President Robert Mugabe met with Army Generals this afternoon.
US former Vice President Al Gore to host 24-hour live broadcast about climate activism around the world
November 26, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
Former Vice President of the USA and Climate Reality Founder and Chairman Al Gore will on December 4 to 5, 2017 host 24 Hours of Reality: Be the Voice of Reality, a 24-hour live broadcast focused on the climate crisis and its solutions.
According to a spokesperson, this year’s program will look at the extraordinary climate activism happening all over the world and encourage the millions watching to speak up for solutions.
The Climate Reality Project announced that the seventh-annual 24 Hours of Reality broadcast , a star-studded, 24-hour live event focused on the climate crisis and its solutions will take place December 4-5, 2017.
Hosted by former US Vice President and Climate Reality Founder and Chairman Al Gore, 24 Hours of Reality: Be the Voice of Reality will explore the extraordinary climate activism happening all across the planet, encouraging the millions watching to use their voices to speak up for solutions, science, and truth at this decisive point in history. It will be carried by broadcast partners globally, and streamed live online at 24HoursofReality.org.
It is also reported that a variety of international celebrities, musicians, elected officials, advocates, and other special guests will join the broadcast, including musicians Annie Lennox, Avicii ft Sandro Cavazza – ‘Without You’ performed by Sandro Cavazza, Belinda Carlisle, Billy Bragg, Ellie Goulding, Iggy Pop, Jason Mraz, Jean-Michel Jarre, Maná, Nile Rodgers, Rag’n’Bone Man and Young Paris; actors including Calum Worthy, Helen Hunt and Patrick Adams; elected officials and thought leaders including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, California Governor Jerry Brown, World Economic Forum Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab; and television personalities including HGTV’s Property Brothers’ Jonathan Scott and Sam Champion.
“We stand at a pivotal moment in our mission to solve the climate crisis,” said Al Gore. “While the Paris Agreement gave the world a critical framework for solving the crisis, it’s up to us – concerned citizens of all backgrounds – to keep this progress going, no matter what actions the Trump Administration takes. This year’s 24 Hours of Reality broadcast will highlight empowered citizens taking action across the world, and will inspire those watching to use their own voices to be part of the solution.”
In the US, where the federal government has retreated from the climate fight, citizens have stepped up to push for practical solutions everywhere and in every way possible. In April, 200,000 Americans marched on the White House to demonstrate broad, bipartisan support for climate action. When President Trump announced his plan to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement, hundreds of thousands of citizens, business leaders, mayors, governors, and more across the nation stood up to say, “we are still in.”
24 Hours of Reality: Be the Voice of Reality will highlight these and many other voices and share inspiring stories of political, business, community, and personal activism that illustrate how we can all make a difference, right now, when our planet needs us most.
“This year’s theme – Be the Voice of Reality – is a call to action for anyone concerned about the climate crisis and everyone who wants to secure a safer future for our children and grandchildren,” said Ken Berlin, Climate Reality President and CEO. “24 Hours of Reality is a reminder of how far we have come and the work that remains, and we hope to encourage people to join the movement and speak out for climate action at all levels of society – from local city halls to the chambers of Congress.”
The program will begin on Monday, December 4 at 6:00 PM EST and will be broadcast live from New York City’s Roosevelt Island. The broadcast will travel around the globe highlighting stories of climate activism in six regions: North America, Oceania, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, Europe, and Central and South America. Al Gore will also share stories and statistics from his slideshow presentation made famous in the film An Inconvenient Truth and the recently-released An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.
Previous 24 Hours of Reality events have each focused on a different theme related to the climate crisis. Last year’s broadcast, 24 Hours of Reality: The Road Forward, examined both the challenges and opportunities for climate action and clean energy in the world’s 24 largest carbon-emitting countries.
Founded by Nobel Laureate and former US Vice President Al Gore, The Climate Reality Project is one of the world’s leading organizations dedicated to mobilizing action on climate change. With a global movement of more than 5 million strong and a grassroots network of trained Climate Reality Leader activists, it is spreading the truth about the climate crisis and building popular support for clean energy solutions.
A shocking 300 000 women experience gender violence in Zimbabwe in 2016
November 26, 2017 | 0 Comments
At least 300 000 women of child bearing age have experienced gender based violence in 2016 in Zimbabwe with most of the women evading psychosocial health support which has become a cause of concern for authorities trying to eradicate the scourge of gender based violence in the country.
Zimbabwe’s President Mnangagwa urged to crack media reforms whip
November 26, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
As President Emmerson Mnangagwa assumes his presidency following his inauguration as Zimbabwe’s new leader, The Media Institute of Southern Africa -MISA Zimbabwe has urged him to prioritise the implementation of long overdue media reforms critical to a new
According to MISA Zimababwe, in his inauguration speech on 24 November 2017, President Mnangagwa said he would ensure that the pillars of democracy are strengthened and respected.
It is reported that in breaking with the past, President Mnangagwa should also ensure the safety and security of
journalists conducting their lawful professional duties.
“Above all, he should also be accessible to the media as it fulfills its watchdog role to foster transparency and
accountability.In the same spirit, MISA Zimbabwe calls for the speedy alignment of the country’s media laws and policies with the Constitution as provided for in terms of Sections 61 and 62 and indeed other fundamental sections enshrined under the Declaration of Rights. Sections 61 and 62 guarantee the right to freedom of expression, media
freedom and access to information,” . said.
According to MISA Zimbabwe, the pillars of democracy cannot be strengthened through the continued existence of repressive laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and Broadcasting Services
Act (BSA), among others.
The organisation says that the laws impinge on citizens’ right to freedom of expression and free flow of information which is critical in shaping a new democratic dispensation.They add that the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) should be transformed into a truly independent public broadcaster that is open to diverse views and opinions from Zimbabwe’s multi-sectoral populace.
MISA Zimbabwe has therefore urged the new President to crack the whip for speedy implementation of media reforms that have been outstanding since the coming into being of Zimbabwe’s 2013 constitution.
Miracles and Testimonies on Sale
November 24, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Fr. Wilfred Emeh*
It is baffling to watch or read how modern-day preachers and prophets anticipate miracles and testimonies, almost as a form of advertisement for their ministries or churches. On social media platforms, miracle seekers are quick to ‘share’, ‘like’, or type ‘Amen’ on a story in exchange for some spiritual favor. In these transactions, people are expected to fulfill certain conditions if they wish to experience a miracle, have a breakthrough, or obtain any favor. I recall one of my pastoral visits in Cameroon: a knock at the door brought me into a home where the entire family was glued to “Testimonies and Miracles Show”. As soon as I stepped in, someone changed the channel! This didn’t surprise me at all, because I was aware of the proliferation of healing and prophetic ministries, and I knew that more people were becoming desperate in search for this or that favor from God. Spiritual prostitutes abound, moving from church to church in search for ready-made answers to their problems.
In the case of Cameroon, Pentecostalism gathered momentum in the 1980s, a time of intensifying economic crisis. To console their congregations, the preachers’ messages pivoted on a prosperity gospel, with refrains like, “Poverty is not my portion,” “Suffering is not my portion,” “Death is not my portion,” and so on. Scripture is often twisted to back up such claims, for example in the verse, “Christ became poor so that we should become rich” (1Cor 8:9). But this verse doesn’t refer to material wealth. Paul means richness in Christ, as expressed in Philippians 3:8, “I count all things as loss compared to the surpassing excellence of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” This richness is also summed up in the beatitudes, in which the spiritually rich are those who are poor in spirit, pure of heart, meek, humble, peacemakers, merciful, and so on (cf. Mtt 5:1-12).
Recently, I watched a video clip circulated by many Catholics, in which televangelist Benny Hinn said, “Many miracles are taking place in the Catholic Church.” Though the evangelist is right, true worshipers don’t need miraculous signs or testimonies to substantiate their faith in God. Oh yes, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” (Jn 20:29). Christ never, ever took delight in commercializing miracles, healings, or testimonies. This wasn’t because he didn’t have social media; it was because Christ was neither out to sell miracles nor to self-promote. Instead, sick persons who were healed by Jesus were often instructed not to tell anyone about it (cf. Mk 1:40-45; Mk 7:36; Mtt 8:4). Similarly, after the miraculous multiplication of five loaves and two fish, a huge crowd started following Jesus, but he denounced them for their wrong motives when he said, “Truly, I say to you, you look for me not because you have seen through the signs, but because you ate bread and were satisfied. Work then, not for perishable food, but for the lasting food which gives eternal life” (Jn 6:26-27). This “lasting food” was his own Body and Blood, which he would offer before his transition to heaven (Mk 14:22).
Decidedly, miracles were not the centerpiece of Christ’s message. It was, rather, calling sinners to repentance. Even the raising of Lazarus was only an illustration of Jesus’ power over life and death (Jn 11:38-53). After all, Lazarus would eventually die. That’s why Christ explains, after the resuscitation of Lazarus, “I am the resurrection and the life, those who believe in me will never die” (Jn 11:25). Similarly, all the physical healings and miracles of Jesus were only signs to show that, in Him (Jesus), the Kingdom of God has come. “The kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:15). Therefore, miracles were not a substantive part of Jesus’ ministry, they were only signs pointing to the Kingdom. Understandably, when the disciples rejoiced that they had cast out demons, Jesus said to them, “Do not rejoice that the demons bow to you, rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Lk 10:19-20). He tells his followers to seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness and every other thing shall be added unto us (Mtt 6:33).
In no way does the Kingdom-driven message suggest that Jesus doesn’t care about our physical health, social welfare, economy, and so on. Rather, he implores us to make distinctions between the ephemeral and the eternal, so we can set our priorities right—where your treasure is, there your heart will be too (Mtt 6:21). Remember, the booming economy can crumble within the twinkle of an eye, just like the physically healthy can die in an instant. What, then, shall it profit anyone if he gets all the healing, testimonies, and worldly success he asks for, yet loses his soul? There is much more to abundant life in Christ than mere signs and wonders.
Among other reasons, ignorance and the denial of God’s will constitute the main reasons that many people fall for the miracle and healing business today. Scripture rightly says, “My people perish from lack of knowledge” (Hos 4:6). With an unprecedented gullibility, many adherents to modern day preaching fail to identify the characteristics of soothsaying and divination that are exhibited by self-styled prophets. The prophets of God were humble and selfless messengers, called by God to speak on His behalf. The true prophets didn’t preach a prosperity message, neither did they compel their followers to “sow seeds” by giving them money for a luxurious lifestyle. The prophets of God didn’t point fingers, accusing friends and family members of being witches and wizards blocking their progress. The true prophets didn’t promise visas, breakthroughs, wives, or husbands to their clients in exchange for sowing seeds.
In sharp contrast, the prophets preached repentance and conversion. They called out the kings and people against social injustice, bribery, corruption, and persecution of widows, orphans, and the less fortunate in society. They often sounded warnings of impending danger if the people didn’t change their ways (cf. Is 1:4; Jer 8:8-12; Amos 5:10-13). Prophets were not predictors of the future. Rather, the prophets’ primary task was to call the people as a community to accountability and responsibility in their relationship with God. Even when they spoke about the future, it was for the purpose of calling people to be responsible before God in the present (Is 51:7; Jer 20:12).
As earlier indicated, the denial of God’s will is a major spiritual crisis of our time. With their preconceived plans for life, relationships, family, and wealth, many people are in rebellion against God’s will. And when things don’t work out your way, you go in search of quick fixes and instant answers to ordinary, day-to-day challenges. We behave as if our birth certificates stated somewhere that life should be easy! The miracle preachers are already very aware of this desperation, and they use it to prey upon you. Some of them even have agents who survey territories and learn about the people ahead of their miracle crusades, so they can startle you with stories about your own life. Indeed, wonders shall never end!
Of course, it is natural to shout out, “God’s blessings upon you!” to your family and friends. It is impossible to keep quiet after having received some special favor from God. However, Jesus specifically denounced any form vain publicity. For example, he said to the man he had freed from demonic oppression to go tell his family how the Lord had shown him mercy, yet this excited man uncontrollably went spreading the news all over the place (Mk 5:19-20). If Jesus asked us to keep quiet about his own miracles, imagine how much worse it is when testimonies are fabricated and miracles faked as a means to promote a church or ministry. It is sheer extortion when these so-called “men of God” demand that their clients sow a seed by making specific donations in hope of spiritual favor. Inexhaustible forms of duplicity are employed by the modern-day messiahs. Suffice it to say, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. Beware of false prophets prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds’” (Jer 23:16).
Since antiquity, there have always been traders of the Word; these are opportunists who used the Scripture and the name of Jesus for fame and personal aggrandizement. In Acts 8:9-25, we read about Simon the magician, who wanted to buy miraculous powers from Peter and John. He was condemned for thinking that the gift of God could be bought with money. Paul clearly states, “We are not like so many others who peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity as men sent from God” (2Cor 2:17).
In conclusion, it is time to wake up to all the soothsayers and diviners who pose as prophets and preachers with the sole aim of taking advantage of spiritually weak and ignorant followers. Don’t allow yourself to be lured by commercials for miraculous solutions to the ordinary challenges of life. Be aware that all you see on social media and miracle TV channels has been altered or outright faked. In Jesus’ time, testimonies were spontaneous and sincere, because there was no time for rehearsal or make-up, as there is today.
Be aware of your worth as a child of God. Scripture says, “All who have received him he empowers to become children of God” (Jn 1:12). You have power to tread underfoot serpents and scorpions, and if you only believe in Him and do His will, the miracles and testimonies will begin to follow you, and in abundance! No matter how real or exciting someone else’s testimony appears to be, it will never be your own. Therefore, it is better to desist from wasting precious time on miraculous entertainment and testimonies. The best way to use your time profitably is to nourish your mind with good reads. Read and wise up!
*Father Wilfred E. Emeh is a Roman Catholic priest ,Communications Profressional and author of the book New Media and the Christian Family: Experiences from the USA and Africa
National Aviation Services (NAS) Partners with #VisaFreeAfrica
November 24, 2017 | 0 Comments
|#VisaFreeAfrica (VFA), a continental effort to facilitate mobility in Africa|
|KIGALI, Rwanda, November 22, 2017/ — The Kigali Global Shapers (http://APO.af/wpzZY9) has partnered with National Aviation Services (NAS) (www.NAS.aero), the fastest growing aviation services provider in the emerging markets, for an exclusive sponsor of #VisaFreeAfrica (VFA), a global campaign to facilitate mobility in Africa.
For the past 30 years, the African Union has attempted to address free movement on the continent. The “Agenda 2063” plan to introduce a common African passport by 2020 is in motion but African citizens still need visas to travel to 42 out of 54 African countries.
The #VisaFreeAfrica campaign, launched by the Kigali Global Shapers during the World Economic Forum for Africa in 2016 includes a global petition that calls for:
In addition to the petition, Global Shapers across the African continent are engaging their leaders and policy makers in dialogues about the need to ease mobility on the continent. Through this initiative, African youth will find a platform to voice the reasons why facilitating movement of people across the continent now can fast track the continent’s 2063 Agenda.
The NAS and VFA partnership took roots at the World Economic Forum meeting held in Davos, Switzerland in January 2017 and was formalized almost immediately. NAS has made a five-year commitment to support this campaign which will be implemented in several African countries in the coming months.
Michaella Rugwizangoga, Curator at World Economic Forum Global Shapers said “With support from National Aviation Services (NAS), the Kigali Shapers will be able to better coordinate a continental effort towards open African borders and facilitate the removal of visa requirements on the continent.”
On a global scale, Africa’s competitiveness is tied to labor mobility. With the African market set to grow to 2 billion by 2050, greater integration and human mobility is the need of the hour. Liberal visa policies will help boost tourism revenues, foster new business opportunities and facilitate economic growth. It will also open up new job opportunities to the 60 percent* of African youth that is currently unemployed.
Hassan El-Houry, Group CEO NAS, said “NAS has a presence in over ten airports in Africa and continues to grow quickly in the region. As we expand our footprint of operations in Africa, our responsibility towards the local communities also increases. As a partner in Africa’s development, we are aware of the mobility issues faced by youth and businesses in the region. With our investments in the region and by supporting Visa Free Africa we continue to drive efforts for the development of the continent and its people.”
NAS operates across the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia, with a presence at 30 airports, managing more than 31 airport lounges and handling seven of the world’s top 10 airlines. With an employee base of over 8,000 capable and experienced employees at the core of its network, NAS is committed to providing aviation services that benchmark to the best in the world.
The Kigali Global Shapers (http://APO.af/wpzZY9) are part of a global network of 600 Hubs under the umbrella of the World Economic Forum. Hubs are developed and led by young people who are exceptional in their potential, achievements and drive to make a contribution to their communities. The community encompasses 7000 change makers.
The flagship project “Twumve Twumve” Forum, loosely translated “Hear us, we hear you”, empowers Rwandan youth to make their voices heard. Twumve Twumve is a unique opportunity for youth to engage in direct conversation with leaders from the public and private sector on issues facing Rwanda and the continent.
The Kigali Shapers created and lead the #VisaFreeAfrica campaign, a call to action for African leaders and the African Union to ease visa procedures across the continent. The Kigali Hub is partnering with NAS and coordinating actions across youth-led organization in Africa to raise awareness around the issues of mobility and accelerate the ease of travel procedures across the continent.
National Aviation Services (NAS) (www.NAS.aero) is the fastest growing aviation services provider in the emerging markets.
The NAS portfolio of services includes ramp and passenger services, cargo handling, engineering and line maintenance, airport technologies, fixed base operations, terminal management, aviation training, travel solutions, lounge management and meet-and-assist packages.
Secure, Trusted Internet Critical to Advancing African Economy
November 24, 2017 | 0 Comments
|New Internet Society report highlights how Africa can benefit more from the Internet economy|
|ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 23, 2017/ — Many African countries have made significant progress towards creating an Internet sector, with broad reforms that focus on increasing broadband availability. There have been further successes within countries in developing online platforms, fostering growth of local companies and increasing the incentive to go online– says a new report launched today by the Internet Society (www.InternetSociety.org), a global non-profit dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet.
“Promoting the African Internet Economy” highlights how greater use of the Internet and digitization of the traditional economy will spur economic growth in Africa.
The report further examines Internet adoption and use by companies and governments throughout the region, identifying barriers that must be overcome in order to create an Internet economy that delivers innovative services, job opportunities and income growth across the continent.
Both businesses and citizens can benefit from an Internet economy. Businesses across all sectors gain access to a global marketplace of billions of people, and citizens in both rural and urban areas benefit from enhanced educational and training opportunities and access to new job possibilities.
The report also outlines what needs to be done for Africa to take full advantage of the digital opportunity offered by the Internet. It highlights local successes as well as broader challenges, offering recommendations for policymakers in Africa to adopt.
“The Internet economy presents a major opportunity for Africa. However, Africa needs a secure and reliable Internet infrastructure that users trust in order to bringing large and small businesses online, along with governments and other social services,” explains Dawit Bekele, Africa Region Bureau Director for the Internet Society.
The Internet Society in collaboration with the African Union recently introduced Internet Infrastructure Security Guidelines for Africa to help AU member states strengthen the security of their local Internet infrastructure through actions at a regional, national, ISP/operator and organizational level.
In Kenya, the Internet economy already represents 3.6% of the country’s GDP and in other developing countries 1.3% of GDP comes from the Internet economy. The McKinsey Global Institute predicts that in addition to contributions to GDP, the Internet will deliver productivity gains across Africa. These productivity gains across six key sectors: financial services, education, health, retail, agriculture and government are projected to be valued at between US$148 billion and $318 billion by 2025.
However, a thriving Internet economy in Africa could be put at risk by the increasing number of Internet shutdowns in the region. In 2016 alone, there were at least 56 shutdowns of the Internet around the world. These shutdowns affect individuals and organizations that depend on the Internet for their daily lives and have negative effects on the economy.
“In addition to the economic costs, Internet shutdowns also affect trust. If people don’t know whether they will have connectivity, they can no longer rely on that connectivity to build Internet-based businesses. This will affect entrepreneurs in greatest need of digital-led innovation for their own future, and the future of the Internet economy in Africa,” added Bekele.
Radiation technology could effectively deal with army worms in Zambia, says ZNFU
November 24, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
ZNFU spokesperson Calvin Kaleyi says agricultural production in Zambia
has been affected by perennial outbreaks of various types of pests.
It is reported that in the previous farming season, an outbreak of
fall armyworms affected around 140,000 hectares of the staple maize
crop out of a total planted area of about 1.4 million hectares. Some
maize fields were completely destroyed.
The Ministry of Agriculture spent more than K30 million to procure
over 60,000 litres of pesticides that were only enough to spray about
95,000 hectares of the affected fields.
Insect pests are responsible for significant reduction in production
of agricultural crops but there are concerns that the continuous use
of pesticides has a negative impact on the environment and results
into development of resistance against pesticides in many insect
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is using nuclear
science to develop environmentally-friendly alternatives for pest
control. The IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) are
jointly sponsoring projects and conducting research on control of
insect pests using ionizing radiations. They have placed considerable
emphasis on the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) to effectively deal
with insect pests such as army worms.
“ZNFU has been a consistent advocate for training and research in
technologies that would enhance productivity and production. If
technologies that have been proven such as SIT can be tapped into, why
can’t we send our researchers and scientists to investigate how this
can be adopted in Zambia?” said Mr Kaleyi.
“We need to seriously start looking at investing in research and
technology that will spur production. Radiation technology has proved
effective. Most countries that are agriculture giants have invested in
technology and research. This is the direction we need to take as a
country if we truly want to be the food basket of the region and
SIT involves rearing large populations of insects that are sterilized
through irradiation (gamma or X-rays) and releasing the sterile male
insects in the wild to compete with the regular male population during
sexual reproduction, and the eggs produced from their mating are
infertile so they produce no offspring.
It has been successfully used to eradicate several insect pests of
agricultural significance throughout the world and has proved an
effective means of pest management even where mass application of
pesticides has previously failed.
Mr Kaleyi said, with technologies such as SIT, there would be no need
for farmers to worry if they did not have pesticides to control pests
“During the recent outbreak of fall armyworms, some farmers received
chemicals, others did not. Some farmers had to resort to unorthodox
methods such as using detergent pastes to spray their fields, meaning
government intervention did not really reach out 100% to those
affected,” he said.
In many countries, SIT has been effective as a form of birth control,
which reduces and eliminates the insect population after two or three
“If armyworms aren’t controlled effectively, the general fears among
farmers are a poor crop, compromised food security at household and
national levels; and the entrenchment of abject poverty, especially
amongst the majority rural farmers,” said Mr Kaleyi.
In February 2017 Russia and Zambia signed an intergovernmental
agreement to jointly build a nuclear science research centre in
Zambia. Russia will assist Zambia to train qualified personnel to work
in the centre, and the new project to bring economic benefits to the
The centre will host a 10-megawatt water cooled research reactor and
will have a range of laboratories and facilities for manufacturing of
medical radioisotopes, scientific research and sterilizing medical
products, treatment of food and agricultural products to extend their
shelf life and protect them from insects, thus allowing Zambia to
boost its agricultural exports. The center will also educate qualified
personnel that will be employed in Zambia’s future nuclear industry.
A nuclear research center will make it possible for Zambia to become
one of the industry leaders in Central and Eastern Africa. Research
reactors create the opportunity to utilize nuclear technologies for
social development. For instance, production of medical isotopes to
address cancer and other diseases could not be possible without
ROSATOM is the Russian Federation’s national nuclear corporation
that comprises more than 350 nuclear industry companies and
institutions. With over 70 years of experience in the field of nuclear
technology, ROSATOM works on a global scale to provide comprehensive
nuclear services that range from uranium enrichment to nuclear power
plant construction as one of the global leaders in nuclear industry.
Exiled Zimbabwean musician Thomas Mapfumo wonders if it’s safe to go home
November 24, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Joyce Hackel*
Thomas Mapfumo is a music legend in Zimbabwe.
So, when the so-called “Lion of Zimbabwe” released the album, “Corruption,” in 1989, criticizing Robert Mugabe’s authoritarian regime, his country’s leaders turned against him.
“A lot of people who were affiliated with this government were not happy with the song,” he says. “They didn’t want me to tell the people the truth about what was happening.”
When Zimbabwe was still Rhodesia, the white minority regime imprisoned Mapfumo without charges. He had supported fighters like Mugabe during the war for liberation. But about eight years after independence, Mapfumo began to see Mugabe as a decadent ruler, and his Chimurenga music included lyrics sharply critical of the longtime ruler.
“I thought, well, if we were going to have a black government, our people were going to be free,” he says. “But that wasn’t to be. And to me, it doesn’t matter if you’re white or black; if you do wrong things I’ll still sing about you.”
Mapfumo went into exile in Eugene, Ore. He says he left Zimbabwe so his children could pursue their education. He hasn’t been back to his homeland since 2005.
But now that Mugabe has been ousted, Mapfumo says he’d like to return.
He just doesn’t know if that’s in the cards right now.
“Of course I would like to go back to Zimbabwe. But let’s not forget that these [new leaders] are the same people who used to work with Mugabe. Just because some of them may have been fired from the party and then they come back saying, ‘Mugabe is bad,’ we don’t know how good they are themselves,” Mapfumo says, adding, “We are keeping our fingers crossed.”
Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa takes power and vows to serve all citizens
November 24, 2017 | 0 Comments
Zimbabwe’s new President Emmerson Mnangagwa has addressed a packed stadium, vowing to serve all citizens.
He said he felt “deeply humbled” to take the role.
And he said he was “not oblivious to the many Zimbabweans from across the political and racial divide who have helped make this day.”
He paid tribute to his predecessor Robert Mugabe – to muted applause – calling him “a father, mentor, comrade-in-arms and my leader”.
Mr Mugabe left office dramatically this week after 37 years of authoritarian rule. His departure followed a power struggle in which Mr Mnangagwa was sacked as vice president to pave the way for Grace Mugabe, the then-first lady, to take up the presidency.
Mr Mnangagwa fled the country but returned to a hero’s welcome and on Friday struck a conciliatory tone.
“The task at hand is that of rebuilding our country,” he said.
“I am required to serve our country as the president of all citizens regardless of colour, creed, religion, tribe, totem or political affiliation.”
Although Mr Mnangagwa has unseated Zimbabwe’s long-time ruler, he is still associated by many with some of the worst atrocities committed under the ruling Zanu-PF party since the country gained independence in 1980.
He was the country’s spymaster during the 1980s civil conflict, in which thousands of civilians were killed. But he has denied any role in the massacres, blaming the army.
How did the inauguration unfold?
Tens of thousands of people packed the National Sports Stadium in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, to witness the inauguration. Pop singer Jah Prayzer provided the entertainment and, as people in the crowd danced, the atmosphere was closer to that of a concert.
Dignitaries, including leaders from various African countries, filed in to cheers.
Opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Joice Mujuru – who both had their sights on the presidency at various times – were there.
Mr Mnangagwa was led in the oath of office by Chief Justice Luke Malaba, saying he would “be faithful to Zimbabwe”, “protect and promote the rights and people of Zimbabwe” and discharge his duties to the best of his abilities.
Mr Mnangagwa was accompanied by his wife Auxilia and gave her a kiss after the green presidential sash was placed around his neck.
Was Mr Mugabe there?
No – and the official reason given was that at 93, the former president needed to rest.
But the fact he is not attending is a reminder that this is no ordinary transition, the BBC’s Andrew Harding reports, and that despite Mr Mugabe’s official resignation he was forced out by the military.
On Thursday, several reports suggested Mr Mugabe had been granted immunity from prosecution.
Local media are reporting that Mr Mnangagwa has offered the Mugabe family “maximum security and welfare”.
The former president “expressed his good wishes and support for the incoming president,” the Herald newspaper reports.
How did Zimbabwe get to this point?
The news on Tuesday that Mr Mugabe was stepping down sparked wild celebrations.
It came in the form of a letter read out in parliament, abruptly halting impeachment proceedings against him.
He had been under pressure since the military took control of the country a week before, seizing the headquarters of the national broadcaster.
Although Mr Mugabe was largely under house arrest for several days, he appeared to be resisting pressure to stand down.
On Saturday, tens of thousands of Zimbabweans took to the streets of Harare to urge him to go. The demonstration was led by veterans of the country’s war of independence, who last year turned against him.
On Sunday, Zanu-PF sacked Mr Mugabe as its leader. Two days later, he resigned as president.
In his letter, he said he was resigning to allow a smooth and peaceful transfer of power, and that his decision was voluntary.
Zimbabwe’s economy is in a very bad state. It has not recovered fully from crises in the last decade, when rampant inflation grew so bad the country had to abandon its own currency. Now, according to some estimates, 90% of people there are unemployed.
Its main industrial index has slumped by 40% since last week’s military intervention and the stock market has shed $6bn (£4.5bn) in a week.
Analysts say the market is now correcting itself, optimistic of a change of economic policy under Mr Mnangagwa.
However, the International Monetary Fund has warned that Zimbabwe must act quickly to dig its economy out of a hole and access international financial aid.
In his speech, Mr Mnangagwa said he would base a new economic policy on agriculture and foreign direct investment. He has pledged to create jobs.
He also said the country’s land reform programme would not be reversed, but pledged to compensate farmers for the land that was confiscated from them.
The seizure of land from white farmers is seen as a key factor in the country’s economic meltdown.
What comes next?
On Thursday, Zimbabwe’s main opposition MDC party called for deep-rooted political reform to dismantle the repressive apparatus that sustained Mr Mugabe’s regime.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said the “culture of violence” and “culture of corruption” had to be changed after “after so many years of Zanu-PF misrule”.
It is unclear whether Zanu-PF will govern alone ahead of scheduled elections next year, or whether a coalition government of national unity that includes opposition groups will be formed.
Mr Mnangagwa confirmed in his speech that elections would be held as planned.
South Africa’s Ramaphosa Leads in Nominations for ANC Leader: Poll
November 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken a lead in party nominations for the next leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), securing the support of 65 percent of branches tallied so far, a poll showed.
Hundreds of ANC branches across South Africa are nominating their choice for party president and other senior positions ahead of a December conference where about 5,000 delegates sent by the branches will cast their votes.
The ANC’s next leader will probably become president of the country at a national election in 2019 given the party’s electoral dominance.
Early indications are that party members are split between Ramaphosa, a former union leader and one of the country’s richest people, and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a former minister and ex-wife of President Jacob Zuma, for the party’s top job.
The poll by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) found that Dlamini-Zuma had secured 30 percent of nominations and that ANC Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize received most of the remaining 5 percent of nominations.
The IRR said its data suggested 74 percent of ANC branches had made nominations and cautioned that it had not been able to corroborate its findings.
The ANC does not make the nomination tallies public.
A Ramaphosa win in December has tended to be viewed as the more positive outcome by investors, some of whom have been spooked by Dlamini-Zuma’s campaign message of radical wealth redistribution.
Dlamini-Zuma’s campaign says that many branches sympathetic to her are yet to submit their nominations, which could reduce Ramaphosa’s lead or swing the outcome in December in her favor. Dlamini-Zuma is backed by the ANC’s women’s and youth leagues, which also vote in December.
Zimbabwe’s incoming leader Mnangagwa returns home to cheers
November 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe’s incoming leader Emmerson Mnangagwa emerged from hiding Wednesday, departing from neighboring South Africa to return home in preparation to take power after Robert Mugabe’s stunning resignation.
The 75-year-old Mnangagwa fled Zimbabwe after Mugabe fired him earlier this month, leading the military to move in and kick off a series of extraordinary events ending in Mugabe stepping down Tuesday amid impeachment proceedings.
He will be sworn in as Zimbabwe’s new president Friday morning, the speaker of parliament said, after the ruling ZANU-PF party notified him of its nomination of Mnangagwa to replace Mugabe until the end of the current term next year.
Several hundred people gathered in anticipation of his first public remarks. Some carried signs with images of him, suggesting a certain level of organization behind the jubilant turnout. Signs read “Welcome back, our hero” and “True to your word, you’re back. Welcome.”
One man in the crowd, Godwin Nyarugwa, said he was “very ecstatic” and that “we need change in this country, change in everything” after years of economic crisis. Nyarugwa said he had several university degrees but no job, a common theme among Zimbabwe’s well-educated population.
“We have to try him and see,” he said of Mnangagwa. “If he doesn’t come up with something, we need to change him as well.”
Zimbabweans were still reeling from Mugabe’s resignation. They cheered and danced in the streets of Harare late into the night, thrilled to be rid of a leader whose early promise after the end of white minority rule in 1980 was overtaken by economic collapse, government dysfunction and human rights violations.
Now the focus turns to Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s longtime deputy who was pushed aside as unpopular first lady Grace Mugabe positioned herself to replace him and succeed her husband. Mnangagwa fled the country, claiming threats against his life.
That led the military to step in a week ago, opening the door for the ruling party and the people to publicly turn against the president.
It was not clear what the 93-year-old Robert Mugabe and his wife would do next. Mugabe, who was the world’s oldest head of state, said in his resignation letter that legal procedures should be followed to install a new president “no later than tomorrow.”
Zimbabweans woke up to the first day in 37 years without Mugabe in power. With some nursing hangovers, they looked over newspaper headlines such as “Adios Bob and Ta-ta President.”
“I think this change of government is like a new breath of fresh air right across the country,” said Patrick Musira on the streets of the capital. “Everyone was engulfed with excitement and they are looking for a better future, a brighter future with work.”
Zimbabwe’s new leaders are faced with a once-prosperous nation whose economy has collapsed, sending frustrated young people into desperate work as street vendors. Many have left the country altogether.
Mnangagwa is a former justice and defense minister who served for decades as Mugabe’s enforcer, a role that earned him the nickname “Crocodile.” Many opposition supporters believe he was instrumental in the army killings of thousands of people when Mugabe moved against a political rival in the 1980s.
So far in the current political turmoil Mnangagwa has used inclusive language, saying in a statement hours before Mugabe’s resignation that all Zimbabweans should work together to advance their nation.
“Never should the nation be held at ransom by one person ever again, whose desire is to die in office at whatever cost to the nation,” Mnangagwa said.
In a commentary, the state-run Zimbabwe Herald newspaper stressed the importance of presidential term limits, saying Mnangagwa “has the best wishes of most Zimbabweans, at least today.”
Human rights activists warned that it will take more than replacing Mugabe to change Zimbabwe’s fortunes.
“Mugabe the infrastructure, Mugabe the culture, Mugabe the ideology, Mugabe the system — what I prefer to call Mugabism — is still there. And we need to continue fighting,” Maureen Kademauga told reporters in Johannesburg.
The activists called for free and fair elections to determine Zimbabwe’s future. “The military works on orders,” Dewa Mavhinga of Human Rights Watch said. “I believe they were given a command to be nice, to smile, for a while but we should not make the mistake of believing that overnight this was a revolution and everything is over.”
Zimbabwe’s New Leaders Are None Other Than Mugabe’s Former ‘Enforcers’
November 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
Jubilant crowds filled the streets of Zimbabwe’s cities on Tuesday, after the country’s speaker of parliament announced that President Robert Mugabe had resigned after decades in power.
Just shy of a week ago, Zimbabwe’s military took power in the capital and detained Mugabe in his home. Since then, the military and the ruling ZANU-PF party steadily increased pressure on the longtime ruler to leave office until it seems he finally relented.
But while Zimbabweans express their joy and relief over what appears to be the end of Mugabe’s 37-year authoritarian rule, the nature of his downfall and the ruthless past of his successor are troubling signs for a country that has seen years of repression.
‘These People Were Mugabe’s Enforcers’
The military and ZANU-PF will soon install Mugabe’s former deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, as Zimbabwe’s new president. The development has human rights groups deeply worried, as both Mnangagwa and the military that backs him have been key players in the country’s past abuses.
“These people were Mugabe’s enforcers for the last 37 years,” said Dewa Mavhinga, the Southern Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
In the 1980s, Mnangagwa served as national security minister and controlled the Central Intelligence Organization under Mugabe. Mnangagwa has long-standing ties to the army as a result, including sharing culpability for some of the government’s worst atrocities.
“The military has been implicated in some of the most serious human rights abuses in Zimbabwe’s past,” Mavhinga said.
Mnangagwa was security minister at the time of Mugabe’s “Gukurahundi” campaign that, from 1983 to 1987, saw security forces kill thousands of people whom the ruling government perceived as political opponents or accused of fostering dissent.
In 2008, the military launched yet another crackdown in which armed forces killed or disappeared at least 200 opposition supporters during the country’s election. Mnangagwa is reported to have been a key go-between for the military and ZANU-PF in orchestrating those attacks.
There has been no accountability for these abuses, according to Mavhinga, and since many of the officials active or complicit in carrying them out now stand to rule Zimbabwe, it seems extremely unlikely that they will answer for their actions anytime soon.
“It’s a change in leadership of individuals, but the authoritarian system remains intact,” Mavhinga said.
Fears For The Future Of Zimbabwe
The army’s takeover has so far seen a reshuffling of the country’s elite power brokers, but massive reforms are needed to change a political system with an entrenched history of human rights abuses and authoritarianism.
Rights groups fear that there’s no guarantee the military coup will lead to much-needed transition toward free and fair elections, and could instead further deteriorate democracy and the rule of law in the country.
The ruling ZANU-PF party’s chief whip, Lovemore Matuke, said on Tuesday that Mnangagwa would stay on as leader until elections in 2018, but it remains to be seen whether that vote is conducted fairly and without a crackdown on political opposition as there has been in the past.
“Zimbabwean elections for many years have relied on limiting the number of people who are allowed to participate,” said Piers Pigou, senior consultant for Southern Africa for the International Crisis Group think tank.
The progression of events that led to the president’s ouster also contained numerous red flags for the country’s future, as Mugabe’s last years saw the nation’s politics decline in parallel with its leader’s health. Mugabe’s repressive policies and economic mismanagement had wreaked havoc on the country, and at 93 years old he had lost the ability to perform even some basic ceremonial duties ― leading to bitter infighting over who would succeed him.
After Mugabe removed Mnangagwa from office earlier this month, which seemingly paved the way for Mugabe’s wife, Grace, to assume power, the military and Mnangagwa moved to pre-empt such a transition. In seizing power and detaining Mugabe, the military proved it was willing to go to great lengths and violate democratic norms.
“This is a major overreach by the military in terms of a direct violation of the constitution,” Pigou said.
“There is a huge danger associated with this military intervention.”
The takeover could potentially set a poor precedent for future military action against the government, as research has found coups often create an unstable political climate that leads to more coups in the future.
The Need For Reform
It’s possible the removal of Mugabe could pave the way for necessary economic and political changes that are needed to save Zimbabwe, Pigou said, as Mugabe’s presence prevented any sort of reform. But although there is optimism in Zimbabwe over the potential for change after so many years, there is also cause for caution.
There’s still an abundance of uncertainty surrounding the military takeover and Zimbabwe’s political future. Even Mnangagwa, the supposed future leader of the country, has been largely publicly absent during the crisis ― leaving it unclear what kind of president he intends to be.
In recent years Mnangagwa has attempted to play the role of economic reformer, and worked closely with the country’s finance minister to secure loans from the International Monetary Fund.
Mnangagwa issued a statement on Monday night from an undisclosed location, saying he would return to Zimbabwe once he could be assured that it was safe to do so.
Mnangagwa and the new government in Zimbabwe will soon face the immense task of dealing with the effects of Mugabe’s mismanagement, which has ruined the country’s economy and caused its gross domestic product to plummet. There has been a downturn in purchasing power for ordinary Zimbabweans, as well as runs on banks as cash reserves have dried up.
*Courtesy of Huffington Post
Africa must implement 1990 Yamoussoukro agreement for open skies, says AfDB President
November 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
“Together, let’s open up the skies of Africa, and together let’s integrate Africa. By so doing, we will build stronger and more resilient economies.” – Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank
While 20 countries have signed on, the 27-year old accord still faces implementation challenges, Akinwumi Adesina, President of the AfDB said Tuesday at the opening ceremony of the third ICAO World Aviation Forum in Abuja.
“Rigid bilateral air service agreements have made it difficult to liberalize the regional aviation markets. We must make regional aviation markets competitive and drive down costs, raise efficiencies and improve connectivity and convenience,” Adesina said.
The Bank President also emphasized the Bank’s strong support for Nigeria and expressed confidence in the ability of Nigeria to deliver on its policy commitments.
“The hosting of this global forum here in Abuja is a clear mark of confidence in Nigeria. Let me use this opportunity to commend you and the government on the Economic Recovery and Growth Program, to build a more resilient economy,” Adesina said.
“As you know, we provided $600 million to support the government to address its budget deficit challenges and stand ready to continue to fully support the government as it embarks on efforts to diversify the economy and raise the revenue profiles and productivity of the non-oil sectors.”
The Bank President also commended the Government of Nigeria for its efforts to improve the state of aviation in Nigeria. The aviation sector plays an important in opening up doors to investors, he added.
Air transport promotes trade, investments and tourism, and boosts economic growth. Today, Africa’s aviation industry adds US $73 billion to the continent’s annual GDP and employs about 7 million people – an average 130,000 people per country in Africa, according to the Bank President.
The aviation industry is projected to grow by 5% annually for the next 20 years. From serving 120 million passengers in 2015, the industry will triple and serve over 300 million passengers by 2035, Adesina observed.
“That’s the good news,” he said, adding that regrettably Africa’s aviation growth is held back by very restrictive regulatory environments which limit market size, profitability, and drive up costs.
“Aircraft departure fees alone in Africa are 30% above the global average, while taxes, fees and charges are 8% higher. Given lower per capita incomes in Africa, high fares essentially tax the poor out of the air! We may have an open sky policy, but then end up with empty skies!”
The AfDB President called for the development of airport terminal capacity to expand passenger growth, develop regional aviation hubs to improve connectivity, and upgrade air navigational services and air traffic control to improve safety.
“Modern and cheaper technologies such as the satellite based air navigation services now preclude the need for ground infrastructure, and make it possible to serve remote areas with radars. We must also develop within Africa, aircraft maintenance services and strengthen regional and sub-regional aviation safety agencies,” he noted.
The AfDB has invested $20 billion in infrastructure over the past 10 years, with over $1 billion in the aviation sector. The Bank’s investments include building modern airports and terminal extensions in Senegal, Morocco, Kenya, Ghana, Egypt, Cabo Verde and improving airport navigation systems in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The AfDB supported aircraft fleet expansion programs for Ethiopia and Côte d’Ivoire. The Bank also supported regional efforts for improving aviation safety and capacity building.
Adesina congratulated Nigeria on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) certification of two airports in Abuja and Lagos as a consequence of meeting global standards, noting that the feat makes Nigeria the only country with two ICAO-certified airports in West and Central Africa.
The objective of the Bank is to support the ICAO safety and security standards certification of 20 African airports by 2019, Adesina said.
The African Development Bank will soon be going to its Board with a new aviation sector framework to support the revitalization of the aviation industry in Africa, he said.
The Bank, Adesina explained, is working with other partners on establishing facilities to de-risk financing for aircraft acquisition, upgrading of airports, expansion of regional navigational and air safety, and deregulation of the aviation industry to be more competitive and efficient.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) is partnering with the Nigerian Government, the African Union Commission (AUC), and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency to co-host the third ICAO World Aviation Forum from November 20-22 in Abuja, Nigeria.
No puppet: President Lourenço stamps his authority on Angola
November 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
Two months into office, Dos Santos’ handpicked successor is systematically removing the former president’s children from state power.
BY FELIX JANVRIN*
On 15 November, as most of southern Africa’s attentions turned to the military takeover ensuing in Zimbabwe, Angola’s President João Lourenço took a set of dramatic steps.
Acting with lightning speed, he fired the entire board of Angola’s state oil company Sonangol, including its chair Isabel dos Santos. Later that day, he rescinded the affiliation of brothers Welwistchea and José Paulino with the television networks Channel 2 and TPA International respectively. And this was immediately followed by the resignation of José Filomeno, who had already been effectively side-lined earlier this month, from his position as manager of Angola’s $5 billion sovereign wealth fund.
The billionaire daughter Isabel, often reported to be Africa’s wealthiest woman, and her lesser known brothers are all the children of Jose Eduardo dos Santos. The totemic former president stepped downfrom office just this August after a long 38 years in power.
A sequence of events such as this would ordinarily have dominated the southern African news headlines for the rest of the week. But dramatic events in Zimbabwe seemingly relegated Isabel and her brothers’ exits to what seemed a dull sideshow. This could not be further from the truth. Lourenço’s severing of the powerful dos Santos family’s ties to state power marks a momentous and intriguing development in Angola’s political course.
Breaking the chains
When Lourenço was chosen by then President Dos Santos to be his successor, it was broadly assumed he would be a loyal puppet. A military general and defence minister, Lourenço was perceived to represent continuity in the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA)’s tight knit one-party state. Despite the pressing need for economic reform, it was assumed that any change in the ranks would be undertaken slowly so as to avoid upsetting the dos Santos affiliates’ delicate web of economic assets, consolidated during the oil boom that followed the end of Angola’s civil war in 2002.
Yet two months into his reign, J-Lo – as he is sometimes referred to in a joking reference to the pop star – has caught almost everyone around him flat-footed. Former president Dos Santos was said to be off grid, undergoing medical treatment in Spain, at the time of his children’s sackings. Meanwhile, barely a month ago, Isabel had been celebrating the “alignment” in her relationship with the new president.
In fact, since coming to power, Lourenço has fired at least 60 government officials. This includes the heads of the state diamond mining firms Endiama and Sodiam. It also includes the chiefs of the intelligence service and police, the latter of which had been supposedly “locked in” by parliament under his predecessor’s tenure. In their places, he has typically elevated younger officials, such as the new central bank governor. At the time of writing, there is talk of him replacing more.
Why Sonangol matters
At a recent cross-stakeholder 30-day review of the oil sector overseen by Carlos Saturnino, the new chair of Sonangol, Isabel dos Santos was accused of failing to instigate meaningful change at the parastatal. This accusation allows Lourenço to frame her dismissal on technocratic grounds. However, the concurrent takedown of her brothers suggests the new president is in fact concertedly dismantling his predecessor’s ties to power.
Lourenço’s dismissals in the oil sector, however, are particularly crucial. The resource accounts for 45% of the country’s GDP, 75% of government revenues, and 98% of foreign exchange income. It is the cornerstone of the country’s international strategic importance.
Reforming this important sector would always have to begin with Sonangol. The parastatal is the government’s foremost asset, a sprawling behemoth that administers Angola’s huge offshore petroleum industry.
In Dos Santos’ later years, low international oil prices along with administrative and compliance problems wore the body down. This led him, in June 2016, to turn to his own daughter to reform it. This was a controversial decision, drawing accusations of nepotism and a legal examination from the Supreme Court.
Isabel’s retention following her father’s exit was perceived as a worrying indication that vested interests around the former president would continue to stymie economic reform. But by firing her, Lourenço has slashed a major string that his predecessor had attached to the government’s economic portfolio, one that could have restricted his ability to govern with the necessary economic independence.
Why J-Lo is now his own man
In a since deleted Facebook post a day after her sacking, Isabel dos Santos appeared to react with indignation. In the post, she quoted an official who warned that J-Lo would have to face up to the party for his deviant behaviour. This will certainly be the case, but it too early to say how Lourenço’s audacious stamp of authority will be digested by the secretive organs of the MPLA, which is still presided over by dos Santos.
On one hand, the party has sought to handle the succession issue with the utmost care for stability and may balk at such a heavy-handed challenge to their symbolic ex-leader. On the other hand, it is possible that the party will fall in line with Lourenço, who has made little secret of his reformist agenda since coming to power.
In the August elections, the MPLA garnered 64.57%, a disappointing result by its standards. The party knows that removing the dos Santos children from power will bring cosmetic benefits in this regard. Domestically, it furnishes J-Lo with much-needed populist credentials. Internationally, it signals to foreign stakeholders that cronyism may be ending.
The removals also have a more substantive effect though. Gaining control over Sonangol gives the new president greater purchase in negotiating with international partners. He needs these foreign relationships to reboot the economy, including China for demand and financial support, and the US for strategic assistance and legitimacy.
Since the end of the civil war, the MPLA has relied heavily its oil revenue to govern and maintain control. Although the resource remains vital, indications are that J-Lo aims to diversify the economy, breaking up corrupt state-run monopolies in the process.
The sackings appear to be a calculated step in this process. However, in the longer term, Angola’s new president may go further in devolving political power from an overstretched and overexposed central government by empowering local municipalities. This could be a cynical attempt at self-preservation – by devolving responsibility down the chain, he can immunise the upper echelons of state power from public scrutiny – or it could be a veritable attempt to improve accountability.
In any case, whether or not he succeeds, removing his predecessor’s hold on power has earned J-Lo the credit of being his own man for now.
As for the dos Santos kids, they may now be out of the spotlight, but thanks to their father’s near four-decades in power, they still hold onto extensive economic interests, both in Angola and abroad.
*Culled from African Arguments.Felix Janvrin is a freelance journalist focused on macroeconomic and political dynamics across southern and eastern Africa.
Like Zimbabwe, South Africa needs leadership change: ANC official
November 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
Burkina Faso recalls ambassador to Libya over “slave markets” report
November 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
Access Power and FMO launch second edition of Solar ‘Shark Tank’ Competition for Innovative Solar Projects
November 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
|Access Power and FMO launch second edition of Solar ‘Shark Tank’ Competition for Innovative Solar Projects|
|Submission window opens as Solar Projects Compete for US$ 100,000 Grant to Develop their Projects|
|DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, November 20, 2017/ — FMO (www.FMO.nl), the Dutch development bank, and Access Power (www.Access-Power.com), a leading developer, owner and operator of power projects in emerging markets, today announced the launch of the 2018 FMO Access Power Solar ‘Shark Tank’ Competition following the competition’s successful first installment in 2016 at the ‘Making Solar Bankable’ conference. The initiative is aimed at helping local solar power developers that require development support to make their innovative solar projects more impactful.
In order to be considered for the grant, the proposed projects must be located in Asia, Africa or Latin America and be based on solar PV technology. They should also meet the capacity criterion of 10MW or more, and be at an advanced stage of development (preliminary feasibility studies should have been completed). Furthermore, eligible projects should have an innovative or impactful angle to the project that can be developed with support of the grant.
Proposals will be screened and scored by a pre-selection committee assembled by FMO and Access Power. Four shortlisted finalists will be invited to present their projects and answer questions from a panel of judges in front of a live audience on the 15th of February 2018 during the second edition of the ‘Making Solar Bankable’ conference, co-organized by FMO and Solarplaza in Amsterdam, Netherlands on 15 and 16 February. The winning project will be announced at the end of the session during the event.
The winner will receive a $100,000 grant towards the development costs of their project from FMO and Access Power. In addition to that, Access Power will pre-qualify the winning proposal of the Solar Shark Tank competition for the 2018 edition of the Access Co-Development Facility (ACF) (https://goo.gl/76qvjJ) competition, subject to meeting ACF qualification requirements. Access Power will provide the ACF winner with technical support, financial structuring and development process management.
Reda El Chaar, Executive Chairman of Access Power, commented:
Jurgen Rigterink, CEO of FMO, added:
About Solar Shark Tank 2018
Access Power (www.Access-Power.com) is a fast-growing developer, owner and operator of power assets in emerging and frontier markets and is currently developing power projects worth over US$1 billion in 23 countries across Africa and Asia. In late 2016, Access Power commissioned East Africa’s largest solar power plant in Soroti Uganda which currently provides clean energy for over 40,000 homes, schools and small businesses.
FMO (www.FMO.nl) is the Dutch development bank. As a leading impact investor, FMO supports sustainable private sector growth in developing countries and emerging markets by investing in ambitious projects and entrepreneurs. FMO believes that a strong private sector leads to economic and social development, and has a more than
Thousands of Zimbabweans take to the streets of Harare to celebrate Mugabe’s resignation
November 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
Mugabe is reported to have tendered his resignation from the post of
president before finalisation on an impeachment order which was being
initiated by the country’s parliamentarians.
At the time of writing, people here are in jubilation mood and
motorists are hooting their cars in celebratory mood.
The country’s citizens who have been politically and economically
tormented for over a decade now anxiously await for a new dispensation
following the collapse of Mugabe’s long rule.
SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS GIVES THANKS BY OFFERING ITS LOWEST FARES OF THE YEAR
November 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
Holiday Sale Offers Exceptional Fares Starting at $599* roundtrip to Africa
Fort Lauderdale, FL (November 21, 2017) – South African Airways (SAA), the national flag carrier of South Africa and Africa’s most awarded airline today announces a holiday sale that offers its lowest fares of the year to selected destinations throughout Africa. For a limited time only, book flights for round-trip travel from New York-JFK International Airport or Washington, DC Dulles International Airport to Johannesburg, South Africa for just $599.00* (restrictions apply) or to Cape Town for $629.00*(restriction apply). Also on offer are nonstop flights from Washington, DC Dulles International Airport to Dakar, Senegal for $629.00* (restrictions apply) round-trip or to Accra, Ghana for $639.00* (restrictions apply) round-trip. These fares are available for purchase through November 28, 2017, for travel between January 10 and March 27, 2018.
“At this festive time of year for giving, we are expressing our thanks by making Africa even more affordable for travelers from North America. There is nothing that can compare to witnessing the beauty of an African sunset, sipping sundowners on a safari, taking in the magnificent sights in Cape Town, or exploring the history and culture of Ghana and Senegal”, said Todd Neuman, executive vice president, North America, for South African Airways. “With these fares, our very lowest of the year, we are encouraging everyone to give the gift of Africa to oneself, a loved one or a friend this holiday season. Giving this gift, on Africa’s most awarded airline, is certainly a terrific way to show your appreciation to that someone special.”
The sale fares are available for 7-days only, so travelers must hurry to purchase tickets by visiting www.flysaa.com or by calling SAA Reservations at 1-(800) 722-9675 to take advantage of these incredible savings.
As the leading carrier from the U.S. to South Africa, South African Airways is the only airline to offer daily nonstop service from New York – JFK and daily direct service from Washington, DC-Dulles to Johannesburg, South Africa. South African Airways also offers nonstop service from Washington, DCDulles to Accra, Ghana, four-days per week and Dakar, Senegal, three-days per week. From its hub in Johannesburg, SAA offers business and leisure travelers’ convenient connections to over 75 destinations on the Africa continent in partnership with its regional airlines SA Express, Airlink, and Mango.
Zimbabwe’s Mugabe ignores party deadline to quit
November 20, 2017 | 0 Comments
Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party has summoned its MPs to discuss the future of its leader, President Robert Mugabe, after a deadline for his resignation came and went on Monday.
The deadline was set by Mr Mugabe’s own party, Zanu-PF.
The embattled leader surprised Zimbabweans on Sunday, declaring on TV that he planned to remain as president.
Zanu-PF says it backs impeachment, and proceedings could begin as soon as Tuesday when parliament meets.
In a draft motion, seen by Reuters, the party blamed the president for what it called an “unprecedented economic tailspin”.
The public has poured on to the streets in protest in recent days, calling for the end of Mr Mugabe’s 37-year presidency.
His grip on power has weakened considerably since the country’s army intervened on Wednesday in a row over who should succeed him.
The crisis began two weeks ago when the 93-year-old leader sacked his deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, angering army commanders who saw it as an attempt to position his wife Grace as next president.
Zimbabwe has since then seen huge street rallies demanding his immediate resignation.
The protests have been backed by the influential war veterans – who fought in the conflict that led to independence from Britain in 1980.
The group’s leader, Chris Mutsvangwa, on Monday called for more demonstrations against the president’s attempt to cling on to power.
“We want to see his back now,” Mr Mutsvangwa said. “Mugabe, your rule is over. The emperor has no clothes. Thank you very much.”
Choreographing a departure
Andrew Harding in Harare
The city is swirling with rumours that Mr Mugabe is planning his resignation and that he may go back on television to announce it at any stage, and that Sunday’s speech was simply about giving carte blanche to the military for what they’ve done.
But we just don’t know at this stage if he will give in to the pressure from the war veterans, his own party, and the public.
Mr Mugabe said in his speech that he planned to preside over the Zanu-PF congress next month, a statement people here found baffling after the party voted to strip him of his leadership and kick out his wife.
What is clear is that everyone here believes that the Mugabe era is over. Saturday’s protests unleashed something and people believe that a line has been crossed. Now it is really about negotiating the time, the process, the choreography of Mr Mugabe’s departure.
The fear of Zanu-PF and of the security services will not go away overnight. People here grew up with that fear. In the meantime, the streets are calm, but Tuesday may bring more demonstrations.
What did Mugabe say in his speech?
During the 20-minute address, the president, who was flanked by generals, made no mention of the pressure from his party and the public to quit.
Instead, he declared that the military had done nothing wrong by seizing power and placing him under house arrest.
“Whatever the pros and cons of how they [the army] went about their operation, I, as commander-in-chief, do acknowledge their concerns,” he said, in reference to the army’s move last week to take over the state broadcaster in the capital Harare.
He also said “the [Zanu-PF] party congress is due in a few weeks and I will preside over its processes”.
Before Mr Mugabe’s speech, Mr Mnangagwa was named as Zanu-PF’s new leader and candidate for the 2018 general elections, while Mr Mugabe’s wife was expelled.
So what happens next?
After Mr Mugabe’s speech, Zanu-PF chief whip Lovemore Matuke was quoted as saying that the resignation ultimatum was unchanged.
He added that impeachment proceedings could be launched on Tuesday in parliament. This would require a two-thirds majority in both chambers.
The opposition MDC-T party has tried unsuccessfully to impeach Mr Mugabe in the past, but this time the ruling party – which has an overwhelming majority in both houses – is likely to go against him.
However, the impeachment process could take weeks.
The BBC’s Africa Editor, Fergal Keane, said his understanding of the situation was that Mr Mugabe had agreed to resign, but then changed his mind.
Our correspondent says the generals have no intention of forcing Mr Mugabe out by the barrel of a gun, and are happy to let the Zanu-PF carry out its procedures, working through impeachment if necessary.
It is unclear how Robert Mugabe can preside over Zanu-PF’s congress next month, following his dismissal as party leader.
Party positions are officially decided at the congress and Mr Mnangagwa may take over leading the country then.
Mr Mnangagwa, a former state security chief, is nicknamed “the crocodile” for his perceived shrewdness. He fled Zimbabwe after his sacking a fortnight ago, but has since reportedly returned.
What’s the reaction been?
The War Veterans Association, which used to back Mr Mugabe, now says it is time for him to step down.
“Thirty-seven years, you have had your time, you are toast now politically,” association head Chris Mutsvangwa told the BBC.
“Please give the country a chance, let it move to the next page.”
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said he was “baffled” by the president’s address.
“He’s playing a game. He has let the whole nation down,” he told Reuters news agency.
Mr Mugabe has led the country since it gained independence from Britain in 1980.
Concerned Zimbabwean citizens demand to know missing journalist cum activist whereabouts
November 20, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
Concerned Zimbabwean citizens who recently attended the Zimbabwe
solidarity march held in Harare to call for the resignation of
President Robert Mugabe took to the podium to demand to know the
whereabouts of Itai Dzamara, Zimbabwean missing journalist cum
The solidarity march rally was attended by many Zimbabwean citizens
including other racial communities like white people and the coloured
community.Previously, some of the other racial communities in the
country like the white people have not been easily mixing with the
black community, but at this recent gathering, they mingled with one
objective of trying to push Mugabe out of power.
One activist who gave a solidarity message at the rally said that
there was a person who was missing in the country and people needed to
know from the government where the person was.This was in reference to
There were huge echoes of agreement from concerned citizens who
indicated that government had an obligation to reveal the whereabouts
of the missing activist who had gained popularity due to his criticism
March 9, 2017, marked the second anniversary of the disappearance
of Itai Dzamara, Zimbabwean civil society activist and leader of
Occupy Africa Unity Square. On this day two years ago, Dzamara was
forced into an unmarked vehicle and has not been heard from since.
Dzamara has been missing since March 2015.Some countries like the
United States reported that they remained deeply concerned about
Dzamara’s whereabouts and wellbeing. They said that the lack of
progress in the case raised doubts about the intention of the
authorities responsible for the investigation.
“We once again call on Zimbabwean authorities to show their
commitment to protecting the constitutionally-guaranteed human rights
of all Zimbabweans, regardless of political beliefs or affiliation.
We again call on Zimbabwean authorities to mobilize the full extent of
their resources to investigate the circumstances surrounding Mr.
Dzamara’s abduction, and to ensure that those responsible are brought
to justice,’. according to a message released on the anniversary.
The message further said that this was not an issue of politics.
This was an issue of basic human rights and rule of law.
“All citizens of Zimbabwe have the right to life and personal liberty,
the right to participate in peaceful political activities, including
the right to demonstrate and petition peacefully, and the right to
express themselves freely and without repercussion. We stand together
with Mr. Dzamara, the Dzamara family and the people of Zimbabwe in
demanding resolution in this case and in supporting their rights to
freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.’ the statement on the
last anniversary read.
SADC countries commit to collaborate on minimizing adverse effects of severe weather and climate phenomena
November 20, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministers responsible
for Transport and Meteorology have committed to collaborate to
minimize adverse effects associated with severe weather and climate
phenomena affecting the region in a communique recently released in
The 2017 edition of the SADC meeting of Ministers responsible for
Transport and Meteorology sectors took place from 30 October to 3
November 2017. The Government of Malawi hosted the meeting in
SADC holds annual sector ministers meetings as part of the
governance and programme management strategy.
The purpose of the meeting was to consider the progress made in the
sectors of Transport and Meteorology in the implementing of the SADC
Protocol on Transport, Communications and Meteorology and the
derivative policies and programmes and to provide guidance to
implementing national, corridor and regional institutions including
According to the communique, the meteorological sector’s main
purpose is to establish meteorological systems and infrastructure that
are fully integrated, efficient and cost effective to meet the
requirements of the users, and to minimise adverse effects associated
with severe weather and climate phenomena.
The ministers also noted progress on implementation of programmes
and projects. The ministers have urged member states that have not yet
signed the Meteorological Association of Southern Africa (MASA)
Constitution to do so as soon as possible in order to ensure
operationalization of the association.
The ministers have also noted that member states are obliged to be
compliant with the Quality Management System (QMS) standard for the
provision of the aeronautical meteorological services to airlines.
They said that non-compliance to the obligatory regulations on QMS
of the Chicago Convention will have far reaching consequences on the
member states and could find their airspaces declared unsafe for air
travel by ICAO due to safety considerations.
The ministers have also urged member states which have not yet been
ISO 9001-2008 or ISO 9001-2015 certified to take necessary and urgent
action to comply to avoid their countries from being flagged as a high
safety risk zones.
One million climate jobs campaign booklet launched in South Africa
November 20, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
The Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC) in South
Africa has launched a new one million climate jobs booklet in Gauteng province.
According to an AIDC spokesperson, in an initial OMCJ booklet in 2011
the organization argued that globally an environmental and
economic crisis is being faced and that the creation of a million
climate jobs was an opportunity to address both problems jointly.
The organization says that in the past six years in South Africa
there have been many developments, such as renewable energy being
established as part of the electricity supply mix of the country and
its rapid decline in cost, the development of environmentally friendly
construction methods and the roll-out of the Rapid Bus Transit system
in some municipalities.
It however says that this is not enough. The threat of accelerating climate change and the damage it is already doing
ecosystems is being more evident.
They say that climate change exacerbates inequality and poverty by reducing access to food, water, energy and housing.
“We urgently need to make changes to our economic system and various forms
of production before they destroy our life support system. This
booklet presents well- researched solutions for South Africa to
immediately begin a just transition away from the Minerals-Energy
Complex initiated under colonialism, that continues to dominate our
capitalist economy, to one in which all basic needs of communities are
met equitably and affordably, AIDC says.
The organization says that they know that transition will not be easy
and need to ensure that it is not an additional threat or burden for
workers and the poor.
“With the international negotiations of COP23 imminent, it is clear that we cannot rely on governments and big
business to make the changes that are necessary to avoid climate catastrophe, much less to ensure that there is a just transition. With Donald Trump pulling the USA out of the Paris Agreement, it is all the
more evident that we need to revitalize initiatives like the One Million Climate Jobs Campaign,” an AIDC spokesperson said.
Zimbabwe’s ruling party sacks Robert Mugabe as leader
November 19, 2017 | 0 Comments
Zanu-PF appointed ex-Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was fired by Mr Mugabe two weeks ago, in his place.
The party has given Mr Mugabe, 93, until 10:00 GMT on Monday to resign as president, or face impeachment.
The military intervened last week, in an apparent attempt to block him from installing his wife as his successor.
The first lady, Grace Mugabe, and several other senior officials have been expelled from the party altogether.
Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans attended street protests on Saturday, demonstrating against the Mugabes.
Mr Mugabe has also reportedly been meeting military leaders, according to Zimbabwe’s The Herald.
While no details of the talks have been released, photos posted by the newspaper show the two sides – which also met several days ago – shaking hands.
Cheering erupted when the decision to dismiss Mr Mugabe as party leader was announced.
One senior official later told the BBC’s Andrew Harding: “It’s the dawn of a new era. Mugabe can go farming.”
Zanu-PF’s Central Committee also warned that impeachment proceedings would begin on Tuesday if Mr Mugabe did not step down as president by noon local time on Monday.
One party official said Mr Mnangagwa, who has since reportedly returned to Zimbabwe, had been nominated as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2018 general elections.
His sacking prompted an extraordinary chain of events over the past week:
- Mr Mnangagwa fled the country after his dismissal as Mr Mugabe’s deputy two weeks ago
- The army’s chief of staff, Gen Constantino Chiwenga, warned last Monday that the military might intervene to stop purges in the party – and was roundly criticised by allies of the Mugabes
- On Wednesday, soldiers seized the headquarters of the national broadcaster
- Mr Mugabe has been mostly under house arrest for several days
- On Saturday, unprecedented mass protests further weakened Mr Mugabe’s position
Speaking ahead of the party meeting, the head of the influential War Veterans Association, Chris Mutsvangwa, threatened to “bring back the crowds and they will do their business” if Mr Mugabe did not step down.
Mr Mugabe has been president of Zimbabwe for 37 years, having led the country since it gained independence from Britain in 1980.
He has made just one public appearance since events unfolded, speaking at a university graduation ceremony on Friday.
Zimbabwe crowds rejoice as they demand end to Mugabe rule
November 18, 2017 | 0 Comments
They tore pictures of Mr Mugabe and marched to his office and residence.
The army intervened on Wednesday, days after Mr Mugabe sacked his deputy, signalling that he favoured his wife Grace as his successor.
Mr Mugabe, who is confined to his house, was to meet army chiefs on Sunday, state TV said. The 93-year-old has led Zimbabwe for 37 years.
The military says it will advise the public on the outcome of talks “as soon as possible”.
Saturday’s rally had the support of the army and members of the governing Zanu-PF party.
Veterans of Zimbabwe’s war for independence – who until last year were loyal to the president, the best-known among them – are also saying Mr Mugabe should quit.
Outside State House, the official residence, some people staged a sit-down protest in front of a line of troops, and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai addressed the crowd, to cheers.
The BBC’s Andrew Harding in Harare says this is a watershed moment and there can be no return to power for Mr Mugabe.
Our correspondent says the situation may appear to be getting out of Zanu-PF’s control and there could be a broad push to introduce a transitional government that includes the opposition.
includes the opposition.
On Friday, Mr Mugabe made his first public appearance since being confined to his house.
He spoke only to open the graduation at a university of which he is chancellor.
Grace Mugabe was not present. It had been thought she had left the country but it emerged on Thursday that she was at home with Mr Mugabe.
Mr Mugabe sacked Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week, apparently to pave the way for Grace Mugabe, who is four decades younger than him, to take over the presidency.
Zanu-PF’s top body is meeting on Sunday to discuss dismissing Mr Mugabe as party leader.
Negotiating Mugabe’s exit
Analysis by Anne Soy, BBC News, Harare
Negotiations are going on behind the scenes to persuade President Mugabe to step down. It is understood that he has insisted that he cannot do so and legitimise a coup.
The military maintains this is not a coup and there is international pressure to use constitutional means to resolve the political crisis. Negotiators are poring through Zimbabwe’s laws to find a legal way out.
Saturday’s call for civilians to take to the streets looks choreographed to lend some legitimacy to the transition process being discussed.
President Mugabe’s support base has continued to crumble. Independence war veterans, who fought alongside him against colonial rule, have also called on their former leader to leave.
But the biggest blow yet to Mr Mugabe could be delivered by the central committee of his ruling Zanu-PF on Sunday. Their meeting could see Robert Mugabe dismissed as party leader.
Who is backing the protest in Harare?
- The influential war veterans’ association. Leader Christopher Mutsvangwa had called for a huge turnout, saying: “We want to restore our pride.”
- The ruling Zanu-PF. At least eight out of 10 regional branches voted on Friday for Mr Mugabe to resign as president and party secretary. Several regional leaders appeared on TV saying he should step down, Grace Mugabe should resign from the party and Mr Mnangagwa should be reinstated to the central committee.
- The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) said the rally was a “solidarity march”. It said: “As long as the planned march remains orderly, peaceful… and without hate speech and incitement to cause violence, it fully supports the march.”
- Liberal groups opposed to the president. The leader of last year’s #Thisflag protests, Evans Mwarire, urged people to turn up.
How did we get here?
Soldiers seized the headquarters of Zimbabwe’s national broadcaster ZBC on Wednesday, and loud explosions and gunfire were heard.
Maj Gen Sibusiso Moyo then read out a statement on national television, assuring the nation that President Mugabe and his family were safe.
On Thursday, Mr Mugabe was pictured smiling as he took part in talks with an army general and South African government ministers at State House but sources suggested he might be resisting pressure to resign.
What has been the reaction around the world?
- US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged a quick return to civilian rule, but also said the crisis was an opportunity for Zimbabwe to set itself on a new path
- Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing was hoping for stability and a peaceful “appropriate” resolution
- UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson warned against a transition from “one unelected tyrant” to another
- Botswana’s President Ian Khama said regional leaders did not support Mr Mugabe staying in power
- Alpha Conde, the chairman of the African Union, a key regional bloc, said the takeover “seems like a coup” and demanded a return to constitutional order
- South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma said the region was committed to supporting the people of Zimbabwe, and was optimistic the situation could be resolved amicably
- * Source BBC
African Union calls for Libya ‘slave market’ probe
November 18, 2017 | 0 Comments
Tripoli (AFP) – The African Union on Friday called for Libyan authorities to investigate “slave markets” of black Africans operating in the conflict-torn nation, following the release of shocking images showing the sale of young men.
The demand follows the release of CNN footage of a live auction in Libya where black youths are presented to north African buyers as potential farmhands and sold off for as little as $400.
Guinean President Alpha Conde, who is also Chairman of the African Union, demanded an enquiry and prosecutions relating to what he termed a “despicable trade… from another era”.
Meanwhile Senegal’s government. commenting on Facebook, expressed “outrage at the sale of Sub-Saharan African migrants on Libyan soil,” which constituted a “blight on the conscience of humanity”.
African migrants from nations including Guinea and Senegal but also Mali, Niger, Nigeria and The Gambia make the dangerous crossing through the Sahara to Libya with hopes of making it over the Mediterranean Sea to Italy.
But testimony collected by AFP in recent years has revealed a litany of rights abuses at the hands of gangmasters, human traffickers and the Libyan security forces, while many end up stuck in the unstable north African nation for years.
More than 8,800 stranded migrants have been returned home this year, according to the International Organization for Migration, which is also amassing evidence of slavery.
Conde further appealed for the Libyan authorities to “reassess migrants’ detention conditions” following revelations over squalid jails and detention centres that await migrants who are caught trying to reach the coast.
“These modern slavery practices must end and the African Union will use all the tools at its disposal,” Conde added.
Libya has opened an investigation into the practice, CNN reported Friday, and pledged to return those taken as slaves to their country of origin.
Africa: Nurturing Young Entrepreneurs as the Next Generation of Hunger Fighters
November 18, 2017 | 0 Comments
|By Bunmi Oloruntoba|
DES MOINES, United States of America, November 18, 2017/ — Considered the “Nobel Prize of agriculture,” the World Food Prize is awarded each year for a specific and exceptionally significant contribution to the production or distribution of food. This year, the prize was awarded to Akinwumi Adesina, a former Nigerian agriculture minister – and currently the president of the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) – for his contributions to increasing productivity in that country’s agricultural sector.
A list of Adesina’s achievements as minister of agriculture from 2010 to 2015 spans several pages. But for the World Food Prize, the focal point was his introduction of the Electronic Wallet (E-Wallet) platform to Nigeria’s food production and distribution chain.
Through the E-Wallet, Adesina pioneered a new way for the Nigerian government to deliver subsidized farm inputs, such as fertilizer and seeds, to local farmers through private agro-dealers. The farmers, in turn, get to redeem these subsidized inputs from the agro-dealers using e-vouchers, which they can access through their mobile phones.
To implement the platform, Adesina initiated a Growth and Enhancement Support Scheme (GES). He powered the scheme by orchestrating the successful registration of more than five million Nigerian farmers, whose information and mobile phone numbers were added to the GES database. The database, coupled with the E-Wallet, now allows Nigerian farmers to receive directly from the government everything from fertilizer to high-yield rice seeds and palm oil seedlings.
In the past, such subsidized inputs would have bypassed the farmers and fallen into the hands of black marketers who would have sold the inputs on the open market or in neighboring countries. According to the World Food Prize, through the E-wallet Adesina succeeded in breaking the “back of corrupt elements that had controlled the fertilizer distribution system for 40 years.”
The platform also helped solve other previously intractable problems in the way of commercial large scale food production in Nigeria.
For example, the country’s paddy rice farmers, through the E-Wallet, were able to receive from the government award-winning, high yield NERICA rice varieties, which saw their output rise from five to six tons per hectare. Thousands of paddy farmers producing a consistent grade of rice soon created the opportunity for several agro-based companies to switch from rice importation to local rice production, and standardization of the country’s rice output led to large private sector investments in rice milling.
The World Food Prize compares the spread of Adesina’s efforts in scale to the “Green Revolution” work of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug. In the 1970s and 1980s, Borlaug introduced high-yield dwarf wheat to Latin America and Asia, spawning “Green Revolutions” on two continents.
As other African countries start to adopt E-Wallet platforms to get subsidized inputs – and even financial services – directly to their farmers, the World Food Prize claims Adesina’s E-Wallet is “sparking a Borlaugian ‘Take It to the Farmer’ revolution across Africa.”
Farming creates jobs for young people
In his more recent job as president of Africa’s premier multilateral development finance institution, the African Development Bank (AfDB), Adesina embraces the continent’s “youth bulge” both as an opportunity and a resource in working for economic transformation.
Africa’s labor market is expected to absorb 11 million youths every year for the next decade. Despite rapid growth in formal wage sector jobs, the World Bank estimates that most of the continent’s young people “are likely to work on family farms and in household enterprises, often with very low incomes.”
Adesina wants to drive Africa’s economic transformation by empowering the continent’s youth population and making agriculture the hottest startup sector for young people. To achieve this goal, he wants to change the perception of agriculture in Africa from being a survival activity to a vehicle for wealth creation; from a hobby to a business.
It therefore came as no surprise when Adesina, halfway through his acceptance speech for the World Food Prize, declared to the crowded room in the American Midwestern city of Des Moines that “there will be no rest for me until Africa feeds itself, and for that we need the youth.”
“Even though I don’t have the cheque in my hand right now,” he continued, “I hereby commit my quarter of a million dollars… prize award to set up a fund fully dedicated to providing grants, fellowships and financing for the youth of Africa in agriculture as a business.”
Adesina’s vision for Africa’s youth and agriculture becomes prescient as the world’s geopolitical winds shift the focus of policymakers.
Britain’s Brexit vote to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States mark a rightward shift in the geopolitical landscape, with increasing numbers of countries appealing to more nationalistic agendas and responding to calls to stem immigration.
Creating jobs for young people in agriculture can both help Africa’s economic transformation and offer a solution to some of the challenges facing the continent and the world: the high rate of youth unemployment in Africa; human trafficking and the high rate of illegal migration of young Africans into Europe; sustainably kickstarting Africa’s industrialization; and preventing religious radicalization and combating terrorism.
To gain a clearer understanding of these issues, the lectures and speeches Adesina has given around the world are a good place to start:
On Youth Unemployment and Illegal Migration to Europe
Africa’s rapid population growth, specifically the growth of the working-age population, complicates a precarious labor market characterized by poor-quality employment, which in turn creates the urge for the youth to seek better opportunities elsewhere. The International Labor Organization estimates that in the next four years an additional 12.6 million youth in sub-Saharan Africa will enter the labour force.
Data from the International Organization for Migration (https://goo.gl/5f3Bd7) reveals that more than 154,000 young Africans have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe in 2017 so far. More than 2,900 have died trying to make the crossing. In 2016, more than 352,000 Africans crossed into Europe and more than 4,750 died.
Adesina, in remarks (https://goo.gl/Seb1Lp) leading up to the 2015 Action Plan for African Agricultural Transformation conference in Dakar, pointed out that “the agricultural sector [in Africa] has four times the power to create jobs and reduce poverty than any other sector.”
“That is why we make the claim that we can diminish the migrant crisis in Europe by supporting agricultural transformation in Africa,” he said.
In remarks at the 2017 G7 Summit in Taormina, Italy, back in May, Adesina expanded on this vision when he said that “the future of Africa’s youth does not lie in migration to Europe” nor should it be “at the bottom of the Mediterranean.” He proposed rather that an agribusiness-driven economy could be one of the economic reasons Africa’s youth choose to remain on the continent.
“We must turn rural areas from zones of economic misery to zones of economic prosperity,” Adesina said. “This requires new agricultural innovations and transforming agriculture into a sector for creating wealth. We must make agriculture a really cool choice for young people.”
“The future millionaires and billionaires of Africa will come initially from agriculture.”
On Africa’s Industrialization
Industrialization has been referred to as the most effective driver of structural poverty reduction. Experts remind us that no developing country has transitioned into a developed country without industrializing.
Adesina, in his opening speech at the Dakar conference, questioned the theory that assumes labour must move from the agricultural sector to the industrial sector. Rather, Adesina suggested an economic theory of industrialization that sees Africa’s industrialization starting from the agricultural sector.
“The reality,” he said, “is that agro-industrialization has greatest potential for Africa to achieve more rapid and inclusive growth – and create jobs… If you want industrialization of Africa, and massive job creation, focus on industrializing the agriculture sector.”
He went on to add, “to rapidly modernize agriculture, we must get the youth engaged in the sector. We must change the perception of the youths of agriculture – they must see agriculture as a business.”
On radicalization and terrorism
The Africa Center for Strategic Studies has warned (https://goo.gl/u5Re4c) that one of the “key effect of ISIS’s continued loss of territory and operational capacity in Iraq and Syria will be an increase in the number of ISIS fighters returning to regions in Africa already facing a threat from violent Islamists.”
In his opening remarks (https://goo.gl/v8HPjX) at the West African Ministerial Conference in October 2016, Adesina observed that “today, across Africa, unemployed youths are turning into gangs, getting into kidnappings for a living, getting recruited to join terrorist groups. And those are the wrong kind of jobs.”
At his speech at the 2017 G7 conference in Italy, he referred to the deadly combination of extreme rural poverty, high youth unemployment and environmental climate degradation as the “triangle of disaster. Where these factors are found, they provide rich recruitment zones for terrorists.”
In Adesina’s view, agribusiness – more than any other economic sector – has the power to bring wealth to the rural parts of Africa
“I believe that the future millionaires of Africa will come from agriculture, not from the oil and gas industry. Agriculture will become Africa’s new oil.”
Adesina has also announced that his World Food Prize money will be used to establish a World Food Prize Global Youth Institute for Africa, an organization he said will support a new generation of agricultural scientists and innovators across Africa. This organization will nurture and produce graduates known as Borlaug-Adesina Fellows, who will become the next generation of hunger fighters.
Jubilation and ululation in the streets of Harare as Zimbabweans attend war veterans indaba to out Mugabe
November 18, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
Thousands of Zimbabwens are thronging the streets of Harare in
jovial mood through song, dance,jubilation and ululation on their way
to Gwanzura stadium in Highfields high density suburb to the planned
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) is
indaba to chart a way forward for the country and to urge President
Robert Mugabe to step-down.
War veterans, widely regarded as close allies of sacked Vice-President
Emmerson Mnangagwa, said nothing would stop them from meeting.
The association’s secretary-general Victor Matemadanda said they would
go ahead as planned.
Arsenal welcomes WorldRemit as first-ever Official Online Money Transfer Partner
November 17, 2017 | 0 Comments
|Leading digital money transfer company WorldRemit and Arsenal partner to use the power of football to find a better way to connect communities|
LONDON, United Kingdom, November 17, 2017/ — WorldRemit (www.WorldRemit.com) becomes the first Official Online Money Transfer Partner of the Premier League club, Arsenal (www.Arsenal.com). The leading digital money transfer business, formed by a UK-based entrepreneur from Somaliland, has joined forces with Arsenal to accelerate the company’s growth and help more people save money on international transfers.
The global partnership will provide WorldRemit with a range of rights and player access to support its expansion plans. The partnership agreement includes match day LED branding for every Premier League, League Cup and FA Cup match along with TV interview backdrop presence for every home Premier League match along with global digital and social media rights across Arsenal’s online and mobile platforms.
WorldRemit will work closely with Arsenal’s first-team players to create unique content that will support new and existing community engagement initiatives around the world.
The partnership will also reward WorldRemit’s customers and Arsenal supporters through exclusive events and experiences using the power of football to inspire people. The company will launch the partnership with the first in a number of competitions to win travel to London and tickets to watch the team play at Emirates Stadium.
WorldRemit was founded by Chief Executive Officer Ismail Ahmed, to offer a better way to send small sums of money more frequently, bringing family and friends closer together – wherever they are.
WorldRemit’s service is available to senders in 50 countries and the company offers money transfers to more than 140 destinations across Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas.
The company is a global leader in international transfers paid out as mobile money – where funds can be held on mobile telephone accounts. WorldRemit connects to over 130 million mobile money accounts, enabling money to be sent safely to friends and family even if the recipient doesn’t have access to a bank account.
The partnership will support WorldRemit’s growth ambitions by helping them reach Arsenal’s 74 million followers on their official social media channels and 185 supporters’ clubs worldwide.
Vinai Venkatesham, Arsenal’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “This is an exciting new partnership with WorldRemit who under their inspirational CEO are looking to transform the way people can transfer money to family and friends around the world. We share mutual values and look forward to working together to build their global presence through our broadcast, social and digital channels which reach millions around the world. We look forward to a long and successful partnership.”
Ismail Ahmed, WorldRemit Chief Executive Officer, said: “Football is a language that everyone understands. Growing up in Somaliland, you would always see kids playing football – even during the war. It’s a passion which connects people all over the world and we are proud to sponsor a club whose values are so closely aligned to our own and those of our customers. This partnership with Arsenal creates opportunities for us to thank and reward our loyal customers and to connect with new audiences around the world. We look forward to using the power of football to support and inspire young people to fulfil their potential and to the opportunities which we can create to together.”
Arsenal (www.Arsenal.com) is one of the leading clubs in world football with a strong heritage of success, progressive thinking and financial stability.
WorldRemit (www.WorldRemit.com) is creating a better way to send money. By making it easy to send smaller sums of money more frequently, WorldRemit is bringing friends and family closer together.
Agrofood & Plastprintpack West Africa 2017 featuring a record participation of 90+ exhibitors from 21 countries
November 17, 2017 | 0 Comments
|West African food imports increased to 14.4. Billion US$ in 2015 compared to 13.1 billion US$ in 2014, a plus of 10% (WTO World Trade Organization)|
|HEIDELBERG, Germany, November 17, 2017/ — Organized by the German trade fair specialists Fairtrade (www.Fairtrade-Messe.de) the 4th edition of Agrofood (www.Agrofood-WestAfrica.com) & PlastPrintPack West Africa (www.PPP-WestAfrica.com) will take place on 05 to 07 December 2017 at the Accra International Conference Centre in Accra, Ghana. More than 90+ exhibitors from 21 countries including 5 national pavilions from Algeria, France, Netherlands, Poland and Sri Lanka, make the 2017 edition the biggest ever. The figures of rising food imports confirm that the largest food market in Africa is still undersupplied. Rising technology imports indicate massive investments in processing, plastics and packaging equipment and a revival of local production.
West Africa’s 4th International Trade Show on Agriculture, Food & Beverage and Plastics, Printing & Packaging Solutions and Technology takes place on the background of positive economic data as figures of WTO and VDMA indicate a clear upward trend for West Africa’s Agrofood & PlastPrintPack industry. Ghana, Ivory Coast and Senegal are the largest importers of finished food as well as of agricultural and food processing and packaging technology in West Africa – apart from Nigeria.
Largest food market in Africa still undersupplied
West African food imports increased to 14.4. Billion US$ in 2015 compared to 13.1 billion US$ in 2014, a plus of 10% (WTO World Trade Organization). The figures of rising food imports show that the largest food market in Africa is still undersupplied.
Rising technology imports indicate massive investments and a revival of local production
Rising technology imports confirm massive investments in processing, plastics and packaging equipment and indicate a revival of local production and an extremely promising medium-term development.
“This year 90+ exhibitors from 21 countries are represented, making the 2017 edition the biggest ever”, says Leonie Ganser, project manager at Fairtrade. “The exhibitors come from Algeria, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Iran, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom.”
In addition to many global players, 5 national pavilions participate from:
Agrofood & PlastPrintPack West Africa 2017 is supported by the Ghanaian Ministry of Food and Agriculture and of Trade and Industry, the Delegation of the German Industry and Commerce in Ghana AHK, the French Agrofood association adepta and AVEP – Associación Valenciana de Empresarios de Plásticos.
Fairtrade (www.Fairtrade-Messe.de) was founded by Martin März in 1991. Since long, Fairtrade ranks among the leading organisers of professional international trade fairs in emerging markets, especially in North and Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Managed by its shareholder and committed to the values of a family business and the team spirit, Fairtrade maintains a powerful network of partnerships throughout the world. Fairtrade organizes shows in the sectors Agrofood, Building, CIT Solutions, Energy, Environment, Industry and PlastPrintPack and strives for a high level of customer satisfaction. By means of innovative products and excellent service Fairtrade organizes professional platforms for valuable business contacts between exhibitors and visitors. A member of UFI the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, Fairtrade’s management system is ISO 9001: 2008 certified.