The 5th Forum on China-Africa Media Cooperation Opens in Beijing

BEIJING, Aug. 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The 5th Forum on China-Africa Media Cooperation (the “Forum”) opened on August 25 in Beijing, China, combining online and offline events and sessions. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Senegal President Macky Sall, who is the African Co-Chair of FOCAC, sent congratulatory letters to the Forum.

The 5th Forum on China-Africa Media Cooperation Opens in Beijing

Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, read the letters from the presidents and gave a keynote speech.

Huang noted that the letters fully reflected the great importance of China-Africa cooperation from the leaders, as well as their high expectations for further deepening media cooperation and a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between China and Africa.

Since the Forum was founded 10 years ago, it provided an important platform for Chinese and African media to facilitate dialogue and cooperation and played a significant role in deepening China-Africa friendship and strengthened the bonds among people.

The media on both sides have been upholding the spirit of friendly cooperation and working continuously to safeguard fairness and justice, telling stories about China-Africa cooperation in the new era and shouldering responsibilities to advance global development, promote common values of mankind and actively create an international public opinion atmosphere of cohesive development and cooperation.

Chinese and African media will also promote innovation convergence and deepen cooperation in areas of digital technology and digital economy to strengthen exchanges, share opportunities and improve digital governance capabilities.

The opening ceremony was hosted by Xu Lin, vice minister of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee and Minister of the National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA), China. Gregoire Ndjaka, CEO of the African Union of Broadcasting, Chen Jining, Mayor of Beijing, and Chushi Kasanda, Minister of Information and Media, Zambia, gave opening remarks.

The two-day event also featured an exhibition of “A Decade of Achievements: China-Africa Media Cooperation (2012-2022).”

Themed “New Vision, New Development, and New Cooperation,” the Forum held sessions on media development policy, content cooperation and innovation as well as new technology application, and digital convergence.

The Forum published a joint declaration that reviewed the decade of achievements of China-Africa media cooperation. In mapping the prospects and plans for future media development, it proposed five initiatives, including deepening cooperation and communication, supporting global development, telling stories of China-Africa friendship, promoting digital media development, and strengthening youth exchanges.

In addition, the Forum featured events such as the first broadcast exhibition of African programs in China and a short video collection on the topic of “my story of China-Africa friendship.” It also published 12 cooperative achievements in terms of program co-broadcasting, documentary creation, program innovation, and new media cooperation.

The forum was co-hosted by the National Radio and Television Administration of China, the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality, and the African Union of Broadcasting. More than 240 Chinese and foreign delegates from more than 40 countries and regions attended the forum.

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GLOBELEQ PARTNERS WITH GOVERNMENT OF EGYPT TO DEVELOP A LARGE-SCALE GREEN HYDROGEN PROJECT 

LONDON and CAIRO, Aug. 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Globeleq, the leading independent power company in Africa, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA), the General Authority for Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZONE), the Sovereign Fund of Egypt for Investment and Development (TSFE), and the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC), to jointly develop a large-scale green hydrogen facility within the Suez Canal Economic Zone.

Globeleq - Powering Africa's Growth

Globeleq, as lead developer and investor, will develop, finance, build, own and operate the green hydrogen project.  It will be developed in 3 phases, totalling 3.6 GW of electrolysers and around 9 GW of solar PV and wind power generation.  The first phase will involve a pilot project using a 100 MW electrolyser, and will initially focus on green ammonia fertilisers, while considering other end-uses of green hydrogen in the medium and longer term, including green fuels.  Globeleq intends to enter into long-term off-take agreements with leading and creditworthy Egyptian and international companies, while supporting their decarbonisation plans.

Capitalising on Egypt’s best-in-class wind and solar PV resource, well-developed infrastructures, and the Egyptian Government’s investment-friendly regulatory framework, Globeleq aims to competitively produce hydrogen for exports and the local market.  Egypt’s unique geographical location, at the crossroads of Africa, Europe, and Asia, with about 13% of the global trade flowing through the Suez Canal, puts the country in a position to become a global green energy hub.

Globeleq has been investing in Egypt since 2003 and currently owns the ARC for Renewable Energy S.A.E. 66 MWp solar PV plant located at the Benban Solar Park near Aswan. Globeleq aims to support the country’s ambitious renewables strategy by developing new solar PV, wind, battery energy storage, seawater desalination and green hydrogen projects in Egypt.

The British Ambassador to Egypt, Gareth Bayley OBE, indicated:Globeleq is a leading British investor, 70% owned by British International Investment and 30% Norfund, which are respectively the UK and Norway’s development finance institutions. The company has been investing in Egypt for nearly 20 years and we are delighted with the signing of this MOU, which underscores once again the strong relationship between the UK and Egypt. The project also supports both countries’ leadership and ambitions in renewable energy and combating climate change. We look forward to continue working with Globeleq and all the stakeholders involved.”

The Norwegian Ambassador to Egypt, Hilde Klemetsdal, added: “With Globeleq’s ambitious plans, Norway continues to strengthen our investments in green hydrogen in Egypt. This is an example of just the kind of industry solutions that are required for translating the green transition into action. We value our strong cooperation with the Government of Egypt towards the green shift and the fight against climate change.”

Mike Scholey, CEO of Globeleq, said: “Bold and rapid collective action is required to put the world on a sustainable pathway.  Egypt is a key country for Globeleq, and we are excited to support the Government of Egypt’s ambitious green agenda and contribute to the fight against climate change.”

Waleid Gamal Eldien, Chairman of SCZONE, mentioned: “The new agreement with Globeleq is a continuation of our commitment to implement Egypt’s vision in the transformation for green economy. The Egyptian government has ambitious energy transition plans, in addition to hosting COP27, and active steps are being taken to make SCZONE a major hub for green hydrogen. We are pleased to partner with Globeleq, one of the major renewable energy companies in the UK and globally, and this partnership reflects the interest of the global entities specialised in investing in such projects as they choose SCZONE as a destination for investment in green fuel projects, to serve the African and international markets.”

Ayman Soliman, CEO of the Sovereign Fund of Egypt, commented: “The partnerships we are witnessing are a translation to the state’s integrated strategy to diversify energy sources and localise green hydrogen production with all its components covering upstream and downstream stages, with the aim of transforming Egypt into a regional green energy hub. Our objective is to maximize the use of Egypt’s renewable energy resources in partnership with global specialised developers, whereby the goals and strategy of The Sovereign Fund of Egypt are realised. We are glad to partner with Globeleq as one of the largest British international companies working in the field of new and renewable energy and infrastructure, with a special focus on energy projects in Africa, and has vast experience in working in Egypt.”

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Uganda’s Perennial Floods Cast the Spotlight on the Region’s Climate Change-Related Disasters

Eastern Uganda, Yusuf Munyifa was asleep when he received a phone call from a friend to tell him that his shop had been washed away, following torrential rains that pounded the town of Mbale in eastern Uganda.

“The water was [a lot] and it came from the hills at a very high speed. It uprooted trees and whatever it found, and carried them downhill, knocking everything else, including my shop.”

Two rivers burst their banks after heavy rainfall and led to severe flooding, leaving home, shops and roads submerged and other infrastructure destroyed. In the end, at least 26 people were killed. The flooding took place in Mbale and surrounding districts, some 220 kilometers east of the capital, Kampala.

Following torrential rains that pounded the area, parts of Eastern Uganda experienced floods and landslides, specifically the districts around the Mt. Elgon region including Mbale, Kapchorwa, Bulambuli, Namisindwa, Sironko, Manafwa and the surrounding areas.

“I’ve lost over 35,000 dollars’ worth of stock. I’m completely devastated. I have four children to feed. I have never seen anything like this in my life happen in our community,” he adds.

The Uganda Red Cross estimates that over 4,000 homes have been affected, and thousands displaced by the floods. Flood-induced landslides and mudslides are wreaking havoc in the region.

The Uganda National Meteorological Authority is predicting more rains and flooding in the Teso region, 102 miles away from the Mbale tragedy in the coming weeks.

“We are carrying out assessments and the likelihood of more floods. We are having to close schools at risk because of large cracks in the earth that are appearing,” said Christine Namwau, Disaster Management Committee in Bulambuli District, in the eastern region.

Last year flooding, landslides and hailstorms in Eastern, Central and Western Uganda affected over 40,000 people, with over 3,600 displaced and forced to live in temporary shelters.

In 2010, the country had to relocate and resettle more than 3,000 people from the Mt. Elgon sub-region, Bududa district in eastern Uganda and Kiryandongo district in western Uganda, since their villages were devastated by landslides in March 2010.

Historically, Uganda has been characterized by stable rainfall patterns; however, the global effects of climate change that have resulted in the frequency and magnitude of disasters and weather-related hazards have not spared the country and a region that has been experiencing shorter or longer rains, and even drought.

In 2021 alone, there were 23.7 million internal displacements resulting from weather-related events, including floods, storms and cyclones. With the expected impacts of climate change and without ambitious climate action, the numbers will likely increase in the coming years.

“People have constructed and cultivated right up to the riverbanks, and these were the most affected. Wetlands have been encroached on and that is a problem because when wetlands are intact, they at least help to control the pace of the water when it rains heavily,” said Teddy Nabukwasi, Environmental Officer in Siroko District, also in the eastern region. “We need to constantly sensitize people so that they know the effects of their actions on the environment.”

Nabukwasi and other government officials have recently been trained by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Uganda on disaster preparedness, response and reporting through a European Union-funded project. IOM is also working with the Red Cross to aggregate and share emergency data and will be part of a joint assessment by the government, the United Nations and other aid agencies.

“In the immediate term, IOM will provide a range of non-food relief items to support the affected people, while fundraising for more support,” said Sanusi Tejan Savage, IOM Chief of Mission in Uganda.

The flooding in Uganda comes against the backdrop of a new and historic Declaration on Migration, Climate Change and Environment endorsed by presidents and ministers from the East and Horn Africa, in Kampala, Uganda: the Kampala Ministerial Declaration on Migration, Environment and Climate Change, that aimed at bringing nations across the East and Horn of Africa region together to prioritize, respond to and galvanize global support to deal with the harsh impact of climate change on human mobility.

“Our people, the majority of whom are already vulnerable and have limited capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change, have continued to experience increased frequency and intensity of floods, droughts and landslides associated with impacts of climate change.”

The newly signed Declaration is an urgent call for the world to respond to the impact of climate change on human mobility across the region and continent, and support affected communities, who are among the world’s most vulnerable, to adapt to climate change realities.

A report by the World Bank predicts that some 86 million people in Africa might be forced to migrate within their own countries by 2050 due to climate change if no concrete climate and development action is taken.

The Horn of Africa region is expected to be severely affected by the effects of climate change, including severe droughts and flash floods. Weather-related disasters are leaving local communities to become more vulnerable, eroding their coping strategies and, with it, displacement.

IOM is committed to translating the mobility dimensions of reducing disaster risk into concrete actions to ensure the safety and protection of migrants and displaced persons everywhere. IOM calls on all governments and parties to adopt the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) vision to move from climate risk to climate-resilient development in order to address disaster risk reduction in the face of climate change.

Source: International Organization for Migration

Medic: 18 Die as Madagascar Police Shoot at Albino Kidnap Protesters

Eighteen people died Monday after police in Madagascar opened fire on what they called a lynch mob angered at the kidnapping of an albino child, a senior doctor told AFP.

Dozens were wounded, some of them seriously.

“At the moment, 18 people have died in all, nine on the spot and nine in hospital,” said doctor Tango Oscar Toky, chief physician at a hospital in southeastern Madagascar.

“Of the 34 injured, nine are between life and death,” said the doctor giving graphic details of the injuries. “We are waiting for a government helicopter to evacuate them to the capital.”

Around 500 protesters armed with blades and machetes “tried to force their way” into the station, a police officer involved in the shooting said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“There were negotiations, [but] the villagers insisted,” the officer told AFP over the phone from the town of Ikongo, 90 kilometers (56 miles) southeast of the capital Antananarivo.

Police first fired tear gas and then rounds in the air to try to disperse the crowd, he said.

“They continued to force their way through. We had no choice but to defend ourselves,” the officer added.

The national police in the capital confirmed the “very sad event,” but only gave a toll of 11, with 18 injured.

Andry Rakotondrazaka, the national police chief, told a news conference that what happened was a “very sad event. It could have been avoided but it happened.”

He said the police “did everything to avoid confrontation,” including negotiating with the crowd, “but there were provocations”… (and) there were people with “long-bladed knives and sticks,” he said, adding others hurled stones towards the police.

“The gendarmes used tear gas. But that was not enough to stop the crowd from advancing. There was shooting in the air.”

But in the end the gendarmes had “no choice but to resort to self-defense … and limit the damage by shooting.”

The kidnapping took place last week, according to Jean-Brunelle Razafintsiandraofa, a member of parliament for Ikongo district.

Revenge attacks

Revenge attacks are common in Madagascar.

In February 2017, a mob of 800 people barged into Ikongo prison in search of a murder suspect they intended to kill.

They overpowered guards and 120 prisoners broke out of jail.

In 2013, a Frenchman, a Franco-Italian and a local man accused of killing a child on the tourist island of Nosy Be were burned alive by a crowd.

Some sub-Saharan African countries have suffered a wave of assaults against people with albinism, whose body parts are sought for witchcraft practices in the mistaken belief that they bring luck and wealth.

Albinism, caused by a lack of melanin, the pigment that colors skin, hair and eyes, is a genetic condition that affects hundreds of thousands of people across the globe, particularly in Africa.

Under The Same Sun, a Canada-based charity working to combat discrimination, has been logging cases of similar violence across Africa.

It ranks Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania as the countries where such attacks are most prevalent.

Madagascar, a large Indian Ocean island country, is ranked among the poorest in the world.

Source: Voice of America

Ripping off the Band Aid: Putting people at the centre of the humanitarian system

Hunger in East Africa doubles in one year with response branded “hugely inadequate”

The response of the international community in responding to the early warning signs of a hunger crisis in East Africa has been branded “hugely inadequate” as hunger more than doubles in one year according to analysis by international development charity, Christian Aid.

In a report, titled Ripping off the Band Aid, Christian Aid warns hunger has “more than doubled in one year.” On World Humanitarian Day 2021, there were 2.1 million people in Kenya facing food insecurity while 4.1 million Kenyans facing the same fate in 2022.

In Ethiopia, people facing food insecurity have dramatically escalated from 5.2 million to 20 million. Across Ethiopia and South Sudan, the UN reports gaps in funding have forced a cut to rations, incomplete food baskets and a reduction in the number of people helped.

The analysis also shows the catastrophic impact on crops, livestock and pasture has been compounded by other shocks, including conflict, flooding, desert locust infestations, the lingering effects of Covid on prices and now disrupted supply chains.

Christian Aid warns the crisis in East Africa has shown the aid system isn’t fit to respond to the ever-increasing scale of emerging crises. To break the cycle of food hunger, the charity says it is now time to “rip off the band-aid”.

The development agency is calling for a scaling up of locally driven approaches that builds on existing capacity and local knowledge to strengthen resilience and create the flexibility to rapidly respond to unfolding needs in East Africa and further afield.

Pointing to the work of their local partner Community Initiative Facilitation and Assistance (CIFA), Christain Aid’s partner in Kenya, Christian Aid says their experience of building communities’ resilience through a partnership approach works.

Despite the drought’s persistence, a group of women working with CIFA have been able to keep up the productivity of their land to support livestock and the local market for fodder due to investment in improving their land in 2021.

The group has been able to successfully plant grasses and have sold off three harvests of hay, turning a profit each time above their projections. They are also selling firewood from the land in the local market.

Mbaraka Fazal, who is based in Kenya and is Christian Aid’s Global Humanitarian Manager, says:

“The hunger crisis has seen men and boys forced to trek further for water and pastureland, exacerbated conflict over these scarce resources and leaving women and girls at greater risk by being left behind for longer periods without a regular income or basic items.

“In a world where there is enough food for everyone it is a moral outrage that people are dying of hunger.

“While helping people currently facing life-threatening hunger is of the utmost importance, so too must we start thinking longer term. We must accept the aid system is but a sticking plaster that is not fit to respond to the ever-increasing scale of emerging crises.

“Christian Aid’s experience of working with local partner organisations in Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan shows that people’s ability to withstand failed harvests and rising food prices can be significantly improved with supportive preventive action.

“To break the cycle of food hunger, it’s time to rip off the band-aid and invest in building resilient communities during and between crises. That demands government backed finance and local knowledge to complement early warning systems and anticipatory action.”

Source: Christian Aid

For survivors of trafficking, overcoming stigma and rejection upon return is another hurdle

Benin City– “It was not easy. Starting all over again. It was not easy then, but I have overcome things like that, I’m OK. I’m getting better.”

Chinedu* sits at her sewing machine surrounded by piles of colourful fabrics and rolls of thread. She is finishing the seams on a flowery dress at the small tailoring shop in a busy commercial district of Benin City in Southern Nigeria.

In the six months she has worked here, she has built up a clientele and is in the process of working off debts accrued in 2018 when she was deceived with a promise of better work and marriage.

Chinedu was determined to leave and was blindsided by the man who posed as her boyfriend, promising her a married life with him in Germany. All she had to do was to get on a bus and follow the instructions of “connection men”. Instead of taking her “straight to Germany” as she was made to believe, Chinedu was taken to Libya where the trafficker threatened to sell her if she didn’t pay up.

“I called the so-called boyfriend, and said, ‘Look what I am going through’ but that was the end of the both of us; I never heard from him again,” Chinedu recalls.

Pressured by her traffickers to pay to avoid being sold, Chinedu reached out to her mother for help.

“She sent me NGN 90,000 (just over USD 200) at that moment, so I sent it to [the trafficker]. After receiving the money, he did not release me, he took me to Tripoli,” where Chinedu was put up with other forced sex workers.

For a year and a half, she was held against her will as a forced sex worker in Libya before she managed to escape and ended up in a detention centre after being intercepted by Libyan authorities in the Mediterranean.

Chinedu is one of the many victims of trafficking. Young women and children are particularly the target in Nigeria, where more than one in eight (83 per cent) of the 1,470 rescued trafficking victims in 2021 were female, according to data from its National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

Traffickers mainly target women. Whilst it is easier for men to travel on their own, women rely more on middlemen to help them identify opportunities abroad and to arrange the travel. The recruitment of these young women destined to be forced sex workers often follows the abuse of their religious and cultural beliefs. Curses, or “juju”, are used to bind the women to their trafficker, to ensure that they don’t run away or try to expose them.

“There’s a strong belief in the traditions and the culture of the land, and traffickers use these to manipulate these victims by taking oaths just before they leave the country. The victims are made to put a lot of curses on themselves,” explains Ayo Amen Ediae, a counter-trafficking officer at IOM Benin. “If they get to Europe or to any country, no matter what the challenges are, they cannot run away whenever they remember these curses or oaths they’ve done before leaving their country. These traffickers are aware of this, and they use it to manipulate their victims.”

It was in Libya where Chinedu met staff from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) who assist stranded migrants to return to their home countries from immigration detention centres. “A day after getting there, I met one man, he was from IOM, he gave us papers to fill out; they also brought clothes, shoes, medicine for us at the prison.”

Chinedu spent one week in the detention centre before IOM helped her return to Nigeria where she is rebuilding her life.

A study by IOM’s Knowledge Management Hub (KMH) found that emotional challenges due to negative experiences during their trafficking journey, including gender-based violence or forced prostitution, acted as a barrier towards reintegration for women.

Starting again was not easy for Chinedu.

“I didn’t go out; I was always inside. I was just on my own until I was able to get over the whole thing,” she describes her mental state when she first got back.

“I was ashamed. Coming back to start all over again, what I thought I had done before, coming to repeat, what I do now, this work, I already spent over two years before traveling to Libya, then coming back again to spend one extra year so it was like I was going back. It was not easy.”

Many women interviewed for the study were faced with exclusion from the community and from their families. Chinedu was met with anger and incomprehension when she returned to her family home. Her mother was angry for having warned her not to go. “She was against it; I was the one that persuaded her, that forced her to agree,” Chinedu says. “Now she’s wasted her whole savings, her money and the rest, and still, I could not get to Europe. My younger sister was laughing at me.”

With the help of the IOM’s assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR) programme, Chinedu bought a sewing machine, rented a shop, and re-established herself as a seamstress, which allows her to provide for herself as well as for her younger sister to go to school.

Source: International Organization for Migration