AFRICA NEWS BULLETIN @ 20h00
25 January, 2016
Assistant Producer: E.K.BensahJr
1. FOCUS:Italy Embarks on a West African Tour from 1-3 February, 2016
2. EAST AFRICA:
a. Nairobi City Ranked among top 20 Successful Cities
b. Uganda Bans Maids to Saudi Arabia
3. CENTRAL AFRICA:
a. Chad Leader Tells Burkina Faso Terrorism Worse than Ebola
Italian Premier MatteoRenzi will embark on a West African tour from 1-3 February, 2016. The tour will take him to Ghana; Nigeria; and Senegal. Speaking exclusively to “Africa in Focus” E.K.Bensah for XYZ Africa News Bulletin, Italian MP LiaQuartepelle explained that there are “crucial and strategic” reasons why Italy has chosen these three countries.
According to Quartepelle, Prime Minister Renzi started a new outreach with Africa, which he started with a trip to South Africa eighteen months ago, followed by one to the Horn of Africa last year. This will be the third African trip he has embarked on.
The Italian MP believes that “the future of Italy and Europe are very much linked with the future of the African continent, and that” the Italian government “has the duty to strengthen relationship and political dialogue with African countries.”
Pressed to explain the rationale for the trip, and why those three countries at this time, this is what she had to say. [AUDIO].
On migration, and Italy’s positioning towards ECOWAS, Quartepelle explained that “Italy tends to work with regional economic communities and would like to keep working on the Rabat process on migration…and help tackle root causes of migration.” She says this is one of the ways in which Italy would like to intervene in Africa.
As regards Italy’s role in the defunct Operation Mare Nostrum that included search and rescue operations for migrants, the Italian MP says the reason why Italy started the Operation was because the government “wanted to take responsibility for people crossing the Mediterranean.” It ended when Italy obtained “European commitment, which now exists as Operation Triton.”
Despite initial criticism of Triton for not doing search-and-rescue, Quartepelle believes after the 18 April 2015 tragedy that saw seven hundred migrants feared dead in Mediterranean shipwreck, “Europe woke up.” She assures that, “now we have economic means and military vessels that does what Mare Nostrum was doing.”
2. EAST AFRICA:
A new report by the City Momentum Index(CMI), which is compiled by a professional services and investment management company, has ranked Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, 11th among the top 20 most successful cities in innovation, liveability and capacity to reinvent itself.
What this means is that this is a city on the fast track to maturity often driven by innovation, and buttressed by the fact that they are homes to some of the world’s fastest-growing tech companies. According to the report, “Nairobi…is pushing to become Africa’s technology center with development projects like Konza Technology City, an innovation district that will include space for educational institutions and technology firms.”
The report noted that many of the top 20 cities are home to vibrant mixed-use districts which create and maximize opportunities to conceive and commercialize new ideas.”
Still in East Africa,
The government of Uganda says it will stop sending housemaids to Saudi Arabia, and the ban will remain until working conditions in that country are “deemed fitting”. This decision effectively closes the deal between the two nations to ship workers to the wealthy Gulf nation, amid complaints of poor conditions and mistreatment.
In July 2015, the two countries had inked a deal allowing for a deployment of university graduates to work in the country. Initially considered a way of addressing high unemployment rates among the youth in Uganda, it has fallen short of addressing the problem as complaints of worker-maltreatment and inhuman treatment have come in droves. Calls for a ban have reached fever-pitch after an audio circulating on social media last week of Ugandans in Saudi Arabia being tortured and imprisoned, went viral.
3. CENTRAL AFRICA:
As Chad prepares to hold presidential elections on April 10, President IdrissDebyItno declared last week Thursday that terrorism is worse than the Ebola virus. He made this statement during a solidarity visit to Burkina Faso after terrorist attacks there earlier this month.
“Terrorism is like an epidemic”, Chad’s leader said, adding “it is worse than Ebola.” He assured citizens that the deadly attacks in Ouagadougou “like those we have seen in the Sahel nations do nothing to dent our firm resolve to fight terrorism with all means at our disposal.”
Deby announced he would be calling for a summit of leaders of the G5 Sahel grouping – comprising Burkina Faso; Chad; Mali; Mauritania; and Niger – on the margins of the larger AU Summit that will be held in Addis Ababa on 31 January.
4. WEST AFRICA:
Burkina Faso MPs have resolved to help their ailing economy by cutting their salaries by 19 percent. This was revealed by the new Speaker of Parliament SalifDiallo on 19 January at a press conference.
He called the decision “an effort towards national solidarity.”
From now on, Burkinabe legislators will take home 960,397 CFA francs(Euros 1464). In their view, it is an attempt to help encourage an atmosphere of national solidarity.
Still in West Africa,
Reports indicate that 1.5 million people cannot vote in next month’s election in Niger as they are unable to prove their identity.
Spokesperson of the Presidential majority, AlkassoumIndatou, says the political class has failed to arrive at a consensus, triggering voters to start withdrawing their voter’s cards. The leading opposition party linked the situation to the inability of voters to vote by witness.
The Chairman of the Electoral Commission has urged voters to withdraw their cards as soon as possible as this will not be impossible on voting day.
The Feb 21 election in Niger comes in the wake of terrorism attacks that has affected two Sahel countries of Mali and Burkina Faso within the space of three months. Niger is part of a regional force to combat Boko Haram that includes Benin; Cameroon and Nigeria.
5. SOUTHERN AFRICA:
After putting in a bid to host the AU’s African Minerals Development Centre last year, Zambia has put in a successful bid to the African Union Permanent Representative Committee(PRC) to host the Secretariat of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council(ECOSOCC) of the AU in Lusaka this year.
The country believes this move will allow greater credibility among ECOSOCC members and the larger African Civil Society.
Other AU States believe Zambia deserves to host the secretariat as she has been generous and an active member of the AU for the past 51 years.
Members of the PRC have expressed confidence that the Zambian government can successfully host the institution.