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Burundi Government Accuses Mining Companies Of Plunder




Mining companies involved in extraction and export of rare earth minerals in Burundi have been suspended from their operations pending a pack of accusations and violations.

Prime Minister Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni has not had kind words for these mining companies and this takes the whole matter to another level.

“Many of these companies have received formal notices to immediately stop operations because we realized that they were only there to plunder our mineral wealth,” the Premeir said.

“They have duped the Government from the conventions that govern their operation to the execution of their activities. Some sort of scoundrels, ” Prime Minister Bunyoni said earlier in April.

Rainbow mining Burundi mining company has been specifically notified to suspend all its operations and has been issued a formal notice.

In a letter dated March 31, 2021, the Prime Minister’s office specifies to the Ministry of Hydraulics, Energy and Mines that following the progress report of the commission for evaluating the mining agreement on the rare earth deposits of Gakara, the export of rare earths is now prohibited pending the violation of the Convention signed between the Burundian Government and the company Rainbow mining Burundi.

However, later on May 18, 2021,Rainbow mining wrote to the government requesting for negotiations to adopt the win-win principle.

On June 24, 2021, the Ministry of Energy and Mines announced the suspension of mining activities for rare earths of Gakara “until the adoption of the clauses resulting from the negotiations between the company Rainbow mining Burundi and the Burundian Government.”

According to local media reports, the mining companies have been issuing juicy bribes to higher officials in the government and evading taxes or in most cases declaring very low taxes.

According to a source, the Rainbow Mining Company paid a minimum tax in relation to the value of the various elements contained in the rare earths; “the company only paid its taxes for the basic elements and not on the associated elements among rare earths.”

“As Rainbow mining is reluctant to show its results in terms of content for the rare earths it exports, the state only collects 10% of the profit of what it should have,” says a source within the ministry in charge of mines.

Rainbow mining company is also accused of not honouring its contractual obligations contained in agreements.

For example, “It was planned to build socio-economic infrastructure such as schools and health facilities. For example, the company was to build a technical school in Mutambu (Bujumbura rural province) and a paved road leading there, It did not do any of these.”

According to the Ministry of Mines, the state is within its rights to suspend the continuation of mining operations carried out by the company.

Gabriel Rufyiri the President of Olucome – an Observatory for the fight against corruption and economic embezzlement argues that the problem is with the mining law.

“It is said in the Mining Code that the company signing the agreement has 51% of the shares, 39% held by other shareholders and 10 % of shares belonging to the Burundian State. Under these conditions, the win-win principle is not possible. ”

Gabriel Rufyiri also points to the responsibility of the public authorities: “How is it that things could have come to this when the State has a vice-president on the Board of Directors within the mixed company of ‘mining not to mention other members of the same Council? ”

“When we take a look at the international markets, we realize that Burundi exports large quantities of raw materials, but we will never know the income from their sale. It is looting of mineral resources. But by whom? That’s the big question,” Rufyiri notes.

Rufyiri calls for this case to be brought to justice; “We need to prosecute those who represented the Burundian government in the negotiation and monitoring of mining by companies. This is the crux of the matter. ”

“The code, which there is reason to believe will be amended, must not be implemented behind closed doors, but be the result of a consensus between all the partners (government, civil society, etc.)”, he concludes.

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Kagame Advocates For Investment Into Africa’s Agriculture Value Chain



Agriculture and agri-business, especially in Africa, will drive the continent’s attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals, President Paul Kagame has said.

“This is especially true as we work to make
up for the time lost to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said adding that, “Each country and region must chart its own pathway to transformation, but this is also a global challenge that we must address together.”

Kagame was speaking in his capacity as the Chair of the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD, Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee at the official ceremony of the UN Food Systems Summit 2021 Pre-Summit.

In Africa, he continued, 70% of the working-age population is employed in the agricultural sector.

“But our continent’s food markets are often fragmented, and links to food processing and value addition services are sometimes lacking,” the President said.

He noted that digital technologies and biotechnology are playing a greater role in African agriculture, but too many farmers do not yet have reliable access.

And that financial services and products for farmers, including insurance, are generally inadequate.

“As a result, Africa’s food producers do not earn the level of income that they deserve, and they must cope with high levels of economic risk and uncertainty,” Kagame added.

According to the Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme, David Beasley, 41 million people are on the brink of famine today.

“Planet earth, shame on us that we let a single person go to bed hungry,” said.

“We have the expertise to end hunger, but we urgently need the money. This is a global call to action – all hands on deck,” he added.

Transformation is a necessity, according to Presidemt Kagame.

This is why the African Union Development Agency, NEPAD, has worked to facilitate an African Common Position in advance of the Food Systems Summit, in line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the SDGs.

Kagame offered two proposition.

Africa will pursue solutions in the following priority tracks:

One, adopt nutritious food policies, establish food reserves, and expand school feeding programs.

Two, support local markets and food supply chains, invest in agro-processing for healthy foods, and expand trade in food products within Africa.

The UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for the UN’ Food Systems Summit, Agnes M. Kaliba,  told participants that the summit is much very powerful than she thought.

“The energy,  and hopes in each room today were palpable!. We need to leverage the incredible power of food to deliver a step change in the SDGs- this is a one in a generation opportunity,” she said.

Myrna Cunningham, speaking for Indiginous People, said that, “Our current Food Systems is based on extreme irresponsibility; We need a food system that is based on rights including Economic empowerement and rights and rights to land.”

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Airtel Rwanda MD Steps Down



It is learnt through reliable sources that Amit Chawla has decided to step down after completing a three-year term as Managing Director for Airtel Rwanda.

Normally, he would have had his contract extended or rotated to another operation in the company’s footprints, but a source told Taarifa that he is leaving the industry to do other businesses.

A new executive will be announced soon, it is said.

Amit, who took over the newly merged entity on August 31, 2018, during which time he oversaw the achievements of several milestones.

Chief among his accomplishments include the consolidation of the brand Airtel after the takeover of Tigo, its people, products and services as well as modernization of the country’s network, a project that saw the expansion of the Airtel Rwanda Network and saw the consolidation of Airtel’s reputation as the internet provider of choice for Mobile Internet in Rwanda.

During his time with the organization as MD, Airtel Rwanda oversaw great changes. Under his leadership, programs grew and services became more easily available to all customers.

Chawla led the company’s pandemic response that saw Airtel Rwanda direct its CSR budget towards governments efforts to tackle the initial response to the Global pandemic.

Under his leadership, Airtel has gained a reputation for launching ground breaking and bold campaigns such as the recent Va Kugiti Campaign that generated a lot of buzz in the Rwandan market.

Chawla, also oversaw the successful roll out of the Airtel Money Branch (AMB) concept, with 71 shops opened in Kigali alone.

The AMB’s concept has completely revolutionized the proximity of a telecom operator to her network of Agents and Freelancers, enabling them to access up to Rwf5 million within walking distance.

Chawla was unavailable for comment.


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First Chinese Electric Car To Reach Europe Disrupts Markets



Chinese automaker Aiways has resorted to livestreaming its all-electric cars to potential clients across the globe.

“The design is very simple and uncluttered,” one of the presenters said as she detailed the U5’s design and capabilities. “The car is modern, and even the mode of distribution is modern.”

“Modern” distribution here means replicating the “live commerce” experience of Aiways’ home country — using livestreaming events to drum up interest and sales online. The company ships its cars through local partners to customers in Europe from its factory in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangxi.

That arrangement helps Aiways keep prices down. The U5 is priced from around 39,000 euros ($46,000), 10% to 15% cheaper than its rivals, according to the company.

Alexander Klose, the Aiways executive vice president in charge of overseas operations says, “We have some challenges, but overall, I would say it has been fairly positive for us, and we have seen a fairly positive recognition.”

Aiways is not alone: A growing number of Chinese EV makers are setting their sights on overseas markets — and they intend to compete on quality as much as price.

BYD, the Chinese automaker backed by U.S. investment guru Warren Buffett, is betting on Norway. It shipped its first 100 European-specification SUVs to dealers there this June, and it plans to deliver 1,500 by the end of the year.

Like Aiways, BYD is keen to take advantage of overseas consumers’ improving perception of Chinese products.

“We are not going to make the same mistakes as other Chinese brands did more than 10 years ago in the European theater. They tried to launch vehicles in a very cheap and rushed way, without being fully prepared,” a BYD spokesperson told Nikkei Asia.

“Most people haven’t heard of BYD until now, so it is more important to do things right than [to] start talking about [sales volume].”

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