African Leaders Put Development Ahead Of Climate Change

Yemi Osinbajo Nigeria VP on Africa's development and climate changeAfrican leaders at the African Development Bank meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, have agreed to prioritise the development of energy sources, with the maximum use of fossil fuel and coal, even as they advance important issues around climate change.

The leaders say the African continent cannot afford to miss out on the fourth industrial revolution, having missed out of industrial development in the past.

Light Up Africa

They observed that the greatest hitch to Africa’s development was lack of energy to power its growth and that the continent was tired of living in the dark.

An Anglo meeting they call it, with discussions focused on energy to light up Africa over the next decade and the impact of climate change on Africa.

Heads of government from all 54 African countries and beyond are interested in accelerated growth in the continent which has been hinged on energy, the absence of which Africa has remained behind in global development.

Amidst the need for development, climate change is a major concern.

Africa is said to be the continent that will continue to be affected as the global warming effects worsen, but the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, said development must come first with Africa’s natural resources harnessed.

“For us here, development must come first.

“What we really need is for our fossil fuel solutions – coal fired plants, hydro-power- and that is why we are saying at this conference that you can’t de-emphasise our natural resource endowments, especially if we want to advance in technology.

“We must prioritise development because poverty kills thousands of people just as climate change does,” Professor Osinbajo said.

The Prime Minister of Tanzania, Kassim Majaliwa, stressed that there were also other needs that must be tackled to light up Africa and stem the impact of climate change.

Discussions so far at the meeting showed that African leaders will put steam to development on the continent with energy on the frontline, but they also have the task of persuading the rest of the world for more support in climate finance, expertise and technology.

That way development in Africa will go hand in hand with stemmed environmental impact.

Prioritize Development Above Climate Change, Osinbajo Tasks African Leaders

Osinbajo, climate changeThe Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, says Africa must prioritize development of its natural resources, including fossil fuels, ahead of concerns for climate change or risk losing millions of African lives to poverty and hunger in a much faster rate than climate change.

Professor Osinbajo is attending the African Development annual meeting focused on energy and climate change in Zambia.

He said that it was impossible for Africa to de-emphasize its natural resources which must first be exploited before economic development can spread across the continent.

He said that while climate change concerns were important, Africans cannot be compelled to take the greater burden of resolving the problem at the risk of its development which is still at a nascent stage and despite being the least contributor to the devastation of the environment.

African Leaders Meet For Giants Club Elephant Summit

Elephant SummitAfrican leaders will meet in Kenya on Friday to discuss how to save the continent’s elephants from extinction.

The inaugural summit of the so-called giants club will be led by the Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta.

As well as heads of state, the conservation group will bring together business leaders and scientists.

Experts say Africa’s elephant population has fallen by 90% over the past century and warn that the animal could be extinct within decades.

Among those expected to attend the summit are Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni and President Ali Bongo from the West African nation of Gabon.

After the summit, Kenya will set fire to nearly its entire confiscated stock of ivory, 105 tonnes, and equivalent to the tusks of more than 6,700 elephants.

Buhari Calls For Social Justice To Curb Internal Conflicts

Muhammadu Buhari - AfricanIn a bid to achieve greater peace and political stability in their countries, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday asked African leaders to work harder to ensure social justice for all their citizens.

He made the appeal at an audience with the Foreign Minister of Equatorial Guinea, Mr Agapito Mba Mokuy, in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

President Buhari maintained that as leaders of sovereign nations, African Heads of Government must be allowed to discharge their responsibility for peace and security within their countries, without external interference.

He explained that this was why Heads of State and Government of the African Union decided against sending peacekeeping troops to Burundi during the country’s recent political crisis.

President Buhari disclosed that he expected the Government of Burundi to work towards greater peace, national unity and social justice for all Burundians to justify the decision of the African Union.

“Governments should be responsible for the security of their countries. Burundi must therefore ensure social justice for all of its people so as not to disappoint Africa in the eyes of the world,” the President told the Minister who was in Abuja as a Special Envoy of President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

He assured him that Nigeria would continue to work with Equatorial Guinea and other nations to strengthen the African Union and its various organs for the good of the continent.

The President added that Nigeria would also welcome more cooperation with Equatorial Guinea and other members of the Gulf of Guinea Commission, to curb piracy and enhance security in the gulf.

Buhari Congratulates President Issoufou Of Niger On His Re-Election

Mahamadou Issoufou President Niger Republic
President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has congratulated President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic on his recent re-election.

A statement by Mr Femi Adesina, a spokesman for President Buhari, said the President extended his best wishes to President Issoufou and the people of Niger Republic after the peaceful elections.

“It bodes well for the progress of the country,” he said.

President Buhari also acknowledged an invitation to attend President Issoufou’s swearing-in for a new term in office, but regretted that he would be unable to attend due to his ongoing participation in the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC.

Wishing President Issoufou a successful new term in office, President Buhari expressed the hope that peace and progress would continue to prevail in Nigeria and Niger Republic.

African Leaders Urged To Imitate Mandela

mandelaAfrican political leaders have been asked to emulate the leadership qualities of the late Nelson Mandela of South Africa.

This was the message at the second annual memorial lecture of Nelson Mandela after his demise in December 5, 2013.

The Tanzanian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Daniel Njoolai, and his counterparts, who spoke at the memorial lecture in Abuja, decried the selfish and sit-tight syndrome of most African leaders.

According to them, Nelson Mandela’s selfless service to his people stands in sharp contrast to corruption and reluctance to relinquish power which has characterized some African leaders.

Daniel Njoolai commended former President Jonathan for conceding defeat in the last elections in Nigeria, urging African politicians to emulate this act.

The Deputy South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Kenneth Pedro, also used the occasion to remember Nigeria’s contributions to the country’s independence.

Nelson Mandela led a team of other South Africans to earn the country its independence. He died on December 5, 2013 at the age of 95, 23 years after his release from prison in 1990.

Nigeria Will Continue To Support Africa’s Political Stability And Peace – Buhari

Buhari-NigeriaThe Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has said that all efforts to achieve political stability and maintain peace in Africa would continue to receive his nation’s full support.

President Buhari gave this assurance on Wednesday in Abuja, while in a meeting with Special Envoys of President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi.

President Buhari also said that under his leadership, Nigeria would remain at the forefront of efforts to achieve enduring peace, security and progress in all African nations.

According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President said “whatever happens elsewhere in Africa also affects Nigeria directly or indirectly”.

The President further declared that African leaders must do their best to achieve greater peace, political stability and security within their countries, in order to give more attention to the urgent task of improving the living conditions of their people.

Thanking the envoys, Major General Evariste Ndayishimiye and Ambassador Dieudonne Kwizera, for briefing him on recent political developments in Burundi, President Buhari expressed the hope that all stakeholders in the country would resolve their differences peacefully and learn to work together for the development of Burundi.

He also welcomed ongoing efforts by President Nkurunziza towards peace and national reconciliation in Burundi.

UN Security Council: Nigeria Opens Debate On Regional Security

UN-Security-Council-meeting-of-August-2015Nigeria has opened the debate on regional peace and security at the United Nations Security Council which is in line with the resolve by African leaders for regional bodies to lead peace-building and peace-keeping in their areas.

UN Secretary General, Ban-ki Moon and over 20 countries, who participated in the debate, agreed that the role of regional organisations in conflict resolution could not be over emphasised, drawing inferences from Chapter 8 of the UN Charter.

However, India strongly disagrees with the popular views, calling into question, Africa’s ability to effectively handle peace- keeping missions.

Stop Brain Drain, Obama Tells African Leaders

Barack-Obama-The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, has said that African leaders can stop the brain drain in the continent by providing for the youth, the basics of rule of law, democracy, governance and peace.

Obama made the demand on Monday at a meeting with young African leaders of the Mandela Washington fellowship in the United States.

The President also said that many young, talented and well educated people from Africa, the Middle East and Asia were staying away from their countries for lack of confidence in succeeding in their home countries.

He said it was not the wealth of the host countries that keep the young people away, but their quest to have a sense of meaning and belonging in the society they live and grow, an atmosphere he said every government must try to provide for its young people.

In the last few months, deaths of migrants have been recorded in the Mediterranean sea, as they attempt to cross to Europe in search of greener pasture, a development that may have triggered President Obama’s comments.

The influx had forced the European Union consider military operation against human traffickers.

U.N. Says Burundi Did Not Hold Fair Election

Pierre Nkurunziza Burundi presidentThe United Nations (U.N.) says Burundi’s parliamentary elections on Monday were not fair or free, as human rights were violated.

In Washington, the State Department said the United States suspended several security assistance programs it had with Burundi.

Burundi has been locked in its worst political crisis since its civil war ended a decade ago, with protests erupting in late April against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term in office. Dozens have been killed.

The opposition boycotted the parliamentary election on Monday. A presidential vote is scheduled for July 15 and the UN and others have called for it to be postponed. Opponents say the president’s attempt to stand again violates the constitution.

“Episodes Of Violence”

U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said the preliminary conclusion of the U.N. electoral observer mission in Burundi was that “the overall environment was not conducive for free, credible and inclusive elections.”

“Episodes of violence and explosions preceded and in some cases accompanied election day activities,” Haq said. “The U.N. mission … observed media freedom restrictions, violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

“This includes infringements to the right of the political opposition to campaign freely, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary detentions, and acts of violence committed by armed youth groups aligned with political parties,” he said.

Reuters reports that the U.S. State Department spokesman, John Kirby, said the United States urged Nkurunziza “to place the welfare of Burundi’s citizens above his own political ambitions and participate in dialogue with the opposition and civil society to identify a peaceful solution to this deepening crisis.”

Kirby said this should include the delay of the July 15 presidential elections until conditions are in place for free, fair and peaceful elections.

“In response to the abuses committed by members of the police during political protests, we are suspending all International Law Enforcement Academy and Anti-Terrorism Assistance training that we provide to Burundian law enforcement agencies,” Kirby said in a statement.

At least six people, including one policeman, were killed in Burundi’s capital on Wednesday, witnesses and a police spokesman said.

About 140,000 people have fled the country, stoking concern in a region with a history of ethnic conflict, particularly in Rwanda, where 800,000 people were killed in 1994.

South Africa May Leave ICC Over al-Bashir Row

south africa on al bashir of sudanSouth Africa has announced plans to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) after a row over the court’s attempt to have Sudan’s President, Omar al-Bashir arrested in the country.

Omar al-Bashir was in Johannesburg for the 25th Assembly of Heads of State and government of the African Union summit.

The Sudanese leader is wanted by the ICC on charges of genocide and war crimes, but he had denied allegations of committing atrocities in Sudan’s troubled western Darfur region.

After a cabinet meeting, the government said it would review membership “for a number of reasons”.

Meanwhile, a South African court had ordered Mr Bashir to stay in the country while it ruled whether he could be arrested,

The South African government had said that al-Bashir enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

The UN says about 300,000 people in Sudan have died and more than two million have fled their homes since fighting began in 2003.

It is reported that the South African government is due to explain its decision later on Thursday, although its statement may not be made public.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to refer South Africa to the UN Security Council for allowing al-Bashir to leave the country, ahead of a court ruling on whether he should be transferred to the ICC to stand.

Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir Arrives In Khartoum

al-BashirSudanese President, Omar al-Bashir arrived in Khartoum on Monday (June 15) to a hero’s welcome after defying a South Africa court order for him to remain in the country until it ruled on an application for his arrest.

Hundreds thronged the Khartoum airport to welcome Bashir, who had been in South Africa to attend an African Union summit.

Bashir, whose plane touched down at 1530 GMT has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Pretoria High Court was in session on Monday to decide on a petition by the Southern African Litigation Centre, a rights group that wanted to force South African President Jacob Zuma’s government to arrest al-Bashir and hand him over to the ICC.

South Africa is an ICC signatory and therefore obliged to implement arrest warrants, but the ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Sunday (June 14) accused the Hague-based court of being biased against Africans and said it was “no longer useful”.

Pretoria’s furious response and its decision to allow al-Bashir to leave is affirmation of its shifting diplomatic priorities with Africa’s interests trumping those of the West.

Judge Hans Fabricius on Sunday barred Bashir from leaving South Africa until he had made a decision on the application and had asked the government to inform all ports of exit not to allow the veteran Sudanese leader to leave.

However, Sudan’s State Minister Yasser Youssef told Reuters al-Bashir had left South Africa and was due to land in the Sudanese capital Khartoum at around 6:30pm local time.

Zuma’s government had given immunity to al-Bashir and all other delegates attending the AU summit.

The ICC issued arrest warrants for al-Bashir in 2009 and 2010, accusing him of masterminding genocide and other atrocities in his campaign to crush a revolt in the Darfur region.

He has long rejected the court’s authority.

The conflict in Darfur has killed as many as 300,000 people and displaced some two million, the United Nations says.

The ICC, the U.S. Department and the U.N. have criticised Pretoria for rolling out the red carpet for Bashir.