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Lawyers on Demand: Changing the Way Legal Work is Done in Africa by Playing the “Scale Game”
February 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

African legal clients are demanding a practice model that is swift, cost-effective and transparent

By Glenda Irvine-Smith*

Glenda Irvine-Smith
Glenda Irvine-Smith

According to the Director of Business Development & International Relations at Centurion Law Group (https://CenturionLG.com/), and Key Coordinator of the firm’s unique Centurion Plus model, Glenda Irvine-Smith the demand for “agile” local lawyers has risen significantly on the African continent. This is why Centurion has developed its Centurion Plus platform to respond to this need.

Despite numerous global and regional challenges, investment in Africa is predicted to grow in 2020; with African M&A values in 2019 valued at around $13 billion in total, there is a lot to play for on the continent.

To take advantage of this positive investment climate, investors must form close working relationships with the best legal counsel, as well as due diligence experts and local advisors on the ground in Africa, who have specialist knowledge and understanding of the particular commercial challenges within their investment locations.

Investors in Africa must also consider geo-political and economic uncertainty on the continent as well as a plethora of country and region-specific governance, compliance and regulatory challenges when investing in the region.

In order to close deals on the continent, investors need access to the right information and data. The success of a transaction depends on having real knowledge instead of relying on market perception.

Furthermore, investors can never assume one country is the same as any other in Africa. Even if they are geographical neighbours, each country is vastly different to the next. The legal systems in many countries are also changing rapidly, stemming from a desire to encourage foreign investment, but also out of a need to protect the rights and resources of a country and its people.

This is why in Africa, the demand for “agile” local lawyers has risen significantly: African legal clients are demanding a practice model that is swift, cost-effective and transparent. With a cost model that is scaled to the client’s needs and a service model that is tailored to the job. Clients are also looking for non-traditional, outside of the box thinking which can seize opportunities in a way that a one-size-fits-all traditional legal approach cannot.

Centurion Law Group has developed its Centurion Plus platform to respond to this need. The firm believes in providing flexible solutions to clients that address mounting workloads and budgetary constraints. Centurion Plus is a platform which provides on-demand-lawyers that can work with clients on site or remotely, on various flexible models such as secondments, special projects, rotational work or flexible support. Clients also get the benefit of expertise at a far more competitive rate that reflects the significantly lower overhead costs of this model.

Not only does this alternative to orthodox law firms, work for clients; it works for lawyers too. It is certainly a growing trend that instead of working at a law firm, working extremely long hours, and having a portion of your earnings going into the owners’ pockets, you can become a freelance lawyer, working on demand.

So many companies have adopted this design thinking model for the delivery of its legal services – by telling lawyers what, when and how they need their work completed.; This has led to the successful implementation of on-demand-services, dramatically reducing lawyers’ time on transactions, while improving the insight, judgement and predictability of outcomes.  Furthermore, “buyers” of legal services are increasingly driven to purchase legal services online, decoupled from traditional institutions, to access quality and convenience without the high costs.

While the concept is not new, this hasn’t been done in the unchartered waters of Africa yet. The challenge for African firms operating platforms like Centurion Plus will revolve around the mindset shift of becoming more process-driven, technology-enabled and delivering quality legal services.

* Glenda Irvine-Smith is the Director of Business Development & International Relations at Centurion Law Group. She is the Key Coordinator of Centurion Plus, where she leverages her network and database of leading African law firms and lawyers to assist large companies with their need to upscale quickly or take on new projects, making use of flexible lawyers and advisors. Glenda has had vast experience in navigating clients accessing Africa through a variety of different models.

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Accor set to expand Ethiopia footprint with management agreement for new Ibis Styles hotel
February 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

Design-Led Economy Property in Addis Ababa to grow group’s presence to five properties countrywide

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, February 13, 2020/ — Accor (Accor.com), a world-leading augmented hospitality group, is expanding its presence in Ethiopia after signing a management agreement to open a new property under its design-led economy brand, Ibis Styles.

In a move that ramps up its ambitious development plans in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Group has partnered with private conglomerate, Yuluch Elyano Trading plc, to operate the 150-key Ibis Styles Addis Ababa, its fifth upcoming property in the capital, with a scheduled opening date of 2023.

Conveniently situated in a secluded location just off the city’s main thoroughfare, Bole Road, 1km from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport and close to corporate institutions and embassies, the property will appeal to regional and international business travellers seeking stylish and affordable accommodation.

“Our partnership with Yuluch Elyano Trading provides Accor with an exciting opportunity to showcase the Ibis Styles brand in a market where demand for innovative budget hospitality concepts is being driven by the continent’s booming domestic travel sector,” said Mark Willis, CEO Middle East & Africa for Accor.

“The deal also marks another important step in our African development strategy, growing our Ethiopia pipeline to five properties strong, across a diverse range of targeted brands and strengthening our presence in a region we have earmarked for accelerated expansion.”

Mr. Goitom Girmay, Major Shareholder and CEO, Yuluch Elyano Trading plc, said: “Ethiopia is Africa’s fastest-growing economy, fuelled by significant investments in infrastructure and manufacturing, and visitor numbers to the capital are surging. This calls for high-quality accommodation operated by world-leading hospitality groups and our agreement with Accor to deliver a cutting-edge economy hotel brand in the dynamic capital aims to meet this market need.”

Ibis Styles Addis Ababa will offer 150 rooms, each featuring the brand’s signature Sweet BedTM by ibis concept, which is unrivalled in the economy sector, as well as an all-day dining venue, fitness centre and gym, meeting space options and a car park.

It is expected to become a destination for travellers and families who appreciate trendy boutique-style accommodation with creative and culturally relevant design, modern technology and home comforts. 

The hotel will join Accor’s growing pipeline of properties in Addis Ababa under brands including MGallery, Mercure, Pullman and Mövenpick.

Ibis Styles has already proven a popular concept in other fast-growing African markets including Nairobi in Kenya and Accra in Ghana, with a total of seven properties in operation in the Middle East and Africa and seven more in the pipeline.

Accor’s Africa portfolio currently comprises 159 properties (25,389 keys) with another 58 hotels (13,413 keys) in its development pipeline, growing its presence to 25 diverse brands.

About Accor:
Accor (Accor.com) is a world-leading augmented hospitality group offering unique experiences in 4,900 hotels and residences across 110 countries. The Group has been acquiring hospitality expertise for more than 50 years, resulting in an unrivalled portfolio of brands, from luxury to economy, supported by one of the most attractive loyalty programs in the world.

Beyond accommodation, Accor enables new ways to live, work, and play, by blending food and beverage with nightlife, wellbeing, and co-working. It also offers digital solutions that maximize distribution, optimize hotel operations and enhance the customer experience.

Accor is deeply committed to sustainable value creation and plays an active role in giving back to planet and community via its Planet 21 – Acting Here program and the Accor Solidarity endowment fund, which gives disadvantaged groups access to employment through professional training.

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SES’s and Gilat Telecom’s Resilient Network restores connectivity in Africa
February 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

Satellite-based connectivity services provided jointly by the long-term partners enabled internet in the Democratic Republic of Congo to be up and running within just four days from a submarine cable outage

Photo Taken In Democratic Republic Of The Congo, Matadi

LUXEMBOURG CITY, Luxembourg, February 10, 2020/ — High-performance internet connectivity was restored in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) within just four days after the West Africa Cable System (WACS) undersea cable cut, thanks to the combined efforts of Gilat Telecom (Gilat.net) and SES (SES.com), the companies announced today.

The recent cable cuts affected much of Sub-Saharan Africa, causing internet outages and slow speeds. The swift restoration to bring the service back to Gilat Telecom’s DRC customers was achieved by leveraging unparalleled high-throughput, low-latency O3b Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellite capabilities.

“High-throughput, low-latency satellite solutions and applications enabled by SES have proved their reliability and performance, drastically changing the connectivity landscape in the DRC over the past years. It has now been the fifth consecutive year that we are delivering highly reliable seamless services thanks to MEO, reaching underserved and unserved locations where fibre cannot be deployed or has been compromised. This has been revolutionary for the MNOs we serve, who are now able to deploy services that require low latency,” said Dan Zajicek, CEO of Gilat Telecom.

An O3b MEO system customer of SES since 2014, and the first in Africa, Gilat Telecom recently expanded its partnership with SES to provide more bandwidth to rural areas and extend services beyond Kinshasa and Lubumbashi, reaching unserved or underserved Kisangani, Mbuji-Mayi and Bunia, to customers such as Orange DRC. Under the new agreement, Gilat Telecom is using multiple Gbps of bandwidth on the O3b system and is now also adding services via SES’s Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites. The expanded capabilities enabled by SES’s multi-orbit fleet will allow Gilat Telecom to deploy 4G/LTE networks and support cloud computing services, even in the remotest areas of the DRC.

“With the extension of MEO and addition of the GEO-enabled capability, we can now achieve even more, serving the exponentially growing demand in more locations, by seamlessly integrating terrestrial and satellite technologies that effectively complement each other,” Zajicek said.

“Supporting Gilat Telecom’s efforts in extending high-performance connectivity throughout the DRC has been a great privilege for us, and we are proud to have been enabling this transformational endeavour with O3b’s fibre-like connectivity solutions over the past years,” said Carole Kamaitha, Vice President, Sales Africa at SES Networks. “We cannot be more excited to see our longstanding partner and early adopter of O3b MEO growing, while unlocking more and more opportunities for MNOs in the DRC, this time taking advantage of the multi-orbit network that combines the benefits of MEO low-latency with the incredible reach of GEO.”

About SES:
SES (SES.com) has a bold vision to deliver amazing experiences everywhere on earth by distributing the highest quality video content and providing seamless connectivity around the world. As the leader in global content connectivity solutions, SES operates the world’s only multi-orbit constellation of satellites with the unique combination of global coverage and high performance, including the commercially-proven, low-latency Medium Earth Orbit O3b system. By leveraging a vast and intelligent, cloud-enabled network, SES is able to deliver high-quality connectivity solutions anywhere on land, at sea or in the air, and is a trusted partner to the world’s leading telecommunications companies, mobile network operators, governments, connectivity and cloud service providers, broadcasters, video platform operators and content owners. SES’s video network carries over 8,300 channels and has an unparalleled reach of over 355 million households, delivering managed media services for both linear and non-linear content. The company is listed on Paris and Luxembourg stock exchanges (Ticker: SESG). Further information is available at: www.SES.com.

About Gilat Telecom:
Gilat Telecom (Gilat.net) offers satellite and fiber-based connectivity solutions, delivering high quality broadband communication to MNOs, telcos, ISPs, governments, enterprise customers, and organizations in Africa, Asia and South America.

With successful deployments experience globally, the company is known for providing advanced communication infrastructures, as well as for being customer centric, with superior technical support and “out of the box” solutions, that can reach the most remote locations on the planet.

As a technology-driven company, Gilat Telecom utilizes innovative technologies to keep providing its customers with the most cost-effective and advanced connectivity solutions, tailored to each specific customer needs.

Leveraging its extensive knowledge and experience, Gilat Telecom has developed the SD-WAN MAX solution, AI and machine-learning algorithms, with smart traffic management, delivering its customers maximum stability and bandwidth capacity.

*SOURCE SES

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In Cameroon, new seed varieties help cocoa crops bloom and farmers thrive
February 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

Antoine Mani Tonye sinks his thumb into the red soil to gauge how deep to plant the next seedling. The Cameroonian cocoa farmer has seen healthy yields and an improvement in his income since he began planting a locally adapted seed variety developed in a laboratory in the capital Yaounde.

“In its first year, my nursery has been the best. This should get me out of poverty,” said Tonye, who farms his own plot in the village of Azanzoa on the outskirts of Mbalmayo in central Cameroon.

“For now, I am doing better, I don’t beg, I do my best, I manage to get by on my own. Farming is going to become my passion.”

There are 600,000 cocoa farmers across Cameroon, and it is a vital sector for rural communities. But cocoa is a fragile crop with yields that tend to decrease over time, putting farmers’ livelihoods at risk. That’s why the African Development Bank has committed to provide funding to IRAD, the Institute of Agriculture Research for Development, where research is focused on creating adapted seed varieties.

The second-generation seed varieties developed by IRAD allow for an average yield of 2 tons per hectare, compared to the first generation developed in the 1970s and 1980s that produced around 1 ton per hectare.

“There has been great progress. In less than two decades, we have been able to double the yield potential of the varieties that farmers now use,” said Bruno Efombagen, an IRAD researcher in Yaounde.

Demand for the higher-yielding seeds has outstripped supply. To solve this problem, the African Development Bank has supported IRAD in its efforts to make the seeds accessible to a greater number of farmers. Across the country, IRAD is setting up more and more seed production fields.

A new seed variety called “Brazilian cacao” is now widely in use, providing far better yields to Cameroonian farmers.

“Before, our parents used to grow a variety called “tout-venant”, but today, thanks to advances in research, we have access to improved seeds,” said Samba MViena, Chairman of AKOM-COOP-CA, a cooperative of farmers.  “You get the first yields 18 months after planting them, with flowers and a few pods on some stems. After two or two-and-a-half years, or more precisely three years, you can already get a perfect crop.”

The higher-quality cocoa seed varieties have helped to stem the migration of young people from rural villages to seek work in the city. MViena’s cooperative has strong youth representation, with 62 young people in the group.

“Their decision to engage in the cacao sector stems from the availability of improved seeds, because these seeds allow for quick and bountiful harvests,” he said.

Brazilian cacao not only provides far better yields to Cameroonian farmers, it benefits everyone in the production chain. Trader Yannick Fosso buys cocoa from across the region and sells it in Cameroon’s economic capital, Douala.

“The season runs from August to January. I make all my year’s earnings during those six months,” he explained. “When you look at the plants, you can see that Brazilian cacao is a better variety than the ones that our parents used to grow. Its colour is much brighter; the pods never get black, they are entirely red. So when you brew it, it comes out with a very good colour and taste.”

Cocoa is Cameroon’s second export crop. The majority of the Central African nation’s annual output of about 220,000 tons is shipped overseas from Douala’s Atlantic port.

For Fosso, part of the pride he takes in his work is in Cameroon’s improving reputation as a cocoa exporter. “Cacao is a central part of the lives of the people here,” he said. “It’s rewarding to buy something that is eaten across the world.”

*Source AFDB

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On the Kenya-Tanzania border, the African Development Bank eases trade with One Stop Border Post
February 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

On the border between Tanzania and Kenya sits Namanga, a town of 16,000 residents where cross-border trade has thrived thanks to investment in a One Stop Border Post (OSBP).

In 2007, the African Development Bank provided financing of $108 million to Kenya and $77 million to Tanzania with the objective of easing the flow of people and goods across the East African frontier through road improvements and the construction of a OSBP.

The facility, located between Tanzania’s Longido District and Kenya’s Kajiado County, has contributed to improving trade and tourism on both sides of the border and is aligned to one of  the Bank’s “High 5” strategic priorities: Integrating Africa.

Naftali Elhudi Mzota, a bus driver who works for Impala Shuttles in Kenya, has been using the border crossing for 23 years.

“Previously, with the two borders, you had to go through customs and immigration in Tanzania, and then back to Kenya. It could take up to two hours,” he explained.

Now people from Tanzania and Kenya are able to move back and forth across the border much more quickly – a boost to the town of Namanga which derives much of its income from tourism.

Many tourists pass through this border crossing to visit the nearby Amboseli National Park. In the past, access was difficult, but with the financial support from the African Development Bank, up to 242 km of roads around the border town have now been upgraded.

“Before, the road was full of potholes,” Mzota recalled. “You couldn’t make the round trip to Nairobi and back in one day. Having a new road has changed everything.”

Edward Wilson Lyimo has owned a hotel for more than 20 years in Namanga, on the Tanzanian side of the border: “Thanks to this new border, road traffic has increased, businesses have become profitable. This border crossing has been very beneficial to us, we can now trade in both countries,” he said.

The OSBP project aimed to speed up movement across the border and facilitate trade, said Kenneth Bagamuhunda, Director General of Customs and Trade of the East African Community.

“It was a challenge, he acknowledged. “Now it takes about 30 minutes to cross the border. We have a very good relationship with the African Development Bank. They have supported us in the renovation of the infrastructure. Today, we have 10 single-stop border crossings. We are going to duplicate this initiative on other borders, such as the border with Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.”

Sarah Keiya, who has been selling souvenirs to tourists for 10 years in Namanga, has benefited from the new border arrangements.

“Before, we didn’t make good money,” she said. “We were afraid to move around, we were afraid to approach tourists. Now we see them as friends. They are our family and they buy products from us. Since the border post was built, we are respected. We manage to finance our children’s education.”

The single-stop crossing at Namanga has been used to develop infrastructure around the border and improve conditions for the movement of people and goods – a model that will be replicated elsewhere. “This was one of our key objectives,” said Kenneth Ogoga, Kenya’s immigration officer.

*Source AFDB

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African Development Bank Rebuts World Bank President’s comments on Africa’s debt profile
February 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

For the record, the African Development Bank maintains a very high global standard of transparency says AFDB President Akinwumi  Adesina
For the record, the African Development Bank maintains a very high global standard of transparency says AFDB President Akinwumi Adesina

In several news reports, World Bank President David Malpass was recently quoted as saying some Multilateral Development Banks, including the African Development Bank, have a tendency to lend too quickly and in the process, add to the continent’s debt problems.

This statement is inaccurate and not fact based. It impugns the integrity of the African Development Bank, undermines our governance systems, and incorrectly insinuates that we operate under different standards from the World Bank. The very notion goes against the spirit of multilateralism and our collaborative work.

For the record, the African Development Bank maintains a very high global standard of transparency. In the 2018 Publish What You Fund report, our institution was ranked the 4th most transparent institution, globally.

The African Development Bank provides a strong governance program for our regional member countries that focuses on public financial management, better and transparent natural resources management, sustainable and transparent debt management and domestic resource mobilization. We have spearheaded the issuance of local currency financing to several countries to mitigate the impacts of foreign exchange risks, while supporting countries to improve tax collection and tax administration, and leveraging pension funds and sovereign wealth funds to direct more monies into financing development programs, especially infrastructure.

The African Development Bank’s Africa Legal Support Facility (ALSF) supports countries to negotiate terms of their royalties and taxes to international companies, and terms of their non-concessional loans to some bilateral financiers. We have been highly successful in doing so.

These are the facts:

The World Bank, with a more substantial balance sheet, has significantly larger operations in Africa than the African Development Bank. The World Bank’s operations approved for Africa in the 2018 fiscal year amounted to US $20.2 billion, compared to US $10.1 billion by the African Development Bank.

With regard to Nigeria and South Africa, the World Bank’s outstanding loans for the 2018 fiscal year to both countries stood at US $8.3 billion and US $2.4 billion, respectively. In contrast, the outstanding amounts for the African Development Bank Group to Nigeria and South Africa were US $2.1 billion and US $2.0 billion, respectively, for the same fiscal year.

With reference to the countries described as “heavily indebted,” our Bank recognizes and closely monitors the upward debt trend. However, there is no systemic risk of debt distress.

According to the 2020 African Economic Outlook, at the end of June 2019, total public debt in Nigeria amounted to $83.9 billion, 14.6% higher than the year before. That debt represented 20.1% of GDP, up from 17.5% in 2018. Of the total public debt, domestic public debt amounted to $56.7 billion while external public debt was $27.2 billion (representing 32.4% of total public debt). South Africa’s national government debt was estimated at 55.6% of GDP in 2019, up from 52.7% in 2018. South Africa raises most of its funding domestically, with external public debt accounting for only 6.3% of the country’s GDP.

Development Banks continue to play critical roles in development efforts and in the aspirations of developing countries, most especially in Africa.

Given substantial financing needs on the African continent, the development assistance of the African Development Bank, the World Bank and other development partners remain vitally important, with increasing calls for such institutions to do even more.

The lending, policy, and advisory services of these development institutions in their respective regions are often coordinated and provide substantially better value-for-money to developing nations, compared to other sources of financing. As a result of the African Development Bank’s AAA-rated status, we source funding on highly competitive terms and pass on favorable terms to our regional member countries. Combined with other measures to ensure funds are used for intended purposes, it helps regional member countries finance debt and development in the most responsible and sustainable way.

With regard to the need for better lending coordination and the maintenance of high standards of transparency, the African Development Bank coordinates lending activities, especially its public sector policy-based loans, closely with sister International Financial Institutions (notably the World Bank and the IMF). This includes reliance on the IMF and World Bank’s Debt Sustainability Analyses (DSA) to determine the composition of our financial assistance to low-income countries; and joint institutional approaches for addressing debt vulnerabilities in the African Development Fund (ADF) and International Development Association (IDA) countries.

In addition, country economists of the African Development Bank fully participate in regional and country level IMF Article 4 missions. Contrary to suggestions, these are just a few concrete examples of historic and ongoing coordination between sister Multilateral Development Banks, IFIs, and development partners. The African Development Bank is committed to the development of the African continent. It has a vested interest in closely monitoring debt drivers and trends in African countries as it supports them in their efforts to improve the lives of the people of Africa.

We are of the view that the World Bank could have explored other available platforms to discuss debt concerns among Multilateral Development Banks. The general statement by the President of the World Bank Group insinuating that the African Development Bank contributes to Africa’s debt problem and that it has lower standards of lending is simply put: misleading and inaccurate.


Citations and Sources

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Government of Democratic Republic of the Congo and General Electric Sign Infrastructure Agreement
February 13, 2020 | 0 Comments
George Njenga, CEO for GE Renewable Energy (Grid & Hydro) SSA with DRC’s Minister of Hydraulic Resources and Electricity, Hon. Eustache Muhanzi Mubembe and the Minister of Health, Hon. Dr Eteni Longondo during the signing ceremony
George Njenga, CEO for GE Renewable Energy (Grid & Hydro) SSA with DRC’s Minister of Hydraulic Resources and Electricity, Hon. Eustache Muhanzi Mubembe and the Minister of Health, Hon. Dr Eteni Longondo during the signing ceremony
The 3-year MoU seeks to accelerate the economic and social development of the country

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, February 13, 2020/ — The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and General Electric (NYSE: GE) (www.GE.com) have announced signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in infrastructure projects enabling the increase in the supply of electric energy and health modernization programs. The 3-year MoU seeks to accelerate the economic and social development of the country.

Under the MoU, GE will work with the government to explore power solutions that will increase electricity to the country’s grid to benefit thousands of households. GE will also work with the ministry of health for the modernization of the country’s health system at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels as well as the infrastructures and equipment for maternal and child health, cardiology, and oncology. The partnership will also focus on training and capacity building of local talent for the sustainability of the initiatives.

Speaking about the signing, GE Africa President and CEO Mr. Farid Fezoua said, “Partnership with governments and local companies form a very important part of GE’s growth in Africa, and  we are honoured today to collaborate with the government of the DRC as a key strategic partner for the country’s long-term development agenda. This gives us the opportunity to deliver innovative solutions to meet the unmet demand for the millions of citizens without electricity and those without access to quality healthcare.”

GE is currently involved in the rehabilitation of Inga IIB power plant and of Nseke Power Plant in the DRC and has successfully implemented renovation projects with the 1st interventional Cardiology and CT Scanner with 128 systems installed at the HJ Hospital and new imaging center of Camp Kokolo. In the past, GE Healthcare also led the installation of the Scanner 16 slices at Panzi Hospital, giving thousands of citizens access to the latest diagnostic solutions. 

GE first started operating in Sub-Saharan Africa over 120 years ago and in 2011 renewed its focus to meet Africa’s current and future needs. The company has signed MOUs with the Governments of several countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Angola, Ghana and now the DRC to develop infrastructure projects, including sustainable energy solutions as well as improving access to quality healthcare. These MOUs involve significant investments in creating jobs and human capital development.

GE (www.GE.com) drives the world forward by tackling its biggest challenges: Energy, health, transportation—the essentials of modern life. By combining world class engineering with software and analytics, GE helps the world work more efficiently, reliably, and safely. For more than 125 years, GE has invented the future of industry, and today it leads new paradigms in additive manufacturing, materials science, and data analytics. GE people are global, diverse and dedicated, operating with the highest integrity and passion to fulfill GE’s mission and deliver for our customers.

*SOURCE GE
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Senegal Makes Energy a Priority in 2020, Launches Official National Event
February 13, 2020 | 0 Comments
Africa Oil & Power is organizing the nation’s official energy event, Senegal Oil & Power 2020, with the support of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy

DAKAR, Senegal, February 13, 2020/ — Senegal will launch key projects and encourage new momentum in 2020, representing the vision of H.E. President Macky Sall and the government to make energy a foundation for growth; Africa Oil & Power (www.AfricaOilandPower.com) is organizing the nation’s official energy event, Senegal Oil & Power 2020, with the support of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy; The government and organizer invite global investors to Dakar on May 27-28 to meet with key players and explore new projects.

Senegal is offering oil and gas blocks to global explorers in its 2020 licensing round, open its first utility-scale wind farm and make progress on key oil and gas projects in 2020. The government and organizer Africa Oil & Power invite local, regional and international investors to the first annual Senegal Oil & Power event, to take place on 27-28 May 2020 at the Abdou Diouf International Conference Center (CICAD) in Dakar.

Supported by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, Senegal Oil & Power 2020 unites the energy sector at Senegal’s official oil, gas and power event. The conference is accompanied by the second edition of an investor guide titled Africa Energy Series: Senegal 2020 to be released later in the year.

“Senegal Oil & Power and the Africa Energy Series report are the national platform to promote Senegal’s voice in the international energy sector. These initiatives show how important energy is in the nation’s economic emergence,” said James Chester, Acting CEO of organizer Africa Oil & Power. “Senegal is no longer an exploration hotspot, it is at the center of a proven and prolific oil and gas province. There are few places in Africa that offer such a stable and secure investment environment, with long term government vision and support for a wide range of energy activities.”

Senegal Oil & Power is the sole event in Senegal with full government support that opens up national and regional opportunities across the entire value chain – not just in oil and gas. The 2020 program presents leaders and projects representing the full spectrum of energy activities, from oil and gas exploration to local goods and service provision, infrastructure, finance and power production and distribution.

The theme of the conference is “A New Wave of Investment”, reflecting the investment-led vision of H.E. President Macky Sall and Senegal’s agenda to develop the economy on a foundation of a diversified energy sector. Eight oil and gas discoveries have been made since 2014 and in 2022, first oil will be produced from the Sangomar oilfield and first gas from BP’s Greater Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) LNG project. 2020 is due to be a big year in Senegal’s energy sector: The government will present oil and gas licenses in a global roadshow as part of the 2020 licensing round; Lekela Power’s PETN wind farm will provide 2 million people with power from next year; key progress will be made on the GTA project with McDermott completing fabrication of the subsea production system; and Halliburton will begin drilling and completion services at the close of 2020 for production at Sangomar, which received FID in January.

Senegal Oil & Power 2020 brings the spotlight to the next wave of investment decisions and projects in 2020 and beyond, including gas to power initiatives, and also looking at Senegal’s neighbors Mauritania, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea.
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Ghana:President Akufo-Addo Named “Champion Of The African Union Financial Institutions
February 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

The 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Governments of the African Union has appointed President Akufo-Addo as “Champion of the African Union Financial Institutions.”

The decision of the Assembly was made on Monday, 10th February, 2020, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by the Chairperson of the AU, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa.

The creation of African Union Financial Institutions is one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063, aiming at accelerating integration and socio-economic development of the continent.

The agreed timeframes in the first 10-Year Plan of Agenda 2063 were for the African Investment Bank and Pan African Stock Exchange to be established by 2016; the African Monetary Fund by 2018; and the African Central Bank and Single African Currency by 2034. 

Whilst thanking the Assembly for the honour of the appointment, President Akufo-Addo stated that the “establishment of the AU Financial Institutions has always been at the centre of our agenda for continental integration, and that is why, over the years, we have adopted a treaty and several legal instruments to that effect.”

Currently, only twenty-two (22) Member States have signed the African Investment Bank (AIB) charter, with only 6 ratifications obtained, whilst twelve (12) countries have signed the African Monetary Fund charter, with only one (1) ratification.

At least, nine (9) more countries are needed to ratify the AIB charter for it to enter into force, and, in the case of the African Monetary Fund, fourteen (14) ratifications.

“The task to ensure these are done will be one of my immediate priorities. I will see to it that Ghana ratifies these charters promptly upon my return to Accra,” the President said.

He continued, “the establishment of the African Union Financial Institutions is critical for not only enhancing resource mobilization on the continent, but also for providing the necessary impetus for growth and jobs creation. Their establishment are crucial for the effective implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and for achieving Agenda 2063: ‘The Africa We Want’. Financing our own development agenda remains our primary goal, and will require bold commitments from us.”

Amongst others, President Akufo-Addo pledged to ensure the prompt ratification of the various charters establishing the Financial Institutions; help take, under the direction of the Assembly, all necessary steps to facilitate the creation of the continental financial architecture essential for the realisation of AU Agenda 2063 and the integration process of the continent; and work with the host countries, i.e. the Republic of Cameroon for the African Monetary Fund, the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the African Central Bank, and Libya for the African Investment Bank towards their establishments.

Background

The Article 19 of the Constitutive Act of the African Union provides for the creation of three institutions namely the African Central Bank, the African Monetary Fund and the African Investment Bank. Furthermore, in January 2006, in Khartoum, Sudan, the Commission was requested by the Assembly of the African Union (Assembly/AU/Dec.109), to conduct a feasibility study on the creation of a Pan-African Stock Exchange (PASE). The three financial institutions and the PASE, constitute the African Union Financial Institutions (AUFIs).

In January 2005, the Assembly decided, in Abuja, Nigeria, decision No. Assembly/AU/Dec.64 (IV), that the African Central Bank should be located in West Africa, the African Investment Bank in North Africa, and the African Monetary Fund in Central Africa. Following this decision, the Northern Region decided that the African Investment Bank should be located in Libya, the Central Region designated Cameroon as the host country of the African Monetary Fund, while the Western Region designated the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the host country for the African Central Bank.

Source: Presidency of Ghana 

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Court grant Nigerian Journalist bail after 174 days
February 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Olayinka Ajayi

Publisher of Cross River Watch Agba Jalingo
Publisher of Cross River Watch Agba Jalingo,

A Nigeria federal high court in Calabar, Cross River state, has granted the publisher of CrossRiverWatch Agba Jalingo, bail in the sum of N10million after 174 days.

The journalist who spent 174 days in detention before he was granted bail was first arraigned on August 22, 2019 after he published a story on how Ben Ayade, governor of Cross River, allegedly approved and diverted N500 million meant for the state’s microfinance bank.

Jalingo was charged with conspiracy, terrorism, treasonable felony and an attempt to topple the state government.

On Thursday, Sule Shuaibu, the judge, granted the journalist N10 million bail, following an application from Attah Ochinke, his lawyer.

The court ruled that those standing as surety for the journalist would make a refundable deposit of N700,000 to the court registry to perfect the bail.

Jalingo was earlier denied bail on two occasions by Simon Amobeda, another judge, who was caught in a leak audio saying the journalist’s life was in his hands.

After the recording was made public, Jalingo asked the chief judge of the federal high court to reassign his case.

Amobeda later recused himself from the matter following allegations of a lack of fair trial by the journalist.

Ayade denied involvement in the trial of Jalingo, but said the federal government was behind the journalist’s case over his involvement in the #RevolutionNow protest by Omoyele Sowore.

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Kenyan government orders deportation of Chinese citizens involved in assault case
February 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i signed the deportation order for the four.

Last week a video footage went viral on Social Media filming a Chinese national whipping a Kenyan worker for reporting to work late at Chez Wou Restaurant in Kileleshwa, Nairobi.

The video sparked uproar among Kenyans forcing the office of Director of Public Prosecution to order for their arrest. On Monday, February 10, Deng Hailan, Chang Yueping, Ou Qiang and Yu Ling were arraigned before a Nairobi court following their arrest the previous day.

Deng Hailan, the man caught in the camera was charged with assault whereas Chang Yueping, Ou Qiang and Yu Lung are accused of working in the country without work permit.  Chang Yueping and Ou Qiang visas had expired but Yu Lung has only visitor’s visa.

The suspects were detained for three days pending bail ruling. The prosecution had asked the court to detain the Asian country nationals for 21 days owing to the ongoing investigations but the defense dismissed the application claiming their charges do not warranty a long investigation period.

Issuing her ruling on Thursday, Nairobi Principal Magistrate Helen Kowari detained the suspects for 15 days with the case expected to be mentioned on March 4, 2020.

“Police have sought 21 days to complete investigations. The court has considered the fact that the accused persons are a flight risk and will abscond court,” said the Principal Magistrate.

Few hours after the ruling, Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i signed the deportation order for the four.

The story took a new twist two days ago after other workers at the lavish hotel revealed that the prank was taken out of the context. They said the victim had asked to be whipped by the Chinese in order to be given money to buy khat.

“He wanted money to go buy khat, the Chinese chef told him to go and ask for money from the counter so that its deducted from his end month salary, he did not want to do that, he instead told him to beat him and then give him the money,” said the supervisor at the hotel.

However, the victims rubbished his colleagues’ claims arguing that they also go through the same ordeal but are afraid of speaking out for fear of losing their jobs.

On September 6, 2018, Dr. Matiang’i also ordered for a Chinese motorcycle dealer Liu Jiaqi’s deportation for hurling racial slurs at Kenyans and the President. Jiaqi was caught in a camera calling President Uhuru Kenyatta and Kenyans monkeys

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Belligerents in Cameroon and all other countries of the world should treat children as children-Barrister Felix Agbor NKONGHO on the plight of child soldiers*
February 13, 2020 | 0 Comments
It is the responsibility of the Cameroon government to urgently seek a peaceful resolution to the Anglophone Crisis so that children may become children again, says Barrister Felix Agbor NKONGHO
It is the responsibility of the Cameroon government to urgently seek a peaceful resolution to the Anglophone Crisis so that children may become children again, says Barrister Felix Agbor NKONGHO

Imagine that one day, soldiers appear in your village. They are hunting members of a local separatist militia. When villagers cannot say where the militia may be hiding, the angry soldiers begin burning down the village market and several homes, including yours. As you and your family run into the bush at the edge of the village to hide, you hear gunfire. Turning, you see your mother collapsed on the ground, shot dead by soldiers of her own country. You are 12 years old, your father died of poor health the year before, and you watch your junior sister crying over your mother’s corpse.

You live in Cameroon, a French-English bilingual country in Central Africa. You and your sister and 800,000 other kids have not attended school for the past three years due to the conflict between separatist militias and the government soldiers. The militias, who want a separate English-speaking country, forbid children to attend school. The government has not restored order, choosing increased force rather than negotiations. The Major National Dialogue held by the government in fall 2019, due to its restricted agenda and a boycott by separatist leaders, failed to produce a sufficient solution.

Today, there is a full-blown humanitarian crisis in the two Anglophone regions. The eight Francophone regions of Cameroon are also suffering, as hundreds of thousands of internally displaced Anglophones have fled there, and over fifty thousand have become refugees next door in Nigeria and beyond. More than three thousand are dead, including one thousand soldiers, and one million are hungry—many barely surviving in makeshift shelters.

You and your sister are alone in the bush. What choices do you have? How will you express your grief, abandonment, fury, and hatred toward your government and the world? Will you choose, or be coerced, to take up arms?

No one knows how many child soldiers there are in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions or other trouble spots in the country, such as the Far North, where Boko Haram terrorizes inhabitants. Videos from the Anglophone regions show children learning to use guns, children talking about killing, children standing with a self-proclaimed leader of an armed separatist group. Stories from hospitals describe lost, orphaned children who wander for days, looking for a home. The trauma is immense, and it is possible that the pain or need for survival drives some children to join a militia that is fighting against the government.

With no school lessons to keep children busy, and the loss of mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers, some have chosen guns in place of books and family, while others have become pregnant. Militias have burned schools, kidnapped students, harmed teachers and headmasters, and worse.

Although the Cameroonian government has signed the UN Safe Schools Declaration, its military has not kept schools safe, and even burned down a school in Eka, verified by University of California-Berkeley’s Human Rights Centre (https://dataverse.scholarsportal.info/dataset.xhtml?persistentId=doi:10.5683/SP2/QF5HP7).

The uneducated generation of Anglophone youth taking shape may cause child soldiers and others to become permanent fighters or criminals bereft of other economic survival skills.

Use of child soldiers constitutes a war crime under International Humanitarian Law. Currently this law pertains to those under 15 years, but a universal change to under 18 is underway. Use of child soldiers encompasses more than fighting—it includes using children as spies, shields, porters, and so on. Last month, the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa published a pamphlet to educate both military and separatist fighters about humanitarian law, which includes a scenario about child soldiers (https://www.chrda.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/EDUCATION-Three.pdf).

In the age of ‘never again,’ the world must stand together to protect children, because using them as weapons of war is not normal and, in fact, is unconscionable. Indeed, the term ‘child soldier’ is an embarrassment for the world of today. A true and proud soldier, whether in Cameroon or elsewhere, will always protect and never intentionally harm civilians, and will always protect and never intentionally recruit or harm children.

Thus:

It is the responsibility of the Cameroon government to urgently seek a peaceful resolution to the Anglophone Crisis so that children may become children again.

It is the responsibility of non-state armed separatist militias to neither accept nor coerce fighters under the age of 18, to lift the ban on schools, and enter negotiations for peace.

The United Nations (UN) and the African Union Commission (AU), among other world bodies, should be actively assisting Cameroon in the Anglophone regions to “silence the guns,” which is the AU’s theme for 2020. Guns and other weapons have no place in the hands of children.

On this International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers, we call on the belligerents in Cameroon and all other countries of the world to treat children as children.

*Barrister Felix Agbor Nkongho is President of the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, based in Cameroon.

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