MonitorsPublished on Oct 13, 2016
World's largest power-ships are helping to electrify Africa and other roundups from the dark continent
Africa Monitor | Volume V; Issue XX | World's largest powerships are helping to electrify Asia, Africa

< style="color: #0069a6;">THE CONTINENT

 < style="color: #163449;">World's largest powerships are helping to electrify Asia, Africa

A floating power plant isn't something one sees every day. The massive ships look like plants one would see on land complete with tall exhaust stacks—except these plants are bobbing in the ocean. They might look odd, but for people in growing economies around the world, the ships are a welcome sight. The floating power plants can dock in the harbor, crank up their turbines and start quickly generating electricity for customers on land. Many of these ships can be found in Africa and Asia, where electricity is often more scarce than labor and investments and power outages regularly shut down work. But they could also be used to help supply electricity to the more than 1 billion people who don't have any. "The transmission speed of the generated electricity has become critical as the world's demand for energy increases with each passing day," says Osman M. Karadeniz, chairman of Karpowership, one of the world's largest powership operators. The numbers bear out his argument. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that world energy consumption will increase 48 percent by 2040. Karpowership, an affiliate of Turkey's Karadeniz Energy Group, is building the kind of massive and mobile equipment that can quickly start meeting that demand. The company is planning to increase its installed capacity to 2.5 gigawatts , enough to power nearly 17 million homes. A key part of that plan is the company's new Khan class of powerships, the largest such vessels ever built. Each of the vessels is three football fields long. They can generate 486 megawatts , which is more than any previous powerships. Karpowership recently partnered with GE to supply the transformers for four new Khan-class ship. The transformers send the power the ships generate over wires to local transmission grids, and from there it goes out to end users. GE designed the transformers specifically with the powerships in mind. They have a coating that protects against salt and moisture and can work in temperatures ranging from -20 to 50 degrees Celsius. The devices, which GE makes in Gebze, Turkey, have reinforced mechanical connectors for protection against sea oscillations— a weather phenomenon that's a result of fluctuations in atmospheric pressure at sea level. Karpowership's power plant vessels only require a depth of 5 meters (16 feet) to operate at ports, which make them suitable for multi-island countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines that have long coastlines. Karpowership's 125 MW Zeynep Sultan ship, for example, is currently berthed and supplying electricity to Amurang, Indonesia, and similar vessels are operating in Africa and the Middle East. Source: GE Africa (Lagos)

< style="color: #163449;">AfDB injects U.S. $ 1 billion to end youth unemployment in Africa

The African Development Bank (AfDB) together with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is embarking on the initiative "Jobs for Youth in Africa", aimed to put an end to youth unemployment in the continent by creating 8 million agribusiness jobs within five years. The president of the AfDB, a former Nigerian minister of agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina visited the Agripreneurs training centre at IITA on September 27, and reiterated his commitment to the initiative. Under Adesina's leadership the AfDB has extended support to African youth through the IITA Youth Agripreneurs program that will be scaling up the model of youth engagement in agribusiness. In recognition of his continuous support and commitment to the cause of African youth, IITA will be preserving Adesina's legacy by naming after him the state-of-the-art youth training centre at IITA headquarters in Ibadan and in Abuja, Nigeria. The training centres and facilities provided by the AfDB and the IITA will assist African youths to take on work in the agricultural sector. The initiative also seeks to encourage the many unemployed African youths to become involved in agriculture in order to make it a driving force for development in Africa. Nigeria is not the only African country with high youth unemployment. Youth unemployment in South Africa was estimated at 51.5 percent in 2014; Namibia 40.1 percent; and Algeria 28.4 percent. Three in every five young workers in Sub-Saharan Africa do not have the level of education required for them to compete in the job market. The AfDB president set forth his five development priorities for the institution when he took office in September 2015. One of these priorities is the 'Feed Africa' initiative, an agricultural transformation strategy that aims to unlock Africa's agricultural potential. The strategy also aims to boost job creation with the view of making the agriculture sector profitable and a starting point for industrialisation. With the 'Feed Africa' strategy, Africa would be able to feed itself and reduce net food importation by 2025. "There is no reason for Africa to spend USD 35 billion importing food when the continent could feed itself, said Adesina, adding Africa must become a global powerhouse in food and agriculture." And indeed, it could. Africa disposes of some 400 million hectares of agricultural land, waiting to be cultivated. However, different laws, regulations, policies and institutions applying to each African country make it hard for local farmers to access seeds, modern technology and equipment, and to transport their goods in order to sell them on the market. In order to make the agricultural sector in Africa profitable, it needs to be transformed. African countries need to increase trade amongst each other, maximising their production and getting the food to where it is needed, instead of buying it from outside the continent. Removing barriers to regional trade will benefit farmers, who will make more money from the rising demand, as well as consumers, who are able to buy food cheaper and have more job opportunities by engaging in the growing agriculture sector. In order to unlock Africa's large agricultural potential, African governments need to take collective action and produce a set of common rules, standards and taxes. Lifting the barriers to food trade could not only increase Africa's production, eventually becoming able to feed itself, but could also contribute to decrease the high youth unemployment and give millions of young women and men a future in which they are able to sustain themselves. Source: IPS

< style="color: #163449;">Africa food import bill projected to hit U.S. $ 110 billion in 10 Years

The African Development Bank (AfDB) President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has said that Africa is currently importing food worth $35 billion annually and this figure could hit $110 billion by 2025 if concerted efforts are not made by concerned authorities and other stakeholders to halt the unacceptable trend. Dr. Adesina disclosed this on September 27 during a visit to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Station in Abuja. The AfDB President did not just stop at pointing out the ugly situation but proffered solution: "The need to feed Africa needs the youths. Our talented youths must be mentored, encouraged and supported to productively engage in agriculture as a business so as to reverse the trend of growing food import bill in Africa," he advised. Dr. Adesina said there was a great need to create opportunities for young people as entrepreneurs, especially in agriculture, to lift Africa from hunger and poverty. He said AfDB has already fashioned out a programme known as Enable Youth Programme that creates jobs for African youths, which will make them future millionaires and billionaires in the continent. According to him, the programme which is anchored by the IITA in Nigeria targets training of 37,000 agribusiness entrepreneurs and creating about 185,000 jobs across the country. Source: Daily Trust (Abuja)

< style="color: #0069a6;">CENTRAL AFRICA

< style="color: #163449;">Top court upholds Ali Bongo's election in Gabon

Gabon's constitutional court has rejected a challenge by opposition leader Jean Ping. International observers questioned the validity of the results that saw President Ali Bongo re-elected. The court on September 23 threw out Ping's challenge, thereby declaring Bongo's re-election legitimate in spite of international criticism. Bongo (pictured) was declared the winner of the August 27 election, though he won by a narrow margin - around 5,000 votes. Ping subsequently called on the international community to intervene, claiming the election was "stolen." Results of the election led to riots in the capital of Libreville, as well as other cities around the country. As many as 1,100 people were arrested during the unrest, and at least six people were reported killed. The government's justice minister resigned after Bongo's administration refused to release more detailed election results. Meanwhile, EU election monitors questioned the validity of the results from Haut-Ogooue province, which saw a suspiciously high turnout. "The integrity of the provisional results for this province is consequently put into question," said Mariya Gabriel, the EU's chief observer of the polls. When reviewing the election results, the court refused to see evidence provided by Ping, including vote tally sheets from Haut-Ogooue. Meanwhile, Bongo's allies submitted evidence countering Ping's claims. France, the former colonial power of Gabon, also stepped in by calling for a recount. The country has a history of intervening in the affairs of its former colonies, such as when it aided in the removal of Cote d'Ivoire's President Laurent Gbagbo in 2011. A UN human rights spokesperson said the organization was concerned by the situation in Gabon. The Bongo family has been in power since the 1960s. Ali Bongo was first elected in 2009 after the death of his father, Omar Bongo. Source: Deutsche Walle

< style="color: #163449;">Government, UN join efforts to empower refugees in Rwanda

The government and the UN's refugee agency launched a joint strategy on September 26 meant to support economic development of refugees in host communities, at an event attended by different stakeholders, in Kigali. The 2016-2020 strategy, jointly owned by the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDMAR) and the UNHCR, envisions that, eventually, all refugees and neighbouring communities are able to fulfill their productive potential as self-reliant members of society ably contributing to the economic development of the host nation. Seraphine Mukantabana, the Minister for Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR), said the launch "has come at an appropriate time" following the recently concluded Refugees Summit at the UN General Assembly to address large movements of refugees and migrants, with the aim of rallying countries behind a more humane and coordinated approach. She said: "This is an opportunity to look back as a nation and with partners at what our country has achieved over the years in finding solutions to the refugee problem, recognise efforts made by all of you here present to make it possible, but also, to identify what could be done and how best to make it happen, together." "It is our belief in Rwanda that the responsibility put on our nation of receiving refugees and making them as comfortable as humanely possible is more of a moral than humanitarian act." The overall objective of the strategy, according to Jacob Oster, livelihoods officer at UNHCR, is for the refugee camps in the country to become places of vibrant social and economic activity with active markets, shops, restaurants, and industries, such as cottage factories, run by refugees together with the host communities. This, he noted, will eventually create jobs even for the host communities within and beyond the districts where refugee camps are situated. To make things happen, the ministry and UNHCR are to work with the Private Sector Federation (PSF) as well as individual companies towards the inclusion of refugee-hosting areas in their value chains. This includes setting up cottage industries for the production of goods and services required by refugees and host communities and ensuring that people with marketable skills in both groups "are employable in their businesses." The task at hand, it was explained, is getting to a situation whereby a refugee is free from dependence from humanitarian aid and only relies on MIDMAR and UNHCR for international protection. Taking participants through the joint strategy, Oster presented concrete examples of institutions that are providing refugees in the country opportunities to be self-reliant. He cited the Kimironko-based Kepler University, a non-profit education institution which is helping Rwandan and refugee students, alike, to obtain American university degrees without leaving Rwanda. The UNHCR is partnering with the varsity to ensure that all its refugee students have access to paid internship during their studies and jobs for entrepreneurship after graduation, he said. Sylivia Uhirwa, the Admissions and Communications Manager at Kepler University, told The New Times that they launched a "reinventing higher education" programme in Kiziba refugee camp, located in the Western Province, last year, with view to taking higher education opportunities "to the most disadvantaged" and in a more easily accessible manner. "People in refugee camps get access to primary and secondary school education but it is usually difficult for them to access university education. Our programme was welcomed with open arms as the students are eager to learn," Uhirwa said. "The community setting in Kiziba is very organised, being one of the oldest refugee camps in the country. It's easy to connect with the students there. They are eager and always involved in many things, including teaching in local secondary schools." The world's first American university campus in a refugee camp, she said, has been to various refugee camps in the country to determine the number of interested refugee students who meet requirements for the competitive programme. The university now counts 50 refugee students in Kiziba and is considering an expansion programme to other camps. Other examples presented by Oster include Inyenyeri, a social enterprise that leases high-tech clean cooking stoves to low income households in exchange for either cash or biomass that the firm then turns into fuel pellets for use in stoves. MIDIMAR and the UNHCR are partnering to enable Inyenyeri to establish markets in refugee camps and include refugees in the value chain as retailers, maintainers, and producers. Rwanda hosts about 160,000 refugees in six refugee camps across the country, namely Kiziba camp in Karongi District; Nyabiheke, Gihembe, Kigeme camps in Nyamagabe District; Mugombwa camp in Gisagara District and Mahama camp in Kirehe District. Almost all the refugees come from neighbours DR Congo and Burundi, that have experienced conflict and political tensions in recent years. Source: The New Times

< style="color: #163449;">DRC's Kabila to lead 'New Government' in new deal

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila should lead a new transitional unity government tasked with organising presidential elections, according to a draft political deal circulated among delegates, BBC reports. The draft deal which was circulated at government-sponsored talks in Kinshasa was boycotted by the main opposition parties who remained steadfast in their belief that the presidential elections should go ahead in November as originally scheduled. The opposition leaders additionally maintained that Kabila should leave office in December when his two terms as elected leader ended. Main opposition rival, Etienne Tshisekedi warned that Kabila would be committing high treason if he remained in office as it would be directly going against the constitution. According to the central African country's constitution Kabila is barred for running for an additional term. However, the government granted that he stayed in power until the elections take place.Under the new proposed plan, a unity government would comprise of Kabila acting as head of state with a prime minister being appointed from the opposition's ranks, acting as chair of the unity government.More than 100 people were killed last week in two days of street clashes between security forces and protesters against a delayed presidential election.Several opposition party buildings were also burned. Thousands took to the streets of DRC's capital, Kinshasa to oppose an election delay which they said was an effort by Kabila to stay in power beyond the end of his mandate in late December. Source: News 24 WIRE

< style="color: #0069a6;">NORTH AFRICA

< style="color: #163449;"> 15th International Energy Forum opens in Algiers

The 15 International Energy Forum (IEF15) opened September 27 at the Algiers International Conference Center (ICC) in the presence of Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and many delegations to discuss global energy perspectives and challenges. Held under the theme "Global energy transition: An enhanced role for energy dialogue," IEF15 brings together ministries of Energies of 54 member countries, CEOs of oil and gas companies and leaders of international organizations including the International Energy Agency (IEA), Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) and experts. Several experts agree that a constructive dialogue between the producer countries themselves and between these latter and the consumer countries constitute, through this forum, an opportunity to hold talks on energy issues. Two round-tables will be held on September 28 on access to energy as a key factor for human development, the role of technology in strengthening energy security. Besides, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will hold on September 28 an informal meeting following the 15th IEF to try bringing closer opinions between members in order to readjust the oil market and stabilize prices. Minister of Energy Noureddine Boutarfa said on September 25 "all the countries of OPEC agree to stabilize. We should nevertheless find the formula accepted by every part," said Minister of Energy Noureddine Boutarfa in a press conference on September 25. According to the minister, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran are all in favour of a freeze in oil production. Source: Algerie Presse Service (Algiers)

< style="color: #163449;"> Over 43,000 deaths in Egypt linked to pollution in one year, says WHO

Over 43,000 Egyptians died from diseases related to air pollution in 2012, a report issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) said. The diseases included in the report comprised acute lower respiratory, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, stroke, ischemic heart disease (IHD) and lung cancer. According to the report, 22,327 Egyptians died of IHD while 2079 lost their lives to lung cancer. The WHO said that 92 percent of the world's population live in places where the air quality levels exceed "WHO's ambient air quality guidelines." The report provided information on each country's exposure to particulate matter of an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5). According to the WHO, particulate matter consists of a complex mixture of solid and liquid particles of organic and inorganic substances suspended in the air. The most health-damaging particles are those with a diameter of 10 micrograms per cubic meter or less, which can penetrate and lodge deep inside the lungs. Both short- and long-term exposure to air pollutants have been associated with health impacts, WHO said. According to the WHO air quality guidelines, levels of PM2.5 should be limited to 10 micrograms per cubic meter. However, Egypt is among countries exposed to 36-69 micrograms per cubic meter, according to the WHO. In 2012, an estimated 6.5 million deaths, which amount to 11.6 percent of all deaths around the world, were associated with indoor and outdoor air pollution together. "Air pollution continues to take a toll on the health of the most vulnerable populations - women, children and the older adults," Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director General at WHO, said. "For people to be healthy, they must breathe clean air from their first breath to their last." The report revealed that low and middle-income countries are more affected by air pollution as numbers showed that 90 percent of air-pollution-related deaths occur in WHO's South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions. The new WHO model is "the most detailed outdoor (or ambient) air pollution-related health data, by country, ever reported by WHO," the organization said. Major sources of air pollution include inefficient modes of transport, household fuel and waste burning, coal power plants, and industrial activities, according to the report. Source: Aswat Masriya

< style="color: #163449;">Algeria to continue energy transition process

Algeria will continue its energy transition process, affirmed Minister of Energy Noureddine Boutarfa on September 28, adding that a programme of 4.000 MW of photovoltaic generated electricity will be launched before the end of 2016. Speaking in a press briefing held following the works of the 15th meeting of the International Energy Forum (IEF15), Boutarfa said that Algeria is ready to get down to the process of energy transition, underlining that photovoltaic plant projects totalling a capacity of 300 megawatts were put into operation in 2016. "We are working for that. There are already projects which are operational for about 300 MW in photovoltaic stations. There is another programme of 4,000 MW which will be launched before the end of the year," said the minister. In this regard, Boutarfa said that the issue of energy transition constituted one of the main lines in IEF15's works: "there is a convergence ( at the level of the Forum) on the need that the energy transition must take place." While stressing on the unanimity of the participants on the fact that the hydrocarbons will "remain a necessary energy," he reiterated that all the sides accepted, at the same time, that "the current market situation shouldn't have an effect on the energy transition." While broaching the current situation of hydrocarbon markets, Boutarfa, who held a press conference in the presence of IEF's Secretary General Xiansheng Sun, said that the current oil prices don't suit producers and consumers. We cannot continue investing with prices lower than 50 dollars per barrel, he added. Global oil investments fell by 50% since 2015 because of the drop in prices, said the minister.  Consequently, the producers and consumers agreed on the need to find alternative solutions to regulate the market and also to act on the supply to ensure the stability of the prices, according to him. Source: Algerie Presse Service (Algiers)

< style="color: #163449;">New NGO draft law further undermines fundamental human rights in Egypt

On 8 September 2016, the Cabinet of Egypt approved an alarming draft NGO law that is currently under review by the Egyptian Council of State. In light of the worrisome content of the draft law that violates both the Constitution and international human rights instruments, on 29 September 2016, Alkarama sent a communication to the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association (SR FPAA). The letter first informs the Special Rapporteur of the draft law problematic provisions, such as the strict control of National Security Services over the funds and activities of associations, and requested his urgent intervention with the Egyptian authorities to prevent this draft law from being enacted as long as it does not comply with international human rights law. The draft NGO law, entitled "proposed amendments to Law No. 84 of 2002 on non-governmental organizations", brings about changes in the way NGOs would operate in the country, implement activities, receive funds and are overseen by State administrative agencies. Namely, it mandates an "administrative body" and an "executive committee" - the latter being also composed of representatives of the National Security Services and the Ministry of Interior - to oversee applications for registrations and to monitor NGOs' funding and activities. The setting up of such an executive committee means that intelligence and security services would, once more, be at the forefront of monitoring NGOs. The law further restricts NGOs' activities and efficiency, by allowing administrative bodies to assess their registration application, but also by compelling them to follow complicated administrative procedures to carry out their activities and receive funds. It further allows for State agencies' interference in the work of these associations, for instance by compelling NGOs to operate exclusively in the interest of what is vaguely referred to as "Egyptian social needs". If passed and enacted, this new draft NGO law will not only contravene international human rights law instruments mandating for the right to freely exercise the fundamental rights of association and peaceful assembly; it shall additionally be at odds with the 2014 Egyptian Constitution, specifically its article 75 advocating for the right of associations to freely practice their activities. The law has already been widely criticised by several human rights activists in Egypt. "This new law, if implemented, is likely to be used as a tool of repression and strict control, by the State, over the exercise of the right to freedom of association and peaceful assembly, which has already been sensibly jeopardised in Egypt in recent years," commented Rachid Mesli, Alkarama's Legal Director. In view of this, Alkarama fears that this draft law will be used to further repress Egyptian citizens' rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly. It therefore sent a communication to the SR FPAA to inform him of these problematic legal provisions and to ask his urgent interventions before this law be enacted. Alkarama also calls on the Egyptian authorities to review this draft law and to bring it in line with international human rights instruments. Source: Alkarama

< style="color: #0069a6;">SOUTHERN AFRICA

< style="color: #163449;">South African universities to stay shut amid uncertainty over protests

Several universities across the country have elected to remain shut on September 26 following uncertainty over ongoing fee protests. Three petrol bombs were found on the University of the Witwatersrand's Braamfontein campus over the weekend. Wits, the University of Cape Town, and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, would be shut on September 26. Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel said on September 25 that the institute's senior executive team would meet on September 26 to consider its options. They were hopeful that the year's academic programme would be completed. Where necessary, contingency plans would be formulated to ensure this. The university would issue an update on its plans on September 26. Patel said police were investigating the petrol bombs found on campus on September 24. Insurance companies had already replaced windows and doors damaged during protests last week, Patel said. Students across the country demonstrated last week, calling for the immediate implementation of free quality education. The recent wave of protests - some violent - were in reaction to Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande's announcement on September 26 that universities could hike their fees by up to 8% for next year. Poor students would not have to pay any fee increase. Patel said between 200 to 800 students were involved in protests at Wits. Thirty-three of them were arrested and released last week. The university had 36 600 students and 5 000 staff. She said that the university was facing a "backlash" from these non-protesting students, staff, and alumni, who wanted to get on with their work. Wits was determined to cater to the needs of this "silent majority". "We are extremely concerned about the willingness of some students and academics to sacrifice Wits and the future of our students for a political fight that is truly meant to be directed elsewhere," the university said in a separate statement issued on September 25. According to the statement, posted on the university's website, police should be blamed for the lack of control of violence during protests last week. "In most societies, appropriately trained police will address the situation in a non-violent way. We cannot rely on the response of the police in our country and this is the primary problem." Patel said security only began to "fracture" on September 19 because police were not arresting students. When they did, they were releasing them shortly afterwards. She said private security companies were struggling to keep up with the demand to help out on campuses. This meant fewer well-trained security guards were being deployed. Subsequently these guards threw stones back at students who attacked them outside the Great Hall on the East Campus on September 20. "The throwing of stones by anyone is unacceptable and we are further investigating this incident," Patel said. The University of Cape Town would suspend classes for another week, from September 26 to September 30. "All staff are to continue operations during this time. UCT libraries will be closed. The Vice-Chancellor will send a more detailed communication shortly," it said. A previous agreement led to university work being suspended from September 22 until September 25 this week. In that time, the library, including the 24/7 study area, and the bus shuttle were not available. On September 23, NMMU announced it would suspend operations on September 26. "The university may be compelled to implement drastic measures going forward, including possibly suspending lectures until we can guarantee the safety of all our students and staff," it said in a statement. It would announce further plans before the close of business on September 26. Four different petitions were handed to the university's management on September 23 and it was spending the weekend drawing up responses to them. The universities of Pretoria and Kwa Zulu-Natal both elected to open their doors on September 26. UP spokesperson Anna-Retha Bouwer said security had been strict and the university was doing everything in its power to ensure the academic programme continued without disruption and that staff and students were safe. University of KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said they had bolstered security measures. According to Stellenbosch University's last update on September 23, classes and tests on the main campus would continue as scheduled. At its Tygerberg campus, all undergraduate academic activities were postponed on September 23. It was not immediately clear what the plan was for the week ahead. North West University's spokesperson Kiewiet Scheppel could not immediately be reached for comment. Meanwhile, the DA in a statement issued on September 25 called on police, government, and university management to work together to ensure all campuses could remain open in the coming week. Source: news24WIRE

< style="color: #163449;">Harare unveils U.S. $ 450 million budget

Harare City Council has unveiled a $447 million budget for 2017, with the bulk of the funds earmarked for service delivery, while a third will be allocated towards salaries. This is a 30 percent increase from 2016 but the city said it will not increase charges for its services. The bulk of the money will be raised from water sales. The budget has been increased by $104 million from this years' $343 million budget. The city said 29,9 percent of the budget would fund salaries and allowances to the tune of $116,3 million, while the remaining 70,1 percent would go towards service delivery. Presenting the budget, Acting Finance and Development Committee chairperson Councillor Luckson Mukunguma said payroll costs would be monitored on a monthly basis, with necessary cuts being effected where necessary. "Elsewhere, I have put a case for the treatment of salaries and allowances to employees in service delivery fields such as health, street cleaning, refuse removal, water production, fire fighting and pipe drainage as part of service delivery costs. "It cannot be said that City of Harare operations are largely labour intensive and with that understanding, the city's administration has accordingly made representations to the relevant authorities," he said. He said there were no tariff increase proposals for main line services in the 2017 budget due to deflationary pressures, receding disposable income, liquidity constraints, company closures, burgeoning debtors and general mutation of the economic landscape. Clr Mukunguma said council position was that before tariff increase proposals could be contemplated, the city must first plug revenue leakages manifesting themselves and the appropriate and systematic regularisation of previously illegal settlements. The bulk of the money is expected to be raised from increased water sales proposed to rake in $133,7 million and property tax for domestic, industrial and commercial at $124,7 million, while refuse collection will chip in with $26,8 million. Source: The Herald

< style="color: #0069a6;">EAST AFRICA

< style="color: #163449;">In Tanzania, JPM sacks officials over 'fake' account for quake victims

Two top officials have been sacked while another has been suspended for allegedly opening a dubious bank account through which to channel--for their own benefit--money from well-wishers intending to assist victims of the September 10 earthquake that hit Kagera. Those whose appointments have been revoked by President John Magufuli are Kagera Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS) Amantius Msole and Bukoba Municipal Council Director Steven Makonda. According to a statement released to the media by Director of Presidential Communications Gerson Msigwa, the Prime Minister has suspended the Municipal Council chief accountant Simbaufoo Swai for an alleged conspiracy to facilitate the unconscionable act of the two now-disgraced top officials. The three are alleged to have opened a bank account bearing the same name as the bank account which was opened by the government to raise funds for the victims of the earthquake. "The President has revoked the appointment of Kagera Regional Administrative Secretary Amantius Msole and Municipal Council Executive Director Steven Makonda after he learnt that the two opened a bank account which bears the same name as the one which was opened by the government," reads the statement in part. It further reads: "The three intended to use the account to collect money for their own benefit while it was meant to help the victims of the quake." Speaking after receiving a cheque of Sh545 million which was issued to President Magufuli by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Majaliwa said the President has ordered measures to be taken against officials the fraudulent officials. "While security organs have been ordered to take stern measures against individuals involved in the conspiracy leading to the opening of the duplicate account, the President urge citizens and institutions to contribute by using official account under the name "Kamati ya Maafa Kagera," PM Majaliwa was quoted as saying. The cheque for the Mr Modi donation was handed over to the President by the Indian ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Sandeep Arya. Mr Arya read a message which was sent to Dr Magufuli from India's PM Modi. In the letter, Mr Modi says he and people in India have been saddened by the devastation that has hit Tanzanians in the wake of the Kagera earthquake that claimed more than dozen lives as well as destroying properties. "We pray for patience among families which have lost their loved ones; we are assuring them that we are together with our friends in Tanzania especially during this hard time," Mr Modi says in the letter. For his part, President John Magufuli thanked Premier Modi and his government for the donation and the condolences, saying his government has been touched for the spirit of love shown by Asian country. "Your Excellency Ambassador Sandeep Arya, please convey my heartfelt thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Tell him that on behalf of my government, we thank him immensely for his donation to Tanzanians hit by the disaster in Kagera," the head of State was quoted as saying, adding: "Tell him, he has shown us the spirit of love and cooperation. We are comforted that our friends have been touched in an extraordinary way in the wake of the calamity that has befallen us.' Following the September 10 earthquake which claimed lives of 19 people, the government and other stakeholders have mobilised resources to help the victims. On September 13 the Premier hosted a fundraiser at State House that raised a total of Sh1.4 billion. Neighbouring countries, namely Kenya, Uganda and Burundi, have donated various items for the victims. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta handed over 4,000 iron sheets, 400 blankets and 100 mattresses, all valued at Sh115 million, on September 18. For his part, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni donated $200,000 (about Sh440 million). Burundi handed over 183 tonnes of foodstuff. Initial reports from Kagera Regional Commissioner Salum Kijuu said the region needed Sh2.3 billion to purchase drugs, medical equipment and building materials. Source: The Citizen

< style="color: #163449;">RwandAir acquires first Airbus A330-200 in East Africa

National carrier RwandAir has officially laid claim to a brand new Airbus 330-200, proudly nicknamed 'Ubumwe' (unity). The aircraft is the first of its kind in East Africa and will help boost RwandAir's capacity to expand its wings globally, John Mirenge, the airline's chief executive, told The New Times in Toulouse, France on September 27. The aircraft, with a capacity of 244 passengers, is expected to touch down at Kigali International Airport at exactly 11am on September 28, with more than 80 passengers on board. Mirenge said the new wide body aircraft is the biggest milestone for Africa's fastest growing airline and opens up opportunities in terms of expanding the airline's footprint. "We are now set to compete globally," Mirenge said, adding that the airline has been growing at an average of 20 per cent in the last six years and is currently positioning itself as the most efficient and reliable airline in the region. The new aircraft, worth about $250 million (about Rwf200 billion) brings the airline's total fleet to nine with additional four planes expected to be delivered by end of February next year. The aircraft is expected to be deployed on the Dubai route. And, a second Airbus 330-300 is due for delivery in November and, according to aviation experts, the acquisition of these two wide-body aircraft will significantly increase RwandAir's capacity to effectively meet growing demand and provide exceptional service quality for the ever-growing Asia-China and European passenger markets. RwandAir will soon add Harare (Zimbabwe), Mumbai (India), and Guangzhou in China on its list of destinations before expanding to Western Europe. The A330 type of aircraft has an operational reliability of 99.4 per cent and boasts efficiency for all market segments, thus making it a perfect match for RwandAir, Corrin Higgs, the Airbus interior marketing director, said. The new aircraft means the airline can now expand its flight coverage to both Europe and East Asia in the near future. Hadi Akoum, Airbus's executive vice-president in charge of sales for Africa, Europe and Asia Pacific, commended RwandAir's commitment to continue taking the lead in developing the continent's aviation industry. "We are proud of the visionary leadership of the Government of Rwanda and RwandAir's efforts to contribute to the continent's aviation industry," he said. "The new aircraft reaffirms the confidence between RwandAir and Airbus and we will continue to stand side by side with the airline to ensure it realises its full potential," he added. Akoum said the manufacturer will equally assist in the training of the airline's technical engineers and pilots to ensure efficiency and safety. Jacques Kabale, Rwanda's ambassador to France, said the aircraft means more efficiency in terms of movement, which will increase connectivity and will link Rwanda to the rest of the rest of the world. In 2014, RwandAir and the Eastern and Southern Africa Bank (PTA Bank) signed a financial line of credit, worth $160 million, to support the purchase of the two airliners. The national carrier successfully renewed its certificate for the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) for another two years to remain competitive. IOSA programme is an internationally recognised evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of airlines. And there is hope that with two wide body aircraft, the airline's capacity could grow from the current 500,000 passengers annually to more than three million in the next five years. Source: The New Times

< style="color: #163449;">Uganda, DR Congo extend negotiations on U.S $ 10 billion plunder case

The governments of Uganda and neighbouring DR Congo have agreed to keep open the diplomatic channel to negotiate and agree $10 billion (about Shs33.5 trillion) reparations in the case concerning Uganda's plunder of DR Congo resources in 1998. The consensus comes on the backdrop of September 28's deadline that had been set by The Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the two countries to file written pleadings on the agreement of the reparations, in case negotiations between the two collapsed. On September 28, Uganda's Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa told Daily Monitor that "the talks did not collapse per se but we agreed in principle to extend the timeline for the negotiations." "When we met President Joseph Kabila in Mweya (on August 4), we agreed to defer the case to allow further negotiations and we have notified court on this. So we are still within the timeline." DR Congo President Kabila was in the country early last month and held a meeting with President Museveni at Mweya Safari Lodge in western Uganda. While no details of the closed-door meeting were disclosed, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement after the meeting said the two leaders discussed security situation in the region and DR Congo's readiness to join the Hoima-Tanga crude oil pipeline bi-lateral relations. President Museveni was accompanied to the meeting by officials, including Mr Kutesa and Attorney General William Byaruhanga, who was handed the duties for negotiations on the matter by his predecessor Freddie Ruhindi, who headed the committee. The negotiating committee also comprises officials from Foreign Affairs and the Solicitor General's Office. The ICJ had pushed the negotiations deadline to September 28 after the two countries failed to meet the first deadline of April 28. The court said "the decision to extend the time-limit was made taking account of the views of the Parties" but would not be extended further. The DR Congo sued Uganda at the Hague-based Court in 1999 over acts of armed aggression that violated the United Nations Charter and the Charter of the Organisation of African Unity, the predecessor of the African Union. Uganda, however, lost the case in 2005, when its legal team erred when they submitted to the court as its evidence a report of a commission of inquiry chaired by Justice David Porter, which had implicated senior government officials. The said report confirmed pillage of DRC's resources between 1998 and 2001, but absolved implicated top Uganda government and military officials, including President Museveni's brother Salim Saleh, whom a 2001 UN panel of experts named adversely in its report on illegal exploitation of DR Congo's wealth. The DR Congo subsequently made claims of between $6 and 10 billion in compensation, a figure Kampala disputed. The court told the two governments to negotiate on the amount of reparation; a process which has since dragged. ICJ is one of the six organs of the United Nations, and its verdicts are final and binding on states such as Uganda that submit to its jurisdiction. During hearing of the case, Uganda made a counter-claim that DR Congo forces ransacked Uganda's embassy in Kinshasa during the war and mistreated Ugandans in violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Court, however, dismissed the counter-claim. Source: The Monitor

< style="color: #0069a6;">WEST AFRICA

< style="color: #163449;">In Liberia, Ellen threatens harsh action against violators in teachers-students protest

In recent days, there has been protest across the country against Education Minister George Werner and the Superintendent of the Monrovia Consolidated School System, Adolphus B. Jacobs. "No one has a right to infringe on the rights of others. If there are grievances, it does not give students any right to infringe on those of others"- President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Teachers under the banner of the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL) have been protesting calling for the resignation of Minister Werner and Superintendent Jacobs, refusing to attend classes. Students also joined the protest a day later due to the lack of teachers in their classrooms, blocking main streets and preventing the movement of people and vehicles. Angry students of public schools on September 26 stormed Kakata City in demand of their teachers who have also begun a protest for the past weeks demanding the resignation of Minister Werner. The aggrieved students blocked the main highway leading to Gbarnga, Bong County or back to Monrovia thereby preventing vehicles from moving through the city. The protesting students who were seen wearing their regular blue and white public school uniforms set up road blocks and appeared determined to stop vehicles from plying the main highway through the city. "For so long we've been out of school because our teachers have not being teaching us," shouted Jonah Surprise Kpeh of Lango Lippaye Public School - the main government run high school in the city. "We are feeling very bad seeing ourselves out of school and the other students in school like the top government people children in school - they are all in private schools and they are all attending but we the common people children are just sitting down. "This is very bad and it is against us." Kpeh, a leader of the aggrieved students told FPA that he and the rest of the students are aware that their teachers are protesting because of a go-slow action calling for the resignation of Education Minister Werner. Some protesting students told FrontPageAfrica that their striking-teachers had told them they are being paid low salaries and that Minister Werner takes decisions that are not in the interest of Liberia's school system. Moreover, the students claimed that by protesting and setting up road blocks will attract national government's attention to their plight since they've not been able to express their concern to the county education officer. "Even if it takes months we will continue our demonstration," Kpeh said. But they denied perceptions that their protest might eventually turn violent and sparked further unrest in the Kakata City. "I see other private school students in school and I'm not going to school," exclaimed student Prince Massalley also of Lango Lippaye. "It affects me a lot; I don't have the finance to attend private school so when I see my friends going to school and I can't it makes me feel bad." Along the Roberts International Airport highway, the main route to the international airport, students also blocked the road affecting travelling passengers. According to reports some passengers had to ride motorbikes to get to the airport on time while others missed their flights. Minister Werner who initially mocked the protesting teachers describing them as good tailors before removing a post on the social media has since maintained that he will continue his ongoing reforms and will not bow to pressure from the protesting teachers. The Education Minister is accusing some officials of the leadership of the Teachers Association of fighting to ensure that his reform of payroll of the Education Ministry does not succeed. According to the Minister, some of the teachers are on payroll in counties where they are not teaching and are therefore against his cleanup exercise of the payroll. Teachers have also since maintained that they will continue their strike action while the Minister is also firmed on his decision, resulting to deadlock. During situations of deadlock all parties look up to the President to take decision and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who has been out of the country attending the United Nations General Assembly has told Minister Werner to investigate and close schools involved in September 26's violent incident. According to a statement from the Executive Mansion, President has directed Minister Werner to investigate and close down schools involved in September 26’s violent demonstrations, which led to the setting up of roadblocks along the Monrovia--Robertsfield and other parts of the country. According to the Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf issued the directive upon her arrival at the Roberts International Airport during an encounter with members of the press. The Liberian leader told journalists that while in transit in Accra, Ghana the news of September 26's violent demonstrations was brought to her attention. The statement quoted the President as saying this unfortunate development led to passengers cancelling and missing their flights; caused airlines to lose revenue and compelling some passengers to use motorbikes to meet check-in deadlines. She said "No one has a right to infringe on the rights of others. If there are grievances, it does not give students any right to infringe on those of others." President Sirleaf noted that action will be taken against schools found culpable following thorough investigation in order to serve as a deterrent to dissuade would-be violators who believe that by taking the law into their own hands is a matter of right. The pronouncement by the President has now dashed the hopes of protesting teachers who have been pressing the Minister to quit apparently hoping that the protest could help ensure that the President takes a decision to support their cause. But the statement from the President has now left both the protesting teachers and students in trouble as the Minister who is under pressure now has the gavel to decide the fate of those protesting against him. Some students could see themselves out of school for some time should Minister Werner decide to close down schools that were involved in September 26's protest. On these controversial issues, Minister Werner has come on top on at least three occasions with the first being his decision to introduce a change in the academic calendar following the deadly Ebola outbreak. Students protested the decision and gain streets, even prevent the movement of the convoy of President Sirleaf. The intervention of lawmakers against the Minister decision did not change as the school calendar was changed. The Education Minister introduction of a Pubic Private Partnership Program that was widely criticized by teachers and an official of the United Nations is still going ahead. With the current mandate from the President, the Minister has scored a high mark again. Source: Front Page Africa (FPA)

< style="color: #163449;">Citizens angered by 'killer' new electricity tariff in Sierra Leone

Freetown residents are apparently angered by the recent unprecedented increase in electricity tariff by the Electricity Distribution and Supply Agency (EDSA), which many have described as a 'killer'. The new tariff, reportedly representing 15 percent of Goods and Services Tax (GST), was imposed without first preparing the minds of consumers, which as expected, has irked many residents. Many were therefore shocked and dismayed to have realised the increase when they bought recharge units for their prepaid metres. "EDSA was not fair with us as customers. They should have sensitised the public and also explained the new tariff before releasing the new charges," said Aminata Kamara of New England Ville. Retired Civil Servant, Ola Pratt, a resident of Tengbeh Town, told Concord Times that he was surprised to have received only 30 units when he bought Le50, 000.00 worth of credit. He also expressed frustration that he again only received 17 units for le20, 000.00. "I can't understand what the amount per units is," he lamented, stating that the unit cost of recharge card should always be communicated via text message to customers. Also, Madam Sata Kamara, a fish monger at Kroo Town Road market, expressed her dissatisfaction over the sudden increase in electricity tariff, adding that the decision would have a telling negative impact on buying and selling prices of fish. She said fish mongers hitherto bought fish in large quantities and placed them in commercial freezers overnight at very low cost. "But now that the units cost of electricity has been increased, I know that the owners will also increase their charges per cartons and sacks of fish," she said. Head of Consumer Services at EDSA, Ms. Sarah Kamara, told Concord Times that the increase in electricity tariff represents 15 percent GST charged by the National Revenue Authority.  She explained that EDSA levies various charges, including residential (social) tax, which is 0-30 units and cost Le735 per unit, adding that the cost would increase to Le845 when GST is included. She implored consumers to always ascertain as to whether they should pay service charge whenever they buy recharge units. "Starting from October 1st 2016, consumers will be able to know what their charges are," she said. "When they buy credits, service charges and other arrears would be deducted." Another charge, inclusive of GST, is residential (high end) 31-200 units, which cost Le1, 625 per unit. Meanwhile, with the Leone depreciating against the United States Dollar almost every day, and prices of basic commodities increasing by the daily as a result, Freetown's residents are in agreement that the new 'killer' tariffs on electricity could only leave them poorer than prosperous. Source: Concord Times (Freetown)

< style="color: #163449;">PDP rejects Edo governorship election result in Nigeria

The Peoples Democratic Party in Edo State has rejected the results of September 28's elections held in the state. The results from 17 local governments so far show the ruling APC has an unassailable lead of 306,663 votes to the PDP's 244,363 votes. Only one local government is yet to be announced. The News Agency of Nigeria quotes the Edo PDP State chairman, Dan Orbi, as alleging that the results were pre-determined and fabricated. The party rejected the results at a press conference addressed by Mr. Orbih, on September 29 in Benin, NAN reports. The press conference was also attended the party's governorship candidate in the election, Osagie Ize-Iyamu. Source: Premium Times  This monitor is prepared by Harish Venugopalan, Research Assistant, Observer Research Foundation, Delhi
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