South Sudan rebel chief Riek Machar sworn in as vice-president
April 27, 2016 | 0 Comments
South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar has been sworn in as vice-president in a boost for a peace deal aimed at ending more than two years of conflict.
He returned earlier to the capital, Juba, to take the post in a new unity government led by President Salva Kiir.
Tens of thousands have been killed and about two million people left homeless in the conflict in South Sudan, which became independent in 2011.
Mr Machar fled Juba at the start of the civil war in December 2013.
He had been accused of trying to organise a coup, which he denied – but it set off a round of tit-for-tat killings, which developed into a full-blown conflict.
Both men, whose personal falling out has resulted in more than two years of bitter conflict in the world’s youngest nation, spoke optimistically about the future, addressing the media at the swearing-in ceremony.
Analysis: James Copnall, BBC News, Juba
There were shouts of joy at the airport as his supporters greeted Riek Machar, back in the capital for the first time in more than two years. The atmosphere during the ceremony to swear him in as first vice-president was noticeably more tense.
President Salva Kiir and his new deputy described each other as brothers, but there were not many smiles. Both talked of the need for reconciliation, to rebuild a devastated nation. A government of national unity should be formed in the next few days.
If this is done, in theory donors will start stumping up money – crucial as the economy is at rock bottom.
Among its first challenges will be to overcome the mistrust between the two sides. The fact that there are other rebel groups which have not signed the peace deal could also prove significant.
“I am very committed to implement this agreement so that the process of national reconciliation and healing is started as soon as possible,” Mr Machar told journalists at the presidential palace in Juba, AFP news agency reports.
Meanwhile, President Salva Kiir welcomed Mr Machar back to South Sudan, twice referring to him as his “brother”, according to a transcript of his speech published by the local Radio Tamazuj news website.
“I have no doubt that his return to Juba today marks the end of the war and the return of peace and stability to South Sudan,” Mr Kiir said.
Riek Machar: What you need to know
- Studied at UK’s University of Bradford, obtaining a PhD in philosophy and strategic planning in 1984
- Married UK aid worker Emma McCune in 1991; she died while pregnant
- Switched sides on several occasions during the north-south conflict as he sought to strengthen his position and that of his Nuer ethnic group
- Sacked as South Sudan’s vice-president in July 2013
- Denied he was plotting a coup in December 2013 – but his fallout with President Kiir led to more than two-years of conflict
- Sworn in again as vice-president in April 2016 as part of an internationally brokered peace deal
The president also offered a rare apology, to the South Sudanese people and to the international community for delays in implementing the peace agreement, which was signed last August.
Earlier Mr Machar, wearing a light-coloured shirt, was greeted by ministers and diplomats as he stepped out of his plane.
Addressing the media, he said his main priorities were to ensure a permanent ceasefire, to stabilise the economy and ensure humanitarian access throughout South Sudan.
“I’m happy to be back… The war was vicious. We have lost a lot of people in it and we need to bring our people together so that they can unite,” he said.
The US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, described Mr Machar’s return as “the best hope that South Sudan has had in a very long time”, but warned of the need to keep up the pressure on both sides to make sure the peace deal was properly implemented.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for the new unity government to be formed immediately.
The civil war broke out over tensions between Mr Kiir and Mr Machar, who was sacked as vice-president in July 2013.
Both sides have continued to clash despite a ceasefire signed last August.
Solving Africa’s Security Challenges the Tana Way
April 23, 2016 | 0 Comments
African Leaders discusses and proffer solutions to security challenges facing Africa at the just ended two-day Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia.
By Maureen Chigbo*
THE 5th Tana High Level Forum on Security in Africa may have come and gone but its echos will continue to resound in the continent. This must be especially so in the hearts and minds of hundreds of participants who attended the two-day event which ended on April 17, in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. The forum with the theme: “Africa in the Global Security Agenda” provided the participants opportunity to know the current state of security challenges in countries in Africa, rob minds and proffer solutions to them.
Hailemariam Desalegn, prime minister of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, set stage for discussion of the security issues in Africa when he gave the background that led to the formation of Tana and what it stands for. According to him, when the idea of Tana Forum was conceived five years ago, the purpose was to provide a unique, neutral and informal setting for serious discussions among African leaders, opinion makers, change agents, academics, practitioners and partners on African security challenges with a view to forge African solutions to African problems. “We are now on our fifth annual event. The growing attendance and diversity of participants demonstrates the growing recognition of the Tana Forum. Thanks to your unwavering support and immense contributions, Tana Forum has become an invaluable platform for the exchange of views, best experiences and innovative approaches to the fast changing security challenges facing our continent and the global community,” Desalegn said.
He is of the view that no single challenge in Africa can be considered an only African one. In its impacts or underlying causes or implementation of proposed solutions, every challenge in Africa, in one way or another, involves, implicates or requires non-African actors. “The truth is that we are living in an increasingly interconnected and complex world, where apparently isolated and small problems will have global and non-linear consequences; where effective solutions require active collaboration of nations and stakeholders.
“What ‘African solutions’ means is two things principally. First, information about problems, causes and solutions ought to be primarily collected and analysed by those who understand the African context. Collection and analysis of information is not necessarily an objective exercise. It is influenced by the particular frame of reference and embodied values of whoever is undertaking this exercise. In addition, intimate and deeper local knowledge is required for effective design of solutions”.
Secondly, he said the quality of delivering institutions is as important as the quality of the diagnosis and prognosis. “African institutions’ have to be the principal ones that should be entrusted with the responsibility to deliver. The colonial powers characterised informal governing institutions in Africa as backward and barbaric. They undertook massive efforts to install formal institutions of governance, informed by their own experience and knowledge. Formal institutions were superimposed on informal institutions, without acknowledging the latter. It later became painfully clear that these exercises were not only ineffective but also counterproductive,” he said.
However, he acknowledged that the good thing is that we have started the complementary design and use of formal and informal institutions in many areas. When it comes to peace and security, the experience is limited at best.
The notion of ‘African solutions’ is not limited to continental and regional processes and institutions. It also includes national institutions. “If we cannot first develop and implement Ethiopian, Nigerian, Egyptian, Kenyan, Rwandese solutions and institutions, how come we expect to develop and deploy African solutions and institutions?” he asked.
Agreeing that it is important to devise African solutions to African security issues, Prof. Andreas Eshete, special advisor to the prime minister of Ethiopia and deputy chairperson of the Tana Forum Board, in his presentation on “The Spirit of Tana” narrated how in 2010, a few African leader came to the not-so surprising realisation to explore alternative — but complementary spaces for frank, relevant, candid, unencumbered and vigorous dialogue devoid of the unwholesome niceties are typically associated with formal gatherings of inter-governmental and multilateral institutions. At the avant garde of this quest was the much younger, but no less determined, Meles Zenawi, late prime minister of Ethiopia. According to him, Meles was cognizant of the popular saying that you can only go far if you go together and recognized that bringing such a grand idea to fruition is bigger than- and should therefore outlive- him. This was perhaps the impetus that led him to turn to someone much older, almost by twice his age, but with uncommon pedigree as well as encyclopedic understanding of Africa: at various times, ex-Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo. “It is gratifying to report that this event has, in total, attracted almost two scores of serving, and former, Heads of States all of whom share the same vision and fervent commitment to the ideals of Tana in its myriad ramifications. In their own unique ways, each of the Heads of States- former and currently serving; especially those that accepted to serve on the Board of the Tana Forum, have demonstrated that they have imbibed the Spirit of Tana. It is my wish that they would continue to pass on the touch to their colleagues, and other illustrious sons and daughters of Africa in due course,” Eshete said. He emphaised the key attributes of Tana Forum of inclusivity, collectivity and ‘collegiacy’, adding that those who nurtured Tana must be hugely proud- perhaps even surprised- that it has now metamorphosed into a vibrant and veritable platform for informal- but no less timely deliberations on the most pressing peace and security challenges we face as a continent.
Giving some insights into how the Tana Forum has become like a baobab tree that cannot be hugged by one person but by a collective, he said no single person has a monopoly of knowledge and that’s why Tana has become THE PLACE to air a wide range of contrasting viewpoints: from the mundane to the mainstream and discordant, and to the sometimes alternative or deviant. The only common denominator is that these viewpoints are genuinely expressed, and within the remit of securing the much-desired unity of purpose to better set the agenda for the socio-economic and political emancipation of Africa and its peoples. Thus, whether in terms of attracting distinguished participants from all walks life; the choice of the nagging issue to be debated in an informal setting; the conscious decisions to accommodate a diversity of voices that would otherwise be excluded, or even the preference for inter-generational conversations, the sole raison d’etre of the Tana Forum is be a place for frank, immersive, real-world and real-time debate placing premium on African-inspired and African-led solutions. Because no one is excluded on the basis of any of those yardsticks typically used to divide us, Tana has become an umbrella under which every participant can enjoy immunity in expressing their opinion or taking a controversial stance, he said.
According to him, “There is no need to belabor the point that Africa urgently needs- and should delineate for itself- a space where it can tell its story; by itself, for itself, but also for others to listen. For too long, the African agency have been muffled, undermined or completely ignored in the international arena; including on those issues with direct and adverse effect the continent and its citizens.
In the past, the otherwise rich historical- and contemporary- experiences of Africa and Africans were told in slanted, jaundiced and decidedly patronizing ways. At the heart of Tana is therefore both the recognition that Africa has come of age, and also that there is now a strong and more compelling basis to revisit, question and change several of the dominant wisdom and narratives on and about the continent. It is directly in response to these self-evident imperatives that Tana has successfully managed to take on themes that otherwise would be considered too hot-to-handle in other spaces within and outside the continent.”
Stating complementary adages which says that When brothers fight to the death, a stranger inherits their father’s estate, and another which acknowledges the strength in diversity as in when spider webs unite they can tie a lion, Eshete said the spirit of Tana that resonates from both idioms follows from the concern that for too long, and even with the best of intentions, Africa’s engagement with the rest of the world have been mostly pedestrian and fragmented simply because African have not managed to unite in pushing their own agenda and concrete goals in their long- and mostly contentious- relationship with the rests of the world. “It is precisely in response to this gap that Tana places itself as an interlocutory platform, even if still a fledgling one, to help Africans rethink their place and relationship with the rest of the world, and to do so on their own terms. Unless we unite, particularly on issues that directly affect us, we might just remain like the proverbial goat with a frown on its face when it is being taken to the market, or the abattoir.” he said.
In Eshete’s futuristic view of Tana, he opines that: “The future, as the popular saying goes, is what we make of today. Our failure to plan well today for tomorrow would, no doubt, question the type, quality and longevity of the legacies that we wish to leave soon after we step out of this hall (or even depart this world). Let us therefore make haste while the sun shines.”
It is in this spirit that Obasanjo, chairman of Tana Forum, gave an account of “The State of Peace and Security in Africa 2016”, stating clearly that old or ‘traditional’ causes of conflict, insecurity and violence still persist and have gained greater currency today. They include inadequate attention to the issue of diversity, leading to marginalisation, exclusions, lack of popular participation; inequity, inequality, uneven development and oppression; inadequate attention to education and unemployment particularly of youth; gender inequality; and of course religious bigotry. The presence of any of these, or more than one, in sufficient magnitude for any length of time, when unattended and unaddressed, according to Obasanjo, will invariably lead to group dissatisfaction, breed grievances and incubate injustice. Together, they allow groups to seek redress through a variety of unwholesome means, including armed insurgencies and terrorism.
For instance, developments in Burundi, the Central African Republic, CAR, Côte d’Ivoire, Darfur, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, South Sudan, Somalia and Tunisia reflect the recurrent volatility that confronts the continent on a daily basis. Such protracted conflicts not only have a debilitating impact on the continent’s pathways to development, but also place huge strain on the peace-making, peacekeeping and peace-building efforts of African States and inter-governmental institutions. “Even if, as some have claimed that the number of conflicts in Africa has decreased in nominal terms since 2014, we are daily reminded about the fragility and susceptibility of the continent to a variety of ominous and vicious conflicts,” Obasanjo said. In reflecting on the state of peace and security in Africa in 2015, and its far-reaching repercussions for Africa, and the world, he also underscored the troubling resurgence of Africa’s long-forgotten conflicts. Notably, one of the worst plagued in this regard is the Great Lakes region. This has recurred time and again, in DRC where the situation has remained volatile; marked by the atrocious activities of various armed groups. That conflict, especially in the Eastern DRC, epitomizes the hybrid nature of conflicts in Africa where armed groups are locked in battles that have turned the region into a gangster’s paradise, with serious regional dimensions and ramifications.
This is why the international community, led by African governments and institutions, must bear this in mind in fashioning such a viable and sustainable solution to one of the continent’s most intractable conflict. “The potentials of DRC are enormous and so are the internal contestations and contradictions. If care is not taken, the forthcoming election in the DRC is likely going to further fuel the existing conflict. How the election is conducted, for good or bad, will not only determine the trajectory of peace in the country but that of the wider Great Lakes region. It will undoubtedly also become the litmus for AU’s pro-active management of potential conflict and the seriousness and ingenuity of the international community,” Tana Chairman said.
Apart from DRC, one country that deserves eternal vigilance and decisive action to pull from the brinks of an unnecessary and full-scale war is Burundi. No one should disbelief how quickly an already tense situation in that country, one of the poorest in the world, according to the UN Human Development Index, has deteriorated- especially following the decision by the incumbent President Pierre Nkuruziza to seek re-election despite the evident constitutional backlashes. To date, the government has not only remained headstrong but also seemed determined to defy wise counsel from the international community; including those from the African Union.
Despite the endorsement by the UN Security Council via statement of December 19, 2015 of the decision of the AU to deploy 5,000-strong troops to maintain law and order, and to protect civilians, the government in Bujumbura vehemently opposes its deployment, and even went as far as threatening to treat it as an army of occupation. “It is not surprising to me, however, shameful, that during the just-concluded AU Assembly in January 2016, the Union quietly stepped back from its earlier proposal by adopting a position virtually encouraging what is going on in Burundi. The on-going situation in Burundi only makes Africa a laughing stock.
“Collectively, African leaders must summon the political will to bring a quick and durable solution to the country. Collectively, African leaders must summon the political will to bring a quick and durable solution to the country. Whatever it takes, a solution must be put in place to move the country towards peace, security and progress; and to stem the tide of flow of refugees that is threatening neighbouring countries. I must express what may be a distasteful personal opinion here: I found it contrary to the Constitutive Act of the AU that Burundi should threaten the AU; and by such threat, abdicate its responsibility. Before it is too late, the AU must therefore live up to its responsibility in such a situation to save the lives of Africans,” Obasanjo said.
However, he is of the view that Africa must not feel shy of demanding and insistently so, for restitution from the US and Europe for unlocking the virus through the action of NATO in Libya. “President Obama’s conscience may be clear by admitting recently that he and his NATO allies created a mess in Libya, but that does not pay for the hardship suffered by our people. They should not look away while we grapple with the consequences of their action. Such strength of AU and regional economic communities to make demands for harm done and to stand firm on our responsibilities must obviate a situation where, like in Mali and Central African Republic, African forces were not able to intervene before troops from outside came in. How do we talk of African solutions for African problems when in the face of problems we are impotent to act promptly and decisively? That was not the situation in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Togo and Darfur. Africa can, if there is political will and leadership,” Obasanjo said.
Another major flashpoint in Africa is Darfur. That conflict alone, long only slightly on the radar, continues to generate unprecedented humanitarian crisis leading to the outflow of tens of thousands of civilians from their homes. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, the humanitarian situation in Darfur continues to deteriorate with the displacement of more than 2.5 million civilians on the last count. In the south of the continent, Mozambique is now grappling with a residue of conflict between two diehard archenemies: the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique, FRELIMO, and the Resistance Movement of Mozambique, RENAMO. With its roots in an earlier civil war which started in 1977, just two years following a devastating spell of independence war, the present conflict flared up in 2013 due to factors not far from festering power contestations, perennial concerns about governance conditions, and of course, the recent discovery of natural resources such as coal and gas.
Whereas many parts of Africa may not necessarily be experiencing overt forms of direct violence, they are nonetheless faced with unprecedented situations of fragility and vulnerability to conflicts. Zimbabwe offers a good example in this regard; but it should not by any means be considered a poster case. More than two years to the next general elections in 2018, tension is already brewing around leadership contestations and factional politics within the ruling and opposition parties, and between them. The dust has not fully settled on the Ugandan post-election situation, and we must not miss the ominous prospects in Zambia.
Of the 10 countries that the International Crisis Group identified as conflicts to watch in 2016, four are in Africa: Libya, Lake Chad Basin with the epicentre in Nigeria, South Sudan and Burundi. Other areas that are low-levelled but are nonetheless smouldering are Mali and Somalia, even as pockets of insurgencies linger in Algeria, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda and Central African Republic. The conflict between Western Sahara and Morocco continues to linger many decades since it first broke out, while ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood are far from being spent forces in Egypt. In recent times, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, like Tunisia, have been hit by a new wave of terrorism which goes for the soft underbelly of seemingly conflict-free countries; killing innocent men and women in international hotels and popular resorts.
“No country in Africa can claim immunity against this new wave, and none of them can claim to be adequately prepared for it. We are all potential victims that we are left with no choice but to share intelligence, plan together and work together. Because terrorists have become creative with the use of modern infrastructures of border communication, transportation and financial transaction, African governments must make these facilities useful and indispensable servants in the fight against new generation terrorists whose objective is to destroy, instill fear, and kill while rendering government impotent to provide adequate security for their citizens, Obasanjo said.
In all these cases, Obasanjo emphasised how decades of missed developmental opportunities have partly played a part in the exclusion and alienation of youth who now form the bulk of those that have found alternative spaces for rebellion and other forms of insurgent and terrorist activities”
This point resonated with Kofi Annan, former secretary general of the United Nations, who in his keynote address entitled: “Africa and the Global Security Architecture” said: “It is no secret that unemployed young men are especially vulnerable to the temptations of violence and easily instrumentalised for that purpose. This is not a specifically Muslim problem: a World Bank survey in 2011 showed that about 40 percent of those who join rebel movements say they are motivated by a lack of jobs.
In Africa, as elsewhere, the answer does not lie in a purely military response that fails to deal with the root causes of disaffection and violence. “As I constantly repeat, you cannot have peace and security without inclusive development, the rule of law and the respect for human rights. These are the three pillars of all successful societies. It is largely because these three pillars are quite fragile in parts of Africa that we are still seeing instability and violence,” Annan said. The truth is that the economic growth in Africa over the last 15 years, though impressive, has been neither sufficient nor inclusive. In fact, Africa has become the world’s second most unequal continent, according to the African Development Bank. Until this situation is reversed true peace and security will continue to be elusive in Africa and discussions on is likely to continue at the next Tana High level Forum on Security in Africa.
*Source Real News
Resolving Conflicts with ‘African Solutions’ –
April 23, 2016 | 0 Comments
By Hailemariam Desalegn*
Hailemariam Desalegn, prime minister of Ethiopia, in his welcome address at the Tana High-Level Forum on Security, on April 16, Bahir Dar, advocates using African solutions to resolve conflict situations in the continent
IT is my pleasure and privilege to warmly welcome you all to the beautiful city of Bahirdar and to this unique gathering, which brings together African Heads of State and Governments, high-level government officials, prominent personalities and critical stakeholders on a most timely topic of common interest: “Africa in the Global Security Agenda”. Allow me, Excellencies, to recognize the magnificent work the Secretariat has carried out in successfully organizing yet another forum on security in Africa. I am very grateful to the people and government of the Amhara Regional State for the generous hospitality that they accord to the participants of this dialogue every year. I would also like to thank all the participants, who have come from far and near, to grace us with their presence.
Five years ago when the idea of Tana Forum was conceived, the purpose was to provide a unique , neutral and informal setting for serious discussions among African leaders, opinion makers, change agents, academics, practitioners and partners on African security challenges with a view to forge African solutions to African problems. We are now on our fifth annual event. The growing attendance and diversity of participants demonstrates the growing recognition of the Tana Forum.
Thanks to your unwavering support and immense contributions, Tana Forum has become an invaluable platform for the exchange of views, best experiences and innovative approaches to the fast changing security challenges facing our continent and the global community.
No single challenge in Africa can be considered an only African one. In its impacts or underlying causes or implementation of proposed solutions, every challenge in Africa, in one way or another, involves, implicates or requires non-African actors.
The truth is that we are living in an increasingly interconnected and complex world, where apparently isolated and small problems will have global and non-linear consequences; where effective solutions require active collaboration of nations and stakeholders.
What ‘African solutions’ means is two things principally. First, information about problems, causes and solutions ought to be primarily collected and analyzed by those who understand the African context. Collection and analysis of information is not necessarily an objective exercise. It is influenced by the particular frame of reference and embodied values of whoever is undertaking this exercise. In addition, intimate and deeper local knowledge is required for effective design of solutions.
Second, the quality of delivering institutions is as important as the quality of the diagnosis and prognosis. ‘African institutions’ have to be the principal ones that should be entrusted with the responsibility to deliver.
The colonial powers characterized informal governing institutions in Africa as backward and barbaric. They undertook massive efforts to install formal institutions of governance, informed by their own experience and knowledge. Formal institutions were superimposed on informal institutions, without acknowledging the latter. It later became painfully clear that these exercises were not only ineffective but also counterproductive.
The good thing is that we have started the complementary design and use of formal and informal institutions in many areas. When it comes to peace and security, the experience is limited at best.
The notion of ‘African solutions’ is not limited to continental and regional processes and institutions. It also includes national institutions. If we cannot first develop and implement Ethiopian, Nigerian, Egyptian, Kenyan, Rwandese solutions and institutions, how come we expect to develop and deploy African solutions and institutions?
Permit me to briefly illustrate the enormous sacrifices Africa and her peoples’ continue to make in the face of several odds stacked against it; and why the rest of the world should support and partner with us; not deride, mock and leave us to our fate. Many of you might not know this but the truth is that Ethiopia, despite the developmental challenges we face (as almost all African countries do too) is one of the highest contributors to continental- and, by extension- global peace and security. We have not only put our citizens at the forefront of political and diplomatic missions in the Horn, and across Africa, but also contribute the highest number of personnel to United Nations and African Union peacekeeping operations in Africa. As I speak, for instance, our men and women in uniform are solely policing Abyei region, the contested borders between Sudan and South Sudan. I would also like to put on record that Ethiopia currently contributes the largest in terms of female contingents either wearing the UN Blue Helmet or serving under the auspices of the African Union; including several of them in senior command positions.
But, then, also all of these have become great costs; not just in terms of painful loss of lives, but also at a time when Ethiopia; as most other African countries, are grappling with enormous economic, social, political challenges at home. You will agree that even as we take the bold steps to serve as “first responders” wherever we are faced with grave threats to peace and security on the continent, we simply cannot do it all alone. As far as I can see, therefore, Africa needs the rest of the world just as the rest of the world needs Africa. For as long as there is disconnect, even for a short period, in the realisation that we are in this together, the world will not know peace; not the quality of peace that the current and future generations deserve.
We have seen improvements in developing and operationalizing the African architecture for peace and security, including the engagement of elders and women. These institutions must deliver in the areas of early detection of problems and correct analysis, deliberation and generation of solutions.
If we are not quick, effective and credible in these regard, forces outside Africa will be tempted to fill gaps. When they do so, they will be likely guided by their own detached frames of reference and models. The resultant solution will, therefore, be alien and non-effective and sometimes counterproductive. Such forces are motivated to do so not only by the possible and real spillover effects on them of security problems in Africa but also by the opportunity to entrench their interests and positions within Africa.
It is, therefore, fitting that the fifth Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa is devoted to the interrogation and generation of strategies for strengthening the role of Africa in the global security agenda.
I look forward to participating in the dialogue. Have a fruitful and enjoyable time on the shores of Lake Tana.
*Culled from Real Magazine.Hailemariam Desalegn, prime minister of Ethiopia, delivered this welcome address at the just-ended two-day Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, on Saturday, April 16, 2016
Africa and the Global Security Architecture
April 23, 2016 | 0 Comments
Africa must ensure that its positions on international security concerns – and not just African issues – are carefully coordinated and well presented as it seeks to have a permanent position in the international security architecture.
| By Kofi Annan*
At the outset of these remarks, allow me to thank our Chairman for inviting me to the Tana Forum. This is the first time I am attending this prestigious event, which brings together many distinguished participants who share a deep, mutual interest in the security and well-being of Africa.
Our topic this afternoon is Africa and the Global Security Architecture.
During the Cold War years that would have not been a subject for much discussion. In those days, we looked for big-power champions who could provide diplomatic and security cover.
The contemporary world is far more complex.
And, as the awful atrocities that have been perpetrated in West, East and North Africa have shown, the continent is not immune to the security threats that many countries around the world now face.
But I want to start with some good news. Africa is actually doing better than many people may realize in terms of the security of its citizenry.
Today, and despite a few egregious exceptions, armed conflict is actually a smaller risk to most Africans than traffic accidents.
This improvement of the security situation helped set the stage for rapid economic growth of 5-6% per year for the last fifteen years.
As a result of this sustained period of growth, extreme poverty has fallen by 40% since 1990.
And Africa’s growth can no longer be explained just by global demand for its commodities.
Two thirds of Africa’s growth over the last decade has come from increased domestic demand for goods and services in thriving sectors such as telecoms, financial services, manufacturing and construction.
As a result, today, inflows of private investment dwarf international aid.
They have been encouraged by the efforts of governments across Africa to improve their macro-economic environments.
Although there is still some way to go, we have seen encouraging steps towards gender parity, and the continent is moving towards universal primary education.
The spread of HIV/AIDS is in decline, and the number of deaths from tuberculosis and malaria is falling.
Democracy is extending its roots as Burkina Faso, Guinea and Nigeria have recently demonstrated.
Other countries like Cote d’Ivoire, have emerged from the abyss of conflict and are making strides towards a better and more democratic future.
In other words, our continent is generally heading in the right direction.
This encouraging analysis will come, I know, as very cold comfort for those millions of people who are still living every day in the shadow of violent conflict and abject poverty.
Progress remains uneven, and the dangers today are both internal and external.
Rebel groups have flourished in the impoverished parts of weak states that feel hard-done by their governments, where the population is often abused by the security forces, or where they do not trust the courts to deliver justice.
External forces are taking advantage of these shortcomings. We cannot ignore that from Mauritania in the west to Somalia in the east, the flag of Jihad is being raised.
More than a dozen sub-Saharan countries are concerned, and tens of thousands have already died as a result.
Boko Haram actually killed more people last year than the Islamic State. Attacks in many places are a daily or weekly occurrence.
And local extremist groups are now linking up to each other across borders, and even to global franchises like Al Qaeda or Islamic State.
Precisely because of these affiliations, these conflicts are generally seen through a unique prism: the global war on Islamist terrorism.
This neglects what they have in common with other insurgencies on the continent, which have nothing to do with Islam.
It is no secret that unemployed young men are especially vulnerable to the temptations of violence and easily instrumentalised for that purpose.
This is not a specifically Muslim problem: a World Bank survey in 2011 showed that about 40% of those who join rebel movements say they are motivated by a lack of jobs.
In Africa, as elsewhere, the answer does not lie in a purely military response that fails to deal with the root causes of disaffection and violence.
As I constantly repeat, you cannot have peace and security without inclusive development, the rule of law and the respect for human rights. These are the three pillars of all successful societies.
It is largely because these three pillars are quite fragile in parts of Africa that we are still seeing instability and violence.
The truth is that the economic growth in Africa over the last fifteen years, though impressive, has been neither sufficient nor inclusive.
In fact, Africa has become the world’s second most unequal continent, according to the African Development Bank.
Too much of that growth has enriched a narrow elite and not enough was spent on infrastructure, health or education, which would have fostered development.
It is no coincidence that Boko Haram originated in one of the world’s poorest and most deprived areas of the continent.
Not only does wealth not trickle down, but it is barely taxed, depriving the state of resources to provide public services.
It is not just that Africa is unequal: it is also unfair. An African Union report has estimated that up to one quarter of the continent’s GDP is syphoned off every year through corruption.
The trafficking of drugs creates an especially difficult challenge. Drug money is insidious and invasive. It corrodes political institutions.
We must focus on the money trail. We have been locking up the minor offenders while the big fish swim free.
The fight against violent rebel movements is necessary, and will require enhanced inter-African as well as international cooperation.
But this is not enough because the challenge of security in Africa is often a political challenge revolving around the acquisition and use of power.
As a result, elections are a source of tension and repression rather than an opportunity for the free expression of political will.
Leaders who hang on to power indefinitely by gaming elections and suppressing criticism and opposition are sowing the seeds of violence and instability.
African leaders, like leaders everywhere, must remember that they are at the service of their citizens, and not the other way around.
They have a mandate given to them, in trust, by their people, who can also take it away from them if they are found wanting and to have outstayed their welcome.
So looking forward, I see five critical challenges for Africa as it fashions its role in the global security order.
First, at the global level, Africa must have a strong and consistent voice at the pinnacle of the international security architecture – in the Security Council.
Ideally, this means African permanent seats. But until that can be accomplished, Africa must ensure that its positions on international security concerns – and not just African issues – are carefully coordinated and well presented.
Second, at the regional level, we should recognize and applaud the work of the AU and the sub-regional organisations, which have acquired considerable and commendable experience in mounting peace operations.
This effort must continue. But African states will have to give the AU the means to do so and, in future, rely less on outside funding.
Third, looking to the national level, the most urgent challenge is to create enough jobs for the continent’s youth.
According to the World Bank, eleven million young people are expected to enter Africa’s labour market every year for the next decade.
If these young people cannot find jobs, and do not believe in the future, they may be tempted by rebel movements of all kinds, as well as crime and migration.
Wherever I am in Africa, I am always struck not just by the number of young people, but also by their energy, their creativity and their talent.
We should invest in them, harness their talent and ensure that the next generation of leaders will do better than we have done.
Another major challenge lies in building confidence in the integrity of the electoral process.
Elections should be the vehicle for popular choice in which the winner does not take all and the losers do not lose all.
Those who win must recognize that they do not have a licence to rule without restraint or remain in office in perpetuity.
Let us not confuse legality with legitimacy. Elections that meet legal form but fail the test of integrity are only pyrrhic victories that usually store up trouble for the future.
Finally, I want to mention the quality of national security forces. Madiba once said that “freedom would be meaningless without security in the home and in the streets”.
That security in the home and in the streets depends in good measure on our security forces.
We must invest in them but also make them fully accountable as part of our democratic societies. They must be trained to protect the individual and his or her family and property, to earn their trust and work with the people.
We have come a long way from the Cold War days.
Africa is now part and parcel of the global security architecture.
We can and must step up to that role by investing in our people and by protecting rights and not just regimes.
If we do that, I am convinced that our future will be more peaceful and secure than our recent past and Africa will exert a powerful and constructive influence within the global security architecture.
*Real News. Kofi Annan, President of the Kofi Annan Foundation, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Prize Laureate, presented this Keynote Address at the Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa which Held from April 16 – 17, 2016, in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia.
The Spirit of Tana
April 23, 2016 | 0 Comments
The spirit of Tana forum encourages open debate on security issues in Africa uninhibited by secrecy that characterises formal engagements on such matters
By Prof. Andreas Eshete*
At this, the fifth Tana forum, it may well be premature for a full-fledged retrospective. Still, a glance at the past may help to remind us what inspires and animates our annual gathering at Tana.
Tana Forum began as an initiative of the Institute of Peace and Security Studies of Addis Ababa University, Inspired by the exemplary work of the Munich Security Conference. The late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the first champion of Tana Forum, was convinced that the Forum would serve to promote two companion aims, aims that he artfully and passionately pursued throughout the course of his public life. First, to enrich reasoned public discussion on the challenges of peace and security facing Africans in ways that extend the reach and depth of the terms of public debate; and; second, to foster a shared understanding of the nature and source of these challenges in order to forge a collective African vision, voice and capability on how best to avoid and overcome African’s troubles in this area. The idea was not, of course, to supplement the valuable work of formal institutions. To the contrary, Meles Zenawi worked tirelessly to strengthen African regional and continental institutions such as IGAD, NEPAD and the African Union as well as to elevate their international standing. The aim instead was to complement the efforts of Africa’s formal institutions by exploring the distinctive possibilities and virtues of alternative public fora for reflection and conversation.
Tana Forum offers a public space for reasoned deliberation unfettered by either the mandate and formalities of official fora or the exigencies in such bodies for reaching decisions and taking actions. The determination to convene an unceremonious assembly was evident from the beginning. I recall our distinguished chair, Chief Obasanjo’s, in a characteristic expression of his wise stewardship, casting aside part of his robe during an early forum to highlight the call for an unbuttoned exchange of ideas. The Forum chose to solicit the hospitality of the city and people of Bahir Dar in order to secure a peaceful and beautiful haven, where the participants can wholeheartedly join public discussions undistracted by official engagements. There are various reasons in favor of an informal African forum on peace and security. For one thing, national discussions on immediate matters of security tend to be inhibited by secrecy and other considerations of state. Second, national and other formal fora are not readily responsive to the fact that many challenges to African security increasingly defy national borders, and that this reach extends beyond the continent. Consider, for instances, the deft deployment of social media for propaganda and recruitment by militant groups. Further, personal and public virtues like toleration, crucial for the fate of peace and security, cannot be engendered or bolstered by formal institutions alone. Finally, the strains and divisions that surfaced in the European Union in the wake of the recent flow of refugees to Europe is a salutary reminder of the risks incurred and frailties exposed by banking on formal arrangements.
Another feature that breathes life into the proceedings of the Forum is the unusually wide range of interlocutors. There are in our midst political leaders, senior officers of intergovernmental institutions and prominent members of civic and business communities. Also present are scholars, seasoned practitioners, youth, and Africa’s committed partners. The robust representation of leaders and citizens from a wide spectrum of African society matters because the cause of peace and security is everyone’s concern and its imperilment is felt more by the many poor and vulnerable. On the latter, think of the truly tragic use of abducted young girls as sexual slaves and suicide bombers by Boko Harem. Tana affords a rare opportunity for us to hear African leaders of state and government speaking in a personal capacity and voice. The presence of former heads of state and government, now released from the responsibilities of public office, enables us to benefit from their practical wisdom and experience. The interaction between incumbent political leaders and individuals with whom they do not normally enjoy direct contact may reveal aspects of the character, values and convictions of Africa’s leaders that go beyond or against the grain of their public self –image? Moreover, the diversity of participants and perspectives contributes to the democratic ethos of the deliberation at Tana. Amartya Sen remarks: “democracy has to be judged…by the extent to which different voices from diverse sections of the people are actually heard.” In this respect Tana Forum modestly carries on a venerable tradition of democratic participation practiced at different times and places much as the early American town-hall meeting, the Paris Commune, and the African village assembly, here symbolized by the tree depicted before you.
The subjects so far selected for attention at the Forum address issues central to the achievement of peace and security in Africa. The significance of diversity and state fragility — the theme of the maiden session — has been vindicated by developments in the aftermath of the Arab Spring and by the spread of militant movements marching under the banner of faith — the latter was the focus of last year’s forum. Another session looked into the illicit flow of funds from Africa. The Panama Papers and the numerous African cases already revealed in the files vividly show that the rich and powerful secretly divert scarce African resources at the expense of the populace’s abiding interest in growth and equality, this year’s them unities us to take a measure of how we are treated in the global security agenda and to explore promising possibilities to enhance Africa’s agency in shaping it in the future.
Beyond the examination of these subjects, the Forum now hosts the annual Meles Zenawi memorial lecture devoted to critical appraisals of political leadership in Africa.
The series opened with a look at Meles Zenawi’s bold experiment with federative arrangements designed to find public room for Ethiopia’s many cultural communities and identities. The inaugural session also addressed Meles Zenawi’s learned advocacy and decisive public action to lay the foundation of an African democratic developmental state. Subsequent lectures attended to the illustrious lives of Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkrumah and, now, Patrice Lumumba.
Alongside the forum, there are now regular occasions for interaction among participants at the forum and the students and academic staff of Bahir Dar University on issues that bear on the concerns of the Forum.
Yesterday, Her Excellency, Ms. Louise Mushikiwabo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and cooperation of the Republic of Rwanda, spoke on the rationale for an African developmental state, drawing upon the encouraging experience of Rwanda.
In sum, in a short span of time, the Forum has emerged as a vibrant vehicle for public discussion and reflection on how Africa can be free from recurrent and recalcitrant strife, strike which plainly stands in the way of popular yearning for enduring progress in self-government and emancipation from poverty across Africa. This is an auspicious beginning for joining the quest to revisit and to revive a sense a sense of Pan-African solidarity that we, together would the continued support with his Excellency Prime Minister Hailemariam Deslagen and our partners, can now carry forward with confidence.
. Culled from Real Magazine.Prof . Andreas Eshete, special advisor to the prime minister of Ethiopia and deputy chairperson of the Tana Forum Board presented this speech at the Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa which held on April 16 – 17, 2016 in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
South Sudanese to be the first player to go straight from high school to NBA
April 20, 2016 | 0 Comments
A few, such as Emmanuel Mudiay, make an unexpected pit stop overseas rather than play in college, usually spurred on by questions over their amateur eligibility.
At 7-0, 205-pounds, South Sudanese basketball sensation Thon Maker is an intriguing prospect with his shot blocking skills, high motor and perimeter skills.
He is ranked No. 10 in the 2016 247Sports Composite.
Maker was heavily pursued by college coaches, including John Calipari at Kentucky, before making a stunning decision: rather than go to college he opted to return to Orangeville Prep, his high school, as what is now being dubbed a post-graduate year.
The NBA this week ruled that Maker is one year removed from high school graduation and as a 19 year old is thus eligible for the 2016 draft as first reported by ESPN NBA insider Chad Ford.
Most NBA mock draft analysts have him currently pegged as a later first round pick Ford has him pegged at No. 20.
With his skill set which should shine in small group workouts with NBA teams, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Maker edges upwards in the draft. Maker can stretch the defense with NBA three-point shooting range and is comfortable handling the basketball.
The questions about his game are his ability to secure the ball in traffic and finish against contract along with his overall ability to process the game.
Of Sudanese decent, Maker came to America from Australia as a high schooler.
His first love was soccer before he was noticed by a talent scout and was convinced to give basketball a try. Since then, every move Maker has made was to set himself up for NBA draft on June 23.
He has been to various high schools, but graduated last summer while at the Athlete Institute Basketball Academy in Ontario. He played with this same squad this season as a post graduate student.
A new jolt for South Sudanese coffee
April 19, 2016 | 0 Comments
By Naki B. Mendoza*
The world’s newest country has a new export industry — and donor funding to help scale it.
The U.S. Agency for International Development will invest $3.18 million in South Sudan over the next three years to train smallholder farmers to boost production in the war-torn nation’s nascent coffee sector. The funding is part of a public-private partnership with Swiss coffee maker Nespresso and international development non-profit TechnoServe.
In October Nespresso shipped its first volumes of coffee production from South Sudan, marking the first non-oil exports to come out of the country in over a generation.
Nespresso’s investment in South Sudan’s fledgling coffee trade has given a jolt to commercial scale business in fragile and conflict-affected areas. Since launching a flagship project to revitalize coffee production in the country in 2011, around 1,000 smallholder farmers have been trained in agribusiness techniques, roughly three-quarters of whom have now reached the point of commercial sales. They have formed six coffee cooperatives and established the country’s first wet mill processing unit.
Farmers receive premium prices from Nespresso for their beans as part of a shared value strategy by the company to invest in farmer training in exchange for top dollar crops. By 2019, Nespresso aims to train 1,500 local farmers and plans for one-quarter of them to be women. Looking even further ahead, the company has set a goal of 10,000 trained coffee farmers, though no deadline has been assigned.
USAID’s investment — made through a Global Development Alliance that matches funding one-for-one with a private sector partner — comes at a critical phase for Nespresso and TechnoServe.
In addition to setting up more wet mills, the funds will go toward training a new cohort of farmers who have yet to grow any coffee from their farms, TechnoServe President William Warshauer told Devex. Until now, all of the farmers receiving training had in some way previously engaged in coffee production.
Limitations in crop production provides another challenge, as most of the country’s coffee trees were destroyed over the course of a long-running civil war that eventually saw South Sudan emerge as an independent nation in 2011. The scarcity of supply makes harvesting the next crop of coffee trees a particularly important task in order to sustain future production from the sector.
Compared to other Nespresso coffee farming investments, “What’s different in South Sudan is that here it feels like a research and development project,” Daniel Weston, Nespresso’s director for creating shared value, told Devex. “You have to invest quality dollars up front before you get the income stream.”
A large part of that R&D experiment has been the very act of operating a value chain in fragile state conditions. An estimated 2.5 million people have been displaced by ongoing conflict in South Sudan and another 6 million are in need of humanitarian assistance, Linda Etim, USAID assistant administrator for Africa, told Devex. Most of Nespresso’s coffee project is located in the southern region of South Sudan, relatively far from the main flashpoints. But those stable regions exist in isolated pockets throughout the country, cut off from traditional markets by fighting and weak infrastructure.
“There is an opportunity to invest in those stable regions,” Etim said. “You don’t want instability to backslide into more stable areas of the country while fighting is taking place in different patches of South Sudan.”
The type of scale that the partnership envisions is, by most standards, modest — 10,000 farmers across an area roughly the size of Texas. And while there is optimism about alternative livelihoods emerging to diversify an economy almost entirely reliant on oil exports, any real displacement by the coffee sector is still far off.
“This is not the sole answer for South Sudan,” Weston said. “It’s one piece of a very complex puzzle.”
But the country’s sparse population density makes that 10,000 farmer target meaningful, Atim noted: “We know because of how spread apart populations are that we have to take a locally driven approach to development in the agriculture sector.”
South Sudan rebel chief’s return delayed
April 19, 2016 | 0 Comments
By Peter Martell*
Juba (AFP) – South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar’s highly-anticipated return to the capital Juba, to take up the role of vice president, was delayed on Monday, his spokesman said, citing “logistical reasons”.
“We are committed to the peace agreement, but there have been logistical issues and the first vice president, Riek Machar, will come tomorrow,” spokesman William Ezekiel said.
Machar’s return to Juba and swearing-in as President Salva Kiir’s deputy will mark an important step in a floundering August 2015 deal to end the country’s civil war.
The agreement is seen as the best hope yet for ending more than two years of fighting that have left the world’s youngest nation in chaos and pushed it to the brink of famine.
Machar previously served as Kiir’s deputy until he was fired just months before the start of war in December 2013.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed in a conflict marked by numerous atrocities, with more than two million forced from their homes and nearly six million in need of emergency food aid.
The war broke out in December 2013 when Kiir accused Machar of planning a coup, claims he denied, triggering a cycle of retaliatory killings that divided the desperately poor country along ethnic lines.
The rebel leader was expected to arrive in Juba Monday from his tribal stronghold of Pagak in the east of the country, but despite the latest hitch spokesman Ezekiel said the rebels remain committed to peace.
“We are here to implement all the peace agreement. We have been missing deadlines but we will fulfil in the end,” he said.
– Red carpet no-show –
The red carpet had been rolled out at Juba’s airport on Monday morning, the sentries lined up and the dignitaries were assembling when Machar’s no-show was announced, disappointing many for whom his arrival marks a major tangible step towards peace.
Overnight, posters welcoming Machar, some reading “Reconciling, uniting the nation,” had been torn down, said Ezekiel.
Machar’s arrival will be a milestone in the peace process but experts warn that implementing the deal will be a long and arduous task.
“It will allow the formation of the transitional government, the most significant step in the implementation of the peace agreement,” said Casie Copeland from the International Crisis Group think tank, while warning warned that the conflict would likely continue.
Several militias, driven by local agendas or revenge, do not obey either Machar’s or Kiir’s commands.
Tensions are high ahead of Machar’s return. A 1,370-strong armed rebel force arrived in Juba this month as part of the peace deal, while the government says all but 3,420 of its troops have withdrawn from the city.
The opposing forces are based in camps scattered in and around the capital, while other forces are not allowed within a 25 kilometre (15 mile) radius of Juba.
The army has denied opposition claims that it has secretly returned truckloads of its troops to the capital.
The UN has 11,000 peacekeeping troops in South Sudan, many of them guarding the 185,000 civilians who have spent the past 28 months inside UN bases, too afraid to leave in case they are attacked.
Both the government and rebel forces have been accused of perpetrating ethnic massacres, recruiting and killing children and carrying out widespread rape, torture and forced displacement of populations to “cleanse” areas of their opponents.
– ‘Armed to the teeth’ –
“Both sides are armed to the teeth… should fighting break out this time in Juba, we should expect prolonged battles in the city,” Jacob Akol, a veteran South Sudanese journalist Jacob Akol, wrote in an editorial for the Gurtong peace project.
Machar — who last year said it was not possible to have peace while Kiir remained in power — is now due to arrive Tuesday and is expected to be swiftly sworn in at the presidential palace.
African Union representative Alpha Oumar Konare, a former president of Mali, and Festus Mogae, a former Botswanan president who heads the international ceasefire monitoring team, are expected at the ceremony.
Mogae, who is typically upbeat about developments in the fractured nation, has already warned that the “formation of a new government will not in itself be a panacea”.
South Sudanese Rebel Machar to Become Vice President This Month
April 4, 2016 | 0 Comments
By William Davison*
South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar plans to travel to the capital, Juba, this month to become vice president in a transitional government aimed at ending more than two years of conflict, his deputy spokesman said.
The return of Machar, the head of the main insurgent group, to the country’s leadership has been planned since he and President Salva Kiir signed a power-sharing agreement in August. Civil war that broke out in December 2013 in the oil-producing country has left tens of thousands of people dead and forced more than 2 million to flee their homes.
Kiir tested the delayed peace process in December when he decreed that the number of regional states would be increased from 10 to 28. That issue will be discussed after the transitional government is formed, Machar’s deputy spokesman, Nyarji Jermlili Roman, said by text message on Monday in response to questions.
Clashes took place last month in three regions of South Sudan, according to the internationally-backed monitors of the peace deal. The nation seceded from Sudan in 2011 and has Africa’s third-largest crude reserves.
Tony Elumelu Foundation Picks 1,000 for $ 100 million Entrepreneurship Programme
March 25, 2016 | 0 Comments
By Ajong Mbapndah L*
According to a statement from the Tony Elumelu Foundation, the successful candidates represent diverse industries including agriculture, ICT, and fashion. Over 45,000 applications were registered from 54 countries with the highest numbers coming from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Cameroon.
The release from the Foundation indicates that for the next nine months, the selected entrepreneurs will receive intensive online training, networking and mentoring that provides a tool kit for success and sustainability. Later in the year, the entrepreneurs will join in the three day Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum which is the largest annual gathering of African entrepreneurial talent.
“The 2016 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs will become a generation of newly empowered African business owners, who are the clearest evidence yet, that indigenous business growth will drive Africa’s economic and social transformation,” Founder Tony Elumelu ,commented.
“In TEEP’s first year we spent over $8 million of our $100 million commitment – with $5 million going directly to entrepreneurs as seed capital — and the results have far exceeded our expectations,” said Elumelu .
To TEEP selection committee member Angelle Kwemo, it was a daunting task making the choice from the avalanche of brilliant and viable ideas. “We believe in Africa and the potential of its people,” said Kwemo, a Cameroonian, and Founder & chair of Believe in Africa, a US based organization promoting African economic transformation.
“The TEEP is proving to be one of the most effective tools in support of job creation and it should be adopted and duplicated,” Kwemo said, as she challenged other African businessmen and leaders to join forces or emulate the example of the Tony Elumelu Foundation.
Describing TEEP as “a life changing, challenging but rewarding journey,” Angelle Kwemo was pleased with the surge in French speaking entrepreneurs led in numbers by Cameroon. Wishing the new participants luck, Kwemo said Africa is looking forward to the full blown manifestation of the incredible potentials of the entrepreneurs.
Launched in 2015, TEEP is the largest African philanthropic initiative devoted to entrepreneurship and represents a 10-year, $100 million commitment, to identify and empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs, create a million jobs and add $10 billion in revenues to Africa’s economy.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation is an Africa-based, African-funded philanthropic organization. Founded in 2010, TEF is committed to driving African economic growth, by empowering African entrepreneurship. The Foundation aims to create lasting solutions that contribute positively to Africa’s social and economic transformation. Through impact investments, selective grant making, and policy development, it seeks to influence the operating environment so that entrepreneurship in Africa can flourish
Infantino opens South Sudan FA office
March 24, 2016 | 0 Comments
South Sudan Football Association’s new office was opened by new Fifa president Gianni Infantino on Wednesday.
The Italian, who won last month’s Fifa elections to succeed Sepp Blatter, inaugurated the facility in the war-torn country’s capital Juba.
He also attended the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between South Sudan and Benin, which the away side won 2-1.
South Sudan played their first official friendly, against Uganda, in July 2012.
It was only in 2011 that organised football was first played in South Sudan, after the country gained its independence from Sudan.
South Sudan officials dressed Infantino in traditional robes and made him dance. Officials also produced a large cake to celebrate the Italian’s 46th birthday.
After gaining independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan erupted into civil war in December 2013.
Infantino, who won last month’s Fifa elections to succeed Sepp Blatter, is due to visit South American football confederation CONMEBOL from 28 to 29 March in Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay.
Twitter Chat Encourages Women to Find Their Roots for Women’s History Month
March 18, 2016 | 0 Comments
National Geographic Traveler of the Year shares her journey of turning pain into purpose
WASHINGTON, DC— For Women’s History Month, NativSol Kitchen Founder and African Ancestry President co-host a Twitter Chat on March 23, 2016 at 7:00pm EST entitled “Women Finding Their Roots: From Pain to Purpose.” The 60-minute live interactive session will give online users an opportunity to gain insight and inspiration in tracing their African lineage by following the hashtag: #comebackhome.
African Ancestry, Inc., the DC-based company that pioneered genetic DNA- ancestry tracing for people of African descent inspires all to make a connection to their identity through genetic ancestry testing and research.
“This Women’s History Month is a time to reconnect to our origin. Genetically, black women hold the key to so much of ancestral information. It is time that she claimed her place as the mother to all living things. We must birth and nurture the future.” said Gina Paige, President & Co-founder of African Ancestry, Inc. “Women are the glue that holds the family and community together.”
In 2014 National Geographic selected NativSol’s founder Tambra Raye Stevenson as one of the “Traveler of the Year” for finding her African roots through food. Since then she had yet to travel to her ancestral land until this year in late April to Nigeria.
“Between the Ebola epidemic, terrorists’ attacks by Boko Haram and presidential elections, I had kept delaying my travel,” says Tambra Raye Stevenson, founder of NativSol Kitchen. “I was reminded even by Nigerians of safety in the north [of Nigeria]. But I had to trust my instinct and decide that it was now or never to complete my journey of coming back home not for me but for my ancestors.”
While in Nigeria this May, Stevenson will launch a new initiative called WANDA: Women Advancing Nutrition, Dietetics and Agriculture to empower women and girls in sustainable agriculture and nutrition. WANDA serves as an extension of NativSol’s work in promoting the African heritage diet with women and girls as the leaders in the movement.
In the Michael Twitty’s “Cooking Gene,” upcoming book, Stevenson shares her story of discovering her roots and passion for African heritage foods. “By tracing my roots back to Africa, I became grounded in my identity and inspired to transform the path of my profession by incorporating my heritage,” says Stevenson. “Ultimately I realized I was search of my purpose. With WANDA we change the narrative of our female ancestors held captive to till foreign land to now leading a women’s movement in agriculture bridging the Diaspora and Africa.” Stevenson has kick started a crowdfunding campaign to support WANDA initiative in Nigeria and people can support at iamwanda.org.
Featured in the Washington Post, NativSol Kitchen provides culturally-centered and faith-based nutrition education programming to both youth and adults. Based in Washington, DC, NATIVSOL is on a mission to reclaim the health and spirit of the African diaspora by creating a movement to restore heritage foods into people’s daily lives. Led by trained culinary nutrition experts, NATIVSOL has the passion and talent to equip the community to cook, shop and eat their way back to health.
Founded in 2003 on years of research, African Ancestry, Inc. is the ancestry tracing company that pioneered African lineage matching in the United States utilizing its proprietary DNA-database of more than 25,000 African DNA lineages to more accurately assess present-day country of origin for people of African descent. Since its inception, African Ancestry’s lineage reveals have impacted the lives of more than 100,000 people in the U.S. from communities at large to global leaders such as Oprah Winfrey, Tom Joyner and the Reverend Jesse Jackson. African Ancestry has been featured across the globe in outlets such as CNN’s Black in America series, 60 Minutes and Essence Magazine; and was the centerpiece to the ground-breaking PBS special “African American Lives 1 & 2” with Skip Gates. African Ancestry is African-American-owned and operated and headquartered in Washington, DC.
Headquartered in Washington, DC, WANDA: Women Advancing Nutrition, Dietetics and Agriculture is leading a pan-African women’s movement from farm to fork. Founded in 2016, WANDA is on a mission to develop the next generation of women and girls as leaders in agriculture, nutrition and dietetics through education, advocacy and innovation as a means to alleviate poverty, build healthy communities and improve self-sufficiency.
join the event here