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West-Africa

ECOWAS Launches Trade Promotion Organizations Network

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The Economic Community of West African States, with the support of the International Trade Centre, officially launched the ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organizations Network.

This network (TPO) is a public-sector led entity and will work in partnership with the ECOWAS commission to drive inclusive trade development initia-tives within West Africa and beyond.

According to sources, the TPO also held its First Annual General Assembly 15th – 16th July 2021 in Abuja, Nigeria.

Before officially launching the Network, Tei Konzi, ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement, on behalf of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi BROU, stressed the importance of the Trade Promotion Organisations in accessing new markets and establishing linkages between local and international businesses.

These are some of the major reasons the Council of Ministers at their 17th June, 2021, 86th Ordinary session took a decision to establish the ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organisation Network in the region, he reiterated.

In her remarks, the International Trade Centre Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton emphasized the milestone West Africa had achieved with the establishment of the ECOWAS TPO Network.

“As a network you can learn from each other, support growth into each other’s markets, invest in shared information assets, and amplify the voice of TPOs and the private sector as champions of the Africa of tomorrow,” said Ms. Coke-Hamilton.

Cicile Tassin-Pelzer, Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and to ECOWAS, noted that the flagship of the West African Competitiveness Programme has brought together public and private sectors stakeholders across the region to strengthen competitiveness and enhance the level of production, transformation and export capacities of the Private Sectors.

Speaking directly to the TPOs, by creating this network, you take your mission to another level, creating strength in numbers and synergies of closer collaboration with an ultimate objective improving the West African Markets, she said.

Mr. Olusegun Awolowo ED/CEO Nigeria Export Promotion Council, in his welcome address, stated that indeed this was a first of many steps towards building mutual trust and cooperation

without borders within the ECOWAS region. As at today intra-Africa exports only accounts for about 16% of Africa’s global export, and more specifically intra-ECOWAS trade only accounts for a tenth of ECOWAS countries’ global trade.

Indeed, more must be done to increase the volume of trade within the ECOWAS region and more importantly between ECOWAS and the rest of Africa.

It is therefore imperative that through the TPO network we work assiduously towards facilitating the ease of trade for our MSMEs within the ECOWAS region and Africa at large, thereby building an army of exporters that will boost intra Africa trade.

If soundly operationalized, this new mechanism of TPO Network should help a great deal in boosting trade among ECOWAS member states. Consequently, economic integration in the sub-region will be further deepened, he added

The first AGM of the Network, chaired by the President of the ECOWAS TPO Network Olusegun Awolowo, Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and supported by the Vice President Guy M’Bengue, Chief Executive Officer of Côte d’Ivoire Export Promotion Agency (APEX-CI), will consider key documents for the operationalization of the network.

As part of the event, the ECOWAS TPO network engaged in discussions with Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, and Transcorp and Jean B. Bakole, Regional Director of UNIDO, moderated by Dr. Asare Afua Asabea, Chief Executive Of-ficer of Ghana Export Promotion Agency (GEPA).

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Politics

African Union Suspends Mali

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Mali will no longer take part in the affairs of African Union a continental body that brings together all 55 Member States.

The African Union has effectively suspended Mali’s membership and threatened sanctions in response to a second military coup last Friday.

Former vice president Assimi Goita, a colonel who led both coups, was declared president on Friday. Interim President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane were detained and pressured to resign.

In a statement the AU’s Peace and Security Council said Mali’s suspension – effective immediately – would remain until “normal constitutional order has been restored”.

Failing “an unimpeded, transparent and swift return to the civilian-led transition”, the council said targeted would follow.

Below is the full statement by AU against the Mali situation

Adopted by the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), at its 1001st meeting held on 1 June 2021, on the situation in Mali.

The Peace and Security Council,

Recalling its previous communiques and press statements on the situation in Mali and in the Sahel region, in particular Communique [PSC/PR/COMM. (M)] adopted at its 1000th meeting held on 25 May 2021 and Communique [PSC/PR/COMM.(CMXLl)] adopted at its 941st meeting held on 19 August 2020;

Taking note of the opening remarks by the PSC Chairperson for June 2021 and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Burundi to the AU, H.E. Ambassador Joel Nkurabagaya and the statements by the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Ambassador Bankole Adeoye; H.E. Ambassador Amma Adomaa Twum-Amoah, Permanent Representative of Ghana to the AU, as the representative of ECOWAS Chair and Ambassador Fafre Camara, Permanent Representative of Mali to the AU, as well as the briefing by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission and Head of the AU Mission for the Sahel (MISAHEL), H.E. Ambassador Maman Sidikou;

Deeply concerned about the evolving situation in Mali and its negative impact on the gains made thus far in the transition process in the country;

Also recalling the Communique of the Extraordinary Summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government, held on 30 May 2021, in Accra, Ghana;

Mindful of the provisions of all relevant AU normative instruments, including the AU Constitutive Act; the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union; the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance; and the Declaration on the Framework for an OAU Response to Unconstitutional Changes of Government, adopted by the 36th Ordinary Session of the OAU Assembly of Heads of State and Government, held in Lomé, Togo, July 2000 (the Lomé Declaration);

Reaffirming the unwavering commitment of the AU to respect the sovereignty, unity and the territorial integrity of Mali, as well as the AU’s solidarity with the people and Government of Mali;

Acting under Article 7 of its Protocol, the Peace and Security Council,

1. Endorses the decisions adopted by the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, as outlined in paragraph 8 of its Communique issued on 30 May 2021, in Accra, Ghana;

2. Condemns in the strongest terms possible and totally rejects coups d’état and unconstitutional changes of government in the Continent, consistent with the provisions of Article 4(p) of the AU Constitutive Act;

3. Decides, accordingly, in line with the relevant AU normative instruments, to immediately suspend the Republic of Mali from participation in all activities of the African Union, its Organs and institutions, until normal constitutional order has been restored in the country;

4. Strongly urges the Malian military to urgently and unconditionally return to the barracks, and to refrain from further interference in the political processes in Mali, while calling for the creation of conducive conditions for an unimpeded, transparent and swift return to the civilian-led transition, based on the agreed transition roadmap for Mali, failing which, the Council will not hesitate to impose targeted sanctions and other punitive measures against any spoilers of the current transition;

5. Calls on the Malian defence and security forces to immediately lift all restrictions on all political actors, including the house arrest of H.E. Bah N’Daw and H.E. Moctar Ouane ;

6. Calls upon the transitional authorities to respect and abide by the originally stipulated 18 months transitional period and, therefore, appeals once again to the Malian people to place the supreme interests of the country and its people above all else, to remain calm and to continue to work together within the framework of the 2015 Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Mali, which emanated from the Algiers process, with the effective participation of women, the youth and Malians in the Diaspora, to resolve the current crisis, and organize free, fair and credible democratic elections on 27 February 2022;

7. Requests the Chairperson of the Commission through his Special Representative and Head of AU Mission in Mali and the Sahel (MISAHEL) to continue to closely coordinate with the ECOWAS Special Envoy and Mediator to Mali, H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;

8. Expresses support for the United Nations Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), and commends its efforts in Mali, while reiterating AU’s readiness to actively collaborate with the UN in maintaining peace, stability and security in Mali;

9. Demands unambiguously that the current leadership of the transition process, including the Head of the Transition, Vice-President and Prime Minister, should not, under any circumstances, be candidates for the forthcoming presidential election in Mali;

10. Calls on the military leadership and all political stakeholders to fully and unconditionally respect the transition charter while urging for the immediate appointment of a civilian Prime Minister to lead the conclusion of the transition process and to coordinate a genuinely inclusive national reconciliation and dialogue process for the stability of Mali;

11. Further decides to constitute a PSC evaluation mission to Mali, to engage with all concerned stakeholders and the ECOWAS Special Envoy and Mediator, in order to identify areas in which the AU could provide support to Mali, particularly as this relates to the implementation of the transition programme and the holding of elections;

12. Appeals to the international community to extend financial support to Mali in order to enable it to address the grave macroeconomic challenges facing the country and ensure that the transition plan is not derailed;

13. Also requests the Chairperson of the Commission to monitor the situation in Mali closely and to provide regular updates to Council, at least once every quarter and as necessary; and

14. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

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West-Africa

US Firm Accuses Ghanaian Political Party Of Money Laundering

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Birim Group LLC an equity fund and securities investment company based in the United States has brought charges against Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, a Ghanaian Politician and flag bearer of Progressive People’s Party (PPP).

Groupe Nduom- the umbrella company for 60 other businesses owned by Dr Nduom is being accused of laundering a total of U$63,000,000.

“The Nduom family defendants, by and through their ownership, control and use of defendants GN Bank, Gold Coast Fund Management and over 60 undercapitalised interrelated companies, collected several million dollars of depositor’s saving, investment contributions and insurance premiums, and in violation of U.S. and Ghana laws illegally laundered approximately $63,000,000 of depositors’ funds through its Virginia-based sham ‘procurement and consulting service’ company, International Business Solutions,” Birim Group LLC stated.

The statement further stated that the purported “criminal scheme” involved “international money wire system – of inflated, over-invoiced and above-market rate fees disguised as payment for ‘management service’”.

Dr Nduom, his wife Yvonne Nduom, their children, Nana Kweku Nduom, Edjah Nduom and Nana Aba Nduom in their official capacities in the business are all named as defendants in the suit.

“Plaintiff further alleges that Nduom family defendants dominate and control the Corporate Defendants and the related 60 or more companies, and in so doing, these entities commingle their funds and other assets and fail to segregate the funds of the separate entities. There is also the unauthorised diversion of corporate funds or assets to non-corporate uses”.

The plaintiff, Birim Group LLC further alleges that Groupe Nduom engaged in these illegalities for the “sole personal financial benefit of the Nduom family” and used his businesses as a conduit to “facilitate the unlawful acts”.

Reference was also made to the recent cleanup in Ghana’s financial sector where the plaintiff claims “a substantial portion of its [GN Bank] loans were illegally made to Nduom-related entities without the benefit of appropriate risk assessments, managements or determinants”.

“Groupe Nduom-GH (GN-GH) is wholly owned, dominated and controlled by Nduom and his family for the sole personal benefit of Nduom. Having failed to meet its regulator’s qualifying criteria, defendant GN-GH was initially downgraded and reclassified from a commercial banking house to a Savings and Loans Company.

“On or about August 16, 2019, its license was formally revoked by its regulator, the central Bank of Ghana”.

The plaintiff believes that the “manipulations and liabilities” among Groupe Nduom’s entities effectively resulted in the “diversion of assets from one business entity to the Nduom defendants and their other entities to the detriment of creditors and depositors”.

Among the many reliefs being sought, Birim Group LLC, acting as assignors, are asking for “treble compensatory damages, as well as, consequential, exemplary and punitive damages in an amount to be determined by trial.

They also want the court to order “disgorgement of all profits, benefits and other compensation obtained by defendants including all ill-gotten gains from their illegal and criminal activities.

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West-Africa

Ugandan ADF Rebels Launch More Attacks In Beni

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The Ugandan Allied Democratic Front Rebels operating in Democratic Republic of Congo have launched a stingy attack in Mambasa territory in Beni killing two civilians on Tuesday.

A reliable source told Taarifa that this attack was executed in Ngaka village in Mambasa territory.

“These ADF rebels arrived very early on Wednesday morning and killed 2 civilians, which is still a provisional toll,” said Idriss Kokodila, administrator of the territory of Mambasa.

According to eyewitness account, the ruthless rebel fighters The fact swept through Mambasa-Beni axis where they managed to take goods and animals from the population to the village of Ngaka located 4 km from Makumo on the national road 4.

However,  Gilbert Sibamwenda, president of the civil society of the Bangole group says, “The rebels killed more than 7 civilians in the village of Ngaka and its surroundings. We need large-scale military operations because they are scattered in nature. ”

“The army is in pursuit of these rebels,” said Idriss Kokodila, administrator of the territory of Mambasa.

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