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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,’’
South Sudan: Two Years Already but Feeble Results From Peace Deal
September 15, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
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.
Senegalese President Macky Sall is right about African Debt Relief – and the G20 shouldn’t stop there
September 14, 2020 | 0 Comments
By NJ Ayuk
The Senegalese leader urged members of the G20 group of countries to continue helping African nations balance their obligations to creditors with their obligations to their own citizens in the face of a deadly pandemic.
“Flatten the curve.” Do you remember that phrase? It was on everyone’s lips back in the spring, when the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began rampaging across the world in earnest.
At the time, the idea was that the best way to combat the germ known as SARS CoV-2 was to go home and stay there long enough for hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities to build up the capacity needed to handle the expected flood of new patients. Most of us expected that this departure from routine would be a temporary thing. We hoped it wouldn’t last long — that we’d be able to return to our normal routines after a brief disruption, with confidence that all necessary safeguards were in place.
Of course, it didn’t turn out that way. We spent far more time than we expected sheltering in place, unable to visit friends and family, attend school, or go to work in the usual manner. Many of us lost our jobs and saw our businesses fail, and the cumulative result of all these individual disasters was that the global economy took a sharp downward turn.
We Still Need To ‘Flatten the Curve’ … But How?
Along the way, of course, we’ve learned quite a bit more about SARS CoV-2 — how it makes people sick, how to treat it more effectively, what kind of resources our medical providers need most, and so on. But we’ve also stopped talking about “flattening the curve.” Even in places where hospitals and clinics have been able to build up their stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and other necessities, we’ve moved on to other topics.
In my view, this is a mistake. I’d like to explain why I think so.
It’s not because our understanding of the virus has changed over time.
It’s not because we’ve seen infection rates rise after the lifting of lockdown orders.
It’s not because we don’t have a vaccine yet.
It’s not because the idea of “flattening the curve” seems callous when more than 900,000 people out the nearly 28 million infected around the world have already died of COVID-19.
It’s because we need to rethink the idea of what “flattening the curve” means.
And I believe President Macky Sall’s call for African debt relief is a good place to start that rethinking.
The President’s Perspective
First, let’s look at what President Sall has to say.
In late August, the Senegalese leader urged members of the G20 group of countries to continue helping African nations balance their obligations to creditors with their obligations to their own citizens in the face of a deadly pandemic. Speaking to a group of business leaders at the French Entrepreneurs’ Conference, he noted that the group had taken up his call for a moratorium on the collection of debt from impoverished countries in Africa and elsewhere in April. He suggested that this moratorium be extended into 2021 rather than allowed to expire at the end of 2020.
“For the most part, and for all African countries, internal efforts will not be enough to lessen the shock of COVID and revive economic growth,” he said. “We need more financial capacity, which is why, with other colleagues, I have made a plea for substantial relief of Africa’s public debt and private debt on terms to be agreed upon.”
What the President’s Words Mean
Sall’s statements reflect the fact that the emergence of SARS CoV-2 was not a one-off event that sparked a short-term crisis, but rather the start of a struggle that will take a long time to resolve. They recognize that the outbreak is likely to be a drag on the world economy for years to come — and that the countries battling COVID-19 outbreaks need time to build up their capacity to fight back.
What’s more, the president’s words advance the idea that African states will be in a better position to meet their financial obligations in the future if they take the time and the trouble to address the public health situation first. Indeed, he made a point of stressing that Africa takes its financial commitments seriously, since he mentioned debt relief and not debt forgiveness. (He also suggested that members of the G20 group offer debtors the same kind of breathing room they have granted themselves, such as temporary exemption from rules limiting debt to 3% of GDP or less.)
In other words, Sall is asking the G20 group to give Africa time and space to flatten the curve. He may not have used those exact words, but that appears to be his goal. He is hoping creditors will agree to suspend business as usual so that African states can build up their capacity for economic growth, just as regular citizens of many countries around the world agreed to disrupt their usual routines of work and school and leisure activities so that hospitals could build up their capacity for patient care.
Sall also understands that this flattening of the economic curve is not a simple process. He knows it will take more than one round of deferred payments to compensate for the economic consequences of the pandemic, and that is why he has now asked the G20 to extend the debt moratorium, which was originally due to expire at the end of 2020, into next year.
Compensating for the Setbacks of the Last Six Months
And make no mistake: Africa needs that extra time. The continent has suffered enormously over the last six months.
On the economic front, the pandemic has triggered a global recession that has caused millions of salaried African workers to lose their jobs. Meanwhile, many more millions have seen their livelihoods dwindle or disappear because restrictions on movement have stifled the informal sector and forced the closure of small businesses. Additionally, the continent has experienced shortages of fuel and other essential goods as a result of disruptions in the supply chain.
Some parts of Africa have also weathered political disruptions. Mali suffered a coup in mid-August, following more than two months of anti-government demonstrations. Libya’s civil war, pitting the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli against Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), has continued to grind on, effectively crippling the country’s lucrative oil industry. Investors in liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in Mozambique have grown more nervous since a militia with ties to the Islamic State group, also known as Daesh, seized control of a key port in Cabo Delgado state.
Under other circumstances, African fossil fuel producers might have been able to use their reserves to help build up the cash needed to cope with the consequences of COVID-19. After all, as I explained in my latest book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals, the oil and gas industry has the potential to serve as a springboard, amplifying and accelerating economic growth. It can create opportunities for economic diversification and — through petroleum companies’ research and investments — help pave the way to the creation of a renewable energy sector.
Unfortunately, though, world oil prices crashed earlier this year, partly because of the competition between Russia and Saudi Arabia for market share and partly because the pandemic undercut energy demand. Prices hit historic lows in late April. And since they have yet to recover completely, African producers will need more than oil and gas to compensate for the setbacks they have experienced this year.
A Necessary Step: Debt Relief
That’s where debt relief comes in.
Debt relief will help African states weather the storms caused by the pandemic.
Debt relief will help African states take the steps needed to help people go back to work or build up their businesses.
Debt relief will help African states re-establish stability following political disruptions.
Debt relief will help African states make up for the sharp decline in oil and gas revenues and begin building renewable energy sectors.
Debt relief is necessary to flatten the curve. It’s what will give Africa time and space to start carving out a path towards recovery — to take the steps necessary to bring new investment to the oil and gas industry, to build Africa’s sustainable energy sector, to expand business and residential consumers’ access to electric power, to revive small businesses, to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, to foster job creation, and to remove red tape and regulatory obstacles.
Asking for More: Debt Forgiveness
Senegal’s president understands this — and I hope the leaders of the G20 group’s members do, too. I hope they can see how reasonable it is for impoverished countries in Africa and other regions to ask for what they need to flatten the curve.
But I’d also like to take it a step further. I’m going to ask for more.
I’m going to ask for debt forgiveness.
I’m going to suggest that members of the G20 group agree to forego payments from African debtors — specifically, from eligible African debtors. And by eligible debtors, I mean countries that commit themselves to a forward-looking agenda that includes wide-ranging and market-oriented reforms, as well as safeguards for economic freedom, good governance, free trade, and investment in education.
All of these points are in line with the ideals that have helped most G20 member states achieve so much with respect to economic growth. What’s more, they are exactly the sort of things that African states ought to do in order to maximize their chances of building up the momentum lost as a result of the pandemic — and to extend their recovery far into the future, beyond the point when vaccines, cures, and more effective treatments remove the threat of COVID-19.
I hope that G20 lenders to Africa will see it my way. I hope they will agree to help Africa do as much as it can to flatten the curve.
*NJ Ayuk is Executive Chairman, African Energy Chamber
Hewlett Packard East Africa Ltd quits Kenyan market, many rendered jobless
September 14, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
Hewlett Packard East Africa Limited has halted its operations in Kenya and the entire East Africa region.
The company said its decision to close its businesses in the region was arrived at during the annual general meeting that took place in early September.
There are claims that a hostile business environment and counterfeit products are the reasons that drove the company out of the East African market with toner cartridges being among the most counterfeit products.
Another reason is stiff competition from Chinese companies manufacturing cheap products.
Reports indicate that George Weru and Muniu Thoiti of P.O. Box 43963 – 00100 Nairobi had been appointed as joint liquidators.
“Creditors of the company are required on or before October 9, 2020, to send full particulars of all the claims they may have against the company to the undersigned, the joint liquidators, personally or by his advocates, to come in and prove their debts or claims … or in default thereof, they may be excluded from the benefit of any distribution made before such debts are proven,” said the notice.
Mr. George Weru of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Business Recovery Services Partner dismissed claims that the company exited by debt distress and an unfriendly business environment.
“HP East Africa is a dormant subsidiary of HP and is being liquidated as part of internal re-organization,” he told The Standard, local publisher.
*Story has been updated
Kenya:Lipa na M-Pesa grows during covid-19 pandemic
September 14, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
The number of customers using Lipa na M-Pesa services has risen from 1 million in January to 6 million today, announced the Safaricom.
Consequently, the number of businesses on Lipa na M-Pesa platform has also crossed the 200,000 mark.
Lipa Na MPESA in Kenya is a service offered by Safaricom Company that allows businesspersons to receive payments for goods and services via Mpesa in Kenya. It enables customers to pay for goods and services without being charged the transaction fee.
“The mobile phone has today become the most preferred alternative to cash and its popularity only continues to grow. More than ever, an increasing number of businesses are discovering the numerous advantages of cashless payments resulting in high growth for Lipa Na M-Pesa,” said the telco’s CEO Peter Ndegwa.
The retail sector leads the number of businesses using the service followed by the hospitality industry, general trade, and distributions.
In June 2020, the mobile service provider launched Lipa na M-Pesa Business smartphone app to allow businesses to access real-time statements, export statements, and track their business performance on the go.
“At Safaricom, we are taking a focus on the needs of small and medium businesses to provide them with suitable technology solutions to help them grow. The M-PESA for Business smartphone App is one such solution. It empowers more than 170,000 businesses across the country to send money and make payments and provides them with simple and detailed reports from the convenience of the mobile phone,” said Peter Ndegwa.