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New Senegal Ambassador to Gambia Vows to expand the bilateral ties
November 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Amb Sene  with President Barrow
Amb Sene with President Barrow

The new Senegalese ambassador to The Gambia, His Excellency, Bachirou Sene has stressed that his ultimate mission is to further strengthen and expand the bilateral ties between The Gambia and Senegal.

President Adama Barrow on Wednesday received the Letter of Credence of the new Senegalese ambassador to The Gambia, His Excellency, Bachirou Sene at the State House in Banjul. In line with existing diplomatic protocols, Ambassador Sene was received with military pomp and parade, with the honour of inspecting a military Guard of Honour.

   In welcoming the new ambassador to The Gambia, President Barrow congratulated the ambassador on his appointment. He stressed the historic and unique friendly relationship between The Gambia and Senegal, saying ‘‘ the fact that we [referring himself and Ambassador Senel] are speaking Wolof to each other says a lot about the ties we share’’.

The President expressed optimism that the high level of peaceful co-existence between the two countries will continue to advance the development of their respective peoples.

He extended heartfelt gratitude to his colleague brother and friend, President Macky Sall, for his great choice of ambassadors to The Gambia, citing the outgoing Ambassador – Professor Salieu Ndaiye, as a committed and instrumental diplomat to the Senegambian cause.

For his part, the new Ambassador said he was happy to be assigned to The Gambia, vowing that his ultimate mission is to further strengthen and expand the bilateral ties between The Gambia and Senegal. ‘’I am sent here to foster the strong ties between The Gambia and Senegal. We are all happy about the current state of relations between our countries.

The relationship is great and beautiful. I am happy to be assigned here because I consider myself a Senegambian citizen’’.

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Gambia: President Barrow Calls for support on Banjul rehabilitation project
November 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

President Adama Barrow has called on all Gambians irrespective of political or regional affiliations to join him in full support of the Banjul rehabilitation project, stating that Banjul, our capital city, is the pride of the country.

‘’Banjul is our City, our Capital City. We have nowhere that is more important than Banjul as far as we are concern’, the President said after an impressive inspection of ongoing rehabilitation works in Banjul.

Considering the strategic and symbolic importance of the City, the President said it behooves all citizens to unite in support of its development: ‘’Everybody, whether you are Banjulian or somewhere else. Whether you are in the opposition or the government, let us work together in the interest of this country. It is only through unity that we can progress. It is only through unity that we can develop this country’’.

The President, who is proud of his personal affinity to Banjul having lived there for about 17 years, added that the capital needs to be completely overhauled, explaining that it was the reason the government decided that ‘’we cannot be doing the roads in a piecemeal, the way they were doing it’’.

Although the project is being pre-financed by a Gambian-owned company – Gai Enterprise, President Barrow revealed that The Gambia government begins repaying the loan from the 2020 budget.

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‘The cost is going to be high’-Kagame warns Rwanda’s enemies
November 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Kagame warns those who want to destabilise Rwanda

President Paul Kagame is warning those who want to wage a war on Rwanda and everyone who is involved, that the cost on their part will be very high.

He made the comments on   Thursday, 14 November after officiating the swearing in ceremony of new cabinet members.

Among new cabinet members includes General Patrick Nyamvumba who was tasked to lead Internal security ministry. This ministry had been scrapped three years ago.

President Kagame said that  people who are planning to destabilize Rwanda, hiding behind politics are going to face consequences.

Though he did not name them, Kagame could have been saying those who are plotting against his government from inside in cooperation with negative forces from outside.

“I want to warn some people among us who hide behind different things, they hide behind politics, democracy , freedom … that we actually want , it is our responsibility to ensure that there is democracy, there is peace, freedom and everything in our country. For people who hide behind this nonsense and they even backed and praised by people outside ..you are going to face us” he said

In his speech that was being aired live on national television, Kagame said that he cannot accept people who consume security that have cost even people’s lives, to cause problems in the country.

“For those who are involved they better come clean very fast. You cannot be here benefiting from security, peace that we have created, we have paid for in blood, over many years and the you  do things behind our backs to cause us problems. We will put you where you belong… and those ones who make noises about it we will see what they will do.”

Recently Rwanda has been experiencing attacks from rebel groups who say they want to liberate country. Some of them operates from Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

In early October, assailants launched an attack in Northern Rwanda where they killed 14 people and wounded dozens.

Those who were captured told local media that they are from RUD Urunana rebel group, a faction group that detached itself from  FDLR, a rebel group in DRC that Rwanda accuses to be made of many who involved in 1994 genocide against the Tutsis.

Kagame warns whoever collaborate with those groups, saying it will cost them highly.

“We are going to raise the costs on the part of anybody who wants to destabilize our security. The cost is going to be very high whether it is the means, we are going to put into that to make sure that we have everything it takes  to ensure security and stability of our country and our people and our development. The source of the cost mainly those people who destabilize our country who want ..it going to be a very high cost on their part absolutely. I mean it and you know that I mean it”, he added.

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Demonizing Oil and Gas companies is not a constructive way forward on energy transition. Africa will push for “the Right to Drill”
November 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

By NJ Ayuk *

African nations must and will take advantage of their hydrocarbon resources for economic development. Environmental sustainability is a part of it, not an impediment.

Johannesburg, 14 November 2019: In an article written for the Guardian newspaper this week, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa argued for an Apartheid-style boycott on coal, oil and gas companies as a solution to fight climate change and help ensure global environmental sustainability goals. “We must stop climate change. And we can, if we use the tactics that worked in South Africa against the worst carbon emitters,” the subtitle of the piece reads.

The sentiment expressed by Mr. Tutu is laudable and speaks to many across the world that have become rightfully concerned by the effects of climate change on our environment.

However, it is also a misguided sentiment. Oil and gas companies are not autocratic regimes focused on oppressing the people and steal their resources. They are businesses, which yes, are focused on profit, but they are also focused on the sustainability of the business itself. In practical terms, it means that these companies adapt to the needs of the economies they are integrated in. Boycotting oil and gas companies will not have an impact on carbon emissions, but it might raise the price of fuel in the long run. That is not the goal intended. 

While there is demand for hydrocarbons, there will be production. The shift in the dynamic of supply and demand in recent years can already be spotted in the way oil and gas companies have restructured. More and more, these companies are diversifying their portfolios to include renewable energy assets and many of them are at the forefront of research and development of new technologies to help exploit renewable resources. I cover this extensively in my recent book, Billions at Play. Oil and gas companies are shifting into becoming “energy companies”, they are even rebranding, with Equinor (former Statoil) being the most evident example, to showcase that change in corporate paradigm. And in all honesty, who else would be better prepared, better funded and better placed to drive the energy transition that we all seek. Demonizing energy companies is not a constructive way forward, and ignoring the structural role that carbon-based fuels have in today’s society distorts the public debate. Bringing energy companies, governments and civil society groups together to find functional solutions will achieve much more.

This is especially the case in Africa. While the concerted effort amongst all of the world’s nations is fundamental to curb the effects of climate change, it is paramount to have a clear understanding of what efforts will be most decisive, and which regions of the world are in a better position and have the biggest responsibility to tackle these issues.

To be sure, Europe, North America and China, by and large responsible for much of the CO2 emissions that are behind the changes in our climate, have to live up to that responsibility and move towards more sustainable practices.

We can not expect African nations, which put together have polluted 7 times less than China, 13 times less than the United States, and 18 times less than Europe since the beginning of the industrial revolution, according to Carbon brief, to undermine their best opportunities for economic development by simply aligning with the Western view of how to tackle CO2 emissions.

Gabriel Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea, summed it up quite decisively to the press last week during the Africa Oil Week in Cape Town. “Under no circumstances are we going to be apologising,” he said, “anybody out of the continent saying we should not develop those

[oil and gas]

fields, that is criminal. It is very unfair.”

Minister Lima’s blunt words are an answer to a number of misconstrued views about the African continent, and about the oil and gas industry it is striving to develop. While a few nations across the continent have been producing hydrocarbons for decades, these resources have mostly been exported to fuel industrial development in Europe, the US and Asia. The reasons for this are varied and have as much to do with the European colonial legacy as with the lack of existing financial resources and expertise to develop local economies over the last century.

That, however, is coming to a change. As I have argued and championed for years, African nations are finally starting to make use of these resources to develop their own national economies. We must remember that nearly half of all Africans still don’t have access to electricity and that nearly every company in the continent struggles with the lack of power reliability, which raises operational costs, reduces productivity and hurts their ability to compete in international markets. African leaders are now painfully aware of the damage an unreliable energy network causes on national economies and are moving to change that.

Today, natural gas is by far the most economically sustainable way of producing power in enough quantities to fuel economic development. Petrochemical plants represent a massive economic opportunity to produce byproducts from oil and gas with a higher value within the supply chain, an opportunity to create jobs, develop infrastructure and produce wealth. Refineries too have a dramatically positive impact in curbing the need for fuel imports. All of these are fundamental pieces of the puzzle that will foster Africa’s economic growth and promote the betterment of the lives of its people. I have been saying this for a long time and have helped with that development through the African Energy Chamber, supporting cooperation amongst African nations to promote intra-African trade on energy resources and build synergies, which is the way forward.

The African Development Bank has estimated that between USD$130 and USD$170 billion a year in the run up to 2025 would be needed to close the infrastructure gap across the continent. How are African nations to fund these fundamental developments if they give up on exploring their natural resources? How can the Western world, or anyone for that matter, suggest, or demand, that African nations leave these resources underground when it was these same resources that powered economic development everywhere else?

After decades of colonial occupation and subsequent political and military in-fighting, many African regions have now reached the level of stability that will allow them to build working functioning economies. The fuel for that will be these countries’ natural resources, be it oil, gas, coal or diamonds. Boycotting the companies that can help these countries develop these resources would be paramount to economic suicide.

This is not to say that environmental sustainability and climate change should not be at the top of the list of concerns when debating the African energy sector, but it should inform environmental impact assessment policies and foster best practices in the industry, not put a stop to it.

Yes, renewable energy sources can have a role in contributing to expand electrification in Africa, and solar and wind power have become competitive when compared to carbon-based generation, but that will always depend on the resources available in each region and will always have to be supported by other forms of generation capacity that can overcome the issue of intermittency that follows renewable power generation.

This is already happening. Kenya, for instance, is one of the world’s leading nations in terms of the share of its energy matrix coming from renewables, on its way to reach 100% in the coming years, but it also holds some of the world’s largest geothermal energy reserves, and it will continue to develop its oil reserves because it needs the money to fund economic development.

Africa’s time to grow and develop is finally here, and it will be funded by its natural resources. Misguided moral lessons from the West will do little to change that because the financial resources coming from these activities are crucial and irreplaceable. In a somewhat ironic way, even if Africa wanted to stop using fossil fuels and shifted every power station to renewable sources, it would still be forced to develop its oil and gas fields in order to fund that transition.

There is no point in promoting radical approaches to the energy transition, particularly for Africa. A balanced manageable and well-lead approach of progressive transitioning combining hydrocarbons and renewable energy development alongside strong environmental protection policies in the sector is the option that is not only realistic, but that will allow to combine economic growth and environmental sustainability.

The New York Times quoted Mr. Gwede Mantashe, South Africa’s Energy Minister, in an article covering the Africa Oil Week. “Energy is the catalyst for growth,” he said, “they even want to tell us to switch off all the coal-generated power stations,” “until you tell them, “you know we can do that, but you’ll breathe fresh air in the darkness”.

Enough said.

*NJ Ayuk is the CEO of Centurion Law Group and the Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber. His experience negotiating oil and gas deals has given him an expert’s grasp of Africa’s energy landscape. He is the author of “Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and doing deals.”

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Cameroon: From Biya , A Mea Culpa on the Anglophone Crisis In Paris
November 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Paul Biya responding to Mo Ibrahim
Paul Biya responding to Mo Ibrahim

Cameroon’s octogenarian president, Paul Biya has admitted trying to assimilate former British Southern Cameroons into the majority Francophone system, formerly East Cameroon.

Speaking Tuesday November 12, at the Second Paris Peace Summit in France, the 86-year-old who has ruled Cameroon for thirty-seven years now confirmed that they did attempt to assimilate the English-speaking regions, thus harmonizing it with the French part of the country.

Their efforts he added failed to yield any fruits.

“We tried assimilating their system into the majority francophone system but because of identity differences, it failed,” he said while responding to questions from Mohammed “Mo” Ibrahim, a Sudanese-British billionaire who moderated a panel discussion he was in.

Biya’s ‘confession’ was received with mixed feelings by denizens in his crisis turn country, which has for years now been plagued with civil protest and calls for secession.

 One of the points advanced for separation been the assimilation and elimination of the Anglo-Saxon culture.

Since then, his remark has been making rounds on social media sites prompting responses from across the political strata.

To separatist advocates and sympathizers, it is clear prove and validation to their cause, more reason why they need to leave the union.

Paul Biya was sitting on the same panel as Louise Mushikiwabo, Secretary-General of La Francophonie, Mohan Kumar, chairman of the Research and Information system for Developing Countries, Hor Nambong, Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia, and Hossam Zaki, Deputy Secretary-General of the League of Arab States.

Though a president of a bilingual country for 37-years now, Paul Biya elected to have the question addressed to him translated to the dismay of his supporters.

Quizzed by Mo Ibrahim on the situation in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon, President Paul Biya first elected to go memory lane, detailing the genesis of the crisis, back to colonial times, thus giving the audience a broad-base understanding on how things got to the current level.

To him, the division of “his country” to colonial masters brought about all these problems and during postcolonial times, the possibility to reunite came forth and they attempted to integrate the English-speaking part with the majority French-speaking regions.

After falling due to what he describes as differences in identity, he announced that the Yaounde administration was putting in place a special status program for the English-speaking regions within the greater Republic of Cameroon.  

It is the second time within the last couple of months that President Biya is attending an international event in France. He has not visited the North West or South West regions since the crisis started and the statement on the special status is the first time he is making statement on the recommendations of the National dialogue .

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President Barrow Embraces Massive ‘Peace Project’ by Gambian Musicians
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

President Adama Barrow has lauded the ‘Peace Project’ initiative by a group of Gambian musicians, pledging the full support of the state.


The musicians called on the president over the weekend at State House to present the project with the hope enlisting the support of the state in promoting national unity, social cohesion, and harmony through the power of music.


‘’This peace project is very important; there can be no progress in the absence of peace and stability. As President, I and my government will support this project to its success. I have a mandate to the Gambian people and therefore take ownership of this project’’
President Barrow added that the government places a high premium on arts and culture revealing that his government has increased the budget allocation for the sector significantly.

 He said he would engage the competent authorities in the government to closely work with the group to revitalize the industry like it is in other countries.

 He said the government can create the right environment but it’s left to the individuals to showcase their skills and talents.


‘’I want to build a strong foundation that will take the Gambia forward. Without a strong foundation, we are going back to square one. We cannot make progress without strong institutions, Institutions that will dictate what you should and shouldn’t do, regardless of your position’’ adding that this is impossible in the absence of peace and stability.


He stressed that without following the due process, the country will be setting a bad precedent that will be detrimental to the development of the country.

Lamin Cham of Champion Sound, who led the delegation, said the project produce a song that will include a representation of all tribes in The Gambia. Their approach also involves holding concerts and caravan tour across the country to promote peace and unity.

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Gambia’s Defence Minister Wants Stability
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Sheikh Omar Faye, Defence Minister has told the various military installations they want the Gambia to stabilize and be peaceful so that there will be development.

“My priority is to implement the security sector reform, ensure that The Gambia is a safe place and one of the best places in the world,” he said during his ongoing nationwide tour to Military installations in The Gambia.

Accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff Gambia Armed Forces Lieutenant General Masanneh N Kinteh the tour has started on in the North Bank Region on 29th October, 2019 following a trip to Njongon and Kerewan with the aimed to familiarize the Honourable Minister with Gambia Armed Forces deployments and to have a first-hand impression of the current state of both living and working conditions of members of the Armed Forces and their families.

 On 30th October, 2019 they visited Lamin Koto, Military installations to after engagements in Farafenni (2Bn) Headquarters.


The Honourable Minister has availed himself the opportunity to listen to the concerns of the troops at this location and had brief engagements with elders of the community as well.

On 5th November, 2019 they  paid a courtesy call on the Governor of Lower River Region (LRR) Madam Rohey John  after engagements with troops of the 3 Infantry Battalion (Basse) in Upper River Region.

General Kinteh explained that apart from familiarising the Minister with their deployments, the other purpose of the tour is to see the working and living conditions of their troops and families as well as the challenges they have with their logistics.

He added they are also doing the tour to gather facts and put them together in the form of a comprehensive report and find ways and means of tackling the problems they come across during the tour.

“We expect that it is going to be a much better outcome after the tour,” he said.

He said their first engagement they meet the Ghanaian contingents deployed as (ECOMIG) forces in The Gambia in the North Bank Region.

 Mr. Kinteh said they believe that as part of good practice and good governance, it is always necessary to be able to engage themselves at different levels of command so that they get to know plans.

“This is an opportunity where they can air their views and also an opportunity where we can transmit the message of the transformation agenda that we have for GAF”, said the CDS.

He said they had an opportunity to engage members of the communities and learn from them how the Army is doing their work and how they can advise them to serve them better.

On his part minister Faye told the various military camps that ECOMIG are in The Gambia to help as they did in Liberian, Sudan, Darfur and other places.

“They are part of the system and globalized world,” he said. He stressed that they are looking at the territorial integrity of the Gambia and that they are looking at everything to ensure that they update on their gains and make sure that Gambians are informed.

The tour is subsequently hope to continue to other similar locations throughout the country especially in the Greater Banjul area and West Coast Region.

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Commonwealth young champion named among TIME Magazine 100 leaders of tomorrow
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

Time magazine has named Commonwealth Young Person of the Year Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi among its 100 world rising stars who are shaping the future.

Nigerian women’s rights activist Osowobi is one of 53 women on a list of 100 names Time has dubbed “the world’s most ascendant leaders” who are “rising stars in their fields”.

In March, she won the title of Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2019 after helping thousands of sexual and domestic abuse victims in Nigeria.

Osowobi, who is a survivor of sexual violence, set up the Stand to End Rape initiative to provide support to women, men and young people who have experienced any form of gender-based abuse.

Speaking with the Commonwealth, she said this recognition reinforces her belief in young people’s potential to create change.

She continued: “As young people, our relationship must surpass government collaboration on financial relations, rather, we must collectively protect the human rights of those within our community, especially vulnerable women and girls, persons with disabilities and LGBTQI people across the Commonwealth.”

Founded in 2014, her initiative works to advance women’s sexual reproductive health rights, advocate against gender-based violence and provide medical, legal and psychological support to survivors of sexual and domestic violence.

Advising the survivors of gender-based violence, Osowobi said: “Don’t stay silent. There is no judgement or condemnation as nobody owns the rights to your story or healing.

“My advice to you is first to stop blaming yourself and seek mental, legal and health support.”

Layne Robinson, the Commonwealth’s Head of Social Policy Development, said: “The Commonwealth Youth Awards, particularly the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year, shines a spotlight on the unsung efforts of our young people who have made a major impact in transforming our communities.

“We are happy our Commonwealth Person of the Year, Osowobi, is being recognised for her outstanding work beyond the Commonwealth.”

Time magazine unveiled its first annual collection of the next generation of world’s 100 young leaders today in New York City.

Every year, the Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work recognise the exceptional contribution of young people from across the Commonwealth’s member countries who are leading initiatives to help deliver sustainable development goals.

*Commonwealth

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UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice to visit Gambia
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence Mr Fabián Salvioli, will conduct an official country visit to the Gambia from 20 to 27 November 2019 at the invitation of the   government.

The purpose of the visit is to assess measures taken by the authorities in The Gambia in the areas of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence – the four pillars of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate – that have been adopted to address the serious human rights violations committed during the previous regime, seeking to have a broad view of the various initiatives taken, identify good practices, gaps and shortcomings and formulate recommendations in that regard.

The Special Rapporteur will adopt a constructive and supportive approach and make practical public policy observations and recommendations. 

During his visit, the Special Rapporteur will meet with state authorities, various non-governmental organizations dealing with issues related to his mandate and with representatives of international or regional organizations, the diplomatic community, victims, and civil society. He will also conduct a field visit to places relevant to his mandate.

At the end of his visit, the Special Rapporteur will also hold a high-level briefing with the Government of The Gambia to share his preliminary findings and present his end of mission statement and a press conference at which he will share his initial observations with the media.

The outcome of this mission is the submission of a report on his country visit to The Gambia to the 45th session of the Human Rights Council, in September 2020.

The report will set out, analyse the Special Rapporteur’s impressions during the visit, and make recommendations to the Government and other actors on measures needed to adequately address past violations.

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African Energy Chamber Takes Part in High-Level Debate on the Future of the Global Oil & Gas Industry at Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC)
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
Executives agreed that global energy markets are more than ever open for business and competing for foreign investments
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, November 13, 2019/ — The African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org) participated in the Oil & Gas 4.0 Strategic Roundtables at ADIPEC in Abu Dhabi this week. During the “Energy trends, policy formation and geopolitical factors affecting the global oil and gas industry” roundtable, the Chamber provided a critical African perspective to the global debate on energy transition.

Key issues addressed by global CEOs from across the world included the impact of population growth and decarbonization on the global energy demand and future sector policies. Highlighting global dynamics in supply and demand, participants insisted on the need to meet growing demand for heavier petroleum products and crude, which shale oil cannot deliver. Similarly, executives agreed that global energy markets are more than ever open for business and competing for foreign investments.

A major concern shared by leaders at ADIPEC includes growing criticism made to the industry by the civil society at large in light of climate change. Coupled with a depressed oil prices environment, this sentiment is negatively impacting financial capital markets performances for the sector and overall growth projections. Capital markets are going through a tough time for instance, growing at only 3 to 4% as opposed to 15% a few years ago.

As climate concerns add pressure on the sector, participants urged all stakeholders to find ways to engage the broader society and challenge the insular nature of the oil & gas industry. All parties agreed that the sector is doomed if it fails to engage women, younger generations and the society at large around inclusive and sustainable growth.

Bringing its own perspective to the debate, the Chamber insisted that Africans should not apologize for wanting to develop their fossil fuels despite rising global concerns about climate change. Chamber representatives reminded everyone that Africa remains one of the world’s lowest emitter of carbon emissions, has over 650 million people who live without access to electricity, and cannot develop as a continent without oil & gas. As a result, the imperative of reducing poverty and creating opportunities through energy in the developing world was one of the key take away from the debate.

The Chamber notably voiced Africa’s determination to build an inclusive industry it can be proud of and which does not rely on aid but on sound business practices, deals and investments. It joined stakeholders in voicing concerns about the lack of inclusion of younger generations in the industry and the need to make oil & gas more attractive for young talent.

Concluding the debate, executives and experts agreed that real tensions are arising from climate change problems. They are forcing the industry to innovate and find more efficient and low-emitting solutions to develop hydrocarbons and invest in new technologies like hydrogen and energy storage. All parties agreed on the challenge of adequately addressing two issues at once. First, the need for near-term opportunities like cost-reduction and industry partnership to deliver opportunities for all, and second the long-term need to address energy transition and help solve climate change problems.
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2019 Africa Investment Forum: historic signing of high-speed railway construction concession agreement for Ghana, with the support of the African Development Bank
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank has thrown its weight behind a concession agreement for the construction of a high-speed railway in Accra, Ghana’s capital.

The signing took place on the opening day of the second Africa Investment Forum, running from Monday to Wednesday in Johannesburg.

“It’s a great day for Ghana!” said Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo. “I was here last year and I’m back this year to make sure the project moves forward. This proves how important the Africa Investment Forum is. The signing of this agreement is on track to improve the lives of our citizens.”

The Accra Skytrain project, representing an investment of $2.6 billion, is a high-capacity public transport system that is completely automated and cost-efficient, using pneumatic propulsion technology. The system will transport more than 380,000 passengers annually and create some 5,000 jobs during its implementation phase.

“This is what Africa wants: finalized agreements,” said Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group. “What we want is for Africa to invest in Africa! We want to see this kind of thing happening all the time. This project will modernise Ghana, providing green transport for its citizens.”

Solomon Assamoah, fund manager for infrastructure investment, believes that this project will profoundly transform Ghana’s economic capital. “This is a major contribution to infrastructure development in Ghana, and in Africa as a whole. We need mass transport. This project will help overcome traffic gridlock,” he explained.  

Joe Ghartey, Ghana’s minister for railway infrastructure, stressed the work ahead: “We have worked hard together to get to this stage of the project. We have more work to do to be able to tell the whole world, between now and next year, that the project’s financing is complete and that its operational phase has begun.”

Ghana Investment Promotion Centre CEO Yofi Grant expressed confidence that the project would reach financial close by this time next year.

The agreement was signed at a press conference during the 2019 African Investment Forum.

The Africa Investment Forum is an innovative, multi-stakeholder transactional marketplace conceived by the African Development Bank, aimed at raising capital, advancing projects to the bankable stage, and accelerating financial closure of deals. 

The Forum runs from 11-13 November in Johannesburg, South Africa.

*AFDB

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Toilets in schools matter – how African Development Bank is making a difference
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
handover of vip latrines at St Pauls primary school in Mzimba

At 14, Mercy Kamanga dropped out of school at Standard eight in St Paul’s Primary School in Mzimba, Malawi, due to a lack of suitable sanitation facilities.

“The toilets at our school were very few, small, dilapidated and didn’t have doors; only a piece of cloth covered the entrance. Our male colleagues often rushed to nearby bushes to help themselves. It was not easy for us the girls,” recalled Mercy.

It was a worse situation for girls who were in their menstrual period, and like Mercy, some other adolescent girls also dropped out of school. Others stayed away during their menstrual periods.

“It was a nightmare. After using the toilet, we were supposed to wash our hands and clean ourselves properly, but that was a big challenge. We didn’t have the washing facilities and we ended up being humiliated in class. We just had to go home,” Mercy said.

The headteacher of the school, Mr. Mwandira, confirmed Mercy’s heart-breaking experience. “We didn’t have enough toilets and this affected the learners, especially the girls.”

St Paul’s was not the only school which lacked suitable sanitation facilities. There were many others with similar challenges in Mzimba, resulting in the rampant outbreak of waterborne diseases in the area.

But the situation has now changed for the better, thanks to the intervention of the African Development Bank and its partners. St Paul’s is one of the beneficiaries of 18 newly constructed improved latrines under the $22.85 million Mzimba Integrated Urban Water and Sanitation Project in northern Malawi.

“Our enrolment has increased from around 700 learners to 900 learners with the coming of the improved toilets. It is good to note that around 60% of the learners are girls,” said Mwandira.

Other beneficiaries of the latrines programme were Mzimba LEA, Kaphuta Primary School and the district market. The improved latrines with dual seaters, are equipped with hand washing facilities to improve sanitation in the schools and in the market.

The project was jointly financed by the African Development Bank, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Fund for International Development, and the Malawi Government through the Northern Region Water Board.

It had three components: water infrastructure development, water resource management, and sanitation and hygiene. The sanitation and hygiene component cost $450,000 and entailed the rehabilitation of sludge ponds near the Mzimba District Hospital.

The Director of Infrastructure Development at Northern Region Water Board, Catherine Mbewe-Mwafulirwa said the Board is working in partnership with the communities to ensure that no one is left behind in the provision of potable water and sanitation for all.

The intervention has so far helped to reduce water-related diseases from around 35% to 6%, according to statistics from the Mzimba District Health Office.

For Mercy, who is now 16 and has returned to St Paul’s, there is renewed joy in learning, following the erection of the latrines at the school.

“It’s safer and better now with the improved toilets. You don’t have to worry about issues of hygiene. It’s like you are home,” she says with a smile.

Toilets in schools matter.

*AFDB

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