Last week was a historic moment for IREN. With 20 delegates from Western, Eastern and Southern Africa, IREN hosted the first ever Africa Think Tank Leadership Training Conference. Dr Lawrence Reed, President Mackinac Center for Public Policy based in Michigan, gave an insight on how to be successful: “Think Big, stay focused and have an agenda,” he said. Joseph Lehman the Executive Vice President at the Mackinac Centre, put emphasis on the importance of a team where all members are leaders in their own right: “Communication is key in any organization”, he said. James Shikwati, Director and founder of IREN, shared his experience on running a think tank in Africa. According to James, to have a successful think tank in Africa, one must ensure practical solutions because African issues are matters of life and death.
Contemporary Africans have an opportunity to be part of making history in the creation of a new civilization. Modern superpowers were once colonized and managed to strategically adopt and become powerful. To achieve this, a number of Africans must be ready to think and advice their policy makers, business people and other interested parties on the best way forward for Africa. Delegates praised IREN’s efforts to popularize the think tank culture in Africa.
A Boost to Kenya Tourism Board
The European Union and the Government will fund the second phase of tourism recovery programme. The EU and the Government will give Ksh 265 million each towards the programme. The money will boost Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) kitty for the next one year.
EASSy Suffers a Set Back
The East African Submarine System (EASSy), an undersea telecommunications cable project, suffered a set back when only seven out of 23 countries signed the accord. The 9,900 Km cable will link the port cities of Durban and Port Sudan. Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda signed the protocol at a meeting in Kigali. The deadline for signing the accord has been extended by three months to gain backing from more countries.
Uganda’s Controversial List
The East Africa Community council of ministers will resolve the controversial Ugandan list on raw materials by next month. The Ugandan manufacturers have a list of over 100 items that they want to be exempted from duty. This has slowed down the implementation of the East African Customs Union.
Tanesco Steps up Power Rationing
Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco), a state run power utility company, will step up power rationing to domestic consumers after a gas-powered turbine failed leading to a 40 megawatt (mw) shortfall in the national grid. "The turbine has to be shipped to Netherlands for repairs and will take 8 weeks to get it running," said the power producer Songas.
Customs Union to Be Launched by 2008
A meeting to speed up the establishment of the long awaited Comesa Customs Union took place in Nairobi. Trade policy to be observed within the Customs Union and a Common External Tariff (CET) structure were top on the agenda. Harmonization programme of the various national tariffs of the Common External Tariff was also discussed. The Customs Union is expected to be launched by 2008.
Peace Talks for the Horn of Africa
The Kenyan Government held talks with the Somali Islamic Union court leader, Sheikh Sheriff Ahmed, in search of lasting peace in the Horn of Africa. The talks were centered on how the courts could work with the Somali transitional federal government.
The 4th African Traditional Medicine Day
The African Traditional Medicine Day is marked on the 31st August every year. This year’s was the 4th year for The African Traditional Medicine Day to be commemorated in 46 countries of the African Region of the World Health Organization. The theme was “Scaling-up collaboration between Traditional Health Practitioners and Conventional Health Practitioners on the prevention of HIV/AIDS”. To promote herbal medicine there will be a 4 days Herbal Trade show at Kenyatta international Conference center (KICC) Nairobi - Kenya from September 7-10, 2006.
Gaddafi Marks the 37th Anniversary of the Coup d’etat
Muammar Gaddafi marked the 37th anniversary of the coup d’etat that brought him to power by urging his supporters to “kill enemies” if they asked for political change. According to Gaddafi, Libya’s political path is the correct one as it grants freedom to the whole people, sovereignty, power and wealth. Libya’s Jamahiriya direct democracy system opposes Western liberal democracy and criminalizes the creation of opposition parties.
A Meeting on Development of Africa’s Tourism Industry
A meeting between African and international tourist distribution professionals will take place between 10th and 15th September 2006 in Geneva. “Destination Africa” aims at contributing to the development of Africa’s tourism industry by fostering the investment and financing of Tourist projects, focusing on sustainable development and promoting African destinations. This international event will benefit from a strategic partnership with the United Nations, WTO and the official support the African Union, UNCTAD, UNESCO, the World Bank, African Development Bank and Geneva State.
Obasanjo Gives Conditions for his Successor
President Olusegun Obasanjo gave conditions for his successor on the economic road map of Nigeria. Any president coming after him must be able to sustain his privatisation programme. According to him, the sustained privatisation of state-owned enterprises through the stock exchange had boosted market capitalisation and expanded the mix of investment option. President Obasanjo was speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2006 annual conference of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in Abuja. He said that the need to sustain the policy thrust became imperative in view of the Federal Government’s commitment to encourage private companies to seek “listing on the stock exchange for sustainable growth.
A Treaty on Friendship and Partnership
Russian President, Vladimir Putin, is in South Africa where he will discuss bilateral trade and sign a treaty on friendship and partnership. Putin accompanied by several ministers, will meet with his South African counterpart, Thabo Mbeki. They will focus on the energy sector, oil-and-gas industry, space exploration and investment. The Russian leader will also talk to business leaders, including Nicky Oppenheimer, the chairman of De Beers Group, the world's biggest diamond producer.
The Presidents will sign among other documents a treaty on friendship and partnership, an agreement on cooperation in health care, and an agreement on mutual protection of intellectual property rights in the sphere of military-technical cooperation.
Manage VAT Risks Carefully
Companies involved in cross-border trade in Africa have been advised to manage value-added tax (VAT) risks carefully to avoid incurring costs. Charles de Wet, a tax partner at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, urged companies to ensure that correct documentation is maintained to manage the VAT risk of pan-African transactions for the supply of goods and services. VAT compliance risks are rising as more African countries adopt VAT regimes.
The African Executive Editor in Bamako
Josephat Juma, Editor-The African Executive, left the country for Bamako-Mali on Monday Sept 4, 2006. Juma is representing IREN in a meeting that aims at strengthening African leaders of civil society network around the continent and elaborating a strategy for advancing democracy in Africa. In attendance are African leaders of civil society from South Africa, Kenya, Cameroon, Nigeria, Nigeria, Senegal, the Gambia and Ghana.
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