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New Hapag-Lloyd East Africa service arriving in Kenya and Tanzania
May 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

Seven 2,800 TEU vessels being deployed in the service

East Africa Service 3 (EAS3) to arrive in Kenya and Tanzania next week; New service will offer excellent connections to Hapag-Lloyd’s (www.Hapag-Lloyd.com) global network; Seven 2,800 TEU vessels being deployed in the service.

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The new East Africa Service 3 (EAS3) will offer direct weekly sailings between China, South-East Asia, Kenya and Tanzania with very competitive transit times. It will arrive for the first time in Kenya and Tanzania next week enabling our customers to enjoy even better connectivity between Asia and East Africa. In addition, the EAS3 will offer excellent connections to Hapag-Lloyd’s global network via the hub ports of Singapore, Port Kelang and Shanghai. Seven 2,800 TEU vessels will be deployed in the service, including two provided by Hapag-Lloyd.

Hapag-Lloyd entered the Sub-Sahara African market about 13 years ago and has seen steady and significant growth in transported volumes to and from Africa since then. In East Africa, the China Kenya Express Service (CKX) connects Kenya with some of the most important ports in Asia, such as Singapore and Shanghai, while the East Africa Service 2 (EAS2) connects the East African country with the west coast of India and Jebel Ali in Dubai.

In March 2021, Hapag-Lloyd also opened its own new office in Kenya to better serve and be closer to its customers in this thriving economic hub of East Africa. While the main business will be managed from the port city of Mombasa, the company will also have an office in Nairobi, the country’s capital.

Hapag-Lloyd also serves landlocked East African countries – such as Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan – with regular inland connections to and from Mombasa. As part of its growth strategy, the shipping company will also endeavour to develop inland connections to Somalia, Southern Ethiopia and Northern Tanzania.

“Hapag-Lloyd has been steadily expanding its business in East Africa in recent years as part of our strategic focus on selected growth markets worldwide,” said Dheeraj Bhatia, Senior Managing Director Region Middle East at Hapag-Lloyd. “Our new EAS3 service will create a new option for our customers and help us to forge even stronger connections between this flourishing region and the rest of the world.”

Hapag-Lloyd has also been strengthening its offerings and presence in West Africa in recent years. For example, in October 2019 the Middle East India Africa Express (MIAX) service has been launched, providing direct and fast connections between Middle East, India, South Africa and key markets in West Africa such as Ghana and Nigeria. In September 2020, a new office was opened in Lagos, Nigeria. And, in mid-March 2021, Hapag-Lloyd has signed a sale and purchase agreement with the Dutch container shipping company NileDutch. The acquisition of NileDutch allows customers to benefit from an even denser network and a much higher frequency of sailings, particularly from and to locations in West and South Africa. Currently, the completion of the transaction is subject to the approval of the responsible antitrust authorities.

Hapag-Lloyd now has five own offices on the continent: in South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya. In addition, it recently opened a Quality Service Center in Mauritius.

The first westbound voyage of the EAS3 will start in Shanghai on 29 April 2021 with an estimated arrival in Mombasa on 23 May 2021. Further vessel and schedule details will be announced as soon as possible. The port rotation will be as follows:

Shanghai ▪ Ningbo ▪ Nansha ▪ Singapore ▪ Port Kelang ▪ Mombasa ▪ Dar Es Salaam ▪ Port Kelang ▪ Singapore ▪ Shanghai.

About Hapag-Lloyd:

With a fleet of 237 modern container ships and a total transport capacity of 1.7 million TEU, Hapag-Lloyd is one of the world’s leading liner shipping companies. The Company has around 13,100 employees and 395 offices in 129 countries. Hapag-Lloyd has a container capacity of approximately 2.7 million TEU – including one of the largest and most modern fleets of reefer containers. A total of 122 liner services worldwide ensure fast and reliable connections between more than 600 ports on all the continents. Hapag-Lloyd is one of the leading operators in the Transatlantic, Middle East, Latin America and Intra-America trades.

*SOURCE Hapag-Lloyd

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Ethiopia: African Development Bank Group signs grant agreement for $31 million to tackle nutrition and end child stunting
May 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank and the Government of Ethiopia have signed an agreement for a $31 million grant to boost health and nutrition for children under the age of five.

The African Development Fund’s Board of Directors approved funding for the government’s Multi-Sectoral Approach for Stunting Reduction Project (MASReP) at the end of April. The total budget is $48 million.

The agreement was signed on 10 May by Yasmin Wohabrebbi, State Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Government of Ethiopia, and Abdul Kamara, Deputy Director General of the Bank’s East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office.

Wohabrebbi said, “In the past two years the government spent close to $31 million from its own sources to execute the Seqota Declaration Innovation Phase. The Multi-Sectoral Approach for Stunting Reduction Project (MASReP) we are signing today will complement the government’s investment effort to achieve goals set under the Declaration.” The project targets 40 districts in the Amhara and Tigray regions, where nearly 50% of children under the age of five are afflicted by stunting.

Children will benefit from improved access to parent-grown nutritious food and nutrition services while pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers will receive nutrient-dense food crops, livelihood promotion and nutrition counselling. The wider population will gain greater access to water for domestic use and food production. The health, education and nutrition service delivery will benefit from stronger systems and improved infrastructure.

“The agreement further underscores the African Development Bank’s commitment to support the Ethiopian government’s initiatives to end stunting in children under age two by 2030, in line with its Seqota Declaration,” said Kamara. He said the project would address the multidimensional causes of stunting.

Ethiopia’s Seqota Declaration is a commitment to end stunting in children under two by 2030. The national ministries of health; agriculture, water, irrigation and energy; education; women, children and youth; labour and social affairs; transport; and finance are co-ordinated in this effort.

The Multi-Sectoral Approach for Stunting Reduction Project is consistent with the government’s Ten-Year Strategy and two of the Bank’s High Five strategic priorities, namely Feed Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

The African Development Bank’s total ongoing commitment in Ethiopia is $1.6 billion, covering the key sectors of basic services, energy, transport, water supply and sanitation, agriculture, governance, and the private sector.

*AfDB

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In Niger, a rare scene in the pandemic: Covid-19 wards remain empty, agriculture and business benefit from support programs
May 14, 2021 | 0 Comments
After achieving outstanding results in its management of the pandemic, Niger, which is expected to grow its GDP by 6.9% in 2021, is now planning for the relaunch of its economy, as here at Diffa pepper market in the southeast of the country.

Looking over his hectares of rice in Saga, less than 10 minutes from central Niamey, Garba Soumana’s face is radiant. A gust of wind from the Niger River drowns out his voice, but in no way diminishes his joy. “Thank you, Lord. God is great,” he exclaims. “This is such an achievement, like a thorn taken out of your foot,” he says, again and again, gazing over his vast green expanse.

Just like Garba Soumana, thousands of Nigerien producers have the comfort of knowing that they will have the seeds they need for the next planting season, in June and July, thanks to support from the African Development Bank to help Niger with its country-wide response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In addition to budget support of more than $100 million, the Bank is also providing funding to low-income member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), including more than $4 million for Niger. The Bank also provided $22 million to help the G5 Sahel countries combat the pandemic.

In this Sahelian country, exceptionally vulnerable to cyclical droughts and climate change, access to seed enhances food security and helps to prevent the health crisis from turning into a food crisis. In Niger, food security is linked to social and political stability.

“The Bank’s support has been particularly important for this country that is already suffering under triple climate, humanitarian and security shocks,” said Nouridine Kane Dia, the Bank’s country manager for Niger.

Not far from Saga, in Niamey, Amadou Tidjani has a contagious smile on his face too. This trader learned, just a day ago, that when it became due later this year, he would not have to pay his import-export licence.

“This is like a shot in the arm; the pandemic has put a stop to our business trips. Our shops are not getting the usual footfall. In this gloomy situation, getting a deferral on payment of the licence is a godsend,” said Amadou, as he bustled about his bags of rice, the staple food during Ramadan.

Several hundred Nigerien traders will benefit from the temporary suspension of taxes and duties. This government measure aims to save hundreds of businesses from bankruptcy.

The Bank’s support for Niger also extends to the most vulnerable groups, including internally displaced persons and refugees. Diffa, in the southeast, and Tahoua and Tillabéri in the northwest are three regions that form the epicentre of terrorist activities. Here, thousands of people have benefited from social protection measures, such as the distribution of food, hand-washing kits, and drinking water facilities, as well as the construction of latrines.

“The support of the Bank has provided Niger, whose financial capacities are being severely tested by the sharp increase in security and humanitarian expenses for the fight against terrorism and the reception of refugees, with the fiscal space and emergency support needed to cope with the additional consequences of the health crisis and preserve gains made in poverty reduction,” added Kane Dia.

Health success

The African Development Bank Group’s Covid-19 Response Facility (CRF) has had a considerable effect on the health response in Niger. It has increased the resources allocated to health and strengthened the country’s capacity for screening and caring for people infected with Covid-19, and for recruiting health workers.

Initially, screening was only available in Niamey, at the Medical and Health Research Centre (CERMES). Support from partners such as the African Development Bank helped to set up a number of facilities for the analysis of PCR tests, including at Zinder and Maradi, the most important cities after the capital.

In Talladjé, a working-class district of Niamey, wife and mother Halima Ousseini is preparing to go for a medical consultation. This time, she walks with a confident step, dressed in a flowing boubou. Her medical centre will, like other similar medical facilities, receive a variety of 140 medical products ordered under the emergency health response programme supported by the Bank.

“For us, access to medicines was no easy matter in normal times. It got harder still under the pandemic. Our revenues have fallen, but the prices of medications have stayed the same. So, having access to medicines is a huge relief for people like us of modest means,” said Halima Ousseini, who told us that she makes a living as an informal trader and with the help of her children.

The support of the African Development Bank has also helped Niger to take excellent care of those infected with the virus. Approximately 1,637 new health workers have been recruited and health logistics have been strengthened, including through the donation of three ultramodern ambulances to the Nigerien Ministry of Health.

Of a population of 23 million, 70% of whom are under the age of 25, some 5,000 cases have been detected and 185 deaths have been recorded, making Niger one of the least-affected countries on the continent. This significant support is also building the capacity of the health sector to deal with further public health shocks.

In Niamey referral hospital, the national facility approved to treat Covid-19 cases, beds remain unoccupied for lack of patients. Covid-19 units have been closed and ventilators transferred to other services that need them. “The department is operating at a relaxed pace because we do not have any more Covid-19 patients…The situation is totally under control,” said Dr Amadou Foumakoye, head of the hospital’s Covid-19 unit.

The achievements of this crisis management will be further boosted by the vaccination campaign launched on 29 March 2021, with the support of development partners.

*AfDB

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For Edwin Madunagu, a Revolutionary Icon, at 75
May 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Chido Onumah

Dr Edwin Madunagu

Edwin Ikechukwu Madunagu who turns 75 on May 15, 2021, has been a consistent voice for the radical transformation of Nigeria in the last five decades. For this reason, comrades, friends, associates, and students, will organize a conference on the theme: “Progressive Politics as the Answer to the National Question: Problems and Prospects,” to celebrate this revolutionary icon, Marxist, mathematician, journalist and public intellectual.   

This tribute is a reflection on what Edwin Madunagu, popularly called Eddie by friends and comrades, means to me, to Nigeria and the international socialist movement. Eddie has been described by one of his contemporaries and closest comrades, Biodun Jeyifo, Emeritus Professor of African and African American Studies and Comparative Literature at Harvard University, as “the greatest materialist historian and archivistof socialism and the Left in Nigeria’s political history.”

Eddie was born May 15, 1946, in Okitipupa, in present-day Ondo State. He attended Okongwu Memorial Grammar School, Nnewi, in Anambra State, and Obokun High School, Ilesha, Osun State, for his secondary education, and later studied mathematics at the universities of Ibadan and Lagos. He taught mathematics at the universities of Lagos and Calabar before he and other radical lecturers were sacked in the late 70s by the egotistic military dictator, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, for “teaching what they were not paid to teach.” Eddie has published many works, including The Philosophy of Violence (1976), The Tragedy of the Nigerian Socialist Movement (1980), Human Progress and Its Enemies (1982), Problems of Socialism: The Nigerian Challenge (1983), The Political Economy of State Robbery (1984), The Making and Unmaking of Nigeria (2001), Contradictions of Progress: Critical Essays in Defence of Socialism (2002); Radical Politics (2002); Understanding Nigeria and the New Imperialism (2006); The Nigeria Left: Introduction to History (For Eskor Toyo and Biodun Jeyifo) (2016); and The Nigerian Left: Tributes and Criticisms (2016).

In The Nigerian Left: Introduction to History, Eddie says of himself: “I am a Marxist and a socialist and have been so since 1973. I am also strongly influenced by anti-sexism, humanism, and revolutionary internationalism. I have remained committed to what Karl Marx called the categorical imperative, that is the struggle to overcome all circumstances in which the human being is humiliated, enslaved, abandoned and despised…As I have said publicly on several occasions, this commitment comes before everything else, including family, ethnic group and nationality.”

Twenty-five years ago, in 1996, when Eddie turned 50, I wrote a tribute and journeyed to Calabar to join friends and comrades in celebrating this iconic newspaper columnist, mathematician, author and socialist internationalist. I first met Eddie on the pages of The Guardian newspaper where he maintained a must-read Thursday column for almost three decades before I met him in person. Eddie was among those – others were Profs Biodun Jeyifo, Chinweizu, Godwin Sogolo, Femi Osofisan, Kole Omotosho, G. G. Darah, Olatunji Dare and Onwuchekwa Jemie – whose essays in The Guardian shaped the thinking and writings of many of my generation. Humanist per excellence, Eddie brought panache and mathematical meticulousness in explaining even the most complex of historical, political, and ideological issues. I not only read Eddie religiously, I made sure I preserved all his writings, first in hard copies, and subsequently in soft copies when The Guardian joined the Internet revolution. 

Fifteen years ago when Eddie turned 60, I was away in the US. As his birthday approached, I contacted Comrade Bene, herself a radical socialist and feminist activist, founding member of Women In Nigeria (WIN), Girls’ Power Initiative (GPI) and now a retired professor of botany, on the possibility of putting together Eddie’s articles into a book to mark his birthday. Comrade Bene jumped at the idea. But there was the little problem, considering the shortness of time, of how to compile and type Eddie’s articles in The Guardian spanning 21 years.

What I told Comrade Bene next was music to her ears. I informed her that I not only had copies of Eddie’s articles from when he joined The Guardian in 1985 but that I also kept soft copies from the moment The Guardian went online. That effort culminated in the publication of a 573-page book titled Understanding Nigeria and the New Imperialism: Essays 2000-2006, a collection of Eddie’s articles in The Guardian edited by Prof Biodun Jeyifo, Prof Bene Madunagu, Kayode Komolafe and me.  

Understanding Nigeria and the New Imperialism is a book I find myself referring to each time I want to understand the many problems confronting our country and our world. On page 338 of the book is what I consider one of Eddie’s most endearing reflections on the Nigerian crisis – a tribute to Peter Ayodele Curtis Joseph – which was an essay in The Guardian of June 27, 2002, under the title, “To Remember and to Honour.” Eddie wrote, “Of all the contemporary social developments that currently sadden me, one of the most painful is the disconnection of Nigerians, especially the younger ones, from their own history, including the history of their own immediate environments. I can put my finger on a number of interconnected factors responsible for this historical connection. Our educational system pays little attention to our history. Most of the current generation of teachers are products and carriers of this deficiency, so what do you expect from the new products? Our media, print and electronic, from time to time, put out historical materials and programmes. But many of them are disgustingly eclectic, distorted and full of errors of fact and sequence. Our post-independence history is short, just 42 years. But you are asking for a heart attack if you dare ask any final year undergraduate or young politician to name, in historical sequence, the regimes that this country has had since independence.”

Thanks to social media and the rise of religious fundamentalism, among other factors, the condition Eddie described above has worsened in the last decade. Young Nigerians are not only disconnected, they are also tragically disinterested in the history and future of the country as well as in socio-political events that shape their material conditions. And when they attempt to “confront” these issues, what you get is what Prof Biodun Jeyifo describes in the foreword to the book, Understanding Nigeria and the New Imperialism, as “a dialogue of the deaf and the damned.” Of course, this attitude is not limited to our youth. As Prof Jeyifo notes, it finds expression “within the community of Nigerian radicals and leftists and the broader community of the national intelligentsia – of all shades of ideological opinion.”

Essentially, what Prof Jeyifo is saying in describing Eddie’s vast and complex body of work is that he (Eddie) shows us that “no meaningful conversation exists” among Nigerians about the future of the country. “What we have is a dialogue of the deaf and the damned. A dialogue of the “deaf” because interlocutors and disputants in our national conversation don’t take the time to listen at all to one another, let alone hear one another as the same issues, the same ideas are repeated and recycled again and again. And a dialogue of the “damned” because we seem headed for a catastrophe that we might not survive this time around as we survived – after a fashion, at least – our Civil War of 1967-70.”

“The eloquence, clarity and force with which he advances (his) theses mark Eddie out as perhaps the revolutionary conscience of our generation,” notes Prof Jeyifo. In a country in crisis like ours, it is the likes of Eddie that we should turn to for guidance. Twenty-one years ago (May 4, 2000), in an essay in The Guardian on the Biafra agitation titled, “Settling accounts with Biafra,”Eddie wrote, “The young Nigerians now threatening to actualise Biafra should forget or shelve the plan. In place of ‘actualisation’ they should, through research and study, reconstruct the Biafran story in its fullness and complexity and try to answer the unanswered questions and supply the missing links in the story. This is a primary responsibility you owe yourselves: you should at least understand what you want to actualise. If 30 years after Biafra, you want to produce its second edition, you need to benefit from the criticism of the first. History teaches that a second edition of a tragic event could easily become a farce – in spite of the heroism of its human agencies. On the other hand, those who enjoy ridiculing Biafra – instead of studying it – are politically short-sighted. My own attitude to Biafra is neither ‘actualisation’ nor ridicule. I propose that accounts should be settled with Biafra.”

In another essay titled “Sovereign conference or civil war?” (March 16, 2000), Eddie observed: “Nigeria has been reprieved from civil war several times in the past decade. The point is that this reprieve cannot continue indefinitely. Sooner or later history may give Nigeria what the powers-that-be have been reckoning.”

There are many today, even amid mounting despair and alienation, grinding poverty, hopelessness, terrorism and violence inextricably linked to the renewed onslaught of capitalism, who still have doubts that a post-capitalist world is possible. To such people, I recommend this extract from a tribute to Eddie by Prof Biodun Jeyifo (The Nation, May 15, 2016): “Let us put away the fears, the worries of the faint-hearted among us that socialism is dead in our country and our world. Indeed, without being in the least complacent about the challenges ahead of us, let us rest assured that prospects for a post-capitalist era of political, economic and social justice for the vast majority of our people in Nigeria and the peoples of our planet are as good now as they were more than forty years ago when, in the Anti-Poverty Movement of Nigeria (APMON), we first became, instantly and forever, lifelong comrades in working class activism.”

Apart from my father, perhaps no other person has had as much influence on my life as Comrade Edwin Madunagu and I am proud not only to be associated with him for more than three decades but also to be his protégé. At 75, Eddie spends his “retirement” running the Calabar International Institute for Research, Information and Documentation (CIINSTRID), a free research institution and public library, which he set up in 1994.

I conclude this homage to Eddie by returning to Prof Jeyifo’s tribute. “It so happens that the prospects for a post-capitalist future are indeed much brighter in many other parts of the world than in our country at the present time,” he wrote. “But we are part of the world at large, thanks in part to global capitalism. No comrade that I know understands and appreciates this contradiction better and keener than Edwin Madunagu.”

There is nothing more to add other than to say that the mission of the generation of Nigerians under 40 is to renew the progressive, radical, and popular-democratic traditions of struggle in Nigeria which Comrades Eddie and Biodun Jeyifo (who turned 75 on January 5, 2021) exemplify. You betray that mission at your own peril!

Part of this tribute appeared in 2016 to celebrate Edwin Madunagu at 70. It has been updated to mark his 75th  birthday on May 15, 2021. Onumah can be reached through: conumah@hotmail.com; Twitter: @conumah

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Looking back: Forty-five years ago
May 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Edwin Madunagu*

Comrade Edwin Madunagu

Forty-five years ago, as I turned 30, I left Lagos for Ibadan. From Ibadan, together with a comrade of the same age, I left for a rural community somewhere between Gbongan and Ile-Ife in present-day Osun State. There we joined others, similarly inspired like us, about ten in number, male and female, excluding two kids whom we took turns to “baby-sit” in order to free the mother to participate fully in revolutionary duties.  

We assembled to inaugurate an underground Marxist revolutionary vanguard embedded in the peasantry. While some members were fully in residence, others were semi-resident, but continually in touch with the Headquarters. I was not only fully in residence, but disappeared to the outside world for between 9 and 12 months. 

The strategic objective of that Extraordinary Expedition was to inaugurate an armed struggle in a socialist revolution which we recognized had been going on at a certain level in our country, Nigeria. The armed struggle did not happen. But it almost did. And in an attempt to force it to begin, we also almost ended up in self-liquidation. 

It was when I was leaving the Headquarters after the collapse of the Expedition that our peasant comrades knew, through my contact address and full name, that not only was I not an Ijesha man, but that I was not even of Yoruba parentage. For I had integrated completely with them and had been one of their conscientisation discussion leaders in the Yoruba language for at least the preceding six months. The scene of separation was so emotional. 

The Extraordinary Expedition had profound effects on all the participants. But, as expected, the effects were of different kinds on different comrades, with some differences less significant than others. It was this variation in differences that made it possible for Biodun Jeyifo (BJ) and I, then Bene, to regroup almost immediately after the collapse of the Expedition. 

Personally, the effects of that Ode-Omu Extraordinary Expedition were completely transforming. I emerged from the commune a professional revolutionary: where to be a professional revolutionary was not conceived mechanically, for instance, in the way one is a professional teacher or a professional soldier, that is, in terms of training and occupation. It was not even conceived in the sense of making “revolution” the primary interest in one’s life. Rather, to be a professional revolutionary was conceived in the sense of compelling every other interest or commitment – including nationality, sub-nationality, religion, family, friendship and engagements for material sustenance and reproduction to find accommodation and justification in the commitment to revolution. 

But that is just one side of a professional revolutionary as conceived by me. The other side is the commitment to what Karl Marx, in his youthful days, called “categorical imperatives,” that is, the “struggle to overcome all circumstances in which the human being is humiliated, enslaved, abandoned and despised.” And later I added the commitment to struggle to extend immediate and unconditional solidarity to the “wretched of the earth” and ameliorate the human condition anywhere a professional revolutionary finds herself or himself. A professional revolutionary is thus a contradiction in the real world: simultaneous toughness and softness. 

The requirement sketched above is not a necessary one for every Leftist or even for every revolutionary. But it is a self-imposed requirement for every vanguard in the struggle against capitalism, capitalist social formations and imperialism. Some would say that for a sustainable revolution to take place there must be a substantial number of this category of revolutionaries. But I would modify this and say that at least the revolution should be capable of rapidly reproducing its own professionals as it proceeds. 

My life as a professional revolutionary since the 1977 collapse of the Extraordinary Expedition has therefore been a contradictory one at least in the sense described in the preceding paragraphs. And it has been tough for that person who, in addition to having to share that life as a wife, a comrade and a lover, also has to live her life as an academic, an intellectual, a mother, a social activist, a Leftist-feminist and a revolutionary socialist. If there is any person who, since 1977, has kept me on my feet, stood with me as equal, pointing out what can be done today in anticipation of tomorrow, and correcting my frequent tactical and strategic errors, that person is Comrade Professor Bene Madunagu. 

About two weeks ago, on the eve of 2021 May Day, Comrade Bene and I made a re-affirmation and executed a long-standing decision of ours. The former was the re-affirmation of our subscription to Marxism, commitment to socialist revolution in Nigeria and world-wide and to revolutionary internationalism.  

And the latter was the decision to transfer our Combined Archives and Libraries, built up since 1973, to the Nigerian Left. Following this definitive step, we established an 8-member Board of Advisers (BOA) to manage the Combined Archives and Libraries on behalf and in the name of the Nigerian Left.  

This took effect on May 1, 2021. Any further announcement or action on this subject will be made or taken by the Board. 

Let the struggle continue. 

*Madunagu, mathematician and journalist, writes from Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.  

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Zimbabwe‘s Nutrition Active Civil Society Organisation, ZCSOSUNA Takes Multi-Concerted Intervention to Address State of Children’s Poor Diet.
May 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Kudakwashe Zombe, National Coordinator for the Zimbabwe Civil Society Organizations Scaling Up Nutrition Alliance (ZCSOSUNA)

State of the World’s Children 2019 Report draws pathetic results driving fast forward child care and rights that needs to be restored in faith and confidence of having adolescents in mind.  The report bares all that adolescents 10 years to 19 years population clocks close to 1,2  billion in total .

Adolescents in low and middle income countries currently face nutrition challenges exacerbated by several socio-economic, health and environmental factors. Poor health in many developing countries of the World is a result of poor diet.

This is increasing at an alarming and striking rate likely to cause diverse health consequences especially in many children who constitute adolescents ages 10 to 19 years. A report in hand for 2019 states that 34% were reported consuming fruits , 21% consumed vegetables less than a day  , 42% drink carbonated soft drinks at least once a day . It further notes that under ½ of adolescents, 46% consume fast-foods once a week. Half, ½ of adolescents of girls live in rural communities in low income countries.

The triple burden of malnutrition is a worry to a Zimbabwe based Nutrition organisation, ZCSOSUNA , Zimbabwe Civil Society Organizations Scaling –Up Nutrition Alliance . An Expert in the field of Nutrition in the organisation Kudakwashe Zombe calls for a press conference set date for 13 May next week in Harare at a local hotel..

‘’The state of world’s children 2019 in low and middle income countries has increased in adolescents. This is a result of poor diet. This has caused triple burden of malnutrition. It is a cause for concern, the reason why we can- not leave this happening. There is need for full implementation of the School Health Policy and Strategies of 2018’’.

The Policy goes well in reducing malnutrition in Zimbabwe. This was launched in 2018 by the two Ministries which worked together in-order to prevent health risks and control malnutrition in learners. It is mainly meant to promote positive health determinants .The Ministries are Health and Child-Care and Primary and Secondary Education.

Hunger in many developing countries is caused by lack of essential nutrients. This has caused under-weight in many children. One third, 1/3 of Children under 5 years are stunted and wasted   , 2/3 have risk of malnutrition, hidden hunger and poor diet. In Infants ranging from new-born babies early initiation of breast-feeding is the best start for these new-born.

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CHARITY MALASHA – THE FRITTER GIRL ON THE WAY TO GREATNESS
May 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Onward S. Mandebvu*

Charity Malasha selling fritters at a school in Solwezi

SOLWEZI, ZAMBIA – In April 2018 Charity Malasha’s life was trapped in a viscous cycle of poverty. At age 12 she had already dropped out of school, was a petty trader and in all probability was destined to become a teenage mother and if ‘lucky’ a wife. There was nothing ahead in her life but doom and gloom – one of the several hundreds of thousands of girl children in Zambia whose potential is never given a chance to blossom.

A bright brain destined for gloom

Charity must have daily looked with anguish in her heart at girls her age who were in the school, knowing that she was never going to have the same chance of a bright future that they had if they continued in school. The pain must have been heavier because Charity knew that she was a bright girl who would have excelled if she had been in school.

Charity’s fortunes however took a dramatic turn for the better one day, all due to a chance encounter with Bruce Lewis and his team from Kansanshi Mining Plc, who were visiting her ‘marketplace’ – Kyalalankuba Primary School – where she was selling home-made fritters.

The visitors were on a tour of schools supported by the company in preparation for the company’s annual sustainability report. Bruce’s keen eye caught what many would not have noted: a school-age girl selling fritters at a school instead of being in school. He asked one of his team members, Tenso Kalala, to find out why. On learning that the family could not afford to keep her in school, Bruce asked whether Charity would like to go back to school if someone offered to pay for it. It did not sound to Charity at that moment that this could be a life-changing conversation. She casually said she would indeed go back to school if there was a benefactor. The visitors left her to continue with her ‘job’. But their interest did not stop there. At Bruce’s request, Tenso checked with the head teacher whether the school would take Charity if someone paid the required fees. On hearing that the school would admit Charity, Bruce paid the required fees there and then. Charity was a pupil once again! What a turn of events.

Charity came from a poor family that could not afford to send her to school. The fact that primary education in public schools in Zambia is tuition-free did not make it easy enough for her parents. They still could not afford to buy her the uniform and the exercise books that she needed to be in school. Money for school was a luxury the family could not afford when they were struggling to put food on the table. Charity’s education was sacrificed.

At home and with nothing to do Charity took ‘a job’ selling fritters for a neighbour at the very school where she had once been a pupil. It must have been painful for Charity.

School here I come again

Without losing any time, Kansanshi put Charity on the company’s financial assistance list, bought her all she needed, and the girl was in school again.

A bit over-age, but Grade 5 was the most suitable grade for her to join. Life had never been sweeter for Charity. She took to school with enthusiasm. No adversity could keep her away from school. Not even the relocation of her parents to a different part of town where it was impossible for Charity to commute daily to school could stand in Charity’s way. She wanted to be in school. By God’s good grace, the lady that Charity used to sell fritters for offered Charity a home until she completed her primary education. With that problem sorted out Charity turned to her books with the tenacity of a bull fighter. She had a lot of catching up to do.

Kyalalankuba Primary School distinguished itself not by the resources it had but by the heart and commitment to duty of the head teacher and her staff. The majority of children who attend this school can barely read and they lag behind expected levels of performance by several grades. Over and above the commitment of the school, it takes remarkable determination by the pupils and consistent home support for any child to stand a chance of passing the final primary leaving examinations with points good enough to progress to a good secondary school. Charity only had the dedication of her teachers and her indomitable spirit to rely on as she soldiered on towards completing primary school.

The results of Charity’s tenacity quickly showed in her academic performance. Within one year of returning to school, Charity changed from being the dropout girl to top of her class!

Kansanshi Mining was overjoyed and put Charity in a much better school – Sentinel Kabitaka School.  Sentinel Kabitaka is arguably one of the top three schools in the whole of the North-Western Province of Zambia, offering an international Cambridge curriculum as well as the local Zambian curriculum.

But Kansanshi’s efforts to secure a place for Charity at Sentinel Kabitaka were not without challenges. Even though the management of Sentinel Kabitaka had bent backward to consider Charity for their school, Charity did not pass the assessment given to her by the school. Although she was nearly 13 years old, she was assessed to have the reading age of a nine-year old. Excitement by all involved quickly turned into disappointment. But nobody gave up. Charity returned to her school to work towards the national Grade 7 examinations.

If one needs proof that determination yields positive results look no further than Charity Malasha. Notwithstanding all the factors that militated against her success in the national examination, Charity passed quite well. She was over the moon with excitement; so were the Kansanshi staff that had worked hard to put Charity back in school. With these results in hand, perhaps Sentinel Kabitaka would be persuaded to take another look at the girl.

I spare you the details. Suffice to say that Charity is now enrolled at Sentinel Kabitaka. What a journey! What a transformation! From being a school dropout selling fritters in 2018 to a boarder at Sentinel Kabitaka. Charity is on a journey. Already her story of fortune and fortitude is riveting. But I bet you there is more coming. Watch this space.

About First Quantum Minerals Ltd

First Quantum Minerals Ltd is a global metals and mining company producing mainly copper, gold and zinc. The company’s assets are in Zambia, Spain, Mauritania, Australia, Finland, Turkey, Panama, Argentina and Peru.
In 2020, First Quantum globally produced 779,000 tonnes of copper, 265,000 ounces of gold and 13,000 tonnes of nickel.

In Zambia it operates the Kansanshi mine – the largest copper mine in Africa by production – and smelter and the Sentinel mine in Kalumbila.The company is listed on the Lusaka and Toronto stock exchanges.

*Education Specialist, Kansanshi Mining Plc

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Two Political Parallel Lines in Zimbabwe from the Legacy of Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirayi to the era of President Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa.
May 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu*

Zimbabwe’s then Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (L, front) congratulates new Minister of Defeance Emmerson Mnangagwa (R, Up) as Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (Down, C) looks on at the State House in Harare on February 13, 2009. Photo credit ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)

Africa is only disturbed by a countable colonial factors that fuel a conflagration of fire that turns to burn its civilians who are innocent souls, yet the heartbeats of the African continent. Africa carries a long story to be told in eternity. The continent remains muddled in the ditch of political mud that always remains wet to rope in those who do not even have questions to answer regarding its subsequent things falling for the bad of those to lead today and tomorrow.

There are factors like I have pointed out. There are brewing reasons as well all in a nutshell to burn fingers of those who follow politics and those who chose to be out of it ..

Africa is coming from the doldrums, dark penumbra shadows of slavery and servitude feudalism, imperialism, capitalism, colonialism and dictatorship. The fact that white supremacy dominated over black people in their own land brought absolute and extreme poverty. In Zimbabwe ZANU-PF belongs to the colonial era while MDC belongs to the opposition era.

A point in time is ZANUPF like any liberation struggle party in Africa wouldn’t want to be contested and removal that brings shame, anger, denial and mortification. Any liberation struggle political party in Africa came up with its goals, vision and mission related to remaining a political party of continued and sustainable totalitarian rule, monarchial aristocracy and doctorial leadership.

Why would it be like this? – The answer to the vague, contrite styled question lies in the lost and deranged mentality that liberators are forever, political saviors and angels chosen by God in the land of Canaan. This could be what an African leader might think. Secondly, an African leader would think narrowly that leadership liberalism was brought by those only in the political realism like Presidium, Ministerial, Parliament, Senator and top government elites affiliated to the ruling party.

The tug of war between ruling party and opposition is likened to a lion killing a buffalo while hyenas ambush it from a close range or a distance. After the kill, the lion is disturbed, confuted, embarrassed, attacked, chased away and denied entrance into the territory by a huge number of these animals, meat pirates behaving in rowdy carnivorous attack. What then happens is linked to politics in Zimbabwe between ZANU-PF and MDC- led by Nelson Chamisa.

Opposition always comes out of a country despite the good of current leadership because opposition is ambivalent towards ruling party opinion. Mostly, opposition is trapped in myopic stupidity and idiotic optical illusion that throws the general public into wave of striking poverty likely to affect generations to come. Take an example of Somalia, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

These countries are not in poverty out of managerial failure. Because of long standing political feuds and embroiled conflicts which ropes in countries like USA, Britain, Germany, France, Belgium and Portugal among and in addition to other erstwhile colonizers bent on supporting what is wrong likely to destroy and stir change, a revolution that curtails the livelihoods build out of scratch at the expense of diminishing resources results in African poverty.

The African political atmosphere scenario is whereby Western powers favour opposition and eastern powers are in favour of ruling political parties. This is one of the disturbing situation which comes as national division of countries. A good example is of the cold war of 1950 after the Second World War. This was a fight for doctrines. Eastern countries were on the side of communism, western powers in support of capitalism. Such has been the reason why Africa remained unstable socially, economically and politically.

Zimbabwe before independence from the days of the liberation struggle under ZANU-PF and ZAPU-PF has been under funding support from Russia and China. Russia supported ZAPU, China has been on the side of ZANU-PF. At the same time coming from the enemy’s direction, MDC, opposing parties got chunk of support from former colonizers like Britain, USA and local white farmers who had lost their land and property to blacks. This division in funding created a wide gap causative to problems. This is one main reason why opposition separated itself rising against ZANU PF.

The second reason hangs around on liberation struggle and the policy of the liberators. ZANU-PF has strategized itself to totalitarian rule, building on gigantic pillars to make the party strong. Opposition, MDC originated from Labour Union, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union [ZCTU] . The former secretary general, M            organ Tsvangirayi now the deceased was the first ZANU-PF strongest opponent who stood to resist tyrant leadership of Robert Mugabe the then President of the country. The two looked from different opposing directions.

Thirdly, Robert Mugabe had the idea of dictatorship, building on doctorial tactics that would   give him political immunity from the inside that is his followers then from 0pposition pressure. The only modality he came up with was assassination for him to remain in power. Such is an idea that opposition was against because a number of human rights violations especially during elections resulted in death, infliction of pain and severe torture, maim and disappearances. Opposition MDC took advantage of this weakness. It incited strikes, job stay-aways and fierce demonstrations against ZANU-PF. Such was MDC ‘S social weapon to gain popularity of the mass.

Fourthly, political ideologies differ ZANU-PF had the belief that politics is the first path to take in a country. This at the expense of the social and economic side pulled the economy to shambles, causing poverty, vulnerability and marginalization of opposition constituencies. Party affiliated people would get first and for all chances to get 3 basic needs, land distribution and other resources for community and family development. Opposition had the first feeling of people at heart, taking aboard the grieved, politically displaced and those who suffered in the hands of ZANU-PF .

Character- Robert Mugabe versus Morgan Tsvangirai.

Robert Mugabe differed Tsvangirai psychologically, far most politically. He was a political genius with un-packed economic views devoured by political avarice and aggrandize. Such reason kept him stung to politics at the expense of the economy. Mugabe had sense of political consciousness to awake against his opponents, staying hooked to political chicanery, twisting minds and keeping politics alive. At the other hand Tsvangirai molded a social ideology to unite people for socialization yet Mugabe had the mind to unite people for political reasons , solidarity , unity of ZANU-PF PATRIOTISM , SOVEREIGNITY , NATIONALISM and reconciliation for party building .

President Mnangagwa versus Chamisa.  President Mnangagwa has grown fully mature in politics with the best principles, political planning, leading, organizing and strategic successful controlling for the best of party building in party structures. He is cool, quiet for specific reasons to silent enemies, astray and mislead directive efforts lineated towards his destroyable destination. He has gone through several ministries, gaining endless cease experience at the same time fortifying permanent beacons of personal protectionism against personal vendetta. He reserves bitter, cooks it from inside, silently weaving solutions, gaining strength through editing opponent’s vulgar- vociferous tones. Such is the man whom people believe is the cruelest, tyrant who strategized for Robert Mugabe to remain in a swim across the river to 37 years of power. Such is one element of intelligent truth. He has political intelligence, sensationalism and securitization. The political tycoon is seen no-where beaten by the infant Chamisa whose party is now in the dark moon.

The future of talks between the two parties is far away from fruition, be it alone Chamisa is wasting time, playing around with running under the drain waters heading for the oceans. Chamisa is a political armature without bright ideas worse to say brilliant and worst to say genius. He lacks optimism, straight focus and he sees no sun glitter on his future leadership. His political diminishing returns remain hanged in air, with lackadaisical certainty towards a smooth moving political party he is leading. President Mnangagwa sees no future in unison with MDC and allies. Infect, intelligence has decayed opposition structures. No- wonder why some of the big wigs like Douglas Mwonzora, Thokhozani Khupe, and Sekai Holland formed their own parties suspected to be working in cahoots with ZANU-PF to destroy MDC- led by Chamisa.

MDC Hates and mistrust ZANU-PF. why? President Mnangagwa was expected to unite MDC and allies because its opposition that is said to have helped President Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF reach where there are today. MDC was used by military in an insurgency strategy vitiated by President Mnangagwa to get to power. Military swam in opposition to climb and reach President Mnangagwa to presidential post. The rally to remove Robert Mugabe was obviously a mass gang of MDC supporters at Robert Mugabe Square, who gathered in a bunch of bees ready to sting. There is no-where ZANU supporters would ouster help remove Mugabe. The mass protested in support of removing President Mugabe. Expelled ZANU-PF Douglas Matemadanda in 2016 was seen featuring to run against Mugabe.

The other wing of the same bird, Sibusiso Moyo, the deceased former Foreign Affairs Minister helped military to call people protest Mugabe’s ouster.  Robert Mugabe was then handed papers to force him resign of which he refused. This ignited issue of impeachment which was already in process already pushed by parliament, MDC and some opposition parties. Military and opposition coerced ZANU-PF to impeach Mugabe. A motion in parliament moved lastly, in a day it was convened at Rainbow Hotel. Mugabe in a few days had lost power. Mnangagwa who was in the hiding raised himself to come to power after the November 2017 coup incident.  SUCH IS THE LONG, CURTAILED STORY THAT WILL NOT SEE A UNITED ZIMBABWE OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN UNISON

*Nevson Mpofu is a Political Researcher and Writer, A PUBLISHED Writer, Poet Development Studies Lecturer , multi-awarded winning Journalist

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What have you achieved for yapping to BBC, Kenyans ridicule MP Moses Kuria.
May 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Lawmaker Moses Kuria

A section of Kenyans demands the arrest and prosecution of lawmaker Moses Kuria after he admitted having received a bribe to vote his colleague Amos Kimunya as the National Assembly Minority Leader.

In an interview with the BBC on Thursday morning, the outspoken legislator confessed to having received ksh100,000 ($1000) together with other MPs to kick out the then-Majority Leader Aden Duale and voted in Kumunya.

He also claimed that some of his colleagues were awarded $1000 to approve the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill, 2020. Last week Thursday, the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) sailed through in the National Assembly after MPs overwhelmingly endorsed the document.  Out of 320 lawmakers who participated in the voting, 235 voted YES, 83 NO, and two abstained.

Kuria’s sentiments were also echoed by legislators Ndindi Nyoro and Mohamed Ali, the anti-BBI crusaders. The three were summoned by the National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi to shed light on their allegations.

According to Kuria, in most cases, Kenyan legislators are bribed to pass bills. The bribes are issued in the office of the Majority Leader.

“When the new Majority Leader was appointed because they were not elected…we went to the majority leader’s office and received the $1,000 gift,” he said.

“It is not uncommon in Kenya for members of parliament to be paid or compensated to vote in a particular way, especially when the government has an interest in a matter,” he added.

When asked to back his allegations, he said Parliament would not admit to any wrongdoing.

“These things don’t happen on camera, and I don’t expect them to admit it, but they do happen in the majority leader’s office,” he stated.

Queried on why he took the money, knowing it is wrong, Deputy President William Ruto’s staunch ally said he is willing to refund the money if given a chance.

Meanwhile, Kenyans have accused the Gatundu South lawmaker of propagating cheap politics calling for his resignation after committing a crime.

“Cheap publicity stunt by a mischievous politician. Why tell us now after receiving it long ago?” posed Abubakar Ali.

“So by yapping on BBC what does Moses Kuria hope to achieve? He’s been associated with all manner of dubious act, so this Damascus moment won’t sanitize that past. Or is he merely hastening his increasingly evident trip to gallows in hopes of attaining martyrdom status?” Asked Joe Chothep.

Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) have been urged to take action against the MP.

“What else does the DCI need? He has incremented and indicted himself. Enough evidence to put him behind bars immediately,” said Hillary Njoroge.

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ZAMBIAN BREWERIES ASSURES BARS AND NIGHTCLUBS OF INCREASED BEER SUPPLY
May 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

Association president commends the country’s largest brewer for its proactive stakeholder engagement policy.

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – Zambian Breweries has assured bar and nightclub owners across the country of increased beer supply once its US$18 million expansion project is completed next month.

Earlier this year, the brewer embarked on an ambitious expansion project to improve product quality and increase output by 30 percent to address intermittent beer shortages in some markets.

Addressing a delegation from the Bars and Nightclubs Owners Association of Zambia during a familiarisation tour of the Lusaka plant this week, Zambian Breweries Country Director Jose Moran said the company was committed to ensuring a stable balance between supply and demand and would thus continue investing in the local market’s future.

He said: “Increasing production capacity in Ndola and Lusaka is not an easy task, especially amid prevailing economic challenges and the COVID-19 pandemic. This investment is a way of showing our consumers and retailers that we are here to invest for the future, and we are making efforts to balance our supply with the demand out there on the market.”

Mr Moran noted that Zambian Breweries was confident Zambia would overcome the challenges caused by COVID-19 and get back on course to achieve its development targets.

He added that the brewer would continue to invest in sectors that stimulated production, to help return the manufacturing sector and the economy to a steady growth trajectory.

Bars and Nightclubs Owners Association of Zambia President Peter Mwale applauded Zambian Breweries for proactively engaging the association to find a lasting solution to growing beer demand across the country.

“The steps you (ZB) have taken to engage us is the best way to finding solutions. We have seen the investment Zambian Breweries is making to address our challenges,” he said.

“The situation might not improve today or tomorrow; but from the investment we have seen, the challenges of beer shortages will be a thing of the past come July-August this year.”

Under the project, six 240,000 litre capacity fermentation tanks along with a multitude of modern brewing equipment are being installed at both the Ndola and Lusaka plants.

The first phase of the project is expected to be completed next month.

About AB InBev in Zambia
Zambian Breweries Plc is part of Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), the largest brewer in the world, with more than 400 beer brands and some 200,000 employees in over 50 countries. It is also one of the world’s largest bottlers of soft drinks.
Zambian Breweries was established in Zambia in 1968 and its product range has grown to include clear beers such as Mosi Lager, Castle, Carling Black Label, Eagle beer, Stella Artois and Budweiser.

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Travel by U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman
May 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman, left, meets with Sudanese Foreign Minister Maryam al-Sadiq al-Mahdi in Khartoum, Sudan, May 7, 2021.Photo credit AP/VOA

Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman has just completed his first visit to the region as U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, traveling to Egypt, Eritrea, Sudan, and Ethiopia from May 4 to 13, 2021.

The Horn of Africa is at an inflection point, and the decisions that are made in the weeks and months ahead will have significant implications for the people of the region as well as for U.S. interests. The United States is committed to addressing the interlinked regional crises and to supporting a prosperous and stable Horn of Africa in which its citizens have a voice in their governance and governments are accountable to their citizens.

A sovereign and united Ethiopia is integral to this vision. Yet we are deeply concerned about increasing political and ethnic polarization throughout the country. The atrocities being perpetrated in Tigray and the scale of the humanitarian emergency are unacceptable. The United States will work with our international allies and partners to secure a ceasefire, end this brutal conflict, provide the life-saving assistance that is so urgently needed, and hold those responsible for human rights abuses and violations accountable. The crisis in Tigray is also symptomatic of a broader set of national challenges that have imperiled meaningful reforms. As Special Envoy Feltman discussed with Prime Minister Abiy and other Ethiopian leaders, these challenges can most effectively be addressed through an inclusive effort to build national consensus on the country’s future that is based on respect for the human and political rights of all Ethiopians. The presence of Eritrean forces in Ethiopia is antithetical to these goals. In Asmara, Special Envoy Feltman underscored to President Isaias Afwerki the imperative that Eritrean troops withdraw from Ethiopia immediately.

The political transition in Sudan is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that can serve as an example for the region. As Special Envoy Feltman underscored to Sudan’s leadership, the United States will continue to support that country’s ongoing transition to democracy so that Sudan can claim its place as a responsible regional actor after three decades as a destabilizing force. We are also committed to working with international partners to facilitate resolution of regional flash points—such as the dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and conflict on Sudan’s borders—so they do not undermine the fragile progress made since the revolution.

As Special Envoy Feltman discussed with leaders in Addis Ababa, Cairo, and Khartoum, Egypt and Sudan’s concerns over water security and the safety and operation of the dam can be reconciled with Ethiopia’s development needs through substantive and results-oriented negotiations among the parties under the leadership of the African Union, which must resume urgently. We believe that the 2015 Declaration of Principles signed by the parties and the July 2020 statement by the AU Bureau are important foundations for these negotiations, and the United States is committed to providing political and technical support to facilitate a successful outcome.

The Special Envoy will return to the region in short order to continue an intensive diplomatic effort on behalf of President Biden and Secretary Blinken.

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«About a Boy » the big winner at 2021 Nollywoodweek Film Festival
May 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

For the first time in its 8-year history, Nollywoodweek streamed all the films exclusively online

“About a Boy”, a story about the psychological games played between a writer and his muse by first-time director Diji Aderogba received the highest honor at the 2021 Nollywoodweek film festival, the Audience appreciation award known as the Prix du Public.

The announcement of the winning film marked the culmination of the 2021 edition of the Festival, where 15 feature-length and 18 short films — from Africa and the African Diaspora — were showcased to a global audience. For the first time in its 8-year history, Nollywoodweek streamed all the films exclusively online.

Festival Director Nadira Shakur said “We were delighted to see that the global audience showed up to support and celebrate Nigerian talent and ingenuity in film-making. This year we showcased films from the rest of the continent and the Diaspora and saw a genuine interest in and appreciation for incredible stories such as “About a Boy” as evidenced by the Prix du Public.”

The film’s director Diji Aderogba said “I’m grateful to God. I’m so happy for Adio and Funmi, my producers. They put in a lot of hard work. Being a part of this film festival and winning the Audience Award is just amazing!”

Director Diji Aderogba will receive use of a range of top-of-the-line lenses from the Angénieux brand with which to shoot their next film. Previous winners include international Nollywood favorites such as The Wedding PartyIsoken and King of Boys.


Scene from About A Boy


In addition to film screenings, the 4-day film festival offered audiences Q&A sessions after each film, panel discussions on screenwriting, funding within the African animation sector and distributing African content.

Nadira Shakur added “the opportunities for audiences to interact with filmmakers and stars has always been an essential part of our festival and it was important that we maintained this aspect via our networking hub in this year’s online edition. We would like to thank the audience and our partners for accompanying us on this amazing journey! We look forward to connecting with everyone again next year.”

*SOURCE NollywoodWeek Paris Film Festival

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Finance in Common Summit Spring Meeting: public development banks call for new financing for Africa’s recovery post-Covid-19
May 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

Participants in the meeting, hosted by the African Development Bank, brainstormed on joint actions that could help boost a strong and inclusive recovery in Africa

A global coalition of public development banks today emphasized the urgency of immediate resources for Africa’s recovery post-Covid 19. Together, they committed to deepening cooperation to boost investment opportunities across the continent.

Participants in the meeting, hosted by the African Development Bank, brainstormed on joint actions that could help boost a strong and inclusive recovery in Africa. This would be recovery grounded in a dynamic private sector. The African Association of Development Finance Institutions co-organized the meeting in collaboration with the International Development Finance Club, which is hosted by the Agence Française de Développement.

The meeting was held virtually and follows the first Finance in Common Summit held in November 2020. At that summit, public development banks committed to work together to support the transformation of the global economy and society towards sustainable and resilient development.

During the three principal sessions of the meeting, heads of public development banks and international partners focused on concrete proposals and innovative financial solutions to unlock the potential of African financial institutions to promote sustainable development investments in Africa.

“The African Development Bank is strongly supportive of public development banks,” African Development Bank president Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina said in opening remarks.

He added: “As public development banks, we must deepen our ability to reach all parts of Africa. To ensure financial inclusion, especially for the unbanked, and expand access to finance, savings and insurance products and services, we need to work as one unified system. Public development banks must strengthen their capacity to deepen domestic capital markets and stock exchanges. He said this would hasten access to financing and unlock new opportunities.”

Rémy Rioux, chairperson of the International Development Finance Club, said: “African challenges, more than anywhere else, require us all to go seek coordinated responses and actions. Because in Africa, we need to leave no one behind. Let’s Finance in Common and build now a common and positive story of innovation and investment in Africa, leveraging ODA and mobilizing all willing stakeholders. The days of pure aid are over. Africa is ready for sustainable investment.”

Public development banks have a key role to play in Africa. From the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, institutions like the African Development Bank have channeled resources to various sectors and clients, particularly underserved areas like health, social investments, housing, agriculture and climate.

The African Development Bank’s $10 billion Covid-19 Response Facility has been instrumental in mitigating macroeconomic shocks for African countries. The Bank also announced a $3 billion social bond to support its Covid-19 funding efforts.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented global health and economic crisis, affecting African economies, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, most deeply.  A historic recession of 2.1%, the largest contraction for the sub-Saharan region in more than half a century, is threatening gains made over the last decade and attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The pandemic has negatively impacted the debt situation for African countries. Without a resolution of Africa’s $700 billion external debt, the continent’s economic recovery will be delayed and financial market stability will be affected in the short and medium term.

“Think of the impact that this debt is having: in 2019, Africa paid $221 billion for debt service, which is 44% of the total government revenue of $501 billion in the same year,” said Dr. Adesina.

Discussions covered measures that could be taken to strengthen the balance sheet of African public development banks and provide financing and additional tools to support the private sector in Africa. Participants also discussed challenges faced by African public development banks.

The African Development Bank president will convey the outcomes of the Spring Meeting to a May 18 Summit on Financing African Economies in Paris. That summit is being convened by French President Emmanuel Macron. It is expected that there will be further pledges and announcements of financial and technical assistance to support the commitments made by the African public development banks.

African public development banks, in a  joint declaration , called for the heads of state and international organizations to support our role in the African financial system and provide us with the necessary means and incentives: a clearer mandate for climate and SDGs, additional capacity building, greater access to concessional resources as well as reinforcement of our capital bases, taking advantage of the expected SDRs issuance by the International Monetary Fund (IMF)”.

The following public development banks and partners participated in the panel discussions:

Association of African Development Finance Institutions (AADFI), Association of European Development Finance Institutions (EDFI), African Development Bank, African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), European Commission (EC), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), European Investment Bank (EIB), Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), International Development Finance Club (IDFC), KfW Development Bank, Trade and Development Bank Group (TDB), and West African Development Bank (BOAD).

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New report on COVID-19 in Africa shows impact of COVID-19 on African continent has been underestimated
May 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

Urgent, strategic action needed in light of limited vaccine and mounting threat of new variants

As the world battles new COVID-19 variants and supply and rollout of vaccines remains critically low in Africa, new research from the Partnership for Evidence-Based Response to COVID-19 (PERC) indicates that burdens experienced by people in African Union Member States remain grave: 81% of survey respondents reported challenges in accessing food, 77% reported experiencing income loss and 42% reported missing medical visits since the start of the pandemic. The report calls for targeted public health measures for high-risk populations, increased surveillance in light of new variants, and scaled-up vaccine supply from the global community to control the pandemic in Africa.

“As case counts surge across the world, new variants emerge and vaccine rollout remains slow, it will be crucial for African Union Member States to use evidence-based strategies to manage COVID-19,” said Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. “The PERC report provides valuable insights to countries to strategically tailor their ongoing responses.”

Limitations in testing capacity and surveillance—as well as uneven demand for testing—are likely masking the true severity of COVID-19 on the African continent, fueling the dangerous myth that much of Africa has been unscathed by COVID-19. Test positivity rates were above 10% across many Member States during the second wave—substantially higher than the 5% maximum warning level suggested by the World Health Organization and suggesting that many cases have gone undetected. 

Vaccine acceptance was high among survey respondents—67% of people said they would get the vaccine when it’s available—with several important caveats.  Acceptance varied widely among countries, from 91% in Morocco to 35% in Tunisia and Cameroon. At the time of the survey, most respondents did not yet have access to vaccines or much information about specific vaccines rolling out in the region. In fact, among those who expressed hesitancy about vaccination, lack of information was a leading reason. 

“Vaccine hesitancy is driven by high levels of disinformation, misinformation, and lack of information, which erodes trust in the safety and efficacy of vaccines,” said Dr. Richard Mihigo, Program Coordinator, Immunization and Vaccine Development,  WHO’s Regional Office for Africa. “Going forward, we must prioritize sustained and targeted campaigns which address the growing infodemic around vaccines while providing evidence-based information to dispel myths and build confidence in vaccines. Communication and engagement is key to building trust and creating a positive discourse around vaccines from the ground up.” 

Nearly nine in 10 respondents reported using masks when near others in February 2021—almost identical to findings six months before. However, in some of the populous and hard-hit countries, such as South Africa and Ethiopia, self-reported mask use trended downward in February, suggesting the need to redouble efforts to promote this low-cost and effective intervention in some areas. Overall, self-reported adherence to measures restricting social gathering and movement declined significantly between August 2020 and February 2021. 

Given the delayed rollout of vaccines and the threat posed by new variants, all AU Member States will need to scale up effective testing strategies to detect early indications of potential surges and sustain the strategic use of public health measures to prevent subsequent waves while ensuring social protection. The researchers conclude that clear, transparent communications from leaders and public health officials will be vital in building trust and influencing people to follow any further measures; respondents who expressed high satisfaction with their government, community leaders or Ministry of Health were more likely to report adherence to public health measures than those who expressed dissatisfaction. 

“Countries are most effective controlling the pandemic when they consider what measures people will actually follow at this stage in the pandemic and take steps to inform, partner with, and support communities,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies. “Analysis of PERC data can help governments predict adherence to preventive measures, craft effective communications and mount a stronger response to COVID-19.”

The PERC survey—the third in its “Using Data to Find a Balance” series— was fielded in February, when Africa was emerging from a second, substantially larger wave of COVID-19. PERC polled more than 24,000 adults across 19 African Union (AU) Member States, compiled social, economic and epidemiological data from a range of sources and compared results from the previous survey conducted in August 2020. 

Other key findings in the report include:


Three primary factors influenced people’s adherence to PHSMs: belief that such measures are necessary, perception of personal risk and satisfaction with the government’s handling of COVID-19.

  • Little more than half (53%) of respondents supported measures restricting social gathering, such as limits on visiting places of worship, public gatherings and entertainment venues, compared to 65% in August; 54% supported measures restricting movement (stay-at-home orders, reducing trips to the market or store), down from 64% in August.
  • Fear of contracting COVID-19 continued to be the most common reason for missing care in the previous six months (26%). 51% of respondents believed that health care workers should be avoided because they might transmit COVID-19.
  • Affordability of care was a further barrier for missing care (20%), likely related to secondary burdens such as income loss.
  • Income loss and food insecurity have worsened since the beginning of the pandemic. Food insecurity is a grave concern, with 81% of respondents reporting issues in accessing food, and 48% reported having to reduce the number or size of meals in the past week.
  • Households in lower income groups are the most affected and least reached by social protection programs (where such programs exist at all).

Recommendations include that governments and the global community invest in:

  • Increasing capacity to detect, test, sequence and trace cases and new COVID-19 variants;
  • Prioritizing targeted, individual PHSMs to high-risk areas to maximize adherence for the long run and minimize secondary burdens;
  • Using an evidence-based approach to identify and offer relief to high-risk populations; 
  • Protecting health care workers via adequate personal protective equipment, fair compensation, paid sick leave and access to mental health care;
  • Prioritizing vaccination of health care workers and strategically communicating to the public to reduce stigma against them and to reinforce that seeking health care is safe;
  • Maintaining and strengthening vaccination information campaigns to bolster confidence, and supporting regional efforts to combat misinformation and build trust, in preparation for when vaccines become more available; and
  • Stepping up action from the global community to increase vaccine production, ensure equitable allocation and share technological expertise to facilitate local vaccine manufacturing with Member States.

To read the full report, please visit click here

 About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of the global health organization Vital Strategies, focuses on preventing deaths from cardiovascular disease and by preventing epidemics. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible.

About NASEM

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) are private, nonprofit institutions that provide expert advice on some of the most pressing challenges facing the nation and the world. Our work helps shape sound policies, inform public opinion, and advance the pursuit of science, engineering, and medicine. The National Academies do not receive direct appropriations from the federal government, although many of their activities are mandated and funded by Congress and federal agencies. NASEM also works with Foundations, state governments, the private sector, and philanthropy from individuals to enable them to address critical issues on behalf of the nation. 

About the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team

The UK-PHRST is funded by UK aid from the Department of Health and Social Care and is a partnership between the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Public Health England (PHE).. Through the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team (UK-PHRST), the UK has the capacity to respond rapidly to disease outbreaks in low- and middle-income countries around the world and conduct operational research into epidemic preparedness, playing an important role in global health security. The team also works to help countries to build their own capacity for an improved and rapid national response to outbreaks.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the third largest market research company in the world, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people. Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. Our 75 business solutions are based on primary data coming from our surveys, social media monitoring, and qualitative or observational techniques. “Game Changers”—our tagline—summarises our ambition to help our 5,000 clients navigate with confidence our world of rapid change. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since 1 July 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

About Novetta

Novetta delivers scalable advanced analytic and technical solutions to address challenges of national and global significance. Focused on mission success, Novetta pioneers disruptive technologies in machine learning, data analytics, full-spectrum cyber, open source analytics, cloud engineering, DevSecOps, and multi-INT analytics for Defense, Intelligence Community, and Federal Law Enforcement customers. Novetta is headquartered in McLean, VA with over 1,300 employees across the U.S.

About the World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. In response to the COVID-19 emergency, the World Economic Forum, acting as partner to the World Health Organization (WHO), launched the COVID Action Platform. The platform is intended to catalyse private-sector support for the global public health response to COVID-19, and to do so at the scale and speed required to protect lives and livelihoods, aiming to find ways to help end the global emergency as soon as possible.

About the Word Health Organization

WHO is working with UNICEF, Gavi and partners to support all aspects of COVID-19 immunization in Africa, including capacity assessments, planning, advising on delivery strategies, regulatory mechanisms, ensuring adequate cold chain, training and supervision, data monitoring and surveillance, and communication including raising public awareness and promoting demand for vaccination. The WHO-founded Africa Infodemic Response Alliance (AIRA), a joint platform of 12 partner organisations is working to counter misinformation and disinformation and share science-based facts on health, including vaccines.

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Cameroon: Is Hon. Joshua Osih’s Stay at SDF Coming to an End?
May 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Joshua Osih was SDF’s Presidential candidate in 2018

In the next couple of weeks, the career of Hon Joshua Osih as a member of the opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF) Party will be decided. His future with the party is up in the air after a case against him was declared “admissible” by the National Executive Council of the party during their last meeting.

The SDF’s NEC meeting on May 8 at the party’s headquarters in Yaounde found complaints against the former presidential candidate admissible. The complaint comes from the Littoral bureau who dissociated itself from all his acts deemed contrary to the party.

Joshua Osih, Vice President and MP for Wouri Centre is accused by the SDF Littoral Bureau of anti-party activities. A charge the Member of Parliament denies. He is said to have left the NEC meeting before its conclusion to catch up with travel plans.

The MP is accused of various wrongdoings such as signing a petition with the ruling CPDM. Joshua Osih signed a petition addressed to the American Parliamentarians on the subject of the expulsion of Cameroonians illegally present in the United States, something Jean Michel Nintcheu and Osih has clashed on.

He is also under suspicion of collusion with the regime in power; the poor management of the 2018 Presidential campaign; his rebellion against the NEC resolutions of March 13 through the organization of a media campaign in defiance of the NEC.

 “We do not use an instrument of parliamentary diplomacy to resolve problems within a party. The ill-intentioned individual wanted to believe that the signature of SDF deputies on a document approved by CPDM deputies was a betrayal. This is not the case… The SDF defends the Republic. I belong to that homeless man. Those who want to make belief the region of Paul Biya to the fatherland are mistaken,” Joshua Osih told Jeune Afrique in an interview.

“If you give it back to me tomorrow, I’ll sign it again. Those who play with people’s lives by fuelling this war for political ends must be stopped. It’s dangerous and smelly,” Joshua Osih added.

Hon. Osih was equally instructed to prepare the report of the last Presidential, Parliamentary and Municipal elections that were managed under his supervision and make them ready for appraisal and discussion in the next NEC meeting.

Apart from the above-mentioned resolutions, the party has called on the Littoral Regional chairman, Hon. Jean Michel Nintcheu to desist from trying to execute the provisions of article 8.2 when his request has been accepted for evaluation.

Hon. Jean Michel Nintcheu and Hon. Joshua Osih has been having a well-documented fight with accusations and counter-accusations. The saga has been playing out in the open with many factions forming between the two well-known SDF politicians.

The National Bureau has equally called on all members to strictly respect the party’s communiqué put out by the Secretary-General with regards to carrying internal debates to the media.

The case has been file with the legal affairs Committee who now have barely three weeks to adjudicate on the matter. The case may see Joshua Osih being given the famous article 8.2 which excludes all militants who go against the text of the party.

Other personalities from the party who have been removed from the party using Article 8.2 includes Mahamat Souleyman, former first VP Pierre Kwemo, Madadi Sadi and Benard Muna. And if Hon Joshua Osih is found guilty he too may likely be removed from the party.

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Rwanda:Why a hospital recorded more neonatal cases
May 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti

Ruhengeri hospital

One of the referral hospitals in Rwanda, Ruhengeri hospital has admitted having recorded more unusual neonatal death cases and undertook laboratory analysis processes to assess the cause of the death.

According to the hospital management 19 people died in March 2021, an unprecedented death toll in the history of hospitals in the country.

 “Suspecting the presence of the multi resistant microbe, processes of laboratory analyses have been undertaken and revealed the two types of microbes both sensitive to only a strong antibiotic called vancomycin,” said the hospital management in the statement released on Tuesday.  

  Vancomycin is an antibiotic medication used to treat a number of bacterial infections. It is recommended intravenously as a treatment for complicated skin infections, bloodstream infections, endocarditis, bone and joint infections, and meningitis caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.  

“A set of actions have been taken to reverse the problem, including treatment with vancomycin to all the babies presenting neonatal infection, relocation of all admitted babies in a separate room and application of rigorous infection prevention and control measures in the neonatal care unit,” it added.

One of the local media, The Source Post broke the news earlier reporting that more neonatal cases at Ruhengeri hospital had increased and parents were scared to give birth from the hospital which is the biggest referral hospital.

The hospital is located in Musanze district, in the Northern Province, and serves thousands of patients who seek services either directly or transferred by areas hospitals.

The hospital said that the main causes of premature infant deaths include congenital malformation such as malformed organs which cannot allow a newborn to survive.

Others are prematurity complications including respiratory problems and neonatal infections.

Specifically for the March infant deaths, three infants died from prematurity complications, two died from congenital malformations, while 14 died from neonatal infections.

However, the hospital management has assured Rwandans that to date, the situation is stabilized and the disinfected room had been put to use again. 

“The Management of Ruhengeri hospital presents its utmost condolences to grieved families and is conducting investigations to establish whether there has been any case of gross negligence and assures that those involved will be held accountable,” reads the statement in part.  

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A Myriad of opportunities for Entrepreneurs in Jack Ma Foundation Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition
May 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Zahra Baitie-Boateng, is Head of Partnerships and Programs with the Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition

Entrepreneurs in Africa have a few more weeks to apply for the 2021 Africa’s Business Heroes competition, the Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program that identifies, supports, and inspires African entrepreneurs.

Speaking to Nigeria’s Channels TV, Zahra Baitie-Boateng, the Head of Partnerships and Programs with the Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition, highlighted the many opportunities that the initiative offers, saying that every entrepreneur who successfully submits their application can benefit from the competition even if they do not make it to the finale and win their share of the USD 1.5M prize.

According to her, the application process is designed to encourage candidates to conduct a thorough analysis and review of the fundamentals of their business. When testing the candidates, judges provide insights and guidance on strengthening their businesses and improving their pitches as they advance, said Zahra.

Participants also have the opportunity to access exclusive mentorship and learning, through a number of multi-disciplinary bootcamps and training sessions and connect to a community of like-minded entrepreneurs.

The Top 10 finalists take home grant funds ranging from USD 100,000 to USD 300,000, increase their public exposure by featuring in the Africa’s Business Heroes show, and have the opportunity to pitch to international business legends at the Grand Finale.

“There are many benefits one can gain depending on where you end in competition,” said Zahra Boateng.

She narrated how the competition has changed lives and businesses in the continent, noting that many heroes have used the grants and the publicity they achieved to make tremendous progress. In particular, she mentioned Nigerian Temie Giwa-Tubuson, the founder and CEO of LifeBank. The ABH Grand Prize winner in 2019, Temie has secured further investments and recently expanded her operations in Kenya and helped tackle Covid-19 by delivering medical oxygen and facilitating testing.

“This is just one example. Several other finalists have gone on to expand their footprint geographically and established collaborations among them,” she added.

She further disclosed that over ten years, the program will recognize 100 African entrepreneurs and allocate grant funding, training programs, and support for the broader Africa entrepreneur ecosystem.

They will also be launching an Africa’s Business Heroes virtual community in the future.

Applications for the ABH third edition officially launched on March 30, 2021, and it will remain open until June 7, 2021. Candidates from all African countries, all sectors, and all ages can submit their applications in French and English here before 7th June.

The applicants must be of African descent, founders/co-founders of the businesses, and their businesses must be registered and operated in Africa. The business must have revenues and have been in existence for at least three years.

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UK launches media freedom project in Kenya
May 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

British High Commissioner Jane Marriott. Photo Editor’s Guild

The British High Commission has launched a new programme aimed to support media freedom in Kenya.

Our PROTECT, the new programme, targets the players in the media sector based in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, said the UK High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriott.

The programme has four local partners: ARTICLE19, HIVOS, ICNL (International Centre for Not for Profit Law) and INTERNEWS.

Marriott said that it will provide grants to other organizations such as the Mzalendo Trust, which monitors Parliament, the Civil Society Reference Group. It will also issue grants directly to journalists in Mombasa and Kisumu to support the production of data journalism stories.

Speaking at a virtual event hosted by the  Kenya Editors’ Guild Press Club-media freedom in the East African nation, Ms. Marriott said Our PROTECT programme will focus on five areas that are improving the use of data to hold the government to account on service delivery; contributing to an improved policy and legal environment; supporting female journalists to have a safe and secure operating environment; supporting media houses on future business models; and promoting civic education on the crucial role of the media.

She stressed the need for independent and sustainable media with laws, policies and professionals to play a watchdog role on those in power.

“We need investigative journalists who spend days – weeks, months –getting to the real heart of stories. We need a media that holds power in all its forms– Executive, Legislature, Judiciary, business, civil society, individuals, your own bosses – to account. And we need journalists to be safe in their endeavor, working without fear of interference,” she said.

Marriot added that the British government and partners will also train and mentor individual journalists on data journalism.

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Ghana:Gov’t ambushed #FixTheCountry conveners – Social policy advisor
May 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

A social policy advisor Felix K. Addo, has pointed out that the conveners of the #FixTheCountry movement were ambushed in a meeting that was intended to be between them and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to discuss security issues concerning their planned protest on Sunday, May 9. He said this in an interview on TV3.

Mr. Addo was speaking on the back of the Ex Parte Injunction secured against the protest by the #FixTheCountry movement and the subsequent meeting the conveners were invited to attend between them and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) but turned out to be a meeting between the conveners, the Minister of Defense, the Minister of Interior, the Attorney General, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of National Security.

He said “that is where we know that heads have started knocking; it means that the little thing that this group did and started has really gotten to the high hierarchy of government leadership. Now she made mention of the inconsistencies in government communication, which over the years we have seen, I mean Ministry of Information is key when it has to do with gathering information from all ministries and agencies to be able to have one mouthpiece of information. But here lies the case that we go into a meeting and I know very well, at least from afar, when you go into such meetings your phones are taken from you.

According to him most especially when it has to do with national security issues like this, your phones are taken from you at the security checkpoint over there. So how come that in one breath, one stakeholder within the meeting said: oh you were in there and you were still giving information to your people outside and probably telling them what we have not even said over here. Then an official mouthpiece of government comes out, signed by an astute journalist we all know and says that, no, their phones were taken from them, where do we go from here?.

“And if indeed the meeting was called by the IGP, it supposed to mean that, I don’t know where the meeting was held though but if it was called by the IGP, I am supposed to know that it was supposed to be held at the Police Headquarters. Where the IGP will superintend the meeting, whatever happens will give a security briefing because they are the first point of call that they wrote the letter to, that we want to go on this demonstration, we need your security. So at what point did the Minister of National Security come in? At what point did the Attorney General come in? At what point did the Minister of Information come in? And other state actors come in. It means that they were in a sort ambushed. He said they are supposed to state categorically how many people are going to be in the meeting, the top hierarchy who is going to be there.

He said, so that they will also build their arsenal, in one way or the other, knowing very well that we are having a legal representation in the meeting, as big as the Attorney General is going to be there, Minister of Interior is going to be there, National Security is going to be there, so that he will be well represented probably by their legal representation over there but when you bring all these people, you take me by surprise. You are the people firing me with all the questions and I say something because you are the ones in the helm of affairs, I’m going to find it very difficult, in one way I’m going to be intimidated.

He went on to say that “so this clearly tells us that the synergy amongst our institutions, our state agencies sometimes there are lapses elsewhere, knowing very well that this is an issue we must be able to identify all the state actors, relay the information to these campaigners, let them know that when you come into meeting, this and this are the ministries that you are going to be meeting. It will be represented by the director or even the deputy minister over there or even the minister himself, then when I’m coming, whatever information I need to satisfy each and every person at the meeting, I will prepare and prepare adequately. I see it that, yes they have state power, incumbency and all that, the campaigners, I will classify that as an ambush to the campaigners”.

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Ghana to become hub of pharmaceutical production in SSA; sales forecast to hit GH¢2.86bn
May 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

Ghana will become the hub of pharmaceutical production in Sub Saharan Africa on the back of covid-19 vaccines. According to Fitch Solutions, the country continues to work towards its aim of establishing itself as a pharmaceutical hub on the continent. The creation of a pharmaceutical industrial park for pharmaceutical companies to establish large scale operations is therefore a testament

Global vaccine demand has placed countries with local manufacturing capabilities in a stronger position to guarantee access. In this respect Ghana’s local industry is limited, however, on April 19, 2021, the Pharmaceutical Association of Ghana (PMAG) appealed to the government to strengthen local vaccine production.”

The move the research arm of ratings agency, Fitch, said would help guarantee a reliable source of vaccines for the country and the SSA region, adding, the country has also started feasibility studies to manufacture its own vaccine for covid-19 and also to reduce Ghana’s and Africa’s reliance on foreign vaccines in the long-term.

The Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy last September signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a construction firm for the creation of a pharmaceutical industrial park.

Furthermore, President Akufo-Addo in November tasked the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana to position the country to become the center of generic drugs production across Sub Sahara Africa.

Since Ghana is one of the only two countries in Sub Saharan Africa which produces active pharmaceutical ingredients, Fitch Solutions, believe these initiatives will significantly help to bolster pharmaceutical growth.

To encourage pharmaceutical market growth, the Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy with funding from foreign and development organization, have created a support package of $626,000. The fund will be used to provide grants to pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors and consulting firms within the pharmaceutical sector.

The objective of the grant is to provide support to companies to address vulnerabilities in the pharmaceutical supply chain, among others. The report said increased localized production will help decrease the pharmaceutical trade deficit in the long-term

Pharmaceutical sales to hit GH¢2.86bn

Meanwhile, pharmaceutical sales is expected to rise to GH¢2.86 billion this year. It is expected to reach GH¢3.96 billion in 2025. “We maintain a positive forecast for Ghana’s pharmaceutical market. Increased local prodction will help to drive Ghana’s domestic pharmaceutical market and we expect growth will mainly be driven by local generics production.”

“Pharmaceutical sales in Ghana reached GH¢2.69 billion (US$462mn) in 2020, and we forecast figures to rise to GH¢2.86 billion (US$468mn) in 2021. Looking further forward to 2025, we expect sales to achieve a compound annual growth rate of 8.0% in local currency (3.3% in dollars) to reach GH¢3.96bn (US$544mn)”.

By the end of its 10-year forecast range, it expect sales to reach GH¢6.55bn (US¢896mn) by 2030.

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Ghana:Debt increase of 137% between 2016 and 2020 lower than previous administrations – Ofori-Atta
May 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

Ghana’s debt increase of 137% between 2016 and 2020 is lower than that of previous administrations, says Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

Ghana’s debt increase of 137% between 2016 and 2020 is lower than that of previous administrations, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has disclosed.

Comparing debt levels of all the past governments, Mr. Ofori-Atta said the rate of increase in debt presently, is lower than that of former President John Kufuor, late former President John Mills and former President John Mahama administrations.

Addressing the media amidst ‘fix the country protest’, the Finance Minister said between 2004 and 2008, Ghana’s debt stock increased by 30%. However, it was high between 2000 and 2004, a period in which the country obtained debt forgiveness from multilateral and bilateral institutions.

Also, between 2008 and 2012, the debt stock increased by 269%, whilst between 2012 and 2016, the increase in the debt stock was 243%.

“Between 2016 and 2020, the increase in Ghana’s debt stock was 137% (This includes the cost of the banking sector clean-up, excess capacity charges and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic)”, Mr. Ofori-Atta said.

“We have financed the construction of seven on going interchanges across the country, including those at Takoradi, Tamale, Tema, Obetsebi Lamptey and Pokuase to ease traffic congestion and enhance productivity.

Despite the impact of the pandemic, he said the rate of growth of the public debt has been lower under this government than under previous administrations.

“The rate of debt growth was lower despite massive investments in our flagship programmes such as free SHS, Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), NABCO, One District One Factory (1D1F), One Constituency One Ambulance, One Village One Dam (1V1D), restoration of teacher and nursing training allowances amongst others while maintaining relative macroeconomic and exchange rate stability.”

The total public debt had increased from GH¢122 billion (56.9% of GDP) in 2016 to GH¢291.6 billion (76.1% of GDP) at the end of December 2020.

Mr. Ofori-Atta said the debt stock and the debt/GDP ratio at the end of 2020 are as a result of non-recurrent burdens that the nation had to deal with as a matter of urgency.

Ghana’s total public debt stock reached an all-time high of GH¢291.6 billion in December 2020, approximately 76.1% of GDP, the Bank of Ghana said. According to the figures, external debt alone stood at GH¢141.8 billion, approximately US$24.7 billion. This is also equivalent to 37.0% of GDP.

The domestic debt was however slightly higher at GH¢149.8 billion at the end of 2020, about 39.1% of GDP. The financial sector debt also stood at GH¢15.3 billion in December 2020, but GH¢100 million lower, from the September 2020 data. This is however equivalent to 4.0% of GDP.

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African Energy Chamber calls for more US-Africa Energy investments with series about unjustified risk perceptions on Africa
May 11, 2021 | 0 Comments

U.S. companies stand to play a significant role in the road to a lower-carbon future in the continent, and to continue leading some of the most important markets in the energy industry.

Following President Biden’s Interim National Security Strategic Guidance signaling for continued growth in partnerships with African economies, at the African Energy Chamber (“AEC”) , we believe it is vital to engage U.S. companies and investors to counter the often-wrong preconceptions about investing in the continent, as Africa has some of the fastest-growing economies globally and possesses significant investment and development opportunities for U.S. firms. U.S. companies stand to play a significant role in the road to a lower-carbon future in the continent, and to continue leading some of the most important markets in the energy industry.

From majors like Chevron, ExxonMobil and Kosmos Energy making significant discoveries and operating in multiple countries like Angola, Mozambique, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Senegal, Ghana, and others, to large companies like General Electric, Halliburton, and hundreds of Houston and Oklahoma based companies, some U.S. companies have successfully developed some of the most important projects in the continent. One of the reasons behind their success is a deep and actual understanding of the risks involved and their mitigating factors, as well as a strong connection to the project country and its people.

“Africa, we believe offers a tremendous opportunity for US companies to invest and make returns that are far superior to market returns in many other investment destinations” said Jude Kearney, Chairman of the US-Africa Committee at the AEC. “We would therefore like to encourage more US companies to look beyond unjustified risk perceptions on Africa and actively pursue opportunities in Africa” Mr Kearney concluded.

In preparation for the upcoming U.S.-Africa Energy Forum organized by Energy, Capital & Power in partnership with the AEC, the AEC is pleased to announce the launch of its series “Changing the Risk Perception About Africa,” comprising of five articles on the following topics:

  • Opportunities in Africa’s natural gas, gas-to-power, rare earth elements (“REEs”) industries, as well as the opening of an M&A market from assets left by IOCs. U.S. firms should take advantage of these opportunities to add lower-carbon projects to their portfolio, to remain at the helm of technological development for energy transition. Large and mid-sized U.S. companies stand to lead Africa’s road to Energy Transition due to its engineering, technology, ingenuity, and ability to create markets. Examples like RWE’s Roscoe wind farm, the largest onshore wind farm in the world installed in Texas, as well as other renewable energy companies as SHYFT Power Solutions, African Renewable Energy Distributor and Juabar, set an example of how the use of that technology and ingenuity can lead the way to a lower-carbon future.
  • Mitigation of political and security risks. While some events in the past decades in Africa, like on other continents have undoubtedly endangered the economic stability of the projects or the physical security of the infrastructure, many African countries have responded by showing resilience, changing policies, practices, and procedures to provide certainty to energy projects. Private companies, including some U.S. companies, have participated jointly with the governments in such efforts, and have become experts in mitigating those risks.   
  • Background and projections dematerializing the perceived finance risk on the continent. Considering the recent history of many African countries, companies and investors should not be afraid of developing projects on the continent, as most projects have reasonable returns, with no issues for private companies to take their fair share of the revenue. The article will also discuss the challenges for securing financing in the past and how investors can align their African investments to the current energy transition drive. 
  • Mitigation of legal risks and misconceptions of corruption in the continent. Unfortunately, very few countries are free from corruption; however, African governments have adopted policies and practices to mitigate these practices. From a legal standpoint, the article will discuss the standardization of agreements and the remedies available for private companies to settle disputes with other companies or the government. 
  • How to mitigate exploration and operational risk in the continent. The article will address the importance of technological developments to reduce these risks in the continent and experiences from industry specialists in managing such risks. Large U.S. operators as ExxonMobil and Kosmos Energy have successfully navigated through such risks in the continent. Its experience can set an example for other U.S. firms to learn how to mitigate such risks.

For the last six decades, every U.S. administration has created programs to provide guarantees, loans, and advice to U.S. companies desiring to enter the continent. Such programs have also provided funding, negotiation advice, and capacity-building for African countries to develop their economies. Some of such initiatives include the African Growth and Opportunity Act passed under the Bush Administration, President Obama’s Doing Business in Africa Campaign, Power Africa, and Trade Africa. Despite his infamous comments against the continent and his administration’s America First foreign policy, even President Trump’s administration launched Prosper Africa to increase U.S. – Africa trade and investment.

Despite these initiatives, trade and investment with sub-Saharan Africa have decreased in the past years. Per the Center for Strategic & International Studies, in 2020, the U.S. did approximately $32.6 billion worth of trade, down from $36.8 billion in 2019, representing less than 1% of all U.S. trade in goods. Particularly U.S. involvement in energy and mineral resources falls short compared to Chinese involvement, making investments in the continent a matter of national security. 

The AEC invites all U.S. companies to participate in the U.S.-Africa Energy Forum and get involved in the wide range of opportunities the continent offers. We believe the forum is an excellent opportunity to address the stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding investments in Africa. 

To learn more about how U.S. firms can advance the agenda of sustainable, long-term investment in the African energy sector, please visit www.EnergyChamber.org or contact Amina Williams at amina.williams@energychamber.org. To sponsor, speak or attend the U.S.-Africa Energy Forum, please contact James Chester at james@energycapitalpower.com.

*SOURCE African Energy Chamber

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Kenya bans all flights to and from Somalia
May 11, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) on Tuesday announced the suspension of all flights to and from Somalia with immediate effect.

In the notice, the authority indicated that that only medevac flights and United Nations flights on humanitarian missions, were exempted from the order.

However, KCAA failed to give the reason behind the abrupt decision.

A week ago the government of Somalia announced that it had restored diplomatic ties with their neighbour after the Amir of the State of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani intervened.

“The two governments agree to keep friendly relations between the two countries on the basis of principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality, mutual benefit and peaceful co-existence,” read part of the statement released by Somalia’s Ministry of Information.

In November 2020, Somalia recalls its envoy to Nairobi and ordered Kenyan ambassador to leave the country. Somalia accused Kenya of interfering with its internal affairs, an accusation that her neighbour denied.

Kenya-Somalia border row case also kicked off in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in March this year despite the former’s protest.

In a letter sent to the Hague Court, Kenya complained of inadequate preparations blaming the Covid-19 pandemic, which hindered its lawyers from holding meetings to deliberate on the matter.

It also protested at the decision by the court to allow some hearings to be held virtually, noting that it will not give her the right opportunity to defend herself.

Kenya further demanded the Somali judge in the ICJ panel to recuse himself from the case for transparency reasons.

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South Sudan: Kiir Reconstitutes Transitional Parliament
May 11, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

President Kiir

Juba – South Sudan President Salva Kiir has reconstituted the Country’s Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) after over a year.

President Kiir’s order announced on state – based TV-SSBC on Monday’s evening includes members of the SPLM party; the National Agenda, the Democratic Change (D.C) party, the SPLM-IO, the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), the Other Opposition Parties (OPP), and the former detainees (FDs) – all the parties to the peace deal.

Presidential order comes two days after the Kiir dissolved both the Transitional National Legislative Assembly and the Council of states.

The 2018 peace deal demands that the reconstituted parliament be expanded from 400 to 550 members of all the warring parties to the agreement.

The former Transitional government shall nominate 332 members, SPLM-IO with 128, members and South Sudan Opposition Alliance, or SSOA, with 50 members.

The Other Political Parties, OPP shall have 30 representatives and the Former Detainees with 10.

The Council of States, on the other hand, shall be expanded from 50 members to 100. The president is however yet to issue orders for expansion and reconstitution of the Council of States.

The move is in line with provisions of the revitalized peace agreement that requires expansion and reconstitution of the national legislature to include members of opposition parties signatories to the 2018 deal.

According to the revitalized peace deal, both houses—TNLA and the Council of States shall be reconstituted to include new appointees per the revitalized peace agreement.

The warring parties to the peace deal dragged reconstitution of both upper and lower houses for over a year despite the formation of the executive arm of the government in February, 2020

Lack of a functional parliament, observers said made it difficult for the enactment of laws that assist the transitional processes.

However, the civil society groups welcomed the reconstitution of the NLA, further called for presidency to immediately complete the formation of other commissions or institutions that spelled out in the revitalized peace deal.

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Cameroon-based fintech, Maviance PLC, closes its Seed round to fund its expansion within the Central African Economic Region (CEMAC)
May 11, 2021 | 0 Comments

Nkwenti Azong-Wara, CEO of Maviance

Douala, Cameroon – 11 May 2021 – Maviance PLC , a Cameroon-based fintech, announced today that it has closed its Seed investment round of USD 3 million from the pan-African digital payments hub MFS Africa, which comes on board as a strategic investor. Maviance will be using the new funding to increase its footprint in its Cameroon and to expand into other countries in the central African economic region (CEMAC).   

Maviance chose MFS Africa as an investor to leverage on its pan-African infrastructure and its vast product offering and partnerships to deliver new digital financial products in the CEMAC region. 

In Cameroon, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) employ over 90% of the workforce and contribute around 36% of GDP. However, many MSMEs lack access to digital financial services to grow their businesses. Maviance, which serves over 500,000 unique customers a month, has connected key service providers, payment providers, financial institutions and mobile money operators to its Smobilpay digital financial services platform. Smobilpay’s digital financial services help businesses improve their sales by encouraging their customers to move away from cash-based transactions to digital.  

Smobilpay empowers underserved MSMEs, agents, banks and financial institutions’ customers within the CEMAC region with more accessible digital financial services solutions. Maviance’s growing network of agents and MSME partners offer their customers a wide array of digital financial services.  

Jerry Cheambe, the founder of Maviance, who led the negotiations for Maviance, said: “We are very excited about Maviance’s product pipeline and expansion. The opportunities within central Africa are huge, and the demand has been massively accelerated in the last 12 months with the advent of Covid-19 as businesses of all sizes adopt digital financial services. Moreover, the shift in the mindset of regulators towards progressive regulations as well as regulatory alignment, enable us to deliver seamless services across multiple geographies and customer segments.” 

MFS Africa’s founder and CEO, Dare Okoudjou, who led the deal said: 

The rapid development of digital financial services that we have seen in Cameroon over the past few years is poised to spread across the CEMAC region. This will further accelerate the demand for domestic and cross-border payment from MSMEs, social enterprises and corporates in the region. Maviance, as a key infrastructure provider with its set of highly relevant products, is well-positioned to benefit from this growing demand. That is why we are thrilled to be partnering with the company, as we continue to broaden and deepen the reach of the MFS Africa Hub across Africa.” 

Nkwenti Azong-Wara, CEO of Maviance, adds: “With MFS Africa, Maviance has gained not just a funding partner, but more importantly a strategic investor who will provide valuable impetus to enable us to extnd our service portfolio and network as well as to expand into the other five countries within the CEMAC region, via the GIMACPAY switch.” 

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, Maviance has experienced increasing demand from businesses to digitise their payment processes and transition away from cash. The joint forces of Maviance and MFS Africa will open up opportunities for MSMEs to easily digitise their processes, enabling them to benefit from the ecosystem of mobile money providers and other financial institutions providing seamless payment for services irrespective of channel.  

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WFP AND UNHCR ROLL OUT TARGETED FOOD ASSISTANCE TO MEET NEEDS OF THE MOST VULNERABLE REFUGEES IN RWANDA
May 11, 2021 | 0 Comments

KIGALI – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, have started rolling out a new mechanism in Rwanda to prioritize general food assistance to the most vulnerable refugees.

“The funding shortfalls, which we were already facing due to the protracted nature of the refugee crisis in Rwanda, have been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Ahmed Baba Fall, UNHCR’s Representative to Rwanda. “To avoid these cuts affecting the most vulnerable refugees, we have established a targeting system that will allow us to prioritize extremely vulnerable refugees who depend entirely on humanitarian assistance and to ensure that their basis needs are met.”

“This is the right step at the right time when donors globally are under greater pressure than ever because of the impact of COVID-19 and growing demands,” said WFP Rwanda Representative and Country Director Edith Heines. “By targeting we prioritize funding to the refugees who are most in need of assistance while we work to mobilise more resources and find long-term solutions.”

This shift is in close collaboration with the Ministry of Emergency Management (MINEMA) and with technical support from the Joint UNHCR-WFP Programme Excellence and Targeting Hub.   This is the first country in Eastern Africa where WFP and UNHCR have jointly implemented targeting and prioritization of humanitarian assistance, with the support of the hub. 

UNHCR, together with the Rwanda authorities, is embarking on a stepped-up livelihoods and economic inclusion strategy that will increase refugee and host community resilience.

“We are confident that by investing in programmes that promote access to livelihoods and economic opportunities, education enrolment and access to land and financial services, part of the refugee population will be able to improve their livelihoods and support themselves.  With this, I believe development partners will come forward with additional resources to support programmes targeting refugees and host communities for more sustainable solutions,” added Fall.

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Orange leads solar panel deployment across Africa and the Middle East
May 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

To avoid using generators that run on fuel (fossil energy that emits CO2), Orange is putting in place several initiatives such as solar panels

Orange is accelerating its solar projects in Africa and the Middle East to reduce its carbon footprint to zero by 2040. Across the entire region, many sites are not connected to the electricity grid and when they are, the quality of the grid often requires alternative backup solutions. To avoid using generators that run on fuel (fossil energy that emits CO2), Orange is putting in place several initiatives such as solar panels.

In several of its subsidiaries, Orange is deploying innovative solar solutions and the latest generation batteries with partners specializing in energy. To reduce its environmental footprint, the Group is positioning itself in these countries as the biggest deployer of solar panels, with a renewable energy use rate already at over 50% for Orange Guinea, 41% for Orange Madagascar and 40% for Orange Sierra Leone. 

These solar panel solutions have also been or will soon be deployed in other African and Middle Eastern countries where Orange is present, like Liberia, for instance, where 75% of Orange’s telecom sites are equipped with solar panels. In total, Orange has installed solar panels at 5,400 of its telecom sites (some 100% solar, others hybrid) saving 55 million liters of fuel each year.

Furthermore, in Jordan, Orange has launched three solar farms to switch to clean and renewable energy helping to reduce its carbon footprint. In 2020, these solar farm projects covered over 65% of Orange Jordan’s energy needs. Since 2018, the company has successfully reduced its CO2 emissions by 45 kilotons thanks to this solar infrastructure.

Alioune Ndiaye, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa says: “We are proud to be the first company by number of solar panels in 5 countries in Africa and the Middle East. As a stakeholder in the energy transition, Orange has included in its Engage 2025 strategic plan the objective of meeting 50% of the Group’s electricity needs from renewable sources by 2025. We are aiming for net zero carbon by 2040.”

Orange is present in 18 countries in Africa and the Middle East and has around 130 million customers as at March 31, 2021. With €5.8 billion in turnover in 2020, Orange MEA is the Group’s main growth region. Orange Money, with its mobile-based money transfer and financial services offer is available in 17 countries and has 50 million customers. Orange, a multi-service operator, benchmark partner of the digital transformation, provides its expertise to support the development of new digital services in Africa and the Middle East.

Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 42.3 billion euros in 2020 and 140,000 employees worldwide at 31 March 2021, including 80,000 employees in France. The Group has a total customer base of 262 million customers worldwide at 31 March 2021, including 217 million mobile customers and 22 million fixed broadband customers. The Group is present in 26 countries.

Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies, under the brand Orange Business Services. In December 2019, the Group presented its new “Engage 2025” strategic plan, which, guided by social and environmental accountability, aims to reinvent its operator model. While accelerating in growth areas and placing data and AI at the heart of its innovation model, the Group will be an attractive and responsible employer, adapted to emerging professions.

Orange is listed on Euronext Paris (symbol ORA) and on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol ORAN).

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EUROPEAN UNION PROVIDES €500,000 TO WFP FOR COVID-19 RECOVERY IN RWANDA
May 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

KIGALI – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes €500,000from the European Union (EU) to provide technical support to Rwanda’s COVID-19 recovery efforts.

With this contribution, WFP will support Government efforts to ensure that social protection is expanded to the most vulnerable and food insecure Rwandans and responds to the unique challenges presented by the pandemic.

The new funding will also support evidence generation on food security, markets, and supply chains to inform the Government and partners in their investments in COVID-19 recovery. 

“To ensure an effective COVID-19 recovery, it is vital for Rwanda to harness strategic technical expertise that will strengthen its social protection and food security systems to efficiently support national economic recovery,” said Ambassador Nicola Bellomo, Head of the EU Delegation in Rwanda.  

WFP has widely recognized expertise in food security analysis and a close partnership with the Government in social protection. WFP will work to assist the Local Administrative Entities Development Agency on national systems for social protection targeting, monitoring and evaluation and feedback to support the response to vulnerabilities associated with COVID-19.   

“The Government’s response to mobilizing the social protection system as a key platform for the COVID-19 response has been impressive to date,” said Edith Heines, WFP Rwanda Representative and Country Director. 

“With this generous support, WFP will help the Government make the national social protection system even more shock-responsive, building on the lessons learned from the pandemic.”

This support is a contribution to the ongoing food security and vulnerability analysis as well as to food market and supply chain monitoring and their recovery from COVID-19.

This contribution is 100 percent funded by the EU under the Sector Reform Contract to enhance the agriculture sector’s sustainable use of land and water resources, value creation and contribution to nutrition security through its budget support action in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

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Rights advocate tells TRRC NIA was ‘most’ used under Jammeh rule to torment journalists
May 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Adama Makasuba

Fatou Jaigne Senghore, human rights advocate and a lawyer, has told the TRRC that the National Intelligence Agency was ‘most’ used under the 22-year rule of former president Yahya Jammeh to torment journalists and closed down media houses.

Ms Jaigne Senghore, who doubles as ARTICLE 19’s Regional Director for Senegal and West Africa, was testifying before the TRRC.

“I must say that at the heart of the repressive system the NIA was really the institution that really frustrated the journalists. Many journalists who were detained by the NIA…

those cases of torture we documented were from the hands of the NIA, and there was also a lot of report back and forth not at the police sure to say but also at the NIA. We also documented that most of the closures of media outlets were also done by the NIA,” she said as she testified before the truth commission.

She offered a letter her office wrote to the Jammeh’s office in 2004 to thoroughly investigate the gruesome death of doyen Gambian journalist and founder of the Point newspaper, Deyda Hydara, demanding reforms of the draconian laws.

Ms Jaigne Senghore,51, explained how officials of the National Intelligence Agency were harassing journalists independently doing their professional jobs, citing the case Abdoulie John whom she said was constantly harassed by the officials of the National Intelligence Agency for reporting on the release of detained rebels.

Meanwhile, she described the closure of the defunct Citizen FM as the first major case of Jammeh regime to arbitrarily close down a media house with taking due process of the law.

“When they [Jammeh’s regime] closed down Citizen FM the continued violations that were existing…because Citizen FM was the first major case where the government decided arbitrarily just to close down a media house without any process, without taking the matter to court,” she continued. 

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Gambian journalists call for scrap of bad laws
May 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Adama Makasuba

Journalists in The Gambia have renewed call for scrapping of bad laws in the country’s law book as they celebrate World Press Freedom Day amid coronavirus restriction observed under the banner “Information as a Public Good”, which underlines the indisputable importance of verified and reliable information.

Lamin Njie, editor-in-chief of The Fatunetwork, celebrated his press Freedom Day by reflecting on the challenges journalists continue to face.

He said despite “Gambia has done well in terms of press freedom in the past four years” that “we cannot forget our colleagues in other parts of the world who continue to get killed for simply doing their job.”

“In Gambia, I would love to see the scrapping of all the bad laws that are still in our law books. I would also like to see the proposed Access to Information legislation promulgated into law which I believe will strengthen a free press in the country,” Mr Njie said.

He described: “a society without a free press is a society that is in trouble since there is darkness,” adding “The Gambia has done well in terms of press freedom in the past four years, we cannot forget our colleagues in other parts of the world who continue to get killed for simply doing their job.”

Yaya Baldeh, senior journalist and communication officer for Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, observed the day by reminding duty bearers that “press freedom and access to information is an elementary human right which needs to be championed and cherished by any society.”

“Certainly, the calls for the respect and promotion of WPFD is another cardinal moment to ponder over how long we have come to today gains. Even though, a lot is ought to be done to attain the desired aspiration. Happy WPFD anniversary!

“I salute the courage of Journalists, editors and every worker in the media industry for their profound courage and unshakable bravery in informing the public with accurate, balance and well-focused reportage,” he said.

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