THIS WEEK AFRICA: MBAs for Grannies; Searching for Young Billionaires

Ade Agbabiaka
20% Complete
 13-Oct-2018

Tangu Mazaba, a 73 year old Zambian woman obtained a Masters Degree in Business; this was some great news opening the week.

Mazaba’s encouraging words become our quote of the week:

“…I took it upon myself to go back to school and achieve something that I have always felt strongly about. Zambia can only develop if Zambians are in charge of their wealth and economy. On my part, I am already encouraging others by going around churches and talking to people to become self-sustaining and not always waiting for government’s help.”

This week, Equatorial Guinea celebrated 50 years of independence, in the presence of personalities from several regions worldwide.

So, from here, we say Happy Independence to Equatorial Guinea and President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo! Meanwhile, the country still suffers a US-ban.

But the spotlight this week is more on Nigeria where the final rehearsal for their 2019 general election has taken place; so much drama and mud-slinging has featured alongside. We will come back to Nigeria.

Cameroon is still hanging in the balance, emerging from the 7 October presidential election. The political space has been hanging, since the constitutional provision gives ELECAM fifteen days to announce the results which already, is raising some concerns from the international observers: why fifteen days, if the votes can be sorted earlier?

That notwithstanding, Maurice Kamto, one of the presidential aspirants claimed victory after the elections, raising eyebrows. Kamto is re-enacting the drama begun by Nelson Chamisa in Zimbabwe, during the July election.

Many believe the Cameroon election is a mere recycling of Paul Biya’s administration; Kamto’s victory claim is a surprising intrusion that sets ELECAM and the electorate on edge. We hope it does not lead to any form of crisis when the official results are finally out. AU and UN have called for restraints.

Down south in Zimbabwe, it is not really cheery for the people yet. President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his team do have a lot on their hands to get Zim’ working again after years of zigzagged economy.

A 2% tax increase has shot up the prices of primary commodities, pitching the people against the government. The president has assured that the pains however, will yield results in the future.

In another news, Zimbabwe plans a major shake-up in the civil service, which may affect some people in the workforce. Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, last Friday, launched the Government’s economic blueprint, TSP (Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) which runs from this month to December 2020.

The TSP will involve shedding some ‘excess’ workers in the civil service. There are workers who are not productive, according to the report and such workers will be laid off. This looks like there will be more problems in Zimbabwe. But if ED can turn the tide much later, good for them.

In the neighbouring South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa held a crucial jobs summit leading into the week. Details of and agreements in the summit are here.

The president was all smiles after the summit, believing that if the agreements are carried out, the unemployment rate in South Africa will reduce.

Recall that South Africans are agitating against the rising joblessness, like the recent #ShutDownCapeTown protest. Even the employed agitate for better working conditions.

Ramaphosa is still in his quick fix campaign to clear for himself and his ANC, a soft landing in the 2019 election. Stabilising the economy, creating employment and a fair land reform seem to be the main points that will determine Ramaphosa’s fate in the election and he is really bent on getting it right.

Already, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is in a fix, as they have announced the intention of retrenching some workers due to cash crunch. To make it worse, concerned labour unions like Communications Workers Union (CWU) have issued statements that none of the workers should be sacked.

SABC is therefore in a dilemma. They said they are not certain about paying their staff for the next three months. These are the realities of South Africa that Ramaphosa has to deal with before the election.

Every week, the reports emanating from South Sudan still lack convictions of security and stability. A report from Nyamilapedia further claims that Sudanese refugees are still on the increase in east African countries, despite the peace deal that South Sudan rivals signed.

The United Nations and African Union, once again, called on the parties to put more efforts into achieving the agreements they all appended their signatures to. The fact is that South Sudan, world’s youngest country, is still not stable.

For DR Congo, Ebola has claimed another set of five lives within the week, and even infecting one of the UN workers.

In the midst of all these, insurgents and militia groups are making insecurity rise the more. Health worker risk their lives to bury dead Ebola victims. The World Health Organisation had in mid September, halted anti-Ebola operations as a result but they have resumed as health workers now have military escorts whenever they need to go outfield.

About 11 Congolese refugees were also reportedly killed in Angola after a clash with the natives. Due to the crises in DR Congo, many Congolese are taking refuge in Angola, bordering Congo on the west but the Angolans are rumoured to be unaccommodating, leading to such clashes and fights.

Kenya recorded a huge loss earlier in the week when a bus full of people crashed, leading to the death of at least, 51 persons. The bus was travelling from Nairobi to the western town of Kakamega and carrying 52 passengers.

Now, we can go back to Nigeria where the political sphere has taken another turn after the various political parties held their primary elections for different electoral positions in 2019.

But the main battle is between the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and opposition candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

There’s been a lot of punches from both camps as the APC began with saying the PDP candidate was corrupt and full of unresolved questions. On the counter, the PDP camp has released a #BuhariChallenge via which the former camp is to answer some of the raised questions about what had gone down since 2015.

More so, former president Olusegun Obasanjo, who was the boss of Atiku, reunited with him and endorsed his veep to take over from Buhari. Obasanjo and Atiku have been at loggerheads since they both left the Nigerian presidency in 2007. But they are now back, joining forces to oust the incumbent.

In another unfortunate development, about eleven people were reportedly injured in a fire, after a cooking gas cylinder exploded in an Abuja restaurant.

More so, at least fifteen soldiers were killed in a Boko Haram jihadist attack on a military base near the Niger border and in the Lake Chad region earlier this week (7 Nigerian soldiers and 8 Chadian).

The Japanese government has urged African leaders to join forces together and work towards removing all trade barriers that stifles the continents growth.

Addressing African ministers of state at the opening ceremony of this year’s Ministerial meeting this week, under the auspices of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Mr Taro Kono, said trade restriction in Africa could pose danger to the continent’s economic agenda.

A continent that has put the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement should however, not wait for such advice to get the deal running. We have not ceased to ask why the AfCFTA is yet unborn.

The search for the abducted Africa’s youngest billionaire is still on, in Tanzania. Mohamed Dewji, 43, was kidnapped from outside the gym of a luxury hotel, Dar es Salaam where he was going to perform his daily exercises.

Tanzanian Police said they had arrested two people linked to the incident and that two of the kidnappers were believed to be foreigners.

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