Sever your enemy’s head from behind, to minimize struggling. “If you cut from the back of the neck, they die faster,” said Rahila Amos, a Nigerian grandmother describing the meticulous instruction she received from Boko Haram to become a suicide bomber. Of all the many horrors of Boko Haram’s rampage across West Africa — the…
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‘It was a direct path to heaven’: How Boko Haram trains abducted women and girls to be suicide bombers — National Post – Top Stories
‘Deportations to begin’: Boston Globe prints fake front page satirizing President Trump — National Post – Top Stories
BOSTON — The editorial board of The Boston Globe is using a satirical front page to express its uneasiness with a potential Donald Trump presidency. The newspaper has printed a satirical front page for its Sunday “Ideas” section. The page is dated April 9, 2017, and features a large photo of Trump below dominant headline that…
The Central African Centre for Libertarian Thought and Action (CACLiTA) will be having its inaugural liberty school and book fair on the 23rd of April 2016 at the Mont Febe Monastery in Bastos, Yaoundé, Cameroon. We will be offering to participants a cd entitled ‘Idées pour une sociéte libre’ (cds offered by Linda Whetstone of the UK based Network for a Free Society)and two books entitled ‘La moralité du capitalisme edited by Tom Palmer’ and ‘Voices from Africa : For a new Century of Liberty, Peace and Prosperity vol 1 edited by George Ayittey and Mike Duru’. This book reproduction and distribution is possible thanks to a grant from the US based Atlas Network. Students and Young professionals interested in free markets and liberty are thus welcomed to send in an entry of not more than 250 words addressing the issue ‘ revamping the doing business atmosphere in Cameroon’. This entry should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 15 of April 2016. Selected parcticpants will be notified on the 17 of April 2016. Spread the word. Shalom
Asanji Burnley Nguh
Central African Centre for Libertarian Thought and Action (CACLiTA), Yaounde, Cameroon
Le Centre de l’Afrique centrale pour la pensée et l’action libertarienne (avec acronyme CACLiTA) organise un séminaire le 23 Avril 2016 au Monastère Mont Febe à Bastos, Yaoundé, Cameroun. Nous offrirons aux participants un cd intitulé «’Idées pour une sociéte libre »(cds offerts par Linda Whetstone du réseau basée au Royaume-Uni , Network for a Free Society) et deux livres intitulé « La moralité du capitalisme édité par Tom Palmer » et «’Voices from Africa : For a new Century of Liberty, Peace and Prosperity vol 1 édité par George Ayittey et Mike Duru. Cette reproduction et la distribution du livre est possible grâce à une subvention du Réseau américain, Atlas Network. Les étudiants et les jeunes professionnels intéressés par les marchés libres et la liberté sont donc invités à envoyer une entrée de 250 mots portant sur la question «refonte du climat d’affaires au Cameroun». Cette entrée doit être soumise à email@example.com au plus tard le 15 Avril 2016. Les participants sélectionnés seront informés le 17 Avril 2016. Shalom
Asanji Burnley Nguh
Président / Co fondateur
Centre de l’Afrique centrale pour la pensée et l’action libertarienne, Yaounde, Cameroun
On 21 December 2015 President Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon promulgated Law No. 2015/ 019 of 21 December 2015, Finance Act relating to the Republic of Cameroon for the year 2016. The budget stood at 4 234 billion Francs CFA against, 3 746.6 billion Francs CFA in 2015, an increase of 488.1 billion Francs CFA in absolute terms and 13.02% in relative value. There is no gainsaying that local councils contributed a huge amount of this revenue for the year 2016 especially as these councils house a greater part of economic activities in the country such as raw material exploitation. It remains a paradox that despite the role played by local councils in revenue collection in Cameroon, these councils remain poor and underdeveloped. One would have thought that with the inception of the decentralisation process in the 1996 Constitution of Cameroon a majority of councils in the country should have been developed by now. It was in 2010 that the state began the first transfers of competencies and resources to local councils. Councils cannot booast of road infrastructure like farm to market roads, water and electricity. In 2010 the state transfered 10 percent of taxes (TVA, IS) to local councils. The percentage has increased to 25 percent in 2015 but this remains insignificant. Is there a problem with the collection and redistribution of the taxes. Do the central services cooperate adequately with the local councils in tax collection and distribution ? Is there adequate good governance and transparency in the management of taxes collected so as to target local development ? These are some concerns this contribution seeks to address.
In 2010 just 9 ministries transfered funds to councils to the sum of 23 072 363 000 f cfa. In 2012 the number increased to 17 Ministries after a lot of pressure from government. These 17 ministries transfered 23 071 163 000 cfa, which was not significant despite the increase in the number of ministries. This was done under the banner of the ongoing decentralisation process.
In Cameroon, there is inefficiency with respect to the collection and redistribution of centralised state and local taxes. Taxes especially collected at the local level are centralised for subsequent redistribution. The blind centralisation of taxes affects the proper management of public funds as there is no transparency and no accountability. The end result of this is that even local communities with great economic potential like Mbanga and Penja in the Littoral region of the country remain underdeveloped. Likewise local councils like the Santa Council in the North West region of the country with enormous economic potential remain underdeveloped.
Another very disturbing issue is that in Cameroon, local communities do not have the freedom to set their tax rates. This leaves them no room to partake in tax competition that will allow them to fight against the draining of financial resources by the central government.
The management and use of funds generated from local councils in Cameroon remains an issue of concern. Bad governance and lack of transparency in the allocation of budgets remain a serious ill plaguing the underdevelopment of local councils in Cameroon.
Local councils in Cameroon cannot yet boast of well trained personnel capable of designing and executing large projects for the needs of thier local communities. This is the case of local councils in the economic capital of Cameroon, Douala as well as local councils in remote parts of the country like Nkambe. Not many personnel are well trained nor understand the dynamics of council development projects. According to a study commissioned by the state in 2008, 39% of agents do not have adequate training or have a diploma related to thier duties, but posses only drivers licences. 64% of them have qualifications inferior to the BEPC and only 20% of them attain the Bac level ( BAC + 3, + 4, ou + 5). This creates a scenario where even in rich councils like the Douala V Council we still find abandonned projects, poor roads and lack of other social amenities like waste disposal services.
The average allocation to capital investment to municipalities in Cameroon is very low. In 2007 it stood at 14% and in 2008 it dropped to 11% . On the other hand, recurrent expenditure for the same period was average. In 2009, it stood at 40% and 50% in 2010. Thus, a large proportion of expenditure was invested on general public services (administration) and salaries rather than on capital investment, reason why municipal councils in Cameroon suffer from lack of well trained personnel, poor roads, lack of water and electricity.
The territoriality of taxation needs to be respected in Cameroon. This means that a local council should be able to determine how taxes collected therein is to be channelled for development of that council. Value Added Tax for instance collected at local councils need not be transferred in its totality to the central government. There is need for local councils to be able to make sure that the taxes collected are used to finance its operations, and transfers should be made to the central administration if there is a surplus.
There is equally need for local councils in Cameroon to have the freedom to set their tax rates, which will give them room to partake in tax competition that will allow them to fight against the draining of financial resources by the central government. This competition will also introduce fiscal discipline and encourage good public expenditure management. Such motivation will attract more households and businesses to willingly pay taxes to thier respective local councils as such a propelling factor for development at local councils in Cameroon.
This article was originally published in french as ‘Décentralisation malade au Cameroun‘ by LibreAfrique.org
Chofor Che is founding President of the Central African Centre for Libertarian Thought and Action, Cameroon (CACliTA). He is also analyst with LibreAfrique.org, African Liberty.org and Audace Institut Afrique.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,000 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 33 trips to carry that many people.
From champ to wimp : Nigeria’s power in Africa seems in decline, but perhaps we’re missing the big picture, 21 December 2015, Japheth Omojuwa
NIGERIA’S Boko Haram Islamist militants have stepped up suicide attacks as the military intensified its offensive to meet a December-end deadline by President Muhammadu Buhari to end the six-year insurgency.
The deadline is set to expire without Boko Haram being eliminated. One of many acknowledgements that the fight against the militants will be on for a while longer, was the announcement Monday plans to increase the number of its troops backing Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram to more than 300 next year.
In addition, the fact that the once mighty Nigerian military this year often put Boko Haram on the run due to the critical military support by smaller and poorer neighbours, has spurred commentators to argue that Africa’s biggest economy is, at base, a regional power in decline. A champion with its best years behind it.
On the surface, it looks so, but the reality is more complicated.
This year a sitting Nigerian president was beaten at the ballot by a three-time election loser; the incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan didn’t cry, throw a tantrum or call in the generals – he conceded defeat generously and congratulated the winner, Muhammadu Buhari.
Moment of democratic deepening
In a continent where the power-clutching antics of leaders are better known than their honourable exits, it was a valuable moment of democratic deepening in the country.
It also spoke to a possible return of Nigeria offering leadership in the continent, on the back of what had been a good run of booming economic growth.
In 2014, after a rebasing exercise, Nigeria knocked off South Africa from its perch as Africa’s biggest economy, and counted its GDP at $521 billion. The same year, however, the giant of Africa was plagued by terrorism and internal strife with Boko Haram insurgency in the north, and had to suffer the embarrassment of being bailed out militarily by the armies of much smaller countries in the region, including Chad and Cameroon.
Historically, Nigeria has always been a useful force for progress and development on the continent. From the country’s role in the liberation movement across the continent, to spearheading peacekeeping missions in West Africa in the 1990s, Nigeria’s foreign policy might has never been in question.
Big African causes
That’s until recently, when it has taken a relatively more subdued tone on the geopolitical stage, a far cry from the days of the feisty Olusegun Obasanjo’s term as civilian president in the early 2000s, when Obasanjo – and Nigeria – were excellent at championing the great African causes of the day.
What is the place of Nigeria in Africa today? How does this once aggressive African superpower fit into the current power dynamics on the continent? Is Nigeria on a retreat ironically at a time when it has just become the continent’s big economic kahuna?
Njoya Tikum, who works with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as regional policy and programme advisor on anti-corruption and economic governance, doesn’t think so.
“Nigeria hasn’t become soft,” said Tikum in an interview with Mail & Guardian Africa. “Not under the current peace and security architecture of Africa. They are becoming shrewd. We used to criticise them as the continent’s bully but Nigeria has now started to use soft politics without annoying its neighbours.
“On the Security Council for instance, the consensus is that Nigeria should take Africa’s place because of its long history in terms of ensuring peace and security in Africa.” Nigeria has only gone back to rework its tools of influence, Tikum said. “Internal exigencies have caught up with Nigeria. Creating opportunities internally will only make the country more powerful. Nigeria is acting like [President Barack] Obama’s America. There is an inward growth perspective, which doesn’t mean they have given up [on external engagements].”
Tikum’s sentiments found some resonance with that of South Africa’s Tessa Dooms who is a National Planning Commissioner and Director with South African think-tank, Youth Lab.
“You can never accuse Nigeria of cowardice. Just because they are not as cut-throat does not mean they have backed off.”
Nigeria is simply fitting into Africa’s contemporary realities, Dooms argued. “Africa has new issues. Countries used to be mostly dealing with their issues by themselves, now there is a sense of collective responsibility. We now have regional blocs with leaders and Nigeria and South Africa are respectively leaders in their blocs.”
Nigeria may be looking inwards, but this may not necessarily be to the detriment of its continental influence. “There is an opportunity in offering leadership by example. If Nigeria solves its energy and unemployment issues for instance, it then becomes a model on how you get things right. That certainly is another version of political clout,” said Doom.
Still, former president Goodluck Jonathan also deserves some praise, according to Chofor Che, an analyst at LibreAfrique.org and Audace Institut Afrique, and co-founder and chair of the Central African Centre for Libertarian Thought and Action (CACLiTA). “I think that we should give some credit to Jonathan because it is under his regime that Nigeria beat South Africa to become number one economy in Africa. Under Jonathan we saw more investment opportunities created.
“Many thought that Jonathan did not do much to contain the Boko Haram crisis, but I think tackling Boko Haram needs a regional strategy with assistance from the international community. It is difficult for a single state to combat such a menace.”
But Chofor took a different position on the role of Nigeria on the continent. “I do think Nigeria became soft politically under Jonathan, and Buhari with his military background is struggling to reinstate that position.”
For his part, Nigerian blogger, Abubakar Usman believes Nigeria certainly retreated. “Even as Nigeria became Africa’s biggest economy, we saw a kind of retreat because while the growth figures were good, the successes recorded were largely uncoordinated,” he said.
While not believing wealth has fundamentally softened Nigeria’s political power in Africa, he believes it was more a lack of will to use those powers.
“Nigeria’s prosperity has not made it politically soft, we only had a leader in Goodluck Jonathan who lacked the political will to use its riches to better the lives of the people.” Boko Haram indeed sapped the confidence of the nation, said Usman, but with a new government, the confidence is being restored.
Nigeria is still viewed as a force of stability and leadership in the region, “but [ the perception] is not as strong as it was some years back,” he conceded.
But there is a form of Nigerian power Africa cannot afford to ignore, said Tikum, quoted earlier. Nigeria is leading the socio-cultural charge and offering entrepreneurial leadership on the continent.
“The first thing that comes to your mind with respect to music and movies on the continent is Nigeria. People tend to forget about these aspects. It is a soft form of leadership but it is a critical one,” said Tikum.
On the contemporary tech battle between Nigeria and Kenya, Tikum believes that Kenya is perceived as doing better because Kenya has had to focus on external markets while Nigeria can afford to focus inwards because it has a huge internal market.
“What goes on in Lagos in a day happens in Kenya in two weeks!” said Tikum.
What has Nigeria been busy with lately on the continent? Along with South Africa, it is involved with keeping peace in the Central African Republic.
The coup plotters in Burkina Faso ignored direction from the presidents of Benin and Senegal despite both countries promising amnesty to the ambitious soldiers. Nigeria, was willing to send troops but used its power of persuasion and got the soldiers to back down.
In South Sudan, the only non-East African contingent of security forces came from Nigeria; and the country is also involved in stabilising Guinea-Bissau. The overall economy of the West African region continues to be fueled by Nigeria.
Much may be said about Nigeria’s current challenge with terrorism and internal strife, Nigeria’s continued influential role in the region and Africa at large remains largely intact. The challenge for policy-makers is to look at it from new perspectives.
This article was originally published at Mail & Guardian Africa
One of the most strategic driving forces behind the wellbeing of a society or an economy is policymaking. The various policies laid out by policy makers go a long way to either ameliorate different aspects of a society and hence the economy or hold it back.
Policymaking is the act of creating laws or setting standards for a government, organization or business. These changes usually come as a result of the identification, monitoring and evaluation processes where trends are uncovered, or as a direct result of a pressing situation within an organization or a society.
In an ideally running society, the government makes policies for the protection and wellbeing of the citizens and population at large, and to ensure a better and smooth running of the economy. Some policies however, especially within corrupt governments are passed for selfish reasons. Lawmakers generally are people of position, power and wealth. They may run or oversee businesses, whose interests naturally have to be protected. They are well in position to do so. Where selfishness and greed surpasses rational reasoning, policies will be made that will protect businesses even at the expense of the wellbeing and wishes of the society. It is a common practice worldwide.
Examples of such situations are The Rise of Gun Violence as a Public Health Issue and how the NRA (National Rifle Association) has lawmakers deep in their pockets. Others include the continuous activities of MONSANTO and GM food developing companies despite protests and proof of their adverse health effects; the numerous constitutional changes in corrupt African governments to ensure the stay of leaders in power and access to large funds from other governments for hidden services rendered; Big Pharma buying its way into the FDA advisory panels and so on. The list can go on and on and isn’t limited to a few countries. It is a global problem, the only difference being the fact that in developing countries and Africa it is labelled ”Corruption” while in the US and Europe- “Lobbying”.
The slow development pace in Africa especially can be blamed on a major mentality problem which keeps policy makers and wealthy businessmen at the top, canalizing national wealth and deciding on laws almost exclusively for their benefits until there comes a conflict of interest situation.
Cameroon for example, a country which had maintained a leadership role amidst other countries in the central African region, both in terms of economic development and infrastructure since independence, now has most of the other nations ahead especially infrastructure wise. A country so blessed but yet cursed. A country where the dream of the youth is going overseas or getting into the public service, while those in public offices strive to accumulate as much as they can on the job before their term is over. This mentality applies from the topmost leadership in the country to the least student whose dream is to make it into specialized public schools like ENAM (Cameroon National School of Administration and Magistracy) and IRIC (International Relations Institute of Cameroon). He is sure of becoming a millionaire or of at least living a comfortable life. With such a mentality, the system is held in a vicious cycle and a lot of effort has to be made to see the light.
Individuals and companies with wealth have the capacity to bring about development not only economically but also with regard to infrastructure and the wellbeing of the workforce. In any given society this will give credit to the individual or company in question for lifting such a burden off government shoulders. Unfortunately, despite depreciating and disappearing infrastructure, only the government is allowed to carry out such projects.
For example, a company, X, has a warehouse in a location which is practically inaccessible. No matter how large their resources, they have no right to construct a permanent road with bitumen. They have to manage it somehow and wait for government projects to do the job which may take years as is usually the case. Other governments foster partnerships with corporations and wealthy individuals and are only too glad to receive such proposals.
These are a few examples of how policies can make or break a country or an organization and policy makers are the keys to the wellbeing or failure of this process. Policymaking in various sectors should be confided to a neutral body or agency, with its leadership having no affiliation to the government but should have a government representative on the panel alongside specialists in the domain and an ordinary person from the public. Policies should be debated upon, voted and only then implemented.
If individuals can look beyond their present infinite wealth targets and visualize a future for their nations and even their own great grandkids, some mentalities will change. After all, greed and selfishness at such national levels only portray the lack of honour a citizen can have for his country.
Also see Top 10 Reasons Why The World Is Not Likely To Attain Health Targets Anytime Soon, by Dr. Fitz N Dinka
Dr. Fitz N Dinka is Senior Policy Analyst at the Central African Centre for Libertarian Thought and Action (CACliTA).