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Ghana Resorts To Mass Spraying As Covid 19 Cases Jump to 27 with Two dead
March 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica

Markets were closed for exercise to take place

Over 135 markets and commercial hubs in Accra was fumigated as part of plans to contain the covid -19 virus in Ghana. The exercise saw 1,300 spraying officers dispatched to the various markets across the capital Accra.

The Accra metropolitan Assembly AMA maintained a day’s ban for the exercise is enough hence commercial activities will return to normalcy on Tuesday 24th March 2020.

Mayor of Acca,  Mohammed Adjei Sowah says the Ghana Armed Forces, Ghana Police Service and spearheaded by the local government ministry who ensure public compliance with the exercise by the public .

Meanwhile, the Ghana Health Service says in  its latest update reveals  it has confirmed 3 more cases making the total number 27with 2 recorded deaths. 

In a statement on the Ghana Health Service website showing  that “As of 23rd March 2020, [14:00 GMT] 521 suspected cases have tested for COVID-19 by Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) and Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR).

“Among the confirmed cases, twenty are of Ghanaian nationality, most whom returned home from affected countries. Seven are of other nationals namely: Norway, Lebanon, China, France, UK.” 

Accra Mayor, Mohammed Adjei Sowah

All the 25 remaining confirmed cases are receiving treatment in isolation. In respect of contact tracing, a total of 598 contacts have been identified and are being tracked. While Nineteen people have completed the 14 days of mandatory follow up 


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Rwanda in total lockdown for two weeks over coronavirus
March 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Government of Rwanda has taken tougher measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, the deadly virus that is hitting the world.

Prime Minister Dr Eduard Ngirente on Saturday, 21 March, 2020 issued a statement, announcing new measures to halt the spread of the virus.

Among new measures that will be there for two weeks, borders are closed except for goods and cargo as well as returning Rwandan citizens and legal  residents  who will be subject to mandatory 14 day quarantine at designated locations.

Travel between different cities and districts of the country is not permitted  except for medical reasons or essential services. Shops and markets are closed except for those selling foods, medicine, hygiene and cleaning products and fuel.

By Saturday, 21 March, 2020 Rwanda was reporting 17 cases of  people infected with coronavirus.

People were advised to avoid unnecessary movements and visits outside the home except for essential services such as healthcare, food shopping or banking and for the personnel performing such services.

All employees public or private shall work from home except for those providing essential services.

The statement also banned  motorcycles  to carry passengers. Bars are closed and restaurants will be providing take away services only.

New measures come after the previous ones such as banning public gatherings, closing schools and churches.

Worldwide deaths surged past 11,000 on Saturday, according to data collected by the Johns Hopkins University in the United States. More than 277,000 people have been infected, while some 88,000 have recovered.

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IMF postpones visit to Mozambique due to Coronavirus
March 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge dos Santos*

The IMF’s planned staff mission to Mozambique later this month has been postponed, due to travel restrictions relating to the Coronavirus pandemic, according to Ary Aisen, who spoke in Maputo on the sidelines of the launch of the Macroeconomic Forecasts Handbook in Mozambique.

The visit was announced in late February when IMF confirmed Mozambique’s formal request to begin program discussions. IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said the Fund “will be sending a staff mission to Maputo in the second half of March to that effect.”

Mozambique needs “a strong commitment to fiscal consolidation over the medium term, while preserving critical social and infrastructure spending,” Rice said, adding that “strengthening Mozambique’s governance framework is critical to ensure that scarce public resources are put to effective use for the benefit of the lives of the Mozambique people.”

Mozambique doesn’t have any confirmed case of coronavirus yet, but the decease is already impacting many events in the country.

The government has decided to suspend all state travel out of the country, and to prohibit events with more than 300 people, to stop the spread of coronavirus, President Nyusi announced in an address to the nation.

Other measures include mandatory 14-day quarantine of all citizens from countries with ‘active transmission’ of the virus; isolation of anyone with serious symptoms; and screening of all citizens at points of entry into the country.

Neighbouring South Africa, meanwhile, which has confirmed more that 60 cases within its borders, declared a national ‘state of disaster’, is prohibiting gatherings of more than 100 people, closing schools as from this Wednesday, and is banning the travel of all people from high-risk countries into South Africa.

On sunday the country announced the closing of most of its land borders, including three with Mozambique — but the Ressano Garcia border is staying open.

The borders at Pafuri, Giriyondo, and Kosi Bay have been closed.

* jorgedossantosmz@gmail.com

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The U.S. is wronging Nigeria and the Energy Industry with Travel Ban
March 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

Tanzania and Nigeria, particularly, are named by Washington as having failed to meet U.S. security and information sharing standards

By NJ Ayuk*

NJ Ayuk

Including Nigeria in the U.S. travel ban is a political and economical mistake for Trump.

It is difficult to come to terms with the United States’ decision to include Nigeria in the extension he made a few weeks ago to the infamous “Muslim Travel Ban”, which already restricted movements of  people from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria and Yemen. Alongside Nigeria, Tanzania, Myanmar, Eritrea, Sudan and Kyrgyzstan were also added to the list of countries with entry restrictions. Effectively, with the struck of a pen, or a whim, President Trump barred a quarter of the 1.2 billion people living in Africa from applying for residence in the United States.

Officially, the extension made to these nations is based on security concerns. Tanzania and Nigeria, particularly, are named by Washington as having failed to meet U.S. security and information sharing standards. Further, Nigeria is singled out for fears that the country harbors terrorists that could pose risks if they entered the U.S.

Much and more of this is difficult to reconcile with the U.S.-Nigeria long-standing allied relations and particularly with recent programs designed to bring the two nations closer together, but before we go there, let’s look at what the reality shows.

Since 1975, not a single incidence of a Nigerian, or for that case Tanzanian or Eritrean, being involved in a terrorist attack on American soil has been recorded. Boko Haram, the extremist group that has terrorized parts of the North of Nigeria (a region from which few migrants come from) in recent years, has never shown any signs of wanting to expand its territory, much less to open remote branches in North America. In fact, the American and Nigerian forces have worked closely together to address that and other challenges, and the Trump administration itself has recognized Nigeria as an “important strategic partner in the global fight against terrorism.”

Further, while Tanzanians and Eritreans have been excluded from what is known as the green card lottery system, Nigerians have been barred from applying for permanent residence visas in the United States. In 2018, 14 thousand such visas were issued to Nigerians, making it by far the most affected by the ban from all the new entrants to the list.

Beyond the sheer pain that fact must cause to the thousands of Nigerian families that have been waiting for years to be reunited in the U.S., from a security point of view, the decision makes no sense. Only permanent visas have been suspended. Tourist and work visas remain as usual. How does barring access to the most strict and difficult to obtain visas but maintaining the less restrictive short-term ones prevent terrorists from entering the U.S.? It is nonsensical. Even the fact that the announcement of the extension was made by the media before these countries’ authorities were even notified is telling of how lacking in protocol the process seems.

The whole thing is perplexing, but beyond the issues of principle, this decision has the potential to hurt the relations between these countries and the U.S., and when it comes to Nigeria, that risks hurting the U.S. too. Afterall, Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, is the U.S.’s second biggest trade partner in sub-Saharan Africa, is Nigeria’s second biggest export destination and is its the biggest source of foreign direct investment. American companies have extensive investments particularly in the energy and mining sectors in Nigeria, which risk being affected by a breakdown in bilateral relations. Some companies, like ExxonMobil, have been operating in the country for nearly 70 years, since even before the country became independent from colonial rule, and Chevron has also been an active and central participant in the country’s oil industry for over forty years. Both these companies are partners in Nigeria’s mid and long-term strategies to curb gas flaring, develop a gas economy, expand oil production, improve its infrastructure network, raise its people out of poverty, etc.

Nigeria and the U.S., under a bilateral trade and investment framework agreement, sustain an annual two-way trade of nearly USD$9 billion. When the president of the U.S. makes a decision like this, it can affect the relations the country and these companies uphold with Nigeria. Further, it directly clashes with the U.S.’s strategy to counter Russia’s and China’s growing influence in Africa by expanding its relations with the continent.

How does closing the door to Africa’s biggest powerhouse accomplish that?

The policy established under the 2019 Prosper Africa initiative, that was designed to double two-way trade between the U.S. and Africa, seems difficult to reconcile with this latest decision. Over the last couple of years, president Trump has made several statements, at varying levels of political correctness, about how he would like to restrict immigration to the U.S. to highly-skilled highly educated-workers. If that is one of the reasons behind the inclusion of Nigeria, again, it fails completely.

Nigerians represent the biggest African community in the U.S., numbering around 350 thousand, and one of the communities with the highest level of education in the US globally. According to the American Migration Policy Institute, 59% of Nigerian immigrants have at least a bachelor’s degree. That is higher than the South Korean community (56%), the Chinese community (51%), the British community (50%) or the German community (38%), and it is tremendously higher than the average for American born citizens (33%).

More than 50% of Nigerians working in the U.S. hold white color management positions, meaning they have access to considerable amounts of disposable income and contribute greatly to the American economy. Those are the immigrants the U.S. wants, the ones that built the American dream! Which only makes this decision ever harder to grasp, unless of course, if we consider that this might have nothing to do with security concerns, and all to do with a populist decision designed to please the president’s most conservative support base as we approach the presidential campaign. If that is the case, then American foreign policy has truly reached a dark age.

From his side, President Buhari’s government has done what is possible to appease the situation, setting up a committee to address the security concerns with U.S. officials and INTERPOL, and restating its commitment to “maintaining productive relations with the United States and its international allies especially on matters of global security”, Femi Adesina the Spokesman for the Nigerian Presidency said.

Last week, the Nigerian government requested the U.S. administration to remove the country from the travel ban, and also announced a reduction in visa application fees for visiting Americans from $180 to $160, in a symbolic gesture meant to reinforce relations between the two nations.

In the meantime, Nigeria’s and other economies risk suffering from this unexplainable decision, and immigrant Nigerians in the U.S. that had been waiting so patiently for the dream of being reunited with their families in the “land of the free” await a resolution for a problem they did not know existed until a month ago.

*NJ Ayuk is Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, CEO of pan-African corporate law conglomerate Centurion Law Group, and the author of several books about the oil and gas industry in Africa, including Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals.

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“You have been in the trenches with us,”Ghana Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia tells African Development Bank
March 6, 2020 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank’s support for the west African nation Ghana has boosted its government’s efforts to consolidate the economy, the country’s Vice President, Mahamudu Bawumia said on Monday.

Bawumia, welcoming a team of Executive Directors and senior officials of the Bank on an official visit, cited various Bank-supported projects, especially in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture and technical innovation, as examples of interventions that have helped to boost the government’s efforts to consolidate the economy.

“Those are areas very critical for us and we are happy to have the African Development Bank helping us. You have been in the trenches with us and things are now going well,” Bawumia said.

The Bank delegation, led by Bright Okogu, Executive Director for Nigeria and Sao Tome & Principe, will meet local authorities, the private sector, civil society and other development collaborators.

Bawumia said Ghana’s economy has begun to show great potential following three years of bold fiscal policy reforms, which included the adoption of a law capping fiscal deficit at 5% of Gross Domestic Product as part of measures to enhance debt sustainability and win investor confidence.

“These are not easy to do but it had to be done and we’re seeing the benefits…. All the indicators are in the right direction; macroeconomic conditions have stabilised, agriculture is doing well, interest rates have come down, while inflation has also come down to its lowest since 1992,” Bawumia said.

Ghana is looking to the Bank for investment in  an integrated aluminium industry, using the country’s large bauxite deposit as raw materials. The Bank should also consider supporting Ghana to tackle climate change in line with the Group’s crosscutting interventions, the vice-president said.

The Executive Directors commended the country for its newly constructed Terminal 3 facility at the Kotoka International Airport, which was partly financed by the Bank.

“We flew in through the airport and we are pleased about what we saw,” said Okogu, who is also the Dean of the Bank Group’s Executive Directors.

Later Monday, the Bank delegation met with Bank of Ghana Governor Ernest Addison,  who briefed them on the country’s assessment of the likely impact of the coronavirus on Ghana’s economy. The group also had a briefing by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, a Governor of the African Development Bank Group.

The Bank’s current portfolio in Ghana is channelled through various projects aimed at job creation, economic inclusiveness, macroeconomic stability and industrialization.

Key financing for development to the country includes mobilizing a seven-year $600 million syndicated receivables-backed loan for Ghana Cocoa Board to improve productivity and domestic value addition; approval of the first phase of the Easten Corridor Road Project estimated at $102 million; and an urban transport project entailing the construction of a three-tier interchange.

The other members of the Bank Group delegation are Kenyeh Barlay, Executive Director, representing The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Sudan, Ahmed Zayed for Egypt and Djibouti, and David Stevenson, representing Canada, China, Korea, Turkey and Kuwait. Director-General for West Africa, Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade and Acting Country Manager Sebastian Okeke also travelled along.

*AFDB

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African Union’s Commission and the European Commission meet in Kigali
February 27, 2020 | 0 Comments
Chairperson of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat speaks during a briefing to the press, next to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen during her visit to the African Union in Addis Ababa, on December 7, 2019. (Photo by EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP) (Photo by EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images)

The European Union and Africa are longstanding strategic partners, whose prosperity and security are closely interlinked. The partnership between Africa and Europe is finally coming of age and it’s time to take it to a new level. Africa wants to take its future into its own hands and Europe needs a strong Africa. Our aspirations coincide. We both want to create good jobs, manage human mobility, drive the digital innovation, reconcile economic growth and the environment, and silence the guns in Africa. We are both ready to play our part to achieve these goals.

In the coming months, our two continents will discuss how to turn these aspirations into reality. This week the African Union’s Commission and the European Commission hold the tenth meeting in our history – as the first milestone in a year that can redefine cooperation between our continents, shortly before the EU presents its new comprehensive Africa Strategy. The goal is for both sides to take their cooperation to a new level in the Africa-Europe Summit in October.

Our two continents are changing fast and the world is much more complex, but with the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development or the Paris Agreement we have showed that if Europe and Africa join forces we can help shape a better future for the next generations.

We need a stronger partnership to tackle the key challenges of today, be it the green transition or the digital transformation, attend to the aspirations of our youth and fight inequalities.

Economic growth in Africa continues to outperform that of the other continents: Africa will be home to the majority of the world’s fastest growing economies in the coming years. Business environments are improving and the digital revolution is spreading fast: three in four Africans have a mobile phone, and African start-ups attract investment from all over the world. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement could add a multiplying effect to all these trends.

We owe it to the future generations to leave them a healthy planet. The future will be green or there will be no future. It depends on our collective ability to stop global warming. No place suffers more than Africa from climate change. European Commission is pushing for bold action inside Europe on all these issues. The European Green Deal will make Europe the first climate neutral continent. But solutions will only be sustainable if they are agreed and shared across continents.

Together we can create an economy that works for the people, boosting investment in strategic sectors and investing in the education and skills our youth need to succeed in the labour market. We can scale up the use of digital technologies to improve business, health care and service delivery. And we can do so lowering the carbon footprint in the process. Africa does not have to repeat the same mistakes that other continents did: it can move directly to a new economic model, which is more respectful of the planet and more technologically advanced.

Our cooperation does not start from scratch. Our sister organizations have been working for over two decades. The EU is Africa’s first partner in trade, investment, development assistance and security.

We are working closely together in support of Africa’s initiative to silence the guns by 2020.

Europe has consistently supported African solutions to African problems and has mobilised 3.5 billion euros since 2004 through the African Peace Facility.

This year has to bring about tangible change for Africans and Europeans. The 2020s can be the decade of a new and more mature friendship between our two continents. Together we can build solutions that work for Africa and for Europe alike.

*EU

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Ireland moves closer to becoming the 81st member of the African Development Bank Group
February 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

The delegation, led by  Paul Ryan, Director, International Finance Division of Ireland’s Department of Finance, included Patrick Mulhall and Renee Martin of the Department of Finance, and Laura Gibbons from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, 24 February 2020 –  Ireland moved a step closer to becoming a member of the African Development Bank Group after a government delegation on Monday deposited ratification instruments during an official visit to the Bank’s Abidjan headquarters.

The delegation, led by  Paul Ryan, Director, International Finance Division of Ireland’s Department of Finance, included Patrick Mulhall and Renee Martin of the Department of Finance, and Laura Gibbons from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“For us, it marks the final moments of our decision to become a member of the African Development Bank Group. It’s been a long road, but a very successful one. We are excited that we are at the end,” said Ryan after submitting the documents. “Africa has been one of our key targets for development cooperation, so joining the Bank gives us the opportunity to work with the continent and share knowledge in areas such as financial technology services, energy and climate change, among others ,” he said, indicating that Ireland would complete the process very shortly.

Ireland’s application to join the African Development Bank Group was approved during the Annual meetings of the Board of Governors of the Bank Group in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea in June 2019. Depositing the Instrument of Ratification of the Agreement Establishing the African Development Fund (ADF) marks an important step in the process, Vice-President for Finance, Bajabulile ‘Swazi’ Tshabalala noted.

“The participation of Ireland will provide many partnership opportunities for Africa’s development, particularly in the Energy, Climate Change and Agri-food sectors. Additionally, Ireland is now a knowledge economy, which we as a Bank, are looking at in terms of future development on the continent, “ Tshabalala added.

The group will spend the next two days in Abidjan to meet with various Bank departments and teams  and to learn more about the Bank’s operations and strategies.

The Bank’s Secretary General, Vincent Nmehielle and General Counsel, Godfred Penn welcomed the representatives and received the Instrument of Ratification, a major administrative step in admitting Ireland as a state participant in the African Development Fund. Director for Resource Mobilization and Partnerships, Désiré Vencatachellum and Victor Oladokun, Director of Communication and External Relations also participated in the meeting.

Ireland’s “Strategy for Africa to 2025” includes a commitment to collaborate with the key financial institution on the continent; as well as to explore new partnerships to support policy development and programme implementation; and deepen engagement in blended finance mechanisms for job creation.

Speaking at the meeting, Nmehielle noted that “Ireland is joining the African Development Bank Group at an opportune time. Its participation in the African Development Fund and membership of the African Development Bank will contribute to Africa’s socio-economic development. This is a welcome and timely addition to our efforts to help accelerate achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and AU Agenda 2063 by African countries.”

The membership process for joining the Bank Group includes signing the Agreements establishing the Fund and Bank, deposit of the instruments of acceptance/approval of the Fund and the Bank agreements, and the payment of the initial subscriptions to the Fund and capital stock of the Bank.

The rules also require that a non-African country be a state participant in the ADF, the concessionary lending arm of the Bank, before becoming a member of the Bank. Ireland will become the 81st member of the Bank Group, once finalized.

*Source AFDB

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EU calls on Zim govt to accelerate political and economic reforms
February 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Harare-The Council of the European Union in its conclusions on Zimbabwe, as adopted by the council at its 3747th meeting held on 17 February 2020 has among other key important issues urged the government of Zimbabwe to accelerate political and economic reforms as a matter of urgency.

According to the council, Zimbabwe is going through a multifaceted, prolonged and deep crisis.

 It is said that the transition in Zimbabwe nevertheless opened doors for economic and political reforms which the then newly elected government committed to implement.

  The European Union (EU) says that it remains ready to support the policies, as underlined in the council conclusions adopted on 22 January 2018.

  The EU says that for Zimbabwe, seizing opportunities for real transformation would facilitate steps towards deeper re-engagement of the EU, based on mutual commitments and shared values in line with the 2030 Agenda and focused on human rights, democracy, governance and the rule of law.

  The EU says that it is engaged on the basis of the government’s own agenda, in line with the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe, as well as the recommendations of both the Motlanthe Commission on post-electoral violence and the final report of the EU Electoral Observation Mission to Zimbabwe.

   The EU says that it welcomes the resumption of a formal political dialogue in 2019, as a step towards a more constructive EU-Zimbabwe relationship.

  It is reported that the lack of substantial reforms, the further shrinking of democratic space and corruption, have however contributed to the current deteriorating humanitarian crisis and to the economic and social situation.

   The EU has called on the government to accelerate the political and economic reform process as a matter of urgency, for the benefit of its population.

 It says that perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses should swiftly be brought to justice and the recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry should be implemented without further delay.

  In addition, an inclusive national dialogue is key to finding structural and durable solutions to the challenges faced by Zimbabwe.

 It is added that sound political and economic governance are paramount if the business and investment climate in Zimbabwe is to be improved, and inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development are to be achieved.

  The EU says that the Economic Partnership Agreement, applied since 2012, remains a driver to attract both foreign and domestic investment.

  According to the EU, Zimbabwe is currently experiencing an acute humanitarian crisis, including a severe food security emergency further exacerbated by climate change.

  The EU is supporting the people of Zimbabwe in various sectors, such as economic development, primary health care, resilience building, as well as through humanitarian assistance.

   To that end, the EU has stepped up its support substantially since 2019. 7.

  The EU has decided to renew its arms embargo and to maintain a targeted assets freeze against one company, Zimbabwe Defence Industries, for one year, taking into account the situation in Zimbabwe, including the yet to be investigated alleged role of the armed and security forces in human rights abuses.

  It says that the restrictive measures against four individuals are suspended. The arms embargo, as well as the asset freeze against Zimbabwe Defence Industries, do not affect the Zimbabwean economy, foreign direct investment, or trade.

  It is reported that they are motivated by the EU’s intention to encourage a demonstrable commitment by the Zimbabwean authorities to upholding the rule of law and human rights.

   The EU says that it  is ready to review the whole range of its policies at any time, when justified, based on developments in the country.

 “The EU will seek increased collaboration with international partners, most importantly the African Union, SADC and its member countries, and international financial institutions, who can play a key role by supporting Zimbabwe in enabling an inclusive dialogue and in accelerating progress in reforms,” according to the Council.

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Gambia: President Barrow Decorated with insignia of GMRG
February 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Barrow with Vice President Dr, Touray

President Adama Barrow has received the insignia of Grand Master of the Republic of the Gambia (GMRG).

The decoration ceremony, which was conducted by Chairperson of the Chancery Committee and Vice President of the Republic Dr Isatou Touray, was held on Monday, February 17th at State House, in the presence of ministers, Secretary General, Speaker of the National assembly, Chief Justice of the Gambia, Secretary to Cabinet and permanent secretaries.

Pateh Jah, Permanent Secretary at the Office of the President explained that the GMRG insignia is the highest national award and that it comes with the Presidency.

He said the President should have received this award immediately he assumed office but that it took all this time due to delay in procurement arrangement.

He highlighted the other awards as: Grand Commander of the Republic of the Gambia (GCRG), Grand Officer of the Republic of the Gambia (GORG), Commander of the Order of the Republic of The Gambia (CORG) Officer of the Order of the Republic of the Gambia (OORG), Member of the Order of the Republic of the Gambia (MORG), and Republic of the Gambia Medal (RGM).

Mr Bah further explained that the Chancery Committee was established by law to manage the issuance of the award and it comprises the Vice President, Minister of Local Governments and Lands, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Minister of Foreign affairs, Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service and Permanent Secretary at Office of the President as Secretary to the Chancery Committee.

He added that the President has the mandate and authority to award deserving citizens and friends of The Gambia for their support to The Gambia.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets African leaders to advance conflict resolution and economic security
February 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

Trudeau called for cooperation among international partners and governments to create economic opportunity and prosperity that is broadly shared

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, February 10, 2020/ — Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau convened a meeting for African heads of state, foreign ministers and representatives of the United Nations and other multilateral bodies on Monday to discuss ways to secure peace across the continent as a necessary condition for prosperity. 

Trudeau, the 2020 chair of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, called for cooperation among international partners and governments to create economic opportunity and prosperity that is broadly shared, “…as a way not just of countering the pull of extremism in some places or the cynicism of populism, but as a way of building a real and tangible future for countries around the world.”

The breakfast meeting, which was held on the sidelines of the 33rd African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, was intended to strengthen the Commission’s partnership with the African Union (AU) and to better integrate African priorities in conflict prevention and bolstering economic security. Among issues discussed were the role that international financial institutions and youth job creation can play in Africa in averting extremism and conflict; and the AU leadership in peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts.    

The talks, titled Sustaining Peace and Economic Security, aligned with the Summit’s theme: Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development.   

Trudeau acknowledged that one of the biggest challenges both developed and developing countries face is the perception that governments are indifferent.

“In this time of change, in this time of transformation of the global economy, time of conflict, time of climate conflict, people worry that the system has no place for them and isn’t providing them with what they need,” the Canadian Prime Minister said. 

Among participants were President Roch Marc Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso; the Vice President of Gambia, Isatou Touray; President of the United Nations General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and the foreign ministers of Sierra Leone and Rwanda.

President Kabore offered his reflections on the issues. Burkina Faso is one of several nations in the Sahel region that have seen economic growth adversely affected by conflict and instability.    

In opening remarks, African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina noted the shifting nature of conflicts across Africa. While the number of outright wars in Africa has declined substantially, they have been replaced with greater fluidity with rising cases of terrorism, extremism, conflicts from non-state actors.

The root causes of conflict, according to Adesina, include “rising inequalities, lack of political inclusiveness, extreme poverty, management and control over natural resources, youth unemployment that causes social unrest, climate change, to name a few.”

The Bank is at the forefront of helping to address fragility in Africa with several initiatives currently under way. So far, $3.8 billion has been allocated to address issues of fragility through the Transition State Support Facility.  

Adesina recognized the role Canada plays in enabling the Bank’s work.

“The successful replenishment of the Bank’s African Development Fund 15 – to which Canada contributed substantially with $355 million – will allow the Bank to deploy an additional $1.2 billion to address fragility, strengthen resilience and sustain peace and economic security,” he said. 

*Source AFDB

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Gambia among 4 countries to meet Universal Access to electricity by 2025 – World Bank
February 7, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

World Bank Delegation with President Barrow at State House

Banjul, February 6, 2020 – The Project Manager of the Energy and Extractives division of the World Bank Group in a courtesy call on President Adama Barrow on Thursday, said The Gambia is currently among four West African countries working to meet the universal access to electricity target by 2025.

Mr Charles J. Cormier recalled that when he visited The Gambia in 2017, there was crisis in the electricity sector but has observed the improvement during his current visit. He is in Banjul to take stock of all the progress registered since then.

The World Bank executive expressed delight that the number of power cuts being experienced in The Gambia today “has significantly reduced” compared to three years ago.

“If you recall in 2017, after the change of regime, there were huge power cuts of 16 to 18 cuts per day. The availability of electricity was only 25 megawatts on a grid that has a demand of up to 100 megawatts at the time,” he recalled.

As a result of that crisis, National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) drew up an emergency plan that development partners, donors and the government of President Adama Barrow invested in. Today, Mr Cormier said NAWEC “did a good job” to bring back the reliability of the service, to at most three power cuts a day.

“That is a huge improvement. I think the emergency plan was quite successful. The Gambia is among the few countries that wants to achieve this target five years earlier, including Ghana, Senegal, and Cote d’Ivoire,” Mr Cormier said.

His Excellency, President Adama Barrow’s vision of the electricity sector is to reach universal access by 2025. In the National Development Plan (NDP 2018- 2021), energy is categorised as “a priority sector” in the context of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2030).

For President Barrow, beside access, there is also the issue of cost of electricity for average Gambians. The Gambia currently pays 23 Cents on average, while the US pays 12 cents on average for electricity. This pricing also impedes competitiveness of the economy if electricity is expensive, President Barrow said.

The Gambian leader also urged the World Bank to help NAWEC build local capacity to effectively manage the state company. The bank has invested $175million in the national energy investment plan, out of a $400million planned budget. This represents about 40 per cent.

The World Bank delegation was led to the State House by the Managing Director of NAWEC, Mr. Alpha Robinson.

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Roadshow to Help Rwandan Businesses Tap Into AfCFTA
February 6, 2020 | 0 Comments

Afreximbank, PSF Will Showcase Opportunities from IATF2020 Participation

Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank

Kigali, 06 Feb. 2020 – The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has announced a roadshow in Kigali to show the Rwandan private sector how it can become a primary beneficiary of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which will provide significant opportunities to access the largely untapped markets and sectors in an integrated African market of over 1.3 billion people.

Organised in collaboration with Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation (PSF) on 11 February 2020, the roadshow will seek to raise the awareness of the Rwandan private sector about the substantial benefits of attending the second Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2020) which will take place in Kigali from 1 to 7 September 2020.

According to Afreximbank, Rwandan businesses can take advantage of the AfCFTA by establishing new networks of business buyers and sellers from across the African continent, enabling the country to significantly expand its intra-African trade.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said: “Rwanda’s economic transformation is undoubtedly one of Africa’s success stories. Rwandan businesses can further capitalise on this achievement by positioning themselves to take full advantage of the AfCFTA. Its removal of intra-African trade tariffs, progressive dismantling of non-tariff barriers and protectionism, will create a genuine single continental market. By attending IATF2020, they will gain an unrivalled opportunity to showcase their goods and services to buyers from across the African continent, whilst establishing new trade and investment links with a wide network of private and public sector players from more than 55 different countries.”

IATF2020 is expected to be Africa’s main trade event of 2020 and is aimed at providing a marketplace for buyers and sellers of products and services from Africa and beyond to meet and explore business opportunities. It will offer a platform for Business-to-Business and Business-to-Government exchanges, as well as business networking and development opportunities leading to the expected conclusion of trade and investment deals worth $40 billion.

The operational phase of the AfCFTA will commence on 1 July 2020.

* Afreximbank

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