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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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An Account of the Corruption and Anomalies in the Nigerian Immigration Service
August 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Omoshola Deji*

One of the primary responsibilities of government is to provide – or regulate the provision of – efficient service to the populace. Successive Nigerian government has failed in this regard. It has become a convention to get inefficient service, despite paying high. Both private and public institutions are culpable, but the latter errs more. Public officials are more of exploiters than service providers. The uniformed ones are worse. You are bound to pay extra before being attended to. Such is the case of the Nigerian Immigration Service. This piece brings you a firsthand account of the anomalies and corruption going on at the passport offices.

I flew into Nigeria for some engagements and noticed my passport would expire in six months. This qualifies it for renewal. I had two options: renew it in Nigeria or abroad. I opt for the former to avoid the stress I faced to procure the expiring passport. Besides, it is more expensive to renew the passport abroad and I stay far from the embassy. Renewing a Nigerian passport abroad is an uphill task many try to avoid. The unethical conducts of the embassy officials would make you want to renounce Nigeria. But patronizing the embassy is better. You won’t realize this till you visit the passport offices in Nigeria.

“You can’t just walk in and get a passport”, my friends warned. They vowed I won’t get it quickly unless an immigration officer ‘assist’ me. ‘Assist’ means paying an officer to monitor and hasten the passport application process. Rejecting the suggestion made them recount the tales of people who failed to subscribe for assistance. They narrated how such person’s application hit the rocks with “no record found”. How their image gets captured wrongly – rendering the passport unusable – was also recounted.

Other persons I chatted also stressed the importance of ‘assistance’. They disclosed that applying without being ‘assisted’ can take you up to 5 months, while you’d get your passport between 1-14 days when assisted. I remained adamant, but succumbed when a contact said “I know someone (an immigration officer) who’ll do it fast for 30k. Pay the standard 18, I’ll add the remaining 12”. That silenced me. I couldn’t dissent. To overegg the pudding was unnecessary. I agreed, on a condition that I would pay all.

We were welcomed by touts advertising ‘assistance’ when we visited the passport office. Most of them are agents of the immigration officers. Some officers were at the gate that day, and every other day. They were positioned as security, but seen scouting for new applicants; identifying them by their demeanor. The ideal thing is to direct applicants to a guideline or office, but they never did. They were asking them “do you know your way?” Answering “no” or making inquiries makes you prey. You would be connected to their partnering tout or officer to ‘assist’ you. Answering “yes” means you’ve already established contact with an officer inside.

We met an officer who charged me N35,000 for the 32 page passport, but we slashed the price to N30,000. The officer reluctantly agreed; persuading us to pay more. I paid N30,000. The original cost of the 32 page passport I applied for – lately before the issuance of the enhanced e-passport commenced – is about 18,000. Paying N30,000 made me unhappy till I eavesdropped that some people paid N45,000 for the same 32 page passport. That made me feel N30,000 was a good deal. I was somewhat glad. You would too.

My money did some work. The officer ‘assisting’ me fast-tracked the application. I did the face and fingerprint capturing within three hours. Don’t say I waited long! Capturing within such a timeframe isn’t possible without ‘assistance’; the applicants were over hundred. Nonetheless, the assistance wouldn’t have been necessary if the system is efficient, but those profiting from the inefficiency would not let it be.

The officer ‘assisting’ me collected my file after capturing. Like every other colleague, the officer has a client’s record book. My data was added to several others contained therein. I was told to come for the passport in two weeks. Efforts to secure a faster date failed. I left and couldn’t return till after a month due to an interstate engagement.

I got back and need to return abroad. Having performed the bribe ritual, I wasn’t worried about the passport, but the cost of flight ticket. I searched for ticket and was lucky to get a good offer from a reputable airline. This got me excited. My eyes stared at the ticket as I reminisced my last experience with the airline, hoping to have a good time again. I was tempted to book the flight, but held back. Being confident the passport is ready isn’t enough, lay your hands on it, I counseled myself. That turned out to be my best decision in the year.

“Your passport is not ready, we don’t have booklet”. The immigration officer ‘assisting’ me uttered the next morning. I smiled thinking it was a joke, only to discover it isn’t. I became worried about my scheduled activities abroad. How do I explain to a foreign organization that I won’t return at the agreed time due to passport renewal delay, when such doesn’t happen in their country? Efforts to get the passport quickly exposed me to several other wrongs in the passport office.

There’s no orderliness and feedback mechanism. You must always be present, even for minor things. The officers are used to earning extra from ‘assistance’ daily. This affects their commitment to you. They no longer give you much attention after the first day, their attention is always on the new clients. They have so many clients that they struggle to remember their name and situation when they dial. This made me resolve to always visit the passport office to monitor progress.

My regular visits made me a familiar face to some of the officers. A narration of my engagements abroad and the implication of not travelling immediately only earned me pity, not solution. I discovered the officers have factions and an unofficial policy. The officer you pay is responsible for you; no officer will assist you even if they can, no matter how terrible your situation is. This immensely affected me.

The officer ‘assisting’ me, a senior one at that, no longer have strong links in the production room due to recent reordering of duties. Clients of those who have strong networks in the room were collecting passports. Then, I discovered my officer was greedy. Officers in the production room charge colleagues for speedy processing because they know they’ve been paid too. The officer just submitted my file without tipping. As the days passed, I got more disturbed as I receive emails to explain my absence abroad.

An officer advised I should explain my situation to the head of Service Compact (SERVICOM) – the complaint and efficient service delivery section. I met the head of SERVICOM after a long wait. “Who is assisting you?” he asked. My eyes popped. The SERVICOM head knows about ‘assistance’. Great! I answered and was told to summon the officer over immediately. I felt uncomfortable, thinking the officer may be reprimanded, but nothing happened. They both checked my application status and detected no problem.

The SERVICOM head therefore instructed the officer to regenerate my file. He promised to indorse and send it to the production room, but I must do something before that happens. I must have a flight ticket and get a letter from the organization am with abroad, stating why I have to return urgently. That got me infuriated. Booking has not helped most of the applicants I’ve seen around. Moreover, I can only show proof that I’m affiliated with a foreign organization and why my trip is urgent, but can’t get a letter from abroad.

I contend that it is unreasonable for Nigerian immigration to be directing Nigerians to get a letter from foreign institutions before they can be issued a passport. The noisy room suddenly went silent. Unbothered, I stated that the passport is my inalienable right and no foreign institution would persuade Nigeria before I get it. The room was still silent, an indication that I’ve either misfired or scored a hat-trick. It was the latter. I was told to only explain my situation in writing and provide evidence that I must travel soon. No foreign letter needed.

I returned the next day with my letter and supporting evidence. To my utter dismay, the passport office had no network to check my status. I was amazed, but the officers weren’t. They experience such regularly. No one could do a thing that day. The entire office was practically shut down.

We were all waiting for network when I overheard the officers discussing about a just released promotion list. They’re annoyed that many of the officers who participated in the promotion exercise and passed, without any query, were not promoted, because they’re Southerners. The Northerners, particularly the Hausa-Fulani were massively promoted and posted to promising places. They also complained about the lack of proper documentation in the Nigerian Immigration Service. Many retired and deceased officers name came out as promoted. The officers lastly discussed the new enhanced e-passport and how much they should be charging for ‘assistance’. No amount was agreed. I went home happy. The revelations made my coming worthwhile.

The next day, my officer advised I shouldn’t regenerate my file for one reason: the officers assigned to search files often declare them unfound without conducting any search. The officer collected extra N3,000 from me to tip a new contact in the production room. I was glad I didn’t ask the foreign body for letter and my predicament was earning me uncommon findings.

I later visited the passport office with Dr Akin, an erudite scholar and researcher who just landed in Nigeria. I briefed him of my past findings and tasked him for more. Dr Akin gathered facts from the applicants through informal discussions. His respondents revealed they’re being ‘assisted’ by different officers who charged them between N30,000 to N45,000, instead of N18,000. He briefed me of a septuagenarian who vowed it’s impossible for anyone to procure a passport at the official fee. The old woman shared her desire to see a working Nigeria, but regrets that can’t happen during her lifetime. I got my passport that day, about three months after applying.

The Comptroller General, Nigerian Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede have to step up his game. He needs to inject more transparency, efficiency, accountability and discipline into the service. More passport offices need to be established and the existing ones should be provided with enough amenities. More seats are needed. Many applicants stood under the sun to collect their passport and the public address system was inaudible. Those in front have to repeat the names being called before others could hear. People were charged N50 for using the lavatory, why?

This piece is an advocacy for efficiency, not vilification. The passport office and persons were deliberately not mentioned. An encounter with me shouldn’t make them the fall guy. What is needed is a holistic reform, not punishing few persons for the wrongs being committed by virtually everyone in the service.

*Omoshola Deji is a political and public affairs analyst. He wrote in via moshdeji@yahoo.com

 

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Verve Card goes global after penning landmark agreement with Discover in New York
August 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

President, Payment Services, Discover Financial Services; Francis Gbenga Shobo, Deputy Managing Director, First Bank; Olubusola Osilaja, Divisional Head, eBusiness, Access Bank; Martins Izuogbe, Divisional Head, Operations, Fidelity Bank; Diane Offereins, Executive Vice President, Payment Services, Discover; Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, Retail & E-Business, First Bank; and Mike Ogbalu, Divisional CEO, Verve, at the Verve Global Card Launch in New York, on Monday.

President, Payment Services, Discover Financial Services; Francis Gbenga Shobo, Deputy Managing Director, First Bank; Olubusola Osilaja, Divisional Head, eBusiness, Access Bank; Martins Izuogbe, Divisional Head, Operations, Fidelity Bank; Diane Offereins, Executive Vice President, Payment Services, Discover; Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, Retail & E-Business, First Bank; and Mike Ogbalu, Divisional CEO, Verve, at the Verve Global Card Launch in New York, on Monday.

Verve, a leading payment technology and card business in Africa, and Discover Global Network, a U.S.-based direct banking and payment services company have sealed an agreement launching the Verve Global Card.

According to the penned agreement that took place in New York, Verge cardholders will now have the ability to use their Verve Global Cards on the Discover Global Network which provide acceptance in more than 190 countries and territories worldwide.

The deal which will greatly expand Verve’s existing suite of tailored payment products and solutions for its customers will facilitate new international and cross border transactions for the card holders who can now make payments outside Africa on the Discover Global Network.

An Interswitch digital payment company that prides itself as a pacesetter in facilitating seamless electronic circulation of money as well as value exchange in Africa, Verve now opens its customers to the world.

With the first transaction operated successfully, the Global Card, according to Mitchell Elegbe, Interswitch Group Managing Director, Group Managing Director, commented on the “agreement with Discover Global Network will enable Verve to compete with other global card offerings, providing cardholders with an enhanced customer experience when transacting globally outside Nigeria.”

“Creating a solution which facilitates international payments for our consumers will help to eliminate existing barriers and simplify the process when transacting abroad.”

Holders of the Verve Classic card can still continue to freely transact as was before within Africa and can acquire the global card which according to Verve officials works worldwide and can be used for payment across Point of Sale (PoS), ATMs and online platforms in Nigeria, Africa and beyond, wherever the Discover, Diner Club, Pulse Network and Verve logos are available.

To Ricardo Leite, senior vice president of international markets at Discover, customers should be provided with the choices they want.

“It is important to us that we are working with groups around the world to extend acceptance for their cardholders…at Discover, we recognize the importance of being able to use your card of choice no matter where you are traveling,” he said.

About Verve

Verve is Interswitch Group’s innovative card scheme, offering products and solutions that enable

consumers to transact all over Nigeria and across international markets. As the first African card scheme to be recognized as a valid, globally accepted e-payment gateway, we have built a world-class value chain ecosystem that benefit from the services that we provide.

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Cameroon angered by Equatorial Guinea’s Border Wall Plans
August 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Pan African Visions reporter, Amos Fofung covering border crisis between Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea (photo, Amos Fofung)

Pan African Visions reporter, Amos Fofung covering border crisis between Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea (photo, Amos Fofung)

Uneasy calm reigns between Malabo and Yaounde over Equatorial Guinea’s plans to construct a border wall so as to stop Cameroonians and West Africans from illegally entering its territory.

Equatorial Guinea’s announcement comes as officials of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) regional economic bloc, of which Equatorial Guinea is a member, are encouraging the free movement of people and goods to boost economic growth in the region.

Some days ago when news broke that Equatorial Guinea was building the wall and had gone as far as erected milestones on the border near the Cameroon town of Kye-Ossi, Cameroon army chief Lieutenant General Rene Claude Meka visited the border after news spread that the neighboring state was not respecting territorial limits and was encroaching on Cameroon land to erect their wall. He said the Cameroonian army would not tolerate any unlawful intrusion.

Anastasio Asumu Mum Munoz, Equatorial Guinea ambassador to Cameroon, was called up by Cameroon’s Minister of External Relations on Thursday August 8, to respond to the intrusion accusation.

The ambassador, reports hold, said his country plans to build a wall, but that reports that the its military had installed milestones in Cameroon territory are misleading.

Equatorial Guinea has always accused Cameroon of letting its citizens and West Africans enter its territory illegally.

This is not the first time Equatorial Guinea is having problems with Cameroon over border issues. On several occasion, it has often sealed its border with Cameroon, complaining of security threats posed by illegal immigration.

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Citizen’s solution in ending crisis in Cameroon: Dialogue, reinforcement of education, Protection of Borders
August 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Officials of Foretia Foundation and participants brainstorming on measures to solve crisis in Cameroon

Officials of Foretia Foundation and participants brainstorming on measures to solve crisis in Cameroon

In order for the crisis in Cameroon to be solved, various tenets have been identified such as the implementation of dialogue, reinforcement of education and the protection of the borders. Participants were speaking during the event on community involvement in promoting peace in Cameroon on August 8, 2019, at the DK Hotel, Douala, Littoral Region of Cameroon.

The event was in line with the mission of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, through the Nkafu policy institute, a think tank, to catalyze the economic transformation of African countries by focusing on social entrepreneur, science and technology, health, and the implementation of development policies that create economic opportunities for all.

During the discussions, two prominent conflicts were x-rayed by participants such as: the ongoing Anglophone crisis in the South West and North West Regions, the Boko Haram insurgencies in the North and issues in the East Regions.

Barrister Agbor Doris Ebob from Foretia Foundation while speaking said “the government should go close to the people and know what they actually want because without listening to them, they will not ain the people’s trust. From there they could come up with strategies to solve the present crisis.” “We have to live together. Accepting our brothers and tolerating one another. Before this crisis, we have never had peace in Cameroon. Peace has been lacking because individuals have refused to accept one another. If we can, then there will be peace in Cameroon.”

On solving the Anglophone crisis she said, “dialogue is paramount. The government should go close to the people and talk to them and hear what they have to say about solving the crisis.”

In her closing remark, Barrister Agbor Doris Ebob indicated that in the coming weeks, there will be the training of 50 peace advocates who will preach peace in their various communities.

Some 80 participants from the public, private and civil society organizations, journalists, and others were present to propose solutions through which Cameroon can accelerate its progress towards the resolutions of the current conflicts.

According to some participants, the issue of dialogue in solving crisis is very paramount. Dialogue implies the ability of the two warring factions to be able to sit on the dialogue table and sought their differences. With the case of Cameroon and the Anglophone crisis, participants indicated that both the government and the separatist should call for dialogue which will ease the prevailing situation presently ongoing in the North West and South west Regions.

With the case of the crisis in the East Region, participants have called for the protection of the borders, and also that of the Far North as a means of limiting the damages being caused by various insurgency groups. Protection here will entail the provision of security personnel at the borders especially in the Far North Region to curb the rate of suicide attacks on the population in that area.

The youths have equally been called upon to actively participate in the political situation in their country. The youths were urged not to just lambaste the government all the time at the sidelines while they themselves shun away from participating in governance. Many youths are mostly politicians online. They will use social media to talk about bad things the government is doing but not knowing that they have the power to change the political situation of their country.  Many youths have the notion that the winner of election is already known, and they abscond from taking part in the voting process or even owning a voters card.

Some participants equally added their voices to others in the call for the reinforcement of education and for children to go back to school in the crisis prone areas. For the past years, children in the Anglophone regions have been prevented from going to school. There are however campaigns for these children to go back to school come the new academic year that starts in September.

A report by CHRDA notes that the consequences of the prolonged school boycott, since for three years, and counting now are more than catastrophic. Before October 2016, more than Six thousand schools were operational in the North West and South-West Regions. As at December 2018, less than One hundred schools were operational in these regions, meaning that 5900 schools had shut their doors, with over 600 thousand students out of school and at least 40 schools burnt. In a UNICEF 2019 reports, at least 600 thousand students are out of school in the North West and South-West Regions.

 

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Sudan seeks president Kiir’s succor in resolving its political crisis
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Deputy Head of Sudanese Transitional Military Council, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo meets South Sudanese President Salva Kiir in Juba, South Sudan. PHOTO: REUTERS

Deputy Head of Sudanese Transitional Military Council, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo meets South Sudanese President Salva Kiir in Juba, South Sudan. PHOTO: REUTERS

Juba – Sudan warring leaders convened in Juba over the weekend in a bid to seeks South Sudanese president Salva Kiir’s assistance in resolving years of stalemates in its internal political crisis.

This comes after president Kiir’s move to initiate peace between Sudan rival groups a month ago in an effort to bring peace and stability to his foe Sudan.

Sudan deputy chairman of the Transitional Military Council, Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, formerly known as Hemeti, led delegations to Juba on Saturday, discussed peace with the two Sudanese opposition leaders Gen. Abdel Aziz Al-Hilu of South Kordofan State and SPLM/A-N leader Malik Agar of Blue Nile State, in auspice of president Kiir in the presidential palace.

Gen. Hemeti, who also commands a paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces, is on his first trip to Juba since his appointment as deputy head of Sudan’s military council following the April ouster of president Bashir after months of protests.

The visit comes after members of Sudan’s opposition coalitions reached what they call a ‘political deal’ in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this month.

The peace talks were part of the implementation of the power sharing deal between the protest leaders and the transitional military council signed in Khartoum recently, aimed at establishing how to implement the deal reached by the rivalry parties in Sudan.

Gen. Hemeti is the one at the forefront of peace talks with opposition groups in Sudan, but the protest leaders and military council leaders are still yet to sign a ‘constitutional declaration.’

Sudanese opposition groups has been fighting to topple the regime in Khartoum for years in the Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions respectively during the deposed president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir

In the joint press, Sudan’s rival groups say they agreed to extend a ceasefire to stop war, as coming together as one people and bring peace and stability.

Gen. Hemeti appreciated president Kiir Mayardit for initiating peace talks process between Sudan’s rival groups.

“We are in our second home. We met with Malik Gar, our meeting went successful – we agreed on key things, [with] God willing, the war will come to end.” “We welcome our brothers who have taken arms against the government of Sudan – their presence and views are very important to us in Sudan, and we really need them to come back home. It’s their home, we really need them for stability,” said Hemeti on Saturday in Juba.

SPLM/A – N leader Malik Agar, said the preliminary discussion had led to concrete decisions in future, as the two parties agreed to extend a ceasefire agreement and open humanitarian corridors to the war affected areas.

“We have reached consensus on humanitarian assistance and interventions in the areas that are affected by war. We have to renew cessation of hostilities and opening the humanitarian corridors,” Agar said. “We have signed several agreements before but they have not been implemented but this time, I hope, everything will go on well.”

The members of SPLM/A – N and other opposition groups are in Juba after forcibly expelled from Khartoum following the wake of a deadly raid on protest sit-in in Khartoum in earlier June, killing over 100 protesters

However, Sudan military council has also pardoned rebels fighting Khartoum regime, including all rebel leaders tried and convicted for treason in absentia.

In spite the separation in 2011 after the decades of scorched – earth conflict, South Sudan and Sudan are still held by pre and post – independence unfinished deals.

As the axiom say, “the birds of same feather flown together,” Khartoum was recently seeing as instrumental mediator on the fragile revitalized peace deal, inked by Juba’s warring parties last year, to ended five-year of civil war that has uprooted four million people from their homes and killed 400,000 people.

 

 

 

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Agenda For Ecowas Movement Set By Sector Players
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica.

Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) together with the international Organization for migration and Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has kicked start its sensitization talks on the need to have a National biometric card that will help aid movement of its citizens in the sub-region. The two days programme which is spearheaded by Ghana’s Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration ministry sought to raise awareness within the sub-region on the existing protocols and instruments on free movement on migration.

The sector minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey in a statement at the opening of the program here in Accra, bemoaned the delays in realizing the free movement envisaged by the forebears of the region. She enumerated the challenges of not realizing this dream includes lack of knowledge or understanding of the rights and responsibilities enshrined in the ECOWAS Free Movement Protocol and its related texts, irregular migration, transnational crime, such as human trafficking, vulnerability of ECOWAS Community Citizens and many more.

According to her, lack of valid travel documents and identification cards for members, usually amounts to high level of harassment and extortion of money at the borders within the region. Saying ‘’after six decades of independence of ECOWAS member states, should not be where it is now’’ We ought to chart a path towards real regional integration which should lead to the development, prosperity and wellbeing of our people.”

On her part Sylvia Lopez- Ekra,IOM Ghana Chief of Mission, reiterated the need to protect migrants traveling across and within the ECOWAS sub-region. At a forum to sensitization and support government’s efforts on the implementation of the ECOWAS national biometric card, Sylvia Lopez lauded government of Ghana and ECOWAS for providing the platform for engagement. She revealed one in every 7 people there is a migrant and that shows how young African risk their lives through the Mediterranean to travel to Europe.

She advised the need to protect all migrants traveling through ECOWAS region is crucial, and called for a concerted effort to raise public awareness about the vulnerability of the situation.

 

 

 

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South Sudan: Troika calls on parties to redouble efforts as new deadline handy, vows to support peace process
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Pope Francis kisses the feet of President Salva Kiir while his opposition rival Rick Marchar looks on after a two day spiritual retreat for South Sudan leaders in April 2019.

Pope Francis kisses the feet of President Salva Kiir while his opposition rival Rick Marchar looks on after a two day spiritual retreat for South Sudan leaders in April 2019.

Juba – The United States, United Kingdom, and Norway has called on the parties to the conflict in South Sudan to redouble their efforts to implement the most pressing issues, including security reforms, as agreed in May this year in the 11th months old fragile revitalized peace deal.

The troika countries were being inaudible on the Khartoum – backing revitalized peace deal until last month they expressed willingness to support the transitional period.

The US, UK and Norway are South Sudan’s main friends and developmental partners since the two decades of scorched-earth civil war until today despite that they got disappointed after the country returned into another civil war in late 2013, two years of her independence from Sudan regime in 2011.

In the aftermath of political conflict, several ceasefire and deal were reached through the Troika’s support but has been violated within a month.

But with latest litmus test, President Kiir and the key opposition groups, including the main opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar signed the peace deal on September, 2018 to end the conflict, which has killed nearly 400,000 people and uprooted four million people from their homes. The plans to form a power-sharing in May, this year were delayed after there was no funding to disarm, establish cantonments, rehabilitate and integrate militias and rebels across the country to November 12, this year.

Something that concerns the troika countries, ‘with less than four months until the new deadline for the end of the pre-transitional period in November, time is running out.’

In a statement issued on late July, Troika said it is ready to work with the reconstituted transitional government of national unity in November as mandated by the peace agreement.

“Troika stands by the people of South Sudan and looks forward to support a successful transitional period,” said troika in the statement for the first time.

“While there is progress, lack of momentum to fully implement the peace agreement may threaten the successful formation of the transitional government and the prospects for the peace process,” the statement partially read. “We call on the parties to redouble their efforts to resolve the most pressing remaining issues, which includes ensuring agreed security reforms are delivered, through the mobilization of necessary support,” it added.

They further said focused discussions on outstanding tasks are critical for progress towards the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity, which will set the foundation for effective joint governance.

The power sharing deal that resuscitated Dr. Machar as first vice president would run for three years until general elections is held.

“Credible elections in South Sudan in 2022 are another important milestone,” the statement further said

However, Troika further welcomed the significant globule in political violence and the presence of many opposition politicians in Juba.

The Troika countries also added its voice to the calls by the region and South Sudan’s civil society for regular engagement between President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar, in bid to narrow a gap on outstanding matters.

“For the peace process to remain credible, it is important that the parties demonstrate their commitment to peace and meet the assurances they made in May,” the group said.

IGAD recently announced plans for another face-to-face talks between Kiir and Machar, but Juba government always says that Kiir will not meet Machar in another country, except in Juba.

The observers, experts argued that consistent meeting between the two principals will help them appraisal the progress, build trust and confidence and extend a signal to South Sudanese that the deal is on right track.

Troika also reaffirmed its commitment to the IGAD-led peace process and to the lasting peace which they say the people of South Sudan deserve.

The Troika also welcomed recently appointment of Kenyan former vice president, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka as the Kenyan Special Envoy to South Sudan by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is also the IGAD Rapporteur to sustain his country peace efforts in the East Africa youngest country.

“We are encouraged by the appointment of H.E. Stephen Kalonzo as the Kenyan Special Envoy on South Sudan; this is an important demonstration of commitment from an IGAD member state,” Troika avowed.

More so, the statement concluded that the role of IGAD countries and the wider international community remains critical, and “the Troika stands ready to support the region’s engagement.”

 

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Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe reinforce strategies to combat crimes
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Arnaldo Cuamba

Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe want to adopt better strategies for combating cross-border crime to maintain security along the borders of the three countries.

At a meeting in Maputo City, attended especially by police representatives from the three countries, namely, Paulo Chachine (Mozambique), Thulane Phala (South Africa) and Rangarirai Nshucharua (Zimbabwe), it was agreed that the current strategies need to be updated taking into account the modus operandis of the bandits.

“We have situations of wrongdoers who commit crimes in South Africa and then flee to Mozambique, commit in Mozambique and go to Zimbabwe or South Africa from a

routinely ” denounced Chachine adding that” with this our essential objective is to study how to identify criminals and combat because they affect us“

Mozambique borders Zimbabwe through the provinces of Tete and Manica and with South Africa through Maputo and Gaza.

The three countries were unanimous in explaining that the most notable crimes along the border line to be fought are cattle theft, organ and human trafficking, drug and firearm trafficking, car and motor vehicle theft, illegal immigration as well as poaching.

Cattle theft has been proliferating along the border, largely at grazing sites, Chachine said calling for community involvement in the fight.

“The Police-Community link is the key, because criminals live in the communities and neighborhoods we live in, in the restaurants we go to, whether in Mozambique, South Africa or Zimbabwe.

“Therefore, through the Police-Community link we can be able to identify and fight offenders because, in general, the population does not want to live with them,” he added.

The next meeting is scheduled for September, October or November in South Africa.

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