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African Leaders speak at U.S.-Africa Business Summit

Rwandan President Paul Kagame — whose government has been voted the top world reformer in the recently published World Bank report Doing Business 2010 — said his government and citizens are working to be the “best we can be” in their quest for prosperity.

“What we have done is what other people can do. It is not magic,” he said. “We have focused on stabilizing our country, making sure there is peace and security … [and] institutions of governance that deliver the public good as required.”

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Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete at UN 2009

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete at UN 2009

African Leaders speak at U.S.-Africa Business Summit

Special to USAfricaonline.com

Washington — Improving the living standards of their people should be the only justification for any political leader in Africa to stay in power, Ghanaian President John Evans Atta Mills told the Seventh Biennial U.S.-Africa Business Summit. He also stressed the important role regional integration plays in promoting economic development.

Appearing as part of a presidential plenary session at the summit, Mills said “nothing else matters” but creating the “necessary environment to promote business, either locally or to attract foreign direct investment,” which, he said, “has no fixed allegiance or nationality, but goes where it is most welcome.”

Mills, a law professor and former Fulbright scholar, appeared at the plenary along with three other African heads of state: President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Fradique Bandeira Melo de Menezes of Sao Tome and Principe and President Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo. They were joined by Jean Ping, chairman of the African Union Commission and a former foreign minister of Gabon. All echoed the need for greater regional integration across Africa.

Mills said Ghanaians have realized one thing: “We cannot go it alone. The days of xenophobia are over. Now there is interdependence among states and we believe that charity begins at home.” For that reason, he said, “the issue of regional integration is very important.”

There are many reasons why people want to invest in Africa, he told his audience of business executives, entrepreneurs and government officials attending three-day Washington event.

People want markets for their products, Mills said, and they want to invest where they find political stability and “an ease of doing business” in a low-cost environment. Thus, he said, regional integration in Africa is needed now more than ever.

“The people who voted us into power don’t owe us anything,” Mills said. “They only want us to improve their standard of living. … What do our people have but hope for a better future? And we cannot disappoint them.”

Echoing that point, Rwandan President Paul Kagame — whose government has been voted the top world reformer in the recently published World Bank report Doing Business 2010 — said his government and citizens are working to be the “best we can be” in their quest for prosperity.

“What we have done is what other people can do. It is not magic,” he said. “We have focused on stabilizing our country, making sure there is peace and security … [and] institutions of governance that deliver the public good as required.”

Kagame said his government is interacting globally, while working within a regional setting. He said his government has tried to make it easy to do business in Rwanda by working with international partners to help streamline the process, eliminate obstacles and make sure the process works. “You can have good laws, you can have good regulations, you can have all kinds of things very well written on the paper and very impressive, but if you don’t follow through … things will go wrong.”

Infrastructure is crucial to facilitate business, he said. “You cannot talk about an increased volume of trade when there are no roads, there are no rails, and there are problems of air transport. … At the same time, you cannot talk about increased investments unless you can show that you can provide electricity for industry. You cannot talk about communication and all that comes with it … unless you are able to put in place the Internet” and make it accessible and linked to international networks.

“The best way to fight poverty is through business,” Kagame said.

President Fradique Bandeira Melo de Menezes of the island nation of Sao Tome and Principe also talked about regional integration and its importance to Africa’s development process. Sao Tome and Principe operates a joint development zone with Nigeria, has linked its currency to the euro through Portugal and established an investment code to aid foreign investors. “We believe that we cannot develop as a country without regional integration,” he told his audience.

While the country is primarily agricultural, with large cocoa exports, he said, its oil revenues are deposited into a transparent account with the U.S. Treasury to protect the revenues for future generations.

President Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo also urged regional integration. More than 100 million consumers can be found in the Congo Basin and surrounding region, with 10 countries and a huge potential new market. What is needed, he said, is coordinated economic development in infrastructure, roads, railways, airports and electricity.

Jean Ping, representing the African Union, said building infrastructure and improving regional integration will bolster intra-African trade. Africa today is divided by 165 borders, among 53 countries. “So you can see the necessity for us to combine our efforts,” he told his audience.

The African continent has 1 billion inhabitants, according to the United Nations, Ping said, and is forecast to have 1.4 billion inhabitants in 2020. “We live in a world which is characterized by globalization … and regional integration,” he said, noting that the Economic Community of West African States ( ECOWAS ) and the Southern African Development Community ( SADC ) are two African organizations working toward greater regional integration.

“Africa simply wants to be a continent like others … free from need … free from fear — the fear of tyranny … violence and … war,” Ping said. “We want to live in peace.” The conference started September 30, 2009.

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AFRICA

USAfrica: Buhari to debate Atiku, Moghalu on January 19; rising Sowore not listed

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@Chido247

As the countdown to the February 2019 presidential elections in Africa’s most populated country continues, Nigerian Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) have announced the “names of political parties” that they have pre-qualified to participate in the 2019 vice presidential and presidential debates.

The Executive Secretary of the NEDG, Eddie Emesiri, listed the parties as the following: Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Young Progressives Party (YPP).

The Presidential debate will hold on Saturday, January 19, 2019 while the VP debate will be in Abuja on Friday, December 14, 2018.

President Buhari, a retired army general who does not warm up to contrary even if helpful views, USAfrica notes, will have the opportunity of counterpoint exchanges with his 2015 former ally Atiku Abubakar, and especially from the  former deputy Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank Prof. Kingsley Moghalu. 

Significantly, the debate excludes Omoyele Sowore, the activist-journalist and young candidate who is among the top canvassers and most travelled candidates (inside and outside Nigeria) in search of votes. By Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica [Houston] and USAfricaonline.com

https://usafricaonline.com/2018/05/19/usafrica-why-saharareporters-sowores-disrupt-the-nigerian-system-message-is-gaining-momentum-by-chido-nwangwu/

 

 

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AFRICA

Global Terrorism Index ranks Nigeria, Somalia and Egypt among the worst hit.

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The Global Terrorism Index for 2018 has been released by the Institute for Economics and Peace, which recorded 3 African countries of Nigeria, Somalia  and Egypt among the worst hit. Iraq’s almost daily blasts placed it at the top, followed by Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria, and Pakistan. 

The GTI found that “the global impact from terrorism is on the decline, it also shows that terrorism is still widespread, and even getting worse in some regions.”

The United States is at number 20. 

The Index ranked 138 countries based on the severity of terror attacks throughout 2017, and found that “The total number of deaths fell by 27 percent between 2016 and 2017, with the largest falls occurring in Iraq and Syria. The overall trend of a decline in the number of deaths caused by acts of terror reflects the increased emphasis placed on countering terrorism around the world since the surge in violence in 2013.”

“In the Maghreb and Sahel regions of Northern Africa, there has been a resurgence of terrorist activity in the past two years, most notably of al-Qa’ida. As of March 2018 there were more than 9,000 members of terrorist groups active in the region, mostly concentrated in Libya and Algeria,” it noted.

The GTI assessed the total global economic impact of terrorism at almost $52 billion.

USAfricaonline.com notes that the attacks by Nigeria’s Boko Haram and its affiliates mainly in the north east and exponential rise in the violence unleashed by the Fulani herdsmen negatively affected the country. By Chido Nwangwu @Chido247

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AFRICA

Nigerian army posts Trump video to justify shooting muslim Shiites

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Nigeria’s army (has) posted a video of US President Donald Trump saying soldiers would shoot migrants throwing stones to justify opening fire on a Shiite group (last) week.

In the video, Trump warns that soldiers deployed to the Mexican border could shoot Central American migrants who throw stones at them while attempting to cross illegally.

“We’re not going to put up with that. They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back,” said Trump in remarks made on Thursday.

“I told them (troops) consider it (a rock) a rifle. When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexican military and police, I say consider it a rifle.”

Nigeria’s defence spokesman John Agim told AFP that the army posted the video in response to criticism that its security forces had acted unlawfully.

The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) said 49 of its members were killed after the army and police fired live bullets at crowds who marched near and in the capital Abuja. The army’s official death toll was six.

Amnesty International said Wednesday it had “strong evidence” that police and soldiers used automatic weapons against IMN members and killed about 45 people in an “unconscionable use of deadly force by soldiers and police”.

The United States embassy in Nigeria said Thursday it was “concerned” and called for an investigation.

“The video was posted in reaction to the Amnesty International report accusing the army of using weapons against pacifist Shiite protesters…. Not only did they use stones but they were carrying petrol bombs, machetes and knives, so yes, we consider them as being armed,” said Agim.

“We intervened only because the IMN members are trying to harm our people, they are always meeting us…at security check points and trying to provoke us, they even burned a police vehicle.”

Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is almost evenly split between a mostly Muslim north — which is predominantly Sunni — and a largely Christian south.

Experts have warned the government that a heavy-handed response to the group risks sparking conflict in a volatile region where poverty is widespread.

IMN leader Ibrahim Zakzaky has been in custody since 2015, when an army crackdown killed 300 of his supporters who were buried in mass graves, according to rights groups.

Zakzaky is facing a culpable homicide charge in connection with the 2015 violence. He remains in jail despite a court order granting him bail.

On Thursday, 120 of 400 IMN members arrested by police on Monday were  charged with “rioting, disturbance of public peace and causing hurt,” said a court official in Abuja on Friday.

According to court documents seen by AFP, the IMN members had been ordered to disperse but they “refused and started throwing stones at the police officers and other members of the public and thereby caused them bodily harm”.

All the suspects pleaded not guilty and were granted bail with the court hearing to resume on December 5.

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