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Abacha Loot: Swisbank returns all with interest of $ 1.5 million
April 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Olayinka Ajayi

Former Nigerian leader Sani Abacha

Former Nigerian leader Sani Abacha

The Government of Switzerland said it has returned all the money kept in the country by the late Nigerian Dictator and Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.

Speaking, Pio Wennubst, assistant director-general and head, Global Cooperation Department, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, told the News Agency Nigeria that the money was returned with $1.5 million interest.

Wennubst said Switzerland returned about $322.5 million dollars (N116.11 billion) to the federal government. According to him, the original amount was $321 million.

The Swiss envoy also said the money was returned to the Nigerian government unconditionally.

“We are not talking about the condition; there was a programme on the social safety net that was developed by the government of Nigeria and the bank,” he said.

“After discussing, the only condition, set by the judiciary, not by us, was that the return of this asset should have been monitored by the World Bank and this is where we worked on.”

According to him, these funds were part of the Nigerian government contributions to the social safety net programme, “plus concessional loans from the bank”.

The Abacha loot was frozen in 2014 by a Swiss court after a legal procedure against his son, Abba Abacha.

Originally deposited in Luxembourg, the money was a fraction of the billions of dollars allegedly looted during his rule from 1993 to 1998.

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French tycoon Vincent Bolloré detained over suspected Africa corruption
April 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

Billionaire French tycoon Vincent Bolloré was detained Tuesday as part of a corruption investigation involving his group’s acquisition of contracts to operate ports in West Africa, legal sources told Agence France-Presse.

Vincent Bollore in Togo with President Faure Gnassingbe

Vincent Bollore in Togo with President Faure Gnassingbe

The 66-year-old head of the Bolloré Group, was taken into custody in the Paris suburb of Nanterre for questioning about how the group obtained contracts to run Lomé port in Togo and Conakry port in Guinea, the sources said on condition of anonymity.

The news that the magnate was being questioned caused Bolloré stocks to tumble over 8 percent in Paris trading.

The group, which has interests in construction, logistics, media, advertising and shipping, said it “formally denied” any wrongdoing in its African operations.

Its director general, Gilles Alix, and the manager of the international division of its communications subsidiary Havas, Jean-Philippe Dorent, were also taken into custody, a judicial source added.

Investigators are probing allegations that the tentacular group corrupted public officials to clinch the Lomé port deal in 2010 as well as the Conakry deal in 2011.

The group’s African logistics arm has several port and rail concessions in Africa.

Investigators from France’s financial crimes unit are specifically looking at communications work done by Dorent for Guinean President Alpha Condé and Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé.

In 2016, police searched the Bolloré Group’s headquarters in the Paris suburb of Puteaux.

The investigation stems from a probe into the connections of Francis Perez, the president of the Pefaco group, which operates hotels and casinos in Africa.

Perez has been linked to Dorent, who was in charge of Condé’s 2010 election campaign.

Battling over ports

Months after he became his country’s first freely elected president Condé summarily terminated the contract of Conakry port’s operator a subsidiary of French shipping company NCT Necotrans and gave it to rival Bolloré.

A French court in 2013 ordered the Bolloré Group to pay Necotrans 2 million euros ($2.4 million) in compensation for its lost investment in the port but cleared it of having a hand in the president’s decision.

Dorent also worked on the communications strategy of Gnassingbé, who succeeded his father Gnassingbé Eyadema upon his death in 2005.

After Gnassingbé’s reelection to a second term in 2010, the Bolloré Group won the 35-year Lomé port contract a decision also challenged by a rival.

Bolloré surprised many on Thursday by resigning as president of the board of Vivendi, a French media conglomerate, with his son Yannick, head of Havas, taking over.

Nevertheless, Bolloré has said that he is keen to maintain his business interests in Italy.

*(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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Xenophobia: Nigerian suffers another attack in South African
April 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Olayinka Ajayi

Clement Nwaogu

Clement Nwaogu

The Nigerian Community in South Africa has announced the killing of another Nigerian, Clement Nwaogu, who was burnt alive by a mob in the latest xenophobic attack in that country.

Speaking in a telephone interview, Habib Miller, the Publicity Secretary of the Nigeria Union in South Africa, confirmed the killing:‎

” The victim, a native of Njikoka in Anambra State, and an upholsterer in South Africa, was attacked and killed by a mob in Rustenburg, North West Province.”

“The mob descended on him like a common criminal with all sorts of dangerous weapons in the presence of the South African police officers.”

“Eyewitnesses say the victim beckoned for help from the police to intervene and help him, but they turned a blind eye.

“When Nwaogu could no longer persevere, he ran for safety; the mob chased and caught him, poured petrol on him and set him ablaze,” he said.

Adding that the mob then left Nwaogu when they thought he had died.

The spokesman said that it was shortly after the mob left Nwaogu that some passersby called emergency personnel, who later took the victim’s charred body to the hospital.

“The eyewitnesses feeling that the victim was still alive called for help; unfortunately, Nwaogu could not survive the ordeal and died at the Job Shimankane Hospital in Rustenburg,” he said.

In the same vein, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, in a statement described the killing of Clement Nwaogu, as unfortunate.

She called on South African authorities to find lasting solution to the incessant killing of Nigerians in that country and also urged Nigerians living abroad to obey the laws of countries where they lived, and shun crime and criminality to avoid unwarranted attacks and killings.

She noted that 14 Nigerians who protested the killing of a fellow citizen in that country North West Province some months ago were still in detention.

“Just a few days ago, on April 17, the case came up in court. There was so much tension that even the Nigerian lawyers representing the Nigerians had to be escorted to court by Diplomatic police.

“The community has vowed to deal with anyone who plays a positive role in getting the accused Nigerians return to Rustenberg,” she noted.

Dabirir-Erewa said that the Nigerian mission in Pretoria and the consulate in Johannesburg had done everything possible, in the recent past, to get justice for Nigerians in South Africa.

“Four South African policemen are currently in court for allegedly killing and maltreating Nigerians with embassy officials constantly present in court for the hearings. This is the first time this will be happening.

“However, the early warning signals put in place by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and interior of both countries need to be reviewed” she said.
















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Nigeria -Ahead of 2019, Oyegun predicts tough polls
April 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Olayinka Ajayi

All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun pictured with President Muhammadu Buhari

All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun pictured with President Muhammadu Buhari

The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, admonished his party against complacency in next year’s election.

Speaking at the 2018 inauguration of the APC National Convention Committee  Oyegun said: ” At the end of this exercise, I want to see a re-united APC under whatever leadership your exercise brings up. We have a tough election ahead of us and we must prime ourselves for that election. We must not cuddle ourselves with any false sense of being the party in power,”.

“Nigerians are aware of their rights than they have ever been before. So, as you proceed, please ensure that all these views and opinions are brought together into a one united APC.
“The task that you have undertaken to perform is a heavy and tough one. The APC is known, in spite of induced controversies, for the cleanest primaries and congresses.
“Our last presidential primary was by all account one of the best ever held and I dare say, anywhere.”
“It was a convention that was watched world wide and you are supposed to repeat the feat. I have no doubt that this one, given the controversies that have preceded it will also be a most watched convention.

“You have the task of producing a convention that is free, fair and provide a level playing field for for anybody that aspire any position,” Oyegun stated.

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Sub-regional insurance companies converge amid crisis in public trust
April 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Kebba Jeffang

The Gambia’s vice president, Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang

The Gambia’s vice president, Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang

The West African Insurance Companies Association (WAICA) has opened its 40th annual general meeting and education conference in Banjul on Monday discussing the ways of promoting public trust and confidence in the insurance sector.

The president of the association, Makaireh Badjan, said the main challenge confronting the industry in the sub-region is the lowering of public trust and confidence in their services.

“We need trust and confidence in the insurance sector. Hence we should jointly endeavor as insurance players to enhance public trust and dispel all negative perceptions of insurance,” he said.

Badjan added that they need joint collaboration of stakeholders across the sub-region such as the providers, regulators, public and institutions.

The Gambia’s vice president, Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang, said public trust is the ingredient to every discipline.

“Public trust and confidence are crucial to business if you are to improve insurance penetration level in the sub region and in the world at large,” she said.

WAICA membership covers the five English speaking countries in West Africa namely, The Gambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.

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Buratai: Restoring the Global Image of the Nigerian Army
April 24, 2018 | 0 Comments
President Buhari with Buratai

President Buhari with Buratai

Even in the midst of the many national distractions and high politics in the country, one man has earned himself the right to receive accolades for his contributions towards ensuring that order emerged out of scenarios that were once predicted to only end doom for Nigeria. The man is no other than Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff, who has made the unwavering commitment to give Nigeria an Army that meets world standard.

This month, the Nigerian Army in conjunction with US Army African Command (AFRICOM) held this year’s African Land Forces Summit with the theme “Unity Is Strength: Combating Africa’s Security Challenges”. This was no mere talk shop and photo op event as the state of readiness and troops’ capabilities was put to the test during drills held in General A.O Azazi Barracks in Gwagwalada, Abuja, code named ‘Operation Silent Kill’.
The COAS used the summit, which is the single largest gathering of African senior military leaders in Africa, to update the world of Nigeria’s successes in degrading Boko Haram. High ranking military commanders fromm Republic of Malawi, Arusha United Republic of Tanzania, Dakar, Uganda, Washington DC and fort Benning, Georgia United States of America are among participants at the summit.
An immediate plus from this is that Nigeria has something to teach the world about curtailing terrorists, extremists and fanatics, something that other countries can draw lessons from in a world where the cancer of religion fuelled extremism and terrorism is spreading. The Nigerian Army, of course, has things to learn from the summit about the Islamic State, but it was not a one-way street since it as information to share with participants from other countries.
The participation of AFRICOM and the Nigerian Army co-hosting the summit with US Army Africa (USARAF) is a reality check for those that are obsessed with demonizing the Army and General Buratai as abusers of human rights. These United States agencies would not openly associate with countries that violate the human rights, more so the rights of citizens. Had the human rights record of the Nigerian Army under Buratai been as dismal as certain interests claim then this year’s exercise would have ended as a flop but that was not the case. The Army adheres to the global best standards in the observance of the rules of engagement for the kind of threats that the Army is called up to address in Nigeria.
The positive reception from this summit must be tapped into in various regards. The contacts must be leveraged to see how the supply of certain military hardware can be made available to Nigeria. Secondly, authorities should exploit which of the countries can be beneficial in stopping foreign terrorists from arriving on Nigerian soil to wreak havoc. Also, without prejudice for their various domestic laws, there should be a way to partner with these countries to eliminate the potentials for devious groups to manage anti-Nigerian Army propaganda from their soils.
On the part of Nigerians, the decorum exhibited for the duration of the summit and the understanding shown during the drill are unprecedented. We only need to extend the same sense of patriotic support for the military to make further gains against Boko Haram and other insurgent groups. This will fit nicely into General Buratai’s vision of improved military-civil relations that stems from stakeholders having mutual understanding and respect for each other. Once trouble makers see this alliance work for the good of the country they will have no option but to fold up and ply their evil wares elsewhere.
One is constrained to task the Army boss not to relent in his quest to deliver a world class Army to Nigeria, the legacy of his leadership. He cannot afford to bask in euphoria of the moment as he must keep striving to outperform himself since he has surpassed his predecessors.
The government would have to provide the financial muscle for the Army to translate vision into realities. The kind of vision Buratai unveiled at the summit, and other fora in the past, is the kind that requires optimum funding of the military with a resolute political will to succeed. It is the least the government can do as its contributions to ensure that the experience the General brought to the job is made to serve the country.
One would not rule out several groups and organizations rushing to give awards of recognition to General Buratai for what he has been able to achieve with the Nigerian Army in such short time. This would not be out of place since acknowledgement of good work is guaranteed to inspire more good work.
*Abiodun is security affairs analyst and wrote from University of Ibadan.
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A tale of two candidates: Zimbabwe’s 2018 elections
April 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati*

For avid sports lovers especially football, there are certain games labelled as classic tales of a game of two halves. What this implies is that team A dominated the first half of the match while team B took matters into its own hand and dominated the second half. In Zimbabwe, something of the similar nature is happening albeit not in the sporting arena but in the political field.

On one hand is the incumbent, Emmerson Mnangagwa who took over power from long-time leader Robert Mugabe in November 2017 with the help of the military. On the other hand is the youthful main opposition party leader Nelson Chamisa. Though Zimbabwe has 108 political parties, it is these two who are the leading contenders for the 2018 presidential elections.

6 months ago, most Zimbabweans across the political divide consciously and subconsciously thought there were two names guaranteed to be on the ballot paper come the presidential election in 2018. The first name is that of Robert Mugabe, the man who was Zimbabwe’s only president since the attainment of independence in 1980. Despite his age, his party had already chosen him to be the presidential candidate. The second name which was expected to be on the ballot was that of Morgan Tsvangirai (now late), the leader of the MDC-T. However, as fate would have it, none will be competing as Mugabe was deposed by his party with the aid of the military while Tsvangirai succumbed to colon cancer on Valentine’s Day.

The unfortunate events which led to Mugabe’s ouster and the death of Tsvangirai opened the path for Emmerson Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa. From the outset, it was clear what the main talking issue would be come election time between these two i.e. the question of age with 75-year-old Mnangagwa battling with 40-year-old Chamisa. That has indeed turned out to be true especially on the part of Chamisa who has used the age question at most of his rallies. However, this is just about the only thing these two ‘share’ when it comes to their election campaigns. Everything else is water and oil as we shall see below.

International Offensive Charm paying off

Starting with the incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa who has come out on several occasions saying that his party has not started campaigns, something hard to believe considering that there are already branded cars with his face and campaign billboards all over the major highways.

Mnangagwa is called the crocodile. There are different explanations as to how this nickname came about but the two most popular state that it’s a nickname he inherited during the war as his regiment was called the crocodile gang while the other explanation state that he was termed the crocodile due to his cunning and ruthless nature which resembles the behaviour of a crocodile. Regardless of which explanation is truthful, Mnangagwa’s campaign thus far can best be described as deceitfully intelligent.

Mnangagwa’s attention is focused fully on the international front. That is where he is carrying the “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” mantra and charming the international community. The recent visits to Zimbabwe by top UK, US, and Russia envoys suggests that his international offensive charm is working. More so when one considers the fact that he has already been invited to attend high-level meetings such as the World Economic Forum and the Commonwealth Head of States summit as an observer further solidifies the notion that he is scoring important points in the international sphere. With the knowledge of how he came into power, Mnangagwa knows that what he needs most come election time is legitimacy more than anything else and this legitimacy is bestowed upon him by the international community if he wins.

On the local front, Mnangagwa is keeping low-key in terms of holding rallies at this point. However, he is taking calculated steps in how he disseminates his campaign rhetoric. One of such is the talk that the economy is more important than politics right now for Zimbabwe. If anything is to go by especially when analysing social media platforms, this talk of prioritising the economy over politics is gaining him much support with the elite and middle class. The elite wants a good economy for the flourishing of business while the middle class who are striving for better living conditions also prefer an economic bloom over political scores.

Mnangagwa while stating the importance of the economy has also used the sanctions issue to further his cause albeit without actually coming out and saying the word openly. The MDC Alliance’s visit to the US has been used by Mnangagwa via state media to paint the picture that the MDC went there to persuade the US government to keep in place the economic sanctions on Zimbabwe. With most ordinary Zimbabweans bearing the brunt of the sanctions, this has painted the MDC principals as the devils trying to hold the country at ransom till they get into power.

Mnangagwa is also portraying himself as a reformed and considerate man. First, he gave Tsvangirai a state funeral when he died, something which would have been unthinkable in the Mugabe era. He followed this by assisting the Tsvangirai family following the death of Tsvangirai’s sister, Miriro. He has also pledged to pay the university tuition fees for Tsvangirai’s daughter and help the family get a farm. All these gestures are painting Mnangagwa as a changed man and it portraying Chamisa and the MDC-T in a bad way in that they have seized to think about the man who made the party what it is today.

Generational Consensus: Time to let the young take the lead

The leader of the MDC-T party and the MDC Alliance, Nelson Chamisa is taking a totally different route with his campaign so far in comparison to Mnangagwa. On the international front, he is keeping low key. The visit to the US in December 2017 was the last he had before his recent visit to South Africa where he met scores of Zimbabweans working in South Africa.

However, though keeping low key internationally, it is at home that Chamisa has been making huge strides conducting nationwide rallies purportedly as a way of introducing the MDC Alliance principals to the electorate. Chamisa’s rallies have seen him tour most parts of Zimbabwe from the south to the north.

Chamisa’s messages at these rallies have resulted in debates on social media with many questioning his maturity saying that he is just making too many promises. Critics are saying that he is focusing on the ‘what’ part but forgetting the important ‘how’ part. In his defence though, Chamisa has said he already has an election manifesto which explains the ‘how’ part but is waiting for Mnangagwa and his ZANU (PF) party to release their manifesto first before releasing his. The reason for the delay is that ZANU (PF) might steal his ideas, something which he said ZANU (PF) and Mnangagwa have done in the past.

Though receiving criticism on social media for his rally talk, it appears as if he is striking the right button with the audience of the rallies. His rhetoric is being warmly received by the thousands who come to his rallies almost every weekend in different parts of the country.

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President Barack Obama to deliver the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture
April 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

The Nelson Mandela Foundation and The Obama Foundation announced that President Barack Obama will deliver the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in Johannesburg in July. To honour the centennial of Madiba’s birth the lecture’s theme will be “Renewing the Mandela Legacy and Promoting Active Citizenship in a Changing World”. The Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture will focus on creating conditions for bridging divides, working across ideological lines, and resisting oppression and inequality.

The lecture will take place on the 17 July 2018, a day before Nelson Mandela International Day, and will be held at the Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg. About 4 000 people are expected to attend.

For most of his life, Nelson Mandela fought for democracy and equality. His presidency was defined by his efforts to solidify the fragile democracy of South Africa, and by his lessons on the politics of bridge-building’ over the politics of division.

The Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture is a unique platform to drive debate on critical social issues in South Africa and around the world. Previous speakers include global thought leaders and change makers, including: Presidents Bill Clinton, Thabo Mbeki, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Mary Robinson and Michelle Bachelet; UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed; Nobel Laureates Kofi Annan, Wangari Maathai, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Muhammad Yunus; Professors Ariel Dorfman, Thomas Piketty and Ismail Serageldin; and philanthropists Bill Gates and Mo Ibrahim.

More information on media credentials will be available at a later date.

Details around access to the lecture are being finalised and the process to secure seats will be announced on 17 May 2018.

Media contact:
Nelson Mandela Foundation:
Obama Foundation: Kate Berner,

*Source Nelson Mandela Foundation

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How to address food-sustainability challenges in sub-Saharan Africa
April 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Kofi Annan*

Kofi Annan

Kofi Annan

Despite its huge agricultural potential, Africa spends around US$35bn each year on food imports. This number may rise above US$110bn by 2025 due to rapid population growth, changes in dietary habits and the increasingly severe impacts of climate change. The lack of food sustainability, as well as food and nutrition insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa, is likely to aggravate unless bold action is taken on six key issues.

The need to boost farming productivity

First, smallholder farmers’ productivity has to rise significantly, as a large majority of Africans rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. African crop yields are amongst the lowest in the world due to poor seeds and degraded soils, a lack of fertiliser and other essential inputs, and insufficient mechanisation and transport infrastructure. A shift from farming as a subsistence activity to farming as a business is needed and has to be matched with the right set of policies, institutions and investments.

Encouragingly, exciting progress is being made. For example, African research institutes—with the support of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa—have developed within a decade more than 600 new crop varieties. Seed companies are now producing more than 130 metric tonnes of seeds for approximately 15m farmers.

Second, and related to the first point, as smallholder farmers lack the means to adapt to rising temperatures and adverse weather events such as droughts and floods, there is a critical need to strengthen the ability of farming communities to cope with the impacts of climate change. Investing in weather forecast systems, insurance schemes, efficient irrigation technology and heat- or drought-tolerant crop varieties can help boost farm productivity under increasingly severe climate conditions.

Third, leveraging the transformation of African agriculture and raising productivity levels requires a reform of customary land-tenure systems. Smallholder farmers with weak and insecure tenure rights are under threat of being evicted from their farms and have little incentive to invest in their land. A reform of tenure systems also has to include a consolidation of farm plots to make commercial agriculture viable.

Strengthening value chains, trade and stability

Fourth, there is a need to develop and strengthen agricultural value chains, including agro-processing industries. These bear enormous potential for job creation and value addition. African governments have to adjust their private-sector development and industrial policies in order to attract more agribusinesses and investors. They, in turn, have to link up with smaller farms and related economic sectors and work in close partnership.

Fifth, we have to make every effort to triple intra-African trade in agricultural commodities and services by 2025, one of the goals of the 2014 Malabo Declaration. Compared with other world regions, intra-African food trade is dismally low. The share of trade in agricultural products among African countries that is intra-regional varied between 13% and 20% over the period from 2000 to 2013, while European and Asian countries traded 75% and 63% among their respective regions, respectively. African countries have to remove trade barriers for food and reap the benefits of larger markets.

Finally, we need to recognise that stability and peace are necessary conditions for agricultural development, food security and the long-term sustainability of food systems. In parts of the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, millions of people are at risk of starvation due to violent conflict, radical extremism and insecurity. People are forced to migrate to seek for alternatives to secure their livelihoods. Our efforts to combat hunger have to go hand-in-hand with those to build peaceful and prosperous societies.

The importance of making agricultural systems more sustainable and addressing nutritional challenges is highlighted by the Food Sustainability Index, developed by The Economist Intelligence Unit with the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition. It is high time that we prioritise agricultural development and work together to tackle the root causes of hunger and poverty. Through my foundation I continue to mobilise the political will to achieve progress on these fronts. If we get this right, Africa will not just be able to feed itself, but to contribute to global food and nutrition security, and therefore more stability throughout the world.

*Former UN Secretary-General, Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation.Article culled from his LinkedIn page

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Ghana, Nigeria most attractive bond markets – Research
April 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta

Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta

Ghana and Nigeria have been ranked as the most attractive Local and Euro Bond Markets on the continent, according to a new research carried out by South African-based Rand Merchant Bank.

The Research comes in the wake of the recent ranking of Ghana’s economy as the second fastest growing economy on the continent.

Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta last week revealed the prospect of issuing a Samurai Bond is bright after leading a high powered government delegation to a Non-Deal roadshow in Japan.

Senior Global Market Researcher at the Rand Merchant Bank Celeste Fauconnier believes Ghana must continue with its fiscal consolidation measures in order to sustain investor confidence.

“If they had a portfolio that says you must invest anywhere in the world, Africa would have felt the pinch,” she said, wondering why would one want to be in Africa which is more risky than going into the US and European bonds.

The US and European bond markets, she said have dedicated African Funds and Ghana and Nigeria are benefiting from it because “they are the most attractive local bond market and Eurobond markets in our portfolio of countries.”

Zambia, she said used to be the most attractive bond market for investors but “unfortunately Zambia is shooting itself in its foot because, it is signing an IMF agreement.”

“We have actually seen London investors moving their investments into bonds from Zambia into Ghana. So Ghana has been benefiting,” she stated.

She thus urged the government of Ghana to continue its fiscal consolidation policy, warning that “any fear will move investors in the local bond market here [Ghana] to the Nigerian bond market.”

Earlier this year, the World Bank said Ghana’s macroeconomic outlook was largely positive based on the 2017 performance, with  GDP growth for 2017  estimated to have almost doubled from the 3.7 percent in 2016, and is expected to stay at that elevated level through 2018.

Also the external position, it said has improved as the trade balance has shifted to a surplus, but it needs to sustain the fiscal consolidation efforts

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Warlord ‘Jungle Jabbah’ sentenced to 30 years in milestone for global justice
April 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Global Justice and Research Project

 Mohammed Jabbateh, the Liberian warlord known as “Jungle Jabbah”. Photo supplied.

Mohammed Jabbateh, the Liberian warlord known as “Jungle Jabbah”. Photo supplied.

Mohammed Jabbateh, the Liberian warlord known as “Jungle Jabbah”, was sentenced on Thursday to 30 years in prison, culminating a landmark case in the United States and marking a long-overdue milestone for justice in Liberia. Thirty years is the maximum sentence he could have received and one of the longest prison sentences for immigration fraud in US history.

 On 18 October, 2017, a Philadelphia jury convicted Mohammed Jabbateh of fraud and perjury for lying on his US immigration application about his connection to war crimes.

According to the indictment, the rebel commander personally committed, or ordered his soldiers to commit, barbaric acts of violence, torture, cannibalism and human rights abuses in the First Liberian Civil War (1989-1997). Yet, for decades afterwards, he lived freely in the Philadelphian community known as “Little Liberia” until his arrest in April 2016.

During the three-week trial in Philadelphia, prosecutors flew in more than 15 witnesses from Liberia to tell their stories of atrocities committed by Jabbateh and fighters under his command. This was the first time that victims of the First Liberian Civil War had the chance to testify in front of a criminal judge. Civitas Maxima and its sister organisation, the Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP), have collaborated with US authorities on the investigation since 2014 and called the sentencing a milestone for global justice and human rights.

“Liberian victims have been waiting for more than 15 years to see their perpetrators held accountable. The Jungle Jabbah conviction and sentence are a testament to the unwavering commitment and resilience of the victims who are making their voices heard not only within Liberia but also globally”, said Hassan Bility, director of the GJRP and a survivor of torture himself.

Alain Werner, director of Civitas Maxima, in Geneva Switzerland, said:

“For years we have been working tirelessly to pursue justice for victims of the most atrocious crimes. Astonishingly, Liberian victims have been denied justice in their own country so they had to find access to justice elsewhereThe Jungle Jabbah case is an expression of these efforts.”

The fact that Jabbateh was convicted and that victims were heard represents a milestone for Liberia where, after two brutal civil wars which left more than 200,000 dead, nobody was ever held accountable for war-time atrocities. The overwhelmingly positive reactions to the Jungle Jabbah conviction and to the Liberian Quest for Justice campaign have shown that the majority of Liberians want justice.

“A victim-led movement in favour of accountability for Liberia is clearly in motion. The quest to end impunity in Liberia has just begun”, said Bility.

Many alleged Liberian war criminals are still living their lives as if nothing happened. Some even hold powerful positions in government, hampering trust in public institutions and hindering sustainable reconciliation.

Bility went on to explain:

“Victims had to watch some perpetrators gain positions of power. Our post-war politicians have not listened to the victims’ cries. This will have to change. Our hope still remains to see these trials take place in Liberia, so victims of war crimes from all over the country can witness the proceedings.

“The Jungle Jabbah case is the first in a series of cases tried outside of Liberia that we have been working on, which show that impunity does not have to be the norm,” said Werner.

Civitas Maxima and the GJRP will be leading outreach campaigns and monitoring the upcoming trials of alleged Liberian war criminals expected to happen in 2018 and 2019.

They have launched a crowdfunding campaign for the continued support of Liberian victims in their fight for justice.

The Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP) is a Liberia-based non-profit, non-governmental organisation that documents war crimes and, where possible, seeks justice for victims of these crimes, with the full consent of the victims.


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ENGIE and Meridiam win two solar photovoltaic projects in Senegal
April 20, 2018 | 0 Comments
Yoven Moorooven CEO of ENGIE Africa

Yoven Moorooven CEO of ENGIE Africa

ENGIE and investment partner Meridiam have been selected by Senegal’s Electricity Sector Regulation Commission (CRSE) as preferred bidder in a tender launched in October 2017 for two solar photovoltaic projects totaling 60 MW.

These two projects are part of the Scaling Solar initiative in Senegal, conducted jointly by the Senegalese authorities and the International Finance Corporation (“IFC”, member of the World Bank Group). They are located in Kahone, in the Kaolack region, and in Touba-Kaël, in the Diourbel region.

ENGIE and Meridiam will hold a 40% shareholding in the project company. FONSIS, the Senegalese sovereign fund, will also be a shareholder with a 20% equity stake. The construction and the operation of the plants will be managed and executed by ENGIE.

Yoven Moorooven (CEO of ENGIE Africa): “Our consortium delivered a highly competitive offer by leveraging our experience of developing and operating renewable energy projects in Africa – in particular in Senegal.

This success demonstrates the merit of our integrated model for solar whereby ENGIE is acting as investor, operator and EPC contractor through ENGIE Solar (formerly known as Solairedirect).The CRSE and the IFC set out a clear, sound investment framework, which favored the presence of long-term investors like ENGIE. Our focus will now be on finalising the projects to deliver the most competitive solar photovoltaic plants, to serve the country’s ambition of developing universal electricity access in a sustainable manner.Congratulations to the teams on this achievement. “

Mathieu PELLER (COO of Meridiam Africa): “We continue to deploy our fund in Africa, choosing projects aimed at supporting sustainable economic development. Thanks to the reduced costs of solar equipment, this particular project will have a high developmental impact by expanding Senegal’s capacity to generate clean energy at a very competitive price. Increasing power generation is critical for the Government’s objective to raise Senegal to the level of an emerging market by 2035. The Project aligns with the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goal Seven, which calls for increasing the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.”

In Senegal, ENGIE is already involved in the Senergy project, a 30 MW solar photovoltaic plant in the town of Santhiou Mekhé and in Ten Merina, a 29.5 MW solar photovoltaic plant in the region of Thiès, near Dakar. Both projects are currently in operation.  In 2017, ENGIE signed a partnership with ANER, Senegal’s National Renewable Energy Agency which focuses on accelerating the development of renewable energy in the country. The Group is also implementing solar energy solutions for rural households in Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon. ENGIE has been selected for the Dakar TER project in partnership with Thales for the design and production of infrastructure and systems, with a contract amounting to 225 million euros.


For over 50 years, ENGIE has been active in many African countries through its energy engineering business, its natural gas purchase agreements with Algeria, Egypt and Nigeria and more recently as an independent power producer in South Africa and Morocco with a total capacity of 3,000 MW either in operation or under construction. By 2025, ENGIE aims to become a reference partner in about ten African countries for power plants, energy services to businesses and decentralized solutions for off-grid customers – communities, companies and households. For more information,


We are a global energy and services group, focused on three core activities: low-carbon power generation, mainly based on natural gas and renewable energy, global networks and customer solutions. Driven by our ambition to contribute to a harmonious progress, we take up major global challenges such as the fight against global warming, access to energy to all, or mobility, and offer our residential customers, businesses and communities energy production solutions and services that reconcile individual and collective interests.
Our integrated – low-carbon, high-performing and sustainable – offers are based on digital technologies. Beyond energy, they facilitate the development of new uses and promote new ways of living and working. Our ambition is conveyed by each of our 150,000 employees in 70 countries. Together with our customers and partners, they form a community of imaginative builders who invent and build today solutions for tomorrow.
2017 turnover: 65 billion Euros. Listed in Paris and Brussels (ENGI), the Group is represented in the main financial (CAC 40, BEL 20, Euro STOXX 50, STOXX Europe 600, MSCI Europe, Euronext 100, FTSE Eurotop 100, Euro STOXX Utilities, STOXX Europe 600 Utilities) and extra-financial indices (DJSI World, DJSI Europe and Euronext Vigeo Eiris – World 120, Eurozone 120, Europe 120, France 20, CAC 40 Governance).

About Meridiam

Meridiam was founded in 2005 by Thierry Déau, with the belief that the alignment of interests between the public and private sector can provide critical solutions to the collective needs of communities. Meridiam is an independent investment firm specializing in the development, financing, and management of long-term and sustainable public infrastructure projects. With offices in, New York, Paris, Toronto, Luxembourg, Istanbul, Vienna, Addis Ababa and Dakar, Meridiam currently manages 6.2 billion Euros of assets, and more than 60 projects under development, construction, or in operation to date.


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