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Children in peril of malnutrition in war-torn S. Sudan, UNICEF warns
October 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Juba – the United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF) has warned that there is alarming high number of children under five-year of ages suffering from physical of poor diets and food stuff.

South Sudan gained independence from the north in 2011 after decades of civil war, but returned into another civil war in late 2013, uprooted four million people both internally and externally from their homes, placed them under severely hunger and malnutrition.

The country’s five – year conflict has also ruined the economic and farming activities, leaved civilians on the arm of humanitarian agencies. To access the conflict-areas is measure problem due to insecurity and inaccessible roads in the country, surrendered children into malnutrition status.

The UNICEF chief revealed that the prevalence of acute malnutrition among children in the war-torn country was quiet alarming, it has increased from 13 per cent in 2018 to 16 per cent in 2019, which has above the 15 per cent emergency threshold.

“Every child in need treatment for malnutrition is a failure, a failure in preventing the suffering,” said UNICEF Representative in South Sudan, Dr. Mohamed Ag Ayoya in the press release. Preventing malnutrition is an essential part of realizing every child’s right to health. Young children can suffer lifelong consequences and in worst case die if malnutrition is not addressed timely during the first crucial years in life.”

Speaking to press in Juba on Tuesday, Andrea Suley, UNICEF deputy Country’s Representative said that a malnutrition is complex and must be fought on all fronts simultaneously.

“Together with partners and donors, we have become exceptionally good at treating children for acute malnutrition; now we must make up our game and become even better at preventing it,” said Suley.

Speaking on the same event, Dr. Baba Samson, advisor to the Health’s Ministry, said the parents should invest in prevention measures rather than cure.

“We need to invest in prevention than cure. [because] We are fighting a losing battle, and not addressing the root causes of the problems,” said Samson.

Baba stated that poor sanitation and lack of clean drinking water was a big contributing factor to acute malnutrition in many localities in South Sudan.

“The problem of malnutrition today in our country is not only poor diet but it is the issue of lack of clean drinking water and poor sanitation that is affecting many children today,” said Samson

However, the UN Children Fund said a comprehensive nutrition campaign to fight malnutrition across the country has been launched.

Suley stressed that UNICEF and partners are working to promote age-appropriate feeding practices for children, including cooking demonstrations with locally available food.

UNICEF’s deputy unveiled that hygiene promotion, improving access to clean drinking water and sanitation and providing health services will also be contributing to prevention of malnutrition.

She further appealed to the government to produce multi-sector strategic plan for nutrition with joint targets, pool resources, multi-sectoral coordination, an accountability framework and joint monitoring and evaluation system.

Suley also urged donors and non-governmental agencies to support prevention strategy of addressing malnutrition by prioritizing prevention of malnutrition at community and facility levels, adding that the community must ensure that their children have a healthy diet.

“With good food and nutrition, we can set a child up for success, and yet we are losing ground in the fight for healthy diets,” said Executive Director of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore at the global launch of the state of the world’s children report in London. This is not a battle we can win on our own. We need governments, the private sector and civil society to prioritize child nutrition and work together to address the causes of unhealthy eating in all its forms.”

 “It is globally estimated that 1.3 million children under the age of five will suffer from acute malnutrition in 2020. This calls for a paradigm shift in addressing malnutrition by shifting focusing on treatment to prioritizing prevention by reducing the need for treatment,” said Suley.

The challenge is not only securing enough food but ensuring children are eating the right things and get the nutrients they need to develop to their full potential, said the UNICEF.

“Only 7 per cent of children under five in South Sudan has an adequate diet. Furthermore, common diseases such as malaria must be prevented and treated, as they are often the starting point for malnutrition,” said Ayoya in the press statement. Only 50 per cent of households have access to clean water and only 10 per cent access to improved sanitation. Ensuring clean water and addressing poor sanitation and hygiene practices are also essential to preventing diarrheal diseases causing malnutrition.”

Suley said there are 2000 centers in the country set for specific nutrition to treat malnutrition countrywide.

“We have a very large program in the country where we focus on prevention and treatment with 48 NGOs to provide prevention services on malnutrition,” she said.

However, the state of the world’s children 2019 report finds that in 2018, at least 1 in 3 children under five globally, were either stunted, wasted or overweight, reflecting poor growth and putting them at risk of increased infections, weak learning skills, low immunity and, in many cases, death. In addition, 1 in 2 children – or 340 million globally – suffered from deficiencies in vitamins and minerals such as iron and iodine, further undermining their growth.

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Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo to construct a joint hydropower plant of 147 MW
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo have signed agreements that will see the construction of a joint hydropower plant named Rusizi III.

Ruzizi III project is a 147 MW hydro-power regional project between Burundi, DRC and Rwanda to be developed as a PPP (Public Private partnership) Project at a total cost ranging between $644 million and $700 million according to Rwadan Ministry of Infrastructure.

The signing ceremony occurred this Mondany in Kinshasa in front of three Ministers, Claver Gatete in charge of Infrastructure in Rwanda, Come Manirakiza in Charge of Minister of Hydraulics, Energy and Mines and Acting Minister of Energy and Water Resources of DRC.

Rusizi III hydropower plant will be constructed in Rusizi area of South-western Rwanda which borders whith DRC and Burundi, on the Rusizi river.

The project is expected to cost of $644 million, of which $138 million will be provided by African Development Bank.

The construction works set to start by 2021 and be completed by 2026.

Rwanda’s Minister of infrastructure, Claver Gatete commended the move , and insures that when completed, It will boost energy sector among those countries.

“The signing of Rusizi III power project today in Kinshasa will boost energy generation and Econ development in Rwanda, DRC and Burundi”, he wrote on Twitter after signing ceremony.

Construction works will be done by IPS (an Agha Kan owned company) and SN Power whch is a Norwegian company.

Rusizi III hydropower project is planned to generate 147 MW and the power output is shared among the three partner states with Rwanda getting 48.3MW and the rest is shared between Burundi and DRC.

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A Rwandan man made a three month long walk to remember victims of Genocide
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Ntigurirwa arriving in Kigali

Ntigurirwa arriving in Kigali

Hypolite Ntigurirwa, a Rwandan youth has concluded his three month walk of peace in remembrance of victims of genocide  perpetrated against the  Tutsi in 1994.

This journey started  on 15 April this year  and was concluded this Thursday, 25 July.

Ntigurirwa, a genocide survivor himself toured the  whole country to mark the journey made by victims in 1994 while they were going to be slaughtered.

Genocide against  the Tutsi in Rwanda left more than million victims, mainly Tutsis.

Ntigurirwa finished his walk at Kigali Genocide memorial where he put a wreath at the tombs in which more than 250 thousands victims are buried.

He told the press that he saw genocide with his own eyes when he was seven years old.

Recalling the cruelty by which genocide was made, Ntugurirwa wants this walk to be a siren of peace so that what happened  never happen again anywhere around the world.

He concluded his journey at Kigali Genocide Memorial

He concluded his journey at Kigali Genocide Memorial

“ I travelled a long way during genocide while I was a child trying to escape killers, that’s what made me come out of my fear and remember that way of the cross”, he said

“You cannot beg for peace, when you want peace you give it or you work for it. Our grand children will never find peace if we don’t sow it today” he added

Asked why he  opted to walk instead of driving, Ntigurirwa said “There are some acts that you cannot do while in  car. For instance there are way I would arrive and people tell me ‘this hill has a history’ and I would climb to discuss with the dwellers.”

The walk of more than  a thousand kilometers kicked off from Western Province and was concluded in Kigali.

Ntigurirwa works with a NGO. Before starting his walk, he asked for a four month long leave without a salary.

During his walk, he would use his own money and he revealed he has used more than one thousand dollars.

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Kenya:10 betting firms given go ahead to operate
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27

Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i

Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i

Kenyan government has renewed licenses of 10 out of 27 betting companies after complying with the new set of rules for the industry players.

Early this month the Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i annulled licenses of 27 betting firms for breaching the rules and regulations. The move was arrived at after owners failed to adhere to the tough rules aimed at regulating betting in the country. They had up to July 1, 2019 to renew their permits.

The new rules oblige them to operate within the country’s laws governing the betting industry, pay tax and show their financial stability in the past four years.

The directive issued saw the firms’ pay bill numbers and short codes shut down and gamers ordered to withdraw their funds deposited in the companies wallet.

Kenya’s biggest betting company SportPesa is leading the list of the firms affected by the directive and its fate still hangs in the balance. The gaming operator which sponsors various sports activities in the country rubbished the government reports that it is evading tax.

The company through its CEO Ronald Karauri said in 2018 they generated revenue of US$194 million, made a gross profit of US$90 million and paid US$64 million in taxes.

The firm sponsors Kenya Premier League, football giants Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards among others activities.

Meanwhile, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has decried over financial challenges that await football activities in the country should the status quo remain.

FKF President Nick Mwendwa has pleaded with the Betting Control and Licensing Board to review its decision in order to save the country’s football from crumbling.

“We are on the verge of losing approximately US$60 million as football will be affected in the fight. If SportPesa exits, we will be left without a title sponsor for the league and Shield Cup. Gor Mahia and AFC Leopard and the national team will also suffer and this is why I am asking the government to have football in mind as they do their regulations. Honesty, without them, we will struggle and even the big international matches will no longer be held,” said Mwendwa.

The national team Harambee Stars is sponsored by Betin Kenya which is also the casualty of the new laws.

 

 

 

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Kenya’s finance officials deny corruption charges
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27

Former Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich

Former Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich

Kenya’s Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich on Tuesday pleaded not guilty before a Nairobi Court to graft charges over fraud linked to two dams’ projects.

Rotich, his Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge and eight others were arraigned a day after spending behind the bars. They are among the 28 people whom the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) issued their arrest warrants on Monday, July 22 following the outcome of a comprehensive investigations carried out by a multi-agency team presided by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss George Kinoti.

The suspects are alleged to have defrauded the government billion of money in the dam projects run by the Italian construction company CMC di Ravenna.

It has been reported that US$446 million was earmarked for the completion of Arror and Kimwarer dam projects in the Kenyan Rift Valley but the treasury had inflated the amount to US$610 million.

The DPP further revealed that US$6 million was paid out for the resettlement of people living in areas the projects were to be undertaken but there is information about the acquisition of land.

They were charged with 24 counts among them willful failures to comply with applicable procedures relating to procurement, engaging in a project without prior planning, conspiracy to defraud, and abuse of office, neglect of official duty, issuing of misleading information, fraudulent acquisition of public property and committing an offence of financial misconduct.

The investigative agencies have hinted at seeking repatriation of CMC di Ravenna director Paolo Porcelli to face graft charges.

“We have the Italian individual, he has not managed to present himself so we will be seeking his extradition to come and face the charges here in Kenya. We will also issue an international arrest warrant,” said Noordin Haji.

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ZPBA to facilitate the launch of the African Association of Plant Breeders
July 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

The Zimbabwe Plant Breeders Association (ZPBA) is set to facilitate the launch of the African Association of Plant Breeders on 23 to 25 October, 2019 in Ghana, according to Dean Muungani, ZPBA President at the recent ZPBA annual event held in Mazowe, Zimbabwe under  the theme: ‘Unpacking Better Seeds for Sustainable Development.’

However, Muungani lamented over the low uptake after a call was made for abstracts to be submitted for the scheduled launch event. He said that only one applicant had made a submission and encouraged members of the association to make submissions.

The ZPBA is also planning to host its elective congress scheduled for January 2020.According to Muungani, it will also be an opportunity for new office bearers to be elected into office to champion to association to go forward.

The ZPBA is a registered trust, membership based, non-political and not-for-profit professional association of Zimbabweans based locally or abroad active or interested in plant breeding and related fields launched on the 26th of January, 2016 with funding from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

According to Muungani, the related professionals include biotechnologists, geneticists, molecular biologists, seed technologists, seed agronomists, seed inspectors, genetic conservation specialists and  plant propagators, just to mention a few.

The main objectives of the association include promoting scientific plant breeding  and related research through discussion and communication, influencing  plant breeding training and education and contributing to continuing professional development of members so that they are technically up-to-date and remain relevant for their current and future employers both locally  and in the global village, promoting high standards of professional ethics among its members, representation of members’ interest and promoting interaction with the view to advancing the science and business of plant breeding.

 

 

 

Since its  inception the ZPBA has organised a number of seminars and workshops which include a seminar focussing on Genetically Modified Crops, ZPBA first anniversary event with Climate change themed presentations from various presenters. Facilitators were drawn from the Ministry of Environment, Water & Climate (MoEWC), FAO, CIMMYT, OXFAM, Seed Services, the Prof. Pangirayi Tongoona Symposium themed ‘From Art to Science in the Crop Seed Sector’ with several presentations from CIMMYT, Tobacco Research Board (TRB), and several ex Prof Tongoona students, the Demand-led Plant Breeding approaches training workshop at ACCI-UKZN made possible with external sponsorship, breeders Course on preparing and presenting variety release and supporting documents in Zimbabwe funded from member subscriptions  and the seminar on molecular breeding of soya-bean by Prof Kristin Bilyeu of USDA/ARS at the University of Zimbabwe  department  of Crop Science in  Harare, a seminar titled in search of excellence in agriculture research management in Africa by Professor Paramu Mafongoya of UKZN at the  University of Zimbabwe department  of Crop Science in Harare, breeders’ course on generation, analysis and interpretation of experimental and genetic designs applied to plant breeding, facilitated by Dr. Juan Burgueno and Dr. Fernando Toledo in Harare, seminar presentations by three UK visiting scientists- Professor Liz Baggs of University of Edinburgh, Dr Eric Paterson of the James Hutton Institute and Dr Lumbani Mwafulirwa of University of Edinburgh.

 

 

According to Muugani, the ZPBA is currently planning two events before the end of the year on the promotion of liming of soils, earmarked for some time in August/ September in Mhondoro.

“We are now moving from seminars and workshops to projects in the field. We hope more field projects will be implemented in future,” Muungani said.

 

The other event will involve a training course on variety screening and breeding for resistance to fall armyworm (FAW), which will include a field visit to Muzarabani.

Commenting on the recent meeting, Muungani said;

“The meeting which has largely been oversubscribed, is unique in that it brings a lot of diversity in terms of content, as past events were largely dominated by maize presentations, in terms of the breadth of institutions represented such as research, academia, farmers unions and   seed houses and the diversity of participants. This reflects growth on the part of the association”.

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Kenya:Harambee Stars drop in the FIFA ranking
July 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma |@journalist_27

Harambee Stars

Harambee Stars

Kenya’s men national soccer team Harambee Stars have performed dismally in the latest ranking by the world football governing body FIFA.

Results released by FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Thursday saw Kenya drop two places in the world. Stars are in position 107 in the 211-nation rankings from 105 in the last standing announced in June.

The drop is believed to have been caused by lackluster display in this year’s African Cup of Nation in Egypt. Sebastian Migne’s charges were eliminated at group stage after losing to both Algeria and Senegal by margins of 2-0 and 3-0 respectively. They managed a single narrow win of 3-2 against neighbours Tanzania who were appearing to the tourney since 1980.

Uganda has emerged as the best team in FIFA ranking in Eastern Africa at position 80, followed by Kenya and then Sudan at 129.

Senegal leads in Africa, Tunisia and Nigeria come second and third, the current African Champion Algeria is in fourth position and Morocco closes the best five teams in Africa.

Globally, Belgium has retained the top spot, Copa America winner Brazil is second, 2018 the world cup winner France has dropped to position three, England and Uruguay are fourth and fifth respectively.

The news comes at a time when the team is preparing for African Nations Championship (Chan) and 2021 AFCON qualifiers. Kenya will travel to Dar es Salaam on Sunday, July 28 to take on Tanzania before hosting them in Nairobi in chan 2020 qualifier on August 4.

On November 11, 2019, Stars will battle African football giant Egypt in Cairo in the 33rd AFCON qualifier and host Togo on November 19. The East African country was pitted against Egypt, Togo and Comoros Island in Group G in the draw done last week by CAF.

 

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Mozambique: Eni starts the installation of the hull of Coral Sul FLNG
July 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Arnaldo Cuamba

Eni has started installation works on the hull of the Coral Sul floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) treatment and liquefaction unit that will be moored offshore in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique. The unit is part of the Coral South project, which will put in production 450 billion cubic meters of gas from the giant Coral reservoir. The hull is expected to be launched in 2020, in line with the planned production startup of the Coral South Project in 2022.

The italian company sanctioned its Coral South project in June 2017 and achieved financial close for a total amount of around $4.7 billion for the Coral South FLNG multi-sourced project financing in December 2017.

The Coral Sul FLNG facility will have a gas liquefaction capacity of 3.4 million tons per year when completed and will be the first FLNG vessel ever to be deployed in the deep waters of the African continent. The vessel, which will be 432 metres long and 66 metres wide and weigh about 220,000 tons, will be able to house up to 350 people in its eight-storey accommodation module.

Alongside the LNG infrastructure under construction, the Coral South project also includes a number of initiatives aimed at enhancing the overall capabilities of the local workforce. These include specialized training activities for over 800 Mozambicans, who will eventually be employed during the operational phase of the project.

Eni is planning to anchor a second FLNG vessel using gas from the northern part of the Coral field, which is estimated to hold 16 trillion cubic feet of gas, but FID on that project is not expected until after 2020.

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Solomon Tembang is new Managing Editor of Cameroon’s Lone English Language daily Newspaper, The Guardian Post
July 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Solomon Tembang is a bucket of talent whose mastery of Cameroon and African affairs will be a great boost to the Newspaper

Solomon Tembang is a bucket of talent whose mastery of Cameroon and African affairs will be a great boost to the Newspaper

The lone English language daily newspaper in Cameroon, The Guardian Post, now has a new Managing Editor in the person of Solomon Tembang.

Solomon Tembang, who was previously Desk Editor, takes over from Macdonald Ayang, who has moved to Cameroon Press and Publishing Company known by its French acronym SOPECAM.

The designation of the experienced and widely read Solomon Tembang to take over from Macdonald Ayang was announced Saturday by the Publisher, Ngah Christian Mbipgo, during an enlarged editorial meeting at the newspaper’s newsroom in Yaounde. The publisher, after the announcement, called on Tembang to be assiduous in the discharge of his duties and ensure continuity with the efforts of The Guardian Post to remain the leading English language newspaper in the country. In an exchange with this reporter Sunday about his designating as The Guardian Post’s Managing Editor, Tembang said: The Guardian Post, being the most widely read English-language newspaper in the country, and the lone English- language daily, I am aware the job will be challenging, but I think I am up to the task”.

Very passionate about journalism since his secondary school days, Solomon Tembang started contributing to newspapers even before he graduated from the University of Buea. While still in the university, he reported for the now defunct Weekly Post newspaper. Upon graduation from the University of Buea in 2002, Tembang was a reporter and editorial assistant with the now defunct The Heron newspaper; and from September 2003 to February 2006, he was a freelance writer with the youth reproductive health magazine, 100% Jeune.

In January 2005, he joined Eden Media Group as a reporter in Bamenda and in May 2006, he was promoted to the head office in Limbe as Desk Editor. In 2011, he became Editor of Eden Newspaper. Solomon Tembang also from May 2012- May 2013 had a one-year stint at a book publishing house, The Cure Series Publishers Ltd, during which time he also ran a column in The Sun newspaper titled ‘Matters of the Moment’.

In March 2018 he quit Eden to join The Guardian Post.

The man who hails from Bamendakwe, Mezam division of the North West region, is also a creative writer with several unpublished works. He has a wealth of experience in reporting, editing, proofreading and graphics design. An avid reader, Tembang prides self as one of the most widely read Cameroonians of his generation.

Created in 2001, The Guardian Post, thanks to its middle-of- the- road and authoritative editorial policy, is read and held in very high esteem by the powers that be, including politicians and members of the diplomatic community in Cameroon.

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Cameroon gets additional 44 billion FCFA from IMF
July 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Mitsuhiro Furusawa, IMF Deputy Managing Director and acting Chair

Mitsuhiro Furusawa, IMF Deputy Managing Director and acting Chair

The International Monetary Fund, IMF, has concluded another review mission to Yaounde, after which it approved the sum of 76.2 million dollars (44 billion FCFA) as loan for the government of Cameroon.

The Executive Board of the IMF completed the fourth review of the arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility, ECF, for Cameroon on July 17.

According to the Fund’s officials, completion of the review enables the disbursement of SDR 55.2 million (about US$76.2 million), bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR 372.6 million (about US$514.5 million).

The Executive Board also approved the authorities’ request for a waiver for the non-observance of the performance criteria pertaining to the external arrears’ accumulation and the ceiling on net BEAC financing, based on the corrective actions taken by the authorities. Cameroon’s three-year arrangement was approved on June 26, 2017 for SDR 483 million (about US$666.9million, or 175 percent of Cameroon’s quota.

The arrangement aims at supporting the country’s efforts to restore external and fiscal sustainability and to lay the foundations for a more sustainable, inclusive and private sector-led growth. Following the Executive Board discussion, Mitsuhiro Furusawa, who is presently IMF Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, stated that Cameroon’s performance under the ECF-supported program has improved from a year ago, adding that most end December 2018 targets including those on the fiscal deficit have been met, and structural reforms were advancing.

The Executive Board noted that Cameroon continues to play a leadership role in the rebuilding of fiscal and external buffers of member states of the Central African Economic and Monetary Union, CEMAC. Going forward, the Cameroonian authorities’ continued support of the implementation of the foreign exchange regulations stipulated by the Bank of Central African States, BEAC, will be essential to ensure full repatriation of foreign exchange receipts, IMF experts stated.

They advised that enhanced fiscal discipline is key to reaching the end-2019 programme targets and mitigating risks from external shocks and security challenges.

Reducing recourse to exceptional spending procedures and completing the Treasury Single Account reform will support the steadfast implementation of the 2019 budget while improving cash management and the transparency of budget execution.

Too, refraining from new non-concessional borrowing and strictly adhering to the disbursement plan for contracted-but undisbursed loans are essential to preserving debt sustainability. Further project prioritization and enhanced investment efficiency will help address developmental needs while supporting prudent debt management.

Improving the financial viability of key public enterprises through performance contracts and targeted reforms of administered prices will reduce reliance on subsidies and mitigate risks from contingent liabilities.

Above all, enhancing financial inclusion, the business climate, and governance remain central to promoting private sector development and boosting competitiveness.

In particular, further strengthening EITI compliance and the AML/CFT framework are essential to promoting private sector-led growth and attracting foreign investment.

The experts concluded that Cameroon’s program continues to be supported by the implementation of supportive policies and reforms by the regional institutions in the areas of foreign exchange regulations and monetary policy framework and to support an increase in regional net foreign assets, which are critical to the program’s success.

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COMESA to host regional climate resilience meeting in Zambia
July 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

COMESA Climate Change Coordinator, Dr Mclay Kanyangarara

COMESA Climate Change Coordinator, Dr Mclay Kanyangarara

More than 48 senior government officials from Ministries responsible for planning, agriculture, environment, health, disaster management and mitigation units from 17 COMESA Member countries will meet in Lusaka on 23-24 July 2019 to discuss the regional resilience initiative on climate change, which was launched in 2017.

The meeting aims at supporting Member States to strengthen their policy and coordination mechanisms and develop national resilience policies and implementation frameworks. These will serve as national guiding documents to resilience building and project implementation at Member State level.

Speaking in Lusaka, ahead of the meeting, the COMESA Climate Change Coordinator, Dr Mclay Kanyangarara, observed that most COMESA Member States have a fragmented and haphazard approach to managing risks, shocks and stresses which has proved to be ineffective as the magnitude of loss and damage continues to escalate in the region.

“Governments find themselves diverting resources allocated to much needed developmental projects and programmes to deal with the effects of the disasters thereby trapping many in a vicious cycle of poverty and underdevelopment,” he said. “Furthermore, natural and economic systems are interconnected at the national and regional levels, hence impact on one affects the others.”

Most COMESA countries are vulnerable and face similar threats of climate change and droughts, flooding, industrial shocks, extreme rainfall and disease outbreaks, wars and civil unrest among others.

To attain its regional integration goals, many systems in the region (such as shared water courses, energy, transport, communications and financial systems) must be interconnected. This therefore puts COMESA and other Regional Economic Communities in a better position to support resilience building in the region.

The COMESA region is vulnerable to climate change and other natural and manmade disasters and shocks such as cyclones, flooding, landslides, droughts, disease epidemics, heat waves, wars, civil unrest, among others. Recently, the region experienced devastating cyclones Idai and   Kenneth that affected Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe causing more than 1,000 deaths, infrastructure and property damage running into billions of dollars with 90% of the key port city of Beira submerged for weeks. At the same time, the worst drought in many decades, led to a significant reduction in the water level at lake Kariba severely curtailing hydroelectric power generation leading to massive power cuts in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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Zimbabwe scientists use geospatial mapping technology to predict pending disasters
July 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Professor Amon Murwira

Professor Amon Murwira

After Cyclone Idai ravaged southern Africa, killing at least 1,000 people, Zimbabwe’s scientific community is actively using   geospatial mapping technology to better predict future disasters.

The cyclone hit southern African countries including Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

In Zimbabwe, at least 268 people were killed and many are still missing. Local scientists hope that despite lags in scientific advancement, their use of geospatial technology and space technology will allow them to foresee climate-induced risks and disasters.

Amon Murwira, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development, confirmed the country’s use of science and technology to guard Zimbabwe from climate shocks.

This includes the use of High Performance Computing (HPC), geospatial and space technology. Murwira said that local scientists were conducting Cyclone Idai impact assessments using color-coded geospatial and space technology.

“Zimbabwe is suffering from climate shocks such as drought, floods and disease outbreaks, we can guard Zimbabwe from these shocks in future using science and technology,” professor Murwira said.

In cyclone-hit areas like Ngangu, a suburb in Chimanimani, Professor Murwira said that scientists were already using data analysis. The government-sponsored scientists were also trying to  help locate and retrieve  several corpses which were buried underground during the devastating cyclone.

The scientists are modeling areas anticipated to be high-risk using geospatial mapping to help them prepare for future disasters.

Professor Murwira said that scientists in cyclone-hit areas were starting to predict future malaria outbreaks and mapping vegetation density using the same geo-spatial and space technology.

 

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Video reveals violent methods used by Government Forces to combat extremist attacks in northern Mozambique
July 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Arnaldo Cuamba

A video that is circulating on social networks shows elements dressed with the uniform of the Defense Forces of Mozambique, FADM, torturing a supposed civilian, in the scope of the fight against the extremist attacks that since October of 2017 terrorize the province of Cabo Delgado, in the extreme north of Mozambique.

In the images, it is possible to see the soldiers whipping the victim supposedly because he did not give a satisfactory answer when asked about what he was doing in the vicinity of that military position. One of the uniformed men suggested that the victim should be shot while another was searching for water, probably for the practice of torture known as water boarding.

The video was picked up by one of the FADM military on one of the patrol rounds against the extremist attackers and that, in fact, it is their modus operandis, according to local reports. There are also reports of kidnappings of merchants in the areas of the attacks allegedly because they are believed to be feeding the attackers.

In late 2018, human rights watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on arbitrary detention, ill-treatment and summary executions of dozens of individuals suspected of belonging to armed groups.

The situation prompted divergent comments on social networks with one wing condemning the use of aggressive methods by the FADM while another encouraged by the argument that the attackers have also been barbaric in their incursions that have already resulted in the murder of more than 200 people, mostly civilians, as well as the burning of dwellings, the ambush of vehicles, the plunder of public and private property.

Recently, the Mozambican president, Filipe Nyusi, classified the attacks as <acts of terrorism> and ensured that the Defense and Security Forces will continue on the ground to fight, without respite, and will not rest until peace is restored.

The attacks occur near one of the world’s largest natural gas reserves located in the deep waters of the Rovuma basin, which covers the northern Mozambican-Tanzania border.

Several oil giants, notably Italy’s ENI and the US-based Anadarko and ExxonMobil, are preparing to extract natural gas in a process that will cause the country’s economy to grow sharply.

The National Petroleum Institute of Mozambique admits being worried about the violence considering that the situation should be controlled “as soon as possible” to facilitate the development of the projects.

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Cameroon: Human Rights Lawyer Agbor Balla advocates back-to-school
July 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Felix Agbor Balla-Human rights defender addressing participants during the International Nelson Mandela Day in Yaounde

Felix Agbor Balla-Human rights defender addressing participants during the International Nelson Mandela Day in Yaounde

Renowned Human rights advocate and leader of the outlawed Anglophone Civil Society Consortium Barrister Felix Nkongho Agbor “Balla” has stepped up his campaign for children in the restive Anglophone Regions to go back to school.  The lawyer who is also the Founder/CEO of the Centre for Democracy in Africa, CHRDA was a guest speaker at the International Nelson Mandela Day organized by Nakfu Policy Institute under the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, July 17, 2019, in Yaounde.

As it is a tradition every year, the Foretia Foundation celebrates the International Nelson Mandela Day with focus on the life of Nelson Mandela and what Cameroon can learn from the life of the ex-South African President, who gave his life for the fight for justice and peace, respect for human rights in his country.

During the panel discussion on “Nelson Mandela’s fight for justice-what lessons for the peace process in Cameroon”, Barrister Felix Agbor Nkongho proposed various measures Cameroon should put in place to bring a long-lasting solution o the Anglophone crisis. According to him, an all-inclusive dialogue should be implemented.

He added: “never again will one group of people marginalized and oppress another. The fear now however those who were oppressed are becoming the oppressors. We gave to abandon our individual goal for a general one, while peace is something very important”.

Barrister Balla further indicated that children should be allowed to go back to school in areas where security is much better. He, however, did not regret calling for school boycott but said however the school boycott has turned out is not what they had earlier wanted.

“It is a laudable imitative that has to be supported as education is very important. It is fundamental human rights and we need to encourage our children to go back to school. I understand that the security situation is worrisome but then there are places where children can go back to school”. “To have a million uneducated children, let us have at least 500 hundred thousand. Let us start working towards it. It is going to be a gradual process and it will not be done today. Let us at least not prevent them from going back to school”.

He went on to say those who are saying children should not go to school some of them have gone to school. “No matter how imperfect the educational system might be, basic education is helpful because if they don’t then they will end up tormenting the society with all the deviant behaviour. During Mandela’s period of Apartheid, children were going to school, in Syria, Afghanistan children are going to school.”

For his proposed All-inclusive dialogue, Barrister Balla said it depends now on the Head of State who should activate the dialogue. “Something has started in Switzerland and we hope that it will be inclusive. All-inclusive means everyone should be part of it, not necessarily those who have arms but should include the clergy, civil society and others, to find a long-lasting solution to the conflict” He said.

He has however called for the Separatist leaders to rethink their strategy. Giving his personal opinion, he said “I might still maintain the position of separation but hoping the negotiation which is a give and take-they (separatist) have to forgo something and the government too. Probably we have a two-State Federation and we move from there to a part way of independence. But insisting that independence or nothing means we are not going to come out of the conflict.”

Barrister Balla says children should not to be stopped from going to school

Barrister Balla says children should not to be stopped from going to school

Barrister Balla’s message to the youths was simple and clear: “youths should be active in politics by registering to vote and changing their country and should not be social media politicians-those who spend most of their time criticizing social media but can’t even register and vote.”

A report by CHRDA notes that the consequences of the prolonged school boycott, since for three years and counting now are more than catastrophic. Before October 2016, more than 6 thousand schools were operational in the North West and South-West Regions. As at December 2018, less than 1 hundred schools were operational in these regions, meaning that 5900 schools had shut their doors, with over 600 thousand students out of school and at least 40 schools burnt. In a UNICEF 2019 report, at least 600 thousand students are out of school in the North West and South-West Regions.

 

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Ebola outbreak declared global emergency
July 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

The World Health Organization, WHO has declared Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo a “public health emergency of international concern”.

The outbreak which has killed more than 1,600 people in the DRC alone has devastated West Africa since the outbreak in 2016.

But the WHO stopped short of saying borders should be closed, saying the risk of the disease spreading outside the region was not high.

“It is time for the world to take notice,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva on Wednesday at which the emergency was declared.

He said he accepted recommendations there should be no restrictions on travel or trade, and no entry screening of passengers at ports or airports outside the immediate region.

Reacting to the declaration, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said they welcomed the move.

“While it does not change the reality on the ground for victims or partners engaged in the response, we hope it will bring the international attention that this crisis deserves,” it said in a statement.

The outbreak in the DRC, is the second largest in history with more than 2,500 people infected and two-thirds of them declared died.

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EU earmarks €30 million for a cross-regional wildlife conservation programme in Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean
July 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

The European Union (EU) has launched  three projects under the EU 11th EDF Cross-Regional Wildlife Conservation programme in Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean, according Timo Olkkonen, Ambassador, Head of EU Delegation to Zimbabwe.

According to Olkkonen, the three initiatives the EU is currently implementing in Zimbabwe are to protect and promote the country’s marvellous biodiversity endowment.

“Indeed Zimbabwe’s natural riches are not only something for the Zimbabweans themselves to cherish, but they form part of a world heritage. It is something truly worth protecting,” he said.

He also highlighted on the conclusions of the latest UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services assessment report, in which researchers report that 1 million species are threatened with extinction and global biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented speed and that 75% of the earth’s land surface has been significantly altered.

“Pressure from human population growth is creating more demand for energy and resources,” Olkkonen said.

He added that the EU is putting a lot of effort in promoting a culture of sustainable development with particular focus on climate and environment action at every level, be it global, regional, national and local.

According to the Ambassador, the EU has had a leading role in the global efforts to tackle climate change and the recent European Parliament elections testified that Europeans want further serious action in this field.

At global level the European Commission launched in November 2015 the study “Larger than Elephants: Inputs for an EU Strategic Approach to Wildlife Conservation in Africa” as part of the EU’s flagship initiative Biodiversity for Life which promotes coherence and coordination of EU actions in the area of biodiversity and ecosystems

The Larger than Elephants approach addresses the illegal trade in wildlife and reviews strategies for stopping the killing, the trafficking and the demand for wildlife products.

The dominant theme is that in order to exploit economies of scale, hence enhance wildlife conservation efficiency, Africa needs to focus on regional conservation strategies.

The Ambassador highlighted the importance of transfrontier conservation areas, a well-developed model embraced by SADC, through signed Protocols on Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement among bordering countries, which promotes transboundary collaboration in the management of the shared biodiversity, including ecosystems, river basins and watersheds.

He said that another EU policy worthwhile to mention is the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking, adopted in 2016, which spells out priority activities to halt the impact of wildlife crime on ecosystems and on economies affected directly or indirectly by the increase in wildlife crime.

“I want to assure you that these two global EU policies in the wildlife sector are supported by a significant amount of funding,” he said.

He added that the EU had taken action to support biodiversity conservation, both within local boundaries and internationally, with the commitment of more than €500 million in Africa over the past 30 years.

It is reported that the current portfolio of on-going projects amounts to approximately €160 million and during 2014-2020 the EU had invested €710 million in wildlife conservation across Africa. The introduction is over; we are now diving into the meat of the matter.

“The 3 projects launched are just a fraction of the offspring generated by the Cross-Regional Wildlife Conservation (CRWC) programme I mentioned,” he said.

It is reported that elements of transfrontier conservation areas establishment and operation extend from the highest level down to the grassroots at community level, the keystone for the success of any conservation programme.

“Communities are in fact the core beneficiaries of these projects as we believe they play a critical role in the sustainable management of natural resources,” he added.

The EU ambassador said that from their own experience on the ground, supported by a number of reputable studies and research, they can realistically state that communities are the first line of defence against poaching, human wildlife conflict, illegal wildlife trafficking and land degradation.

“We are not reinventing the wheel, we are actually reinforcing what this country audaciously conceived in the ’80 with the CAMPFIRE programme,” he said.

“I also have to say that communities’ critical role in wildlife conservation was vocally expressed by all participating heads of state at the recent Wildlife Economy Summit in Victoria Falls,” he said.

The ambassador said that the objective of the three projects is common such as to enhance community based cross-border cooperation on natural resources management, with a particular attention to wildlife conservation in terms of anti-poaching and human wildlife conflict and illegal wildlife trafficking mitigation.

“However, we cannot take communities’ assistance and loyalty for granted, we need to give them a voice in the decision making process and an incentive to support wildlife conservation as an economically viable and competitive land use option,” he added.

He said that the three  projects represent an effort to specifically empower communities voice their minds, actively participate in the decision making process and build the necessary technical and business management capacity to enable them generate viable and sustainable livelihoods.

 

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Government of Zimbabwe supports forestry sector practitioners to develop low carbon emission initiatives
July 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Lawrence Mashungu

Lawrence Mashungu

The Government of Zimbabwe in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from the Russian Trust Fund has began an initiative  on the harmonization of the tertiary education curriculum for Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) and Measurement Reporting and Verification (MRV) Training in Zimbabwe’s Forestry Sector.

According to Mr Lawrence Mashungu from the Climate Change Management Department speaking on behalf of Mr  Washington Zhakata, Director for the Climate Change Management Department in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement at a  workshop on the harmonization of curriculum for low emission development strategy and measurement reporting and verification training in Zimbabwe’s forestry sector held in Harare on 17 to 18 July, 2019, the government of Zimbabwe is implementing a programme, Support Towards Implementing Zimbabwe’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under the Paris Agreement on climate change (STIZ-NDC) with support from the UNDP-Russian Trust Fund which aims to develop the Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) in order to provide clear direction for low emission development and to build a functional, effective and sustainable domestic Measuring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system for tracking low emission development in Zimbabwe.

“To facilitate effective and sustainable implementation of the Low Emission Development Strategy   in Zimbabwe, capacity building for developing viable low emission development projects and MRV systems of greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions is necessary. This can only be achieved through a well-structured forestry education curriculum that clearly articulates climate change mitigation issues and the Low Emission Development Strategy,” Mr Mashungu said.

Following a training on improved Tools and Methodologies for Measurement Reporting and Verification  Systems based on International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) methodologies conducted on the 5h to the 9th of November 2018 at the Zimbabwe Institute for Public Administration and Management (ZIPAM), the need to develop a tertiary education curriculum that will ensure that future forestry practitioners have skills, knowledge, and attitudes to sustain the objectives of the LEDS and MRV for GHGs in the forestry sector was identified.

It is reported that inclusion of aspects of Low Emission Development Strategy and Measurement Reporting and Verification  for Green House Gas (GHG) emission in the forestry curriculum will enhance capacity for sector institutions to effectively implement the Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) including Measurement Reporting and Verification  for Green House Gas emissions.

“This will also enhance work under the National Communications Office reporting to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),” Mr Mashungu said.

Mr Mashungu said that the project also aims at facilitating partnerships with investors and companies including Russian business actors and the academic institutions in order to open up investments, collaborations and technological exchange for low emission development.

The training workshop was attended by practitioners and students from universities in Zimbabwe and forestry sector institutions.

The   training focused on review of the curricula offered in institutions awarding forestry qualifications based on   guidelines for developing training materials, identifying information gaps in view of low emission development strategy and green house gas emissions accounting concepts and the designing of an appropriate curriculum outline that addresses identified gaps for low emission development strategy and green house gas emissions accounting concepts.

Following the training, w workshop report  is expected to be produced itemizing gaps in the tertiary forestry curriculum, capacity requirements for low emission development strategy and green house gas accounting and a detailed curriculum outline that addresses the identified gaps.

There are also plans for the production of a draft curriculum for circulation and adoption of the curriculum in the institutions and implementations time frames.

It is reported that the process will take about a year comprising a series of meetings initiated by respective forestry departments at the academic institutions with involvement of the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZIMCHE), the coordinating body of all universities in the country.

 

 

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GSMA partners with Airtel, MTN to increase internet uptake in Rwanda
July 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Jean d’Amour Mugabo

Rwanda’s ICT and Innovation Minister Paula Ingabire (Centre) and mobile operators' chiefs launch We Care Initiative to drive up digital literacy and services in Rwanda

Rwanda’s ICT and Innovation Minister Paula Ingabire (Centre) and mobile operators’ chiefs launch We Care Initiative to drive up digital literacy and services in Rwanda

 

Rwanda’s mobile industry has joined hands with the GSMA to drive mobile internet adoption and increase digital literacy in the country through the initiative dubbed “We Care.”

MTN Rwanda and Airtel, local mobile operators, entered the partnership with GSMA on Tuesday as the three-day GSMA Mobile 360 Africa conference kicked off in Kigali.

We Care is a global initiative led by GSMA, the global mobile operators’ representative. It is the first commitment on digital inclusion in Africa. It aims to promote responsible business practices and enable Rwandans to use internet and reduce the digital divide among digital illiterate population.

The mobile telecoms and their stakeholders will also promote digital content in local languages as a platform for self-empowerment and online engagement as a driver for socioeconomic development.  They will also boost the country’s digital economy by ensuring each household that has a smart device has the skills to utilise it.

During the signing of the partnership, Rwanda’s ICT and Innovation Minister Paula Ingabire, said it is important to bring together mobile operators, Airtel and MTN, to work towards a common goal that will be beneficial to citizens.

“Smartphones are important ICT tools that can be used to access key digital services: education and information, healthcare and financial services,” she said.

“Increasing digital inclusion in Rwanda will therefore go a long way in empowering our citizens and we are looking forward to a sustainable collaboration.”

According to GSMA Intelligence, about one in four citizens in Rwanda currently subscribe to mobile internet services. The lack of digital skills among the population and a perceived lack of locally relevant content are among the key barriers to large-scale adoption.

Airtel, MTN welcome the deal

After launching the initiative, Rwanda’s mobile operators pledged a fruitful collaboration with the government and other stakeholders for the benefits of the citizens.

“We are committed to ensuring that our customers can get the most out of  their service; so we are always supportive of efforts to promote digital literacy, affordability and accessibility,” said Amit Chawla, Airtel Rwanda CEO.

MTN Rwanda’s CEO, Bart Hofker, said MTN was pleased to partner with GSMA to enhance digital literacy in Rwanda.

“MTN is also pursuing other efforts to tackle the full range of barriers to digital inclusion, including handset affordability with our recent 3G smartphone,” he said.

Akinwale Goodluck, Head of GSMA in Sub-Saharan Africa, said the collaborative action by Rwanda’s mobile industry will harness the power of mobile internet to empower citizens and deliver on the promise of a digital Rwanda.

As part of the We Care initiative, Airtel Rwanda and MTN Rwanda will use the GSMA’s Mobile Internet Skills Training Toolkit (MISTT) to train sales agents and educate customers on how to access mobile internet services.

The telecoms will train 10,000 sales agents in techniques to teach their combined customer base functional digital skills within the first year of the campaign while the MISTT modules will be adapted to reflect local needs.

MISTT is a visual easy-to-follow curriculum that helps trainers to demonstrate the functionality and value of the internet on internet-enabled mobile phones. It includes modules on Wikipedia, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and Google, as well as introductory modules on basics such as internet safety and costs.

Statistics from Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority show that six million Rwandans, representing about half of the population, were using internet in the first quarter of 2019.

We Care was launched in Latin America in 2014 and is now running 25 campaigns across the region in collaboration with 55 local operators. In Africa, the initiative has been present in Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire.

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AFCON 2019: Algeria crowned Champions of Africa
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images

Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images

The 2019 edition of the Africa cup of Nations has been won by the Desert Foxes of Algeria, a second crown in their history. Algeria defeated the Teranga lions of Senegal by a goal to nil thanks to a second minute strike from Baghdad Bounedjah, in the final of the AFCON played at the Cairo International stadium July 19, 2019.

Chances in the game were few and far between an ill-tempered affair as Algeria withstood almost constant pressure and also saw a Senegal penalty awarded overturned by the Video Assistant Referee, VAR.

Algeria’s only victory until now in the competition was back in 1990. Some 29 years to this day. Before reaching the final, the team defeated Nigeria 2-1 after outsmarting Ivory Coast in the quarter finals.

For Senegal, the wait is still on for their maiden title. The team can however take solace to having reached the final but just fell short of clinching it. Congratulations have been extended to their coach Aliou Cisse for having guided the team to such a level.

Algeria succeeds Cameroon as the best team in Africa with Cameroon eliminated in the round of 16. Their next challenge will be that of defending the trophy during the AFCON 2021 that will be hosted by Cameron.

For star forward Riyad Mahrez, this victory in the AFCON goes to add to his numerous titles won for his club side Manchester City in England. The player has so far won five titles to close the football season.

Algeria and Senegal’s meeting in the final created a huge milestone for local coaches. Two local coaches were competition for the Holy Grail of African football, with one joining the prestigious list of African coaches to have won the competition.

After 32 editions of the competition, it was only the fifth time two African coaches have met at the AFCON finals. Just four times before the final was an All African affair. In 1962 hosts Ethiopia coached by legend Yidnekatchew Tessema won their first (and only to date) AFCON title, defeating Egypt 4-2 in the final. The Pharaohs were then coached by the duet of Mohamed El Guindy and Hanafy Bastan.

Ghana won the 1965 edition, beating hosts Tunisia 3-2. The Black Stars coach Charles Gyamfi had his second successive AFCON glory then, defeating Tunisian counterpart Mokhtar Ben Nacef. Another Ghanaian, Fred Ousam-Duodu led the Black stars to the 1978 title at home, defeating Uganda led by local legend Pete Okee 2-0 in the final.

And in 1998, Egyptian Mahmoud El Gohary became the first man to win AFCON as a player (1959) and coach. He guided the Pharaohs to their fourth title in Burkina Faso, defeating South Africa, coached by local icon Jomo Sono 2-0 in the final.

Overall, 11 local coaches had won 15 AFCON titles in the previous 31 editions. Ghana’s Gyamfi and Egypt’s Hassan Shehata had each won record three titles, Nigerian Stephen Keshi won it in 2013. Djamel Belmadi now joins the illustrious Africans to have won the award.

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CAF Modifies Qualifier Dates For Afcon 2021
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) at its Executive Committee meeting held in Cairo on Wednesday 17th July, 2019 has unanimously decided to change the dates of the Qualifiers of the Africa Cup of Nations 2021.

The new dates according to CAF, will be in phases as the Preliminary rounds will be in two legs between the 7th and 15th October, 2019.

CAF further stated that Day One and Two will be from the 11th to 19th November, 2019 while August 31st to 8th September, 2020 will be for Day three and Four. Day Five will be from 5th to 13th November, 2020 while penultimate day Six will be between the 9th and 17th November, 2020.

The Gambia amongst other countries will this year begin their campaign with a preliminary round on a double legged tie in October where the winner in each pair will join in the series for a spot at the 2021 edition in Cameroon.

The Gambia is on the verge of resuming the campaign after its Technical training camp in Morocco where the Scorpions went wild in two friendly internationals against Guinea’s Syli Nationale before capping off with another win against hosts Morocco in June.

The Gambia is currently ranked 161 on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World ranking released in June moving up two places from 163 making a total of 1002.

 

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Gambia’s National Team Head Coach Tom Sainfiet Sounds Upbeat After Afcon Draw
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Gambia national team Scorpions Coach Tom Sainfiet

Gambia national team Scorpions Coach Tom Sainfiet

Gambia national team Scorpions Coach Tom Sainfiet has reacted to the Afcon 2021 draw after his Scorpions side have been paired with Djibouti in the preliminary round conducted at the CAF Extra Ordinary General Assembly meeting held on Thursday July 18 in Cairo.

Speaking to Pan African Visions from his base in Europe, the ‘Saint’ expressed satisfaction with playing Djibouti in the preliminaries. “I am quite satisfied with playing our opponents but I respect them very well too”, he posited. Tom said he has been wishing to avoid Liberia and other big Nations hence their strength but “Djibouti is a quite small football nation and they are doing well and have good players in French lower leagues”

Quizzed about the Scorpions chances in 2021, Tom emphasized that the performance of the Scorpions against big Nations across Africa in the last 12 months is enough testimony that the Gambia is on the right track to make its debut appearance at the Afcon.

“We are very optimistic of making it through but we have to respect Djibouti because they have young players on development stages and one cannot rule them out”, Sainfiet noted.

He said preparation is needed hence Djibouti is a far away region and lot of travel will be needed. “But we can count on our  good planning, good organisation and the good players we have at our disposal, I think we can come out with win over Djibouti”, Sainfiet said.

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Introducing JULZA Senegalese Rap Musician
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Thiaroye, one of the popular districts of Dakar, its history, very peculiar to others because of two facts: The first one reminds us of the tragedy of the massacre of our valiant soldiers in 1944 at the Thiaroye military camp.

What has made this district remains in the political history of Senegal, and the second marks the history of young people who try to take the canoe to immigrate to Europe to help their parents.

It is in this legendary district that the young artist Julza grew up. founding member of the Rap Fippu Clan group which means “Rebeler”, this young man has the mission to denounce the evils of the society but especially to contribute to the socio-cultural development of the country particularly Thiaroye,

After a few years spent in hip hop, the artist has imposed his style at the front of the Senegalese rap music scene. Thanks to this style, Julza has become one of the best of his generation, which has enabled him today to speak the word of the voiceless of his hometown Thiaroye

Thus, the artist has just released his first opus entitled “Obi” featuring with the great diva Penda GUISSE.a mixture of two different styles “Rap and Tassou” or the artist boasts of his person and his origin Al Pulaar.

 

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Gambia’s Afro-Pop Awards Winning Artiste to Release Debut Album, Set for European Tour
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

 Jizzle, award winning an Afro-Pop sensational artiste has announced that he will release his debut album called ‘Finally’ on 9th August, 2019 at The Chop Shop Restaurant at Kairaba Avenue.

He is expected to embark on a European tour in Sweden, German and Italy and he will finally return to launch the album at the independence stadium on 23rd November, 2019.

Jizzle, who won Collobo of the year, People’s Choice Award, Afro Fusion of the year, album of the year and song of the year during Wah Sa Halat Awards recently.

Jizzle, told Pan African Visions that: “As my debut album, #finally is going to be released on Friday, August 9th 2019 worldwide on all Digital Platforms by @umgnigeria and also on physical copies (USB flash drives)”

Jizzle, also brand Ambassador of one of the leading GSM Operator in Gambia Africell added that: “I will be hosting a Meet & Greet and Signing with my Fans on the same Day Come through and buy a copy of the album for D250 and get 25% off on all Foods from Chop Shop on that day!”

Born in Bakau in The Gambia in 1989, Jerreh Jallow, popularly called Jizzle D Lyrical Kiddo is a dancehall and rap artist. He began singing at the age of 17 in 2009 after completing Grade 9 at Ndows. He majors in rap but occasionally sings dancehall. He sings in three West African languages namely Fula, Mandingo and Wolof.

In 2010, he released his first single called ‘Over Sona’. The song highlights the plights of young people neglected by the adult world. ‘Over Sona’ is an exaggerated expression of despair common among Gambian young people.

In 2011, he dropped a second single called ‘Life Is Not Easy’. He sings are about war, poverty, young people and many other social ills.

In 2014, he released a 14-track debut mixtape titled ‘Food Is Ready’. Some of the popular songs on the album are ‘Rumpa’, ‘Mi Deh Pan Mi Side’, ‘Together We Make It’, ‘Let Stand Up and ‘Fight For Our Right’ and ‘Man of The Year.

In 2015, he won the Best Upcoming Artist of the Year 2014 category at the Gambian Entertainment Awards.

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Gambians in Abu Dhabi thank President Barrow for New UAE Embassy
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Barrow with Gambians in UAE

Barrow with Gambians in UAE

Representatives of the Gambian Community in Abu Dhabi have heaped praises on President Barrow for his government’s response to their calls for the establishment of a Gambian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Scores of speakers at a well-attended meeting with Gambian residents from across the Emirate expressed gratitude for the establishment of a fully-fledged diplomatic mission manned by hardworking diplomats who look after their needs.

‘’We are very happy and would like thank you, Mr. President Barrow, for not only establishing a embassy since your visit last year, but also for appointing the best staff’’, the Public Relation Officer of the association of Gambians in UAE,  Mr. Lamin Jallow said.

He added that the staff are quite open and often consult with the association on most pertinent issues, singling out the Ambassador for taking up their matters almost immediately after his arrival.

Secretary General, Modou Lamin Kambi, who also pleaded with the government to assist them with scholarship packages for career development. He also enlisted the support of the government to assist those who wish to be repatriated.

Taking turns to respond to the various speakers, President Barrow assured the gathering of their unalloyed commitment to the welfare of Gambians at all times.

The Gambian Ambassador in the United Arab Emirates, His Excellency Nfansu Bojang informed the gathering of the new memoranda of understanding signed between the governments of The Gambia and UAE that will put in place a legal framework of protection for Gambian workers in the country.

However, he was quick to urge the residents to seek work legally and regularize their status with the embassy while clarifying that the embassy will not send anyone back.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Mamadou Tangara called on them to remain law abiding, stating that the level of hospitality and respect accorded to the president and his delegation in UAE signaled the commitment and promises of the cooperation between the two countries.

President Barrow thanked the speakers for being genuine and acknowledging the good efforts of the government and the embassy staff.

He advised the association to work on a financial plan to assist members in addressing their welfare and in emergencies.

 

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Private Sector, Investors enjoy legal protection and respect in The Gambia, President Barrow tells Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Barrow With Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce

Barrow With Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce

President Adama Barrow has described The Gambia as the best place for international businesses that are interested in exploring business and investment opportunities in Africa. Outlining the unique comparative advantages of the country during a meeting with the Director General and top officials of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, President Barrow said The Gambia is strategically located in the West African sub region pointing out its close proximity to some of the biggest economies on the African continent.

He said his government is creating the right environment for investments and business to reach their fullest potentials, indicating that they were putting in place flexible policies and stringent legal cover for businesses to thrive unhindered.

‘’Our economy is driven by the private sector, which is why we have high regards and respect for the private sector’’, he said. ‘’We have legal protection for investors, we embrace free trade and have an open door police towards businesses’’.

President Barrow extended an invitation to the members of the business fraternity in Abu Dhabi to visit The Gambia and take advantage of the investment potentials that exist in agriculture, tourism, telecoms, health, among other sectors.

H.E Mohammed Helal Al Mheiri, Director General of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce thanked the president for meeting and exploring with them the possibilities of investment in The Gambia. He said his association has a membership of 120, 000 and promised to work with members to visit and explore investment potentials in The Gambia.

Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs also thanked them for their interest in the Gambian market.  He revealed that the governments of The Gambia and Abu Dhabi had signed an MOU on trade protection, promising that a double taxation treaty will be presented to the next sitting of the Parliament.

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development

The President also held a separate closed-door meeting with officials from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

 

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Kenya:Salah set to play his first match in Nairobi
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27

Salah

Salah

Egyptian superstar Mohamed Salah will lead his charges against Kenya in 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifier according to the draw done by Confederation of African Football on Thursday.

Following the draw, the North African giant was pitted against Kenya, Togo and Comoros Island. It is the first time Egypt will play a qualifier match against their East African opponent.

The qualifiers set to give the Pharaohs a chance to redeem themselves after woeful performance that saw them eliminated in this year’s AFCON. The hosts were bundled out of the tournament by South Africa in the round 16.

Salah fired blank few weeks after he had led Liverpool to their sixth Champions League victory against Tottenham in Madrid, Spain. Liverpool forward set the Merseyside club on their way to triumph with an early spotkick before Divock Origi sealed the win.

After the South Africa’s game, the star was overwhelmed with emotions following the outcome that dashed their hope of lifting the title in their home soil.

As a result Egypt’s head coach Javier Aguirre was shown the door. Egypt Football Association President Hany Abo Rida announced the firing of the Mexican coach few hours after the game.

Kenya on the other hand will fight tooth and nail to appear to the biennial tourney for the second time in a row for first time. Harambee Stars qualified to 2019 showpiece after 15 years of absence; however, they were knocked out in the group stage.

The East African giant was overcome by Algeria 2-0, Senegal 3-0 and won against their neighbors Tanzania. Togo and Comoros did not make it to the AFCON 32nd edition.

The 48 nations will participate in the qualifiers. The teams are divided into 12 groups with two top teams per group advancing to the tournament that will be held in Cameroon.

 

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Book on Zimbabwe’s frequently asked questions about climate change launched
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Climate Change Management Department director Washington Zhakata

Climate Change Management Department director Washington Zhakata

A booklet titled: Zimbabwe’s frequently asked questions about climate change has been launched in Zimbabwe with support from partners involved in assisting the country to combat the climate change crisis.

According to Mr Washington Zhakata, Director, Climate Change Management Department in the ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement the initiative was started by author Anna Brazier and supported by the Konrad Adenuer Stiftung (KAS).It   saw the first version of the book being published before being reviewed  by several eminent authors from Zimbabwe’s top universities, captains of industry and government departments.

Highlighting on the importance of the book, Mr Zhakata said that whilst much of the climate discussions have been confined to teak-furnished and air-conditioned boardrooms, rural folks who constitute the majority of the population in Zimbabwe have largely been excluded from the climate discussion.

“This is partly due to language issues, complexity of the subject and poor infrastructure including energy and communication,” he said.

Mr Zhakata added that most experts, including government officials at provincial, districts and ward levels have difficulties in translating climate issues into the languages spoken by people they serve.

He said that sometimes it is   really not necessary for the officials including extension staff to be bogged down by translation issues which come at the expense of implementation of the climate issues.

“The use of vernacular therefore becomes critical,” Zhakata added.

He added that as the government prepares to implement devolved programming and devolution approach to work, it is   critical for the climate resources including information, education and communication material on the climate change subject to be in local languages which people are comfortable with.

Zhakata added that this necessitated the translation of the booklet which empowers people, especially the rural folks with information and knowledge on climate change

According to Zhakata, people in the rural areas are often accused of being primitive and relying more on their traditional beliefs, indigenous knowledge and spiritual beliefs.

“These are sometimes problematic when trying to manage climate change issues such as evacuations ahead of disasters, departure from historical ways of doing things such as planting dates, times to be working in the fields amongst others,” he said.

He said that one of the reasons for the so called resistance to change is simply lack of information.

He says that the booklet will   provide quick answers to people’s frequently asked questions on climate change.

It also   provides local insight of Zimbabwe’s climate priority areas, impacts as well as interventions that can be

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Nigeria: Unemployed Nigerians rises to 21 million
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Teslim Olawore

Joseph Ari, the Director-General of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has said that the number of unemployed Nigerians rose from 17.6 to 20.9 million between the last quarter of 2017 and the third quarter of last year.

Ari while speaking at a news briefing on Thursday in Abuja, said the unemployment record was sourced from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

He said, “Despite the fact that the number of people in employment increased from 68.4 million in the third quarter of 2015 to 68.72 million in the third quarter of 2016 to 69.09 million in the third quarter of 2017 and 69.53 million in the third quarter of 2018.

“The statistics are scary and staggering and should not only be a source of worry for any administration that is as committed to the welfare of Nigerians as the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari but indeed all patriotic Nigerians.

“This administration has made tremendous efforts to create jobs as could be seen in the increase in the number of people employed as cited by the NBS report.

“There are countless reasons for us to worry as government, as institutions vested with the arduous task of equipping Nigerians with life skills for employability and entrepreneurship we will do all we can, there is no doubt that unemployment has wrought a terrible damage on all facets of our national life.

“No reasonable analysis will divorce unemployment from the needless incidence of violence that has claimed thousands of lives across the nation. It will equally be difficult to separate rising criminality and harmful social vices that are being perpetrated by Nigerians because of unemployment and the attendant poverty. Consequently our population that should be a resource has become an albatross because we cannot provide a greater proportion of our population with a source of livelihood.

“ITF outlined 11 implementable programmes for 2019 which are: National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP); Women Skills Empowerment Programme (WOSEP); air-conditioning and refrigerator (training on wheels); design and garment making; training on wheels for Nigerian youths under passion to profession programme; skills training and empowerment programme for the physically challenge (Step C); aquaculture fish farming; manure production; crop production and greenhouse technology; poultry farming and training programme development on international marketing and test running.”

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WHO rejects idea of closing Rwanda-DRC border over Ebola
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Health workers fighting Ebola outbreak in DRC

Health workers fighting Ebola outbreak in DRC

World Health Organization have rejected calls to  order  Rwanda to close its border with Goma city of Democratic Republic of Congo over Ebola outbreak.

Since August 2018, Eastern parts of Democratic Republic of Congo have  been hit by Ebola disease that  have claimed over 1600 lives.

WHO says that since the outbreak, there are 2512 confirmed or probable cases, including 136 health workers affected, with 40 deaths among them.

Early this week,  a new case was reported in Goma, a city in the East of Congo that borders with Rwanda.

The new patient was travelling from Beni, the epicenter of  the outbreak to Goma. Upon arriving to Goma, he went to the health center,  there he was confirmed to having Ebola and died hours later.

Many people who got in contact with patient were put in quarantine and are being monitored.

On Wednesday, 17 July 2019 in Geneva, WHO convened a meeting of the International Health Regulations  Emergency Committee for Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

On the agenda of the day, the current situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was reviewed.

The statement released after the meeting, said that  Beni remains the epicenter  of the outbreak, with 46% of the cases over the last three weeks.

On the new case that was found in Goma, WHO rejected the idea of closing border with Rwanda as to avoid the outbreak from spreading to neighboring  countries.

About 15,000 people cross the border from Goma to Rwanda every day, as Goma is an important centre of economic activities with Rwanda.

 

“Closing this border would strongly affect the population of Goma and have adverse implications for the response. There is a continuing need for increased awareness among the population on the outbreak situation and stronger engagement on health-seeking behaviors”, the statement says

WHO urges that no country should close its borders or place any restrictions on travel and trade.

“Such measures are usually implemented out of fear and have no basis in science. They push the movement of people and goods to informal border crossings that are not monitored, thus increasing the chances of the spread of disease”, WHO urges

Rwanda has placed surveillance cameras on the border with Congo that helps to screen Ebola on the people who cross every day.

WHO says  the level of preparedness in Goma and priority actions for Rwanda show  significant improvements .

However there is  fear that Goma is close to international airports which  could contribute in spreading  the disease.

WHO advised national authorities to  work with airlines and other transport and tourism industries to ensure that they do not exceed  advice on international traffic.

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Mozambique: Opposition candidate facing pre-election death threats and intimidation
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

Manuel de Araújo

Manuel de Araújo

The main opposition candidate in a landmark election for the governorate position of Zambézia province in central Mozambique is facing death threats and intimidation ahead of the October vote, Amnesty International said today.
Manuel de Araújo is the candidate for the main opposition party Mozambique National Resistance’s (RENAMO); he is currently the mayor of Quelimane. The 15 October vote is contentious as it will be the first time that a governor is chosen by the electorate, previously the position was filled by presidential appointment.
“These pre-election intimidation tactics are a terrible reminder of what tends to happen during elections in Mozambique; death threats and intimidation. We have witnessed this grim pattern time and time again as political leaders are harassed and even killed for their critical views,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.
“Elections should never be deadly, because after all it’s a battle of ideas. Violence has no place.”
Araújo received the latest anonymous letter on 10 July. The letter reminded him that he had been previously warned not to stand for the opposition party. It said he should be careful because he would be killed for standing for election. The letter was sent to his office and later printed and posted in local markets. It was also circulated on social media.
Prior to the October 2018 municipal elections – in which Araújo won the position of Mayor of Queliminane – he also received several intimidating and anonymous messages discouraging him from running. Araújo has consistently spoken out against corruption at the provincial and national level, making him a target of political attacks. On 27 September 2016, during the previous administration, a member of the ruling Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (FRELIMO) party in the municipal assembly of Quelimane threatened him during a session, saying that “the mayor deserves a bullet in his head”.
Politics – a dangerous game in Mozambique
 
Araújo is not the first leader within the main opposition RENAMO party to receive death threats this year. In May, Paulo Vahanle, the mayor of Nampula, also received a message instructing him to leave his position as the mayor, or else he would lose his life. He was told that the position he was occupying had an “owner”.
Paulo himself won a by-election in Nampula in January 2018, held after the murder of the former mayor, Mahamudo Amurane, member of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) in October 2017.
Timeline of recent political murders and attempted murders
 
On 4 October 2017, an unidentified gunman assassinated the then Mayor of Nampula City, Mahamudo Amurane, at his home. Since his election as Mayor of Nampula in 2013, Mahamudo Amurane had embarked on a public quest to root out corruption in the city’s administration and revitalize public infrastructure.
On 8 October 2016, Jeremias Pondeca, a senior RENAMO member and part of the mediation team seeking to end the clashes between his party and the government, was shot dead in Maputo by unknown men, at least some of whom are suspected to be security officers.
On 16 January 2016, Manuel Bissopo, the then Secretary General of RENAMO, was shot and severely wounded by unknown assailants as he travelled in his car in Beira city, in Sofala province. His bodyguard died following the shooting. The incident took place hours after a news conference in which Bissopo had accused state security forces of abducting and killing members of his party.
Amnesty International is very concerned that the continued impunity for such crimes creates an environment of public fear and insecurity in which political opponents are dissuaded from participating in politics.
“Mozambican authorities must launch an independent and effective investigation into the allegations of death threats and intimidation and bring suspected perpetrators to justice,” said Deprose Muchena.
“Beyond that, authorities must guarantee the rights to freedom of association and expression ahead of the country’s general election in October, and beyond. Participation in the country’s politics should not expose anyone to the risk of death.”
Background
 
Mozambicans will vote in presidential and provincial elections scheduled for 15 October 2019. While provincial governors were previously appointed by the president, through a patronage system, it will be the first time that they are directly elected through elections this year.
*Amnesty International
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