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Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Secretary General Barkindo Writes Inspiring Foreword On African Energy Book By Nj Ayuk
August 29, 2019 | 0 Comments

OPEC is the subject of Chapter 3 in Ayuk’s book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy, which will be published this October

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, August 29, 2019/ — As OPEC intensifies its engagement with Africa, Secretary General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo said there’s no better time for the analysis of OPEC membership benefits put forth in the newest book by leading African energy attorney, NJ Ayuk.

“It is most fitting at this time that Mr. Ayuk describes how important it is for Africa’s producing nations to be part of the discussion on global strategies that will affect their fortunes,” Barkindo, who wrote the book’s foreword, said. “In today’s oil and gas industry, coalitions are essential and Mr. Ayuk proves that point by discussing the advantages that our newest members from Africa have gained by joining OPEC.”

OPEC is the subject of Chapter 3 in Ayuk’s book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy, which will be published this October.

Half of OPEC’s 14 members are on the African continent. Libya joined in the 1962, followed by Algeria in 1969. Nigeria came on board in 1971; and Angola followed in 2007. More recently, the organization welcomed Gabon, which rejoined in 2016, and Equatorial Guinea and Republic of Congo, which became members in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

With 130 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves, Africa is a frontier filled with promise, Barkindo said—and Ayuk does a masterful job of showing how both OPEC and the continent benefit from increased African participation in the organization.

“Mr. Ayuk’s book shows how the oil and gas industry can unleash economic development and prosperity across the continent but cautions that producing nations will achieve more in collaboration than individually,” said Barkindo. Adding that, “In particular, he explains how the Declaration of Cooperation has helped stabilize the market, providing economic opportunities that were previously unavailable.”

Above all, in his chapter about OPEC, called A Place at the Table: Africa and OPEC, Ayuk presents a balanced investigation of how OPEC needs Africa, and vice versa. He doesn’t gloss over the fact that the Middle East’s once prolific energy basins are declining—making the prospect of big discoveries in Africa one way for OPEC to wrest control over more of the world’s oil supply. At the same time, he points out the benefits that African nations can accrue as OPEC members, including access to information, financial aid, and the chance to have a voice in setting global policy.

Further, the OPEC chapter discusses the possible impact of NOPEC –  the pending American legislation that seeks to protect domestic interests from what it perceives as price manipulation.

“There is no stone left unturned in Mr. Ayuk’s analysis of Africa and OPEC,” Barkindo said.

NJ Ayuk is founder and CEO of Pan-African corporate law conglomerate, Centurion Law Group; Founder and Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber; and co-author of Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity (2017).

He is recognized as one of the foremost figures in African business today.

Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals is now available for pre-order on Amazon. CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY NOW! [https://amzn.to/2NxkNLP]

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TICAD 7: Ramaphosa lauds Japan’s role in shaping African development through technology
August 29, 2019 | 0 Comments

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa and Prime Minister of Japan, HE Shinzō Abe during the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama Japan-[Photo by South Africa Presidency].

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa and Prime Minister of Japan, HE Shinzō Abe during the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama Japan-[Photo by South Africa Presidency].

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed Japan’s efforts to boost technology on the continent.

“South Africa endorses the focus on science, technology, and innovation as a priority theme for TICAD 7, given its great potential to accelerate African development through mutually beneficial partnerships with Japan,” President Ramaphosa told participants.

Ramaphosa was speaking at the Science and Technology in Society (STS) forum held in Yokohama, on Wednesday, as part of TICAD 7, a conference that focuses on African development.

“The STS forum has successfully changed global discourse on the role of science in development, we seek the forum’s support in changing the discourse on the role of Africa in science and innovation,” Ramaphosa concluded.

Science, technology and innovation as well as human resource development are critical in Africa, a continent with the biggest potential on earth, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at the STS forum held in Yokohama, on Wednesday, as part of TICAD 7.

The STS forum is one of the largest and most influential nonprofit organizations established in 2004 by Koji Omi, a former Japanese Minister of Finance. The Forum aims to strengthen cooperation between Japan and Africa in science, technology, and innovation.

In his address, Prime Minister Abe also noted the important role that science and technology played in the history of Japan’s modernization.

In attendance were Yasutoshi Nishimura, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, Ramaphosa, Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank Group, Koji Omi, founder and chairman of the STS forum, and Asako Omi, member of Japan’s House of Representatives.

Adesina shared insights on the Bank’s work and support to train and develop the next generation of scientists. Since 2005 the Bank has provided financing of over $2 billion to support education, resulting in educational opportunities for 6 million students.

“We are proud of our investment in supporting the establishment of the Regional Center of Excellence in Kigali in conjunction with the Carnegie Mellon University, which is providing world-class Masters degree training in ICT. I am delighted that all the students that have graduated from the university have 100% employment, including setting up their businesses,” Adesina said in his keynote remarks.

The Bank has supported the establishment of ICT digital parks in Senegal and Cape Verde and is working with the Rockefeller Foundation, Microsoft, Facebook, LinkedIn and Safaricom to establish coding centers in several countries.

Adesina offered some key areas to prioritize in science and technology, including the establishment of regional centers of excellence; the urgent need to increase the share of GDP devoted to science and technology and close the gender gap in higher education.

“Let’s be visionary. Let’s be bold. Let’s support concrete initiatives to boost science, technology, and innovation in Africa,” he concluded.

Ministers for Science and Technology, Ambassadors, executives of international and national Agencies and business in Africa and Japan attended the Forum.

TICAD 7 runs from 28-30 August in Yokohama, Japan.

 

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“The Kaizen approach is more than a technique…it is an approach to economic development, and it’s been yielding tremendous results” – African Development Bank Vice-president Celestin Monga
August 28, 2019 | 0 Comments
African Development Bank Vice-president Celestin Monga

African Development Bank Vice-president Celestin Monga

Yokohama, Japan, 27 August 2019 – Kaizen, the business philosophy which means continuous improvement in Japanese, was at the heart of discussions at a seminar held on Tuesday, and co-organised by JICA and NEPAD on the sidelines of the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development, TICAD7.

The seminar, under the theme: “Africa’s Socio-economic Transformation through innovation,” discussed the role of Kaizen, in improving quality and productivity as well as human resource development on the continent.

Panelists included Assane Mayaki, CEO of AUDA-NEPAD; Bezabih Gebereyes, Commissioner of the Civil Service Commission of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; and JICA Research Institute Director General Toshiyuki Nakamura, of the Industrial Policy and Public Policy Department.

“The Kaizen approach is more than a technique…it is an approach to economic development, and it’s been yielding tremendous results,” African Development Bank’s Chief Economist and Vice President, Economic Governance and Knowledge Management, Dr. Celestin Monga, said.

Monga underlined the need for incremental innovation in each African country, but also called for increased support to small and medium sized enterprises as a starting point to scaled up industrialization.

Africa needs to create production lines because “ even with low-skilled labour we can do tremendous things,” he said.

JICA and NEPAD have been promoting incremental innovation through the Africa Kaizen Initiative, launched in 2017.

“Kaizen is about mindset changes. It will be a formidable tool to enhance productivity of SMES…We have rolled out projects and training programs in 10 countries,” Mayaki said in his welcome remarks.

Acknowledging two Africa Kaizen awardees, also in attendance, Makayi told the packed room “They are the exact product of how Kaizen should be implemented.”

Fikreselassie Ambaw, General Manager of MAA Garment Factory in Ethiopia and Ruben Zebedayo Lyanga, head of Atoz Textile Mills (Tanzania), who won the Africa Kaizen Award in 2019, made presentations on how the business approach radically transformed their enterprises and boosted productivity, employee commitment and creativity.

Sharing Kaizen’s contribution and achievements in Ethiopia, Gebreyes explained how Kaizen and the subsequently transformed mindset have led to increased efficiency in spare parts production lines. “In the sugar cane sector, the Kaizen model has led to a 43% hike in productivity,” he noted.

Answering questions on the capabilities needed for entrepreneurs and firms to promote radical, disruptive innovation in Africa, Toshiyuki Nakamura, Director General of Industrial Development and Public Policy Department said: “the common thread between GAFA, (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon), is the implementation of Kaizen. Incremental and radical innovation, are one of the most important messages for the continent.”

Through JICA, the Kaizen approach has expanded its outreach to 25 countries on the continent; touched 18,096 enterprises and 301 public institutions.

The African Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina is leading a high-level delegation to TICAD7 which is being held in Yokohama city from 28-30 August.

The Tokyo International Conference on African Development, led by Japan, started in 1993. African heads of states and key business leaders are scheduled to attend from around the world, providing an opportunity to explore investment opportunities. The event, held every 3 years, has been convened alternately in Japan and Africa since 2016.  The last TICAD was held in Nairobi, Kenya.

*AFDB

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Merck Foundation to conduct 6th Edition of “Merck Africa Asia Luminary” October 2019 in Ghana
August 27, 2019 | 0 Comments
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UN ready to support implementation of agreement between Rwanda Uganda
August 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Heads of states after signing the agreement

Heads of states after signing the agreement

UN has vowed to do whatever it takes to support the normalization of relations between Uganda and Rwanda after months of hostilities.

This comes two days after the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between Rwanda and Uganda.

The agreements were signed on 21st August in Luanda, Angola in front of  Presidents João Lourenço of Angola and Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Denis Sassou Nguesso of Republic of Congo.

Rwanda and Uganda have been in stand off since around 2016, with Rwanda accusing its neighbor of supporting anti-Rwanda rebels, inhumane treatment of its nationals on Ugandan territory.

Uganda blames Rwanda on closing Gatuna border which had a negative impact on movements of goods and persons. It also alleges Rwanda send spies on its territory though it has never been communicated publicly.

On Friday, 23 August, 2019 UN released a statement commending the move taken by Rwanda and Uganda.

Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General said that the Secretary-General  has welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the aim of normalizing bilateral relations between the two countries.

UN says agreement should be implemented in the interest of peace and stability in the region.

“He (Secretary General) encourages the parties to implement the agreement in good faith, with a view to restoring friendly relations and cooperation between the two neighbouring states, in the interest of peace, stability and sustainable development in the region”, the statement reads

UN statement went on emphasizing that the New York   based body stands ready to support the implementation of the agreement.

“The Secretary-General stands ready to support the momentum generated through this and other initiatives to advance peace, cooperation and integration in the region”, it adds

The pact that was signed says that agreement enter  into force immediately upon signature.

Inside the agreement, both parties have agreed to respect the sovereignty of each other’s and of neighboring countries,  refrain from conducive to destabilization or subversion in the territory of other party and neighboring countries thereby eliminating all factors that may create such perception as well as that of acts such as financing, training and infiltration of destabilizing forces.

The agreement also  urges both party  to resume as soon as possible the cross border activities including the movement of persons and goods.

However till Friday morning no sign of the implementation of agreement was to be seen as movement of goods and people on Gatuna border is still low.

Besides,  one day after the agreement was signed, Uganda restricted access of some of Rwanda news website that are taught to be pro government.

In March this year Rwanda sent an advisory note to its people urging them not to cross to Uganda.

On Thursday  State Minister in charge of foreign affairs, Olivier Nduhungirehe told local media that the advisory is still relevant as Rwandan nationals who were arrested in Uganda are yet to be  freed.

 

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African Energy Chamber Welcomes Appointment of New Nigerian Petroleum Minister
August 22, 2019 | 0 Comments
As a former Governor of the Bayelsa State, in the core Niger Delta region, H.E. Timipre Silva understands the core issues affecting Nigeria’s oil & gas sector
Timipre Silva

Timipre Silva

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, August 22, 2019/ — The African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org) welcomes the appointment of Timipre Silva as new Minister of Petroleum in Nigeria.

As a former Governor of the Bayelsa State, in the core Niger Delta region, H.E. Timipre Silva understands the core issues affecting Nigeria’s oil & gas sector, the call for better revenue management and distribution, and the need for increased community involvement across Nigeria’s key oil regions.

Having also previously served as a Special Assistant to a Minister of Petroleum, H.E. Timipre Silva has demonstrated a vast experience and understanding of Nigeria, African and international energy dynamics.

“The appointment of a well-versed former Governor with a demonstrated ability to work with different parties and a good understanding of the oil sector is a clear sign that Nigeria is serious about continuing its pace of reforms,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the Chamber and CEO of the Centurion Law Group. “Africa’s biggest oil producer needs such an experienced figure to lead the industry and our continent into new heights.”

The African Energy Chamber has congratulated H.E. Timipre Silva on behalf of all its partners and will continue to work closely with the Department of Petroleum Resources to pursue local content development, support the regionalization of Nigerian oil and services companies, and assist any foreign investors seeking to do business in Nigeria.

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Kenya ranked among the worst in the rule of law
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma |@journalist_27

File Picture.President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulates the newly-sworn-in Chief Justice David Maraga at State House. /PSCU

File Picture.President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulates the newly-sworn-in Chief Justice David Maraga at State House. /PSCU

The World Justice Project has ranked Kenya in position 101 out of 126 countries in a worldwide ranking on the rule of law.

The WJP Rule of Law Index 2019 report shows that Denmark, Norway and Finland are the top countries in adhering to the rule of law whereas Democratic Republic of Congo, Cambodia and Venezuela, the countries married with incessant chaos as the worst.

On region, Kenya emerged position 27 out of 30 states in Sub-Saharan Africa with Namibia on top. In East Africa Kenya was beaten by Rwanda which is number 40 globally but better than Uganda which is ranked number 113. In other regions, United Arabs Emirates topped the list in the Middle East and North Africa, New Zealand (East Asia and Pacific), Denmark (Western Europe and North America), Nepal 9(South Asia), Georgia (Eastern Europe and Central Asia) and Uruguay (Latin America and the Caribbean).

The 126 countries were rated on a score ranging from 0 to -1 where 1 heralds the highest score and 0 the lowest. In overall Kenya scored 0.45 against 0.90 recorded by Denmark.

Law Index determines the observance of the rule of law based on eight factors like Absence of Corruption, Open Government, Fundamental Rights, Order and Security, Constraints on Government powers, Regulatory enforcement, Criminal Justice and Civil Justice.

In absence of corruption Kenya is in position 120, criminal justice 84, fundamental rights 101, regulatory enforcement 89, open governance 69 and order and security 119.

“In countries where the rule of law is not established there is violence, conflict and extremism. The annual analysis helps to determine where to allocate resources,” reiterated the executive vice president of the United States Institute for Peace (USIP).

The project recorded a drop in Constraint on Government globally in comparison to last year’s report. Criminal Justice, Open Government and Fundamental Rights have also declined. However, the countries have improved in fight against corruption.

 

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EU Delegation Raises Concerns over human rights in Zimbabwe
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

President Mnangagwa with European Union Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Timo Olkkonen

President Mnangagwa with European Union Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Timo Olkkonen

 The Heads of Mission of the Delegation of the European Union, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom and the Heads of Mission of Australia, Canada and the United States of America have issued a statement raising concern over respect for human rights and freedom of assembly in Zimbabwe following recent demonstrations which rocked the country mainly in the capital Harare.

They said that intimidation, harassment and physical attacks on human rights defenders, trade union and civil society representatives, and opposition politicians – prior to, during and following the demonstration in Harare on 16 August – are cause for great concern.

The delegation adds that the Zimbabwean Constitution guarantees the right to personal security from violence and prohibits physical or psychological torture.

The Heads of Mission also  urged  the authorities to respect these fundamental rights, and to hold perpetrators of violence legally responsible.

The Heads of Mission also said that they called  on the authorities to respect the constitutional rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression as well as to peaceful protest, and urge all political party leaders and supporters to abstain from threats and incitement to violence as well as acts of violence or vandalism.

“The security forces must adhere to their Constitutional mandate and exercise restraint and proportionality while maintaining public order,” they said.

The delegation added that only by addressing concretely and rapidly these human rights violations will the Government of Zimbabwe give credibility to its commitments to address longstanding governance challenges.

“The Heads of Mission reiterate their calls for the implementation of the government’s political and economic reform agenda, underpinned by inclusive national dialogue and increased efforts to address the severe social situation,” the delegation added.

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Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi meets Vladimir Putin in Russia
August 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Arnaldo Cuamba

President Nyusi

President Nyusi

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi begins an official visit to the Russian Federation on Tuesday until 23 August 2019, following to an invitation from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The visit is considered historic since it is the first visit by a Mozambican head of state to Russia since the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1991. The last visit to Moscow was made by former President Joaquim Chissano in 1987.

During his stay in that country, according to a presidential press release, Nyusi will hold official talks with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, hold a meeting with the Mozambican community residing in Russia, open the Mozambique – Russia Business Forum, as well as visit business ventures.

The presidents of the two countries are expected to sign several agreements in the area of defense and security.

The visit is part of the consolidation and deepening of the friendship and cooperation relations existing between Mozambique and Russia, in the bilateral and international domains, and will provide an opportunity for both countries to define strategies for strengthening political, economic and business relations, among other areas.

 

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Equatorial Guinea petroleum minister continues Africa Gas Advocacy setting the stage for November Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) discussions
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
The 5th GECF Summit will showcase the role and future of gas development on the African continent
Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons

Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, August 19, 2019/ — H.E Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima invites all African oil and gas ministers to attend the 5th GECF Summit.

  • H.E Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons invites Uganda’s Minister of Energy, Irene Muloni to attend the 5th GECF Summit.
  • The 5th GECF Summit will showcase the role and future of gas development on the African continent. This will be the first time that it is held on the African continent. 

Determined to showcase Africa’s gas potential and promote intra-Africa cooperation, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, H.E Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, continues his tour of Africa to invite GECF and non-GECF nations to attend the 5th GECF Summit which will be hosted for the first time on the African continent.

Through the 5th GECF Summit, Minister Obiang Lima hopes to promote gas development on the continent as a means to drive economic growth.

During his recent visit to Uganda, Minister Obiang Lima met with Minister of Energy, Irene Muloni and invited her to attend the 5th GECF Summit. The landmark event will take place in Malabo on November 25-27, 2019.

Speaking about Equatorial Guinea’s interest in supporting the development of Uganda’s oil and gas industry, Minister Obiang Lima encouraged the country to continue with its oil and gas plans which are “the best one can find anywhere in the world,” he said.

He further stated that, should the East African country continue with its plans, Equatorial Guinea may learn from it in the years to come.

This visit follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by both countries in 2017 for cooperation in oil and gas development. Under the MoU, Equatorial Guinea will provide guidance to Uganda and assist it in achieving its oil and gas production targets, and advise it on the signing of petroleum agreements.

In a bid to transform its oil and gas sector, Uganda is developing its infrastructure in key sectors as a means to drive investment into the country.

Although Equatorial Guinea has a thriving oil sector with 1.1 billion proven oil reserves, the country – which is also a GECF member – holds great potential in its gas industry, boasting an estimated 145 billion cubic meters of proven gas reserves.

Further, Equatorial Guinea has set ambitious goals for its gas sector development including Alen Gas and Condensate Field on Bioko Island, which is said to 600 billion cubic feet of natural gas equivalent and the construction of a natural gas mega-hub project, which have resulted in it leading the LNG2Africa initiative which aims to create a continental gas market.

Upcoming stops on the tour include Egypt and Algeria.

Learn more and register for the 2nd International Gas Seminar which forms part of the 5th GECF Summit here.

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Zimbabwe president assures of his country’s ratification of the protocol on establishment of the African court
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Zimbabwe's President Mnangawa greets a Judge of the Court Justice Hon Justice Tujilane Rose Chizumila after receiving a plaque from the Court's President Hon Justice Sylvain Oré (m).

Zimbabwe’s President Mnangawa greets a Judge of the Court
Justice Hon Justice Tujilane Rose Chizumila after receiving a plaque
from the Court’s President Hon Justice Sylvain Oré (m).

The President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, H.E Emmerson Mnangagwa, has given assurance that Harare will ratify the Protocol establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

He gave the assurance when receiving a delegation of the African Court led by its President, Hon Justice Sylvain Oré, and which included Judge Hon Justice Tujilane Rose Chizumila and senior Registry officials, at State House in Harare.

‘’We will act…we do not want to be left behind,’’ he stated, adding that Zimbabwe strongly cherishes and values Pan Africanism and the organs that exemplify this ideal.

‘’We will ratify the protocol,’’ he stressed, while wondering why Zimbabwe had not already done so earlier. Zimbabwe had signed the Protocol in 1998 but is yet to ratify it and make the Declaration under Article 34(6) to allow its citizens to access the Court directly.

The African Court delegation was in Zimbabwe on 14-15 August on a sensitisation visit at the invitation of the government.

The delegation has already met key stakeholders, including the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Speaker, the Chief Justice, and the Acting Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the Bar Association, among others.

Over 50 key stakeholders today attended a national sensitisation seminar followed by discussions.

The African Court delegation conducted a similar sensitisation visit last week on 7-8 August to the Union of Comoros.

The President of Comoros, H.E Azali Assoumani, hailed the work of the Court and also underscored the importance of human rights.

‘’We have just set up a human rights commission and we want to ensure that all internal mechanisms are in place on exhaustion of local remedies,’’ he said, apparently in reference to a request made by the Court to make the Declaration under Article 34(6). Comoros ratified the Protocol on establishment of the Court in December 2013 but is yet to make the Declaration.

The President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights Hon Justice Sylvain Oré in a with Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa (r) at the State House Harare after holding very fruitful discussions, including an assurance that Harare will ratify the protocol establishing the Pan African Judicial organ.

The President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights Hon
Justice Sylvain Oré in a with Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa (r) at the State House Harare after holding very
fruitful discussions, including an assurance that Harare will ratify
the protocol establishing the Pan African Judicial organ.

‘’The sensitisation visits to these two countries (Comoros and Zimbabwe) have been very positive and fruitful,’’ said Justice Oré. ‘’These visits have helped to raise awareness of the Court’s existence.’’

For the Court to discharge its mandate effectively and further strengthen the African continent’s human rights system, Justice Oré said, a greater number of countries must ratify the Protocol and make the Declaration under Article 34(6).

Since the adoption of the Protocol in June 1998, 30 out of 55 AU Member States have ratified it, but only nine State Parties to the Protocol have made the Declaration under Article 34(6). These are Burkina Faso, Benin, Ghana, The Gambia, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Malawi, Tanzania, and Tunisia.

 

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The 50th Anniversary of My First Speech at the United Nations And the Bitter Lesson I Learned
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Dr. Gary K. Busch*

Dr. Gary K. Busch

Dr. Gary K. Busch

During the 1960’s, after Sharpeville, the nations who comprised the United Nations embarked on a plan to restrict capital flows to the apartheid government of South Africa. They passed a number of rules and recommendations attempting to restrict the interaction between the South African Government and the major international banks. The UN’s Special Committee on Apartheid, under the chairmanship of  Abdulrahim Abby Farah, the UN representative from Somalia, called a meeting of the Special Committee at the UN New York Headquarters, from 17-18 March, 1969, to discuss the role of the international banks in supporting South Africa and to make a plan to expand the campaign to get these banks to boycott capital interactions with the South Africans.

Invitees to the meeting were drawn from several U.S. groups active in the anti-apartheid movement. I was invited as the specialist on Africa from the United Auto Workers (UAW) and as a Board Member of the American Committee on Africa, led by George Hauser. I had been one of the main contacts for the African liberation struggle leaders who visited the U.S. and had taken many to the House and Senate Committees for meetings. I had also arranged their meetings with groups like SNCC, CORE, NAACP, and others. I was very pleased to be invited to the meeting and hoped to contribute my thoughts on the issue.

We convened in a large conference room in the UN where, in addition to the invitees, there was a substantial group of UN delegates from countries which supported the anti-Apartheid movement. The program opened with an introduction by Ambassador Farah and followed by speeches by the Algerian and Nigerian ambassadors. Oliver Tambo was there on behalf of the ANC and he made a speech. After several more speeches we were allowed to speak.

I was more than ready to speak. In fact, I was quite upset. I had just been looking at the day’s New Yok Times newspaper where I saw a quarter-page ad by the Chemical Bank of New York Trust headlined by the line “The American Capitalist”. It descried the role of the Chemical Bank in arranging a large loan and ancillary financing of a Japanese company to buy iron ore from South Africa. This was the very thing we were meeting to discuss and, with good effort, prevent. I rose and asked permission to read the text of the advertisement into the record of the Committee. I did so and then said “Here you have a major American bank financing apartheid. You should realise that this is no rogue bank; this is the official bank of the United Nations. Your salaries and expenses are paid through this bank. It has branches inside UN installations worldwide. If you want the world to support the Banks Campaign of the UN perhaps you can start with your own bank.”

After a moment of silence heated discussions broke out. Mr Reddy, the administrator of the Committee, confirmed that Chemical Bank was the official bank of the UN. Chairman Farah called upon the Algerian delegate and the Indian delegate to speech who pronounced their outrage at what I had discovered. They. believe it or not, agreed to send a telegram to the UN Secretary-General from the floor of the meeting requesting an urgent response and review. I suggested that the UN Secretary-General’s office was only six floors above us and I would volunteer to hand deliver it immediately. I was told this telegram was the normal procedure for UN business. We broke for lunch.

I was having lunch with Oliver Tambo who was quite pleased with the proceedings so far. He did say to me “You may feel that this was an important blow for the Banks Campaign, but don’t be fooled. Nothing will happen but chit-chat and pointing fingers. The banks will go on lending as usual”. He was wise. There were stories in the press; there were earnest discussions with the anti-apartheid groups; there were fiery speeches from the African delegates. What finally happened as the result of my speech was that the copywriter of the article at the newspaper lost his job. Everything else went, as Tambo promised, out of the minds of the Committee.

I was immensely proud that I had used my opportunity to speak at the UN with some effect but, in retrospect, I had learned an important lesson. One cannot move international institutions by speeches or embarrassment. The United Nations is a permanent compromise looking for problems to work on. It was a bitter lesson for me in my youthful naivete but helped to shape my future expectations. I attach the official Committee report on my intervention and a picture of me before my speech, with Ambassador Farah.

“Although sympathetic U.N. delegations were aware of and concerned about the bank campaign, it was again in 1969 that action look concrete form. In 1966, the General Assembly resolution on the policies of apartheid had appealed to all Slates to “discourage loans by banks in their countries to the Government of South Africa or South African companies,” but in March, 1969, during a Special Committee on Apartheid seminar held at U.N. headquarters, the question of Chemical Bank, a consortium member, being the bank located at the U.N., came to a head. By chance. Chemical Bank New York Trust Company had placed an advertisement in the New York Times the same day as the seminar meeting in which it lauded the bank’s role in securing a deal between South Africa and Japan for the sale of iron. This remarkable situation, where U.N. resolutions were in essence being ignored by the United Nations itself, resulted in proposals by the Special Committee to the Secretary General asking an investigation of Chemical Bank’s role at the U.N. This culminated in a General Assembly Resolution passed in November, 1969, which called upon the United Nations and its affiliates “to refrain from extending facilities to banks and other financial institutions which provide assistance to South Africa and firms registered there.”

Dr. Gary K. Busch is the editor and publisher of the web-based news journal of international relations www.ocnus.net and the distance-learning educational website www.worldtrade.ac. He speaks and reads 12 languages and has written six books and published 58 specialist studies. His articles have appeared in the Economist Intelligence Unit, Wall Street Journal, WPROST (a leading Polish weekly news magazine), Pravda and several other major international news journals

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