African Development Bank partners with Senegal to host 2021 World Water Forum
October 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
|The forum will take place in the Senegalese capital 22 – 27 March 2021, on the theme of ‘Water Security for Peace and Development’|
|ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, October 11, 2019/ — A Senegalese government delegation, led by the country’s Minister of Water and Sanitation, His Excellency Serigne Mbaye Thiam, briefed the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) on Senegal’s preparations to host the World Water Forum (https://bit.ly/35mwCLg) in Dakar in March 2021.|
Minister Thiam met with the Bank’s Vice President for Agriculture, Human, and Social Development, Jennifer Blanke, and her senior management team on 8 October to discuss the Bank’s participation in the event’s organization and delivery.
“The forum is a great opportunity for the Bank to showcase and advance its water and sanitation agenda, and we commend the government of Senegal for the preparatory work they have done so far,” said Vice President Blanke.
The forum will take place in the Senegalese capital 22 – 27 March 2021, on the theme of ‘Water Security for Peace and Development’.
Minister Thiam thanked the Bank for its contributions, including its sponsorship of women and youth delegates to the forum preparation meeting in June 2019. “Our government is counting on the African Development Bank to help mobilize the enormous resources that will be needed to make this first sub-Saharan-hosted World Water Forum a great success,” he said.
At a separate briefing for the Bank’s water development and sanitation department as well as other Bank staff, the executive secretary of the forum’s organizing committee Abdoulaye Sene offered a detailed presentation of event preparations and took questions about the forum known as the “world’s largest event on water.”
“The Bank, as a leader in supporting water sector development in Africa, will play an important role in supporting delivery of the forum,” said Wambui Gichuri, director of the Bank’s water development and sanitation department.
Sene told the Bank officials that Dakar is expecting more than 20,000 participants from more than 170 countries. “Awarding the hosting of this forum to Senegal is a testament to the urgency of the water issue for Africa and to the country’s commitment to the water agenda,” he said.
The executive secretary said the forum will be “a focused, inclusive, integrated, open-ended multi-stakeholder process, interacting and synergizing with international events,” Sene also said that the ‘Dakar 2021’ forum would address the present and future global issues for man and nature, serving as a catalyst and accelerator of universal access to water and sanitation, as well as for the Sustainable Development Goals for Senegal, Africa and the world.
The theme of the forum aligns with the Bank’s ten-year strategy for 2013-2022 (https://bit.ly/2fDF5V6), which confirms the importance of water security for Africa’s quality social and economic development. The strategy states that investments in integrated water development and management are central to sustainable water, food and energy security for green and inclusive growth.
It Is Time to Create Aggressive Market-Driven Policies That Spur Economic Growth
October 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
|The African Energy Chamber insisted on the need for fair regulations that are supportive of local industries whole encouraging international investments|
|CAPE TOWN, South Africa, October 10, 2019/ — The African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org/) advocated for better regulatory frameworks, local content development, women empowerment and cross-border cooperation at the grand opening of Africa Oil & Power in Cape Town this week.|
Attended by hundreds of senior government officials and energy executives from across Africa and the world, the Africa Oil & Power Conference & Exhibition is seeking solutions to make energy work better for Africans and investors. It was opened by leading industry figures such as H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea, H.E. Mouhamadou Makhtar Cissé, Minister of Petroleum and Energies of Senegal, and Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and CEO of the Centurion Law Group.
Delivering the opening remarks, African Energy Chamber Executive Chairman Nj Ayuk addressed key issues facing the industry’s future, reminding the continent that it needs and must do better to provide energy and jobs to all Africans. “We are here at AOP not only to highlight success stories but also to have an honest conversation with each other on what needs to be done for our industry, and follow a roadmap to successful implementation on core issues such as regulations and local content policies, the empowerment of women, infrastructure development, cross-border cooperation and fiscal frameworks,” declared Nj Ayuk.
On the issue of regulations and the creation of a better enabling environment for investors and businesses, the African Energy Chamber insisted on the need for fair regulations that are supportive of local industries whole encouraging international investments. “Look to Ghana,” said Nj Ayuk. “The country has built an oil and gas regulatory framework from scratch and built a reputation for transparency and regulatory certainty. Its projects are getting off the drawing board and Ghana is already a serious African producer. Regulations have to be progressive, so what matters is to implement regulations that set the ground for the development of a sustainable, local content-oriented and jobs-creating industry.”
“On local content, look to Nigeria,” he added. “It has used its oil and gas as a jumping off point for overall economic development and building up domestic capacities from the ground up while providing the right opportunities for the establishment and growth of strong local companies across the value chain.”
At the core of the African Energy Chamber’s message was also a call to women empowerment across Africa’s energy industry. From creating strong educational and training programmes to implementing progressive policies in the workplace, the Chamber has advocated for better policies that provide women equal opportunities in the workplace and across the industry. “On woman empowerment, look to South Africa, which boasts some of the strongest leaders in Africa’s oil and gas sector,” declared Nj Ayuk. “Diversity will change our industry for the best and needs to be a priority.”
The African Energy Chamber closed its opening remarks on the issues of infrastructure development and cross-border cooperation. In many cases, a lack of infrastructure is severely holding back economic and social development, including a lack of roads, pipelines, ports and airports is stopping exploration and production in its tracks; and delaying the progress of otherwise economically viable progress. Meanwhile, cross-border cooperation is the key to unlocking the potential of the continent. “On cross-border cooperation, look to Senegal and Mauritania,” said Nj Ayuk. “They both have already shown Africa that putting its differences aside and working towards co-developing projects is beneficial for African economies and their people. The GTA project is a landmark project in that regard, and one that will profoundly impact the socio-economic development in both countries. The major step to encourage future such collaboration and projects is to simply keep the dialogue open and engage more.”
*Africa Energy Chamber
Empowering Africa to Make Energy Work
October 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
|Under the second day’s theme of “Energy in Powering Growth”, panel discussions and talk sessions unpacked the challenges and opportunities in Africa’s power sector|
|CAPE TOWN, South Africa, October 10, 2019/ — Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy of South Africa, Gwede Mantashe, launched the Africa Energy Series: South Africa 2019 report at the Africa Oil & Power (https://AfricaOilandPower.com/) conference; Under the second day’s theme of “Energy in Powering Growth”, panel discussions and talk sessions unpacked the challenges and opportunities in Africa’s power sector; Program highlights included topics such as the energy transition, Africa’s renewable energy sector, financing the power sector and energy security.|
Following the successful conclusion of the first day of the three-day African Oil &Power conference and exhibition, the second day commenced today with a focus on the future of Africa’s power sector.
The day began with a keynote address from Kholly Zono, Acting CEO of CEF Group, who introduced Hon. Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy of South Africa.
In his introduction, Zono outlined CEF Group’ energy s strategies and shared that the CEF group is, in line with the conference theme, motivated by the goal of making energy work and, is driven by the agenda of addressing inequality, unemployment, and poverty.
He said, at the core of its strategy, the group is built on the fundamental principles of empowering people and innovation.
“The theme of the conference #MakeEnergyWork resonates very well with the CEF Group of companies, taking into account the global challenges in terms of energy requirements,” Zono said. “Making energy work is challenging us to move beyond strategies and focus on innovative approaches.”
In his keynote address, Minister Mantashe spoke about the role the energy sector plays in driving economic growth.
“South Africa recognises the energy and mineral resources sectors as catalysts to economic growth. We have witnessed how an adverse impact of high costs and unreliable supply of energy have on the productive sectors of the economy,” Mantashe stated. He further added that the government is also promoting the Integrated Resource Plan and the Amendment to the Gas Act of 2001 to encourage investment in the energy sector and to increase energy security in the continent.
Minister Mantashe also launched the Africa Energy Series: South Africa 2019 report compiled by Africa Oil & Power and dedicated it to the late Deputy Minister, Bavelile Hlongwe.
In a renewable energy panel discussion moderated by Esther Lediga, Managing Director of Intra-Afrika Advisory, CEOs of companies operating in the sector from across the continent agreed that the clean, reliable and sustainable energy has a big role to play in lighting up Africa.
“Renewables have moved at a very fast pace. Many governments are still getting their heads around how to implement it in the best possible way. The benefits of renewable is multi-fold,” said David Masureik, CEO of New Southern Energy.
On building a sustainable renewable energy future, Maduna Ngobeni, Head of Regional Programmes at IPPO, said: “We shouldn’t compete with each other. We need to strive for a common goal – we need to understand where we want to be and how we get there. How exactly do we make the environment conducive? What kind of project do you want? The private sector needs clear framework that will show: ‘for the next five to ten years, this is how we will roll it out’.”
In tune with this, the CSIR’s Energy Centre Head, Dr Clinton Carter-Brown, in an AOP talk session addressed South Africa’s energy transition to decarbonisation based on mostly renewable energy and highlighted that the transition presents more opportunities than challenges for the country.
“South Africa is well-positioned to be among regional and global leaders transitioning the energy system. Therefore strategic investment in research and development initiatives that speak to technology innovation and industrialization are paramount.”
In a utility of the future panel discussion joined by Sustain Power, Matleng Energy Solutions, USAID/Power Africa and more, the panel agreed on a customer-focused and sustainable strategies as the way forward. Rather than seeing the difficulties facing Africa as obstacles, the panel believes that these challenges hold the potential for Africa to get ahead of trend.
“Everyone wants to get off the grid. It’s a chance to leapfrog. If there’s an opportunity to leapfrog into new technology in Africa … [we] can become a leader in this worldwide.”
In the latter part of the day, the conference saw a panel discussions on financing the power sector. Participants on the panel included DMWA Resources, Afreximbank and others.
Noble Energy delivered a presentation on the Alen Gas Monetization, followed by Sasol and South Africa’s Independent Power Producer’s Office (IPPO) which highlighted how South Africa’s transition into renewable energy needs to factor in the human reliance on the coal industry.
“Our transformation is also very much a process that needs to consider the impact on the economy and the impact on the people who are deployed in the sectors that are affected,” said Sandra Coetzee, Acting Head of the IPPO.
The Africa Oil & Power conference and exhibition will conclude on October 11. The program for the final day will be centred on the theme Driving Investment and African Trade.
*Africa Oil and Gas
Gambia Earns Vital Away Draw At Afcon Preliminary Opener
October 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Bakary Ceesay
Gambia Scorpions have heralded their intent to becoming part of the Afcon 2021 Qualifiers proper when they held Djibouti to a one all draw away in Djibouti City on Wednesday 9th October in the first and opening leg of the Continental preliminary Qualifiers.
Despite Djibouti gaining much of the possession and having secured home advantage, the Scorpions held to their nerves and pushed to break a Djibouti jinx to equal the scoring one all when they resumed from their locker rooms.
But it was the hosts that took the lead through an own goal when Gambian defenders wanted to divulge a threat that was ensuing towards Goal keeper Modou Jobe.
Just when many think it was a game for the hosts, Coach Tom Saintfiet took to his heels and commanded the Scorpions’ authority through captain Pa Modou Jagne for his charges to stick and advance to their game approach.
This eventually paid off for the visitors when an ensuing cross came from the left side of the area for defender Bubacarr Sanneh to poke into the roof of the net to the delight of the home fans following the match via Social media.
The game ended one all and it is envisaged that the Gambia will do the final business at home on Sunday 13th October when the two sides return for the final leg.
Gambia: YJAG Mourns The Death of Journalist Sise Sawaneh
October 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Bakary Ceesay
Young Journalists Association of The Gambia (YJAG) hasto learn about the demise of one of the brightest young journalists of the country, Sise Sawaneh in car accident occurred on 9th October, 2019 in Kiang, Lower River Region of The Gambia claiming two other lives.
In a press released signed by YJAG’s secretary general Bakary Ceesay lamented that Sise’s loss is indeed depressing for her colleagues in the media especially young practitioners.
“She was a hardworking reporter who found her job very passionating and committed to it throughout. She was also a popular volunteer in youth work, defended women’s right and advocated social justice”
She left an indelible record in her relatively short span career having worked at several media outlets in the country, both the print and broadcast with her current employer being the state broadcaster, Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS).
Sise will also be remembered for her role as a reporter in the daily newsletter production for National Youth Conference and Festival (NaYConF) held at Jarra Soma in 2014. She performed diligently in her duty like always.
While we celebrate Sise, we pay to Allah to grant her soul in Jannah with all other departed souls. She is missed!
Rest in Peace!
Turkey-Gambia Business Delegation Meets President Barrow
October 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Bakary Ceesay
Members of the Turkey- Gambia Business Council on Wednesday, October 09, 2019 paid a courtesy call on President Adama Barrow at the State House to discuss various areas of mutual interests to both countries including the Banjul seaport, solar energy ventures, agriculture, and fisheries, among others.
The delegation, comprising leading Turkish private sector operators and industrialists including the Mayor of Ezurum city, Honourable Mehmet Sekmen was led to the State House by the Turkish Ambassador to The Gambia, H.E. Ismael Yusuf.
Ambassador Yusuf told the State House Press Crops that their discussions with the president also centered on the need for energy stabilisation in The Gambia, agricultural mechanization, value addition, and commercial production as well as tourism development.
The council, which was established after President Barrow’s State Visit to Ankara in 2017, is currently holding its third meeting in Banjul to discuss areas of mutual benefit with their Gambian counterparts.
Honourable Sekmen, the Mayor of Ezurum city – one of the biggest cities in Turkey, said Turkey has also realised that it can work with The Gambia in urban planning at the level of the municipalities.
“Turkey is ready to share experiences with Kanifing in terms of municipal management and development. We have many experiences that we can utilize in the cities of The Gambia in many aspects of cities’ problems,” he said.
President Barrow expressed delight that the council is building on the cooperation that he and President Erdogan rekindled during his historic visit to Ankara two years ago. He stated that the two countries share a strong bond of friendship, which is evident in the level of cooperation being pursued by both governments. He thanked Turkey for standing by The Gambia through challenging times and assured them of Gambia’s fraternal solidarity.
Funmi Iyanda’s adaptation of ‘Walking with Shadows’ premieres at the BFI London Film Festival
October 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
Veteran journalist and talk show host, Funmi Iyanda yesterday brought ‘Walking with Shadows’, a novel by Jude Dibia, to the big screen, with the movie enjoying a 2-day showing at the British Film Institute (BFI) London Film Festival.
Speaking on the premiere, Iyanda said, “It is an honour to premiere this movie at one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. We are definitely thrilled by the opportunity to share this thought-provoking story with the international community and hope they are inspired by it as much as we are”.
The film spotlights the life of lead character, Ebele Njoko, whose search for acceptance led him to create an alternate personality – one more pleasing and acceptable to society. However, as his secrets come to light, he is faced with the difficult choice to either keeping his family or accept a life of possible loneliness and rejection.
Iyanda explained that the movie is a timely appraisal of pressing societal issues, as it promotes the importance of love and self-acceptance in a cultural and religiously-charged environment.
Directed by Adife O’Kelly, ‘Walking with Shadows’ – which is set to premiere in Nigerian cinemas soon – features a sterling cast of actors including Funlola Aofiyebi-Raimi, Wale Ojo, Ozzy Agu, Zainab Balogun, and Funsho Adeolu.
Notable personalities who attended the BFI London Film Festival movie premiere include Nana Otedola, Folake Abdulrazaq, Christopher Schlaefer, and others.
About Walking with Shadows
In Lagos, Nigeria, Ebele Njoko has been running all his life. A search for acceptance and love from his family, has led him to recreate himself as Adrian Njoko, respected father, husband, and brother. Suddenly, Adrian’s past and secrets have caught up with him and his world soon begins to crumble as he frantically tries to control the growing ripple effect of a revelation.
Walking with Shadows is adapted from Jude Dibia’s 2005 book of the same title, which was awarded Sweden’s Natur och Kultur Prize.
*Courtesy of NigeriaPresslog , a media amplification and press release distribution platform connecting forward-looking brands to target audiences. It provides a gateway for brands with the goal of making inroads and establishing presence in the Nigerian media space and beyond.
NigeriaPresslog has worked with and delivered excellent service for local and international partners including Heinrich Boll Stiftung, Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Lagos Business School, Response Architects UK and others.
South Sudan: Ceasefire monitor body calls for establish of VIP protection forces
October 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – the Ceasefire Monitoring body has called for the formation of the VIP protection as the deadline for a unity government approaches.
According to the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM), the formation the VIP protection forces has not yet commenced.
Despite that president Kiir and opposition leader Dr. Machar made important progress on the path to the formation of a unity government on 12 November when the two principals meet in Juba last month.
There is growing fears that the 2018 peace deal is a facing many obstacles as its key provisions remained unimplemented or were lagging behind and Machar’s group rejected the formation of transitional government on November 12 due to pre-transitional issues.
The formation of the unity government was then extended in May by six months because the national army was not created and the issue of the states was not finalized.
Speaking at a monthly CTSAMVM technical meeting in Juba on Thursday, Chairperson Maj.-Gen. Desta Abiche says the delays of established the VIP protection forces is unacceptable and is needed before the formation of the government next month.
He said the parties should speed up completion of unified forces to meet the November 12th deadline for the formation of a new government.
“CTSAMVM has received no information on the planned date to assemble and train the VIP protection. CTSAMVM urges the VIP protection force to be formed as a matter of urgency and the formation and training of the necessary unified forces to begin as soon as possible,” said Gen. Abiche.
The body hailed the registration of forces at the cantonment sites and barracks, to ensure the required number of troops is attained.
“While the number of forces being registered is encouraging, the cantonment process remains slow. Cantonment is an important step in enabling the security arrangements to be in place before the transitional period commences,’ he added.
The IGAD – peace mediator, deadline that at least 50 per cent of the 83,000 necessary unified forces should be cantoned and barracked, trained and deployed by 30 September has now passed without progress.
There are 35 cantonment sites identified by the Joint Defense Board across the country, a move in line with the new peace deal.
The logistical constraint continues to negatively impact the implementation of cantonment sites, includes lack of food, shelter, water and medicines.
The body also said the government forces and opposition forces are still occupied the civilian and school buildings in Equatoria region, arguing that the failure to vacate these buildings demonstrates a lack of commitment to the peace process.
He said the ceasefire continues to hold with no reported incidents of clashes between the parties across the country, adding that the body continues to monitor the overall security situation and reports of tension in order to encourage early mediation and prevent escalation.
However, the country is trying to end the five-year conflict through the formation of transitional unity government next month, in which Dr. Machar will take up one of the four vice presidents under president Kiir.
Mozambique: unknown armed men try to kill MDM candidate
October 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Arnaldo Cuamba
Unknown armed men tried unsuccessfully to assassinate the candidate for governor of Maputo Province, in southern Mozambique, Augusto Pelembe, who is head of the list by the Movimento Democrático de Mocambique – the third largest opposition party in the country.
The act took place on Thursday afternoon when he and his caravan were in another day of electoral campaign activity. One of the party members told Pan African Visions that the caravan was surrounded and blocked by “professional killers”.
“We were on our way to Manhiça and suddenly a car with armed men came in front of us and blocked the caravan and shot our candidate’s car” he said. “It was all very fast, just like professional killers.
Everyone was unharmed from the attack. “But we are very scared,” he said.
Pictures seen Pan by African Visions show the vehicle in which the candidate was transported with a front glass puncture with two shots fired by armed individuals who fled. Police say they are investigating the case.
Mozambique will hold general elections next Tuesday (15) and is having an election campaign marked by violence. On Monday an independent election observer was shot dead in Gaza province, also south of Mozambique, as reported by Pan African Visions.
Academics Urge US Government To Channel More Resources Towards Education And Scientific Research In Africa
October 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Amos Fofung
Professor Nkem Khumbah, Chairman of Africa Development Futures Group, ADFG, has urged the United States government to channel its foreign investment, resources and policies meant to develop Africa into fostering and professionalizing higher education in the continent.
The educationist cum lecturer at the University of Michigan outlined that Africa faces many challenges which can duly be addressed if more attention and resources are invested in its higher education systems, permitting Africans to better carry out scientific research, and finding solutions to their own problems without waiting and hoping on foreign aid.
Speaking last week at the launch of the North American office of the Association of African Universities, AAU, in Washington, DC, Prof Nkem Khumbah did applaud US support to Africa but reiterated that it will be more beneficial if redirected into enhancing higher education in the continent, given that “it is the caliber of African universities’ graduates that will produce and manage the knowledge that gives relevance to its other institutions – government, trade, defense, agriculture, health, finance, energy and diplomacy”, that it is by “supporting Africa to vitalize its Higher Education systems that the continent may turn its increasing demographics into a dividend to drive its development agendas and enhance its democracies”.
In his address during the pre-launch season of the regional office, Prof Khumbah, who was sharing the stage with US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Tibor Nagy, pointed to the fact that attention is only paid to Africa based on its colonial past and its inefficiencies. Dissecting the continents inability to better bargain for itself due to the small size of its countries as opposed to those in Asia, he maintained that, thanks to the African Union, the continent now has that one voice, to better represent her regional interests.
“The challenge that I see is that resources and policy, have not so much accompanied the level of latent interest in that area…the US is the one singular country in the world that has the deepest roots in Africa and if you look around the continent, Africa is seen in terms of big brother, younger brother and this determines the policies that accompany actions.”
Holding at the premises of the African Union Mission to the United State, attendees included dignitaries from Africa and American Diplomats, academic and professional associations, higher education stakeholders in North America, and from Africa, including a large representation of the African diaspora; Nkem Khumbah said higher education was one of the major keys to unlocking Africa’s enormous potentials .
Advocating for the harmonization of African educational systems so as to permit the exchange of ideas and research topics, thus facilitating intercontinental exchange of knowledge, Nkem Khumbah used the story of the Koreas’ to better disseminate his idea.
“We often talk about how Korea was receiving aid in the 1950s from Ghana and Cameroon; what turned the stakes around was higher education and scientific manpower, with significant US support through higher education and research cooperation,” he said.
He expressed hope that establishing the North American regional office of the Association of African Universities will strengthen the interface for linking higher education institutions and enterprises in the USA with their African counterparts.
Higher education “can be a powerful, strategic winning area for US foreign policy. While China is building the roads, putting Billions of Dollars on infrastructure and winning the hearts of African heads of states, helping develop its higher education can win the hearts of the entire population,” he said.
With better cooperation between the US and Africa in higher education expected to shift gear with the establishment of the North American office, speakers and moderators at the launch were all unanimous that the bilateral relation between the two continents will flourish.
Speakers included H.E. Sarah Ayang-Mbi Commissioner, Human Resources, Science and Technology at African Union Commission, who shared information about regional cooperation in African Higher Education and relevant lessons for further collaboration, Ambassador Arikana Chimbori of the AU Mission to the USA, Prof. Orlando Quilambo, AAU President and Vice Chancellor at the University of Maputo, Mozambique in company of Prof. Rungano Zvobgo, Southern Africa member.
Dr. Beatrice Khamati Njenga, Head of Education Africa Union Commission-Human Resource Science Technology, chaired the session centered on “Strengthening US-Africa Governments Academic Diplomacy and Research Cooperation Policies” which had as panelist Ambassador Tibor P. Nagy (Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, US Department of State), Hon. Amro Adly (Deputy Minister of Education, Egypt), Prof. Nkem Khumbah (Prof. and Steering Committee, STEM-Africa Initiative, University of Michigan) and Dr. Menna Demessie, (Vice President, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc).
Forging “Strategic Partnerships among Key Stakeholders in Academia, Professional Associations & Research Institutions” was the focus of the third session moderated by Niamani Mutima, Executive Director Africa Grantmakers’ Affinity Group. Sharing insights on the topic were, Alma L. Golden (Executive Director, USAID Global Development Lab), Norman Fortenberry (Executive Director, American Society for Engineering Education, ASEE), John Boright (Executive Director, International Activities, US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine), Tag Demment (Vice President, Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, APLU), Prof. Nicholas Nsowah-Nuamah (AAU Vice President for West Africa).
On how to better galvanize the Diaspora comprising some 20,000 African-born Academics, 105,000 African-American academics, 105 HBCUs and a larger community that Africa seeks to involve in its development, panelist presented view points on the topic; Advancing African Diaspora’s Academic Relation in a session chaired by Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, Ghana’s Former Minister of Education .
The panel discussions and sessions were crowned by the official launching of the regional office by H.E. Sarah Ayang-Mbi Commissioner, Human Resources, Science and Technology at African Union Commission) and Prof Orlando Quilambo, AAU President and Vice Chancellor Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo, Mozambique.
With the establishment of the regional office, AAU stakeholders hope to boast continental ties between Africa and North America and to identify key areas of partnership that can drive positive change in Africa through Higher Education, among others.
South Sudan: Deformity oil leak contained
October 10, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – South Sudan’s petroleum minister has said that an oil spill from a pipeline last month which polluted several areas of former Unity state has been contained, but warned more oil pipelines rupture as the country makes plans to boost oil production.
Of recently, residents of Budang County reported that a pipeline had ruptured, causing the oil to contaminate the environment. Photos circulating on social media show the leakage has had adverse effect on the environment.
Speaking to a press for the first time since the oil pipeline broke on Sept. 25, Oil Minister Awow Daniel Chuang said the oil spill was contained after Greater Pioneer Operating Company (GPOC) dispatched foreign experts to the scene last week.
Chuang describe a recent deformity oil leakage as ‘normal issue,’ but says it was caused by aging pipelines which is currently under control.
“A Russian repair team from the company GOPC went to the site and they contained the leakage because the pipeline has been constructed a long time ago and is aging and as it ages, weak points always develop,” said Chuang.
“Leak had been contained and “what is left for us now to clean is the soil in that area.” “Of course we know that the production has been down for the last five years and the pipeline was empty and probably was filled with water (that) can expedite the process of corrosion within the pipeline,” Chuang told journalists on Monday in Juba. “That is why we will all suspect that ruptures will happen from time to time…” he added.
Chuang said more oil spills from poorly maintained facilities, after a pipeline leaked 2,000 barrels of oil in the north of the country into the surrounding land and water since the pipeline burst on Sept. 25.
Activists have long warned of the consequences to residents and the environment from oil spills in the area, where facilities have been battered by war and some lay dormant for years until a peace deal was signed in 2018.
When asked about the spill’s impact on residents, Minister Chuang said the leakage took place in a remote area where there is no human settlement.
The extent of the oil spill is difficult to verify, but the Oil minister mentioned only an area of 400 square metres was impacted, while the local said a river used by residents of three counties has been heavily polluted.
Local population affected?
The area official, who don’t want to be mentioned, saying though the leakage has been stopped, the local population has been seriously affected by the spill, includes drying trees, killing cattle, and poisoning people, and the water is falling into the Nile.
But Minister Chuang said plans are under way to retrieve the leaked oil with powerful vacuums placed on trucks.
“The oil and the water will be sucked by vacuum trucks so that it is retrieved and taken back to the system because when you take water and oil, they can be taken back to the system, and the solid is treated to a level where it is environmentally friendly,” said Chuang/
Chuang said some pipelines in the area have not be in use since late 2013 when fighting broke out in South Sudan, and warned there could be more oil leaks on the horizon.
Chuang said as long as they have started to resume oil in block 1, 2, and 4, since the pipelines are not new, then they should expect the leakage from time to time. What is important is to respond to those leakages from time to time.
Increase oil production
South Sudan is planning to increase oil production by 16,000 barrels per day, to be added to its current production of 178,000 barrels per day, an official announced on Monday.
“We have reached an agreement with Sudan to be able to produce up to 16,000 barrels a day,” Petroleum Minister Awow Daniel Chuang told journalists in the capital Juba, underlining that the country was “moving very fast” to start production in currently unused oilfields.
At its peak, oil production in South Sudan was at 350,000 barrels a day. Since the signing of the peace deal production has gone from 135,000 to 178,000 barrels a day.
Environmental audit planned
Chuang says the ministry plans to contract a foreign company to carry out an environmental audit, adding that the government made some progress in its last negotiations with Sudan, announcing the formation of an environmental audit committee to begin operations next week.
Advocates and legislators representing the oil-producing states had argued that there had been an increase in the number of women who have had stillbirths and deformed children. Other effects that they voiced were skin rashes, eye disease, sudden death and unidentified diseases.
This is mostly caused by dangerous heavy metals used in oil production which leaks into drinking water sources used by people.
Residents living near the oil wells blame the government and the companies for turning a deaf ear to their plight by failing to properly dispose of waste.
The official fears that people living along the River Nile, especially nearby villagers, are drinking contaminated water.
Last week, a child was born with a deformity in Northern Liech State. The child’s photograph was shared widely on social media, which prompted public debate on the effects oil pollution has had on local residents.
Chuang said the child has been taken to Nairobi, Kenya, for further medical examination, adding that the government was busy investigating the effects of oil pollution in the area.
However, concerns have mounted over the health impact of the oil fields to surrounding communities, after decades of companies flouting environmental regulations in the war-torn nation.
A 2014 study by Cordaid reported that: “Oil
production pollutants are suspected by communities to have caused many new
health problems, such as increased infertility in women, a higher number of
miscarriages, and eye and skin problems.”
German NGO Sign of Hope, which has investigated the impact of oil pollution in the country, estimates as many as 600,000 people may be affected.
The oilfields in the war-torn country are being operated by the Greater Pioneer Operating Company or GPOC – is an oil consortium owned by China’s National Petroleum Corporation -an oil and gas company which has shareholders of four namely Malaysians, Chinese, Indians’ ONGC Videsh and Nilepet of South Sudan’s government – rule Nile Petroleum Corporation.
All of these companies have been accused of making profits off the country’s five – year conflict and disregarding best oil production practices.
S. Sudan: U.S won’t accept unity government without Machar
October 10, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – the President Trump’s administration warned that it would not accept a transitional government in South Sudan which excludes ex- rebel Dr. Riek Machar.
Dr. Machar, leader of the main opposition group, Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army – in Opposition signed a new peace deal with president Kiir in 2018 after the 2015 peace deal collapsed.
In the latest peace accords, the two principals promised to end the country’s five – year conflict that has killed nearly 400,000 people and uprooted four million both internally and externally from the homes.
A new unity government is expected to be formed on November 12, in which Machar will take up a post of the first vice president in the country for next 30 months before elections.
Last month, president Kiir said he would go ahead to form a new transitional government on November 12 if an ex-rebel leader Machar’s hesitates.
President Kiir’s statement comes after the two principals held serious face-to-face talks in Juba where they have made importance progress to speed up screening and registration of their forces as they enter into the over 25 cantonment sites across the country.
Thomas Hushek, U.S Ambassador to South Sudan said the parties must get their act together and implement some of the significant outstanding issues before the D – day for the forming the unity government.
He said this peace deal is where the mandate for the unity government will come from that means it need inclusivity of all parties.
However, the IGAD – which mediated the revitalized peace deal, recently invited the parties to the accord for further talks in Ethiopia to help speed up implementation of outstanding issues that include security arrangements, determination of number states and boundaries but it flabby as the parties never turned up.
The U.S diplomat said the government party has refused to participate in the ones [talks] that the IGAD tried to call and yet they have not established any other mechanism to discuss that outstanding political issue.
“They need to be talking about settling this outstanding political issue of determining of the number of states,” he said, despite the promises and announcements by president Kiir and Machar [in September] that they had asked their members to be negotiating this matter – those negotiations are still born.”
Non – Signatories
Amb. Hushek also revealed that he already reached out to Thomas Cirilo, leader of the National Salvation Front (NAS) to join the peace process and pursue his political objectives through non – violent means.
“I have reached out several months ago to Thomas Cirilo and discussed with him the importance of pursuing whatever objective he had without violence, armed forces,” he said. Adding, when you hear us talking about the need for political space here in South Sudan as part of the peace agreement. It’s about making sure that all parties whether they signed the peace agreement or not, have room to champion political change.”
Gen. Cirilo and former chief of army, Paul Malong Awan are still threatening to the peace process despite that the ceasefire is relative calm.
Hushek further disclosed that the president Trump’s administration remains strong supporter of the peace process in the world youngest nation as it has up to now been the largest supporter of humanitarian assistance to the war-torn country.
“We support moving this peace process forward but doesn’t come without some caveats. First of all, we want to see a formation of the unity government. It is clearly defined in the agreement that means all parties have to be in unity. It can’t be a unity government of the incumbent government that moves ahead with the SPLM-IO or other signatory parties drop out,” said Hushek.
He lamented that the parties have been slow on implementing the security arrangements with a bulk of their forces expected to form the 83,000 unified force not yet screened and registered.
“The government has not yet put forward its’ pledged financial support for the [peace] process and also they have been slow to register forces for the cantonment in particular on the government side. They have not done as many registrations so that all needs to be formed in a much accelerated fashion,” Amb. Hushek echoed.
Hushek said Trump’s administration will continue to target individuals perceived to be obstructing the peace process in the horn of African region.
“We still have the same executive order in place that we have had that has been a basis for our bilateral sanctions previously. So, this points to people who are obstructing peace and we have this authority to put sanctions on them,” said Hushek. A lot of these sanctions are actually UN sanctions and we use that same executive order to implement them within our legal system. So, it’s incumbent upon all governments of the UN to implement those sanctions.”
Amb. Hushek also reignited the controversial issue of the formation of the African Union led hybrid court to prosecute war crimes besides setting up the truth, reconciliation and healing commission and reparation commission for the victims of human rights abuses during the violence.
On the recent Sentry report on South Sudan, which alleged syndicate corruption by political elites and international companies helping to fund the civil war, the U.S diplomat agreed that there was massive chronic corruption within the establishment.
“I hope moving forward a future government will see that internationals have a role to play to help the government here [to] fix the problem of corruption. I don’t think anyone in the government has said there is no problem of corruption here. I think they do recognize that,” said Hushek.
The parties have signed a peace deal that includes an entire chapter [four] on improving financial fiscal management, in which a corruption shall be deal with it.
However, the parties to the revitalized peace deal failed to form the unified force by the September 30 as agreed upon.
Of recently, Machar’s group said they are not ready for the formation of the unity government in November 12th if the rest of the security arrangements and the number of states and its boundaries are not implemented. While President Kiir’s group are pushing for the formation of the unity government despite challenges.