Tue. Feb 25th, 2020


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The Five People You Need to Know Who Were at WEF Africa

WEF Africa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was already in the spotlight as the president of the host country for WEF, but this role took on greater proportions given the xenophobic attacks in Johannesburg that caused some keynotes and delegates from affected African countries to cancel WEF participation in solidarity with the attack victims. Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde provided a pragmatic perspective on the idea that investment and development only occur in the context of absolute political stability. Raghav Prasad, Division President of Sub-Saharan Africa, Mastercard, delivered research that shows that maintaining a cash economy costs African economies up to 1.5% in GDP growth annually. Sipho Pityana, Chairman of AngloGold Ashanti, brought to the Forum his perspective as the chair of a pan-African corporation, and made a strong recommendation that Africa needs to soften its borders. He pointed out that skills are in short demand, and in order to achieve efficiencies, high level skills must cross borders to take advantage of the technological opportunities that will lift the African continent. Speaking to the international community, Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General, United NationsMohammed put Africa’s “governance issue” into perspective.  


Zimbabweans Remember Robert Mugabe

Robert Mugabe

Zimbabwean journalist and documentary film-maker, Hopewell Chin’ono: ” The list of Zimbabwe’s brokenness is long, and it is a list that defines Mugabe’s legacy and violent reign. He will not be mourned by millions of Zimbabweans who still suffer the consequences of his incompetent and corrupt rule.” International lawyer and author, Petina Gappah: “Mugabe’s legacy will continue to be contested between those who revere him and those who revile him, but what matters most now is how Zimbabwe’s new president handles that legacy.” Robert Mugabe’s nephew has said the former Zimbabwean leader died a “very bitter” man. But there has reportedly been disagreement over where Mr Mugabe will be buried. Some of his relatives want him to be buried at his rural homestead in the village of Kutama in Mashonaland West province. But government officials have pushed for a burial at a shrine near Harare. Most of Zimbabwe’s national heroes – those who fought against white-minority rule – are buried at the Heroes’ Acre shrine just outside of the city.


Nigeria Makes Means for Citizens to Return

Citizens Return Nigeria

Nigeria will repatriate about 600 citizens from South Africa this week following a wave of deadly xenophobic violence that has sparked sharp exchanges between the two countries. Godwin Adamu, Nigerian Consul General in Johannesburg, told the media that, “A first flight will carry 320 Nigerians. We will have another one immediately after that.” Bashir Ahmad, an assistant to Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari, said the president gave “instruction for the immediate voluntary evacuation of all Nigerians who are willing to return home”. Johannesburg and surrounding areas were rocked by a series of deadly attacks on foreigners last week, including many directed against Nigerian-owned businesses and properties. More than 100,000 Nigerians are estimated to live in South Africa, the violence prompted reprisal attacks against South African firms in Nigeria and the temporary closure of South Africa’s diplomatic missions in Lagos and Abuja.


The Pope’s Message to Africans

Pope's Message to Africans

Pope Francis was welcomed by palm frond-waving crowds in Mauritius on Monday as he drove past sugarcane fields on his way to the capital, where he said a Mass on a terraced mountainside overlooking the harbour. Mauritius is far richer than the first two countries on his tour – Mozambique and Madagascar – but it also has a youth unemployment problem and a sizable income gap between social classes, and the pope addressed both issues in the homily of his Mass. “Despite the economic growth your country has known in recent decades, it is the young who are suffering the most,” he said. Over the weekend Pope Francis called on the Malagasy people to protect the environment, even as he reiterated his warning against corruption. The Argentine pontiff told his hosts they should “create jobs and money-making activities which respect the environment and help people escape poverty”. In Mozambique, Pope Francis scolded political and business leaders in the resource-rich but poor East African country who allow themselves to be corrupted by outsiders. “Mozambique is a land of abundant natural and cultural riches, yet paradoxically, great numbers of its people live below the poverty level,” Francis said in the stadium, in an area of the capital where many people live in shantytowns with houses of corrugated metal roofs.


Rethinking Africa’s Stance on Counter-terrorism


In the Horn of Africa, the Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel have formed coalitions against groups like al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province and the Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin. Military campaigns against some of these groups have dragged on for more than a decade, sustained by shrinking budgets largely bankrolled from outside the continent. Researchers say the complex and sensitive option of dialogue should not be viewed as a one-off event. “It should also not be understood as a one-size-fits-all strategy for ending terror in Africa. Rather, dialogue should be more deeply explored as a complementary approach that goes beyond the short-sighted use of military might. There is the unfolding case of dialogue between the United States and the Taliban in Afghanistan. It is still being tested but remains a process which offers hope.” Based on evidence in reality and beyond textbook suggestions, there is really no “perfect” period for dialogue. Governments hardly ever initiate dialogue when terror groups are on the defensive. A good example is the case of Nigeria when the government announced in late 2015 that Boko Haram was “technically defeated”. Following this, nothing happened – and then there was a resurgence of violence that continues today.

The Refugee Camp that’s Turned into a Thriving Settlement

Bidi Bidi refugee camp

Bidi Bidi refugee camp is home to nearly a quarter-million South Sudanese who fled the violence of civil war in their home country. Its progressive policies allow refugees to live, farm and work together while they wait to return to their home country. But, as conditions are slow to improve in South Sudan, many refugees are opting to stay. As is often the case, tensions are common between refugees and the local population, who feel that the refugees are taking resources that might have been available for them. But, Uganda decided to do something different, earmarking a percentage of the country’s international funding to go toward local amenities. Refugee families were given plots of land to build family-style clusters of homes with room to grow their own fruits and vegetables. As a result, a small-scale economy began to flourish in the camp, with some refugees starting their own businesses. Last year, following a peace deal between warring South Sudan leaders, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said he hoped the refugees would begin returning home. But, that’s not the case.  According to a new report published this week by several humanitarian agencies, including Oxfam, refugees — especially women — are hesitant to return home. They fear the peace won’t last.


Somalia’s Economy is on the Right Track 

Somalia’s Economy

The country’s economy is expected to grow by 2.9% this year, from 2.8% last year, before growth quickens to 3.2-3.5% in the medium term, the World Bank. The higher growth forecast for the next three-to-five years would depend on the country being able to sustain its current economic reform momentum, the World Bank said in a statement. Tax collection by the government increased by 29% last year, as the economy recovered from a drought the previous year and the government changes its tax policies, the World Bank said. It asked the government to form a fund dedicated to education to allow authorities in Mogadishu to mobilise more cash from regional states and other partners to support learning.


How Europe is Keeping African Migrants at Bay

African Migrants

For three years, the European Union has been paying other countries to keep asylum seekers away from a Europe replete with populist and anti-migrant parties. . It has funded the Libyan Coast Guard to catch and return migrant boats to North Africa. It has set up centers in distant Niger to process asylum seekers, if they ever make it that far. Most don’t. It is now preparing to finish a deal, this time in Rwanda, to create yet another node that it hopes will help alleviate some of the mounting strains on its outsourcing network. Critics say the Rwanda deal will deepen a morally perilous policy, even as it underscores how precarious the European Union’s teetering system for handling the migrant crisis has become.


Growing Kenya’s Banking Networks

Kenya's Banking Networks

Kenyan lender Equity Group Holdings-EGH is planning to acquire a controlling equity stake in Commercial Bank of Congo (BCDC) with the aim of merging the business with its existing subsidiary in Democratic Republic of Congo. The proposed deal will give new impetus to Equity’s Pan-Africa expansion strategy coming just after similar transactions that would see the bank increase units in Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Rwanda. In a statement that was released on Monday, Equity chief executive James Mwangi said “By acquiring BCDC, Equity will be able to expand its footprint in Africa. Further, through the proposed transaction, EGH aims to provide access to competitive, tailored financial services to improve people’s lives and livelihoods whilst also delivering significant value to its stakeholders.”


Ghana’s Sidewalk Art Festival

Ghana's Sidewalk Art Festival

Accra’s Chale Wote Art Festival is West Africa’s largest annual street art and performance art festival. For the past 8 years, it has grown from a small local event to a global platform attracting an audience of about 50,000 people. Founded in 2011, the festival began as a one-day event in the streets of Jamestown, the city’s oldest district. It was founded by artists who wanted to give new meaning to some colonial-era buildings that define the area — particularly, the 17th century British James Fort and the Dutch Ussher Fort. This year marks the fair’s largest edition to date, with over 160 Ghana-based and international artists exhibiting their work across 10 sites, during an 11-day program. For this edition, performances at Chale Wote were curated in collaboration with Ghanaian artist Va-Bene Elikem K. Fiatsi, also knows as crazinisTartisT, a self-described gender-nonconforming multidisciplinary artist and director of the perforcraZe International Artists Residency (piAR) in Kumasi.


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