AFRICOM, Ghana Armed Forces Commence Africa Endeavor 2019
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
The theme for Africa Endeavor Leader Symposium (AE-19) is “Signal Training! Install, Operate, Maintain, and Protect”
ACCRA, Ghana, August 19, 2019/ — Ghana’s Armed Forces, in partnership with U.S. Africa Command, is hosting representatives from the African Union, other African regional organizations and 48 nations from across Africa, Europe, South America and the United States for the 14th annual Africa Endeavor Leader Symposium (AE-19) in Accra, Aug. 18-23.
Sponsored by U.S. Africa Command, Africa Endeavor is an annual senior leader communications symposium designed to help develop multinational communications practices for peacekeeping, disaster response and counterterrorism missions mandated by the African Union and the United Nations.
The theme for AE-19 is “Signal Training! Install, Operate, Maintain, and Protect.” This year’s focus is on training and workforce development and includes areas of cybersecurity, interoperability, Women, Peace & Security, and Enlisted development. AE provides military communications specialists from Africa, Western Partner Nations and the United States with the opportunity to discuss capabilities, address interoperability gaps, and approach solutions as a fully integrated component of a multi-national force improving the training opportunity for an international audience. The symposium has grown in size, scope and capacity given the significance of public, private, partnership integration.
The primary objective of Africa Endeavor is to develop interoperability among African Partner nations in their command, control, communications, computers and information (C4I) systems through: developing shared training and providing information on lessons learned from exercises and operations; developing standard processes and procedures.
Africa Endeavor provides a venue for military leaders to review and analyze their forces current abilities to communicate during multinational operations, and to develop standardized training and procedures to improve future training and support. Since 2006, Africa Endeavor has facilitated training and engagements between the African Union, European Union, NATO, and regional partners, and trained nearly 2,000 communications specialists from six African regional organizations and nearly 50 African countries.
To date, AE has benefitted more than 1,850 communications specialists and military planners in C4I, tactics, techniques, and procedures.
Angola’s Path Forward for Security and Economic Development: Weapons Management and Humanitarian Demining
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
The United States is helping the Angolan National Police (ANP) to improve the physical infrastructure of their weapon storage facilities and train police to manage the stockpiles
WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, August 19, 2019/ — Angola greatly benefited from the 2002 peace agreement ending its 27-year civil war, but the remaining poor security of government stockpiles of weapons and ammunition could still threaten its people. After the civil war, the military and police were left not only with a massive surplus of small arms and ammunition, but also inadequate infrastructure to safely and securely store them, which has increased the risk of theft and illegal diversion. If these items fell into illicit circulation, criminals could use them to harm Angolan citizens, and traffickers could sell them to armed groups such as those operating in Angola’s neighbor, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The lack of safe storage conditions and procedures also incurs great risk of unplanned explosions, endangering civilians who live near the munitions depots. In September 2018, lightning struck a depot in Luena, causing a massive explosion that scattered ordnance and debris throughout the densely populated city. With Japanese and U.S. funding, Mines Advisory Group (MAG) deployed teams to destroy the ejected ordnance and educate the populace on how to avoid and report any discovered items.
To prevent illicit diversions, increase the safety of Angolan citizens, and strengthen Angola’s national security, the United States assists the Government of Angola with destroying excess munitions and improving the physical security of munitions depots to protect its stockpiles. Since 2006, the United States has supported The HALO Trust to destroy 102,000 small arms and light weapons (SA/LW) and over 631 tons of munitions. HALO deploys mobile Weapons and Ammunition Disposal (WAD) teams throughout the country to assess stockpiles, cut weapons using specialized shears, and destroy surplus ammunition.
In addition to destroying excess munitions, the United States is helping the Angolan National Police (ANP) to improve the physical infrastructure of their weapon storage facilities and train police to manage the stockpiles according to international best practices. Under a pilot project with HALO, the United States is assisting the ANP by building or refurbishing five storage facilities and providing stockpile management training on how to use the facilities safely and effectively.
The first site that HALO refurbished is the Luanda Logistics Store, which the police reopened on June 29, 2019. The depot required a new roof, a new floor, improved ventilation, and security measures such as locks on the doors and grills on the windows. Thanks to these improvements, the facility can safely store and distribute munitions and collect excess weapons for destruction. Between June 29 and July 3, HALO destroyed over 1,000 obsolete weapons stored at the site. The refurbished site serves to prevent illicit proliferation on two fronts by keeping serviceable weapons safe from diversion, and facilitating the destruction of surplus weapons.
Another threat to Angola’s stability and economic development is the lingering presence of landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) which continue to kill and maim civilians, prevent farmers from cultivating their fields, and separate communities from clean water sources and health clinics. According to the Landmine Monitor, 25 people died and another 18 were injured by landmines in 2017. The Government of Angola conducted a nationwide census in 2014 that identified over 88,000 people living with a disability caused by landmines or explosive remnants of war. Since 1995, the United States invested over $131 million in conventional weapons destruction (CWD) efforts in Angola – more than any other international donor – with the vast majority supporting demining operations. The objective of this support is to increase civilian security and lay the groundwork for sustainable development.
CWD efforts have contributed to a wide range of demining activities in Angola, including surveys that identify the exact parameters of hazardous areas, clearance operations via trained deminers and specialized machines, and mine risk education to teach the public how to avoid and report any hazards they encounter.
Twenty-four years of consistent U.S. support has yielded remarkable progress and advanced Angola closer to its goal of being landmine-free by 2025. U.S.-funded projects have removed over 26,500 landmines and 46,200 items of UXO. Additionally, through a combination of survey efforts and clearance operations, U.S. assistance has returned over 395 square kilometers (153 square miles) to productive use – an area more than twice as large as Washington, D.C. Factoring in the 166,000 civilians that have received mine risk education, over 1.4 million Angolans have directly benefitted from U.S. assistance both in terms of increased safety and access to arable land.
Humanitarian demining is profoundly restorative for the social and economic life of communities. As one example, funding from the United States and the United Kingdom enabled MAG to clear two minefields surrounding Lundjacute, a village located in Moxico province, between June 2017 and August 2018. Some residents had fled during the war, and others left after landmine accidents – as recent as 2017 – killed and injured multiple residents. The high number of accidents flagged the area as a priority and the Government of Angola asked MAG to clear them immediately. In March 2019, seven months after MAG finished clearance, MAG returned to the village to assess how clearance had changed the daily lives of the community members.
In just seven months, 37 households had already settled on cleared land. People had returned to the village from Zambia and other places in Angola, and community leaders expect more will follow once they hear their homes are safe again. One of the recent returnees is Charles Kakoma, who decided to return home from a refugee camp in Zambia to settle on cleared land. His first harvest yielded maize, cassava, and sweet potatoes. Another returnee from Zambia is Alfred Chinhama, who brought a grinding machine with him and established a flour production business. Now, farmers can process maize or cassava in the village, eliminating the need to walk 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) to the next closest grinder. Two blacksmiths also moved to the village in November 2018 to produce farming tools.
Lundjacute is a small but powerful example of how demining saves lives and facilitates economic development on multiple levels. The United States is proud to support humanitarian demining as part of a broader CWD program designed to enhance civilian security, facilitate development, and promote stability. Whether it is destroying excess weapons, improving the infrastructure of weapons depots, or clearing landmines from conflict-affected communities, CWD efforts improve the safety and prosperity of everyday Angolans.
Recently, the Angolan Government announced its own significant contribution of $60 million. This is a remarkable and commendable commitment towards their 2025 Landmine Free goal.
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
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 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.
Rodger Federer supports Malawi Early Education project with $10.5 Million
August 16, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Joseph Dumbula
Tennis star Rodger Federer has supported an early childhood programme with a tune of $10.5 Million ( MK 8.1 Billion) in Malawi.
The programme , known as School Readiness Programme is expected to help thousands of early childhood going children up to 2025.
Janine Handel, CEO of the Roger Federer Foundation (RFF) on Tuesday signed an Memorandum of Understanding with Erica Maganga, a Principal Secretary for Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare at Capital.
The partnership will go a long way to scale up efforts aimed at increasing participation in organised learning and school readiness of children before they enter primary school.
According to Love Support Unite Foundation, up to 83% percent of first-grade students are unable to read a single syllable, and 92% of these students fail to read a single word.
The Southern African nation is ranked the weakest for its performance in English reading and second weakest for mathematics against other southern African countries. Such statistics are the result of children being denied the chance to learn under normal conditions.
There have been continued efforts by various stakeholders to raise the level of early childhood education in Malawi. Earlier last year, the Association of Early Childhood Development in Malawi (AECDM) announced it had received funding from Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) is implementing an ‘Early Stimulation and Transition of Children with Special Needs’ project in eastern region districts of Machinga and Mangochi districts.
This is a form of inclusive early childhood development education- ECDE. The project aims at assisting children aged 3-8 with special education needs attain basic skills to facilitate a smooth transition of the children to primary school. AECDM had trained 50 caregivers and oriented 20 Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) as well as 10 Community Based Rehabilitation volunteers in inclusive ECDE.
Accor accelerates Nigeria expansion plan as first Novotel in Lagos signed
August 14, 2019 | 0 Comments
Group inks management agreement for Novotel Victoria Island, one of seven new properties pipelined for the country
Accor, a world-leading augmented hospitality group, is cementing its stronghold in Nigeria having signed its first Novotel property in the country’s largest city, Lagos.
The Group has inked a management agreement with Nigerian conglomerate, the Ekulo Group of Companies, to manage the 170-key Novotel Victoria Island Lagos, a modern hotel with a prime location in the city’s commercial and financial hub.
The debut of Novotel Victoria Island Lagos , scheduled for 2023, will expand Accor’s presence in Nigeria to 1,642 keys across 14 properties by that date, with seven properties currently in operation and seven additional hotels in the development pipeline across the MGallery, Mantis, Grand Mercure and Pullman brands.
“We are delighted to sign this agreement with Ekulo, which marks another milestone in Accor’s Africa growth story and builds on the success of the Novotel brand in Nigeria and other key destinations across the region,” said Mark Willis, CEO, Accor Middle East & Africa.
“We have identified Nigeria as one of the continent’s most important development markets, with Lagos and other strategic locations, including Abuja, presenting huge growth potential for Accor’s unrivalled portfolio of hospitality brands.”
With a prime location on Ahmadu Bello Road, close to the headquarters of major banks and multinational corporations, Novotel Victoria Island Lagos will feature 170 rooms and suites, 400 sqm of meeting space, a swimming pool and gym and three dining venues, including an all-day dining restaurant, lobby bar and a pool bar.
Novotel Victoria Island Lagos will make its mark as a stylish, sociable and comfortable location in the Victoria Island district, providing guests and local residents with a place to dine, meet and relax or stage a corporate meeting or event.
This latest Novotel signing builds on the momentum of Accor’s development progress in Nigeria in 2018, when agreements to manage the MGallery Ikoyi and Pullman Ikoyi were signed.
In addition to the Novotel Victoria Island Lagos, six additional properties are in the development pipeline, including the 125-key Art Hotel, which will be operated under the Mantis brand, in which Accor has a 50% stake, plus Grand Mercure Abuja and Mantis ARM Lakowe Lakes.
Accor, which was the first international hotel company to enter the African market in 1975 with the opening of Mercure Ismalia Forsan Island, Egypt, commands the largest market share of any hospitality group on the continent in terms of keys, with more than 24,566 rooms across 157 properties in 22 countries and a pipeline of 10,882 rooms in 52 hotels.
As the leading and longest-serving hotel operator in Africa, the Group’s blueprint for long-term growth focuses on balancing its footprint by establishing a presence in key gateway cities and identifying gaps in the market for its portfolio of 30-plus brands.
In line with Accor’s Planet 21 ethos, Accor is also committed to conservation-led projects that promote the sustainable development of African communities and in partnership with Mantis, the South African hospitality company in which it purchased a 50% stake in April 2018, more than 28 eco-resorts and hotels are planned for the continent.
Accor is a world-leading augmented hospitality group offering unique experiences in 4,900 hotels and residences across 110 countries. The Group has been acquiring hospitality expertise for more than 50 years, resulting in an unrivaled portfolio of brands, from luxury to economy, supported by one of the most attractive loyalty programs in the world.
Beyond accommodation, Accor enables new ways to live, work, and play, by blending food and beverage with nightlife, wellbeing, and co-working. It also offers digital solutions that maximize distribution, optimize hotel operations and enhance the customer experience.
Accor is deeply committed to sustainable value creation and plays an active role in giving back to planet and community via its Planet 21 – Acting Here program and the Accor Solidarity endowment fund, which gives disadvantaged groups access to employment through professional training.
Accor SA is publicly listed on the Euronext Paris Stock Exchange (ISIN code: FR0000120404) and on the OTC Market (Ticker: ACRFY) in the United States. For more information visit accor.com. Or become a fan and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
With Novotel, Accor offers every guest the freedom to fully enjoy their stay. Novotel Hotels, Suites & Resorts provide a multi-service offer for both business and leisure guests, with spacious, modular rooms, 24/7 catering offers with balanced meals, meeting rooms, attentive and proactive staff, kid areas, a multi-purpose lobby and fitness centers. Through PLANET 21, Accor’s sustainable development program, Novotel commits to Man and the Planet. Novotel has over 520 hotels and resorts in 60 countries, ideally located in the heart of major international cities, business districts and tourist destinations. Accor is a world-leading augmented hospitality group offering unique experiences in 4,900 hotels and residences across 110 countries. novotel.com | group.accor.com
African Development Bank welcomes $20 million investment from the Clean Technology Fund for the Facility for Energy Inclusion
August 14, 2019 | 0 Comments
Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, 14 August 2019 – The Clean Technology Fund (CTF) one of two multi-donor trust funds within the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) on August 8, 2019 approved $20 million for the Facility for Energy Inclusion (FEI), a facility sponsored by the African Development Bank to provide sustainable financing for small-scale renewables in Africa.
FEI is a $500 million financing platform whose objective is to catalyze financial support for innovative energy access solutions. FEI On-grid, a targeted USD 400 million fund, supports improved energy access through the development of small-scale renewable energy generation and mini-grids across Africa, while the Off-Grid Energy Access Fund (OGEF), a targeted USD 100 million fund, supports off -grid energy distribution companies and boosts their long-term capacity to access capital markets at scale.
The CTF investment, composed of a $4 million junior equity tranche and a $16 million senior concessional loan, will be drawn from the Dedicated Private Sector Program III, designed to provide risk-appropriate capital to finance high-impact, large-scale private sector projects in clean technologies.
Stressing the difficulty rural areas have in attracting investment for affordable and productive electricity, Anthony Nyong, Director of Climate Change and Green Growth at the African Development Bank said the funds would contribute to economic and social growth and enhance its recipients’ resilience to the effects of negative climate change.
“Access to affordable and reliable energy has huge benefits at various levels of any society. Most of the 600 million people estimated to lack access to modern energy services in Sub-Saharan Africa are also among the most vulnerable to the disastrous consequences of climate change,” he said.
FEI is expected to contribute to the installation of around 600MW of renewable energy projects across different African countries and avoid over 30 million tons of CO2 equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions over a period of 20 years while yielding positive gender and social outcomes.
Verve Card goes global after penning landmark agreement with Discover in New York
August 14, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Amos Fofung
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.
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.
Cameroon to Get First Artificial Intelligence Centre worth FCFA 1.3 billion
August 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
The University of Yaounde 1 will host Cameroon’s first ever Artificial Intelligence Center for learning after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the said University and Cameroon Telecommunications, CAMTEL.
The MOU was signed between the General Manager of the state-owned CAMTEL Judith Yah Sunday and the Rector of the University of Yaounde I Prof. Aurélien Sosso as both parties took the commitment to make the FCFA 1.3 billion projects see the day of light.
The Centre that will be hosted at the National Advanced School of Engineering, Polytech, of the University of Yaounde 1 will provide top notch services for students, trainers, companies as well as other partner organisations.
According to CAMTEL’s GM Judith Yah Sunday, the centre will train one hundred students for a start while 25 percent of the students will benefit from a fully-funded scholarship offered by CAMTEL and its partners and the University of Yaounde I, through Polytech.
According to the agreement, the project will cover the construction of learning infrastructures and the procurement of training equipment. Among other things, the plan will also cover training of trainers, curriculum designs and learners scholarships.
Talking to the press, the CAMTEL GM said the establishment of a training resource aligns with Government’s vision to digitize the economy and development. As part of its digitization process, Government has stipulated a target to multiply the number of direct and indirect jobs by 50 by 2035.
“The intention is to improve the employability of job-seekers through transformative education and training systems to meet the knowledge, competencies, skills, research, innovation and creativity needs required to nurture the future of the AI sector,” Judith Yah said.
She added that: “We envisage training one hundred at the start. Twenty-five per cent of the pioneer students will benefit from fully-funded scholarships offered by CAMTEL and its partners on the one hand, and the University of Yaounde I, through Polytech, on the other hand.”
Verve Global Card launches 1st International Transaction In New York, USA
August 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
- Rides On Global Partnership With Discover Network
New York, August. 12, 2019 – Verve, a leading payments technology and card business in Africa, and Discover Global Network, the payments brand of Discover, today held an event to launch the Verve Global Card. Cardholders will now have the ability to use their Verve Global Cards on the Discover Global Network which provides acceptance in more than 190 countries and territories. This will expand Verve’s existing suite of tailored payment products and solutions for its customers.
The first transaction occurred today at Swarovski in New York City. Senior executives from First Bank, Access Bank and Fidelity Bank purchased various items from Swarovski using their Verve Global Card on the Discover Global Network.
The agreement with Discover Global Network will facilitate new international and cross border transaction capabilities for Verve Global Card customers, meeting the needs of its increasingly global customer base. Holders of the new card can make payments outside Africa on the Discover Global Network which includes anywhere Discover, Diners Club International and Pulse and affiliate network cards are accepted. Verve Global Card also delivers additional benefits to cardholders including broad reward and loyalty schemes; benefits that are available both locally and internationally.
Mitchell Elegbe, Interswitch Group Managing Director, commented on the announcement: “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.”
“It is important to us that we are working with groups around the world to extend acceptance for their cardholders,” said Ricardo Leite, senior vice president of international markets at Discover. “At Discover, we recognize the importance of being able to use your card of choice no matter where you are traveling.”
Mike Ogbalu III, Verve International Divisional Chief Executive Officer, also commented on the announcement saying, “The launch of the Verve Global Card, provides consumers with the ability to transact globally across the US and other countries, addressing challenges that many Nigerians have experienced while travelling abroad. Our partnership with Discover Global Network will help us to optimize the overall experience of every Verve Global card holder by guaranteeing consistent and efficient payment solutions regardless of where they are in the world”.
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.
About Interswitch Group.
Interswitch is a digital payment company of African Origin focused on providing convenience and real value for consumers. We facilitate the seamless electronic circulation of money as well as value exchange on an ongoing, real-time basis.
We began in 2002 as a transaction switching and electronic payments processing business, building and managing payment infrastructure, delivering innovative payments solutions and driving transactions across the African continent and other international markets. We provide secure, solutions and services that facilitate convenience and real value for consumers, businesses, governments and other organizations, helping to reduce costs, improve operational efficiency and drive sustainable revenue growth.
Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company issues the Discover card, America’s cash rewards pioneer, and offers private student loans, personal loans, home equity loans, checking and savings accounts and certificates of deposit through its direct banking business. It operates the Discover Global Network comprised of Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation’s leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance around the world. For more information, visit www.discover.com/company.
*Source Verve. PAV will be coming up with more reporting and interviews on the launch.
Cameroon angered by Equatorial Guinea’s Border Wall Plans
August 10, 2019 | 0 Comments
By 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.
Kenya’s bid to have Al-Shabaab sanctioned objected
August 10, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27
A group of activists and humanitarians have submitted letters to Donald Trump administration, Cabinet members and leading members of Congress seeking to block Kenya’s proposal to have the Somali based militia group Al-Shabaab be included in the global list of terrorist groups under the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1267 of 199.
They warned of the consequences of such move saying it will interfere with life- saving process in Somalia. The rebels have recently launched deadly attacks in Mogadishu among other towns with an aim to destabilize the Federal Government of Somalia, attacks which have caused several deaths and devastation of property worth millions of shillings. They also argued the listing of the group is irrelevant given that they have already in a different UN sanctions programme.
“The proposal would put the lives of hundreds of thousands at risk without discernible impact on the challenge posed by Al-Shabaab,” said the head of the Refugees International NGO Eric Schwartz.
Kenya last week through Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau submitted its initiative to the UN urging the global body to include the militants in the list that contained Al-Qaeda, Taliban and ISIS saying it posed threat to her residents, East African region, African and entire world. Mr. Kamau said Kenya wants the UN to focus its attention in fighting the group which has terrorized her borders and carried a series of attacks in the East African country with the latest being Riverside Complex attack that consumed 21 lives early this year. The Al-Shabaab had pledged allegiance to both Al-Qaeda and ISIS.
“It has caused serious havoc, not just on Kenya but the region and the world in general. It is important that all global efforts now come together to combat this,” said Kamau.
The proposal which US have put on hold until August 29 risks being dismissed in case one member of the 15-nation UN Security Council formally rejects it.
Burkina Faso: Christians issue SOS over attacks from foreign backed Islamist Groups
August 8, 2019 | 0 Comments
The World was concerned during the month of May 2019 when it seemed that a Church was attacked on a weekly basis in the West African Nation of Burkina Faso. Since January of this year 20 people have been killed and several Churches have been destroyed by Islamist Forces that are operating in the region.
Events in the region remain fluid at best. It does appear that some of these attacks were inspired by a video recording made by the head of IS Al-Baghdadi urging attacks against French interests in the Sahel region of Africa. The incidents in Burkina Faso can be acknowledged as part of an effort to locate a new base of operations for the group.
After a month of relative quiet in Burkina Faso the alarm bells for the country have started ringing yet again. On the first of August 2019 Bishop Laurent Dabire who currently is the President of the Bishops Conference for Niger and Burkina Faso issued a call for the World to step in and stop what he called the massacres against Christians in Burkina Faso by Foreign Backed Islamist Groups. These attacks have been gradually increasing in scope since the ouster of former President Blaise Comparie in 2014. It should be noted that in his remarks that the Bishop claimed that the Islamist Militants are better armed than the Security Forces are.
The Government of Burkina Faso is doing what they can to protect Christians. On July 12th the Vatican signed an accord with the Burkinbe Government which guarantees the legal status of the Church in the country and to collaborate on the moral, spiritual and material well being of the human person and for the promotion of the common good. Currently it is estimated that one out of every five persons of the population of 16.5 million describe themselves as being a member of the Catholic Church.
Also during a Press Conference that was held on July 31st remarks were made by the President of Burkina Faso Marc Christian Kabore that praised the actions of his immediate neighbors in assisting in the efforts to combat terrorism that appears to be running rampant in the region. . However in a more somber statement he did say that Burkina Faso was “paying a heavy tribute” for the attacks which he stated were impeding “efforts at National Construction.” Just like in several other nations in the area Burkina Faso does suffer from High Youth Unemployment lack of Opportunity and other factors that lead to radicalization.
The situation in Burkina Faso has not been ignored by Washington either. Earlier this year the African Country was linked to the National Guard of the District of Columbia under the State Partnership Program to assist in fighting terrorism. The Country already receives assistance from the United States under the auspices of the TSCTI (Trans Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative) program.This move is just another of several steps that are currently being undertaken by the Trump Administration to address the acute security crisis in the region.
During the week of August 6th the White House issued a Press Release stating that the President sent the name of Sandra E Clark to the United States Senate to be nominated for the position of Ambassador to Burkina Faso. Filling this position is a positive signal from the White House showing that it is aware of the situation in the Sahel and will take the necessary steps to show those on the ground that they are not ignoring the situation in the region.