Sudan’s efforts at strengthening regional stability highlighted by Russian diplomacy
Zambia to host regional Secretariat of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
South Africa to launch small-scale fisheries sector in KZN
SA small businesses to enter Italian market
Moroccan Novelist Wins the 2019 Sheikh Zayed Book Award
A Sudanese Official hails Al-Sisi recommendations at Arab-African Youth Forum closing session
Egypt tourism ‘fastest growing’ in North Africa
Zimbabwe sets sights on pan-African institutions to cover imports
Zambia Meteorological Department dismisses warning by DMMU over tropical cyclone hitting Zambia
Humanitarian Dialogue Centre: National Conference to take place in weeks
Angola: President Condoles with Mozambican Counterpart
Kenya: EU Donates Sh402m for Infrastructure in Northern Kenya
Dodoma Stadium will probably be one of the largest in Africa
Gambia's 54th Independence Celebrated in Egypt
Zimbabwe: President to Open Dualisation Project
Ghana to become self-sufficient in rice production
The New Times – Rwanda
A few years ago, the Government of Rwanda decided that all pupils and students should have their lunch at school as part of a broader effort to address such cases as absenteeism, school dropout and late-coming among learners.
To kick start the programme the Ministry of Education set aside a budget but parents were also encouraged to step in and help foot the bill.
Many schools have gone on to work closely with parents to implement the initiative and the latter have embraced it because of the benefits it has come with.
As a result of this collaboration, up to 97.3 per cent of learners now have their lunch at school, according to official figures.
The Minister for Education told this publication last week that this has resulted in students getting to school on time and reduced school dropout. Teachers are also now able to start teaching on time, thereby generally improving the quality of education.
The success of the school feeding programme is another proof that nothing is impossible as long as all stakeholders pull in the same direction.
Now local government authorities are being called on to ensure that, in the future, food that schools will need is available within their respective districts, which will have a positive impact on agriculture across the country.
Indeed, if the gains made under the school feeding programme are anything to go by there is no reason to doubt the feasibility of a recent ministerial directive to schools to ensure that each learner drinks at least half a litre of milk a day. Nonetheless, there is need for all the parties involved to cooperate to make this a reality.
The New Times – Rwanda
By: James K. Galbraith
Is Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) a potential boon to economic policymakers, or, as Harvard’s Kenneth Rogoff recently argued, a threat to “the entire global financial system” and the front line of the “next battle for central-bank independence”? For Rogoff, the threat seems to stem partly from the fear that MMT adherents may come to power in the United States in the 2020 elections. But he also makes several substantive arguments, common to many critics of the MMT movement.
First, there is the claim that, as Rogoff puts it, MMT is all about “using the [US Federal Reserve’s] balance sheet as a cash cow to fund expansive new social programs.” Second, Rogoff and other MMT opponents strongly reject the idea that, quoting Fed Chair Jerome Powell, “deficits don’t matter for countries that can borrow in their own currency.”
Yet, as Rogoff admits, “the Fed itself is responsible for … confusion surrounding the use of its balance sheet.” Indeed, while Rogoff decries the Fed’s “quantitative easing” – involving the purchase of trillions of dollars in public (and private) debt after the financial crisis – his argument is that QE didn’t really work, not that it was destabilising or inflationary. He sees no threat to the global financial system in that experiment.
Similarly, despite his full-throated backing of Powell on deficits, Rogoff reverts to cautious realism about the US national debt. As he points out, today’s long-term real interest rates are “about half their 2010 level, far below what markets were predicting back then.” And he acknowledges that inflation has remained lower than “virtually any economic model would have predicted,” while “the US dollar has become increasingly dominant in global trade and finance.” Perhaps the US budget deficit is not an immediate cause for panic after all?
MMT is not, as its opponents seem to think, primarily a set of policy ideas. Rather, it is essentially a description of how a modern credit economy actually works – how money is created and destroyed, by governments and by banks, and how financial markets function. Nor is MMT new: it is based on the work of John Maynard Keynes, whose A Treatise on Money pointed out back in 1930 that “modern States” have functioned this way for thousands of years.
From this description, certain straightforward facts flow. Governments create money by spending and extinguish it via taxation. It follows, therefore, that a large country, borrowing in its own currency, cannot be forced into default. That is why the US is not Greece, and cannot become Venezuela or Zimbabwe.
Does this mean that “deficits don’t matter”? I know of no MMT adherent who has made such a claim. MMT acknowledges that policy can be too expansionary and push past resource constraints, causing inflation and exchange-rate depreciation – which may or may not be desirable. (Hyperinflation, on the other hand, is a bogeyman, which some MMT critics deploy as a scare tactic.)
But the issue with budget deficits isn’t interest rates, which remain under government control. Nor is it the possible crowding out of private investment, which assumes that the pool of finance is fixed. The issue is real resources. Here, MMT’s proposed job guarantee would keep real resource use exactly at the level required for full employment – not less, but also not more.
What about the fraught topic of central-bank independence? Rogoff sees the political threat to the Fed as a very serious issue. But to describe the Fed as having a “parent company, the US Treasury Department” creates a misleading impression of the actual relationship between the Fed and the government as a whole.
The 1913 Federal Reserve Act gave the new central bank’s leaders long terms in office, and therefore independence from the executive branch (of which the Treasury Department is a part). They do not serve – as Treasury secretaries do – at the pleasure of the president. The Fed is also self-financing, which gives it independence as well from the Office of Management and Budget in the White House.
But the Fed is not and never has been independent of the US Congress. It is created by statute and subject to regular congressional oversight, codified by the 1978 Humphrey-Hawkins Act, which specified the Fed’s famous “dual mandate” of price stability and full employment. (As a young staff member of the House Banking Committee at the time, I drafted the monetary-policy provisions of that law and supervised the hearings.)
True, Congress exercises this oversight power loosely and with considerable deference. At least formally, though, the Fed is – and always has been – subject to congressional instruction.
And MMT is not about Congress ordering the Fed to use its “balance sheet as a cash cow.” Rather, it is about understanding how monetary operations actually work, how interest rates are set, and what economic powers the US government has. This, in turn, requires recognising that the dual mandate is not a collection of empty words, but something that can – and should – be pursued on a regular and sustained basis.
There are practical, straightforward, and realistic ways for policymakers to meet this mandate. Implementing them would strengthen the country, not bankrupt it. And, contrary to opponents’ fears, global investors would not flee in terror from US government bonds and the US dollar.
Egypt Today – Egypt
By: Amr Mohamed Kandil
A round of applause among Egyptian officials and parliamentarians was given to the impact of the Arab and African Youth Platform held in Upper Egypt's Aswan.
Osama Abdel Khalek, Egyptian ambassador in Addis Ababa, said on his Twitter account that the inauguration of the forum on Saturday proves that Egypt is capable of chairing the African Union and reflects President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi's care for the issues of the youth.
The forum kicked off on Saturday, Mar. 16 with the participation of 1,500 youths, and is set to last until Monday, Mar. 18.
Bahaa Abu Shoka, chairman of Egypt's 40-year old New Wafd Party, said that hosting the forum is a clear indication of the world's trust in Egypt, and that Egypt has restored its regional role and is sending the message of peace and love to the world.
The presence of such big number of youths in Aswan, which is the link to Africa, affirms that the historic and current role of Egypt enjoys acceptability among African nations, Abu Shoka said, adding that Wafd youth members are participating in the forum as the Egyptian state cares for the local youth.
He also expected that the youth participating in the forum will be tomorrow's leaders.
Abu Shoka said that Egypt is seeking to interact and cooperate with its Arab and African surroundings through its chairmanship of the African Union, adding that it has presented a package of developmental projects in the fields of health, education, energy, judicial training programs, and building security capacities to counter terrorism and achieve peace and security.
Moreover, Ashraf al-Sherif, head of Parliament's youth committee, said that Egypt is determined to enhance the Arab-African integration to make a comprehensive developmental renaissance for the peoples of the region and to overcome joint challenges, which threaten the regional stability.
The states of the region have known that tackling the current unstable situation will require cooperating with Egypt to implement its strategy to achieve integration, Sherif said, adding that it is the first time for the Middle East region to share the same visions and goals and to adopt clear strategies.
Sherif, who is also the head of Nation's Future Party, one of Egypt's most influential parties currently, said that Egypt has managed to achieve unprecedented progress in its relations with African nations throughout the past five years, adding that the country restored its leading role and contributed to keeping and achieving balance in many states.
He affirmed that Egypt's assumption of the chairmanship of the African Union is a start to strengthening the mechanisms of implementation of its strategies on the ground.
The Arab-African Youth Platform targets protecting the youth from the poisonous ideologies, and bringing visions together to serve the whole region, Sherif continued.
The forum is capable of finding solutions to the economic crises witnessed by the region, he stressed.
Sherif pointed out that the political and developmental convergence of the African countries will eliminate clashes between different civilizations and generations and will build a new generation of youth to adopt developmental ideas based on partnership, teamwork, the exchange of visions, and the renouncement of intolerance.
The outcome of this forum will also impact the whole world, not only the region, Sherif explained, considering the platform as an important step that strengthens efforts to face terrorism and extremism through thought and constructive dialogue.
The Coordination Committee for Young Politicians and Party Members is taking part in the youth forum through holding a number of sessions and workshops, said Mohamed Ghuneim, a member of the committee.
Ebrahim al-Tohami, a member of the committee, said that violence, terrorism and armed groups are among the most prominent issues discussed during the forum, adding that a social, civilized and humanitarian environment must be provided to the youth to perform their role in combating violence and terrorism.
He also affirmed that policies and mechanisms have to be implemented to enable them to participate in enhancing the values of tolerance, peace, and respect for all religions and beliefs.
The forum will also discuss the poorly exploited resources such as oil, gold and uranium, in addition to the issue of unemployment, Tohami said, reiterating that Africa has the highest rate of unemployment in the world. He noted that people of many cities face great humanitarian challenges such as the spread of poverty and illiteracy, besides violence and hard climatic conditions.
Osama al-Refaie, another member of the committee, said that the forum shows the world that Egypt is a country of dialogue and peace, and is capable of gathering peoples of different religions and ideologies.
The Arab-African Youth Platform was launched with a ceremony that celebrated Egypt's chairing of the African Union and shed light on Egypt's position as a meeting point between the Arab and African civilizations.
The opening ceremony gathered a number of senior officials, representatives and public figures from Africa such as Mariam al-Mansouri, the UAE's first female fighter pilot; Moussa Faki, the African Union Commission chairperson; Nelson Mandela’s grandson; Syrian journalist and anchor Zaina Yazigi and Ahmad Ahmad, president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
A set of Arab and African countries contribute in the AYF including Nigeria, Djibouti, Chad, Ghana, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Gambia, Sudan, Gabon, Iraq, Palestine, Guinea and Mozambique.
The forum tackled topics such as the future of scientific research and health care, and the impact of advanced technology and innovation in Africa and the Arab region.