OPIC services are available to new and expanding businesses planning to invest in more than 160 countries worldwide. Because OPIC charges market-based fees for its products, it operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to taxpayers. All OPIC projects must adhere to best international practices and cannot cause job loss in the United States.
Life In A War Zone : 30 Days in Ambazonia/Anglophone Cameroon (6)
July 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Solomon Ngu*
In my last article I focused on the Amba Fighters – how they are perceived as freedom fighters ready to take bullets for their people (https://www.panafricanvisions.com/2018/life-war-zone-30-days-ambazoniaanglophone-cameroon-5/). We must understand their activities as part of the Anglophone project to de–Francophonize Ambazonia. They are of a generation that is hostile to all forms of tyranny. And anyone who stands on their way, be s/he armed or not, is treated as an obstacle to freedom. We are now caught in a scenario where the government no longer has monopoly to discipline bodies or openly inflict pain on people through the gun. This dramatic change within the past nine months has seen disenchanted youths fighting what they see as occupational forces (https://www.panafricanvisions.com/2018/life-war-zone-30-days-ambazoniaanglophone-cameroon-4/). Their resistance is part of the greater project of making Ambazonia ungovernable. In this post I take a look at Ghost Town, a passive resistance method that was unthinkable just two years ago. This is framed within a context where the government and its gluttonous Anglophone elite have lost legitimacy at the grassroots in the Southern Cameroons.
After the police brutalized protesting lawyers and teachers in late 2016, there were calls, primarily on social media, for Anglophones to demonstrate solidarity with the protesters. Anti-Francophonization demonstrations on the streets had become dangerous – people were dragged in mud, others were shot, university girls were raped, some youths were arrested, etc. I can remember a Facebook group calling for people to stand with Anglophone teachers. It was within this context that Ghost Town emerged as a more practical and collective offline protest at the ways in which the Anglophones leaders were manhandled. By this passive resistance, it was meant no economic activity took place on a day that was designated for the Ghost Town. All businesses remained closed. By 2017, Monday had become the official Ghost Town day. It is now called contri Sunday (native Sunday). In addition to this, all official or national days are assigned Ghost Town status, meaning people in the Anglophone zone are not expected to participate in celebrating whatever is celebrated in Cameroun such as the Youth and National Days. Some of the Ghost Towns – particularly those referred to as mami wata Ghost Town – have been so tense that state employees simply do not turn up for work.
At the early stages of the resistance, the government and local councils responded to these developments by intimidating citizens, informing them that whoever observed the Ghost Towns would be punished. Patrick Ekema, the Mayor of Buea, threatened to shut down or fine shops that observed Ghost Town, that is, shops rented out to shopkeepers by his Council. Frustrated that the citizens were exercising this passive resistance, the government threatened to punish parents who didn’t send their children to school. Parents ridiculed the government, saying they stood to lose if their children were harmed; the people knew the government would not protect them, their children or property if they were to resist the call for Ghost Town. They had lost trust in the government, so to speak.
It was time for the government to gamble on another strategy that had hitherto worked in most instances. It sent Anglophone elite to act as mediators and quite a lot of them spoke of the need for the people to stop the passive resistance. But the government failed to know that these French Cameroun-based individuals have lost legitimacy among their people. Anglophones have been questioning the dishonest elite for a long time; they are perceived as thieves, as swindlers who do not account to the villagers what they do with investment money handed over to them by the government. This question is asked within a wider concern as to why the elite collaborate in the Francophonization of Ambazonia.
In any case, those who have failed to observe Ghost Towns have been treated unkindly; the shops, cars, motorbikes and schools (just to name a few) of defaulters have been torched by the population. And the government has not been able to do nothing about it. This aside, those elite that have sided with the government and those who have urged the villagers to denounce the passive resistance now find themselves in uncomfortable situation. Some of them have been told they are not welcome in their villages. And the youths delivering these bans have not spared those elite who ignore the injunctions. A few collaborators of the regime in power have been caught, stripped naked and humiliated. Unfortunately, some have been tortured. These are all recorded and shared on social media. Basically, these elites have been told that they can no longer speak for the people of Ambazonia. And it doesn’t bother the Francophone government that these tokenistic elites aren’t representing the people.
By and large, the militarization of Anglophone Cameroon has had as specific aim of protecting French and Francophone investments and system of oppression. This means the military is there to provide a secure environment for the French and Francophones to exploit resources in Southern Cameroons. The oppressed are by the military intimidation told their attempts to oppose oppression is futile in the face of heavily armed government troops. Now, come to think of Ghost Town operating in a militarized zone. La Republique du Cameroun conceives power mainly in terms of brute force and this would require that the police/military is physically present to enforce discipline. In this sense, citizens respond to authority only out of fear of physical or psychological injury that could be brought to bear on those who resist the Francophonization of Ambazonia. This is unlike in Ghost Towns where citizens respond to calls from physically-absent leaders, some of whom are only imaginary.
While in Bamenda in mid-April 2018, I realized that people observed Ghost Town more rigorously as compared to Buea. All businesses were closed, the streets were scanty and only a few transport services were operational within the city. I could not leave the city before evening because of the Ghost Town. On our way back to Buea that evening we passed through high security military control on the Anglophone site of the country. The darkness was terrifying. We stopped, descended from the bus, showed our identity cards and then trekked for about 150 meters before getting back into the bus. The frightened military police had their guns pointed and were perhaps ready to shoot.
One would expect the government to be in total control in parts of the country that are militarized. And being in control here would entail among other things, guaranteeing the running of daily activities in a direction the government wishes. This could be either out of fear or respect. It could even be both. But the passive resistance in Ambazonia has proven that brute force does not necessarily make people to conform, fix or adjust themselves to an oppressive condition. The oppressor can use the gun to control people if s/he can find them, if the people are within spaces where the oppressor can control. But if the oppressor can’t access people within controllable spaces, the gun and its frightful sight, (powerful as it is), is just what it is: a potential object of repression.
When you are on the ground in Cameroon, you quickly realize that threats from the government, elite and local authorities are taken less seriously nowadays in the Anglophone region. Even after the government disconnected the internet and threatened to send to jail anyone posting information/images related to the war, Ambazonians still update the world about the ongoing war. Anglophones are by this passive resistance signaling that they are ready to use any means to fight oppression. To engage in Ghost Town would mean people are ready to sacrifice – willingly or by force – their present economic benefits in view of a better life in the future.
Lest anyone interpret this article as glorifying the suffering of the oppressed in a war zone; it is more about their resilience and courage in the face of a calamity!
*This is part of the series Life in a War Zone:30 Days in Ambazonia by Solomon Ngu for PAV under the blog Kamer Blues
The Initiative for Global Development’s Board of Directors Names Leila Ndiaye As President & CEO
July 12, 2018 | 0 Comments
Ndiaye, an African affairs expert and accomplished senior policy and business strategist, will assume President & CEO position on August 1
WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 12, 2018 – The Initiative for Global Development’s Board of Directors announced today that Leila Ndiaye will be promoted to President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of IGD. She succeeds Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych, who will remain close to the organization in his new role of President Emeritus and Senior Advisor.
Ndiaye, who joined IGD as Executive Vice-President in March, will assume her new role on August 1, 2018. The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) is a Washington-based network of African and global business leaders who are committed to advancing sustainable development and inclusive growth through business investment.
A native of Côte d’Ivoire and a US resident, Ndiaye brings more than 20 years of experience as an accomplished senior policy and business strategist with a proven track record in policy design and implementation at the highest level of African governments and the private sector.
As President and CEO, Ndiaye will be the driving force in transforming the organization into an engaging and influential platform that fosters greater investment of U.S. and African small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in Africa. Through her strategic vision and leadership, IGD will be positioned to be the leading voice and advocate for SMEs investing in Africa to fuel the continent’s economic progress.
She will be responsible for leading the strategic direction for IGD’s exceptional programming and policy engagements to advance a business-driven development agenda, overseeing the growth of the Frontier Leader Network, and building strategic alliances with key stakeholders to advance organizational priorities.
“The IGD Board of Directors is delighted to appoint Leila Ndiaye to the position of CEO and President of IGD. Leila is clearly a proven leader who can take IGD into the future,” said Rob Mosbacher, IGD Board Chair and Chairman of Mosbacher Energy Company.
“I’m deeply passionate about addressing key development issues in Africa by harnessing the power of the private sector to create jobs and economic prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic,” Ndiaye said. “I look forward to this opportunity to continue the momentum and build on IGD’s current progress to take the organization to the next level.”
Board Chair Mosbacher expressed a deep appreciation for the leadership of outgoing president Mima S. Nedelcovych. Nedelcovych spearheaded the rapid expansion of African companies into IGD’s Frontier Leader Network for the last four years.
“On behalf of the entire Board, I want to thank Mima for his dedication and leadership at IGD,” said Mosbacher. “Given his new role as President Emeritus and Senior Advisor, the board is confident IGD is on the right path to drive forward its continued success.”
Nedelcovych said as IGD continues to grow into a thriving organization, Ndiaye’s leadership qualities, skills and professional relations were a perfect fit for the organization.
“Leila Ndiaye recently joined IGD and has already demonstrated strategic and decisive thinking and a strong ability to lead,” said Nedelcovych. “I have known Leila a long time and can assure you that her deep experience and broad connections will ensure IGD’s continued success into the future.”
Prior to joining IGD, she served as the Senior Director of Policy for African Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In that position, she developed, promoted and executed the US-Africa Business Center’s program of work relating to trade policy and investment between the United States and African countries. She initiated and managed the US-ECOWAS Business Initiative and spearheaded the Chamber’s program in Western and Central Sub-Saharan Africa, from Angola to Mauritania.
Previously, she worked with the government of Côte d’Ivoire as special adviser to the former Head of State, where she advised the Head of State on a range of policy, national security and economic issues to ensure that all duties were carried out in the best interest of the country as a whole.
Ndiaye is an Advisor to McLarty Associates, where she advises clients on trade and investment in West Africa. McLarty Associates is an international strategic advisory firm headquartered in Washington, DC, that delivers diplomatic solutions and advises many emerging companies venturing abroad.
Earlier in her career, Ndiaye held positions in the lobbying arena with Bayh, Connaughton, Fernsteinhem and Malone, law firm of former Senator Birch Bayh, in Washington, D.C. where she developed and managed the Africa portfolio, and at the World Bank as a consultant.
Ndiaye was decorated by the Republic of Burkina Faso in June 2018 as Knight of the National Order of Merit of the Republic of Burkina Faso.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce presented Ms. Ndiaye with the “US-Africa Business Center Outstanding Leaders’ Award 2018” in recognition of her exemplary leadership in US-Africa relations.
She is a recipient of the 2016 Excellence Award by the Women Ambassadors Foundation in Washington DC and was nominated in 2008 as one of the 50 most influential people of Côte d’Ivoire by the magazine l’Intelligent d’Abidjan and received the same year the Women’s Private Sector Initiative Award in Côte d’Ivoire.
In 1990, she was the first Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar from Côte d’Ivoire to South Africa during apartheid. Leila Ndiaye is a member of the African Leadership Network, a membership community of the most dynamic and influential new-generation leaders in Africa.
She received a certificate from the Thayer Leaders Development Group (TLDG) at West Point for the “Women Leading from the Front Lines” Leadership Academy in August 2017.
Leila Ndiaye holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the School of International Service (SIS), at The American University in Washington DC, earned a Master of Arts in Diplomacy with merit from the Diplomatic Academy of London at the University of Westminster, and a PhD degree in International Relations and Diplomacy, from the Centre d’Etudes Diplomatiques et Stratégiques (CEDS), Paris.
MEDIA CONTACT: Shanta Bryant Gyan * email@example.com * (202) 412-4603
Kenya:Opposition Chief Discloses What Led To Famous “Handshake”
July 12, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga has divulged what transpired between him and President Uhuru Kenyatta before March 9 peace deal.
Speaking at Kitui County, Eastern part of the country, the ODM party leader said high political tension made them to beat off their hard stands so as to save the country from plunging into chaos. They swallowed their pride and came on a negotiation table without involving other politicians.
“We first had preliminary talks on how to conduct the final talks. I gave my demands and he accepted that I will meet him alone. He also insisted that the National Super Alliance co-principals are excluded,” said Mr. Odinga.
President Kenyatta left his deputy William Ruto out of the talks while Odinga kept Kalonzo Musyoka, his running mate during August 8 polls in the dark and other two co-principals; Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetangula.
“President Kenyatta asked me to leave out my brother Mr.Musyoka from the talks, after I also demanded that his deputy William Ruto be excluded as well, which he agreed. I insisted that I don’t want to talk to those people who wanted to discuss 2022,” Mr. Odinga reiterated.
According to Odinga, his supporters had reached an agreement to boycott paying taxes to central government and remove the president’s portraits from offices and business premises in his strongholds to protest electoral injustices. He explained how he risked high treason and death by strangulation when he agreed to be sworn in as the people’s president.
The opposition chief who enjoys support from his home turf, Nyanza, Coastal region, Western, lower Eastern, and some parts of Rift Valley got sworn as the people’s president in January 30, 2018 as demanded by his diehards, an event that was boycotted by his co-principals.
“Our people had already agreed to gather all presidential portraits and burn them. We were also going to start collecting taxes from people in our strongholds. I thought about it keenly and figured that we could easily head the Syria or Yemen way,” explained Odinga.
He further revealed that Mr. Kenyatta was under intense pressure from Jubilee loyalists who wanted him arrested and charged with treason after being sworn in saying that the president declined because it could have plunged the whole nation into anarchy.
Mr. Odinga who was accompanied by his wife Ida Odinga, Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu and her Makueni counterpart Kivutha Kibwana said his and Mr. Kenyatta’s decision saved the country from following the paths that led to 2007 post-election violence.
“After my swearing in, I learnt that Uhuru was under pressure from his core Jubilee supporters to arrest and drag me to court on treason charges but he declined because that could have plunged the country into endless protests and chaos.” He added.
The exclusion of the three National Super Alliance (NASA) three principals almost led to the collapse of the coalition. The trio accused him of betrayal.
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) transformation into the African Union Development Agency
July 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
|The Assembly approved the establishment of African Union Development Agency as the technical body of the African Union with its own legal identity|
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, July 9, 2018/ — At the recent 31st Ordinary Session of the Assembly of African Union Heads of State and Government in Nouakchott, Mauritania, African Heads of State and Government received several reports, including the status of the implementation of the AU Institutional Reforms presented by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda. President Kagame is the current chair of the African Union and the champion for the AU Institutional Reforms process.
During the Summit in Nouakchott, a decision was officially taken on the transformation of the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency into the African Union Development Agency.
The Assembly approved the establishment of African Union Development Agency as the technical body of the African Union with its own legal identity, defined by its own statute. The statue will be developed and presented for adoption at the next AU Summit in January 2019.
The Assembly commended the leadership of Senegalese President, H.E Macky Sall, current Chairperson of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee, for reinforcing the credibility of NEPAD that has been acknowledged in the international community, including the G20 and the G7.
The current reforms at the AU are an affirmation by member states of their commitment to the NEPAD Agency as the Union’s own instrument established to champion catalytic support to countries and regional bodies in advancing the implementation of the continent’s development vision – as articulated in the seven aspirations and 20 goals of Agenda 2063.
Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of the NEPAD Agency, stated that, “A core aspect of the current reforms is to streamline and improve effectiveness and efficiency in delivery in the implementation of AU decisions, policies and programmes across all AU organs and institutions. In this sense, as the NEPAD Agency is the technical implementation agency of the AU, one specific recommendation in the Kagame report is to transform it into the AU Development Agency. We are enthusiastic about this transformation, which will make it possible to deploy our programmes even more effectively in the service of our continent’s development.”
Continent’s leading satellite broadband service to launch across West Africa
July 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
|Yahsat sponsors West Africa Com, ahead of imminent launch of its YahClick service across the region|
DAKAR, Senegal, July 9, 2018/ — Yahsat (www.Yahsat.ae), the UAE-based global satellite operator, will participate in West Africa Com on the 10th and 11th July 2018, as Gold Sponsors. The event, which unites critical players in the telco value chain, will see Yahsat showcase its flagship broadband service – YahClick – to partners and customers in the region.
Yahsat’s participation at the event is part of its expansion plan to launch YahClick this year in five new markets in West Africa. The service will be available in Senegal and Gambia through service partner Arc Telecom, in Ivory Coast through CEE-NET, Isocel in The Benin, and through both Teledata and Comsys in Ghana.
Farhad Khan, Chief Commercial Officer at Yahsat said: “We are excited to participate in West Africa Com for the second year. Africa is a high-priority market for us, and with the commercial readiness of our third satellite Al Yah 3 we are now able to offer our broadband connectivity solutions to even more markets across the continent.”
Back in 2012 Yahsat was the first to introduce Ka-Band satellite technology to Africa through YahClick, the continent’s number one satellite broadband service. YahClick has already proven to be an enabler of socio-economic development across Africa and other parts of the world where it is already present, be it by providing connectivity to remote schools and clinics, connecting rural public libraries or assisting government and non-government employees during their field work. YahClick has also been a great success in supporting businesses, small and big, to sustain and further grow their operations through its reliability and high quality of service.
“As we continue to expand into new markets, West Africa Com also presents us with the opportunity to meet with potential new partners as we seek to add to our existing network of trusted service partners” added Khan.
Yahsat is based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and is wholly owned by Mubadala Investment Company, the investment vehicle of the government of Abu Dhabi.
Yahsat (www.Yahsat.ae/) provides multipurpose satellite solutions (government and commercial) for broadband, broadcast, government, and communications use across the Middle East, Africa, and Europe in addition to Central and South West Asia. Based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and wholly owned by Mubadala Investment Company (www.Mubadala.com), the investment vehicle of the Government of Abu Dhabi, Yahsat is the first company in the Middle East and Africa to offer multi-purpose Ka-band satellite services including:
Hafez Ghanem Takes Over as World Bank’s Vice President for Africa
July 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
WASHINGTON, July 9, 2018-The World Bank has appointed Hafez Ghanem as the new World Bank Vice President for Africa, effective July 1. A development expert with over 30 years of experience, Ghanem will lead an active regional portfolio consisting of over 600 projects totaling more than $71 billion.
Under Ghanem’s leadership, the World Bank will continue to support inclusive growth and poverty reduction by financing projects that boost human capital, support private sector development, raise agricultural productivity, improve access to infrastructure, build resilience to climate change, and promote regional integration. Priority will be given to projects and programs that provide economic opportunities for youth and that promote gender equality. The World Bank will also intensify its work in fragile and conflict-affected states.
Ghanem brings a wealth of experience to the position, having worked in more than 30 countries in Africa, Europe and Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa, and Southeast Asia. Previously the World Bank’s Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa, he led engagement in the region through a portfolio of ongoing projects, technical assistance and grants worth more than $13 billion.
As Sub-Saharan African countries strive to accelerate growth, eradicate extreme poverty and better integrate in the global economy, the World Bank Group remains a committed partner that can be relied upon to bring innovative approaches to development and financing.
Ghanem succeeds Makhtar Diop, who has been appointed as the World Bank’s Vice President for Infrastructure.
The Africa CEO Forum launches the Women in Business Network
July 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
PARIS, France, 9 July 2018- /African Media Agency (AMA)/-Building on the success of the Africa CEO Forum’s Women in Business initiative, the first Women in Business Annual Leadership Meeting, organised by Jeune Afrique Media Group, in partnership with the International Organisation of La Francophonie and ESSEC Business School, brought together 200 influential women business leaders from 32 countries in Paris on 2 and 3 July. The watchword on everyone’s lips was “Tangible action, real results!”
The Women in Business Network is made up of 6 regions, each led by a team of women leaders: Lamia Merzouki, Deputy Managing Director, Casablanca Finance Authority (Morocco) and Emna Kharouf, Associate Director, Deloitte (Tunisia) for the North Africa region; Caroline Kamaitha, Vice-President, SES Networks (Kenya) for the East Africa region; Françoise Le Guennou-Remarck, Chairman of the Board, Canal + Côte d’Ivoire and Patricia Obozuwa, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, General Electric Africa (Nigeria) for the West Africa region; Lizeka Matshekga, Division Manager, Industrial Development Corporation (South Africa) and Nothando Napata, Managing Director, DBS (Zimbabwe) for the Southern Africa region; Valerie Neim, Managing Director, CCPC Finance (Cameroon) and Nicole Sulu, Managing Director, Sultani Hotel (Democratic Republic of Congo) for the Central Africa region; Alvine Trémoulet, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Pfizer (France) and Jennifer Mbaluto, Senior Associate, Clifford Chance (United Kingdom) for International.
TONY ELUMELU FOUNDATION hosts interactive session with Macron and 2000 young African entrepreneurs
July 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
LAGOS, Nigeria, 9th July 2018 -/African Media Agency (AMA) /- French President Emmanuel Macron offered a bold and new vision of France’s relationship with Africa, speaking at an exclusive session hosted by the Tony Elumelu Foundation in Lagos today. He passionately advocated a new partnership, prioritizing the role of entrepreneurship in driving Africa’s renaissance, highlighting the importance of the private sector and most importantly saying Africa’s future was and should be in Africa’s hands.
Macron spoke at a vibrant, no-holds barred interactive session, in front of 2,000 alumni of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, who sought advice from the youthful President on how to grow their businesses, reach European markets amidst rising nationalism and emerging trade wars and the secrets of his political success. Macron’s experience as an outsider, who transformed French politics and spoke directly to and not at the audience, electrified the room.
“To young African entrepreneurs: never listen to people who are telling you to wait,” Macron said. “If you believe in your projects: just do it. Our role is to help the new generation to seize opportunities and rise to the challenge. This is what underpins a new, balanced relationship.”
TEF Founder and Chairman of Heirs Holdings and United Bank for Africa (UBA), Tony O. Elumelu,CON moderated the event and opened by acknowledging the importance of the occasion for African entrepreneurship: “The French President recognises the critical importance of African entrepreneurs to sustainable economic development on the continent – he knows the African narrative is changing and will change. His voice is refreshing and welcome” he said. “We want France and the rest of the world to realise that Africa is a continent of opportunities.”
The two leaders stood side-by-side, surrounded by emerging and established business women and men from across Africa, during an exciting and at times charged session. Concluding the event, TEF signed an agreement with the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the French development bank. The agreement established a research partnership to examine the entrepreneurship ecosystem in West Africa, with a special focus on francophone countries, a risk-sharing guarantee framework and access to high-level mentors for TEF entrepreneurs.
About The Tony Elumelu Foundation
Established in 2010, The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) is the leading philanthropy in Africa championing entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs across the continent. The Foundation’s long-term investment in empowering African entrepreneurs is emblematic of Tony Elumelu’s philosophy of Africapitalism, which positions Africa’s private sector, and most importantly entrepreneurs, as the catalyst for the social and economic development of the continent. The Foundation’s flagship initiative, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, is a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train mentor and fund 10,000 entrepreneurs, capable of changing the face of business across Africa. http://www.tonyelumelufoundation.org
African Union approves the Pan African Parliament Budget amid Corruption Woes
July 6, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Prince KurupatiThe African Union has decided to approve the Pan African Parliament (PAP) budget even though African foreign affairs ministers had asked the mother body to “temporarily suspend” the Pan-African Parliament’s budget citing irregularities in the PAP recruitment process.
During the biannual summit of the African Union which commenced on Monday, July 2nd in Nouakchott, Mauritania, Radio France Internationale (RFI) reported that African foreign affairs ministers who had attended the event had asked the African Union to suspend the Pan African Parliament budget for the upcoming year.
In calling for the suspension of the PAP budget, foreign ministers argued that since PAP is under investigations of maladministration and corruption, it was better if funding was cut for the entire duration of the audit.
Earlier on, 15 finance ministers from member states asked the AU Commission “to initiate an urgent audit of PAP.” They in agreement with the foreign ministers also had asked the African Union to put on hold the release of the 2019 budget of PAP until completion of the audit exercise.
Several top-ranking officials in the African Union and also media outlets were caught in surprise by the announcement that the African Union had approved PAN budget despite the ongoing audit.
While the African Union’s decision certainly caught many people by surprise, one may argue that the African body had been left with no choice as PAP is the only African Union organ which ensures “the full participation of African peoples in the development and economic integration of the continent.” This, therefore, means if it had heeded the call to suspend the PAP budget, theoretically, African peoples would have been left in the open without a body representing them.
However, there are also some who argue that since the African Union declared 2018 the year of fighting corruption, it should have taken the hard step to temporarily suspend the PAP budget until it had been ‘exonerated’ (by the audit) of all the corruption and maladministration allegations levelled against it.
PAP in May this year adopted the proposed US$ 26 million budget to run the legislature’s activities and programmes in 2019. Hon. Michael John Temple (Swaziland) the Chairperson of the Committee on Monetary and Financial Affairs presented the budget which showed a 35 per cent increase compared to the previous year’s budget of US$19 million. In presenting the budget, Hon. Michael John Temple said that the increase is as a result of the addition of extra programme activities, the inclusion of rental of the PAP official residence, alary inflationary adjustments, increase in educational allowance, travels, communication and ICT maintenance among others. PAP forwarded the budget for approval in May and had been waiting ever since for its approval.
The increase in PAP’s budget is one of the many issues which prompted African foreign ministers (and also finance ministers) to request the African Union to temporarily suspend the PAP budget. Other irregularities which prompted the foreign ministers to request for the suspension of the PAP budget include reports that the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) President Roger Nkodo Dang of Cameroon rejected a ministerial home under renovation offered to him by the South African government, which is hosting PAP in Midrand from its budgets, staying at the upmarket Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton instead for much of 2015 and 2016, and preferred an official Mercedes Benz ML sport utility vehicle rather than a ‘lowly’ E-Class from the Department of International Relations and Co-operation.
Dang is also reported to have stayed at an exclusive Pretoria estate at a cost of R80, 000 ($6,000 US) a month after turning down government housing, with two chefs and two cleaners, paid for by the AU. Dang is also accused of incompetence and not undertaking any activities on the fighting corruption theme of the year or any campaigns advocating against the scourge.
According to South Africa’s International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, the audit into PAP should be finished later in 2018. Sisulu said that if the audit unearths any problems, the African Union will sit down ‘there’ and ‘sort out’ the problems.
Remittance thought leaders to gather in Lagos – Nigeria for Remittance Africa Expo 2018
July 5, 2018 | 0 Comments
|Remittance Africa Expo 2018 – Unlocking Opportunities in Money Transfer and Payment systems in Africa|
| LAGOS, Nigeria, July 4, 2018/ — Meet the largest gathering of money transfer providers on the Africa continent at the 7th RemittanceAfrica Expo (www.RemittanceAfrica.com) that will take place across 23 and 24 of October at the Lagos Oriental hotel with the compelling headline theme ‘Unlocking Opportunities in Money Transfer and Payment systems in Africa’. The conference will host leading thought leaders in the remittance ecosystem in Africa and beyond.
According to a recent report by the World Bank, Remittances to low- and middle-income countries rebounded to a record level in 2017 after two consecutive years of decline. Remittance inflows improved in all regions and the top remittance recipients were India with $69 billion globally and Nigeria ($22 billion) in Africa which is closely followed by Egypt ($20 billion). While Remittance inflow is improving, there is significant leapfrogging of payment systems across the continent and there is a compelling need to better align remittances and payment systems in Africa to improve transaction efficiencies and further reduce cost.
With registration for speakers, sponsors and partners now going live via the event website at www.RemittanceAfrica.com, the Event Director at mobilemoneyafrica, the remittanceafrica brand owners, West Ekhator, said ‘The formal market for international and cross border money transfer to Africa is still young and faces typical emerging markets challenges when compared to more established markets, so we are at the fore front of delivering, highly engaging event platforms for supply -side decision makers in the remittance ecosystem to network and explore partners in the evolving remittance and payment ecosystem in Africa’.
The conference will aim to create a more competitive market place for players to foster and deepen their engagements across the ecosystem will hold in Africa’s largest remittance market, Nigeria in October, 2018.
The President of Burkina Faso, Marc Roch Christian Kaboré, reviews his government’s mid-term results
July 4, 2018 | 0 Comments
|A positive assessment for Burkina Faso: the structural transformation of the economy, the development of human capital and the reform of the State are underway!
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso, 4 July 2018,- /African Media Agency (AMA)/-The President of the Republic of Burkina Faso, Marc Roch Christian Kaboré, who was democratically elected in November 2015 and inaugurated the following month, has assessed the results of his government after two and a half years of his five-year term at the head of the country.
President Kaboré was able to impose a policy that broke with the old regime by developing a new societal project that aims to establish a rule of law in Burkina Faso through institutional reform and the construction of citizenship, and to proceed with the economic and social transformation of the country.
His presidential programme is set out in the National Plan for Economic and Social Development (PNDES) adopted in 2016 and is structured around three priorities: state reforms, human capital and the development of economic growth sectors. In these three major projects, the Head of State has set himself priority objectives in all key sectors by putting in place emergency measures to boost growth, initiate socio-economic change and lay the foundations for new governance.
The Head of State’s commitments have resulted in significant progress in all areas. Burkina Faso is doing better economically than two years ago. “We must congratulate ourselves because, despite a difficult context marked by insecurity and social discontent, Burkina Faso has an economic growth rate of 6.7%,” President Kaboré said during his national television interview on the mid-term review.
President Kaboré’s vision maintains that “only a structural transformation of the economy will truly fight poverty by laying the foundations for sustainable and prosperous development for the nation as a whole”. The aim is therefore to modernise agriculture, open up the country and initiate an energy and digital revolution that will positively impact all economic and social projects, while placing human capital at the heart of development to improve the living conditions and the production ability of Burkinabé citizens.
Solar energy, dams, ongoing road and rail projects and the national internet backbone are structuring projects that serve as levers to boost growth sectors such as agriculture, particularly agricultural processing, with the Bagré growth pole’s creation of 25,000 jobs as an example.
As regards human capital, many achievements in the fields of health, drinking water, sanitation, electrification and education have already met the President’s development objectives with concrete results, including actions in favour of young people, women and the rural areas. Free health care for women and children has made it possible to handle more than 6 million interventions for women and 10 million sick children under the age of five, therefore almost 27 million free interventions. “We must work to make effective and promote women’s rights in all areas,” said the Head of State, who is intensifying his efforts to combat inequality.
The “Zero Water Drudgery” objective, one of the Head of State’s major commitments, is underway and aims to facilitate access to drinking water for 100% of Burkinabé people by 2020. Another of his strong measures concerns the recruitment of 16,000 young people in education which responds to a double objective, the creation of jobs for youth while responding to the shortage of human resources in National Education.
The efforts undertaken for the young people of Burkina Faso include structuring projects, entrepreneurship and the provision of vocational training in line with the job market and promising sectors, and aim to offer real prospects for the future for the new generation. “I invite young people in Burkina Faso to focus on promising sectors and to take an interest in those that provide jobs, especially in agriculture, livestock, crafts and the information and communication technologies”, insisted President Kaboré, who encourages young people to become fully involved in the country’s development.
The project drawn up by the Head of State more than two years ago brought to life every day with innovative projects and concrete results on the ground. However, he stresses that it must be built collectively in a spirit of solidarity and citizenship. “I appeal to everyone’s civic responsibility for the consolidation of democracy and progress,” the President reiterated. Efforts must continue, especially in the consolidation of the rule of law to perpetuate the democratic struggle of the Burkinabé people.
State reform is the foundation on which President Kaboré has based his term; among the most important achievements is the finalisation of the draft of the New Constitution, which is scheduled to be adopted by the people by referendum in 2019. Meanwhile, many reform projects have been set in motion to improve political and economic governance, modernise the administration, improve public spending, and strengthen judicial independence and human rights.
On the security and counter-terrorism front, the Head of State has shown his sense of action and resilience by strengthening the capacity of the armed forces and carrying out a series of reforms to improve the intelligence service coordination. He has made the Sahel the national priority and his advocacy and activism amongst the international community has helped rally the financial support of numerous countries for the G5 Sahel force and the PUS – Programme d’Urgence pour le Sahel.
President Kaboré’s outward-looking policy and active diplomacy over the last two years has led to numerous cooperation agreements and forging of relationships with new partners such as India and China. He has taken a strong stance in favour of the emergence of the continent and the sub-region, and is resolutely focused on strengthening regional integration and participating in the consolidation of Africa’s democratic momentum. He established a government department dedicated to the diaspora, thereby reaffirming his desire to involve Burkinabè people living abroad in the country’s current transformation.
“The new page in our glorious history will be a collective work.” With these words the President Kaboré emphasised that his project involves all stakeholders, all components, and every one of the particularities that make up the uniqueness of this great nation. At mid-term, the country’s democratic transition and economic and sustainable transformation are most definitely underway.
REVIEW: The Kaboré Presidency’s major achievements to date in Burkina Faso’s priority sectors for the economy and human capital
Economic Performance: Growth and Employment
While the growth rate stood at 4% in 2015, it reached 6.7% in 2017. Burkina Faso’s economic performance is also supported by its growth rate in the WAEMU zone – the country is in third position after Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal. This proves that, despite the difficult security and social context, Burkina Faso has seen a return to growth, due mainly to the consolidation of public finances, government reforms to improve tax revenues and the structuring projects implemented under the PNDES.
In addition, more than 183,000 salaried jobs were created in the formal sector during the first two years of the PNDES implementation, with the best performance being recorded in 2017 when the creation of salaried jobs rose by 41.3% compared to 2016.
Infrastructure and opening up the country
Major infrastructure projects to open up the country and unlock its economic potential are moving forward. With 1,240 km of rural tracks already improved, the presidential programme, which aims at achieving 5,000 km of rural tracks in isolated production areas, is going well.
Of the 15 road projects to which the Head of State is committed to completing by the end of his term, i.e. a total of 2,042 km to be tarred, more than 32% are under construction or in the start-up phase. In addition, the railway line between Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso is being rehabilitated, and the new road between Ghana and Burkina Faso should be open by 2020.
Solar energy has sparked the country’s energy revolution which is now well underway. Energy production and supply increased in 2017 with the Zagtouli and Ziga solar photovoltaic plants and the completion, on the Burkina Faso side, of interconnection works between Bolgatanga in Ghana and Ouagadougou.
The electrification of 40 rural communities and 385 socio-communal infrastructure facilities using photovoltaic solar systems, the electrical interconnection works between Ouagadougou and Ouahigouya, Kaya and Dori as well as Kongoussi and Djibo, and the installation of LED lamps and solar lamps are all achievements that have increased the number of fully electrified communities from 562 in 2015 to 1,347 today.
Digital and ICT
The all-digital change is underway in government, public services and all key sectors of the economy. President Kaboré wants to raise Burkina Faso to the level of countries that have appropriated information technologies to build prosperous economies. Connectivity has improved significantly now that the deployment of the fibre optic network is completed, including the G-CLOUD project, which will continue during the 2018-2020 period, and the introduction of Digital Terrestrial Television, making the right to information for all a reality.
Access to healthcare and the introduction of free healthcare
Free health care for women and children has made it possible to handle more than 6 million interventions for women and treat 10 million sick children under the age of five, therefore almost 27 million free interventions. This free healthcare policy has thus made it possible to reduce the maternal and infant mortality rate in hospitals, increase the assisted childbirth rate, reduce the malaria mortality rate in young children and screen women for breast and uterine cancers.
When the Universal Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) comes into effect in 2018, free health care will be deepened and extended to the entire population.
Water and sanitation
The “Zero Water Drudgery” objective, one of the Head of State’s major commitments, is underway and aims to facilitate access to drinking water for 100% of Burkinabé people by 2020. Progress was recorded in 2017 with a drinking water access rate of 66.2% in rural areas and 91.7% in urban areas.
Government efforts focused on the delivery and rehabilitation of a total of 22 dams, thousands of boreholes and other water reservoirs. These measures enabled it to achieve a surface water storage capacity of 6,135.35 million m3, which exceeds the target set in 2017.
Education and Higher Education
The state is continuing its efforts to replace straw hut schools with bricks and mortar establishments and, thus far, 1,263 classrooms out of the 4,353 expected by 2020 have already been built. Overall, the school completion rate has also improved over the last two years, especially in post-primary and secondary education, rising from 24.24% in 2016 to 32.95% between 2016 and 2017. Preventing girls from dropping out of school is another of President Kaboré’s top priorities that has had really positive results; the school dropout rate has decreased by 70% since the beginning of his term, representing a major step forward for equal opportunities for women in Burkina Faso.
In his drive to improve access and entry to higher education, the government will continue to establish new universities in the various regions that offer specialist courses related to the growth sectors of these areas. A Virtual University will also be set up to address the infrastructure deficit and offer supervision and personalised follow-up to a greater number of Burkinabé students.
Adding value to agriculture and rural areas
President Kaboré has made rural areas the priority of his term and has put in place an agricultural policy that works to modernise agriculture, reduce food insecurity and develop agricultural processing. Faced with a drop in agricultural production over the last two years due, among other things, to the vagaries of climate change, efforts have been focused on improving arable land. The government supported vulnerable people in rural areas by providing them with 35,000 tons of fertiliser, 10,000 tons of seed and 22,000 units of equipment to improve yields. In order to modernise the sector, strategic infrastructure will be built, such as the Agricultural Inputs and Equipment Purchasing Centre (CAIMA), the tractor and cultivator assembly unit, a natural phosphate mineral fertiliser production unit and the establishment of the Agricultural Seed Production Company (SOPROS.A).
Actions in favour of Women
Improving the status of women is something to which the Burkinabé Head of State is deeply committed and the reason he has been pursuing a proactive gender policy for the past two years, the aim of which is to establish a society free of all forms of inequality and inequity. In terms of tackling violence, the National Strategy for the Promotion and Protection of the Girl Child and its action plan have been ratified. Convictions of perpetrators of female genital mutilation and violence against women show that strong measures have been put in place to enforce the law and to redress the harm suffered by victims.
On the issue of land, President Kaboré’s promise that 25% to 30% of the land developed by the State would be granted to women has, to date, been more than met. In terms of empowerment, women have benefited from the allocation of a budget of 200 million CFA francs from the Burkina Faso Fund for Economic and Social Development to Finance Female Entrepreneurship. In addition, the launch of the Youth and Women’s Empowerment Programme (PEA/JF) funded more than 13,000 micro-projects and 17 women’s groups involved in agro-processing. Recently, the President also promised to substantially increase the Ministry of Women’s budget and to provide FAARF with more means for financing loans.
To promote young people’s employability, President Kaboré has focused on technical and vocational training by supporting professional integration, with the setting up of 46 agricultural processing units and the distribution of 2,964 kits to young people graduating from vocational training centres. Entrepreneurship is also a core priority: 19,862 microenterprises have been financed and the Burkina Startups Fund, worth 10 billion CFA francs, has been set up to support 500 innovative SMEs and SMIs and thus contributes to the creation of 10,000 direct jobs.
More importance has been given to vocational training for young people so that their apprenticeship meets the needs of the national economy, something President Kaboré is deeply committed to achieving. Government action to support this new positioning has led to the establishment of 45 technical and vocational training centres, as well as the construction of vocational and scientific high schools throughout the country.
Cultural industries and enhancing national heritage
Enhancing Burkina Faso’s national heritage is another of President Kaboré’s commitments. He intends to award culture a significant role in the country’s development. He has initiated actions that set a new dynamic for crafts, cultural industries, sport and tourism in reaffirming a national identity with a strong and plural culture. This culture will, in turn, generate careers for young people and jobs for women, as it is involves developing and enhancing local know-how and cultural wealth, which will promote Burkina in Africa and internationally and inspire pride in all citizens.
OPIC LAUNCHES CONNECT AFRICA INITIATIVE TO INVEST MORE THAN $1 BILLION SUPPORTING INFRASTRUCTURE, COMMUNICATIONS, AND VALUE CHAIN CONNECTIVITY
July 3, 2018 | 0 Comments
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, today launched its Connect Africa initiative which will mobilize more than $1 billion to projects that support transportation, communications, and value chains in Africa over the next three years. The announcement comes as OPIC’s President and Chief Executive Officer Ray W. Washburne embarks on his first official travel to the continent.
“Africa is home to many of the world’s fastest-growing economies and presents both a great need for investment and a great opportunity for American businesses,” Washburne said. “But, too many barriers remain to the flow of goods and services. By focusing on connectivity, we’re not only helping build means for economic development, but also laying the foundation for future trade partners.”
Transportation and Logistics
- Infrastructure development supports commerce by making it easier and more efficient to move goods within countries and across borders. Connect Africa will focus on facilitating investments in roads, railways, ports and airports, as well as logistics, including elements such as vehicles, warehouses, and cold storage units.
- Information and Communications Technology
Technology is transforming the way people work, communicate, access information, and educate their children. The initiative will focus on technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications, including internet, wireless networks and mobile phones.
- Value Chains
- Africa requires greater investment in order to better take advantage of global and regional value chains. The initiative will focus on facilitating investments supporting processing raw materials and helping products reach consumers.During his travel, Mr. Washburne will travel to Zambia, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, and Kenya where he will meet with Heads of State and visit several OPIC projects supporting economic development in Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa is a region of focus for OPIC, comprising more than one-quarter of the Agency’s $23 billion active portfolio.
As part of its Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal, the Trump Administration highlighted the need for the United States Government to modernize its approach to development finance to help grow aspiring partners, promote economic relationships, and increase investment in regions important to American interests.
- The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is a self-sustaining U.S. Government agency that helps American businesses invest in emerging markets. Established in 1971, OPIC provides businesses with the tools to manage the risks associated with foreign direct investment, fosters economic development in emerging market countries, and advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. OPIC helps American businesses gain footholds in new markets, catalyzes new revenues and contributes to jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC fulfills its mission by providing businesses with financing, political risk insurance, advocacy and by partnering with private equity investment fund managers.