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African government representatives and policymakers to grace 2018 sustainable energy for all forum in Portugal
April 30, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

African countries’ representatives and policy makers are expected to grace the forthcoming sustainable energy for all 2018 forum to be held on 2 to 3 May 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal to deliberate on and advance sustainable energy initiatives in their respective countries.

According to the organizers, this year’s forum programme includes a number of government ministers and other policymakers from countries in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean Islands, Mexico and Europe. It is reported that ministers from Rwanda, Ghana, Saint Lucia, Portugal and other countries will be discussing the importance of government policy in stimulating, or impeding, energy access, energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts. They will also join other key stakeholders to discuss critical topics such as clean fuels for cooking and electrification for all in Sub-Saharan Africa.

It is added that leaders from government, business, civil society and international organizations will gather in Lisbon for the fourth Sustainable Energy for All Forum. The organizers add that the 2018 Forum, “Leaving No One Behind”, will take place at a pivotal juncture for accelerating progress on global sustainable energy goals — under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 — and the Paris Climate Agreement. At stake are significant populations that are missing out on education, health, jobs and broader economic opportunities because they do not have access to clean, affordable energy. Closing these energy gaps — especially for ‘last mile’ populations — is the Forum‘s imperative.

The agenda will focus on sharing the latest evidence of scalable innovations in providing electricity access, accelerating renewable energy and improving energy efficiency in all corners of the world. It will shine a spotlight on the urgency for bringing affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy to under-served populations, communities and regions that are at risk of being left behind in the global clean energy transition. These populations are especially vulnerable to energy poverty, climate impacts and other extreme economic challenges; yet they also lack a voice, finance and political capacity for changing their situation.

Hosted by Sustainable Energy For All (SEforALL) at the Convento do Beato in Lisbon, the Forum will examine the latest data on progress — or lack of — in achieving SDG7 goals. A highlight will be the launch of the 2018 Global Tracking Framework report, which benchmarks annual progress towards achieving universal access to modern energy services, doubling renewable energy and improving energy efficiency by 2030.

The Sustainable Energy for All Forum will be a marketplace featuring an exhibition space that will allow SEforALL partners to showcase their work, a platform for leaders and organizations to share their latest announcements and ‘pitch’ bigger collaborations,diverse, cutting-edge voices from Africa and the Middle East, to South America and Asia who are all accelerating and scaling action at the local, national and international level,unique networking opportunities for brokering new partnerships between governments leaders, business CEOs and civil society leaders and regional and sector-focused discussions through 16 Partner Working Sessions.

It is reported that other key events will include the fourth edition of the Global Tracking Framework, updates from SEforALL Accelerators, including the People-Centered Accelerator and others focused on industry, business and efficiency, a new interactive website that maps stakeholder engagement on gender equality, social inclusion and women’s empowerment at the nexus of sustainable energy and climate change agendas, the launch of a new report on socio-economic trends impacting the gendered uptake of energy access and SDG7 and announcements from the Shine campaign.

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“I’m back”, Ex Malawi President Joyce Banda returns after a 4 year self-imposed exile
April 30, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

Joyce Banda

Joyce Banda

The former president of Malawi, Joyce Banda returned to the country after spending 4 years in exile; this despite allegations of corruption and an arrest warrant hanging over her head. Hundreds of supporters of her party (People’s Party) clad in the party’s orange colours sang and ululated as Joyce Banda got off the plane.

Joyce Banda, the second woman in history to be the president of an African country after Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia became the president of Malawi in 2012. The 68-year-old ex-president who formed a splinter party in 2011 competed and won the presidential election against her former party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) after the death of Bingu wa Mutharika; he died in office.

Circumstances leading to her self-imposed exile

Joyce Banda’s reign as the president of Malawi was short-lived as she lost the 2014 Tripartite General Elections to DPP. One of the major reasons behind Joyce Banda’s election loss is due to the Cashgate Scandal.

The Cashgate Scandal became a public secret just six months before the 2014 Tripartite General Elections. A British accountancy firm, Baker Tilly tasked with auditing the flow of donor money in Malawi unravelled huge financial discrepancies and fraud in government business. The firm’s report revealed that there were 501 suspicious transactions between April and September of 2013. These suspicious transactions involved massive fraud activities as invoices were overstated by thousands and sometimes millions of dollars. The report also revealed that there were some invoices written to companies that had not rendered any services or products to the government. The report stated that US $14.5 million had been paid to dormant companies just for money laundering purposes.

As the media frenzy around the story started to rise, the public also started to connect the dots as rumours started doing the rounds on how many high ranking civil servants were acquiring properties in affluent suburbs around the country. At one point, a government clerk was found with $300, 000 in his car.

Though the report didn’t name any perpetrators, it led to a growing public dissatisfaction and resentment of the Joyce Banda led government. Consequently, she went on to lose the election. Fearing that she might be used as a sacrificial lamb by the incoming government, Joyce Banda fled the country spending most of her time in the US.

It took some time for the new government to officially charge Joyce Banda but it did so in 2017 when an arrest warrant was issued for her on corruption charges.

A case of using scarcity to increase respect and honour?

The timing of Joyce Banda’s return is somewhat interesting. Joyce Banda while in exile always claimed her innocence whenever the Cashgate Scandal topic was raised. If indeed that is the case, then she surely didn’t stay much longer in exile due to fear of prosecution in her mother country. The mere fact that she finally decided to return even when the arrest warrant is still valid to some extent proves this assertion correct.

However, not discrediting the above, we can also say that Joyce Banda’s return is inspired by the quest to clear her name and involvement in the Cashgate scandal. In all her time living in exile, Joyce Banda has always said that the practice of inflating invoices and siphoning donor money started long before she ascended to power. This claim is supported by many officials both in government and in non-governmental organisation, even the accountancy firm, Baker Tilly who unravelled the Cashgate Scandal first concur that the practice of siphoning public funds certainly didn’t start with the reign of Banda. However, the same report suggests that money laundering increased significantly when she was in charge. This means while trying to exonerate herself from any wrongdoing, Banda still needs to explain how the siphoning of donor funds increased under her watch.

Renowned author Robert Greene’s 16th law of power taken from his book, The 48 Laws of Power reads’ “Use absence to increase respect and honour” while the 22nd law reads, “Use the surrender tactic: transform weakness into power.” There is no doubt (whether she was involved or not) that the Cashgate Scandal dampened and stained Joyce Banda’s political fortunes more so considering the election loss. Recognising the damage done, Joyce Banda had to look for a strategy, either to stay in the heat or to strategize in private. She opted for the second option and it was (it seems) the right option. Staying in Malawi would have further damaged Banda’s reputation as she was going to be an easy target for the blame game.

By staying away from the public eye, she created value by her scarcity. She returning exactly a year before the next presidential election and announcing on her arrival her intention to hold a rally the very following day clearly shows that she is not done with politics. Banda used the surrender tactic by going into exile and that transformed her previously stained and weak position into a position of power. The challenge now for her is to reenergise her political base. This won’t be easy however considering that her party’s leadership has been fighting in her absence. Just like the proverbial sheep scattering all over after the ‘death’ of the shepherd, Banda’s task in the immediate future is to bring back the sheep into a single grouping before next year’s presidential election in May.

Government’s response

The only communication issued by the government thus far concerning Joyce Banda’s return has come from the Police spokesperson James Kaledzera, who said that the arrest warrant for Joyce Banda is still valid. He, however, could not be drawn into saying if the police are going to act on the arrest warrant and arrest Joyce Banda. With the Malawi Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) stating that there is no solid evidence implicating the former president in the Cashgate Scandal, it seems right at this time to conclude that Joyce Banda is not going to face an arrest over the corruption allegations.

The likelihood of an arrest is also very slim if reports from the media are anything to go by. There are reports that Joyce Banda and the incumbent president, Peter Mutharika are planning to strike a deal which will see their two parties entering the upcoming elections as an alliance. It’s not clear at this point who the presidential candidate is going to be if the two agree to form an alliance.

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Trump finally hosts African leader at the White House
April 30, 2018 | 0 Comments

By SAM OLUKOYA*

FILE - In this Friday, May 29, 2015 file photo, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari arrives for his Inauguration at the eagle square in Abuja, Nigeria. After more than a year in office, President Donald Trump for the first time is hosting an African president at the White House. The meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, April 30, 2018 comes after an uncomfortable start to the Trump administration's approach to the world's second most populous continent. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba, File)

FILE – In this Friday, May 29, 2015 file photo, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari arrives for his Inauguration at the eagle square in Abuja, Nigeria. After more than a year in office, President Donald Trump for the first time is hosting an African president at the White House. The meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, April 30, 2018 comes after an uncomfortable start to the Trump administration’s approach to the world’s second most populous continent. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba, File)

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — After more than a year in office, President Donald Trump for the first time is hosting an African president at the White House. The meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday comes after an uncomfortable start to the Trump administration’s approach to the world’s second most populous continent.

Security and economic issues top the agenda for the bilateral meeting and working lunch. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with almost 200 million people, is the largest economy on the continent and the leading crude oil exporter. Buhari was one of the first two African leaders Trump called after he took power, along with South Africa’s president.

Nigeria is also one of Africa’s most troubled when it comes to extremism. Extremist group Boko Haram launched a violent insurgency in the northeast nine years ago with the aim of creating an Islamic state, and tens of thousands of people have been killed. Mass abductions of schoolgirls brought Boko Haram international notoriety and one faction has declared allegiance to the Islamic State group.

Boko Haram is now active in neighboring Cameroon, Niger and Chad and poses one of the most severe security threats to West Africa’s vast Sahel region.

With Nigeria nowhere close to fully defeating Boko Haram despite government claims of having “crushed” the extremists, Buhari is expected to seek further U.S. military assistance. Already the Trump administration has made a $600 million deal to supply military planes and security equipment, one that was stalled under the Obama administration because of allegations that Nigeria’s military has been involved in human rights including rape and extrajudicial killings.

“Absent clear evidence of a systematically abusive regime, moral preening is of little utility in dealing with situations like this,” J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, said in a blog post on Thursday, saying Buhari’s administration has taken a “much more decisive approach” to Boko Haram.

Buhari, facing elections early next year, is under pressure to deliver on promises to defeat Boko Haram that helped him win office in 2015 in a rare democratic transfer of power in Nigeria.

In addition to seeking greater security collaboration, Buhari and Trump also will “discuss ways to enhance the strategic partnership between the two countries and to advance shared priorities, such as promoting economic growth,” the Nigerian presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, said in a statement.

Nigerian newspapers report that a team of government officials that travelled to the U.S. ahead of Buhari have signed an agreement to provide four companies led by General Electric the opportunity to invest an estimated $2 billion to modernize key railways between Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos, and the northern city of Kano and between Port Harcourt in the oil-rich Niger Delta and the northern city of Maiduguri — the birthplace of Boko Haram.

China, the top investor in Nigeria, already is deep into similar infrastructure work in the country.

Officials in Buhari’s delegation also will try to strike a deal with U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing for a new state-owned airline project that Nigeria’s junior aviation minister, Hadi Sirika, has said will be the largest in Africa.

Nigerian officials are also expected to explore financing arrangements with the Export-Import Bank of the United States and the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

While Nigeria seeks closer military and security ties with the U.S., it can’t overlook the difficult moments since Trump came to power — not least Trump’s firing of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson just hours after Tillerson came to Nigeria on the highest-level U.S. visit to Africa since Trump took office.

In December, Nigeria and several other African countries that are traditionally friendly with the U.S. at the U.N. General Assembly voted to condemn Trump’s controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In January, Nigeria was one of a number of outraged African countries to summon the U.S. ambassador to explain Trump’s reported vulgar remarks likening the continent to a filthy toilet.

The U.S. president already had caused anger in Nigeria in June when he reportedly said Nigerians wouldn’t want to return to their “huts” if allowed to visit the U.S.

Such utterances have left Trump with a low rating among many Nigerians, though some in the country with a sometimes tense Muslim-Christian divide have said they support the U.S. president’s wary stance on Muslim immigrants, notably his administration’s travel ban.

The stricter immigration policies, however, also make it more difficult for many Nigerians to travel to the U.S., doing nothing to give Trump a positive perception in a country where many youths want to escape economic hardship at home.

In light of the Trump administration’s perceived neglect of Africa, with key posts including assistant secretary of state for Africa and several ambassadorships remaining unfilled, “the administration may see the Buhari visit as an opportunity to make some amends, though they are unlikely to say as much,” a former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, wrote Friday for the Council on Foreign Relations.

*AP

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Liberian ex-President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf dedicates $5M prize to women’s empowerment
April 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Bethlehem Feleke*

Former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf reacts with the medal after receiving the Ibrahim Prize, the world's biggest individual prize for Achievement in African Leadership, during 2018 Ibrahim Governance Weekend at Kigali Convention Centre in Kigali, Rwanda late April 27, 2018. She is the first woman who receives the award as 5th laureate since 2007. The prize only goes to a democratically-elected African leader who demonstrated exceptional leadership, served their mandated term and left office within the last three years. The award comes with $5 million (4.7 million euros) paid over 10 years and $200,000 annually for life from then on. / AFP PHOTO / Cyril NDEGEYACYRIL NDEGEYA/AFP/Getty Images

Former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf reacts with the medal after receiving the Ibrahim Prize, the world’s biggest individual prize for Achievement in African Leadership, during 2018 Ibrahim Governance Weekend at Kigali Convention Centre in Kigali, Rwanda late April 27, 2018.
She is the first woman who receives the award as 5th laureate since 2007. The prize only goes to a democratically-elected African leader who demonstrated exceptional leadership, served their mandated term and left office within the last three years. The award comes with $5 million (4.7 million euros) paid over 10 years and $200,000 annually for life from then on. / AFP PHOTO / Cyril NDEGEYACYRIL NDEGEYA/AFP/Getty Images

(CNN)Former Liberian President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Friday accepted a $5 million prize for excellence in African leadership — and said she’ll use it to establish a center for the empowerment of women.

Sirleaf, the first woman to be awarded the Mo Ibrahim Prize, gave her acceptance speech on the opening night of the Ibrahim Governance Weekend in Kigali, Rwanda.
Sirleaf, 79, stepped down early this year after two terms as Liberia’s president. The prize recognizes her role in the West African nation’s recovery from years of devastating civil war, the prize committee has said.
She plans to use the prize money to establish the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development, which she said is “designed to support women as agents of change, makers of peace, and drivers of progress.”
Sirleaf made women’s progress a key focus of her speech.
“We must tackle the historical disadvantages which have made women political outsiders,” said Sirleaf, who was Africa’s first democratically elected woman president. “It is my hope that women and girls across Africa will be inspired to break through barriers and to push back the frontiers of possibilities.”
She was met with a standing ovation from leaders across Africa, who will spend the rest of the weekend in discussions about how to tackle the continent’s challenges as part of the Ibrahim Forum. This year’s forum focuses on public service.
The London-based Mo Ibrahim Foundation launched the humanitarian award in 2007 to celebrate democratically elected African presidents and prime ministers who have developed their countries and followed their constitutional term mandates. Former South African President Nelson Mandela is among its laureates.
Ibrahim, a Sudanese-born telecommunications businessman and billionaire, created the foundation bearing his name in 2006. It uses 88 criteria to rate the governance of African countries.
The $5 million prize is distributed over 10 years, and winners receive $200,000 every year for life thereafter.
The prize had not been awarded since 2014 because no eligible or worthy candidate was identified. The last one was given to former Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba. Five people, including Sirleaf, have won the prize.
*CNN
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MTN Group commits to creating 1000 jobs in support of the YES initiative
April 28, 2018 | 0 Comments
MTN Group today confirmed its support of the Youth Employment Service (YES) and has committed to the creation of 1000 jobs within the first year of the initiative.
In March, President Cyril Ramaphosa launched YES, a business-led collaboration with government and labour which aims to empower one million young South Africans by offering paid quality work opportunities over the next few years.
MTN will be creating the 1000 jobs across its South African business and Group head office, covering both operational and functional roles.
“YES is an innovative social partnership that has the potential to be a significant catalyst for economic growth and development,” says MTN Group President and CEO, Rob Shuter.
“MTN loves fresh and bold solutions and that’s what YES is bringing to South Africa’s unemployment crisis. We’re proud to be a supporter of the YES programme and look forward to welcoming more companies to the YES Team so that together, we can drive sustainable change for the unemployed youth of our country,” Shuter says.
Tashmia Ismail-Saville, CEO of YES, says the success of the initiative now lies in bringing scale to the operation.
“Research has consistently shown that young people, with at least a year of paid work experience, are significantly more likely to secure permanent employment after that first year. South African business holds in its collective hands the chance to turn the tide on the scourge of youth unemployment and we are very pleased to welcome MTN Group as one of the forerunner companies to Team YES,” Ismail-Saville says.
 “The return on the investment in creating pathways for youth that are currently locked out of the economy will be a significant return for all businesses, in the longer term. On the other hand, the costs of ignoring six million of our marginalised youth will be a far higher price to pay, for our economic future,” she adds.
YES is supported by Government and the initiative is individually cited in the proposed amendments to the B-BBEE (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment) Codes of Good Practice. Business and the public are encouraged to give inputs and comments on these amendments. Comments will be accepted until 29 May 2018.
Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a multinational telecommunications group, operating in 22 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code: “MTN.” As of 31 December 2017, MTN recorded 217.2 million subscribers across its operations in Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Iran, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, South Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.
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Christopher Katongo: Zambia must do more for crash families
April 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Stanley Kwenda*

Former Zambia captain Christopher Katongo says his country needs to make families of the 1993 crash victims feel truly honoured

Former Zambia captain Christopher Katongo says his country needs to make families of the 1993 crash victims feel truly honoured

Christopher Katongo, who captained Zambia to the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, says his country should do more to recognise the players and officials who died in 1993 in a plane crash off the coast of Gabon.

The exact cause of the fatal crash on the night of 27 into 28 April has never been fully established.

All 25 members of the Chipolopolo squad, including coaches, as well as five crew members died as they were travelling for a World Cup qualifier against Senegal in Dakar.

“The Zambian people will respect you when you are at the level they want you at, but when you are not they don’t want to cherish what you have done,” he told BBC Sport.

“Zambia’s attitude is different from Europe’s. In my country they can have meetings at the stadium saying ‘We are remembering blah blah blah…’ – they will talk about it for sure but won’t do anything with it.

“We have to remember in a way that the family actually has to feel it. We are not doing enough for the family to really feel we had a hero.

“I know the government is doing something – there’s a heroes stadium – but these people died in battle and we need to remember them in a way that the families will feel appreciated.”

As well as the US$4 million allocated to the families in 2002, those who died are all buried at Heroes Acre, which is also home to a monument in their memory.

A monument to the people who died in the 1993 crash and the National Heroes Stadium
Heroes Acre is home to a monument in the memory of those who died and it s next to the National Heroes Stadium too.

The main stadium in Lusaka is called the National Heroes Stadium in their honour, while an area in the capital has streets named after all those who died.

Nonetheless, Katongo insists more can be done.

“When I look at Europe they will remember in such a way that you actually start grieving again and the tears come again and people feel ‘Yes, yes I think my son did well.’

“The presidents of our country are always supportive but you can’t do anything alone. We need the whole country to recognise someone who has done so much for their country.”

On the eve of the 2012 Nations Cup final, Katongo lead his team in a tribute to the 1993 squad on the Libreville beach close to where the crash happened.

The BBC African Footballer of 2012 says he will spend the anniversary at home in Lusaka, Zambia, reflecting on the events leading up to the crash.

“I am not going anywhere. I will be at home reflecting on my life and remember these players,” he added.

Katongo also looked back at what he as doing on the day he heard about the crash.

“I remember I was in grade six. I was thinking it was a joke. There were different groups here and there talking about the players,” he recalled.

“Other people were saying it’s not true, that the players had been captured because the Gabonese don’t have good players so they want this team to start playing for Gabon.

“The whole country was quiet. Nobody was shouting, it was only whispering. I had never seen the country quiet like that.

“No one was listening to music, everybody was listening to the radio and every hour there was news of the crash.”

Katongo, who played for clubs at home as well as in South Africa, Denmark, Germany, Greece and China, is now working as a coach in Zambia.

He added that his dream is to coach Zambia to another Nations Cup title and qualify for the World Cup as a tribute to the 1993 squad.

*BBC

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Ethiopia is now Africa’s fastest growing economy
April 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Chris Giles*

(CNN)Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populated country, is forecast to be the fastest growing economy in Sub-Saharan Africa this year, according to new data from the IMF.

Ethiopia’s economy is predicted to grow by 8.5% this year. The figures signal continued economic expansion following a long period of impressive growth. In the last decade, Ethiopia has averaged around 10% economic growth, according to the IMF.
To boost the economy, the country is pursuing a number of large-scale infrastructure projects, including the Grand Renaissance Dam and a railway network.
“(Ethiopia) has had a very high growth rate and I think that’s a result in large part of a very concentrated effort by the government to boost industrial production and manufacturing,” said Vijaya Ramachandran, an economist at the American think tank Center for Global Development (CGD).
Ramachandran, along with three academics, released a report suggesting Ethiopia can follow in China’s footsteps, and become a destination for low-wage .
*CNN
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A classic tale of the clash between tradition and modernity: Jacob Zuma’s impending marriage to a 24-year-old woman
April 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

Reports from several media outlets suggest that former South African president Jacob Zuma is set to marry for the seventh time. The bride is a 24-year-old woman named Nonkanyiso Conco from KwaZulu-Natal.

Jacob Zuma is facing many counts of corruption and has already appeared before the court to answer to his charges. That has not, however, distracted the 74 year old’s preparations to tie the knot for the 7th time in his life.

Nonkanyiso Conco who is believed to be the director of a Pietermaritzburg-based Nomkhubulwane Culture and Youth Development Organisation whose aim and vision is to protect the cultural practices of young Zulu women and the national executive committee treasurer and communications officer for She Conquers confirmed the rumours during an interview with the Sunday Times. She said “Yes‚ we are getting married‚ but that is all I can say. I need to consult before I give any interviews.”

The impending marriage between the two lovebirds has stirred debates in the country and on social media platforms where traditionalists are in support of the union and ‘modernists’ view the union as a step back on many fronts.

Jacob Zuma for a long time has warmly embraced his Zulu culture and practising polygamy is common among Zulu men and women. As such, the decision to take a seventh wife didn’t come as a surprise to the avid followers of the Zulu culture. In fact, Zuma has been heralded as a guardian of the Zulu culture.

However, Zuma’s decision to take another wife has been condemned by others. One such opponent is the She Conquers organisation, the same organisation where Zuma’s soon to be wife worked until 3 days ago. It’s not clear if the decision was Ms Conco’s or if she was forced out. What’s in the open though is the displeasure by She Conquers at Ms Conco’s choice of husband.

She Conquers released a statement which expressed its disappointment at Ms Conco stating that her decision to marry Jacob Zuma is contrary to its message which is to “empower young women in every phase of their lives, and to end reliance on sugar daddies.” The deputy chair of She Conquers, Leonora Mathe weighed in saying “As a campaign, we promote economic empowerment and self-dependence of young women to eliminate the concept of reliance on ‘blessers.”

Those against the union of Jacob Zuma and Ms Conco on social media largely agree on the issue that this marriage is a step back on the progress that the country has achieved thus far in the fight against HIV/AIDS. According to UNAids, South Africa has the fourth-highest adult HIV prevalence rate in the world which stands at 18.9%.

Out of the 18.9%, the rising rate of HIV infection among adolescent girls and young women accounts for the bigger proportion. It’s believed that the issue of blessers (older men having sexual relations with younger women) is the reason behind the rising HIV infection rates among adolescent girls and young women. Against this background, many argue that the decision taken by Zuma to marry a younger woman by sets a bad example both to other older men and also to the young girls who are manipulated into sexual relationships by material things.

There are also others who argue that the rising number of teenage pregnancies and gender-based violence can be attributed to such relationships, therefore, it’s an error on the part of a man with the stature of Zuma to set a bad precedence.

Though both parties have not stated the date for their wedding, reports suggest that Jacob Zuma has already paid lobola (bride price). It’s also reported that the two welcomed their first baby recently.

Zuma is currently married to 3 other wives, Sizakele Khumalo the first wife whom he married in 1973 after his release from Robben Island, Tobeka Madiba and accomplished businesswoman Gloria Bongi Ngema whom he married in 2010 and 2012 respectively.

Apart from these, Zuma was also married to Kate Mantsho whom he married in 1976. She committed suicide in 2000. He was also married to the former AU Chair and presidential aspirant, Nkosazana Dlamini whom he married in 1982 and divorced in 1998. Zuma also married Nompumelelo Ntuli in 2008 but the two later divorced after allegations of an affair between Nompumelelo Ntuli and one of her bodyguards. She was also alleged to have plotted to poison Jacob Zuma, allegations that she vehemently denies up to this day.

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ECA $496million anticipatory approval: Law makers kick start Buhari’s impeachment
April 25, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Olayinka Ajayi

Some Nigerian Law makers in the house of representatives have called for President Muhammadu Buhari’s impeachment for approving the withdrawal of sum of $496 million without their approval.

House Speaker Yakubu Dogara

House Speaker Yakubu Dogara

Following a letter written by Buhari to the house on Tuesday, defending his approval of the money used for the procurement of 12 Super Tucano aircraft from the US.

According to TheCable, the money was said to have been withdrawn from the excess crude account (ECA).

In a letter written to the national assembly, Buhari said he had anticipated the lawmakers will approve the withdrawal.

Reading the contents of the letter during plenary on Monday, Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house, quoted Buhari as saying: “In the expectation that the national assembly would have no objection to the purchase of this highly specialized aircraft, which is critical to national security, I granted anticipatory approval for the release of US$496,374,470.00.”

He said the letter was sent to the leadership of the national assembly on April 13 and was received by his (speaker’s) office on April 17.

The development angered the lawmakers who accused the president of “overriding” their powers.

Their deliberation on the matter followed a constitutional point of order raised by Kingsley Chinda, from Rivers state.

Citing sections 80 and 81 of 1999 constitution, Chinda said the Nigerian law does not recognise anticipatory approval.

He condemned the approval, wondering what would happen if the lawmakers fail to approve the money.

“There is nowhere in our law that talked about anticipatory approval. We cannot sit down and allow this to take place. It is an impeachable offence. There is no infraction that is worse than this. Let us not continue to sleep. I propose that we commence the impeachment of Mr President,” he said.

Some other lawmakers who also contributed to the motion supported the impeachment move, accusing the president of seeking their approval through the backdoor.

Sunday Karimi from Kogi said the lawmakers should write the president and inform him he has breached the constitution and “he should be prepared to face the consequences.”

“This is the time to tell the president that we were elected to serve the people,” he added.

However, Emmanuel Orker-Jev, chairman of the house committee on rules and businesses, said going by the house rules, Buhari’s letter ought to be slated for second reading before the house could debate it.

Thereafter, Dogara said the matter would be slated for second reading on a date during which “we can decide on what to do

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MainOne’s West Africa expansion gets boost with Cote d’Ivoire license
April 24, 2018 | 0 Comments
MainOne’s West Africa expansion gets boost with Cote d’Ivoire license
Construction of a fourth cable authorised by the government will improve the international connectivity of the country and will provide a lot more opportunities for the national market while increasing competition
From left: Minister for Communication, Digital Economy and Postal Services, Cote D’Ivoire, Minister Bruno Koné; Member, Board of Directors, MainOne, Dapo Oshinusi and Chief Executive Officer, MainOne, Funke Opeke receiving the license to expand national and international connectivity services in Cote D’Ivoire last week

From left: Minister for Communication, Digital Economy and Postal Services, Cote D’Ivoire, Minister Bruno Koné; Member, Board of Directors, MainOne, Dapo Oshinusi and Chief Executive Officer, MainOne, Funke Opeke receiving the license to expand national and international connectivity services in Cote D’Ivoire last week

LAGOS, Nigeria, April 23, 2018/ — As part of its West Africa expansion, connectivity and data centre solutions operator MainOne (www.MainOne.net) has secured a license to expand national and international connectivity services in Cote d’Ivoire. The C1B license, received from Minister Bruno Koné, the country’s Minister for Communication, Digital Economy and Postal Services, will enable MainOne land its trans-Atlantic submarine cable and build transmission infrastructure in Cote d’Ivoire, to strengthen connectivity, reduce international capacity costs and support wholesale customers, major operators and Internet Service Providers.

Cote d’Ivoire authorities believe that the construction of a fourth cable authorised by the government will improve the international connectivity of the country and will provide a lot more opportunities for the national market while increasing competition. “We have just taken an important step through this authorisation for the improvement of the telecommunication infrastructure of our country, specifically the improvement of international connectivity. MainOne cable will have an impact on price and quality and will strengthen the security of our infrastructure”, declared Minister Bruno Koné.

The entry of MainOne, an open-access connectivity services provider will further democratize the international bandwidth market in Cote d’Ivoire and neighbouring countries and drive down bandwidth costs for local Internet Service Providers, Telcos and indigenous businesses.

“Cote d’Ivoire is the largest economy in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and a very important hub for business and transport in West Africa. The dynamism of the national economy and accelerated development of the digital economy in Cote d’Ivoire as well as its regional leadership makes it a natural hub for the West African region and guided MainOne’s decision to invest in Cote d’Ivoire”, said Funke Opeke, Chief Executive Officer of MainOne.

As part of an overarching plan to invest close to $20m in Cote d’Ivoire with a focus on the provision of wholesale connectivity services, MainOne has obtained the license and will commence the construction of its digital transmission cable in June 2018, to be concluded in the second half of 2019. Its cable landing will provide open-access infrastructure within Cote d’Ivoire and other WAEMU countries to expand internet access for all users in the region and support rapid development as well as facilitate increased non-resources trade and improve public services to aid the evolution of regional businesses.

“By investing and encouraging the business ecosystem within West Africa, we hope to bring meaningful technology solutions to businesses, to enable them in their quest for improved productivity and efficiency through dedicated and reliable connectivity services. We are prepared to collaborate with incumbent operators towards enhancing regional integration and global access,” Ms. Opeke concluded.

MainOne is committed to deepening broadband access via fibre infrastructure and data centres across West Africa. With service delivery in 10 countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo, Cameroun, Benin, Niger, Senegal and Chad, MainOne operates a 100G international submarine cable system which guarantees highly reliable connectivity to support the growing demand for Internet access and bandwidth-intensive applications such as eCommerce, Content providers, OTT players and electronic banking and payment services via 3/4G mobile networks. The MainOne Submarine cable was the first privately owned cable in West Africa spanning 7000KM with a capacity of 4.96 TBPS to connect West Africa to Europe via a landing in Portugal and multiple routes to London, Paris and Amsterdam.

MainOne (www.MainOne.net) is a leading provider of connectivity and data centre services for businesses in West Africa. Since its launch in 2010, MainOne has developed a reputation for highly reliable services to become the preferred provider of wholesale Internet services to major telecom operators, ISPs, government agencies, large enterprise, and educational institutions in West Africa. MainOne’s world class submarine cable system running down the coast of West Africa, state of the art IP network, growing regional and metro terrestrial fibre optic networks, and data centre facilities enable broadband services for businesses needing solutions in West Africa. Our network is interconnected and peers with leading operators and internet exchanges worldwide to provide global reach to our customers

 

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Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) celebrates 25 years of leading the way in U.S.-Africa business relations
April 24, 2018 | 0 Comments
From L to R: Florizelle Liser, CCA President and CEO, Ray Washburne, OPIC President and CEO, Jeff Sturchio, CCA Board Chairman

From L to R: Florizelle Liser, CCA President and CEO, Ray Washburne, OPIC President and CEO, Jeff Sturchio, CCA Board Chairman

Washington, D.C. – April 24, 2018 – Established in 1993 during a time when Africa was not viewed as a prime destination for investment, CCA has been critical in facilitating and promoting increased U.S. investment on the continent. Over the last 25 years, CCA has remained dedicated to providing its members with access to key African and U.S. government officials, connections to U.S. and African business leaders and decision makers and insight on the most important issues affecting business on the continent.

CCA uniquely represents a broad cross section of member companies from small and medium size businesses to multinationals as well as U.S. and African firms. Its members are invested in Africa’s most promising sectors including agribusiness, energy, finance, health, ICT, infrastructure, security, tourism and trade facilitation.

On Monday, April 23, 2018 at CCA’s Annual Members Meeting hosted by CCA Member, DLA Piper LLP (US), CCA President and CEO, Florie Liser, emphasized the organization’s continued commitment to advancing U.S.-Africa business and investment. “We are honored to have served as the leading organization solely focused on US-Africa business relations for the past quarter century, and we look forward to continuing to serve as the key resource for U.S. and African companies investing across the continent.” To set an ambitious path forward, CCA is in the process of developing a strategic plan that will ensure that U.S. businesses stay ahead of the curve, as the US-Africa trade and investment relationship continues to evolve.

Mr. Ray Washburne, President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), delivered the keynote address and led a discussion with CCA members about the administration’s vision and objectives regarding trade and investment opportunities on the continent. “Today, OPIC’s global portfolio is more than $23 billion, and about one quarter of that is invested in Africa.” Mr. Washburne underlined the steps currently being taken within Congress and the Administration to strengthen OPIC. He highlighted the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act (BUILD Act), which proposes the creation of a consolidated, reformed Development Finance Institution with significantly enhanced resources and tools. The legislation, if passed, will allow OPIC to better support U.S. businesses investing on the continent.

CCA will commemorate its 25th anniversary through a series of events and initiatives throughout the course of the year.

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Buhari condemns Killing of Catholic Priests, worshippers
April 24, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Olayinka Ajayi

*…Describe it as satanic, despicable

L-R: Late Joseph Gor And Felix Tyolaha

L-R: Late Joseph Gor And Felix Tyolaha

Following the gruesome murder of Catholic Priest and worshippers at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Ukpor – Mbaom community in Gwer East Local Government of Benue State recently, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has described such act as despicable and satanic.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina said those behind the act would be fished out to face the consequences of their wicked act. “I extend my sincere condolences to the government and people of Benue State, the Mbalom community, and especially the Bishop, priests and members of the St Ignatius’ Catholic Church, whose premises was the unfortunate venue of the heinous killings by gunmen.”
“This latest assault on innocent persons is particularly despicable. Violating a place of worship, killing priests and worshippers is not only vile, evil and satanic, it is clearly calculated to stoke up religious conflict and plunge our communities into endless bloodletting.”
Stressing that the country will not bow to the machinations of evildoers, President Buhari vowed that the assailants would be hunted down and made to pay for the sacrilege committed.
The Catholic Diocese of Makurdi confirmed the killing of two of its priests, Rev Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha, in an early hour attack on St Ignatius Quasi Parish, Ukpor, Mbalom in Gwer West Local Government Council of Benue.
A statement by its Director of Communications, Rev Fr Moses Iorapuu, stressed that the attacks were perpetrated by herdsmen who stormed the Mbalom community and killed the two priests during the morning mass at the church.
The Diocese expressed regret at the nonchalant attitude of the security agencies in containing the killings. It said the herdsmen, who stormed the community, burnt down houses, destroyed crops and killed people. The church, therefore, urged the relevant authorities to stop the killings in the Benue valley. Iorapuu said the Diocese had been active in providing food and relief materials to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) since the onset of hostilities in the state and wondered why it could be marked as a target of attacks. “The attack on the priests is an attack on everything that we ever stood for and believed in.” Meanwhile, concerted efforts to get reaction from the Benue Police Command failed as its Public Relations Officer, ASP Moses Yamu, was not forthcoming with remarks. Rev. Fr. Gor had before the attack written on Facebook; “Living in fear. The fulani herdsmen are still around us in Mbalom. They refuse to go. They still go grazing around us. No weapons to depend on ourselves”. Herdsmen in the early hours of the morning attacked a Catholic Church and parishioners who went for 5.30 a.m. mass. Reports say the bodies of the dead have been taken to St. Theresa’s Hospital Makurdi.
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