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Archive for February 18th, 2014

BUILD Africa Forum: Resolutions and Actions for Infrastructure in Africa

Posted by African Press International on February 18, 2014

The inaugural BUILD Africa Forum was a remarkable success

BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of the Congo, February 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The inaugural BUILD Africa Forum (http://www.buildafricaforum.com) was a remarkable success, gathering over two days:

–       849 participants representing 49 countries

–       85 speakers from five continents including 10 ministers from across the continent

–       107 members of the press

 

THE GLOBAL GATHERING FOR INFRASTRUCTURE POLICY MAKERS & BUSINESS LEADERS

Global experts included H.E. Denis Sassou N’Guesso, President of the Republic of Congo, Vicente Fox, Former President of Mexico; Abdoulaye Wade, Former President of Senegal; Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria; Dr Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim, Commissioner for Infrastructure & Energy for the African Union; Jean-Jacques Bouya, Minister to the President of the Republic of Congo for Spatial Planning and Delegate General for Major Public Works; Dominique Lafont, President of Bolloré Africa Logistics, Otavio Azevedo, President of Andrade Gutierrez, Mario Pezzini, Director of the OECD Development Centre, as well as Robert Gumede, founder of Guma Group, among many others.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STRONG INFRASTRUCTURE ON THE CONTINENT

Debates led to recommendations for immediate action from both public and private sector players:

1.         Public Private Partnerships are key to Africa’s development. PPPs are important to close Africa’s infrastructure gap, as well as to generate new profits for African economies. Despite large discrepancies between countries that have managed to put up successful PPPs in Africa and those that have failed, PPPs have proven to work, provided they are based on a legal framework, with a fair allocation of risks and benefits between parties. This requires local capacity building on PPPs, long term planning and phasing, strong political will, as well as transparent coordination between public and private players.

2.         Increasing the number of bankable projects is mandatory to boost infrastructure in Africa. But bankability is not only about generating profits. Projects must be understood in the financial, legal, environmental, as well as social and economic terms, to reduce long-term risks.  Feasibility studies are key to cope with investors’ aversion to risk. Governments can also help increase the level of bankability of some projects, while it’s important to manage the country’s public debt.

3.         Regional integration is not a choice, but a necessity for African economies to compete in a globalized world. African countries must not compete but rather work to complement each other, as economic and physical boundaries do not necessarily match. This can apply to all sectors from transport, to trade and telecommunications.

4.         African economies need to establish their own development strategy. Development plans must create sustainable value locally, both in terms of taxation revenues and job creation. Empirical evidence shows that joint ventures with local players are far more profitable in the long run than mere foreign direct investments, with repatriation of profits.

5.         Human capital is the most critical infrastructure. Solving the infrastructure deficit is only a short-term solution. Ultimately, infrastructure must serve development and stakeholders must work to further develop human capital in the long run through education, training and capacity building.

BUILD AFRICA, MORE THAN A FORUM FOR DISCUSSION, A PLATFORM FOR BUSINESS

During the BUILD Africa forum several agreements were signed to boost infrastructure in Africa:

1.         The creation of an $100 million investment fund, committed to developing businesses in the value chain across the agro-business sector.

2.         The creation of a dedicated PPP capacity facility, within the General Delegation for Major Public Works in Congo. This agreement, signed with Edifice Capital Group, aims to strengthen the capacity of local managers to structure and launch PPP projects in social and economic infrastructure as well as in agro-business projects.

3.         An agreement to develop the hydro-energy potential of the Sounda site, in the district of Kouilou, where the Republic of Congo intends to implement a Public Private Partnership (PPP). The IFC was selected to advise to the Government of the Congo. A competitive tender is planned to select partners for this project with 1000 MW potential.

4.         An MoU on fiber optic interconnection between Congo and Gabon: Thierry Moungalla, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications of the Republic of Congo and Ngoua Deme Pastor, Minister of Digital Economy, Communication and Post of Gabon represented by the Ambassador of the Republic of Gabon to Congo-Brazzaville, have signed an MoU on interconnection between the optic fiber networks CAB3 (Congo) and CAB4 (Gabon). Implemented through the World Bank’s Central African Backbone program for optic fiber interconnection in Central Africa, the agreement will increase the geographical coverage of the network, bandwidth capacity, and reduce the costs of communication in Central Africa.

 

SOURCE

BUILD Africa Forum

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Norway: Handover of Kiev city hall encouraging

Posted by African Press International on February 18, 2014

 
“I welcome the fact that the Ukrainian authorities have released a number of protesters from custody and that the protesters and opposition parties have transferred control of Kiev city hall to the city authorities,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende. 

Kiev city hall has been occupied for three months as a result of the conflict between the Government and the opposition in Ukraine.

“Confidence-building steps such as this are vital to help Ukraine move towards a democratic and peaceful resolution of the conflict,” Mr Brende said.

Norway was asked to assist during the handover of Kiev city hall. The parties to the conflict have sought international assistance to help create the confidence needed to bring about a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

“I am pleased that Norway’s ambassador in Kiev was able to act as witness and assist the Swiss Chairmanship of the OSCE in transferring control of Kiev city hall in a way that was acceptable to all parties,” Mr Brende said.

 

End

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Kenya: A fresh plot to consolidate the Western voting block is on the offing

Posted by African Press International on February 18, 2014

  • BY GODFREY WAMALWA, BUNGOMA, KENYA

A fresh plot to consolidate the Western voting block is on the offing and is now being mulled by the youthful Mps from Western region after a long elusive pursuit by long serving parliamentarians.

After a lull on, their 2013 political resolve to back the Jubilee government in exchange for development, Western MPs are at it again, this time to consolidate the region’s voting bloc in future elections.

The MPs have lined up meetings with members of County Assemblies (MCAs)  from the four counties of Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia and Vihiga as a starting point.

Among those involved include Lugari MP Ayub Savula, Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe, Bumula MP Boniface Otsula and Ikolomani MP Benard Shinali.

“At least 12 other MPs from the region will be brought on board. We want to educate our people on the need to register as voters and use their voting power to ‘liberate’ the  region come 2017,” said Savula.

He said the first meeting between the MPs and the MCAs is scheduled for Kakamega on January 18. On Tuesday, the MPs met Cotu Secretary-General   Francis Atwoli, who is also involved in the initiative.

Atwoli has in the past been involved in the unity initiative among Luhya leaders, the most visible one having been his attempts to unite key political leaders from the community in the run up to last year’s General Election.

The MPs have also  indicated they would also be reaching out to other respected leaders and political veterans in the region such as former Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, Federal Party leader Cyrus Jirongo and former Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa for counsel.

Otsula said it was important for elected leaders in the region to remain focused and that youthful MPs were ready to provide fresh leadership.

“We cannot politic all the year round and from one election to another. We have to create time for activities that are beneficial to our people in terms of their socio-economic transformation,” added Otsula.

Otsula last December hosted Deputy President William  Ruto during his home-coming fete held at Mungore Primary School grounds,  where most of the first-term MPs from the region pledged to support the government .

“We have to discard our disunity and work as one people to realise development. We need to fix our roads which are in a deplorable state,” added Otsula.

Ruto has, during his several visits to Western, acknowledged that while the region mainly voted for CORD leader Raila Odinga in the last elections, they could back the Jubilee Government in the next polls.

Seeking votes

“When we were seeking for your votes you decided to give us MPs but not enough votes for the presidency…we will come back in the next elections and we urge you to support us,” the DP said during one of his meetings in Busia county last year.

When the  youthful MPs resolved to work with the Jubilee, they were accused by seasoned politicians of practicing ‘stomach politics’ .

However, the youthful MPs have indicated their key  resolve this year would be to empower the people, and that whether they have to co-operate with the Jubilee government or not was secondary.

Savula recently led an onslaught on the Jubilee government over what he claimed were skewed public appointments. He claimed Western was sidelined despite the fact that the Mudavadi led Amani coalition parties of UDF and New Ford-Kenya signed post-election agreement with the Jubilee.

Savula had in  May last year led 16 MPs from the community for a meeting with President  Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy  at State House in Nairobi where a concession was made to include members of the community in key government appointments. The MPs had presented a list of 22 professionals from the Luhya community whom they wanted given State jobs.

However,  some feel the latest appointments where the community has not benefitted much, was an indication that the Uhuru administration was not keen on working with the community.

 

End

 

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