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South Sudan’s vice President Dr. Machar, wife tested positive of COVID 19
May 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Dr. Riek Machar, First Vice President and Angelina Teny, Minister of Defense use elbow greetings during a recent event in Juba. PHOTO: Courtesy

Juba – South Sudan’s First Vice President Riek Machar Teny and his wife, Minister of Defense Angelina Teny, have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

However, the Ministry of Health said Dr. Machar and Angelina, including other government officials were tested on Wednesday last week.

Dr. Makur Koriom, the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Health said the First Vice President and his wife have not shown signs or symptoms for the disease.

“Both are in good health, they have no symptoms, they are in high spirit,” Dr. Makur affirmed.

He said Dr. Machar, Angelina, their bodyguards and family members who recently came into contact with them will self-quarantine for 14 days.

“Among the 57 cases confirmed positive for COVID-19 is his Excellency Dr. Riek Machar Teny, and madam Angelina Teny, the Minister for Defense…they will go into quarantine at their official residence in Juba for the next 14 days,” he added.

Speaking on the state – based television on Monday’s evening, Dr. Riek Machar confirmed that him and his wife, Angelina Teny have both contracted the virus.

“I want to declare that, I, the deputy chair of the high-level task force has been tested [For COVID-19] and found positive. There are other members who are also tested and found positive. I can only say at this stage that Madam Angelina Teny, the minister of defense and veteran affairs is also found positive,” Machar announced in a televised address to the nation.

Machar, until last week, was the deputy chairman of the country’s high-level task force for COVID-19, while his wife was also a member of the COVID-19 team.

Machar and his wife are the first senior government officials in South Sudan who tested positive for COVID-19 and have come out to speak about their test results.

Dr. Makur Koriom stated that medical doctors will continue to monitor Dr. Riek Machar, Angelina Teny and those who have self-quarantined.

“Our doctors will conduct follow up tests after a couple of weeks, and if afterwards the tests return normal, they will then be discharged.”

South Sudan has 347 positive cases of COVID-19 with four recoveries and six deaths related to corona-virus pandemic. 

Analyst described that it is “frightening situation” as the disease has already spread to the country.

According to him, South Sudan is in a battle it cannot afford to loose.

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COVID-19 response must target African agriculture and the rural poor
May 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Olusegun Obasanjo and Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe*

.Agriculture contributes 65 per cent of Africa’s employment and 75 per cent of its domestic trade

Workers slice pineapples into small pieces at Tuzamurane Cooperative pineapple factory in Murehe Cell, Kirehe district, eastern Rwanda. The cooperative and factory which employs over 100 people, both directly and indirectly in rural Gahara sector, exports over two tonnes of dried pineapple snacks to Europe, earning just under $30,000 monthly

Africa has so far escaped the worst health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the continent looks like it could be the worst hit from the economic fallout of the crisis: 80 million Africans could be pushed into extreme poverty if action is not taken. And disruptions in food systems raise the prospect of more Africans falling into hunger. Rural people, many of whom work on small-scale farms, are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of the crisis. It is therefore vital that the COVID-19 response address food security and target the rural poor.

At this time, the international development agenda is prioritizing health, economies and infrastructure. But there must also be a focus on food security, agribusiness and rural development. This is especially important on the African continent.

Agriculture contributes 65 per cent of Africa’s employment and 75 per cent of its domestic trade. However, the rich potential of agriculture as a tool to promote food security and fight poverty is at risk from the effects of COVID-19.

In March, the UN Economic Commission for Africa predicted growth in Africa would drop from 3.2 per cent to 1.8 per cent in 2020. Within the continent, lockdowns are disrupting inter-regional trade. The effect of restrictive measures on food trade is especially worrying, in particular for food-importing countries, but also because of shrinking export markets for the continent’s farmers.

Across the European Union (the largest export market for Africa’s fresh fruits and vegetables), demand has dropped for popular produce such as Kenyan avocados, South African citruses and Moroccan vegetables. Kenya has also recorded an 8.5 per cent decline for tea exports to destinations like Iran, Pakistan and UAE. Within countries, we are already seeing that interruptions to transport and distribution systems are impeding small-scale farmers from accessing essential inputs – like seeds and fertilizer – and from getting their food to markets.

African governments have defined stimulus measures to mitigate national and regional economic impacts of COVID-19. As they do, they must remember that investments in agriculture can be up to five times more poverty-reducing than investments in other sectors. Investments in rural, small-scale agriculture are particularly important for the region’s food security, for safeguarding the livelihoods of some of its most vulnerable people and for sustaining the gains in poverty alleviation and wealth creation.

Small farms everywhere traditionally make a huge contribution to global food security. Around the world, small-farm dominated systems produce 50 per cent of all food calories on 30 per cent of the world’s agricultural land. In sub-Saharan Africa, however, the role of small-scale farms is even more significant: 80 per cent of farms are small in most of these countries.

Even before the current crisis, globally more than 820 million people were going hungry daily. And the majority of the world’s poor and hungry people live in the rural areas of developing  countries. In Africa, reliance on food imports, and lack of services and infrastructure to enable small-scale farmers to produce and market food, along with the shocks of climate change, have all increased the fragility of food access.

In April, the World Bank projected the pandemic would hit Africa the hardest of any region, pushing 23 million people into poverty. This raises the question of how small producers in Africa can get access to inputs and finance to grow and sell the food needed to ensure food security and support livelihoods. African leaders must be in the vanguard of funding solution

In April, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) (https://bit.ly/2WSOWbw) launched a multi-donor fund- COVID-19 Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF) (https://bit.ly/2AmoUpj) – to address the immediate fallout of COVID-19 for rural people in Africa and elsewhere. IFAD specializes in investing in poor rural people, targeting the poorest and most marginalized. Among other goals, the new facility will provide small-scale farmers and fishers with basic inputs, and help them access markets and maintain cash flow. IFAD committed US$40 million to the new fund, but aims to raise at least $200 million more from UN Member States, foundations and the private sector.

The Facility will complement and scale-up the work IFAD has  already been doing to repurpose existing project activities. In Malawi, for example, a programme is providing social cash transfers to ultra-poor farmers and delivering messages about    financial literacy and COVID-19 prevention. In Eritrea, vulnerable households are receiving small ruminants and seeds to strengthen, maintain production, access markets and safeguard household food security during the crisis.

These immediate actions are essential to mitigate the worst risks of the crisis. They are also important to safeguard IFAD’s past and ongoing investments to build the long-term resilience of rural livelihoods. Ultimately, we need to ensure that rural people and their businesses are the foundation of resilient rural economies and food systems across Africa. Then, when the next crisis strikes, the vulnerable people of today will be better able to protect their livelihoods and avoid the risk of falling into poverty and hunger.  

So while it’s urgent to feed people today, we also must look to the days, months and years ahead. This is one reason why IFAD     prioritizes long-term rural and agricultural development and building resilience to future shocks. It is also why we urge policy makers to adapt any relevant lessons from how previous outbreaks like the Ebola virus affected agriculture and food systems.

In the long term, this pandemic underscores the need for Africa to transform agriculture and agribusiness as the surest path to inclusive economic growth, wealth generation and greater resilience.

As Special Envoys, we believe in IFAD’s exceptional mandate and will continue to work closely with the Fund in mobilizing resources to support the most vulnerable on the African continent. The pandemic will expose the livelihoods of rural marginalized groups to unprecedented challenges. To restore hope to those affected, we commit strongly to the idea that no one will be left behind, especially in Africa.

*The authors are Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe, former Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Both are International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Special Envoys engaged to mobilize support and advocate for greater investment in rural areas.

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Rosgeo, Russia’s leading geological company, signed first contracts to start exploration and increase the potential of mineral and hydrocarbon resources in Equatorial Guinea
May 12, 2020 | 0 Comments
Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons
These contracts follow the signing of a Memorandum of understanding between both entities during the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi last October

JSC Zarubezhgeologia and JSC Yuzhmorgeologia, internationally operating subsidiaries of the Russia’s state-owned joint stock company Rosgeo and the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons (MMHof Equatorial Guinea have signed two services contracts for the initial phase of seismic acquisition in transit zone and state geological mapping in the Rio Muni area, Equatorial Guinea. These contracts follow the signing of a Memorandum of understanding between both entities during the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi last October.

JSC Zarubezhgeologia will be performing scouting works for state geological mapping, and JSC Yuzhmorgeologia will be performing scouting works for complex seismic acquisition in the transit zone of Rio Muni. The activities are notably aimed at analysing landscape conditions for geological surveying and prospecting, determining the scope of mapping drilling, researching the possibility of mineralogical sampling of channel deposits, analysing technical conditions for the arrangement of geological camp in Rio Muni, and other scouting necessary to prepare for next phases of exploration works. 

“Such exploration activities will help in extending additional natural resources potential and reserves in Rio Muni, notably crude oil, natural gas and minerals. This falls under the increasing cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, and will help in building a strong exploration base in the country,” state H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons.

“Russian geologists formed the basis of Equatorial Guinea’s geological exploration industry back in the 1970s, and we are delighted to be reviving this successful collaboration and bring in world-class geological activities to the Rio Muni area,” declared Sergei N. Gorkov, CEO of Rosgeo. 

The Rio Muni area is believed to be one of the most promising exploration frontiers in Equatorial Guinea, which could turn the country once again into a hotspot for natural resources exploration. Increased exploration is expected not only to help in sustaining and increasing domestic output of oil and gas, but also in proving additional reserves in key minerals to help Equatorial Guinea further diversify its economy.

*African Energy Chamber
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African leaders laud African Development Bank President for visionary leadership amid COVID crisis
May 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank is lauded for his visionary leadership and bold initiatives to accelerate Africa’s development and to support the continent through the COVID-19 crisis.
President Ramaphosa expressed appreciation for the Bank’s commitment of $26 million for the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

South Africa’s President and African Union chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa and the Nobel peace laureate and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf have commended Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org), for his visionary leadership and bold initiatives to accelerate Africa’s development and to support the continent through the COVID-19 crisis.

President Ramaphosa expressed appreciation for the Bank’s commitment of $26 million for the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, its support in the procurement of critical medical supplies in Africa, and the financial instruments the Bank has provided to assist member countries through the pandemic.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) recently launched a $3 billion “Fight COVID-19” social bond, with bids exceeding $4.6 billion. It is the largest dollar-denominated social bond ever launched in international capital markets and the largest US dollar benchmark ever issued by the Bank. The Bank also launched a $10 billion Crisis Response Facility to support Africa and to address the pandemic.

Through these initiatives, the Bank is poised to deploy funds to provide African governments and the private sector with access to financing to reduce the economic and social impacts of COVID-19.

“I commend the AfDB for taking these bold initiatives and for the role played by the AfDB under your leadership during this challenging period,” President Ramaphosa, also the current chair of the African Union, said in a written message of support to Dr. Adesina.

Echoing President Ramaphosa’s statement, President Sirleaf said: “The leaders of Africa, and I dare say the world, have recognized the important changes that you have made in the Bank – reorganization of management and restructuring of Bank operations around the High 5s that represent a response to Africa’s more critical development needs.”

Acknowledging the Bank’s highest ever capital replenishment last year, President Sirleaf added: “Take heart, dear President, knowing that Africa respects your intellect and commitment and is pleased that through your leadership our premier institution has received worldwide acknowledgement and recognition for high-quality performance and impacting results.”

Under Adesina’s leadership, the African Development Bank has centered its mission around its “High 5” development priorities: Light Up and Power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa.

The Bank’s shareholders in 2019 approved a landmark general capital increase of $115 billion, the largest in the Bank’s history, increasing its capital base to $208 billion.
*AFDB
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Coronavirus: Cameroon Government eases Lockdown Measures
May 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Prime Minister Dion Ngute
Prime Minister Dion Ngute

The Cameroon government has outlined plans to ease the restrictions it imposed weeks ago to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Chief Dr Dion Ngute said the measures will be relaxed as from May 1, with bars, restaurants, allowed to open after 6 pm. The compulsory wearing of masks has been maintained. Schools remain shut with the hope of reopening in June.

The easing of the measures put in place has been well received by the population across the country. Some have, however, questioned the opening of bars, restaurants, with nothing said about churches.

No information has equally been made about the resumption of sporting activities in the country. Professional football in Cameroon was put on hold mid-March due to the virus. It is still uncertain when football will resume. The coronavirus had a tremendous impact on Cameroon hosting some competition such as the CHAN, the CAF Champions League final, as the two events were pushed forward.

The latest number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Cameroon stands at 1,832, with 61 deaths, and 934 recoveries.

“Although screening tests reveal new cases of corona virus-positive patients, the number of people declared healed of this disease in our country has been on the rise,” PM Dion Ngute said in a press outing.

“Furthermore, the mortality rate from this virus remains low, compared to the number of positive cases.”

What has been announced?

The opening after 6 p.m. of bars, restaurants and leisure facilities, with the obligation for customers and users to respect barrier measures, in particular, the wearing of protective masks and social distancing;

The lifting of the measure reducing the mandatory number of passengers in all public transport by bus and taxi. The wearing of masks remains compulsory and overloading is prohibited;

The suspension for the second quarter of 2020 of general accounting audits, except in cases of suspected tax evasion;

The postponement of the deadline for filing Statistical and Tax Declarations, without penalties in case of payment of the corresponding balance;

The granting of moratoria and deferrals of payment to companies directly affected by the crisis, hence, suspending forced recovery measures against them;

Supporting the finances of companies through the allocation of a special envelope of CFAF 25 billion for the clearance of stocks of VAT credits awaiting reimbursement;

The postponement of the deadline to pay land taxes for the 2020 financial year, to 30 September 2020;

Full deductibility to determine the corporate income tax of donations and gifts made by companies for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic;

The exemption from the Tourist Tax in the hotel and catering sectors for the rest of the 2020 financial year, as from March;

Exemption from the withholding tax and from parking fees for taxis and motorbikes, as well as from the axle tax for the 2nd quarter. This measure could be extended to the rest of 2020;

Exemption for the second quarter from the withholding tax and council taxes (market duty, etc.) for petty traders (bayam sellam); 

The temporary suspension for three months of the payment of parking and demurrage charges in the Douala and Kribi ports for essential goods;

The establishment of a MINFI-MINEPAT consultation framework, with the main economic actors, to mitigate the effects of the crisis and promote a rapid resumption of activity;

The suspension for three months, that is, April, May and June, of on-site inspections by the National Social Insurance Fund (NSIF);

The cancellation of penalties for late payment of social security contributions due to the NSIF, upon reasoned request;

Spreading the payment of the social security contributions for April, May and June 2020 over three instalments, upon reasoned request;

The maintenance, for the next three months, that is, from May to July, of the payment of family allowances to staff of companies which are unable to pay social security contributions or which have placed their staff on technical leave because of the economic downturn, particularly in the catering, hotel and transport sectors;

The increase of family allowance from CFAF 2,800 to CFAF 4,500;

The 20% increase of old pensions that were not automatically revaluated after the 2016 reform.

The government has equally extended the measures taken on 17 March 2020, as part of the COVID-19 pandemic response strategy, for an additional 15 days, renewable if necessary.

Prime Minister Dion Ngute added: “I urge the population to continue to strictly observe the barrier gestures and all measures aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus in our country, in particular the systematic wearing of protective masks in all areas open to the public and the prohibition of gatherings.”

“I also call on public workers who have abandoned their duty posts, under the pretext of confinement due to COVID-19, to return without delay to their places of work, failing which they will be subject to the disciplinary sanctions provided for by the regulations in force.”

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Kagame refutes presence of Rwandan soldiers in Eastern DRC
April 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

D.R.Congo President Tshisekedi with Paul Kagame of Rwanda

President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame has refuted claims that Rwandan soldiers have crossed into neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, to fight armed group that are hostile to Kigali based government.

Since early April, it has been reported that in North Kivu Province, Eastern Congo Rwanda Defence Force elements were intercepted in the region of Rutshuru, the area that is believed to be the stronghold of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, FDLR, forces that are accused to have committed Genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda.

In a virtual press conference  held in Kigali on 27th April 2020, President Kagame denies any presence of Rwandan soldiers in DRC.

“The government of DRC knows that there is not a single soldier in eastern DRC. Take it from me that there is no single RDF soldier in that part of the world” he said

He said that instead, in North Kivu, Congolese soldiers have been acting on information Rwanda gives them.

“Fortunately we have a government in  DRC that has come to agree to work with countries in the region to resolve this problem that has been there for years. But according to some people, that is not even a good thing because it is a problem they want to preserve”, he added

President Kagame revealed that there are other voices behind such rumours that Rwandan soldiers are on DRC soil.

He said there are people outside Congo, who benefit in causing troubles in eastern Congo, and use Rwanda as a scapegoat.

“These actors don’t look at it that way, are only concerned about Rwanda being in DRC”, he adds.

Congolese government have not yet commented on Rwandan army being in that country, however Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, FARDC  have launched operations aimed at eradicating negative forces operating from the east.

Since September 2019, many FDLR  top commanders  have been killed in attacks led by Congolese army.

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Commonwealth Secretary-General welcomes findings of Cameroon Joint Commission of Inquiry and calls for speedy implementation
April 23, 2020 | 0 Comments
File picture.Audience with President Biya.I strongly condemn the recent killings of civilians, including women and children in the Northwest of Cameroon , said Commonwealth SG Patricia Scotland in a February statement

The Commonwealth Secretary-General has welcomed the findings of a Joint Commission of Inquiry into incidents in north-west Cameroon earlier this year.

An attack in Ngarbuh village on 13 and 14 February 2020 reportedly left 23 people dead, the majority of them children.

His Excellency President Paul Biya conveyed the findings of the joint commission on 21 April.

Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said:

“I welcome President Paul Biya’s decision to hold the perpetrators of this heinous act accountable. I further welcome the measures the President has ordered to ensure justice and dignity for the victims and their families. Justice is an essential condition for sustainable peace. I once again condole with the families of the victims and I encourage a speedy implementation of the Commission’s recommendations so that justice may be done.”

The Secretary-General added:

“The Government of Cameroon’s openness in addressing this incident is encouraging. When I visited Cameroon in November 2019 with the Secretary-General of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF), Louise Mushikiwabo and the African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, we offered our joint support to the President in his ongoing leadership in finding a lasting and peaceful solution to the conflict in the North-West and South-West regions. I reiterate this offer. We stand ready to continue working with Cameroon in the promotion of our shared values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”

On February 18, the Secretary-General issued a statement condemning the attack

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South Africa:F.W. de Klerk and Deep Scars of Apartheid …Part I
April 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

By James N. Kariuki*

F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela in 1994.Photo JUDA NGWENYA / REUTERS

Three months ago, I suggested in this Blog that fellow South Africans should consider honoring former President F.W. de Klerk’s contribution to ending apartheid as enthusiastically as African-Americans continue to idolize Abraham Lincoln for abolishing slavery in 1863. I hereby withdraw my appeal because de Klerk has steadfastly failed to acknowledge that apartheid was wrong and to sincerely apologize for it. In short, de Klerk has refused to face the evils of the past.

Abraham Lincoln ended American slavery on the basis of a moral imperative: it was wrong in principle. For de Klerk’s the issue of morality never seems to arise; he has never genuinely addressed whether, to him, apartheid was right or wrong. His preoccupation has always been to evolve a political strategy to preserve Afrikanerdom. This explains why, until shortly after this year’s fiasco at the South African State of the Nation Address (SONA), de Klerk made a fool of himself by admitting publicly that he did not know that apartheid was ever internationally condemned as a crime against humanity. 

At the core of the parliamentary confusion on February 3rd was the fact that South Africans, and the world, do not agree on who or what brought about the collapse of South Africa’s draconian socio-economic disorder twenty six years ago. De Klerk and his loyalists are quick to claim that their man, de Klerk, single-handedly brought down apartheid.

The radical Economic Freedom Fighters are obviously unprepared to confer credit for South Africa’s freedom to de Klerk. In addition to being white, he is an Afrikaner who benefited handsomely from the racially-brutal system. He finally rose to the pinnacle of power by winning the leadership of all-white National Party in September 1989. As apartheid’s ‘Golden Boy,’ could de Klerk sincerely dislodge the system?

De Klerk’s life was indeed molded by apartheid and in the end he became president of the globally-loathed eco-system of unmitigated racial discrimination and white supremacy. Within the confines of South Africa, De Klerk slowly but surely evolved into a showcase of apartheid’s success. It was almost unthinkable that a man whose stature was so intertwined with apartheid could sincerely engage in its dismantling.

Non-white Africans tend to confer credit for apartheid’s collapse largely to friends and sympathizers who openly extended assistance to the anti-apartheid forces at their moment of need. African leaders and external sympathizers, their usually non-conformist ideologies notwithstanding, were true friends to the black South Africans to the extent that they supported anti-apartheid forces proudly and unconditionally.

Under these circumstances, was de Klerk pushed or did he choose to negotiate apartheid away in the late 1980s? Pose this question to any politically-aware black African and odds are the answer will be: he did not have a choice. In other words, de Klerk knew that apartheid was already en-route to its grave.

De Klerk was indeed part of the early realization of the wisdom to negotiate with ‘the enemy’ before apartheid collapsed altogether. However, he was by no means its originator. In January 1985 his predecessor, President P.W. Botha, had offered imprisoned-Nelson Mandela his freedom provided he renounced violence. Mandela declined the offer on the grounds that only free men make deals.

If de Klerk’s contributed to evolution of events at that phase, it was in refining and attempting to implement unconditionally a process which his predecessor had already tested. De Klerk’s task was considerably easier given that the disintegration of apartheid’s global boogeyman, the Soviet Union, was already underway.

De Klerk does deserve credit for realizing that race-based apartheid was doomed. Domestically and internationally, it was perceived as unsavory; it could not survive. The apartheid state could disintegrate voluntarily by design or lock horns in a protracted war of attrition that would have no winners. In the academicians’ jargon of the time, the latter alternative was “too ghastly to contemplate.”

Under these circumstances, the only viable option for the white-based rule was a negotiated settlement. If successful, even the former perpetrators of apartheid stood a chance to work out some kind of ‘acceptable deal’ to survive in the post-apartheid order. Even apartheid’s perpetrators would have carved the right of Afrikanerdom’s ‘soft landing’ in the ‘born-again’ South Africa. In this case apologies for apartheid would be gratuitous.  

A crippling contradiction still remained. While both de Klerk and the rest of the world craved for the demise of apartheid, their aspirations were vastly different. The world expected apartheid to vanish from the face of the earth on moral grounds. But De Klerk and apartheid enthusiasts were driven by a desire for a ‘born-again’ South Africa where sins in the dying order went unpunished.

It is understandable that de Klerk and his Afrikaner resisted excessive condemnation of apartheid for its past brutality. To him particularly, extreme reprimand of apartheid would have been an attack on a system that had produced and nurtured him to global prominence. And, to his loyalists, de Klerk’s success was testimony to the viability of their threatened system. Hence, de Klerk’s defiant psychological make-up adamantly resisted finding fault with apartheid.

In fact it was immaterial to de Klerk’s thinking that apartheid may have perpetrated horrific racial crimes in the service of Afrikaners’ nationalism. His instincts were not open to debating such devilish aspects of apartheid’s injustices or whether or not he was duty-bound to apologize for them. His radar was focused on formulating a political strategy to save his Afrikaner community, including those guilty of past transgressions.  

To de Klerk apartheid was generally fine. It was sentenced to death by a world that did not fully grasp the dynamics at work in his homeland, especially the racial component. Given this veneer, it was hardly a surprise that, as late as February 2020, de Klerk admitted publicly that he was not aware that apartheid was condemned worldwide as a crime against humanity. Unfortunately, a whole lot of people knew otherwise.

* 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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Kenya becomes first African country to evacuate its citizens from China
April 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Mohammed M. Mupenda


Africans were victims of harassment in China

The Kenyan government has announced plans to evacuate its citizens who are stranded in China at their own travel costs.

This decision comes after various reports accusing Beijing maltreatment to African people. There are various videos and pictures shared on twitter showing Africans including Kenyans and Nigerians sleeping on the street which prompted African community in diaspora and back home, call on government to rescue those stranded in commercial city of China.

According to the notice issued by officials at Kenyan Embassy in Beijing, this Friday calls on Kenyans ready to buy a ticket out of China to send their information via online platform to be helped out of the country, via Guangzhou, the commercial city in the southern Guangdong province.

But there are some conditions, the notice reads that only Kenyans will be evacuated as long as they can pay their own ticket adding that those Kenyans will have to prove they are free of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), this means they will have to be certified by Chinese medical authorities.

Once they arrive in a country, they will be forced into quarantine for 14 days upon landing in Nairobi.

“If you are ready to travel under these conditions, fill the above QR code so that the bio-data reaches the Kenyan Embassy immediately, “said the notice.

Please be informed that the departure will be from Guangzhou on a date to be determined immediately, the above information is availed. It also provided the number of Mr. Kimoni Waweru, the deputy of head mission in Beijing to inquire from: +86600690463.

However, Kenyans views on twitter suggest that the government should use the funds meant for the pandemic relief to have Kenyans flown back home.

“Our Embassy in China is a big let down. You can’t offer distressed Kenyans an evacuation at their cost! Arrange Qq planes to lift our people. Pay from the Covid-19 fund. Pr Kibaki ordered us to evacuate Kenyans from SA when they faced xenophobic attacks  and we did”, Sen. Moses Wetangu’la tweeted 

Africans have been mistreated by Chinese authorities imposing tight lockdown measures to prevent the virus from the country that is seen to be recovering from the deadly pandemic.

The Kenyan ministry of Foreign affairs admitted its nationals were victims of the controversial policy, now considered as racist.

 “This situation has been extremely worrisome to all of us. The reality is that this has been a very unfortunate outcome. “Africans, Kenyans included, have been discriminated against in the process of [Guangdong provincial] government’s response to mop up the situation that they are facing there, post-crisis,” Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau told a media briefing on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Kenyan Embassies across the world have been asked to update their records of Kenyans living in their areas of jurisdiction. A directive sent out from Nairobi this week says envoys must provide update data on those Kenyans in case evacuation is needed.

*Mohammed M. Mupenda is a news correspondent and freelance reporter, who has written for publications in the United States and abroad. He is also a French and East African language interpreter.

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Cameroon: Salute To A Fallen Compatriot
April 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Dr Chris Fomunyoh*

Hon Joseph Mbah Ndam

Like most of you brothers and sisters, I woke up this morning to this sad and dreadful piece of information. Hon. Joseph Mbah Ndam (or Joe, as I fondly called him, given we were on first name basis) was a brother, friend and classmate. 

Some of you may remember how close Joe and I were back in the 1970s, when we worked hard to revive what was then the all inclusive Moghamo Students & Teachers Association. We ran the Association very effectively, Joe as Secretary-General and I as President. We crisscrossed the 22 villages of Moghamo leading community cleaning and development projects such as carrying out road repairs on the Moghamo section of the Mamfe – Bamenda road which wasn’t tarred at the time, cleaning the Ashong market or the Oshum palace, etc. We even engaged in several reconciliation initiatives among some of the Moghamo elites at the time; and, of course, organized wonderful annual ‘student meetings’ and ballroom dances. We were a formidable team, thanks in large part to Joe’s hardwork, courage, trustworthiness and leadership. To Joe, leadership came naturally – after all, he had been a school prefect in his Alma mater, Government Grammar School, Mamfe!

Joe and I were classmates for four years in the Faculty of Law and Economics of the University of Yaoundé – the only two Law students from our subdivision in our batch. So we bonded as true brothers would. I still remember when we received our scholarships after many months of hardship in Yaoundé, we matched in log step to an Indian shop in downtown Yaoundé and purchased two identical transistor ‘radio cassettes’ (as they were called at the time) for ourselves! I was deeply impressed that upon graduation, Joe would seek a ‘Doctorat de 3e Cycle’ which he pursued at the same time as his pupillage for legal practice with one of the most renowned Law Firms in Yaoundé. That came as no surprise to those of us who knew Joe for his hardwork and thirst for knowledge, despite being already a ‘brain box’ by birth. Joe loved private practice, all with the wig and gown. 

I was already out of the country when Joe started his political career in the SDF, but I remember meeting Joe in Douala in 1992, at the jam-packed SDF convention hall in preparation for the presidential election of that year. Seeing Joe in his traditional garb alI with bag to match, I understood Joe had put his heart and soul into that party and what it stood for. 

Over the years and decades, and watching from afar, I could see Joe was giving it his best and his all. We would compare notes and exchange conversations occasionally every time I was home and our schedules allowed. Fortunately for us both, and perhaps in testament to the excellent times of our youth, our respective personal politics and aspirations never got in the way of our mutual respect and brotherly feelings. As the years went by, it began to show that the shrinking political space in Cameroon was having a toll on his physic as would happen to everyone that cared about the rule of law and the future. 

Growing up, I knew that as courteous as Joe was, he also would spoil for a good political fight, confident that even if he lost a round, he would live to fight another day. Unfortunately, the cold hands of death sneaked upon us this rainy Monday morning, and our dear brother Joe is gone too soon. 

Go in peace brother, and may your soul rest in perfect peace. Our thoughts and prayers are with the rest of the Mbah Ndam family at home and abroad. 

* Dr Christopher Fomunyoh is the Senior Associate for Africa and Regional Director at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in Washington,DC

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African Development Bank appoints Mrs. Nafissatou N’diaye Diouf Acting Director for Communications and External Relations
April 6, 2020 | 0 Comments
I look to Nafissatou to steer the Department at this critical moment as the Bank responds to the rapidly changing situation of COVID-19 and to continue the excellent work done to date in the Department, says AFDB President Akinwumi Adesina

Nafissatou, a Senegalese national, is currently a Division Manager in the Communications and External Relations Department of the African Development Bank Group

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, April 6, 2020/ — The African Development Bank Group (www.AfDB.org) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mrs. Nafissatou N’diaye DIOUF as the Acting Director for Communications and External Relations Department (PCER), effective 1 April 2020.

Nafissatou, a Senegalese national, is currently a Division Manager in the Communications and External Relations Department of the African Development Bank Group. A dedicated and results driven communications professional, Nafissatou brings over twenty (20) years of experience to the role, with a comprehensive background in corporate communications, public relations, journalism, digital and media Development.

Since her appointment as Division Manager in 2018, Nafissatou has fostered agile communication strategies, consistently reflecting cohesion with the Bank’s vision. She has built and led a world-class team of editors, writers, digital and media specialists, resulting in exponential increase in coverage and awareness around the Bank’s strategic objectives and projects.

Prior, Nafissatou had served as a communications consultant with the Bank’s Private Sector and Infrastructure Complex and Trade Department from 2016 to 2018, during which she engaged with Regional Integration and Trade Department Senior Management, streamlining communication and public relations strategies across a variety of platforms.

Before joining the Bank, Nafissatou, the founder and Managing Director of 54 Communications company, in Dakar, Senegal from 2011 to 2017 provided leadership for the cross-functional development and delivery of compelling public relations, branding, communication and event management strategies for a broad spectrum of public and private entities.

Nafissatou also worked as Public Relations Director for Francophone Africa ZK AdvertisingJohannesburg, South Africa during which she demonstrated a keen aptitude for cross-cultural leadership, managing teams of public relations professionals, account managers and country representatives across seven African countries, including Gabon, Niger, Chad, Madagascar, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo. With a creative and collaborative approach to project management within challenging markets, Nafissatou excels in strategic storytelling, content development, capacity building and mentoring.

Prior to her transition into corporate communication, Nafissatou worked as a journalist with the Associated Press (AP), covering international conflicts and crises west and central Africa including Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, Mauritania, and the Central African Republic. Many of her breaking news stories were featured in global newspapers such as the Washington Post, USA Today, The Boston Globe and the LA Times. Nafissatou also worked as an Open-Source Officer for the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), a division of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate of Science and Technology.

A native French speaker, Nafissatou holds a Master of Arts degree in Interpreting and Translation from Salford University in the United Kingdom (UK), a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Applied Language Studies from Thames Valley University and a Diploma in Journalism and Newswriting from the London School of Journalism.

Commenting on the appointment, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank said: “Nafissatou is a respected professional in the Communications and External Relations industry. I look to Nafissatou to steer the Department at this critical moment as the Bank responds to the rapidly changing situation of COVID-19 and to continue the excellent work done to date in the Department”.

*AFDB

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New dawn for Somalia: Arrears owed to the African Development Bank Group cleared
March 24, 2020 | 0 Comments
The Bank Group will immediately provide a new policy-based operation to help boost economic growth and accelerated development of Somalia

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, March 24, 2020/ — Arrears on loans owed by Somalia to the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) Group have been cleared following the payment in full of $122.55 million by the governments of the United Kingdom and the European Union, marking the end of sanctions and the resumption of full re-engagement between the Bank Group and the East African nation. 

The long road to resolution of Somalia’s debt arrears began in 2014 and included the completion of three Staff Monitored Programs of the International Monetary Fund, and significant advances on a fourth program.

The process saw the high level of political commitment and consistent engagement of Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed ‘Farmaajo’, and Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre. This translated into the implementation of reforms that gave confidence to international financial institutions, including the African Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Speaking on behalf of the Somali government, Minister of Finance, Abdirahman Beileh, said: “The settlement of the arrears of Somalia to the African Development Bank, is a new beginning for us in Somalia. We stuck with our reforms, we were persistent, and it has paid off”.

In response, Bank President Akinwumi Adesina noted that it was a historic moment for Somalia. “I am absolutely delighted that the African Development Bank provided the leadership needed to push for and successfully negotiate the arrears clearance for Somalia. It was a reflection of the power of partnerships and consensus building,” Adesina said.

Adesina further noted, “I commend the government of Somalia for their diligence in implementing reforms, and the UK government and the European Union for paying off Somalia’s arrears to the African Development Bank Group. Together, we got it done for the people of Somalia.”

The Bank Group will immediately provide a new policy-based operation to help boost economic growth and accelerated development of Somalia.

The Bank’s current portfolio in Somalia totals $135 million, covering operations in the agriculture, water and sanitation, transport, social and energy sectors, and capacity building for multiple sectors of the economy.
 
About the African Development Bank Group:
The African Development Bank Group (www.AfDB.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank, the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 37 African countries with an external office in Japan, the Bank contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states

*AFDB
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