuring Tanzanian superstar Diamond Platnum and Ivorian Ariel Sheney.

Multiple award-winning artist Stanley Enow became UNICEF Goodwill ambassador on August 19th 2020.

He has earned numerous lucrative endorsement deals with reputable brands including Guinness, BICEC, and presently Samsung brand Ambassador.

Stanley is a successful entrepreneur owning Motherland clothing and other businesses. He has created a remarkable impact across Africa and keeps conquering the world.

If you believe and stay focused, you shall definitely thrive.

Get inspired !

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Akon Dares Africans To Dream Big
September 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

Authorities in Senegal have warmly embraced the vision of Akon
Authorities in Senegal have warmly embraced the vision of Akon

The world woke up to some devastating news on August 28, 2020, as it heard that the first black man to play a lead role in a superhero movie had passed on. Chadwick Boseman affectionately known by many especially children as King T’Challa from his movie Black Panther succumbed to colon cancer at a young age of 43.

In Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman performed the role of a highly prosperous and futuristic country called Wakanda. Located in Sub-Saharan Africa, Wakanda is a town that enjoyed massive prosperity owing to the abundance of Wakandan Vibranium, a mineral that possesses the ability to absorb all vibrations as well as kinetic energy directed to it. Boseman’s role in the movie inspired many people as it exposed the fact that Africa can indeed rise and become a powerful continent while also exposing the fact that a black man has the potential to transform a poor country into a globally competitive country. One man who was inspired by Chadwick Boseman is the Senegalese singer Akon.

Drawing inspiration from the movie Black Panther, the singer cum business magnate Akon had a vision to transform his home country into a superpower much to the levels of the fictional country of Wakanda. Akon first outlined his vision to turn Senegal into a Wakanda-like country in 2018. At the time, the Senegalese singer said that his vision was to create the first technologically advanced and smart city in Africa.

Akon at the time stated that the smart city would occupy an area space of 800 hectare (2,000 acre) and it would be powered up entirely by solar power. The smart city will be located 62 miles from Senegal’s capital, Dakar. US-based consulting and engineering firm KE International was contracted to create the city. In a statement, the firm said that in creating the smart city, it aims a defining “a new paradigm in design and architecture for Africa.”

A heavy turnout with safety measures taken seriously for the launch of the project in Senegal.Photo facebook
A heavy turnout with safety measures taken seriously for the launch of the project in Senegal.Photo facebook

Akon whose real name is  Aliaune Thiam announced his vision for the smart city together with the country’s Minister for Tourism, Alioune Sarr. During the announcement, the music mogul did the ceremonial gesture of laying down the first stone on the land that will soon become the first technologically advanced city in Senegal and Africa as a whole.

According to the R&B star, infrastructural projects that will first take place in the smart city include gleaming skyscrapers, shopping malls, music studios, as well as eco-friendly tourist resorts. Plans are also in place for artificial islands and a marina that can accommodate cruise ships.

As a technologically advanced city, Akon said that all financial transactions in the city will only be performed using digital money (crypto currency). The digital currency to be used will be known as ‘Akoin’. The singer has faced criticism over his plans to use the digital currency as critics say that for it to be successful, almost everyone will need to own a smartphone and be able to afford data but only a third of Senegal’s population do own a smartphone. Michael Kimani, the Chairman of the Blockchain Association of Kenya said owing to a lack of smartphones and readily available internet as well as affordable data, Akon’s plans are all a “pie-in-the-sky.” Akon responded saying he only deals with the concepts and leaves the technical stuff to the geeks. “I come with the concepts and let the geeks figure it out.”  

The singer said it was of paramount importance for the digital currency to be used in the smart city as “it brings the power back to the people and brings the security back into the currency system…It also allows people to utilize it in ways where they can advance themselves and not allow government to do those things that are keeping them down.”

As he outlined his vision, the music mogul said that the smart city will be home to Senegalese people as well as being an alternative home for African Americans facing racial discrimination. “The system back home (US) treats them unfairly in so many different ways that you can never imagine…And they only go through it because they feel that there is no other way. If you’re coming from America or Europe or elsewhere in the Diaspora and you feel that you want to visit Africa, we want Senegal to be your first stop.”

Fast forward two years later, Akon recently announced that work on the smart city is ready to commence. The announcement came after Akon had met with Senegalese president Macky Sall who gave him the green light to commence operations. The singer said the Senegalese government as well as some investors whom he didn’t mention by name has poured funds and the commencement of construction activities is about to begin as a third of the total investment needed has already been secured. Investors funding the $6 billion scheme could not be named as they signed non-disclosure agreements. Work on the project is scheduled to start early next year (2021) and completion on the project is set for 2023.

Senegal’s Minister of Tourism welcomed the move saying it comes at a time when private investment in the West African country is scarce and badly needed more so following the economic pain wrought by the novel corona virus pandemic.

Akon’s plans to create a smart city have inspired other countries with Kenyan authorities saying that they aim to replicate the project as it builds its own Mwale Medical and Technological City.

Before announcing his plans to build Africa’s first smart city, Akon has for long been involved in humanitarian and developmental projects on the African continent. In 2014, he launched a charity initiative ‘Light up Africa’ in which he partnered with the World Bank and various African governments to subsidize solar power and provide electricity to 600 million people in rural communities. The project was a success as it managed to help over 32 million people in 25 different countries gain access to basic electricity through solar energy.

The veteran singer said that Light up Africa is definitely not a charity work. Even though he knows the significance of helping people access basic electricity, he said that charity per se does not work in the long term. As such, his vision is not to do things for now only but things that will remain in place for generations to come hence the reason he does not believe in charity work.

Millions of people now have access to light thanks to Akon lighting Africa
Millions of people now have access to light thanks to Akon lighting Africa

“It’s definitely not a charity it is a for-profit company. The way I would categorize it, really, is just social entrepreneurship. We do our business in Africa that’s not (just) to help people, but empower them to make their money in the process…We feel like charity doesn’t work in Africa and I don’t think it works anywhere in the world. If you are not empowering people or giving them jobs…you’re wasting your time, you’re wasting people’s valuable money…They are going to spend it and put their hand right back out and be in the same position in the following week or month or year.”

The singer went on to state that “We invest our own money to get things started. We go in, plead our case to the country, put up pilots with our own dollars using sophisticated equipment and we make sure we do the installation right. It shows people that we’re not coming in to pull money out of the country. We’re there to provide jobs for the locals and to enable them to feed their families.”

Way back in 2007, Akon co-founded the Konfidence Foundation, a health and education charity for underprivileged children in West Africa and the United States.

*Culled from September issue of PAV Magazine

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Namibia: Walvis Bay Port now a regional logistic hub as new container terminal fully operational
September 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

The new container terminal at the Namibian Port of Walvis Bay, built between 2014 and 2019, gives the country a high-end port facility. The terminal, commissioned in August 2019, is now fully operational, according to a report by the African Development Bank published on 3 September 2020.

Constructed on 40 hectares of land reclaimed from the ocean as part of a nearly $300 million project, the expansion has steered  Walvis Bay towards becoming a logistics hub for southern Africa that aims to meet the growing demand for freight ,while promoting new maritime access to serve the landlocked countries of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). The African Development Bank provided a ZAR 2,982 million loan representing over 70% of the project funding.

The works included the dredging over 3.9 million cubic metres of sand, used partly for the reclamation, construction of a 600-metre quay wall, the laying of 304,000 square metres of paved surface and the construction of a workshop and administrative buildings. It also entailed the installation of four ship-to-shore (STS) cranes, the construction of a one-kilometre road, the laying of 2.3 km of rail lines, and the installation of service networks. The facility’s electricity supply was also successfully upgraded, the report noted.

“Overall, the project has fully achieved its goals,” the report said, increasing the terminal’s capacity from 355,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent unit) to 750,000 TEUs yearly. It has also reduced vessel waiting time to less than 8 hours and cut container transit time from 14.5 days to 9.5 days. 

Expanded activities required the training of seven pilots and 26 ship-to-shore crane operators, including one woman.

The demand for services from the port of Walvis Bay has increased by about 8% following the commissioning of the new terminal, the report notes. Cargo volumes, revenues and income from other services (maritime, port, berth and light dues, and other storage and handling fees) are expected to increase by at least 8% in 2020 and 2021. After that, growth should reach 5% yearly the report projects.

The project completion reporting team was led by Richard Malinga, Bank Principal Transport Engineer and Task Manager for the project.

The Walvis Bay expansion aligns with the Bank’s High-5 strategic priorities, including promoting the integration of Africa

*AfDB

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Chancellor Merkel’s Africa Envoy, H.E. Günter Nooke, leads discussion on German investments in Africa
September 15, 2020 | 0 Comments
The discussion will be centred on the topic: Investment and Trade for Africa’s Economic Development.
The webinar will be moderated by Sebastian Wagner, Executive Chair of the Germany Africa Business Forum and Gugu Mfuphi, Presenter of Kaya FM’s prime time business show, Kaya Bizz; the discussion will be centred on the topic: Investment and Trade for Africa’s Economic Development; panelists include NJ Ayuk, Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and Rene Awambeng of the African Export-Import Bank; the webinar will be held on 23 September at 3PM CET. To attend, please register here.

With German visibility and participation on the rise in Africa’s energy industry, the Germany-Africa Business Forum (GABF) will host its second instalment of its Germany-Africa cooperation focused webinar series.

The webinar will facilitate the discussion on how FDI can sustainably strengthen the development of the African continent on September 23rd at 15:00 CET. Anchored by the topic Investment and Trade for Africa’s Economic Development, the webinar will highlight key efforts to mobilise German funding for African energy markets as a means to advance the German-African cooperation which can already be seen in Equatorial Guinea, Angola, South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Congo DRC,  Senegal and recently, through the expression of interest by German investors in the DRC’s Inga III Dam.

The webinar, moderated by Sebastian Wagner, Executive Chair of the GABF and Gugu Mfuphi, Presenter of Kaya FM’s prime time business show, Kaya Bizz, will be opened by H.E. Günter Nooke, personal Africa representative of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“We are honoured to announce that H.E. Günter Nooke will spearhead our webinar. With his vast and unmatched knowledge in both the German and African markets, he will be able to bring many interesting aspects of the discussion,” said Sebastian Wagner.

Joining the panel discussion will be NJ Ayuk, Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and Rene Awambeng, Vice President at the African Export-Import Bank.  “With their expertise in the African finance and energy sector, we look forward to a high-ranking and diverse panel. Especially the energy sector is an important cornerstone of any African economy, and we are looking forward to the outcome of the discussion,” said Mr. Wagner.

German interest in Africa as an investment destination has continued to grow and we hope to see a more diversified investment beyond energy and sales of German products to Africa. Africa is and will continue to be an investment market with the potential for significant growth post Covid and superior returns.

While South Africa and Egypt have seen a huge part of German investment, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Congo DRC and Zambia are considered hotspots for potential investors from Germany.  Projects in the financial services, climate change, energy poverty, health care, energy transition, manufacturing, retail and consumer goods have seen a huge increase. 

This event is in collaboration with the Africa Energy Chamber and Africa Oil and Power

The webinar will be held on 23 September at 3PM CET. To attend, please register here https://bit.ly/2ZAFbAU

*Source African Energy Chamber
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Sierra Leone : A heavy toll on all Sierra Leonians from Covid -19 says Mental Health Advocacy Network Director
September 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

Ibrahim Hassan Koroma
Ibrahim Hassan Koroma

The Founder and Executive Director of Mental Health Advocacy Network, (MHAN) Ibrahim Hassan Koroma, has said that the Corona Virus  pandemic has affected humans psychologically , socially , mentally , culturally  and even the way humans are behaving  adding that because of the virus , people’s life styles have completely changed in order to conform to the Covid -19 regulations.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with panafricanvision.com at his office , Waterloo, western Rural district on Friday 11th September , on  the effect of the pandemic on people , he said that as a result of global outbreak , it has disrupted our normal way of life, thinking and perception due to the several restrictions that it came with put forward by experts.

“Culturally , in Sierra Leone , we are used to greeting each other or one another and use to shaking hands when we greet but because of the pandemic we do not shake hands again . we used to sympathize with our bereaved families and friends but as a result of CoVID not everyone is allowed to go the funeral occasions. So psychologically that in itself has affected us a lot. Then even our normal behaviour , before the coming of CoVID -19 in the country , we used to do our normal business, we were doing our normal activities but no sooner , the pandemic rock our nation , it has cut off normal way of life,’’ he said , adding that due to the pandemic in the country government instituted measures ,  some of which  are restrictive and that has affected our feelings and behaviour.

He said that the pandemic has affected people’s thinking, feelings and affects their  behaviour stating that  Corona has a greatly  impacted  on the lives of people which he said might also  lead to depression.

“ Because at the end of the day , you wanted to fulfil certain things you are not capable of doing , you will become depressed and can kept  on thinking which can lead to clinical depression,’’ Ibrahim  Hassan Koroma added.

When asked on the effect of the pandemic on the aged , he replied “ the aged are one of the neglected vulnerable groups in Sierra Leone , there is not much focus on them, but they have their own needs . Before now old people used to interact with their families , used to visit , doing things on their own . so, because of the pandemic , most what they used to doing has stopped. That affects them so much .

The MHAN boss went to say there is need for an approach for these old people in our societies ,adding that  they needed good care just as the young as they are vulnerable especially in our society that does not have much schemes, programmes for them to survive from psycho-social support to name a few.

“ The coming of corona, it has added the poverty situation on people especially on things that as a poor country we do not have basic services that looks at the welfare of people . It is people that fen their living . it is difficult . It’s that difficulty that somebody wants his needs and not been able to meet those needs to me that is the greatest aspect of poverty which has affected us ,’’

The MHAN boss further added that government must do more to help people affected by the pandemic , urging people to follow guidelines by the World Health Organisation , the Ministry of Health in order to drive the pandemic in the country so as normalcy to be restored in people’s lives.

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In eastern Uganda, the African Development Bank is helping provide climate-resilient facilities to 100 000 people
September 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

The provision of additional funds for the Water Supply and Sanitation Programme (WSSP) in  Uganda in 2015, has helped improve access to water and sanitation for one hundred thousand people in the east of the country, according to a recent report by the African Development Bank.

The funding, amounting to $8.3 million, was used to preserve and improve the resilience of people and ecosystems to climate change in selected flood- and drought-prone areas in the country’s eastern districts. The report was published on 28 August.

In the flood-prone areas of Mount Elgon, the programme strengthened the ecosystem’s integrity by planting trees on 782 hectares. It also helped 820 households, compared to the 400 initially targeted, to create water and soil conservation structures on their land, particularly in agroforestry. In addition, 1,296 households and 15 institutions benefited from the installation of energy-efficient cookstoves.

According to the project completion report, led by Nancy Ogal, Senior Water and Sanitation Engineer at the Bank, the programme provided 59,309 people, compared to a target of 40, 000, with climate-resilient sanitary facilities in flood-prone peri-urban areas. The programme also included the design and construction of 133 latrines with drainage systems, 121 blocks of ten latrines in 60 schools and quadruple latrines in several public places.

In other project locations, 20 schools and two public areas were provided with sanitation facilities, with the exception of Pallisa, where only one public latrine and 21 school latrines were built. For each school, a toilet and an incinerator for the disposal of used sanitary pads were provided to the beneficiaries.

In the area of rainwater collection, 903 household rainwater collection tanks were installed. benefiting 5,400 people. The project to extend the gravity drainage network has resulted in 1,200 additional connections serving 32,400 users. Finally, nine valley reservoirs with a capacity of 10 000 m3 for increased water availability for livestock were built in the three drought-prone districts of Apac, Otuke and Katakwi.

“The additional support has led to significant progress and achievements. A total of 97,109 people were served over a five-year period (37 800 for water access and 59 309 for sanitation). The project’s results have contributed significantly to improved national results. The number of schools equipped with basic handwashing facilities nationwide increased from 34 percent to 42 percent between 2016 and 2019,” the Bank report notes.

Better still, the report continues, cumulative water storage capacity for farming at the national level increased from 37.2 percent to 41 percent during the same period. The number of water user committees, water boards, environmental management committees, and watershed management committees with women in key positions increased from 67 percent to 75 percent. Finally, the number of people with access to an improved water source within a thirty-minute walk and within a one-kilometre radius increased from 67 percent to 70 percent.

*AFDB

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Supporting Public Private Partnerships in Africa: African Development Bank ready to scale up
September 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

Representatives of the African Development Bank, governments, Development Finance Institutions, the private sector and  professional associations joined a September 8 workshop to discuss how the Bank can strengthen support for Public Private Partnerships and channel greater investment toward economic and social infrastructure. The event, titled Designing the African Development Bank’s PPP Framework, was hosted virtually by the Bank. 

The workshop took place against the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic slowdown, which has sharpened an already urgent need for investment.  Five African countries accounted for more than 50% of all successful PPP activity from 2008 to 2018: South Africa, Morocco, Nigeria, Egypt and Ghana. Several other countries have multiple PPPs in the pipeline– Burkina Faso has 20, and Botswana, 8.

“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, African infrastructure was already struggling to structure projects tailored for the private sector and at the same time achieving value for money for the public sector including affordability for users. It is therefore imperative that hybrid solutions such as PPPs must be seen and promoted as a way of building back better, stronger, greener, by clawing back private capital to infrastructure while creating much needed fiscal room for governments to address multiple other demands including building health systems’ resiliency.” Bank Vice President Solomon Quaynor said in his opening remarks.

The African Development Bank estimates Africa’s infrastructure financing needs at up to $170 billion a year by 2025, with an estimated financing gap of up to of $68 to $108 billion a year. PPPs are seen as a key element in narrowing this gap by crowding in private sector investment in infrastructure and African Development Bank is playing a critical role in scaling up that effort.

Amadou Oumarou, Director for the Bank’s Infrastructure and Urban Development department presented several rationales for the Bank’s effort to develop a PPP framework, including its Ten-Year Strategy (2013-2022) and a recommendation from the Bank’s Independent (IDEV) evaluation unit to scale up PPP interventions.

Webinar participants expressed a desire for the Bank to play an expanded role in supporting PPP development in Africa by strengthening policy and regulatory frameworks, building government capacity; project structuring and advisory services; and the provision of financing instruments such de-risking, guarantees, credit enhancements and local currency financing. 

 “Countries need to learn from each other’s achievements and mistakes, they need to have standard documents and checklists that will guide institutions in these countries through the PPP lifecycle,” said Shoubhik Ganguly of Rebel Group International, which is partnering with the Bank to develop the framework.  

Mike Salawou, Division Manager; Infrastructure Partnerships, said “Policy dialogue is something the Bank places a lot of premium on, and that has proven to be very efficient in informing decision making.” 

 “One of the challenges RMCs are faced with is selecting the right project for implementation, therefore support should start from there, then going through to actual project preparation makes it a lot easier,” said Michael Opagi, Division Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, IFC.

Private sector representatives praised DFIs as indispensable in securing financing for PPP projects in Africa.  One example of a successful PPP project cited during the workshop is the Kigali Bulk Water project, which received significant backing from the African Development Bank, the World Bank, as well as private sector players.

 According to Phillipe Valahu, CEO, PIDG the Kigali Water project is a perfect example of having an integrated support to a PPP project by using the three pillars proposed in the Bank’s PPP Framework. The project benefited from debt funding from PIDG alongside the African Development Bank which each provided $19 million of senior debt on commercial terms.   

 “The African Development Bank has unparalleled trust relationships with African governments, and we need to take advantage of that to speed up implementation of PPPS,” Quaynor said in closing.

*AFDB

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African Development Bank approves $27.33 million to ramp up the African Union’s COVID-19 Response Initiative
September 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank’s Board of Directors on Wednesday approved $27.33 million in grants to boost the African Union’s (AU) efforts to mobilize a continental response to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

The approval follows a meeting of the extended Bureau of the Conference of Heads of State and Government with Africa’s private sector on 22 April 2020, chaired by H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa and chairperson of the AU, at which the Bank’s President, Akinwumi Adesina, pledged strong support for the AU’s COVID-19 initiative.

The AU Bureau meeting called for contributions to the African Union’s COVID-19 Response Fund established by the AU Commission chairperson, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, in March 2020.

Speaking after the Board approval of this operation, President Adesina said: “The African Development Bank will strongly support Africa to get through the COVID-19 pandemic and build back, strongly and smartly. The Bank’s financial support to the Africa Centers for Disease Control, reaffirms our strong commitment to regional efforts to tackle the pandemic being coordinated by the African Union. Africa needs a well-financed Africa Centers for Disease Control, today and for the future.”

The Bank’s grant financing will support the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) in providing technical assistance and building capacity for 37 African Development Fund (ADF) eligible countries, particularly the Transition States, to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impact. The ADF is the Bank’s concessional window.

Sourced from the ADF’s Regional Operations/Regional Public Goods envelope and the Transition Support Facility, these two grants will support the implementation of Africa CDC’s COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness and Response Plan through strengthening surveillance at various points of entry (air, sea, and land) in African countries; building sub-regional and national capacity for epidemiological surveillance; and ensuring the availability of testing materials and personal protective equipment for frontline workers deployed in hotspots. The operation will also facilitate collection of gender-disaggregated data and adequate staffing for Africa CDC’s emergency operations center.

At the beginning of February 2020, only two reference laboratories—in Senegal and in South Africa—could run tests for COVID-19 on the continent. The Africa CDC, working with governments, the World Health Organization, and several development partners and public health institutes, have increased this capacity to 44 countries currently. Despite this progress, Africa’s testing capacity remains low, with the 37 ADF-eligible countries accounting for only 40% of completed COVID-19 tests to date.

“Our response today and support to the African Union is timely and will play a crucial role in helping Africa look inward for solutions to build resilience to this pandemic and future outbreaks,” said Ms. Wambui Gichuri, Ag. Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development.

This support will complement various national and sub-regional operations financed by the African Development Bank under its COVID-19 Response Facility to support African countries to contain and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

*AFDB

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Despite COVID-19 pandemic, Africa still a prime investment destination, participants affirm at AfDB webinar for Asian audiences
September 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

Participants at a webinar to present the African Development Bank’s African Economic Outlook Supplement to Asian audiences on Monday have endorsed the report as critical for post-COVID-19 Africa.

The supplement revises the growth projections and outlook for Africa for 2020 and 2021 and highlights the impact of COVID–19 on Africa’s socio-economic landscape. It recommends policy responses to safely reopen economies and accelerate growth recovery.

“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, investment opportunities still abound in Africa,” said Tetsushi Sonobe, the Dean of the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI). “Global markets are shifting to South Asia and Africa. In a sense, Africa is not very far for Asian investors who might be interested in the investment opportunities on the continent.”

Around 350 participants attended the virtual event, which was co-hosted by the Asia External Representation Office of the African Development Bank. The audience included government officials, representatives from the African diplomatic corps in Asia, development professionals, representatives of civil society, academics and think tanks, students, journalists, and the general public

Sonobe observed that Africa’s GDP growth is projected to quickly rebound in 2021 following steady growth before COVID-19.

Sonobe identified some of the potential opportunities highlighted in the African Economic Outlook Supplement: “A large market with a very talented youthful population; a three-trillion-dollar market opportunity through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreements; greater manufacturing potential as low-cost manufacturing opportunities continue to move to Africa; improved business environment; and improving  macroeconomic governance.”

Khaled Sherif, the African Development Bank’s Vice President for Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery said despite the pandemic affecting all African economies, its magnitude will vary considerably from country to country, depending on the economic characteristics and initial conditions of the countries.

“This urges us to avoid the one-size-fits-all solution to address the effects of COVID-19 in Africa. For that, the AEO Supplement notes that the continent will need the support and expertise of all. This is an opportunity to enrich the debate on what appropriate measures are needed to support African countries to recover from the pandemic, drawing particularly from Asian experience,” Sherif said.

The webinar noted that the policy recommendations of the African Economic Outlook Supplement could be regarded as important opportunities for investments. Participants also observed that although Africa is human-resource-rich, Africa will need to work on closing its infrastructure gap – an issue the African Development Bank has made one of its top priorities.

The African Economic Outlook Supplement underlines the urgency to build the resilience of Africa’s healthcare systems and economies to improve countries’ preparedness for future shocks. This means that African countries will need to rethink their current development strategies and priorities, which have clearly shown their limitations.

“Policymakers must seize the new and real opportunities for participation in global value chains, particularly with Asia and within Africa and build the infrastructure needed to encourage large-scale teleworking, e-health, and distance learning architectures for a rapid, resilient, and sustainable recovery in a post-COVID-19 digital world,” said Chuku Chuku, Officer in Charge of the Bank’s Macroeconomic Policy, Debt Sustainability and Forecasting Division.

“The pandemic notwithstanding, Africa is open to business and we look forward to working with our Asian partners.”

Released annually since 2003, the African Economic Outlook provides compelling up-to-date evidence and analytics to inform and support African decision-makers.

*AFDB Click here to access the full report.

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Sierra Leone : Dauda Blaq set to clinch APC Diaspora Youth Leadership
September 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

One-time parliamentary symbol contender in the 2018 presidential and parliamentary elections in Sierra Leone , constituency 123, for the All Peoples Congress (APC) party, Dauda Blaq Lugbu Kamara, is set to clinch the  party’s  Diaspora Youth Leadership  position in the United States of America.

Dauda Blaq, who has been seen as the favourite for the position  is the son of the Late Abu Blaq Kamara , one-time Temne  Tribal Head in Freetown ; a member of the California and Las Vegas APC Chapter, and also its public Relations Officer .

He has held positions as acting youth leader and public Relations Officer simultaneously of the party’s California Chapter, whose focused in promoting neglected youths through motivational strategies, offering youth empowerment programs, giving minimal loans to disadvantage youth in his community, and encouraging others to go into technical and vocational training has been commendable in the US.

Blaq’s achievement and love to see his people out of poverty are visible in his constituency and out of his constituency even though he lost the symbol to run as a parliamentarian . He has continued to show love to his community and giving a helping hand to the sitting member of parliament in 123.

In a statement from the executive of constituency 123 on Friday, it  unequivocally endorsed Dauda Blaq Kamara as APC Diaspora Youth Leader which reads  “On behalf of the Hon MP, Lihadi Alhadi, and the Councillors (Wards 425 & 426), the general Executive of Constituency 123 , endorse Comrade Dauda Blaq Kamara as the most competent  and hard-working Comrade for the position’’

The statement  further said that  Dauda Blaq is a senior member of the Constituency who have played pivotal role in the political, economic  and social advancement of the Constituency adding that his developmental activities within the Constituency are numerous and his moral supports to the APC and the Constituency is of maximum.

“In that regard, the Constituency Hon. MP, Councillors, Executive Members, Ward committee members, Zonal committee members and the people of Constituency 123 recommend and  endorse Comrade Dauda Blaq to the APC National Executive and APC Diaspora Executive (California-Las Vegas Chapter) as the most suitable candidate for the position,’’ Mohamed Ballah Sesay constituency deputy secretary said.

There has been an outpouring commendation for Dauda Blaq whom  many supporters of the party believed to be an asset and a community organiser to take the opposition party back to the sits of power in 2023.

“Even though he lost the symbol in 2018, he still continues to support/give advice to the current APC MP at the constituency.  Presently he’s in United States of America (City of Las Vegas) contesting for APC Diaspora Youth’s Leader. Dauda Blaq Kamara need your support this time around again, having done great things for the party. The APC Diaspora Youths need hardworking with eloquent quality and experience when comes in making decisions. Also, for seeking/making the job more effective when coordinating all affairs. His dedication/knowledge when it comes to ideologies and promoting the APC in Sierra Leone and abroad. There are other candidates out there in the Diaspora wing but DAUDA BLAQ KAMARA he’s the best among all because that position need someone who is always ready and want to see the might APC back to power come 2023,’’ A staunch APC wrote on social media.

In an exclusive interview with Mr. Kamara he said , he was running for the position to bring development to the party and mobilise the youths to raise funds to take back the realms of power in the country’s body politic in 2023 adding that as  a man that youths have so much confidence in both at home and abroad , he is better place to take their issues and understands how to galvanize them to bring development into the party.

“If I head the youths , I will be able to galvanize the base , the APC youth base to win the 2023 elections because, I will not leave no stone un turn , I will go all places, all districts , every little corner to motivate the youths and talk to them to come on board and I will be one of the best Youth Leader in the APC for motivate ,fund raising and making sure the party comes to governance ,’’he said.

He added that he had so many plans , projects that he will make sure that as they as a party they embark on helping some of  the youths adding that he has all what it takes in terms of financing development  projects for both at home and abroad.

“ The youths have so much confidence in me , they trust me, and they so believe in me . My development strides are visibly seen all around my community and in other communities. I am a grassroots man . I know the problems of youths . If you ask them , they will tell you they believe I can deliver development for them,’’

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South Sudan: Two Years Already but Feeble Results From Peace Deal
September 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

President Kiir and Vice President Machar shake hands after a 2019 meeting in Juba. Photo credit Reuters

Juba – Two year on, the revitalized peace deal is yet to produce tangible results as political crisis violence, food insecurity and economic meltdown continue to ravage the world’s youngest nation.

After five years of brutal civil war, President Salva Kiir and his foe deputy, opposition leader, Dr. Riek Machar, including other key groups signed a revitalized peace agreement in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on September 12, 2018, following ten months of intense negotiations, with the aim of ending the devastating civil strife that had crippled the country.

However, the deal provided for a three-year transitional period, followed by general elections. 

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July 2011, but barely two years later, the landlocked nation descended into civil war in December 2013 that has killed nearly 400,000 people.

It wasn’t the first time for President Kiir and Dr. Machar to share power, a peace deal signed in August 2015 failed to contain the violence after it collapsed following renewed violence in the capital Juba in July 2016, forced Machar to flee the country.

The implementation of the revitalized peace agreement has been worryingly slow due to a disputes between the parties to the peace agreement and also financial constraints have been major obstacles to completing the peace process, according to observers.

The parties to the peace agreement formed the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) in February. Despite this, there are many unresolved key issues, including the unification of government and opposition forces, the formation of state government structures and reconstitution of the transitional national parliament.

The initialization of the peace agreement provided renewed hope for a return to peace and stability in the east African country.

The citizens who spokes to this new agency says their hopes and dreams has been distracted by slowly implementation of the peace deal.

The locals blamed the leaders for all this delays, as they only care about their own interests but not the common citizens

“I feel our leaders have let us down because for over two years, we are still suffering and people continue to die – I’m disappointed that nothing much has changed in South Sudan with a current peace deal,” said Sebit Lual, a Juba resident.

According to a recent report by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), sporadic violence has killed over 600 civilians in the past six months of 2020.

Half of the country’s population of an estimated 12 million people are food insecure, and over four million have been displaced both internally and externally from their homes.

“It is unacceptable for South Sudanese to continue bearing the burden and consequences of this conflict including impunity, rape, severe hunger, displacement and almost complete lack of services,” the Women Monthly Forum, a pressure group that brings together over 40 South Sudanese peace advocates, said in a joint communique on Friday.

Despite the peace deal, the violence, economic hardship and human rights abuses have continued unabated.

The group has also concerned about the recent escalation in fighting between government troops and forces of holdout rebel group, the National Salvation Front of Thomas Cirilo Swaka in Central Eqautoria state and upsurge in inter-communal violence in several parts of the country.

“We note with concern that security is not only the absence of conflict but the guarantee of freedom of movement, access to resources, food, water, shelter and education, and more importantly a general sense of safety,” said the group.

Meanwhile, the Troika’s countries have called on the country’s leaders to demonstrate ‘leadership and clear action’ to address outstanding tasks impeding the implementation of the revitalized peace deal in South Sudan.

The political analysts say while political fighting largely subsided over the past two years, the implementation of the peace deal has been at a snail’s pace.

In a statement to mark the second anniversary of the deal, the Troika countries comprising of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Norway say there has been some progress but expressed concerns at delays.

The Troika say the finalization of governance structures and the building of a national security apparatus are capable of addressing violence across the country regardless of political or ethnic affiliation.

“This week, during the first visit of all Troika Envoys to South Sudan since 2017, we urged all sides to demonstrate the leadership needed to deliver progress and maintain peace. Despite this, we remain concerned by the violence that has killed hundreds in recent months, further disrupting livelihoods and humanitarian access with more than 50% of the population facing severe acute food insecurity,” the statement said.

“Regardless of the causes of this violence, all sides must accelerate efforts to deliver the R-ARCSS in full and see that the national ceasefire is maintained,” it added.

The Troika also urged those groups who remain outside the peace agreement to demonstrate their clear commitment to peace through effective dialogue and honor their commitment to the Rome Declaration to end violence.

The Troika also emphasizes free humanitarian access across the country and participation of women at all levels of government.

Last week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that there is a risk of famine and widespread food insecurity in South Sudan and that the lives of millions of people are in danger.

“The implementation of the peace deal lacks political will, and there is also a lack of trust between the parties to the peace and this could jeopardize the peace agreement,” said Amos Garang, a student of political science in Juba.

The parties to the peace deal are lagging behind schedule in the implementation of the peace agreement as what they are trying to implement now is completely different from what is in the peace agreement.

The observers say the peace deal has not yielded many benefits for the people of South Sudan since key provisions had not been implemented – the two years have been wasted.

The analysts earlier expressed concern that the revitalized peace deal may not be fully implemented within the 36-month timeframe because the parties have wasted 24-months without achieving much yet time is running out.

Political analyst, Dr. Abraham Kuol Nyuon, Dean of the College of Social and Economic Studies at the University of Juba, said the level of confidents of working together between the signatories was extremely very low and that had delayed the implementation process.

“The different interests between the leaders were major obstacles that has stagnated the implementation process,” said Dr. Kuol. “So far, there is a little sense of cooperation among the political parties and I could see this peace have higher chance of holding despite the fact that it has limited capability of bringing the reform that is expected in the peace agreement,” he added.

Atem Simon said that the parties are trying to reshape the political arena through violence rather than focusing on the major reforms stipulates in the agreement like the security and economic reforms.

Rejab Muhandis, Executive Director of South Sudanese Network for Democracy and Elections (SSuNDE) said “the content of the agreement itself is very excellence; the only problem is the way is being implemented if the parties improve on the implementation, deliver on the task of the agreement – the agreement can deliver peace for this country.”

The civil society said the parties are not really working in harmony to stabilize the country, warning that the country’s path to peace remained bumpy and long.

Dr. Kuol says the current peace parties or regimes are not pro – reforms, therefore new government need to be installed through elections.

“The current government is not pro – reforms so it is only through elections that will be able to bring in issues of check and balance where the concept of reforms that had been outlined clearly in the current peace agreement should be made a reality,” said Kuol.

Both the citizens, civil society called upon the international community and the peace mediators to pressure the parties to implement the peace process in latter and spirit in order to ending a persist conflict.

More so, the revitalized peace deal was seen as a significant milestone that provides a clear roadmap for peace, political transformation, security sectors reforms, healing and reconciliation process, disarmament and compensation in the horn of Africa’s country, its implementation was extremely at the slow pace due to the mistrust between the signatories.

In the sense, the impression to end the political violence remains at reluctant point among the peace parties, South Sudan, tend to be in permanent conflicting mode.

“South Sudan’s leaders have a real opportunity to deliver the foundation of a stable and prosperous nation for all, and to demonstrate their commitment to peace.  We urge them to demonstrate this as a matter of urgency and will work with South Sudan to support progress,” said Troika.

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