Daily Archives: January 22, 2018

IBFD Centre for Studies in African Taxation Awards First Scholarship

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, Jan. 22, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — IBFD is pleased to announce that Mr Birhanu Tadesse Daba is the first-ever recipient of the foundation’s Centre for Studies in African Taxation (CSAT) scholarship. Mr Daba receives a full scholarship to the Advanced Master’s in International Tax Law (LLM), a joint programme of IBFD with the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The CSAT scholarship is awarded to the most promising employee from an African tax authority.

Mr Daba, an Ethiopian national, holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the Addis Ababa University and a Master of Laws (LLM) degree in international law from the Ethiopian Civil Service University. Mr Daba currently works at the Ethiopian Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation as a Coordinator, Tax Policy Directorate and Team Leader, Tax and Customs Policies Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation. Mr Daba’s experience positions him well to make an immediate impact on the tax policy of Ethiopia upon the completion of his studies.

CSAT is an autonomous think tank devoted to the study and development of African taxation and is an integral part of IBFD, an independent not-for-profit foundation that provides high-quality information and education on international taxation.

The Advanced Master’s in International Tax Law (LLM) is a 1-year, full-time programme that has been ranked as a top school in the LLM Guide’s 2017 top-10 list for LLM programmes in international tax law. Additionally, upon completion of the LLM programme, Mr Daba will be given a 6-month internship at IBFD’s headquarters in Amsterdam, where he will work with, and continue to learn from, IBFD’s core team of nearly 200 experts from over 40 countries.

“We launched CSAT with the objectives to study and provide well-researched opinions on taxation in Africa and to encourage research by Africans for Africa. By awarding the first-ever CSAT scholarship, we have taken an important step forward to help achieve these goals”, said Belema Obuoforibo, Director, IBFD Knowledge Centre. “We are very excited to award Mr Daba with the CSAT scholarship and look forward to working more closely with him over the next several months.”

IBFD is now accepting applications for the next CSAT scholarship for the LLM programme, which starts in September 2018. To learn more, please contact IBFD at CSAT@ibfd.org.

To learn more about the activities, objectives, goals and mission of CSAT, please visit the IBFD website.

About IBFD
IBFD is a leading international provider of cross-border tax expertise, with a long-standing history of supporting and contributing to tax research and academic activities. As an independent foundation, IBFD utilizes its global network of tax experts and its Knowledge Centre to serve Fortune 500 companies, governments, international consultancy firms and tax advisors. Headquartered in Amsterdam, IBFD has regional offices in Beijing, Washington and Kuala Lumpur. IBFD’s Library and Information Centre is widely regarded as the world’s leading research facility in the field of international and comparative taxation.

Renowned as the leading expertise portal in the field of cross-border taxation and legislation, IBFD’s powerful Tax Research Platform allows tax practitioners around the world to access a wealth of reliable and valuable content, enabling faster and more effective work.

IBFD’s complete coverage further includes courses, journals and books, and a Master’s in International Tax Law (in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam). IBFD also offers government consultancy and individual client research services.

Contact information: Sorrel Hidding, Head of Marketing: +31 (0) 613325049 or s.hidding@ibfd.org.

China Invites Latin America to Take Part in ‘One Belt, One Road’

SANTIAGO China invited Latin American and Caribbean countries to join its “One Belt, One Road” initiative on Monday, as part of an agreement to deepen economic and political cooperation in a region where U.S. influence is historically strong.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the region was a natural fit for the initiative, which China has leveraged to deepen economic and financial cooperation with developing nations.

“China will always stay committed to the path of peaceful development and the win-win strategy of opening up and stands ready to share development dividends with all countries,” Wang said at a meeting between China and 33 members of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

Representatives from China and CELAC signed a broad agreement to expand ties in the second time China has met with CELAC – a bloc formed in Venezuela in 2011 that does not include the United States or Canada.

Though it had few specific details, the agreement is part of an evolving and more aggressive Chinese foreign policy in Latin America as the United States, under President Donald Trump, has taken a more protectionist stance.

The “One Belt, One Road” initiative, proposed in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping, promotes expanding links between Asia, Africa and Europe, with billions of dollars in infrastructure investment.

Wang emphasized projects to improve connectivity between land and sea, and cited the need to jointly build “logistic, electricity and information pathways.”

The so-called Santiago declaration, signed by China and CELAC delegates, also calls for bolstering trade and taking action on climate change.

Chile Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz, who has criticized Trump in the past, said the agreement marked an “historic” new era of dialogue between the region and China.

“China said something that is very important, that it wants to be our must trustworthy partner in Latin America and the Caribbean and we greatly value that,” said Munoz. “This meeting represents a categoric repudiation of protectionism and unilateralism.”

China has sought a bigger role overseas since Trump was elected, presenting its Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade agreement as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the United States has abandoned.

The country is already testing U.S. dominance in Latin America, offering the region $250 billion in investment over the next decade. It is the top trading partner of many countries in the region, including Brazil, Chile and Argentina.

Still, Wang played down the idea of a race for influence.

“It has nothing to do with geopolitical competition. It follows the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration,” Wang said in his remarks. “It is nothing like a zero sum game.”

In recent years, Chinese companies have moved away from merely buying Latin American raw materials and are diversifying into sectors such as auto manufacturing, e-commerce and even

technology businesses such as car-hailing services.

“Our relations with China are very broad, this (CELAC) is one more pathway for Brazil to work with China. Together we identified more areas of cooperation,” said Brazil’s Vice Foreign Minister Marcos Galvao.

Source: Voice of America

Ethiopia Leader Rejects Call for World Bank Arbitration in Dam Dispute

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has rejected a call by Egypt for World Bank arbitration in a dispute over a hydroelectric dam Addis Ababa is building along its share of the Nile.

The two countries are at odds over the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, with Cairo fearing the project would restrict waters flowing down from Ethiopia’s highlands and through the deserts of Sudan to its fields and reservoirs.

The Horn of Africa country, which aims to become the continent’s biggest power exporter, says the $4 billion-dam will have no such impact.

With discussions deadlocked for months over the wording of a study on its environmental impact, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry proposed late last month that the World Bank be allowed to help settle the dispute.

“Seeking professional support is one thing, transferring [arbitration] to an institution is another thing. So we told them that this is not acceptable with our side,” the state-run Ethiopian News Agency quoted Hailemariam as saying.

The agency, which spoke to Hailemariam upon his return from Cairo on Friday, said he rejected the proposal and said: “It is possible to reach agreement… through cooperation and with the spirit of trust.”

After his meeting with the Ethiopian leader, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi pledged not to let differences over a construction of the dam ruin relations with Addis Ababa.

Countries that share the river have argued over the use of its waters for decades � and analysts have repeatedly warned that the disputes could eventually boil over into conflict.

Among the questions Ethiopia and Egypt disagree about is the speed at which the dam’s reservoir would be filled.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam � now 60 percent complete � will churn out 6,000 MW upon completion.

It is among an array of projects being built. Under a new 2015-2020 development plan, Addis Ababa wants to raise power generation to 17,346 MW from a current capacity of just over 4,300 MW from hydropower, wind and geothermal sources.

Source: Voice of America


CAPE TOWN, Police in Cape Town, South Africa, have uncovered an illegal ammunition factory, dealing a blow to gangsters in the city.

Crimes associated with gangs would remain a priority for the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the province and the SAPS would pursue every avenue to bring perpetrators to book, police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel AndrA Traut said Sunday.

An intelligence-driven operation in Lansdowne in Cape Town on Saturday night led police to an address in Bombay Street, he said.

A search of the premises resulted in the discovery of an illegal make-shift factory for making ammunition, which we believe is intended for the gangs in the Hanover Park area. Large quantities of ammunition cartridges, projectiles, and gunpowder were seized, as well as apparatus to manufacture ammunition.

The circumstances surrounding the seizure were still under investigation and the possibility of arrests had not been ruled out, Traut said.

Western Cape Province Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula expressed his appreciation to the SAPS members involved in the operation and said time was running out for criminals in the province.


UN Blames Leadership, Inaction for Peacekeeper Killings

UNITED NATIONS A U.N. report on the increase in peacekeepers killed in violent attacks blames many of the fatalities on inaction in the field and “a deficit of leadership” from U.N. headquarters to remote locations.

It urges greater initiative, determination, action and use of force when necessary.

“Nobody attacks a stronger opponent,” the authors say.

The report released Monday was authorized by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and funded by China. It was led by retired Brazilian Lt. Gen. Carlos Alberto dos Santo Cruz, a former commander of U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti and Congo, and retired U.S. Army Col. William Phillips, a former chief of staff in the peacekeeping mission in Mali.

“Casualties have spiked” since 2013, the report said, with 135 soldiers, police and civilians in the U.N.’s 15 far-flung peacekeeping missions killed by acts of violence – “more than during any other five-year period in history.”

There were at least 56 fatalities in 2017 – “the highest number since 1994,” it said.

“These numbers go beyond a normal or acceptable level of risk, and they are likely to rise even higher,” the report warned about security for the more than 100,000 U.N. peacekeepers.

The 35-page paper said the U.N. and countries contributing soldiers and police to peacekeeping missions “need to adapt to a new reality: The blue helmet and the United Nations flag no longer offer ‘natural protection.”’

“Peacekeeping environments now feature armed groups, terrorists, organized crime, street gangs, criminal and political exploitation and other threats,” it said.

But, it added, the U.N. and governments participating in such missions are “still gripped” by a mindset that shies from the use of force.

The missions’ mandates, rules of engagement and other documents “should support taking action, and not be used to justify inaction,” the report said.

“Fatalities rarely occur as a result of troops and leadership taking action: The United Nations is most often attacked as a result of inaction,” it said. “In battles and in fights, the United Nations needs to win, or troops, police and civilian personnel will die.”

Peacekeepers “must perform,” the authors said, and the U.N. should not accept conditions from contributing nations on when the troops act because that weakens the missions and “increases the risk of casualties.”

According to the report, in the 69 years since the first peacekeeping mission was deployed in 1948 there have been 943 peacekeeper deaths “due to malicious acts” – with three periods of significant increases in fatalities.

The first was about 1960-62 and included deployments in Suez and Congo. The second in 1992-96 included U.N. missions in Rwanda, Somalia, Cambodia and the Balkans. The third began in 2011, “became critical in 2013” and continued in 2017, the report said.

During the current upsurge, the overwhelming number of fatalities occurred in the joint U.N.-African Union mission in Darfur and the U.N. missions in Mali, South Sudan and Central African Republic, the report said.

Source: Voice of America