Angola: Portuguese President Set to Visit Angola
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Sudan: Al-Bashir Receives Credentials of New Ambassadors
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Kenya: New Bid to Improve City Power Supply
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International bidders for Zim dam projects
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Caïd Essebsi presides over ceremony in honour of Arab Ministers of Interior and Justice
Cairo to host ministerial meeting on Libyan crisis
Sisi highlights Egypt's keenness to promote coexistence
The Monitor (Kampala)
By Cris Magoba
On March 2, 2016, the East African Community (EAC) Heads of State launched the new generation EAC e-passport and directed that its issuance takes effect from January 1, 2017. The Heads of State further directed that the partner states should implement a phase out programme for the East African and national passports from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018.
However, owing to procurement rigours, issuance could not start as per the directive. Currently, all partner states save for the Republic of South Sudan, are issuing the new generation EAC e-passport.
A regional passport is obviously not a new development in the EAC. In fact, the East African passport predates the current EAC. While the EAC was revived in 1999 upon the signing of the Treaty, the first EAC passport was launched in November 1998. This was by the Permanent Tripartite Commission for East African cooperation, a precursor to current EAC.
Thus, since 1998, citizens from the EAC countries have been able to access a special travel document, which allows them to travel with ease within the regional bloc. Its use was however, limited because it was not recognised internationally, meaning that it was not accepted as a travel document beyond East Africa.
Since December 18, 2018, the government of Uganda has been issuing the EAC e-passport and in effect started the phase-out programme of the Ugandan national passport. The two travel documents will, however, remain in use concurrently until December 2021, in line with the new timelines set by the EAC.
This, being a new initiative championed partly because of EAC integration, some questions linger in the minds of Ugandans. This is understandable. Therefore, as the issuance continues, we shall keep our communication lines open so that we address all concerns of Ugandans. I will dwell partly in this article on the legal perspective to explain the legal and policy framework that underscores the issuance of the EAC e-passport.
From the outset, it should be noted that the EAC e-passport is being issued in line with the existing Ugandan legal framework. According to the Passports Act 1982, the minister responsible for Internal Affairs is mandated to appoint a senior immigration officer to be a passports control officer. Under the same law, the administration, control and supervision of all matters relating to passports and any other travel documents shall be vested in the passports control officer, subject to the directions of the minister.
On the type of passport, the same law provides that "There shall be such types and categories of passports and other travel documents as the minister may, from time to time, by statutory instrument, prescribe".
Further still, and for purposes of uniformity, the Treaty establishing the EAC in Article 104 provides that, "The Partner States shall, as may be determined by the Council, ease border crossing by citizens of the partner states; and maintain common standard travel documents for their citizens.
Additionally, according to Article 9 of the EAC Common Market Protocol, a citizen of a partner state, who wishes to travel to another partner state, shall use a valid common standard travel document. It is thus in this context that the partner states came up with and agreed to the use of the East African Passport for travel within the EAC since 1998. The northern corridor partner states agreed to the use of the national ID as an authentic travel document for their nationals since 2014.
The EAC Heads of State launched the new generation EAC e-passport in 2016. Thus, the process of the issuance of the EAC e-passport is anchored on both Ugandan laws and the Treaty establishing the EAC, plus other protocols and legal instruments agreed thereunder from time to time. Other Ugandans are asking, can I travel in the EAC partner states without a passport or national ID? Yes you can, although it is advisable that you acquire at least the national ID to make your travel experience seamless.
Among the northern corridor partner states of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda, you can use your national ID. At the point of exit (Entebbe Airport, Busia, Malaba, Katuna and other border posts with Kenya and Rwanda), you present your ID and you are issued an Interstate Pass at no cost. The interstate pass (together with your national ID), will work as your passport during your itinerary.
With regard to the other partner states, you can use a Temporary Travel Permit/Pass issued by the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control. This Temporary Travel Pass is issued on the basis of presentation of a credible form of identification, say, a driving permit, an employees' ID or students ID. Please note that this Temporary Travel Permit/Pass is issued at a cost of Shs10,000.
By and large, therefore, Ugandans are encouraged to apply for and acquire the new generation EAC e-passport. Because of advances in technology, security concerns and requirements by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO), all travellers must ultimately use e-passports.
This is Africa (Hilversum)
By Kylie Kiunguyu
A solar phenomenon that occurs twice a year in the twin Temples of Abu Simbel is attended by thousands of tourist and, recently, African ambassadors. The ambassadors' visit was part of Egypt's efforts to boost tourism, which has been hit by years of turmoil since the 2011 uprising.
Twice a year at the Abu Simbel Temples in Egypt sunlight peeks through the dark chamber of the Great Temple of Ramses II to illuminate its interior. It is believed that the axis of the temple was positioned by the ancient Egyptian architects in such a way that on 22 October and 22 February annually the rays of the sun would penetrate the sanctuary and illuminate the sculptures on the back wall, except for the statue of Ptah, a god connected with the Underworld, who always remained in the dark.
These ancient solar alignments are believed by historians to mark the Pharaoh's birth and coronation. The phenomenon was first formally documented in 1874 by English explorer Emilia Edwards in her book A Thousand Miles Above the Nile.
The Abu Simbel Temples were built during the rule of Ramses II in the 19th dynasty. The twin temples were carved out of cliffs overlooking the Nile and serve as a lasting monument to the king and his queen, Nefertari, while commemorating his victory at the Battle of Kadesh.
Later, when the Egyptian government wanted to dam Lake Nasser in the mid-20th century, it realised that Abu Simbel would be submerged by the river and proceeded to move the temple to a more stable location.
On 22 February, visiting African ambassadors watched the spectacle, which is also known as the 'Sun Festival'. This was part of the present chair of the African Union and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's plan to boost Cairo's influence in the region and comes just before the country's hosting of the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament this year.
Every year, countless people swarm to the area to celebrate the Sun Festival, which also features traditional Nubian dance, live music and street food.
This is Africa (Hilversum)
By Socrates Mbamalu
32 years after his murder, Captain Thomas Isidore Sankara whose name evokes memory, pride, pain and anger has been given a fitting memorial with a 5 metre statue in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou. Former Ghanaian President and friend of Sankara, Jerry Rawlings attended the memorial.
On Saturday, the 2nd of March, Burkina Faso (the land of the Upright People) unveiled a bronze statue in honour of the man that renamed their country from Upper Volta. The colonial name had no meaning to the people of the land other than the colonizers for whom it served as a geographical descriptor. The statue is part of the Thomas Sankara Memorial monument and was built on the very spot Sankara was murdered with his 12 comrades in 1987.
Sankara’s statue and busts of 12 of his comrades was made by a group of Burkinabé sculptors and was supervised by Jean-Luc Bambara. The statue stands five metres high on a four metres base. The memory of Sankara has mostly been celebrated and kept alive by Africans. Sankara’s assassination 32 years ago was one of the greatest political crimes committed on the continent. His bones were buried in a shallow grave, but his deeds and ideals were buried deeply in the minds of his people. His commitment to see a free Burkina Faso and a free Africa earned him admiration across the continent and globally.
By Amadjiguéne Ndoye
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a subsidiary of the World Bank Group, will provide $ 6 million in funding for technology startups in sub-Saharan Africa. The target countries are Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa.
The fund will be disbursed by TIDE Africa, owned by UK-based venture capital firm TLcom Capital LLP, which will also be responsible for identifying beneficiaries and distributing funds.
“The majority of TIDE’s investments will be concentrated in English-speaking Africa: Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa, and the remaining allocation will be deployed in other countries of West, East and Southern Africa, with sectoral concentration on consumer services, financial services and business technologies, “says the institution.
IFC says it will continue to support entrepreneurs and their ecosystems by helping them overcome the challenge of inadequate seed capital. “The early stages of a business are crucial for its survival and future growth,” she said.
In 2018, IFC has invested a total of $ 23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries.
The High Commissioner of the Organization for the Development of Senegal, Mr. Hamed Diane Ségéga, and the Chinese company Sinohydro corporated, signed this February 26, 2019 in Conakry the commercial contract for the realization of the project of hydroelectric development of Koukoutamba.
The ceremony was attended by Mr. Cheik TalibySylla, Minister of Energy and Hydraulics of the Republic of Guinea, President-in-Office of the OMVS Council of Ministers.
The hydroelectric development of Koukoutamba is planned in Guinean territory on the Bafing, main tributary of the Senegal River, about 570 km north-east of the capital Conakry. It consists mainly of the dam, HV transmission lines, an access road of 150 km and the City of the Owner.
Koukoutamba will be the fourth and largest hydropower development carried out by OMVS, after those of Manantali (2002), Felou (2013), and Gouina (under construction). The plant will have an installed capacity of 294 MW for an average annual yield of 888 GWh. Two 225 KV high-voltage transmission lines with a total cumulative length of approximately 600 km leave the power plant, the first to Conakry via the sub-regional interconnection substation in Linsan and the second to the Manantali dam. They will connect the Guinean electricity grid to the Omvs network, called the Manantali Interconnected Grid (RIMA).
The project will also participate in the regulation of flows in the Senegal River, to the benefit of activities related to agriculture, navigation, the supply of drinking water, fishing and the preservation of the basin’s ecosystems.
The cost of the project is estimated at 812 million USD. The financing method selected is Engineering ProcurementConstruction (EPCF), ie turnkey construction, with financing. This is the first project of the Omvsconçu according to this mode of financing. The estimated time of completion of the work is 4 years.
Three (3) other hydroelectric developments are planned in the medium term by the OMVS on the Guinean territory, as well as about twenty micro-power sites intended for rural electrification.
The implementation of the OMVS infrastructure program will make available 67% of the total hydropower capacity of the basin, estimated at 2,000 MW. It will generate an annual saving of about 240 billion CFA francs on the oil import bills of the Member States.
As a reminder, OMVS is actively involved in supplying Member States with energy by selling electricity to the various national companies in charge of electricity. As it stands, 260 MW are produced by the Manantali and Felou plants and routed through the Manantali Interconnected Grid (RIMA).
About the Organization for the Development of the Senegal River
Founded in March 1972, OMVS is an inter-state body comprising Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea and Mali. Its vocation is to promote an integrated and coordinated development of the Senegal River Basin, based on the control and rational exploitation of water resources. This ambition of states is cemented by ideals of solidarity, sharing, equity and a culture of peace.