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Economy

Pan African Passport Is One Year Old, Has The Vibe Died?

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an african union passport, back page

July 17, 2017 marks exactly a year since the African Union (A.U.) launched the African passport in Kigali, Rwanda.

The first copies were issued to Rwandan president, Paul Kagame and the then-A.U. President, Idris Deby Itno of Chad during the 27th A.U. summit held at the Kigali International Conference Center (KICC).

According to the immediate past A.U. Commission chair, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the initial plan was to issue the documents to African Heads of State, Foreign Affairs ministers and top diplomats.

She said back then that the A.U. has received massive calls to make the document available and therefore tasked governments to accept the challenge of issuing the African passports to their nationals within their own processes.

At the heart of the passport is the free movement (visa-free) access across all A.U. member nations. The African passport will thus supersede all existing national documents.

The passport is a key component of the continental bloc’s Agenda 2063 action plan. It basically emphasizes the need for greater integration among members. It is built on freedom of movement agreements such as the 1991 Abuja treaty.

Questions worthy of note:

1. How many countries have started processes aimed at providing the African passport to their citizens?2. Can ordinary Africans realistically look forward to receiving copies by 2018 as projected by the A.U.?

3. How will visa restrictions which affects most Africans play out in the general scheme of events?

Excerpts of the former A.U. Chair, Dlamini Zuma’s remarks in July 2016

“At the Summit in January 2016 this year, you decided that we must launch the African Passport. We are making this start with our Heads of State and Government, with Foreign Ministers, the leadership of the RECs and Organs.

“But, we’ve been overwhelmed by requests, and enquiries of other Ministers, officials, and Africans citizens to share in this privilege of holding an African passport.

“We will therefore suggest to the Summit for consideration, as we launch the African passport today, that we agree to create the conditions for Member states to issue the passport to their citizens, within their national policies, as and when they are ready.

“It is therefore my distinct honour to present the African passports to the Chairperson of the African Union, His Excellency President Idriss Deby and to our Host, His Excellency President Paul Kagame.

“Our teams during the cause of the two days shall capture the details of other Excellencies Heads of State and Government, so that you too shall receive your African passports,” she concluded.

Shaban Abdur Rahman Alfa
Digital journalist
Pointe-Noire, Republic of Congo
alfa.shaban@africanews.com

Business

Kenya’s economy records slowest growth in five years

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Kenya’s economy grew by 4.9 per cent in 2017, recording the slowest margin in five years amid prolonged electoral process and adverse weather.

(more…)

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Economy

Tunisia – Marouane Abbassi tackles the deficit of the trade balance

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The new governor of the Central Bank of Tunisia, Marouane Abassi, has begun to put the groundbreaking in the huge construction site that awaits. (more…)

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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. (more…)

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Economy

Gambia Set To Remove Ex-leader’s Face On Banknotes

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Gambia’s reserve bank announced it will be printing new bank notes that will see the country’s ex-authoritarian ruler’s face taken off the West African nation’s currency.

Yahya Jammeh printed his face on the Gambian dalasis in 2015 after criticizing the country’s first post-colonial leader, Sir Dawda Jawara for printing his face on banknotes when it was printed in 1971. He removed Jawara’s face putting locals until 2015.

“For us, we also don’t want to see Yahya Jammeh’s head on the Gambian dalasi but it is very expensive to print currency. When you issue millions you have to charge millions to your profit and loss accounts,” said Bakary Jammeh, Central Bank Governor.

“So the (Jammeh’s) face is gradually facing out because notes that come in here do not go out again. And the new stock we will print will take us the whole of 2018 without his head.”

Jammeh, a former soldier, ruled the small English-speaking West African country from 1994 to January 2017, but now lives in exile in Equatorial Guinea.

His regime is accused by human rights defenders of systematically torturing political opponents and journalists, extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances.

Gambia’s economy is expected to grow by three percent. The country’s foreign exchange reserve has increased five-folds, covering four months of imports and its debts have been reduced to 112 percent from 124 percent of the GDP.

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Eastern Africa

Eritrea Becomes The 45th African Country To Join Afrexim Bank

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Eritrea becomes the 48th African country to join the African Export-Import Bank as a participating state and/or shareholder. The East African country of Eritrea has joined the membership of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), becoming the 48th African country to become a participating state or a shareholder in the continental multilateral trade finance institution.

In the instrument of accession, signed yesterday by Berhane Habtemariam, the Minister of Finance, and delivered to Afreximbank by the Ministry, Eritrea declared its acceptance and accession to the “Agreement for the Establishment of the Bank” and committed to taking all necessary steps for the ratification of that Agreement.

Eritrea’s membership of Afreximbank comes in the wake of a recent visit to Asmara by a delegation led by Bank President Dr. Benedict Oramah during which Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki expressed Eritrea’s willingness to join Afreximbank as a Member State.

During the meeting on Friday, President Afwerki said that Eritrea would aim to be an effective contributor in Afreximbank in order to encourage and ensure the creation of the environment for the delivery of the services for which the Bank was created.

The membership also follows the recent acquisition of shares in the Bank by South Africa which has named the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa as its designated investor.

Under the terms of the Agreement for the Establishment of the Bank, which was signed by Participating States in Abidjan on 8 May 1993, countries that did not sign on before it entered into force are required to first issue an instrument of acceptance and accession and then proceed to formally ratify the Agreement in order to fully activate their membership of the Bank.

Membership of the Bank gives Eritrea automatic access to the full range of products and facilities offered by Afreximbank, including trade finance facilities, project finance services, trade information and advisory services, support in the development of a local content policy and assistance in developing and implementing industrial parks and special economic zones.

Countries currently on the list of Afreximbank participating and shareholding states include Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, and Lesotho.

Others are Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Afreximbank shareholders are a mix of public and private entities divided into four classes and consist of African governments, central banks, regional and sub-regional institutions, private investors and financial institutions, as well as non-African financial institutions, export credit agencies and private investors.

Class “A” shareholders are African states, African central banks and African public institutions, including the African Development Bank, while Class “B” is made up of African financial institutions and African private investors.

Class “C” shares are held by non-African investors, mostly international banks and export credit agencies, including Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC, Citibank, China Exim Bank and Exim India. Class “D” shares, a tier approved in December 2012, are fully paid value shares that can be held by any investor.

SBM Securities, Mauritius, is currently the only investor in this class on behalf of holders of its depository receipts which are listed on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius.

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Economy

South African Economy In Bad Shape As Political Stakes Rise

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South Africa’s finance minister received some faint praise last week ,not for the economy’s performance,Picture: Supplied

South Africa’s finance minister received some faint praise last week ,not for the economy’s performance, but for admitting the country is in a dire position that is set to get worse.

Malusi Gigaba delivered a mid-term budget that laid bare South Africa’s struggle with slow growth, tax income shortfalls, rising debt and high unemployment.

The daunting challenges recently caused business confidence to dip to the lowest level since the apartheid era, reflecting wider fears that the achievements of the new, democratic South Africa are turning to dust.

Gigaba’s budget statement on Wednesday slashed the GDP growth forecast for 2017 from 1.3 percent to just 0.7 percent, and revealed that by 2020, 15 percent of government revenue would be eaten up by debt repayment.

Much of the criticism has been aimed at President Jacob Zuma, who is accused of enriching a new corrupt elite rather than helping the poverty-stricken black majority.

“President Zuma is unlikely to pursue any real reforms that would reverse the very negative sentiment amongst investors and consumers,” London-based Eurasia analyst, Darias Jonker told AFP.

“Gigaba is being more honest about the scale of the problem as he wants to put distance between himself and an increasingly unpopular Zuma.”

‘All its gory detail’

But Jonker warned that Gigaba’s budget “did not offer a tangible solution for getting out of the low-growth trap,” and added that the ruling ANC party could lose in the 2019 election as urban voters feel the pinch.

In his speech to parliament, Gigaba vowed not to “sugar-coat” the state of the economy and said that “the period ahead is not going to be an easy one”.

The Business Day newspaper said he had “set out the situation in all its gory detail”, describing the lowered GDP forecast as the moment that “the whole fiscal ship begins to wobble” for Africa’s most industrialised economy.

South Africa lost its investment-grade credit rating in March when two major ratings agencies downgraded its sovereign debt to junk status following the sacking of Gigaba’s respected predecessor, Pravin Gordhan.

The latest budget figures sharply increased the likelihood of further downgrades that would lead to the withdrawal of more foreign investment, higher borrowing costs and rising inflation.

Gigaba’s speech triggered the biggest sell-off of government bonds since September 2011, and about 200 billion rand ($14 billion) could be taken out if the local-currency debt is downgraded.

‘Worsen even further’

Rating agencies are expected to scrutinise the expenditure ceiling that Gigaba said would be breached by nearly 4 billion rand this year — in part due to the bailout of the chronically loss-making South African Airways.

Unemployment is at a record high of 27.7 percent, more than half of the 56.5-million population live in poverty, and business confidence in August was at its lowest level since the mid-1980s.

One day after the budget statement, the rand fell to its lowest level against the dollar since last November.

The raft of grim economic data comes as tensions rise within the African National Congress, which will choose a new party leader in December to replace Zuma.

The race has exacerbated divisions, as Zuma appears to back his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma against the other leading contender, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Zuma will stay on as national president — but some analysts predict the party could split, ushering in severe political uncertainty.

Gigaba was “at least frankly honest about the situation the country is facing,” Sean Muller, an economist at the University of Johannesburg, wrote after the budget statement.

“The country’s finances could worsen even further if the outcome of the governing party’s elective conference in December doesn’t see a return to good governance.”

Muller said the economy was on a course that could “undermine the ideals and objectives of the post-apartheid era for many years to come”.

-AFP

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Economy

Egypt Knocks Off South Africa, Becomes No1 Investment Destination In Africa

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egypt

Egypt has replaced South Africa and made it to the top of “Where to invest in Africa in 2018” list released by the Rand Merchant Bank (RMB)

South Africa is now second on the list. RMB said in a report, “Egypt displaced South Africa because of its superior economic activity score and sluggish growth rates in South Africa, which have deteriorated markedly over the past seven years.”

The top ten investment destinations include Morocco in the third place and Ethiopia in the fourth place.

In November 2016, Egypt started its economic reform program backed by the IMF after it had taken several measures, including the imposition of Value Added Taxes (VAT) and gradual removal of subsidies, to receive a $US 12 billion loan.

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Conflicts

Craig Murray, Former Ambassador Exposes The Attrocities Of The British Government (Must Watch)

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In this video Craig Murray, a former British Diplomat said, I worked in the British Foreign office. I became the British Ambassador. I was a British diplomat for 20 years. I was alway patriotic to be British. I was very very proud, I remember when I first became a British Ambassador and I first went out on my own flag car with the Union Jack flying on the front as the Ambassador.

I had a lump on my throat, it’s a proud moment for me. It was only 6 months and I discovered that in a country where I was Ambassador, we and Americans were shipping people in order for them to be tortured and some of them were tortured to death. Now as you may imagine, my world view changed.

Also Watch Breaking – David Cameron caught on camera saying Nigeria and Afghanistan are fantastically corrupt!

It was at the same time about a month later we invaded Iraq against the will of the Security Council. Not just without the will of the security council. But in the full knowledge that if we had gone to the security council, we would be voted down. I as a British diplomat, I saw all the internal memos that went through all that decision. I know for a certain.

“  Anybody who is voting ‘no’ is voting to support a psychologically flawed,   pathologica state, which is a danger to the world. A rogue state. A state prepared to go to war to make a few people wealthy.

I used to be head of FCO unit that monitored Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. I know for certain I can tell you they knew there weren’t any. It wasn’t a mistake, it was a lied. I think it is impossible to be proud of the United Kingdom. I think when we invaded Iraq, we did to the United Nations what Hitler and Mussolini did to the League of Nations. And I think what we’ve done since where the truth is often much hidden in the bombing.
If we look at Libya, disaster now. We bombed it. We killed fifteen thousand people (15000) when NATO bombed it. Something they never told you on the BBC. Did we make it better? No. I saw in Uzbekistan. I saw the gas contracts signed by Imron. A company called Unical, which George Bush Snr was on board.

It’s a big gas pipeline from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan over Afghanistan down to the indian ocean. That was actually what the Afghan war was about. They had actually had talks with the Taliban and Unical to see if the Taliban would provide pipeline security.

The person who held those talks, the consultant of Unical was a certain Mr Kassi. Who after being employed by George Bush Snr as consultant went on to become president of Afghanistan. That was their plan B. The Taliban wouldn’t do it so they invaded. I’ve seen it on the inside. It’s almost always about control of resources. It is every bit as corrupt. I can tell you it is not an academic construct.

The system stinks, Westminster stinks. The British Government is deeply deeply immoral. They don’t care how many people they kill abroad if advances them and anybody who is voting ‘no’ is voting to support a psychologically flawed,   pathologica state, which is a danger to the world. A rogue state. A state prepared to go to war to make a few people wealthy. That’s why I say it’s not possible to be a decent person and vote ‘no’ and we shouldn’t be ashamed to say that.

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