AU Commission Chairperson concludes official visit to Belarus

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A bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of Belarus, signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, holding talks with the Board Chairman of the Belarus National Bank and delivering a lecture at the University of Belarus. These are highlights of the maiden official visit of the African Union Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to Belarus. The visit took place from 21-24 April 2016.

In her meeting with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus, H.E. Andrei Kobyakov, the AU Commission Chairperson made a case for greater collaboration and cooperation between Africa and Belarus. She recalled the historic relationship that existed during the days of the Soviet Republic, and invited the Government of Belarus to create favourable conditions for Belarusian businesses to invest Africa at national, sub-regional and continental levels.

“We will never forget the support that Africa got during that time,” said Dr. Dlamini-Zuma. “That is why today we are urging the people of Belarus to invest in Africa as it implements its 50-year development plan, Agenda 2063.”

In line with a clear strategic direction, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the AU Commission Chairperson, Dr. Dlamini Zuma and the First Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Belarus, Mr. Mikhnevich. Following the signing of the MoU, they agreed to put establish a working group to identify specific project areas of cooperation, based on Africa’s Agenda 2063, the 10-year implementation plan and the 12 flagship projects.

The Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Dr. Elham Ibrahim, who was part of the Chairperson’s delegation, would lead the working group from the Africa side.

Areas that would benefit from immediate cooperation include agriculture and agro-processing, transport, energy, ICT infrastructural and industrialisation projects of continental regional and continental reach.

“Belarus has no oil, no gas, and the weather isn’t always good. But we have the head and the hands that we have used develop expertise in the areas of agriculture and agro-processing, energy generation through wind, sun, wood and nuclear,” the First Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister said.

The same views were shared by the Chairperson’s delegation when they met separately with the Belarus Minister of Industry; the Chairman of the State Committee on Science and Technology; First Deputy Minister of Architecture; and the Chairman of the Board of the National Bank of Belarus.

Dr. Dlamini Zuma highly appreciated the involvement of the Banks at this early stage, given that Financing is often one of the principal challenges raised in international business transactions.

After meetings with Government officials, the AU Commission Chairperson also delivered a lecture at the University of Belarus, focusing on Africa’s Agenda 2063. The lecture was characterized by a lively and interactive discussion between the Chairperson and students.

It was agreed that a MoU would be signed between the Pan African University and the University of Belarus to facilitate, among others, the training of students but also the transfer of technology.

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African Champs League: Zamalek, Zesco and Setif through

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Egypt’s Zamalek and former champions Entente Setif of Algeria have joined Zambia’s Zesco United in the group stages of the African Champions League.

Zamalek, coached by former Birmingham City and Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish, grabbed a late equaliser against Mouloudia Bejaia to progress 3-1 on aggregate.

The success eases some of the pressure on McLeish, who’s side are trailing their great rivals Al Ahly in the Egyptian league by 11 points.

Setif, African champions in 2014, were held to a goalless draw at home by Sudan’s Al Merreikh.

Coupled with a 2-2 draw from the first leg, that takes the Algerians through on away goals.

Earlier Zesco beat Mali’s Stade Malien 2-1 on Tuesday to complete a 5-2 victory on aggregate and become the first team to reach the Champions League group stage.

Zesco’s Jesse Were scored the opener for the hosts after five minutes.

Samake Issaka equalised after the break for visitors Mali, but an 80th-minute close-range effort from Maybin Mwaba made certain of their progress.

Malien’s misery was complete when Issaka was sent off on 89 minutes.

The losers get a second chance as they enter the draw for the play-offs in the second-tier Confederation Cup.

There are five more matches on Wednesday, while the draw for the group phase takes place on 24 May.

Source: BBC

Leave When Your Time Is Up – Kofi Annan To African Leaders

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Ghana’s illustrious son Kofi Annan has urged African leaders to leave when their tenure is over and to avoid excluding opposing voices during elections since that could spark conflicts on the continent.

The former UN secretary-general said that while unconstitutional changes to government on the continent had reduced, exclusionary politics threatened to reverse the gains made.

“I think Africa has done well, by and large the coups have more or less ended, generals are remaining in their barracks, but we are creating situations which may bring them back,” the Nobel laureate said in an interview at the 5th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa.

“If a leader doesn’t want to leave office, if a leader stays on for too long, and elections are seen as being gamed to suit a leader and he stays term after term after term, the tendency may be the only way to get him out is through a coup or people taking to the streets.

“Neither approach can be seen as an alternative to democracy, to elections or to parliamentary rule. Constitutions and the rules of the game have to be respected,” the renowned international diplomat added.

According to him, the winner-take-all approaches to elections on the continent had the effect of leaving out citizens for holding an opposing view, raising tensions around elections.

Annan, who chairs the Africa Progress Panel and the Nelson Mandela-founded The Elders grouping, said he had been the first to tell the African Union not to accept coup leaders among their midst [during an OAU heads of state summit in Lusaka in 2001].

Annan also said that solutions to the problems the continent has must come from within. However, the continent must build up its ability to do so, including in financing its institutions.

“We cannot always pass a hat around and insist we want to be sovereign, we want to be independent. We should lead and get others to support us—that support will be much more forthcoming when they see how serious and committed we are.”

Source: Starrfmonline.com

Ted Cruz decisively wins Wisconsin state primary

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Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has decisively won the Wisconsin state primary, US media project.

In the Democratic race, US media have projected that Bernie Sanders will score a victory over Hillary Clinton in the Midwestern state.

Mr Trump leads the Republican race, but there are concerns that he could fall short of the number of delegates needed to secure the party’s nomination.

Mr Trump’s rivals have pinned their hopes on a contested convention.

Source: BBC