Mali must appoint civilian govt. immediately, says regional bloc



Mali’s military coup leaders must hand over power to a civilian transitional government immediately, the chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)  said on Tuesday.

The chairman said this in Accra as a deadline expired for the ruling junta to appoint interim leaders.

The 15-member ECOWAS imposed economic sanctions after the Aug. 18 overthrow of President Ibrahim Keita, and said a new president should be appointed by Tuesday.

But the junta pushed through a charter on Saturday that says the interim president can be a soldier or a civilian and has not yet indicated when the new government would be named.

Regional presidents met junta leaders on Tuesday in Ghana in an attempt to quicken the transition.

“Today is supposed to be the day that the junta is to put in place a government, which should respond to the criteria we set out in August.

“That has not been met,” said Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo, the acting ECOWAS chair, before the start of talks.

Regional leaders fear the coup could set a dangerous precedent in West Africa and undermine a fight in Mali and neighbouring countries in the Sahel region against militants with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State.

“That country can no longer afford any delay in putting a responsible government in place,” he said.

West African leaders have not said what the consequences would be for failing to meet the deadline.

The existing sanctions include border closures and the suspension of financial flows.

The charter approved at multi-party talks in Mali also calls for an 18-month transition, while ECOWAS had said that fresh elections should be held within a year.


Edited By: Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim
Source: NAN


Mali: Court fixes Friday to hear suit challenging ECOWAS sanctions



The ECOWAS Court of Justice has fixed Friday to hear two interlocutory applications in a case instituted by two associations in Mali against the ECOWAS Commission and the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire.

The case is challenging the legality of the Aug. 18 sanctions imposed on the Republic of Mali, following the military coup against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

In the interlocutory application filed by the Malian Coalition and the Consumers Association of Mali, both registered in the country, the associations are asking for the orders of the Court suspending the sanctions.

A statement issued by the media unit of the Court on Wednesday in Abuja, said that the association also sought for accelerated hearing of both cases challenging the sanctions.

According to the case with suit no /36/20, the two associations claimed that the President of the Commission acted ultra vires in imposing the sanctions.

They argued that the procedure was not in conformity with the relevant ECOWAS texts under which sanctions should be brought against Member States for failure to honour their obligations to the Community as this is reserved for Heads of State and Government of the Community.

The plaintiffs are being represented by Mr Modibo Diakite, Mr Oumar Tounkara, Mr Abdrahamane Diallo. Mr Maxime Poma and the law firm of SCP d’Avocats DO-FINI CONSULT.

They durther claimed that the sanctions, which were enforced by neighbours Côte d’Ivoire and Niger with the closure of their borders, are negatively impacting on a population already ‘bruised by insecurity, the Covid-19 pandemic as well as poor governance.”

“In the initiating application filed before the Court on Sept. 9, the associations claimed that the sanctions constitute not only the violation of the right of the people of Mali to the freedom of movement guaranteed in ECOWAS texts.

“But also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the economic, social and cultural rights of Malian citizens in the Community as well as their right to non-discrimination.

“Among the reliefs sought is an order for the payment of compensation for prejudices suffered in the sum of 1,000,000 CFA francs for each individual, another 10,000,000 CFA francs for each legal person as well as the payment of the same amount for the violation of human rights.

“The associations also prayed the court to order the state of Côte d’Ivoire to pay a symbolic 1 CFA to the plaintiffs for the violation of their human rights through the discriminatory treatment of Malians,” it said

According to the statement, a three member panel of the court comprising Justices Dupe Atoki (presiding), Keikura Bangura and Januária Tavares Silva Moreira Costa will hear the case.

It said that the proceeding will be virtual and can be followed via “Zoom” using the ID: 849 4983 1562 with the passcode: 6650799 10am on Friday.

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Sadiya Hamza
Source: NAN
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AU calls for development of digital skills for African teachers in post COVID-19 



The African Union (AU) has called for development of digital skills in teachers across Africa, especially in post COVID-19 period to ensure dynamism in learning at all levels.

Prof. Sarah Agbor, Commissioner, AU Human Resources, Science and Technology, made the call at the first phase of webinar to celebrate the International Literacy Day of the Year in Sub-Saharan Africa on Wednesday.

The celebration was organised by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) offices in Abuja, Dakar, Harare, Nairobi and Yaoundé in collaboration with the International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA).

The meeting focused on policy dialogue on innovative methodologies for youth, adult literacy programmes in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, as well as the role of educators.

The 2020 theme is: “Literacy, Teaching and Learning: The Role of Educators and Pedagogical Changes’’.

Agbor explained that with the increase in remote learning, the role of educators needed to be examined now and during post COVID-19 era, to ensure that quality education was delivered.

She said that technology was driving the means of education and learning in the pandemic era, hence the need for teachers to get skilled digitally.

“The roles of educators are influenced in the way of remuneration because job motivation should also ensure satisfaction.

“Teachers need to be skilled digitally and their capacity developed to teach with the right infrastructure post COVID-19 era.

“Teachers also need to get acquainted with the cognitive socialisation of school children because they play a major role in their early lives,’’ she said.

The commissioner also said that AU was focusing on developing strategic policies, frameworks to foster education, encourage youth engagement.

She mentioned that the policies included Agenda 2063, 50 years set of initiatives proposed and being implemented by AU,  the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 and continental strategy on youth entrepreneurship, innovation and employment.

Ms Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO, regretted that about 235 million children from primary to tertiary level had been denied access to learning due to COVID-19.

Giannini stated that some children on the continent could not access education prior to COVID-19  due to conflicts and human engineered problems but the pandemic had provided opportunity for a change.

She said that some African countries were taking steps to modify means of learning through online platforms.

The assistant director general said that literacy educators were not frequently on the spotlight, adding that there would be no progress in education without adequate attention to teachers.

“Teachers need to be projected to ensure achieving Sustainable Development Goal four.

UNESCO will ensure continued collaboration with AU to promote continental education platforms in Africa.

“We are focusing on 29 countries facing literacy challenges and we will continue to proffer solutions, policies to support educators,” she said.

According to her, let’s make literacy first important step to create acceptance, resilience and ensure development especially in the COVID-19 period.

Mr Mamadou Sow, Officer In Charge, UNESCO Regional Office, Abuja, hoped that African countries would adopt the Literacy Strategy of November 2019 to promote education on the continent.

Mrs Awut Acuil, Minister of General Education, South Sudan, said there was need for increased investment in education by government and development partners for inclusive literacy.

Some Non-Governmental Organisations like Just Commit Foundation, Ghana, Tabitha Kumi Foundation, Nigeria who were being supported by UNESCO gave testimonies of their interventions toward delivering literacy in their localities.

Edited By: Kabir Muhammad/Ali Baba-Inuwa
Source: NAN
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General news

Nigeria will take full advantage of AfCTA – Awolowo



Mr Segun Awolowo, the Chief Executive of Nigerian Export Promotion Council ((NEPC), says Nigeria has huge potential to increase its exports to other African countries with the implementation of African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA).

Awolowo made the observation at the just concluded Ecobank Digital Series Virtual Africa Conference 2020.

He said that in Africa with a market of 1.2 billion people and combined GDP of $3 trillion, there would be huge potential for Nigeria to increase its export to Africa with the implementation of AfCTA.

According to him, most of Nigeria’s exports had been informal exports, but with platforms like Ecobank, it is going to be formal and add real value to the economy.

He said the export value of Nigeria to Africa totaled around $6.99 billon in 2018, but its export to the rest of the world totaled $45.92 billion.

Awolowo said that using the international trade center export’s tool, NEPC had identified areas of untapped potential for Nigeria in Africa such as fertilizer, ginger and sesame as these were what other African countries were buying.

“Nigeria must, and can, live in a world where it no longer sells oil.

“Nigeria is working on key game changers in infrastructure in order to achieve this, especially in the area of ease of transportation and also in the area of incentives, export expansion grant like pre-shipment incentives and export development fund, which serve to prepare, facilitate and support exporters to the global market,” he said.

Tei Konzi, the Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement in ECOWAS, said that 85 per cent of our products were going outside the continent and this must be changed.

Konzi, who was represented by Mr Kolawole Sofola, an Acting Director in ECOWAS, said: “We can bring these trade back to Africa and increase activity in the continent in agriculture, mining, amongst others.”

“We are yet to conclude our tariffs, but at the moment, ECOWAS trade more with outside countries than it does with African countries and this is why we are bent on making sure the AfCFTA succeeds”.

Konzi described AfCFTA as a comprehensive trade agreement that seek to create a single market for goods and services and free movement of persons through the progressive liberation of the market for goods and services.

He said that AfCFTA would also contribute to the movement of capital to facilitate investment and the foundation of continental customs union at a later stage.

Ade Adeyemi, the Chief Executive Officer, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), reiterated that African countries must adopt a continent-wide approach to business and also focus on wealth creation to be relevant in the global value chain.

According to Ayeyemi for AfCFTA to become a reality there must be commitment and readiness for trade facilitation by the individual nations.

He advised that African governments must be unequivocally committed to the agreement and their preparedness as individual nations with their implementation strategies, commitment to free movement-signing and ratification of protocol on free movement of people.

Ayeyemi said that Ecobank was fully committed to Africa as the foremost Pan-African Bank to unequivocally support the implementation of AfCFTA, its readiness to use its unique pan-African platform to facilitate trade, payment and business and deployment of its strong Africa knowledge to support governments and businesses.

The Ecobank boss said: “no country is so poor that it has nothing to give and no country is so rich that it has nothing to receive. All of us must come together to become better.”

The Ecobank virtual Nigeria ‘Africa Trade Conference 2020’ was part of the Ecobank Digital Series efforts to showcase Ecobank’s unique intra-Africa trade solutions that enable settlements of international transactions and mitigation of payment risk, while providing regional solutions to exporters.


Edited By: Tajudeen Atitebi
Source: NAN
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Russia to allocate $13bn for environment protection over 3yrs – Putin



Russia is going to spend for the first time a whopping 13 billion dollars (1 trillion rubles) on environmental protection, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

“Another factor that directly affects the health of our citizens is environmental well-being. In 2021, the spending as part of the national project on ecology will almost double.

“In total, over the three years, for the first time, 1 trillion rubles will be allocated from the federal budget for environmental protection,” Putin told Russian upper house lawmakers.

These funds will be used to develop infrastructure, manage solid household waste, reduce air pollution, rehabilitate rivers and lakes, as well as protect and restore forests, according to the president.


Edited By: Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim
Source: NAN
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