Wednesday, February 3, 2016

AFRICA NEWS BULLETIN @ 20h00 -- 28 January, 2016

28 January, 2016
Radio XYZ93.1FM
Assistant Producer: E.K.Bensah Jr

1.       FOCUS: Africa is ready for Global Drug Policy Reform Negotiations in April
2.       EAST AFRICA:
a.       EAC, Germany sign €37m deal to support regional integration
b.      Cyber-crime is a growing threat in East Africa, Says Study
3.       WEST AFRICA:
a.       Major gas deposit in West Africa found offshore Senegal
b.      Nigeria’s President Sends Money-Laundering, Criminal Activities Bill to Senate
4.       NORTH AFRICA: Algeria Suspends Flights to Libya
Africa’s preparations towards the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) have been rubber-stamped by a two-day regional conference that took place last week here in Accra. It brought together government officials; law-enforcement agencies; and health experts from about eleven ECOWAS countries. 

Convened by the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), the conference identified key things needed for discussion on the road to UNGASS.

This was confirmed by Maria-Goretti Ane, Consultant to the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), who was speaking to E.K.Bensah on the latest edition of “Africa in Focus” Show.

Speaking to the host, Maria-Goretti Ane explained why UNGASS, scheduled for April 2016 in New York, is important for Ghanaians, and why Africa must be prepared.

The idea of this year’s UNGASS would be to reassess what was reaffirmed in 1998. It was called by three Presidents – from Mexico; Guatemala; and Colombia. These three countries are those that “have been hit the hardest on the war on drugs.” Maria-Goretti added. She says the three Member States decided to call for a Special Session much earlier than usual. A number of countries would support them.

Pressed on why UNGASS remains important for Africa, this is what she had to say [AUDIO].

That was expert at IDPC Maria-Goretti Ane speaking yesterday to E.K.Bensah Jr on “Africa in Focus” Show.


1.                   EAST AFRICA:  
Germany continues to support African efforts at regional integration, with the latest being a €37m grant to the East African Community(EAC) toward its economic integration, regional health facilities and water resource management.

“With this project, the German government responds to a request for support from the EAC for the prevention and control of epidemic outbreaks in the region,” the communication dated January 23 said.

Another Euros10m, it said, will be used for Integrated Water Resource Management of Lake Victoria aiming at improving water provision and management of water resources. Both projects will be implemented by KfW development bank.

Head of the EAC, Dr. Richard Sezibera, thanked the German government for her continued support to the Integration Agenda especially at a time when integration facing challenges across the world.

He added this particular financing agreement comes at the right time when the Community is finalising its New Vision 2050.

Still in East Africa,

A recent survey by Kaspersky Lab highlights that 21 per cent of organisations in Kenya are not concerned by the threat.

The poll also indicates education around cybercrime and the need for IT security within organisations is needed to protect East African businesses.

According to Bethwel Opil, the Channel Sales Manager at Kaspersky Lab, “One of the key challenges that is coming out as a major concern is they don’t have dedicated IT equipment to be able to use their network security operations. This is greatly assisted by a lack of funds which is the bottom line for most of the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) segment customer base.”

Opil is quoted by CNBC Africa as saying that “cost should not be an issue because if you look at the kind of loss an organisation faces compared with the cost of installing good policies and skill conditioned software, it is not comparable.”

2.                   WEST AFRICA

President Macky Sall of Senegal late Wednesday welcomed the recent discovery of the "largest gas field in West Africa," off Saint Louis, northwest of Senegal.

"This significant discovery is the largest reservoir in West Africa, made up of a wide structure on both sides of the border between Senegal and Mauritania," Sall said in a statement.

Sall believes these findings confirm the potential of the sedimentary basin of Senegal and contribute to strengthening the industrial renewal initiated by the Government through the Senegal Emergent Plan which is responsible for economic development through 2035.
U.S. company Kosmos Energy was quick to announce on its website on Monday that it had completed drilling offshore Senegal and had found important deepwater gas field in Senegal.

The company's drilling confirms the presence of a world class gas resource that extends into both Senegal and Mauritania.

According to the company, the gross estimate for the gas discovery increases the total offshore gas resources on the deepwater site to 17 trillion cubic feet from 14 trillion cubic feet.

Although no date has been announced for the start of operations so far, reports indicate the American group has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with PETROSEN, Senegalese National Oil Company and SMHPM, the Mauritanian Hydrocarbon Company and Mining Heritage.

Still in West Africa...

Earlier today, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, sent his first two executive bills to the Senate, seeking to prohibit money laundering and criminal activities in the country.

The bills are:”The Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2016″ and “The Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, 2016.”

In a letter to the Senate that was addressed to the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, he indicated he was introducing the bills for formal consideration and enactment into law by the legislature.

In the letter read by Saraki, during plenary, Buhari informed that the first bill provides for the repeal of Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended in 2012.

He explained that the bill would “make comprehensive provisions to prohibit the laundering of criminal activities, expand the scope of money laundering, and provide protection for employees of various institutions, bodies and professions who may discover money laundering”.

On the second bill, Buhari said it “seeks to facilitate the provision and obtaining by Nigeria of international assistance in criminal matters.”

3.                   NORTH AFRICA: 

A few days after it detained hundreds of Moroccans trying to travel to Libya, Algeria has suspended flights to Tripoli, Libya has become a regional headache since Islamic State militants gained ground there and called for foreign recruits, especially from North Africa. Algeria is an important U.S. ally in its fight against armed groups in the region.

The decision to suspend flights to Tripoli was taken by the Algerian civilian aviation authority on Tuesday. No reason was given for the suspension.

According to a statement from the aviation authority, "The decision will be effective on January 29.”

The authorities fear that Moroccans entering Algeria to then cross into Libya may be planning to reinforce the Islamic State militant group, which has set up a base in the Libyan city of Sirte, security analysts say.

Algerian officials did not say when they would resume flights to Tripoli.

Libya itself is caught in conflict between two rival factions and their armed allies who have established two governments and two competing parliaments. The U.N.-backed unity government is meant to bring the two factions together, but attempts at a solution have so far proved abortive.


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