The Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians condemns the exclusion and repression of opposition MPs in the lead-up to critical elections in Cambodia and Venezuela, and the pattern of intimidation against opposition parties worldwide.

International Organisation for Migration  (IOM), the UN Migration Agency, reports that 171,635 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea during 2017, with just under 70 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain.

The Swiss Federal Council has extended for one year the freeze on the assets of ousted presidents Ben Ali (Tunisia) and Yanukovych (Ukraine) and their entourages. The decision was reached to support the judicial cooperation between Switzerland and the two countries.

 The African Economic Conference, organized by the African Development Bank and partners, convened for its second day of deliberations on Tuesday, to explore the impact of foreign aid on domestic tax collection and the effective utilization of donor aid in Africa.


African researchers have indicated that improved governance and structural transformation on the continent will naturally depend on the advancement of regional integration initiative.

 

The parliament of DRC has adopted a new mining code which should boost taxes and royalties paid by mining firms operating in the country. The news which was disclosed this week-end, was relayed by many international media such as Reuters and BBC Africa.

An international gathering of MPs has called for renewed momentum to conclude international trade negotiations that foster sustainable development, known as the Doha Development Round. The parliamentarians urged all WTO Members to show flexibility and the willingness to compromise in order to conclude this trade round that has already lasted too long.

 

Participants at the 12th African Economic Conference have urged African countries to add value to their exports in order to score a competitive edge when trading with Europe under the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA).


News

Grid List

press release By The Independent

Kampala — The Chairperson of the EAC Sectoral Council of Ministers of Health and Minister of State Health in the Republic of Uganda Sarah Opendi has said that the region is committed to eliminate HIV/AIDs and preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030.

Opendi urged stakeholders to work diligently to build consensus in the health sector in order to build the health of the EAC population. Opendi was speaking during the official opening of the 1st EAC Roundtable on investing in Health Infrastructure, systems, services and research for the accelerated attainment of Universal Health coverage and sustainable development at the Speke Resort Munyonyo, in Kampala, Uganda.

The Minister underscored the importance of investing in health, which is the most direct route of creating wealthy nations.

"Poor health hinders our ability to realize national and global socio-economic aspiration set out in the national development plans, Common Market Protocol, the EAC vision 2050 and SDGs," she said.

She said the roundtable comes at time when the region was still facing major challenges of emerging and re-emerging diseases which calls for increased investment in human financial and technological resources by various stakeholders

"It is my sincere hope that this roundtable dialogue shall come up with concrete proposals and build consensus on priority health infrastructure systems, services and research investments with the highest potential to accelerate progress towards Universal Health Coverage and the health related sustainable development goals," said Opendi.

She disclosed that the EAC Partner States were currently expanding the regions capacity to deliver high quality specialized health services through EAC Regional Centre of Excellence for higher medical education and research with the support from the African Development Bank.

On his part, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of the Productive and Social Sectors, Christophe Bazivamo on behalf of the EAC Secretary General, Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko, underscored the importance of regional cooperation in health within the context of EAC Common Market Protocol to be buttressed on harnessing the comparative advantage of all stakeholders including Public, Private and Civil Society.

"Through collaborative actions the region will re position health as a key driver of economic growth and contribute to the attainment of the other pillars of regional integration," said Bazivamo.

The Deputy Secretary General informed stakeholders at the roundtable that the region had made significant progress in many areas including expanding the capacity for delivery of high quality health services, training and research with the support of development Partners such as AfDB who financed the regional Centres of Excellence to facilitate access to specialized health care and cross border health services.

Bazivamo called upon the stakeholders to use roundtable discussions to consolidate regional partnership in order to strengthen the health sector based on priorities identified by the region.

The 1st EAC Roundtable on investing in Health Infrastructure, system, services and research for the accelerated attainment of Universal Health coverage and sustainable development is being attended by among others, all the Ministers in charge of Health from the EAC Partner States, Permanent /Principal Secretaries and Senior Officials from government institutions and agencies.

The Joint Retreat is aimed at giving impetus to infrastructure and health development by way of harnessing political support for regional flagship projects, funding commitments, and Public-Private Partnerships arrangements.

****

Source EAC WEBSITE

Photo: New Vision/File

Babies born with HIV/AIDS and their mothers at a Health Centre in Kalungu district (file photo)

analysis By Henry Zakumumpa, Makerere University

Over the last 15 years, there's been a rapid increase in the number of patients receiving HIV treatment in sub-Saharan Africa. This has largely depended on foreign aid, particularly from global aid organisations such as the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and The Global Fund.

Millions of lives have been saved and the quality of life of those living with HIV has been improved dramatically.

In recent years there have been persistent reports of a decline in the amount of international assistance that governments are getting for HIV treatment. This has happened at the same time as there's been a dramatic increase in the number of people who need HIV treatment. The numbers spiked significantly after the World Health Organisation announced in 2015 that everyone diagnosed with HIV should start treatment immediately.

African countries have become dependent on foreign aid to meet the escalating demand for HIV treatment. In Uganda for example, foreign aid accounts for 85% of the national HIV response.

This is a dangerous place to be. Changes in the governments of donor countries can affect foreign aid commitments. And countries receiving aid are susceptible to donors using aid as a political tool. In 2015 for example, donor aid to Uganda was temporarily halted after an anti-gay law was passed in the country.

What's become increasingly clear is that there's funding gap for the scale-up of antiretroviral treatment as well as service delivery. The gap is for the ongoing services that people living with HIV need, like having their viral loads tested regularly or getting multivitamins to build their immune systems.

In our research we looked at how Uganda is attempting to plug this gap with a range of innovative approaches involving different donors and for different aspects of HIV treatment.

We found that the initiatives have resulted in multiple funding streams, which in turn has increased access to the support services that people on ARVs need.

What's not covered

In Uganda there are about 1.7 million people living with HIV. More than 750 000 of them are on antiretroviral treatment.

As part of its national HIV and AIDS strategic plan the country has committed to enrol 80% of the people living with HIV on antiretroviral treatment by 2020. Although the government has increased its domestic spending on HIV in recent years, large international funders still finance vital components of the HIV programme such as HIV drugs.

But a large part of the drive requires scaling up services and there are a number of critical areas that aren't covered. This includes, for example:

  • Medication that is administered to HIV patients for the numerous opportunistic infections they can get.
  • Buying food for patients to make sure they don't take their medication on empty stomachs.
  • Paying for multivitamins and the additional nutrition support patients need to ensure they stay healthy.
  • Funding community HIV outreach activities in all districts of Uganda without exception.

We looked at close to 200 health facilities across Uganda that provided emergency roll-out of HIV treatment between 2004 and 2009 to see how they coped.

Our study shows that these gaps were funded by private individuals and foundations.

How funding gap is being closed

In the Masaka region of South Western Uganda the majority of HIV clinics are funded by the California-based African Health Care Foundation. But several health facilities didn't solely depend on foreign aid. To cover their costs they introduced innovative funding strategies.

Some introduced 'VIP' clinics where higher-paying patients were treated after normal working hours. They paid what was called 'Robin Hood' pricing because the extra money was used to support the costs of poorer patients.

Some clinics had also developed a special 'HIV' medical insurance scheme to help patients manage costs because these can fluctuate with HIV. By expanding private insurance coverage clinics could potentially reduce the outpatient burden in public facilities by redistributing some of the patient loads.

Several public hospitals behaved like NGOs to source funding, and had a team of grant writers on board.

Most health facilities in our survey no longer depended solely on PEPFAR and The Global Fund. They had managed to attract at least two additional funders, with many having as many as five donors.

Reducing dependency on donors

Governments in Africa should all be moving closer to fulfilling the Abuja Declaration which commits them to spending 15% of their annual budgets on the health sector. At the moment the average is no more than 5%. This would reduce the current very high levels of dependency on foreign aid.

And there are other alternatives that should be explored. In Zimbabwe, for example, HIV services are funded by a 2% levy on beer and soft drinks. Uganda has a similar initiative. But it hasn't been implemented yet even though it's been in the pipeline since 2014.

On top of this, as our study shows, it's also possible to find local alternative mechanisms to improve access to HIV services.

By John Okot

Gulu, Uganda — Francis Okello wanted to kill himself after he was blinded at the age of 12 by an unexploded bomb while digging in his family garden in northern Uganda - until he made friends with a dog.

"I would have nightmares," said Okello, who lives in an area that has been scarred by two decades of conflict between Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels and Ugandan forces.

"Life became worthless because I was stigmatised."

Hope flickered when Okello bonded with a dog called Tiger at his boarding school, where he felt ashamed of having to wake people up to guide him to the toilet at night.

"I hated burdening people for help," the 29-year-old father of two told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"I got close to Tiger who would help me walk to the toilet."

The value of therapy animals for mental health problems is well documented in the West but is rare in East Africa, where many people fear dogs as they are usually kept as guards.

Okello later trained as a community psychologist and set up the Comfort Dog Project in 2015, which has helped heal more than 300 people who have been traumatised by the rebellion, marked by the kidnapping of children for use as fighters and sex slaves.

Uganda's health ministry estimates that seven out of 10 people in northern Uganda are traumatised by the war in which tens of thousands were killed and 2 million were uprooted from their homes. The LRA was ejected from the area in 2005.

Filda Akumu, 35, whose family was massacred by LRA rebels, battled with trauma after escaping rebel captivity.

"When I witnessed my father and my two brothers being hacked to death, I never thought I would heal again - until now," said Akumu, who also volunteers at the project.

Thousands of former abductees - like Akumu - suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and suicidal thoughts, making it hard to rebuild their lives, experts say.

The presence of dogs can provide comfort to people with mental health problems and distract them from upsetting thoughts, research shows.

Okello gets many of his dogs from The Big Fix, northern Uganda's only veterinary hospital.

"I mainly use stray dogs because they face tough conditions," Okello said.

"When these dogs bond with our patients, they form a companionship that heals both parties."

(Reporting by John Okot. Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org to see more stories.)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

By Thumbiko Nyirongo

The Blantyre District Health Office has urged journalists to sensitize people and clear myths surrounding cholera.

District Environmental Health Officer (DEHO), Penjani Chunda made the appeal on Wednesday during a half-day long Media Orientation on Cholera which was held at the Blantyre District Health Office.

He said journalists have a crucial role to play in raising awareness on the measures of containing cholera outbreak which has hit some parts of the Southern Africa, Malawi inclusive.

"We organized this media orientation today to equip journalists on how best they can report on Cholera bearing in mind that they have a crucial role in a society of civic educating the masses," said Chunda

He added: "We have many myths surrounding cholera where up to now some still believe that cholera is associated with witchcraft which is not the case so we want journalists to stand with us and clear these myths."

Chunda then urged Malawians to adhere to good hygiene and sanitation practices in order to prevent or contain cholera.

He added that since the outbreak of cholera, Blantyre district has registered so far one case in January.

However he was quick to point out that it was not news to smile about as there was still a lot that needed to be done on the ground.

"Cholera is a deadly and highly infectious disease so let me appeal to people to follow simple hygiene such as washing hands with soap, drinking safe water and to stop open defecation to prevent the spread of Cholera," appealed Chunda

One of the participants, Veteran Journalist, Geoffrey Kapusa commended the Blantyre DHO for organizing the media orientation.

Kapusa added that the orientation would help journalists on how best to report on Cholera.

Photo: Daily News

Ministry of health launches safe birth initiative in Kigoma region.

AN initiative advocating for safe delivery was launched in Kigoma region yesterday, where it was discovered that only 47 per cent of women give birth in health facilities.

The campaign dubbed, 'Mjamzito na Mtoto Salama ni Wajibu Wetu' aimed at improving maternal and newborn care in Kigoma and is being executed by the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children in collaboration with Thamini Uhai.

Kigoma Regional Commissioner (RC), Brigadier General (rtd) Emmanuel Maganga said the campaign encourages women to plan and prepare for birth and to recognise danger signs during pregnancy and seek immediate care when they notice them.

"The campaign goes hand in hand with the government's strategy to eliminate maternal and newborn mortality by building maternity wards for pregnant women in all health facilities across the country." he said.

Dr. Paul Chaote, the Kigoma Regional Medical Officer said that to reduce maternal deaths, emergency obstetric and newborn care services must be available 24/7 and women and their families must know the benefits of using facility-based services without delay. The campaign will feature radio ads and a radio magazine show, 'Mjamzito na Mtoto Salama ni Wajibu Wetu' (Healthy Mother and Baby is Our Responsibility), which will air on local radios.

Executive Director of Thamini Uhai, Dr Nguke Mwakatundu said, "The campaign will hopefully reach a wide audience and help pregnant women understand the need for safe delivery.

This will push the region forward towards attaining the maternal and newborn targets stipulated in One Plan II." Thamini Uhai is a Tanzanian non-governmental organisation that has been supporting national efforts to reduce maternal and early neonatal deaths in Tanzania since 2008.

Working with the government of Tanzania and non-governmental partners, Thamini Uhai builds capacity to provide high quality, safe and reliable emergency, obstetric and neonatal care in government facilities. Thamini Uhai is currently supporting 50 health facilities in Kigoma region.

By Pius Rugonzibwa

Mwanza — THE government will soon include methadone in its top essential medicines list, procure and stock it for use by drug abuse victims.

This is different from the past where methadone, which proved to be efficient in assisting drug addicts, was availed through the support of the donor community in partnership with the StateSpeaking during the launch of the first clinic dedicated to drug addicts and users at the Sekou Toure Regional Referral Hospital, here yesterday, the Deputy Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr Faustine Ndugulile, confirmed the arrangement.

"Apart from regulating sober houses, tasked to rehabilitate drug abusers, the Ministry will start ordering methadone and include it in its essential medicines instead of depending on donors to supply it," he said.

The opening of the special clinic worth 132m/- in Mwanza Region was made possible through the assistance of the government, which dished out over 68.5m/-, while ICAP and Ariel Glasser Pediatrics AIDS Healthcare Initiative (AGPAHI) provided more than 64.2m/-.

Speaking at the event, the Drug Control and Enforcement Authority Commissioner General, Rogers William Sianga, said Mwanza Region is one of the popular destinations for drug dealers in the country, saying a special team from the Commission will soon camp there for action.

He said that apart from camping in Mwanza for a special operation, the Commission will design identity cards that will be given to victims when receiving treatment at hospital or sober houses.

"Those cards will help identify the victims so that they will not be attacked when they turn violent, as they attend treatment. Instead, they should be assisted and immediately taken to hospital for medical attention," said Commissioner Sianga.

The Mwanza Regional Medical Officer (RMO), Dr Leonard Subi, said the region had between 10,000 and 15,000 drug users and addicts, who mostly abuse khat, marijuana, heroin and cannabis, adding that over 50 per cent of all psychiatric patients have had a history of abusing drugs.

The event was also attended by Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa who underscored the importance of the rehabilitation programme for the drug abuse victims, citing their special clinics in Dar es Salaam, Iringa and now Mwanza.

He said the government had decided to license private institutions and members of the community to operate sober houses, with special conditions that will be provided by authorities under his office.

"And, apart from rehabilitation, the government is also working on an arrangement where training colleges will be opened for drug abuse victims to gain various entrepreneurship skills and become economically independent," said the PM

Choral group - Harare MUMC Choir (Vabvuwi), formerly Harare West MUMC Choir - can rightly claim to have over the years contributed to the growth of gospel music in Zimbabwe.

More than 20 years after hitting the airwaves, the all-male group continues to draw admiration every time they take to the stage.

Having remained intact over the years, it is with a sense of satisfaction that the group, led by John Kawadza and his committee, is proud of having met their main objectives. Vabvuwi, a Shona word, is derived from the noun "kubvuwa", loosely translated to the spread of God's word.

The sense of achievement comes with the idea that the group has not only spread the word through their husky but captivating vocals but the large number of preachers who are or were members of the group.

With vocals are accompanied by the distinctive drum-beat and shakers (ngoma nehosho), Harare West, who recently released their 19th album, remain confident that they are here to stay.

In an interview, spokesperson and marketing leader Rerutsai Mujeka said the 32-member group has grown to be a revelation. He said the group was elated that they have been realising the prime objectives of their formation.

"We have grown over the years and with 32 members we are fairly a very large group," he said.

The group has had its ups and downs with about seven members dying over the years. Mujeka believes one of the group's strengths is the plethora of musicians who compose their songs while sticking to hymns from the church.

"Most of our songs are from the United Methodist Church hymn book with a few being composed by mostly our lead singers who are plenty within the group," he said.

The members come from the different circuits within Harare Central and Harare West districts of the Zimbabwe West Annual Conference.

"We identify talent sometimes members apply to join the group then you will be put under probation for a period to see one's commitment," Mujeka said.

Driven by the objective of spreading the gospel mainly through music, the Harare MUMC (Vabvuwi) has indeed raised the flag of the church high.

"Our latest album Tiri Pano Baba is our 19th album and our major strength respect between the founding members and those who have joined the group over the years.

"We interact very well as one family and I can safely say we are inseparable, that is the young members and the old guard who are the founding fathers of the group," he said.

The group has already broken tradition of performing at church to serenade people at parties, business gatherings, memorial services, funerals, national events among others across Zimbabwe.

"We have achieved quite a lot over the years after we pioneered recording this type of music way back in 1995 and we have been coming out with popular tracks. We are proud that we have inspired other groups to start recording their own music," he said.

The group, which recently bought a bus to use on the road believes the support they continue to receive from their followers has been tremendous.

"We want to thank them all for the support they have continued to give us through invitations, buying and listening to our music. We promise to continue producing more music for them."

Pop artiste Bankole Wellington (aka Banky W), has announced the rebranding of his record label, Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E.).

E.M.E. was the starting record label for popular names in the music industry including Wizkid, Skales and Niyola.

He said the E.M. E is now a full-fledged Media Agency will focus on creative Marketing, Advertising, PR, Brand Events/Activation's, and a talent management firm.

The singer on Tuesday shared the news in a two - part instagram post via his account @bankywellington, where he recounted the history of the label and the decision to redefine it.

After nine years of operation in Nigeria's music industry, the singer and actor said it became necessary to shut down the label in January 2017, due to the restructuring.

According to him, E.M.E.'s business venture will now be marketing, advertising, public relations, branding, shooting of television commercials and documentaries.

He also added that the agency is not restricted to music artists, but will also cater for creative people in other areas such as sports, radio and television; and acting.

Banky W named his wife Adesua Etomi, DJ Xclusive, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, Host of the BBNaija 2018 'Double Wahala' TV show and Tolu 'Toolz' Oniru as the first set of clients of the rebranded company.

He wrote: "We have played our little part in helping discover/boost the careers of a number of talents in the music business (some of your favourite artists, producers and engineers).

"In January, 2017, after nine years of being in the Nigerian music industry, we decided it was time to quietly close the record label arm of our business.

"Essentially, we have restricted our business and instead of operating just as a record label, we have expanded and changed our focus a bit.

"This switch in focus has been amazing and fulfilling behind the scenes, we have been able to impact the launching and marketing of a number of brands and companies the way we did artists.

"But even in the talent management side, we are no longer restricted to working with just music artists.

"We still work with musicians, but also work with On Air Personalities, actors, and evaluating sports management as well."

E.M.E. was founded by Banky W and his best friend, Tunde Demuren in 2002 while they were at the university in New York.

Wizkid reportedly parted ways with EME in February 2013, to start his own label 'Starboy'.

Skales also moved on from E.M.E. following the expiration of his contract.

The label was best known for its 2013 compilation album 'Empire Mates State of Mind'.

(NAN)

By Jayne Augoye

Nigerian pop star, David Adeleke aka Davido, has announced that his hit songs "If" and "Fall" have gone diamond and platinum in sales respectively.

An album or track goes platinum once it has hit a certain number of sales.

The exact number of album sales required to go platinum varies from country to country, depending on population.

In the United States, platinum certification means that an album has sold 1 million copies or that a single has sold 2 million copies.

Diamond means a U.S. sale of more than 10 million units for a single title.

Platinum on the other hand means a single has sold 2 million copies.

Davido shared the news on his Instagram page on Wednesday and also announced that his awards and plaques have arrived.

The singer also shared a photo of himself at the Columbia Records office with his awards and plaques.

'IF' Is officially Diamond and 'FALL' is officially Platinum in sales!!! My 🏆's finallly came in as well! GOD IS REAL!! 😇😇😇! Thank you Guys for making this happen!! ❤️🌎 just gettin started!!! Bless to my team @efe_one @asaasika @missamadi @sirbanko @lt_ddon⚡️

A post shared by Davido Adeleke (@davidoofficial) on Feb 20, 2018 at 7:53am PST

If, which is undoubtedly one of Davido's biggest hits, was produced by Tekno and released in February 2017. The Afro pop superstar dropped four chart topping singles namely "If", "Fall", "Fia" and "Like Dat" in 2017. The songs have remained fan favourites ever since.

By Thomas Matiko

Rapper Timmy Tdat and RnB singer Otile Brown have ended their beef that had at some point seen them exchange blows at a dinner party hosted by bongo flava star Vanessa Mdee two weeks ago in Nairobi.

On Sunday, the two dropped their second collabo and have been publicizing the song on their social media accounts.

The once bosom friends turned physical on each other at the dinner party after Otile had stepped out to receive a phone call, but returned and pulled Timmy aside for a talk, before hell broke loose after a short argument between them.

Rapper Prezzo's effort to separate the two was fruitless, until reinforcement by radio presenter Shaffie Weru prevailed.

It was later understood that the two were fighting over a girl; Otile suspected his friend Timmy was having an affair with his lass.

But after two weeks of bitter exchanges on social media, Otile and Timmy suddenly went easy on each other last week.

Two days ago, Otile posted a picture of himself shaking hands with Timmy during in a studio session.

On Sunday they dropped their latest collabo 'Tam Tam'.

In the song, the two confirm to have ended their beef. Towards the end Timmy says "Hehehehe! buda ngumi ulihata ikakuta Prezzo pole... " and Otile replies "Ulicheki teke la Bruce Lee, kibano."

By Moses Opobo

Nigerian music star Davido will perform in Kigali on March 3 as part of his 30 Billion Africa Tour concerts.

The 30 Billion Africa Tour is part of the musician's 30 Billion World Tour that kicked off in June 2016 in Kiev, Ukraine. The tour saw him perform in countries like Sweden, the US, Denmark, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium and Canada, among others.

Davido, real name David Adedeji Adeleke, is better known to his fans for songs like If, Fall, FIA and Aye. In Kigali, the BET award winner will stage his concert at the Amahoro Stadium. The concert is being organised by Sony Music, the global music label to which the singer is signed, and Positive Productions, a local Events company.

The African leg of the 30 Billion Tour will see Davido stage performances in nine African countries.

After his Kigali concert, the Nigerian super star will head for further performances in Kinshasa (DRC), Brazzaville (Congo Brazzaville), Niamey (Niger), and Douala in Cameroon.

Tickets for the show will go for Rwf 5000 (regular), Rwf 20,000 (VIP), and Rwf 50,000 (VVIP).

By Gilbert Nyambabvu

"I'M just genuinely looking forward to levelling up for my country and for my people," Mukoko hit-maker Ammara Brown told a press conference in London this Tuesday ahead of the ZIM CONNECT '18 Live Music Concert this weekend.

The line-up for Saturday includes urban grooves pioneer ExQ (real name Enock Munhenga), hip hop bad boy Desmond Chideme A.K.A "Stunner", UK-based Tapfuma Charles Katedza (Charlie Kay) and sentimental crooner Trevor Dongo.

And yet it was Ammara who betrayed a keen and prescient awareness of the significance of the moment; the Indigo O2 is one of London's premier concert venues and performing there for Zimbabwe's Afro-pop queen is indeed a levelling up.

Listening to her extol the greater import of the concert, it was evident that Saturday is not just about Ammara and her fans; it's also about urban and pop music taking its place as the new vanguard of Zimbabwean arts and culture.

Beyond that, and perhaps even more importantly, it's about Zimbabwe becoming the world's artistic window to Africa and, in that respect, finally competing with the likes Nigeria and South Africa on the global music stage.

Daughter of icon Andy Brown and immensely gifted in her own right, Ammara is not terribly modest about where she is coming from.

"I will be perfectly honest to say I have graced so many stages and have had the privilege to work with so many world-renowned legends; we are talking about Oliver Mtukudzi, Chiwoniso Maraire, Steve Dyer Hugh Masekela ... I have worked with so many of these incredible people on massive stages," she says.

But Saturday's event is different. She continues; "On this side though, we have a completely different opportunity as Zimbabwean artists; it's very different.

"We are coming out of an era where international pop artists were considered the epitome of what artists are supposed to be.

"But at this particular juncture, I'm looking to my left, I'm looking to my right ... and we have got hip hop artists, RnB artists and - as Tocky Vibes is joining us later - a dancehall artist as well.

"It's the change of Zimbabwean pop and urban music ... coming to the forefront; stepping up and out of (the shadow of) township music, sungura music, traditional music etc ... on a scale that has never been seen before in the UK.

"The Zimbabwean diaspora, across the world, has not seen artists on this level, on this type of stage bringing production quality that is out of the ordinary; that is outstanding and that is something we can all be proud of.

"I think it's so important for the Afropolitans to take ownership of our selves no matter where we are in the world."

Show promoters AFROKINGS said they had fittingly put together "the best production team in the world for this show; our creative director has been in the industry for over 20 years".

"We are really honoured and excited to be one of the first to bring exciting Zimbabwean artists to play all under one roof at the Indigo o2," they said in a statement.

"Zimbabwe is a beautiful country with so much talent that we want to share. Hosting Zim Connect '18 concert in London is just one step in the right direction. We cannot wait for you all to see what we have in store."

By Adejumo Kabir

The Muslim Students' Society of Nigeria (MSSN) has decried the alleged inaction of the federal government on the nationwide strike of non-teaching staff of universities.

The Non-Academic Staff Union, Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities and National Association of Academic Technologists, cooperating under the aegis of the Joint Action Committee, JAC, have been on strike since the beginning of December.‎

This was after the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, failed to resolve their grievances over the sharing ratio of N23 billion released by the federal government to the universities as academic earned allowances.

The JAC had written Mr. Adamu a week before they embarked on the strike on December 4, warning of industrial action over the 89:11 ratio for sharing the allowances in favour of members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

But the minister only acknowledged their letter and called them for a meeting mid-December, after the strike had begun.

In a statement by its president, Saheed Ashafa, on Thursday, the MSSN accused government of not paying attention to the striking workers.

"The presidency is not giving priority to the strike action and it is sending a bad perception about this administration," said the MSSN.

"In the first place, the strike is avoidable and needless. It is unpalatable to the hearing that a country like Nigeria still pays low attention to workers' welfare.

"The poor attention and undue silence of the Federal Government over the ongoing strike embarked upon by members of NASU, SSANU and NAAT are condemnable and highly demoralizing.

"It is understandable that children of majority of those leading the education agencies and ministries that should engage the striking workers are studying abroad, but that should not mean that the sons and daughters of the Nigerian masses should be made to suffer for developing interest in education"

"As we speak, some of our universities smell and stink, others have their libraries, health centres, powerhouses and other strategic facilities shut down. Students now live on university campuses like they are in the jungle.

"This is pathetic and must be urgently addressed. We will not get the best from our workers if we continue to treat them like slaves; their commitment to work will be vacuous. Apart from having meetings with the striking workers, the generality of Nigerians deserves to know what the plans of the FG are in resolving this crisis and preventing subsequent ones."

The MSSN, however, appealed to the workers to consider the plight of the students caught in the industrial dispute.

"It appears that the workers are fighting for their rights, but they should always remember that the students affected are their children. We plead with them not to allow the agitation for their rights to affect the whole essence of education in the country."

The strike has led to disruption of vital services, such as library, laboratory, healthcare, water and electricity supplies, normally provided by the JAC members in Nigerian universities.

By Emmanuel Ande

Yola — The Vice President Yemi Osinbajo-led 10-man National Executive Council (NEC) ad hoc committee on herdsmen and farmers' clashes says cattle ranches remain the best option for promotion of healthy animals and herders' children through the nomadic education scheme.

During a sitting of a sub-committee headed by Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State yesterday in Yola, the Adamawa capita, the chairman said the Federal Government holds the states a responsibility to assist them in developing grazing reserves to boost animal production in the country.

Cases of cattle rustling notwithstanding, the governor held that was not enough to warrant the senseless killings in parts of the federation.Umahi said: " We condemn in totality the killings and cattle rustling. Those taking delight in these criminal activities should desist forthwith before the full wrath of the law comes against them."

He noted that as part of measures to tackle the crisis, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association had advocated for proper identification of all herdsmen and their cattle in the state to check infiltration and avoid future occurrence of the conflicts, as according to him, it had been alleged that the killer herdsmen were mainly foreigners.

The governor went on: " We noted that Adamawa has 31 grazing reserves covering 105, 646 hectares of land. Some of the gazetted ones the state government said have been encroached upon.

"We recommend that the state and federal governments to group the herdsmen into these gazetted reserves, using the anchor borrower scheme to develop them for better yield as well as make available water, grass, schools, veterinary clinics and milk factories.

Umahi feared that the shortage of land due to climate change could stir another round of crises if cattle are not ranched " We have agreed that the killings and hostilities must stop. We have set up a committee on peace, reconciliation and development of these grazing reserves," he added. He cautioned security agents against partisanship during conflicts, noting that one of their major constitutional duties was to protect all Nigerians.

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, said that the examination mode for blind candidates for the 2018 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) was likely to be conducted by dictation, as was done in 2017.

Fabian Benjamin, Head, Media and Information, JAMB, gave the hint in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Lagos.

Mr. Benjamin was speaking against the backdrop of calls by some blind candidates in Lagos, seeking to know if they would be using the Braille Note Apex for the fast approaching all Computer-Based Test (CBT), scheduled for between March 9 and March 17.

According to him, all blind candidates will be writing the 2018 UTME through the dictation mode, as was the case in 2017.

"Yes, the candidates would be taking this year's examination through the dictation mode.

"This dictation would be carried out by the 'Equal Opportunity Group', under the supervision of Prof. Peter Okebukola, a former Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission.

"The board is mindful of needs of the Nigerian child and, therefore, will stop at nothing in ensuring that everyone is carried along and given equal opportunity to succeed."

Meanwhile, Mr. Benjamin has urged all candidates writing the UTME Mock examination slated for February 26, to start printing their examination details, as notices had already been sent to their respective e-mail addresses.

According to him, the board has concluded all arrangements for a hitch-free conduct of the examination nationwide.

He said that candidates were being advised to adhere strictly to the directives issued to them, in connection with the conduct of the examination.

Mr. Benjamin urged candidates to ensure they arrived at their respective examination centres early.

He further said that lateness, use of mobile phones, wrist watches, blue-tooth devices, smart lenses, microphones, ear pieces, smart rings, ink pen readers and other electronic devices, would not be allowed.

About 245,753 of the 1,652,795 candidates, who registered for the examination, are expected to write the mock test.

By Andrew Ajijah

A protest by students of the College of Education Gindirin, Plateau State turned violent on Thursday leading to the burning of a clinic and at least eight vehicles.

Following the protest, the management of the institution located in Mangu Local Government Area shut the school indefinitely.

The spokesperson of the institution, Elizabeth Aboreng, confirmed shutting of the school to PREMIUM TIMES, via telephone interview.

She said the decision by the management was to curtail further destruction of property.

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the students protested the delay in the issuance of their school identity cards, which they claimed they had paid for.

The identity cards, according to the protesting students, was to be used in identifying students to be allowed into examination halls.

A student, who pleaded not to be named for fear of being victimised, said the school management said the school management was also short-changing the students.

He said even though the students paid health centre fees, they are still made to pay huge sums when in need of medical care at the school clinic.

The institution has no students union and thus no one to officially speak for the protesting students.

In reaction to the protest, the spokesperson of the institution, Elizabeth Aboreng, confirmed the violence to PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview.

"We ran for our lives, the students were violent," she said.

"The institution's internal security could not contain the situation, they (students) burnt down our school clinic with two ambulances. They also destroyed and set ablaze six other cars belonging to staff.

"We had to invite security agencies, but they had already caused the havoc. The shutting of the institution is indefinite till further notice," she said.

The spokesperson of the Plateau State Police Command, Terna Tyopev also confirmed the protest. He said no life was, however, lost in the violence.

By Greg Nicolson

Former President Jacob Zuma's fee-free tertiary education plan was always going to be expensive and so higher education and training was the fastest-growing spending category in the Budget tabled on Wednesday. It's come at a cost - higher taxes that are most likely to hit the poor the hardest.

Beginning his speech, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said the Budget had prioritised the country's most pressing issues: "educating our youth, protecting the vulnerable and investing in enablers of inclusive growth". He allocated a total of R324-billion expenditure on higher education over the next three years, including an extra R57-billion to cover fee-free higher education.

"We have shown the ability to find common ground amidst a painful history and deep division, and a fearlessness of youth that has helped us to choose ourselves again and again by giving something up or taking something," Gigaba said.

In December, former President Jacob Zuma suddenly announced the fee-free higher education plan after repeated student #feesmustfall protests in recent years.

Under the plan, first-year students from households earning under R350,000 per annum at universities and TVET colleges will not pay fees. Returning students on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will have...

By Abubakar Sadiq Isah

The principal of Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS) Dukpa, Gwagwalada Area Council, Hajiya Fatima Muhammad, said shrejected over 500 students that sought to be admitted into the school due to lack of enough accommodation.

Muhammad told the chairman of the FCT Secondary Education Board (SEB), Alhaji Musa Yahaya Muhammad, and members of the board, during tour of the school on Tuesday that lack of enough accommodation was one of the major challenge facing the school.

She said the hostels were only able to accommodate limited numbers of students.

The principal, who took the board chairman and his members round the hostel, appealed to the board to expedite action in constructing additional hostels in the school.

"The Army Barracks very close to us supply us with water but we would appreciate if we can have a borehole with overhead tank inside the school," she said.

Chairman of the FCT SEB, Alhaji Musa Yahaya Muhammad, said that enough provision had already been made in the 2018 budget to ameliorate some challenges facing secondary schools in the FCT.

He said the issue of insufficient hostel was not restricted to the school alone, saying most of the boarding he and his team had visited were facing the same problem.

"We have identified these challenges now and God willing, something drastic will be done as soon as our budget for 2018 is passed," he said.

The board chairman said additional senior secondary schools across the territory would be established in order to also decongest some of the schools that are over populated.

City News reports that the board team also inspected secondary schools at Zuba, Tungan - Maje, Gwagwalada School for the Gifted, Government Secondary School, and Hajj Camp in Gwagwalada.

By Pius Rugonzibwa

Mwanza — THE government plans introducing special authority to oversee tangible investments in all beach areas countrywide.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said here yesterday that the envisaged body will ensure that regions with beaches use them to attract tourists for forex earnings and economic gains. "I have already instructed the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism to start preparations to establish this important authority to oversee investments and sustainable development of our beaches and rivers for tourism purposes," said the Premier.

Addressing civil servants of Nyamagana and Ilemela municipalities, Mr Majaliwa challenged employees in the public sector to work hard to help the government to achieve its goal to bring development to the people.

Unlike other districts where the premier was compelled to institute disciplinary measures against public servants over misbehaviours and indiscipline, scandal free Nyamagana and Ilemela municipal officers were commended for doing their jobs well. Mr Majaliwa said Mwanza City still had a long way to go to accomplish the government's ambitious programmes, citing the state backed industrialisation drive and land formalisation, among others. He ordered formation of land registries in every municipality to guarantee availability of reliable statistics and boost revenue collection.

The PM reminded employees to observe the principle of confidentiality in work places by keeping safely all secret government documents as well as observing protocols in their daily operations to avoid unnecessary quarrels. He directed that allocations of funds for departmental expenditures be open for all the staff to know and where needed to make close follow up on their expenditures. While the government insists on civil servants to account for their conduct, the premier challenged heads of sections and departments respectfully andhumbly maintain harmony and good industrial relationship.

"It doesn't matter how qualified you are and how many degrees you posses, remain humble and respect your subordinates to realise the anticipated performance, otherwise your degrees will yield negative impact," he said. He said massive improvements have been introduced, assuring that employees will be paid all their dues on time to avoid accumulating salary arrears and other allowances.

The Prime Minister advised staff seeking to go for further studies to first consult their employers before even embarking on admission procedures from respective colleges. And soon as the employer endorses the employee to go for further studies, all the required costs, including tuition fee, research and other related costs should be paid as long as all the terms and conditions have been observed.

"So, this should be well understood. We will meet all the involved costs of your studies based on stipulated procedures. But, all those acting against the procedure will be dismissed from duty for absconding without obtaining permission," he stressed.

Earlier, the two district commissioners for Ilemela and Nyamagana presented their reports to the premier, saying they had recorded some impressive achievements in implementing the election manifesto.

Nyamagana Member of Parliament Stanslaus Mabula decried acute shortage of manpower especially in health and education sectors, which lack 500 and 200 professionals, respectively

By Tiroyaone Ramooki

Gaborone — UNWTO programme manager for Botswana, Ms Vanessa Satur says tourism has experienced continued expansion and diversification to become one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the world.

Speaking during the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) workshop in Gaborone on Tuesday, Ms Satur said international tourist arrivals grew by 7 per cent in 2017 to reach a total of 1 322 million whilst in 2016 it generated revenues worldwide of US$1 220 billion.

She further said Botswana received nearly two million tourist in 2016, and that the government was keen to further develop the tourism sector after realising its importance to the economy.

Ms Satur furthermore said countries needed a thorough understanding of their tourism sector and its role in the economy in order for them to maintain an impressive tourism development sector in both a sustainable and competitive manner.

"This can only be achieved through a reliable and accurate system of tourism information," she remarked.

She said information was usually limited to a collection of tourism statistics which measured the flows of foreign travellers to a country combined with hotel occupancy rates. She also said information was provided through visitor surveys and estimates of tourist expenditures based on a balance of payments data.

"Many countries are now finding a need for more accurate information on types of visitors, the activities they engage in, and their consumption of goods and services," Ms Satur said.

She added that the satelite account should be seen as a means to understand tourism as a basic part of an economy, and to describe it as an activity that has important impacts on other activities and sectors.

"A TSA based on a robust system of tourism statistics can become a reliable instrument to monitor and to position public policies on tourism development while serving as a powerful lobbying tool for national tourism administrations to support the cause of tourism," she said.

For his part, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Mr Jimmy Opelo said TSA was the standard statistical framework developed by the World Tourism Organisation for measuring the economic contribution of tourism to the economy which was consistent with the way other economic sectors were measured.

He said the TSA for 2016 was the third for Botswana after the experimental one in 2006/7 and the second one in 2009.

"The government of Botswana has supported the work of collecting and analysing tourism statistics with a view to improving decision making on strategies and policies for the development of tourism in the country," he said.

Mr Opelo further said tourism has been identified as an important sector in the economy, providing jobs, local incomes and making contributions to government revenues.

"Tourism is based on personal service and it is therefore employment intensive. It is also a major foreign exchange and tax earner which spreads wealth and builds skills," Mr Opelo said.

He further said the key results for the 2016 TSA indicated an improvement on the performance of the sector in comparison with the 2009 results with internal tourism expenditure totaling P14.5 billion, an increase from P5.8 billion in 2009.

Source : BOPA

By Kingsley Jeremiah and Juliet Akoje

Abuja — At a time governors of the Niger Delta region, ministers and other stakeholders are raising concern over development in the oil region, the House of Representatives yesterday okayed the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) N364.5 billion budget.

Speaking at the ongoing Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the stakeholders said that there was need for urgent action to make communities in the region benefit directly from the volume of economic activities and investment going on in the area.

Governor of Cross Rivers State, Prof. Ben Ayade, said that the underlying issues of conflict in the region have not been properly tackled.

The Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson said there was need for massive industrialisation of the region.

He disclosed that collaborative efforts launched by the state in partnership with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to address economic challenges in the region was yielding results.

Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa insisted that the imperativeness of peace building as a catalyst for economic growth in the region was key in the nation's development.

Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, who insisted that the region must return to agriculture, noted that transparency and accountability were needed to ensure that communities in the region are beneficial of investment in the area.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives yesterday approved the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) N364.5 billion budget.

Of the amount, the sum of N17, 797, 000, 000.00 is budgeted for personnel costs, N12, 459, 000,000 is for overhead costs, N4,402,000,000 is for Internal Capital Expenditure.

Egyptian Ambassador to the Czech Republic Abdel Rahman Salah opened on Monday 19/2/2018 the Egyptian pavilion in the 27th Holiday World travel show in Prague.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said the international travel fair "Holiday World" is the most important event in the travel industry not only in the Czech Republic, but also in Central Europe.

The Egyptian embassy is participating with a big pavilion in this year's event that groups several airlines, travel agencies and hotels, the statement added.

Tourism traffic from Prague to Cairo increased by 125% to reach 203,000 tourists in 2107, compared to 90,000 in 2016.

The travel show brings together 634 exhibitors from more than 45 countries.

Nearly 660 representatives of media outlets are covering the event.

"Holiday World" provides a platform for the presentation of travel agencies, domestic regions, national tourism offices, and other services for the Central Europe travel industry.

MENA

By Prince Okafor

As the nation strives toward becoming a leading hub for tourism in Africa, fresh indication emerged that over 100, 000 Nigerians can be employed in the sector in one year.

Speaking during the unveiling of the February edition of the Entrepreneur Africa Magazine in Lagos, Chairman, Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria, FTAN, Mr. Wemi Jones, said if Nigerians tap into the opportunities in tourism, many people will be employed within a space of twelve months.

Jones said: "It may not be job that pays N500, 000 per month, but nobody will be idle. There is no part of Nigeria you get to that lacks tourist attractions.

"There is no place in Nigeria that does not have one form of tourism or the other. Federal government needs to assist in creating enabling environment, most especially security and infrastructure and allow people to come in and invest.

"But it won't be a good ideal for government to run it, rather, it should allow private sector to be fully involved, because the federal government cannot run it well. Government can take share from it but they shouldn't be solely in charge. This will help create jobs for youths

Jones also explained that, "There is place in Kabba village called 'Obangogo' every year we climb the mountain. Look at Olomo rock in Abeokuta. After the state government refurbished it and installed elevator there so that if you cannot climb, you enter lift to go up. You pay money for that. Somebody put a fast food and other stuffs, there, and they are earning good income. It got their people employed.

"Assuming the government didn't structure the place the way it's structured now, those opportunities will not be there."

Conservationists believe that part of $150 million (about Sh330 billion) offered by the World Bank for boosting tourism in the southern circuit can be used to mitigate effects of economic projects planned within the Selous Game Reserve.

They argue that if used appropriately, the money would ensure that the country attains economic gains while at the same time ensuring that the Selous, the largest reserve in Tanzania, continues to be home to millions of wildlife species.

Those who spoke during a recent seminar opined that the project should be conducted in such a way that it protects the natural wildlife sanctuary.

Their worries stem from various development activities that the government plan to implement within the reserve. They include the envisaged uranium mining and Stigler Gorge hydroelectricity project.

Due to that, they are of the view that the project should be conducted in compliance with Chapters 104 and 105 of the Environmental Management Act of 2004.

The aforementioned chapters state that whenever public policies, programmes and development plans are promulgated, they must include a strategic environmental assessment statement on the possible effects of such regulations, public policies, programmes or development plans may have on the environment.

"This is why we believe that the programme, which was launched recently in Iringa, might provide a solution to some problems," said a source - who works with wildlife conservation organisation - but preferred to be anonymous.

He said part of the money earmarked for Selous can be used to put in place infrastructures, which will ensue that water flow in the lower part of Rufiji River is not affected by the project.

Mr Atilio Tagalile, who works with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Tanzania office says what is important is to conduct Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).

"It is only SEA, which will give us correct inputs as far as effects of Stigler project is concerned. From that, we will be able to deduce what should be done to mitigate the effects," he says.

By Beaven Tapureta

Sixteen-year-old Anesu Mukombiwa is one of the few young writers who have managed to get published whilst still at school.

Mukombiwa's courage and talent came to be known in 2014 when she, as a thirteen year old, published her debut teenage novel titled "Genetic Twists" (Darling Kind Publishing). Bookshelf caught up with the Dominican Convent School student to find out what she has been up to.

"Readers can expect truly great things, with this new book of mine coming up. I know it will be a game changer in the Zimbabwean publishing world. Nobody has written something like this, not even my publisher who is also a great visionary writer. Trust me, this will be epic. I just hope with school and all, I will manage to get it right as I imagine it," she said.

Although she could not reveal the title of her new book, the small details she confidently gave about it arouse some curiosity. The work in progress is a sci-fiction novel she described as "much bigger, much detailed to a greater proportion, something very ambitious and unique".

Although Mukombiwa can now shine for having published "Genetic Twists" as a student, she had to fight against certain odds normally faced by students who have a dream to be great writers.

"It is definitely hard being a young writer. Most people don't take you seriously and you wish for more support, especially from schools," said Mukombiwa.

The difficulties faced by student writers in Zimbabwe include lack of enough technical advice and platforms to showcase writing talent. Online publishing has played a part in encouraging young writers but it is limited in granting them an opportunity to share their writings with other students in disadvantaged areas to whom reading the physical book written by a fellow student is an awesome experience.

Mukombiwa, who has been a student at Dominican Convent from primary and is now doing lower six at the same school, and others of her age, fear that they may not be 'welcomed' out there as young writers once they leave school.

It is true that at school the young writers have supportive peers and teachers with whom they can share their writings and get honest criticism. However, the young writers might not yet be aware of local writers' organizations and publishers there to cater for young writers' needs.

"I really encourage schools where young writers learn at to really support them in many ways. It's sad some schools don't do this and many young writers lose faith or hope in their writings. We need to be motivated, we need support," Mukombiwa said.

Her plea for support also brings back memories of the long gone exciting reading moments when The Standard, a local newspaper, in partnership with Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust used to run the Cover to Cover Story Writing Competition for schools and published a magazine showcasing stories by students from various schools. Admittedly, projects for young writers in schools offer invaluable stepping stones.

"Genetic Twists" confirms the truth stated in the 2013 issue of Cover to Cover magazine by Culture Fund executive director Farai Mpfunya that "literature by children, from a children's point of view, offers us insight into their hopes, anxieties and aspirations".

In this fast-paced story, young Mukombiwa displays the power of her creative imagination as she shows through scene by unexpected scene the unfair realities which life presents to the young characters.

In a society where people are sharply divided into two social groups, the poor and the rich, Greta, the thirteen year old main character, refuses to be downtrodden and together with her young brother, she suffers for it.

Domestic violence robs the two young characters of their loving "mother". Tension rises when the two escape from home to embark on a journey to find their rightful father after discovering in a diary that they had been adopted.

If truth be told, the story in "Genetic Twists" reflects the children's natural desire to grow up in a peaceful home which then nurtures a sense of direction in their lives. There is no serenity for the young characters in Mukombiwa's novel who suddenly find themselves lonely in a dark world in which they keep running but to a dead end.

To other young writers, Mukombiwa says, "Believe in yourself and your dreams. Never give up on who you want to be in life, write, write, and write. It is very important to have your work published, be known out there."

book listing

This comprehensive history traces the evolution of modern Mozambique, from its early modern origins in the Indian Ocean trading system and the Portuguese maritime empire to the fifteen-year civil war that followed independence and its continued after effects.

Though peace was achieved in 1992 through international mediation, Mozambique's remarkable recovery has shown signs of stalling.

Malyn Newitt explores the historical roots of Mozambican disunity and hampered development, beginning with the divisive effects of the slave trade, the drawing of colonial frontiers in the 1890s and the lasting particularities of the provinces.

Following the nationalist guerrillas' victory against the Portuguese in 1975, these regional divisions resurfaced in a civil war pitting the south against the north and centre. The settlement of the early 1990s is now under threat from a revived insurgency, and the ghosts of the past remain.

This book seeks to distil this complex history, and to understand why, twenty-five years after the Peace Accord, Mozambicans still remain among the poorest people in the world.

Title:            A SHORT HISTORY OF  MOZAMBIQUE

Author:      Malyn Newitt

Publisher:  Jonathan Ball, Johannesburg

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Malyn Newitt was Deputy Vice Chancellor of Exeter University and first holder of the Charles Boxer Chair at King's College London. He is author of more than twenty books on Portugal and Portuguese colonial history including Portugal in Africa: The Last Hundred Years (1981), A History of Mozambique (1994), and Emigration and the Sea (2015). He retired in 2005.

Buy the book >

PUB DATE: 15 January 2018
PRICE: R250
ISBN: 9781868428526
e-ISBN: 9781868428533
SIZE: TPB (216x138mm portrait)

Exclusive Books on Saturday reiterated its support for Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi's book The Land is Ours following a complaint by EFF leader, Julius Malema, on Twitter.

"Exclusive books in Hydepark did not have this book on display because they want to suppress our progressive stories, they only make it available on request. Let's shame them by making it the best seller. We bought 10 copies because we support black excellence," Malema tweeted on Friday evening.

Responding to this in a statement released on Saturday, Exclusive Books CEO, Benjamin Trisk, said: "We have supported Adv Tembeka Ngcukaitobi and his book The Land is Ours from the start, taking 50% of the stock that his publisher invoiced out on the book's initial sales, and placing a large re-order of the book late last week.

"Moreover, we wholeheartedly endorse a narrative that finally tells the story of many unheralded black lawyers."

Trisk said he himself would be involved in the planned second volume of Ngcukaitobi's work, because of his family's history and connection with former ANC secretary general Duma Nokwe.

"The stories around the remarkable African leaders that Adv Ngcukaitobi tells need to be told again and again, and amplified," said Trisk.

"The author and his publisher can count on our continuing support."

On why the books weren't on display in his company's Hyde Park branch, which Malema highlighted in his tweet, Trisk said: "The books were on display behind the counter, which is a common practice of ours when a title starts selling well.

"The customer purchased the last such copy on display, then enquired about buying more copies. Our bookseller checked our receiving area, where she found new stock was waiting to be received. She unboxed that stock and sold it to the customer.

"Most of our stores will have new stock of the book, which has sold out in nearly all of them, by mid-next week."

News24

By Solomon Elusoji

Nigerian Lawyer and Blogger, Prince O. Williams-Joel has launched a book titled 'Compilation of Articles on Law and Property in Nigeria: Simplified'. It was published by Prince Joel and Associates Press.

The book is a compilation of some of the online works of the Owner and Editor-in-chief of www.ibejulekkilawyer.com, Williams-Joel, translated into book form to equip readers far and wide.

The book is divided into four segments namely: Land Purchase and Transaction, Land Verification and Documentation, General Legal Advice and general information on real estate.

Topics exhaustively discussed in the book include the Methods of acquiring land in Nigeria, things to check for and measure when buying a land, the Ibeju lekki lawyer five guidelines for buying property (land or house) in Lagos, notes on Certificate of Occupancy and whether it is an absolute title to land.

Other topics are: Sale of family land in Nigeria, Power of attorney in land matters, Acquisition of land in Nigeria by foreigners and the need for a lawyer in closing land transactions.

"This book is indeed, a handbook of property transactional knowledge to be recommended to Real Estate Practitioners, financiers, developers, Lawyers and Investors alike," a press statement from the publishers said.

"It is no doubt that this timeless piece is coming at an auspicious moment, when the Nigeria's real estate market is projected to turn the corner in 2018. The incisive analysis and exposition of the complexities fraught in land and property related subject matter in a simplified manner, is reckoned to none," the statement added.

The book launch, which was held at Rydges Hotel, Gloucester Road, Kensington, London, was hosted by the British Nigeria Law Forum (BNLF) in collaboration with Prince Joel and Associates. Chairperson, BNLF, Seye Aina, welcomed the audience. Prince Joel delivered the keynote presentation and led the discussion on Law and Property in Nigeria. Gabriel Enuezie, Partner, Chancery West Law Solicitors concluded the event with a thank-you note.

Williams-Joel, who draws from over 15 years of experience in real estate to describe realities of land/property acquisition, ownership and to rectify misguided notions about financing property investment in Nigeria in his latest book, expressed his disapproval of investors not knowing or understanding their rights on land/property matters before acquisition during the launch.

He said: "It must be noted that certificate of statutory or customary right of occupancy issued under the Land Use Act, 1978 cannot be said to be conclusive evidence of any right or valid title to a land. It is, at best, only evidence that is accepted until being challenged and proven otherwise."

He also added that it will be very wise to contact a real property law firm with great expertise when buying a land or property in Nigeria. To get a copy, interested readers can visit: www.princejoelandassociates.com/book-sales

It was all books and smiles when Harare City Library donated large quantity of old and new books to Writers International Network Zimbabwe, a local young writers' association, which in turn forwarded the books to six of its school young writers clubs in Epworth.

The books were donated on Friday that were received at the HCL by the writers' club patrons from the schools which so far fall under the writers' association's outreach programme in Epworth. However, WIN-Zim extended its hand outside Epworth to its long-time club at Glen View 2 High which it invited to receive its share of the donation.

Speaking about the donation, HCL Assistant Librarian Takwana Masunda said WIN-Zim is doing a wonderful job in assisting poor sections of society and therefore deserve support.

"Entities like WIN that assist the poor sections of society deserve all the support they can get. As HCL, we gave WIN some books for use in their programmes," said Masunda.

University of Zimbabwe lecturer and WIN-Zimbabwe Advisory Board chairperson Josephine Muganiwa thanked the HCL for remembering the young readers in the high-density locations where reading resources are hardly available.

"I would like to thank the Harare City Library for their generosity and acknowledging the work we are doing as a young writers' organization. The books, especially the textbooks, will help the disadvantaged students in Epworth schools," she said.

Epworth is one of the locations within Harare which needs resources such as libraries, bookshops or cultural centre to capture and nurture the creative talent in the private and government schools and colleges and the whole community.

The six schools which received the books are Chizungu Primary School, Domboramwari High School, Bilaal College, Sunrise Junior School, Glen View 2 High School, and Muguta Secondary School. In addition to the many old and general books, each secondary school received twenty textbooks covering subjects such as Geography, History, Mathematics, Shona and English.

Founded in 2010, Writers International Network Zimbabwe is a NAMA-award winning association of new and intermediate writers. Its main objective is to encourage a reading culture and mentor writers through skills training workshops and various literary programmes, right from the moment they conceive an idea or ideas about what they wish to write, through the writing stage to the final publishing stage. Membership is open to any Zimbabwean citizen.

By Peter Uzoho

With the formal presentation of her maiden novel, 'An Abundance of Scorpions', Kaduna State First Lady, Hadiza Isma el-Rufai, has joined the league of literary stars.

First, she loves reading. Then, she picked interest in writing. But how can she write creatively and appeal to a sizeable portion of readers without learning the craft of writing? She took the bull by the horns - went and learnt the craft; got the needed inspiration and then, the result - 'An Abundance of Scorpions'.

Hadiza's February gift to society was the 319-page captivating novel published in 2017 by Ouida Books Publishing Company, Lagos and, it tells the story of the protagonist, Tambaya, a vulnerable Northern-Muslim woman, who faces turbulent times, but is resilient and courageous in the midst of her challenges.

The book was launched at the Shehu Musa Yar'Adua Centre, Zone 4, Abuja, and the occasion attracted high calibre of guests from all walks of life including top political actors, royal fathers, diplomats, captains of industries, notable authors/literary stars, and women and students.

Some of the big names present included Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Muhammadu Uwais, Ramatu Tijani Aliyu, First Ladies of Imo, Sokoto, Gombe, and Nasarawa States, amongst others.

The Chairman of the occasion and Chairman, United Bank for Africa, Mr. Tony Elumelu congratulated the author, Hadiza for writing such a wonderful novel.

"Hadiza I must commend you for this great work. It's a wonderful novel. Though, I've not read the book much. I only read few pages and from the one I read, I think the book is worth reading. I urge everyone in this hall to try and get a copy of the book," Elumelu said.

"I must also commend you again because it's not easy to write a book. I'm really impressed and I encourage you to keep writing. Also, I'd like to thank His Excellency, Governor Nasir El-Rufai for his support which I believe helped our sister, Hadiza to concentrate and write this piece," he added.

Elumelu made a cheque donation of N10 million in support of Hadiza.

At intervals and as the events unfolded, the hall was enlivened by artistic presentations created from scenes in the novel for the audience's enjoyment which also helped them to appreciate essential themes and messages from the story.

In a book chat, Hadiza said writing the book was inspired by a volunteer work she did at the Abuja Children Home, Karu, noting that she wanted to use it to show that women in the North are quite different from the stereotypes held about them by their fellow Nigerians.

"The idea of the book came from the volunteer work I did with the Abuja Children's Home, Karu. I'm grateful to the children I met there - a few of them provided the inspiration for some of the characters," Hadiza said.

"I wanted to show that life of women in Northern Nigeria is different from a lot of stereotype people have about us. Unfortunately, in Nigeria some people have poor understanding of the North because of the stereotype. So I want people to read the book and see that we in the North are not different from them," she said.

Pointing some of the similarities between her and the central character in the novel, Hadiza said: "The protagonist is a woman of courage like me. She is Northern Nigerian Muslim woman just like me. She has suffered a lot, I also suffered a lot. So I guess we have a lot in common. We have similar culture. But apart from that, the story is pure fiction; I made the whole thing up."

The new novelist also said she got even more motivated to write the novel following the exile of her husband in 2008 and the travails the family went through after political enemies allegedly tried to undermine her husband as a result of his doggedness and resoluteness in office.

"It was when my family was almost torn apart that I realised that I had always wanted to write. The situation opened me the more to the literary world and this is the product of my thoughts," Hadiza explained.

"I remember that I used to love to read books and, at first I attempted to write. So while doing that I discovered that for me to write a book I needed to learn the craft of writing which is the advice I will give to anybody aspiring to be a writer -to try and learn the craft of writing. So when I knew that I went to do an MA in Creative Writing. I went to University of Bath Spar."

She said she has started working on her second novel and that her readers should expect more of her books at book stands. "I want to keep writing for the rest of life," she said.

The First Lady thanked her husband who she noted encouraged her to be what she wants to be. She announced that all donations and royalties coming from the book would be channeled to the Yasmin El-Rufai Foundation (YELF), a pet project she established in 2003 in memory of her late daughter, Yasmin.

In her welcome address, the Publisher and host, Mrs. Lola Shoneyin said being the publisher of the work gave her joy and sense of fulfillment.

"Indeed, the author nurtures and delivers the baby but being a midwife has its joys too. I enjoyed every moment and feel greatly privileged to have been involved in guiding the delivery of this book," Shoneyin said.

"I am very proud of Hadiza Isma el-Rufai. I remember when I was about to introduce her at Ake Festival. I whispered to her that this was the end of all that "Your Excellency". I explained that you haven't really "arrived" as an author until people refer to you by your first and last name. She looked at me with a wry smile and said, 'I am very happy with people calling me by my given name'.

"You'll hear that name quite a lot today. It won't just be because Hadiza Isma el-Rufai has become a member of what is still an elite group of published Nigerians, it won't just be because she has earned our respect; it will be because her baby, her book, An Abundance of Scorpions, is beautiful and worth celebrating," she added.

Shoneyin thanked her husband, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka for supporting her in guiding and seeing to the publication of the book. She also thanked Governor el-Rufai for his unflinching support and understanding to his wife, stressing that "if more Nigerian men resolved to support their wives in achieving their dreams, the way that you do, Nigeria would be more prosperous, more productive and life would be sweeter for us all."

The book reviewer, a Book Editor and Literary Consultant, Ngozi Osu Anene, described the book as "a heart rending and riveting story of a woman in her quest for love, peace and happiness.

"It is a cry for freedom, an expression of agony yet a voice of hope as we experience the travails of a Muslim woman in her journey of life. We are taken into her world; we feel her pain, share her joys and celebrate her triumphs. We cry with her, we smile with her, and we feel the anguish when her heart is broken. Her story is intense. And Hadiza Isma el-Rufai tells it very well," Anene said.

Anene added: "This is an interesting, thought-provoking book that brings the potential of women to the fore in different spheres of life. An Abundance of Scorpions is a beauty to read, and Hadiza Isma el-Rufai is indeed a talented writer."

In his keynote address, a renowned Hausa Poet, Dr. Anwalu Anwar who spoke on the 'Significance of Northern Women's Voices to the Nigerian Literary Canon', said women writers in Nigeria including those from the North, centered their writings on issues such as the girl-child education, early marriage, polygamy, gender, domestic violence, unpredictable and often sour relationship with in-laws, among others. He said such writings which Hadiza's book also talked about were societal issues requiring continuous intervention from writers through their creative works.

Advising on ways to address such issues, Anwar said: "Northern leaders at all levels should sponsor the translation of women literary works from local to international languages. Our governors should embark on genuine education reforms and development, especially at the primary and secondary levels. Government at all levels should pay more attention to vocational and technical education."

In his goodwill message, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi who was represented at the occasion by the Dan-Malikin Kano, Ambassador Ahmed Umar, congratulated Hadiza for achieving such a milestone. Sanusi pledged his support to the author in her future endeavours. The Emir urged wives of political office holders to take a cue from Hadiza's feat to do things remarkable too.

Also in her goodwill message, the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Hajia Amina Mohammed, represented at the occasion by her younger sister, Hindy Mohammed congratulated Hadiza on her first novel.

"Hadiza, I'm very proud to be here today to congratulate you on your first novel. As a woman of substance who has achieved so much in her life, you are an inspiration to our women and children," Mohammed said.

In his excitement, el-Rufai while giving the vote of thanks glowingly extolled his wife, Hadiza for achieving such feat, describing her as multi-talented, creative and hardworking.

"I first saw her on the 19th of August, 1976 - that's about 42 years ago and, in Amina Hall, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria," the governor said, almost sweeping the audience off their feet.

"I went with a friend of mine who wanted to date her. After chatting with her, in five minutes I concluded that I've seen a lady who is a lot smarter than me, that I want to marry her so that my children will inherit her brain," el-Rufai said.

He said his wife is multi-talented and that with the right atmosphere she can do greater things. "Hadiza is multi-talented, creative and hardworking. I do not doubt her competence - that is why I married her," el-Rufai said.

"Hadiza is one of the few people I know that are multi-talented. Part of the reason why she ended up with three degrees - Architecture, Business Administration and Creative Writing is because she can do well in everything. I will not be surprised if she gets her first Master's degree in Nuclear Physics. She is incredibly clever and very creative and, I love her very much.

"I'm highly excited and happy that she has produced her first novel and, I have very little doubt in my mind that by the grace of God and if God continues to bless her with long life, she will be the female Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka of Northern Nigeria combined. When you give her a task you can be rest assured that the work would be done. For us it is a great feat she has achieved.

"So Hadiza, I congratulate you. We've come a long way since the 19th of August 1976. And I want to thank you for all the support that you have given to me," the happy husband said.

The governor urged other writers to engage in literary works that have the potential to change the world, stressing that words have powerful tools.

"Writers must begin to write creatively in solving societal problems. We cannot undermine the power of literature. Also, Nigerians should cultivate the culture of reading because through reading, ignorance disappears, mystical things are unraveled," he advised.

By Stanley Akpunonu

A recent study has shown how substandard drug used to stop post partum haemorrhage (PPH) fuels maternal deaths in Nigeria. Earlier studies had identified PPH as the leading cause of maternal mortality across the country.

To address this menace, the National Agency for Food Drug Administration (NAFDAC) with the support from United States Pharmacopeia (USP), two years ago, conducted a post market surveillance of some maternal and child health products in the country. The study revealed a failure rate of over 70 per cent of the oxytocin injection samples analysed.

Oxytocin injection is used to begin or improve contractions during labour. Oxytocin also is used to reduce bleeding after childbirth.

Sequel to the findings, the USP funded some researchers at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) to study if there is any correlation between the laboratory results of market sample and clinical experiences of healthcare providers in the treatment of postpartum haemorrhage using Oxytocin in Lagos.

Meanwhile, according to World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 830 women die every day from preventable causes as 99 per cent of deaths occur in low income countries and Nigeria accounts for 19 per cent of global maternal deaths because a high percentage of women deliver at home or outside health facility without access to obstetric care or a skilled birth attendant.

In line with the dissemination of the findings, different key players gathered Tuesday in Laos to discuss the results of the findings.

Commissioner of Health Lagos state, Dr. Jide Idris, said it is one thing to identify a problem and it is one thing to be able to develop strategy and actually implement that strategy.

Idris who was represented by Director of Pharmaceutical Services Ministry of Health Lagos State, Dr. Moyosore Adejumo highlighted that most of the things that have been said are known to the stakeholders.

He added: "Many solutions have been proffered and we hope that the implementation will be robust. What we are hoping to do is to make sure the data, findings is in the public space. We hope the implementations would be easier and identify the challenges that mitigate against the maternal mortality health in the country."

Director General, NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye commended USP in the step they are taking in ensuring distribution of quality medicines across the nation.

By Sulayman Bah

Photo: Adama Tamba is the women's top scorer

Adama Tambia is the country's women premier league's latest top scorer.

The seasoned goal poacher leapfrogged Mbassey Darboe on the scoring log who 'd led beginning around December.

However, the tables have turned with the Gambia international now headlining the chart.

Tamba returned from France following an unsuccessful trial with Paris Saint Germain's women outfit to send the women's division blazing.

Her ratio per-game is unmatched in the local division after smacking in eighteen (18) goals in just ten games. The statistics, yet to better her over 50-goal feat last term, means she has plundered in 18 of Red Scorpion's combined forty-two goals.

While Adama is a proven goal-getter, she is being trailed by Interior's Mbassey Darboe who is three goals shy of catching up on her.

Tamba's teammate Ola Buwaru sits third on ten goals.

Adama's performances is reflective of Red Scorpion's unbeatable form who tops the 6-team league after subjecting title rivals Interior to their first defeat of the campaign last Saturday which ended 2-0.

In other weekend games, second-from-bottom Armed Forces pounded bottom-placed Future Bi 8-0 who're yet to win in ten matches.

Abuko United also sashayed over Immigration on a 2-1 score.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Drapeau du Cameroun

By Moki Edwin Kindzeka

Political parties in Cameroon have set an ambitious goal ahead of this year’s polls — to put women in at least 30 percent of elected offices.

An all-female orchestra plays as 300 women selected from associations around Cameroon campaign in markets, universities and popular spots in the capital, asking women to register to vote.

Twenty-nine-year-old fish seller Clarisse Kongnyuy says she agreed to register because the women convinced her that with hard work, she might even one day be on the ballot.

“We can be able to do what a man can do, to be given posts that the world thinks that is only for men," she said. "There are women who are mechanics. There are women who are driving Caterpillars and all the like, but at first they thought that that was just the job of a man. The problem is that some of the women are not pushful. They are like sleeping."

Cameroon will be having a series of important elections this year — local, parliamentary and presidential.

Political parties, including the main opposition SDF and the ruling CPDM, have taken public commitments to achieve a U.N.-established benchmark of at least 30 percent female representation. The government has echoed that commitment, calling on parties to put forth an adequate number of female candidates.

The first election of the year is the senatorial, scheduled for March 25.

To meet the gender goal, women would need to win at least 20 of the 70 senatorial seats up for grabs, while President Paul Biya would have to include women among the 30 senators that the constitution calls on him to appoint.

Observers say the odds of success are long, at least in the short term.

Cameroon has 386 mayors. Just 26 are women. In the National Assembly, women occupy one-third of the seats in the lower house, while the upper house is just 20 percent women.

Female members of the ruling CPDM party say women should not to be discouraged.

Senator Julienne Djakaou of Cameroon’s Far North region says many women are not able to participate in decision-making because of traditional misconceptions and early marriage, which derails their education.

She said she did not believe it when men in her community said the Bible prohibits women from participating in politics, and so she went to seek advice from the highest member of the Roman Catholic Church in Cameroon, Cardinal Christian Tumi. She said he told her that politics was for both men and women.

But some male politicians argue women aren't ready and that Cameroon needs to get more women to vote before it can get more women in office.

Women constitute 52 percent of the country’s population. Yet, according to official figures, women account for just 30 percent of the seven million people registered to vote in this year’s polls.

opinion By Donah Mbabazi

IT started like any other normal day for Emily Tuyishime but little did she know it would turn into a black Saturday in her life.

On that fateful Saturday afternoon, her four-year-old son was involved in an accident that left him in a coma after sustaining grave injuries on the head.

Tuyishime tried to seek compensation from the bus company, but in vain.

She turned to the courts, and amidst the pain of nursing her child, she had to deal with running after lawyers and expenses she could barely handle.

"This journey I have been on with my child is a long and painful one. It has distressed me and I feel like I have let down my child," she says.

It's almost nine years since the unfortunate incident happened, and Tuyishime is almost giving up. She has run out of resources and is left with little or no hope for justice.

Like Tuyishime, the road to seeking justice for many women is long and bumpy. Despite, the policies in place, women still face challenges when it comes to accessing justice compared to their male counterparts.

Cressence Mukantabana, the founder of Poor Women Development Network, says that financial constraints are one of the biggest factors that deter women's efforts in accessing justice.

"The increase in court fees is another issue, before it was around Rwf5,000 but now it's Rwf25, 000. It's hard for some women to get that amount and that is why some decide to leave cases unreported," she says.

Mukantabana also points out that some women who are not in Ubudehe 1 and 2 poverty level categories cannot access the services of a free lawyer and that this can be limiting in a way for those who cannot afford attorney fee.

Fear on the other hand is an issue also, Mukantabana says. Women tend to treat domestic violence as a private matter and would rarely come out in public to seek justice.

"Some don't know their rights or what the law says, others fear approaching their leaders to seek advice," she says.

Mukantabana cites the example of a couple in Kimisagara who were not legally married but were staying as husband and wife. At the time of separation, the man wanted to take the all the property yet it belonged to the woman.

"When the woman approached the local leaders, they told her she had no case but when she came to me, I advised her to proceed to court. So this is where the concern is, some women don't understand the law and barely know their rights," she says.

Bosco Murangira, the director of Women Economic Empowerment at the Ministry of Gender and Family promotion, says that there are still challenges related to gender stereotypes and people's mindset that are historical.

He adds that the other challenge is illiteracy (in some cases) which limits them from fully understanding their legal rights.

Murangira on the other hand appreciates the fact that all laws which were gender blind or those that favoured one side were revised.

Women and girls have equal access to inheritance, education, among other areas.

"Most of them were the laws in place before 1994. Major reforms were made and we thank those that championed the good initiatives whereby today a girl or a woman is entitled to the same benefits and privileges as a boy or a man," Murangira says.

What women say

Jackline Tumukunde, the director of Jallyn Travels, says that access to justice is a right for everyone, but women encounter hurdles regarding access to this right due to fear.

"They fear reporting these cases to authorities, we need more specialised organs to help women report their cases; I think women would easily have access to justice. For example, Isange One Stop Centre has been so helpful," Tumukunde says.

She also believes that there is need for more sensitisation of women to get over the fear, and build their confidence so that they can be free.

"Also, increasing the number of female prosecutors and judges to deal with women's cases to create confidentiality can be helpful; the issue of handling matters of women publicly affects women's justice.

"Education is also key; when the number of educated women increases, it helps to improve their welfare and this includes making access to justice easy. Uneducated women don't even know how to bring their matters forward," she adds.

Maureen Katushabe says that it all comes down to the attitude women have towards this aspect.

"Most people are afraid of the long process involved in court so they either leave the case or try to work out things amicably."

Women also fear to be judged by society so they end up being victims, rather than fight for the justice they deserve, Katushabe adds.

What are stakeholders doing to address this?

Theo Badege, the Police spokesperson, emphasises that both men and women have equal access to justice and police in particular.

"Sometime back we had some issues when dealing with gender-based violence or sexual related crimes, but we had to teach and sensitise the public. Also, the number of women in the directorate dealing with such issues was increased," he says.

In cases of fear, there is an available hotline that runs 24 hours, seven days a week, anyone who finds it hard to access the Police can call the hotline and an arrangement can be made to see that the person is attended to, Badege points out.

Murangira says that there is emphasis on advocacy and outreach campaigns in order for existing laws and rights to be well known to the beneficiaries.

The Ministry of Gender and Family promotion in partnership with the Ministry of Justice, and other partners, are embarking on making the existing laws friendlier by translating them into Kinyarwanda, then disseminating them to the beneficiaries through the National Women Council structures, the Evening Parents Forum (Umugoroba w'Ababyeyi) and other local existing structures.

The other step being taken, Murangira says, is providing legal aid to the needy, like vulnerable women, among others.

"We shall continue to do everything possible to ensure women's rights and their socio-economic development. We believe that if women and girls are given justice and full rights, they will excel in everything they do, be it leadership, entrepreneurship and the labour market," Murangira says.

A 2017 survey shows that at least 87 per cent of Rwandans find legal and judicial services provided satisfactory, while trust for mediators remains relatively low.

The research, commissioned by Rwanda Legal Aid Forum, sought to gauge citizens' perception of justice and legal services in the country.

The study titled, "Citizen Feedback on justice and legal services in Rwanda through ICT platforms," sampled more than 5,500 respondents, 62 per cent of them women.

Its main objective was to assess the current framework of interactions between judicial institutions and citizens and examined most recurrent cases.

They involved land disputes, which constituted highest rate of complaints (19 per cent), followed by property disputes (12 per cent), paternity determination (8 per cent), succession (8 per cent) and divorce (7 per cent).

The survey also found that over 90 per cent of citizens were satisfied with the legal services provided by Access to Justice Bureaus (MAJ) and other non-state legal aid providers.

However, delays in service delivery and extreme cost attached to the service remain a great impediment to justice, it was not established.

What can be done to ease women's access to justice?

Women have less access to information about their rights; they have more difficulty obtaining court fees which impacts their access to legal support. Lack of knowledge of the law, lack of legal support, fear of domestic violence and customary practices are major barriers to women being able to claim their rights. Many challenges are not related to the law only, but also to the mind-sets influencing formal and informal judicial structures, gender stereotypes and customs embedded in the fabric of society, as well as weak linkages within the whole of the justice chain. To advance women's access to justice, there must be comprehensive initiatives to foster inclusion and to apply the law in a way that is sensitive to the needs of women. Courts are privileged to protect the rights of all women, but especially those who are the most vulnerable, who are poor, and have no voice. Because when a woman makes the decision to litigate a matter in court, she is taking a life risk that may jeopardise the well-being of her family.

Grace Ubaruta Mugiraneza, Programmes manager, Governance for Africa

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I think there should be organisations that assist women with no direct access to social justice. It's hard to get it as an individual, but an organisation can provide a lawyer. Some women fear to report what happened to them because of trauma, this issue may be resolved by building their confidence. This can lead to further advocacy and care for every abused woman.

Jean Paul Muhire, Founder of Love the Kids Foundation

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The lack of access to justice for women is not mostly because of financial issues but rather their state of mind. Awareness is needed at all levels to enlighten them and let them know that they are entitled to justice. Awareness should start from the cells, umugoroba wa babyeyi.

Jolly Mutesi, Miss Rwanda 2016

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Women need to be taught their rights and how to exercise them, this way, when they are faced with a matter that would require them to go to court, they wouldn't find it hard to follow up on their cases.

Wilbur Bushara, Medic

Photo: Alex Esagala/Daily Monitor

Uganda National Examinations Board chairperson Professor Mary Okwakol hands the 2017 Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education Examination results to State Minister for Higher Education Dr John Chrysostom Muyingo, right, in Kampala on February 21, 2018.

By Damali Mukhaye

The Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB) says the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) examination results of 79 candidates from 24 centres have been withheld over malpractice.

This was revealed by the board chairperson, Prof Mary Okwakol while releasing the reSults in Kampala on Wednesday.

Ms Okwakol said allowing malpractice in exams will lead to low quality of the country's human resource.

"Examination malpractice leads to poor doctors, poor judicial officers and engineers. This should be a matter of everyone's concern," she said.

She however, noted that cases of malpractice at UACE level were quite low as compared to previous years.

Speaking at the same event, the board's executive secretary, Mr Daniel Odongo said the female candidates have this year made a millstone after they outperformed their male counterparts at all levels in the 2017 Uganda advanced certificate of education examinations.

Mr Odongo noted that unlike in PLE and UCE, female candidates have performed better than boys in UACE because the failure rate among female candidates for 2017 is lower at 0.7% than for males at 1.5%.

Commenting on the withheld results, Mr Odongo said that the results have been withheld due to the external assistance candidates obtained, substitution and smuggling of unauthorised materials into the examination room, among others.

He said subsidiary mathematics, biology and economics were the most affected subjects.

He however, noted that the above students from 24 centers will be given a fair hearing by the board before the final verdict.

By Daniel Anazia

The African Development Bank has called on African countries to make science, technology and innovation (STI) policies inclusive and place women and girls at the centre of STI programmes.

The bank made the call as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science was celebrated across the world. Celebrated each year on February 11, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls.

According to Director of Human Capital Youth and Skills Development at the African Development Bank Oley Dibba-Wadda, the day is a reminder that women and girls play a critical role in science and technology communities and that their participation should be strengthened. He said, "Africa cannot talk about innovations without investing in its human capital. Support and mentorship are essential to increasing the participation of youth and women in science and technology."

"Decision-makers must prioritize the inclusion of youth and women in science and technology. African entrepreneurs and innovators must also be equipped with the right skills to succeed in a rapidly changing workforce," he added.

AfDB through its numerous interventions in STI is pointing the way to how women and girls can be supported to make a difference in science and innovation. For instance, through the Nigeria Technical Cooperation Fund (NTCF), the bank is providing scholarships to African students to develop and build their capacities in science and technology at the African University of Science and Technology in Abuja.

According to the Chief Gender Officer at the African Development Bank, María-José Moreno, AfDB in its operations supporting science, technology and innovation in Africa, has set indicators reducing gender gaps amongst students, and amongst teachers.

"A society needs the talent of all its citizens, men and women, and cannot thrive when half of the population does not develop its potential," she said.She explained that the AfDB uses a multi-pronged approach to support girl's education especially in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), adding that between 2005-2017, the bank approved $2 billion to support more than 70 education projects for Africa.

Moreno noted that $52 million in support to technical vocational education, training, and teacher education in Tanzania is helping reduce gender imbalance in science and technology related programs where female participation was only 11-19 percent. 10,800 students, which 50 percent of them fare emale, have benefited from the programme.

She further explained that through the bank's support of the Network of African Institutions of Science and Technology (SNAIST) Project, 510 students graduated from Master's and Ph.D programmes, with 48.9 percent being female. The project awarded 48 scholarships to students, including young women.

The goal of the African Development Bank project, she also explained is to contribute to the building of high-skilled human capital, especially in science and technology for the technological advancement of the African continent.

One of the graduates, Ufuoma Bright Ighore and her professor, were awarded first prize in the 2nd International Bernard P. Zeigler Discrete Event System Specification modelling and simulation competition in Boston, Massachusetts.As part of its programmes in promoting science, technology and innovation, the bank recently co-hosted the third Africa Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation in Cairo, Egypt.

Theme, 'STI for Private Sector Competitiveness and Economic Transformation in Africa' the forum featured a parallel session on 'Women in Science: Addressing the Gender Gap in the Field of Science, Technology and Innovation'.

For the bank's Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society, Vanessa Moungar, creating more equitable and inclusive societies requires that women and men are distributed across the different professions, including science, technology and innovation."This will foster social progress, cohesion and make societies and economies more resilient," she said.

By Abu-Bakarr Jalloh

What's behind the new push to introduce a West African single currency, the Eco? A statement by Ghana's finance minister indicates Accra may be making one last attempt to realise this elusive goal.

"The single currency for 2020 vision is: let's find two, three or four countries that are ready. Once they meet up, we follow through with the others cascading in," said Ken Ofori-Atta, Ghana's finance minister, at a meeting of West African ministers in Accra on Wednesday.

Ofori-Atta's statement appears to be clearly directed at Nigeria, the West African region's economic powerhouse that has put up stiff resistance to the Eco.

Eco-skeptic Nigeria

Nigeria, however, is not convinced about the benefit of a single currency to its mega economy, whose Gross Domestic Product (GDP) quadruples the rest of the others combined, with the exception of Ghana.

"How do you ensure that it doesn't look like unfair imposition, especially when Nigeria's economic growth rate improves geometrically better than theirs?" That is what Michael Adedotun said in an online survey by the Nigerian survey portal This Day Live. "That will cause serious bad blood," Adedotun added.

Adedotun's sentiments are echoed across Nigeria. "Nigeria doesn't really need the Eco; what it truly needs presently is to keep its house in order," Lagos resident Patience Eneyeme said in the same survey.

"The idea of a single regional currency in West Africa, though appealing, may not benefit Nigeria in the long run because of the identified issues of corruption and cross-border capital flight across member nations," said Abuja resident Iheanyi Chukwudi.

Chukwudi added that "an Eco may encourage looting and this will be counter-productive to development. Nigeria, which contributes around 75 percent of the region's GDP, doesn't really need the Eco for now; maybe much later when regional integration is better."

CFA Franc against Eco

The year 2000 had ushered in hopes for a single currency. Proponents of the Eco argued that trade barriers would be significantly reduced, if not wiped out completely, and cross border trade would increase.

But Nigeria, whose GDP is nearly 80 percent more than that of the poorest member of the West African economic community ECOWAS, The Gambia, was extremely skeptical.

The West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) which includes Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Liberia laid down stringent parameters as a basis for the single currency to be introduced.

ECOWAS' Francophone nations opted out of WAMZ and instead chose to stick with the CFA Franc, whose value is pegged to the Euro and guaranteed by the French Treasury.

WAMZ members, however, failed to meet the criteria of having a single digit inflation rate and a fiscal deficit of no more than four percent annually. As a result, the currency launch had to be postponed on several occasions.

Ghana bets on Eco

Ghana now sees its future in the Eco. "The 350 million market is important to us for our industrialization drive," Finance Minister Ofori-Atta said, referring to the bloc's Anglophone population.

"I think if Ghana positions itself well, we'll be a great beneficiary. The economic activity in the ECOWAS region is improving and most of the large economies are experiencing economic rebound," he added.

Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo hopes the meeting will fast track the process of introducing the currency.

"We remain determined to have a single currency, which would help remove trade and monetary barriers, reduce transaction costs, boost economic activities and raise the living standard of our people," Akufo-Addo said at the meeting on Wednesday.

The president's statement indicates that Ghana could go ahead and implement the Eco even if Nigeria doesn't feel ready.

Many users writing on DW Africa's Facebook page welcome the meeting. "It is long overdue," said Bright Y.G. "I pray this time around they stick to the agenda 2020 and implement it eventually."

"They've been talking about it since anyone can remember," said another user Michael A.

Others advised caution. "It will be an economic burden to the bigger countries like Nigeria," said Tony C. "The onus would lie on such countries to maintain the currency while others relax."

"Will it stop corruption in Africa? Will it create employment in Africa? Will it stop tribalism in Africa? Will it stop power lovers in Africa? Will it stop bad leadership in Africa?" asked Paschal C.

"They should think of how to upgrade the income of their people and make Africa a better place to be. That meeting is a waste of resources," he added.

Isaac Kaledzi in Accra contributed to this report

New signing forward Shaban 'Tchabalala' Hussein netted the only goal as Rayon Sports claimed a deserved 1-0 win over a Lydia Ludic Burundi Académic in the preliminary round return leg of the 2018 CAF Champions league at Prince Louis Rwagasore Stadium in Bujumbura to qualify 2-1 on aggregate

Irambona's thunderbolt from a tight angle in the 28th minute with good combination of Shassir Nahimana and Djabel Manishimwe, which helped Olivier Karekezi's side to qualify to the first round of the CAF Champions league.

Rayon Sports defense, marshaled by Thierry Manzi, Faustin Usengimana, Ange Mutsinzi and Eric Rutanga, displayed a solid performance and didn't allow Lydia Ludic Burundi Académic attackers a sniff at Eric 'Bakame' Ndayishimiye's goal until the last minute.

Burundian champions put pressure on Rayon Sports especially in second half by created more scoring opportunities through Moussa Harerimana, Seif Ndizeye, Jules Ulimwengu and Djamal Bazunza but denied by goalie Ndayishimiye.

Rayon Sports chances came through Nahimana, Djabel Manishimwe, kevin Muhire and Shaban 'Tchabalala' Hussein but failed to score.

Rayon Sports went into the return leg knowing that they need a win to seal qualification to the next round while Burundian champions needed a goalless draw to reach to the next round.

In first leg, forward Jamali Bazunza gave the visitors the lead before Burundi international Hussein 'Tchabalala' Shaban equalized for Olivier Karekezi's team.

Rayon Sports will face the 2016 champions Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in the round of 16.

By Anita Powell

Sub-Saharan Africa continues to appear at the bottom of Transparency International’s annual index, with the violent, chaotic East African nation of Somalia maintaining its 12-year streak as the lowest rated nation on the chart that tracks perceptions of corruption in 180 countries.

The index also found that more than two thirds of the countries surveyed scored below 50 points on the 100-point scale, with an average score of 43. African nations averaged a score of 32. No nation has ever earned a perfect score. New Zealand leads the index with 89 points. Somalia scored just nine.

Transparency International’s regional adviser for Southern Africa, Kate Muwoki, described the year in corruption on the continent.

“To put it simply, most African governments are failing to address corruption in the region, although we do have leaders that have invested in systemic responses to build strong institutions and create behavior change,” she told VOA from Berlin, where the organization is based. “... So, in terms of some of these rays of hope, at the top of the table we have Botswana, Seychelles, Cabo Verde, Rwanda and Namibia, who all score, currently, over 50 … And then, in terms of the very bottom of the table, there hasn’t been much change. We still have the likes of South Sudan, Somalia, right at the bottom, and significant declines from countries like Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau.”

But Muwoki says things may change, as the African Union and several key African leaders, notably the presidents of the two largest economies on the continent, Nigeria and South Africa, have recently made clean governance a pet issue.

Key resignations

The year 2017 also saw the fall of several regimes long accused of shady dealings.

No fewer than four heads of state accused of major financial crimes resigned in the past year: Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh, Angola’s Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and, most recently, South Africa’s Jacob Zuma. A high-level corruption scandal also tainted the administration of Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who resigned earlier this month amid mounting anti-government protests.

But holdouts remain: The Democratic Republic of Congo’s entrenched, corruption-accused leader has repeatedly postponed elections, and the leaders of Uganda, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, and Cameroon have all long remained in power amid allegations of mismanagement. Corruption investigations continue into current and former officials across the continent.

Rays of hope

Zuma’s successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, has made fighting corruption his key issue. The multi-millionaire businessman, this week, called for top government officials to be audited, starting with himself. Several other African heads of state have done the same in recent years.

“Now, if there ever has been anything that many South Africans would like to have line of sight of, it is the lifestyle audit of their public representatives,” he said Tuesday. “Now that is something that I believe we have to do, and this will be done starting with the executive of the country, yes, we will go in that way,” Ramaphosa said.

And in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari recently announced that all national assets recovered in a recent anti-corruption drive would be sold to benefit the treasury. Buhari is also the chairman of the AU anti-corruption effort.

Muwoki says the global watchdog has noted these new developments, but urged citizens to keep up the pressure by shining light on suspected corruption.

“2018 marks a very important year for the continent,” she said. “We have seen this renewed commitment from the African Union and from leaders at the recent summit in Addis Ababa. It is encouraging and we definitely support this … these are some of the things that we would be encouraging civil society and media, and some of these other key stakeholders to hold these leaders to account.”

By Chris Agabi

The President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has made a strong case for increased American and global investments to help unlock Africa's Agriculture potential.

He made the remarks as the Distinguished Guest Speaker, at the USDA's 94th Agriculture Outlook Forum in Virginia on Thursday, on the theme The Roots of Prosperity.

A statement quoted Adesina to have said, "for too long, Agriculture has been associated with what I call the three Ps - pain, penury, and poverty. The fact though is that agriculture is a huge wealth-creating sector that is primed to unleash new economic opportunities that will lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty."

Participants at the Forum included the Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue; Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Stephen Censky; President of the World Food Prize Foundation, Kenneth Quinn; Chief Economist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Robert Johansson; Deputy Chief Economist, Warren Preston; and several top level government officials and private sector operators.

Adesina appealed to the US private sector to fundamentally change the way it views African agriculture.

"Think about it, the size of the food and agriculture market in Africa will rise to US $ 1 trillion by 2030. This is the time for US agri-businesses to invest in Africa," he said. "And for good reason: Think of a continent where McKinsey projects household consumption is expected to reach nearly $2.1 trillion and business-to-business expenditure will reach $3.5 trillion by 2025. Think of a continent brimming with 840 million youth, the youngest population in the world, by 2050" he said.

The U.S government was urged to be at the forefront of efforts to encourage fertilizer and seed companies, manufacturers of tractors and equipment, irrigation and ICT farm analytics to ramp up their investments on the continent.

Photo: Charity Water

Mozambique underwent a civil war that led to extreme poverty and severely unhealthy living conditions. In addition, floods and earthquakes exacerbate the growing water crisis. With the 22nd highest child mortality rate in the world, every year 82,000 children in Mozambique don't make it to the age of five. Recently, Mozambique has made incredible strides toward development, and providing access to clean water is a major priority.

analysis By Ellis Adjei Adams

The world has made tremendous progress in bridging the gap between water supply and demand. But there's a long way still to go. In a 2017 joint monitoring report UNICEF and the World Health Organisation noted that more than 844 million people - many of them in sub-Saharan Africa - still don't have access to improved and safely managed drinking water sources.

This is particularly true in the region's urban areas, and especially its informal settlements. Population growth and rapid urbanisation are outstripping the already inadequate infrastructure in these spaces.

The traditional model of water governance through state or public water utilities, and the market based privatisation of water supplies that gained momentum in the early twentieth century, have failed to effectively address growing urban water demand. And so other institutional and management systems have emerged in some urban and peri-urban areas.

These new and alternative institutional configurations include public-private partnerships, community public partnerships, management by local autonomous urban water utilities and community self-help systems.

My colleagues and I explored several of the new systems in recently published research.

Community based water supply models have been common in rural areas for some time. They are now appearing in urban contexts for several reasons. These include communities' desire to address everyday water challenges when public utilities fail to deliver.

A good example is the case of Maputo, Mozambique. The government's decision to halt direct water delivery to peri-urban settlements led to the formation of public community partnerships. In Kenya, the rise of public community partnerships through delegated management was inspired by changes in government policy.

Community public partnerships typically involve a community - or an elected body within that community - working with a public or state owned water utility. So far they've emerged in only a handful of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, notably Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia. There are also successful examples of community-state partnerships in Latin America. These are mainly in Bolivia, Mexico, and Chile.

These existing initiatives offer useful lessons on what can be achieved when communities work jointly with the state in water service delivery.

Lessons from Malawi

Water boards in Malawi started working with community-elected water user associations in informal settlements in the mid-2000s. This began after a long history of mismanagement by private water operators. The water boards struggled with everything from financial management to extending water connections. Water points were frequently vandalised. The utility routinely ignored complaints from the community.

There have been significant gains since the community public partnerships were established. Technical and financial management have improved. Systems have been put in place that allow residents to gradually pay off their outstanding debts rather than just cutting off their supply. Money in the bank means there are more functional communal water kiosks. Broken pipes and other technical faults are handled more efficiently.

Perhaps most crucially, water pricing has stabilised in the communities in Lilongwe and Blantyre that have adopted this model. People are no longer overcharged for this basic service.

The model has its problems, of course. Supply disruptions and low water pressure are common. Questions have been raised about the extent to which improvements in management, accountability, and the number of water points has led to better water access at the household level. More empirical work will be needed to quantify the relationship between these partnerships and household water access.

Helping themselves

Self-help initiatives are historically more common in rural areas. But they are gradually emerging in some of sub-Saharan Africa's urban spaces. These arrangements, also known as community-based self-provision, allow communities to form their own institutions for water delivery without formal connections or partnerships with utility operators or municipal governments.

Such initiatives tend to be smaller in scope than formal utility-community partnerships. They often operate in small towns, with examples to be found in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. Self-help arrangements may involve either an entire community or a subset, such as an elected committee. Communities show commitment by providing resources such as land, labour, or money.

The Kumbo and Mutengene in Cameroon is a self-help initiative that's enabled communities to significantly mobilise financial and other resources. It has created a platform for communities to set up their own partnerships with development agencies. This is important: such initiatives must be able to attract international donors' interest by first mobilising community members and resources if they're to thrive.

In Dar es Salaam, for instance, communities far from the city's main water infrastructure network came together to dig wells and boreholes. They purchased water pumps, constructed storage tanks to meet their own water needs, and used revenue from water sales to expand the small-scale water system. Successful communities were able to get both local and international donors on board to provide them financial support.

Community self-help initiatives are not without their flaws. Their viability depends on the extent of community participation, continued interest and engagement with NGOs and other stakeholders; and sufficient financial support from within or outside the community. This prompts questions about their future sustainability and potential to scale up.

Another key challenge is the difficulty of balancing the provision of public standpipes with the demand for household taps

Support is crucial

Our study and review of existing research shows that no single policy or institutional approach to urban water supply is perfect. Nor is there one approach without any merit.

What is clear is that emerging alternative arrangements that involve communities are critical for improving water access. This is especially true in low-income urban areas. But communities cannot do it all alone. They need institutional support and to operate within a strong, coherent policy landscape.

press release

Dakar, Senegal – 22 February 2018: The United Nations Population Fund West and Central Africa Regional Office (UNFPA WCARO), in collaboration with the African Group of Ambassadors in Dakar, is to present its 2017 progress report on the state of the demographic dividend on 26 February 2018, at 9:00, at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dakar, Senegal.

The Demographic Dividend in West and Central Africa: 2017 Progress Report outlines the interventions of UNFPA WCARO and its partners throughout the year in the 23 countries of the West and Central Africa region. The presentation will also discuss the demographic prospects and challenges predicted for 2018.

In 2017, UNFPA was at the forefront of making the demographic dividend a regional priority, partnering with the African Union, which itself had as its annual theme: Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investing in Youth. As a roadmap, the theme led to a series of initiatives on the continent, from the mobilization of faith-based actors to African First Ladies and journalists, as well as a wide range of activities carried out by UNFPA’s different country offices.

The presentation of the report, part of UNFPA’s commitment to regularly update its partners, the media and the public of its work in the region, will also create an opportunity to discuss the 2018 African Union theme of anti-corruption.

The fight against corruption is the fourth pillar of the AU Roadmap on Harnessing the Demographic Dividend, the other pillars being: Employment and entrepreneurship, education and skills development, and health and wellbeing. This theme once more promotes a need for further investment in youth.

At the event, which will be attended by the African Group of Ambassadors in Dakar as well as representatives of UNFPA’s technical and financial partners, and the media, UNFPA WCARO will also present a report analysing the legal frameworks on female genital mutilation (FGM). The Regional Director launched this report on 6 February 2018, during the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM.

By Samuel Akapule

Bolgatanga — Teachers will no longer be allowed to use their mobile phones during lesson hours, the Upper East Regional Director of Education, Ms Patricia Ayikor, has warned

According to her, the directive coming from the Ghana Education Service was as a result of the way and manner many teachers are often seen glued to social media by using their phones during contact hours.

The Regional Director of Education announced the warning in a speech read by the Bolgatanga Municipal Director of Education, Madison Amoakese, on her behalf during this year's Catholic Education Week, held in Bolgatanga on Friday.

The theme of the conference, 'Catholic Education- Opening and creating opportunities for the education' was aimed at taking stock of the past activities of Catholic Education and to see how to help improve upon the standards of education.

Ms Ayikor indicated that monitoring visits conducted by her outfit confirmed that many teachers were using lesson hours on the social media at the expense of teaching students and warned that it would not be tolerated.

She, therefore, warned such teachers to always ensure that they put off their mobile phones during lesson hours to avoid any embarrassment and sanctions.

The Regional Director commended the Catholic Church for their contributions toward education and gave the assurance that GES would continue to support them to help deliver quality education in Ghana.

"As Catholic teachers you must endeavour to carry the tabernacle of Christ and the church to the classroom to help bring about greater societal changes so as to help accelerate the development of the region and the nation as a whole," she said.

She explained that as part of measures to help improve upon the educational standards of the schools, the Guidance and Counseling Units of schools were being strengthened and indicated teachers had been selected in each of the school to take charge of that responsibility.

Mr Jesse Joseph Paine, the Chairman for the occasion, who is also a retired educationist, impressed upon teachers to be role models by ensuring that the right values of society were instilled in child upbringing.

The Chairman mentioned corruption, stealing, laziness, drug and alcoholic abuse, disrespect, lateness to work and programmes as some of the worrying trends and called on teachers to help change the trend by imbibing good values in pupils and students they teach.

Whilst lauding the efforts of Catholic teachers for working hard to complement the government's efforts in education delivery, the Regional Manager of the Catholic Education, Reverend Sister Bernardine Pemi, urged poor performing schools to work harder to change the trend.

By Sylvester Kumwenda

Lilongwe — Unicef Malawi has embarked on a campaign of distributing 40 000 liters of safe water on a daily basis to Mitengo community in Lilongwe, after the area recorded 10 cholera cases and ended the life of a 10 year old child.

At Mitengo community, almost all members rely on wells and Lilongwe River as a source of water.

UNICEF Malawi country representative, Johannes Wedening told journalists on a media trip to appreciate the water distribution process and the water sources used by the community that have proved dangerous as their waters are not safe for consumption.

"The cholera epidemic in Lilongwe city is a serious public health hazard and as UNICEF, we believe this is primarily caused by unsafe water and poor hygiene practices.

"Tests have shown that all open wells and many boreholes in Lilongwe city are contaminated and should not be used for drinking. On the other hand, rivers and open wells are not a good source of drinking water.

"Hence, the distribution of the potable water is one way of making sure that people here at Mitengo have safe drinking water to prevent possible future outbreaks," said Wadening.

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However, he said it is everyone's responsibility to make sure they protect their families through practices like regular hand washing and safe disposal of faeces.

Wadening however said the campaign, which is being done with support from DFID is just a short term measure noting that there is need for the Lilongwe Water Board to come up with permanent solutions.

In his remarks, Director for planning and development in the Lilongwe District Council, Douglas Moffat said they are working hand in hand with the LWB so that the area should in the future have piped water.

"Firstly, LWB has helped us since the initial cases were reported by providing us with water bowsers. But for the long term solutions, the LWB has assured us that they will have to conduct a research work to see how best piped water can reach this area," said Moffat.

One of the victims of Cholera outbreak in the village is 38 year old Blessings Kachingwe, who suspects to have contracted the disease from her seven year old daughter.

Kachingwe who both with his daughter made a full recovery said the distribution of water would help in making sure people access safe water and prevent new cases.

However, he said everyone should take precaution in order to fully combat cholera.

"I urge everyone to observe hygiene in everything they do. They should make sure they drink only safe water.

"On the other hand, if they observe any signs of cholera which include vomiting and diarrhoea, they should rush to their nearest hospital for medical attention. Doctors are there ready to help," said Kachingwe.

Photo: The Namibian

Former presidential affairs minister Immanuel Ngatjizeko (file photo).

By Sakeus Iikela

Former trade and industrialisation minister Immanuel Ngatjizeko has retired, two weeks after he was appointed presidential affairs minister.

State House press secretary Alfredo Tjuirimo Hengari said in a statement yesterday that the decision to retire was taken based on a recommendation of his doctor "with immediate effect".

Ngatjizeko had been given the presidential affairs portfolio after his predecessor, Frans Kapofi, was moved to the home affairs ministry.

During a Cabinet reshuffle announcement two weeks ago, President Hage Geingob said he had moved Ngatjizeko to presidential affairs so that he can "look after, and monitor his health".

The former trade minister is the latest top politician to retire due to ill-health this month following the retirement of former vice president Nickey Iyambo, who also quit due to health reasons. Former deputy minister of labour Alpheus Muheua also resigned last month due to health issues.

Geingob yesterday commended Ngatjizeko's contribution to the nation and the Swapo party.

"You have been a model cadre and an outstanding servant to the people of Namibia, and this is evident through your reputation as an admired and respected leader within the community," Geingob was quoted as saying in the statement.

Ngatjizeko has been a member of parliament since 2000, and member of Cabinet since 2003.

He has served as director-general of the National Planning Commission, a position equivalent to that of a minister.

He also served as deputy minister of mines and energy, minister of labour and social welfare, minister of safety and security and finally minister of trade and industrialisation - until he moved to presidential affairs last month.

It is not known whether Ngatjizeko also relinquished his parliamentary seat.

Swapo Party chief whip Evelyn !Nawases-Tayele said she has not received any official communication concerning him.

She said the decision would only be taken when he [Ngatjizeko] communicates his resignation to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Peter Katjavivi.

Photo: The Guardian
By George Opara

Abuja — The Senate committee on Public Account yesterday announced the uncovering of $100 million allegedly spent on four airport terminals.The former Minister of Finance and Coordinator of the economy, Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, was claimed to have obtained the loan.

According to the committee, the credit was expended without the approval of former President Goodluck Jonathan.The airport terminals are those in Port Harcourt, Lagos, Kano and Abuja.This revelation followed an investigative hearing organised by the committee to ascertain the $650 million balance of Eurobond with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

Also included is that of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), with Debt Management Office (DMO) and the Aviation Ministry in Abuja.The Chairman of the committee, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, representing Edo South, affirmed that the then minster and the DMO boss, acted without due process.He alleged that they: "made payments to chains of company and the letter on page 12 signed by one Haruna Mohammed only indicated that, the ministry had written to the president informing him on how the money would be spent.

"What the minister considered to be an approval was not so. The letter that was submitted was for the issue of meter and based even on the $100 million."Urhoghide added that the committee discovered that the former president only noted the letter, which the ministry took to be an approval from him.He said the minister never asked the former president for an approval, but the DMO boss acted on the letter as directed.

In her reaction, the DMO Director General, Patience Oniha said: "Some high level discussions took place that made the ministry to take the decision.She added that Okonjo-Iweala knew about the letter by Mohammed.

Parents and guardians of the missing schoolgirls in Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe state, broke into tears when Gov. Ibrahim Gaidam visited them without saying a word on the whereabouts of the girls.

Addressing the parents at the District Head's palace in Dapchi on Thursday, the governor urged the parents to remain faithful as security operatives were still searching for the girls.

He said "soldiers have been pursuing the insurgents, although they receive information that the Boko Haram insurgents had passed some areas, but the communities in the areas said they did not spot the girls along with the insurgents."

He assured that government and security operatives would not rest on their oars until the missing girls were accounted for.

The waiting parents wept profusely as the earlier news that the girls were rescued turned out to be false.

The Yobe Government, on Wednesday, issued a statement claiming some of the missing girls had been rescued.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had appealed to parents and guardians for additional time to search for the missing school girls.

The minister made the appeal while fielding questions from newsmen when he led Federal Government delegation to Dapchi on Thursday.

He said the actual number of the missing schoolgirls would be determined in the next few days when parents come forward with complaint of their missing wards.

By Abu-Bakarr Jalloh

Dozens of girls are still missing several days after Boko Haram attacked their school in Dapchi, northeast Nigeria. Their disappearance sparked fears of a repeat of the 2014 kidnapping of more than 200 girls in Chibok.

Parents of the missing schoolgirls faced an anxious wait for information on Thursday, after reports emerged that some of the girls had been rescued.

"Some of the girls have been rescued by gallant officers and men of the Nigerian army from the terrorists who abducted them," Abdullahi Bego, spokesman for Yobe state governor Ibrahim Gaidam, said.

But a student who escaped Monday's attack said some of her classmates had jumped over a perimeter wall at the sound of gunfire and got into vehicles parked nearby.

"Our fear is that Boko Haram [members were] disguised as army officers and abducted them in the name of rescuing the students," the student, who doesn't want to be identified, told DW in a telephone interview.

The Dapchi attack raises questions about the government's claim that it has a total grip on security in remote northeast Nigeria. "The government is trying to conceal the fact that Boko Haram is still causing havoc," said Tsambido Hosea-Abana, chairman of the Chibok Association in Abuja.

"The government spoke just three or four days ago that they have completely degraded Boko Haram and there is no longer any Boko Haram. Immediately after their declaration, Boko Haram did such a thing. So they want to conceal it and state that their version is the truth," Hosea-Abana told DW.

The Dapchi attack also calls into question how far pledges to improve security at schools have been implemented nearly four years after the Chibok abduction brought sustained international attention to the insurgency, largely via the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.

"The government should take action because they said they have degraded Boko Haram and if they do not take any urgent action to rescue the girls, it would be bad on their part," Hosea-Abana added.

A federal government delegation including Nigeria's defense and foreign ministers flew to Dapchi on Thursday. DW correspondent in Maiduguri, Muhammed al-Amin, said the parents of the missing girls had gathered in Dapchi waiting for the delegation.

Inuwa Mohammed, whose 16-year-old daughter, Falmata, was missing, said he had "mixed feelings of hope and trepidation" about the girls' return. A senior military source in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, told the news agency AFP some of the girls were "found on the border between Yobe and Borno states."

Girls as bargaining chip

"The girls were abandoned with the vehicle. It had broken down and the terrorists panicked because they were under siege by pursuing soldiers," he added.

"The fear is that some of the other girls may have been taken along by the terrorists because the girls were not in a single vehicle. Only those in the broken down vehicle were lucky."

President Muhammadu Buhari was elected in 2015 on a promise to defeat the insurgent group, which is affiliated to the so-called Islamic State.

"There are different factions within Boko Haram," said political analyst Professor Sylvester Odion Akhaine. "It is possible that a different faction operating in Yobe state would use the girls for bargaining eventually, since we've seen that being done with the Chibok girls."

"It is reasonable to suggest that the attack has to do with information by security forces that they have decimated much of the stronghold of Boko Haram insurgents and that Abubakar Shekau [the group's leader] is on the run," Professor Akhaine said in a DW interview.

By Business Correspondent

International investors will get a chance to consider the vast investment opportunities in Zimbabwe's growing mining sector at a mining indaba to be held from 27 to 28 February 2018 at The Meikles Hotel in Harare.

The conference is hosted by the London-based MiningReport in conjunction with the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe and the Mines and Mining Development Ministry.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa will officially open the indaba, which has attracted interest from over 20 countries. He has pledged to make economics and trade cooperation, rather than politics, his government's main priority "in order to catch up with the region".

Over 300 high profile decision-makers representing local, regional and international players involved in Zimbabwe's mining sector are expected to attend the two-day event.

Liberation Mining, who are the conference's lead sponsors, will be represented by CEO Victoria Tskhovrebov, while co-sponsors African Chrome Fields will be represented by their national project director, Ashruf Kaka.

In a statement, lead sponsors Liberation Mining said: "Liberation Mining, together with its partners, has a long-term commitment to Zimbabwe's economy and social development, welcomes current changes in the country's business environment and is looking forward to further investing in its growth and the prosperity of the people of Zimbabwe".

Speaking to journalists in Harare on Wednesday, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said: "The event will be officially opened by His Excellency, President E.D Mnangagwa and has attracted interest from over 20 countries and we are excited to have engagements with the Zimbabwean mining industry and international investors."

With the new government's key message to international investors being "Zimbabwe is open for business", government officials will address the ease of doing mining business, showcase investment opportunities and discuss mineral value addition, among other issues.

Zimbabwe is endeavouring to be among the most attractive and safest mining investment destinations with clear and predictable investment policies and incentives. In his December 2017 budget statement, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the 51-49 per cent local-foreign shareholding structure shall only apply to diamonds and platinum, allowing foreign investors to now own up to 100 per cent in all other mineral projects.

In a statement, conference hosts MiningReport said: "We are bringing together mining companies, government stakeholders and a broad range of investors including sovereign wealth funds, and the media. Make sure you join us to connect with these key stakeholders. Zimbabwe is on a path to becoming one of the leading mining investment destinations in Africa."

Zimbabwe's 800 mines have capacity to earn US$18 billion per annum but were only turning out about US$2 billion annually since 2009. This represents about a tenth of the sector's full potential and translates to an incredible opportunity for investors, and the government has pledged to create an enabling environment for investors.

The country's vast mineral wealth includes the second largest platinum and chrome deposits in the world, and the country is the fifth largest producer of lithium in the world.

"We have over 40 different minerals in the country, including diamonds, gold, platinum, chrome, copper, nickel, iron ore and lithium. The country also has rich coal deposits and many other minerals. Research shows that Zimbabwe has six out of 10 of the world's most valuable minerals.

"This massive resource base creates lucrative opportunities for investors in exploration, mining and beneficiation. So, we are open for business," Minister Chitando told a mining conference in Cape Town, South Africa, earlier this month.

Zimbabwe has many emerging producers as well as exciting exploration, brownfield and operating projects starved of capital that represent an outstanding opportunity for investors to move in now to reap the rewards in the future.

The mining sector has great scope for growth with the potential to attract USD$12 billion over the next 5 years. Mineral export receipts of $2,5 billion are projected for 2018, up from $2,3 billion in 2017.The mining industry contributes around 13 per cent of gross domestic product and 68 per cent of Zimbabwe's total export receipts.

Conference video: https://youtu.be/MMlamfavBEM

For more details on the conference, including bookings, please visit www.miningreport.co/zimbabwe.

Striking mineworkers at Gupta-owned Optimum Coal Mine have demanded to know the "truth of the sale" of the mine.

Workers downed tools on Wednesday morning, saying there was uncertainty over their jobs and the future of the mine.

A large group of mineworkers gathered at the main gate of the mine early on Thursday morning, insisting that management briefs them.

Optimum Coal CEO George van der Merwe received a memorandum from them.

In the memorandum, they demanded to know if they would be paid and asked to be informed of plans to pay outstanding debt to creditors.

Van der Merwe said he and his management team would go over the memorandum before they respond.

"The truth that we will give you won't always be what you wanted to hear, but it will be the truth. The situation that we are in today is not as a result of only our own making, but the result of external forces," Van der Merwe said.

On Wednesday, general manager Howard Pyoos said the Department of Mineral Resources was not aware of any possible sale of the mine because they had not filed for its transfer yet.

The sale of mining rights requires approval from the minister.

Pyoos told the workers that Swiss-based Charles King, which wanted to buy the mine, had already paid a deposit.

"A portion of that memorandum... required a deposit and, if the sale does not go through, that deposit must be given back to the buyer," Pyoos said.

Rapport reported on February 11 that Ajay Gupta was spotted at Optimum on Tuesday, February 6.

Ajay landed in a helicopter at the mine with Ronica Ragavan, the chief executive of the Guptas' holding company Oakbay Investments, who was arrested by the Hawks during raids at Gupta properties last week, in relation to a case involving the Estina dairy farm.

She was later released on bail.

According to the Hawks, Ajay is currently a fugitive from justice in an unrelated case.

News24

By Lahja Nashuuta

Windhoek — Defence Minister Penda ya Ndakolo admitted to fellow lawmakers in the National Assembly this week that he did not inform President Hage Geingob, who doubles as commander-in-chief of the country's armed forces, about the military's decision to purchase the N$45 million Oropoko farm.

The reason for failing to inform President Geingob ahead of the purchase, said ya Ndakolo, was because of Geingob's heavy schedule.

"At the time of the purchase of Oropoko farm, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Namibia and commander-in-chief of Namibian Defence Force, was not briefed due to his heavy schedule. He has however now been properly briefed on the matter," ya Ndakolo told the National Assembly.

The purchase of Oropoko farm, situated some 60 kilometres north-west of Okahandja, caused alarm when it first appeared in the media especially given its costs and at a time the defence ministry was reportedly sending soldiers home to cut operational costs.

This prompted Geingob to publicly remark: "I hope what I read is not true, that the Ministry of Defence bought a farm for N$45 million while they are sending troops home. I do not know if it was done last year. Minister, we need to talk, because I do not see the urgency, while we are sending people back (home)."

In his address to the National Assembly, ya Ndakolo said not only was farm Oropoko purchased in March 2017, but it was also purchased after abandoning an approved and budgeted spending of setting up a shooting range at farm Etiro in Karibib area, at a cost of N$2,37 billion.

That spending, he said, was registered with the National Planning Commission to take place in phases. with the first phase costing N$500 million. The first phase design was to accommodate 300 soldiers.

"While pondering on the huge costs of the base [at Etiro farm], an offer to purchase Oropoko farm was given," says ya Ndakolo. He maintains that Oropoko is suitable for the base that was to be set up at Etiro farm.

"Oropoko has well developed infrastructure such as accommodation facilities for up to 300 soldiers, aircraft landing strip, helicopter pad, shooting range, swimming pool, laundry, conference centre, a mechanical workshop, independent water infrastructure and besides being connected to the national electricity grid, it has a local electricity generating capacity," says ya Ndakolo.

He also insists that at N$45 million, the costs of purchase are much cheaper when compared to the original asking price of N$69 million and the N$500 million that was planned for the development of the same base at Etiro farm.

Ya Ndakolo maintained that although he failed to inform Geingob on the matter, all procedures were followed. "The purchase contact was negotiated through the necessary legal processes, including passing through the Office of Attorney-General. The settlement of the contract was also done through the Ministry of Finance as per State Finance Act and was signed between the owner and the permanent secretary of Works and Transport which is the custodian of government properties," he said.

The minister said despite the financial crisis, there exists the need to purchase the farm due to lack of infrastructures to accommodate national defence force as most of the infrastructures built during the colonial era where made from the prefabricated material and have since dilapidated, while some where turned into private properties after independence.

"The purchasing of Oropoko farm is not only a gain to the Ministry of Defence but it is also a benefit to the government and to Namibian people in general," he said.

By Prince Mukuna and Sibongile Maruta

A Harare filling station shut down its operations on Tuesday after it emerged that its petrol was contaminated with water. Engen Petroleum at the corner of Kaguvi Street and Robert Mugabe Road had to stop serving customers following complaints by at least four motorists that contaminated petrol had caused mechanical problems to their vehicles.

The vehicles failed to start after they had received petrol with water, which led to the filling station to stop serving fuel, only to reopen on Wednesday.

The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) confirmed the development, saying a team of investigators had been dispatched to the filling station.

ZERA head of the petroleum department Engineer Andrew Guri said his team established that the fuel was indeed contaminated and that the operator was now in the process of cleaning the tanks.

Eng Guri said ZERA had not received an official complaint from the motoring public, hence no charges were preferred against the Engen Petroleum branch.

"We conducted some tests and they were positive. ZERA is mandated to prosecute retailers who sell contaminated fuel knowingly. In Engen's case, the proprietor is working on resolving the issue and they had already stopped serving fuel," he said.

"No motorists filed complaints with us and when our team arrived at the scene, there were no motorists being served neither were there complaints by any affected customers."

A fuel attendant at the filling station confirmed that some vehicles' engines had been affected by the contaminated fuel.

"Four vehicles failed to start after we had served petrol, only to find out that the fuel was contaminated," said the attendant. A motorist, Mr Brighton Maboda, was on Tuesday complaining that his Volkswagen Polo had been affected by the contaminated petrol.

"I tried to start the engine just after buying petrol, but it failed to start. I called my mechanic to check on it and he concluded that it had been affected by the contaminated fuel. Engen staff is denying liability and are refusing to assist me," he said.

By Beatrice Materu

The ongoing reforms in Tanzania's mining sector could lock foreign commercial banks out of the mining sector as new regulations require miners to use the financial services of local banks.

The Mining Regulations on Local Content (2018), which came into effect in January, require mining companies to have a bank account in a Tanzania-owned bank in the country.

The law defines a local bank as one that has 100 per cent Tanzanian or a majority Tanzanian shareholding.

The move is aimed at checking capital repatriation to miners' countries of origin.

Experts say the new arrangement may require Tanzanian banks, which have foreigners as majority shareholders, to consider restructuring their shareholding in order to comply with the requirement and retain mining clients.

The regulation is expected to affect international banks like Barclays; Standard Chartered Plc; Stanbic Bank; First National Bank Tanzania Ltd -- which is 100 per cent owned by the First Rand Group, a large financial services provider based in South Africa; KCB Bank, Commercial Bank of Africa and Access Bank Plc.

There are over 40 banks in the country.

Boon for local banks

Former chairman of the Tanzania Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative Multi-Stakeholders Working Group, Mark Bomani, said that during the review of the Mining Act companies had argued that local banks lacked the capacity to handle their accounts.

Economists have praised the new regulation as a boon for local banks.

Before the new rule was passed, mining firms were allowed to have bank accounts abroad and repatriate some of their profits -- a move the government feels was weakening the local currency.

Calls for a change in the mining law were due in part to claims that mining firms were evading tax. The new structure seeks to establish even participation in mining activities by local entities including contractors, subcontractors, insurance companies and financial institutions.

Heft penalties

To avoid fraudulent practices, the law imposes heavy penalties on those who fail to comply.

"A citizen who acts as a front or connives with a foreign citizen or company to deceive the Local Content Commission as representing a local Tanzanian company to achieve the local content requirement under these regulations, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than Tsh100 million ($44,000) and not more than Tsh250 million ($110,000) or to a term of imprisonment of not less than one year and not more than five years or both," says Section 49 (2) of the law.

Section (3) reads: "A person who connives with a citizen or a local Tanzanian company to deceive the Commission as representing a local Tanzanian company... commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than Tsh1 billion ($450,000) and not more than Tsh10 billion shillings ($4.5 million) or to a term of imprisonment of not less than five years and not more than 10 years or to both."

Tanzanite

Meanwhile, a team set up by the president to probe tanzanite mining has started negotiations with gemstone mining company Tanzanite One Mining Ltd to address setbacks affecting the sector.

The team was formed to ensure laws are followed and Tanzanians benefit from the natural resource, which is only found in Merelani Hills.

"We have started discussing ways to handle the different challenges affecting tanzanite business while also safeguarding Tanzanian's interests," said Palamagamba Kabudi, Tanzania's Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs who is also a member of the team.

Faisal Juma Shahbhai, director of Sky Associates, owners of Tanzanite One Mining Ltd, said they support government efforts to ensure that the rare minerals benefit the country.

President John Magufuli has repeatedly voiced concern that Tanzanians do not benefit from their natural resources and has committed to gaining back control of the country's extractive industry.

Mid last year, parliament fast-tracked three new laws that introduced extensive legal and regulatory changes to the country's extractives industry.

They were the Natural Wealth and Resources Contracts (Review and Re-Negotiation of Unconscionable Terms) Bill, 2017; the Natural Wealth and Resources (Permanent Sovereignty) Bill, 2017; and the Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act, 2017.

Photo: Alex Esagala/Daily Monitor

President Yoweri Museveni addresses heads of state and other delegates during the joint retreat on infrastructure and health financing at Munyonyo on February 22, 2018.

By Francis Mugerwa

Kampala — The East African Community (EAC) needs $78b (about Shs282 trillion) in the next 10 years to fund more than 200 infrastructure projects in the five-member states.

Under the projects, the key ones including the Standard Gauge Railway, hydropower, oil and gas projects across the region, are to cost $62.2b (about Shs224 trillion).

Leaders from Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan, who met yesterday in Kampala, said the revenue will be internally and externally raised through borrowing and also Public Private Partnership (PPP).

However, the leaders disagreed on which projects the PPP model should be used for.

Burden

President Museveni said the PPP model was not working well because private investors were borrowing expensive capital to invest in infrastructure projects such as hydropower generation, which in the end burdens consumers.

"PPP is good, but we need to agree on how it should be used and in which areas. It can help build infrastructure, but for crucial ones like electricity, railway and laying of internet cables, we've to be careful. We cannot afford high costs of electricity," he said.

He cited the Bujagali hydro-power project that is run on a PPP model as an expensive partnership for both government and industries.

"We had agreed with an American company to produce per unit cost at four American cents, but my people went and signed with another company at 11 cents," he said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta had earlier said he was a strong believer in the PPP model.

"I am a strong believer in PPP. But I have a problem of bureaucracy in government which frustrates our development partners," he said.

Rwanda's Minister for Infrastructure who represented President Paul Kagame also said the PPP model was working well in his country.

"We have had good experiences in Rwanda," told the leaders.

Tanzania President John Magufuli said EAC was focusing more on building infrastructure but not building production capacity of the people. On his part, South Sudan President Salva Kiir chided the American government for slapping arms embargo on his country.

"As we were trying to implement the 2015 peace agreement, we were surprised by the sanctions announced by the American President. How do you slap arms embargo on us when the people we're talking to are getting arms?

South Sudan, whose status to get full admission into EAC will be discussed today during the Heads of State Summit, has experienced war since 2013.

Mr Kiir asked EAC to support South Sudan to end the spiral of violence.

"We want you to stand with us and end the war so that we develop the natural resources we have," he said.

President Museveni apologises

Earlier, President Museveni had apologised to the meeting for the poor air conditioning of the room and warned the government protocol officials responsible.

"This is the last time I am tolerating this. Why do you close the windows when the air conditioning is not working?" he asked.

President Uhuru equated the poor air conditioning of the room to bureaucracy he had mentioned as a frustration to investors.

Mr Magufuli made fun of it when he said the poor air-conditioned room would make them sweat and "release dirt" from their bodies.

Today, the Heads of State Summit will discuss the progress of the key infrastructure projects.

Priority

The leaders also listed nine health priority areas that the Community should prioritise in the next 10 years.

Among those are increasing safe and affordable health care, establishing a strong primary health care systems, establishment of insurance coverage in all partner states, and increase domestic financing to the health sectors.

By Larry Ngala

Home player Erick Ooko completed a four rounds total of six under par 282, to claim the fourth leg of the Kenya Open qualifying series at Royal Nairobi Golf Club on Thursday.

Ooko, who led from start to finish, fired two under par 70 in the final round, win by a six shots margin from Nyali's Njuguna Ngugi.

"My game has been good since we started the series as I am driving well, chipping and putting well though I think it's because I'm mentally stable at the moment due to the training we went through recently," said Ooko.

It was his first and second holes birdies in addition to a third one at the fifth which propelled him to the four under par score.

"I dropped a shot at the par five-15th but that was basically the only hole I did not play well. I will continue working hard as we approach the Kenya Open where I really want to play well so that I get a chance of travelling for other international events," added Ooko.

On the other hand, the Coast-based Ngugi bogeyed two holes at the front nine where he only birdied at the par five-second.

The Glo-sponsored African Voices on Cable News Network (CNN) will this week feature Africa's Athletes who have taken the world by storm and are conquering competitions.

The 30-minute magazine programme which comes up at 11.30a.m. on Friday is also repeated at 7a.m. and 4.30p.m. on Saturday and at 12.30a.m., 4.30a.m. and 8p.m. on Sundays. The show will also be aired at 5a.m. on Monday and at 10.30a.m. on Tuesday.

In a press statement in Lagos, Globacom said the weekend's edition of the programme will focus on the activities of three of the continent's athletes who are dominating their respective sports across the world.

Those to be featured on the programme, according to CNN, include Winnie Okoth, Othmane Choufani and Tiranesh Dibaba.

A Kenyan, 26 -year old Winnie Okoth is a coach at CrossFit Kwetu. She is redefining and forging a path in weightlifting, a field dominated by the opposite sex. She was crowned fittest woman in Kenya 2017. Winnie's ambitions are to empower the young generation to stay fit by embracing weightlifting and to bring home medals when she represents Kenya at the Olympics 2020.

The second guest is Othmane 'Hotman' Choufani, a big wave professional surfer from Agadir, Morocco. 23-year-old Othmane has participated at Mavericks, Teahupoo, Jaws, and Puerto Escondido.

Tirunesh Dibaba is an Ethiopian athlete who competes in long distance track events and international road races. She is the 5000 metres (outdoor track) world record holder and has won three Olympic track gold medals and five World Championship track gold medals, amongst other titles.

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Globacom is a Limited Liability Company with registration number 439916 and address at Mike Adenuga Towers, 1 Mike Adenuga Close, Off Adeola Odeku, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. Globacom Limited is registered to deliver Telecommunications services."

Desiree Ellis has been appointed permanent head coach of the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana with immediate effect.

SAFA President, Dr Danny Jordaan made the announcement in Johannesburg on Thursday, 22 February 2018.

"We are glad to announce the appointment of Desiree (Ellis) as Banyana Banyana coach; she fully deserves the appointment as she has come through all the ranks of our national teams.

"Desiree has three tasks to achieve; qualify for AFCON 2018 in Ghana, qualify for FIFA World Cup and the Olympics. I am confident Banyana Banyana will be up to the task," said Dr Jordaan.

Ellis has been in charge of Banyana Banyana on an interim basis since 2016 - after the Rio Olympic Games and takes over from former coach Vera Pauw.

At the time, the former Banyana Banyana captain was the assistant to the Dutch-born Pauw.

"It is still sounds unreal; I honestly can't believe it is really happening. It has always been a dream of mine to be the head coach of Banyana Banyana; nothing comes bigger than this. Being in the acting role since 2016 has probably prepared me for the most daunting task of them all in women's football. I have always believed, and now it is a reality," said Ellis.

"I will be failing in my duties if I did not thank the South African Football Association (SAFA) for entrusting me with this job, even in the acting capacity. This appointment can only mean we are doing something right in women's football, and I hope it becomes a symbol to many girls and women out there that if you dream it, you can live it. I will do the best of my ability to make sure we continue on growing this beautiful game."

Her first assignment as head coach will be the Cyprus Women's Cup, a tournament she is very familiar with.

Banyana Banyana depart for Cyprus on Friday, 23 February and will play their first match on Wednesday, 28 February against Slovakia.

The other nations in Group C are Korea DPR and Hungary.

The 54-year-old Ellis is well aware what is at stake.

"Banyana Banyana has a very hectic 2018, and this Cyprus Cup could not have come at a better time. Because of the nature of the tournament, we are unable to win it but will instead use every opportunity to get ready for the upcoming AFCON qualifiers and the tournament proper - which also doubles up as a World Cup qualifier. But we are confident we will not disappoint as I believe we have a very solid team that will do the business," added Ellis.

"I will also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me on this journey - all the players, the coaches, colleagues. I also need to make a special mention about Vera Pauw, from whom I have so learnt so much, as well as our proud sponsor Sasol, without whom we would not be here today. I believe with South Africa behind Banyana Banyana, 2018 is going to be a great year for all of us. We have a lot of work ahead, but I am confident we will get to our destination, which is qualifying for the World Cup in France."

Ellis has been in charge of Banyana Banyana in 15 matches, starting with the friendly international clash against Egypt (22 October 2016), which ended with South Africa winning 3-1 at the Dobsonville Stadium.

In total, she has won eight encounters, drew two and lost five. Her side has scored 27 goals and conceded 15 in the 12 away and three home matches.

Ellis is the only person to win the COSAFA Cup as both player and coach, and during her acting role, Banyana Banyana was voted the 2017 CAF African Women's Team of the Year.

South Africa finished fourth at the CAF African Women's Cup of Nations in Cameroon in 2017.

Banyana Banyana Matches under Ellis:

vs Egypt (Friendly)

22 October 2016

SA won 3-1

vs Zimbabwe (Friendly)

10 November 2016

SA won 3-0

vs Zimbabwe (AFCON)

19 November 2016

Drew 0-0

vs Cameroon (AFCON)

22 November 2016

SA lost 1-0

vs Egypt (AFCON)

25 November 2016

SA won 5-0

vs Nigeria (AFCON)

29 November 2016

SA lost 1-0

vs Ghana (AFCON)

2 December 2016

SA lost 1-0

vs France (Friendly)

17 January 2017

SA lost 2-0

vs Lesotho (COSAFA)

14 September 2017

SA won 3-0

vs Namibia (COSAFA)

15 September 2017

SA won 3-1

vs Botswana (COSAFA)

17 September 2017

Drew 1-1

vs Zambia (COSAFA)

21 September 2017

Drew 3-3 (SA won 5-3 on penalties)

vs Zimbabwe (COSAFA)

24 September 2017

SA won 2-1

vs Burkina Faso (Friendly)

22 October 2017

SA won 4-0

vs Sweden (Friendly)

21 January 2018

SA lost 3-0

P W L D GF GA

15 8 5 2 27 15

DESIREE ELLIS FACT FILE:

54 years old

Born and bred in Cape Town

Played netball, hockey and participated in athletics at Salt River Senior Secondary School

Played for Spurs Women's FC until 2004

Captained at club, provincial and national team level

Former member of the SAFA Western Province Coaching Committee and Convener of Girls U15 side in 1999

Former coach of the Provincial Girls U15 side at the Nike Premier Cup - third place in 1999 and second place in 2002

Head coach of the SAFA Western Province U19 Girls for the Inter-Regional Tournament in 2001

Head coach of Spurs WFC between 2004-2016 in the Vodacom and Sasol Leagues

INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE

Vice-captain of Banyana Banyana in 1993

Scored a hat-trick on debut when beating Swaziland 14-0

Captain of Banyana Banyana from 1994-2002

32 appearances

6 goals

Won the 2002 COSAFA Cup (last game for Banyana Banyana)

Assistant coach of Banyana Banyana between March 2014 and August 2016 (including at the Rio Olympics and 2016 Cyprus Cup)

Interim head coach of from October 2016 - to February 2018

Got 4th position at the 2017 AFCON in Cameroon

Won the 2017 COSAFA Cup

Became the first person (male or female) to win the COSAFA cup as player and coach

Presided over Banyana Banyana when named 2017 CAF National Women's Team of the Year.

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By Sulayman Bah

City Girls are the team to beat in the Gambia Football Federation second tier women's division. City boss the standings on eight points ahead of Kintehs who've garnered fifteen points in a possible thirty.

Brikama United occupies the next slot sharing it with Jeshwang United with Berewuleng and Jam City at fourth and fifth respectively. Last weekend's schedules ended with Brikama overcoming Jeshwang while Kintehs walked over Berewuleng 2-0 and leaders City Girls spanking Jam City 2-0.

Nene Jallow of City Girls is the leading scorer on seven.

WEEK TEN

TEAM P W D L GF GA GD PTS

CITY GIRLS 10 7 2 1 14 6 8 23

KINTEHS 10 4 3 3 14 11 3 15

BRIKAMA UNITED 10 4 2 4 12 9 3 14

JESHWANG UNITED 10 4 2 4 11 10 1 14

BEREWULENG 10 1 5 4 4 11 -7 8

JAM CITY 10 2 2 6 4 12 -8 8

60 22 16 22 59 59 0 82

By Sulayman Bah

Demba Savage has marked his first cameo with Turkish second tier side Büyükşehir Belediye Erzurumspor.

The winger came off the substitute bench as a 66th minute entrant replacing teammate Karadeniz when his club were already 4-1 up against bottom-placed Gaziantepspor.

Büyükşehir Belediye Erzurumspor eventually won the game 5-1 to move to 8th place in the 18-team second tier league standings.

Up next on the schedule for Büyükşehir Belediye Erzurumspor is an away fixture to Bulspor who sits fifth in the division.

The Gambia international joined BB on a two-year deal from Finnish premier league champions HJK making him the second Gambian to ever play Turkish second fiddle football after Ousman Jallow who departed Caykur Rizespor in 2013.

Photo: allafrica.com

From left, Namibia Football Association Secretary General Barry Rukoro and Cosafa President Phillip Chiyangwa (file photo).

By Otniel Hembapu

Windhoek — The Namibia Football Association (NFA) secretary general Barry Rukoro, who is accused of having manhandled Cosafa president Phillip Chiyangwa in South Africa on Friday, says NFA president Frans Mbidi's deeply infra dig habits of rumour-mongering and backstabbing triggered the altercation.

It was reported that Rukoro allegedly had a scuffle with Chiyangwa, who is also the head of the Zimbabwe Football Association, on the sidelines of the recent Cosafa annual general meeting in Johannesburg, where the two football administrators had a heated exchange of words.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Rukoro who was speaking from Nigeria where he is attending to official duties, denied any physical confrontation with Chiyangwa but said only a "heated exchange of words between two strong characters" took place in the hotel lobby.

According to Rukoro, Mbidi has for the past few months been on a personal mission aimed at getting rid of him as NFA secretary general - and to make sure his mission is fully accomplished, Mbidi has apparently been lobbying for the non-renewal of Rukoro's employment contract, which runs full circle end of March.

Said to have already won over the support of some NFA executive members, who partly agree that Rukoro's tenure as head of the NFA secretariat should not be prolonged, Rukoro claims Mbidi has now further extended his lobbying efforts to Cosafa levels - a move Rukoro claims is completely out of order as it is purely an internal NFA labour issue that has zero to do with Cosafa.

"Mbidi has been gossiping and spreading lies about me and the entire NFA Exco at continental and subcontinental events. He (Mbidi) took a purely national matter to a subcontinental platform. The question is what does Cosafa have to do with what is purely an NFA labour issue? Apart from the fact that Mbidi went about gossiping and spreading lies about NFA internal affairs, Cosafa president Chiyangwa even went ahead to discuss this matter at a Cosafa Executive Committee meeting. That was completely out of order. Mbidi is going around telling people that he will not organise an NFA Exco meeting for fear that his letter to me may be reversed by the NFA Executive but he chose to seek support against me on the international fora. That is not only disrespecting the NFA Executive but also undermining the NFA and Namibia's ability to deal with our own issues," said Rukoro.

It is no secret that Mbidi and Rukoro have not been the best of associates, with Mbidi a few weeks ago publicly announcing that he will not renew Rukoro's employment contract once it ends, but forgetting that he first has to consult the NFA Executive, which holds all the powers to hire and fire an NFA secretary general.

Most NFA executive members have not pronounced themselves on Rukoro's employment contract issue, but have advised Mbidi to follow due process and respect all the protocols when dealing with the issue, as opposed to bypassing the NFA's decision-making structures to settle his personal scores.

"I was told by a Cosafa Exco member that Mbidi with the support of Chiyangwa wants to deal with me and the NFA Executive and that Chiyangwa was ready to assist Mbidi in that regard. All I did was to confirm with Chiyangwa if the version I heard is indeed true and how he is planning to deal with me and the NFA Executive in a matter that does not in any way affect Cosafa. He (Chiyangwa) confirmed to me that Mbidi is pumping him up with a lot of stories about me and the NFA Executive, which is apparently not supporting him (Mbidi) to get rid of me. My discussion with Chiyangwa was a little heated but no scuffle took place. It is easy to establish if indeed there was anything like a scuffle or not as our discussion took place at the centre of the hotel lobby at lunch. How come nobody saw a scuffle?" added Rukoro.

Also contacted for comment yesterday, a somewhat reluctant Mbidi was a bit hesitant to indulge in details pertaining to the reported Rukoro and Chiyangwa scuffle, saying he only heard about it from other people and was also later informed by Chiyangwa himself, but could not comment further on the issue.

Asked whether the NFA will take disciplinary action against Rukoro for bringing the name of the NFA into disrepute, that's if the allegations are proven true, Mbidi simply said: "We cannot react to hearsay. The moment an official charge/complaint is received, we shall then embark upon an appropriate path to address the matter."

Maputo — The Japanese government has promised to finance a further three community projects in the Mozambican provinces of Maputo and Sofala, budgeted at about 153,000 US dollars.

An agreement on this funding was signed on Friday by Japanese ambassador Toshio Ikeda, and by representatives of the beneficiary institutions. The grants form part of Japan's Programme of Assistance to Community Projects and Human Security.

“I am pleased that we can begin a further three projects in cooperation with NGOs”, said Ikeda. “The three projects cover agriculture, health and education, and it is hoped they will have a great effect on improving the living conditions of the local people”.

The largest of the grants, for 79,400 dollars, is for a project to reactivate the Namaacha Agricultural Institute, in Maputo province. In charge of the project is the Italian NGO Progetto Mundo Mlal, which will be giving professional training courses in the agriculture and livestock areas. The project also includes installing a kitchen and canteen, building workshops and purchasing assorted technical equipment.

The Institute is being reactivated in partnership with the National Directorate of Technical Education in the Education Ministry, and the Catholic Archdiocese of Maputo, and it should be operational in 2019.

A grant of 56,335 dollars has been allocated to a project of the Portuguese NGO Medicos com Africa-CUAMM in the Sofala provincial capital, Beira, for the installation of Adolescent and Youth Friendly Serices (SAAJ) in the Inhamizua and Mascarenhas health centres, in the outlying, densely populated peri-urban area.

The SAAJ are intended to provide sexual and reproductive health services to young people in a friendly environment. The initiative is part of the general strategy of CUAMM to support the authorities in the fight against HIV/AIDS. It is expected to benefit about 18,000 people.

The final project is the rehabilitation of the Combatentes-Mafarinha Primary School in the town of Dondo, also in Sofala. This project, budgeted at 17,500 dollars, seeks to improve condition at the school by building two new classrooms, a storehouse and a surrounding wall. It will benefit at least 1,200 students.

Asmara — At a meeting held on 15 February at the Orrota Hall, the Ministry of Health designed a Road Map that will spearhead in the realization of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

The Road Map that was designed in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the WHO was aimed at successfully implementing the second health sector strategic development plan to meet health related Sustainable Development Goals.

Indicating that "Leaving no One Behind" is the motto of the Sustainable Development Goals, Mr. Delanyo Dovlo, Director of Health Systems and Services in Africa, expressed on the importance of designing viable policies for realizing the SDG, early preparation for meeting challenges, as well as raising awareness on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr. Berhane Gebretensae, D.G. of Health Services, representing the Minister of Health, said that the Sustainable Development Goals presents a unique opportunity for a shift in perspective and approach and that requires a serious multi and inter sectoral engagement. Mr. Berhane also said that Eritrea has already developed the Health Sector Strategic Development plan that runs from 2017 to 2021 focusing on health security and achieving universal health coverage.

The representative of the WHO in Eritrea, Ms. Josephine Namboze on her part underlined that Eritrea has done very well in meeting the SDGs and making it a good candidate for the new approach.

The Sustainable Development Goals have broader scope comprising 17 goals with 169 associated targets.

By Wakuma Kudama

Ethiopia is endowed with high young population. Evidences indicate that among the 100 million population of Ethiopia, the number of the young people is estimated to be more than 34 million. It is certain that they play key roles in the economic, social and political progress of the country. It is believed that the youth, if properly directed and empowered, contribute a great deal in accelerating the ongoing development. Thus, careful investment in the youth through meeting their socioeconomic needs determines the future of the nation.

Cognizant to this, the Ethiopian government in collaboration with development partners has been providing health services for the youth. Among the development partners, DSW, a global development organization that focuses on the needs and potential of the largest youth generation in history, has been playing significant roles in improving the lives of the young people. Recently, it has evaluated its last year's performances at its Bonita Training Center, Bishoftu town in Oromia State. The organization has been working with the youth associations and other stakeholders in order to improve the lives of several young people.

Bishoftu Town Deputy Mayor Dr. Alemu Gonfa said that capacitating the youth with all the necessary knowledge and skills that would help them to improve their lives is one of the best ways to lay proper foundation for the future of the nation. "As a result," he added, "we have been working with DSW in the last 13 years at our town. Through providing series of training on issues that address the youth, we have equipped them with proper understanding concerning reproductive health."

According to Dr. Alemu, DSW has carried out significant activities that made the youth beneficiaries. "It has been implementing varies projects to support the youth associations through equipping them with essential life skills. Since the organization has been working according to the established strategies and policies, the attitudes of our youths, concerning issues related to reproductive health and others have significantly been improved."

DSW's Country Director Feyera Assefa on his part said that the organization has been accomplishing its mission of empowering the young people through promoting an enabling environment and fostering meaningful and inclusive participation. "One of the best ways to empower the youth is to establish proper reproductive health services. Realizing the necessity of making certain proper health services, our organization, in the last 17 years, has been carrying out activities that solve problems related to reproductive health of the youth in addition to playing significant roles in reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS."

The Country Director added that DSW has been contributing its considerable shares in supporting the ongoing development through capacitating the productive citizens that can play significant roles in economic growth. The organization has been working with 70 youth associations in different areas such as Oromia, Amhara, Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples' State as well as Addis Ababa. "In the last 13 years, the organization has trained several youths at Bonita Training Center, Bishoftu Town. The training manuals were carefully prepared and tested for its authenticity and effectiveness by experts. As a result, the lives of the trainees immediately improve after the training. After taking the training, they are requested to train others in the youth to youth programs," Feyera added.

According to Feyera, more than four thousands youths have been trained on leadership, entrepreneurship and reproductive health in the last 13 years at different training centers. Those youths have significantly influenced other youth associations and federations through sharing their knowledge and skills in youth to youth programs, he stated.

Wogeyehu Ayele is a Chairman of Sodo Selam Youth Club in Woloyita Sodo Zone, Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples' State. According to him, his club, which consists of more than 50 members, was established 28 years ago with four young men with the purpose of working together for voluntarily services. "In the last six years, we have been working together with DSW in strengthening our club. Most of our members have taken series of trainings at DSW on leadership, reproductive health, and entrepreneurship that helped them support other young people in the woreda. I think the training on how to manage small groups is very useful. We have learned how to work together and cultivate one another," he added.

Tenaye Alemu is a Chairman of Bukaya AntiAIDS and Reproductive Health Association at Bahir Dar, Amhara State. The training she took at Bonita Training Center, Bishoftu enabled her to own better life skills, according to her. "The trainings on leadership, managing small groups, entrepreneurship and reproductive health have significantly shaped our world views and life styles. We also gave the trainings for other youths and prostitutes who have experienced complete change in their life styles as a result of the trainings. Through sharing the skills we acquired from DSW, we also saved other youths from the damaging consequences of addiction, sexually transmitted diseases, negative influence of peer pressure and the like," she stated.

Ethiopian Youth Federation Vice President Tsigereda Zewdu on her part said that since the youth are considered to be the resources, the nation ought to properly invest in them to cultivate thier skills. The outcome of these productive forces is determined by the way the nations handle them. "These days, the youth are struggling from several challenges like cultural conflicts, lack of direction and peer pressure. In order to withstand the consequences of globalization and the like, it very essential to cultivate the skills of the youth through trainings.

"In this regard, the government in collaboration with development partners such as DSW has been investing in the lives of the youth through encouraging them to organize themselves in the associations so that they can get access to financial resources," she added.

In short, the effort the government has been demonstrating to capacitate the youth can have considerable outcome to improve their livelihood; encouraging the youth to organize themselves in groups so that they can easily finance and necessary trainings is one of the prudent strategies the government has been implementing. Nevertheless, a lot has to be done in order to properly equip the young generation to the extent they can handle the challenging situation of the world.

analysis By A Staff Reporter

Most of the time Ethiopians that participate in small scale trades are not seen charting out business plans, according to experts in the field and elites. And those who have the bent to plan are pron to copying. What is the reason behind the problem? How could it be solved?

The experts indicate that it is hard to tell whether most citizens engaged in business activities run their business with a plan or not. A question mark hangs over small scale enterprises ' habit of conducting studies and planning.

Instructor of Management at Addis Ababa University(A.A.U) Dr Mathewos Ensermu told EPA journalists that there are some businessmen that start job with a well defined and well organized business plan, while others blindly gets into it without chalking out the plan they conjured up in their heads.

Most of the plans here are traditional ones that mirror each other. Their being on the right track is subject to doubt. Owing to this problem, the reality on the ground is a far cry from what is dictated by modern business.

Those Ethiopians that engage in small scale business most of the time do not have plans. Nor have they an organized plan that takes timely and key information into account.

According to Federal Urban Job Creation and Food Security Agency's Enterprise Development Director Belete Bala, as per the Small and Micro Enterprises development strategic plan set in motion in a refined way since 2011, enterprises organized in group or individually are actively engaging in business ventures preparing business plans.

He seconds Dr Mathewos. Some use plans, while others copy and submit others business plans to secure loan, working shades and shops . Those individuals who run business alone do not seem to have an inkling about business plan and their engagement is divorced from planning.

Business plan begins to enjoy credence in our country in tandem with the strategic plan of Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs)came into life,for the framework also embraces actors of small scale trade.

Yet many are remiss from observing business plan. He attributes the problem to wide information gap pertaining to the importance of business plan. They lack the knowledge needed to prepare the plan and they harbor doubt regarding the pros of business expertise. Besides the expertise sometimes prove shallow. Lack of experience compounds the problem. Dr Mathewos indicates the absence of quality and uptodate data to set a plan and star business. No wonder business plans prepared in such way could be highly dubious. The business industry is at its embryonic stage. The fact that some business men have become profitable working without planning has made others to take business minus planning workable.

Tewabe said if technical support and counseling are given parallel to the sensitization work the culture of running business with plan will develop. There is a call for conducting a thorough research why the businesses in our country are not divided in sectors. Citizens who want to engage in a business venture must enjoy easy access to much -needed information so that they could prepare a business plan.

Begging to differ from Dr.Matheios's point he says starting business arbitrarily and without plan is far from profitable. Citizens engaged in petty trade without plans soon get out of market as they lose their profit too. Aside from wasting their labor and time they will wither away before rendering to their country the required support.

In order to let people engaged in small scale business run their task with plans there is a call for conducting research beforehand on the economic milieu of the country, according to Dr.Mathewos. As the market economy system is still at the embryonic stage here in our country there is a need to conduct a probing research on the changes the business sector is experiencing and facts evidenced these days. Not the necessary data is available on those businesses not permanent.

He is optimistic that registering the required data and doing awareness deepening work, it is possible to let the country's small scale business activities led by plan. Regarding the sensitization work Belete Shares Mathewo's point.

On the government's side the Ethiopian development and research center is conducting studies on job creation mentality or entrepreneurship and on business plan. This move will flicker light to policy makers which path to choose.

Stakeholders in general and universities in particular must support the sensitization work on the preparation of business plan and job creation.

Belete notes that if a business is divorced from plan, product and service's quality could deteriorate. The absence of quality in product and services competitiveness is unthinkable. This will negatively impact the country's economy.

analysis By Addisalem Mulat

Yosef Bekele was born in 1964 E.C in the heart of Addis Ababa in the area commonly known as Kess Sefer. His family later moved to Kassanchis. He loves Kassanchis with all his heart. He was born with a disability-- flappy hands. He could not even walk. Hence, he did not play childhood games with his age mates. Even worse, his whole body could even move slightly. He was doing everything getting help from his family members as there was nothing he could do on his own.

There was no stone his mother left unturned to pull her son out of the problem that was shackling his hand and foot. Yosef's mother made an effort to make him get the whole lot that life offers. Though her dream could not bear fruit within the shortest time possible, she did not give up hope often. She jump started taking him to different Holy Water Centers without losing hope. She could not find instantaneous solution wherever she took her son. People were telling her not to try anything given that her son's problem was a natural one that could not be changed no matter what came. Yosef's mother simply gave the cold shoulder for such advisers. She was not interested to lend her ears for anything which poured cold water on her efforts.

As chance would have it, all her efforts did not go up in smoke. Little by little, Yosef's health condition kept on improving. But the mother could not believe her eyes considering her son's health improvement now and then. "St. Urael's holy water had helped me improve my health and wellness!" he says.

Yosef was born from a low pursed family. His dad was the sole bread winner of the family. He was struggling day in and day out to make ends meet. Their father was their only hope next to the Heavenly Father.

At some point, as ill luck would have it, Yosef's father went to meet his maker. They did not know what they had to do. They got shocked. They did not know the way out. Inch by inch, the situation of the family kept on falling every so often. They did not have a morsel of food left at home. The entire family fell in trouble. Yosef was the fourth child of the family. "I had to do something to rescue my family from the trouble they are in.,"he used to worry

He had to do something. When he was at a loss what to do, he kick started begging passersby in Mosques and churches. His mother was not interested to see her son asking for alms. It was like a bitter pill to swallow. She was confused. She did not want her son to lead his life this way.

She did want to worry her son for the sake of their daily bread. She was simply dreaming of sending him to school. As he was a physically challenged person, the situation of sending Yosef to school was easier said than done.

He joined priest school and started studying Amharic Alphabets and later when he got stronger joined for basic education and proved to be successful in reading the whole lot in a short time. He failed down several times in this regard. There was nothing Painter Yosef regreted for in life despite he passed through many ups and downs. He knows how to cope with the challenges of life despite its enormity.

Whenever Yosef saw his friends drawing pictures, he did the same almost immediately. Surprisingly, he was painting by means of his legs. Everyone was amazed by his talent. He was also excellent at bouncing a ball more than a normal kid did. Inch by inch, he started drawing different alphabets in different shapes and forms. Moreover, he started expressing his innermost feelings through his pictures. His works gradually began attracting the attention of many people.

As he was a helpful person, children were troubling him to draw various pictures essentially during religious holidays. Whoever asked him to draw pictures; he did not rub his eyes for a moment or so. Some children were sharing money from the income they got putting up for sale pictures for the Ethiopian New Year. He did not sit binding his hands and legs. He kept on drawing pictures every so often.

One evening, something that he did not expect came to pass. When a certain idea came into his mind, he came into a decision to make an effort to capture images like the environmental milieu. This time, he troubled his sister to bring a paper and pencil. But nobody was in the position to lend him ears. He did not get angry over a little thing. In due course, his sister unhappily brought the paper and pencil and put them on a table. Yosef soon made an effort to get the pencil and paper down from the table on the floor. But all his efforts did not bear fruit. Desperate but determined, he kept on trying drawing pictures using his mouth. He kept on practicing time and again. He gradually made the unthinkable art of drawing thinkable.

Once upon a time, while he was tuned to a radio a story of a handicapped woman abroad, he was attracted by the whole story of her particularly on how she managed to pass through different ups and downs to achieve worldwide fame. From that day onwards, the idea of learning about painting kept on coming in and out of his mind. Then, he began hunting for fine arts school where he could broaden the knowledge of his horizon. Finally, he headed to Abyssinia Fine Arts and Vocational Training Center.

When Yosef went there, he bumped into Painter Girma Agegnew. The owner of the training center was not at home at that moment. Yosef told him the whole thing in black and white on the subject of his dream. After Grima extended his appreciation following Yosef's effort, he told him to bring his grade eight and ten exam results. But he did not have any educational document. He did not answer back except looking down.

As it happened, the owner of the Abyssinia Fine Arts and Vocational Training Center, Genet Kebede put a special criteria. She said, "

"For a time being you can learn in our center. As you do not have educational documents, you will not be given a chance to be graduated. But you can take all the courses."

As Yosef's interest was gaining painting skills, he did not care a fig about the graduation. He was dreaming of making his dream come true.

His teacher was the famous painter Artist Worku,in a similar condition with him. The teacher was showering him with pieces of advice now and again. He was spuring him with inspirational advices. But the challenges of keeping up with the phase of the normal ones were not that easy. After seven months of training, he focused on with drawing pictures using pencils and papers. His pictures attracted the attention of many in a little while.

There were challenges in the first phase of the paining as it demands rotating his neck clockwise and anticlock wise. The painting was done using pencils. Although he was advised to get himself directly engaged in painting, he turned a deaf ear. He refused and kept on time and again for he accepted as true that everyone is one and the same.

Having passed through many challenges, he managed to complete his studies. This time the school owner told him that he would not be graduated with his batches as he did not have educational documents. He did not feel irk as he had already got what he needed. The other day, she said, "Even though you do not have educational documents, you are better than others academically. Thus, you will be graduated." He turned out to be very happy following the good news. In the fullness of time, he joined the graduating batch.

After graduation, though Yosef wanted to be a full time painter there were challenges ahead of him. He was living under the same roof with his family in a small room. The house was inconvenient as painting by its very nature needs a quiet place. He did not know what he had to do. When he was at a loss what to do, he headed to the owner of Abyssinia Fine Arts and Vocational Training Center. He explained everything concerning the problem he was in. In due course, the owner gave him permission to do his paintings in the school. Hence, he kept on doing his paintings as he pleased.

He got spliced in marriage twenty years ago. His first wife was one of his age mates. She was madly in love with him. But her parents got mad when they realized that she was in love with a handicapped person. They did not want to see her with him for a fraction of a second. When the influence of the family got tougher, the lovers rented a house and started life together. He did not have a penny at that time to pay for the house rent. But he had placed confidence on his friends.

Kassanchise was everything for Yosef's life. He was making a living from the income he got from begging. He as well helped his family. His marriage soon got blessed with a daughter. However, out of the blue, his wife departed this life leaving a four month baby. It was a difficult time for him. He took care of the baby girl for three years on his own. He passed through different challenges in this regard. Later, he met by chance his second wife.

At the time when his first wife passed away, he was dining in a restaurant. For want of a hand, it was his friends who used to feed him. One fine day, he went to a restaurant as usual to have his lunch. He ordered for a dish, which was soon served. But nobody appeared to feed him. Waiting one of his friends to come, he simply sat down. He did not feel irritated as usual. He did not get disappointed. This time, touched by the situation the chef of the restaurant -a girl-- decided to feed Yosef. She even felt sympathy when she heard the news about his first wife who breathed her last leaving a baby.

After so many similar visits Yosphe paid to the restaurant she fell madly in love with him as humorous as he was. She did not want to distance herself from him. She always wanted to be with him. When all's said and done, she embarked on living under the same roof with him. They have got two children: a daughter and a son. They are leading a blissful marital life at this point in time. His wife always helps him from the income she gets as a cook. He has got three children. The first born is a student at Arbamich University, the second is a tenth grader and the third one is a KG student.

By Robin Dopoe

One of the several unsanitary classrooms at Bahn High with damaged ceiling that is not spacious enough to hold 35 students per class, and have a shortage of chairs.

Every year, hundreds of junior high school graduates are denied access to secondary education in Zoe Gbao district, Nimba county.

According to local education authorities, this is because the only government high school in the district, Bahn High School, lacks sufficient classroom space to accommodate the large number of students matriculating to secondary school each year. This has created a situation that sees hundreds of students being denied access to secondary education simply because of the lack of classroom space to accommodate them. The students have described their situation as a 'living hell' due to official government neglect.

Zoe Gbao (frequently referred to as Zoe-Geh), like many other districts around the country, is undeveloped and poor. It has a population of 28,675 - according to the 2008 National Population and Housing Census report - but is said to have increased in recent years due to a high birth rate (6.2 2008 estimates), according to the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo- Information Services (LISGIS).

The District Education Officer (DEO), Aaron B. Zoleglee, who is also a former principal of Bahn High School, has described the situation of denying secondary school age children access to the school as 'a difficult one.'

"It is a difficult decision because I know the importance of education, but our hands are tied; there is nothing we can do. We just have to turn away many students every year because the Bahn High School lacks adequate chairs and classrooms to accommodate the huge influx of students who are leaving junior high.

The main building of the dilapidated Bahn High.

"The classrooms are so small that they cannot hold up to 35 persons per class. Right now, the school is overcrowded because we tried to take 30 persons per class, thereby creating a difficult learning environment. The school's current population exceeds 400, which should have not been the case.

"But we are managing and doing our best. This is a serious problem that this new government needs to address. The old government was aware and they did nothing to redeem the situation. Every Liberian child has a right to education and they don't need to be denied that right. I think the number is more than 500 per year--looking at the number of junior high school graduates," narrated DEO Zoleglee.

The Zoe-Geh district currently has 60 schools, out of which 55 are government run. Out of the 60 schools, there are 14 junior high schools and two high schools - the second high school is owned by the Inland Church, with the rest being elementary schools.

Three affected parents, *Mary, *Annie, and *Martha, lamented that the situation is seriously affecting poor parents, since they do not have money to send their children to Bahn Catawba Mission High School, which is run by the Inland Church.

"This kind of situation puts our children's future under threat because they have to sit down the whole year without being in school. This is making most of our children to be high school dropouts, and it is frustrating," the parents said. "We cannot blame the school administration but the government for creating such a problem. If the district had at least three high schools, such a situation was not going to occur."

Bahn High School was constructed in the 1956 as a self-help project by the people of the district to educate their children, under the reign of late Paramount Chief Alhaji Tuazama. After the country's 14 years of civil wars, the building was reconditioned by NGOs, and has since then undergone minor repairs when it showed signs of collapse. The school runs from kindergarten to the 12th grade.

Currently, the school building is at the point of collapse with huge cracks visible in every wall; ceilings that are falling off in every classroom; with no doors or windows (the few remaining ones are badly damaged); visibly broken floors everywhere; and no science and computer labs for students, in this 21st century age of science and technology.

The back of the school building with no windows, a damaged door, and visibly cracked and patched walls.

The school also lacks adequate supply of clean water for drinking and hand washing and lacks a conducive and sanitary environment and well-ventilated classrooms.

Zoleglee added: "We need urgent help because the Bahn High School building is breaking down every day, which makes it a death trap. We need this building to be demolished and rebuilt to accommodate the influx of students. The education system in the district needs total overhaul starting first with infrastructure and the provision of better learning materials to educate children of this district. We also need more high schools in the district to end the problem once and for all.

"It is sad and heartbreaking that we have a computer lab, but it does not function because the computers are dead and the government does not care to repair them despite years of appeal. As for a science lab, we don't have it; therefore, we have encouraged the students to adapt to this poor environment, just to have education. This should not be the case. However, we have a library, but the students are lazy when it comes to reading and many of them do not visit the library."

*Princess, an 11th grade student at Bahn High, described the school's learning environment as a 'complete hell.'

"We are actually suffering to get quality education here. Every day, we have to fight like animals for a common chair just to have a seat since the ones in the school are not enough. If you are unlucky, you will have to stand or sit on the floor during the entire period. For females, it is terrible and the school's lack of an encouraging and healthy environment and clean classrooms poses a serious problem for us. It is not that we do not want to go to the library, the situation there is worse off, and no student wants to risk his or her life going there," she said.

Another student, *Richard, added that although the school does not look like a place for learning, they are compelled to go there just to acquire an education.

"When your parents are poor, you have to bear many things--just like the one we are going through at Bahn High. We are learning under harsh conditions. No computer and science labs are clear proof that we are being left behind. Also, whenever it rains, we miss class because rain water leaks through the roof and water splash through the open windows in the building. And the classes we miss during these times are not rescheduled.

"The building we are in is like a death trap lying in wait for its victim. With this bad learning environment without computer and practical science knowledge, I don't think we are adequately prepared for the job market," he said.

The damaged back door The back entrance of the school, with DEO Zoleglee in the foreground.

However, both students lauded DEO Zoleglee and the teaching staff for their hard work, saying that despite the difficulties they try to ensure that the students are educated.

"He is actually fighting the situation and doing everything possible to make sure that we are educated. Since he took over as District Education Officer, he makes sure teachers are in class on time and teach according to the lesson plan," declared both students.

Meanwhile, Zoleglee explained that another problem facing the district is the need of enough teachers with a bachelor of science (B.Sc) degree.

"We have teachers, but need more qualified teachers to help impart knowledge in our children. The lack of more B.Sc holding teachers is hampering our students' performances. Still, I'm certain that they will do well in the upcoming WASSCE national exam," he said.

However, the problems facing the Zoe-Geh school district are, according to official statistics, not unlike those in other school districts in the leeward counties.

(Editor's Note: Names with asterisks were changed to protect the identity of the speakers.)

By Ugo Aliogo

In order to meet the demand for competent and professional software engineers, Aboluwarin David and Mofesola Banjo co-founded DevCrib. In this report, Ugo Aliogo, examines the technology startups

"We have great talents in Nigeria and companies like ours are grooming these talents to global standard. We work closely with global and local corporations (Microsoft, Code.org, SeedDev, and ODSG) that support us with tools and resources needed to get our Devcribbers effectively trained. An important factor that has helped us is that our engineers live and work together, thus, learning is faster and good human relationship qualities are acquired."

The above statement captures one of the goals of DevCrib, a technology startup hub. The startup was founded by David Aboluwarin and Mofesola Banjo. Aboluwarin is also the Co-founder of Planet Nest, a technology startup hub based in Akure, Ondo State. He is a graduate of Computer Engineering from the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA). The story of Aboluwarin is not only amazing, but one imbued with moral courage and hope. Aboluwarin is one of those few privileged individuals who could be described as having a happy childhood, one where children had access to some of the best things of life. He was detached from the rumble and tumble of daily grind.

Growing up, the father emphasised two things; every child in the family must learn how to play a musical instrument and operate a computer system to the full knowledge of it. This helped Aboluwarin to develop a strong liking for technology at an early age. His father's personal passion and commitment to the values of good parenting helped to build the touchstone which shaped the future for every child in the family. His father ensured that the children were enrolled in schools that had a computer laboratory.

At the age of five, Aboluwarin was already exposed to operating a computer system, an experience which has helped him find his feet in the scheme of things. Like every child at infancy, he had an inquisitive mind, therefore questioned everything around him especially computer gadgets in order to understand how they were built and if there was a need to improve on them.

"I began my journey into technology by playing with computers and learning to know how a game was created. When I play a game, I want to know how the game was created. Then I went online to learn coding," he noted.

When he finished secondary school in 2007, he stayed back for three years, honing his skills in computing. While staying back at home, his father introduced him to a Professor friend who gave him unrestricted access to the computer system in his office. During his sojourn with the Professor, he often spent long hours at night browsing and learning about various software issues. To further his dream in computing, he went to Lagos to undergo a year professional training in Java, a programming language. After the training he decided to focus on being a java programmer.

In 2010, he secured admission to FUTA to study Computer Engineering. In the first one month in the university, Aboluwarin met a friend who later became his partner. They both had a similar story. He also has been involved in coding since 2007 and building chat applications.

This partnership became something rewarding for the two friends as they decided to put their heads together to work on the particular project. They also realised that in the technology space, new languages and technology were developed daily; therefore there was a need for them to keep up with trends and improving knowledge base as developers.

They embarked on training their friends, working on projects and representing the school at competitions. From their first to fifth year in the university, they won 15 national competitions in software challenges for the university.

They also did works for the school "especially in the virtual reality laboratory, where an individual can navigate through the school from a room. We were the technical team that built it for the school. We also took part in building software solutions for the other projects which the school was working on."

In 2015, after graduation from FUTA, Aboluwarin and his partner decided to setup DevCRIB, an arm of Planet NEST which is a social enterprise focused largely on building a skilled Africa.

Their focus is to groom talents across Africa in a residential programme on their campus in Akure (a vibrant and fast growing technology ecosystem). These talents will have the opportunity of learning from world class engineers and growing steadily to be able to work remotely or onsite with global technology corporations in solving problems. It is important to know that it is a paid programme.

With the increasing demand for competent and professional software engineers in the world, DevCrib has realised that there is need to fill this skill gap by building a skilled Africa, through talent development and training of young professions.

Despite the potential and opportunities present in the continent of Africa, the perception often times from the Western media is not favourable. There is always the picture of an impoverished Africa. The narrative is narrow gauged. However, Aboluwarin is of the view that the pocket of successes recorded from the technology ecosystem in the continent can used positively to change this ugly narrative.

According to him, "We have great talents in Nigeria and companies such as ours are grooming these talents to global standard. We work closely with global and local corporations (Microsoft, Code.org, SeedDev, ODSG) that support us with tools and resources needed to get our Devcribbers effectively trained. An important factor that has helped us is that our engineers live and work together, thus, learning is faster and good human relationship qualities are acquired.

"I think Africa needs to come up with more globally relevant solutions; this creates the awareness that we are doing stuff in Africa. When we have these globally relevant solutions, we will have more experts and global companies will respect us for the value we can offer.

"For us to be a force to be reckoned with we need massive collaborations, more technology ecosystems where people are forward thinking and building globally relevant solutions. Also, technology startups require flexible policies that would help them bootstrap before gaining enough financial strength.

"All our engineers and developers participate in creating solutions for the local community; one of such is http://ballot.live an election monitoring platform that was piloted at the last Ondo State gubernatorial elections. Our engineers are our greatest products; we have artificial intelligence engineers that have experience working with European and American companies. A number of junior engineers already work remotely for local and international companies."

Accessing the growth of technology startups in Africa

Aboluwarin explained that in terms of technology hubs in Africa, the hubs have helped to get people what they want and accelerate ideas, and also bring people together such as the Co Creation (CC) hub in Lagos, PlanetNEST in Akure, ventures hub in Abuja, Nhub, Slatecube, Advancement hub, Impact Hub, Leadspace and others.

He argued that these hubs have really helped to access quality information in terms of building and developing some of the startups present in the country. He hinged his argument on the premise that these hubs provide access to some of the best forms of exposure and experiences that individuals won't get anywhere else.

He explained that these hubs help leverage on the experiences of people who know what the market wants and get to prepare them for the global market, "we have a lot of hubs all over Africa from Nairobi, Kampala, Kigali, Nigeria, Ghana and a whole lot of others trying to match up globally."

He added: "The sector we address is a very large one, we do the best we can to skill up Africans and present them to the world. We have a strong learning culture and we place our engineers to work alongside world class senior engineers across the globe, however, Africa needs more NEST and DevCRIB and across all technological sector and not just Software engineering as that's the skill we focus on.

"In the area of funding, we have bootstrapped this long as all funds have been put in by founders. We train, house and pay our engineers and it has been great so far, we have few local investors interested in what we do, we are open to investors and investment that is the direction, we are looking into. Our software application is global, we get request for remote software engineers from different part of the world and our engineers work with these amazing companies."

Government efforts in supporting technology startups

Aboluwarin is hopeful that if government supports startups in the country, especially by putting in place policies to favour the growth of startups, it would help the technology ecosystem to grow at a phenomenal rate.

He noted that the country has enough entrepreneurial zeal, but lacks funding opportunities, "the government should act as a facilitator for the upcoming startups by giving an access to seed funding and also develop incubation centres."

Aboluwarin added: "I believe another major setback is the lack of infrastructure. Government should look into setting up world class accommodation space for startups and Small Medium Scale Entreprises (SME).

"Fund raising is an important aspect which is one drawback for most startups to go global; Government should create an easy relationship for VCs to enter into the tech ecosystem. Government should spend on improving the quality of skilled personnel in the country by investing in hubs around to train citizens.

"Often times the talents groomed by the technology hubs get drafted into the private sector. For effective flow, the private sector should partner with the technology hubs to source for the right talents. Because for every technology solution they want to drive the private sector needs they need the right talent from the forward thinking technology hubs to push ahead. The technology hubs will also help train, and this will give the private sectors the right pool of people to choose from."

analysis By Yared Gebremeden

Experts in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics said that STEM Synergy in Ethiopia has been making a lot of investment to promote innovation across the country.

STEM Synergy Country Director Getachew Gezahegn told The Ethiopian Herald that STEM Synergy has about 14 stem centers across the nation, Science Museums operating in Addis Ababa, Science and Technology University (AASTU), Axum, Mekelle, Bahir Dar, Gonder and Hawassa Universities.

The Country Director highlighted that shared science high school campuses are providing top quality education for children, he said adding that "the Science Fairs by the Synergy is also scaling up from regional to national level in a manner of contributing to sector's GTP II targets."

Getachew added that the visualized computer labs which are installed on a large scale towards computer literacy nationwide are also giving high tech services that are cost effective and less energy consuming computers to promote literacy program.

Mentioning the motto 'Inside every child, there is a scientist', the Director urged every healthy, sustainable community to create equitable and inclusive opportunities for high quality Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education by empowering all students' especially girls.

Coordinator of Bishoftu's Foka Science and Engineering Center Anteneh Fisseha also said that the program is highly benefiting students of the area. And those students who are trained from the Center are creating a lot on the stream and are becoming effective in their higher learning carrier as well.

The Center has a free access to latest technologies and materials which are donated and funded by the Gelfand Family Charitable Trust. In turn, many students and experts are getting practical hands on practice on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics subjects on the ground.

Abate Kassa, Electronics and Electricity Coordinator with the Center said that many students are benefiting from the hands on training given by the Center.

He suggested that teachers at various levels need also to use this opportunity to gain practical experience to their theoretical knowledge as many of them learn in situations where there are no sufficient labs for practical demonstrations.

STEM Synergy has developed six effective models for STEM in Africa: STEM Centers, Science Fairs, Science Museums, University STEM Outreach programs, Virtual Computer labs, Science Shared Campus and Robotics Competition. Moreover, the Synergy has also intended to commence science TV series which is currently on the track to production.

Airbnb is an international shared economy start-up that has built its presence in Africa without a lot of hoopla. At the end of last year, it released a progress report on where it had got to so far and set itself some ambitious targets for working with townships and rural communities. Russell Southwood spoke to its Regional Marketing Consultant (Southern Africa) Velma Corcoran about where it's headed.

Velma Corcoran is Airbnb's Regional Marketing Consultant (Southern Africa). She started her career in advertising before spending five years heading up the marketing department at Cape Tourism.

According to its report, Overview of the Airbnb Community in Africa - which came out late last year - it has 100,000 listings in Africa. But I asked Corcoran, how does that break down?: "There are 44,000 listings in South Africa and the next biggest after that is Morocco with just over 20,000. Then there's a big gap and you get Kenya with 6,000. We're seeing the business become more and more significant and I'm excited by the opportunity Africa presents. We want a world where anyone can belong anywhere."

The report says that: "The typical Africa host on Airbnb earns $1,500 yearly and the typical listing on Airbnb is shared for 18 nights per year. The average age of hosts in Africa is 43 and the host community is evenly split at 51 percent women and 49 percent men".

"In Nigeria, one of the newest Airbnb communities in Africa with 730 active listings, the typical host earns $1,000 and the typical listing on Airbnb is shared for 13 nights per year". As Corcoran told me: "In some markets, the key to building trust is the quality of the listings and the quality in Lagos and Nairobi has improved considerably over the past year. The other thing that builds trust is the review system which is relevant across the platform."

Also when it launched Airbnb Experiences, which is a set of pay-for events run by locals, in 2016 in 10 cities, two of these cities - Cape Town and Nairobi - were in Africa: "The events are aligned to a passion. If you're going to a place and you're into say music and the arts and you want to connect to a local who is passionate about the same things, this is a way to do it. You find things you wouldn't be able to find on your own. For example, if you're a foodie, you might get to meet with chefs or wine-makers."

Airbnb's pitch is that 97 percent of what's charged for accommodation stays with the listing owner and 42% of guest spend is in the local neighborhood. Over the last five years, there have been over 2 million visitors and hosts have earned US$139 million.

On competitors, Corcoran argues that it has its own niche: "We're investing and experimenting to carve out this unique space. 40% of guests in South Africa would not have come to Africa without Airbnb".

It has launched a US$1 million initiative over 2 years to develop tourism in Africa and it wants to see the "democratization of travel". The sharp end of these nice words has been a pilot programme run in 2017 - together with local partners - to support training in hospitality and technology for residents from townships across the Western Cape. It is expanding this programme to 15 more townships across South Africa and will scale the programme to other African countries in 2019.

"We worked with people in the townships or rural communities with a room or small B & B business. We gave them the skills to host and the tech skills to use the platform to participate in the sharing economy."

And what about overall expansion plans?:"From the local team point of view, the focus is going to be on inclusive tourism. That's the only real way to grow sustainably. We're focused on long-term growth and I like to think of South Africa as an incubator for other (African) markets."

By Daniel Anazia

Committed to the development of the continent on all fronts, the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the Egyptian Government are championing a new push for Africans to work together towards building a new Africa driven by innovation and technology.

The two parties, who spoke at the opening ceremony of the third Africa Science, Technology and Innovation Forum (Africa STI Forum) in Cairo, Egypt, called for greater investment in higher education, science, technology and innovation, and the commercialisation of research outputs.

AfDB as part of its programmes in promoting science, technology and innovation is co-hosting the third Africa STI Forum with the theme: 'STI for Private Sector Competitiveness and Economic Transformation in Africa'.

Speaking, AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina, emphasized the bank's deep commitment to the establishment of an Africa Education Fund, together with the Association for Development of Education in Africa, the Islamic Development Bank and the Government of Japan.

Stressing why Africa needs to promote a culture of innovation driven by Africa's youth population, Adesina said: "The youth are Africa's most important sovereign wealth. With Africa projected to have over 840 million youth by 2050, the continent will brim with the youngest population on earth," he told the over 300 delegates at the Forum."

"We are literally in a race against time. In the context of the fourth industrial revolution, with rapid growth in artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology, genetic engineering, and big data analytics, it's clear that Africa needs to do more not to be left behind," he added.

According to him, the continent must promote regional cooperation in science, technology and innovation, establish more regional centres of excellence and innovation hubs, and facilitate researcher mobility and joint research and development activities across regions.

"To move faster and with quality, Africa must include and provide greater opportunities for women, especially women scientists, and accelerate the enrolment of girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics," Adesina stated.

Speaking about the AfDB's strategic partnership with Egypt and how elated the bank is working with the government, the AfDB chief pledged the bank's commitment to work with the country in its efforts to make Egypt Hepatitis-C free.

"That's what happens when science, technology and innovation meet up with strong political will: things change! Our investments here (in Egypt) total about $3billion. The Bank has always been there for Egypt," he said.

Representing President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, pledged the government's willingness to work with the Bank, and other African countries to build a continent driven by knowledge and innovation.

He assured delegates that Egypt would continue to support young African researchers and increase scholarship opportunities for students from other African countries.

By Walter Nyamukondiwa

Government will not discontinue the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programme, but will ring-fence the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF) to support its vital projects, a Cabinet minister has said.

ZIMDEF is now expected to support an intensive STEM teacher-training programme, offer students on attachment allowances and promote innovation hubs, among others.

Addressing lecturers and officials at the Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) on Friday last week, Higher Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said the STEM programme had been adulterated to support private schools and funding Advanced Level scholarship programmes. These activities, he said, were tantamount to corruption.

"No one can destroy STEM because that is the science complex," said Prof Murwira.

"What we have stopped is paying of A-Level scholarship programmes because ZIMDEF money is for Higher and Tertiary Education. On another note, we cannot use ZIMDEF to support private schools, that is corruption. We cannot also have Government money paying for students who can afford their fees, that is corruption. Government money goes to the needy. So we will support the needy from time to time when it's necessary."

Prof Murwira said some people were peddling falsehoods that Government had discontinued STEM. The programme, he indicated, was important for Zimbabwe's industrialisation drive.

"STEM is very important and I cannot be misquoted for convenience by people who are trying to hide the misdemeanours in the name of STEM," he said.

On teacher training, Prof Murwira said, three institutions have already been identified to start training secondary teachers and upgrade their laboratories.

"We are going to support an intensive teachers' training programme and we have already Mkoba Teachers' College, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Technical College and Masvingo Teachers' College, which were training primary school teachers to start training secondary teachers of STEM and enhance their laboratories from ZIMDEF," he said.

Prof Murwira said students on attachment were facing various challenges, including paying for their bus fares.

"We will stretch that money to try and find out if we can give our students at least something when they are on attachment," he said.

column By Senior Shimhanda

Pinehas Nakaziko — Young and ambitious, Senior Shimhanda describes himself as a merchant of engineering with a love for radio astronomy.

A final year Master of Environmental Engineering student at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), Shimhanda, who works as a researcher at the Namibia Energy Institute (NEI), says he has professional hands-on experience in developing nanosatellites (CubeSats). "I can turn your ordinary satellite dish into a radio telescope. I love strategies, hence I am very pragmatic."

Born and bred in Onamulele near Omuthiya in the Oshikoto region, Shimhanda says he always had a village boy childhood, but his parents raised him in a special way. His basic challenge was when his parents demanded absolute excellence, so he became addicted to supplying it. Regarding obstacles, Shimhanda says when oysters have ugly pebbles inside them, it is because beautiful pearls are long overdue.

Growing up he was lucky to have an infinite learning curve. He had exemplary mentors who wanted him to become a beacon of excellence, and engineering always matched his greatest attributes, that is why he went for it. Last year Shimhanda was selected to attend the Big Data in Astronomy Conference in Mauritius, an opportunity which, he says, enables him as a Namibian with the most sought-after, almost clandestine technical know-how to solve social problems.

With that opportunity, Shimhanda became knowledgeable about Advanced Linux and Python, Big Data and Machine Learning, Radio Frequency Interference (RFI), Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence (SETI), Social Media Data Analysis, Business Analytics using Big Data for Development, Exploring Hospital Quality, Advancing the Development of Astronomy and Communicating Research.

"If my efforts can boost the Namibian space sector, then I must persistently commit to that cause till I achieve remarkable results because the benefits will be national, scientific, technical and technological." As a researcher, Shimhanda says when he is in the field he works as an electronics engineer, or as an electrical technician, depending on the task at hand. "My career decisions are passion-driven but circumstances have definitely played a role too," he says.

Moving to the corporate world, Shimhanda started off as a research assistant in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at NUST.

"I am now with the NEI because my thesis mirrors their ultimate objective. I always expected high standards and so far results match expectations."

Looking back on his life's journey thus far, his defining moment was prior to graduation. "I did my internship with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The opportunity was a springboard as it metaphorically launched a human rocket into the orbit of greatness."

His desirable goal is now to complete his masters degree so that he can be able to take up the Newton Fund's Development in Africa with Radio Astronomy (DARA) Steering Committee postgraduate offer to pursue a Masters in Radio Astronomy in the United Kingdom.

"Upon graduation, I will become the first Namibian radio astronomer."

"The most flourishing persons have this impressive confidence and optimism that gives them the freedom to be idealistic and ultimately actualize their visions," is his message to the youth.

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