*Says: The threat of impeachment is not strange in Democracy
* It’s unfortunate political thugs turns armed robbers
By Olayinka Ajayi
Barrister Tolu Babaleye
Barrister Tolu Babaleye is a right activist and a Lawyer committed to the defenceless in Nigeria. In this encounter with Pan African Visions, he bears his mind on the implications of the continuous face-off between the Nigerian Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Nation’s Inspector General of Police on the nation’s democracy.
How will you describe the crisis rocking Nigeria’s National Assembly with regards to the 12 point agenda raised at a joint session held lately?
The National Assembly is the third arm of government and its main responsibility is to do checks and balancing of the other two arms of government. It is also the National Assembly that makes the difference between the democratically elected government and a military dictatorship or oligarchy system of government. When you remove the National Assembly from democracy, it is no longer democracy. It will become a dictatorial government. What the national assembly did last week is a wake up call to the Presidency to live up to his responsibilities. I do not see the threat of impeachment as anything strange. It is just a weapon kept in case the President refuse to act on the items listed inform of resolution by the joint section of the National Assembly.
But some groups claimed the senate president is the one inciting the legislators against the President because he has been at a logger head with the IGP, what do you make of this?
The Senate President is just an individual out of many that we have in the National Assembly. If any member decides to support the motion in the house, I don’t think they should put the blame on the Senate president because he is just a presiding officer. In fact, it is the floor members that decide and the Senate President will only read out their decisions to the public. So it’s impossible for the Senate President to influence any member if they are not willing, considering the fact that the ruling party has the majority in the National Assembly and these members are still the one calling the President to order. I don’t think anybody should blame it on the Senate president. So it is what the members want.
What about the continuous face off between the leadership of the Senate and the IGP?
It is not healthy for our democracy because both the Senate President and the IGP are supposed to work together on how to move the nation forward. But in a situation where the IGP has refused to appear before the Senate, it is not good for our democracy. They are laying a bad precedence by saying the National Assembly do not have the power to summon the IGP. It will have a serious implications on the future of our democracy. I want Nigerians to look at the institution of the National Assembly and not the personality occupying various offices and the leadership. It is very wrong for Senate to summon the IGP and he will refuse to appear and now turn around to say the National Assembly and House of Reps members have questions to answer in a way. This is not good for our democracy.
Does the rift have anything to do with the name of the Senate President mentioned in the Offa Kwara state robbery case?
It is so unfortunate that political thugs will turn out to be armed robbers. From the report of the police, it is very glaring that the people who perpetrated the robbery are political thugs who have been operating in Offa and the environs. The question we must ask ourselves is that is political thuggery not different from armed robbery? If the political thugs confessed that they are political thugs of the Senate President but he did not ask them to go and rob. Why must you now link the Senate President with robbery? Political thuggery should be treated as such and armed robbery should also be treated as such.
Security forces are battling to contain the conflict
Escalating violence in Cameroon has led to armed separatists and security forces attacking and torturing people in the country’s Anglophone regions, according to a new report by Amnesty International.
“They tied our hands behind our backs, gagged us and tied our faces with our towels and shorts, which they tore. They, then made us lie in the water, face down for about 45 minutes,” a man, one of 23 people detained in the South-West region’s town of Dadi, told Amnesty of the alleged torture he experienced at the hands of military.
“During three days, they beat us with shovels, hammers, planks, and cables, kicked us with their boots and poured hot water on us… when I tried to move and shouted, one of them used the cigarette he was smoking to burn me.”
A teacher from a government school in the North-West region – one of the two mainly English-speaking areas where activists are demanding independence – told Amnesty how armed separatists raided the school and shot him in the leg.
“The assailant […] told me that I was still coming to school in defiance of calls for a schools boycott. He then asked me to raise my hands, but before I could do so, he shot me. I fell to the ground,” the teacher said.
These are some of the 150 accounts, from victims and eye-witnesses, documented by Amnesty about conflict in the Central African nation.
The mainly English-speaking the North-West and South West have been gripped by unrest since activists stepped up their campaign for independence in 2016.
They claim the country’s French-speaking majority is marginalising the English-speaking minority.
Amnesty alleges the ensuing government crackdown and unrest has gradually turned into an armed conflict, leaving the general population at the whim of two opposing forces.
“People in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions are in the grip of a deadly cycle of violence,” Samira Daoud, Amnesty’s deputy director for the region, said in a statement.
“Their [government] heavy-handed response will do nothing to calm the violence – in fact it is likely to further alienate Anglophone communities and fuel further unrest,” she said.
“Security forces have indiscriminately killed, arrested and tortured people during military operations which have also displaced thousands of civilians,” Ms Daoud added.
The report alleges the military destroyed villages. It also claims detainees were blindfolded and severely beaten with wires, sticks, guns and wires, “as well as being electrocuted and burnt with hot water”, the report says.
Didier Badjeck, an army spokesman, dismissed Amnesty’s claims of torture and violence as “rumours”.
Armed separatists are also accused by Amnesty of killing 44 security force members and attacking dozens of schools between February 2017 and May 2018 in a bid to “strike fear amongst the population”.
Teachers and students are being targeted for not participating in the boycott of schools seen by many as a symbol of how the English language has been marginalised by the authorities, Amnesty says.
Separatists have gone “as far as burning down schools and targeting teachers who did not enforce the boycott,” Ms Daoud said.
Amnesty also documented five attacks on traditional chiefs, accused of sympathising with the government.
The rights’ group says authorities have to protect the general population by ensuring “accountability for crimes committed by the security forces as well as by the armed separatists”.
“They must immediately end the use of unlawful, unnecessary and excessive force and ensure that people are protected,” the report said.
Cameroon’s President Paul Biya has condemned “all acts of violence, regardless of their sources and their perpetrators,” in a 2017 Facebook post.
Many in Cameroon’s English-speaking minority have protested against discrimination
Cameroon was colonised by Germany and then split into British and French areas after World War One.
Following a referendum, British-run Southern Cameroons joined the French-speaking Republic of Cameroon in 1961, while Northern Cameroons voted to join English-speaking Nigeria.
FILE – In this June 21, 2016 file photo, former Congolese Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba enters the courtroom of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. International Criminal Court appeals judges overturned Friday, June 8, 2018 the convictions of former Congolese Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba for atrocities committed by his forces in Central African Republic. The reversal delivered a serious blow to ICC prosecutors by scrapping all the convictions in the court’s first trial to focus largely on sexual violence and on command responsibility – the legal principle that a commanding officer can be held responsible for crimes committed by his or her troops or for failing to prevent or punish the crimes. (Michael Kooren, Pool via AP, File)
International Criminal Court judges on Tuesday ordered the interim release of former Congolese Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba, days after he was acquitted on appeal of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Bemba was acquitted Friday and his 18-year sentence was overturned, but he remained in custody because he is awaiting a final sentencing in another case in which he was convicted of interfering with witnesses.
Noting that Bemba already has served more than 80 percent of the maximum five-year sentence he faces in the witness tampering case, judges ruled that it was “disproportionate to further detain Mr. Bemba merely to ensure his appearance for sentencing,” the court said in a statement.
Judges imposed conditions on Bemba’s release including that he not make public statements on the case or contact witnesses.
It was not clear exactly when he would be freed from the court’s detention unit.
The decision came after Bemba’s lawyer urged judges to release him while he awaits a final ruling on the sentence.
Bemba was originally sentenced to one year for the witness tampering conviction. That conviction was upheld on appeal and judges were ordered to impose a new sentence. As the original indictment was in November 2013, Bemba could still face a few months’ prison time with the maximum sentence.
“We respectfully submit that there is no legal or objective justification to separate Mr. Bemba from his family for one day further,” lawyer Melinda Taylor told judges. “We therefore request that he be immediately released to Belgium.”
Prosecutors, however, warned that there was still a risk that Bemba could abscond if released and urged judges to keep him detained until a hearing on his final sentence, which has been set for July 4. Prosecutors want Bemba sentenced to the maximum five years.
Bemba was found guilty in 2016 as a military commander of two counts of crimes against humanity and three counts of war crimes for a campaign of murder, rape and pillaging by his troops, known as the Movement for the Liberation of Congo, in the Central African Republic in 2002 and 2003.
But in a 3-2 majority ruling, appeals judges said Friday that the trial chamber “erred in its evaluation of Mr. Bemba’s motivation and the measures that he could have taken in light of the limitations he faced in investigating and prosecuting crimes as a remote commander sending troops to a foreign country.”
His defense lawyer in that case, Peter Haynes, said earlier he would consider it “very unusual” if judges did not free Bemba.
“I think the message has to be this case is over now; it’s time for everybody to let it go,” Haynes said.
The arrival of Nigeria’s national football team at Mineralnye Vody International Airport in the city of Mineralnye Vody, Stavropol Territory, Russia, ahead of FIFA World Cup Russia 2018. Getty Images
It’s the sixth time Nigeria is competing in the tournament, which makes the Super Eagles a regular World Cup player, only missing out on one tournament since 1994.
While drawing a tough qualifying group, the Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel (30) and midfielder Victor Moses (26) helped the team with wins over Zambia, Cameroon and Algeria but due to poor display in previous years, Nigeria – which is ranked number 50 on the list of international teams – was placed in a weaker pot at the draw held in Russia, and ended up in a group with Croatia, Island and Argentina.
Since Gernot Rohr took charge of the Super Eagles in 2016, the team have progressively grown in team spirit and discipline. The unity fostered in the squad has seen Nigeria adopt a strong mentality that allows them to flourish against the odds. This young team bear the imprint of their manager, who has designed a resilient counterattacking side capable of surprises at the World Cup.
Let’s take a look at Nigeria’s World Cup squad and the other things it will be handy to know.
Nigeria’s World Cup squad – the 23 names
Goalkeepers: Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba), Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna), Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United).
Midfielders: John Obi Mikel (Tianjin TEDA), Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester), Oghenekaro Etebo (Las Palmas), John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva), Joel Obi (Torino).
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Leicester), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester), Victor Moses (Chelsea), Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal), Simeon Nwankwo (Crotone)
If you’re still looking to witness the action live in Russia, you can buy cheap flights from Travelstart your one-stop online travel shop. Although Rohr has tried different formations – including a 3-5-2 used in November’s 4-2 triumph over Argentina – it is clear that he will opt for his trusted 4-2-3-1, based on defensive flexibility and effective counter-attacking football. The strength of the Super Eagles is pinned on the individual brilliance of a few.
The strong and dynamic midfield of the Super Eagles led by captain John Obi Mikel and Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi, paired with the attacking power of Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi, Chelsea’s Victor Moses and Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho, are talented enough to ensure that Nigeria advances from the group stage of the competition.
Djibouti hopes to reach a rapid and equitable solution that is in accordance with the law
DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti, June 12, 2018/ — On 22 February, the Republic of Djibouti (www.Presidence.dj) terminated the DCT (Doraleh Container Terminal) concession, in which DP World is a shareholder and operator. This decision was taken after numerous unsuccessful attempts to get DP World to renegotiate a contract that was clearly contrary to the fundamental interests of the nation.
This termination is a sovereign decision, part of a legal procedure, and executed at the end of a transparent process. It was instigated by an unfair and unbalanced contract, the clauses of which imposed unacceptable limits on Djibouti’s development policy. The decision is linked to an exceptional and aberrant situation that by no means calls into question the strength or credibility of the signature of the Republic of Djibouti.
The decree terminating the concession, as well as the law governing it, provide for a compensation procedure in accordance with commonly accepted international rules and practices. This compensation procedure will continue, despite the obvious unwillingness of the former partner. Djibouti hopes to reach a rapid and equitable solution that is in accordance with the law.
The termination of the contract has in no way stopped port operators from expressing their confidence and interest in the new public structure that has taken over its management – SGTD (Doraleh Container Terminal Management Company). Singaporean ship-owner PIL signed an agreement in March to triple transshipment traffic handled by the terminal. Numerous discussions are underway with other major players in the sector. The port’s productivity has undergone a marked increased since its operation was placed in the hands of its Djiboutian managers.
Djibouti’s scope and ambition goes way beyond the success of Doraleh port. Major investments are ongoing and the amounts committed attest to the confidence of international partners: the Djibouti-Addis-Ababa railway line, Tadjourah mineral port, Goubet port, Doraleh multipurpose port, the start of construction work on the new Djibouti mega free zone in Khor Ambado and the launch of the Damerjog industrial development free zone, etc. One of the more recent agreements is for an ambitious energy sector project. The first phase provides for the commissioning of a gas pipeline between Ethiopia’s Ogaden Basin natural gas fields and the coast of Djibouti. The second phase concerns the construction and operation of a natural gas liquefaction plant and a gas terminal in the Damerjog area, all privately financed by the mega project’s developer, China’s POLY-GCL Petroleum Group Holdings Limited, to the tune of US$4 billion.
These major projects are being undertaken within a particularly attractive macroeconomic and regulatory framework. Economic growth is expected to remain at high levels – around 7% for 2018 and 2019 – making Djibouti one of Africa’s top ten economies in terms of growth. The Djiboutian Franc is a stable currency, pegged to the US dollar, freely convertible (without restriction) and its exchange rate has remained unchanged since 1973.
The sustainability of these investments is buoyed by the Republic of Djibouti’s ambition and by excellent medium- and long-term prospects, since Djibouti is strategically located at the crossroads of one of the busiest shipping routes in the world, linking Europe, the Far East, the Horn of Africa and the Persian Gulf. Quite naturally, Djibouti positions itself as the main gateway to East Africa, and particularly Ethiopia, an emerging nation of 100 million people and the Republic of Djibouti’s leading strategic partner. While maintaining very close relations with its other traditional partners, Djibouti is linked to China’s big New Silk Road development strategy. In reality, Djibouti is the entry point to a formidable logistics corridor designed to serve an emerging African continent.
Djibouti’s investment ambitions are being rolled out in a context of optimal security. Its solid institutions guarantee stability and visibility in an often difficult regional context. It is a welcoming land where dialogue is key. The country’s respect for its international commitments since its independence has made it a reliable and respected player in the concert of nations. Djibouti is an essential partner for peace, and a stalwart in the fight against terrorism and piracy, hosting on its territory American, Chinese, French, Japanese, European (Operation Atalanta) and Saudi military bases. Thus Djibouti ensures the de facto safety of the world’s main shipping route through which 70% of international traffic passes.
AIS 2018 focused on innovative and disruptive solutions to the major challenges facing African countries, which include energy access, water, food insecurity, health systems, and governance
KIGALI, Rwanda, June 11, 2018/ — The Africa Innovation Summit (AIS) (www.AfricaInnovationSummit.com) closed on Friday with a resonating call to action addressed to innovators, government leaders, private sector, civil society and academia: “Let us throw out the boxes that have caged us”. The overwhelming view of the Summit was that in order to nurture, empower and propel African innovators and their solutions forward, a multi-sectorial and multi-stakeholder approach must be taken to ensure policies, investments and enabling ecosystems are put in place to support African innovation without apology or hesitation.
Some of the Summit’s themes, which were explored in action-oriented workshops from 6-8 June 2018, included the following, to mention a few:
Gender and Building Innovation Ecosystems in Africa
Civil Society and NGO’s and Innovation
Meeting the Basics: Water-Energy-Food Nexus
The Future of Health Care & Societal Wellbeing
The Future of Peace & Justice
Blockchain: Applications to Development Finance
“Jobs and Value” in the Age of Automation & Demographic Shifts
Innovation Lab: Innovating into a low(er) Carbon African future
African Cities: Meeting Basic Needs and Ensuring Balance
Mobilizing Domestic Resources to Fund Innovation
Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili, former Vice President for Africa at the World Bank, shared her view: “ If Africa accepted that people have to be at the centre, then we would be confronted with the fact that Africa’s people problem is a productivity problem. And this productivity problem is an innovation issue. We need an upheaval and people in government who can overturn the old way of doing things.”
Speaking about the role of government, Mr Carlos Lopes, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), said: “It is not a question of knowing what is right but doing what is right. We need to be tough with our leaders. It is a pre-condition for change. We have a wave of transformation in Africa. There is political will to translate Africa’s dreams into practical tools. We need to harness our negative energy and change it into dynamism.”
From 600 applications of the 44 countries, a selected group of 50 innovators had a unique opportunity to engage stakeholders in discussing potential solutions to some of the blockages that are preventing solutions from going to scale.
Lowell Scarr, one of the 50 innovators at AIS 2018, has been studying and working in the insect industry, and is currently living in Grahamstown in South Africa. His innovation, Nambu, proposes a solution by bridging challenges in the Agriculture and Food Security sector. Nambu transforms food waste into animal feed as “30% of the food is wasted in South Africa” and there is an “increase in animal feed shortage”. Scarr said that the biggest challenges he encountered as an innovator was being able to “overcome fear and getting it done”, adding that it is not always about the lack of financial resources but more about “finding the time to do it and getting into the right mind-set”.
Francis Nderitu Mwangi, top 50 innovator with his solution, Vakava Quickgold, which provides unbreakable cold chains in agriculture from post-harvest to the last mile by storing cold energy in dry ice batteries that do not need to rely on any external power sources, outlined one of the challenges innovators face in Africa: “I feel like there’s some sort of discrimination towards the local innovators. Our own African investors tend to invest in foreign innovations. There are also infrastructure issues, as rural Africa does not have good connectivity and is therefore not able to receive our network.”
AIS 2018 focused on innovative and disruptive solutions to the major challenges facing African countries, which include energy access, water, food insecurity, health systems, and governance. As a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue and actions, AIS is Africa’s only summit on innovation that seeks to foster action-driven dialogue between African innovators and stakeholders in Government, private sector, civil society and academia to ensure African solutions are concretely given the opportunity to scale in a measurable way. The summit has also created a community of innovators that will not only meet to dialogue on solutions but also create ecosystems that will enable them to share ideas and network beyond the summit.
In his final call to action, Dr. Olugbenga Adesida, co-Director of AIS, calls for a bolder imagination about the future by Africans and a sense of urgency around Africa’s transformation. He noted that innovation is a pre-requisite for Africa’s transformation and that all stakeholders must engage to facilitate greater collaboration. Africa must ensure greater self-reliance by mobilizing domestic funding to promote innovation and support our innovators; The future belongs to them. We must build robust ecosystems for innovation in our respective countries on the continent. Africa cannot simply be consumers, nor can it outsource its development. We all must engage with a new sense of urgency to facilitate change!
The presence of the Top 50 African Innovators in Kigali was made possible by the sponsorship of the European Union Commission. Other key partners and sponsors included the Government of Rwanda, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Government of Luxemburg, NEPAD Agency, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), Afreximbank, the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), YAS (UNDP & Accenture), Usawa.io, BADEA, PATH, International IDEA, OIF Ethiopia Airlines and Turkish Airlines.
The AIS (www.AfricaInnovationSummit.com) is an Africa-wide and home grown initiative aimed at harnessing the innovation potential of the continent. It aims to mobilize people with the ‘power to act’, including investors, innovators, policy makers, researchers and academics, the business community, the youth, as well as thought leaders and thinkers into a coalition for collective action to promote and build an enabling environment for innovation in Africa. The goal is to engage as many people as possible in order to build a broad constituency in support of innovation in Africa.
The AIS platform includes regular Summits to promote dialogue, facilitate exchange of best practices among stakeholders and African countries, showcase what is happening on the continent, and share lessons of experience. The platform also includes engaging with African researchers and scholars to undertake case studies to tease out lessons of experience in order to facilitate learning by stakeholders. The African Innovation Exhibit which is also part of the AIS provides a stage to showcase homegrown innovations and innovators on the continent, while the Hackathons will challenge the people to come up with solutions to specific problems. The exhibitions and hackathons will allow stakeholders to seek ways to scale up potential solutions.
Each AIS will build on the previous ones by deepening the dialogue, engaging a wider number of stakeholders, as well as focusing Africa’s innovation potential to address the challenges facing the continent. The aims are to identify path breaking ideas and disruptive solutions to be developed and/scaled up in Africa as well as build a constituency to help address the fundamental challenges facing the continent.
Trade and Economic Development in the African Region must be put on the fore-front through Regional Integration and policy development. Despite the fact of some economic improvements in the African Region, Integration, policy development and Information dissemination gaps must be closed so as to further improve some dark areas especially on Information dissemination that has lagged behind on issues related to Trade and Development and Regional Integration at continental level.
Addressing a pack of 30 Journalists from the African Region recently in South Africa, Cape Town, Trade Law Centre Executive Director Trudi Hartzenburg said it is vital for Journalists who report on Economic issues to dwell on the subject of Trade and Development and far fetch information on Regional Integration.
‘’African Countries are forging ahead with the times in Economic Development , Trade and Law and on Integration issues , but however , there is need for more information to highlight dark areas of gaps which need to be addressed in order to stir more change .
‘’For countries to improve on the development of their economies, more information dissemination is vital throughout the African Region. In addition to that Trade policies, Laws, frameworks and strategies must be articulated correctly.
‘These instruments from the International level, Regional to National level must address core issues for Economic Development. There-fore, media plays a role in fostering economic Development through information dissemination at all levels of concern.
Reporting for Economic Development is key since Africa is still with many developing countries with low Gross Domestic Products and Low Income per-capita due to low levels of Domestic Exports. Many countries in the African Region have seen the green light in Economic Development because of Regional organizations impacts on Trade .
Some of these important organizations are the then Southern African Development Co-ordination Conference [SADCC][ which later was changed to SADC , COMESA , Preferential Trade Agreements [PTA] , Southern Africa Customs Union [SACU] , ECOWAS , East African Community [EAC] and those surrounding Africa like European Union [EU] ,World Trade Organization[WTO] , NATO and African Caribbean and the Pacific [ACP] .
‘’African countries can only see the green light through smart Regional partnerships , however linking on Trade issue with the outside of Africa , help countries to develop themselves . Regional Integration must move further to define itself out of the African box to join with the World Trade Organization. Such partnerships make countries achieve on Sustainable Development Goals in line with poverty reduction through Regional co-operation, Integration and policy development at International levels.
‘’One important critical organization to work with is the International Trade organization WTO]. It is pathetic to note that out of 54 countries in the African Region , only a few have over the recent years been affiliated to World Trade Organization which by then had only 164 countries , some of them , the developed countries of the World .
‘’That is one main reason why we are behind the camera of economic development. African countries shun some of the most important economic activities at the expense of its population. Besides, this is true as well with other countries like in some parts of Asia , Europe and Latin America .
‘’Instead of talking of Regional Integration , we are supposed to talk about Global Integration , looking at how possibly we can shoulder up and grapple challenges of poverty and less growth in Gross and National Domestic Product . As well, we need more of Global Integration, policy development and improvements in Law issues related to Trade so that we can move ahead with the times’’ , Trudi elucidated .
Trudi also touched on issues as well on Preferential Trade Agreements which focus on trade agreements in the area of Trade and Development. Such advantageous preferences are related to zero or low tariffs when countries are in trade issues. A good example is the Generalized Tariffs countries in the developed world grant in form of preferential tariffs so that they may have imports from developing countries.
Professor Gerhard Erasmus added that zero and low tariffs improve on issues in trade there-by facilitating fast development. The link and friendly co-operation of countries according to Professor Gerhard is an advantage to those in the developing world, but there is need for the developed world to work in unison with the developing ones so that economic growth can easily be realized without any difficulties at all.
‘’Agreements in trade are very important as long as they last and bring the desired goals of economic development meant to improve on the lives of the general population in the World. As long countries are in agreements, they foster economic growth to regional levels, and then there is need for further developments ascending to regional and international heights.
‘’Thus why some countries have gone up in short periods of the decades passed. It is because of Trade Agreements meant to foster economic development at national to regional until it’s at international levels ‘’
‘’Economic growth ‘is spearheaded by policy development at all levels with the interventions of frameworks and strategies building up on better relationships. Some countries have focused more on policy, research for economic development aligning relationships and affiliating memberships at regional levels.
‘’At last they made their way into becoming fast developing countries until they became recognized at global levels. But, it needs our effort and strength to stimulate Investments through policy development. Through the African Continental Free Trade Area , some economies have molded to better strength in Trade with their partners.
Giving his echoes in the vibrancy of more sentiments in an exclusive interview in Harare Dr Prosper Chitambira , Labour and Economic Development Research in Zimbabwe [LEDRIZ][ Economic Advisor said Southern Africa Customs Union is a force to reckon with because these states implement a common tariff imports from outside the region. This, he added on, forms a common customs territory under which issues pertaining to their challenges are equally addressed at regional level.
‘’This is a pool of customs and revenue seen also as an anvil to the development of key policies for better economies to be developed through integration and partnerships in Trade and Development .The common policies swim in strategic areas like in Industrial development for economic growth looking specifically 3 main sectors of the economy, Agriculture , Mining , and Manufacturing Industry .
‘’Apart from that , the union removes out signs of un-fair trade practices which hinder economic development for growth at national and regional level .
‘’Countries in the Region must address their thorny issues through Regional integration and economic co-operation. It is vital to merge countries, make them share and remove obstacles which hinder economic development through policy and better economic networks. Economic development is shown by Industrial development descending low absolute poverty levels. From above , high levels of employment indicates social and economic change with time in any part of the region’’, he took head on to a close . .
SACU SOUTHERN AFRICA CUSTOMS UNION is comprised of Southern African countries like South Africa , , Botswana , Namibia , Lesotho and Swaziland .SACU was established in order to enable member states to implement a common external tariff on imports from outside the territory . The four day workshop had media practitioners from South AFRICA , Zimbabwe , Namibia , Ethiopia , Madagascar and Rwanda .
Jurgen Leske, the OECD program officer when he addressed the training conference at the Kenya School of Monitory Studies in Nairobi, Kenya.
NAIROBI June 11,2018-African continent is likely to be subjected to reliance on the ‘unpredictable’ foreign aid unless its over 50 countries agree on a multi-agency collaboration to investigate and fight illicit financial flows, a taco of fences and other financial crimes training conference in Nairobi has been told.
The capacity building conference that brings together 48 participants from 18 African countries, including including revenue and financial fraud investigators, is being hosted by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) in conjunction with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
“The African continent relies much on aid because it loses billions of its money through illicit financial flows, bribery and corruption. The sad reality is that it is we, ‘African governments’ that have allowed ourselves to space for loopholes and leakages which encourages theft,” David Yego, the Kenya Revenue Authority commissioner in charge of investigation and enforcement told the conference.
According to Yego, Africa as a continent has vast resources which if properly harnessed, can take a role of becoming a donor even to the western world and stop becoming a receiver of aid.
Speaking to Pan African Visions on the sideline of the conference, Yego argued that what the key players in the fight against tax crimes is the necessary skills and exposure in order to be ahead of the fraudsters, whom he says, are much ahead with the evolving new technologies.
“We seems to be trailing the fraudsters. We need to up our ha e, learn and research a lot in order to seal the loopholes,” he said, adding that some multinational companies take the advantage of the disconnect in collaboration between countries in fighting financial crimes.
The programme, being held under the auspices of the Africa Academy for Tax and Financial Crime Investigation will run from 11th June, 2018 to 22nd June, 2018 at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies, Nairobi, pooling together tax and financial crime investigators, prosecutors, financial analysts, and judicial officials.
The two-week course, steered by an international faculty of senior and experienced tax crime investigators and financial crime experts drawn from Germany, Norway, United States of America, the United Kingdom and Uganda, seeks to help tax crime investigators to detect and combat tax offences and other financial crimes, which include money laundering and corruption.
The training seeks to equip participants with key modern skills required in financial investigations such as the ability to trace money through complex financial arrangements. With the new skills, the participants will be better placed to identify links between suspects and illicit financial activities.
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), governments across the world have actively been pursuing the fight against tax and financial crimes through key strategic approaches in addressing the menace. Training of tax and financial crimes specialists has been one of the strategic approaches employed by many governments.
For Juergen Leske, the OECD programme officer, curbing the over US$50 billion estimated to be lost in Africa annually through illicit financial flows requires a multi-agency approach in fighting is of essence than before.
“Evolution in technology poses a myriad of challenges and obstacles in the fight against illicit financial flows, tax evasion, money laundering, bribery and corruption. But with collaboration and capacity building of participants with relevant skills linked to emerging technologies and enhancing collaboration amongst the Africa countries has the potential to improve in efficiency,” said Jurgen.
Opimbi Osore, from the GIZ Illicit Financial Flows program argues there’s much of illicit financial flows happening amongst African countries than perceived to be happening from across the African borders to the western world.
“Organized crime is back with bang! A lot is lost through corruption and bribery, including human trafficking, but because of lack of clear data, we cannot account as to the exact estimates,” Opimbi told Pan African Visions on the sideline of the event.
He further added that the states of fragility among some African nations are propagated, and used as a conduit to help illicit financial flows thrive.
The Kenya School of Revenue Authority is one of the only four Regional Training Centres (RTC) of the World Customs Organization (WCO) in Africa, with only South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mauritius having tax and customs training institutions.
Ghana’s National Identification Authority (NIA) Monday failed to deliver on its promise to begin registering Members of Parliament for the issuance of the Ghana Card.
The authority suspended the registration and issuance of the cards on May 28 after a failed roll out, resuming last week to successfully register persons at the Jubilee House – the seat of government.
The exercise was to have begun in parliament today but the MPs who showed up were left stranded as officials of the NIA failed to show up.
Panafricanvisions sources at the NIA, officials who were detailed to the lawmaking chamber to register and issue the cards to the MPs “got a communique from their bosses that today being Monday and the fact that Parliament does not sit on Monday they should hold own and rather show up tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, the Minority members in Parliament have stated that they will boycott the planned registration of Parliamentarians by the NIA for the new Ghana Card.
A statement signed by Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu stated that the decision was taken due to the failure of the NIA to engage Members of Parliament to clarify a number of issues relating to the roll out of the exercise.
The minority is also raising questions about the cost, scope and legality of the project as well as registration requirements.
According to the minority members, until those issues are cleared by the NIA, they will not take part in the planned registration.
Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo has challenged members of the Boards of the three newly created Development Authorities to do all within their power to deal with the inequalities and imbalances that have plagued the country’s developmental agenda.
Addressing members of all three Development Authorities and the Board of the Zongo Development fund, after administering the oath of office, and the oath of secrecy, Akufo-Addo said it is unfair that there has been so much disparity when it comes to development in Ghana.
The President therefore urged the new boards to introduce a new paradigm in how the country’s capital expenditure is used to ensure equitable and even distribution of resources for purposes of development across the length and breadth of the Republic.
In his address, President Nana Akufo Addo observed that the sad history and unfortunate outcome of the defunct Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) should be a constant reminder to all the three boards not to repeat the mistakes committed by the managers of SADA.
The three Development Authorities ;Coastal, Middle Belt and Northern Development Authorities – are tasked with the implementation of the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP). The Programme will also be responsible for ensuring the effective disbursement of the equivalent of $1 million per constituency per year, in fulfillment of President Akufo-Addo’s 2016 campaign pledge.
President Akufo-Addo in April 2018, appointed the Chief Executive Officers and Deputy Chief Executive Officers of the Coastal, Middle Belt and Northern Development Authorities. As a follow up, the President has sworn into office the substantive boards for the Authorities. The Authorities are thus ready to kick start their work.
Board Chairpersons/ CEOs of Development Authorities
The Boards of the three Development Authorities have Edmond Annan as the Board Chairman, of the Coastal Development Authority and Samuel Attah-Mensah, as its Chief Executive Officer. The Middle Belt Development Authority has Alex Kwaku Korankye as its Board Chairman and Joe Danquah as its Chief Executive. The Northern Development Authority has Hakeem Ahmed Wemah as its Board Chairman and Dr. Abdul-Majeed Heroin as its Chief Executive. All the three boards have additional eleven members constituting the thirteen member board for each of the three Development Authorities.
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – These are not ordinary times in Ethiopia. Sweeping changes that seemed unthinkable just weeks ago have been announced almost daily since a new prime minister, Africa’s youngest head of government, took office and vowed to bring months of deadly protests to an end.
From the surprise acceptance of a peace agreement with bitter rival Eritrea, to the opening of major state-owned sectors to private investment, plus the release of thousands of prisoners including opposition figures once sentenced to death, the 42-year-old Abiy Ahmed has kept Africa’s second most populous country buzzing.
“The people have the full right to criticize its servants, to elect them, and to interrogate them. Government is a servant of the people,” he said in his inaugural speech in early April. It was unusual talk considering his military background, and he quickly found enthusiastic crowds as he toured the country.
Abiy has been called “Prime Minister Bolt” for the sprinter-like pace of reforms Some Ethiopians say it’s hardly possible to comprehend a single day’s events.
On Tuesday alone, Parliament kicked off by lifting the state of emergency imposed in response to the protests demanding greater freedoms that began more than two years ago. It marked the most dramatic change yet under Abiy’s rule.
By nightfall there was bigger news: the prospect of peace with neighboring Eritrea after nearly two decades of border skirmishes and a two-year war.
Almost as an afterthought came word that Ethiopia, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, was opening state-owned enterprises in aviation, telecommunications and more to foreign investment or outright privatization. That opens the door for stakes in globally successful Ethiopian Airlines and Africa’s largest telecom company by subscribers, Ethio Telecom.
“Now I need to take an umbrella when I get into a shower so that I can grab my phone and follow these rounds of breaking news items,” joked one Ethiopian, Firew Megersa, on Facebook.
The new prime minister has dined with opposition leaders, named new army and intelligence chiefs and suggested that his own position should have term limits. He’s visited Saudi Arabia and secured promises that thousands of Ethiopians detained as illegal migrants would be released. He’s made new port agreements with neighbors along one of the world’s busiest shopping lanes.
In a colorful sign of his ambitions, Abiy even hinted that landlocked Ethiopia would revive its navy.
Citizens of the East African nation where the government once shut off social media to dampen criticism now find themselves expressing opinions without fear. The return of stability to a key Western security ally in a region with turbulent neighbors like Somalia and South Sudan has some breathing more easily.
Despite the whirlwind of change, many wonder just how far reforms can go in a country where the ruling coalition still holds every seat in Parliament and opposition has been punished.
“The language the prime minister is using is very conducive for coming closer, to listen to each other. But for an actual political engagement in the country you need a number of practical things to happen,” said Andargachew Tsige, an Ethiopia-born Briton and opposition leader who was snatched by Ethiopian intelligence agents in Yemen in 2014 and sent to death row.
Andargachew’s freedom last month, along with the release of a photo showing him and Abiy in the prime minister’s office, captivated many Ethiopians.
Despite his turn of fortune, Andargachew told The Associated Press: “We need to see on-the-ground concrete measures, not only releasing political prisoners, not only making good speeches.” Ethiopia needs independent institutions, he said.
While Abiy’s rise to power has led to a dramatic decrease in protests, critics say what he has done so far is simply “putting out fires.”
“Up until now I haven’t seen any policy direction from the new leader on how to solve Ethiopia’s chronic problems, like setting up an equal, competing space for all political parties and directions regarding the country’s macro- and microeconomic path,” said opposition politician Yilikal Getnet. Ethiopia suffers from massive debt and faces an acute foreign exchange crisis after exports fell short of targets.
Even the new prime minister’s popularity could turn out to be risky in a country with a history of long-ruling authoritarian leaders, Yilikal said.
“I agree his speeches are conciliatory but at the same time I see a tendency of slipping back into dictatorship, with both state and private media delving into creating a cult of personality around the new leader,” Yilikal said.
For now, some observers once alarmed by Ethiopia’s unrest have started to soften their tone.
“We are encouraged by recent developments,” said U.S. Embassy spokesman Nick Barnett, adding the U.S. is ready to support all efforts to build a “more representative political system.” Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the U.N. human rights office, said she had witnessed “tremendous hope” among civil society activists, traditional leaders and others.
The new prime minister “can’t change every individual’s life, but he is setting up the ground for changes to happen and create a national consensus among all Ethiopians,” said Seyoum Teshome, a prominent blogger who was arrested twice under the state of emergency.
Under the agreement, the players were to be paid their qualification bonuses and share of the FIFA income in advance.
Under the agreement, the team are due 30 per cent of the NFF’s appearance fee from FIFA, which amounts to $2.8 million.
FIFA made an advance payment of $2 million, and the NFF say they raised the other $800,000 from sponsorship.
The move was to forestall incidents of bonus rows which have embarrassed the Super Eagles – and other African World Cup participants – in the past, and compromised the team’s focus at major tournaments.
At the last World Cup, Nigerian players boycotted training ahead of their round-of-16 game against France to press for payment of their allowances.
Pinnick told KweséESPN that the NFF was determined to avoid any such incident this time around.
“We said we were going to pay them before they go to the World Cup and that is what we have done,” Pinnick began.
“This is very important to us to fulfil our part of the agreement we signed with the players, and also provide them with all needed comforts to ensure that there is no distraction as they go to represent our country at the World Cup.”
The payments include $10,000 per player per game from qualifying through to the World Cup.
Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr pockets $15,000 per game, while his assistants get $10,000 per game.
Officials told KweséESPN that the payments also included all players and coaches who participated in the qualifiers.
That means Sunday Oliseh, who was in charge for two games, will be paid $30,000, although an official confirmed that that payment, along with some players not on the squad, are still being processed.
“All the player and coaches who took part in the World Cup qualifying matches are getting paid. Players are being done first, then officials,” KweséESPN’s source began, “but those going to Russia have been paid already.
“Some of the other players who were not in this squad have also been paid although others have not sent in their bank details,” he added. “All the money is in the NFF accounts and will be paid to them as soon as they send in their details.”
The players were also paid their appearance fees for the friendly games against the Democratic Republic of Congo and England, with the only outstanding payment due being the appearance fee for Wednesday’s game against Czech Republic.
That payment is currently being processed and is expected to be completed within the week and before the players travel to Russia.
A cross section of the players confirmed the payments to KweséESPN, although they declined to go on record.
“Yes, we have been paid,” one member of the squad confirmed. “Some of us who have accounts in England collected cash and paid it into their accounts by themselves.
“The rest of us just got bank transfers.”
The move is a continuation of a new policy by the NFF of distributing tournament prize money to the team.
“The board has now made it a standard policy that for any prize money won, the team would take a minimum of thirty percent,” added KweséESPN’s source. “This cut is across both male and female teams.
“It started with the African Nations Championship Eagles, who were not only paid their bonuses until the semi finals, but also got their share of the participation fee. Each player got well over N3 million.”
Nigeria begin their World Cup campaign against Croatia on June 16 in Kaliningrad, before facing Iceland on June 22 and then Argentina on June 26.
Flags are displayed at Chicago O’Hare International Airport in 2015. Direct flights to Ethiopia begin June 11, 2018. Direct New Zealand flights begin in November; officials say Chicago will join just five other cities with nonstop flights to all six major inhabited world regions. (Anthony Souffle / Chicago Tribune)
A flight scheduled to arrive at O’Hare International Airport on Monday will mark the start of the first direct flights between Chicago and Africa.
The Chicago Department of Aviation and Ethiopian Airlines announced the new thrice-weekly nonstop flights between O’Hare and Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, in the East African country’s capital city, earlier this year.
“We believe that the flight will further boost the growing relations between the USA and Africa in general, and Ethiopia in particular, by enabling greater flow of trade, investment and tourism,” Nigusu Worku, U.S. regional director at Ethiopian Airlines, said in an emailed statement.
When Air New Zealand begins flights between O’Hare and Auckland in November — another new service announced in March — Chicago will join the ranks of just five cities that have nonstop passenger flights to all six major inhabited regions of the world, according to Department of Aviation spokeswoman Lauren Huffman.
ARDA Transau homes where villagers from Chiadzwa were resettled.
Around the world today, no-one argues that mining needs high Social Corporate Responsibility since it is heavily impacted by upsurge of diseases like Pneumoconiosis , silicosis, asbestosis, lung and cardio-vascular diseases which affects the heart.
Apart from that, generally, these communities are vehemently affected by socio, economic and political factors which vulnerably expose them into abject poverty. The fact on ground is of economic problems which have forced some other mines to close at the risk of workers.
Research done by Health Focus a SADC regional organization based in Johannesburg , South Africa records most countries of the world having had worked tirelessly to raise standards of living of those in the mining industry .
Such kind of researches have over time been verified their authenticity by the Don Jones Sustainability Index together with a Canadian company called Barrick Gold Corporation which has done Social Corporate Responsibility in Tanzania in areas of Sustainable Education and Energy development .
Zimbabwe has made foreseeable efforts in the area of Social Corporate Responsibility by relocating Chiadzwa people to Arda Transau where they were settled. In this regard , Infrastructural development in terms of housing, water, sewer, Blair toilets, electricity, roads and basically what is needed stands vital.
Although many were supported with school uniforms and sportswear especially with schools, this is just a drop in an ocean. There is need to improve on the lives of the people in terms of Health and Education standards including Infrastructural development from grass -roots levels.
One of the local born of the Chiadzwa family Wiseman Chiadzwa said although these mining companies took much effort to resettle people from the area , much was looked towards in terms of further developments , however several challenges impedes on community development in terms of Infrastructural development in the Arda Transau area ,
‘’Their Social Corporate Responsibility was supposed to focus on the health of the workers , improving quality of their work , ethical standards , reach national and international standards in terms of quality of service delivery specifically on Health and Education at the site of new location .
‘’The problem lies with lack of adequate resources to raise the standards of living of the general population in the Chiadzwa and Marange area . In fact , Social Corporate Responsibility must focus on three areas of concern , that is the 3 basic needs , food , shelter and clothing and 2 humanitarian sectors , health and education , then 3 main sectors of the economy , Agriculture , Mining and manufacturing industry basically for food security in the area’’said Chiadzwa .
An EXPERT in the development area looking at Sustainable Development Goals, Isaac Kwesu , Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Officer said the fact that the country is going under difficulties could be the main reason why some areas of bigger concern are left vacant , but there is need to pronounce development in every area where mining takes place .
‘’In order to achieve Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations launched in 2015 , mining companies had to fulfill on obligations of the Millennium Declaration , support Education and Health in the area , thereby improving quality of life of the people .
‘’Besides , there is need to develop Infrastructure related to Agricultural schemes so as to achieve on reducing poverty by promoting FOOD SECURITY , INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT on Health and Education .
‘’ Dwelling on the multiple fact an Economist contacted for his comment on the green side of the story Prosper Chitambira an ECONOMIST with an organization called LEDRIZ said Social Corporate Responsibility means that there is need for economic development in terms of building up on social capital to boost INVESTIMENTS in INDUSTRIALISATION in order to create employment opportunities in the area
‘’Therefore, SOCIAL and HUMAN CAPITAL drives DEVELOPMENT meant to re duce poverty in the area. However , because of economic difficulties , it is tough to achieve this because on top of that , there is need for trainings so that those people can be fully capacitated , equipped with knowledge of development ‘’, he said .
It is evident that some of the companies immensely transformed positively the lives of communities in which they work and operate. This is possible through local community engagement, skills development, community enterprise development and Infrastructure sharing.
Some policies and laws induced in the Environmental Management Act, Indigenization and Empowerment Act, Mines and Minerals Act and the Code on Corporate Governance looks at corporate social investments in the country. Some mining companies have adhered to the policies and acts related to Social Corporate Responsibility and there are developments documented by some Human Rights Organizations.
Companies are globally investing large sums of money into social programs that aim to address some challenges faced from high levels of poverty and lack of access to social services such as health- care , education , climate change and natural disasters .
Social Corporate Responsibility means voluntary actions undertaken by mining companies to improve living conditions socially, economically and environmentally for local communities to reduce negative impacts.
Under the Environment, the Environmental Impact Assessment [EIA], an evaluation of a project is meant to determine mining impact on the environment as it affects surrounding communities in terms of air , water and land pollution .
In terms of Social Corporate Responsibility following laws of the country and applicable community values , there is need for paying back , cultivating back to the community by addressing community needs and concerns at heart looking at what really matters .
To a certain extent the value of community share ownership gives ample confidence to the communities which later enjoy their rights in terms of getting a share of what is taking place in the area .But have communities up to now benefitted from these mining companies operating in their areas ?
Another Expert in the area of Social Corporate Responsibility, a Lawyer by profession, Veronica Zano of Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association contacted for a comment regarding this, said one good example is Murowa Diamonds situated in the south-east of Zimbabwe in Zvishavane District which has a Health , Safety , Environment and Community Policy .
‘’One of the mining companies respecting these policies is Murowa Diamonds .I t believes in its zero harm goal which respects rights of employees , contractors and the surrounding communities in accordance with the laws of the country .
‘’The company’s policy outlines commitments to prevent incidents that may lead to occupational injuries, illnesses, pollution, property and environmental damage. Above all, it is the ergonomics, health and rights of workers to food, shelter and protective clothing at work . Then, the issue of surrounding communities prevention from pollution and the need to engage them in community share ownership .
‘’The mining company has a community action plan embedded on working in partnership with local communities. It mainly focuses on capacity building, skills transfer, business development and economic empowerment of local communities .Other projects done already are success stories in Health and Education infrastructure development ‘’, she concluded .
The true story of development is related to Mutambi Rural Health Centre built by Murowa Diamonds in partnership with the local community. It also built a primary school called Gundekunde in partnership with the local community . In the area, it also constructed is a factory shell to promote skills development for the unemployed youth in area . The shell has compartments which cater for various skills development in areas of carpentry, sewing, welding and others.
A middle-aged woman from Kenya has been interdicted for allegedly marrying her daughter to an old man.
Mosiro resident, from the northern part of the country is accused of withdrawing her 11-year-old class two pupil from school, took her through FGM rite and betrothed her to a man who is claimed to be over 50 in age.
Irate villagers with the help from the area chief launched a search for the minor upon receiving information about her disappearance and amid growing tension, the woman went into hiding. The rescue mission was hampered by poor road networks; however, the suspect was finally ejected from her hiding place by the angry mob that was baying for her blood. She will be presented to court on Monday.
The Northern Kenya Children’s officer Stanley Rotich lamented over the residents’ stubbornness in eradicating the outdated culture.
“The girls in these regions are very insecure in the hands of their own parents and caregivers since they are forced into early marriages after going through genital mutilation, “Rotich Reiterated.
Chiefs have been directed to fight FGM and early marriage in their areas of jurisdiction, in which failure to report the cases of the obscene culture will lead to dismissal.
“We must endeavour to safeguard our girls by ensuring their rights are protected at all costs. Those thinking girls are used in barter trade for cows and goats will face the full force of the law,” said the area Commissioner.
The area Deputy Commissioner also urged teachers to raise the alarm when the girls ‘parents behave abnormally.
“Absenteeism should be reported with immediate effect,” reiterated the Deputy Commissioner.
The Summit’s speakers and guests represent the leading angel networks, VC funds, impact investors, accelerators, corporate venture divisions, industry associations, and public sector agencies
This year, the Africa Early Stage Investor Summit is set to kick off Cape Town’s Global Entrepreneurship Week, encompassing a number of leading industry events and numerous networking opportunities. The Summit organizers Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A) (https://VC4A.com) and the African Business Angels Network (ABAN) (https://ABANangels.org) have partnered with AfricaCom (https://goo.gl/TcU3jh) and AfricArena (http://AfricArena2018.com) to offer a full-week VIP Investor Pass giving access to all three events as well as Investor Cocktail, Industry Leaders Dinner and an Innovation Tour.
The Summit’s speakers and guests represent the leading angel networks, VC funds, impact investors, accelerators, corporate venture divisions, industry associations, and public sector agencies. Headlining the Summit are renown international and local investors from Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Kenya, Liberia, Senegal, Ivory Coast, France, US, UK and The Netherlands, amongst many other countries.
The 2017 edition brought together over 300 investors from prominent African angel networks and VC funds, such as Singularity Investments, Accion, Blue Haven, 4Di Capital, Lagos Angel Network, SABAN, AngelHub Ventures, Teranga Capital, Outlierz, Algebra Ventures, Grey Elephant Ventures, Ringier, GSMA, Orange Digital Ventures. Among the attendees were international organizations and policy makers, such as IFC, the World Bank Group and the European Commission. Following a rigorous due diligence process, the event showcased 20 African digitally-enabled scale-ups from across the continent, resulting in a number of series A deals totaling over $12mln. The 5th anniversary event promises to further raise the bar, featuring renowned investors from overseas and stellar entrepreneurial talent from the continent.
Industry leaders explain the reasons they participate in this annual conference:
“The Africa Early Stage Investor Summit brings together a diverse network of people with a common interest of starting and building sustainable companies that solve real problems on the continent. The status of the partners on board and profiles of the speakers ensure that the event is thought provoking, educational and fun!” says Keet van Zyl, Partner at Knife Capital.
“I found the Africa Early Stage Investor Summit to be a great opportunity to network and learn from other investors from around the continent. The sessions were useful and provided great pan-African perspective of the investment landscape. I will highly recommend it” comments Kola Aina, CEO and Founder of Ventures Platform.
Ido Sum, Partner at TLCom Capital, comments further: “Being a regular participant in many such conferences, it was a unique collection of very high quality companies as well as the early stage tech focused African investors community. This intersection of top notch investors and founders led to a few great relationships and investment opportunities we looked in more depth into. I would highly recommend to anyone interested in the space to take part in the 2018 summit.”
Not only the pool of entrepreneurial talent across the continent is growing, but also the quality of ventures is improving. The pipeline of African innovative businesses has never been so investible. And where talent leads the way, money closely follows. More than 60 angel networks have been set up across the continent and a growing class of Africa-focused VC investors are backing and scaling the best of these high-growth startups. VC4A and ABAN co-host the Summit, specifically to create an annual meeting point for this growing investor community.
As in the previous years, the participants can expect a highly focused yet varied program consisting of workshops and masterclasses for investors by investors, rich networking experience, exclusive co-investment opportunities, as well as the latest trends, insights and industry research.
VC4A (https://VC4A.com) is an ecosystem builder that leverages its infrastructure, network and expertise for the programs that contribute to Africa’s startup movement. Since 2008, the organization designs, structures and implements successful entrepreneurship programs on the continent. VC4A runs an online platform, VC4A.COM, featuring the world’s largest database of African startups and connecting local entrepreneurs to learning resources, mentors, investors and partner programs.
The African Business Angel Network (ABAN) (https://ABANangels.org) is a Pan-African non-profit association. ABAN was founded in early 2015 to support the development of early stage investor networks across the continent and to grow the cohort of early stage investors excited about the opportunities in Africa.
The International Center for Tropical Agriculture, established by the government to oversee phytosanitary inspections, received US $5 million in funding from the African Development Fund
African Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina, met with São Tomé and Príncipe President Evaristo Carvalho on Wednesday, just as the Bank’s Board of Directors in Abidjan approved the island nation’s new Country Strategy Paper 2018-2022.
SAO TOME, Sao Tome and Principe, June 8, 2018/ — African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) President, Akinwumi Adesina, met with São Tomé and Príncipe President Evaristo Carvalho on Wednesday, just as the Bank’s Board of Directors in Abidjan approved the island nation’s new Country Strategy Paper 2018-2022.
“We have long been a supporter of your country and have great hopes and expectations for it. You have a clear vision for the country. A new Country Strategy Paper was approved, defining our new collaboration. Together we will focus on agriculture, the blue economy, employment for women and youth, and the financial sector.”
Carvalho said, “I will do everything possible to make our partnership better than ever. I will make sure that our country maintains its current performance.”
Earlier in the day, President Adesina visited two Bank-financed centres, part of the first phase of the Infrastructure Rehabilitation and Food Security Support Project.
The International Center for Tropical Agriculture, established by the government to oversee phytosanitary inspections, received US $5 million in funding from the African Development Fund (ADF) for rehabilitation, new laboratory equipment and staff training to strengthen quality control procedures for products and services offered to farmers. Paquete Idalina, an entomologist at the centre, said, “the technical and financial support we have received allows us to help 1,586 maize farmers today.”
The Advanced Agro-Pastoral Training Center is the only facility in São Tomé and Príncipe to offer technical training in agriculture and promote agricultural entrepreneurship. The centre received US $47.19 million in funding from the ADF, making it possible to increase the number of students from other parts of the island. Adesina told students, “Agriculture must be seen as a business, a source of wealth. I encourage you to become entrepreneurs to contribute to wealth creation in your country.”
The second phase of the Infrastructure Rehabilitation and Food Security Support Project is already underway and is promoting the development of fishing and farming infrastructure to facilitate production, storage, processing, distribution and capacity-building in both sectors.
The project is expected to boost food production for local consumption from agriculture and fishing. Agricultural products for the local market are expected to increase from an average of 58,000 tons in 2009-2011 to 75,000 tons in 2020, while fishing products are anticipated to grow from an average of 4,800 tons in 2009-2011 to 6,200 tons in 2020. Local products are expected to comprise a larger percentage of the supply, rising from 58% in 2012 to 75% in 2020.
Bank support for the education sector in São Tomé and Príncipe dates back to the 1990s when US $19.4 million in ADF funding went to the Teaching Facilities Rehabilitation Project to improve teacher qualifications and expand access to high-quality teaching.
At the Higher Polytechnic Institute of São Tomé, another Bank-financed facility, Adesina encouraged students: “You are the future leaders of this country. You must release the potential of São Tomé and Príncipe by aiming high, by keeping abreast of labour market needs and by preparing for the careers of the future.”
The polytechnic has more than 2,000 students today compared with 118 when it first opened about 20 years ago, and offers courses in 16 subjects, including biology, mathematics, economics, tourism, agronomy, electronics, ITC, public relations and communications. “I believe in you,” he said. “Be entrepreneurs and become the country’s multi-millionaires!”
Adesina also held meetings with Agripalma Ltd., an affiliate of the Socfinaf Group that has owned and planted 5,000 hectares of oil palms in the south of the island since 2009, and with Claudio Corallo, one of the world’s leading chocolatiers, who employs about 300 people and processes nearly 1.5 tons of cacao every month.
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 41 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 53 regional member states.
Former US President George W. Bush greets children at a school in Gaborone, Botswana
Windhoek – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) continues to support relentless effort by the Namibian Government and its local partners to curb the further spread of HIV/AIDS epidemic.
It is estimated that 250 000 people in the southern African nation are HIV positive.USAID this week announced N$32 million partnership with a community-based network to expand community-based HIV treatment among its affiliate organisation.
TONATA Network comprises over 600 community support groups representing 17,300 Namibians living with HIV.
The five-year partnership with funding provided by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) will support Community-Based ART Refill Groups in high-burden areas of north-central Namibia to decrease the workload of health workers and overcrowding in health facilities by reducing the number of visits by Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) patients.
With the financial assistance from USAID, HIV patients will no more travel long distances to collect their medications at public health centers.
“Instead of visiting clinics individually to collect their medication, Community-Based ART Refill Groups send one representative to collect pre-packed antiretroviral medicines (ARVs) from the nearest health facility for all group members,” said acting USAID Country Representative Edith Humphreys.
“This not only saves time, but also reduces transport costs and other logistical challenges, especially for minors and the elderly.
“Most importantly, community members experience a sense of togetherness and help each other to remember to take their medication regularly and on time.
“This is crucial because in order to suppress the virus, prevent it from being spread to others, and lead healthy lives, PLHIV need to take ART medicine daily”.
USAID chose to partner TONATA due to its years of experience in working hand in hand with local communities, and the partnership will brings HIV treatment closer to the people even in the most remote areas.
She said USAID has worked with the community-based network on small-scale projects since 2009 and Humphreys believes that local solutions from community support groups will sustain HIV epidemic control into the future.
“Namibia’s National HIV/AIDS program, with over a decade of experience, has significantly scaled up HIV treatment with good, clinical outcomes. PEPFAR assistance supports continuous training, mentoring, and supervision of support groups to make it more convenient for stable patients to receive their medicines at their doorstep. This service is expected to grow from what is currently only 1,600 to over 37,500 ART patients across multiple regions,” said the USAID official.
PEPFAR is the largest commitment ever by a single nation toward an international health initiative – a comprehensive approach to combating HIV/AIDS and TB around the world.
PEPFAR, in Namibia is led by the U.S. Ambassador and programmed by an inter-agency management team that includes the USAID, Peace Corps, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But despite progress made, Namibia is yet to attain the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 Global Fast Track targets aimed at ensuring that HIV is suppressed by 2020.
The 90-90-90 is an ambitious global treatment target by the UNAIDS to ensure that 90 per cent of all people living with HIV know their status, that 90 per cent of them receive sustained ARTs and that 90 per cent of that population have a suppressed viral load.
Data from the Ministry of Health and Social Services indicate that only about 78% or 243 000 of the targeted 90 per cent of undiagnosed people are aware of their HIV status so far.
“There is a gap between the targeted number and what the survey found so far and this is why the ministry decided to revise the guidelines, which will now target a greater population of men and young women,” Anne-Marie Nitschke, the director of Special Programmes in the health ministry.
The ministry on Wednesday launched the revised National Guidelines on HIV Testing Services (HTS).Nitschke emphasized that the revision of the HTS Guidelines was necessitated by the need to move away from emergency response programming to a more sustainable and evidence-based one.
“Its main goal is also to ensure early identification of as many people as possible with HIV and effectively linking them to prevention, care and treatment services,” said the health official.
Health deputy minister Juliet Kavetuna highlighted that the Namibian Government has committed to not only increasing testing coverage for the population, but also prioritised on strategies and testing initiatives that will identify people living with undiagnosed HIV.
“We all know that the HTS uptake coverage has significantly increased over the years and so have different types of testing models, which have evolved from traditional stand-alone voluntary counseling and testing to a mixture of models, including index partner testing,” Kavetuna said, while launching the revised the HTS Guidelines.
The health ministry has also expressed concern regarding high prevalence HIV across the country. The Zambezi region in extreme north-east tops the least of Namibians testing HIV-positive with 23.5% of prevalence rate.
Omusati region in north-central is second with 17.4% followed by Kavango East and West region in north-east at 17%.
File picture from a meeting between Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and President Tump.It would be misguided to dismiss this row with Rwanda as a small issue with a small country. The larger economic picture is much more worrying says Grant Harris
Rwandans would like to wean themselves from American hand-me-downs, and the United States wants to punish them for it. Last week, the Trump administration suspended duty-free access to U.S. markets for Rwandan clothing. This may sound like inconsequential news, compared with the prospect of a trade war with China, the European Union or our Canadian neighbors, but the move follows a dangerous trend of disregard for Africa. And it’s not just Africans who will suffer: Neglecting the continent will foreclose trade opportunities, harm U.S. companies and, ultimately, cost U.S. jobs.
Rwanda and several of its neighbors recently introduced tariffs on used clothing in an attempt to bolster the local apparel industry. In response, a U.S. trade group filed a complaint, claiming that the new tariffs violate the terms of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which requires participating countries to reduce trade barriers for U.S. goods. Unlike its neighbors, Rwanda stayed the course. The administration has every right to retaliate under the terms of the act — but the move is inconsistent and shortsighted.
For a start, the administration can hardly claim to be acting on principle. More than 100 countries benefit from U.S. trade preference programs without returning the favor. Florie Liser, former assistant U.S. trade representative for Africa, notes that countries like India and Brazil, which are major exporters to the United States under the program known as the Generalized System of Preferences, “ship a lot more to us than Rwanda, yet have significant barriers to U.S. trade.” The selective decision to retaliate against Rwanda not only adds to the general trade turmoil damaging U.S. standing overseas but also is seen as a particular snub of Africa, where President Trump’s derogatory comments about its countries have not been forgotten.
The administration can’t claim to be protecting a vital American industry, either. The complaints of the used-clothing association — that Rwandan tariffs would have a negative impact on up to 40,000 U.S. jobs — are unsubstantiated. Rwanda, a country of approximately 12.5 million people, imported $17 million in used clothing in 2016, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development. The clothes are primarily donations to organizations like the Salvation Army and Goodwill, bought by members of the trade group that lodged the complaint, the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association, and resold in Africa. Rwandan vendors sell them in market stalls.
Rwanda’s motivations are as much about dignity as they are about economics. Just as China recently banned imports of “foreign garbage” that it used to buy and recycle, Rwanda is taking a stand against the perceived indignity of buying clothes that others have worn and discarded. It would be a different story if Rwandans were rejecting icons of American ingenuity and enterprise, like cutting-edge medical devices or mobile technologies. But they’re not; they’re rejecting our hand-me-downs. The White House fails to grasp that, as well as the bigger picture for the United States. It’s not just Rwanda — the president is picking fights with trading partners old and new over relatively small amounts of U.S. imports and exports and with little regard for the long-term consequences. As relationships fray — even longtime allies feel under duress — the price to the United States rises; the country will pay not just in self-inflicted economic harm but also in diminished global leadership and reduced support for its national security priorities.
Banning used clothes is not enough to build Rwanda’s domestic textile and apparel industry, especially given competition from cheap Chinese imports of ready-made clothing. But there is a certain irony in Trump punishing Rwanda for protecting domestic manufacturing in what really is a Rwandan version of “America First.” More to the point, the United States ought to be supporting countries that pursue economic growth and development plans — not just because it is the right thing to do but also because the vitality of the U.S. economy depends on whether we have markets for our goods and services.
Until recently, supporting African economic growth was a key piece of U.S.-Africa policy. For instance, building on the African Growth and Opportunity Act’s strong legacy of bipartisan support, President Barack Obama launched the Trade Africa initiative to support regional economic integration and work toward a more reciprocal trade relationship. But the suspension of access for Rwandan apparel reinforces the sad truth that the Trump administration has no vision for trade with Africa. And there is no question that U.S. businesses will suffer as a result. Africa represents the last frontier for America’s export-driven economy, with consumer and business spending predicted to reach $6.7 trillion by 2030. A U.S. government report released last week cited motor vehicles, poultry and refined petroleum products among various sectors, as well as a range of services, with the potential for greater American exports to sub-Saharan Africa.
The United States misses a larger opportunity by engaging in petty trade squabbles and generally neglecting the continent. While it is true that the Trump administration maintains that it supports more reciprocal trade relationships with African states and has been studying trade and investment potential in certain African markets, advancing a strategic economic partnership with Africa requires more than talk. Actions — like threatening the funding of government agencies that support U.S. companies investing in Africa, leaving key ambassadorships vacant and deprioritizing trade programs — speak louder than words.
Meanwhile, other economies are making aggressive commercial plays in Africa. China has been Africa’s leading trade partner for the last nine years; trade scuffles like this one with Rwanda can only further drive African states into China’s open arms. Nor is it just China — the European Union has been actively traveling the region, signing two-way trade agreements that will disadvantage American companies far more than any tariffs on secondhand clothing.
It would be misguided to dismiss this row with Rwanda as a small issue with a small country. The larger economic picture is much more worrying.
*Washington Post/APO.Grant T. Harris is CEO of Harris Africa Partners. He was senior director for Africa at the White House from 2011 to 2015.
After Fleeing from the Marauders – Refugee Stories
By Solomon Ngu*
The Humanitarian crisis has attained alarming proportions tens of thousands displaced from their homes
Why the Biya government decided to launch war in the countryside, I suspect, was because he feared a Maoist-style revolution whereby villages mobilize enough fighters who eventually move en masse to capture the cities. Whether the government is succeeding in this or not is questionable. What we know is that some of the villages in the countryside have, through guerrilla tactics, put up strong and unbelievable resistance to the government forces. The Fighters are currently talking of cruising into Buea irrespective of whether they control the countryside or not. I must stress that the government forces barely occupy deserted portions of the villages; they haven’t captured any territory through combat. Those in the occupied parts of the countryside are living in the forests, have fled to unaffected villages or the city.
Photos and videos depicting the living conditions of Anglophone refugees in Nigeria and those living in the forests in Cameroon circulate daily on social media. Despite their condition, they – especially those living in the forests in Cameroon – go an extra length to take videos and photos within a setting where they do not have access to electricity to charge their phones. I recently got a call from one of my childhood friends, a farmer living in the burnt farming village of Munyenge and he said they have found a way to charge their phones by sneaking into those houses that have not been burnt down.
Villagers in the war zone, especially those in the thick forests region, do monitor the moves and location of the soldiers. They know which paths and routes to take if they want to leave the countryside. This task is further made easier by the Amba Fighters located in the villages. I met several people whose escape to Anglophone cities and to the Francophone side of the country was facilitated by these Fighters. These escapes are sudden and those fleeing have just a small window of opportunity to pick up a handful of their belongings.
To get a deeper understanding of the experiences of those who fled the countryside, I decided in mid April to visit some of the families hosting refugees. I talked with the refugees and must say their ordeal, courage and resolve to run for their lives in the face of advancing soldiers are worth commending. Take for example, the horrifying experience of Agnes (a pseudonym) who escaped into the forest for two days, leaving behind her very sick mother. She was too old to run with the others into the forest. Luckily, the grandma was still alive when Agnes returned from the forest. In less than an hour, she picked up her few belongings and was already on the run again to a neighboring village. The compound they fled into hosted more than 25 people. They all slept on the floor. She eventually reached Buea thanks to transportation money sent to her by her sister. In her words:
“We were told that there had been confrontations between the Fighters and the La Repubique [government] soldiers in a neighboring village which is about one day trekking from our village. We didn’t know the fight would reach us so soon. But events unfolded so quickly. I was on my way from the farm when I heard the sound of the guns. It sounded like the end of the world. Bullets rained on our roof. One of the falling bullets pierced through my new jacket.”
Agnes showed me scars of the wounds she sustained on her legs and arms as she ran through the forests with her children and mother. Amidst the commotion, she had forgotten to take money. She took another risk of returning to her house alone. She came face to face with the Fighters who were all dressed in Cameroon military uniform. The uniforms and weapons had been taken from killed and capitulated government soldiers. To her surprise, one of the Fighters called her by her name and instructed her to leave the village as soon as possible. This, she did.
Another story is that of a woman who is in her early 60s. Transport services into and out of her village were completely cut off after the government forces attacked. She took into the forest, trekking for more than 50km. It took her two days before she finally got to the Francophone town of Dschang from where she took a bus to Buea.
But here comes another problem, the challenge of living in the city. With tears in her eyes, Agnes described how life in Buea is strange and unfriendly. She had thought her refugee status would last only a few days but two weeks after getting to Buea, her village, including a semi-urban settlement around it, was completely deserted by mid April 2018. Agnes had lost her freedom and privacy and needed money to survive in the new place. She was a farmer, a money-lender and a trader in the countryside. She left the village at the beginning of the planting season meaning that there is a possibility she may starve next year if she returned to the village. In my recent communication with her, she wasn’t sure if she would ever return to her house.
During my stay in Cameroon, I traveled to a few border towns hosting refugees. I spent two days in Dschang where the car parks serving Anglophone passengers were scanty. Listening to the hardship of those hosting the refugees was heartbreaking. Nearly everyone I met in Dschang was hosting refugees from Lebialem. There is this friend of mine whose five relatives fled the village to live with her in late March. As of the time of writing this article, the number has increased to six. She has a two-bedroom apartment. She avoids loss of privacy and stress at home by spending most of her free time in the church and farm.
The government has refused to recognize the Anglophone refugee disaster. Talk less of any conversation about the Anglophone Crisis at the national parliament. Responding to my first post on this series, someone insinuated that ‘this mad war [has been] initiated by desperately power hungry Cameroon diaspora’. What he failed to mention was that the war was declared on Anglophones, the ‘terrorists’, by the president in November 2017. The Anglophone diaspora started supporting the Fighters after they realized that the soldiers were killing Anglophones indiscriminately. The minister of defense actually praised the soldiers for massacres in villages in Manyu Division where people resorted to fleeing to Nigeria. It is estimated that between 40.000 and 50.000 Anglophones have sought refuge in Nigeria.
The narrative put forth by the government surrogate such as the one who commented on my first post specifically aims at excusing the government of war against people it sees as despicable. How do I know this? How the Cameroon government choose to treat – or choose not to treat – its citizens who happen to be refugees tells a lot about who is considered a true Cameroonian. We have all seen how the government provides humanitarian relief to Francophone refugees fleeing Boko Haram attacks. They have been treated as unfortunate people whose humanity is being destroyed by terrorists. The Anglophone refugees, to quote Franz Fanon, live in a zone of non-being; a zone where people are not recognized as full humans and their lives are less valued.
In my next post I will focus on the Amba Fighters – how they are perceived in Anglophone Cameroon. Part of my argument will be that they do no longer want to condone the dehumanization they experience daily in their country.
*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
Ethiopia’s newly elected Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed addresses the members of parliament inside the House of Peoples’ Representatives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia April 19, 2018. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s prime minister said on Wednesday that ending war and expanding economic ties with neighboring Eritrea is critical for stability and development in the impoverished Horn of Africa region.
Abiy Ahmed’s remarks followed the announcement on Tuesday by his ruling coalition that Ethiopia would fully implement a peace deal signed in 2000 and meant to end a two-year war that devolved into a stalemate resulting in huge military build up by both countries.
The pledge would entail ceding a disputed town to Eritrea. There was no sign on Wednesday that Ethiopia had begun withdrawing its troops from the town of Badme.
It is one of many policy shifts announced since the 41-year-old took office in early April, moves that could reshape Ethiopia’s relations with its neighbors and have equally dramatic impacts inside the country of 100 million people.
Whether the new measures, including liberalization of the state-controlled economy, end up addressing critical challenges from high youth unemployment to rising government debt remain to be seen. But they are shaking the country up.
“All that we have achieved from the situation of the last 20 years is tension,” Abiy said.
“Neither Ethiopia nor Eritrea benefit from a stalemate. We need to expend all our efforts toward peace and reconciliation and extricate ourselves from petty conflicts and divisions and focus on eliminating poverty.”
Ethiopia’s move is a “drastic departure” from its longstanding – and failed – policy, said Ahmed Soliman, Ethiopia analyst at Chatham House, a London-based thinktank.
“To see some movement is extremely positive. This is the most important latent conflict within the Horn and its resolution is important for peace and security in the region.”
NO COMMENT FROM ERITREA
Eritrea used to be a part of Ethiopia and waged a 30-year struggle for independence. The war on their shared border between 1998 and 2000 killed tens of thousands of people, caused significant displacement and the splintering of families.
Eritrea’s government has not responded publicly to Addis Ababa’s offer of an olive branch late on Tuesday. The two nations cut ties during the war.
Asmara’s Information Minister told Reuters on Tuesday evening he had not seen the Ethiopian government’s statement so could not immediately comment. He did not respond to phone calls on Wednesday.
Eritrea has long said it wants Ethiopia to pull its troops out from the disputed territory before normalizing ties, citing a decision by a boundary commission at The Hague which awarded the village of Badme to Eritrea in 2002.
Asmara has long felt betrayed by world powers, who they say failed to force Ethiopia to abide by the commission ruling.
Ethiopia says the row over border demarcation can only be resolved through a negotiated settlement.
On Tuesday, an Ethiopian foreign ministry official told Reuters that there were “at least 61 attempts” to mediate between the two nations, but that Asmara had rejected all requests.
Russia, the European Union, and Qatar were among those that proposed to mediate in the last two decades, he said.
Abiy said Ethiopia needed to resolve what he seemed to view as a costly and pointless dispute.
“Putting an end to this situation and finding peace is necessary beyond anything else not just for Ethiopia but for the wider Horn of Africa,” he said in a speech in Addis Ababa.
“Every Ethiopian should realize that it is expected of us to be a responsible government that ensures stability in our region, one that takes the initiative to connect the brotherly peoples of both countries and expands trains, buses and economic ties between Asmara and Addis Ababa.”
Diplomats say punitive measures taken against Eritrea may prevent an immediate conclusion to the dispute.
The U.N. Security Council imposed an arms embargo on Eritrea in 2009 on charges that Asmara provided political, financial and logistical support to militant groups in Somalia. Eritrea has long dismissed the claims, saying they are concocted by Addis Ababa in a bid to isolate the country and divert attention from Ethiopia’s reluctance to hand over the disputed areas.
“The Eritrean government has always proclaimed its innocence and will demand that the sanctions are promptly lifted. This could be a sticking point for now,” said a Western diplomat in Ethiopia.
President Donald Trump of United States (l) pose while President Muhammadu Buhari signs visitors book at the White House in Washington DC during a recent visit
The United States Government has announced 102 million dollars (about 3.7 billion naira) in additional humanitarian assistance for Nigeria to address the sufferings of people affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.
The U.S. Department of State said the fund would be used to address the shelter, health and food security needs of populations in the northeast still struggling with the effects of the Boko Haram insurgency.
These fund for Nigeria represents the vast majority of the U.S. government’s new 112 million dollars infusion for the Lake Chad region.
The assistance would be administered primarily through the U.S. Agency for International Development’s offices of Food for Peace, and Foreign Disaster Assistance, as well as the U.S. State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration. “Nearly a decade of conflict perpetuated by Boko Haram and its offshoot ISIS-West Africa has triggered a humanitarian crisis in the region. “More than two million people remain uprooted by the violence, and nearly 11 million people need lassistance to survive. “The funding in today’s announcement will provide life-saving aid to hundreds of thousands of people, including emergency food, nutrition treatment, shelter, health care, safe drinking water, services for survivors of sexual violence, and support to children separated from their families.
“The United States is the largest donor for the humanitarian response in the Lake Chad region, having provided nearly 761 million dollars since Fiscal Year 2017.
“While the United States remains committed to helping the people affected by this conflict, a comprehensive political and security solution is ultimately the only way to end their suffering and bring peace to the region.
“The United States calls on other donors to step up to address the basic life-saving needs of those displaced and the communities that host them,” the Department said. As of May 2018, an estimated 2.3 million people in the northeast experienced extreme food insecurity, largely due to widespread insecurity, protracted displacement, depleted assets, and the interruption of agricultural production throughout the region.
Overall, an estimated 7.7 million people in the northeast require urgent humanitarian assistance. “Even as the Nigerian security personnel make progress, access to those most in need remains tenuous in many areas and the operating environment is highly volatile,” the U.S. said. (NAN) Related Boko Haram victims get $500m U.S support.
A group of lawyers is calling on president Akufo-Addo to sack the head of Ghana’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) following the leakage of a caution statement written by the GFA boss.
Kwasi Nyantakyi’s statement to the police flooded social media in a case reported by President Akufo-Addo over allegation of false pretense.
The group known as Lawyers in Search of Democracy (LINDOD) described the situation as “disgraceful” which should warrant a resignation by the CID head Tiwaah Addo Danquah or outright dismissal.
“The blame for this disgraceful leakage must be squarely placed at the doorstep of the Director General of CID Madam Tiwaah Addo Danquah. We hasten to say that unless Madam Tiwaah Addo Danquah comes clear on this embarrassing situation or show that the document leaked is fake, and does not ernanate from her outfit, she has no moral right to remain in office, even for one more day and must honourably resign in order to restore the sinking image of that office.
“We are calling on the President without hesitation to sack Madam Tiwaah Addo Danquah immediately and cause the IGP to purge that office of all disgraceful characters who are gradually dragging his office into an irredeemable abyss,” spokesperson for the group George Loh said in a statement.
They have given the presidency a 72-hour ultimatum to act else they will pursue the matter in court.
“If we do not see any action taken on this matter within 72 hours of this release, we shall have no option than to take other lawful measures to enforce our legitimate demand as citizens of Ghana,” the statement added.
Below is the full statement:
Lawyers In Search OF Democracy (LINSOD) have read with shock and trepidation the leakage of the document purporting to be the investigative caution statement written by Mr. Kwasi Nyantakyi on demand and handed over to the Police CID on 23rd May 2018.
As practicing lawyers, we wonder how come a piece of evidence which the police gathers in the course of investigation, which even criminal defence lawyers are unable to obtain before trial in order to prepare adequately for their cases, has become part of media publication and commentary.
This to us is mind boggling indeed.
With the awareness that there are currently pending constitutional cases before the Supreme Court by citizens seeking to get clarity on their constitutional right to access such evidence made to the Police by clients facing criminal prosecution yet to be adjudicated upon, it shows the extent to which the police hold tenaciously to these caution statements.
The blame for this disgraceful leakage must be squarely placed at the doorstep of the Director General of CID Madam Tiwaah Addo Danquah.
We hasten to say that unless Madam Tiwaah Addo Danquah comes clear on this embarrassing situation or show that the document leaked is fake, and does not emanate from her outfit, she has no moral right to remain in office, even for one more day and must honourably resign in order to restore the sinking image of that office.
We are calling on the President without hesitation to sack Madam Tiwaah Addo Danquah immediately and cause the IGP to purge that office of all disgraceful characters who are gradually dragging his office into an irredeemable abyss.
If we do not see any action taken on this matter within 72 hours of this release, we shall have no option than to take other lawful measures to enforce our legitimate demand as citizens of Ghana.
will the fear of Anas be the the beginning of wisdom for corrupt public officials in Ghana?
The Government of Ghana has dissolved the Ghana Football Association(GFA) following corrupt activities exposed in a video by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
A statement by Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid on Thursday stated that government is “shocked and outraged at the contents” in the investigative piece.
The statement added that “having regard to the widespread nature of the apparent rot involving top GFA officials, top NSA officials, match commissioners, football administrators and referees, Government has decided to take immediate steps to have the GFA dissolved.”
The secret filming that saw the President of Ghana Football Association Kwesi Nyantakyi and many other crucial football officials taking bribes has angered many Ghanaians, with football lovers asking for the resignation of the GFA boss.
Mr. Nyantakyi is currently on a police enquiry bail after he used the name of President Akufo-Addo fraudulently in the Anas video.
Below is the full statement
GOVERNMENT TO TAKE STEPS TO DISSOLVE THE GHANA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
Government is shocked and outraged at the contents of the recently-aired video documentary, which captures the investigation conducted into football administration by the journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, titled “Number 12, When Misconduct and Greed become the Norm.” The documentary exposes the gross mal-functioning of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), characterized by widespread fraud, corruption, and bribery. As a result of the pervasive nature of the rot within GFA, Government has decided as follows:
1. the conduct of all officials of the GFA, together with that of the suspended Acting Director General of the National Sports Authority (NSA), Robed Sarfo Mensah, shown in the documentary to be involved in questionable, potentially criminal acts, is, forthwith, referred to the Police for further investigation and appropriate action. The Police are to take all such relevant measures as are necessary to ensure that the contents of the documentary are rapidly and thoroughly investigated;
2. having regard to the widespread nature of the apparent rot involving top GFA officials, top NSA officials, match commissioners, football administrators and referees, Government has decided to take immediate steps to have the GFA dissolved. Government will shortly, thereafter, announce provisional measures to govern football activity in the country, until a new body is duly formed; and
3. Government will communicate these decisions to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), and engage with been on these developments to chart a way forward for Ghana football.
Government will see to it that the necessary reforms are urgently undertaken to sanitize football administration in the country.
The Parliament of Ghana has waded into the explosive revelations on the country’s Football Association by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas in his latest work.
The secret filming that saw the President of Ghana Football Association (GFA) Kwesi Nyantakyi and many other crucial football officials taking bribes has angered many Ghanaians, with football lovers asking for the resignation of the GFA boss.
Mr. Nyantakyi is currently on a police enquiry bail after he is alleged to have used the name of President Akufo-Addo fraudulently in the Anas video.
Reacting to a call by members of the House for their intervention in the matter, the Speaker Professor Mike Ocquaye said Ghana’s constitution grants the legislature the power to investigate any person or institutions in the country and therefore deems it appropriate to initiate a probe into the content of the video.
“Parliament has the power to make laws to regulate professional, trade and business organisations. That is a very strong authority. If we have the power to regulate you, one of the criteria we are being told to look is whether you are acting democratically, and if fraud or corruption is alleged, that cannot be democratic, for that matter we are entitled to look into that matter. And that is what our special committee does.
“Everyone knows we are in an era where we all agree that we are fighting corruption and parliament must be the authority that is most interested in view of its being representative body of the entire of Ghana. Since no person, body or institution can assume an immunity from parliamentary investigation, I ask that we form a special committee right now, we will quickly look at the matter and then we will show what recommendations we should make,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Football Association has given the assurance that there will be no cover-ups at the football organization following the revelations of ill-conduct by some officials in the investigative piece put together by journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
The FA however says it was not given the opportunity to view the video ahead of the Wednesday premiering even though they are a major part of its content.
“The GFA wishes to place on record that, there will be no attempt of a cover-up or shield any of our members caught in alleged acts of corruption. The GFA wishes to assure all that as an institution it does not condone any manner of corrupt practices,” the FA said in a statement.
The African Women in the Media 2018 Conference, an event organised by award-winning journalist, Dr Yemisi Akinbobola, has Visibility as its theme and promises to empower delegates through panels, workshops and networking.
It is reported that attendees will experience keynote presentations, industry panels with leading names like Eugenia Abu, Lola Shoneyin, Stephanie Busari, Kunle Afoayan and much more, as well as academic panels and numerous training workshops.
“There are three tracks running simultaneously at any one time during the conference”, said Dr Akinbobola. “We don’t want to just talk about the issues, but through the workshops, pitch zone and networking opportunities, we are putting actions into place to empower attendees”.
The African Women in the Media group aims to impact positively the way media functions in relation to women, both in the industry and media’s representation of gender issues.
“Action is key here and we are so grateful to all our sponsors for their support”, adds Dr Akinbobola. “We are particularly excited to launch the AWIM/NRGI Award which comes with a $1,000 cash prize.”
AWIM18 Conference Highlights include CNN’s Nima Elbagir as Keynote Speaker,Prof Abigail Ogwezzy as academic Keynote Speaker.Three industry panels: Gender, Security and Election Coverage; Women in Media Leadership; Role of Fictional Content on Society’s Perspective of Women in Leadership.
Three academic panels: Break the Silence: Health, Violence and Media; Women Behind and In-Front of Camera; Women in Media: Participation, Advocacy and Youth
10 Training workshops: Data Journalism, Digital Marketing, Reporting in Conflict Zones, Newsroom Leadership, Vlogging for Change, to listen, engage and tell stories on social media to grow female audiences
Pitch Zone: Hosted by BBC and the Natural Resource Governance Institute who is funding the AWIM/NRGI Award where delegates can win £1,000 to produce their gender focused natural resources story Dinner parties and networking on both nights Roundtable discussions with speakers
African Women in the Media (AWiM) is a Facebook group that convenes annually. The first convening event took place in Birmingham, UK with panels from both academia and industry. The AWiM17 keynote speaker was Minna Salami. The group wants to challenge the way media functions in relation to African women, and seeks to inspire, support and empower its members.
Dr Yemisi Akinbobola is an award-winning journalist, academic, and media entrepreneur. A Nigerian living in UK, her work is Africa focused, covering stories from rape culture in Nigeria, to an investigative and data story on the trafficking of young West African football hopefuls by fake agents. The latter won the CNN African Journalist Award 2016 (Sports Reporting). Yemisi holds a PhD in Media and Cultural Studies from Birmingham City University where she is the Course Director for MA Global Media Management, and her research interest is in digital journalism and African feminism.
She is the founder of Stringers Africa, which connects freelance journalists in African countries with newsrooms worldwide, and she runs the African Women in the Media group. Founder also of IQ4News, a multimedia production company, she has freelanced for publications including the UN Africa Renewal magazine. Yemisi she has several years’ experience in communication management for charities.
*issues 12-point resolution on state of the nation
By Olayinka Ajayi
President Buhari delivering his budget speech before the joint session of the National Assembly.
The joint Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has drawn the battle line with President Muhammadu Buhari as it, yesterday, charged him to address threats to the lives of the citizenry and the country’s democracy, failing which it would initiate constitutional actions against him.
The impeachment of the president was, implicit in the latest face-off between the two arms of government.
The National Assembly vowed to press the international community to help secure the country’s democracy which the legislature said is now at risk. The legislators summarised the risks to the lives of Nigerians and the country’s democracy in what they alleged as the incompetence of the Police and the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris. In its resolution, the National Assembly reiterated its vote of no confidence in Idris as earlier passed by the Senate. The Assembly at the same time passed a unanimous vote of confidence in its leadership. Senior officers of the administration and Buhari’s top 2019 presidential campaign officials drew back from joining the fray when contacted yesterday.
There were, however, mixed reactions from the civil society community, with President Buhari’s former lawyer, Chief Mike Ahamba, SAN, calling on the President to urgently deal with the issues addressed to him. Unusual joint session of NASS The resolution of the National Assembly came at the end of an unprecedented joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives in the chamber of the House of Representatives. It was the first time the National Assembly would sit in a joint session on matters besides receiving the budget or a foreign dignitary since the return to democratic rule in 1999. Yesterday’s three-hour closed session commenced at 12.35 p.m. and ended at 3.35 p.m, following which Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who presided at the session read out the resolution which was agreed. With Speaker Dogara seated beside him, Senator Saraki said: “The National Assembly held a joint Executive Session today, Tuesday, June 5, 2018 (yesterday), where lawmakers agreed on 12 resolutions as follows: lThe Security Agencies must be given marching orders to curtail the sustained killings of Nigerians across the country and protect lives and properties of Nigerians as this is the primary duty of any responsible government. lThe systematic harassment and humiliation by the Executive of perceived political opponents, people with contrary opinions including Legislators and Judiciary by the police and other security agencies must stop. lThere must be strict adherence to the Rule of Law and protection for all citizens by the President and his appointees. lThe President must be held accountable for the actions of his appointees and must be ready to sanction those that carry out any act which will ridicule or endanger our country and democracy. lThe government should show sincerity in the fight against corruption by not being selective and also prosecute current appointees that have cases pending against them. lThe sanctity of the National Assembly should be protected and preserved by the Federal Government of Nigeria by not interfering in its business and prosecuting those who invaded the Senate to seize the Mace.
National Assembly should liaise with International Communities through the IPU, APU, ECOWAS, CPA, Pan African Parliament, EU, UN, US Congress and UK Parliament to secure our democracy. lDemocratic elections must be competitive and inclusive by removing the present reign of fear and intimidation particularly as we approach the forthcoming 2019 elections.
The National Assembly will work closely with Civil Society Organisations, Trade Unions and NGOs to further deepen and protect our democracy. The President must take immediate steps to contain the growing level of unemployment and poverty in Nigeria especially now that we have advantage of the oil price having risen to $80 per barrel. lBoth chambers of the National Assembly hereby pass a vote of confidence on the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the entire leadership of the National Assembly. lWe reaffirm our earlier resolution of vote of no confidence on the Inspector- General of Police who does nothing other than preside over the killing of innocent Nigerians and consistent framing up of perceived political opponents of the President and outright disregard for constitutional authority, both executive and legislative. Finally, the National Assembly will not hesitate to invoke its Constitutional powers if nothing is done to address the above resolutions passed today (yesterday).’’
Address the issues — Ahamba Responding to the National Assembly resolution,
Ahamba urged the President to look at the issues raised by the legislators, even if they were not innocent in the handling of the problems of the country. He said: “They (lawmakers) have power under the constitution to pass resolutions, but those resolutions are not binding on the president. “Everybody in Nigeria knows that democracy is in danger. Strictly speaking, they cannot run away from the fact that they are part of endangering democracy by their conduct, but if they have passed a resolution touching on the presidency, I expect the President to look at it and decide to implement or not. “I haven’t seen their resolutions and the reasons for them, but they have endangered democracy because of some of the legislation they have passed like the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA. “There are some sections in that Act that are incongruent with the rule of law and which the security agencies are using to humiliate Nigerians.”
It’s nPDP resolution — Jibrin
The resolution at the joint session was, however, last night debunked by a member of the House of Representatives, Abdulmumin Jibrin who recently returned to the House after suspension. Jibrin, who claimed to be speaking on behalf of the Parliamentary Support Group for Buhari, alleged that the resolution was conceived by legislators of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP extraction. He said: “Almost all the senators that spoke at the Executive Session are of the PDP, while members of the APC declined joining the discussion to avoid a rowdy confrontation as the entire session could easily pass for a PDP Executive Session. “It is commendable that the Speaker tactically refused to make any comment at the session even after the Senate President took time to explain the issues which are mostly personal. “It is disturbing and raised many questions of pre-determined intentions that a known ally of the Senate President from Kwara State, Hon Rasak Atunwa drafted what was adopted as the resolution and without voting, against standard parliamentary practice. “Most of the issues raised concerning the fight against corruption, insecurity and the rule of law have been severally discussed in the Senate and the House and various resolutions passed. “We commend the efforts of Mr President in the fight against corruption, tackling of the insecurity challenges and respect for rule of law and democratic institutions. Mr President is known for his non-interference policy.
…Immotalises MKO Abiola, Gani Fawehinmi, and Kingibe
By Olayinka Ajayi
The belated but signification recognition of Abiola’s 1993 victory by Buhari is a boon to Nigeria’s democracy
In a statement signed by President Buhari, winner of the presumed freeest election in Nigeria Late MKO Abiola is honoured with a post-humously honoured with the nation’s highest award, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, GCFR conferred on all Presidents/Heads of State.
President Buhari further added that late human rights lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi will also be awarded the country’s second highest award of the Grand Commander of the Niger, GCON in honour of his role towards actualising the June 12 presidential election. Abiola’s running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe will also get a GCON award.
According to the President: “For the past 18 years, Nigerians have been celebrating May 29th, as Democracy Day. That was the date when for the second time in our history, an elected civilian administration took over from a military government. The first time this happened was on October 1st, 1979.”
“But in the view of Nigerians, as shared by this Administration, June 12th, 1993, was far more symbolic of Democracy in the Nigerian context than May 29th or even the October 1st. Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi,SAN”
“June 12th, 1993 was the day when Nigerians in millions expressed their democratic will in what was undisputedly the freest, fairest and most peaceful elections since our Independence. The fact that the outcome of that election was not upheld by the then Military Government does not distract from the democratic credentials of that process.”
“Accordingly, after due consultations, the Federal Government has decided that henceforth, June 12th will be celebrated as Democracy Day. Therefore, Government has decided to award post-humously the highest honour of the land, GCFR, to late Chief MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12th, 1993 cancelled elections. His running mate as Vice President, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, is also to be invested with a GCON. Furthermore, the tireless fighter for human rights and the actualisation of the June 12th election and indeed for Democracy in general, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN, is to be awarded a GCON posthumously.”
“The commemoration and investiture will take place on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, a date which in future years will replace May 29th as a National Public Holiday in celebration of Nigeria Democracy Day.” Buhari stated.
The announcement was received with much excitement across the country yesterday from friends and family of the late Abiola.
This has brought the significance of June 12 — Hafsat His daughter,
Hafsat Abiola-Costello, said: ‘’This has just validated the victory of my father. He didn’t just fight for democracy alone; he fought for Nigeria. May 29 was never the Democracy Day; it’s June 12. And President Buhari has just shown that he is an honourable man. This development has brought to life the significance of June 12.”
Buhari has proved himself to be inclined of the desires of Nigerians –, Abike Dabiri-
Erewa said that President Buhari has shown himself to be inclined to the desires of Nigerians and has done the right thing.
We’ve waited for this—Mohammed Fawehinmi
It is a welcome development. This is what we have been waiting for over the years. Good Nigerians have made several calls for Chief M K O Abiola to be recognised as a Nigerian President. For this government to have done this, it is a welcome gesture. It is a good news that M K O Abiola is going to be awarded GCFR honour and Babagana Kingibe to be awarded GCON, It is clear that Abiola was elected the president of this country, the mere fact that he was not sworn in does not mean he was not elected. This has vindicated Abiola.
Adebanjo said: “It is a welcome development. We have always told them that, (and) he now realises this. We have told them that without June 12 there is no Democracy Day. June 12 is Democracy Day, but May 29 is Civilian Day. I want to urge him to restructure Nigeria because all he is doing are palliatives.
Belated, but welcome—Falae
Also reacting, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Chief Olu Falae described the decision as “belated but welcome.
Right thinking Democrat should support it—Babatope A former Minister of Transport,
Chief Ebenezer Babatope, said: ‘’That is very good. It is a positive development, and every right-thinking democrat should support that. The timing may be wrong, but it is a good development that should be hailed.
Though it came a bit late — Senator Jonathan Zwingina,
Director-General of Abiola’s Hope 93 Campaign Organisation, said: I commend the declaration even though it came a bit late, but better late than never.
It’s commendable—Balarabe Musa
A former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa commended the President’s action said recognising June 12 as a Democracy Day, is proper. In the context of Nigeria, June 12 signifies Democracy Day in the first place because it was a day that Nigerians set aside their differences and united the country for progress.
President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Danqua Akufo Addo has dismissed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital Dr. Felix Anyaa and five others.
Dr. Anyaa was supposedly not approved by the Public Services Commission after he interviewed for the job.
The dismissal comes in the wake of the seeming wave of dismissals of Chief Executives of state agencies by President Akufo-Addo.
Already, the Managing Director of the Bulk Oil and Storage Transport (BOST) Alfred Obeng Boateng, CEO of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority Gifty Klenam, her two deputies and the MD of the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority Paul Ansah have all been sacked in a action by the President on the same day.
The move is seen as part of efforts by President Akufo Addo to rid government agencies of what seems to be a cycle of boardroom wrangling between chief executives of state agencies and their boards.
After several postponements and missed deadlines, Ghana’s National Identity card exercise has finally taken off with over 500 Ghanaians obtaining their Ghana Card from the countries National Identification Authority, (NIA).
The Executive Director of the NIA, Professor Ken Agyemang Attafuah said the pilot phase of the issuance of the new national ID card is going on smoothly since it started at the seat of the Presidency, Jubilee House.
Over 100 Ghanaians working at the Jubilee House have secured their cards after they were taken through the process by officials of the NIA.
Addressing the media after taking the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, through the process, Prof. Attafuah said over 500 new digital Ghana cards have been issued while several others are still going through the procedure to have their cards.
In a conversation with Prof. Attafuah, President Akufo-Addo said Ghanaians are relieved to know that the process has finally started.
The exercise which was scheduled to take off last week Monday failed to commence for the third time after officials of NIA failed to show up.
The NIA later blamed a “technical hitch” for their failure to get people registered for the new Ghana card.
The Ghana Card will replace the sectoral identity cards in circulation and become the only card to be used in transactions where identification is required as provided by law.
Among other things, it will enable other stakeholders to run their applications on the national identity card.
The roll-out strategy, according to the NIA would be published in detail for everyone to have the opportunity to see where he or she would have to register.
But in the meantime, the NIA has explained that it was undertaking the exercise on regional basis and that after the registration of staff at the Presidency, Parliament, Judicial Service and the security agencies, it would move into the community starting with Greater Accra where it will use three months for the exercise.