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New US-Kenya trade agreement won’t undermine AfCTA, President Kenyatta assures
February 9, 2020 | 0 Comments

WASHINGTON DC, 6th February 2020, (PSCU)—  President Uhuru Kenyatta has assured that a new bilateral trade deal between Kenya and the US won’t undermine the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

The Kenyan leader spoke shortly after a meeting with the United States  President Donald Trump at the White House during which the two leaders agreed to commence talks leading to a trade pact between Kenya and the US. 

President Kenyatta made the assurance when he addressed over 350 business leaders attending a US-Kenya Trade Forum in the US capital. 

He said the proposed new trade arrangement with the United States of America would in no way undermine Kenya’s commitment to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

At the White House meeting, Presidents Kenyatta and Trump said a new trade agreement would help increase volumes of trade and investment between Kenya and the US.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer who spoke shortly after the meeting between Presidents Kenyatta and Trump said, America recognizes Kenya as a leader in Africa and an important strategic partner of the US.

He said a new trade agreement presents the two countries a rare opportunity to explore ways of deepening Kenya-US economic and commercial ties.

“Under President Trump’s leadership, we look forward to negotiating and concluding a comprehensive, high-standard agreement with Kenya that can serve as a model for additional agreements across Africa,” Amb Lighthizer said. 

In line with the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability law of 2015, the Trade Representative will now officially notify Congress of the US government’s intention to start trade negotiations with Kenya.

Currently, trade between Kenya and the US stands at about USD 1billion a year with over 70 percent of Kenya’s export into the expansive American market in 2018, worth USD 466 million, entering under AGOA.

President Kenyatta told the Kenya-US forum that his administration is committed to developing and concluding the strongest ever trade and investment framework that would deliver increased trade between the two nations.

“Today I want to assure all of you of Kenya’s unwavering commitment in developing the strongest ever trade investment framework with the United States of America.

“We are very keenly looking forward to concluding the trade arrangement between our two countries and I believe that these  trade agreements would not only serve Kenya and United States but  would probably set the base for a new engagement between the United States and  other African countries,”President Kenyatta said. 

He dismissed speculation that Kenya is breaking away from its commitment to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) saying the new arrangement with the US is only aimed at bolstering and deepening trade not only with Kenya but also with other African countries.

“At this juncture I just want to put away a few doubts because there has been a feeling that by Kenya engaging with the US to have a trade arrangement, we are running away from our commitment to the African Continental Free Trade arrangement. And I want to assure you that there can be nothing further from the truth as that is definitely not the case,” President Kenyatta said. 

The Kenyan Head of State pointed out that Kenya was among the first countries to sign and ratify the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and that its commitment to the agreement is steadfast. 

He said Kenya needs to move faster and set the pace for other African countries in formulating new trade and investment arrangements with the US as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) comes to an end in 2025.

“All we are saying is that there are some of us like Kenya who feels that we are ready. We are ready to move forward and what we are saying is, let the rest of the continent see us as pacesetters. 

“Let them see us as the people who are clearing the field for future negotiations with the rest of the African continent because Kenya feels ready for this arrangement,” the President said. 

He noted that even as Kenya and the US work to strengthen their trade and investment ties, there is need to preserve and build on mechanisms and regulatory frameworks that already exist. 

“As you may be well aware, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been a key mover for trade between Kenya and the USA. Through AGOA, the US is the third export destination for Kenyan products, with a share of about 8 percent of total Kenya’s export globally.  

“Moving forward, we need to maximize the remaining years of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) that ends in 2025,” President Kenyatta said noting that the US is an important source of  Kenya’s foreign direct investments (FDI), with the country holding an FDI stock of over USD 405 million in 2018. 

President Kenyatta challenged American businessmen to explore new investment opportunities in Kenya and assured them of an enabling business environment.

“We have a wide range of potential areas for investment and I urge US companies to consider investing in key sectors of the economy such as; Agriculture & Agro-processing, Manufacturing, Construction & Real Estate development, infrastructure development, ICT, Blue Economy, Energy, Hospitality & Tourism, Health, FinTech & Financial Services, Petroleum, Mining, among others,” the President outlined. 

Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs of the US Chamber of Commerce Myron Brilliant said the American business community is keenly following what President Kenyatta is doing in terms of improving trade between Kenya and the US and assured that the chamber will continue to support him by wooing more American investors to the country.

“We see your vision, we see your ambition, we understand what is happening in Kenya and we want to embrace it and support you,” Mr Brilliant assured the President.

President Kenyatta is accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries James Macharia (Transport), Adan Mohammed (East African Affairs) and CS designate for Trade Betty Maina among other senior government officials.
Credit: State House Kenya

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Charting a course for sustainable hydropower development in Africa
February 6, 2020 | 0 Comments

6 February 2020, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire – Senior African government representatives and leaders from the energy sector, financial institutions and civil society gathered in Abidjan today to chart a course for the sustainable development of the continent’s hydropower resources.

Organised by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Africa High-level Sustainable Hydropower Roundtable looked at strategies for ensuring projects are developed in accordance with international good practice, while overcoming challenges to development and access to finance.

With close to 600 million Africans lacking access to electricity, speakers including Hon Fortune Chasi, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Energy, and Sabati Cissé, Côte d’Ivoire’s Director-General for Ministry of Petroleum, Energy and Renewable Energies, emphasised the social-economic and power system benefits of investing in hydroelectricity.

Africa’s existing hydropower plants deliver 36 gigawatts (GW) of installed generation capacity, but this represents only about 11 per cent of the region’s technical potential, according to IHA (Hydropower Status Report 2019).

“As a renewable energy source offering design options from run-of-river plants to pumped storage plants, hydropower in its different forms adds significant value to power systems and the reliability of energy supply,” said Wale Shonibare, the African Development Bank’s Acting Vice President for Power Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth.

Mr Shonibare said the AfDB is committed to supporting new hydropower projects through its New Deal on Energy for Africa and has already invested close to USD 1 billion for 1.4 GW of expected installed capacity over the past ten years.

“As the Bank’s emphasis on renewable energy sources is growing, so does its interest in hydropower. In order to achieve universal access to energy, it is not enough to bring online the amount of generation capacity required to cover energy demand, it is also essential to do this in a sustainable way that assures power system reliability,” he said.

In his intervention, Minister Chasi noted that Zimbabwe, where more than half the population does not have electricity access, needs international investment and technical assistance to develop renewable energy sources including hydropower. “We consider hydropower to be essential and critical for our generation of power,” he said.

Mr Cissé noted that Africa’s hydropower plants, through increasing electricity access, contribute significantly to poverty reduction and economic growth. “Africa has enormous hydropower potential, which we will need if we want to achieve national policy priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Eddie Rich, Chief Executive of IHA, said it was important to create an enabling policy and regulatory environment to incentivise new projects, while ensuring that both greenfield and rehabilitation projects are built and operated in accordance with internationally recognised guidelines and assessment tools.

“The Hydropower Sustainability Tools, governed by a multi-stakeholder coalition of social and environmental NGOs, governments, banks and industry, must be embedded in decision-making on project selection, planning, financing, development and operation. These tools define good and best practice and help to assess whether a hydropower project is truly sustainable across objective social, environmental and governance performance measures,” he said.

The Africa High-level Roundtable on Sustainable Hydropower Development was organised with support from AFD, the French development agency.

View the list of speakers: https://www.hydropower.org/events/africa-high-level-sustainable-hydropower-roundtable.

About IHA

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is a non-profit organisation working with a network of members and partners to advance sustainable hydropower. Its mission is to build and share knowledge on hydropower’s role in renewable energy systems, responsible freshwater management and climate change solutions. IHA is also the management body for the Hydropower Sustainability Tools and provides training and accreditation for independent project assessors.

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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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Equatorial Guinea agrees on $2M Solidarity Contribution to support China’s Fight Against Coronavirus
February 5, 2020 | 0 Comments
Equatorial Guinea and China Presidents
According to the latest updates, the coronavirus has killed almost 500 people worldwide, mostly Chinese citizens and infected over 24,000 people

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, February 5, 2020/ — Equatorial Guinea’s Council of Ministers has agreed to support China’s fight against the coronavirus with a $2 million solidarity contribution this week. Chaired by H.E. President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the Council of Ministers expressed its deepest support and solidarity to the Chinese Government in their fight against the global outbreak.

According to the latest updates, the coronavirus has killed almost 500 people worldwide, mostly Chinese citizens and infected over 24,000 people. The decision of Equatorial Guinea’s Council of Minister to financially support China’s fight against the virus reflects the deep and long-standing relationship between both countries, whose cooperation has only grown stronger in recent years.

“China has always been a very strong and loyal supporter of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and this contribution is a demonstration that Equatorial Guinea stands in solidarity with China and its people as it fights a global outbreak that has already cost too many lives,” declared H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons. “Our ongoing Year of Investment Initiative will be a testimony to the depth of our cooperation and relationship with China. It is a pleasure for Equatorial Guinea to support its partner in times of need.”

China and Equatorial Guinea have been enjoying successful economic and technical cooperation for decades. China has supported the development of Equatorial Guinea through the construction of critical telecommunications and road infrastructure, along with supporting social infrastructure in the country. Equatorial Guinea has been a long-standing supporter of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Last year, both countries agreed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation during a meeting between President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s special representative Yang Jiechi.
*Africa Energy Chamber
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Gambia China exchange ideas in Combating Coronavirus
February 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

Chinese Ambassador in Gambia with Gambia Foreign Minister Dr Tangara

By Bakary Ceesay

Ambassador Ma Jianchun exchanged views on jointly containing the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) with Hon. Mamadou Tangara

On 3 February 2020, Ambassador Ma Jianchun met with Hon. Mamadou Tangara, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, and exchanged views on further strengthening bilateral cooperation in preventing and controlling the outbreak of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus, also known as the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Ambassador Ma briefed Hon. Tangara on the latest development of the epidemic and the measures taken by the Chinese side. He said that since the pneumonia outbreak, the Chinese government had taken the most comprehensive and rigorous prevention and control measures with a strong sense of responsibility for people’s health.

The safety and health of the Gambian nationals in China are of equal importance as the Chinese people, which has been well taken care of. As a responsible country for the international society, China has also taken many measures to prevent the outbreak from spreading abroad, many of which go way beyond the requirements of the WHO.

The declaration of the epidemic as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) by WHO was a technical decision in accordance with the International Health Regulations and made within its responsibilities.

Ambassador Ma emphasized that as more medical resources being mobilized and transported to the epicenter of the outbreak, we are not far from winning the battle against the outbreak.

Hon. Tangara appreciated China for taking decisive and scientific measures in containing the pneumonia outbreak and ensuring safety of Gambian nationals in China especially those in the epicenter of the outbreak.

He said that the Gambian side has full confidence in China’s ability in winning the battle against the outbreak, and the Gambian people are always in solidarity with the friendly Chinese people.

He further pointed out that the Gambian side will continue to refrain from imposing unnecessary travel or trade restriction on the Chinese people.

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Yale Leadership Forum Amplifies Influence of Next Generation of African Women Leaders
January 31, 2020 | 0 Comments

NEW HAVEN, USA, January 31, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Yale University, in partnership with Fundación Mujeres por África and Banco Santander, convened the Women’s Leadership Forum in Lagos, Nigeria, on January 17. The Lagos forum was the third of the partnership’s events held in Africa since the program began in 2015. It brought together women leaders from across the continent to foster relationships between one generation of African women and the next, and to serve as a catalyst for open dialogue. It was the culminating event of a three-day visit to Lagos by Yale President Peter Salovey.

As a flagship program of the Yale Africa Initiative, the forum is part of a broader leadership development program for senior African women government officials. Additional components of the leadership program have included participation by women from African countries in events hosted on Yale’s campus. Previous forums held in Africa were convened in Accra in 2018, and Addis Ababa in 2019.

In Lagos, opening addresses were delivered by Peter Salovey, the 23rd President of Yale University, and Maria Teresa Fernandez De La Vega, president of the Spanish Council of State and president of Fundación Mujeres por África (Women for Africa Foundation).

In his remarks, President Salovey said, “Building a network of senior African women leaders is essential to promoting sound governance and economic opportunity across the continent and around the globe for generations to come. This program has not only enhanced the knowledge and skills of current women trailblazers but has also bolstered the pipeline for emerging leaders. They are advancing the prospects of their nations, their continent, and our world.”

During the forum, two panel discussions took place, one exploring personal journeys to leadership roles, and the other focused on women defining and creating the leadership they need to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Advocating for gender equality, during her opening address, Ms. Fernandez De La Vega said, “The road to equality is the road to the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The session on the “Role of Women in Achieving SDGs” was moderated by Emma Sky, director of Yale’s Maurice R. Greenberg World Fellows Program and a senior fellow of the Yale Jackson Institute. In her remarks introducing the panel discussion, Ms. Sky emphasized the need to create spaces for women in leadership.

“Women are the hope of Africa. And it is women who are key to ensuring that Africa develops to its potential and to enabling human flourishing. This leadership forum convenes a group of highly accomplished women leaders from across Africa, who are making a difference, who serve as role models for other women, and who are committed to mentoring a new generation of women leaders to participate in addressing the challenges facing the continent,” she said.

During the discussion, which included the voices of strong African women leaders with a track record of significant contribution towards achievement of the SDGs, panelists and participants focused on the importance of empowering women in rural and capital areas, and the need to ensure that no woman is left behind.

Both panels featured program alumni: Obiageli Ezekwesili, former Minister of Solid Minerals and Education (Nigeria); Ramatoulaye Diallo, Minister of Culture (Mali); Adejoke O-Adefulire; Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs (Nigeria); Remi Sonaiya, independent researcher and consultant and professor at Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria); and Nana Oye Lithur, human rights lawyer and former Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection (Ghana).

The “Journey to Leadership” discussion, which featured personal testimonials from the panelists, was moderated by Olabosipo Sawyerr-Bassey, a graduate of the Yale School of Management (Class of 2007) from Nigeria, and Stephanie Busari, the bureau head of CNN Nigeria. A common thread from the stories shared pointed to the importance of African women in shaping the destinies of their countries.

The forum concluded with remarks from Ms. Obiageli Ezekwesili, Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow, presidential candidate of Nigeria’s 2019 election, and former vice president for the World Bank’s Africa Region. She urged participants to make conscious efforts towards connecting SDGs to everyday life so that people in communities can take ownership and demand accountability from the government on their efforts towards achieving these goals and improving their futures.

ABOUT YALE UNIVERSITY
Since its founding in 1701, Yale has been dedicated to expanding and sharing knowledge, inspiring innovation, and preserving cultural and scientific information for future generations.

Yale’s reach is both local and international. From its New Haven, Connecticut campus the University engages with people and institutions across the globe to deliver on its commitment to provide transformative educational opportunities for students and foster innovative discoveries that improve the world today and for future generations.
You can find Yale on social media via: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

*Source African Media Agency

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Gambia: Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Tangara Meets new French Ambassador
January 29, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay 

New French Ambassador with Foreign Minister Dr. Tangara

The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Dr. Mamadou Tangara, on Monday 27th January 2020 received in his office the new Ambassador of France to The Gambia, Philippe Lalliot, 

He presented copies of his Letters of Credence to the Honourable Minister before proceeding to the Presidency for the actual presentation of his Letters of Credence to the President Adama Barrow. 

Ambassador Lalliot is accredited to The Gambia and resident in Dakar, Senegal. 

In welcoming the new French Ambassador, the Honourable Minister assured him of the continuous support and collaboration of the Government of The Gambia at all times especially at bilateral and multilateral level. 

The French Ambassador in turn assured the Honourable Minister that he will work diligently to promote and facilitate investment in The Gambia from French companies. 

After his engagement with the Honourable Minister, Ambassador Lalliot was accompanied to State House by the Honourable Minister of Foreign, Permanent Secretary Mr. Sulayman Omar Njie and Director of the European Affairs Division Mr. Ebrima Mboob.


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Erdogan: Turkey-Gambia trade Cooperation is Gaining Momentum
January 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

The visiting Turkish President to The Gambia, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told journalists on Monday at State House that the trade relationship with Banjul is at the desired level of cooperation.

Erdoğan and his host President, Adama Barrow were engaged in a joint press conference shortly after his arrival to the West African state.

“Your government has demonstrated strong support to our transitional programmes with military support to the sum of 17 million US dollars for a period of five years which is ongoing,” Barrow who first spoke said.

He said his government has also gained the support from Turkey to build the capacity of the security forces by training 500 officers on peacekeeping.

“Your excellency, we continue to appreciate the pledges you made during my visit to build a children’s hospital and offices for the parliamentarians.

“Turkish instrumental role in supporting the Gambia to host the OIC Summit and sharing the Turkish experience in hosting such a would event is highly appreciated,” Barrow stated.

Barrow said the formation of the joint economic commission between the two countries has created an investment opportunity which holds a flagship position within their cooperation. According to him, this is vital for the private sectors of both countries.

He believes that the coming of the Turkish president’s visit will strengthen their bilateral ties and it will boost the socio-economic growth for both states.

Meanwhile, President Erdoğan said Gambia’s decisive start had made it an example for other African countries.

“The economic and trade relationship we have with the Gambia is now at the desired level. Between Turkey and Gambia in 2019, the trade value reached 55 million dollars,” he disclosed.

He stated that his wish is to carry on with bilateral trade towards a more balanced structure.

“In 2013, between our countries we signed up on the promotion and reciprocal protection of the investment agreement. We completed the internal ratification of the agreement in our country and we hope that the process will also be completed in the Gambia.

He said the avoidance of double taxation agreement the two states signed in 2014 has been put into force on February 26th, 2018.

He stressed that Turkey would always base their relationship with Africa on just and balanced benefit of both sides.

According to him, aside from selling products, Turkish investors are also creating jobs and are focusing on developing and strengthening the continent of Africa through their projects – ensuring that their firms will be creating more investments in the Gambia.

“In the new Gambia, I believe the Gambia government will give more responsibility to our contractors,” he added.

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Rwanda and Zimbabwe in Partnership For Forum To Boost Regional Integration in Africa
January 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Harare—–Rwanda and Zimbabwe which are COMESA Member States have joined hands of Commercial and Economic solidarity in the spirit of bilateral relations through an Investment and Trade Conference to be held from 4 to 6 March this year in Rwanda Kigali . In the aura of Economic Integration and open for Business partnership, Rwanda President Paul Kagame and Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa will officially open the conference.

This come to note through an invitation advanced to press, Business Executives, Economists, captains of Industry and Government officials who attended a conference hosting ceremony launch in Harare. Speaking to delegates at a hotel in the city, James Musoni His Excellency Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to the Republic of Rwanda promised to kick the ground in a bang. He said the conference is historic and of great opportunity un-ever met.

 ‘’ This is a History making process headed by heads of State of the two countries. The two countries have made bilateral relations which will be tabled in dialogue at the 24 to 26 March conference this year. The objective is to foster Trade and Investment relations among our people. We have to strengthen these relations and partnerships meant to up-lift people out of poverty through Regional Integration.

 ‘’The conference will un-pack available opportunities in Rwanda so that Zimbabwe Business people can penetrate Rwanda. They will explore and identify opportunities in the country.

Rwanda has over the past decade experienced 8% sustained economic growth Annual Gross Domestic Product since 2007. This explains clearly that Rwanda is one of the fastest growing economy. The Ambassador further digs down that vast opportunities are in sectors such as Agriculture, Energy, Tourism, ICT, Infrastructure, Real Estate and Construction.

‘’This is given evidence by recent launch of the first ever made smart phone in Africa.  It is called Mara Smart-Phone . Zimbabwe can import these smart-phones. Business is always easy if done and well managed. We have Rwanda Air which plies the Harare –Rwanda route on a daily basis.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in Zimbabwe David Musabayana said Rwanda has vast investment incentives Zimbabwe can take advantage of. He further cited that registration is easy and accessible than in some other countries.

‘’Zimbabwe will obviously boost its economic growth because of the fast on-line business and registration that only takes a day to facilitate. Access to services like electricity utility is easy. Investors are assured of a country without corruption, investment impediments and inconveniences related to business operations.

‘’A business can be registered in 6 hours while a Bank account can be opened in less than an hour’’,

Rwanda and Zimbabwe are both countries in COMESA, a free trade bloc with 19 countries. It means free movement of people and goods between the two countries. Rwanda is signatory to the 2018 Kigali African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement currently being implemented under the African Union. Rwanda is as well a member of the East African Community like Zimbabwe which is a member of the SADC family consisting of 17 countries.

On the International scene Rwanda is the 7th most efficient Government. It is now a safe destination in Africa. It is now competitive in economic activities. This makes it easy to do business in the Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Ride the wave of the African Continental Free Trade Area, African Development Bank president Adesina Urges UK investors
January 22, 2020 | 0 Comments
African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina

Africa is on the cusp of unmatched economic transformation, and the UK must engage in a “partnership of change,” African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said Tuesday in a keynote address at a UK Parliamentary Symposium. “The Africa of the 21st century is very different. The Africa of the 21st century is new and more confident,” he said.

The Symposium was co-organized by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Africa with the Royal African Society, Oxford Brookes University, and the Trade Justice Network under the theme UK-Africa Trade and Brexit. 

The Bank’s chief argued that Africa and the UK should be significant trading partners. “The reality, however, is that UK’s trade with Africa is trending downwards. From a $49 billion peak in 2012, trade decreased to $30.6 billion in 2018,” he noted. 

The decline in UK trade and investment in Africa is against a backdrop of projected business-to-business and consumer-to-consumer expenditures of $5.6 trillion by 2020, and a food and agriculture market worth $1 trillion by 2030.

“The fact that we are having this conversation in the UK Parliament is a great start. The convening of this Summit by Prime Minister Boris Johnson is an even greater start,” he acknowledged.

President Adesina used his engagement at the House of Commons to share Africa’s investment opportunities, “which speak for themselves.” Trading under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which represents a market of more than 1.3 billion people and a gross domestic product of $2.5 trillion, and is the world’s largest free trade area since establishment of the World Trade Organization, starts in July. 

Speaking earlier in the morning at the UK-Africa Investment Summit Sustainable Infrastructure Forum, the Bank’s chief said: “Investing in quality and sustainable infrastructure can spur Africa’s economic transformation.”

The Forum, organized by the Department of International Development (DFID) and Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa, seeks to facilitate new investment and commercial opportunities for the UK and promote quality infrastructure to deliver better services to African citizens. 

The Bank has been a forerunner in the race to rapidly close the continent’s infrastructure gap, which Adesina suggested be renamed “Africa’s infrastructure demand opportunity.” Investors who tapped early into information and communications technology infrastructure in Africa have seen those investments become game changers for Africa, he noted. 

“Just under two decades ago, Africa had fewer telephones than Manhattan in New York. Today, Africa has over 440 million cell phone subscribers. Returns on digital infrastructure are very high as the continent expands broadband infrastructure to boost connectivity and improve services,” Adesina said.

The African Development Bank has been a major investor in infrastructure development in the electricity, transport, and water sectors across Africa. Cumulative Bank funding for infrastructure on the continent rose by 22% from $66.9 billion in 2016 to $81.6 billion in 2017. During the same period, the value of infrastructure projects with private sector participation has increased from $3.6 billion to $5.2 billion. 

To meet Africa’s unmet infrastructure needs, project preparation is critical, the Forum heard.

The Bank has established several project preparation facilities to address the lack of bankable projects and ensure a robust pipeline of projects. These facilities collectively provide $30-50 million annually in support for project preparation. 

The African Development Bank and DFID are collaborating to explore how to better support fragile states, which are facing huge financing needs. DFID has been the Bank’s key strategic partner since it joined the Bank group in 1983. And its “strong and consistent” support for the African Development Fund has helped the development of low-income states, especially the fragile states. 

Instruments, such as the Private Sector Credit Enhancement Facility, a credit-risk participation vehicle from the African Development Fund, (ADF)’s concessional window to support Non-Sovereign Operations in low-income countries, are showing tremendous results. 

With $500 million in credit guarantees, provided through ADF, the Bank has leveraged $2.5 billion of financing into fragile states, with a zero default rate. 

“We are committed to quality infrastructure and ensuring that no one is left behind!” Adesina concluded. 

The Bank’s chief is on a three-day visit to the UK. On Monday, he joined African Heads of States at a reception at Buckingham Palace after taking part in a presidential panel at the UK-Africa Investment Summit convened by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

*AFDB

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Turkey-Gambia Relations ‘Excellent’ as President Erdogan Visits Banjul Next Week
January 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay 

New Turkey Ambassador with President Barrow
New Turkey Ambassador with President Barrow

The Turkish Ambassador to The Gambia, Mr. Tolga Bermek has described as “excellent” the relations between Ankara and Banjul, which makes it possible for the Turkish President to select The Gambia among countries to visit next week. 

The President will be accompanied by a big business delegation to The Gambia, which the envoy said, will be “short but efficient”. 
After inspecting the quarter guard mounted by the State Gurads Battalion at the State House, he was led to the offices of His Excellency, President Adama Barrow who accepted his credentials. 

President Barrow formally welcomed him to The Gambia and described Turkey as a great partner and friend of the Gambia since he assumed office three years ago. The expected visit will help facilitate greater exchanges at the highest level and will result in other high level Turkish visits to Banjul in the future.

However, President Barrow calls for more Turkish investment in The Gambia as many existing opportunities are yet unexploited. 
Ambassador Bermek agreed to this and added that the trade volume between the two countries are not at desired levels. 
He described President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit as “a good start” for him as Ambassador, pledging that he will do his best to develop the relations in the future. 

For trade, he said both countries should do their best to increase its volume, while he will work to bring more Turkish investors to The Gambia. 
 

“We have a good opportunity on the occasion of the visit of our President. It will be the first time of such a visit to The Gambia at presidential level. I think it will open up new horizons to the relations of both countries,” he said. 

Turkish Airlines launched direct flights from Istanbul to Banjul in 2019 and the Turkish Ambassador said they will like to increase that flight frequency in the future if business relations develop.


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Gambia:First Lady, Partners Sign Memorandum on Medical Support
January 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

First Lady, Her Excellency, Madam Fatou Bah-Barrow on Monday presided over the signing ceremony between her Foundation, FABB, and a Switzerland registered, Saudi Arabian medical NGO (Albalsam Cure and Care).

The ceremony followed an audience with the visiting delegation of the NGO at the State House, and a conducted tour of the facilities at selected hospitals in Banjul,Kanifing Municipality and West Coast Region.

The group’s delegation is currently in the country on the invitation of the First Lady, who held talks with them during her visit to Saudi Arabia in November 2019.

“We are here to discuss ways to cooperate with the First Lady’s foundation for better improvement, support and care of babies and mothers,” Dr. Emad A. Bukhari, the CEO of the NGO, said.

Due to the First Lady’s special interest in the health of these category of the population, especially pregnant mothers, FABB is proposing special health caravans to deliver voluntary services to remotest parts of the country.

“For now, special attention is given to deworming in new born babies and pregnant mothers. That is one area where the partners have good experience in,” he added.

At the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, the group handed over five boxes of highly specialised surgeon equipment to the hospital through the First Lady. These are used in operating on pregnant mothers, young babies and children.

In receiving the donated materials, Dr. Kebba Marenah, Orthopaedic Surgeon and Head of Surgery at the Hospital described the equipment as “very high quality, well-known brand surgical instruments” which will be a good addition to the department.

“Whenever we see the First Lady around, we know there is something good is store for us. These materials will be put into good use and we thank her for the endless support,” Dr Manneh said.

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