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The Monitor (Kampala)
Government is considering taking over the tarmacking of roads in the 41 municipalities in order to ease accessibility and improve socio-economic development in the country (see 'Govt plans to takeover municipality roadworks, in the Daily Monitor of February 14, 2019).
During a meeting with municipality mayors and town clerks held at Hotel Africana last Friday, the Minister of Local Government, Col Tom Butime, said the move is intended to ensure that roads within the municipalities are of the same standard as those of the capital city.
This is a welcome move. We hope that when the minister presents the proposal to Cabinet suggesting that the construction of municipal roads be taken over by the Ministry of Works, it should be enthusiastically endorsed. This should be able to free the current arrangement where municipality roads are maintained through the Uganda Road Fund, which also caters for other roads in the district local governments. In fact, considering the very poor state of roads in our municipalities, which are characterised by dust during dry season or are rendered impassable and muddy in rainy season, are potholed and narrow, many people are left wondering whether municipalities have what it takes to construct roads.
However, when the minister suggests that unlike the national roads, the municipalities would take over the maintenance of these roads after Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) hands them over after completion, some questions arise. To many, this proposal would be like taking one step forward and then three steps backwards.
First, were the dusty roads due to lack of human resource, inadequate funds, or lack of equipment? If their failure arose from depending on mother districts for equipment to be able to work on the roads, then what will they rely on or use to maintain roads after they are handed over to them.
Even then, can the municipalities satisfactorily account for the help, however minimal, they got from the mother districts? Besides, even if the municipalities get the requisite funds for keeping the roads in good state, what guarantees will be put in place to ensure that the funds do not go missing due to corruption?
If the roads would be handed over to the municipalities, then the government should first establish why the municipalities could not maintain the roads using the Uganda Road Fund. In light of this, it is imperative that the central government takes over and also maintains municipality roads for they are doors to the districts.
The issue: Municipality roads
Our view: If the roads would be handed over to the municipalities, then it is critical that the government first ascertains why municipalities could not maintain the roads using Uganda Road Fund. Nevertheless, it is imperative that the central government takes over and also maintains municipality roads for they are the door to the districts.
The New Times (Kigali)
By: José Graziano da Silva
Food security for all is a cornerstone of the United Nations 2030 Agenda, which recognises that global sustainable development can only be achieved if hunger and all forms of malnutrition are eradicated (Sustainable Development Goal number 2).
Nevertheless, the international community must be aware that food security does not only mean that enough food is produced and that all people have access to it. It is also fundamental that all food is safe for consumption. That is: there is no food security without food safety.
Globally, food-borne illnesses affect 600 million people and cause more than 420,000 deaths each year according to an assessment by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Children bear the most tragic toll, both in terms of mortality and due to stunting, which affects 150 million children under the age of five and is often caused by dangerous microbes or parasites that creep into their meals.
Last year, for example, a lethal outbreak of Listeria was responsible for more than 180 deaths in South Africa, almost half of them young children. The contamination originated in a food-processing company that exported to 15 countries.
The costs of unsafe food go far beyond human suffering. Contaminated food hampers socioeconomic development, overloads healthcare systems and damages economies, trade and tourism of a country.
Economic opportunities of the international food market are lost to countries that are unable to meet international food safety standards. The World Bank reckons that food safety mishaps cost developing countries more than US$ 100 billion a year.
An increasingly globalised food supply means that risks from unsafe food can rapidly escalate from a local problem to an international emergency, exposing populations worldwide to food hazards.
Many developing countries import a significant share of the food supply for their population, with some – such as the Pacific islands – relying almost entirely on food imports to ensure food security.
Therefore, it is absolutely fundamental that countries invest in food safety. While many countries have sophisticated food-safety tools and systems, many do not.
In the rapid evolution of science, technology and communication today, as well as changes in agriculture, environment and consumer behaviors, authorities everywhere need to keep vigilant, share information and resources, and find ways to make sure all stakeholders contribute to effective outcomes.
Unfortunately, food-borne illnesses are particularly likely to spread via foods that have strong nutritional qualities - fiber-rich salad ingredients for example - and public fears about their consumption can lead to greater consumption of hyper-processed foods that exacerbate the growing global problem of obesity with an enormous toll on health and lives.
The impacts of climate change are also undermining the safety of food. For example, the risk of aflatoxin – a carcinogen found in staple crops in tropical areas where hunger rates tend to be high –will expand as temperatures rise and rainfall patterns change.
Mitigating such risks is vital, especially to vulnerable rural communities. Food contaminated with antimicrobial-resistant organisms can also be a source of human exposure.
So the stakes are high, and there is no alternative to investing wisely and robustly in this area.
In 2019, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is co-organising two major international conferences to discuss the future of food safety The first one will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 11 and 12 February, in a partnership between FAO, WHO and the African Union.
It will highlight the importance of food safety to fight all forms of malnutrition and to promote sustainable development. The second conference will take place in Geneva in April, which FAO is co-organising with WHO and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
It will address the importance of strengthening food safety standards for promoting international trade.
FAO works in many fronts to promote food safety. One of the most important is the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme implemented by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which is an international inter-governmental food standards setting body.
Its standards are published as the Codex Alimentarius. This “food code” covers the entire production chain, allowing governments to establish science-based, internationally acceptable standards in order to establish criteria for food to ensure safety and harmonise trade food despite new challenges and threats that continue to emerge.
Codex has worked on food safety and trade for over 50 years. Since 1963, Codex has developed hundreds of internationally recognized standards, guidelines and codes of practice.
It has been recognised by WTO since 1995 as the benchmark standard for national food safety regulations and the basis for international food trade. Codex is, therefore, the invisible link between those working in the food supply chain and the consumer.
FAO also assists countries in drafting or amending legislation relevant to food safety and quality, as well as in providing assistance through legal and institutional assessments; supporting legal reform processes; and promoting capacity development activities for lawyers and regulators.
Food safety requires a participatory approach. From production to consumption, safeguarding our food is a shared responsibility – we must all play our part.
By Aimindeh Blaise Atabong
Some 984 exhibitors, including those from over 30 foreign countries have so far confirmed their participation.
The seventh edition of Cameroon’s biggest international trade exhibition christened “PROMOTE” will open tomorrow at the Yaounde Conference Centre. The event to run from February 16 to 24 will be staged under the theme: “Business and Sustainable Development”.
According to officials of Inter Progress; the event management institution organising the expo, tomorrow’s official opening will be presided over by the Minister of Trade. Saturday at PROMOTE 2019 will be marked by the symbolic cutting of the fair ribbon, parade of the fair site and animation on the open-air podium by Group Patengue/Isnebo. An “Official Day of PROMOTE” to be chaired by the Prime Minister, Head of Government is scheduled for Monday February 18, 2019.
When Cameroon Tribune visited the fairground Thursday, it was a welcoming and polite team that greeted. At the general secretariat of PROMOTE, exhibitors thronged in to either get accreditation badges or sort out issues related to their participation. The general secretariat was unusually busy as different desks to include communication, national, international, small and medium-sized enterprises, industry, debates, documentation, technical and accreditation had been setup.
We observed that exhibitors were carrying out last minute touches to ensure that their respective stands are ready before D-Day. All construction works are expected to be completed today as a technical commission will visit the site in order to take measures vis-a-vis late installations.
Frida Egbe, Communications Officer of Inter Progress assured almost all is set for the big event. She said visitors will not have any regret when they make a stop at the fairground beginning Saturday. She laid emphasis on the fact that security in and around the PROMOTE venue is guaranteed.
The only entrance that will be open is the main entrance of the Yaounde Conference Centre and shuttles will be available to visitors for transportation to the upper esplanades of the Conference Centre, officials said. Exhibitors would be allowed to refill their stands every day from 6am to 8am before the opening of the site to visitors. Stands will be opened to visitors from 9am to 8pm though special events on the Theatre de Verdure stage may cause the closing time to be extended.
Daily Observer – Liberia
By Professor Augustine Konneh, PhD, Dean of Graduate School, A.M.E. University
At the African Union’s (AU) Summit that just ended in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a statue of Ethiopia’s late Emperor, Haile Selassie, was unveiled outside of the organization’s headquarters. The rationale for the statue is to honor Emperor Selassie and Ethiopia’s contributions to the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union), and the broader project of regional integration on the African Continent. Prior to this, a statue of the late President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana was also unveiled at the AU’s Headquarters. Like Emperor Selassie, the statue was intended to honor his and Ghana’s contribution to the establishment of the OAU, and the quest for regional integration in Africa. Undoubtedly, the two late African leaders and their respective countries are quite deserving of the honor bestowed on them by the erection of the statues. However, similar honor has not been bestowed on Liberia, given the many contributions that the country has made to the African Continent, including/especially the pivotal role it played in the creation of the OAU. Against this backdrop, the purpose of this article is to argue that the history of the AU will be incomplete, if it does not recognize the many invaluable contributions Liberia has made to African integration.
Liberia’s Role on the African Continent: Key Contributions
- Liberia’s role in the struggle for African Independence was quite significant. For example, Liberia used its financial, diplomatic and human resources to contribute to the struggles for decolonization and Independence across the African Continent. In addition, several Africans from colonized areas, including Nigeria, lived in Liberia for various periods of time. The most famous case was Namdi Azikiwe, who later on became the first President of Nigeria, after the country gained its independence from the United Kingdom.
- Liberia played a critical role in the struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa, especially its insidious policy of racial discrimination against the Blacks, the majority. Again, Liberia marshaled its diplomatic, political and economic resources to support the cause of freedom and true independence in South Africa. In addition, hundreds of young South Africans lived and studied at various institutions of learning in Liberia. The efforts paid dividend in 1994, when apartheid ended in South Africa, and Black majority rule was established.
- During the long Sudanese civil war that lasted from 1955-2005, Liberia played a key role in trying to find a peaceful solution to the conflict. In addition, several young Sudanese lived and studied in Liberia.
- Liberia also played peacemaking roles in helping to resolve several of the African Continent’s inter-state and civil conflicts. For example, Liberia played a major role in helping to end the Nigeria civil war.
Liberia’s Role in the Founding of OAU/AU
Liberia played a significant role in helping to laying the ground work for the establishment of the organization of African Unity (OAU) that later became the African Union. Several major cases are instructive:
- Liberia’s President Tubman hosted the Sanniquellie Conference from July 15-19, 1959, attended by him, President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and President Sekou Touré of Guinea. The central purpose of the meeting was to discuss the appropriate approach to continental integration in Africa.
- Liberia’s role in helping to resolve the factional differences among the various power blocs—Casablanca Group (consisting of the radical African states), the Monrovia Group (comprising the conservative African states). And the Brazzerville Group, comprising former French colonies that were desirous of maintaining close relations with their former colonial power—regarding the best approach to African integration. Liberia’s diplomatic intervention helped to clear the way for the establishment of the OAU.
- Liberia’s role in promoting economic integration in Africa through the OAU. For example the Monrovia Conference on African Economic Cooperation, which was held in 1978, help lay the foundation for the development of the modalities for the establishment of the African Economic Community.
- Liberia’s role in providing leadership for the OAU, as evidenced by President Tolbert’s service as the Chair of the OAU in 1979.