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Africa Fund Summit.

‘Never again’ and ‘We shall overcome’, a tale of two behaviors.

 

By Spencer Chiimbwe

In this article to the Parkchester Times, I have a few thoughts to share on this day, the day when the African Union was founded, September 9, 1999. Much of what I have to share is how the possibility of the Africa Fund Summit, if the AU decided to have one, should look like and what the summit may take into consideration. This is just an idea, a reflection, a projection, my hope is that it gets the institutional support needed to be operationalized. Let the work for Africa continue, this behavior of fighting for idea ownership, or embracing the idea only if it emerges from the Anglophone, Francophone, Lusophone or Arab League, is creating a leadership void for Africa and as a result, Africa is arguably surrendering its leadership autonomy to China. Africa is moving from colonialism to colonialism. After celebrating 50 years of independence from the British, Africa turns the other way to go to China and ask for further colonization. Africa is not in short supply of funds to take care of its destiny, it is in short supply of the leadership needed to seize today’s opportunities and make things happen for the great continent of Africa.

For example, the current 2019 approved budget for the African Union is $ 681.5 million. Well, if Africa is creative enough, with sophisticated and tactical negotiators to raise the money in question, a $681.5 million budget should not even be an issue. I am not talking about getting the money from the gold, diamond or oil rivers of Africa, this latter narrative has made Africa’s growth stunted for so long, i.e the fallacy of digging gold to make Africa work. That is not what this article is about, that narrative is entangled in the cobweb of illusions, selfishness and conflict and in no way does this article assume a lifeless, non-starter assumptive nuance that the people of Africa shall soon get together and discuss gold as the starting point to developing a fund for Africa. The variables preventing the sustenance of the natural resource problematic narrative are complicated and that is not a good place to start a conversation about the Africa Fund Summit. This article submits the following possibilities:

As of March 2018, the Black Panther, that showcases a utopia for people of African descent, made around $1.195 billion worldwide (Mendelson, 2018). Yet, Africans have not come up with a plan to engage the stakeholders in the Black Panther about the challenges of the continent that this film has made billions from. No one from African Union has assumed that thought, but guess what, China has. So, Africans would rather have Black Panther contribute to China than the African Union. Here is a question, what percentage of $1.195 billion is $ 681.5 million? Maybe that is too much of a percentage to ask the Stakeholders of Black Panther. What about the Lion King, it has made billions and billions of dollars in the last two decades. ‘Over The Last 20 Years, Broadway’s ‘Lion King’ Has Made More Money For Disney Than ‘Star Wars’ (Seymour, 2018). With the right leadership, coupled with creativity, Africa can engage these entities and have them become partners in the development of the continent. These entities use the imagery and history of the continent to make money and yet, they have never been asked or invited to participate in the development of the continent.

If the effort to engage the Black Panther or Lion King fails, a handful of African players playing in Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Champions League can fund the needs of the entire continent, but they too have never been officially approached to have a stake in the continent’s endeavors. The problem is that Africa is still looking down for gold and thereby missing the opportunities that are in looking upwards. This article is calling for the Africa Fund Summit where all franchises that use Africa’s name to make money, and all people of African descent performing in the Diaspora may get together and develop a fund for Africa. If the African Union does not embrace this idea, China will and very soon, African players in the UEFA will start contributing billions of dollars to the Chinese treasury. Really?

Works cited

Financial reforms at the African Union lead to massive cuts of the Union’s Budget. (2018, July 6). Retrieved September 9, 2018, from https://au.int/en/pressreleases/20180706/financial-reforms-african-union-lead-massive-cuts-union’s-budget

Mendelson, S. (2018, March 21). Box Office: ‘Black Panther’ Tops $1.2B, With A Little Help From China. Retrieved September 9, 2018, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2018/03/21/box-office-black-panther-tops-1-2b-with-a-little-help-from-china/#5595b709164c

Seymour, L. (2018, December 18). Over The Last 20 Years, Broadway’s ‘Lion King’ Has Made More Money For Disney Than ‘Star Wars’. Retrieved September 9, 2018, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/leeseymour/2017/12/18/the-lion-king-is-making-more-money-for-disney-than-star-wars/#42634b681ff0

Spencer Chiimbwe is the Doctoral Candidate in the Law and Policy program at the Northeastern University College of Professional Studies. He can be reached at schiimbwe26@gmail.com

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League of Arab States and International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation announce cooperation towards intra-Arab trade

League of Arab States and International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation announce cooperation towards intra-Arab trade

CAIRO, Egypt, September 6, 2018/ — The League of Arab States (Economic Affairs Sector) and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), a member of the Islamic Development Bank Group, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) towards accelerating cooperation in the development of intra-Arab trade.

Signed during the Ministerial meeting of the Economic and Social Council of the League of Arab States (LAS) and ITFC in Cairo, Egypt, the MoU outlines clear objectives aimed at enhancing trade capacities and improving structures and mechanisms of trade cooperation among Arab countries.

As part of the agreement, LAS and ITFC have solidified their commitment to jointly coordinate the design, financing and implementation of technical assistance and capacity building programs as well as tackling issues related to the development of intra-Arab trade. The MoU will also enable both parties to achieve their objectives of enhancing trade capacities among Arab countries as outlined in the ten-year work program adopted by the Islamic Summit Held in Makkah, as well as the Arab summit (the Jerusalem summit – Dhahran).

“The signing of this MoU is an important step towards enabling cooperation between the League of Arab States and ITFC. With our shared goals of achieving Arab economic integration and enhancing trade and capacity building activities within the region, we are very optimistic about the opportunities that will arise from this collaboration. This is an important step towards accelerating the process of trade development of Arab nations and their participation in the regional and global market,” said Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, ITFC Chief Executive Officer.

Ambassador Kamal Hassan Ali, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Affairs at the League of Arab States commented by saying: “The signing of this MoU will establish a legal basis for the cooperation between the League of Arab States and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation. It will open up new prospects of collaboration which will certainly be reflected on the completion of the requirements of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area and therefore the Arab Customs Union. Particularly, a decision has been communicated to the Economic and Social Council, at its current session, to further develop the Greater Arab Free Trade Area and conform with the World Trade Organization, as well as to similar regional agreements, which will positively affect the positioning of the intra-Arab trade.

Initial programs agreed under the memorandum of understanding, such as the Arab Africa Trade Bridges Program and the second phase of the Aid for Trade Initiative for Arab States (AfTIAS) Program have been earmarked for rollout in a bid to meet set objectives towards strengthening cooperation between the two parties. The MoU will support the Greater Arab Free Trade Area through hosting regional training courses, conferences and workshops covering trade development area.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC).

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CAMEROON IS BLEEDING!!

For the past two years, heartbreaking stories, photos and videos from Cameroon have been shared in different forms of media. About 120 villages in Southern Cameroons (English Region of Cameroon) have been burnt down by the Cameroonian military. As a result, many international organizations like Amnesty International, Human Right Watch, US State Department etc… have reported cases of women being raped, tortured, abducted and countless occasion of extra judicial killings by the same Cameroon  army and police.

As a result, children in the English region have not been able to attend school for two academic years. This past week, violence escalated but this time in a different part of Africa. Riots and protests hit different cities and towns in Uganda following the arrest and torture of a young musician turned Member of Parliament, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, popularly known as “Bobby Wine”. These two different situations in Cameroon and Uganda share certain commonalities but I will discuss Uganda in my next article.

Cameroon, the country of great footballers like Roger Milla, who still holds the record of the oldest player to score in a FIFA World cup, and also Cameroon becoming the first African country to reach quarter finals on the FIFA World cup, has very interesting statistics and history.

Cameroon is a big country. Southern Cameroon alone, is a region with about 8 million people, is larger than 17 countries around the world in size and population. The region is rich in oil, gold, rare minerals and cash crops. During the great depression of 1930s, Cameroon was one of the countries that sent aid to New York City to feed the people of America, who were facing starvation?

Cameroon in general has more than 1700 different linguistic groups which makes it culturally very rich and diverse. It is also one of the few countries with unusual gender demographics where there are more men than women.

Despite this great heritage, Cameroon has lately been in the news for some very wrong reasons. Apart from jailing the two men who were accused of “looking gay”, it has the longest running dictatorship on earth.

The 85-year-old President Paul Biya has been at the helm since 1975, first as a prime minister and then as president from 1982 till present. In his 43 years in power, he has used his office to commit some of the worst atrocities the world has ever seen.

Dating back to colonial times, The Republic of Cameroon, a country that embraced diversity when it gained independence in 1st January 1960, adopted two official languages and belonged to both the Commonwealth of Nations (former British colonies) and Francophonie (former French colonies), is now no longer at peace with its diversity.

The Former British Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons, commonly known today as Ambazonia, was granted independence according to United Nations Resolution 1608 of 21 April 1961 by deceitfully joining the Republic of Cameroon. They were 64 Nations including the United States, Great Britain and Northern Ireland voted yes to Southern Cameroons independence.

The question many Africans keep asking is how the European colonialists with impunity, traded their countries without due regard to the interest of local communities. Most of these conflicts would have been avoided in Africa especially Cameroon where the United Nations granted an independent British Trust Territory (Southern Cameroons) independence by joining another already independent country (French Cameroon)!

The agreement to form a Federal Republic of Cameroon after the UN sanctioned plebiscite, did not hold for long as the more dominant Francophone region, with the help of France, changed the constitution to form a Unitary State in 1972, thus succeeding from the original agreement. The original two star symbol on the flag was changed to one star, and many Cameroonian scholars in the US that I spoke with like Daniel Tekoh, Amy Lorraine Dalton, Valentine Eben and Mr. Njiban, identified this as the beginning of the current situation. Discrimination, marginalization, and disenfranchisement of the Anglophone region of Cameroon escalated. President Paul Biya has used his connection to France and the interest of the western nations in oil and gas in Anglophone region to remain in power for more than four decades.

For many years there have been waves of protest over this “stepchild” status. Most of these protests have been led by students, lawyers and teachers, who bear the brunt of this inequality in the classroom, courtroom and the civil society. These protests arise in response to efforts by the Cameroonian regime to dismantle Ambazonia’s effective and popular network of Parent-Teacher Associations, (PTA), who laid basic complaint that forceful teaching of their children by French teacher who do not understand English makes their studies harder.  The lawyers added that introducing French Magistrate and Judges in English courts with no translator is unfair and keeps English Magistrate and Judges with same trainings, jobless

The most recent wave of protests, which began in October 2016, was led by lawyers, who were responding to an attempt to dismantle the Ambazonian common law–based judicial system and replace it with the French colonial civil law system, as well as to force trials to be conducted in French. The Cameroon military responded to these peaceful protests with lethal force, killing over 400 defenseless civilians, according to activists on the ground.

The following year, on the anniversary of the lawyer-led uprising, under the leadership of Sissiku Julius Ayuk Tabe, Anglophone Cameroonians declared the region of Ambazonia as an independent state. An interim government was formed who laid claim to a territory whose borders are the same as the UN Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons under British rule (1922-1961).

As usual, President Paul Biya’s government response was swift and furious. The military was deployed in the region with brutal force, discriminately killing innocent citizens, wanton destruction of property were carried out, blowing up bridges, burning homes and raping women. Over 160 000 refugees who crossed the border into Nigeria were pursued in the camps and many of them are unaccounted for up to now. More 200,000 Internally Displaced People, about 5000 arrested and locked up in French Cameroon prisons, about 5000 dead or missing. The 47 leaders, lawyers, teachers and activists’ refugees from that region were rounded up Nigeria and falsely returned to Cameroon breaking thus international treaties.  Some of them died in solitary confinement or are missing.

According to a witness interviewed by Human Rights Watch (2018), who narrated the brutality meted on the people, “four elderly women left behind during government operations in Kwakwa, Bole, and Mongo Ndor and were reported burnt alive in their homes. Security forces allegedly shot dead several others in Kwakwa, Wone, Bole, and Belo, including seven people with intellectual or developmental disabilities who had difficulty fleeing.”

The people of Southern Cameroons, have fought back, organized campaigns and protests across the globe with little success due to the complicated international natural resources-based diplomacy. President Paul Biya, a great violator of human rights, is a darling of the west, and the Chair of 73rd Session of United Nations Budget Committee, who spends most of his time in Switzerland and France. He has so much clout and confidence, that he recently announced his bid for the office of president slatted for 7 October 2018, which will be his 7th run. If he follows through with his intention of running, then he will be 92 years old by the end of that term!! This can only mean more misery to the affected region and escalation of violence. The people of Anglophone region are not enthusiastic about the elections.

The people of Southern Cameroons need your help, and United States citizens have the power to help. Each year, Cameroon gets $131,932,848 in bilateral aid from US taxes payers, and the planned amount for 2019 is over $45 million. This is in addition to millions of dollars from US-funded IMF and World Bank multilateral aid. We have a right and responsibility to help!

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have both published reports on the human rights violations committed by the long serving dictator, President Paul Biya. Yet despite repeated requests by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to investigate credible assertions of human rights violations, Mr. Biya’s regime has, incredibly, denied access to this office!  Pending legislation HR 6385 and S.3108 would solve this problem by demanding US action against this sort of impudence.

Talk to your local congressman/woman to support and push for House Resolution 6385 to be amended to include the Cameroon specific language for the accompanying Senate Bill S. 3108. Join any local group in your area that condemns the violations of human rights in Cameroon. If you live in New York, you can join Amnesty International Bronx Chapter, which has partnered with other Cameroon diaspora groups in lobbying Congress and organizing campaigns and actions in support of peace in that region. The next event will be a public protest rally at the United Nations in New York City on September 21th from12 noon to 5pm. All of you are welcome to participate.

As a disclaimer, Amnesty International does support not any political opinion in Cameroon. The main goal for AI is to research on human rights violations, publish reports, create awareness, put pressure on the leaders by writing letters, organizing campaigns and protest rallies. This article benefitted from the reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, UN, US State department and Cameroonian diaspora groups.

 

Please contact us at amnestyinternationalbronxny@gmail.com or tel. 3473374479

 

Nick Ogutu is the President of Amnesty International Bronx New York Chapter

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Ecobank Transnational Incorporated announces the appointment of Josephine Anan-Ankomah as Group Executive, Commercial Banking

Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

LOME, Togo, August 22, 2018/ — Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, ETI, the Lome-based parent company of the Ecobank Group announces the appointment of Josephine Anan-Ankomah as Group Executive, Commercial Banking with immediate effect. This appointment follows an internal recruitment process. As a member of the Group Executive Committee, Josephine Anan-Ankomah will report to the Group CEO.

The position of Group Executive, Commercial Banking became vacant following the appointment of Laurence do Rego to the position of Senior Advisor in the Group CEO’s Office.

Prior to this appointment, Josephine Anan-Ankomah was the Managing Director of Ecobank Gambia.

Josephine Anan-Ankomah is a well-rounded banker with over 25 years’ experience within Ecobank, having joined Ecobank Ghana in 1992 as a Treasury Officer. She has held various senior positions within the bank, such as Regional Treasurer in several affiliates of the Group, Chief Operating Officer at regional level, Head of Corporate Strategy and Business Development (Ecobank Ghana) and Deputy Head – Investment Banking Group (Ecobank Ghana).

Josephine Anan-Ankomah holds an MBA in Finance from the University of Ghana and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Sociology from the same university. She is also a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants of Ghana.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ecobank.

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African Development Bank and Canada share commitment to women’s empowerment on the continent

African Development Bank and Canada share commitment to women’s empowerment on the continent

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, August 17, 2018/ — On her first visit to the West African nation of Cote d’Ivoire, Canada’s Minister of International Development, Marie-Claude Bibeau and the President of the African Development Bank Akinwumi Adesina, shared a common vision and commitment to the advancement of women and girls on the continent.

Both officials met at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan, following the Minister’s visit to a Bank-financed rural agriculture project in Abengourou, Côte d’Ivoire earlier in the day. Bibeau, Adesina and other senior management members exchanged views on wide ranging issues including gender empowerment issues, renewable energy, agriculture, and innovative financing mechanisms.

Canada is the fourth largest contributor to the Bank among non-regional members, and the sixth largest donor to the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional arm of the Bank Group.

The advancement of women and girls is a priority area for the Canadian government in keeping with its Feminist International Assistance Policy.

The Minister emphasized the need to involve African women in decision-making processes.

According to Bibeau “If we want to end poverty, women in Africa must be able to develop their full potential,” she said. She also expressed the hope that women would no longer be perceived as “mere beneficiaries” but as “agents of change.”

“This is the approach we are taking in Canada. We are working to ensure that 15% of our department’s budget is allocated to transformative projects for women,” Bibeau said.

The Gender Strategy is a central part of the Bank’s ambitious vision for Africa, based on the reality that gender equality is integral to Africa’s economic and social development. The vision includes creating opportunities for women, disadvantaged and marginalised people and communities so they can fully participate in and benefit from the development of their communities and nations.

Commending Adesina for exemplary leadership, Bibeau acknowledged that “change will not come overnight, but our collective actions will make a significant difference.” The Bank recorded exceptional results for 2017 with approvals of US $8.7 billion and over $7 billion of disbursements, the highest performance since its creation in 1964.

From 2010 to 2017, the Bank’s operations have positively impacted the lives of millions of Africans. 83 million Africans have benefited from improved access to transport, and 49 million have gained access to clean water and sanitation. Nine million African women have been connected to electricity and the living conditions of 29 million more women have been significantly enhanced as a result of improvements in agriculture.

Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina called for greater mobilization of resources in favor of women.

“We need to change the current system, and introduce a mechanism for rating and classifying financial institutions. Those who put the issue of gender at the center of their concerns should be at the forefront of this ranking,” he said.

According to Adesina, “the Bank plans to raise a US$ 300-million guarantee fund for the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative.” AFAWA is expected to leverage close to USD$ 3 billion over 10 years to empower female entrepreneurs through capacity building development, access to funding, and policy, legal and regulatory reforms to support enterprises led by women.

The initiative provides significant support for the advancement of Africa’s Gender agenda. The Bank is helping build women’s market programs in countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Through four commercial banks, at least 200,000 women owned businesses are expected to be impacted through financing, growth in revenues and through coaching and mentoring programs.

Adesina said he hoped Canada would champion the initiative, launched during the Bank’s 2016 Annual Meetings.

The Canadian Minister and the African Development Bank President also discussed closer cooperation between Canada and Africa, and Canada’s participation in the first Africa Investment Forum scheduled for November 2018 in South Africa.

Canada joined the African Development Bank in 1982. The country has supported all the general capital increases of the Bank and all the replenishments of the African Development Fund (ADF). Canada also participates in a number of multi-donor trust funds and other initiatives managed by the Bank.

The African Development Bank Group is one of Canada’s leading partners in supporting sustainable economic growth in Africa. Other Bank Group priority areas of focus include environment and renewable energy, inclusive governance, peace and security.

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Hizbus salām

“Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: These are the ones to attain felicity.” Holy Quran 3:104

The Prophet (saws) said: “Do you want me to tell you of what is better than the rank of fasting, prayer and charity?” The Companions said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah. He said, “Making peace between people among whom there is discord, for the evil of discord is the shaver.”

***

Dear Peacebuilder,

You are cordially invited to the Muslims-Israel Dialogue Summit to be held on Monday, August 27, 2018 in Midtown Manhattan, New York. 

The Muslim Media Corporation in collaboration with other high-level discussants to the envisioned Muslims-Israel Dialogue Summit have identified your organization as stakeholder to the summit peaceful conversations that will feed into Track I Diplomacy at the United Nations.

Both organizational and individual proponents of peace in the Holy Land would agree with the fact that for the past seventy years, the positive attempts and initiatives to bring peace to the region are not brought onto the world stage. In recent developments, the Muslim Media Corporation has participated in numerous conversations across all the three tracks of diplomacy and has discovered that there are a lot of ideas, suggestions and initiatives to develop a position that will feed into Track I Diplomacy at the UN. For example, the Israeli- Palestine conflicts are entangled in the complex maze of politics before role players like you and your organization can unveil the initiatives that would add value to strategic peaceful engagement and move the region closer to a durable and sustainable ceasefire.

It is for this reason that we identified you as a stakeholder in the Muslim-Israel Dialogue Summit and crave your indulgence in contributing to the peaceful conversation that will produce a position paper to feed into Track I Diplomacy at the UN & OIC.

The program is from 6pm-8pm. We are going to send you a detailed program outline and further details upon receiving your reservation. Please send your RSVP confirmation to info@muslimcommunityreport.com or call 718 822 5555.  We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Working Group

Muslims-Israel Dialogue Summit.

***

Remember Moses said to his people: “O my people! Call in remembrance the favor of Allah unto you, when He produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave you what He had not given to any other among the peoples. “O my people! Enter the holy land which Allah hath assigned unto you, and turn not back ignominiously, for then will ye be overthrown, to your own ruin.” Holy Quran 5:20-21.

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International Youth Day: how Nestlé offers economic opportunities to youth in Central & West Africa

International Youth Day: how Nestlé offers economic opportunities to youth in Central & West Africa (Source: Nestlé |

ACCRA, Ghana, August 13, 2018/ — The power of youth, their resourcefulness and ingenuity are strong contributing factors to the development of economies around the world. However, the majority of young people lack economic opportunities, which unfortunately leads to high levels of youth unemployment, underutilized talents and skills.

A publication by the African Development Bank on Jobs for Youth in Africa indicates that “of Africa’s nearly 420 million youth aged 15-35, one-third are unemployed, another third are vulnerably employed and, only one in six is in wage employment”.

The commemoration of International Youth Day on 12 August therefore provides the needed platform to find solutions to these challenges by exploring the opportunities for the development of youth in Africa and the world at large. Under the global theme, “Safe spaces for youth”, this year’s International Youth Day highlights the importance of providing safe physical and digital spaces that harness the full potential and abilities of young people to ensure inclusiveness and to promote development.

The role of Nestlé in providing opportunities for youth in Central and West Africa

As the world’s leading food and beverage company, Nestlé (www.Nestle.com) believes that communities cannot thrive if they cannot offer a future for younger generations. The company believes that providing youth with the right opportunities helps to create wealth and support the development of communities. In line with its purpose of “enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future”, Nestlé has set an ambition to help 10 million young people around the world have access to economic opportunities by 2030. Under its flagship programme, global Nestlé Needs YOUth Initiative (http://bit.ly/2MkS1hg), the company focuses on entrepreneurship, “agripreneurship”, as well as providing work readiness skills training to young people.

In Central and West Africa, over 500 young people have benefited from the global Nestlé Need YOUth initiative through job fairs, internship opportunities as well as graduate and management trainee programmes as at 2017 alone. In addition, over 4,200 people are now operating their own businesses through the “My Own Business” (MYOWBU) and pushcart initiatives under the Nestlé Professional out-of-home business. Globally last year, the company provided more than 30,000 jobs and 11,000 apprenticeship opportunities to young people under 30.

Lolia Kienka is a 26 years old Nigerian who holds an MSc in International Business. After completing the Management Trainee Program in Nestlé Nigeria, which spans over almost two years, Lolia now holds the position of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Specialist. According to her, “The program is filled with excitement and fast paced learning”. “From hands on experience in field sales to complete brand management immersion, it was one of the most productively tasking and beautifully challenging times in my young career. I currently use the insight, knowledge and skills obtained in my new role,” she added.

For Kristi Olah Molle, Category & Channel Development Executive for Nescafé in Cameroun, Nestlé’s Global Youth Initiative offers so much more than just employment opportunity: “The program provides the right platform for young people to express themselves, learn, take on challenges and assume business responsibilities. My former position of Graduate Trainee helped me better understand and cope with key challenges of the Nescafé category where I find myself now”.

Marilyn Ofori started her career in Nestlé Ghana as a National Service Person in 2009. She has risen through the ranks to become the Category Manager for Beverages overseeing brands such as MILO® and CHOCOLIM®: “The experience gained during my National Service days has shaped me into who I am today and it only took an opportunity to steer the direction of my career. I believe that if more companies join the effort to give opportunities to young people like Nestlé does, it will help bridge the youth unemployment gap and explore talents that could help contribute to business excellence”.

Sourcing more than 70% of its raw materials in the region, farmers play a vital role in Nestlé’s value chain in Central and West Africa. Does agriculture excite the younger generation at all?

It is estimated that less than 5% of farmers worldwide are under 35. To ensure a sustainable and sufficient food supply, more young people need to venture into agriculture. Nestlé is therefore helping to inspire, train and enable the youth to become ‘agripreneurs’ by providing them the knowledge, skills and entrepreneurial spirit they need to manage farms profitably. This effort by Nestlé helps ensure that that there is a sustainable and vibrant human resource for the agricultural sector and reduces rural exodus as youth see equally rewarding economic opportunities in countryside living.

Through Nestlé Cocoa Plan and Nescafé Plan, over 10,000 young people from Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana receive special training on good agricultural practices. This enables them to work on nurseries to grow coffee and cocoa plantlets with the support of certified Agronomists. In Nigeria alone, there are 59 young volunteers also participating in the Nestlé Cereals Plan & Feed the Future Maize Quality Improvement Project where they are trained on mitigating contaminants during planting with safe handling of seeds and pesticides. The technical skills gained through the project increase the chances that these young people earn a good living through agribusiness.

Rémy Ejel, Market Head of Nestlé Central and West Africa (CWA) said that the company wants to equip youth with the needed skills and offer them the right opportunities for their development. “By providing, growing and harnessing talents of young people, Nestlé can successfully contribute to building sustainable communities and spur economic growth. This is one of the concrete ways Nestlé creates shared value for the company and for the society”.

Nestlé CWA youth initiatives contribute to the attainment of UN Sustainable Development Goals 2, 3, 8 and 11: Zero hunger; Good health & wellbeing; Decent work and economic growth; as well as Sustainable cities and communities respectively.

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The Arms Trade in The Horn of Africa

LONDON, United Kingdom, August 13, 2018/ — EXX Africa published a special report on the arms trade in the Horn of Africa. The trade of illegal weapons in the Horn of Africa remains highly lucrative and is comprehensively entwined with transnational terrorist groups, drug smuggling, and the conflict in nearby Yemen. The focus of the regional arms trade remains volatile Somalia and its semi-autonomous regions where demand for weapons remains unabated despite various embargoes and other sanctions.

Over the past few years, Djibouti has emerged as an increasingly important hub for weapons trans-shipment to armed groups in the region. There is growing evidence that Djibouti is acting as a strategic transit location for weapons derived from Houthi-held territory in Yemen, which it then ships to the Awdal region of northern Somalia through its peacekeeping deployment in the AMISOM mission.

Djibouti’s enhanced role in regional arms trafficking is occurring at the same time as the country’s government is seeking fresh foreign investment in its important marine port sector and related industries. Many Djiboutian companies that are engaged in the country’s thriving marine sector have been implicated in the illegal weapons trade, raising reputational risks for foreign investors seeking to participate in Djibouti’s economy. The proliferation of weapons in Djibouti is also raising concerns over armed criminal activity and rising risk of terrorist attacks in a location frequented by foreign military personnel.

However, none of Djibouti’s international partners are willing to flag such risks, fearing the potential loss of their leases on strategically important military bases in the country. One local source described the arms trade in the Gulf of Aden as a ‘political mess that most western nations do not want to wade into.’ Despite evidence implicating senior Djiboutian officials in the arms trade, there has been no concerted effort to impose punitive sanctions on these individuals.

Djibouti’s role in regional arms trafficking is set to grow even further as old foes Eritrea and Ethiopia seek to agree a lasting peace that will have significant ripple effects on the arms trade supply chain in the Horn of Africa. Armed groups in Ethiopia, Somalia, and the Sudans, as well as al-Shabaab, have long relied on Eritrea to supply weapons. As Eritrea seeks rapprochement with Ethiopia and a return to the international community, its role of arms trafficking hub will become significantly diminished.

Djibouti, which favours a weak Somalia and an isolated Eritrea, is likely to step into the gap and leverage its existing arms trafficking networks to continue to supply illegal weapons to armed groups in the Horn of Africa as Eritrea potentially steps out of the trade. Since seizing control of the Doraleh port terminal, the Djiboutian government seems to be preparing to increase shipments through the country’s main port. However, most shipments of illegal weapons through Djibouti will continue to be done by smaller dhows via the fishing communities on the south-east coast and via the Garacad port project.

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Ebola Vaccination Begins in North Kivu

Ebola Vaccination Begins in North Kivu

BRAZZAVILLE, Congo (Republic of the), August 10, 2018/ — The Ministry of Public Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo today announced the launch of Ebola vaccinations for high risk populations in North Kivu province.

The vaccinations have begun just one week after the announcement of a second outbreak of Ebola this year in the country. A total of 44 cases have been reported so far, of which 17 have been confirmed.

Work has begun to prepare ring vaccination in the Mangina health area, 30km from the town of Beni.

The provincial health minister and the provincial coordinator of the Expanded Programme on Immunization were the first to be vaccinated. They were followed by first line health workers from the Mangina health centre, who had been in contact with people who were confirmed cases of Ebola.

“Vaccines are an important tool in the fight against Ebola. This is why it has been a priority to move them rapidly into place to begin protecting our health workers and the affected population,” said Dr Oly Ilunga, Minister of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A total of 3,220 doses of the rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine are currently available in the country, while supplementary doses have been requested. While the vaccine goes through the licensing process, an agreement between Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and Merck, the developer of the vaccine, ensures that additional investigational doses of the vaccine are available.

“The Democratic Republic of the Congo has once again demonstrated strong leadership in its early response to this outbreak,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). “Ebola is aggressive. We must respond more aggressively. Beginning the vaccination so quickly is a key early step.”

WHO has provided logistical support for the establishment of the cold chain and sent supplies needed for the vaccinations, in addition to supporting the negotiation of protocols with the manufacturer and national authorities, and supporting the deployment of vaccination experts from Guinea to work alongside national staff, who began the vaccination.

“We are proud of the regional solidarity demonstrated by the vaccination efforts, and confident that the strong capacity of the African region will once again be demonstrated during the response to this outbreak,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

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3 in 4 young adults in Uganda experienced some form of violence during their childhood

Hon. Hajat Janat Mukwaya, Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development

BUIKWE, Uganda, August 10, 2018/ — Three in four young adults in Uganda have experienced some form of violence during their childhood, according to Uganda’s first ever Violence Against Children Survey, launched today by the Government of Uganda and its partners.

The Uganda Violence Against Children (VAC) Survey provides nationally representative data on the prevalence, nature and consequences of physical, emotional and sexual violence against children in Uganda, and provides sub-national estimates of violence against children.

“This survey brings to light the widespread nature and problem of violence against children in the country,” said Hon. Hajat Janat Mukwaya, Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development.

“The findings provide crucial evidence that will help guide the Government in our policy and programme decisions to better prevent and respond to violence against children across the country in the future.”

Some of the key findings from the survey include:

General findings:

3 in 4 young adults experienced some form of violence during childhood
1 in 3 young adults experienced at least two forms of violence – of either sexual, physical and emotional violence – during childhood
Half of all 18-24 year old Ugandans believe it is acceptable for a man to beat his wife

Sexual Violence

Among 18-24 year olds, 1 in 3 females (35%) and one in six males (17%) experienced sexual abuse during their childhood
1 in 4 young adults who experienced sexual abuse during childhood first experienced it at the age of 13 or younger
Children who suffered sexual abuse experienced higher mental distress than children who didn’t

Physical Violence

The majority of young adults – 6 in 10 females (59%) and 7 in 10 males (68%) – experienced physical violence during their childhood, with nearly half experiencing it at the hands of parents or adult caregivers
Among those who were subjected to physical violence by an adult, their first experience was nearly always committed by a teacher (94% for females and 86% for males)
1 in 4 children missed school after experiencing physical violence

Emotional Violence

Among 18-24 year olds, 1 in 3 experienced some form of emotional or verbal violence during their childhood
The most common perpetrator of emotional or verbal violence was a child’s mother or stepmother (41% for females and 35% for males)
Children who experience emotional violence were more likely to think of killing themselves than those who didn’t

The survey further highlights that violence against children occurs at all levels of Ugandan society – in homes, schools and communities, among other places – with survivors suffering negative physical, mental, social and cognitive consequences.

It also stresses that children who experience violence are more likely to become perpetrators of violence against children themselves in the future, fueling an inter-generational cycle of violence in the decades to come.

“The findings of this survey make it shockingly clear – Ugandan children commonly experience violence, which often harms their development and, in some instances, devastates their lives,” said Dr. Doreen Mulenga, UNICEF’s Representative to Uganda.

“This situation must therefore serve as a call to action to all people who influence children across Uganda – especially those responsible for nurturing them, such as parents and teachers – to change their attitudes from tolerating and committing violence against children to rejecting it and holding all of those who perpetrate it accountable.”

The survey was conducted by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development with support from AfriChild Centre for Excellence, ChildFund, PEPFAR, Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation Uganda (TPO), Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), USAID, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF.

Uganda is the latest among several countries such as Swaziland, Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Haiti, Cambodia, Malawi, Nigeria, Zambia, Laos, Rwanda, Botswana, Honduras and El Salvador, that have completed data collection for similar Violence Against Children Surveys.