Murdoch to help empower 1,000 entrepreneurs across Africa by 2022
September 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
|Murdoch hosted Kingdom Business Network (KBN) Chief Executive Officer Joarina Matthys and four of its entrepreneurs to participate in a panel at the 9th Annual Africa Australia Research Forum|
PERTH, Australia, September 11, 2019/ — A new partnership between Murdoch University (www.Murdoch.edu.au) in Western Australia and the South African-based Kingdom Business Network (KBN) took a first step towards formation after a visit to Perth for Africa Week by a delegation of five of its members.
The KBN is a programme created and funded by the South-African diversified investment company, the Beryl Group, to inspire entrepreneurs to create and acquire sustainable wealth, enabling them resources and training to build and develop their communities and positively impact their generation.
Murdoch hosted KBN Chief Executive Officer Joarina Matthys and four of its entrepreneurs to participate in a panel at the 9th Annual Africa Australia Research Forum and meet with Murdoch Alumni, members of the Perth African diaspora and entrepreneurial community.
The KBN was founded 10 years ago by Neverl and Beryl Kambasha and has a goal to empower 1,000 entrepreneurs across Africa by 2022.
“We are passionate about developing quality entrepreneurs who will have a positive impact on their communities,” Ms Matthys said.
“After 10 years of operation in South Africa we have made the decision to expand our reach, to other parts of Africa and to seek partnerships within Australia, including with Murdoch.”
Murdoch University Africa Research Group Chair David Doepel said Murdoch was keen to understand what structures facilitated creative and innovative thinking, and to harness the formidable African brain power globally.
“This is absolutely critical to Africa’s participation in the creation of the 4th Industrial revolution,” Mr Doepel said.
“Our digital interconnectedness holds great promise, but it only works if we have the human networks formed to leverage the digital ones.
“We have been exploring how we can be more embedded with each other to ensure the success of this burgeoning phenomena on the continent.”
Mr Doepel said there were 314 tech hubs in Africa in 2016, which had grown to more than 618 in 2018.
“More than 50 per cent of those tech hubs have incubators with in-kind support for idea and early stage start-ups, developing innovations in agtech, healthtech and fintech focused on African solutions for African opportunities.
“Coming together to ensure the success of these entrepreneurs, and finding ways to straddle continents with ideas that lead to businesses that solve problems, exploit opportunities, create jobs and deliver inclusive growth, is the work we must support.”
Ms Matthys said the KBN could also provide a trusted partner for companies interested in investing in African companies or your partners in Africa.
“A key role we play is developing and maintaining strategic partnerships to create a web of networks for our entrepreneurs as well as for people looking for opportunities in South Africa and Africa generally.
“We understand how government and local systems work; if you don’t know who to trust we are the place to come to.
Africa Logistics Properties holds Supply Chain Networking Breakfast Forum to tackle current challenges in the East African Region
September 17, 2019 | 0 Comments
The event brought together key stakeholders in the Logistics and Supply Chain sector with the aim of generating industry solutions
|NAIROBI, Kenya, September 17, 2019/ — Africa Logistics Properties (ALP) (http://www.AfricaWareHouses.com/), a modern warehousing solutions company hosted a Supply Chain Networking Breakfast Forum in celebration of it’s second anniversary since the completion of phase one – ALP North at Tatu City’s Industrial Park. The event brought together key stakeholders in the Logistics and Supply Chain sector with the aim of generating industry solutions.
Speaking at the event, Africa Logistics Properties CEO Richard Hough said, “Since setting up operations in Kenya, we as an organisation have noticed various challenges in the East Africa’s Supply Chain ecosystem. We are delighted to have our first supply chain breakfast event as a way of creating dialogue to solve some of the key challenges many business’s experience within the Supply Chain ecosystem as well as align key international best practices that are relevant and can be applicable to the East African Region.”
He further added, “With ALP logistics centres we are able to provide a key part of the solution and improve distribution in Kenya by streamlining the supply chain and logistics processes. Through eliminating shipping and transportation challenges, establishing better ways of storing goods and the effective use of technology.”
Africa Logistics Properties’s flagship project ‘ALP Nairobi North’ is Kenya’s first international standard grade-A logistics and distribution centre. The project consists of 47,000sqm of grade-A international standard warehousing on a 22-acre site. The first two phases of the ALP North park are over 82% leased and the third final phase of 19,600sqm was delivered in May 2019.
ALP Nairobi North won the Best Industrial Project in Africa award at the 2018 Africa Property Awards and also achieved the World Bank’s EDGE building sustainability certification – the very first industrial warehousing complex to achieve this benchmark in Africa.
In addition to ALP Nairobi North, ALP has also commenced construction of its second logistics and industrial project called ALP Nairobi West on a 49-acre site in Western Nairobi. ALP West is situated on the A104 highway towards Limuru, with planning approval for a 100,000 sqm logistics and distribution warehousing complex, the largest in East Africa. This second project aims to attract smaller more modern warehouse units, similar units at ALP North and specialized built to suit options for business’s seeking to move away from traditional land ownership to focusing on their core businesses.
ALP’s strategy is to identify demand-led investment opportunities within Africa that will generate strong returns for its shareholders through the development of industrial real estate projects whilst improving logistics and infrastructure in the markets in which ALP operates, according to Hough, a strategy that saw the company win Best Industrial & Logistics Development in 2018 at the Africa Property Investment Awards (API) held in South Africa.
About Africa Logistics Properties (ALP):
ALP was started by Toby Selman in 2016 to address the lack of modern warehousing and distribution centres across Africa. ALP’s strategy is to identify demand-led investment opportunities within Africa that will generate strong returns for its shareholders through the development of industrial real estate projects whilst improving logistics and infrastructure in the markets in which ALP operates.
The CEO Richard Hough of ALP was part of the founding management team of Raven Russia Plc, a London Stock Exchange listed property company that specialised in bringing modern warehousing infrastructure to Russia https://www.TheRavenPropertyGroup.com
African Leaders converge in Accra for maiden edition of Kofi Annan Peace and Security (KAPS) Forum
September 17, 2019 | 0 Comments
The forum was also organized to honour the sterling achievements of H.E. the late Kofi Annan and to immortalize his memory
ACCRA, Ghana, September 17, 2019/ — The Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) (https://www.KAIPTC.org/) has organized the maiden edition of the Kofi Annan Peace and Security (KAPS) Forum in Accra, Ghana, to facilitate discussions on evolving trends in peace and security in Africa. The forum was also organized to honour the sterling achievements of H.E. the late Kofi Annan and to immortalize his memory.
Under the theme, ‘Peace Operations in the Context of Violent Extremism in Africa’, the forum was held under the Distinguished patronage of H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana and the Chairmanship of H.E. Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office for West Africa and Sahel (UNOWAS).
Among the high level delegates were seven former African Heads of State namely; H.E. Pierre Buyoya, Former President of Burundi and AU High Representative to Mali and Sahel (MISAHEL), H.E Catharine Samba-Panza, Former President of Central African Republic, H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Former President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, H.E. Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, Former President of Sierra Leone, Professor Amos Claudius Sawyer, Former President of Liberia, H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of Nigeria and H.E. John Dramani Mahama, Former President of Ghana.
Addressing the delegates at the opening ceremony, the Commandant of KAIPTC, Air Vice Marshall Griffiths S. Evans shared the rationale behind the forum;
“The forum seeks to provide a platform for robust engagement on critical peace and security issues affecting the African continent. Our actions are guided by our mission to foster peace and stability through the provision of a globally-recognized capacity and policy support for all actors on African peace and security issues”, he stated.
In his address, the President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, identified key interventions which can be implemented to tackle violent extremism.
“It is important that we promote and develop, on the continent, a system and culture of accountable governance, free of corruption, whereby our people are governed in accordance with the rule of law, respect for individual liberties and human rights, and the principles of democratic accountability”, he stressed.
He also threw more light on Ghana’s counter terrorism policy to combat violent extremism.
“Our Counter Terrorism Policy seeks to prevent acts of terrorism in the country. The Counter Terrorism Policy has led to the setting up of a Counter Terrorism Unit, within the National Security Council Secretariat, to lead and co-ordinate our efforts in the fight. Ghana has adopted a well-coordinated Inter Agency Approach, which encourages the timely sharing of information and intelligence, operational coordination and joint strategy formulation, and has proved essential towards ensuring the efficient execution of the country’s Counter Terrorism Policy”, he explained.
The Kofi Annan Forum brought together over two hundred high-level delegates and diplomats from governmental and intergovernmental organizations (including the African Union and its Regional Economic Communities, United Nations and European Union). Security professionals and representatives from policy and research think tanks, development partners, training institutions and civil society groups were all present to participate in the dialogues.
The forum also seeks to deepen the collaboration between KAIPTC and international organisations such as the United Nations, African Union, Regional Economic Communities, Governments, development partners, civil society organisations and the business community.
About the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre:
The Ghana Ministry of Defence (MoD) established the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) (https://www.KAIPTC.org/) in 1998 and commissioned it in 2004. The purpose was to build upon and share Ghana’s five decades of internationally acclaimed experience and competence in peace operations with other states in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region and the rest of Africa. This was in recognition of the need for training military, police and civilian men and women to meet the changing demands of multidimensional peace operations. The Centre is one of the three (3) Peacekeeping Training Centres of Excellence mandated by the ECOWAS to offer training in peacekeeping and peace support operations (PSO) in Africa.
The Centre delivers training courses in in three thematic areas; Peace Support Operations, Conflict Management and Peace and Security Studies and also runs Masters and PhD programmes in same. The KAIPTC has a world-class research department that undertakes research in the thematic areas in Peace and Security. Located in Accra, Ghana, the KAIPTC is an internationally-recognized institution and has till date trained and tutored over 21, 496 participants and students since its inception.
KAIPTC is a gender sensitive organization and committed to gender equality. Following the launch of its Gender policy in 2014, the Centre has mainstreamed gender into its policies and programmes, and integrates same in its focal areas, namely training, research and post-graduate education. The Centre has developed a Sexual Harassment policy and fully oriented employees on same. It has also provided a Nursing and Childcare Centre and instituted a paternity leave policy, all with the aim to create a conducive work environment at KAIPTC.
Andela Restructures Talent Pipeline to Meet Global Market Demand
September 17, 2019 | 0 Comments
Lagos, Nigeria. Tuesday 17 September 2019. Andela, the company that builds distributed engineering teams with Africa’s top software engineers, is announcing the departure of approximately 250 junior engineers and staff from its Nigeria and Uganda hubs with another 170 potentially impacted in Kenya. The move comes as the company looks to restructure its talent pool to more closely align with global market demand.
Andela is now working with all impacted and potentially impacted employees and is committed to providing a holistic professional and financial support package.
In addition, the company is partnering with CcHUB (Nigeria), iHub (Kenya), and Innovation Village (Uganda) to help connect impacted developers with opportunities in their local ecosystems. Together, they have identified over 60 companies who are looking to hire top quality junior engineering talent. These hubs will also offer impacted engineers the opportunity to use their co-working spaces free of charge for the next three months.
Jeremy Johnson, Andela co-founder and CEO says: “As the talent world has evolved, we have as well, and over the past few years it’s become increasingly clear that the world needs what Andela provides: high-quality engineering-as-a-service. It has also become clear, however, that the majority of the demand is for more experienced talent, and to keep up with it, we need to grow our senior talent base even faster.
“This shift in demand also means that we now have more junior talent than we are able to place. This is a challenge for the business, and for these junior engineers who want, and deserve, authentic work experiences that we are not able to provide.”
Beyond this restructure, Andela continues to grow rapidly with plans to hire an additional 700 experienced engineers by the end of 2020. Today’s announcement will not affect Andela customers’ operations, as the company evolves to deliver even stronger engineering support for their teams.
Seni Sulyman, Andela VP of Global Operations says, “Our immediate priority is to ensure that our colleagues who are affected by this change are well supported to succeed in their next career moves. We are in talks with tech leaders across Africa, who have been very supportive in exploring opportunities for these talented Andelans. We are also focusing our attention on providing adequate support for the rest of Andela during this period, as we continue to build a world-class engineering organization.”
Moving forward, the company will continue to invest in the Andela Learning Community (ALC), which has already introduced over 30,000 learners from across the continent to software engineering. Over the next three years, the company expects over 100,000 engineers from across the continent to take advantage of programs within the community.
Johnson concludes, “Five years ago, we launched Andela to solve a global challenge: Brilliance is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not. To succeed in our long-term mission, we have to make tough decisions to continue growing a company that we know will change the way the world thinks about talent.”
Andela is a global technology company that builds distributed engineering teams with Africa’s top software engineers. In five years, Andela has hired more than 1,500 software engineers, with its largest engineering centres in Lagos, Nairobi, Kampala, and Kigali, a growing presence in Cairo and Accra, and offices in NYC, SF, and Austin. Backed by Generation Investment Management, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, GV, and Spark Capital, Andela is powering global engineering teams while catalyzing the growth of tech ecosystems across Africa.
US Firm Pioneer Energy Exec says “Billions at Play” gives a roadmap for attracting US Investment to Africa
September 17, 2019 | 0 Comments
|Africa is one of the few investment frontiers left where large margins can still be realized|
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, September 9, 2019/ — Leading African energy attorney NJ Ayuk is confident that a more equitable and prosperous Africa is within reach. He outlines the avenues individuals, companies and governments can pursue to realize that future in his new book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals.
Among other things, Ayuk believes Africans need to have better control of their resource wealth—specifically the riches that lie in the continent’s largely unexploited oil and gas basins. At the same time, he knows Africa is not completely ready to go it alone: the knowledge and technical prowess of American multinational energy companies are essential to both exploration and production. In recent years, however, as those businesses turned their attention to prolific U.S. shale, they’ve pulled out of opportunities they consider riskier, and that includes Africa. However, recent market trends based on regulatory political decisions have proven risky in US markets. Africa is one of the few investment frontiers left where large margins can still be realized, and it’s time America started taking these opportunities seriously.
In Chapter 17, American Ingenuity and African Oil and Gas Potential, Ayuk analyzes those risks, separates fear from reality, and puts forth strategies for attracting American investment, including more lucrative production sharing contracts. The result is a formula Ann Norman, Pioneer Energy’s General Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, supports.
“Like me, Ayuk sees opportunity all around him, and he realizes that appropriate development will solve many of the continent’s challenges, including power generation,” Norman said. “In his chapter about American ingenuity, he recommends a number of thoughtful approaches Africa can take to foster American oil and gas investment. For one, Ayuk advocates looking at investments from the American point of view. Is the government stable? Has it always honored foreign contracts? Ayuk knows there are too many competing interests for American dollars for Africa to be able to overlook any details and still win.”
Ayuk also makes a strong case for more women to join the leadership in Oil and Gas. “He marks this as a priority when it comes to making Africa taking its true place in the world,” Norman said.
Colorado-based Pioneer Energy is working on solutions to help curb gas flaring in Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea, as well as other markets in Africa. These efforts have largely been spearheaded by Norman, who moved to Nigeria to play a more active role in the country’s energy industry. Throughout her career, Norman has been instrumental in introducing U.S. companies into emerging African markets, as well as showcasing and driving foreign direct investment in Africa, particularly in the healthcare, energy and infrastructure spaces.
NJ Ayuk is founder and CEO of Pan-African corporate law conglomerate, Centurion Law Group (https://CenturionLG.com/); Founder and Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org/); and co-author of Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity (2017).
He is recognized as one of the foremost figures in African business today.
Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Order your copy today.
Cameroon, Guinea, South Africa….NDI’s Dr Chris Fomunyoh On Africa’s Shrinking Democratic Space
September 16, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Ajong Mbapndah L
While it may be heartening to see how much Africa has changed in the past three decades, the rate at which the successes of political transitions of the 90s are been rolled back should be of concern to everyone says Dr Christopher Senior Associate for Africa at the Washington, DC based National Democratic Institute.
A seasoned professional who has played a leading role in some of the most successful stories of democracies in Africa since the early 90s, Dr Fomunyoh says it is disappointing to see the prevalence of armed conflicts, opposition leaders been thrown in jail, elections being stolen, and constitutions amended by leaders who want to perpetuate themselves in power.
African democrats must not relent in their advocacy and must continue to fight for inclusive and accountable government, says Dr Fomunyoh in an interview with Ajong Mbapndah L for Pan African Visions.
Speaking with passion about his native Cameroon, Dr Fomunyoh says the overall situation looks bleak, and the country’s future precarious. Describing the recent trial of Anglophone leaders as a travesty of justice, Fomunyoh says their sentencing further aggravates the Anglophone crisis and deepens the mistrust, and bitterness that exists between Anglophones and the government of President Paul Biya.
“We must maintain the pressure for dialogue because it is the only means through which this conflict could be brought to an end and the legitimate grievances of Anglophones addressed in Cameroon,” Dr Fomunyoh says.
For the dialogue announced by President Biya to be credible, the government must create an enabling environment in which participants feel that the dialogue would be open and broad based, allowing for different viewpoints to be heard, says Dr Fomunyoh.
“The government must also take confidence-building measures to show that the call for dialogue is sincere. Notably, the killings must stop, the arbitrary arrest and detention of young Anglophones must end, and people who are detained unjustly should be released immediately,” Dr Fomunyoh said.
Considering that many Anglophones have lost trust in the Biya government, Dr Domunyoh said the burden will be on the government to show that it will not steamroll participants to obtain a predetermined outcome.
Dr Fomunyoh, you have just returned from Guinea Conakry, an African country that has tremendous resources, but has experienced difficult political transitions in the past. What is your overall assessment of the situation there in the lead-up to national elections scheduled for 2020?
You are so right, Guinea is a country with so much potential given its mineral wealth that includes some of the world’s highest reserves of bauxite and iron ore, and timber and water resources. Unfortunately, the impact of past military and authoritarian rule is still being felt, and citizens still crave an improvement in their well-being in this age of democratic government. The overall political situation in Guinea is tense and polarized, as the country prepares for legislative and presidential elections which have to be conducted between now and December 2020. On top of that, there is speculation that the country could run into a major crisis over whether to adopt a new constitution or not. Political parties, civil society organizations, labor unions, academics and other opinion leaders are already taking sides on the airwaves and various social media platforms. Many Guineans remain hopeful that the day would come when a democratically elected president transfers power through the ballot box to his successor, something that has not happened since the country gained independence in 1958.
Recently in Cape Town, South Africa, as a guest speaker at the joint conference co-organized by the University of Cape Town and the Kofi Annan Foundation, you stated that “political space is shrinking across Africa.” What leads you to that conclusion?
First let me say how uplifting it was to be at the University of Cape Town for a conference in memory of two great sons of Africa — Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan — who as world leaders epitomized the best of humanity in terms of their vision and commitment to promoting human dignity, development and world peace. I was truly honored to be invited.
In the spirit of Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan, it is heartening to see how much Africa has changed in the past three decades: political pluralism is now common practice in all African countries, independent media continues to grow, the continent’s youth are becoming politically engaged, and, increasingly, political power is being transferred through the ballot process. Who could have thought that in Sudan, by the sheer determination of citizens engaged in civil protest, a thirty-year autocracy under General Al-Bashir would collapse! At the same time, one must state the disappointment that in too many African countries some of the successes of political transitions of the 1990s are being rolled back. Armed conflicts are still prevalent, opposition leaders are being thrown in jail, injustice is being inflicted on ordinary citizens, elections are being stolen, and constitutions are being amended by leaders who want to perpetuate themselves in power.
So what should Africans do about the democratic backsliding?
African democrats must not relent in their advocacy and fight for inclusive and accountable government. We need more open political space to engage citizens across the board and harness the rich diversity of talent and expertise that our continent possesses. We must find ways to galvanize our human capital to best utilize the countries’ wealth to improve the wellbeing of our fellow citizens. For this to happen, we have to learn to aggregate our efforts as opposed to operating in silos, we have to build alliances across the continent so that the good guys can support each other and draw inspiration from each others’ successes. The next generation of Africans expect from us a better continent than we may have inherited from the generation before us.
You were in South Africa around the week of xenophobic attacks by South Africans against Africans of other nationalities. What do you make of these attacks and how was the mood like while you were there?
It is sad and despicable to watch Africans being killed by other Africans for no other reason than their countries of origin. Nelson Mandela and other founders of today’s democratic and free South Africa would be turning in their graves, because they would remember the contributions by other African countries to the liberation struggle. Without the frontline states that include countries such as Zimbabwe and Zambia, and Nigeria, perhaps we would not have South Africa as we know it today. Even if South African youth are exposed to many challenges such as high levels of unemployment, lack of opportunities and a sense of abandonment by the state, that still cannot explain why they would take out their grievances violently against fellow Africans. It is my hope that the government of South Africa would draw the appropriate lessons from this unfortunate incident and come out with well-crafted programs that can provide a safety net for the less fortunate of South African society, and a sense of safety and security for other Africans that choose to live in this beautiful country. That tragedy also exposes the failures of other governments across the continent whose citizens now feel obliged to flee their homeland to become refugees in foreign lands, because of political repression or because of lack of economic opportunity. What’s happening in South Africa today must prick our collective conscience as Africans.
Coming now to your home country of Cameroon, what is your assessment of the political situation there, in what shape is the country?
Cameroon is in bad shape. Thousands of Anglophones have been killed, others in their thousands are in detention centers spread across the country; members of security forces have lost their lives in hundreds; over two hundred villages have been burned; 40,000 Anglophones now live in refugee camps in Nigeria and 600,000 others are internally displaced, now living in other regions of the country. For three years running, schools have been unable to open in the Anglophone regions of the country. The United Nations estimates that close to 1.4 million Anglophones could be at risk of famine, all because of the ongoing crisis.
At the same time, the runner-up in the last presidential election, Professor Maurice Kamto, and hundreds of his supporters — many of whom are lawyers, economists and other professionals — are being detained in Yaoundé, with some charged to appear before a military tribunal.
The country also continues to battle Boko Haram extremists in its extreme north region that borders north-eastern Nigeria and Chad. The overall situation looks bleak, and the country’s future precarious. There is reason to be alarmed.
Getting into more recent developments, what is your take on the heavy jail sentence slammed on the Anglophone leader Julius Ayuk Tabe and others?
In my opinion, the sentencing of Ayuk Tabe and 9 others to life imprisonment by a military tribunal in Yaoundé is a travesty of justice on multiple fronts, notably the conditions of their arrest and extradition from Nigeria; their detention incommunicado for an extended period of over 9 months; their trial before a military tribunal constituted only of French speaking military judges; and the all-night trial that ended with a ruling at about 5 am in the morning. There is no doubt in my mind that this sentencing further aggravates the Anglophone crisis and deepens the mistrust and bitterness that exists between Anglophones and the government of President Paul Biya.
The heavy sentence came at a time when there are increasing calls for dialogue, what impact do you think this could have on prospects of dialogue?
This life imprisonment goes contrary to the vein of recent pronouncements in favor of dialogue by the government, multiple opinion leaders, the African Union and the international community. We must maintain the pressure for dialogue because it is the only means through which this conflict could be brought to an end and the legitimate grievances of Anglophones addressed in Cameroon.
As a seasoned professional on governance and conflict resolution, what proposals do you have for a way out of the present crisis?
I have been consistent in advocating for dialogue and in putting forward ideas that could help the country resolve this crisis. As recently as November 2018, I presented a 10-point agenda on concrete steps that could have been taken at the time to bring an end to the conflict. Since then, the situation has gotten worse, more lives have been lost, and the increasing number of victims only reinforces the urgency of concrete actions that must be taken to end the massacres and conflict. As I’ve stated over the years, I’m willing to put on the table how that roadmap could be implemented, were there to be an open platform and a genuine effort to end this crisis and get the country out of the mess in which it currently finds itself.
On Tuesday, September 10, President Biya addressed Cameroonians and, for the first time in three years, he discussed the crisis in the North West and South West regions in some detail. What is your reaction to the speech?
Modern day governance and crisis management demand that leaders be more proactive in communicating with citizens when countries face crises of the magnitude of what Cameroon has gone through over the past three years. It is good that President Paul Biya finally spoke directly to this crisis. The promise of a national dialogue is commendable, although I wish that the rest of the speech was less accusatory and provocative, so as to create an environment in which the dialogue could actually begin.
You have always called for dialogue, and now President Biya says there will be one starting by the end of September. What are some of the necessary ingredients for successful dialogue and a lasting solution?
First, for the dialogue to be credible, the government must create an enabling environment in which participants feel that the dialogue would be open and broad based, allowing for different viewpoints to be heard. The government must also take confidence-building measures to show that the call for dialogue is sincere. Notably, the killings must stop, the arbitrary arrest and detention of young Anglophones must end, and people who are detained unjustly should be released immediately. Cameroonians still remember that a similar national dialogue in the early 90s came up with recommendations, most of which were ignored by the government. It is therefore important to send strong signals that the underlying grievances of Anglophones would be addressed, so they feel that the outcome of the dialogue would restore their dignity and what they have lost during this crisis. Given that many Anglophones have lost trust in the Biya government, the burden is on the government to show that it will not steamroll participants to obtain a predetermined outcome.
Given that President Paul Biya is 86 years old and his legitimacy is questioned in some quarters, do you think Biya is in a position to resolve the crisis in Cameroon?
I have serious doubts that a president who is 86 years old, has been in power for 37 years, and has always been aloof and distant from the population can all of a sudden change his governance style and put in the energy and effort required to resolve the crisis. In the past three years, the magnitude of the crisis has grown exponentially, and it now has ramifications both across the country and internationally; I have strong doubts that the Biya government alone can find a way out. Other actors of good will, nationally and internationally, must step in given that trust has been severely broken between the Biya government and a sizeable chunk of the Anglophone population.
What do you think accounts for the levity with which the rest of Africa, and the broader international institutions like the African Union and the UN have treated the crisis in Cameroon?
I agree that the international community has been slow to respond to the crisis, and so far there have been more declarations than concrete actions. At least, some countries and organizations such as the United States, Germany, the European Union and recently the French Foreign Ministry, have been calling on President Biya to change his approach to the crisis and to engage in genuine dialogue. The United Nations recently expressed its support for a Swiss-led effort to mediate between the government and Anglophone secessionist movements, and the Security Council even held an informal debate on Cameroon in May. However, these measures are insufficient as the conflict continues unabated. One would have thought that after the Genocide in Rwanda in 1994, declarations such as “Never again” would prick the conscience of the international community so as not to allow crises like the one in Cameroon to fester. I truly hope that the African Union and the international community can step up their engagement to bring peace to the country.
You are familiar with the way Washington works; can you help us better understand the different Congressional resolutions that have come up of recent on Cameroon?
I am heartened by the interest shown in the Cameroon crisis by the United States Congress, and I urge Cameroonians and friends of Cameroon to continue to educate members of Congress as well as the international community at large on the devastating nature of this crisis and its negative impact on millions of Cameroonians. Recently, Congresswoman Karen Bass, who is the Chairman of the Africa Subcommittee, led a congressional delegation to Cameroon to hear firsthand from Cameroonians and victims of the crisis. Congressional resolutions, especially when passed on a bipartisan basis as we’ve seen in the case of Cameroon, carry a lot of weight. They capture the voice of the US Congress on an issue, and also have the capability of influencing the executive branch of government in its foreign policy approach. The European parliament, the German Bundestag and other important bodies have made similar pronouncements which help raise the level of awareness of the magnitude of the crisis, both within Cameroon and internationally. Hopefully, more concrete actions will follow.
One of the Congressional resolutions called for a return to the Federation that existed between 1961 and 1972. Do you think that could work?
At a minimum, such a concession could create the space for rebuilding trust, given that the government in power was part of the team that dismantled the first Federation in 1972. Moreover, when the current crisis broke in 2016, the Biya government would not entertain proposals for federalism, and even went as far as banning public discussions on the subject. For peace to prevail, Cameroonians will have to sit around the table and agree on a structure that can guarantee for every citizen his or her liberties and the preservation of their culture and dignity. It is inconceivable that Cameroon could rebuild without acknowledging the specificities of its English speaking population.
What is your take on the issue of school resumption?
As you may be aware, The Fomunyoh Foundation which has been active since 1999 has as one of its priorities to promote and support education in Cameroon. The Foundation has over the years distributed books and other school materials and organized public speaking events in academic institutions in all regions of the country. This underscores my personal commitment to the education of the younger generation. In the context of the ongoing crisis, education entails more than just having kids in a classroom. The back-to-school campaign to be successful, has to be part of a comprehensive package that includes among others, overall peace in the Northwest and Southwest regions of the country; reassurances from both the military and armed groups that neither students, nor teachers, nor parents would be shot at or harassed; that the curriculum is relevant; and that the kids can ultimately be guaranteed a future. This requires a deep analysis and proper preparations to make it meaningful. I am saddened that some people are treating this matter as mere sloganeering for political advantage.
If the government calls on the expertise of the seasoned professional that you are, will you be willing to provide it?
For the past two decades, I have been consistent in raising concerns about how the country was being governed. I have been pained and truly aggrieved by what has happened to the Anglophone community in the past three years. It has been disappointing to see how legitimate grievances by lawyers and teachers were summarily dismissed by the authorities, and subsequently how other socio-political grievances that were brought to the fore were violently repressed. Here we are, with thousands of fellow compatriots killed, others in detention, in refugee camps and internally displaced – all of which could have been avoided. Under those circumstances, one has an obligation, if called upon, to contribute ideas and recommendations on how to stop the killings and get out of this mess.
Some people have mooted ideas for a transitional government led by someone neutral that could help the country wade through the myriad of crises it is facing. First, what do you think of the idea and secondly were this to happen and you were asked to preside over a transition, is this something you could consider?
With each passing day, as these multiple — Anglophone, political, and security — crises we just discussed endure, my faith in this government’s ability to resolve all of them diminishes. At the same time, the current constitution of the country doesn’t allow for a transitional government as you allude to, and so I do not see how this could come about.
What lessons will a future Cameroon and the rest of Africa learn from this crisis?
Many. For example, that a people would rise up if their dignity is trampled upon; that truth, honesty and other democratic values matter for people’s trust in their government; that preventive diplomacy would save us and our continent a waste of human capital and human resources; and that it is incumbent on our generation to shape and give meaning to institutions that should improve the wellbeing of our fellow citizens.
So, what’s ahead for you and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) over the next year?
In the coming year we will be paying very close attention to the transition process in Sudan, as well as political developments across the Sahel and in the Horn of Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes region. We will also be paying close attention to upcoming competitive elections in countries such as Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Mozambique and Niger Republic. The beauty of this all is the partnerships that NDI has with civic and political organizations across the board in all of the countries in which we work. They are the true champions of democratic development in their respective countries, and our role is to give them the support and solidarity that they need to succeed.
* Full Interview Will feature in September Issue of Pan African Visions Magazine
Kenya:Estranged wife of Cohen to stay in remand
September 16, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27
Sarah Wairimu Kamotho, the wife of tycoon Tob Cohen is set to remain in custody until September 26 when she will be arraigned and take plea on Cohen murder. She is the prime suspect in the case.
Tob Cohen’s body was discovered by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) last week Friday in Septic tank at his Nairobi home 40 days after he went missing. He was found blindfolded and wrapped in a blanket with both hands tied. The former Chief Executive of Dutch conglomerate Philips East Africa was reported missing on July 19 after the sister raised an alarm.
A Nairobi’s High court judge directed mental assessment to be done on the suspect within the next seven days and postmortem on the body to be carried out on Tuesday, September 17. Pathologists both from the suspect and victims family will avail themselves. The suspect’s lawyer attempt to appeal for her release on bail was thwarted by the judge saying that will be determined when the case will be mentioned. The lawyer argued that the suspect has been in police custody for 20 days claiming her right is being violated.
The court also prohibited the detectives and the victim’s defense against addressing the media regarding the case instead asking the media houses to report only what happens in court.
Ms. Wairimu was arrested on August 28 by the detectives who have since maintained that they have enough evidence to prove she murdered the husband alongside other unnamed people. The second suspect in the murder is also in the police custody aiding with investigations. Peter Karanja was nabbed last week Tuesday after the Criminal Intelligence Unit detectives traced his phone signals at the crime scene. It is alleged Karanja, Wairimu and three other people were in constant communication with Wairimu the night the celebrated golfer was massacred.
Mr. Cohen and Ms. Wairimu had endured chaotic relationship. The duo were involved in row over multi-million shilling property and a divorce case was pending in court. Wairimu was first incriminated by her controversial statements concerning the whereabouts of Cohen. She had told his friends that he had jet off to Thailand for treatment; however, information at immigration department revealed that the Dutch man did not leave the country. It was also alleged that she informed other friends that the businessman had gone to Australia for a trip.
She further wrote a letter to Dutch Embassy in Nairobi claiming her husband was paranoid and was suffering from depression saying he is beyond their control. Nonetheless, the Embassy did not reply her letter.
“He has becoming impossible to live with, even though we try. The family has stepped aside due to the abusive and vindictive nature of his condition,” read the part of the letter.
In Central Africa, a revolutionary driller is teaching us a lesson about oil
September 14, 2019 | 0 Comments
As drilling activity picked up, production increased, and so did revenues
By Mickael Vogel*
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, September 13, 2019/ — By Mickael Vogel, Director of Strategy, African Energy Chamber
Chad’s rigs count has been surprisingly high for a year now, in a country that produces only about 100,000 bopd. With seven rigs deployed on its territory since September 2018 accoridng to Baker Hughes GE, Chad counts more rigs than most African petroleum provinces. It is more than Angola, sub-Saharan Africa’s second largest producer of oil. It is almost more than Congo, sub-Saharan Africa’s third largest producer. The list continues: it is more than Gabon, Cameroon, or even Equatorial Guinea.
The reason: Chad is drilling. In efforts to expand exploration and boost domestic production, the land-locked Central African nation is proving that focusing on basics is a recipe for success. Drilling efforts have translated in increased production and oil revenues, despite several industry setbacks.
The recovery of Chad’s economy and petroleum sector after the recent plunge in oil prices has indeed not been a smooth journey to say the least. Chad has Africa’s 10th largest proven oil reserves but its output has been slipping in recent years due to maturing fields and disruptions caused by the conflict with Boko Haram in the southwest. Lower commodity prices added another layer of complexity to an already very intricate situation, and put the economy in jeopardy. Hopes brought by the renegotiation of the country’s debt with Glencore and the rebound in oil prices were short lived. In 2019, both ExxonMobil, which produces a fourth of the country’s oil and Glencore, which represents about 9% of Chad’s production, announced their intention to sell their assets in the country.
But as two of its biggest operators prepared their exit, Chad welcomed new ones and did not loose focus on bringing out what former minister Me Béchir Madit had then called a “second golden age of oil between the end of 2019 and 2025.” To ensure the growth of its industry, Chad launched the construction of the mini Rig-Rig refinery in 2017 to address crying domestic shortage of petroleum products, granted several new fields to the CNPCIC in the Bongor Basin, welcomed new operator United Hydrocarbons, and renegotiated its debt with commodity trading giant Glencore in 2018.
As oil prices started rebounding, good news came along. Taiwan’s Overseas Petroleum and Investment Corporation completed its exploitation platform and connection pipeline to the Komé centre, while Petrochad developed its Krim-Krim wells. The Société des Hydrocarbures du Tchad (SHT), the country’s national oil company, also made progress on the development of its Sedigui field by signing a contract with a Sino-British consortium for the construction of a gas pipeline, gas treatment facility and gas terminal in Djarmaya.
In two months alone, between July 2018 and September 2018, rigs deployed in Chad went up from only one to seven, according to Baker Hughes GE. That’s a considerable jump in such a short time, while most of its neighbours were still dealing with a drilling syndrome. For a year now, Chad has had more rigs deployed on its territory than most other African markets, revealing sustained drilling activity which has now translated in numbers. As drilling activity picked up, production increased, and so did revenues.
According to the latest reports of the Ministry of Finance and Budget, Chad’s oil production and oil revenues have witnessed considerable increase in 2019 so far. In the first quarter, oil revenues increased by over 64% compared to the same period last year, led by an increase in production by over 18%, most of it due to the CNPCIC, and thanks to a better foreign exchange rate. The second quarter confirmed the trend. During this period, oil revenues increased by another 38.6% while oil production increased by 23%, again led by the CNPCIC which has witnessed a growth of production by over 45% this year so far. Between January 2019 and June 2019, Chad produced 22,791,749 barrels. On a daily basis, that’s an average of 126,000 bopd, a very healthy figure for a state whose revenues come at 70% from oil exports.
Improved situation in Chad explains why the acquisition of ExxonMobil’s 40% stake in the Doba Basin has become a source of intense bidding and negotiations. It also explains why the country’s economic forecast are bright. In 2019, the IMG predicts Chad’s economy to grow by 4.5%, well above the world’s average of 3.3%. When many African oil nations struggle with a slow recovery, Chad reminds us that a successful energy strategy is a no brainer, and drilling must be a part of it.
*Director of Strategy, African Energy Chamber
Tanzania unveils first Senographe Pristina Digital Mammography: another key milestone for early detection of breast cancer in East Africa
September 14, 2019 | 0 Comments
Launch of the digital mammography system in line with the country’s Health Sector Strategic Plan to improve prevention and management of non-communicable diseases
|DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, September 13, 2019/ — GE Healthcare’s (www.GEHealthcare.com) Senographe Pristina is engineered by Women for Women to help reduce pain, discomfort and anxiety women experience during a mammography; Launch of the digital mammography system in line with the country’s Health Sector Strategic Plan to improve prevention and management of non-communicable diseases.
The Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam (AKHS) has installed GE Healthcare’s Senographe Pristina, a more advanced and comfortable mammography system for patients, with next-generation 3-D digital technology for the first time in Tanzania. The hospital endeavors to give greater access to high quality breast healthcare for women as a part of its comprehensive cancer care program and its vision to provide access to quality healthcare within the country. The launch is also in line with the government’s Health Sector Strategic Plan to improve prevention and management of non-communicable diseases.
Designed by a team of female GE Healthcare engineers who used their own insights coupled with feedback from more than 1,000 other patients, technologists and radiologists, Senographe Pristina helps to address the fear of discomfort that women face around mammograms. The system offers comfort features for a better patient and technologist experience, including rounded corners instead of sharp edges that used to poke patients’ ribs and armpits, and armrests for women to lean on instead of conventional handgrips, so women can relax their muscles during the exam, which simplifies positioning, compression and image acquisition.
Speaking during the launch Mr. Sulaiman Shahabuddin, Regional Chief Executive Officer, Aga Khan Health Services, East Africa said, “Radiology department at AKHS has been a pioneer in investing in advanced technologies to enhance diagnostics which play a key role in modern day management of patient. Mr. Shahabuddin added, “We were proud to the first to start MRI services in the country, initiated provision of image guided minimally invasive procedures including biopsies and drainages, installed a first ever complete Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) and Radiology Information System (RIS) and the only private institution with a Cardiac Catheterization lab, Radio Nuclear Medicine & Chemotherapy suite.”
Mammograms play a key role in the detection of breast cancer, a disease if caught earlier is more likely curable. This ultra-modern unit will further boost the efforts of the institution to not only increase awareness with screening campaigns performed every first Saturday of the month but will also aid in early detection of the disease.
Chief guest Dr. Daisy Majamba, Regional Dental Officer, Dar es Salaam representing Dr. Yudas Ndungile, Regional Medical Officer, Dar es Salaam said, “Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women after cancer of the cervix and second leading cause of cancer mortality among women in Tanzania. It is predicted that there will be 82% increase in number of new breast cancers diagnosed in Tanzania by 2030 with an increase of 80% in breast cancer deaths by 2030. The launch of the digital mammography system is a huge milestone in the country’s public-private partnerships in the fight against cancer”.
Andrew Waititu, Managing Director of GE Healthcare East Africa commending on the launch said, “Breast cancer is a scary thought for every woman and hence early detection of the disease remains key in the disease control. We are proud to partner with AKHS to bring digital mammography services for the people of Tanzania that will help in the awareness, early detection and treatment as well as palliative care of the disease.”
Tanzania is the second country in Sub-Sahara Africa to install the mammography with the next-generation 3-D digital technology after South Africa.
Innovative thinking marks African Development Bank’s Africa jobs manifesto
September 14, 2019 | 0 Comments
Employment is top of the agenda of every African leader – SVP Charles Boamah
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, September 13, 2019/ — Innovative thinking about Africa’s conventional employment issues is what marks the African Development Bank’s (www.AfDB.org) new policy research document “Creating Decent Jobs: Strategies, Policies, and Instruments,” participants heard at the report launch, held 12 September 2019.
The report elicited strong presentations and a lively debate during the event which took place in the Babacar N’Diaye Auditorium at the Bank’s headquarters, attended by senior management, diplomats, staff, and media representatives.
The Bank’s Senior Vice President Charles Boamah introduced the issue of employment as being “at the top of the agenda of every African leader”, and said that the report was “the first of its kind in challenging and unveiling some of the misconceptions that many experts have about the nature of under-employment and unemployment in Africa.
“The report signals the start of some fresh thinking about the nature of employment creation on the continent and clarifies which development strategies and policy interventions are needed for low-income countries in Africa”, Boamah said. He went on to predict that the report would “serve as a reference document on employment in Africa for some years to come”.
Introducing the report, Celestin Monga, the Bank’s Chief Economist, remarked that part of its appeal was in applying innovative thinking to conventional employment issues. For example, one problem identified was that domestic economic progress was often assessed by the allocation of public funding to priority sectors or by analyzing the number of reforms carried out to improve the business environment. In this context, he observed that several of the world’s top-performing countries had low rankings for the ease of doing business.
Monga also remarked that the official unemployment figures of many African countries were so unrealistically low that policymakers found it difficult to explain how demand for labor in markets was so buoyant. Africa was also the world region with the highest proportion of its workforce in vulnerable employment, which served to hide rather than clarify the essential issue of employment in Africa. A new model for measuring employment that related to actual conditions in Africa was needed, he said. The report should also be seen as a manifesto for African jobs.
Finally, he praised the painstaking work of his co-editors, and particularly recommended a focus paper written by Andinet Woldemichael, principal research economist, entitled “The Missing Women in African Labor Markets” in the report.
In the face of rapidly growing populations and heightened risks of social unrest or discontent, jobless growth was the most serious concern for African policymakers, said Abebe Shimeles, manager in the Chief Economist’s complex, who spoke on the highlights of the report. “One problem”, he added, “was already well known – that employment and unemployment needed to be more closely defined in their relative context, a task that had already caused difficulties in other development finance institutions. Traditional labour market economists were not capable of accurately defining the particular African employment phenomenon”. In addition, he pointed out that the status of the ministries of work or labour in many African countries was often not important enough to be considered as a critical policy sector, reflecting the low priority given to making a serious difference to the continental employment challenge facing all the African countries.
Following questions from the audience, a small panel briefly discussed the overall issue presented by the report. This session of reflections featured Ivorian minister of youth promotion and employment Mamadou Toure, in the government of Cote d’Ivoire, who drew attention to the interconnections that existed around the jobs issue. “This cannot be resolved on its own, and certainly not without considering carefully other related aspects, such as skills, education, training, enterprise and social services” he said.
Professor Tchetche N’Guessan, of the University of Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Cocody, Cote d’Ivoire; and Mr Freddy Tchala, CEO of MTN in Cote d’Ivoire. Also spoke, discussing different aspects of employment, education, training, skills and government measures for the promotion of youth entrepreneurs.
President Kiir and Machar report ‘important progress’ following meetings in Juba
September 14, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Beatrice Mategwa*
Also spotlighted was the need to incorporate the agreement into the country’s constitution
JUBA, South Sudan, September 12, 2019/ — The second day of talks between South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, and his former deputy, Riek Machar ended with both leaders reiterating their desire for peace as they promised to meet regularly in the lead up to the formation of a Transitional Government of National Unity, expected on 12 November 2019.
A handshake, a hug and other pleasantries exchanged upon Machar’s arrival, the leaders and their subordinates soon took their seats, but not before an invocation of spiritual intervention, complete with song and prayer.
“No matter the magnitude of the issues that we will face, it is incumbent upon us to do that which is well, which is right – that is to come together and reason,” said the chair of the South Sudan Council of Churches Bishop Alkangelo Wani Lemi, setting the mood of the day’s deliberations.
It was no surprise, in a country where religion seems to play a significant role.
In April this year, South Sudanese leaders visited Rome, where Pope Francis knelt to kiss their feet, and on Wednesday morning, there was an obvious recourse to that spirit.
“It is in reasoning, in dialoguing, and in sitting together and accepting one another, that we will put everything on the table and discuss for the good of the people whose hands have not forgiven its leaders,” continued Bishop Wani Lemi.
The mood set, the two leaders and their representatives went into a closed-door meeting, emerging hours later to briefly speak to the eagerly waiting members of the media.
“You have now seen how we are; we are progressing very well in our discussions,” said President Kiir, as journalists pricked up their ears, seeking to hear more.
For the opposition leader, there was a certain significance to being back home.
“Juba is home, and I have come back to Juba, even if I go away for some time,” said Dr. Machar. “IGAD (the regional intergovernmental bloc), will determine my status to be free to come and discuss more with you here, but we have made important progress,” he added, promising frequent meetings, particularly after a summit organized by IGAD.
Acknowledging the limited time to the deadline for the formation of a transitional government, the two leaders preferred to let their subordinates divulge the fleshy details of their meetings.
“It is a positive move and a commitment towards the stability of South Sudan,” said Tut Gatluak, President Kiir’s advisor on security affairs, who is also the chair of the National Pre-Transitional Committee.
“We also talked about [the] non-signatory parties. As you are all aware, we have parties led by Thomas Cirillo and Paul Malong, and there is need to bring them on board. Without them, this peace may have difficulties and that is why we must move as one people; as South Sudanese,” said Henry Odwar, the deputy chair of Machar’s political movement.
Apart from the need to fund the peace process, Odwar also reported that part of the discussions highlighted an urgent need to take peace messages to every part of South Sudan and the diaspora.
Also spotlighted, was the need to incorporate the agreement into the country’s constitution, the creation of a free political space, security laws, and the contentious issue concerning the number of states and their boundaries.
*Source United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)
Kenyan family refuses to bury kin’s headless body
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma_27 |@journalist_27
A family of a 42-year-old man whose body was ferried from Malawi last week with the head missing is appealing to the government to help them retrieve their kin’s head from the south east country.
The deceased who worked as a long-distance truck driver with Exotank, a Mombasa-based plastic tank manufacturing company was reported to have involved in grisly road accident and died on the spot on August 21. One week later the deceased’s company ferried the body back to the country via road and it was received by the family in the capital Nairobi.
The family attempt to view the body upon the arrival was thwarted by the company on the ground that it was thoroughly sealed. They transfer the body to the village in Western Kenya and to their utter shock the body had no head. The company’s driver was interrogated but it was of no help. He informed them he had no idea of what the cargo contained when he received it at the border of Kenya and Uganda.
“We were not allowed to view it with reasons that it was thoroughly sealed, we headed that night to a morgue in Western. To our surprise when we unsealed the cargo the body was lying in a casket with a missing head,” reiterated the widow.
They reached out to the company to demand the whereabouts of their kin’s head; however, no proper explanation was given and since then the firm has gone silent on the matter. The deceased father stated that in line with traditions the body cannot be interred without the head appealing to well-wishers to finance his journey to Malawi to search for his only son’s head.