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February 2017


AFRICA ...Harnessing Africa’s Potential

Here To Galvanise The Gas Value Chain The Turbulent End Of Jammeh Era

Discreet Search for New AU Chair


UK : £3.50 USA: $4.99 EURO: €5.00 FebruaryNIGERIA: 2017 CHERRYAFRICA ₦1000.00



With an increased port operational efficiency, decreased port cost and decreased financial burden on government,

Nigerian Ports Authority is becoming

Nigerian Ports Authority




...To be the Leading Port in Africa... Website:


Graphics Unit NPA 01/2016

the Hub of International Freighting and Trade in West and Central Africa.


August, 2016


AFRICA ...Harnessing Africa’s Potential

Time For Urban Forestry Policy Powered By Development Plan Building Momentum On Ogoniland Clean-up

Economy On Edge


Boosting Rice Production


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ALIBABA: The Standup Comedy King

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The Turbulent Troubling End Of Jammeh Era

Discreet Search for New AU Chair



10 Here To Galvanise The Gas Value Chain 23 Methane Plant Cracks Energy Question

30 Hot New Candidates Join The Fray 35 Boosting Rice Production 41 Donald Trump Trumpets New Politics

Sizzling Addiction Fad or Style PAGE 45

Canada’s Progressive Trade Agenda Starts in Africa PAGE 48 February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA




Publisher’s Note

...Harnessing Africa’s Potentials

Yahya Jammeh’s Ignominious End Just when various parts of the world were beginning to pick out Africa’s efforts at institutionalising democratic values in governance citing recent cases of smooth and stable transition of power after election losses by some incumbent blossoming presidents, Yahya Jammeh has cast a slur on the continent’s profile. Jammeh, who shot his way to power in 1994 and has ruled the nation of 1.8 million for a generation since, made himself a bad dream in his country Gambia and indeed Africa until he was shown the way out of the corridors of power. He had sworn to rule Gambia for "a billion years". On December 1, 2016, he lost the presidential election, and conceded victory to the opposition, the United Democratic Party’s candidate, Adama Barrow on his “clear victory”. On December 5, opposition members jailed for protesting against Jammeh were released on bail. It is not certain if this was at the root of it all, but the electoral commission claimed the next day that Barrow’s landslide win was not exactly accurate and assigned 3.6 per cent as the margin of his victory over his closest opponent. Jammeh apparently reclined on this to state on December 9: “In the same way that I accepted the results faithfully believing that the Independent Electoral Commission was independent and honest and reliable, I hereby reject the results in totality.” He quickly followed this with an appeal praying the Supreme Court to repudiate the results, and in the process triggered worldwide concern, in response to which the UN Security Council in league with heads of state from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) demanded that he acknowledge defeat. Unfortunately, the despot gallivanted from one wrong step to another in the new year firing 12 ambassadors who advised him to hand over the presidency. Ministers were also either sacked or resigned in response to frustrations. It is disgusting that Jammeh who failed for 22 years (more than 8030 days) to improve the well-being of tiny Gambia was not ashamed to resist all genuine efforts made through international diplomacy to make him step down from his high horse of selfishness and greed still intact rather than in tatters. Today, allegations are rife that his government plundered the country’s treasury before his forced flight from the country where he should otherwise be respected had he avoided the traumatic conditions and anxieties that trailed his government. His is certainly not a good example, and his ilk must not be allowed to repeat in Africa for whatever reasons. That he was forced to relinquish power after his generation-long grip on tiny West African country, Gambia, is praiseworthy. The development should send strong signals to other sit-tight leaders and those who think they can continue to take their people for a ride, that change has happened in the continent, and must be embraced by all, going forward. On the other hand, President Adama Barrow whose position and interest had been secured and protected must ensure that non of the institutions and personalities that stood by him while the hellish moments lasted is let down. Good governance and improved well-being of Gambians are the least expectations from stakeholders and how he achieves these within the ambit of democracy would count.

Carolyn Isaac


4 February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA

© 2016 All rights reserved

Chairman Francis Nyoyoko Editorial Team Publisher Carolyn Isaac Managing Editor Murphy Jones Associate Editors Adama Bukari, Morgan Winsor, Iyowuna Obomanu, Patricia Abena-Kissi Contributing Editors Jamie Leigh-Matroos (Cape Town) Athan Tashobya (Kigali) Pascaline Ameyo (Accra) Abdoulie Nget (Banjul) Correspondents Williams Freeman (Accra) Bini Israel (Nigeria) Design and Production Kelechi Okoro – Emmanuels Country Manager Ann Ashiogwu Administration Job Peters, Becky Joseph Marketing Selasi Appiah (Ghana) Akunna Nworgu (Lagos) Frank Air (Accra) Subscription Juliet Joseph Editorial Advisory Board Tony Charles (Chairman) Dare Akpata, Salome Malema, Makwaia Wa Kuhenga, Kede Alhie, Umar Sanni, Peace King Kporvie Office 5, Owukori Crescent, Western Avenue, Alaka, Surulere Lagos Nigeria. Tel: +2349099277714 +2349096640887 Ghana Bureau: +233267967272, +233244330942 ISSN: 24657107

February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA



Nkosazana DlaminiZuma:


Will she lead? 6 January 2017 CHERRYAFRICA 6 February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA


SOUTH AFRICA Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma whose tenure as chairperson of the African Union expired last month has intimidating credential going into political contest to rule South Africa from 2019 after Jacob Zuma, but there are issues to resolve, writes Jamie…………..


kosazana Dlamini-Zuma has emerged as the clear front-runner in the unofficial (yet basically happening) campaign for party presidency set to take place at the African National Congress (ANC) elective conference in December 2017. Clinching this title could see her elected as the president of South Africa in 2019. Even with the backing of prominent figures, an illustrious political career and her recent tenure as the head of the African Union (AU), many still refer to Dlamini-Zuma using the shorthand, Jacob Zuma’s exwife. With the description comes the omen that the cloud of corruption hanging over Zuma’s presidency will follow Dlamini-Zuma into hers if she succeeds him. Maybe it’s time to also let the woman stand on her own credentials or maybe the writing is already on the wall.

Dlamini-Zuma was born in 1949 in Bulwer, a small town in KwaZulu-Natal’s midlands region. Like many people of colour at the time (and now) she picked up the baton of activism at a young age. She embarked on her medical degree at the University of Natal and completed it in the United Kingdom (UK) at the University of Bristol after she was exiled as a result of her role in the anti-apartheid struggle. While in Bristol, Dlamini-Zuma served as the Chairperson of the ANC Youth Section in Great Britain between 1977 and 1978. She also played an instrumental role in the underground structures of the ANC in exile. When the ANC was unbanned in 1990, Dlamini-Zuma had already served as a doctor in Swaziland where she met Zuma. Upon her return to South Africa, she played an integral role in setting up the party’s structures. And when democracy was achieved in 1994, Dlamini-Zuma served as the Minister of Health until

With the description comes the omen that the cloud of corruption hanging over Zuma’s presidency will follow Dlamini-Zuma into hers if she succeeds him.

February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA


1999. Most notably, during her service she spearheaded free healthcare for the poor, specifically for pregnant women and children under six years of age, drastically reducing the rate of maternal mortality. Under Dlamini-Zuma, the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act was passed, legalising abortion. She also spearheaded anti-smoking legislation in public areas and oversaw the construction of 500 new clinics. It was during this time that Dlamini-Zuma also had her first notable brush with scandal. The musical Sarafina 2, funded by the health department, led to controversy because of its unclear messaging on HIV/AIDS. Further questions arose around the exorbitant amount of money used to produce the musical. What stood out most, however, was the lack of accountability after these questions were raised – a theme still looming in South African politics today. Dlamini-Zuma went on to occupy the seat of Foreign Affairs Minister from 1999 to 2009 where she sought to unite the African continent. She

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was again redeployed in 2009 to the seat of Home Affairs Minister before she was elected as the chairperson of the African Union in 2012, a position she held until the end of January this year. Her success or failure in the role has been debated. “During her tenure, Africa confronted Ebola in West Africa; Yellow Fever in parts of southern Africa; climate change and food security challenges around the Sahel and Horn of Africa, plus an international migration crisis,” writes former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Nigeria, Chidi Anselm Odinkalu. “On each and all of these challenges, Dlamini-Zuma was out to lunch or blissfully missing in action.” Dlamini-Zuma was accused of using the platform to campaign for the presidency in South Africa instead of focusing her efforts on continental progress. “Whether she is a woman or not, my view is that she was a complete disaster as AU chair. At exactly the moment that Africa needed to rise to the occasion with huge crises, she

CONTINENTAL ISSUE stepped down,” Eyewitness News quoted University of London professor Steven Chen as saying. Her tough stance on the United States President Donald Trump’s controversial Muslim ban has been applauded. "The very country to which many of our people were taken as slaves during the transatlantic slave trade has now decided to ban refugees from some of our countries," Dlamini-Zuma was quoted as saying after the ban took effect. However, she also addressed the likelihood that Trump’s administration would hinder global progress on climate change, stating that Africa should counter this by establishing the planned continental free trade area this year. Yet, when she made an appearance at a church in South Africa’s West Rand in early February, Dlamini-Zuma seemed to backtrack on climate change, stating: “We mustn’t listen to those who say we must only use renewable energy.” She added that no developed country uses only renewable energy, there must be a mix. Her own politics aside, there is one other factor that could bar her from South Africa’s presidency: womanhood. Although South Africa boasts one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, it’s not yet been internalised by the majority. This became apparent when earlier this month Xhosa Prince Xhanti Sigcawu supported his brother King Mphendulo’s claims that a woman would be too “delicate” to lead in a role that has puzzled even men. "The King said he wonders, with women's vulnerability, will she be able to handle the role? Men have been struggling with the job. It’s a question that we need to ask. This was not directed purely at Dlamini-Zuma, it’s to all women,” South African media quoted Sigcawu as saying. Dlamini-Zuma does have the backing of the country’s current president, with talks that she will occupy the position of Finance Minister, replacing Pravin Gordhan, ahead of her presidential race. The position has been dogged by controversy as it’s directly linked to allegations of State capture


and the looting of the country’s treasury. Gordhan is seen as a guard between South Africa's economy and a corrupt government. Political Analyst Somadoda Fikeni warned against the move: “She is coming at a time of great financial difficulty and at a time of financial strain, where you have to cut here and there, and you have to listen to rating agencies and the business sector, the very issue which may complicate a candidate who is supposed to drive radical transformation.” Her greatest backers are by far the ANC’s Women’s League who continue to name her as the only member of the ANC fit for the job despite calls from the top brass to hold off on the campaign until later in the year. “It is her unparalleled experience in the continental and global politics that have strengthened the resolve of the African National Congress Women's League that South Africa with its strategic role in global politics will be better served by a comrade of Nkosazana Dlamini - Zuma's stature,” said Meokgo Matuba, ANCWL Secretary General. Also in the unofficial running are Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa who is backed by trade union feder-

ation Cosatu; Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor, South Africa’s current minister of science and technology; Lindiwe Nonceba Sisulu, member of parliament and a member of the national executive committee (NEC) of the ANC; and the Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete. Whoever does dare to step up will inherit a party plagued by factionalism while it steadily loses support to opposition parties, the Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom Fighters. The last municipal vote in August revealed the worst result the ruling party had seen since it took power in 1994. This downfall has largely been blamed on president Zuma’s implication in successive scandals, so much so that his support of Dlamini-Zuma’s candidacy is seen as a hindrance. “Jacob Zuma is a hugely weakened leader because it has been under his leadership that the vote for the ANC has been declining,” political analyst Moeletsi Mbeki told Eyewitness News. “Leaders are fighting among themselves, the ANC has no solution to reverse the loss of confidence by the electorate.”

February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA



Here To Galvanise The Gas Value Chain Murphy Jones


or the next four days counting from February 27 to March 2, stakeholders in the oil and gas sector would be at the 16th Nigeria Oil And Gas (NOG) Conference & Exhibition 2017 to engage their brains on how best to transform the industry and fuel the economy. The 4-day gathering at the International Conference Center in Abuja would provide a veritable platform for the Nigerian oil and gas industry to discuss and debate the most pressing issues facing the sector as well as share successes and network with in-

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dustry peers in the petroleum, oil & gas industry. It will also enable participants to take a closer look at policy formulation, especially from the perspective of industry liberalization. The essence of this is to promote investment opportunity which would enhance employment creation and reduce restiveness and social vices. It is however, common knowledge that the needs of the industry transcend that. This underpins the role of legislation championed by the Senate Committee on Gas to craft necessary laws that will enhance participation and encourage players to perform opti-


mally. This the committee will be doing from a comparative perspective, looking at the industry in comparative views aimed at benchmarking global best practices. Such pertinent oversight functions would peek into how countries like Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, UAE, Saudi Arabia among others were able to impact their society using oil from the Oil perspective comparatively from other climes. The committee also intends to craft legislations that would marry innovations with ideas to convert the flared gas to something other valuable alternatives. At this year’s event, the committee seeks to spotlight all the concerns of the economy from sectoral perspectives. For instance, issues affecting the gas sub-sector would be treated from the angles of where we are; where we want to be; and how we would get there especially within the ambit of legislation. This, the committee says, is aimed at identifying certain index beyond the normal usage and expressing what its members have discovered outside the general usage for the well-being of the society. “They are the index that we can aim to achieve in the near future, members told

CherryAfrica. From inception in 2015 chairman of the committee, Senator Bassey Albert, knew his committee was distinct from other committees of the National Assembly. He said at the inauguration of the committee on November 24, 2015: “The Committee is special not for any other reason than for the nature of its critical responsibility to our country’s energy formation. As a Committee of the 8th Assembly, our mandate and related activities are derived from Rule 98(29) of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 (As Amended) pursuant to Section 62(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Specifically, we are bound to legislate and oversight on exploration and exploitation of gas; pricing and marketing of gas; liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects; and, annual budget estimates of the gas sector. We are vividly empowered, to

Bassey Albert

February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA



at any time, consider investigations and studies as may be necessary or appropriate in the exercise of our oversight responsibilities.” In performing the committee’s responsibilities, it is not expected to negate its obligations to carry out full oversight on the main ministry, its departments, agencies and other relevant players in the sector. Subsequently, Bassey said: “we shall compare notes with Nigerian Extractive

Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) reports and other pro-transparency institutions to ensure that monies appropriated for the growth and development of the sector are appropriately applied.” One issue that has remained dear to the heart of committee’s chairman is gas flaring, the ending of which seems to have defied all odds. Bassey said regarding this: “Despite the various policies regulating the sector, routine gas flaring still continues; companies are even more satisfied paying penalties and the mechanisms available to government to curb these irregularities are not fully utilized due to excessive ministerial permissions, limited legislation; and the incontrovertible position of NNPC in the Joint Ventures. This Committee must critically look into the economic, health and environmental degradation of the oil bearing communities caused by the continuous gas flaring. Strong and effective legal framework

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What the Committee Intends To Do Explore legal/institutional frameworks for oil and gas operations in Nigeria towards devising a strategic document that will complement the existing Gas Policies and dynamic implementation of the Gas Master Plan; Seek a restart of the Petroleum Industry Bill and ensure its smooth passage when referred to the Committee; Avail the gas sector with more budgetary allocations to enhance optimum output especially in the areas of critical gas infrastructures; Help boost Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Gas-To-Liquid (GTL) capacities by formatting legal frameworks for integrating regional gas networks between

Nigeria and some other West African countries; Explore how best Natural Gas can be supplied locally and how Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG-Cooking Gas) can be made available to the populace in line with the National Gas Supply and Pricing Act, 2008; Design regulatory regimes that attract investments as the enabling procedures would be made to harmonize with local, socio-cultural and ecologic sensibilities, to enhance optimum development of the sector. When necessary, convene Gas Conference and Sectorial Reviews towards re-concretizing the nature, scope and structure of the Nigeria’s gas industry in a unified manner.


must be put in place and sanction enforced against erring multinational companies to act as deterrence. The time to act is now. A recent report has shown that there is an increase of about 36.8 per cent of cooking gas usage in Nigeria in the past 3 years, while more than 80 per cent of Nigerian household still rely on Kerosene, firewood and other dangerous energy sources. The Committee will ensure that the Federal Government agenda of encouraging more Nigerians to embrace the usage of LPG which is clean, safe and affordable is achieved.”

From the perspective of fuelling the economy, CherryAfrica gathered that while the liberalisation policy would be pursued and vigorously implemented, investors that are flooding the sector will now be the catalyst of economy promoting the economy; “this will stimulate the economy, meaning we are going to have increased volume of crude and gas. Accelerated industrial concerns, industries and factories associated with gas such as refineries, gas plants, electricity generation to enhance steady flow of electricity to the nation for both primary and secondary industrial concerns. The overarching consideration is that the power sector is in dire need of the new thinking of the committee.

The idea is to recline on legislation anchored on the immediate passage of the Oil and Gas Bill which is of great importance in the transformation of the industry and would guarantee investment in the sector as investors are currently remain skeptical due to deficiency of protective laws in the land. Chairman of the Committee, Senator Bassey Albert, believes engaging investors would unleash their skills and technical capacity to deliver the right export index especially if anchored on favorable policy thrust. Information emanating from the committee suggests that the lingering dependence on diesel explains the collapse of the real sector. It also indicates that constant supply of gas would boost the economy and guarantee the smooth functioning of the industrial sector in the country. The knock-on effect of this, the committee maintains, would be creation of employment, GDP growth, and rise in external reserves, export promotion, and strengthening of the local currency. These indices are expected to dovetail into a healthy economy with positive impact on such vital sectors as education, health, agriculture, transportation, housing, lands, maritime, and technology and ultimately

enhance productivity and wages. The committee further intends to show its preparedness to initiate the right policy direction that would revolutionise the sector and fuel the economy as well as pinpoint the existing low-hanging fruits that stakeholders can begin to harvest in the short and medium term framework.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Bassey Albert, believes engaging investors would unleash their skills and technical capacity to deliver the right export index especially if anchored on favorable policy thrust. February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA



We demand an end to gas flaring now Isaac Abakam, also known as Akpan Obong Jehovah Abasiedidem is a Chief, church leader, businessman, and has been in oil and gas maintenance services for over 30 years. He spoke with CherryAfrica


hat has been your experience as a community leader in Ibeno over the years? You can bear me witness as Akwa Ibomites how peaceful this area has been in terms of oil and gas business. The area is peaceful, very peaceful. We’ve noticed gas being flared in this community. What has been the impact on Ibeno? That is a very serious issue. We have suffered a lot of effects from gas flaring. One, we no longer drink rain water, nor do we allow our children bath under rain like we used to do when we were kids. In other areas kids run everywhere under rain water but we don’t do that in Ibeno. We hardly use rain water for domestic purposes. When you see the water you can confirm it is acid rain. There is offshore (pointing forward) with gas flaring and the trade wind will drop the flaring here and behind us is ExxonMobil Qua Iboe Terminal with gas flaring . We are in between flaring all the time, offshore and onshore. Even right now

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there is vibration within my house which might be related to gas flaring. We cannot even plant anything here because the soil is contaminated throughout. Do you believe the soil contamination is caused by gas flaring only? Yes, our soil is not good for cultivation! It is contaminated as a result of gas flaring as well as oil spill pollution put together. Today in Ibeno we don’t have mangrove forest. Everywhere is covered with weather palm. We don’t find mangrove forest around us anymore. Are you aware of international and local deadlines and policies for gas flaring, and how has this changed the situation? I’m aware; right from 80s government always published, giving deadlines on so and so dates, come so and so year there will be no gas flaring in Nigeria. We have never seen it happen. You are personally aware that there have been so many dates. I don’t believe Nigerian

government really wants International Oil Companies, IOCs, to stop gas flaring. How conscious are the IOCs when it comes to the negative impact of gas flaring in Ibeno community? They are very much aware of these negative impacts! Who made them aware of these on Ibeno? The community at times complains, government complains, that is why you see what is happening now; they are going to clean up Ogoni land because of oil pollution. All this is because of oil exploitation; they are very much aware of it. But my belief is that the federal government is satisfied with IOCs paying penalties to it (Federal government) than to actually stop the gas flaring. You have been in the community struggle for a long time. What do you suggest the community should do next to stop gas flaring? I don’t think the community will do

AZIMARINE REPORT militancy in the Niger Delta region. You mentioned government’s readiness to impose penalties for gas flaring. How is your community directly benefiting from this? We have not seen one kobo! Maybe the federal government is happy with the gas flaring else why would they be shifting deadlines? Do you think they are keeping quiet for nothing?

anything than to keep on shouting and crying. I don’t think it is proper for the community to go fighting the companies. They are not operating on their own rather they are operating on the guidelines of the State and Federal Government. It is not good for us to fight because it means we will kill ourselves. If those people in government are truthful enough let them stop gas flaring. Or better stop talking about that, allow it go and let the poor masses die. Are community leaders such as the paramount rulers involved in this advocacy? He has done that. Our paramount ruler has done that severally. Community leaders like us have done it severally including women, the youths and everybody. I believe you must have read on the pages of newspapers that Ibeno people and the Niger Delta people affected by gas flaring are complaining every day. I mean this is one cause of

In the face of several health and environmental risks due to gas flaring and weak government policy, would you choose the community accept some of this penalties to diminish suffering of your people? That should be the case, because I don’t know what happens in other places, but in Ibeno here the gas flaring affects the quality of houses like the roofing material. By the time you finish building your house bear in mind that the roofing sheet you have would immediately depreciate. If it is poor quality sheet, then you are replacing in one year. Most long span roofing will not exceed 3 years. So that is what we suffer here, the same with burglary proofs in your windows and doors. In two years time in Ibeno you will need to change them because of serious corrosion attack as a result of gas flaring. What would you say should be the benefit of having IOCs in Ibeno? What is supposed to be the benefit is the business opportunity the IOC brings with good employment. I mean the local content, if they are to follow that. But the reverse is what you have. As an indigene of this community you don’t have a better business opportunity than anyone else; any other company can come from anywhere and do the business you are supposed to handle. At best they will call you to do a subcontract. Yes! How many Ibeno indigenes are employed by ExxonMobil? We have the office and name given as local content; do they actually implement local content to a local level and to companies where oil exploration is carried out in their area? You don’t see it! You have travelled widely as a businessman. What is the practice in other countries to ameliorate living

standard of the local people? ExxonMobil headquarters is in Texas; if you go there you will see what is happening. People there are given preferential treatment in terms of employment and every other thing. Let us not go too far; here in Nigeria Chief Enosco, clan head of Unna L.G.A happens to be the pioneer business maintenance office that services Shell. Today he has no single business in Rivers State. He has closed down his business in Rivers because the indigenes will not allow Shell to give him anything to do. He is back home here; he had to sell the place. It is only in Akwa Ibom state here that local content won’t work, even if you know what to do you will be asked to leave it. They will bring you out and use one thing or the other to frustrate you from doing it and then they will bring companies from Lagos, Kaduna, Rivers and other states to do jobs that Akwa Ibomites are supposed to do here in ExxonMobil field. So when they talk of local content we start wondering where! It is only on the pages of papers and nothing happens. There is an Akwa Ibomite in the person of the former Gov. Obong Victor Attah who is prominent in economic liberation of the Niger Delta; is he being liaised with him on these issues? There were litigations against Ibeno during Attah’s administration on 13 per cent oil revenue; if he has changed his mind now let him come to Ibeno to assist. Like now the catchment areas (Ibeno, Eket, Esit Eket, etc) do not have a functional MOU with ExxonMobil to operate with nor did successive administration look into it. We believe with Udom Emmanuel things may change. What is currently going on with the relocation of ExxonMobil headquarters to Akwa Ibom State? It would have been too good. But what if the state government we are very close to does not believe we should benefit from oil exploration? That place where the headquarters is now doesn’t belong to Akwa Ibom; it doesn’t belong to anybody in Uyo. Do you think if it is manned by people here we will even go near? Considering Uyo as the political and administrative centre, should February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA



ExxonMobil’s headquarters be located elsewhere? It should be located in Ibeno. That is where it ought to be. This same argument I learnt also contributed to the failure of the relocation in Attah’s administration, are you aware? God is always at work. He will help the poor. But my prayer is anytime God deems it fit to bring ExxonMobil headquarters to Akwa Ibom state let it be in Ibeno. Will other parts of Akwa Ibom have access to the headquarters and job opportunity if the ExxonMobil Nigerian headquarters is relocated from Lagos to Ibeno? You can see for yourself; I mean make a head count. How many Ibeno people are here and how many other Akwa Ibomites are employed by ExxonMobil? We don’t barricade anybody from entrance to ExxonMobil QIT here for jobs or employment! We don’t do that! Recently Nigeria’s acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo was on tour consulting with Niger Delta Communities. What issues were raised when he visited Akwa Ibom? My request was to mandate Exxon-

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Mobil to give good positions to Ibeno people. As at today we don’t have a manager, there is nobody in Ibeno in managerial position today. Let few Ibeno indigenes be allowed to reach managerial position. If they want to appoint directors now let them include Ibeno people and look into this gas flaring. They should also improve business opportunity for Ibeno people who are suffering the negative effect of oil exploration directly. And also give Akwa Ibom state the monthly subvention due to them as per the quantity of oil we produce. By so doing the state government will have money for infrastructural project development. Should this project include agriculture and food sustainability considering your soil quality? How can we ignore that? If there is no food you will die? Something should be done if we cannot cultivate here let there be something at least. The ecological fund is there. Let them place us on some monthly allowances so we can get to nearby villages and buy food since we cannot grow food crop here. Let us be properly compensated since we are suffering the effect of oil exploration, pollution, acid rain and even the air we breathe is all polluted. Govern-

ment should bring good health facility here for our treatment. Would you ask for flared gas to be converted for commercial us? They have proposed this for many years now that they are going to construct gas turbines, that instead of flaring the gas they will direct it to propel the turbines and generate enough electricity. For instance the light (power) supply you see here is from ExxonMobil. This area is called Mkpanak, Inuaiko, and Iwokpom. It is not only the three villages in Ibeno that are supposed to enjoy this free light but the entire Ibeno. By the time they come and build the type of turbine they have proposed for many years, the gas flared here could be used to turn the turbines and reduce the flaring or stop it completely. At last there is a remedial project from ExxonMobil, Light. What other benefits are there for Ibeno people? We have water from ExxonMobil but not all the time; the supply here is not enough. At times you can stay two, three days without water. We had that water from ExxonMobil serving only the closest Mpkanak kingdom not the entire Ibeno L.G.A.

SPECIAL REPORT Why don’t individuals sink their boreholes as obtainable in places like Uyo? If you try to sink borehole here you will see what will happen, even if you bring water treatment plant here that treatment plant will collapse within weeks because you will not be able to drill to the level a corporate body like ExxonMobil does. And the kind of treatment measures they will put in place is not what even a community here can do! Tell us about your health care facilities? In those days Mobil used to give us free medical treatment but they have stopped. Their reason was simply that the money they used to have is no longer coming. This was even before oil price came down. Health care facilities used to have assistance from Mobil but that was a long time ago. How about training and scholarships? There is nothing specially done for Ibeno people because of the oil from their land! If you check ExxonMobil scholarship scheme it cuts through the entire Akwa Ibom state, and the whole of Nigeria. You can say that, oh because they are in Ibeno. In those days when Mobil came newly they used to listen and showed us that truly they were in our place as the first people to suffer the effect of oil exploration but when the state government came in no such preferential treatment again up till date. Let me ask you! In Akwa Ibom state you have many good roads, when the state government started rehabilitating these roads which road would have come first? Is it not the road to oil - Ibeno road? But till today as you came is the road not still under construction right from when Isemin was elected governor, Attah, Akpabio, under whom we had several dual carriage roads and flyovers. It is only now that they are working on Ibeno road. Are the flyovers in Uyo more relevant than Ibeno road? In the absence of these amenities if you have jobs you can train your children in good schools and they will come back ready to have good em-

ployment thus replace that position where Ibeno indigenes will become future managers in International oil companies, IOCs. Because you don’t have money due to no good business patronage, you will send your children to average local schools with poor grades. Our kids won’t compete favourably with children from other good schools at interviews. So let them give us good employment percentage and actualize full local content policy. The situation where you can do a job only to see them bring people from outside because the managers are not from here is deplorable. When the managers in ExxonMobil are not from this place and the state govt will not tell them no don’t do it because in the past they were antagonizing Ibeno people, if they change their attitude, give us good business opportunity, good training and employment for our youths, pay compensation for pollution we will feel appreciated. How many of the indigenous people are aware and qualified for jobs/ businesses in the petroleum downstream sector? I think we have qualified companies though not many; we have qualified companies that can handle most of the maintenance services they will need. Azimarine? Yes! Azimarine has been in the business for many years and Mobil knows it; they know our capability; we do topside and subsea maintenance services with no question or query. In the next ten years Azimarine would be bigger, very big in capacity to handle more services but hope of patronage. What is Azimarine’s employment capacity like? We employ both Akwa Ibomites and none Akwa Ibomites; our chief accountant is a Yoruba man, Operations director from Edo State, Chief Engineer from Kogi, technicians from Ibo, Hausa and Rivers State. We employ across the country. We are foremost in training youths of Ibeno since 1985 till date in several skills and that is why the area is calm. We have similar people like Azimarine in Eket and Esit Eket. We have been in oil servicing business

since. What is your advice to the current Governor, Udom Emmanuel, and the Buhari-led administration? My advice to Udom as the state governor is an appeal to him to be God fearing not to suppress people like his predecessors did. He will find favour from God by so doing. If you sow good you will reap good; so don’t expect to reap good when you sow bad. If Udom believes it is the Lord God that put him there and he does things in the fear of God, he will succeed. There is no advice I can give anybody, if you have the fear of God and put God ahead on everything you do you will succeed. Let him make God first in everything he does. The acting president Osinbanjo is a Nigerian; he knows what is happening in Nigeria. If you know vital resources come from a particular place and you want to share the dividend let the higher percentage go to those people because it is the Lord God that deposited these good things in different parts of this country. Let Nigerians too also eat from it. The Lord God said, ‘Let the strong carry the weak’. But in a situation where we have other mineral resources from the North and nobody talks about it but the crude oil that comes from Niger Delta does everything in Nigeria, that way you don’t balance the equation and in everything you do if you forget about God’s judgement you have made a mistake. So I will advice them the same way: put God first. If you have the fear of God you will know that what you believe shouldn’t be done to you, you will not do to others. That way you will guide yourself a right. How do you relax? I relax in prayer mood. My hobby is praying. After my business engagements I relax in communication with God because i have a lot of flock to look after. You know what it means to be able to pray and obtain answer from the Lord God. The person you are praying for you expect positive change in him, so you have to put in extra time for yourself spiritually. Apart from this spiritual exercise I play table tennis.

February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA





The Turbulent End Of Jammeh Era Abdoulie Nget Banjul, Gambia


ormer Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh’s end of rule as head of state came in a controversial way, as his determination to cling on to power after he lost the last December elections had caused anxiety among citizens of the smallest nation in West African.

Jammeh, who came to power in a coup in 1994 and has won a series elections since, shocked the world by conceding defeat to Adama Barrow, a coalition-led candidate, who was declared winner on December 2 by the country’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). In a televised address, Jammeh described the vote as “transparent” and “rig-proof,” pledging to work with Barrow to ensure a smooth transition. This was wel-


comed by the entire nation. But two weeks later, he rejected the outcome, saying it was not fair and that it was dictated by “foreign interference.” His reversal had brought about fear and confusion among citizens of the country that have never experienced instability in the country dubbed “The Smiling Coast of Africa”. As a result, the United Nations, African Union and ECOWAS had convened to discuss ways and means to bring a solution to the political impasse, which was inserted by Jammeh, who ruled the country for 22 years as an autocrat. The UN, AUnion, and ECOWAS all made it clear that they would no longer recognise Jammeh after his mandate expired on Jan. 19. A series of high-profile delegations, including the presidents of Liberia, Guinea, Ni-

geria and Mauritania, visited Banjul to mediate a solution to the crisis. At the same time, ECOWAS indicated that it would remove Jammeh by force if necessary. It mobilised a standby force of 7,000 troops from Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, and Niger, among other nations, and moved air and naval assets into neighboring Senegal. Jammeh and his APRC party later filed a petition to the Gambia Supreme Court but the apex court could not for a quorum since there weren’t enough judges to sit over the case, because he sacked most of them in 2015. After the court failed to proceed, he declared a 90-day state of emergency that conveniently required him to remain in power. He was later abandoned by most of his close aides including Ministers who resigned and fled the country. Among these was his Vice President, Isatou Njie Saidy who was the last to resign before Jammeh dissolved the entire cabinet at his final day in office. The dragging of the court coupled with the determination of ECOWAS to use force to oust him on January 19 when his mandate ended and install Barrow had led to a mass exodus within and out of the country. Fearing unrest, at least 46,000 people most of them women and children fled to Senegal and Guinea, according to the U.N. refugee agency. As Jammeh proved to be a hard nut to crack after all diplomatic talks initiated by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, and Ex- President John Dramani Mahama seemed to have failed, Barrow on January 19 took the oath of office from the safety of the Gambian Embassy in Senegal; ECOWAS and the AU immediately recognised him as Gambia’s legitimate head of state, and had him order the invasion of the ECOWAS force. Jammeh who was abandoned by his close aides and ministers called on Alpha Condeh, President of Guinea Conakry and Abdul Aziz of Mauritania to help in last ditch negotiations to facilitate a his exile.

The dragging of the court coupled with the determination of ECOWAS to use force to oust him on January 19 when his mandate ended and install Barrow had led to a mass exodus within and out of the country. Fearing unrest, at least 46,000 people most of them women and children fled to Senegal and Guinea, according to the U.N. refugee agency.

February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA


After a daylong talk, he later accepted to step down before he left the country on January 20 with Alpha Conde to Guinea Conakry with some of his close military aides, who are accused of doing the dirty job for him, before moving to Malabo Equatorial Guinea, where he is given a political asylum. For Halifa Sallah, the spokesperson of the Coalition incoming administration, Jammeh was going down, internally and externally. “The use of force was very clear. ECOWAS was around the border. The fact that he would be alone, he would have fallen like a house of cards,” he added. The beginning of the End The imminent fall of Jammeh’s gov-

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ernment started in April 2015 when he arrested 19 prominent politicians, including Ousainou Darboe, the leader of the UDP which was the main opposition party, for kicking against the electoral laws imposed by the APRC administrative. As a result, two party members Solo Sendeng, and Solo Kuruma lost their lives in the process due to tortures they faced in the hands of the state security agents. Many human rights organisations wrote to condemn the arrest of opposition members demanding their release, and urged the government to investigate the deaths. Jammeh seemed to care less by going ahead to send the 19 arrested members to three-year jail terms, with a promise of never forgiving

GAMBIA them as they intended to destabilise the country. Since then he started losing public support from Gambians both in and out of the country. Being among the self- acclaimed strongest men in West Africa, Jammeh ruled the Gambia for 22 years but many seem not to appreciate his legacy due to poor human rights records. Alagie Jinkang, PhD Candidate, the University of Palermo told CherryAfrica: “Jammeh has been a public enemy -a traitor and hypocrite. He left The Gambia in more distress than he found it. He has left us in a state of wilderness most importantly from the social and economic life. We have broken infrastructure and fragile social bonds.” “It was very clear that Gambians have had enough suffering from the point of human rights to their living standards. They wanted change and voted him out democratically -they could not have done better.” Asked if Yahya registered any development during his tenure, he said development is a complicated term/ ideology. “I think he was a propagandist who used slogans to win public opinion to legislate his wishes on the people. He talked about quality education, health, agriculture but none of these areas have taken any significant change. People have growing hunger, poor education and bad sanitary system. Corruption became rampant and institutionalized, pric-

es skyrocketed and the poor majority still bear those scars,” he added. Asked if he will be missed, he said: “personally, I wouldn't miss him and I think this is a shared truth, even progressive supporters of APRC will not miss him.” Sainey Darboe, Former Standard newspaper editor in The Gambia and blogger currently in US said Jammeh lost the polls due to the deterioration of the national economy which caused a mass exodus of youths to Europe through the backway. “He also managed to annihilate a key constituent of the electorate who are the ‘Mandinkas’ through a sustained rant in a rally. This effectively fixed the ultimate nail to his political coffin. Though, he revolutionized education in The Gambia through setting up university, he will be missed for his antics,” he stated New Gambia After being sworn in by Abdul Aziz Bensouda, the secretary-general of the Gambia Bar Association in the Gambian Embassy in Dakar, Senegal, President Adama Barrow became the third President of the Gambia and the first to take government through the ballot box since independence in 1965. In his swearing statement, he said he would be a president for all, both those who voted for him and those who did not. But analysts said he has a lot of work to do, as Jammeh left the country in a bad shape. The human rights are not at its best, the military is divided and the economy is on its knees. The outlook is however promising since he is a president voted by the people and has the backing of the international community such as ECOWAS, AU, EU and UN. Since he was declared winner, Barrow wasn’t provided with a security by the government due to Jammeh’s influence, which resulted in his mistrust in both the former president and the military. As a result, he requested from ECOWAS to allow their forces to the country for his safety

February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA


for a period of time. The ECOWAS has since then sent its military forces to ensure the smooth transition for Barrow. According to ECOWAS Commission chairman Marcel Alain De Souza, there are secret weapons depots and we have consequently included the search for such weapons to ECOWAS mission. "That's why ECOWAS forces will secure the Gambian capital and the Gambian territory for the necessary time. We will look for hidden weapons and mercenaries will be whisked away to create a true situation of tranquility, to secure the return of populations who fear reprisals and to ensure that the country regain its national unity," he said. Demonstrating his willingness to work with the Barrow administrative, Yankuba Colley, Mayor of Kanifing and APRC national mobiliser said: "I have to admit that we are still feeling the sadness of losing the election but whether we like it or not President Barrow is the head of state of this great nation. "I personally recognize him as the legitimate president, as you can see I have pulled down Jammeh's picture in my oďŹƒce and will replace it with President Barrow's picture very soon." He also said that the APRC party is, "Still very much active and will soon

22 February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA

unveil its new party leader," who will certainly not be him. He is confident the Green party will bounce back in grand style on the coming parliamentary elections.

Speaking to journalists this week, President Barrow assured the nation that he will restore good governance, rule of law, free media and above all build a strong democratic Gambia.



Methane Plant Cracks Energy Question In power generation, Rwanda has opted for diversification of power generating technologies from hydropower, solar power. Now, it is also making Africa proud with the world’s only methane plant and peat to power option. Also, the Government has garnered efforts in the exploration of Geothermal. Athan Tashobya writes January 2017 CHERRYAFRICA




wanda has in the recent past created a unique narrative of doing things in unconventional ways. The East African landlocked country, with not much of natural resources, say lakes, rivers or mega mineral deposits (needless to mention the 1994 Genocide which claimed more than a million lives) is surely becoming a global star regarded as one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Mid last year, Rwandan President Paul Kagame launched KivuWatt, the only gas/water extraction energy plant operating in the world. And the goal is obvious, to meet the government’s target of reaching installed

24 February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA

electricity generation capacity of 563 MW in the country by the year 2018. But what is rather unusual is the way this tiny country is using all possible ways to bounce back from its darkest history and join the global elites. The 26 MW Kivu-Watt Gas Power Plant located in the Western Province’s Karongi District, was described by Kagame as a sign of what is possible for efforts to address energy challenges in the East African country. The Kivu-Watt brought Rwanda’s current energy generation capacity to 190 according to Rwanda Energy Group officials. In fact, the extraction of methane gas from Lake Kivu is believed to have a double benefit; reduc-


ing the risk of a possible catastrophic outburst of the gas and solving the issue of energy shortages in Rwanda. Experts predict that at least 700 MW of electricity could be generated from the methane gas in the lake over a period of 45 years. The new 26-MW power plant, fired by methane gas from Lake Kivu, was built by American energy firm ContourGlobal, which the Rwandan government gave a 25-year concession to produce 100 megawatts from Lake Kivu, a project to be implemented in two phases. Built at the cost of more than $200 million (more than Rwf156 billion), the first phase of the project, 26 MW, has been funded through a conces-


sional loan by the African Development Bank (AfDB), Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), Netherlands Development Finance Company and the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries. According to the officials at ContourGlobal, Phase two of the project, which is expected to deliver 75 MW, will be completed by the year 2020 with work expected to start “early” this year. The first phase of the project is powering three gas generators to produce 26 MW of electricity that is transferred to the national grid. The next phase of the project will deploy nine additional generators and pro-

February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA


duce 75 MW, bringing the project to completion with the total capacity of over 100 MW. Under the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS2), the government planned to increase the number of households connected to electricity in the country from around 24 per cent today to 70 per cent by the year 2018. Rwanda has directed much effort and injected resources in the energy sector for a sustainable economic growth that has seen electricity access in Rwanda growing rapidly. With different programs and initiatives, grid connections through the government’s Electricity Access Roll-out Programme (EARP) and related initiatives have increased through both on-grid and off-grid solutions. As a result, in rural electrification, 89,964 households were connected to the grid with 37,250 households on offgrid network leading to 24.3 per cent connected on grid cumulatively from 23 per cent last year’s and 2.67 per cent

26 February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA

connected on-grid. During the fiscal year 2016/2017; 80,000 new connections (including 1,451 connections in productive use areas) are planned (on grid) and 255,363 households will be supplied by off-grid solutions. It is expected to reach 27.3 per cent on-grid and 13.67 per cent offgrid connections. The national grid has also been extended with the construction of new 842.96 km of Medium Voltage (MV) transmission lines and 1,155.53km of LV lines. The construction of new transmission lines was implemented and others are on-going to enable the power trade with neighboring countries and to strengthen the current network. These include among others: 220 kV Mirama – Shango: 98km transmission line connecting Rwanda and Uganda, line construction and testing completed 100 per cent and substation construction ongoing; 220 kV Shango – Karongi-Rubavu – Goma: 167km transmission

line connecting Rwanda with DRC; 110kV Ntendezi- Bugarama: 23km transmission and substation and 110kV line Rukarara-Kilinda: 32 km Line and substation. Over the past 3 years, the national energy body (REG) has recorded generation capacity increase of over 87MW. This resulted from the commissioning of: Giggawatt Solar power plant (8.5MW), Diesel power plants (10MW at KSEZ and 14 MW at CIMERWA), Nyabarongo 1 hydropower plant (28MW),Kivuwatt methane gas power plant (25 MW) and Giciye II (2 MW with the remaining 2 MW to be commissioned soon). Power generation in Rwanda is dominated by Hydropower accounting about 60 per cent of the total generation and thermal generation and solar power generation share the remaining. Currently, 9 micro hydropower plants with a total a capacity of

1,740 kW exist in Rwanda as isolated networks. Most of these sites were leased out to private developers in 2015 and are planned to be connected to the grid. Seven privately developed hydropower plants with a total capacity of 16 MW are also under different phases of construction, with commercial operation dates (COD) planned in the near future. Some 43 hydropower projects are under development by the private sector with a total capacity of about 53 MW. Of these, 11 hydropower projects with a total capacity of about 23 MW had their concession agreement approved by the Rwandan government in April 2016. Others are 32 projects with a total capacity of about 30 MW can be considered to be in an early stage of development. For another 40 smaller sites (9.2 MW in total) feasibility studies have been conducted. About 30 Rwandese and international companies are currently involved in hydropower projects in Rwanda. The total investment volume for the 18 private sector driven hydropower plants in construction and advanced development stage (39 MW) can be estimated at about 150 Million USD. However, in the recent past, Rwanda has opted for diversification of power generating technologies from hydropower, solar power, methane to power and peat to power. Also, the Government has garnered efforts in the exploration of Geothermal.

Seven privately developed hydropower plants with a total capacity of 16 MW are also under different phases of construction, with commercial operation dates (COD) planned in the near future.

February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA


Events Africa

The third Powering Africa: Summit is an investment conference to showcase power, trade and infrastructure opportunities across the African continent, engaging principle decision makers from the American and African public and private sectors to explore how project bankability can be increased. Obama’s Power Africa initiative has helped map the way for project investment, giving a platform to global investment funds and the role they can play in driving forward the development of Africa’s power sector. This year’s summit will focus on the successes of the private sector including America’s private equity houses, sovereign wealth funds and America’s power-house family wealth funds. To be added to the mailing list for this meeting, please email ________________________________________ Powering Africa: Summit – 2017 event details 8–10 March 2017 Washington, D.C. Wesbsite: The foremost international meeting for African CEOs, bankers and investors. 2017 will mark the fifth edition of the AFRICA CEO FORUM. Since its inception in 2012, the AFRICA CEO FORUM has established itself as the foremost event devoted to promoting the African private sector. Each year, the event brings together more than 1000 world-class CEOs, bankers and investors, cementing its reputation as a must-attend forum for top African business leaders. A unique platform for thoughtprovoking discussions, the AFRICA CEO FORUM is an excellent opportunity for you to develop your business, shape your strategy and enhance your company’s competitiveness.

28 February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA

Events Africa Securex West Africa is the most established and only dedicated security and public safety event to serve the government and private sector in West Africa. The West African market place is abundant with opportunities in the ever changing security market. The evolution from the static manned guarding options to a more complex solution approach which incorporates automation, cyber and personal security

ConMin West Africa launches into Abuja in April 2017 to service the rapidly growing construction machinery and mining industries in Africa. Currently there is no forum in West Africa that oers a platform for the key stakeholders, both regionally and internationally, to converge and discuss business prospects while also addressing pertinent issues facing the industries. This is what ConMin West Africa will provide.

February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA




Hot New Candidates Join The Fray Cees Harmon

Cummings says to avoid having peaceful Liberia regress into another brutal conflict, the next president must ensure that the wellbeing of the unemployed and underemployed are looked after.

Alexander Cummings


ith barely six months left for debate period in Liberia’s forthcoming presidential election, and eight months to vote a new president to succeed President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, new entrants in the race look good enough to cause a historic upset. After announcing their candidacies barely two months ago, Alexander Cummings of the Alternative National Congress and MacDella Cooper of Union of Liberian Democrat, both back from the Diaspora, are already commanding huge physical and online following that threaten to surpass traditional politicians’ following.

Alexander Cummings Having served most recently as global Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for Coca-Cola’s African operations, 60 year old Alexander Cummings proffers non traditional approaches to Liberia’s politics and eco-

nomics. Gleaning experience in a host of coun-

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tries during his 36 years stint at Coca-Cola, including Nigeria and Kenya, Cummings says: “Lessons I took back with me when I lived in other African countries is that we have to ensure that the core values of right and wrong are restored.” As Kenya and Nigeria’s economies lost steam in the 1990s, Cummings remembers water and power being challenges. “I would say to my colleagues at Coca-Cola that we would not use that as an excuse for not moving the business forward, because we knew those conditions would continue in the near future. We would need to find solutions and work around those challenges,” he remarked. It is this outlook Cummings says he’s bringing to Liberia. “For me, we need to bring this attitude to Liberia. Yes the environment is tough, yes we have challenges, but we have to figure out how to move around those challenges to move our country forward,” he further said. Cummings says to avoid having peaceful Liberia regress into another brutal conflict, the next president must ensure that the wellbeing of the unemployed and underemployed are looked after. Unemployment particularly affects the bulk of the 75 per cent of all Liberians who are 35 years old and younger. If people don’t believe they have a future and no protection and vested interests, we are on a high risk of them being vulnerable to potential violence and influences, Cummings says. He has been quoted by a London daily as saying: “Liberia needs the revenues to lift the 64 per cent of her citizens living below the poverty line, of whom 1.3 million live in extreme poverty, be it through training, vocational training and a resuscitation of the nation’s agricultural sector as Liberia imports most of what it consumes.”

CONTINENTAL ISSUE The current national budget stands at $556 million, but Cummings believes he can bring it closer to$2 billion over a ten year period. To do this, Cummings outlines his plan: “We’re over dependent on government for everything in Liberia. So we need to grow the private sector to create more jobs for people to pay more taxes. To do that we need to facilitate financing to create new businesses. Banks need to be able to lend and make credit available. As I travel throughout Liberia this is a refrain I hear constantly.” Acknowledging that growing the revenue will take time, Cummings says that his immediate priority will be to attack waste, which comes in two forms: the corrosiveness of corruption and government wasted resources, citing example of the kind of vehicles we buy for government officials, the amount on travel we enable etc. Regarding infrastructure, Cummings says he is open to the idea of privatizing and attracting investors to come and invest in Liberia’s power, roads and water Born in Monrovia to an educator and a midwife, Cummings spent his early tears in the capital’s Point Four neighborhood. After spending two years at the Cuttington University College in Suacoco, Bong County in the 1970s, Cummings travelled to the USA where he studied finance and economics at Clark-Atlanta University. Upon graduation he returned home and worked for Liberia Development Bank in the late 1970s. Over a period 0f 36 years, Cummings rose through the ranks to become the Executive Vice President of Coca-Cola. Grapevine sources say the outgoing president has already signaled approval of Cummings succeeding her.

LIBERIA quently becoming a refugee in the Ivory Coast for three years before joining her mother and siblings in the United States. A combination of good behavior and intelligence earned MacDella a full academic scholarship to study Electronic Communication in New Jersey, USA. Upon graduation, she moved to Manhattan, New York, where she delved into fashion and corporate event planning and enjoyed a success of it. But MacDella never forgot her Liberia. She began donating money and resources to individuals, orphanages and women’s groups. Those philanthropic efforts grew into the MacDella Cooper Foundation (MCF). MCF is an international charity organization devoted to empowering Liberian youth, especially orphans and abandoned children, by providing education and the basic necessities such as clothing and safe shelter. The jewel of MacDella’s benevolent effort is the establishment of the MCF Academy, the first tuition-free boarding school for orphaned Liberian children. She is regarded by many Liberians as an angel, and enters the race for president enjoying some matrilineal sympathy.

A combination of good behavior and intelligence earned MacDella a full academic scholarship to study Electronic Communication in New Jersey, USA. Upon graduation, she moved to Manhattan, New York, where she delved into fashion and corporate event planning and enjoyed a success of it.

MacDella Cooper MacDella Cooper, who turns 40 sometime this year, has experienced the vicissitudes of life. Although she enjoyed a normal and innocent life as a child, at age 13 she was forced to face the horrors of the Liberian civil war where she came face to face with hunger, starvation and death, subseMacDella Cooper February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA



We are Boosting Rice Production -Gov. Bello 32 February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA

S Abdul Ebbo

timulating agricultural sector in Niger State through large scale rice farming is a key component, even if just a strand, of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello’s holistic Strategic Plan Framework for food production and better living for the people. This is understandably so. Rice has been a staple meal in most homes and longstanding favourite of Nigerians, young and old. Regrettably and perhaps even strangely, the stuff has lately transformed into a scarce commodity, selling for as high as N24, 000 per 50kg bag in most Nigerian markets! Against the backdrop of a trend of unenthusiastic policy formulation/ implementation, specifically as it affects cultivation/processing of rice by past governments both at the state and federal levels, the precarious and volatile nature of the international market, regarding the relations of America’s dollar against the naira, worsened by other conducts of stock

market dealers, both locally and internationally, this common staple has lately taken flight from the meal tables of most homes. It is not a story the common man will tell with joy. The picture, often linked to global economic recession which has equally affected other areas of human life in Nigeria as much as elsewhere, is however not irreversible and is actually being reversed. The ‘reverse’ or change process, which is slow but strategic, has seen President Muhammadu Buhari applying the Agricultural Development Agenda (ADA). ADA centers attention to latest techniques of rice production and matchless empowerment of farmers in select states in the country. Underscoring his commitment to supporting the President on the ADA initiative, Governor Sani Bello’s commissioning on the 8th December 2016 of the Bida Rice Processing and Milling Complex, constructed by Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) at Bida, Niger state. The rice mill project, which takes after and extends the larger plan of the Governor’s Restoration Agenda,

February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA



specifically in the area of agriculture/ food production, youth employment and women empowerment, is a tripartite cooperation among Niger State Government, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Republic of Korea. At completion the project is hoped to generate well over ten thousand direct and indirect jobs. The Second Rice Project, expected to be Commissioned by the Governor few months to come, is the 75,000-Hectare Swashi Rice Project, which is equally a partnership between the Government of Niger state and some Indian Investors, the PJS Farms Ltd. The project being handled by Pearl Universal Impex Limited includes the development of a Mechanised Rice Farm and a Rice Processing Mill in Borgu Emirate, which further promises to create additional over seven thousand jobs (3000 direct and 4000 indirect). Governor Sani Bello’s target of One Million Metric Tonnes of rice production by the state annually seems eminently achievable, against the backdrop of these ongoing projects. A recent ranking of the World Bank, placing Niger state 1st in the group of six viable rice producing states in the country, is a further affirmation of the enor-

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mous food production potentials of the state. However, all efforts are not focused on rice! Soon after inauguration on 29th May, 2015 and with an awareness of a state with modest presence of natural endowments, especially favouring agriculture, the governor began situating Niger state as Nigeria’s formidable food hub. Currently, sustainable programmes of his administration not only in rice production but equally in poultry, aqua-culture and other areas of agric business can be found in parts of the state. One of such is the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)-initiated Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) which, within the last one year, benefitted a minimum of 14,000 farmers, with about N2 billion already disbursed from the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund (MSMEDF) in the state. Disclosing this during the inspection of rice farms in Doko in Lavun Local Government Area of Niger State, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said a total of one million tonnes of rice was expected from the cluster of rice farms across the State, courtesy of the CBN-initiated Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.

Earlier and soon after his inauguration, Governor Abubakar had also directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to distribute 58mt (metric tons) stock of grains to the public at subsidised rates, a move meant to support feeding needs of households, as it came just before the 2015 Ramadan Fast period. The state government had also approved the purchase and distribution of 20,000 metric tons of assorted fertilizers to 164,000 farmers across the 274 wards of the state. Further, another batch of six hundred small-scale farmers in each of the 274 wards have enjoyed 50 per cent subsidy off every purchase of 2 bags of NPK or Urea fertilizer at 2,850 naira per 50kg, a facility which translated to One Billion, One Hundred and Forty Naira(N1,140,000,000.00)financial burden upon the state government. The Governor had not long ago also constituted a committee to prepare grounds for successful commencement of the privately owned N36billion Sunti Sugar Golden Mill Company located at Sunti Village in Mokwa Local Government Area of the State. The company, a subsidiary of Sunti Farms Limited, is a division of Flour Mills of Nigeria, Plc.

February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA




The Standup Comedy King Alibaba also known in Nigeria’s entertainment circles has emerged as a brand and continues to introduce innovations into the industry. Orji Onyekwere writes

36 February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA


ith no air of pride around him despite his towering achievements in the world of entertainment, Alibaba comes easily as a very friendly person who is always ready to say his mind. This much explains why he has achieved so much in the entertainment industry in the past two and a half decades, rubbing shoulders with the high and mighty in the society. Today, Alibaba is known as the king of standup comedy in Nigeria, and one of the people that revolutionised this genre of entertainment with the likes of late Muhammad Danjuma. Born Akporomemerere Atunyota, Alibaba, changed the face of comedy industry in the country having taken over the baton from the likes of late John Chukwu and Art Alade. Making cameo appearances in Friday Nite live, a potpourri of entertainment programme presented by ace broadcaster, Patrick Doyle, in the early 90’s, the ace comedian began to spread his tentacles by handling corporate events. Today, that marker laid by Alibaba has produced world beaters in the comedy business like Julius Agwu, Basket Mouth; Tee A, Omobaba, De Don, Bovi, Baby Face, I Go Die and AY among others. His words: “I started carving a niche for myself in 1993; then I was able to identify what area of the economy I would pit my tent and I discovered that the corporate world pays more.’’ Over the years Alibaba has built himself as a brand and continues to introduce innovations into the industry. This new direction has seen him handling lesser shows while diverting to other things, though the move has been misinterpreted by a lot of his critics who say he has lost his relevance in the industry because of stiff competition from up and coming comedians. However, Alibaba disagrees with this notion. For him, he has no competition in the industry and can still stand his own anywhere in the world. He only decided to do lesser

shows so as to give the younger comedians the opportunity to develop in the industry. During the tenure of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the ace comedian became the toast of the presidency as he became a regular face at most events where Obasanjo was the guest of honour. The big break according to him came when he was invited as a comedian during Obasanjo‘s birthday at the Villa. He explains further: “I got to know President Obasanjo through Chief Bode George, who knew a friend of mine, Colonel Solade. Bode George asked Colonel Solade to invite me over because according to him, Baba likes humor and they wanted to surprise him. So after the church service, we were in the chapel and it was like a cocktail, everybody was standing except Baba, and we had a lot of dignitaries. Don’t forget, for Baba, comedy was like Papa Aluwe, Awada, Kekere, New Masquerade, but this was a different kind of comedy. I mounted the stage and started picking on a few people around. Thereafter I turned to Baba and everybody was like you are talking to the president and he is going to take offence. Immediately he started laughing, I knew I had broken the ceiling and that was it, and that was how we became friends.” His friendship with the ex-president grew with Obasanjo occasionally requesting for his presence at events he was hosted as guest of honour. Other state governments that knew that Obasanjo liked Alibaba’s jokes started inviting the ace comedian to events where the president would be their special guest. “There was a time Chief Obasanjo was supposed to go to Kaduna, and then Ahmed Markafi was the governor. They called me from Kaduna and I told them that my price was N1. 5million and they shouted ‘No’. The person said how they can pay that kind of money for jokes and they left it that way. Two days later, a protocol

Over the years Alibaba has built himself as a brand and continues to introduce innovations into the industry.

February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA



A graduate of Religious Studies and Philosophy, Bendel State University, now Ambrose Alli University, the course according to him was a stop course. 38 February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA

officer from the presidency called me to know if the Kaduna state government had contacted me because Baba wanted me to be there. At that point, the Kaduna State government had no option but to pay me the money and I even told them the price could increase if they continue to waste time. I got to Kaduna and Baba was there. As he was leaving, he asked me, did they tell you I was the one that said you should come? I said yes. He then asked me, where my percentage is? And that’s the kind of person Baba is,’’ he revealed. For him, ex- president Obasanjo con-

tributed immensely to the growth of the comedy business in the country today as his action encouraged other state governments to start patronising comedians for their events. A graduate of Religious Studies and Philosophy, Bendel State University, now Ambrose Alli University, the course according to him was a stop course. His initial intention was to study Mass Communication and major as a broadcaster, though his father wanted him to study Law. However, he moved to Lagos where he discovered that he could make money by making people laugh.


Alibaba met his wife, MaryBassey Udoh, a banker, by chance and what started as a friendship blossomed into marriage years later. The marriage is blessed with six children. “I met Mary by chance and we became friends for years before we got married. As a father, my children don’t see me as someone who is working. Anytime I tell them I am going to work and hours later I come back home they keep asking me the type of work I do. As a father, I give them the best and as a husband, I thank God I married a wonderful woman,’’ he disclosed. With some entertainers going into politics, the king of comedy says he will not make a good politician as he is not cut out for politics. His reason is that he is not the type that can keep his mouth shut if he sees anything going wrong.

gave us N5million and we shared it and this person got this. I wouldn’t last long in politics because I talk too much. I really held myself all these times I used to be among politicians and hear what they say.’’ Alibaba has been a professional standup comedian for the past 22 years. In the past 13 years, he has received several awards including induction into the Johnny Walker 'Striding Man' Society in 2009 which recognises men who have achieved great strides in their chosen fields of endeavor and who share the strides they have taken to motivate and encourage others.

“I met Mary by chance and we became friends for years before we got married. As a father, my children don’t see me as someone who is working.

He further stated: “No I can’t be a politician because they will sack me the next day. If I am in politics and they bring money for us to share, as soon as we come out, I will say they

February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA


40 February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA


Donald Trump Trumpets New Politics By Morgan Winsor


merican billionaire Donald Trump took the Republican Party by storm in the year leading up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election with a tumultuous and divisive campaign. He clinched the party’s nomination over the summer and then defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 vote in race that will go down as one of the most stunning upsets in American history. Although Clinton was a frontrunner in the pre-election polls and won the popular vote by more than 2.8 million ballots, Trump won the Electoral College vote, 304-227. His vow to “Make America Great Again” by deporting millions of immigrants, banning Muslims, building a wall along the border with Mexico and restoring ties with Russia

won over many white working-class voters, a voting bloc that was once a Democratic stronghold. Trump is now working to make good on his controversial campaign promises within his first 100 days as president, but not without facing significant hurdles. Here’s a look at Trump’s top policies, including his approach to Africa. The Wall Trump first promised to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico on the same day he announced his presidential bid. He later introduced the notion that, as president, he would force Mexico to pay for the wall. "I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I'll build them very inexpensively, I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall," the New York

native said in response to a question following his announcement speech. On Jan. 25, Trump issued an executive order calling for the secretary of homeland security to "take all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border.” The executive order also calls for agency and department heads to "identify and quantify all sources of direct and indirect federal aid or assistance to the government of Mexico." It does not specifically state how or if those payment sources will be connected to the payment of the wall. Other parts of the executive order call for hiring an additional 5,000 Border Patrol agents, building facilities to hold undocumented immigrants near the Mexican border and ending "catchand-release" protocols, in which immigrants in the United States without February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA


documentation are not detained while they await court hearings. Earlier that month, Trump had said that the plan was for Mexico to reimburse the United States because he was eager “to get the wall started.” He has indicated that construction of the wall will begin within months. Immigration And Refugees On Jan. 27, Trump signed an executive order to temporarily halt immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa and to temporarily suspend America’s refugee program. Dozens of families were caught up in Trump’s controversial ban, which sparked protests and outcry across the nation. Trump has defended the executive order, saying national security is at stake. But on Feb. 3, a federal judge issued

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a nationwide temporary restraining order blocking the president’s executive order. A federal appeals court ruled on Feb. 9 to uphold the restraining order instead of granting a stay that would have reinstated the travel ban. While his executive order on immigration and refugees remains frozen, Trump said his administration will continue the legal battle to fight the court’s decision and will “no doubt” ultimately win the case. “It’s a political decision, and we’re going to see them in court, and I look forward to doing it,” the U.S. president recently told reporters at the White House in Washington, D.C. Trump has also hinted at further national security steps to come. "We are going to do whatever's necessary to keep our country safe," he told reporters.

SPOTLIGHT as ISIS, seeks to create a caliphate in an area that stretches across Iraq and Syria. The extremist group has attracted fighters from across the region as well as jihadists from Europe and North America. ISIS was reportedly responsible for 6,073 deaths in 2014. But the group’s West African affiliate, Boko Haram, was even more deadly, accounting for 6,644 fatalities, a 300 per cent increase over the previous year. Together, the Islamic State group and Boko Haram caused 51 per cent of all deaths related to claimed terrorist attacks worldwide in 2014 according to the Global Terrorism Index published by the Institute for Economics and Peace, a global think tank headquartered in Sydney, Australia.

The War on ISIS During his inaugural address, Trump vowed to "unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.” A statement posted on the White House website moments after Trump was inaugurated on Jan. 20 says: “Defeating ISIS and other radical Islamic terror groups will be our highest priority.” “To defeat and destroy these groups, we will pursue aggressive joint and coalition military operations when necessary,” the statement continues. “In addition, the Trump administration will work with international partners to cut off funding for terrorist groups, to expand intelligence sharing, and to engage in cyberwarfare to disrupt and disable propaganda and recruiting.” The Islamic State group, also known

What About Africa? Trump’s views on Africa have largely been a mystery, as U.S. policy toward the world’s second-largest continent was a subject rarely touched on during the election. That is, until now. Trump had a telephone conversation with South African President Jacob Zuma on Feb. 13 “to discuss ways to expand cooperation and trade” between their two countries, according to a statement from the White House. “President Trump highlighted the strong bilateral trade ties between the two countries and expressed interest in identifying new, mutually beneficial opportunities for trade,” the statement said. “President Trump also suggested that the United States and South Africa do more to collaborate on shared security interests, including the fight against terrorism. Both leaders agreed to continue dialogue on these priorities and find ways to deepen the bilateral partnership.” A statement from Zuma’s office on the telephone conversation with Trump said the two leaders “reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the already strong bilateral relations between the two countries.” They also “discussed the need to work together on multilateral issues as well especially the quest for peace and stability on the African continent,” the statement said. That same week, Trump spoke with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari “to discuss the strong cooperation

between the United States and Nigeria, including on shared security, economic, and governance priorities,” according to a separate statement from the White House. “President Trump underscored the importance the United States places on its relationship with Nigeria, and he expressed interest in working with President Buhari to expand the strong partnership,” the statement continued. “The leaders agreed to continue close coordination and cooperation in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria and worldwide. President Trump expressed support for the sale of aircraft from the United States to support Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram. President Trump thanked President Buhari for the leadership he has exercised in the region and emphasized the importance of a strong, secure, and prosperous Nigeria that continues to lead in the region and in international forums.” However, according to a report in The New York Times, a four-page list of Africa-related questions from Trump’s transition staff to the U.S. Department of State seems to show an overall skepticism about the value of foreign aid and even American security interest in Africa. “How does U.S. business compete with other nations in Africa? Are we losing out to the Chinese?” poses one of the first questions in the unclassified document obtained by The New York Times. Queries about humanitarian assistance money quickly followed: “With so much corruption in Africa, how much of our funding is stolen? Why should we spend these funds on Africa when we are suffering here in the U.S.?” According to The New York Times, there are also inquiries on terrorism and why the United States is even bothering to battle the Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria, why all of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by the Islamic militant group have not been rescued and whether al Qaeda agents from Africa are living in the United States. “We’ve been fighting al-Shabaab for a decade, why haven’t we won?” asks one question, referring to the al Qaeda-linked terrorist group based in Somalia. February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA



44 August 2016 CHERRYAFRICA

w w. ww w ch cher e ryyaf er afri rica ri c .n ca net


Fad or Style


The growing number of women in Ikeja part of Lagos now addicted to the Zee World Series has become a thing of great concern. Oguine Chika reports February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA



I “My wife no longer does anything on time,” said Mr Chidi Innocent, expressing displeasure.

46 February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA

t is not out of place to show great interest in or even become obsessed about a particular thing in life. WoWmen, in particular, show great interest in magazines, story books, movies and more, especially if they are related to gossip. However, the growing craze for an Indian station known as Zee World has become baffling as it is gradually crowding out African Magic in the hearts of full housewives, television lovers and unbelievably, children. Zee World is an Indian/African Television channel which was launched in February 2015. It is the first Indian channel to dub Indian shows to English for the African viewers and is aired on DSTV 166 and GOTV 25. The channel offers different series which it uses to hold its viewers glued to their chairs. Among them are the Promise, Laali, Married Again, and others. The television series has in recent times succeeded in keeping women glued to their chairs and repeatedly bringing them back to that spot for more. However, it may come as a shock to know what the television

series can do to women as it keeps them from fulfilling their house chores and delays making dinner for their families as at when due. “My wife no longer does anything on time,” said Mr Chidi Innocent, expressing displeasure. “Each time she sits in the sitting room and holds the remote no other person can watch any other thing for that day. In fact she has turned my children into Indians too because each time you talk to them they start twisting their heads like what they usually watch on television. If that station can be scrabbled I will be the happiest man on earth,” He said angrily. Innocent continued: “I can’t stand my wife watching that channel because when she does she is always lost in it, she forgets that there are other things to be done in the house. Whenever she starts watching that channel she doesn’t hear the cry of a baby,” Mr Ngwan ????? said. Just a casual walk through the streets of Ikeja demonstrates how serious the fad of watching the channel has become. You could ring a doorbell and be kept waiting for up to 20 minutes before the


“I can’t imagine myself not watching my favorite love series (twist of fate) for one day; am so addicted to it oo”

door is opened to you after being told to hold on. The reason for the delay would be no other than that the lady of the house is caught up by the suspense of what’s going to happen in the romantic series she is watching. Meet Miss Joke Badmos who said she can’t miss the series for anything. “I can’t imagine myself not watching my favorite love series (twist of fate) for one day; am so addicted to it oo” she laughed out loud. “Yes I love Bollywood, since Nollywood has failed to give me what I want, why wouldn’t I watch the channel that gives me the best?” she said. It could come as a surprise to know that ladies can do anything in order to watch these programs; most women now run home from work just to see the next episode of their favorite love/romantic series while others intentionally visit their neighborhood salon in order to watch the soap. Miss Nkechi Nwafor told CherryAfrica how her salon business has boomed over the past few months. “I never knew that having one of these satellites could be very useful; I used to think it’s another way of wasting money, but really it is another way of using money to get money.” Ever since I bought it, customers troop

in and out for a touch on their hair in order to be allowed access to the programs on Zee World channels. Most ladies stop by on their way from work all in the name of watching Zee World,” she asserted in amusement. Amazingly, even in the situation of the country with lamentations over recession here and there, people trying to cut cost of living, many women are of the view that the situation of the country can’t stop them from enjoying themselves or watching what they enjoy watching. Mrs Ngozika Ibekwe told CherryAfrica: “I know that times are hard at the moment but not watching our programmes can’t make it better, we need to forget so many things and that is why even though we find it difficult, we still try to recharge. It is only a small amount of money to get your television going, one thousand nine hundred naira; it is that cheap.” Surprisingly, the Zee World series is not just loved by women or preferred by youths only. Many parents would rather allow their children watch the television series than let them watch Nigerian home movies because they feel its child friendly owing to the fact that there are no nudity and their movies are decent and promote good morals. “I can’t compare Nollywood films

to Bollywood films. This is because Nollywood is full of exposure of parts of the body and immorality but Bollywood films are quite different from that,” said Mrs Tina Nwaeze. While some men complain about their wives’ addiction to the channel many others complain of being compelled to watch it owing to the fact that they don’t have a choice but would rather go with their wives for the sake of their children. Obviously, the Zee World Series has found a permanent sit in the hearts of most women in the Ikeja area of Lagos. But whether the Zee World series is been watched by female, male or children the truth is that the Indian channel has succeeded in keeping housewives and many other television lovers busy and away from every day gossip. With this development, however, one question keeps bugging the mind. If most of the target audience abandon Nollywod and port to Bollywood what would become of our very own movie industry, and as most men feel their homes are been threatened as a result of their wives being addicted to Zee World channel, what then could be done?

February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA



Canada’s Progressive Trade Agenda Starts in Africa PIX: Ottawa Business District

By David Luke and Phil Rourke

48 February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA


he arrival of President-elect Donald Trump threw the Liberal Government’s trade strategy off balance. The recent reshuffling of Cabinet and the now laser-like focus on the United States, Canada’s most important commercial relationship, confirmed the need for a reboot. The first casualty of the change in strategy is likely the government’s “progressive trade agenda,” particularly with respect to the developing world. As newly-confirmed Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne considers his options, Africa is the best rationale to keep this agenda on his priority list. The continent’s GDP has now surpassed the US$ 3 trillion mark. Its population has reached one billion and is expected to surpass two billion in the next 30 years. By that time, Africa’s population is expected to be larger than China and India’s combined. The middle class in Africa now represents almost a third of Africa’s current population and is growing. According to a recent McKinsey Report, Africa’s strong household consumption and business spending will offer companies US$5.6 trillion in opportunities by 2025. African countries are taking positive steps toward improved indus-

trial development and structural change. Trade is essential to this effort. Intra-African trade is already significantly more diversified than continental trade with the rest of the world according to research carried out by the African Trade Policy Centre of the UN Economic Commission for Africa. Poverty remains the main challenge for Africa. The Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty was met for all developing regions except Africa. The World Bank Group estimates that even though the share of extremely poor Africans declined from 57 percent in 1990 to 43 percent in 2012, the number increased by more than 100 million. They also project that the world’s extreme poor will be increasingly concentrated in Africa. A focus on traditional markets for Canadian goods and services is not an effective long term strategy. Economic growth in the developed world has essentially flatlined. This has become the new normal. Canada’s economic future is in the developing world. This is where the mandates of Trade Minister Champagne and International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau intersect. Africa represents the largest share of Canadian international development assistance. Under the umbrella of sustainable economic growth – the overarching theme of a progressive

trade agenda, Canada has made significant investments in SME development, governance, greater and more inclusive public participation, women’s empowerment, and the environment. Canada is already at the forefront of Africa’s trade and development agenda. Canada is working with the UN Economic Commission for Africa to support African efforts for a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) that would eliminate tariffs, streamline border-related issues, address non-tariff barriers and achieve common rules on investment and services. This is the best entry point for Canada for further engagement. The issue is how Canada will use this opportunity: according to OECD data, Canada’s contributions to aid-for-trade initiatives is declining as its commitment to Official Development Assistance (ODA) also declines. Africa has a Brexit challenge: the UK and Europe will be consumed for years with redefining all aspects of their relationship. Trade and investment relations with Africa is way down the list of priorities. Canada should fill this engagement vacuum through the Commonwealth and la Francophonie. A comprehensive trade and development strategy with these members, launched at the WTO Ministerial in December, would provide a blueprint. A services trade and investment focus should be emphasized. Ter-

tiary education, clean energy development, technological cooperation on climate change mitigation strategies, and agricultural productivity services improvements are all priority areas for expansion in Africa. These priorities also address directly Canadian goals for improved women’s empowerment, increased inclusive growth and more broadly-based support for development. Canada’s cooperation model with mining companies for improved corporate social responsibility provides lessons for deeper engagement in Africa. Lessons learned – both good and bad – can help develop new bilateral trade and investment relationships. We also need a change in perspective. The criticism of the limits of globalization in addressing social and other developmental objectives is leading to a “Made in Canada” approach for goods and services. The reality is that we have mutual interests in creating value together, across national borders. A “Made WITH Canada” trade and development niche strategy based on sound business and development principles and some connection support from Canada is, in our mind, the only way to go. David Luke is Coordinator of the Africa Trade Policy Centre at the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Phil Rourke is Executive Director of the Centre for Trade Policy and Law at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa.

Canada should fill this engagement vacuum through the Commonwealth and la Francophonie. A comprehensive trade and development strategy with these members, launched at the WTO Ministerial in December, would provide a blueprint.




Chinese Philosopher, Lao Tzu once said: "At the centre of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want." This is a question of identity. It is the question of purpose. Of all life questions, this, to me, is the most important question. This is because it is the basis of all that you can become. And it is a question we all must answer every day of our lives. If you find your purpose, you will find fulfilment in life; but if you don’t find your purpose here on earth, you will not find fulfilment in life. Who are you? At the very heart of the search for personal success and fulfilment is the need for a total awareness and appreciation of our unique identities. Each of us is unique and is specially created by God with unique gifts, talents and abilities. There is no replica of you in the whole world. The fact that your fingerprint and DNA are exclusive to you is an indication that no one can take your place on this earth. A person who does not appreciate his or her own unique identity is unlikely to optimise their potentials and live a fulfilled life. Individuals who seek to know who they are and live fulfilled lives must consistent-

are 50 February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA

ly be answering the all-important question of identity. The story is told of a rich man who was one day strolling around a park, on a dark and silent night, having unconsciously walked into a restricted zone while trying to gather his thoughts. As he journeyed into the area, a guard suddenly asked with aroused and provoked impetus "Who are you and where are you going?" The rich man, lost in deep thought at first didn't hear the guard speak, so he continued moving. At this time the guard had reached the peak of his wrath. With intense anger in his voice, he shouted once again at the rich man "Who are y you? Where are you going?� The rich man an paused after he seemed to have regained consciousness and shockingly asked the guard, ard, "How much do you earn?" The question stion seemed rather uncalled for and it made the guard even angrier as he reached out for his gun at the thought of being taken for granted by the rich man.

Pointing the gun at him, he asked again, "Who are you and where are you going?” Without worry, the rich man said calmly, "Young man, I will pay you three times what you earn if you would ask me that same question every single day". So I ask you, dear reader, who are you and where are you heading? Do you know yourself well enough? Do you know where you are heading? Are you aware of your life’s purpose? God created you special and for a special purpose. But the question is “Are you living your life the way God intended it to be or you are living a script handed to you by your family, friends, teachers, pastors and society at large? Are you living your life as a carbon copy of somebody else or you are living your life as God intended you to live, as your true original self? I once came across this inscription on a taxi “Imita“Im tion is limitation” How true this is! If you are living your life by imitating imita someone some else, then else know kno that th you are yo living a livin limited life. Why? Because Bec by imitating imitatin others, you lose sight of the many m talents, gifts and an abilities that God has wired in you; and you y are not able to live to t your full potentials. True Tr happiness will be an illusion illu if you don’t live a fulfilled lle life which is only possible if you truly discover who you yo are and how you can fulfil your purpose. Who are you? you Where are you heading? headin Until you are able to a answer these questions correctly, you cannot live a full

and a fulfilled life. No wonder Mark Twain, the famous American Author, knowing how humankind is often prone to wandering away from who we are asserted that, “We are always more anxious to be distinguished for a talent which we do not possess, than to be praised for the fifteen which we do possess.” Many people are struggling in life because they have not made time to discover the gifts, talents and abilities God has graciously given them. Or even if they have discovered them, they have not committed themselves to developing them and deploying them. I encourage you today to make the time and effort to discover who you are by making the journey within to find your true self within yourself. Only you can act as the “Columbus” of your life to discover who you are. To guide you on this personal discovery journey to discover who you are and the talents God has deposited in you, I would like you to ask yourself the following questions: What are you passionate about? What do you hate with passion and would want to change it? What can you do effortlessly without much struggle? What is it that interests you the most? What do most people ask you to do for them or help them with? In what areas have you had success in the past? Your answers to these questions will help you discover who you are, and identify the talents, gifts and abilities God has deposited in you to impact mankind. As you ask and answer for yourself these fundamental and important questions, may the Good Lord help you to discover who you are in order to live a full and fulfilled life. Patricia Abena Kissi (Mrs) HR Consultant/Personal & Career Development Coach/Author CEO, SEDAT Consult Ltd +233 (0) 24 4629245 / +233 (0) 50 8913333 / February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA




Discreet Search for New AU Chair By Ham Mohamed


iplomats and dignitaries gathered at the African Union headquarters in the heart of the Ethiopian capital following a night of intense lobbying and backroom deals to try to secure their preferred candidate for the AU's top job in the upcoming election.

52 February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA

Security in front of the headquarters building, which is the tallest in the city and was built by the Chinese at a cost of some $200m, is tight. New and longterm AU heads of state have gathered in Addis Ababa to elect a new chairperson. Five candidates competed for the top seat of the continental body. The new chairperson will take oďŹƒce on a


four-year term replacing the outgoing South African politician Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who took the post in 2012. She's not seeking re-election and is thought to be gunning for the presidency in her home country. Zuma had admirers and critics in equal measure. She made history when she was elected the first female leader of the AU and did much to soften the image of the body which had until then been led by old men. Financial pressure The 54-member body is struggling to fund its missions across the continent. With conflicts - old and new - still continuing in some parts of Africa, the AU has been increasingly bold in sending troops into conflict zones to quell the unrest. But sending thousands of troops to foreign countries is not cheap.

In 2004 the AU established the Peace and Security Council, and since then the body has either sent or authorised the deployment of more than 64,000 troops and police officers to intervene in conflicts, according to the New Yorkbased think-tank the Council on Foreign Relations. So far, the continental body has not been able to fund its peace missions abroad - its Somalia mission is funded by the EU and its South Sudan one is backed by the UN. "The AU is shouldering a heavy burden on its shoulders. It has taken on the heavy burden of protecting world security. It is a big financial burden that Africa alone can't and should not bear," Dr Solomon AyeleDersso, an Addis Ababa-based legal academic and analyst of African affairs, said. 'The AU is shouldering a heavy burden on its

shoulders. It has taken on the heavy burden of protecting world security. It is a big financial burden that Africa alone can't and should not bear' Human rights In the past year alone, pro-democracy demonstrators and activists on the continent have faced harsh treatment at the hands of security services: from Ethiopia, home of the AU, in the east to Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi in the heart of Africa. Rights groups such as Amnesty International have been vocal in calling for the incoming chairperson to prioritise issues of human rights. "The incoming chairperson must take the promotion and protection of human rights not just as a convenient afterthought, but an essential and sustainable element of the African Union's conflict prevention strategy," Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International's Africa Director for Research and Advocacy, said in a statement released on the day after the summit began. High unemployment Unemployment in the member states is also unbearably high, forcing young Africans to seek better lives outside the continent. A record number of young Africans have risked their lives crossing the Sahara desert before embarking on perilous boat journeys over the Mediterranean to reach Europe and start an uncertain life. Last year a record number of 181,000 migrants and refugees arrived in Italy, up from the 154,000 of the previous year. More than 90 per cent of them set off from war-torn Libya - an AU member state. The number of deaths also hit a new grim record: more than 5,000 perished crossing the Mediterranean. But AU is attempting to stem this flow and has put forward an ambitious development project - Agenda 2063 which, it says, will lift the continent out of economic and social hardships. It is not only lack of jobs forcing Africans to risk the treacherous route to Europe. Droughts, man-made ones, are also becoming increasingly common on the continent. High rates of deforestation and global warming have played a huge part in this. February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA


Image problem Some of the old problems that faced the continental body since its inception in 1963 still exist. Many of the organisation's most vocal and well-known leaders - such as Uganda's Museveni, Zimbabwe's Mugabe and the current chairperson IdrissDeby - lack the democratic and human rights credentials the body desperately needs. It is an almost impossible battle convincing the continent's citizens, activists and human rights bodies that the body takes human rights issues seriously. The AU, while being led by President Deby of Chad, who came to power in 1990, had been vocal in calling for Jammeh to relinquish power in Gambia and also criticised Burundi's Nkurunziza for going against the constitution and seeking a third term. But the organisation was happy to appointment President Deby, who has been accused of human rights violations, to be its chairman. Mohmed reports for Al Jazira Moussa-Faki-Mahamat

54 February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA



56 February 2017 CHERRYAFRICA

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