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The on-going International Economic Conference in Cameroon will amongst other things, be an opportunity for the Cameroon to improve onits poor electronic business sector that has really been lacking behind standards.
The conference which opened this Tuesday, 17th May 2016 in Yaounde has brought together business magnates from Africa and beyond to discover investment opportunites in Cameroon.
With electronic business (e-business) being a latest form of exchange on the international market, with Camerroon left far behind standards, the participants are sure to evoke the topic.
Cameroon is yet to fully embrace and embark on e-business with statistics from Salon Afrikebiz of April 2015 indicating that just two per cent of Cameroonians buy and sell on the internet.
Experts say this slow pace is due to limited and high cost of internet in the country and the lack of awareness from most of heads of Departments and Ministries.
That notwithsatanding, the Director of Google for Africa, Tidjane Deme says Cameroon has potentials in the domain of e-business due to its excellent university training, high literacy
rate and "bilingualism".
It is worth mentioning however that some e-business start-ups have sprouted in the country in recent years, but have faced very slow or negetive growths.
Since the digital economy, with its innovations like e-business, demands the presence of experts, the necessary hardware and adequate training, discussions during this International Economic Conference will tackle these aspects and lay concrete groundwork towards a better use of the electronic business by Cameroonians of all ages.
Africa’s first solar powered bus developed in Uganda to be show cased in a prominent United Nations Environmental Assembly world meeting next week.
Uganda will be highlighting the high levels of sustainable innovation taking place in the country by showcasing the Kayoola Bus in the world meeting set to be held in Nairobi.
The solar bus has already been flagged off from Uganda to Nairobi. Kayoola solar bus is a concept vehicle developed by Makerere University and the Kiira Motor Corporation.
“This is the right direction for our country to attain middle income status. And with your 13-year masterplan you cannot fail in this mission,” Gen Salim Saleh, the commander, Operation Wealth Creation told the staff of Kiira Motors Corporation during the flag-off ceremony.
Official results have yet to be released from Chad's April 10 presidential election. But opposition candidates say their vote count indicates the country is headed to a run-off, and they will not accept any other results. It is the latest sign of tension as President Idris Deby seeks a fifth term in office.
Mahamat Ahmad Alhabo, president of the opposition Party for Liberty and Development (PLD) and spokesperson of opposition presidential candidates, says the political opposition is poised for a run-off after result sheets from their representatives in all poling stations indicated no candidate had won an absolute majority in the first round of polling Sunday.
He says they are surprised that although no candidate won the first round of the presidential election incumbent President Idriss Deby is already asking them to accept results being prepared by the country's electoral commission to declare him as winner for the sake of peace. He says they will never accept such an abuse of democracy and are therefore calling for the second round of the polls to be organized, according to Chad's constitution.
Mahamat did not give details of their count.
Chad's electoral commission has two weeks from the day of the election to proclaim results. Mahamat Zen Bada, Deby's campaign manager, says all candidates should be ready to respect the verdict of the ballot.
He says they are committed to respecting republican values and democratic principles and that he is inviting other candidates and their political parties to maintain the peace and serenity that has characterized the election so far.
Dioncounda Traore, former president of Mali and head of the African Union Observer mission, acknowledged irregularities marred the election, but said it was peaceful and fair.
Deby and his ruling party, the Patriotic Salvation Movement, came to power after ousting President Hissene Habre in a 1990 coup. Deby, an ex-army commander, has since then resoundingly won the first round in presidential elections, except the first multi party election in 1996. Deby changed the constitution in 2004, eliminating its two term limit on presidential tenure.
Thirteen candidates, including Deby, competed in this year's election.
Greece — In an emotional visit to a fenced-in refugee center on this Greek island, Pope Francis told hundreds of displaced families Saturday that "you are not alone" — and underscored it by taking three families of Syrian Muslim refugees back to Rome with him.
The 12 refugees, including six children, joined the pope on his plane after a five-hour visit to the Moria detention center. The pope also asked European leaders to do more to help the thousands of refugees stuck in camps.
Two of the families are from Damascus, and one is from an area of Syria now occupied by the Islamic State, according to a statement by the Vatican press office.
The pope "desired to make a gesture of welcome regarding refugees" and worked out an agreement between the Greek and Italian authorities regarding the families, the statement said.
"Refugees are not numbers; they are people who have faces, names, stories and need to be treated as such," Francis tweeted.
The 12 refugees will be cared for in Rome by the Community of Sant'Egidio, a Catholic lay organization dedicated to charity, the Vatican said. The Vatican is already hosting two refugee families in Rome.
Nour Essa, 30, a Palestinian-Syrian scientist, is one of the 12 who returned to Rome with the pope. She will be relocated along with her 3-year-old son and husband. The family fled because her husband was being pressured to join the Syrian army.
"We heard of the EU-Turkey deal which would be implemented on March 20 and decided despite the bad weather to get on one of the boats to Lesbos," she said. "We were very lucky: Friends of ours that were living with us in Turkey that came the next day were not given papers and are still in jail in Moria camp. Instead, we will be refugees in Italy!"
The pope's gesture came as the European Unionbegins to implements a controversial plan to deport refugees from Greece back to Turkey.
The deal stipulates anyone arriving clandestinely on Greek islands on or after March 20 will be returned to Turkey unless they successfully apply for asylum in Greece. For every Syrian sent back, the EU will take another Syrian directly from Turkey for resettlement in Europe.
In return, Turkey was granted concessions including billions of dollars to deal with the more than 2.7 million Syrian refugees living there, and a speeding up of its stalled accession talks with the EU.
Human rights groups have denounced the deal as an abdication of Europe's obligations to grant protection to asylum-seekers.
Hours before Francis arrived, the European border patrol agency Frontex intercepted a dinghy carrying 41 Syrians and Iraqis off the coast of Lesbos. The refugees were detained and brought to shore in the main port of Mytilene, the Associated Press reports.
When the pope visited 250 refugees at the Moria detention center, one young girl fell sobbing to her knees in front of him. The pontiff gently lifted her to her feet and stroked her hair. A woman told the pope that her husband was in Germany, but that she was stuck with her two sons in Lesbos.
The pope made the rounds among many of the refugees, shaking hands with young people along a fence and later addressing the group.
"I want to tell you that you are not alone," he said. "In these weeks and months, you have endured much suffering in your search for a better life. Many of you felt forced to flee situations of conflict and persecution for the sake, above all, of your children, your little ones."
Francis was met at the airport by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras along with Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, and the Archbishop of Athens.
West Africa has been on high alert following recent terror attacks on hotels in Mali, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. And now in Ghana, a leaked security document says Ghana and Togo are the next targets of the al-Qaida affiliate that claimed responsibility for the previous attacks. Ghanaian President John Mahama has told the nation not to panic.
The leaked memo says the threat of a terror attack in Ghana is “real,” citing intelligence from the National Security Council Secretariat. It is addressed to Ghana’s immigration service.
The document calls for stronger border surveillance, including “thorough profiling” of people from Mali, Niger and Libya.
The memo was shared on social media and picked up by local press.
President Mahama sought to reassure the nation on state-run radio Thursday.
“We have trained our own special forces. Currently a significant number of them [are] on standby. We are preparing for any such eventually but we need the alertness of the public," said Mahama.
Ghana's government put the nation on high alert in March after al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) attacked a beach resort outside Abidjan, killing 19 people.
The leaked document says information from Ivory Coast, including confessions obtained from the mastermind of the attack there, indicates that the attackers entered that country in a 4x4 vehicle registered in Niger. The memo says the attackers concealed their explosives and weapons in the spare tire compartment.
Mahama said the leak was unfortunate.
"They didn’t need to put the intel in there. You just to send a directive asking for alertness and asking them to search more thoroughly vehicles and all that. Every country in West Africa is at risk and we are at risk not only from external forces but even from internal forces. We have evidence of radicalization of our own citizens who have gone out to join some of these terrorist groups," he said.
The head of the West African Center for Counter Terrorism in Accra, Mutharu Muqthar Mumuni, says panic must be avoided.
“We need to ensure vigilance and reporting of suspicious activities; however, we’ve got to be very careful in order not to condone acts that have the proclivity to lead to gross basic human rights violations relating to lynching of innocent people," said Mumuni.
The AQIM attacks in Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast marked an alarming expansion for the group whose operations until then had been confined to North Africa and parts of the Sahel region.
As Chinese influence grows, Taiwan struggles to maintain its grip on its partners in Africa. Kenya has deported Taiwanese nationals to China and there are other examples.
The Cold War is not dead – at least between China and Taiwan. In the mid-20th century both Taipei and Beijing had sought recognition as China's official government. On an international level, this meant establishing relationships with countries around the world.
While Beijing has in the meantime won this diplomatic race, a small number of countries still maintain diplomatic relations to Taiwan and recognize it as an independent entity. In January, Taiwan elected a new president, Tsai Ing-wen of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). She has made it clear that while she wants to maintain a peaceful relationship with China, she would not allow it to meddle in Taiwan's affairs.
For Africa, the relationship to the world's second biggest economy, China, has meant an alternative to relying on the former colonial powers of the West. China is a strong market for Africa's minerals and other exports. The pull of China's economic might has also meant a shift away from diplomatic ties that existed during the Cold War era for ideological reasons. China and Taiwan demand that countries decide in favor of just one of them. Relations with both are not possible under the "one China" policy.
Today only three African countries, namely Sao Tome and Principe, Burkina Faso and Swaziland, maintain official ties to Taiwan. Yet recent events in Kenya and Gambia have demonstrated that Taiwan and China can be difficult diplomatic terrain for African nations.
A diplomatic row surfaced earlier this week, when Kenya deported 45 Taiwanese nationals to the Chinese mainland. The Taiwanese were part of a group of 77 people arrested in Kenya in November 2014 over cyber fraud and visa offenses. There are plans to try the group in mainland China. Earlier this week, a video circulated online of the Taiwanese nationals blocking acces to their prison cell and resisting attempts by Kenyan police to deport them. Now that the group has been extradited, Taiwan is negotiating with China over visiting rights for its nationals.
In recent years, Chinese firms have been involved in major road and infrastructure projects in Kenya. "We don't have official relations with Taiwan. We believe in the "One China" policy,” Kenya's Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed told news agencies.
Gambia was the last African country to break diplomatic ties with Taiwan. In 2013, President Yahya Jammeh declared that he would rather work with Beijing. The Chinese government, however, declined the offer. At the time, Taiwan had a China-friendly leader and the two sides had agreed not to take advantage of the other's diplomatic partners. China kept its promise for three years. In March 2016, however, it decided to take Gambia up on its offer. Observers believe that this could be a reaction to the election in Taiwan of a pro-independence candidate for the presidency.
There were once 30 African states which had ties to Taiwan. Now there are just three and they include Swaziland. The relationship to the democratic Taiwan could be seen as an attempt of Africa's last absolute monarchy to polish its image, according to political analysts Timothy Rich and Vasabjit Banerjee in a study for Hamburg's GIGA Institute. It is easy to see why the Chinese have not yet made headway in Swaziland, they say. Unlike Zambia, it has few rare minerals that could interest China. Additionally Swaziland has profited from Taiwanese development aid. In 2012, the kingdom received computers at the value of $300,000 (265,000 euros) and $150,000 worth of rice.
Zambia is often referred to as a strong partner of China in Africa and has profited from Chinese investment, particularly in the mining sector. In 2006, however, that relationship looked likely to fall apart. At the time, presidential candidate Michael Sata criticized labor conditions in Chinese firms in Zambia. He threatened to cut ties to China and instead turn to Taiwan. China countered his statements, saying that it would pull its diplomats and businesses out of Zambia should Sata win the upcoming elections. The British paper ‘The Telegraph' called the Zambia's elections a ‘referendum on China'. When Sata finally won the elections, he however swallowed his election promises and maintained the relationship to Beijing.
Under apartheid, South Africa's government enjoyed a very strong relationship to Taiwan. Beijing on the other hand supported the ANC and anti-apartheid movement. In 1998 South Africa severed its political ties to Taiwan. Today, South Africa and China are strong economic partners – they both belong to the five-country group of BRICS states – and South Africa's ruling ANC enjoys a close relationship to China's Communist Party. According to a study by political analysts Sven Grimm and Yejoo Kim, Taiwanese businesses were given a relatively humane farewell in South Africa as they were given a one-year period to settle their affairs. Taiwan still maintains a liaison office in Pretoria and Cape Town, but Taiwanese nationals have found it increasingly difficult to do business in the country.
In 2011, South Africans felt the heavy hand of Chinese influence when the country refused entry to the Dalai Lama. He had been invited to a world summit of Nobel Peace Prize laureates. Fellow laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu was outraged by the South African government's decision. China views the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, as a violent separatist.