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Africa Union To Unveil Single African Passport Design This Year |RN

 

This year, the African Union (AU) will unveil the design for a single passport for all Africans. The unified passport will ease the free movement of people while spurring economic growth. It will also promote intra-African trade, and eventually creating a continent with seamless borders.

In a statement, AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat revealed that at the 32nd African Union summit in February, the commission will present details on the design, production, and issuance of the long-awaited African passport.

AU to Unveil Single African Passport Design This Year
Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat

 

First introduced in 2016, the African passport remains exclusive to heads of States and other diplomats. Chadian leader Idriss Déby and Rwandan president Paul Kagame are the first recipients. The document will permit AU passport holders to enter any of the 54 AU member states, without requiring a visa.

 

The move is likely to be a windfall for citizens of African states, who hold some of the least powerful passports in the world. Movement within their own continent is hard for Africans. At best, only Seychelles and Benin offer visa-free travel to Africans. At worse, travelers from South Sudan and Burundi need visas to go to 48 and 47 African countries, respectively.

AU to Unveil Single African Passport Design This Year
Source: Quartz Africa

But now, the AU faces the challenge of making sure the passport lives up to its potential. That it doesn’t fulfill detractors’ fears of heightened terrorism, smuggling and illegal immigration.

For some, this move will no doubt be challenging, with many African states already resistant to migrants and refugees. Plus, some have been quietly tightening visa policies. Faki, however, stated the AU will push for more integration saying, “the persisting obstacles to our citizens’ movement within their own continent are simply unacceptable.”

Why the single African passport is important

The passport is a step towards eliminating borders on the continent, aiming to enable deeper integration, increased trade and further development. Just as important, the passport is also a powerful symbol of unity across Africa. It’s also a step towards connecting African countries economically and politically.

An AU passport, therefore, represents the latest effort to create a common market spanning the continent, much like that in the E.U.

An African passport is an exciting development that can spur growth and improve living standards. To capitalize on this potential, the AU needs to plan two steps ahead. Crafting thoughtful regulations will be essential to ensuring the African passport’s economic promise is genuinely available to everyone and not subject to abuse.  (Afro Hustler)

 

AU to Unveil Single African Passport Design This Year

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Obasanjo Slams FG, Says Nigeria Left Behind For Not Signing Trade Pact |RN

Says Nigeria’ll be left behind for non-signing of trade pact

Obasanjo expressed optimism that the government would sign the AfCFTA in order to help its vibrant private sector benefit from the integration programme.

Amechi Ogbonna, Cairo, Egypt

Former president, Olusegun Obasanjo and Chairman, Advisory Board of the First Intra-African Trade Fair holding in Cairo, Egypt, yesterday, lamented Nigeria’s failure to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), despite its leadership role in the continent.

He said it was absurd for Nigeria that had played many leadership roles on the continent from 1963 not to be part of the AfCFTA deal.

He said the rest of Africa countries was ready to proceed with the implementation of pact without Nigeria.

On March 21, 2018, 44 of the 55 African Union (AU) member states gathered in Kigali, Rwanda, to sign the AfCFTA with a view to creating a single market in the continent. Once the agreement is ratified by all signatories, the trade bloc to be created would encompass 1.2 billion people and over USD $2 trillion in combined (Gross Domestic Product (GDP.)

Obasanjo who featured at one of the closing sessions of the first Intra Africa Trade Fair and Exhibitions titled “Conversation with former Nigerian president” and moderated by Nigerian journalist, Mark Eddo, regretted that at a time the country was needed to provide leadership by being on the table to sign the AfCFTA, even after debating it at the highest policy making organ of the Federal Government, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the leadership suddenly developed cold feet thereby leaving other nations who were looking up to it for direction in quandary.

“I just sincerely hope and pray that Nigeria will be at the table before the implementation of the scheme begins. But the truth is that whether Nigeria is there or not, Africa has started to move forward and it cannot stop the rest of continent that have already signed the agreement.

He added: “We started it from 1963. From there we had the Lagos Plan of Action, then NEPAD, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and several others. But what has gone wrong today that Nigeria is taking the back stage in Africa’s economic integration initiative?”

Obasanjo, who also reminded his audience that Nigeria, as the largest economy in Africa, with one third of its the population living in virtually all parts of the world, expressed optimism that the government would comply and sign the agreement in order to help its vibrant private sector benefit from the integration programme. He expressed satisfaction with the heavy presence of the Nigerian private sector at the Fair and urged the Nigerian authorities not to allow the opportunity to slip off their hands.

According to him, the AfCTA is the economic salvation that Africa needs to redeem the wrong perceptions of it left by colonialism.

“I don’t care what people say about me but I believe this is the time that we need to rise together and prove to world leaders that go with the perception that Africans live in huts and that we are shit holes, that we are human beings and the only way we can do this is by improving the standard of living of Africans.”

He, however, called on the Afreximbank leadership to continue with its effort and commitment to changing Africa, stressing that it was high time the colonial structures left by Europe and America were dismantled.

According to him, it’s only when we do that that we can be seen as human beings and not “shit holes”.

Meanwhile, Obasanjo has called on African leaders to commit more to infrastructure development, stressing that such investment would help the private sector expand its operations.  (The Sun)

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Obasanjo Blasts Buhari For Not Signing Africa Free Trade Agreement |RN

Buhari-in-Addis-Ababa

President Muhammadu Buhari with former President, Olusegun Obasanjo at AU summit

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has decried the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement, expressing hope that he will change his mind before it is too late.

Obasanjo poured out his mind on the AfCFTA during a presidential panel, titled: ‘When Leaders Make History’ at the Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on Tuesday. He was joined by the President of Zimbabwe, Emerson Mnangagwa.

Obasanjo said, “That President Buhari didn’t sign the free trade agreement in Kigali is disappointing; I hope he signs it before it is too late.

“Egypt started the discussion on the formation of the Organisation of African Unity but didn’t conclude it and Nigeria took over. Nigeria was also central to the discussion of the free trade agreement, but I am surprised that the country withdrew from signing.”

The AfCFTA treaty is one of the flagship projects of the African Union Agenda 2063 and is aimed at creating a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons, investments and a single currency.

Also, the agreement commits countries to removing tariffs on 90 percent of goods and to liberalise services, while items identified as sensitive, which make up the balance 10 percent, will also be phased out later as tariff-free.

But the President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Dr Frank Jacobs, said the government’s enforcement mechanism in the area of enforcement of rules of origin needed to be clearly defined before local producers could support the agreement.

It is believed that the AfCFTA treaty would improve intra-African trade and enhance economic growth and sustainable development.

The Federal Government had delayed the signing of the treaty to allow for more deliberations and input from stakeholders and had set up a committee on the issue before the President would sign the treaty.

Speaking on the need for increased youth and women participation in politics in Africa, Obasanjo, who zeroed in on Nigeria, stated, “In our own part of the world, we have not done enough in this regard. Since independence, we have never had any woman as president and VP; no woman has contested governorship election and won.

“In the coming dispensation, all organs of political parties should have 30 percent slots for women, 30 percent for the youth, and 40 percent for the others.”

He said it was disheartening that the number of the women in the National Assembly was still very insignificant.  (Punch)

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2019 Election: Nigeria Attracts United States Attention |The Republican News

Trump-and-Buhari

The US speaks on Nigeria’s 2019 Election

As Nigeria prepares for the 2019 general election, the United States says it’s major priority now is to see a peaceful transition, as the country occupies a strategic position in Africa.

The US Department of State said this during a background briefing on the first trip of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Africa, monitored by NAN, in New York.

Tillerson would meet with Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and other top government functionaries, and also leaders of Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya during his travels from Tuesday, March 6 to 13.

The department said over two decades ago, the number of countries in Africa with the really democratically elected government were really very few – only three or four.

It said, however, now we had over two dozen African countries with democratically elected governments and which are hopefully not going to have transitions in government through coup d’etats and other illegal methods.

“As we look at the 20 elections, obviously Nigeria, though it’s not this year – it’s going to be next year – that really is a major priority focus, because that’s going to be the third most populous country in the world by 2050.

“It was really very complex political issues and ethnic and tribal issues and security issues,

“And that’s an area that we really are focusing on how to do a peaceful transition, a democratic transition, but more important is how to hold governments accountable to the people,” the state department said.

The department explained that obviously, a lot of those African countries were still fragile democracies and the U.S. was trying to strengthen them.

The US commended the most recent elections in Liberia, saying it was the first open, fair, and peaceful transition of governments in over 75 years, saying that it is a good thing.

It regretted what it called the “horrendous rule of Charles Taylor and the degradation of the institutions there, but now we’ll be going back and they’re building, and I think with the election of George Weah, there is going to be a positive thing”.

The US also noted the election of Nana Akufo-Addo in Ghana, Alassane Ouattara in Cote d’Ivoire and Macky Sall in Senegal, describing them as positive developments.

It said, however, that Ethiopia remained a challenge for the U.S. and a focus for it as well and an opportunity.

The US explained that it was looking at trying to build institutions and strengthen them, and also have peaceful transitions and hold governments accountable to the people in Ethiopia.

It said it was also looking at how it could have reconciliation and dialogues between all of the different groups – the Oromos, the Amharas, the Tigrays, and also in Kenya with the opposition and with the ruling government.

Accordingly, the department said building strong institutions and holding governments accountable are some of the things that are certainly going to be the subjects of discussion during Tillerson trip.

“How do we advance political and economic reform that will help in the transition process? Those are issues too that we’re working in Zimbabwe with the transition between Robert Mugabe and Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“And also we’re looking hopefully at South Africa with the election of Cyril Ramaphosa from Jacob Zuma and seeing how that is going to transform the country,” the state department said.   (NAN)

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Morocco Hammer Nigeria 4-0 To Win CHAN Championship |The Republican News

Morocco-beats-Nigeria-2018
Morocco’s players hold up the trophy as they celebrate after winning the final football match of the African Nations Championship against Nigeria at the Mohammed V Casablanca Stadium on February 4, 2018. 

Idris Adesina

Morocco on Sunday hammered the Super Eagles  4-0 in the final of  the 2018 African Nations Championship at the Stade Mohamed V, Casablanca.

Two goals from Hadraf and one each from El Karti and tournament top scorer Ayoub El Kaabi gave the hosts their first title of the competition exclusively for players plying their trade in their country’s domestic leagues.

The Eagles  finished the match with 10 men after Moses Eneji was sent off in the 48th minute for a second bookable offence. It was Eneji’s first match of the tournament.

The Atlas Lions dominated the match from the first minute, pressurising  the  Eagles’ defence with several marauding runs down the flanks.

Their first chance came in the fourth minute when El Kaabi sent his shot off target. El Kaabi converted from a corner kick but his effort was ruled out for a goal kick by referee Bakary Gassama for an infringement.

El Kaabi struck the bar in the 15th minute with an acrobatic kick after he was played on with a cross from the flanks. Hadraf got the first goal in the 44th minute when El Haddad beat Osas Okoro and crossed to the winger who struck past Dele  Ajiboye.

The second half went sour for the Eagles after Eneji was sent off for a second bookable offence. Morocco doubled their lead in the 61st minute when El Karti headed home after Ajiboye had punched a cross out.

The Eagles, who finished third at the 2014 edition of the tournament in South Africa,  were outclassed and Morocco got their third two minutes later when Hadraf struck home after he was left unmarked in the goal area. El Kaabi completed the rout in the 73rd minute after another defensive error by the Eagles.

Sudan at Stade de Marrakech in Marrakech on Saturday  defeated 2014  champions Libya 4-2 in a penalty shootout to win bronze. (Punch)

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Mysterious Change In Trump’s Demeanor Since After The S..thole News Cycle… No One Knows Why

Allan Smith
US President Donald Trump              © Catalyst Images US President Donald Trump

 

President Donald Trump has been much more subdued since the “s***hole countries” news cycle.

  • He has delivered six speeches in the past couple of weeks without stepping on his intended message.
  • On Twitter, he’s been much more restrained.

President Donald Trump has been relatively subdued in recent weeks — and his poll numbers have spiked.

The trend can be traced back to the passing of the news cycle about his “s***hole countries” remark from the middle of last month. In the weeks that followed, he has only posted a handful of acerbic or unnecessary tweets — virtually unprecedented for such a length of time — and delivered a series of speeches that remained on message.

It’s a frequent occurrence for Trump to initiate a days- or weeks-long news cycle on a subject unrelated to the message he and his administration were trying to drive home.

And the trend has been noticed by observers.

“I have noticed,” Alex Conant, a Republican strategist and communications director for Sen. Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign, told Business Insider in an email. “The president’s shown more message discipline in the last month than he did in all of 2017. It’s directly correlated with general improvement in his poll numbers.”

Conant is right about the correlation between Trump’s weeks of relative calm and the improved polling. On Thursday, Trump’s approval rating reached its highest point in months, according to the RealClearPolitics aggregate of polls.

Trump began February with a 41.5% approval rating in RCP. It was his highest rating since he hit 41.7% on September 24, and it was just the second time his average rating was 41.5% or higher since mid-May.

Donald Trump        © Provided by Business Insider Donald Trump

‘It’s very clear that he’s cognizant of not stepping on himself and not stepping on his own news cycle’

The improved rating came on the heels of three polls published following Trump’s State of the Union address. Both an Economist/YouGov poll and a Monmouth University survey found Trump’s approval rating to be 44%, while a right-leaning Rasmussen poll put Trump’s approval rating at 45%.

The State of the Union address itself polled well among an audience that was skewed a bit more conservative than the voting populace at large and featured Trump touting his first-year accomplishments in addition to calling for revitalizing US infrastructure and overhauling the immigration system. In addition to that speech, which saw Trump stay firmly on message, the president has delivered five speeches since mid-January that have all remained on point.

US President Donald Trump                      © Catalyst Images US President Donald Trump  

They included remarks on tax cuts and the economy at H&K Equipment outside of Pittsburgh, his speech at the March for Life, the address he delivered at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the swearing in of Alex Azar as Health and Human Services secretary, and his Thursday speech to House and Senate Republicans at their retreat in West Virginia.

“I think he has gotten a lot better at driving a message,” a former White House official told Business Insider. “He’s always been extremely talented at putting a message out there, but I think he’s gotten really good at letting something just stay out.”

“It’s very clear that he’s cognizant of not stepping on himself and not stepping on his own news cycle,” they added. “I think that’s what we’ve seen recently where he’s left a little bit of room for people to breathe. The State of the Union happened and I think after it, a lot of people were expecting some sort of tweet that would step on that news cycle. That didn’t happen.”

US President Donald Trump               © Catalyst Images US President Donald Trump  

Indeed, that wasn’t the only time the president decided to remain a bit calmer on Twitter during this time. Save for a couple of tweets about “Cryin” Chuck Schumer, responding to a comment from music mogul Jay-Z, and commenting on the text messages sent between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the president hasn’t sparked much — if any — news with his tweets since the middle of last month. He even went three days without tweeting at all, save for one post that was clearly set up by a staffer.

Again, that’s virtually unheard of for a stretch of time that long. And it’s during a time when plenty is going on in the background.

The Russia investigation is seemingly reaching a climax, with officials such as FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe being shown the door, a potentially explosive Republican memo from the House Intelligence Committee causing tension between the White House and Justice Department, and reports that Trump himself has sought to push out Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or even special counsel Robert Mueller.

US President Donald Trump            © Catalyst Images US President Donald Trump  

Plus, there was a three-day government shutdown that occurred during this time. But Trump was able come out on top, at least in the short term, by staying on the sidelines.

The former White House official said they did not know if there was a specific triggering event that led to the sudden change in Trump’s demeanor, but added that the president is “reaping” the benefits of such a change.

“I think he figured out really quickly that a big important thing in politics is to not step on your own message, to not step on your own good news cycle,” the former official said. “I think he’s been very effective over the last couple days and weeks at doing that.”

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European Trophy Hunter Killed While Stalking Lion |The Republican News

Newshub staff
a lion looking at the camera              © Provided by MediaWorks NZ Limited

A Croatian trophy hunter has been shot dead as he tracked a lion in South Africa in the weekend.

Pero Jelinic, 75, was an experienced hunter who frequently travelled with the intention of adding to his already sizeable trophy collection.

A police spokesperson told News24 that the hunting party had killed one lion and were tracking a second when Mr Jelinic was struck by a stray bullet.

It remains unknown who fired the fatal shot, and police are investigating a case of culpable homicide as well as illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Mr Jelinic was killed at Leeubosch Lodge, a remote farm in the North West province of South Africa where captive lions are bred to be hunted by paying visitors.

The controversial practice is legal in South Africa, with 200 ‘canned hunting’ farms throughout the country.

Friend Slavko Pernar told Croatian newspaper Jutarnji List that Mr Jelinic’s office was “full of trophies, deer and bear specimens and everything that could be hunted in Croatia and Europe.”

“Pero was a passionate hunter of big and small game, and in search of that he travelled most of the world,” Mr Pernar said.   (Newshub)

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