A Display of African Solutions for African Problems
A package of $251 million in support of the African Development Bank’s AFAWA initiative to support women entrepreneurs in Africa has been approved at the G7 summit. The risk-sharing mechanism used by AFAWA (Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa) is a practical approach to international commitments. It is a direct response to the demand by women to ease access to financing, specifically on the need to establish a financing mechanism for women’s economic empowerment, adopted during a summit of African heads of state in 2015 and assigned to the African Development Bank for implementation. The Bank’s president Akinwumi Adesina applauded the “extraordinary support of all the G7 heads of state and government, which will provide incredible momentum” to the AFAWA programme. He added that currently, women operate over 40% of SMEs in Africa, but there is a financing gap of $42 billion between male and female entrepreneurs. A gap that must be closed quickly. AFAWA aims to raise up to $5 billion for African women entrepreneurs and the African Development Bank will provide $1 billion financing. The AFAWA initiative, backed by the G7 nations, is based on three fundamental principles. The first is to improve women’s access to financing through innovative and adapted financial instruments, including guarantee mechanisms to support women entrepreneurs.
SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS
Amazon Fires Raise the Flag for Africa’s Jungles
The severity of fires in the Amazon has prompted a global outcry. But, amid the protest, some are questioning how this compares with the rest of the world, with surprising results. The issue has got people checking out Nasa’s maps of fires around the world and it clearly shows more fires burning in central Africa. Over a period of two days last week Angola had roughly three times more fires than Brazil, according to data obtained from Weather Source. The data said there were 6,902 fires in Angola and 3,395 fires in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, compared with just 2,127 fires in Brazil. A Brazilian tweeter hit out at French President Emmanuel Macron, who described the fires in the Amazon as an “international crisis”, accusing him of ignoring blazes in Africa. On Monday Mr Macron announced that the leaders of the G7 – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US – would release $22m to help fight fires in the Amazon rainforest. But then he drew attention to the African fires. “The forest is also burning in sub-Saharan Africa” he tweeted. Mr Macron added that he was “considering the possibility of launching a similar initiative” in sub-Saharan African to that announced for the Amazon.
Cover Girl Bungle Leaves Sour Taste in One of Africa’s Top Models
South Sudanese-Australian supermodel Adut Akech has spoken of her anger and sadness after a prominent Australian magazine published an article about her, but with the image of a different black model, noting that the mix-up “would’ve not happened to a white model.” Who Magazine, a weekly celebrity and entertainment publication, ran a feature about Akech, but printed a picture of model Flavia Lazarus instead. “For those who are not aware, last week @whomagazine (Australia) published a feature article about me. In the interview I spoke about how people view refugees and peoples attitude to color in general. With the article they published a large photo saying it was me. But it was of another black girl,” she wrote in an Instagram post. She said that the mistake “defeated the purpose of what I stand for and spoke about” in the interview, adding that Australia had “a lot of work to do.” CNN has attempted to contact Who Magazine for comment. Akech, 19, is a woman with an extraordinary story. Born in South Sudan, she’s a former child refugee who spent the first eight years of her life in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp before migrating to Australia. Today, Akech is one of the most in-demand models in fashion, regularly walking for brands including Chanel, Valentino and Givenchy and starring on the covers of a number of high profile magazines, including the Italian, Korean and British editions of Vogue.
Sudan’s New Prime Minister’s To Do List
Abdalla Hamdok has said that he has talked to US officials about removing Sudan from Washington’s list of countries sponsoring terrorism. The news comes just days after Hamdok took charge of the country’s complex civilian-military transitional government. As Sudan begins a new chapter, getting off the United States’s state sponsor of terror list is the “key to anything that we can do in this country… a democratic Sudan is not a threat to anybody in the world”, said Hamdok during a press conference. Removing Sudan from the list would open the door to foreign investment and allow the country to receive a much-needed International Monetary Fund and World Bank bailout package, Hamdok said.The US named Sudan a state sponsor of “terror” in 1993, and the designation stuck through the al-Bashir regime. As one of the last acts of the Obama administration, the US began a formal process to delist Sudan in January 2017, lifting trade and economic sanctions in October. Sudan is almost $60bn in debt, and Hamdok said the interest on the debt payments is roughly $3bn. He called for drastically reducing military spending – from 80 percent of the state budget – to rescue the nation’s faltering economy, hoping for a “peace dividend” if current efforts to negotiate deals with armed rebels are successful.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
Key Witness in South Africa’s Corruption Commission Dies
The sudden demise of fraud and corruption tainted chief executive officer of Bosasa Gavin Watson has been labelled as a set back for the Zondo commission which is probing allegations of state capture. The chairperson of the Radical Economic Transformation (RET) Champion, Nkosentsha Shezi, said the “suspicious” death is also a setback for the truth and it instills fears on other potential witnesses for the commission. South Africans got to know Gavin Watson’s name and his business dealings in greater details through various testimonies at the state capture commission. The ANC meanwhile, which is alleged to have pocketed at least R3 million from Bosasa and have two senior members Cyril Ramaphosa and Jacob Zuma entangled in the web of the companies alleged corruption, mourned the passing of Watson. In the statement, it called Watson an anti apartheid activist and said him and his brothers associated themselves with the struggle for liberation at an early age and fought side by side with many compatriots against apartheid.
SOURCE: IOL | EWN
One of the Most Notorious Killers in the Gambia Set Free
Mobile network operators can avoid the challenges more mature markets have experienced by focusing on their customers. Mobile Malick Jatta was a member of the Junglers, a death squad trained to do the dirtiest work of the country’s former president, Yahya Jammeh, whose abuses over 22 years in power are being revealed by a truth, reconciliation and reparations commission broadcast live into the living rooms of Africa’s smallest mainland nation. The appearance of Jatta and five of his fellow Junglers over the past three weeks has been the most gripping episode yet of this reality TV of the most sinister kind. Some of their victims were suffocated with plastic bags, some they shot, others they cut into pieces or threw into wells. Their reward for this testimony was to be released, to the outrage of many Gambians, especially their victims’ families. Letting the Junglers go was the lawful thing to do, the justice minister, Abubacarr Tambadou, told the Guardian, as none of them were charged with any crime in more than two years of detention, while other self-confessed perpetrators walked freely.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
Challenges Standing in the Way of GM Cowpea in Ghana
The country plans to release genetically modified cowpea seeds this year or next, which would make it the third sub-Saharan African country, after South Africa and Nigeria, to approve the local production and sale of GM food. Cowpea is a staple in Ghana and other parts of West Africa, where it is believed to have first been domesticated. The legume is a favorite among farmers and laborers, who consume it in the morning before leaving for work and don’t feel hungry until sundown. But cowpea has been under attack for years. A winged pest, Maruca vitrata, bores into the pods and nibbles away at the seeds, destroying anywhere between 20 and 80% of West Africa’s cowpea crops every year. In response, scientists have genetically modified cowpea plant lines to resist the pest, and advocates for the technology—which involves altering an organism’s DNA in ways that aren’t possible through traditional breeding—believe that genetically modified (GM) cowpea can help feed the fast-growing population on a warming planet. It can also help reduce the use of pesticides, they say, freeing up land for other uses, providing enough surplus for regional market opportunities, and giving farmers an additional choice about what to grow. What worries some critics is that all of Africa’s genetic-modification projects are closely tied to Western organizations.
Why South Africa Grounded a Tanzanian Plane
South Africa’s seizure of an Air Tanzania aircraft last week was linked to a land compensation claim that dates back to the 1980s, the East African nation’s government said. The case doesn’t involve the airline and is part of a wider dispute between Tanzania and Hermanus Steyn, a South African investor, Hassan Abbasi, a spokesman for the Tanzanian government, said in a Twitter post. Lawyers are studying the South African court order that authorized the seizure before deciding how to respond, Abbasi said. The Airbus 220-300 was due to fly from Johannesburg, South Africa, on Friday to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. A retired farmer has said the aircraft was impounded because Tanzania’s government had not paid him $33m it owes in compensation.
Gains in Rehabilitating Victims of Human Trafficking
Nigeria’s agency for combating human trafficking is repatriating and re-settling women who have been subjected to forced labor and prostitution after being smuggled into Europe on false promises of working at well-paying jobs. Thousands of Nigerian women have been trafficked in recent years, though some were lucky enough to be able to return to their country. More than 11,000 of them are estimated to be working as sex slaves in Italy alone. The United Nations says women represent more than half of the thousands smuggled from Africa into Europe every year. But Nigerian men also are victims of human trafficking and forced labor. igeria’s anti-human trafficking agency, NAPTIP was set up in 2003 to address the problem, over the years, it has made some progress repatriating and resettling victims back home.
Getting to Know DRC’s New Government
The cabinet list released by Prime Minister Illunga Illunkamba on Monday consisted mostly of people with little or no government experience. Of the 65 ministers named, 42 were from Kabila’s coalition and 23 were from Tshisekedi’s. As well as retaining outsized influence over various security agencies, Kabila’s Common Front for Congo (FCC) coalition won about 70 percent of seats in the lower house of parliament and an overwhelming majority of provincial assembly seats in elections also held on Dec. 30. The new list has Gilbert Malaba, a member of Tshisekedi’s party, as minister of interior and security, while the defence ministry went to Ngoy Mukena, a close Kabila ally. The mining portfolio went to Willy Samsoni, a member of Kabila’s coalition and a former mines minister in the local government of Haut Katanga province, while Congo’s former director general of taxes Sele Yalaghuli, also a Kabila stalwart, was named finance minister. Tshisekedi ally Jean-Baudouin Mayo Mambeke took the more junior role of budget minister.
SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA