Mozambican Water Solutions

Mozambican President Armando Guebeza has inaugurated the Sampene Water Distribution Centre in the province of Zambezia as a new piece in the water supply system for Quelimane, Zambezia’s capital.  The Centre is both a reservoir and a pumping station with the capacity to hold up to 2,500 cubic metres of water.

Funding for the Centre was provided through a joint effort between the World Bank and the Mozambican government, costing approximately $2.1 million dollars.  The construction project created 100 new jobs.

 

Original Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201404090476.html

Image source: http://www.dlr.de/blogs/en/Portaldata/66/Resources/energie/Ottenstein_600.jpg

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Faster Cargo Clearance Has a Positive Impact on Benin Economy

Benin Port

The average clearing time for cargo in Benin is highly reduced, leading to a boost in the transport of goods via ports. Nigeria, a neighboring country, stands to lose business at its ports due to the long clearing time of 14 to 21 days. In Cotonou, Benin, the cargo clearing process averages seven days. The faster process proves to be more cost-effective, which thereby stimulates the growth of the port industry, as well as accumulate revenue for the government. General manager of the RORO Terminal in Benin states that it takes an average of seven days to clear a container, and 24 hours to clear a vehicle. Their goal is to eventually minimize the cargo dwell time to 24 hours so that importers may retrieve their containers as soon as the ships dock.

Cargo clearance in Cotonou port has become faster due to governmental port reform that was initiated in 2011. Since the reform established a single online clearing platform called SEGUB, there is less vessel waiting time, free flow of traffic in the port access roads, and an increased volume of cargo in the port.

Further Reading: http://businessdayonline.com/2014/02/importers-move-to-ghana-benin-ports-as-slow-processes-in-nigeria-hurt-business/#.UyCV-vldXTo

Image Source: http://www.dredgingtoday.com/2013/02/07/benin-afgen-inks-agreement-with-dredging-international/

Mozambique Ratifies Nagoyo Protocol

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Mozambique has recently ratified the Nagoyo Protocol, a protocol concerning access to and sharing of genetic resources and information.  The protocol addresses the legal framework surrounding the complicated issue of genetic resources and is intended to serve as a transparency boost for the already existing United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The language of the protocol focuses on equitable sharing of information and resources, and addresses issues such as indigenous and local communities granting access to genetic resources, as well as traditional knowledge associated with genetic information and materials.

Mozambique will be the thirtieth nation to ratify the Nagoyo Protocol, but fifty nations are needed before it can enter into force.  Notably absent from the list of ratified countries is the United States, a key player in the field of genetics.

The Nagoyo Protocol also aims to promote conservation and environmentalist efforts, increasing the amount of land per nation promised to be made into protected regions. The attempt towards stronger conservation policies and protection of biodiversity is supported by the Mozambique Government, which recognizes the importance of biodiversity and genetic resources.

Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201403140038.html

Image: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/files/2013/05/Mozambique_2012_3786.jpg

Ghana Celebrates its 57th Birthday

Fifty-seven years ago today, on March 6th, 1957, Ghana became the first sub-Saharan African country to gain independence from colonial rule. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, later hailed as “Osagyefo,” or “redeemer” in the Ghanaian Akan language, was released from a jail term for anti-colonial civil disobedience to accept his election to form a new government in February of 1951. He became prime minister of the new government the following March, and five years later in 1957, he declared Ghana’s independence from the United Kingdom.

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah

Dr. Kwame Nrumah with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Accra, Ghana

Ghana has made great strides as a nation in the fifty-seven years since ’57.  Business and industry are on the rise, driven by Ghana’s growing dynamic community of entrepreneurs, including partnerships such as the Ghana Association of Women Entrepreneurs (GAWE), as well as programs like Ghana’s Next Young Entrepreneur (GYNE) which promote entrepreneurship in the new generation.

 

Makola Market in Accra, Ghana

Ghana has also made significant progress toward the Millenium Development Goal of eradicating poverty and hunger, becoming the first African nation to cut the number of people living in extreme poverty almost in half in 2006. Ghana has been hailed as one of Africa’s “shining stars of democracy.” Much progress has been made in the country in terms of human rights, as demonstrated by the strong and vibrant civil society that has grown steadily over the years, addressing social issues ranging from education to women’s rights to rural poverty.

Although the nation still has many challenges to overcome, they have come far and made impressive strides in  economic, democratic, and social development since gaining independence in 1957. Happy Ghanaian Independence Day!

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Forgotten Pasts and Preserved Heritage, Benin’s African Contemporary Art Museum

Zinsou foundation contemporary African art in the Villa Ajavon in Ouidah

The port city of Ouidah stands today as a cultural hub of arts and religion in Benin. During the transatlantic slave trade, however, Ouidah’s reputation was bleak. Located on the coast of West Africa, Ouidah was the site of the Tree of Forgetfulness, where enslaved men, women, and children were forced to encircle the tree that would make them forget their identities and histories before being shipped off to the Americas. Although it may have been a process that was more metaphoric than real, the histories and cultures that were allegedly forgotten are now preserved in West Africa’s first contemporary art museum located in Ouidah. The Zinsou family established the free museum in the facade of the early 20th-century Afro-Brazilian edifice–Villa Ajavon. The museum has thrived since its debut in November 2013. By exhibiting the works of local and international artists, such as Romuald Hazoumé, the museum stands as a marker of Africa’s significance to the art world. Hazoumé exhibits paintings and photos that reflect his Beninese culture and religion, which is very much in line with the museum’s mission to preserve African artistic heritage within the actual continent. For more information on the museum and the Zinsou Foundation, visit the official website at http://www.fondationzinsou.org/FondationZinsou/Fondation_Zinsou_Accueil.html.

Image Source: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2014/jan/06/african-contemporary-art-ouidah-benin#/?picture=424525494&index=9

Related Articles: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/17/african-artists-benin-museum-thrives

http://www.theartnewspaper.com/articles/African-contemporary-art-museum-opens-in-Benin-in-former-slave-trade-centre/31402

End of Botswana-North Korea Relations

Ian Khama, President of Botswana

Ian Khama, President of Botswana

After forty years of diplomatic relations, Botswana has ended diplomatic relations with North Korea. Botswana made the decision to cut ties after the United Nations released a report on crimes against humanity taking place in North Korea. The foreign ministry of Botswana released a statement expressing sympathies to North Korean citizens facing human rights violations. North Korea has yet to make a statement in response to the ended diplomatic relationship.

Source: http://blogs.wsj.com/korearealtime/2014/02/20/botswana-cuts-north-korea-ties/

Image source: http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02549/ianKhama_2549331b.jpg

Mozambique Strives for Quality Education

school-mozambique

The government in Maputo, Mozambique, has promised to enforce bans on cell phones for students in the classroom. Citing distraction and cheating as main reasons, the city of Maputo has promised to enforce these bans, only allowing students to enter classrooms if their phones are turned off and safely stowed away.

Maputo’s commitment to education has been reaffirmed by their promises to address additional problems inside schools as well, including complaints about alcohol use by students and issues of sexual harassment.  Some pupils present at the meeting about these issues suggested that all informal bars or places to obtain alcohol should be moved away from schools, and Maputo’s governor encouraged all those affected by sexual harassment to speak up, lest they should be considered complacent. Officials also urged students to look after their schools, discouraging graffiti or other damage to school facilities, stating that “school is our second home.”

Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201402140563.html?aa_source=acrdn-f0

Image Source: http://www.presseurop.eu/files/images/article/school-mozambique.jpg?1274190966

G8 New Alliance Initiative Favors Agro-Business

A Kenyan farmer tends newly planted trees

At the 2012 G8 Camp David Summit, President Barack Obama announced the creation of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, which aims to lift 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa out of poverty in the next 10 years by supporting agricultural development (http://www.usaid.gov/unga/new-alliance). However, a closer look at the policy implementation shows that the G8 New Alliance Initiative is excluding small-hold farmer input and favoring agribusiness.

Since the formation of the New Alliance, ten countries have made more than 200 policy commitments, largely granting agribusinesses unprecedented access to decision-makers, including easing of export controls and tax laws as well as governments giving huge chunks of land of investment.

The CEOs of companies were invited to the table with African presidents and head of donor agencies through the New Alliance Initiative, although there was no representation for the subsistence farmers. While the private sector investment is supposed to ensure food security, the companies’ plans include non-food crops, including cotton, biofuels and rubber, or other goods for export markets. Companies have refused to publicly announce their full investment plans under the New Alliance. Olivier de Schutter, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, said that governments have been making promises to investors with “no long-term view about the future of smallholder farmers.”

The chairman of Tanzania’s parliament’s public account, Zitto Kabwe, agrees. “By introducing this market, farmers will have to depend on imported seeds. This will definitely affect small farmers. It will also kill innovation at the local level. We have seen this with manufacturing,” he said. “It will be like colonialism. Farmers will not be able to farm until they import, linking farmers to [the] vulnerability of international prices. Big companies will benefit. We should not allow that.” Kabwe further argues that the tax commitments should go through parliament, not just the executive branch, as they would benefit companies rather than small farmers.

While the New Alliance has benevolent intentions to lift sub-Saharan Africa out of poverty, placing the project in the hands of private investors leaves room for error. Colin Poulton, research fellow at the center for development, environment and policy at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, told Guardian “Without a clear theory of change indicating how increased investment in large-scale agriculture will lead to poverty reduction, improved food security of nutrition, and without clear plans to ensure that large numbers of outgrowers will be engaged in the new value chains, the New Alliance is so far primarily an initiative to commercialize agriculture in Africa.”

For more reading: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/feb/18/g8-new-alliance-condemned-new-colonialism (Picture Source)

http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/190624.pdf

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-26191078

Offshore Oil Drilling by Shell to Begin in Namibia

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Shell is set to begin drilling for oil off the coast of Namibia in the Orange Basin. For some time now there has been growing international interest in the offshore drilling of Namibia, and finally, Shell has stepped up to explore the potential Namibia has to offer. In the past, international interest in Namibia has been centered around its uranium reserves, so the focus on offshore drilling is a marked shift.

The move by Shell bodes well for Namibia. Mines and Energy minister Isak Katali stated last Monday, “The ministry of mines and energy is very excited about the interest shown by a super-major such as Shell Exploration and Production in Namibia.” Another Spanish oil and gas company, Repsol, is also set to begin drilling, perhaps as soon as before the end of this month. The transition from interest to action on the part of international oil companies could be a strong positive push towards expanding and diversifying Namibia’s economy.

Picture source and further reading:

http://www.bdlive.co.za/africa/africanbusiness/2014/02/17/shell-to-drill-for-oil-in-namibian-waters

China-Cape Verde Collaboration

Cape Verdean Schoolchildren

China has begun plans to undergo major construction efforts in Cape Verde with aims to promote commercial and economic cooperation between both nations.  Prioritizing Education, China has promised to fund construction of a new University Campus and Confucious Institute in Praia.  China will also be funding the construction of a tourism school in Sal’s Island and a center for value added agricultural products in Santiago Island.  This is on top of China’s continued government backed scholarships which allow young Cape Verdean Students to attend Universities in China.  

 

Further Information:

 

http://allafrica.com/stories/201401310850.html?aa_source=acrdn-f0

 

Photo-Source:

http://www.sos-schools.org/africa/capeverde