Category Archives: Politics

Founder of Ecobank and Asky Airlines Gervais Djondo receives AfroChampions Lifetime Awards for his pan-African vision and contribution to the development of the continent

The AfroChampions Initiative, an innovative project designed to promote African private sector champions, has been officially launched in Bamako, Mali, at an inaugural dinner sponsored by the Organizing Committee of the Africa-France Summit for Partnership, Peace and Emergence, advisory firm Konfidants and ADS group. Partners of the initiative have honoured on that occasion Founder of Ecobank and Asky Airlines Gervais Koffi Djondo. Mr. Djondo received a special lifetime award for his remarkable contribution to economic exchanges within the continent.

The dinner was organised under the patronage of President of Mali, His Excellency Mr. Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, represented by Mr. Mohamed Ali Ag Ibrahim, Minister for Industrial Development. The event was attended by representatives from the African private sector and international industry players who were welcomed by Mr. Konimba Sidibe, Minister for Investment Promotion and Private sector in Mali, and Mr. Abdoullah Coulibaly, President of the Organizing Committee of the Africa-France Summit.

As a founding father of coprorate pan-Africanism, and a champion of Africa, Mr Djondo's accomplishments remain an inspiring model for entrepreneurs all over the continent. To help pass his legacy on, Mr. Djondo is also the founding patron of the Djondo Fellowship, which will mentor the young entrepreneurs and small business to become AfroChampions. Successes from elders can make young entrepreneurs even more audacious and creative. We want them to think #39;pan-African#39; from the very beginning of their entrepreneurial journey, explained Dr Edem Adzogenu, a member of executive committee of the AfroChampions Organization (http://AfroChampions.com). Only this shift in mentalities can drive further economic integration in Africa, he added.

To accelerate this process, the AfroChampions Initiative will deploy a set of strategic projects. These projects include for instance the creation of regional hubs for cooperation, or codifying standards of quality and excellence across the continent. On each of these work streams, the objective in order to move as efficiently as possible, is to bring together public and private decision-makers. It is the private sector that creates growth and jobs. It is therefore up to policy-makers to encourage entrepreneurs and enable them to develop their potential, said Founder and CEO of the ADS group Samba Bathily. What we need is a critical mass of African entrepreneurs, able to create African multinationals. The wealth they will create will benefit the entire continent, not just their home countries. This is why we support this project.

The AfroChampions Initiative and its partners Konfidants and ADS group have set up an ambitious roadmap for 2017, in order to bring onboard both African heads of state and investment promotion agencies. On the side lines of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa end of January 2017 they will notably introduce the AfroChampions Hub project to support intra-Africa investments.

Source: AfroChampions Initiative.

Clare Hollingworth, Reporter Who Broke News of WWII, Dies at 105

Veteran British journalist Clare Hollingworth, who broke the news that World War II had begun, died Tuesday in Hong Kong at the age of 105.

"We are sad to announce that after an illustrious career spanning a century of news, celebrated war correspondent Clare Hollingworth died this evening in Hong Kong," read a statement released by her family on the Facebook page "Celebrate Clare Hollingworth."

Best remembered for a report early in her career for the Daily Telegraph that Germany had invaded Poland in 1939, Hollingworth also covered wars in Vietnam, Algeria, the Middle East, India and Pakistan, as well as the Cultural Revolution in China.

Hollingworth had celebrated her 105th birthday in October at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Hong Kong, which she frequented.

Five years earlier, she spoke with VOA's Steve Herman on her 100th birthday in the same location.

Source: Voice of America

Secular Critics: Erdogan Bears Responsibility for Nightclub Terror Attack

Turkey's prime minister vowed Monday to punish social media users who praise the terrorism of Islamic militants; but secular critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan say he and his government bear some responsibility for the New Year's Eve terror attack that left 39 people dead at an Istanbul nightclub.

Erdogan's critics are highlighting the religious-based criticism last week of New Year festivities by pro-government media outlets and by Turkey's leading Islamic cleric, Mehmet Gormez, head of the country's Directorate of Religious Affairs, an official state institution.

Gormez issued a sermon that was to be preached in all of the country's 85,000 mosques on December 30, branding New Year celebrations as illegitimate and arguing they belonged to other cultures.

Complaint filed against cleric

The directorate, which trains and employs all of Turkey's imams, who are technically civil servants, has become a more ideologically conservative body since Erdogan came to power. Following the nightclub attack, Gormez condemned the slaughter, saying there was no difference between targeting an entertainment venue or a temple and no terrorist attack is acceptable.

His condemnation of the massacre hasn't mollified a group of Turkish civil society representatives, who filed a criminal complaint Monday against the cleric, saying his sermon encouraged the targeting of New Year revelers.

The dispute over the sermon and a torrent of articles from staunchly pro-government media critical of New Year festivities has reopened a heated debate over both Erdogan's Syria policy and his government's increasingly anti-Western tilt, and its ambivalence toward secularism.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim pledged to punish social media sympathizers of Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the slaughter at the Reina nightclub. It must be known that actions praising terror are crimes and have penal sanctions, Yildirim said via Twitter.

Social media targets youth group

He added terrorism's real aim is to spread fear and concern among people, and he stressed the importance of not sharing posts that could contribute to terrorist groups' purposes.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag, via his official Twitter account, said people who shared messages praising terrorist organizations before and after attacks were committing a crime.

Making the propaganda of terror and terrorist organizations and rousing people to enmity and hostility, hate and discrimination are crimes according to our law and have penal sanctions, he said.

Since the massacre, the first social media targets of the authorities have been members of a leftist youth organization who posted a video Sunday blaming the government for the proliferation of jihadists in Turkey.

A member of the group Halkevleri was detained Monday by police.

Opposition lawmaker Baris Yarkadas denounced the government for targeting the leftists. Why is the Interior Ministry bothered by youths making anti-ISIL propaganda? he asked, using an acronym for IS.

Erdogan blamed by some

Oya Ersoy, head of Halkevleri, pledged to continue to defend secularism in Turkey, despite government threats. We will defend life against death and secularism against bigotry. Bigotry kills, secularism makes [people] live, she said in a statement.

Erdogan's domestic critics such as Ersoy contend Turkey's president is responsible to some degree for the rise of IS, as well as other Islamic militants, maintaining the ruling Justice and Development Party has created a climate that allows radical Islamist thinking to thrive.

And they argue Erdogan's government ignored the militants as they emerged in 2014 and 2015 in the Syrian civil war and increasingly formed the vanguard in the fight to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Some Erdogan foes charge the country's intelligence agencies went further in the past and actively channeled arms to jihadists and made it easy for foreign fighters to travel through Turkey to reach Syria.

Author looks at 'fanatics'

In January 2014, Turkish border guards intercepted an arms shipment bound for rebels in northern Syria that they alleged had been organized by members of Turkey's military intelligence service, MIT, on the orders of Ankara. The police involved in the shipment's interception were subsequently dismissed from their posts.

Erdogan has long chafed at allegations his government has helped jihadists. Speaking in the country's parliament in September 2014, he insisted he and his party had no sympathy for the devil, dismissing a media investigation that claimed a large number of government officials along Turkey's southern border preferred to have jihadists in control in northern Syria than Kurds.

After the New Year's Eve massacre, author Elif Safak said in a tweet that blame for the nightclub attack rested not only with the gunman who carried out the killing but with fanatics who have been spreading hate speech against New Year celebrations.

Source: Voice of America

ALGERIA TO LAUNCH ITS NATIONAL RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP IN 2017

ORAN, ALGERIA, Algeria will be launching its national rugby championship in September next year, says the president of the Algerian Rugby Federation (FAR), Sofiane Benhacen.

He told APS here Monday that there are currently 20 rugby teams in Algeria and they would be divided into two groups for the national championships, one covering the centre-east part of the country and the other the centre-west.

Sofiane Benhacen added that another rugby team had just been formed in the province of Oran. The Misserghine team, will be the third team to be established om Orang after the Arzew and Oran sides which which were set up a few years ago.

The members of the FAR recently visited the new club, on the sidelines of the recent Tri-Nations Tournament organized in Oran, and assured the players and leaders of their support, he added.

As part of its youth training programme, athe FAR planned to hold National Sevens Tournament soon in Oran, he announced.

This tournament would be the third of its kind in Algeria, after those organized in the central and in the eastern parts of the country and would make it possible for Algeria to stage one national tournament every two months.

Such tournaments are very important, he added, because they are provide training and competitions before the start of the national championship.

At the international level, the national team will try to qualify for the 2018 Rugby World Cup in Japan, said Sofiane Benhacen.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

EXHIBITION IN TRIBUTE TO FIDEL CASTRO OPENS IN ALGIERS

ALGIERS, -- An exhibition of photographs and archives shedding light on the life and career of the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, has opened in the Algerin capital.

Organized by the National Archives, the exhibition which began Thursday, is devoted to the memory of Fidel Castro, who died on Nov 25, and includes photos, newspaper cuttings and official correspondences exchanged between Algiers and Havana.

The exhibition comprises photos on Fidel Castro's official visits to Algeria and meetings with foreign leaders and Algerian Presidents -- Houari Boumediene, Ahmed Ben Bella, Chadli Bendjedid and Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Visitors will also be able to see newspaper cuttings and photographs of Fidel Castro's official visit to Algeria in 1972, and when he returned, one year later, on the occasion of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit held in Algiers.

Other photos show the Cuban leader receiving Algerian presidents in Cuba, including Ahmed Ben Bella (1962), Houari Boumediene (1974), Chadli Ben Djedid (1985) and the recent visit of Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal (2016).

This exhibition also includes copes of the hand-written speech of President Bouteflika on the occasion of Castro's visit to Algeria in 2001.

The Director-General of the National Archives, Abdelmadjid Chikhi, said the exhibition is a tribute to a great man who managed to lead his people according to the principles of the Algerian Revolution.

Source: Nam News Network

ALGERIA, NALAYSIA SIGN MOU ON CO-OPERATION IN HIGHER EDUCATION

KUALA LUMPUR, -- Algeria and Malaysia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on co-operation in the field of higher education and scientific research as part of efforts to boost exchanges between the two countries' universities.

The MoU was signed here Monday by Algeria's Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Tahar Hadjar, who is on a working visit to Malaysia, and his Malaysian counterpart, Idris bin Jusoh, according to a statement issued by the Malaysian Higher Education Ministry.

On the occasion, the Malaysian minister briefed his visitor on the programme of his country in higher education for the 2015-2020 period.

Hadjar also held talks with the Malaysian Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Abu Bakar bin Mohamed Diah.

During these talks, the two sides discussed the procedures of co-ordination likely to facilitate the exchange of experiences in the field of technological development between the two countries.

Source: Nam News Network

AFRICAN INVESTMENT FORUM AIMED AT BRINGING TOGETHER AFRICAN BUSINESSES

ALGIERS, -- The ongoing African Investment and Business Forum here is a step forward in Algeria's effort to bring together the African economic operators engaged in the continent's development, says Algerian Minister of State and Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Ramtane Lamamra.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the opening of the three-day forum here Saturday, he said the meeting represented a qualitative step taken by Algeria to allow African businesses to discuss issues of common concern within a non-conventional framework.

The holding of the forum coincides with Algeria beginning to implement a new model of economic growth and comes at a time when Africa has started the application of its leaders' strategic decisions to stimulate economic integration through the creation of Free Trade Area and the building of several major infrastructure projects adopted as part of Nepad (New Partnership for Africa's Development) initiative of the African Union (AU), he added.

He recalled that Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is one of the architects of Nepad, reiterating that Algeria is fully committed to achieving the goals and strategy set out by Nepad.

Algeria, which now considers that Africa has a strategic depth, has invested since its independence in this continent by providing training for at least 100,000 African officials in the civil and military fields, he said.

Moreover, Lamamra said, the forum will debate several issues, notably the various obstacles to investment development in Africa and draft recommendations which will be submitted to the Algerian government and to African bodies handling investment promotion.

The minister stressed that the Algiers meeting represents an opportunity for the economic operators of those countries to outline the needs of their countries.

Source: Nam News Network