Friday, 29 June 2012


How do we provide energy, health care and other services to people around the world as the population grows and resources dwindle? It’s a challenge that was front and center this June at Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
It’s a challenge the U. N. Foundation and Devex embraced in Rio+Solutions, a high-visibility campaign that is coming to a close now. Rio+Solutions was meant to raise awareness of key challenges — and solutions! — in the run-up to the high-level gathering in Brazil — and it did just that. Over the course of several month, a who’s who of leading thinkers and doers lent their voices, suggesting innovative and sustainable ways to improving food security, the job market, disaster preparedness, and the environment.
Kandeh K. Yumkella, UNIDO director-general and co-chair of the U.N. secretary-general’s High Level Group on Sustainable Energy for All, set the tone with his guest opinion ”Sustainable development is not possible without sustainable energy,” which encouraged the international community to work toward sustainable energy access for all — a U.N. goal that finally received a hearty thumbs-up from the United States - a major coup given the U.S. position as the world’s largest foreign aid donor.
Rio+Solutions contributors came with a variety of backgrounds in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, highlighted the potential of renewables in ensuring energy access. Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen, CEO of Vestergaard Frandsen, wrote about huge impact small, innovative gadgets can have on poverty reduction. And Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, called on the aid community to shift its focus from providing relief to strengthening resilience within the developing world. 
Other contributors include Stephen O’Brien, U.K. parliamentary under-secretary of state for international development; Bill Drayton, CEO of Ashoka and chair of Get America Working; Carl Pope, former executive director and chairman of the Sierra Club; Tensie Whelan, president of the Rainforest Alliance; Barbara Frost, chief executive of WaterAid; Fabien Cousteau, founder of Plant A Fish; Pape Gaye, president and CEO of IntraHealth International.
Even a rock musician weighed in to support the U.N.’s sustainable energy targets: Dave ‘Phoenix’ Farrell, bassist and backup vocalist for Linkin Park.
The response from the international community — on the Devex website and social media — was impressive. Readers shared their own innovative solutions and engaged in spirited back-and-forth on Facebook and Twitter. There was broad support for the sustainable energy goals that began emerging in the run-up to Rio, but also some concern about leadership: Will government, corporate and civil society leaders be able to work jointly toward a future that sees positive socio-economic change with minimal environmental impact?
World leaders left Brazil after signing an agreement that — while perhaps not as bold as some had hoped — can be seen as an important milestone to a more comprehensive, longer-term agreement that is expected to emerge in the coming years. So the work is far from over, and the international development community — you! — will need to stay engaged to make a difference.

Thursday, 28 June 2012


Tanzanian police Wednesday were questioning 74 migrants who survived suffocation in a truck where 42 fellow travellers perished, Deputy Interior Minister Pereira Silima said.
"Police and immigration officials are questioning the survivors to establish their identity including names and nationality," Silima told AFP.
It was initially reported the migrants were from Malawi, but officials said that they were suspected of coming from the Horn of Africa region to the north, and were on their way southwards to Malawi.
"Preliminary reports have it that the immigrants were destined to Malawi," Silima said.
Police said the truck driver fled the vehicle after finding the dead bodies.
The bodies were discovered on Tuesday in the truck in Dodoma province, about 400 kilometres (250 miles) west of Tanzania's economic capital Dar es Salaam.
In December, 20 Somali migrants were found dead in Tanzania.
Foreign ministry spokesman Isaac Nantanga said at the time that an increasing number of Ethiopians and Somalis were crossing the country to make their way to South Africa, the continent's richest country.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


By Ben Kangwa in Boston, Massachusetts
Monday 25th June, 2012
Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry on Monday invited American Industries to actively participate and enter into business ventures with their Zambian counterparts.
Making a presentation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship in Boston, a privately owned research university dedicated to advancing knowledge and educating students in science and technology, Mr. Sichinga said Zambia needed investment in all sectors including technology, science and communication.
He said, “We hope that through our visit here we will strengthen economic and commercial ties in all sectors and we look forward to building up our contacts with reputable and experienced businesses
The Minister noted that sectors that had vast potential for foreign investment in Zambia included mining, tourism, manufacturing, agriculture and financial services just to mention a few.
Mr. Sichinga and his delegation comprising government officials and the private sector is in the United States of America with the objective to capitalize on the interest generated about Zambia’s potential for investment.
At the same forum, Coordinator-Private Sector Development Reform Program (PSDRP) Kayula Siame said Zambia strongly believes that the private sector participation in the economy is key to economic growth and that through the private sector, jobs can be created.
She told the audience that Zambia was recognized as one of the top 10 global reformers, in Africa as 7th and in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) at number 3 position in the ‘Way of Doing Business’ according to the 2011 World Bank Report.
Ms Siame observed that Zambia had introduced policy legal regulatory and institutional reforms that govern business one way or the other. She added that the Public Private Partnership (PPP) policy frame works were in place for private sector investment in public infrastructure and service providers.
She said through business reforms Zambia had continued focus on ensuring that the business environmental obstacles and impediments were addressed and that the “business environment remains conducive and the cost of doing business reduced.”
On his part, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Zambia Mr. Greg Marchand observed that Sub-Saharan Africa was an investment destination that could no longer be ignored by the United States of America regardless of the sector in question.
He said the challenge was to operationalize the opportunities that Africa afforded, to develop specific strategies and instruments to promote US business engagement throughout Africa or “risk being left behind.”
Marchand  added,” We should encourage the US and African governments to pursue policies that foster foreign direct investment, facilitate US trade with African countries and expose US and African companies to vast economic opportunities.”
Specifically referring to Zambia, Marchand said he invested in the country 7 years ago with the full understanding of the risks involved noting that he did not seek what he termed as “episodic and short term investment”, but instead a shared vision and in working in long term partnership to contribute to the building of the economy of Zambia.
Founder and Director of the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Professor Iqbal Quadir invited would be students from Zambia to “sign up” for seed grants for enterprises in their country.
He said his organization administers programs and convenes events that promote and shape discourse on bottom-up development.
Professor Quadir noted that the Center awarded more than 100 Legatum seed grants to assist students in developing profit enterprises in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya.
Other speakers on the platform included Florence Mumba who is Director at the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), Abel Ng’andu Managing Director of Ng’andu Consulting and Warren Bacon who is Project Director, Minority Business Development Agency.
Later, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry and his delegation made a presentation at EMC Consulting, a company that provides information infrastructure technology and solutions before departing for Houston, Texas for the next leg of the trade promotion.
The writer is Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of the Republic of Zambia in Washington DC.

Monday, 25 June 2012


The Uganda Red Cross confirmed 15 deaths on Monday following a heavy downpour that triggered several landslides in Bugisu sub-region, Eastern Uganda.
Two villages, Namaga and Bunakasala, in the Bumwalukani Sub County, Bududa district have been submerged in water.
In an afternoon statement to our Ugandan sister publication Daily Monitor, Uganda Red Cross said its Secretary General Michael Richard Nataka had also joined an emergency ground team in conducting rapid vulnerability capacity assessment.
“The Uganda Red Cross Society has sent a team of volunteers to assess the situation and establish the number of people affected although local authorities have told Red Cross that there could be about 80 people in each of the villages,” URCS head of communications Catherine Ntabadde said on Monday.
Efforts to reach officials of Uganda's Disaster Preparedness Ministry were futile as they were reportedly locked in an emergency meeting all afternoon following reports of the 3.12 p.m. landslides.
This is the third time landslides are affecting Eastern Uganda.
In August 2011, the Uganda Red Cross declared Bududa a disaster area after landslides injured eight people and left 420 others homeless.
Among the most affected area was Simuyu village in Bulucheke Sub County.
In March 2010, at least 100 people were killed and over 400 people displaced after a six hour downpour triggered off landslides in several villages on the slopes of Mount Elgon.
The affected villages included Nameti, Kubewo, and Nankobe. An estimated 90 homes were destroyed in Nameti village alone. The affected villages were buried by fast moving mud, with houses, markets, and a church destroyed. Roads were also blocked.
In Butaleja, over 6,000 homes from the sub-counties of Kachonga, Masimasa, Kimuntu and Nawangofu were affected.
Two primary schools in Nabehere and Lubembe had to be closed. The Mbale-Busolwa road was also closed due to flooding.

Sunday, 24 June 2012


By Ben Kangwa in Cincinnati, Ohio
National Airports Corporation (NAC) Limited Managing Director, Robinson Misitala says 19 bids from International and local companies have been received by his organization for expansion projects to replace out dated infrastructure at the four International airports in Zambia.
In his presentation on a panel discussion titled ‘AVIATION: SAFE SKIES FOR AFRICA SPACE INTEGRATION’ that is taking  place in Cincinnati, Ohio at the US-Africa Business Conference, Mr. Misitala says great business opportunities in infrastructure development now exist.
He said the Kenneth Kaunda International airport will be  under- going the most extensive expansion that will be phased over the next few years. A new terminal building designed for International arrivals and departures will replace the current facility at a cost of about US$200 million. Aprons and taxiways will also be constructed and additionally a new control tower will also be developed.
Mr. Misitala said the expansion program is based on a US$725,000 US funded study by the aviation  consultancy group, Leigh Fischer Associates.
According to the study, the Kenneth Kaunda International airport would become a major business and cargo port because of its geographical position in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
“Lusaka is destined to become the center of trade for Southern and Central Africa because of its central proximity in the sub region,” he added.
The NAC Managing Director also said the Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International airport, which is the gateway to the Victoria Falls, mainly attracts tourists from Europe and else- where via South Africa.
It will have a share of its construction program with a new concourse, a new international arrivals terminal, a drop off zone and walkways.
He noted that Zambia’s oldest airport, the Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International in Ndola is in the country’s copper mining heartland. Against a background of the current copper investment interests mainly from China, Canada and Australia, there has been a growing passenger and mining related cargo.
He added,” There is a growing interest from regional airlines to tap into the growing numbers at the Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International airport stimulated by the mining activity on the Copperbelt.”
Mr. Misitala stated that under the proposed master plan, the National Airports Corporation will invest about US$25 million in a new passenger terminal.
As for Mfuwe International airport, he observed that there was great potential for the airport to become a major eco tourism destination owing to its gateway to the Luangwa National park. As such there was need to upgrade the airport.
According to the Leigh and Fisher study, a new flexible open terminal which is designed to specifically present the “right atmosphere” to arriving tourists would be ideal.
In his concluding remarks, Mr. Misitala told his audience that a number of International Airlines were increasing the use of the four International airports and as a result a phenomenal increase in traffic had been recorded.
“Interestingly, in February 2012, Emirates Air launched a five times a week direct flight to Dubai. This was followed in May 2012 by KLM, the Royal Dutch Airlines which flies to Lusaka three times a week. This month (June 2012) another airline, Precision Air from Tanzania will introduce a flight from Dar-es-Salaam to Lusaka,” he said.
Other speakers on the panel who presented papers included Susan McDermott, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs at the US Department of Transportation. She mainly focused her discussion on Security and Safety standards in the air travel industry.
Rick Angiuoni, the Director of Africa Global Business Development Division of the Export-Import Bank of the United States talked about investment opportunities in the air industry in Sub Saharan Africa while Fernando Prieto, the Senior Project Manager at LPA Group briefed the meeting on projects his organization had successfully carried out at airports in West and East Africa.
The Marketing Director- Market Development and Analysis (EMEA) at Delta Airlines  Jina Sanone said Delta is in the process of expanding its services to Africa. Currently, the airline flies to South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana.
She was asked if the airline would consider expanding its services to Lusaka against a background of Zambia becoming a hub for Southern and Central Africa.  She said at present Delta was studying the KLM traffic flow to Zambia and would only determine after a thorough study was carried out.
The US- Business Conference closed today marking the official end of conferences and networking between the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) eligible countries and the US business partners.
The writer is the Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of the Republic of Zambia in Washington DC.