Posts tagged as: south

Comoros, Burundi Apply to Join Regional Body

By Kizito Sikuka

Pretoria — One of the key issues to be discussed by the 37th SADC Summit to open 19 August in Pretoria, South Africa is to expand the membership of the regional organization.

This follows requests by the Union of Comoros and the Republic of Burundi to join the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

SADC – currently made up of 15 Member States – is one of the most stable and attractive regional economic communities in Africa.

Speaking ahead of the 37th SADC Summit, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said regional leaders will deliberate on whether the Comoros and Burundi should become the newest members of SADC.

“On the application by the Union of Comoros and the Republic of Burundi for membership to SADC, the SADC Council will receive the report from the meeting of the Ministerial Committee of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation in respect of the applications from the two countries,” Nkoana-Mashabane told journalists.

The outcome of the SADC Council deliberations will the forwarded to the SADC Heads of States and Government Summit for final approval.

The two countries – Comoros and Burundi – have for the past years expressed interest in joining SADC and their admission would bring the admission of SADC to 17 members.

SADC presently comprises Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique Namibia, South Africa, Seychelles, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe

But, who exactly are these two members that want to join SADC?

The Union of the Comoros is an archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel, off the eastern coast of Africa between north-eastern Mozambique and north-western Madagascar.

At 1,660 square kilometres in size, excluding the contested island of Mayotte, the Comoros is the third-smallest African nation by area, has a population of about 798,000 people.

As a nation formed at a crossroads of different civilisations, the archipelago is noted for its diverse culture and history.

The country consists of three major islands and numerous smaller islands, all in the volcanic Comoros archipelago.

It became part of the French colonial empire in the 19th century before becoming independent in 1975.

Burundi is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region, bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the DRC to the west.

It is also part of the East African Community and its south-western border is adjacent to Lake Tanganyika.

Burundi was an independent kingdom until the beginning of the 20th century when Germany colonised the region.

After World War I in Europe and the defeat of Germany, it ceded the territory to Belgium. Germany, and then Belgium, ruled Burundi and Rwanda as a colony known as Ruanda-Urundi.

Burundi gained independence on 1 July 1962 under the leadership of Mwami Mwambutsa IV.

SADC – formerly the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) -was established on 1 April 1980 in Lusaka, Zambia when nine independent states signed a Declaration titled “Southern Africa: Towards Economic Liberation,” whose main objectives were to reduce dependence, particularly on apartheid South Africa, as well as secure international understanding and support.

Initially made up of Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, SADC has grown to 15 members.

Close cooperation among the member states has seen the region achieve a number of milestones aimed at advancing political freedom into broader socio-economic independence that ensures improved living standards for its people.

Africa: Brics Bank to Unlock Africa’s Economic Potential

By Nyarai Kampilipili

Pretoria — The launch of a regional development bank by the BRICS countries to service the African continent is a positive development that is expected to unlock the continent’s socio-economic potential.

South African President Jacob Zuma said this on 17 August at the launch of the Africa Regional Centre of the New Development Bank (NDB) in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The NDB, formerly known as the BRICS Development Bank, is a multilateral development bank established by the BRICS countries, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

With its headquarters in the Chinese city of Shanghai, the bank was established in February 2016 to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS member states and other emerging economies, as well as in developing countries.

The Africa Regional Centre of the NDB will exclusively cater for the developmental needs of the continent.

“The launch of the Africa Regional Centre of the New Development Bank is a historic occasion as it marks the strengthening of the BRICS formation and also underlines the BRICS commitment to the development of the African continent and emerging markets,” Zuma said

Zuma, who is the incoming chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said this development is not only a “critical milestone” for South Africa, but “for the entire African continent,” and should, therefore, be celebrated as a shared achievement.

“The launch of the centre is testament to our commitment that BRICS and the New Development Bank should benefit not only BRICS countries, but should also benefit the whole of Africa and the developing world as a whole,” Zuma said.

He added: “This is, therefore, truly a proud moment, which points to a brighter future for the people of our continent and the developing world in general.”

Zuma said Africa has “great expectations” for the new bank to unlock the socio-economic potential of the continent.

“We expect that the bank, through the Africa Regional Centre, will contribute to accelerating infrastructure investment in energy, transport, water and other productive sectors,” he said.

Plans to establish the NDB were strengthened in July 2014 when the BRICS countries signed the Agreement establishing the New Development Bank at their 6th Summit held in Brazil.

The BRICS leaders stressed that the NDB would strengthen cooperation among BRICS and would supplement the efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global development.

According to the Fortaleza Declaration signed at the 6th BRICS Summit, “the bank shall have an initial authorized capital of US$100 billion.”

The initial subscribed capital was US$50 billion, equally shared among founding members.

Since establishment of the bank in 2016, notable achievements have been realized, including the issuance of the first set of loans amounting to US$1.5 billion in total to fund renewable energy projects in member countries.

The bank issued its first green bonds in the Chinese capital market in 2016, mobilising about US$450 million in the process.

The BRICS is growing as an emerging global economy. According to recent studies, the combined economies of the BRICS could eclipse the combined economies of the current richest countries of the world by the year 2050, hence the need for Africa to take advantage of its close ties with BRICS to strengthen socio-economic development on the continent.

The BRICS mechanism aims to achieve peace, security, development and cooperation. It seeks to contribute significantly to the development of humanity and establish a more equitable and fair world.

World Mourns Elephant Warrior Wayne Lotter

By Elvis Ondieki

Wildlife enthusiasts across the globe are in mourning after a man who has been fighting poaching in Tanzania, amid death threats, was shot dead in Dar-es-Salaam.

Mr Wayne Lotter, a former vice president of the International Ranger Foundation and a co-founder of an organisation that has been combating poaching in Tanzania for the last eight years, was killed when his taxi was stopped by another vehicle as he was being driven from an airport to his hotel.


London-based newspaper The Guardian reported online that one gunman opened the car door and shot Mr Lotter.

Pams Foundation, an anti-poaching organisation Mr Lotter has been running in Tanzania since 2009, said in a Facebook post on Thursday evening that the killing happened on Wednesday night in Dar-es-Salaam’s Masaki District.

It added that Tanzanian police had launched an investigation into the death.

Mr Lotter, The Guardian reported, had received numerous death threats before, following the success of his anti-poaching programme that has seen more than 2,000 poachers and ivory traffickers arrested since 2012 with an 80 per cent conviction rate.

One of the major achievements was the February 2016 arrest of Yang Feng Glan who had been christened “Queen of Ivory”.


The conservationist has been in Kenya previously in his mission to protect animals.

One of his notable visits was in April 2016 when he was among the attendants of a three-day Giants Club Summit.

Leaders from Kenya, Botswana, Gabon and Uganda were present.

Voice of America quoted Mr Lotter saying that the event provided “an opportunity to come and network with other people, share best practices and learn that there’s some good people here, and we can also share some of our experiences”.

Pams Foundation said in its tribute that Mr Lotter started his service to wildlife in South Africa, his country of birth, as a ranger before he moved to Tanzania to step up his conservation efforts through the foundation that he co-founded with Krissie Clark.


“Wayne cared deeply about the people and animals that populate this world,” said the foundation.

“He died bravely fighting for the cause he was most passionate about.”

The foundation also gave a glimpse into the work ethic of Mr Lotter, saying he was operating on a policy of empowering Tanzanians to fight poaching.

“Wayne believed communities were the best protectors of the continent’s animals. Through his work with Pams he helped train thousands of village game scouts in every corner of the country.

“His ground-breaking work in developing an intelligence-based approach to anti-poaching helped successfully reverse the rampant rates of poaching facing Tanzania.

“Wayne’s charm, brilliance and eccentric sense of humour gave him the unique ability to make those around him constantly laugh and smile,” said Pams Foundation.


Joining in the wagon of tributes was conservationist Dr Jane Goodall, an Ambassador for the Thin Green Line Foundation that supports Rangers training.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Wayne’s anti-poaching efforts made a big difference in the fight to save Tanzania’s elephants from the illegal ivory trade. Moreover, his courage in the face of stiff opposition and personal threats, and his determination to keep on fighting have inspired many and encouraged them also to keep fighting for wildlife,” she said in an obituary published on Facebook by the International Rangers Foundation.

“If this cowardly shooting was an attempt to bring the work of the Pams Foundation to an end it will fail. Those who have been inspired by Wayne will fight on. But he will be sadly missed by so many,” added Dr Goodall.

Tanzania: Tazara, Zambia Railways Sign Deal to Ply On Each Other’s Line

By By Alfred Zacharia

The Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara) is currently undergoing a massive transformation process as it seeks to tweak its operational efficiency, the company has said.

Tazara managing director Bruno Ching’andu said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the railway line has inked an Open Access Agreement (OAA) with the Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) that will see the former extending its operations beyond Kapiri Mposhi.

Under the OAA, Tazara and ZRL will now be able to run locomotives and wagons alike onto each other’s line.

“It will enable us to extend our operational destinations to Lusaka, Livingstone and Ndola in Zambia while ZRL can run all the way to Dar es Salaam. This will help us to attain our target of transporting about 350,000 metric tonnes of cargo in the financial year 2017/18,” he said.

Currently, Tazara transports about 15,000 metric tonnes of cargo per month, suggesting that it hauls up to 180,000 tonnes per year.

“We are now determined to ensure that Tazara becomes a profitable company once again so that it can stop depending on government subsidies. This is just one of the immediate term strategies taken by the management to tweak the company’s performance as we await a long-term solution,” he said.

According to Mr Ching’adu, the government of Tanzania is also taking various measures to improve the company’s operations. It is currently in the process to planting cargo scanners for railway operators at the Dar es Salaam port. “With the scanners, railway operators will no longer use trucks to load cargo from the port since trains will then be able to go all the way to the loading area at the port,” he said.

According to the ZRL chief executive officer Mr Christopher Musonda, the move has come at a time when the Government of Zambia was in the process of effecting a Statutory Instrument (SI) that will compel all bulk cargo exceeding a certain tonnage to move from road to rail.

He said the strategy – which is technically known as ‘the transport quota system’ – aims moving 30 per of the bulk cargo from being transported by roads to rails.

“With the signing today, I believe that this open access train operations deal will offer confidence to our customers and give them a seamless, one-stop carrier,” he said.

Once proved successful, the means of operations will extend further to the Democratic Republic of Congo.


The Tazara Railway links Dar es Salaam Port in Tanzania to Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia. The single-track railway is 1,860 km long. The governments of Tanzania, Zambia and China built the railway to eliminate landlocked Zambia’s economic dependence on Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa, both of which were ruled by white-minority governments. The railway provided the only route for bulk trade from Zambia’s Copperbelt to reach the sea without having to transit white-ruled territories. The project was built from 1970 to 1975 as a turnkey project financed and supported by China.


World Mourns Elephant Warrior Wayne Lotter

Wildlife enthusiasts across the globe are in mourning after a man who has been fighting poaching in Tanzania, amid death… Read more »

Hunt for Crocodile After It Kills Class 6 Pupil in Homa Bay

By Barack Oduor

Rescue workers are combing the shores of Lake Victoria in Homa Bay County in search of the body of a Class six pupil who was attacked and killed by a crocodile.

The minor, identified as Hellen Amondi, 13, had gone to fetch water at Ng’ou Beach in Suba North Sub-County when the unfortunate incident happened.

She had accompanied her mother, Margaret Atieno, and her twin sister on the fateful Thursday afternoon.

According Ms Atieno, her daughter had fetched the water but she went back to clean her feet when the crocodile attacked.

“We were almost leaving the shore but she went back to remove mud from her feet. She then screamed saying one of her shoes was stuck in the mud before the crocodile grabbed her [and pulled her] into the water,” said Ms Atieno.


In a short while, the mother of six saw the body of her 14-year-old daughter in the jaws of the reptile as it moved away from the shore towards deeper parts of the lake.

“I had to raise the alarm for the neighbours to rescue my daughter but their efforts were in vain since the crocodile had moved far away,” she added.

Kenya Wildlife Service South Nyanza Regional Warden Mary Mayande led a team of armed rangers in searching for the minor’s body.

The rangers in company of the residents used a motorboat to patrol the waters but their efforts to recover the body were unsuccessful.

“My officers are still committed to searching for the body. I will give a comprehensive statement when the body is retrieved,” said Ms Mayande.

Area Assistant Chief William Omogi said cases of crocodile attacks have escalated in the village.

“Crocodiles are causing a lot of discomfort to residents of this area. They have also killed a number of livestock in this village,” said Mr Omogi.


Opposition MP Urges President Magufuli to Emulate Kenyatta

Arusha Urban MP (Chadema) Godbless Lema has called on President John Magufuli to borrow a leaf from Kenyan counterpart… Read more »

Sudan: Sudanese and Ethiopian Ministers of Information Discuss Aspects of Joint Cooperation in Media

Khartoum — Minister of Information, Dr Ahmed Bilal discussed with his Ethiopian counterpart, Negeri Lencho, cooperation in media between Sudan and Ethiopia.

Dr Bilal pointed out that the meeting indicated to importance of revival of the Joint Media Cooperation Agreement via exchange of knowledge, expertise, visits and training sessions, indicating that the deal covers cooperation between the official information institutions in the two countries , namely Sudan News Agency(SUNA) and the National Broadcasting and TV Corporation.

From his part, the Ethiopian Minister commended the relations between Ethiopia and Sudan which, he added, would positively affect the two countries’ media relations, stressing that Ethiopia would press ahead with implementation of the Joint Media Cooperation Agreement.

Negrei hoped that his Country would benefit from Sudan experiences in enhancement of Arabic language skills on Ethiopian mass media.


South Kordufan Governor Says Tourism Festival Reflect the Stability His State Enjoys

The governor of South Kordufan state, Issa Adam Abakar, has confirmed that the festival his state was currently… Read more »

Sudan: 4th Forum Gum Arabic Next Sunday At Holiday Villa

Khartoum — The United Company for Advanced Projects Ltd, organizes the 4th Khartoum Gum Arabic Forum, which will be held on Sunday 20 of current August, in Holiday Villa at 9:30 am and will be honored by the Minister of Trade.

The forum will present a paper titled, ” The Establishment of a Bank for Gum Arabic”, and another paper entitled “Establishment of a Free Zone for Gum Arabic”, this paper will be attended by the e Minister of Investment, and the invitation is directed to all the press and media organizations.


South Kordufan Governor Says Tourism Festival Reflect the Stability His State Enjoys

The governor of South Kordufan state, Issa Adam Abakar, has confirmed that the festival his state was currently… Read more »

Vice President Ssekandi to Head NRM Caucus On Amendment Bill


Kampala — The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) Parliamentary Caucus resolved to set up a committee chaired by the Vice President Edward Ssekandi to advise on amendments to land laws.

This was revealed by the Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa (Kiboga) who was flanked by the vice chairperson of the NRM caucus Solomon Silwany (Bukooli Central) while addressing the press at parliament.

Nankabirwa said the caucus met the president on Wednesday at State House and agreed that a ten-man select committee comprising of ministers and MPs will make consultations and report back to the rest on what laws must be changed to fast track land acquisition without stalling projects without removing the right to fair, prompt and prior compensation of project affected persons.

The committee includes Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, the attorney general William Byaruhanga, the minister of Justice and constitutional affairs Maj.Gen. Kahinda Otafiire.

The other committee members are Gaster Kyawa Mugoya (Bukooli North), Denis Hamson Obua ( Ajuri County), Robinah Rwakoojo Gureme ( Gomba West) , Sam Bitangaro (Bufumbira South) , Jackson Karugaba Kafuuzi (Kyaka South)

The committee has been given two weeks.

A section of MPs from the ruling NRM welcomeD the setting up of a select committee to advise on the constitution amendment bill regarding compulsory land acquisition.

Bunyole West County MP James Waluswaka expressed optimism that the committee will do a great job in ensuring that development projects are not delayed by land acquisition issues.

He says that most of the compensation disputes have been in the central region unlike in his constituency in Butaleja district where many were satisfied with the rates from the government valuer for the Standard Gauge Railway.

Amuria district MP Susan Amero said that the bill has received mixed feelings from the caucus with many suggesting that the legal framework for land be amended in accordance with provisions of the Constitution.


President Wants Ex-Ministers to Draw Cabinet-Level Pay As Envoys

Uganda’s budget for maintaining its foreign envoys is likely to go up every time President Museveni appoints former… Read more »

FEASSSA Games – Musafiri Tips Rwandan Team on Discipline

By Frederic Byumvuhore

Education minister Papias Malimba Musafiri has urged the Rwandan teams that will represent the country in this year’s Federation of East African Secondary School Sports Associations (FEASSSA) Games to observe discipline and be accountable during the competition.

The minister was speaking during the flagging-off event at IPRC-Kigali, on Tuesday. He addressed over 360 students from different high schools’ under 21 teams that travelled to Uganda on Wednesday for the regional school competitions.

The games will kick off on August 19 and run up to 27 in Gulu District, Northern Uganda.

The competition brings together High schools from the East African countries including Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, South Sudan and Uganda. Teams compete in different sports disciplines.

This year, Rwanda will have 21 teams (girls and boys) in nine sports disciplines including football, volleyball, basketball, handball, Netball, rugby, tennis, swimming and Athletics. They will be accompanied by 26 coaches.

Rwandan players include 191 boys and 172 girls.

Discipline and solidarity key to success

The minister wished the teams success, saying that the success will come from the package of unity, friendship, solidarity and discipline that they will show during the tournament. He also urged them not to take the opportunities and country’s efforts invested in tournament for granted.

“You are ambassadors of the country. You carry the flag of Rwanda and this is the time to build a good image of the country in the tournament. We have thousands of students across the country and you were selected because you have many things you are good at, you should maximise your potential,” Musafiri told the teams.

He noted: “During local competitions, you have been competing against schools but at this level you are one team called Rwanda Team and you will be competing against other countries. We need solidarity, unity and discipline among you.”

Emelance Muhoza, the captain of Lycee de Kigali Basketball team, said that their main target is to win the competition.

“This is our third time to participate in the competition. We have learnt more and this year’s target is to be champions in our discipline,” she noted.


Kagame to Be Sworn in Today

President Paul Kagame will take oath of office, Friday, officially marking the start of a new seven-year term. Read more »

Number of Refugees in Uganda Tops 1 Million

Refugees from South Sudan continue to flee the civil war across the Ugandan border, with their number now topping one million, according to the UN. Uganda has called for help with housing and feeding the newcomers.

Ugandan officials say they are overwhelmed by the influx, which escalated as the fighting reignited in July 2016. During the last 12 months, an average of 1,800 refugees have been arriving across the border every day, according to the UN.

“Recent arrivals continue to speak of barbaric violence, with armed groups reportedly burning down houses with civilians inside, people being killed in front of family members, sexual assaults of women and girls and kidnapping of boys for forced conscription,” the UN’s refugee body, UNHCR, said in a statement on Thursday.

With the total number of refugees in Uganda topping one million, the organization estimates that it will need $674 million (576 million euros) for its aid program this year. It has so far received only around one-fifth of that amount. A fundraising summit, hosted by Ugandan officials last month, has also been unsuccessful.

‘Crisis will only escalate’

“This unhappy one-million milestone must serve as a wake-up call to the international community that much more is needed from them,” Sarah Jackson, an Amnesty International official in the region, said on Thursday. “With no resolution to the conflict in South Sudan in sight, refugees will continue to flee to Uganda and the humanitarian crisis will only escalate.”

Over 85 percent of refugees in Uganda are women, children, and teenagers under the age of 18. South Sudanese are free to enter Uganda and work there, but the lack of funding has left activists struggling to provide food, schooling, and basic health and sanitation services to the refugee camps.

The largest of such settlements, called Bidi Bidi, 230 square kilometers (89 square miles).

Peace still far away

“Two weeks ago my husband’s uncle was killed,” said Stella Taji told Reuters news agency. “Since then we’ve been hiding in the bush. We have nothing.”

The long-running civil war in South Sudan started soon after the country won its independence from Sudan in 2011. The conflict pits forces loyal to President Salva Kiir against fighters loyal to former Vice President Riak Machar, and UN’s numerous attempts to stop the fighting have been unsuccessful.

In addition to one million refugees in Uganda, another million South Sudanese fled to other nearby countries, including Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan. Another two million have been internally displaced.

dj/kms (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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