Category Archives: Africa – International

Nigeria – Bakare says attack on Buhari meant to split Nigeria

Punch

Pastor Tunde Bakare

The Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, on Sunday said Nigerians should be grateful that the attempt on the life of a former Head of State, Maj. Gen Muahammadu Buhari, (retd.), was unsuccessful, as it would have led to a crisis of unprecedented destruction and loss of lives.

Bakare, who was Buhari’s running mate on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change during the 2011 Presidential elections, said Buhari had millions of supporters in the North who might have taken the law into their own hands.

He said the crisis would have spread to the South, where more reprisals would occur.

Bakare said this while preaching in his church in Lagos on Sunday.

He said, “But for what could only have been an act of God, this past week might have marked the beginning of the end for our nation. For if the attack targeted at Buhari and his entourage on Wednesday had succeeded, the hatchers of the Nigerian disintegration agenda would have been smiling home to the bank by now.

“The enormous goodwill and massive following enjoyed by the General among the tens of millions of disadvantaged northern youths for whom he has become a messianic symbol, would have transmogrified into the unguided and uncontrollable fury of a vengeful army, whose target would not be without political and ethnic colouration.

“Invariably, this would have sparked up a corresponding reaction of violence from an equally militant antagonistic young population from across the Niger. One needs not be a political analyst to see that such a scenario might have culminated in the demise of our nation.”

Bakare said according to available statistics, between April 2010 and June 2014, terrorism had been the cause of about 6,000 deaths in the country while this year alone, a conservative figure of over 2,500 were reported to have been killed by the activities of Boko Haram.

He warned that it would be naïve for anyone to think that terrorism was purely a northern problem since 486 terror suspects had been arrested in Abia State while Boko Haram had claimed responsibility for the attacks in Apapa, Lagos after an attempt by the government to dub them mere “explosions.”

Bakare said the reasons terrorism thrived in Nigeria were because of the failure of intelligence which resorted to tracking the opposition rather than criminals and the enemies of the state.

He gave other reasons as governmental incompetence, a weakening armed forces, internal and international conspiracy; and opportunism.

He added that the attack should have made it clear to all that Buhari was not a Boko Haram sympathiser.

Bakare noted that the military at present cannot adequately combat terrorism, noting that soldiers confront members of the Boko Haram with “inferior weapons.”

He criticised President Goodluck Jonathan for seeking $1bn foreign loan to fight terrorism, saying “the last time the military was equipped was in the 1980s and there have been budgetary allocations every year.

“The senate say they want to reconvene to consider the request and nobody is asking what happened to the amount budgeted for security this year.”

The cleric noted that the reign of terror should not be ascribed to religion but “sheer psychosis.”

He warned that traditional Islam and radical Islam must not be grouped together, saying that radical Islam, alongside zoning deprivation, oppression and injustice, were the cause of terrorism.

“To win this war, we must embark forthwith on accurate diagnosis. There is a fundamental difference between traditional Islam and the radical Islam of our day. To lump them together would be a tragic mistake. It would only produce error, which would lead to attendant terror.

“I only hope that this is a wakeup call to our government and we must now rise up so that together we can deploy all our resources to stop the terrorists dead in their tracks,” he said.

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Is Africa really rising?

allAfrica

document

Photo: Tami Hultman/AllAfrica

Kingsley Moghalu

London — Public Lecture at the London School of Economics by Dr. Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, Deputy Governor (Financial System Stability), Central Bank of Nigeria and Author, Emerging Africa: How the Global Economy’s ‘Last Frontier’ Can Prosper and Matter (Penguin Books, 2014)

Is Africa Rising?

In the past decade Africa has emerged in the world’s consciousness in the context of an evolution in the continent’s image. Africa is not yet seen as the place to be, to go to, or to be envied in terms of economic and societal progress. Indeed, still too many people around the world hold a decidedly different view. Gradually but surely, however, Africa is increasingly viewed less as a “hopeless” continent and more as one with promise for economic development, less as a haven of poverty, war and natural disaster and more as a continent that offers economic opportunity. In short, Africa is seen more as a “normal”, even if less prosperous place than many other parts of the world, than as the decidedly “abnormal” place off the map of the mental imagination that it once was.

This recent emergence and the positive evolution of the continent’s image has led to the growth of an “Africa-Rising” industry of analysts, commentators, scholars and business executives in which the continent is seen as the next big thing in the world’s economy. The continent in this view can lay claim to a looming African century close on the heels of the economic rise of Asia in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Three main factors have shaped this trend.

First, many of the wars for which Africa was famous have ended. The wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia, the Great Lakes region of Africa including Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the long armed conflicts in the Horn of Africa in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan were and are only a few of the destructive orgies of annihilation of human capital, political stability and economic possibilities that shaped perceptions of Africa as a war zone writ large in the 1980s, the 1990s and the 2000s. As most of these conflicts have ended, more recent ones have raged in Mali and the Central African Republic, keeping the world’s peacekeeping armies in business. But the continent is far more at peace now than it once was, clearing the path for a shift in attention to democratization and economic development.

Second, macroeconomic stability has been broadly established across the continent in the past decade. Inflation is down, at an average of 10 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa compared to the nearly 25 per cent in the 1980s and the 1990s. This trend can be traced to the evolution of better monetary policy by increasingly independent central banks, as well as improved fiscal management. At the same time, GDP growth has continued apace. Average GDP growth in sub-Saharan Africa in the decade leading to 2013 was 5 per cent, with a third of Africa’s countries reaching growth rates of 6 per cent and others, such as Nigeria, growing at average rates of 7 per cent.

According to the African Development Bank, Africa’s economies are growing faster than those of any other continent. Nearly half of Africa’s countries are now classified as middle income countries, the numbers of Africans living below the poverty line fell to 39 per cent in 2012 as compared to 51 per cent in 2005, and around 350 million of Africa’s one billion people are now earning between $2 and $20 a day.

The third factor is the global financial crisis and the subsequent recession in the Eurozone and other Western economies at a time in which African economies were growing rapidly. This has led to opportunistic focus on Africa by several multinationals and global investment funds as the “final frontier” for wealth creation, with returns on investment that can only be the stuff of dreams in the world’s industrialized countries.

But the reality is more nuanced. Contrary to the breathless prognostications of enthusiasts, while Africa has become an economic opportunity in the world economy, the continent is yet to fully emerge, let alone rise, as an economic presence and a co-creator of global prosperity.

Let us look at another set of statistics. Africa’s share of world trade is a minute 3 per cent, with less than 4 per cent of global Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows going to the continent. With a combined GDP of S1.6 trillion, the combined GDP of the continent’s 54 countries is just about that of Brazil. The GDP of the entire sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa, is just about equal to that of Belgium or that of metropolitan Chicago. All the electricity produced in sub-Saharan Africa, half of which is, in fact produced by South Africa, is equivalent to that of Spain which has 20 times fewer people than Africa.

The Argument for a New Paradigm of African Development

What all this suggests is that real questions regarding the “rise” of Africa include that of what parameters are used for measuring the continent’s progress and who does the measuring. Is Africa aspiring to holistic development that encompasses human development as a reflection of the real quality of life of Africans or is it focusing on economic growth statistics that do not necessarily translate into more jobs for its citizens and better education and healthcare? Have African economies become industrialized manufacturing economies, and will job creation outpace population growth and put Malthus to shame? What is the role of science, technology and innovation in African economies? Is Africa assessing its own progress against benchmarks it has set for itself, or is its “rise” the received wisdom from global institutions and the ambassadors of global capital seeking new frontiers of profit?

In Emerging Africa I make the case that Africa needs an endogenous growth model that is inside-out in its perspective, rather than the presently dominant one that is outside-in and globalization-centric. Africa needs to manufacture goods for its own markets as a first foundation, spreading out regionally from that base and emerging as economic power in its own right through competitive advantage or at least self-sufficiency. What is being celebrated as Africa’s rise is the fact that the continent has increasingly become a market or a playground for globalization.

Africans appear to have become excited merely to be participating in the wider globalization process, and the external economic players for whom the continent has become the new frontier are excited at the novelty of playing in new territory and the benefits it has brought or potentially will. This is quite a different thing from structural economic transformation, which is what has happened in many Asian economies and which is what Africa really needs to achieve for itself and its peoples. Without a doubt, GDP growth is necessary for such a transformation, but is not an alternative for it because the two are not the same thing.

Africa’s recent economic growth statistics have been derived largely, but admittedly not completely, from a structural dependence on primary commodity products. This growth is thus not transformative, and it is only transformed economies that can truly rise, in the manner in which we speak, for instance, of the rise of China. The continent needs to decide whether it will continue to engage with the world as (a) a destination market for consumer goods and ideas, (b) a self-sufficient player based on endogenous growth, or (c) as a dominant actor. I argue that the first option is not an option for real progress, the third one is not realistic in the near to medium term given how far behind Africa really is in terms of the structure of its economies, while the second is realistic and achievable within the next 30 years.

The required approach to creating the real economic rise of Africa must be based on at least three things. The first is what I call fundamental understandings, a philosophical approach to wealth creation and economic prosperity that prioritizes the role of individual and collective minds in economic and social progress. In this context, what is required is nothing short of the reinvention of the contemporary African mind. That mind must better understand foundational realities and its inherent power to alter these realities in favour of the continent. The second approach is the need for strategy and the active management of risk. The third is the role of governance, the rule of law, and institution-building.

Fundamental understandings – worldviews and globalization

The point of departure for Africa is the need for African states, their governments and their citizens to understand how the world is structured in reality, and why this is so. They will then need to develop mechanisms that can enable them arrive at a different interpretation from their own perspective, and stamp that interpretation as an alternative reality in their environment. That is to say, African governments must create worldviews, and in that context develop a proper understanding of globalization as a dominant economic context, the implications of this concept and context for Africa in the world economy, and the possibility of creating an “African century”. Nothing is written in the stars in terms of Africa’s destiny. The continent can create the destiny it wants, just as other parts of the world have done.

This requires a reappraisal of a number of fundamental assumptions that have prevented Africa’s economic development and transformation such as a misunderstanding of where responsibility lies for the continent’s transformation. From this point of departure, the fundamental understandings of issues such as globalization, foreign aid, capitalism and international economic governance as a framework for economic development, and so forth, can be applied to economic activities such as industrialization, finance, agriculture, foreign investment, science and technology, and world trade.

I argue in Emerging Africa that the fundamental reason for Africa’s condition of underdevelopment is the absence of a futuristic worldview. This is the most fundamental aspect of the African development dilemma. A worldview is basically how we see the world, understand and interpret it, and how we engage with the world around us and beyond us. It is that inner world of the mind of an individual or group, which he or she or they project in their outward actions, and which influences the world around them by creating certain realities.

The Belgian philosopher Leo Apostel and his research collaborators identified seven core components of a worldview. These are: (a) a model of the world – an understanding of how the world is structured and how it functions; (b) an explanation of where we have come from and why the world is the way it is; (c) rational futurology, which addresses the question of where we are going, the possible destinations, and the options and alternatives to promote or avoid; (d) values, including systems of ethics that guide what we should or should not do; (e) action – how to get to our goals by developing and implementing plans; (f) knowledge – how to construct knowledge systems, addressing the questions of what’s true or false; and (g) building blocks that construct a worldview from what already exists in theories, concepts or models across various disciplines or ideologies.

Worldviews matter enormously, because their outcomes are never neutral. Indeed they are often reflected in or as world orders. Although initially subjective, they can with dogged application result in “objective” reality. The transatlantic slave trade was a world order based on a worldview – repugnant as it was – of the “superiority” of slave owners and the “inferiority” of the enslaved peoples. Emancipation and the abolition of slavery was also based on another worldview, and the hardiness of the worldview of the transatlantic slave trade, faced with a strong opponent in abolitionism, transmuted into colonialism in order to ensure and continue the economic benefits of the exploitation of Africa and the Africans.
Thus, the projection of these worldviews, backed up by the sustained deployment of certain comparative advantages such as military prowess based on technology, established realities that are accepted as “facts of life”. This has been demonstrated in diverse climes such as the Western world, with its worldview of scientific rationalism and individual freedoms leading to economic progress along a certain model, and the East, which has risen, represented by China, along another model of stability as an end in itself, and the importance of the clan or society above the individual.

From this foundation we can then situate globalization, its impact on Africa’s economic trajectory, and why Africans need to engage the phenomenon from a somewhat different and more sophisticated standpoint. Globalization is the process of increasing interconnectedness of the economies of previously well demarcated nation-states; the phenomenon of the instant transmission of ideas, events and culture over long distances through the instrumentality of technology, and the impact of these processes on local environments.
Thus, for our purposes here, there are two highly relevant dimensions of globalization. The first is that it has two main elements, the economic and the social, with technology as its chief instrument. This is why we all believe that the internet has made the world a much smaller place, and Africa now has over 600 million mobile telephone users, more than the United States and Europe.

Second, a more comprehensive understanding of globalization must involve both its scope and its motives. We must go beyond issues such as the extent and the geographies, the boundaries of which have been breached by globalization, to the questions of who is globalizing and why. [1]

This is what has been termed “global intent” or strategic intent, without which globalization will not be what it is and would not have had the economic and other impacts it has had.

Economic globalization has, in fact, hurt Africa more than it has helped the continent, contrary to the received wisdom. The gains for African countries from opening up to international economic forces without adequate internal preparation have been limited and far outweighed by the adverse of the continent’s engagement with economic globalization. Economic policies enunciated by the Bretton Woods institutions in the 1980 and 1990s led to lost decades of development opportunities and outcomes. Structural adjustment and liberalization without the proper foundations as a core condition led to the effective de-industrialization and unproductiveness of the continent by weakening the manufacturing sector and promoting import-driven economies. Trade liberalization under WTO regimes has not brought benefits. It has removed incomes from tariffs that have not been replaced by effective internal revenue mobilization.

It is against this backdrop – that of an uncritical embrace of globalization and its institutions or agents in the mistaken belief that these forces are benign in intent or impact, or agnostic in belief, or that African countries are obliged to do so as members of a presumed “international community” or “global village” – that Africa’s “rise” must be evaluated. The road to progress begins with asking and answering the right questions, and African countries must do so. Who is responsible for Africa’s development? Who will shape Africa’s destiny?

The answer: Africans and no one else. Not foreign investors; not development “partners”; not the supposed international community; not foreign aid.

Nevertheless, one of the paradoxes of globalization is that the phenomenon has so opened up the world and its inhabitants to each other that the prospects and opportunities economic advancement are now almost universal. This process, underpinned by the invention and innovation of industrial technology, is not a secret. It is open to any country or region of the world that is prepared to harness it. Perhaps the secret lies in what’s beneath the surface – the full understanding of all the dimensions of that process and the preparation to harness the recipe. It does not have as much to do with presence or absence of natural resources, with Africa is endowed more than any other continent. If it did, Africa would be the richest continent rather than the impoverished one it has been for far too long.

Paths to Economic Transformation

The first application of these fundamental understandings to take a very clear-headed approach to capitalist economics, the paradigm through which virtually all African states are now seeking to develop in the aftermath of the Cold War and the collapse of communism and socialism. Most of the growth of Africa’s economies is driven by the private sector. That’s ok, but not unreservedly so. To be clear, I am a capitalist.

But, to drive real economic transformation, capitalism must be managed by the state in a number of ways. The first is that clear choices must be made between the different kinds of capitalism –indeed there must exist in African governance and public policy an understanding of these different strands, and the implications of each as a possible choice for each African country. Thus, African states must choose between state capitalism as practiced by China, welfare capitalism, crony or oligarchic capitalism, and entrepreneurial capitalism. I recommend a blend of at least two of these according to the peculiarities of each African country, but have a bias for entrepreneurial, small-business capitalism because that is what most suits Africa’s historical development, societies, and its large informal economies.

Second, African countries must revisit the role of the state as a guiding hand as opposed to the misguided abdication of the responsibility of the state to the private sector. This creates wealth but with too much inequality in the distribution of that wealth, which is in itself a long-term risk. There must be a public-private private approach to the three fundamental requirements for successful capitalism – access to finance, property rights, and innovation.

The next step in the application of fundamental understandings is that African countries must embrace industrialization. This imperative also extends to the industrialization of agriculture, a mainstay of many African economies but presently largely at a subsistence level. It would be foolhardy to be caught in the fanciful conceptual trap of a supposed post-industrial society that is assumed to have developed in the West, with 3-D manufacturing supposedly threatening traditional industries and service economies challenging manufacturing ones.

Africa must first create industrial societies because that is what creates jobs, which African countries need to outpace population growth and maintain economic growth and social stability by avoiding a youth bulge in the future. Moreover, 55 per cent of world trade is based on manufacturing, while 7 per cent is based on agriculture. And massive infrastructure networks of electric power and transport infrastructure connecting the continent’s countries to one another and their component parts have rightly been recognized as a priority by many African governments which are moving to create such infrastructure over the next decade.

The next two key drivers of economic transformation are science, technology and innovation on the one hand, and education and human capital development on the other. Both must be linked. African countries need to make technology and innovation a strategic priority from the standpoint of a worldview that Africa can invent and innovate, and must do so if it is to liberate itself from the oppressive dominance of globalization. Some African countries such as Kenya are making strides in the development of innovation with the development of an ambitious, $15 billion “silicon savannah” in Konza, a 2,000 hectare city 60 kilometres outside Nairobi that is designed to turn Kenya into an attractive location for technology businesses and incubators, and challenge South Africa’s dominance in this area.

Science, technology and innovation is one of the main paths which Africa can exploit to make a great leap forward in the world economy. Talent abounds in the continent, but African governments need to create an enabling environment for innovation and create incentives, institutions and markets to support it. Here the link between innovation and taking innovations to market as commercial products that are priced competitively to counter imports is key. Human capital development in which African countries improve the falling quality of education in several countries and focus on education that builds technical and technological skills that are linked to industrial policies and job-creation strategies will play a major role in economic transformation.

Governance, Leadership and Institution-Building

The intervention of military governments in most African countries in the three decades between the 1960s and the 1990s set back the hand of the clock in Africa’s economic development because it led not to benign dictatorships that drove economic development as happened in some Asian countries, but to the restriction of the space for the evolutionary development of good, accountable governance. With the return of virtually all African countries to democratic status, this challenge remains, alongside that of economic development.

Governance and leadership determine to a large degree how much progress a country can make on the economic front. If the governance of an African country is based on the search for the economic progress of citizens, and the effort is well directed and managed, economic transformation can occur. But if governance is based on rent-seeking and competition for the spoils of public office, the resources of the state will be drained far more than real wealth can be created, in which case the dividends of democracy become questionable.

The best way to utilize governance as a tool for creating the wealth of Africa’s nations is for governments to create a number of paradigm shifts through public and economic policy. These include the establishment of economic complexity through an industrial policy that supports manufacturing. Countries such as Nigeria and Ethiopia are making progress in this direction. Building strong, independent institutions that will ultimately have a positive impact on economic activity by assuring the rule of law and protecting investments from arbitrariness, and creating a level playing field for economic actors is also critical. Another fundamental requirement of good governance as a wealth creator is the manufacturing of consent of the citizens to a vision of economic transformation to which a nation’s collective energies can be channelled in a united manner.

The difference between the wealth and poverty of nations, their success or their failure, lies in the existence or absence of strong institutions. Institutions, when they function well, function dispassionately as systems that make predictable decisions based on benchmarks and thresholds that are clear to all. They serve to remove the system of economic incentives from the tyranny of the whims and caprices of individuals. Where institutions are weak and caprice reigns, there will be little or no progress because there is no meritocracy. Rewards are aligned not to creativity or productivity, but along lines of unproductive patronage networks that sustain political power but do not create wealth for a nation. A society that functions in this paradigm is fundamentally unable to transform its economy because the playing field is not a level one. Rent-seeking is rampant, but creates pools of plenty for the tiny few that are linked to the patronage network within vast pools of poverty.

The manufacture of consent is absolutely essential for economic transformation in Africa. Because development is the result of the deployment of creative talent and economic activity in a productive direction, it is necessary for African governments to define economic policy visions and directions and obtain the buy-in of the citizens to such a vision. We have seen this approach utilized by every dominant economic power in the world, whether it is the United States which applies a free-market oriented economic culture or China, which has achieved massive leaps in economic development in the past 30 years through an adaptation to state-directed capitalist activity while maintaining the dominance of the Communist Party. In all instances, this has been achieved through propaganda and mass mobilization.

Strategy and Risk Management

African countries have often not lacked an understanding of what the challenges to their economic development are. The real challenge has sometimes been to just get on with “doing it” effectively and creating the required transformation. This requires an understanding of strategy as a modern management concept and its application to governance. Sadly, this is still lacking inside African governments, with only very few exceptions.

Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, had a famous strategy unit in 10 Downing Street that drove his governance agenda and ensured that a single thread of vision, communication and execution priority – in this case, education – ran through all the narratives actions of his ten years in office. Strategy and risk management have just come into their as legitimate functions in Africa’s private sectors. Their application to the role of the government and the effectiveness of the state – which encompasses the private sector commercial space – is even more consequential for the future of Africa.

Strategy and risk management need to become embedded in governance thinking and architecture in Africa. Strategy is about shaping the future. It is about how to create the future of our imagination. If we are to create an African century, African countries will not succeed without a clear strategy and strategic thinking. That “how” is the difference between dreaming and visioning, and bridging the gap in between.

Strategy is first of all about thinking and about a way of thinking, before it becomes a matter of plans. As Max McKeown writes in the context of corporate organizations, but also applicable to nations, it is about “outthinking your competition”. Thus strategic intent and ability are linked to the concept of worldviews, since strategy first requires strategic thinkers whose minds are open to vast possibilities. Second, worldviews, strategy formulation and strategy execution are intricately linked. Many African countries have been “planning” for decades but without the sort of strategic intent that has moved Asia forward in massive leaps. This requires focused objectives, an understanding of strategy management, especially in the context –framing choices and strategic possibilities, making the choice, and strategy execution management.

Africa’s Future

To conclude, then, contrary to the prevailing popular view about Africa Rising, the continent has no automatic, inexorable future. Growth, though a significant factor in economic development, is quite a different thing from transformation, which is what Africa really needs. Transformation means fundamentally improved indicators in such things as education and healthcare, infant mortality, life expectancy, infrastructure, and industrial production, not resource-driven economic activity or subsistence agriculture that produces a “growth myth”, the myth that increases in GDP will make poor countries catch up with rich ones based on numbers that, while generally accepted as a standard of measurement, in fact have debatable exactitude.

The Cambridge University economist Ha-Joon Chang makes the provocative but thoughtful point that a society can become better off without marked increases in GDP [2]. Thus the focus for African countries must remain that of a fundamental transformation in the structures of their economies, not the growth numbers that the current structures throw up. This implies a transformation away from the prevailing model that is presently being celebrated as the Africa “rising”.

Africa’s future is thus not on auto-pilot to some gilded age, but will be one that Africans create by their economic and public policy choices. What exists now, without doubt, is an opportunity for a turn-around in the continent’s trajectory from that of its not-too-distant past. In this context, then, there is no need for a return to defeatist Afro-pessimism, but what the continent needs is realism and a determined focus on the right priorities.

The most important factors that will influence Africa’s future, then, include: (a) whether African countries can develop and execute transformation strategies effectively and with discipline; (b); how Africa handles the continent’s burgeoning population, projected by some estimates to hit 2.4 billion people by 2050 – will it yield a demographic dividend or a youth bulge?; (c) how African countries handle the challenge of jobless and non-inclusive growth; and (d) whether the continent can develop and effectively deploy its human capital, the most important investment for competitiveness in a globalized world.

All of this, of course, will have to be anchored on the foundation that is the real secret for the success of Africa’s quest for prosperity – the African mind. That mind-set needs to change from one that is predominantly focused on day-to-day or short-term survival or “progress” as defined through this prism – not of a well-ordered society but of individual affluence in the midst of mass exclusion from prosperity – to one in which the mind-set takes a long term, past and future view of the world and the place of the African in that world, and what it takes to get to that place.

The African mind-set needs to place greater emphasis on “thinking it through” because action that is transformational is one that is guided by a philosophical or conceptual compass – a worldview. As we have seen, worldviews are the secret of the rise of the societies of the West and the Rest (mainly Asia). These worldviews develop through a combination of historical and cultural evolutions, on the one hand, and through the instrumentality of propaganda and public diplomacy to the citizens of a state and the rest of the world. The place to begin is in the educational system. It is that combination of well-inculcated worldviews, knowledge and skills that produces human capital – the secret of transformation.

I rest the case for a truly Emerging Africa.

Thank you.

[1] Alex MacGillvray, A Brief History of Globalization (Constable and Robinson, 2006), 27.
[2] David Pilling, “Has GDP Outgrown Its Use?”, Financial Times Magazine, July 5/6 2014   allAfrica

© Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, 2014

Nigeria-Cameroon – Boko Haram abductions and church attack

 

BBC

‘Boko Haram’ abducts Cameroon politician’s wife

Cameroonian soldiers standing next to pick up trucks with mounted heavy artillery in Mora, northern Cameroon, on 17 June 2014 Cameroon stepped up its border security in the wake of Boko Haram’s kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls in April

The Cameroonian military says members of the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram have abducted the wife of the country’s deputy prime minister in the northern Cameroonian town of Kolofata.

A local religious leader and mayor was also abducted from the same town.

Separately, at least five people in northern Nigeria were killed in a blast – residents suspect Boko Haram.

Boko Haram has stepped up cross-border attacks into Cameroon in recent weeks, as the army was deployed to the region.

Militants have kidnapped foreign nationals in northern Cameroon before, including a French family and Chinese workers.

‘Critical situation’

The wife of Deputy Prime Minister Amadou Ali and her maid were taken in “a savage attack” on his home by Boko Haram militants on Sunday, Information Minister Issa Tchiroma said.

But Mr Ali, who was breaking his fast for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan at the time of the attack, managed to escape to a neighbouring town, regional commander Col Feliz Nji Formekong told the Reuters news agency.

French hostage Georges Vandenbeusch, a French Catholic priest, disembarks from plane in Yaounde on 31 December 2013 French Catholic priest Georges Vandenbeusch was taken hostage in northern Cameroon and released over a month later

“The situation is very critical here now, and as I am talking to you, the Boko Haram elements are still in Kolofata town in a clash with our soldiers,” he added.

A local politician and his family were also abducted in a separate attack.

Meanwhile, Nigerian police say five people were killed when a bomb was thrown at worshippers as they were leaving a church in Nigeria’s main northern city of Kano on Sunday.

A young female suicide bomber also wounded five police officers as she rushed towards them and blew herself up in a separate incident, they add.

Eid festivities in Kano to mark the end of Ramadan next week have been cancelled as a result of the two incidents, officials told the AFP news agency.

Charges

Cameroon’s long and porous border with Nigeria means Boko Haram fighters can come and go at will, attacking police stations and villages, and spreading terror throughout the region, says BBC Africa editor Mary Harper.

The group has attacked Cameroon three times in as many days in the past week, killing at least four soldiers, Reuters reports.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau on 13 July 2014 Boko Haram loosely translates as “Western education is forbidden”

On Friday, more than 20 members of the militant group were jailed in Cameroon on charges of possessing illegal firearms and plotting an insurrection.

The armed group is seeking to establish an Islamist state in Nigeria.

Earlier this week, Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad and Niger agreed to form a 2,800-strong regional force to tackle Boko Haram militants.

Efforts to step up regional co-operation gained momentum after Boko Haram caused an international outcry by abducting more than 200 girls from a boarding school in north-eastern Nigeria.

The girls are thought to be held in the vast Sambisa forest, along Nigeria’s border with Cameroon.

Many Nigerian civilians in border towns have fled to Cameroon to escape from the Boko Haram attacks.

Map showing where militant groups are based

BBC

South African cabinet ministers’ business interests

Mail and Guardian

19 Cabinet members still have private business interests

Cyril Ramaphosa

Nineteen members of President Jacob Zuma’s new Cabinet – including the president himself – have private business interests.

According to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), just more than a quarter of Zuma’s 72-member Cabinet are directors of active companies.

CIPC records show President Zuma owns one active company called Michigan Investments, registered in 1992.

But according to presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj, the company is dormant and has not been trading. “We are looking at having it removed from the CIPC register,” he said.

It has been reported Zuma intended to resign his directorship but the company remains listed as active. It is unclear what sort of work the company does.

Fewer Cabinet members of Zuma’s second presidential term have business interests when compared with his first Cabinet of 2009, in which 27 ministers and deputy ministers were listed as company directors.

Ministers and MPs have until August 15 to make full declarations of their business interests to Parliament. But union federation Cosatu has insisted that simply declaring one’s interests is not good enough.

Two years ago, Cosatu called for a ban on public office bearers owning businesses. An internal discussion document noted Cosatu should insist those who want to be public representatives must choose between serving the country and being businesspeople.

Last month, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi criticised National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise for trying to be both a politician and farmer, saying she should choose between the two.

Hennie van Vuuren, a research associate with the Institute of Justice and Reconciliation, said the ministers may have exposed themselves to an offence in breaching the Executive Members’ Ethics Act by undertaking paid work.

“It is inexplicable why ministers to whom we have entrusted enormous responsibility have failed to resign their directorships the moment the president tipped them for a Cabinet post,” he said.

“Do our leaders believe we are naive enough not to see the conflict of interest? We are left asking: if a salary of between R1.7 million and R2.4 million a year is insufficient, then what is enough?”

Commenting on whether Cabinet ministers are allowed to have business interests, ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said: “They must declare their business interests first in Parliament. Nothing stops them from participating in business, as long as there is no conflict of interest.”

Cyril Ramaphosa

Cabinet’s biggest businessman by far is Cyril Ramaphosa, who is an active member of two companies and holds at least 40 directorships. His spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa told City Press on

Friday that Ramaphosa’s interests were still in the process of being placed into a “blind trust”, and when this happens he will no longer be involved in their day-to-day operations. But he will still benefit financially from his business interests in companies including

Lonmin, Bidvest, Mondi, MTN Group, Standard Bank, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s.

“The profit goes to the beneficiaries of the trust. It only means he will not be involved in day-to-day operations,” Mamoepa said.

Forbes magazine’s list of Africa’s richest people placed Ramaphosa in 29th place and calculated his net wealth at $700 million (R7.4 billion).

While Ramaphosa places his assets in a blind trust, other ministers and deputy ministers say they are in the process of resigning their directorships. Others who have business interests include:

Bheki Cele

The deputy minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries owns two companies – Ithembelihle Logistics, and Tiray Holdings, which were both established in the past 18 months. Cele’s spokesperson, Vuyo Mkhize, who is also listed as a director of Tiray Holdings, said Cele was unemployed at the time the companies were registered.

Cele’s business partner in Ithembelihle is Lawrence Mazibuko, his longtime friend and the former bodyguard of President Zuma.

Mazibuko is a director of a security company called KZN Security Services, registered in 2005, which manages security for a number of government clients including the provincial legislature, the SA Revenue Service and eThekwini municipality, where it has a contract that paid it R4.4 million last month alone.

Mazibuko said that Ithembelihle Logistics had not yet done any business. “We had big plans when we started the company, but things have changed now that he [Cele] has been appointed as minister,” he said.

Mzwandile Masina

The deputy minister of trade and industry holds interests in three active private companies.

Masina, the former CEO of the Gauteng Film Commission, shares his business interests with TS Records’ owners Lionel “TK” Nciza and Sbusiso “DJ Sbu” Leope, as well as Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.

CIPC records show the four of them own Brown Way Trading and Projects, and Zithobe Investments. Masina and Nciza share ownership of another company, TK Mzwa Tyres Services, which has an address in Boksburg.

Masina also owns a firm called Masina Civil and Construction.

Masina said on Friday: “Only two of my companies are active and none have conducted any business with the state at any time. And I will only answer to the executive before the due date for declarations.”

He added that he was not aware whether his business associates had conducted business with the state.

Nciza, who has known Masina since they were young, said he has never benefited from their relationship: “Mzwandile is still very new in government; he has no influence.”

Lesufi said the companies have never traded but he will be resigning from them.

Enver Surty

The deputy minister of basic education confirmed that he has four active property-owning companies that were established and acquired before 1994. These include Safari Centre, Casbah Cinema, Zinrus

Developers, and Hectaris and Hectaris Investments.

“They have always formed part of my disclosure to Parliament’s ethics committee and the secretary of Cabinet,” said Surty.

Casbah Cinema is the only company Surty says conducts business with the state. The building has been leasing a portion of its premises to the SA Post Office since the mid-1980s when the property was developed.

Pamela  Tshwete 

The deputy minister of water and sanitation is a director of a fishing company called Flashing Star, as well as of Life Healthcare Group. She is also a director of Brimstone, an investment company with shares in Nedbank, Aon Re Africa, Old Mutual and Tiger Brands.

Her spokesperson, Phakamisa Hobongwana, said the other eight companies Tshwete is registered as a director of are inactive and have never traded.

“Brimstone and Life Healthcare are companies inherited from her late husband [Steve Tshwete] and the deputy minister is not active in their operation,” he said.

“Both these companies are open to all South Africans and because of the number of people participating, very little dividends are realised and cannot in any way be considered as entities for individual wealth creation.”

Ayanda Dlodlo 

The deputy minister of public service and administration is still an active director of Rosschef Africa, a company that manufactures coke, refined petroleum products, nuclear fuel, chemicals, rubber and plastic products. She is also a director of another company called The Wired Cloud.

This company is codirected by Lerema Kekana, who also works for the BCS Group, an IT and communications company that counts the ANC among its clients. Kekana asked for questions to be emailed to him but did not respond to them.

Dlodlo is also a director of Women in Energy, an entity registered as a private company which she co-directs with former beauty queen and businesswoman Basetsana Kumalo.

But Dlodlo disputed the accuracy of CIPC records, saying she has resigned from many of her companies. She has directed or had shares in at least 36 companies in her business career.

“As part of my commitment to serve in office and the public in a fair and transparent manner, I am in the process of deregistering interests in companies that would present a conflict of interest,” she said.

Michael Masutha

CIPC records show that the justice and correctional services minister is a director of a company called CIE Investments. But his spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga denied this, saying Masutha was instead an independent nonexecutive director.

“He was appointed because of his relationship with Catholic schools as a past pupil of Siloe School for the Visually Impaired in Limpopo,” Mhaga said.

Cabinet Inc

Cameroon – Boko Haram kidnap wife of deputy PM

Reuters
Boko Haram kidnaps wife of Cameroon’s vice PM, kills at least three
BY TANSA MUSA
YAOUNDE Sun Jul 27
(Reuters) – The wife of Cameroon’s vice prime minister was kidnapped and at least three people were killed in an attack by Boko Haram militants on in the northern town of Kolofata on Sunday, Cameroon officials said.

A local religious leader, or lamido, named Seini Boukar Lamine, who is also the town’s mayor, was kidnapped as well, in a separate attack on his home.

Boko Haram, the Nigerian Islamist militant group, has stepped up cross-border attacks into Cameroon in recent weeks as Cameroon has deployed troops to the region, joining international efforts to combat the militants.

“I can confirm that the home of Vice Prime Minister Amadou Ali in Kolofata came under a savage attack from Boko Haram militants,” Issa Tchiroma told Reuters by telephone.

“They unfortunately took away his wife. They also attacked the lamido’s residence and he was also kidnapped,” he said, and at least three people were killed in the attack.

A Cameroon military commander in the region told Reuters that the vice prime minister, who was at home to celebrate the Muslim feast of Ramadan with his family, was taken to a neighboring town by security officials.

“The situation is very critical here now, and as I am talking to you the Boko Haram elements are still in Kolofata town in a clash with our soldiers,” said Colonel Felix Nji Formekong, the second commander of Cameroon’s third inter-army military region, based in the regional headquarters Maroua.

The Sunday attack is the third Boko Haram attack into Cameroon since Friday. At least four soldiers were killed in the previous attacks. Meanwhile, some 22 suspected Boko Haram militants, who have been held in Maroua since March, were on Friday sentenced to prison sentences ranging from 10 to 20 years. It was unclear whether the events are related.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/27/us-cameroon-violence-boko-haram-idUSKBN0FW0CQ20140727

South Sudan – UN warns of catastrophic hunger

UN NEWS SERVICE

UN warns of ‘hunger catastrophe’ for South Sudanese children

25 July 2014 – Two United Nations humanitarian agencies today called for action to stop a potential famine in South Sudan which they said is being allowed to happen, just as it occurred in Somalia and the Horn of Africa three years ago.

“The world should not wait for a famine to be announced while children here are dying each and every day,” said Anthony Lake, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). “We all have to do more, and quickly, to keep more children alive.”

Mr. Lake and World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Ertharin Cousin visited with displaced families seeking shelter at a UN base in Malakal, in the Upper Nile state of South Sudan.

The agency heads said they fear a repeat of famines in other parts of the world, where early warnings of extreme hunger and escalating malnutrition went largely unheeded until official famine levels were announced.

“WFP, UNICEF and our partners here on the ground have been working tirelessly to bring assistance,” said Ms. Cousin. “But if we are to rapidly expand our operations and save more lives, then we need more resources, and the international community has to act now.”

Nearly one million children under five years of age in South Sudan will require treatment for acute malnutrition in 2014, according to the UN. In addition, one out of every three people in the country, the equivalent of 3.9 million people, is estimated to be dangerously food insecure.

An estimated 1.5 million people have been uprooted in fighting that started with a political impasse in mid-December 2013 between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar.

At a press briefing in Geneva, WFP spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs said that the situation was particularly worrying for displaced people who have not been able to plant crops this year.

If the world fails to provide the help needed right now to accelerate and scale up life-saving food and nutrition efforts, UNICEF estimates that 50,000 children could die from malnutrition in the course of this year.

In addition, the children are at further risk from insufficient health care and access to safe water and sanitation facilities, according to the UN.

Also speaking out about the dire humanitarian situation was the Security Council, which expressed grave concern in a press statement about “the catastrophic food insecurity situation in South Sudan that is now the worst in the world,” as well as deep alarm that the crisis in South Sudan may soon reach the threshold of famine as a result of continued conflict, civilian targeting, and displacement.

The 15-member body urged all UN Member States, who together pledged more than $618 million in new funding for both South Sudan and the region in May at the Humanitarian Pledging Conference in Oslo, to swiftly fulfill those pledges and to increase their commitments.

The Council, in a separate press statement, strongly condemned the series of attacks launched on 20 July by armed youth and opposition forces, and the 23 July attacks by Government of South Sudan forces, as they fight for control of Nassir Town in Upper Nile state.

“The members of the Security Council expressed deep regret at the lack of progress towards peace and reconciliation in South Sudan,” the statement added.

“They reiterated their full support for the mediation efforts of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and urged all parties in South Sudan to immediately cease hostilities in accordance with the signed cessation of hostilities agreements, and to resume comprehensive and inclusive peace talks.”  un

BBC

South Sudan’s food crisis ‘worst in the world’ – UN

South Sudan’s food crisis is the worst in the world, the UN Security Council has warned, calling for urgent action.

It said there was a “catastrophic food insecurity” in the country, urging donor nations who pledged $618m (£364m) in aid to make good on their promise.

The UN children’s fund, Unicef, said some four million – a third of the population – could be affected.

It said that 50,000 children may die of hunger in the conflict-torn country unless international help increased.

More than a million people have fled their homes since fighting erupted between different factions of South Sudan’s ruling party last December.

Thousands have now died in the conflict that started as a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar but has since escalated into ethnic violence.

Months of fighting have prevented farmers from planting or harvesting crops, causing food shortages nationwide.

The onset of the rainy season has added to the problem, dashing hopes that displaced farmers plant crops to feed themselves in the future, the BBC’s Rob Broomby reports.

South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011, topped the list of fragile states in this year’s index released by The Fund for Peace, a leading US-based research institute.

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Map of South Sudan states affected by conflict Fighting erupted in the South Sudan capital, Juba, in December 2013. It followed a political power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his ex-deputy Riek Machar. The squabble has taken on an ethnic dimension as politicians’ political bases are often ethnic.
News graphic showing the ethnic groups of South Sudan Sudan’s arid north is mainly home to Arabic-speaking Muslims. But in South Sudan there is no dominant culture. The Dinkas and the Nuers are the largest of more than 200 ethnic groups, each with its own languages and traditional beliefs, alongside Christianity and Islam.
Map showing the location of oil fields in South Sudan Both Sudan and the South are reliant on oil revenue, which accounts for 98% of South Sudan’s budget. They have fiercely disagreed over how to divide the oil wealth of the former united state – at one time production was shutdown for more than a year. Some 75% of the oil lies in the South but all the pipelines run north.
Map showing the geography of South Sudan The two Sudans are very different geographically. The great divide is visible even from space, as this Nasa satellite image shows. The northern states are a blanket of desert, broken only by the fertile Nile corridor. South Sudan is covered by green swathes of grassland, swamps and tropical forest.
Map showing access to water in South Sudan After gaining independence in 2011, South Sudan is the world’s newest country – and one of its poorest. Figures from 2010 show some 69% of households now have access to clean water – up from 48% in 2006. However, just 2% of households have water on the premises.
Map showing education levels in South Sudan Just 29% of children attend primary school in South Sudan – however, this is also an improvement on the 16% recorded in 2006. About 32% of primary-age boys attend, while just 25% of girls do. Overall, 64% of children who begin primary school reach the last grade.
Map showing food insecurity rates in South Sudan Almost 28% of children under the age of five in South Sudan are moderately or severely underweight. This compares with the 33% recorded in 2006. Unity state has the highest proportion of children suffering malnourishment (46%), while Central Equatoria has the lowest (17%).

BBC


 

Sierra Leone ebola escapee dies

BBC

Ebola outbreak: Sierra Leone escaped patient dies

Medical staff take a blood sample from a suspected Ebola patient at the government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone, 10 July, 2014. The Ebola virus has killed hundreds in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone

A Sierra Leone woman who fled hospital after testing positive for the Ebola virus has died after turning herself in, health officials have told the BBC.

Her family had forcibly removed her from a public hospital on Thursday.

Saudatu Koroma’s is the first case of Ebola to be confirmed in the country’s capital Freetown, where there are no facilities to treat the virus.

Since February, more than 660 people have died of Ebola in West Africa – the world’s deadliest outbreak to date.

Nigeria has put all its entry points on red alert after confirming the death there of a Liberian man who was carrying the highly contagious virus.

The man died after arriving at Lagos airport on Tuesday, in the first Ebola case in Africa’s most populous country.

The outbreak began in southern Guinea and spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Reports on Saturday said that a prominent Liberian doctor, Samuel Brisbane, had died after a three-week battle with the virus.

And later it emerged that a US doctor working with Ebola patients, Kent Brantly, was being treated for the virus in a hospital in the capital Monrovia.

Street protest

The virus, which kills up to 90% of those infected, spreads through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids.

Patients have a better chance of survival if they receive treatment early.

Ms Koroma was the first registered Ebola case in the capital Freetown.

Both she and her parents – who are suspected of having the virus – had been taken to Ebola treatment centres in the east of the country, health ministry spokesman Sidi Yahya Tunis told the BBC.

line

Ebola virus disease (EVD)

Coloured transmission electron micro graph of a single Ebola virus, the cause of Ebola fever
  • Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
  • Fatality rate can reach 90%
  • Incubation period is two to 21 days
  • There is no vaccine or cure
  • Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery
  • Fruit bats are considered to be the natural host of the virus
line

The woman had been one of dozens of people who tested positive but were unaccounted for, the BBC’s Umaru Fofana reports from the capital, Freetown.

Her case highlights Sierra Leone’s lack of preparedness in responding to the outbreak, our correspondent says, with no laboratory or treatment centre in Freetown.

The Ebola cases in Sierra Leone are centred in the country’s eastern districts of Kenema and Kailahun, just over the border from the Guekedou region of Guinea where the outbreak started.

Police said thousands of people joined a street protest in Kenema on Friday over the government’s handling of the outbreak.

Earlier this week, it was announced that the doctor leading Sierra Leone’s fight against Ebola was being treated for the virus.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization said that 219 people had died of Ebola in Sierra Leone.

Members of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) wearing protective gear walk outside the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital, on 23 July 2014 in Conakry There is no vaccine or cure for Ebola, which spreads via bodily fluids including sweat

Meanwhile, in Nigeria, the health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said that all other passengers on board the flight with the infected man had been traced and were being monitored.

The patient had “avoided contact with the general public” between the airport and the hospital, he said.

“All ports of entry to Nigeria, including airports, sea ports and land borders have been placed on red alert,” he added.

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WHO: West Africa Ebola outbreak figures as of 24 July

Map
  • Guinea - 314 deaths, 415 cases
  • Liberia - 127 deaths, 224 cases
  • Sierra Leone – 219 deaths, 454 cases

WHO update

BBC

 

Nigeria on red alert over ebola

BBC
26 July 2014

Nigeria says it has put all entries into the country on red alert after confirming the death of a Liberian man who was carrying the Ebola virus.

The man died after arriving at Lagos airport on Tuesday, in the first Ebola case in Africa’s most populous country.

Surveillance has been stepped up at all “airports, seaports and land borders”, says Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu.

Since February, more than 660 people have died of Ebola in West Africa – the world’s deadliest outbreak to date.

It began in southern Guinea and spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Contact avoided’
The Liberian man collapsed on arrival in Lagos last Sunday. He was taken from the airport to hospital, where he was put in quarantine.

Officials have identified the 40-year-old man as an employee of the Liberian government.

Ebola, which is highly contagious, spreads via bodily fluids, including sweat
Mr Chukwu confirmed that the other passengers on board the flight had been traced and were being monitored.

The patient had “avoided contact with the general public” between the airport and the hospital, he said.

Health specialists have been deployed at all entry points into the country, he added.

The virus, which kills up to 90% of those infected, spreads through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids.

Patients have a better chance of survival if they receive treatment early.

Ebola virus disease (EVD)

Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
Fatality rate can reach 90%
Incubation period is two to 21 days
There is no vaccine or cure
Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery
Fruit bats are considered to be the natural host of the virus

The red alert in Nigeria comes as Sierra Leone launches a hunt for a woman infected with Ebola, who was forcibly removed from hospital by her relatives.

The 32-year-old, who is the first registered Ebola case in the capital Freetown, was described by national radio as a “risk to all”.

West African states lack the resources to tackle the world’s worst outbreak of Ebola
The Ebola cases in Sierra Leone are centred in the country’s eastern districts of Kenema and Kailahun, just over the border from the Guekedou region of Guinea where the outbreak started.

Police said thousands of people joined a street protest in Kenema on Friday over the government’s handling of the outbreak.

Earlier this week, it was announced that the doctor leading Sierra Leone’s fight against Ebola was being treated for the virus.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization said that 219 people had died of Ebola in Sierra Leone.

WHO: West Africa Ebola outbreak figures as of 24 July

Guinea – 314 deaths, 415 cases
Liberia – 127 deaths, 224 cases
Sierra Leone – 219 deaths, 454 cases
WHO update

20140726-130207-46927610.jpg

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20140726-130207-46927518.jpg

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-28498665

Kenya – US and Australia to pull out aid workers over security; tourism suffering

Nation

Inspector General of Police David Kiamiyo (L) and Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku during the recent crackdown on terror suspects.  The police operation against terrorism has now turned to businessmen who are believed to be funding the al-Shabaab. IG Kiamaiyo says police are now investigating some sympathisers, financial institutions and prominent financiers suspected to fund terror activities in the country. AFP PHOTO / TONY KARUMBA

Inspector General of Police David Kiamiyo (L) and Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku during the recent crackdown on terror suspects. American and Australian volunteers are withdrawing from Kenya due to deteriorating insecurity that has taken a toll on tourism. AFP PHOTO / TONY KARUMBA

By PETER LEFTIE 

American and Australian volunteers are withdrawing from Kenya due to deteriorating insecurity that has taken a toll on tourism.

A statement from the US State Department said the decision to pull out about 70 Peace Corps volunteers was made on June 30, “based on the overall security picture.”
Kenya has been attacked by the Somali terrorist group Al-Shabaab since its incursion in the strife-torn country in 2011.

Hundreds of people have been killed in the attacks that have targeted churches, public service vehicles and at the Westgate shopping mall in Westlands, Nairobi.
Insecurity has deteriorated at the Coast where more than 100 people have been killed in the last one month in Lamu, Tana River and Mombasa counties.

The decision by the Americans and Australians is likely to adversely affect education, health and environment projects run by the volunteers in rural communities across the country.
The Australian High Commission in Nairobi said that it was withdrawing its nationals from various volunteer programmes for “safety” reasons.

“Australia has made the difficult decision to withdraw the Australian Volunteers for International Development (Avid) Programme from Kenya by June 30, 2015.

“The assignments of the 39 volunteers will be phased out over the next 12 months,” said Leisa Gibson, the First Secretary for Development Cooperation.
The Australian volunteers working on aid projects in Nairobi and Mombasa are to leave Kenya by August 17.

Some staff may be deployed to safer regions while others will return to Australia or be redeployed to neighbouring countries.

Head of the International Programme at the Australian Red Cross Peter Walton wrote to volunteers saying: “It is with great regret … that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has made the difficult decision to withdraw the Australian Volunteers for International Development (Avid) programme from Kenya.

Raft of measures
The move by the two governments is the latest in a raft of measures taken by Western nations that are adversely affecting Kenya’s economy.

The US Government recently increased the number of security personnel at its embassy and stationed armed marines behind sandbag bunkers on the roof. The State Department also reduced the number of US personnel based in Kenya by moving a regional USAid office out of the country.

Earlier this year, several Western countries issued travel advisories warning their nationals against visiting certain parts of Kenya considered unsafe. This resulted in massive tourist cancellations.
The US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has designated Kenya as a “high risk” sky for American civilian aircraft.

The insecurity, particularly at the Coast, has also seen several international conferences cancelled at the last minute.
In May, a conference organised by Inclusion International (II) and the Kenyan Association for the Intellectually Handicapped, which was to be held in Nairobi was called off following a spate of terrorist attacks that month.

Others organised by USAid as well as the International Aids Vaccine Initiative were cancelled. The two conferences were to take place in Mombasa. The World Bank also followed suit over similar concerns.
Two test rugby matches between Kenya and Portugal scheduled for June failed to take place because of the travel advisories.

Last month, the organisers of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum moved a planned meeting from Nairobi to Addis Ababa over what they called “limited space.” The meeting is scheduled for October.

The only major international conferences which have been held in the country despite the security concerns are the United Nations Environmental Assembly (Unea) and the International Conference on Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).

The Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) said tourist bookings dropped by 17,000 this year, compared to the same period in 2013.

Major markets

“The number of tourists has gone down drastically after the travel bans issued by some of the major markets such as the United Kingdom and the US,” KTB managing director Mureithi Ndegwa said Friday.

He said the government had put in place a major recovery programme to mitigate the dwindling fortunes.

They include a Sh700 million kitty to aid the recovery of the tourism sector. The government has also reduced park fees for domestic tourists by about Sh200 while air ticket processing has been exempted from the VAT.

The State has lifted the ban on the public service holding seminars and conferences in private hotels, he said.
The government has been faulted over a reactionary approach to the insecurity problem.

“The government must be proactive. We need an overhaul of the security apparatus.

“The team that we left in 2002 is still intact. We need fresh ideas and new energy,” said former Internal Security permanent secretary and current Kuresoi South MP Zakayo Cheruiyot.
Security expert George Musamali accused the government of paying lip service to the fight against insecurity.

“The government is assuring us every day that things are alright, but they are not. Things are getting out of hand.

“The question we should ask is whether other countries have shared intelligence with our agencies and what our security organs have done with it,” said Mr Musamali, a director at the Centre for Risk Management in Africa.

“We are running around in circles. But there are obvious signs we are not doing the right thing. It has been said by many people that you can’t win any war on crime without proper intelligence. Involving the public is critical.”

The chairman of Coast Tourist Association, Mr Mohammed Hersi, said the State needed to do a lot more.

Mr Hersi Friday told the Saturday Nation that the government interventions had partly helped in sustaining the industry, but it needed to double efforts.

“State intervention has led to a lot of domestic inquiries. More people are coming in to attend conferences especially during weekends.

“It is a bit slower during weekdays…under the circumstances, but this has helped us. This is what is mainly sustaining us,” he said.

Additional reporting by Kevin J Kelley nation

Nigeria – Jonathan says 2015 election will be peaceful and will surprise the world

Punch

President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has assured that the 2015 general elections would be peaceful and transparent despite the violence currently ravaging some parts of the country.

Jonathan said the peaceful nature of the election would surprise the world.

The President spoke on Thursday evening when members of the Diplomatic Corps, some senators, ministers and former government officials joined him for the breaking of Ramadan fast at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said, “I know that one thing that is dear to your hearts is what the elections in this country will look like next year.

“But let me use this unique opportunity to reassure you and I am conveying this to my brothers, your heads of government, that our elections next year will be free and fair. It will be peaceful in nature that will even surprise the whole world.”

Jonathan said with ugly incidents globally, there was need for constant prayers for divine intervention.

The President, however, regretted that some members of the society had chosen the wrong path and were being used by evil forces to wreak havoc.

He said, “Let us take the opportunity of this season to ask Allah to forgive them and guide them back to the path of righteousness and holiness.

“I request Your Excellencies and all Muslims and Christians that, as you pray this period, especially during the Night of Majesty, we pray for peace and security to reign throughout the world.

“Let us also pray for Allah to guide our leaders and grant them good health and wisdom to work for the progress of their respective countries.”

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