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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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