German Ambassador Outlines Projects in Gambia
October 4, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Bakary Ceesay
President Adama Barrow today received the Dakar-based German Ambassador to The Gambia, His Excellency Stephan Roken, who was at the presidency to brief the President on the fulfillment of the promises made by the German president during his Gambia visit in 2017.
Following President Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s trip, the German government inaugurated a Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI) annex institute in Mansakonko, Lower River Region, which, according to the Ambassador, will provide training for Gambian students in solar energy installation and repairs and agricultural machinery repair and maintenance. The regional extension will enable youth in the rural Gambia to acquire skills and meaningfully contribute to the development of the country.
During his 2017 visit, the German President expressed commitment to support the energy sector, and the expansion drive of The Gambia Technical Training Institute after touring its complexes.
Regarding the addressing of the energy supply deficit in the country, the Ambassador stated that his government handed over to National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) a capacity-building project package designed to improve electricity supply in the Greater Banjul Area through improvements in monitoring and communication.
‘’We did a lot of training on monitoring and we helped in communication systems but what is important is the training of engineers into collaborators of NAWEC. With this monitoring system, there will be fewer power cuts in the Greater Banjul Area.’’
The German ambassador added that the German companies that were working with NAWEC were impressed by the skills and dedication demonstrated by the NAWEC staff.
Similarly, he disclosed that a German organisation, GIZ, is implementing EU funded projects geared towards creating job opportunities for the young people of the country.
Commission president reiterates; Cameroon’s peace in vital to CEMAC sub-regional development
October 2, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Amos Fofung
Chairperson of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, CEMAC, Professor Daniel Ona Ondo, has reiterated that the return of peace to Cameroon is the only guarantee for any meaningful economic development within the sub region.
Speaking September 26 at Cameroon’s executive mansion during a tête-à-tête with President Paul Biya who doubles as current chairman of the CEMAC conference of heads of state, Ona Ondo expressed hope that the national dialogue will solve the sociopolitical crisis in the North West and South West regions.
Noting that Cameroon contributes some 40 percent of the sub region’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, Ondo said the economic situation of the sub region has a positive outlook.
This, he explained, were the outcome of the 2016 resolutions of the CEMAC heads of state under the leadership of President Paul Biya.
These measures, the CEMAC official noted, have resulted in economic recovery and good inflation rates across the sub region. To enhance the economic recovery of the sub region, President Biya issued new directives to Prof Ondo to make CEMAC an enviable sub regional body with an interest on the population. The president also promised his support to the CEMAC Commission enable it fulfill its assigned missions.
Gambia: High-level delegation from Qatar arrives in Banjul to assess Development priorities
October 1, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Bakary Ceesay
Following President Adama Barrow’s three-day working visit to Doha, Qatar, a high-level delegation from the gulf state has arrived in Banjul this week to make a first-hand assessment of the development priority needs of The Gambia.
The group’s first port of call was the Office of the President, where they held discussions with the Department of Strategic Policy and Delivery on Monday. They were taken through a PowerPoint presentation on the various aspects of the Gambia’s development blueprint – the National Development Plan, particularly high priority areas.
Speaking to waiting reporters after the meeting, Mr. Hamad Mohamed Al-Rumaihi from the Central and West African Countries’ Division, Department of African Affairs at the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs described the trip as “a fact finding” one.
“We know that there is an excellent relation between Qatar and The Gambia, which translated into the state visit by President Barrow to Qatar. The two leaders held fruitful discussions on various areas of potential intervention. This is a follow up to that state visit to help assess Gambia’s needs,” Mr. AlRumaihi explained.
The delegation comprises line ministries of health, education and economic empowerment areas like agriculture and youth and sports. Additionally, the private sector, national and international NGOs operating from Qatar are also represented, and they were led by the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Qatari Fund for Development.
While in Banjul, they will visit different departments and organisations.
Samer R. Fragieh, Senior Strategic Planning Advisor at the Qatari Fund for Development said the mission was a strong reflection of the strong ties between Qatar and The Gambia, as well as the leadership of both governments.
“We are hoping that from this trip, we can get back to Doha with [a] clear understanding of the priorities of development based on Gambia’s NDP,” he said, noting that their visit is designed to fast-track and cut through government bureaucracies in support of Gambia’s development.
MAKING AFRICA TRADE EASY (MATE) “The African Diaspora linking U.S. and African businesses” HIGH LEVEL DIALOGUE
September 27, 2019 | 0 Comments
Washington, D.C.)- September 26, 2019–BELIEVE IN AFRICA (BIA) is honored to announce its first and largest African diaspora gathering conference called “Making Africa Trade Easy” (MATE) scheduled from October 3rd to 4th, 2019 at the prestigious Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center located at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NE in Washington, DC 20004, USA.
“MATE is a collaborative and nonpartisan effort between the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center and Believe in Africa to unleash the African Diaspora potential as a catalyst for trade between the U.S. and African economies. This first edition aims at promoting the new U.S. Africa strategy “Prosper Africa” as well as advancing Africa’s economic integration,” said Mrs. Angelle Kwemo, Founder and Chair of Believe in Africa.
She added: “It is more importantly a platform that will allow two-way trade between African businesses and their U.S. counterparts, and therefore help strengthen mutually beneficial partnerships that create wealth, prosperity and lasting jobs on both continents.”
MATE’s program comprises a two-day trade fair, high level discussions, workshops on how to do business with U.S. agencies, a fashion show and cultural activities. We are expecting 200 selected high-level delegates from the U.S. and Africa, dozens of speakers and exhibitors and 1,000 visitors.
This year Award Ceremony will be hosted by Maureen Umeh, TV Host.
2019 Believe in Africa Awardees are:
- H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson, African Union Commission
- Aisha Babangida, Chairperson Betterlife for Rural Women,
- Samba Bathily, Founder, AED Group and
- Dr. Gloria Herdon, CEO GH Global Group.
This years speakers included:
Hon. Ramsey Day, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa, US Agency for International Development, Matthew Rees, Prosper Africa Coordinator, David Weld, Senior director, Africa, Millennium Challenge Corporation, Constance Hamilton, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa, Oren Wyche-Shaw, Deputy Assistant Administrator, US Agency for International Development, Alison Germack, Director of Corporate Development, International Development finance corporation, Heather Lannigan, Regional director for sub-Saharan Africa, US Trade Development Agency – Access Africa, Katie Auth, Acting deputy Coordinator, Power Africa, CD Glin, President & CEO, US Africa Development Foundation, Gregory Simpkins, Senior Advisor, US Agency for International Development, Martin Ezemma, Director of International Business, Prince Georges’s County Economic Development corporation
African government Officials
Hon. Lesego Makgothi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Kingdom of Lesotho, His Excellency Albert M. Muchanga, African Union Commissioner of Trade and Industry, His Excellency Ambassador Fitsum Arega, Hicham Boudraa, Morrocan Agency for Development and Export, MADIE, H.E. DHR Sergio Akiemboto, Minister of Mines and Natural Resources, Suriname.
Actors in the Private sector:
Angelle Kwemo, Founder & President, Believe in Africa, Andrew Gelfuso, Vice president, Ronald Reagan building international trade center, Dr. Aurele Houngbedji, senior risk management officer, international monetary fund, Jeannine Scott, Board Chair, Constituency for Africa, Leila Ndiaye, President & CEO, Institute for Global Development, Flori Liser, president & CEO, Corporate Council on Africa, Scott Eisner*, president, Africa Business Council, US Chamber of Commerce, Samba Bathily, Founder ADS Group, Prof. Landry Signe, David M. Rubenstein Fellow in the Global Economy and Development Program, Brookings Institution, Yusuf Daya, senior manager, Afrexim Bank, Dr. Edem Adzogenu, chair, executive committee, the afrochampions initiative, Wilmot Allen, ceo, VentureLift Africa, Simon Tiemtore, chairman, Lilium capital &vista bank, Reda Rami, chairman, winvestment, Mohammed Ibrahim Jega, Chief Business Development Officer, CEO Vogue Pay, Franklin Assare*, Ghana director, oracle, Dr. Mima Nedelcovitch, Partner, Africa global , Ollowo-N’Djo Tchala, ceo, Alaffia, Albert Zeufack, chief economist, world bank, Salma Seetaroo-Bonnafoux, Ivoirienne de Nois de Cajou, H.E. Aisha Babaginda, Chairperson, Better Life for Rural Women, Rahama Wright, Shea Yeleen, Member U.S. Presidential Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa, Shehnaz Rangwalla, President, Leadership Global, Dr. Sharon Freeman, President & ceo, Gems of wisdom consulting, Mariama Camara, mariam fashion production, Tebabu essefa, founder & ceo, blessed coffee, Dr. Gloria Herndon, GH Global, Andrew Gelfuso, Vice president, Ronald Reagan Building International Trade Center, Hope Sullivan, consultant, OIC of America, Dr. Malcolm Beech, Sr., President Africa Business League – America, Lledon Stokes, President, National Business League, Stanley L.Straughter, Chairman, African and Caribbean Business Council of Greater Philadelphia, Dr. Menna Menessi, secretary, Ethiopian diaspora trust fund, Awoke Semework, President, Ethio-American Chamber of commerce, Ambassador Robin Sanders, feeds, former Ambassador to Congo, Nigeria and Ecowas, Tumelo Ramaphosa, StudcCoin , Andrew Berkowitz, Crypto Media Company, Camilla Barungi, co-funder, Alliance 4 Development, Ed Thurlow, Bination, Alex de Bryn, Founder and CEO Doshex, Tamra Raye stevenson, CEO, Women Advancing Nutrition Dietetics and Agriculture, Kimberly Brown, phd, amethyst technologies, llc, Dr. Aunkh chanbalala, Director, Department of Science and Technology, South Africa, Adrian Gore, founder & ceo, discovery aid, Betty Adera, Betty Adera foundation
Believe in Africa (BIA) is an African Diaspora-led initiative founded by former U.S. congressional staffers and African leaders in the U.S., to empower young Africans, promote the role of the African private sector, harness the power of the African Diaspora, educate policy makers and the public about African economic growth and highlight the continent’s gradual rise in the global community.
To learn more about BIA visit www.believeinafrica.org
African Energy Sector to send strong message on Investment Potential in Africa at Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC) 2019
September 23, 2019 | 0 Comments
|The continent’s energy industry will be gathering at ADIPEC in Abu Dhabi on November 11-14, 2019 to set the industry agenda for 2020|
|JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, September 23, 2019/ — After a year of remarkable achievements and continuous recovery across Africa’s oil markets, the continent’s energy industry will be gathering at ADIPEC in Abu Dhabi on November 11-14, 2019 to set the industry agenda for 2020.|
As Africa’s energy revolution accelerates, African energy officials from governments and the public and private sectors are joining ADIPEC to send a strong message on the continent’s potential and ambitions for the coming years.
Taking the lead on representing Africa at the world’s largest oil & gas event, the African Energy Chamber (EnergyChamber.org) has signed an agreement with ADIPEC and is officially endorsing the conference & exhibition and inviting all its partners to join the African delegation participating in ADIPEC.
“The good news for Equatorial Guinea and many African countries is, we have the resources. African countries have some much untapped reservoirs of oil and natural gas that have regrettably been underexplored. We need to attract investment in our oil and gas industry, explore, supply the market and also develop our countries. ADIPEC is a great place to meet potential investors. We have a unique relationship with the UAE through OPEC and the GECF. We have worked closely on various oil matters under the leadership of H.E. Suhail Al Mazroui and the Ministry of Energy and Industry,” stated H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea.
“In the same ways as we push for a stronger African representation within global organizations such as OPEC, we need to have Africa better represented within global investment shows like ADIPEC where major deals and contracts are being discussed,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber and CEO of the Centurion Law Group. “The conference’s focus on technology and the oil & gas sector 4.0 is especially relevant for Africa as the continent seeks to fully embrace digitalization and the latest technologies to leapfrog into next-generation energy initiatives and developments.”
ADIPEC is being organized on the back of tremendous growth in investment and cooperation between the UAE and Africa this year, marked by the recent acquisition by ADNOC of Kosmos Energy’s stakes in Senegalese and Mauritanian offshore licenses. As interest for Africa picks up from Middle Eastern markets and global companies, ADIPEC offers the perfect stage to promote additional opportunities for such deals across African oil jurisdictions.
The conference will notably see the official launch of “Billions At Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals”, the long-awaited book by AEC Chairman Nj Ayuk that paves the way for the development of Africa’s energy sector. On this occasion, the Chamber will be organizing a high-level African oil & gas panel with ministers and executives from across the continent to shed the light on the biggest trends shaping the future of the continent’s energy industry.
Gambia Gov’t , UNDP sign $2Million Environmental Project
September 20, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Bakary Ceesay
The Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service, Mr. Muhammed Jallow Wednesday afternoon presided over the signing ceremony of a $2million project between the government of The Gambia and the United Nations Development (UNDP) Programme Country Office in Banjul.
The UN Environmental Facility funded project intends to support The Gambia with the necessary technical and financial assistance to reduce the risks posed by a group of oily liquids and solid man-made chemicals called PCBs (Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls) and unintended Persistent Organic Pollutants (U-POPS) to the human health and the environment.
Secretary General Jallow said no one can underestimate the importance of the environment to the development of The Gambia. A great majority of the country relies on the river and marine resources for their livelihoods. Hence contamination of the waters will have serious impact on the population from both the cities to the rural areas.
Secretary General Jallow noted that the African Union has identified The Gambia’s First Lady, Mrs. Fatou Bah-Barrow as a Champion of environment conservation and protection. Hence the government’s dedication will be greatly enhanced by this laudable collaboration with the UNDP.
The Executive Director of the National Environment Agency (NEA), Mr. Dodou Trawally explained that the project will include the identification and disposal of 75 tons of PCB-contaminated equipment and waste and the reduction of U-POPS through the improved waste management practices and reduction of open burning of waste.
These materials and substances stay very long in the environment before they biodegrade, especially the mercury, which is contaminative to fish. Fish is one of the heavy dependents of The Gambia for food consumption.
The UNDP Resident Representative, Dr Aissata De said environment is one of the key priorities and areas of intervention in terms of closeness to the population for the UNDP. She said they are committed to supporting government efforts and all stakeholders on the path for the achievement of the goals of the NDP, the SDGs, the Agenda 2020 and Agenda 2063.
“We all know the impact and the importance of the environment on our daily lives and on development in general. This project is one more action because we have longstanding partnership between the National Environment Agency, the Ministry of Environment and the government,” she said, thanking all other collaborators that UNDP has been working with for the environment and the people for the ownership of those projects.
The NEA is the implementing partner for the government, while the UNDP country office is the Global Environment Fund (GEF) implementing agency for this project. Other stakeholders include the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the Gambia Ports Authority, the KMC NAWEC, among others. It is geared towards supporting the implementation of the National Development Plan 2018-22021 in The Gambia.
Russia Spreading Its Tentacles Across Africa
September 20, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Scott Morgan*
When it comes to special operations in Central Africa initiated by the Russians most thoughts and conversations focus on the operations conducted within the Central African Republic over the last two years as either a point of contention or outright fear in some Capitals. But once again history is again repeating itself in Africa.
There have been allegations that after the 2016 Presidential Elections in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) that the incumbent President Soussou-Nguesso reportedly hired a Russian Private Military Company to put down the unrest in the vital town of Pointe Noir that occurred after the controversial polls. There was virtually no coverage of the influence in this election. It should be noted that when President Soussou-Nguesso was President for the first time Brazzaville was considered to be an ally of what was then the Soviet Union.
Also when it comes to Russian Operations in Central Africa even though it is not considered being part of Central Africa, the role of Sudan cannot be ignored. Khartoum has been used as a transit and logistics hub for its Operations in CAR. The Change of leadership that recently took place within Sudan will have an impact on Russian Operations in Central Africa. Russia was one of the countries that was coaching the Military in how to react during the final days of the Bashir regime. It would be wonderful if this dynamic was looked into. For the near future it should be taken as a fait accompli that whatever projects are launched in the region by the Kremlin it will have some form of presence in Sudan.
Another aspect that has been proving to be interesting regarding Russian Activities in the region is the media coverage regarding them or the efforts by the Putin Government and their allies to manipulate their coverage of the activities. One needs to recall the incident where four journalists for a Russian Opposition news site were ambushed and killed in the Central African Republic. That only occurs when a party wants an activity to be shielded from public view and scrutiny.
Another action taken by the Russians to spin events into their worldview has to be the deals to provide content to some African Media Outlets by either Sputnik or RT (Russia Today). A perfect example happens to be the deals reached with RTNC (National Radio and Television Corporation) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. RT was the first entity to reach a deal with the Congolese in November 2018, Sputnik has reached a similar deal in May of 2019. This effort in the DRC has been a success for Moscow. When Russia celebrated the fifth anniversary of the annexation of the Crimea , one of the largest events was actually held in Kinshasa.
Another tactic that Russia is using ties between the Duma and local legislatures on the ground. Once again the topic focuses on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There is already a Russia-DRC Friendship Group already in the Parliament of the DRC. This is a simple and easy way for Russia to not only to promote its agenda in Africa it can be done in such a way that most other powers that have interests in the region such as the former colonial powers of France and Belgium and even the United States could find themselves be left on the outside without realizing what they allowed to Happen has indeed taken place without their ability to properly address the situation.
*The author is President of Red Eagle Enterprises and the views expressed are his.
Towards a new era of US-Zimbabwe Relations
September 20, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Scott Morgan
Has Zimbabwe entered a new era? The post Mugabe ZANU-PF (Zimbabwean African National Union- Patriotic Front) wishes to convince the population of that very fact. They have decided that relations with the United States are crucial.
A series of events that began with the controversial 2002 reelection of President Mugabe and the controversial and poorly executed land reform program which virtually brought the economy to a halt compelled the Administration of George W Bush and allies to levy sanctions against Zimbabwe and specific persons for their roles in the issues that plagued the country for more than a decade.
One of the moves that they have made is to retain the services of lobbying firm based on K St here in Washington. The firm that they have contracted to represent them has been a source of controversy over the last three years.
Mercury Public Affairs first came to light as a company to be concerned with due to its ties with Paul Manafort. Prior to his taking over the campaign of President Trump in 2016 he was in charge of the Mercury program dealing with Ukraine. His name came up in a ledger that was discovered by Ukranian Police in 2015 that listed individuals that were suspected of accepting payoffs. Concerns about whether or not Mr. Manafort was still working on Ukraine issues for Mercury while guiding Mr. Trump through the nomination at the Republican National Committee Meeting in 2016 have proven to be murky.
Another recent client is Cameroon. The Country is facing some of the challenges of other African Countries. A long entrenched leader who managed to win reelection despite a young population, An insurgency that has begun after a decision to force an ethnic minority that speaks English to learn and speak French are just some of the issues plaguing this Country. Reports indicate that this contract was ended after a poor performance by the Cameroonian Ambassador to the United Nations earlier this year.
One of the main motivations for this PR effort is to have the rest of the long standing sanctions against Zimbabwe finally lifted. Recent statements by South African President Ramaphosa and a proposal made at the recent G7 summit in France by current AU chair and Rwandan President Paul Kagame supported these calls. It is felt that these sanctions and not the policies of the Zimbabwean Government are the reason for why the Zimbabwean Government is still struggling.
At this time there are 141 entities and individuals currently under Sanctions including President Mnangagwa and several state-owned enterprises. Earlier this year Congress passed a bill that instructs the Secretary of the Treasury to request that the executive directors of major financial institutions to vote against any extensions of loans or grants to Zimbabwe except for to meet basic human needs or to promote democracy. This act also prevents any US funds to assist Zimbabwe unless they are to be used for health and education unless the Secretary of State approves a review the ensure that Zimbabwe is operating with transparent fiscal policies.
Clearly there are some benchmarks that Zimbabwe has to meet in order to comply with the desires of the United States. It could probably have reached out to a better lobbying firm here in Washington. However the population is demanding change and that in itself is an excellent motivator.
*The author is President of Red Eagle Enterprises and the views expressed are his.
Central Africa: President Touadera Honored With PALOMA DE LA PAZ” (PEACE DOVE) From World Organization of Peace
September 18, 2019 | 0 Comments
Juan Samuel Delgado Cedillo, President of the World Organization for Peace (OMPP/WOFP), presented the special prize La Paloma de La Paz, to Professor Faustin Archange Touadera, President of the Central African Republic and Head of State, for the results obtained during the pacification process in some regions of Africa.
The Dove of Peace is the most important symbol that the OMPP grants as a special prize to those who with their actions have sought, fought or contributed to global pacification and to the resolution of conflicts in any region of the world, without distinguishing beliefs religious, political preferences or skin color.
In an event held at the official facilities of the Presidency in the city of Bangui, capital of that country, attended by the highest officials of the government and Central African politics, as well as Ambassadors and Ministers of some countries in the region, Samuel Delgado said that peace is a universal right for those who inhabit this planet, and our existence depends on our actions and how we interact with others. Working for peace is not only about words and good intentions, peace comes with the actions we carry out every day, he said. Inner peace is where everything begins and is transmitted with our behavior as a species. We all need to carry out peace actions, said Delgado.
Speaking at the event, President Faustin Archange Touadera, who has become a well-known and respected interlocutor in the African continent for deactivating, through dialogue, clashes between rebel groups and authorities in Africa, highlighted the support he received from the civil society to reach the results obtained during the process of pacification of the region, an achievement that until then had been denied for many years to the inhabitants of the countries involved, although there is still much to do.
The World Peace Organization will continue to support those peace projects aimed at the population that needs it most, always in conjunction with the authorities, civil society and those public and private sectors in all countries of the world that want to carry out peace and well-being, always in favor of people.
Merck Foundation provides their first ‘Health Media Training’ in partnership with the First Lady of Zimbabwe
September 17, 2019 | 0 Comments
Merck Foundation Calls for Applications for Media Recognition Awards to break infertility stigma
HARARE, Zimbabwe, September 16, 2019/ — Merck Foundation (Merck-Foundation.com) , the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany organized their first “Merck Foundation Health Media Training” on 16th September 2019 in Harare, Zimbabwe in partnership with H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother together with Ministries of Health and Information to break the stigma around infertility in Zimbabwe and rest of Africa.
Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck more than a Mother emphasized “It is an honor to appoint the First lady of Zimbabwe, H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, the Ambassador of Merck more than a Mother. After our committee meeting in March 2019 at Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative (MFFLI) Summit, our programs have started in partnership with Zimbabwe government and we have already enrolled many doctors to our specialty training programs for Two Year Oncology Master and Fellowship, One Year Online Diabetes Diploma and Fertility Specialist Training. Moreover, we are conducing today, the first health media training in Zimbabwe to educate media how to break the stigma of infertility through their valuable work”.
The training program is a part of ‘Merck More than a Mother’ community awareness Program and was organized for the first time in Zimbabwe for local media representatives and media students.
H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGW, The First Lady of Zimbabwe and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother emphasized, “We welcome this important initiative of Merck Foundation in our country. Media, if guided properly can bring about a huge change in the current scenario where women solely blamed for infertility. I urge or media partners to work together for this cause to make a difference.”
“I am delighted to initiate this important training as I strongly believe that media plays a significant role to influence our society to create a cultural shift. It has the capacity and ability to break the stigma around infertility in the community” Rasha Kelej added.
The training was addressed by the First Lady of Zimbabwe, stalwarts of media industry, including international faculty and infertility experts.
Moreover, it provided a great opportunity for the journalists to meet the experts and also to network with each other and work as a unit to eradicate the stigma around infertility in Zimbabwe and rest of Africa. It was attended by journalists working for Print, TV, Radio and Online media and journalism students.
“The Merck Health Media Training program focused on the international standards and media ethics for reporting sensitive issues like infertility in Africa. It was designed to benefit the journalists in understanding the infertility issues in African communities and to learn the best media practices to cover such issues” added Dr. Rasha Kelej.
Merck Foundation also announced Call for Application for “Merck More than a Mother” ‘Media Recognition Awards’ for Zimbabwe and rest of Africa. The “Merck More than a Mother” ‘Media Recognition Awards’ were launched in 2017 with the aim to emphasize the role of media in enhancing the public engagement and understanding of infertility stigma and the need to change its social perception in African communities.
The applications are invited by media professionals to showcase their work to raise awareness about infertility prevention and breaking infertility stigma in Zimbabwe and rest of Africa.
Who can apply? Journalists from print, online, radio and multimedia platforms from Zimbabwe and rest of Africa.
Last date of submission: Entries can be submitted till 31st December 2019.
How to apply? Entries can be submitted via email to
Categories and prize money for winners:
Join Merck Foundation online community to exchange experience and information with other healthcare providers, researchers, students, policy makers and community members in Africa and beyond. Merck-Foundation.com free registration
About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign;
With “Merck More than a mother”, we have initiated a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility on all levels: By improving awareness, training the skills of local experts, building advocacy in cooperation with decision makers and by supporting childless women in starting their own small business. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child.
The Ambassadors of “Merck More Than a Mother” are: H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana; H.E DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The First Lady of Burundi; H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic; H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The First Lady of Chad; H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo; H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana; H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia; H.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea Conakry; H.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of Republic of Liberia; H.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of Malawi; H.E. DR. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique; H.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADO, The First Lady of Niger; H.E FATIMA MAADA, The First Lady of Sierra Leone; H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGW, The First Lady of Zimbabwe; H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia.
Also, part of the campaign is our Merck Embryology & Fertility Training Program, a three-month hands-on practical course in partnership with IRSI, Indonesia, IIRRH, India and Manipal Academy of Higher Education (Manipal University), India to establish the platform of fertility specialists across Africa and developing countries. Merck Foundation provided for more than 135 candidates, in clinical and practical training for fertility specialists and embryologists in more than 35 countries across Africa and Asia such as: Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, CAR, Cote D’IVOIRE, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malaysia, Liberia, Mali, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Niger, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, The Gambia, Togo, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia & Zimbabwe.
Merck Foundation is making history in many African countries where they never had fertility specialists or specialized fertility clinics before ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ intervention, to train the first fertility specialists such as; in Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Niger, Chad, Guinea, Ethiopia and Uganda.
Merck Foundation launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of Merck more than a Mother such as;
• Merck More than a Mother media recognition award and health media training
• Merck More than a Mother fashion award
• Merck More than a Mother film award
• Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it
About Merck Foundation:
The Merck Foundation (Merck-Foundation.com), established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to quality & equitable healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation Website. Please visit www.merck-foundation.com to read more. To know more, reach out to our social media: Merck Foundation (Merck-Foundation.com); Facebook (bit.ly/2MBzsDj), Twitter (bit.ly/2NDqHLR), Instagram (bit.ly/33W9wKI), Youtube (bit.ly/2K3ACZp) and Flicker (bit.ly/2P7AICN).About Merck
Merck ( (MerckGroup.com) is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Almost 52,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. Founded in 1668, Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma.
Juba, Khartoum agree to stop wars in two nations
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Deng MacholJuba – South Sudan President Salva Kiir and Sudan Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok have agreed to work together to bring peace and stability in the two neighboring– countries after post – President Bashir’s Sudan.
In the aftermath of the deposed of autocratic president Omar al-Bashir in April, this year and subsequent establishment of the new government, Juba and Khartoum relations has changed, and are now engaging in building new relations.
Sudan’s new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who flew to South Sudan on Thursday September 12, 2019 on a two-day in his first foreign visit, met president Kiir at State House to cement a new plan for peace talks with many of the rebel groups fighting against the government, brokered the Juba government, and discussed bilateral relations between South Sudan and Sudan, including economic integration, border issue and settlement of outstanding issues in both countries.
Hamdok, a former U.N. diplomat, took office three weeks ago under an agreement between the military and civilian parties in Sudan after months of demonstrations against generals who seized power after toppling long-serving autocrat Omar al-Bashir.
The ruling Sovereign Council has set an aim to bring a swift end to insurgent conflicts that have plagued Sudan for years and made it a pariah under Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide in the Darfur region. It has installed a government of technocrats led by Hamdok.
On that, Juba is currently mediating peace talks between Sudanese armed groups and that government in an attempts to return peace and stability in country.
As the result, Sudan’s newly appointed government and rebel leaders agreed Wednesday, September 11, 2019 in Juba on a roadmap aimed at ending war in the country by year end, following the military’s deposed of despotic President Bashir.
The two sides signed an initial deal, known as Juba Declaration Pre – Negotiation Principles, and Trust Building Measures after three days of negotiations in Juba, capital of neighboring South Sudan.
Gen. Mohammed Hamadan Dagalo, better known as Hemedti, a member of the joint military-civilian sovereign council, signed the initial agreement on behalf of the government. He is the leader of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, which grew out of the notorious Janjaweed.
The deal was signed by the SRF, an umbrella group that includes three of the main rebel factions, among them rebels in Darfur, as well as by Abdelaziz Al-Hilu, leader of a wing of the SPLM-N, the main group fighting against the government in the southern provinces of Blue Nile and South Kordofan.
Sudan has been shaken by rebellions in its wide-ranging provinces for decades, resulting in tens of thousands of people being killed.
Fighting in the western Darfur province has largely died down in recent years, but rebels and militias are still active there as well as in the southern provinces of Blue Nile and South Kordofan.
The power-sharing deal between the military and the pro-democracy movement calls for the new government to make peace with rebel groups within six months. Talks are supposed to begin Oct. 14, with the goal of reaching a final peace deal within two months, according to the initial agreement.
The rebels include the Sudan Revolutionary Front, which is an alliance of Darfur rebel groups. It is part of the pro-democracy movement, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, which is active in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Juba, Khartoum relations
However, the political relationship between the two countries went sour immediately after South Sudan split out from Sudan in 2011 during the outer president Omar al Bashir’s regime. Both leaders have been accusing each other of hosting and supporting rebel groups.
In the meeting, president Kiir assured his Sudanese counterpart of strong bilateral relations, saying cooperation between the two countries did not go well because former president Bashir’s regime had intention to destroy South Sudan.
“The policy in Khartoum by then was that they must disturbed South Sudan so that we die naturally; to collapse but we survived,” said president Kiir.
“The Sudanese people whether in Sudan or in South Sudan are one people in two [different] countries and that is what binds us together although we have not been staying good,” he added.
President further assured his government support to Sudan to end its all forms of violence, promised his regime will reverse to the kind of relations both countries had during the president Bashir’s regime.
“I must assure you that our relationship will change from where we ended with the former regime. [And] we hope, you will cooperate with us,” said Kiir.
For his part, Sudanese prime minister, Hamdok promised that his government would work with Juba government to end all the grievances and mistrusts.
“I am looking for a very strategic, very distinguished relationship between our two nations and the sky is the limit,” Hamdok said upon arrival in Juba. “I believe, there will be peace, stability, prosperity and development in our countries.”
“He (Hamdok) is coming to cement the agreement as far as ending the war in Sudan,” said James Wani Igga, South Sudan’s vice president.
Meanwhile, South Sudanese Foreign Minister, Ms. Awut Deng Acuil, said the two leaders deliberated more on bilateral relations as well as outstanding issues concerning peace and stability in the two countries, including the issues of borders, economic and trade, cooperation and political matters.
“Time has come for us to stop the war in two Sudans,” said Awut, while addressing the media at the state house with her Sudanese counterpart.
“We hope to have a very prosperous relationship that will address issues of trade, border, oil, free movement of our people between the two countries,” Ms. Awut said.
She added that time is ripe for the two countries to silence a guns across the borders. “It is a high time for us to silent the guns in order to have sustainable peace in two countries – we should all agree to come out with a roadmap to work things together.”
Sudanese Foreign Affairs Minister, Asma Mohamed Abdallah said all the pending or unresolved issues between the two sisterly countries had been touched so that the relationship would resume.
“The new government in Sudan will make sure that all the issues would be resolved, to move to the wider areas of [political] cooperation,” said Asma.
The virtuous relations between the two sisterly countries are vital for trade and economic as well as the flow of oil from fields in South Sudan, which depend on pipelines that go through Sudan.
South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011 after decades of scorched – earth war, but descended into another war in 2013. The two sisterly countries have been since often accused each other of harbouring and assisting rebels fighting against their governments during the ousted president Bashir era.
South Sudan, which is also in conflict, is trying hard to bring a swift end to the five-year conflict that has killed nearly 400,000 people and uprooted 4 million people from their homes, through latest Khartoum – backing peace deal signed in 2018 by the government and key opposition groups.
The new transitional government is set to be formed on November 12, returned opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar as the president Kiir’s first vice president.
GAMBIA, QATAR SIGN FOUR NEW BILATERAL AGREEMENTS
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Bakary Ceesay
President Adama Barrow and the Emir of the State of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani presided over the signing of four new Memoranda of Understanding and bilateral agreements between the governments of The Gambia and Qatar. The agreements entail mutual cooperation in the sectors of communications, judiciary, customs, and youth and sports. On behalf of The Gambia, the various ministers of information and communication, justice, and foreign affairs signed the agreements with their respective Qatari counterparts in the following areas:
Communication: the two governments agree to operate in each other’s territories in the service areas of satellite communication. Honourable Ebrima Sillah signed the agreement with the Qatari Minister of Transport and Communications, Jasim Saif Al-Sulaiti.
Mutual Administrative Assistance: Both parties have agreed to exchange information between the customs authorities of the two countries. The Qatari Minister of Finance, Ali Sharif Al-Emadi, signed with Minister of Foreign Affairs of The Gambia, Dr. Mamadou Tangara.
Legal Affairs: It involves capacity enhancement of the judicial systems of both countries, through experience sharing. The two countries also agree to cooperate and assist each other in the area of customs law enforcement focusing on two specific areas: “Administrative Assistance for Optional Application of Customs Law” and “the Repression, Investigation and Combating of Customs Violations”. The Minister of Justice, Aboubacarr Tambadou signed for the Gambia while Hon. Essa Saad Jaffal Al- Naimi signed for Qatar.
Youth and Sports: The Gambia and Qatar agree to promote friendly exchange of youth camps and football tournaments between the two countries. Minister Tangara and the Sport and Culture Minster of Qatar, Mr. Salah Ghanim Al-Ali signed on behalf of their respective governments.
Amongst the president’s other engagements on day two of the State visit in Qatar include a meeting with the Chief Executive Officer of the Qatar Charity, where they discussed possible a partnership to have the organization begin operations in The Gambia. The non-governmental organization cover areas of health, water supply, and education.
President Barrow also visited the Qatar National Museum. He was encouraged by the display of the rich history and visionary leadership that laid the foundation for a modern Qatari state in the 21st Century.
Later in the evening, the president wrapped up the day with separate meetings with the Chairman of the Arabiya Trading, Abdulrahman Al Mahmoud, and Muhamad Sultan Al Jabeer of Jabeer Construction.