French President Emmanuel Macron (L) greets Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari upon his arrival at the Elysee palace on December 12, 2017 in Paris, for a lunch as part of the One Planet Summit. / AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT
All is set for France President, Emmanuel Macron to visit Nigeria in July and will seek to address the joint session of the National Assembly,
Speaking in Abuja, Ambassador of France to Nigeria Mr. Denys Gauer, in a courtesy visit to the Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon Yakubu Dogara, at the National Assembly, Gauer stated that President Macron has shown deep interest in the future and development of Nigeria.
He revealed that Mr. Macron had worked in the French embassy in Abuja early in his career for six months some years ago and that whereas relations between the two countries in the last few years have centred on security, the France President hopes to use the visit to further deepen relations with Nigeria especially in areas such as youths development, culture and creativity.
Responding, Speaker Yakubu Dogara said that members of House of Representatives and indeed the National Assembly will want to listen to the French President whom he described as “a man of our generation”.
He has brought a lot of youthful zest, dynamism charisma and appeal to French politics and we will want to yield the floor to him.
The Speaker further commended the French government for assisting Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram terrorists and pledged to give expeditious passage to all bilateral agreements that will be signed between Nigeria and France during Macron’s visit.
African migrants take part at a protest in Tel Aviv on June 10, 2017. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Israel has started handing out notices to 20,000 male African migrants giving them two months to leave the country or risk being thrown in jail.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is offering the migrants, most of whom are from Sudan and Eritrea, $3,500 and a plane ticket to what it says is a safe destination in another country in sub-Saharan Africa.The fate of some 37,000 Africans in Israel is posing a moral dilemma for a state founded as haven for Jews from persecution and a national home. The right-wing government is under pressure from its nationalist voter base to expel the migrants, while others are calling for them to be taken in.
The government says the migrants are “infiltrators” looking for work rather than asylum, but there is a growing liberal backlash against the plan, including from rabbis, a small group of survivors of the Nazi Holocaust and ordinary people who say Israel should show greater compassion to the migrants.
The first eviction notices were handed out on Sunday and job advertisements for immigration inspectors to implement the deportation plan have been posted on government websites.
Rights groups advocating on behalf of the migrants say many fled abuse and war and their expulsion, even to a different country in Africa, would endanger them further.
“I don’t know what to do. Rwanda, Uganda are not my countries, what will a third country help me?” said Eritrean Berihu Ainom, after receiving an eviction notice on Sunday.
The deportation notices do not name the country migrants will be flown to but Netanyahu has said it will be a safe destination. Rights groups have named Uganda and Rwanda as possible host countries.
In a poor neighborhood in the south of Tel Aviv that has attracted thousands of African migrants, shops are dotted with signs in Tigrinya and other African languages while abandoned warehouses have been converted into churches.
“I came to Israel to save my life,” said Eritrean Afoworki Kidane, sitting on a street bench.
He said he would rather go to jail than take the cash and plane ticket on offer to leave the country that has been his home for nine years.
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said Israel’s first obligation was to its own citizens, rather than the migrants.
“They are not numbers, they are people, they are human and I am full of compassion and mercy,” Deri told Army Radio. “But the small state of Israel cannot contain such a vast number of illegal infiltrators.”
But opposition to the plan has been building and some Israelis are now offering to take migrants at risk of expulsion into their homes.
On Thursday, a group of 36 Holocaust survivors sent a letter to Netanyahu asking him not to deport the migrants. The U.S.-based Anti Defamation League has also urged Israel to reconsider the plan, citing “Jewish values and refugee heritage”.
Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, chairman of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and a Holocaust survivor, said in a statement the issue required “as much compassion, empathy and mercy that can possibly be marshalled. The experiences of the Jewish people over the ages underscore this commitment.”
Rabbi Susan Silverman has launched a campaign called Miklat Israel (Israel Shelter) for Israelis to take migrants into their homes.
“It’s unconscionable for the Jewish state to deport people to harrowing vulnerability,” she said.
Miklat Israel’s Rabbi Tamara Schagas said 600 Israeli families had already signed up and the organization would begin to connect migrants with potential hosts this week.
The Supreme Court ruled in August that Israeli authorities can hold illegal migrants for up to 60 days in custody.
Immigration officials have said women, children and men with families in Israel were allowed to stay for now, as was anyone with outstanding asylum requests.
Out of 6,800 requests reviewed so far, Israel has granted refugee status to 11 migrants. It has at least 8,000 more requests to process.
Israeli authorities have said Israeli officials will keep in touch with migrants accepted in a third country to oversee their progress. Rwanda has said it will only accept migrants who have left Israel of their own free will.
Nonetheless, the U.N.’s refugee agency has urged Israel to reconsider, saying migrants who have relocated to sub-Saharan Africa in the past few years were unsafe and ended up on the perilous migrant trail to Europe, some suffering abuse, torture and even perishing on the way.
Rights groups in Israel say the government is simply ridding itself of people it should be recognizing as refugees in Israel and that there was no real guarantee for their safety.
A fence Israel has built over the past few years along its border with Egypt has all but stopped African migrants from entering the country illegally. Beginning in the previous decade, when the border was porous, a total of 64,000 Africans made it to Israel though thousands have since left.
Emmanuel Asfaha from Eritrea crossed into Israel in 2011 with his wife and baby son. His second child was born in Israel.
A narrow grocery store stockroom stacked with bags of flour leads to their two-room apartment in Tel Aviv, a poster of Jesus hanging on the cracked walls above his son’s bed. Asfaha is concerned Israel will eventually deport families too.
“I am worried about the situation,” he said while cooking Shiro, a traditional stew. “Tomorrow it will be for me also.”
A few kilometers away, in a hip, upscale part of Tel Aviv, Ben Yefet, a 39-year-old stockbroker, said he had signed up with Miklat Israel to house two or three migrants in his two-room apartment.
“As Israelis and Jews we are obligated. We have a moral compass, we just have to do it,” he said.
In 2017, the world watched as Kenya endured one of the most complicated election cycles ever. In the hotly-contested initial August vote, the incumbent won. As expected, the opposition contested the result in court. Many saw merit in the complaints, but were nonetheless shocked when the Supreme Court ordered a re-run. Unhappy with the hurried process that ensued, and fuelled in part by an opposition boycott, however, voters largely avoided the repeat poll in October, which registered a paltry turnout of less than 40%.
The Kenya case throws up an interesting contradiction of modern foreign policy. Western diplomats have long preached the gospel of good governance in the developing world. But as these uncertain events unfolded last year – with the police killing 78 civilians and the electoral commission itself admitting it had made a shambles of the second vote – Western ambassadors kept urging Kenyans to recognise the importance of one particular idea.
That idea was not “rule of law”, “democracy” or “free, fair and credible” elections. It was “stability”.
More than 15 million voters refused to participate in the Kenyan election re-run. The process was widely seen as illegitimate and has likely sowed seeds of dissatisfaction that could undercut the ability of the ruling party to govern for the next five years. But despite this, diplomats continue to parrot the cardinal importance of “stability”.
This was not the first or last time this word echoed around the continent in 2017. From Togo to Egypt, and from Chad to Gabon – all of which have seen popular protests come up against state power – the emphasis on stability has taken precedence over, say, political engagement. As Cameroon’s government gunned down protesters, arrested activists en masse, and shut down the Internet in Anglophone regions, for example, international actors urged a return to stability. As simmering discontent in Ethiopia led to online blackouts, heavy force and a state of emergency, Western diplomats supported the government in restoring the same.
It has even become the strategy taken in relation to Eritrea, nominally a pariah state, but now a lynchpin in Europe’s immigration policy. When it comes to Western engagement with Africa, stability is the mot du jour.
The Stability Doctrine
In the name of this “Stability Doctrine”, foreign governments tip the political balance in favour of existing power and the state. They bolster the short-term status quo, even if that means disregarding visible discontent and overlooking state abuses. They pick power over protesters, and privilege the interests of others over those of the citizens in the countries at hand.
One of the main reasonings behind this approach is inseparable from the global march of neoliberalism. Foreign extraction from Africa is not new, but steady social and political conditions are a particular priority for today’s predominant form of exploitation. Corporations hungry for endless growth – more so than states looking to manage a balance of power – need predictable politics to operate.
Unlike some periods of history, the focus today is also notably short-termist. During the Cold War, African nations were seen as potential allies in long-term, ideological world-building projects. But today’s Stability Doctrine is focused only on the next few years. It has no interest in building institutions, embedding good governance, or understanding the underlying causes of threatened instability. It has little concern for the implications of its actions in the future – because by that time, it will be someone else’s problem.
Two things have changed in the last ten years that have led to this particular brand of the Stability Doctrine. Firstly, the rise of China, Turkey and other non-Western countries has threatened the West’s long-standing economic domination in Africa. This has given African elites – amongst the key beneficiaries of “stability” – more leverage and led Western policymakers, afraid of losing their patronage networks, to weaken their good governance agenda.
At the same time, the 2007/8 global economic collapse has made opportunities to extract from Africa all the more important. African markets, labour and natural resources have never been more integral to resolving urgent economic challenges in other parts of the world.
Delay, defer, deny
What’s wrong with stability uber alles? First and foremost, it puts a risky mortgage on the future of Africa. It is an alliance between outsiders and African elites whose mantra is eat now and delay, defer or deny the consequences.
The Stability Doctrine treats Africa as a place to make as much money as quickly as possible, not a place where people live, love and exist. It ensures African countries continue to play a position in the periphery of global politics, providing raw materials, markets, and an acquiescent labour force for multinational corporations.
The focus on stability treats the tremendous effort and risk that African activists and politicians take to shift the political discourse as secondary to the interests of foreign governments. It sees widespread demands for greater justice, democracy and accountability as less important than holding things steady – at least at the levels important for foreign business.
The reality, however, is that while outsiders are tipping the scales in favour of wealth and the status quo in the corridors of power, African countries are growing increasingly inhospitable for many of their citizens, particularly the youth. In 2017, thousands died attempting to cross the Mediterranean, while the African Union estimates that another 200,000 are currently zig-zagging across the Sahara chasing after the same dream.
They leave partly because of the collateral damage of “stability” or profiteering over all else. They leave because there is no land to work – much of it sold off or unusable thanks to the ravages of climate change. They leave because their educations are worthless as privatisation has eaten away at public universities. They leave because their leaders spend more on weapons to maintain power than they do on healthcare. They leave because police officers show up at their doorstep and summarily arrest, detain or kill anyone who dares to hold a political opinion that threatens the country’s “stability”.
Stability for whom? For how long?
In 2018, things in many countries in Africa are probably going to get worse before they get better. Millions of young people will come of age in countries that have little room for them.
In Kenya, the authority of the executive elected under suspect conditions will probably be tested more than ever. In Cameroon and Ethiopia, protests will likely continue and may escalate. Meanwhile, in Gabon, the two Congos, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda and beyond, disillusionment will continue to swell even while African and Western elites hold fast on the promise, and profit, of short-term stability.
The point is not that instability is the answer. Rather, it is that when confronted with the Stability Doctrine, we must ask “stability for whom?”, “stability to what end?” and “stability for how long?”.
The Stability Doctrine as it is shuts African citizens out of their politics, lest they rock the boat, and leaves them abandoned. That may pave the way for predictable market conditions that benefit international corporations and African elites today and maybe even tomorrow. But what of everyone else? And what of the day after?
The Stability Doctrine is an imposter usurping a vacuum left by the slow erosion of ideological (versus commercialised) Pan Africanism. In 2018 and beyond, it’s important to re-assert that Africa is not just an idea or a market that must remain open for business at all costs. Enough Stability Doctrine – it’s time for a foreign policy ideology that asserts the dignity and personhood of African people over all else.
*Source African Arguments.Nanjala Nyabola is a Kenyan writer, humanitarian advocate and political analyst, currently based in Nairobi, Kenya. Follow her on twitter at @Nanjala1
TOUR AIMS TO FOSTER GREATER BUSINESS CONNECTIONS BETWEEN AFRICAN AND U.S. BUSINESSES AND INVESTORS
WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 17, 2018 – The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) will embark on a four-city roadshow tour from April 18-28, 2018, across the United States aimed at re-shaping perceptions on doing business in Africa by highlighting investment opportunities and forging stronger connections between U.S. and African business leaders in key growth sectors.
African and global CEOs and senior executives from sector-leading companies and investors in the U.S. and African countries are invited to participate in the U.S. roadshow. IGD is a U.S.-based network of African and global business leaders who are committed to sustainable development and inclusive growth through business investment.
Launching the U.S. roadshow in Washington, D.C on April 18, the roadshow tour will travel to New York City to highlight banking, financing, insurance and investment; Des Moines, IA for agriculture and agro-industry; and Houston, TX for oil and gas, energy, natural resources and infrastructure.
With some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, the African continent is increasingly becoming an attractive investment destination for emerging markets investors. Yet, estimates show that only 0.3% of the average portfolio in the U.S. is invested in Africa.
“Those of us investing in Africa know about the high returns and lucrative business and investment opportunities on the continent,” said Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych, President & CEO of the Initiative for Global Development. “Creating favorable global perceptions about the business environment in Africa will go a long way in attracting greater investment in African countries with the right business climate.”
“Now, more than ever, there’s a need to change the narrative about doing business in Africa. The Africa Investment Rising roadshow will travel into the heartland of the U.S. to bring real business opportunities and connect African and American business leaders for networking, business matching and knowledge sharing,” said Nedelcovych.
Each city will begin with an exclusive site visit for African delegates featuring innovations in leading industries, followed by a half-day forum and executive speed networking where U.S. and African private sector leaders and investors can make deals and business agreements to create new markets in both regions. Participants have the option of attending one or all stops on the U.S. roadshow.
The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) is a Washington, DC-based network of African and global business leaders who are committed to advancing sustainable development and inclusive growth in Africa through business investment. IGD brings together CEOs and senior executives from leading African and global companies through our Frontier Leader Network to catalyze greater business investment and impact on the African continent.
Fort Lauderdale, FL (February 02, 2018) – Just in time to celebrate Valentine’s Day, South African Airways Vacations® (SAA Vacations®), the leisure division of South African Airways is offering a 5-night air-inclusive experience in the beautiful city of Cape Town. Starting at just $1,999* per person (restrictions apply) travel from New York – JFK between April 01 – May 31, 2018, and August 11-31, 2018 and enjoy the breathtaking views and exhilarating activities in sophisticated Cape Town.
SAA Vacations’® “Love Cape Town” package offers a stay in one of the hottest new hotels in the city center, Tsogo Sun’s Sun Square Cape Town City Bowl. This modern hotel boasts a hip and fresh edgy design, free wi-fi, an onsite restaurant serving complimentary breakfast daily, great service and personalized hospitality. With its convenient central location, travelers can explore the city of Cape Town, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, iconic Table Mountain and Lion’s Head and the trendy neighborhood restaurants and club scene of the “Mother City”.
The “Love Cape Town” package includes a Cape Point bike & hike tour. A fun way to experience the sights and sounds of the picturesque Cape Peninsula exploring the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and enjoying the breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean from the summit at the Cape Point lighthouse. Also included is a Hop on Hop off Red City Tour, the easiest and most convenient way to visit Table Mountain, explore the City Bowl, Camps Bay, and the Atlantic Seaboard for the complete Cape Town adventure.
“The Love Cape Town package provides what active travelers are asking for at an incredibly affordable price.” said Terry von Guilleaume, president of SAA Vacations®. “Experience the breathtaking scenery of Cape Town and the Cape Point Peninsula with an exciting bike & hike activity as well as a hop on hop off bus tour to stretch those legs!
This vacation package is a great introduction to the Mother City.”
“It’s fantastic to have a travel partner in South African Airways, which will make travelling to a worldclass destination more accessible. said Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism. The “Love Cape Town” package has been carefully selected to provide a wonderful introduction to some of the best bucket list attractions and experiences the city has to offer. We look forward to welcoming our visitors and sharing everything with them, from our natural environment to our award-winning restaurants and bars.”
SAA Vacations® “Love Cape Town” Package Includes:
• Round-trip Economy Class air transportation from New York JFK Airport to Cape Town on
South African Airways.
• 5-nights at the NEW Sun Square Cape Town City Bowl, on a bed and breakfast basis
• Full-day Cape Point, Bike and Hike Tour
• Full-day pass on the Hop on Hop off Red City Tour bus
• Airport transfers and meet and greet service by South African Airways Vacations
representative in South Africa
“Love Cape Town” package is available for new reservations made as of February 01, 2018. Travelers can book by calling 1-855-359-7228 or their professional travel consultant. South African Airways Vacations offers air-inclusive vacation options for all budgets, with their African Specialist available to ensure their clients experience the vacation of their dreams. For more vacation packages throughout Africa, please visit www.flysaavacations.com.
DAKAR, Senegal, February 3, 2018/ — Ten current and three former heads of state and more than 60 ministers gathered at the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Financing Conference (www.GlobalPartnership.org), making this the highest-level education financing event of its kind.
The conference, co-hosted by President Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal and President Emmanuel Macron of the French Republic, marks the first time an education financing conference has been hosted by a G7 leader and the president of a developing country.
More than 1200 participants attended including leaders from UNESCO, UNICEF, the World Bank, civil society, philanthropic foundations and the private sector. Rihanna, GPE’s Global Ambassador supported by Global Citizen, also participated.
The size and nature of the attendance at the conference was a visible demonstration of the strengthened global political will to ensure every child is in school and learning. This heightened momentum will enable the Global Partnership for Education to reach the goal of providing US$2 billion a year by 2020 for education planning and delivery to support children’s learning in developing countries.
Donor countries pledged US$2.3 billion in financing to GPE. This is a substantial increase in funding compared to the US$1.3 billion contributed over the past three years. In addition, several donor countries have indicated their intention to pledge further funds over the course of the financing period.
The biggest source of education financing comes from developing countries themselves. More than 50 developing countries announced they would increase public expenditures for education for the period 2018 to 2020 to a total of US$110 billion, compared to US$80 billion between 2015 and 2017.
GPE encourages developing countries to increase their share of education spending to 20% of their overall budget. Of those governments committing today, over two-thirds will have reached that goal by 2020.
“I am energized by the generosity and determination we have seen here today to ensure every child and young person has access to a quality education. After today’s commitments, we are seeing a clear trend to seriously address the global learning crisis” said Julia Gillard, Board Chair of the Global Partnership for Education and former Prime Minister of Australia. “The success of the conference marks a turning point for global political support for education financing and brings a new breadth and depth to our partnership.”
At the conference, the United Arab Emirates joined GPE, becoming the first Arab donor and pledging US$100 million. Senegal, in addition to pledging to increase its own expenditure on education, became GPE’s first African donor. The Netherlands and Spain renewed their involvement, and China attended for the first time.
“The unprecedented support today means that the Global Partnership for Education can continue to focus on the most excluded and vulnerable children and work to extend assistance to up to 89 countries, which are home to 870 million children and 78 percent of the world’s out-of-school children,” said Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer, Global Partnership for Education.
The Global Partnership for Education’s funding model is a catalyst for education investment, working hand in hand with governments of low-income and lower middle-income countries to strengthen their education systems. The Global Partnership for Education supports governments to develop robust national education plans so that funds can then be channeled into their priority areas with confidence that they will contribute to improved quality of education for all children.
The conference was sponsored by: Ecobank, the Pan African Bank; Fondation Sonatel; and Altissia, and supported by Girls Not Brides; Global Campaign for Education; Global Citizen; Malala Fund; ONE; Plan International; RESULTS; and Women Deliver.
ADDIS ABABA – The African Risk Capacity (ARC), an agency of the African Union, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) have announced a new partnership which will see the two organisations work together to increase insurance coverage against climate risks for African states.
The multilateral deal was announced at the African Union’s Annual Summit in Addis Ababa, and commits ARC and ECA to build the capacity of their 33 common Member States by embedding risk management investments into government planning through policy development. ARC and ECA also will share expertise and commit financial resources to joint analytical work in areas of economic and climate risk research in order to promote risk transfer instruments.
The UN estimates that Africa will see the adaptation costs of climate change rise to $50 billion per year by 2050.
“This partnership marks a bold new phase of heightened collaboration on combatting the effects of climate change in Africa,” said Mohamed Beavogui, Director-General of ARC Agency. “The future of disaster risk management is an increasingly urgent economic issue, and ECA’s unique expertise will complement ARC’s work serving its Member States and building preparedness and resilience on the continent.”
In the four years that ARC has offered insurance coverage to its Member States, it has paid out more than USD $34 million to Member States affected by drought events. These resources have assisted over two million people affected by climate disaster.
“Climate change is one of the biggest threats to Africa’s economic and social development,” said ECA Executive Secretary Vera Songwe. “We believe that efforts like our partnership with ARC will help move the needle, so that African countries can be well-guarded against these threats, and they can thrive.”
ECA is a UN regional commission established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN) in 1958. ECA’s mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its member States, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa’s development. Made up of 54 Member States, and playing a dual role as a regional arm of the UN and as a key component of the African institutional landscape, ECA is well positioned to make unique contributions to address the Continent’s development challenges.
ECA’s strength derives from its role as the only UN agency mandated to operate at the regional and sub-regional levels to harness resources and bring them to bear on Africa’s priorities. To enhance its impact, ECA places a special focus on collecting up to date and original regional statistics in order to ground its policy research and advocacy on clear objective evidence; promoting policy consensus; providing meaningful capacity development; and providing advisory services in key thematic fields.
ARC consists of ARC Agency and ARC Insurance Company Limited (ARC Ltd). ARC Agency was established in 2012 as a Specialised Agency of the African Union to help Member States improve their capacities to better plan, prepare and respond to weather-related disasters. ARC Ltd is a mutual insurance facility providing risk transfer services to Member States through risk pooling and access to reinsurance markets; it is owned by Member States with active insurance policies as well as KfW Development Bank and the UK Department of International Development (DfiD), as capital contributors.
ARC plays an important role in responding to countries’ needs at times of crisis by providing fast access to funding for pre-agreed-upon, rapid response plans developed in conjunction with governments. ARC’s financing complements other forms of local and international support.
In the few years since ARC began, it has proved to be an effective and vital model – paying out USD $34 million to four countries (Senegal, Niger, Mauritania, and Malawi) affected by drought events. Those resources provided assistance for over two million people and approximately one million cattle.
ARC is using its expertise to help tackle some of the greatest threats faced by the continent, including droughts, outbreaks and epidemics, and tropical cyclones.
Andrew Alli, President and CEO of AFC with Corneille Karekezi, Group Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of Africa Re
LAGOS, Nigeria, 1 February 2018,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- African Reinsurance Corporation (“Africa Re”) announces its membership of Africa Finance Corporation (“AFC”), and becomes the first multi-lateral financial institution to invest in AFC.
Africa Re, owned by 41 African states, approximately 107 insurance/reinsurance companies and non-African strategic investors, is the continent’s premier reinsurance corporation, operating across 41 African countries. Africa Re’s membership of AFC will be officially sealed at a signing ceremony to be held in Lagos, Nigeria, on February 1, 2018.
Africa Re’s membership of AFC advances AFC’s growth strategy for its country membership and greater diversification of its shareholding. In recent months, AFC has grown its country membership in Francophone, East and Southern Africa, with the accession in 2017 of Benin, Kenya and Zambia, respectively. AFC now seeks to consolidate this success by further expanding its shareholder base.
Andrew Alli, President and CEO of AFC commented: “We welcome African Reinsurance Corporation (Africa Re) as a member and shareholder of AFC. As the first multilateral financial institution to become a member of AFC, this is a key milestone for us, as the Corporation seeks to further diversify its shareholding. We are, therefore, pleased to welcome Africa’s premier reinsurance corporation into membership of AFC and look forward to collaborating with Africa Re to provide innovative solutions to the development and financing of infrastructure assets in Africa.”
Corneille Karekezi, Group Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of Africa Re, commented: “As a Corporation with both private and public shareholders, we see many synergies with AFC in the pursuit of African continent development agenda as well as business growth. Indeed, we have long admired AFC, and the transformative impact it has made across many of the geographies in which we operate, whilst delivering competitive returns. We are therefore delighted to become a part of one of Africa’s best success stories.”
AFC, an investment grade multilateral finance institution, was established in 2007 with an equity capital base of US$1 billion, to be the catalyst for private sector-led infrastructure investment across Africa. With a current balance sheet size of approximately US$3.5 billion, AFC is the second highest investment grade rated multilateral financial institution in Africa with an A3/P2 (Stable outlook) rating from Moody’s Investors Service. AFC successfully raised US$750 million in 2015 and US$500 million in 2017; out of its Board-approved US$3 Billion Global Medium Term Note (MTN) Programme. Both Eurobond issues were oversubscribed and attracted investors from Asia, Europe and the USA.
AFC’s investment approach combines specialist industry expertise with a focus on financial and technical advisory, project structuring, project development and risk capital to address Africa’s infrastructure development needs and drive sustainable economic growth. AFC invests in high quality infrastructure assets that provide essential services in the core infrastructure sectors of power, natural resources, heavy industry, transport, and telecommunications. To date, the Corporation has invested approximately US$4 billion in projects within 28 countries across North, East, West and Southern Africa.
Njeri has mentored many and her recent advances in the environmental protection crowns her lifelong commitment to human rights promotion and protection
NAIROBI, Kenya, January 30, 2018/ — Greenpeace Africa’s (www.Greenpeace.org/africa) Executive Director, Njeri Kabeberi, has won the 2017 Munir Mazrui ‘Lifetime Achievement Human Rights Defenders Award’ in a ceremony organised by the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (NCHRD-K) at the Royal Netherlands embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. This is one of three categories of Human Rights Defenders (HRD) Awards launched in 2016 to recognise and honour the work of human rights defenders in Kenya.
NCHRD-K is a national organization that promotes the safety and security of human rights defenders in Kenya through advocacy, capacity building and protection. It works in partnership with a Working Group on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, chaired by the Royal Netherlands Embassy.
Announcing the award, Kamau Ngugi, Executive Director of the HRDs coalition in Kenya said:
“Njeri is a selfless Woman Human Rights Defender who has broken chains of patriarchy to lead successful campaigns for justice, good governance and human rights in Kenya and beyond. Njeri has mentored many and her recent advances in the environmental protection crowns her lifelong commitment to human rights promotion and protection that deserves recognition and celebration.”
Upon receiving the award, Njeri Kabeberi said she was humbled and honoured.
“Despite having received a number of International Awards this is the first time I have been recognised in my own country – and since it is said that a ‘prophet is never recognised in their own home’, this then becomes the biggest victory and the sweetest award to date.”
“Human rights defenders’ work is lonely and hardly appreciated but I know that focus, persistence and resilience always cause the desired impact. We earn our freedom when we learn to face fear head on; that is what others call courage” continued Ms. Kabeberi.
Njeri’s activism career spans over three decades; as a young girl in 1982, she quietly began supporting mothers and wives of political prisoners but her human rights work was only thrown into limelight a decade later when she was invited to the late Prof. Wangari Maathai’s house to join the organization of the campaign to release Kenyan political prisoners.
With this long history in human rights activism, Njeri is now leading Greenpeace Africa into a new wave of environmental justice for Africans by Africans. Human rights is inextricably linked to climate change.
“If we won the human rights and governance battle, but lost our planet, we would have lost everything.”
“My current vision is to build an Environmental Movement in Africa so powerful that African citizens begin to take responsibility for their future. This can be achieved by restoring the continent through green pathways and seeking global environmental justice to mitigate climate change impacts” concluded Kabeberi.
Washington, DC – January 29, 2018: A high level public- private sector dialogue on ways of supporting and promoting private-sector led growth in Africa will take place on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The African Business and Investment Forum will serve as a platform for African and U.S. private sector executives to share insights with African heads of state, ministers, senior USG officials, representatives of multilateral institutions and other stakeholders.
The one-day Forum will feature roundtable discussions on issues related to trade and diversification, energy, agribusiness, and health. This will ensure that private sector voices and views are heard by leaders and key stakeholders, and that the day-to-day challenges faced by private sector operators in Africa are addressed.
Among the more than 150 expected participants are Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia; President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique; President Paul Kagame of Rwanda; President Alpha Condé of Guinea; President Macky Sall of Senegal; President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda; President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger; President João Lourenço of Angola; and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya; CEOs and senior executives of key U.S and African companies, both multinationals and SMEs will also attend.
In addition to providing a platform for a high-level public-private sector dialogue, the objectives of the Forum are to increase opportunities for business partnerships, secure commitments as well as track the adoption of business-friendly policies, and showcase countries and policies that are contributing to an enabling environment for enhanced African regional and global trade and investment, including with the United States.
The Africa Business and Investment Forum is organized by the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). ECA’s Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, and CCA’s President and CEO, Florizelle Liser, will be representing the two organizing institutions at the event.
CCA, as the premier U.S. business association solely focused on promoting U.S.-Africa trade, investment and business engagement, will bring its 23-year expertise of successfully providing insights, connections and access critical to U.S. and African businesses operating on the continent.
ECA provides a unique platform for intermediation between the public and the private sector policies and programs, offering solutions and support to accelerate sustainable private sector development on the continent.
The striker, who scored 31 league goals last season, was left out of two consecutive games for Dortmund after missing a team meeting, with head coach Peter Stoger accusing the frontman of not being focused.
However, Aubameyang started in Dortmund’s draw with Freiburg on Saturdayamid claims from the Bundesliga side that a transfer would be sanctioned if Arsenal reached “certain parameters”.
“We are ready to agree a transfer under certain parameters, but only if these are fully met,” sporting director Michael Zorc told German TV.
“We have a clear position. Arsenal has made several attempts so far. We have refused them all up to now.”
Aubameyang would join up with former Dortmund team-mate Henrikh Mkhitaryan at Arsenal after the Armenian joined in a swap deal which saw Alexis Sanchez head to Manchester United. The duo combined for 62 goals in all competitions two seasons ago.
This season, Aubameyang has scored 21 goals in 24 matches in all competitions. He has found the net 141 times since joining BVB from Saint-Etienne for €13m in July 2013, and he also has 23 goals in 56 caps for Gabon.
The 28-year-old’s on the verge of joining an Arsenal side that sit sixth in the Premier League table, five points off the pace in the race for the top four.
The Gunners were eliminated in their FA Cup third round meeting with Nottingham Forest earlier this month but have advanced to the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City and will face Swedish side Ostersunds in the Europa League last 32.
The continental group of 55 countries has long sought to reduce its dependence on the West, with limited success. Will 2018 be different?
This week is Rwandan president Paul Kagame’s first as chairman of the AU’s Assembly, its top decision-making body. He plans to remake the notoriously sclerotic AU in his own image: lean and ruthlessly efficient. But first comes financial self-sufficiency, which means securing big commitments from African peers.
Last year member states funded just 14% of the AU’s budgeted programmes, well below the 75% they committed to in 2015. A 0.2% levy on imports into Africa might more than double revenues, but implementation has been slow; 21 countries have signed up, but only Ghana and Rwanda have enshrined it in law.
Mr Kagame wants tougher sanctions for recalcitrant members. But it will take deft diplomacy to overcome opposition from big economies like South Africa—a skill not all are convinced Mr Kagame possesses.
PM Netanyahu, left, with Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Nairobi, Kenya, November 28, 2017 (Haim Tzach/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told ministers on Sunday that Rwanda is a fitting deportation destination for African asylum seekers as the United Nations is already taking care of nearly two hundred thousand refugees in the African state
At the opening of a meeting of Likud party ministers, Netanyahu addressed Israel’s plans to deport tens of thousands of African migrants to a third country.
The prime minister has praised deals to send migrants to third-party countries in Africa, but has refused to publicly divulge where they are. Media reports have focused on Rwanda and Uganda as the destination countries.
“There are 180,000 refugees sitting there under the protection of the UN, so the claims that it is dangerous are a joke,” Netanyahu said of Rwanda.
Last month, the Knesset approved an amendment to the so-called “Infiltrator’s Law” paving the way for the forced deportations of Eritrean and Sudanese migrants and asylum seekers starting in March, and the indefinite imprisonment of those who refuse to leave “voluntarily.”
There are approximately 38,000 African migrants and asylum seekers in Israel, according to the Interior Ministry. About 72 percent are Eritrean and 20% are Sudanese, and the vast majority arrived between 2006 and 2012. Many live in south Tel Aviv, and some residents and activists blame them for rising crime rates and have lobbied the government for their deportation.
The amendment has gained international attention and is fraught with controversy.
On Saturday a number of severed doll heads doused in red paint were left outside the Tel Aviv office of the Population, Immigration, and Border Authority (PIBA) in what appeared to be a protest move against the deportation plan.
Yossi Edelstein, PIBA’s head of enforcement and foreign affairs administration, complained Sunday that protests against the deportations had gotten out of hand and that opponents’ claims were rife with misleading information.
“What started as a protest became incitement and what happened yesterday in our offices in Tel Aviv is a result of that incitement,” Edelstein told Army Radio. “There are columnists who call for attacking [PIBA] workers. What have we come to? We have crossed every red line you can in protest and we crossed into incitement.”
While refusing to identify the specific countries the migrants will be sent to, he insisted that the destinations are safe and that PIBA operates a careful followup process.
African asylum seekers and human rights activists protest against deportation in front of the Rwandan Embassy in Herzliya, on January 22, 2018. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
“In the last two weeks there has been false information published,” he told the radio station, dismissing supposed claims that Israel is sending asylum seekers to their deaths. “The High Court has examined those claims from every angle and found that the countries are safe.”
Rami Gudovich, a social worker dealing with asylum seekers, said that some 100 people who were deported by Israel to South Sudan have died, and that there have been several accounts of rape as well as mistreatment by local authorities.
“We are gambling with peoples’ lives,” Gudovich said, saying that some of the asylum seekers that Israel deported to South Sudan have been killed in the civil war there. Other were arrested by local authorities or are suffering because they no longer have access to the medicines and treatments available in Israel, he said.
Israeli rights activists and Jewish communities in the US have spoken out against the deportation plan.
Last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Netanyahu met with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and agreed to a demand that his country would only accept asylum-seekers Israel is looking to deport if the move was made in accordance with international law.
A few months ago, at a recent forum on ‘Africa and Media,’ I got into a vibrant discussion with another African writer about the types of stories we choose to tell about the continent. From my understanding of her viewpoint, she was concerned that in trying to “change the narrative” of Africa, people would begin to “whitewash” certain realities in Africa; like poverty, unemployment, hunger, and other destitute factors affecting many Africans across the continent, and which she felt, were the significant issues important to write about and the stories to be shared.
She said that as someone born and raised in Africa, she wasn’t interested in new narratives, what she referred to as “private jet owners” or “fashion stories,” that she felt stemmed from a colonial mentality of Africans’ need to justify themselves by western standards and for western eyes. To be honest, I listened in disbelief. But after having more discussions on this topic I’ve also found that quite a few people hold this opinion that there are certain narratives about Africa that should be prioritized out of a sense of responsibility to the continent’s continued development. However, this suggests to me a limited imagination only allowing room for extremes, and that given a choice between the two – poverty-stricken or successful and rising – people like this writer, feel it is more beneficial to tell the world about Africa’s poor, needy and destitute, than to promote narratives about a rich and diverse Africa. Because, the argument claims, people need to stay aware that Africa and her citizens are still in need of so much for basic survival and development.
Unfortunately, I vehemently disagreed with this line of thought, which led to my heated discussion with the writer. I have no fear of overwrought narratives of a poor and destitute Africa being whitewashed by narratives of a rich, vibrant and pulsating Africa replete with stylish and success-driven citizens and cities. On the contrary I think we need more of those sorts of stories and media portrayals to counter balance what already exists in popular cultural imaginations of the continent. But her comments did make me rethink something, that maybe instead of using the phrase, “change the narrative,” a more suitable term would be “expand the narrative,” because these stories that she and others are invested in telling are in fact true and necessary stories of Africa.
Poverty, hunger, unemployment, disease, lack of basic amenities is the reality for many people, and these stories do need to be told because ongoing awareness, action, development and change are essential for a more equitable continent. But the only problem is that the world is already more than familiar with these narratives. So familiar that many outside of Africa are tempted to think that this is the only true reality of the continent, that need and destitution is the only true story. It is one reason that people can jump on the bandwagon of such an ignorant, racist and disgraceful comment such as that made earlier this month by the 45th President of the United States of America. When few alternate narratives are made available, it only helps to continue to limit people’s imagination about Africa and what it means to be African. If we don’t make the effort to share our own stories and images about the multiple realties of the continent then we’re simply continuing to allow outsiders to shape the larger imagination of what it means to be African and what it means to live in Africa.
Which is why the role of writers, musicians, painters, photographers, filmmakers, essentially what I think of as culture-bearers is so powerful and necessary. It is possible to control our own narratives in a way that can radically shift global perceptions. On a whim, I created an Instagram page called @ThisIsAfricaToo, and posted a few pictures of images that show Africa in ways many people overseas probably are not used to seeing. As I go about my daily life in Nigeria and on my travels throughout the continent I will continue to share these images that show other sides of our cities and countries than people may be used to. They will be images that suggest more than one reality and more than one tried and trite narrative. I invite people to share their own photos of the beautiful and rich Africa they know, and to tag the Instagram handle @ThisIsAfricaToo. It’s a small action but a picture speaks a thousand words. That writer I engaged with earlier would question why we feel the need to shift global perspectives if we ourselves know what is true about ourselves. Well, to put it in a very elementary way, because Africa is not a continent in isolation from the rest of the world and the world needs to know and hear our multiple truths in order to engage us appropriately.
For the first time, annual African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) Scorecard for Accountability and Action will reveal progress and gaps across five neglected diseases that affect countries’ poorest and most marginalised communities
Mectizan distribution in the Tshiaba Mbumba village in Western Kasai.
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 28, 2018/ — Today, at the 30th African Union Heads of State Summit , the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) added neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) to its annual scorecard on disease progress. The scorecard is personally reviewed by African heads of state every year, putting NTDs alongside malaria and maternal and child health as top health priorities for the continent.
Developed by the World Health Organization in collaboration with Uniting to Combat NTDs , this index reports progress for the 47 NTD-affected countries in sub-Saharan Africa in their strategies to treat and prevent the five most common NTDs: lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminths and trachoma. By adding NTDs to the scorecard, African leaders are making a public commitment to hold themselves accountable for progress on these diseases.
“My government is determined to make sure we can take ‘neglected’ out of these diseases,” said His Excellency, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn. “Improving the health, education and productivity of our poorest citizens by eliminating NTDs can put Africa on the path to prosperity and universal health coverage. I urge my fellow African leaders to build on the progress already made and increase their efforts to tackle NTDs to make them a subject for much concerted effort and action at the African Union.”
A Health Priority for Well Over A Billion
NTDs are a group of diseases that affect the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, often living in the most remote communities. More than 1.5 billion people are at risk for NTDs globally, including more than 620 million in Africa. Whilst NTDs cause hundreds of thousands of deaths each year, their primary impact is on the millions that are left trapped in endless cycles of poverty. They cause blindness, disfigurement, disability, stigma and discrimination. Parents are left unable to work and children unable to go to school.
Fortunately, the five diseases that are being monitored in the ALMA scorecard respond well to cheap, safe medicines, which are donated by pharmaceutical companies and are broadly distributed to treat and prevent the diseases. As a result of a global public-private coalition, more people than ever before are being treated for NTDs, and the number of people at risk of infection globally has dropped by more than 400 million in the last five years.
Good NTD coverage also promotes universal health coverage: NTD programs have trained over a million health workers and brought a variety of services, including family planning tools and vitamins, to people in remote communities otherwise unreached by the health system. This connection is discussed in more length in Uniting to Combat NTDs’ recent progress report, “Reaching a Billion: Ending Neglected Tropical Diseases: A Gateway to Universal Health Coverage,” launched last month.
“When it comes to diseases that affect the very poorest and most marginalised communities, it is up to political leaders to make them a priority,” said Thoko Elphick-Pooley, Director, Uniting to Combat NTDs Support Centre. “Beating NTDs is essential for Africa’s economic development, and we are thrilled that African Heads of State will be reviewing their progress every year and holding themselves accountable for equitable health outcomes.”
Progress in Africa, But More to Do
The scorecard shows the evidence of progress in Africa:
In 2016, 40 million more people were reached with preventive treatment for at least one NTD than the year before.
More than half of all countries improved their coverage index between 2015 and 2016, with 12 countries having doubled their coverage index.
Togo was certified by WHO as eliminating lymphatic filariasis, Malawi has stopped treatment for lymphatic filariasis and is in the process of being validated by WHO, and both Ghana and the Gambia report having eliminated trachoma.
While most data points to progress, the scorecard shows areas of concern. Nearly two-thirds of countries have a NTD coverage index of less than 50%. The percentage of affected countries implementing disease-specific interventions ranges from 92% for trachoma to just 72% for schistosomiasis, suggesting that there is still much more to do.
“Beating NTDs will help lift millions out of poverty, improving the lives of some of the world’s poorest and most marginalised people. There is a huge amount at stake and we know that eradicating these diseases is too big a job for one sector alone,” said Tanya Wood, chair of the NTD NGO Network and CEO of the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations. “With the ALMA initiative driving accountability and action, and new cross-sector partnerships like the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy combining expertise, we are getting closer to a world where NTDs are neglected no more.”
African Leadership in Health
Established in 2009, the African Leaders Malaria Alliance is a groundbreaking initiative, established by heads of state themselves and designed to foster collaboration in order to solve a crisis that affects the entire continent. The ALMA Scorecard empowers national leaders to battle Africa’s most devastating diseases by:
Providing a forum to review progress and address challenges in meeting the malaria targets.
Implementing a monitoring and accountability system through the ALMA Scorecard for Accountability and Action to track results, identify bottlenecks, and facilitate appropriate action.
Identifying and sharing lessons learned for effective implementation of national programs.
Because some NTDs are transmitted in the same manner as malaria, and shared community distributions platforms are used for both malaria and NTDs, ALMA has chosen to include NTDs in its scorecard.
“Malaria and NTDs both lay their heaviest burden on the poor, rural and marginalised. They also share solutions, from vector control to community-based treatment,” said Joy Phumaphi, Executive Secretary, ALMA. “Adding NTDs to our scorecard will help give leaders the information they need to end the cycle of poverty and reach everyone, everywhere with needed health care.”
The addition of the index happens just before the 6th anniversary on 30 January of the London Declaration on NTDs a multi-sectoral partnership of pharmaceutical companies, donors, endemic countries and non-governmental organizations committed to control, eliminate or eradicate 10 diseases by 2020.
About Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
Neglected tropical diseases affect the poorest, most marginalised and most remote communities in the world. They are a consequence and cause of poverty as they thrive where access to clean water, sanitation and health care is limited. Their impact on individuals and communities can be devastating. Many of them cause severe disfigurement and disabilities. They impact on life expectancy, education and economic opportunities of affected individuals and the communities they live in.
African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA)
The African Leaders Malaria Alliance (http://APO.af/ZupcNu) is a groundbreaking coalition of 49 African Heads of State and Government working across country and regional borders to eliminate malaria by 2030. They leverage collective knowledge and influence to bring about action and accountability to fight the continent’s most devastating diseases.
Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases
Uniting to Combat NTDs (http://UnitingToCombatNTDs.org) is a group of organizations committed to achieving WHO’s 2020 goal to control and eliminate 10 NTDs. By working together, Uniting to Combat NTDs aims to chart a new course toward health and sustainability among the world’s poorest communities. Affiliated organizations have signed the London Declaration on NTDs, which was launched on 30 January 2012.
Yahya Jammeh fled to Equatorial Guinea after being forced out of power last year
Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema has said he will not agree to any extradition order for former Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh, who has been living in exile in the central African country after being forced to quit power last year.
Jammeh, who seized control of The Gambia in a 1994 military coup, lost a democratic election and refused to step aside until threatened with military intervention.
The Gambian strongman is accused by the current government and rights groups of ordering the torture and murder of political opponents during his brutal 22-year rule, while pocketing $50 million (40 million euros) from the state coffers.
“I believe that the stance of protecting former heads of state is a correct one,” Obiang said late Friday after meeting with African Union leader Alpha Conde, who is also Guinea’s president.
“I hail Alpha Conde who told me he will not accept any demand for Yahya Jammeh’s extradition. Even I will not accept it.
“We are in full agreement that Yahya Jammeh must be protected. He must be respected as a former African leader. Because this is a guarantee for other African leaders that they will not be harassed after they leave power,” said Obiang, who has ruled his own country with an iron fist since 1979.
The comments caused anger in Banjul, where Gambian victims are slowly building a case against the former president that analysts believe has the quiet backing of the new government.
Amadou Scattred Janneh, a former information minister imprisoned by the ex-leader’s regime turned leading member of the “Jammeh to Justice” campaign, said the case “will not depend solely on Obiang.”
“We have a duty to intensify the pressure on President Obiang of Equatorial Guinea to ensure that Jammeh and his accomplices are ultimately brought to trial,” he told AFP.
However, he added, “It is not up to dictators to determine whether or not their colleagues should face justice.”
-Announces Extended Visit of Secretary Tillerson in March
By Ajong Mbapndah L
President Trump recently met with with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame during the World Economic Summit in Devos
U.S President Donald Trump has expressed respect for the partnerships and values his country shares with Africa.
In a message to the African Union as it meets for its 30th Summit, Trump says the U.S respects the people Africa while expressing his firm commitment to strong and respectful relationships with African States as sovereign nations.
The statement issued on July 25, commends the leadership of current Chairperson Moussa Faki as it works to transform the AU into an effective institution to advance economic prosperity peace and positive outcomes for Africa.
“We are working together to increase free, fair, and reciprocal trade between the United States and African countries, and partnering to improve transportation security and safeguard legal immigration,” the statement reads.
Describing seminal Summit issues on advancing trade and development, resolving armed conflicts, and combatting corruption as critical for the future of Africa, President Trump said the African Union could count on the support and partnership of the U.S.
President Trump said he looked forward to building on relationships established during a lunch he had with African leaders on the sidelines of the last U.N General Assembly, and the Africa Ministerial Engagements in Washington.
The statement indicates that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Africa for an extended visit in March while the President looks forward to welcoming African leaders to Washington, DC.
Prior to his return from the World Economic Forum in Devos, Trump met with incoming Chairman of the Assembly, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda . President Trump faced a barrage of criticisms in the wake of remarks attributed to him describing Africa as a shithole. A number of U.S Ambassadors serving in Africa were forced to offer explanations on the statements of the President.
This can be considered as a good start says Ambassador Omar Arouna
Describing the statement as a good start, Omar Arouna a former Ambassador of Benin to the USA and Managing Partner of the US-Africa Cyber Security Group thinks that this may be the closest to an apology Africa may get from a leader who is known to double down on his statements. Arouna, who is also a Member of the Washington, DC, Mayor’s Commission on Africa believes that the size, and importance of Africa, make it difficult for the Trump administration to ignore the continent.
Gambian President Adama Barrow has stressed that civil servants must exercise patience on salary and pension increments as the economy is being fixed. In this ‘One on One’ exclusive interview with Foroyaa held at the State House on January 24th, the President discusses finance, national security, and youth unemployment.
Foroyaa: Mr. President, congratulations on your first year anniversary.
President Barrow: Thank you Mr. Jeffang once again.
Foroyaa: The Finance Minister during budget speech, said your administration had inherited a D56 Billion debt. How are you working to shrink this huge amount?
President Barrow: That is a very staggering issue. It’s about 120 to 125% of our GDP. That is very serious. But I think for the past one year, we have worked very hard to see that we stabilize our economy. Donors like the World Bank, European Union and other institutions have helped us to stabilize our economy in the form of grants and budget support. We inherited less than one month import cover, today we have four months import cover. That is very good. The lending rates also has gone down. Borrowing has gone down. Combined, this is helping our economy because it has gone down by 12%. Also our income has increased because the traffic at the port has increased and the revenue has also increased. I think we are on the right track.
Foroyaa: There are two projects for youth currently. The 11M Euros Youth Empowerment Project YEP and the 3.9 M Euros IOM project. These projects are meant to address the youth unemployment burden in the country. Taking into consideration that in every 12 years, the school systems according to the department of education’s statistic, produce 400, 000 students. What is government’s own commitment for youth in this country?
President Barrow: If you look at our statistics, about 60 to 65% Gambians are youth. That means we have the man power and that is fundamental. I think there is future for this country. As far as this government is concerned, this youth matter is top in our agenda and we are really committed to creating jobs for these youths to win their confidence. So the mind sets will change so that they can stay and work to develop the country.
Foroyaa: But how?
President Barrow: That’s why we have created the environment so that the private sector can contribute in creating jobs. The environment is freedom of the press, independence of the judiciary which has created the environment for people to invest in this country. If you look around now, in this country, there are a lot of new arrivals. There are a lot of new businesses that are emerging in this country and they are creating jobs. Right now, in the construction sector, even to get a mason will take time because a lot of people have confidence and have started building. When I travelled to China, I had a very good meeting with the Chinese president that the main backbone of this country used to be farming. But now for the past years, because of climate change, it has affected the farming and irrigation sector and we don’t have the knowledge. We don’t have the money but we have the man power, the land, the market and we need to partner with China on irrigation. Partnership with China so that they can bring experts and the finance and we go in for irrigation. This irrigation is a yearly thing and if we are really serious in this area and we are seriously partner with those developed countries, I can tell you, we can create a lot of jobs. We can grow the economy and the area of food security. We will do very well in that area. We are also encouraging tourism to be on an yearly basis. It used to be six months or half yearly and this year I cannot give you statistic but we have created jobs as far as tourism is concerned and we are expecting more hotels coming up next year. Even FTI, they are ready to construct two new hotels and those if I don’t forget, will have 10, 000 beds and these are areas where we can really create jobs.
Foroyaa: Many People expected that your administration will improve the general welfare in terms of earnings. Take the civil servants into consideration, who are poorly paid and vulnerable to corruption. Are there plans to increase salaries and pension allowances?
President Barrow: Managing a government is a system and a process. You have to start from somewhere and get to somewhere. Stabilizing the economy, reducing the lending rate, increasing our income, I think that will balance our books. Maybe sometime in next year, we will think of increasing but as at now we have to look at the situation of the economy. We have to face the reality.
Foroyaa: Are you asking for patience from civil servant?
President Barrow: They have to exercise patience. Hands on deck. ‘In Sha Allah,’ I think we can turn the corner.
Foroyaa: But your administration has discovered an amount of D187 Million after your staff audit that indicated the presence of ghost workers. Is it not wise to put this money and address the conditions of civil servants in terms of salary?
President Barrow: That is true. But if you look at our debt burden, we want to bring that down because it represents 70% of GDP. That is the time they will consider you for other loans. Without that you are above the ceiling. And we are working very hard to reduce the debt to that percentage. That will put you in a very stronger position. It will create that freedom and we will have the support of the IMF. We are working with the IMF because the IMF is the gate way. You cannot do these things without the confirmation of the IMF because they know what you can do and what you cannot do and we want to be on the same wave-length with the IMF.
Foroyaa: Mr. President, the general expectation before you came to power was, there will be national unity. You should unify the country against differences in political affiliation, religion, gender, ethno-linguistic or any form of discrimination. Are you confident that we are on the right track taking into consideration the recent incidents in Busumbala and Mankamang-Kunda, your home village?
President Barrow: That is why yesterday, I spelt it out clearly that business cannot be as usual, (referring to his meeting with civil servants). If the business remains so, the purpose of our new government will be defeated. No doubt, I think everybody has seen that at the top level, the political will is there. Twenty-two years is not a short period. It will take time but because the political will is there, it is very possible to make it and I think we are on the right track because we are creating that environment for people to feel that they are secured and they have that freedom. I think it is very clear.
Foroyaa: One key message you have been carrying along during your campaign was the promise of transparency and accountability. Vehicles were donated to national assembly members and no clear explanation was given regarding how they were acquired. Can you elaborate on this matter?
President Barrow: I think this message was very clear. I was not there to give the message but it was given through my Minister of Tourism. I think the message was clear. When we were going into politics, we had people who were there to support us. During the transition process, we get support from people, from business individuals who supported us. There is no political person who doesn’t have a financier or somebody who supports them. Based on those people who were supporting us, we appealed to them that our National Assembly members, some of them use ‘gele geles’ and some of them will stand on the road side to beg for lift. When we were having our campaign, it was the same people who supported us and their interest is to support The Gambia. It is based on that that we want them to continue helping our country because they have the country at heart.
Foroyaa: Are you going for five years or three years as agreed?
President Barrow: That is left to The Gambian people.
President Barrow: (LOL)……..Well I think The Gambian people have a very important say as far as our period in office is concerned. We were few parties that came together in a room and decided something. But I think if you look at things in a wider context, you cannot look at it in a narrow context. You have to look at it in a wider context and that is, is the Gambian people who are important. Let see what the Gambian people will say.
Foroyaa: Women constitute more than half of the population but remain the lowest in the rank of the economic ladder. If you visit Serekunda market today, you find their vegetables rotten due to lack of proper storage or processing facilities. Others in the field (agriculture) lack fertilizer, good road networks and storage facilities. Tell me are there plans in place to address the constraints?
President Barrow: We have been discussing with a lot of investors in this area especially with mangoes and other perishable products. We have a lot of investors who want to invest in these areas. There is a lot of talk going on as to what certain quantity we produce. We want to create the market for the women and in this thing, you have to get people who are very serious, who have contacts, knowledge and the money. We are discussing with a lot of people who are interested in this area and we will end up creating a very good market for them.
Remarks by His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, The Vice President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, at an Interactive Session Titled “Stabilizing the Mediterranean” at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, 24 January, 2018
Prof. Yemi Osinbajo-VP of Nigeria
DAVOS, Switzerland, January 25, 2018/ — Remarks by His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, The Vice President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, at an Interactive Session Titled “Stabilizing The Mediterranean” at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, 24 January, 2018:
Q: How realistic is Africa replacing China as the factory of the world, how realistic is that? How do you look at the Marshallplan for Africa, is it something you think is credible?
Vice President: Let me begin with the Africa Rising narrative and all of the possibilities around Africa replacing China as the factory of the world. I think that probably is in the natural cause of things. Even now, we see that as wage costs go up in China, Africa is becoming the obvious choice for some certain industries, so it is clear that will happen and there are quite a few initiatives in that direction already; there are a few countries like Ivory Coast, Nigeria, with the development of Special Economic Zones, with partnerships coming from China.
I think those sorts of arrangements will very quickly absorb labour because obviously, you are looking at growing populations in Africa, the projections as you know are in the next 20 years or so, we are looking at the youth population… probably 70% of Africa’s population would be young people and Africa would probably about be the third largest population.
I think that the critical thing is to see that we cannot deal with this in any quick way, there are no quick fixes to this, we have got to look at this long term, because clearly there’s no way that African economies will ramp off quickly enough to be able to meet all of the expectations, especially all of the projections around population. So this is going to be a long walk and I think that it is important for all of us to see this as such.
The idea of the Marshall Plan is to me, in some sense, bringing old solutions to what really is a dynamic problem. I think that what Africa needs and what a lot of the southern neighbours of the Europeans need are fairer trade policies and a cocktail of policies that centre on job creation in those locations, more investments, but I think more thinking through those ideas and policies that creates more opportunities, partnership between Europe and Africa.
I don’t think that aid has worked through the years. I think that there’s a need for possibly just much more commitment to the whole process. I mean there have been multi-processes, several of them, but I certainly think that if we look at this as a major global problem and when you look around and look at extremism, terrorism and all of the various things that are exported along with illegal migration, it is a global problem and we really does deserve a global solution and the way to look at that is by coming together to reason these things through, but frankly it is not by those Marshal Plans off the shelf, I think it is more nuanced than that.
Q: Do you feel that values of human rights are being compromised in order for Europe to have tactical immediate solutions?
Vice President: I certainly agree that it was a great shock to see actual slave dealings in this century; it was absolutely horrifying to see that. What we are seeing is a degeneration of criminal activities where you find that state capacity is unable to maintain international human rights norms.
One of the crucial things is to encourage repatriation. Nigerian government for example is working with the Libyan government in repatriating everyone who is in the camps. It is a slow process because there are those who claim nationalities because they see a way out of the camps. There is also a great deal of willingness on the part of those who are in the camps to go back because it is entirely voluntary. There is pressure where there is no state capacity or inadequate state capacity to maintain law and order and international human rights norms. The pressure is a bit too much for the Libyan authorities, so what you find is that the criminal gangs and all of these asymmetric type organizations dominate the space and we may not be able to do much without relieving the Libyan authorities of a lot of the illegal migrants in their custody or their country.
Q: With a Yes or No, 5 years from now, are we still going to be seating here having the same discussion?
Vice President: Would you give us a chance to say, “I hope not?” (Laughter). I really suspect yes.
*Courtesy of Laolu Akande,Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity),Office of the Vice President
The Gambian president Adama Barrow said the country’s economy has done well in his first year administration of the West African state.
In December, last year, the Finance Minister Amadou Sanneh told deputies that the government had inherited the sum of D56 billion dalasis.
Reacting to this, the President has today described it as ‘staggering issue.’
“It’s about 120 to 125% of our GDP. That is very serious. But I think for the past one year we have worked very hard to see that we stabilize our economy. Donors like the World Bank, European Union and other institutions have helped us to stabilize our economy in the form of grant and budget support,” he said
He said his government had inherited less than one month import cover compare to now when they have four months import cover. That is very good.
“The lending rates also has gone down, borrowing has gone done. In combine, this is helping our economy because it has gone down by 12%. Also our income has increased because the traffic at the port which has increased as well. I think we are on the right track,” Barrow said.
He said this in an interview conducted by Kebba Jeffang at State House in Banjul, on December, 24th
Mastercard and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Power Africa Initiative Announce Powerful New Public-Private Coalition
Davos, Switzerland – January 24, 2018 – Mastercard and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today announced the launch of a public-private coalition that will bring together technology, solutions and experience from multiple sectors to transform refugee settlements into digitally-connected communities. This commitment delivers on a vision laid out in research conducted last year by Mastercard to better understand the critical needs of the over seven million refugees living in camps or settlements today.
The coalition, led by Mastercard and USAID’s Power Africa initiative, will launch pilot programs during the first half of 2018 to address some of the biggest barriers to development. For example, mobile phone and internet access is as critical to refugees’ safety and security as food, shelter and water. The organizations will work together to introduce internet and mobile connectivity, access to clean, efficient energy, and digital financial tools for communities in Kenya and Uganda, with plans to scale to other refugee-hosting countries around the world.
“We’ve spent the past several years testing and learning with our partners to take what we do well as a technology company and apply it to help solve this humanitarian crisis,” said Tara Nathan, Executive Vice President, Public Private Partnerships, Mastercard. “Our payments technology has helped to reduce inefficiencies and expenses, add transparency, empower refugees, and stimulate local markets. Now we’re also acting as a force multiplier by combining our strengths with those of the coalition members to make an even bigger impact.”
Today, approximately 31 percent of the world’s refugees live in refugee camps or settlements. They are men, women and children who have fled from countries ravaged by war, political unrest and natural disasters, in hopes of a better life. But they spend an average of 10 years in exile, most often residing in low-and middle-income countries that are already under significant economic strain.
Uganda and Kenya are among the ten countries with the largest refugee populations. Uganda hosts 1.4 million refugees and is home to Bidi Bidi, currently the largest refugee settlement in the world. Kenya hosts approximately 490,000 refugees in settlements, including Kalobeyei, which was established in 2015 to improve the conditions of refugees and host communities through an economically integrated approach.
Mastercard recently published a recommendation for a new integrated model for refugee camps following a year of extensive research in the Kakuma and Kalobeyei camps in Kenya. The insights from the study helped identify the three key areas on which coalition members will focus:
Connectivity – Coalition members will work together to create accessible and resilient connectivity platformsthat deliver vital information to refugees and host communities and enable efficient managementof settlement operations.
Digital tools – Whether providing cash-based assistance or conducting outreach to refugees and host community members, agencies increasingly rely upon technology to effectively address needs. The coalition will work to design and implement an integrated set of identity, payment, and data toolsthat improve the delivery of essential services.
Energy access – Power is not provided in settlements as a service, so refugees often rely upon donated solar lanterns for basic light, and poor quality, expensive diesel generators for small businesses. The coalition members will implement solutions for providing energy access to refugees and host communities in a more efficient and low-cost way.
This coalition complements the UN General Assembly endorsed Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and the Global Compact on Refugees, which seeks to ease pressure on host countries and enhance refugee self-reliance. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and lead for the CRRF, welcomes innovative private-public approaches to longstanding refugee situations that advance the sustainable development agenda and the CRRF.
The Tent Foundation’s Partnership for Refugees will host the Smart Communities Coalition website, enabling additional companies to join the effort to tailor their services to meet refugee and host community needs, a focus area for Tent. Mastercard joined the Tent Partnership in 2016, and this coalition is an extension of its pledge to explore better ways to integrate refugees in host communities.
Louise James, Managing Director, Accenture Development Partnerships:
“Accenture is proud to be a coalition member and to support the mission of this group. Our main goal is to help refugees have the connectivity they require through access to mobile phones and the internet. Connectivity will expand refugees’ access to critical vocational, health and safety information and services.”
Sherwin Das, Managing Director, Energy Peace Partners:
“Energy Peace Partners is pleased to be part of the Smart Communities Coalition and excited to leverage our Peace Renewable Energy Credit (PREC) instrument to drive new renewable energy investment in some of the world’s most fragile settings.”
Lyndsay Handler, CEO, Fenix International:
“Fenix is committed to providing affordable energy products and inclusive financing to the hundreds of millions of people in Africa living without access to the grid. We are proud to partner with the Smart Communities Coalition to find innovative technology and customer experience solutions to overcome the barriers of delivering clean energy and other life-changing products to this population.”
Lennart Hernander, Program Representative, Lutheran World Federation:
“LWF is proud to work with so many dedicated and professional partners in the ‘Smart Communities Coalition’. LWF has supported refugees in Kakuma for more than 25 years. We were among the first few partners present on the ground when the ‘Lost Boys’ from Sudan started to arrive. We see the ‘Smart Communities Coalition’ as a major step towards a future-looking and integrated solution for refugees and local communities, which through connectivity and renewable energy will provide new opportunities for all. The Smart Communities Coalition approach empowers communities in a dignified and accountable manner, this is at the very core of LWFs vision and objectives globally.”
Neal Keny-Guyer, CEO, Mercy Corps:
“At Mercy Corps, we have long held the belief that to solve complex problems, we need to work together across sectors – public, private and nonprofit – to bring to bear our collective knowledge to design bold solutions. We’re thrilled to be a founding member of the Smart Communities Coalition and hopeful about the possibility to bring needed technology and other services to refugee settlements.”
Ben Good, Project Director, Moving Energy Initiative and CEO, Energy 4 Impact:
“The Moving Energy Initiative believes that a paradigm shift in the way humanitarian sector “does energy”, including new types of partnership with the private sector, can create major benefits for the environment, for the agencies and for displaced persons. And, as it is with energy access, so it is with connectivity and the digital economy. We are therefore delighted to be partnering with the Smart Communities Coalition.”
Lauren Woodman, CEO, NetHope:
“Internet connectivity is a lifeline that connects refugees to information, resources, and opportunities. Put simply: Information is aid.”
Neil Turner, Kenya Country Director, Norwegian Refugee Council:
“Offering refugees increasing livelihood opportunities, unleashing their entrepreneurial skills, and creating environmentally friendly, energy efficient ways of doing this, is at the heart of the NRC’s work in Kenya.”
Xavier Helgesen, CEO and Co-Founder, Off-Grid Electric:
“We have long been a proud partner of Power Africa, and are thrilled by the opportunity to use our technology and experience in Africa to serve refugee communities with affordable & reliable power.”
Maurice Parets, CEO, Pawame:
“Pawame is a social enterprise distributing solar home systems in Turkana County, where Kakuma refugee camp is located. We launched our operations in September 2017 and Pawame is committed to creating jobs by distributing its solar home system, empowering the lives of refugees and reducing the carbon footprint. Through our solar home systems, which provide lighting, phone charging and television, we will empower refugees with increased energy access.”
Andreas Spiess, CEO and Co-Founder, SolarKiosk:
“SOLARKIOSK is thrilled to be one of the founding members of the Smart Communities Coalition. We look forward to enabling our solar powered infrastructure, the E-HUBB, to become an integral part of the Coalition’s mission to bring renewable energy and economic generating opportunities to refugee and host communities. With a network of over 200 E-HUBBs across Africa and Asia, experience with refugee and host communities in the Middle East and over five years of know-how in providing retail products and energy services to underserved markets, SOLARKIOSK can greatly contribute to the transformation led by the Coalition.”
Paul Amendola, Executive Director, VecnaCares:
“VecnaCares is excited to be a member of the coalition. Our goal is to develop and deploy an electronic medical records system and CliniPAK to help close the information gaps between patients, caregivers, and decision-makers. Digital patient-centered data in real-time will impact and improve patient health, clinical treatment, and medical resources for refugees.”
Kevin Jenkins, President and CEO, World Vision International:
“The Smart Communities Coalition represents the positive shift in how private and public partners are working together to address growing humanitarian needs, especially in refugee settings. As part of the Smart Communities Coalition, World Vision will work with our partners to identify technologies and approaches that will expedite the delivery of services to reduce the vulnerabilities of children and build self-reliance for their families, particularly in fragile and conflict contexts.”
KIGALI, Rwanda, 24 January 2018 -/African Media Agency (AMA) – The Next Einstein Forum (NEF), an initiative of the Africa Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with Robert Bosch Stiftung, today announces the launch of an important survey that hopes to measure the existing gender gap in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) education and research in Africa.
The survey results will be announced through a report released at the NEF Global Gathering 2018 to be held 26-28 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda. Further, the results will inform a White Paper to be unpacked during the highly anticipated panel on bridging the gap for women in science and technology to be held on the first day of the NEF Global Gathering 2018.
“The NEF and our AIMS Women in STEM (AIMSWIS) Initiative are committed to promoting scientific excellence and gender equity. We believe the two go hand in hand, improving scientific output and outcomes. We have launched this survey to get a better understanding of what barriers exist and what best practices can be adopted organically to advance gender equity in STEM education and research on our continent,” said Mr. Thierry Zomahoun, President and CEO of AIMS and Chairman of the NEF.
Questions will focus on participants’ academic journey and work experience including the opportunities and barriers faced along the way. The results will be compiled in a report which will provide much needed primary data to inform discussion and recommendations among policy makers, academic institutions, funding partners and civil society.
Central to the NEF’s vision of propelling Africa onto the global scientific stage, the NEF actively works to increase women’s representation in STEM fields in Africa and globally. Leading by example, NEF Fellows and Ambassadors cohorts comprise at least 40% women.
To participate in the survey, click here. The first 100 completed surveys will receive a participation prize.
Launched in 2013, the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) is an initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The NEF is a platform that connects science, society and policy in Africa and the rest of the world – with the goal to leverage science for human development globally. The NEF believes that Africa’s contributions to the global scientific community are critical for global progress. At the centre of NEF efforts are Africa’s young people, the driving force for Africa’s scientific renaissance. The NEF is a unique youth-driven forum. At our headline biennial scientific events, 50% of participants are 42 or younger. Far from being an ordinary science forum, the NEF Global Gatherings position science at the centre of global development efforts. The next NEF Global Gathering will be held on 26-28 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda. In addition, through our Communities of Scientists, we showcase the contributions of Africa’s brilliant youth to Africa’s scientific emergence through its class of NEF Fellows, who are Africa’s top scientists and technologists under the age of 42, and NEF Ambassadors, who are the NEF’s 54 science and technology ambassadors on the ground.
The NEF is also working together with partners such as the African Academy of Sciences, Ministers’ of Education, Science and Research across Africa, foundations and other global scientific and private sector companies, to build an African scientific identity. By bringing together key stakeholders, the NEF hopes to drive the discussion from policy to implementation by leveraging buy in and best practice results from Africa and the world. Have a look at our benchmark Dakar Declaration.
Finally, the NEF is telling untold stories of scientific research and innovation across the continent through our various platforms. We want to recalibrate what ‘innovation’ means in Africa. We want to make the link between science and technology, even basic sciences, to everyday life. We want the public involved in science and we have recently concluded the first coordinated Africa Science Week – an annual three to five day celebration of science and technology through coordinated science events across the continent. We believe the next Einstein will be African.
The NEF has been endorsed by the African Union Commission, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Governments of Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa, the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and a growing number of private sector and civil society partners from across the world who are passionate about positioning Africa’s scientific community as an influential member in the global scientific community, which will ensure sustainable human development in Africa and other parts of the world.
Accompong Minister of Finance, Hon. Timothy E. McPherson Jr., salutes Ambassador Quao as she confirms AU Diaspora Headquarters to be established in Accompong
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, 24 January 2018 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- African Union Permanent Ambassador to the USA, Hon. Dr. Arikana Chihombori Quao, has re-affirmed the decision to establish an African Union Diaspora Headquarters in Accompong Jamaica during the official ceremony to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Peace Treaty between the Accompong Maroons and the British.
The Ambassador applauded the Maroons for maintaining their African cultural heritage and traditions, and described the Maroon state as being a piece of Africa in the heart of the Caribbean.
The Right Hon. Colonel Ferron Williams, Accompong Head of State, welcomed the decision and said “Today we Maroons are vindicated for having fought to defend our African heritage and identity. We are honoured by our ancestors valor and victory against European colonialism.”
AU Ambassador Arikana Chihombori Quao addresses the nation during the 280th Accompong Maroon Festival and announces new AU Diaspora Headquarters to be built in Accompong.
The new headquarters will be used to consolidate the African Diaspora in a strategic cooperation with the African Union, Governments and key institutions. The African Union officially recognizes the Diaspora as the Sixth Region of the Union, but it is widely accepted that the Diaspora must become organized before it can have a meaningful engagement with the continent.
Accompong’s Minster of Finance, Hon. Timothy McPherson, was instrumental in brokering the agreement which he describes as signaling “a new era of economic cooperation and development between Africa and the Diaspora. This cooperation is what the African family has been waiting for during the last 500 years, now that its here let’s return to building wonders of wonders and achieving things the world is yet to imagine. ”
The Headquarters is expected to begin its operations in February 2018.
The African Union Representational Mission to the United States of America is the first bilateral diplomatic mission of the African Union. Officially launched on July 11, 2007 in Washington, DC, its mandate is to undertake, develop and maintain constructive and productive institutional relationships between the African Union and the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government, the African Diplomatic Corps, the Africans in the Diaspora, and the Bretton Woods Institutions through.
Sovereign State of Accompong
This state is a nation within the nation of the island of Jamaica. The Maroon settlement of Accompong perched high up in the mountains of St. Elizabeth in western Jamaica was founded in 1739, established after rebel slaves and their descendants fought a protracted war with the British, the runaway Maroon slaves signed a peace treaty with the British to gain semi-sovereignty over the area. Accompong is a little piece of Africa in the heart of the Caribbean.
By Wallace Mawire The African Union Commission is set to launch the first AU Agenda
2063 Flagship project, the Single African Air Transport Market
(SAATM), in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 28th January 2018 as a historic
event at the African Union Summit, nearly two decades after the
adoption of the 1999 Yamoussoukro Decision.
Speaking ahead of the launch event, Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner
for Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission said
“With preparations continuing on schedule, the launch of the Single
African Air Transport Market will spur more opportunities to promote
trade, cross-border investments in the production and service
industries, including tourism resulting in the creation of an
additional 300,000 direct and two million indirect jobs contributing
immensely to the integration and socio-economic growth of the
The Commissioner stated that the aviation industry currently
supports 8 million jobs in Africa and hence SAATM was created with the
aim of enhancing connectivity, facilitating trade and tourism,
creating employment, and ensuring that the industry plays a more
prominent role in the global economy and significantly contributing to
the AU’s Agenda 2063.
“The AU Summit will also see the adoption of the regulatory text of
the Yamoussoukro Decision, that is, the competition and consumer
protection regulations that safeguards the efficient operation of the
market,” the Commissioner added.
An exhibition billed “Flying the AU Agenda 2063 for an integrated,
peaceful and prosperous Africa” will be unveiled to mark the launch,
as well as ribbon cutting and the inauguration of the commemorative
So far, 23 African countries out of 55 have subscribed to the Single
African Air Transport Market whereas 44 African countries signed the
“The African Union Commission, under the leadership and personal
commitment of H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, has been playing a key
coordinating role in the establishment of the Single African Air
Transport Market and advocacy to AU Member States, who have not yet
committed to the solemn commitment, to do so,” the Commissioner
The African Union Commission (AUC), the African Civil Aviation
Commission (AFCAC), the International Civil Aviation Organization
(ICAO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the
African Airlines Association (AFRAA) are also advising African
countries to open their skies for enhancement of connectivity and
efficiency of air services in the continent.
“As the first of the 12 African Union’s Agenda 2063 flagship projects
to be launched, the implementation of SAATM will pave the way for
other flagship projects as the African Passport and enabling the Free
Movement of People, the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA),”
Commissioner Abou-Zeid stressed.
The Declaration on the establishment of a Single African Air Transport
Market, as a flagship project of the AU Agenda 2063, was adopted by
the African Union (AU) Assembly in January 2015. Immediately
thereafter, eleven (11) AU Member States declared their Solemn
Commitment to establish a Single African Air Transport Market through
full implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision of 1999 that provides
for full liberalization of market access between African States, free
exercise of traffic rights, elimination of restrictions on ownership
and full liberalization of frequencies, fares and capacities.
To date, the number of Member States that have adhered to the Solemn
Commitment has reached twenty-three (23), namely: Benin, Botswana,
Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia,
Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger,
Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Togo and
Hon Adjei Sowah with PAV’s Ajong Mbapndah L at his AMA Office in Accara,Ghana
Calm, soft spoken, witty, and confident, Hon Adjei Sowah is the very epitome of the legendary Ghanaian hospitality on full display in the capital city of Accra that he leads. Appointed by President Nana Akuffo Addo, and unanimously endorsed by all Council members as Metropolitan Chief Executive of Ghana’s capital city Accra in March of last year, Hon Adjei Sowah has been a busy man catering to needs of the four million people who live and interact within Accra on a daily basis.
Established in 1898 and referred to at some point as the City Council, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly that Adjei Sowah heads manages the entire city of Accra. While its land size may have shrunk over the years with creation of districts within the Metropolitan Assembly, the city of Accra still has a resident population of about two million people. During the day, the permanent residents of the city are joined by a floating population of another two million who come in for work and diverse commercial activities before returning to their homes outside Accra in the evenings.
The life of the city is on commerce says Adjei Sowah as major markets in Ghana like Makola, Kantamanto, Kaneshie and others are found within Accra. The city is very cosmopolitan in nature with people from diverse backgrounds and regions all cohabiting peacefully. Interviewed by Ajong Mbapndah L for PAV, Hon Adjei Sowah introduces his city ,progress towards making it the cleanest city in Africa as prescribed by President Akufo Addo, and more.
Good afternoon sir and Happy New year, Hon. Adjei Sowah
HonAdjei Sowah: Many Happy returns and happy new year to all of you too,
And thanks so much for taking time out off your busy schedule to grant this Interview
HonAdjei Sowah:. Thank you, it’s a pleasure
You are the Metropolitan Chief Executive of Accra, can you start by introducing your city?
HonAdjei Sowah: The Accra metropolitan assembly used to be called the city council, it was established in 1898 and as an authority that manages the entire city of Accra. The land size of Accra has been shrinking over the years by the creation of districts within the metropolitan assembly largely because of the increase in number of city dwellers. You are also aware of urbanisation; it brings a lot of people into the city. It used to start from somewhere in Nungua to Accra, and now Nungua, Techiman have been taken away. And today we start from the boundaries of Lar, then to the boundaries of Acho, which is ghana east and then to the boundaries of Ga central and then that of Ga south. The city has a resident population of about two million referenced to the population in housing censured figures. But another floating population of two million plus, and that’s because of the influx of people into the city. So during the day, we are working with more than four million people within the city, and then in the evening people go back to their homes, which is outside the city. And all the major markets in Ghana are within Accra and the life of the city is on commerce, and that’s what attracts people into the city, all kind of things are sold within the city. So, all the major markets; Makola, Kantamanto, kaneshie, they are certain unique markets also as well. For instance Kantamanto is like a second hand clothing market, Agbogbloshie is foodstuff market, Makola is hardware market, so all the markets are in Accra. It’s cosmopolitan also in nature despite the fact that the indigenous people are Ga people, that’s fishing but because it is a city, all manner of people are in the city, the Akans, the Ewes, the Nowes, the northerners, are all in the city, so it’s very cosmopolitan in nature.
Mr Mohammed Adjei Sowah(third from left) being introduce as the new Accra Mayor by the Electoral officer from EC.Photo.Ebo Gorman. He received unanimous support from Assembly members
You were appointed to office around March
HonAdjei Sowah: Sure, 24th march
What specific assignments did president Akufo task you with?
HonAdjei Sowah: Well, because you are in charge of the city, there are certain basic things that you need to do right, in the area of social services, education, infrastructure and a couple of things that you do. And the President also indicated that sanitation is high on the agenda, he has stated clearly that it is his wish that by the end of his tenure, Accra will become the cleanest city in Africa. So, we are working hard towards achieving the dreams of the President, in addition to that we are launching the Accra beautification project to ensure that all open spaces and mediums have been greened and landscaped in Accra to beautify the city and to transform and create value for businesses in Accra.
So we’ve also launched the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan because this is a city and the influx of people that come into the city, we are very much concerned about traffic, not only vehicular traffic, but human traffic. If you walk around the city by this time, within the central business district, everywhere is choked, both vehicular and human traffic. So we are working hard to decongest the city, and make sure that markets outside the central business are also functioning. People also don’t sell on the street, in the pedestrian walkway; they get into the markets to sell so that pedestrians can freely walk on the pedestrian walkways. So these are some of the things that we wanted to do, just to make sure that we tackle the issue of traffic situation in Accra.
The second thing is about education, once the number of people are increasing, the population is increasing, it must also correspond with the infrastructure I.e the education, your drainage system and all kind of things that is supposed to dwell them with. Indeed the president’s initiative of ensuring that education is largely free right from the basic level to SHS has also triggered increase in enrolment, and that is also putting pressure on education infrastructure. So, education infrastructure is key that we need to expand the education infrastructure and even improve upon the existing infrastructure to ensure that people get access to the education in order to give full meaning to the free education that the central government is also pushing hard to ensure that it does it.
Now, the previous Metropolitan Chief Executive was from a different political party?
Hon Adjei Sowah: Sure
In what shape did you meet the city when you took office?
HonAdjei Sowah: Well, I must say that largely they didn’t leave any foundation for you to build upon it. For instance in the area of sanitation, it has always been a fire fighting approach, there is no proper system to deal with the issue of sanitation, that this is where you started from and we are continuing with it. So basically you have to start from ground zero to start everything afresh to ensure that you build a system and the system would be working.
One, in the city you can’t have a land full site in Accra, because land is prime, but we generate over 2,800 tons of waste within the city everyday and it must be disposed off, and disposal takes a lot of time because a round trip of 90 kilometres, when one truck leaves Accra by the time it returns back, the day is already gone, you can’t go twice. And in modern city management, you construct what is called a transfer system where refuse collected within the city are disposed off at a transfer station, and the transfer station’s responsibility is then to carry the refuse to its final disposal site, so there are bigger haulage trucks there that can be able to convey them. We’ve supported a private developer, and we now have one transfer station in Accra, which is located at Achimota and we need to build two more within the city to be able to receive all the waste that we generate in the city. Hopefully by the end of this month, we will cut out to also start constructing one more to receive the waste. So, these are basic things that if we have been able to do, we will be able to collect the waste before you go to the medium term planning of what to use the waste for, for recycling or for waste to energy and these purposes. At the moment you need to occupy your mind on how to collect the waste first, then the second subject is what you use the waste for, that is what we are engaged in.
A bronze statue of Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972), stands in Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park in downtown Accra.It is one of the numerous touristic attractions in the city of Accra
It’s been about 9 month now since you took office, in addition to what you just said, if you had to draw a balance sheet, what will you cite as some of the things that you have achieved- some of the things that have changed since you took over as the metropolitan chief executive of Accra.
HonAdjei Sowah: One of the key things that we have done is to first of all change the mind of the people, and let people come to the realisation that we don’t live with filth, that is key. So, we have hightened people’s attention and today even if they see a small refuse anywhere, people start to complain, people start to talk about it. Hitherto, it’s not an issue, heaps of refuse can be found everywhere. In fact when I came to office, they were about forty-two illegal dump sites in Accra, and I have closed down 70% of them and 30%, we are on course trying to close it down. They were created largely because the tricycles that were operating in the system collecting the household waste can not travel at 90 kilometres round trip to go and dump, so they created their own illegal dump site. And this is where the transfer station when they come in, they will be able to receive. So, it is the closure of the illegal dump sites and the coming in of the transfer station which is a major achievement.
We haven’t closed all because it is important for us to give access to the tricycles, If we don’t give them access, then they will be dumping the waste on the streets of Accra and that shouldn’t happen.
Number two, in terms of our revenue mobilisation, it appears that everybody has got his own form of ticket that it issues to city- those who come to do business in the city as a way of collecting money and you are unable to authenticate the receipt that is issued to you to pay. And we’ve changed that system making sure that everybody who is paying for a service has to go use the POS machine which we are able to track how much you have paid, what time you paid. And from where I sit I will know that Koffi had issued a receipt to you for this service and how much you have paid and at what time. So the collector itself is unable to issue a fake ticket. And number two, if he collects the money from you, he does not need to come to me before I know how much he has been able to collect. And these are very simple tools that are available that we are imploring to use over here.
And you are also the former Greater Accra Regional Secretary….
Hon Adjei Sowah: And even before you end, you walked into this office and this happens to be the City Authority’s office.
Look at this place, very small, car parking is an issue, meanwhile you go around and trump people’s car from parking at unauthorised places. This is not something that I’m happy about, this is not something that we should encourage. Relatively, you’re a young person and I think that if we want to leave a legacy, the thing that we need to build a modern office. So when I came to office I builded a new office complex, a three-story with a huge auditorium, and an office which befits the city authority that when you walk in, you’ll know that you are walking into your office. And by February, we’ll commission that office and start using that office so that when you’re coming, you know that you’re coming to do real business and not in this environment. This is not what we should encourage.
So Hon. Adjei is also the former regional Secretary of New Patriotic Party (NPP)
Hon Adjei Sowah: Yeah
So how do you balance your role as a party man and as Chief Executive of the Accra metropolitan?
Hon Adjei Sowah: Well, since I assumed this office, I’ve relinquished that particular position as regional Secretary because there’ll be even a conflict of interest because in this position, you’re supposed to serve the totality of Ghanaians and not necessarily your party faithfuls. So I have relinquished that particular position. It is a position that I duly cherished, I held that position at the interest for the people and I’ve learnt a lot working with people, how to deal with individuals on a political font. I was there for two terms and I really miss that position.
And to those who have not had the privilege of visiting Accra, can you give us a couple of reasons why they should visit your city.
Hon Adjei Sowah: Well, first of all, Accra is a city where life goes on; you need to live it, love it. If you come into Ghana, you are first of all welcomed to Accra. The good thing is that the people are very nice people. There are many cities that you can’t walk in the night. In the city of Accra, you are safe, you can walk around 24 hours and nobody hurts you, there’s no attack on you. The people are also very nice and there are quite an interesting places also to visit for fun and for tourism as well. If you go to the old Accra where we interfaced with the whites during the colonial period of slavery, all these houses are still there and you can see the general post office. The general post office as it is, it’s just been repainted but the structure as it is pre colonial time is the same thing that is and you will marvel when you see those pictures.
So it’s a very interesting city, the people here are also hardworking and everybody is finding some business to do, service you know, very important.
We have 24 hours electricity unlike other cities in Africa where their light can go off every five minutes and come back. We have free flow of water. The basic social amenities are available in Accra. So I think that anytime you come to Accra, you will feel very welcome to the city.
Ensuring a filth-free City remains one of the priorities of Hon Adjei Sowah
And just as we are about to wrap this up, one of the things I also noticed in the city was Churches everywhere. So when do people have the time to help you keep the city clean, when do people have the time to do other activities when there are Churches Churches Churches everywhere?
Hon Adjei Sowah: I think that is an African phenomenon and I can give you my wide reasons as well to that. Generally, the churches are coming from Europe and America and they have settled here. Those day when Europe and America were going through their struggle, they were also compelled to look up to God for their survival, now that they may be on their feet, people hardly go to Church and think about God in America and Europe and sometimes people also want to compete with God.
This is Africa, we believe in god and we worship god in various forms and shape. We believe in traditional religion and in fact, our lives, our culture in itself tend to appreciate god and we express it in various forms. So it is not only people who go to Church but people who also sit in their quiet corner, they don’t go to Church but they believe in God, we believe in God. I don’t think we can find and atheist in this country but we can find people like that somewhere else.
And your mandate is supposed to last for four years. So when I come back to visit Accra in four years, how different will Accra be from what it is today?
Hon Adjei Sowah: Well I think that you are going to be a very beautiful city, enhanced, you are going to see a clean city, you are going to see a green city, you’re going to see a city that employs ICT tools in working, and you are going to see a very bubbling city, residents are thriving and everybody will be happy and smiling, maybe you are going to see a happy city.
Thank you very much for talking to Pan African visions
Hon Adjei Sowah : Thank you very much, it’s a pleasure
“America has got one of the best presidents ever,” Mr Museveni said to laughter during the opening of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) in the Ugandan capital of Kampala.
“I love Trump because he tells Africans frankly. The Africans need to solve their problems, the Africans are weak.”
Mr Museveni’s comments are in opposition to the reaction of many leaders who have condemned Mr Trump’s language.
On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron told the BBC that he shared Africa’s outrage.
On Monday, people in Haiti, another country that Mr Trump disparaged, protested against the president’s remarks.
Mr Museveni’s defence of the US president came just hours after the US ambassador to Uganda criticised Mr Trump.
“[His words] are obviously quite disturbing and upsetting,” Deborah Malac said.
Mr Trump allegedly used the term “shithole countries” when asking why the US should accept immigrants from Haiti and some countries in Africa.
In 2017, Mr Trump allegedly said that Afghanistan was a terrorist haven; all people from Haiti “have Aids”, and that Nigerians would never “go back to their huts” once allowed into the US, the New York Times reported.
The White House denied Mr Trump made the comments.
Morocco is up against a joint bid from Canada, Mexico and the United States to host the World Cup
Morocco has launched its campaign to host the 2026 World Cup in Casablanca.
The North African nation, making its fifth bid to host the finals, faces competition from a joint bid proposed by Canada, Mexico and the USA.
“Morocco 2026 will showcase the best of football, at the heart of the world,” bid chairman Moulay Hafid Elalamy said at Tuesday’s launch.
The decision on who will host the event will be made on 13 June, the eve of the 2018 World Cup in Moscow.
“We promise to stage a tournament overflowing with real passion and to celebrate the values of unity and peace,” added Elalamy.
“A World Cup in Morocco will deliver commercial success and leave a long-lasting legacy and if we win the honour of hosting we believe the winners will be football, the young people of our nation, Africa and the world.”
No details were given about the host cities, with the vote to determine the host less than five months away.
The North African nation has failed in four previous World Cup bids – in 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010.
In 2010, the tournament was hosted by South Africa as the continent staged the World Cup for first – and so far only – time in its history.
Morocco is looking to change all that and has appointed Elalamy, a government minister, to lead the bid while former Confederation of African Football Secretary General Hicham El Amrani will be its chief executive.
Fouzi Lekjaa, the head of Morocco’s Football Federation (FRMF), said at Tuesday’s launch: “This is an important moment as we begin to showcase our bid to Morocco, the international community and Fifa’s National Associations.
“We have assembled a committed, experienced team to bring our vision to life.”
Rachid Talbi El Alami, Morocco’s minister of youth and sports, said that the country’s infrastructure is more ready than at any time to host an expanded World Cup, with 48 teams set to play in the 2026 finals.
“Morocco has made rapid progress since 2003 – in sport, infrastructure, hotels, airports, motorways and public transport networks,” said Talbi El Alami.
Moussa Fakir Mahamat, the President of the African Union Commission
Unfortunately corruption and bad leadership in Africa is not just caused by greed, it’s also coming from the failure of other African leaders in the past who had good intentions and wanted to develop their country and create a prosperous life for their people but end up becoming a target of the west who would assassinate them like Patrice Lumumba.
So to keep themselves safe they avoid following those leaders and work with the west to exploit Africa. And with the failure of Zimbabwe’s economy after Mugabe tried to do the right thing, many African leaders are afraid of following him so their country can be freed from white control.
Plus with the growing influence China now have in Africa, many African leaders are now slaves to foreign power and even if they wanted to put the interest of Africans first, they can’t.
So as you can see, it has become impossible to depend on Government leaders in Africa to put their fellow Africans first so Africans can live a happy prosperous life because of the increasing influence different foreign powers have in Africa today.
This problem is not unique to Africa. Globalization has given richer countries power and control over poorer ones which make it difficult for poorer countries to develop.
So in order to stop foreign powers from exploiting Africa so that Africans can start benefiting from Africa’s resources, Africans will have to take control of their countries by taking control of their Government leaders.
Just like how people from other countries are able to take control of our Government leaders and assassinate them whenever they refuse to do what they want, we Africans are able to do the same as well to get what we want.
So in order for Africa and Black countries worldwide to strive, we need Pro Black Pan Africans to be in control of the Government, military and economy.
That can easily be accomplished by creating an organization run by Pro Black Pan Africans who’s job is to hold Government leaders responsible and punish them when they fail to do the right thing.
With such an organization, Africans and their countries would be protected from corruption, exploitation and other problems.
We also need an organization similar to the CIA and MOSSAD of Israel to protect the interest of Africa and Africans worldwide from foreign powers. Everyone have an organization to protect their interest, so why shouldn’t we as well?
*Gareth Morris and I’m a 27 year old entrepreneur from Jamaica. He identifies humself as a Pan Africanist who’s goal is to empower fellow Africans though knowledge so they can free and protect themselves for oppression. The views expressed are his