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Region Applauds Rwanda For Emerging Best Performer In Africa In Implementation Of Agriculture Program

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The 14th Meeting of the Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security (SCAFS) came to a close in Arusha, Tanzania on 25th June, 2021. 

Chairing the Ministerial Session, Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives, Republic of Kenya, Mr. Lawrence Angolo Omuhaka, noted the urgent need for the region to implement harmonized policies and to operationalize regional instruments in order to guarantee sustainable agricultural production, trade in commodities and to attain sustainable regional food and nutrition security.

On the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) – Africa’s policy framework for agricultural transformation, wealth creation, food security and nutrition, economic growth and prosperity for all – Mr. Omuhaka noted that AU Member States were required to demonstrate their commitment to the ideals and principles of CAADP, by following relevant CAADP processes.  

“This will ensure that there are appropriate actions to achieve accelerated agricultural growth and transformation for shared prosperity and improved livelihoods for the population on the continent, by 2025,” said Mr. Omuhaka. 

The Chief Administrative Secretary further noted with concern that the Second CAADP Biennual Report submitted to the AU General Assembly in February, 2020 showed that the Eastern Africa region, with the exception of the Republic Rwanda, was not on track on most targets. He added that the report portrays the absolute and relative performance of countries and indicates that there was a lot to be done in order to transform the agricultural sector in Africa. 

“As a region we should applaud the Republic of Rwanda for emerging the best performing country on the continent for the second time, scoring 7.24 which was above the minimum score of 6.66 required to be on-track”, he added. 

Speaking on behalf of the EAC Secretariat, Director of Productive Sectors, Mr. Jean Baptiste Havugimana noted that more than 70% of the industries in EAC were agro-based, including production of agricultural inputs; while 75% of the traded goods are agricultural commodities and products. 

“Linking agricultural trade and industry is therefore imperative in promoting agricultural production as industries provide the market for agricultural produce while trade delivers processed agricultural products to the market/ consumer,” noted Mr. Havigimana. 

The Director highlighted the need to promote and enhance commercial agriculture, urging the region to draw lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on the need to promote local industries. He observed that the region had been importing many products from outside prior to the pandemic, yet it was possible to produce them locally. 

“Textile industries need to be promoted instead of depending on import of used cloths. It is necessary to promote local consumption and procurement of locally produced goods as emphasized by the Heads of State,” he noted.  

On regional food security the meeting noted there was commendable commitment and progress towards meeting global and continental nutrition targets, as efforts to reduce levels of malnutrition were evident across all the Partner States. However, the Sectoral Council noted that levels of stunting, underweight and anaemia are still high above the targets set under the CAADP/Malabo Declaration. The meeting therefore noted the need for the Partner States to direct more technical and financial resources in projects and programmes established to enhance food and nutrition security. 

On Aflatoxin prevention and control, the Sectoral Council directed the Secretariat and urged Partner States to fast track implementation of the EAC Aflatoxin Prevention and Control Strategy. Aflatoxin contamination poses a serious threat to human and animal health, and to the economies of the EAC Partner States.  The strategy contains recommendations on interventions required to mitigate impacts and effects of aflatoxin along the food and feed value chains.  

On pest management, the Sectoral Council adopted Standard Operating Procedures for operationalising Pest Risk Analysis (PRAs) for maize, beans and rice. In November, 2019, the Council of Ministers approved harmonised procedures for conducting Pest Risk Analysis (PRAs) for maize, beans and rice. Subsequently, development of harmonised Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for inspection of grain (maize, beans and rice) were required to operationalise the PRAs.  

In addition, the Sectoral Council adopted seven additional priority crops – banana, cassava, potato (ware and seed), sorghum, soybean, groundnuts and pineapple and directed the Secretariat to embark on development of Pest Risk Analysis (PRAs) for the selected crops.  

On livestock development, the Sectoral Council directed the EAC Secretariat to develop programmes and dedicate resources to promote development of priority livestock value chains, given the sector’s importance in the economies of the Partner States. 

The meeting also directed the Secretariat to finalise and widely disseminate the EAC Strategy for the Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases and Zoonoses, 2020-2024, as well as development of guidelines and standard operating procedures for cross-border surveillance, preparedness and response to transboundary animal and zoonotic diseases  

The strategy and guidelines are expected to spell out ways and means for the Partner States to collaborate in mitigating and managing outbreaks of major trans-boundary animal and zoonotic diseases such as Food and Mouth Disease (FMD), Rift Valley Fever (RVF), Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), Anthrax, Rabies, Trypanosomosis, Newcastle Disease (ND), African Swine Fever (ASF) and Theileriosis among others.

The Ministers also observed the need for the EAC Secretariat to develop programmes and dedicate resources to promote development of fisheries and aquaculture in the EAC region. 

The Ministers appreciated and took note of the different initiatives coordinated by the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO) for the sustainable management and development of fisheries and aquaculture in the EAC.

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Ethiopia & IMF In Talks To Revamp Old Debt

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Ethiopia asked the International Monetary Fund for a new deal, days after France and China co-chaired the first meeting of the nation’s major creditors panel to rework the nation’s previous debt.

Setting up a creditors’ panel and an agreement on how to deal with Ethiopia’s nearly U$30 billion of external debt paves the way for the IMF to determine how to engage with the country on economic recovery.

The lender’s executive board has yet to approve disbursements from the Extended Credit Facility and Extended Fund Facility, the former of which has expired — despite reaching staff-level agreements.

The government requested a new IMF credit arrangement, potentially with a similar amount, to replace the one that just lapsed, State Minister for Finance Eyob Tekalign told reporters on Wednesday in the capital, Addis Ababa.

A new ECF will grant Ethiopia access to concessional resources under a poverty reduction and growth program, he said.

The IMF board in December 2019 approved an equivalent of $2.9 billion for Ethiopia’s two credit arrangements.

On Thursday, the Washington-based lender said it was “too soon” to engage with Ethiopia over any possible new program.

The formation of an Ethiopian creditors panel marks a breakthrough in a global push to restructure the debt of poor countries hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic under the Group of 20’s common framework.

It could also set a roadmap for the role of private creditors on the same.

The panel may propose that commercial lenders push their payment-due dates by one or two years, Eyob said later in an interview.

“The creditors committee will reach an agreement on some parameters on how to deal with comparable debt treatment,” Eyob said. The “sense we got is that there was no strong opinion on this, so we’re hopeful in getting the required amount of debt being restructured without market disruption.”

Ethiopia’s announcement on Jan. 29 that it plans to restructure its debt triggered a selloff of its $1 billion of Eurobonds. The yield on the 2024 debt has since risen, and traded at a record high of 11.75% by 11:07 a.m. in London.

Ethiopia’s economic pain, following the hit from the pandemic, was exacerbated by a civil war in its northern Tigray region, which has depleted government finances.

Ethiopia, along with at least two other African nations, Chad and Zambia, have approached creditors for debt relief under the G-20 program that aims to rework the debt for countries at risk of defaulting amid the fallout from the virus.

China’s inclusion as the co-chair of the creditor committee is key, according to Mark Bohlund, a senior credit analyst at REDD Intelligence.

It “strengthens the likelihood that re-profiling of debt service to bilateral creditors will need to be reciprocated by commercial creditors, for instance through a consent solicitation with eurobond holders to delay coupon payments,” Bohlund said.

Bloomberg

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Airtel Rwanda Partners With Canal+ To Ease Payment Of Subscription Fees Via Airtel Money

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Airtel Rwanda and Canal+ Rwanda have launched a partnership, enabling customers to easily make subscription payments.

The partnership announced at a joint press conference today provides clients of both CANAL+ and Airtel a simpler, instant and secure payments method using Airtel Money.

CANAL+ Rwanda is the subsidiary of CANAL+INTERNATIONAL, TV operator by satellite in Africa and present in over  25 African countries.

CANAL+ Rwanda have a trilingual package with 200 channels in French, Kinyarwanda and English and it offers accessible bouquet starting from 5,000 Francs with a distribution network throughout the country.

Speaking at the launch event, Airtel Rwanda Managing Director, Mr. Emmanuel Hamez said “We are delighted to launch this new service on our Airtel Money platform we welcome all Canal+ customers to enjoy the convenience and simplicity offered by Airtel Money both on the USSD as well as in the My Airtel App”.

The new service that was launched today comes on the heels of an ongoing Airtel Money campaign called Free P2P which enables all Airtel Money customers to send and receive any amount of money for FREE.

“Free P2P or Ohereza Amafaranga Ku Buntu was launched in June 2021 saw Airtel scrap all charges to send and receive money between customers, a major differentiator that positions Airtel Money to become the provider of choice when it comes to payment of good and services such Canal+ that we have launched today” added Hamez.

Canal+ Rwanda’s Managing Director, Madam Sophie TCHATCHOUA said “It gives me great pleasure to allow Canal+ client to renew their subscription with Airtel Money. The successful integration of our mutual services makes life easier for our beloved customers who can now recharge and seamlessly have their images back and all this can be done from the comfort of their home”.

To renew your subscription via Airtel Money, customers can simply dial the direct short code string *500*4*3*2*4*1# on either their smartphone on feature phone, input their 14 Digit of their decoder  number, select their preferred bouquet and make the payment which is recognized by the Canal+ billing system instantly.

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Hundreds Of Passengers Miss Flight In Uganda Due To Delayed COVID-19 Tests

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Hundreds of Ugandans have been left stranded at Entebbe International Airport by the Emirates Airways after the laboratory where they had taken their Covid-19 results delayed to return them on time.

In a Snapchat post by Ugandan socialite Sheila Gashumba, she ranted, ‘’When I tell Ugandans that Covid in Uganda is a business they say I have ‘kajanja’.

Now all Emirates passengers have missed their flights because Safari Lab sent Covid results at 2:45pm and Emirates closed its gate at 3pm.

The hospital said it couldn’t work on everyone in the short time.

Around 300 passengers missed their flight yet Safari Lab had made a total of UgSh75m since everyone had paid UGX 250,000 for the test.

In the video where all passengers were visibly angry and frustrated, they can be heard asking for what the solution is and who is going to pay for the tickets again now that those that they had paid for can no longer be used anymore.

Passengers expressed their frustration at the rot in the service.

“I experienced such thing in March as the officers in charge claimed that the gates were close at 1pm as the flight was at 3pm,” one twitter user said.

Some made jokes out of it and asked, if this was because of the US$10 tax that is in the process of being introduced and will be paid by anyone that leaves the country using the Entebbe International Airport.

Another twitter user @kasoxialex2000 asked, ‘’@UgandaCAA (Uganda Civil Aviation Authority), but seriously you guys when you move to some airports don’t you copy something? Why are we ever backwards??? Stop embarrassing us. Who will save Uganda’’
By press time there was no official communication from the Civil Aviation Authority, Safari Lab nor Emirates Airways.

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