Ethiopian Marks African Aviation History with 100th Aircraft in Active Service
May 28, 2018 | 0 Comments
Ethiopian Airlines, the largest Aviation Group in Africa and SKYTRAX certified Four Star Global Airline, is pleased to announce that it will take delivery on 5 June 2018 of its 100th aircraft, a Boeing 787-900, the 1st for an African airline to operate 100 aircraft fleet in the history of the continent, thus maintaining its pioneering aviation technology leadership role and ascertaining its leadership position in all aspects of Aviation Services in the continent.
On the planned delivery of the 100th aircraft, Ethiopian Group CEO, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam said: “It is an immense honor for all of us at Ethiopian to reach the milestone of 100 aircraft. This milestone is a continuation of our historical aviation leadership role in Africa and a testimony of the successful implementation of our fast, profitable and sustainable growth plan, Vision 2025.
Ethiopian was the first to avail jet service in the continent back in 1962, and operated the first African B767 in 1984, the first African B777-200LR in 2010, the first African B787-800 Dreamliner and B777-200 freighter in 2012 and the first African A350 in 2016 and the first African B787-9 aircraft in 2017.
Ethiopian now operates one of the youngest and most modern 100 aircraft, with an average age of less than 5 years. Fleet modernization and expansion is one of the four critical pillars of our Vision 2025 strategic roadmap, in support of our fast expanding network, which has now reached over 110 international destinations covering 5 continents.
Our new and cutting-edge fleet composed of B787s and A350s offer unparalleled on-board comfort to our customers and offer the best possible connections when traveling within Africa and between the continent and the rest of the world.
This 100 fleet milestone, which we have achieved ahead of our Vision 2025 targets, compels us to revise our plans with a view to phase in more aircraft and further expand our network so as to meet the growing travel needs of our continent and support its economic development and integration by facilitating the flow of investment, trade and tourism. We will continue to connect more and more Africans with their fellow citizens of the continent and with their brothers and sisters in the rest of the world to make life better every single day”
Ethiopian operates a mix of state-of-the-art aircraft with an average fleet age of five years. The Airline has 5 more Boeing 787-900 and 16 Airbus A350 airplanes on order, among others. Ethiopian was the first African Airline and second only to Japan to operate the B787 Dreamliner in 2012 and the first carrier in Africa to usher with the Airbus A350 XWB in 2016.
Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopian) is the fastest growing Airline in Africa. In its seventy plus years of operation, Ethiopian has become one of the continent’s leading carriers, unrivaled in efficiency and operational success.
Ethiopian commands the lion’s share of the pan-African passenger and cargo network operating the youngest and most modern fleet to more than 110 international passenger and cargo destinations across five continents. Ethiopian fleet includes ultra-modern and environmentally friendly aircraft such as Airbus A350, Boeing 787-8, Boeing 787-9, Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 777-200LR, Boeing 777-200 Freighter, Bombardier Q-400 double cabin with an average fleet age of five years. In fact, Ethiopian is the first airline in Africa to own and operate these aircraft.
Ethiopian is currently implementing a 15-year strategic plan called Vision 2025 that will see it become the leading aviation group in Africa with seven business centers: Ethiopian International Services; Ethiopian Express Services; Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics center; Ethiopian MRO Services; Ethiopian Aviation Academy; ET In-flight Catering; Ethiopian Ground Services, Ethiopian Airports Services and Ethiopian Skylight Hotel. Ethiopian is a multi-award winning airline registering an average growth of 25% in the past seven years.
Egyptian lawyer files €1 billion lawsuit against Ramos over Salah challenge
May 28, 2018 | 0 Comments
The Premier League Golden Boot winner posted on Twitter on Sunday to say he was “confident” he would be able to represent Hector Cuper’s side at Russia 2018 , but that has done nothing to quell the apparent anger of lawyer Bassem Wahba.
In an appearance on Egyptian television channel Sada El-Balad , Wahba announced he had filed a complaint to FIFA and accused Ramos of a deliberate act and inflicting “physical and psychological harm” upon a nation and its most celebrated footballer.
“Ramos intentionally injured Mo Salah and should be punished about his actions,” he claimed. “I’ve filed a lawsuit and a complaint to FIFA.
“I’ll ask for compensation, which could exceed €1 billion, for the physical and psychological harm that Ramos gave Salah and the Egyptian people.”
Life In A War Zone : 30 Days in Ambazonia/Anglophone Cameroon (2)
May 28, 2018 | 0 Comments
-Far-Near War While Anticipating an Attack on the City
By Solomon Ngu*
If one takes seriously the popular narrative surrounding the marginalization and oppression of the Anglophones, the conclusion would be that those who have taken up arms against the government are fighting a war of decolonization – they want to send away the colonizer. This evokes memories of decolonial wars fought around Africa between the 1950s and 1970s. Just how brutal these wars were is a subject that one cannot deal with in detail here but what we all know is that a certain category of people were fighting for their freedom. This war of liberation – according to the Fighters – is no longer about a return to federalism that the country experienced between 1961 and 1972. They want an independent Ambazonia or Southern Cameroons. Government crack-down, particularly soldiers’ unchallenged killings of unarmed Anglophones within the past twenty months, is fuelling the determination of those Ambazonians who want to get their country back. At the center of all this is the Francophonization of everything in Cameroon.
Anyone familiar with Anglophone Cameroon would attest that people in this part of the country talk about loss of freedom all the time. But the reality is that Cameroon is a police state where human rights violation, usually encapsulated by police brutality, has been normalized. Armed resistance against the government by the Amba Fighters has seen authorities devising many methods to further curtail the freedom of citizens. We witness that the government, fearful of what the Fighter could do, imposes curfews, undertake mass arrests, kidnappings, detentions and killings. It does not take long for anyone familiar with daily life in the Anglophone major cities of Limbe, Buea, Bamenda and Kumba to realize a shift in attitude as well as visceral adjustments to the new realities of urban uncertainty. In Buea where I spent most of my time, all the people I met constantly speculated when the war may reach the city. But at the same time, they went about their daily routine, cautiously.
I quickly adjusted to the new realities partly due to my familiarity with bodily discipline. I have been visiting Cameroon yearly for more than a decade and can thus easily tell what a tensional atmosphere is. Going to the countryside, a practice deeply rooted in my visits to Cameroon, was completely out of the question. All I could hear was that I would be endangering myself and the family if I dared ventured into the village. In a worst case scenario the fear was that it could become difficult for me to get out of the war zone in time to catch my flight back to USA. A point I made in my earlier post and to which I will return frequently is the ravaging war in the villages where the soldiers, out of desperation to eliminate the Amba Fighters, have resorted to burning down villages. These acts of vandalism also take an opportunistic trajectory as when they set up their command post in one or more of the deserted houses and then feed and feast on the food, cattle, chicken and pigs of the fleeing villagers. There have been reports of soldiers setting these occupied houses on flames when they relocate to another part of a village. Videos and photos of vandalized villages continue to circulate on social media.
Amba Fighters’ guerilla strategy whereby they attack the soldiers and then vanish into the bushes has left a frightened urban population. They fear what the soldiers could do to innocent civilians if the Fighters attack individuals and institutions they see as sustaining the Francophonization of this part of the country. Would they burn down entire neighborhoods and markets, destroy people’s livelihood and kill innocent civilians as they do in the villages? How the city dwellers survive in a war situation is the more troubling considering that unlike villagers who are relatively self-sustaining, these urbanites primarily depend on food imported from neighboring farming villages. It should be reiterated that the war has destabilized the vital rural-urban connection that has sustained sociocultural and economic ties between the city dwellers and their village of origin. Within the past hundred years, villages in Anglophone Cameroon have provided sanctuaries for urbanites who return to their land and ancestors when they encounter difficulties in the city.
As far as I could tell, no one took it lightly when it was rumored that the Amba Fighters were present in Buea. What I witnessed in Buea was that government administrators and the police people generally restrain from their well-known wanton lifestyle. Anyone familiar with urban life in Cameroon knows just well how members of the police force in uniform intimidate and bully ordinary citizens at non-office hours. But here is the thing I observed in Buea: police generally do not wear uniforms at non-office hours. In fact, they take off their uniforms before returning home from work. They do not go to the taverns and bars anymore in their uniforms. The words of one police officer I met in Buea summarize this transformed sartorial practice. Referring to a possibility of an attack by Amba Fighters in Buea, he said ‘who no di fear die (who isn’t afraid of death?)’. He took off his police paraphernalia as soon as he finished work so as to conceal his identity.
Police stations and checkpoints now have 1.6 meter tall wall of sandbags that are intended to defend the police in an event of an attack. The biggest surprise – when we see god-like figures responding to insecurity – has been that of the governor of the South West Region. Mr Bernard Okalia Bilai presently lives in the Francophone city of Douala from where he commutes daily to work in Buea flanked by security. Recall that this governor not too long ago said Anglophones are ‘dogs’ that would face the full force of the police if they dare protest on the streets. As it stands now, he has realized his own vulnerability and has come to terms with the fact that he no longer has the monopoly to subject citizens to discomfort.
As I began writing this piece about uncertainty in a war zone, I began to think of acts of profound love and pain that some women endured as the fled from the government forces in the villages. I think of this lady who walked for miles at twilight through the forest with her one and a half years old baby. She was seven months pregnant. There was also this lady who abandoned her ailing and helpless mother for hours when news of approaching government soldiers reached her village. Both these women found a way to flee to Buea but were now facing another possibility of fleeing again into the Francophone zone in case war erupted in Buea.
These feelings of impending war in the city point to the fact that there are diminished possibilities to live life as usual but most importantly, it has to do with the question of mortality. Diminished livelihood possibilities and death are catastrophes that have afflicted villagers ever since the military started invading the countryside in October 2017. And there seem to be no end in sight. As I write, people are still uncovering the corpses of unarmed civilians killed by a recent military onslaught in villages around Santa, Menka/Pinyin, Oshei, etc
*This is part of the series Life in a War Zone:30 Days in Ambazonia by Solomon Ngu
Prudent management of Africa’s resources will ensure dev’t – Bawumia
May 28, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Papisdaff Abdullah.
Ghana’s Second Lady, Samira Bawumia, has said Africa’s underdevelopment is largely attributable to lack of prudent management of the continent’s resources.
“We can only have a developed Africa if we manage our resources prudently and in the best interest of our people; “ Mrs Bawumia said, when she delivered a speech at the Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry at an event to mark the 55th Anniversary of African Union (AU) Day celebration in Rome.
She asserted that African countries need to translate opportunities offered by globalization into inclusive growth, increased poverty reduction and sustainable development.
However, we need to take account of the fact that, integration into global markets have some risks; as countries may become more susceptible to global trends, including corrupt practices by multinational corporations and other vested external interests.
The theme of the 55th Anniversary of the AU: “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Development”, according to Mrs Bawumia “goes to the crux of our national priorities.
ICT University graduates more than over 1000 in Uganda
May 27, 2018 | 0 Comments
By DICTA ASIIMWE
There was an ever present message of the changing times in academics and the global working order, as 1,421 students were awarded degrees, diplomas and certificates from ICT University in collaboration with Makerere University Business School (MUBS).
On May 25, students from across Africa were awarded different certificates, with some completing a doctor of philosophy. Other graduands were awarded masters, bachelors, diplomas and certificates at the MUBS main campus in Kampala Uganda.
Uganda and in particular Makerere University and its colleges are attractive to many students from across the African continents. It is this understanding that saw the proprietors of ICT University sign a memorandum of understanding with MUBS. And this decision is paying off, as those graduating came from Nigeria, Uganda and other countries in between.
The day, however, wasn’t just about merrymaking and enjoying one’s academic achievements, as speaker after speaker focused little on the congratulatory messages, with most choosing instead, to talk about the realty of joining the job market in an age when humans are now competing with artificially intelligent machines.
Jointly organised by two universities that are generally businesses oriented, the merrymaking didn’t stop the speakers from delving into the serious conversation of becoming gainfully employed when you are an African youth. So even in the face of celebration, cultural dances and the promise of celebratory meals, the graduands, especially those that were receiving their first degree were reminded that this was the beginning. This was the time when the graduands could start the process of making a difference through a lot of discipline, sacrifice and hard work.
Patrick Mweheire the Stanbic Bank Chief Executive Officer who gave the commencement speech warned the graduands that even jobs like accounting which used to be considered prestigious and hard to get have since been automated.
Faced with this challenge, Mr Mweheire advised the graduands to compliment the hardcore knowledge acquired from university with soft skills.
“Hardcore skills contribute 15 per cent to success. Soft skills contribute 85 per cent. So you have to make a conscience effort to continuously develop soft skills,” he says.
He says that since soft skills are not learnt from school, require constant learning. Such skills include the ability to deal with people and motivate others. He also says that someone with the right kind of soft skills has to have the ability to solve problems under pressure.
The soft skills he says will come in handy for looking for employment, as that’s how people with the same education on paper are differentiated. For those who want to start businesses, he says convincing someone to believe in an idea that doesn’t exist yet, isn’t something that can be learnt in school. The fact that millennials stay longer with company if, the business’ goals are aligned with personal ones means that even holding onto employees can be for an executive that lacks soft skills.
Dr Ezra Suruma the Makerere University Chancellor added that having graduated through an education system that largely examines the ability to cram and memorize facts and figures; the graduands had to reinvent themselves. The skill of cramming and reducing information is a skill that no longer has much value.
“The challenge that you face individually and collectively is that remembering Napoleon’s birthday is no longer of much value because you can get this information off the internet in an instant,” he says.
Dr Suruma advised the graduands to seek more knowledge, be persistently innovative and creative.
But the changing times wasn’t just reflected in the how to become gainfully employed messages. It was also in the fact that Makerere University’s Vice Chancellor was present for this particular graduation, suggesting an improvement in relations with MUBS. For the students Makerere University’s presence provides more authenticity for their academic documents.
“In the past the seat of the Vice Chancellor would have remained empty,” said the MUBS Principal Prof Waswa Balunywa.
MUBS is still a constituent college of Makerere University. The MUBS students that are not part of ICT University will graduate in January alongside those studying at the Makerere University. Years of fights of resources and independence had created a lot of enmity Makerere University and its constituent college MUBS.
Since MUBS become a semi independent institution, the two institutions didn’t fight over graduation lists and finances.
MUBS has even been actively campaigning to become independent, but Makerere University insisted this would require a change of name. Since MUBS without its Makerere association loses some of its popularity, this had become a continuously contentious issue until the arrival of Professor Barnabas Nawangwe.
Prof Nawangwe who is the new Makerere University Vice Chancellor was so cordial, he even directed that more of MUBS practices are adopted by the other colleges at the main campus, as this provides opportunity for improved performance and discipline.
African Development Bank delivers strong operational results
May 26, 2018 | 0 Comments
|The Bank is scaling up its efforts to accelerate the pace of industrialization, supported by its presence in 38 countries and by timely and quality operations|
BUSAN, Republic of Korea, May 24, 2018/ — The African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) is delivering on its goals and making good progress towards achieving its development and operational targets according to the 2018 Annual Development Effectiveness Review (ADER) , which was released at the Bank’s Annual Meetings in Busan, Republic of Korea.
Every year, ADER scrutinizes the Bank’s operational effectiveness and its organizational efficiency, using the Bank’s results measurement framework for 2016-2025. It brings together evidence of strengths and weaknesses to provide management with a clear understanding of what has worked well and what the Bank must do better to achieve its High 5 development goals.
“The report shows that the African Development Bank is delivering on its commitment to help Africa achieve the Bank’s High 5 priorities,” said Charles Boamah, Senior Vice-President. “The Bank continues to strengthen its effectiveness as an organization, while scaling up its operations.”
This year’s ADER has a special focus on industrializing Africa. “There are good reasons to be optimistic that industrialization is achievable in the coming years. Africa is open for business, with stable economies and supportive business environments,” said Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina. “It has a young and growing workforce that is increasingly global in outlook. Urbanization and the rise of the African middle class are opening up new consumer markets, which act as a magnet for investors.”
In 2017, companies had improved access to transport, energy, and skills, which expanded their ability to do business across the continent. The Bank contributed to these improvements: it provided 14 million people with access to transport – well above its target – while building or rehabilitating 2,500 km of roads in 2017 and also helped 210,000 small and micro businesses access finance, which benefitted 2.6 million people.
“This level of performance is promising, but we must continue driving operational delivery and impact,” said Simon Mizrahi, Bank Director for Delivery, Performance Management and Results.
The Bank is scaling up its efforts to accelerate the pace of industrialization, supported by its presence in 38 countries and by timely and quality operations. This backbone and experience position the Bank well to mobilize more resources from institutional investors around the world for industrial development.
UNFPA helps restore the dignity of women with Obstetric Fistula in Zimbabwe
May 26, 2018 | 0 Comments
A total of 397 women in Zimbabwe have benefitted from repair surgery conducted at fistula repair centres under the Campaign to End Obstetric Fistula led by the Ministry of Health and Child Care and implemented with financial and technical support from UNFPA and Women and Health Alliance International (WAHA).
Society for AIDS in Africa witnesses renewal of governance
May 26, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
On 8th May 2018, the Fiesta Royale Hotel in Accra, Ghana, witnessed the renewal of governance of the Society for AIDS in Africa in accordance with articles 10.1, 10.2 and 12 of the SAA Constitution.
According to Luc Armand Bodea, Permanent Secretariat of the Society for AIDS in Africa, After the regional electronic voting system which facilitated the elections of the new Administrative council members, six of the newly elected council members came to SAA’s Headquarters in Ghana to democratically elect their new Executive Council for a tenure of 4 years (2018- 2021).
The executive council elections were held at the SAA Permanent Secretariat, located at Adjiringanor, East Legon. The presiding election officer was Prof. Robert Soudre from Burkina Faso, member of SAA board of Trustees, seconded by Dr. Amissa Bongo, immediate past Vice President as electoral commission secretary.
The following Administrative Council Members were elected as Executive office Bearers:
President: Prof. John Idoko. (Nigeria)
Vice President: Hon. Dr. Pagwesese David Parirenyatwa (Zimbabwe)
Secretary-General: Prof. Tandakha Ndiaye Dieye (Senegal)
Deputy Secretary-General: Mrs. Sahra Guleid (Somaliland)
Treasurer: Dr. Namwinga Chintu. (Zambia)
Deputy Treasurer: Prof. Samuel Elias Kalluvya (Tanzania)
The SAA Permanent Secretariat coordinator, Mr. Luc Armand Bodea in his welcoming speech at Fiesta Royale Hotel stated that it is the 6th handing over ceremony of the Society. The First President was, Prof. Bensilman from Morocco, followed by Dr. Pierre Kelibou Mpele (Democratic Republic of Congo), and the third President, Prof. Femi Soyinka (Nigeria) who established the SAA Permanent secretariat in Accra in 2009, then the 4th President, Prof. Robert Soudre (Burkina Faso) followed by Dr. Ihab Ahmed A. (Egypt) the current out-going President. He further said the strength of the organization resided in the constitutional respect of the governing board and also the establishment of the SAA Permanent Secretariat. Civil society organizations such as NAP+ Ghana with members of the international Community, were in attendance with Mrs. Angela Trenton – Mbonde country Representative of UNAIDS, Amb.Dr. Mokowa Blay Adu Gyamfi, Director General of Ghana AIDS Commission and Mr. Hamidu Adakurugu, representative of the Minister of Health, Ghana.
The immediate past President of the 5th SAA governing Board officially handed over the leadership of the organization to the new SAA President Prof. John Idoko. In his speech, Dr. Ihab commended the outgoing fellow board members for their dedication and selflessness that permitted him to steer the affairs of SAA for the term of four years with good governance, integrity, and excellence. Dr. Ihab said and I quote: “Over the past years in office, we have demonstrated the need for a more innovative approach to prevent, control and mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS in Africa, this has been achieved through various initiatives mainly ICASA conferences. We tried as much as possible to give more visibility and transparency to SAA as an institution. This humble achievement could not have been possible without the support and commitment of our various stakeholders, civil society organizations, UNAIDS, WHO, Ghana AIDS Commission, Donors and others,”
In this direction, he expressed utmost gratitude particularly to Ghana AIDS Commission for its support to SAA Headquarters since the establishment of the Permanent Secretariat in Ghana. “I also thank WHO, UNAIDS, USAID, AU and all other UN agencies as well as all Donors working for the noble cause of preventing HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria in Africa. He, therefore, urged the incoming SAA President, Prof. John Idoko and his team to build on the past achievements that he believes now more than ever needs the absolute attention of this young generation of leaders to achieve the SDG’s and beyond while targeting the three 90.
The newly-elected SAA President, Prof. John Idoko, in delivering his official address commended Dr. Ihab and the past board members for their commitment and for organizing a transparent and democratic election which brought him into office. He emphasized the need to train younger research scientists to improve research towards achieving 90, 90, 90 and end AIDS. He further stressed that HIV/AIDS pandemic for past four decades taught us a lot and we need those experiences to efficiently tackle other emerging deceases like Ebola, Zika, Hepatitis, Cancer, Tuberculosis among others set in to destabilize our efforts, adding that there were areas that the organization would have to expand its scope to have better health for all.
The representative of the Minister of Health, the Director General of Ghana AIDS Commission and the Country representative of UNAIDS Ghana all acknowledged that since the inception of SAA with its ICASA platform the burden of HIV and related diseases in Africa has stabilized in the face of considerable progress in access to prevention, treatment, care, and support. They emphasized the relevance of the ICASA platform in helping to increase knowledge, experience sharing and development of strong networks and significant reduction of stigma in our society. They, therefore, commended the out-going President and newly elected President for their achievements and commitment in Africa’s effort to respond to HIV and AIDS, which has enhanced tremendously the image of SAA. Mr. Hamidu Adakurugu representing the Minister of Health concluded that, as Ghana is the host country of SAA Headquarters, Ghana has failed to secure several ICASA bids and it is the Governments’ wish for Ghana to Host ICASA.
The first board of the Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA) was established in Kinshasa in October 1990 during the 5th International Conference on AIDS and Associated Cancers in Africa, a precursor to the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA). ICASA is a biennial and bilingual (English & French) conference that convenes 7,000 to 10,000 plus delegates.
The formation of SAA with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) brought to an end, the practice of organizing the International Conference on AIDS in Africa, outside the African continent. At the same time, it empowered Africans to address and respond to the challenges posed by HIV/AIDS on the continent.
The Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA), the custodian of ICASA was founded in 1989 at the fourth International Symposium on AIDS and Associated Cancers in Africa (now ICASA) held in Marseille, France by a group of African scientists, activists and advocates in response to this epidemic. SAA envisions an African continent free of HIV, TB and malaria and their debilitating effects on communal and societal structures, where people are socially and economically empowered to live productive lives in dignity.
Namibia owes its independence to the OAU-President Geingob
May 26, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Andreas Thomas
Windhoek – For Namibia, the work of the Organisation of Organisation Unity (OAU) Liberation Committee and the solidarity of the African people were instrumental in securing the Namibian independence, said President Hage Geingob.
“It is why our future progress will remain intimately tied to the success of the African continent and its people,” President Geingob said in his Africa Day message on Friday.
Africa Day, marking the founding of the OAU on 25 May 1963 is a key moment in the history of the African continent.
He said the formation of the continental body, that has since transformed into African Union, does not only shine light on Pan-Africanism as an ideology of liberation and decolonization, but crucially, it also aligns our independence to the unity of the African continent.
“Africa is free. We are now in the second phase of our struggle in which the noble ideal of shared economic prosperity for all is not secondary, but an indispensable condition for a sustainable African future.
“The work of the African Union through Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want remains important in ensuring that the majority of Africans have access to decent housing, health, education and economic opportunity.
“To fight poverty, inequality and marginalization, and to unlock opportunities for our shared prosperity, particularly for our young people and future generations, we should encourage deeper economic integration; increase people-to people exchanges and make more investments in infrastructure to facilitate trade”.
The President emphasized that peace, security and effective governance “are the conditions sine qua non for our shared prosperity in the New Africa. In line with Agenda 2063, we have to silence the guns by 2020, for an Africa of opportunity for the majority to become a reality.
“We cannot create opportunities for our youth if we do not create accountable and transparent institutions, and intensify efforts to fight corruption. The decision by the African Union to dedicate its theme for 2018 to the fight against corruption is a step in the right direction. Concerted efforts should follow.
“I have no doubt that with more determination and focused implementation of policy; our vision of a united and prosperous Africa will become a reality. We have a unique opportunity to create sustainable conditions for our collective success.
On this Africa Day, we should reaffirm our commitment to work for a better Africa, a New Africa, and a different narrative for our continent”.
Africa Day signify victory against formal colonialism on the continent. “The rise of Africans against the brutality of imperialism and colonialism – Africans, conscious that they had the right to determine their own destiny, pursued through different forms of resistance and armed struggle, the systematic dismembering and termination of colonialism,” he said.
Geingob stressed that Africans need to pause, reflect and remind themselves with courageous deeds by the Pan-Africanist movement from its base in the Diaspora, led by influential activists and academics, including W.E.B DuBois, Henry Sylvester Williams and Edward Blyden, to leading nationalists such as Nkwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta, Julius Nyerere, Modibo Keita and Ahmed Sékou Touré.
Trump Versus Rwanda in Trade Battle Over Used Clothes
May 24, 2018 | 0 Comments
BY CLEMENT Uwiringiyimana and Joe Bavier*
KIGALI/ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Early last year, weeks after Donald Trump was sworn in as president, a little known American trade association filed a petition with the U.S. Trade Representative.
That seven-page letter set Africa in the cross-hairs of the new administration’s ‘America First’ trade ideology, pitting the world’s largest economy against tiny Rwanda over an unlikely U.S. export: cast-off clothes.
In March, the USTR warned Rwanda it would lose some benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), America’s flagship trade legislation for Africa, in 60 days after it increased tariffs on second-hand clothes to support its local garment industry.
“The president’s determinations underscore his commitment to enforcing our trade laws and ensuring fairness in our trade relationships,” Deputy U.S. Trade Representative C.J. Mahoney said, announcing the decision.
The 60-day grace period expires on May 28.
But no matter the outcome, the row is further straining Washington’s relations with Africa at a time when it is being aggressively courted by America’s global competitors, not least China.
Beijing has invested tens of billions of dollars in the continent, most recently as part of its huge Belt and Road foreign trade strategy.
Under AGOA, enacted in 2000 with the aim of using trade to boost development, qualifying African countries are granted duty-free access to the U.S. market for 6,500 exported products.
The current dispute, which also initially involved Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, has received none of the attention of Trump’s trade war with China or his haggling with North American neighbors.
Yet critics – including former U.S. trade officials – see in it a worrying indication of how Washington will approach trade relations with Africa.
“It delegitimizes so much of what we’ve worked for for so many years,” said Gail Strickler, who served as the top U.S. trade official on textiles until 2015. “I think it’s horrible. I think it’s sad. I think it’s pathetic and I think it’s obscene.”
MADE IN RWANDA
Since her husband was murdered in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, Devotha Mukankusi has relied heavily on the UTEXRWA garment factory in the capital Kigali.
“I survived the genocide together with my kids. But it’s thanks to this job that they have grown up,” she said, her voiced raised above the drone of sewing machines as she supervised a group of women assembling police uniforms.
Some 800,000 people – 10 percent of Rwanda’s population – were killed in the genocide. The economy was crushed.
Rwanda has bounced back in the past decade or so. As part of a drive to become a middle-income country by 2020, it is nurturing a garment sector it hopes can create 25,000 jobs.
But domestic demand for locally produced clothes has been stifled, east African governments say, by the ubiquity of cheap, second-hand garments imported from Europe and the United States.
The manager of the factory where Mukankusi works says the facility is only running at 40 percent capacity and second-hand garments, which can sell at well below his production costs, are at least partly to blame.
In response, East African Community (EAC) members Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda increased tariffs on used clothing in July 2016. Rwanda hiked import duties from 20 cents to $2.50 per kilogram.
At Kigali’s Biryogo market, where shoppers pick through bales of used garments, the downside of the increase in duties was immediate.
“Before, even with a little money, you could buy enough second-hand clothes for a child. But some children in my neighborhood are now naked,” Fillette Umugwaneza, 24, a mother of two told Reuters. “It is a disgrace to our country.”
Rwanda’s government argues such hardships will be short-lived. Opening new factories will create more, better paid jobs, while expanding domestic consumption will cut its external trade deficit, it says.
That will take time, admits Clare Akamanzi, CEO of the Rwanda Development Board, but early results are encouraging.
“Just in the last two or three years … we’ve seen almost three times growth in production of garments and textiles for the economy,” she said.
The government is also seeking to attract companies targeting the export market, like U.S. designer Kate Spade which assembles high-end handbags in Rwanda. It’s a strategy that has flourished elsewhere in Africa under AGOA, with duty-free exports from the continent to the U.S. market almost quadrupling to over $1 billion since the law was enacted.
The ultimatum from the office of the USTR, however, has thrown up a potential roadblock to further growth.
It acted after receiving a complaint in March last year from the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART), a U.S.-based organization which represents companies that collect and resell Americans’ used clothing.
Selling America’s used clothing – much of it donated to charities and the bulk of it originally made outside the United States – is a nearly $1 billion industry. Exports typically end up in poor nations. Africa is a key destination.
SMART said the EAC duty increase violated AGOA.
“It basically was a shutdown in the market for my members,” SMART Executive Director Jackie King told Reuters. “When Rwanda particularly wanted the duties increased by 1,100 percent, it just wasn’t possible to do business there.”
The USTR agreed to review the AGOA status of all four countries. That decision shocked some veteran trade officials in Washington.
“AGOA clearly has a criterion that the beneficiary countries must be eliminating barriers to U.S. trade,” said Florie Liser, former Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
“That’s kind of always been there, but no one was looking to go after the AGOA countries.”
The mere prospect of losing AGOA benefits was enough to push Kenya, which in 2017 exported nearly $340 million worth of apparel duty-free to the United States, to back down.
The remaining east African nations initially tried to defend their position at a USTR hearing in July, rejecting SMART’s assertion that the new tariffs had cost 24,000 American jobs in the first nine months. Using U.S. trade data, they pointed out that the decline in exports to the EAC that SMART blamed for the job losses had already begun four years before the 2016 duty increase.
Data compiled by agoa.info, an online information portal about AGOA run by the South Africa-based Trade Law Centre, indicates that U.S. used clothing exports to Rwanda in particular actually increased slightly in 2016.
SMART has not publicly disclosed the survey of its members used to calculate the job losses, saying it contains proprietary information.
The EAC also accused SMART of inflating the importance of the east African market to the industry. Trade data showed the United States shipped around $24 million worth of used clothing to the EAC in 2016.
SMART, however, added another $100 million in exports it said were shipped to third countries for processing before being re-exported. By its calculation the EAC represented over a fifth of the U.S. industry’s global market.
After the July 2017 hearing, Uganda and Tanzania followed Kenya’s example and capitulated, agreeing to roll back tariffs to pre-2016 levels.
Rwanda has held out. If it does not concede by the end of this month it faces losing duty-free access for its garment exports.
“The United States has been explicit about what Rwanda must do to adhere to the AGOA eligibility criteria,” a U.S. official told Reuters. “It is up to Rwanda to make a decision.”
The dispute has provoked dismay in Washington and Africa.
“(Africans) are watching. They’re shocked and they’re livid,” said Rosa Whitaker, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton as the United States’ first Assistant Trade Representative for Africa and helped draft the original AGOA legislation.
She called the Trump administration’s actions bullying and predicted they would backfire.
“African countries, from what they’re telling me, are feeling abandoned. We’ve just ceded it to China.”
Devotha Mukankusi is more matter of fact about the trade tiff. She’s survived genocide and the Trump administration doesn’t worry her, she said.
“My message for Trump is that it won’t affect us. We are determined to be self-reliant. We’ll make our own clothes.”
Democracy according to Eritrea’s Afwerki, then and now
May 24, 2018 | 0 Comments
On the 27th anniversary of Eritrea’s independence, Isaias Afwerki should remember what he once said about democracy.
On September 8, 1997, in a public address at the Walton Park Conference in West Sussex, England, President Afwerki delivered profound remarks on democracy and the rule of law in a speech titled “Democracy in Africa: an African view.”
In this address, the president listed six fundamental principles that he believes are the most essential pillars of a modern democracy, particularly in Africa:
1 – The right of a citizen to an equal share of natural resources, including access to basic necessities and protection from hunger and deprivation.
2 – The right to equal opportunity, including education and other services that are essential for personal development.
3 – The right to full respect and protection of one’s dignity – as a human being, citizen and member of a community – without any discrimination on the basis of social status, religion, gender and race.
4 – The right to life, unhindered movement, and freedom of expression and opinion.
5 – The right for and the provision of, appropriate legal and institutional guarantees consisting of, among other things, a constitution and a judiciary.
6 – The right for and the provision of a responsible, transparent, and non-corrupt government to uphold the rule of law and defend the national interest.
Despite the progressive views expressed by the president in this speech, Eritrea has moved further and further away from democracy in the last two decades under his rule.
First of all, Eritrea is still being ruled without a constitution. After a three-year-long drafting process, the country’s constitution was ratified in 1997, but it has not been implemented to this day.
Also, the country is still run by a single party – People’s Front for Democracy and Justice – whose last congress convened over 20 years ago, in 1994. The last meeting of the national assembly, on the other hand, took place over 16 years ago, in January 2002.
Born Free pleads with Zambian President to spare the lives of 2,000 wild hippos
May 24, 2018 | 0 Comments
Hippo massacre could be bloody reality if government-approved cull goes ahead
In a shocking and secretive move, Zambian authorities have overturned their 2016 decision to suspend the brutal culling of up to 2,000 hippos in the world-famous Luangwa Valley over the next five years. The cull is once again being promoted to trophy hunters as a hunt, this time by the South African hunting outfitter Umlilo Safaris. Wildlife charity, Born Free, who led efforts to stop the slaughter in 2016, is calling for the authorities to urgently re-consider and abort this barbaric agreement that only benefits private safari hunting companies and trophy hunters.
Born Free President, Will Travers OBE, stated: “Our sources reveal that the government has moved swiftly to reinstate the cull, perhaps hoping this would go unnoticed. Far from it! They are, apparently, using the same flawed rational for the slaughter as last time – a preventative measure to avoid a future outbreak of anthrax, combined with an assertion that low rainfall will exacerbate the situation. They also appear not to have informed key stakeholders in the Luangwa Valley, including the Luangwa Safari Association and the District Commissioner. The negative consequences for thousands of hippo and Zambia’s reputation as a wildlife tourism destination – the proposed cull site can be seen from the internationally-renowned Chichele Lodge – cannot be under-estimated.”
The Zambian Ministry of Justice has apparently decided that the original and discredited contract between The Department of National Parks & Wildlife (DNPW) and Mabwe Safaris – the Zambian company who were awarded the culling contract last time – should be honoured and that the cull is to start imminently. Hunting camps are already being set up. However, the original contract was, in Born Free’s view, based on false information and should be rescinded.
The DNPW is seeking to justify the cull by claiming it is a ‘wildlife management tool’ to prevent anthrax outbreaks among wildlife due to high populations of hippo, compounded by unusually low rainfall in Luangwa. However, Born Free asserts that this isn’t the case.
Will Travers confirmed: “Leaving to one side the vitally important moral and ethical arguments, these same justifications attempted last time should be rejected, again, for the following reasons:
- DNPW has, to date, failed to provide robust, scientific evidence demonstrating that there is an overpopulation of hippos in the Luangwa River or make public the Government of Zambia report that has previously been cited in their justification
- DNPW have failed to provide robust, scientific evidence that clearly demonstrates that previous hippo culls in the Luangwa Valley have been successful in reducing the hippo population over the long-term.
- DNPW has failed to provide rainfall and river level data showing that river levels and water flow in the Luangwa River are abnormally low and cannot sustain the current hippo population
- DNPW has failed to provide credible, scientific evidence to show that such an indiscriminate hippo cull of healthy animals would prevent a future outbreak of anthrax – nor prevent the spread of an existing one.
- Scientific evidence suggests that culling hippos stimulates breeding and ends up increasing the population, potentially establishing a vicious cycle of death and destruction.
- Wild hippo numbers across Africa are under increasingly pressure with a maximum estimate of just 130,000 animals – about one third of the number of the high-profile African elephant. Furthermore, as efforts increase to end the trade in elephant ivory, hippos are being increasingly targeted for their ivory as a replacement. Latest data confirms that in the decade to 2016, more than 6,000 hippo teeth, 2,048 hippo tusks and a further 1,183 hippo ‘trophies’ were exported to EU Member States alongside thousands of other ‘parts and products’. International trade records show that from 2004-2014 around 60,000 kg of hippo ivory were imported into Hong Kong.”
Travers concluded: “Born Free is asking national and international wildlife conservation organisations, concerned individuals and those who have a strong affinity with hippos, to join us in calling on the President of Zambia, His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu, to personally intervene and call a permanent halt to this damaging and distressing plan, with immediate effect.”
- HipposThe hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) is listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, with an estimated population of just 115-130,000 animals. The Red List assessment notes that hippo population declines continue to be reported in many countries, and that “The conservation status of Hippos remains precarious and the need for direct conservation action to protect Hippos and Hippo habitat across their range is a priority”.Born Free’s mission is to ensure that all wild animals, whether living in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect and are able to live their lives according to their needs. Born Free opposes the exploitation of wild animals in captivity and campaigns to keep wildlife in the wild.
Born Free promotes Compassionate Conservation to enhance the survival of threatened species in the wild and protect natural habitats while respecting the needs of and safeguarding the welfare of individual animals. Born Free seeks to have a positive impact on animals in the wild and protect their ecosystems in perpetuity, for their own intrinsic value and for the critical roles they play within the natural world. For more information about Born Free please visit: www.bornfree.org.uk