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Obama to meet with Kenyan and South African leaders
June 23, 2018 | 0 Comments
Former President Barack Obama will meet with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, as well as former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga. | Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama will meet with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, as well as former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga. | Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama will meet with the leaders of Kenya and South Africa on a trip overseas next month, his office said Friday.

Obama will meet with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, as well as former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

 The meetings are the latest in a string of talks the former president has had with sitting world leaders since leaving office. The former president has drawn some criticism for meeting with sitting leaders.
Among the leaders Obama has met with are German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Argentinian President Mauricio Macri and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

For his latest trip, the former president will first visit Spain and Portugal. Obama will speak at the 2018 Circular Economy and Innovation Summit in Madrid, and then at the Climate Change Leadership Porto 2018 Summit in Porto that same afternoon. The trip will span from July 5 to July 7, according to his office.

The next week, Obama will travel to Nairobi on July 15 and meet with Kenyatta in that city. He will then go to Alego on July 16 to deliver “brief opening remarks” at the inauguration of the Sauti Kuu Foundation Sports, Resource and Vocational Training Centre before departing for Johannesburg.

The following day, Obama will meet with South Africa’s leader and deliver the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture to commemorate the anniversary of the revolutionary’s birth.

Rounding out the trip, Obama will hold a town hall event with the 200 newly-selected Obama Foundation Leaders in Africa on July 18.

 *Politico
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How Nigeria’s stylish in-demand World Cup jersey is making millionaires out of bootleggers
June 23, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Yomi Kazeem*

Nigeria’s stylish soccer kit has been one of the major stories of the 2018 soccer World Cup.

Since being unveiled in February, the kit has become a fashion item and have been voted the best jersey at the World Cup. Nigeria’s soccer federation claimed there were pre-orders of up to three million jerseys and sales matched the hype too: it sold out on Nike’s website within hours of release and there were long lines at Nike stores to get hold of one. The jersey has been selling for nearly double its retail price on secondary markets.

But the scarcity and the hype around the kit has been a boon for the international bootleggers doing brisk multi-million dollar business from Asia to Europe and Nigeria. The first sign came a week before the kit was officially released when several fans wore counterfeits during a pre-World Cup friendly game.

Sourcing supply

Alex, a Lagos-based businessman who has dealt in counterfeit jerseys since 2011, says current demand exceeds that of the last World Cup jersey by about “1000%.” Illegal factories in China, operating close to licensed manufacturers across Asia, are usually the first port of call for fake jerseys. With its production lines catering to both high and low grade fakes, Chinese factories offers bootleggers a range of options to satisfy local demand.

Thailand, a smaller source, is known more for producing top-grade fakes known as Thai AAA. Thai counterfeit makers have gotten better at the imitation game over the years as, at first glance, Thai AAA fakes look very similar to licensed versions. But upon a closer look, differences in “finishing and texture” become clear, says Alex who asked for his last name not to be used for this story.

With tens of millions of enthusiastic soccer fans who are known to support many top European soccer clubs but cannot afford expensive original jerseys, Nigeria is a bootlegger’s dream target market. Alex alone has brought in a shipment of 2,000 Thai AAA jerseys (valued at 20 million naira ($55,000) in sales) in the past two months. But his Guangzhou-based supplierjust one of many large scale producers of fakesconfirms that the business has shipped over 30,000 jerseys (worth up to 300 million naira ($830,000) in sales) to bootleggers in Nigeria alone, with another 20,000 shipped to sellers outside Nigeria.

However, while sourcing the kit is one thing, getting them to Nigeria is another as Chinese and Thai suppliers claim they can only move shipments at night to avoid seizure by local law enforcement clamping down on counterfeits.

Price dynamics

Thai AAA jerseys typically cost $8 before shipping. To get shipments to Nigeria, bootleggers have two options: regular shipping with a two week delivery window or express shipping which delivers in two daysat the cost of an extra $3 per kilogram. A crucial part of bringing them in and reducing the final landing cost is avoiding run-ins with Nigerian customs officers who levy arbitrary levies on incoming items. As a workaround, bootleggers often use shipping services that import a large volume of goods and, more importantly, already have existing relationships with customs officers. The fake jerseys hardly draw special attention from customs officers though as they “just look at it as textile,” Alex says.

Unwittingly, Nike’s $90 retail pricemore than most Nigerian soccer fans can affordand its limited production has boosted the value of fakes. “Initially, the price was 7,000 naira ($19) but when Nike ran out of stock, people upped the price to 15,000 naira ($41),” Alex says. Yet demand has not wavered. Indeed, in the past month, Alex has set up international shipping arrangements to deliver orders from Spain, Denmark, Dubai. South Africa, India and Egypt.

 *Quartz
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Akon wants to build ‘real-life Wakanda’ using a currency called AKoin
June 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

Akon says he’s planning to release a new cryptocurrency named after himself – called Akoin.

Speaking at the Cannes Lions Festival on Monday, the Locked Up singer said he believed cryptocurrency could be “the saviour of Africa”.

AKoin’s official website says the singer wants the app “on every mobile phone” between now and December.

And Akon says he’s also planning to build a “crypto city” in Senegal which he calls “a real-life Wakanda”.

Just like the fictional land of Wakanda in Marvel’s Black Panther, Akon promises says his city will be a “futuristic environment”.

The website says Akon has been “gifted” 2,000 acres of land by the President of Senegal to build the city – which is also named after himself.

Akon Crypto City will apparently be “a short drive” from Dakar, the capital of Senegal.

He calls it “the first 100% crypto-based city with AKoin at the centre of transactional life”.

AKoin's offical website details the plans for the new currency

AKoin’s offical website details the plans for the new currency

Under the “Akoin Ecosystem”, consumers will be able to buy, hold and spend cryptocurrency straight from their smartphones.

“It brings the power back to the people and brings the security back into the currency system,” Akon explained.

“It also allows the people to utilise it in ways where they can advance themselves and not allow government to do those things that are keeping them down.”

However, Akon admitted he didn’t know all the technical aspects of his new venture.

“I come with the concepts and let the geeks figure it out,” he said.

What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that operates independently from a central bank.

It uses cryptography (the conversion of information into an almost uncrackable code) to secure and verify transactions.

This makes it extremely difficult to counterfeit.

The first and probably most famous cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, which was created by an unknown person using the name Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009.

Several celebrities have endorsed or invested in cryptocurrency, including Katy Perry, 50 Cent and Ashton Kutcher.

Akon and Ms. Kine Gueye Thiam founded the Konfidence Foundation in 2007

Akon and Ms. Kine Gueye Thiam founded the Konfidence Foundation in 2007

Akon’s others ventures in Africa

AKoin is one of many projects Akon has announced in Africa.

While he was born in Missouri, Akon is of Senegalese descent and spent much of his childhood there.

In 2007 he co-founded the Konfidence Foundation, a health and education charity for underprivileged children in West Africa and the United States.

He also co-founded the Akon Lighting Africa project in 2014, which Akon’s site says has brought solar power to 18 African countries so far.

*BBC

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Ghana: Mahama’s handlers denied me access –inventor
June 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Dr. Thomas Mensah

Dr. Thomas Mensah

A renowned Ghanaian-American chemical engineer and inventor Dr. Thomas Mensah says people around former President John Mahama blocked an opportunity for him to share his vision of development with him, when he was still President of Ghana.

According to him, he had taken a US astronaut with him to meet Mr. Mahama, who was on a visit to the United States, but the handlers of the then President just allowed a 5-minute engagement time with the leader.

Dr. Mensah who developed fibre optics said the situation was significantly different with Nana Akufo-Addo, who was then opposition leader. He noted Akufo-Addo, now president, had a 2-hour conversation with him over his plans for development in the technology world.

“I had a five minutes conversation with Mahama but I had a two-hour conversation with Nana Akufo-Addo. I brought an Astronaut with me to meet Mahama but the people around him didn’t allow it. They didn’t allow me to have a lengthy conversation with him. It was just a handshake and that was it, about five minutes,” he told Accra based Starr Fm.

The inventor who has 16 patents to his name said he is committed to developing a silicon Valley in Ghana and has commenced the move with an outfit at the Kofi Annan Centre in Accra.

” I have already started the Silicon Valley in Ghana. I didn’t want the various universities to accuse me of bias so I established it at a neutral grounds, the Kofi Annan Centre. We mean what we are saying and Ghanaians will soon see what we want to do. I  want to develop an aircraft maintenance facility in this country. When we have it in Ghana, many airlines will come here and that will boost tourism because tourists will come around in their numbers,” he noted.

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Mid-Year Budget to introduce new taxes for holistic regime – Ofori-Atta
June 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Ofori Attah

Ofori Attah

Ghana’s Finance minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has confirmed that the mid-year Budget to be presented to parliament in August will capture some measures by government aimed at reviewing the current tax regime.

This will include the introduction of some new taxes – a year after the scrapping of some 14 others.

Mr Ofori-Atta indicated that the review is not targeting existing tax payers, but would rather introduce effective ways of widening the tax net.

According to him, the country has begun moves to restructure the existing tax system.

“… In terms of what government has given (tax cuts) and a real sense of meeting our social contract obligation with the citizen; is now to open up the books and say OK; where do we want to go? What do we need to pay for and therefore how do we reframe our tax system or means of collecting revenue so we go ahead,” the Finance Minister said.

He added that the move is not an imposition of tax on the citizens but a means to rope more people into the tax net to support economic growth.

“I don’t really want to look at it as an imposition from me. But if we are sitting down and saying OK; where are we going and what should we do? And that in a stronger socially stable environment is how business thrive.”

He revealed the abolishing of some taxes last year was all geared at reforming the tax regime.

 

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Lawyer Francis Ben Kaifala Is Sierra Leone’s New And Youngest Anti Corruption Commission Boss
June 22, 2018 | 0 Comments
Francis Kaifala

Francis Kaifala

On wednesday the 20th of June 2018 the Sierra  Leone’s Government  of Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio  dismissed the head of the Anti Corruption commission Ady Macaulay. This  dismissal came immediately after he was sent on leave.

The new Anti Corruption Boss is a Young  Sierra Leonean-British-American trained lawyer, Francis Ben Kaifala appointed by  President Julius Maada Bio. Mr. Ben Mr. Kaifala is the youngest person to be appointed to this all important post. He is very strict and meticulous when it comes to legal matters. Crooks and rogues have to think 100 times before attempting to eat any haramu.

Kaifala returned to Sierra Leone recently after completing his second LLM degree in USA.

Lawyer Francis Kaifala is the youngest person to be appointed as head of the Anti Corruption commission ever since the commission came to existence. He is very strict and meticulous when it comes to legal matters. Crooks and rogues will definitely need to watch out as Lawyer Kaifala is  a no  nonsense man

With the announcement of his appointment the public is prepared for the great and challenging task ahead of him and the  innate ability to deliver beyond expectation.

 

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South Sudan’s President Kiir, Rebel Chief Machar Meet After Two Years
June 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

 South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (centre), his former deputy-turned-rebel leader Riek Machar (left) and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during their meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photo/AFP

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (centre), his former deputy-turned-rebel leader Riek Machar (left) and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during their meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photo/AFP

Juba – South Sudan’s president and rebel leader met on Wednesday for the first time since 2016, when a peace deal collapsed and fighting re-erupted between their forces, the Ethiopian prime minister’s chief of staff said.

The two principals embrace at dinner hosted by the Ethiopia Prime Minister, Mr. Abiy Ahmed.

“The PM Abiy Ahmed hosted a private dinner to President Salva Kiir & Dr Rieck Machar together,” Fitsum Arega said on his Twitter account.

The two rival leaders met for the first time in two years, since renewed fighting in Juba 2016, which forced rebel leader Machar to fled Juba.

Machar, who was released from house arrest in South Africa recently, travelled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on June 20 to hold face – face meeting with president Kiir in an efforts to ending civil war.

Observers says the peaceful future is possible with the two principals in South Sudan.

However, President Kiir and rebel leader Dr. Machar’s meeting had been billed by Ethiopia’s government a step towards ending a five-year-old civil war that has killed tens of thousands of people and forced more than three million to flee their homes in the world’s youngest country.

South Sudan, oil-rich producing nation gained independence in 2011 from north Sudan after two decades of civil war but fighting broke out two years later among South Sudanese over power struggling in ruling party, Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM).

Kiir and Machar met individually with Abiy before the three sat down together, South Sudanese opposition party officials and western diplomats said.

The Ethiopian government has been a key actor in the regional bloc IGAD’s faltering peace process for South Sudan.

Meanwhile, regional bloc leaders will meet today, June 21 to discuss the South Sudan peace process as they seek to finalise a conclusive peace deal before the African Union Summit on July 1 in Mauritania.

A several ceasefire the warring sides signed in the Ethiopian capital, including latest in December 2017 was violated hours later.

Both the government and rebel forces were accused of killing civilians and committed atrocities on civilians across the country, since the framework for the deal is not substantially different than it was in the 2015 deal.

That deal collapsed in the summer of 2016, when Machar’s return to Juba led to the resumption of fighting between his forces and the army in which hundreds died.

More so, a coalition of over 200 civil society groups is appealing to President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar to use the face-to-face meeting to end the 5-year civil war.

The South Sudan Civil Society Forum says if Kiir and Riek fails to reach a meaningful reconciliation at this meeting, all hopes for a united, stable and peaceful South Sudan will be shattered.

“At this critical moment where our nationhood and our collective future is at stake, we remind you of your moral and political obligations to meaningfully reconcile with each other as well as with all other political leaders in our country,” South Sudanese Civil Society Forum said in a statement.

Furthermore, President Kiir and rebel leader Machar would expected to negotiate a power-sharing, security and governance plan prepared by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) aimed at quelling the ongoing civil war in South Sudan.

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Episcopal Relief & Development Celebrates Three-Year Program Achievements in Reducing Violence Against Women in Liberia
June 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

New York, NY– Episcopal Relief & Development and the humanitarian arm of the Episcopal Church of Liberia (ECL-RD) celebrated the three-year achievements of their program that engages faith leaders to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls in Liberia at a forum in Monrovia on Thursday, June 21.

More than 78 attendees participated in the forum, including The Hon. Alice Johnson-Howard, Deputy Minister of Gender, the Liberia Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and The Most Rev. Jonathan Bau-Bau Bonaparte Hart, Archbishop, Internal Province of West Africa/Bishop, the Episcopal Church of Liberia. There were representatives from the Pentecostal, Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist and Full Gospel churches, as well as the Chairperson of the National Muslim Council. The Liberia Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Justice were represented in addition to national and international non-governmental organizations such as UNICEF, USAID, UNDP, UNFPA, ActionAid and the International Rescue Committee.

During the event, participants discussed key findings, learnings and practices from an external evaluation of the three-year Violence Against Women and Girls (VAW/G) Prevention and Response program. The evaluation was conducted from October to November 2017. Download the evaluation summary.

“The Church is committed to ensuring dignity for women and girls,” said The Most Rev. Jonathan Bau-Bau Bonaparte Hart, Archbishop, Internal Province of West Africa/Bishop, Episcopal Church of Liberia. “The greatest asset the faith community can give is to make people know their rights and the resources available to them and that is what this project is all about.”

At the forum, the results of the three-year program evaluation were presented, including promising practices in four areas utilizing:

  • a process of self-reflection and discovery to understand and take action
  • a multi-stakeholder collaborative approach (involving government ministries, service providers, law enforcement, ECL-RD, the County-level Faith Leader Coalitions and youth representatives)
  • implementers with a local presence
  • an integrated, interfaith response to violence against women and girls

The evaluation documented a reduction in violence against women and girls and an increased awareness of support and services for survivors. The report also noted a positive shift in perceptions and attitudes toward the role of women and girls in communities. The comprehensive training methodology and toolkit are unlike similar faith-based programs as they are centered on engaging both Christian and Muslim leaders in the same room, at the same time and with the same tools. The forum also highlighted participant experiences and insights.

“Before the program, we didn’t know we had the same rights as men, but thought we had to do what the man says. For example, we believed we didn’t have a right to go to school and instead have to take care of our household. We also believed we didn’t have a right to sit with men and talk or make decisions,” said a participant in the program.

Violence against women is pervasive throughout Liberia, and its increased prevalence can be attributed to the country’s devastating 14-year civil war. The program was designed to prevent gender-based violence (GBV) by addressing negative beliefs, attitudes and behaviors related to women and girls’ roles and rights. Ninety-eight percent of Liberia’s population identify with a faith tradition. Therefore, faith leaders can play influential roles, both in preventing violence and in facilitating more effective responses to incidents. From 2015-2017, in consultation with the Technical Working Group (TWG) of the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia, the program developed and tested the Faith Leader GBV Toolkit, an experience-based tool to train faith leaders in preventing and responding to gender-based violence through their work.

“As people of faith, we are called to reconcile our relationships with each other with respect and love. It is our responsibility. I am grateful for the contributions of our Christian and Muslim brothers and sisters as we support women and girls to live with dignity, free from violence.” Sheikh Alhassan Kamara, Co-Chairman of Technical Working Group of the Interreligious Council of Liberia.

“Our program focusing on the prevention of violence against women in Liberia shows the value of equipping a coalition of clergy and advocates with information and prevention strategies to change detrimental attitudes and social norms,” said Rob Radtke, President & CEO of Episcopal Relief & Development. “Helping communities promote the rights of women is an important focus of our work. I am grateful for our local faith networks for working with us as we move toward a vision where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”

Visit Episcopal Relief & Development’s website for more information about Gender Equality and Gender-Based Violence.

For over 75 years, Episcopal Relief & Development has served as a compassionate response to human suffering in the world. The agency works with more than 3 million people in nearly 40 countries worldwide to overcome poverty, hunger and disease through multi-sector programs, using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework. An independent 501(c)(3) organization, it works closely with Anglican Communion and ecumenical partners to help communities create long-term development strategies and rebuild after disasters.
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­­­MEST Marks 10 Years Investing in and Supporting African Entrepreneurs with Pan-African Celebration of Tech & Announcement of Fourth African Incubator
June 22, 2018 | 0 Comments
From L-R_ Kevin Lorenz (Africa's Talking, Kenya), Jason Njoku (Iroko Partners, Nigeria), Eyram Tawia (Leti Arts, Ghana), Lungisa Matshoba (Yoco, SA) and Moderator Yinka Adegoke (Quartz)

From L-R_ Kevin Lorenz (Africa’s Talking, Kenya), Jason Njoku (Iroko Partners, Nigeria), Eyram Tawia (Leti Arts, Ghana), Lungisa Matshoba (Yoco, SA) and Moderator Yinka Adegoke (Quartz)

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, June 21, 2018 – Pan-African entrepreneurial training program, seed fund, and incubator MEST, yesterday closed its third successful MEST Africa Summit, which saw leading entrepreneurs, investors and corporate executives from Africa and across the globe – including Silicon Valley, Europe and Asia – discussing trends, challenges and opportunities facing tech entrepreneurs on the continent under the theme The Year of the African Scaleup? Speakers this year included Jason Njoku, Pule Taukobong, Polo Leteka, as well as representatives from Facebook, MTN Group, Knife Capital and IFC.

Following a showcase of pitches from MEST portfolio company founders, the three-day event culminated in an announcement of the winner of the MEST Africa Challenge; a Pan-African pitch competition which saw Nigeria’s Accounteer awarded $50,000 in equity investment from the Meltwater Foundation, along with space and support in the MEST Incubator Lagos.

With MEST in its 10th year, the Summit, held at the Avenue at the V&A Waterfront, welcomed 350 guests from over 15 countries and saw MEST & Meltwater Founder & CEO Jorn Lyseggen, as well as Proud Dzambukira, Strategic Product Partnerships Manager, Africa at Facebook, give a keynote address, as well as a fireside chat between Quartz Africa’s Yinka Adegoke and Facebook’s Julien Decot, head of Platform Partnerships EMEA.

Launching with a lively debate over which African nation (Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya or South Africa) is best suited for startups to succeed, themed panels delved into the latest developments from the industries making an impact in technology and innovation, including fintech, SaaS, agritech and blockchain. Additionally, the Summit showcased in-depth discussions from leading female founders in the African tech space, conversation around how technology can be used to help artists, musicians and brands to reach Pan-African and global audiences, and an investor panel that dove into the investment landscape on the continent titled Rethinking Silicon Africa.

MEST expanded its footprint into Nigeria in 2015, Kenya in 2016, and South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire in 2017 by welcoming Nigerian, Kenyan, Ivorian and South African Entrepreneurs-in-Training (EITs) into the program. Today, the MEST Pan-African vision continues to come to life, with the launch of incubator spaces in Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa; and a plan to formally launch its next fully-fledged incubator in Nairobi, Kenya later this year, where entrepreneurs will be offered the same level of support, mentorship, network and access to resources as its other incubators.

From L-R_ Jorn Lyseggen (Meltwater), Yusuf Kaka (MTN), Peter Awin (Cowtribe), Mary Mwangi (Data Integrated Ltd), Russel Luck (Swiftvee), Adegboye Niyi (Accounteer) and Julien Decot (Dir of Platform Pa

From L-R_ Jorn Lyseggen (Meltwater), Yusuf Kaka (MTN), Peter Awin (Cowtribe), Mary Mwangi (Data Integrated Ltd), Russel Luck (Swiftvee), Adegboye Niyi (Accounteer) and Julien Decot (Dir of Platform Pa

Aaron Fu, Managing Director at MEST, says, “We’re thrilled at the outcome of this year’s Summit. We welcomed  the continent’s leading entrepreneurs, investors and visionaries for some incredibly engaging discussions around how we can execute on propelling and scaling the continent’s leading tech scaleups, while serving as a celebration of a decade of growth at MEST. The success of this year’s Summit, as a meeting ground for Africa’s top ecosystem partners and enthusiasts, has created a forum for honest discussion about change on the continent which we hope will lead to tangible actions and delivery. I’m also extremely excited about our upcoming incubator launch in Nairobi, as we look to strengthen our Pan-African footprint.”

Since its 2008 launch in Accra, Ghana, MEST has been at the forefront of driving some of the continent’s most successful entrepreneurs – pushing them to scale, while achieving Pan-African and global reach and recognition. MEST has invested over $20M in total funding to date, with portfolio companies going on to receive follow-on funding.

There have been four exits to date (digital insurance claims company Claimsync, ecommerce marketing tools RetailTower and AdGeek and messaging app Saya). More than 50 companies have been funded, with nearly 300 entrepreneurs trained. 400+ highly skilled jobs have been created through their incubator companies with MEST itself seeing 100+ highly skilled job created.

Jorn Lyseggen - Founder and CEO, Meltwater

Jorn Lyseggen – Founder and CEO, Meltwater

“When MEST was founded a decade ago, the goal was to find a way to create wealth and jobs here in Africa by nurturing the massive amount of talent that exists on the continent. By empowering people to become software entrepreneurs, I believe Africa can take their fair share of the value creation that we know is going to take place in technology and software over the next generation. Today, we’re proud that MEST is the first truly Pan-African tech incubator of its kind,” says Jorn Lyseggen, Founder & CEO of Meltwater and MEST.

As an advocate for innovation in tech, Jorn Lyseggen continues to act as a driving force in bridging the gap between Silicon Valley and the ever-evolving African tech landscape.

For additional information or interview requests with MEST Managing Director Aaron Fu or CEO of Meltwater Jorn Lyseggen, please contact Maria Adediran of Wimbart | maria@wimbart.com

 

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21st Session of African Forestry and Wildlife Commission opens in Dakar
June 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

Forestry, wildlife experts discuss Africa’s forests, landscapes and wildlife resources

By Alpha Jallow in Dakar

19 June 2018, Dakar – The 21st Session of the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (AFWC) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) begins today in Dakar, Senegal, to discuss how to sustainably manage and restore Africa’s forests, landscapes and wildlife resources.

The five-day meeting, which focuses on the theme “Restoring forests, landscapes and wildlife resources: unleashing opportunities for sustainable development in Africa”, is being held simultaneously with the commemoration of the 5th African Forestry and Wildlife Week.

About 200 participants, consisting of Ministers of States, government officials from 30 African countries, heads of forestry and wildlife institutions, officials and experts of regional and international organizations, as well as development partners of FAO,  will  deliberate upon the approach to be pursued in  tackling and advancing the sustainable management and restoration of forests, landscapes and wildlife resources in Africa.

The delegates will also discuss recent developments in the field of Sustainable Wildlife Management in Africa  as well as  the role and contributions  being made by the related African Union and countries’ strategies and initiatives “and the Collaborative Partnership on Sustainable Wildlife Management”  in addressing these issues in the region.

The session will give prominence to the critical importance of sustainable management and restoration of forests and wildlife resources in enhancing food security and nutrition, reducing poverty, preventing and combating land degradation and desertification, and adapting to and mitigating impacts of climate change.

The participants will examine and review in addition ongoing sustainable management and restoration programmes, recent developments, challenges and opportunities such as the Green Climate Fund and the way forward to boost the contributions of forests and wildlife resources to the Sustainable Development Agenda in the region.

Hiroto Mitsugi, FAO Assistant Director-General, Forestry Department, in Rome, stated that “forests, their resources and wildlife are critical for the provision of multiple goods and services essential for human wellbeing and for a healthy environment”.

“They are even more important in dryland ecosystems, such as those prevailing in the Africa region, to address critical issues of land degradation, desertification, mitigation of climate change effects and strengthening the adaptive capacity and the resilience of the people and their agroecosystems”, he added.

A call to Increase investment

At the heart of discussion at this session is the concept of ‘Building Resilience of Africa’s Drylands and Livelihoods’ and the call to increase investments in sustainable management and restoration of Dryland Forests and Agro-silvo pastoral Systems in the region.

The Session will discuss the Organization’s support to the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) through the work it is carrying out on Forest and Landscape Restoration, including the Great Green Wall.

According to Mr Hiroto, AFR 100 is “a call for creating an African movement to heal Planet Earth, to heal Africa’s forests and landscapes resources.”

A new and special edition of FAO’s “Nature & Faune” journal compiling case studies and articles on restoration in Africa, is being launched at the meeting.

In order to underscore the benefits that can be generated by public and private sector investments in sustainable forest management and restoration, the Government of Senegal is hosting the celebration of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought under the theme “Land has a true value: Invest in it”, on the 20th of June (instead of the 17th June) at the Mbao Forest, the “Dakar lung”, rendering it an African celebration together with local communities. Another field visit will be organized to the “Bandia Nature Reserve” on the 22nd of June, showcasing another public-private partnership for the restoration of degraded land.

“I’m convinced that only the mobilization at the national, regional and global level and the collaboration between the actors for the management of natural resources will be able to overcome the challenges we face,” said Mame Thierno Dieng, Senegalese Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development,.

“The African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (AFWC) remains, in my opinion, a platform for exchange and sharing of experiences essential to achieve this goal,” he added.

Introducing new guidelines

FAO will introduce the recently published “Guidelines for Using Forest Concessions to Manage Public Forests” at the meeting. In addition, and to support countries’ reporting commitments on SDGs implementation, in particular SDG 15, the Session will introduce the process of the Forest Resources Assessment (FRA 2020) while highlighting efforts for reducing reporting burden on countries by streamlining international forest-related reporting

Stimulating dialogue and exchange of experience and lessons

Dialogues of Heads of Forestry and Wildlife and Events that will be organized during the week will enable delegates to showcase achievements  made to date in restoration of forests,  landscapes and wildlife resources, including through Africa’s Great Green Wall, and to  discuss and share experiences on Sustainable wildlife management and combatting illegal transboundary exploitation and trade of fauna and flora as well as on developing small scale forest enterprises for livelihood improvement and poverty reduction in Africa.

About the Commission

The African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (AFWC) is one of six Regional Forestry Commissions established by FAO to provide a policy and technical forum for countries to discuss and address forest and wildlife issues on a regional basis. It meets every two years.

The mandate of the commission is to advise on the formulation of forest and wildlife management policy and to review and coordinate its implementation at the regional level; to exchange information and, generally through special Subsidiary Bodies, advise on suitable practices and action in regard to technical problems; and to make appropriate recommendations.

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15k Ghanaian babies born with sickle cell disease annually – Expert
June 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Over 15, 000 babies are born with sickle cell disease yearly in Ghana, Dr. Enam Bankas, Founder of Sickle Life has revealed.

According to her, over one thousand children are born with the ailment on monthly basis despite the public education.

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of blood disorders typically inherited from a person’s parents. The most common type is known as sickle cell anaemia (SCA). It results in an abnormality in the oxygen-carrying protein haemoglobin found in red blood cells.

Dr. Bankas, who is living with sickle cell, said the perception that people living with the disease are bound for death is inaccurate.

“The truth is that on yearly basis we have about 15,000 babies born with the disease and it’s worrying that all these young ones are going to grow up and go through all that difficulty. Sickle Cell patients have a particular mutation in the Red Blood Cell. Instead of their red blood cells having the shape of a ‘doughnut’, they tend to be like that of a ‘sickle’.  People associate sickle cell disease to pain around parts of the body,” she said.

She advised: “Sickle Cell disease can be avoided. You need to get tested to know your sickling status. When you know your sickling status, make sure you know the status of whoever you end up marrying as well. I don’t understand why people stigmatize people who have sickle cell. People assume that if you have sickle cell disease, it means the patients or their parents have offended a god or something. It is a myth”.

Dr. Bankas called on Ghanaians to go and check their status in the various hospitals because testing is free of charge.

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Gov’t losing corruption fight – Survey
June 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah.

Seven out of 10 Ghanaians believe the government is losing the fight against corruption, findings of a study have revealed.

Over 95 percent of the respondents in the study affirmed that corruption is high in Ghana and is highly pervasive in the public sector where a vast majority have had to pay facilitation or illegal fees to access services.

The study carried out by Civil Soceity Organisation Penplusbytes and dubbed METOGU! on anti-corruption indicated that corruption perception remains very high among many Ghanaians who believe the current government has done little or nothing in the fight against corruption.

Furthermore, the Sustainable Development Goal 16 specifically mentioned the issue of corruption and the need to deal with it. Based on this assertion, Penplusbytes under the UK-AID funded “Strengthening Action Against Corruption” (STAAC) programme embarked on the METOGU! (Keeping the pressure on!) project to create awareness about the current government’s promises on anti-corruption.

Also, it carried out research to gauge citizens’ perception of how government is performing in implementing its anti-corruption promises through a comprehensive participatory monitoring and evaluation tool.

In all, four out of the country’s 10 regions were selected for the study namely Ashanti, Volta, Greater Accra and Western regions in order to capture varied and divergent opinions. Nearly 800 respondents drawn from a wide spectrum of the population of Ghana participated in the study.

The METOGU!! Report covered seven key anti-corruption themes: General Corruption Issues, the Creation of the Office of Special Prosecutor, passage of the Right to Information Bill, compliance with the Public Procurement Act and Value for Money, Beneficial Ownership Title, a Public Officers’ Code of Conduct and Assets Declaration Regime, the National Health Insurance Scheme and the School Feeding Programme.

According to Kwami Ahiabenu II, Executive Director of Penplusbytes, “This report is to serve as a basis for dialogue between ordinary citizens and the Executive where the former gets the opportunity to inform government of what they think about its efforts in fighting corruption and proffer recommendations to review and address what progress it is making on its anti-corruption promises in a collaborative way which takes citizen needs into consideration and involves wider stakeholders.”

Penplusbytes’ 2-year METOGU! Project aimed at creating awareness among citizens on government interventions to fight corruption and create pathways for citizens to hold the government accountable to deliver on its promises.

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Ghana:I await your invitation; Mahama tells Special Prosecutor over $13m E.O. Fund claim
June 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah.

Mahama and Martin Amidu

Mahama and Martin Amidu

Ghana’s immediate past President John Mahama has denied claims that he diverted $13 million of E.O. Group funds meant for the development of the Western Region.

This follows a petition filed by four private citizens at the Office of the Special Prosecutor, demanding that Martin Amidu investigate Mr Mahama over the matter.

In the petition, dated June18, 2018, the four said: “We submit before your office, this petition to invoke section 3(1)(b) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act,2017(Act 959) to have former President John Dramani investigated for alleged diversion of $13m meant for the development of Western Region from the E.O. group of company as part of their corporate social responsibilities.

However, a statement released by the former President’s Special Aide, Joyce Bawah Mogtari said the allegation “is another orchestrated but failed attempt by the NPP Government to divert attention from the numerous corruption scandals suffocating it”.

The statement further indicated that: “Former President Mahama, unlike President Nana Akufo-Addo, is incorruptible. He, therefore, welcomes the said petition and expects the Special Prosecutor who the petitioners claim is the originator and source of the false and dubious claims, to expeditiously commence its work”. 

Read the full statement below:

Former President John Mahama is incorruptible        

We have taken note of the circulation of what news reports, mischievously, say is a petition to the Special Prosecutor’s Office to investigate former President John Dramani Mahama for allegedly allowing the diversion of  $13million from a private company, EO Group, and meant for the development of the Western Region.

The above is obviously another false and dubious claim. Furthermore, the said petition is another orchestrated but failed attempt by the NPP Government to divert attention from the numerous corruption scandals suffocating it.

Former President Mahama, unlike President Nana Akufo-Addo, is incorruptible. He, therefore, welcomes the said petition and expects the Special Prosecutor who the petitioners claim is the originator and source of the false and dubious claims, to expeditiously commence its work.

It actually makes a mockery of the Special Prosecutor that the surrogates of the NPP will cite as their evidence, an article they say was written by him. This is a man who during his public vetting before parliament said the allegations he made against various people over the years, were based on perception.

To suggest as the petition claims that a President can divert funds from a private company in the circumstances described is absurd.

 

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Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Says Ethiopia Is To Honour The 2000 Algiers Agreement And End Hostilities Between Ethiopia And Eritrea
June 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

Prime Minister Abiy

Prime Minister Abiy

Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed is determined to bring to an end the hostilities that have existed for several decades between his country and neighbouring Eritrea. Prime Minister Ahmed said his country is ready to implement the 2000 Algiers Agreement, an internationally sponsored peace treaty and border demarcation signed by Ethiopia and Eritrea.

On the 4th of June this year, Ethiopian Prime Minister called a surprise politburo meeting. The agenda was not divulged when he called the meeting but it was crystal clear what the Ethiopian politburo had discussed as soon as the meeting ended as a statement was released which read, “Ethiopia will fully accept the December 12, 2000, Algiers Agreement, a peace agreement between the governments of Eritrea and Ethiopia, which established a special boundary commission.”

The statement went further to state that the Ethiopian government had, “decided to open up Ethiopia’s economy both to Ethiopian and foreign investors by making partial or full privatizations in key state-owned enterprises including industrial parks, railway projects, sugar factories, hotels and other manufacturing industries.” However, though big, it was the announcement that the Ethiopian government was to honour the Algiers Agreement which caught the attention of many people.

Perhaps in order to understand how significant this is to the two countries, that is Ethiopia and Eritrea as well as Africa as a whole, let’s briefly revisit how this agreement came about back in 2000.

Timeline of the Ethiopia and Eritrea hostilities.

There is a great debate which still rages on to this day about the exact origins of the Ethiopian-Eritrean hostilities. However, be that as it may, many academics believe that Eritrea’s independence from Ethiopia in 1991 did little if anything to resolve the underlying issues which had resulted in the nearly 30-year war between the two countries that erupted in 1961. It was (Eritrean independence), as stated by many at the very least a geopolitical success.

Due to this, it was no surprise in 1998 when a full-blown war erupted between the countries ignited by Ethiopia’s decision to march into Badme – a humble, dusty Eritrean market town with no apparent value. The war went on for two years in the process leading to the death of tens of thousands including civilians and displaced many others.

Regional, continental and international bodies in 2000 were forced into action after realising that the war was showing no signs of ending. In June of 2000, at a mediation meeting in Algiers Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea agreed to “permanently terminate military hostilities” and establish a “neutral Boundary Commission” that will have full authority to delimit and demarcate the boundaries. The two leaders agreed that the “neutral Boundary Commission” would have a final and binding agreement.

The final and binding agreement reached by the neutral Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission ruled in favour of Eritrea stating that Ethiopian’s invasion of Badme was in violation of the principle of sovereignty and it had to vacate the lands.

Ethiopia however, was not satisfied with the ruling and instead of ordering its troops to leave Badme, it sent more troops to the town. Eritrea understandably was angered by this move and it also mobilised its troops who stationed a few kilometres from where Ethiopian troops were settled. Ever since, these two countries have been living on the verge of war while on some occasions, rebel groups from either country believed to be sponsored by Peoples’ Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) from Eritrea and the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) from Ethiopia clashed leading to the loss of life of dozens of people including civilians.

It is against this background that one can truly respect and admire the decision taken by Prime Minister Ahmed. Now, as has been stated by the Eritrean government, Prime Minister Ahmed has to go “beyond reconciliatory gestures or diplomatic pleasantries.”

What the honouring of the Algiers Agreement mean for the two countries

Easing of tensions

The first and perhaps most important benefit of Ethiopia honouring the Algiers Agreement is that it will go a long way in easing tensions and hostilities that have characterised the relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea especially in the town of Badme. This will, in turn, lead to political and social stability. The BBC recently reported how the standoff between Ethiopia and Eritrea has caused the disintegration of families that live in Badme and also surrounding towns including Adigrat in Ethiopia as they live in constant fear of being attacked.

Re-opening the border for trade

On the economic front, Ethiopia’s honouring of the Algiers Agreement means that the people who live in close proximity to the Ethiopian and Eritrea border from either country can resume cross-border trading activities. Cross-border trading between these two countries was of huge commercial value to the residents of both countries and the re-opening of the border will mean they can resume their most important if not only income generating activity.

Access to ports

Not only will the residents of Badme and surrounding town in both Ethiopia and Eritrea benefit from cross-border trading once the Ethiopian government implements provisions of the Algiers Agreement but also the two countries stand to benefit economically. Before the start of the war in 1998, Ethiopia used to import various goods using the Eritrean ports of Assab and Massawa. However, that was disturbed by the political standoff between the two countries and Ethiopia had to resort to using the distant port of Djibouti and the less-than-reliable railway connection. The implementation of the Algiers Agreement, however, will see Eritrea opening its ports for Ethiopia once again. Ethiopia will, in turn, cut importation costs as it will use a more direct and shorter route for its imports while Eritrea stands to gain financially from renting its part of its ports to Ethiopia.

Removal of sanctions for Eritrea

In 2009, the UN with the support of the US and Ethiopia imposed arms sanctions on Eritrea. The sanctions were imposed as a penalty for what the UN termed “supporting terrorists”; Eritrea was allegedly accused of supporting and sponsoring al-Shabaab militants in Somalia. These allegations were however not proven. Despite this, the US went on to extend the sanctions last year. These sanctions have been crippling Eritrea in its endeavours to seek assistance in the form of aid. However, if Ethiopia stays true to its word and implements the Algiers Agreement, it’s likely that Eritrea will ask Ethiopia to lobby for the removal of the UN imposed arms sanctions so it can appeal for much-needed aid.

 

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Mauritius, Ghana and Tunisia lead the African Telecoms
June 19, 2018 | 0 Comments
Sydney, Australia, 18 June 2018 – BuddeComm recently launched an exclusive Telecoms Maturity Index (TMI), that analyses the broadband, mobile and fixed Line markets of a country as well as a range of economic parameters to rank it on a scale of 1 to 100 and compare it to its region. The Africa TMI is now available and reveals the market leaders, the challengers and the developing ones.
Market leaders: Mauritius is the top-ranking country in Africa with a Telecoms Maturity Index score of 43, followed by Ghana (34) and Tunisia (31). 
Mauritius stands out among the rest. This is largely explained by the thriving tourism market which has stimulated the broadband sector. There is an extensive DSL infrastructure and operators have deployed fibre-based services in a number of localities. Mauritius Telecom invested Rs5.1 billion to roll out fibre across the island, with the project completed the end of 2017 (ahead of the original 2020 timescale).
Market challengers:The top three market challengers are Mauritania with a score of 13, Uganda (13) and Kenya (12).
Developing nations: The top three developing markets are Angola (7) Chad (7) and Cameroon (6)
Mobile telephony remains by far the dominant telecom service across Africa, accounting for more than 90% of all telephone lines on the continent. Given the very poor condition of fixed-line infrastructure in most markets, mobile internet access as a consequence also accounts for between 95% and 99% of all internet connections.
The size and range of the diverse markets within Africa have contributed to varied market penetration rates between countries. By early 2018 the highest mobile penetration was found in countries including Gabon (163%), Botswana (159%), South Africa (147%) and Mauritius (146%). To some degree high penetration reflects the popularity of consumers having multiple SIM cards despite efforts among most regulators to enforce measures by which operators must register SIM card users
The African Market report showcases the TMI for all African countries providing a unique perspective on the region.
*For more information on each country or on Africa as a whole please get in touch*.  
BuddeComm’s Telecoms Maturity Index is also available in all Middle EasternLatin American and Asian  reports. It will be available in European reports soon.
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Life In A War Zone : 30 Days in Ambazonia/Anglophone Cameroon (4)
June 16, 2018 | 1 Comments

Amba Fighters: Power Respects Power 

 

By Solomon Ngu*

In The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin, the legendary African-American novelist, says the police in America (and white supremacists) were cautious in attacking members of the Nation of Islam (NOI). Members of this black (or Negro as it was called in those days) movement were not ready to turn the other cheek in the face of police/white supremacist violence against black people in America. They believed in a tooth for tooth and an eye for an eye. These Muslims were encouraged to arm themselves, not to attack their rivals but that if attacked, they should fight back with a maximum force. For them, it was better to die standing. Malcolm X, a leading figure in the Nation of Island once said the only thing that power respects is power. Events in Anglophone Cameroon in recent months are undeniably validating Mr X’s viewpoint.

There was virtually no armed resistance to the militarization and Francophonization of Anglophone Cameroon before Mr Biya declared war on them in November 2017. Messages circulated on social media stating that the government was out to massacre the population. Images of troops in military cars –some of them photoshopped – heading to the two Regions were a frightful sight. The government had cut off internet in the two Anglophone Regions but people found a way to send images on social media by going to the francophone side of the country. We all suspected mayhem. And mayhem it was particularly in the home village of the interim Ambozonian president, Tabe Sisuku Ayuk. In fact the local administrator in this area told citizens to vacate their homes. This, they did. Most of them fled into Nigeria and have remained there ever since.

By the end of 2017 however, young men began to arm themselves. Hunters started using their rifles to defend unarmed villagers. And there was nothing the government could do about it. A few gendarmes were killed sending shock waves into the spine of political leadership and the soldiers. This was unexpected in a country where the military and the police are always above the law. There were online genocidal messages by Francophones, their journalists included, calling on the government to annihilate the Anmbazombies and Anglofools. The minister of communication cried foul and insisted that it was intolerable to allow terrorists to kill gendarmes. This incident, he said, further justified why Ambazonia needed to be militarized.

A Facebook post by a Francophone reads: block the borders with Nigeria so that no one leaves. Kill everyone including 6 months old babies. This horde of sheep fought Nigeria (referring to the Biafran War) and later established themselves on Cameroonian soil. Eliminate even those who speak French, they are Nigerians who have settled on Cameroonian soil. There aren’t Cameroonians in Bamenda (an Anglophone town), so, kill also the children, mothers, fathers, young people, etc.

A Facebook post by a Francophone reads: block the borders with Nigeria so that no one leaves. Kill everyone including 6 months old babies. This horde of sheep fought Nigeria (referring to the Biafran War) and later established themselves on Cameroonian soil. Eliminate even those who speak French, they are Nigerians who have settled on Cameroonian soil. There aren’t Cameroonians in Bamenda (an Anglophone town), so, kill also the children, mothers, fathers, young people, etc.

What Mr Issa Tchiroma did not realize at this point was that these soldiers on a mission to kill unarmed civilians unexpectedly clashed with another force that was bent on retaliating the death of the villagers. It did not for once occur to the minister and the soldiers that they were not the sole armed force in what was becoming a battlefield. Prior to their death, this group of gendarmes had killed unarmed civilians in the invaded village. Those lives did not matter in the eyes of the government, so to speak. The army had and still has the weapons as well as soldiers trained to fight the enemy, the Anglophones. Those defending their dignity have two things: courage and knowledge of the war terrain. In a nutshell, the scoundrel soldiers who had hitherto not encountered any resistance now knew there was power on the other side; and the only thing their power fear is this power that has not restrained from exercising itself through ambushes and other guerilla tactics.

Ironically by Feb 2018, the minister of communication stopped announcing the death of soldiers who die in the battlefield. Private TV stations and digital media footages captured by private citizens have revealed dead and dying soldiers. Some of them, facing threats of death, have defected; others have sold their weapons to the Fighters while some have simply escaped into neighboring countries. In early April 2018, I witnessed three military trucks that were purportedly carrying corpses of soldiers killed in the front line. It is well-known in Buea that the mortuaries are filled up with the corpses of the military men killed in the combat zone. Here is the thing though: the government conceals the death of these soldiers from the Francophones, fearing that parents may questions why their children are sent to die in a senseless war.

This strategy of not announcing the death of the soldiers on the public media is surely intended to deceive the bereaved families, making them think the death of their son or daughter is an isolated, rare and unfortunate occurrence. This strategy has no precedence in Cameroon where the military people who die in action are sent off in a solemn public ceremony with flags and medals adorning their coffins.

But how has this power evolved over time? As mentioned earlier, there wasn’t any resistance when the government sent rogue soldiers to teach Anglophones a lesson during and after the Anglophones celebrated their independence day on Oct 1st 2017. Soldiers chased, beat and shot the unarmed civilians. In the Anglophone capital city of Buea, helicopter gunships sprayed bullets on people from the air. No one for sure knows the death too. Some neighborhoods became aware of deaths in their vicinity only through the stench of decomposed corpses. It is believed some of the corpses were dropped from the helicopters. In all this, the soldiers were winning – their sense of victory was emboldened by fearful citizens fleeing life bullets. The government media institutions celebrated the triumph of brutality against unarmed civilians. Little did they know they just provoked an embittered population amongst them, the kids that were into a second year of not attending school.

Out of nowhere, we started witnessing armed and masked young men threatening to resist the marauding soldiers. They became known as Amba Fighters/Amba Restoration Forces/Amba Boys or just Amba. These Fighters do not have a central commander but all aim at fighting/sending away what they see as the colonial forces of La Republique. So far, they have been putting up a strong resistance and have become confident to the extent that they do not mask their faces anymore when delivering threats to the government and its soldiers. A few weeks ago I watched a video, in which the young people sang songs, displayed their guns, introduced their hierarchy and talked about liberating their homeland. There was this kid, not more than 15 years old, who threatened to take as booty, the sliced testicles of the president of Cameroun. This is what he said in pidgin: ‘We go kill you Popol. Me I want na that your canas’ (we will kill you Polpol [Paul Biya]. I want those testicles of yours’).

The gun has undeniably emboldened the resolve of these young people to speak without fear. Has this power been useful so far? Well, the government soldiers have not launched any military attach to free arrested/kidnapped soldiers or administrator of the regime, perhaps for fear of counter fire. In those cases where the kidnapped/arrested officials have been released, a bounty has been paid to the kidnappers.

In my next article, I still focus on Amba Fighters: how they are perceived by the Anglophone public?

*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

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Congo’s Parliament to Consider Legal Protection for Ex-Presidents
June 16, 2018 | 0 Comments

BY AMEDEE MWARABU

FILE PHOTO: Democratic Republic of Congo's President Joseph Kabila addresses a news conference at the State House in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo January 26, 2018. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe/File PhotoREUTERS

FILE PHOTO: Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Joseph Kabila addresses a news conference at the State House in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo January 26, 2018. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe/File PhotoREUTERS

KINSHASA (Reuters) – Democratic Republic of Congo’s parliament will, at President Joseph Kabila’s request, hold a special session to consider legislation providing legal protection for former presidents, lawmakers said.

The announcement could be a further sign that Kabila intends to step down after an election in December despite speculation that he is trying to circumvent term limits that forbid him from running again.
Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala told Reuters this week that Kabila would not be a candidate, the clearest declaration yet from a senior government official on the matter.
But Kabila himself has refused to publicly commit to leaving office and some of his supporters have in recent weeks floated a legal rationale that would allow him to stand again.
 “At the request of the president of the republic, an extraordinary session will be convened,” lower house speaker Aubin Minaku told deputies on Friday at the close of the latest parliamentary session.
 “We will examine several items including the law on the status of former chiefs of state, the designation of a new member of the constitutional court and the law on the tax to promote industry,” he said.
It was not immediately clear when that session would take place.
 Under the constitution, former presidents already receive broad immunity from prosecution as senators for life.
 Modeste Mutinga, a senator from an opposition party, introduced legislation in 2015 to reinforce those protections in an effort to encourage Congo’s first ever democratic transition.

 

It stipulates that former presidents and their aides will not be liable for arrest for common law violations committed in the exercise of presidential functions. It also provides for bodyguards for ex-presidents and increases in their pension.

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We lobbied Yar’adua, Jonathan, Buhari govts to honour my father — Kola Abiola
June 15, 2018 | 0 Comments
President Muhammadu Buhari presenting a Post-Humus GCFR Award to Mr Kola Abiola, son of the acclaimed winner of June 12 1993 Presidential Election, Chief MKO Abiola during a Special National Honours Investiture at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday (12/6/18)

President Muhammadu Buhari presenting a Post-Humus GCFR Award to Mr Kola Abiola, son of the acclaimed winner of June 12 1993 Presidential Election, Chief MKO Abiola during a Special National Honours Investiture at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday (12/6/18)

Kola Abiola, the eldest son of late  winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, has revealed how the family pushed for his late father to be honoured, saying he welcomed President Buhari’s decision to do so although the honour was “very political”.

Speaking during a monitored television interview in Lagos Nigeria , Kola said: “President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, conferred my father ‎with the nation’s highest honour, the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) – an honour exclusively conferred only on presidents and former presidents.”

“While Mr Abiola was given a posthumous GCFR award, his runningmate, Babagana Kingibe, was awarded the Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON).”

Also, late human rights activist and senior lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi, was awarded the GCON.

Election data from the June 1993 presidential poll showed Mr Abiola won but he was not formally declared president-elect and was not sworn into office by the military government of Ibrahim Babangida.

Mr Abiola was later imprisoned by the Sani Abacha military regime as he struggled to actualise his mandate. He died in prison in 1998.

Successive governments brushed aside calls for him to be honoured and for the federal government to recognise June 12 as democracy day.

Kola Abiola said the Buhari administration’s decision to honour his father was the right thing to do even though it was a political decision.

“I think it is very political,” he said.

Lobbying for honour 

Mr Abiola, who described the President’ Buharis action as an “unfinished business”, said he had been looking forward to the honour. “I saw it coming,” he said.He explained how he had made several attempts to get past administrations to honour his father, to no avail.

“I have been through this before and I have seen the roles different people play when it’s about to be done.

“They come up with issues like, ‘it’s posthumous, it can’t be done. It can’t be given to dead people’… and so on,” he said.

He explained how past administrations shut down most if his father’s businesses. “They figured, if we don’t have the means, we can’t fight them,” he said.

Mr Abiola however said he was “a little silent” about the matter during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration.

“After him (Obasanjo), I approached the late Yar’Adua but unfortunately, he didn’t live long enough. Maybe he would have done it.

“I started talking to people in Jonathan’s administration, but nothing formal came out of it,” he said.

He spoke about how former President Goodluck Jonathan unsuccessfully attempted to honour MKO Abiola by renaming the University of Lagos after him.

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Air Namibia launches West African route
June 15, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Andreas Thomas

Windhoek – National flag carrier, Air Namibia has launched a new route to Ghana and Nigeria, which is expected to reduce travelling time to West Africa by 60%. With the new flight, Air Namibia anticipates closing a gap in the market by competitively connecting Southern Africa to West Africa within less than 6 hours.

The airline launched the Windhoek-Lagos-Accra on Wednesday, with the first flight to take off at the Hosea Kutako International Airport on June 29, 2018.

Air Namibia is introducing flights into Lagos for the first time, while it is making a comeback to Accra. In 2003, the national airline launched the Windhoek-Accra flight, but has to abandon it 2013 due to low traffic.

Air Namibia Acting Managing Director Ms Mandi Samson emphasized that the decision to launch flights into West Africa is in line with the company’s five-year strategic plan, with one of the key objectives – to break even by 2021.

Recent entry into the local market by major airlines including Ethiopia Airways, Qatar Airways and KLM Royal Dutch Airline has necessitated Air Namibia to search new markets.

“The industry we operate in as Air Namibia is one where competition is fierce and cut-throat; to survive you have to be bold,” said Samson, while justifying the West African move, that: “We shall not sit and wait for others from outside to come take the cake and repeat the fruits while we stand aside and look”.

There have been lingering questions about why Air Namibia is return to West Africa.

Samson told that Ghana and Nigeria route were decided following a market research, where the company undertook to launch five new routes within three years.

Two of the five routes are already operational – Windhoek to Gaborone and Windhoek to Durban. The fifth destination scheduled for 2019 will be announced after Governmental approval.

“Nigeria and West Africa in general is home to one of the world’s most populous nations. The market is big, we share a lot in common as far as values, history, culture and potential to do business together,” she said.

“Previously Air Namibia operated into Accra alone, with no embassy to issue visas. This time around we are combining Lagos and Accra, with an added opportunity to transport people and goods between Lagos and Accra using fifth freedom traffic rights offered by the Nigerian and Ghanaian Governments, to which we are very grateful.

“Previously we operated into Accra, with no visa issuing office to facilitate travel to Namibia. This time around we have a High Commission in Accra for Namibia. It is also our sincere hope and trust that our Government will establish a visa issuing solution in Lagos, to supplement the one available in Abuja at the moment”.

Air Namibia said it would be servicing the Windhoek-Lagos-Accra route with the Airbus A319-100, the same aircraft type used on Johannesburg, Cape Town and Luanda routes.

The aircraft will be offering a seat configuration of 16 Business Class and 96 Economy Class seats and offer two tons of cargo space. The flight will operate four times a week on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The ambassadors of Nigeria and Ghana in Namibia have on Wednesday commended Air Namibia’s decision to fly to West Africa. They expressed that the new route presents business opportunities for Namibia and West Africa.

The High Commissioner of Ghana to Namibia, Ms Elizabeth Salamatu Forgor said it is a refreshing development that various stakeholders in Namibia found it prudent to consider the resumption of Air Namibia flights to West Africa.

“For us in Ghana, this development has come at a time when the whole of Africa is championing the Single African Air Transport Market, an Africa policy which is expected to contribute towards the promotion of trade, cross border investments and above all create jobs. Ghana therefore sees this as a development in the right direction,” Forgor said.

“As you may all be aware, there has been a series of information floating around, that air Namibia would be resuming its flight to West Africa, particularly, Accra. Many have been wondering whether the information is true or not? Yes, Air Namibia is flying to Ghana again effective 29th June, 2018. This time around the route will include a stop-over in Lagos, therefore, the new route will be Windhoek-Lagos-Accra”.

The Ghanaian diplomat added that at the bilateral level, “Ghana welcomes, the introduction of the Air Namibia Lagos-Accra route and we believe that this development would open up relations between Ghana and Namibia, most importantly, in the areas of trade, tourism, education, and cultural exchanges as well as collaborations which would be geared towards strengthening relations between the two countries and peoples”.

Also speaking during the official announcement of the new route, Ms Lilian Onoh, the Nigerian High Commissioner called on the Namibian business community to take advantage of the new flight to market their products in the Nigerian market. She noted that Namibian meat products most notably its biltong have a potential in the much larger Nigerian market.

And to ensure operational effectiveness and efficiency, Air Namibia has appointed APG Network as sales representatives in both Nigeria and Ghana to provide full sales and marketing services, as well as call centre and customer care services on its behalf.

Juanita Klassen, Air Namibia’s Manager for GSA and Offline Markets has remarked about that: “We are happy for having established this relationship with the APG Network, as we can use their extensive experience in the field of aviation as a key global player in the airline distribution environment, offering outsourced services such as passenger sales and marketing, reservations, Air Namibia can benefit and is positioned to make its West Africa operations a success.”

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Congo to Start $13.9 Billion Hydropower Project This Year
June 15, 2018 | 0 Comments
-Rival consortia submitted joint bid for plant last week
-Project director says single consortium will seek financing
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The Inga 1 dam and Inga Falls on the Congo river. Photographer: Marc Jourdier/AFP via Getty Images

The Inga 1 dam and Inga Falls on the Congo river. Photographer: Marc Jourdier/AFP via Getty Images

The Democratic Republic of Congo plans to start work this year on the frequently delayed Inga 3 hydropower project, after receiving a joint bid from two previously competing consortia of investors.

 
One group led by China Three Gorges Corp. and another including Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA of Spain submitted a joint bid on June 6 for the project that will produce 11,000 megawatts and is predicted to cost $13.9 billion, Bruno Kapandji, director of the Agency for the Development and Promotion of the Grand Inga Project, said at a conference Wednesday in Lubumbashi in southeast Congo.
 “Our aim is to start Inga this year,” Kapandji said. “The two consortia have given us a document in which they committed to creating a single consortium. We are in the process of preparing, discussing and negotiating the exclusive collaboration contract which will allow the single candidate to go to the market to find the financing.”
 Africa’s biggest copper producer and the world’s largest source of cobalt has been considering building Inga 3 for more than a decade to address a power shortage that has curbed mining-industry growth. A treaty signed in 2013 provided for the plant to export 2,500 megawatts of power to South Africa. The plant would form part of a larger Grand Inga hydropower complex spanning part of the Congo River and produce as much as 50,000 megawatts when complete, according to the World Bank.

 Seven Years

Construction on Inga 3 will take as long as seven years, Kapandji said.

Congo’s government last year asked the competing consortia to work together and submit a joint offer to build and manage Inga 3. Once a concessionaire company has been established, the developers “will commit themselves to mobilizing the funds to complete the project and operate it,” Kapandji said.

The next phase of Grand Inga was initially supposed to produce 4,800 megawatts.

“The project has changed because the demand has changed,” said Kapandji. The mining industry’s energy deficit has increased from about 500 megawatts to 1,300 megawatts in the intervening years since the project was conceived, he said.

*Bloomberg

 
 
 
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The World Wrestles Climate Change To Stay Below 1,5 Degrees Of Warming .
June 15, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

 Yes, there is necessity to be formidable against Climate Change and stay below 1,5 degrees of warming . This is done  for the betterment of human livelihoods and for survival sake , being environmentally and Agriculturally  sustainable ,  Health and well-being , free out of natural and human induced catastrophes destroying this Earth .The World population at 7,5 billion people to date face risks , poverty , vulnerabilities and get plunged in sundry  challenges socially , economically and politically  .

Most countries are seriously hit by absolute poverty which is lack of basic needs, situational and in-come poverty, especially in Africa with a total population of 1 billion people. Its entire population is extremely affected by poverty because of climate change caused by Global Warming which leads to 90% induced anthropogenic disasters which have led to severe metrological and hydrological droughts. This is because, we are above 1,5 degrees of warming .

The above mentioned catastrophes have drastically impacted more on communities, in Africa, small island countries, banana republics and in some countries failing to cope up with mitigation and adaptation of climate change. This is because of several factors among them, lack of climate finance social cohesion of political will and the International community not in mutual agreements.

Owing attention to climate change effects in many affected developing countries of the World struggling to cope up with climate change , the thorny issue has turned inflammatory , hence the reason why the Paris Agreement called for the necessity to stay below 1,5 degrees of warming .

Yes, it is necessary to stay below 1,5 degrees of warming because there is need to cherish the good of Health for all , have no poverty and drought , create a sustainable globe supported by a nourished environment for a Green Economy .

It is therefore a priority to for the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to foster policy development so as to forecast on climate change mitigation and adaptation through Bio-Diversity protection, research and development programs. Secondly, the implementation of BECCS Technologies to reduce climate change is important.   Also, there is need to create other technologies which are conducive to a pollution free, disease free and an environmentally stable and manageable livable and sustainable community.

The necessity to stay below 1,5 degrees of warming is indisputably vital so that the World cannot be affected by  instability in rainfall , sea level rise , disasters like floods and drought and the subsequent scarcity of water and basic natural resources . These when not afforded and accessed leads to sundry challenges of immense impact to human lives.

An Expert in the field of Environment and Agriculture, Professor Sheunesu Mupepereki of the University of Zimbabwe contacted for comment said if countries stay below 1,5 degrees of warming there are greater chances of stability in rainfall and this can result in good harvests  . The input part comes with bumper output of harvest and the outcome is adequate food supply that is Food Security leading to an Impact of a NO HUNGER COMMUNITY, NO POVERTY, HIGH EDUCATION and HEALTH SERVICE DELIVERY.

‘’For countries to win on the Sustainable Development Goals like the two on ending poverty and hunger , there is great need to work out on environmental sustainable policies especially on Afforestation and environmental and water sustainability , do mitigation and adaptation so that we can achieve a Green Economy in a Sustainable World free from poverty and hunger .

‘’This is only achievable through unison of the Globe sticking to agreements like those already in place like the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreements which have a bit of relief to our changing world . Of- course climate has been changing but 90% of this is attributable to human forces, working towards destroying the Universe’’, he said.

Taking the heated discussion up the ladder, Environmental Management Agency Chief Communications Officer Steady Kangata an Environmentalist as well pointed out that, to stay below 1,5 degrees of warming is not easy as long richer nations fail to agree among themselves and then sit down on the table to take it up with those most affected like African states and the small island countries which are only contributing a little at most not at all .

‘’Richer States have to come together and weave social cohesion ideas meant to reduce effects of climate change so that we are at ease as far as this is concerned . Staying below 1,5 degrees of warming is possible in the long run if the burning of fossil fuels is taken action against . In fact natural solutions will work for us as we get to zero fossil fuel use. The influence of fossil fuels like coal has had diverse vested influence on the change of climate.

‘’There is need to reduce the use of coal , avoid deforestation , concentration of gases like carbon- dioxide in the atmosphere , methane and nitrous oxide which are the main emissions contributing to global warming which is almost above the normal figure I,5 degrees of warming .

‘’Carbon dioxide trapping heat in the atmosphere could be a problem as long there are no measures like policies in place to reduce this , However , countries under the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change have taken stance against this , though much needs to be done’’ , he said .

Another Expert, an Agronomist by profession Professor Mushonjowa pointed out that there is need to stay below 1,5 degrees of warming so as to create conducive environment in Agricultural activities which have been mainly impacted by climate change . He said, the issue of Food Security is not a reality as long countries are not staying below 1,5 degrees Celsius because this leads to food in- security which leads to increase in poverty .

‘’Poverty still continues because we are failing to mitigate and adapt to climate change , but however we need to adopt policies  and strategies which might one day pull us out of absolute poverty as countries are eager to win on sustainable development goals like on no poverty and hunger .

Taking a breath, he said additional effects on water supply , rising temperatures , sea level rise , less predictable weather , drought , floods , storms , changing temperatures and rainfall pattern effects on crops , pests , pollinators and disease organisms are high .This impacts communities socio , economically and politically .

‘’The risk is on long term economic growth challenges which are a big blow in many countries still struggling to be out of poverty and hunger . Let us take note that, ‘’climate is changing, food and Agriculture must change too’’. There is all mighty need to stick to drought resistant crops like sorghum and millet and resort to short season crops like pulses which resists prolonged drought.

‘’Taking a strong look at this, there is need to stay below 1,5 degrees of warming so that we are kept beyond poverty and hunger . In order to keep ourselves away from this , it is important for Africa to invest in Renewable Energy , turn Agriculture to food and Industrial development and support knowledge economy for Innovation and Industrial development in Africa’’ , he added .

According to the World Health Organization, Climate Change has caused 140,000 death due to hunger, water-borne and vector-born ailments .Speaking on the sidelines of Health, Doctor Portia Manangazira who works in the Department of Epidemiology, Ministry of Health and Child Care said the increase in water borne diseases has also been the issue of climate change in many countries mainly hit by devastating floods.

‘’Water-borne diseases are set to increase as long climate lives. The greater increase is due to the issue of climate change which has arose with high incessant rains and sometimes low rainfall compromising on the strong sharp increase in communicable diseases related to vector borne and water borne ones like malaria and cholera respectively .

‘’Although cholera is a result of failure to handle and manage food issues and proper water and sanitation health  well, the sharp increase in climate change could give another big blow as we move forward. It is now all of us our task to look ahead and manage these issues through global dialogue, syllogism and policy change’’. She concluded.

The question of climate justice still hangs in air as some countries like America continue polluting at the expense of the developing countries. The increase in vulnerable people in communities is adversely exacerbated by climate change which is causing these people not to live below 1,5 degrees of warming .However , though there is this need nonetheless , lack of resources in basic need , lack of climate finance and battle lines drawn between the rich and the poor countries stirs great controversy at a time there is increase in vulnerable people because of HIV and AIDS and climate change death .

In the Agriculture sector 2 degrees increase in temperature reduces maize by 5 to 22%  , wheat 10 to 17% and sorghum by 15 to 17% . This leads to food vulnerability leading to high malnutrition and nutrition in-security, poverty and lack of human development .Such is the problem which led to high death rates of 260,000 people in Somalia in 2010 to 2012.

Climate vulnerability in Africa continues as climate change bites with severe pang of pain, but there is need to focus on the rights of people around the world who need stay below 1,5 degrees of warming by enforcing policies which focus on Global Carbon Budget  . In financial costs, Africa will spend almost 7 to 15 billion by 2020.

This could contribute to continuation of poverty later turning to be of harsh effects to women who have 60% big role in rural Agriculture. Because of these issues, women are failing to do their activities because they are much prone to drought, floods and some disasters. Women and children affected most, this constitutes vulnerability and there is likelihood of high maternal, neo-natal and infant mortality in Africa,  up-surge rise of pulmonary and cardio-vascular diseases because the bigger percentage relies on fossil fuels .

Contacted for comment, Pamela Mhlanga, Director of Zimbabwe Women Resource Centre and Network said staying below 1, 5 degrees of warming could mold the girl-child of today to be a mother who contributes far more than men in building a better economy without poverty and hunger, but however, it is sad to note that women voices in climate change issues were so low over the recent years because of lack of equality and equity.

‘’Women participation is always low at all levels but on climate change , let us take the equal front and equip ourselves because we are the ones at the forefront of being mainly affected when disasters come .We need advocacy , sensitization and awareness , awakening women voices in climate change issues to stay below 1,5 degrees of warming . Besides, let us capacity build women on 100% Energy technical support, empowering women with clean, efficient modern stoves’’, she elucidated.

Taking sides, Women Coalition of Zimbabwe Co-coordinator, Sally Dura ignited on the strong issue of Women and 100% Renewable Energy. Renewable Energy is related to solar , geothermal , wave , hydro and wind , but alas , it is sad to note that 70% of people in Africa have no access to this source which is safe , cheap ,reliable , efficient and easy to use .

‘’Staying below 1,5 must start with women in front and it should be buttressed by the need to develop our planet through shared knowledge and the understanding that Renewable energy counts more than   any form of energy these days where injustices are caused by climate change . Still at worst inequalities are   worsening because we are now at most affected by climate itself’’, she echoed.

Reduction in emissions creates a free from pollution world if solar is used by all countries of the world which need support as far as finance is related. This will lead to reduction in carbon emissions, therefore reversing ozone layer depletion which results in Global Warming.

HUNDRED, 100 % RENEWABLE ENERGY is supported by policy frameworks implemented for the advantage of every human being but mostly we need Education on these issues so that we remain vigilant as we move towards building better economies.  Speaking to this Journalist, Gloria Magombo Zimbabwe ENERGY Regulatory Authority Director said in Zimbabwe access to energy is only 40% of which there is need to develop solar so as to reach high levels of economic development.

‘’ It’s much more to talk about 100% Renewable Energy for us to stay as well below 1,5 degrees of warming . Energy budgets, policy development and more education are supposed to be stand together issues of moral concern for us to win also the sustainable development goal on Energy. The more we put focus on the environment we dwell on energy issues promoting a Greener Economy ‘’.

‘’ A greener is Economy is supported by new clean , smart technologies which are against use of fossil fuels and those green-house gases which deplete the ozone layer . Thus why we as SADC we are promoting the use of Solar –Powered vehicles and the use of Diesel 50’’

‘’However some developed countries are already using Diesel 1o but still us as SADC we are behind. It means then we are polluting by using archaic models of cars which use Diesel 100 which is no-longer recommended .This is a solution to curb use of fossil fuels which are not Environmentally friendly .’’

‘’ If 40% of Zimbabweans only have access to energy , then  clean energy use is far less  as expected , then at a global level we still have a long way to achieve staying below 1,5 degrees warming , but then a 100 % global shift towards Renewable Energy is the only close and immediate solution .’’ she said.

The truth on ground lies on strategizing achievable mitigations and correct lined adaptations in order to conquer challenges we face today. The fact is that before the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century there were 280 parts per million of carbon emissions doubling to 400 parts per million, the world becoming 3 to 4 degrees warmer, this leading to high sea-levels tells a success story of climate change victory. Today we are almost a bit below that because of several measures in addition to climate resilience, governance and political will. We need more effort, support, mentorship and education regarding the necessity of staying below 1,5 degrees warmer. Yes,

*NEVSON MPOFU is a multi-Awarded Media Practitioner . Currently, he is a Lecturer of Community Development, HIV and AIDS.  email:nmnevsonmpofu755@gmail.com

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Energy Investments And Finance Vital For The African Green Economy.
June 15, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Energy and Power Development permanent secretary Patson Mbiriri

Energy and Power Development permanent secretary Patson Mbiriri

Sub-Saharan Africa, South East and Pacific Asia which are Energy poverty impacted Regions need at least 49, 4 billion annually to finance their overall Energy projects and the current spending rotating in these Regions is 9 billion. World Bank has over the past years since 2007 financed 31 billion worth Energy projects in developing countries especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In order to monitor the reduction of absolute poverty in the World, there is need to focus strongly on Energy financing in order to develop various energy projects, reduce poverty and win on Sustainable Development Goals particularly Goal number 7 on Energy  by 2030.Africa has the big challenge . One of its Investor , African Renewable Energy Fund finances small projects in Hydro-Power , Wind , Solar , Geo-Thermal , Gas and Biomass .It has 10 to 30 million size of Investments , 200 million total fund size with target return of 20% .

Experts in the Energy sector in Zimbabwe have taken a strong move to work towards sustaining energy projects through sourcing finance and calling for Investments to boost the sector. The prevalent rate of climate change in the countries felt elsewhere in the World is fast reducing BIOFUEL ENERGY relied on by 60% of the rural population mainly in developing countries struggling to grapple with solar energy which is cheap, efficient, though insufficient, it is reliable with those who have used it .The strong fact is Solar is renewable, therefore it is of less cost once purchased.

CLEAN ENERGY FOR ALL programs organized by Business Council for Sustainable Development , Practical Action  and ZERA[Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority ]   held  since issues of energy took Centre stage have since short time memorial brought change in the country which is only 40% solar energy dominated according to recent ZERA information on the ground . Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority Chief Executive Officer, said that adequate financial funding is needed to run Sustainable Energy projects in many countries of the World so as to promote a GREEN REVOLUTION which has special focus on clean energy which does not have effects on human lives as far as pollution is concerned.

Air pollution has over the past years affected communities especially in coal mining areas where a number of people have had problems of respiratory and cardio-vascular diseases. .These challenges have as well been experienced in urban areas where after hydro-power blackout is experienced, dwellers pursue alternative energy sources which lead to destruction of the natural environment and turn to massive use of coal which emits unfriendly pollutants affecting people and the atmosphere.

Experts have summed that, though the need for Green Energy for a Green Revolution, funding is not adequate to promote a GREEN REVOLUTION flourish. Glued in the exclusive interview, the expert said Zimbabwe power shortages are indicated by a deficit of 60% .By February 2016 the country was measured producing only 845 mw against a projected national demand 2,200 megawatts and installed capacity of 1,940 megawatts .

‘’There is need for adequate funding buttressed by competent Investors who support the Energy sector which is under-trodden and submerged by anthropogenic factors contributing to climate change and subsequently affecting the earth which now is heavily compromised in terms of its naturalness, beauty, esthetics and bounty wealth of bio-fuel .The urgent need for regeneration of the energy sector through the support of Investors is no doubt a fact on the ground ‘’.

’’Countries of the world still taking development steps in response to Sustainable Development Goals targets need more funding than the current amount so that they can run sustainable projects which can make developing countries in Africa, Asia and some parts of the World see the light of development in a changing world in which clean energy is the right path to go for in a modern World.’’

‘’Clean Energy is environmentally friendly since it does not lead to air pollution which does have negative impacts on the health of the general public. Many forms of energy have led to changes in climate of which resultant adverse effects there-after have led to depletion of the ozone layer. Clean energy solutions today lead us to a habitable disease free world.’ ’posed the Expert .

Further on ,she cited that high cost financing of Infrastructure amounting from 12 billion to 13 billion to lift up Energy project financing in developing countries is vital .She continued that, for these countries to grow, they need to lure Investments from the developed World through implementation of sound policies meant to reduce energy poverty in the developing world.

‘’Funding for the purpose of Economic development is vital because they is need to promote GREEN ECONOMY. Therefore, we need to support GREEN ENERGY projects on the ground so that we can reach targets of GLOBAL ENERGY growth and achieve Sustainable Development Goals of the UNITED NATIONS’’, ’she concluded.

Commenting on the same issue , Patson Mbiriri , Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development , said , Energy financing was as well delayed by lack of political will in many developing countries like in those where civil strife reduce communities to abject poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa , East and Pacific Asia and in some parts of the World .He added also that lack of expertise and  the issue of brain drain has much impacted .

‘’Lack of this political will  has much trodden  developing countries which even up to now need strong financial support to lift themselves out of absolute poverty . Sustainable Development Goals will lift people in many countries out of poverty like how they have done in developed countries like China, Japan, America and others’’.

‘’Access to energy finance stands vital, hence the reason why Sustainable Development Goals are important. Energy developments over the past decades slackened because Energy was not part of the Millennium Development Goals .The c current Sustainable Development Goals are giving a new image to Energy sources like solar which is are affordable and accessible.

‘’One main important aspect is that of brain drain of African professionals giving their knowledge to greener pastures. The problem is leaving blind spots making management of energy projects a challenge to digest. Also those in leadership at top need more expertise, sensitization and awareness on the importance of energy link to the environment. A green revolution is possible close home if these experts help us with their skills and push for Africa to get Investors. In other words, we are moving slowly towards a GREEN REVOLUTION’’, he said.

Talking on Investor incentives to sustain Energy projects, another Expert in the ENERGY SECTOR, Sustain Ziuke said, incentives are important because Zimbabwe is only 40% covered by solar energy. All in all 80% of energy is urban and 19% is rural. We still have a long way to go . Access to electricity is estimated @ 52% of the total population.

Approximately, 200,000 urban house-holds and 1,2 million rural do not have access to electricity . He expanded by highlighting that there is need to work towards financing of solar since it is cheap and easy to maintain and for developing countries to research and access other Energy types especially in rural areas so that bio-fuel can be saved .

Africa as a whole has those challenges related to energy shortage .There are dangers to the natural environment caused by lack of energy sources. The environment gets deforested without any afforestation, this leading to desertification. Most issues in origin of what is climate change are a result of massive cutting down of trees  . This leads to denudation, mass wasting and serious erosion during rainy season, communities later affected by food –insecurity.

‘’Access to Energy types is the challenge in developing countries. Worse still, wood is 80% to 90% in rural areas and 15 to 30% in African urban areas. For Energy development to take place at fast rate in these countries, there is need for GREEN FUNDING, what we call SMART ENERGY for the sustainability of a GREEN WORLD in which humanity is not affected by POLLUTION, especially AIR POLLUTION which result in Respiratory and Cardio-Vascular Diseases, related to heart and Lung cancer ailments, ’he said.

Zimbabwe which still lags behind in Energy development has fuel wood at 60%, liquid fuel 18%, electricity 13% and coal 8%. Although the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio- Economic Transformation promotes Energy projects sustainability so as to reduce poverty, more than half of its population is living in Energy poverty and needs funding to run such projects.

Many Energy organizations in energy poverty countries have come out with projects which needs sustainable funding . Energy projects in Zimbabwe are  run under the theme, CLIMATE FINANCE FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT. Some of them touched on the issue of diesel -50 and how countries can move towards the use of diesel 10 and the use of solar powered vehicles in the future. The issue of climate change brings in today gender dimensions which call the involvement of women in energy issues because they matter most when it comes to sourcing energy in both rural and urban communities.

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African Countries Meet To Nip Piracy In The Bud
June 15, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Kumbirai

Kumbirai

Member countries of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) have met in Harare, Zimbabwe  at a two day symposium on copyright and related rights on 12 to 14 June, 2018 to find common ground on combating piracy and shaping copyright and related rights systems on the continent.

 The symposium was held under the theme: “Shaping the Copyright and Related Rights System in Africa.”

  The Symposium   discussed critical copyright issues affecting Africa and explored ways to address copyright in the digital environment for the benefit of the right holders, users, and other stakeholders.

   It was attended by at least   65 delegates from 30 countries including experts on Intellectual Property from international organizations like the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) .

 Also   an Exhibition by the 19 ARIPO member states   showcased what is happening in their countries on copyright and related rights.

  Officially opening the symposium, Zimbabwe’s Deputy Attorney General, Mr Kumbirai Hodzi a similar symposium was held in 2017 under the same theme and the 2018 symposium sought to take stock on progress that had been made on copyright and related rights systems in Africa.

 Mr Hodzi said that intellectual property played a very critical role in the protection and dissemination of knowledge and creative industries have assumed major economic significance that contribute significantly to economies.

  He also added that the music industry had potential to contribute meaningfully to African economies buts its protection was lax and piracy was very rampant in most of the countries.

  “Although some countries have laws prohibiting infringement, copyright infringement is the order of the day,” Hodzi said.

  He cited the example of Zimbabwe, where recently one of the country’s musicians, Alick Macheso released a new album that was launched on 8 June, 2018.

  Hodzi said that what was concerning was that before the launch of the album, copies of the musician’s music were already awash in the streets of Harare.

  “People do not seem to think twice about sharing the music, yet to Alick Macheso, these are bread and butter issues and he needs to survive, pay his bills and his band together with its management,” Hodzi said.

  Hodzi lamented how the same scenario has become the order of the day especially in Africa.

    He urged African member states to measure progress on copyright and related rights issues and any change of attitudes following their meetings. He added that the issues of copyright and related rights in Africa need a concerted effort from everyone to include copyright offices, collective management organisations, academics, entrepreneurs and the victims themselves who include artists, among other players.

  Hodzi urged member states of the ARIPO to study how developed countries had done it to be successful in protecting copyright and related rights.

  “Computer software, multi-media products, music, books and other literary works have made the players rich, created employment and contributed meaningfully to the economies of those countries,” Hodzi said.

  According to Hodzi, in 2011, a research was undertaken by Dick Kawooya and others and they published a book on Access to knowledge in Africa: The role of copyright. He said that the research revealed that in all the eight countries were the study was undertaken, all countries had copyright laws that meet and in many cases exceed the minimum international standards reflected in applicable international instruments and agreements.

  He also added that findings also revealed that no country studied takes advantage of all, or even most of, the flexibilities that exist in relevant international agreements.

  The study is also reported to have highlighted a    disconnect between national copyright laws and on the ground practices in all the countries studied. It found that laws and policies governing copyright in most African countries are typically not grounded in the realities of African societies and are largely crafted without sufficient empirical evidence.

  “Unfortunately, these findings might be true to this day. It is well known that the copyright environments in our  countries is not conducive and currently it doesn’t maximise access and protection of knowledge. But l believe we are capable of changing our situations in order to improve both access and protection of our copyrights,” Hodzi said.

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Abedi Pele, four others appointed to run Ghana Football
June 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Abedi Pele

Abedi Pele

The government of Ghana has set up a five-man interim committee chaired by Dr. Kofi Amoah, – chairman of the Local Organising Committee of the CAN 2008 – to oversee the administration of Ghana Football until the current impasse is resolved.

Cudjoe Fianoo, who is the President of the Ghana League Clubs Association (GHALCA) will be the secretary to the interim committee.

Other members of the board include former Black Stars captain Abedi Pele, Rev. Osei Kofi and Sports Journalist Eva Okyere.
The latest move by government comes after an Accra High Court placed a 10-day injunction on officials of the Ghana Football Association and football activities in the country.

The government through the Attorney General is in the process of dissolving the Ghana FA following the premiering of the #Number12 documentary.

Mr. Nyantakyi, a former President of the GFA is also being investigated by the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service over a charge of defrauding by false pretense.

The Financial Intelligence Centre has already written to all banks and non-bank financial institutions in Ghana to provide information on banking details of Mr. Nyantakyi.

The financial institutions have also been ordered to provide the same information on the troubled football powerhouse Ghana Football Association.

A statement by the Information Minister Mustapha Hamid said “Pursuant to an application for interim injunction at the instance of the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice for an order restraining the members, directors and officials of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) from exercising such powers as are ordinarily conferred on them by the provisions of the Companies Act (Act 179), the GFA statutes and other relevant instruments, particularly relating to the organisation of football matches and appointment of executives and other officials, the High Court Commercial Division yesterday the 12″‘ day of June, 2018, granted the said application as prayed, for a limited period of ten (10) days, as provided by the rules of Court.

“It is the intention of Government, at end of this period, to seek a more permanent injunction.

“In the meantime, the government of Ghana has decided to set up an Interim Management Committee to oversee the administration of football and other related matters in Ghana. The five-member committee is made of

1 Dr Kofi Amoah Chairperson
2. Mr. Cudjoe Fianoo Member/Secretary
3. Mr, Abedi Pele Member
4 Rev Osei Kofi Member
5, Ms. Eva Okyere Member

“Mr. Dan Kweku Yeboah will serve as the committee’s spokesperson.

“Government calls on the Ghanaian people to exercise restraint as it takes steps to sanitise the situation and restore normalcy to football in Ghana.”

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Africa urged to repeal prohibitive age limit laws
June 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Andreas Thomas

Former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia

Former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia

Windhoek – The focus of African youth, with regard to their participation in the political arena is gaining momentum, with recent calls to abolish restrictive laws that are marginalizing young people from fully participating in democratic process.

Young people are vastly under-represented in political decision-making. Although 51% of the world’s population is under 30, young people fewer than 30 accounts for a mere 1.9 per cent of lawmakers worldwide. This is largely due to laws that do not allow young people – although they have the right to vote – to have the right to run for office, according to Inter-Parliamentary Union.

The situation is worse in Africa, where formal political institutions are dominated by elders. Most countries in the continent use archaic legislations that prohibit people under 30 to run for political offices including parliaments.

But the tide is turning in favour of young people. Delegates at the Africa Regional Conference on Financing of Electoral Processes held in Windhoek last week from 6-8 June, have called on countries to re-consider these prohibitive laws.

They said by lowering the minimum age of people to take up political office, will encourage the youth to fully engage in politics and decision making processes.

The conference that was held under the “Inclusive Democracy for Sustainable Development”  was attended by representatives from electoral management bodies from 16 African countries.

“We heard from some countries where they have actually reduced the ages for allowing the youth to become members of parliament. And I think one of the question, which was raised here is how electoral management bodies make sure that youth are now more included in the electoral process. Because we see that the youth participation is not always at optimum level, although you find that on the lection registers, on voters roll, probably 40 percent and in some countries you find that 50 percent or even above are youth,” said the ECN Chairperson, Advocate Notemba Tjipueja said on the sideline of the conference.

Former Liberian president Ellen Jonson-Sirleaf also wants to see African countries adopting non-age discriminatory laws. Jonson-Sirleaf noted that some countries in Africa are heading the call, and considering age reduction legislation as most young people taking up leadership roles.

Nigeria has taken a big leap with regard to inclusive political participation, after President Muhammad Buhari signed the ‘Not Too Young To Run Bill into law on May 29, that was hailed in the West African country as a welcoming development.

The law that was passed by the Senate last year, reduces age requirement to run for presidency from 40 to 35, State Governor from 35 to 30, Senator from 35 to 30; House of representatives from 30 to 25 and State House of Assembly from 30 to 25.

While addressing the Namibian Parliamentary Women Caucus and the Standing Committee for Gender Equality, Social Development and Family Affairs in Windhoek on June 5, Johnson-Sirleaf has cautioned African leadership against neglecting its young.

More than 60% of Africa’s population is under 35, and this segment, Johnson-Sirleaf warned that is running out of patience. She said young people are demanding to be part of decision-making process and to benefit from the continent’s immeasurable mineral resources.

“Our continent is young. On average, 60 per cent of our population is 35 years and under, with school leaving increasing the numbers of those that are ready for jobs and job opportunities that are not expanding fast enough to be able to absorb them. That is an issue that is facing different degrees in most of our countries,” the Nobel Peace laureate has cautioned.

“How are they going to be patient enough as we prepare them for leadership and how will some of them respond because they don’t have that patience and want to see themselves progress as they believe the nation should provide them the opportunity?”

Johnson-Sirleaf challenged parliaments to devise strategies that provide solutions issues affecting the youth in Africa.

Johnson-Sirleaf has also encouraged African youth to pull up their sleeves and try improve their conditions.

“The youth must also have responsibility to be on par of the positive changes in societies. To pursue the best education they can, to become excellence in what they do, whether in school, the work they do, to be able to aspire toward what they want to be and to work hard for it,” she advised.

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Anas petitions EOCO, BoG, AG to probe Nyantakyi
June 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah.

Ace Investigative Journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas has petitioned the Attorney General, the Bank of Ghana and the Economic and Organised Crime Office to probe the tenure of Kwesi Nyantakyi as President of the Ghana Football Association.

According to Anas, his undercover engagement with the resigned GFA boss shows that Mr. Nyantakyi abused his office for financial exploits.

The work by Anas has led to the near dissolution of the Football Association by the Government of Ghana. Several of the FA officials who were indicted in the investigative story have been asked to step aside while Mr. Nyantakyi, who has resigned, is on a police enquiry bail for fraudulently using the name of President Akufo-Addo in the secret filming.

In a petition sent to the respective state agencies, the journalist said “We have found Mr. Nyantakyi abusing his office, breaching his fiduciary duties, engaging in acts of egregious conflict of interest, demanding and receiving gifts and other benefits, and engaging in bribery and corruption, and money laundering. These were uncovered by way of hard facts”.

The petition further noted: “For a period of three (3) months in 2017, I (together with my associates operating under the corporate name of Tiger Eye P.I.) conducted an undercover investigative journalism work into perceived corruption of Mr. Nyantakyi. The investigation sought to ascertain whether there was any basis for the perception, especially after the much-publicized money claims fiasco that characterized Ghana’s participation in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

“By his conduct, as detailed in paragraph 2 above and evidenced by the attached documentary evidence, it is our firm belief that Mr. Nyantakyi breached the criminal laws of Ghana including offences as money laundering, corruption, bribery, and fraud by false pretenses, by abusing his office.

“It is upon the foregoing that we request a full-scale investigation into the activities of Mr. Nyantakyi, especially his stewardship of the Ghana Football Association and Fountain Savings & Loans Limited. Our investigation revealed the equity holding structure of Fountain Savings and Loans Limited as follows:

“Newfikin Limited 6,500 shares • Kwesi Nyantakyi 6,000 shares • Pro KN Communications – 2,250 shares . Mr. Nyantakyi is also the sole shareholder of Pro KN Communications —thus making him the majority equity holder in Fountain Savings and Loans Limited — confirming his assertion of ownership.

“After waiting for weeks without the transfer of the sponsorship money, Mr. Nyantakyi grew restless and sent an electronic mail circa 12 November 2017 to my outfit (the supposed Dr. Marzuq A. Albadawir) complaining about the lateness of the arrival of the money.

“Circa 25 November 2017, Mr. Nyantakyi sent another email to my outfit (the supposed Dr. Marzuq A. Albadawir) detailing the payment to be made at the time and offering the supposed Dr. Albadawir USD100,000 a year for three (3) years on the earned commission of 10%. Mr. Nyantakyi also offered USD20,000 to the supposed Dr. Albadawir, being 10% of an appearance fee of USD200,000.  Through a further series of emails exchanged between Mr. Nyantakyi and my outfit (mainly the supposed Dr. Marzuq A. Albadawir), Mr. Nyantakyi set up in clearer form the scheme for the sponsorship for the Ghana Premier League and government contracts.

“Scheme of the Sponsorship of the Ghana Premier League.  In respect of the sponsorship of the Ghana Premier League, Mr. Nyantakyi set out a scheme both orally (in the audio-visual recorded meeting); the handwritten and printed memoranda of understanding; and in electronic mail correspondence as follows”.

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Banks ordered to release account details of Nyantakyi, GFA
June 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah.

Kwesi Nyantakyi, President of Ghana Football Association

Kwesi Nyantakyi, President of Ghana Football Association

The Financial Intelligence Centre has written to all banks and non-bank financial institutions in Ghana to provide information on banking details of former president of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) Kwesi Nyantakyi.

The financial institutions have also been ordered to provide the same information on the troubled football powerhouse Ghana Football Association.

The Financial Intelligence Centre, established to protect the economy and particularly the financial integrity of Ghana, is following a money laundering lead on Mr. Nyantakyi following Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ explosive investigations into corrupt activities in Ghana football.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Centre Kwaku Duah in a letter dated June 11, 2018 to the banks stated:

“Pursuant to Section 28 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2008 (Act 749), as amended, kindly furnish us with the following information on subjects and any other connected accounts:

“1. Mandate and Account opening forms.

“2. Business Registration Document.

“3. Legible copy of photo identity.

“4. Evidence of Know Your Customer (KYC) and Customer Due Diligence (CDD).

“5. All transaction details (bank statement) from January 2014 to date.

“6. Copies of all SWIFT Messages received for the same period (if any).

“7. Copies of Verification of Beneficiary Owners form completed in respect of transfers. ”

The financial institutions have up to Thursday, June 14, 2018 to furnish the Centre with soft copy of the requested documents.

Meanwhile, the government through the Attorney General is in the process of dissolving the Ghana FA following the premiering of the #Number12 documentary. A High Court on Tuesday gave the government the green light to start the process.

Mr. Nyantakyi is also being investigated by the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service over a charge of defrauding by false pretense.

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USA Gears Towards Free HIV Generation By 2030 As Pepfar Rolls Out Free Hiv And Aids Programs.
June 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Harare, May 2nd 2018: On Workers Day, May 1, U.S. Mission in Zimbabwe Charge' d' Affaires Jennifer Savage paid tribute to all health workers in Zimbabwe.

Harare, May 2nd 2018: On Workers Day, May 1, U.S. Mission in Zimbabwe Charge’ d’ Affaires Jennifer Savage paid tribute to all health workers in Zimbabwe.

PEPFAR-President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief an American HIV and AIDS humanitarian Organization is currently reaching out in all provinces of the country carrying out free HIV Testing. The Community HIV Testing program is reaching out even those deep marginalized communities to address the issue of HIV and AIDS with the inclusive spirit of rolling out free Health services, knowledge and capacity building to the communities. Apart from its Zimbabwe commitment, this support is being extended to other countries in which PEPFAR is working in .

In an exclusive interview with the Co-coordinator of the on running nation-wide program   Adesanyu Fanmi recently in the city Centre in Harare at a testing and counseling site along First street ,  said  the program is unique in the sense that those diagnosed HIV positive are put on Anti-Retroviral treatment with a kick-start of free ARV supply at the site where information is supplied as well .

‘’This program is meant for all communities without favor, discrimination and marginalization at all. It is unique in that HIV services are supplied at the site of HIV testing and counseling by experts in the field .Those diagnosed positive to HIV are immediately put on FREE ART without delay.

‘’We are as an organization getting to 95-95-95 targets, that is ensuring that at least 95% of people living with HIV know their HIV status , 95% of those who know their status are adherent to ant-retroviral treatment [ART] and 95% on ART are virally suppressed and no-longer spread HIV .

‘’ In other words our initiatives include building and improving on laboratories across the country , HIV and AIDS counseling services of which we have reached 2,3 million with HIV testing and counseling services . Also we offer circumcisions and by 2018, we are targeting 306 000 males .

The community HIV testing is currently around the country with in mind the need to encourage people to get tested; put on ART and to suppress the virus so as to move towards total elimination of HIV which if left not well managed progresses to AIDS. PEPFAR supports procurement of ARVs to ensure treatment for ALL. The other initiative is the DREAMS PROJECT –DETERMINED, RESILIENT, be EMPOWERED and, AIDS FREE, MENTORIED AND SAFE which is in 6 districts in the country and intends to reduce new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women.

In its endeavor to eradicate the spread of the epidemic which is global , PEPFAR is working with some organizations in Zimbabwe like OPHID , ZACH , NEW START CENTRE , UN AGENCIES like UNITAID , WHO and the Ministry of Health and Child Care ‘s AIDS and TB Department . Some of its partner organizations in Zimbabwe are its sister organization USAI, Centre for Disease Control, AFRICAID and Population Services Zimbabwe.

Adesanyu further stated that these organizations are all in all complimenting the work done by PEPFAR by show casing their good works through multi-co-ordinated systems and by getting into the communities around the country.

‘We are working with a number of organizations some of which like PSI are co-coordinating HIV and AIDS programs around the country.

‘’We have the goal in mind to end HIV by 2030. Like now people no longer talk much about AIDS because of the effort being put on ground by several Non –Governmental Organizations working to end HIV by 2030.

‘’There is much effort needed to end the epidemic by 2030. We are saying , a free HIV generation by 2030 through the implementation of vital programs , policies and working on impact sensitive programs like the one we have launched in the country ‘’, she said .

The globe at a glance is tight clipped to work towards total elimination of  a deadly pandemic which has claimed more than 30 million lives , more than 40 million are HIV positive in the world and Africa is more affected since it is the continent highly impacted by HIV  especially HIV 1 in Southern Africa  . For more than 30 years, American people have provided over 3 billion in assistance to Zimbabwe.

HIV 1 which belongs to a group of viruses called retroviruses is more virulent and it affects worse in many developing countries of the world like in Sub-Saharan -Africa , parts of Asia , the Caribbean , parts of Europe and America .

Commenting on the same issue DR Mushavi  from the Ministry of Health and Child Care said the world is moving towards the 95 – 95 -95 targets in order to see a free HIV generation .

‘’We need to move further to reach these targets still with the message of getting tested , be on ARVS and suppress the HIV epidemic around the world . But let’s fight the battle in our own country, moving ahead with the times in Technology and Medical Research so that we can devour the 5% remaining and be 100% . By doing so , we are to grapple with the challenge’’, she said

The battle is long and tiresome. We are talking of Global Crisis, this is a result of this epidemic which is pulling us down, but it is a battle which we can end if we take a strong focus on 95-95-95 targets in Pediatric HIV. EGPAF has gone long in the protracted battle in the country but DR Mahobva states that the battle is still long before we reach it.

‘’We need not to boast above our heads like champions in this battle. We are still going on in the great fight against HIV and AIDS but let us focus more on ending pediatric HIV , ending it in our children , they need our support , they look towards us because we are the ones responsible for their plight .We there need to promulgate prevention of Mother to Child transmission [PMTCT] programs in Zimbabwe .

‘’Let us talk of co-infections in our children by creating their space for a free HIV generation even before 2030. Let us integrate HIV and AIDS programs at grassroots, fight those opportunistic infections co-infecting our children. Let us suppress the virus as targeted by all organizations in this fight’’ ,she posed .

This Research Journalist has in mind the opinion that if all older generations are deceased and only the current young generations are left free of the virus and they have the notion to abstain from unsafe sex, be faithful and resort to condom use , then we have a free HIV generation in the future .

Judith Mukaro who works for an HIV and AIDS organization ,Women and AIDS Network based in Harare sees HIV and AIDS centered more on women and children who fail to resource themselves as they are more poverty stricken and impinged by African values pinned by male domination .Apart from , she dwells on Law issues .

‘’Women and children empowerment stands vital if we are to succeed, but as a country we are pushed backwards by economic hardships. Apart from all we know, we need to address Gender equality and equity supporting Laws like the Domestic Violence Act , Willful HIV transmission , crafting sundry policies at national level to address culture , tradition , ethnicity , stigma and its malice related to HIV .

‘’Let us fight economic hardships if we are to succeed in the battle. We do not have resources as a country to empower women especially those HIV positive, it means then, it’s a long struggle but there is relief with PEPFAR and more of these organizations giving the country support’’, she gave a closing remark ..

The Community HIV testing program is a success so far in all communities since a number of people now resists opportunistic infections like Tuberculosis which exacerbates the spread. Communities are now opening up in HIV tests, giving testimonies on their HIV status , getting re-tested , putting themselves on ART , suppressing virus and fighting stigma  and discrimination .

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Human Rights In English Speaking Regions:Amnesty Drops The Hammer on Cameroon
June 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

– Report And Recommendations Were Discussed With Senior Officials At The Presidency – Ilaria Allegrozzi Lake Chad Researcher

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Imagery : High resolution imagery captured on 21 January 2018 shows Kwakwa has been almost completely razed. White ash blankets the areas where structures once stood. Again, cloud cover prevents full analysis of the area. ©Amnesty International.

High resolution imagery captured on 21 January 2018 shows Kwakwa has been almost completely razed. White ash blankets the areas where structures once stood. Again, cloud cover prevents full analysis of the area. ©Amnesty International.

While there may be no official reaction yet from the government of Cameroon on the recent Amnesty International report, Ilaria Allegrozzi, Lake Chad Researcher says the human rights group had very open and productive discussions on the findings with Senior Officials at the Presidency last week.

“We hope that our message and recommendations will be taken on board,” says Allegrozzi whose research shows that people have been caught between two fires, victims of gross abuses by the army and acts of violence committed by armed separatists.

In an exclusive interview with Pan African Visions, Ilaria Allegrozzi says the report was based on interviews with over 150 victims and eye witnesses of the flagrant human right violations such as  unlawful killings, arbitrary arrests, torture and destruction of private property.

Rather than resolving the crisis, the heavy handed response by the authorities have only empowered radical violent movements and created a climate of fear, according to the report from Amnesty International. While the report has ample documentation of gross excesses from the military with the burning of whole villages, killings, arbitrary arrest and torture of people in the course of military operations in the Anglophone regions, there are instances where armed separatists are faulted for attacks on security forces, state emblems schools and ordinary people.

“We did not ask the question about conditions for peace but noted that the majority of them said that they won’t return unless there’s an independent state of Ambazonia ,” Allegrozzi said in response to what it will take for normalcy to return. Amnesty will continue to closely monitor developments and  do follow up with  Cameroon and international partners on its recommendations, Allegrozzi  said.

Thanks for accepting to discuss the recent Amnesty Report on Cameroon (A Turn for the worse), can you start with the numbers, those killed, number of refugees and other vital statistics that you found in your research?

Pictures taken at the beginning of March 2018 in Belo, showing a burnt Toyota Picnic. According to evidence collected by Amnesty International, the vehicle was set ablaze by security forces manning a checkpoint at the Belo motor park on 2 February 2018. ©Amnesty International.

We did not compile any statistics  registering  the no of people (general population) killed; we have compiled stats registering the no of security forces (policemen, gendarmes, soldiers) killed by armed separatists since Sept 2017 to day and it is 44. 44 might well be an underestimation and we believe the number is higher. We also came up with stats registering the number of schools attacked by armed separatists. It’s 42 of which 36 burnt, the remaining either partially or totally destroyed. For this figure too, we think we might have underestimated the number of attacks. However, we only wanted to go public with the figures we were sure about 100 per 100. In terms of refugees (Anglophone Cameroonian requesting asylum in Nigeria): the official figures put out by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) at May 2018 are of 20.400 (note this figure includes only those officially registered by UNHCR; in addition we believe there are at least some other 10.000 scattered around Nigeria in various isolated areas). Most of the refugees settled in cross river state, Nigeria; but some also are found in Benue state, the capital Abuja, Lagos and elsewhere. Note that those who fled (mostly last year and especially after Sept-Oct 2017 and after Dec. 2017) and are settled in cross river state are mostly from the SW region, from villages and cities very near to the border. There are also other people in the North and South West Regions who fled, but internally, within Cameroon. The no of IDPs (internally displaced people) in the North and South West regions is estimated at 160.000 (possibly underestimation). 160.000 is a figure put out by UN humanitarian agencies in Cameroon.

Often times , the government and its supports cast doubts on the work and reports of Amnesty International, how was this research done and what measures did you take to ensure the findings were indisputable on facts and accuracy?

We always stand by our findings. Our methodology is thorough and evidence solid. We have interviewed over 150 victims and eye-witnesses to Human Right  violations by the security forces and acts of violence by the armed separatists, as well as families of victims, and a wide range of key informants from different sectors (lawyers, journalists, religious and traditional leaders, academics, human rights defenders, members of civil society, political leaders and activists within the separatist movement and groups, national and international human rights and security experts, and staff of the United Nations, INGOs). In addition we have collected, analyzed and verified material evidence, including videos, photographs, med records, court docs and sat imagery. 

What are some of the reactions you have received since the report was published, while it heavily indicts the government and its military for its excesses, it equally says armed separatist groups carried out violent attacks on the security forces, your take on reactions.

We are still waiting for the official reaction of the government. We were able to visit Cameroon last week and met with the Director of the Civil Cabinet at the presidency. We shared the findings of the report. The discussion was open and productive. We hope that our messages and recommendations will be taken on board.

When doing your research and producing the report, does Amnesty International take into account the notion of self defence? When you have villages razed down as described by you, people arrested and tortured, how do you expect them to react?

Our research looks at the human rights impact of the crisis. We focused on the violence and human rights violations against the general population. Our research shows that the people have been caught between two fires, victims of the abuses by the army and the acts of violence committed by the armed separatists.

We see instances where you mentioned schools been burnt down by separatist groups, did you not find it curious that even some of the schools heavily guarded by the army were still destroyed? In this case how do you attribute the destruction to separatist groups as you describe them?

The cases we documented have been carefully verified. We have no doubt that all the cases we documented of attacks on schools were carried out by armed separatists. Sometimes it was difficult to attribute responsibility of attacks to specific separatists groups, some individuals acting in support of the general cause (armed struggle + secession) but failing to specifically mention which group they belong to. In our new briefing, we used the phrase “self-proclaimed armed separatists” to describe a spectrum of groups embracing an armed struggle for secession from Cameroon in order to create an independent state of “Ambazonia”. One of the most prominent groups, as you know, is the Ambazonia Defense Forces (ADF), which emerged in early 2017. But there are numerous other groups which also claim to be in active armed struggle in different locations across the North and South West regions, which appear heterogeneous and splintered in nature, often acting at local levels, in the absence of a coordinated, unified structure and political leadership. We have documented violence perpetrated by individuals or groups of individuals, who acted on their own initiative, but having expressed support to or known by their communities as acting in sympathy with a self-proclaimed armed group or the armed struggle for secession.

Under what conditions are refugees both in Nigeria and those spread across the country living?

The humanitarian situation of refugees is of concern but not catastrophic (compared to other humanitarian emergencies). Lots of solidarity from Nigerian families offering shelter, food, water. The question is how long is this sustainable for? Durable solutions need to be found to ensure refugees’ needs are addressed and conditions for their return are met.

For the refugees in Nigeria, what international protections or protocols cover them, was the Nigerian government right in arresting and deporting Ayuk Tabe and others from Southern Cameroons who sought refuge there?

We have called on the government of Nigeria to respect its international obligations with respect to the rights of refugees, as per the 1951 UN refugee convention which Nigeria has duly ratified. We have condemned the extradition of Ayuk Tabe and the other 46 Anglophones. We are calling on the government of Cameroon to reveal their whereabouts, provide them access to lawyers/families/doctors, and stop their illegal-arbitrary-incommunicado detention. As you know the risk of torture is very high when people are detained in secret. We have widely documented the systematic use of torture by Cameroonian security forces and intelligent services in illegal detention facilities, including military bases.(see report Secret torture chamber released last year in July).

A number of people from the North West and South West Regions have been handed lengthy jail sentences, what do you make of the way the judicial process in Cameroon is working in this time of crisis?

We have condemned the arbitrary arrest and detention of hundreds of people arrested since the beginning of last year in the context of peaceful demonstrations, security operations, etc. We have called on authorities to make sure arrests and detentions are conducted in compliance with international human rights and domestic law, and ensure all security forces are trained on and understand these norms.  We also asked them to ensure that there are sufficient, recognizable and precise grounds for arrest and that evidence is appropriately gathered. A suspect must only be arrested if there is a reasonable suspicion that he or she may have committed a crime. If there are insufficient grounds for arrest, the person must be immediately released. Also we have recommended authorities to ensure that detainees are promptly brought before an independent civilian court that upholds international fair-trial standards, are informed of the charges against them, and have knowledge of and access to legal procedures allowing them to challenge the legality of their detention. As we have largely documented in the context of the fight against Boko Haram (we have observed dozens of trial proceedings at the military courts, including the trial of Mr Felix Agbor Balla, Mr Fontem and other Anglophones), we believe that there are several challenges for the Cameroonian justice system.

LACK OF INDEPENDENCE OF MILITARY COURTS – Military trials in Cameroon are heard by three people: the tribunal president, who is a military or civilian judge, and two military officers. While the tribunal president is trained in the law, the two military officers lack legal training. The lack of independence and impartiality of military courts raises serious due process concerns. Because such courts belong to the executive rather than the judicial branch of government, and are generally staffed by military officers subservient to the executive, they typically have an institutional tendency to defer to the executive’s dictates. Recognizing military courts’ inherent bias, the Principles on Fair Trial in Africa state that they “should not in any circumstances whatsoever have jurisdiction over civilians.” In addition, human rights mechanisms such as the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention have stated categorically that military courts should not be authorized to impose the death penalty.183 Amnesty International considers that the jurisdiction of military courts should be limited to trials of military personnel for breaches of military discipline.

THIN AND UNRELIABLE EVIDENCE Perhaps the most serious failing in many of the proceedings we observed is the lack of solid evidence implicating the defendants. For the cases involving Boko Haram suspects, for ex, the evidence presented by the prosecution is in the form of written affidavits included in the case file, frequently from unnamed—and thus, to the defence, unknown—sources. The prosecution often relies heavily on circumstantial evidence that might plausibly raise a suspicion of criminal activity, but which should not be sufficient to support a conviction.

How do you sum up the mindsets of the 150 victims and eye witnesses that you spoke to when it comes to lasting solutions to the crisis? At least to the majority of people you spoke to what are the prerequisites for peace?

We did not ask the question about conditions for peace. We noted that the majority of them said that they won’t return unless there’s an independent state of Ambazonia (!)

Protesters were marching with peace plans at the onset.The heavy handed response by Cameroonian authorities has empowered violent movements and created a climate of fear according to Amnesty International

Protesters were marching with peace plans at the onset.The heavy handed response by Cameroonian authorities has empowered violent movements and created a climate of fear according to Amnesty International

Drawing from lessons from other parts of Africa and the world, why do you think the international has remained largely indifferent to the crisis in Cameroon, how bad does it have to get before more is done on their part to help in finding solutions?

We do not believe the international community has remained indifferent. On the contrary, it did mobilized and was at times vocal. This is definitely thanks also to the powerful diaspora, how it played out its messages and sometimes its propaganda. We think that there was definitely less attention about the Boko haram conflict, despite the scale, amount, gravity of HR violations committed by the security forces in the fight against Boko haram was way bigger than what we have seen in the N and S west.

What were some of the challenges involved in the production of the reports, how risky was it for those providing you information or associates of yours in the country who participated in compiling the report?

Access to the South and North West was limited / restricted and we had to find alternative/creative ways to collect and verify info, using for example satellite imagery to assess the scale of destruction of certain villages, as we were not able to go physically there

What next for Amnesty International in Cameroon after this report?

We’ll continue to monitor the situation on the ground, collect info about human rights violations and violence. We will follow up on the recommendations outlined in the report with both the Cameroonian authorities and the international partners of Cameroon, through advocacy, campaigning and lobbying.

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KCC dispute: GÉCAMINES reaches an agreement with KATANGA GROUP, and defines with GLENCORE the foundations for a new win-win partnership
June 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

LUBUMBASHI, Democratic Republic of Congo, June 13, 2018/ — On 12 June 2018, GÉCAMINES (www.Gecamines.cd), together with its subsidiary SOCIÉTÉ IMMOBILIÈRE DU CONGO (“SIMCO”), entered into with KATANGA MINING LIMITED and some of its affiliated companies (the “KATANGA GROUP”) as well as their joint company KAMOTO COPPER COMPANY (“KCC”), a settlement agreement (the “Agreement”).

Under the terms of the Agreement, the following goals and results are targeted, among others:

  • KCC’s net equity will be restored in accordance with applicable laws ;
  • KCC’s indebtedness towards the GLENCORE group will be reduced from 9 billion USD down to 3.45 billion USD as at 1 January 2018;
  • Interest rates applicable on intra-group loans are revised and shall no longer exceed 6% per year;
  • On the basis of KCC’s current business plan, as early as the 2019 fiscal year, GÉCAMINES will start, for the first time, receiving dividends, which assessed cumulated amount should exceed 2 billion USD over the next ten years;
  • The profits will allow for the payment of corporate taxes being likely to significantly contribute to the replenishment the Congolese State’s treasury;
  • A better valuation, in the future, of GÉCAMINES’ contribution of the copper and cobalt deposits to the partnership through a significant increase of the amount per ton of the pas de porte, from 35 USD to 110 USD, and which can reach 170 USD in certain scenarios;
  • A significant increase of the valuation of GÉCAMINES’ ownership in KCC, which value was until then nil due to the high level of indebtedness of the company;
  • The waiver by KCC to the benefit of the JORC certified reserves amounting to 3,992,185 tCu and 205,629 tCo (the “Reserves”), releasing GÉCAMINES from its obligation to deliver the Reserves or, failing that, to pay a counter-value of a maximum amount of 285 million USD;
  • The payment by the KATANGA GROUP of a settlement indemnity (150 million USD) in favor GÉCAMINES; and
  • The withdrawal by GÉCAMINES and SIMCO, at closing, from the judicial proceeding initiated before the Commercial Court of Kolwezi on 20 April 2018.

    GÉCAMINES welcomes the outcome of the discussions with the KATANGA GROUP and its majority shareholder GLENCORE PLC, and the new foundations now set for the partnership, with a view to an effective sharing of wealth, with immediate financial benefits for all the stakeholders, and in particular the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the affected communities. GÉCAMINES hopes that upcoming negotiations with other partners and companies will be conducted in a similar open and respectful climate, and will reach the same satisfactory outcome.

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