The East African Community trade bloc admitted Somalia as its eighth member on Friday, a move Somali authorities and businesses hope will boost the country’s war-ravaged economy. The EAC common market — which consists of Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda — was set up in 2010 and currently…
Latest News. Ruto names former TV news anchor as State House spokesman … Also read: Ukraine’s Zelensky: Africa gains nothing from Russian ties.
African champions Senegal have been tipped to reach the final of the 2022 World Cup coming up in QatarSenegal’s Ambassador to Qatar Dr Mohammed Diallo is of the view that his country can reach the finalSadio Mane and his teammates are in Group A and will be facing Qatar, Ecuador and the NetherlandsDr Mohammed Diallo who is the Ambassador of Senegal to Qatar has stated emphatically that his nation can reach the final of the 2022 World Cup considering their status as African champions.Bayern Munich striker Sadio Mane will be leading his other teammates in the Senegalese national team to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar which will be starting on 20 November.There is no doubt about the fact that the Senegalese national team are one of the strongest in the world going by the players they parade in the first team.Read alsoBanyana Banyana looks to rebound quickly after Brazilian reality checkAmbassador Diallo tips Senegal to reach final of 2022 World Cup.
Photo by Ayman ArefSource: Getty ImagesIn the history of the FIFA World Cup, no African nation has ever reached the final, but Dr Mohammed Diallo believes Senegal can break the record according to the reports on Complete Sports and Penisular.Exciting feature: Check out news exactly for YOU ➡️ find “Recommended for you” block and enjoy!Dr Mohammed Diallo’s reaction about Senegal’s campaign for 2022 World Cup“I’m honoured as a Senegalese to be part of this historic World Cup which is held in the Middle East for the first time.“Like every Senegalese fan, I hope my national team will progress far into the tournament and perhaps even play in the semi-final and final. We are African champions and it isn’t impossible considering our players.“The Senegalese fans in Qatar and those coming from abroad for the World Cup, of which we expect at least 3,000, have been anticipating this event with eagerness. They’ll be the 12th Lion.”Read also1998 World Cup winner believes Ghana can reach the final in Qatar 2022Ghana’s Black Galaxies beat Nigeria’s Super Eagles Team B to CHAN ticket on penaltiesEarlier, Sports Brief had reported how Black Galaxies of Ghana have secured qualification for the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) to be held in Algeria next year. Having won the first leg 2–0 in Kumasi, Ghana headed for the reverse fixture at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, knowing that a draw will do. However, the Super Eagles B put up a hard-fighting performance with goals from Zulkifilu Mohammed in the 76th minute and Chijioke Akuneto in the 94th minute sending the game into a penalty shootout where Ghana edged Nigeria 5–4. Ghana return to CHAN, having missed the last three editions of the tournament, while Nigeria miss the competition back-to-back. Source: Sports Brief News
Climate vulnerable nations in Africa are showing growing interest in debt-for-climate swaps to address ballooning debt and spur climate investments. Increasingly, they have the ear of financial institutions.Today, 58% of the world’s poorest countries are in debt distress or at high risk of it. In sub-Saharan Africa, Covid-19 has squeezed budgets and pushed average debt levels above 60% of GDP.
Helene Gichenje is the Commonwealth’s regional climate finance adviser for Africa. Russia’s war in Ukraine and rising global inflation “are likely to significantly worsen the debt crisis,” she said at Africa Climate Week in Gabon on Wednesday.
High levels of debt repayments and a shrinking fiscal space have prevented much-needed investments in climate resilience, Gichenje said. And climate vulnerability is driving up the cost of accessing capital.
“There is danger that the vulnerable developing countries will enter a vicious cycle,” she said.
The IMF, the Green Climate Fund and the African Development Bank increasingly support debt-for-climate swaps as a solution.
Nigeria plans gas-led transition to full energy access and net zero emissions
Debt swaps mean that instead of making payments to creditors on outstanding loans, debtor countries can use that money in local currency to invest in climate projects under terms agreed with creditors.
This form of debt relief has been around for 30 years but hasn’t seen much use. Despite some positive examples, including a debt-for-nature swap in the Seychelles, the IMF estimates that only up to $4bn worth of debt has been forgiven under swap programmes.
Cabo Verde, Eswatini and Kenya are among nations looking into how to make debt-for-climate swaps work for them.
“Debt swaps could be a good instrument to give us space in our budget for new investments in renewable energy and the blue and green economy,” Soeli Santos, treasury director at Cabo Verde’s ministry of finance, told the event.
In exchange for partial debt forgiveness, Cabo Verde would, for example, meet some of the commitments made in its 2030 climate plan, Santos said.
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The principle generated significant interest during a meeting of African climate experts in Ethiopia last month as part of discussion on climate finance.
The Egyptian Cop27 presidency is considering launching a debt swap framework at the climate summit in November.
And a number of financial institutions have started to explore how to scale up the relief swaps can provide.
Last month, an IMF working paper, co-authored by the fund’s deputy chief in the debt department, concluded that, in some circumstances, debt-for-climate swaps made economic sense.
“There is a space for debt-for-climate swaps in the broader climate finance toolkit,” said IMF senior economist Vimal Thakoor. “In many countries, grants are not forthcoming necessarily and debt relief is not necessarily on the table either.”
However, in countries with high levels of debt distress, swaps should not replace broader debt restructuring programmes, the paper argues.
Scaling up debt swaps requires bringing on board a large pool of private and official country creditors. That is no small task but something creditors might be willing to do to support climate goals, it added.
G20 Bali meeting highlights Indonesia’s weak climate action
Although the paper hasn’t been endorsed by the IMF’s board and management, Paul Steele, chief economist at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), told Climate Home it could be “potentially game-changing” should it gain political backing.
“The IMF has the credibility and the most leverage to bring together creditors in a way that would allow them to take forward this kind of international initiative,” he said. “An international initiative on debt swaps for climate and nature outcomes at Cop27 could break the logjam on climate finance.”
The IMF is not alone in exploring options to move this forward.
Andrey Chicherin, head of innovation and technology transfer at the Green Climate Fund, told the meeting that the fund could act as an intermediary in debt swaps by designing adaptation and carbon-cutting programmes and ensure their delivery against the fund’s verification systems and safeguards.
The African Development Bank is finalising a feasibility study on scaling up debt-for-climate and nature swaps in Africa. This is to inform advice to nations on debt relief options.
Biden and Ramaphosa, who spoke by phone in April, are expected to focus their talks on trade and investment, infrastructure, climate and energy, among other issues.South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and United States President Joe Biden will meet on September 16, the White House has announced.
Thursday’s announcement comes as the administration looks to draw African nations closer to the US at a time when South Africa and many of its neighbours have staked out neutral ground on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Last month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Biden administration sees Africa’s 54 nations as “equal partners” in tackling global problems, during a visit to South Africa.
But the administration has been disappointed that South Africa and much of the continent have declined to follow the US in condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
South Africa abstained in a United Nations vote to condemn Russia’s action, and Ramaphosa has avoided any criticism of Russia and has instead called for a mediated peace.
Biden and Ramaphosa, who spoke by phone in April, are expected to focus their talks on trade and investment, infrastructure, climate and energy, public health and South Africa’s leading role on the continent, officials said.
“The two Presidents will reaffirm the importance of our enduring partnership, and discuss our work together to address regional and global challenges,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement announcing this month’s meeting.
Biden also plans to host a US-Africa leaders’ summit in December.
During the Blinken visit, foreign minister Naledi Pandor maintained South Africa’s neutrality in the Ukraine war. In a press briefing following the meeting, Pandor accused the US and other Western powers of focusing on the Ukraine conflict to the detriment of other international issues.
“We should be equally concerned at what is happening to the people of Palestine, as we are with what is happening to the people of Ukraine,” she said.
Blinken, for his part, underscored that Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports has led to scarcities in grain, cooking oil and fertiliser — an issue that has had disproportionate effects on Africans.
“The US is there for African countries in this unprecedented crisis, because that’s what partners do for each other,” Blinken said. “The United States will not dictate Africa’s choices, and neither should anyone else. The right to make these choices belongs to Africans, and Africans alone.”
South Africa’s neutral position is largely because of the support the Soviet Union gave during the Cold War era to Ramaphosa’s African National Congress in its fight to end apartheid – South Africa’s regime of repression against the Black majority that ended in 1994. South Africa is seen as a leader of several African countries that will not side against Russia.
The Biden meeting will come at a critical time for Ramaphosa, who is facing criticism from opposition parties and from within his own party for a scandal over revelations that $4m was stolen from his cattle ranch.
He has been grilled this week by members of parliament about whether the foreign cash had been properly registered with South Africa’s financial authorities and why he did not immediately report the theft. The scandal has damaged Ramaphosa’s reputation as a leader committed to battling his nation’s rampant corruption.
Ramaphosa faces significant opposition in his efforts to be re-elected as the leader of his party at a conference in December. If he fails to win the party leadership he will not be able to stand for re-election as South Africa’s president in 2024.
South Africa’s economy has been in recession since even before the COVID-19 pandemic and a third of the country is unemployed, so Ramaphosa would welcome any announcement of economic support from the US.
During Blinken’s visit to South Africa last month, he praised South Africa and Ramaphosa for achieving a multi-racial democracy after years of white minority rule. He also used the visit to formally launch a new US strategy towards sub-Saharan Africa.
Donald Trump thought it was full of “shitholes” and countries with names such as “Nambia”. Barack Obama, for all his eloquence and family ties to Kenya, was underwhelming when it came to defining a practical strategy towards Africa — a continent that always slipped behind other regions in the list of priorities. You have to go back to George W Bush, particularly his principled stance in fighting the Aids epidemic, or Bill Clinton, with his Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, a preferential trade pact, for an American leader with a compelling offering. If the US has been relatively low key, others have not. Since the turn of the century, China has moved from a bit-part player to the main investor and trading partner for many countries from Angola to Ethiopia. Much of the infrastructure that has sprung up across the continent has been built by Chinese companies. Outside the extractive industries, American companies have been slower to see commercial opportunities than those from emerging nations such as Turkey and India. More recently, Russia has pursued a cut-price diplomacy, sending mercenaries to Mali and the Central African Republic to prop up dictatorships and shady companies.President Joe Biden is now seeking to redress the balance. The reticence of African states to vote with the west in condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (26 refused to do so) may have sharpened his thinking. Diplomatic engagement has been stepped up. Washington will hold a US-Africa summit in December, the first in eight years. Biden has reversed a decision by the Trump administration to draw down US troops from Somalia and the Sahel, both regions of persistent terrorist threat. Antony Blinken, secretary of state, has made two tours of the continent, the latest in August when he swept through the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. In South Africa, he launched what was billed as a reset of relations. As he said, the 54 countries that make up the continent play a more important role in world affairs than is widely recognised. By 2050, one in four people on Earth will be African. If a majority are flourishing, they will be a source of huge dynamism and ideas. If many are floundering, they will fuel the problems of uncontrolled migration and unstoppable deforestation.A third of the minerals that will be needed for the transition to sustainable energy lie beneath African soil. African people — and not just their elites — must benefit from the potential windfall with more transformation of raw materials on the continent itself. In the Congo Basin rainforest, central African states host the world’s second-largest lung. African capitals marshal a quarter of UN votes. A Nigerian heads the World Trade Organization and an Ethiopian leads the World Health Organisation. The policy paper that underlies the new approach lays out broad strategic objectives. Washington will support open societies, democracies, recovery from the shock of the pandemic and a just energy transition (for which read: it won’t oppose gas). Washington will work with its “African partners”: a phrase intended to convey that it is listening, not hectoring.The US offering is positioned in deliberate contrast to what it calls China’s “narrow commercial and geopolitical interests” and the Russian view of Africa as a playground for private military companies. What are African governments to make of this? Many were not impressed with US leadership during the pandemic, when the west gobbled up available vaccines and left Africans to fend for themselves. (Biden’s support for overriding intellectual property on Covid vaccine technology was seen as an important exception). The US — with its contested elections and rolling back of liberties — has also somewhat lost the democratic high ground.Chidi Odinkalu of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University detects a cold war throwback. “The US has come to the conclusion that, if they don’t re-engage, they will be abandoning Africa to Russia and China.” Still, Alex Vines, director of the Africa Programme at the UK think-tank Chatham House, sees an opportunity for the continent. “This is Africa’s moment,” he says of the multinational engagement. However shaky, the US with its deep well of wealth, innovation and democratic ideals is a partner worth courting, he says. If diplomacy is transactional, then the countries of Africa should get ready to deal. email@example.com
CHICAGO (CBS) – This weekend, Washington Park on Chicago’s South Side will host one of the city’s most popular and riveting events: the African Festival of the Arts.It was sidelined for two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic and, as CBS 2’s Jim Williams told us, the event returns this year under the banner “Back to Culture, Back to Tradition.“Dana Easter’s creations are the result of painstaking and precise work.“I dye it. I paint it. I print it. I silk screen it,” Easter said. “So, it is art, but it’s just to wear.“It’s called wearable art and it’s on the backs of people around the world.
“I’ve had people say ‘I was in London and I saw your t‑shirt or I saw your outfit. I knew it was Dana,’ ” she said.Williams: “This week though, you’re in one spot.Easter: “I’m in one spot, the African Festival of the Arts.“The African Festival of the Arts, which return this weekend after a two-year hiatus, will feature every conceivable expression of Black culture: paintings, sculptures, fashion, food and music.
“This festival is very important to me,” said Dayo Laoye, an artist and Nigerian native.The art festival reflects the rich spirit and traditions that artists like Laoye found in Chicago when he moved to the city 32 years ago.“The African culture for the last 400 years is still embedded in some part of America and some people, especially here on the South and West Side in Chicago,” he said. “So finding Africa here made me stay longer.“The African Festival of the Arts, Laoye said, has helped create a bigger market for the work of Black artists, including his own.“They represent all the gestures of our moods as Black people in America,” he said, adding, “Through this festival, I was able to build my clientele.“Patrick Woodtor founded the festival 33 years ago and has watched it blossom into a “national attraction.”“This is like a family reunion every year,” Woodton said. “Every year and people come as far as California, New York, Florida.”
And Woodtor said it’s sparked similar festival across the country.“I’m so excited about it,” said Easter.But this weekend, the center of the Black art world will be in Chicago’s Washington Park.“It’s just an exciting weekend for family, for art, entertainment,” Easter said. “It’s like no other.“CBS 2 is a proud media sponsor of the festival. It runs Friday through Monday, Labor Day, in Washington Park.For more information on the event, visit aihafa.squarespace.com.
China will continue to help with the construction of major infrastructure projects in Africa via financing, investment and assistance, the minister said in a speech at a recent meeting of the China-Africa cooperation forum.
The country will also be increasing imports from Africa, helping to develop Africa’s agricultural and manufacturing sectors, and expanding co-operation in emerging industries such as the digital economy, health, and green and low-carbon sectors.
The latest announcement follows China’s cancellation of at least 94 interest-free loans amounting to over US$3.4 billion in Africa between 2000 and 2019.
Finance expert Kanyi Lui of Pinsent Masons said: “China has been forgiving interest-free loans made to developing countries for almost half a century. When many African countries experienced debt distress in the 1980s to 1990s, China forgave over 85% of interest free loans then outstanding. This latest announcement shows China’s continued leadership in working with developing countries in debt distress.”
“As the BRI [Belt and Road Initiative] starts to shift its focus from mega infrastructure projects to ‘small and beautiful’ projects which focus on sustainability, raising living standards and social impact, developing countries would do well to carefully consider their own their interests and developmental needs and how to engage with China in a manner that would maximise the welfare of their people,” he said.
As of 2020, the African nations with the highest external debt to China as a percentage of gross national income are Djibouti (43%), Angola (41%) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (29%), according to World Bank data cited in press reports.
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In the wake of an energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, European countries are turning to Africa for its natural gas reserves.The move is a turnaround from recent years, when many of the same countries vowed to stop financing fossil fuel projects on the continent.Some African heads of state, along with their allies in industry, have welcomed the change, saying gas extraction will help finance the transition to renewables.But environmental advocates on the continent are pushing back, saying that a new era of fossil fuel extraction will create more misery and harm the climate. It was a victory for African climate campaigners and their allies in Europe and the United States: a group of powerful countries and institutions including the U.S., Canada and the European Investment Bank announced at last year’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, that they would end decades of support for oil and gas projects in Africa by the end of 2022. Coming on the heels of a World Bank commitment to start phasing out support for fossil fuels, it looked like a potential death knell for plans to exploit vast quantities of natural gas in Senegal, Mozambique and Nigeria.
And then Russia invaded Ukraine.
In the span of less than a year, gas projects in Africa have come back in style, as European countries scramble to make up for energy shortfalls caused by their standoff with Russia. In late May, for example, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz traveled to Senegal for talks with President Macky Sall over his interest in securing a steady supply of gas from the country’s BP-backed offshore fields. And on Aug. 16, Reuters reported that the EU plans to significantly ramp up security assistance for Mozambique’s troubled Cabo Delgado gas project, which in recent years has been the site of a deadly Islamist insurgency and at one point not long ago was thought to be on life support.
To some African governments, the turnaround is welcome, representing a needed course correction away from climate restrictions that threatened to block their plans to use gas reserves for economic development and boosting energy access for the poor. In a speech at Glasgow last year, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari criticized the COP26 announcement, and earlier this year in an op-ed for The Economist his vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, wrote that Africa “cannot accept regressive climate policy as another injustice.”
Nigeria has the continent’s largest proven natural gas reserves, followed by Algeria, Senegal, Mozambique and Egypt. All are advocates for the use of natural gas as a “transition fuel,” which their leaders say will facilitate economic development and help smooth the way for investment into renewables like solar, wind and hydropower.
The needs are clear: access to energy in Africa is far lower than in other regions. More than 600 million of the continent’s 1.3 billion people live without electricity, and despite having only one-tenth the overall population, in 2019 Japan alone consumed more power than all African countries combined did.
But as their presidents ink deals behind closed doors, civil society organizations on the continent are pushing back, most recently at the African Union, where an “African Common Position on Energy Access and Transition” calling for natural gas to be part of Africa’s energy strategy was adopted by the AU’s Executive Council. In an open letter, a coalition of advocacy groups said the position was “dangerous and short-sighted.”
“It makes zero sense to pursue new oil and gas extraction, which will make the climate crisis worse and make achieving climate goals impossible,” said Thandile Chinyavanhu, a climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace Africa. “The future is renewable, and African countries have the opportunity to lead the world into a new future powered by renewable energy, leaving dirty fossil fuels in the past and in the ground.”
A rendition of plans for onshore LNG infrastructure in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, planned for construction by France’s TotalEnergies.
A detailed memo accompanying the letter criticized efforts to expand gas production, saying that additional fossil fuel extraction risked worsening the impacts of climate change in Africa and that profits were likely to again be captured primarily by foreign investors. The memo cited the continent’s decades-long track record of failing to develop through oil and gas extraction, describing it as “enabling small powerful elites to extract rents and maintain economic and political control, while their populations lack access to energy, food and other essential services and remain impoverished.”
“We’ve seen this in Nigeria and African countries with fossil fuel projects,” said Lorraine Chiponda, coordinator of the Africa Coal Network, one of the letter’s signatories. “You can see the poverty that even the communities that live in the same areas are suffering from, so it still doesn’t make economic sense.”
The letter’s authors criticized the idea that gas could be a bridge to a renewable energy grid. It was more likely, they wrote, that infrastructure like pipelines and gas-fired power plants would suck finance and attention away from green energy.
Some supporters of gas projects in Africa acknowledge the poor track record of natural resource extraction on the continent. In Mozambique, for example, the discovery of large offshore gas reserves was followed almost immediately by a massive corruption scandal that implicated senior officials as well as European bankers.
But analysts like Imad Ahmed, an energy and climate adviser at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, say that, with the right approach, those prior scandals could inform stronger policies that ensure foreign investors pay their fair share and avoid damaging the environment.
“By remaining financiers of gas development, OECD nations can ensure that these good governance structures are embedded into contractual obligations,” Ahmed told Mongabay.
Supporters of gas extraction point out that African countries are among the lowest per-capita carbon emitters on the planet, and that expecting them to forgo the use of their natural resources to clean up a mess made largely by former colonial powers is inherently hypocritical.
“The prosperity we experience in Europe is on the back of historic emissions. You can’t pretend that it isn’t,” Ahmed said.
Environmental advocates agree, but they say that the appropriate restitution would be for wealthier countries to provide the support and finance for the transition to renewables — as they have promised to do in the past — rather than doubling down on their history of exploiting the continent’s resources for their own gain.
“Even before the climate crisis, many communities and civil society groups in Africa and around the world were fighting fossil fuel exploration due to its impacts on people’s livelihoods and the increased poverty, human rights violations, land grabbing, and corruption it brings,” said Anabela Lemos, founder of Mozambique’s Justiça Ambiental.
Last year, Shell agreed to pay more than $100 million in damages for spilling vast quantities of oil in the Niger Delta during the 1970s.
Whether or not wealthy countries owe African countries compensation for climate change is likely to be a contentious issue at November’s COP27 climate summit, which will be held in Egypt. The G7 group of richest countries managed to keep the issue of “loss and damage” off their agenda at initial talks in Germany held in June, but most observers expect it to take center stage at COP27.
For many influential heads of state and business leaders in Africa, the reluctance of rich countries to provide adequate climate funding to their less well-off counterparts is itself an argument in favor of exploiting the continent’s gas reserves.
“Denying Africa’s right to develop and use its own gas is morally unacceptable,” said the Sudanese-British billionaire Mo Ibrahim earlier this year.
Despite their relative lack of resources and power, though, African environmentalists aren’t going down without a fight. In the wake of the controversy over the AU’s proposed pro-gas stance, the lead negotiators set to represent the continent at COP27 said they would not adopt it as their official position. It was a victory for the anti-gas coalition, but advocates say if Europe stays on its current course, it could usher in a new era of fossil fuel extraction in Africa — and make a green transition that much harder.
“For now the decision has been rejected, but it doesn’t mean that individual governments in Africa aren’t signing deals with governments in Europe,” Chiponda said. “So we have to continue pushing back on that.”
Banner image: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visits with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in May 2022. Photo by Steffen Kugler for Die Bundesregierung.