Wednesday, February 3, 2016

AFRICA NEWS BULLETIN @ 20h00 -- 21 January, 2016 (MAIDEN EDITION)

Radio XYZ93.1FM

1.       FOCUS:Africa must stop dancing to other countries’ tune”—CSO Activist
2.       EAST AFRICA: UN Security Council Mission visits Burundi 21 January
3.       CENTRAL AFRICA: CEMAC Common bank card to be launched 29 January

1.                   Africa must stop dancing to other countries’ tune”—CSO Activist
The Secretary-General of Ghana’s General Agricultural Workers Union, Kingsley Ofei-Nkansah, has urged African countries “to stop dancing to other countries’ tune”. Speaking as a guest on the “Africa in Focus” Show with E.K.BensahJr, he urged Africa to be more proactive of what it can do in Ghana and try to connect agriculture with industry. 

Joining Ofei-Nkansah for the discussion was civil society activist Sylvester Bagooro, Programmes Officer at the Political Economy Unit of Third World Network-Africa. Along with Ofei-Nkansah, he was in Nairobi last December in the thick of discussions.

The WTO was created in 1995 to help facilitate global trade liberalisation, and many African countries have been battling with it since they joined.

According to Bagooro, the WTO sets the rules for the Multilateral Trading System across the globe, and set up to see how countries can trade among themselves.

Bagooro says that “over the 14 year period when they launched Doha, there was no development in Doha. It was called Doha work programme. The WTO Secretariat just added the word development — an editorial tag to appease anger of developing countries.” In his opinion, Africa lost out.

For his part, Ofei-Nkansah explained that at the WTO, “the processes were not democratic at all. Civil society had limited space to express itself, and poor developing countries were not in the room taking decisions. And in fact, there was quite a bit of arm-twisting, black-mailing; divide and rule by big players at the WTO.”

Ofei-Nkansah believes “we have a huge problem with market access because it entails us to lower our tariffs beyond a certain point, and allow free trade. Unfortunately, the powers that be…Japan, the US, EU continue to maintain high tariff barriers, while we…are forced…to lower quite a bit of the tariffs already.” 

2.                   EAST AFRICA: UN Security Council Mission visits Burundi 21 January

Members of the UN Security Council are scheduled to arrive in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura today, with the prime objective of meeting embattled President Pierre Nkurunziza; the Foreign Minister and other representatives of political parties and civil society organisations.

Concerned by the fact that the dialogue led by the East African Community has remained dormant, Council members in their meetings with Burundian officials are likely to raise the issue of how to renew dialogue between stakeholders in the peace process.

3.                   CENTRAL AFRICA: CEMAC Common bank card to be launched 29 January
From 29 January, citizens of the six-member regional group CEMAC will wake up to a new regional bank card that will allow them to withdraw money and make payments through electronic terminals of the six countries that make up the group.

This information was revealed by the MD of GIMAC (Electronic Inter-banking group of Central Africa) ValentinMbozo’o who says the GIMAC card will be launched on 29 January in the Cameroonian capital Yaounde.

CEMAC is a regional grouping that comprises Cameroon; Congo; Gabon; Chad; Equatorial Guinea and Central African Republic.


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