May 24, 2020

After a relatively calm election day on Wednesday, the following day was even more peaceful according to the police reports. The whole country is now waiting for the announcement of the provisional results. The Internet is restored in Burundi, but the Iwacu newspaper website is not accessible.

The head of the Burundi Electoral Commission (CENI) urges those who are counting votes to do it carefully and ensure that the outcome is not disputed.

Dr. Pierre-Claver Kazihise, the head of CENI, told media that the first stage after the elections was to collect data from the polling stations.

In an interview, Mr. Kazihise explained to the public that the process of counting the election results is a difficult task that had to take time. Commentators say that five or six days between elections and the announcement of the outcome of the interim are many.

Thursday evening on the television news, Media Synergy supervised by the Ministry of Communication, announced the results of just over 12% of Burundian municipalities.

The score attributed to the candidate of the ruling party, Evariste Ndayishimiye, in these municipalities scattered throughout the country, ranges from almost 80%, against less than 20% for Agathon Rwasa his main opponent.

“I reject them, they are fanciful results, they do not stick to reality,” Agathon Rwasa told RFI, ensuring to have at his disposal “proofs” of what he claims.

The candidate of the CNL Party affirms to have followed closely the results of the poll in the various provinces of Burundi.

“Since yesterday, we have been trying to follow the count. Across the country, the observation is that the CNL comes first. Whether for the presidential, for the legislative or for the municipal elections. All that we wish for all Burundians, especially the CENI and the constitutional court, is to be responsible. “said Agathon Rwasa.

A spokesman for the CNL party said more than 200 members of the party were detained in all provinces of Burundi on Wednesday. Some were released on the same day when they found no valid charges against them.

Terence Manirambona, a spokesman for the CCNL party, said that even on Thursday some people had been arrested in connection with the election.

International Community

In a  Briefing With Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Tibor Nagy on U.S. Support for Combating COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa, Tribor Nagy, the Assistant Secretary for U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs notes that the people of Burundi went to the polls and urges all sides to refrain from provocations or violence, to respect the democratic rights of all citizens, and to use established legal processes to address potential grievances.

“I am optimistic about the potential for progress in the U.S.-Burundi relationship following these elections.” ,he said

The Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Philippe Goffin, called on Thursday, in a statement released after the presidential, legislative and municipal elections in Burundi, Burundian political actors to work for a “peaceful management” of the post-election in this small country of ‘Central Africa.

“We salute the efforts made by the Burundian citizens who resolutely engaged, for some at the cost of their lives or their physical integrity, in the electoral process which led to the triple ballot of this May 20. A crucial step in the consolidation of the political and institutional stability of the country, “said the head of Belgian diplomacy in a statement.

Mr. Philippe Goffin urges all political actors to systematically defuse any speech and any action likely to jeopardize the good democratic end of this electoral process.

He called political actors to work together in order to create the conditions for the peaceful management of the post-electoral phase which respects the will expressed by the voter.

 

Credit: RegionWeek.com

May 24, 2020

Egypt said that it is willing to resume negotiations with Sudan and Ethiopia over the filling of a controversial mega-dam that has been a source of tension between all three Nile basin countries.

“Egypt is always ready to enter into negotiations and participate in upcoming meetings ... to reach a fair, balanced and comprehensive agreement,” the foreign ministry said.

The ministry said the agreement would have to take into account “Egypt’s water interests as well as those of Ethiopia and Sudan”.

Cairo’s thawing stance comes after Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok held a virtual meeting with his Ethiopian counterpart Abiy Ahmad earlier Thursday to hammer out a deal.

The online meeting comes after Addis Ababa said it would not delay filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which it began constructing in 2011.

In April, Ahmad proposed proceeding with the “first stage filling” that would collect 18.4 billion cubic metres of water in the dam’s reservoir over two years.

But both Egypt and Sudan fear the reservoir, which has a capacity of 74 billion cubic metres, will trap their essential water supplies.

Hamdok and Abiy’s talks were the first after a diplomatic spat that broke out between Egypt and Ethiopia reached the UN Security Council.

Filling and operating the dam “would jeopardise the water security, food security, and indeed, the very existence of over 100 million Egyptians, who are entirely dependent on the Nile River for their livelihood,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said in a letter to the UN Security Council dated May 1.

In a response dated May 14, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew accused Egypt of being obstructionist.

“Ethiopia does not have a legal obligation to seek the approval of Egypt to fill the dam,” Gedu said.

Egypt wants Ethiopia to endorse a draft agreement emerging from the talks earlier this year facilitated by the US Treasury Department, which stepped in after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sissi put in a request to his ally US President Donald Trump.

But Ethiopia skipped the most recent round of those talks and denies any deal was agreed upon.

Cairo’s heavily worded letter to the Security Council raised the spectre of the possibility of armed conflict stemming from the dam deadlock.

 

May 24, 2020

Sudan has confiscated assets valued at $4 billion from former President Omar al-Bashir, his family members and associates, the country’s anti-corruption body said.

“Our initial estimates of the value of the assets, shares in different companies and buildings we have confiscated is $3.5 billion to $4 billion,” Salah Manaa, a spokesperson for the Anti-Corruption and Regime Dismantling Committee, said in response to questions. The body was set up late last year.

Bashir, who was overthrown by the army a year ago amid mass protests against his three-decade rule, was jailed in December after being found guilty of illicitly possessing millions of dollars in foreign currencies. He has also been indicted by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity committed in the western region of Darfur.

 

- Bloomberg

May 22, 2020

China and the United Nations backed calls for Ethiopia to resume talks over its plans to begin filling a giant hydropower dam that are opposed by Egypt.

Ethiopia wants to start supplying the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam when the next rainy season begins in July. Egypt insists on having a say in how quickly it’s filled, because it will affect the flow of the Nile River, the nation’s main source of fresh water. The U.S. and the European Union have both urged the countries to resolve the issue peacefully.

“Regarding the GERD issue, we hope the differences between the two nations could be resolved through dialogue and peaceful negotiations,” Zhang Gaohui, chief of political affairs at the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, said in an emailed response to questions.

U.S. and World Bank-backed efforts to mediate the dispute between Ethiopia and Egypt broke down in February, when Ethiopia withdrew from the talks. Earlier this month, Egypt accused Ethiopia of having “a policy of unilateralism”, according to a letter to the Security Council obtained by Bloomberg. In its response, Ethiopia has said it doesn’t have any legal obligations to seek Egypt’s approval to fill the dam.

The increased pressure for talks comes as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is distracted by negotiations with creditors about debt waivers. Ethiopia is expected to sign a moratorium with the Paris Club in the coming days, to free up capital the country needs to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Sudan has also been party to the discussions about the dam. The Blue Nile that originates in Ethiopia and is one of the main tributaries of the Nile, passes through Sudan en route to Egypt. The Sudanese government is working to restart tripartite talks, it said on Wednesday.

Ethiopian Water Minister Seleshi Bekele said on Twitter that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed received a letter from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel, offering their support in talks between the three nations. The UN urged them to “peacefully resolve” their differences.

“The secretary-general encourages progress towards an amicable agreement,” the spokesperson for UN head Antonio Guterres said in a statement Tuesday.

Ethiopia remains resolute that a so-called declaration of principles agreement signed by Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan in 2015 allows it to proceed with damming the GERD.

“Ethiopia doesn’t need permission of any downstream country to utilize its legitimate share of water,” Seleshi said in a briefing to African diplomats earlier this week. “The first stage of the first filling starts this July.”

The GERD is set to be Africa’s biggest hydropower dam once it’s completed, generating about 6,000 megawatts of electricity. Ethiopia plans to export electricity to neighboring states to help ease an acute foreign-exchange shortage.

 

- Zehabesha

May 22, 2020

The Supreme Court of Zambia has just delivered a fundamental and remarkable Judgement. It has fined Mopani Copper Mines $13 million!

This is a case in which the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has been battling with Mopani Copper Mines and its Swiss parent company Glencore since 2009. Glencore PLC is a British multinational commodity trading and mining company with its headquarters based in Baar, Switzerland.

The background is that the ZRA conducted an Audit of Mopani Copper Mines for the period 2006 – 2009, which revealed that the transactions between the company and its Swiss parent multinational, Glencore International AG (GIAG) violated the Arm’s Length Standards (ALS).

An arm’s length transaction refers to a business deal or transaction in which a buyer and seller act independently without one party influencing the other.

Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima sitting with Justice Nigel Mutuna and Justice Mumba Malila ruled that any tax authority would find serious misgivings on the lack of arm’s length on the revealed transactions between Mopani and Glencore.

The Court found Mopani liable of abusing transfer pricing and used it as a mechanism to avoid paying full taxes due to ZRA.

TRANSFER-PRICING.

The core part of domestic revenue mobilization for any country is taxation of its citizens and the private sector. For Zambia, its mineral resources present an unparalleled economic opportunity to increase domestic revenue through effective taxation of the mining sector.

Despite the tremendous wealth inherent in this sector, Zambia has been struggling to obtain significant financial benefits through taxes from the sector.

This is due to various factors including the volatile mining tax regime policies but also the increasing tax-avoidance  schemes perpetrated by mine houses that might appear legal but are aggressively aimed at reducing the amount of tax payable.

Multinationals increasingly abuse transfer pricing as a mechanism to avoid paying tax. Developing economies are now increasingly aware of these schemes especially the abuse of transfer pricing. African governments are now establishing robust legislative and administrative frameworks to deal with transfer pricing issues.

For Zambia, curbing the abuse of transfer pricing, is a development financing issue, because without adequate tax revenues, our ability to mobilise domestic resources for development is heavily hampered.

The sensitive challenge for Zambia has been to balance the need to protect its tax base while not seen to be discouraging or hampering foreign direct investment in the mining sector.

Zambia has joined many African countries that have begun to put in place, legal rules on the taxation of cross border transactions and the latest Supreme Court Judgement will go a long way in enhancing these measures.

It should be noted that this “arm’s length principle” as emphasised by the Supreme Court of Zambia is at the core of most global standards on controlling transfer pricing perpetrated by multinationals.

AFRICA LOSES $50 BILLION A YEAR IN ILLICIT FINANCIAL FLOWS.

Over the last 50 years, Africa is estimated to have lost in excess of $1 trillion in illicit financial flows (Kar and Cartwright-Smith 2010; Kar and Leblanc 2013).

This amount excludes capital flight. Capital flight is a large-scale exodus of financial assets and capital from a nation due to events such as political or economic instability, currency devaluation or the imposition of capital CONTROLS. This process could entirely be legal or licit.

To resolve the crisis of illicit financial flows and outflows from Africa, the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa tasked the fourth Joint African Union Commission and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (AUC/ECA) Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development held in 2011to handle the matter.

The Conference established a High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa. Illicit financial flows (IFFs) is defined as money that is illegally earned, transferred or
utilize. These funds typically originate from three sources: commercial tax evasion, trade mis-invoicing and the abuse of transfer pricing.

Other origins of illicit financial flows include criminal
activities such as the drug trade, human trafficking, illegal arms dealing, and smuggling of contraband, illegal wildlife trade and bribery and theft by corrupt government officials.

The Panel headed by South Africa’s former president, Thabo Mbeki, established that Africa loses over $50 billion a year through tax avoidance and fraud schemes largely perpetrated by multinational corporations operating in Africa.

It became clear that Africa was a net-creditor to the rest of the world, despite the regular inflow of official development
assistance. The continent continues to suffer from a crisis of insufficient resources for development, largely caused by illicit financial flows.

The Report of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa recommended that Africa must implement measures to radically reduce illicit capital outflows from Africa.

The Panel recognised that the goals of ending poverty in Africa, the goal to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at reducing inequality within and among nations, and the hope to give practical effect to the fundamental objective of the right of all to development, was attainable if African governments and its partners curbed the illicit financial outflows.

 

About The Author: Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba is Zambia’s Permanent Representative to the African Union and to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

May 22, 2020

If the World Health Organization (WHO) wants to maintain its legitimacy on the world stage, it must now answer some tough questions about the extent it has kowtowed to China during the coronavirus pandemic.

It now has a chance to do so, after its members agreed to adopt a resolution for an inquiry into the global handling of the pandemic at a virtual meeting of its annual World Health Assembly on May 19. But there are still many other questions that need to be answered before it can restore its credibility.

We have studied China’s engagement with global health institutions such as the WHO, China’s compliance with global public health norms and how far it succeeds in creating and promoting its own norms around the world. Amid the global crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected nearly five million people and killed more than 320,000 in just a few short months, understanding the relationship between China, where the outbreak began, and the WHO is crucial to the future of global public health.


Read more: The world agreed to a coronavirus inquiry. Just when and how, though, are still in dispute


Uncritical of China

The WHO’s leadership has come under unprecedented scrutiny during the pandemic for giving the impression that it has been swayed by, and beholden to, China. In late January, in the early days of the outbreak, the WHO’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, heaped unqualified praise on China’s COVID-19 policy measures and the leadership of Xi Jinping. He commended the “seriousness” with which China was taking the outbreak, “the commitment from top leadership, and the transparency they have demonstrated”.

But non-transparency and censorship are pervasive in all levels of China’s system of government. Tedros had been warned by his aides of the potential repercussions of his effusive praise of China, but reportedly ignored them. It appears the WHO also took the initial information and data about the epidemic transmitted to it by China at face value.

In late March, Japan’s deputy prime minister, Taro Aso, quipped that the WHO should be renamed the “Chinese Health Organization”. The US president, Donald Trump, went further – criticising the WHO of being too “China-centric” in handling the pandemic and of an “alarming lack of independence” from China.


Read more: China’s coronavirus cover-up: how censorship and propaganda obstructed the truth


Investigation battlefield

The WHO now needs to restore its global credibility. The call for an independent, comprehensive review of the COVID-19 pandemic quickly became a battlefield between China and Western countries, especially Australia and the US. What was eventually adopted on May 19 without objection was a compromise resolution, submitted by the European Union and endorsed by more than 100 other countries.

The resolution does not refer to China, but asks the WHO to work with the World Organisation for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization, now led by the Chinese scientist Qu Dongyu, to: “Identify the zoonotic source of the virus and the route of introduction to the human population, including the possible role of intermediate hosts.” The resolution also looks forward, pointing to potential intellectual property right issues surrounding a new vaccine.

Speaking at the World Health Assembly the day before the resolution was adopted, Xi framed China as a staunch supporter of multilateral global health governance and committed US$2 billion ($1.6 billion) to the international campaign to combat COVID-19. He promised that Chinese vaccines would be “global public goods”, directly confronting fears of a rise in vaccine nationalism in the West. But China’s moves were principally aimed at improving its tarnished reputation.

Tasks for the inquiry

With the resolution adopted, the battle will now centre on who should lead the inquiry. If this inquiry is to be genuinely independent, it must address unanswered questions about who was China’s “patient zero” and when and how they were infected.

A real test would be whether the WHO-led delegation could meet, independently of Chinese authorities, some of the key figures involved in managing the initial stages of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak. It would be enlightening for them to hear at firsthand from frontline doctors in Wuhan hospitals who treated the first batch of COVID-19 patients, such as the doctor Ai Fen. Others they may want to meet are the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s Shi Zhengli, known as China’s “bat woman” and the heads of the genomics laboratories which were reportedly asked to destroy the samples after testing.

Zhang Yongzhen of Fudan University in Shanghai would also be worth speaking to. Zhang has rarely appeared in Chinese official narratives, but his team concluded that the virus was of the coronavirus family, and their results were published in the journal Nature in early February. It later emerged that his laboratory had been ordered to close in early January, with no reason given.

Besides the inquiry into the origins of the virus, another key question is whether the WHO delayed declaring an international emergency after coming under pressure from China, a claim reported by Der Spiegel and Newsweek. According to Newsweek, citing a CIA report, the delay allowed China to hoard essential medical supplies and personal protective equipment from abroad.

Like other UN organisations, the WHO cannot enforce its decisions and policies without the support of its member states. Its success relies on whether it can persuade politicians and officials to comply with its decisions. Maintaining legitimacy is crucial if the WHO is to effectively tackle the future health crises that affect all of humanity.The Conversation

 

Lai-Ha Chan, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Technology Sydney and Pak K Lee, Senior Lecturer in Chinese Politics and International Relations, University of Kent

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

May 21, 2020

The crew of the UK-based Company, Flairjet plane impounded by the Federal Government on Sunday for breaching flight ban in the country has been quarantined in Lagos to ascertain if they have the dreaded coronavirus.

This is even as investigations into the incident by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, is still ongoing.

In a telephone chat with Vanguard yesterday, the Director of Information and Public Affairs, Ministry of Aviation, Dr James Odaudu, confirmed that investigation by the regulatory authority was still ongoing.

He also said the crew of the aircraft was currently undergoing the mandatory 14 days quarantine in Lagos where the aircraft landed. Meanwhile, NCAA yesterday said only the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, or Aviation Ministry officials could make public comments on the issue. The General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, Mr Sam Adurogboye, yesterday directed Vanguard to channel all enquires to the Minister or the Ministry officials.

Recall that the Flair Aviation aircraft operated a commercial flight into Nigeria, despite airspace closure in the country due to COVID-19 pandemic, when it was granted permit to operate a humanitarian flight. READ ALSO: FG impounds UK-based aviation company’s aircraft for violating flight ban Information available revealed that the aircraft, an Embraer Legacy 600, with the registration number G-ERFX and 13 passengers’ seats, piloted by Captain Andy Bell, had applied for humanitarian evacuation to London in support of the Federal Government’s efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on May 12, 2020.

A document showed that the “request was approved on May 13, 2020 by M.S. Noibi, the Director of Air Transport Management, Ministry of Aviation and notified all agencies available. “The aircraft, according to its flight plan, was scheduled to depart London Stansted Airport on Saturday 17, 2020 at 08:00hrs with the flight number FLJ611 and six passengers onboard. “It had a first landing at Alcante El Abet Airport in Spain with six passengers at 12:25hrs. From Spain, the jet departed for the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Lagos with the same flight number: FLJ611 and landed at the airport with seven passengers at 13:05hrs under the guise of essential flight.

“The jet was scheduled to leave Nigeria with seven passengers to Alcante El Abet airport in Spain at 20:20hrs and was to be handled by Execujet Aviation Nigeria Ltd at the Lagos Airport,’’ the document read.

It was when the plane landed in Nigeria that government officials discovered that the company actually operated commercial flight into Nigeria, with a plan to return with another seven passengers onboard.

The aircraft has been impounded by security officials while its cabin crew was arrested and interrogated by security agencies who accused them of flouting the approval given to them by the Nigerian authorities.

The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, had in his official twitter handle, confirmed that the ministry gave the airline an approval for humanitarian operations only to be caught conducting commercial flights into the country.

Sirika twitted: “COVID-19. Flair Aviation, a UK company, was given approval for humanitarian operations, but regrettably we caught them conducting commercial flights. This is callous! The craft is impounded, crew being interrogated. There shall be maximum penalty. Wrong time to try our resolve!” Vanguard

 

Read more at: Vanguard

May 21, 2020

The world is anxiously waiting for the total tally of votes for all the seven Presidential candidates – only one of them will emerge as winner should he achieve the over 50% score.

However, the government has switched off electricity, internet and telecomes. Vote counting is taking place in utter darkness clearly making it possible for vote stuffing.

Results are underway as preliminary tally from various polling stations indicates Agathon Rwasa of CNL party is leading and CNDD-FDD in second position.

Reports have emerged that in some areas, polling stations opened as early as 4AM and Imbonerakure militia were allowed into the voting rooms. But the legal opening time is 6AM and voting ends at 4PM.

Social networking sites in the country have been inaccessible and making phone calls was very difficult.

“This is a clear sign that fraud has been planned. And the change is for tonight. We will all be witnesses to this despite this internet outage or all the other hassles,” said Agathon Rwasa the CNL candidate.

“Why cut communications when it is a right for every citizen? If medical or other intervention was required, how would we proceed with cut communications? If we call people to vote freely, we still have to respect their rights. It’s a shame it’s like this, but that will not prevent the turning point from coming true,” he said.

For Rwasa, his party agents are required to carefully count every ballot cast.

“It is from these reports, if the results seem false, that we will be able to appeal to the authorised bodies. We can’t talk about the verdict at the polls now. Wait for the count. If we are not satisfied, we will say so. If not, we will also say it because it is our right to appreciate or not what this process will have been,” he told press late Wednesday.

The elections are a triple ballot organised to elect the president, legislative representatives and municipal leaders.

Outgoing President Pierre Nkurunziza cast his vote at Buye, in Mwumba commune of Ngozi province. He says these elections are important for three main reasons.

“First, the elections have been financed entirely by the Burundian population. Which is a very good thing and a decisive step in the consolidation of democracy.”

Secondly he compared Wednesday elections to the previous (1965, 1993, 2005, 2010, 2015), “there was always a donor hand that demanded or imposed what should be done, and thereby created ambushes in the election results.”

Nkurunziza said the third reason is that the elections have been held when the Constitution of Burundi has been reformed.

The outgoing president has ruled Burundi with an iron fist and has been isolated further. He however, considers the country’s past political turmoil as a product of ignorance about elections.

“We are saying that those who created problems in the past did not understand the importance of elections,” he said Wednesday, adding that “we must always accept the verdict at the polls and understand that elections do not keep people alive. They allow us to have responsible leaders.”

 

Credit: taarifa.rw

May 21, 2020

In East Africa, long-distance truckers are suspected of carrying the dreaded coronavirus along with their cargo. So for weeks, trucks have stalled at border crossings — with trucks sometimes stretching back hundreds deep at some points — as governments restrict access and implement mandatory COVID-19 testing to protect their residents.

“They are calling us ‘corona.’ We are not corona, and we have certificates on the vehicles, but they are still calling us corona. Why?” asked Muhammed Ali, a Tanzanian trucker halted last week at Uganda’s Mirama Hills border crossing with Rwanda. He carried a paper certifying he had tested negative for the virus.

With truck drivers seen as high-risk COVID-19 carriers after some cases were traced to them, the Kigali government ordered that they turn over their vehicles to Rwandan drivers in a system of relay driving. The other option was to offload merchandise onto Rwandan trucks.

Drivers from other countries refused, saying they had no authorization from their employers and could be held liable for any lost merchandise.

“We drivers don’t like that thing of handing the trucks to other drivers from Rwanda,” said Benjamin Ngugi, a Kenyan trucker also stalled at Mirama Hills.

As trucks stacked up for days, Rwanda and neighboring Tanzania worked out a deal that scrapped plans for relay drivers but mandated transferring cargo at the border, “except for trucks carrying perishable goods and petroleum products destined to Rwanda,” the Kigali government said in a news release Friday. Those “will be escorted at no cost to their final destinations.”

But tensions have escalated between Tanzania and neighboring Kenya over recent days.

Kenya last week began mandatory COVID-19 testing for truckers, ordering that they undergo tests 48 hours before leaving the Port of Mombasa — a shipping hub in the country’s second-largest city — or before entering Kenya from elsewhere in East Africa.

On Saturday, the Nairobi government closed entry points with Tanzania and Somalia, except for cargo trucks whose drivers have tested negative. In an apparent retaliatory move, Tanzania shuttered several crossings on its eastern side Monday.

Kenya's ambassador to Tanzania, Dan Kazungu, attempted to ease the situation Tuesday, saying at a news conference that leaders of the East African Community (EAC) were working together to address the region’s trucking industry problems.

But Wednesday, a day after Kenya announced the return of more than 180 foreigners to Tanzania because of positive COVID test results, a Tanzanian regional official accused the Nairobi government of faulty testing.

Mrisho Gambo, a commissioner in Tanzania’s northern Arusha region, said in a statement that 19 truckers who had tested positive in Kenya subsequently had negative results after retesting in his country. He accused Kenya of “a deliberate sabotage strategy” against tourism in his country, according to local news reports.

Zambia also had closed its border with Tanzania for several days last week after several truck drivers, immigration officers and sex workers tested positive for COVID, Reuters reported.

Several heads of state in the EAC bloc — including Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Salva Kiir of South Sudan — last week agreed to double testing of truckers. They will be allowed to drive through the EAC upon testing negative in their country of origin and at the border.

The leaders also agreed to adopt a harmonized system for certifying and sharing COVID-19 test results and other information. Kiir and his wife, Angelina Teny, who is Uganda’s defense minister, have tested positive for COVID, it was announced Tuesday.

East Africa

Transportation and trade barriers threaten to increase food insecurity in Africa, where an estimated one in five people already are malnourished, a World Health Organization official warned.

“Hunger and malnutrition heighten vulnerability to diseases, the consequences of which could be far-reaching if not properly addressed,” Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, director of the Africa regional office, said last week in a COVID-19 online news briefing organized by the World Economic Forum.

Speaking on the same panel, Chris Nikoi, the World Food Program’s regional director for West Africa, said border delays were “leading to increase in prices.” He said the WFP, part of the United Nations, was consulting with governments, agriculture and trade organizations to ensure that “the flow of food and goods is not overly restricted.”

Amid the pandemic, Nikoi added, “it becomes even more critical to allow trade and commerce to function in the most efficient manner.”

 

Source: VOA

May 21, 2020

10.4% more new Tesla were registered in Germany in April 2020 than in the same month of last year. This is in spite of the considerable overall cooling of the market in the face of the Corona crisis: across all manufacturers, 61.1% fewer vehicles were registered.

Tesla also stands out positively in other respects these days, as can be seen in a new infographic from Kryptoszene.de.

While Tesla was able to increase sales significantly, German carmakers reported a sharp decline. In April, 48.6% fewer Volkswagen vehicles took the roads in Germany than last year. Out of all brands, Smart saw the sharpest drop in registrations, with their market share falling by 94.1%. This was revealed by data from the Federal Motor Transport Authority.

A glance at share price performance for listed car manufacturers reveals a similar picture. While Tesla’s market capitalization has climbed by around 99% so far this year, Porsche, BMWVW and Daimler have all seen share prices fall.

Moderate Demand for Tesla Shares

Despite remarkable share price development as well as promising sales figures, the Google trend score for “Tesla shares“, a measure of relative search volume, is surprisingly low. On 15th May the score stood at 27, with a value of 100 representing the greatest possible interest.

As the infographics show, the electric pioneer sold more vehicles in the first quarter of 2020 than in the first quarter of any other year to date. 88,496 vehicles rolled onto the roads in the first three months of the year, compared to 63,019 last year and just 25,000 in 2017.

Tesla News Gives Grounds for Optimism

The Group recently announced news that has been positively received by many analysts. According to Reuters, Tesla is working on a battery that is expected to last around one million miles. This battery will be installed in the Model 3 series, possibly from as early as the beginning of 2021.

Even the competition is acknowledges Tesla’s know-how: VW boss Diess recently admitted that Tesla was miles ahead of Volkswagen in terms of software development.

Although we will have to wait and see if the rally will last, the company seems to have a lot going for it. For example, a survey by “Venson Automotive Solutions” revealed that 45% of Britons are reconsidering buying an electric car due to perceived air improvements during the lockdowns. Due to its market position, Tesla is well placed to benefit considerably from this.

  1. Opinions and Analysis

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