Press Release of the Joint Commission: present status of the Dialogue for Peace in Mozambique (24.08.2016)

Joint Communique Mozambique Aug 2016

President Robert Mugabe 1976 Interview (Youtube-Clip)

Press Statement: Kofi Annan to African leaders: “Leave when your time is up” (19.04.2016)

Kofi press release

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, April 19, 2016 Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan has urged African leaders to leave when their mandated time is up and to avoid excluding opposing voices if elections are to cease contributing to conflicts on the continent.

The renowned international diplomat said that while unconstitutional changes to government on the continent had reduced, exclusionary politics threatened to reverse the gains made.

“I think Africa has done well, by and large the coups have more or less ended, generals are remaining in their barracks, but we are creating situations which may bring them back,” the Nobel laureate said in an interview at the 5th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa (TanaForum.org).

“If a leader doesn’t want to leave office, if a leader stays on for too long, and elections are seen as being gamed to suit a leader and he stays term after term after term, the tendency may be the only way to get him out is through a coup or people taking to the streets”.

“Neither approach can be seen as an alternative to democracy, to elections or to parliamentary rule. Constitutions and the rules of the game have to be respected.”

Annan, the keynote speaker at the forum this year, said winner-take-all approaches to elections on the continent had the effect of leaving out citizens for holding an opposing view, raising tensions around elections.

Annan, who chairs the Africa Progress Panel and the Nelson Mandela-founded The Elders grouping, said he had been the first to tell the African Union not to accept coup leaders among their midst [during an OAU heads of state summit in Lusaka in 2001].

Annan also said that solutions to the problems the continent has must come from within. However, the continent must build up its ability to do so, including in financing its institutions.

“We cannot always pass a hat around and insist we want to be sovereign, we want to be independent. We should lead and get others to support us—that support will be much more forthcoming when they see how serious and committed we are.”

If a leader doesn’t want to leave office, if a leader stays on for too long, and elections are seen as being gamed to suit a leader

The African Union has struggled to get members to pay their dues to allow it run its operations and programmes efficiently, a recurrent theme addressed by leaders at the forum in the Ethiopian city of Bahir Dar.

Annan said such budgetary concerns were constraining the work of the continent in strengthening stability and required creative ways of resourcing.

“I was happy to hear them [African leaders] say ‘we must be prepared to pay for what we want; we must be prepared to put out our own money on the table and fund issues that are of great importance to us.’”

The forum, now in its fifth year, is an inspiration of the late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and is organised by the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) of Addis Ababa University.

An invitation-only event, it is chaired by former Nigeria president Olusegun Obasanjo and seeks to provide a platform for current and former leaders to interact with key stakeholders in an informal setting to tackle contemporary issues facing the continent.

It does not make decisions but is becoming an African ‘brand’ of note where local solutions are innovatively explored as the region seeks to carve out its place in a global security architecture dominated by western and emerging powers.

Leaders and experts at the Tana Forum also noted that the continent was not isolated.

“As Africa faces increasing security challenges, so does the rest of the world. The continent is well placed to provide innovative solutions to these security challenges,” Obasanjo said.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Togo’s Faure Gnassingbe, Somalia’s Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and Sudan’s Omar al Bashir were among the heads of state and government present.

Former leaders Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Festus Mogae of Botswana, Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Pierre Buyoya of Burundi and Joyce Banda of Malawi were also in attendance.

“I think it is a very good idea that ex-leaders come together with current leaders to share experience and try to talk very frankly about the challenges facing the continent and also about our relations with the international community,” Annan, who was attending the annual forum for the first time, said.

A look into how the American and British Companies defied the embargo and UN sanctions against the South African Apartheid Government in the 1970s and 1980s

sa-anti-apartheid-poster

This here will be about how American and British interest we’re in the draconian Apartheid regime in South Africa in 1970s and 1980s. I been looking into how businesses at the time went through hoops and not caring about the United Nations Sanctions and resolution 418 of 4th November 1977 states this:

Determines, having regard to the policies and acts of the South African Government, that the acquisition by South Africa of arms and related material constitutes, a threat to the maintenance of international peace and security; Decides that all States shall cease forthwith  any provisions to South Africa of arms and related materiel of all types, including the sale of transfer of weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, para military police equipment, and spare parts for the aforementioned, and shall cease as well the provision of all types of equipment and supplies and grants of licensing arrangements for the manufacture of the aforementioned” (UN, 1977).

So with that in mind, we can see how businesses of United States and Britain started and worked as subsidiaries in South Africa during the Apartheid, where the instances of FORD Motors and Leyland Vehicles we’re produced and used by the Police under the worst atrocities of a regime who used their laws, security agencies to harass the majority; while keeping the minority rulers and their economic incentive intact by any means. So that big business and other ones defied the Sanctions and even collaborated with necessary arms, cars and other procurement for the totalitarian state; shows how far the Corporation goes for profit and serve even governments who has no quarrel with prosecuting innocent citizens. Therefore the history of these corporations and their dealings should come to light and be questioned. As business today does the same under regimes that are totalitarian and militaristic with the favor of elite and harassing the opposition. That is why we can see at the tactics of the 1970s and 1980s and see how they might be used today.

So with that introduction take a look at my findings and hope you find it interesting.

1959_new-age-aid

How to start the discussion:

“Johannesburg Star (South African daily), Nov. 26, 1977, at 15. See also 1978 Hearings, supra note 13, at 846 (statement of John Gaetsewe, General Secretary of the banned South African Congress of Trade Unions) (“The ending of foreign investment in South Africa … is a means of undermining the power of the apartheid regime. Foreign investment is a pillar of the whole system which maintains the virtual slavery of the Black workers in South Africa.”); Christian Sci. Monitor, Feb. 21, 1984, at 25 (statement by Winnie Mandela, wife of imprisoned African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela)” (Hopkins, 1985).

Some money earned by the SADF at the time:

“According to official SADF accounts, the money that would have been recouped from the sale of ivory would flow back into funding the Unita rebels. However, Breytenbach knew that in the year 1986/1987 alone, the SADF’s assistance to Unita through military intelligence totalled R400 million (ZAR2005=R2,5 billion) and this excluded the supply of almost all Unita’s hardware and fuel. It is therefore unlikely that this was the reason behind the SADF’s interest in ivory smuggling. It is more likely that the potential for self-enrichment that this presented to SADF officers was enormous. General Chris Thirion, Former Deputy Chief of Staff Intelligence, agrees and suspects that Savimbi was in fact over-funded at the time” (Van Vuren, 2006).

Africa 1963-64

How much RSA used on Military Equipment during Apartheid in the 1980s:

“According to evidence presented to the UN Security Council arms embargo committee in 1984, out of its annual total arms procurement budget of some R1.62 billion over R900 million was to be spent on arms purchases from overseas” (…)”This R900 million is spent on the procurement of arms directly by the regime from overseas and via the private sector. No official figures are published about how much is actually spent on direct imports of armaments. However, it can be estimated from figures contained in an in-depth survey by the Johannesburg Sunday Times in July 1982 that imports from overseas were 15 per cent of defence spending which then stood at R3,320 million per annum” (AAM, 1985).

How that happen:

“Those breaches of the arms embargo which have been exposed have also revealed the myth of South Africa’s self-sufficiency. Equipment smuggled into South Africa include weapons such as machine guns, rifles and pistols as well as spares and components for them. In a trial at the Old Bailey, London, in October 1982, the Court was informed that South African efforts to produce components for pre-war machine guns had not been successful. This points to the serious deficiencies in the quality and reliability of even minor items manufactured in South Africa” (AAM, 1985).

Export of R.J. Electronics International:

“Britain’s refusal to strictly implement the UN arms embargo and its continuing military collaboration in various fields are not totally surprising since much of this arises out of its traditional relationship with South Africa” (…)”They failed to re-appear in Court on 22 October 1984 and the following weekend gave a press conference. At it, Colonel Botha disclosed that they had operated as undercover agents for five years and “had saved the country at least R5 million on purchases of vital equipment”. Metelerkamp claimed he was only a consultant to Kentron and was the Managing Director of R J Electronics International. However, it emerged that he had been employed by Kentron up to a month prior to his arrest, and R J Electronics International was “a company used to purchase illicit arms” (AAM, 1985).

Other Examples:

“One cargo of FN rifles was initially exported by air to Red Baron Ltd at an address in Zurich before being forwarded to South Africa. This company, however, was not Swiss, but registered in England. Its directors were Mr Trinkler and two others who had also been directors of Kuehne and Nagel in Britain” (…)”The most controversial case was that of the British Aerospace naval reconaissance aircraft, the Coastguarder. In Hay 1984 it was disclosed that British Aerospace had been approached by the South African Government and that initial discussions had taken place concerning the purchase of eight aircraft. These were to replace the Shackleton aircraft which were having to be phased out. The South African authorities had sought to evade the arms embargo by forming a Coastguard service as a civilian authority through which the order for the aircraft would be placed. Repeated efforts to secure from the Government an undertaking that the Coastguarder would not be granted licence for export to South Africa met with the response that “it would not be proper for me to offer a definitive view now on the hypothetical question on the issue of a licence for the export of an aircraft such as the Coastguarder to South Africa” (AAM, 1985).

Shell Corporation working with the Regime:

The South Africans agreed and supplied a cash advance that allowed the traders to purchase a tanker, shipping company and the required insurance. The tanker docked in Kuwait and filled its tanks with oil owned by Shell. The oil was registered for delivery in France. However, en route to Europe from the Gulf the tanker stopped in Durban and off-loaded almost all of its oil crude oil—almost 180,000 tonnes—with the South Africans paying the difference between the purchase price and the fees it had advanced for the purchase of the tanker. The Salem was then filled up with water in order to create the impression that it was still laden with oil. Off the coast of West Africa (Senegal), at one of the deepest points of the Atlantic, the ship was scuttled and the crew, who were prepared for the evacuation, were conveniently ‘rescued’. They had hoped to make an extra $24 million off the insurance claim for the lost oil. Following investigations by the insurance company the main perpetrators were prosecuted. The biggest loser next to Shell was South Africa, asit agreed to pay the Dutch multinational US$30 million (ZAR2005=R436 million) in an out-of-court settlement. Shell was left to carry a remaining loss of US$20 million. The use of corrupt middlemen had cost South Africa almost half a billion rand. There was no prosecution in South Africa of the officials at the SFF who had authorised South Africa’s procurement of a full tanker of oil from three novice (criminal) entrepreneurs” (Van Vuren, 2006).

Leyland-SA

British Subsidiaries in South Africa:

“Many of these subsidiaries are British. They include Leyland (Landrovers and Trucks); ICI (through its 40 per cent holding in AECI) (Ammunition and Explosives); Trafalgar House (through Cementation Engineering) (artillery shells); ICL (Computers); GEC including Marconis (Military Communications Equipment); Lontho (aircraft franchises); Plessey (Military Communications Equipment); BP and Shell (oil and other petroleum products for the military and police)” (…)”An impression of the full extent of the role of British subsidiaries in South Africa in undermining the arms embargo can be obtained from studying Appendix C. This is a list of British companies with subsidiaries in South Africa which are also known to be engaged in the manufacture of military and related equipment” (AAM, 1985).

British Mercenaries:

“British mercenaries, some recruited. originally for the forces of the illegal Smith regime, are serving in a number of South African Defence Force units, including the infamous “32 Battallion” operating out of Namibia into Angola. A British mercenary was killed in the South African commando raid on the residence of South African refugees in Maputo, Mozambique, in January 1981” (AAM, 1985).

“British Government policy so far has been to grant permission for Officers to serve in the South African Defence Forces.” (…)”This was explained by Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Heseltine, in a letter to the Rt Hon Denis Healey:

“An Officer is required to resign his commission before joining the forces of a country that does not owe allegiance to the Crown, and if he did not do so then the commission would be removed. As you will appreciate, this is the only power that we can exercise over an officer who has already retired from the Services. Guidance is given to officers about these procedures before they retire, but no specific recommendations are made about which countries’ Armed Forces an officer should join; nor do I believe that it would be right to do so.” (AAM, 1985).

GM ZA Apartheid

American Businesses under Apartheid:

Approximately 350 of the most prominent companies in the United States, including more than half of the Fortune 500’s top one hundred firms, operate subsidiaries in South Africa [18]. Another 6000 do business there through sales agents and distributers [19]. The United States holds fifty-seven percent of all foreign holdings on the Johannesburg stock exchange, including gold mines, mining houses, platinum mines, and diamonds [20]. The State Department estimated that U.S. direct investment amounted to $2.3 billion in 1983, down from the $2.8 billion calculated by the South African Institute of Race Relations for 1982 [21]. Other estimates put overall American investment, including loans and gold stocks, at $14 billion [22]” (…)”rcent [25]. U.S. exports to South Africa, however, grew from approximately R1.2 billion in 1979 to R2.7 billion in 1981 [26]. As a result, the United States emerged as the Republic’s largest trading partner [27]. Apart from its quantitative impact, U.S. business investment has a qualitative impact disproportionate to its financial value” (…)”John Purcell of Goodyear concurred, asserting that economic pressures will not encourage nonviolent social change in South Africa; rather, this will be brought about by “economic growth, expanded contact with the outside, and time” ((Hopkins, 1985)

aa_sun_19760715_p007-002

Ford sold cars to the Apartheid regime:

“Ford Directed and Controlled its South African Policies from the United States, Exported Equipment from the United States, and Acted to Circumvent the United States Sanctions Regime: (New York Southern Cout Case, P: 65, 2014)

“Thus, despite the tightening of U.S. trade sanctions in February 1978, Ford U.S. still announced a “large infusion[] of capital into its South African subsidiary. Ford injected $8 million for upkeep and retooling” (New York Southern Court Case, P: 67, 2014).

“Ford support was significant: “[B]etween 1973 and 1977 [Ford] sold 128 cars and 683 trucks directly to the South African Ministry of Defense and 646 cars and 1,473 trucks to the South African police. Ford sold at least 1,582 F series U.S.-origin trucks to the police” (…)”Despite the prohibitions, Ford continued to supply vehicles to the South African security forces with the purpose of facilitating apartheid crimes. Ford denied that its continued sales to the South African security forces ran counter to the U.S. prohibitions, on the basis that the vehicles did not contain parts or technical data of U.S. origin” (…)”Notably, into the 1980s, Ford sold vehicles that did not need to be “converted” by the apartheid government for military or police use but were already specialized before leaving the plant in South Africa” (…)”Ford built a limited number of XR6 model Cortinas known as “interceptors” that were sold almost exclusively to the police. The XR6 was special because it had three Weber model double carburetors, as opposed to all other Cortinas that had only one double carburetor” (…)”Ford knew that the normal market for these vehicles was the security forces. The vehicles were deliberately pre-equipped with armor and military fixtures and designed for easy modification by the security forces to add additional defensive and offensive features” (…)”By making profits which they knew could only come from their encouragement of the security forces’ illicit operations through the sale of vehicles, parts, designs, and services, Ford acquired a stake in the criminal enterprise that was the apartheid regime” (New York Southern Case, P: 71-77, 2014).

hans-haacke-a-breed-apart-1978-6

Leyland under Apartheid:

“The British government now virtually owns British Leyland and therefore controls the company’s operations in South Africa. Yet it has done little in practice to press for the rights of black workers to organize through trade unions, or for the recognition of the unions for collective bargaining purposes” (…)”The South African “branch” is Leyland’s biggest operation in the world outside of the U.K. At present it is the 8th largest car manufacturer (holding approximately 5% of the market) and the 7th largest commercial vehicle manufacturer (holding approximately 5,5% of the market) in South Africa. Despite the depressed condition of the South African Market it sold 1959 vehicles in January-February of 1977 alone” (…)”B.L.S.A. has massive contracts with the South African state. It is one of the chief suppliers of the South African Defense Force, providing not only trucks and landrovers (which form the backbone of anti-guerrilla operations) but also armored personnel carriers. Of course, the figures for these contracts are never made public” (…)”For example, in June 1976 it was announced that B.L.S.A. had won a £1.9millon order for 250 trucks from the Cape Provincial Authority” (…)”As Leyland itself have argued , It “must conform, it not entirely” to South African government and established wishes” (Coventry Anti-Apartheid, 1977).

This here is not easy to finish up as the implications of this deals and arrangement used to support a government that oppressed and detained the majority. This Apartheid government did it all openly and with a clear message that the white minority should rule, while the rest should serve them.

In that context these businesses earned good amount of cash and profits for their stakeholders and their shareholders. While their products and procured services by the state we’re used to oppress majority of people in South Africa. We can surely see the amount of money and how this have affected the society and given way for the government of the time to continue with the process of detaining and harassing the majority of South Africans. This could not have happen if there wasn’t a helping hand from businesses and their subsidiaries. This here is just a brief look into it.

Certainly this should be studied even more and become clear evidence of how heartbreaking it is to know how certain businesses and people owning them will profit on suffering of fellow human beings. That is why I myself shed a light on it, to show the extent of disobedience of the UN Resolution and also what these corporations does in regimes that harassing and oppressing fellow citizens for their background, creed, tribe etc. It’s just ghastly and makes my tummy vomit. But that is just me, hope you got some indication of how they did their business and served the Apartheid government. Peace.

Reference:

Anti-Apartheid Movement – ‘How Britian Arms Apartheid – A memorandum for presentation to her Majesty’s Government’ (1985)

Coventry Anti-Apartheid Movement – ‘Leyland in Britain and in South Africa’ (1977)

Hopkins, Sheila M. – ‘AN ANALYSIS OF U.S.-SOUTH AFRICAN RELATIONS IN THE 1980s: HAS ENGAGEMENT BEEN CONSTRUCTIVE?’ (1985) – Journal of Comparative Business and Capital Market Law 7 (1985) 89-115, North Holland

United States, New York Southern Court: Case 1:02-md-01499-SAS Document 280-1 Filed 08/08/14

Van Vuren, Hennie – ‘Apartheid grand corruption – Assessing the scale of crimes of profit from 1976 to 1994’ (2006)

A look into the recent events in Mozambique; as Renamo can’t accept Frelimo’s grip of power; while MDM stays in the shadow; the citizens and the army needs answers while refugees flee to Malawi from the violence; President Nyusi have a job to do!

12_maputo_art_wall_depicting_the_troubled_past_photo_mozambique___moments

Here I will go through the days and happenings between the Frelimo (Mozambique Liberation Front) and the Renamo (Mozambique National Resistance). This here will show the actual struggle between them as it where, day by day from the 3rd February to the 6th of March. There been a lot of actions. This is not something new as the two groups have fought against each other. They had signed a general peace agreement in Rome back in the day 4th October 1992. There been flaring clashes between the government forces under orders from Frelimo and the opposition Renamo. Even as there been steady cease-fires and battles between them, even in 2013 and the last one in October in 2014! As the last one left it peacefully enough to have campaign time during the late months of 2014. So hat President Filipe Nyuse could be sworn-in on 15th January 2015. So the flaring clashes and skirmishes between them started late 2015. But I have put the latest ones to prove that this seems more likely to systematically and that the parties involved in doing it to their own gain. As the people of Mozambique is the ones that loose on the instability and unsure environment. That cannot be seen as positive view on the latest expansion of the actions. What worries me is the Government of Mozambique claiming that it is ordinary migration that is the reason for the fleeing people from the country to Malawi, while the reports from Malawi proves the sinister and violent aggression they have seen and felt from both Frelimo and Renamo. Take a look!

Nyusi Mozambique

On the 3rd February:

“President Filipe Nyusi declared on 3 February that the heroes who fell in the struggle to liberate the country from Portuguese colonial rule “do not signify only the past, but also the present, and they will signify the future – the future that we are all building” (…)”The future that Mozambicans are building, the President said, should reflect the efforts and sacrifices made by the country’s heroes during the liberation war. He stressed that the goal of the country’s heroes, was not merely to throw out the Portuguese colonialists, but to ensure independence in the economic as well as the political sphere” (…)“While the people still do not have drinking water, electricity, sufficient schools and hospitals, we still have not competed the mission for which our heroes fell”, he declared. “This is a moment for reflection, for commitment to the development of Mozambique” (AIM, 2016).

On the 5th February:

“Six Renamo gunmen shot a community leader, Cipriano Sineque, and his son in Bebedo, Nhamatanda, Sofala, on 5 February. The head of the Bebedo locality, Bernabe Ndapitaia, who accompanied the wounded men to the Beira hospital, said that Renamo is targeting traditional chiefs and community leaders, in an attempt to weaken these authorities. This was the fourth such incident in the area. “All the community leaders in that area no longer sleep at home, because they are afraid the Renamo men will come after them”, said Ndapitaia. “The Renamo men have drawn up a list of their victims”. “Fear has spread through the area”, he added” (Hanlon, 2016).

2013-06_Mozambique-Renamo

On the 9th February:

“The Mozambican police force has promised to block any attempt by opposition movement Renamo to install checkpoints on the country’s main highways, in what Renamo is billing as an effort to protect its members from kidnap and assassination attempts” (…)”Horacio Calavete, a Renamo official in Beira, the capital of central province Sofala, told reporters on Monday 8 February that Renamo would set up road blocks at “strategic points” on the north-south EN1 highway, and the east-west EN6 that runs between Beira and the Zimbabwean border in the province of Manica” (…)”The alleged incident is the latest in a series of claims and counter-claims from both Renamo and the Frelimo-led government that each side is attacking individuals on the other side” (Zitamar, 2016).

On the 10th February:

“Asked whether South Africa would play a role in the political crisis in Mozambique, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, reportedly said that there had been no official request for South Africa to get involved. If such a request were to be made, the cabinet would first consult with the Mozambican government, she told the African News Agency during a visit to Maputo on Wednesday 10 February. ‘Mozambique has an elected government,’ she is quoted as saying” (Louw-Vaudran, 2016).

Afonso Dhlakama Campaign rally

On the 11th February:

“Five cars were fired upon on Mozambique’s main north-south highway north of the River Save today, a police spokeswoman said, blaming gunmen from opposition movement Renamo for the attacks which killed no one but left three people injured” (…)”The stretch of road where the attacks took place, between the River Save and the town of Muxungue, was the scene of repeated Renamo attacks on vehicles in 2013 and 2014, before a cease-fire was agreed in September 2014 to allow Renamo to take part in elections the following month” (Zitamar, 2016).

On the 12th February:

“The Mozambican police force has promised to block any attempt by opposition movement Renamo to install checkpoints on the country’s main highways, in what Renamo is billing as an effort to protect its members from kidnap and assassination attempts” (…)”Speaking in the capital Maputo today, police spokesman Inacio Dina told journalists any Renamo checkpoints would be illegal, and the police “will use the legitimate means it has in its mandate to restore order.”(ExxAfrica, 2016).

Renamo Ambush

On the 13th February:

“Afonso Dhlakama, leader of Mozambique’s former rebel movement Renamo, says President Jacob Zuma is favourably disposed towards mediating in the conflict between Renamo and the Mozambican government” (…)”Dhlakama nonetheless insisted that Renamo had sent a letter to Zuma via the South African High Commission in Maputo and had received an encouraging response” (ANA, 2016).

On the 14th February:

“Renamo returned to war with attacks Thursday and Friday on the N1, the main north-south road, in Sofala province. Eight cars were shot at; six people were injured but there were no fatalities” (…)”Renamo secretary general Manuel Bissopo was seriously injured and his bodyguard killed in a drive-by shooting in Beira on Wednesday 20 January. Dhlakama’s convoy was shot at on 12 and 25 September last year” (Hanlon, 2016).

Mozambique Renamo

On the 15th February:

“Policy makers increased the rate by 100 basis points to 10.75 percent, the Maputo-based institution said in an e-mailed statement on Monday” (…)“The Bank of Mozambique’s Monetary Policy Committee assessed the recent developments in the international economic context, in which the slowdown of the economic activity of developed economies, emerging markets and the Southern African Development Community region stands out,” it said. “The deceleration of the Chinese economy and the persistent decline in commodity prices are the main risk factors in the international context, with probable impacts on global growth, in a context that’s still characterized by the persistent strengthening of the U.S. dollar.” (McDonald, 2016).

On the 16th February:

“Gunmen of the former rebel movement Renamo murdered an official of the ruling Frelimo Party in Nhamatanda district, in the central Mozambican province of Sofala on Monday morning, according to a report in Tuesday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”” (…)”The Nhamatanda district administrator, Boavida Manuel, told reporters that Silva was murdered at his home shortly after midnight by a group of six Renamo gunmen. His wife, 47 year old Dorca Benjamin, was seriously injured, and is currently under medical care in Beira Central Hospital” (AllAfrica, 2016).

On the 17th February:

“The state-owned Radio Mozambique reported that the clash happened when a Renamo armed group attacked a road block early Wednesday on a tertiary road in Gorongosa district, central Mozambican province of Sofala” (…)“In an exchange of fire, a policeman was killed and a Renamo fighter also died”, said Manuel Camachu, administrator of the area, adding that the fighting lasted for 30 minutes and the Renamo men fled to the bush. Gorongosa used to be Renamo’s stronghold during the ended civil war Renamo waged against the Frelimo-led government” (News Ghana, 2016).

On the 18th February:

“At the opening session of the third ordinary session of Parliament, the parliamentary leader of Frelimo (Mozambique Liberation Front) called for negotiations and her colleague from Renamo (Mozambique National Resistance) said that her party is prepared to talk, but questioned the good faith of the other party” (…)“As for the negotiations or dialogue for peace, Renamo is ready,” said Ivone Soares, while adding that agreements signed in the past have not been implemented and questioning guarantees that “future commitments will be honoured in the spirit and in the letter” (…)“The country is experiencing a climate of tension created by Renamo, endangering development,” said Talapa, who expressed regret over the “incendiary and totally irresponsible speeches” being delivered in parliament, and for incitements to “civil disobedience, divisiveness, tribalism and war as means of coming to power” (…)”The MDM (Democratic Movement of Mozambique), the third-largest parliamentary force, also addressed the political and military crisis, arguing that “Mozambicans do not deserve another war” nor more violations of human rights and an autocratic state” (…) “This endemic violence must stop and give way to constructive dialogue”, Lutero Simango, parliamentary leader of the MDM, said, adding that “peace is not a matter of a party or two,” but “a national imperative” that must be everyone’s agenda” (Lusa, 2016).

Mozambique Liberation

On the 19th February:

“MARGARIDA TALAPA, Head of the Parliamentary Group of the ruling FRELIMO Party says the dissidents have caused tensions in the SADC country” (…)”Ms TALAPA says such people also understand perfectly well dialogue is the best option for obtaining effective peace in MOZAMBIQUE; but the supposedly reasonable wing of RENAMO is made up of cowards” (…)”She has further called on RENAMO to comply with the agreement on a cessation of military hostilities, which it signed on FIVE SEPTEMBER 2014, and call on its operatives to hand over their weapons” (…)”She claims the ruling party manipulates the defence and security forces, and attacks RENAMO forces which are awaiting reintegration” (Saba, 2016).

On the 20th February:

“Authorities in Mozambique are disputing reports that over 6,000 refugees in Malawi are fleeing skirmishes in the northern part of the Mozambique between Frelimo and Renamo” (…)”BBC on Friday quoted the Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi as saying there was no war in the country warranting the fleeing of some people, described asylum seeker in Malawi as a normal migration” (…)”Refugees interview by the BBC said they fled Frelimo brutality. Some woman claimed they were raped by government soldiers as punishment for “shielding” Renamo rebels” (Khamula, 2016).

On the 21st February:

“More than 6,000 Mozambicans have fled to neighboring Malawi since mid-December to escape clashes between government forces and armed militants of the main opposition party Renamo, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency” (…)”The number of people fleeing Mozambique has been increasing because of the clashes between Renamo and government forces,” Ghelli said. “The asylum seekers told us this.” (Odziwa, 2016).

Mozambique soldiers vs Renamo

On the 22nd February:

“The man, Domingos Jose, is a major in the Renamo militia, who was demobilized in 1994, after the end of the war of destabilization. His arrest is further evidence that Renamo is attempting to recall men who were supposed to have returned to civilian life 22 years ago” (…)”According to a report in Monday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, Jose was one of a group of five Renamo gunmen, armed with AK-47 assault rifles, who attacked the police post in an abortive attempt to seize the weapons it contained” (AllAfrica, 2016).

On the 23rd February:

“Gunmen of the Mozambican revel movement Renamo injured two policemen in an ambush on Saturday in the Mutamba region of Barue district, in the central province of Manica” (…)”The Manica provincial police commander, Armando Mude, confirmed that two policemen were slightly injured in the ambush which occurred at about 12.00” (…)”Mude said that after this incident calm returned to Mutamba. He dismissed the Renamo ambush as mere banditry, and insisted that security along the road is guaranteed” (AIM, 2016).

MDM Campaign Mozambique

On the 26th February:

“President Filipe Nyusi today reiterated his willingness to dialogue “without preconditions” with the largest opposition party in Mozambique, Renamo, appealing “to all of Mozambique’s friends” not to encourage the use of weapons” (…)”We reiterate our openness to dialogue without preconditions,” said the head of State of Mozambique, speaking at a graduation ceremony at the Police Academy of Sciences (ACIPOL) in Maputo” (…)”Mozambique is experiencing a situation of political uncertainty for several months and the leader of Renamo threatens to seize power in six northern and central provinces of the country, where the opposition movement claims victory in the general elections of October 2014” (…)”The President Filipe Nyusi has reiterated ihis willingness  to meet with the leader of Renamo, but Afonso Dhlakama believes that there is nothing to talk about,  Frelimo having rejected in parliament the timely revision of the Constitution  to give legal cover to the new administrative regions claimed by the opposition and says that dialogue will only resume after the seizure of power in the centre and north of the country” (Lusa, 2016).

On the 1st March:

“Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the Mozambican rebel movement Renamo, has declared that any dialogue with the government is dependent on Renamo first taking power in the six central and northern provinces which it claims (Manica, Sofala, Tete, Zambezia, Nampula and Niassa)” (…)”Dhlakama’s position is contained in a statement published in the Renamo information bulletin, which declares “Renamo is willing to hold a dialogue with Frelimo, but demands in the first place the governance of the six provinces where it won the elections. Hence any dialogue in the future should occur when Renamo is effectively governing in those provinces” (…)”As for mediators, the government has repeatedly said it sees no need for foreign mediators in a dispute between Mozambicans. At Renamo’s insistence, a group of Mozambican mediators took part in the dialogue between the government and Renamo that ran from April 2013 to August 2015, when Dhlakama unilaterally suspended it” (AIM, 2016).

1st March 2016 Renamo

Reports of actions on the 3rd March:

“Mozambique’s state media on Thursday reported that a group of armed men from the main opposition Renamo attacked four civilian vehicles on Thursday morning in the central Mozambican province of Sofala, resulting in a few injuries” (…)”Radio Mozambique spoke to the administrator of Muxungue, Domingos Fernando, who confirmed the attack on four vehicle” (…)”But he said the fourth vehicle, which was heading to the northern city of Nampula was attacked at 7 O’ Clock in the morning” (Coastweek, 2016).

“Parliamentary deputies from Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party on Thursday urged the Attorney-General’s Office to investigate crimes committed by the rebel movement Renamo, and suggested that Renamo could be outlawed as a political party” (…)”This is the only case in the world where there is a party which is in parliament and at the same time waging war in the bush”, said Frelimo spokesperson Edmundo-Galiza Matos Junior, speaking in the second day of a debate with the government on the politico-military tensions in the country”.(…)“It is time for the Attorney-General to analyse seriously the legality of Renamo in the light of the Constitution and the Penal Code, which were passed here with Renamo voting in favour”, he declared” (…)“Is Renamo a political party or a group of armed men who loot the goods of the people – in short armed bandits?”, asked Lucinda Malema, while Lutse Rumeia said “Renamo should have been banned a long time ago. It’s no more than a gang of terrorists and bandits” (…)“Emdio Xavier added a demand that the government should suspend all payments to Renamo. AS a parliamentary party, Renamo receives a monthly state subsidy in proportion to the number of seats it holds” (AllAfrica, 2016).

On 4th March:

“The Mozambican government has deployed about 2,000 soldiers to the opposition’s Gorongosa District stronghold, the media reported” (…)”The deployment, the Moçambique para todos newspaper said, was being seen as targeting the Gorongosa hill, believed to be the hideout of the main opposition Renamo leader, Mr Afonso Dhlakama” (…)”According to Mr Dhlakama, the Mozambican government had ignored calls for dialogue with the opposition, but President Filipe Nyusi insists he would settle for nothing short of direct talks with the opposition leader” (Viera, 2016).

University Eduardo Mondlane.img_assist_custom-442x318

On 5th March:

“Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi has sent a letter to Afonso Dhlakama, the leader of the country’s main opposition party and rebel militia, inviting him to urgent talks on how to restore peace to the country” (…) ”Renamo said in a statement on Friday that Dhlakama is available for talks with the Frelimo government, while condemning an alleged build-up of 4,500 troops from Mozambique’s military and police forces in preparation for a military “mega-offensive” in the central Mozambican provinces of Manica and Sofala. Daily newspaper CanalMoz said on Thursday the government has sent around 2,000 troops to Gorongosa, the district within Sofala where Dhlakama is currently based” (…)”According to a statement released late on Friday, 4 March by the President’s office, Nyusi has appointed a team of three including Jacinto Veloso, a veteran of the war of liberation and a former head of intelligence and state security, to prepare the meeting between Nyusi and Dhlakama” (Zitamar, 2016).

On the 6th March:

“Gunmen of the Mozambican rebel movement Renamo on Saturday morning opened fire on a bus in the central province of Manica, killing two people and injuring a further eight” (…)”The ambush took place in the Honde area, in Barue district, on the main road from the provincial capital, Chimoio, to Tete, and on to Malawi and Zambia” (…)”Addressing a press conference in Chimoio, the Manica provincial police commander, Armando Canheze, said that because the ambush took place near a position of the defence and security forces, police were able to reach the scene before the attackers had an opportunity to loot the bus” (AllAfrica, 2016).

Afterthought:

(From what I found) Numbers
Deaths 4
Injured 21
Total 25

This numbers are surely small and might be even bigger as some reports are vague about the amount of people injured at an attack from Renamo as the score is not set. Also the witness report from the people of Malawi does not specify the actual numbers that has been hit. The numbers I have contained is the numbers that are specific in the reports I have collected.  So my numbers can only give an indication and not be the actual number of people hurt/injured or dead by the Renamo, army or the police in these skirmishes.

What is very obvious is that Renamo men work in one way and have two main tactics. Going in 6 man groups to houses of governmental leaders or Frelimo leaders to injure or kill them a as a tactically spreading fear, also ambushing main roads to make daily-life into a dangerous journey and show the weakness of the government forces.

What is also very clear is that Frelimo have not delivered everything promised earlier for certain reasons, as the army and police work against the Renamo, and who answered who on at this stage is hard to say. As the 1992 peace agreement promised either guerrillas or armies to become political actors, so both Frelimo and Renamo have arms and now how to use arms. Though at any point Frelimo always have the upper-hand as a government entity and the rule of power. As this also open the questions if they as a longstanding ruling party have used the government facilities, institutions, funds and armies to secure the role of government, yet again as they have been the main party since in independence in Mozambique. And because of this divide a newly formed party has surfaced called MDM (Democratic Movement of Mozambique) they can bring some form civility between Frelimo and Renamo as they have both new and old wounds.

The most astonishing thing for me is that the government and the President Nyusi together with fellow party fellows claiming that the people fleeing the skirmishes and battles between the government forces and the Renamo army is ordinary migration. When the amount of the people who flees at once it is not ordinary migration, as the 6,000 people deserves better and be taken serious by a President, not only by the authorities of Malawi, but also the Mozambique government as they have been responsible for this people and still are as they are initially their citizens and had homes in districts close to Malawi and areas that was under control of Renamo. Renamo is responsible as well, as they are part of parliament and lawful created party who supposed to generate peace after recent agreements, but this here seem like a long-serving power-struggle that seems to last a bit longer.

The once that is hurt is not the elite of Renamo and Frelimo, but the stakes of Mozambique’s citizens and their businesses. The altercations and implications of this can weaken the economy and not get the best deals as certain business and operations will shun the country as they will not be associated with the armies and violence. But it is never easy to say and predict, but the parties of Renamo and Frelimo; need to get a genuine peace-deal and a agreement that actually stick since they have gone back and forth; and doesn’t seem to stop unless their leaders dies. That is the President Nyusi and Afonso Dhlakama! I don’t wish anybody death, but seem that none of them will ever back-down and the President Nyusi will not give in, as the ruling party will stay there by any means, the same for Renamo’s leader Dhlakama. Even if Dhlakama want to have mediation with ANCs leader and South African President Zuma does not validate the ambushes and trying to attempt killings at government officials. To an outsider does sound like mixed messages. While progression from Nyusi is not strengthen him or his government; as the weaken routes and heavy deployment does on escalate the battles between the parties and their armed armies as they currently fight for supremacy and legitimacy. I feel sorry for the once that are in the middle the battles between the parties and the citizens who are targeted by the armies or used for political gain. Peace.

Reference:

AIM – ‘Dhlakama puts conditions on dialogue’ (01.03.2016) link: http://www.thezimbabwean.co/2016/03/dhlakama-puts-conditions-on-dialogue/

AIM – ‘Renamo gunmen ambush police in Barue’ (23.02.2016) link: http://www.thezimbabwean.co/2016/02/renamo-gunmen-ambush-police-in-barue/

AIM – ‘President Nyusi lays wreath at Heroes’ Monument’ (04.02.2016) link: http://www.manicapost.com/president-nyusi-lays-wreath-at-heroes-monument/

AllAfrica – ‘Mozambique: Frelimo Deputies Suggest Outlawing Renamo’ (03.03.2016) link:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201603040268.html

AllAfrica – ‘Mozambique: Renamo Major Captured’ (22.02.2016) link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201602230158.html

AllAfrica – ‘Mozambique: Renamo Murders Frelimo Official in Sofala’ (16.02.2016) link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201602170089.html

AllAfrica – ‘Mozambique: Renamo Gunmen Murder Two in Attack On Bus’ (06.03.2016) link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201603060317.html

Africa News Agency – ‘Renamo leader wants Zuma to mediate in Mozambique’ (13.02.2016) link: https://www.enca.com/africa/renamo-leader-wants-zuma-mediate

Coastweek – ‘Armed Renamo men said to attack vehicles in central Mozambique’ (05.03.2016) link: http://www.coastweek.com/3907-Armed-Renamo-men-reportedly-attack-vehicles-in-central-Mozambique.htm

ExxAfrica – ‘MOZAMBIQUE POLICE VOW TO BLOCK RENAMO CHECKPOINT PLAN’ (12.02.2016) link: http://www.exxafrica.com/mozambique-police-vow-to-block-renamo-checkpoint-plan/

Hanlon, Joseph – ‘Mozambique: Back to War – New Renamo Attacks On N1’ (14.02.2016) link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201602140334.html

Khamula, Owen – ‘Mozambique disown refugees in Malawi’ (20.02.2016) link: http://www.nyasatimes.com/2016/02/20/mozambique-disowns-refugees-in-malawi/

Louw-Vaudran – ‘Mozambique’s success story under threat’ (19.02.2016) link: https://www.issafrica.org/iss-today/mozambiques-success-story-under-threat

Lusa – ‘Mozambican PR reiterates readiness to dialogue “without preconditions” with  Renamo’ (26.02.2016) link: http://clubofmozambique.com/news/mozambican-pr-reiterates-readiness-to-dialogue-without-preconditions-with-renamo/

Lusa – ‘Frelimo and Renamo blame each other for instability in Mozambique’ (18.02.2016) link: http://clubofmozambique.com/news/frelimo-and-renamo-blame-each-other-for-instability-in-mozambique/

McDonald – Daniel – ‘Mozambique Raises Interest Rates as Inflation Pressures Mount’ (15.02.2016) link: http://www.dailynewsx.com/news/business-news/mozambique-raises-interest-rates-as-inflation-pressures-mount-27281.html

News Ghana – ‘Two die in clashes in central Mozambique’ (17.02.2016) link: http://www.newsghana.com.gh/two-die-in-clashes-in-central-mozambique/

Odziwa, James – ‘HAS SENT AN INFLUX OF REFUGEES INTO MALAWI’ (21.02.2016) link: http://www.maravipost.com/life-and-style/badnews/10508-clashes-between-mozambican-government-forces-and-renamo-in-tete-has-sent-an-influx-of-refugees-into-malawi.html

Saba – ‘MP ACCUSES RENAMO LAWMAKERS OF CONDONING ARMED VIOLENCE’ (19.02.2016) link: http://www.sabaorg.com/mp-accuses-renamo-lawmakers-of-condoning-armed-violence/

Viera, Arnaldo – ‘Mozambican government deploys troops ‘to hunt’ for opposition leader’ (04.03.2016) link: http://www.africareview.com/News/Mozambican-government-deploys-troop-to-opposition-stronghold/-/979180/3103114/-/1261vys/-/index.html

Zitamar – ‘Renamo accused of attacking cars on Mozambique highway’ (11.02.2016) link: http://zitamar.com/renamo-accused-of-attacking-cars-on-mozambique-highway/

Zitamar – ‘ozambique police vow to block Renamo checkpoint plan’ (09.02.2016) link: http://zitamar.com/mozambique-police-vow-to-block-renamo-checkpoint-plan/

Zitamar – ‘Nyusi invites Dhlakama for Mozambique peace talks’ (05.03.2016) link: http://zitamar.com/nyusi-invites-dhlakama-mozambique-peace-talks/

Press Release: Kenya must review Double Tax Agreement with Mauritius (02.11.2015)

kenya-money-1

(Nairobi, November 2, 2015) – Kenya is teetering on the brink of financial meltdown with the implosion of at least two private commercial banks in the last few months and signing of loophole-ridden double taxation agreements with tax havens Mauritius, United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Tax havens are countries or states that position themselves as low tax jurisdictions allowing companies and rich individuals to hide their wealth without paying appropriate taxes where they actually make their profits or wealth. Tax Justice Network-Africa (TJN-A) in October 2014 sued the Government of Kenya (specifically the Cabinet Secretary to the Treasury, Kenya Revenue Authority and the Attorney-General) challenging the constitutionality of the Kenya/Mauritius Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement signed in Port Louis, Mauritius on May 11, 2012 and as contained in Legal Notice 59 published in the Kenya Gazette of May 23, 2014.

The Agreement significantly undermines Kenya’s ability to raise domestic revenue to underpin the country’s development by opening up loopholes for multinational companies operating in the country and super- rich individuals to shift profits abroad through Mauritius to avoid paying appropriate taxes. For example, provisions under Article 11 of the Agreement relating to interest limit Kenya’s withholding tax to 10 per cent whereas the Kenyan domestic rate currently stands at 15 per cent. This will significantly affect the tax base of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA). The Agreement also sharply contravenes Articles 10 and 201 of the Constitution and is inconsistent with the principles of good governance, sustainability and accountability. The Agreement is open to abuse and this could endanger the growth and development of Kenya.

Three main reliefs sought by TJN-A are: that the High Court declares the government’s failure or neglect to subject the Kenya-Mauritius Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement to ratification in line with the Treaty Making and Ratification Act 2012 as a contravention of Articles 10 (a), (c) and (d) and 201 of the Constitution of Kenya.

That the Court directs the Cabinet Secretary for Treasury to immediately withdraw Legal Notice 59 of 2014 and commence the process of ratification in conformity with the provisions of the Treaty Making and Ratification Act 2012.  And award cost of the petition with interest against the Government of Kenya. The case came up for mention at the Nairobi High Court today, November 2, 2015. The court will fix a date for hearing the case on November 9, 2015. Speaking at a press briefing earlier today, the Executive Director of TJN-A, Alvin Mosioma said “there is need for public participation in the process of ratification of double tax agreements…double tax agreements kill the competitive edge of local firms”. 2 Senator Hassan Omar of Mombasa County who also addressed the press said Kenya’s “Parliament needs to appreciate its responsibility in safeguarding the public’s interests,” adding that “the reason people steal is because there is complicity and people are aware of it”. Provisions under Article 12 of the Agreement which relates to royalties also restrict at- source withholding tax to half (10 per cent) of Kenya domestic rate of 20 per cent. This will significantly weaken Kenya’s ability to raise revenue to finance its development. Additionally provisions under Article 20 of the Agreement reserves all taxation of “other income” not dealt with in specific Articles to the residence state.

This effectively reduces withholding tax to zero per cent on services, management fees, insurance commissions among others, whereas Kenyan domestic withholding tax rate currently stands at 20 per cent. This is a major gap that will lead to massive revenue leakages. The Agreement is neither United Nations nor OECD compliant and it also fails to address the issue of disposal of shares in companies. The Agreement effectively reserves under Article 13.4 all taxation of capital gains from selling shares in companies to Mauritius where the effective Capital Gains Tax is zero per cent. Under the Agreement foreign investors in Kenya can acquire Kenyan companies through Mauritius holding companies and Kenya cannot tax any of the gains when they sell these businesses again. This is open to abuse. Similarly, domestic Kenyan investors can dodge Kenyan taxes by round-tripping their investments illicitly through Mauritian shell companies. Kenyan companies can also easily avoid Kenyan taxes in dividends paid to foreign investors through devices like share buy-backs therefore deny the government of development funds.

The provision is very similar to the Capital Gains Tax Article in the India-Mauritius treaty which has proved very controversial costing India an estimated US$600 million a year in revenues as a result of tax avoidance and illicit round-tripping by Indian business executives driving the Government of India to initiate steps to renegotiate its agreement with Mauritius. Under the definition of ‘bilateral treaty’ in Section 2 of the Treaty Making and Ratification Act an ‘agreement’ such as the one between Kenya and Mauritius and which is the subject matter of this legal case, is a treaty subject to the Act and therefore requires that the Cabinet Secretary to the Treasury in consultation with the Attorney General, submit to the Cabinet the treaty, together with a memorandum outlining, inter alia – 1. Policy and legislative considerations, 2. Financial implications 3. Implications on matters relating to counties, 4. The views of the public on the ratification of the treaty.

Mauritius presently has tax treaties with 13 African countries namely Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Swaziland, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Apart from Kenya, Mauritius also has signed Double Taxation Agreements with Congo, Zambia and Nigeria. Currently Mauritius is negotiating DTAs with Algeria, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Malawi and Tanzania. Unlike Mauritius’ DTA with Uganda and Nigeria, for example, which have specific provisions for withholding tax for management/technical services fees, Kenya failed to negotiate any such provisions. 

In a related development, the Government of Kenya has signed an equally harmful Double Tax Agreement with United Arab Emirates and Qatar – both of which are tax havens – in which Kenya further deems its right to tax as unnecessary in a bid to attract investment from these two countries. These agreements will deepen Kenya’s current cash crunch by allowing the further erosion of the country’s tax base. – END.

ABOUT TJN-A: Tax Justice Network-Africa (TJN-A) is a Pan-African initiative and a member of the Global Alliance for Tax Justice. It is a network of 29 members in 16 African countries. TJN-A collaborates closely with these member organisations in tax justice 3 advocacy at the national and regional levels. TJN-A seeks to promote socially just and progressive taxation systems in Africa, advocating for pro-poor tax policies and the strengthening of tax systems to promote domestic resource mobilisation. TJN-A aims to challenge harmful tax policies and practices that favour the wealthy and aggravate and perpetuate inequality. For further enquiries, please email Kwesi Obeng at kobeng@taxjusticeafrica.net (+254 726 804 400) and/or Michelle Mbuthia at mmbuthia@taxjusticeafrica.net (+254 724 994 796).

Press Release: Africa Faces the Challenge of Sustaining Growth amid Weak Global Conditions (05.10.2015)

SAP WB

WASHINGTON, October 5, 2015— Sub-Saharan Africa countries are continuing to grow, albeit at a slower pace, due to a more challenging economic environment. Growth will slow in 2015 to 3.7 percent from 4.6 percent in 2014, reaching the lowest growth rate since 2009, according to new World Bank projections.

These latest figures are outlined in the World Bank’s new Africa’s Pulse, the twice-yearly analysis of economic trends and the latest data on the continent. The 2015 forecast remains below the robust 6.5 percent growth in GDP which the region sustained in 2003-2008, and drags below the 4.5 percent growth following the global financial crisis in 2009-2014. Overall, growth in the region is projected to pick up to 4.4 percent in 2016, and further strengthen to 4.8 percent in 2017.

Sharp drops in the price of oil and other commodities have brought on the recent weakness in growth. Other external factors such as China’s economic slowdown and tightening global financial conditions weigh on Africa’s economic performance, according to Africa’s Pulse. Compounding these factors, bottlenecks in supplying electricity in many African countries hampered economic growth in 2015.

“The end of the commodity super-cycle poses an opportunity for African countries to reinvigorate their reform efforts and thereby transform their economies and diversify sources of growth. Implementing the right policies to boost agricultural productivity, and reduce electricity costs while expanding access, will improve competitiveness and support the growth of light manufacturing,” says Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa.

According to Africa’s Pulse, several countries are continuing to post robust growth. Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Rwanda and Tanzania are expected to sustain growth at around 7 percent or more per year in 2015-17, spurred by investments in energy and transport, consumer spending and investment in the natural resources sector.

Gains in Poverty Reduction

Africa’s Pulse found that progress in reducing income poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa has been occurring faster than previously thought. According to World Bank estimates poverty in Africa declined from 56 percent in 1990 to 43 percent in 2012. At the same time, Africa’s population saw progress in all dimensions of well-being, particularly in health (maternal mortality, under-5 mortality) and primary school enrollment, where the gender gap shrank.

Yet African countries continue to face a stubbornly high birth rate, which has limited the impact of the past two decades of sustained economic growth on reducing the overall number of poor. Countries still lag behind those in other regions in making progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). For example, Africa will not meet the MDG of halving the share of population living in poverty between 1990 and 2015.

Weaker Commodity Prices

Sub-Saharan Africa’s rich natural resources have made it a net exporter of fuel, minerals and metals, and agricultural commodities. These commodities account for nearly three-fourths of the region’s goods exports. Robust supplies and lower global demand have accounted for the decline of commodity prices across the board. For instance, the drop in the prices of natural gas, iron ore, and coffee exceeded 25 percent since June 2014, according to the report.

Africa’s Pulse notes that overall decline in growth in the region is nuanced and the factors hampering growth vary among countries. In the region’s commodity exporters—especially oil-producers such as Angola, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Nigeria, as well as producers of minerals and metals such as Botswana and Mauritania, the drop in prices is negatively affecting growth. In Ghana, South Africa, and Zambia, domestic factors such as electricity supply constraints are further stemming growth. In Burundi and South Sudan threats from political instability and social tensions are taking an economic and social toll.

Fiscal deficits across the region are now larger than they were at the onset of the global financial crisis, the report finds. Rising wage bills and lower revenues, especially among oil-producers, led to a widening of fiscal deficits. In some countries, the deficit was driven by large infrastructure expenditures. Reflecting the widening fiscal deficits in the region, government debt continued to rise in many countries. While debt-to-GDP ratios appear to be manageable in most countries, a few countries are seeing a worrisome jump in this ratio.

The dramatic, ongoing drop in commodity prices has put pressure on rising fiscal deficits, adding to the challenge in countries with depleted policy buffers,” says Punam Chuhan-Pole, Acting Chief Economist, World Bank Africa and the report’s author. “To withstand new shocks, governments in the region should improve the efficiency of public expenditures, such as prioritizing key investments, and strengthen tax administration to create fiscal space in their budgets.”

Moving Forward

Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa will be repeatedly tested as new shocks occur in the global economic environment, underscoring the need for Governments to embark on structural reforms to alleviate domestic impediments to growth, the report notes. Investments in new energy capacity, attention to drought and its effects on hydropower, reform of state-owned distribution companies, and renewed focus on encouraging private investment will help build resiliency in the power sector. Governments can boost revenues through taxes and improved tax compliance. Complementing these efforts, governments can improve the efficiency of public expenditures to create fiscal space in their budget.

Professor Lumumba at PAV Ansah Foundation Forum – “On the Subject of Governance!”

PLO Lumumba interesting as always! Right?

Ask ourselves! We should Ask Ourselves!

Peace.

PLO Lumumba – “We are Co-Authors of our misfortune”

Interesting, right? Enlightenment, right?

Peace!

Press Release: Western Union Celebrates its 20th Anniversary in Africa (28.07.2015)

WU Africa AD

ACCRA, Ghana–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Western Union Company (NYSE:WU, a leader in global payment services, today celebrated its 20th anniversary in Africa. With over 34,000 locations and connections to millions of bank accounts and mobile wallets in more than 50 countries and territories, across Africa, the Western Union network serves millions of senders and receivers with a choice of 120 currencies.

To celebrate this special milestone, Western Union’s President for Africa, Middle East, Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe and CIS, Jean Claude Farah, in addition to Aida Diarra, Western Union’s Regional Vice President and Head of Africa and other members of the Africa leadership team visited the first agent location at ADB (Agricultural Development Bank) that offered Western Union money transfer services for the first time in Africa in 1995. The WU leadership team also visited Ecobank head office in Accra and marked the occasion with the launch of the Account Based Money Transfer services through ATM in Ghana.

The Western Union 20th Anniversary celebration in Ghana in Africa, coincides with a speech made by President Barack Obama at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he is quoted saying:

“Today, Africa is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world. Africa’s middle class is projected to grow to more than one billion consumers. With hundreds of millions of mobile phones, surging access to the Internet, Africans are beginning to leapfrog old technologies into new prosperity. Africa is on the move, a new Africa is emerging.”

Western Union is committed to the expansion and development of its pan-African network which provides a critical link to the ever growing African Diaspora living and working in countries around the world.

“More than 30 million Africans live outside their home countries, contributing billions of USD in remittances to their families and communities back home every year1”, said Jean Claude Farah. “We are very humbled to play a role in helping them move their money as they seek to elevate their economic status, meet emergency needs, support healthcare requirements, contribute to the education of future generations and in many instances build their own small businesses. By moving money for better for 20 years Western is enabling a world of possibilities for Africa and in Africa.”

Aida Diarra added, “Through the work we do we also enable economic activity and job creation. Currently over 155,000 Front Line Associates (FLAs) are employed in our agent network on the African continent. Western Union invests in training these FLAs developing their business, technical and compliance skills.”

In addition to the socio-economic impact that remittances enable, the company also supports philanthropic activities in Africa via the Western Union Foundation which has a long history of giving back to communities across the African continent. It supports organizations that promote economic opportunity and growth for individuals, families and entire communities throughout the region. Since its creation, the Western Union Foundation has committed to $8.703 million in grants and donations to 158 NGOs in more than 40 countries across Africa.

About Western Union

The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of March 31, 2015, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of over 500,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories and over 100,000 ATMs and kiosks. In 2014, The Western Union Company completed 255 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $85 billion of principal between consumers, and 484 million business payments. For more information, visit www.WesternUnion.com.

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1 IFAD, 2009

WU-G

Western Union Press Contact:
Khalid Baddou, +212 522 42 84 02
Khalid.Baddou@westernunion.com