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Fight Slavery’s ‘Legacy of Racism’ through Education- UN Secretary

Honouring the millions of Africans sold into slavery helps to restore dignity to people who were so mercilessly stripped of it, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message to mark Saturday’s International Day to Remember the Victims and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

He said the history of slavery is one of suffering and barbarity that shows humanity at its worst.

“But it is also a history of awe-inspiring courage that shows human beings at their best – starting with enslaved people who rose up against impossible odds and extending to the abolitionists who spoke out against this atrocious crime,” he added.

An ‘evil enterprise’ 

For more than 400 years, over 13 million Africans were trafficked across the Atlantic Ocean in what the Secretary-General called the “evil enterprise of enslavement”.

Men, women, and children were “ripped from their families and homelands – their communities torn apart, their bodies commodified, their humanity denied.”

A haunting legacy 

“The legacy of the transatlantic slave trade haunts us to this day.  We can draw a straight line from the centuries of colonial exploitation to the social and economic inequalities of today,” he said.

“And we can recognize the racist tropes popularized to rationalize the inhumanity of the slave trade in the white supremacist hate that is resurgent”, he added.

Mr. Guterres stressed that it was incumbent on everyone to fight slavery’s legacy of racism, using the “powerful weapon” of education – the theme of this year’s commemoration.

Teaching the history of slavery can “help to guard against humanity’s most vicious impulses”

Unite against racism 

Teaching the history of slavery can “help to guard against humanity’s most vicious impulses,” he said.

“By studying the assumptions and beliefs that allowed the practice to flourish for centuries, we unmask the racism of our own time,” he added. “And by honouring the victims of slavery, we restore some measure of dignity to those who were so mercilessly stripped of it.”

The Secretary-General called for people everywhere to “stand united against racism and together build a world in which everyone, everywhere can live lives of liberty, dignity, and human rights.”

UN commemorative events

The UN has organized a series of events to commemorate International Day.

On Monday, the UN General Assembly will hold a meeting where Brazilian philosopher and journalist, Professor Djamila Ribeiro, will deliver the keynote address.

Ms. Ribeiro has been using the power of education to fight discrimination against Afro-Brazilians, including through her bestselling book titled ‘Little Anti-Racist Manual’ and her Instagram account, which has attracted more than a million followers.

American university student Taylor Cassidy, recognized as one of TikTok’s 2020 Top 10 Voices of Change, will deliver the youth address.  Ms. Taylor empowers her two million followers with uplifting videos on Black history.

On Thursday, Bryan Stevenson, Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative – a non-profit working to end mass incarceration in the United States – will be the featured speaker and a participant in a panel discussion highlighting efforts by museums to include the voices of people of African descent and deal with the colonial past.

Other panelists will include the General Director of the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands, Taco Dibbits, and the Head of its History Department, Valika Smeulders.

The 2023 commemoration kicked off in late February with the opening of an interactive exhibition titled Slavery: Ten True Stories of Dutch Colonial Slavery, brought to the UN by the museum, which is located in Amsterdam.

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ECOWAS Gender Development Centre To validate Strategic Plan for 2023-2027

Accra, the capital of Ghana, will host a Meeting of Gender Experts from 27th to 29th March 2023, followed by a Meeting of Ministers responsible for Gender and Women Affairs of ECOWAS Member States on 30th March 2023. Organised by the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre (EGDC), the main objective of the Meeting of Experts and representatives of civil society organisations working on gender and development is to discuss, review and finalise the draft of the EGDC Strategic Plan 2023-2027, prior to its validation by the Meeting of Ministers responsible for Gender and Women Affairs and subsequent adoption by other statutory bodies of ECOWAS.

This strategic plan was developed with the view to reposition the EGDC as a centre of excellence with the capacity to contribute to the transformation of West Africa

The EGDC Strategic Plan 2023 – 2027 is under the theme: “Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls: An Imperative for the Achievement of Sustainable Development and Effective Regional Integration in West Africa”, thus setting the tone for the contributions that the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre seeks to make to the regional integration process in the medium to long terms.  The goal of the Strategic Plan is to build on the progress and achievements that have been made over the years and to contribute to sustainable development and economic and social justice in the ECOWAS region, through the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

This strategic plan was developed with the view to reposition the EGDC as a centre of excellence with the capacity to contribute to the transformation of West Africa into a just and secure community in which men and women have equal opportunities to participate, decide, control and benefit from all development initiatives, within the framework of ECOWAS Vision 2050, which aims at creating “a fully integrated community of peoples in a peaceful and prosperous region, with strong institutions and respect for fundamental freedoms, and working towards inclusive and sustainable development”. It is based on the five main pillars that support the priorities of ECOWAS Vision 2050. It seeks to promote gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls and the acceleration of economic and social development and regional integration.

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Tragic as another boat sinks off Tunisia, kills Nineteen African migrants

At least 19 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa died when their boat sank off the Tunisia as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to Italy, a human rights group said on Sunday, the latest migrant boat disaster off Tunisia.

In the last four days, five migrant boats have sunk off the southern city of Sfax, leaving 67 missing and nine dead, after a significant increase in boats heading towards Italy.

The Tunisian coast guard rescued five people from the boat off the coast of Mahdia after a journey that started from Sfax beaches, Romadan ben Omar, an official at the Forum for Social and Economic Rights (FTDES) told Reuters.

Tunisian authorities were not immediately available for comment.

The coast guard said it had stopped about 80 boats heading for Italy in past four days and detained more than 3,000 migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan African countries.

The coast near Sfax has become a major departure point for people fleeing poverty and conflict in Africa and the Middle East in the hope of a better life in Europe.

The latest disaster comes in the midst of a campaign of arrests by the Tunisian authorities of undocumented sub-Saharan Africans.

According to U.N. data, at least 12,000 migrants who reached Italy this year set sail from Tunisia, compared with 1,300 in the same period of 2022. Previously, Libya was the main departure point for migrants.

According to FTDES statistics, Tunisia’s coast guard prevented more than 14,000 migrants setting off in boats during the first three months of this year, compared with 2,900 during the same period last year.

The Italian coast guard said on Thursday it had rescued about 750 migrants in two operations off the southern Italian coast.

Europe risks seeing a huge wave of migrants arriving on its shores from North Africa if financial stability in Tunisia is not safeguarded, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on Friday. Meloni called on the IMF and some countries to help Tunisia quickly to avoid its collapse.

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US Vice President Kamala Harris to Tour Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia, discuss China influence, debt distress in Africa

This weekend, Vice President Kamala Harris begins a three-country tour of Africa as the United States seeks to pitch itself as a better partner than China, which has invested heavily in the continent over several decades.

Harris will be in Ghana from March 26 to 29, and then in Tanzania from March 29 to 31. Her final stop is Zambia, where she will be from March 31 to April 1. She will meet the three countries’ presidents and plan to announce public and private sector investments.

Harris will discuss China’s engagement in technology and economic issues in Africa concerning the US, as well as China’s involvement in debt restructuring, senior US officials said.

Zambia, the first African country to default on its sovereign debt during the COVID-19 pandemic, is working with its creditors, including China, to reach an agreement.

“We’re not asking our partners in Africa to choose,” an official told Reuters news agency, describing the competition with China. However, he added that the US has “real concerns about some of China’s behavior in Africa” and its “opaque” business dealings.

The official, who spoke anonymously because of the sensitivity of the matter, said Harris would discuss the best ways for the international community to address debt challenges faced by Ghana and Zambia.

The White House hosted an Africa Leaders Summit in December, and President Joe Biden is expected to travel to the continent later this year.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Ethiopia and Niger this March, less than a year after visiting South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Morocco, Algeria and Rwanda.

The slew of recent engagements is a deviation from Washington’s stance under Biden’s predecessor, Republican President Donald Trump, who largely ignored the continent, and it comes as Russia deepens military engagements across Francophone Africa.

Harris, who visited her maternal grandfather as a little girl while he worked there, is “looking forward to returning to Lusaka, which is a part of her family’s story and a source of pride”, one of the officials said.

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AFRICA: DRC’s President Tshisekedi reshuffles cabinet ahead of election

The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi has appointed the country’s former vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba, who was imprisoned for more than 10 years for war crimes, as defence minister in a sweeping government reshuffle.

His appointment was part of an overhaul of the 57 member-cabinet, which the president’s spokesperson said was “urgent and necessary”, in an announcement on national television late on Thursday. No further details were given.

The reshuffle, which was more extensive than observers had predicted, comes just months before a presidential election on December 20, in which Tshisekedi is likely to seek a second term.

“This a deeply political shuffle,” said Jason Stearns, director of the Congo Research Group and professor at Canada’s Simon Fraser University.

Presidential candidates are expected to be announced next October, with a final list due in November. One likely challenger for the presidency is Martin Fayulu, who claimed victory in the 2018 poll. Another is Moise Katumbi, former governor of the oil-rich Katanga province.

Tshisekedi appointed Vital Kamerhe, his former chief of staff who was released from prison in December 2021 following an embezzlement conviction, as economy minister.

Nicolas Kazadi was maintained as finance minister.

The appointments bring political heavyweights into the government, strengthening Tshisekedi’s coalition before elections, Stearns said.

“Key positions are given to senior politicians who have large constituencies to please but little expertise in their new ministries. Kamerhe is not an economist. Bemba was a rebel but has little formal military training,” he said.

Kamerhe, an influential Congolese power broker, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2020 for embezzling nearly $50m from a presidential economic programme. He denied the charges.

His sentence was reduced to 13 years on appeal the following year but a higher court overturned the judgement in June 2022.

Bemba, a former rebel leader was arrested in 2008 by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by his troops in the Central African Republic between 2002 and 2003.

He was acquitted and released 10 years later after his conviction was reversed on appeal. He was, however, accused and convicted on lesser charges of witness tampering during the trial.

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World Water Day 2023: Accelerating Change in solving Africa’s Water and Sanitation Crises

Water is an essential resource with a direct impact on Africa’s economic potential: inadequate access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene services reduces economic opportunities.

One in three Africans is affected by water scarcity. According to the 2022 WHO/UNICEF JMP report [1], 411 million people in Africa still lack basic drinking water service, 779 million lack access to basic sanitation services and 839 million lack access to basic hygiene.

Climate change is causing water scarcity and drought, leading to projected water scarcity for close to 230 million Africans and as many as 460 million living in areas where the demand for water periodically exceeds the available supply by 2025. This also impacts food and energy security as the continent’s population continues to grow. Water access remains a matter of concern and efficiency in water use is now a crucial issue.

The theme of World Water Day 2023, “Accelerating change” is a wake-up call to do even more to solve water and sanitation crises. We need collective and urgent action by governments, regional associations, and global development partners. We must also consider the complex interplay between water and energy supply and demand, food ecosystems and the impacts of climate change to address the diverse needs and use of water, develop innovative ideas, and optimize finance in the water sector.

This year’s World Water Day also coincides with the United Nations midterm review of the Water Action Decade. This provides an opportunity for leaders, governments, and corporations to pause, reflect and determine urgent actions that are needed to increase the speed of progress in the delivery of universal access to water and sanitation. Together, these commitments form the Water Action Agenda that will be launched at the UN 2023 Water Conference (22-24 March) – the first event of its kind in nearly 50 years.

Within the African Development Bank’s High 5 strategic priorities, water security underpins food security (agriculture represents 70% of total water consumption), energy security (high dependence on hydropower, and water is an input for other sources of energy), industrialization (water as a key input and catalyst), regional integration (through transboundary waters) and particularly improving the quality of life for the people of Africa (impacts on health, nutrition, education, gender equity, and livelihoods). The bank’s Water Policy is built on a vision to improve Africa’s water security and transform water assets to foster sustainable, green, and inclusive socio-economic growth and development.

In 2022, our water and sanitation portfolio of $473 million provided water access to an estimated 6.8 million people, and jobs to over 24,000 people in Africa

Massive investments in integrated water development and management are central to achieving sustainable water, food, and energy security while assuring green and inclusive growth. In 2022, our water and sanitation portfolio of $473 million provided water access to an estimated 6.8 million people, and jobs to over 24,000 people in Africa.

Over the last 10 years, the bank has also invested approximately $5.2 billion in the water sector to support and strengthen water and sanitation resilience for almost 97 million people in Africa. Since 2015, the bank has invested an average of $900 million a year.

In Kenya, projects like the Kenya Towns Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation Program have improved the quality of life for beneficiaries such as Emmaculate Anyango, who used to walk two kilometers to fetch water for cooking, drinking, and other domestic uses. The program initiated projects to ensure access to clean, safe, and consistent water supply in 28 small towns in Kenya. For instance, the Oyugis Water Supply and Sanitation Project, which was completed in January 2023, already serves over 60,000 people by producing 12,000 cubic meters of water each day.

Towards 2030 and beyond, the African Development Bank will continue to work with and support African countries to drive the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6 targets. It will do this through financing, sector reforms and governance, knowledge generation, partnerships and private sector engagement, environmental and social responsibility, and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

Let’s all play our part and be the change!


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Ufitfly Boss Congratulates Gov Makinde, Urges Him To Do More For Hospitality, Tourism Sectors

The team Lead of a destination management outfit, the owner of the Ufitfly brand, Evang Ajibola Ogunkeyede has congratulated Oyo State Gov. Engr. Seyi Makinde on his re-election for the second term as the executive governor of the state, while urging him to take leverage more on the hospitality and tourism sectors to boost the state’s economy.

Ogunkeyede in a statement issued and made available to newsmen in Ibadan commended the peaceful and alluring disposition of Engr. Makinde to the electoral process which he believed was responsible for his landslide victory but advised him to create more enabling atmospheres for cross-cultural tourism to strive in the state.

Evangelist Ogunkeyede averred that the Ufitfly brand is a good ambassador of Oyo State because it has grown to become the biggest player in the Christian pilgrimage sector in Africa with many awards of recognitions for unblemished records in moving Christian pilgrims from Nigeria to Israel and Jordan.

“I want to believe that the governor has done well to earn the trust of Oyo State people which was evident in the way he was massively re-elected, hence we will like to see a good collaboration with the state government in the area of boosting the hospitality, sports-tourism, and pilgrimage sectors.

“This significantly is aimed at promoting cultural assets for national pride, deploying our diverse and rich experiences and resources aimed at helping the government combating the vices such as youth restiveness, insecurity, unemployment etc with hospitality, sports-tourism, and pilgrimage”.

The popular tour broker said sports is now a money-spinning venture and a key component of tourism which brings some significant benefits to the destinations where sports events are hosted, with economic boosts, both direct and indirect, being among these advantages, saying our government is yet to take full advantage of this.

Ogunkeyede added that the direct spending by sports tourists at host facilities, hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues stimulates the local economy, Jobs are created, and tax revenue is earned.

He however, called on Gov. Makinde that had to rebuild the Lekan Salami Sports Complex into an international standard to complement the good deed by ensuring synergy between sports and tourism which fall under five categories: sports participation, sports training, sporting events, tourism with sports content, and luxury sports travel.

If the youths are properly managed through active engagement in sports and good collaboration is fashioned out between sports and tourism, the state and the country will generate great revenues that surpass what is derivable from oil.

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Visas in Africa are Barriers to Trade and Movement, Says President Ruto

President William Ruto has urged African countries to rethink their visa regimes to boost intra-Africa trade and position the continent for true transformation.

African governments, the President said, should facilitate “people-to-people, business-to-business and government-to-government affairs,” not create barriers.

“The people who introduced visas to Africa have abandoned them. In Europe today, citizens of the 27 countries in the European Union don’t need visas to travel from one country to the other,” he said.

He spoke on Thursday when he met President Emerson Mnangagwa’s special envoy, Ambassador Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, at State House Nairobi.

President Ruto said he will hold discussions with his Zimbabwean counterpart on a visa-free regime between the two countries.

He also said they will discuss the need for more flights from Nairobi to Harare and vice versa.

President Ruto said Kenya opposes the continued economic sanctions against Zimbabwe, adding that they are unnecessary.

“At a time of economic difficulty, climate change effects, and pandemics, sanctions only exacerbate the burden on the citizens of Zimbabwe,” he said.

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Sports News: African Rugby is Big Business, Let’s Stop Pretending it is not- Herbert Mensah

African Rugby needs to respect itself and behave in a “world-class” fashion before it can be respected by the rest of the world.

African sports have been forgotten by the world.

More so, it seems that African sports have been forgotten by Africans. In the world of rugby, in particular, there are countries across the continent that haven’t had active rugby leagues in more than three years!

Nothing is more demonstrative of this sentiment than the very view that World Rugby, the sport’s global governing body, has of African sports. Last year, World Rugby awarded just $2 million to promote the sport across the whole African continent. This is an absurdly small amount for a whole Continent, but what is more telling is the way it undervalues the African continent more than anything else. We see evidence of this when this same organization is willing to award $5 million, or $6 million dollars per year, to a Rugby Europe country while leaving the entire African continent with scraps to promote Rugby to a population of over 1.2 billion.

This fact alone is telling of how little respect is given to African rugby by the world and it is inevitable that we ask ourselves, if that respect shouldn’t first come from us, Africans. We have the same governing bodies that rich Western nations have, the associations, the managers, the boards, the board meetings, but what is it all for if they are mostly populated by “friends of friends in high places” and if they have no monetary support to act on any of the decisions they might take?

We need to remind ourselves of the power and the value of Sports. It is Big Business ergo Rugby, is Big Business!

I’ve dedicated my life to running various businesses in and outside Africa and if there is one thing that drives any business, it is money. We cannot continue to act like African sport is a charity case in need of aid. I profoundly believe in H.E. The President of Ghana, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo’s vision of an Africa Post-Aid, and Post-charity!

That is my vision for African rugby, rugby post-aid.

The path to achieving that is no mystery. We all know it, even if most times we are unwilling to admit it. Rugby is Big Business, and it needs to be run like a business. It is that simple. That is the only way there will be capital to promote the sport and make it grow. Capital generates capital. We need to improve our governance track record across the board, get better managers that will drive the business forward, and raise capital to give them the tools to do their jobs right.


The world of rugby sees Africa as one big poor country. This must end.  The diversity of the continent’s nations is manifested equally in its sports cultures. We need to adjust our tactics to the specificities of each market and each region. We need to brand ourselves and promote ourselves to the world, making ourselves worthy of notice and respect. Only then will we be able to demand from global organizations the respect and capital we deserve?

Herbert Amponsah Mensah
Herbert Amponsah Mensah

That starts with changing our practices, with implementing World-standards to what we do, rather than African standards. We have forgotten the positive impact sports, and sports events can generate. Sports competitions are not about entertainment and physical prowess. It is a multi-billion-dollar industry that generates advertising revenue, tourism inflows, infrastructure development, and investment in a myriad of different economic sectors. It promotes social growth, and on top of it, showcases a country to the world. Sports help to elevate nations, drawing the spotlight on a country worthy of investment, worthy of visiting, and worthy of doing business with. Sports actively contribute to elevating a nation’s economic development and the lives of its citizens.

This is the true potential value of Rugby, and the potential value of treating it as the Big Business that it is.

We need to change the way the world looks at African rugby, by changing the way we operate, and showing our value and potential for growth. The change must start with us! We cannot go begging rich countries to borrow money to start generating money. We need to lobby, we need to organize, we need to engage the political leadership of each nation and region to engage the continental institutions that can help finance these developments. We need to engage the African Union, Ecowas, African-owned Banks, African Development Bank, and the like.

Once we have professionalized the world of rugby and managed to finance ourselves within ourselves, then, and only then, can we look at demanding more from World Rugby, from global advertisers and sponsors, competing side-by-side to bring major international competitions to Africa.

Treating Rugby as Big Business is not reinventing the wheel. Understanding that image, perception, and branding, is everything when we want to attract capital and visitors is nothing new, and yet it has never been done for African rugby. This has meant a loss of hundreds of millions of Dollars and the direct and indirect benefits that could positively affect hundreds of millions of people across the continent.

That is the vision that I will bring to Rugby Africa if my candidacy for its presidency is successful.

This is the first time that there is competition in the election for the Presidency of Rugby Africa.

Let’s make things differently, let’s make it count.

Let’s Make Rugby Africa a Big Business, for the benefit of all.


 Herbert Amponsah Mensah is a Ghanaian businessman, sports administrator, and the president of the Ghana Rugby Association operating as the Ghana Rugby Football Union and the Candidate for the presidency of World Rugby’s African association, Rugby Africa




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Herbert Mensah announces candidacy for President of Rugby Africa, promise good representation

Herbert Mensah, sports administrator, and President of the Ghana Rugby Football Union, today announced his candidacy for President of the World Rugby’s African association, Rugby Africa, the governing body of rugby in Africa. Rugby Africa will be electing a new president at the Annual General Meeting to be held in Cape Town on 18 March 2023.

The President will be elected for a period of four years commencing immediately after the results are announced by the executive committee on 18 March 2023. This will also be the first time in the history of Rugby Africa that elections will be contested.

The Nigeria Rugby Football Federation nominated Mensah to run for President. Mensah, a current member of the Africa Rugby Executive Committee, is also an accomplished businessman with many years of experience in the business and sports sectors in Africa.

In 2014, Mensah took the helm at the Ghana Rugby Football Union where he significantly increased awareness around the sport while injecting much enthusiasm for players and officials, as well as encouraging the youth to participate in rugby through numerous initiatives and activities. He was instrumental in spearheading the national team’s qualification to the World Series, after they won the West Africa competition, before moving on to the African championship.

Mensah’s vision is to build a positive and strong brand for Rugby Africa and to make rugby more accessible and visible to all Africans, in particular the youth. He would like to see an increase in continental competitions and greater support of member associations in terms of how they are structured and in the economic development of the sport.

Currently, less than 30 percent of rugby players in Africa are women. Mensah’s strategic plan is to broaden the reach and appeal of rugby, raising the profile and image of women rugby players and officials, while ensuring that all structures further reflect the diversity and inclusion of the sport. He also wants to provide greater cohesion between English and French-speaking countries, both in terms of sport and governance.

Commenting on his candidacy Mensah said, “I am extremely humbled to be nominated to run for President, and I am overwhelmed by the good wishes from my colleagues and peers. I am immensely proud as an African, to be given a chance to represent Africa on a global platform. African rugby has historically not received the recognition it deserves, and I look forward to the opportunity to use this platform to create meaningful change, while promoting a better understanding of the game on the continent, and beyond, and to encourage greater support of rugby across the entire African continent. If elected, my tenure will be one marked with service to Africa Rugby and the rugby and sports fraternity at large on the continent.”

2023 Rugby World Cup will be held in France from September to October. Mensah hopes to use this world-class platform to collaborate with leading international rugby bodies and other associations to raise awareness around African Rugby while gaining much-needed support for the sport. Rugby will be one of the first competitions on show at the Olympic Games Paris 2024, where Mensah hopes to see more representation from African teams in the qualifying events.



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