Thursday, 28 August 2014


Islamic Relief and Lutheran World Federation global cooperation

Islamic Relief Worldwide and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) have forged the world’s first official cooperation between a global Islamic and a global Christian humanitarian organisation.

As a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate in humanitarian work was signed earlier this month, the two organisations underlined their shared values and common vision to tackle poverty and suffering worldwide.
Dr Mohamed Ashmawey, CEO of Islamic Relief Worldwide, said: “We live in a time when our fragile world appears more disrupted by human suffering; religion is often construed as the dividing line between peoples in conflict.
“We believe that in these fragile times, faith-based humanitarian organisations are best prepared to provide a uniquely powerful model for mutual respect, service and cooperation for the betterment of all of humankind,” added Dr Ashmawey, who also emphasised the religious roots of humanitarian work.
“We have been here first. Where would people go when they were sick and hungry? They would come to the churches and mosques!”
Shared core values and commitment to vulnerable communities
Dr Mohamed Ashmawey, CEO of Islamic Relief Worldwide and DWS Director Eberhard Hitzler formalise the partnership between the two organisations.
Dr Mohamed Ashmawey, CEO of Islamic Relief Worldwide and DWS Director Eberhard Hitzler formalise the partnership between the two organisations.
“We are proud to formalise our partnership with Islamic Relief Worldwide today”, Eberhard Hitzler, Director of the LWF Department for World Service (DWS) said.
“At the heart of our collaboration are the many core values we share such as dignity, justice, compassion and commitment, and our common vision to empower and support vulnerable communities and people affected by disaster, which unite us across our religious differences.”
The UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner, Mr Alexander Aleinikoff, praised the cooperation as exemplary. “Somewhat the secular humanitarian world has not taken enough notice of the faith-based needs of refugees,” he said.
“This working together is a dream coming true. You can do marvellous things together. I hope this will become a model for others to replicate.”
Working together on key challenges facing the world
He also asked the two organisations to give feedback on their cooperation to UNHCR. Already, the LWF and Islamic Relief have carried out an assessment in Dadaab refugee camp, Kenya, on how best to jointly assist disabled persons who are often overlooked in refugee situations. Moreover, next month, in Jordan, Islamic Relief will collaborate with LWF on a project to raise awareness on issues of peacebuilding and hygiene.
“This is a time when we as faith-based organisations have to say very clearly that religion is not about violence”, the LWF General Secretary Rev Martin Junge added.
“This memorandum is not only about technicalities, it also touches questions of self-understanding. I am looking forward to grow in that relationship, and to bring the theological challenges of that relationship back to our member churches.”
Islamic Relief is guided by the timeless values and teachings of the Qur’an and Prophetic example (Sunnah), which recognise that people with wealth have a duty to those who are less fortunate. As a policy leader on Islamic humanitarianism, our research programmes develop distinctive, practical approaches to the key issues that are affecting our world today.
Photo: Signing of the MOU by Dr Mohamed Ashmawey, CEO of Islamic Relief Worldwide and DWS Director Eberhard Hitzler (front, from left), witnessed by LWF Assistant General Secretary for Human Rights Affairs Ralston Deffenbaugh, Mehdi ben M’rad, IRW Director of International Programs, UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner Alexander Aleinikoff, LWF General Secretary Rev. Martin Junge, LWF Global program Coordinator Maria Immonen and LWF Program Assistant for Interfaith Cooperation Elizabeth Gano (from right).
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Naibu Katibu Kitengo cha Udhibiti na Ubora toka Ofisi ya Rais, Sekretariat ya Ajira katika Utumishi wa Umma Bw.Humphrey Mniachi akiongea na waandishi wa Habari (Hawapo Pichani)Jinsi wanavyoshirikiana na Vyombo vingine serikalini katika Mchakato wa Ajira,wakati wa Mkutano uliofanyika jana Jijini Dar es Salaam.Kushoto ni Mkuu wa Kitengo cha Mawasiliano wa Ofisi Hiyo Bi. Riziki Abraham.
 Mkuu wa Kitengo cha Mawasiliano toka Ofisi ya Rais, Sekretariat ya Ajira katika Utumishi wa Umma Bi. Riziki Abraham akieleza kwa waandishi wa habari (hawapo pichani) kuhusu mambo ya kuzingatia kabla ya kuomba kazi nchini kwa  waombaji waliopotelea na vyeti, kuibiwa vyeti au kubadilisha majina,wakati wa Mkutano uliofanyika jana Jijini Dar es Salaam.Kulia ni Naibu Katibu Kitengo cha Udhibiti na Ubora toka Ofisi hiyo Bw.Humphrey Mniachi.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 2014- The African Union Commission has reiterated its determination to assist affected countries in fighting the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) that has so far killed nearly 1500 people in West Africa.

Description: Description: C:\Users\musabayanaw.AFRICANUNION\Pictures\27 Aug\Serial ion_2.JPGAfrican Union Commission Chairperson, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma assured the new Ambassador of Sierra Leone Mr. Osman Keh Kamara that the continental organization is seized with the matter of the outbreak, its consequences and the responses to it. She acknowledged the challenges being faced by Sierra Leone and other affected countries as they deal with the disease outbreak as well as its consequences. “Our thoughts are with the people of Sierra Leonne and other affected countries”, she said
The discussion between the two leaders took place as Ambassador Kamara was at the AU headquarters to present the letters accrediting him as his country’s Permanent Representative to the AU.

Sierra Leone’s new Ambassador to the AU commended the African Union for its timely contribution to augment his government’s efforts to combat the EVD. As part of those efforts, the AU’s Peace and Security Council last week authorised the immediate deployment of a joint AU-led military and civilian humanitarian mission to tackle the emergency situation caused by the Ebola outbreak and to ensure that Ebola is brought under control. The mission will comprise medical doctors, nurses and other medical and paramedical personnel. The operation is expected to run for six months with monthly rotation of volunteers. The operation will cost more than USD25 million and the US government and partners have pledged to support the African Union with a substantial part of this amount.

Ambassador Kamara also decried the closing of borders and stoppage of air services into affected countries, saying this would hamper the continent’s integration efforts. He urged dialogue on the issue.

Description: Description: C:\Users\musabayanaw.AFRICANUNION\Pictures\27 Aug\Russia_2.JPGThe AU Commission Chairperson also met the new Ambassador of the Russian Federation H.E. Mr. Vsevolod I. Tkachenko who presented his letters of credence. She acknowledged the good cooperation that has been ongoing between the Russian Federation and the African Union. The Chairperson highlighted that there is still more that can be done, further indicating that she looked forward to the impending visit of Russia’s Foreign Minister Mr Sergey Lavrov in September.

Mr. Tkachenko pledged to do his utmost to fast track cooperation between the Russian Federation and the AU, adding that the Foreign Minister’s visit will help to assess the status of cooperation as well as discuss the way forward.
“We have a big agenda ahead of us”, he said
For further information contact:
Mrs Wynne Musabayana| Deputy Head of Communication and Information Division | Directorate of Information and Communication AUC| E-mail:

 Rais Jakaya Kikwete akilakiwa na maelfu ya wananchi alipowasili kwenye uwanja wa mkutano wa mji wa Gairo mkoani Morogoro  kuhutubia mkutano wa hadhara Agosti 26, 2014
 Mbunge wa Gairo Mhe. Ahmed Mabhut Shabiby akimkaribisha Rais Kikwete kwenye uwanja wa mkutano wa mji wa Gairo mkoani Morogoro  kuhutubia mkutano wa hadhara Agosti 26, 2014
 Rais Kikwete akihutubia umati wa maelfu ya wananchi waliojitokeza  kumsikiliza  kwenye uwanja wa mkutano wa mji wa Gairo mkoani Morogoro  alipowahutubia kwenye mkutano wa hadhara Agosti 26, 2014
 Sehemu ya maelfu ya wananchi waliofurika kwenye uwanja wa mkutano wa mji wa Gairo mkoani Morogoro  kumsikiliza Rais Kikwete alipowahutubia k

Brainstorming on the Strategy to Speed up Ratification, Accession and Implementation of OAU/AU Treaties in Eastern Africa Region

Description: IMG_5267Nairobi, Kenya – 26 August 2014. The African Union Commission (AUC) through its Office of the Legal Counsel, convened a two (2) day brainstorming session on strategies to harmonise and speed up ratification, accession and implementation as well as to identify best practices on reporting, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms on the implementation of OAU/AU Treaties in the Eastern Africa Region, through the Ministerial Committee on the challenges of ratification/accession and implementation of OAU/AU treaties.

“The slow pace of ratification and implementation of decisions on the OAU/AU treaties by AU Member States is a major concern to achieve the objectives related to economic, social, cultural, and political integration of the African continent”, said the Chair of the meeting Mr. Mapango Kemishanga Gerard, Chairperson of the Ministerial Committee on the Challenges of Ratification/Accession and Implementation of OAU/AU Treaties, in his opening remarks.

Representatives from Member States of the Eastern Africa Region, experts of the Ministerial Committee set up by the AU, independent experts, representatives from various departments of the AUC as well as representatives from the civil society presented their perspectives, and discussed and identified the main reasons for the slow pace of signature, ratification and implementation of OAU/AU treaties. Challenges including lack of political will, lack of coordination, bureaucracy, lack of human resources, financial constraints were highlighted as key challenges in the process.

“It is important to firstly identify, with accuracy, the causes of the slow pace of ratification and implementation of OAU/AU treaties”, said Mrs. Beatrice Karogo, representative of the Head of Legal Affairs Directorate on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Kenya in her welcoming statement.

The major outcomes of the brainstorming include improved appreciation of the importance of OAU/AU treaties by Member States as well as increased ability of the ministerial committee to support, sensitise and enhance the commitment of Member States to the need for signature, ratification and implementation of the various legal instruments.

Description: IMG_5106“The number of states that are parties to a treaty is of paramount importance. Indeed, AU treaty regimes represent a network of legal relationships between AU Member States. If a significant number of Member States are not part of the regime, its overall effectiveness will be diminished. In order to address this perennial problem, the AUC proposed the establishment of a Ministerial Committee on the Challenges of Ratification/Accession and Implementation of OAU/AU Treaties. Our objective is to ensure that the Ministerial Committee holds its inaugural session in January/June 2015 and the experts of the said Committee approve the recommendations of this meeting” declared Prof. Vincent O. Nmehielle, the Legal Counsel and Director for Legal Affairs of the African Union Commission, in his opening remarks.

The ratification/accession and implementation of the OAU/AU legal instruments require a deeper commitment of the African Union member states since the principles enshrined in those treaties represent the common shared values for those member states. In particular, ratification implies the acceptance by the states not only of the legal obligations enshrined in the instruments, but also their commitment to respond to Africa’s common development and integration challenges.

The brainstorming session strongly recommended that the national sectorial committees should be operationalized in each member State by January/June 2015. Furthermore, the meeting recommended that the ministerial committee should select a list of treaties related to the Agenda 2063 and of paramount importance to the integration of the continent which each Member State should ratify within a one year period.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 2014- Two outgoing African ambassadors today bade farewell to the African Union after serving their terms as Permanent Representatives to the Union.
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Prof. Joseph Nsengimana, Ambassador of the Republic of Rwanda and Dr. Andrew Hama Mtetwa, Ambassador of the Republic of Zimbabwe paid their farewell courtesy calls on the Chairperson of the AU Commission Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma at the Union’s headquarters in Addis Ababa today. Prof Nsengimana expressed his and his government’s appreciation of the election of Dr Dlamini Zuma as the first woman Chairperson of the AU Commission and commended her for the support she has extended to him during his tenure as ambassador.

Dr Dlamini Zuma thanked Prof Nsengimana for his active participation and contributions at meetings of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) and remarked on the cooperation that has been extended to the AU by the Rwandese government, especially the full support pledged by President Paul Kagame.

Description: Description: C:\Users\musabayanaw.AFRICANUNION\Pictures\27 Aug\zembabwe\zembabwe.JPGIn her meeting with Dr Andrew Mtetwa of Zimbabwe, Dr Dlamini Zuma expressed her appreciation for his active role within the structures of the AU. She wished Zimbabwe success as it leads the regional economic community SADC (Southern African Development Community). Zimbabwe assumed leadership of SADC at the regional bloc’s ordinary summit held in Victoria Falls earlier this month.

Ambassador Mtetwa, who announced that he has now retired from his country’s foreign service, commended the Chairperson for the work she has embarked on since her appointment. He also announced that he is likely to continue sharing his expertise in African development through teaching.

Both the ambassadors were presented with tokens of appreciation for the time they have spent in Addis Ababa, serving the interests of the continent.  The Chairperson wished the ambassadors success in their future endeavours, with the outgoing Rwandese ambassador declaring “I am African”, the slogan by which the AU seeks to promote African ownership of, and sense of belonging to the continental organisation.


Cotonou, Benin - August 21, 2014 - Dr. Nassirou Bako-Arifari, Minister for Foreign Affairs, African Integration, Francophonie and Benin Nationals Living Abroad, received on August 21 in his office at the Ministry, members of the African Union delegation on a working visit to Cotonou, Benin, as part of the awareness campaign of civil society in the election of the Second Assembly of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) of the African Union (AU).
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During the audience, which was attended by top officials of the Ministry in charge  of African integration, promotion of civil society and African issues, Dr. Bako Arifari-emphasized the importance of the lead role being played by ECOSOCC in the education of the African population, emphasizing the need to focus on the youth and women in the integration process.

The Minister called on the specialized departments of his Ministry to do their utmost for the successful sensitization of all the components of Benin civil society, including the media. "ECOSOCC is our think tank," in this respect,” the minister said, emphasizing that "our stability depends on our ability to meet the expectations of our young people." Dr. Nassirou Bako-Arifari expressed satisfaction at the resumption of ECOSOCC activities and the willingness to educate the African civil society to ensure greater participation in the elections of the 2nd General Assembly. "I would do anything in my power to support you”, he added.

Outlining the objectives of the campaign, Mr. Jalel Chelba, Chief, Division of Civil Society in the Department of Civil Society and Diaspora of the Commission of the African Union (CIDO),  in his capacity as Leader of the AU delegation, composed of Mrs. Habiba Mejri Cheikh, Director of  AU Information and Communication Directorate and Ms Mpho Porquet, member of the  ECOSOCC Assembly, expressed the gratitude of the African Union for the efforts Benin continues to exert to consolidate the gains of the continental organization in the integration and development of the continent. Mr. Chelba also congratulated the Minister on his reappointment as head of Benin diplomacy, following a cabinet reshuffle.

The meeting to which all  Benin civil society organizations were invited took place on Friday, August 22, 2014, at 10:00 at the conference room of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Integration,  Francophonie and Benin Nationals Living Abroad.

On the same day in the Benin capital, Cotonou, the Third Sensitization Meeting of the countries of the West African region was held.

It is worth noting that this sensitization campaign, initiated by the Department of Citizenship and Diaspora of the AU Commission (CIDO) in accordance with the Executive Council decision (EX.CL/Dec.849 (XXV), adopted at the 23rd Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, kicked off on  12 August 2014 in Lusaka, Zambia and will continue until September, covering  the five regions of Africa.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Who  said  Congo  president  kabila  is  soft man?.This  is   standard  travel   for  him  when he  goes  to  regions  to  see  his  people.Nice  man. Africa  needs   strong  leaders  like  you

 It is very common to hear the imprisonment and torture of Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia every day. Workers from Ethiopia come to Saudi Arabia under a sponsorship system routinely abused by employers who subject them to what Human Rights Watch calls "slavery-like conditions". Passports are often confiscated, wages delayed or withheld, and forced labor is commonplace.
Female domestic workers suffer from confinement, food deprivation, and sever sexual, psychological and physical abuse. Male workers live in conditions most people would find unsuitable for animals. In general, Saudi is becoming a hell for Ethiopians while we offer thousands of hectares of fertile lands for their investors in our homeland, Ethiopia.
Those women and men of Ethiopia leave their motherland in search of a better life and to provide for their families. All those barbaric beatings, rape, burning women with hot oil/water, stripping them down of their humanity and so many cruelties wouldn't be happening if only the government of Ethiopia would give job opportunities to it's citizens. Regardless, the government should be responsible for the welfare of it's citizens in foreign countries. 
A crackdown on illegal immigrants in Saudi Arabia in 2013 led to the death of at least three Ethiopians and the deportation of over 150,000 Ethiopians. Many of the workers have returned to Ethiopia with psychotic related issues mainly because of the suffering they are subjected to and refusal by Arab employers to pay them as promised.
The government of Ethiopia is blaming the employment agencies in the country for engaging in illegal human trafficking of Ethiopian to Arab countries. The agencies make the domestic workers sign contracts which are not legally binding. There are over 430 registered employment agencies in Ethiopia. According to government analysis these agencies make illegal deals with their counterparts in the Arab countries where they are paid a commission of as much as 200 dollars per person once they deliver them. This amount is then deducted from the salary of the Ethiopian domestic workers without their consent. After the recent massive deportation from Saudi Arabia, a special task force has been constituted to push for an amendment of the labor law. The new laws will ensure that employment agencies if necessary will only export labor that has basic skills which can be proven by a certificate from government vocational institutions. The laws will campaign for better pay and working conditions in Arab states. In addition they will also strive to create awareness that Arab countries are not the destination for job seekers. However, despite Ethiopia efforts, routes through Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa remain porous for human trafficking of its unskilled labor by brokers.

Monday, 25 August 2014

 Liberal Democrats
In just over a month my fellow Scots and I will cast the most important vote of our lives.
I’m hoping there’s a resounding vote for Scotland to stay as part of the United Kingdom.
Our shared values, our history and our economic success show that Scotland is best placed as part of the United Kingdom.
This referendum is crucially important for Scotland, but it doesn’t just affect Scots: it’ll affect everyone across the UK.
People living south of the border may not have a vote, but they can have a voice and encourage Scotland to stay.
It only takes a minute to show your support:
Best wishes – and thank you,
Jo Swinson MP
East Dunbartonshire



Lome, (Togo) - August 2014 : The history, role and the functions of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) of the African Union (AU), its activities and procedures, especially the eligibility criteria for election to the Second General Assembly, aroused keen interest from a large number of Togolese civil society organizations at a meeting organized on the initiative of the African Union Commission (AUC)  on 14 August, 2014 at the Agora Senghor centre in Lome, Togo.

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Representatives of eighty civil society organizations (CSO) from all spheres of activity responded to the invitation by the African Union Commission to participate actively in the sensitization and motivation campaign being organized for CSOs of the continent  in preparation towards the 2nd ECOSOCC General Assembly elections.

The sensitization campaign, initiated by the Directorate of Citizens and Diaspora Organizations (CIDO) in pursuance of Executive Council Decision EX.CL/Dec.849(XXV) adopted by the 23rdOrdinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, kicked off in Lusaka, Zambia on 12 August 2014. The sensitization campaign will continue till September at the end of which all the five regions of Africa will have been covered

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At the opening session Mr Jalel Chelba, Head of Civil Society Division of CIDO/AUC, explained that ECOSOCC had a total membership of 150 comprising two representatives from each of the 54 Member States, 8 continental representatives, 10 sub-regional representatives, 20 members of the Diaspora and 6 representatives chosen by the African Union Commission in consultation with Member States and based on specific criteria. He added that ECOSOCC was an organ whose membership was elected by civil society and which represented civil society.  ECOSOCC was an embodiment of the principle of democracy at its highest level since it was tasked with leading grassroot civil society organizations to the corridors where decisions were taken, thus enabling them to contribute their quota to the integration and sustainable development efforts of the continent.  

Mr Chelba also stated that the AUC was expediting action with a view to finalizing the elections before the end of this year so as to inaugurate the ECOSOCC Assmbly by December 2014, at the latest. The organization was therefore focusing its campaign on the States that did not have sufficient number of eligible candidates for election (read the full speech on the African Union .)

Officially opening the session, the Representative of the Togolese Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, and Director of International Organizations, Mr Sébadé Toba, stated that organized civil society was very critical to ensuring good economic and political governance. He expressed his happiness with the initiative taken by the African Union to organize the sentization and mobilization tour which would not only lead to the enhancement of the prominence of ECOSOCC, but also give a fillip to the activities of civil society organizations in the interest of the population and the common organization that is the African Union. He urged Togolese civil society organizations to show keen interest in the discussions engaged and to participate in the ECOSOCC electoral process so as to ensure the quality representation of Togo on the important body.

The meeting was characterized by extensive and frank discussions which was widely covered by the media. The discussions focused primarily on the practical modalities for developing partnership with ECOSOCC as well as the procedures for the submission of applications. The participants enquired extensively about the relevance of the eligibility criteria. All were unanimous on the need to mobilize and join ECOSOCC but at issue was how many of them could meet the criteria, especially those relating to funding. That was the main question that had and continues to agitate the minds of most of them. 

Windhoek. Namibia  August 2014 –Namibian Civil Society have been called upon to embrace the challenge of effective participation in the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union ((ECOSOCC) as an entry point for enabling the integration and development agenda of the continent as well as the progressive growth of the Namibian State and Society.
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The call came in the opening statements of both the Director and Chairperson of NANGOF-TRUST, the umbrella organizations of NGOs  in Namibia, Mr. Irvin Lombadrt and Mr Sandie Tjaronda, in the course of the sensitization and motivation  campaign on ECOSOCC held in Safari Court Hotel Conference Centre, Windhoek, Namibia today.

The Chairperson of NANGOF-Trust, Mr Tjaronda observed:

ECOSOCC supports policies and programs that promote peace, security and stability in Africa and foster development and integration on the continent as well as promote and defend a culture of good governance, democratic principles and institutions, popular participation, human rights and social justice... In this context, I agree that this visit is timely and relevant in making civil society visible and it endorses the relevance of civil society to the development of Namibia and the continent at large.

Thus he added " Civil Society is an integral component of our societies and this position must be internalized in our Organs of Government and other key machineries such as the African Union and SADC."

In the same vein, Ambassador Lazarus Kapambwe, the Advisor to the AU Chairperson noted that " ECOSOCC provides a barometer for assessing the state of health of African Civil Society and the overall development of the continent. It is an Organ that embraces the active involvement of non-state actors in the continent in the policy-making environment. The ECOSOCC Assembly represents but does not replace civil society"

Mr. Chilengi, a member of the Ist ECOSOCC Permanent General Assembly (2008-2012), observed that while Namibia through NANGO-Trust hosted the last regional consultation leading to the formation of the 1st Permanent ECOSOCC Assembly, it was ironic that it had no representative in the same Assembly and that the time had come to correct that disconnect. The apparent vigor of the the civil society community in Southern Africa must  be reflected in the context of ECOSOCC and the African Union. CSOs in Southern Africa should not just seek to participate in ECOSOCC but also to play a critical role in guiding the process.

Following these presentations, Dr Adisa, the Director of the Citizens and Diaspora Directorate of the African Union (CIDO) which hosts the ECOSOCC Secretariat , then outlined the history and development of the current electoral process, related Summit discussions and decisions that paved way for this sensitization exercise and the application requirements, processes and procedures. Specifically, he underlined the eligibility requirements specified in the ECOSOCC Statutes  and the timelines set for the current exercise. He urged Namibian civil society organizations to take advantage of the process not just for the purposes of electioneering but to buttress and anchor the legitimacy of the ECOSOCC experience. Accordingly, they should seek to establish national ECOSOCC chapters that would serve as mechanisms for consultation, responsive representation and accountability. They should also seek to ensure that the next ECOSOCC  Assembly develops, as a first order of business , a framework for observer status for all CSOs on the continent to ECOSOCC  so that they can be directly associated with the conduct of their elected representatives and appreciate how that conduct conforms to the mandate that they give to them.

In the course of the interactive session that followed issues were raised regarding the requirement that fifty per cent of the resources of the intending Organizations must be internally derived. Some felt that this was very restrictive and did not take full cognizance of the realities of the African continent that did not provide appropriate funding support for Civil society activities. Indeed it was argued that the provision may be supportive of NGOs favored by Governments. It was however" noted that the provision challenged civil society groups to seek to broaden their resource base and "Africanize" funding sources but the challenge would only be reasonable in a context where  governments and continental and regional organizations also assumed critical responsibility and obligations.

The issue of the urbanization of civil society universe in Africa was also an aspect of concern. CSO groups observed that attention of the CSO community was generally focused on regional capitals and related concerns whereas the majority of the people lived in rural areas. Thus rural issues that were of major concern to the broad generality of the people were often overlooked or neglected. If ECOSOCC  is therefore to be truly representative it must avoid the phenomenon of concentration on urbanism.

The meeting was concluded with agreements on next steps and the way forward. It was agreed that the civil society organizations present at the workshop would serve as a vanguard or inner concentric circle for spreading the message to the wider rank and file as in Zimbabwe. In the same vein, the AU was invited to send a delegation to the Namibian CSO expo that would be organized by NANGOF-Trust very soon as a secondary outreach mechanism to support the ECOSOCC process.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

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Africa-wide seed institution revives efforts to transform African seed systems
Abidjan, 18 August 2014 - The African Seed Network (ASN), created in 1998 by 40 African countries with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, has held its first Scientific and Technical Committee, and Governing Board meetings from 11 to 14 August 2014 in Abidjan, to discuss and define a continental strategy for developing effective and efficient seed systems in Africa.
Based in Abidjan, ASN is a unique pan-African seed-specialised institution created to serve as focal point for the coordination of all activities related to the Africa seed sector. Since then, challenges faced by the sector have grown in number and complexity, and the need for amore solid institution that guides the process of seed development and advocate for it is felt more than ever before.
Mandated by the African Union
During its first ten years of operation, ASN received demands from its member countries exceeding by far its capacities. Additional attention was put on the Network when in 2007 the African Union Commission (AUC) choseitfor hosting the newly defined African Seed and Biotechnology Programme (ASBP). Supported by the African Union (AU) 54 member states,ASBP provides a comprehensive framework for the seed sector development in the continent.Since then, and in spite of the crucial importance of seedsfor the overall wealth of the agricultural sector, ASN hasstruggled with inadequate resource base, loose membership and outdated mandate and structure.
“There is the need for an independent and strong structure that can tackle the current challenges of the seed sector development in Africa” said Janet Edeme, Head of the Rural Economy Division at AUC. “ASN has great comparative advantagesto take up those challenges, and the current restructuring that the institution is undergoing is the first step towards achieving significant transformations in the African seed sector”.
High level discussions between AU, FAO and the Government of Côte d’Ivoire resulted in appointing Dr KouameMiezan as the new Executive Director of ASN in December 2013. Taking this challenge at face value, Miezan started by gathering a task force of internationally renowned experts to help him with the renewal of the institution. As a result, on 11 and 12 August at Abidjaninternational seed professionalsand representatives of development partnerscame together for the first ASN Scientific andTechnical Committee meetingto debate on the best way to restructure, strengthen and run ASN for full and effective functioning including its lead role in the implementation of ASBP.

“Due to the highly technical nature of activities in the seed sector, it is necessary that ASN relies on a body of multidisciplinary experts encompassing the whole gamut of the seed sector components,” Miezan said. “But strategic oversight and far-reaching vision will be the key elementsin determining the success of this continent-wide enterprise.”
At a higher level of oversight, ASN has put in place a Governing Board made up of experts who have excelled in both technical and administrative domains of the seed sector. The ASN GoverningBoard, will meet once a year and, assisted with the outputs of the ASN Scientific and Technical Committee, will decide on all policy issues, agreements, budgets and staffing and major programmes and projects that are to be undertaken by ASN.
The first meeting of the GoverningBoard was held on 13 and 14 August, and allowed firm decisions on the various aspects, among which:
·         the revision of ASN’s mission, vision, structure and strategy;
·         the current state of ASN membership and ways towards its consolidation and expansion;
·         thecurrent state of ASN finances and possible ways of resource mobilization.

The meetings paid tribute to the Ivorian government which has sustained ASN during its difficult formative years and still continues support.
The meetings have led to the validation of acomprehensive strategyon seed sector development aiming at increasing quantity and quality of seeds available to farmers.
Other decisions relating to the strengthening and restructuring of ASN were also adopted.
The need to rename the Africa Seed Network was also felt due to the major structural and functional changes that had been decided, and therefore the Governing Board discussed the issue and agreed that the new name should from now on be “AfricaSeeds”.
A major achievement of the four-day meetings has been the adoption by ASN of the resolution to actively and effectively contribute to AU’s goal to achieve sustainable food and nutrition security by 2025 through the strengthening of national seed systems.


Cotonou, Benin  - 21 Aout 2014 – Dr. Nassirou Bako-Arifari, Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, de l’Intégration Africaine, de la Francophonie et des Béninois de l’Extérieur, a reçu cet après-midi à son bureau au siège du ministère, les membres de la délégation de l’Union Africaine en visite de travail à Cotonou, Benin, dans le cadre de la campagne de sensibilisation de la société civile aux élections de la deuxième Assemblée du Conseil Economique Social et Culturel (ECOSOCC) de l’Union africaine (AU).
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Au cours de l’audience, à laquelle ont pris part les haut cadres du ministère en charge des dossiers de l’intégration africaine, de la promotion de la société civile et des questions africaines, Dr. Bako-Arifari a souligné l’importance du rôle de premier ordre qui revient à l’ECOSOCC dans l’encadrement des populations africaines, mettant l’accent sur la nécessité d’accorder tout l’intérêt a la jeunesse et aux femmes dans le processus d’intégration de l’Afrique des peuples.

Le ministre a, par ailleurs, invité les structures spécialisées de son ministère à tout mettre en œuvre pour réussir la campagne de sensibilisation de toutes les composante de la société civile béninoise, y compris les medias. « L’ECOSOCC est notre machine à idées », a, en l’occurrence, dit le ministre soulignant que « notre stabilité dépend de notre capacité à répondre aux attentes de nos jeunes». Dr.  Nassirou Bako-Arifari, s’est en conclusion, réjouis de la reprise des activités de l’ECOSOCC et de la volonté de sensibiliser la société civile Africaine en vue d’une plus grande participation aux élections de la 2eme  Assemblée Générale. « Je ferais tout pour être à vos côtés » a encore, dit le ministre.

Exposant les objectifs de la campagne de sensibilisation, M. Jalel Chelba,  Chef de la Division de la Société Civile du Département de la Société Civile et de la Diaspora de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (CIDO) a, en sa qualité de chef de la délégation, composée de Mme Habiba Mejri Cheikh, Directrice de l’Information et de la Communication de la Commission de l’Union Africaine et Mme Salimata Porquet, membre de l’Assemblée de l’ECOSOCC, exprimé la gratitude de l’Union Africaine pour les efforts soutenus consentis par le Benin en vue de conforter les efforts de l’organisation continentale  en matière d’intégration et de développement du continent. M. Chelba a par ailleurs félicité le ministre pour sa reconduction à la tête de la diplomatie béninoise, suite au remaniement ministériel intervenu aujourd’hui.

La réunion à laquelle ont été conviées toutes les organisations de la société civile Béninoise, se tiendra demain, vendredi 22 aout 2014, à partir de 10:00 à la salle de réunions du Ministère des Affaires Etrangères, de l’Intégration Africaine, de la Francophonie et des Béninois de l’Extérieur.

Demain, vendredi 24 aout se tiendra dans la capitale Béninoise, Cotonou, la troisième réunion de sensibilisation concernant les pays de la région ouest de l’Afrique. 

Notons que le coup d’envoi de cette campagne de sensibilisation, initiée par la Direction de la Citoyenneté et de la Diaspora de la Commission de l'UA (CIDO), conformément à la décision de Conseil Exécutif (EX.CL/Dec.849(XXV), adoptée lors de la 23eme  Session ordinaire de l'Assemblée de l'UA, Malabo, Guinée équatoriale, a été donné le 12 courant, à Lusaka, Zambie. La campagne se poursuivra jusqu’au mois de septembre et couvrira, à terme, les cinq régions d’Afrique. 

Telecom operators on the spot over unsolicited SMS

Some of the unsolicited messages that telecom companies keep sending on the mobile phones of their clients.
Regular unsolicited text messages from telecom operators and bulk short messaging service (SMS) providers have not gone down well with a huge section of subscribers of their services, with some of them terming them a nuisance. 
The text messages mostly used to market products and services not only of the telecommunication firms but also of popular products in the market rarely come with an unsubscribe option leaving  mobile users with no option but receive and delete them.  
Edwin Tushabe, a businessman in Kigali, terms the text messages as a nuisance that refuses to go away.
 “I have never subscribed  to these messages. Most of the time, I even have no interest in what is being advertised and this makes it even more annoying,” he said.
According to Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Authority (Rura), sending unsolicited text messages without an unsubscribe option contraves the law relating to electronic messages, electronic signatures and electronic transactions.
Speaking to The New Times, Engineer Jean Baptiste Mutabazi, the head of communication and media regulation at Rura said as the law provides, Telecom operators and bulk service providers have been reminded to offer unsubscribe options.
“The law is clear that each telecommunication service provider sending text messages to clients to advertise or promote products and services should give them the right to unsubscribe and detail the process involved.  We have communicated with the operators to that effect,” Mutabazi said.
He also urged the public to furnish his office with information regarding such breaches so that necessary measures are taken.
Giving insights on the issue, Equity Juris Chambers,   a renowned law firm in Kigali said telecom operators are also not allowed to use personal data of their clients without written permission.
“The Rwandan Telecoms Law No 44/2001 of November 30, 2001, Article 25 states that a public telecommunications operator cannot use any personal, call traffic or billing data of a user when marketing its services without the explicit written permission of the user in question,” the firm explained.
In the event of contravention of paragraph (1) of this Article, users in the first instance request the public telecommunications operator to cease using their personal details for marketing purposes. 
In cases of continued contravention, the user may notify the regulatory board, which issues a notice prohibiting the public telecommunications operator from using the user’s personal details and may order the operator to pay compensation to the user as the board may determine.
Moussa Habineza, the managing director of Khenz Limited, an IT firm involved in electronic payments and previously involved in Bulk SMS services, said it is possible that some of the bulk SMS service providers could be colluding with the telecom operators to obtain phone numbers of users.
 “For the bulk SMS providers to send the texts, it means that there has to be a sort of coalition between the senders of the bulk SMSs and the Telecom operators.  The providers of the bulk SMSes cannot have access to the database if not allowed by the mobile operators,” Habineza explained.
Whether it is legal or not, Habineza said there has to be a sort of consent given by the client as unsolicited texts should not be forced on clients who do not want them.
Yasmin Amri Sued, the Tigo brand and communication manager, defended the firm, saying they held the client details in confidentiality, adding that they only communicate to their client base information on the product and services that might be relevant to them.
By press time,   the other telecom operators were yet to comment on the issue.
Rather than send unsolicited text messages, local firms have been urged to look into other avenues to reach their targeted clients such as social media feeds where they can engage on a professional level.
Phillip Odour, a marketing and sales consultant for a number of household products, said through the use of social media clients will not feel unnecessarily infringed upon. 
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