Daily Archives: November 28, 2017

FUTURE OF AFRICA’S YOUTH DOMINATES AGENDA AT AFRICA-EU BUSINESS FORUM

ABIDJAN, The 6th EU-Africa Business Forum has opened in Abidjan, Ivory Coast with an emphasis on job creation and investment in young people. The central theme of the Forum is Investing in Job Creation for Youth.

Speaking at a high-level forum on the theme, African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina called for a change of mindset when dealing with youth on the continent.

Young people aren’t looking for help, they are looking for the right environment to flourish, he said.

Noting that 66 million young people are idling away in rural parts of the continent without jobs, he said there was a need to take a risk and invest in them.

Investing in the youth in agriculture as a business is the way to go, he said, especially given that the average age of African farmers is currently 65 years in a continent which spends US $35 billion annually on food imports despite having 600 million hectares of uncultivated arable land.

Agriculture is sexy, agriculture is cool. The farmers of tomorrow are not going to be wearing overalls, but will be young people equipped with digital technology to ply their trade. We must equip them appropriately, said Adesina, the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate.

The idea that Africa has the potential to become the world’s bread basket if it does the right things, is the logic behind the Bank’s High 5 priorities � Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Integrate Africa, Industrialize Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

Energy is the first priority because energy is required for almost everything people do.

Earlier, Ivorian Vice-President, Daniel Kablan Duncan, opened the forum noting that the partnership between African and Europe would be the preferred tool to support Africa’s exciting development dynamics.

The central thread of the forum was job creation, the projected focus of the EU-AU Summit taking place on Nov 29-30 in Abidjan, where the European External Investment Plan (EEIP) will be formally launched and endorsed by the African Union.

There was a consensus that Africa’s shared development objectives cannot be achieved without strong investment by African governments, private sector and development partners such as the EU.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Kotzias, regarding today’s communication ploys from opposition MPs

It is Mr. Loverdos’s right, if he so chooses, to continue to lie and to attempt to play a leading role in an absurdist fiction, in order to make the rounds of TV channels and radio stations.

But his appearance today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he arrived unannounced and spoke with an unauthorised diplomat � in my absence, no less � is yet another show of a lack of due seriousness.

As is well known, Prime Minister Tsipras, yesterday stressed that the presidents of the parliamentary groups may read the documents that concern the case of the sale of military materials to Saudi Arabia. Mr. Loverdos, at least as far as I know, is not the president of a parliamentary group. This, however, did not stop him from demanding access to the documents in question, without even invoking the authorisation of Mrs. Gennimata, which he claimed to have in an earlier exchange with the media.

Of course, the same holds true for Mr. Koumoutsakos, who, having yesterday lied from the floor of parliament, today made, via the media, a similar request, forgetting that he is not the president of a parliamentary group either.

There is always a standing invitation for Mrs. Gennimata and Mr. Mitsotakis to come, should they so desire, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at a time of their convenience, to read the documents in question.

Finally, I call again the opposition parties to conduct themselves seriously and responsibly. Cheap communication ploys like the ones resorted to by Mr. Loverdos and Mr. Koumoutsakos have no place in a serious, democratic state.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic

Security, Youth High on Macron’s Agenda in Burkina Faso

OUAGADOUGOU French President Emmanuel Macron met with university students in Burkina Faso Tuesday, as he kicked off a three-day trip to West Africa.

He is the first French president in three decades to visit Burkina Faso.

President Emmanuel Macron spent three hours on Tuesday at the University of Ouagadougou, discussing migration, climate change and terrorism with a room full of students.

In his remarks, the French president said he would pursue equal partnership with African nations, breaking with the more paternalistic relationship of old, a relationship between France and its former colonies known as the francafrique.

Many in Ouagadougou welcome the change.

Patigadawende Kabore, a government worker enjoying his lunch in a canteen near Ouagadougou’s city hall, said times have changed. He says he would like to tell Macron that the generation you are dealing with today is different from the ones that went before.

Security was a key concern during Macron’s visit. Police and army patrolled around all the main arteries, including the Kwame Nkrumah Avenue, scene of two major terrorist attacks in the past.

In his university address, President Macron was full of praise for the regional French anti-terrorist force Barkhane. The force has been criticized by Burkinabe civil society groups, who call it an example of neo-colonialism.

“The best policy is of course when a country runs its own security, said “Burkina Faso government spokesman Remi Fulgano Dandjenou. “But the fact remains that the problems that are happening in the Sahel region concerns not only the countries in that region. This means that not only the Sahel countries but also France, the EU, the United Nations play their part.”

France has been busy drumming up international support for the newly created G5 force, which it hopes can take over the war on terror in the Sahel. The G5 is comprised of troops from five African nations, including Burkina Faso.

Back at the university, Macron engaged in a lively debate with students following his speech.

The students, inevitably, brought up names from the past: Thomas Sankara, the slain revolutionary leader and a national hero, and Norbert Zongo, the journalist allegedly killed on the order of Francois Compaore, the younger brother of ex-president Blaise.

Macron said all remaining documents on the murder of Thomas Sankara in the 1987 coup that brought Blaise Compaore to power would be declassified. However, he said he could not guarantee the extradition of Francois Compaore, who is currently in France but was recently charged in Burkina Faso for his alleged role in Zongo’s murder.

Macron will head to Ivory Coast on Wednesday for a European Union-African Union summit expected to address migration. The French president will then wrap up his trip to the region Thursday in Ghana.

Source: Voice of America

Medupi’s Unit 4 goes commercial

Eskom’s Medupi Unit 4 has achieved commercial operation status.

The unit was officially declared commercial after the completion of control, performance and the 30-day reliability run, putting all performance guarantees to effect, said the power utility on Tuesday.

Unit 4 of the power station, which is located in Limpopo, reached full power 19 June 2017. The significant achievement came after 20 days since its successful synchronisation on 31 May 2017. Five months later after further tests were conducted, this unit is now declared to be in full commercial operation.

This milestone was achieved ahead of the scheduled timeline of July 2018.

With an output of 794 megawatts going to the national grid, Unit 4 joins its sister units, Unit 6 and 5, which have been contributing to the balancing of electricity supply and demand since 23 August 2015 and 3 April 2017, respectively.

We are proud of this achievement. This accomplishment is a reflection of hard work and team effort. Eskom applauds the Medupi team, under the leadership of Phillip Dukashe. This is indeed an embodiment of delivery and excellence. Well done to the Medupi team! said Peter Sebola, the Acting Group Executive: Group Capital Division.

Eskom Interim Group Chief Executive, Sean Maritz said: Eskom’s new build team is giving the country an assurance that we are indeed serious about delivering the New Build projects on time and within budget.

Despite all the challenges we are faced with as an organisation and our perceived image in the public domain, these amazing results strengthen our determination to make sure that despite our challenges, we continue to deliver on our projects. New build is at the core of making sure that we continue to build excess electricity capacity and contribute to the economic growth of the country at large.

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has commended Eskom for a job well done.

This achievement is further testimony that the revised new build programme is on track and realised under difficult economic conditions.

Commercial operation status ensures technical compliance to statutory, safety and legal requirements. This signatory milestone marks the contractual handover of the unit from the primary contractors to Eskom. Medupi Unit 4 is now part of the Eskom Generation fleet.

Medupi is a green-fields coal-fired power plant comprising six units rated in total at 4 764 MW installed capacity. Construction activities commenced in May 2007 and the power station will have full installed capacity by 2020.

Unit 5 was first synchronised to the national grid on 8 September 2016, reached full power (794 MW) on 17 December 2016 and attained commercial operation on 3 April 2017.

Unit 6 attained commercial operation on 23 August 2015 and was officially opened by President Jacob Zuma on 30 August 2015.

Once completed, the power station will be the fourth largest coal-fired plant and the largest dry-cooled power station in the world.

Source: South African Government News Agency

UN working to address slavery, abuses against African migrants and refugees, Security Council told

The United Nations is stepping up its work to stop the grave abuses perpetrated against refugees and migrants along the Central Mediterranean routes, including alleged slave trade in Libya, two UN agency chiefs told the Security Council Tuesday.

The meeting was held at UN Headquarters in New York in response to growing international concerns about risks facing migrants and refugees, which were illustrated by recent news reports and videos showing African migrants in Libya allegedly being sold as slaves.

This is an enormous human tragedy and we can stop it, said William Lacy Swing, Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), via video link from Geneva, underscoring the need to break the smugglers’ business model.

In such efforts, IOM has helped 13,000 people get out of detention centres in Libya and 8,000 in Niger, he said, noting that there are about 15,000 still in such facilities.

IOM is working with partners, including the Government of Libya, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the African Union, the European Union, and countries of origin, to forge an agreement to implement a programme to empty those detention centres, Mr. Swing said.

Also briefing was the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, who told the Council: The grave abuses perpetrated against migrants and refugees along the Central Mediterranean routes can no longer be ignored.

Compelled to flee, but without legal pathways to safety, refugees are exposed to appalling harm, together with migrants, including torture, rape, sexual exploitation, slavery and other forms of forced labour, Mr. Grandi said, also via video link from Geneva, adding that these abuses proliferate where governance is weak and transnational criminal networks take root.

This requires a comprehensive approach encompassing countries of origin, transit, and destination, he stressed, highlighting the need to strengthen refugee protection and offer solutions along the routes.

UNHCR is stepping up its work � but faces dramatic funding gaps, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, he added.

UNHCR is helping the authorities address the needs of displaced Libyans and others affected by conflict. Reception and protection mechanisms are being incrementally strengthened. Plans for a transit centre in Tripoli are progressing positively.

Too often, measures pursued in relation to the Mediterranean routes have centred on how to control, deter and exclude. This can have a dehumanizing effect � and more importantly, alone, it does not help refugees and migrants avoid exploitative, deeply harmful situations, Mr. Grandi said, calling for a comprehensive set of political, security, humanitarian, human rights and development investments.

Your attention is welcome, because your leadership is critical to ensuring that this happens, he told the Council members.

Source: UN News Centre