Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Sunday he would meet Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Russia to discuss a dispute over a hydropower dam that the Horn of Africa country is building on the River Nile.
A long-running diplomatic standoff over building and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has heightened tensions between the two countries. Egypt worries that the dam will threaten its already scarce water supplies.
“I agreed with the Ethiopian prime minister to meet in Moscow and to discuss the issue to move forward, and God willing, things will go in a way that helps to solve this issue in one way or another,” Sisi said at a military forum on Sunday.
He did not say when they would meet, but Russia will host the first Russian-African summit in the Black sea resort of Sochi on Oct. 23 and 24.
Sisi and Abiy spoke on Friday after the Ethiopian prime minister won the Nobel Peace Prize for his peacemaking efforts with Eritrea. Sisi had congratulated Abiy on Facebook.
“The call included a stress on the importance of overcoming any obstacles in the negotiations of the Renaissance Dam,” said Egyptian presidency spokesman Bassam Rady.
Ethiopia, the source of the Blue Nile which joins the White Nile in Khartoum and runs on to Egypt, says the dam will not disrupt the river’s flow and hopes the project will transform it into a power hub for the electricity-hungry region.
Sudan, which is also involved in the talks, hopes to buy electricity produced by the dam.
Sisi said his government had a plan, through 2037, worth 900 billion Egyptian pounds ($55 billion) to overcome “water poverty”. The plan includes building huge sea water desalination plants and sewage triple treatment plants.
Sisi said Egypt had already spent 200 billion pounds on the plan, and would spend 70-100 billion more next year.
Many Egyptians on social media criticised Sisi for signing a 2015 “declaration of principles” with Ethiopia and Sudan, which was meant to serve as a basis for negotiations. Critics say the declaration has strengthened Addis Ababa’s hand in talks, and no breakthrough has been made since it was signed in Khartoum.
Sisi blamed the 2011 uprising which toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak for weakening Cairo’s position in the dam negotiations.
“If not for 2011, there would have been a strong and easy agreement on constructing this dam, but when the country exposed its back and … stripped its shoulder naked, anything could be done,” he said at the military forum.
The remains of former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, who died on September 6, arrived in his home village on Monday for a subdued farewell at a dusty sports field after a weekend state funeral with African leaders in the capital.
Mugabe, who died aged 95 on a medical trip to Singapore, stayed in power for nearly four decades until a 2017 coup ended his increasingly autocratic rule.
His death has left Zimbabwe deeply split over the legacy of a man once praised as an anti-colonial liberation icon, but whose regime was defined by brutal repression and economic chaos.
He was given a state funeral on Saturday, but the return of Mugabe’s body to his place of birth northwest of the capital was a low-key event.
The brown coffin with silver trimmings was placed under a small white tent surrounded by marquees sheltering about 1,000 people. Another 1,000 had gathered in the midday sun at a business area about 10 kilometres (six miles) from Mugabe’s homestead.
Led by Mugabe’s two sons — Robert Jr and Bellarmine — hundreds of villagers filed past the casket surrounded by wreaths of white flowers.
“He has left a void, a big void. It’s a gap that no one can fill,” Mhedziso Chibatamoto, 44, wearing a red and grey tailored shirt with a portrait of Mugabe.
Dozens of boys from Kutama High School, Mugabe’s old school, wearing blue blazers joined the mourners.
A young woman waved a giant poster of Mugabe’s portrait with the caption “hero”.
A group of women placed in front of the VIP area four clay pots and a calabash gourd, part of local funeral rites.
Before the cortege arrived, mourners were handed shirts, scarves and other clothes bearing images of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former long-time ally who turned against Mugabe in his 2017 ouster.
That sparked an angry response from some. One unidentified ZANU-PF ruling party official took the microphone, complaining it was not a rally.
“It’s wrong. This is about Mugabe,” said local resident Nhamo Mashonganyika, who donned a red beret with Mugabe’s portrait on front.
Many Mugabe family members are bitter over his ouster and the role played by Mnangagwa, who was elected president soon after Mugabe was toppled.
Mugabe had fired him as vice president in 2017, in what many saw as an attempt to have his wife Grace Mugabe succeed him. That prompted protests and army pressure that eventually forced Mugabe out of power, part of a broader split in the ZANU-PF party between Mnangagwa’s faction and Mugabe loyalists.
Mugabe’s final burial was also caught up in dispute between his family and the government. But they finally agreed he would be buried in about 30 days in a national monument once a new mausoleum is built for him.
(Bloomberg) — The Zimbabwean government has declared a state of disaster in all urban and rural areas following a drought that has cut crop output by more than half, the Civil Protection Unit said in the Government Gazette.
The drought has affected more than 5.7 million people, according to aid agencies, and the country expects to import as much as 800,000 tons of corn. Zimbabwe’s government has appealed for $464 million to stave off famine.
By ANDREW MELDRUM and FARAI MUTSAKA, Associated Pres
Controversy over where and when former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe will be buried and a stampede which injured several people trying to view his body marred the mourning for the deceased leader Thursday.
A crowd insisting to see Mugabe’s face in the partially opened casket surged past a police cordon, causing a crush in which several were injured at Rufaro Stadium in the capital’s poor Mbare neighborhood where thousands had come to view his body.
“I want to see my father,” said Margaret Marisa, 63, one of those who pushed their way into the line. “I was a collaborator who supported him in the war against Rhodesia. I have supported him ever since.”
At least five people were carried away on stretchers and the severity of their injuries wasn’t immediately clear. Others limped away or were treated by Red Cross medics on the field. Riot police later restored order, at times using batons to strike those pushing to get into the line.
Mugabe’s widow, Grace, sat on a podium to the side of the sports field where Mugabe’s casket was under a tent at the center. The event was marked by singing and drumming of traditional songs of bereavement.
The casket was open to allow a view of Mugabe’s face, eyes closed and calm. Even the most raucous youths who were in the crush were subdued after walking single file past the casket.
“This man was a legend. He played a pivotal role in our lives,” said John Chiwashira, 36, a member of the National Youth Service. “I saw his face. He was asleep.”
A military helicopter later landed on the field and carried away the coffin with Mugabe’s widow, wearing a black veil, at its side. The casket was returned to Mugabe’s Blue Roof house in the capital.
The dispute between Mugabe’s family and the government has overshadowed arrangements for Zimbabweans to pay their respects to the late leader.
Mugabe will not be given a state burial on Sunday at the national Heroes’ Acre site, family spokesman Leo Mugabe announced Thursday. The burial will be a private, family affair, he said to press outside Mugabe’s Blue Roof house.
“There have just been discussions between President Mnangagwa and Mai (Mrs.) Mugabe and it would look like nothing has changed,” said the ex-president’s nephew. “The family … said they are going to have a private burial. We don’t want the public to come. They don’t want you to know where he is going to be buried. We are not witnessing burial on Sunday, no date has been set for the burial.”
The announcement came after President Emmerson Mnangagwa met with Mugabe’s widow, Grace, and other family members to try to resolve the burial dispute.
Instead of an interment on Sunday, Mugabe’s body will be on view to the public at a place near Mugabe’s birthplace in Zvimba district, said Leo Mugabe, who added that the family had not decided if he would be buried in Zvimba.
Speaking at the Mugabe house, Mnangagwa said his government would respect the family’s wishes over the burial, saying they have “the full support of the government. Nothing will change.”
The ongoing uncertainty of the burial of Mugabe, who died last week in Singapore at the age of 95, has eclipsed the elaborate plans for Zimbabweans to pay their respects to the former guerrilla leader at several historic sites.
The burial dispute has also highlighted the lasting acrimony between Mnangagwa and Mugabe’s wife and other family members. Mugabe was deposed in November 2017 by Zimbabwe’s military and his former ally Mnangagwa. Grace and other family members still resent his ouster, apparently resulting in their refusal to go along with state burial plans.
Shortly after Mugabe’s death, Leo Mugabe said the former strongman died “a very bitter man” because he felt betrayed by Mnangagwa and the army generals who were his allies for close to four decades before they put him under house arrest and forced him to resign.
It has long been taken for granted that Mugabe would be buried at Heroes’ Acre monument, a burial place reserved for top officials of Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party who contributed to ending white colonial rule.
Mugabe had overseen the construction by North Korea of the monument atop a prominent hill and featuring a grandiose towering sculpture of guerrilla fighters. Mugabe gave many speeches at the site and his first wife, Sally, is buried there next to a gravesite long reserved for the ex-leader.
Mugabe’s casket will be displayed to the public at several sites. It will also be shown Friday at Rufaro Stadium.
On Saturday a ceremony will be held at the National Sports Stadium, which several African heads of state and other prominent officials are expected to attend. Supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party are being bused from all over the country to go to the stadium ceremonies.
Grace Mugabe is expected to stay beside the casket the entire time.
Earlier Thursday at Blue Roof, Mugabe’s 25-bedroom mansion in Harare’s posh Borrowdale suburb, Zimbabwe’s opposition leader paid his respects to the man who had been his bitter political foe.
“I am here to do the African thing that is expected … to pay honor,” said Nelson Chamisa, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, the main opposition party.
“In politics we have had many differences but we are here to reflect on his contribution. … We are here to pay condolences to the Mugabe family, all Zimbabweans and indeed the whole of Africa. It is only fair and necessary to see that we unite to see that he is given a decent burial and a peaceful send off. Today is a day of mourning.”
Relatives and government officials attended a mass for Zimbabwe’s ex-president Robert Mugabe in Singapore on Tuesday after arriving in the country where he died to collect his body.
Mugabe, a guerrilla leader who swept to power after Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain and went on to rule for 37 years until he was ousted in 2017, died on Friday, aged 95.
His health deteriorated after he was toppled by the military and former loyalists in November 2017, ending an increasingly tyrannical rule that sent the economy into ruin.
Family members and officials arrived in Singapore, where he was treated for several months before dying, early Tuesday on a chartered flight.
They are due to fly out with his body at around 8:30 am (0030 GMT) Wednesday, said his nephew Adam Molai.
The group, who included Vice President Kembo Mohadi, attended a private Catholic mass for Mugabe at the funeral parlour where his body is, officiated by a Zimbabwean priest.
The mood at the service was “sombre, everybody is sad”, said Molai.
“I will always remember the immense, immense contribution he made not only to the people of Zimbabwe but to the people of Africa,” he said.
Asked whether Mugabe had been bitter about being ousted, he said: “Everybody is human. When you go through an experience of that sort, of course you feel pain.”
Zimbabweans have been divided over how to mourn a former leader once hailed as a liberation hero but who later brutally repressed his opponents.
On arrival in Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s body will be taken straight to his village in Kutama, in Zvimba district west of the capital Harare, for an overnight wake.
On Thursday and Friday the body will lie in state at Rufaro Stadium in Mbare township in Harare — where Mugabe took his oath of office — for the public to pay their final respects.
The official funeral will be held on Saturday at the giant 60,000-seat National Sports Stadium in Harare and foreign leaders are expected to attend.
The location of the burial remains unclear, with Mugabe’s family and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government apparently at odds over whether it would be at his homestead northwest of Harare or at a shrine for liberation heroes in the capital.
Author and Published By: AllAfrica Publication Date: 27 November 2018.
For some, he will always remain a hero who brought independence and an end to white-minority rule. Even those who forced him out blamed his wife and “criminals” around him. But to his growing number of critics, this highly educated, wily politician became the caricature of an African dictator, who destroyed an entire country in order to keep his job.
“Africa – Mobile Network Operators and MVNOs” report has been added to its Research Database.
Africa is a region in which mobile telephony infrastructure is the mainstay for telecom services. In some markets up to 99% of voice and data connections are via mobile networks. This reflects the relative success of network deployments as much as the very poor condition of fixed-line infrastructure, which has suffered from neglect, under investment or destruction resulting from intermittent wars and civil dislocations. In a number of countries which remain war-torn or politically unstable – particularly in the Horn of Africa and in areas of Libya, the DRC, Cameroon and Burkina Faso – there are few inducements to extend fixed line services. Additional difficulties are the absence of reliable electricity and the low use of computers.
The size and range of the diverse markets within Africa have contributed to varied market penetration rates between countries. By early 2019 the highest mobile penetration was found in countries including South Africa (169%), Botswana (160%), Gabon (159%), and Mauritius (147%). To some degree high penetration reflects the popularity of consumers having multiple SIM cards despite efforts among most regulators to enforce measures by which operators must register SIM card users. These efforts are partly geared to removing dormant SIM cards from operators’ databases, and thereby providing a more accurate impression of market dynamics. There are also widely-held concerns among governments that crime, civil disturbances and terrorism can be facilitated or orchestrated via the use of mobile phones and that such activities can be curtailed by enforcing the registration of subscribers’ identities.
At the other end of the scale there are a number of countries in which far greater government direction, market competition and regulatory oversight are required for the local mobile markets to develop further. Some of the lowest penetration rates on the continent are in Madagascar and Malawi (both at about 35%), Chad and Djibouti (both at 41%), and Niger (49%). A number of other countries are notable for having suffered from considerable civil and economic disruption, including South Sudan and Eritrea (both at (11%).
The mobile market in Africa is almost entirely prepaid. Commonly, about 99% of all subscribers are prepaid since this offer a far more economically manageable means to gain access to voice and data services than does a contract plan. In addition, year-on-year a greater proportion of the continent’s population is able to afford mobile services, leading to a steady increase in the subscriber base. Affordability has been extended by the positive effects on pricing from market competition and by measures to reduce termination rates.
In addition, many countries have signed up to regional agreements aimed at reducing international roaming charges. Regional roaming initiatives reduce charges for customers, increase regulated traffic, and curtail grey traffic (the re-origination of long-distance calls). The East Africa One Network Area has been in effect since April 2016, while the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) came into play in December 2016. The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) provides a similar agreement (signed in October 2017) among its 19-member bloc, stretching from Libya in the north to eSwatini (Swaziland) in the south.
While network operators have seen reduced revenue from roaming access, this has generally been recouped from a sharp increase in international traffic.
A few countries within Africa retain incumbent monopolies for the provision of services, while others have seen consolidation among players (largely due to operators such as Airtel and Tigo leaving certain markets, or the failure of some poorly managed enterprises). In sum, though, there is effective competition within the mobile sector across the region. This has also encouraged competition for services based on upgraded technologies, which in turn has encouraged investment. Africa remains the main region globally for m-money and m-banking services, for example, and while there is little focus on 5G deployments as yet there is considerable effort being undertaken to upgrade networks from 3G infrastructure to LTE. This process is uneven, since in many areas GSM remains the dominant technology. While MNOs are keen to invest in LTE and so capitalise on the revenue potential of mobile data services, they face difficulties related to the paucity of spectrum and delays in auctioning additional spectrum needed to extend services and upgrade network capacity.