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The 30th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly Concludes With Key Decisions On Agenda 2063

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The 30th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly concludes with decisions on (3) flagship projects of Agenda 2063

A summary of key decisions

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 29 January 2018- The 30th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Summit holding on the theme: ‘Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation’ ended on 29 January 2018, at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the adoption of key decisions by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government.

The following is a summary of decisions made by the Assembly. Full decisions will be posted on the AU website www.au.int in due course:

  1. The realization of a Single African Air Transport Market is vital to the achievement of the long-term vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa under the AU Agenda 2063; that it will bring about the enhanced connectivity across the continent leading to sustainable development of the aviation and tourism industry with immense contribution to economic growth, job creation, prosperity and integration of Africa. Its against that backdrop the Assembly adopted the Decision on the Establishment of a Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). Twenty-three (23) Member States have declared their Solemn Commitment to the immediate implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision towards establishment of a Single African Air Transport so far.
  2. On the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), the Assembly decides to hold an Extraordinary Summit on 21 March 2018, preceded by an Extraordinary Session of the Executive Council on 19 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda, to consider the CFTA Legal instruments and sign the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area and requested the AU Commission to convene an Extraordinary session of the STC on Justice and Legal Affairs to consider the said instruments prior to the Summit.
  3. The Assembly also adopted a protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community relating to Free Movement of Persons, Rights of Residence and Right of Establishment and its Draft Implementation Roadmap.
  4. On Financing the Union, the Assembly decided that the membership of the Committee of Ministers of Finance should be expanded from ten (10) to fifteen (15) members based on the principles of equitable geographical distribution and rotation. In this regard, the Committee will be called the Committee of Fifteen Ministers of Finance.
  5. On the Report of the Leader of the African Union High-Level Committee on Libya, the Assembly expressed once again its deep concern over the persistent political impasse and the security situation in Libya, which perpetuates the suffering of the Libyan people, undermines the legal institutions of the country and poses a challenge to security and stability in neighboring countries and in the entire region. The Assembly requested the African Union Commission to re-launch the efforts of the Contact Group on Libya, in close cooperation with the United Nations, in order to pool the efforts of the international community on the issue and support the efforts of the African Union High-Level Committee on Libya and expressed once again, its appreciation to H.E. Mr Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo, Leader of the African Union High-Level Committee on Libya, to the African Union Special Representative, H.E. Mr Jakaya Kikwete, as well as to neighboring countries, for the efforts made towards achieving lasting peace in Libya.
  6. On the Report of the Peace and Security Council on its Activities and the State of Peace and Security in Africa, the Assembly welcomed the signing, on 21 December 2017, by the South Sudanese stakeholders of an Agreement of Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access, and commended IGAD for leading the High Level Revitalization Forum, which presents a unique opportunity for the implementation of the Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS), in line with the Communique of the 720th meeting of the PSC, held at ministerial level, in New York, on 20 September 2017. The Assembly. The Assembly expressed deep concern over the repeated violations of the Agreement by the parties, resulting in further deterioration of the already dire humanitarian situation caused by the ongoing conflict, and demand all warring parties to immediately put an end to all military actions and comply Scrupulously With Their Commitments, As Contained In The Agreement Of 21 December 2017.
  7. On the Implementation of the Assembly Decision on the Institutional Reform of the African Union, the Assembly reiterated the commitment to the reform and renewal of the Union as part of the effort to ensure delivery of Agenda 2063 as an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in international arena. The Assembly decided that the Reform Troika shall be expanded to the Bureau of the Assembly and will collaborate with President Kagame in his capacity as Lead on the AU Institutional Reform process.
  8. On the PAU(ALN) Initiative, the Assembly reaffirmed commitment to end hunger by 2025 through strengthening development policies as an effective investment in the human capital of our countries; and recommitted to end child stunting by reducing stunting to 10% and underweight to 5% by 2025 and in particular, focusing on the first 1000 Days as the only window of opportunity during which permanent and irreversible physical and mental damage would be avoided.
  9. With regard to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the Assembly reaffirmed the continued relevance and uniqueness of accelerating the implementation of Agenda 2063 and, the vehicle to enhance multi-sectoral and integrated approach to deliver transformative results as enshrined in the NEPAD Program and the role that the NEPAD Agency plays and that will be reinforced in the proposed transition of the NEPAD Agency into the African Union Development Agency.
  10. On the Implementation of the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA), the Assembly called Member States to implement all the commitments made in the SDGEA, and the AU Commission to accelerate the alignment of its policies, programs and reporting tools for gender equality with Agenda 2063.
  11. On the Report of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), The Assembly congratulated H.E. Idriss Itno Deby, President of the Republic of Chad.for his election as the new Chairperson of the APR Forum, and commended H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta for his sterling leadership of the Mechanism, including its Revitalization, during his tenure as the Chairperson of the APR Forum. The Assembly further reiterated that the APRM remains the premier homegrown, African good governance tool conceived in 2003 and voluntarily acceded to by thirty-six (36) Member States, more than half of whom twenty-one (21) have under gone the review.
  12. On Fast Tracking CAADP-Malabo Commitments for Accelerating Agriculture Transformation in Africa through Biennial Review Mechanism and Africa Agricultural Transformation Scorecard (AATS), the Assembly commended the positive response of Member States in conducting self assessments, inclusive validation process and providing information for the preparation of the inaugural report to the Assembly of the African Union on the progress in achieving our common goals on agricultural transformation in Africa; while noting challenges faced by members states in collecting and compiling quality data to report progress on all goals and targets set in the commitments of the Malabo Declaration. The Assembly called all Member States of the African Union, to mobilize adequate technical and financial resources in supporting agricultural data systems, monitoring and evaluation systems and strengthen mutual accountability structures to trigger evidence based planning for agriculture transformation.
  13. On Outcomes of COP 23/CMP 13 and Africa’s Engagements at the Global Climate Change Conference at COP 24/CMP 14, the Assembly urged developed country Parties to scale up of the current levels of climate finance, through agreement among Parties on concrete pathways and accounting methodologies for achieving of the collective goal by developed countries to mobilize USD 100 billion a year by 2020 and beyond, while striking a balance in the allocation of financial resources between adaptation and mitigation as a trust-building effort in the negotiations, and including a significant increase in grant-based support for adaptation and adequate support for capacity building and technology transfer, and stressed the importance of initiating substantive negotiations, immediately and prior to completion of the Paris Work Programme, on the long-term finance goal for the post-2025 period, so as to ensure scaled up, additional and predictable levels of public finance to implement developing countries ambitious nationally determined contributions. The Assembly further urged the Parties and the COP23 and COP24 Presidencies to expedite action on consultations involving specific needs and special circumstances of Africa, as mandated by COP22 to urgently reach consensus for support to the African populace especially the most vulnerable communities (women, youth and children) to benefit from the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Appointments

Appointments were declared during the Assembly Summit for the following positions

  • Ms. Amal Mahmoud Ammar (Egypt) as Member of the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption for a two (2)- year term.
  • Mr. NZINZI Pierre Dominique (Gabon) as President of the Pan African University (PAU) Council for a three (3)-year term.
  • The Vice President of the PAU Council will be elected at the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Executive Council scheduled for June/July 2018.

Peace and Security Council

The Assembly deliberated on the issue of peace and security on the continent. The Assembly appointed the ten members of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union for a two-year term as follows:

  1. Equatorial Guinea Central Region
  2. Gabon Central Region
  3. Djibouti Eastern Region
  4. Rwanda Eastern Region
  5. Morocco Northern Region
  6. Angola Southern Region
  7. Zimbabwe Southern Region
  8. Liberia Western Region
  9. Sierra Leone Western Region
  10. Togo Western Region

The Assembly welcomed the appointment of former Algerian Foreign Minister and former AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Amb. Ramtane Lamamra as the AU High Representative for Silencing the Guns and called upon Member States, the RECs/RMs, the UN and all partners, to extend their cooperation and support his activities in assisting Africa and its people to silence the guns in Africa by the year 2020. The Assembly FURTHER STRESSES the urgent need for the AU to mobilize funding in support of the activities of the High Representative to enable him carry out his mandate, particularly galvanizing efforts of all stakeholders to scale up activities in the implementation of the AU Master Roadmap.

Climate Change

 

The Assembly saluted the the diligence of the Members of the the Committee of the African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) for the commendable political directive and guidance they provided that has concretized Africa’s solidarity and pan-Africanism at the negotiations and contributed to the adoption of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change as a result of strong, unity and united voice.

On the dates and Venue of the 31st Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, the Assembly confirmed that the dates of the Thirty-First Ordinary Session of the Assembly which will be held June/July 2018 in Nouakchott,

Source: The 30th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly concludes with remarkable decisions on (3) flagship projects of Agenda 2063 | African Union

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Ethiopian Prime Minister’s War On Corruption Results In Arrests Of 59 More Officials

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Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

Since coming into power in 2018, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed made a firm resolve to clean-up public institutions. Ahmed canceled the contract between the government and METEC (Metals and Engineering Corporation), a military-run industrial conglomerate. The latest crackdown on corruption on Thursday 11th April 2019 led to the arrest of 59 officials.

Among those affected by the arrest are the head and staff of the Public Procurement and Property Disposal Service. Commenting on the matter on Friday the nation’s attorney general, Berhanu Tsegaye, said the arrest is based on the suspicious acquisition of properties and economic sabotage.

“We found properties, such as title deeds of houses held by the suspects, which are beyond their income.”

Just one year in office but the prime minister is taking great strides in reforming the country. Ethiopia now has improved relationships with neighboring countries. These efforts have earned the prime minister a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

Abiy Ahmed’s Previous Public Institution Cleanup Efforts

According to Berhanu, the recent arrest follows a three-month investigation involving officials from the Ethiopian Water Works Construction Enterprise and Pharmaceuticals Fund and Supply Agency. However, this is not the first time the government is making efforts to stamp out corruption. In November 2018, the government arrested over 60 intelligence officials, businesspeople, and military personnel on various charges of right violation and corruption. Tsegaye said

“[The offenses of some of those arrested include] beatings, forced confessions, sodomy, rape, electrocution, and even killings [and mismanaging METEC].”

The high-profile arrest included officials from METEC. Consequently, this led to the cancellation of the contact between METEC and the government. The former METEC head was in January 2019, charged with corruption. This makes him the most senior official in the arrest to be prosecuted. Ethiopia’s spy chief was also fingered in a botched plot to assassinate the new prime minister.

Reactions Trailing The Anti-Corruption War

It is all positive response for the anti-corruption war of the new prime minister. However, an opposition figure, Yilikal Getnet says the prime minister is merely playing to the demands of the people. In an interview with The Associated Press, Getnet said,

“These have been issues that we in the opposition have long been calling for, too. The ruling party alone can’t bring justice for all these atrocities committed in the past.”

Amnesty International also thinks the arrests are the right steps in the right direction. Commenting on the November 2018 arrests, the East Africa Director of Amnesty International, Joan Nyanyuki said,

“These arrests are an important first step towards ensuring full accountability for the abuses that have dogged the country for several decades. Many of these officials were at the helm of government agencies infamous for perpetrating gross human rights violations.

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Zimbabwe Artists Unite To Raise Funds For Cyclone Idai Victims

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Cyclone Idah

Cyclone Idai hit Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe

Last week Thursday, cyclone Idai hit Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe destroying human and properties on its path. It is said to be one of the worst disaster to hit the south-eastern African region. According to statistics, over 2.6 million people are affected across the three countries. Subsequently, the cyclone led to devastating flooding. The cyclone hit the port city of Beira in Sofala province at over 177 km/h (106 mph). Consequently, the port city of Beira which was once home to 500,000 people is now an ‘island’.

The President of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi on Tuesday announced three days of national mourning. The official death toll as of Monday across Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique are 56, 98, and 200 respectively. However, many are still missing. President believes over 1,000 people may have been killed in the disaster. Consequently, the real death toll may remain unknown for many months as the disaster unfolds.

The urgent need for humanitarian services

There is an urgent need to rescue people still trapped within the devastated cities hit by cyclone Idai. Also, the survivors will be relying on humanitarian aid for survival. In the ‘new island’ people are clinging to trees and house roofs for survival. Speaking about the disaster, Manuel Rodrigues, Manica province governor, said,

“We saw people besieged and asking for help… on top of their roofs made up of zinc sheets. Others under flood waters. We can only imagine that they had been there for more than two or three days, without food and without clean drinking water.”

Several aid agencies in Mozambique are complementing government efforts in the distribution of food. Over 3,800 families are taking refuge in Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Management.

Zimbabwe musicians rise for cyclone Idai victims

Veteran Zimbabwe musicians have taken to their social media pages to solicit for donations to assist the victims. They also used the medium to share their condolence with the victims. The hip hop icon, Ex Q, Jah Prayzah said,

Jah Prayzah soliciting for donations for victims of cyclone Idai

“Let’s join hands and help those who have been affected by the cyclone Idai. No donation is too small to make a change. Anything you think can assist those in need right now in Chimanimani please bring it over… to 31 Hebert Chitepo in Belvedere.”

Michael Mahendere, a renowned gospel musician wrote,

“Our hearts and prayers go out to those affected by the cyclone Idai. The scenes are saddening but we know that there is Hope in the God we pray to. The relief that comes from Him is permanent and we stand with them during this devastating season.”

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African Ingenuity

Tanzania Blockchain Baby is the World’s First

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Tanzania blockchain baby

Tanzania blockchain baby is the first in the world and is making headlines all over. Africa is doing all it can to improve the lives of its citizens in all spheres of life.

Blockchain is a technology that allows distribution (and not copying) of digital information. It was originally created for digital currencies (cryptocurrencies) such as Bitcoin. A blockchain is simply a series of absolute or immutable data records. A bunch of computers not owned by any single entity manage these records. Each of these single blocks is bound to the other using cryptographic technology and principles, what is called a chain. In this way, a blockchain is a way of passing information from one point to another in a safe and automated manner. This is the technology on Tanzania blockchain baby.

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.” – Don & Alex Tapscott, authors Blockchain Revolution (2016).

Blockchain Technology and Maternal Health

In an effort to improve access to good healthcare, Africa is making history in the world. The latest feat towards improving maternal health is Tanzania blockchain baby. It is difficult to connect blockchain technology and maternal health (leave alone a baby) but be as it may, Africa has a baby through blockchain. As if this is not amazing enough, blockchain does not have only one, but three babies in Tanzania.

The project by Irish AID: Tech and Dutch PharmAccess was initially funded to tackle controversies in the charitable industry in areas of equitable distribution of donations. In order to track the aid given to susceptible women, the project decided to use blockchain technology in facilitating proper distribution of this aid. Additionally, they used this technology to share important data and to streamline the entire support process. This record keeping technology for cryptocurrencies and bitcoins is a major breakthrough for the Tanzania blockchain baby.

Tanzania Blockchain Baby Technology

According to reports, Tanzania blockchain baby feat was born last July but has just come to the limelight. Aid:Tech is an Irish project and it seems it has finally found a humanitarian application of blockchain technology. The technology seeks to digitally identify pregnant women and provide them with the support and care they require in Tanzania. These digital IDs allow women to get proper access to vital elements such as folic acid. The technology also uses IDs to track the pregnancy progress from the initial women data entry to the blockchain, to delivery.

On 13th of July 2018, the first Tanzania blockchain baby was born. Two more followed this Tanzania blockchain bay a week later on 19th July 2018. This brought the blockchain babies to a total of three bundles of joy. Currently, the technology has made it possible for the mothers to get access to postnatal care as well as following up on doctor’s appointments and receiving needed medications. This distributed ledgers technology is lighting a new path towards better access to better maternal health in Africa.

How Blockchain Technology Works for Blockchain Babies   

According to recent reports by Forbes, the technology works like this;

  • Each pregnant woman receives a digital ID.
  • The digital ID entitles the woman to get access to important vitamins such as folic acid.
  • Additionally, the ID tracks the pregnancy progress through data added to the blockchain.
  • The tracking starts after the woman is first registered, through medical appointments to birth.
  • Currently, the system also allows women to receive postnatal care and follow-up doctor’s appointments as needed.

This Tanzania blockchain baby technology project has well-meaning goals for infants and mothers in Tanzania. The country has high infant mortality rates that currently stand at 556 deaths per 100,000 live births. In addition to other healthcare challenges, Tanzania also has difficulties in getting fund donations from well-wishers to deserving women. For these two reasons, the project was established and it is working quite well.

Joseph Thompson co-founded AID:Tech in order to provide more transparency in the distribution of aid to deserving people. The idea came as a result of his previous encounter with aid distribution fraud. The organization made the first successful attempt at aid distribution to Syrian refuges in Lebanon in 2015 using blockchain technology. The system encountered fraud in food vouchers where wrongful beneficiaries would benefit. The system invalidated these vouchers.

Global Recognition

The United Nations named AID:Tech one of their ten global Sustainable Development Goal Pioneers for 2017. Additionally, many private investors got interested in blockchain technology and how it can deliver important aid. For this reason, the organization drew interest from private investors such as Enterprise Ireland, TechStars, SGInnovate and American backer Jason Calacanis. The list also includes Rockefeller and Expo2020.

Despite immense global recognition, it is the Tanzania blockchain baby that elevates the project to international limelight and popularity.

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