Africa Monitor | Vol VI Issue XXX

     Uganda, Africa Monitor, February

    A child in Uganda

    The Continent

    India welcomes Morocco’s return to African Union

    India on February 15 congratulated Morocco on its return to the African Union (AU). “India and Africa have a historic relationship and this has grown into a sustainable partnership. India wholeheartedly welcomes Morocco’s return to AU, which has strengthened Africa’s Unity,” a statement from the Indian ministry of external affairs said.

    India’s message follows Morocco’s re-admission into the African Union in January more than three decades after it left the body over the latter’s recognition of the independence of the disputed territory of Western Sahara. Morocco, the only country in Africa that was not a member of the AU, left its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity, in 1984 after a majority of the member states recognised Western Sahara.

    A former Spanish colony, Western Sahara was annexed by Morocco in 1975 and was the focus of conflict between Morocco and indigenous people led by the Polisario Front until a UN-brokered truce brought the armed insurgency to a halt in 1991. Thirty-nine countries supported Morocco’s bid for re-admission into the AU this week but nine voted against it, news reports said.

    India has been following an aggressive woo Africa strategy with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Pranab Mukherjee and vice president Hamid Ansari visiting about a dozen African countries among them last year.

    Source: live mint

    Four nations to meet on Lake Tanganyika oil

    Four countries sharing the Lake Tanganyika basin will hold a meeting next week in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to discuss a joint exploration of oil and gas in the second deepest lake in the world. The minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof Sospeter Muhongo, on February 8, told the august House that there are traces of oil and gas in the lake, and the meeting is aimed at harmonizing exploration efforts and avoid conflicts over the resources. He said the meeting would take place in the DRC lake town of Kalemie and Tanzania will be represented by deputy minister for Energy and Minerals, Dr Medard Kalemani. The other two participating countries are Zambia and Burundi.

    "Oil has been discovered in Lake Kivu, which is just to the north of Lake of Tanganyika; this is a big boost to us, and now more than ever before, we're convinced that there might be oil and gas deposits in the lake. However, as we all know, there are four of us sharing the lake and we must sit down and discuss and execute the exploration activities together," said Prof Muhongo.

    The minister said that while responding to a follow-up question by Mr Daniel Nsazugwanko (Kasulu Urban-CCM) who wanted to know when the exploration activities would kick off in Lake Tanganyika and along the Malagarasi River. This comes as Tanzania and DRC already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for joint oil and gas exploration in and along Lake Tanganyika last October when DRC President Joseph Kabila visited Tanzania.

    The MoU was signed by DRC Petroleum and Gas minister Ngoy Mukena and Tanzania's Energy and Minerals minister Muhongo at the State House in Dar es Salaam. "Oil has already been discovered in Lake Albert, and there's a great possibility that there's also oil in Lake Tanganyika."

    Source: The Citizen

    Kigali International Airport ranked second best in Africa

    Kigali International Airport has been ranked second-best airport in Africa and best in East Africa by a reputable Canadian travel and hospitality firm, Sleeping Airports. Sleeping Airports, with their website, www.sleepinginairports.net, is an internationally recognised travelllers' online guide established in 1996 as a platform for passengers to share their airport experiences around the world.

    The survey, released on February 08, by 'The Guide to Sleeping in Airports,' credited Kigali International Airport's recent renovations, noting that the works have improved the airport's on time performance and cleanliness. The ranking is based on travellers' response, where the acclaimed travel website asked them to rate their airport experiences.

    Commenting on the ranking, Tonny Barigye, the public relations officer at Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority, said: "This comes as a result of consistency in a traveller-centred vision of ensuring a world class, safe and secure as well as quality service. Rwanda has invested over $50 million to ensure the transformational change in the traveller's comfort and world class facilities is realised." The airport was in 2014 ranked seventh best in Africa by Skytrax, a UK-based consultancy firm, on the basis of quality service. It was also ranked fifth-best by a Canadian aviation web site last year.

    John Mirenge, the chief executive of RwandAir, said the ranking is a manifestation of the Government's commitment to invest in aviation business. The best and worst African airports are differentiated by their readiness to offer an efficient, customer-friendly and clean experience with respect to the latter, considered to be repeated poor-timing offenders, with sickly security procedures and incompetent staff, operating in mini dromes. These are strong sentiments from travellers, as reflected in the 2016 edition of the annual survey of the best and worst airports conducted by Sleeping in Airports.

    The survey is based on a handful of experiences like comfort (rest zones, gate seating), services, facilities, things to do, food options, immigration/security, customer care and sanitation. Overall, South Africa's Cape Town International Airport, and Kigali International Airport were ranked first and second-best on the continent, respectively, with Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport (Port Louis) in Mauritius coming in third, and Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport, South Africa, in fourth place. Kenya's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport ranked ninth-best in Africa.

    Juba International Airport in South Sudan, Port Harcourt International Airport in Nigeria, and Nouakchott Airport in Mauritania were ranked worst airports on the continent. Globally, Singapore Changi International Airport was ranked the best airport in the world, followed by South Korea's Seoul Incheon, while Tokyo Haneda in Japan came in third.

    Source: The New Times

    Peace monitor denounces upsurge of violence in South Sudan

    The oversight body monitoring South Sudan's peace agreement on February 08 strongly condemned recent increase in fighting across the East African nation that has displaced over 50,000 people since January. Festus Mogae, Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) told a meeting of stakeholders in the capital Juba that recent flare up in armed clashes, sexual violence and increased restrictions on aid delivery in the past three months has greatly threatened peace efforts in the war-torn country.

    "Since the beginning of 2017, we have received reports of violent conflict in the Equatoria, Upper Nile and the Unity regions. This is not acceptable and JMEC demands respect for the cease fire and the restoration of peace by all parties," Mogae said. "It is simply not credible for the Parties to the Agreement to preach peace with one hand and simultaneously wage war around the country with the other," he added.

    The former Botswana President called on the country's warring parties to make every effort for the total cessation of violence around the country and allow immediate deployment of the regional protection force approved by the UN Security council in August 2016. "JMEC will never tire of repeating its resolute belief that South Sudan's problems must be resolved peacefully and politically, not forcefully. We must be willing to accommodate each other rather than defeat each other," he said.

    Mogae also called for a fully inclusive and representative political process in South Sudan that accommodates the interests of all the parties to the agreement and communities without renegotiation of the August 2015 pact. "We are all interested in finding a way to restore a fully inclusive and representative political process, involving all the estranged Parties to the Agreement, without renegotiating the Agreement, so that all Parties and communities see that their interests are being accommodated," Mogae said.

    Mogae appealed to the international community to support a call for national dialogue initiated by South Sudanese President Salva Kiir late last year, adding that an inclusive dialogue would offer a platform to restore full stability in the world's youngest nation. "The transitional government of national unity should ensure a genuine, inclusive national dialogue process that involves all parties to the agreement, armed groups and civil society organizations," he said.

    Mogae further urged South Sudanese government to lift restrictions imposed on humanitarian assistance and allow unhindered access by humanitarian organizations to people in need of help. South Sudan has been devastated by civil war which erupted in December 2013, killing tens of thousands, displacing over two million and left another 4.6 million severely food insecure. A peace deal signed in August 2015 between the rival leaders under UN pressure led to the establishment of a transitional unity government in April, but was shattered by renewed fighting in July 2016.

    Source: Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (Beijing)

    Tanzania, Zambia, DR Congo to construct a bridge

    Tanzania, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are planning to construct a 700km bridge in an effort to boost trade relations among them. DRC's Katanga Province governor Jean-Claude Kazembe said here on February 14 that the bridge to be constructed at Kasenga on the border between Congo and Zambia will cost $85 million (about Sh190 billion on the prevailing exchange rate). Upon constructing the bridge it will easy to cross the Luapula River, which is a section of the River Congo.

    The Congo River is Africa's second-longest river. The Luapula forms part of the border between Zambia and the DRC. Data shows that goods destined for DRC and Zambia account for 35 per cent and 24 per cent respectively of all cargo in transit that pass via the Dar es Salaam Port, hence the need for three countries to foster their trade relations by embarking on joint projects to improve infrastructure.

    "So far, we have already held talks with the relevant ministry in Tanzania (the Ministry of Works, Communication and Transport) and they have shown a positive interest in the implementation of the bridge," Mr Kazembe told journalists on February 14. According to him, the bridge will ease transportation of people and cargo across the three countries. He said a Chinese company had completed the first phase of the project's feasibility study. "As soon as we finalise talks with Zambia, actual construction will start soon," he said.

    Source: The Citizen

    Central Africa

    Over 700 killed in malaria outbreak in Angola

    A raging malaria outbreak has killed more than 700 people in Angola as the disease-prone Southern African country battles to thwart illnesses. Head of department of public health and control of endemics, Isaías Sambunga Cambissa, disclosed the figures as he gave an update on the clinical situation in the province of Bie. Cambissa revealed that in the past year, authorities of the province of Bie notified government of 260 188 cases of the disease. He said the 776 deaths represented a massive spike from the previous year when 248 people died from 178 372 cases reported. Apart from malaria, Angola is also battling the spread of cholera and yellow fever.

    Source: caj news

    MPs approve law making Kiswahili official language in Rwanda

    Members of the Lower House on February 8 passed the organic law establishing Kiswahili as an official language. Swahili joins Kinyarwanda, English and French as the country's fourth official language. For now, the language will primarily be used for administrative purposes, appearing as one of the official languages in some official documents.

    Appearing before the lawmakers to provide insight into why the law is necessary, the Minister for Sports and Culture, Julienne Uwacu, explained that the decision was motivated by both obligation and a variety of many other benefits. "Rwanda joined the East African Community (EAC) in 2007 and in the statute that establishes this bloc, Kiswahili is universally used in the region and members are requested to make Kiswahili one of their official languages," Uwacu said. "Kiswahili as an official language is, on one hand, fulfilling what we are required to do as a member country but, on the other hand, it's a way to increase the benefits that Rwandans can reap from economic integration."

    Uwacu told the MPs that the East African Passport was meant to have started being used in January this year and requested that because of this urgency, the law is passed without it necessarily going through standing committees for further review. However, the lawmakers expressed mixed feelings on the law. MP Jean Baptiste Rucibigango said that though Kiswahili is not a language that is historically used in Rwanda, it is one of the most popular in East Africa and would definitely be of added value. He wondered how it would be incorporated in schools as a foundation.

    "It's one of the languages that we can compare to Spanish and English when it comes to how popular it has become in this region and I am in support of this law. The draft law says that the language shall be used in administration but I don't see anywhere where it says it will be taught in schools or used in research. How is this going to be done?" Rucibigango asked.

    In response, Uwacu said that a Presidential Order would detail when Kiswahili would be incorporated in school curriculum. "We are going to introduce a curriculum and teaching material and we will definitely take advantage of the relationship that we have with other partner states who already use the language," the minister said. MP Jean-Marie Vianney Gatabazi wondered whether the Government was ready for such a transition in terms of budget, calling it an "expensive undertaking." "The moment this law is gazetted, there are so many things that need to change in terms of documentation, for instance," he said.

    MP Juvenal Nkusi agreed and also reminded fellow lawmakers that as a member of the EAC, Rwanda had ratified the bloc's treaty making the language which is already officially recognised by the members automatically applicable. "Are we seriously going to adopt a law because of the East African passport? In the EAC treaty, is Swahili not recognised? Did we not ratify that treaty? Doesn't that automatically make it applicable in Rwanda? Would it stop the passport from being functional? Then there is also the cost. For a language that is already applicable here, why are we giving ourselves the burden of this cost?" he wondered.

    To this, Uwacu said that the process would be gradual but reminded the MPs that in the recently revised budget, there is money that was set aside specifically for the EAC passport. On adopting the language, she said that the process is gradual and reminded that there is a lot to benefit from learning Kiswahili, especially since East African countries had opened their borders to each other's citizens. MP Theobald Mporanyi requested to know numbers indicating how many Rwandans speak Kiswahili, wondering if it was necessary to adopt another language.

    Source: The New Times 

    Soldiers kill 101 in clashes with Kamwina Nsapu in Congo-Kinshasa

    Soldiers targeting the Kamwina Nsapu group in central Democratic Republic of Congo killed at least 101 people over five days in February, the UN said. At least 39 women were among the victims killed amid the violence between February 9 and 13, the UN's human rights spokeswoman Liz Throssell said on February 09, citing sources in the country.

    The soldiers fired indiscriminately with machine guns when they saw the fighters, who were armed mainly with machetes and spears, she said. "We are deeply concerned at the reported high number of deaths, which, if confirmed, would suggest excessive and disproportionate use of force by the soldiers," she said. The violence is also part of a broader surge in instability across Congo in recent weeks after President Joseph Kabila refused to step down when his constitutional mandate expired in December.

    At least 11 people were killed on February 13 in clashes between the army and a group loyal to a traditional chief slain in fighting with police last year, said local activist Jean Rene Tshimanga, president of the Civil Society of Kasai-Central province. "This morning, we learned again that [the group] attacked the men in uniform [who] repelled them," Tshimanga told Reuters news agency. He did not know how many of the dead were fighters and how many army soldiers.

    Neither provincial nor military officials could be immediately reached for comment. Similar clashes have uprooted tens of thousands. Analysts say violence in Congo, a tinderbox of conflicts linked to land, ethnicity and mineral resources, has been exacerbated by Kabila's failure to step down. On February 11, the Congo's UN peacekeeping mission said Kamwina Nsapu had committed violent atrocities and used child soldiers, and it also criticised the army for what it said was a disproportionate use of force against the militia fighters, who are typically only lightly armed.

    Source: Al Jazeera (Doha)

    North Africa

    Sudan's President Al-Bashir accuses Egypt of supporting opposition

    Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir accused Egypt of supporting Sudanese opposition, while threatening to resort to the UN Security Council if Egypt refused to negotiate over the Halayeb triangle. During an interview with al-Arabiya satellite channel, Bashir said that Sudanese opposition figures were backed by Egyptian intelligence services, revealing that his country has repeatedly asked Cairo to stop supporting opposition. He added that his problem isn't with Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi but rather with Egyptian intelligence.

    "Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is a good man and he is my friend, but it's the Egyptian intelligence that I am accusing," Bashir said during the interview, which was aired on February 5. "I'm not accusing President Sisi. I'm accusing the regime," he added. Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, also denied hosting leaders of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, saying that harbouring them is against Khartoum's policy. "Our policy is not to disturb the peace and security of any country and not to intervene in any internal issues of any country," he said.

    The Sudanese president also insisted that Halayeb triangle is a Sudanese territory and threatened to lodge a complaint with the UN if Egypt refused to start negotiations over the border towns of Halayeb and Shalateen. "The Halayeb triangle is Sudanese and we will not make any concessions," he said. The Halayeb triangle, which lies at the border between Egypt and Sudan and is considered Egypt's southern gate to the Red Sea, has long been contested between both countries. In April 2016, Sudan formally called for holding negotiations between Egypt and Sudan over the Halayeb triangle, or referring the dispute to the International Court of Arbitration.

    Source: Aswat Masriya

    Egypt's unemployment rate eases slightly to 12.4 per cent

    Egypt's unemployment rate eased slightly in the fourth quarter of 2016 to 12.4 per cent from 12.6 per cent in the third quarter, state statistics agency said on February 15. The unemployment rate also declined from the 12.8 per cent recorded in the same period of 2015. According to a statement by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), the number of unemployed persons stood at 3.59 million persons, decreasing 49,000 persons from the previous quarter. Meanwhile, the labour force stood at 25.5 million persons, increasing by 299,000 persons from the previous quarter, and marking a 757,000 increase from the number recorded in the same period of 2015.

    CAPMAS reported that 8.5 per cent of the male labour force is unemployed, decreasing from 8.7 per cent during the previous quarter. Unemployment rate among the female labour force however inched to 25.3 per cent, as opposed to 25.9 per cent during the same period last year. CAPMAS reported also a decrease in unemployment rate in urban areas; 14 per cent, as opposed to 14.2 per cent during the previous quarter.

    Almost 79.1 per cent of those unemployed belong to the youth segment, aged between 15 and 29, and educated segment make up the majority of the unemployed sector; 88.4 per cent. Egypt suffers from a relatively high unemployment rate and has been struggling to restore economic growth since a 2011 uprising toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

    Source: Aswat Masriya

    161 Nigerians return from Libya

    One hundred and sixty one Nigerians returned voluntarily from Libya on February 14. They were assisted back home by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) after many months in Libyan detention facilities. They arrived singing songs of praise and beaming with smiles, thanking their creator for bringing them safely home. "Our people are dying," they said as they arrived aboard a chartered Nouvel Air Airbus 330 aircraft which landed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) cargo terminal in Lagos around 3:30 p.m.

    They were received on arrival by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) alongside the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), among other agencies at the airport before they were moved to Hajj camp where they did their profiling. Among them were nursing mothers those heavily pregnant while others were seriously ill due to surgeries reportedly carried out on them in the North African country.

    The returnees comprised 60 males including 51 adults, two children and seven infants while females were 101 consisting of 92 adults, seven children and two infants. Head of Sub office of IOM in Lagos, Nahashon Thuo disclosed that the returnees decided to voluntarily return home because of the hostile conditions in Libya. He said this was why the IOM intervened to facilitate their returns, disclosing that they would be given a stipend of 50 pounds (about N30,000) to support them to return to their destinations.

    Also speaking, Head of Search and Rescue, NEMA, Dr. Onimode Abdullahi Bandele who represented the DG, Alhaji Mohammed Sidi said the agency acted on recent video clips which went viral on the hostilities in Libya. He said, "It (the video) got to us and we got in touch with our partners. We particularly sent to IOM to help us clarify what the issues were." The returnees said a lot of Nigerians had lost their lives to the dehumanizing treatment meted out to them in Libya. One returnee, 22- year old Beauty Johnson from Edo state said she was arrested and spent three months in prison before IOM came to her rescue.

    Source: Daily Trust

    Southern Africa

    Trump speaks on Zimbabwe, slams Mugabe's Government over arrest of Pastor Mawarire

    President Donald Trump's administration has raised alarm over the deterioration of Zimbabwe's human rights situation, following the jailing of two prominent clerics critical of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's leadership. Trump has not minced his words on some of the world's dictators, telling them to reform or leave office. The US embassy in Harare issued a statement condemning the arrest of evangelical pastors Evan Mawarire and Phillip Patrick Mugadza, saying that freedom of expression was now under attack in Zimbabwe.

    Mawarire was arrested last week at the Harare International Airport on his surprise return to the southern African country after spending six months in self-imposed exile, mostly in the United States. He was subsequently charged with attempting to subvert Mugabe's constitutionally elected government. On the other hand, Mugadza continues to be incarcerated following his prophecy that Mugabe would die on October 17 this year.

    Spokesperson of the US embassy in Harare, David Mcguire, described the arrest of Mawarire and Mugadza as "unwarranted". "The US government unequivocally believes in the basic right of freedom of speech and calls on the government of Zimbabwe to respect the human rights of all Zimbabweans which are enshrined in the constitution. We believe that the basic right of Zimbabweans to freedom of speech - be it in public, through print media or social media - should be protected within and outside Zimbabwe's borders," said Mcguire.

    For his part, Mugabe recently lambasted some citizens and top officials of his ruling Zanu-PF party for "abusing social media to further their selfish interests". The government is now planning to introduce a bill that would criminalise the abuse of the internet. Information Minister Christopher Mushohwe was not immediately available for comment.

    Source: news24WIRE

    First Lady urges Malawian women to utilise cancer screening services to save lives

    Malawi First Lady Madam Gertrude Mutharika has urged Malawian women to periodically go for cancer screening to save their lives. Speaking in Lilongwe on February 12 when she participated in the monthly meeting of the Lilongwe chapter of Zokonda Amayi Women Club Madam Mutharika who is also President of the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) Malawi is losing a lot of women to cervical cancer.

    Zokonda Amayi Clubs are groups of women formed out of their on-air interaction through Malawi state broacdcaster MBC greeting programme called Zokonda Amayi. "As you might have heard, at least four women are dying from cervical cancer every day. This is just too much and this trend must not be allowed to continue. The only way to achieve this is for us women, as well as girls going for screening," Madam Mutharika said.

    She described the women's daily interaction on radio as the best forum for the women to share meaningful information on various issues that affect women, children and the youth. "We need to encourage one another to go for cancer screening and HIV testing. This is the only way we can get the necessary help in time and save our lives to contribute to the development of our communities and the nation at large," she added.

    The First Lady also appealed to the women to ensure that girls are kept in school and are protected from all practices that threaten their education. During the meeting, Desk Officer for Cervical Cancer in the Department of Reproductive Health Twambilire Phiri gave a talk on cervical cancer where the women had a chance to ask questions on the topic. She explained that at least four women die in Malawi everyday from cervical cancer mostly due to late diagnosis because most women seek help when the condition has escalated.

    Chairperson for the group, Mrs Chilenje commended Madam Mutharika for her humility and putting the welfare of women, children and the youth at the centre of her attention. "As Zokonda Amayi groups we feel very encouraged and we will do more to support her role as First Lady of Malawi as well as President of OAFLA (Organisation of African First Ladies)," she said.

    Source: Nyasa Times

    Namibia seeks further cooperation with China, UN in food security

    Namibia is seeking to continue its cooperation with China and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in promoting food security. FAO country representative Babagana Ahamadu told Xinhua that given the success of the first phase of the tripartite South-South Cooperation (SSC) agreement, Namibia, through the Agricultural ministry and the fisheries ministry have officially applied to FAO for phase II of the SSC. "By way of feedback I am happy to report that all applications will be considered towards the end of this month and that the outcome will be communicated through diplomatic channels," he told Xinhua.

    In 2014 Namibia officially signed the tripartite Agreement in on South-South Cooperation (SSC) and it was formally incepted in April 2015 upon arrival of 15 Chinese experts, who were deployed in four regions to work with their Namibian counterparts in the fields of rice, gardening and husbandry. During the two-year period, 15 varieties of rice have been introduced to Namibia and three will be selected to plant in the country in the future, 455 farmers and officials received training in various fields and modern agricultural machinery has been introduced and demonstrated in the country.

    The project, which will officially end in April, also brought about mutual sharing and exchange of development solutions, including knowledge, experiences, policies, good practices, technology and resources over the two year period it was implemented. Last week, Namibia bade farewell to the 15 Chinese agriculture experts who were part of the Agreement and the Minister of Agriculture, John Mutorwa, hailed the project and said it had been successfully implemented as it achieved its objectives.

    Permanent Secretary of Agriculture Percy Misika said in an interview with Xinhua said that as for future cooperation, discussions are underway for Phase II of the SSC project between the Tripartite parties. "No specific areas have been decided upon yet as discussions are still in their early stages. It is however anticipated that Phase II will build on the excellent results obtained in Phase 1 particularly in rice production," he said.

    Meanwhile, Ahamadu said that, FAO stands ready to support Namibia's efforts and plans aimed at reducing poverty. "SSC today plays a greater role than ever before in the international development cooperation landscape and innovation in the South is generating new tools and partnerships for tackling issues of food insecurity, poverty and sustainable development," he said.

    Source: Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (Beijing)

    East Africa

    Tanzanian President Magufuli suspends Planning Commission chief over airport payment

    President John Magufuli, on February 8, suspended acting Secretary of the Planning Commission, Treasury, Frolence Mwanri over questionable payment approval for the second phase of Julius Nyerere International Airport's (JNIA) Terminal III construction. Ms Mwanri was suspended after Dr Magufuli made an impromptu tour of the construction site and ordered the relevant state organs to investigate the project.

    The president was vividly irked by the amount spent in the second phase construction, saying the amount does not match the value of the building. He queried, "Why did you, government experts, accept such huge costs, is this building real worthy 560bn/-?" He directed the Minister for Works, Transport and Communications Prof Makame Mbarawa to form a team of local engineers who are well versed with the government focus, saying he wanted a big percentage of money paid out to the project to remain in the country.

    "I will be the main consultant of this project...I have directed the minister to provide me with daily reports on the projects but I also want him to form the team of patriotic engineers who know what we want to do, so that more money remain in the country," he explained. President Magufuli assured members of the public that the works at the ongoing construction at Terminal III of JNIA will resume on February 9. "I decided to visit the site without telling anyone. If I had informed them they would have lied to me that work is going on. I know that there are Tanzanians working here and that is very good because I promised to generate employment opportunities," he told the cheering workers.

    Dr Magufuli stressed that he had issued directive to the contractor and consultant to resume work this morning, adding that he has also directed the minister of works to provide him with daily updates of the project. He explained that the project Contractors and Consultants had claims that the government will settle soon. "There were also some fake claims but those I will deal with myself. But you must report back to work on the morning of February 9 and they have promised me that work will resume as usual," he stressed.

    The on-going construction of Terminal III at the JNIA, which is expected to facilitate 3.5 million annual passengers, includes construction of parking lots, access roads, platforms and a taxiway. The new terminal is designed for the anticipated growth of international air traffic, leaving the existing international Terminal two to cater for domestic flights. Meanwhile, President Magufuli, on February 8, received credentials from six envoys who will be representing their countries in Dar es Salaam.

    The envoys and their countries in brackets are Mr Mohamed Ben Mansour Al Malek (United Arab Emirates), Mr Abdelilah Benryane (Morocco), Mr Benson Keith Chali (Zambia), Mr Lucas Domingo Hernandez Polledo (Cuba), Mousa Farhang (Iran) and Mr Gervais Abayeho (Burundi). He told Ambassador Al Malek that Saudi Arabia had been cooperating with Tanzania in various projects of infrastructure and asked him to convey his message to King of Saudi Arabia.

    Dr Magufuli also expressed his happiness following Cuba's decision to build pharmaceutical industries in the country, with a view of reducing drug imports. Moroccan Ambassador Benryane told the President that his country had embarked on a process to implement the promise by Moroccan King Mohammed VI to construct a modern stadium in Dodoma.

    Source: Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

    Top UN official says South Sudan President Kiir not committed to peace

    The United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, has condemned South Sudanese President Salva Kiir for lack of commitment to end violence in the war-torn country. Mr Dieng said the peace process has yet to be accompanied by a complete cessation of hostilities, undermining the likelihood that the national dialogue proposed by the government will be seen as credible. "President Salva Kiir has made a commitment to end the violence and bring about peace, yet we still see ongoing clashes, and the risk that mass atrocities will be committed remains ever-present," Mr Dieng said. More than 52,000 South Sudanese are reported to have fled to Uganda in January alone, from towns in the southwest region including Yei, Morobo, Lainya and Kajo-Keji.

    The UN said about 24,000 people arrived in Uganda between January 25 and 31, of which 4,500 were received on a single day, January 28. The displaced gave accounts of civilian killings, destruction of homes, sexual violence, and looting of livestock and property, and cited fear of arrest and torture, Mr Dieng said. He said the UN was particularly alarmed at the situation in Kajo-Keji, in Central Equatoria, (south of Juba), where civilians have fled over fear of violence en masse. "The access of the United Nations peacekeeping mission to and around Kajo-Keji has reportedly been restricted despite the serious security situation, as peacekeepers were initially blocked from accessing the area," Mr Dieng said.

    During the African Union Summit in Ethiopia, the continental bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), and the United Nations in a joint statement expressed their deep concerns over the continuing spread of fighting and risk of inter-communal violence escalating into mass atrocities in South Sudan. "If South Sudan is to achieve peace," Mr Dieng said, "all belligerents must urgently cease hostilities and invest in the peace process to settle their differences, before the territorial fragmentation and destruction of the social fabric of this young country become irreversible."

    Source: The East African

    Kenyan MPs throw out changes to sexual offences law

    MPs have voted to throw out Sexual Offences Amendment Bill that, among others, sought to criminalise unwanted bodily contact in crowded public places like ferries. The Bill sponsored by Busia Woman Rep Florence Mutua also sought to criminalise out-of-court bargains on sexual attacks involving minors, These and other controversial sections appear to have alarmed male MPs who held the numbers when the vote was put on February 15 morning. The defeat appears to have irked Ms Mutua who walked out of the chambers in a huff. She waved the Bill to her male colleagues who watched in amusement.

    Source: Daily Nation

    Jailed doctors in Kenya walk to freedom

    Doctors' union officials jailed on February 13 are set to walk to freedom. Lawyers for the Council of Governors and Kenya Medical Practitioners', Pharmacists and Dentists Union have agreed to have the medics released immediately to carry on with talks. The negotiations aimed at ending the two-month doctors' job boycott will be jump-started on February 16 morning, the two parties agreed before the Court of Appeal.

    They are expected to craft a return-to-work formula that will be presented in court on February 23, meaning doctors may have to vacate the 2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement they have been pushing their employer to effect. The parties agreed before a three-judge bench of Jamila Mohamed, Wanjiru Karanja and Hannah Okwengu in Nairobi on February 15.

    The Council of Governors, through lawyer Eunice Lumallas, told the judges that they have reached the consent out of goodwill. The bench approved and recorded the consent. The court also allowed the Law Society of Kenya to join the case and mandated it to lead the talks together with the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

    Source: Daily Nation

    West Africa

    Gambia to rejoin Commonwealth, ICC

    President Adama Barrow made the announcement during a visit from British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. The move is intended to repair damage done to the country's foriegn relations under former leader Yahya Jammeh. The Gambia's new government announced on February 14 that it will not only halt proceedings to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC), but that it will also rejoin the British Commonwealth.

    The move reversed decisions made by long time former president Yahya Jammeh. Newly inaugurated President Adama Barrow revealed the decision during a visit from UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, the first such trip for a British top diplomat. Johnson said he was "very pleased that Gambia wants to rejoin the Commonwealth and we will ensure this happens in the coming months."

    Jammeh had removed his country from the association of former members of the British Empire in 2013 after calling it "an extension of colonialism." Barrow also said on February 14 that he had notified the United Nations of his government's decision to stay a member of the ICC. Jammeh began withdrawal proceedings last October, saying that the organization unfairly targeted African nations. "As a new government that has committed itself to the promotion of human rights ... we reaffirm The Gambia's commitment to the principles enshrined in the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court," said a government statement broadcast on state television and radio.

    Barrow finally managed to unseat Jammeh in elections in December. Jammeh, who seized power in a 1994 coup, initially said he would step down, only to reverse his decision a week later in a bid to cling onto power. After an intervention from ECOWAS, an alliance of west African states, Jammeh went into exile in Equatorial Guinea - after reportedly making off with millions from the state coffers.

    Source: Deutsche Welle

    US to pump $1 billion into Nigeria's power sector

    Just a day after U.S President, Donald Trump have a phone conversation with Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, Power Africa, an initiative by the US government to light up Africa, on February 14 said it was planning to invest about one billion dollars on the power sector in Nigeria, the programme's coordinator, Mr Andrew Herscowitz said.

    Herscowitz announced this in Abuja at a news conference on strengthening the power sector in Nigeria. He said U.S. was committed to strengthening the power sector in Nigeria and that America has already committed billions of dollars in funding the nation's energy projects. He said 'Power Africa', launched by President Barack Obama in 2013 to increase electricity access, is aimed at adding more than 30,000 megawatts of cleaner, more efficient energy development in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Herscowitz said the project also targets unlocking the substantial wind, solar, hydro power, natural gas, biomass, and geothermal resources on the continent. "Since Power Africa was launched, U.S. Trade Development Agency has committed approximately 6.5 million dollars in funding for 10 activities supporting Nigeria's energy sector, which could leverage up to 2.7 billion dollars in investment.

    "It has advanced 50 million dollars in financing from the Oversea Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to Lumos, a Nigeria-based solar energy company, to scale up it's off grid solar power service to about 200,000 Nigerian homes and businesses. " Power Africa has supported power companies in the country to the tune of 100 million dollars capital expenditure credit enhancement facility with a corresponding 6.5 million dollars in technical assistance "And (supported) another 1.5 million dollars for limited commodity to turn around the DISCOS," he said.

    He said that functional power distribution companies were critical to the development of the country. According to him, well functioning DISCOs are critical to the delivery of electricity in Nigeria. "If the DISCOs do not work, the energy sector as a whole does not work." He said Nigeria, like any country, needed to see capital flowing through the entire energy value chain.

    Source: VANGUARD

    Liberia Revenue Authority regulation to thwart false declaration by importers

    Tax evasion is not a crime that has been taken seriously in Liberia, but the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) is struggling to curb such financial malpractice that appears to be causing the government to lose millions of dollars in revenue generation. The LRA has had its fair share of condemnations in recent weeks following the imposition of new taxes and regulations to curb tax evasion and at the same time raise revenue to meet up with the current fiscal budget.

    Criticisms from importers over new regulations during the just ended festive season sparked protests, while the additional new US$0.01tariff on all voice calls has made the government unpopular with many Liberians and critics are asserting that the government wants to generate revenue at the detriment of already struggling masses. To avoid the uproar from the protesting Liberian importers during the Christmas season; the government backtracked on its regulations.

    In an exclusive interview with FrontPage Africa on February 13, LRA Commissioner General, Elfreda Stewart-Tamba, said the commission has reintroduced the system in order to prevent the understating of invoices by importers. She said the work of the LRA is to transform the revenue collection system to transform and develop the country, adding that this requires a new approach to prevent tax evasion.

    The LRA boss said some importers wrongly declare by presenting invoices that are understating the value of the items they import, which makes it difficult for the commission to determine the quantity of what is imported. "So what we tried to introduce and we have now - we stepped back because of the holidays... , when you bring goods into the country you must declare the content - item by item," Tamba said.

    The new system is still being resisted by these Liberian importers as they claim the taxes are too high, but the LRA says it is working on sensitizing importers. "All they have to do is to submit their invoices, their genuine invoices. That shouldn't be a problem - but the record will show that in some cases they don't have their invoices," she said. " "People are falsely declaring their income - major business, currently we are data mining... ; you have major businesses in the country that just falsely declare their income."

    Raising revenue to meet up with current 2016/2017 fiscal budget seems impossible for the government especially as the prices of the country's main exports have drastically dropped on the world's market. Exploring other areas of generating revenue has come with challenges especially as the public decry the US$0.01 tax on voice call. Although the LRA and the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA) have been condemned for the new tax regulations, Commissioner General Tamba says her commission doesn't impose tax but there was an increasing need to put a break on the revenue decline by using the telecom sector.

    "We had a problem whereby we see our GST declining and our corporate income tax declining - to address that problem we need to levy tax on the sector to mitigate the drop in the revenue," she said, adding that there has been a drop in the revenue from US$20 million to US$6 million, while the voice call usage going up." The LRA boss said the commission will initiate series of audits of the GSM companies by July this year.

    Source: Front Page Africa (FPA)

    This monitor is prepared by Harish Venugopalan, Research Assistant, Observer Research Foundation, Delhi

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