AfricaAfrica AsiaEventsFoodHealthInternationalWorld

EU suspends food aid in Somalia after UN finds widespread theft

The European Union executive has temporarily suspended funding for the World Food Programme (WFP) in Somalia, two senior EU officials told Reuters on Monday, after a U.N. investigation found widespread theft and misuse of aid meant to avert famine.

The European Commission gave more than $7 million in aid to the WFP’s operations in Somalia last year, a fraction of the donations of more than $1 billion it received, U.N. data shows EU member states gave much more money on a bilateral basis. It was not immediately clear whether any would also suspend aid.

Balazs Ujvari, a spokesman for the European Commission, neither confirmed nor denied specifically a temporary suspension but said: “So far, the EU has not been informed by its U.N. partners of a financial impact on EU-funded projects.

“Nevertheless, we will continue to monitor the situation and abide by our zero-tolerance approach to fraud, corruption or misconduct.”
The WFP did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

One senior EU official said the decision was taken after the U.N. investigation concluded that landowners, local authorities, members of the security forces and humanitarian workers were all involved in stealing aid intended for vulnerable people.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the aid would be restored after the WFP met additional conditions, such as vetting of partners on the ground in Somalia. The second senior EU official confirmed that.

A third source, also an EU official, said the Commission was “cooperating actively with WFP to resolve systemic defects” but said no aid was suspended at this stage.

The July 7 report, marked “strictly confidential,” was commissioned by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, according to a copy reviewed by Reuters.

Its contents were first published on Monday by Devex, a media outlet focused on international development.

It cited internally displaced persons (IDPs) as saying they were coerced into paying up to half of the cash assistance they received to people in positions of power in the face of threats of eviction, arrest or de-registration from beneficiary lists.

Three months ago the WFP and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) suspended food aid to neighboring Ethiopia in response to the widespread diversion of donations.

The European Commission contributes 10 million euros ($10.69 million) to Somalia and Ethiopia via the WFP, with the suspension covering part of that, according to one of the senior EU officials.

The United States is by far Somalia’s biggest humanitarian donor. Last year, it contributed more than half of the $2.2 billion of funding that went to the humanitarian response there.

USAID spokesperson Jessica Jennings said in a statement the United States was working to understand the extent of the diversion and was “already taking steps to protect beneficiaries and ensure taxpayer money is used to benefit vulnerable persons in Somalia, as intended.”

An official of the agency, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the situations in Ethiopia and Somalia were different and USAID was not planning to pause food assistance in the latter.

A U.S. Congressional source said the decision to suspend aid in Ethiopia was, in part, related to the uniquely hands-on role of the federal government there in distributing food assistance, which has long made donors uneasy.

“The widespread theft of food assistance in Ethiopia was abhorrent, but was also an opportunity to change the way it is provided,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Somali Disaster Management Office, which coordinates the government’s humanitarian response, said in a statement on Monday that Somali authorities were committed to investigating the U.N. report’s findings, while adding that current aid delivery systems operate “outside of the government channels”.

Guterres’ office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Donors boosted funding to Somalia last year as humanitarian officials warned of a looming famine due to the Horn of Africa’s worst drought in decades.

Famine was averted, official data shows, but as many as 43,000 people, half of them children younger than five, died last year as a result of the drought, researchers estimate.

The U.N. report did not attempt to quantify the amount of aid diverted but said its findings “suggest that post-delivery aid diversion in Somalia is widespread and systemic”.

Investigators found aid diversion at all of the 55 IDP sites in Somalia from which they collected data, the report said. Some 3.8 million people are displaced in Somalia – one of the highest rates in the world.

Aid distribution has been a problem in Somalia for decades, complicated by weak government institutions, widespread insecurity stemming from an Islamist insurgency and marginalization of minority clans.

Since revelations of aid theft during a 2011 famine, humanitarian agencies have converted most of their assistance to cash-based transfers that some officials have presented as less vulnerable to corruption.

The U.N. report was the latest evidence that cash-based systems can be exploited too. It identified a variety of perpetrators, led by so-called “gatekeepers,” powerful individuals from dominant local clans.

These gatekeepers leverage their influence over access to camp sites and food beneficiary lists to coerce payments from IDPs, the report said.

Members of security forces also play a role by intimidating and sometimes arresting those who refuse to pay, while some humanitarian workers collude with gatekeepers to pocket stolen funds, the report said.

While famine has been averted for now, the report warned that inadequate humanitarian funding could imperil fragile progress.

Aid budgets are under strain globally, with just 36% funded to date of the $2.6 billion the U.N. says is needed this year for Somalia’s humanitarian response.

($1=0.9355 euros)

read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaEvents

AU G-20 Membership Will Allow Africa to Address Global Challenges

In a tweet posted on X (formerly known as Twitter), he expressed his welcome for the African Union’s full membership in the G20 and emphasized the importance of this development for advocating on behalf of Africa and its effective participation in addressing global issues.

While the African Union consists of 55 member states, six nations under military rule are currently suspended. Collectively, the AU represents a GDP of $3 trillion and a population of approximately 1.4 billion people.

Prior to the AU’s inclusion, the G20 comprised 19 countries and the European Union, accounting for 85 percent of the world’s GDP, with South Africa being the sole African member.

Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is attending the summit, expressed optimism about Africa’s enhanced role on the global stage through the G20 platform, emphasizing the continent’s aspirations.

Kenyan President William Ruto highlighted the significance of giving African interests and perspectives a voice and visibility within the G20. He noted that with Africa’s anticipated growth in the coming years, having a seat at the table would enable the continent to influence G20 decisions in line with its interests.

Furthermore, Ruto mentioned that the outcomes of the recently concluded Africa Climate Summit, which included reforms of international financial institutions and multilateral development banks, would be among the priorities advanced by the African Union within the G20 framework

read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaEconomyEventsWorld

Cop28 presidency lauds Africa Climate Summit for adopting ‘Nairobi declaration’

African leaders from across the continent have unanimously adopted the “Nairobi Declaration”, which will now provide the basis of Africa’s negotiating position at November’s Cop28 climate summit.

The programme is aligned with several goals of the Cop28 presidency’s “4-Point Plan of Action”, including a call to boost efforts to reduce emissions in line with Paris Agreement goals and honouring the commitment to deliver $100 billion in annual climate finance, the Cop28 presidency said on Friday.

It also commits African leaders to put policies, regulations and incentives in place to attract investment in green growth and an inclusive economy.

“Africa is taking the lead in building a climate-resilient, sustainable future, but to unlock the continent’s full potential, available, accessible and affordable finance is essential,” said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Cop28 President-designate, and UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology.

At the Africa Climate Summit this week, the UAE pledged $4.5 billion to speed up the development of clean energy projects in Africa.

Masdar has pledged $2 billion of equity and will mobilize an additional $8 billion in project finance to deliver 10 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through its Infinity Power platform in the continent by 2030.

Amea Power will help fund five gigawatts of renewable energy capacity in Africa by the end of the decade, mobilizing $5 billion, with $1 billion in equity investments, and $4 billion from project finance.

The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development will provide $1 billion in assistance to address basic infrastructure needs while the Etihad Credit Insurance will provide $500 million in credit insurance to lower risk and unlock private capital.

“At the heart of Cop28’s mission is the vital task of integrating food systems into our climate policy framework and encouraging nations and non-state actors to pledge commitments to drive systemic transformation,” said Mariam AlMheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment.

“We urge countries to commit to incorporating food systems into their revised nationally determined contributions by 2025, placing food systems at the forefront of their climate policies.”

read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaEventsPolitics

Nigeria: Election tribunal upholds Tinubu’s victory

Nigeria’s presidential election tribunal ruled on Wednesday that Nigeria’s main opposition parties failed to prove claims of electoral malpractice against the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) in February’s disputed elections.

“This petition is as a result of this declared unmeritorious,” one of the judges said, as the tribunal rejected the opposition challenge to Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s win in the presidential election

The challenges came after one of the country’s most tightly fought elections, in which former Lagos governor Tinubu won 37 percent of the vote, beating Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party to secure the presidency of Africa’s most populous nation.

Abubakar and Obi had asked the court to invalidate the election, alleging irregularities.

Judges rejected all claims made by Labour Party candidate Obi, including fraud, charges electoral authorities broke the law and allegations Tinubu was ineligible to run

The court was also reading its judgement on a second opposition party petition, which is also expected to be dismissed. Filed by PDP candidate Abubakar, it lays out similar complaints against the February 25 election results

No legal challenge to the outcome of a presidential election has succeeded in Nigeria, which returned to democracy in 1999 after three decades of almost uninterrupted military rule and has a history of electoral fraud.

Record-low turnout
Atiku and Obi can appeal to the country’s Supreme Court to strike down the tribunal’s ruling. Any appeal must be concluded within 60 days of the date of the tribunal judgement.

Tinubu’s government had dismissed all claims of wrongdoing and appeared confident before Wednesday’s decision. Currently, he is in India for the G20 summit, where he hopes to drum up foreign investment.

While favourable to Tinubu, the tribunal’s ruling was unlikely to generate any particular euphoria or momentum for the president after an election marked by a record-low turnout of 29 percent.

In a nation of more than 200 million people, of whom 87 million were registered to vote, Tinubu garnered just 8.79 million votes, the fewest of any president since the return to democracy.

‘Vote was free and fair’

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) introduced biometric technology and IReV, a central database for uploading results in real-time to ensure transparency.

INEC acknowledged “glitches” but dismissed claims the vote was not free and fair. But critics said the technical problems and delays had allowed opportunities for vote manipulation.

The court ruling comes as Nigerians struggle with a rising cost of living after the government ended a fuel subsidy programme that kept petrol prices low and also freed up the naira currency.

Government officials say the policies are needed to revive the economy, calling for patience and supplying state governments with funds to help offset the impact.

Tinubu inherited anaemic economic growth, high unemployment, the highest inflation rate in two decades, record debt, massive oil theft that has hit government revenue and widespread insecurity from predecessor Muhammadu Buhari

The government is also tackling huge security challenges, from armed groups still fighting a long war in the northeast to intercommunal clashes and kidnap gangs operating in other regions.


Source: Aljazerra

read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaEventsNewsWorld

OPINION: African Climate Summit: An opportunity to decolonize Africa’s energy

African and international leaders will attend the African Climate Summit from September 4 to 6 in Nairobi, Kenya. They will deliberate on Africa’s unified position on the climate crisis ahead of COP28, the global climate talks, in December and develop the Nairobi Declaration for green growth, a blueprint for Africa’s green energy transition.

COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber, who serves as CEO of the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC), will also be in attendance

Oil Change International data shows the growth in oil and gas production in the United Arab Emirates is poised to be among the world’s largest in the next few years and ADNOC is expected to see the second biggest growth among fossil fuel companies. Because of this, all eyes will be on Al Jaber to ensure he will set aside the short-term interests of the oil and gas industry and deliver transformative action at COP28 as promised.

To us, that means a just and equitable energy transition for Africa, phasing out all fossil fuels and bringing an end to the exploitation of our land, resources and communities by Global North countries.

This year, African civil society organisations sent letters to the CEOs of BP, Chevron, Exxon and Shell, among others, warning these companies against investing in the drilling activities of Reconnaissance Energy Africa (ReconAfrica) in the Okavango Basin in Namibia and Botswana.

ReconAfrica’s projections of 120 billion barrels of recoverable oil could produce a “carbon gigabomb” of 51.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to one-sixth of the world’s remaining carbon budget – an amount we simply cannot afford to extract. The drilling operations have already caused significant legal, social and environmental issues, including destroying forests and crops and risking the destruction of one of the richest biodiversity hotspots on earth. Biodiversity hotspots sustain livelihoods and critical ecosystems. Extraction in these hotspots threatens livelihoods and species survival across the continent.

BP’s big new gas plans in West Africa pose climate and biodiversity threats in Senegal, and lucrative contracts with ENI, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell and Total threaten Mozambique.

Africa’s leaders must take heed that our communities cannot risk a repeat of the devastation the fossil fuel industry brought to the Niger Delta. The neocolonial model of extracting and exploiting Africa’s resources at any cost must stop.

The African Climate Summit should be an opportunity to chart the continent’s direction towards an equitable and sustainable future that protects our people and communities, and to prepare a coordinated front from African leaders to call for a fast and fair phase-out of all fossil fuels at COP28.

Yet the summit agenda appears to have been hijacked. The focus is on fossil fuel promotion instead of clean energy solutions and carbon credits instead of a just transition towards renewables. Pushing for fossil fuels will continue to allow Global North countries to exploit our continent’s resources and threaten our future.

More than 500 civil society organisations issued an urgent call to reset the focus of the Africa Climate Summit from Global North and corporate interests to one of African priorities, such as a just and equitable phase-out of all new fossil fuel projects.

Every new fossil fuel project is incompatible with a liveable future. According to the International Energy Agency, respecting the 1.5C warming limit and securing a liveable future means there can be no new coal, oil or gas.

It is a myth that fossil fuels support development. Fossil fuels neither equal energy access nor do they equal jobs or profit. The resources and profits from fossil fuel extraction in Africa have always been exported to the richest countries, leaving our communities with nothing but pollution, increased inequality, eroded governments, and growing militarization.

Africa – the continent suffering the worst of the climate crisis but having the highest renewable energy potential – does not need new fossil fuels or false and unproven technologies that allow rich countries to continue to burn fossil fuels. African leaders must listen to the African people, who want a just transition to 100 percent renewable energy.

With 600 million Africans lacking access to clean, modern energy, we say scaling up cheap, decentralised, renewable energy is the fastest and best way to end energy exclusion and meet the needs of Africa’s people.

Shifting to renewable energy and phasing out fossil fuel reliance will permanently bring down soaring energy costs and increase energy security. Renewable technologies are more affordable, can be scaled up more rapidly and do not introduce further volatility through increased climate damage, fiscal instability, and stranded asset risks as global gas demand drops. They can also be community-led and -owned and can better reach rural communities.

This is the only effective route to achieving a more secure, prosperous future – for Africa and the world. As African leaders gather at the Africa Climate Summit and head towards COP28 talks in Dubai, they must act with the integrity and leadership required to ensure a sustainable future powered by clean energy.

read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaEventsNews

Gabon: Military officers declare coup, arrest President Ali Bongo

Military officers in oil-producing Gabon said they had seized power on Wednesday and had put President Ali Bongo under house arrest, stepping in minutes after the Central African state’s election body announced he had won a third term.

The officers who said they represented the armed forces declared on television that the election results were canceled, borders were closed and state institutions were dissolved, after a tense vote that was set to extend the Bongo family’s more than half-century in power.

One of the officers, Brice Oligui Nguema, who in a video appeared to be hailed as their leader, told French newspaper Le Monde that he and other generals would meet on Wednesday to select someone to head the transitional government.

Hundreds of people on the streets of the Gabonese capital celebrated the military’s intervention, while France, Gabon’s former colonial ruler which has troops stationed in the African nation, condemned the coup

If successful, the Gabon coup would be the eighth in West and Central Africa since 2020. The latest one, in Niger, was in July. Military officers have also seized power in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Chad, erasing democratic gains since the 1990s.

“I am marching today because I am joyful. After almost 60 years, the Bongos are out of power,” said Jules Lebigui, a jobless 27-year-old who joined crowds in Libreville.

The officers said they had detained Bongo, who took over in 2009 from his father Omar, who had ruled since 1967. They also said they had arrested the president’s son, Noureddin Bongo Valentin, and others for corruption and treason.

Opponents say the family has done little to share the state’s oil and mining wealth with its 2.3 million people. Violent unrest had broken out after Bongo’s disputed 2016 election win and there was a foiled coup attempt in 2019.

The Gabon officers, calling themselves The Committee of Transition and the Restoration of Institutions, said the country faced “a severe institutional, political, economic, and social crisis”. They said the Aug. 26 vote was not credible.

Republican Guard chief Nguema told Le Monde a leader had not been chosen but a meeting would be held on Wednesday to decide.

“Everyone will put forward ideas and the best ones will be chosen, as well as the name of the person who will lead the transition,” he said.

Television images showed a man who appeared to be Nguema held aloft by soldiers shouting “Oligui president”, using one of his names.

There was no immediate comment from Gabon’s government.

Reuters Graphics Reuters Graphics
Reuters Graphics Reuters Graphics
Gabonese military officers announce they have seized power
Gabonese military appeared on television as they announced that they had seized power following President Ali Bongo Ondimba’s re-election. Gabon 1ere/via REUTERS Acquire Licensing Rights


Bongo, 64, was last seen in public casting his vote on Saturday. Before the vote, he had been seen looking healthier than his more frail television appearances after his 2018 stroke.

“We condemn the military coup and recall our commitment to free and transparent elections,” French government spokesman Olivier Veran said.

The coup created more uncertainty for France’s presence in the region. France has about 350 troops in Gabon. Its forces have been kicked out of Mali and Burkina Faso after coups there in the last two years.

Unlike Niger and other Sahel countries, Gabon, which lies further south on the Atlantic coast, has not had to battle destabilising Islamist insurgencies. But the coup is a further sign of democratic backsliding in the volatile region.

The African Union’s Peace and Security Council chair called for a meeting on situation with Burundi, Senegal and Cameroon,

China called for a peaceful resolution and Russia said it hoped for a swift return to stability.

“With the coup leaders claiming to represent all factions of Gabon’s security apparatus, Mr Bongo is not expected to be able to suppress the uprising,” wrote Rukmini Sanyal, an analyst at Economist Intelligence Unit, citing “widespread public discontent” against Bongo, his family and his ruling party.

Gabon produces about 200,000 barrels of oil a day, mainly from depleting fields. International companies include France’s TotalEnergies (TTEF.PA) and Anglo-French producer Perenco.

French miner Eramet (ERMT.PA), which has large manganese operations in Gabon, said it had halted operations.

A lack of international observers, the suspension of some foreign broadcasts and a decision to cut internet service and impose a night-time curfew after Saturday’s election had raised concerns about the vote’s transparency. Bongo’s team rejected allegations of fraud.

On Wednesday, internet access appeared to be restored for the first time since the vote.

Shortly before the coup announcement, the election authority had declared Bongo the election winner with 64.27% of the vote and said his main challenger, Albert Ondo Ossa, had secured 30.77%.

Gabon’s dollar-denominated bonds fell as much as 14 cents on Wednesday before recovering around 2 cents of the losses.

read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaEvents

More than 60 people detained after attending a gay wedding in southern Nigeria

Police in Nigeria said Tuesday they detained at least 67 people celebrating a gay wedding, in one of the country’s largest arrests targeting outlawed homosexuality.

The “gay suspects” were arrested in southern Delta state’s Ekpan town at about 2 a.m. (01:00 GMT) on Monday at an event where two of them were wedded, state police spokesman Bright Edafe told reporters. He added that homosexuality “will never be tolerated” in the West African nation.

The Nigerian law banning gay marriage, punishable by up to 14 years in prison, and same-sex “amorous relationships”, prompted an international outcry when it came into force under former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014.

But the law is also supported by many in what remains a conservative country. More than 30 African countries already ban same-sex relationships and arrests of gay people are common in Nigeria.

Police in Delta stormed a hotel in Ekpan where the gay wedding was being held and initially arrested 200 people, Edafe told reporters. Later, 67 of them were detained after initial investigations, he said.

He spoke at a police station where the suspects were being paraded

“The amazing part of it was that we saw two suspects, and there is a video recording where they were performing their wedding ceremony,” he said. “We are in Africa and we are in Nigeria. We cannot copy the Western world because we don’t have the same culture.”

He reiterated that police officers in Nigeria “cannot fold their hands” and watch gay people openly express their orientation in the country.

“This is not something that will be allowed in Nigeria,” he said, adding that the suspects will be charged in court at the end of the investigation.

read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaEventsNewsPolitics

POLITICS: Zimbabwe extends voting to next day after multiple delays

Voting continued into the early hours of Thursday in Zimbabwe’s crucial general election, the second since the exit of longtime ruler Robert Mugabe in a 2017 coup.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa issued a proclamation on Wednesday evening to permit voting to continue into a second day after delays in delivering ballot papers to many polling units.

Mnangagwa, 80, is seeking a second term in office. There are 12 candidates running for president, but his main rival is Nelson Chamisa, 45, of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).

Ballot counting began at some polling units after voting closed on Wednesday, but in Harare suburbs such as Glen Norah and Kuwadzana, voting had yet to begin as at 7pm (17:00 GMT), which was when the polls were meant to have officially closed.

In several towns and rural areas in the eastern province of Manicaland, voting will also occur on Thursday.

Many stations in the two biggest cities, Harare and Bulawayo, permitted voting into the early hours of Thursday even as some people left the polling units out of frustration at being unable to vote

First-time voter Takunda Mangwiro from Dzivarasekwa in the capital, Harare, had been waiting since 5 am on Wednesday and finally got the opportunity to vote on Thursday morning.

“I was so excited when I came to vote yesterday morning only to find that there were no papers … I waited again till midnight only for voting to be postponed to this morning. I finally voted around 10 am and I feel good. I hope my vote makes a difference in the next five years,” he said.

Despite the frustration of late voting, most areas remained calm on Wednesday.

Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who is one of the CCC’s vice presidents, described the process as “shambolic”.

“This was already a fatally flawed election, it is now graduating into a farce,” he posted on Wednesday night on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Unfolding controversy

On Thursday, CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere told reporters the party has had challenges with the release of results from some stations in Harare as officials from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) claimed they were waiting for authorization to release results.

Mahere, who is also running for a parliamentary seat, appealed for the release of all results from Hiller Road, a polling station in Harare where only 5 of 13 results have been issued.

“We just want the number that was counted to be the number that was read out. We don’t want them to stuff their postal ballot here, we don’t want them to tinker with the numbers, we don’t want them to abuse our polling agents, we just want a free and fair result,” she said.

Before the election, there had been concerns from human rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International that the government was seeking to silence dissent. Accreditation was also not granted to many journalists and international observers.

On Wednesday evening, police raided the local election observation data centre run by two watchdogs, the Zimbabwe Election Service Network (ZESN) and the Election Resource Center (ERC). All computers and personal phones were confiscated and at least 37 staff conducting election monitoring for both organisations, were arrested.

Roselyn Hanzi from the civil society group Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) told Al Jazeera that it was currently negotiating the release of those arrested, but could not comment further on the case.

On the streets, people are back to facing the everyday challenges of Zimbabwe’s economic crisis. Long queues are back at the banks as people line up to withdraw cash in the city centre; in the poorer neighborhoods, people have been queuing at boreholes to fetch water even the street markets are teeming with vendors selling their wares.

Soneni Mnkandla, a pensioner and resident of Mzilikazi township in Bulawayo, has gone back to selling tomatoes to support her four grandchildren, but she hopes delivery of the election results will be prompt and positive news for her.

“I want the election results without any delay because I hope the leaders I voted for will do something for my community. The Councillor and the President are the most important to me because they will decide on things such as water, sanitation, and money,” she said.




read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaEvents

National Festival 2023: Showcasing the colorful and richness of Eritrean culture

The National Festival 2023 that was officially opened by President Isaias Afwerki on 13 August at Expo Compound colorfully concluded at the ceremony organized on 20 August.

Ambassador Zemede Tekle, Commissioner of Culture and Sports, spoke at the event, which was attended by high-ranking government and PFDJ officials as well as invited guests. He said that the festival served as a platform for the Eritrean people to showcase their noble culture and unity in diversity.

Over 500,000 people visited the week-long celebration, according to the report that Mr. Solomon Dirar provided

While praising those who helped make the national festival a success, Ambassador Zemede announced that significant planning and effort will be made to ensure the national festival, which was forced to be canceled because to the COVID-19 pandemic, remains sustainable.

Over 500,000 people visited the week-long celebration, according to the report that Mr. Solomon Dirar provided.

A photo exhibition organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Ministry of Defense, a section dedicated to innovation, children’s programs, a book shop, a bazaar, educational and entertainment programs, a talent show, and exhibitions showcasing the progress of various Ministries and companies were all highlights of the national festival, which was held under the theme “Heroic Feat Anchored on Cohesive Ranks.”

read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaEventsWorld

15th BRICS Summit: We are passionate about empowering Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises- VP Shettima

President Bola Tinubu is very passionate about empowering Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) for the development of the nation’s economy, says Vice President, Sen. Kashim Shettima.

According to the Vice President, “It is a known fact that the empowerment of the MSMEs is key to empowering our youth and women towards contributing to the nation’s economic development.”

The Vice President stated this today when he spoke with journalists during his tour of exhibition stands at the BRICS Trade Fair.

Speaking further about the commitment of President Tinubu towards empowering the MSMEs, he said “The President is a very compassionate leader and in the coming months, there will be changes in the fortunes of Nigeria.”

Explaining the economic impact of the growth of MSMEs on the economy, VP Shettima said “This will have positive impacts which will enable them to support their families and add value to the nation.”

The Vice President commended the organizer’s of the trade fair which had about 180 exhibitors from various sectors of the economy. He stressed that the exhibitions will in the long run serve the purpose of galvanising investment and trade in the continent.

Vice President Shettima who took time to inspect Nigeria’s exhibitions lauded the investments of Nigerians in South Africa

Vice President Shettima who took time to inspect Nigeria’s exhibitions lauded the investments of Nigerians in South Africa.

He said “I am quite impressed by the investment Nigerians are making in South Africa. This is the harbinger of greater things to come. I can say that Nigerians are active in the digital economy, they are active in fashion, they are equally active in mining.

“I am quite glad that quite a number of our country men are doing well and are willing to partner with the home nation for the greater glory of the African continent.”

While praising Rose Bank, a Nigerian investment outfit in South Africa for the funding of a cassava project worth 40 billion Naira, the Vice President affirmed that “it is game a changer with the cassava value chain with its huge economic benefits. We hope that it will be reflected in other parts of the country.”

The Trade Fair is being organised by the BRIC South Africa & The SA BRICS Business Council (SABBC) in collaboration with the Department of Trade Industry and Competition, on the sidelines of the on-going 15th BRICS Summit.

The exhibition is expected to serves as a platform for showcasing products and services from the BRICS countries as well as business-to-business interaction aimed at increasing intra-BRICS trade and investments.

The Vice President was accompanied to the Trade Fair by Nigeria’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Amb. Muhammad Haruna Manta, the Consul-General, Amb. Andrew Idi and other senior government officials.

read more