Posts tagged as: construction

An Open Letter to the Kenyan Politician

By Scheaffer Okore

I know this letter will find you well in your heavily guarded mansion with beautiful lawns that haven’t missed watering even during this drought and water-rationing season.

I cannot even begin to imagine how busy you are drafting fresh deceitful promises for this election year so I wont take much of your time.

Brevity will be my modus operandi just like your memory is when it comes to your deliverables.

As I write this I’m drawing relation from the words of Tracy Chapman’s ‘Subcity’ to the current Kenyan situation with astounding similarity.

Chapman sings of an underground city that no one would like to admit exists: a dejected society where everyday people live off the decay and waste of their fellow men. You need to know and be certain that this underground dwelling people are not going to gentrify their language or actions when it comes to the true nature of things.

HOOLIGANISM

We can’t possibly watch the unlawful way in which the party primaries have been conducted and say nothing. How is it that despite the destruction, bloody fist fights and burning of stuff no political party has taken any tangible action against their members? Have we actually forgotten the unforgettable path our country took in 2007? We cannot and will not be led down this path again we just won’t.

Kenyans need the institutions tasked with ensuring law and order during this primaries to demonstrate that they’re able to enforce these laws. It’s clear that the main political parties engaging in the primaries don’t have the political will to practise the democracy they preach the evidence is all there. Favouritism, hooliganism and sabotage is smeared all over the method in which they choose to conduct themselves and to the underground dwelling Kenyans, it’s alarming. This cannot be a reflection of what we should expect in August we must do better.

RESPECT LAW

It makes you wonder what exactly the cost of winning is and that if someone must win at all cost do they actually deserve to lead. Kenyans don’t need neither do they have to be led by people who have no respect for the law or institutions they represent.

Mr Politician this is why the electorate talks about Fagia Wote not as a trending topic but as a simple strategy acting as a genesis towards a clean house.

Not a single one of you can comprehend the struggles Kenyans endure because of your poor choices, lack of leadership and insatiable hunger for ill-gotten wealth. We are working our hardest not only because it’s a civic requirement but majorly because you Mr. Politician are working thrice as hard to steal from us. Please I beg of you to desist from commenting on burdens you’ve intentionally and continually pilled on our backs.

HIGH COST OF LIVING

Do you at any point wonder how essentials needs like sugar, milk, bread and maize flour have become luxuries in Kenyan households? 1Kg of tomatoes has risen from Sh50 to Ksh80, 1Kg of peas is now Sh200 from Sh60, 1Kg of onions is now Sh80 from Sh40, 1Kg of beans shot to Sh100 from Sh80 and the price of 1Kg rice is now Sh180 from Sh130 all in the span of a month. Almost every single thing in Kenya right now is tremendously expensive some food products have even reduced in quantity whilst their prices continue to rise. We are hungry Mr. Politician while our families are making due, your own families dwell in surplus. This is why we need new leaders of integrity who have the people’s needs in mind. New people who will put the people in power not the individuals they’re aligned to. Our institutions must deliver and they must do it right, there’s so much at stake to repeat past mistakes.

UNEMPLOYMENT

We are jarred that a section of you are seeking a second term based on development projects that only exist virtually not physically while the rest of you are seeking an opportunity to be gently recycled back into office. Honestly if this was a comedy scene, I’d pause and have a good laugh but it’s a real life scenario where the joke is on us. Sometimes I wish your own children who are foreign educated would be degraded to the levels in which the Kenyan graduate is: standing by sidewalks holding placards begging for work. Maybe then you’d begin to address unemployment as a fundamental issue and not just another regrettable vice that Kenya leads in like corruption.

KENYAN PEOPLE

There’s such an open disrespect and disregard towards the citizenry demonstrated by how you misuse our taxes, control and share our opportunities amongst your fellows. Sadly none of you fighting each during the primaries is honestly fighting to serve us or sort out our issues. Most of you are busy securing positions for self-preservation that’s why we find those of you who lie so openly and boldly that it’s the Kenyan people who’ve coaxed you to pursue politics highly insolent.

When and where did you and I talk about your re-election? I find it demeaning that a politician will use the collective that is the Kenyan person in pursuit of their selfishness. Do you realise the title Kenyan people was fought and paid for by blood? The struggle for us to be called Kenyan people was a difficult horrific experience yet you throw this title around like it’s something we picked up on our leisure walk to independence can you get serious? Leave us out of your rhetoric you’re not for us and never will you be let the electorate continue to clean house.

The writer is a Programme Officer Civic Engagement at Siasa Place

Twitter: @scheafferoo

Thank You! President Kenyatta Says for Active Participation in Jubilee Primaries

Nairobi — President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday met and thanked Governors Ken Lusaka, Salim Mvurya, Samuel Kuntai Ole Tunai and Hussein Dado for standing with the Jubilee Party and helping in the quest to deepen democracy in the country.

The President was speaking at a meeting at State House, Nairobi that was also attended by Deputy President William Ruto. He commended them for their role in creating a conducive environment for free, fair, transparent and credible Jubilee Party primaries in their areas.

The governors were accompanied by legislators Gideon Mung’aro, Joyce Lay and Dan Mwazo. The three – all former opposition MPs – will contest the August 8 elections on Jubilee tickets.

The President said he appreciated their partnering with the Jubilee Government in its transformative agenda to grow the economy and lift the lives of Kenyans.

Governors Lusaka (Bungoma), Dado (Tana River) and Mvurya (Kwale), and Taita Taveta Senator Mwazo on Friday accompanied the President on his meet-the-people tour of his populous Kiambu home county.

During the tour, the President thanked Jubilee supporters for coming out in large numbers to exercise their democratic rights and to give him a new team to participate in the August polls.

In the primaries, the people have sent a clear message that leaders must prudently manage public resources and deliver efficient services to the electorate if they wanted to retain their elective posts.

Kenya

Ex-Street Boy Wins Jubilee Ticket for Bulla Pesa Ward

Residents of Bulla Pesa ward in Isiolo town have nominated a former street urchin to contest for the seat in the… Read more »

Ghana: Kumasi Hive Wants to Create Maker Start-Ups That Will Generate New Manufacturing Jobs – " Ghana’s Got to Start to Add Value"

One of Ghana’s active maker spaces is the recently created Kumasi Hive in country’s second city. Russell Southwood spoke to co-founder Anna Lowe about its start-ups, the problem of finding angel investors and her desire to create new manufacturing jobs.

Kumasi Hive’s co-founder Anna Lowe came out of manufacturing and the supply chain sector:”I was getting medicines across borders in Africa and there were plenty of challenges. I was aware of the Maker Movement and digital manufacturing and got interested in producing things locally.”

Kumasi Hive’s other co-founder and CEO of the organization George Appiah ran a group of hackers and makers in Ghana’s second city, Kumasi that he had started in 2010. As Lowe tells it:”A lot of education in Ghana is very theoretical. There’s a need for people to get involved in hands-on projects. I came to Ghana for another social project and was interested in (George’s) maker space. I set up a whole lot of meetings and George was one of them.”

At that stage, it was a student network of practical projects but they had no real equipment to use. As a result, it was hard to do prototyping:”They had great ideas but no way of turning them into businesses.” They were sharing parts and each time something was created it was taken apart and cannibalized to provide the next idea.

So they joined forces to create Kumasi Hive and one of the first things it ran was an incubator programme, which was a general training in both technical and business skills.

The space itself is a large house that has been repurposed to create a maker space and rooms that are used as co-working spaces:”There are now 12 start-ups in our incubator programme and well over 100 people have come for the incubator training programmes.”

The start-ups combine maker skills with an entrepreneurial eye for possible opportunities. Dext makes science kits for High School students:”It’s addressing a practical education problem and allowing young people to do experiments.” Klack 3D is making 3D printers and Pasgid Robotics is making low-cost robotics sets for education institutions.

Although Kumasi Hive has only been going for a year, it has attracted new students to its work. It runs a Saturday Club and 3D design courses for local students:”We do programmes aimed at different sectors, particularly agriculture and run an agriculture hardware hackathon in the north of the country sponsored by a local agricultural company. We’ve been looking at the rice supply chain and our focus has been to find innovators.”

So why set up in Kumasi rather than in Ghana’s capital Accra?:”There were a number of reasons. Creativity Group which was founded by George was in Kumasi and it had 6 chapters in different communities. There’s also quite an artisan culture in Kumasi. There were already several hubs in Accra and nothing in Kumasi at the time.”

Kumasi Hive have expansion plans:”With our existing site, we want to grow our programmes and encourage more successful businesses and also to do more work with young kids in schools. We also hope to open Hives in other places in Ghana. We’re looking at Tamale, where we ran the agriculture hackathon and we might also open in Accra in partnership with an existing hub.”

So what has been the hardest thing in doing all of this?:”The hardest thing is funding and it’s not just for our activities but helping fund the businesses we find. The first proof of concept might cost US$500-2,000. Then the next tranche up takes you into angel territory, somewhere between US$50,000-100,000. There are fewer people who understand hardware in this context. Software just needs a laptop. Hardware needs materials.”

So far it’s been possible to cover programmes with grant funding but harder to find investment for the start-ups:”There’s potential to raise money locally but we’ve not seen much yet. There’s an Angel Investor Club in Accra but not one in Kumasi.”

Lowe is passionate about the potential for makers to create manufacturing jobs:”For me, it’s one of the main reasons to do this. Hardware innovation will leads to manufacturing locally, which will create jobs. Ghana basically exports raw materials and imports goods. It’s got to start to add value. A start-up like Dext is the beginning of that journey. The start-ups might create anything from hundreds to the low thousands of jobs but it’s really only in the early stages. Lots more needs to be done.”

Background Briefing – Africa’s Makers and Maker Spaces

BloLab sets up an African digital fabrication laboratory to promote technological democratization, innovation and manufacturing

http://www.smartmonkeytv.com/channel/newsletters/blolab_sets_up_an_african_digital_fabrication_laboratory_to_promote_technol

Jumanne Mtambalike, Buni Hub on making a 3D printer and drone from e-waste-mass production next?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXVe3DNCLms

South Africa: Tobias Overbeck on building a glove-controlled drone and flying in drone competitions

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7sDnHvvf7A

Rick Treweek on African Robot’s 3D printing training and his passion brand Trobok Toys

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJqcjXPa7vk

Robyn Farah, Kat-O on her maker space in Cape Town and what it does

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwF0QSktKBs

Africa: Orange Sees Relationship With Start-Ups As Part of Africa’s Broader Digital Transformation

interview

London — Orange is one of a handful of mobile operators on the continent that has taken its relationship with Africa’s emerging start-up ecosystem seriously. It has launched its own incubators, supported pitch competitions and begun to open up its APIs. It sees these relationships as part of a broader digital transformation of Africa.

Sylvain Béletre talked to Roger-Edgar KRA, in charge of Business Development API (Innovation Tech Hub, Open Web Services, Middle East and Africa, Innovation Marketing Technology) in the MEA zone at Orange’s Technocentre.

Q. From your experience in the field, how is the digital transformation of the African continent happening?

A. Local businesses that want to take advantage of new mobile uses, or international companies that see Africa as a growth hub, are designing new products and services using the new digital tools: e-commerce platforms, e-health services, job search platforms, MOOCs, mobile advertising, video and music streaming platforms, money transfer, online insurance, smart metering, etc.

Q. Are these digital solutions meeting the major challenges faced by companies in the region?

A. Digital tools answer some of the major challenges faced by companies in the region: How to better monetize your solutions? How to make your business more attractive, visible and expand internationally, especially at the pan-African level? How to remove intermediaries? How to reduce distribution costs? How to improve customer experience?

These challenges concern all industry sectors: entertainment, agriculture, health, education, transport, energy, retail, etc.

However, creating a digital service in Africa is a real challenge: IT projects dedicated to the integration of technical platforms require investment and time. In a context where smartphones and the use of data are still emerging, and where the majority of customers do not have a credit card, the context is quite different from other regions in the World. Designing a website or an Android application for smartphones and tablets is only a small part of the answer, you must also know how to monetize them, but also design a version for low cost mobile phone/feature phones, via SMS, Vocal or even USSD.

In order to deploy on a large scale, partnering with local telecom operators can boost your footprint. Finally, your media must include the most common payment services. Orange has taken action accordingly.

Q. How does Orange respond to these challenges?

A. Orange has for years set up large infrastructure projects within its African subsidiaries in order to simplify and accelerate access to its resources. With these platforms deployed, Orange is now very active in partnering with local players (entrepreneurs, developers, digital agencies, media, etc.), and creating an open innovation ecosystem, bringing together startups and large corporates.

In order to support developers and save them time and money, Orange offers a suite of new business solutions based on three blocks: communication, distribution and payment.

On payment, the ‘Pay With Orange’ offer allows an Orange mobile customer to be charged for a digital service, by debiting his Orange telephone credit, either once or several times. Orange Money Web Payment allows you to charge an Orange Money customer for a physical or digital service by debiting its Orange Money account.

On improving their communications, Orange’s SMS offer allows companies to send customized and automated SMS, for example an appointment reminder, an order confirmation, or a forgotten password.

To support their distribution, our Offer # 303 # My Store is a pan-African “appstore” in USSD, which allows companies to reference a service in a given category, and to charge for subscription through Pay With Orange and soon via Orange Money.

These offers have been deployed on the continent since 2014, with already strong coverage (12 countries for SMS API, 6 for Orange Money Web Payment).

Q. How many partnerships have you established?

A. To date, more than 700 African startups have subscribed to Orange’s SMS notification service. And 40 services are ‘live’ on portal # 203 # in Cameroon. Dozens of services use our means of payment, monetize video streaming platforms, information portals, video games…

Q. Do you have examples of success stories in Africa?

A. In Senegal, the MLouma startup has created a virtual agricultural platform that publishes real-time information on the price, location and availability of farm products. At its launch, the platform was only available on the Web – making it difficult to access and costly for rural users. Integrating # 303 # My Store has given a very strong impulse to the service: now accessible from any phone, MLouma has gone from 1,000 to 75,000 users in 6 months! In addition, MLouma will be able to federate new users in all the other countries where the platform # 303 # My Store is available without requiring further development. MLouma also integrated the SMS API to alert users of the availability of new products, as well as the MEA DCB service to bill USSD requests.

In Cameroon, the pan-African media group ‘Jeune Afrique’ has produced a USSD version of its news service, referenced on # 203 # in Cameroon; Just like RFI, TV channel ‘France 24’, thus allowing 100% of the Orange customer base to access this service, updated in real time. The pan-African deployment of these services is in progress, on short code # 303 #.

For developers ready to use the Orange APIs, the portal is here:

You can discover other Orange programs related to startups and digital entrepreneurs across Africa, here:

And do not forget, if you are a young startup, you can currently apply for the Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize.

Togo: Yobo Studios Pioneers Short-Format Series Content for Broadcast and Online

London — If you’re a regular visitor to Discop Africa (the largest TV trade show in Africa), you may have noticed her. Or maybe you know ‘Zem’, her mini-TV series that was a hit in Africa and with the african diaspora.

Half Togolese on her father’s side and half from Guadeloupe on her mother’s side, Angela Aquereburu Rabatel founded the company YoBo Studios with her partner Jean-Luc Rabatel in 2009 (the year of the first Discop Africa’s edition). She explains her career and describes her productions to Sylvain Béletre/BalancingAct – April 2017.

Based in Lomé, Togo, YoBo Studios is an audiovisual production company – now one of the largest production companies in the country – whose “objective is to provide original and exportable content”. The other ambition of her team: to bring a different perspective on Africa today.

Q. Before becoming a producer, what was your background? Have you done other things?

A. I went through the ESCP (Ecole Supérieure de Commerce) in Paris to obtain my specialized Master in Entrepreneurship. I worked in measuring instruments and then in an HR consulting firm before turning to the audiovisual sector. I trained on the job: I read a lot of books and viewed many tutorials to learn the trade. Moving to Togo quickly became obvious.

Q. How did you land in the television sector? And why did you choose Togo to establish yourself?

A. My father is already a ‘television dinosaur’ in Togo, as he was one of the first to set up satellite dishes in the region for Canal + Horizon and CFI. My partner, Jean-Luc, was a comedian in Paris and had full-on projects. My father said to us: “Why do you waste your time in France when here the sector is damaged! Look at the mediocre content on television, which does not look like us! “That’s how we decided to do the Zem pilot.

My family lives in Togo and has developed facilities that I can benefit for my productions. Without this family base in Togo, I think we would have had a harder time getting started in audio-visual production …

Q. What were or are your biggest challenges? And your biggest hits?

A. Our greatest popular success: ZEM. Our ‘challenge’? The financing of our productions, our financial margins.

A. Tell us more about YoBo Studios.

Q. We produce fun, entertaining and aesthetic content: TV series, commercials, 3D animation and soon feature films. The company was called Caring International. We then changed our name to something more authentic. The Yo comes from the mina (Togolese dialect), the yovo which means ‘person with white skin’. And the Bo comes from the word ameyibo which means ‘a person with black skin’. A nod to our partnership – Jean-Luc and me – and on cinema … black & white.

Q.What are your main production projects today?

A. This year, we produce Zem Season 3, and “Oasis”, a new drama for Cote Ouest. In 2018, we plan to shoot the “EXPAT” series, which is currently under development, and another series project for the moment confidential. Beginning in 2019, we would like to produce long feature films that cross borders … broadcast on television and in cinemas.

Q. Please tell us more about these new projects.

A. Oasis and Expat are series projects under development. Oasis is a fictional 20-minute episode of 26 minutes in development for Cote Ouest, which has obtained support from the OIF. The series tells the story of a woman who integrates a real estate complex to do industrial espionage, but whose mission will be compromised when she goes back to a knowledge watch. Expat is a ‘drama’ of 10 episodes of 26 minutes that tells the story of a French couple who believes they are leaving in ‘expatriation’, while they land in Porto Novo, Benin …

Q. How would you define ZEM, this series which was the first success of your company?

A. ZEM is a short format series (3 minutes), whose purpose is to establish a humorous dialogue between several motorcycle taxi drivers and their entourage. I think this series was a success because it was the first time at the time that we showed on television in 2009 a short African format shot in HD with actors who had a smooth and fast rapport.

The pilot first made a buzz on Dailymotion France with more than 50,000 views on the first day (at the time it was a lot for African content!). It was also the first time that Canal + Overseas made co-production on a series. Season 1 of ZEM has 26 episodes, Season 2 is 50 episodes and Season 3 has 60 episodes (in preparation). The Season 1 was broadcast on January 4, 2010 on Canal + Afrique and on July 4, 2010 on Comédie (France), Ma Chaine Etudiante (France) and TV5monde in 2012, then the A+ channel in 2016. The Season 2 appeared to the public 12 September 2016 on TV5monde. Zem received a special prize at the Festival Vues d’Afrique in Montreal in 2012.

Q. Hospital IT (pronounced ‘Hospitalité’ in French) is about the medical world, correct?

A. This series of fiction describes a facet of the medical world in Africa. It shows the ambivalence between traditional medicine and Western medicine. The series is coming out this year.

Q. Who distributes your programs globally?

A. Zem and Palabres belong to YoBo Studios, we distribute them. Mi Temps is distributed by Canal+. The rights of Hospital IT and Oasis belong to Cote Ouest which distributes them.

Q. Is brand placement important to the survival of your company? What percentage of the total budget?

A: Yes, it is important funding for some of our productions; today, our partnering channels deal with the placement of trademarks in our productions, when our content has been pre-purchased by a channel that is linked to an ad planning agency (e.g. Canal+ Advertising, FTP). Product or brand placement represents today about 5% of the budget of our productions, at best.

Q. Do you think that the development of the audiovisual sector is important for Africans, and if so why? (In comparison with other sectors and infrastructures – health, water, electricity …)

A. For us it is as important as the rest, but for governments it is not an urgent priority. However, audiovisual programs make it possible to pass on many messages to the population, and not only in an autocratic way. The development of the audiovisual sector is essential: Watching television is the only entertainment that exists for the big mass, outside drink… As a result, the audiovisual sector is a decisive tool to convey strong messages of health, ecology, democracy … In short, we can inform and educate the populations through audiovisual programmes. But it would require a real political will to improve this sector.

Q. How do you think the African audiovisual sector has evolved since 2009?

A. It is a sector in full evolution: I see programs of better quality with more variety. Financing and margins remain the weak point.

Q. What are the current trends in terms of audiences across Africa right now?

A. Mobile TV is growing all over Africa. African people watch a lot of videos on their mobile phones. Some – the most connected – subscribe to VoD services: iROKO, Netflix, etc.

Q. What challenges do you see in the sector? And how do we deal with them?

A. Financing is key. To make exportable and cost-effective content, a minimum investment is required.

Q. Who do you think are the main leaders of the sector in French-speaking Africa? Those who really invest …

A. Local producers and broadcasters, Cote Ouest, Bolloré / Canal+, OIF, TV5Monde, RTI … There are not enough, at least on the French-speaking side. TV5monde has a genuine investment policy on African productions, they also make local ‘coups’ with real action points. RTI (Radio TV Cote d’Ivoire) can be very aggressive in its content acquisition policy but focuses mainly on Ivorian productions when it comes to pre-purchase; The Canal+ group with Canal+ Afrique, the A+ channel, NollywoodTV are key buyers in the sector… And finally Cote Ouest, which has always been a leader in distribution in Africa, but for the last 2 years has started (co-)production.

Nigeria: Malaria Burden Adds Up to Adewole’s Meningitis Burden

opinionBy Adeola Akinremi

In November 2009, I sat near Isaac Adewole, in Dare-Salaam, Tanzania. I could tell of his brilliance and dedication to a cause he believed in based on how up-close I saw and interacted with him. He was elected the Chairman of African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC) at that meeting unopposed to confirm his leadership prowess. We all roared in jubilation to approve that election.

At that time, he was a professor at the University of Ibadan and awaiting Vice Chancellor. He made it to become the Vice Chancellor of the premier university just about one year after. His academic brain and soundness have not been mixed with Nigeria’s perplexing politics.

But in November 2015, five years later, Adewole, became Nigeria’s Health Minister and his progress took a turn. He became a reactive man, and not proactive anymore. He must really be frustrated and hiding it.

Really, serving in Nigerian government can turn a smart man into a sluggish man. Government work around here can make a man full of vision to lose his sight.

Adewole must have had a torrid time as a sitting Health Minister whose tenure has had running battle with outbreak of diseases. With scores of people dying from diseases that are preventable and government using fire brigade approach for a rescue plan, I am fully convinced that Adewole is in a cage too difficult to exit from.

“I should start with global health security, as we might be aware, we have been dealing with series of outbreaks over the last one year. We started with Lassa, we moved on to cholera, there were pockets of measles and now we are dealing with meningitis,” he said without putting figures to the number of health-related deaths under him as a minister. But those deaths are now over a million in less than two years that he became a minister.

Honestly, I feel lethargic these days about Nigerian situation that I am hesitant to write. The bad shape that our country is will require not only a smart panel-beater to beat it into shape, but a man of hammer to hit the hell out of Nigeria.

This week, after reading the headline, ‘Nigeria begs U.S. to help fight Malaria’, my heart pumped. Sadly, the news story was attributed to the Health Minister, who equally acknowledged that the United States through its USAID/Presidential Malaria Initiative covering 11 states and the National Malaria Programme has invested substantial amount of about 490 million dollars in Nigeria.

The United Kingdom through its Department for International Development (DFID), the World Bank, the Global Fund, all separately put millions of dollars into malaria fight in Nigeria.

But despite the huge money invested in Nigeria already by the United States, including what the country itself continues to include in its annual budget, no less than 300,000 lives are lost to malaria annually. If you have been a victim of malaria, you will have no reason to dispute the figure. I think it could be more than that after seeing two close family members killed by malaria.

So my question is why is malaria-related death continues in Nigeria year after year despite the fact that it is preventable and with the huge amount of money invested in Nigeria by donor countries and nonprofits? The continuous mismanagement and embezzlement of fund by those entrusted with its administration is a big issue in malaria fight in Nigeria.

Interestingly, Nigerian administrators are so unkind to the poor. They continue to embezzle such money meant for rescue efforts like security fund, national emergency management fund, Presidential Initiative for the North East fund, malaria control fund and many others.

On its National Malaria Control Programme website (www.nmcp.gov.ng), you can get the picture that Nigeria is not interested in eradicating malaria the way the United States did in the 50s. At best, Nigeria wants to roll malaria back so that it can continue to roll forward. The content on the website is outdated and that shows the concern the Ministry of Health has for malaria eradication.

When in November 2016, the United States launched a whistle-blowing campaign on Nigeria for theft of its donated anti-malaria fund I was sad, knowing that I have lost people to malaria.

According to the Deputy Inspector General in charge of the American supported Malarial Control Programme in Africa in USAID, Jonathan Schofield, antimalarial products including treated bed nets and medicines carrying the USAID brand meant to be distributed free of charge, as part of the contribution of the American government to eradicate malaria in Nigeria were being diverted or faked by syndicates.

I remember that the U.S. government promised to give monetary reward for any useful information that would lead to the arrest of syndicates who hoard or fake the USAID funded malaria products in Nigeria. It was that bad. Why are we the enemies of our own progress?

It may surprise many why the United States continues to support Nigeria despite its frustrating experience. Here is the truth. The U.S. understands that America is not completely a safe haven with regards to malaria, though malaria ended in the U.S. in the 50s.

Americans are explorers and they go everywhere, and because they visit such malaria endemic countries as Nigeria there’s the probability of being infected.

Of course, with more immigrants and tourists arriving in the U.S. everyday, they will likely carry the fever with them and place the burden on America’s healthcare system.

For instance, in a report published on April 24, the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene claimed that between 2000 and 2014, about 22,000 people were admitted to U.S. hospitals with complications of malaria.

As the U.S. Consul General in Lagos, Francis John Bray, recently wrote that, “ridding the world of this burden will have a long-term transformative impact across the globe, saving millions of lives and generating trillions in additional economic output,” the burden is on Prof. Adewole to follow the money to save lives.

My Life Is in Danger, Says Opposition Leader

By Moses Havyarimana

Burundi’s main opposition leader and Deputy Speaker of Parliament Agathon Rwasa has claimed his life is in danger following attacks of several of his supporters by unknown people.

He said the attacks and a plot to assassinate him are linked to the coming elections in 2020.

Mr Rwasa pointed an accusing finger at members of the ruling party, Council for the Defence of Democracy – Forces for the Restoration of Democracy, CNDD-FDD, and the police.

Mr Rwasa is one of the few opposition leaders who have remained critical of President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government. Several of his supporters have lately been killed and others kidnapped and he says these incidents have left him fearing for his life. But the government has dismissed the claims, saying he had not even made an official complaint.

“We suppose that he is well protected by the police and the army because he hasn’t yet reported any abnormal situation of his security,” said Burundi police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye.Video footage surfaced on social media showing the ruling party youth wing Imbonerakure jogging while chanting that they would “impregnate” opposition members so as they “could give birth to Imbonerakure.”

The video stirred up reactions from the international community, with the latest condemnation coming from the UN human rights office.

“The grotesque rape chants by the young men are deeply alarming, particularly because they confirm what we have been hearing from those who have fled Burundi about a campaign of fear and terror by this organised militia,” said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.The ruling party condemned the Imbonerakure, saying it was contrary to the “rules and the mission of the party.”

“CNDD-FDD condemns the use of that language and the disciplinary commission is investigating and whoever involved will be sanctioned,” a statement read from the ruling party.

Efforts have been made by the East African Community to put an end to the political crisis that continued to dog the country since 2015, although the regional mediated dialogue under the facilitation of former Tanzania president Benjamin Mkapa is yet to produce tangible results.

“We had said this before and we will continue saying it that the Burundi government will not sit on the same table with the coup plotters… they only have to face justice,” said Will Nyamitwe, special ambassador of Burundi.

As the country steadily gains stability and the focus turns to the 2020 general elections, the ruling party CNDD-FDD is said to still have the upper hand. The absence of main opposition leaders and weak opposition justifies the dominance of CNDD-FDD.

The intra-Burundi dialogue commission (CNDI) released a report on the findings in the six-month period on what could restore peace.

According to the findings, Burundians called on their lawmakers to scrap term limits that can see the incumbent stay in power.

Burundi is relatively gaining stability after the violent protests in 2015 that led to more than 500 people losing their lives. The country’s Constitution has been at the centerstage of the political crisis the country has faced since the 2015 polls.

Burundi

Burundi Still Unsafe for Refugees Return, Says Uganda

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Nigeria: Customs Intercepts N4 Million Worth Foreign Rice in Jigawa

By Yusha’u A. Ibrahim

Kano — The Kano/Jigawa states’ Command of the Nigerian Customs Service has intercepted foreign rice worth N4, 167,825.45 in Jigawa state.

Briefing the newsmen on the seizure yesterday, the Command’s Comptroller, Mr Abutu Mathais Onoja, said a trailer loaded with the rice was impounded by the service at Shuwarin village in Kiyawa local goverment of Jigawa state.

Onoja, however, said nobody was arrested in connection with the intercepted goods.

He said the driver and conductor of the trailer abandoned the vehicle and ran away after they were ordered to disembark from the vehicle to witness a search on the goods they were carrying.

He said the smugglers covered the rice with some bags of Nigerian Sugar, used tyers and gallons of paints among other items.

“We have realized that the smugglers have nowadays changed tactics in their quest to smuggle foreign goods into the country, but we will continue to track them and bring them to justice,” he assured.

He, however, apealed to the headquarters of the service to look into the problem of the command’s warehouse which he said was filled up with seized goods.

Onoja said the command had donated 420 bags of rice to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) last year and that presently a total of 6, 143 bags of rice are being kept in the warehouse.

Nigeria

There’s No Boko Haram Resurgence, Nigerian Military Assures

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Liberia: President Sirleaf Breaks Ground for Construction of Ministerial Complex

Monrovia — President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has broken grounds for the construction of China-Aided Ministerial Complex and Capitol Building Annexes.

She termed execution of the two projects as a great relief for various ministries and agencies of the Government of Liberia, still operating from outdated buildings that do not meet current day reality.

According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the statement on Thursday, April 27, 2017 at the construction sites of the former demolished Defense Ministry Building in Congo Town, outside Monrovia.

The Liberian Chief Executive noted the contributions of former Chinese Ambassadors – Lin Songtian, Zhou Yuxiao and now Zhang Yue and acknowledged President Xi Jinping for working towards bringing to fulfillment the Ministerial Complex and Annexes at the National Legislature.

Speaking earlier, Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, Zhang Yue, welcomed President Sirleaf and delegation for gracing the ground breaking ceremony.

Ambassador Zhang Yue noted that the executions of these landmark projects represent another milestone of China-Liberia relations.

He described the projects as a result of mutual understanding between our two peoples and the outcome has further strengthened our friendship and cooperation.

Ambassador Zhang Yue alluded to Chinese Proverb: “It takes long to give good things; So, good things end up are around the corner after several years of hard work and patience on both sides.”

He said the Complex includes offices, meeting rooms, auditorium, multi-purpose halls, archives, canteen, and also auxiliary facilities such as water pump house, power distribution and generator room; sits on a total of 24,000 square meters and is designed to accommodate at least 1,300 people.

He noted that constructions of the Ministerial Complex and Annexes of the Capitol Building will improve working conditions of the Liberian Government and including the Legislature in order to better serve the Liberian people.

Also making remarks, Public Works Minister, William Moore said the construction of the Ministerial Complex and Annexes to the Capitol Building was not strange to him.

He said he became involved with the projects when he worked in the President Delivery Unit (PDU).

He said he was delighted at this time that the projects are being formally executed. He extended gratitude to former Public Works Minister, Samuel Kofi Woods and Antoinette Weeks who laid all the technical details for the projects prior to his appointment, as Minister.

Minister Moore then commended the Government of the Peoples’ republic of China for providing the Ministerial Complex and Annexes to the Capitol Building as China-Aided for Liberia.

In a related development, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf also received His Excellency, Mr. Adama Barrow President of the Republic of The Gambia who arrived in the country on a two- day official visit to Republic of Liberia.

Mr. Barrow, known as ECOWAS success story came to power in The Gambia on December 7, 2016, after defeating his predecessor – Yaya Jammeh who initially refused to step down.

He was pursued through diplomatic means and relinquished power on Thursday, January 19, 2017, paving the way for his inauguration.

Gambia: Standard Chartered CEO Adenowo Meets President Barrow

The President of the Republic of The Gambia, His Excellency Adama Barrow on Monday 24th April 2017 received Mr. Olukorede Adenowo, the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Standard Chartered Bank, The Gambia.

His Excellency President Barrow welcomed Mr. Adenowo to The Gambia and thanked him for paying a courtesy call to the Office of The President within the first week of taking office. “Standard Chartered is a household name in The Gambia and has been around for over a century. The Bank should continue playing the important role of encouraging good banking practices in order to rebuild the new Gambia”, President Barrow said. He assured the Bank to prioritise the security of The Gambia to foster investment.

The incoming CEO, Mr. Adenowo congratulated the President on his recent elections and pledged the bank’s support in complementing the Government’s efforts in the development of the country. He thanked the President for creating a conducive environment for investment in The Gambia and thanked him for granting him an audience for the courtesy call. Mr. Adenowo said that “Standard Chartered’s is here for good and will continue being a responsible investor in the country assisting in advisory, access to capital and support in the infrastructure investment plan. Standard Chartered Bank has more than 123 years experience in The Gambia and will help facilitate trade opportunities between Gambia and its trade partners because of its unshakeable belief in The Gambia’s future”.

He reaffirmed Standard Chartered’s support to ensure that the bank’s core business of banking supports sustainable growth. He committed to ensuring fair outcomes for our stakeholders and the bank’s unwavering support to the Government of The Gambia. The bank enables individuals to grow and protect their wealth. Help businesses to trade, transact, invest, and expand in addition to helping a variety of financial institutions with their banking needs.

About Olukorede Adenowo

Mr. K.O. Adenowo with 30 years post university experience joined Standard Chartered Bank in 1999, and was part of the founding team that helped start the Nigerian business. He has worked in various roles including Regional Head of Global Corporate Africa, Deputy Head of Origination and Client Coverage Nigeria, Head of Origination and Client Coverage, West Africa 4 and more lately Regional Head of Financial Institutions and Public Sector for West Africa.

In his most recent role as Regional Head of Financial Institutions and Public Sector for West and Central Africa, he provided strong leadership in building and managing key strategic FI relationships across West Africa for business success and growth in an increasingly stringent regulatory environment.

K.O. Adenowo is a Non-Executive Director of the Board of Standard Chartered Bank Sierra Leone and serves on the Board of a number of charities. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, has an MBA from the Lagos Business School (IESE) and graduated from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife Nigeria.

Gambia

Gambia’s Barrow Meets Sirleaf

Liberia’s President and Chair of regional bloc ECOWAS Mrs. Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf has received the Gambia’s President… Read more »

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