UK – Gisa Fuatai Purcell, a national of Samoa has been appointed as Director of ICT Development Department of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO). The Director of ICT Development, who reports to the Secretary-General is responsible for overall strategic direction of the operational divisions of Capacity Development, Events and Technical Support and Consultancy.

Pressident Xi Jinping of China (You Tube)

Africa Link Reports

Last month, ahead of his ill-fated African tour, then US secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, warned African governments about the amount of debt they were loading up from China. In reaction, there was collective eye-rolling around the world, and especially in Africa, as China’s largest debtor seemed to be lecturing African countries, without irony, about the perils of taking on too much Chinese debt.

A two-day Forum is being slated for 26-27April 2018 in Nairobi on The role of private sector in providing innovative solutions to the water sector in Kenya and Eastern African Region.

Ghana - The Ghanaian capital Accra will host for two days, the 5th edition of the African Summit of Palm Oil and Rubber. The event, entitled “moving forward with sustainable oil palm in Africa and improving smallholder’s productivity; continued resilience of natural rubber in the face of challenges” will be held next 25-16 April.

(Ecofin Agency) - Gwladys Johnson Akinocho

Africa Link Reports

The Burkinabe government plans to increase its electrification rate to 45% from the current 20%, by 2020. This was announced by Paul Kaba Thiéba (photo), the Prime Minister during a parliamentary audience.

Siemens has provided automation equipment and industrial networks to assist Anglo’s Engineering Skills Training Centre (ESTC). One of the pillars of Digitalization is industrial networks and security and it is crucial that these engineers understand the role of this technology in the future of mining.

Swiss camera ExoMars Rover (SRF/swissinfo.ch)

Africa Link Reports

 

Switzerland - In 2021, a European rover is set to roll over the surface of Mars in the search for traces of life. At its heart is a Swiss camera, currently being tested in (almost) Martian conditions. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

Africa Link Reports

Ethiopia – Eritrea has officially responded to Ethiopia’s peace overture after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in his inaugural address on April 2 that he was ready to end years of misunderstandings.


News

Grid List

By Ayodamola Owoseye

The Interim officials of the Nigerian Health Institutions Chairmen Forum (NHICF) have called on the federal government and the striking health workers to find a lasting solution to the ongoing strike.

NHICF is charged with the objective of promoting the health policies of government with a view to articulating them; shielding the health sector from undue politicisation and identifying with challenges encountered by health institutions.

In a press statement released by the ministry on Thursday, the forum led by its chairman, Sam Jaja, paid a courtesy visit to the minister of health, Isaac Adewole as part of efforts to seeking solution to the lingering crisis.

JOHESU, a union comprising all professional health workers in the health sector aside medical doctors and dentists, has been on strike for about five weeks. This has crippled activities in almost all secondary and tertiary health institutions across the country

The minister said a series of meetings geared towards bringing the faceoff to an end have been held between the striking union, Ministry of Labour and the health ministry resulting in a court order asking the striking workers to return to work while negotiation continues.

Mr Adewole said, while waiting for the union to obey the order, efforts would be made to bring JOHESU and NMA together to a roundtable so that solutions could be sought for the nagging problems causing division.

He, however, assured that his ministry has a lot of sympathy for JOHESU and that most of the demands presented by the union have been given "favourable consideration."

The minister assured the forum that the faceoff would soon come to an end.

The chairman, Governing Board, Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, Sule-Iko Sami, observed that though doctors were at their duty posts at various hospitals, patients were still scared to visit hospitals for healthcare.

He appealed to the !inister to "bring his years of experience as a former union president to bear in persuading the striking staff to return to work."

Mr Sami also promised to meet with members of NMA and JOHESU to look at ways of ending the crisis.

By Benjamin Shapi

Gaborone — Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Alfred Madigele says his ministry is busy formulating Health Finances Strategy to address issues of increasing rare and fatal diseases.

Responding to a motion that was ultimately adopted by the on-going Ntlo Ya Dikgosi, Dr Madigele noted that the Ministry of Health and Wellness intended to create a fund to be used in treating of dreaded and rare diseases.

Dreaded diseases or critical illnesses are, among others, kidney failure, chronic liver infection, heart attack, cancer, coronary artery, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.

He noted that to arrive at this inventiveness, which should equate the status of global health initiatives, they would benchmark on the best practices and adopt guidelines to help in the formulation of the fund.

Dr Madigele concurred with dikgosi that indeed such a fund was needed, noting that they intended to complete the strategy by the end of this year.

The minister's response followed a motion tabled by Kgosi Moeti Monyamane of Kgalagadi North region, who requested government to establish a special fund to assist with the diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases.

Motivating his motion, which received overwhelming support from the House, Kgosi Monyamane said nowadays it is common to see people with various rare ailments such as swollen heads, which do not respond to common medication despite the number of times the patient visits medical facilities.

In some instances, he said some people have developed constricted tissues and tendons, thus curtailing their ability to walk.

Kgosi Monyamane regretted that poor people who are unable to fund their own private and expensive treatment are at risk, adding that it was crucial that the country establish such a fund as a matter of urgency.

Supporting the motion, Kgosi Galeakanye Modise of Tswapong region said the initiative was long overdue as some people had already succumbed to rare diseases because their treatment was beyond reach of many patients.

Kgosi Modise regretted that at times government hospitals took a long time to diagnose such diseases.

He added that review dates for patients are few and far apart, a situation which worsens the condition of the patients.

For his part, Kgosi Kgomotso Boiditswe of Serowe region bemoaned that sometimes it took long for such diseases to be detected and by the time they are detected it would be at advanced stage, hence the need for advanced medication.

Kgosi Boiditswe therefore said even individuals should be allowed to contribute to the fund for its sustenance.

Source : BOPA

By Sulaimon Salau

From the pulpit came a call to parents to pay more attention to their homes with a view to curbing the menace of drug abuse among children.

Former Director General, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Barrister Lanre Sulaiman Ipiniso, made this call as a guest lecturer at the Nasru-l-Lahi-il-Fatih Society, (NASFAT) Ramadan lecture held at NASFAT village, Lagos Ibadan Expressway, Mowe, Ogun State.

Ipiniso lamented that with the level of banned drugs, illegal weapons and proceeds of corruption in the country, peace might be elusive.

"Parents should pay attention to their homes. Don't use all your time to chase money. What happens when the money comes but the family which you are labouring for are in wrecks. In Abuja, a standard rehabilitation centre cost no less than N6million for the first 90 days. So, don't allow your children to play with drugs because recovering from it takes time and money. With the level of drugs we have and illegal weapons and proceeds of corruption we have in Nigeria, it is very difficult to attain peace. Nowhere is safe in the presence of these three factors.

"Drug abuse is a behavioral problem. It means we all have to re-channel how we want our youth to behave. The past, people used to smoke marijuana, but now, if you take urine test of people today, you will be shocked many people will be positive. The solution is to continue to remind ourselves that whatever the situation is with you don't destroy yourself. When you are high, people cannot comprehend the realities of the situation. Some were lured into it because the suddenly became so rich and they wanted more excitement. If you mention adversity as a possible cause, you should understand that we are created for problems. Adversities are not completely negative, it is to propel you.

Also, fielding questions from newsmen at the occasion, the President of NASFAT, Engr Kamil Bolarinwa advised Muslims to carry the lessons of self-restraints and perseverance beyound the month of Ramadan, which according to him will ensure peaceful coexistence in the country.

"This is the period of sacrifice, this is the period of restraints, but we should know that our restraints and perseverance should not be limited to the month of Ramadan. If we can all have these, the country and indeed the world will be at peace. We will live peacefully as neighbours and our society will be better.

"My advice for all Muslims is not to be Muslims only in Ramadan, the lessons of the holy month should be carried throughout your lifetime. Every day of your life, you must exercise restraint, you must persevere; you must understand that the other man is a creation of God and must be respected and tolerated.

"We must not leave our security challenges to government alone. It is our responsibility. We must be willing and ready to help ourselves, our neighbours and people around us. We must be alert to our duties as parents and guardians. The responsibilities of raising the next generation of leaders of this country belong to all of us and we must pay attention to it.

Quoting from Quran 66:6, the Chief Missioner of the organisation, Imam Maruf Onike advised parents and guardians to protect their children and wards against the vice. Allah says: "O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones... " Our children are critical in this respect. If you don't take of them, you are neglecting their future. That is why we invited these eminent speakers to speak on the topic. NASFAT care about our children because they are our future; we are going to pass the baton to them, we must safeguard their future.

He urged Nigerians to support the present government led by President Muhammadu Buhari to bring back Nigeria to its former glory.

By Prisca Chinguwo - Mana

Parent Aid Child Initiative (PACHI) has urged communities which were affected by cholera in Lilongwe to form groups that will enhance information sharing on cholera and other health issues that the communities are likely to face.

PACHI, a nongovernmental organization working hand in hand with UNICEF, has so far in Lilongwe visited area 36, Kawuma, Mchita Njilu, Mtandile and Mitengo in order to spearhead the formulation of the groups.

Speaking at Mitengo, PACHI project coordinator, Laura Munthali, said PACHI decided to form the groups to provide a platform for information sharing amongst the communities.

"The groups will help the villagers to discuss issues that affect them and see the way to solve them as a group.

"In cases when they fail to provide solutions for particular problems, they then should address those to PACHI where we should be able to help them or engage other relevant stakeholders," said Munthali.

The project coordinator said after their investigations on cholera issues, it was noted that six areas in Lilongwe District were mostly affected which was also a threat to other neighbouring areas.

As such, she said the decision was made to reach out to all the affected areas in order to provide a platform of free flow of information as regards the same.

According to Munthali, one of the key challenges is high rate of existence of communal toilets.

"PACHI, in cooperation with UNICEF, found out that most of the communities have small land which makes it more difficult to build toilets.

"As such, there is also high usage of communal toilets, which is a risk to people's health conditions," she said, adding this was an area the cholera discussion groups could decide on how best to address.

Speaking in an interview won behalf of the senior chiefs, Senior Chief Kalumbu said he was happy that PACHI visited the areas after noticing the cholera issues that affected the areas during the rainy season.

"Wells in most of the areas brought a threat to people's lives because they are located less than five metres away from the toilets due to small land.

"The only source of water in the areas are boreholes, which after investigations revealed that water from the boreholes is not safe due to contamination with the toilet wastes," said Kalumbu.

In his remarks, Group Village Head Mitengo said the village was only relying on the water that UNICEF has been bringing for them twice a day, though the water is not enough to accommodate all the villagers.

"UNICEF decided to bring water to the area which has been beneficial to the areas. The only problem is that the water supply is not enough for the villagers since everyone is expected to fetch one bucket when the truck comes," said Group Mitengo.

He urged PACHI to help the areas fight cholera disease so that from 2019, the areas should be free from it.

By Anjoya Mwanza- Mana

Communities in Nkhota-kota, Mzimba, Salima and Ntchisi that surround Nkhotakota Game Reserve have expressed concern over rampant Tsetse flies in their areas which they say are posing a threat to human beings and animals.

Speaking during a meeting for the game reserve's Joint Liaison Committee (JLC), Chief Chilooka of Ntchisi said a number of cattle in his area are showing signs of sleeping sickness (Trypanosomiasis) which is transmitted through Tsetse flies.

According to Chilooka, six cattle have already died during the past week due to the disease.

"We suspect that the tsetse flies which are coming from the game reserve are responsible for the outbreak of sleeping sickness," said Chilooko.

He asked African Parks (AP), an organization responsible for the rehabilitation of the reserve, to help the communities by getting rid of the parasitic flies.

According to Parks Manager, Samuel Kamoto, African Parks was trying to control the situation, though acknowledged it was not easy.

"We are trying our best to find effective ways of addressing the challenge. We have put 90 Tsetse fly targets to trap the flies but elephants are pulling them down. Recently, we have identified new sites through which we believe we will trap the flies and in the same way the elephants will not tamper with the targets.

"Basically, the park would like to eliminate the Tsetse flies as soon as possible because they put tourists off. The visitors refrain from coming into the country because they are usually afraid of being infected. Our main aim is to rehabilitate the reserve so that it attracts visitors from all over the world, hence the need to sort out the Tsetse fly issue," he said.

The meeting was attended by chiefs, District Commissioners and stakeholders from the four districts.

analysis By Charles Wildervanck

Ivo Vegter finds pharmacists selling quackery more credible than homeopaths, as he wrote in two columns about ethical pharmacists. A true scientist has an open mind, hence should be careful about labelling ostensible "otherness" from the (kn)own paradigm as quackery or ludicrous.

In two columns published in Daily Maverick, Ivo Vegter concludes that he finds pharmacists selling quackery more credible than homeopaths, especially if those pharmacists would openly state that they don't endorse "selling profitable rubbish" in their aisle.

I certainly agree that the pharmacist he refers to is credible, in fact remarkably honest! But indeed not ethical, as per his first article. The legislation "forcing" him/her to do so may indeed be very flawed, but that should not turn your pharmacist into a conman: two wrongs never make a right. The proposed disclaimer, which Vegter pronounces to be a "great idea", would soothe his conscience. How hypocritical in my opinion. Whereas the pharmacist perceives that he is selling rubbish, the homeopath truly believes that he is helping his clients. However, I am sure not all pharmacists would agree to the general ineffectiveness and dangerous side effects of their non-scheduled remedies.

Now, my...

By Pinehas Nakaziko

One of the Oviritje singers, Vevangapi Tjonga known as Tjonga Tjongile set to perform at the Community of the Namibian in the Great Britain (CNGB) tournament, in Norwich in East Anglia in the United Kingdom (UK) this Saturday and Sunday.

Currently busy with his rehearsal in the city of Norwich having jetted out last Friday, Tjongile says this is a dream come true for him as he continues to dare his talents oversees. "This is the first time I'm performing at this event of such magnitude, people in Namibia appreciated my music, that's why I was invited by CNGB, when organisers of the tournament heard about my recent music," says Tjonga. His limelight in the music circle started way back in 2015 when Tjongile debuted with an album tiled Ngetota. In 2016 he was crowned Best Oviritje artist at the Namibia Annual Music Awards (NAMAs). Last year, Tjongile released his second album, Meere Eraka, with hit songs such as Triple T, Laviki and Vevangapi.

CNGB is a non-profit organisation, which is hosting a football and netball tournament for their fifth year know, in Norwich City on Saturday and Sunday.

Wooing the UK... Tjonga Tjongile, who is set to perform at the Community of the Namibian in the Great Britain (CNGB) tournament, in Norwich in East Anglia in the United Kingdom (UK) this Saturday and Sunday.

Talking Guitars lead singer Sasha will launch her debut single titled "Two Timer" at Club Las Vegas in Southerton tomorrow.

Talking Guitars is known for doing cover tracks and Sasha says she wants to create her own identity through an album that will be released later this year.

"The single is my statement about going it alone. We have done copyright songs for a long time and we now want do the best by making our own music. I want people to see the other side of me and I will always do my best," said Sasha.

"My album is coming later this year and I will release a number of singles before I unleash the complete project. I want to thank my fellow artistes that will work with me on the day. I have worked with all of them and their support is great."

Other musicians that will take part at the launch include Gonyeti, Kessia Masona who is popularly known as Muchaneta, Tendai Chimombe and Diana Samkange.

Club Las Vegas spokesperson said all is now in place for the show.

"Sasha has performed at the venue before and she will be coming with her friends to do the show.

"We have done our part and we are convinced that it will be an interesting show. It is a long weekend and people should come and celebrate with us," he said.

Rhumba stars Diamond Musica will tonight perform at Food Nest as part of their rhumba revival mission.

The group performs at the venue every Friday and the slot has become popular.

Rhumba joints in the country are now few and Food Nest has become a good nest for Diamond Musica.

The group's leader Pitchou Lumiere said they are happy to have the slot that has brought good times for rhumba lovers.

"We perform at different venues, but we did not have a permanent place where people could get regular rhumba shows. The advantage of having a permanent slot for a certain day of the week is that people will always know where to get their favourite music every Friday," said Lumiere.

"I want to thank the Food Nest management for giving us this slot. It has revived rhumba nights that we used to have somewhere else some years ago.

We are glad that our fans have embraced the new concept. We always work hard to keep rhumba alive and this new arrangement is proving to be good for us."

A member of Food Nest management said they are doing their best to give their patrons a combination of good food and good music.

"Food, drinks and music make good time out for most people. We want that combination to describe our weekend at Food Nest. This is a nest where you can get good food.

We have traditional and foreign dishes that will satisfy people from various backgrounds. We encourage people to come for our rhumba nights and sample the special package that we have for them,"

Ammara Brown is outstanding as one of the most-active female performers of her generation.

Most female musicians complain about lack of exposure and performance space, but Ammara just goes for performances. She goes for action.

And many music followers will admit that she does not only go on stage to be seen, she goes for real business and her energy says it all.

Now, she has dared music followers to have a one-night stand with her. Do not mistake the meaning of the phrase. It is just the moniker of her show at Club 1+1 at Longcheng Plaza next week.

It is dubbed "One Night Stand with Ammara" and it will take place on June 1.

For $5 and $10, people will be able to have that night with Ammara in the ordinary and VIP sections respectively.

Judging from her recent performances, people are likely to be in for a good time at the club.

Organisers of the show said Ammara is ready to make a mark at the event.

"We are happy to continue hosting youthful musicians. Ammara is coming to make her presence in the industry felt through Club 1+1. She rarely holds such shows and she assured us that she is coming for a memorable night. We have prepared well for the show and there will be a number of DJs to spice up the night," said one of the organisers.

By Tafadzwa Zimoyo

Zimdancehall musician Soul Jah Love -- real name Soul Musaka -- is set to headline Family Fun Day celebrations tomorrow at Cleveland Dam.

The celebrations which are falling under the Africa Day celebrations theme were organised by Zimbabwe Republic Police forces from Eastlea, Hillside, Greendale South, Greendale Athlone and Greengroove.

The "Pamamonya Ipapo" hitmaker will share the stage with Garry Tight, Ba Shupi, Team Expandables dance outfit and gospel singer Tembalami while cast from "Wenera" will make an appearance.

In an interview show organiser, Crime Consultative Committee chairperson, Monica Chiwunda said all is set for the celebrations.

"Currently the Rhodesville Police station has no vehicle and it has become increasingly hard for the officers to attend crimes or assist residents, when they need help and that is why we decided to host a fundraising family event. All the proceeds will go towards the vehicle.

"We have a line of activities like horse riding, jumping castle and face painting for the kids while for the adults local musicians will serenade them with their hit songs.

"We have partnered with Talent of Steel Production who are the sore owners of popular television soap 'Wenera'. They are bringing the cast including the production crew so they can come and sign autographs apart from explaining to their fans their experience and what is required when one needs to an actor," she said.

She said they will also use the platform to raise crime awareness.

"It is all about fun, music and dance while we use the stage to empower and educate the locals about crime and how best they can report and deal with situations.

"The event is $2 entrance fee while children under 10 years of age will enter for free," she said.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe National Army, Brigade dance band dubbed the Crocodile Sounds will launch their debut album entitled "Garwe Rauya" tomorrow at Old Hararians Sports Club.

The nine track album has songs which include, "Garwe Rauya" as title track, "Mudiwa" and "Chombo" among others.

Director of music captain Samuel Mudzimba said they were ready for the launch and this is the beginning of their career in music industry.

"The group has 26 band members and the songs were composed by different soldiers. We name the album, 'Garwe Rauya' because as soldiers we have our symbol which is the crocodile and we are dedicating the album to it. This is also a significance that we have ventured into music and we are here to say," he said.

Mudzimba said the launch will serve as a measure to test the waters.

"We are going to see how the crowd will respond before sending the music to radio stations and plans are underway for DVD videos to promote the album," he said.

By Pinehas Nakaziko

She recently returned from Texas, San Antonio City in the United States of America (USA) where she performed her hot two singles of I Miss You and Bring Back My Heart, among others.

And now she says she is readier and optimistic to give her musical career a kick in the pants. Although the new kid on the block is not widely known yet, with her strong vocal abilities and smooth voice, she is definitely the new soulful singer to watch out for in the music scene. Her music is fascinating as she is the singer that demands ones attention with her experimental productions and honest lyrics, both in English and her vernacular, Oshiwambo.

Growing up as Rosalia Shikulo, now Miss Rose, she always loved singing and was involved in different church and school choirs. "From a very young age, I felt like music was the best way to express my feelings," says she adding that music also calmed her and it has always been her source of strength whenever she felt weak. "As a child, I was so inspired by the likes of Celine Dion and Alicia Keys. Although I have always known that music is what I wanted to do, as I grew, somewhere along the way, I got scared of everything that came with being in the music scene, but then I realised that you only get one chance to live and I would rather live it doing what makes me happy," explains Miss Rose.

Apart from being in different choirs, Miss Rose was also involved in an all-girl acapella group, Jewels, for a few years. After parting ways her hunger for music grew stronger, and finally decided to go into a studio to record her very first single, I Miss You, released end of 2016. And this year she released her brand new single, Bring Back My Heart, complimented by a video title

She have also thus far recorded up to twelve songs. "My two singles; I Miss You and Bring Back My Heart are kind of related to each other. I Miss You is simply talking about how a young girl misses a certain guy and she simply can't get over him, while Bring Back my Heart is about a heart broken girl, who feels one of the guy she was dating went with her heart," says Miss Rose, adding that her new single is simply trying to tell the guy to at least bring back her heart that she moves on.

"People say the kind of music I do fits very well for corporate events and soulful functions, maybe that explains why most of the functions where I have performed are private functions such as weddings." She has also performed at events such as the Miss International University of Management (IUM) in Walvis Bay, at hotels such as the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) Hotel School, Hilton Hotel and Avani Hotel. "It was a great experience plus the crowd was great," says she about her performance in the USA last month.

And this one of her biggest achievements so far, but her experience later. "I am more of an RnB and Afro-soul singer, but I don't really like calling myself as a singer of this two genres because it feels so limiting; it feels like I am being forced into a little box. Why should I be limited to one or two genres when I can do many?", asks Miss Rose. She is confident her first album later this year will be the album of the year. "Apart from my album, I just hope I can work with fellow Namibian artists, and hopefully get a lot of gigs so that finally everyone can get a chance to know what I am capable of."

For now, Miss Rose is busy promoting her new video, Bring Back My Heart, which is currently attracting more viewers on YouTube, and currently stands at 1,150 viewers. The video is shot and directed by David Grand.

press release

Department of Basic Education marks Africa Day with special focus on reading

Africa is our home, and has our hearts and therefore this Africa Day the Department of Basic Education (DBE) will be celebrating with a special focus on literacy and reading. Across the beautiful and immense continent of Africa we have incredible literary masterpieces from authors and poets both modern and old that are worth celebrating, including tales of exceptional resilience and overcoming struggle that can inspire our youth.

The DBE will be joining the rest of the continent in celebrating Africa Day this coming Monday, and we can be especially proud as a country and a continent to celebrate the life and legacy of a great African, our former President and father of our Nation, Tata Nelson Mandela. In his honour this year's theme is "Building a Better Africa and a Better World," and what a better way to do this than by inspiring our nation to read through the Lead to Read campaign. A reading nation is a leading nation.

Africa Month commemorations are held annually across the continent in the month of May to celebrate the achievements made in the development of Africa over the decades. Africa Months events culminate in what the African Union has declared Africa Day on 25 May every year.

The DBE in partnership with Freedom Park and the Gauteng Provincial Department of Education will host the commemoration of Africa Day at Freedom Park on Monday 28 May 2018 in Tshwane. The event will be attended by learners from across Gauteng schools, representatives from across SADC countries, representatives from various Foundations, teacher unions, SGB associations, stakeholders and partners in the education sector.

"We love Africa for its history - the wisdom and strength of our ancestors, who built the Pyramids and Great Zimbabwe; who made the great bronzes of Benin and the great library of Timbuktu; who endured so much and who gave us our freedom." A Love Letter to Africa by Anonymous

Reading has the potential unlock the mystery of the rest of the Continent and inspire fellow Africans through her beautiful and troubled history. The Read to Lead campaign was launched by Minister Angie Motshekga in 2015 to improve literacy levels and get South Africans to make reading a habit. The Read to Lead Campaign has gained the momentum over the years, with support from a wide range of citizens - from business and non-governmental organisations to prominent South Africans who volunteer as Reading Ambassadors.

As part of promoting and advocating for reading in schools, a Reading Ambassador will engage learners on "The importance of reading in Building a better Africa and a better World. "Story tellers from Freedom Park narrate a historical perspective on the lives Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu as South Africans mark their centenaries this year. Some of the presenters will include the representatives from the Sisulu and Mandela Family, including remarks by Minister Motshekga on "The significant role played by the late President Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu in Building a better Africa and a better World".

The focus will be on highlighting the Values of our fallen heroes and heroines and how their commitment, dedication and discipline has led to the Democracy and the milestones that South Africa has achieved over the years, as they fought, strived and aspired for a peaceful and united democratic Country. Most importantly, the learners will be given an opportunity to reflect on the importance of reading by engage with the Honourable Minister and the Panel on the following "How reading can enhance History or Arts and Culture as school subjects in preparing learners to build a better Africa and a better World."

Issued by: Department of Basic Education

press release

Limpopo — A 56-year-old Department of Higher Education Centre Manager from Modimolle is set to appear at the local regional court for alleged corruption.

The suspect was slapped with summons to appear at the Modimolle Regional Court on 7 June 2018 after he allegedly fraudulently took cash in exchange for a job. He claimed to be a recruitment officer and demanded R2500 gratification from a job seeker which never materialised. The alleged scam was reported to the Serious Corruption Investigation Unit whose investigation led to the suspect arrest on Monday.

This incident follows the arrest of David Mabasa (59) a former Assistant Director at Department of Education in Limpopo. Mbhazima was convicted by Polokwane Magistrate Court on 10 May 2018 for selling University of Venda bursaries to students. He was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment with an option of R160 000-00 fine half of which is suspended for 5 years.

Meanwhile in another incident, the Serious Commercial Crime Investigation Unit has served summons to a 38 year old former Bela-Bela Eskom Manager for allegedly defrauding the power utility more than R450 000.

It is alleged during 2015, Eskom entrusted the suspect with the task of distributing new transformers in exchange for old ones. Instead of taking back the old transformers, the suspect allegedly sold some without the knowledge and consent of her supervisor.

The suspect is expected to appear as well on the on 7 June 2018 at the Bela Bela Magistrate court on charges of fraud.

By Esther Mmolai

Maun — In an effort to promote reading, some stakeholders have introduced an initiative dubbed "Using indigenous story book to catch them young" which aims to encourage a reading culture amongst public schools pupils to drive community development in the Ngamiland region.

The initiative, which is sponsored by Community Development Society (CDS) based in the United States (US), is coordinated by Professor Toyin Kolawole from the Okavango Research Institute (ORI) in partnership with the Maun library, Department of Education, Tharientsho Story Tellers, Matlapana Primary School in Maun and parents of selected pupils in the project.

The project commenced in March and its main objective is to introduce indigenous reading literature to primary school pupils in the North West region. It also encourages reading amongst the youngsters to enhance intellectual, civic and socio-cultural development, and also test run a unique out of school reading models and bring to the awareness of community people the innovative activities of CDS.

Project coordinator, Prof. Kolawole explained in an interview that from the onset, the project collaborators identified some impact pathways, which were attainable at the end of the project life.

At the end of the project, pupils are expected to have acquired skills in the use of the library, developed reading and writing skills, be able to review books and write short stories as well as acquire knowledge on socio-cultural issues in relation to environmental protection and civic duties. Lastly, CDS reading clubs would be formed.

Prof. Kolawole said the CDS funded project was conceived as a platform through which some pupils would be engaged in a specialised school and out of school reading and writing activities for a period of 11 months in order to enhance their literacy skills.

Through reading indigenous elementary literature, the project is primarily meant to socialise the youngsters into Batswana culture as it relates to environmental protection and civic responsibilities.

He said the aim was to further advance the objective of government in preserving the protection of the pristine Okavango Delta which was inscribed as the 1 000th World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2012.

During the consultation process, it was agreed that the involvement of the public library would add value to the success of the project as pupils would have an opportunity in reading activities within a proper library environment. He said it was also suggested that the involvement of a non-governmental organisation such as Tharientsho Story Tellers, which is engaged in storytelling and publication will also be appropriate to enhance the success of the project.

One of the partners, Bontekanye Botumile of Tharientsho confirmed that the project started well, noting that they had selected 12 Standard 5 pupils from Matlapana Primary School. She explained that the pupils were selected by the school management based on their reading and writing abilities.

Furthermore, she explained that it was not easy to implement the project, but was optimistic that once the pupils get used to it they would achieve the expected results.

Botumile welcomed the project as a development in the right direction, noting that communities had been worried about poor performance in schools and hoped it would make a difference.

Pupils would visit Tharientsho to learn about creative writing, reading and also to interact with the youth at the centre. She wished the project could be extended to other schools with the aim to improve performance in the region.

Source : BOPA

By Senator Iroegbu

Abuja — The Nigeria Police Force has said the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) will help it conduct a Computer Based Test (CBT) for all successful candidates in the last physical/credentials screening stage in the on-going recruitment exercise that was held May 07-12, 2018.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Moshood Jimoh, in a statement thursday, said the CBT would hold today in all designated centres across the country.

Jimoh said the candidates who were successful in the physical and credentials screening stage have been notified through text messages.

He however, stated that those who did not receive the message can check for their exam centres through the JAMB, Police Recruitment and Police Service Commission (PSC) websites.

According to him, the candidates' exam centres are also displayed at every state police command headquarters in the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT.

Jimoh said the Inspector General of Police has directed the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Training and Development, to monitor the conduct of the examination in some selected centres while the Commissioners of Police in state commands will monitor the conduct of the examination in centres in their commands.

He advised the candidates "to be of good conduct and not to engage in any examination malpractice, as anyone caught will be arrested, investigated and prosecuted.

The Force PRO also directed candidates and members of the public who observe any form of improper practice to report to the police.

By Joseph Erunke

Abuja — THE National Universities Commission, NUC, has said a total of 58 fake universities were carrying out illegal operations at the moment in Nigeria.

The commission also disclosed that it was investigating eight other universities for running illegal degree programs.

To this end, it has warned people seeking admission into universities against patronizing any of the institutions, saying doing such action would be at their risks as certificates obtained from them will not give them opportunity to serve in the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC or employment in the country.

The commission which disclosed this in its weekly news bulletin, obtained Thursday in Abuja,explained that the affected universities have since been closed down for going against the national minimum standard for education.

The NUC, in the bulletin which dated back to May 14,2018, added that the universities were yet to be licensed by the federal government.

The affected universities, according to the commission are:

1. University of Accountancy and Management Studies, operating anywhere in Nigeria

2. Christians of Charity American University of Science and Technology, Nkpor, Anambra State or any of its other campuses

3. University of Industry, Yaba, Lagos or any of its other campuses

4. University of Applied Sciences and Management, Port Novo, Republic of Benin or any of its other campuses in Nigeria

5. Blacksmith University, Akwa or any of its other campuses

6. Volta University College, HO, Volta Region, Ghana or any of its other campuses in Nigeria

7. Royal University, Izhia, PO BOX 800, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State or any of its other campuses

8. Atlanta University, Anyigba, Kogi state or any of its other campuses

9. United Christian University, Macotis campus, Imo State or any of its other campuses

10. United Nigeria University College, Okija Anambra State or any of its other campuses.

11. Samuel Ahmadu University, Makurdi, Benue State or any of its other campuses

12. UNESCO University, Ndoni, Rivers State or any of its other campuses

13. Saint Augustine's University of Technology, Jos, Pleateu State or any of its other campuses

14. The International University, Missouri USA, Kano and Lagos studies centres or any of its other campuses in Nigeria

15. Collumbus University, UK, operating anywhere in Nigeria

16. Tiu International University, UK operating anywhere in Nigeria

17. Pebbles University, UK operating anywhere in Nigeria

18. London External Studies, UK, operating anywhere in Nigeria

19. Pilgrims University operating anywhere in Nigeria

20. Lobi Business School, Makurdi, Benue State or any of its campuses in Nigeria

21. West African Christian University operating anywhere in Nigeria

22. Bolta University College, Aba or any of its campuses in Nigeria

23. JBC Seminary Inc. (Wukari Jubilee University) Kaduna illegal campus

24. Western University, Esie Kwara State or any of its campuses in Nigeria

25. St. Andrews University College, Abuja or any of its other campuses in Nigeria

26. EC-Council USA, Ikeja Lagos Study Centre

27. Atlas University, Ikot Udoso Uko, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State or any of its other campuses in Nigeria

28. Concept College/Universities (London) Ilorin or any of its other campuses in Nigeria

29. Halifax Gateway University, Ikeja or any of its campuses in Nigeria

30. Kingdom of Christ University, Abuja or any of its other campuses in Nigeria

31. Acada University, Akinlalu Oyo state or any of its other campuses in Nigeria

32. Filfom University, Mbaise, Imo State or any of its other campuses in Nigeria

33. Houdegbe North American University campuses in Nigeria

34. Atlantic Intercontinental University, Okija Anambra State

35. Open International University, Akure

36. Middle Belt University (North Central University) Otukpo

37. Lead Way University, Ugheli, Delta State

38. Metro University, Dutse/Bwari Abuja

39. Southend University, Ngwuro Egeru (Afam) Ndoki, Rivers State

40. Olympic University, Nsukka, Enugu State

41. Federal College of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Abuja

42. Temple University, Abuja

43. Irish University Business School, London, operating anywhere in Nigeria

44. National University of Technology, Lafia, Nasarawa State

45. University of Accountancy and Management Studies, Mowe, Lagos - Ibadan Expressway and its annex at 41, Ikorodu road, Lagos.

46. University of Education, Wenneba Ghana operating anywhere in Nigeria

47. Cape Coast University, Ghana operating in Nigeria

48. African University Cooperative Development (AUCD) Cotonou, Benin Republic operating anywhere in Nigeria

49. Pacific Western University, Denver Colorado, Oweri study centre

50. Evangel University of America and Chudick Management Academic, Lagos

51. Enugu State University of Science and Technology (Gboko campus)

52. Career Light Resources Centre, Jos

53. University of West Africa, Kwali Abuja, FCT

54. Coastal University, Iba Oku, Akwa Ibom State

55. Kaduna Business School, Kaduna

56. Royal University of Theology, Minna, Niger State

57. West African Union University, in collaboration with International Professional College of Administration, Science and Technology, Nigeria operating anywhere in Nigeria

58. Gospel Missionary Foundation (GMF), Theological University, 165 Isolo road, Cele bus stop, Egbe Ikotun, Lagos

The commission also said eight universities are currently undergoing investigation for illegally running degree programs.

The eight universities are:

1) National Universities of Nigeria, Keffi , Nassarawa State.

2) North Central University, Otukpo, Benue state.

3) Christ Alive Christian Seminary and University.

4) Richmond Open University, Arochukwu, Abia state.

5) West Coast University, Umuahia.

6) Saint Clements University, Iyin Ekiti, Ekiti state.

7) Volta University College, Aba, Abia state.

8) Illegal Satellite Campuses of Ambrose Alli University.

It warned:"For the avoidance of doubt, anybody who patronises or obtains any certificate from any of these illegal institutions does so at his or her own risk. "

According to NUC, appropriate law enforcement agencies have been informed for necessary action against the universities.

Parents only have until Monday to apply online for Grade 1 and Grade 8 placements, the Gauteng Education Department has said.

The department's online system will shut down at 00:00 on Tuesday.

Department spokesperson Steve Mabona said parents who had already applied were reminded to urgently submit the required documents to schools.

"As a special concession, schools will accept documents only up to 14:00 on 5 June 2018. Failure to submit documents will lead to applicants forfeiting their positions in the queue."

A total of 535 064 applications have been processed since applications opened online on April 16.

Most of the decentralised admission centres were flooded on the first day of applications.

'High-pressure' schools

Mabona said the few errors that were encountered were resolved almost immediately.

In some cases, people had applied for the wrong grade, entered the incorrect addresses or lost/forgot their login credentials.

At this stage, the demand seemed to exceed the number of available spaces at almost 600 schools.

Nine of the top 10, "high-pressure" schools are high schools.

The top high-pressure schools are Alberton High School, Boksburg High School, Sir John Adamson High School in Winchester Hills, Mondeor High School, Pretoria High School for Girls, Hoërskool Akasia in Heatherdale, Hoërskool President in Ridgeway, Northcliff High School, Hoërskool Gerrit Maritz in Pretoria North and Laerskool Akasia in Pretoria.

Schools which have low numbers of applications were all in poorer suburbs.

"It is concerning that in the last two years, many parents in townships waited for the late application period and flooded [Gauteng Department of Education] offices in January to apply for their children," said Mabona.

Parents were warned that those who did not meet the deadline were at risk of having their children out of school in January 2019.

The placement process will take place between July 18 and October 31.

"Parents should note that availability of space is the key determinant of how many children can be placed in a school. Placement will be conducted in compliance with admissions criteria and on a first-come-first-served basis."

Parents will receive SMS notifications regarding the status of their applications.

Schools will send offers of placement to parents between July 18 and August 3.

These offers have to be confirmed within seven working days of receipt thereof, or the space offered will be forfeited.

From August 6 to October 31, districts will help place pupils who cannot be placed by schools.

"We are indebted to all parents who have heeded to our call and applied in numbers, the response from the public was indeed overwhelming. We encourage those that have applied to conform to the stipulated deadline," said Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.

News24

By Assah Mwambene

THIS year's IMEX International Exhibition has offered Tanzania a unique opportunity to showcase its tourism and meeting industry potentials with number of deals sealed with international events organisers.

Commenting shortly after the end of the 2018 IMEX international exhibition in Germany, the Director General of the Tanzania Tourism Board, Ms Devota Mdachi said this year's event provided Tanzania with a unique opportunity to display and showcase the country's tourism.

"We were able to meet with a number of international and professional event organisers and inform them of the opportunities available in Tanzania. They have shown a great interest in the destination Tanzania" she said. Tanzania delegation was led by the Board's Chairman Judge Joseph Mihayo.

The TTB boss said in an attempt to promote business tourism and MICE to Tanzania, TTB in collaboration with Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) decided to send a strong delegation to this year's IMEX event.

She said that the three day event attracted more than 3500 companies all over the world from 150 countries. Apart from AICC and TTB other Tanzanian organisations included Mount Meru Hotel, East Enders Tours and Safari, StudioRed and Leopard Tours.

"Tanzania also participated in the IMEX Policy Forum, an event that usually attracted various politicians and high level officials from Ministries, tourism boards and associations from all over the world.

Ms Devota believes the country's move to attract more business tourists, events and visitors was expected to double when the government will eventually establish a National Convention Bureau (NCB).

This year's IMEX event, which takes place in Frankfurt in Germany, is an annual event which usually takes place in the second week of May every year.

By Alex Malanga

Dar es Salaam — Economists have suggested that tourism products be diversified, marketing be enhanced, infrastructure be improved and service costs be cut to attract visitors in Tanzania repeatedly.

In 2016 the number of tourists visiting the tourist sites declined to 45.3 per cent from 47.4 per cent a year before.

The number of visitors grew by 21.1 per cent to 1.327 million last year compared with what was posted five years back.

Consequently tourism earnings rose by 22.2 per cent to $2.2 billion (about Sh4.9 trillion at the prevailing exchange rate).

"This implies that we have won promotion to get new visitors but failed to retain them," said Prof Haji Semboja of the University of Dar es Salaam's Economics Department.

He said the best indication of whether a tourist will return to visit a given destination is the number of times he or she has been to that destination before.

A survey finding has shown that an overall average length of stay of persons who visited Tanzania in 2016 was nine nights, slightly fewer than 10 nights recorded during the past five years.

In that regard, Prof Semboja called for private service providers to lower the costs and improve the quality of services to make tourists return next time.

Prof Humphrey Moshi of the University of Dar es Salaam's Economics Department called for improvement of infrastructure in aviation to enable tourists have direct flights to Tanzania.

"A tourist coming to Tanzania does not always have a direct flight, but often has to go through some other countries and catch a connectivity flight, making a trip tiresome," noted Prof Moshi.

"It is not necessary to have more repeat tourists. We need to do all in our power to get more first-time visitors so that they can be ambassadors to others, about the potentials that we are endowed with."

Repoa strategic research director Abel Kinyondo called for diversification and promotion of tourism products rather than relying on wildlife tourism to convince tourists that Tanzania is their best destination.

"Satisfaction with a given destination is necessary, but not a sufficient condition to bring tourists back, if they are seeking new experiences."

The head of the communications unit in the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources, Mr Hamza Temba, said the government was working hard to diversify tourism products.

There is a process of identifying suitable areas for beach tourism in Tanga, Coast, Dar es Salaam, Lindi and Mtwara regions.

For the country to have more successful tourism industry, it must be more easily reachable, experts say. That can be done by having a less problematic visa procedure.

According to Dr Kinyondo, for the tourists of several countries where Tanzania does not have embassies, applying and receiving visas is laborious, problematic, expensive, time consuming and frustrating.

Kenya, according to him, grants visa on arrival, Uganda allows travellers to apply for and receive the visa online, making the application and processing easy, quick and relatively inexpensive.

"If things remain unchanged, tourists may end up losing hope and give up on Tanzania and simply go to neighboring countries like Kenya and Rwanda or to some other countries which offer similar attractions," warned Dr Kinyondo.

Also, if the country is to attract repeat tourists it is important to promote middle-income retirees, a potentially rewarding market segment for Tanzania, a according to a book titled 'Making Tourism Work for Tanzania, by DrKinyondo and Prof Riccardo Pelizzo, an associate professor of Public Policy and the vice-dean for academic affairs in the Graduate School of Public Policy of Nazarbayev University.

To appeal for the market segment, according to the book, several successful tourist destinations in South Asia have created visas for retired people who get a chance to spend up to 180 days a year in their countries.

For its part Singapore, the success of its tourist industry is to a large extent made possible by the fact that it has also a very high percentage of repeat tourists, standing at 75 per cent, the highest value in South East Asia. Two years back, Singapore had 2.894 million tourists and $24.8 billion (about Sh56 trillion at the current exchange rate), which was a 13.9 per cent increase from the year before.

By Athan Tashobya

On Wednesday, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the London-based soccer team, Arsenal Football Club, announced an unprecedented deal that Rwanda would become the official tourism partner of the premier league club.

The three-year partnership, which will see the new "Visit Rwanda" logo on the left sleeve of all first team, under-23 and Arsenal Women's matches from the upcoming season starting August, makes Rwanda the first ever shirt sleeve partner for Arsenal.

We'll have a sleeve sponsor on our shirts from 2018/19 - we're pleased to welcome our Official Tourism Partner, @visitrwanda_nowhttps://t.co/ruBw2nzLqR pic.twitter.com/wEOUeGsCNy

-- Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) May 23, 2018

In an interview with The New Times, Sunny Ntayombya, the Head of Communications and Marketing at RDB, said the deal whose worth remains undisclosed is set to deliver long-term in terms of investment and tourism more than the actual cost of investment.

"While we cannot disclose the amount, the partnership cost is part of our marketing budget to promote Rwanda and attract investors and tourists. We expect the partnership to deliver far more long-term in terms of investment and tourism than the actual cost of the partnership," Ntayombya said.

The deal will, among other things, highlight Rwanda's tourism offerings such as national parks, which are growing destinations to global tourists due to increasing diversity of game they offer.

Rwanda recently restocked Akagera National Park with wildlife like the black rhino and lions while the Virunga National Park - which is home to the rare mountain gorillas - a destination for high end tourism.

"It will also bring other benefits - such as using Arsenal's expertise to further improve footballing skills among men and women in Rwanda itself. Sport is an amazing way of uniting people - as has been seen with the recent opening of the new International Cricket Stadium in Kigali," he added.

Rwanda received 1.3 million visitor arrivals in 2017.

Of these, 94,000 tourists visited Rwanda's three national parks of Nyungwe National Park, Akagera National Park and Volcanoes National Park. Tourism has generated 90,000 jobs and is Rwanda's largest foreign exchange earner.

The tourism sector transformation has been made possible through various initiatives such as the revenue sharing scheme, according to Ntayombya.

The scheme allots 10 per cent of the proceeds from tourism which is invested in communities around national parks.

"Tourism has played a major role in helping the local community. One of the major tourism initiatives is the Revenue Share Programme.

"Over $1.28 million has been disbursed by RDB to more than 158 community-based projects through the Rwanda Revenue Share Programme.

"This money has been spent on availing clean drinking water, health centres, classrooms and housing. In addition, tourism has generated 90,000 jobs so far," Nyatombya noted.

Why Arsenal?

Rwanda chose to partner with Arsenal in promoting tourism because the Premier League club offers a "unique opportunity".

"This unique opportunity came about from Arsenal and Rwanda's marketing team. We were given a unique opportunity to promote Rwanda on the world stage via a partnership with this world-renowned football club. We believe that, through this partnership, we can showcase Rwanda and its benefits to potential tourists and business investors around the world." he noted.

Visit Rwanda will gain global exposure through branding on Arsenal's Matchday LED boards, interview backdrops and the club's stadium tour which attracts more than 250,000 visitors each year.

They will also have the opportunity to engage Arsenal fans around the world through the club's social media channels.

Vinal Venkatesham, Arsenal's Chief Commercial Officer, pointed out the magnitude of the exposure Rwanda gets from the deal.

"The Arsenal shirt is seen 35 million times a day around the world and we are one of the most viewed teams around the world. We look forward to working with the Visit Rwanda team to further establish the country as a tourist destination," Venkatesham said.

Ntayombya echoed Venkatesham's sentiments saying that this deal will enable Visit Rwanda to showcase the best of Rwanda around the world over the next three years as well as promote local football.

"We believe this will bring more investors and tourists to Rwanda and ensure that investment flows into communities across the country. This deal will also help integrate football further into the daily lives of men and women in Rwanda, along with the health and wellness benefits that go with that," he added.

The partnership is also being supported by National Geographic, who will promote Rwanda as a major tourist destination.

According to Nyatombya, National Geographic will market the tourism offerings of Visit Rwanda on their platforms.

Windhoek — FNB Namibia will be providing valuable career guidance to the youth during the upcoming 2018 Tourism Expo, which will take place from May 30 to June 2.

"One of the numerous new projects we are involved in is our participation in the career youth section, where we aim to provide learners with the tools and resources to help them make important and valuable career decisions," says Elzita Beukes, FNB's group communications manager.

This will be the first time that the bank has a career stand at the expo and learners can look forward to engaging and exciting activities. "Our stand is in the form of an interesting and interactive engagement where secondary school learners will have the opportunity to take an aptitude test and view an array of career-based videos to give them more guidance on a career path. Our staff will be on standby to answer any questions. The stand will also feature a variety of tourism-specific careers."

Beukes added. "We look forward to being able to assist in gauging what the person's abilities are and be on hand to give guidance in a fun and interactive way."

FNB Namibia employs more than 2,300 Namibians and the FNB Group has made significant contributions to economic growth and social development through employment creation, financing of industries and contribution to the fiscus.

"We believe that our people are the essence of the group and we aim to make a difference both in their lives and those of other workers within the country," said Beukes.

Many visitors have dismissed the stereotypical believe that Northern Nigeria is riddled with violence and terrorism alone. Indeed, such single story ideas are far from the truth, as northern Nigeria, in its entirety, has a lot to offer in terms of culture, festivals, tourism, rich history and beautiful sites. From beautiful palaces, to the rich Durbar festivals, the food, hospitable people and scenic sites and destinations, northern Nigeria is an adventure waiting to be explored. Here is just a tip of the iceberg:

1. Mambilla Plateau, Taraba

With the highest point in Nigeria, standing at about 1,600 meters (5,249 ft) above sea level, Mambilla plateau should be on the top of your list.

The plateau has a combination of waterfalls, hills and mountains. The highest mountain, Chappal Wadi, which stands at 7,936 ft above sea level, is the highest mountain in Nigeria. It is found at the northeastern flank of the Plateau. The plateau is Nigeria's northern continuation of the Bamenda Highlands of Cameroon.

2. Matsirga Falls Kafanchan, Kaduna

Matsirga Falls, located in Madakiya, Kafanchan, Kaduna is another beautiful waterfall in the North.

With a height of about 30 meters, it gets its source from springs on the Kagoro hills. The water at the Matsirga Falls drops into a gorge that has been supported by beautiful rocks. Something magical happens at the point of impact with the river, the avalanche of the fall creates a rainbow-like mist, which appears and disappears mysteriously.

3. Kajuru Castle, Kaduna

Kajuru Castle is an exclusive and luxurious getaway built in an early medieval style at Kajuru village in the trade city of Kaduna, a major commercial hub in the northern part of Nigeria. This gorgeous architectural masterpiece with breathtaking ambience, is set upon elevated peaks with staggering views and is the ultimate holiday getaway in the north.

A German expatriate, who lived in Kaduna, with metre thick granite stone to reflect the medieval Bavarian theme, built the Kajuru Castle in 1978. It took five years to complete its turrets, armory and dungeon. Kajuru Castle is simply an awesome place to be.

4. Gurara Waterfalls, Niger

Discovered by a Gwari hunter called Buba in 1745, this waterfall is one of Niger's major tourist attractions. It was named after two deities, Gura and Rara, which were worshipped by the Gwari people. The waterfall is very beautiful and it stands at a height of 30 meters and a gushing width of 200 meters. When you visit Niger or Abuja, be sure to stop by at Gurara waterfalls.

5. Shere Hills, Jos

Located in Jos, Shere Hills is one of the foremost tourist attractions in the North. Quite an adventure to hike on as it is a combination of various hills and rock formations with the highest hill standing at 6,001 feet above sea level. They also form the third highest point in Nigeria after Chappal Waddi and Mount Dimlang.

By Wole Oyebade

Ethiopian Airlines (ET) is set to take delivery of a Boeing 787-900, its 100th aircraft.

The Ethiopian national carrier, ET, is the first African airline to operate 100 aircraft fleet, thus maintaining its pioneering and leadership position in all aspects of aviation services in the continent.

Ethiopian Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Tewolde GebreMariam, said it was an immense honour for all at Ethiopian, to reach the milestone of 100 aircraft.

GebreMariam said the milestone is a continuation of their historical aviation leadership role in Africa and a testimony of the successful implementation of their fast, profitable and sustainable growth plan, Vision 2025. As at December 2017, the targets have already been achieved and even surpassed.

Ethiopian was the first to avail jet service in the continent back in 1962, and operated the first African B767 in 1984, the first African B777-200LR in 2010, the first African B787-800 Dreamliner and B777-200 freighter in 2012 and the first African A350 in 2016 and the first African B787-9 aircraft in 2017.

Ethiopian now operates one of the youngest and most modern 100 aircraft, with an average age of less than five years.

GebreMariam said: "Fleet modernisation and expansion is one of the four critical pillars of our Vision 2025 strategic roadmap, in support of our fast expanding network, which has now reached over 110 international destinations covering five continents.

"This 100 fleet milestone, which we have achieved ahead of our Vision 2025 targets, compels us to revise our plans with a view to phase in more aircraft and further expand our network so as to meet the growing travel needs of our continent and support its economic development and integration by facilitating the flow of investment, trade and tourism.

"We will continue to connect more and more Africans with their fellow citizens of the continent and with their brothers and sisters in the rest of the world to make life better every single day."

Ethiopian operates a mix of state-of-the-art aircraft with an average fleet age of five years. The Airline has 5 more Boeing 787-900 and 16 Airbus A350 airplanes on order, among others. Ethiopian was the first African Airline and second only to Japan to operate the B787 Dreamliner in 2012 and the first carrier in Africa to usher with the Airbus A350 XWB in 2016.

The City of Cape Town says that 110 insurance claims, valued at more than R1m, have been submitted due to public libraries being vandalised.

According to a statement, the Library and Information Service has already submitted insurance claims valued at R1 247 864 in the current financial year - three times higher than the previous financial year.

Of the City's 104 libraries, 17 feature prominently on the list of insurance claims and account for 54% of all claims submitted in the last three financial years, with the most damage occurring at the Bellville, Bishop Lavis, Eerste River, Goodwood, Hangberg and Heideveld libraries.

Gugulethu Library became the latest target on Tuesday when a group of attackers vandalised computer equipment, windows and doors.

Staff and patrons were threatened with physical violence and it is suspected that the group intended to set the building alight, said mayoral committee member of safety and security JP Smith.

'Some of our libraries are under siege'

"I appeal to anyone in the community who knows anything about this incident to please approach the police or the City's enforcement agencies so that we can hold those responsible to account for their actions," he said.

"Some of our libraries are under siege, with thieves stealing anything of value that they can lay their hands on, from air-conditioning units to computers. There is also malicious damage to property, targeting doors, windows and ceilings and, frankly, we are appalled," Smith said.

He explained that the SmartCape facilities were crucial to learners, jobseekers and entrepreneurs.

"To deprive people of these opportunities through cable theft or vandalism, and even the theft of desktop computers, is nothing short of callous," Smith said.

In an effort to highlight the seriousness of the situation, library staff had started engaging with local councilors and sub-councils on the matter.

"In many instances, people know who the criminals are, but are too fearful or apathetic to do anything. Libraries are such important resources in the communities they serve and should be protected at all costs," Smith added.

Source: News24

By Annie Cebulski

A R39.3-million three-storey library is set to open this year in Dunoon. The service is much needed. Schools in the area, such as Inkwenkwezi Secondary School, lack study space. Inkwenkwezi also has only a limited number of books, many outdated, according to Kwanda Chonco, who teaches grades 8 to 12.

Phaphama Ndlazi, a grade 8 student at the school, says he looks forward to studying English in Dunoon's first library. "We can study at school, but there is not enough space for us to study ... So some students don't get to [study]," said Ndlazi.

The budget for the City of Cape Town's Library and Information Services for the year is R30 million, of which R9 million will be spent to complete the Dunoon library. The rest of the library budget has to fund new materials, wifi hotspots, books and building maintenance. It is also covering an online public access catalogue for all 104 city libraries. This new system is accessible on any device with internet access and will allow users to see the whole library collection, across all branches.

Although all libraries will receive some of the library budget, the City does not have enough money to build libraries for all the communities that need them. Some suburbs such Nyanga or Delft have one or two libraries for tens of thousands of residents, whereas wealthier areas like Camps Bay have one library for a population of about 5,000.

Communities that especially need more libraries are harder to provide for as there are very often no buildings which can be renovated and turned into libraries. Libraries such as Dunoon's are built from scratch.

"An investment like Dunoon is very expensive because you're not building in part of a complex or an existing structure ... You also need to build underground sewerage and electricity," says Mayoral Committee Member JP Smith.

Smith said the City is trying to improve the quality of existing libraries by buying e-readers for patrons to use, providing more books for young children and teens, and fixing water damage and adding toilets.

"Libraries are at the heart of our communities. They provide invaluable resources, encourage knowledge and support learning. The money spent on these facilities is an investment in the education and empowerment of communities," said Smith.

GroundUp spoke to avid library user Annah Chibondo, a grade 12 Rhodes High School learner, who uses the Central Library in Cape Town. It is a safe and quiet space for her to study. She said she studies here almost every weekend. Chibondo, who loves romance and comedy books and movies, hopes to study medicine after secondary school.

Makhi Mkhetho, a hip-hop artist, goes to the Khayelitsha Library, not for books but for beats. He sources new material, sends out emails and promotes himself and his new mixtape - When Days are Dark - thanks to the facilities provided by the library.

"I am working on my mixtape so I'm collecting beats and contacting other producers in Cape Town," Mkhetho told GroundUp. By using the library computers, Mkhetho, known as Kideo on stage, is able to pursue his dreams.

Many learners and students study in the quiet and safety of the Central Library in Cape Town. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

interview By Olatoun Williams

The Swiss-born Hans Martin Zell's journey through Africa's book trade has been magnificent for the sheer scale of his production and its geographical span. In a conversation with OLATOUN WILLIAMS, founder of Borders Literature, an online book platform, Zell describes his life-path as 'a bit of a roller-coaster ride.' Zell's knowledge of the African book trade, which started in 1970 at University of Ife, Ile-Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Nigeria, is prodigious. This generous and wide-ranging interview is his special gift to Africa, to current and future generations of bibliophiles and industry practitioners

How did the Nigerian book trade fare in the oil boom years of the 1970s when you were working at the University of Ife Press?

Apart from Gabriel Onibonoje's pioneering Onibonoje Press, indigenous publishing was in its infancy in those days, and book supplies were still heavily dominated by the Nigerian branches of U.K. multinationals. Onibonoje Press and Book Industries in Ibadan, established as long ago as 1958, was probably the first indigenously owned, private sector African publishing house of some size. Good bookshops, holding a wide and attractive range of stocks, were also still few and far between at that time, with the exception of the Ibadan University Bookshop.

I spent three enjoyable years in Nigeria in the early 1970s, occupied in two jobs at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University). One, based in Ibadan initially, was to set up a new bookshop at the university's main campus at Ile-Ife, and the other was to establish a university press. I was very fortunate to be working under an enlightened Vice Chancellor at the time, Professor Hezekiah Oluwasanmi, a man of great vision, who was always very supportive of anything relating to books, reading, and publishing. Supportive of libraries too, I might add. Ife had an excellent university library at that time, lovingly curated by the then librarian, Sesan Dipeolu.

Part of my brief was to train staff both at the bookshops and at the press, who later took over from me when I departed after three years. My successor as Managing Director of the bookshop was the late Wunmi (later Chief) Adegbonmire, with whom I had a most cordial relationship. His career later turned to politics, rather than the book trade, which was a pity in a way because he was such an energetic, motivated and highly dynamic person. Incidentally, I keep on being credited to be the founder of the Ife Book Fair, which is quite incorrect. The man who established that once quite lively and successful book fair was in fact Adegbonmire.

What were the high points of academic and literary life at the university in those days?

Well, they were interesting times, both in the academic as well as the literary sphere. During the early 1970s, many exciting new literary voices began to emerge in Nigeria, writers such as Kole Omotoso, Femi Osofisan, Harry Garuba, Lily Adaora Ulasi, or the playwrights - Wale Ogunyemi, Ola Rotimi, and Zulu Sofola, among others, and some of them published their first works with Nigerian publishers. And among lecturers teaching at Ife at the time was the distinguished literary critic, Abiola Irele. I was sad to hear of his death in the U.S., just recently, at the age of 81. He has been a good friend for many years, a brilliant scholar, an intellectual giant, supporter of indigenous African publishing (and himself a publisher with his New Horn Press), as well as a music lover, cosmopolitan, bon vivant... and even an opera singer too! He will be greatly missed.

At Ife the Vice-Chancellor formally opened a large, brand new bookshop in 1972, and by the time I departed the (then) University of Ife Press had built up a respectable small list of scholarly monographs, as well as publishing three academic journals and a series of law reports. That gave me a measure of satisfaction.

A high point was the International Conference on Publishing and Book Development in Africa that I helped to organise and which was held at the University of Ife in December of 1973. It attracted a large number of participants ranging from publishers, booksellers, and librarians, to writers (a host of them, with Chinua Achebe giving the opening address), literary critics, and academicians. The conference resulted in the publication of a book, Publishing in Africa in the Seventies, published by the University of Ife Press in 1975, which remains an important historical document.

The NOMA AWARD was cancelled in 2009. During its lifespan, it was the biggest publishing prize in Africa. What was your involvement with the NOMA Award?

I was involved in the award - as Secretary to the Managing Committee, the Jury, and as a member of its Board of Trustees - from its inception in 1979 and the presentation of the first award to the Senegalese writer, Mariama Bâ (So Long A Letter), through to 1995, when my colleague, Mary Jay, assumed responsibility. The award ran from 1980 to 2009. I don't really know the precise reasons why it was terminated by its sponsors, but it probably had simply run its course by that time. You must also bear in mind that the cost involved in an award of this nature is quite substantial, including costs for convening jury meetings, administration, secretarial support, communication, assessment fees and other overheads.

The Noma Award had always hoped that it would act as a kind of catalyst for other book prize initiatives, which might be sponsored by African philanthropists, corporate sponsors or other supporters of the book industries and book development. It took a while, but happily this has now materialized at least to some extent, and there are now a few African sponsored continental book prizes which honour outstanding creative writing as well as supporting indigenous African publishing at the same time, notably the Lumina Foundation's Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa and the Etisalat Prize for Literature.

The Noma Award was offered annually for an outstanding new book published in Africa (during the 12 months calendar period preceding each year's competition) by an African writer or scholar, in one of three categories: (1) academic and scholarly, (2) books for children, and (3) literature and creative writing. Although literature was one of the categories in which books could be submitted - and works of fiction and poetry have won the prize on a number of occasions - the Noma Award was a book prize, not a literary award, as it was frequently, and mistakenly, described. Any original work, in any of the languages of Africa, both indigenous and European, were eligible for consideration, but translations, anthologies, or edited collections were not admissible. The award was open to any author who is indigenous to Africa, but entries had to be submitted through publishers. Books entered for the prize had to be first published in Africa and the African publisher submitting the entry had to hold the original rights.

Why was the NOMA Award so significant?

The Noma Award for Publishing in Africa, to give it its full name, owed its establishment and endowment to the philanthropic spirit of the late Shoichi Noma, former President of the major Japanese publishing house, Kodansha. As a publisher, he was devoted to international cooperation and had a long-standing interest in collective efforts for the promotion of books and readership in developing countries. Before establishing the Noma Award, he had endowed prizes for the encouragement of literacy and also sponsored an initiative for the improvement of the quality of children's book publishing through contests and awards for illustrators in Africa, Asia and the Arab states.

It was significant because the principal aim of the award was to be the encouragement of publication in Africa of works by African writers and scholars. The Noma Award thus built a unique relationship with African books and has drawn attention to the scope and vitality of African publishing, and the intellectual vigour and enterprise of African publishers, often in the midst of adversity. For a period of 30 years exposure was given to a wide spectrum of African writing and scholarship, which has provided visibility for a great variety of indigenous African publishing output.

Funding for the $5,000 prize (later increased to $10,000 as from 1996) came from an endowment set up by Mr. Noma, registered with the U.K. Charities Commission as a charitable trust, the interest from which was made available for the annual prize and some of the administrative costs, together with additional financial support from Kodansha.

You helped found African Books Collective - the premier global marketing and distribution platform for African books. What were the challenges of founding and developing ABC? How did you overcome those challenges?

ABC recently celebrated its 25th year of trading, and I'm happy to see that it is still going strong, although it had to significantly change its business model over the years. It had its roots in a meeting of a representative group of 11 African publishers that met in London in October of 1985. The proposal that came out of the meeting met with widespread and enthusiastic support among other African publishers, and after four years of extensive preparatory work, consultation exercises and fund-raising activities, ABC was formally registered as a company limited by guarantee in January 1990, and trading activities started later that year. One of the major challenges was to raise enough funds to get it off the ground until sufficient sales would allow it to eventually become self-sufficient. Part of those funds were raised through membership fees paid by founding members, although that was only a modest amount of £1,000 each (which entitled founder members to favourable terms from net proceeds of sales). The fact that this was seen as a genuine self-help initiative subsequently attracted quite generous donor support for seed funding from a number of organizations.

Having initially been supported by a range of donor agencies for a number of years, a major remodelling of ABC took place in 2007, when it became self-financing, and moved to a largely digital model at the same time. Founded, owned and governed by a group of African publishers, and non-profit-making on its own behalf, it currently acts as a worldwide marketing and distribution outlet for some 2,500 print titles and e-books (scholarly, literature, and children's books) from over 150 African publishers in 24 countries. It took considerable endurance to build up to the self-sufficiency of the last eight years, with times of financial strain and anxiety, but it remains committed to its ethos to strengthen African publishing through collective action, and to increase the visibility and accessibility of the wealth of African scholarship and culture.

From the impressive chronicle of milestones of the Hans Zell Publisher's imprint, which milestone has come to mean the most to you and why?

I started off as a small independent publisher in Oxford in 1975. Later the imprint became part of a large publishing group for a good number of years, and I finally ended up as a small publisher again in 2001, operating from a remote village in the northwest Scottish Highlands. I can't really pinpoint a particular milestone: it has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride throughout; there were some notable successes, but also some disappointments. In more recent years, it has been a period of selling books and reference works in the African studies field in very difficult trading conditions, and in an environment of constantly declining sales and unpredictable markets. The print runs and sales expectations, dropped steadily from year to year from around 1,200 - 1,500 copies to an average of no more than 300 copies.

Actually our all-time best-selling book was not an African studies title, but an Atlas of International Migration by the late Aaron Segal, which was reprinted at least twice if I recall correctly, and we even sold rights to the Chinese! The most successful African studies reference resource was The African Studies Companion: A Guide to Information Sources, of which we published four editions, the third and fourth editions published simultaneously as print/online products, before rights were acquired by the Dutch publisher Brill.

I believe any small independent publisher must try to anticipate and respond to market needs and focus on definite market niches. They must be perceptive to new ideas, set a high standard, and seek to build for their imprint a reputation of excellence. They must create awareness and motivation to buy their products, promote the list as vigorously and as extensively as their marketing resources permit, and provide an efficient fulfilment and customer service. Unfortunately, it must also be added that high standards and publishing vision do not necessarily translate into good sales, nor do highly favourable reviews or honours necessarily generate any significant orders. So small may be beautiful, but actually making a living from a small publishing operation is quite another matter.

On April 2, 2017, The Guardian (Nigeria) published an essay on the troubles of the Nigerian book industry. The title is dramatic, 'Book Industry Reels in Debt as Publishers, Booksellers Bicker'. What are some of the main problems hampering the Nigerian and African book trade?

First, about The Guardian article: that was primarily about some Nigerian booksellers' persistent failure to pay publishers for books supplied. Publishers accuse them of failing to remit amounts due even though they have actually sold books supplied to them. Meanwhile, authors continue to put pressure on publishers to pay royalties in a timely fashion even if publishers have failed to receive payment, and with some of them reportedly facing severe cash flow problems as a result. Some publishers say they have written off huge amounts of bad debts and they say that, in practice, they can only pay royalties based on the money they have received, and not for what they supplied.

As for the main problems hampering the Nigerian and African book industries: Well, there are many! It's important though not to generalise, and the situation varies from country to country. Moreover, publishers of educational and scholarly books face different challenges than those publishing general and trade books, fiction, and other creative writing.

However, the main problems and challenges that are most frequently mentioned are roughly these: High manufacturing costs and, more recently, the considerable costs for developing digital content, a still weak or fragile printing industry in some countries, often resulting in poor standards of production quality, lack of formal distribution networks or systems, unreliable postal systems, poor road networks, high cost of transportation. For small independent publishers in particular, limited capacity and reach, a scarcity of good, well-stocked bookshops and other retail outlets, while some existing booksellers have a poor credit record, selling books across borders and an intra-African book trade is virtually non-existent, with numerous logistical challenges relating to customs, and taxes and tariffs on books in many African countries, among other barriers, and the absence of a widespread reading culture, and a vibrant book-buying public. Meantime, the economic downturn has also affected purchasing power; rapidly declining public library services, many of them now without book acquisition funds and relying on free books shipped by overseas book donation organisations to fill their shelves, and inadequately trained and skilled publishing and book trade personnel.

Others are nonexistence of robust national book policies, or unclear government book policies in most countries, taxation of books in some countries, by way of debilitating tariffs of VAT and import duties, with VAT charges ranging from 14-18 per cent, and the absence of reliable and secure online payment systems. For all publishers generally, a very serious threat is the menace of rampant piracy, and finally, for educational and school book publishers, another new threat is moves by some African governments to introduce and implement a policy of just one officially sanctioned textbook per subject and grade, thus ending the current situation of a multiplicity of books from a variety of publishing houses competing in an open market. It's a recipe for disaster, in my opinion.

What can be done to heal the rifts, which arise in the book chain, particularly between African authors and their African publishers?

That's a topic that could easily fill space for an entirely separate interview! A few years ago, I contributed an article about this in The African Writers' Handbook (a great resource by the way) published by African Books Collective in 1990. It had a deliberately provocative title and was based on a newspaper story by the Nigerian writer, Onuwuchekwa Jemie, a few years earlier, in which he lumped all publishers together as "mostly liars and cheats." In that article, I identified a number of conflict areas, or potential conflict areas, that have led to the sometimes acrimonious interaction between African writers and African publishers.

I think relationships have probably improved a bit in recent years, especially among authors who publish with what is now a whole new generation of African publishers, small independent imprints, who have demonstrated a great deal of enterprise, creativity, and agility.

How can the rifts be healed? Perhaps someone could organise a meeting for authors and publishers to come together to start a genuine dialogue in an environment of mutual respect, thrash out the issues, and address the situation frankly, but without undue confrontation. It could well amount to a mutual learning process: for authors to gain a better understanding of the publishing process, and the publishing realities in the current very difficult trading conditions and the rapidly changing publishing environment; and for publishers to learn that protecting author's interests, and openness with authors will pay dividends in the long term, and likely to lead to much improved rapport and author loyalty. African publishers can only flourish with the support of and respect from writers, but this goes both ways in the relationship.

What are your views about self-publishing and digital publishing?

Most people will probably consider self-publishing a welcome development, but there is also a downside: while advances in technology and the new digital environment have allowed authors to take control of some or even all parts of the publishing process, there are many potential pitfalls, and many self-published books are seriously flawed in their standards of writing, and hastily published without due care. When one purchases a book published conventionally by a publisher, one can reasonably expect that it would have been subject to some scrutiny, editing, re-writing, and proofreading, before it was released onto the world. That is not the case with many self-published books, where the author alone has decided on its merits, and invariably thinks all the world will want to read it! Aspiring writers are constantly told that by publishing in e-book format they will reach audiences no conventional publisher could ever reach, and there are large number of blogs and websites offering advice for start-up writers, who will tell them that they can make millions through self-publishing. The reality is, of course, something else.

A recent study published by the journal African Research & Documentation investigates "whether the activities of overseas book donation organisations have an adverse effect on the local 'book chain' in Africa". I have read your summary of the study in the online resource, Read African Books. The points raised by the ARD study confirm some of my own reservations. Please, share your views about international book donation programmes: the issues involved, and the way forward.

This is a wide-ranging, two-part study that attempts to shed more light on current book donation practices, and provides an overview and profiles of the work of the principal book aid organisations active in Africa. The study also questions why large scale book donation programmes should continue to be necessary today after tens of millions of books have been shipped and donated to African libraries, schools and other recipients every year over the last three decades or more. It examines the status and role of chronically under-resourced African libraries and, in the absence of adequate government support, their continuing dependence on book donation programmes and other external assistance.

Most book donation schemes are well-intentioned, but even the most well-intentioned programmes can sometimes have unintended, potentially negative consequences. As you say, the study sought to investigate whether the activities of overseas book donation organisations have an adverse effect on the local 'book chain' in Africa. As the figures of annual book donations from overseas dramatically demonstrate, I believe African publishers have legitimate cause for concern that their main potential markets are flooded with millions of free books every year - a large proportion of them publishers' overstocks or remainders - which could jeopardise the sales prospects of their own locally produced books, not to mention the damaging effect on the retail book trade.

Supplies of donated books from overseas can significantly suppress demand for locally published books because many governments rely on overseas donation programmes to fill bookshelves in schools and libraries. Proponents of book donation and subsidised schemes usually argue that they help to stimulate literacy and book reading in the countries involved, increasing the potential market for a local industry. Yet many high quality, culturally relevant books published locally may remain stacked in African publishers' warehouses while huge quantities of externally donated books are distributed to libraries because they are free. The study also found that, at this time, the inclusion of African-published books in current book donation schemes makes up a miniscule proportion of the millions of books that are shipped to Africa by donation organisations each year.

The plethora of book donation schemes - many often poorly planned, not recipient-request led, and inadequately monitored and evaluated - and the gigantic quantities of free books that are shipped to recipients in Africa each year, has created a huge culture of dependency, which presents a sometime quite shocking picture of almost total reliance on overseas book aid organisations. The principal reason why book donation organisations exist, and are still needed, is the persistent failure by African governments, over three decades or more, to adequately support their public libraries.

The Editor of African Research & Documentation is now inviting responses and feedback, for publication in a subsequent issue, and she is also seeking feedback from receiving libraries, and the views of African publishers. Hopefully a measure of dialogue and debate will ensue.

At 16, you became an apprentice bookseller in Switzerland. Since then, you have achieved a legendary corpus of work. Are you finished now? Or is there anything left for you to achieve?

I am no longer on the ground in Africa, but I remain very much interested in the many different aspects of publishing and the state of the book in Africa. Although there is probably still not enough empirical research and data on the African book industries, there is now a rapidly growing body of literature on the topic, which I am documenting and analysing in a new annual series of literature reviews (published in the quarterly African Book Publishing Record, with pre-print online versions freely accessible at my Academia.edu pages). Moreover, and as you will know yourself, another positive development is that there are now a good number of blogs and websites that carry frequent contributions on writing, publishing and reading in Africa, frequently offering genuinely fresh perspectives and insights.

- Williams is the founder of http://www.bordersliteratureonline.net/

By Julius Bizimungu

French poet of Congolese origin, Thierry Sinda, is currently in Rwanda to explore the country as well as promote his latest book; "Anthologie des Poèmes d'Amour des Afriques et d'Ailleurs", loosely translated as: "Anthology of love poems from Africa and elsewhere".

In an exclusive interview at The New Times' offices, Sinda, who is also a film critic for Amina Magazine, a university professor and founder of 'Le Printemps des poètes d'Afrique et d'ailleurs,' revealed more about his latest book and his stay in Rwanda.

"I am here to explore more about Rwanda, just like I have been doing for the past years. I travel across Africa trying to understand the culture of different countries, and this is what my first dramatic poem was about," he said.

Sinda's first dramatic poem is called 'Voyage en Afrique à la Recherche de Mon Moi Enivré,' loosely translated as the 'Journey to Africa in Search of my Inebriated Me'.

According to him, 'Anthologie des Poèmes d'Amour des Afriques et d'Ailleurs' is a collection of love poems from Africa and elsewhere, including in the Caribbean and Europe.

"In the book, there are more than fifty poems collected from different parts of Africa and other parts of the world, most of which are themed around love. This anthology is that of the nine years of a poetic festival that has its place in French literature," he noted.

For the past nine years, the poet has been leading 'Le Printemps des poètes d'Afrique et d'ailleurs,' as a festival that brings together poets to showcase the black and African culture.

He believes that black people and African people in the West should have platforms through which they can learn as well as tell their story and culture. The festival has been a key platform to promote culture and art.

"It is very important to keep your roots. This is why this initiative to promote African culture and art started as a way of giving a platform to Africans and black people to represent themselves," noted Sinda, who is a professor of film and literature at New York University in France.

He said he would be travelling across different parts of the country to learn more about the Rwandan people and the culture. Sinda has travelled to different African countries like Madagascar, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Burkina Faso, and Egypt, just to mention a few.

Luanda — Angolan writer, Hortencio Cassemene, won Monday the Best Foreign Writer contest in the People's Republic of China, fruit of the book entitled "The Foreigner".

Speaking to Angop on Tuesday, Hortencio Cassemene, author of "Caminhos" (launched in 2015 in Luena) expressed satisfaction for the distinction, as it meant recognizing a work in favour of Angolan culture.

His latest book, "The Foreigner," covers the aspects of self-aid to help people in psychological, social, and academic adaptation processes.

In it, readers will be able to know the challenges faced by emigrants and the positive ways of responding to adversities in foreign countries.

The 25-year-old author is attending the 4th year of the Computer Science and Technology course at the Telecommunications and Post University of Chongqing.

By Sylvania Ambani

A book written by former Member of Parliament and journalist Joe Khamisi on elite corruption in the country has caused a storm online.

The book titled, 'Kenya: Looters and Grabbers, 54 years of corruption and plunder by the elite', is reported to have been rejected by local bookshops due to its controversial content.

During the month of May only a Special Price of KShs 3,000/-. Go to our Online Bookshop at http:https://t.co/99WNdn3uxV, order your copy and have it delivered in Nairobi within hours or 72 hours in counties. pic.twitter.com/NMdlNyaAnb

- Joe Khamisi (@joekhamisi1) May 3, 2018

Pirated soft copies of the book have been circulating on social media platforms.

The book's author on Monday sounded an alarm on the distribution the contraband PDF's of the book.

"Andrew Akeye got one of the contraband PDFs of #LootersandGrabbers. An honest man, he has refunded me the full cost of the hard copy without asking for anything else. Not all Kenyans are dishonest," tweeted Joe Khamis.

This aroused mixed reactions from the online community with most Kenyans on Twitter expressing rage.

I got one, I downloaded, I haven't read and I won't read, I have deleted it so that I get a hardcopy in support of your work.

-- SamSam (@Soitas) May 7, 2018

I am not into reading soft copies. Where can I buy a hard copy of the book in Nairobi?

-- Kipkemboi Cherono (@KipkemboiCh) May 7, 2018

Not from a physical bookshop. You have to go to our Online bookstore at http://jodeybooks, order and pay by mpesa and the book will be delivered. Joe

-- Joe Khamisi (@joekhamisi1) May 7, 2018

The irony of illegally sharing about stealing from Kenyans 😒 https://t.co/EVZn274MI8

- Ory Okolloh Mwangi (@kenyanpundit) May 7, 2018

If you feel it is too expensive and doesn't add value, then simply don't read it, certainly not a PDF copy

- Joy Inc 🇰🇪 (@JoyWangechiK) May 7, 2018

This is the battle I lost. A lot of people came back to me with "At least they are reading your work."

People don't know what it means to wait for six years for your manuscript to be published, only for it to be released for free. https://t.co/CEEQlgRAr7

- Kinyanjui Kombani (@KKombani) May 7, 2018

I am blocking anyone on whats app sending it/ and deleting it. If i cant buy it, I aint reading it on pdf at all.

-- Captain Ozwald (❤️) (@VinieO) May 7, 2018

I enjoy reading pdf books whoever has any interesting book can send it to me. ..Education is human right ..I need to educate myself

-- Daud Ahmed (@MsamariaMwema20) May 7, 2018

By Queenesther Iroanusi

A senator, Kabir Marafa (APC, Zamfara Central) tackled his female colleagues on Thursday asking them to take the issue of insurgency more seriously.

Mr Marafa said this while contributing to a motion to celebrate the 2018 Children's Day by Binta Garba (APC, Adamawa) and eight other senators.

He argued that the female lawmakers and Nigerians have been quiet to the cries of the victims of insurgency in the north and other parts of the country. He said strangely, they were quick to protest a Senator, Ahmed Yerima's marriage to an underage.

Mr Yerima had in 2009, married a 13 year old girl, an act which attracted condemnations from all over the country.

Leading discussions on the motion, Mrs Garba recognised the importance of developing the Nigerian child through the passage of legislations such as the Child Rights Act, 2003 and the Universal Basic Education Act, 2004 which aims at protecting the interests of children.

She also stressed that a proper system of education and good health care are indispensable towards making the Nigerian child relevant in the global scheme of things.

Mrs Garba decried the high rate of infant mortality in Nigeria which has risen to one million deaths per annum as a result of poor nutrition and poor medical facility.

In his contribution, Mr Marafa however accused the female lawmakers of being selective with the children "they care for". He urged them to help the women and children in Zamfara State for instance.

"I expect the women especially of this Senate to stand up shoulder to shoulder with women in Zamfara state. A situation was raised where a commissioner's wife and her six children were kidnapped in their house and three days into the journey, nobody knows where she is. This catches the attention of the media and everybody because it is a commissioner's wife. But the issue of kidnapping is a daily thing in Zamfara State today.

"There is an estimated 5000 victims of rape and we have said it in this chamber but up till now, the women have not stood up to say 'enough is enough' of this very bad incident.

"Whereas in the 6th assembly when my colleague and my leader, Senator Ahmed Yerima, fulfilled one of his religious rites by marrying a lady with the consent of her parents, almost the whole of this chamber was pulled upside down. That he married an underage, which is nobody's business in anyway because her parents' consent(ed) to the marriage and Yerima is a Muslim and he married the girl according to Muslim rites.

"But so much noise was made in this country to the extent that they staged a protest on the streets of Abuja. Today, their sisters are going through hell in Zamfara, most of them, victims of rape.

"There are about 10,000 widows and 20,000 orphans as we speak. I am celebrating you, the mothers of the children but unfortunately, you are selective in the choice of your children. You are talking of child rights; we in Zamfara are talking of child's survival. I want to see you stand up to say the children of Zamfara has the right to survive because what we are not talking is schooling. There is humanitarian crisis in Zamfara," he said.

He said he would not be surprised if the Senators from North-east are not in support, "because their own problem has been solved largely by the people of North-west".

"They provided a commission for them, we listened to their problem but when it is our turn now, for them to reciprocate, the senate leader is looking at me, I don't know him, the truth of the matter is that you have not done enough and I want him to skew the hand of the women in this chamber to see that justice is done to the children of Zamfara State," he said.

In his remarks, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki congratulated the Nigerian children and urged all the lawmakers to continue to hold on to their responsibilities to ensure that the children are loved and cared for.

"We've all seen the statistics that Nigeria accounts for 10 per cent of the total world infant mortality, total world maternal maternity. These are not figures we should be proud of; where one in four children get immunisation. So I believe as we celebrate them, let us take up the responsibility to improve the health of our children and I'm happy that with the 1 per cent that we have put for primary healthcare and with proper implementation, we can see full coverage of immunisation of our children.

"We also need to look at the UBEC law and see how we can create more years of free education because it is very important. I think these are the kind of gifts we can give our children.

"Thirdly, is the Child Rights Act which is yet to be passed in some states. I've engaged the speakers of some state houses of assembly and I appeal to some senators here to ensure that we pass child rights acts," he said.

He urged his colleagues to "support their words by actions".

The Senate, thereafter, felicitated with the Federal government and the families of the Dapchi Schoolgirls that have been released. It urged the federal government to intensify efforts to secure the release of Leah Sharibu, the only Dapchi Schoolgirl that is yet to be released.

The Senate resolved to urge the Federal Government to come up with a dedicated fund to assist the various ministries of social welfare in the states affected, "with a view to setting a platform to educate and care for the children".

It also resolved to urge all the senators to pledge support in cash or kind for the vulnerable children and orphans in Zamfara State.

Photo: iDJ Photography/Flickr

Must prisons take reasonable steps to accommodate transgender prisoners? The Equality Court will have to decide.

analysis By Ohene Yaw Ampofo-Anti

The Equality Court in Cape Town will soon hear a groundbreaking case on the rights of transgender prisoners. The court will have to decide whether a correctional facility has to take steps to reasonably accommodate transgender female prisoners who are currently in a male prison. This would include, among other things, allowing transgender female prisoners to wear make-up, wear female clothing, and be addressed by the use of the female pronoun and their chosen name.

Background

The case is about Ms J, a transgender woman, currently in the Helderstroom Maximum Correctional Centre in Caledon, Theewaterskloof. J was convicted and sentenced for murder in May 2013 for a period of 15 years. Although J identifies as female, she was placed in an all-male prison.

J alleges that she has been subjected to various acts of discrimination and harassment by correctional officials as a result of her gender identity.

J's attorneys addressed several letters to Mr S (the head of Helderstoom) as well as the Department for Justice and Correctional Services in order to resolve her grievances, but nothing came of this.

For this reason, J lodged an application in the Equality Court setting out a case of unfair discrimination on the grounds of gender as well as "harassment" in terms of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (The Equality Act). The application was brought against Mr S, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and the National Commissioner for Correctional Services. Gender Dynamix, a transgender rights advocacy NGO, has also been admitted as a friend of the court to make submissions to assist the Court in making a ruling.

Unfair Discrimination

Although J was born anatomically male, she knew from an early age that she was a woman. J alleges that she was subjected to several acts of discrimination.

First, she alleges that her female clothing and make-up were confiscated.

Second, she alleges that when she confided in S by telling him that she was considering gender transitioning and exploring medical treatment he told her that he "would not have" her "looking like a woman", because she is a man.

Third, officials have verbally abused her because of her gender identity and have refused to use the female pronoun when addressing her. J laid charges against some of these officials but nothing came of this.

J alleges that the conduct of the correctional facility officials is indirect discrimination on the grounds of gender. Indirect discrimination refers to rules that on the surface appear to be neutral but have a disproportionate effect on certain groups. So the current rules which deal with appropriate clothing and cosmetics for men don't make sense for transgender female inmates.

So J is asking that the state reasonably accommodate her gender identity by, among other things, allowing her to wear makeup and female clothing. Taking such measures will not cause any prejudice to the state, she argues. On the other hand, these measures will protect J's fundamental right to human dignity and enable her to fully express her identity.

Harassment

The Equality Act defines "harassment" as unwanted conduct which is persistent and humiliates a person on account of their gender.

J alleges that she was placed in solitary confinement after an altercation with S regarding her make-up during which he accused her of being rude.

During solitary confinement, several of S's personal belongings were confiscated. Furthermore, she was told to write a report motivating why her hair should be kept at shoulder length in braids. She was also told that if the report was unsatisfactory, her hair would be cut off without her consent. J was placed in solitary confinement for as long as 17 days.

J explains how the solitary confinement she was subjected to did not comply with the substance or procedure of the law.

She argues it was unfair because she was not punished for violating a proper identifiable rule, but merely for expressing her gender identity. Procedurally, she argues it was unfair in numerous ways. For example, she should have been offered a hearing to refute the charges against her and should have been examined by a psychologist or correctional medical practitioner at least once a day. J alleges that none of these things happened.

For all these reasons, J argues that her solitary confinement constituted "harassment" under the Equality Act. Also, she alleges that it violated her constitutional right to not be subjected to cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment.

Relief Sought

J wants the court to declare that preventing her from expressing her gender identity was unfair discrimination, and that her solitary confinement was harassment. She wants the court to order the prison to return her female underwear and make-up, address her as a woman through the use of the female pronoun, to not force her to cut her hair again, and not place her in solitary confinement again.

She also wants the court to amend the prison rules to allow inmates to wear "gender appropriate underwear". Lastly, she wants the state to apologise for the suffering it has caused her.

The Respondent's arguments

All the respondents deny that J has been subjected to any harassment or discrimination because they regard her as a male inmate. This is because her ID document identifies her as male, she was convicted and sentenced as male, and anatomically she presents as male.

The respondents argue that the reason that female prisoners are separated from male ones is to combat gender-based violence and protect female prisoners from harm. For this reason, they argue that allowing J to express her gender identity (as a woman) will pose a significant risk to her safety. They also argue that it will be impractical to put measures in place for correctional officials to protect her if she expresses herself as a woman.

They also say that until J undergoes surgical or medical treatment to ensure that anatomically she presents as female, she must be kept in a male facility.

The respondents deny that J was placed in solitary confinement at all. Instead, they argue that she was merely "separated" from other prisoners and this was for her own safety. To support this argument, they point out that the majority of prisoners at Helderstroom are male prisoners many of whom have committed violent crimes. They argue that because J portrays "feminine characteristics" she is likely to be abused by her fellow inmates.

Gender Dynamix explains the challenges of transgender people

Gender Dynamix, an organisation that campaigns for transgender rights, was admitted as friend of the court. Its submission deals with the special circumstances that transgender people have to deal with.

Gender Dynamix explained "gender dysphoria". This is discomfort between a person's sex assigned at birth and their gender identity. If untreated, gender dysphoria can have significant mental health implications.

There are at least three treatment options available. First, there is "social transitioning" where you are allowed to live in accordance with your true gender identity. This would mean allowing you to alter your physical appearance using clothing, cosmetics and toiletries commonly associated with a particular gender.

The second option is hormone replacement therapy to help alter your body to be more closely in line with your gender identity. This treatment is a lifelong commitment if you wish for the effects to remain.

The third option is gender affirming therapy. This is surgically altering your sex organs. Gender Dynamix said that while this may be the most desirable option, many people may not choose it because it is expensive and some of the procedures are life-threatening.

Importantly, argues Gender Dynamix, each person must be allowed to alleviate the symptoms of gender dysphoria through their chosen method. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Gender Dynamix also made legal submissions. It highlighted the international law obligations that states have towards transgender people. A transgender person may not be denied the right to express their gender identity merely because they have been imprisoned. Also, transgender inmates have a right to be protected from discrimination and abuse from other inmates and the state.

Gender Dynamix also described how several countries have used different methods to protect the rights of transgender inmates. Generally, there are three options available:

The first is to allow transgender inmates to express their gender identity regardless of being housed in a male or female prison.

The second option is to detain transgender inmates based on their self-identified gender, not the gender assigned to them by the state.

The third option is to establish separate detention facilities exclusively for transgender inmates. For example, Kerala prison in India has an exclusive third gender block following an Indian Supreme Court decision recognising a third gender.

Gender Dynamix argues that these options show that there are many ways for the state to comply with its constitutional and international law obligations towards transgender inmates.

Why this case is important

This case highlights the plight of transgender inmates, who are a particularly vulnerable group in our society. The court will have to consider the reality of homophobic and transphobic attitudes in our society despite the constitutional promise of equal rights for all. The case is definitely novel and will have huge implications for the treatment of transgender people in South Africa not only in the prison system but across society. A court date has not yet been set.

Evidence is growing in Swaziland that traditionalists do not support a constitutional change to ensure 30 percent of members of the House of Assembly are women.

It has taken 10 years for a Bill to reach parliament and on Monday (21 May 2018) debate on it was halted because some members left the house leaving fewer than the necessary quorum of 30 in place.

During the debate on the Election of Women Members to the House of Assembly Bill, Mbabane West Member of Parliament (MP) Johane Shongwe said that wives should not stand for election unless they had the permission of their husbands. His comments were reported prominently by both of Swaziland's daily newspapers.

The Times of Swaziland, reported he 'had some of his colleagues in stitches while others were seething with anger'.

The Times reported, 'In his usual funny tone', Shongwe said he was in favour of passing the Bill but had an issue with the fact that some of the women who would be nominated would be people's wives.

It added, he queried, 'If I nominate someone's wife, who will I say gave me the permission?'

The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch, reported Shongwe saying, 'It is difficult for women to nominate one another in chiefdoms. Therefore, it is advisable for them to get permission from their husbands. I was nominated by a woman to be where I am right now, to show that most women would rather nominate a man than another woman.'

The Observer reported, 'The legislator further said women MPs would sometimes attend workshops at places far away from their homes. This would mean they would have to go for days without sleeping next to their husbands at home. MP Shongwe said this could pose a problem for the husband, especially if his permission was not sought by the wife before taking the politics path.'

Later, Silindelo Nkosi, Advocacy Officer, for the Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA), said, 'This is clear backward thinking. While the rest of the world is advocating and promoting gender equality, it is rather worrying to have a prominent public figure making such an irresponsible statement with no shame.'

In Swaziland, political parties are not allowed to run for election. The King chooses 10 of the 65 members of the House of Assembly and 10 members of the 30-strong Senate. Members of the House of Assembly choose the other 20.

The Constitution that came into effect in 2006 requires five women to be elected to the Senate by the House and the King to choose another eight. There have been two national elections since the Constitution came into effect and the required number of women members of parliament has not been met.

On representation in the House of Assembly, the Constitution states, 'The nominated members of the House shall be appointed by the King so that at least half of them are women.'

It also requires there are four female members specially elected from the four regions of Swaziland.

The Election of Women Members to the House of Assembly Bill will put into legal force the constructional requirements. It was tabled in the House of Assembly in April 2018 on the instruction of the King. It is hoped that it would become law before the next national election due later in 2018.

There has been opposition to the change across the kingdom. In the past year, the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) ran a series of voter-education workshops and conferences.

Chiefs at a capacity building conference in Siteki in February 2017 spoke against encouraging the electorate to vote for women for gender-balance reasons, the Swazi Observer reported at the time. 'The traditional leaders said this may be equal to interfering with the people's choices or rather channelling them into voting against their will but adhere to an order.'

It added, Chief Mdlaka Gamedze raised the issue and he said the call by many organisations to vote for women might lead to interference with the people's choices.

'Instead, Gamedze urged the EBC team to encourage the freedom to nominate or elect any member of the society without considering whether it is a male or female,' the Observer reported.

'Meanwhile, Chief Mvimbi Matse reported that some women were denied the opportunity to contest for the elections by their husbands. Matse said there have been instances where women were nominated during the first stage but later withdrew after their husbands instructed them to do so. However, Matse said they would now work closely with the EBC to make sure that such incidents are not repeated in the future,' the newspaper reported.

At a voter education workshop at KaGucuka in June 2017, One women, reported by the Swazi Observer at the time, said most women of the area feared being nominated for the elections because they would be questioned and even disowned by their husbands.

It reported a woman who did not want to be named saying, 'To be very honest, the reason why this small area has never had a female nominee for elections is because we fear our husbands who will question us on how we got nominated to stand for the elections in the first place. We have heard that a successful nominee requires at least 10 people to nominate them to stand for the elections, unfortunately for us women our husbands will get angry at us when we get nominated.'

Women remain oppressed in Swaziland, according to report published in 2016 by ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa). It reported that despite claims that Swaziland was a modern country, 'the reality is, despite pledges and commitments, women continue to suffer discrimination, are treated as inferior to men, and are denied rights'.

In a briefing paper called Women's Rights in Swaziland ACTSA reported, 'Cultural gender norms dictate that women and girls provide the bulk of household-related work, including physical and emotional care. As a result, girls are under pressure to drop out from school, especially where there are few adults available to care for children and the elderly, for example, in child-headed households.'

Despite the misgivings of traditionalists, the Bill will certainly be passed because King Mswati has instructed it. Barnabas Dlamini, the Swazi Prime Minister, is on record saying government belonged to His Majesty and it took instructions from him to implement them to the letter, without questioning them. In 2012 the Times Sunday newspaper reported him saying, 'Government listens when His Majesty speaks and we will always implement the wishes of the King and the Queen Mother.'

The PM said Cabinet's position on the matter was that it respected His Majesty's position on all matters he spoke about. He said Cabinet just like the nation, heard what the King said and his wishes would be implemented.

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

Abuja — Women lawmakers in the country have pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to concede the slot of the Vice President to them in subsequent elections in the country.

The female lawmakers made the statement on Friday when they paid a courtesy call on President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Speaking on behalf of the delegation, which comprised elected lawmakers from the nation's 36 states, the leader of the delegation, Hon. Mrs. Elizabeth Ativie said Nigerian Women were being marginalised by their male counterparts.

She said the country only had one principal officer in each of the two chambers of the National Assembly since the return to democracy in 1999.

She also told Mr Buhari that as the president, anything he said at the gathering "will become policy and subsequently law."

To this end, she said "whenever the president is a man, the Vice President should be a woman."

Mrs. Ativie also said for every three senatorial seats in the states, one should be a woman. She also said "where there are nine House of Reps members, the men should take six and leave three for women."

Responding, President Buhari jokingly said "it is a pity that the Vice President is not here, but I am sure the Secretary to the Government of the Federation will brief him that his position is threatened."

Mr Buhari however appreciated the support given to him by women generally in the four times he ran for president.

He recalled reports he received during elections in which women in Labour queued to vote for him.

He asked the delegation to take a message to their colleagues to extend the same support since he has declared to seek for second term.

On their request, the president simply told the gathering that he is not "as powerful as you think."

He said such requests could only be made by a military head of state, but, he has today dropped the uniform for "agbada".

Gauteng police say they cannot confirm whether or not a Vosloorus woman faked her kidnapping to cover up her false pregnancy.

Mbali Jiyane, who was apparently nine months pregnant appeared at a police station on Wednesday night - a week after she disappeared - and without the baby.

According to reports, the woman might have faked her kidnapping to cover up a false pregnancy.

However, Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said he could not confirm if the kidnapping was fake.

"We haven't concluded our investigation yet, after our investigations that is when we will know what happened. No suspects have been identified and no one has been arrested," he told News24 on Friday.

Dlamini said they were investigating a case of kidnapping.

Vosloorus police spokesperson Captain Piet Rossouw said earlier that the father of the alleged baby started getting threatening messages after the woman went missing, demanding a ransom.

"That's when we opened a kidnapping case," he said.

Rossouw said Jiyane was apparently nine months pregnant when she disappeared, and that her friends had recently held a baby shower for her.

When she appeared at the police station on Wednesday, there was no sign of the baby.

Dlamini previously told News24 that Jiyane was unharmed.

"She came back yesterday [Wednesday]. She has been found. She was fine. She left with the aunt," he said.

Source: News24

By Azeezat Adedigba

Women who live in refugee camps after surviving Boko Haram attacks have narrated how Nigerian and Cameroonian security officials maltreated them.

The women spoke on Thursday in Abuja at an event organised by Amnesty International (AI) to present its latest report on the situation in camps meant for internally displaced persons (IDPs).

PREMIUM TIMES published details of the report which showed several women were raped and blackmailed by soldiers who offered food in return for sex after starving them.

Both the Nigerian government and the military have since rejected the report, saying no such things happen in IDP camps.

Few of the women spoken to by Amnesty International, who were willing to come on record, spoke to journalists on Thursday.

Kella Haruna, one of the victims, said it has been a terrible experience in IDP camps. She said both the military and Joint Task Force (JTF) violated the rights of the women.

Mrs Haruna, who spoke in Kanuri language, said many women were exploited sexually, and forced to trade sex for food.

"After liberating Banki, in fact the authorities were in Banki but we in the villages were left in the authority of Boko Haram," she said. "We have nothing to do but to resolve to prayers which we continuously did until we were eventually rescued."

"So when we were pushed to the Cameroonian territory, we were humiliated there too. Because we were stripped almost naked by the Cameroonian soldiers. We were later transferred to Banki. We were in Banki for four days; no food, no water, until we were eventually transferred to Bama camp."

Mrs Haruna said she believed none of the atrocities she and other women later suffered would have happened if their husbands were present.

"It was at Bama that our husbands were blindfolded and then packed into a lorry and brought to Maiduguri, and we were told we would be taken to where our husbands are. And up till today, we have never seen nor heard from our husbands.

"The military then announced that 'where are the women, we are going to take you to where your husbands are.' So we just took whatever pieces that we have and then came out. When we came out, they just picked us and then dumped us in the same Bama, in the general hospital at Red Camp.

"In the Bama Camp, honestly there were no food, no water; and when you complain, they will beat you up and then our money have already been even taken by the soldiers so we were just left with nothing."

It was that situation that the soldiers preyed upon to demand sex from many of the women, she narrated.

Another victim, Fatima Bukar, expressed sadness about the fate of her husband, sons and brothers who she said were detained by soldiers.

She said the families have not been provided with any official information on the detained male relatives.

"In fact, before separating us, they brought them out, washed them up and then they tied their eyes and then transported them to Maiduguri before in fact taking us to the Bama Camp," she said.

She pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and end their sufferings.

More on This

  • Nigerian Soldiers Accused of Raping Women Rescued From Boko Haram

    Amnesty International's Report Must Not Die - Group

    Starving Women Raped By Soldiers, Civilian JTF in IDP Camps - Amnesty

    Borno Govt Reacts to Report On Soldiers' Raping Boko Haram Victims

    Soldiers Rape Starving Women in IDP Camps - Amnesty

  • Nigeria Says 14.8 Million People Affected by Boko Haram

    14.8 Million People Affected By Boko Haram - Govt

    How Nigerian Soldiers, JTF Rape, Starve Boko Haram Victims - Amnesty International

    700 Boko Haram Fighters Ready to Surrender - Govt

    Military Alleges Plan By Amnesty International to Destabilize Nigeria

The Nigerian military has in the past said arrested men were vetted to confirm if they were part of the Boko Haram or not.

Scores of those who were later found innocent have been released by the military. Hundreds more, who are yet to be tried for any offence, are however believed to still be in detention.

GOVERNMENT MUST ACT

Hamsatu Allamin, founder of Allamin foundation for peace in Borno State, who also spoke at the event, said it is painful that soldiers and members of the Civilian JTF, a government funded vigilante, are abusing the women sexually.

"Even if it's just a soldier, or just a JTF that raped any of the women in the camps, he must be brought to book," she said. "Even though these women are scared of what will happen to them for speaking out, but I believe all these women have the right to speak out if they are being raped."

According to Mrs Allamin who also translated the Kanuri language spoken by the victims to English, about 1600 women have been molested and beaten in these IDP camps. She said about 437 husbands are missing.

"Some of these Nigerian military are worse than Boko Haram. We are not talking about hundreds of husbands, but thousands. The wind of change needs to blow across the nation. I believe the military should not be angry with this, but look for possible ways for solution.

"Lots of effort are going on by the human rights commission, military and law enforcement to protect and enhance the lives of people affected with insurgency," she said.

The Director of Protection and Investigation at the National Human Rights Commission, confirmed the receipt of a complaint indicating that 437 men were arrested and have not been seen.

"I wrote to the Nigerian Army, forwarded the list to them and they responded saying none of the 437 names are on the list of those in all their facilities in Borno State.

"I even called our officers in Borno State to meet with the petitioners, but the army said they do not have the names in detention."

For Saudatu Mahdi, a founding member of Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG), the scale of disaster Nigeria is dealing with in the North-east is beyond human imagination.

"Recently, we had a dialogue. But we cannot hold Boko Haram accountable at this particular point in time because the war is still going on; they are still in the bushes; and then the government has not initiated any move to declare formal ceasefire with Boko Haram," Mrs Mahdi, whose BBOG has been demanding the release of girls kidnapped by the Boko Haram, said.

"When Dapchi girls were abducted," she said, "we keep communicating with the non-violent ones who can reach out to the violent ones. Believe you me, one week ceasefire was declared so that Boko Harm will return Dapchi Girls; and they did.

"If we can declare one week ceasefire, why can't we declare final ceasefire? So that the war will end and every other person can come out. What is stopping us for goodness sake?

Over 100 of the kidnapped Dapchi girls were released by the terror group. However, one of the kidnapped teenage students, Leah Sharibu, is still with the insurgents who refused to release her after she allegedly refused to rescind her Christian religion.

Mrs Mahdi said she believes this is the right time to seek for accountability for the atrocities committed by the few culpable soldiers and Civilian-JTF members.

In his remark, Auwal Rafsanjani, chairman, Advisory board, Amnesty International (AI) Nigeria, said AI is helping citizens to raise the consciousness and awareness of their rights.

"Amnesty International is not in competition with anybody; we are not politicians and we are not there to bring down the government. AI is there to ensure that rights of Nigerians are protected," he said.

He said the protest by some groups against Amnesty International was organised by people who do not want to protect human rights in Nigeria.

"Based on the evidences we have, we had to bring in, physically, people who have been abused by this rights violation.

"Why will people say we are destabilising the country? We are only calling on the government to be responsible and proactive in promoting the rights of Nigerians," he said.

LAWMAKERS SPEAK

Sani Zoro, the chairman of the House of Representatives committee on IDPs, Refugees and Initiatives on North-east, said all conflicts and wars have always been resolved through negotiation.

"Since we have not been able to take these guys down for over five years, we have no option than to embrace the pacifist option, the peaceful option," he said at the event.

He complained about the communication deficiency among institutions that need to work together to resolve the insurgency.

"We've gotten up to 9 to 10 referrals saying there is gender based violence and lack of food in these camps and billions of naira are being appropriated for the survival of these people. We really need to be accountable."

"Do you think the generalised violence we are witnessing in Kaduna State, the one consuming Zamfara State does not have a link to Boko Haram? On the map, Nigeria is competing with Syria in terms of displacement," he said.

For a senator, Shehu Sani, the AI report should not be condemned by government.

"Women are becoming the target for atrocities and it is alarming. This report is not indicting, it is a copy of what we are in this country," the senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District said.

He said it is sad that people in power may not even read the report at all as their focus has been shifted to election.,

"If a serving governor can say the rate of killings in Nigeria is being exaggerated, then there is a problem.

"As far as the North-east is concerned, there is no seriousness on the part of the government at all. If the captives were sons and daughters of a senator, minister or government official, they would have been released even if warrants spending all the money in Central Bank," he said.

document

Open Letter to African Leaders: 157 CSOs Demand an End to Corruption Now!

Attention:
H.E. Hon. Moussa Faki Mahama, Chairperson, African Union Commission
H.E. President Paul Kagame, Chairperson, African Union and President of the Republic of Rwanda
H.E. President Muhammadu Buhari, Champion of the 2018 AU theme and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Hon. Begoto Miarom, Chairperson, AU Advisory Board on Corruption

Dear Hon. Moussa Faki Mahama,

We welcome the African Union’s 2018 theme, Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation. It provides a critical opportunity to make progress in the fight against corruption and to mitigate its corrosive impacts on prosperity, growth, security and the fight against extreme poverty. We urge the African Union and Member States to seize this opportunity and deliver meaningful anti-corruption commitments at the July Summit.

The African Union’s focus on combating corruption comes at a critical juncture. African citizens consistently place corruption among their top concerns. Corruption among government officials and bureaucracies has increased over the last decade according to the Ibrahim Index of African Governance. The Panama Papers and other recent investigative leaks have exposed numerous flaws in anti-corruption regimes across the continent. The 2015 report issued by the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, led by former President Thabo Mbeki, estimated that more than US$50 billion illicitly flows out of the continent every year.

The AU’s Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, adopted in 2003, outlines a robust set of principles, including rooting out corruption, strengthening democratic principles, institutions, and the rule of law, and increasing transparency and accountability in the management of public affairs. Yet implementation of the Convention’s principles has been uneven and inadequate across the continent.
State effectiveness and legitimacy are critical for building African government systems that are responsive and accountable to the needs of their citizens. Yet these key ingredients of lasting development remain weak across the continent.

Roughly half of the respondents to the most recent Afrobarometer survey report having little or no trust in legislative bodies, courts, police, national electoral commissions, and opposition parties. Roughly two-thirds believe their government is doing a poor job of improving the living standards of the poor and in fighting corruption. Nearly a third believe people fail to report corruption because they are afraid of the consequences.

Africa is at a critical tipping point. The continent’s population is expected to double by 2050, with half of those under the age of 25. An estimated 22.5 million Africans will enter the workforce each year. This poses an opportunity or risk to the continent, depending on whether African governments are able to harness the potential of their youth. The ability and willingness of governments to be responsive to their citizens and invest in measures that create lasting economic growth and development will determine Africa’s future.
To rebuild citizen trust in governments and to enable citizens and governments to work together to build a better future, citizens must be able to track budgets and follow the money from resources to results, and citizens, an independent media, and appropriate judicial and legislative checks and balances must be able to hold leaders accountable.

Meaningful steps toward making this vision a reality must be taken in 2018. It is imperative that concrete progress to combat corruption be made at the AU Heads of State Summit in July 2018. Vague or rhetorical promises to fight corruption will be insufficient to rebuild citizen trust in government and ensure that all Africans have equal opportunities to thrive.
We, the below signatories, call on the African Union and Members States to deliver an ambitious declaration at the 2018 July summit that includes concrete commiments to prevent further corruption, give credible anti-corruption bodies and law-enforcement agencies the arsenal needed to effectively combat corruption, and that ensure that citizens have the information necessary to restore confidence in government institutions.

We urge you to seize this opportunity to make progress in the fight against corruption. We stand ready to play an active and constructive role as you plan this important event.

Yours Sincerely,
Signatories - 157 NGOS from 37 Countries in Africa

[1]Afrobarometer, 2014/15 survey, http://afrobarometer.org/.
[2]The ONE Campaign, 2014, « Trillion Dollar Scandal, » https://s3.amazonaws.com/one.org/pdfs/Trillion_Dollar_Scandal_report_EN.pdf.

Africans are becoming more aware of the importance of Africa Day, as they are slowly taking an interest in continental affairs, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has said.

In an interview with News24, ISS senior researcher, Liesl Louw, said that more people, especially in countries such as Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, were now more concerned about various issues affecting the continent.

She said that Africa Day was becoming even more popular among young people, and as a result, governments were also now taking strong measures on issues affecting the youth.

"Over the past couple of years, Africa Day has become popular among ordinary people on the continent. It is becoming more popular among South Africans as well, although the xenophobic attacks in 2008 and in the subsequent years impended progress," said Louw.

Africa Day is observed annually on May 25. The day was set aside to commemorate the formation of the Organisation of the African Unity (OAU) - which is now known as the African Union (AU) - in 1963.

Louw said that although there was progress on many fronts, the continent was still struggling on issues to do with the economy and strong democratic institutions.

She said that fraud and corruption, in particular, hampered economic progress.

"We need to keep in mind that they are at least 55 countries that are represented at the African Union, and we must, therefore, understand that there is a constant battle taking place in Addis Ababa over some serious issues, especially those that have to do with democracy and change of term limits.

"Some leaders on the continent refuse to amend their constitutions to allow for democracy, therefore, the AU has to be led by consensus. The AU is not like the European Union which imposes its law on member countries," said Louw.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, remained in crisis after President Joseph Kabila began his machinations to keep himself in power.

The central African country has experienced a number of protests over the past two years, with the opposition demanding that Kabila step down.

Problematic countries

Kabila was supposed to have left office on December 19, 2016, but he still remained in office after it was agreed that the country's National Electoral Commission would not organise an election until later this year.

South Sudan also remained another of the problematic countries. After gaining its independence from neighbouring Sudan in 2011, the east African country was plunged into ethnic violence in December 2013 between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to his former vice president, Riek Machar.

A peace deal signed in August 2015 has failed, and clashes continue, killing tens of thousands of people and forcing millions to flee their homes.

In recent months, a number of other African countries that included Uganda, Burundi have changed their constitutions to allow their leaders to continue to rule.

"I think that the continental body has to be stronger and self-sufficient in order to enforce some of its decision across the board," said Louw.

"There are some really worrisome developments that are emerging on the continent and the AU finds itself unable to do anything about them, as it has to find consensus on its decisions."

Source: News24

opinion By Richard Munang

As we celebrate Africa Day 2018, let this be the start of accelerated progress to energise us to leverage the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement and beat hunger, malnutrition, youth unemployment, poverty and climate vulnerability.

Africa Day on 25 May 2018 is an opportunity to reinforce one of the most critical pillars of our continent; one of our roots as a people: continental unity. Envisioned by our founding fathers over half a decade ago, it was on this day in 1963 that the Organisation of African Unity, the forerunner to the AU, was founded. This was meant to be the embodiment of a united Africa, the vessel for delivering shared continental prosperity, achievable only through a united Africa.

Why "united"?

One of my favourite African proverbs proclaims: "Cross the river in a crowd, and the crocodile won't eat you." Today, the river to an economically inclusive and prosperous Africa is filled with fierce crocodiles: mothers burying their 5-year-old children for lack of food; more than 240 million people going to bed hungry; up to 12 million young people joining the labour market each year to compete for just 3 million jobs - and the number projected to reach over 350 million in less than 17 years, competing for far fewer jobs, a situation that some are describing as a ticking time bomb; our youth - the embodiment of Africa's sovereign capital, the tip of the spear, the change-makers of Africa socioeconomic transformation - currently wallowing in hopelessness and despair, risking all - life, limb and dignity - to cross the treacherous Mediterranean Sea in search of elusive greener pastures overseas. In the process, many are swallowed up by the Mediterranean. Others are held captive under inhumane conditions and sold in modern-day slave markets.

And then there is climate change - the elephant in the room - projected to shrink the economies of developing countries - most of which are in Africa - by a whopping 75%. And robbing the content of the little income it currently generates.

These crocodiles are fierce. The only way we can defeat them is by adopting a new paradigm; one premised on collectivism rather than individualism; on selflessness rather than selfishness; on commitment rather than treachery and disloyalty; on synergy and complementarity rather than silos; on leveraging human capital - the skills, talents, ongoing initiatives, passion, energy, commitment of our youth and the entire collective of our people - as the most critical ingredient of development, rather than putting money first. These are the essentials of what I call "innovative volunteerism".

On 21 March 2018, African heads of state and government demonstrated commitment and collectivism to sign the ground-breaking Africa Continental Free Trade Area. This agreement is set to consolidate a 1,2 billion-strong market with a combined GDP of over US$2,3 trillion. It is projected to increase intra-Africa trade, currently at a mere 12%, the lowest of all continents globally, by a whopping 52% by 2022 - taking it to 70%.

Rural farmers in Binga, northern Zimbabwe, welcome the AusAID Program team into their village. Photo:Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

This agreement puts at our disposal a 300 million-strong middle class representing a US$150 billion agro-market. Coupled with our abundant sunshine - free energy - this is fuel for the creation of clean energy-powered agro-value addition industries that can create up to 17 million diverse jobs - from agriculture, to ICT, finance, energy and transport/logistics, to name just a few. It can fuel the creation of a US$1 trillion agro-industrial sector on the continent in less than 12 years from today. It will totally vanquish the crocodiles of hunger, malnutrition, youth unemployment, poverty and climate vulnerability that are endlessly stalking the continent.

The agreement also contained a protocol on the free movement of people. The dream of an African passport - the epitome of our identity as Africans - is within reach.

But achieving this calls for a paradigm shift. A common excuse used to justify underdevelopment on the continent is that African countries are still "young nations"; "young civilizations". Truth is, age does not matter. What really matters is the mind-set of the people. As citizens of this planet, we must always know that our skills, commitment, talent, ongoing initiatives and sense of responsibility are our greatest resources with which to transform countries and continent - not only upfront financing. We must know that we have what it takes and that we must start with what we have - and not only depend on the benevolence of others. Failing to take leadership and responsibility can never be substituted. This mind-set change is urgently needed in Africa today.

It is a change from individualism to collectivism; from silos to complementarity and synergy; from treasuring money to pricing human capital. Where the skills, experiences, talents, plans and ongoing initiatives of diverse complementary stakeholders - state and non-state; individual and institutional - are engaged in mutual partnerships towards the common end-goal of sustainably industrialising our agriculture, using clean energy. Agriculture is Africa's catalytic area and the engine of development. This is a break from traditional approaches premised on upfront financing of silo development projects.

Thankfully, we are comforted by what we see happening across Africa, where, from the coastlines of west Africa to the highlands of east Africa to the savannahs of southern Africa and across all the regions of the continent, this mind-set change is gradually taking root. With it, transformative climate action is becoming visible. Many people are taking the initiative, demonstrating tangible leadership. They are doing it themselves through the inclusive policy framework called the Ecosystems Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA). They are doing it not because they have money but because of passion and a commitment to a cause bigger than themselves. This is a remarkable moment. We must not wish it away but build on this moment to drive truly great transformational climate action for ourselves and those yet to be born. Through EBAFOSA Innovative Volunteerism many are finding connections and common cause - across languages, cultures and borders. This is so because our destinies are all inextricably linked and there is more that unites us than divides us. We must join hands to drive transformational change for people and planet, because that is the only way we can ensure no one is left behind.

So, let Africa Day 2018 energise us to leverage the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement and beat the fierce crocodiles of hunger, malnutrition, youth unemployment, poverty and climate vulnerability.

As we celebrate Africa Day 2018, let this be the start of accelerated progress in building the shining city on the hill, which is the Africa we deserve. It starts with you. It starts with knowing what you can do with the skills, talents, ongoing initiatives and networks you have.

Dr Richard Munang is Africa Climate Change & Development Policy Expert. He tweets as @RichardMunang

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the institution with which he is affiliated.

By Kylie Kiunguyu

In a recent reception in Hamburg, Germany, Senator Dr Carsten Brosda addressed the atrocities Germany had inflicted on German South and West Africa, as well as those perpetrated by the City of Hamburg. "There is no doubt that the war of extermination in German South West Africa constituted a war crime and genocide."

On 6 April, Senator Brosda gave an address at the Senate Reception for the Herero and Nama Delegation of the Second Transnational Herero and Nama Congress. In his address the senator highlighted the atrocities committed by Germany in German South and West Africa and the steps the country is taking towards reconciliation and historically accurate remembrance.

He started by applauding August Bebel, a Social Democrat member of the Berlin Reichstag, who had the foresight to "anticipate the dreadful war crimes that German colonial forces would commit against the Herero and Nama in German South West Africa a few years later, from 1904 to 1908."

In a 1905 speech, Bebel also expressed solidarity with the Herero and Nama people when they rebelled against German colonial rule. "Every people and every tribe that feels its human rights to be oppressed to the utmost," said Bebel, "has the right to rebel and the right to revolt."

Senator Brosda went on to detail what Germany's stance is currently and moving forward:

 Recognition of the Herero and Nama peoples' struggle for freedom;

 Condemnation of the atrocities committed by German forces under the command of General Lothar von Trotha against your forebears;

 Plea for forgiveness;

 Joint pursuit of reconciliation and remembrance;

 Obligations regarding transitional justice, support and aid

The genocide that occurred under German colonial rule cost the lives of about 80% of the Herero and 50% of the Nama. A staggering 100 000+ people died, most left to die from dehydration and starvation by German troops. The survivors were dispossessed, interned in camps, abused, raped and subjected to heavy forced labour.

Herero Genocide Survivors photo credit Wikimedia Commons

"The consequences of the genocide are tangible and visible to this day. The descendants of the victims... are among the poorest of the poor... and where the descendants of the white German colonialists, settlers and soldiers still belong to the upper classes. The genocide is a trauma for society as a whole, one whose psychological, economic, social, cultural and political dimensions continue to have an effect 100 years later," Brosda said

Despite all this, the first recognition of German atrocities by Germany only happened in 2004 by Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul (SPD), the Development Minister at the time, during her visit to Namibia, then again in 2015, when the President of the Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, described the brutal suppression of the Herero and Nama resistance struggle once again as genocide.

Since then, a coalition treaty has been negotiated by the Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party to tackle the colonial past, the crimes of Nazi Germany and the injustices of the GDR Government. "From now on, the question of the colonial past is at the core of our democratic consensus. It is an invitation to join forces and to build up common ground for a better future!" Lammert stressed.

The City of Hamburg

Hamburg itself, in its role as a port, mercantile city and economic hub of European colonial expansion, has a research centre that studies "Hamburg's (post-) colonial legacy/Hamburg and (early) globalisation". The centre contributes to the historical research of the Herero and Nama genocide, thus informing the changes the city of Hamburg is making towards reconciliation and remembrance.

So far the city has made changes in science, museums (displays and repatriation efforts) and even to monuments.

The Reiterdenkmal (English: Equestrian Monument) in Windhoek was erected after the Genocide in 1912 to celebrate the victory and to remember the fallen Germans with no mention of the killed indigenous population. Photo credit Wikipedia

Alterations have been made to "Trotha House", a monument for German General Lothar von Trotha; who defeated the Ovaherero in the Battle of Waterberg and drove them into the desert of Omaheke, one of Namibia's 14 regions. Until now, Trotha has been a celebrated war hero.

A caption has been mounted on "Trotha House" that identifies the colonial troop commander as a war criminal. It reads: "Lothar von Trotha, a convinced supporter of a "race war" (... ) (conducted) an extermination campaign in German South West Africa against the Herero and Nama, including against women and children. His 'order to shoot' of 2 October 1904 legitimised the genocide (1904-08). As a result, tens of thousands died in the desert, in battles, in massacres or in the concentration camps. Since 2015, the Federal Government has also designated this genocide."

Senator Brosda finished his address by saying, "We cannot undo what has been done. But we can achieve reconciliation through shared grief and shared remembrance. As Achille Mbembe writes, "To create this world common to us all, we have to give back to those who in times gone by have experienced a process of abstraction and objectification of that portion of humanity which has been taken from them."

"We will contribute actively to achieving the vision of the African Union of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena," the senator concluded.

Photo: SA Presidency

President Ramaphosa flanked by the flags of the African Union and South Africa.

analysis By Peter Fabricius

If Africa is to accelerate its economic growth rapidly enough to absorb its huge unemployed pool and reduce poverty, it will first have to abandon two comforting myths.

First, that it can leapfrog the manufacturing stage of economic development that all other successful parts of the world have gone through, and largely rely on growth in the services sector. Second, that the continent's fast-growing population is an advantage over the rest of the world.

Jakkie Cilliers, head of African Futures and Innovation at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria, dashes these false hopes in two new reports that were debated at a seminar at the ISS this week.

Made in Africa argues that sub-Saharan Africa will have to follow the tried-and-tested route of evolving a significant manufacturing capacity if it is to accelerate economic growth. Cilliers noted that 'it's Economics 101 that countries evolve their economies by progressing from agriculture to manufacturing to services'.

However Africa is following a different trajectory, bypassing manufacturing by going straight from agriculture to services. Cilliers warns that this is a false detour that doesn't address Africa's economic problems and may in fact be exacerbating them.

In the report he says that sub-Saharan African economies are shifting from low-productivity agriculture to only slightly more productive employment in services, mostly informal retail and wholesale trade. The productivity of these new services workers is low, Cilliers writes. And the shift may even be reducing growth because the informal services sector is absorbing so many workers from other, more productive sectors.

Leapfrogging does present an opportunity for Africa, Cilliers says. But only to the extent that the Fourth Industrial Revolution - 'the fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres' as the World Economic Forum defines it - may allow Africa to bypass some of the associated infrastructure needs such as electricity supply.

Kenya, for example, is leapfrogging the need for an expensive national electricity grid fed by large power stations by opting for decentralising electricity through 'mini-grids' that largely rely on renewable energy.

But manufacturing itself, as a necessary stage of economic development, cannot be bypassed because of its importance in transforming African economies to achieve greater productivity. Cilliers even suggests that the traditional economic development path from agriculture through manufacturing to services should be amended to put manufacturing first because 'beyond a basic, subsistence level of development, industrialisation determines agricultural efficiency and expansion and even the development of high-value services'.

'The knowledge spillover from manufacturing eventually makes it profitable to invest in more productive agricultural machinery and systems. Growth in manufacturing thereby increases wages and productivity in the agricultural sector.'

Cilliers likewise also turns on its head the popular notion of beneficiating Africa's natural resources as a means to kick-start a manufacturing sector. 'Initial industrial development facilitates value addition to raw materials rather than the other way around,' he says.

He of course fully acknowledges that developing the manufacturing sector will by no means be easy for African countries. Some believe it will be impossible because Africa lacks the necessary infrastructure and skills. But Cilliers dismissed these as excuses, noting that the Asian tigers also lacked these when they began their spectacular manufacturing booms from the 1960s onwards.

It would take immense effort to create a viable manufacturing sector, but it could be done, mainly through the guidance of committed governments employing a range of policies such as special economic zones and appropriate incentives.

An aggressive 'Made in Africa' strategy by sub-Saharan African governments would boost average annual per capita incomes of low- and middle-income countries by 44% above those likely to be achieved if they remained on their current economic pathway by 2040. For upper-middle-income countries the boost would be slightly less, 39% above the current business-as-usual trajectory.

Cilliers was also sceptical about another popular notion - that Africa's booming population, expected to double by 2050 from its current 1.26 billion to 2.56 billion - necessarily offers the continent a 'demographic dividend'. Certainly many countries are eyeing Africa as the consumer market of the future because of its mushrooming population.

But the second draft report Cilliers presented this week, Getting to Africa's demographic dividend, explains that the notion of a 'demographic dividend' is not just about large numbers and needs to be qualified quite severely.

Simplifying the complex calculations in this report, the demographic dividend (or the 'demographic window of opportunity') may be said to open for a country when its median age is between 25.5 and 41 years. In very youthful sub-Saharan Africa the median age, however, is only 18. Only Mauritius, Seychelles, South Africa, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and Algeria have median population ages above 25.5, the report notes.

The result of these demographics is that most African countries can't benefit from the continent's booming population because they have 'too few persons of working age compared to its many children to rapidly increase incomes'.

The report also points out that typical fertility rates for countries that enter the demographic window of opportunity are 2.8 children per woman or less. The rate for sub-Saharan Africa is now 4.8 children per woman, likely reaching 2.8 only in 2052. This means on current trends, Africa as a whole is more than three decades away from entering the demographic window of opportunity.

Cilliers notes that increasing female education is widely considered the most important way of diminishing fertility rates. But this will take too long for Africa and so he advocates additional measures through which the continent can accelerate its transition to lower birth rates. Access to modern forms of contraception and provision of basic healthcare must be increased, he says - although evidence shows that less educated women are less likely to practice contraception.

And even when African countries do enter the demographic window of opportunity, they will require aggressive investments in education, skills, infrastructure and the sort of structural economic transformation spelt out in the Made in Africa report. This will ensure those large work forces make a significant dent in unemployment and poverty.

'The rapid growth of Africa's population presents more risks than opportunities in the short, medium and even longer term,' he concludes, pointing mainly to the danger of social unrest posed by large numbers of restless, unemployed youth.

Taken together, the two reports present a sobering picture of Africa's economic prospects. Sobering doesn't necessarily equal disastrous. But it does mean that African countries and particularly governments can't afford to sit back and hope that either global economic trends or demographics will determine the continent's future. They will have to very aggressively tackle those problems themselves.

Peter Fabricius, ISS Consultant

Photo: SA Presidency

President Ramaphosa flanked by the flags of the African Union and South Africa.

analysis By Liesl Louw-Vaudran

Africa Day is celebrated across the continent with cultural festivals, conferences and actions to combat xenophobia. The day commemorates the founding, on 25 May 1963, of the Organisation of African Unity, the forerunner of the African Union (AU).

For some, Africa Day is also a time for hard questions: Is a continental organisation like the AU still relevant for Africa, or could development and peacemaking be more effectively handled bilaterally or by regional bodies?

Clearly, the AU is serving a huge continent - it has 55 member states - with very diverse cultures and histories. Yet over the past few decades, pan-African ideals have held sway and the AU is not suffering from centrifugal forces that have lost faith in the organisation and threatened to withdraw.

Brexit and the breakaway by the United States from global agreements such as those on climate change have set a trend that has tarnished the reputation of cross-border cooperation and multilateralism. In this regard, Africa is the counter-example. In fact, a new member, Morocco, joined the organisation last year, indicating the AU's relevance.

The signing of various regional trade agreements, as well as the agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on 21 March this year in Kigali, are examples of this cooperation. Naturally AfCFTA won't be established overnight. Vera Songwe, executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, said this week that countries had up to 13 years to put policies in place to make AfCFTA a reality.

In January African countries also signed an agreement on a single air transport market as well as a protocol on the free movement of people. Both will potentially have major advantages for economic growth on the continent.

These are important achievements. But they come at a time when the AU faces major divisions and uncertainty about how reforms of the institution should be implemented. Next month's AU summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania, will be a test for the implementation of the reforms - spearheaded by Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

Two years after the launch of the AU reforms, the process is still in the starting blocks. There are notable divisions between member states and regions about the reforms, which deal with narrowing the priorities of the AU, streamlining the AU Commission and ensuring its independence from outside donors.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC), for one, believes that several of the proposals are not in line with the AU's Constitutive Act. Some for example say that reducing the powers of the Permanent Representatives Committee (ambassadors) in Addis Ababa in relation to the AU Commission will impact on the nature of the AU as a member state-driven organisation.

South Africa's International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu did however announce in March that SADC will send three representatives (from Namibia, South Africa and Angola) to be part of a 15-member team to help with the reforms. The regionally based support structure was a suggestion by SADC that the AU took on board at its January summit. Kagame is scheduled to present a report on the reforms at the Nouakchott summit from 25 June to 2 July.

Funding is another perennial sticking point. While African leaders all agree the AU should be self-funded - a mantra heard repeatedly at the AU and big continental meetings - there are strong divisions over how to achieve this.

AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat told delegates at the recent Tana Forum in Ethiopia that 20 countries had already started implementing the proposed 0.2% levy on imports to finance the AU. This is not nearly enough, given that implementation of the levy by member states was set for the beginning of 2017.

Major contributors to the AU budget of roughly $800 million annually, such as South Africa, are opting out of the levy. Pretoria argues that it pays its assessed contributions of 9.6% of the total AU budget straight from its Treasury and hasn't defaulted, as is the case with over 30 other AU member states. Currently more than 70% of the total AU budget (including operations, programmes and peace support operations) is funded by international donors.

Another question facing the AU is whether institutions created by the organisation's founding fathers in 2002 need a second chance to show their usefulness to the continent. Rumours were rife at the AU summit in January that the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Agency would be turned into an AU development agency.

However NEPAD Agency chief executive officer Dr Ibrahim Mayaki told the Institute for Security Studies' PSC Report that no decision was made to restructure NEPAD. In fact, NEPAD will be more robust in helping countries with continental initiatives than before, he said. A final decision is scheduled to be taken at the upcoming Nouakchott summit.

The Pan-African Parliament (PAP), another brainchild of AU founders, notably former presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria, has also recently come under scrutiny.

Outspoken members of South Africa's Parliament like Economic Freedom Fighters' leader Julius Malema joined PAP at its current sitting earlier this month. The provocative Malema spoke out against the alleged corruption of the institution, including its president, Cameroonian Roger Nkodo Dang.

More than 10 years since it was set up, PAP still has no legislative powers. This raises questions about its viability and whether it plays any significant role in promoting democracy and good governance in Africa.

It is worth remembering that decision making in the AU cannot be enforced in the same way as the European Union (EU), for example. The European Parliament does have the power to legislate on certain issues. The fact that PAP doesn't have legislative powers is due to the nature of the AU, where member states have not ceded any sovereignty to the organisation.

Finally, AU efforts to end conflicts in Africa - an area where it has made significant impact - is under strain due to the decline in funding from institutions such as the EU for the flagship AU peace mission in Somalia. The creation of an AU Peace Fund that will ensure African countries provide at least 25% of the budget for African peacekeeping is therefore a welcome development.

Clearly the organisation based in Addis Ababa has come a long way. Africa Day is a good occasion to reflect on how the AU can achieve its goal of supporting peace and development. At the Nouakchott summit, African leaders can show their ability to overcome internal squabbles and make the AU more relevant to the continent's citizens.

Liesl Louw-Vaudran, ISS Consultant

Maputo — Siluvo (Mozambique), 25 May (AIM) - Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Thursday appealed for calm in the current phase of the government's dialogue with the main opposition party, the rebel movement Renamo, in order to secure a definitive peace.

Speaking at a rally in the Siluvo locality, in Nhamatanda district, during his working visit to the central province of Sofala, Nyusi warned against any "opportunism", and urged Mozambicans to trust those who are at the head of the negotiations.

"One of the things that enabled us to make advances was belief in the people heading the process, belief in our leadership", he said. "Those who don't believe are going to ruin the structure".

He said that one of the keys to success in his talks with the late leader of Renamo, Afonso Dhlakama, was that they had agreed not to make any precipitate statements.

"I believed in Dhlakama, and he believed in me", said Nyusi. "We reached a conclusion that we should not say anything until we had reached a conclusion, in order not to feed expectations".

Following Dhlakama's unexpected death on 3 May, the same approach would be continued with the new Renamo leadership. That new leadership "believes in me, and I believe in them", said Nyusi.

Any consensus achieved in this stage would also be the result of the attitude taken by the new Renamo leadership, which is coordinated by Ossufo Momade, a former general secretary of the party.

Nyusi promised that he will shortly speak to the nation in detail about the dialogue - but in the meantime he asked Mozambican to keep calm.

The matters now under discussion are potentially very sensitive - they are the demilitarisation of Renamo, disarming its militia, and integrating its members into the defence and security forces or into civilian life.

"Dont block the system", he urged his listeners. "We are almost at the close. The Renamo soldiers exist. They know me and I know them".

He stressed that he was not interested in seizing the limelight - "I just want the people to live in peace", he declared.

Inclusive talks remain the only way to find a lasting solution to the political, socio-economic and humanitarian crisis that has engulfed Burundi since 2015, the United Nations envoy for the African Great Lakes country said on Thursday.

Briefing the Security Council a week after the country voted in favour of a new constitution, Michel Kafando, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Burundi said that voting has passed off with relative calm but that some irregularities had been reported by civil society groups and opposition.

Burundi's election commission also reported some incidents at the polls but, in the commission's view, these were not likely to influence the final result, added Mr. Kafando.

The crisis began in April 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza began his campaign for a disputed third-term in office, triggering protests and a failed coup attempt.

As Burundi now enters an important phase in its history, an inclusive dialogue, which also includes regional actors, is vital to overcome the obstacles in a climate of mutual trust, said the UN envoy.

The absence of such reconciliation talks could further polarize an already tense political situation, warned Mr. Kafando.

The Special Envoy also told the 15-member Security Council that while the security situation in Burundi is largely calm, isolated incidents of violence remain a cause for concern, calling on the Government to continue its efforts to improve security for ordinary citizens.

He also urged the Burundian authorities to resume cooperation with the commission of inquiry established by the Human Rights Council as well as with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

press release

The U.S. Embassy has been alerted to reports of scams, where unsuspecting residents are offered access to the Embassy compound for visa interviews, or to visit American Spaces. The Embassy wishes to reiterate that no such fees are required.

The Embassy's American Spaces Program offers free public access to facilities that include state of the art technology, research materials, space for public engagement, and opportunities to experience American Culture. There are locations in Bahir Dar, Dire Dawa, Jimma, and Addis Ababa at the National Archive and Library Agency as well as the U.S. Embassy itself. There are no fees to enter these spaces or use their services.

For Consular Services, such as visa interviews, the only fees are those that are published on travel.state.gov, which cover the cost of the application process. There are no additional fees to enter the Embassy compound for an appointment. Official fees for consular services may only be paid at Bank of Abyssinia locations or directly at the cashier window within the Consular Section.

The Embassy is investigating these claims and reminds all Ethiopians to communicate directly with the Embassy if anyone request fees to facilitate Embassy services. Up to date information about U.S. Embassy services is available directly through the official Embassy website at et.usembassy.gov.

The Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners have released updated immediate humanitarian funding priorities, highlighting the most critical gaps in the Ethiopia Humanitarian and Disaster Resilience Plan (HDRP). The priorities have been established through a consultative review with Government Line Ministries, key UN and NGO partners; US$280.4 million urgently required to ensure response for the coming six months, according to a statement released by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

"Through this exercise we have particularly focused on the need to further scale up response to over I million people displaced as result of conflict in the last 12 months. The Government of Ethiopia has shown commendable leadership in seeking durable solutions for this group, including already relocating several thousand people, however the need for an expanded response in current places of displacement remains high.' Says the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie.

The prioritized interventions include support to Government to deliver emergency health and nutrition services, expand water and sanitation facilities, improve access to education, and ensure improvements in basic living conditions. 'We are counting on continued donor generosity to meet the urgent humanitarian challenges facing IDPs and millions of Ethiopians yet to recover from two years of back to back drought,' says Ms. Eziakonwa-Onochie.

Overall, the Ethiopia Humanitarian and Disaster Resilience Plan (HDRP) for 2018 seeks US$1.66 billion to address the residual effects of two years of back-to-back drought, as well as to address flooding and conflict-related displacements. The HDRP targets 7.88 million people with emergency food/cash and non-food assistance, and is currently 34 per cent funded, including $182 million from Government, $165 million of confirmed funding from donors, with further indicative pledges of $189 million.

The HDRP is presented around a three-pillared framework primarily highlighting immediate humanitarian plans and requirements, along with actions that will enable the current response, and reduce humanitarian requirements over the course of 2018 and for years to come.

"The Government of Ethiopia is now taking concrete steps to implement a disaster risk management (DRM) approach to address recurrent humanitarian needs across the country. While we strive to move in that direction, today, we still need the support of our international partners to reach millions of drought-affected people, and those recently displaced by conflict and flooding," said Mitiku Kassa, Commissioner of the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC). AS

press release

A review of the size and shape of the National Executive and government departments has begun, in line with President Cyril Ramaphosa's undertaking in the February 2018 State of the Nation Address that the configuration, number and size of national government departments would be reassessed.

President Ramaphosa said in the State of the Nation Address that growth, development and transformation depended on a strong and capable state. Furthermore, the President said it was critical that the structure and size of the state was optimally suited to meet the needs of the people and ensure the most efficient allocation of public resources.

President Ramaphosa has provided further details on the review process in a written reply to a parliamentary question submitted by the Democratic Alliance.

In his reply, the President says previous and current configurations of the administration is still in progress, with the view to establishing the synergy between the Constitution and legislation on one hand and the national macro-organisation of the national government, on the other.

The full by the President is as follows:

National Assembly Question for Written Reply

1424. Mr D J Maynier (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:

Whether, with reference to his undertaking in his State of the Nation Address on 16 February 2018 in the National Assembly, a process to review the (a) configuration, (b) number and (c) size of national Government departments has been initiated; if not, in each case, why not; if so, (i) who is responsible for the review, (ii) what is the name of the lead department carrying out the review, (iii) what progress has been made with the review and (iv) by what date will the review be completed in each case? NW1526E

Reply

(a) - (c) Yes, the process of reviewing the size and shape of the National Executive and government departments has begun.

(i) A Technical Task Team of officials from the following departments is currently reviewing the configuration of the national government: The Presidency; the Department of Public Service and Administration; the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation; the National Treasury; and the Department of Cooperative Governance.

(ii) The Presidency is the lead department.

(iii) A review of previous and current configurations is still in progress, with the view to establishing the synergy between the Constitution and legislation on one hand and the national macro-organisation of the national government, on the other. A preliminary analysis has been concluded.

(iv) The review will be concluded after due political consultations, in time for implementation in the sixth administration.

Issued by: The Presidency

analysis

Accra, Ghana — Popular support for a free news media has declined significantly in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania - three countries currently making headlines for government attempts to limit press freedom.

Recent Afrobarometer surveys show that the proportion of respondents who say the government "should have the right to prevent the media from publishing things that it considers harmful to society" has risen sharply in Tanzania and Uganda, and more modestly in Kenya, over the past five years. At the same time, fewer citizens say they feel free to express their opinions.

Based on data collected in 2016/2017, these trends predate some of the latest government efforts to limit the flow of information in these East African countries. Media-freedom activists have expressed grave concerns about a series of recent government moves, including:

  • A law in Kenya that makes it a crime to publish information deemed false or misleading. Even before the new cybercrimes law, authorities had attacked journalists and shut down broadcast stations, and in March, eight columnists resigned from Kenya's largest media group in protest against self-censorship by media owners and government infringements on media freedom.
  • The Tanzanian government's continued attack on free expression, including the suspension of media outlets, prosecution of journalists, restrictions on peaceful protests, and a proposed new law that would charge bloggers a hefty fee for a license and give the government the power to revoke licenses for disagreeable content.
  • A proposed new tax on social-media use in Uganda, where the government shut down social media during the 2016 presidential election. Critics say the tax would limit citizens' ability to share information and ideas.

Key findings

-- In all three countries, the proportion of citizens who say the media "should have the right to publish any views and ideas without government control" has declined significantly since Afrobarometer's 2011/2012 surveys:

o In Tanzania, from 73% to a minority of 40%

o In Uganda, from 80% to 59%

o In Kenya, from 59% to 50%

-- In all three countries, support for media freedom is stronger, by 10-15 percentage points, among respondents who feel close to an opposition party than among those who feel close to the ruling party or to no party. Differences by respondents' education levels show no clear pattern.

-- Citizens are divided in their views on whether the media's freedom increased or decreased during the years preceding the 2016/2017 surveys.

-- Compared to Afrobarometer surveys in 2014/2015, fewer respondents say they feel "somewhat free" or "completely free" to say what they think:

o In Tanzania, from 96% to 82%

o In Uganda, from 87% to 80%

o In Kenya, from 82% to 77%

Afrobarometer

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions, and related issues in Africa. Six rounds of surveys were conducted in up to 37 Africans countries between 1999 and 2015, and Round 7 surveys (2016/2018) are currently underway.

Afrobarometer teams conducted face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent's choice with nationally representative samples in Kenya (September-October 2016), Uganda (December 2016-January 2017), and Tanzania (May 2017). Sampling margins of error are +/-2% in Kenya and +/-3% in Uganda and Tanzania.

For more details, see www.afrobarometer.org.

press release

Pretoria — A Hawks investigation has been launched into an alleged investment fraud involving Bitcaw Trading Company, commonly known as BTC Global, after more than 28 000 investors are believed to suffered losses exceeding R1 billion and still counting.

The Serious Economic Offences Unit has been tasked to investigate the massive alleged fraud. Members of the public are believed to have been targeted as part of the scam and encouraged by of BTC Global agents to invest with promises of 2% interest per day, 14% per week and ultimately 50% per month.

Payments were allegedly made every Monday. Some of the investors got paid in terms of the agreement. However, the payments suddenly stopped.

The Acting National Head of the DPCI Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata has encouraged members of the public who have invested in this scheme to come forward.

"This may prove to be the tip of the iceberg with potentially thousands more yet to discover they've lost money. These is a timely reminder that unregulated, unusual investments at home or abroad come with a high risk that people could lose all their hard-earned pension and other saving

"Despite the setback we want to assure the affected individuals that we are investigating the matter but due to the large volumes, it will take time to conclude," said Lieutenant General Matakata.

Photo: SA Presidency

President Ramaphosa flanked by the flags of the African Union and South Africa.

press release

Johannesburg — Africa has a higher percentage of companies affected by fraud, theft, money laundering or other financial crimes than the global average, according to one of the most comprehensive surveys of international business to date.

Thomson Reuters commissioned the survey of more than 2,300 senior business leaders in large companies to shine a light on how pervasive such crimes have become across the world.

The report, Revealing the True Cost of Financial Crime, shows that 53% of people questioned in Africa, and 47% of respondents globally, admitted that their organisation had suffered at least one incident of financial crime over the past 12 months, with cybercrime and fraud cited as the most common financial crimes. The companies surveyed estimated a total aggregated loss of $1.45 trillion, or around 3.5% of their global turnover.

The difficulty of tackling financial crime is starkly set out in the survey. Thomson Reuters found that many organisations questioned do business with more than five million customers or clients every year, and 9% of organisations have dealt with over 10,000 third party vendors, suppliers or partners over the last 12 months. According to the report, however, only 36% of relationships are regularly screened for criminal connections. Indeed, the survey suggests that 41% of parties that respondents did business with over the past 12 months were not screened at all.

Furthermore, an astonishing 41% of known instances of financial crime are not reported, either internally or externally. The reasons behind this include a high rate (69% ) of detected bribery & corruption involving someone internally. Companies are also reticent to report due to reputational damage and financial loss - 60% of the publicly listed companies surveyed stated there would be a significant negative impact on investor confidence if such crimes came to light.

The report reveals the scale of the challenges society faces in fighting financial crime, with its impact felt well beyond large companies. Taking money laundering as an example, 46% of respondents think that it leads to higher prices for consumers and 42% believe it leads to lower government revenues. That money in Africa and other emerging markets can be used to address critical social needs like education and healthcare. For example, $1billion can fund 327,000 additional primary and secondary school students in Mexico and the creation of 2,000 new schools in India.

The human cost of financial crime is also significant. The Global Slavery Index, produced by the Walk Free Foundation and International Labour Organisation, estimates that over 40 million people today are in modern slavery, including forced labour, and many countries in Africa are impacted by this. The links between financial crime, economic cost and human cost are significant. In the EU, a recent survey put the economic cost of slavery/human trafficking at €30 billion. Given the EU's representation of approximately 20% of the global economy, and the similar prevalence of financial crime in other areas, this puts the global cost of modern slavery alone at €150 billion.

Almost all those surveyed globally and in Africa, recognized that greater collaboration is vital to winning the war against financial crime, with 94% of companies believing there should be more sharing of financial crime intelligence, while 93% said that public-private partnerships should be increased and improved.

At Davos this year, the World Economic Forum, Thomson Reuters and Europol launched a coalition to improve awareness of the extent of financial crime, promote more effective information sharing and establish enhanced processes to share best practice. Further information on this coalition is available here.

Sneha Shah, Managing Director for Africa at Thomson Reuters said: " Financial crime causes incalculable harm around the world. The proceeds of bribery, corruption, fraud, narcotics trafficking and other organized crime have all been implicated in the financing of terrorism, human rights abuses such as slavery and child labor, and environmental crime. This has serious economic and social costs in terms of the lost revenues to national exchequers that could be invested in social development, and in terms of the impact on individual lives.

"Thomson Reuters is committed to uncovering the true scale of the challenge, working together with other companies, governments, and law enforcement agencies to create awareness of the scale of the problem. By gathering better data & intelligence and forming coalitions, we will increase our ability to effectively fight financial crime across the world."

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By Lisa Bryant

French President Emmanuel Macron says his country will invest $76 million in African startups, saying innovation on the continent is key to meeting challenges ranging from climate change to terrorism. He spoke Thursday at a technology fair in Paris showcasing African talent this year.

It is hard to miss the African section of Viva Tech. There are gigantic signs pointing to stands from South Africa, Morocco and Rwanda. And there are lots of African entrepreneurs.

Omar Cisse heads a Senegalese startup called InTouch, which has developed an app making it easier to conduct financial transactions by mobile phone.

“Globally, you have more than $1 billion per day of transactions on mobile money, and more than 50 percent are done in sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.

Cisse says the challenges for African startups are tremendous, but so are the opportunities.

“In Africa, you have very huge potential. Everything needs to be done now, and with local people who know the realities,” he said.

Like Cisse, Cameroonian engineer Alain Nteff is breaking new ground. He and a doctor co-founded a startup called Gifted Mom, which provides health information to pregnant and nursing women via text messaging.

“I think the biggest problems today in Africa are going to be solved by business, and not by development and nonprofits,” he said.

Nteff gets some support from the United Nations and other big donors. But funding is a challenge for many. African startups reportedly raised $560 million last year, compared with more than $22 billion raised by European ventures.

Now they are getting a $76 million windfall, announced by President Emmanuel Macron here at the tech fair.

“When the startups decide to work together to deploy ad accelerate equipment in Africa, it is good for the whole continent, because that is how to accelerate everything and provide opportunities — which by the way, is the best way to fight against terrorism, jihadism ... to provide another model to these young people,” he said.

The funding comes from the Digital Africa Initiative, run by France’s AFD development agency (Agence Francaise de Developpement).

“I think the main challenge is access to funding, and the second is the coaching to grow. AFD wants them to find solutions,” said Jean-Marc Kadjo, who heads the project team.

There are plenty of exciting projects here. Reine Imanishimwe is a wood innovator from Rwanda.

“I try to use my wood in high technology. As you can see, my business card is wood, but I print it using a computer,” said Imanishimwe.

Abdou Salam Nizeyimana is also from Rwanda. He works for Zipline, an American startup that uses drones to fly blood to people and hospitals in Rwanda, cutting delivery times from hours to minutes.

“Now doctors can plan surgery right away and just say, ‘We need this type of blood,’ " and it can be delivered in about a half hour or less, he said.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame toured the tech fair with Macron. Relations between Rwanda and France are warming, after years of tension over Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.

Entrepreneur Nizeyimana is happy about that. When politics are good, he says, it is good for technology transfer and Africa’s development.

By Alawi Masare

Dodoma — The government said on Friday that it has concluded two preliminary studies to connect electricity to Mafia island in the Indian Ocean through submarine cable and generate 7 megawatts through solar, thermal and wind sources.

Deputy Minister for Energy Ms Subira Mgalu told the National Assembly that the hybrid power was cheaper than other sources.

"The hybrid sources will add 7MW. The project will start in June this year and will complete in seven months. The French Development Bank (AFD) has shown interest to sponsor it," she said.

Currently, Mafia has only 3.8MW supply of electricity with 2.18MW being owned by the national power utility, Tanesco and 1.5MW owned by a private company, Ng'ombeni.

Ms Mgalu was responding to a question asked by Mr Baraka Dau (Mafia-CCM) who wanted to know when the government would connect the island with power from Nyamisati in the coast through submarine cables.

By Alawi Masare

Dodoma — The government said on Friday that state organs are still investigating people involved in exporting dirty cashew.

Deputy Minister for Agriculture Ms Mary Mwanjelwa told the Parliament that some suspects were already arrested in connection with the case.

"In the interest of investigations, the government will issue a statement when the matter is ready," she said.

Ms Mwanjelwa was responding to a question asked by Ms Hawa Ghasia (Mtwara Rural -CCM) who wanted to know what measures the government had taken following the incident reported earlier this year.

It was reported that a consignment of 172 containers exported to Vietnam contained some 78 sacks mixed with a substantial amount of aggregates and stones.

Ms Ghasia said the investigations have taken too long even though suspects such as those at the port who allowed dirty cashew to go through their scanners were easy to arrest.

"Because dirty cashew nuts were allowed through the port of Dar es Salaam and not Mtwara, I propose the cashew from Lindi and Mtwara to be exported through Mtwara port," she said.

However Ms Mwanjelwa responded that some businessmen prefer the Dar port since the big city has more business opportunities. "They come with a consignment, and leave with a consignment," she said.

By Tinashe Kairiza

The Zimbabwean government has bowed to Chinese pressure and will restore Anjin Investment's operating licence after finalisation of the new diamond policy, nearly three years after the entity was stopped from mining in Chiadzwa, the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.

Last week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa hinted that government would consider roping in new players in Chiadzwa after finalisation of a national diamond policy.

He said the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) lacked capacity to fully exploit the mineral.

ZCDC was formed in the wake of government's decision to cancel mining rights held by companies operating in Chiadzwa.

Subsequently, mineral concessions for most companies in Marange were amalgamated under ZCDC.

Anjin Investments, whose shareholders include Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company Ltd of China (Afecc) and Matt Bronze -- an investment vehicle controlled by Zimbabwe's military -- was suspended from mining diamonds in Chiadzwa in 2016 for allegedly failing to remit taxes, but resisted the merger.

Mbada Diamonds also resisted it.

Government had also terminated the operating licences of six other companies which were extracting gems in the area.

However, Anjin has maintained its presence in Chiadzwa though without operations after it filed an application at the Constitutional Court challenging government's decision to terminate its mining rights.

Sources say Harare has buckled down to pressure to restore Anjin's licence following Mnangagwa's visit to China in April where President Xi Jinping expressed dismay at how Zimbabwe was treating Chinese investors.

China, sources said, was also incensed by a damning report released by Harare which indicated that Chinese firms were top on the list of investors who were illicitly externalising foreign currency from Zimbabwe.

"Basically, government is in a rethink mode and there is consideration to restore Anjin's mining rights.

There is admission on the part of government that it erred when it suspended Anjin from mining diamonds in Chiadzwa," one official said.

"As a result, the recent pronouncement by President Mnangagwa that government is reviewing the diamond policy is a strategy to correct the mistakes that former mines minister (Walter) Chidhakwa made when he kicked out Anjin and the other firms operating in Chiadzwa."

The official said the restoration of Anjin's operating licence would also send positive signals to foreign investors that the new administration respects property rights, at a time government is saying Zimbabwe is "open for business."

Afecc, sources added, was also unhappy about Harare's decision to suspend its mining rights in Chiadzwa, given the huge capital injection it had poured into the project, estimated at US$225 million.

The bulk of the capital expenditure was channelled towards setting up a diamond conglomerate plant as well as relocating thousands of families living in the Chiadzwa diamond fields to Arda Transau.

The decision by Mnangagwa's administration to restore Anjin's mining rights follows an investigation government recently launched into how the mining firm was looted and stripped of assets potentially worth millions of dollars during the time it has not been operating.

The company is also conducting an independent investigation to determine the full extent of the financial prejudice it could have suffered as a result of the asset-stripping and looting.

As a result of the abrupt termination of mining operations, Anjin has since laid off part of its workforce to rein in an unsustainable wage bill which is being footed by revenue generated from its subsidiary, the Golden Peacock Hotel in Mutare.

The miner had a staff compliment of close to 2 000 employees when it was still operating, but the figure dropped to about 400 when operations were suspended, an 80% cut in its workforce.

In Zimbabwe, Anjin's investment portfolio includes the three-star Golden Peacock Hotel in Mutare, while it also has interest in Harare's Long Cheng Plaza mall through Afecc.

After suspending operations, Anjin was directed to surrender its diamond stockpile which was auctioned by the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe.

Subsequently, the miner received its share of earnings after government had deducted taxes.

The envisaged diamond policy is expected to plug mineral leakages, which have significantly prejudiced the country of significant revenue, among other key priority areas.

During his last years in power, former president Robert Mugabe claimed that Zimbabwe could have been prejudiced at least US$15 billion in revenue through diamond leakages, although he told the Zimbabwe Independent in an interview in March that he had plucked this figure out of the air.

Other companies which operated in Chiadzwa included Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Diamond Mining Company, Kusena, Gye Nyame, and DTZ Ozgeo

By Benard Rotich

Kenya Defence Forces men's and Kenya Commercial Bank women's will be seeking to extend their dominance of the Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) National League when its fourth leg is held in Eldoret on Friday.

KDF and KCB enjoying top form and sit pretty at the summits of their respective league tables with 12 and eight points respectively.

The Eldoret leg will be held at Eldoret Polytechnic.

GSU, lying sixth on the ranking table with three points, will continue with their men's title defence title against debutants Bungoma County while KDF will wage battle against Administration Police and their compatriots Kahawa Garrison.

Second placed Equity Bank will start their campaign against Prisons Mombasa from 9am before taking on AP Kenya at 11am .

The much anticipated game of the day will no doubt be the women's clash between Kenya Prisons and KDF. The face off between Kenya Prison against KCB also looks alluring.

Following their exploits at the Africa Zone Five Championships, Prison Kenya will open their campaign against table leaders KCB at 9am before winding their day's programme against their perennial rivals KDF.

Volleyball tournament

The same venue will host the 12th edition of The Africa Merchant Assurance Company International Volleyball Tournament over two days.

The event has attracted more than 50 teams including defending champions GSU and Kenya Pipeline.

Other high profile teams from Kenya include Kenya Prisons, Kenya forestry, Kenya Police, KDF, KCB, Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Pipeline.

Several teams from east Africa are also represented. Winners will walk away with a Sh600,000 in prize money.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) acting CEO Thabang Moroe wants to see the country's women and men cricketers treated equally, and that means that they must be paid the same.

That is the hope and one of the key discussions taking place between CSA and the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) as they seek to sign off on a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by June 30 at the latest.

A new MOU was due to be agreed on by the start of this month, but negotiations between CSA and SACA had not begun in time and they ultimately missed the deadline.

The new MoU will seek to establish a financial model that ensures that South Africa's cricket players are looked after financially, and Moroe is rallying for the Proteas women's side, specifically, to benefit.

"The changes in the financial model are not aimed at taking away from players," he told Sport24 .

"The financial model is actually aimed at getting together the few bits and pieces that will help CSA cater for the semi-professional cricketers as well as the Protea ladies.

"It's high time that CSA puts its money where its mouth is. We've been saying that we want to look after our women cricketers and get them to a place where they are treated the same as the men's professional cricketers."

Talks between CSA and SACA got underway at the beginning of this week and, according to Moroe, negotiations are on track to meet the June 30 deadline.

"The discussions are pretty well advanced," Moroe said.

"We've moved much quicker than both parties expected.

"We sat the whole day yesterday (Tuesday) negotiating on the financial model. We said what we weren't happy about, Tony (Irish, SACA CEO) and his team told us what they were not happy about, but at the end of the day we all shook hands and appreciated each other's time and effort."

Moroe added that the June 30 deadline was a worst-case scenario, and that if possible the new MOU would be agreed on before then.

Source: Sport24

Southern Africa's national teams converge on Polokwane in the north of South Africa for the next fortnight to decide the identity of this year's southern African championship as 14 countries battle it out for the Cosafa Cup.

The regional championship has long been regarded as the biggest event of its kind in world football and is again expected to be a tightly contested affair. Zimbabwe, who came through a gruelling schedule to win last year's competition for a record fifth time, begin the defence of their title in the second round and can expect a tough test from hosts South Africa and Zambia, who have both been champions on four previous occasions.

The tournament starts with eight teams divided into two groups for the opening week of competition with the two group winners then advancing to the knockout stage where they are joined by the top six ranked nations. Madagascar and Mozambique, who have both threatened to upset the odds at recent tournaments, kick-off proceedings in Sunday's opening game, followed by an island derby between the Comoros Islands and Seychelles, also in Group A.

Angola, who have won the competitions three times, head a strong field in Group B where they must get past Botswana and Malawi, both previous runners-ups, and Mauritius.

The schedule is a taxing one for the eight first round competitors who play a game every second day with only the group winner advancing.

There are two matches every day from Sunday through to next Friday, June 1, in the first round with the games played at both the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium in the centre of Polokwane and the Seshego Stadium, on the outskirts of the city.

The winner of Group A has been drawn against South Africa in the quarter-finals on Sunday, June 3 while Group B's top team take on Zimbabwe the same day.

The first two quarter-final fixtures on Saturday, June 2 see Zambia against the 2015 winners Namibia and then Lesotho taking on Swaziland.

It is the first time in 10 years that all 14-member nations are competing as the Comoros return to the field for the first time in 2008.

"Looking at the squads selected, this promises to be a very tough competition. The countries are all coming with top teams and it is difficult to see who is going to come out on top," said Cosafa's chairman of competitions, Timothy Shongwe of Swaziland.

By Andre van Wyk

Cape Town — Liverpool forward Sadio Mané has donated 300 club jerseys to his home village of Bambali in preparation for the approaching Champions League final against Real Madrid, Reuters reports.

Mané is the top member of the Senegal team preparing for the 2018 World Cup.

The 26-year-old player believes the residents of Bambali will stop at nothing to see the Champions League final against Real Madrid: "Nobody in the village will work this day. My family still live in the village. My mum and my uncle. They are all going to be watching. There are 2,000 in the village. I bought 300 Liverpool jerseys to send to the people in the village so the fans can wear them to watch the final. I will be going back in the summer after the World Cup and hopefully I will be showing everyone a winner's medal."

According to The Guardian, Liverpool are the leading scorers in this season's Champions League with 40 goals. Mané, along with fellow frontline players Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, are responsible for 29 of them.

Nairobi — The High Court on Friday declared illegal the 10 years suspension from all football activities imposed on former Football Kenya Federation (FKF) boss, Sam Nyamweya.

Constitutional court judge Justice Chacha Mwita, said in his judgment that the decision by FKF National Executive Committee meeting held on March 21, 2017, was unlawful, irrational and mischievous.

"The decision communicated to CAF, FIFA and CECAFA is null and void as Nyamweya was not given an opportunity to defend himself as required by the law. The declaration by the constitutional court, means that Nyamweya is free to comment on football matters both locally and internationally," the ruling read.

The judge also ordered FKF to pay the cost of the suit filed by Nyamweya challenging the purported suspension.

Nyamweya moved to court upon receiving a letter from FKF pronouncing his suspension from commenting on football activities in the country for a period of ten years.

The former FKF President, through his lawyer Martin Wahome Njagi told the judge that the decision was unreasonable, irrational and made in bad faith.

The lawyer submitted that NEC meeting purported to suspend him when he was not Federation member, saying he had resigned a year ago.

"The petitioner is being targeted since he filed a case against the current FKF chairman Nick Mwendwa and other officials of the Federation," the lawyer argued.

Wahome pointed out that the ban has brought his character and legacy as a respected local and international football administrator into question.

Before the hearing and determination of the petition the trial judge issued a temporary orders stopping FKF from effecting the said NEC decision.

The lawyer argued that the petitioner has not been held culpable for any misconduct or allegations as purported by NEC meeting which pronounced his suspension subsequent ban.

By Charles Sakala

The Football Association of Zambia has announced that national coach Wedson Nyirenda has resigned.

He will be replaced on an interim basis by Beston Chambeshi, who will lead the team at Africa’s southern regional championship the Cosafa Cup.

The tournament begins on Sunday but Zambia have a bye into the quarter-finals and will play Namibia on 2 June.

"The process to fill the vacancy of head coach will begin and the association will conclude the process in the shortest possible time to meet upcoming engagements,” Faz outgoing general secretary Ponga Liwewe said.

In his letter of resignation, Nyirenda says the resignation will take effect one month from today.

The former Kaizer Chiefs striker cites “many personal problems” as part of the reason to his decision.

He thanked Republican president Edgar Lungu and supporters for helping him successfully execute his duties.

Nyirenda, who was appointed in September 2016, is reportedly going to join Baroka FC in the South African Premiership.

Below is a Full Statement:

Press Statement
(For Immediate Release)
Football Association of Zambia
Football House, Lusaka

FAZ, NYIRENDA PART WAYS

The Football Association of Zambia wishes to announce the resignation of Mr. Wedson Nyirenda as Head Coach of the Zambia national team with immediate effect.

He served as national coach from September 2016 to May 2018.
The association wishes to thank Mr. Nyirenda for his contribution towards the national team and for the sterling work he put into his job.

The process to fill the vacancy of Head Coach will begin and the Association will conclude the process in the shortest possible time to meet upcoming engagements.

For and on behalf of:
FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION OF ZAMBIA
Pasipononga Liwewe
GENERAL SECRETARY

press release By Daniel Oduro-Stewart

The Atebubu-Amantin Municipal Chief Executive (MCE),Mr Edward Owusu, has outlined plans for the accelerated development of the Municipality.

Mr Owusu, who was delivering his sessional address at the First Ordinary Meeting of the Atebubu-Amantin Municipal Assembly for the year in Atebubu, recounted the various government interventions like the Free Senior High School (SHS), Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export and Rural Development, One District One Factory and the Nation Builders' Corps from which the Municipality was benefiting, saying they had been designed to improve the well-being of the people.

On job creation, he disclosed that four out of 19 approved business proposals in the Brong Ahafo region under the 'One District One Factory' initiative would be located in the Atebubu-Amantin Municipality and that it would bring along 800 potential jobs for the youth.

He disclosed that government had awarded a contract for the implementation of 'One District One Warehouse' initiative in the Atebubu-Amantin Municipality and that land had been procured at Kokrompe for the project.

The MCE enumerated a number of projects, mainly boreholes and toilets,to be executed in about 25 communities under the One Million Dollars per Constituency initiative.

On education, Mr Owusu indicated that proposals had been made to turn the Kokrompe Community Day Senior High School into a Secondary-Technical institution to complement the two existing public SHSs in the Municipality both of which, he said, offered only mainstream secondary education.

With regard to the Ghana School Feeding Programme, he said, seven additional schools had been added to the programme, pushing the total number of beneficiary schools to 74 with a total enrolment of 26,780 pupils, adding that strenuous efforts were being made to get the 11 remaining schools onto the programme to ensure 100% coverage within the municipality.

Mr Owusu also touched on the planned upgrading of the Municipal Hospital, including the acquisition of an ambulance for the hospital.

He disclosed that work had been completed on street lighting in about 13 communities within the Municipality, with the main one in Atebubu about 70% complete.

The MCE told the house that the contract had been awarded on the 28 kilometer Atebubu-Seneso road at a cost of GH₵ 27,322,407.20, and that the second phase of renovation works on the Atebubu yam market would soon begin.

Mr Owusu said to consolidate the state of law and order achieved on his assumption of office about a year ago, the Assembly would soon award the contract for the construction of a police station at Fakwasi and the rehabilitation of the dilapidated Magistrate's bungalow in Atebubu.

The assembly, presided over by Mr Gariba Issah, discussed its executive committee's report and approved a draft Medium-Term Development Plan for 2018-2021.

Present at the meeting were Hon. Kofi Amoakohene, Member of Parliament for the Atebubu-Amantin Constituency and Hajia Fati Saaka, Municipal Co-ordinating Director and various Heads of Department.

analysis By Fonteh Akum

Having led his Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) to victory after coming short in 2005 and 2011, Liberian President George Weah now needs to deliver on the promise of change that brought him to power.

Liberia's last presidential election season was longer than usual due to protracted legal wrangling that stress-tested citizens as well as the country's elections management and legal institutions. However the president's inauguration at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Stadium in Monrovia on 22 January showed the resilience of those institutions.

It was also a symbolic affair for Weah, Liberians and their guests. The venue itself marked a break with past presidential inaugurations which took place on the Capitol grounds. This time, the inauguration opened a defining event in the country's history to a cross section of Liberians. It marked the first democratic transfer of power from one living president to another, since the Edwin Barclay-to-William Tubman transition in 1944.

In his inaugural address, Weah declared Liberia open for business, calling for unity and nation-building and inviting Liberians to join him in the fight against corruption. To drive his agenda, Weah's cabinet must work with a legislature in which the CDC needs support from both independent and opposition politicians. This shouldn't be hard though, given that during his campaign he succeeded in convincing some ruling party stalwarts to jump ship.

Weah's cabinet is also now complete, after a hold-up caused by the nomination of a justice minister whose legal licence had been suspended in February 2017. This situation raised questions about the vetting process that preceded appointments. The nomination of former president Charles Taylor's finance minister Charles Bright as presidential adviser for economic affairs also generated suspicion about whether it signified a return to Taylor's agenda.

Weah's cabinet shows some degree of continuity with the previous administration in the area of national defence. Army chief of staff Daniel Ziankahn, who served under Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, succeeded Brownie Samukai, the only minister to have served through both of Johnson Sirleaf's terms. The Finance Ministry has seen a strategic reorientation, with the appointment of Samuel Tweh to craft Weah's pro-poor growth agenda on which he had campaigned.

Unlike Johnson Sirleaf's first cabinet that included four women occupying the finance, commerce and industry, justice and youth and sports portfolios, Weah's cabinet includes just two women - in charge of health and social services; and gender, children and social protection.

At his inauguration, Weah sat between two women - Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor and First Lady Clara Weah - as he took over from Africa's first democratically elected female president, Johnson Sirleaf. For a presidency well aware of the importance of symbols, hopefully this rollback in the number of female ministers won't undermine the enduring need to achieve women's empowerment.

Beyond the cabinet, Weah's CDC also controls both houses of Parliament - with 21 seats in Liberia's 73-member house of representatives to the Unity Party's 19, and 11 independents (the remaining seats are held by several smaller parties). These 51 legislators hold the key to the success or failure of Weah's agenda.

This is the first time in Liberia's post-war history that an opposition coalition has come to power, and now controls both the executive and the legislature. Given the slim edge it holds, the CDC needs to clearly articulate and defend its strategic priorities before reaching out to independents and the opposition, to build consensus around its agenda. This would help grow a democratic political culture in Liberia.

As Weah's cabinet settles in, their attention must turn to the country's bleak socioeconomic and security reality. Liberia's three main interconnected priorities remain: economic recovery; justice, reconciliation and social equity; and institutional consolidation.

When Johnson Sirleaf came to power in 2006, she issued the 150-day action plan, a roadmap for her first few months in office. Over the next eight years, Liberia averaged annual GDP growth rates of over 6%, but Liberians did not reap the benefits of this growth. This is something Weah must avoid.

Given its slim edge in Parliament, Liberia's CDC must clearly articulate and defend its priorities

The continuing negative economic consequences of the 2014 Ebola outbreak will make it difficult for the state to finance Weah's pro-poor economic development agenda. This agenda prioritises five pillars - health, infrastructure, education, youth development and the economy.

Given the country's financial challenges, combating corruption should be a priority. Equally important is strengthening institutional efficiency and attracting foreign direct investment, while safeguarding the rights of Liberian workers.

To show its commitment to addressing corruption, the Liberian justice system must prosecute past and present economic crimes, to ensure full accountability and with no amnesty. These trials should be done in a way that does not create the appearance of a selective political witch-hunt.

Another challenge for Weah is constitutional reform. Between 2013 and 2016 an attempt was made to revamp the country's 1986 constitution, focusing on socio-economic issues relating to identity, accountability, citizenship, land rights and religion. As Weah noted in his inaugural address, it might be time to finish the job of ensuring that Liberia has a constitution by and for the people.

Johnson Sirleaf might have laid the foundation for a post-war Liberia. But the challenge of sustaining the country's current trajectory and building on that foundation rests with Weah. While he strikes the right notes in his speeches and editorials, only action on the economic and social fronts in Liberia will deliver on his campaign promises.

Continuity more than change would surely attract the foreign investors Liberia needs in the next phase of its journey to sustainable economic recovery. For now, Weah seems to be balancing continuity and change rather deftly.

Fonteh Akum, Senior Researcher, ISS Dakar

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opinion By Yash Tandon

In March 2018, Awaaz carried an article by Ramnik Shah titled "Jayaben Desai: A Legend". I don't know how many people in East Africa and beyond read this excellent homage to Jayaben. I take the occasion of the celebration of the May Day this year to write a small piece to remember the struggle of the migrant workers - mostly Asian women from East Africa - in a small factory in England, a struggle that eventually encompassed the whole country. I try, also, to learn from that experience to reflect on the situation with the struggle of the working classes in East Africa today.

The play in Oxford celebrating Jayaben Desai

On 3-4 April 2018, a theatre in Oxford, United Kingdom ran a play on the theme "We are the Lions, Mr. Manager" which I went to see. It had a cast of only two. The role of Jayaben was played by Medhavi Patel with whom I talked at the end of this very inspirational play. She said she was a distant relative of Jayaben's whom she holds as a role model.

In a pamphlet distributed at the theatre, Neil Gore (the play writer) said: "In our work we aim to focus on the lives and contributions of inspirational and vital figures from our social history, often forgotten, who campaigned vigorously to improve the quality of life for everyone. Jayaben Desai is one such figure. She tirelessly fought on behalf of immigrant workers against exploitative employment practice; fearlessly faced all the elements of establishment authority; alerted many in the trade union movement to the issues of vulnerability of immigrant workers; and highlighted the fight to maintain basic trade union rights. Her resolve and courage should be remembered and celebrated. Also, Grunwick raised many wide-ranging questions about trade unionism, rights in the workplace and dignity at work - themes that still resonate and are relevant today."

The Grunwick factory, in north-west London, took on many migrant Asian workers, mostly women from East Africa, who were regarded as "hardworking and docile". The managers sat in a glass cabinet from where they coerced workers to work overtime, and from whom the workers had to get permission even to go to the toilet. The women were willing to accept jobs that had low status and low pay, but they were not willing to accept the degrading treatment that was handed out to them.

Jayaben took the leadership to organise the workers to go on strike. "We are the lions, Mr. Manager", she protested. "What you are running here is not a factory. It is a zoo where there are many types of animals. Some are monkeys who will dance on your fingertips; others are lions who will bite your head off." She was a lion, and encouraged even the "monkeys" among the workers to become lions. Their contracts forbade them to go on strike, but 137 workers did. They were immediately sacked. To get support for their cause, they joined the Association of Professional, Executive, Clerical and Computer Staff (APEX).

After a few months picketing outside the factory, their cause was taken up by the wider trade union movement. By June 1977 there were marches in support of the Grunwick strikers, and on some days more than 20,000 people packed themselves into the narrow lanes near Dollis Hill Tube station. The dispute rapidly escalated, culminating in pitched battles between mass pickets and police. The leader of the National Union of Mineworkers, Arthur Scargill, and striking colliery workers joined in. Three of the Labour government's ministers - Shirley Williams, Fred Mulley and Dennis Howell - also joined the picket line. Nearly 18 months into the strike, on a cold day in November 1977 - four strikers, among them Desai took the Gandhian route and went on a hunger strike.

Eventually, both the Trades Union Congress and APEX also withdrew their support. And the conciliation and arbitration service withdrew from the dispute because the Grunwick management refused to take part in mediation. Desai and her colleagues felt abandoned and disillusioned. As she said: "Trade union support is like honey on the elbow - you can smell it, you can feel it, but you cannot taste it."

At this point in the play in Oxford, several of us in the audience stood up and raised our fist in a gesture of solidarity with the Grunwick factory workers. At the end of the play some of us joined in the "picket line" on the floor of the theatre.

The struggles of the working classes in East Africa today

The struggles of the working classes in East Africa fall broadly into two periods - the colonial period and the post-independence period.

During the colonial period, the working peoples of East Africa were the backbone of the anti-colonial struggle. In 1935, Makhan Singh (the father of the trade union movement in Kenya) formed the Labour Trade Union of Kenya, and then in 1949, the East African Trade Union Congress. His union activities encompassed both political as well as economic struggles. He fought against the British divide and rule policy of segregating black and Asian workers, and united the workers to fight against the colonial exploiting and oppressive state and in particular the prevailing labour laws. Zarina Patel's biography of Makhan Singh [[i]] captures the struggles and spirit of early unionism in East Africa, a struggle that went beyond the racial and tribal consciousness of workers.

As East African countries approached independence, the working classes led the resistance to Imperial Britain's policy of breaking up the East African Federation. In November 1959, for example, the workers throughout the three countries mounted a joint strike against the East African Railways and Harbours. It was initiated by Kenya Railway African Union, soon followed by railway workers in Tanganyika and Uganda. The workers made not only economic demands, but also linked these with the demand for political independence. The strike continued intermittently until April 1960.

The Imperial state reacted strongly, and amongst the first action they took was to depoliticise the unions. The British Trade Union Congress sent "experts" to "train" the unions on how to focus on their economic priorities. The East African unions were encouraged to join the International Transport Workers Federation and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, which preached economistic unionism.

As the East African countries approached independence, the unions became part of the political struggle - which was good - but in the process the unions were integrated into the merging political parties - which was not a good development. Along the line, the political leadership of the unions passed into the hands of politicians. These, ironically, depoliticised the unions. Since the early 1960s, the unions have more or less surrendered their independence. There are still people in the unions who are trying to delink the unions from the hegemony of the political parties, but they are fighting a losing battle. The African trade unions in our times are a pale shadow of their past. The workers movement throughout the world - and not just in East Africa - is facing serious challenges in the era of "free trade" and globalisation.

We also have a regional trade union - the East African Trade Union Confederation - that seeks to involve workers in issues concerning regional integration, and the promotion and ratification of international labour standards by the partner states, harmonisation of labour laws and promotion of free movement of labour and capital across borders. They have achieved some successes, but they face huge challenges from a political leadership that has still not been able to liberate themselves from their neo-colonial ties to the Empire.

Some conclusions

The working classes throughout the world are facing serious problems in our times, partly because of "globalisation", but partly also because the politically astute union leaders in our countries are marginalised by the compromised leaders who are in the pockets of the state and the ruling elites.

Let me conclude by reiterating what Jayaben Desai said when the strike action against the Grunwick factory over nearly two years was abandoned for lack of support from the unions. A disillusioned Jayaben said: "Trade union support is like honey on the elbow - you can smell it, you can feel it, but you cannot taste it."

We need to strategise unionism from an altogether new perspective. I will not dwell on this now, but there are examples of working class action that do give some reason for optimism. I have space to give one example only. It is the long struggle between Africa and the European Union on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), whilst African governments have surrendered to Europe, the workers are fighting back. In 2007, for instance, the Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum (KSSFF) filed a case against their government, arguing that EPA would put at risk the livelihoods of millions of Kenyan and East African farmers. On 30 October 2013, the High Court of Kenya ruled in KSSFF's favour. The court directed the Kenya government to establish a mechanism for involving stakeholders (including small-scale farmers) in the on-going EPA negotiations, and to encourage public debate on this matter. But the government has turned a deaf year both to the KSSFF and the High Court.

* Professor Yash Tandon is from Uganda and has worked at many different levels as an academic, a teacher, a political thinker, a rural development worker, a civil society activist, and an institution builder. He was involved in the democratic struggles in Uganda and was member of the interim Uganda Parliament (1979-80).

Endnote

[i] Zarina Patel, Unquiet: the Life and Times of Makhan Singh, Nairobi: Kenya Human Rights Commission, 2002

By Michel Nkurunziza

The Government of Rwanda and Rhineland Palatinate, one of the states of the Federal Republic of Germany, have committed to strengthening cooperation in protection of biodiversity and endangered species in Nyungwe and Cyamudongo forests.

The commitment was made during the visit to Rwanda by Ulrike Hofken, the Minister for Environment from the Rhineland Palatinate state.

Rwanda's Environment minister Dr Vincent Biruta said the visit is in line with a partnership agreement signed last year between Nyungwe National Park of Rwanda and Hunsrück-Hochwald National Park of Germany.

Nyungwe National Park is a catchment area of 70 per cent of the country's water resources.

"Last year, we signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation with Rhineland Palatinate to enhance tourism opportunities in Nyungwe National Park and Hunsrück-Hochwald National Park of German to boost the former's capacity to receive more tourists and marketing it to the world," he said.

He said they are in Rwanda on a fact-finding mission and will be assessing areas of intervention and the required budget.

"We also visited the environmental museum and discussed the way to revamp it to the extent that it attracts more tourists and other people who want to learn more about environmental protection in Rwanda," he added.

The delegation also visited another project funded by Rhineland, which serves to conserve Cyamudongo Forest through planting indigenous trees and agro-forestry around its buffer zone, sustainable agriculture which contributes to the protection of biodiversity and geo-ecological functions by reducing land use pressure.

Cyamudongo is a small forest fragment southwest of Nyungwe Park.

Prof. Eberhard Fischer, a botanist from University of Koblenz and Landau who has been carrying out research in biodiversity of Nyungwe Park and Cyamudongo forest, said that the latter has unique biodiversity which should be protected for environmental and economic benefits.

Besides planting trees, the Cyamudongo project focuses on educating guides in the forest to know about the biodiversity and its protection, according to Fischer.

The project also partners with primary schools and local farmers in planting trees to educate and mobilise young Rwandans for biodiversity conservation and environmental protection.

By Dagim Terefe

Mr Habte Tefera is a fisherman living in the Amhara State of South Gonder Zone, Fogera Wereda, Nabega Kebele, on the shore of Lake Tana. He has been fishing for over 20 years to cover the livelihood expenses of his nine family members.

'This invasive water hyacinth 'Enboch' is very dangerous. Even though it came here in recent years, it is highly affecting the communities' lives right now', Habte says. "We are getting nothing today. The resource of Lake Tana has been destructed by the water hyacinth."

Today, in fact, Tana is critically infested with water hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes, locally known as 'Enboch'. It is putting the aquatic biodiversity of the Lake at extreme risk. The vast swathes of the water around the lakeside in South Gondar Zone of Fogera Wereda_are becoming a sea of green, fish pens and navigation channels alike clogged by an impenetrable mass of water hyacinth. It is shocking while any one sees the amount of water weed that have been covered.

"The lakes water is very cold as it is covered by the water weed. Fish needs sunlight for breeding. The hyacinth mats are negatively affecting their productivity," Habte says.

Studies also show that water hyacinth mats have invaded fishing grounds and blocking waterways in Lake Tana. Since the invasion of the water weed, the production of fish has decreased and the price has been inflated. It has also affected the test of the foods made up of fish, as to Habte.

Birhanu Wubnhe lives in Gondar city. He has been selling fish for the last 12 years. He has promoted modern fishing system within five Woredas which are now affected by the hyacinth. He is vibrant environmentalist who has been insisting that the state government and research institutions should give due emphasis to cultural or indigenous knowledge of the communities' in order to get rid of the weed. "Water hyacinth has destroyed our ecology and thus fish resources. The wetlands have been dry lands," Birhanu says. "The trend in controlling 'Enboch' was encouraging from 2011-2013 and only four Kebeles were affected during that time. Since then additional 14 Kebeles were affected with the invasive weed."

Deacon Alemu Belachew is an administrator of Nabega Kebele, Fogera Wereda in South Gondar. He calls up on the state and federal governments to provide additional support to get rid of the invasive weed. "It is difficult to remove 'Enboch' just by human power. Even though we have been striving to get rid of it by mobilizing the communities starting from 2017, it is still spreading at alarming rate and threatening the survival of the Kebele."

The situation has also implications to regional hydro-politics as the Lake is the main source of the Blue Nile. The weed can destroy the fishery industry, create obstacles to navigation, clog canals of hydroelectric power plants and will generally create serious environmental imbalance, according to researchers, Goraw Goshu and Shimelis Aynalem.

"There are three irrigation dam projects which have been built by federal government around Lake Tana basins, named as 'Rib', 'Megech', and 'Megech Serba'. These projects are being implemented on the infested ecology. If the current pace of the weed invasion continues, we will lose the billion dollar projects," warns Birahnu Wubnhe, local environmentalist.

Some also fear that the situation would affect the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. As to some environmentalists, the water hyacinth is primarily the responsibility of the Ethiopian Federal government, and second downstream countries, in particular Sudan and Egypt should be consulted if they have willingness to contribute something to guarantee the water flow of the Nile. "This plant is water thirsty, hence first it minimizing and later it depleted the flow of the Nile water. If the problem persists, dams both in Ethiopia and the two downstream countries would be affected," environmentalists warn.

On other hand, the weed is also threatening the hub of Ethiopian ancient history and glory in the Lake with a unique religious, historical and aesthetic value, 37 highlands and so many monasteries and churches dating back to the 13th century. Religiously, the Lake has special place as it is home to many unique churches and monasteries of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Epistemologically, the lake is believed to be a source of knowledge and ancient Ethiopian wisdom and glory. These churches and monasteries contain valuable treasures of the Ethiopian Christian faith. Historians label Lake Tana as a mystical place where time and history run deep.

For these and other many reasons, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated the Lake Tana as a World Heritage site for its unique ecological biosphere reserve in June 2015.

Dr. Ayalew Wondie is an Associate Professor of Aquatic and Wetland Science at Bahir-Dar University. He is a renowned researcher of water hyacinth. He found the water hyacinth in the Lake seven years ago.

"The Bair Dar University research team along with the Amhara State Bureau of Agriculture identified the occurrence of water hyacinth in 2011 after taking sample and making experiment. By then, we understood the water weed has great impact on Lake Tana wetlands and ecology. We were shocked at that time," says Dr. Ayalew. Dr Ayalew says that the actual cause which brought water hyacinth has not been known. However, he and his research colleagues predicted that it was caused by migratory birds, used and contaminated fishing materials which came from neighboring countries, and using water hyacinth as ornamental plant.

There are so many aggravating factors for the expansion of water hyacinth in Lake Tana. Pollutant chemicals which come from agricultural land and urban areas are the first ones. 'There are an intensive agricultural activities at 'Dembiya' and 'Fogera' Woredas which rush out and drain the used pesticides and fertilizers to the buffer zone whereby water hyacinth gets its nutrient for growing,' Dr. Ayalew says.

Even though a water hyacinth infestation is hard to get rid of, Dr Ayalew Wondie and other Aquatic wetland scientists noticed that there are three ways to do this globally: removal (manual and mechanical), chemical spraying (using herbicides) and biological control methods.

Manual method is advisable to apply when the scale of infestation is at minimal level, but it doesn't work in Lake Tana where the coverage is at high level, according to Dr. Ayalew. "Different countries use chemical method with respect to their environment. When we come to Lake Tana; people drink the water, use it for sanitation, and livestock. So we don't also advise the government to use this method."

"Biological method is a common practice everywhere. We need to have natural enemies to employ. Unfortunately, the water hyacinth did not come here with its natural enemy. Natural enemy do not have negative impact on ecology. So, it needs a number of field trials and experiments in Lake Tana. As university, we are working on it although it is not feasible. Even though this method is known to be effective, it is not an immediate solution for our problems," Dr. Ayalew says.

Even though Dr. Ayalew believes that biological method which needs natural enemies to employ is an effective method, he recommend manual method in order to avert the extreme expansion of water weed and its negative impacts on many economic, social, ecological resources. 'We should give attention to manual method by recognizing and giving support for cultural or indigenous knowledge of the local communities. I am an advocate of this idea,' says Dr. Ayalew. He also focused on synthesizing the fragmented local communities' cultural or indigenous knowledge.

"Even though various research institutes and researchers have been conducting research works to control the water weed, we have not disclosed the results due to the fact that they are still in testing phases," says Mezgebu Dagnew, Director of 'Enboch' Weed Removal Directorate at Amhara State Bureau of Environment, Forest and Animal Resource.

Unless communities are engaged in renewable energy projects, the results could be as tragic as the Marikana massacre, an expert warned.

Speaking at African Utility Week in Cape Town, Dr Ric Amansure urged industry officials to keep communities engaged in the status of renewable energy projects.

"Nobody tells them (communities) that they are shareholders in these projects; that there is a socio-economic development component to the project and they should benefit for 20 years," Amansure told delegates in a panel discussion on energy transformation.

Several renewable energy projects are coming online as the government seeks to enhance clean energy production and mitigate the effects of climate change from coal power plant greenhouse gas emissions.

The shift has angered some union representatives, who fear job losses and Amansure warned that continued engagement was key to driving sustainable growth in the sector.

"The information sharing is just not there to be open and honest with the communities on why there is a need for things like wind solar parks and how they will benefit.

"If we fail to deal with this issue, we will see another 'Marikana' happening in the renewable energy space," said Amansure.

On August 16, 2012, 34 mine workers died and 112 were injured during a protest over salaries at the Lonmin mine in Marikana, about 80km west of Pretoria.

Objections

A number of renewable energy projects are under way as SA looks to accelerate development of clean energy, but an expert warned that locations far away from urban centres posed a risk for the developments.

"The transmission of electricity as such is independent of the way in which it is generated. However, of more concern from a South African perspective is the location of typical CSP plants relative to existing electricity transmission lines," Dr Matti Lubkoll, who teaches Solar Thermal Energy at Stellenbosch University, told News24 about a solar thermal plant based in the Northern Cape.

South Africa's National Development Plan calls for 20 000MW (megawatts) of renewable electricity by 2030 and the decommissioning 11 000MW of ageing coal-fired power stations.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has vowed to block the R56bn deal the government signed with independent power producers (IPP) to produce green electricity.

"Given the current renewable energy IPPs that are already in production and in planning (this includes the 27 renewable energy projects that must still be signed), at least 100 000 full-time equivalent jobs would be created, through the current private renewable energy projects alone," Happy Khambule, Greenpeace Africa's senior political advisor recently told News24.

The South Africa Photovoltaic Industry Association welcomed the signing of the IPP contracts, saying they "will indeed boost and revitalise long-term investor confidence", create more than 61 000 jobs and add 2 305MW of capacity to the national grid.

Numsa dismissed renewable energy projects as effective job creators.

"We have heard these empty promises before. The majority of the existing renewable energy companies do not employ large numbers of workers, compared to Eskom," Numsa acting national spokesperson Phakamile-Hlubi Majola said recently.

"And our experience is that they certainly do not offer the same salary, benefits or an improvement in working conditions. Numsa will not be misled into supporting a policy which is potentially disastrous for workers and their families."

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, employment in the global renewable energy sector experienced a marginal increase of 1.1% in 2017 to 9.8 million people.

As his thesis, Amansure published "A Theoretical Model of Revenue Management for Beneficiary Communities of South African Renewable Energy Companies".

In it, he called for industry transformation focused on human development and engagement from local government on community needs and development plans, among others.

Source: News24

analysis By Caroline Mwongera

When Ugandan farmer Eveline Aryemo first tried the NABE 15 improved bean variety, she did not know that this seed contained superior abilities to not only tolerate drought conditions and diseases common in her farm but also triple yields.

The seed was promoted by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and Uganda’s National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) together with partners. A truly “climate-smart” technology, the drought tolerant variety has helped Eveline meet market demands and to farm in challenging climate conditions.

NABE15 cooks faster than most of the other commercial varieties and thus requires less firewood, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saves time for women to engage in other activities.  When grown in drought-stressed environments it is more productive compared to other varieties, which assures women farmers of a surplus for sale and hence income for home expenses such as purchase of other food items to diversify the family meals.

Farmers in Africa - big and small - know they need to get climate-smart in this way. Hunger still stalks the continent, and climate change is a key culprit for low productivity. Africa’s ability to feed itself hinges on investment in adapting to these conditions, and minimizing agriculture’s own contribution to climate change, as Eveline has done.

But where will this investment come from? Impacts from climate change on people in sub-Saharan Africa are expected to be some of the greatest compared to other regions by 2100, yet the continent currently only receives 5 per cent of climate funding.

The answer is to identify the technologies that are actually going to pay off for African farmers – quite literally. By analysing what will work in which region, we can remove the risk that makes investment in African agriculture so daunting.

Scientists at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture have led an effort to produce detailed guides on the status of and opportunities for investment in climate-smart agriculture (CSA) in fourteen African countries. These profiles provide, for the first time, a scientific framework to guide future CSA financing in Africa and de-risk investment in the sector.

We not only analysed the approaches that will work in each country, but also provide recommendations on how to develop the technical, policy and investment conditions to achieve sustainable agricultural development for food security under climate change.

A new climate for business opportunities

In addition to on-farm interventions like Eveline’s super bean, options exist to make entire food systems more climate-smart and profitable at the same time.

Take the dairy industry, for example. As temperatures rise, quality sources of animal feed decline. But scientists have found that improved feed, such as the drought-tolerant brachiaria grass have an additional benefit of boosting milk production by up to 40 per cent. When animals are more productive, the carbon emissions associated with their production of a unit of meat and milk go down. The business of producing brachiaria grass in South America is worth US$ 600 million. We are now working towards bringing commercial production of the grass to Africa, starting in Zambia. This will not only provide a huge economic opportunity, but also contribute to food security and climate change targets.

The provision of services such as weather information and insurance programs are also being shown to pay off.

ACRE (Agriculture and Climate Risk Enterprise) is the largest agricultural insurance program in sub-Saharan Africa. ACRE’s offers a wide range of products, including insurance linked to agricultural credit from Micro-Finance Institutions (MFIs), and a product that links insurance to a replanting guarantee by a seed company. The insurance premium is incorporated into the price of a bag of maize seed. Each bag contains a scratch card with a code that is texted to ACRE at planting time to start coverage against drought. Each farm is monitored using satellite imagery for 21 days. If the index is triggered, farmers are automatically paid via the M-Pesa mobile phone platform. The indexes that ACRE uses for its insurance projects are based on several data sources including solar powered automated weather stations, satellite rainfall measurements, and government area yield statistics. ACRE has 200,000 farmer clients in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. Insured farmers have invested 19 per cent more in farm productivity, resulting in 16 per cent more earnings compared to their uninsured neighbours.

The bottom line of our research is that no matter how big or small agricultural enterprises in Africa are, they are businesses. Just as with all business expansion plans, a risk analysis must be performed before investment can be increased.

Our CSA profiles provide the science to give donors the confidence to invest in African agriculture, demonstrating the best bets for a pay-off – not just in terms of increased profits for farmers but in terms of climate change adaptation and mitigation as well.

We believe that if new investment can be unlocked for African agriculture, the continent can be on its way to being both future-proof, and food secure.

Dr. Caroline Mwongera is a farming systems & climate change scientist with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).

By The Herald

Today on PowerChat, your leading converged telecommunications operator will focus on demystifying what is known as artificial intelligence. The company has found it imperative to share this knowledge with customers, readers and the entirety of the telecommunications fraternity against the background that the world is moving in the realm of interacting and experiencing the power of artificial intelligence (AI). Artificial Intelligence is real - whether in the home, car, business, when travelling around the globe and also on individuals' smartphones, tablets, computer and other smart devices that are digital and/or can connect onto the internet.

Defined simply, artificial intelligence (AI) is the development of computers or technology capable of performing tasks that typically would require human intelligence. Global technology companies such as Google, Amazon, Apple and Samsung to name but a few, are making huge investments in AI that are already changing lives and gadgets, and laying the groundwork for a more AI-centric future. Software has gotten significantly smarter of late- from Siri, Google Now, Bixby, Alexa and Cortana. AI is actually all around us. AI is arguably present in vacuum cleaners, cars, lawnmowers, video games, e-commerce software, medical research and international finance markets - among many other examples. For most of us, the most obvious results of the improved powers of AI are neat new gadgets and experiences such as smart speakers, or being able to unlock your smart-phone with biometrics such as your face or fingerprints. Into the future, AI is poised to reinvent other areas of life such as healthcare. Having an affordable, fast and reliable internet connection is a requisite to enabling artificial intelligence.

Powertel embraces the government ICT policy, whose thrust is that of ICT being an economic enabler for the development and establishment of sector appropriate solutions with comprehensive breath, depth, flexibility and applicability. Apart from internet and voice solutions, the corporate recently rolled out a state-of- the art communication solution for vehicle tracking and fleet management under its broad product category of the Internet of Things (IOT).

Steps on how businesses can own the digital age

Step 1: Own a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A virtual private network (VPN) is a network that is constructed using public wires - usually the Internet- to connect remote users or regional offices to a company's private, internal network. A VPN secures the private network, using encryption and other security mechanisms to ensure that only authorised users can access the network and that their data cannot be intercepted. This type of network is designed to provide a secure, encrypted tunnel in which to transmit the data between the remote user and the company network. In Zimbabwe, ICT companies such as Powertel Communications, have long been offering VPN for real-time communication to sectors such as financial institutions (banks, insurance companies etc), retail and manufacturing, mining, tertiary education, NGOs and also to other ICT operators. Government departments, SMEs and private businesses in general need to leverage on the power of virtual private networking to connect remote users or regional offices to the company's private, internal network in real-time.

Step 2: Leverage on reliable, high speed internet access

Organisations must leverage on reliable, high speed internet access to promote efficiency, transparency and increased customer convenience. Whilst a VPN promotes internal network communication, the internet enables external communication not only with local but also with the organisation's regional and global networks. The Powertel brand has been synonymous with reliability, speed and dedicated corporate internet service offering better quality of services to the market. For over 15 years now, Powertel has dominated in the provision of internet and connectivity solutions to most companies; Telecoms , ICTs, ISPs and IAPs;- financial institutions- banking sector, finance houses, insurance companies; Government, Municipality and Parastatals; Health Sector Mining Sector, Manufacturing & Production; Retail sector, Education Institutions ( Universities & Polytechnic Colleges); Churches, Transport & shipping organisations, Motoring sector, Hospitality, SMEs and others. In fact, the company has carried all the major telecoms and listed companies in the country and continues to do so to this day, earning it the nickname, 'Carrier of Carriers' that is on its own a household name.

Powertel Communications has moved in line with the times through enabling mobility in internet access through the establishment of a mobile base station network that utilizes wireless devices including phones, modems and Wifi routers for access. Whilst there exist a number of suppliers of internet services in Zimbabwe, Powertel Corporate internet and its PowerConnect retail broadband solutions have proved to be the most affordable on the market. On the Powerconnect mobile internet solutions customers have been availed the choice to sign-up for data from as little as $1 for 2Gb data packages, whilst unlimited data package on mobile internet has been pegged at $40.00 for the whole month.

Step 3: Go digital

The modern day customers are not only highly knowledgeable but also increasingly highly mobile due to the prevalence and adoption of a high number of digital devices and interfaces.

Driven by the existent market and ICT regulatory changes, businesses today must also transform into digital customer- oriented organisations.

This demands for the adoption and use of more online and mobile customer touch points to enable seamless communication amongst customers, employees, suppliers and their respective communities.

Emails, SMS, mobile applications and social media are some of the most common digital interfaces used by companies today. ICT companies such as Powertel Communications have gone a step further to also incorporate web chat service, and online self-service support amongst some of the digital tools. In the recent years due to economic pressures affecting viability, companies have resorted to cost-cutting and downsizing measures, some which have affected their internal ICT support functions. This has seen the rise in outsourcing these services, with a one-stop shop provider being the ideal. Furthermore, the prevalence and growth of SME sector, some who prefer not to set up internal IT support, has seen the rise in demand for the one-stop-shop facility. Powertel has also ventured into Internet of Things (IoT) business currently offering fleet management solutions that businesses can also take advantage of in creating lean but efficient businesses. With the rise in IoT business and digital transformation, the conversation has now inclined towards cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. It remains incumbent upon businesses and individuals to use AI responsibly for business and process enhancement including product development and services improvement.

The preceding discussion is a cross pollination of ideas and not a conclusive position as the subject matter on Artificial Intelligence is a wide area and consequently encompasses a lot of debate on its definition, use and application. It does not represent the views of Powertel Communications but meant to spark meaningful debate on the subject matter. To share your views, join us on Facebook - PowertelZim and follow us on Twitter @ PowertelZW.

Powertel Communications is Zimbabwe's leading telecommunications company providing quadruple play value for money communication solution that is voice, video, data and connectivity (aggregation and value added services). The company seeks to enhance continual improvement backed by continued customer voice cascading.

Photo: Pixabay

Data is key to Africa's development.

By Kennedy Senelwa

Companies have started using blockchain technology to track the supply chain minerals to ensure those from conflit-hit Democratic Republic of Congo are blocked.

Dorae Inc, a global supply chain accountability firm, has deployed the technology to track cobalt, coltan and diamonds mined in DRC, while IMPACT of Canada has teamed up with technology firm Consensas to track gold from small mines.

This will also benefit the DRC, as royalties paid to the government rose from 2 per cent to 10 per cent when DRC President Joseph Kabila on March 9, signed new mining code into law.

Dorae said it obtained approval from President Kabila to deploy technology to store data about minerals from origin to end-user. When ore is first sold, the information on place of origin, extraction method, inspection details and quality is logged in system.

Each time materials change in transit and processing, details of transaction are logged to create a permanent record from origin to final use.

"Each time a unit of material changes hands from point of extraction to finished product, a key data set will be hashed onto an immutable blockchain," said Dorae founder Aba Schubert.

"Companies face increasing pressure from governments, media and consumers to know where minerals come, address risks such as corruption and human rights abuses," said IMPACT executive director Joanne Lebert.

Cobalt, coltan and diamonds illegally mined are associated with human-rights abuse or financing of conflict in eastern DRC. Smuggling networks comprise Congolese citizens and foreigners.

Vast mineral deposits in eastern DRC are a catalyst to conflict with numerous militias and warlords vying to control resources creating cycle of bloodshed. The proceeds from minerals are used to buy guns and bullets.

DRC's strong industrial mining sector gave way in 1990s to widespread artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) activities as a consequence of prolonged conflict, profound economic mismanagement and corruption.

The informal and largely unregulated nature of ASM poses myriad social risks including forced labour, sexual violence and child labour.

By Emmanuel Elebeke

The Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology, FUT Minna, Prof. Abdullahi Bala on Monday led a team of researchers comprised of students and scientists from the university to present two technology innovation projects funded by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.

The two projects, Seamless multiple operator enabled SIM cards Mobile Communication Enabled Walking Stick, which are being sponsored by the NCC at the tune of N4.7million are designed to address the issue of subscribers using multiple phones and sim cards due to poor quality of service in keeping with the consideration for national roaming that is being promoted by the commission.

Presenting the novel devices, the lead researcher and head, depertment of Mechatronics engineering FUT Minna, Prof. Abiodun Musa Aibinu explained that the first project, The Seamless Data and Voice Connection Over Multiple Operator Enabled SIM Card enables a subscriber have one sim card for all networks or one mobile phone with one sim card for all networks.

The device applies to all available network in a particular location.

"We are talking about disrupting the eco-system in the telecommunication industry in the sense that with just one sim card, you can access the available networks without porting or buying multiple SIMS.

"People carry a lot of phones or Sims as a result of quality of service and you are not certain of the network strength of an area, So using basic engineering and the technology behind Mobile phone, we infused in it Artificial Intelligence, AI system to be able the device take intelligent decision on behalf of the user to switch from the network with poor quality of service to another with better quality service.

"What this means is that subscribers are now the king and can enjoy quality of service even without having more than one phone and the product will soon hit the market."

On the second innovation, Development of Mobile Communication Enabled Walking Stick, Prof. Aibinu said the innovation with mobile phone imbedded was designed to aid the user, especially the aged and the blind/disabled persons navigate through dangerous sports, and at the same time make calls when necessary.

"The Walking Stick is about having a walking stick that has anything you can imagine, your mobile phone is embedded in it, obstacle avoidance and then it has means of communicating with your headgear giver."

The Vice Chancellor of the University, represented by Deputy Director, Research, in the institution, Prof Moses Olutoye, in his remarks said the essence of the innovations is to disrupt the existing technology.

He described The Walking Stick as an equipment that can be used when one is alone at old age or when one is in danger.

He explained that the it was designed to look like a walking stick because it was designed to make calls, and also with some devices that can detect obstacles in case the user is approaching a danger point.

"It is enabled for the blind and the disabled to avoid obstacles. Even, the blind or disabled people can use it too to help them when they are approaching obstacle. It guides them to know when to change their path," he added.

Responding, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta who expressed satisfaction with the feat attained by the institution said the NCC sponsored the projects in keeping with the consideration for National Roaming Plan that is being promoted now by the commission.

He commended the team for living up to its tasks of utilizing the N4.7million grant to innovate a disruptive technology that could enhance the existing quality of service in the country.

Prof. Danabba, who was represented by the Executive Commissioner NCC, Engr. Ubale Maska said since the innovation is looking into the future it would be of immense benefit to the telecom industry because the industry is very dynamic.

"A device that selects any network that is available is something that all the network operators will accept and it is in keeping with the consideration for national roaming that is being promoted now by the commission.

"We are really pleased today with the results shown by FUT Minna. It shows that they have been able to accomplish every single thing with the grants given by the NCC.

"They are visionary enough to look beyond what we expect them to do, and they are determined to take it to the next level.

"You notice today, there are phones that have multiple SIM cards you have to consciously choose the SIM you want but their project on Super SIM card can automatically select the SIM with the available network based on pre-determined instructions, so it is very relevant.

"The industry is very dynamic and this certainly looks at the future, a device that selects any network that is available is something that all the network operators will accept and it is in keeping with the consideration for national roaming that is being promoted now by the commission.

"We had hoped they would conclude the project within a year so that they will get more but it has taken the last three years. But we are happy because research work like this is usually on-going all the time.

"We will encourage them to get investors who will continue to explore their possibility. It is something that is keeping to the mandate of the commission, the eight point agenda of the current leadership."

By Faith Nyamai

Education experts have called on university lecturers to commercialise their research and focus on innovation to help students create jobs after they leave campus.

Researchers decried the high number of jobless graduates in the country and blamed universities for failing to focus on innovation.

Data released in March this year by the Kenya Integrated Budget Survey shows that at least 1.4 million Kenyans are unemployed.

Speaking during the International Research Conference that was held at Zetech University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Technology (JKUAT) lecturer Henry Bwisa urged universities to focus more on promoting entrepreneurial innovation in Kenya's higher learning institutions.

"There is need to enforce the application of better solutions to solving existing problems, as well as promote students and faculty innovation," he said.

Prof Bwisa said few university dons engage in research and a small number of researchers' commercialise their output.

Zetech University Vice Chancellor Njenga Munene said that research plays a significant role in developing effective academic systems.

"This conference created a platform for the exchange of ideas that address the critical role innovation plays in advancing education, IT and business," said Prof Munene

The VC called on scholars to ensure their research findings develop into practical solutions for the country and urged students to think differently so as to make the most of the university education.

Zetech University's Academics, Research and Extension Deputy Vice Chancellor Alice Njuguna said there is need to bridge the gap between varsities and governing bodies in the country especially in the area of education, innovation and research.

"It is important that varsities collaborate with entities such as the Ministry of Education, Ministry of ICT, and institutions such as KEMRI to promote innovation in research and promote patenting of ideas birthed by Kenyan researchers," Dr Njuguna said.

The forum was organised in collaboration with Research Acies Publications that seeks ensure learner benefit from a rich campus experience.

Photo: Supplied

(file photo).

By Leulseged Worku

Behind every successful economy there is a strong technological advancement. Those countries with better technology and technologists portray better economic performance. However, those countries with poor technological advancements and use exhibit a very poor economic performance.

Following the Industrial Revolution, several countries have managed to accumulate capital out of technological transformation. But, they did not remain complacent with what they earned. They have kept on improving their technology for better global competition and economic boom. At the same time, those countries who are behind this technological know how are still lagging behind economic growth. Most African countries are the victims of this poor technological transformation. Absence of home-grown technology conspiring with inability to adopt imported technology with local situation is still a bottleneck for most African countries.

The absence of improved and globally competent technology has a direct impact on the overall economic performance of a given country. Every sector needs modern technology. Be it agriculture, industry or any other sector, it has to lean on modern technology. In the dearth of such technological innovations, the expected productivity can not be achieved. It is possible to take agriculture as a simple example.

Ethiopia is said to be a land that started farming early as the history of farming itself. However, due to the absence of modern technology, for ages the sector did not bring the expected result. Traditional ox ploughing is still being practiced. This does not mean that the whole farming practice is still traditional. There are farmings that use modern technologies. Nation's experience has showed that better and improved technologies have afforded the economy improved production.

As it was reported by the Ministry of Science and Technology(MoST), Ethiopia should press ahead with its use of technology in all sectors. According to the Ministry's report, if the country needs to hit its middle level income country target, it has to apply modern technologies in all sectors and it has to increase its economy by seven fold.

MoST's Minister, Dr. Gethahun Mekuriya notes that absence of holistic use of technologist in all sectors have affected the economic progress of the nation.

He said, due to low level of technological use the country has only generated 75 USD. This is a challenge to the economy and a bottleneck towards its transition into middle level income countries. According to him, the country is expected to generate 180-200 billon USD within the coming seven years. For this reason, the country has to expand its use of improved technologist in all aspects. This includes the marketing system.

The Minister reported that in this technological era online marketing has dominated the economic transaction. In this regard, Ethiopia should not expect global consumers to come home to buy its products. The country has to work seriously in the area of technology. This is especially true to increase agricultural production and productivity and also to emerge competitive in the global market.

Dr. Getahun also asserts that now in the global system the economic growth of countries is not measured only by the amount of resources they have got but also by the type of technologies they are using to produce goods and services. In this regard, Ethiopia has to be part of this global community by applying modern technologies in its economic sectors. The country has to devote its resources to produce vehicles, electrical and chemical products, which have a potential to produce high capital.

He also said that factories should not only be centers where job opportunities are created. They have to be also centers where value is added and extra wealth is generated. Several textile and leather factories that mushroomed in the country have to produce more and more resources for the national economy. Beside supporting the national economy by providing job opportunities, they have to produce more wealth.

Concerning the effort of the Ministry, Dr. Getahun notes that over the last three years, the Ministry has accomplished several tasks that will support the nation in areas of technological transformation. This is in the form of creating links between Universities and concerned institutions.

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