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Nigeria puts a stop to first class travel for its Public Officials

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Nigerian government officials traveling on official business have just been downgraded from First Class to Business Class for good reason. This move coupled with other initiatives such as negotiating cheaper fares and reducing the frequency of airline travel are estimated to save the government about 20% on annual travel expenses, which could easily amount to $70 Million dollars, a substantial amount that could then be reinvested in other areas such as infrastructure and healthcare.

NigeriaFinanceMinsterAdeosunmd

The Minister of Finance (Kemi Adeosun) said the directive had been captured in a circular on the review of overhead expenses released by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

The development was one of the recommendations made by the Efficiency Unit, which she set up last year to reduce overhead expenses.

“The savings are expected to be even larger when discounts secured from airlines are added. Already, 11 airlines have offered discounts on local and international routes for travel by officials of the MDAs, while negotiations are ongoing with others.”

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Nigeria is not the first African country to take such measures. Just last year, Ghana announced a ban on first class travel, with plans to possibly take things a step further by imposing penalties such as dismissal or jail time for public officials who are found to violate the ban.

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African Ingenuity

One of The Oldest Tribes In Africa Was Kicked Out Of Their Homes And Here Is What Happened

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Displaced Batwa Tribe

The Batwa tribe is one of the oldest in Africa. They originally resided in the rainforests of Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda. They survived many decades through hunting and gathering. However, in the 1990s, the government evicted them from the rainforest leaving them homeless. This and subsequent events threw them into poverty.

The actions of the governments of the three countries were prompted by the need to create a national park. The national parks helped to preserve the population of endangered gorillas in the Virunga Mountains. Since then, the population of the gorillas has grown to 880 in 2018 from 284 in 1981. Tourists now pay a huge amount to spend one hour with the apes. The parks have become a huge money spinner for the East African countries. However, the Batwa tribe paid the price.

A glimmer of hope for eighteen Batwa families

Volcanoes Safaris, a luxury lodge operator was drawn to the plight of the Batwa tribe condemned to squat in Uganda’ farmland. The founder of Volcanoes Safari, Praveen Moman was touched by their appalling livelihood. Moman first met the Batwa tribe when he opened the Mount Gahinga Lodge in 1997 on the outskirts of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. The encounter sparked their relationship.

Through the Volcanoes Safari Partnership Trust, Moman gifted ten acres of land to the tribe.  When asked about what motivated his actions, Moman said,

“Generally, we want to support people and improve their livelihood in relation to the work we do at our lodges. It was a bunch of rocks on which they built little shacks of twigs, of tarpaulins, of cardboard—whatever they could get.”

All the material used for the construction of the new village were donations from the guests at Mount Gahinga lodge and the Volcanoes Safari Trust. However, Uganda-based Studio FH architects’ contribution was in terms of supervision services and free designs.

A glimpse into the new settlement for the Batwa tribe

The village consists of eighteen houses each measuring twenty square meters. Each of the homes boasts of a bedroom, common room and a covered veranda which also serves as the kitchen. Eucalyptus poles with bamboo crisscross form a grid and make up the walls. However, the roofing consists of metal sheets with papyrus coating.

Batwa Village Home

The builders took some steps to ensure the safety of these eco-friendly homes. First, the buildings have compact spacing for wind protection as well as to conserve farming lands. Secondly, the verandas face opposite of the direction of strong winds from the volcanoes. To ensure proper sanitation, two buildings containing latrines lie in the slopes on one side of the village.

The Batwa tribe village also has a community center on a 100 square meter space. Consequently, the dome-shaped community center is intended to be used for multiple purposes that involves public gathering. The official opening of the village was in May 2018.

Batwa tribe village community center

The 2018 Emerging Architecture Awards

The contributions of Studio FH Architects to the Batwa tribe also earned them a place on the 2018 Emerging Architecture Awards list. The prestigious award instituted in 1999 honors young designers who create a positive impact in their environment through architectural designs.

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Explore Africa

There Is A Growing List of African Countries That Allow Dual Citizenship

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Dual citizenship means holding the rights of a citizen in more than one country. Specifically, you are a dual citizen if you are lawfully regarded as a citizen in two countries.

You can become a dual citizen through various processes–through birth, marriage, naturalization, or adoption. A minor adopted by citizens of another country can be granted citizenship status of the adoptive parents’ country—at least one of the parents must be a citizen of that country.

African Countries that Allow Dual Citizenship

Not all countries allow dual citizenship. Some of the Western countries that allow dual citizenship include the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Switzerland, and Australia. But what happens if you come from an African country that does not recognize dual citizenship? This is a major concern for many Africans in the diaspora. In fact, not all African countries allow dual citizenship.

Some of the African countries that allow dual citizenship include:

CountryRecent Amendment
Algeria2005
Angola2007
Benin
Burundi
Ivory Coast
Comoros2013
Cape Verde
Tunisia
Djibouti
Egypt2004
Ghana
Kenya2011
Malawi
Sudan
Somalia
Senegal
South Africa2004
Nigeria
Morocco2005
Mauritius2012
Lesotho
Libya2014
Uganda
Zambia2017
Sierra Leone
Madagascar

This figure may change depending on a country’s changing laws and regulations. For example, dual citizenship in Malawi was allowed from December 2018, after parliament made amendments to the 1966 Citizenship Act. Lesotho made a similar amendment in December 2018. Some countries only allow dual citizenship in special circumstances–not entirely.

With the growing trend of African countries adjusting laws to accommodate the diaspora, Ghana has taken things a step further to become the first African country that supports dual citizenship for the involuntary African diaspora. Involuntary African diaspora consists of people of African descent whose ancestors did not leave the continent voluntarily. These are the peopel whose ancestors were forced through the slave trade to leave their homes.

Implications

For Africans coming from countries that allow dual citizenship, it is easier to become dual citizens in other countries that similarly allow dual citizenship.  If you come from countries that do not recognize dual citizenship, applying for citizenship in another country ultimately revokes or cancels your citizenship in your home country.

Advantages

Dual citizens enjoy the rights and benefits offered from both countries. For example, they can vote in the two countries. Depending on applicable law, they may also run for office. The current Somalia president, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, holds both American and Somalia citizenship.

Dual citizens can also work in either country without the requirement for a work permit. For students, they can attend school in either of the countries at the citizens’ tuition rate. As a dual citizen, you can also own property in the two countries.

Disadvantages

One of the major drawbacks of dual citizenship is double taxation. The United States, for instance, imposes taxes on its citizens, regardless of the source country of the income. Some applicable laws, however, can reduce the double taxation effect, depending on agreements between the two countries. Also, the process of gaining dual citizenship can be long and expensive.

African Diaspora

For Africans in the diaspora, most would want to have dual citizenship. Dual citizenship makes their lives easier in their ‘home’ countries. With dual citizenship, they can more easily invest which in turn creates jobs. Some African countries make it easy for their citizens to achieve this through their embassies whereas for others the procedure can be quite complex. The growing trend among African countries to embrace dual citizenship, creates an opportunity to bridge the widening distance between those countries and the diaspora.

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Lifestyle

Ethiopian Prime Minister and Wife Set An Example With Adoption From Kibebe Tsehay Orphanage

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Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed’s charisma has warmed our hearts on multiple occasion. His latest example came to fruition this month when the courts approved him and his wife’s petition to adopt an orphan named Million from Kibebe Tsehay Orphanage.

The adopting parents applied to the court on January 22, 2019 making the argument that the child will be better off with them. The court approved the adoption in light of the fact that the agreement is in the best interest of the child and confirmed that Million could not give comment on the adoption agreement since his age is under two years.

FANABC reported that Meaza Ashenafi, President of the Supreme Court, sent a congratulatory message to First Lady Zinash and Prime Minister Dr Abiy.

'The decision of First Lady Zinash and Prime Minister Dr Abiy could be a model to other Ethiopians to adopt disadvantaged children' - Meaza Ashenafi Click To Tweet

The prime minister’s wife, Zinash Tayachew, who attended the court in person, said her family will give Million all the needed love and care.

African First Lady Adoptions

The development comes on the back of Zambia’s first lady’s decision to adopt an abandoned month-old baby last December. The baby girl was abandoned by her mother a few days after she was born at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka. Other former first ladies in Africa have also adopted children, including Ghana’s Lordina Mahama and Zimbabwe’s Grace Mugabe.

Ethiopia’s first couple have three children of their own and their decision to adopt Million has been hailed by many people.

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