- Africa Weekly
- Apr 18 2016
Intra–African trade to rise to US $ 250 billion by 2021
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is to implement a new strategy aimed at driving industrialisation across Africa and increasing intra-African trade by, at least, 50 per cent in the next five years. The Afreximbank Intra-African Trade Strategy, approved by the Board of Directors at its quarterly meeting in Johannesburg on Saturday, will see the Bank work with partners to ramp up trade among African countries to $250 billion from its current level of about $170 billion by 2021, a statement announced.
The strategy will involve expanding existing trading activities within Africa’s regional economic communities, integrating informal trade into formal frameworks, reducing trade barriers and minimising the foreign exchange costs of intra-African trade. “Intra-regional trade will drive value addition in Africa and help reduce the continent’s dependence on commodities,” said Dr. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, following the approval of the strategy. “It would also allow for the expansion of domestic trade value chains, thereby strengthening the capacity of African economies to resist economic shocks”.
“The fact that about 40 per cent of intra-African trade is done in the informal sector shows that there are institutional gaps,” continued the President. “Afreximbank intends to play a significant role in reducing these barriers, by promoting the emergence of export trading companies and by helping to resolve regulatory and policy issues through a deepening of partnerships and bilateral trade arrangements.”
Information released by Afreximbank after the approval of the strategy showed that it will be centered on three core pillars, namely, Create, Connect and Deliver. Under the create pillar, the Bank will support the expansion of the production, processing and export capabilities of African economies with trade finance instruments, for import of investment goods, project finance, lines of credit, export development finance and guarantees, and will provide project financing to construct infrastructure for the services sectors and for the development of industrial parks.
The connect pillar will consist of initiatives to provide a facilitative environment to increase the flow of goods and services, including facilitation of linkages with public and private entities, institutions, agents and entrepreneurs along the trade value chain. It will also involve support for export trading companies the launch of an Intra-African trade payment platform using a clearing arrangement operated by the Bank that will reduce foreign currency costs of the trade.
For the deliver pillar, Afreximbank will deepen access of traders to African markets by creating effective and cost-efficient distribution mechanisms through the financing of transport logistics and storage infrastructure. To support the Intra-African Trade Strategy, the Board of Directors also approved a revised local currency programme that will allow the development of yield curves via African currencies, which will encourage greater use of local currencies, thereby further reducing the foreign exchange cost of intra-African trade transactions. Afreximbank plans to hold a formal unveiling of the Intra-African Trade Strategy during an Intra-African Trade Forum scheduled to hold in Abidjan in May.
Source: Business Day Ghana, April 8, 2016
Young people discuss African Youth Charter
In commemorating the 10th year anniversary of the adoption of the African Youth Charter, 52 young people from different African countries converged to dialogue at a local hotel during the weekend. The event was organised by the Human Right Institute of South Africa (HURISA), a coalition of African civil society organisations, in collaboration with the African Youth Panel, National Youth Council of The Gambia, Youth Alliance in The Gambia, African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS) and UN.
Addressing the participants, Mr Dalitoo Magalegele, Programme Officer, Eye for development (EFD), said states parties of the African Union are obliged to recognize the rights, freedoms and duties enshrined in the Charter. He said the State parties shall undertake the necessary steps in accordance with their constitutional processes and with the provisions of the present Charter to adopt such legislative or other measures that may be necessary to give effect to the provisions of the charter. “Every young person shall be entitled to the enjoyments of the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in this Charter, irrespective of their race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status,” said Mr. Magalegele.
The EFD Programme Officer noted that the States parties are also obliged to take appropriate measures to ensure that young people in their respective countries are protected against all forms of discrimination on the basis of status, activities, expressed opinions or beliefs. “Every young person shall be assured the right to express his or her ideas and opinions subject to the restrictions prescribed by laws. Every young person shall have the right to free association and freedom of peaceful assembly in conformity with the law. Young people should not be compelled to belong to an association,” said Mr. Magalegele. He added that every young person shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
Source: Foroyaa, April 11, 2016
Google launches digital skills training drive for 1 million African youth
Google in SubSaharan Africa has launched its massive #digitalskills4Africa training programme in Nairobi, Kenya with an aim to enroll and equip more than a million young Africans with free digital skills. The programme that started three months ago, has already seen more than 11,000 Kenyans using the programme’s platform on www.digifyafrica.com which is a digital training initiative delivered by Livity Africa, with support from Google Sub-Saharan Africa, the Rockefeller Foundation and British Council.
The tech giant plans to train 200 000 people in Kenya, officials told a press conference in Nairobi on Tuesday. A further 400 000 Nigerians and 300 000 south Africans will receive free digital training, while another 100 000 people will be selected from other sub-Saharan Africa countries according to other media reports on Tuesday. A release following the launch said, in realising this commitment, Google is supporting its partner Livity Africa to run two free training programs: Digify Bytes to offer digital skills to young people looking to develop a digital career; and Digify Pro, a 3-month immersion program for digital specialists.
Officiating at the launch, Kenya’s ICT Principal Secretary for Broadcast Sammy Itemere welcomed Google’s initiative saying it would go a long way to meet the challenges of lack of adequate skilled labour in the country. “Statistics show that in 2013, 70% of unemployed people in Kenya were the youth and yet from population census 2009, the percentage of Kenyans aged between 18 and 35 are 30.3% of the total population. Consequently, 92% of unemployed youth have some form of formal education but do not posses any relevant skills. This now leads to the Question whether the current education system meets the demands of the 21st century workplace! and already the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is working to provide an answer to this,” said Itemere.
“I wish to urge everyone who is looking to kickstart their career in the digital space, to boost their business online or acquire a new skill that will open new job or entrepreneurship opportunities for them, to visit www.digifyafrica.com and enroll for a course of their choice,” Itemere said. “The Digital Skills Program is aimed at helping more Kenyans play an integral part in the digital economy. With digital skills, everyone can succeed online, start a new business, grow their existing one, or share their passion,” said Google Country Manager, Charles Murito.
To support the program, Google also launched an online-learning portal – digifyafrica.com- with a range of digital skills tutorials and courses, which will be available to anyone in Africa. The portal has been designed to be “light” to avoid excessive data usage, a major challenge for many African users. These programs have already launched in Nigeria, Kenya & South Africa, and will be scaled to reach more people in the next 12 months. A group of 65 volunteer Googlers from around the world are helping the Livity team with content development, ‘training the trainers’ and, in some cases, delivering the training sessions.
These initiatives will see people in Kenya and Africa as a whole trained on subjects ranging from content creation, digital strategy, web design, social media and app development the aim being to help young Africans develop the skills to build businesses, create jobs and contribute to economic growth. “The internet is at the heart of economic growth. It is the great equalizer that breaks down barriers and provides opportunities, not only to the privileged in New York, but also to someone in a remote part of Kenya. We are going to equip the youth with the digital skills they need, to help align them with the market needs and keep the Kenyan growth engine running” Murito said.
Internet adoption in Africa is growing fast — to an expected 490M users by 2020 — but digital skills adoption has been slow. Youth unemployment rates are high across the region — 35% in South Africa, 17% in Kenya, 13% in Nigeria. This presents huge opportunities for African businesses and young digital entrepreneurs. Developing digital entrepreneurship and creating new job opportunities for young people is critical to Africa’s transformative growth.
Source: CIO, April 12, 2016
Oxfam accuses World Bank of funding potential tax cheats in Africa
The World Bank has been accused of funding potential tax cheats in Africa through its private lending arm, the International Finance Corporation. A British non-profit, Oxfam claims the global lender funded 75 per cent of companies with presence in tax havens in 2015, calling on World Bank to ensure proof of tax compliance before funding. “Oxfam analysis reveals that 51 of the 68 companies that were lent money by the World Bank’s private lending arm in 2015 to finance investments in sub-Saharan Africa use tax havens,” says the report. “Together these companies, whose use of tax havens has no apparent link to their core business, received 84 per cent of the International Finance Corporation’s investments in the region last year.”
The report comes in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal, which reveals how powerful individuals and companies are using tax havens to hide wealth and dodge taxes. Oxfam’s analysis focused on IFC’s investments in sub-Saharan Africa revealing that the unit has more than doubled its investments in companies that use tax havens in just five years — from $1.20 billion in 2010 to $2.87 billion in 2015.
Mauritius was once again singled out as the most popular haven for IFC’s corporate clients with 40 per cent of firms lent cash by the World Bank sub-Saharan Africa having links there.Mauritius is also known to facilitate “round-tripping”. This is where a company shifts money offshore before returning it disguised as foreign direct investment, which attracts tax breaks and other financial incentives.
The small Island allows companies to reap the reward of tax benefits only available to foreign investment. The money is subject to tax breaks rather than capital gains and income tax that should rightly be charged on domestic investment. As an example, 34 per cent of total investment to India from 2000 to 2015 has come from the small island of Mauritius, most of it from the same building in Port Louis, the capital. According to a recent UN report, tax evasion costs poor countries about $100 billion in lost revenues.
Source: The East African, April 12, 2016
Burundi: UN Security Council unanimously backs move to deploy UN police
The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution to deploy a UN police presence to Burundi. The move follows nearly a year of violence and political upheaval. The UN Security Council resolution sets the stage for deployment of UN police to Burundi, where reports of murder, torture and disappearances have led to more than 250,000 people fleeing to neighboring countries.
Drafted by France, the resolution asks Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to come up with various options within 15 days for the deployment of UN police – in consultation with the Burundian government and the African Union.The police contribution aims to “increase the United Nations capacity to monitor the security situation, promote the respect of human rights and advance rule of law.”
French ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre said that the resolution was “a first step towards a strengthened UN presence in Burundi to help ensure the respect for human rights and alert the international community on the reality of the situation on the ground.”The Security Council meanwhile welcomed the Burundian government’s decision to allow the African Union to send 100 human rights observers and 100 military experts to monitor the situation.
Burundi has been embroiled in political violence since President Pierre Nkurunziza attempted to seek a third term in office one year ago, despite a constitutional two-term limit. He went on to win an election in July, but violence and political upheaval have determined much of daily life in the African nation since. The EU has cut its aid program to Burundi in fear that the country may slip into civil war. The rest of the international community has also voiced concerns saying that the current crisis could turn into an ethnically based conflict in the country, where a 12-year civil war between Tutsis and Hutus ending in 2005 left an estimated 300,000 people dead.
Tensions between ethnic Tutsis and Hutus had resulted in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in which Hutu extremists killed an estimated 500,000 to 1 million Tutsi as well as a significant number of moderate Hutus. Relations between the two nations have also been difficult since the onset of the conflict in Burundi.
Source: Deutsche Welle, April 2, 2016
Cameroon: Unemployment, Camair–Co’s functioning worries senators
Government ministers concerned were grilled in a question-answer plenary sitting of the Senate on April 7, 2016 in Yaounde. The nagging problem of unemployment and the undesirable functioning of the State air carrier company (Camair-Co) were brought to the fore at the Senate during a question-answer plenary sitting chaired by the Senate President, Marcel Niat Njifenji last Thursday April 7, 2016 in Yaounde. The inability of the National Employment Fund and the still to be desired services of the national air carrier characterised by delays and cancellation of flights without prior information were some of the concerns that were put forth through oral questions to the Minister of Employment and Vocational Training, Zacharie Perevet and his colleague of Transport, Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o respectively.
Responding to the question raised by Senator Pierre Flambeau Ngayap, the Minister of Employment and Vocational Training stated that the National Employment Fund lacks the means to satisfy more than the 100,000 job seekers who knock at its doors yearly. Zacharie Perevet said since the creation of the institution in 1990, it has placed about 500,000 job seekers on jobs through its cardinal four roles of training, information, support to youths and intermediary between employers and job seekers. The problem of unemployment, he added, is not only akin to Cameroon but a preoccupation of many governments. The inadequate financial resources of the structure, he maintained, limits it to only about 60,000 job placements annually.
The Minister of Transport, Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o, on his part, said Camair-Co’s problems are known to all Cameroonians and particularly preoccupying to the government and the President of the Republic who is determined to see the air company live up to standards. He said the company’s MA60 aircraft that were grounded for one year are now certified and are flying the skies. Towns like Bafoussam and Ngoundere will soon be linked by air and the process will continue to other localities as need arises. The government, he added, contracted Boeing Consulting whose reports already submitted will pave the way for a new beginning for Camair-Co as soon as the resources are available to acquire new aircrafts recommended by the firm.
Source: Cameroon Tribune, April 10, 2016
Angola: President discusses cooperation with Brazilian official
Cooperation between Angola and Brazil and the issues of regional interest topped the Wednesday audience the Angolan head of State José Eduardo dos Santos granted to the Brazilian Foreign Affairs minister, Mauro Vieira. President José Eduardo dos Santos grants audience to Brazilian Foreign minister, Mauro Vieira.
Speaking to the press, the Brazilian diplomat said the half an hour meeting highlighted the importance of the State relations with Angola. He added that the audience focused on all topics of bilateral relations as well as regional and global interest. Mauro Vieira also said he discussed with president the situation of cooperation and facilitation investment agreement signed last year.
The meeting also approached the possibility, in the future, to sign a bilateral payment agreement on trade in national currencies of the two countries. Other aspects of cooperation on defence, health, education and other key areas in bilateral relations were also analysed with the Angolan Statesman, stressed the Brazilian official. My visit to Angola is an evidence of Brazil’s interest in strengthening more and more the historic and traditional ties, said the top diplomat, who arrived in Luanda for a two-day working visit to Angola.
In turn, the Angolan Foreign minister, Georges Chikoti, who witnessed the audience, said that the visit of his Brazilian counterpart “proves the good level of relations between Angola and Brazil. “We can see that in all areas the cooperation between the two countries is excellent, said the Angola diplomat, stressing the country’s availability to continue to maintain good relations. Angola and Brazil, member of Portuguese Speaking Countries Community (CPLP), maintain strong ties of cooperation in political, economic, diplomatic, cultural and trade fields.
Source: Angola Press, April 13, 2016
Tunisia: IMF revises down growth forecast for Tunisia
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revised down its growth forecast for Tunisia to 2% in 2016, against an earlier projection of 3%. This rate could reach 3% in 2017, said the international monetary institution. In its World Economic Outlook report released Tuesday in Washington, U.S., the IMF, however, expected an improvement in Tunisia’s inflation rate, i.e. from 4.9% in 2015 to 4% in 2016 and to 3.9% in 2017.
Regarding the current account deficit, the report predicts a rate of 7.7% this year and 3.5% in 2017, i.e. respective decreases of 0.2 and 0.1 points compared to estimates of January 2015. According to this report published twice a year, “the recovery of global economy continues but with slow and fragile pace.”
The forecasts of the IMF were announced two days before the start of the “Spring Meetings” of the IMF and the World Bank that will take place in Washington from April 15 to 17, in the presence of central bank governors, finance ministers and senior officials from the private sector and also academics from several countries.
These meetings will discuss international issues, the outlook for the world economy, the eradication of poverty and issues related to economic development and aid mechanisms. Tunisia will be represented at this event by Central Bank Governor Chedly Ayari and Finance Minister Slim Chaker. Tunisia is negotiating a new credit with the IMF worth USD 2.8 billion over four years.
IMF Economic Counsellor Maurice Obstfeld said at a press conference Tuesday in Washington “there is no longer much room for error. But by clearly recognising the risks they jointly face and acting together to prepare for them, national policymakers can bolster confidence, support growth and guard more effectively against the risk of a derailed recovery. According to him, developing and emerging countries need to invest in infrastructure.
Source: Tunis Afrique Presse, April 12, 2016
Algeria: Nine terrorist shelters discovered; mortars, homemade bombs found
Nine shelters for terrorists were discovered and destroyed Monday by the units of the People’s National Army (ANP) who also seized nine mortar shells, four homemade bombs and explosion tools in Bejaia, Skikda and Tizi Ouzou, said Tuesday a communiqué of the National Defence Ministry. “As part of fighting terrorism, detachments of ANP discovered and destroyed on 11 April 2016 nine shelters for terrorists and seized nine mortar shells, five homemade bombs and explosion tools in Bejaiai and Skikda (5th Military Region) and in Tizi Ouzou (1st Military Region),” said the source.
Furthermore, as part of fighting organized crime, the units of the border guards “seized in Bechar (3rd Military Region) 1,021 kg of cannabis resin.” In Tebessa (5th Military Region), the units of the National Gendarmerie “seized 47.2 tonnes of lead while an attempt to smuggle 3,600 litres of fuel was foiled in Tlemcen (2nd Military Region).”
Source: Algerie Presse Service, April 12, 2016
Libya: White House shares responsibility for 2011 military intervention failure in Libya
The White House said it shares the responsibility for the 2011 military intervention failure in Libya, stressing that the NATO countries have “not prepared seriously post-Khadafi (period)”. Josh Ernest, spokesman for the White House, said Monday that President Barack Obama regretted “what has not been done in Libya by the US and the rest of the coalition countries,” which led the intervention in 2011.
The spokesmen said that the international community had “failed to set up a plan to create governance institutions in Libya, after decades of dictatorship.” “The president learned this lesson” by trying to apply it to other similar situations, added Josh Ernest. On Sunday, President Barack Obama told the TV channel “Fox News” that the military intervention in Libya was “the worst mistake of his presidency” indicating that the US and its allies had “failed to prepare post-Gaddafi “.
Source: Algerie Presse Service, April 12, 2016
Zimbabwe: High Court rejects ZRP objections, allows MDC–T US$15 billion march to go ahead
High Court Judge Happias Zhou on Wednesday granted the MDC-T permission to hold their poverty and corruption march after police had tried to stop the demonstration, NewZimbabwe.com can reveal. In a press conference held Wednesday evening, MDC-T Secretary General Douglas Mwonzora said the court ordered the ZRP to pay MDC-T’s application costs and to assist the party in holding the demonstration.
“We are very excited that we have trampled the Mugabe regime as the judgement passed today (Wednesday) by the courts allows us to march in Harare and all the other cities and towns around the country,” said Mwonzora. Mwonzora said party meetings were being held in Harare’s 58 Wards in preparation for the demonstration on Thursday.
Police had refused to allow the demonstration, saying the MDC-T’s reasons for marching were not significant. The cops also claimed that the protest clashed with Independence celebration preparations which are on course. “After this response, we made an urgent chamber application seeking recourse and justice from the courts and we are happy about the verdict passed on this (Wednesday) afternoon,” Mwonzora added.
The MDC-T official said the ZRP should abide by the ruling. “The police have no choice because if an authority gives an order, it has to be followed so the ball is in their hands tomorrow to protect the peaceful demonstrators,” said Mwonzora. “We are expecting thousands of people as the crowd will be made up of responsible Zimbabweans who are enduring pain and suffering because of one man who is selfish.” The march starts at Freedom Square at 10am and ends at Africa Unity Square where MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai will address the demonstrators.
Source: NewZimbabwe.com, April 13, 2016
Mozambique: Assembly rejects Renamo demand on debt
The Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Tuesday rejected a demand from the main opposition party, the rebel movement Renamo, that the government be called urgently to explain to the deputies the country’s current state of indebtedness. The Renamo demand came in the wake of press reports of a hitherto unknown debt of hundreds of millions of dollars contracted by the state company Pro-Indicus in 2013, and guaranteed by the government.
The Pro-Indicus debt was incurred at much the same time as the Mozambique Tuna Company (EMATUM) issued bonds for 850 million dollars, also with a government guarantee. Guarantees for such large sums were a clear violation of the limits on government guarantees stipulated in the 2013 budget law.
Until last week, discussions of the public debt hinged on the EMATUM bond and the government’s attempt to renegotiate the payment terms. In this the government was successful – the vast majority (over 85 per cent) of the bondholders agreed to terms whereby the EMATUM loan participation notes were swapped for a government bond, with a longer repayment period (until 2023), but at a much higher interest rate (10.5 per cent).
Only after these negotiations were concluded did the main bank handling the bonds, Credit Suisse, tell the surprised bondholders about the Pro-Indicus loan, supposedly used to purchase ships and radars for maritime defence. This revelation found its way into the pages of the “Wall Street Journal” (WSJ), and the 3 April issue of this paper remains the sole written source for the loan. Previously not a word about it had appeared in any of the Mozambican press, public or private, and no member of the government had mentioned it. Confusingly, three separate figures are given for the Pro-Indicus loan in the WSJ article – 622 million dollars, 787 million dollars, and 900 million dollars. It is not yet clear what the final figure was.
When the independent daily “O Pais” contacted the governor of the Bank of Mozambique, Ernesto Gove, he denied all knowledge, not only of the loan, but of Pro-Indicus itself (though the company certainly exists, and its main shareholder is a Defence Ministry company, Monte Binga). Last week Finance Minister Adriano Maleiane promised to comment on the WSJ article in the near future, but neither he, nor any other government member has yet done so.
Renamo demanded an urgent explanation. “We demand to know what is the real public debt that Mozambicans have to pay”, said the head of the Renamo parliamentary grouo, Ivone Soares. But the Renamo demand would have meant extending the parliamentary sitting. As had been agreed in February, this sitting of the Assembly was to be interrupted on 12 April, and will only resume in mid-June. The majority Frelimo Party saw no reason to alter the Assembly’s own calendar just because of an article published in the United States. Frelimo deputy Mateus Katupha said the government should not be summoned to parliament just because of an article in the press. Neither the government nor the Assembly were yet prepared for such a discussion, “and we refuse to base our agenda on what appears in the media”.
The head of the Frelimo parliamentary group, Margarida Talapa, backed up Katupha. She stressed that the main concern of the Mozambican people is to ensure peace, and to that end Renamo should hand over all the guns that it illegally possesses. “Frelimo and its government aren’t afraid of anything”, she told the Renamo benches. “Let the government work. Hand over the guns and stop killing people”. Both Renamo and the second opposition party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), claimed that the government is covering up the largest financial scandal to hit the country since independence in 1975, but the Frelimo overall majority in the Assembly ensured that the Renamo proposal went down to defeat. When a vote was taken the Renamo motion was lost by 134 Frelimo votes to 101 Renamo and MDM votes.
Source: AIM, April 13, 2016
Zambia: Kalu says he is not seeking political office
Zambian soccer icon Kalusha Bwalya has cleared the air on his links to the Patriotic Front government saying he is not seeking political office. Kalusha has been linked with interests to contest the Kalulushi parliamentary seat on the ruling PF ticket. It’s alleged that PF has engaged Kalusha at a very high level to pursued him to contest the seat on the Copperbelt. While Kalusha may have shown interest, his defeat at the March 19 FAZ annual general meeting is said to have given him second thoughts.
When campaign material emerged on Monday and widely circulated on social media, Kalusha came to his defence for the first time since the speculations arose. He says he was concentrating on his studies.
Source: Zambia Reports, April 13, 2016
Uganda: Battle of wits hots up as Kenya, Uganda officials resume oil pipeline talks
Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania government officials start a three-day meeting today in Kampala to discuss a technical report on the contentious $4 billion (Sh400 billion) crude oil pipeline route. The investment potential if landlocked Uganda decides on whether the pipeline transverses northern Kenya to the proposed Lamu port has raised stakes of the meeting. The report consists details of the three potential routes; the Tanga in Tanzania, backed by a Gulf Interstate Engineering study and the southern and northern Kenya routes, supported by the Toyota Tsusho feasibility study. The team is expected to reach a conclusion on the most cost-effective route to transport 600 million and 6.5 billion barrels of oil from Kenya and Uganda respectively.
Energy and Petroleum Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau said the outcome of the discussion will be presented at the Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP) summit in Kampala in a fortnight. Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and Ethiopia presidents are keenly following the discussions because the pipeline is considered a key resource within the Northern Corridor projects. The northern Kenya route starts from Hoima and goes through Lokichar to Lamu. If Uganda opts out of the Kenya route, it will take the Hoima to Tanga one. Uganda Energy minister Irene Muloni said on phone that their main interest is “a least cost route considering tariffs, terrain, infrastructure and viability of the port of transportation.” Ugandan officials said Tanzania had waived land fees, transit charges and taxes on the pipeline, but critics argue that such a deal is not economically-viable.
The Kenyan government, however, will charge Uganda Sh1,280 per barrel of oil transported through the Hoima-Lokichar-Lamu route. If the pipeline passes through northern Kenya, it will be owned by the two governments, Total which owns a majority stake in Uganda oil fields, Tullow Oil and China Offshore National Oil Corporation. “KPC [Kenya Pipeline Corporation] will come in at the very last stage to manage the crude oil pipeline,” said John Ngumi, the chairman at an interview with Business Daily. “Kenya is clear that it prefers the northern route through Lamu, for its added advantage presented by the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor,” he said.
Mr Ngumi said that oil-dependant South Sudan could also opt for the Kenyan route, adding that “it will make sense to extend it to serve Ethiopia which lacks a crude oil pipeline. “This will boost the country’s share of wealth, Juba pays Khartoum $25 (Sh2,500) per barrel in transit fees and Kenya presents a more affordable option through Lamu,” Mr Ngumi said.
Uganda’s decision to pursue the Tanzania route was a surprise to Kenya which had in August 2015 settled on the Hoima-Lokichar-Lamu route with the landlocked neighbour. But Total does not favour the route citing insecurity linked to Al-Shabaab attacks, banditry and cattle rustling.
In October 2015, Uganda’s Energy ministry signed the agreement with Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation and Total E&P Uganda. The October deal proposes a feasibility study that would give way to the construction of a crude oil export pipeline via northern Tanzania to the Indian Ocean port of Tanga. The move sparked fresh talks between Kenya and Uganda even after Toyota Tsusho set the pipeline completion date at 2020.
Source: The East African, April 11, 2016
Kenya: University of Nairobi suspends 139 more students over strike
The University of Nairobi has suspended 139 more students for engaging in a strike, bringing to 201 the total number of learners sent home in the last two days. On Tuesday, the institution suspended 62 students following chaos which rocked the university over claims of rigged students’ union elections.
Vice-Chancellor Prof Peter Mbithi, in a notice on the institution’s website, said those who have been suspended should collect their letters from the registrar’s office. “The University of Nairobi has initiated disciplinary process against the following second batch of students for participating in student unrest and destruction of public property,” said Prof Mbithi. “They are therefore required to collect their suspension letters from the Registrar, Students’ Affairs, latest by Friday, April 15, 2016,” added the VC. The lists indicates some of the suspended students joined the institution this year. Among the first batch of students to be sent home was Mike Jacobs, who said he was rigged out in favour of Mr Paul Ongili, also known as Babu Owino, during the Student Organisation of Nairobi University (Sonu) elections.
On Monday last week, students protested the re-election of Mr Ongili as Sonu chairman for the fourth time, arguing that the administration rigged him in. The angry students razed down Sonu offices and also blocked a section of University Way and Uhuru Highway before police used tear gas to disperse them. The university’s senate held a meeting the following day and resolved to close the university. Students were ordered to vacate the campus by 5pm.
The date for reopening of the university remains unknown. Education Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i and his Interior counterpart Maj Gen (Rtd) Joseph Nkaissery have also held a meeting with the institution’s administration and said they would respect any decision made by the university concerning the strike.
Source: Daily Nation, April 13, 2016
South Sudan: Deputy rebel leader arrives in Juba
The deputy chief of a South Sudanese rebel group has returned to the capital Juba as part of a peace deal, raising hopes that the opposition leader will return next week. Alfred Ladu Gore, a former general and minister, flew into the capital’s airport after more than two years fighting in the bush. “I am very happy to be home … our advance team came here to proclaim peace and I have come to reaffirm that peace will not be reversed,” Gore said, after arriving with a delegation of around 60 people.
Gore, though, condemned the arrest of 16 of his supporters who had been mobilising people to welcome him. “Peace means freedom to express your mind, to gather together even if it means you disagree,” he said. He was welcomed by Akol Paul, a senior member of the ruling party. “His arrival today signifies that indeed the war has come to an end,” Paul said.
A 1,370-strong force of opposition soldiers and police also arrived in Juba over the weekend. They are to supposed to ensure the security of rebel chief Riek Machar – named vice president in February – who is due to arrive in Juba next week. Civil war erupted in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Machar of planning a coup, setting off a cycle of retaliatory killings that have split the country along ethnic lines.
Machar has said that he will come to Juba on April 18 to form a unity government, which would be the first time he has returned to the capital since he fled two years ago. The arrival of the rebels – especially Machar – would be a major symbolic step, though many warn that the practical implementation of the peace deal will be a long and tough task. Tensions remain high, with the rebels accusing the army of boosting its presence in the capital.
Under the peace deal, Juba is supposed to be officially demilitarised to within a 25 kilometre radius, apart from a number of units given an exception. Other troops are meant to gather in special “cantonment” sites. The United States on Monday condemned army attacks on rebel positions, “which destroyed a declared opposition cantonment site” near the town of Wau in the country’s northwest. Washington said there were “credible reports” that rebel troops had also attacked the army and civilians. “There is no military solution to the conflicts in South Sudan,” the US said . “We call on all parties to fulfil their commitments to implement the provisions of the peace agreement in full.”
Source: Al Jazeera, April 13, 2016
Ghana: Malian ‘terrorist’ confirms planned terror attack in Ghana
Ghana’s national security sources have confirmed that a possible terrorist attack on the country is real, following the confessions of a Malian terrorist who is being interrogated as the brain behind the Grand Bassam attacks in Cote D’Ivoire. The suspect is being investigated by the Ivorian security agencies for terrorism.
In a security alert sent to all the country’s security agencies dated April 9, 2016, a copy of which is available to Citi News, it said, “Intelligence gathered by the National Security Council (NSCS), indicates a possible terrorist attack on the country is real.” According to the report, Ghana and Togo are the next targets after the attacks in Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire.
The choice of Ghana according to the report is to take away the perception that only francophone countries are the target. The Ivorian security agencies investigating the attack on the Grand Bassam, gathered that the terrorists “mode of entry into countries with their explosives and weapons is through concealment.” “They enter through approved and unapproved entry points.
In the Ivorian attacks they reportedly entered from Mali using Niger register 4×4 vehicle. They reportedly concealed their weapons and grenade in the vehicles compartment for spare tyres, padded with cushions and bubbled wraps to keep them stable and prevent noise.” Following the real threat of the attack based on the information from Cote D’Ivoire; Ghana’s National Security has directed all controls, especially the Northern Borders with Burkina Faso to be extra vigilant. The statement asked all security agencies to treat the instructions as important.
TB Joshua prays for Ghana, Nigeria over looming terror attacks The security alert statement dated April 9th was followed by a prophecy by the founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, Prophet T.B Joshua, predicting a possible terrorist attack on Ghana and Nigeria. The renowned prophet, who gave the prophecy during a Sunday service on April 10 broadcast live on his Emmanuel TV channel, thus asked his congregation to pray for the two nations in a bid to forestall such plans by the enemy.
Terrorists targeting West Africa, Ghana at risk TB Joshua’s prophesy comes on the back of a similar terror alert issued by the National Security Council in March, which said countries within the West African sub-region are at risk. The Council said based on intelligence from other agencies, it has every reason to believe that countries including Ghana is at risk. “The National Security Council on the basis of briefings by the intelligence agencies and partners has determined that there is a credible terrorists’ threat to all countries in the sub-region.” Already there have been attacks in Mali, Cote D’Ivoire and Burkina Faso.
Source: Accra Report, April 13, 2016
Nigeria: Presidency slams UK Telegraph over ‘misleading’ foreign aid report
The Presidency has dismissed a report published on Tuesday by the UK Telegraph that President Muhammadu Buhari was using foreign aid to persecute his political enemies rather than fight the Boko Haram insurgency. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, in a statement on his Facebook page on Wednesday said the report was full of factual inaccuracies and portrayed shocking ignorance of Nigeria and her ongoing war against terrorism.
Shehu said the $2.1bn referred to was budgeted for and wholly spent by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, adding that one of President Buhari’s priorities had been the investigation of the abuse of those funds. He said the author failed to realise that the political opponents he falsely accused Buhari of targeting and persecuting were actually on trial on account of how they spent the $2.1 billion in question. He said the author was also unaware of the fact that the investigating panel set up by Buhari to probe the $2.1bn recently published a preliminary report that confirmed that much of that money was indeed looted or mis-spent by the accused persons and that Buhari’s government had started to recover the funds.
Source: Daily Trust, April 13, 2016
Liberia: Ellen Corkrum files motion to dismiss criminal charges by Liberian government
The Government of Liberia in July, 2013 indicted Ellen Corkrum who while serving as head of the Liberia Airport Authority left the country secretly and later released strings of recordings linking senior government officials to alleged corruption. She was indicted for theft of property and economic sabotage in line with a deal that was intended to revamp the country’s only international airport devastated by the civil war.
Madam Corkrum who made public series of damaging recordings of senior government officials was out of Liberia when the indictment was drawn against her by the state which complicated the legal proceedings based on the territorial jurisdiction issue growing from the result of her location-the United States and that of Criminal Court C which has jurisdiction over the case.
Holding dual citizenry as a Liberian due to birth and an American, getting Corkrum to face trial has been very difficult for the government. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf promised that the Government of Liberia was exerting all effort to ensure the return of Corkrum to face trial in Liberia. Liberia’s Solicitor General Betty L. Blamo at some time travelled to the United States to seek the return of Corkrum but up to date she is yet to be brought under the jurisdiction of the court and has not being served the indictment.
In spite of the fact that Corkrum is yet to be served the indictment which will automatically bring her under the jurisdiction of the court, she now says she wants the indictment quashed for Failure to Proceed with the case. The communication which is currently before the court was filed by CEMAR law firm and Corkrum also informed that court that Cllr. Sayma Serinus Cephus has been added as her counsel on the indictment case.
Under the Liberian legal system, a motion to dismiss can be filed if the opposing party fails to proceed with the case after two terms of court. In the case of Corkrum, legal pundits have said that the motion to dismiss filed by the defendant has no legal basis on grounds that she was not properly served the indictment and brought under the jurisdiction of the court.
Chapter 18 section 18.2 of the criminal procedure law on filing a motion to dismiss provides that a case on failure to proceed can only be done unless good cause is not shown for failure to proceed with trial. It also provides that a court shall dismiss a complaint against a defendant who is not indicted by the end of the next succeeding term of court after his arrest for an indictable offense or his/her appearances in court in response to a summons or notice to appear charging him with such offense.
The statue states “Unless good cause is shown a court shall dismiss an indictment if the defendant is not tried during the next term after the finding of the indictment, a court shall dismiss a complaint charging a defendant with an offense liable by a magistrate or justice of the peace if trial is not commenced in court in response to a summon or notice to appear.”
In July 2013, the grand jury indicted Corkrum and Melvin Johnson on a three-count allegation, among other things, that they violated the public trust by wrongfully diverting public money and other properties to themselves and their friends. In a ruling on the motion to dismiss the indictment, the presiding judge at that time granted the motion only on Musa Bility and other local defendants leaving out those who resided in the United States.
Presiding Judge Peter Gbeneweleh said that Bility was the only defendant served with the writ of arrest along with the indictment and brought before the court while Ellen Corkrum and others had not been served with the indictment to be brought before the jurisdiction of the court.
Source: Front Page Africa, April 14, 2016
This monitor is prepared by Harish Venugopalan, Research Intern, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi.