Daily News Brief on ICGLR Member States compiled by LMRC (12th November 2019)

1.     ANGOLA

a)    Africa Business Communities:  IFC opens office to support private sector growth

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has opened an office in Angola to deepen its support for private sector development and economic diversification the country.

Angola’s Minister of Finance, Vera Daves, said, “IFC’s presence in Angola underscores its commitment to helping Angola diversify its economy and cultivate a thriving private sector. A stronger private sector will help to address many of our development challenges, create jobs, and boost sustainable growth.”

Sérgio Pimenta, IFC Vice President for the Middle East and Africa, said, “A permanent office in Angola will help us engage more closely with public and private sector partners in the country to support the creation of markets and better respond to opportunities and challenges that arise in the marketplace. We look forward to helping Angola better leverage its assets and realize its strong potential for poverty reduction and growth.”

In July 2019, IFC announced a $100 million investment in Banco Millennium Atlântico to support increased small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) lending in the country. The investment is paired with an advisory project to help Banco Millennium Atlântico expand lending to women-owned businesses.

Angola is one of the least diversified economies in the world. IFC and the World Bank recently published a private sector diagnostic, Creating Markets in Angola: Country Private Sector Diagnostic, which identified the economic challenges facing the country, but also the numerous opportunities to stimulate sustainable economic growth and development by harnessing the power of the private sector.

2.     BURUNDI

a)    The East African: Burundi's Nkurunziza sells ‘legacy’ to regain global support

Amid uncertainties over Burundi’s commitment to conduct credible elections in May 2020, President Pierre Nkurunziza is selling an unlikely glowing legacy to have his administration reintegrated into the international community.

Isolated by the European Union, the US and EA neighbours over his successful bid for a controversial third term in 2015, President Nkurunziza has presided over a government so short of funds that civil servants had to ‘’donate’’ their salaries to fund the upcoming council, legislative and presidential elections.

His pledge that he will not vie in 2020—repeated by Burundi’s representative in the UN Security Council last week—has come with urgent pleas for development and humanitarian support as the government targets self-financial reliance “soon”.

In a report to the Security Council on October 31, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that President Nkurunziza considered that the three main objectives of his tenure—peace, security and justice for all; good governance and democracy; and inclusive and sustainable development—had been met.

He said that Burundi would soon be financially independent and, consequently, become self-sufficient.

He also recalled events preceding the 2015 elections and asserted that there were still a few Burundians who were trying to destabilise the country.

3.     CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

a)    Stockholm International Peace Research Institute: The state preferred as justice and security provider over non-state and informal actors—new SIPRI/Cordaid study on CAR and DRC

(Stockholm, 12 November 2019) In two days, on 14 November, the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) will be renewed, as will the mandate of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), next month. Both operations aim to strengthen the role of the state in the provision of security and justice. This is in line with what populations desire, according to a new series of reports from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and the Catholic Organization for Relief and Development Aid (Cordaid) on securing legitimate stability in the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The dominant assumption in the international development policy discourse is that strengthening a state’s capacity to provide inclusive security and justice will lead to a stronger social contract. However, this approach is frequently criticized by civil society and academics. Therefore, during—and often also after—conflict, a lot of attention is also given to strengthening non-state and informal justice and security provisions.

Studying the examples of CAR and the DRC, the reports looked at the aims and objectives of the external intervenors (MINUSCA and MONUSCO) through reviewing their policy documents and literature and by interviewing key representatives.  The research compared this with the aspirations of local populations. It found that local populations are supportive of strengthening the state’s long-term role and legitimacy in justice and security provisions. They perceive non-state, informal justice and security solutions only as temporary alternatives.

‘We were really surprised since in policy and academic debates, the mismatches between external intervenors and local populations are frequently highlighted. However, on the basis of this research, in CAR and South Kivu, DRC, this criticism may have to be readjusted,’ says Dr Jair van der Lijn, Programme Director at SIPRI, and one of the authors of the reports. 

Perspectives from the ground were gathered from a total of 480 street interviews in different localities in CAR and South Kivu province, and some 70 interviews with key representatives from among other groups public authorities, civil society representatives and the leadership of armed groups.

b)    Concern Worldwide: Underdeveloped; underfunded and sadly, under-reported

We delve into the past, present and future of the Central African Republic (CAR), taking a look at why it is one of the world’s poorest countries and what exactly can be done to support its vulnerable communities.

CAR is located in the very centre of the African continent, in a fragile and conflict-prone region. It has a beautiful and varied landscape and a diverse - though relatively small - population of just under 5 million. However, CAR has suffered from decades of misrule, coups and periods of violent conflict. The most recent conflict began at the end of 2012 and at its height was extremely violent, causing widespread destruction and forcing millions to flee their homes.

As a result, CAR has seen little development. On the latest Human Development Index it is ranked 188th out of 189 countries, making it the second least developed country in the world. CAR was also ranked as the world's hungriest country in the 2019 Global Hunger Index.

Life expectancy at birth is 51 and a half years; and it has the highest number of maternal deaths in the world. The country is rich in diamonds, gold, oil and uranium but has one of the world's poorest populations: close to three quarters of the population live below the international poverty line – on less than US$1.25 a day.

At the height of the conflict in CAR, fields in many areas were trampled or burned, and food reserves, seed stores and livestock were looted. Equipment for farming and fishing was lost or destroyed. Moreover, health centres and schools often became temporary shelters for armed groups, many of which were damaged to the point of becoming unusable. Safe drinking water, already difficult to come by, became even scarcer. In one area, there were only three hand-pumps for over 45,000 people before Concern arrived. And, as often happens, it is communities - in particular women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities - that suffer the most during times of conflict and upheaval.

Now, the prolonged conflict has led to a reduction in income and access to food, and communities struggle to meet their basic needs in terms of livelihoods, health and education. The destruction of infrastructure has left huge portions of the rural population without access to clean drinking water; has restricted their ability to farm land and grow their own crops for proper nutrition; and has impeded their ability to attend local health facilities. 

Since the political crisis, approximately 538,432 people have fled to neighbouring countries such as Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (UNHCR). Our staff in the field have told us people feel their futures are so uncertain they rarely plant crops that take longer than three months to grow. 

And, to make matters worse, the government and international donors have reduced health funding in recent years. This is why many people reply on international aid agencies like Concern.

Concern has been operational in the Central African Republic (CAR) since March 2014. The overall goals of our work are to provide humanitarian assistance, build the resilience of communities, and alleviate the suffering of conflict-affected communities. We are delivering programmes addressing issues around food security and livelihoods, health and nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, peacebuilding, gender, and disaster risk reduction.

4.     DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

a)    UNHRC: Resources strained as thousands flee conflict in eastern Congo

In June, armed men attacked Francine’s village in the Congo’s Ituri Province. She fled with her husband, two children and two nephews after her sister was killed.

“I fled with my family during the night. We didn’t know where we were going but at least we were able to save our lives,” she says.

Francine arrived in the town of Drodro, finding shelter with 740 other families in an old church, transformed into a large dormitory. It was crowded and families sometimes had to sleep outside. 

She was later relocated to a large temporary hall. 

“I feel safer now as it provides more privacy and some measure of comfort,” says the 24-year-old.

Armed groups have staged six months of killings, rapes and abductions in this part of eastern Congo, forcing over 300,000 people to flee their homes.

Local communities are welcoming, but their hospitals and schools are stretched. In Drodro, some 16,000 internally displaced people have arrived in recent months, mostly women and children.

Like Francine, Denise, 22, also fled her village in June when armed men attacked.

“They came early in the morning, causing everyone to panic and flee in different directions,” she recalls. “Since then, I have no news from my husband or family.”

She prays every day that they are safe. Pregnant before she fled, she gave birth to her baby whom she called ‘Chance’ - luck in English - in a makeshift shelter. Later, she moved to a communal shelter set up by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

UNHCR expressed alarm today over the dire living conditions of the displaced and has stepped up its response to the growing crisis by constructing emergency shelters to help keep people safe. Basic items like blankets, laundry soap and jerry cans have also been distributed, while women and girls also receive sanitary items for their personal hygiene.

UNHCR needs US$ 150 million to respond to refugees and displaced people’s needs in Congo this year, but so far only 57 per cent has been received. Funding shortages are severely affecting the displaced people’s ability to meet their own basic needs and efforts to be self-reliant.

Sendralahatra Rakontondradalo, a UNHCR shelter expert, witnessed the dire conditions as people arrived in Drodro without any belongings. 

“Thousands of displaced people want to return home but have to wait until the situation is safer.”

Inadequate conditions expose people to harassment, assault and exploitation.

“I have heard of some girls and women being forced into survival sex to feed themselves and their families. Overcrowded places have limited privacy, increasing this risk,” she said.

Liz Ahua, UNHCR’s Representative in the country, said the number of displaced people is rising. 

“Thousands of displaced people want to return home but have to wait until the situation is safer,” she said.

b)    Al Jazeera: DR Congo doctors hope to eliminate Ebola by end of year

More than 2,000 people, including 160 health workers, have died since the most recent Ebola outbreak last year. Doctors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have told Al Jazeera they hope to reduce the number of Ebola cases to zero by the end of the year.

More than 2,000 people, including dozens of health workers, have died since the most recent outbreak last year.

Al Jazeera's Catherine Soi reports from Mangina where the first case was diagnosed.

5.     KENYA

a)    Capital FM: World Leaders Converge in Nairobi for Maternal Death Solutions By 2030 Amid Protests

Actions to save mothers' lives, meet the global demand for contraception and stop violence against women and girls by 2030 are the focus of a three-day global summit that kicked off in Nairobi on Tuesday.

The Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 takes place 25 years after the groundbreaking International Conference on Population and Development, or ICPD, where 179 governments called for the empowerment of women and girls in all spheres of their lives, including in areas regarding sexual and reproductive health.

But the meeting is taking place amid protests by lobby group CitizenGo which has called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to boycott it or reject its recommendations, on grounds that it advocates for non-African values.

Ann Kioko who heads the organisation led a group of over 300 demonstrators Monday to hand a petition to the Office of the President against the summit.

Various Heads of State, among them Somalia's Mohamed Farmajo are attending the meeting.

"Kenya is proud to host 6,000 world leaders, representatives of non-governmental organizations, young people, business and religious leaders, and so many others from 160 countries," says Ambassador Macharia Kamau, Principal Secretary to Kenya's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "Kenya will be front and centre of this watershed moment for women and girls everywhere."

At the summit, top government officials, including heads of state, parliamentarians and representatives from non-governmental organizations will announce financial and programmatic commitments, policies and other initiatives with a view to achieving all the goals laid out in the ICPD in 1994. So far, more than 1,000 commitments have been made.

"We have come a long way since the ICPD in living up to our global commitment to make sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights a reality for all," says Arthur Erken, Director of Communications and Strategic Partnerships at UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. "But we still have a long way to go before we can say that we have achieved that goal," he adds. "We must step up our efforts to make modern contraceptives available to all who want and need it, improve maternal health care and protect women and girls from gender-based violence and harmful practices like child marriage and female genital mutilation."

Today, an estimated 232 million women want to prevent pregnancy but are not using modern contraception. Each day, more than 800 women die from preventable causes during pregnancy and childbirth, and 33,000 girls are forced into marriage. And every year, more than 4 million girls are subjected to female genital mutilation.

"In 1994 at the ICPD, we imagined a world where one day, no woman would die giving birth, where no woman would be at risk of unintended pregnancy, and no girl would be denied her right to make a safe and healthy transition through adolescence and adulthood," according to Denmark's Special Envoy for ICPD25 Ambassador Ib Petersen. "The world we imagined is now within reach, but we must join forces to make it a reality once and for all."

Achieving the goals of the ICPD is also critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, which depend on women's empowerment and gender equality.

The Summit is bringing together an unusually diverse group of people including top government officials, thought-leaders, technical experts, religious leaders, activists and community organizers, young people, business leaders, indigenous peoples, international financial institutions, people with disabilities, academics and many others committed to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The Summit will focus on five main issues: sexual and reproductive health as part of universal health coverage, the funding required to realize all goals of the ICPD's Programme of Action, demographic diversity and its power to drive economic growth and sustainable development, measures to end gender-based violence and harmful practices, and the right to sexual and reproductive health care, even in humanitarian and fragile contexts.

Discussions at the summit will also highlight the power of gender equality, youth leadership, political and community leadership, innovation and data, and partnerships to accelerate change.

6.     RWNDA

a)    News European Parliament: 38th ACP-EU Assembly: dialogue on cooperation challenges in Kigali

Climate change and food security, migration, sustainable growth and the post-Cotonou ACP-EU agreement are set to be the focus of the 38th session of the assembly.

Members of the European Parliament and parliamentarians of 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries will meet in Kigali, Rwanda, as part of the ACP-EU joint parliamentary assembly, from 17 to 21 November 2019.

The formal opening of the session will take place on Tuesday 19 November and will be co-chaired by Carlos Zorrinho, Portuguese MEP and Joseph Owana Kono, member from Cameroon.

The opening session will be followed by a debate with Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International cooperation and development.

President of Rwanda Paul Kagame will address the session on Wednesday 20 November. Pekka Haavisto, Minister for Foreign Affairs for Finland, which currently holds the presidency of the Council of the EU, will make a statement followed by a debate on Thursday 21 November.

On the morning of Sunday 17 November, members will be able to make field visits.

Two visits have been planned. The first group will visit a "modern village" which is sheltering 240 families displaced from areas at high risk of environmental disaster in the Kigali region, in the district of Nyarugenge. There will also be a visit to a hydroelectric substation in Nyamirambo in the district of Nyarugenge, funded by the European Union to increase Rwanda’s electricity capacity.

The second group will visit a horticultural project in Gishari in Rwamagana district in the Southern Province.

On Sunday 17 November, the members will also meet with Rwandan youth during the Youth Conference.

7.     SOUTH SUDAN

a)    Sudan Tribune: UN chief lauds S. Sudan’s pre-transitional period extension

November 11, 2019 (NEW YORK) - The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres has welcomed the decision of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Council of Ministers to extend the pre-transitional period in South Sudan for an additional 100 days.

The Secretary-General, his deputy spokesperson said, urged the parties to use this extension to make further progress on critical benchmarks, including security arrangements and the number and boundaries of states, to allow for the formation of an “inclusive” government of national unity.

“The Secretary-General also urges the Government of South Sudan to support the process by releasing the pledged amount of $100 million through a transparent and accountable mechanism,” the statement reads in part.

The Secretary-General further re-affirmed the critical importance of the role of IGAD and the African Union in South Sudan’s political process, and the continued readiness of the United Nations to support their efforts.

On Thursday last week, President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar agreed at a meeting held in Uganda, to delay key benchmarks in the peace accord by 100 days.

Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni chaired the meeting, also attended by the head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Kenya’s Special Envoy to South Sudan, Kalonzo Musyoka.

The delay in forming a transitional national unity government by November 12 came after the main opposition group threatened to opt-out of the deadline, saying the country’s security arrangements are incomplete.

South Sudan descended into civil war in mid-December 2013 when President Kiir accused his former deputy Machar of plotting a coup, allegations he dismissed.

In September last year, the country’s rival factions signed a revitalized peace deal to end the civil war that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.

8.     SUDAN

a)    Sudan Tribune: EU announces €55m humanitarian aid to Sudan

November 11, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The European Commission announced a €55 million aid for Sudan in support of the help vulnerable people caught in humanitarian crises, said statement released on Monday.

The announcement of the humanitarian assistance came at the end of a meeting with the Sudanese prime minister who discussed with the European Union foreign ministers ways to support the transition in Sudan.

“As the living conditions of millions in Sudan are being strained by the multiple crises faced by the country, the EU is stepping up emergency assistance for those most in need,” said Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.

Stylianides further welcomed commitments by Sudanese officials to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance., stressing that the “EU aid must reach all areas of Sudan, including conflict zones”

The additional funding will cover food and nutrition assistance for vulnerable households, emergency health care, support to refugees, displaced Sudanese and host communities and education for children living in areas hit by the crises.

Since 2011, the EU has allocated over €518 million in life-saving assistance to people in need in Sudan.

9.     ZAMBIA

a)    Lusaka Times: Government says it will recover money involving 4000 ghost workers

Public Service Management Division Permanent Secretary Boniface Chimbwali says Government will recover the monies involving the over 4000 ghost workers through terminal benefits.

Mr. Chimbwali says the Public Service Management Division has already frozen the accounts in which some civil servants were illegally drawing multiple salaries.

He explained that in a case a civil servant was getting over 1 hundred thousand Kwacha after drawing multiple salaries.

Mr Chimbwali said this when President Edgar Lungu interrogated him at State House to find out what he is doing to ensure that the monies are recovered, and such incidences do not reoccur.

And Mr. Chimbwali explained that civil servants who moved without permission or complying to the procedure and those who changed their salary grade without the sanction of the Civil Service Commission should be worried because discipline will be applied.

The Permanent Secretary who described the move as criminal said criminal proceedings against those civil servants will be instituted.

He said government has withdrawn the rights from the people who oversaw the payroll system and replaced them with different users who will be trained.

Mr Chimbwali said controlling officers will be given rights to be the super user of payroll system so that they can be held accountable.

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