Obama Begins Three-Nation Africa Tour in Senegal

On June 26th 2013, US President Barack Obama landed in Senegal to begin his three-nation trip to Africa, which will also include Tanzania and South Africa. He is scheduled to meet with Senegalese President Macky Sall on Thursday June 27th and then civil leaders at Goree Island, which was once the center of the Atlantic slave trade.

According to White House spokesman Jay Carney “Presidential trips to regions of the world like Africa bring enormous benefits in terms of our relationship with the countries visited and the countries in the region…The trip itself will not be the end point of our engagement, but will enhance it, deepen it and further it.” Barack Obama also plans on meeting with young people including  a town hall meeting in Soweto, which shows his commitment in investing in the future of African youth.

Read more at: http://allafrica.com/stories/201306270274.html


South Korea and Dubai May Help Curb Malawian Unemployment

Recently, the government of Malawi has been taking active measures to combat the 85% youth unemployment in the nation. The young Economic Planning Minister Ralph Pachalo Jooma and his counterpart form the Trade and Industry Ministry Sosten Gwengwe say that this is one of the initiatives being taken to address this major issue.

The government is advertising job opportunities for Malawian youth in Dubai, and has a plan to send 320 young workers to South Korea for unskilled labor.

Critics argue that this initiative is too little—saying that sending a small population of unskilled labor abroad will not produce any real effect on the country.

Despite the naysayers, youth from all sides of the political divide are gathering together to solve this problem and jumpstart economic development. This congregation is called the Zomba Youth General Assembly, and it is organized by aspiring Member of Parliament for Zomba Central constituency, Joseph Chikwemba, who called it “groundbreaking”.

It will be interesting to see where this initiative will go from here.

See the following link for more information: http://www.nyasatimes.com/2013/04/30/south-korea-dubai-jobs-to-end-malawi-unemployment-ministers-tells-zomba-youth-assembly/

Kenya Plans U.S. Style Presidential Debate

Kenyan Presidential Candidates

Kenyan Presidential Candidates

The Kenyan media has planned a series of American-style presidential debates before the March 4, 2013 election. Three debates will air on eight Kenyan television stations and 32 radio stations between November 26, 2012 and February 11,2013. The debates will adopt a town-hall style format for 90 minutes with two moderators and four panelists who will engage the candidates in a question and answer session.

According to the Chairman of the  Joint Media Presidential Debates Steering Committee, Royal Media managing director Wachira Waruru, the debates will provide Kenyan voters with the opportunity to listen to, interrogate and interact with the presidential candidates. These debates will also provide the candidates with the opportunity to reach the widest possible audience. These debates will also help Kenyan voters make informed choices, promote national cohesion and steer the campaigns towards the quality of leadership rather than personality based politics that can often lead to violence.

link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201210120479.html

Kenyan Leaders Promote Peaceful Elections

On Sunday February 24th, the top Kenyan presidential candidates pledged to preach peace during national prayers at Uhuru Park. The leaders were motivated by the self styled prophet David Owuor, who’s followers have been praying for peace during the upcoming March elections. In front of thousands of supporters, Prime Minister Raila Odinga announced that he and his long time political adversary William Ruto have forgiven each other thanks to Prophet Owuor’s intervention. Odinga stated “It will not be a winner takes it all. It will be a role for everybody. I also want to thank the Prophet because he has tried hard to bring us all together. He has always done this and I can reveal here that last year he brought me and my brother William Ruto together and we are now working together. Long live Kenya!”. Ruto responded to the Prime Minister’s new-found beliefs and  agreed that they have forgiven each other.

The promotion of peace is a beacon of hope amidst the possibility of election violence, similar to the ethnic violence that resulted from the 2008 elections. Although the main presidential candidates have pledged peace, many in Kenya are preparing for election-related violence after the March 4th election.

Presidential candidates pledging peace at Uhuru park

Presidential candidates pledging peace at Uhuru park

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South Africa to Test Fuel Cell ‘Home Generator’

fuel cell

South Africa has recently made headlines for it’s support of testing for a new methanol fueled home generator that will be used to combat power shortages in remote rural neighborhoods. Projections were announced at the Hydrogen + Fuel Cells 2013 International Conference in Canada by South Africa’s deputy mineral resources minister Godfrey Oliphant.

Advances in technology such as these home generators are essential for the development of South African rural communities in that they will overcome the shortcomings of the current power grid  and fight a country wide resource curse. Platinum is one of the highly prized fuel cell “ingredients” used by Ballard (the company through which South Africa is promoting development of fuel cells) and South Africa currently holds 75% of the global supply. By taking control of the precious mineral, the country is able to avoid dangerous levels of foreign direct investment and redirect any productive use towards its own people.

Field testing of Ballard Power Systems and Amplats will be undertaken in 2014. Once the testing will be successfully completed, more than 200 of these units will be distributed for pilot testing in rural villages across powerless areas of South Africa.

As energy and renewable fuels have come to dominate government funded projects, this methanol fueled home generator is seen as a bright future in industry, technology, business, and civilian lifestyle. By decreasing the amount of the civilian population living without electricity, South Africa will not only be able to increase overall quality of life, but do so in a sustainable way.

Sources: http://allafrica.com/stories/201306190947.html