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KENYA-OLENTOKO PRIMARY SCHOOL-MAASAI-ADULTHOOD CEREMONY : COASTWEEK
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- SMaasai girls attend the adulthood ceremony with their teachers at Olentoko primary school, about 20 kilometers from Ewuaso Town, Kajiado County, Kenya, on Aug. 24, 2018. About 300 Maasai girls attended their adulthood ceremony at Olentoko primary school on Aug. 24, 2018. XINHUA PHOTO: ZHANG YU
U.S., Kenya bolster trade, security ties

WASHINGTON, (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump and his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday pledged to further cooperate in the areas of counterterrorism, security and trade.

According to their joint statement issued by the White House after Kenyatta visited the White House earlier Monday, the two leaders resolved to elevate the bilateral relationship to a strategic partnership, that will include an annual dialogue.

The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to continuous counterterrorism cooperation against extremists.

“To further enhance this counterterrorism collaboration, President Trump welcomed Kenya’s decision to join the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS,” read the statement.

The two leaders also pledged to deepen defense and security cooperation, “building on the recent acquisition of military equipment made in the United States and committed to further enhancing Kenya Defense Forces’ capabilities.”

To further boost economic ties, the two leaders agreed to establish a United States-Kenya Trade and Investment Working Group to explore ways to deepen the bilateral relationship.

Moreover, the two governments announced they had established direct flights between Nairobi and New York City set to begin later this year.

On the economic front, Trump and Kenyatta welcomed the proposal by U.S. engineering and construction firm Bechtel Corporation to build a modern superhighway from Nairobi to Mombasa.

Both sides agreed to undertake further consultations to conclude the terms of the financing agreement.

During Kenyatta’s trip to the United States, the two nations announced some 900 million U.S. dollars in commercial deals and engagements, according to the statement.

Before their bilateral meeting at the White House, Trump told the media that the roadway will be “record-setting, in many ways.”

For his part, Kenyatta later noted that “what’s most important and what makes our country survive is the trade and investment partnership” with the United States.

According to an email sent to reporters by the White House, this was Kenyatta’s first formal bilateral meeting with Trump. He first visited the White House in 2014, when he met with then President Barack Obama.

  

Kenya’s deputy chief justice arrested over graft allegations    

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan police on Tuesday arrested Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu over corruption allegations.

Mwilu was picked up at the Supreme Court by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) over alleged transactions involving the collapsed Imperial Bank.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji later told journalists that Mwilu who was taken to DCI headquarters for questioning abused her office for personal gain and received a bribe.

“The evidence in our possession, reveals that Lady Justice Mwilu abused her office for personal gain; accepted a gift in the form of money in circumstances which undermined public confidence in the integrity of her office,” Haji said.

He said the Supreme Court judge obtained execution of a security belonging to Imperial Bank Limited now in receivership by false pretense, conducted herself in disregard of the law and unlawfully failed to pay taxes.

“In view of the above, I have concluded that the evidence is sufficient with a reasonable prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest that criminal proceedings should be preferred,” said Haji.

Sources close to investigations say they have firm evidence in the investigation that could see charges filed in court at any time.

The director of public prosecution said Kenya is being torn apart by people who have been placed in positions of trust and who in turn abuse this trust.

“The message that the President, the Chief Justice and other leaders have been sending is that this chaotic system needs to come to an end for the sake of our people,” he said and vowed to enhance the fight against corruption to the end.

He said public officers in positions of service must not only submit to the constitutional precepts of integrity, “they must exercise wisdom, demonstrate good judgment and lead by the power of their example.”

He said that after the DCI forwarded a file relating to Mwilu, he quickly informed the Chief Justice David Maraga of his decision.

“This was out of respect for him and he went ahead and granted consent for the arrest and prosecution,” he said. Haji said criminal proceedings would be preferred on Mwilu adding that the decision was not taken lightly.

“It is the right decision under the law. I believe that judges in a democracy such as ours must be free and fair in everything that they do,” said Haji.

The DPP said the justice system only works if lawyers, prosecutors, magistrates and judges are fair and just.

“There can be no justice if lawyers, prosecutors, magistrates, judges and investigators (who are court officials) use their position to enrich themselves at the expense of the Kenyan people,” he added. 

 

Kenya drafting policy to track achievement of SDGs    

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya is drafting a policy to track achievement of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), officials said on Tuesday.

Julius Muia, principal secretary in the ministry of national treasury and planning, told a media briefing in Nairobi that the draft Kenya National Monitoring and Evaluation Policy is being reviewed by stakeholders and will be presented to cabinet for approval by the end of 2018.

“The policy articulates a clear mechanism and framework for effective and efficient monitoring, evaluation and reporting on the progress and achievements of the SDGs,” Muia said.

Once in place, he said, the policy will provide an enabling framework for monitoring and evaluating to facilitate achievement of the country’s development goals, such as those contained in the national development blueprint, Vision 2030.

The policy will establish common structures and standards across the entire public sector for tracking progress in the implementation and evaluation of all government policies, programs and projects, Muia said.

Kenya received financial and technical support in developing the policy from development partners such as the United Nations, Sweden, and the World Bank.

Joseph Mukui, economic planning secretary at the ministry of national treasury and planning, said the purpose of the policy is to guide and improve the implementation of government policies, programs and projects in order to achieve effective and efficient service delivery.

The guidelines recognizes monitoring and evaluation as an integral part of program management and is central to the measurement of the government’s performance in general, he said. 

 

Cash-strapped Kenya government exceeds borrowing target    

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya surpassed its domestic borrowing target by 250 million U.S. dollars in the period ending June as the government sought more funds for budgetary support.

The east African nation borrowed 2.73 billion dollars in the fiscal year ending to June, exceeding a target of 2.48 billion dollars, said the National Treasury in a debt bulletin Tuesday.

Commercial banks, which hold the bulk of the domestic debt, contributed 1.24 billion dollars of the money borrowed during the period while non-banking financial institutions and foreigners offered the rest.

The government is also currently 47 percent ahead of its borrowing target for the current financial year, having borrowed 690 million dollars against a target of 466 million dollars.

 

S. Africa committed to enhancing investor confidence: president    

CAPE TOWN, (Xinhua) -- South Africa is committed to enhancing investor confidence and positioning itself as one of the leading emerging market investment destinations, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday.

The South African government is aiming to generate at least half of all new investment over the next five years from outside its borders, Ramaphosa said at the SA-UK Investor Roundtable in Cape Town on the sidelines of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s one-day working visit to South Africa.

“Through my four investment envoys and the efforts of a dedicated division of the Department of Trade and Industry, Invest SA, we are scaling up our investment promotion, facilitation and aftercare services,” Ramaphosa said.

Earlier this year, Ramaphosa announced an ambitious investment drive that aims to generate at least 100 billion U.S. dollars in new investment over the next five years. He has dispatched four special envoys to go on a charm offensive around the globe to attract investment.

The investment drive will culminate in an Investment Conference on October 25-27 this year, which will bring together investors both from within South Africa and from other parts of the world, Ramaphosa told guests at the SA-UK Investor Roundtable.

“We are looking forward to welcoming British investors to this conference, both those who have long been invested in South Africa looking to expand their operations and those who would be investing here for the first time,” he said.

The UK is one of the largest foreign investors in the South African economy with more than 650 British firms present at the market, according to Ramaphosa.

“We see foreign direct investment as a critical driver of economic growth,” he said.

He said his government is working earnestly to bring policy certainty in areas such as mining, telecommunications and energy, hoping to restore South Africa’s sovereign ratings, which are currently at junk status, to investment grade status.

“Through my four investment envoys and the efforts of a dedicated division of the Department of Trade and Industry, Invest SA, we are scaling up our investment promotion, facilitation and aftercare services,” he said.

South Africa is improving the investment environment by, among other things, ensuring policy certainty and consistency, improving the performance of state-owned enterprises and consolidating fiscal debt, said Ramaphosa.

“Our approach is informed by the understanding that we cannot achieve sustained economic growth or enduring social stability without ensuring more South Africans are able to participate in the productive economy,” he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, May pledged that her country will become the G7’s biggest investor in Africa by 2022.

She said at the British High Commission in Cape Town that the UK will invest up to 4 billion pound (about 5.2 billion U.S. dollars) in Africa, with a special focus on creating jobs for young people.

May was on her first African tour since taking office in 2016. She will also visit Nigeria and Kenya.

After meeting May, Ramaphosa told reporters that he and May made a renewed commitment to forge a closer partnership between the two countries.

“We have noted with great satisfaction the strong relationship between South Africa and the United Kingdom in wide-ranging areas of cooperation, including energy, science and technology, education, health, arts and culture,” he said.

May said she wished to deepen the friendship as the UK was one of South Africa’s largest trade partners.

She said her government would continue to fully support the South African drive to attract investment and wanted to see British companies play a central role in this. 

  

Roadside blast kills 5 Kenyan soldiers, injures 10 others    

LAMU, Kenya, (Xinhua) -- At least five Kenyan soldiers were killed and ten others seriously injured in the coastal Lamu region early Wednesday.

Kenya Defence Force (KDF) spokesman Paul Njuguna confirmed the incident which took place at around 8 a.m. local time (GMT 0500) along the Kiunga and Sankuri road in Lamu.

Njuguna said the incident took place after the soldiers who were on a humanitarian civil assignment to fetch and distribute water to the local residents in the area hit an improvised explosive device (IED) along the Kiunga and Sankuri road.

"Following the incident, ten KDF soldiers are receiving medical care from injuries sustained. Regrettably, five other soldiers succumbed to their injuries," Njuguna said in a statement.

The IED is suspected to have been planted by Somali militant group, al-Shabab militants who continue to wreak havoc in the region.

The military spokesman lauded locals who offered assistance to soldiers shortly after the incident occurred and called upon locals to cooperate with the KDF who are currently conducting the Linda Boni security operation and assist in weeding out lurking terror elements in their midst and subsequently aid the progressive pacification of the region.

The latest IED attack comes barely a month after six soldiers died in a similar manner after their vehicle ran over an IED at a local bridge area in Lamu on Aug. 8.

The KDF are currently in year four of a security operation dubbed Linda Boni which was launched by the national government in a bid to flush out al-Shabab militants said to be hiding inside the dense Boni forest and neighboring areas in Lamu.
 

CHINA-BEIJING-MALIAN PRESIDENT-ARRIVAL (CN) | COASTWEEK
BEIJING, (Xinhua) -- Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (L) arrives at Capital International Airport in Beijing, capital of China, Aug. 29, 2018. Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is here to attend the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). XINHUA PHOTO: SHEN BOHAN


Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio    

BEIJING, (Xinhua) -- Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio will pay a state visit to China and attend the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation from Aug. 30 to Sept. 7 at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Maada Bio, 54, obtained a Master’s Degree in International Affairs in the United States. He has held key posts in the Sierra Leonean National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) since 1992.

He became the head of the NPRC in early 1996 and soon handed over power to Ahmad Tejan Kabbah who was elected as the president.

In April 2018, Maada Bio won the presidential election and was sworn in as the country’s president.

This will be Maada Bio’s first visit to China.

 

President of Burkina Faso Roch Marc Christian Kabore

BEIJING, (Xinhua) -- The president of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kabore, will pay a state visit to China from Aug. 30 to Sept. 5, during which he will also attend the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit in Beijing.

It will be Kabore's first visit to China as president of Burkina Faso.

Kabore was elected president in November 2015 and took office in December that year. He served as prime minister between 1994 and 1996, and as president of the National Assembly, the national legislative body, from 2002 and 2012.

From 1984 to 1989, he was general director of the International Bank of Burkina and from 1989, served in the government with different portfolios. They included minister of transport and minister of state for finance and planning.

Born in capital Ouagadougou in 1957, Kabore studied business administration at the University of Dijon, France.

  

Xi urges young people to work for community with shared future for mankind    

BEIJING, (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping called on young people to take an active part in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), support solidarity and cooperation between China and Africa, and make their own contribution to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Xi made the statement Tuesday when replying to a letter from participants of the International Youth Forum on Creativity and Heritage along the Silk Road, held in the Chinese cities of Changsha and Nanjing in May.

Xi pointed out that the BRI has transformed from an idea and vision to action and reality, and yielded fruitful achievements since he put forward the initiative five years ago, and this was not possible without warm responses and active participation of young people.

Noting that the BRI has injected strong impetus in China-Africa cooperation, he told them that Chinese and African leaders will discuss friendly cooperation and development under new circumstances at the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, to be held in September.

Xi said young people are the future of a nation, and young people from China and Africa represent the future of China-Africa friendship.

He urged them to engage in more cultural exchanges, continue actively participating the building of the Belt and Road, and carry on traditional friendship between China and African countries.

He also encouraged them to play their own part in jointly building an even stronger community with a shared future for China and Africa and a community with a shared future for mankind.

A total of 73 young representatives from 51 countries attended the youth forum. Some of them wrote a letter to Xi about their experience at the forum and ideas on the BRI, China-Africa cooperation and youth exchanges.
 

Xi gives new impetus to Belt and Road Initiative | Coastweek
BEIJING, (Xinhua) -- Workers go about their work on an assembly line at Twyford Ceramics, a Chinese tiles manufacturing company, in Kajiado County of Kenya, May 12, 2017. XINHUA PHOTO: SUN RUIBO


Into Africa, Chinese tourists charmed by natural beauty 
   

BEIJING, (Xinhua) -- Beijing-based PR manager Gong Yile never expected that her parents, both in their fifties, reacted like little kids when they first spotted lions on the Serengeti in Tanzania.

The nine-day Tanzanian trip left this Chinese family with fond memories, making Africa a daily topic in their household.

“My parents even searched for and watched the Disney animated movie ‘The Lion King,’(1994)” she said.

NO LONGER UNREACHABLE

In recent years, African countries have taken a top spot as popular destinations among Chinese tourists.

“Africa means ‘The Lion King’ during childhood and Mount Kilimanjaro during youth. It also means (the documentary) ‘The Great Migration’ narrated by David Attenborough...” Gong, 30, wrote in her travel notes. “For many people, Africa is a remote and idealistic place, and journeying there is like a pilgrimage into nature.”

“It is relatively a new travel destination, and I have long wanted to pay a visit. Our trip was well-timed. If I do not make the trip this time, it would be hard to revisit Africa soon.”

There was a 40 percent year-on-year increase of tourists purchasing travel packages to Africa via Ctrip, according to statistics by the online travel agency. The post-80s generation stands as the main demographic, accounting for 30 percent of the purchasers.

Egypt, Mauritius, Kenya, Morocco, Tanzania, Tunisia and Ethiopia are among the most popular destinations.

“Having been to major travel destinations in Europe, America and Asia, many tourists are now looking for less visited locations with novelty,” said Hu Wenyu, head of Ctrip’s Middle East and Africa business.

There has been a clear trend of increase among Chinese tourists visiting Africa, Hu added.

In 2017, about 69,000 Chinese tourists visited Kenya, allowing China to rank as the fifth tourist source country. South Africa received 97,000 Chinese tourists during the same year.

Currently, 20 countries and regions in Africa extend visa-free or arrival visa policies to Chinese citizens, according to the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s website of consular services cs.mfa.gov.cn.

More convenient visa facilitation policies are an important factor for some countries to attract Chinese travelers.

In 2017, Morocco and Tunisia received 118,000 and 20,000 Chinese tourists respectively, both attaining a year-on-year increase of over 150 percent. During the first five months of 2018, over 100,000 Chinese tourists visited Morocco.

The period between July and October marks the peak season of tourism in Africa, according to Qiu Feiming, an experienced tour agent with Ctrip. Most Chinese tourists will go to the eastern and southern parts of Africa to observe wild animals and feel closer to nature.

Qiu added winter marks a peak season for North Africa. The warm climate along the southern shores of the Mediterranean, the desert landscape of Sahara and exotic Arabic charms are appealing to travelers. Tropical islands in Mauritius and Seychelles are the top choices for honeymooners.

AN ENRICHING LECTURE ON NATURE

The migration of wild animals is a major attraction for travelers wanting to visit Africa. Huang Hongmei and her friends have just returned from a 19-day trip that brought them to Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar and Ethiopia.

Reminiscing about the spectacle of herds of wildebeest crossing the river, Huang described the experience as “breathtaking.” “I had a heartfelt sense of awe for the circle of life and death as I watched the race of life taking place right in front of me,” she said.

The tourists were deeply impressed by the local consciousness of environment and wildlife protection. To them, it was an enriching lecture on nature and wild animals.

By dusk, the safari vehicle stopped on the dusty trail of a national park. Gong said the tour guide then motioned toward a giraffe enjoying its dinner, with its hair gleaming like gold in the afterglow.

When the motor was switched off, everything was silent except for the giraffe’s munching. “At that moment, even the sound of our breath would break the serenity,” said Gong.

BRIGHT PROSPECTS

Contrary to her expectations, Gong found that sanitary conditions in Tanzania are even better than that of some markets and restaurants in Beijing.

Qiu said that the tourism infrastructure in the southern and eastern parts of Africa is satisfying, but it is a different story when it comes to wildland activities. An insufficient supply of water and electricity happens from time to time.

Tourist attractions in Africa are actively enhancing their infrastructure to meet the needs of Chinese tourists. “The performance of safari vehicles is getting better by the year, for instance,” he added.

According to Hu, price and resources are the two major factors restraining the number of Chinese tourists to Africa.

With high costs in tourist development, the average price for an individual traveler is higher. And there can be a shortage in transportation, accommodation and tourist workers during peak seasons.

During peak seasons, tour guides who can speak Chinese are in high demand. Huang noted four out of five local tour guides she met were part-timers.

“The one I met in Madagascar was a local young man who studies Chinese, “ she said. “He has his own garment business and only works as a tour guide in peak seasons.”

A tour guide Huang encountered was a recent graduate from the local Confucius Institute and did not speak Chinese fluently. “But even someone like that is in high demand,” she said.

Tour to Africa takes up approximately 12 percent of Ctrip’s business in the Middle East and Africa, said Hu. “We have a special team in charge of our business in Africa, and we have been exploring the potential of the Africa tourism market. Currently, we are working on cooperative promotion plans with African hotels.”

Kenya hopes to attract at least 100,000 tourists from China in the following year or two, said Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife.

The Kenya Chinese tourism association was launched in Nairobi in March 2018 to provide better services for Chinese tourists, Balala told Xinhua.

An official with the Moroccan Tourism Ministry said that Morocco is stepping up efforts in improving their transportation and hotel infrastructure to raise its tourist capacity, aiming to attract an annual average of 500,000 Chinese tourists by 2020.

Meanwhile, South Africa took the opportunity of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with China and the 100th birthday of the late President Nelson Mandela to promote its tourist products in China. 

 

China remains Africa’s top trading partner for 9 consecutive years    

BEIJING, (Xinhua) -- China has been Africa’s largest trading partner for nine years in a row as major cooperation programs boosted bilateral trade, official data showed Tuesday.

China-Africa trade has been growing robustly since the launch of 10 major cooperation plans three years ago. In the first half of 2018, bilateral trade rose 16 percent year on year to 98.8 U.S. billion dollars, Qian Keming, vice minister of commerce, told a press conference.

China announced 10 major plans for China-Africa cooperation at the Johannesburg summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2015 and many of them were targeted at economic and trade cooperation.

Qian said all of the economic and trade cooperation plans have so far been implemented and some of them have “yielded very good results.”

In the past three years, China’s annual average direct investment to Africa stood at around 3 billion dollars, while progress was seen in industrial cooperation in sectors such as manufacturing, finance, tourism, and aviation.

Africa’s infrastructure is seeing improvements thanks to these cooperation plans, which are expected to bring the continent 30,000-km of highways, 85-million-tonnes per year of harbor capacity, over 9-million-tonnes per day of water-cleaning capacity and about 20,000-megawatt power generating capacity, together with creating some 900,000 jobs.

The 2018 Beijing summit of FOCAC is slated for Sept. 3 and 4. The summit will be themed “China and Africa: toward an even stronger community with a shared future through win-win cooperation.” 

  

Chinese pharmaceutical firms eye market chances in Nigeria    

LAGOS, (Xinhua) -- Representatives of leading Chinese pharmaceutical firms are in Nigeria to explore chances of cooperation with local partners.

A Chinese delegation, led by Tan Shengcai, secretary general of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products (CCCMHPIE), on Tuesday attended a forum in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub, to acquaint themselves with the market potential of the west African country.

The visit will provide the delegation an opportunity to meet Nigerian counterparts to work on ways of doing sustainable business, Tan told the China-Nigeria Pharmaceutical Trade and Investment Forum.

The delegation on Monday visited the Lekki Free Trade Zone, a brainchild of China-Nigeria industrial cooperation, located to the east of Lagos city.

Moji Adeyeye, director general of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), told forum that China has demonstrated huge capacity to help Nigeria grow its pharmaceutical industry.

She urged the Chinese pharmaceutical sector to partner with Nigeria and its relevant institutions on research and development.

“I was in China recently where I raised this concern and I am glad this is happening now. We need more of capacity-building and research and development in several areas of pharmacy and I hope this forum will give birth to some,” she said.

Speaking on the forum, Liu Junsheng, Chinese commercial consul in Lagos, said Nigeria has a huge market for pharmaceutical products, noting that 80 percent of medicine are imported, mainly from India, China and Europe.

“I am glad to see that an increasing number of local pharmaceutical-related companies start to seek cooperation with Chinese counterparts, especially in the area of pharmaceutical materials,” he said.

The forum will make better contributions to the well-being of the people of both countries, Liu added.

 

Cameroon launches anti-graft awareness campaign    

YAOUNDE, (Xinhua) -- Cameroon’s National Anti-Corruption Commission (CONAC) on Tuesday launched a public awareness campaign to curb “endemic” corruption in public services.

“Civil servants and users of public services must really be in accord with what they have to pay and what they don’t have to pay,” CONAC Chair Dieudonne Massi Gams said.

Apart from taxes and stamps, all other public services in Cameroon are free for citizens.

However, in 2017, CONAC reported that corruption in public services was endemic.

Cameroon ranked 153 out of 180 countries and territories on Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index. In 2016, it ranked 145th.

CONAC, established in 2006, is a public independent body under the direct supervision of the head of state. Its mission is to monitor and evaluate the effective implementation of the government’s anti-corruption program. 

 

Botswana to host annual environment assembly for climate funding for Africa    

GABORONE, (Xinhua) -- Botswana is ready to host the 8th General Assembly of the Consortium of African Funds for the Environment (CAFE) to raise funds for climate change, Forest Conservation Botswana (FCB) said Tuesday.

Themed “Fundraising and Climate Financing”, the annual general assembly will be held from Sept. 3 to 7 in Botswana’s tourism heartland Kasane, attended by over 50 delegates from 16 environmental funds across Africa.

CAFE was founded in 2011 after a period of informal collaboration between several African environmental funds.

Speaking during a press briefing, Joshua Moloi, the chief executive officer of FCB, said it is a well-known fact that lack of access to climate finance affects environmental funds in Africa.

One of the main objectives of CAFE is to catalyze support for the fund to access resources from financial partners, part of which could be done through collaborations by partner countries, he said.

The CAFE assembly comes at a time when the FCB is in the process of seeking accreditation for the green climate fund, which will be used to address climate change adaptation and mitigation issues in Botswana, according to Moloi.

To date, the CAFE assembly has been hosted by Mauritania, Malawi, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Uganda, Madagascar and Tanzania.  GABORONE, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- Botswana is ready to host the 8th General Assembly of the Consortium of African Funds for the Environment (CAFE) to raise funds for climate change, Forest Conservation Botswana (FCB) said Tuesday.

Themed “Fundraising and Climate Financing”,the annual general assembly will be held from Sept. 3 to 7 in Botswana’s tourism heartland Kasane, attended by over 50 delegates from 16 environmental funds across Africa.

CAFE was founded in 2011 after a period of informal collaboration between several African environmental funds.

Speaking during a press briefing, Joshua Moloi, the chief executive officer of FCB, said it is a well-known fact that lack of access to climate finance affects environmental funds in Africa.

One of the main objectives of CAFE is to catalyze support for the fund to access resources from financial partners, part of which could be done through collaborations by partner countries, he said.

The CAFE assembly comes at a time when the FCB is in the process of seeking accreditation for the green climate fund, which will be used to address climate change adaptation and mitigation issues in Botswana, according to Moloi.

To date, the CAFE assembly has been hosted by Mauritania, Malawi, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Uganda, Madagascar and Tanzania. 

 

16 passengers killed, over 46 injured in road crashes in Kenya    

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- At least 16 people were killed and 46 others injured in separate road accidents across Kenya on Tuesday evening.

The police confirmed on Wednesday that 12 people were killed and nine others injured following an accident along the Nairobi-Naivasha highway on Tuesday evening.

Four other passengers were also killed and five others sustained injuries after a truck veered off the road in Roret, Kericho County on Tuesday evening in northwest Kenya while 32 police officers were injured in an accident along Mwingi-Garissa highway in northeast Kenya on the same evening.

In the first incident, Lari Traffic Police Base Commander Ahmed Mohammed confirmed the Kimende accident on Tuesday at 11 p.m. local time, saying the accident involved an 18-seater commuter minibus and a truck .

Mohamed said among those who died are primary school pupils whose books and uniform were spewed at the scene.

He said the public service vehicle was en route to Western Kenya from Nairobi when it hit the truck that was coming from the opposite direction.

“We have launched investigations into the incident,” said Mohammed. He said the truck fell off a cliff due to the impact of the collision.

The traffic police commander said nine people died instantly while 3 others were pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital.

Rescuers had a difficult time trying to get the victims out of the wreckage in the Kimende accident.

In the second accident, Kericho County Police Commander James Mugera said the driver of the lorry that was ferrying sand from Sondu in Kisumu County in Western Kenya lost control of the vehicle.

Mugera said the lorry ran over three pedestrians on the Roret-Sigowet road. The fourth victim was killed inside a cyber cafe. 

“The lorry developed a mechanical problem while at a steep area. The driver lost control of the vehicle and ran over the three pedestrians before crashing into a building, killing another person,” said Mugera.

Meanwhile, 32 police officers were on Tuesday evening injured in an accident along Mwingi-Garissa highway.

The lorry was heading to Kanyonyo (AP) Border Patrol Unit Training School when a front left tyre bursted and veered off the left side of the road and landed on the left side facing Mwingi direction.

On board were 32 officers. Police said as a result of the accident four of the officers sustained serious injuries and were attended at the hospital.

The incidents come as the number of fatalities in road accidents countrywide as of Aug. 26 has increased to 1,967 as compared to 1,835 last year.

Latest statistics from the National Transport and Safety Authority covering January to Aug. 26 show that 2,905 people have been seriously injured which is an increased from last year’s 2,619.

The report attributes lack of enough footbridges, crossing points and failure to observe traffic rules to pedestrians being the highest number of victims.

The report shows 201 drivers have so far died which is a slight decrease compared to 206 last year. However, 531 motor cyclists have perished as compared to 447 in 2017.

 

Kenyan internet cafes morph into gov’t service points    

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- About a decade ago, internet cafes in Kenya were written off following the entrance of smartphones into the East African nation.

The phones became the main gadget through which Kenyans accessed the internet, accounting for 99 percent of the market, according to the Communication Authority of Kenya.

However, despite the onslaught from mobile phones, cybercafes have survived 10 years later.

While their numbers have reduced significantly across the East African nation, a considerable number has remained in operation, defying the smartphones.

And this is because the internet cafes metamorphosed into government service points. The businesses are now the main places where Kenyans access government services, outside state offices.

Some of the government services the East African nation’s citizens access through the cafes are applying for tax certificate, filing of tax returns, conducting land searches, buying electricity tokens and application and renewal of driving licenses.

Citizens further apply for visa for those in need of traveling at the cafes, but Kenyan government services are the boon for the internet outlets.

Moses Mutie, who runs a cybercafe on the east of Nairobi, said he no longer worries his business would collapse.

“When smartphones came, I was deeply concerned that my business would die because customers disappeared. Then I took a loan and started a mobile money outlet as a value addition to enable me to pay rent,” he told Xinhua in a recent interview.

But as luck would have it for Mutie and other cybercafe operators, several government agencies took their services online.

“The annual filing of tax returns and application for certificates was the biggest boost we got. This stabilized my business,” said Mutie who charges less than 1 U.S. cent per minute.

These services ensured the people flock his shop, and being the only one surviving in the estate, Mutie has a monopoly.

More boost came from sale of electricity tokens and the establishment of e-citizen services.

“E-citizen brings all government services at one point. Anyone who wants to apply for passport, pay stamp duty and renew driving licenses, among others, has to log into the portal. They therefore come to cyber,” he explained.

June brought a boom to cybercafe operators as it was the deadline when Kenyans were to file their tax returns.

“This place was busy especially the last two weeks of the month. I hired an extra hand and brought in two more computers to handle traffic,” said John Njeru, a cybercafe operator in Nairobi’s central business district.

Currently, he is assisting businesspersons file their value added tax returns, as deadline issued by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) looms.

“With KRA, as cybercafe owners, we have an agreement with it that we handle things like tax certificate applications. So when people go their offices, they send them to us giving us business,” he noted.

The number of internet users in Kenya now stands at 36 million, according to the latest report from the Communications Authority, with majority of people using their phones.

Bernard Mwaso, a consultant with Edell IT Solutions in Nairobi, noted that besides government services, other things that have made the cybercafes survive are low broadband charges following increased competition and services like agency banking and mobile money.

“Charges dropped cushioning the internet cafes owners from things like rising rent since it is hard to increase their charges per minute. The cost of computers is also down,” he said.

He added that cybercafe operators have become agents of banks and telecoms thus leveraging on their premises and licenses as the services add value to their business.

  

Kenya withdraws from hosting this year’s CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup    

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya has pulled out of hosting this year’s Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) Senior Challenge Cup dut to financial problem.

The move throws the regional body in confusion just three months to the annual tournament.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa confirmed to Xinhua on Tuesday that the country has no intention of staging the regional competition.

“Kenya will not be able to host the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup due to financial constraints,” FKF President Mwendwa said in Nairobi.

Kenya had been handed the rights to host the regional football tournament last year when Harambee Stars were crowned champions edging out Zanzibar on penalty shots.

It was expected they will host the event, which attracts 11 regional teams this year, but Mwendwa said there is no budgetary allocation for the competition.

Alongside Kenya, the regional CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, the oldest football competition in Africa, has teams drawn from island state of Zanzibar, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Sudan and South Sudan.

Kenya was handed hosting rights for the second straight year even though Zanzibar had expressed interest to organize the annual competition.

CECAFA Secretary General Nicholas Musonye said in Nairobi that he was disappointed by the decision taken by FKF.

“I believe this is sabotage. They are keen to finish us, but we will make more announcement later,” said Musonye. 

  

Kenya calls rugby 15s team early to camp, prepare for WC qualifier    

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Rugby 15s head coach Ian Snook has summoned his team to camp early to start preparation for the World Rugby Repechage tourney in Marseille, France in November.

The New Zealand coach has called the team to camp starting on Sept. 3 as he seeks to work on the mistakes that left his side exposed losing to Africa Gold Cup champions Namibia in Windhoek a week ago to miss out on direct ticket to the World Cup in Japan in 2019.

“We had problems in our defenses and we want to work on them,” said Snook on Tuesday in Nairobi.

Kenya 15s team want to embark on their final quest to secure a 2019 Rugby World Cup berth at the repechage competition, which runs from Nov. 11-23.

Snook’s team missed out on direct qualification after a 53-28 loss away to Namibia and had to settle for the second slot in the Rugby Africa Gold Cup campaign which served as the African qualifying round and had teams from Uganda, Tunisia, Zimbabwe and Morocco.

In France, Kenya will take their battle to the doorsteps of fellow losers in respective continents Canada, Hong Kong, China and Germany in a round robin competition for the remaining ticket. The winner of the tournament will secure a slot in Pool B alongside New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Namibia at the World Cup in 2019.

“Kenya has been seeded third for this competition based on their current global ranking at 28 while Hong Kong (China) ranked 21st globally, are top seeds with Canada (23) seeded second with Germany (29) seeded fourth,” said Snook.

Canada will arrive in Marseille after failing to qualify from the Americas region, Germany fell to a playoff defeat against Samoa while Hong Kong, China qualified for the repechage after playoff victory over the Cook Islands to represent Asia/Pacific.

“Kenya will begin the repechage campaign with a clash against Canada on Nov 11 before playing Hong Kong and Germany,” he added.

 

Kenya’s Gor Mahia eyes quarterfinal slot in Confederation Cup in Algeria    

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Gor Mahia FC remains on course to reach the last eight in the Confederation Cup tournament ahead of their clash with USM Alger in Algeria on Wednesday.

The Kenyan Premier League champions left for Algeria on Monday, connecting through Morocco and head coach Dylan Kerr is buoyant, his squad will grind out a result away in Algeria to boost their hopes of the quarterfinal slot.

“Our target remains getting to the quarterfinal stage of the CAF Confederation Cup. The team has its challenges, but we have what it takes to get there,” said Kerr as the team left for Algeria.

The other teams in their Group D are Rayon Sport of Rwanda and Yanga FC of Tanzania. The two sides will be playing in Kigali.

Gor Mahia and USM Alger are both tied on eight points in Group D after five rounds of matches in the competition.

However, the Kenyan champions are sitting top owing to a better goal difference. Rayon Sports of Rwanda are second on six points while Yanga are bottom with four.

Gor Mahia will need to avoid defeat against USM Alger and pray Tanzania’s Yanga SC edge out Rayon Sports in Kigali in the other group match to sail through.

Kerr’s side bottled up a chance to finish the business early when they unexpectedly went down to Rayon Sports 2-1 in Nairobi two weeks ago.

But the Englishman is leading a rejuvenated side after they secured the Kenyan title and hopes his 18-man contingent will prevail in North Africa.

TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are the 2016 and 2017 Confederation Cup winners but are not defending the title as they have qualified for the Champions League group stage.

Tunisian clubs have won the competition five times - the best record of any nation - but no team from the North African state qualified for the group stage.

  

Cameroon on fire, dismisses Tanzania in volleyball Under-20 tourney    

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Cameroon has turned out to be favorite to lift the Women’s Under-20 African Nations Championship title after they claimed their second straight victory over Tanzania here on Wednesday.

With the winner of the nine-team competition expected to represent Africa at the World Under-20 Championships in 2019, the West Africans have exerted their authority, winning over the Tanzanians 25-16, 25-14, 25-20.

Cameroon head coach Joel Rene Akono believes his side will weather the storm and win the tournament, which also has host Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt, Rwanda, Mauritius, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Nigeria.

“The squad is gelling well and our target is to win the title and secure the ticket to World Championships. But we respect each team and will take each game, one at a time,” said Akono.

The victory put Cameroon, who have become the tournament dark horses, on top of Pool A with a win-loss ratio of 2-0 ahead of Kenya who are 1-0 in their only match followed by Nigeria 0-1 and Tanzania 0-2.

Egypt continued their winning rhythm in Pool B as they set the third victory over Rwanda 3-1 (25-14, 16-25, 25-16, 25-22) in a thrilling encounter to lead Pool B with three straight wins. Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) outlined the second victory over Uganda in epic tiebreaker 3-2 (23-25, 25-21, 22-25, 25-18, 15-9) to improve to 2-1.

The competition acts also as a qualifier for the 2019 FIVB World Championship of thes age category in 2019.

Federation International de Volleyball (FIVB) has opted to award Africa with two slots, which means top two in the competition will secure their tickets to the global contest.

 

            

 

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