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The New Times – Rwanda
Rwanda Development Board last week penned a concession agreement with a private firm for the development of a conservation and tourism management programme in Gishwati-Mukura National Park, one of the latest additions to a range of premier tourist attractions in the country.
The 25-year deal with Imizi Ecotourism Development Ltd, a subsidiary of Wilderness Safaris, an international conservation company, will see the private operator fully restore the park to an exclusive chimpanzee and primate trekking destination.
The firm will invest its own resources while it will also be paying a concession fee to RDB.
According to the agreement, RDB will oversee ecology and conservation initiatives, including ranger presence, law enforcement, science, engagement of community cooperatives, human-wildlife conflict resolution and research and monitoring. This will help create more opportunities to surrounding communities and the nation in general.
The development of Gishwati-Mukura National Park is a major boost to the tourism sector, a leading foreign exchange earner for the country.
Over the years Rwanda has consolidated its status as a top destination, increasingly diversifying its tourist products and experiences on offer.
With the full restoration of the Akagera National Park, now home to the Big Five; the ever-thriving Virunga National Park, natural habitat for endangered mountain gorillas; Nyungwe National Park, known for rare species of birds, canopy walk, a range of primates, among others; and a series of other tourist products across the country, Rwanda was already on the way up as far as tourism was concerned.
The planned development of Gishwati-Mukura can only help cement the country’s status as a top destination, with tourists now set to spend even more time visiting and enjoying the countryside.
Notably, the major gains made in the tourism sector in recent years are thanks to the peace and security that the country enjoys. Never before have Rwandans and foreigners alike felt so secure in the country, ranked among the most secure globally.
The Gishwati-Mukura deal could not have come at a better time.
The Herald – Zimbabwe
President Mnangagwa’s call last week for the reform of the United Nations came at the right time when the world body seems to be increasingly getting out of touch with reality.
It has become clear in recent years that the system of operation employed by the UN at its formation in 1945 is no longer in sync with the international developments taking place now.
The UN was created following the end of the Second World War and its major aim was to unite the world to ensure that there is peace and stability.
While there has not been a world war since then, the UN has failed to prevent aggression by powerful countries on the less powerful ones. The rights of less powerful countries are being trampled on a daily basis under the watch of the UN and its archaic system that has failed to ensure peace permanently returns to the world.
There have been questions on the devastating intervention of the United States and its allies in countries like Iraq, Libya, Syria and many others.
Since the invasion of such countries, albeit without the UN’s approval, the affected countries have become ungovernable. These countries are now in a perpetual conflict that is threatening world peace, directly returning to haunt the UN which is supposed to safeguard world peace.
The major problem with the UN is that it has been acting like an accomplice of big powers, who seem to have the green light to do as they please with less powerful countries.
It has become clear that the UN is not serving the interests of all member states, as noted by President Mnangagwa last week. President Mnangagwa made the call for the UN reform while addressing a dinner in Harare hosted for Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
President Museveni has also been at the frontline of criticising the UN for failing to reform.
For decades, the UN has been giving a deaf ear to the African Union’s (AU) advocacy for reform of the world body, a decision they refer to as the Ezulwini Consensus. The Ezulwini Consensus is the AU position on international relations and reform of the UN which calls for a more representative and democratic Security Council in which Africa, like all other world regions, is represented.
“At global level, it is our strong conviction that the United Nations should remain guided by its Charter and serve the interests of all member states,” President Mnangagwa said.
“We continue to advocate for the reform of the UN Security Council in line with the Ezulwini Consensus.” There has not been justification as to why the UN is maintaining a limited number of permanent representatives of its Security Council to only five.
It is these five countries — the United States, France, China, Russia and Britain — that have been mandated with directing world affairs through the UN Security Council system.
Yet, what is prudent in this age of globalisation is to broaden the mandate of the Security Council to incorporate members of other continents like Africa. It is this lack of democratisation by the UN which has irked many countries, which feel left out by the system, making them vulnerable. Let’s take Zimbabwe, for example. No country has a mandate to impose sanctions on another without going through the UN system.
But the United States, Britain and their allies went on to impose debilitating and illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe that have affected the country’s economic progress. This clearly shows that the big powers can defy the UN without any fear of repercussions, a situation that has made less developed countries call for more reforms that also protect their interests.
In that regard, the UN has become like an elitist world body that serves the interests of only the powerful. The reforms being called for by President Mnangagwa and many other leaders are justified if the historical injustices which have left continents like Africa on the periphery of major global decision making process are to be corrected.
It is no longer sustainable for the UN to continue sidelining other continents when it has an opportunity to correct the situation by making its Security Council more equitable and more representative of the global outlook. We observe that the political structure of the UN is evidently outdated and is preventing it from being effective because it promotes unilateralism.
The bias in the UN structure has meant its failure to maintain peace and security and settle disputes that are likely to endanger world peace. This is why we totally agree with President Mnangagwa that reforms should be instituted at the UN if the world body is to serve the interests of all.
The Herald – Zimbabwe
By: Lebohang Masango
Two musicians, a television presenter, a retail entrepreneur and myself, an anthropologist, are all seated around a table discussing the current state of South African youth.
One of the musicians is a multilingual rapper, actress and currently producing a documentary on a cultural item of significance.
The second musician has created a refreshing blend of hip hop with a youthful twist on the Maskandi genre. The television presenter is regarded by many as a fashion icon and has established a television production house creating opportunities for young people on screen.
The retail entrepreneur has an ethos of collaboration that involves hosting fun and engaging multidisciplinary events to showcase the works of Johannesburg’s youth.
Lastly, I am a scholar, children’s author, poet and an absolute lover of storytelling.
What struck me during our conversation is that we all care deeply about our history, our heritage, our future and the present human condition in the world.
Whether it is writing captivating lyrics or poetry; conducting research for an academic paper, a documentary or script; going over business contracts or finding ways to articulate ourselves on our social media platforms — our worlds revolve around reading, story-telling and critical thinking in the pursuit of becoming better versions of ourselves.
We use words and our work to navigate what it means to be young, African and how to leave our society a better one than we found it.
In the quest to encourage more African youth to read and to become involved in promoting a culture of reading, I believe it is important to illuminate the ways that literacy contributes to the life journeys of people across different vocations. It is also important to meet people where they are.
For instance, earlier before our conversation, another person complimented the tattoo on my leg, a large stack of books, and asked what inspired it.
“Oh, I just really love reading,” I said, “books make me happy.”
“Wow, books,” he responded. “I can’t even tell you the last time I read even a book. It must have been in high school or something,” he ended with a shrug.
I sometimes wonder if our lack of reading has something to do with the way in which our school system failed to make reading enjoyable at a young age.
I truly believe that if the South African school curriculum was better designed to inspire and connect to the collective soul of contemporary African children, instead of being forced (along with the other parts of the curriculum that are oddly archaic and somewhat irrelevant) upon them for the purposes of grades and matriculation, young people might develop better relationships with books and reading.
We need to meet people where they are. We all have dreams and ambitions of becoming larger than life versions of ourselves.
Therefore, we have to find a way to emphasise that reading is important, not only to people who one day want to be in literacy-related fields like myself, but to everyone who wants to excel, regardless of their path.
The great thing about the Internet and social media is that young people, especially, are constantly engaged in challenging conversations about the state of our society.
Regardless of whether some people choose wilful ignorance, the World Wide Web is always there as a source of information, should they desire to seek it out.
Words and language are basic tools of communication for our shared humanity, and it is essential that we get rid of the idea that reading is only something we do in school. Reading can be enjoyable and written words will unlock a world of possibilities, if allowed. And possibilities can be abundant!
The people I introduced in the beginning of this article are a reflection of the possibilities of life trajectories available to African youth, regardless of formal schooling.
While not necessarily only book-related; reading has helped them to apply their minds and seek to produce knowledge through their individual expressions — a contributor to how they have become the notable people they are today.
We are all custodians of the great African story in all of its richness and complexity and we all have a contribution to make in advancing our continent in a world that is rapidly globalising.
We have to meet young people where they are and invest in their futures by making reading accessible, relevant and essential to their life paths. — nalibali.org
The Herald – Zimbabwe
By: Hu Angang
As the best embodiment of win-win cooperation, the Belt and Road Initiative seeks to foster mutual benefit by integrating the economic development of China with that of the rest of the world.
China can ensure cooperation leads to mutual benefit because it is the world’s largest trader of goods and second-largest of services, accounts for about 10 percent of the world’s total imports and 20 percent of import growth, and is the largest trading partner of more than 120 countries and regions.
Which means China’s development has positive spillover effects on the world economy, especially as China is one of the largest overseas investors, and 46,2 percent of its exports in 2017 were destined for developing countries and emerging markets.
BRI a global project of more than $1 trillion
The latest World Bank report says the Belt and Road Initiative is a global project whose financial scale has exceeded $1 trillion, larger than any initiative proposed by any other country.
China’s trade and investment growth directly drive the development of the countries participating in the initiative, which in turn helps boost global development.
The initiative will help integrate various elements and resources in Asia, Africa and beyond, and prompt more countries and regions to deliver more international public goods, by connecting and matching the demand and resources and thus creating new channels and a new pattern of global supply of public goods.
This will increase the development opportunities for Belt and Road countries, especially those with a relatively slow growth rate, as well as give a shot in the arm to global economic development.
A research report released by the World Bank says the initiative will “significantly reduce shipment times and trade costs”. Globally, the “average reduction in shipment time will range between 1,2 and 2,5 percent, leading to reduction of aggregate trade costs between 1,1 and 2,2 percent”.
For the Belt and Road economies, the “change in shipment times and trade costs will range between 1,7 and 3,2 percent and 1,5 and 2,8 percent, respectively”. As a consequence, the global economic growth rate is expected to increase by at least 0,1 percentage points.
It is fair to say the Belt and Road Initiative operates under international rules, although the rise of emerging market economies and developing countries demand that some of the existing international rules be changed to make them more inclusive.
China adheres to the simultaneous development of regional and global economies. That’s why it seeks to not only safeguard the multilateral trading system, but also promote regional economic integration.
Upholding the rules of the World Trade Organisation, China regards the Belt and Road Initiative as an important platform that would allow it to help formulate fair, reasonable and transparent international trade and investment rules.
To begin with, in order to fully implement the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, China first needs to meet the basic requirements of the TFA of achieving fast, accurate, fair and safe customs clearance.
As such, it must deepen customs reform, by strengthening multilateral and bilateral cooperation and exchanging policies on standards, inspection and quarantine with other economies.
Second, to actively support the WTO’s Aid for Trade programme, China should provide aid for other developing countries and the least developed countries to help them build infrastructure facilities and increase their production capacities, impose zero tariff on their goods, and support their participation in the multilateral trading system.
In fact, since 2018, China has imposed zero tariff on 97 percent of the products imported from 33 least developed African countries that have diplomatic relations with China.
Perhaps China should extend the policy to low-income and lower-middle-income countries along the Belt and Road routes, because it would benefit more than 2 billion people.
Third, to fully accede to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement, China must open up the government procurement market, make the government procurement process more transparent, and actively promote international trade and liberalisation.
Fourth, to accelerate the construction of a high-standard free trade zone, China should gradually eliminate the tariff and non-tariff barriers for most commodities by signing free trade agreements with other economies, and deepen mutually beneficial multi-level cooperation with them, so as to promote economic integration along the Belt and Road routes.
And fifth, to stimulate the establishment of a multi-level investment security system, China needs to encourage the sustainable and healthy development of foreign capital in the country and make efforts to liberalise the process of international investment.
To achieve that, it needs to reduce investment risks and improve the investment environment by strengthening the legal system to better protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors and foreign-invested enterprises.
The Belt and Road Initiative is not limited to a specific country or region. It is an open initiative for Asia, Europe, and the world beyond. Its great significance lies in its win-win principle.
Taking the initiative as the starting point, China needs to work out a new model of global governance, help build a new order by joining hands with other economies to devise new trade rules that are inclusive in nature and beneficial to people across the world, as that is what win-win cooperation is all about. — China Daily.