Chinese Oil And Gas Company Addax Petroleum Plans To Leave Gabon – AFROINSIDER
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Central Africa

Chinese Oil And Gas Company Addax Petroleum Plans To Leave Gabon

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The Chinese oil and gas group that owns Addax Petroleum is considering leaving Gabon and Nigeria to concentrate its African activities exclusively in Cameroon, where its financial health is better and its reputation still intact.

Addax Petroleum in Gabon is soon over. Its owner Sinopec would consider selling its onshore and offshore assets, as well as those of Nigeria, according to AFP. The Chinese oil and gas group has already “hired” BNP Paribas, to help it carry out future transactions in both countries, believes the site Businesslive.co.za. This media recalls that the research, over the past 8 years, of assets abroad by major Chinese oil companies “was intended to boost their energy reserves and meet the future demand of China.” Only, for more than three years, the crisis of the world oil industry helping, their ambitions were strongly revised down and their hopes showered by a price of the barrel which stagnates at about 27 dollars since 2014.

Faced with the crisis, Sinopec would no longer wish to keep in Africa only its assets in Cameroon. Especially in recent months, tensions have arisen in Nigeria, where Addax Petroleum’s facilities have been damaged by protesters. In the same country, company officials, Yi Zhang (the executive director) and Guus Klusener (the legal director), were recently accused of maintaining suspicious links with the authorities.

The two executives were “suspected of having participated in payments of several tens of millions of dollars to third parties in Nigeria. Justice suspects that these payments, which may have been used as bribes for Nigerian officials, took place in a tax dispute between Addax and the Nigerian authorities, “said in March 2017. , the Swiss newspaper La Tribune de Genève. Sinopec’s solution to “breaking the links” would therefore be to leave this country.

In Gabon, the situation of Sinopec’s subsidiary is no better. In addition to the current crisis, relations between the Gabonese state and Addax Petroleum have frequently been shaken by various cases (non-payment of TV, false counting of barrels). Each time, the Chinese operator was forced to pull out his checkbook, like the 400 million dollars (about 200 billion CFA francs) paid to the country to recover the deposit of Obangue, requisitioned in 2013.

The assets for sale in Gabon are a combination of onshore (Dinonga, Irondou and Koula / Damier) and offshore (Etam) license areas, with six productive fields in total.

Cameroon

Hamdok, UN economist turned Sudanese premier – Journal du Cameroun

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22.08.2019 at 10h54
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Sudan’s new prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, is a seasoned economist who faces the daunting task of rescuing his country’s moribund economy.

Hamdok built a career in international continental and international organisations, most recently as deputy executive secretary of the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa.

He was welcomed off the plane Wednesday by two civilian members of the new Sovereign Council that was sworn in hours earlier and will oversee his government’s work.

The joint civilian-military council replaced the transitional military council that took charge in April when Islamist general Omar al-Bashir was forced from power by relentless street protests.

The Sudanese people’s main expectation of Hamdok will be tangible solutions to the dire economic crisis Bashir’s rule and the last few months of political turmoil have caused.

“With the right vision, with the right policies, we will be able to address this economic crisis,” he told reporters after taking the oath on Wednesday.

He vowed to devise an urgent recovery programme addressing the shortages of basic commodities that have plagued Sudan and its 40 million inhabitants recently.

The protests that eventually ended Bashir’s 30-year rule were ignited in December last year by the tripling of bread prices.

– Good governance –

In the longer term, Hamdok emphasised the need to improve productivity and rebuild a banking sector he said had all but collapsed.

His credentials as an economist seem solid, as was abundantly documented in the official biography distributed to media during his oath-taking ceremony.

The text stressed Hamdok is “highly credible among African finance and development institutions, the International Monetary Fund and the Paris Club” of creditor countries.

Hamdok worked for the African Development and Trade Bank and is credited with shaping some of the policies that spurred Ethiopia’s rapid economic growth under the late prime minister Meles Zenawi.

Greeted as the saviour of Sudan’s economy, the greying, moustachioed technocrat was all smiles when he took questions from journalists on his first day on the job.

While he was outside Sudan and not directly involved in the protest movement that terminated Bashir’s rule, Hamdok’s appointment appeared to be well received by the population.

“He has the skills we need the most at the moment,” said Sumaila Ibrahim, a 21-year-old student at Khartoum University.

Hamdok is also an alumnus, having completed a degree in agricultural economics in the capital before moving to Manchester in the United Kingdom for his masters.

Besides his credentials as an economist, Hamdok has carved an image as a champion of transparency and good governance in the course of his rich career in African organisations.

– ‘Grave concerns’ –

He sat on the board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which was founded by the eponymous Sudanese-British billionaire to promote good governance and leadership in Africa.

Last year he turned down an offer by Bashir to become finance minister as part of a government reshuffle.

As the head of Sudan’s future government, which according to a roadmap laid out by protest leaders and generals is to be formed by August 28, Hamdok is not only in charge of the economy however.

He will need to draw on his experience in his various African peace-building initiatives to bring an end to deadly conflicts in Sudan’s regions of Darfur, Kordofan and Blue Nile.

This is where the co-existence between generals who all rose to their positions in Bashir’s wings and the civilians in the transition’s new institutions could be most tested.

Hamdok was born in 1958 in the state of South Kordofan, which found itself on Sudan’s southern border when South Sudan became independent in 2011, after decades of war with the north.

His own native village is now in a war zone and Hamdok will be keen to push for a resolution of Sudan’s civil conflicts, but he has his work cut out reconciling the military with the rebels.

US Congressman Jim McGovern, a keen observer of Sudanese affairs and vocal critic of Bashir’s Islamist regime, highlighted that pitfall in a statement on Wednesday.

“I look forward with hope to a transitional period that places the rights and aspirations of the Sudanese people front and centre,” the Democrat said.

“I have grave concerns, however, about whether military and political officials associated with the former regime will prove trustworthy partners given their history of violence, repression, corruption and bad faith,” he warned.

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Cameroon

Damascus to let civilians flee rebel-held Idlib – Journal du Cameroun

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22.08.2019 at 10h54
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Damascus said Thursday it is opening a corridor for civilians to leave the rebel-held northwestern region of Idlib, where government bombardment has killed hundreds since late April, state media said.

The announcement came a day after government forces captured the key Idlib province town of Khan Sheikhun from jihadists and allied rebels.

Damascus has opened such corridors out of other rebel bastions in the past as a prelude to retaking them either by force or through negotiated surrenders.

The Idlib region, which sits on the Turkish border, is now the last major stronghold of opposition to the Russia-backed government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Wednesday’s advance saw government forces cutting of a pocket of territory stretching from the south of Idlib province into neighbouring Hama, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said.

“The Syrian government announces the opening of a humanitarian corridor in Souran in the northern countryside of Hama province,” state news agency SANA quoted a foreign ministry source as saying Thursday.

The corridor will be used to evacuate “civilians who want to leave areas controlled by terrorists in northern Hama and the southern countryside of Idlib.

The Idlib region has been ruled since January by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham alliance, which is led by jihadists from Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate.

The government refers to all rebel groups in Idlib as “terrorists”.

The region of some three million people was supposed to be protected by a proposed buffer zone agreed by Moscow and rebel backer Ankara last September.

But the jihadists of HTS failed to pull back from the zone as agreed and in April government and Russian forces resumed intense bombardment of the region.

Around 890 civilians have been killed, according to the Britain-based Observatory.

More than 400,000 more have led their homes, the United Nations says.

The entry of government forces into Khan Sheikhun raises the stakes between Damascus and Ankara, which has troops deployed in the nearby town of Morek, that is now cut off.

The war in Syria has killed more than 370,000 people since it started with the brutal suppression of anti-government protests in 2011.

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Cameroon

Macron expected to rebuff Johnson during Brexit talks in Paris – Journal du Cameroun

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson heads to Paris on Thursday for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron who is expected to rebuff his last-ditch efforts to renegotiate the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Macron, who has said previously he is happy to be the “bad guy” on Brexit, roundly rejected Johnson’s calls to scrap a key plank of a deal negotiated between the EU and former British premier Theresa May.

“Renegotiation on the terms currently proposed by the British is not an option that exists, and that has always been made clear by (EU) President Tusk,” Macron told reporters on Wednesday evening.

At stake is the so-called “backstop”, an arrangement guaranteeing that border checks will not return between EU member Ireland and Northern Ireland which is part of Britain.

Johnson considers the backstop to be “anti-democratic” and an affront to British sovereignty because it will require London to keep its regulations aligned with the EU during a transition exit period.

The EU argues this is necessary to avoid the re-emergence of border checkpoints which could lead to a return of fighting on the divided island where anti-British violence has claimed thousands of lives.

– Glimmer of hope? –

The Paris visit is the second leg of Johnson’s first foreign trip since he became prime minister a month ago.

On Wednesday, he told German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin that the backstop has “grave defects for a sovereign, democratic country like the UK” and insisted the provision “has to go”.

Merkel appeared to offer a glimmer of hope by saying Britain should try to find a breakthrough to the issue over the next month.

In the search for a solution, “we have said we would probably find it in the next two years, but maybe we can do it in the next 30 days, why not? Then we are one step further in the right direction,” she said.

Johnson told Merkel he welcomed the “very blistering timetable of 30 days,” adding that “I’m more than happy with that”.

The remarks fit a pattern in which Merkel has often been more conciliatory in public about Brexit than Macron, whose abrasive remarks have sometimes caused anger in London.

“There is not the width of cigarette paper between Paris and Berlin on these issues,” a Macron aide said on Wednesday on condition of anonymity.

Macron risked further irritating Johnson, whom he described in 2017 as having “no strategic vision”, with a series of bruising remarks during his lengthy press conference on Wednesday evening.

He said the 2016 Brexit referendum had posed a question to the British people about EU membership “perhaps in a simplistic fashion” and without telling voters how the withdrawal would be achieved.

“Many lied about how it would be done,” he added in another attack on Brexit campaigners, of which Johnson was the most high profile.

– Blame game –

Johnson, who has deployed his French language skills to charm diplomats in Paris before, has staked his leadership on withdrawing Britain from the EU by the current deadline of October 31 — “do or die”.

His tough stance is seen by the French as making a “no deal” Brexit the most likely scenario and Paris has briefed journalists that it would be prepared to see Britain crash out of the EU rather than yield to Johnson’s demands.

Some analysts see a risk of relations between Macron and Johnson becoming stormy in public, which could lead to a blame game about a “no deal” Brexit that is expected to wreak major economic damage on Britain and the EU.

Johnson reportedly once called the French “turds” over their stance on Brexit during his time as foreign secretary — remarks he later said he could not recall.

But Macron pre-empted any attempt to deflect blame onto the European side.

“It will be the responsibility of the British government, always, because firstly it was the British people that decided Brexit, and the British government has the possibility up to the last second to revoke Article 50,” he said.

Article 50 is the legal mechanism used by EU members states to withdraw from the bloc which was triggered by Britain in March 2017.

At the weekend, Macron, Merkel and Johnson will meet US President Donald Trump, a vocal supporter of both Brexit and Johnson, and the leaders of Canada, Italy and Japan at a G7 summit in the French seaside resort of Biarritz.

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Cameroon

Beijing hits back after Trudeau vows to stand up to China – Journal du Cameroun

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Beijing on Thursday accused Ottawa of worsening bilateral relations after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to stand up to China amid deepening diplomatic and trade disputes.

The two countries have been locked in a feud since last December, when Canada detained top Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and — in apparent retaliation — China detained two Canadian nationals over espionage-linked accusations.

On Wednesday, Trudeau pushed back against Beijing in a speech that promised to “always defend Canadians and Canadian interests” and to not “back down”.

“At present, China-Canadian relations are facing serious difficulties,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.

“The responsibility lies entirely on the Canadian side,” he told reporters at a press briefing in Beijing.

“We urge the Canadian side to reflect on its mistakes,” Geng said, adding that Canada should “immediately” release Meng.

He also called on Canada to refrain from making “irresponsible remarks” about Hong Kong, which has been plunged into weeks of unrest by pro-democracy demonstrations.

Beijing had warned Canada on Sunday to stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs after Ottawa and the European Union issued a joint statement in support of protestors’ “fundamental right of assembly”.

Canadians are one of the largest expatriate groups in Hong Kong, numbering 300,000, according to Canadian government figures.

Relations between Canada and China tumbled over the arrest of Meng on a US extradition request related to alleged Iran sanctions.

Since then, China has arrested Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, while blocking billions of dollars in Canadian agricultural shipments.

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Cameroon

Hamdok, UN economist turned Sudanese premier – Journal du Cameroun

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22.08.2019 at 10h54
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AFP

Sudan’s new prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, is a seasoned economist who faces the daunting task of rescuing his country’s moribund economy.

Hamdok built a career in international continental and international organisations, most recently as deputy executive secretary of the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa.

He was welcomed off the plane Wednesday by two civilian members of the new Sovereign Council that was sworn in hours earlier and will oversee his government’s work.

The joint civilian-military council replaced the transitional military council that took charge in April when Islamist general Omar al-Bashir was forced from power by relentless street protests.

The Sudanese people’s main expectation of Hamdok will be tangible solutions to the dire economic crisis Bashir’s rule and the last few months of political turmoil have caused.

“With the right vision, with the right policies, we will be able to address this economic crisis,” he told reporters after taking the oath on Wednesday.

He vowed to devise an urgent recovery programme addressing the shortages of basic commodities that have plagued Sudan and its 40 million inhabitants recently.

The protests that eventually ended Bashir’s 30-year rule were ignited in December last year by the tripling of bread prices.

– Good governance –

In the longer term, Hamdok emphasised the need to improve productivity and rebuild a banking sector he said had all but collapsed.

His credentials as an economist seem solid, as was abundantly documented in the official biography distributed to media during his oath-taking ceremony.

The text stressed Hamdok is “highly credible among African finance and development institutions, the International Monetary Fund and the Paris Club” of creditor countries.

Hamdok worked for the African Development and Trade Bank and is credited with shaping some of the policies that spurred Ethiopia’s rapid economic growth under the late prime minister Meles Zenawi.

Greeted as the saviour of Sudan’s economy, the greying, moustachioed technocrat was all smiles when he took questions from journalists on his first day on the job.

While he was outside Sudan and not directly involved in the protest movement that terminated Bashir’s rule, Hamdok’s appointment appeared to be well received by the population.

“He has the skills we need the most at the moment,” said Sumaila Ibrahim, a 21-year-old student at Khartoum University.

Hamdok is also an alumnus, having completed a degree in agricultural economics in the capital before moving to Manchester in the United Kingdom for his masters.

Besides his credentials as an economist, Hamdok has carved an image as a champion of transparency and good governance in the course of his rich career in African organisations.

– ‘Grave concerns’ –

He sat on the board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which was founded by the eponymous Sudanese-British billionaire to promote good governance and leadership in Africa.

Last year he turned down an offer by Bashir to become finance minister as part of a government reshuffle.

As the head of Sudan’s future government, which according to a roadmap laid out by protest leaders and generals is to be formed by August 28, Hamdok is not only in charge of the economy however.

He will need to draw on his experience in his various African peace-building initiatives to bring an end to deadly conflicts in Sudan’s regions of Darfur, Kordofan and Blue Nile.

This is where the co-existence between generals who all rose to their positions in Bashir’s wings and the civilians in the transition’s new institutions could be most tested.

Hamdok was born in 1958 in the state of South Kordofan, which found itself on Sudan’s southern border when South Sudan became independent in 2011, after decades of war with the north.

His own native village is now in a war zone and Hamdok will be keen to push for a resolution of Sudan’s civil conflicts, but he has his work cut out reconciling the military with the rebels.

US Congressman Jim McGovern, a keen observer of Sudanese affairs and vocal critic of Bashir’s Islamist regime, highlighted that pitfall in a statement on Wednesday.

“I look forward with hope to a transitional period that places the rights and aspirations of the Sudanese people front and centre,” the Democrat said.

“I have grave concerns, however, about whether military and political officials associated with the former regime will prove trustworthy partners given their history of violence, repression, corruption and bad faith,” he warned.

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Cameroon

Cameroon: Catholic Church – Focolare Movement Is 50 in Lebialem!

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The Bishop of Mamfe, His Lordship Andrew Nkea, chaired a remembrance event in Yaounde on October 15, 2016.

The Italian missionary body, the Focolare Movement, founded by late Chiara Lubich, on September 13, 1966, set up Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom College, Fontem, in Lebialem Division of the South West Region. Christians and indigenes of the division gathered in the Saint Joseph Anglophone Parish, Mvog-Ada, Yaounde, on October 15, 2016, to celebrate 50 years of dividends of the Focolare Movement in Bangwaland.

Dubbed the Lebialem Unity Conference, on the theme, “Changing lives, building futures,” the event was attended by the Bishop of Mamfe, His Lordship Andrew Fuanya Nkea, who hails from Lebialem. It was also an occasion for Lebialem indigenes in Yaounde to commit to strengthen bonds of unity and love amongst themselves as taught by Focolarinis. “In 50 years, the movement has reduced infant mortality in Lebialem from about 90 per cent to almost zero. Other dividends include roads, closer healthcare follow-up, the advent of Christianity and education,” said Bishop Nkea. He added that though some divisions still existed amongst the people, the search for common good was beginning to overcome personal interest.

John Fongang, Chairman of the Anniversary Organising Committee, said he expected to see Lebialem people become more united and God-fearing, and the land more developed and prosperous. “Without the Focolare Movement, we would not have had any secondary school in Fontem in 1966. They also founded the Mary Hope of Africa General Hospital, Fontem. We look forward to create the Chiara Lubich International Foundation to rally support for continuing and expanding Chiara Lubich’s work in health, education, vocational training and infrastructure development in Lebialem Division,” Fongang said.

Fon Fossungu Nguarong Nicasius, President of the Lebialem Fons’ Conference, said all village development committees have committed to support the work of Chiara Lubich. “I expect Lebialem people to stand by their word so that future generations benefit more from her legacy,” he noted.

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Cameroon

Minister vows to protect Nigerians abroad, attract investment – Journal du Cameroun

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22.08.2019 at 10h21
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Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffery Onyeama has said that he will focus on security of Nigerians abroad and work to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).Onyeama said in Abuja on Wednesday after he assumed office, following his reappointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs that his focus would be in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda, which is aimed at making the Nigerian economy to be reckoned with at the ECOWAS, African Union, and global level.

Onyeama said that in implementing foreign policies, the ministry would be more aggressive and robust in engaging countries to ensure that the human rights and security of Nigerians anywhere in the world were respected.

He said that to that effect, a call number would be made available to Nigerians living abroad to enable them to call and ask for assistance wherever they were.

Speaking on the attacks on Nigerians in South Africa, Onyeama said that both countries would work on growing a special relationship between them at the presidential level.

He explained that in the framework, the issue of the security of Nigerians in South Africa would be addressed at the highest level.

Onyeama said that there was also a trust deficit between Nigerians living in South Africa and the South African Police.

He said that it was important to get both parties to work together toward addressing the issue.

”Essentially, the priorities of Mr. President is what we have to focus on and build from which are security, anti-corruption and the economy

“We have just signed to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA) and this can be a game changer for the continent and with 200 million people, we really would define the success of the AFCTA.

”So, we are going to have to cooperate and coordinate with the Ministry of Trade and Investment to ensure that we get maximum benefits from African integration,” he said.

He said that another important area of Buhari’s priority would be repatriation of looted funds across the world, engaging with countries to get all the stolen funds returned to us.

“And at the multilateral level, at the UN level, we are going to be President of the UN General Assembly for one year, starting from September.

“We have to leverage on that position to secure as much benefit at the global level for Nigeria,” Onyeama said.

Onyeama called for the support of members of staff of the ministry so that they could all work together to achieve the visions of President Buhari for a greater Nigeria.

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Cameroon

Nigeria to pump $2bn into electricity market to boost power supply – Journal du Cameroun

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The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has said that the Federal Government has approved about $2 billion for the electricity market to boost power supply.Mr. Edmund Ejie, the Market Operator of TCN said on Wednesday in Abuja, at the 3rd quarter participants and stakeholders Interactive forum for 2019.

The forum has as its theme: “Rules Compliance for Nigerian Electricity Market (NEM) Development and Sustainability”.

Ejie said the intervention by the Federal Government was at a very advanced level, adding that it had already been signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to him, the intervention is for the payment of the shortfall in electricity invoices for the entire market.

“The whopping sum of money has never been injected into the power sector before but even when it is privatised, the government is spending more telling you that the privatisation is given a red flag.

“The fund will be ready for disbursement any moment from now,” he said.

He explained that the intervention is not restricted to a single chain in the market, as it is holistic.

Mr. Usman Mohammed, the Managing Director of TCN, said that one of the factors that would make the Nigerian Electricity Market participants to thrive was by complying with rules, codes and orders.

Usman said that there was the need for the operators to be proactive in recognising that regulatory and standard compliance were the key to market development.

“The theme of the event reflects the growing recognition, concern and importance of regulatory compliance and ruling documents implementation.

“Today’s interactive forum is part of the Market Operator effort to support you and improve the market performance,” he said.

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Cameroon

Nigerian governors endorse proposed Agro-processing zones – Journal du Cameroun

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The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has said that the establishment of Special Agro-processing Zones (SAPZs) has the potential of attracting between one to four billion dollars investments into the country.The Chairman of the forum and Governor of the Ekiti, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, disclosed this while briefing newsmen after the forum’s 4th meeting on Wednesday in Abuja.

Fayemi explained that all states were potential beneficiaries of the SAPZs

initiative, which will bring together the farming and the processing community.

He disclosed that he was at the meeting and engagement with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and potential investors on the initiative.

“The Forum was briefed by its Deputy Chairman, Aminu Tabuwal of Sokoto state on the meeting between the Forum and the AfDB, the officials came in the company of existing and potential Chinese investors in Nigeria.

“The meeting was part of a series of high-level engagements driven by the AfDB to promote the establishment of SAPZs in Nigeria.

“This SAPZs, which will bring together the farming and the processing community have the potential of attracting about $1 billion from the AfDB and up to $4 billion with the entry of private sector investors,” he said.

Fayemi said that the governors already agreed with the AfDB that a tasks desk for the initiative would be at NGF Secretariat to coordinate the interests expressed from various states.

On the issue of health, he said that members of the forum resolved to continue to support the actualization of universal health coverage in Nigeria.

This, according to him, followed update from the NGF Secretariat on Basic Health Care Fund (BHCF), State Health Insurance Agency and the fact that Nigeria had been polio-free for three years and on the verge of being certified polio free.

“The Governors expressed willingness to prioritize routine immunization coverage in the States which will ensure that Nigeria is declared polio free and ensure sustainability moving forward,” he said.

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Mexico arrests six police over 2015 Michoacan massacre – Journal du Cameroun

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Mexican authorities Wednesday arrested six federal police officers over their alleged involvement in a 2015 massacre in which 16 people were killed in the western state of Michoacan.

“The six people were arrested with full respect for their human rights, without violence or the involvement of third parties, to be made available to the judge who requested them,” the attorney general said in a statement.

The officers were arrested inside federal police facilities.

On January 6, 2015, at least 16 people were killed and several others wounded when federal police allegedly shot at members and supporters of civilian self-defense militias who were demonstrating at the city hall in Apatzingan, Michoacan.

At the time, the government of then-president Enrique Pena Nieto said the members of the self-defense groups had died in the crossfire.

However, a journalistic investigation revealed that the federal police had killed unarmed protesters in cold blood.

Michoacan is a flash-point in the violent organized-crime wars that have swept Mexico in recent years, leading to the rise of self-defense groups six years ago and the deployment of soldiers to the state in 2014.

On August 8 this year, 19 bodies were found in a turf war between drug gangs in the city of Uruapan in Michoacan.

The government first deployed the army to fight criminal gangs at the end of 2006 — a strategy that critics say has only led to an escalation in the grisly violence.

Since then more than 250,000 murders have been recorded, according to official figures, although it is not detailed how many are linked to the fight against crime.

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Cameroon

Cameroon: Douala Vocational Training Centre – Fruit of New Vision Technical Education

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The Centre solves the equation of training and employment as it trains youth ready for employment or to create jobs.

The Douala Advanced Vocational Training Centre known in French as the ‘Centre de Formation Professionelle d’Excellence’ is one of the pilot vocational training centres alongside that of Limbe and Samgmelima within government’s new vision of the professional training system in Cameroon.

Built with technical assistance from Korea, the centre offers training in the industrial, tertiary and services sectors. In the industrial sector, the centre offers training in electrical engineering, industrial electrotechnic, mechanics, beauty, wood work, fashion design, welding and boilmaking, plumbing and pipping, automotive, industrial maintenance, computer and network maintenance as well as electrical habilitation.

As concerns the tertiary sector, the centre offers training in office automation, multimedia, infographics -serigraphy, accounting, tax system, marketing, DAO, CAO-PAO. Concerning services, the centre offers initial and continuous training as a support centre for business consulting and a research centre.

The centre also offers refresher courses for the certification of workers requalification and reconversion as well as VAE- empowerment. Admissions to the centre situated in Bassa-Douala is open to holders of a First School Leaving Certificate, or CAP or students of form four in technical education or form 5 in general education. The cost of training a student ranges from FCFA 450,00 to 500,000.

The centre is built on 27,000m2 piece of land and comprises nine buildings for theoretical classes and nine well equipped workshops for practical lessons. It was inaugurated by the Prime Minister, Philemon Yang on December 16, 2016. It is worthy to mention that the government is envisaging constructing similar centres in all the ten regional headquarters of Cameroon.

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Cameroon

Cameroon: Kribi Port Management – National Enterprises Seek Active Participation

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Prime Minister Chief Joseph Dion Ngute on August 20, 2019 received a delegation of Cameroonian enterprises grouped under the “Kribi Port Multiple Operators”.

Cameroonian enterprises operating in the Kribi Seaport Port want concessions to be given them so that they actively take part in the management of the port. Prime Minister, Head of Government, Chief Dr Joseph Dion Ngute on August 20, 2019 afternoon had discussions with a delegation of representatives of Cameroonian enterprises grouped under the banner of “Kribi Port Multiple Operators” (KPMO).

Talking to the press after the discussions, the delegation leader, Manimben Gabriel said enterprises are involved in the indirect management of the multipurpose terminal of the port. They presented some problems to the Prime Minister as to the future of the enterprises in the port considering that a provisional adjudicator is in place and they are not concerned. He said the Prime Minister understood their complaints and said all will be done to valorise national competences in the management of the country’s seaports.

The Administrator of KPMO, Divine Pungong corroborated the delegation leader by saying that they used the discussions with the Head of Government to do a succinct analysis of their activities at the Kribi Ports Multipurpose Terminal and kept the Prime Minister abreast of their projections and methodology for this year. KPMO delegation members also thanked the Prime Minister for the continuous government support and confidence bestowed on it as a national company to handle and manage the port in Kribi. Stating the capabilities of KPMO, Mr Pungong said, “We manage more than 70 per cent of the non-containerised cargo in Douala Seaport and we are proving it in Kribi that we have the necessary probity, the competence and the general know-how to handle any ports operation. We are urging the Prime Minister to have confidence in local logistics companies because the port is a national asset and we can do it,” he concluded.

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Press agog with Buhari’s proposed visit to South Africa, inauguration of ministers – Journal du Cameroun

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22.08.2019 at 09h21
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The proposed visit to South Africa by President Muhammadu Buhari and the inauguration
of 43 ministers are some of the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Thursday.ThisDay reported that President Muhammadu Buhari will embark on a state visit to South

Africa as part of efforts to put an end to incessant xenophobic attacks on Nigerians living

in South Africa.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, disclosed this on Wednesday in

Abuja during a media interaction shortly after the inauguration of ministers.

The newspaper also reported the inauguration of the 43-member cabinet by President

Buhari and allocation of portfolios to the ministers.

The Nation also said the ministers on Wednesday made promises of better times ahead. From

communications to health, information and culture, finance, justice and others, the ministers

requested for cooperation from the officials and staff of the ministries to achieve the Next

Level agenda.

It said also that the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) has reserved judgment to a

date to be communicated to the parties. The Presiding Justice of the court, Justice

Mohammed Garba stated on Wednesday while adjourning proceedings after parties

adopted their final written addresses and made their final submissions.

The Daily Trust reported that the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Kano has threatened

to relocate to Abuja if any of its members face the slightest security threat in the state.

The Presiding judge, Justice Halima S. Muhammad, said this while condemning a cyber

attack meted on one of the witnesses who testified before the tribunal for the Independent

National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the case.

The Punch quoted the National Chairman of the All Progressives Committee, Adams

Oshiomhole, that the party had become wiser from court’s judgements which disqualified

its candidates in the past.

Oshiomhole spoke during the inauguration of the Governorship Screening Committees for

the APC aspirants for the August 29 Kogi and Bayelsa state primaries.

The Sun reported that the Adamawa State Police Command has debunked the reports that

13 members of the vigilance operatives and another 20 of its members have been injured

while fighting crimes within two months.

The Guardian said President Buhari has reappointed Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu as

Special Adviser and Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity). He also re-appointed

Mr. Laolu Akande as Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) to the Vice President.

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Congo

Congo-Kinshasa: UN Chief to Travel to Epicenter of DRC Ebola Outbreak

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U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will travel to the epicenter of an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo next week.

The DRC is no stranger to periodic outbreaks of the Ebola virus, but this most recent epidemic is the worst the African nation has seen in 40 years.

The World Health Organization says the country has recorded more than 2,800 confirmed cases and at least 1,900 deaths from the virus, which spreads primarily through contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected fruit bats or monkeys.

Guterres plans to visit the country for three days, arriving Aug. 31. His spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, told reporters that Guterres wants to assess the situation and mobilize additional support for the response.

“In the province of North Kivu, he is scheduled to meet with Ebola survivors and health workers during a visit to an Ebola treatment center,” Dujarric said.

He also is to meet with Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi in the capital, Kinshasa.

In July, the WHO declared the Ebola outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern.

The majority of cases have been concentrated in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, in the country’s northeast, but cases have emerged in other parts of the country.

At least three cases were also confirmed in June in neighboring Uganda. The people infected with the virus there had traveled from the DRC and had been in contact with a relative who died of Ebola.

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Cameroon

Cameroon: Separatists Attack Over Leader’s Life Sentence

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Cameroon’s Anglophone separatists have attacked towns and villages in protest after a military tribunal gave their leader and 9 supporters life sentences. Cameroon’s military says at least two people were killed in Bamenda and six wounded in a shoot-out with separatists.

Food seller Donatus Ngwa, 24, fled fighting Wednesday in the northwestern English-speaking town of Bamenda to French-speaking Mbouda.

He says separatist fighters started chasing people off Bamenda’s streets on Tuesday night. Wednesday, they were shooting indiscriminately in the air, Ngwa says, assaulting those who disobeyed them and ordering everyone to leave the streets.

Nearly 100 Cameroonians have fled to Mbouda since Tuesday, when a Yaounde military tribunal found separatist leader Julius Ayuk Tabe and nine supporters guilty of secession, terrorism and hostility against Cameroon. All 10 were given lifetime prison sentences and ordered to pay a fine of $50 million.

Rights groups and other critics condemned the court’s ruling, saying it would impede efforts to end the conflict, which has left 2,000 people dead in the past three years.

Activist Edward Nfor says the sentences risk inflaming further violence.

“I would not be surprised if the violence this time will be very disastrous and might stretch a little bit further into the other parts of the country,” he said. “Let the head of state do something about this. The time is now to think on another strategy to calm down tensions.”

Separatists on social media ordered everyone in Cameroon’s English-speaking western regions to stay at home as a sign of protest over the sentences. They also vowed to step up their fight to make Cameroon’s English-speaking regions independent of the French majority.

The governor of the English-speaking northwest region, Deben Tchoffo, called on the population to be calm and work with the military.

“They can be assured of the availability of the administrative authorities and the security services to help them,” he said. “I am asking the population of the northwest region to remobilize themselves to shun out of the region those who are terrorizing the population, threatening them.”

Violence erupted in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions in 2016, when teachers and lawyers protested alleged discrimination at the hands of the French-speaking majority.

The government responded with a crackdown that sparked an armed movement for an independent, English-speaking state.

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Congo

Congo-Kinshasa: How Outbreaks Like Ebola Extract Huge Social and Economic Costs

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Epidemics, or infectious disease outbreaks, are invariably disruptive and tend to have far-reaching effects on individuals and communities. Humanity has endured a myriad of epidemics, some of which have wiped out entire communities.

The impact of an epidemic depends on a range of factors. These include the level of contagion, availability of effective remedies, the responsiveness of health systems and the impact on human life such as disability and death. Other factors can play a part too; for example, asking people to change their behaviour, or prevailing social norms. With big epidemics such as HIV/Aids and Ebola, loss of family members means economic and social hardship for many dependants.

The risk of disease outbreak is an ever-present threat and currently, the situation is aggravated by a number of factors. Some of these include a growing human population, fast public transport systems, urbanisation and dense housing systems, and an unsustainable exploitation of the environment which brings humans into contact with wildlife, and the infectious diseases that spread between animals and humans.

All these increase the chances of disease outbreaks occurring and spreading fast. The situation is also compounded by weak surveillance systems that are unable to detect and respond early.

So what are the potential consequences of infectious disease outbreaks? To answer the question, I grouped the impact outbreaks can have into different categories – international, national and community.

I also highlighted some of the less expected or unforeseen consequences that have been reported using the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as an example.

Impact at international and national levels

Epidemics can disrupt trade and service delivery through travel restrictions, and lost productivity due to illness and death. The West African Ebola outbreak is estimated to have knocked more than US$2 billion off the GDPs of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. This was mainly due to a slowdown in private sector investment, reduced agricultural production and cross-border trade, and travel restrictions.

There can also be massive social ramifications where prohibitions are imposed on travel, socio-cultural events and schooling.

Healthcare systems are also affected. When resources are diverted, entire public health systems are weakened. This can lead to reduced use of services, reduced quality of care, and the emergence of other diseases. Often when a country goes into “emergency mode”, accountability measures are relaxed, allowing neglect and corruption to take root.

Impact at community level

Where epidemics are confined to communities – which is often the case – resources are redirected from elsewhere to help stem the epidemic. While this might be well-intentioned, it could be viewed as restrictive and discriminatory. The consequences of this might include social unrest, a breakdown in social norms, and disruption in social life.

In addition other services, especially preventive care at the community level can suffer. This exposes entire communities to other health challenges. During the Ebola outbreak in West Africa service delivery reduction for other conditions was estimated at 50%. This resulted in a sharp rise in deaths from preventable conditions, such as measles.

Another consequence is that people’s social lives are disrupted. For example, funeral processes are sometimes banned and other social activities and festivities restricted. In 2014, the funeral of a well-known traditional healer in Sierra Leone was linked to over 365 Ebola-related deaths. Her death was a trigger for the spread of the disease in Sierra Leone and neighbouring Guinea.

The result of this was that local communities had to be taken through alternative ways of safely interring their loved ones in a dignified manner. While it was not an overnight success, the number of infections stemming from the handling of corpses reduced significantly.

Coping with epidemics also has a political consequence. In the DRC national elections were delayed in the eastern region owing to the heightened risk of Ebola infection. Citizens also tend to feel that their governments are not acting fast enough especially when infection rates seem to be skyrocketing. This leads to resentment and instability.

Dealing with the unexpected

There are instances when epidemics are hard to manage because of unforeseen circumstances or unexpected consequences. The Ebola outbreak in the DRC is a case in point.

The eastern region of the country has experienced armed insecurity for decades. Millions of lives have been lost. The presence of the central government – its influence and administrative authority in the region – remains weak.

Insecurity and expansion of the epidemic seem to be mutually reinforcing and fuelling each other. Due to the violence that has been directed at both the civilian population and the healthcare system in recent months, there have been massive displacements. This in turn has hampered service provision and seeking of professional health assistance. Eight months into the epidemic, rebels in DRC were reported to have murdered some health professionals, as well as demolishing a treatment and containment centre.

Another example of an unexpected hurdle is when misconceptions abound and epidemics are poorly understood. This is particularly the case when there’s no effective vaccine or treatment. Again, the DRC and West Africa outbreaks are a good example of this: most people believed in the power of saltwater baths and traditional medicine as an effective way of treating the infection.

In other reports people in eastern DRC are said to believe that the disease was introduced deliberately by outsiders for selfish and business intentions. A survey published in the Lancet revealed that about 26% of respondents did not believe the Ebola outbreak was real.

This definitely affects healthcare provision and often fuels conflict between the public and service providers.

The probability of the occurrence of emerging and re-emerging epidemics is high, and the potential impacts are grave. As human beings, we can only hedge against this through prevention, active surveillance, awareness creation, developing effective methods of containment, as well as developing new vaccines.

The international community must invest more in healthcare systems.

Abdhalah Ziraba, Associate Research Scientist, African Population and Health Research Center

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Congo

Congo-Kinshasa: Why the DRC Ebola Outbreak Was Declared a Global Emergency and Why It Matters

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In mid-July the WHO declared the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. At the time over 2000 cases had been reported. A factor that is likely to have influenced the decision was that a new case had been noted near Goma near the border with Rwanda. The fear was that the disease would spread through Goma, a city of 2 million people, and that it would rapidly cross into Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi.

The decision was taken by the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee. It made its decision at the fourth meeting it had held since the DRC epidemic began a year ago.

Global efforts to manage epidemics are documented as far back as the black plague in Europe in the 14th century, where borders were monitored for infections. Since that time, rules have been developed and honed to keep up with the emergence of new diseases as well as with the growing complexities of a world that’s increasingly connected through travel and trade.

An epidemic refers to a specific pattern of exponential growth in infections – above the usual expected occurrence – over a short time frame, usually days or weeks. Epidemics have an acutely disruptive and immediate impact that requires urgent attention.

Ebola is an example. Any delay in response can be critical because of the exponential growth in case numbers. This was seen during the outbreak in West Africa in 2014. In March there were only hundreds of cases. Within months the number had spiked to over 28,000. Most could have been prevented if there had been a more immediate response.

Other diseases such as malaria or HIV can affect large numbers of people too, but are not epidemic diseases. Changes to these endemic infections occur more slowly, typically over years.

Measles is another epidemic disease. Even though there’s a cheap and effective vaccine and vaccination rates are high in many countries, it remains a leading killer in the world. Outbreaks continue to occur in low and high income settings. So why hasn’t it been declared a public health emergency of international concern?

The seriousness of an epidemic is a function of several factors. These include the degree of contagiousness and potential for rapid spread, severity of infection, case fatality rate (the number of infected people who die), availability of vaccines or treatment, impact on travel and trade, and the socioeconomic context.

Measles is in fact much more contagious than Ebola. But the case fatality rate is much lower – 0.2% compared to 50%-90% for Ebola.

The context of the epidemic also matters. For example the risk from Ebola was much higher in West Africa in 2014 where the case fatality rate was over 70%, compared to only 20% in the US where high quality healthcare was available.

So, the combination of a serious epidemic disease such as Ebola, with a high case fatality rate, occurring in a low income setting beset by conflict, as well as the risk of spread to other countries, would have influenced the WHO decision on Ebola in the DRC. Perhaps the delay in making the decision in the 2014 in West Africa – now recognised as a missed opportunity – may also have been a consideration.

What it triggers

Declaration of a “public health emergency of international concern” by the WHO triggers a number of things.

The first is that it signals a commitment to provide international resources for the response.

The second is that it enables other provisions of the International Health Regulations. These originated from the International Sanitary Regulations of the mid 1900s, which were used to control cholera epidemics. At this time, there was increasing awareness of the social and economic affects of epidemic diseases across borders, as well as concern about undue interference with trade.

In 1969 the regulations were renamed the “International Health Regulations” by the World Health Organisation. They were then modified in 1973 and 1981. But even then they provided a framework for only 3 diseases – cholera, yellow fever and plague. The principles behind them was

maximum security against the international spread of diseases with a minimum interference with world traffic.

In 1995, formal revision commenced to expand the scope of the regulations with six proposed categories of reportable syndromes:

  • acute haemorrhagic fever syndrome,
  • acute respiratory syndrome,
  • acute diarrhoeal syndrome,
  • acute jaundice syndrome,
  • acute neurological syndrome, and
  • other notifiable syndromes.

In addition, five factors were proposed to determine if a cluster of syndromes was urgent and of international importance. These were rapid transmission in the community, unexpectedly high case fatality ratio, a newly recognised syndrome, high political and media profile, and trade or travel restrictions.

The last revision to the regulations was done in 2005 following the SARS epidemic of 2003.

The five substantive changes from the prior version were:

  • a dramatic expansion of the scope of the regulations,
  • the creation of obligations on states to develop minimum core surveillance and response capacities,
  • granting WHO the authority to access and use non-governmental sources of surveillance information,
  • granting WHO the power to declare a public health emergency of international concern and to issue recommendations on how states-parties deal with it; and
  • the incorporation of human rights concepts into the implementation of the regulations.

The regulations set down how an emergency will be managed. This includes setting up a roster of experts appointed by the Director General of WHO in all relevant fields of expertise. Then an emergency committee is drawn from this roster for advice. The committee has to decide on a range of issues to do with managing the epidemic. This includes whether an event constitutes a global emergency and when it should be ended.

But the regulations can only go so far. Many countries cannot comply with them due to lack of resources. And their contribution to controlling the 2014 Ebola outbreak is unclear, as it was invoked late in the epidemic .

Since the Ebola epidemic of 2014 the regulations have only been invoked twice, for the Zika virus epidemic in 2016 and for the Ebola epidemic in DRC in 2019.

In the case of Zika virus, case fatality was low. But the decision to declare a global emergency was because there was so much that wasn’t known about birth defects and neurological illness caused by the virus.

More than a health issue

Many of the problems of global emergencies are not specific health problems, but relate to civil society, community engagement, law and order and border control. In the 2014 Ebola epidemic, for example, a health promotion team was massacred in Guinea because local people were fearful of outsiders coming to their village.

Similar issues have arisen in the DRC, including burning down of treatment centres in Katwa and Butembo.

This highlights the importance of grassroots community empowerment and mobilisation, engagement of local leaders, cultural sensitivity and risk communication in epidemic response.

The environment of violence, conflict and lack of trust surrounding the current epidemic would no doubt have been part of the deliberations of the WHO expert committee. The decision to declare a public health emergency of international concern in July 2019 when there were around 2000 cases was prudent given the lessons learned after delaying the declaration of the 2014 epidemic.

C Raina MacIntyre, Professor of Global Biosecurity, NHMRC Principal Research Fellow, Head, Biosecurity Program, UNSW and Obijiofor Aginam, Deputy-Director & Head of Governance for Global Health, United Nations University-International Institute for Global Health, United Nations University

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Congo

Rwanda, DR Congo Agree on Joint Mechanism to Fight Ebola Outbreak

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Rwanda and Congo on Wednesday discussed and agreed on joint mechanisms for prevention and control of Ebola virus.

This follows a visit by Théo Ngwabidje, Governor of the Southern Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Alphonse Munyantwali, Governor of the Western Province to Bukavu region in Congo on Wednesday.

The visit was part of efforts to strengthen cross border cooperation in regards to Ebola surveillance and continue ensuring free movement of people between both provinces.

According to a joint communique signed by both parties, Rwanda and Congo agreed to increase regular communication aimed at addressing issues of mutual interests.

This includes sharing lists of people who have been in contact with Ebola victims or suspected cases.

The two countries further committed to ensuring free movement of people and goods between the two provinces as well as ensuring that epidemic surveillance measures are implemented in order to prevent the spread of the Ebola Virus as specified by the joint technical teams.

On August 6th, the two countries through the respective ministries of health agreed to set up a joint roadmap for cross-border activities aimed at combating the Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic.

This was in response to the death of more than 1,600 people Ebola in DR Congo since the outbreak began in August 2018.

Among the aspects of the joint roadmap was establishing a cross-border consultation framework, common mechanisms for the prevention and case management of including surveillance, sharing information, vaccination and case management.

This would allow for the smooth movement of people and goods across the borders without raising their vulnerability.

Ebola was in July declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), calling on the international community to step up its support.

PHEIC is a formal declaration by the UN agency in charge of world health matters of an extraordinary event, which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other states through the international spread of disease.

Beyond the measures set up by the joint mechanism, Rwanda is in talks to acquire at least 100,000 doses of an Ebola vaccine for a mass vaccination campaign that targets traders around the country’s border with DR Congo.

The World Health Organisation last week announced that they now have an Ebola vaccine that is more than 97 per cent effective and treatments that are more than 90 per cent effective if used early enough.

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Cameroon

Ahmadou Sardaouna becomes Société immobilière du Cameroun’s MD – CameroonOnline.org

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Business in Cameroon | On August 20, 2019, Ahmadou Sardaouna was appointed as the managing director of Société immobilière du Cameroun (SIC), a real estate company in Cameroon. The civil engineer who graduated from the National School of Public Works in Yaounde replaces Gabriel Bengono who has been leading the company since 2012.

Before his appointment, Ahmadou Sardaouna, who holds a Doctorate in project management from Atlantic International University in Honolulu, USA, was the general secretary of Cameroon’s ministry of housing and urban development.

During SIC administrative board’s meeting of August 20, 2019, Célestine Ketcha Courtes, minister of housing and urban development, was also chosen as the president of the company’s administrative board.

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Cameroon

Cameroon: International Humanitarian Day – ICRC Counts Achievements

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Some of them were presented to the press on Monday in Douala.

Celebrated every 19 August, World Humanitarian Day is directed towards honouring humanitarian efforts worldwide and propagating the idea of supporting people in crisis. Against this backdrop, some journalists in Douala have been briefed on the activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC. During the meeting officials explained that they were out to care for those suffering as a result of conflict. As a result of the ongoing crisis in the North West and South West regions, ICRC has established its offices in Buea and Bamenda. According to the communication officer for Cameroon, Merilyne Nchare Ojong, they have staff on the ground evaluating the humanitarian situation. She said they want to get firsthand information so as to know how to target their activities. So far, she went on, ICRC has offered foodstuff worth millions of FCFA to some Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Mutengene and Ekona in the South West Region. She said they have also trained journalists in both regions on how to report on the humanitarian situation of the crisis. She alsodisclosed that they have visited detainees in Buea and Bamenda toensure that they are not being molested. For Alex Lock Mbah, staff of the communication unit of ICRC, they have also launched a programme to reinstate detainees in the society. He said ex detainees are often being stigmatised consequently, the programme will go a long way to ensure that the population accept ex detainees as normal human beings. To him the detainees will get reinstated with their families and the world at large with no problems. He also added that, they have also assisted families to find lost members who went missing while escaping from violence.

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