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Kenyan ruling party to use huge parliament majority for economic boost
August 31, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Duncan Miriri*

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (C) walks with Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi and legislator Adan Duale before addressing the media outside his office in Nairobi Kenya, August 14, 2017. Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta (C) walks with Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi and legislator Adan Duale before addressing the media outside his office in Nairobi Kenya, August 14, 2017. Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya’s ruling Jubilee party plans to use its majority in both houses of parliament to push for austerity in government and fund infrastructure projects like railways, a top party official said on Thursday.

Legislators in both the National Assembly and the Senate were sworn into office on Thursday after a national election on Aug. 8, as the country waited for the Supreme Court to rule on a petition filed opposition leader Raila Odinga that challenges President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election.

Kenyatta’s Jubilee and its affiliate parties have 213 seats out of 349 in the national assembly and 38 senators out of 67, a significant increase. Previously, it had 167 votes in the assembly and 30 in the senate.

“There will be less bickering, so we should be able to legislate the agenda smoothly and be able to do things without too much wastage of time,” Raphael Tuju, the secretary-general of Jubilee, told Reuters.

On the campaign trail, Kenyatta pledged to continue investing in infrastructure projects like railways, create jobs and cut the government’s wage bill, which consumes more than half the annual government revenue.

He has already moved to cut the pay of legislators – which tops $10,000 a month with perks – but faced a backlash from parliament. The opposition also supports the cuts.

“He’s putting the interest of the country ahead of them (the lawmakers) and he is saying, no, I’m not going to be beholden to you in terms of you bleeding the exchequer with salaries,” said Robert Shaw, a Nairobi-based economic analyst.

The high salaries are a sore point with Kenyan voters, who have also been angered by spiraling inflation, high unemployment and a series of high-profile corruption scandals.

Reports from the auditor general have detailed extensive government graft, but no senior officials were successfully prosecuted during Kenyatta’s first term.

The government will have to curb wastage and graft to cut the fiscal deficit, expected to reach 6 percent of GDP for the 2017/18 (July-June) fiscal year, while setting aside funds for the infrastructure investments, analysts said.

“We have been through one of the worst droughts we have ever had and things are very tight,” Shaw said.

Equities and Kenyan bond yields rallied after Kenyatta’s re-election and the shilling has strengthened against the dollar since the election.

“Markets were infinitely more comfortable with Jubilee economics. The significant majority in Parliament affords Jubilee the opportunity to fast-track economic reforms,” said Aly Khan Satchu, a Nairobi-based independent trader and analyst, citing the need to re-start a stalled privatization programme.

Kenyan economist James Shikwati said while the majority was useful for fast-tracking projects, it could also lead to less transparency and pressure for accountability.

“Little information will come out,” he said. “You can’t fight what you don’t know.”

*Reuters

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Insight Into Atlas Africa: It is about Aligning Business Opportunities With Interested Parties, says CEO Lindi Gillespie.
August 31, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Lindi Gillespie is CEO of Atlas Africa

Lindi Gillespie is CEO of Atlas Africa

For Lindi Gillespie, connecting the right people to opportunities in the market place and creating viable and strategic partnerships is her passion. Leveraging her vast networks and experience garnered over a twenty year period in diverse marketing and business roles, Lindi Gillespie founded Atlas Africa, an investment and brokerage company with operational base from South Africa. The firm offers clients the opportunity to expand business prospects on a broad range of sectors across Africa and on the global stage.

As CEO of Atlas Africa, Lindi, a Graduate of the University of Cape Town has surrounded herself with a solid team of talented associates who pride themselves in providing tailor made investment brokerage services and the delivery of first class returns to their clients.

“We do our best to understand our client’s business needs and long term plans when putting together a marketing strategy for bringing their services and products into the African markets,” says Lindi, who was recently ranked amongst Africa’s top 25 Women in Leadership by Amazon Watch Magazine.

With the goal of building long term professional relationships based on honesty, integrity, and sustainable revenue generation, Atlas Africa has steadily grown its business portfolio across Africa and beyond. In addition to South Africa and the SADC sub region, Atlas has excelled in West and East Africa, and Lindi says there are a growing number of hotel deals going through in the Maldives and Europe.

“Our clients stick with us because we work hard for them and always do our very best to find the best solutions to their needs by using our International network,” says Lindi as she expresses the ambition to further grow and sustain the strong reputation of Atlas Africa when it comes to investing in the continent.

Ms Gillespie, thanks so much for accepting to grant this interview , you are CEO of Atlas Africa Group, could you start by introducing the Group for us, what does it do, and when was it created?

Atlas Africa Group was formed in December 2015 when I attended the Global African Investment Summit in London. The Atlas Africa Group finds financing for renewable energy projects internationally; but predominantly in Africa. I raise these funds from individual investors; pensions fund; renewable energy funds and private equity funds. We also focus on Projects that are property related. We are very involved in development of hotels and also the buying and selling of hotels in Africa and its surrounding islands. Other sectors of the economies in Africa are covered as well.

What motivated you to create the Group, what skill set did you have, may we also have an idea of the staff strength and profile of those who make up the Group?

The motivation to start the Group was the dire need for infrastructure development; electricity; urbanisation development and especially agriculture to feed the people of Africa. Sustainability in Africa was my core motivation – to assist with this process. My skills are mainly in marketing and in introducing people where synchronicity exists to make things happen around the continent. For example I work closely with the Swiss who have foundations to help the poor and also various funds that have budgets to help the underprivileged people in our communities. The kind of people I choose to work with are professionals who are experts in all the fields that I can’t fill! Such as accounting and office administration. I prefer face to face contact with clients; travelling for work related projects and marketing our pipeline of projects.

Lindi Gillespie and her talented associates at Atlas Africa pride themselves on offering tailor made, investment brokerage services and delivering first class returns to their clients

Lindi Gillespie and her talented associates at Atlas Africa pride themselves on offering tailor made, investment brokerage services and delivering first class returns to their clients

Let’s talk about the success stories, are there concrete examples of successful projects that have been carried out by the Atlas Group? Potential clients may be interested in knowing something about the track record of Atlas

Our success stories are mainly in renewable energy and infrastructure development. At the moment deals are being processed in the Ivory Coast and Mali. These deals are private and public projects. We also have a number of hotel deals going through in the Maldives and Europe. These deals involve International hotel brands and private equity firms. We are processing low cost housing projects in two areas of Namibia where building of houses will begin within the next few weeks.

For people interested in using the services of Atlas, what do they need to do and what additional guarantees does the Group have to assure clients of positive results?

For positive result with new clients, it is a question of what stage the project is based. For instance we have investors of Greenfield renewable energy projects but projects with all licences and a PPA is where most of the clients invest. When it comes to PPPs, countries that offer sovereign guarantees or some form of guarantees make the project more attractive to investors. For projects needing funds Atlas Africa is always open to consider these projects.

What other parts of Africa is the Group operating in besides South Africa where it is based?

Atlas Africa focuses mainly on countries of good governance. We focus on areas where is safe for workforce to complete projects. Our presence is mainly in the SADC region and various countries in East and West Africa.

How will you describe the business climate first in South Africa and on other parts of the continent where you do business?

With the downgrading of South Africa’s economic sector; there are challenges in all parts of the economy including private and public business. I focus most of Atlas Africa Group’s growth outside of South Africa. I have a number of property interests however in South Africa. Our press in South Africa is bullish which helps with addressing the corruption in the country. The corruption has affected growth in all areas of the economy and many people are taking their money out of the country; emigrating or disinvesting.

Lindi Gillespie was recently profiled as one of Africa’s Top 25 Women in Leadership by Amazon Watch Magazine, what did this mean for you?

Being chosen as one of the 25 most influential women in Africa was a huge achievement for me. It showed that the work I do in Africa counts and that I have a voice on the continent. I would like to become more involved with positive movements and change.

With Former President Thabo Mbeki and Zanele Mbeki in Johannesburg

With Former President Thabo Mbeki and Zanele Mbeki in Johannesburg

To young Africans especially the women who see in you a role model, and will want to emulate your example, what are some secrets of success that you have for them?

The secret of success for young women is to have a specific focus. The best choice is to align yourself with positive people who will support your ideas and your business growth. If you are an entrepreneur like myself ,you need to expect difficulties and challenges. This will keep you up at night but you need faith to keep going. So many deals fall through but it’s all part of being in the game of business. Try and secure finance so that you can get through the hard times when deals are taking years to come through!!

We end with a last word on the future of the Atlas Group, what next after growing it to where it is, any big plans in the years ahead to grow and improve the client base?

Our big plans and ambitions are to grow and sustain our strong reputation when it comes to investing in Africa. Our clients stick with us because we work hard for them and always do our very best to find the best solutions to their needs by using our International network.

 

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COMESA launches tourist guide to market the region as single destination
August 30, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Jean-Pierre Afadhali

right Dr.Amany Asfour  Charperson of CBC,middle  Ms Florizele Liser ,President and CEO of Corporate Council on Africa,a  US business association focusing on connecting USA and AFrican business interests,and on the leFt Ms Sandra Uwera CBC,CEO.Photo Pierre Afadhali

right Dr.Amany Asfour Charperson of CBC,middle Ms Florizele Liser ,President and CEO of Corporate Council on Africa,a US business association focusing on connecting USA and AFrican business interests,and on the leFt Ms Sandra Uwera CBC,CEO.Photo Pierre Afadhali

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa(COMESA) has unveiled a toursim and wildlife heritage  guide to market the region’s tourism  sector , in one of largest regional economic integration  on the continent to the world as  a single destination.

The Tourism and wildlife Heritage Handbook  launched  by COMESA Business  Concil (CBC), a business member organization and private sector  institution of the economic block at the ongoing Annual World Toursim Conference in Kigali,Rwanda  will be used by hospitality players to sell  19 -country region as a single toursim destination to the global market.

The guide is launched  as business leaders and policymakers from Africa are discussing ways to unlock the continent’s tourism potential amid increasing travel and visa access hurdles that are hindering the growth of tourism on the continent .

“This is in the spirit of promoting cross- border tourism,” said Ms. Sandra Uwera, CEO of CBC at the guide  launch.

The guide is expected to help COMESA member countries  tap into its tourism ressources , attract investors in hospitality sector,sell the block as a one destination.

“ This is about wildlife that we are trying to conserve”  said Dr. Amany Asfour ,CBC Chairperson  adding “toursim is our roadmap to growth and prosperity,”

She  further noted the guide would bring about socio-economic transformation.”It’s not the book we are launching today,it is the whole tourism sector,”

COMESA hopes to create sustainable toursim marketing strategy,  incorporate sustainable tourism elements and promote the region as single destination ,develop a database and COMESA online portal and participate in trade fairs as a region to boost the region marketing .

The book contains facts for every member state on  population,languages ,religion,currency and tourist arrivals , highlits  key  wildlife and heritage attractions .

COMESA officials said the tourism handbook will be a guide to all tour operators in the region, domestic and international tourists.

Dr. Amany hopes it will fast track economic integration in tourism sector .

According to estimates COMESA market has 492,5 million people  and the GDP of $ 657.4 billion ,with the area of 12 million square kilometers,a tourism potential with  countless attractions that could increase the region’s toursim receipts .

Meanwhile the regional block  is  pushing for one single tourist visa that would allow tourists to visit the whole region without visa  access challenge that has been cited as a key hindrance to  the growing intra-africa .

 

 

 

 

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2018 World Cup: Crucial games for Africa’s hopefuls
August 30, 2017 | 0 Comments
African champions Cameroon have qualified for the World Cup seven times in the past more than any other from the continent

African champions Cameroon have qualified for the World Cup seven times in the past more than any other from the continent

Algeria, Ghana and African champions Cameroon face a crucial week of 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

Cameroon coach Hugo Broos admits their campaign is doomed if they do not take at least four points off Nigeria in back-to-back clashes.

The Group B rivals meet in Uyo on Friday and then in Cameroon’s capital Yaounde three days later.

“Should we fail to achieve that target, I do not think it will be possible to qualify for Russia,” Broos said.

2018 World Cup qualifiers for Africa (rounds 3 and 4)
Thursday: Monday:
Uganda v Egypt (Grp E) Cameroon v Nigeria (Grp B)
Guinea v Libya (Grp A) Libya v Guinea (Grp A in Tunisia)
Friday: Tuesday:
Ghana v Congo (Grp E) Congo v Ghana (Grp E)
Nigeria v Cameroon (Grp B) South Africa v Cape Verde (Grp D)
Cape Verde v South Africa (Grp D) Ivory Coast v Gabon (Grp C)
Morocco v Mali (Grp C) DR Congo v Tunisia (Grp A)
Tunisia v DR Congo (Grp A) Burkina Faso v Senegal (Grp D)
Saturday: Egypt v Uganda (Grp E)
Zambia v Algeria (Grp B) Mali v Morocco (Grp C)
Gabon v Ivory Coast (Grp C) Algeria v Zambia (Grp B)
Senegal v Burkina Faso (Grp D)

Nigeria top the group with six points after two rounds, Cameroon have two and Zambia and Algeria one.

Broos is hoping for an away draw and a home victory that would reduce the gap between the countries to one point.

The final two qualifiers will be played in October and November with only the five group winners progressing to play in Russia.

“My players need little or no reminding of how important the matches against Cameroon are,” said Germany-born Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr.

Algeria, who have qualified for the last two World Cups, are in Lusaka to face Zambia on Saturday.

Ghana, seeking a fourth consecutive World Cup appearance, host Congo Brazzaville in Kumasi Friday needing maximum points to have any realistic hope of overtaking Group E leaders Egypt.

The Pharaohs have six points and the Black Stars only one with Uganda between them on four.

Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah called up long-time campaigners like the Ayew brothers, Andre and Jordan, and Asamoah Gyan, and also named five uncapped players.

Egypt are away to Uganda on Thursday in a repeat of a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations group match in Gabon won 1-0 by the north Africans thanks to a last-gasp Abdallah Said goal.

Said is in the squad, and so is 44-year-old goalkeeper Essam El Hadary, as Egypt seek a win after losing the 2017 Nations Cup final to Cameroon and a 2019 qualifier in Tunisia.

South Africa coach Stuart Baxter
South Africa coach Stuart Baxter faces a goalkeeping problem with his two first choices ruled out

South Africa accept that hopes of a fourth World Cup appearance could hinge on defeating Cape Verde twice in Group D, starting in Praia Friday.

Bafana Bafana will take encouragement from the fact that Cape Verde have lost competitive matches there against Morocco, Libya and Uganda since last year.

Cape Verde on the other hand will be aware of the goalkeeping problems that South Africa are facing.

Ronwen Williams, who has won just four caps so far, looks set to go from third to first choice for South Africa because of illness and injury to first choice Itumeleng Khune, and back-up Darren Keet.

South Africa will also assess a hamstring injury suffered by midfielder Thulani Serero, who did not play at the weekend for his Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem.

“Where is the medical report? We still don’t have one,” coach Stuart Baxter asked.

“Vitesse sent us an email telling us he is injured, but when we asked if they had done an MRI they said, ‘No, we just stretched him and he was uncomfortable’.

“I am not withdrawing a player without having seen a medical report, so we have asked Serero to meet us in Cape Verde and our medical team will assess him.

“If we need to replace him then we will call someone up for the Durban leg because we feel we have enough players to travel with for the first match.”

Burkina Faso, who lead South Africa on goal difference, are away Saturday in Dakar to Senegal, whose attack boasts in-form Liverpool winger Sadio Mane.

Gabon will be without key striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang when they host Group C pacesetters the Ivory Coast in Libreville Saturday.

Asked why the Borussia Dortmund striker was missing, a Gabonese football official said: “The coach (Spaniard Jose Antonio Camacho) has chosen players who were available.”

Ivory Coast have four points, Gabon and Morocco two and Mali one with the Herve Renard-coached Moroccans hosting the Malians in Rabat Friday.

Group A appears to be a straight fight between Tunisia and the DR Congo after they defeated Guinea and Libya in previous rounds.

The first top-of-the-table meeting is set for Friday in Rades and the Congolese will be handicapped by the absence of injured Everton’s Yannick Bolasie.

 *BBC
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AFI Masterclass: Africa Trending, navigating the consumer landscape in Africa
August 30, 2017 | 0 Comments

Introducing international trends on the continent is certainly not a clear-cut process – it involves understanding where trends come from and how they fit into the unique lifestyles and cultures of African consumers, who are increasingly influenced by globalisation. This often leaves local retailers and designers questioning whether the local market is ready for something ‘different’, or indeed, whether retailers are capable of delivering it to market.

Understanding the relevance of global trends to the African consumer market formed the basis of a stimulating and introspective dialogue, the AFI Masterclass, hosted as part of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg.

Dave Nemeth, owner at Trend Forward and one of SA’s top creative influencers and an analyst of current and future trends opened the conversation around the theme of Africa Trending, and was joined by trend analyst, cultural strategist and proud ‘Africanist’, Nicola Cooper. Cooper shared her take on trends, the ‘glocalisation’ movement, and the demands of Generation Z, based on her experience working with some of the world’s biggest brands.

“Without a doubt, Africa and South Africa are ready for everything, but the difficulty lies in taking it to market,” says Nemeth. “Instead of replicating what international players are doing, we need to be adapting those trends for local consumers. We need to have a better understanding of who the African consumer is, and what they want.”

“African consumers are in a state of brand boredom, and brands must find ways to reach out to them without copy-pasting what’s happening internationally,” says Cooper. “At the same time, local players are competing for consumers’ attention and it’s vital that brands understand that consumers want to be seen and served in their own right.”

Love local

African consumers are increasingly on the look-out for opportunities to celebrate and support locally-made products and services, but they’re not following trends blindly.

“It’s a far cry from ‘local is lekker’, where consumers may be expected to buy a local product even though it is perhaps of inferior quality, just because it was made here,” says Cooper. “Our circumstances are unique to the rest of the world, but many African brands make the mistake of waiting for international trendsetters to dictate how we should feel, instead of adapting offerings to suit local demand.”

Nemeth adds that consumers around the world are suffering from retail and design burnout, and are numb to the trends and products being pushed in their direction.

“It’s an issue that consumers experience on a global scale, not just in South Africa and Africa,” he says. “We’re looking at international models and replicating, instead of finding ways to make them our own. Why aren’t we innovating?”

There’s no such thing as ‘brand loyalty’ anymore, adds Nemeth, and brands need to constantly entice their audiences with fresh, exciting and customised offerings.

Disruption is everywhere – and it’s okay

“We live in an app world – our lives are ruled by apps – and customers expect that level of speed and efficiency when interacting with brands,” says Nemeth. “Retailers need to understand that customers will likely drop a basket full of shopping and walk out of the store at the sight of a long queue.”

According to a 2017 Harvard Business Review study, 86% of business leaders believe that customer experience is a vital component on the road to business success. As such, brands need to create innovative retail spaces by integrating digital with physical for a more efficient, enjoyable shopping experience.

Cooper adds that retailers need to be aware of self-service as a growing trend in the retail space, giving customers alternative payment options and platforms to make the payment process a lot smoother.

“Automation, which involves the use of smart data for customised shopping experiences, is also a growing trend in the integrated retail space,” says Nemeth. “It’s also vital that brands pay attention to the element of entertainment in stores in order to engage customers in exciting, interactive ways.”

People are increasingly placing value on experiences over ‘things’, and this is where retailers can use tech to their advantage in-store.

Give us authenticity

Local consumers are consuming more international content than we realise, thanks to technology that provides wider access to what’s going in the rest of the world. As a result, people have come to expect nothing less than authentic, real experiences and products, leaving no room for brands trying to be something they’re not.

The ‘industrial’ look, for example, has become a popular design trend around the world, with many people adopting the rustic, bare-brick look in home, office and event spaces. However, Nemeth points out how misplaced and contrived the trend has become, especially considering that it started out at similar times in both in Europe and the US as a practical way of making use of a building’s existing structure and features.

Authenticity is also gauged through brands opening up and telling their story, which needs to be crafted and disseminated strategically in order to win consumer’s interest. Cooper talked about the merits of using platforms like Instagram for story-telling and not just to push product, in order to engage more authentically with audiences. She offered these tips for businesses wanting to tell their stories in authentic ways:

 

  1. Story-telling and story-selling

Social media platforms like Instagram should be an extension of the overall brand experience for customers, but it’s not enough to simply post images and information about the products and services you offer. As Nemeth says, “product is not social”. Instead, use Instagram to tell interesting and meaningful stories about your brand and what it represents, with strategic product placement, in order to grow and maintain engagement with your audience.

 

  1. Drop a line about drops
    One of the biggest challenges for businesses in a digital world is finding effective ways to spread awareness about their products without alienating customers, who are constantly bombarded with product and service-focused noise from a multitude of other brands. A great approach to incorporating digital into your marketing plan is to include product drops and countdowns to product release dates, which creates excitement around a new product and brings attention and following to your brand’s social media pages.
  2. Causes matter

The newest generation of consumers, Generation Z – or ‘Gen-ZA’ as they’re known in South Africa – are an interesting group. Not only are they easily distracted, forcing brands to find innovative ways to catch and keep their attention, but they’re also fiercely supportive of social causes. Gen-Z consumers tend to support brands and businesses that make an effort to contribute towards making the world a better place. Brands would do well to partner with non-profit organisations that engage in philanthropic work. Remember that authenticity also matters, so be sure to choose a cause that aligns with your business.

Retail in Africa is by no means a static industry, but evolves according to ever-changing consumer demand and expectations. While we’re all scared of failure, embracing the changing tide is vital for future-proofing African retail and creating an immersive, exciting environment for consumers.

 About AFI:

African Fashion International (AFI) was established to market African talents and ignite local and international attention towards the African fashion industry. The company led the way by introducing desperately needed international platforms to showcase authentic African brands through its portfolio of ventures including AFI Fashion Week Cape Town, AFI Fashion Week Joburg, Fastrack™, Nextgen™, AFI Masterclass, and AFI Privé.

 

Within its development strategy, AFI’s Fastrack™ initiative identifies and invests in the best of the continent’s young designers, by providing them with direct access to: mentorships, media exposure and business acumen, through yearlong programmes that prepare them in navigating the fashion landscape. Over the past six years, AFI’s Fastrack™ incubator programme has so far assisted in developing the careers of 75 new talents.

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Independence of the Judiciary and Security of Investments-Opportunities & Challenges
August 29, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Chief Charles A. Taku*

 

Introduction

Chief Charles Taku

Chief Charles Taku

Africa is endowed with abundant largely unexploited natural resources and raw materials yet the continent is afflicted by poverty, diseases and violent conflicts in the midst of plenty. Unfortunately, these resources when exploited are often not done so for the benefit of the people of Africa.

The availability and abundance of these resources present Africa with great investment opportunities. The paucity of a credible continental legal and economic framework defining Africa’s investment needs has led to a scramble for Africa’s resources by the leading nations of the world, from West to the East. This scramble has in turn generated an economic cold war that affects all sectors of Africa’s economic, political and social life.

Investing in Africa under the prevailing economic, judicial and political condition breeds significant challenges and invites critical questions that require answers. Significant among these is the question whether a credible independent judicial mechanism exists within Africa that regulates investment contracts in Africa that benefits Africa. Do African countries possess independent judiciaries capable of guaranteeing the security of investments in the continent through fair trial processes? Who negotiates the terms of the investments? Are the terms of negotiated investments favorable to Africa? Do investment contracts in Africa contain transfer of technology clauses aimed at transforming African economies from markets of cheap raw materials to markets for processed finished products? Is Africa endowed with an enabling legal environment for negotiating, drafting, interpreting and adjudicating investment conflicts?  What are the opportunities and challenges that investors face in Africa? How can these challenges be surmounted? The answers to these questions and more are the subject of this paper.

The Universal Foundations of the Independence of the Judiciary

Among the founding objectives of the United Nations enshrined in the preamble of the UN Charter was a reaffirmation of “ … faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity of nations large and small, and the establishment of conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and sources of international law can be maintained, to promote social and better standards of life in freedom; and to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples”.[1]

These universal conditions for the administration of justice significantly inspired and informed the founding of the United Nations in 1945. Justice for all was therefore, conceived and proclaimed a critical instrument for the promotion and protection of peace, and “the economic and social advancement of all peoples”.

In furtherance of this objective, the UN multilateral human rights treaty regime adopted provisions that guarantee the independence and impartiality of the Judiciary and recommended that they be enshrined in the laws of state parties to the respective conventions.[2] To safeguard, protect and promote the independence of the judiciary within the international and national justice systems, the United Nations adopted the “Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary”.[3]

The preamble of these basic principles emphasizes that the organization and administration of justice in every country, member state of the United Nations must be inspired by the principles. It states that efforts must be undertaken to translate these principles fully into reality. And that the rules concerning the exercise of judicial office should aim at enabling judges to act in accordance with the principles, because “judges are charged with the ultimate decision over life, freedoms, rights, duties and property of citizens”.

There is therefore no gainsaying that the United Nations Charter foundation of universal tenets of Justice as the underlying principles for the attainment of world peace, security, economic well-being and prosperity of nations big and small, is well settled in customary international law. It is on this basis that these principles are enshrined in the Constitutions of member states.

It cannot reasonably be disputed that at the founding of the United Nations in 1945, Africa was not a subject of international law. Africa and peoples of Africa descent were not contemplated by the founding fathers of the United Nations when they made the justice, economic, human rights and security pledges as the salvific tenets of a new world order and civilization. The so-called big and small nations that came under the protections afforded in the UN Charter did not include Africa and peoples of African descent. They were then invariably considered as chattel, European possessions, colonies by any other name but nations or states. Emerging from the humiliation of its World War defeat and occupation by Germany, France for example, led a genocidal campaign in its French Africa possessions orchestrating the extermination of millions of pro-independence nationalists and armless civilians in French Cameroun and Algeria.[4]

Without the protections afforded by the United Nations Charter Africa was deprived on the economic sovereignty over its vast natural resources. Africa could not exercise judicial independence over commerce, industry and investments in the continent. There was therefore no investment charter for the benefits of African European colonies or possessions. Investments benefitted the colonial masters and their national economies. Africans were valued as slave labour and nothing more.

Decrying this situation in 1949 Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe ( Zik of Africa) in an Address delivered at the Plenary Session of the British Peace Congress powerfully submitted “There is gold in Nigeria. Coal, lignite, tin, columbite, tantalite, lead, diamonite, thorium, (uranium-133), and tungsten in Nigeria, rubber, cocoa, groundnuts, benniseeds, coton, palm oil, and palm kernels. Timber of different kinds is found in many areas of this Africa fairyland. Yet despite these natural resources which indicate potential wealth, the great majority of Nigerians live in want”.[5]  Dr Azikiwe speaking for all Africans stated emphatically, “therefore, we are compelled to denounce imperialism as a crime against humanity, because it destroys human dignity and is a constant cause of wars”.

Invoking the human carnage and devastation of the just ended World War 2 in which Africans were drafted to combat not as free people fighting for the interests of Africa and African Peoples, but as mere tools or instruments of warfare deployed to protect the economic and security interests of their colonial masters, Dr Azikiwe made the following proclamation amongst others: “We shall no longer be dragooned to act as cannon fodder in the military juggernaut of hypocrites who dangle before our people misleading slogans in order to involve humanity in carnage and destruction”.

The conscience awakening alarm raised by Zik of Africa in the threshold of the founding of the United Nations with lofty principles underpinning justice and economic empowerment as the salvation credo for a peaceful, prosperous world which ignored the situation of Africa and black peoples the world over, endures to this day. It endures because the cosmetic independence that was granted to many African states did not alter the European economic and political vassal possessions status that was imposed on them by European colonial treaties.

Due to the enduring effects of these injustices against Africa, it is safe to submit that the supposed tenets of universal justice, that includes the independence of the judiciary are elusive in Africa making the security of investments in the continent attainable but elusive.

 

 

Identifying the Investment and Justice Needs for Africa

 

The submission that the attainment of the goals of fair, credible and independent justice for Africa faces serious though surmountable obstacles may better be articulated through the following address credited to His Excellency President Jakaya Kwikete to the United Nations in New York in 2008.

Addressing the United Nations as Chairman of the African Union, President Kikwete reminded the world body that Africa rejected war, HIV Aids and Poverty as templates on which to anchor a just world security and economic order. He warned that highlighting the adoption of the UN political declaration on African development needs must not obfuscate the fact that poverty and the need to establish economic growth to overcome it was the continent’s greatest challenge. He pointed out that some so-called Millennium Development Goals were inadequate in addressing the serious shortfall in resources to meet African development needs. President Kikwete stated that “In trade, Africa’s prospects remained bleak as the Doha Round was stalled. New negative trends included climate change and soaring fuel and food prices”. [6]

In the face of this bleak picture of the African condition, there is an urgent need for investments in Africa must aim at attenuating poverty, Africa energy self-sufficiency and production industries for the processing and transformation of raw materials into finished products. There is an urgent need for the establishment of efficient healthcare, food security, science and technology and communication industries in Africa by Africans. Foreign investors are invited to invest in Africa but the investments must aim at and relevant to the attainment of Africa economic and investment goals. Investments in Africa that not include aim at the transfer of technology for the transformation of Africa’s raw materials and natural resources to finished products for the universal market are deemed not to benefit Africa.

To satisfy Africa’s investment needs, stable, credible, efficient and effective legal frameworks capable of attracting foreign and national investments must be established. Do the existing legal institutions in Africa provide adequate security for foreign and national investments that aim at promoting growth and the economic prosperity of the continent and its people? I hesitate at this point in time to answer this question in the positive. This is not for the lack of capital building capacity by African investors, economic operators, capable independent judiciaries or competent professional lawyers who can manage the continent’s investment portfolio. The critical obstacle to attaining these goals is the ghost of Africa’s colonial past  which is still  lingering within the continent and manipulating the soul of the continent at all levels of constitutional governance; making profitable investments that benefit Africa and its people difficult.

The Constitutional Guarantee of the Independence of the Judiciary

 

When most of Africa gained independence in the early 1960’s, the newly independent countries became member states of the United Nations. By their membership of the UN, they pledged allegiance to the United Nations Charter and thereafter ratified or adhered to many conventions in the UN Economic and Human Rights regime.

The constitutions of almost all independent African countries have provisions on separation of powers with the judiciary being an independent arm of government. The constitutions of these African countries guarantee the independence of the judiciary. Despite of the provision of article 26 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights guaranteeing through constitutional protections the independence of the judiciary, the effective independence of the judiciary as a constitutional arm of government remains illusory in many African countries. The enabling legislation regulating the administration of justice in many African countries contradicts the intendment of the constitutional guarantees of independence of the judiciary; compromising its independence.[7]

A decision of African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in a case brought by the Southern Cameroons against the Republic of Cameroon, better explains this point succinctly. In that case the African Commission decided that Cameroon lacked independence of the judiciary despite the existence of a constitutional provision guaranteeing the independence of the judiciary and separation or powers[8]. In that decision, the African Commission found that the lack of independence of the Cameroon judiciary violated article 26 of the Africa Charter.

The decision was predicated on an admission by Cameroon that it did not have an independent judicial service commission and that the President of the Republic was the Chairman of the Higher Judicial Council while the Minister of Justice the Vice President of the Council. The said council has a mandate for the administration and guaranteeing the independence of the judiciary. The African Commission found that by subjugating the judiciary to the executive arm of government, Cameroon was in violation of its treaty obligations by violating article 26 of the African Charter. The Commission asked Cameroon to provide an effective remedy by making its judiciary genuinely independent, a decision Cameroon has failed to implement.

A melting pot of competing conflicting investment interests

 

An anxious look at foreign and national investment policies in Africa against available investments opportunities and the investment needs of the continent, there is justification in characterizing Africa as a melting pot of competing conflicting investment interests. Foreign investment in Africa has a checkered history and a tortious purpose. Like a chameleon, it assumes different colours while remaining in substance, the same.

Prior to independence, foreign trade policies of African European colonies were imposed rather than negotiated. African economies were rudimentary and mainly aimed at producing and supplying raw materials for the European industrial and commercial markets. The huge mineral deposits and agricultural potential which Dr Azikiwe talked about in his 1949 address referred to earlier in this paper, although belonging to Nigeria and Nigerians, as a matter of colonial and imperial policy, in reality belonged to Her Majesty the Queen of England’s Government.

The colonial institutions at independence contained imposed military, monetary, economic, educational, social and cultural cooperation treaties that subjugated the economic sovereignty of the colonies to the erstwhile colonial powers. In former French Africa colonies, France imposed pre and post-independence cooperation agreements imposed that subjugated their economic, monetary and defense sovereignty to the control of France[9].

The subsistence of these treaties and colonial policies in Independent African countries renders an effective exercise of sovereignty over constitutional institutions among them independent judiciaries illusory. This state of affairs led Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to conclude that “any form of economic union negotiated singly between the fully industrialized states of Europe and the newly emergent countries of Africa is bound to retard the industrialization, and therefore the prosperity and general economic and cultural development, of these countries. For it will mean that those African states which may be inveighed into joining this union will continue to serve as protected markets for the manufactured goods of their industrialized partners, and sources of cheap raw materials”.[10] The existence of these colonial and neo-colonial economic treaties have retained  Africa in what Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe characterized as “a perennial source of war”[11].

In seeking to safeguard and enforce these subsisting colonial and neo-colonial imposed preferential economic and investment treaties, the erstwhile colonial powers and the economic blocs in which they belong have resorted to using coercive methods to impose unfavourable terms of trade and investment terms that auction away African mineral resources and raw materials at prices and conditions intended to recolonize supposed independent states. These includes, economic sabotage, political instability, coups, military intervention and the manipulation of international institutions to discredit, subvert and isolate governments and peoples who dare turn their backs on colonial and neo-colonial puppetry.

In attempts to render the resource endowed countries of Africa ungovernable, alternative sources of power control are funded among the civil society, national and international Non-Governmental Organizations, the Military and the political class. With the use of weapons and funds supplied to these organizations, violent political activism triumphs over laudable civil society activism whose primary purpose ought to have been protecting and promoting the social, economic, political and civic rights of the citizenry.

The sources of instability arising from political and socio-economic factors are easily traced to the desire to control the natural resources and raw materials of African countries. The militarization of the political and economic life of the continent aimed at destabilizing many resource endowed African countries can be traced to this factor. Examples abound, but suffice to cite the failed recent violent regime change attempts in Burundi, Central Africa Republic, South Sudan, Angola and Libya.

According to Adekeye Adebajo and Kaye Whiteman, “the EU willingness to find ways of being militarily involved in Africa has been encouraged by France (seeking ways to justify its own continued military presence in Africa).[12]  The problem with the ambitious mission of the EU to support peace and security initiatives as outlined in the EU Common Position on the Prevention, Management and Resolution of Violent Conflicts in Africa is that in conceptual terms, the EU initiative seems good. But it conflates and conceals the colonial and neo-colonial treaties entered into by individual erstwhile colonial powers like France and Belgium in significant regards.

These colonial treaties and policies fuel and sustain the instability that the EU aims to prevent or redress. The erstwhile colonial powers habouring economic and political ambitions to control and micromanage the economic and political life of their former African colonies targeted by the EU initiative are not faithful participants in the EU initiative. There is overwhelming evidence establishing that they are the sources of instability in Africa. These former colonial powers have consistently used their EU members to attempt to railroad the EU initiative to attain their neo-colonial agenda.

The mitigated result of the EU initiative in Central Africa Republic even with the presence in the territory of French troops who have maintained a military base there since independence is an alarming example of this policy of duplicity on the part of France. Mineral resources Burundi has consistently accused Belgium which recently accepted responsibility and apologized for the assassination of Patrice Lumumba plunging the Democratic Republic of Congo into a blood bath that endures till date, for supporting a rebellion within its national territory aimed at effecting a regime change and controlling its natural resources.

The failed belligerent EU policy towards Burundi demonstrated by an overwhelming objection of an EU resolution submitted to the 33rd Session of the Joint EU-ACP Parliamentary Conference on 19 June 2017 arises from this policy. For the EU initiative to attain its objective, the EU must call on its member states to rescind with immediate all colonial and neo-colonial treaties or so-called cooperation agreements that undermine the sovereignty of African states and constitute a “perennial source of war”, violence, instability, impunity and criminality. These perennial sources of war have subverted the rule of law and sound constitutional governance.

Africa does not manufacture weapons but the investment in arms through legal and illegal channels fuels internecine armed conflict on the continent. For this to occur, the mineral resources and raw material of African countries are carted away to support materialistic and capitalist cartels in foreign in other continents. These colonial and neo-colonial treaties are not subject to legal challenges before the judiciary of the African countries concerned depriving the citizens of those countries the opportunity to test their validity and legality before independent judges. This keeps significant areas of the African investment and commercial sectors out of independent judicial scrutiny. The Neocolonial economic cartels have also concluded treaties keeping the judicial scrutiny before national courts, key public and private investment sectors in the defense industry, the oil industry, the energy industry and some strategic mineral contracts. With this, corruption is institutionalized at the expense of the people’s sovereignty over their resources, their economic well-being and prosperity.

Owning African investment dilemma and its Judicial quagmire

 

For Africa to attract valuable national and international investments that meets African prosperity needs, they must aim at attaining economic sovereignty over its natural resources. Africa must put in place valuable judicial institutions that are competent, independent and reliable.

Investment contracts are quite often negotiated by non-professional bureaucrats and politicians without the assistance of lawyers and professionals in the varying sectors of the economy in which the investment is taking place. This often results in unfavorable terms in the investment contracts with adjudication clauses that defer the interpretation of the contracts and conflict resolutions to foreign arbitration and adjudication bodies outside the continent. African lawyers and the judiciary are often not even contemplated as key actors in the negotiation of investment contracts and the adjudication of investment disputes in case of conflict. This leaves investments in Key sectors of African economies in the hands of expatriates and foreign agents whose agenda is to stultify the much desired growth of Africa economies.

It has hardly been contemplated nor desired that a transfer of technology clause if inserted into foreign investment contracts could lead to the rapid transformation of Africa from a continent of perpetual slave labour to a continent that processes and transforms its raw materials for the national and universal markets. Africa must own its problems and accept to conceive and apply some dose of painful remedy to this complex life threatening ailment.

Since President Kikwete raised the alarm that placed the required focus on “poverty and the need to establish economic growth to overcome the continent’s challenges” citing Africa’s prospects as remaining bleak with the Doha Round stalling’, and new negative trends that included climate change and soaring fuel and food prices”, Africa has made frantic judicial and continental level efforts towards addressing these problems. The AU has made some adjustments in its focus towards seeking solutions to the continent’s security, economic, health, technological research, energy, mineral exploitation, communication, inter-African and Pan African justice needs. The efforts deployed so far though commendable are still insufficient or not commensurate to the magnitude of the problems.

The AU significantly made giant steps towards establishing an African Criminal Court to try crimes committed in Africa, relieving the continent of the humiliating focus of the international criminal court which gives the perception that Africans may be inherently criminal. The Malabo Protocol granting the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights have more than any international court in history criminalized crimes which from Nuremburg and Tokyo World War Tribunals no other international court has criminalized.

The Protocol targets a wide variety of crimes perpetrated on the continent including economic crimes.[13] The criminalization of the crimes of illicit exploitation of resources, trafficking in hazardous wastes, terrorism, money laundering, unconstitutional change of government, piracy and the crime of aggression have at long last awaken the enduring effects of the hitherto unpunished historic crimes of slavery, imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism from which colonial cooperation agreements and treaties drew legitimacy for eternal banishment from the continent of Africa. In other words, criminalizing these crimes at long last will target and slay the beast of colonial crimes and its offspring allowing room for Africa to develop and prosper in peace.

The African Union needs to conceive and proclaim an African Investment and economic Charter for the continent. The AU needs to summon as a matter of urgency, an Africa business forum in which governments and business operators in Africa will set in motion a mechanism and frame work for investment in Africa. The African Union lacks a clearing house for informing African investors and entrepreneurs the business potential of each African country. The Proposed investment and business Charter should aim at the AU working on harmonization business and investment law in Africa to enable African and foreign investors to invest in the continent. Presently, colonial and neo-colonial treaties favour foreign investors, particularly those from former colonial powers.

There is no reason why investment contracts in specific areas or sectors of the African economies should not prioritize national and African investors making foreign investors come in as partners only. Africa has to start training its own road investor contractors. African banks have to start providing loans to support African investments in key areas of the African economy.

African lawyers must mobilize to intervene and settle African conflicts of a political and economic nature. There is no reason why the AU cannot establish a Pan African institution for the settlement of investments disputes on the continent. There is no reason why the AU with the support of the African Bar Association cannot establish a Pan African Board of Arbitration to which different arbitration bodies in the continent will be affiliated. Such an arbitration board will keep a roaster of arbitrators from which arbitrators will be to meet the arbitration needs of investors in Africa.

There is no reason why the AU cannot make article 26 of the African Charter more functional by establishing a more robust mechanism within the AU aimed at encouraging and protecting the independence of the judiciary in member states. In this regard, for a member of the judiciary of a state party to be eligible for appointment to a high judicial organ within the AU institutional framework or within an international judicial or quasi-judicial institution requiring AU support, the constitutional and institutional arrangement in the state party must guarantee independence of the judiciary. A failure to set standards in this regard, led to two Judges from the Cameroon Judiciary which the African Commission on Human found in the Ngwang Gumne v Cameroon (The Southern Cameroons Case) not to be independent to be elected to the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights and to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights making a total mockery of its decision indicting the Cameroon judiciary for not being independent.

 

Conclusion

The Assembly of African leaders, lawyers, businessmen, professionals from all walks of life, the press and millions alive and unborn will look at this occasion with pride. With pride because African lawyers under the banner of the African Bar Association have risen to the occasion and the challenge to summon all of us here to make an informed pledge to lay down an enduring framework of investment, economic sovereignty and prosperity for Africa.

There is general agreement that investing in Africa will provide a much desired panacea for the dire economic situation facing our continent. The security of these investments needs be guaranteed by competent professional lawyers and an independent judiciary. Africa has significant investment opportunities, competent professional lawyers and independent judges. However, the ability of these key actors to manage Africa’s investment portfolio in ways that benefit Africa and the investors is hampered by powerful extraneous actors and factors.

There is a compelling need for all judicial actors in Africa and the judiciary to organize, assert and prove their expertise, proficiency and relevance in playing the role of key actors in managing the investment portfolio of Africa with unblemished expertise and uncontested independence. This conference on investment in Africa is critical and timely. The next conference on the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law complement must be organized to complement the results of this conference.

I respectfully submit that the proceedings of this conference and all the very rich conference papers presented here be delivered to the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, all African leaders and universities in Africa to help refocus the desired attention on investments in Africa.

*Chief Charles A. Taku is Executive Council of the AFBA, Member for Life; Vice-President of the ICCBA, Member of the Executive and Defence Committee of the ICCBA; Vice-President of ADAD; and Lead-Counsel at the ICC.The paper was   presented at the conference of the African Bar Association in Port Harcourt from 7 to 10 August 2017

[1] Preamble, Charter of the United Nations, 24 October 1945.

[2] Articles 8 and 10, UN General Assembly, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December 1948. Article 14, UN General Assembly, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 16 December 1966, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 999, p. 171.

[3] Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary Adopted by the Seventh United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders held at Milan from 26 August to 6 September 1985 and endorsed by General Assembly resolutions 40/32 of 29 November 1985 and 40/146 of 13 December 1985.

 

 

 

[4] The French campaign in French Cameroun commenced in 1948, the same year the UN Declaration on Human Rights was proclaimed against the Union des Population du Cameroun UPC founded by Um Nyobe Mpodol and continued this campaign directly or by proxy until 1971 when the last nationalist leader of the UPC Ernest Ouandie was assassinated.

[5] From an address delivered at the Second Annual Conference of the Congress of Peoples Against Imperialism on “Colonies and War” Poplar, London, on October 9, 1949 quoted in Wilfred Cartey and Martin Kilson: The Africa Reader: Independent Africa Rabdom House New York 1970 pp 74 and 75.

[6] President Jakaya Kikwete, AU Chairman Address to the United Nations in New York 23 September 2008.

[7] Article 26 of the African Charter states that “State Parties to the present Charter shall have the duty to guarantee the independence of the Courts and shall allow the establishment and improvement of appropriate national institutions entrusted with the promotion and protection of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the present Charter”.

[8] Communication No. 266/2003, 27 May 2009, African Commission for Human Rights, Ngwang Gumne v Cameroon para. 132.

[9] Cooperation Agreement signed between Ahmadou Ahidjo and France dated December 12, 1959. Cameroon attained independence on January 1, 1960 .The cooperation agreement in its articles 1-6 reserve the authority to 1) determine Cameroon’s economic, political, and socio-cultural orientations to France.2) France shall manufacture currency for Cameroon called the CFA.3) France shall guide the determination of educational programs at all levels.4) The French national treasury shall have a portfolio named operations account to cover 100% of Cameroon’s foreign exchange. After a series of revisions, the percentage stands at 50% today. 5) France shall have strategic priority in the exploitation of Cameroon’s raw materials.6) On 10th November 1961, shortly Cameroon annexed and colonized the Southern Cameroons in the evening of September 30, 1961, President Ahidjo signed a military cooperation agreement with France in which the French army may be invited by the Cameroon President or the French Ambassador in Cameroon to send French troops to suppress an internal rebellion or insurrection or any threats to the regime in place. The Southern Cameroon had voted in a UN sponsored plebiscite to attain independence by joining the independent Republic of Cameroon upon terms to be worked out prior to independence. The independence was attained leading the way for the termination of the trusteeship over the Southern Cameroons but the sovereignty to negotiate a union treaty was subverted by the annexation and military occupation of the territory.

[10] Osafgyfo Dr Kwame Nkrumah: Neocolonialism in Africa in Africa Must Unite, (New York, 1964 cited in The Africa Reader: Independent Africa edited by Wilfred Cartey and Martin Kilson Random House New York, 1970 p. 220.

[11] The African Reader, p. 60.

[12] Adekeye Adebajo and Kaye Whiteman: The EU and Africa: From EuroAfrique to Afro-Europa, 2012, Hurst and Company, London, p.17.

[13] Malabo Protocol Granting Criminal Jurisdiction to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Adopted in Malabo Equatorial Guinea in June 2014) Articles 28 D, 28 E, 28 F, 28 F, 28 I, 28,Ibis, 28 J, 28 J, 28 L, 28 L Bis, 28 M. In addition to the crimes punishable under the Statute of Ad Hoc Tribunals and the ICC, the Malabo Protocol criminalizes and punishes the crimes unconstitutional change of government, piracy, terrorism, mercenarism, corruption, money laundering, trafficking in persons, trafficking in hazardous wastes, and illicit exploitation of resources.

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Angola’s ruling MPLA wins parliamentary election, commission says
August 27, 2017 | 0 Comments
Angola's presidency will be passed to the country's former Defence Minister João Lourenço

Angola’s presidency will be passed to the country’s former Defence Minister João Lourenço

Angola’s ruling MPLA party has won the country’s parliamentary election, provisional results suggest.

The party received 61% of votes cast during Wednesday’s ballot, the Angolan electoral commission said on Friday.

The opposition Unita party, which received 27%, disputes the commission’s count.

João Lourenço will take up the presidency, after an election marking the end of nearly four decades in power for President José Eduardo Dos Santos.

The electoral commission says 98% of the country’s votes have been counted.

However, voting in the election does not end until Saturday due to delays in getting the ballot papers to more than a dozen polling stations in remote areas.

But with the MPLA taking such a commanding lead, the outstanding ballots will not change the outcome.

Angola’s Casa-CE alliance party gained nearly 10% of the vote.

Angola is one of Africa’s largest oil producers, but it is struggling to recover from a 27-year-civil war between the MPLA and Unita and most people live in poverty.

Mr Lourenço, the former defence minister known as JLo, was the MPLA candidate to succeed Mr Dos Santos.

However Mr Dos Santos, whose 38-year reign makes him the world’s second-longest serving president, will remain in control of the party.

His children also still hold several key positions of authority.

Who is Joao Lourenco?

Joao Lourenco, the candidate of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) reacts during his elections campaign rally in Lobito, Angola, 17 August 2017.Image copyrightEPA
  • Active in MPLA struggle against Portuguese colonial rule as a teenager.
  • Part of first group of guerrillas to enter Angolan territory from Congo-Brazzaville
  • Received military training and studied history from 1978 to 1982 in the former Soviet Union
  • General in the Angolan Armed Forces in post-independence civil war
  • Defence minister since 2014
  • Said to be one of the few Angolan generals and politicians free of allegations of involvement in major corruption scandals
  • Married to Ana Dias de Lourenco, a former World Bank official, who has held several positions in government as minister. They have six children
  • Small white dog appears in Facebook photos
  • Known as JLo

Who is ‘Angola’s JLo’?

Is Dos Santos really giving up power?


On Thursday, Unita, whose Isias Samakuva had been the main challenger to Mr Lourenço, said it had carried out its own count and that its results were very different from those announced by the commission.

The MPLA has been the only party in power since Angola’s independence from Portugal in 1975.

*BBC
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Unlocking African markets for South African stakeholders
August 27, 2017 | 0 Comments
How South African companies manage to do this will be one of the topics in the spotlight at the 8th annual Africa Property Investment (API) Summit & Expo, taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre this week
Mandisi Nkuhlu, COO of the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa (ECIC)

Mandisi Nkuhlu, COO of the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa (ECIC)

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, August 23, 2017/ — Despite Africa’s market and political challenges, local property developers, contractors and investors are still delivering projects successfully throughout the continent.

How South African companies manage to do this will be one of the topics in the spotlight at the 8th annual Africa Property Investment (API) Summit & Expo (www.APIsummit.co.za), taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre this week (Thursday 24th and Friday 25th August 2017).

One of the core focus discussions will be on managing project delivery risk in Africa. While emerging African markets are filled with long-term growth and investment opportunities, conventional insurers and financiers remain hesitant about covering local property stakeholders wanting to do business in African markets.

Mandisi NkuhluCOO of the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa (ECIC), believes the reliability of the income stream, on a project, is one of the most notable challenges property financiers and investors must deal with.

Nkuhlu says: “In financing a property transaction, for instance a mall or office space, it is important to get a reliable anchor tenant who is willing and able to commit to a long-term lease. Whilst there is a strong market practice on the continent of paying large up-front lease payments, the reliability of the income stream over the debt repayment period and contractual lock-in arrangements remain crucial. The financing tends to be provided in hard currency, whereas the tenants may be generating local revenue streams, so the currency mismatch is one of the risks that have to be mitigated.”

As the African property landscape shifts and investors and developers increase their focus on delivering projects on time and within budget, Nkuhlu believes there is a growing need for proper planning around managing in-country and Africa specific risk.

He adds: “There are quite a few projects that struggle to reach construction completion on time and on schedule. Sorting out the construction risk is quite important. In this regard, choosing the right contractor with the relevant experience for the size and complexity of the project is critical. The contractual arrangements and risk allocation, such as penalties for delays or poor workmanship, needs to ensure that the construction company has sufficient incentives to perform and avoid the contractual breaches. Locking in key and sufficient tenants before financial close is another useful risk mitigation of the commercial risk.” 

Nkuhlu, Greg Pearson, Director of GRIT Mauritius, Zo Hlongwane, COO of G5 Properties and Nick Allan, Group Chief Executive Officer of Control Risks, South Africa will go deeper into this topic at the summit sharing an experts’ guide to successful development and risk mitigation in Africa.

This discussion is just one of many for this year’s API Summit & Expo, which will see participation from over 35 countries, with 600 delegates and 250 companies attending, offering a programme aimed at providing a wide range of key insights and infinite networking opportunities.

Commenting on the importance of this discussion Kfir Rusin, Managing Director for API Events says: “Hosting a discussion around managing project delivery risk in Africa and sharing on the ground experiences, knowledge and risk mitigating tactics from companies like ECIC is of utmost importance and will help in ensuring better project delivery for all African property stakeholders going forward.”

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Lupita Nyong’o writes emotional post to her father as he’s sworn in as governor
August 22, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Elise Solé*

Actress Lupita Nyong’o and Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o at the 2014 Oscars. (Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

Actress Lupita Nyong’o and Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o at the 2014 Oscars. (Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

Lupita Nyong’o couldn’t make it to her father’s inauguration ceremony for his new role as Kenyan governor, but she’s sharing the lessons that her dad imparted, which helped her become the person she is today.

In a sweet Facebook post that she shared on Monday called, “10 Things My Daddy Told Me When I Was a Kid That Gave Me Confidence,” Lupita wrote, “Today is the day my father gets sworn in as the Governor of Kisumu County in Kenya. I thank all those who voted for him and wish him the very best as he embarks on this new journey of socio-political representation.”

Lupita, 34, who was born in Mexico and raised in Kenya, is one of six children. Her mother, Dorothy, works at the African Cancer Foundation, and her father, Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, is a former university lecturer who transitioned into politics, becoming a senator. Still, artistic expression was highly valued in Lupita’s childhood home, and Peter told NPR that his goal was not to “steamroll a kid into a particular career.”

Clearly, the father’s unconditional love and acceptance shaped how he raised his talented daughter. Here, in Lupita’s words, is what she learned.

“1. You are smart: I took this to mean both that I was dressed well (We Kenyans say “smart” for “well-dressed”), but also that I was intelligent. It always made me feel special and valuable.

“2. It will be OK: He said this whenever I was sad with the little burdens of my childhood (a fight with my friends, a broken doll, a lost favorite piece of clothing). He also said this when I was concerned with the big burdens of his adulthood (detention without trial, house arrests, caught in tear gas during violent riots). Daddy said this to me as he held me close and I always felt a sense of comfort and security from him. I knew he would do all he could to make my life safe and that he was doing the same to make the country better for all of us.

“3. You can do anything: Daddy never ever made me feel limited by my sex. He supported me when I did things that my society thought un-ladylike, like whistling, dressing like Kriss Kross, and even climbing trees in my adulthood. He was my first example of what feminism looks like on a man.

“4. Do whatever you want to do; just do it to excellence: Dreaming out loud was something he encouraged. He loved listening to my adventurous and sometimes unrealistic and romantic ideas. He did that for all of his kids. Together with my mom, my father taught me to dare to imagine an ideal world and go about making it a reality.

Lupita Nyong’o and her father, Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o. (Photo: Getty Images)

“5. Knowledge is power: He always reads and he is a walking example of how the power of an education never comes to an end. He has taught me that learning is the best way to stay young, beautiful and relevant. A free mind is stronger than a free body.

“6. Show me: My Daddy loves to learn from his children. He is not afraid to admit what he does not know, and admitting I am ignorant of things has saved me from a lot of unnecessary embarrassment. Not knowing isn’t a crime. Refusing to learn is.

“7. Consider the other side: There [are] always two sides to a coin. Being able to identify the other side of an argument makes yours stronger. It also makes you more empathetic.

*Culled from Yahoo news

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Power Africa Releases Annual Report
August 22, 2017 | 0 Comments

Power Africa, a U.S. Government-led initiative to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, has released its annual report. The initiative consists of more than 150 public and private sector partners, which have collectively committed more than $54 billion towards achieving Power Africa’s goals. It is among the world’s largest public-private partnerships in development history.

The 2017 report highlights how Power Africa continues to lay the foundation for sustainable economic growth in Africa while creating opportunities for American businesses as it makes progress towards its goals of increasing installed generation capacity by 30,000 megawatts (MW) and adding 60 million new electricity connections by 2030.

Since its inception, Power Africa has facilitated the financial close of power transactions expected to generate more than 7,200 MW of power in sub-Saharan Africa. The 80 Power Africa transactions that have concluded financing agreements are valued at more than $14.5 billion, and Power Africa projects have generated more than $500 million in U.S. exports. In addition, Power Africa has facilitated more than 10 million electrical connections, which have brought electricity to more than 50 million people for the first time.

The report also highlights the role of women in Africa’s power sector, by chronicling the contributions of select members of Power Africa’s Women in African Power (WiAP) network. It includes an executive letter from the Honorable Irene Muloni, Minister for Energy and Minerals in Uganda, as well as profiles of women whose drive is strengthening Africa’s power sector.

Over the next year, Power Africa will work with more than 100 U.S. companies, African partners, other donors, and the private sector to harness the technology, ingenuity, and political will necessary to bring the benefits of modern energy to even remote parts of Africa while promoting economic growth. The initiative will also expand beyond its initial focus on solar lanterns and renewable energy to support more on-grid power projects in natural gas and other sources.

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Philanthropists join forces to fund Africa’s cash-strapped health sector
August 22, 2017 | 0 Comments

Billionaires Bill Gates, Aliko Dangote come together to fund health care projects

Tristate Heart and Vascular Centre in Nigeria. Photo: Tristate Heart and Vascular Centre

Tristate Heart and Vascular Centre in Nigeria. Photo: Tristate Heart and Vascular Centre

In the 2017 World Happiness Report by Gallup, African countries score poorly. Of the 150 countries on the list, the Central African Republic, Tanzania and Burundi rank as the unhappiest countries in the world.

Some of the factors driving unhappiness are the poor state of the continent’s health care systems, the persistence of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, and the growth of lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.

Few African countries make significant investments in the health sector—the median cost of health care in sub-Saharan Africa is $109 per person per year, according to Gallup. Some countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Madagascar and Niger, spend just half of that per person annually.

In 2010 only 23 countries were spending more than $44 per capita on health care, according to the World Health Organization. These countries got funding from several sources, including government, donors, employers, non-governmental organisations and households.

Private investment is now critical to meet the considerable shortfall in public-sector investment, say experts.

While many international organisations, such as UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross, continue to support Africa’s health care system, private entities and individuals are also increasingly making contributions. For example, Africa’s richest person, Aliko Dangote, and the world’s second richest person, Bill Gates, have formed a partnership to address some of Africa’s key health needs.

In 2014 the Nigerian-born cement magnate made global headlines after donating $1.2 billion to Dangote Foundation, which used the money to buy equipment to donate to hospitals in Nigeria and set up mobile clinics in Côte d’Ivoire.

A philanthropist himself, Mr. Gates wrote of Mr. Dangote in Time magazine: “I know him best as a leader constantly in search of ways to bridge the gap between private business and health.”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation focuses, among other projects, on strengthening Africa’s health care resources. According to the Gates Foundation, as of May 2013 it had earmarked $9 billion to fight diseases in Africa over 15 years. In 2016 the foundation pledged to give an additional $5 billion over a five-year period, two-thirds to be used to fight HIV/AIDS on the continent.

While acknowledging the Gates’ generosity, locals noted that for many years the Foundation had invested in the oil companies that have contributed in making health outcomes extremely poor in some areas of Nigeria. These companies include Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron and Total.

Facing a backlash, the Gates Foundation sold off some 87% of its investments in major coal, oil and gas companies, leaving approximately $200 million in these stocks as of 2016.  Groups such as Leave It in the Ground, a non-profit organization advocating for a global moratorium on fossil exploration, are pushing for divestment.

“The link between saving lives, a lower birth rate and ending poverty was the most important early lesson Melinda and I learned about global health,” said Mr. Gates recently. The Gates Foundation supports reducing childhood mortality by supplying hospitals with necessary equipment and hiring qualified local practitioners to take care of patients and their children.

Dangote-Gates collaboration

In 2016, the Dangote Foundation and the Gates Foundation formed a philanthropic dream team when they announced a $100 million plan to fight malnutrition in Nigeria. The new scheme will fund programmes to 2020 and beyond, using local groups in the northwest and northeast Nigeria. The northeast has for the past seven years been ravaged by the Boko Haram’s Islamic militant insurgency, affecting all health care projects in the region.

Malnutrition affects 11 million children in northern Nigeria alone, and Mr. Dangote said the partnership would address the problem.

The Foundations had already signed a deal to work together to foster immunization programmes in three northern states: Kaduna, Kano and Sokoto.

The Gates Foundation states on its website, “Contributions towards the costs of the program by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dangote Foundation, and state governments will be staggered across three years: 30% in year one, 50% in year two, and 70% in year three, with the respective states taking progressive responsibility for financing immunization services.”

The future of about 44% of Nigeria’s 170 million people would be “greatly damaged if we don’t solve malnutrition,” said Mr. Gates, at a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Building trust

Despite the many international and local efforts, cultural and religious factors often impede efforts to address Africa’s weak health infrastructure. For example, in 2007, religious leaders in northern Nigeria organized against aid workers administering polio vaccinations after rumours started circulating that the vaccines were adulterated and would cause infertility and HIV/AIDS.

In 2014, during the Ebola crisis, villagers chased and stoned Red Cross workers in Womey village in Guinea, accusing them of bringing “a strange disease”.

The big players may be Mr. Dangote and Mr. Gates, but others less well known are also making important contributions to Africa’s health care. After the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, for example, which resulted in the loss of about 11,300 lives, private companies in the three most affected countries—Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone—partnered with the government to fight the virus.

The Sierra Leone Brewery, for example, helped in constructing facilities for Ebola treatment. Individuals, such as Patrick Lansana, a Sierra Leonean communications expert, also volunteered their services for the Ebola fight. He said: “I joined the fight against Ebola because I wanted to help my country. My efforts, and those of others, made a difference. It would have been difficult for the government and international partners to combat the virus alone.”

Public-private partnerships

Private and public sectors need to collaborate to help Africa’s health care system from collapse, notes a report by UK-based PricewaterHouseCoopers consultancy firm. The report states that public-private partnerships, or PPPs, when fully synergised can bring about quality health care. Under a PPP in the health sector, for example, a government can contribute by providing the health care infrastructure, while private entities can be involved in the operations.

In a widely published joint opinion piece last April, Mr. Dangote and Mr. Gates stated that improving health care in Africa depends on a “successful partnership between government, communities, religious and business leaders, volunteers, and NGOs. This ensures that everyone is rowing in the same direction.”

*Culled from Africa Renewal

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Africa on the road to industrial progress-Li Yong
August 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
Li Yong, Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Photo: Africa Renewal/Eleni Mourdoukoutas

Li Yong, Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Photo: Africa Renewal/Eleni Mourdoukoutas

As the director general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Li Yong leads a specialised agency that promotes industrial development, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability. Recently in New York, Mr. Yong took part in a special meeting on “innovation in infrastructure development and sustainable industrialization” in developing countries and countries with special needs. He spoke with Africa Renewal’s Kingsley Ighobor on a range of issues pertaining to Africa’s industrialization. Here are the excerpts:

Africa Renewal: You are attending a meeting on industrialization in developing countries, which includes many African countries. How does Africa fit in the picture?

Li Yong: The ECOSOC [UN’s Economic and Social Council] meeting is important because of SDG 9, which calls for inclusive sustainable industrialization, innovation and infrastructure. Africa has to compete within the global value chain, the manufacturing value addition and with the growth and speed of other regions. Two-thirds of the least developed countries are in Africa. Due to underdevelopment of the industrial sector, some countries are not growing fast enough.

What are the factors hindering Africa’s industrialization?

The sudden drop in commodity prices caused problems because it lowered the competitiveness of commodities-dependent countries.

But commodity prices dropped only recently.

No, not just recently. Let’s say this has been the case throughout the last century. But let me talk about factors hindering industrialization. Long ago the international development institutions wrongly prescribed deindustrialization for some countries. An ambassador of an African country actually told me that the very painful process of deindustrialization forced them to stop exporting cheese, cocoa beans and other products. Another reason is that countries change policies too often. Insecurity occasioned by frequent changes of policies scares away investors and disrupts the industrialization process.

Were the structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) of the 1980s a wrong prescription?

I do not want to talk about that because I was involved in the whole process of structural adjustment lending when I was working at the World Bank. I would just say that some of the prescriptions provided to African countries were not very good.

Critics say meetings such as the one you are attending are all talk but no action. What’s your take on this?

I think that sometimes if there’s too much talk, too much debate on the theories, on the reports and studies, action is lost. Just do it! If it’s creating jobs, let’s go for it.

UNIDO’s Programme for Country Partnership (PCP) aims to mobilise private and public sector resources for industrialisation and to provide technical assistance to countries. How is that going?

It’s an innovative way to support a country’s industrial development. We collaborate with governments and development institutions to create industrial development strategies, and we support such strategies. Usually there is a financing issue: the government needs to allocate resources to basic infrastructure. But development institutions also need to provide supplementary financing for infrastructure such as roads, highways, railroads, electricity, water supply, etc. We advise governments to formulate policies that protect investments that will trigger private-sector financing and FDI [foreign direct investment].

You were heavily involved in the development of agricultural and small and medium-size enterprises in China. What lessons can Africa learn from China?

There must be a vision and a strategy. Develop policies that support small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in the agriculture sector, to begin with. In China, the number one document released at the beginning of the year was a plan to support agriculture development. Second, take concrete measures. We cannot talk about empty themes. Third, support with financial resources, capacity building and training. Fourth, provide an environment for SMEs to thrive. Lastly, link the agricultural sector to agro-industry, agribusiness and manufacturing.

Not long ago, a World Bank report stated that Africa’s agribusiness could be worth $1 trillion by 2030. Could agribusiness be a game changer for the continent?

Yes, although I wouldn’t say that the $1 trillion figure is exactly accurate. But agriculture is a very important sector for Africa. The job creation element in the sector requires innovation. If you try to grow wheat, corn, fruits, etc without connecting to agro-processing food packaging and the global value chain, there is very little opportunity for job creation. Some people argue that if you introduce modern technology, some farmers may lose jobs. I don’t accept this argument because farming services connect to the market. With agro-processing, farmers have more time and capacity to do things beyond planting and growing crops.

The goal of the African Agribusiness and Africa Development Initiative, which UNIDO supports, is to link farmers to big markets. But African farmers cannot compete in the global marketplace because many Western governments subsidize farming. What’s your take?

Africa can be innovative about this. For instance, cocoa-producing African countries that used to export cocoa beans are currently producing some chocolate products locally. In Ghana, a private company is producing cocoa butter, cocoa oil and cocoa cake for domestic consumption. And UNIDO supported them with a laboratory, equipment and technicians to enable them to receive certifications to export to Europe and Asia. Consider Ethiopia, with 95 million people and millions of cattle and sheep and cows. But they only export around 7% of their live cattle to other countries because they don’t have processing capacity. They don’t have the standard certifications for export, although the quality of meat is excellent. Currently we are supporting Ethiopia to set up a project for testing so that they meet the criteria for exporting to other countries. Actually, African agriculture can connect to the global value chain.

Countries may set up agro-industries in areas where they have a competitive advantage, but the lack of technical skills and inadequate infrastructure, particularly roads and electricity, is still an issue.

We have the traditional toolboxes, including vocational training. Capacity training is a very popular UNIDO programme. With donor support, we develop training programmes like we did in Tunisia and Ethiopia, where young engineers received training in how to operate big equipment. The second example is that countries need large-scale agro-processing projects. For instance, Ethiopia developed hundreds of industrial parks that are helping develop the capacity to manufacture many more products.

Most foreign investors target Africa’s extractive sector, which generates few jobs. How do you encourage investments in the agriculture sector?

The best approach for Africa is not to say, “Don’t export raw materials.” Look at Australia and other countries that still export raw materials. They did their cost-benefits analysis and decided not to set up manufacturing companies. What is needed is market discipline. But this doesn’t mean that all countries must export raw materials. If they have the capacity, if there are foreign investors that come in to build factories and create jobs, why not?

Sustainable industrialization produces long-term results, I believe. Countries grappling with poverty need resources immediately. Such countries cannot slow down their unsustainable exploitation of natural resources.

I believe we should have industrial development in an inclusive, sustainable way. If we manufacture goods with a heavy pollution of water, soil or air, there’s a cost to people’s health. Think about what it will cost to address those pollutions in the future. At UNIDO, we do not approve projects for implementation unless they meet our environmental standards.

Are African leaders receptive to your ideas?

Most leaders I’ve met request UNIDO’s support. Except for countries in difficult situations such as those in conflicts, others need to show a strong commitment to industrialization.

Are you seeing such commitments?

Yes, in Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia—many leaders are showing a commitment. The new Nigerian president is committed to industrialization. However, countries in conflict, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC], may have difficulties industrializing. The DRC has many resources, including gold and oil. They have a vast land—you can grow anything there—and a huge population. But internal conflict is slowing industrialization. Yet a peaceful Rwanda is moving very fast with industrialization. So it depends on a country’s situation, the commitments of its leadership and the efficiency of its administrative systems.

How do you see Africa in about 10 years?

Many countries will move up the socioeconomic ladder and become middle-income countries. There will be more industries to manufacture goods and create jobs. I think it’s possible. The global community is ready to support Africa. Most importantly, African countries are committed to industrial progress and economic growth.

*Culled from Africa Renewal

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