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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Apr 29 2017 | Posted in Kenya
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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.
Apr 28 2017 | Posted in Technology
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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.
Apr 28 2017 | Posted in Health
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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.
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Apr 28 2017 | Posted in Burundi
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The Ghana Ministry of Aviation has received proposals from 10 foreign and local investors to operate in the country’s domestic airline industry.
The country’s Minister of Aviation, Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah, made this known at the opening of this year’s International Air Transport Association (IATA) Day in Accra, according to an online publication, graphic.com.gh.
It is being organised by IATA, which is the trade association for the world’s airlines.
Participants include key stakeholders in the air travel industry from Africa.
The conference has the theme: ‘Aviation: catalyst for socio-economic development in Ghana’ and will discuss the impact of aviation on the economy, infrastructure development and safety in the industry.
Although Dapaah did not give details of the proposals received, she said the ministry was studying them and would announce the final decision in due course.
She stated that the government considered the development of the aviation sector a priority, for which reason a lot of investment had been made in infrastructural development at the various airports, aerodromes and airstrips across the country.
She added that all facilities at the airports were being modernised to meet international standards and to improve safety and the comfort of travelers.
To promote domestic air transport, Dapaah said the government had abolished the 17.5 per cent VAT on domestic airfares to encourage more patronage by the travelling public and also reduce the cost of operation of airlines.
Dapaah said as part of plans to establish a national airline, which would fly initially in the West African region, a transactional advisor had been working on finding a strategic investor to partner the government.
To improve the regulation and provision of air navigation services, she said a new entity was being established to take care of air navigation, while the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority concentrated on its core mandate of regulating the sector.
“This is intended to improve safety standards and also properly regulate the operations of the various actors in the industry,” she explained.
An IATA Regional Head in charge of membership and external relations in Africa and Middle East, Ms Adefunke Ademeyi, commended Ghana for transforming its aviation industry in recent years.
She named Ghana and Rwanda as one of the countries in Africa which were using aviation to promote their socio-economic transformation.
“The transformations in the airports in Ghana are visible and positive,” she stressed.
She urged African governments to open up their aviation markets in order to promote connectivity and facilitate easy travel on the continent.
For his part, the President of IATA, Mr. Raphael Kuuchi, said globally, the aviation industry contributed $2.7 trillion, which represents 3.5 per cent of the world’s GDP, and directly employed 9.9 million people.
Demand for air connectivity in the next 20 years, Mr Kuuchi said, was projected to double and that would take a tremendous amount of planning and coordination between airlines and other stakeholders in the aviation industry to achieve.
Apr 28 2017 | Posted in Transportation
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An Upper Area Court sitting at Pankshin in Plateau on Friday remanded a medical doctor, Philemon Brazil, in prison for allegedly raping his patient.
Brazil, however, pleaded not guilty to the offence.
The Judge, Mr Joseph Chollom ordered the remand of Brazil in custody and adjourned the case to May 22 for further mention.
The Prosecutor, Sgt. Singbon Hosea, told court that the defendant committed the offence on April 25 at the home of his victim.
Hosea explained that the rape victim had a history of miscarriages and had been a patient of the doctor before the incident.
“But my lord, on that fateful day, April 25, when he visited the patient as usual, he went too far by forcing himself on her and ended up raping her.
“By that action, the accused has committed offences of rape and act of gross indecency, contrary to and punishable under Section 283 and 285 of the Penal Code.”
He said that after the arrest of the doctor, the police conducted HIV test on him and that the result was negative.
Hosea also told court that after the rape, woman suffered yet another miscarriage.
The prosecutor asked court to remand the accused in prison, pending completion of investigation on the matter
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Apr 28 2017 | Posted in Health
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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.
Apr 28 2017 | Posted in Construction
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Ms. Soukeyna Kane,World Bank’s Country Director for Mali, Guinea, Niger and Chad.
BAMAKO, April 26, 2017 —Ms. Soukeyna Kane, a Senegalese national, is the new Country Director for Mali, Guinea, Niger and Chad. She will be based in Bamako, Mali.
Ms. Kane, joined the Bank in March 2003 as a Senior Financial Management Specialist and has held several positions in the Africa Region, Operations Policy and Country Services (OPCS) and Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Prior to joining the World Bank, she was the Principal Internal Auditor at the African Development Bank. Her extensive experience in the private sector includes the position of Administrative and Financial Director in Assurances Generales Senegalaises (AGS), as well as manager and senior auditor with ERA Audit et Expertise, AEG Paris and Ernst & Young. Ms. Kane is a Certified Public Accountant and has a Master in Accounting and Finance. She graduated from Institut Commercial Supérieur in Paris.
Ms. Kane was most recently the Practice Manager, Governance – Europe and Central Asia (ECA) for the Bank.
In her new position, Soukeyna Kane’s top priorities will be to provide strategic leadership for formulating programs that support the World Bank’s twin goals: eradicate extreme poverty and improve shared prosperity in Mali, Guinea, Niger and Chad and the Sahel region more broadly; and maintain portfolio quality by working with internal and external partners for better results.
Ms. Kane’s appointment is effective May 1, 2017. She will be visiting Mali 1-5 May 2017 and meet with the national authorities.
In Bamako: Habibatou Gologo, +223 92 14 31 37, firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on World Bank activities in Mali, please visit: http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/mali
For more information about the World Bank’s programs in Africa visit: www.worldbank.org/africa
For more information on IDA: http://ida.worldbank.org/
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New African Union Chief Puts Peace Back On the Agenda
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Apr 28 2017 | Posted in Banking
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analysisBy Dieter Von Fintel and Marlies Piek
Stellenbosch University — South Africa will formally adopt a national minimum wage of R20.00 per hour on Worker’s Day next year. There are questions as to whether this is enough to be termed a victory for the country’s working poor? If historical trends continue, our research shows that this might be beneficial for some workers. Others, especially those in small firms and rural areas, may not be so fortunate.
Workers in rural areas and those currently working in small enterprises could be particularly susceptible to job losses as a result of the national minimum wage. The policy framework acknowledges these vulnerabilities. Its recommendations provide temporary exemption for small employers in particular, but none for rural jobs. That means that workers in rural areas could be adversely affected.
We found that most retail jobs were secure after minimum wages were introduced in that sector in 2003. But when we broke this down, we traced many job losses in rural areas. Similarly, many rural farm jobs were destroyed. In addition, if minimum wages continue to be poorly enforced many workers may still be paid wages below acceptable poverty lines.
The challenge is that from May 2018, the minimum wage will be imposed across the country in much the same way. It won’t take into account the different conditions under which businesses operate. The result is that some will experience more stress from a minimum wage than others, leading to unintended consequences.
The case for and against the minimum wage
With its raging unemployment and many low-paying jobs, South Africa faces a dilemma as it introduces a national minimum wage. Higher wages are necessary for better living standards; but wage growth can potentially exacerbate already high unemployment and consequently reduce living standards.
Simple economic models predict that minimum wages destroy employment. However, decades of intense research show that the basic model is not an empirical certainty in all circumstances.
Consensus is slowly shifting, with greater recognition for the role of minimum wages in reducing inequality. Latin America is a case in point where inequality was initially extreme, but declined (at least partially) in response to minimum wages at the turn of the century. One might expect the same benefits in South Africa, which has remained close to the top of world inequality rankings.
Existing evidence on the potential costs and benefits of minimum wages in South Africa is mixed. With the first formal minimum wages introduced only in 1999, local experience is limited. Traditionally minimum wages have been applied only in certain industries and with special provisions. Variations existed by area and firm size. The effects of a minimum wage on employment are varied, depending on what policies are in place and the economic environment within each industry.
Few developing countries have implemented national minimum wages (in other words they are broadly applicable in the same way in all sectors and firm types). This is because informal activity still contributes largely to developing economies. Wages are difficult to regulate in these settings. Nevertheless, countries such as Cape Verde have embarked on national minimum wages in 2014.
Overall, economists argue that wage growth is a hindrance to employment creation in South Africa. For example, in better paying sectors (such as manufacturing), wages negotiated by collective bargaining councils have reduced employment by about 10%.
But the effects in worse paying, non-unionised sectors are not that obvious. These sectors are typically covered by government imposed minimum wage legislation. Only commercial agricultural enterprises cut jobs when minimum wages were introduced in 2003. Non-agricultural minimum wage jobs, on the other hand, have generally been safer.
A national minimum wage therefore has the potential to raise wages without destroying jobs. But we contend that these broad strokes cover up vulnerabilities in vital segments of the labour market. In particular, rurally based and small firms are likely to experience the most stress in response to a minimum wage that covers the whole country in exactly the same way.
The effect on small farmers
Our new research shows that employment on large farms grew after agricultural minimum wages were introduced in 2003. In contrast, smaller farmers bore the brunt of minimum wage legislation whose employment levels declined. By all indications, minimum wages displaced workers from vulnerable farms to those that were already doing well.
Farming has become increasingly concentrated among large commercial operators over the long-run; minimum wages have contributed to intensify this existing trend. These shifts indicate larger – and not smaller – inequalities in agricultural ownership as a result of minimum wages.
Small players must overcome specific challenges – including their wage bill – to remain competitive in local and international markets.
Businesses adopt various coping strategies to survive. An example of this is the 50% wage increase that followed a strike in the Western Cape at the end of 2012. Surprisingly, no jobs were cut. However, farmers across the country increased their defiance of minimum wages. Many more workers were paid below the legislated benchmark compared to before the hike. Growing non-compliance undermines the central objective of paying a living wage to workers. But this illegal practice appears to keep some smaller players afloat.
There was another unintended consequence to the 50% hike in the sectoral wage. Our research shows that agricultural workers who benefited from the wage hike found that other fringe benefits – such as housing and food provision – were cut back during this period.
The eventual path from a legislated wage increase to better living conditions is therefore far more complex than one might imagine.
Rural workers could be hurt
While jobs in the retail sector were previously shown to be immune to the imposition of minimum wages, our research shows that the impact isn’t uniform. Workers in urban areas benefited from higher wages and without job cuts. On the other hand, retail jobs in rural areas were cut.
As with small players in the agricultural sector, retail operators in areas that are separated from central markets face additional challenges in keeping their businesses viable. Some retailers might raise the prices of their products to afford wage hikes. However, customers in impoverished rural areas are likely to cut back on their purchases. Some rural firms therefore struggle to remain profitable.
Vulnerable sectors may cut jobs without extra support
The evidence suggests that minimum wages are not obviously good or bad for all workers. Some segments of the economy – those already vulnerable – are likely to cut jobs when the national minimum wage comes into full force. Time will tell whether a blanket approach will be effective at increasing the standard of living of vulnerable low-wage workers. Complementary policies to specifically support small and rural firms may be essential for minimum wages to reduce inequality in South Africa.
Dieter von Fintel receives funding from the National Research Foundation. He is affiliated with Cause for Justice.
Marlies Piek receives funding from the National Research Foundation.
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Apr 28 2017 | Posted in Agriculture
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Photo: Capital FM
Bishop Margaret Wanjiru.
By Maureen Kakah
Bishop Margaret Wanjiru has moved to the High Court to challenge the decision to deny her bond and detain her in custody for five days until after Labour Day celebrations.
Through lawyer Kennedy Ochieng, Bishop Wanjiru, who was gunning for the Nairobi Jubilee Party ticket in the just-concluded primaries, argues that the prosecution did not seek for more time to have her detained so as to record witness statements yet Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi ordered that she remains in custody.
In a letter to the presiding judge of the High Court’s criminal division, Mr Ochieng has faulted the magistrate for issuing directions for her continued incarceration as a gross violation to her rights as an accused person.
He therefore wants the High Court to examine the correctness of the verdict and ascertain the provisions of the law in such a case.
He also wants the High Court to review the orders issued on her continued detention as well as the bond terms.
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Apr 28 2017 | Posted in Kenya
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