Wednesday, February 3, 2016

AFRICA NEWS BULLETIN @ 20h00 -- 29 January, 2016

29  January, 2016
Radio XYZ93.1FM
Lead Producer: E.K.Bensah  Jr
Assistant Producer/Presenter: Joshua Quodja-Mensah

2.       EAST AFRICA:
a.       UNCTAD XIV to be Held in Kenya
b.      RwandAir on the Rise
a.       President Deby of Chad Most Likely to Succeed Mugabe as AU Chair
4.       WEST AFRICA: UK-based Think-Tank Shines Spotlight on Ghana’s Slums Ahead of Elections

1.                   FOCUS:
After wooing Ghanaian investors here in Ghana in November 2015, Kenya is continuing its West African investment-overtures by welcoming President Buhari of Nigeria for a three-day visit into the East African powerhouse.

The centerpiece of the visit is the proposal for the establishment of a duty-free trade zone between the two countries. This decision comes following trade talks between the two Presidents.

Accompanied by more than forty business leaders and investors, Buhari wound down his three-day visit Thursday, with the expectation that President Kenyatta reciprocates the visit in six months’ time. Chairman of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry(KNCCI) Kiprono Kittony said that there will be “a unit in Kenya and Nigeria that will be concerned with facilitating all interactions concerning trade between [the] two countries.”

Kenya will house that unit under the KNCCI’s Nigeria-Kenya Business council, while in Nigeria; its counterpart will be chaired by Sani Dangote, who is brother of Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote.

The two countries have identified specific areas for mutual cooperation, including agro-processing; cotton; tea; horticulture and dairy products. Dangote says “East Africa is a market of about 150 million people and we have ECOWAS which is more than 350 million-strong, and we want the Kenya-Nigeria Business Council to have its own office so that it can be dedicated to collecting data and facilitating interactions on this agenda.”

On Kenya’s part, Nigeria needs to ease the cost of doing business and remove barriers to entry for Kenyan firms.

Still on the visit, Kenya is reeling from the al-Shabaab attack on Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) soldiers serving in AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in El Adde camp a fortnight ago.

As a consequence of the globalized nature of terror that has affected the two countries, Kenya and Nigeria have joined hands with Somalia to unite against terror. Speaking to the press yesterday on KTN Prime, this is what Kenyatta and Buhari had to say. [AUDIO].

Buhari added:
“the importance of KDF in Somalia is beyond words and we are solidly behind Kenya and the world in fighting these terrorists. We are going to win this fight because we have won it before. The attack just strengthens us. Thank you Kenya,” he said.

2.                   EAST AFRICA:  
Nairobi is gearing to host the world for the Fourteenth Session of the UN Conference on Trade and Development in July 2016.

The government of Kenya and UNCTAD has confirmed the conference will be held in the premises of the Kenyatta International Conference Centre. There will be two hearings with civil society in Geneva prior to the Conference so as to provide CSOs the opportunity to contribute to the preparatory process and comment on the pre-conference negotiating text.

Still in East Africa,

The national carrier of Rwanda, RwandAir, is expanding its fleet with two new Airbus aircraft that will allow it add medium and long-haul flights to Europe, Asia and the Middle East, the airline indicated in a press release.

With this, the carrier will be the first East African customer of the long-haul A330-300 Airbus airliner. CEO of RwandAir said in a prepared statement “we have found the A330 to perfectly-support our plans to expand into Europe and Asia, to enhance our regional presence, to open up new routes and to grow our market share.”

The aircraft are powered by Rolls-Royce, which is an important factor that will maximize the revenue-earning potential of the new aircraft, Mirenge said.

According to East African Business Week, RwandAir has been quietly building a regional Africa network, with hopes to establish Kigali as a hub for the continent with 40 percent of the airline’s traffic connections.

3.                   CENTRAL AFRICA:  
President Idris Deby Itno has his work cut out for him!

Apart from contesting Presidential elections on April 10, the Chadian head of State is incumbent Chair of the G5 Sahel group (comprising Burkina Faso; Chad; Mali; Mauritania & Niger). In the next Bulletin, we will indicate the instrumentality of Chad in the establishment of a proposed Regional School of War for the G5.

But to matters of the AU now: apart from the fact that Chad has just been elected a member of the AU’s Peace and Security Council that closed a few hours ago, reports by a francophone Tunisian paper confirm what has been circulating in the rumour mill – that President Deby is most-likely to be elected Chair of the African Union, replacing Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

The reports indicate that the Chadian Head of State is the only “consensual candidate” from Central Africa. This is as per AU rules, where countries need to put forward a regional candidate that almost-all countries have agreed on.

Deby has been in power since December 1990, but has played important and critical roles in the Mali 2012 civil war, where Chadian troops fought under the AU-led international force AFISMA. Chad has been an observer of ECOWAS since 2011, and has contemplated joining the West African bloc. A major oil-producing country, in 2015, the Guardian’s Celeste Hicks wrote that much of the country’s transformation “is down to oil.”

4.                   WEST AFRICA:
Ahead of Ghana’s elections in Novemnber, the UK-based Africa Research Institute(ARI) has shone the spotlight on slums in Accra.

ARI held an event on 28 January, entitled “Slum Politics in Accra: Understanding Urban Ghana.”

Organised to mark the launch of ARI’s new “Counterpoint” publication, Dr.Jeffrey Paller – a post-doctoral research fellow at the Earth Institute at Colombia University – led a talk about the social and political networks supposed to really govern urban Ghana.

The country is considered one of Africa’s most rapidly-urbanising countries, with the number of city-dwellers having risen from 4 million to 14 million over thirty years.

The event was organized on the premise that as informal settlements will play an increasingly important role in Ghana politics, Ghana needs to understand the voting intentions of these slum-dwellers ahead of Ghana’s elections in November 2016. It sought to unpack how “hidden” informal networks interact with formal politics, and how citizens ought to hold their leaders to account in this environment.

The discussion was live-tweeted under “#Accrapolitics” on the twitter social media network with many of the participants tweeting key points.

Jeffrey Paller, the invited speaker, tweeting @JWPaller, was quoted as saying that “many researchers in development and urbanization studies fail to look at what is happening in slums.”

The discussion further revealed that “local leaders have become highly accountable to locals.” Another tweet indicated a representative of Cities Alliance maintains Ghana has “more houses demolished than built.” Another tweet predicted that “elections in Ghana will be heavily influenced by informal networks.”  


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