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Monthly Archives: September 2012

The 50 most influential Africans, Africa Report, 21 September 2012


Our list of influential people will certainly be disagreed with. Why is this fantastic woman not included? How could this master-of-the-universe have been forgotten? This debate is certainly more important than our own selection, and we encourage you to continue your arguments and propose new candidates on our website, www.theafricareport.com.

In the meantime, we want to outline two caveats and explain our method. First, we preferred to look at less well-known people: not the usual suspects who appear regularly in the media and stamp the conference circuits. We do however have an ‘A-list’ of the great and the good. And, for balance, we also have a list of the bad and the ugly, those whose influence is more negative and are under investigation or indictment.

Second, we wanted to present exemplars of trends that we feel have resonance beyond the individual selected. For example, the reach of religion, or the renaissance of Africa’s think tanks.

There are any number of imams and priests and healers who have a huge influence on their followers – but we have included just one representative. Likewise, Africa’s intellectuals and activists, a vital part of the upending of the corrupt establishment in North Africa, continue to make their mark felt.

We have space for just one think tank, from Ghana, that continues to publish influential reports on inflated costs in the oil sector, keenly noted and perhaps emulated by Nigerian civil society.

There are also Africans who run institutions that make a real difference to the day-to-day life of their co-citizens, such as the competition commission in South Africa.

To put together the list, we reached out to the lifeblood of this magazine, our correspondents, who in turn reached out to their networks on the ground. We called on partner organisations and publications. The long list stretches into several hundred worthy candidates.

Only 50 made the final cut●

Read the original article on Theafricareport.com : The 50 most influential Africans | The Africa Report.com
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Posted by on September 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Malema’s lawyer confirms arrest warrant, Adriaan Basson, Carien du Plessis and Sabelo Ndlangisa, City Press, retrived from News24, 21 September 2012


Julius Malema’s lawyer confirmed that a warrant for his arrest had been issued.

“We have received confirmation from the authorities that there is an arrest warrant issued for Mr Malema,” Nicqui Galaktiou of Brian Kahn Attorneys told City Press.

She said they had not seen the warrant as yet but were busy discussing his court appearance next week with the authorities. Galaktiou said they were “likely to see the warrant after the weekend only”.

Read more at News24.com

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Scrutinizing Guinea’s new law restructuring the National Electoral Commission, By Chofor Che, 21 September 2012


The will of the people as conveyed via credible, free and fair elections held at regular intervals on the basis of universal, equal and secret elections; is supposed to render any government legitimate. This explains why free and fair elections along with a credible electoral process in any modern state cannot be overstressed.

Democratic elections, although held periodically, have come to be considered as a means to effect change in states especially in Africa. One of such states is Guinea, officially known as the Republic of Guinea, found in West Africa. Formerly called French Guinea, it is today sometimes called Guinea-Conakry to differentiate it from its neighbour Guinea-Bissau and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.

The country experienced a military coup in 2008, which led to most of the country’s institutions, including the National Assembly to be dissolved. These elections were considered as being the first free and fair elections since independence in 1958. The first round of elections took place on 27 June 2010 with ex-Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo and his rival Alpha Condé emerging as the two runners-up for the second round. However, due to allegations of electoral fraud, the second round of the elections was postponed until 19 September 2010. A delay until 10 October 2010 was announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Yet another delay until 24 October 2010 was announced in early October 2010. Elections were finally held on 7 November 2010. Voter turnout was high and on 16 November 2010, Alpha Condé, the leader of the opposition party Rally of the Guinean People (RGP), was officially declared the winner of a 7 November run-off in Guinea’s presidential elections.

Read more at AficanLiberty.org

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Teenager wins seat in Uganda parliament, by Agency Reporter, Punch, Nigeria,19 September 2012


A female teenager fresh out of high school has won a seat in Uganda’s parliament, adding to the ruling party’s majority but embarrassing some who say her success lowers expectations of lawmakers in the East African country.

Proscovia Oromait, who is 19 and a college hopeful, contested elections deep in eastern Uganda to fill the seat left vacant by her father’s death.

President Yoweri Museveni’s ruling party had been desperate for a win there, having lost seven in eight parliamentary by-elections this year.

The polls have come to be widely seen as a test of Museveni’s popularity, and some party bosses calculated that she would win with a sympathy vote.

The result was Uganda’s youngest lawmaker ever — and a boost for Museveni’s party, the Associated Press reports.

Michael Mukula, a lawmaker who is one of the ruling party’s deputy chairmen, said Oromait’s win had sent “a lot of ripples” through the organisation, dividing it into reformers and hardliners who want to win by any means necessary.

“I am a bit concerned and taken aback because of her lack of experience and lack of exposure,” Mukula said of Oromait. “This is not a constituency you want to give a child of that age to shoulder.”

Oromait will represent a place called Usuk, where dirt roads become flooded in the rainy season and where there is only one functional high school.

This rural constituency of some 100,000 people is said to be thoroughly impoverished, even by Uganda’s standards. But last week it was thrust firmly into the national limelight, the latest battleground in the ruling party’s quest to claim a reassuring win and silence critics who say Museveni’s popularity is starting to fade.

Museveni, who took power by force in 1986, has not said if he will run again in 2016, when his current term expires, but he faces growing opposition within and outside his party to step down and preside over the first peaceful transfer of power in Uganda’s history.

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

What If Rich Countries Shut the Door on Immigration? They would start to look like North Korea, says an Oxford professor By World Economic Forum | 20 September 2012


Amid a global recession, catastrophic rates of unemployment in developed countries and a rising tide of xenophobia, the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with TIME, speaks with Ian Goldin, director of the Oxford Martin School and a professor of globalization and development at the University of Oxford, about the likelihood of anti-immigrant policies coming to the fore. Goldin warns that such policies would not only harm communities the world over, but be counterproductive.

Are we in the throes of a global backlash against immigration?
We’re seeing an increasing focus on immigration in response to the severe economic crisis, rising unemployment and falling living standards. As has happened throughout history, there’s a tendency to blame immigrants for these problems. Politically, it’s an easy option, but it’s never worked out too well as a strategy.

And there are clear signs of this?
In the worst case, there has been a wave of physical attacks on immigrants in Greece this year, with people being beaten up or stabbed just because of the way they look. On the political level, there are also very real examples of anti-immigration policies. In the U.K., the government has put dramatic caps on migration, which are making it hard to hire skilled workers. It’s so difficult to get a visa now that I’m finding that people from, say, China or South Africa are no longer willing to come to academic conferences here. In Spain, immigrants are offered lump-sum payments to go home. In the recent French elections, the far-right National Front campaigned heavily against migration and won almost a fifth of the votes. In the U.S., immigration is a hot topic ahead of the elections, although what’s interesting there is that since Latinos are such a significant voting force it changes the dynamic.

What would have to happen for a government to really shut the door?
If rich countries were really going to shut the door on immigration, they would need to stop international flights, block their ports, end tourism and brace themselves for a rapid contraction in GDP. Far from seeing unemployment fall, it would rise: companies would fail as they lose staff and management, and demand would fall. Ironically, we would expect to see a higher number of illegal immigrants. In the U.S., whenever the government has taken a tougher line on immigration-law enforcement, the number of Mexicans living there illegally has actually risen. This makes sense when you consider that, if you know you’re not going to be allowed back into a country, you’re going to stay, rather than leave when the jobs dry up.

Who would feel the impact the most?
Migrants to start with: the legal ones before the illegal ones. Then everyone else. So many industries — from agriculture to health care to construction to technology to tourism — depend on migrant workers. Hospitals would close as they lose cleaners and heart surgeons alike. Women who depend on foreign nannies to go out to work would suffer. There would also be a very damaging impact on the migrants’ home countries: in many developing countries, it is striking that the financial support from expatriate remittances well exceeds foreign aid — yet this vital assistance would dry up.

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

African Economic Outlook Launched in Addis Ababa – Creating Jobs for Africa’s Expanding Youth Population, African Development Bank, Sponsor Wire, AllAfrica, 18 September 2012


The 2012 edition of the African Economic Outlook (AEO) prepared on the special theme “Promoting Youth Employment” was launched in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on September 13 in the presence of members of the diplomatic community, government officials, and representatives of international organizations, the private sector and civil society.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Lamin Barrow, Resident Representative of the African Development Bank in Ethiopia, described the new report as a clarion call for Africa to “reset the policy agenda towards promoting inclusive, employment-creating and sustainable growth strategies aimed particularly at addressing the special needs of youth.” He said that creating productive jobs for young people will continue to pose a major policy challenge, especially as the number of youths in Africa is set to double from the current 200 million to about 400 million by 2045.

Around 60 per cent of the continent’s unemployed are between the ages of 15 and 24. “This is indeed an unacceptable reality on a continent with such a pool of youth, talent and creativity,” he said. However, citing the report, Mr. Barrow observed with a measure of satisfaction that “Africa’s youth population is not only growing rapidly, it is also getting better educated.”

“Based on current trends, about 59 per cent of 20- to 24-year-olds will have had secondary education in 2030, compared to 42 per cent today. This will translate into 137 million people in this group with secondary education and 12 million with tertiary education in 2030,” he explained. Experts predict that if this trend continues the continent’s labour force will reach 1 billion by 2040, making it the largest in the world.

Speaking on behalf of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie, Director of the Economic Development and NEPAD Division, said the theme of the 2012 report is timely because it highlights the joint efforts of the four institutions – AfDB, UNECA, United Nations Development Programme and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development – to “help African countries identify opportunities and address challenges in order to maximize benefits from the emerging demographic dividend on the continent.”

He stressed the fact that the 2012 report advocates for policies that focus on creating the right skills necessary for youths to compete in the job market and support entrepreneurship, if this massive human capital is to be turned into an economic opportunity. The report states that Africa could actually take advantage of its expanding youth population to sustain and accelerate the economic and social development of the continent.

Nevertheless, the report warns that high unemployment among youth poses a serious challenge for the economies of African countries, despite their remarkable recovery from the 2011 global economic and financial crisis. It urges African countries to make youth employment a priority in order to stem the expanding population of unemployed youth.

The Bank’s Resident Representative again praised the strong collaboration between the four partner institutions, noting that it is thanks to this collaboration that they could produce this flagship report, which is a “good source of valuable analysis and perspectives on fostering inclusive growth and promoting youth employment.” He said he was delighted to note that, despite all the odds, Africa’s rate of growth has outperformed the global average over the last decade. However, “high growth is not sufficient to guarantee productive employment for all,” he stressed.

UNDP Country Director for Ethiopia Ms. Alessandra Tisot called the report “a reminder to African governments and policy-makers to focus on removing obstacles to the many informal groups and support them to grow and create decent jobs.” She identified challenges, which need to be addressed and said they relate to “strengthening the link with different industries in the job market and providing practical skills, access to credit, microfinance, easy access to information and technology to enhance employability.”

The African Economic Outlook report is published annually through joint efforts by the African Development Bank, UNECA, UNDP and the OECD. The coverage of the African Economic Outlook has increased from 22 countries in 2002 to 53 countries in 2012, covering all African countries with the exception of Somalia.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Kenya: Govt to Ease Trade Barriers, By Humphrey Liloba,East African Business Week (Kampala) 17 September 2012


Trade between Kenya and other countries will be much faster and smooth following the planned streamlining of clearance processes.

This follows the planned rollout of the first phase of the Electronic Single Window System which will among other things fasten the clearance process through automation and little human intervention.

The rollout will kick off in July next year implemented in behalf of the government by the Kenya Trade Network Agency (KENTRADE).

The project is jointly funded by the government and the World Bank. The project is expected to significantly boost Kenya’s external trade through the reduction of clearance delays mostly blamed on corruption cartels that man the country’s borders.

It will also ensure that only the requisite fees in clearing goods is charged, thereby eliminating the cartels.

Kenya is currently losing in excess of $50 billion annually due to lost trade opportunities and corruption networks at border crossing points.

According to KENTRADE chairman, retired General Joseph Kibwana the project will be implemented in two phases over a period of six months.

“We are in the process of signing contracts for implementation of this project. Most of the ground has already been covered and what remains is the start of the real work on the ground. This is one project we attach a lot of value on. It will greatly boost trade between Kenya and the other countries,” said Kibwana.

The completion of the project will herald a new dawn where all payments will be done electronically and at a central point of entry.

“The system will integrate all the electronic systems of stakeholders involved in the cargo clearance process including Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Port Health among others,” said Kibwana.

The system will also save a great deal on the amount of paperwork involved in the clearance system and therefore make the process environment friendly.

Manifests involving travel by sea, road or air will be submitted to the Single Clearing Window which will in turn distribute them to the relevant government agencies for clearing and transmitted via internet.

“This project will drastically cut down on corruption which we have come to permanently associate with clearing agents and the system.

This is welcome reprieve and we hail the government for it,” said Chris Mburugu, second hand clothes importer at Eastleigh market in Nairobi.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

VOICE OF LIBERTY: African Development should be built on Trade and Entrepreneurship Not Philanthropy ~ Alex Ndungu Njeru


Here is a post I did, as an antithesis to a post I came about “Where thou Oh African Philanthropists?” By a blogger who I most genuinely respect and with whom I went to school with. In his article my learned friend bemoaned the fact that African Business moguls were way over the top with an unfathomable pernicious greed. In his article he bemoaned the fact that African Entrepreneurs were philanthropically nascent and did not give as much as they ought to in his opinion.

Below is a transcript of the comments thread on his original article.

I will go with ‘anonymous April 15 2012′ let’s face it Africa needs more and more rich men and just a wee bit of philanthropy. Whereas we might allude to the fact that Bill Gates through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation makes handsome donations to the African causes, does he really give back to the African continent and its people. Let’s do a little fact checker.

#1 Africa provides a very small percentage of Microsoft’s global profits. #2 Microsoft is primarily a Software business, so no African Earth or African Village could, nor a single stone turned in the creation of a single Microsoft product.

Question? Does Microsoft or Bill Gates owe Africa, a dime or a thing?

In my humble opinion he does not. His is just a generous man who constantly chooses to identify with causes that are further apart from his world like heaven and earth.

The fact of the matter is that men and women in Africa’s rich list have created empires in murky and feeble micro-economic and political environments.

What we need in Africa is not philanthropy but rather an evening out of the economic opportunities to all. The rule and equity of law is much more paramount than a few billionaires sharing some paltry fortunes with the poor.

Let us face Africa’s men in the rich list create Value; Merali creates value in the Manufacturing business, he turns raw materials (none of which could have been useful to the African people) into things like Iron sheets, he employs a sizable number of employees, he contributes massively to the tax pool, Mike Adenuga creates value in the telecommunications business, his Glo provides competition to foreign telecommunication companies in Africa.

Let’s not chide our big men for giving more. Let’s chide ourselves for allowing our governments to continually enfeeble our capacities. Let us pinch ourselves for not being vigilant enough, for allowing corruption to incapacitate the ease of doing business in Africa.

While I acquiesce that opinions and comments on random blogs does not in any sense make me an authority on matters of business in Africa, I for once believe it is time Africa’s dependency syndrome was cured, dependency on; the billionaire philanthropist, on the celebrity activist, on the foreign donor organization or on our own governments.

Kenya’s Alex Ndungu Njeru is an associate of African Liberty and a part of the Voice of Liberty Project

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Legal Experts Discuss Alignment of Regional Business Law Instruments, By Sponsor Wire, published in AllAfrica, 13 September 2012 [re-posted 18 September 2012]


Legal experts in business law from West Africa have ended a week-long workshop in Cotonou, Benin Republic on the process of examining the compatibility of 15 ECOWAS draft legal instruments with existing laws of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA).

The 2-8 September 2012 meeting enabled seven Anglophone legal experts in business law from non-OHADA States to discuss with their counterparts from OHADA signatory countries, focusing on areas of commercial contract, sale and carriage of goods and the security of tenure of business premises of foreign and local nationals, The workshop was held within the regional business law harmonization project, a process that was started in 1996 by the ECOWAS Commission in order to ensure the harmonization of commercial and business laws in the region.

The project was discontinued but revived in 2006 before which uniform Acts in this area had been harmonized by OHADA with applicability in French speaking Member States. Ultimately, the project will ensure that the legal instruments are aligned with existing OHADA instruments and contribute to the creation of a business law environment in the region that is based on best practices and procedures. The Acting Director of Legal Affairs of the Commission, Mrs. Henrietta Didigu explained at the opening of this second workshop that the objective of the alignment exercise is to “establish a harmonized business law environment and thus facilitate and promote intra- and inter-regional trade among Member State,” with the purpose of deploying them as tools for attracting additional Foreign Direct Investment into the region.

Since OHADA instruments are already applicable in some Member States, she said, the Commission is obliged to take them into account within the process of its harmonization project as they have become “a vital reference point for the evolution of the ECOWAS Community Draft Business Acts, particularly in those areas of law already existing in the OHADA regime.” Mrs. Didigu said the project is at a stage “where the Commission’s consultative team of experts from both OHADA and non-OHADA zones are helping the Commission to examine the extent of harmony achieved in the texts that have been produced.” The inaugural workshop under the exercise was held in April 2012 during which participants examined the Directives on the Principles of Company Law and related Commercial Entities.

A final text was developed which when adopted would become the reference for applicable Company Law Principles in the region. The outcomes of the workshops will be presented to a meeting of the Community’s legal experts later in the year, whose recommendations will be considered by the decision-making authorities of the organization

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

African Governments Urged to Support City Farms, Isaiah Esipisu, AlertNet, 17 September 2012


In the sprawling estate of Gurara on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, women farmers are busy working on a two-hectare plot where they grow fruit and vegetables.

The piece of land allocated to the Gurara Women’s Association by the government is a source of income for some 200 city dwellers.

A recent report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which draws on case studies from 31 African countries, shows that horticulture in urban areas and surrounding land is a source of food and income for millions of African city dwellers.

Yet it also points out that market gardening has grown with little official recognition, regulation or support from governments and local authorities. As a result, its practitioners often resort to using large quantities of chemicals like pesticides and polluted water to maximise their returns.

“The only water I can use for irrigation is the raw sewage from Nairobi River. Though I usually get skin irritation after handling it, I must keep on doing this because it is what feeds my family,” says Gideon Liselo, a father of four and a city farmer in Kenya’s capital Nairobi.

His produce is sold at town markets to customers who have no idea where it comes from.

In countries like Ethiopia, however, where the government and civil society organisations are directly supporting urban horticulture, the practice is proving to be an effective way of supplementing food grown in rural areas where extreme climate conditions, like drought, are hitting harvests more often.

“We use all kinds of technologies that can enhance food production considering the prevailing climatic conditions and limited resources. In the absence of rainfall, we use drip irrigation on particular crops – where the water drips from suspended bottles,” explains Ehite Wolde Mariam, chairwoman of the Gurara association. The women also make furrows and ridges to minimise soil erosion, she adds.

Due to limited space, the group uses vertical shelf gardening, where shelves are constructed and filled with soil to cultivate crops. Members also grow vegetables in sacks and use greenhouses where necessary.

The association keeps 10 dairy cows in the city for milk and manure, as well as poultry. It also runs a hotel where produce from the garden is cooked and sold at a premium price.

‘BIOECONOMY’ SYSTEM

The women stress, however, that their project would not have succeeded without the government’s land donation and training from Bioeconomy Africa, an NGO that offers practical lessons in what it calls an “integrated bioeconomy system”.

The approach, first developed in Ethiopia by a Swiss charity in the late 1990s, recycles biomass and energy in eco-friendly ways, using techniques such as solar power, the production of biogas from livestock manure and water harvesting. The aim is to make the most of small plots of land by raising yields and minimising the use of inputs like chemical fertilisers.

“Gurara Women’s Association is a good example to show that horticulture within an urban setting can be a reliable source of income and food,” says Getachew Tikubet, Bioeconomy Africa’s director of operations.

The organisation is currently implementing similar projects in urban areas in Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Côte d’Ivoire. It has set up model bio-farm centres and has so far trained some 30,000 subsistence farmers in its system.

“A successful green economy is the only way to reduce hunger and starvation in Africa, especially in the context of climate change and bulging population pressure,” says Tikubet.

“We must make use of the few existing resources to produce as much as possible,” he adds, referring to Gurara, where 200 women earn a living from just two hectares of land.

According to the FAO report, published at the end of August, Africa’s urban population grew from 53 million in 1960 to 400 million in 2010. By 2030, a further 345 million Africans will be living in towns and cities, it says.

The sub-Saharan region of Africa is expected to shoulder the biggest burden, as its urban population is expected to double to almost 600 million by the same year.

More than half of all urban Africans live in slums, up to 200 million survive on less than $2 a day, and poor urban children are as likely to be chronically malnourished as poor rural children, according to the FAO.

POLICIES FOR GREENER CITIES

The agency recommends that governments should foster the development of market gardening, provide advice for farmers, fund research on improved plant varieties, regulate the quality of inputs and create an enabling environment to attract support from international development agencies.

“African policymakers need to act now to steer urbanisation from its current, unsustainable path towards healthy, ‘greener’ cities that ensure food and nutrition security, decent work and income, and a clean environment for all their citizens,” Modibo Traoré, FAO’s assistant director-general for agriculture and consumer protection, wrote in a foreword to the report.

Some are already making an effort to follow that advice.

In Ethiopia, for example, the government offers cultivable land inside urban centres free of charge to community-based organisations and self-help groups willing to invest in food production. But in Kenya, the situation is different.

“While most local authorities in Kenya tacitly accept horticulture within urban boundaries, many have, and sometimes enforce, by-laws that ban the growing of crops in public areas, which is where vegetables are often grown,” states the FAO report.

In Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital of Tanzania, the survey found that horticulture is allowed but, as no areas have been zoned for it, gardens are often started without permission on vacant land.

Nonetheless, with new and bigger challenges to food production emerging, governments are slowly moving to increase their support for urban horticulture.

In Kenya, the agriculture ministry has now drafted a policy for the full integration of crop production and livestock-keeping in urban areas.

And in Uganda, the final draft of the National Land Policy commits the government to legitimising “the land use activities of the urban poor, especially in relation to agriculture”.

Isaiah Esipisu is a freelance science writer based in Nairobi.

Read more at AlertNet Climate, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s daily news website on the human impacts of climate change.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 
 
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