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South African women demand Death penalty for rape
November 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Women in South Africa have petitioned the presidency over their dead penalty request. (photo: CNN)
Women in South Africa have petitioned the presidency over their dead penalty request. (photo: CNN)

A petition spearheaded by women in South African which demands the introduction of death penalty for rape perpetuators and other offenses against women is gaining momentum and has garnered more than 600,000 signatures.

This follows the conviction in August this year of Luyanda Botha, who raped and murdered 19-year-old student Uyinene Mrwetyana when she went to pick up a parcel at the Cape Town post office where he worked.

He was handed three life sentences but women in South Africa say its not enough. They are requesting that for taking one’s life, Luyanda Botha and others like him should pay with their lives.

The petition tabled to the office of the president seeks to punish perpetuators so as to deter violence and Crimes against women in South Africa which they say is “an uncontrollable, vicious cycle where women and children are sexually assaulted and murdered with little to no justice for the ones that are left behind to pick up the pieces.” 

The petition which seeks to hit one million signatories so as to advance their demand insist its time to joined forces “to bring back the death sentence for crimes against women and children in the Hopes of saving this great country” 

South Africa rates of femicide –intentional killing of women and girls — is one of the highest globally when compared with other countries where data is available, according to Professor Rachel Jewkes, director of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls global program.

“We have three women killed every day by a husband or a boyfriend in South Africa, and this is much higher than in many countries. It’s much higher than it is in Europe or Australia,” she said.

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Demonizing Oil and Gas companies is not a constructive way forward on energy transition. Africa will push for “the Right to Drill”
November 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

By NJ Ayuk *

African nations must and will take advantage of their hydrocarbon resources for economic development. Environmental sustainability is a part of it, not an impediment.

Johannesburg, 14 November 2019: In an article written for the Guardian newspaper this week, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa argued for an Apartheid-style boycott on coal, oil and gas companies as a solution to fight climate change and help ensure global environmental sustainability goals. “We must stop climate change. And we can, if we use the tactics that worked in South Africa against the worst carbon emitters,” the subtitle of the piece reads.

The sentiment expressed by Mr. Tutu is laudable and speaks to many across the world that have become rightfully concerned by the effects of climate change on our environment.

However, it is also a misguided sentiment. Oil and gas companies are not autocratic regimes focused on oppressing the people and steal their resources. They are businesses, which yes, are focused on profit, but they are also focused on the sustainability of the business itself. In practical terms, it means that these companies adapt to the needs of the economies they are integrated in. Boycotting oil and gas companies will not have an impact on carbon emissions, but it might raise the price of fuel in the long run. That is not the goal intended. 

While there is demand for hydrocarbons, there will be production. The shift in the dynamic of supply and demand in recent years can already be spotted in the way oil and gas companies have restructured. More and more, these companies are diversifying their portfolios to include renewable energy assets and many of them are at the forefront of research and development of new technologies to help exploit renewable resources. I cover this extensively in my recent book, Billions at Play. Oil and gas companies are shifting into becoming “energy companies”, they are even rebranding, with Equinor (former Statoil) being the most evident example, to showcase that change in corporate paradigm. And in all honesty, who else would be better prepared, better funded and better placed to drive the energy transition that we all seek. Demonizing energy companies is not a constructive way forward, and ignoring the structural role that carbon-based fuels have in today’s society distorts the public debate. Bringing energy companies, governments and civil society groups together to find functional solutions will achieve much more.

This is especially the case in Africa. While the concerted effort amongst all of the world’s nations is fundamental to curb the effects of climate change, it is paramount to have a clear understanding of what efforts will be most decisive, and which regions of the world are in a better position and have the biggest responsibility to tackle these issues.

To be sure, Europe, North America and China, by and large responsible for much of the CO2 emissions that are behind the changes in our climate, have to live up to that responsibility and move towards more sustainable practices.

We can not expect African nations, which put together have polluted 7 times less than China, 13 times less than the United States, and 18 times less than Europe since the beginning of the industrial revolution, according to Carbon brief, to undermine their best opportunities for economic development by simply aligning with the Western view of how to tackle CO2 emissions.

Gabriel Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea, summed it up quite decisively to the press last week during the Africa Oil Week in Cape Town. “Under no circumstances are we going to be apologising,” he said, “anybody out of the continent saying we should not develop those

[oil and gas]

fields, that is criminal. It is very unfair.”

Minister Lima’s blunt words are an answer to a number of misconstrued views about the African continent, and about the oil and gas industry it is striving to develop. While a few nations across the continent have been producing hydrocarbons for decades, these resources have mostly been exported to fuel industrial development in Europe, the US and Asia. The reasons for this are varied and have as much to do with the European colonial legacy as with the lack of existing financial resources and expertise to develop local economies over the last century.

That, however, is coming to a change. As I have argued and championed for years, African nations are finally starting to make use of these resources to develop their own national economies. We must remember that nearly half of all Africans still don’t have access to electricity and that nearly every company in the continent struggles with the lack of power reliability, which raises operational costs, reduces productivity and hurts their ability to compete in international markets. African leaders are now painfully aware of the damage an unreliable energy network causes on national economies and are moving to change that.

Today, natural gas is by far the most economically sustainable way of producing power in enough quantities to fuel economic development. Petrochemical plants represent a massive economic opportunity to produce byproducts from oil and gas with a higher value within the supply chain, an opportunity to create jobs, develop infrastructure and produce wealth. Refineries too have a dramatically positive impact in curbing the need for fuel imports. All of these are fundamental pieces of the puzzle that will foster Africa’s economic growth and promote the betterment of the lives of its people. I have been saying this for a long time and have helped with that development through the African Energy Chamber, supporting cooperation amongst African nations to promote intra-African trade on energy resources and build synergies, which is the way forward.

The African Development Bank has estimated that between USD$130 and USD$170 billion a year in the run up to 2025 would be needed to close the infrastructure gap across the continent. How are African nations to fund these fundamental developments if they give up on exploring their natural resources? How can the Western world, or anyone for that matter, suggest, or demand, that African nations leave these resources underground when it was these same resources that powered economic development everywhere else?

After decades of colonial occupation and subsequent political and military in-fighting, many African regions have now reached the level of stability that will allow them to build working functioning economies. The fuel for that will be these countries’ natural resources, be it oil, gas, coal or diamonds. Boycotting the companies that can help these countries develop these resources would be paramount to economic suicide.

This is not to say that environmental sustainability and climate change should not be at the top of the list of concerns when debating the African energy sector, but it should inform environmental impact assessment policies and foster best practices in the industry, not put a stop to it.

Yes, renewable energy sources can have a role in contributing to expand electrification in Africa, and solar and wind power have become competitive when compared to carbon-based generation, but that will always depend on the resources available in each region and will always have to be supported by other forms of generation capacity that can overcome the issue of intermittency that follows renewable power generation.

This is already happening. Kenya, for instance, is one of the world’s leading nations in terms of the share of its energy matrix coming from renewables, on its way to reach 100% in the coming years, but it also holds some of the world’s largest geothermal energy reserves, and it will continue to develop its oil reserves because it needs the money to fund economic development.

Africa’s time to grow and develop is finally here, and it will be funded by its natural resources. Misguided moral lessons from the West will do little to change that because the financial resources coming from these activities are crucial and irreplaceable. In a somewhat ironic way, even if Africa wanted to stop using fossil fuels and shifted every power station to renewable sources, it would still be forced to develop its oil and gas fields in order to fund that transition.

There is no point in promoting radical approaches to the energy transition, particularly for Africa. A balanced manageable and well-lead approach of progressive transitioning combining hydrocarbons and renewable energy development alongside strong environmental protection policies in the sector is the option that is not only realistic, but that will allow to combine economic growth and environmental sustainability.

The New York Times quoted Mr. Gwede Mantashe, South Africa’s Energy Minister, in an article covering the Africa Oil Week. “Energy is the catalyst for growth,” he said, “they even want to tell us to switch off all the coal-generated power stations,” “until you tell them, “you know we can do that, but you’ll breathe fresh air in the darkness”.

Enough said.

*NJ Ayuk is the CEO of Centurion Law Group and the Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber. His experience negotiating oil and gas deals has given him an expert’s grasp of Africa’s energy landscape. He is the author of “Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and doing deals.”

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African Energy Chamber and Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Discuss Technical Cooperation at Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC)
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments
The Chamber will be assisting in the organization of an OPEC Technical Workshop in Dakar in early 2020
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, November 12, 2019/ — A team of the African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org/) led by Executive Chairman Nj Ayuk met with the Secretary General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) H.E. Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo today in Abu Dhabi. Both parties discussed the sharing of best industry practices and technical cooperation with new and upcoming African oil producers.

Given the increasing number of African producers who have rejoined OPEC, and the strong support of non-OPEC African nations for the Declaration of Cooperation, both parties agreed on the opportunity to strengthen the technical dialogue between OPEC and Africa.

In order to cement OPEC’s engagement with new and upcoming producers, the Chamber will be assisting in the organization of an OPEC Technical Workshop in Dakar in early 2020, which will be open to regional technicians from ministries and national oil companies. “As OPEC expands, it is important to open its technical meetings and workshops to non-member countries who could potentially join the Organization later,” explained Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber and CEO of the Centurion Law Group.

H.E. Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo welcomed the initiative as a very timely one, insisting that now is the right time for countries such as Senegal to engage with OPEC and the global oil industry. “Such technical workshops can establish a framework for the long-term sharing of best industry practices for new African producers. They ultimately benefit the development of transparent and sustainable industries, this is good for Africa and Africans.”

*Africa Energy Chamber
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2019 Africa Investment Forum: There’s never been a better time to invest in Africa than now, infrastructure, agriculture investment opportunities abound
November 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

It was a presidential start on Monday to the African Development Bank’s Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Dignitaries and delegates from the continent and around the world gathered to listen to Presidents Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Prime Minister Agostinho do Rosario of Mozambique. 

They engaged in a discussion titled, Invest in Africa’s Space: Conversation with African Heads of State, moderated by Dr. Victor Oladokun, African Development Bank Group Director of External Relations and Communications.

The message from all is clear – Africa is better placed than ever for investment.
President Cyril Ramaphosa identified infrastructure, energy, manufacturing and tourism as the sectors where the most investment opportunities exist in South Africa. And as the tourism capital of the continent, the president claims when God created Africa, he spent more time on the southern tip.

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagama had a positive message to share, “There has been a lot of progress and activities taking place on the continent, raising Africa to a higher level. I have always thought it was Africa’s time – but in the past we have let ourselves down.” He says his country has created a conducive investment environment through good governance systems and security, and according to the World Bank, it is the second easiest African country with which to do business. Rwanda is focusing on three main areas – creating an agribusiness hub, the planned Kigali Innovation City and the Kigali Innovation Fund.

For Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area remains a priority. He says his government is working to strengthen the country’s macro-economy, “We’ve managed to turn around rising inflation, curbed debt, and maintained discipline in the managing of public finances. In just 3 years, our economy is expanding to become one of the world’s fastest growing economies.” The country’s current priorities are infrastructure, agriculture and mineral resources.

Prime Minister Agostinho do Rosario representing the President of Mozambique, says his country has changed a lot. His government is open to investment, fighting corruption and has improved transparency. It has managed to control inflation, reducing it from 27% to 13%. The country has a youthful population, which is ready to work. Mozambique has many investment opportunities, particularly in oil and gas, agriculture and mineral resources.

The four presidents also responded to questions from the audience.
There was a common theme amongst the leaders – continuing governance issues need to be addressed, such as political stability, security and conflict. President Kagama says many African states know what needs to be done, which includes improving accountability, transparency and trust, while promoting the role of women.

Answering a question about the safety of foreign nationals in South Africa, President Ramaphosa reassured the continent that his country has always welcomed people from around the world, especially its neighbors, as South Africa is home to all.

He says his government is taking action and setting up an early warning system.

On agriculture and fisheries sector in Mozambique, Prime Minister Agostinho do Rosario said the industries are vital for job and income creation. He adds that only 10% of arable land in his country is being used. Modernization is needed, as well as expansion in crops like maize, cashew nuts and cotton. Mozambique’s government is also working to maintain peace in the country.

Asked about his government’s approach to the cocoa industry, Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo explained that his country and Côte d’Ivoire produce about 65% of the world’s cocoa, worth about $100bn. Of that money, the farmers producing the product, receive about $6bn. Both countries have decided to take action by forging a common policy with a set cocoa floor price, increasing the farmers’ earnings.

The Africa Investment Forum is an innovative, multi-stakeholder transactional marketplace conceived by the African Development Bank, aimed at raising capital, advancing projects to the bankable stage, and accelerating financial closure of deals.

The 2018 inaugural Africa Investment Forum secured investment interests for deals valued at $38.7 billion — in less than 72 hours.

The 2019 Forum runs from 11 to 13 November in Johannesburg, South Africa.

*AFDB

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NJ Ayuk Officially Launches his Second Book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals
November 7, 2019 | 0 Comments
In Billions at Play, Ayuk places the energy sector at the center of the continent’s economic growth
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 7, 2019/ — Ministers and industry executives from across Africa’s energy industry joined Centurion Law Group CEO and Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org/), NJ Ayuk in Cape Town today for the official launch of his second book, “Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals.”

During a ground breaking ceremony, Ayuk welcomed as Guest of Honors H.E Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea; Hon. Abdirashid Mohammed Ahmed, Minister of Petroleum of the Federal Republic of Somalia; Kola Karim, Group Managing Director of Shoreline Energy and Mr. Rene Awambeng, Global Head of Client Relations at Afreximbank.

In Billions at Play, Ayuk places the energy sector at the center of the continent’s economic growth and argues that the oil and gas sector is well-positioned to turn the African narrative around. Over 100 guests were in attendance to celebrate the release of what is now Africa’s energy best-seller, already number one on Amazon.


“Billions At Play is a roadmap for Africans to build an inclusive future,” declared Nj Ayuk during the ceremony. “It articulates the voices and aspirations of millions of Africans and reflects the best of what our oil & gas industry and its leaders can do for our continent.”

Billions At Play became number one on Amazon in several categories only a few days after its release, making it one of Africa’s energy best-seller.
*Africa Energy Chamber 
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African Development Bank Shareholders approve landmark $115 billion capital increase, signalling strong support
November 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

  • Bank’s capital base more than doubles. Jumps from $93 billion to $208 billion
  • Largest capital increase in the Bank’s history signals a united front by shareholders

At an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting today in Abidjan, Governors of the African Development Bank, representing shareholders from 80 countries, approved a landmark $115 billion increase in capital for the continent’s foremost financial institution.

The capital increase, the largest in the history of the African Development Bank since its establishment in 1964, is a remarkable show of confidence by shareholders.

With the approved increase, the capital of the Bank will more than double from $93 billion to $208 billion. This solidifies the Bank’s leadership on development financing for the continent.

The boost in capital ensures that the Bank will continue to maintain a sterling AAA rating, all stable, from the top rating agencies.

The African Development Bank launched discussions on the request for a general capital increase two years ago, to help fast track the delivery of its High 5 development strategies, the sustainable development goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the President of Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara said: “the integration of the continent’s priorities into the High 5s indicates that the African Development Bank group is a strategic partner for African governments.”

In the past four years, the Bank’s High 5 priorities have delivered impressive results on the ground, including helping to connect 16 million people to electricity, 70 million people provided with agricultural technologies to boost food security; 9 million people given access to finance through private sector investee companies; 55 million people provided improved access to transport services; and 31 million people with access to water and sanitation.

According to African Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina,  “We have achieved a lot, yet there is still a long way to go. Our responsibility is to very quickly help improve the quality of life for the people of Africa. This general capital increase represents a very strong commitment of all our shareholders to see better quality projects that will significantly have an impact on the lives of the people in Africa –  in cities, in rural communities, and for millions of youth and women.”

With the new general capital increase, the Bank plans to do more, with the following expected results: 105 million people to have access to new or improved electricity connections; 244 million people to benefit from improvements in agriculture; 15 million people to benefit from investee projects; 252 million people to benefit from improved access to transport; and 128 million people to benefit from improved access to water and sanitation.

Adesina noted that “the Bank will continue its leadership role on infrastructure development, strengthening regional integration, helping to realize the ambitions of the African Continental Free Trade Area, supporting fragile states to build resilience, ensuring sustainable debt management, addressing climate change and boosting private sector investments. We will do a lot more. This is a historic moment.”

He added: “I applaud the shareholders for their strong confidence in the Bank and for boosting support for Africa’s development”.

President Adesina, Bank senior vice-president Charles Boamah and vice president for Finance and Bank Chief Finance Officer Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala, will be available for interviews and further comment about the increase.

*AFDB

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African Xenophobia: A Diagnosis
November 5, 2019 | 0 Comments

James N. Kariuki*

South Africa did not invent xenophobia in Africa. On large scale, that dubious tradition was initiated by Nigeria in 1983 when the Giant of Africa expelled two million ‘undocumented immigrants’ mostly from Ghana.

That Afro-phobic expulsion was extra-poignant to the extent that it was official, undertaken in the name of the state. On January 17th1983 President Shehu Shagari’s made a public announcement that all ‘foreigners without proper papers’ had to depart from Nigeria forthwith or face arrests. A quarter of a Century later, Nigerian nationals in faraway South Africa would   complain bitterly of being ‘targeted’ in brutal xenophobic attacks. Had the Nigerian chickens come home to roost?

Nigeria’s Economic Cycles

Nigeria’s xenophobia was prompted by swings between economic success and economic stress. In 1956, the country struck oil. By the 1970s it blossomed to its golden decade, skyrocketed by high worldwide oil prices. Almost suddenly, Nigeria became destination of choice for citizens of its poor neighbors.

Unfortunately for Nigeria its economy faltered in the early 1980s. A combination of declining demand for oil due to a recession in the West, and increased oil production elsewhere, undercut oil prices substantially. Due to the collapsing oil market, the source of Nigeria’s economic bonanza, its rise to economic prosperity halted.

A faltering economy, a sizeable non-Nigerian presence in the country and the approaching 1983 general elections, which were laced with anti-immigrant undertones, converged upon Shagari, pushing him to the infamous executive order of 1983.  In contrast, South Africa’s xenophobia invariably arises ex-officially and from the indigenous masses. 

Remarkably, harsh as it was, the Nigeria’s exodus was largely free of hateful and incriminating xenophobic criminality. Yet, the event caused horrendous suffering. To this day, the bag that the ‘illegal immigrants’ used to haul away their belongings, the ‘Ghana Must Go’, is permanently etched in the mind as an indelible reminder of human tragedies in Africa.

South African Xenophobia

The demise of apartheid was largely derived from the black armed struggle in the quest to make the country ungovernable. But the 1976 Soweto Uprising also inserted its unique input. The unarmed children of Soweto stared at the apartheid monster in the eye with an unequivocal old American-inspired challenge: ‘give me liberty or give me death.’ After that, obliterating the demonic apartheid became an all black people’s obsession. 

Even in prison, Nelson Mandela was the anti-apartheid’s uncontested torch-bearer; its ultimate anti-thesis. Yet there were reticent critics who were convinced that, in negotiating apartheid away, Mandela underestimated the primacy of ‘economic kingdom’, especially regarding land. The diehard among these was his wife, Winnie Mandela, whose views were willingly bequeathed to the political firebrand, Julius Malema and his Economic Freedom Party. In name and inference, Malema’s party was remarkably reminiscent of Oginga Odinga’s famous book, Not Yet Uhuru. 

Mandela is said to have been a widely-read prisoner and was probably captured by Kwame Nkrumah’s famous dictum, “Seek ye the political kingdom first and the rest shall be added unto you.” In negotiating apartheid’s demise he overestimated the primacy of political kingdom at the expense of economic kingdom, allowing the latter to remain safely in white man’s domain. Was Mandela mindset compromised by his inner-most commitment to racial reconciliation and peace for the motherland and honoring Nkrumah’s popular anti-colonial slogan of political primacy?

Whatever the case, Mandela did not foresee that by 2019, the World Bank would rank South Africa as the most unequal society in the world. Yet, other than shallow trappings of power, political kingdom had delivered little for his fellow blacks. Professor Ali Mazrui would later lament that in the 1994 settlement, “…the white man said to the Blacks ‘You can take the crown and we’ll keep the jewels.’” Did Mandela’s economic concession become democratic South Africa’s original sin?

Shattered and battered, victims of xenophobic attacks in South Africa return home in Ngeria.Photo credit CNN
Shattered and battered, victims of xenophobic attacks in South Africa return home in Ngeria.Photo credit CNN

Meeting Basic Needs

Lack of jobs and services for the poor has consistently bedeviled post-apartheid South Africa since xenophobic violence started to erupt in 2008. And, to emphasize the point, these Afro-phobic attacks have invariably erupted in the poor neighborhoods.  

The perpetrators of the attacks are mostly the so-called ‘born frees’, the post-apartheid generation. They are young and willing to earn honest living, but there are no jobs to be had; South Africa’s youth unemployment rate is at 31 percent.  Yet, the impoverished ‘born frees’ see foreign intruders owning running corner stores in their own neighborhoods.

The tormented ‘locals’ resent the non-South Africans owning retail stores in their neighborhoods. They are seen as neither neighbors nor comrades; they are intruders. They are reachable and vulnerable targets in the path of least resistance. Venomous political inciters take advantage of the situation; the non-South Africans are subjected to indiscriminate attacks and looting. What starts off as domestic protests for jobs and service delivery transform into xenophobic attacks. The ensuing mayhems are officially categorized as criminality; but nobody is prosecuted.

Conclusion Against this background, what binds the Nigerian and South African versions of xenophobia?We need not be flag-waving Marxist ideologues to realize that economic determinism plays a critical role in fuelling xenophobia in Africa.  After all, if you toss a few bones to a bunch of hungry dogs, fights are inevitable.

* *James N. Kariuki is a Kenyan Professor of International Relations (Emeritus).  He comments on public issues in various international publications.He runs the blog Global Africa

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Extraordinary Meeting of African Development Bank Governors: “Make the right decision” for Africa to achieve its objectives, says Alassane Ouattara, President of Côte d’Ivoire
November 1, 2019 | 0 Comments
The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, with Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. Photo AFDB

The message was well received by Adesina, who warmly welcomed the presence of President Ouattara, members of his Government, and shareholders
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, October 31, 2019/ — The President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, on Thursday called on the Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB.org) to “make the right decision” to enable the continent to achieve its development goals.

President Ouattara made the remarks at the opening of the 5th extraordinary meeting of the African Development Bank Board of Governors in Abidjan.

“Achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 requires substantial financial resources. Africa cannot achieve these goals without the financial support and technical assistance of partners, including the African Development Bank,” explained President Ouattara.

“We are convinced that the Governors will make the right decision, to agree on a general capital increase,” he continued. The Ivorian Head of State expressed his confidence that “the Board of Governors, (African Development Bank) President Adesina and his team will take all appropriate steps for prompt, full implementation of commitments made for reforms to optimize operational headroom resulting from the additional capital.” 

The message was well received by Adesina, who warmly welcomed the presence of President Ouattara, members of his Government, and shareholders.

“Looking around me, I am delighted to see you, our shareholders, among us. Your presence inspires us. Your support strengthens us. Your advice lights our pathway towards the mission you have entrusted to us,” Adesina said.


Adesina then addressed the Governors: “Your decision on the capital increase will fully replenish us. This is a historic moment for a historic decision! We have climbed the steep slope of the mountain that is development in Africa, but we still have a long path to travel. Your support will fill our lungs with oxygen to keep us climbing upwards until we reach the top.”

With the general capital increase, the Bank will be in a position to develop a range of ambitious initiatives on the continent: Desert to Power aims to provide 250 million people with access to electricity in the Sahel region, while AFAWA (Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa) aims to mobilize $3 billion in new financing. The Bank also plans to double climate funding and make the African continental free trade area a reality.

Nialé Kaba, Minister of Planning and Development of Côte d’Ivoire and President of the Board of Governors, recalled the path travelled over the past two years since the Bank first expressed a wish for this capital increase: ” The goal is to provide the means to address challenges. Africa looks to us, not with apprehension but with hope. I am convinced that we will succeed in joining our efforts to achieve the expected objective.”

*AFDB
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Gambia’s Vice President Urges African Youths to Engage Gov’ts Responsibly
October 30, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Dr. Isatou Touray, Vice President of The Republic of The Gambia

Dr. Isatou Touray, Vice President of The Republic of The Gambia has urged African youths to be more critical minded and use non-violent means of engaging their governments in addressing their concerns, aspirations and wishes.

She was speaking during the opening of the  third African Youth Forum is currently underway in Banjul on 29-30 October, 2019 at Paradise Suite Hotel.

Organised by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO  OHCHR, other United Nations agencies, CODESRIA, Trust Africa, ARTICLE 19 and the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation, in close collaboration with the Gambia Government,  Pan-African Youth Network for Culture and Peace (PAYNCOP) and the African Commission on Human and People’s Right (ACHPR).

The event attracted lot of young people within the sub-region under the theme:” Engaging young African leaders in implementing the 2030 and the 2063 Agenda”.

UNESCO and its partners over the five years have provided youth organizations with space and a voice to define and lead their own development agenda.

The overall objectives of this two-day Forum is to provide young African leaders of both sexes of all categories and to show willingness of African youth to receive the legacy of their heritage, the commitment to safeguarding and conservation of this cultural capital for a prosperous Africa enriched with a strong cultural identity.

Dr. Isatou Touray told the regional youth that:“Am very happy to hearing young people saying we want development, we want to move forward, we want to alleviate poverty and I believe the only way we can achieve these is to move in a way that is non conflict means of engagements. We need critical minds and critical consciousness, is not seating down and go out there and organized protests and start attacking because you don’t know where it will end”,

 She challenges African youths to love of their continent, to protect their continent, their countries and communities in a bid to move Africa forward, adding that war and conflict mongering will only derail the growth and progress of the continent at a time when other regions are on the move.

“Dear participants the current political and developmental discourses we are facing is competitive, the various political economies that are dominant in developmental discourses are acknowledging and recognizing the potentials of our continent. Therefore, they are focusing attention on Africa which is very positive and we as Africans must be ready to take this advantage, we must also be ready to engage our leaders in a peaceful, non-violent means in our collective desire to move the continent forward”, VP Touray explained.

She called on the youths to work towards changing the narratives about Africa from negative to positive, noting that all what is said of Africa is about killings, tribal and ethnic problems, the unruly behaviors of the youths plus everything negative about Africa, arguing that continent’s youths can learn from the positive stories of The Gambia youths who ended 22 years of dictatorship in the country through non-violent means.

 “The Gambian youths and women were leaders in changing the country from dictatorship to a democracy through the use of the social media and in a non-violent way. We mobilize, we organized ourselves, shares one common mission to change what was happening because we were all suffering through the use of the social media in a positive way. The use of the social media is not create problems or to create coup’d’état on the various social platforms”, Gambia’s Vice President stated.

Dr. Touray said the doors Gambian Government is widely open to engage, promote and enhance the potentials, growth and development of youths, nothing that youths are the leaders of today and tomorrow and Barrow government will leave no stone unturned as far as youth matters are concern.

Mr. Dembo Kambi, chairman of Gambia National Youth Council said young people should be given access to important information that will empower and give them the opportunity to participate in political and democratic rights of their country.

He stressed that young folks cannot continue to adopt poverty in Africa. He stressed that youth are not only the future leaders of tomorrow but rather they should be the future of today.

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Kenya to export the second consignment of crude oil in February
October 29, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma |@journalist_27

President Uhuru Kenyatta during the official flagging off of the Kenya’s first oil shipment

Come February, 2020 Kenya will export the second consignment of 500,000 barrels of crude oil, an increase from 200,000 barrels shipped in August 2019.

The East African joined the rank of the petroleum exporting countries after it released its first batch of 200,000 barrels to the international market under the Early Oil Pilot Scheme (EOPS), an initiative owned by the government. The oil was dispatched by the China National Chemical Corporation Ltd (ChemChina) at a cost of $12 million.

Addressing the press in Nairobi on Tuesday, Brian Muriuki an advisor to the State Department of Petroleum and mining reiterated that the government is aiming at establishing the demand for Kenya’s oil in the global markets.

“We want to sell crude oil in bigger consignments in future in order to achieve better prices at the international oil markets. Good performance of Kenya’s oil in the international market will also give confidence to the oil exploring firms to scale up investment to achieve commercial production,” Muriuki said.

Two thousand barrels are produced daily at the oil fields in Lokichar basins, Northwest of Kenya. The British firm Tullow had revealed that the onshore fields have approximately 560 million barrels which will see the country producing between 60,000 to 100, 000 barrels per day in near future.

According to Muriuki, the investment decision will be arrived at once some key factors such as the approval of the project’s environmental impact assessment by the Kenya’s National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and the completion of commercial agreements to new funding have been dealt with.

Kenya’s oil has been described as waxy since it needs heating at room temperature, sweet and light due to its low sulphur content.

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South Sudan: Training of VIP protection forces still to commence despite deadline
October 29, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Riek Machar.Photo Credit AFP

Juba – South Sudan ceasefire monitor body says the training of the VIP protection forces has not yet commenced despite the pre – transitional deadline, something that sets a fragile peace deal in peril.

Major Gen. Desta Abiche Ageno, Chairman of the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangement, Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM), says it is concerned about the “slow progress” in the training of the VIP protection forces and the registration of forces as the deadline approaches.

The Joint Military Ceasefire Commission has been working hard to register forces in the cantonment sites across since months ago, but Gen. Abiche says it is not yet complete at all sites.

“CTSAMVM observes that no training of the necessary unified forces – including the VIP protection force has taken place,” said Gen. Abiche, during the last, 16th CTSAMVM technical committee meeting in Juba on Tuesday.

3000 members of a VIP protection force would have supposed to be trained at now before November 12.

Of recently, President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar disagreed on the formation of a unity government by November 12.

Both Machar, and Lam Akol, leader National Democratic Movement called for further delays to all the signatories to the shaky peace deal to complete the outstanding issues of security arrangements and determination of number of states and boundaries.

But, the UNSC says there should be no more extensions……. the remaining issues of the number of states, the boundaries and other things can be discussed by inclusive South Sudanese government.

The other signatories insisted that the unity government must be formed by November 12 and outstanding issues addressed later.

However, the Ceasefire monitor body says the lack of sufficient logistic support to cantonment sites – especially food and medicine, has not been addressed and the CTSAMVM is observing many of those registered forces now leaving designated sites including MirMir, Kendila, Sue, Ngo Alimah and Pantiit respectively.

35 cantonment sites have been identified across the country by the Joint Military Ceasefire Commission to cantoned the rival forces, a move in line with a new peace deal

The cantonment is a critical foundation in enabling the security arrangements to be in place, but progress toward full cantonment before 12 November is now far behind schedule, said Gen. Abiche.

The ceasefire has been, and continue to be successful as there have been no clashes between the parties to the revitalized peace agreement for over a year, something the ceasefire monitor says it is a ‘major achievement’ and one for which the parties must be commended.’

Major Gen. Rabi Mujung Emmanuel, government representative says they are working toward the training of the VIP protection before the November 12.

“Government will response positively and the security mechanism could be in place [before the formation of a unity government],” said Mujung.

In May, the two principals agreed to form a unity government in six months and again, in September, due to the unfinished security arrangements, among others, further reiterated that they will establish a unity transitional government by November 12 as part of the deal.

The fragile deal has stalled due to lack finances to fund the security arrangements, disarmament and integration of the army.

South Sudan secured independence from north Sudan in 2011 after decades of a scorched – earth civil war that has killed two million lives but descended into its own conflict in late 2013 after president Kiir sacked Dr. Machar as vice president.

With latest peace deal, the warring leaders are trying to ending the country’s five – year conflict that has uprooted four million people from their homes and ruined the country’s economy.

With just a two weeks to the pre – transitional deadline, the parties have failed to train half of 83,000 troops needed for the national army, national security and the police services.

The region and international community is mounting pressure on the South Sudanese warring parties’ leaders to agree on outstanding issues and form a unity government by November 12, with no delays.

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How Europe’s Greedy Lending to Africa Is Driving the Migration Wave That Fuels the EU’s Xenophobic Politics
October 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Vijay Prashad*

Cameroon’s President Paul Biya (2L) speaks with French President Emmanuel Macron (C) next to Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe (L), Luxembourg’s President Xavier Bettel (3L), Gabon’s President Ali Bongo (3R), Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame (R) as leaders pose for a family photo during the 5th African Union – European Union (AU-EU) summit in Abidjan, on November 29, 2017..Ivory Coast President opened a Europe-Africa summit on November 29, calling for “all urgent measures” to end migrant abuses, including slave trading in Libya. / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO (Nov. 28, 2017 – Source: AFP)

If you ask an African migrant in Europe who came across the Mediterranean Sea in a boat if they would make the journey again, most of them would say “yes.” Many of them had been on vans and trucks that took them across the dangerous Sahara Desert, and many of them had beenon board vessels that struggled to get across the choppy waters. They might have seen their fellow migrants die of thirst or of drowning, but none of that halts their conviction that they’d cross the sands and the seas again.

Harsh treatment by European border guards and an overwhelming experience of racism inside European society do not bring regret or suggest that they would not do it again.

“It was all to earn money,” said Drissa from Mali. “Thinking of my mom and my dad. My big sister. My little sister. To help them. That was my pressure. That’s why Europe.”

Myths About African Migrants

A UN Development Program report, released on October 17, shows that 97 percent of the nearly 2,000 African migrants in Europe interviewed would take the same risks to come to Europe again knowing what they know now about the danger of the journey or what life in Europe would be like. What is powerful about this UN report is that it dispels the many myths about African migration.

There is a terrible view that Africans are somehow “invading” Europe, even worse “swarming” into Europe. Anti-immigration rhetoric speaks of building fences and creating a Fortress Europe. It is as if there is a war, and Europeans must arm themselves against invaders. A year ago, the UN’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng warned that European politicians fan the flames with hateful rhetoric that “is legitimizing hatred, racism and violence. While extremists spread inflammatory language in mainstream political discourse under the guise of ‘populism,’ hate crimes and hate speech continue to rise. Hate crimes constitute one of the clearest early-warning signs for atrocity crimes.” At the UN in Geneva this May, Dieng—a Senegalese lawyer—said, “Big massacres start always with small actions and language.”

The UN report shows that the hatefulness around the African migrant is misplaced. The reasons for major flows of migration to Europe actually come from within Europe itself. Those leaving war zones—Syria and Afghanistan in West Asia, but also Eritrea and Libya—come in expected numbers as they flee bombs that are often produced inside Europe. These numbers are much higher than for those Africans who come to Europe for work.

FILE: Migrants seen aboard a wooden boat on the Mediterranean sea. Picture: AFP.

In fact, more than 80 percent of African migrants stay on the continent. The proportion of African emigration out of the continent compared to Africa’s population “is one of the lowest in the world,” says the United Nations. Most of the migrants who go to Europe, according to European data, come by regular channels—with a visit to the embassy, an application for a visa, the granting of the visa, and then a flight into the country; irregular arrivals, many of whom might come by boat, are far fewer than those who come with a valid visa. It is racism that fails to acknowledge this reality.

Remittances

If you dig into the numbers from the UNDP report, you find that 58 percent of the African migrants in Europe were either employed at home or in school when they decided to leave; most of the migrants had jobs and earned competitive wages. What drove them is the insecurity in their countries, and the fact that they felt they could earn more elsewhere. More than half of the migrants had been supported financially by their families to make the journey, and 78 percent sent back money to their families.

World Bank statistics show that remittances to African countries are growing. In line with the global trend, sub-Saharan Africa received more foreign exchange from remittances than from foreign direct investment (FDI).

In 2018, according to the World Bank, remittances to sub-Saharan Africa totaled $46 billion—almost 10 percent more than in 2017. The countries that received high remittances were Comoros, Gambia, Lesotho, Cabo Verde, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Togo, Ghana, and Nigeria.

The total FDI flow into sub-Saharan Africa, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), was $32 billion, up by 13 percent from 2017, but a significant amount less than the remittance flows.

Migrants who send money home are more important than the corporations and banks that bring investment dollars into these countries. It’s too bad the bankers are treated better than the migrants.

African Debt Crisis 2.0

Africa is on the threshold of a major debt crisis.

The last debt crisis was in the 1980s, as part of the broader Third World debt crisis. In the decolonization period, Africa—looted of its wealth by colonialism—had to borrow money for development; these funds were large, but worse was the manipulation of dollar-denominated debt by the London Interbank Borrowing Rate (LIBOR) and by the U.S. Treasury’s interest rates. Skyrocketing debt in the 1980s produced a long period of austerity and suffering. That debt simply could not be paid as long as multinational corporations effectively stole Africa’s resources and refused to pay taxes on that drain of wealth. This was the reason why initiatives such as the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) were created by the World Bank and the IMF in 1996 and 2005, respectively. By 2017, these initiatives provided $99 billion to reduce Africa’s debts from a debt-to-GNI (Gross National Income) ratio of 119 percent to 45 percent.

No change in the structure was made—no assault on transfer mispricing and base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS), mechanisms used by Western-based multinationals to continue their plunder of the African continent. When the 2014 commodity price shock came, many African countries slipped gradually toward a new debt crisis. The new debts are not all government debt, but they include very high proportions of private sector debt, which has tripled from $35 billion (2006) to $110 billion (2017) according to World Bank figures. Debt repayments have risen dramatically, which means that investments in health and education have declined, as has access to capital for small-scale private sector businesses.

Currently, according to World Bank numbers, half of the 54 states in Africa struggle with high debt-to-GDP (Gross Domestic Product)—with many of these over the 60 percent threshold that signals a crisis. The rate of increase of this debt has set off alarms across the continent.

What does this mean?

It means that if there is any financial crisis in the West, it will draw away financing from Africa, plunge the region into another major debt crisis, and set millions of people in search of better earning opportunities. Families and countries in Africa have come to rely upon these remittances. They are part of the structural fabric of finances.

Racism against the migrant is an enormous problem, and it must be tackled in itself.

But deeper than that is another problem that has grown as a result of no effective post-colonial policy—the structural problem of the ongoing theft of resources from Africa, and of the lack of financing for the continent to develop its own potential. Allowing multinational firms to steal African resources, and allowing foreign banks to lend to Africa at virtually usurious conditions, simply creates a cycle of crisis that results in migration and remittances as the band-aids.

Europe does not have a refugee or migration crisis. The real crisis is in Africa, where the thief—often a European firm—continues to undermine the continent’s ability to breathe.

*This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute.Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, editor and journalist. He is a writing fellow and chief correspondent at Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He is the chief editor of LeftWord Books and the director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He has written more than twenty books, including The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World (The New Press, 2007), The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South (Verso, 2013), The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution (University of California Press, 2016) and Red Star Over the Third World (LeftWord, 2017). He writes regularly for Frontline, the Hindu, Newsclick, AlterNet and BirGün.

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