The Africa Solidarity Trust Fund, an initiative aimed at providing food security and to eliminate rural poverty on the continent on Tuesday received a boost with a pledge of 17 million dollars.
The pledges were made at a high-level roundtable convened by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Equatorial Guinea President, Obiang Mbasogo.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the roundtable was held on the side-lines of the ongoing African Development Bank’s (AfDB) 2019 Annual Meetings in Malabo.
Angola pledged 10 million dollars, China 2.6 million dollars, France two million Euros, Equatorial Guinea two million dollars and Zimbabwe 100,000 dollars.
Speaking at the roundtable, Mbasogo said the “Fund is a turning point in the fight against food insecurity’’.
According to him, my tiny oil-rich nation has donated generously out of his oil revenues to
NAN reports that the Fund, an initiative of UN FAO, received its start-up contribution of 30 million dollars from Equatorial Guinea, the host nation of this year’s meetings, while Angola gave 10 million dollars.
Its projects had been lauded for providing innovative African agriculture and food systems.
Also speaking, Akinwumi Adesina, President of the AfDB, said Africa was being faced with challenges in the area of agriculture and food production, relying heavily on food imports.
“It is important that the Fund is showing that African countries are contributing to Africa as that links very closely to what we are doing.’’
Adesina, represented by the Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development, AfDB, Jennifer Blanke said the bank’s commitment to providing farmers with technologies would help to improve their yields.
The FAO Director General, Jose Graziano da Silva said the Fund had led to the successful implantation of 18 projects that had benefited 41 countries.
Graziano da Silva, represented by Ms. Maria Semedo, the Deputy Director-General of FAO said thousands of people had also benefited from the Fund, including 160 households in Niger.
The FAO head also said that the Fund ensured a rapid response to populations affected by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014.
“We celebrate the success of the Fund, the excellent results of the Funds over the last five years is a living testimony,’’ he said.
He described it as a flagship initiative and one of the most successful funding initiatives of FAO, adding that the generosity of donors was unique evidence of strong solidarity among African countries.
The donor conference was attended by the presidents of Mauritania, Guinea Bissau, the Prime Minister of Eswatini, diplomats, finance ministers and banking institutions.
The theme of this year’s meeting is “Regional Integration for Africa’s Economic Prosperity’’.
The Annual Meetings provide opportunities for experts, governments, businesses, civil society, think-tanks and the academia to share their candid assessments on regional integration efforts and dialogue on critical issues concerning Africa’s development.
The meeting which opened on Monday with closed door sessions with dignitaries continues on Wednesday.
edited by Sadiya Hamza
Veteran general Burhan sworn in as Sudan’s new leader
Veteran general Burhan sworn in as Sudan’s new leader
Khartoum, Aug. 21, 2019 (dpa/NAN) Military Lt.-Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan has been sworn in as Sudan’s new leader, state news agency SUNA said on Wednesday.
The swearing-in came hours after the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the country’s pro-democracy opposition movement formed an 11-member sovereign council to lead the country through a three-year transitional period towards civilian rule.
Burhan, who chaired the TMC after former president Omar al-Bashir was ousted in an April military coup, has a long-standing military career, with positions as former commander of Sudan’s ground forces and inspector general of the army.
Born in 1960, Burhan will lead the Sovereign Council, made up of six civilians and five TMC officers, for the next 21 months.
A civilian will take over from Burhan for the remaining 18 months until 2022, when democratic elections are due.
A prime minister and the remaining members of the Sovereign Council are expected to be sworn in later in the day.
A spokesman for the TMC announced the names of the members of the council in a televised address late Tuesday.
The council was formed after a power-sharing deal was signed between the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) and the military on Aug. 17, regulating how power is divided.
The deal gives the pro-democracy movement two-thirds of the seats in Sudan’s Legislative Council and the power to select the prime minister.
The military council will have the power to choose the interior and defence ministers.
The interim government follows months of massive pro-democracy demonstrations in Sudan.
The protests initially led to the ousting of al-Bashir, who had ruled the country in north-eastern Africa for three decades with an iron fist.
Protesters continued to call for civilian rule in the wake of his replacement by the TMC. (dpa/NAN)
Displaying apartheid flag constitutes hate speech, says South African court
The old flag, which was replaced in 1994, when South Africa became a democracy with Nelson Mandela as its president, can now only be displayed for historical, educational or artistic purposes, Judge Phineas Mojapelo said in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.
Mojapelo was granting an application from the Nelson Mandela Foundation, which had argued the gratuitous display of the orange, white and blue apartheid flag was an indicator of racial superiority and oppression.
(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)
Taiwan says U.S. arms sale a vote of confidence in bilateral relations
“The $8 billion deal is a vote of confidence in Taiwan-U.S. relations and will help us maintain cross-strait peace and defend our democracy,’’ Taiwan’s Foreign Minister, Joseph Wu, said on Twitter.
“The decision made by the Trump Administration means a lot to regional stability,’’ Presidential Office spokesman, Ting Yun-Kung, said on Wednesday, citing recent frequent military exercises carried out by China in areas near Taiwan.
The planned U.S. arms sale to Taiwan could anger China, adding to the tensions between the world’s two largest economies.
On Monday, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump confirmed the proposed sale, Ma Xiaoguang, the spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, denounced the deal, urging the U.S. government to cancel it.
Taiwan on Wednesday said the planned sale helps improve the self-governing democracy’s air defence capabilities.
“This major arms sale will significantly boost Taiwan’s confidence to pursue the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,’’ Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Joanne Ou, said in a statement.
According to U.S. Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the State Department on Tuesday notified the Congress of the proposed deal, which includes the sale of 66 F-16 fighter jets and related equipment.
“This proposed sale will contribute to the recipient’s capability to provide for the defence of its airspace, regional security and interoperability with the U.S.,’’ the DSCA statement said. (dpa/NAN)
British PM Johnson urges Merkel to budge on Brexit
Berlin, Aug. 21, 2019 British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is set to tell German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, on Wednesday that unless she agrees to change the Brexit deal, Britain will leave the EU on Oct. 31 without a deal.
More than three years after the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, it is still unclear on what terms – or indeed whether – the bloc’s second largest economy will leave the club it joined in 1973.
Johnson, a Brexiteer, who won the premiership a month ago, is betting that the threat of ‘no-deal’ Brexit turmoil will convince Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron that the EU should do a last-minute divorce deal to suit his demands.
But with just over 10 weeks left until the UK is due to leave, the EU has repeatedly said it will not renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement, struck by Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May and that it will stand behind member state Ireland.
Merkel on Tuesday said she was open to “practical solutions” to the Irish border insurance policy or “backstop” that Johnson says is unacceptable – but that the withdrawal agreement was not to be reopened.
Ahead of his first foreign trip as prime minister, Johnson said the EU was being “a bit negative” but that a deal could be done.
If not, he said, then the UK would leave without one.
Germany’s top-selling daily Bild named Johnson the day’s “loser”, saying he was “biting on granite” and that Merkel had already rejected his request for new negotiations.
Once the nightmare scenario on the extreme edge of probability ranges, a ‘no-deal’ Brexit is now seen as a realistic possibility by both governments and investors.
Amid the political turmoil in London, little is clear.
The alternatives are a delay, a last-minute deal, an election or even cancelling Brexit.
Wrenching the UK out of the EU without a deal means there would be no arrangements to cover everything from post-Brexit pet passports to the trade arteries that pump capital, food and car parts between the two neighbours.
Many investors say a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would send shock waves through the world economy, hurt the economies of Britain and the EU, roil financial markets and weaken London’s position as the pre-eminent International Financial Centre.
With such a gulf between the British government and the other 27 members of the EU – whose economy combined is worth $15.9 trillion – some diplomats said Johnson was using international diplomacy for domestic politics.
Some fear that Johnson is setting up a confrontation with the EU that will allow him to reap domestic political capital from what he will cast as EU intransigence.
“Spinning gold from straw has never yet worked.
“That is also true of Brexit.
“Peace in Northern Ireland and the integrity of the internal market are non-negotiable for the EU,’’ said Germany’s Europe Minister, Michael Roth.
Johnson wrote a four-page letter to European Council President, Donald Tusk, on Monday asking the EU to axe the Irish border “backstop’’.
EU leaders in Brussels and the other 27 member states issued a swift and unanimous rejection. (Reuters/NAN)
1 in 4 people in Germany have migrant background, data shows
1 in 4 people in Germany have migrant background, data shows
Frankfurt, Aug. 21, 2019 (dpa/NAN) The number of people in Germany with foreign roots reached a new record in 2018, according to data released on Wednesday.
According to a microcensus from the Federal Statistics Office, one in four people in Germany – 20.8 million people – have a migrant background.
The category applies to foreigners and German nationals, who did not acquire citizenship by birth, and nationals with at least one parent, who was not born with German citizenship.
That figure was 2.5 per cent higher than the previous year.
The statistics office said 13.5 million of those with foriegn roots were not born in Germany but rather migrated.
Nearly half of those surveyed said they were motivated by their family to come to Germany, while around 20 per cent cited professional reasons.
For 15 per cent, the main purpose in coming to Germany was to seek asylum. (dpa/NAN)