Kenya Ranked the Best in Africa for Offering Good Digital Life
Morocco Ranks 13th in Global Renewable Energy Attractiveness Rating
New Members of Parliament take their oath
Shoukry discusses regional issues with Jordanian counterpart
Summer stone fruit production up 17% in 2018/2019 season
ADB’s Sustainable Energy Fund Approves about 1 Mil USD Grant to Ethiopia
The Nation (Nairobi)
The Trade and Industrialisation ministry sparked an uproar a few months ago when it announced plans to get rid of old motor vehicles.
Dealers in imported second-hand vehicles and the general public were up in arms, ostensibly because the move threatened to raise the purchase price of vehicles and lock out many people from owing one. The matter has not been resolved.
Now, the Kenya Bureau of Standards has issued a notice to ban importation of 17 categories of second-hand vehicle spare parts.
This is part of the overarching National Automotive Policy; whose objective is to ban importation of vehicles that are more than five years old. At present, the rule caps the age at eight years.
Underpinning the rule is the desire to eliminate old vehicles, which have saturated the market, pollute the environment and stifle local vehicle production.
Arguments against second-hand vehicles are quite valid. Kenya needs to develop capacity to manufacture vehicles and parts.
This has spin-offs such as creating jobs, extending businesses through the supply chain and protecting the environment when the market operates only new vehicles.
Importation of second-hand vehicles and, for that matter, other commodities, turns a country into a dumping ground and, among others, comes at an environmental cost.
As a country seeking to industrialise, that is not a situation we can countenance. However, the reality on the ground is that Kenya lacks capacity to produce vehicles for the mass market and at affordable prices.
Locking out citizens from owning cars because of high costs is disastrous.
Second-hand vehicles have created business opportunities not just for dealers and suppliers and spare parts traders but the ordinary citizen.
The bulk of the taxis on our roads, public transport vehicles and private cars are second-hand imports.
It's instructive that liberalisation of the markets in the early 1990s opened up opportunities for car imports and, in turn, created several lines of business, all contributing to the national economy.
Creating restricting policies that stifle that growth is counter-intuitive.
Equally, new policies must be subjected to public debate, and this is where the players such as car dealers and consumer representatives must be engaged.
As we have argued before, the debate over imports of second-hand vehicles, and now spare parts, must be informed by market realities.
There is merit in creating regulations and protecting the local market, but that must be weighed against the impact.
To the extent that the policy hurts businesses and adversely affects citizens, it has to be shelved. And when it is agreed that the tough regulations should be implemented, it must be gradual to allow smooth transition.
The New Times (Kigali)
By: Times Reporter
Rwanda yesterday joined the OECD Development Centre, a club of 57 countries. It was admitted into the grouping alongside Togo and Ecuador. The OECD Development Centre was established by OECD, a smaller club of 27 countries with view to sharing experiences and expertise with a larger community of nations. So, what are OECD and its Development Centre, and what are their missions?
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organisation that works to build policies for better lives. Its goal is to shape policies that foster prosperity, equality, opportunity and well-being for all. "We draw on almost 60 years of experience and insights to better prepare the world of tomorrow," it says.
Together with governments, policy makers and citizens, OECD works on establishing international norms and finding evidence-based solutions to a range of social, economic and environmental challenges. From improving economic performance and creating jobs to fostering strong education and fighting international tax evasion, the organisation provides a unique forum and knowledge hub for data and analysis, exchange of experiences, best-practice sharing, and advice on public policies and global standard-setting.
The OECD says it strongly believes in international cooperation and multilateralism. "Our member countries work with partners and organisations worldwide to address the pressing policy challenges of our time," the organisation says.
In Africa, it primarily focuses its interventions on the continent's sustainable economic and social transformation. "We support the implementation of the African Union's strategic vision at continental, regional, national and local levels by co-producing cutting-edge data and analysis with our African member states and partners, and facilitating an open dialogue on policies to accelerate that transformation."
What's OECD Development Centre?
According to OECD, its Development Centre that Rwanda joined yesterday "occupies a unique place within the OECD and in the international community".
The OECD Development Centre is a forum where countries share their experience of economic and social development policies, according to the grouping. "The Centre contributes expert analysis to the development policy debate. The objective is to help decision makers find policy solutions to stimulate growth and improve living conditions in developing and emerging economies".
The OECD Development Centre "helps developing countries and emerging economies find innovative policy solutions to promote sustainable growth, reduce poverty and inequalities, and improve people's lives."
"We facilitate a policy dialogue between governments, involving public, private and philanthropic actors. Countries from Africa, Asia and Latin America participate as full members in the Centre, where they interact on an equal footing with OECD members."
The Development Centre membership is open to both OECD and non-OECD countries. Members set the Programme of Work and Budget of the Centre through its Governing Board and finance the Centre. The Centre co-operates closely with the other parts of the OECD - particularly those also working on development - and the Development Assistance Committee (DAC).
The OECD Council is the organisation's overarching decision-making body. It is composed of ambassadors from member countries and the European Commission, and is chaired by the Secretary-General. It meets regularly to discuss key work of the Organisation, share concerns and take decisions by consensus. Once a year, the OECD Council meets for the Ministerial Council Meeting, which brings together heads of government, economy, trade and foreign ministers from member countries to monitor and set priorities for our work, discuss the global economic and trade context, and delve further issues such as the budget, accession and other priorities.
The OECD works through more than 300 committees, expert and working groups which cover almost all areas of policy making. "Our committees propose solutions, assess data and policy successes, and review policy actions among member countries. They cover the same issue areas as government ministries, such as education, finance, trade, environment, development, and liaise with country-level experts. Committee participants come from member and partner countries, and represent state bodies, academia, business and civil society. Around 40,000 people take part in these meetings every year."
The OECD Secretariat carries out the work of the OECD. It is led by the Secretary-General and composed of directorates and divisions that work with policy makers and shapers in each country, providing insights and expertise to help guide policy making based on evidence in close coordination with committees. Directorates report to the Secretary-General. The 3,300 employees of the Secretariat include economists, lawyers, scientists, political analysts, sociologists, digital experts, statisticians and communication professionals, among others. The OECD also has centres in Berlin, Mexico, Tokyo and Washington D.C., which are part of the OECD's public affairs and communications team.
OECD is composed of 27 countries, namely: Belgium, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
OECD Development Centre is composed of 57 countries. They include all the OECD members and 30 non-OECD countries, namely: Brazil, India, Romania, Thailand, South Africa, Egypt, Viet Nam, Colombia, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Mauritius, Morocco, and Peru. Others are the Dominican Republic, Senegal, Argentina, Cabo Verde, Panama, Côte d'Ivoire, Kazakhstan, Tunisia, China, Ghana, Uruguay, Paraguay, El Salvador, Guatemala, Rwanda, Togo and Ecuador.
The European Union also takes part in the work of the Governing Board.
The OECD is headquartered in Paris, with four regional OECD offices in Washington D.C, Berlin, Mexico City, and Tokyo.
About current Secretary-General
Mexican Angel Gurrí was appointed as the Secretary-General of the OECD on 1 June 2006. The 69-year-old father of three is currently serving his third five-year mandate. Gurría has "firmly established the Organisation as a pillar of the global economic governance architecture including the G20, G7 and APEC, and a reference point in the design and implementation of better policies for better lives," according to the official website.
Under his watch, the OECD is leading the effort to reform the international tax system, and to improve governance frameworks in anti-corruption and other fields.
The ophthalmologist previously held senior government positions in Mexico, including Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Minister for Finance and Public Credit in the 1990s.
The Herald – Zimbabwe
By: Monica Moorehead
This May 25, which is celebrated as African Liberation Day and commemorated worldwide, marks the 56th anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963. The OAU represents the independent struggles on the African continent against colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism, and for a united Africa, both in the past and in the present.
The Brooklyn-based December 12 Movement and Friends of Zimbabwe will be pay tribute to the legacy of ALD with a protest on May 25 in Washington, DC, demanding an end to the criminal sanctions on Zimbabwe. This African nation, once known as Rhodesia after the brutal English coloniser Cecil Rhodes, fought a heroic guerrilla war for liberation for many decades. Rhodes first conquered Zimbabwe with the gun in the late 1800s.
Guerrilla fighters from the Zimbabwe African National Union and Zimbabwe African People’s Union jointly formed the ZANU-PF (Patriotic Front) to resist the colonial regime of Ian Smith. The Lancaster House Agreement, signed in December 1979 with the Smith regime, forced a compromise from the apartheid-like regime, which stated that the majority of the millions of acres of land stolen from the indigenous people should be returned to them by the white racist landowners. Rhodesia became the independent African state of Zimbabwe in 1980, but the settlers retained much of the land.
For over 20 years, both US and British imperialists have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe as punishment for negotiating the distribution of the land back to its rightful owners, many of whom had been guerrilla fighters in the war for independence.
Brutal impact of US sanctions
The May 25 protest will begin at the African-American Civil War Museum Plaza in Washington and then march to the White House. It will highlight the impact of these sanctions — an act of war that is meant to turn the Zimbabwean people against the democratically elected Government.
According to a press release from the December 12 Movement International Secretariat, these sanctions have caused:
Shortages of medicines and medical supplies.
Inability to purchase water treatment chemicals and mechanical parts.
Increases in cholera and diabetes.
Significant deterioration of Zimbabwe’s balance of payments position.
Blockage of international access credit markets.
A significant build-up of external debt arrears.
These increased Government debt arrears resulted in Zimbabwean private companies finding it difficult to access offshore lending, thus crippling their operations.
Lack of medical treatment of and/or screening for HIV/AIDS.
Declining external budgetary support (Zimbabwe’s deficit has largely been financed from domestic borrowing, which has triggered high inflation).
A radical decrease in life expectancy.
An historic increase in unemployment, which ultimately hurts the overall quality of living.
Zimbabwe being falsely perceived as an unsafe and risky country to visit, thus drastically reducing the number of tourist arrivals.
The press release goes on to say: “The United States’ Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 (ZIDERA) and its sanctions violate international law and the United Nations Charter in its blatant interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation. A land-locked, developing African nation like Zimbabwe, of 16 million people, poses no existential threat to the ‘national security interest’ of the United States. It is being punished for the example it has set for other African countries in their fight for land reform — the only road forward for development.” — First published in Workers’ World.
The New Times – Rwanda
By: Prof. Pierre-Damien Habumuremyi and Patrice Habinshuti
John C. Maxwell, a highly acclaimed leadership coach and prominent author, sums it up well when he says; Everything rises and falls on leadership”.
After independence, the leadership of Rwanda was characterised by dictatorship, politics of exclusion and discrimination.
The lack of diversity was in all areas of the country’s governance including political systems, policies, and actions; which resulted in the devastating 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
After the Genocide, there emerged a new style of leadership engineered by RPF-Inkotanyi. A clear vision for the country as well as a set of guiding values was crafted.
Servant leadership, good governance, and accountability were among the key principles on which the new Rwanda was being built.
In understanding Rwanda’s journey, we look at 10 areas whose results have improved the welfare of the Rwandan people.
- Unity and reconciliation: While the international community would have believed that Rwandan reconciliation would be possible, Rwanda’s post-genocide exceptional leadership has taken it as a priority. Today, empirical findings indicate that Rwanda is far ahead in the process of reconciliation.
On average, the current status of reconciliation in Rwanda is at 92.5% (Unity and Reconciliation Barometer, 2018).
- Power-sharing and inclusiveness: Rwanda’s new era that started in July 1994 is characterized by a strong sense of inclusiveness politically, socially and economically. Rwanda is now one of the few African countries where power is shared fairly between political parties and also considering special groups such as women, youth and people with disabilities.
Along with political inclusion, policies, and institutions put in place took into consideration the inclusion of all Rwandans. Policies and practices meant to discriminate among Rwandans in education, the military, public administration and elsewhere were repealed and replaced by those that give equal rights and opportunities. Today, everyone is encouraged to contribute to building the nation regardless of their background, socio-economic status or ethnic belonging. Such inclusivity has never been seen in Rwanda before.
- Education: Before 1994, education in Rwanda was reserved for the privileged few. Thanks to citizen-centered leadership, over the last 25 years, access to education has increased tremendously. Today, a child born in Rwanda is guaranteed a minimum 12-year basic education (6 at primary, and 6 at secondary school level).
As per MINEDUC records, the net enrollment rate was 98% in 2017, where the net enrollment for girls was 98.1% while it was 97.8% for boys. Many of the primary schools turned into high schools under the 12-Years Basic Education Program, enabling the poor children to access free high school education near their homes.
- Health Access: Without healthy citizens, the nation cannot develop. Rwanda’s leadership has put a special emphasis on ensuring Rwandans are healthy. Today, with 92% of Rwandans covered by the nation’s community-based health insurance scheme dubbed “Mutuelle de Santé”, this insurance system is celebrated as one of the most successful in the world.
Moreover, health provision has been made effective, at all levels, from hospitals of excellence to inner communities served by Community Health Workers (CHWs). As a result, Rwanda has doubled citizen’s life expectancy at birth from 34 years in 1990 to 68 years in 2018.
- Women and Youth Empowerment: Rwanda is a global success story of women empowerment politically, socially, and economically. Indeed, currently, Rwanda’s parliament leads the world in female representation with 64% of its seats. Women hold key leadership roles and Rwanda’s policies are cited as a model for gender inclusiveness.
Being the majority of the country’s population, youth are also taken in high regard and are considered for special opportunities and incentives as a special group, enabling their increased participation in the country’s development.
- ICT Hub: Rwanda has emerged to be one of the fastest growing African countries in ICT. The WEF 2015 Global Information Technology Report (GITR) has ranked Rwanda the 1st globally in government success in ICT promotion to drive social and economic transformation. According to the report, Rwanda scored 6.2 points out of 7.
- Zero tolerance to corruption: The Government of Rwanda has undertaken a number of anti-corruption measures and these coupled with immense political will and public support, have led to a low impunity environment. These efforts have resulted in strong ranking for Rwanda both regionally and internationally. According to Transparency International’s 2018 Global Corruption Perception Index (CPI), Rwanda currently ranks the 3rd least corrupt country in Africa after Seychelles and Botswana.
- Economic growth: Rwanda has been ranked as one of the world’s fast-growing economies. The nation’s growth averaged 7.5% over the decade to 2017 while the per capita GDP grew at 4.7% annually. Rwanda’s GPD per capita in 1994 was $146, stood at $774 in 2017, and is projected to have reached around $819.652 by the end of this year 2019, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In addition, Rwanda is the 29th easiest place to do business in the world – the only low-income country in the top 30; according to the 2019 Doing Business Index. All these milestones have been achieved in only a few years, because the leadership paid heavy attention to real sector concerns, such as trade, tourism, investment, technology, agriculture and services.
- Environmental protection: As one of the most vulnerable nations to climate change, Rwanda is acutely aware of the challenges that lie ahead. Therefore, to achieve its vision of a low-carbon and climate resilient economy by 2050, Rwanda has established the Green Fund, a ground-breaking investment fund, the largest of its kind in Africa. In addition, Rwanda’s top leaders value the benefits of keeping the country clean and set the example. The capital City of Rwanda, Kigali, has long been regarded as the cleanest city in Africa and has clearly set the pace for other African cities to emulate and follow.
- National Security: From being known as an unsafe country where none wanted to go in 1994, Rwanda has turned into an impressively safe, stable, and easy-to-visit country. Rwanda now ranks the ninth (9th) safest country in the world by the World Economic Forum; and the 11th safest country in the world by the 2017 Gallup Poll. Ranking ahead of countries like Austria and New Zealand, Rwanda has really gone the extra mile to make tourists and residents feel as secure as possible.
From the above achievements, we can affirm that good leadership remains the main cornerstone of sustainable development; and has undoubtedly been the force powering Rwanda’s rapid growth and transformation into a dignified nation.
In a nutshell, based on Rwanda’s experience, it is clear that good governance stems from the commitment of leaders to the values of servant-leadership and accountability, exercised with consistency and excellence. It also requires the ingenuity of leaders at all levels to shape meaningful citizen-centered home-grown solutions and the participation of citizens in tackling local problems, thus ensuring the current growth rates are sustainable.