XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE
WINDHOEK, (Xinhua) -- Namibian
President Hifikepunye Pohamba shakes hands with
visiting Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong during
their meeting in Windhoek, Namibia, Nov. 30, 2011.
Xinhua PHOTO: Li Ping
Crash kills 18 people in South Africa
A minibus taxi crashed into a truck
DURBAN, South Africa, (Xinhua) --
A minibus taxi crashed into a truck outside
Belfast in Mpumalanga on Thursday, killing 18 people,
including a toddler, authorities said.
Kenya’s parliament orders probe into use of funds for All
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
Kenyan Parliament on Thursday ordered the sports ministry to
be probed over the handling of All Africa Games bronze
winner, Sarah Njoki, as the docket’ s minister, Paul Otuoma
found himself under fire on Thursday.
Otuoma, who was presenting his report on how the government
utilised funds for the September Pan African Games in
Parliament was at pains to fend off claims of financial
impropriety as well as charges that joy riders made the
Maputo trip at the expense of deserving competitors.
Rising on a point of order, the chairman of the
Parliamentary Account Committee and Ikolomani, Dr. Bonny
Khalwale, asked the minister to explain how Njoki and team
mate Patroba Ojwang travelled five days by bus to
“They were denied a chance to fly to Maputo and Sarah Njoki
won a gold medal and she was denied her entitlement of the
1,100 U.S. dollars Presidential Award. Could this minister
tell us what is going on in this ministry,” Khalwale added.
In his defence, Otuoma said only the names of the 396 he
tabled to Parliament made up the official list of the Kenyan
delegation to Maputo as he insisted there were no joy riders
in the All Africa Games party.
“As far as I have interrogated this list, these are the
people who travelled to Maputo. All these travelled by air
but the two travelled on private capacity, they were not
part and parcel of the delegation,” Khalwale said.
“It came to my attention that the two were not accredited
through the Chef de Mission. We did not recognise the bronze
medal as part of our official tally and that is why it was
not factored in the presidential award,” Otuoma told a
charged Parliament amid mild heckling from backbenchers.
The minister apportioned the blame for the spat on Kenya Tae
Kwon Do Association (KTA) who declined to lodge Njoki and
Ochieng as competitors with the Chef de Mission, Charles
In Maputo, Njoki defied orders from Nyaberi to return home
and ended up with a bronze medal in her lightweight category
having been locked out from the Abuja (2003) and Algiers
(2007) editions by the KTA.
As a bronze winner, she was due to receive 1,100 dollars
under the Presidential Award Scheme but during the
presentation presided by President Mwai Kibaki in October;
her name was not on the roll.
Temporary Speaker, Gitobu Imanyara directed the matter to be
taken to the Parliamentary Committee on Labour and Social
Affairs to probe the matter and present the findings to the
house within a month.
Khalwale also claimed that some in the Kenyan competing
delegation slept on floors, toilets and shared accommodation
in Maputo as he sought the minister to explain how the
511,000 dollars spent on boarding and lodging was utilised.
However, supporting documents the Ikolomani legislator
presented in parliament were withdrawn after they were found
to be unsigned.
In his disclosure, Otuoma said the government spent 1.1
million dollars against a budget of 1.15 million dollars in
allowances, 467,000 dollars in accommodation and a further
374,000 dollars on air tickets for the 396-strong
Kenya urges UN security council to seek ways of stabilizing
BUJUMBURA, (Xinhua) --
Kenyan President and Chairperson of East African Community (EAC)
heads of state summit Mwai Kibaki on Wednesday called on the
United Nations (UN) Security Council to “quickly” seek ways
of stabilizing Somalia.
Kibaki made the call at the 13th ordinary summit of the EAC
in the Burundian capital Bujumbura, saying the solution to
the stabilization of Somalia is urgent.
Participants include African Union (AU) Commission Chairman
Jean Ping, diplomats, development partners, officials from
EAC partner states, officials at the Common Market for
Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and officials of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC).
“Instability in Somalia continues to spill over inside
Somalia and to neighboring countries. Insecurity in Somalia
is an international issue. The UN Security Council should do
all its best to stabilize Somalia,” said President Kibaki.
Kibaki also called on the AU and the Intergovernmental
Authority for Development (IGAD) states in the region “to
involve themselves to restore security and stability in
The Kenyan president and chairperson of the summit commended
member states for backing the support of Kenya to Somalia’s
transitional government in the combat against Al-Shabaab
Kibaki said, “We (Kenya) highly appreciate the EAC member
states’ support for our pursuit of Al-Shabaab insurgents who
make incursions in Kenya.”
Since Oct. 16, Kenya has been pursuing Al-Shabaab insurgents
who are held responsible for a string of kidnapping inside
Kenya, undermining its pillar industry tourism.
During the summit, the Burundian president Pierre Nkurunziza
and outgoing chairperson of the EAC summit, handed over the
chairmanship to Kenyan President Kibaki.
Kenya pledges to work closely with South Sudan for stability
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
Kenya pledged to continue working together with the newly
independent Republic of South Sudan to ensure that this
neighbouring country lays a strong foundation for stability
and progress, according to a statement of Kenya’s prime
minister on Wednesday.
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said the vast South Sudan
can learn from mistakes of pioneering African countries and
does not have the luxury of experimenting with models before
picking on what works.
“We shall continue to extend a brotherly hand and offer all
forms of support, geared towards alleviating the hardship of
your population and to the strengthening of the ties of
friendship between our two nations,” he said in the
statement issued from the PM’s office.
The Prime Minister stated that Kenya stood by South Sudan in
her difficult days and has no reason whatsoever to withdraw
Speaking on Tuesday evening when closing a retreat for Vice
President, Cabinet ministers and deputy Ministers of the
Republic of South Sudan, Odinga said that Kenya has factored
her northern neighbour in the ambitious LAPSSET corridor
project, which will comprise development of a railway line
from the Lamu Port to Juba and Addis Ababa.
Odinga mentioned that a groundbreaking ceremony of the
project, poised to be the largest investment in the East and
Central Africa is on course. He reminded the leaders from
South Sudan that independence was not an end but the
beginning of any country.
He advised them to kill the dragon of ethnicity and remain
united to be able to forge ahead and achieve the national
“I urge you to take your religious, cultural and ethnic
diversity as sources of strength rather than allowing them
to split your people,” he said.
The PM said Africa has witnessed unprecedented clamour for
change and accountability hence the need for
transformational leadership where those in power must
demonstrate commitment to produce results.
The Vice President of South Sudan Dr. Riek Machar Teny
thanked Kenya for continuing to support his country and
looked forward to enhanced co-operation between these two
Machar said that his country looks forward to deepening good
relationship with Kenya and other members of the East
African Community for speedy socio-economic development of
The VP said that his government would strive constantly to
reduce poverty, disease and inequality, to provide education
and good governance and uphold the rule of law.
Kenya plays down diplomatic spat with Sudan
By Chrispinus Omar and David
Musyoka NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Tuesday
played down the diplomatic spat after a high court ruling
that Nairobi should arrest Sudan’s president if he was in
the East African country.
A statement from Kenya’s Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula
said the current dispute would not undermine existing
cordial relations between the two friendly nations. “The
Government of Kenya therefore expresses its deep concern at
the very unhelpful High Court ruling and will do everything
within its powers to ensure that the ruling does not
undermine in any way whatsoever the very cordial and
fraternal relations that exist between Kenya and Sudan,”
Khartoum on Monday ordered Kenyan Ambassador Robert Mutua
Ngesu out of the country after Nairobi said it would arrest
President Omar Al-Bashir if he was in the country and hand
him over to the International Criminal Court to face
genocide and war crime charges. “Kenya does not, therefore,
contemplate any retaliatory action. Indeed, it is Kenya’s
belief that such rushed action, while regrettable, may have
been prompted by the Sudanese government’s displeasure with
the High Court ruling,” the minister said.
Sudan’s Foreign Ministry had earlier said the court ruling
was linked to Kenya’s domestic politics and would not affect
Sudan does not recognize the authority of the world court,
and the Sudanese leader has flouted the arrest warrants by
repeatedly traveling abroad, though mostly to countries that
are not ICC members.
A statement from Sudan’s Embassy in Kenya said on Tuesday it
was disappointed by the high court ruling which sparked off
the diplomatic spat with Khartoum.
The embassy said the ruling seriously damaged relations
between the two countries, adding that Sudan said Kenya
should abide by a ruling by African Union member countries
not to cooperate with the ICC and arrest Al-Bashir if he
visits other African countries. “This ruling has to do with
the sovereignty of Sudan and it is very difficult for the
Sudan government to accept the interference of an
international NGO to hamper the relations between the two
countries,” the embassy said in a statement.
The ICC in 2009 issued its first arrest warrant for Al-Bashir
on five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of
A second 2010 warrant added three additional counts of
genocide. Kenya is party to the Rome Statute that created
But Wetangula said the government will carefully study the
judgment delivered on Monday by the high court judge with a
view to requesting the attorney general to expeditiously
prefer an appeal in the matter.
“Therefore as much as we respect the ruling of the High
Court, we are aware that the Court does not operate in a
vacuum. It is important that the country’s national
interests as well as the wider interests of the region that
we live in are taken into account in matters of this
nature,” the minister said.
According to Wetangula, Kenya fully understands the anxiety
created by the court ruling within Sudan, as it is a direct
affront on the cardinal principle of sovereign immunity, as
well as the collective African Union position on this
He said the Assembly of the AU Heads of State and Government
in February 2009 cautioned against the indictment of
President Al- Bashir and requested the UN Security Council
to defer the process initiated by the ICC in accordance with
the provisions of Article 16 of the Rome Statute. “Kenya as
a responsible and active member of the AU fully subscribes
to the position taken by the AU Assembly on this matter and
shall continue to support AU efforts in resolving the
matter,” he said.
The minister said it was a matter of fact that it took
overwhelming courage and commitment on the part of President
Al- Bashir to overcome the difficult challenges of
implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which was
negotiated in Kenya under the auspices of the regional IGAD
bloc. “Kenya still remains Chair of the IGAD Sub-Committee
on Sudan and we therefore have a legitimate and strategic
interest in ensuring that both peace and justice are
achieved in Sudan,” Wetangula said.
The ICC has argued that Kenya is obligated as a member state
to arrest the Sudanese president. Officials at the
Hague-based court have said that if Kenya fails to comply
with the ICC warrant, the court may report Kenya to the U.N.
Al-Bashir entered Kenyan territory once since he became
subject to an ICC arrest warrant in August 2010 to attend
the celebration of Kenya’s new constitution.
Africa Focus: MP arrested in Mozambique municipal
By Manuel Camilo MAPUTO, (Xinhua)
-- The Mozambican police have arrested a member
of the Niassa Provincial Assembly, Carlos Martins, during
the municipal by-election for mayor of the city of Cuamba,
state radio reported on Wednesday.
Martins was surprised by supporters of the ruling Frelimo
Party writing down the names of voters and their voter card
The accusation against Martins is exactly the same
accusation that the MDM made last week against Frelimo
member Suzete Ernesto. They were both caught drawing up
lists of voters.
But this is not a crime, according to AIM. Nowhere in the
electoral legislation are parties forbidden from making such
lists which, in much of the world, would be regarded as
normal canvassing activity.
But the other daily paper, O Pais, gives a different
version. It says that Martins was arrested for his role in
the MDM’s abduction of Ernesto.
She and three other Frelimo members were allegedly held for
some hours in the MDM office, before the MDM released most
of them and handed Ernesto over to the police.
This constitutes the crime of private imprisonment—but
Martinho denies that Ernesto was ever imprisoned.
Instead she was taken directly to the police station.
However such citizens’ arrests are only legitimate if the
person arrested is committing a crime.
Writing down lists is not a crime. The MDM election agent in
Cuamba, Jose Chitula, accused the police of acting in favor
He argued that, since Martins enjoys limited immunity as a
member of the Provincial Assembly, if his case goes to
trial, it should be heard by the Niassa Provincial Court and
not the lower Cuamba District Court.
The MDM ensured that Martins was released from custody by
paying bail of 20,000 meticais (about 740 U. S. dollars).
The MDM has also claimed police harassment in Quelimane,
capital of the central province of Zambezia.
On Tuesday the police prevented an MDM parade of bicycles
and motorbike from using one of the main streets in the
city, National Heroes Avenue, because the city prison and
the police command are located on this street.
The spokesperson for the provincial police command, Ernesto
Serrote, cited in O Pais, said that the MDM parade would
break the law if it went past the prison and the command.
In fact the electoral law does not state that political
party parades and motorcades cannot go past public
buildings, although it is true that no flyposting on these
buildings is allowed.
Political activities cannot be held inside them. Serrote
even alleged that inmates of the prison might take advantage
of the MDM parade to escape.
However, Frelimo motorcades have driven down this avenue,
and no prisoners escaped.
Serrote acknowledged that Frelimo had indeed used the
avenue, but said there had only been “a few vehicles” in the
Frelimo motorcade, so it did not meet his definition of a
political parade, according to AIM.
Sudan able to foil attempt to politically isolate it from
KHARTOUM, (Xinhua) --
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Wednesday accused some
international trends of attempting to politically isolate
Sudan from its African surrounding.
“Sudan has been subject to unjustified pressures because of
its independent options and its rejection of foreign
interventions and politicization of justice,” said al-Bashir
when addressing the 34th conference of African Parliamentary
Union (APU) in Khartoum.
“An economic siege has been imposed on Sudan and presently
attempts are ongoing by external trends to politically
isolate Sudan from its African surrounding,” he added.
He reiterated Sudan’s ability to face foreign plots, saying
that “due to Sudan’s adherence to its stances and with the
support of the peace loving peoples in Africa we have
managed to break the siege and abort the isolation plot.”
Al-Bashir called on the African countries to prevent foreign
intervention in the African affair, saying that “the
(African) countries must live up to their responsibility in
resolving the African conflicts and block the way before
foreign interventions which further complicate our issues.”
The 34th APU conference is discussing two main issues
relating to the role of parliamentary institutions in
enhancing solidarity among the African countries to boost
security and stability and involvement of the people,
particularly the youth, to reduce poverty, end exclusion and
Kenya says Lamu port to become East Africa’s gateway
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- The
envisaged Lamu port to be constructed along Kenya’s Indian
Ocean coastline will be the gateway for East African region,
and especially for land locked South Sudan and Ethiopia,
Kenya’s prime minister said here late on Monday.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga said in Nairobi that the port
will be well placed to handle imports and exports of the
countries in the hinterland.
“We will have the ground breaking ceremony of the port in
the next three months for the first three berths of the
facility which will be placed to be the link of the East
Africa to the rest of the world,” Odinga said during the
closing ceremony of the retreat for the vice president,
cabinet ministers and deputy ministers of the South Sudan
“The port will be built in phases in order to accommodate
the expected growing traffic of trade due to rapid economic
expansion of Ethiopia and South Sudan as well as the rest of
the region,” the prime minister said.
Odinga said that already a draft bilateral agreement on the
development of the Lamu port and related infrastructure
dubbed Lamu South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET)
has already been sent to South Sudan’s capital of Juba and
Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.
Additionally, he noted that Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign
Affairs is in the process of convening bilateral meetings
with the two neighbouring states.
LAPSSET project includes road, rail, pipeline and fiber
optic link from the Lamu port through Kenya’s northern town
of Isiolo and eventually terminating in Addis Ababa and
He also invited the two governments to second staff to the
port when it is completed so that goods emanating and
destined to the countries are cleared without any delay.
South Sudan’s Vice President Dr. Riek Machar said that the
infrastructure project will foster closer linkages between
Kenya and the land locked East African states. “The port
will strengthen the integration of the economies in the
region for the benefit all countries,” Machar said.
He added that Kenya’s emergence as a major economic partner
will be a big plus for South Sudan as it will provide a
large market for its (South Sudanese) exports.
He lamented his countries continued reliance on oil for a
majority of its export earnings despite the great potential
in agriculture, tourism, minerals and livestock.
.Africa should no longer see new
generation with HIV infection
Africa should no longer see new generation with HIV
By Liang Shanggang ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua)
-- Marking the World AIDS Day on Thursday at the
African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,
Jean Ping, the AU Commission chairperson, said Africa should
no longer see new generations with HIV infection.
Through his representative, Ping called upon individual and
collective action to contain mother to child transmission of
“We should act individually and collectively not only to
prevent mother to child transmission but also to take care
of the health of people living with the virus,” said the
He also expressed commitment of the AU Commission to work
with member states and pertinent bodies in the efforts made
to HIV treatment and prevention.
The World AIDS Day is commemorated this year under the theme
“Zero Mother to Child Transmission”, as world leaders who
were gathered in New York for the 2011 United Nations (UN)
High Level Meeting on AIDS in June, launched a Global Plan
for significant strides towards eliminating new HIV
infection among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers
Remarkable progress has been made so far, which is proof to
realize the vision of zero new HIV infection, zero
discrimination, and zero AIDS-related death (the three
zeros), said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in the message
on the commemoration of the World AIDS Day.
The secretary general revealed that the number of new
infections has fallen by more than 20 percent since 1997,
and new infections are continuing to decline in most parts
of the world.
In sub-Saharan Africa, the region most affected by the AIDS
epidemic, HIV incidence has decreased in 22 countries, he
According to UNAIDS, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa,
Zambia, and Zimbabwe are among the African countries where
new HIV infections dropped significantly.
“Treatment has averted 2.5 million AIDS-related deaths since
1985. Last year alone, 700,000 lives were saved. Some 6.6
million people, nearly half those who need treatment in low
and middle- income countries, are now receiving it,” said
“Synergies between prevention and treatment are speeding up
progress. But, to end AIDS, we need to deliver even greater
results,” said the secretary general.
The UNAIDS says to get to the three zeros there must be
acceleration on smart investments, capitalizing on
scientific advancements and respecting human rights.
Speaking at the AU headquarters on the commemoration of AIDS
Day, Jan Beagle, deputy executive director of UNAIDS,
underlined on the need to invest smartly to achieve the
vision of the three zeros.
There is a global target of 22 million U. S. dollars to 24
billion dollars to fund the AIDS response, which the UNAIDS
says is a shared responsibility of all countries, donors and
“International assistance for the AIDS response has declined
from 8.7 billion dollars in 2009 to 7.6 billion in 2010,”
said the Deputy Executive Director.
“We need to use new technology more effectively to reduce
costs and demonstrate that we can deliver return on
investment,” she said.
The AIDS movement is a movement for inclusiveness, equity
and social justice, she said, adding that it has
demonstrated global solidarity is possible to address multi-sectoral
According to Abdoulie Janneh, executive secretary of the UN
Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), an estimated 7,000
people get infected with HIV infections every day.
The executive secretary highlighted ingenious and novel
approaches in introducing new HIV/AIDS prevention
“A combination of the traditional initiatives and innovative
initiatives can all be used to eliminate new HIV
infections,” said Janneh.
South Africa business urged to initiate effective workplace
JOHANNESBURG, (Xinhua) --
As South Africa cabinet recently said the Presidency would
lead the country to honor World AIDS Day, HIV/AIDS rights
group called on the business sector to play a leading role
in the fight against the epidemic last Friday.
Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) Skills Development Officer
Lawrence Mbalati said the business sector in South Africa
must promote labour laws that are “non-discriminatory” and
augment funding towards HIV/AIDS programmes.
“Business must take a lead in fighting stigma and
discrimination at workplace and communities by promoting
labour laws that are non-discriminatory and promoting
conducive environment for HIV testing and treatment,”
Mbalati told Xinhua ahead of the World AIDS Day.
Held annually on Dec. 1, the World AIDS Day is an important
opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight
against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV
and to commemorate people who have died.
It reminds the public, government and business that HIV has
not gone away—there is still a vital need to raise money,
increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.
“Business must also increase strategic health and HIV
funding,” Mbalati said. “It must promote capacity building
and skills development for community empowerment and
development,” he added.
The senior HIV/AIDS activist said there is need for both
government and business to initiate effective workplace HIV
policy that is not discriminatory.
According to reports globally an estimated 33.3 million
people have HIV. More than 25 million people have died from
the virus between 1981 and 2007, making it one of the most
destructive pandemics in history. In South Africa, 5.6
million people are living with HIV, the highest number in
the world. And 68 percent of all HIV cases are in
However a recent UNAIDS (the Joint United Nations Programme
on HIV/AIDS) report indicate that in the past two years,
South Africa has made significant investment in combating
HIV and “the impact is beginning to show.”
According to the report the most impressive impact is on the
prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission. Around 95
percent of pregnant HIV positive women are now getting
antiretroviral to prevent their babies from getting the
virus, scoring a 30 percent increase since 2007. In
addition, the rate of new HIV infections in the country has
decreased by 22 percent between 2001 and 2009, while
AIDS-related deaths have decreased by 21 percent between
2001 and 2010.
Mbalati said Pretoria must promote meaningful public and
private partnership with health programmes, which are of
community ownership rather than current Cooperate Social
This year World AIDS Day in South Africa marks 30 years of
existence of HIV/AIDS in the country. Manyi said government
campaign on the Day will emphasize on providing universal
access to HIV, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and
tuberculosis prevention, treatment, care and support. This
is complementary to the global theme as South Africa will
continuously strive to achieve zero HIV infections.
“Government should evaluate and overhaul current HIV
prevention strategy to evaluate what has worked and what
didn’t work. It must develop effective and evidence-based
HIV prevention policy and programmes that take note of the
nature and pattern of the epidemic in the country,” Mbalati
According to TAC government must develop effective HIV
prevention and treatment prevention strategy, should
incorporate effective young friendly clinics focusing on
sexuality, post exposure prophylaxis, teenage pregnancy,
behavioral change, prevention and treatment of STIs
The AIDS right group said this as last week Statistics South
Africa said there is big increase in the teenager pregnancy
and that young people in South Africa especially at school
are sexually active without protection. “School health
programmes must be intensified and effectively implemented,”
Mbalati said. “All sexual active age group amongst youth
particularly high school learners should have access to
condoms at schools,” he added.
He called on the non governmental sector to assist in
mobilizing and organizing youth in communities to take
responsibilities of their lives.
He said in South Africa there is a need for scaling up
treatment literacy and HIV counselling and testing in
communities for early diagnostic and treatment.
UNESCO decries low HIV knowledge among youth in eastern,
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- The
UN Educational Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on
Wednesday raised concern about the low levels of knowledge
on HIV prevention among young people in eastern and southern
Africa region, an UNESCO official said here.
UNESCO Director for Nairobi Office Joseph Massaquoi said
that evidence from various studies indicates that the UN
member states goal of ensuring 95 percent of young people
aged between 15 to 24 have comprehensive knowledge about the
disease by 2010 is yet to be achieved.
“Data from a recently concluded study by the Southern and
Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Education Quality (SACMEQ)
showed that only 39 percent of grade 6 learners had the
minimum level of information about HIV,” Massaquoi told a
consultative forum on HIV and Young people in Nairobi.
The forum provides a platform for dialogue between the
government, civil society and development partners in
outlining collaborative actions around HIV among young
people who are the majority of the country’s population.
The director said that the low level of awareness is a clear
sign for all stakeholders to focus more on the efforts to
address how best to ensure that the young people are well
equipped with comprehensive information to bring about the
desired behavior change on HIV prevention in order to secure
the future of the country. “For young people to be informed,
it is important to involve parents and community leaders in
making crucial decisions on how holistic information
pertaining to HIV is shaped and delivered,” he said.
Additionally, he said the role of parents and families
through partnerships with schools and teachers needs to be
enhanced as they have the necessary skills and resources to
educate the youth.
Massaquoi noted that despite all concerted efforts, new
infections continue to be recorded among young people as the
pandemic has remained a step ahead of our interventions.
Kenya’s National AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections
Control Programme (NASCOP), Director Nicholas Muraguri
attributed the low education among youth on different
polices among government departments. “While the health
sector is more open to sharing information on reproductive
health and HIV information to the school students, other
public departments are more hesitant due to existing social
and cultural norms,” he said.
He emphasized the need for comprehensive education in order
to help the youth protect themselves from HIV.
UGANDA, (Xinhua) --
Simon Wasswa, 15-year-old, talks with a local doctor
in central Ugandan district of Mukono, Nov. 25, 2011.
Unsure of the day’s meals, which tops his worries,
Wasswa moves from village to village in search for
petty jobs like fetching water, digging or feeding
animals. Wasswa was orphaned by HIV/AIDS, and he is
also battling the disease which he says he got from
his mother during birth. Aware of the importance of
ARVs, Wasswa will now have to walk for four hours and
sometimes with an empty stomach to reach the nearest
hospital where he can access the medicine. His
caretaker at the hospital, Richard Aliwali, however
wonders whether this will make any difference because
the ARVs need good feeding which Wasswa can not
afford. He urges government and other agencies to come
to the rescue of children like Wasswa. Like any other
child, Wasswa has a dream and his dream is to become a
driver. He says when he becomes a driver, he will be
able to earn enough money to take care of himself.
AU expresses concern about health over children in Kenya
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- A
technical expert on food safety at the African Union
Commission on Wednesday expressed concern about recent
reports indicating that over 60,000 children of school-going
age in drought-stricken areas of Kenya are exposed to
Sarah Olembo, a scientist based at the AU Commission said in
Nairobi during a conference on aflacontrol that has drawn
players in the maize chain that failure by a reputable
company like Proctor and Allan to detect traces of aflatoxin
in its maize supply has sent fears among consumers of maize
in the region.
“It was painful and devastating to hear that such a large
number of children, who in addition to suffering the impact
of drought have had harmful toxins introduced in their
system that can cause devastating effects to their health,”
The scientist said they have taken note of the report at the
AU and promised that the Commission will address the matter.
“At the AU, we develop, sensitize and facilitate policy on
food safety issues among member states and aflatoxin is one
of the areas that we cover. Therefore we will give this
matter the attention that it deserves.”
The conference is receiving reports of a two-year
Aflacontrol project that studied and focused on small holder
production in Kenya and which used maize as a vital value
food chain to mitigate the risks.
A Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy
Research Institute Clare Narrod said analysis indicate that
aflatoxin is prevalent in three regions of the world, namely
Africa, Southeast Asia and Western Pacific with secondary
data from Kenya showing that over 4,000 cases of aflatoxin-induced
liver afflictions were reported between 2004 and 2005.
Last October, the Secretary General of the Kenya Red Cross
Society Abbas Gullet said cereals manufacturer Proctor and
Allan recalled 28 tons out of a total of 382 metric tons of
relief food following the discovery of the deadly aflatoxing
in some of its maize meal sent to drought-ravaged areas in
Kenya after the anomaly was detected during routine
examination of samples.
Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring fungus that on entering
the body is metabolized by the liver which in turn causes
liver cancer. The distribution targeted children in school
among other vulnerable groups.
Africa Feature: Tough times for Kenyans as December holiday
By Bedah Mengo NAIROBI,
(Xinhua) -- Kenyans are bracing themselves for tough times
during December holiday as cost of living, pushed up by high
prices of basic commodities and fuel, continues to escalate.
Prices of most goods and services in the East African nation
have risen in the past months, making Kenyans spend twice as
much as they used to spend on the same goods a year ago.
Top on the list of goods and services which have increased
sharply include transport, rent, electricity, food, gas,
basic items like sugar, bread and milk, fuel and healthcare.
And as December, the month of festivities starts, Kenyans
will have to dig deeper into their pockets to travel, put
food on the table, access healthcare, go on holiday and buy
prizes for loved ones.
“This is December, where most people like to entertain their
families and enjoy themselves. However, with rising cost of
goods and services, we have no choice but to cut our
spending,” Samuel Munyendo, a banker working in Nairobi,
said on Wednesday.
The-32-year-old noted that most people are struggling to
make ends meet. “I often ask myself that if me, who has a
job with a constant salary has to struggle to meet my daily
needs, what about that person who is unemployed?” he posed.
His expenses in a day, the banker revealed, have risen from
2.2 dollars to about 3.4 dollars in the past three months.
“Things are going out of hand. Most of that money goes to
fare, which fluctuates regularly and on lunch. Sometimes I
have to skip lunch so that I do not overspend,” he
The father of two school-going children said that most
Kenyans are finding it hard to survive because of increased
number of dependants.
“There is a lot of pressure on people who have jobs because
more than half of those who are supposed to be working are
unemployed. Those who are employed, therefore, have to
support several dependants putting a strain on their
resources,” he said.
“It will even be tougher this festive season where peoples’
expectations are higher.”
Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) on Nov. 29
painted a grimmer picture on the cost of living, noting that
inflation will continue to rise significantly in the month
In its monthly report, the bureau noted that Kenya’s cost of
living (inflation) had shot up to 19.72 percent in November,
up from 18.91 percent the previous month.
Inflation has increased by six points since a year ago when
it stood at 3.84 percent. In January this year, according to
KNBS, inflation was at 5.42 percent.
“Food and non alcoholic drinks’ index went up by 1.35
percent between October and November as a result of price
increases observed in a number of food products such as
beef, bread, potatoes, chicken, wheat flour and sugar. The
average price of a kilogram of beef with bones, for
instance, rose from 3.2 dollars in October to 3.4 dollars in
November,” said the bureau in its report.
It further observed there were notable falls in the prices
of sukuma wiki (kales), maize flour, tomatoes, mangoes,
cabbages, spinach and carrots, among other food items,
because of good rainfall and an increase in supply.
Analysts, however, note that Kenyans will not benefit from
price reductions of fresh food items because of rise in fuel
prices, which push up cost of transport.
It is expected that Energy Regulatory Commission, Kenya’s
energy sector regulator, will review prices of petrol,
kerosene and diesel upwards mid this month.
This will further increase the cost of transport, which
according to KNBS increased by 2.19 percent between October
“The transport index rose due to continued increases in the
costs of petrol, diesel, taxi charges and matatu/bus fares.
The national average prices of petrol and diesel per liter
have gone up by 29.44 and 27.07 percent, respectively,
compared to the same month last year,” said KNBS.
Other basic items, whose prices have increased considerably,
include housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels.
“The cost of cooking gas, kerosene and charcoal went up by
7.01, 5.40 and 4.33 percent, respectively during the period
under review, “ KNBS said.
Thus, to cushion themselves from runaway inflation during
this festive season, Kenyans are working on austerity
Judith Mbelesa, an administrative assistant in a State
corporation in Nairobi said on Tuesday the high cost of
living has pushed many Kenyans to the edge.
She has agreed with her husband not to send their four
children upcountry in Western Kenya.
“We usually take them to our parents the whole of December
but this time, we must do things differently to cut our
expenses. We will stay with them until the holiday ends.
Even ourselves we will not travel. The money that we would
have used on transport will send to our parents,” she said.
To compensate their children, she said they will take them
to Nairobi National Park and other places they have never
“This will reduce our expenses and when the holiday ends,
and schools reopen, we would have spared some money to pay
school fees, “ she said.
Expert urges use of biotechnology for Africa’s food
ACCRA, (Xinhua) -- A
senior agriculture expert on Thursday urged Africans to
adopt biotechnology to increase the yield of food crops on
Speaking at the closing session of the four-day Pan African
Biotechnology Stewardship Conference held here, the director
of the Forum for Agriculture Research in Africa (FARA),
Adewale Adekunle, expressed hope that the program would
yield the needed results.
“The case studies presented by African scientists who have
benefitted from training on Stewardship received from the
FARA-led Biotechnology Strengthening Project is an
indication that African scientists are on course in using
the tools of biotechnology for safe development of crops
that are of high quality,” Adekunle said.
The conference, the first of its kind with the theme of
“Africa Managing Safe and High-Quality Biotech Crops”, was
to connect stakeholders such as scientists, funding and
technology donors, and government agencies to build capacity
and raise support for sustainable funding, according to
The conference started on Monday with a workshop for 45
participants from about eight countries including the United
States, Switzerland and African countries such as Uganda,
South Africa and Ghana.
Coordinator of the Strengthening Capacity for Safe
Biotechnology Management in Sub-Saharan Africa (SABIMA),
Professor Walter Alhassan, was glad the conference was able
to review the three-year project, which ends this year.
“It has also allowed the six countries (Ghana, Nigeria,
Uganda, Burkina Faso, Malawi and Kenya) to tell the rest of
the world their successes, challenges and how they have
applied the principles of stewardship in Agricultural
Biotechnology,” Alhassan noted.
Some participants were of the view that the problem in
Africa was not really about the increase in population but
the demand for food and livestock, improving the soil,
producing good seed varieties of crops that mature quickly,
and good markets for farmers’ products.
Africa’s sovereign wealth funds should boost private sector
By David Musyoka NAIROBI, (Xinhua)
-- African countries can use their own sovereign
wealth funds to invest in homegrown private equity funds to
create wealth and employment and drive the growth of the
private equity sector, an investment fund official says.
Africa receives only 1.5 percent of the global private
equity funds despite high returns and highly diversified
investments available in the continent, said Stephen Murphy,
managing director of Institutional Fundraising at the
“There are enormous and vibrant opportunities for private
equity in the continent. One of the reasons most global
players avoid investing here is because of the perception
that Africa does not have a free press, which is essential
for private equity to thrive,” Murphy told Xinhua in a
recent interview in Nairobi.
He said African countries should set up independent
sovereign wealth funds that are free of government
interference and managed by people with clear motivation of
what they want to achieve.
The sovereign funds should then invest some of their funds
in private equity companies to spur private sector growth,
The interplay between sovereign funds and private equity
will mean that sovereign funds create better returns with
their money that can be used by the governments to meet
their pension obligations or for long-term wealth
The model is widely used by some European countries. For
instance, KfW of Germany or Propaco of France invest in
private equity funds in emerging markets to make returns
while helping to create wealth and employment.
According to Murphy, this interplay ensures that money is
invested in businesses that have high growth prospects.
“Governments should aim to get three dollars in return for
every one dollar they invest,” said Murphy.
The most recent effort to address the issue of sovereign
funds in Africa was a roundtable conference organized in
March by the African Development Bank in Morocco to enable
African sovereign funds to compare notes on common
investment, strategy and governance challenges with their
counterparts from other parts of the world.
The most visible sovereign wealth funds in Africa, according
to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, are Algeria Revenue
Regulation Fund, Botswana Pula Fund, Libyan Investment
Authority, Mauritania National Fund for Hydrocarbon Reserves
and Nigeria Excess Crude Account.
Algeria Revenue Regulation Fund was established in 2000 with
54.8 billion U.S. dollars from sales of oil taxes. It was
set up to insulate the Algerian economy from price
volatility in gas and oil commodity prices.
Botswana Pula Fund was established in 1996 with 6.9 billion
dollars from the sale of diamonds.
The fund invests in public equity and fixed income
instruments in industrialized and developed economies.
Mauritania National Fund for Hydrocarbon Reserves is derived
from oil and gas sales. It was established in 2006, the fund
plays the role of a macroeconomic stabilization fund for the
In addition, it has a long-term goal of accumulating savings
for future generations.
Non-communicable diseases increase in Kenya against few
by Peter Mutai NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
There is high increase of cancer, diabetes, heart disease,
chronic lung, neurological and psychiatric diseases in Kenya
even before malaria, HIV and tuberculosis have been brought
According to Kenya’s Minister for Higher Education, Science
and Technology Professor Margaret Kamar, this poses a double
burden of diseases in the country.
“There is need to restructure the health delivery system and
shift emphasis to promotion and preventive care in order to
lower the nations disease burden,” Kamar said on Wednesday
in Nairobi while opening a Non Communicable Diseases
Alliance, Kenya research prioritization workshop.
She revealed that the prevalence of hypertension is 27
percent and that of diabetes is four percent, an increase
that she attributes to increase in age, salt intake, low
vegetable consumption, increased body weight and lack of
“These two conditions are responsible for almost all cases
of heart failure, heart attack, stroke and kidney failure in
Kenya,” Kamar added.
According to the 2011 Global Medicine Report, the incident
of cancer in Kenya are on the rise, with over 82,000 new
cases reported annually and blames this upward trend to poor
habit of Kenyans.
The report noted that the eating habit is to blame for the
increase of breast, cervix, prostrate and oesophageal
“The poorest people have the highest risk of developing
chronic disease and they are least able to cope with the
resulting financial consequences,” the report said.
The minster noted that the communicable diseases are
underestimated yet they cause poverty besides being a
barrier to economic development and are impeding the
achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
She said that non-communicable diseases account for about 22
percent of total mortality rates and over 50 percent of
“It is important that the available research data be
analyzed and presented in a format that could be easily
understood by the policy makers,” she noted.
Kamar called for the formulation and effective
implementation of policies and legislation that create and
maintain an enabling environment to promotion of options and
access to low salt in foods, affordable prices of fruits and
vegetables, spaces and security for cycling and walking or
“Advertising and positioning unhealthy foods, alcohol and
cigarettes to school should be controlled. Adherence to
physical education lessons scheduled in schools should be
increased and the tendency to substitute them with academic
lessons stopped,” she said.
The Secretary of National Council of Science and Technology
(NCST), Professor Shaukat Abdulrazak, told participants that
the department has research funds and called on applicants
on the area of non communicable diseases to apply.
He said that it was regrettable that South Africa handles
100 patents a year while Kenya only handles 42. “We gave 46
scholarships for masters and 76 PhD scholarships this year
and intend to increase the funding next year,” he noted.
Dr. Ahmed Ogwell Africa World Health Organization (WHO) Team
leader for Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC)
revealed that non communicable diseases account for 35
percent of deaths in the continent.
He called on experts non communicable players to seek
alternative funding from different partners to help reduce
the number of deaths of the diseases.
“The governments in the continent must put in place
conducive infrastructure to help in early detection of non
communicable diseases,” he said.
He advised non-communicable experts to put in place
infrastructure for all non communicable diseases instead of
coming up with separate facilities for individual diseases
adding that acquiring findings may prove a tall order for
governments in developing countries.
Kenya’s Director of non communicable diseases Dr. William
Maina challenged participants that were drawn from Nigeria,
Togo, Zambia, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo,
and Ghana to consider involving all stakeholders from all
walks of life in the management of the diseases.
He revealed that the policy on cancer is due to be released
anytime adding that the national cancer control bill is
already in parliament awaiting deliberations and maybe
“Non communicable disease should be in the development
agenda beyond the year 2015 so that proper attention can be
given to the diseases,” the Coordinator of Consortium on Non
Communicable Diseases (CNCD) Dr. Mary Nyamongo said.
Nyamongo appealed to participants to involve policy makers
so as to address all causes of ill health and poverty that
are a major contributor to non communicable diseases.
She calls for the interventions that promote healthy diets
and physical activities as a way of managing the rise of the
According to the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) 2011
cancer unit report, Kenya has five clinical oncologists,
four medical oncologists and about eight oncologists.
Kenya is ranked 148 out of 187 countries surveyed in the
2011 human development index and is categorized as low
income country in the annual rankings of national
achievement in health, education and income by the UN
Development Program (UNDP).
Africa Feature: Kenyan girl’s battle with heart condition
By Ejidiah Wangui NAIROBI, (Xinhua)
-- Dressed in a black skirt and a navy blue
pullover, Jane Ngugi, 25, appears to be healthy as she goes
about her business.
However, her story is nowhere near to describe the pain and
turmoil she has been through.
Orphaned at a tender age, Jane relies on well-wishers to
take care of herself and her five year-old son.
Two years ago, she was diagnosed with a heart condition that
rendered her helpless.
“Life has become really hard, I cannot do any strenuous
activity, even walking for a short distance brings on
breathlessness, dizzy spells and sometimes swollen feet,”
Her condition could easily be rectified with an open heart
surgery to replace an impaired heart valve at a cost of
Sh200,000, but she cannot afford to raise the money.
Hailing from Rwaka in Kiambu, Jane depends on her neighbors
and well wishers for food and other basic needs.
“I have lost hope in life, I do not know what to do since I
cannot manage to raise the required cash for me to be
treated,” she says.
Jane is among other patients who cannot afford to pay for
expensive medical treatments such as open heart surgery.
However, she says she has not given up and hopes to get help
Kenyan cardiologist Dr. H.O Aseso says despite the high cost
of accessing such a surgery, Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH)
which is the country’s leading referral hospital has not
been able to meet the demand.
Despite being the only public hospital that performs cardiac
surgeries, the hospitals can only handle one or two
surgeries a week, he says.
He says a patient who needs valve replacement surgery can
only possibly survive on medication for two years without
In Kenya, however, even with the availability of the
services, Kenyan hospitals are overwhelmed by the number of
patients, a shortage of specialists, and adequate machines.
According to Dr. Aseso, Kenyan patients are often referred
abroad for heart surgeries, especially pediatric, renal
transplants, neurosurgery and cancer treatments.
In some cases, he says, the facilities are available, but
the cost is too high.
He explains that the bulk of surgery cost in Kenya goes to
professional’s fee, which contributes to the high cost.
Dr Aseso also says Kenya has lost many specialists to
developed countries which has also contributed to a shortage
of doctors and nurses.
He says only about a quarter of the doctors who graduate opt
to specialize, and of those who go abroad to study, a
quarter opt to stay there.
“It is a very sad situation since many patients lose lives
due to financial problems,” he says.
For instance, he says, there are only four active pediatric
cardiac surgeons in Nairobi.
“For a country where it is estimated that 10,000 children
are born with congenital heart defects and a further 200,000
new cases of rheumatic heart disease are reported every
year, the workload is simply overwhelming,” he adds.
“Despite the doctors shortage, most hospitals in Kenya can
only perform basic procedures, the more complicated cases
are treated abroad,” says Aseso.
Kenya’s annual inflation rises to over 19% in Nov.
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s annual inflation rose to 19.72 percent in November
from 18.91 percent in the previous month as a result of
increases in food and fuel prices, dampening hopes of
economic growth this year.
Kenya’s National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) said on
Tuesday, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), computed using the
geometric mean approach increased by 1.52 percent from
127.20 in October to 129. 13 in September. “Food and
Non-Alcoholic drinks’index went up by 1.35 percent between
October and September as a result of price of increases
observed in respect of a number of food products such as
potatoes, chicken, wheat flour, sugar, bread and beef,” the
bureau said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
However, the bureau said between the two months, there were
notable falls in the prices of sukuma wiki, maize flour,
tomatoes, mangoes, cabbages, spinach and carrots among other
The bureau said housing, water, electricity, gas and other
fuel index went up by 1.55 percent during the review period.
The rise was attributed to continued increases in the cost
of electricity, house rents and cooking fuels.
The data is generated from 13 urban centres in the country
and it is believed to be a reflection of the spending
behavior among Kenyans.
It is collected in the second and third weeks of the month
under review in order to maintain consistency in price
Africa Economy: Financial bailouts ruled out in EAC single
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
East African investors support the “slow but steady
progress” towards the single currency for the region, seen
critical in securing the ultimate goal of forming a single
East African state.
“It is possible to achieve the Monetary Union and the
Political Federation,” said Hirji Shah, former Chairman of
the East African Business Council (EABC) speaking as
regional leaders gathered on Wednesday to discuss the
The East African Community’s (EAC) single currency plan has
progressed midway with the negotiating panel having hammered
agreements on some key points.
The creation of the East African Central Bank (EACB) to
coordinate the financial policy matters of the current five
EAC states, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania has
been agreed upon along with other key points of the proposed
“The point is we should not rush very fast to achieve the
ultimate goal of the Political Federation. We are
progressing at very reasonable pace,” Shah, Director of
Comcraft Group, told Xinhua.
Comcraft, a combination of 15 top firms in East Africa, runs
the Mabati Rolling Mills, makers of roofing materials for
sale across the region.
Richard Sezibera, the EAC Secretary-General, said the single
currency is important to the region because it would enable
investors to deal with price instability and exchange rate
volatility, resulting into a more stable investment
Talks on the terms of creating the single currency have
progressed midway. Countries signing into the Monetary Union
have agreed not to allow financial bailouts of the members,
especially for the financial mismanagement, leading to high
They have also agreed to confine the member states to
market- based borrowing by their respective central banks to
maintain strict fiscal discipline, according to the EAC
The fifth round of negotiations on the single currency which
took place in Entebbe, Uganda, covered discussions on
articles 16- 39 of the proposed Monetary Union Protocol,
which deals with more details to the single currency plan.
“The primary rationale for the Monetary Union is to reduce
the costs and risks of transacting business across national
boundaries for countries which comprise the Union,” said
Enos Bukuku, the EAC Deputy Secretary-General for Planning.
The High-Level Taskforce on the Monetary Union (HLTMU),
leading the process at the expert level, has agreed on
articles dealing with financial policies, taxation, the
national budget formulation process and the management of
Shah said even though the talks are moving at a steady pace,
more attention should be paid to the domestic economic
challenges facing the members of the proposed Union.
“There are grass-root issues to take us to the final goal of
achieving the political federation, like weak domestic
economies. The economies are not at the same level,” Shah
said. “The slow and steady is the right way of progressing.”
The financial experts, who include officials from the
Central Banks, pension funds regulators, Treasury officials
and planning ministry experts, sit in the expert panel,
HLTMU, which reports to the committee of finance ministers.
Talks have lately concentrated on issues such as building
the resilience and the management of economic shocks and
safeguard measures required to protect the proposed single
The Central Bank Governors have agreed on conditions under
which the respective Central Banks would deny privileged
access to state agencies as well as terms and conditions for
foreign exchange reserves management, the EAC Secretariat
“The goal should be to achieve all these with much
satisfaction, taking into account the differences in
economic structures. We need to go slowly. The Monetary
Union will provide the foundation for the Political
Federation,” Shah said.
Africa Feature: Programs benefit drought- vulnerable
pastoralists in Kenya
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
When Maasai pastoralists in Kenya’s Oldonyonyokie and Olkeri
ranches in Kajiado county lost thousands of their herds in
the 2008/2009 drought, they had no idea where to start as
most of their livelihood was wiped out.
But recently, the lanky herdsmen and their women were all
smiles when they received 244 heads of cattle as part of a
programme by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to
help in restocking and preservation of the Maasai
traditional system of pastoralism.
The two ranches will ultimately receive 300 cattle. One
unique element is that women, who traditionally did not own
livestock, were also given cattle because either their
husbands had died or moved to urban areas leaving them with
no source of livelihood.
According to David Boerma, the Project Technical Adviser,
the Maasai is one out of the 10 communities in the world
that have been picked as part of the FAO experimental
restocking and conservation programme. He noted that it is
unfair that links with outsiders have instilled a sense of
prejudice against traditional ways of livelihood which is
rich in history and technology.
“A lot of policies by various governments in Africa that
affect pastoralists are based on these prejudices. The
Maasai, for instance, know how to traditionally preserve
pasture with some sections put aside for use during hard
times,” he said.
The project-The Globally Important Agricultural Heritage
Systems (GIAHS)- initiative was launched by FAO in 2002 with
the aim of establishing the basis for the global
recognition, conservation and adaptive management of
outstanding traditional agricultural systems and their
associated landscapes, biodiversity, knowledge systems and
The initiative is meant to protect and encourage customary
use of biological resources in accordance with traditional
cultural practices that are compatible with conservation or
sustainable use requirements specifically within
In Kenya, the Maasai Pastoral System was identified as the
best example of a resilient system deserving of preservation
in line with the GIAHS objectives. Its dynamic conservation
through the right policy support would ensure food security
and livelihood sustenance.
The project will cost about 12 million Kenyan shillings and
will also include tourism projects, water dams and pasture
harvesting. It is a project that can be replicated in other
pastoral areas. It is meant to assist the community in
preserving its natural resource base, pastoral practices and
knowledge system while adapting its system to contemporary
Those who were lucky to receive the cattle will have to
abide by certain by-laws or else the livestock will be taken
from them and given to other people. They include: the cow
must stay with the recipient for three years and must give
birth at least three times before the trustee can think of
selling it.In case there is need to sell, the committee and
the PCDA must be witness in the selling. The cows must have
a FAO mark so that it can be identified when sold without
following the procedure, and finally, all beneficiaries must
sign a memorandum of understanding committing themselves to
Kiprop Lagat, the National Co-coordinator of the project
said that there are plans to make Oldonyonyokie recognized
as a world Heritage site. Pastoralism practiced here is
still indigenous as has been for thousands of years.
National Museums of Kenya (NMK) will propose for the
gazettment of these sites to help conserve and protect them
from modern development activities that destroy pastoral
livelihood. We are working towards trans-boundary gazettment
with neigbouring Tanzania.
Lagat added that there will be documentation of the Maasai
indigenous pastoral knowledge systems, which will be
followed by the construction of the Pastoral Site Museum to
disseminate information about the Maasai pastoral heritage.
The project area, Oldonyonyokie and Olkeri Group Ranches
combined (Kajiado District) share a common border and also
resources. The site borders Suswa, Ewaso Kedong and
Loodariak to the north, Kilonito and Elangata Wuas to the
west, Shompole Group Ranch to the south and Magadi
concession area to the west. The western side of the ranch
borders the Olkiramatian Goup Ranch. The total surface for
the area is 93,148 ha with a total projected human
population of 5,539 persons. Livestock population (before
the recent drought) was estimated at 16,000 for cattle and
19,000 sheep and goats.
The specific common values of pastoral systems include their
importance for the conservation and sustainable use of
animal breeds, the landscapes which co-evolved with
pastoralists’ cultural practices, which e.g. provide
critical habitats for wild biodiversity, deep reservoirs of
local/indigenous knowledge on livestock rearing and health,
as well as on ecological functioning.
They show remarkable resilience and capacity to adapt to
climatic and other environmental fluctuations. Many
pastoralist cultures embody strong conservation values,
reflected and reproduced in the communities’ cosmologies and
religious practices, customary law, as well as stories,
songs, riddles and other aspects of their cultural heritage.
Maasai pastoralism, as practiced traditionally, provides an
outstanding example in East Africa and continues to have
relevance for the sustainable management of its rangelands.
Maasai pastoralism as traditionally practiced was
characterized by the movement of livestock in response to
the availability of pasture, water and salt resources,
common property tenure and a sophisticated body of cultural
knowledge, institutions and norms to manage natural resource
use. Among the many pastoral societies in the world, the
Maasai exemplify the sustainable end of the spectrum of
Historically, the biocultural linkage between Maasai
practices and the Rift Valley landscape and its biodiversity
had been poorly understood, giving way to a number of
contradictory, wildlife and development policies that have
had unpredicted negative ecological and economic impacts on
the Maasai’s practices, livelihoods and ecosystem.
Today it is better understood that the relationship between
wildlife and the Maasai cannot be simply framed as a matter
of competition between livestock and wildlife of scarce
resources. The Maasai and their livestock have a joint
interest in maintaining the very habitats on which both
livestock and wildlife depend.
According to Boerma, the British was wrong that wildlife and
livestock fight for pasture. They graze on different
species, when cattle grave, new grass species emerge which
are good for wild animals.
Viewed at this scale, the economic and ecological benefits
of wildlife and development policies, especially
interventions in the land-tenure regime, have had equivalent
or worse environmental and economic costs in other parts of
the ecosystem. For the Maasai themselves, the costs have far
outstripped the benefits.
The combination of the loss of access to critical grazing
resources, the increased population pressure from both
within the Maasai society as well as through the influx of
other land-users, the subdivision of common property systems
and a range of cultural factors, unfortunately has created a
set of incentives that discourages the Maasai from their
traditional sustainable practices and leads to the adoption
of unsustainable uses of natural resources.
One of the main underlying causes is the persistence of
false assumptions and prejudices about Maasai pastoralism
and a lack of appreciation of how Maasai practices manage to
provide a livelihood within the delicate limits of their
environment, allowing the landscape to sustain diverse and
valuable ecosystem services.
Nevertheless, in selected areas, Maasai pastoralism has
proved to be resilient and continues to sustain livelihoods
and valuable natural and cultural heritage. This can be
attributed in part to the strong cultural resilience of the
Maasai and to the fact that in many areas alternative land
uses are simply unviable in any sustainable fashion.
One of the major threats to pastoral way of life among the
Maasai, is the continued pressure by outsiders to move away
from common land ownership and sub-divide their land into
small parcels for individual ownership
Studies have shown that sub-division of land to small
parcels will mark the end of pastoralism. Sub-division takes
away common land and land ownership, migratory corridors are
blocked. It is difficult in hostile environment that where
common community systems are important. Common property
system was discouraged by the British. But tenure system was
not the only way to ensure that resources are not misused.
The Maasai have their own taboos against cutting down trees
and feeding on reserve pasture that help in conservation.
Kenya in line to entrench pastoralists’ rights
By Christine Lagat NAIROBI, (Xinhua)
-- Kenya supports international legal instruments
that empower livestock keepers to become custodian of their
animal genetic resources, indigenous knowledge and practices
that promote environmental conservation.
Kenneth Lusaka, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of
Livestock Development, said that the government will back
global processes that promote the interests of pastoralists
and recognize their role in conservation of indigenous
“The world community has realized the danger faced by
indigenous livestock due to rising demand for food and hence
the need for high producing breeds,” Lusaka told an
international Biocultural Workshop in Nairobi on Wednesday.
The meeting is being attended by representatives of
pastoralists associations in East Africa, India and Europe
as well as conservationists, researchers and legal experts.
The workshop is discussing the role of biocultural protocols
as tools for strengthening livestock keeping communities in
owning and conserving indigenous livestock breeds alongside
natural assets that include biodiversity. “This has resulted
in indiscriminate cross breeding of the indigenous breeds
with the high producing exotic breeds that are superior in
production but lack adaptive features like drought, pest and
disease tolerance,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary emphasized that pastoralists have
critical role to play in preserving indigenous livestock
breeds that are adaptive to arid and semi arid regions.
He hailed the potential of bio-cultural protocols in
promoting livestock keepers rights.
Lusaka singled out the Samburu community Bio-Cultural
Protocol launched in 2010. “This protocol is aimed at
increasing awareness on issues affecting livestock keepers
and their breeds, inspiring livestock keepers to start
thinking of what to do in order to continue playing their
role as custodians and engage with other stakeholders”, said
Lusaka. “The protocol also serves as a tool for researchers
and policymakers to engage with local livestock keepers on
issues affecting conservation and sustainable utilization of
indigenous livestock breeds,” he said.
Lusaka underscored the role of indigenous livestock breeds
in boosting food security among communities in arid and semi
arid zones. “Indigenous livestock breeds are known to
possess many desirable genetic traits such as disease
resistance, fertility and general fitness which are not
found in high performance animals. They are critical to food
security and environmental conservation in dry areas,” he
The Kenyan government has partnered with relevant
stakeholders to address conservation, management and
utilization of indigenous livestock breeds.
The Permanent Secretary reiterated that communities are
crucial in conservation of animal genetic resources.
He disclosed that Kenya fully back global legal instruments
such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) that
recognizes the contribution of indigenous livestock breeding
communities in food security and environmental conservation.
Kenya to launch body to manage water tower
By Peter Mutai NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said on
Tuesday the government is set to create a Water Tower
Authority to lead in the conservation of environment in the
country. “We already have Water Towers Conservation Fund and
we are now set to increases budget allocation for
sustainable rural environment management and the
rehabilitation and conservation of water towers in the
country,” Odinga said when he launched the 2.3 million Euros
European Union (EU) funded Northern Mau Forest project in
The PM noted that the EU funding is set to help in
supporting watershed protection and climate change
adaptation programme in an equitable, efficient and
transparent manner, adding that the government will ensure
that the funds are used strictly for the intended purpose.
Odinga assured the donors that the government is keen at
making Kenya a country to emulate by other countries through
its environment conservation efforts, adding that plans are
underway to ensure that the temperatures does not exceed the
two degrees Celsius limit set by climate scientists.
“Vision 2030 mandates us to increase our forest cover to
four percent by the year 2012 and also identifies
rehabilitation of the five water towers as a flagship to
attaining the goals,” he added.
Odinga noted that by the devolution system of governance in
the management of natural resources as contained in the
Water Act 2002, the Forest Act 2005 and the new
constitution, environmental conservation and management is
fast changing in the country.
He observed that climate change is real, adding that the
country is caught in the trouble given the rate of food
insecurity and environmental degradation. “In Northern Kenya
where people were calling for help due to drought, today
they are calling for help again due to floods that is
already destroying their land. A few months ago we feared
for crops in North Rift region, but today lots of maize are
marooned in the farms by heavy downpour,” he noted.
The Charge de Affaires and Head of Operations at the EU
delegation in Kenya Dr. Benard Rey said that the new three
year intervention is set to deliver multiple benefits for
Kenya and the regional countries at large.
“The project will range from restoration of vital water
catchments and establishments of payments for environmental
services towards the improvement of the people livelihoods
and monitoring carbon storage in the Mau Forest,” he added.
Rey said the EU is concerned with the conservation of Mau
Forest because it is the largest closed canopy forest in
sub- Saharan Africa with assets estimated at 1. 5 billion
U.S. dollars per year.
Rey said that the EU is financing the project due to the
fact that it has a number of innovative approaches that will
contribute to national and international goals like the
Kenya Climate Change Response Strategy and National REDD
strategy. “The Mau complex is a living example where economy
and environment intersect and will benefit the rest of the
world in achieving solutions that balance poverty reduction
and environmental sustainability,” he added.
Rey also revealed that the success of the project will
inform the ongoing deliberations with the government on how
the 20 million Euros for water shade protection and climate
change adaptation programme for the water towers will be
The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Executive
Director Achim Steiner said that Kenya and the neighbouring
countries that rely on water from Mau complex are unable to
produce enough food and clean water for domestic use due to
the degradation that took place in the water catchment area.
He warned that Kenya’s vision 2030 can only succeed once the
Mau complex is restored since it has the potential for
producing energy. “The Mau Forest complex supports energy,
tourism and agriculture and industries in Rift Valley and
Western Kenya,” he added.
The EU and the Danish government have earlier made a pledge
of 22.3 million dollars for the conservation of Kenya’s
water towers and other critical ecosystems through the
community Development Trust Fund (CDTF). Already 97 projects
have been approved to be implemented by the community.
Landslide cuts northern Tanzania’s tourist circuit, kills
DAR ES SALAAM, (Xinhua) --
A massive landslide following torrential rains that
occurred in northern Tanzania has cut off communication in
the popular tourist destinations, leaving one person killed
and another missing, local media reported on Tuesday.
The main road leading to Serengeti National Park, the
country’s most renowned tourist attraction, in the Northern
Circuit, was partly washed off by landslide, as the second
tourism peak season is about to start.
An employee working for Serena Lodges was killed and his
colleague still missing when the entire building they were
staying in was swept away by raging waters.
The incident occurred on Monday morning in Mto-wa-Mbu and
Karatu, Arusha Region, has left nearly 200 vehicles, among
them buses, trucks, tour vehicles and private cars lined up
on both sides of the road.
“There are buses heading to Dar-es-Salaam but are now
stranded. There are women and children passengers,” Israel
Yohana Natse, the area Member of Parliament, was quoted by
the official Dailynews as saying.
A bulldozer sent into the area by the Tanzania Roads Agency
(TANROADS) from Arusha to clear the way could not cope.
The Karatu District Commissioner, Mathew Sedeyoka and said
the disaster would badly affect the precinct.
Three bridges have been badly damaged along
Makuyuni-Ngorongoro- Gate highway, several villages and the
lower part of Karatu township were all submerged for the
good part of Monday afternoon.
The Serengeti and Lake Manyara National Parks, as well as
the Ngorongoro Crater have all been affected as travelers
heading to Musoma, Serengeti and other parts of Mara Region
are all stranded.
Ericsson urges Africa to harmonize spectrum to boost
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- The
world’s provider of telecommunication technologies Ericsson
on Wednesday called on African countries to harmonize use of
spectrum which it said was key to broadband uptake.
Addressing a news conference in Nairobi, Shiletsi Makhofane,
Head of Marketing, Strategy and Regulatory Affairs for
Ericsson in sub-Saharan Africa, said the firm will continue
to promote ICT development across Africa.
“Through our partnership with the African Telecommunications
Union (ATU), Ericsson is well positioned to provide strong
thought leadership as experts in connecting Africa by
mobilizing the human, financial, and technical resources
required to expand the development of ICT,” Makhofane told
journalists in Nairobi.
He said emphasis should be placed on the need for
policymakers and regulators to be aware of the integral role
played by harmonized spectrum in enabling the uptake of
broadband, and the need to work together to ensure the
adoption of a uniform band for the region.
Makhofane also announced the agreement with ATU at the
ongoing “ATU Summit on Digital Migration and Spectrum
Policy” in Nairobi.
“The Networked Society is Ericsson’s vision for a better
future in which we are able to interact freely, live more
sustainably and work more efficiently by harnessing the
power of technology such as mobile broadband,” said
Makhofane said the partnership aims to support the ATU in
driving regulatory reform that will help facilitate
telecommunications development, and subsequent social and
The Secretary General of ATU, Soumaila Abdoulkarim, welcomed
Ericsson to ATU family as an Associate Member, saying it was
a clear indicator that ATU attaches a lot of importance on
the role played by the industry in the development of ICT in
He said the signing of this partnership with Ericsson is
timely in ensuring that market resources such as technical
and financial expertise are tapped for the benefit of the
ATU called upon all other ICT industry players to take the
queue and join the organization. “The Associate Membership
allows interactive contacts with Member States in
understanding and meeting the ICT needs,” Abdoulkarim said.
The announcement of the partnership comes shortly after
Ericsson released a report predicting that global mobile
data traffic will grow 10-fold in the next five years.
Harmonizing the allocation and use of the Digital Dividend
band will ensure that African countries use the same
frequency to deploy Long-Term Evolution (LTE), the
next-generation Mobile Broadband technology.
This will enable economies of scale and can bring other
benefits such as cost effective roll-out of networks and
devices, thus accelerating the roll out of networks and
lowering costs for consumers.
Africa is expected to conclude the migration from analog to
digital terrestrial television by 2015, freeing up the
Digital Dividend spectrum.
This has clear social benefits for Africa in particular
given the limited fixed infrastructure, such as improved
access to information, education, financial and health
services and the wider use of m-government tools.
In addition, a recent study conducted jointly by Ericsson,
Arthur D. Little and Chalmers University of Technology in 33
OECD countries, shows that in addition to broadband
availability, broadband speed is a strong driver in an
It is estimated that every 10 percent point increase in
broadband penetration results in 1 percent increase in GDP
and that doubling the broadband speed for an economy in the
measured countries increases GDP by 0.3 percent.
Airtel number of customers in Africa reaches 50 million
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
Mobile service provider Airtel on Wednesday celebrated a
significant milestone when it acquired its 50 millionth
mobile customer in Africa.
Airtel said in a statement issued in Nairobi that it has
achieved this milestone within just 17 months of acquiring
Zain’s mobile operations in 16 African countries and added
14 million new mobile customers during this period.
“This milestone demonstrates our continued dedication and
commitment to Africa. We would like to thank our customers
for reposing their faith in brand Airtel and we are
committed to serving them with world-class services,” Manoj
Kohli, the firm’s CEO (International) and Joint Managing
Director said in the statement.
“I would also like to thank the governments and regulators
for their support and would like to reiterate that we share
their vision of bridging the digital divide with affordable
By forging strategic relationships with blue chip
organizations, the company has ensured that it continues to
meet the needs of its customers.
Airtel’s business model is focused on the introduction of
best practices and infusion of global expertise into the
markets where it operates.
The organization has strategically partnered with companies
such as IBM, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens, Huawei, Spanco, Tech
Mahindra and Samsung. The collaborations will sustainably
introduce the latest technology and offer competitive
services, whilst maintaining a focus on core areas within
“We have made significant investments in our operations and
brought in our ecosystem of world-class IT, networks and
customer care partners to Africa and this achievement has
been possible through their support and commitment,” Kohli
“Airtel will continue bring to Africa world-class and
innovative voice & data services that delight customers and
add value to their daily lives.”
Airtel Africa has invested approximately 1 billion U.S.
dollars in the network infrastructure during the current
financial year and is launching the same technology
currently being rolled out in Europe and the U.S.
In addition to building the necessary infrastructure, Airtel
has signed agreements with leading companies like Nokia,
Samsung and Blackberry to provide devices that will enable
consumers access the services effectively.
Airtel plans to embark on pan African social initiatives
that the consumers have a passion for, an example being the
Airtel Rising Stars football program launched earlier this
Indian telecom service provider Airtel has 50 mln customers
NEW DELHI, (Xinhua) --
Indian telecom service provider Bharti Airtel Wednesday said
it has touched the 50 million customers mark in Africa,
where it acquired telecom operations in a 9 billion U.S.
dollar deal last year.
“Bharti Airtel Limited today celebrated a significant
milestone when it acquired its 50 millionth mobile customer
in Africa. It has achieved this milestone within just 17
months of acquiring Zain’s mobile operations in 16 African
countries and added 14 million new mobile customers during
this period,” the company said in a statement.
Airtel Africa has invested approximately one billion U.S.
dollars in the network infrastructure during the current
financial year, said the company.
It has already been awarded 12 3G licenses across its
operations and recently launched the first 3G network in the
Democratic Republic of Congo, while securing a license to
operate a GSM network in Rwanda.
Donors ready to fund construction of sub- regional railway
line in West Africa
NIAMEY, (Xinhua) --
Technical and financial partners who met on Tuesday in
Niamey, expressed their willingness to support the project
of constructing a railway line linking the main towns in the
West African region.
The railway line will cover
and will go through Benin, Niger, Burkina Faso and Cote
The railway line will measure 2,970 km long.
“The technical and financial partners have confirmed their
willingness to support this important economic project which
will promote regional integration in the West African
sub-region,” this was indicated in the final statement from
the donors’ round-table.
They expressed their interest to fund the project’s
feasibility studies and support the activities of the
The final statement stated that a roadmap will be developed
soon to guide the release of funds to enable the
construction work to begin by 2014.
At the end of the forum, the states decided to set up a
piloting committee which will be the main decision making
organ and one that will ensure the completion of the
Niger was chosen to head this committee.
The concerned states also decided to set up three sub-
committees to handle technical, institutional and financial
The meeting was opened in the presence of the Nigerien
President Issoufou Mahamadou together with concerned
ministers from the countries sharing the project.
Nigeria has potential to lead Africa’s cashew production:
LAGOS, (Xinhua) --
Nigeria had the potential to be the leading cashew producer
and exporter in Africa, a top official with the African
Cashew Alliance (ACA) said here on Tuesday.
President of the organization Idrissa Kilangi said this when
he paid a courtesy visit to the management of the Bank of
Industry (BOI) in Lagos.
“With Nigeria’s expansive landscape, research institutes and
array of investment by the banks, especially BOI, the
country should lead Africa’s cashew production and
exportation,” he said.
“We know the country can do it. Nigeria should not lead from
behind, but must be in the forefront,” the official told his
Kilangi said with the bank’s collaboration with local
farmers, Nigeria had the capacity to produce more than
500,000 tons against its present 80,000 tons for
Mohammed Alkali, BOI’s Executive Director of Operations,
said the bank had in the last six years committed huge
resources toward empowering farmers for increased cashew
S. Africa calls for global solution to deal with climate
change, developed countries’ stance slammed by UN body
DURBAN, South Africa, (Xinhua) --
A South African delegate to the Durban climate
conference Tuesday urged the global community to come up
with a joint solution to deal with climate change.
Meanwhile, Canada, Japan and Russia are reportedly
considering pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol.
South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs
Edna Molewa called for global action to deal with the
impacts. She said action to address the causes and impacts
of climate change by “a single country or small group of
countries will not be successful.”
“This is a global problem requiring a global solution
through the concerted and cooperative efforts of all
countries,” she said.
Heading the South African delegation to the 17th Conference
of the Parties (COP 17) to the UN Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC),Molewa urged Africa to ensure
climate change does not pose threats to the country’s
“COP 17 must provide the opportunity for both South Africa
and the African continent at large to ensure that climate
change and the associated changes in the climate patterns do
not threaten development,” Molewa told a joint press
She said for Africa, the success of the Durban climate
change talks is vital since it is projected that by 2080,
about 70 million people and up to 30 percent of Africa’s
coastal infrastructure could “face the risk of coast
flooding because of sea level rise.”
Africa has contributed the least to the build-up of
greenhouse gases globally, but will be in the frontline of
the adverse effects of climate change. Combined with the
severe development challenges the continent already faces,
this makes Africans particularly vulnerable to the impacts
of climate change.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change foresees
yields from rain-fed agriculture being reduced by 50 percent
as early as 2020.
“Africa is more vulnerable because of poverty, which limits
the ability of most African nations to cope with the impact
of climate change,” South African President Jacob Zuma told
the opening session of COP 17/CMP 7 on Monday.
Molewa told the media recently that the challenge for Africa
is to decouple economic and social development from the
burning of fossil fuels and deforestation to an extent which
has no precedent in the developed world.
Africa needs to embark on a path of sustainable development
with new, clean, appropriate technologies and to build
climate-resilient communities so as to avoid the
environmental mistakes of the developed world.
Earlier in the day, Canadian media reported that Prime
Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet had already decided to
withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, and had planned to
formally announce the decision after the Durban conference.
A member of the so-called Umbrella Group, Canada stated
earlier this year that it won’t accept the second commitment
period under the Kyoto Protocol after its first commitment
period expires at the end of 2012.
The Umbrella Group, which also includes Japan, Australia and
Russia, acts as a negotiating bloc in climate change talks
that rejects new commitments.
Besides Canada, Japan and Russia have said they will not
renew their pledges, while the European Union (EU), which is
long-term advocate of the treaty, said its support is
The EU, the United States and several other industrialized
nations have also demanded that developing nations commit to
legally binding targets to reduce emissions under any
agreement reached this year.
Also on Tuesday, the UN Environment Program (UNEP)
criticized developed countries for their stance at the
Business Day newspaper in South Africa reported that UNEP
said in a newsletter distributed at the talks that the
developed countries are “stuck on weaker, conditional
UNEP also said that the greenhouse gas emissions targets
which developed countries have set themselves are “riddled
The UN enviromental body said the “rather large elephant in
the room” at the COP 17 is the ever-widening gap between the
action needed to stem global warming and what is on the
table this year.
Scientists at the talks agree that average global warming
should be kept below 2 degree Celsius in order to avoid
damaging climate change.
UNEP said it is not too late, and if “strong action” is
taken, this target could be reached, adding that the
developed countries need to “raise their game dramatically.”
This would require a focus on energy efficiency and clean,
renewable energy, a halt to deforestation, improved waste
management and better agricultural services. It would also
require action on emissions in the shipping and aviation
DURBAN, (Xinhua) --
Climate champions Marina Mansilla Hermann (1st
L) from Argentina and Simone Carolossen (2nd L) from
South Africa plant a tree with students at Fairbreeze
Secondary school in Durban, South Africa, Nov. 30,
Japan and Canada’s pulling out of second commitment period
of Kyoto Protocol frustrate Africa
By Ntandoyenkosi Ncube DURBAN,
South Africa, (Xinhua) -- The pull out of the
second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol by Japan and
Canada is “frustrating” to Africa efforts to dealing with
climate change, Africa Group of Negotiators said Wednesday.
“At this moment of the process it’s clear that Japan and
Canada will not join the second commitment period. This is
frustrating (because) both are very key and strategic
partners and will not join us on this very serious effort to
tackle the most pressing phenomena in Africa which is
climate change,” Africa Group spokesperson Seyni Nafo told
Xinhua on the third day of the United Nations’s conference
on climate change in South Africa.
Experts at the conference in Durban said this pullout is
likely to damage a UN climate process already weakened by
According to reports Canada’s argument against the Kyoto
Protocol is that it only covered about 15 percent to 20
percent of the world’s emissions at most and that it wanted
a treaty that was inclusive of everyone, including
developing major economies such as India, Brazil, South
Africa and China.
“The position of Japan and Canada is not helping us. It
frustrating and we hope that they will reconsider at some
point. But this will not stop us and those committed to
still peruse the second commitment period with those who are
still willing to engage with the European Union,” the
spokesman for the 54-nation Africa Group in the UN forum
Speaking with Xinhua on the sidelines of the 17th Conference
of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Conference
of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties (CMP7)
that officially opened Monday, Nafo said “climate change is
Africa’s biggest enemy” and the Africa group of negotiators
is committed to best outcomes at the COP 17.
“The biggest terror Africa is fighting now is climate change
and the continent is now committed to dealing with this,” he
He said the Africa Group intends to use the conference to
chart a course towards holistic outcomes that curb the
growing threat posed by of climate change to the African
continent, implement the United Nations framework convention
on climate change and its Kyoto Protocol and advance the
interest and aspirations of all African countries and
The UN talks continue under the UN convention on climate
change and are based on the Bali roadmap agreed in 2007.
Nafo said to Africa Group of Negotiators the key issues on
table in Durban include the threat climate change poses to
Africa and its food security, addressing the mitigation gap
– getting targets that meet the science and address the
finance gap securing
finance that match the need or at least the promises.
Africa Focus: FAO says adequate agricultural statistics
By Liang Shanggang ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua)
-- The United Nations Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) says an adequate system of food and
agricultural statistics is required to prevent possible
negative consequences by formulating effective policies
based on evidence.
The 22nd Session of the African Commission on Agricultural
Statistics (AFCAS) kicked off at the UN Conference Center in
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Wednesday.
Speaking at the opening of the conference, Maria Helen
Semedo, assistant director-general of FAO, said timely and
reliable statistical information has critical role for
anticipating shocks of crisis of food prices and mitigating
She also said reliable and timely statistics are more than
ever needed to face uncertainties resulting from on-going
economic and financial crisis that is affecting most regions
of the world.
Many African countries have neither adequate system of food
and agricultural statistics, nor the capability to use the
information that is availability, said Semedo.
The assistant director-general said the African continent
with the bulk of undernourished rural people, who mainly
depend on agriculture, is still facing unacceptable levels
of poverty and hunger.
In order to significantly reverse this trend, more effective
policies based on evidence are required in their design and
measurement of impact, she said.
The assistant director-general also revealed that the
statistical community has come to a consensus on a Global
Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics and an
Action Plan to implement the strategy developed under the UN
She also said Africa was the first region to prepare its
Regional Implementation Plan under the leadership of African
Regional Institutions including African Development Bank, UN
Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union.
The Conference is said to provide opportunity to develop a
common framework of definitions, concepts, standards and
guidelines to help countries to produce internationally
comparable basic statistics and linkages between
agriculture, climate, and environment.
“The idea is every two years to have meeting with the
participation of African countries and some of our
stakeholders to define and discuss what we are doing with
statistics and how better we improve the collection and
analysis of date regarding agriculture,” she said.
Wondirad Mandefro, Ethiopian state minister of agriculture,
stated that since inception in 1962, the AFCAS has
contributed towards improving the status of food
agricultural statistics in the region by providing advice to
member countries on the development and harmonization of
The 22nd Session of AFCAS delivers significantly towards
fulfilling the objectives by taking into consideration the
importance of reliable agricultural statistics in
formulating appropriate policies in agriculture and tracking
the progress of various interventions aimed at improving the
livelihood of the African people, said the minister.
On the sidelines of the conference, FAO has also launched
the 2010-1011 Report on the state of food and agriculture
under the topic, “Women in Agriculture: Closing the gender
gap for development”.
The report says women make essential contributions to
agriculture in developing countries, and if women had the
same access to productive resources as men, they could
increase yields on their farms by 20-30 percent.
“This could raise the total agricultural output in
developing countries by 2.5-4 percent, which could in turn
reduce the number hungry people in the world by 12-17
percent,” says the report.
It gives emphasis to women’s access to productive resources
and opportunities. Jacques Diouf, FAO director general,
says, “The agriculture sector is underperforming in many
developing countries, and one of the reasons is that women
do not have equal access to resources and opportunities they
need to be more productive.”
West Africa urges conclusion of economic partnership pact
By Justice Lee Adoboe ACCRA, (Xinhua)
-- President of the Commission of the Economic
Community of West African States (ECOWAS) James Victor Gbeho
on Wednesday urged member states to expedite action on
negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs)
with the European Union.
He warned that ECOWAS risked falling prey to the EU
divide-and- rule tactics in the near future and eventual
disintegration if member-states did not unite in their quest
to achieve an EPA agreement that would bring integration and
development to the sub- region.
Addressing the final day of the three-day Ministerial
Monitoring Committee (MMC) meeting on the EPAs of the
sub-regional grouping, Gbeho was distraught about the long
time the EPA negotiations had taken for ECOWAS members to
resolve outstanding issues.
“We have always mentioned the same outstanding issues and in
the mean time the rest of West Africa is growing impatient
with us. I am sure that if you think about it carefully, you
would agree with me that the negotiations have lasted too
long,” he told the meeting.
“They have continued almost in eternity while the
international economic environment keeps changing, even for
us in our region,” the president pointed out.
Negotiations of the EPAs started at the level of the African
Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries level in 2002 but by
2004 the negotiations had been brought down to sub-regional
They comprise ECOWAS, the South African Development
Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern
Africa (COMESA), the Communaute Economique et Monetaire de
l’Afrique Centrale (CEMAC), the Eastern and Southern Africa
(ESA) and the Eastern African Community (EAC), which
negotiate on behalf of the various economic zones of Africa.
ECOWAS countries have come under pressure from Civil Society
Organizations (CSOs) to form a solid front to negotiate with
the EU and not allow their front to be broken by petty
But these petty differences, according to Gbeho, have kept
ECOWAS from making any significant progress in the EPA
“Just keeping on focusing on our differences all the time
will no longer do the trick. I think that the present era
calls for creativity and inventiveness on our part so as to
be able to push our dreams further than they are at the
moment,” he said.
Gbeho called the experts of ECOWAS to seek political
guidance from the political leadership of the sub-region
because failure to do so could divide their ranks.
Ghana’s Minister of Trade and Industry Hannah Tetteh told
the meeting that Ghana was deeply frustrating for the
continuous negotiations over the same things among ECOWAS
“There is the urgent need for West Africa to strive to
conclude on its negotiations one way or the other because we
cannot be negotiating ad-infinitum,” she said.
If West Africans believed that regional integration was the
way to mutual growth and development and they could prosper
together through trade, then there was urgency in the
discussions and decisions to be taken at the meeting, the
She called for the deepening of cooperation so ECOWAS did
not become a political but an economic union as the founding
fathers set out to do.
Nigerian Minister of Trade and Investment Samuel Ortom said
at the meeting that trade relations with developed countries
must be developed friendly and therefore the EPA
negotiations must focus on the development of economies of
A representative of West African CSOs on the EPAs Cheikh
Tidiane Dieye told Xinhua in an interview that there was no
way ECOWAS would be stampeded into agreeing to an EPA that
would disadvantage the sub-region.
The MMC meeting, which opened here on Monday, ended on
Wednesday with trade negotiation experts discussing and
finalizing proposals for the committee of trade ministers to
take concrete decisions.
Two Kenyan runners shortlisted for Laureus award
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Two
Kenyans, world marathon record holder Patrick Makau and
Vivian Cheruiyot, the double world champion, have been short
listed for the prestigious 2012 Laureus World Sportsman and
Sportswoman of the Year Award.
The Laureus Sports Foundation said in a statement on Friday,
the winners will be unveiled during a globally televised
Awards Ceremony in London on February 6, 2012.
This comes barely a month after both were overlooked by the
International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)
Athlete of the year award. Jamaican Usain Bolt and
Australian Sally Pearson won the award.
Bolt beat compatriot and 100m world champion Yohan Blake,
along with Kenyan David Rudisha while Australian Sally
Pearson piped Cheruiyot and world shot put champion Valerie
Adams of New Zealand.
The Laureus World Sports Awards is recognized as the premier
honours event in the international sporting calendar and the
Awards Ceremony provides a high profile focus as stars of
the sporting world come together to salute the finest
sportsmen and sportswomen of the year.
The Laureus Sports Foundation is giving the two Kenyans a
new lifeline for recognition after a spectacular year of
sport, which has set up an exciting contest for the 2012
Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award.
The duo will have to battle it out with young lions like
Novak Djokovic, Lionel Messi and Sebastian Vettel will be
competing with a wide-ranging line-up of champions for
sport’ s most prestigious honour.
Jamaica’ s sprint star Usain Bolt is probably best
remembered in 2011 for the false start, which disqualified
him from the World Championship 100 metres in Daegu.
However, it was still a highly successful championship as he
won two gold medals, the 200 metres and the 4x100 metres
relay, in which the Jamaican team set a new world record of
Other outstanding athletics performances came from Germany’
s Robert Harting, who successfully defended his discus title
in Daegu, despite a knee injury, and Kenya’s Patrick Makau,
who beat the legendary Haile Gebrselassie in September in
the Berlin Marathon and broke the world record by 21
Cheruiyot and Makau are among 26 nominees for the award and
is the favourite amongst the clutch of gold medal winners
from the World Athletics Championships in Daegu.
Laureus described the diminutive runner as the ‘most
impressive candidate, who established herself as one of the
great distance runners of this generation after winning the
5,000 metres and 10,000 metres gold medals.
Alongside the gold medal from Daegu, Republic of Korea,
Cheruiyot also won the World Cross-Country Championship in
Punta Umbria in Spain achievements that have also placed her
as the front-runner for the Kenyan Sports Personality of the
Kenya’s Kiplagat set to take part in marathon race in
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
World marathon champion Edna Kiplagat will have her first
race since August on Sunday when she lines up in the
Montferland Run 15km in Netherlands.
The former New York marathon champion, failed to defend her
crown last month citing a knee injury, which she picked in
Daegu, Republic of Korea at the World championships, when
she slid and fell, and will be pulling on her running gear
for the first time Sunday.
“I want to see how fast my legs can go. It has been a while
since I last participated in a serious running competition.
My knee has been painful so this race is crucial in my
rehabilitation,” Kiplagat said in Nairobi on Friday.
Kiplagat will team up with compatriot Abel Kirui, who is
also the world marathon champion in the race in the small
village of Heerenberg, situated between Arnhem and the
Kirui, who won his second successive World Marathon title in
Daegu, will face some stiff competition from a trio of
fellow countrymen, John Mwangangi, this year’s winner at the
Paris 20km and Africa cross country champion; Philip Langat,
winner of the Singelloop 10km in Utrecht in September,
clocking 27:28 and the talented 19-year-old Gideon Kipketer,
who was recently third and just a few seconds behind
Kenenisa Bekele in the 4 Miles of Groningen.
Ethiopian Hailu Mekonnen, the winner here in 2005, is also a
serious contender for the win. Koen Raymaekers and Michel
Butter, the two fastest Dutch marathoners in 2010 and 201,
complete the strong men’s field.
Kiplagat, last year’ s New York City Marathon winner, will
look for a solid performance after a minor injury forced her
to withdraw from her title defence in New York earlier this
Her chief competition includes Dutchwoman Hilda Kibet, this
year’s runner-up at the Rotterdam Marathon in 2:24:27, and
the Ethiopian Abebech Afework, winner of Great Ethiopian
The women’s course record of 48:32, set by Ethiopian
Bezunesh Bekele, dates back to 2005. The men’s record is
42:36, set by Haile Gebrselassie in 2007.
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