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Egypt’s defence minister discusses military cooperation with Nigerian counterpart

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Egyptian Minister of Defence Mohamed Zaki received his Nigerian counterpart Mansur Mohamed Dan on Monday for talks on the latest regional and international developments and on boosting bilateral military cooperation and joint exercises.

The ministers also discussed coordinating joint efforts to counter terrorism and enhance security and stability in the region, the Egyptian military’s spokesman said in a statement.
Zaki praised the military cooperation between the two countries’ armed forces, calling for more cooperation in the near future.
The Nigerian minister hailed the Egyptian armed forces’ success in fighting terrorism and restoring security and stability, and wished for more prosperity and wellbeing in Egypt, the statement read.
The meeting was attended by top military officials and the Nigerian ambassador to Egypt.

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U.S. Embassy Condemns Terror Attack in Cairo

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The United States Embassy in Cairo unequivocally condemns the terrorist incident in Cairo yesterday. We deplore all forms of terrorism and honor the brave police officers who gave their lives to protect their fellow citizens.

We deplore all forms of terrorism and honor the brave police officers who gave their lives to protect their fellow citizens

We offer our condolences to their families and wishes for a quick recovery to those injured. The United States stands with Egypt against terrorism and extremism.

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The Five Candidates Running in Senegal’s Presidential Election

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DAKAR — Senegal, the most stable democracy in West Africa, is preparing for an election on Sunday with President Macky Sall facing off against four other candidates. Sall is widely expected to win a second term, after the country’s two best-known opposition figures were barred from running because of corruption allegations, in moves critics said represented a worrying crackdown on dissent.

A supporter of Idrissa Seck, presidential candidate of the coalition “Idy 2019”, reacts at a campaign rally in Thies, Senegal February 3, 2019. Picture taken February 3, 2019.

Below is a look at the five candidates competing in the Feb. 24 ballot:

The incumbent: Macky Sall
Favorite to win the upcoming vote, the Senegalese president first came to power in 2012, after beating former president and mentor Abdoulaye Wade in the second round.
Sall, 57, started in politics as a member of Wade’s Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) and served as his prime minister between 2004 and 2007. Internal disputes led Sall to split with Wade in 2008 and form his own party, Alliance for the Republic (APR).
As president, Sall launched an ambitious development and reform programme aimed at transforming Senegal into an emerging economy by 2035. The plan includes an array of big ticket infrastructure projects, including a rail project, power generation and a futuristic new city on the outskirts of Dakar.
But the barring of his main rivals, Khalifa Sall, who is in jail for corruption, and Karim Wade, son of the former president, also previously jailed for graft, has raised eyebrows among voters.
Heavy-handed crackdowns by security forces on some protests have also prompted accusations that President Sall has an authoritarian streak.

The twice-defeated: Idrissa Seck
Like Sall, Idrissa Seck, 60, served as Wade’s prime minister in the 2000s, but his subsequent bids for the presidency have been unsuccessful.
Seck was sacked as prime minister in 2004 over embezzlement allegations and spent some months in jail before his case was dismissed. In 2006, he founded the party Rewmi (“The Country,” in the Wolof language) and ran against Wade in 2007, finishing second.
He ran again in 2012 but did not make it to the second round. He is one of Sall’s main challengers, but a widely-cited survey in November showed him trailing the incumbent with little over eight percent support.

The newcomer: Ousmane Sonko
At 45 years old, Sonko is the youngest contestant in the race and a newcomer to the political scene. His relative youth plays to his advantage in Senegal, where more than 60 percent of the population is under 25 and anxious for change.
The tax inspector made a name for himself in 2016 when he became a whistleblower, denouncing corrupt practices in the Senegalese elite.
He was sacked over the activism, but his new-found prominence led to his election as a lawmaker in 2017, representing his own party: the Patriots of Senegal for Work, Ethics and Fraternity (PASTEF).
He is Sall’s other main challenger with 15 percent support, according to the November survey, which was conducted before the candidates list was finalized. Official opinion polls are banned ahead of elections.

The academic: Issa Sall
The 63-year-old IT professor represents the Party of Unity and Assembly (PUR). His party is affiliated with the Moustarchidine religious movement, part of a leading Sufi brotherhood in Senegal.
Founder of a private university in Dakar, Issa Sall launched his political career in the late 1990s. He is one of only three representatives of his party in the national assembly.

The outsider: Madicke Niang
Madicke Niang, 66, is seen as having the least chance of winning the upcoming vote.
A long-time member of the PDS, Niang was a loyal supporter of former president Wade and served as a minister in his government for many years. His decision last year to run for president led to his banishment from the party, as Wade wanted his son Karim to represent PDS in the race.

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U.S. Embassy Organizes Second EthiopiaHacks! Hackathon on Digital ID

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The theme of the second hackathon, held at the American Center in Addis Ababa, was “digital identification”
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, February 11, 2019/ — The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa launched the second in a series of 12 hackathons under its Ethiopia Hacks! Program.

The theme of the second hackathon, held at the American Center in Addis Ababa, was “digital identification”, where participants explored out technology could be used to register and correctly identify refugees and Internally Displaced People (IDPs), ensuring they receive appropriate benefits, while protecting individual privacy.

Through Ethiopia Hacks! The U.S. Embassy provides a platform to encourage emerging tech-savvy to exercise their design, problem-solving, and coding skills to address challenges in their communities. Moreover, students can use this opportunity as a networking platform to further develop and prepare applications for markets where there is need for it.

U.S. Embassy Spokesperson Nick Barnett said, “We hope the hackathons show the participants as well as the wider community that Ethiopians have what it takes to tackle their own challenges with home-grown solutions. It is another way the United States is investing in the capacity of Ethiopians to build a bright future for themselves.”

In total, the Ethiopia Hacks! Program will invest in the capacity of 600 tech-savvy youth, who will have the opportunity to participate and generate solutions for their communities. Funding is provided jointly by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Ethiopia Hacks! Will take place in Addis Ababa, Jimma, Dire Dawa and Bahir Dar.

Ethiopia Hacks! Is conducted in partnership with the Google Developers Group (GDG- Addis) and the Centre for Women’s Economic Environment (CAWEE). Each hackathon will challenge young tech developers to identify prototype solutions to challenges in Ethiopia.

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Peace Hyde profiled on Fox News for transformative work with Aim Higher Africa

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In the recent Fox News interview, the former UK based science teacher talks about her inspirational journey from the streets of Accra to building one of the most recognizable educational brands focused on the grassroots in Africa
NEW YORK, United States of America, February 11, 2019/ — From the streets of Accra to the tech hub of Yaba, leading education non-profit, Aim Higher Africa has continued to shape and lead the discourse of providing quality education to unemployed, impoverished and grassroots entrepreneurs in local communities across Africa.

The charity organization, which was founded by Forbes Africa Head of digital media and partnership/Correspondent for West Africa, Peace Hyde, has over the years delivered its proprietary MRDT curriculum program to millions of students across the continent in a bid to transform limiting mind-set, break down negative barriers and empower students with design thinking skills with a focus of helping them to identify opportunities within their community that creates long term scalable and sustainable impact.

MRDT, which stands for Mind-set Reorientation and Design Thinking, was created by Peace Hyde and Gordon Adomdza, an associate professor of education and entrepreneurship. The program was launched in Aim Higher Africa’s newly opened skills acquisition center in Yaba where students are enrolled in a 6-week intensive vocational and digital skills program after which successful graduates with innovative socially focused business plans, receive an interest free start up loan to transform their dreams into realities.

In its 5 years of work, the organization has also empowered over 100,000 women with financial literacy training as well as free formal education to over 50,000 street children between the ages of 10 to 15 years in its Dream Program. In the recent Fox News interview, the former UK based science teacher talks about her inspirational journey from the streets of Accra to building one of the most recognizable educational brands focused on the grassroots in Africa.

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BBC News Media Correction in a misreport of Sindika Dokolo

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It is reassuring that media like British Broadcasting Corporation can recognize to right a wrong that has been done, in the fact checking
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, February 11, 2019/ — On February 6 2019, BBC finally agreed to correct their reporting, correcting the fact that Mr Sindika Dokolo was never and had not legitimately been accused of any crimes in Democratic Republic of Congo (or any other jurisdiction).

Defamation law posted on BBC website states: Journalists must operate within legal and ethical guidelines. Defamatory statements are those which ‘tend’ to expose a person to ‘hatred, ridicule or contempt’, cause them to be ‘shunned or avoided’ or lowered in the estimation of ‘right-thinking members of society’.

Journalism is about finding facts, interpreting their importance, and then sharing that information with the audience. In this case, the fact checking missed the fact that the judge in Democratic Republic of Congo who had made an unsubstantiated and false judgement, of fraud, was arrested and jailed.

FreedomHouse.org states that in the Democratic Republic of Congo, civilians and opposition politicians are unable to influence government policies through elections. Civil liberties—including freedom of expression and association—are repressed, and corruption is systemic throughout the government. Armed groups and insecurity are pervasive in many areas of the country, and state security forces have been implicated in human rights abuses.

On July 2016, a judge in the Democratic Republic of Congo has said she was pressured by the intelligence service to convict opposition politician. as reported on BBC news.

This is something that GAN has raised as a red flag: GAN the Business Anti-Corruption Portal recent report describes DRCongo judicial institutions having been plagued with widespread corruption and poses a high risk for companies. Approximately a third of all surveyed companies identified the courts as a constraint to doing business in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.(https://www.Business-Anti-Corruption.com)

It is reassuring that media like British Broadcasting Corporation can recognize to right a wrong that has been done, in the fact checking.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Les Congolais Debout.

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Egypt president Sisi takes up AU chairmanship

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*Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi took up the chairmanship of the 55-member African Union (AU) from Rwandan leader, Paul Kagame at its 32nd ordinary session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Sunday.
During his tenure, el-Sissi is expected to concentrate on security and financial reform, but with no great plans to strengthen the AU’s multilateral powers.
Instead, the focus is expected to be on combating illegal immigration while Egypt presents itself as a model for hosting refugees.

The summit has been titled: “Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons” presented within a security context.

Free trade
The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) was approved by 44 of 55 member states last March. If ratified, it would become the largest free trade area since the World Trade Organization was set up in 1995.
The CFTA would see tariffs removed from 90 percent of goods and could boost trade within the continent by 52 percent within three years, according to the UN.
The free trade area will come into effect once ratified by 22 of the signatory states. As of February, 19 states had ratified the agreement.
Nigeria is one of the continent’s economic powerhouses staying outside the CFTA, with President Muhammadu Buhari concerned it may hurt Nigerian entrepreneurship and industry.

Human rights concerns
Rights groups, including Amnesty International, have expressed concern that Egypt’s chairmanship may undermine the AU’s human rights mechanisms.
“During his time in power President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has demonstrated a shocking contempt for human rights. Under his leadership the country has undergone a catastrophic decline in rights and freedoms,” said Najia Bounaim, Amnesty’s North Africa Campaigns director.

“There are real fears about the potential impact his chairmanship could have on the independence of regional human rights mechanisms and their future engagement with civil society,” she said. “The African Union member states must ensure that Egypt, as political head of the organization for 2019, upholds the African Union’s values and principles, including respect for human and peoples’ rights.”

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Liberia: How is President Weah faring one year on?

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One turbulent year after George Weah came to power, the challenges are starting to pile up, but hope remains.

One year ago today, ordinary Liberians for the first time trooped in their thousands to witness live the swearing in of a president. These ceremonies had previously been the preserve of elites, securely cordoned off in the grounds of the Capitol Building. But in 2018, this tradition was promptly broken as the inauguration was held in the nearly 40,000-capacity national stadium.
That event saw George Weah officially become president. He had been elected two months earlier on a wave of hope that the footballing celebrity turned politician could transform Liberia and end corruption. He promised to deliver “change” in a country in which the majority live below the poverty line and deliver basic social services, provide jobs and strengthen rule of law.
In the campaign, Weah’s humble beginnings and untainted record endeared him to many, and he inspired his supporters once again in his speech to the country. “It will be my task, my duty, and my honour, to lead this nation from division to national unity, and toward a future of hope and prosperity,” he said “Rest assured, I will not let you down.”
One year on, it is too early to assess whether President Weah will deliver on his ambitious promises, but it is not too early to pick up on some possible indications.

Change
President Weah’s first challenge on coming to office was in forming a government. He faced the balancing act of ensuring his cabinet was both committed to change and capable. This saw him torn between young progressive loyalists on the one hand, and useful political allies who had served under previous presidents on the other. In the end, Weah appointed associates of former presidents Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Charles Taylor to a third of his key ministerial and advisory positions. This has understandably led some to question whether his commitment to change is real and whether there will be inquiries into war crimes and economic mismanagement as once expected.
President Weah has, however, already made efforts towards some significant and tangible political reforms. His approval of the Local Government Act and Land Rights Act, two major laws left abeyant in the legislature during the tenure of President Sirleaf, has been celebrated by activists as a victory for long marginalised communities. These pieces of legislation seek to empower local communities through the recognition of customary land ownership and decentralisation. When implemented, it should see power shift away from established elites.
At the same time, much has been left unchanged. The rentier economy that enabled the plunder of the state under previous administrations remains in place. Meanwhile rather than dismantling Liberia’s imperial-like presidential powers, Weah seems to be extending them. Despite having no official entitlement to do so, for example, he appointed officials to agencies such as the Liberia Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative and introduced legislation last year that could undermine the independence of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission and Public Procurement and Concession Commission and place them under presidential control. Weah also took the unprecedented step of appointing an Ambassador without Senate confirmation as required by the constitution, a grave violation of Liberia’s system of checks and balances between the three branches of government.

The economy
In the past year, the economy and public infrastructure have been two of President’s Weah key priorities. Since coming to office, his government has reduced tariffs on nearly 2,000 commodities. It has gone on a charm offensive to woo foreign investors. And it has connected slum communities around the capital Monrovia to major roads and made progress in providing public utilities.
Weah’s more ambitious infrastructure dreams have proven trickier. The government intends to build a highway along Liberia’s 350-mile coast as well as connecting roads into the interior, but its efforts to secure financing for these projects have been controversial. Firstly, there were attempts to obtain loans from companies in Hong Kong and Burkina Faso whose credentials were questioned by international organisations and the opposition. Then, the government announced a deal with a Chinese company that will extract Liberian resources in return for development financing. The lack of details around the arrangement and fears of rising debt are of concern to many.
More broadly, however, the economy is in dire straits. It has struggled to deal with low commodity prices, low export earnings, and low foreign direct investment. The Liberian dollar continues to fall against the US dollar, while inflation soared to an all-time high of 26.6% in October 2018.
There have been recent efforts to diversify the economy by investing more in agriculture and supporting small and micro enterprises with capital, but it will be some time before these yield results.

Tackling corruption
The main corruption story that has dominated Liberia’s headlines under President Weah was the news in September 2018 that nearly 16 billion Liberian dollars ($104 million) of new bank notes had gone missing. This accounts for about 5% of the country’s GDP and 20% of the government’s annual budget. The administration initially confirmed the missing money and, amid pressure from protests, launched an investigation with support from the FBI in the US. The government blamed the previous administration of President Sirleaf, which she denied.
Two weeks later, though, the Central Bank claimed the missing notes could be fully accounted for and 35 travel bans – on former and current government officials, including Charles Sirleaf, the deputy governor of the central bank and son of former President Sirleaf – were lifted. Liberians remain deeply distrustful, however, and are now awaiting the forensic investigation’s report. Whatever the outcome, the mystery will likely continue to haunt the credibility of the government.
There have also been allegations that government officials have accumulated huge wealth under Weah’s administration. Moreover, the president is accused of personal involvement in a number of large-scale private projects himself. These media reports fall short of establishing hard evidence, but until Weah publicly declares his assets, doubts will remain about his ability and willingness to fight corruption.

The year ahead
In the first year of his six-year term, President Weah has faced financial scandal and a floundering economy. Despite these and many other challenges, however, he ended the year with an approval rating of 56%. He also maintains popular support in the legislature. Both will be crucial as he attempts to implement reforms and pro-poor development programmes.
With five years left to go, hope in the president remains high. Weah still has plenty of political capital, but his first year has shown that it is not limitless and will continue to diminish unless the widespread change he promised starts to bear tangible fruit.

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U.N. Says Nigeria Needs 11 Million Jobs Yearly To Bridge Unemployment Gap

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The United Nations says Nigeria will need eleven million jobs annually to bridge her unemployment gap.

This was revealed by the African representative and climate change coordinator of the united nations environment programme Richard Munang at the UNEP and ecosystem-based adaptation for food security assembly in Nigeria at its policy harmonization meeting on the implementation of the country’s economic recovery and growth plan.
The U.N. representative also hinted that Nigeria losses nine billion dollars on post-harvest losses in agriculture produce.
Nigeria has also been advised to ensure inter-ministerial harmonization in solving the country’s unemployment crisis.

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Barack Obama shares sweet birthday message for Michelle

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The former US first lady celebrated her 55th birthday yesterday.

THROWBACK: Barack and Michelle Obama (Image: Barack Obama/Instagram)

BARACK OBAMA has shared a sweet and touching message for his wife Michelle to celebrate her birthday.
Michelle, who turned 55 years old yesterday, has captured the world’s heart again with the release of her memoir Becoming, which was released at the end of last year, and her candid and empowering international book tour.
In a social media post shared across his Instagram and Twitter accounts, Obama shared a throwback picture of himself with his arm around Michelle.
He captioned the image: “I knew it way back then and I’m absolutely convinced of it today – you’re one of a kind, Michelle Obama. Happy Birthday!”
Michelle responded to the tweet sharing her appreciation for the birthday messages she received.

She wrote: “Thank you all so much for the birthday love—I love you all right back! Feeling so incredibly thankful for my South Side roots, my soul-affirming partner and daughters, and every unimaginable twist and turn over these 55 years. Can’t wait to see what becomes of the next one!”
The pair marked their 26th wedding anniversary last year.
Aside from her birthday, the former first lady has another reason to celebrate. Her book, Becoming, which has been a global hit, has topped the Amazon best seller list for 47 days, making it the book that’s held the top spot the longest since Fifty Shades of Grey back in 2012.
Becoming has sold more copies than any other book released in the United States last year.
Due to the overwhelming interest in Michelle’s book tour, she has extended it, adding extra dates including an event at the O2 in London this April.

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U.S Shutdown: Trump Walks Out On Democrats

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President Donald Trump has walked out of a meeting with democratic leaders as negotiations broke down on the partial U.S government shutdown.

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s refusal to fund his US-Mexico border wall, prompted trump to call the meeting “a total waste of time”.
Democrats again accused the president of throwing a “Temper Tantrum”.

The first payday since the shutdown began is due on Friday for 800,000 federal workers, who will go unpaid.
Trump has demanded $5.7bn to build a steel barrier, which would deliver on a key campaign pledge. But democrats – who control the House of Representatives – have refused to back the funding.
The president met with the Democratic Party leaders in the situation room, the conference centre in the west wing basement.
Mr trump posed a direct question to house speaker Nancy Pelosi about whether she would fund the wall. And she said no.
Trump just got up and said, ‘then we have nothing to discuss,’ and he just walked out.

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Divisional Head, Listing Business at the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Jude Chiemeka comes with over 24 years’ experience in Securities Trading and Asset Management across markets in Africa. He joined NSE from United Capital Securities Limited a subsidiary of United Capital Plc, where he was the MD/CEO. He had previously helmed affairs at leading investment banking firms in Nigeria such as Chapel Hill Denham Securities and Rencap Securities (Nigeria). He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers and an alumnus of University of Lagos, Lagos Business School as well as University of Oxford, UK.

 

Winning Sunday with Creative /Visual Artist ,Kingsley Ayogu @ the Ayogu Kingsley digital gallery Space. : The Young Netpreneur for the Week.

Art steps beyond the realms of being just an illustration when the piece which has been created holds a narrative. This depth of artistic expression can be achieved through diving into the abundant ocean of human emotion, a depth achieved by 23-year-old artist Ayogu Kingsley Ifeanyichukwu. He accomplishes this depth not only through the photographic precision of his oil paintings, but through the scenes captured within his work.

 

 

 

 

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