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Archive for September 19th, 2013


Posted by African Press International on September 19, 2013


LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA – On 19-20 September the Second Child and Youth Finance Regional Meeting for Africa will be held in Livingstone, Zambia. The meeting will gather some of Africa’s top leaders and policymakers in financial inclusion and economic citizenship education as well as youth representatives. The leaders are expected to address cutting-edge and high-impact financial inclusion and economic citizenship education strategies and initiatives as well as to get insights from young people from across the region, under the theme of the meeting: “Reshaping the Future of Finance”.

Children and youth in sub-Saharan Africa make up 47.30% of its population. However, only 16.8% of those between ages 15-25 hold accounts at formal financial institutions. Similarly, many children in the region lack access to financial education creating cyclical patterns of uninformed financial practices.
The Second Child and Youth Finance Regional Meeting for Africa will bring together some of Africa’s finest leaders of government institutions, international and regional bodies, academia and research, the IT sector, civil society, and non-governmental organizations to show their support for financial inclusion and economic citizenship education, and help the Child and Youth Finance movement’s progress. The meeting will have 165 participants from 22 countries. It is organized by Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) and the Bank of Zambia, in collaboration with Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Pensions and Insurance Authority (PIA) and CareersExpo Zambia.

The theme of the meeting is ‘Reshaping the Future of Finance’. In addition to the distinguished keynote speakers, action-oriented workshops and plenary sessions that will take place, a unique feature of the meeting will be the active participation of children and youth. Young people from across the continent will come to share their views on Child and Youth Finance issues and engage with delegates in panel sessions.

The event hashtag for the Second Child and Youth Finance Regional Meeting for Africa is #CYFIZambia .

Previous CYFI Regional Meetings in Africa

The First Annual CYFI Regional Meeting for Africa took place in Abuja, Nigeria, in October 2012. It was held under the distinguished patronage of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and jointly organized by the CYFI Secretariat, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), Nigeria. Participants from 19 African countries participated in this groundbreaking event.

About the Child and Youth Finance Movement

CYFI is a non-profit organization that launched its global movement in April 2012. CYFI focuses on increasing financial inclusion and financial education for children and youth, so that every child can graduate from primary school with financial education and a savings account which they can own and operate. Its target is to reach 100 million children in 100 countries by 2015.




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My decision to leave Syria came in a hurry, prompted by the sight of my mother after I was released from two weeks of detention.

Posted by African Press International on September 19, 2013

DAMASCUS, – The writer is a recent graduate of the University of Damascus from a well-to-do family belonging to a Syrian minority. For security reasons he prefers to stay anonymous. In this diary entry, he describes being arrested and his subsequent departure from Syria.

My decision to leave Syria came in a hurry, prompted by the sight of my mother after I was released from two weeks of detention.

I had been politically active for some time, but because I belong to one of Syria’s many religious minorities, I was left alone, aside from a few inquiries by the authorities. They contacted my grandfather, a high-ranking regime party member, and asked him to “put me in line”.

That was the extent of it – until one day in July 2012. I was arrested at a demonstration in the Rukn el-Deen neighbourhood of the capital, where singing and chanting protesters were dispersed with live ammunition. I spent two weeks in solitary confinement in a basement, immune to the maltreatment others have suffered because of my minority status. Still, my stint at the department of state security’s branch in Kafar Souseh ended with a clear warning. “I know you want to go to Spain to study,” one officer told me. “I suggest you go now.”

I didn’t care much for what he said until I got home and saw my mother. She was not the elegant mid-40s woman I knew. After two weeks of not knowing where I was or how long they would keep me, she was barely alive. Her lips were cracked, her eyes swollen from crying, her already thin frame 15kg lighter. I knew she would not survive another bout of her only son in prison, or worse, killed.

I decided then and there to pack my bags. But I wasn’t psychologically prepared to leave so much history behind with little time to say goodbye. I was overwhelmed with emotion as friends streamed through a café to wish me off. So many friendships, built over years, were about to come to an end.

I spent my last hours in Damascus with a friend and my sister, visiting the sites one last time. First stop was the spice market in the old city of Damascus. At night, it is a magical place, its scent a breeze of paradise. You can stand there for hours without saying a word, just taking it in. Then we watched the sun rise from the Omayyad Mosque, also a unique Damascus experience.

I packed my bags with clothes, books and a few souvenirs, then sat down for a last morning coffee with my parents, telling jokes to try to make them laugh.

My mother tried to stay resolute, but because she and I do not have a convention mother-son relationship – instead we are good friends – I could sense her deep feelings of injustice. She felt I was being kicked out of my country. But she did not say a word. Instead, she wished me luck, told me to take care of myself, instructed me to come back as soon as possible, and insisted I not worry about anything else.

I resisted getting into the cab that would take me to Lebanon. My departure was now more real than ever. Within the hour, I would be out of Syria.

It amazes me how much taxi drivers can yap. It upset me at first. I needed a little peace to brood as I took one last look at Damascus. But by the time we crossed the Damascus-Beirut Highway, I found myself grateful for his distracting conversation.

It took us a long time to cross the border because there were so many people there, entire families that had packed all they could carry and delved into the unknown completely unprepared. I saw one woman wearing shoes that did not match. She must have left in an even bigger hurry than I had. I was about to enter a life of refuge.



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He speaks of being tortured

Posted by African Press International on September 19, 2013

YAOUNDE,  – Cameroon is among the world’s most hostile countries to homosexualityrights groups say. Homosexuality is punishable by up to five years in prison, as well as fines.

In the past three years, the country has prosecuted at least 28 people for homosexuality, according to Human Rights Watch.

Roger Jean Claude Mbede, 34, was sentenced to three years in prison for sending an SMS to another man saying, “I’m in love with you.”

“One day in 2011, after going out with friends, I sent an SMS to one of them to express my feelings, but this landed me in jail on charges of homosexuality.

“From the time of my arrest in Yaoundé, I was subjected to torture from the law enforcement officers. They coerced me to disclose information on my past relationships and my sex life. The gendarme officers kept smacking me, tore my shirt and treated me like a bandit.

“And during my prosecution, the judge kept shouting insults at me. I had no lawyer at the time. On 28 April 2011, I was convicted and given two-year prison term.

“While in jail, I suffered continuous abuse from inmates and prison guards. Many times, I went without basic necessities, such as food and water, because the prison officials refused to serve me like the others.

“Thanks to [a] human right defender and lawyer. I started receiving legal representation after some months in prison. This was due to the fact that my health was deteriorating from the ill treatment I was undergoing in prison. I lost close to 15kg, regularly suffered malaria fever and other complications. The lawyer filed a motion for my release on grounds of my health. The motion was granted on July 16, 2012, and I was provisionally released.

“But after my release, the bad publicity about me made me leave my university studies because I was scared of the threats and insults from fellow students and neighbours.

“Since then, my life has not been the same, and this was worsened by the recent killings of homosexuals and public threats made to anyone suspected to be gay or [gay] rights defenders.

“I can’t find a job where people know me. This has made me live in isolation, like many other gays in Cameroon. We have very few people as friends, and it is even a dreadful thing to meet with someone in your similar situation because any gay [meeting place] is a target today.

“My livelihood has mostly been supported by civil society organizations and human rights defenders. But I could start running a blog to defend and promote the rights of LGBT in Cameroon and beyond.

“Due to the tense environment in Cameroon, I am thinking of seeking asylum to any country where my sexual preference will not cause me many problems.

“But it is not an easy decision to make. I miss my friends and family despite their opinion about me.

“The government doesn’t protect suspected gay people from the gruesome killings and threats that many have gone through in Cameroon.

“If every citizen had equal human rights and freedom in Cameroon, carrying condoms and lubricant wouldn’t be a crime, dressing like women and drinking sweet whisky wouldn’t be an offense, and nobody would be arrested for arranging to meet with another man in a hotel lobby.”

mn/ob/rz  source

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