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UNDP Launches Programme to Help Private Sector Benefit From AfCFTA

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Trading under the preferential terms of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) com-menced on January 1 2021.

The AfCFTA will create a single African market for goods and services covering 1.2 billion people and a combined Gross Domestic Product of US$3 trillion through the progressive elimination of tariffs, the removal of non-tariff barriers, cooperation in customs ar-rangements and related areas, liberalization of trade in services, and developing African disci-plines on Intellectual Property Rights, Investment, Competition and E-Commerce.

Considering the important role of the private sector in this newly established market, the potential of the region, which consolidated market size can attract investments into the region, the ECO-WAS Commission is scheduled to implement a range of awareness and capacity building pro-grammes for producers, traders and service suppliers to maximize the opportunities within the AfCFTA.

For this purpose, on April 07th 2021, the ECOWAS Commission, in collaboration with UNDP, will launch a training programme aiming at strengthening the capacities of the private sector in the re-gion in general and, more specifically, the capacities of women to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

As part of this initiative, a “training-of-trainers” will be conducted from April 07th to 09th, 2021, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to ensure a wider outreach of their training module on the AfCFTA for the private sector.

This three-day training module will aim at providing both theoretical and practical knowledge on the AfCFTA and improving teaching skills in order to help the private sector under-stand the terms, measure the potential benefits and take advantage of the provisions of the AfCFTA.

As part of this training, highlights will be given to priority value chains, regional strategy, and ECOWAS approach and priorities.

Also, issues related to the identification of applicable tariffs, regulations, and institutions, completing trade formalities, meeting standards and certification re-quirements will be taught, among others.

Trainees will come from Business Associations in the ECOWAS region. Representatives of the ECOWAS Commission, African Union Commission (AUC), Afrexim Bank, German development agency (GIZ), International Trade Centre (ITC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), United Nation Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) will also participate in the conduct of the training of trainers workshop.

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CHOGM 2021 Postponed Due To COVID-19 Pandemic

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Paul Kagame and Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland QC are expected to officially announce the postponement of CHOGM 2021 as a result of the continuing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

President Kagame said in a statement that having reviewed all available evidence and risk assessments, and after close consultation between the Commonwealth Secretariat and Member States, the decision has been made to postpone the CHOGM in Kigali for a second time. 

The decision to postpone CHOGM for a second time has not been taken lightly, the statement said. 

“The health and welfare of all Commonwealth citizens at this critical time must take precedence. We look forward to welcoming the Commonwealth family to Kigali for CHOGM at the appropriate time,” Kagame said.

The Cmmonwealth Secretary-General is queues saying that, “We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to have a hugely damaging impact on our member countries, many of whom continue to face huge losses to lives and livelihoods. And while it is with deep disappointment and regret that we cannot bring Commonwealth leaders together at this time to discuss many of these critical issues, we must be mindful of the huge risks large meetings pose to all.

“I want to thank the Government and people of Rwanda for their professionalism, support, patience and their impeccable readiness to hold CHOGM. And I want to thank all our member countries and, in particular, the United Kingdom as our Chair-in-Office and India, who have suffered so grievously in these trying times. I look forward warmly to a time when we can be reunited with the Commonwealth family, face-to-face, in Rwanda when the conditions allow for us to do so safely and securely.”

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Boat Donated By Kagame To Nkombo Islanders Not Operational

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Residents of Nkombo Island will have to wait longer to travel on a boat donated to them by President Paul Kagame.

Nkombo island is located on Lake Kivu in Rusizi district. Residents last saw this boat in October last year when it was officially handed to the district.

According to authorities of Rusizi district, the delay to use this boat is because drivers are still undergoing intensive training until they learn to operate the water vessel.

Currently the boat is docked in Karongi district and will only be available when the drivers have fully completed training.

President Paul Kagame has a special attachment to the people living on Nkombo Island. He donated  the second boat to the islanders on June 29, 2015 while addressing opinion leaders in Rusizi district.

“I am giving you an even bigger vessel, please use it to relate, trade and utilize all the opportunities your district has to offer,” advised Kagame.

In 2010, Kagame donated a passenger boat with a capacity to carry 100 passengers and 40 tons of luggage. The island hosts over 180,000 residents.

For the past regimes, this island was extremely neglected and treated as though it was part of Democratic Republic of Congo formerly Zaire. Previous governments ridiculed and despised Nkombo islanders as backward people and attached them to ‘Bashi’, a Congolese tribe.

With this deep neglect sanctioned by previous regimes, Nkombo islanders invented a language known as ‘Amahavu’ a mixture of two dialects; Congo’s Lingala and Kinyarwanda.

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President Tshisekedi Orders Martial Law Rule In Kivu, Ituri

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President Felix Tshisekedi has ordered rule of martial law in DRCs North Kivu and Ituri provinces effective on Thursday, May 6.

The Congolese President called on the people of the two provinces “to cooperate closely with the military authorities deployed by denouncing enemies of the people and complicity at whatever level” with those perpetrating violence.

The shift in management of this part of the country is aimed at stemming the bloodshed and returning order to the region, the president said in an address on national television Monday.

During the period of martial law, Congo’s security forces will have the right to search homes, seize weapons and prohibit travel, Tshisekedi’s spokesman, Kasongo Mwema Yambab Yamba, said in a separate address.

The military and police authorities will also have the right to ban publications and meetings deemed contrary to public order and to prosecute those suspected of violating the peace, he said.

Eastern Congo with population of 20 million people, borders Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. This region hosts at least 120 armed groups

Violence in eastern Congo includes numerous conflicts over control of land and resources, protection of local communities, and rebellions linked to neighboring countries.

Ituri and North Kivu are rich in metals like gold and coltan and armed groups including alleged criminal networks in the army sometimes profit from their trade.

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