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Guinea in Shock Over Death of Key Official who opposed third Term bid for President Conde
July 30, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Alseny Ben Bangoura*

Kèlèfa Sall was opposed to attempts to alter the constitution to facilitate a third term for President Conde

Kèlèfa Sall was opposed to attempts to alter the constitution to facilitate a third term for President Conde

The former President of the Constitutional Court of Guinea  Kèlèfa SALL died this Saturday, July 27, 2019 in Conakry, from illness, at the age of 61 and at odds with President Alpha Condé. According to sources, he died of a heart attack.

The magistrate was a brilliant academic, an outstanding magistrate, a courageous man, a man of conviction and finally a remarkable teacher. He presided over the Constititutional Court from April 7, 2015 to September 12, 2018.

In addition to his exemplary contribution to the re-foundation of the country’s judicial system,  Kèlèfa Sall enters the annals of history for recommending that President Alpha Condé refrain from changing the constitution in order to remain as the head of State, after his term du​e to expire next year.

“Always avoid slippages towards the forbidden paths in democracy and good governance.” . He hastened to add:

“Beware of succumbing to the melody of the revisionist sirens. If the people of Guinea have given you and renewed their trust, they remain legitimately vigilant,” he said, during the swearing-in ceremony for the second and final term of president Conde in 2015. A dozen heads of state, including the eternal dictators of Chad, Rwanda and Equatorial Guinea, attended that ceremony.

In fact, Kèlèfa Sall was openly opposed to any change in the constitution. President Condé did not like the advice.

This was a wise and logical ​piece of advi​ce that raised the animosity of  ​the disdainful  president  against the magistrate,  who ​ended his judicial career by an orchestrated  “internal coup”,  culminating in his dismissal by his own colleagues of the Court on September 12,  2018.

President Conde and Kèlèfa Sall in happier times

President Conde and Kèlèfa Sall in happier times

By a presidential decree, Alpha Condé lined up behind the slingers to dismiss the magistrate while he was elected for a 10-year term, according to the constitution.

Ironically, the tragic death of Kèlèfa Sall comes at a time when the country is facing a major challenge: President Alpha Condé’s attempt to impose a new constitution in order to remain in power beyond 2020 is no longer a secret for anyone.

A magistrate by training and career, Kéléfa Sall graduated from the University of Conakry’s Law School and the prestigious French National School of Administration in Paris (ENA).

He was also a member of the National Transitional Council, a body that legislated under military rule following the death of longtime dictator General Lansana Conte in 2009. He was also a founding member and then president of the Association of Magistrates of Guinea.

In an op-ed on his Facebook page, Ivorian star Tiken Jah Fakoly crystallized the memory of the illustrious  magistrate as “One of Guinea’s  best judges.”

His sudden death is painful not only for his family but also for the peace and justice-loving people of Guinea who, in addition to his many sympathizers, will always remember his work.

**Courtesy of AlloAfrica News

 

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A Rwandan man made a three month long walk to remember victims of Genocide
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Ntigurirwa arriving in Kigali

Ntigurirwa arriving in Kigali

Hypolite Ntigurirwa, a Rwandan youth has concluded his three month walk of peace in remembrance of victims of genocide  perpetrated against the  Tutsi in 1994.

This journey started  on 15 April this year  and was concluded this Thursday, 25 July.

Ntigurirwa, a genocide survivor himself toured the  whole country to mark the journey made by victims in 1994 while they were going to be slaughtered.

Genocide against  the Tutsi in Rwanda left more than million victims, mainly Tutsis.

Ntigurirwa finished his walk at Kigali Genocide memorial where he put a wreath at the tombs in which more than 250 thousands victims are buried.

He told the press that he saw genocide with his own eyes when he was seven years old.

Recalling the cruelty by which genocide was made, Ntugurirwa wants this walk to be a siren of peace so that what happened  never happen again anywhere around the world.

He concluded his journey at Kigali Genocide Memorial

He concluded his journey at Kigali Genocide Memorial

“ I travelled a long way during genocide while I was a child trying to escape killers, that’s what made me come out of my fear and remember that way of the cross”, he said

“You cannot beg for peace, when you want peace you give it or you work for it. Our grand children will never find peace if we don’t sow it today” he added

Asked why he  opted to walk instead of driving, Ntigurirwa said “There are some acts that you cannot do while in  car. For instance there are way I would arrive and people tell me ‘this hill has a history’ and I would climb to discuss with the dwellers.”

The walk of more than  a thousand kilometers kicked off from Western Province and was concluded in Kigali.

Ntigurirwa works with a NGO. Before starting his walk, he asked for a four month long leave without a salary.

During his walk, he would use his own money and he revealed he has used more than one thousand dollars.

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Gambia Petroleum Sign Joint Operating Agreement with British Petroleum Exploration
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Gambia National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and British Petroleum Exploration (Gambia) Ltd, has signed a Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) for Block A1 License on 23rd July 2019.

This JOA marks the first involvement of the National Oil Company as partner on an oil license in the history of The Gambia. GNPC as Government Licensee has been assigned a 10% Participating Interest in the license. The JOA defines the operational boundaries of the BP-GNPC relationship.

The Joint Operating Agreement was signed by GNPC Managing Director Yaya F. Barrow and BP Africa New Countries Vice President Jonathan Evans.

The JOA was reviewed and negotiated by a GNPC negotiation team with assistance from the Petroleum Negotiation Committee, Africa Legal Support facility, International Law Firm BCLP and Senghore Law Firm.

Shortly, after the signing Fafa Sanyang, minister of Petroleum explained this is just the beginning of a long and sometimes difficult journey in the implementation of the license. Signing these instruments is indeed an achievement but they just constitute the foundation.

Yaya F Barrow, managing director of the Gambia National Petroleum Corporation pointed out that: “The document we just signed today is a realisation of years of hard work, dedication and focus by the corporation and stakeholders in the petroleum industry,”

 He explained that when GNPC was founded in 2003, it was created to be doing exactly what it is doing today; to take charge of government’s participation in industry development.

Barrow added that in partnership with GNPC, BP Exploration (Gambia) Ltd will start work in earnest to explore the potentials of offshore Block A1 in their search for oil in Gambian waters.

“The Corporation will continue to work in partnership with Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, stakeholders and all present and future Licensees to maximize the benefits of the oil and gas industry for our people,” he noted.

Jonathan Evans, Vice President BP Africa New Countries   said the potentials of Block A1 is quite high.  “That is why we [BP] is increasing our footprint here in the sub-region. We hope to find some success for your country,” he said.

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Kenya:10 betting firms given go ahead to operate
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27

Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i

Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i

Kenyan government has renewed licenses of 10 out of 27 betting companies after complying with the new set of rules for the industry players.

Early this month the Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i annulled licenses of 27 betting firms for breaching the rules and regulations. The move was arrived at after owners failed to adhere to the tough rules aimed at regulating betting in the country. They had up to July 1, 2019 to renew their permits.

The new rules oblige them to operate within the country’s laws governing the betting industry, pay tax and show their financial stability in the past four years.

The directive issued saw the firms’ pay bill numbers and short codes shut down and gamers ordered to withdraw their funds deposited in the companies wallet.

Kenya’s biggest betting company SportPesa is leading the list of the firms affected by the directive and its fate still hangs in the balance. The gaming operator which sponsors various sports activities in the country rubbished the government reports that it is evading tax.

The company through its CEO Ronald Karauri said in 2018 they generated revenue of US$194 million, made a gross profit of US$90 million and paid US$64 million in taxes.

The firm sponsors Kenya Premier League, football giants Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards among others activities.

Meanwhile, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has decried over financial challenges that await football activities in the country should the status quo remain.

FKF President Nick Mwendwa has pleaded with the Betting Control and Licensing Board to review its decision in order to save the country’s football from crumbling.

“We are on the verge of losing approximately US$60 million as football will be affected in the fight. If SportPesa exits, we will be left without a title sponsor for the league and Shield Cup. Gor Mahia and AFC Leopard and the national team will also suffer and this is why I am asking the government to have football in mind as they do their regulations. Honesty, without them, we will struggle and even the big international matches will no longer be held,” said Mwendwa.

The national team Harambee Stars is sponsored by Betin Kenya which is also the casualty of the new laws.

 

 

 

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Gambia:Ex- President Jammeh Ordered us to Killed Deyda Hydra, Jatta Tells TRRC
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Photo Credit The Standard

Photo Credit The Standard

Malick Jatta, an ex-member of former President Yahya Jammeh’s hit squad has revealed that Jammeh ordered them to killed Deyda Hydara, co- founder and managing editor of The Point newspaper.

Hydra, co-founder and managing editor of The Point newspaper was shot by security personnel’s on 16 December, 2004.

On Monday, Jatta, a native of Tujereng village in the West Coast Region of The Gambia who was a member of the Junglers, Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) they were sent to kill Deyda on December 16 of 2004.

Jatta at the time of Hydara’s killing had already taken part in 2 executions all of which were led by Tumbul Tamba, the head of the patrol team.

He said the Patrol Team was a team of 4 officers who were carrying out the killings he categorized as “abnormal orders”.

“In 2004, we were told were going for the Magic Pen… At that point I did not know who the Magic Pen was. It was Malick Jatta, Tunbul Tamba, Sanna Manjang and Alieu Jeng in this operations… We took a taxi, benz 200… This taxi used to be parked at Yahya Jammeh’s garage in Kanifing. Tumbul who took the taxi sat at the Driver’s seat. I heard him talking to the former President and he was saying “yes sir, your excellency”,” said Jatta, who is a serving army officer of The Gambia Armed Forces.

He said as Deyda’s vehicle approached, Tumbul said “gentlemen the driver is the idiot…”

“I shot, Sanna Manjang fired and Alieu Jeng also fired… I shot one. For my colleagues, I can’t tell how many fire they shot. On route to Kanilai home village of ex- president Jammeh home village, nobody spoke… Tumbul the following day came with some envelope containing some dollars and said gentlemen, this is a token of appreciation from the Big Man (President Jammeh). When I changed mine, it was over D50, 000,” said Jatta.

In his reaction Saikou Jammeh, Secretary General of Gambia Press Union lamented that: “The TRRC is discovering the bitter truth! 15 years on, we’ve today learnt from a Truth Commission witness how a former Gambia Press Union president and prominent journalist, Deyda Hydara, was shot and killed by members of the Gambia military under the directive of exiled ex-president Yaya Jammeh”

“The witness was a participant in the murder. He confessed to shooting ‘the magic pen’ – the name used by the leader of his group, Tumbul Tamba, to describe Deyda. This is an important piece of truth coming out of the TRRC,”

About Deyda Hydra, co-founder and managing editor of The Point newspaper was shot by security personnel’s on 16 December, 2004.

A few minutes before he met his end, Deyda left his office where he and his staff had gathered to celebrate the 13th anniversary of The Point, a private bi-weekly newspaper he co-founded.

He was dropping of two of his employees when he was gunned down. The two staff sustained severe injuries and were flown to Senegal for treatment.

He was killed just days after the Parliament endorsed significantly tighter and more restrictive media laws, an attempt Deyda fought through his popular newspaper column ‘Good Morning Mr. President’. Almost 15 years after Deyda’s murder, the killers have not yet been brought to book.

 

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Gambia:15 years later, killers of Deyda Hydara are revealed
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Deyda Hydara

Deyda Hydara

The Gambia Press Union (GPU) has learnt with mixed feelings of shock and relief about the killers of journalist Deyda Hydara, a founder and former president of the GPU.

In a press release signed by Saikou Jammeh, Secretary General of Gambia Press Union explained that on Monday July 22, 2019, Malick Jatta, a military personnel and a member of the hit-squad of then-president, Yahya Jammeh, told the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) that he participated in the killing of Mr. Hydara.

He confirmed that Yahya Jammeh ordered the assassination in an operation meant to get rid of the ‘magic pen’ (a codename referring to Mr. Hydara). Jatta gave details of how the killing was planned and executed. He also told the commission how he and his colleagues who took part in the operation were given envelopes containing cash as a “sign of appreciation from the big man”, a reference to Jammeh.

Mr. Hydara was a prominent Gambian journalist and a strong advocate for press freedom. He was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting on the night of December 16, 2004. It was the 13th anniversary of The Point, a leading national newspaper he co-established.

He was driving home two of his staff Ida Jagne, a typist and Niansarang Jobe, a layout editor, who also sustained gunshot wounds on her leg and was briefly admitted for medical treatment.

The Jammeh administration had repeatedly denied any involvement in the killing of Deyda. Yet, despite overwhelming evidence pointing to their involvement, they have refused to properly investigate. Instead, the government ignored and censored calls – in some instances blocked efforts – to investigate the killing of the veteran journalist.

Mr. Sheriff Bojang Jr., the president of the GPU, said: “The revelations made by Jatta about the circumstances of the killing of Deyda Hydara confirm the long, widely held accusation that the government of Yahya Jammeh perpetrated the heinous crime.

“It is unfortunate that it has taken this long, 15 years, for us to know the killers of Deyda. This is painfully depressing but also a relief as the family and his colleagues deserve to know the truth and to pursue justice.”

Meanwhile, the Gambia Press Union (GPU) is actively engaged with the TRRC process and is closely monitoring developments.

The Union encourages the Commission to leave no stone unturned in establishing the truth and seeking justice for wide of crimes committed against journalists during the 22-year reign of Yahya Jammeh.

The Union reminds The Gambia Government of its obligation to pursue justice and bring to book every perpetrator, including exiled ex-president Yahya Jammeh, for the killing of Deyda and all other crimes against journalists of which his government perpetrated or failed in its duty to investigate.

The Union wishes to express sincere thanks and appreciation to individuals and partner organisations that have supported in particular the family of Mr Hydara and the freedom and development of the media during those difficult times.

The Union also stands by Mr. Hydara’s family and offers its support and solidarity especially during these trying times.

 

 

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Gambia Gov’t Condemns The ‘Murder’ of University Student
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Ebrima Sankareh

Ebrima Sankareh

The Ministry of Interior strongly and categorically condemns the tragic murder of 25 year old student Kebba Secka, at University of The Gambia (UTG) in the hands of a police officer on 9th July, 2019 as cowardly, heinous and unacceptable.

In a press release signed by Ebrima G. Sankareh, The Gambia Government Spokesperson said Secka, who was allegedly stabbed by First Class Constable Lamin Trawally during a scuffle with police, subsequently died as his alleged murderer fled the scene leaving behind his murder weapon which turned out to be very crucial during police investigations.

Kebba Secka’s suspected murderer, officer Lamin Trawally, has now been apprehended, charged with murder and is currently remanded at the Mile Two Central Prison awaiting appearance before the Banjul High Court.

Accordingly, and consistent with this  government’s policy of accountability and openness, The Interior Ministry on behalf of The Gambia Government expresses it’s profound sense of grief, total remorse and heartfelt condolences to the deceased student’s family, loved ones and University of The Gambia authorities and students for this great loss of a promising scholar.

The Gambia Government wishes to assure all citizens particularly students that the dark era of politically motivated arrests and murders of students in cold blood is utterly criminal and therefore, unacceptable under the current dispensation. No one should therefore, be of the illusions that this government is complicit or deliberately targeting students to settle scores.

The Gambia Government will zealously prosecute all those implicated in Kebba Secka’s painful and shameful murder.

 

 

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Amidst Mass Protest in Gambia, Police Chief Calls Calm
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

The office of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) received disturbing information about a mob of angry youth marching towards the Anti Crime Unit to protest the demise of Ousman Darboe. The Office of the IGP is calling on the youth to observe calm and restraint.

On Wednesday, dozens of young people  gathered at the Serekunda Police Station to protest against the death of a Sierra Leonean national Ousman Darboe who they claimed was severely beaten by the police anti-crime unit.

Darboe, a shop owner at Serekunda Black Market was reportedly arrested by police anti-crime unit about 13 days ago and released on Friday. He passed away on Tuesday at 9: 30 according to Muhammed. His friends from the Black Market gathered at the police station near the Serekunda market demanding justice for Darboe.

In a press signed by Assistant superintendent, of Police Lamin Njie, Public Relations Officer of Gambia Police Force explained that Ousman Darboe’s name came up during investigations into a Breaking and Stealing incident that occurred at Kerr Serign on 11th July 2019. Suspects in the said case confessed selling items stolen from the Kerr Serign incident to Ousman Darboe.

“Investigators visited his shop at Serekunda market where a Flat Screen television, part of the stolen items was recovered in his possession,” Njie indicated.

Police spokesperson added that on 12th July 2019, he was arrested and charged with receiving of stolen properties contrary to the laws of the Gambia. On Monday the 15th of July 2019, he was granted bail within 72hours as specified by law and was subsequently reporting on bail.

“Ousman Darboe during his detention was said to be an Asthma patient as shown by medical papers tendered by his family which prompted his bail,”

The Inspector General’s Office assures the public that it will continue a probe into the death of Ousman Darboe and the outcome will be duly communicated to ascertain the cause of death.

 

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Sierra Leone: ACC signs over $100,000 grant with OSIWA
July 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

Francis Ben Kaifala

Francis Ben Kaifala

The Head of Sierra Leone’s Anti -graft body Francis Ben Kaifala Esq on Monday 22nd July 2019, signed a grant agreement for funding with the Open Society for West Africa (OSIWA) worth over One Hundred Thousand United States Dollars (USD 110,000).

According to a press statement released by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)  on Tuesday, the agreement is an approval for the funding for various departments of the Commission and is in response to a proposal submitted to OSIWA under the heading ‘’Changing the Game plan in the Fight Against Corruption in Sierra Leone’’

‘’ The main objective of the funding is to operationalize and mainstream public and social accountability mechanism in the fight against corruption through enforcement and compliance to systems, procedures and grievances redress systems in Ministries, Department and Agencies,’’ the release stated.

The release further stated that, in addition to its core mandate to supress and eliminate corruption in Sierra Leone, the ACC is also responsible for ensuring accountability and transparency in public institutions, as well as guaranteeing that these entities mainstream anti-corruption measures and policies in their workplaces.

‘’The Commission wishes to thank OSIWA for this support and the confidence reposed in the ACC as we work together to ensure the transparency and accountability in the governance architecture of Sierra Leone, the ACC released ended.

 

 

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ZPBA to facilitate the launch of the African Association of Plant Breeders
July 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

The Zimbabwe Plant Breeders Association (ZPBA) is set to facilitate the launch of the African Association of Plant Breeders on 23 to 25 October, 2019 in Ghana, according to Dean Muungani, ZPBA President at the recent ZPBA annual event held in Mazowe, Zimbabwe under  the theme: ‘Unpacking Better Seeds for Sustainable Development.’

However, Muungani lamented over the low uptake after a call was made for abstracts to be submitted for the scheduled launch event. He said that only one applicant had made a submission and encouraged members of the association to make submissions.

The ZPBA is also planning to host its elective congress scheduled for January 2020.According to Muungani, it will also be an opportunity for new office bearers to be elected into office to champion to association to go forward.

The ZPBA is a registered trust, membership based, non-political and not-for-profit professional association of Zimbabweans based locally or abroad active or interested in plant breeding and related fields launched on the 26th of January, 2016 with funding from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

According to Muungani, the related professionals include biotechnologists, geneticists, molecular biologists, seed technologists, seed agronomists, seed inspectors, genetic conservation specialists and  plant propagators, just to mention a few.

The main objectives of the association include promoting scientific plant breeding  and related research through discussion and communication, influencing  plant breeding training and education and contributing to continuing professional development of members so that they are technically up-to-date and remain relevant for their current and future employers both locally  and in the global village, promoting high standards of professional ethics among its members, representation of members’ interest and promoting interaction with the view to advancing the science and business of plant breeding.

 

 

 

Since its  inception the ZPBA has organised a number of seminars and workshops which include a seminar focussing on Genetically Modified Crops, ZPBA first anniversary event with Climate change themed presentations from various presenters. Facilitators were drawn from the Ministry of Environment, Water & Climate (MoEWC), FAO, CIMMYT, OXFAM, Seed Services, the Prof. Pangirayi Tongoona Symposium themed ‘From Art to Science in the Crop Seed Sector’ with several presentations from CIMMYT, Tobacco Research Board (TRB), and several ex Prof Tongoona students, the Demand-led Plant Breeding approaches training workshop at ACCI-UKZN made possible with external sponsorship, breeders Course on preparing and presenting variety release and supporting documents in Zimbabwe funded from member subscriptions  and the seminar on molecular breeding of soya-bean by Prof Kristin Bilyeu of USDA/ARS at the University of Zimbabwe  department  of Crop Science in  Harare, a seminar titled in search of excellence in agriculture research management in Africa by Professor Paramu Mafongoya of UKZN at the  University of Zimbabwe department  of Crop Science in Harare, breeders’ course on generation, analysis and interpretation of experimental and genetic designs applied to plant breeding, facilitated by Dr. Juan Burgueno and Dr. Fernando Toledo in Harare, seminar presentations by three UK visiting scientists- Professor Liz Baggs of University of Edinburgh, Dr Eric Paterson of the James Hutton Institute and Dr Lumbani Mwafulirwa of University of Edinburgh.

 

 

According to Muugani, the ZPBA is currently planning two events before the end of the year on the promotion of liming of soils, earmarked for some time in August/ September in Mhondoro.

“We are now moving from seminars and workshops to projects in the field. We hope more field projects will be implemented in future,” Muungani said.

 

The other event will involve a training course on variety screening and breeding for resistance to fall armyworm (FAW), which will include a field visit to Muzarabani.

Commenting on the recent meeting, Muungani said;

“The meeting which has largely been oversubscribed, is unique in that it brings a lot of diversity in terms of content, as past events were largely dominated by maize presentations, in terms of the breadth of institutions represented such as research, academia, farmers unions and   seed houses and the diversity of participants. This reflects growth on the part of the association”.

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Mozambique: Eni starts the installation of the hull of Coral Sul FLNG
July 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Arnaldo Cuamba

Eni has started installation works on the hull of the Coral Sul floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) treatment and liquefaction unit that will be moored offshore in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique. The unit is part of the Coral South project, which will put in production 450 billion cubic meters of gas from the giant Coral reservoir. The hull is expected to be launched in 2020, in line with the planned production startup of the Coral South Project in 2022.

The italian company sanctioned its Coral South project in June 2017 and achieved financial close for a total amount of around $4.7 billion for the Coral South FLNG multi-sourced project financing in December 2017.

The Coral Sul FLNG facility will have a gas liquefaction capacity of 3.4 million tons per year when completed and will be the first FLNG vessel ever to be deployed in the deep waters of the African continent. The vessel, which will be 432 metres long and 66 metres wide and weigh about 220,000 tons, will be able to house up to 350 people in its eight-storey accommodation module.

Alongside the LNG infrastructure under construction, the Coral South project also includes a number of initiatives aimed at enhancing the overall capabilities of the local workforce. These include specialized training activities for over 800 Mozambicans, who will eventually be employed during the operational phase of the project.

Eni is planning to anchor a second FLNG vessel using gas from the northern part of the Coral field, which is estimated to hold 16 trillion cubic feet of gas, but FID on that project is not expected until after 2020.

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Solomon Tembang is new Managing Editor of Cameroon’s Lone English Language daily Newspaper, The Guardian Post
July 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Solomon Tembang is a bucket of talent whose mastery of Cameroon and African affairs will be a great boost to the Newspaper

Solomon Tembang is a bucket of talent whose mastery of Cameroon and African affairs will be a great boost to the Newspaper

The lone English language daily newspaper in Cameroon, The Guardian Post, now has a new Managing Editor in the person of Solomon Tembang.

Solomon Tembang, who was previously Desk Editor, takes over from Macdonald Ayang, who has moved to Cameroon Press and Publishing Company known by its French acronym SOPECAM.

The designation of the experienced and widely read Solomon Tembang to take over from Macdonald Ayang was announced Saturday by the Publisher, Ngah Christian Mbipgo, during an enlarged editorial meeting at the newspaper’s newsroom in Yaounde. The publisher, after the announcement, called on Tembang to be assiduous in the discharge of his duties and ensure continuity with the efforts of The Guardian Post to remain the leading English language newspaper in the country. In an exchange with this reporter Sunday about his designating as The Guardian Post’s Managing Editor, Tembang said: The Guardian Post, being the most widely read English-language newspaper in the country, and the lone English- language daily, I am aware the job will be challenging, but I think I am up to the task”.

Very passionate about journalism since his secondary school days, Solomon Tembang started contributing to newspapers even before he graduated from the University of Buea. While still in the university, he reported for the now defunct Weekly Post newspaper. Upon graduation from the University of Buea in 2002, Tembang was a reporter and editorial assistant with the now defunct The Heron newspaper; and from September 2003 to February 2006, he was a freelance writer with the youth reproductive health magazine, 100% Jeune.

In January 2005, he joined Eden Media Group as a reporter in Bamenda and in May 2006, he was promoted to the head office in Limbe as Desk Editor. In 2011, he became Editor of Eden Newspaper. Solomon Tembang also from May 2012- May 2013 had a one-year stint at a book publishing house, The Cure Series Publishers Ltd, during which time he also ran a column in The Sun newspaper titled ‘Matters of the Moment’.

In March 2018 he quit Eden to join The Guardian Post.

The man who hails from Bamendakwe, Mezam division of the North West region, is also a creative writer with several unpublished works. He has a wealth of experience in reporting, editing, proofreading and graphics design. An avid reader, Tembang prides self as one of the most widely read Cameroonians of his generation.

Created in 2001, The Guardian Post, thanks to its middle-of- the- road and authoritative editorial policy, is read and held in very high esteem by the powers that be, including politicians and members of the diplomatic community in Cameroon.

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Cameroon gets additional 44 billion FCFA from IMF
July 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Mitsuhiro Furusawa, IMF Deputy Managing Director and acting Chair

Mitsuhiro Furusawa, IMF Deputy Managing Director and acting Chair

The International Monetary Fund, IMF, has concluded another review mission to Yaounde, after which it approved the sum of 76.2 million dollars (44 billion FCFA) as loan for the government of Cameroon.

The Executive Board of the IMF completed the fourth review of the arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility, ECF, for Cameroon on July 17.

According to the Fund’s officials, completion of the review enables the disbursement of SDR 55.2 million (about US$76.2 million), bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR 372.6 million (about US$514.5 million).

The Executive Board also approved the authorities’ request for a waiver for the non-observance of the performance criteria pertaining to the external arrears’ accumulation and the ceiling on net BEAC financing, based on the corrective actions taken by the authorities. Cameroon’s three-year arrangement was approved on June 26, 2017 for SDR 483 million (about US$666.9million, or 175 percent of Cameroon’s quota.

The arrangement aims at supporting the country’s efforts to restore external and fiscal sustainability and to lay the foundations for a more sustainable, inclusive and private sector-led growth. Following the Executive Board discussion, Mitsuhiro Furusawa, who is presently IMF Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, stated that Cameroon’s performance under the ECF-supported program has improved from a year ago, adding that most end December 2018 targets including those on the fiscal deficit have been met, and structural reforms were advancing.

The Executive Board noted that Cameroon continues to play a leadership role in the rebuilding of fiscal and external buffers of member states of the Central African Economic and Monetary Union, CEMAC. Going forward, the Cameroonian authorities’ continued support of the implementation of the foreign exchange regulations stipulated by the Bank of Central African States, BEAC, will be essential to ensure full repatriation of foreign exchange receipts, IMF experts stated.

They advised that enhanced fiscal discipline is key to reaching the end-2019 programme targets and mitigating risks from external shocks and security challenges.

Reducing recourse to exceptional spending procedures and completing the Treasury Single Account reform will support the steadfast implementation of the 2019 budget while improving cash management and the transparency of budget execution.

Too, refraining from new non-concessional borrowing and strictly adhering to the disbursement plan for contracted-but undisbursed loans are essential to preserving debt sustainability. Further project prioritization and enhanced investment efficiency will help address developmental needs while supporting prudent debt management.

Improving the financial viability of key public enterprises through performance contracts and targeted reforms of administered prices will reduce reliance on subsidies and mitigate risks from contingent liabilities.

Above all, enhancing financial inclusion, the business climate, and governance remain central to promoting private sector development and boosting competitiveness.

In particular, further strengthening EITI compliance and the AML/CFT framework are essential to promoting private sector-led growth and attracting foreign investment.

The experts concluded that Cameroon’s program continues to be supported by the implementation of supportive policies and reforms by the regional institutions in the areas of foreign exchange regulations and monetary policy framework and to support an increase in regional net foreign assets, which are critical to the program’s success.

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COMESA to host regional climate resilience meeting in Zambia
July 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

COMESA Climate Change Coordinator, Dr Mclay Kanyangarara

COMESA Climate Change Coordinator, Dr Mclay Kanyangarara

More than 48 senior government officials from Ministries responsible for planning, agriculture, environment, health, disaster management and mitigation units from 17 COMESA Member countries will meet in Lusaka on 23-24 July 2019 to discuss the regional resilience initiative on climate change, which was launched in 2017.

The meeting aims at supporting Member States to strengthen their policy and coordination mechanisms and develop national resilience policies and implementation frameworks. These will serve as national guiding documents to resilience building and project implementation at Member State level.

Speaking in Lusaka, ahead of the meeting, the COMESA Climate Change Coordinator, Dr Mclay Kanyangarara, observed that most COMESA Member States have a fragmented and haphazard approach to managing risks, shocks and stresses which has proved to be ineffective as the magnitude of loss and damage continues to escalate in the region.

“Governments find themselves diverting resources allocated to much needed developmental projects and programmes to deal with the effects of the disasters thereby trapping many in a vicious cycle of poverty and underdevelopment,” he said. “Furthermore, natural and economic systems are interconnected at the national and regional levels, hence impact on one affects the others.”

Most COMESA countries are vulnerable and face similar threats of climate change and droughts, flooding, industrial shocks, extreme rainfall and disease outbreaks, wars and civil unrest among others.

To attain its regional integration goals, many systems in the region (such as shared water courses, energy, transport, communications and financial systems) must be interconnected. This therefore puts COMESA and other Regional Economic Communities in a better position to support resilience building in the region.

The COMESA region is vulnerable to climate change and other natural and manmade disasters and shocks such as cyclones, flooding, landslides, droughts, disease epidemics, heat waves, wars, civil unrest, among others. Recently, the region experienced devastating cyclones Idai and   Kenneth that affected Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe causing more than 1,000 deaths, infrastructure and property damage running into billions of dollars with 90% of the key port city of Beira submerged for weeks. At the same time, the worst drought in many decades, led to a significant reduction in the water level at lake Kariba severely curtailing hydroelectric power generation leading to massive power cuts in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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Zimbabwe scientists use geospatial mapping technology to predict pending disasters
July 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Professor Amon Murwira

Professor Amon Murwira

After Cyclone Idai ravaged southern Africa, killing at least 1,000 people, Zimbabwe’s scientific community is actively using   geospatial mapping technology to better predict future disasters.

The cyclone hit southern African countries including Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

In Zimbabwe, at least 268 people were killed and many are still missing. Local scientists hope that despite lags in scientific advancement, their use of geospatial technology and space technology will allow them to foresee climate-induced risks and disasters.

Amon Murwira, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development, confirmed the country’s use of science and technology to guard Zimbabwe from climate shocks.

This includes the use of High Performance Computing (HPC), geospatial and space technology. Murwira said that local scientists were conducting Cyclone Idai impact assessments using color-coded geospatial and space technology.

“Zimbabwe is suffering from climate shocks such as drought, floods and disease outbreaks, we can guard Zimbabwe from these shocks in future using science and technology,” professor Murwira said.

In cyclone-hit areas like Ngangu, a suburb in Chimanimani, Professor Murwira said that scientists were already using data analysis. The government-sponsored scientists were also trying to  help locate and retrieve  several corpses which were buried underground during the devastating cyclone.

The scientists are modeling areas anticipated to be high-risk using geospatial mapping to help them prepare for future disasters.

Professor Murwira said that scientists in cyclone-hit areas were starting to predict future malaria outbreaks and mapping vegetation density using the same geo-spatial and space technology.

 

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Video reveals violent methods used by Government Forces to combat extremist attacks in northern Mozambique
July 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Arnaldo Cuamba

A video that is circulating on social networks shows elements dressed with the uniform of the Defense Forces of Mozambique, FADM, torturing a supposed civilian, in the scope of the fight against the extremist attacks that since October of 2017 terrorize the province of Cabo Delgado, in the extreme north of Mozambique.

In the images, it is possible to see the soldiers whipping the victim supposedly because he did not give a satisfactory answer when asked about what he was doing in the vicinity of that military position. One of the uniformed men suggested that the victim should be shot while another was searching for water, probably for the practice of torture known as water boarding.

The video was picked up by one of the FADM military on one of the patrol rounds against the extremist attackers and that, in fact, it is their modus operandis, according to local reports. There are also reports of kidnappings of merchants in the areas of the attacks allegedly because they are believed to be feeding the attackers.

In late 2018, human rights watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on arbitrary detention, ill-treatment and summary executions of dozens of individuals suspected of belonging to armed groups.

The situation prompted divergent comments on social networks with one wing condemning the use of aggressive methods by the FADM while another encouraged by the argument that the attackers have also been barbaric in their incursions that have already resulted in the murder of more than 200 people, mostly civilians, as well as the burning of dwellings, the ambush of vehicles, the plunder of public and private property.

Recently, the Mozambican president, Filipe Nyusi, classified the attacks as <acts of terrorism> and ensured that the Defense and Security Forces will continue on the ground to fight, without respite, and will not rest until peace is restored.

The attacks occur near one of the world’s largest natural gas reserves located in the deep waters of the Rovuma basin, which covers the northern Mozambican-Tanzania border.

Several oil giants, notably Italy’s ENI and the US-based Anadarko and ExxonMobil, are preparing to extract natural gas in a process that will cause the country’s economy to grow sharply.

The National Petroleum Institute of Mozambique admits being worried about the violence considering that the situation should be controlled “as soon as possible” to facilitate the development of the projects.

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Cameroon: Human Rights Lawyer Agbor Balla advocates back-to-school
July 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Felix Agbor Balla-Human rights defender addressing participants during the International Nelson Mandela Day in Yaounde

Felix Agbor Balla-Human rights defender addressing participants during the International Nelson Mandela Day in Yaounde

Renowned Human rights advocate and leader of the outlawed Anglophone Civil Society Consortium Barrister Felix Nkongho Agbor “Balla” has stepped up his campaign for children in the restive Anglophone Regions to go back to school.  The lawyer who is also the Founder/CEO of the Centre for Democracy in Africa, CHRDA was a guest speaker at the International Nelson Mandela Day organized by Nakfu Policy Institute under the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, July 17, 2019, in Yaounde.

As it is a tradition every year, the Foretia Foundation celebrates the International Nelson Mandela Day with focus on the life of Nelson Mandela and what Cameroon can learn from the life of the ex-South African President, who gave his life for the fight for justice and peace, respect for human rights in his country.

During the panel discussion on “Nelson Mandela’s fight for justice-what lessons for the peace process in Cameroon”, Barrister Felix Agbor Nkongho proposed various measures Cameroon should put in place to bring a long-lasting solution o the Anglophone crisis. According to him, an all-inclusive dialogue should be implemented.

He added: “never again will one group of people marginalized and oppress another. The fear now however those who were oppressed are becoming the oppressors. We gave to abandon our individual goal for a general one, while peace is something very important”.

Barrister Balla further indicated that children should be allowed to go back to school in areas where security is much better. He, however, did not regret calling for school boycott but said however the school boycott has turned out is not what they had earlier wanted.

“It is a laudable imitative that has to be supported as education is very important. It is fundamental human rights and we need to encourage our children to go back to school. I understand that the security situation is worrisome but then there are places where children can go back to school”. “To have a million uneducated children, let us have at least 500 hundred thousand. Let us start working towards it. It is going to be a gradual process and it will not be done today. Let us at least not prevent them from going back to school”.

He went on to say those who are saying children should not go to school some of them have gone to school. “No matter how imperfect the educational system might be, basic education is helpful because if they don’t then they will end up tormenting the society with all the deviant behaviour. During Mandela’s period of Apartheid, children were going to school, in Syria, Afghanistan children are going to school.”

For his proposed All-inclusive dialogue, Barrister Balla said it depends now on the Head of State who should activate the dialogue. “Something has started in Switzerland and we hope that it will be inclusive. All-inclusive means everyone should be part of it, not necessarily those who have arms but should include the clergy, civil society and others, to find a long-lasting solution to the conflict” He said.

He has however called for the Separatist leaders to rethink their strategy. Giving his personal opinion, he said “I might still maintain the position of separation but hoping the negotiation which is a give and take-they (separatist) have to forgo something and the government too. Probably we have a two-State Federation and we move from there to a part way of independence. But insisting that independence or nothing means we are not going to come out of the conflict.”

Barrister Balla says children should not to be stopped from going to school

Barrister Balla says children should not to be stopped from going to school

Barrister Balla’s message to the youths was simple and clear: “youths should be active in politics by registering to vote and changing their country and should not be social media politicians-those who spend most of their time criticizing social media but can’t even register and vote.”

A report by CHRDA notes that the consequences of the prolonged school boycott, since for three years and counting now are more than catastrophic. Before October 2016, more than 6 thousand schools were operational in the North West and South-West Regions. As at December 2018, less than 1 hundred schools were operational in these regions, meaning that 5900 schools had shut their doors, with over 600 thousand students out of school and at least 40 schools burnt. In a UNICEF 2019 report, at least 600 thousand students are out of school in the North West and South-West Regions.

 

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Ebola outbreak declared global emergency
July 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

The World Health Organization, WHO has declared Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo a “public health emergency of international concern”.

The outbreak which has killed more than 1,600 people in the DRC alone has devastated West Africa since the outbreak in 2016.

But the WHO stopped short of saying borders should be closed, saying the risk of the disease spreading outside the region was not high.

“It is time for the world to take notice,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva on Wednesday at which the emergency was declared.

He said he accepted recommendations there should be no restrictions on travel or trade, and no entry screening of passengers at ports or airports outside the immediate region.

Reacting to the declaration, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said they welcomed the move.

“While it does not change the reality on the ground for victims or partners engaged in the response, we hope it will bring the international attention that this crisis deserves,” it said in a statement.

The outbreak in the DRC, is the second largest in history with more than 2,500 people infected and two-thirds of them declared died.

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EU earmarks €30 million for a cross-regional wildlife conservation programme in Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean
July 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

The European Union (EU) has launched  three projects under the EU 11th EDF Cross-Regional Wildlife Conservation programme in Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean, according Timo Olkkonen, Ambassador, Head of EU Delegation to Zimbabwe.

According to Olkkonen, the three initiatives the EU is currently implementing in Zimbabwe are to protect and promote the country’s marvellous biodiversity endowment.

“Indeed Zimbabwe’s natural riches are not only something for the Zimbabweans themselves to cherish, but they form part of a world heritage. It is something truly worth protecting,” he said.

He also highlighted on the conclusions of the latest UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services assessment report, in which researchers report that 1 million species are threatened with extinction and global biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented speed and that 75% of the earth’s land surface has been significantly altered.

“Pressure from human population growth is creating more demand for energy and resources,” Olkkonen said.

He added that the EU is putting a lot of effort in promoting a culture of sustainable development with particular focus on climate and environment action at every level, be it global, regional, national and local.

According to the Ambassador, the EU has had a leading role in the global efforts to tackle climate change and the recent European Parliament elections testified that Europeans want further serious action in this field.

At global level the European Commission launched in November 2015 the study “Larger than Elephants: Inputs for an EU Strategic Approach to Wildlife Conservation in Africa” as part of the EU’s flagship initiative Biodiversity for Life which promotes coherence and coordination of EU actions in the area of biodiversity and ecosystems

The Larger than Elephants approach addresses the illegal trade in wildlife and reviews strategies for stopping the killing, the trafficking and the demand for wildlife products.

The dominant theme is that in order to exploit economies of scale, hence enhance wildlife conservation efficiency, Africa needs to focus on regional conservation strategies.

The Ambassador highlighted the importance of transfrontier conservation areas, a well-developed model embraced by SADC, through signed Protocols on Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement among bordering countries, which promotes transboundary collaboration in the management of the shared biodiversity, including ecosystems, river basins and watersheds.

He said that another EU policy worthwhile to mention is the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking, adopted in 2016, which spells out priority activities to halt the impact of wildlife crime on ecosystems and on economies affected directly or indirectly by the increase in wildlife crime.

“I want to assure you that these two global EU policies in the wildlife sector are supported by a significant amount of funding,” he said.

He added that the EU had taken action to support biodiversity conservation, both within local boundaries and internationally, with the commitment of more than €500 million in Africa over the past 30 years.

It is reported that the current portfolio of on-going projects amounts to approximately €160 million and during 2014-2020 the EU had invested €710 million in wildlife conservation across Africa. The introduction is over; we are now diving into the meat of the matter.

“The 3 projects launched are just a fraction of the offspring generated by the Cross-Regional Wildlife Conservation (CRWC) programme I mentioned,” he said.

It is reported that elements of transfrontier conservation areas establishment and operation extend from the highest level down to the grassroots at community level, the keystone for the success of any conservation programme.

“Communities are in fact the core beneficiaries of these projects as we believe they play a critical role in the sustainable management of natural resources,” he added.

The EU ambassador said that from their own experience on the ground, supported by a number of reputable studies and research, they can realistically state that communities are the first line of defence against poaching, human wildlife conflict, illegal wildlife trafficking and land degradation.

“We are not reinventing the wheel, we are actually reinforcing what this country audaciously conceived in the ’80 with the CAMPFIRE programme,” he said.

“I also have to say that communities’ critical role in wildlife conservation was vocally expressed by all participating heads of state at the recent Wildlife Economy Summit in Victoria Falls,” he said.

The ambassador said that the objective of the three projects is common such as to enhance community based cross-border cooperation on natural resources management, with a particular attention to wildlife conservation in terms of anti-poaching and human wildlife conflict and illegal wildlife trafficking mitigation.

“However, we cannot take communities’ assistance and loyalty for granted, we need to give them a voice in the decision making process and an incentive to support wildlife conservation as an economically viable and competitive land use option,” he added.

He said that the three  projects represent an effort to specifically empower communities voice their minds, actively participate in the decision making process and build the necessary technical and business management capacity to enable them generate viable and sustainable livelihoods.

 

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Government of Zimbabwe supports forestry sector practitioners to develop low carbon emission initiatives
July 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Lawrence Mashungu

Lawrence Mashungu

The Government of Zimbabwe in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from the Russian Trust Fund has began an initiative  on the harmonization of the tertiary education curriculum for Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) and Measurement Reporting and Verification (MRV) Training in Zimbabwe’s Forestry Sector.

According to Mr Lawrence Mashungu from the Climate Change Management Department speaking on behalf of Mr  Washington Zhakata, Director for the Climate Change Management Department in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement at a  workshop on the harmonization of curriculum for low emission development strategy and measurement reporting and verification training in Zimbabwe’s forestry sector held in Harare on 17 to 18 July, 2019, the government of Zimbabwe is implementing a programme, Support Towards Implementing Zimbabwe’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under the Paris Agreement on climate change (STIZ-NDC) with support from the UNDP-Russian Trust Fund which aims to develop the Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) in order to provide clear direction for low emission development and to build a functional, effective and sustainable domestic Measuring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system for tracking low emission development in Zimbabwe.

“To facilitate effective and sustainable implementation of the Low Emission Development Strategy   in Zimbabwe, capacity building for developing viable low emission development projects and MRV systems of greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions is necessary. This can only be achieved through a well-structured forestry education curriculum that clearly articulates climate change mitigation issues and the Low Emission Development Strategy,” Mr Mashungu said.

Following a training on improved Tools and Methodologies for Measurement Reporting and Verification  Systems based on International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) methodologies conducted on the 5h to the 9th of November 2018 at the Zimbabwe Institute for Public Administration and Management (ZIPAM), the need to develop a tertiary education curriculum that will ensure that future forestry practitioners have skills, knowledge, and attitudes to sustain the objectives of the LEDS and MRV for GHGs in the forestry sector was identified.

It is reported that inclusion of aspects of Low Emission Development Strategy and Measurement Reporting and Verification  for Green House Gas (GHG) emission in the forestry curriculum will enhance capacity for sector institutions to effectively implement the Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) including Measurement Reporting and Verification  for Green House Gas emissions.

“This will also enhance work under the National Communications Office reporting to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),” Mr Mashungu said.

Mr Mashungu said that the project also aims at facilitating partnerships with investors and companies including Russian business actors and the academic institutions in order to open up investments, collaborations and technological exchange for low emission development.

The training workshop was attended by practitioners and students from universities in Zimbabwe and forestry sector institutions.

The   training focused on review of the curricula offered in institutions awarding forestry qualifications based on   guidelines for developing training materials, identifying information gaps in view of low emission development strategy and green house gas emissions accounting concepts and the designing of an appropriate curriculum outline that addresses identified gaps for low emission development strategy and green house gas emissions accounting concepts.

Following the training, w workshop report  is expected to be produced itemizing gaps in the tertiary forestry curriculum, capacity requirements for low emission development strategy and green house gas accounting and a detailed curriculum outline that addresses the identified gaps.

There are also plans for the production of a draft curriculum for circulation and adoption of the curriculum in the institutions and implementations time frames.

It is reported that the process will take about a year comprising a series of meetings initiated by respective forestry departments at the academic institutions with involvement of the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZIMCHE), the coordinating body of all universities in the country.

 

 

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GSMA partners with Airtel, MTN to increase internet uptake in Rwanda
July 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Jean d’Amour Mugabo

Rwanda’s ICT and Innovation Minister Paula Ingabire (Centre) and mobile operators' chiefs launch We Care Initiative to drive up digital literacy and services in Rwanda

Rwanda’s ICT and Innovation Minister Paula Ingabire (Centre) and mobile operators’ chiefs launch We Care Initiative to drive up digital literacy and services in Rwanda

 

Rwanda’s mobile industry has joined hands with the GSMA to drive mobile internet adoption and increase digital literacy in the country through the initiative dubbed “We Care.”

MTN Rwanda and Airtel, local mobile operators, entered the partnership with GSMA on Tuesday as the three-day GSMA Mobile 360 Africa conference kicked off in Kigali.

We Care is a global initiative led by GSMA, the global mobile operators’ representative. It is the first commitment on digital inclusion in Africa. It aims to promote responsible business practices and enable Rwandans to use internet and reduce the digital divide among digital illiterate population.

The mobile telecoms and their stakeholders will also promote digital content in local languages as a platform for self-empowerment and online engagement as a driver for socioeconomic development.  They will also boost the country’s digital economy by ensuring each household that has a smart device has the skills to utilise it.

During the signing of the partnership, Rwanda’s ICT and Innovation Minister Paula Ingabire, said it is important to bring together mobile operators, Airtel and MTN, to work towards a common goal that will be beneficial to citizens.

“Smartphones are important ICT tools that can be used to access key digital services: education and information, healthcare and financial services,” she said.

“Increasing digital inclusion in Rwanda will therefore go a long way in empowering our citizens and we are looking forward to a sustainable collaboration.”

According to GSMA Intelligence, about one in four citizens in Rwanda currently subscribe to mobile internet services. The lack of digital skills among the population and a perceived lack of locally relevant content are among the key barriers to large-scale adoption.

Airtel, MTN welcome the deal

After launching the initiative, Rwanda’s mobile operators pledged a fruitful collaboration with the government and other stakeholders for the benefits of the citizens.

“We are committed to ensuring that our customers can get the most out of  their service; so we are always supportive of efforts to promote digital literacy, affordability and accessibility,” said Amit Chawla, Airtel Rwanda CEO.

MTN Rwanda’s CEO, Bart Hofker, said MTN was pleased to partner with GSMA to enhance digital literacy in Rwanda.

“MTN is also pursuing other efforts to tackle the full range of barriers to digital inclusion, including handset affordability with our recent 3G smartphone,” he said.

Akinwale Goodluck, Head of GSMA in Sub-Saharan Africa, said the collaborative action by Rwanda’s mobile industry will harness the power of mobile internet to empower citizens and deliver on the promise of a digital Rwanda.

As part of the We Care initiative, Airtel Rwanda and MTN Rwanda will use the GSMA’s Mobile Internet Skills Training Toolkit (MISTT) to train sales agents and educate customers on how to access mobile internet services.

The telecoms will train 10,000 sales agents in techniques to teach their combined customer base functional digital skills within the first year of the campaign while the MISTT modules will be adapted to reflect local needs.

MISTT is a visual easy-to-follow curriculum that helps trainers to demonstrate the functionality and value of the internet on internet-enabled mobile phones. It includes modules on Wikipedia, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and Google, as well as introductory modules on basics such as internet safety and costs.

Statistics from Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority show that six million Rwandans, representing about half of the population, were using internet in the first quarter of 2019.

We Care was launched in Latin America in 2014 and is now running 25 campaigns across the region in collaboration with 55 local operators. In Africa, the initiative has been present in Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire.

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AFCON 2019: Algeria crowned Champions of Africa
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images

Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images

The 2019 edition of the Africa cup of Nations has been won by the Desert Foxes of Algeria, a second crown in their history. Algeria defeated the Teranga lions of Senegal by a goal to nil thanks to a second minute strike from Baghdad Bounedjah, in the final of the AFCON played at the Cairo International stadium July 19, 2019.

Chances in the game were few and far between an ill-tempered affair as Algeria withstood almost constant pressure and also saw a Senegal penalty awarded overturned by the Video Assistant Referee, VAR.

Algeria’s only victory until now in the competition was back in 1990. Some 29 years to this day. Before reaching the final, the team defeated Nigeria 2-1 after outsmarting Ivory Coast in the quarter finals.

For Senegal, the wait is still on for their maiden title. The team can however take solace to having reached the final but just fell short of clinching it. Congratulations have been extended to their coach Aliou Cisse for having guided the team to such a level.

Algeria succeeds Cameroon as the best team in Africa with Cameroon eliminated in the round of 16. Their next challenge will be that of defending the trophy during the AFCON 2021 that will be hosted by Cameron.

For star forward Riyad Mahrez, this victory in the AFCON goes to add to his numerous titles won for his club side Manchester City in England. The player has so far won five titles to close the football season.

Algeria and Senegal’s meeting in the final created a huge milestone for local coaches. Two local coaches were competition for the Holy Grail of African football, with one joining the prestigious list of African coaches to have won the competition.

After 32 editions of the competition, it was only the fifth time two African coaches have met at the AFCON finals. Just four times before the final was an All African affair. In 1962 hosts Ethiopia coached by legend Yidnekatchew Tessema won their first (and only to date) AFCON title, defeating Egypt 4-2 in the final. The Pharaohs were then coached by the duet of Mohamed El Guindy and Hanafy Bastan.

Ghana won the 1965 edition, beating hosts Tunisia 3-2. The Black Stars coach Charles Gyamfi had his second successive AFCON glory then, defeating Tunisian counterpart Mokhtar Ben Nacef. Another Ghanaian, Fred Ousam-Duodu led the Black stars to the 1978 title at home, defeating Uganda led by local legend Pete Okee 2-0 in the final.

And in 1998, Egyptian Mahmoud El Gohary became the first man to win AFCON as a player (1959) and coach. He guided the Pharaohs to their fourth title in Burkina Faso, defeating South Africa, coached by local icon Jomo Sono 2-0 in the final.

Overall, 11 local coaches had won 15 AFCON titles in the previous 31 editions. Ghana’s Gyamfi and Egypt’s Hassan Shehata had each won record three titles, Nigerian Stephen Keshi won it in 2013. Djamel Belmadi now joins the illustrious Africans to have won the award.

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CAF Modifies Qualifier Dates For Afcon 2021
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) at its Executive Committee meeting held in Cairo on Wednesday 17th July, 2019 has unanimously decided to change the dates of the Qualifiers of the Africa Cup of Nations 2021.

The new dates according to CAF, will be in phases as the Preliminary rounds will be in two legs between the 7th and 15th October, 2019.

CAF further stated that Day One and Two will be from the 11th to 19th November, 2019 while August 31st to 8th September, 2020 will be for Day three and Four. Day Five will be from 5th to 13th November, 2020 while penultimate day Six will be between the 9th and 17th November, 2020.

The Gambia amongst other countries will this year begin their campaign with a preliminary round on a double legged tie in October where the winner in each pair will join in the series for a spot at the 2021 edition in Cameroon.

The Gambia is on the verge of resuming the campaign after its Technical training camp in Morocco where the Scorpions went wild in two friendly internationals against Guinea’s Syli Nationale before capping off with another win against hosts Morocco in June.

The Gambia is currently ranked 161 on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World ranking released in June moving up two places from 163 making a total of 1002.

 

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Gambia’s National Team Head Coach Tom Sainfiet Sounds Upbeat After Afcon Draw
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Gambia national team Scorpions Coach Tom Sainfiet

Gambia national team Scorpions Coach Tom Sainfiet

Gambia national team Scorpions Coach Tom Sainfiet has reacted to the Afcon 2021 draw after his Scorpions side have been paired with Djibouti in the preliminary round conducted at the CAF Extra Ordinary General Assembly meeting held on Thursday July 18 in Cairo.

Speaking to Pan African Visions from his base in Europe, the ‘Saint’ expressed satisfaction with playing Djibouti in the preliminaries. “I am quite satisfied with playing our opponents but I respect them very well too”, he posited. Tom said he has been wishing to avoid Liberia and other big Nations hence their strength but “Djibouti is a quite small football nation and they are doing well and have good players in French lower leagues”

Quizzed about the Scorpions chances in 2021, Tom emphasized that the performance of the Scorpions against big Nations across Africa in the last 12 months is enough testimony that the Gambia is on the right track to make its debut appearance at the Afcon.

“We are very optimistic of making it through but we have to respect Djibouti because they have young players on development stages and one cannot rule them out”, Sainfiet noted.

He said preparation is needed hence Djibouti is a far away region and lot of travel will be needed. “But we can count on our  good planning, good organisation and the good players we have at our disposal, I think we can come out with win over Djibouti”, Sainfiet said.

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Introducing JULZA Senegalese Rap Musician
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Thiaroye, one of the popular districts of Dakar, its history, very peculiar to others because of two facts: The first one reminds us of the tragedy of the massacre of our valiant soldiers in 1944 at the Thiaroye military camp.

What has made this district remains in the political history of Senegal, and the second marks the history of young people who try to take the canoe to immigrate to Europe to help their parents.

It is in this legendary district that the young artist Julza grew up. founding member of the Rap Fippu Clan group which means “Rebeler”, this young man has the mission to denounce the evils of the society but especially to contribute to the socio-cultural development of the country particularly Thiaroye,

After a few years spent in hip hop, the artist has imposed his style at the front of the Senegalese rap music scene. Thanks to this style, Julza has become one of the best of his generation, which has enabled him today to speak the word of the voiceless of his hometown Thiaroye

Thus, the artist has just released his first opus entitled “Obi” featuring with the great diva Penda GUISSE.a mixture of two different styles “Rap and Tassou” or the artist boasts of his person and his origin Al Pulaar.

 

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Gambia’s Afro-Pop Awards Winning Artiste to Release Debut Album, Set for European Tour
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

 Jizzle, award winning an Afro-Pop sensational artiste has announced that he will release his debut album called ‘Finally’ on 9th August, 2019 at The Chop Shop Restaurant at Kairaba Avenue.

He is expected to embark on a European tour in Sweden, German and Italy and he will finally return to launch the album at the independence stadium on 23rd November, 2019.

Jizzle, who won Collobo of the year, People’s Choice Award, Afro Fusion of the year, album of the year and song of the year during Wah Sa Halat Awards recently.

Jizzle, told Pan African Visions that: “As my debut album, #finally is going to be released on Friday, August 9th 2019 worldwide on all Digital Platforms by @umgnigeria and also on physical copies (USB flash drives)”

Jizzle, also brand Ambassador of one of the leading GSM Operator in Gambia Africell added that: “I will be hosting a Meet & Greet and Signing with my Fans on the same Day Come through and buy a copy of the album for D250 and get 25% off on all Foods from Chop Shop on that day!”

Born in Bakau in The Gambia in 1989, Jerreh Jallow, popularly called Jizzle D Lyrical Kiddo is a dancehall and rap artist. He began singing at the age of 17 in 2009 after completing Grade 9 at Ndows. He majors in rap but occasionally sings dancehall. He sings in three West African languages namely Fula, Mandingo and Wolof.

In 2010, he released his first single called ‘Over Sona’. The song highlights the plights of young people neglected by the adult world. ‘Over Sona’ is an exaggerated expression of despair common among Gambian young people.

In 2011, he dropped a second single called ‘Life Is Not Easy’. He sings are about war, poverty, young people and many other social ills.

In 2014, he released a 14-track debut mixtape titled ‘Food Is Ready’. Some of the popular songs on the album are ‘Rumpa’, ‘Mi Deh Pan Mi Side’, ‘Together We Make It’, ‘Let Stand Up and ‘Fight For Our Right’ and ‘Man of The Year.

In 2015, he won the Best Upcoming Artist of the Year 2014 category at the Gambian Entertainment Awards.

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Gambians in Abu Dhabi thank President Barrow for New UAE Embassy
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Barrow with Gambians in UAE

Barrow with Gambians in UAE

Representatives of the Gambian Community in Abu Dhabi have heaped praises on President Barrow for his government’s response to their calls for the establishment of a Gambian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Scores of speakers at a well-attended meeting with Gambian residents from across the Emirate expressed gratitude for the establishment of a fully-fledged diplomatic mission manned by hardworking diplomats who look after their needs.

‘’We are very happy and would like thank you, Mr. President Barrow, for not only establishing a embassy since your visit last year, but also for appointing the best staff’’, the Public Relation Officer of the association of Gambians in UAE,  Mr. Lamin Jallow said.

He added that the staff are quite open and often consult with the association on most pertinent issues, singling out the Ambassador for taking up their matters almost immediately after his arrival.

Secretary General, Modou Lamin Kambi, who also pleaded with the government to assist them with scholarship packages for career development. He also enlisted the support of the government to assist those who wish to be repatriated.

Taking turns to respond to the various speakers, President Barrow assured the gathering of their unalloyed commitment to the welfare of Gambians at all times.

The Gambian Ambassador in the United Arab Emirates, His Excellency Nfansu Bojang informed the gathering of the new memoranda of understanding signed between the governments of The Gambia and UAE that will put in place a legal framework of protection for Gambian workers in the country.

However, he was quick to urge the residents to seek work legally and regularize their status with the embassy while clarifying that the embassy will not send anyone back.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Mamadou Tangara called on them to remain law abiding, stating that the level of hospitality and respect accorded to the president and his delegation in UAE signaled the commitment and promises of the cooperation between the two countries.

President Barrow thanked the speakers for being genuine and acknowledging the good efforts of the government and the embassy staff.

He advised the association to work on a financial plan to assist members in addressing their welfare and in emergencies.

 

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Private Sector, Investors enjoy legal protection and respect in The Gambia, President Barrow tells Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Barrow With Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce

Barrow With Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce

President Adama Barrow has described The Gambia as the best place for international businesses that are interested in exploring business and investment opportunities in Africa. Outlining the unique comparative advantages of the country during a meeting with the Director General and top officials of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, President Barrow said The Gambia is strategically located in the West African sub region pointing out its close proximity to some of the biggest economies on the African continent.

He said his government is creating the right environment for investments and business to reach their fullest potentials, indicating that they were putting in place flexible policies and stringent legal cover for businesses to thrive unhindered.

‘’Our economy is driven by the private sector, which is why we have high regards and respect for the private sector’’, he said. ‘’We have legal protection for investors, we embrace free trade and have an open door police towards businesses’’.

President Barrow extended an invitation to the members of the business fraternity in Abu Dhabi to visit The Gambia and take advantage of the investment potentials that exist in agriculture, tourism, telecoms, health, among other sectors.

H.E Mohammed Helal Al Mheiri, Director General of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce thanked the president for meeting and exploring with them the possibilities of investment in The Gambia. He said his association has a membership of 120, 000 and promised to work with members to visit and explore investment potentials in The Gambia.

Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs also thanked them for their interest in the Gambian market.  He revealed that the governments of The Gambia and Abu Dhabi had signed an MOU on trade protection, promising that a double taxation treaty will be presented to the next sitting of the Parliament.

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development

The President also held a separate closed-door meeting with officials from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

 

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Kenya:Salah set to play his first match in Nairobi
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27

Salah

Salah

Egyptian superstar Mohamed Salah will lead his charges against Kenya in 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifier according to the draw done by Confederation of African Football on Thursday.

Following the draw, the North African giant was pitted against Kenya, Togo and Comoros Island. It is the first time Egypt will play a qualifier match against their East African opponent.

The qualifiers set to give the Pharaohs a chance to redeem themselves after woeful performance that saw them eliminated in this year’s AFCON. The hosts were bundled out of the tournament by South Africa in the round 16.

Salah fired blank few weeks after he had led Liverpool to their sixth Champions League victory against Tottenham in Madrid, Spain. Liverpool forward set the Merseyside club on their way to triumph with an early spotkick before Divock Origi sealed the win.

After the South Africa’s game, the star was overwhelmed with emotions following the outcome that dashed their hope of lifting the title in their home soil.

As a result Egypt’s head coach Javier Aguirre was shown the door. Egypt Football Association President Hany Abo Rida announced the firing of the Mexican coach few hours after the game.

Kenya on the other hand will fight tooth and nail to appear to the biennial tourney for the second time in a row for first time. Harambee Stars qualified to 2019 showpiece after 15 years of absence; however, they were knocked out in the group stage.

The East African giant was overcome by Algeria 2-0, Senegal 3-0 and won against their neighbors Tanzania. Togo and Comoros did not make it to the AFCON 32nd edition.

The 48 nations will participate in the qualifiers. The teams are divided into 12 groups with two top teams per group advancing to the tournament that will be held in Cameroon.

 

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Book on Zimbabwe’s frequently asked questions about climate change launched
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Climate Change Management Department director Washington Zhakata

Climate Change Management Department director Washington Zhakata

A booklet titled: Zimbabwe’s frequently asked questions about climate change has been launched in Zimbabwe with support from partners involved in assisting the country to combat the climate change crisis.

According to Mr Washington Zhakata, Director, Climate Change Management Department in the ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement the initiative was started by author Anna Brazier and supported by the Konrad Adenuer Stiftung (KAS).It   saw the first version of the book being published before being reviewed  by several eminent authors from Zimbabwe’s top universities, captains of industry and government departments.

Highlighting on the importance of the book, Mr Zhakata said that whilst much of the climate discussions have been confined to teak-furnished and air-conditioned boardrooms, rural folks who constitute the majority of the population in Zimbabwe have largely been excluded from the climate discussion.

“This is partly due to language issues, complexity of the subject and poor infrastructure including energy and communication,” he said.

Mr Zhakata added that most experts, including government officials at provincial, districts and ward levels have difficulties in translating climate issues into the languages spoken by people they serve.

He said that sometimes it is   really not necessary for the officials including extension staff to be bogged down by translation issues which come at the expense of implementation of the climate issues.

“The use of vernacular therefore becomes critical,” Zhakata added.

He added that as the government prepares to implement devolved programming and devolution approach to work, it is   critical for the climate resources including information, education and communication material on the climate change subject to be in local languages which people are comfortable with.

Zhakata added that this necessitated the translation of the booklet which empowers people, especially the rural folks with information and knowledge on climate change

According to Zhakata, people in the rural areas are often accused of being primitive and relying more on their traditional beliefs, indigenous knowledge and spiritual beliefs.

“These are sometimes problematic when trying to manage climate change issues such as evacuations ahead of disasters, departure from historical ways of doing things such as planting dates, times to be working in the fields amongst others,” he said.

He said that one of the reasons for the so called resistance to change is simply lack of information.

He says that the booklet will   provide quick answers to people’s frequently asked questions on climate change.

It also   provides local insight of Zimbabwe’s climate priority areas, impacts as well as interventions that can be

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