Daily Archives: June 5, 2018

Ex-Kenyan Leader Offers to Be S. Sudan Mediator

Former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said he thinks he can make a difference in the stalemate between South Sudan President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar.

Odinga is offering to mediate talks between the president and his former deputy to end the nearly 4�-year civil war in South Sudan.

He secretly visited Juba to meet with Kiir two weeks ago, just days after the warring parties failed to reach a peace deal in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

South Sudan Information Minister Michael Makuei said that during the visit, Odinga indicated he wanted Kiir and Machar to reconcile the same way he and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta have reconciled after their past differences.

The EastAfrican newspaper reported that Odinga is expected to travel to South Africa this week to meet with Machar. Rebel spokesmen have said Machar is being held under house arrest by South African officials at the request of the Kiir administration. Kiir officials have denied the charge.

Makuei said he expects Odinga to have a firm grasp of the contentious issues between the warring parties before he meets with Machar. He also expects Odinga to persuade Machar to denounce violence.

“The first and most important thing is denunciation of hostilities. He [Odinga] needs to know what plans others have in mind. Within these proposals that have been presented, some of them are almost impossible to implement, and they don’t in any way amount to reaching peace soon. So, he should actually work to soften the position of the opposition,” Makuei told the VOA radio program South Sudan in Focus.

Makuei outlined which Machar positions he deemed unacceptable.

“The disbandment of all the security organs and handing over to UNMISS [U.N. Mission in South Sudan] � these are conditions that are unacceptable to any person,” Makuei told VOA. “Other demands are the dissolution of the national parliament. When you say the parliament should be dissolved, and then the seats will be allocated to us again so that we appoint new members to the parliament in accordance with the parties and power-sharing formula, definitely you are creating another problem.”

General Oyet Nathaniel, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO) shadow governor for Imatong State, headed the committee on governance at the High Level Revitalization Forum. Nathaniel highlighted what issues he hopes Odinga can resolve between Kiir and Machar.

“The issues that we have been dealing with are governance issues, security issues, reform issues, how to arrest the humanitarian situation. All these are the issues at hand,” Nathaniel told South Sudan in Focus.

Makuei said the Kiir administration expects Odinga’s initiative to complement peace talks led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which ended without agreement last month in Ethiopia. The warring parties could not agree on a power-sharing structure or details about how to absorb rebel forces into the South Sudan army.

Source: Voice of America

Ex-Kenyan Leader Offers to Be S. Sudan Mediator

Former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said he thinks he can make a difference in the stalemate between South Sudan President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar.

Odinga is offering to mediate talks between the president and his former deputy to end the nearly 4�-year civil war in South Sudan.

He secretly visited Juba to meet with Kiir two weeks ago, just days after the warring parties failed to reach a peace deal in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

South Sudan Information Minister Michael Makuei said that during the visit, Odinga indicated he wanted Kiir and Machar to reconcile the same way he and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta have reconciled after their past differences.

The EastAfrican newspaper reported that Odinga is expected to travel to South Africa this week to meet with Machar. Rebel spokesmen have said Machar is being held under house arrest by South African officials at the request of the Kiir administration. Kiir officials have denied the charge.

Makuei said he expects Odinga to have a firm grasp of the contentious issues between the warring parties before he meets with Machar. He also expects Odinga to persuade Machar to denounce violence.

“The first and most important thing is denunciation of hostilities. He [Odinga] needs to know what plans others have in mind. Within these proposals that have been presented, some of them are almost impossible to implement, and they don’t in any way amount to reaching peace soon. So, he should actually work to soften the position of the opposition,” Makuei told the VOA radio program South Sudan in Focus.

Makuei outlined which Machar positions he deemed unacceptable.

“The disbandment of all the security organs and handing over to UNMISS [U.N. Mission in South Sudan] � these are conditions that are unacceptable to any person,” Makuei told VOA. “Other demands are the dissolution of the national parliament. When you say the parliament should be dissolved, and then the seats will be allocated to us again so that we appoint new members to the parliament in accordance with the parties and power-sharing formula, definitely you are creating another problem.”

General Oyet Nathaniel, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO) shadow governor for Imatong State, headed the committee on governance at the High Level Revitalization Forum. Nathaniel highlighted what issues he hopes Odinga can resolve between Kiir and Machar.

“The issues that we have been dealing with are governance issues, security issues, reform issues, how to arrest the humanitarian situation. All these are the issues at hand,” Nathaniel told South Sudan in Focus.

Makuei said the Kiir administration expects Odinga’s initiative to complement peace talks led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which ended without agreement last month in Ethiopia. The warring parties could not agree on a power-sharing structure or details about how to absorb rebel forces into the South Sudan army.

Source: Voice of America

RAMAPHOSA AMONG LEADERS ATTENDING G7 SUMMIT IN QUEBEC THIS FRIDAY

WASHINGTON–South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will be among leaders who will be joining the heads of State and government of the world’s seven leading industrialised nations this week when the two-day G7 Leaders Summit begins in Quebec City, Canada, on Friday.

Ramaphosa, leader of Africa’s most advanced economy, will be stepping into a high-stakes debate over trade and diplomacy which has pitted the United States against its strongest allies following moves by President Donald Trump over Iran’s nuclear programme and Palestinian-Israeli relations, while imposing tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from a host of countries, including Canada and the European Union.

A statement at the conclusion of a summit of G7 Finance Ministers in Canada at the weekend expressed concerns at the tariffs imposed by the US on imports from its friends and allies, warning that this would undermine open trade and confidence in the global economy.

We find ourselves the target of punitive tariffs on Canadian aluminium and steel under pretext of a two-three-two national security provision. Let me be clear: these tariffs are totally unacceptable,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when the tariffs went into effect last Thursday.

“The American administration has made a decision today (June 1) that we deplore, and obviously is going to lead to retaliatory measures, as it must, but we regret that. We would much rather move together in partnership, understanding that no two countries have economies as interwoven and mutually beneficial as Canada and the United States.”

Trump’s America First policy has seen him call for fair and reciprocal trade even with Washington’s staunchest allies, a view he’s likely to defend in Canada later this week. His Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, insists they are not abandoning their leadership of the global economy.

President Trump has been very clear in wanting to address trade issues. I had the opportunity both as in bilats as well as in the group, to discuss some of these issues. I know that this issue will obviously come up at the leaders’ session next week, and the leaders will talk about it. And again, our objective is to make sure we have fair and balanced trade, and that’s really what we’re focused on. So, I look forward to following up on these discussions.

Japan has called the US move deplorable while Canada and the European Union have filed challenges to the tariffs with the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva.

We were not at the negotiating table. Our offer was that ‘you take this gun away from us, we sit together as friends and equals and we discuss’ and eventually this would lead to negotiations. This would of course require a mandate from the member states. So we never got this and now that door for the moment is closed, says EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom.

The tariffs imposed also affected South Africa imports of steel and aluminium to the United States that has cited national security.

However South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry disputes how a country accounting for just 1.6 per cent of total aluminium and 0.98 per cent of steel imports to the United States can threaten their national security.

While this rift plays itself out on the economic front there are also geo political concerns where Washington is increasingly isolated — these include Climate Change, the Iran nuclear agreement and its perceived bias in relations between Palestine and Israel.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

ZIMBABWE CAN BE AMONG FASTEST GROWING ECONOMIES, SAYS INVEST AFRICA

HARARE– Invest Africa, the London-based investment platform with a focus on Africa, sees Zimbabwe as having potential to become one of the fastest growing economies in the world as it offers abundant investment opportunities which investors are keen to exploit.

Its Chairman, Robert Hersov, who is leading a 22-member group of fund managers and investors from around the globe who are scouting for investment opportunities in Zimbabwe this week, on Monday met Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who stressed that Zimbabwe is open for business.

Founded in 2013, Invest Africa is a platform for business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs to gain insight and exposure to information and opportunities in Africa.

I have been in government since 1980, almost 38 years now, I have never seen a huge delegation, very diverse, very global, coming together to little Zimbabwe in southern Africa. It’s a great moment for this

country, said President Mnangagwa after meeting the delegation.

We have done everything possible to brief them about our situation, the challenges which we face, the weaknesses which we have and strengths we have. I have exposed that to the delegation. I hope they will look at it and make their own decisions.

The group is targeting investment in sectors such as energy, mining, infrastructure, tourism and hospitality, logistics and agriculture.

This is the beginning of something big for Zimbabwe. With free and fair elections coming up which the President (Mnangagwa) put his name to, we think this country has a huge upside and should be one of the

fastest growing countries in the world and for a very long time, Hersov told journalists.

He said Zimbabwe’s large diaspora, with diverse skills and experience from working abroad, had a crucial role to play in the country’s economic revival.

Hersov said Invest Africa would bring a larger delegation of investors to Zimbabwe after the country holds its general elections on July 30. From what the President has said, Zimbabwe is open for business and that is why we are here. There is a very positive mood among the investors and sometimes it is better to get in before the rush of money comes, we like to be early, Hersov said.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

PROGRESS MADE IN FINALISING ANNEXES TO AFRICAN FREE TRADE AREA PACT

PRETORIA– South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry (dti), Bulelani Magwanishe, participated in the 6th African Union Ministers of Trade (AMOT) meeting held in Senegal Sunday to discuss, among other matters, the legally scrubbed annexes of the protocols to the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the disciplines on the modalities for tariff liberalisation, as well as the priority sectors for trade in services.

Magwanishe said here Monday that the conclusion of the annexes to the Protocol on Trade in Goods and the annexes to the Protocol on Dispute Settlement were a significant achievement. The conclusion of this work enables South Africa to rapidly commence domestic processes for signature of the AfCFTA agreement,” he added.

We must ensure that the disciplines on modalities for tariff liberation support the creation of commercially meaningful value chains in Africa, such that we attract investment in job creating productive sectors.”

In March, South Africa held off on signing the actual agreement until legal and other instruments associated with AfCFTA were processed and ratified by South African stakeholders and Parliament. Sunday’s meeting in Dakar, Senegal, was preceded by the 11th Meeting of the AfCFTA Negotiations Forum and the 6th meeting of the AfCFTA Committee of Senior Officials of Trade.

Meanwhile, the outcomes of the sixth AMOT meeting will be submitted and considered by the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government to be held in Mauritania in July 2018.

The AfCFTA offers an opportunity to create larger economies of scale, a bigger market and improve the prospects of the African continent to attract investment.

South Africa is, therefore, committed to a coordinated strategy to boost intra-Africa trade and to build an integrated market in Africa that will see a market of over one billion people with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of approximately 3.3 trillion US dollars,” said the dti.

Beyond the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), AfCFTA will provide new export opportunities for South African products in West Africa and North Africa.”

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK