Ugandan Court Charges Government Minister With Corruption

Activists in Uganda are welcoming the rare prosecution of a government minister on corruption charges but are skeptical that other high-level officials will be charged in the scandal.

Karamoja Affairs Minister Mary Goretti Kitutu was charged Thursday with fraud and causing loss of public property in the theft of thousands of metal roofing sheets meant for poor residents in her community. She will remain in jail over the holiday weekend and was expected to remain in custody until her next court appearance Wednesday.

Uganda's public prosecutor said other ministers implicated in the scheme would be held accountable.

The prosecutor’s office said Kitutu, her younger brother and Joshua Abaho, a senior assistant secretary in the same ministry who was reported to be on the run, had diverted roofing meant for beneficiaries under the Karamoja community empowerment program. Karamoja is the least developed part of Uganda, with hundreds of thousands still living in mud-thatched houses known as manyattas.

The prosecution of government ministers for corruption is rare in Uganda, where theft and misuse of public funds and materials is routine. As investigations into the scandal continue, nine other ministers, including executive members of the government such as the vice president, the speaker of parliament and the prime minister, are potential suspects.

Marlon Agaba, with the Anti-Corruption Coalition of Uganda, told VOA he doubted the remaining ministers would be held accountable.

'Sacrificial lamb'

“In a way, she has been given in as a sacrificial lamb," Agaba said of Kitutu. "That doesn’t take away her culpability. It has happened before, where probably one person or two are taken to court and the others go away scot-free. So to me, it’s not surprising at all. But we also need to know that, yes, she has been taken to court, [but] it’s not time for rejoicing yet, because in the country where we are, we don’t have a history of convicting actually the ministers.”

The vice president and the prime minister have publicly stated that Kitutu gave them the roofing sheets. Agaba said those were flimsy excuses.

"If you’re a prime minister or a speaker or whatever and the minister of Karamoja is giving you iron sheets, you think those iron sheets are coming from where?" he said. "They knew that these iron sheets were for the people of Karamoja. Because even information came out showing that they even discussed on WhatsApp and other platforms and agreed how they were going to share these iron sheets.”

The Committee on Presidential Affairs in Uganda’s parliament is conducting a separate probe. Legislator Jacob Karubanga told VOA those who benefited from the diverted roofing sheets should not have received what belonged to Karamoja.

“If anybody diverted iron sheets meant for a particular group, that was wrong," he said. "But to what extent it is wrong is the problem. Because on the other hand, those who received the iron sheets, in any case, are also vulnerable. But it was not meant for those particular vulnerables who received them. [The sheets that Kitutu gave out] should have been delivered to the originally identified vulnerables in Karamoja.”

Jacquelyn Okui, spokesperson for the Director of Public Prosecutions, said the case was getting the attention it deserved. When asked by VOA if Kitutu was being used as a scapegoat in the scandal. Okui said, "No, it’s just a process. You see, the iron sheets scandal is, I would say, like a big elephant. So it’s been decided that it be handled piecemeal. There are other cases filed for other suspects, which are still being investigated.”

Source: Voice of America

Minister calls for commitment to population health

Angolan minister of Health Silvia Lutucuta urged Friday in Luanda the health professionals to actively participate in the identification and resolution of problems that negatively impact the health of the population.

In her message, ahead of World Health Day and the 75th anniversary of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on April 7, the minister said that this involvement entails the implementation of health promotion actions.

She said that the aim is to protecting this good from an individual and collective point of view, taking into account the Sustainable Development Goals.

The minister took the opportunity to pay homage to health agents from all over the world, in particular Angolans, who work daily to promote the health and well-being of the population in favour of equity, prosperity and sustainability, for all without leaving anyone behind.

According to the official, Angola joins the world movement to congratulate the WHO on the results achieved in international health security, health promotion and disease prevention, so that everyone reaches the highest level of health and well-being.

To the minister, the 75th anniversary of the WHO is also an occasion to remember the public health successes in Angola and the world, aimed at improving people's quality of life in the last seven decades.

Lutucuta also considered it opportune to demonstrate the promotion of multisectoral actions and community participation in order not to leave anyone behind and mitigate the inequality of social asymmetries

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)

Burkina: Education actors hard at work for an impeccable organization of the 2023 exams

The Minister in charge of National Education, Joseph André Ouédraogo, on Friday urged his collaborators to take all the measures for an impeccable organization of school exams and the baccalaureate, session 2023.

“We are less than two months away from the deadlines and it is urgent that all the arrangements be made in time for a good performance, for an irreproachable organization of the exams for this 2023 session”, affirmed the Minister in charge of National Education, Joseph André Ouedraogo.

According to him, the organization of school exams and the baccalaureate represent a major challenge for his department.

Joseph André Ouédraogo was speaking on Friday April 7, 2023 in Ouagadougou during the first session of the Board of Directors, which for the first time saw the participation of the provincial directors in charge of Education.

“In the past, it was more of an extended cabinet meeting, but this time it's all of the 90 provincial directors who are there, so I already have an overview of all of the education issues of the Burkina Faso,” he said.

For him, the fact of associating the provincial directors with the meeting, "is because somewhere these actors are essential in the success of our activities, in particular in the organization of exams and school competitions".

Mr. Ouédraogo noted that this meeting of education stakeholders revolves around the presentation of the new organization chart of his department, the disciplinary regulations and procedures and the inventory of preparations for school exams and the baccalaureate.

Source: Burkina Information Agency

Angola focused on boosting ICGLR

Angolan minister of Foreign Affairs Teté Antonio said on Thursday that the country has contributed to the leverage and strengthening of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) to face the challenges of peace, security, stability and development.

The diplomat was speaking during a lecture on “Angola's foreign policy and its role in promoting peace in the Great Lakes Region”, held on Thursday at the Itamaraty Institute, Brasília, Republic of Brazil.

Addressing diplomats, university professors, men linked to culture and researchers in African affairs, Téte António said that the country has the support of the most varied bilateral and multilateral partners in this task.

He pointed to Political-Diplomatic, Defence and Security, Intelligence, Economic and Regional Development vectors, as well as the functioning of the Executive Secretariat of the ICGLR, as the axes that guide the strategy of the Angolan Presidency.

He recalled that since assuming the presidency of the ICGLR, the President of the Republic, João Lourenço, has carried out a series of initiatives aimed at ensuring the stability of the political and security situation in the Central African Republic, marked by the acceptance of leaders of the armed groups to abandon the rebellion.

The minister also said the 16th Extraordinary Session of the AU Conference of Heads of State and Government on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Regime Changes in Africa, held in Malabo, on 27 and 28 May 2022, at the proposal of Angola, elected the Angolan Head of State Champion of the African Union for Peace and Reconciliation in Africa.

The Session also gave him the mandate to embark on diplomatic “path”, within the scope of mediating the growing tension that was registered in the common border between the “DRC and the Rwanda".

During his address, the Angolan diplomat made a brief historical incursion of the Republic of Angola, with emphasis on trends in the evolution of foreign policy.

He spoke of the national liberation struggle, the explicit political-ideological preferences in Angola's independence process and the signing of the Bicesse Agreement, which brought the country a new phase of political-social intervention and international relations.

The minister clarified the moment of 2002, when Angola began to experience a period marked, above all, by the more concrete political transition process, the promotion and reinforcement of national mechanisms for the consolidation of the democratic process, the broadening and deepening of multilateral, regional relations and bilateral, within the ambit of ties of friendship and cooperation.

As for foreign policy, the Minister of Foreign Affairs explained that the Executive chose economic diplomacy as one of its main instruments for defending the interests of the State, aiming, among others, at promoting trade, attracting productive investment, creating better conditions for the operation of foreign investors and attracting the tourist flow. ART

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)

Bam: An economic operator from Kongoussi offers a borehole to internally displaced people

An economic operator from Kongoussi offered on Wednesday, April 05, 2023 in Kongoussi, a borehole equipped with a value of 9 million 500 thousand CFA francs to the commune of Kongoussi for the internally displaced persons of the said city.

The economic operator, Samuel Ouédraogo known as “Samuel Super Marché”, donated a borehole equipped with a 10,000 liter water tower and two standpipes to the town hall of Kongoussi for the internally displaced persons of the said city.

The drilling was handed over to the first vice president of the special delegation, Etienne Sawadogo, for the commune of Kongoussi.

“On behalf of the Kongoussi special delegation, I say thank you to the donor. This drilling comes to relieve us because the beneficiaries needed it,” he said.

He invited them to set up a management committee to manage small breakdowns.

"I want their use to be short-lived because we want them to return home," he said.

For the donor Samuel Ouédraogo, his gesture aims to relieve the internally displaced from water chores.

“Each year, we try to see how to help the populations of Kongoussi. This is how this year, we approached the town hall, which identified the Lioudougou site for us to drill. We had a flow rate of 6 m³/hour and the analysis laboratory certified the quality of the water. It is our modest contribution to relieve IDPs and it is through my company Wendesso forage construction (WFC) that we have achieved it,” explained Samuel Ouédraogo.

The IDP representative suggested that they had a serious water problem.

“We had a water problem. That was solved with this waist support. This Drilling will help relieve IDPs from the communes of Nasséré, Zimtanga Namsiguian and Sabcé. Really we say thank you to the town hall and to Samuel Ouédraogo ”he reacted.

The population of Kongoussi has grown over the past 2 years following the security crisis and there is hope to return to farming this year.

Source: Burkina Information Agency

Ajay Banga: Joe Biden’s Indian pick for the World Bank

His nomination is original. Ajay Banga, 63, an Indian-American, is Joe Biden’s pick to head the World Bank after David Malpass steps down on February 15, 2023. The Board of Directors must ratify this nomination for the former CEO of Mastercard, who will take up residence at 1818 H Street, Washington, DC, in June 2023. He will then become ex-officio Chairman of the Board of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the World Bank and the International Development Association (IDA). He will also serve as CEO of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

The White House statement describes him as a man who “has critical experience mobilizing public-private resources to tackle the most urgent challenges of our time, including climate change.” For US President Joe Biden, having “spent more than three decades building and managing successful, global companies, he can lead the World Bank at this critical moment in history”.

“Ajay Banga has helped bring 500 million unbanked people into the digital economy,” said US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen

“His efforts have helped bring 500 million unbanked people into the digital economy, deploy private capital into climate solutions, and expand economic opportunity through the Partnership for Central America,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a separate statement in which she applauded President Biden’s decision.”

Ajay Singh Banga was born on November 10, 1959 in Khadki Township, Pune, Bombay, India, to an army officer father. After studying at the Hyderabad Public School, he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, followed by an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

His career began at Nestlé in 1981, before moving to Pepsico and then Citigroup. He was also CEO of Mastercard, the financial services company. Before being approached by the US, he was Vice President of the US private equity firm General Atlantic and the Agnelli family’s Exor Holding.

“Raised in India, Ajay has a unique perspective on the opportunities and challenges facing developing countries and how the World Bank can reduce poverty”

Ajay Banga is also Honorary Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce and served on the Boards of the American Red Cross, Kraft Foods and Dow Inc. “Ajay has worked closely with Vice President Harris as the Co-Chair of the Partnership for Central American,” the White House said in the statement. He is a founding trustee of the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum, a former member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations, and Chairman Emeritus of the American India Foundation.

“Raised in India, Ajay has a unique perspective on the opportunities and challenges facing developing countries and how the World Bank can deliver on its ambitious agenda to reduce poverty and expand prosperity.”

World Bank: Ajay Banga woos AfDB

The US president’s nominee to replace David Malpass at the World Bank wants to involve the African Development Bank (AfDB) in the decisions of the financial institution he will lead.

Ajay Banga, the US nominee for World Bank President, wants to make the continent a privileged player in the financial institution he is preparing to lead from June 2023. The former CEO of Mastercard intends to involve Africa in the World Bank’s decision-making process through the AfDB.

“There is a need to strengthen the links between the World Bank and the AfDB”

The project was presented to the AfDB President in Abidjan on March 6 2023 during the first leg of his world tour. “There is a need to strengthen decision-making links between the AfDB and the World Bank,” said the AfDB press release.

For Ajay Banga, “inequality, tension between humanity and nature, and the tendency to apply short-term solutions to long-term problems which only delivers poor results” are the main challenges of his future term. All this “in a context marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, environmental degradation, and the impact of the Russia-Ukraine War.”

“We should regenerate our partnership by engaging governments, the private sector, and other stakeholders to deliver meaningful change,” Adesina Akinwumi, President of AfDB

Banga’s call for a regenerated partnership resonated with AfDB’s President. “There is need for a new way of working between both institutions. “It is more than financial. It’s more about how we work to optimize resources by engaging governments, the private sector, and other stakeholders to deliver meaningful change,” he pointed out.

About climate change, Adesina said it is “decimating lives, displacing people, creating refugees and deepening poverty.” In front of Ajay Banda, he called for “a new way of measuring the wealth of nations:” the GDP “does not consider important factors like a country’s contribution to carbon emission and impact on biodiversity.” Hence, the triangle of disaster: increasing poverty, rising youth unemployment and environmental degradation, and this is breeding ground for terrorism.” Adesina Akinwumi is therefore counting on the future head of the World Bank to advocate “the creation of a global security council on the environment and biodiversity.”

“Africa’s debt overhang should be on agenda of next World Bank president”

Declarations of intent aside, Africa is waiting for Ajay Banda on its debt overhang. In July, the British NGO Debt Justice published a survey showing that “39% of African countries’ accumulated external debt of $696 billion is owed to multilateral institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the AfDB”. According to a recent IMF report, “60% of African countries are at high risk of debt distress, and four of them (Zambia, Ethiopia, Chad and Ghana) have already requested debt restructuring under the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatment”.

The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt relief initiative of 20 years ago no longer seems to be working. And with good reason: times and creditors have changed. The African Union can be an ally through its debt monitoring center for its 55 member states. Together, they can help them improve the management of their public finances.

“Ajay Banda should speak to the presidents of AfDB and AIIB. He began in Africa. This is great,” said Hannah Ryder, CEO of Development Reimagined

Could Ajay Banda, the new World Bank president, be Africa’s “messiah”? For Chris Ferai, a researcher at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), “World Bank decisions reflect the views of Washington and the major non-borrowing shareholders, rather than those of the recipients”. He adds: “Ajay Banda will have to make policy and operational decisions that satisfy the interests of shareholder governments.

This pessimism is not shared by Hannah Ryder, CEO of Development Reimagined. In a recent column, she advised Ajay Banda to “speak to the presidents of the AfDB and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)”. This began in Abidjan. She welcomed this in a subsequent tweet.

Source: Africa News Agency

Burkina: 23 firefighters from 12 African countries receive their fire investigator certificates

Twenty-three firefighters from twelve African countries received their fire investigator certificates from the Higher Institute for Civil Protection Studies (ISEPC) on Friday in Ouagadougou.

“This course aimed to enable the trainee officers to have the qualification of investigator after the fires”, declared the delegate of the trainees, Colonel Ibrahim Diatta.

According to him, the training will enable them to carry out investigations to determine the probable cause of the fire through a deep analysis of the traces of fire.

Ibrahim Diatta was speaking on Friday April 7, 2023, during a ceremony to present the certificates of the twenty-three trainees, from twelve African countries who came, among others, from Senegal, Niger, Mauritania, Gabon, Madagascar, Chad, Djibouti and Congo Brazzaville.

The Director of ISEPC, Lieutenant-Colonel Boubacar Keita expressed the hope that each of the trainees from different countries will contribute to the development of fire prevention in their civil protection units.

“You would be the object of a lot of envy on the part of several companies who will want to take advantage of your expertise to poach you from your job as a firefighter, but please keep your faith in the job and do not give in to temptation. “, recommended Lieutenant-Colonel Boubacar Keita.

Source: Burkina Information Agency

Eritrea: The African Development Bank Board approves US$49.92 million to Build a 30 MW Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant in Dekemhare

The project will be instrumental in reducing the power deficit, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 42,910 Gg CO2-eq per year and reducing the cost of electricity generation to 18.5 US cents per kilowatt hour, reducing dependence on fossil fuels and, in the short to medium term, increasing the grid’s power generation capacity. It will also increase the share of renewable energy in the grid’s energy mix from 3% to 23%, creating temporary jobs during project implementation and long-term jobs after project completion.

Source: Africa News Agency

More males than females of Seychelles’ Aldabra giant tortoise on Curieuse Island

The final phase of the Aldabra giant tortoise census on Curieuse Island, organised by the Seychelles Parks and Gardens Authority (SPGA), is expected to take place in two weeks with the aim of getting a better view of the species' population on the island.

The census began in February with the help of local volunteers, the SPGA and staff of the Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB), Absa Bank and Harry Savy Insurance (HIS).

"At SPGA, we do not have enough manpower to undertake this census on our own, so we had help from volunteers, who did a really good job," said the head of the Terrestrial Research Unit, Nathalie Dusfrene.

As part of an effort to introduce the species to other islands, about 250 Aldabra giant tortoises were released on Curieuse in 1978 and they have spread across the island over the years.

Curieuse, a small granitic island of 2.9 square kilometres, is located near to the north coast of Praslin, Seychelles' second most populated island.

The island is distinguished by its bare red soil mixed with the distinctive coco de mer palms, one of the Seychelles' cultural icons and an endemic species, which are only found on the two adjacent islands.

The census was previously done on a yearly basis by Global Vision International (GVI), and the last time it was done was in 2019 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dufresne explained that the census needed to be completed so that it can help the SPGA to comprehend the island's tortoise population growth, their movement, and distribution.

"In the last census, there was a total of 134 tortoises recorded on the island, and so far in this current census, we have recorded 110, which is why we want to have a third phase, to ensure we manage to count all of them," added Dufresne.

With this census, tortoises are being measured and weight, while a gender-check is also being done, with most of the tortoises recorded were found to be male.

According to Dufresne, a larger male population will mean that more females will need to be sent to the island.

She added that to ensure tortoises are not being counted more than once, they are being marked with paint, so that they can easily be identified.

One of the world's biggest tortoises, the Aldabra giant tortoise is endemic to Seychelles and native to the Aldabra Atoll.

Aldabra tortoises can reach the weight of up to 250 kilogrammes and age of up to 150 years old.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

Seychelles to host 7 more sports fishing tournaments in 2023, next up is Marlin Slam

Nine sports fishing tournaments have been scheduled this year with the Marlin Slam coming up on April 15, while two have already taken place.

The Marlin Slam will be a release tournament in which the crew will have to film and measure their catch, before releasing them to sea. The team with the biggest marlin caught and released will be declared the winner.

After the Marlin Slam, the Trevally Slam will take place in May, followed by the South East Monsoon Sailfish Tournament, the Yellowfin Tuna Cup, the La Digue Tournament, the Junior Tournament and finally, the Big Game Classic to end the year.

The first tournament for the year was the Heineken Fun Fish Slam won by Team Tsunami on January 28.

In March, the National Championship took place, where Team Paola was the grand winner, claiming a slew of individual titles as well, after fishing for over 30 hours.

"It was tough and we did not expect to win first place, but we did our best and we are very happy with that," said Team Paola captain, Charles Marzzochi.

They were followed by Team Rasta Shark, the smallest boat in the tournament, with just four crew members, with Rig Runners in third.

The National Championships featured seven boats, but only five managed to complete the tournament.

A member of the Seychelles Sports Fishing Club (SSFC), Farouk Baptiste, explained that the low turnout could have been due to the length of time the boats had to stay at sea.

"This year, the competing boats were smaller than usual and so it was quite difficult for them to stay overnight, while other boats encountered mechanical issues that caused them to abandon their outing," added Baptiste.

Meanwhile, the team and skippers' leagues are also on this year, with teams looking to dethrone last year's winners, Team Soolyman and Francis Marie, respectively.

The Seychelles Sports Fishing Club is a relatively young club, founded in April of 2009. It is a non-profit association committed to promoting sport fishing in Seychelles, aiming to balance conservation and education with traditional angling practices.

Source: Seychelles News Agency