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Liberia’s Free School, Randall Dobayou Former Youth and Student Leader Speaks Out (AUDIO) Tags: Liberia News Ebola Disease Randall Dobayou

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Liberia's global poverty and human rights advocate personnel Randall Dobayou congratulates the Liberian government for announcing the reopening of schools in Liberia. But Randall Dobayou wants more from the government. He is asking “[the Liberian] government to allow students to go to school without paying fees because of the current economic situation,” especially the closure of borders, businesses and schools from curbing with the deadly Ebola virus.


The deadly Ebola crisis forced the Liberian government to close most of its schools across the country, and its borders with neighboring countries. But with the recent decrease in the Ebola cases ( two cases as of today, according to a UN’s report) across the country, in fact, across West Africa, Liberians are calling on their government to reopen schools. But such a demand to reopen schools in Liberia should come with a free education provided by the government to its citizen, cried angry Liberians.

And one of those who are in the process of sending out a message to Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the rest of her ministers, cabinets, ministers, etc., is Liberia’s former youth and student leader, Randall Dobayou. 

Randall Dobayou—who is now an active member of Liberia's global poverty and human rights advocate—voiced up his opinion in an audio recording released on January 3, 2015. He testified that the Liberian government under the leadership of Madam Ellen Johnson has done its best to fight the deadly Ebola virus, which has claimed an estimated 9000 Liberians' lives; but her government now has a huge responsibility. And that's allowing its students, if they return to school, to get a free education. 

However, those responsibilities, claimed angry Liberians, are yet to be taken into concrete consideration, neither by the Liberian government nor by its business vast entities across the West African nation. But the approaches of Randall Dobayou in his recording do seem to give President Ellen's government a better view on how to fund and sponsors the free education for its citizens: using Liberia’s oil resources, taxes from businesses and so on, Randall Dobayou suggested in the audio recording.

AUDIO.

Randall Dobayou’s suggestions in the audio are alarming. In fact, it’s a difficult conundrum that will challenge the current Liberian government; and perhaps the government will consider his suggestions—and look at him as a quintessential tough guy—with strong remarks and suggestions, so as others.

Source: Garcon Morweh | Lartink@beeafrian.or

 

Pres. Ellen Johnson Named Spokesperson for MRU on Ebola's Conference Tags: Liberia News Ebola Disease

The European Union (EU) has invited President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to co-chair a High Level Conference on Ebola and to speak as spokesperson for the Mano River Union (MRU).
 
The Presidents and Ministers of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Togo as well as representatives of the African Union Commission, the UN, the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) and the European Union will all in attendance.

The Conference is taking place at the historic Egmont Palace, Brussels, Belgium, on Tuesday 3 March 2015 and is to be attended by Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium.

The main focus of the Conference is to maintain current efforts of preventing the spread of the Ebola virus and to also put in place a plan to help Liberia and the other main African countries to recover now, as well as to plan for the future.  During this High Level Conference, the 11th European Development Fund National Indicative Programme for Liberia 2014-2020 will be signed between Liberia and the EU.

This is the most important support program of the EU to Liberia for the coming years. This Fund is allocating EUR 279 million (USD326 million at current rate of exchange) to Liberia, which will be divided into the four areas of: Good Governance, Energy, Education and Agriculture.
The EU and its Member States have so far pledged around EUR1.2 billion to respond to the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

The EU Ambassador to Liberia, Ms Tiina Intelmann, said "For us it is crucial to assess the priorities and envisage action presented by Liberia and to find a way that we can all work together, in the immediate and longer term, for recovery in Liberia and in West Africa."

Source; Newdawn

In Praise Of Africa's Welcome Mat Tags: News Africa

Even as refugee crises escalate in Africa, many of its nations keep borders open for those fleeing war, Ebola, terror, weather, repression. They deserve praise as much as aid for this compassion.

Worldwide, the number of refugees has neared a 20-year high, with Africa experiencing the highest levels. Of the 10 largest refugee operations run by the United Nations, five are in Africa. Millions of people have fled the continent’s wars, Ebola outbreak, harsh climate, terrorist attacks, or political repression.

Yet even as these numbers help bring more foreign aid to Africa, they should also put a spotlight on a little-appreciated response: Many African nations have largely accommodated the refugees.

“For every instance of violent conflict in Africa, there are also incredibly inspiring examples of African compassion, hospitality, and generosity,” said Anne C. Richard, US assistant secretary of State for population, refugees, and migration, in a recent speech.

Host countries – such as Cameroon, which has accepted some 40,000 Nigerians fleeing Boko Haram – do not receive enough credit for their welcome mats. Chad, for example, despite its intense poverty, has accepted a huge refugee influx from the conflicts in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and Nigeria.

While most host nations are obligated by treaty to grant first asylum, many go out of their way to also work with international agencies to provide land, jobs, schooling, health services, and other basic needs. They assist with repatriation and resettlement, or ways to integrate refugees into their societies as citizens. Niger set up special zones to allow Malian refugees to continue their nomadic lifestyle with livestock.

“Refugees don’t have to be a burden,” says Alexander Betts, a professor of migration studies at the University of Oxford. In a 2014 report on Uganda, perhaps one of the best host countries, Mr. Betts and his colleagues challenged five popular myths about refugees: that they are isolated, a burden, homogeneous, technologically illiterate, and dependent on handouts.

Uganda in particular practices a policy of self-reliance for some 220,000 refugees, giving them freedom to move and work rather than remain isolated in camps. This not only helps them but benefits the country as well.

Not every African country is so welcoming, often forcing migrants to leave or be badly treated. But new ideas in refugee management offer hope of better receptivity. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees promises “to support self-reliance and mobility, which allow displaced people to make positive contributions to their host communities.”

To some degree, African governments may be more open to refugees because “borders are highly negotiable,” as author and journalist Dayo Olopade put it in “The Bright Continent,” her 2014 book on change in Africa. “The truth is that African state divisions are less important than you’d think,” she writes, noting that 73 percent of households in Africa do not speak the official language of their countries.

Perhaps no other continent of nations has kept its arms as open to those most in need of shelter and protection for so many years. The rest of the world can give thanks, as it also helps fund much of this work.

Source: CS

Africa in 2015: 10 things to consider Tags: News Politics Africa News 2015

Following the success of last year’s 10 things [you need] to know about Africa in 2014 blog post, Policy Researcher Jamie Hitchen looks at what the year ahead holds in store. 

1. Volatile Elections

With hotly contested, and possibly violent, elections expected in Nigeria, followed by Burkina Faso’s first elections in almost 30 years without Blaise Compaoré’s candidacy, this could be a defining year for West African states. Elsewhere on the continent, the polls are likely to mean the further entrenchment of the status quo in Sudan, Ethiopia and Burundi, while Tanzania will have a new president whatever the result, as President Jakaya Kikwete is standing down after serving the maximum two terms. (Find our Elections Resource page here – we will be keeping it updated throughout the year)

2. Commodity Price Crash

The continuing decline in the global oil price will have severe revenue shortfall consequences for major exporters, Angola and Nigeria. In November 2014, Nigeria devalued the naira by 10% in November 2014 to protect forex reserves. Conversely, for consumer states, like Senegal, Ethiopia and Kenya, the declining oil price may actually have economic benefits. In short, there will be winners and losers. Looking beyond oil, the drop in copper and iron ore prices is prompting some exporters to revise economic growth forecasts downwards. Could this prompt states to think more seriously about adding value to natural resources exports and creating more in-country jobs through local content provisions?

3. The End of Ebola

The World Health Organization estimated that 7,905 people died of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2014. According to Anthony Banbury, the man who led the UN’s response last year, the virus will be defeated by the end of 2015. An even more optimistic President Koroma has suggested that his country, Sierra Leone, will be Ebola-free by May 2015. Economic recovery and social reintegration will become the major focus of attention for the international community, as will reflecting on a response that has been heavily criticised for being slow, inadequate and poorly led.  But will any lessons be learned for the future?

4. China-Africa Cooperation

The Sixth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in South Africa will be the first since Chinese President Xi Jinping took charge. Jinping’s China has made a point of taking Africa’s priorities – such as agriculture, manufacturing and job creation – seriously. Although China has deviated from its policy of non-interference, as evidenced by its engagement with rebel forces in South Sudan, it remains to be seen whether it will adopt a financing model more amenable to Africa’s long-term interests. Alternatively, might Africa’s strengthening ties with Brazil, India and Turkey lead to a reduced engagement with China?

5. Presidential Term Limits

With the recent turmoil in Burkina Faso still fresh in the memory, African leaders seeking to amend constitutions to retain power may be feeling a little bit apprehensive. President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) seems intent on staying in power beyond 2016 and similar efforts on the part of incumbents can be expected in Burundi, Togo and the Republic of Congo.  Will the citizens allow it?

6. A New Era for the African Development Bank (AfDB)

Donald Kaberuka, President of the AfDB will step down in May 2015 having been at the helm for a decade. Under his leadership, the bank’s credibility across the continent has been rebuilt.  Early front-runners to replace him include Nigeria’s Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwumi Adesina and Sufian Ahmed, Ethiopia’s longstanding Minister of Finance and Economic Development. Whoever ends up taking charge will need to help the beneficiaries of the commodity boom, the superstars of the Kaberuka era, recover from the current slump. In addition, the next president will have to deliver on the promise of securing the huge financing requirement for infrastructure and to ensure that infrastructure development is inclusive. The Ebola crisis has shown how vital it is for the Bank not to overlook the needs of fragile states.

7. Turning Away from the International Criminal Court (ICC)

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni is hoping to make 2015 the year that African leaders withdraw from the ICC. Of the 21 cases before the court, all have African defendants. This fact will likely add to the growing impression across Africa that the court has disproportionately targeted the continent’s leaders while trampling on sovereignty. The decision to try a sitting president, Uhuru Kenyatta, angered many heads of states. The subsequent withdrawal of the charges has raised doubts about the ICC among Kenya’s citizens, who were generally in favour of the process. Museveni’s promise to hand over recently captured Lord’s Resistance Army Commander Dominic Ongwen to the ICC is not the sign of a thaw in relations, but a political calculation.

8. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The UN has acknowledged that sub-Saharan Africa will not meet many of the Millennium Development Goals before they end in 2015. The process of carving out a final list of SDGs from the current list of 17 goals and 169 targets is ongoing.  Three key prongs, which align with Africa’s own needs – job creation, peace and security, and infrastructure and governance – will drive the SDG agenda but is there a danger of overcomplication? What measures must be put in place to ensure that progress can be charted?

9. Tackling Terrorism: Nigeria & Kenya

Terrorist activities on the borders of Nigeria and Kenya, two of Africa’s leading states, have led to severe criticism of the governments’ responses. In Nigeria’s case, territorial integrity is under threat. Insecurity in the north-east, fuelled by Boko Haram’s activities, will be a defining issue in the 2015 Nigerian election with President Goodluck Jonathan viewed as unwilling or unable to act. In Kenya, an increasing number of attacks by Al Shabaab have put public pressure on President Kenyatta and he has so far responded by sacking the security minister.  Can either state address these threats in 2015?

10. Urban Infrastructure

Addis Ababa is expected to open its Chinese-backed metro rail system in January 2015 and a light-rail transport system is currently under construction in Lagos – although it is well behind schedule. Both of these developments speak to a gradual effort to address the economic cost of traffic jams that clog urban centres across the continent. A regular and predictable supply of electricity still remains a significant challenge. Load shedding, blackouts and so forth mean that businesses run on generators in many of Africa’s major cities. To encourage investment, this must change. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the Grand Inga Dam in Congo and Kenya’s ambitious renewables programme, among others, are targeting the power shortfall.  2015 will be another year of increased urban development – and urban population growth.

Source: africaresearchinstitute

The Rhino And The Stranded Zebra -Unforgettable Story Tags: Wildlife News South Africa

As a wildlife photographer Roel van Muiden has seen many strange things in the bush. But the series of images of a rhino trying to lift a zebra foal out of a muddy watering hole is likely to stay with him for a long while.


Van Muiden was on a game drive in Madikwe Game Reserve in North West when he pulled up at the watering hole and spotted the zebra foal struggling to get free.

Other animals appeared oblivious to the foal's plight until a big rhino bull ambled into the area and began to prod the baby zebra with his horn.

Said Roel: "The rhino seemed curious and using his horn, he lifted the foal clear up and out of the mud, but then suddenly dropped it down again."

The bull then joined the rest of the rhinos, but returned a little later, where once again he proceeded to lift the foal out of the mud with his horn and drop it down. Roel said the foal became weak from all the rough attention, and as the heat of the day got too much to handle, eventually died from its injuries.

The rhino bull then dropped down beside the dead animal and rolled around, caking himself in a thick layer of mud before ambling off.

Source: Timeslive

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