Despite the nightmarish traffic snarl on the access roads leading to Lagos ports, it was reported that the Federal government has approved the construction of a new tank farm on Creek Road, Apapa area of Lagos.
If the construction proceeds, the already terrible congestion on the road will worsen and further put the economy under pressure through increased cost of cargo clearance.
The new tank farm, the report said will attract additional 800 trucks to Apapa which will further worsen the carnage on the nation’s port city.
The report said a source at the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, that doesn’t want to be quoted, said the bitumen tank farm (an asphalt, also known as bitumen is a sticky, black, and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum) is owned by a company simply called Wadeco.
Approval was said to have been given some years back. The tank farm which had the approval of Lagos State government, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) was initially located close to the Dangote sugar refinery.
Meanwhile, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), has decried reports that the Federal Government has granted approval for an oil company to open a new tank farm on Creek Road, Apapa.
Protesting the construction of a new tank farm, chairperson of STOAN, Princess Vicky Haastrup, described the reported approval as ill-timed and ill-advised. Haastrup disclosed that the report indicated that the tank farm, currently being constructed, has a capacity to hold up to 50 million litres of petroleum products, and would attract about 800 additional trucks per day into the already congested Apapa area.
According to the STOAN Chairman; “It is unheard of that anyone will conceive the idea of setting up a tank farm in Apapa at this time. Government should review this approval so that the problem facing the port community and residents of Apapa is not compounded.” She said in addition to bad roads and the absence of truck parks; the preponderance of tank farms and oil depots has largely contributed to the menacing gridlock in Apapa.
According to Haastrup, “There is an over-concentration of oil tank farms in Apapa, which is an area predominantly designed for port operations. There is now a situation where we have proliferation of oil tank farms without regards for the safety and logistical implications.
“Government needs to consider relocating even the existing tank farms out of Apapa and discontinue approval for new ones. “Tank farms should normally be located several miles away from the city and from the port area for safety reasons.”
She also advocated more efficient traffic management systems in Apapa to enhance the movement of vehicles while ongoing construction work lasts. “There is a need to open up the inner roads to allow for free flow of traffic. We also need efficient traffic control measures to allow for free movement of trucks.
At present, several cargoes are trapped in the port because of the bad roads and the truck queues on the road,” she said.
In September 2017, the Lagos State House of Assembly called on the Federal Government to relocate tank farms from Apapa as a way out of the current gridlock in the area. A member representing Apapa Constituency 1, Mojisola Miranda, who raised the issue under matters of urgent public importance during plenary, said activities of tank farm operators in Apapa were not only affecting traffic in the area, but also negatively affecting free flow of traffic in other parts of the state.
PIX: chairperson of STOAN, Princess Vicky Haastrup
The Ship-owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) has expressed deep worry that despite persistent protests by indigenous ship owners and other concerned shipping industry stakeholders, the federal government has continued to grant waivers to foreign shipping operators.
The association said the practice is aiding the foreign operators to continue to dominate coastal shipping business in the country, thus making it impossible for indigenous operators to survive and assist in creating employment opportunities for the citizens.
SOAN President, Engr Greg Ogbeifun, who conveyed the displeasure in Lagos during a media briefing to herald the association’s special workshop and annual general meeting (AGM) scheduled for December, said the country must optimally harvest her maritime endowments especially in the area of creating employment opportunities for the youths.
Ogbeifun while urging the Federal Government to pay special attention to shipping development, condemned the arbitrary increase in charges by shipping companies without recourse to regulatory authorities.
He lamented the lack of protection of indigenous ship owners by concerned government agencies. The agencies which their actions encourage the continued dominance of foreign operators even in local shipping operations, he said, include Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), NAPIMS and the Nigerian (local) Content Board.
He commended the Federal Government and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, for recently demonstrating what he said is “readiness to break the jinx of disbursing the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) which is derived from fees paid by shippers doing business in Nigeria”
On the modalities for the disbursement the fund, SOAN urged the government to utilize the template already provided by the primary lending institutions (PLI) and commence the disbursement to shipping companies who have met the prescribed requirements.
Speaking on the SOAN’s end-of-the year workshop, titled “Giving Critical Life-line to the Nigerian Maritime Industry”, Ogbeifun noted that the event would provide a unique opportunity for participants to discuss financing and other specific ways of improving the maritime sector, in order to tap its latent opportunities for employment generation and the country’s economic growth.
- After terminating the agreement, the NPA says it won’t back down because Intels has been acting as though the laws of the country do not apply to it. “INTELS wanted to continue to do the job and deduct their money from source and then remit the balance to NPA, due to the fear of delay. I have assured them that the money would be paid within seven working days and where we exceed these days, we would be ready to pay for the delays. No company is above the law and it is only when all corporate entities obey the laws of the country that everyone benefits. There must be a level playing field for all players in the sector and this is the commitment of the NPA”, said the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman.
- She said the government would open a fresh bidding in a transparent manner for prospective contractors.
- She has assured staff of the company that once they possess the required skills, the new contractor would engage their services.
The political reformation by President João Lourenço of Angola has thrown Africa’s richest woman, Isabel dos Santos out of job.
Isabel was earlier today, November 16, 2017, sacked as the chief of Sonangol – Angola’s state-run oil firm by the new Angolan President who succeeded her father.
Isabel is the first daughter of former Angolan president José Eduardo dos Santos—who ruled the African country for 38 years before stepping down in August 2017. According to Forbes, she is estimated to worth $3.5 billion, thus making her the wealthiest woman in the continent.
This move as noted is part of plans by President Lourençoá to curtail the power of the dos Santos Dynasty in the Southern African country. Also, some of these reforms is a confirmation of Lourenço’s vow during his campaign to distance himself from the legacy of his predecessor.
Angola is one of Africa’s most oil-rich countries with Nigeria as rival for the status of Africa’s biggest oil producer. Oil export accounts for over 93 percent of the country’s export and a major part of government revenue.
According to Reuters, the presidency did not give a reason for the dismissal of dos Santos but was immediately replaced with Carlos Saturnino.
Despite this unexpected relief, Isabel’s fortune may not be affected due to her huge investments in other major companies in the country and Portugal.
Democracy is a system of governing where citizens elect people to represent them, make decisions on their behalf and guide them. For the black continent, it is a system just evolving and gaining more acceptance.
As such, some countries seem to have gotten the hang of democracy over the years while others like Zimbabwe and others, not so much.
These African countries have been identified to have the most efficient and long-lasting democratic governments.
Zambia, which was known as Northern Rhodesia, became a republic after it gained independence in 1964.
It is a country with a population of 16 million people, and has enjoyed a long stint of democracy since 1991. This is after its Prime Minister, Kenneth Kaunda voluntarily resigned after 3 decades of ruling.
In 2010, Zambia was named of the world’s fastest economically reformed countries by the World Bank. As at 2016, the country was ranked 77 on the Global Democracy Index.
Although Kenya went through a political turmoil during Presidential elections in 2007, it has one of the most stable democracies in Africa.
There has been over five successive transitional processes in the country since independence. Also, an attempt by the Military to seize power in 1982 was stopped by people’s efforts.
Kenya’s position on the Democracy Index as of 2016 is currently 92.
Tanzania got its independence from the Britain in 1962, and has since enjoyed democratic transition of power. In the country, president and members of the country’s National Assembly serve for five year before facing another election.
Last year, the country elected a new President, Mr John Magufuli, and he has begun reform processes that strengthen public institutions in the country.
Tanzania is currently number 83 on the Democracy Index as of 2016.
Senegal is a country of 13 million citizens. It is one of the few African states that has never experienced a coup or any harsh authoritarian leadership since Independence.
Senegal’s first president, Léopold Sédar Senghor, voluntarily handed over power to his Prime Minister in 1981.
In 2016, the country is ranked 75 on the global democracy index.
Botswana gained independence from the Britain in 1966, and recently celebrated 51 years of freedom. With a population of 2 million citizens, the country boasts of having the fastest growing economy worldwide.
Just like Senegal, Botswana has been lucky not to have experienced a military coup or non-democratic leader.
Botswana ranked 27 on the Democracy Index as of 2016, thus making it one of the highest-ranking African countries on the index.
A week in African politics can be a very long time. A lot of things usually happen with outcomes habitually bordering on the extreme. A protest here with the government usually responding with terror, a corruption scandal there, a contested election that is often marred with irregularities or voter intimidation, a drought that way, the list is endless.
Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa is chronicling African leaders who were forced out of office.
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali – Tunisia
Zine el Abidine Ben Ali will be remembered as the first leader to be toppled in what became known as the Arab Spring. After nearly 24 years in in pomp and luxury, he became the former president of Tunisia. Ben Ali was thrown out for economic mismanagement abuse of power.
Hosni Mubarak – Egypt
The 89-year-old, Hosni Mubarak ruled Egypt for almost 30 years until he was swept from power in a wave of mass protests in February 2011 after he surprised the people of his country by refusing to resign.
Laurent Gbagbo – Ivory Coast
He served in opposition for 20 years and finally came to power in 2000 when military leader Robert Guei’s attempts to rig elections were defeated by street protests in Ivory Coast. The 72-year-old was forced out of office after his unwillingness to to accept defeat at the ballot box. Gbagbo is being tried at the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity.
Muammar Gadaffi – Libya
The African strongman met his inhumane fate in October 2011 after being in power since 1969. Gaddafi had been Africa’s and the Arab world’s longest-serving ruler. He gave a televised speech amid violent social unrest against his autocratic rule. He promised to hunt down protesters which caused a furor that fuelled the armed rebellion against him.
Madagascar’s Marc Ravalomanana – Madagascar
The 68-year-old Malagasy politician was ousted in 2009 by Andry Rajoelina, a former deejay and mayor of the capital Antananarivo, with the backing of the army following nearly two months of bloody protests that left an estimated 100 people dead. He fled to Swaziland and later moved to South Africa.
Amadou Toumani Toure – Mali
The 68-year-old was deposed in an apparent coup, first came to power in the arid, land-locked West African country in 1991. Toure, a former army officer, seized power in a coup and was forced out in 2012.
Francois Bozize – Central African Republic
The 71-year-old became a high-ranking army officer in the 1970s, under the rule of Jean-Bédel Bokassa, another dictator who was ousted in 1979. His problems started in 2011 and culminated into his overthrow in 2013.
Blaise Compaore – Burkina Faso
The 66-year-old was deposed in October 2014 following nationwide protests sparked by his efforts to extend his 27-year hold on power.
Charles Taylor – Liberia
Taylor took power in 1990 after deposing Samuel Doe who was brutally murdered and his genitals cut out, stepped down in 2003, handed over power to vice president Moses Blah and sought for asylum in Nigeria where he was arrested after attempting to escape. The 69-year-old is currently serving a prison term in UK having been convicted by a UN-backed court for war crimes and crimes against humanity over supporting rebels who committed atrocities in Sierra Leone.
Kwame Nkrumah – Ghana
The first President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, was unconstitutionally ousted from office through a military and police coup d’état on February 24, 1966. The coup was carried out by lower-ranking military officers and police officials with the direct assistance and coordination by external forces.
Cancer is the third most common cause of death in Kenya, after infectious diseases and heart conditions and accounts for 7% of all deathsin the country. Due to the lack of a national registry, it’s estimated that there are between 22,000 and 41,000 new cancer cases each year.
Patients seeking treatment in both private and public hospitals in sub Saharan Africa face significant barriers that result in advanced disease, misdiagnosis, interrupted treatment, stigma and fear.
Our study – conducted among doctors and cancer support and advocacy groups in Kenya – identified the biggest barriers that hinder access to cancer testing and treatment in Kenya.
These include lack of affordable cancer treatment, lower drug costs, better equipped facilities and specialist doctors. The distance to hospitals and favourable national cancer policies are also major factors.
Barriers to treatment
Kenya has limited specialised health workers and only 12 health facilities diagnose and treat cancer countrywide; seven private hospitals, two mission hospitals and three public facilities. The four radiotherapy centres are located in urban areas.
The study was conducted in January 2016 and only three counties had equipment to diagnose and treat cancer. Our study showed prohibitive costs for tests such as mammograms that check for breast cancer.
One of the respondents pointed out;
Money is the major concern. In our setup, you can’t even access medical services. The major challenge [to treatment] is lack of finances.
Patients with private insurance and the government sponsored scheme, National Health Insurance Fund, are more likely to undergo treatment than those without insurance. Capping coverage and increasing premiums further deters patients from receiving and completing treatment.
One of the patients said;
If you get cancer, most of the private insurance companies don’t want to take it up because it’s really expensive. If you’re still under the cover, they may pay for the first course of treatment, then after that they give letters that they can’t pay.
Most Kenyans don’t go for routine screening for various types of cancer. This is partly because of lack of accurate information about cancer symptoms which contributes to late presentation by patients who seek medical care when cancer symptoms are present.
People who are uninsured are put off by the prohibitive costs associated with medical checkups, screening and diagnostic tests. The treatment costs depend on the type of the hospital and the extent of the disease. It can range from USD$2,500 to USD$10,000 dollars for doctors’ fees, surgery, drugs and radiation. Subsidised or free routine or annual medical checkups could reduce the number of people who are diagnosed with cancer at an advanced stage.
Another deterrent to cancer screening and treatment is the poor attitude of health workers. These attitudes are due to lack of knowledge, social, cultural beliefs and personal biases. Additionally, poor doctor to patient communication determines whether patients seek treatment regardless of the patient’s literacy level.
Kenya needs to develop effective cancer testing and treatment options by training and equipping doctors in health facilities.
Doctors need to be trained to check for cancer more closely in patients. Their key role would be to screen patients at high risk such as those with a family history of cancer or those with predisposing conditions such as HIV/Aids. This greatly reduces the number of patients who seek treatment with advanced disease.
Doctors also need to be trained on patient-centred care and communication. This would improve the patient’s understanding of the disease, compliance with treatment and potentially the outcome.
Countries like Uganda, Tanzania, Lesotho and Zimbabwe have set up effective and inexpensive cervical cancer screening interventions for cervical cancer in health facilities from the primary to national level.
A national public health education campaign about the types of cancer and their symptoms would encourage people to seek medical care in time for better outcomes.
Training specialist doctors and equipping health facilities to screen and diagnose cancer can lead to timely treatment for the patients and improve their health outcomes.
Kenya needs to implement its existing cancer policies. It has been slow due to limited finances and reliant on the counties’ readiness to rollout plans. Counties such as Kisii have taken the initiative to proceed with establishing a cancer center that will be operational within the coming weeks. The country’s first cancer treatment, control and prevention policy was created in 2011, followed by the 2012 Cancer Act, which was amended in 2015.
These policies have created a framework for addressing Kenya’s growing cancer burden based on the doctors’ clinical data of seeing more patients every year.
The way forward
Our study makes four policy recommendations to improve access to treatment;
Improve health insurance for patients with cancer. In October 2016, NHIF added cancer to the diseases it will pay for, but this applies only to civil servants. Private insurance caps need to be reviewed to enable patients to complete treatments.
Establish testing and treatment facilities in all counties through the national cancer control plan. This is taking more time than planned due to the need for financial and technical resources at the county level.
Increase public health awareness and education about cancer to improve diagnoses and treatment. A national public health awareness campaign similar to the campaigns to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and remove stigma should be rolled out. This has worked in the US. In Africa, this has began through the African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer that provides relevant and accurate information on the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer in various African countries.
And finally, doctors should openly discuss treatment options to encourage more patients to live positively with cancer.
Sandra Greene, Stephanie Wheeler, Asheley Skinner and Antonia V. Bennett contributed to this article.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the first woman to lead an African country. Her two terms in office ended with elections last monthsince, like the United States, presidents in Liberia are barred from serving more than two terms.
Affectionately known as “Ma Ellen,” Sirleaf took office at the end of a 14-year civil war in which an estimated 200,000 Liberians were killed.
Sickened and fatigued by war, thousands of Liberian women, through mass action, brought about an end to the conflict in 2003.
These same women took great risks to elect Sirleaf on her promise to sustain peace and make gender equality central to her administration’s agenda. Some women hid their sons’ voter ID cards to prevent them from voting for Sirleaf’s opponent; others tricked the young men into exchanging their cards for beer; still others managed market stalls while their female owners went to register to vote and watched babies so that mothers could vote on Election Day.
These women, many of whom belong to the Women in Peace Building Network (WIPNET), are identifiable by their white T-shirts with blue WIPNET insignia. They are a powerful, widely respected group for what they have accomplished and continue to fight for.
When Sirleaf came to power in 2005, the world was electrified. On Inauguration Day in January 2006, proud Liberians, world leaders and dignitaries watched as she took the oath of office.
Sirleaf singled out the women in the peace movement, thanking them for their courage, and committed to supporting their agenda. The Sirleaf administration kept some of its promises but with notable challenges. Liberia has tough rape laws, but weak enforcement mechanisms, and in 2016, Parliament signed into a law a new domestic violence bill but removed a ban on female genital mutilation.
At the end of Sirleaf’s two terms in office, peace has held, but the results of progress on gender equality are mixed.
Women and peace huts
Today, some of the powerful grassroots women who brought Sirleaf to power are at the forefront of running what are known as peace huts.Spread across the country, the purposes of these huts are to put women in charge of mediating domestic abuse and other disputes before they escalate, to empower women through entrepreneurial opportunities and to educate them about their rights.
By and large, Liberian women and girls are well aware of their rights, and especially those enshrined in the UN Security Council Resolution 1325.
Adopted in 2000, the resolution recognizes that women bear the brunt and horrors of war, and calls for women’s full participation in conflict prevention, resolution and peace-building. Peace huts in Liberia are instrumental in teaching women — including those not formally educated — about these rights.
Peace huts work for gender equality, peace and human rights. But they do much more. The Ebola crisis of 2014 led to the deaths of an estimated 11,315 people and strained already fragile health-care systems. Women who ran peace huts in some of the communities stepped in to help the sick and dying, and some of them died in the process.
Gains and losses
There is general agreement among most Liberians that the Sirleaf administration stabilized the country and attracted investment. But there are those who also feel that, notwithstanding a staunch patriarchal culture, women have actually lost ground, especially in politics.
Of the 1,026 approved candidates in the election cycle, only 163 were women, and, in a field of 20 candidates, only one woman, Macdella Cooper, ran for president, and she lost badly.
Tackling corruption, infrastructure, youth unemployment and reconciliation by promoting national unity and advancing a peace agenda topped ballot issues in the elections.
Noticeably absent was a targeted focus on addressing violence against women and girls.
Yet the UN Women’s Global Database on Violence Against Women report that 39 per cent of Liberian women between 15-49 years old experience physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of intimate partners at least once in their lifetime.
Women who run peace huts spend much of their time supporting victims of gender-based violence. Where they are available, women work with the police to arrest the alleged perpetrators. But justice for victims is often hampered by a weak legal system.
Nonetheless, Liberian women rightly view themselves as the guardians of a hard-won peace connected to the fight for gender justice. They view peace as foundational to prosperity that can take root only if there is an end to gender-based violence and respect for rights.
An uncertain but hopeful future
The elections on Oct. 10 did not yield clear results. The frontrunners, Sen. George Weah and Vice-President Joseph Boaki, were scheduled for a run-off election on Nov. 7. However, the Liberian Supreme Court recently suspended the second round of voting pending an investigation into allegations of “fraud and irregularities.”
It is, therefore, too early to tell if gender equality will top the new administration’s agenda, but there’s room for guarded optimism.
Large groups of activist women in Liberia are prepared to continue to fight for equality and are unafraid to do so. Wearing their WIPNET T-shirts, women have come out in force in recent years to press the government to change or implement laws, usually with the support of an engaged public.
The new administration would do well to work with women in the peace huts and in civil society to achieve success. Without a strong voice for gender equality, it’s unlikely that the new Liberian government will realize its political goals.
Technological leapfrogging in Africa has, so far, focused on economic transformation and the improvement of basic services. Drones are a good example: they’re used in the continent’s health services and in agriculture. In South Africa, robots play a crucial role in mining.
Now, in a remarkable extension of technological leapfrogging, Somaliland has become the first country in the world to use iris recognition in a presidential election. This means that a breakaway republic seeking international recognition will have the world’s most sophisticated voting register.
Democracy and tech in Africa
Somaliland’s shift to such advanced voting technology emerged from a lack of trust because of problems with the 2008 elections. For instance, names were duplicated in the voter register because of pressure from local elders. These fraudulent activities and other logistical issues threatened to undermine Somaliland’s good standing in the international community.
Of course, Somaliland is not the only country in Africa to experience problems with its election processes. Others, like Kenya, have also turned to technology to try and deal with their challenges. This is important. Being able to hold free, fair and credible elections is critical in democratic transitions. The lack of trust in the electoral process remains a key source of political tension and violence.
Technology can help – and Somaliland is set to become a regional powerhouse in the production and deployment of the technological know-how that underpins electronic voting.
So how did Somaliland reach this point? And what lessons do its experiences hold for other countries?
The first lesson, then, relates to political will. Since 1991, Somaliland has operated as an autonomous state trying to build new institutions. One of its central goals is to gain international recognition as a sovereign state. Being able to conduct free, fair, credible and just elections is central to this goal and its international image. Somaliland wants to rank highly in the indices of democratic performance – and that’s a strong driver to develop and embrace electoral practices that are in line with international standards.
The second involves problem-solving and incremental technological learning. Somaliland wanted to reduce voter duplication. It compared the efficacy of different face, finger and iris recognition technologies, and this assessment showed that iris recognition was superior.
Pilot efforts then allowed for lessons in the design of the system, which helped to reduce anxiety over the consequences of possible failure during elections. It also made the process transparent; interested users could access the available datasets. This enhanced public trust.
Somaliland has also wisely used international experts in biometrics. Much of the debate about the use of electronic voting systems centres on how the technology is procured. The country sought the support of Notre Dame University in the US in 2014. Their world class work on biometrics is led by Professor Kevin Bowyer. Such partnerships ensure technical expertise. This, in turn, helps boost ordinary people’s trust in their country’s electoral system.
The shift to electronic voting has also influenced the conduct of some observation missions. In Somaliland, electoral observation will in future include examinations of the iris recognition technology. This changes the expertise needed to observe elections.
This approach is in sharp contrast with the 2017 Kenya elections. There, international observers used traditional monitoring methods – and validated an election that was later annulled by the country’s Supreme Court. It was a case where electoral institutions had not caught up with technology.
This raises some wider issues that need to be addressed so that they don’t get in the way of this progression.
The first is to emphasise that the technology, in most cases, will enhance and upgrade political infrastructure – even if they appear to bypass or replace it. For example, there are concerns that drones, used to transport medical supplies in places like Rwanda and Tanzania, divert financial resources from multi-purpose infrastructure like roads. In fact, the use of drones in medical supplies expands infrastructure options. They allow countries to align delivery means with specific needs, in a timely and efficient manner.
Secondly, technological and service leapfrogging usually go together. This has been demonstrated in Africa’s mobile revolution. The widespread adoption of the Mpesa money transfer system best illustrates this point, as it is about changes in consumer behaviour and local manufacturing.
Finally, there are ample opportunities for international joint ventures in technological leapfrogging across Africa. Many of them however are being smothered by taxation and regulations. This is partly because of the pressure to generate state revenue and partially due to a lack of understanding.
With more products and processes to trade with, the world stands to benefit from Africa’s increased participation in the global technology market. And it is encouraging to see that this is a movement which has the political support of African presidents; a support reflected in the adoption of the Science, Technology and Innovation in Africa Strategy (STISA-2024) by the African Union.
For now, Africa’s technological futures are not only open but expanding in all directions. Somaliland’s application in improving governance is the tip of the iceberg. It creates exciting possibilities for the continent to provide leadership in other areas of technological advancement.