German economic minister expected in Namibia capital today

German economic minister expected in Namibia capital today

WINDHOEK – German Minister for Economic Cooperation Development Gerd Müller is expected in the country today, the German Embassy in Windhoek said in a statement.

Müller, who will be here until next week Monday, will start his visit with a meeting with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Professor Peter Katjavivi.

He will also have an audience with Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein.

Müller will also visit programmes supported in the framework of German development cooperation.
He will visit projects in Katutura aimed at improving the living conditions in the informal settlements and will meet Namibian start-up companies at the Bokamoso Entrepreneurial Center.

Afterwards, Müller and his delegation will travel to the north of Namibia where he will visit a training farm for climate adaptation strategies in agriculture in Mashare.

Together with the Minister for Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, Müller will officially open the newly equipped park station Buffalo in the Bwabwata National Park.
The new park station was funded with German support. On the way to Katima Mulilo, he will meet with representatives from conservancies and also from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and non-governmental organisations.

Before his departure to South Africa, Müller will travel to Walvis Bay where he will visit the harbour as well as a research project on the Benguela Current, supported by the German Ministry for Environment.
Close partnership between Germany and Namibia

Due to their long and joint history, Germany and Namibia are closely connected. Development cooperation is an integral part of the relationship between Namibia and Germany. Since 1990, around one billion Euros of public funds have been made available for this purpose.

The focal areas of the bilateral development cooperation are the promotion of sustainable economic development, the management of natural resources and the development of the transport sector.
In the current framework of bilateral technical and financial cooperation, programmes to the volume of 400 million Euros (N$6.8 billion) are being implemented together with the Namibian government.

President Macron and G7 leaders provide AfDB’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative with $251 million

President Macron and G7 leaders provide AfDB’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative with $251 million

French President Emmanuel Macron and G7 leaders on Sunday approved a package totalling $251 million in support of the African Development Bank’s (www.AfDB.org) AFAWA initiative to support women entrepreneurs in Africa.

“I am particularly proud, as the current G7 president, that the programme we are supporting today, the AFAWA initiative, comes from an African organisation, the African Development Bank, which works with African guarantee funds and a network of African banks,” Macron stated at a press conference at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France.

The risk-sharing mechanism used by AFAWA (Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa) is a practical approach to international commitments. It is a direct response to the demand by women to ease access to financing, specifically on the need to establish a financing mechanism for women’s economic empowerment, adopted during a summit of African heads of state in 2015 and assigned to the African Development Bank for implementation.

“African women are the backbone of the continent. I’m thrilled to bring their voice to the G7. AFAWA is essential for our continent,” said Beninese artist Angelique Kidjo, a guest at the press conference in her role as programme ambassador.

The Bank’s president Akinwumi Adesina applauded the “extraordinary support of all the G7 heads of state and government, which will provide incredible momentum” to the AFAWA programme.

“This is a great day for African women,” Adesina said. “Investing in women entrepreneurs in Africa is important, because women are not only Africa’s future, they are Africa’s present”.

“Currently, women operate over 40% of SMEs in Africa, but there is a financing gap of $42 billion between male and female entrepreneurs. This gap must be closed, and quickly,” he added.

AFAWA aims to raise up to $5 billion for African women entrepreneurs and the African Development Bank will provide $1 billion financing. “This financing effort for women is the most significant in the continent’s history,” Adesina noted.

The AFAWA initiative, backed by the G7 nations, is based on three fundamental principles. The first is to improve women’s access to financing through innovative and adapted financial instruments, including guarantee mechanisms to support women entrepreneurs.

In cooperation with strategic partners, the second principle is to provide capacity-building services to women entrepreneurs, including access to mentoring and training courses in entrepreneurship. AFAWA also assists financial institutions in responding to specific needs of women-led businesses through specially adapted financial and non-financial products.

The third principle is improving the legal and regulatory environment, eliminating obstacles that specifically affect women by engaging in policy dialogue with governments, central banks, and other institutions.

This press conference on AFAWA is part of the G7 Summit’s emphasis on reducing inequality, specifically including a renewed partnership with Africa. This partnership will be highlighted by creating sustainable employment and supporting entrepreneurship, particularly women entrepreneurs.

France holds the presidency of the G7 in 2019, and President Emmanuel Macron is championing gender equality as a major theme of his five-year term.

Trump hits Baltimore, Rep Cummings in new racist tweets

Trump hits Baltimore, Rep Cummings in new racist tweets

US President Donald Trump was hit with new accusations of racism Saturday after he attacked African-American lawmaker Elijah Cummings and branded the majority black city of Baltimore an “infested mess.”

Trump’s outburst came in a series of sharply worded tweets aimed at Democratic Representative Cummings — a high-profile critic of Trump’s administration whose district covers much of Baltimore.

“Cumming (sic) District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess,” the president wrote, calling it “the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States.”

“No human being would want to live there,” he said — in an attack ostensibly provoked by Cummings’ criticism of the harsh conditions facing would-be asylum seekers at the Mexican border.

“Rep. Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous,” Trump charged.

The president’s morning diatribe ignited a storm of criticism, less than two weeks after the US House of Representatives condemned him for “racist” comments targeting a Somali-born lawmaker.
The top Democrat in Congress, Nancy Pelosi — whose father served as mayor of Baltimore — accused Trump of a “racist” attack.

“@RepCummings is a champion in the Congress and the country for civil rights and economic justice, a beloved leader in Baltimore, and deeply valued colleague,” Pelosi wrote on Twitter.
We all reject racist attacks against him and support his steadfast leadership.”

The Democratic mayor of Baltimore Bernard “Jack” Young — who is black — rejected Trump’s rhetoric as “hurtful and dangerous.”

“It’s completely unacceptable for the political leader of our country to denigrate a vibrant American City like Baltimore, and to viciously attack US Representative Elijah Cummings,” Young wrote in a statement.

Prominent Democratic presidential candidate, Kamala Harris, tweeted that she was “proud” to have her 2020 campaign headquarters in the Cummings district.

“It’s disgraceful the president has chosen to start his morning disparaging this great American city,” said Harris, one of two leading black candidates in the race to succeed Trump.

Cummings himself tweeted: “Mr. President, I go home to my district daily. Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors. It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.”

As chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Cummings — one of the most prominent African Americans in Congress — has launched investigations into Trump administration policies, including reports of poor treatment at migrant detention centers.

Trump’s attack was reminiscent of his recent, racially-charged criticism of four young Democratic lawmakers, all women of color, who he suggested should “go back” to the “crime infested” places they came from. In fact, three were born in the US and all four are American citizens.

Baltimore, a historic port city, presents a mixed picture, with both handsome and affluent neighborhoods and large poverty-stricken districts. It has one of the country’s highest murder rates.
Cummings’ district is more than 50 percent black — and the city of Baltimore as whole more than 60 percent.

Iran warns new British PM it will ‘protect’ Gulf waters

Iran warns new British PM it will ‘protect’ Gulf waters

Iran warned Britain’s next prime minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday that it will “protect” waters of the oil-rich Gulf, amid a standoff between the two countries over the seizure of tankers.

In the face of rising hostilities with the United States, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on Friday impounded a tanker sailing under the flag of US ally Britain.
The seizure of the Stena Impero ship has been seen as a tit-for-tat move after British authorities detained an Iranian tanker on July 4 in the Mediterranean on suspicion it was shipping oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions.

“I congratulate my former counterpart, @BorisJohnson on becoming UK PM,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted after Johnson beat his rival, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, in a party vote.

“Iran does not seek confrontation. But we have 1500 miles of Persian Gulf coastline. These are our waters & we will protect them.”

Iran’s top diplomat warned Britain against “implementing the ploys of the B team”, in a video message posted along with his tweet.

Zarif uses the term “B team” to refer to US national security adviser John Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Saudi and Abu Dhabi crown princes Mohammed bin Salman and Mohammed bin Zayed, who are all pushing a hard line on Iran.

“The B Team is losing ground in the United States and now turning their attention to the United Kingdom,” he tweeted.

Iran has impounded the Stena Impero at its port of Bandar Abbas for allegedly breaking “international maritime rules”.

“Throughout history, Iran has been and will be the main guardian of security and free navigation” in the Gulf, President Hassan Rouhani said late Monday, adding that Tehran was not seeking to stoke tensions.

In new footage aired by Iranian state television, the crew of 18 Indians, three Russians, a Latvian and a Filipino are seen sitting around a table and seemingly going about their daily routines.

– Nuclear meeting –

Since the US began reimposing sanctions on Iran, tensions have mounted with drones shot down and tankers mysteriously attacked in sensitive Gulf waters.

At the height of the crisis, US President Donald Trump called off air strikes against Iran at the last minute in June after the Islamic republic downed a US drone.

Iran also said Monday it had arrested 17 suspects and sentenced some to death after dismantling a CIA spy network — claims Trump dismissed as “totally false”.

Tehran has been at loggerheads with Washington and its allies since May 2018, when Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran said it would attend a meeting in Vienna this weekend with countries still party to the troubled accord.

The meeting was requested by the European parties to discuss the “new situation”, Iran said, referring to its reduced nuclear commitments under the deal in response to the US withdrawal.

The EU confirmed Iran would meet envoys from the remaining parties — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — on Sunday.

Tehran has already given up on complying with some of the deal’s limits on its nuclear programme in retaliation for the US withdrawal and what it sees as the failure of other parties to help it circumvent sanctions.

– ‘De-escalation’ –

Iran’s deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi has left for France to deliver a message from Rouhani to his counterpart Emmanuel Macron, the ministry’s spokesman tweeted Tuesday, without elaborating.

Macron’s top diplomatic adviser Emmanuel Bonne visited Iran on July 9 to “piece together a de-escalation” strategy and met top Iranian officials.

The 2015 deal curbed Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.
But on May 8 — more than a year after the US withdrawal — Iran said it would disregard certain limits on the programme as it was not receiving any benefits.
Iran has threatened further measures if the remaining parties to the deal fail to help it circumvent US sanctions, especially to sell its oil.

It has since exceeded the deal’s limits on its enriched uranium and heavy water stockpiles, as well as passing a cap on its uranium enrichment.
The 4.5 percent enrichment level it reached is well below the more than 90 percent required for a nuclear warhead.

Iran has yet to specify what other steps it may take, and has repeatedly emphasised its actions can be reversed “within hours” if European partners deliver on commitments.

Meanwhile, China described as “illegal” US sanctions imposed on its companies as part of Washington’s campaign against Iran.

Boris Johnson wins race to become Britain’s next PM

Boris Johnson wins race to become Britain’s next PM

Source: Courtesy AFP News

Boris Johnson won the race to become Britain’s next prime minister on Tuesday, heading straight into a confrontation over Brexit with Brussels and parliament, as well as a tense diplomatic standoff with Iran.

The former London mayor easily beat his rival, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, in a vote of members of the governing Conservative Party.
He is expected to be confirmed as prime minister on Wednesday, when his predecessor Theresa May formally tenders her resignation to Queen Elizabeth II.
US President Donald Trump was the first world leader to offer his congratulations, saying: “He will be great!”

It is a triumph for a man who has always wanted the top job, but Johnson, known for his jokes and bluster, is taking over at a time of immense political upheaval.
Three years after the referendum vote to leave the European Union, Britain remains a member amid continued wrangling in a divided parliament on how to proceed.

– ‘We’ll get Brexit done’ –

Johnson led the 2016 Brexit campaign and — after May delayed Brexit twice — insists the latest deadline must be kept, with or without a divorce agreement with the EU.
“We’re going to get Brexit done on October 31,” he declared after winning 66 percent of almost 160,000 votes cast.

However, Brussels says it will not renegotiate the deal it struck with May to ease the end of a 46-year partnership — even after MPs rejected it three times.

EU negotiator Michel Barnier said he wanted to work with Johnson “to facilitate the ratification of the withdrawal agreement and achieve an orderly #Brexit”.

But he said he was ready to “rework” an accompanying declaration on future UK-EU ties.
Although parliament dislikes May’s deal, Johnson faces significant opposition from MPs to his threat to leaving with no deal, including from Conservative colleagues.

Several ministers said they will not serve under Johnson, warning that severing ties with Britain’s closest trading partner with no new arrangements is deeply irresponsible.

But addressing Conservative members after his win, Johnson insisted with his trademark optimism that he would find a way through the deadlock.

“Like some slumbering giant we are going to rise and ping off the guy ropes of self-doubt and negativity,” he said.

– ‘Brilliant or a disaster’ –

Johnson promised to “work flat out from now on”, saying he would announce his top team in the coming days.

But Westminster is watching for any early challenge which could stop him automatically becoming prime minister.

May’s government has a majority of just two in the 650-seat House of Commons, made possible through an alliance with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
The main opposition Labour party is not expected to force a confidence vote this week — but some in his own party have already tried.

Junior foreign minister Alan Duncan, who quit this week, revealed he had sought to force a vote on Tuesday but was blocked by Commons Speaker John Bercow.
However, other colleagues who do not agree with Johnson are still willing to give him a chance.

“I think he needs to be given an opportunity to go out there to engage with the European Commission,” outgoing justice minister David Gauke told BBC radio.
MPs are expected to go on their summer holidays on Friday, giving Johnson some breathing room over the summer to try to get a new Brexit deal.

But when he returns, if “no deal” looks likely, many MPs have vowed to stop him — a move that could trigger an early election.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn challenged Johnson on Tuesday to call a vote, although both his party and the Tories are struggling amid a splintering of support among a public deeply divided over Brexit.

They face a challenge from Nigel Farage’s eurosceptic Brexit Party on one side, and the pro-EU Liberal Democrats on the other.

Outside parliament, where pro- and anti-Brexit protesters gather daily, reaction to Johnson’s win was mixed.

“What a disaster!” said Janet Ellis, 68, who opposes Brexit. But eurosceptic Michelle Pearce, 64, said: “It’s the most we can hope for.”

“He’ll be brilliant or a disaster,” Pearce said.

– Gulf tensions –

Johnson’s domestic battles might have to take a backseat during his first days in office as he manages tensions with Iran.

The Islamic republic seized a UK-flagged tanker in the strategic Strait of Hormuz last Friday — two weeks after UK authorities detained an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar.
The standoff comes amid escalating tensions between Iran and the United States over the Islamic republic’s nuclear ambitions.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted his congratulations to Johnson, saying: “Iran does not seek confrontation.

“But we have 1500 miles of Persian Gulf coastline. These are our waters & we will protect them.”

China, Russia agree to upgrade relations for new era

China, Russia agree to upgrade relations for new era

Source: Xinhua|Editor: Liangyu

MOSCOW, June 5 (Xinhua) — China and Russia agreed on Wednesday to upgrade their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era.

The decision was made at a meeting between visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

During the meeting, the two heads of state highly evaluated the development of bilateral ties over the past 70 years, agreed to uphold the notion of good neighborliness and win-win cooperation, develop a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era in a bid to take bilateral ties to a higher level and better benefit the peoples of the two countries and the world as well.

Xi noted that it is his first state visit to Russia following his re-election as Chinese president last year, and is the eighth time he travelled to the country since 2013, saying that the China-Russia relationship is seeing a continuous, steady and sound development at a high level, and is at its best in history.

nile explorer south sudan

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin hold talks at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, June 5, 2019. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)

Both sides, said Xi, have firmly supported each other in their efforts to defend respective core interests and nurtured strong political and strategic mutual trust, adding that they have actively pushed forward all-around cooperation as internal driving forces of bilateral ties are emerging, and the convergence of the two countries’ interests is deepening.

China and Russia have played active roles in international affairs and global governance, and made important contributions to maintaining world peace and stability as well as international fairness and justice, he said.

The Chinese leader noted that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the China-Russia diplomatic relationship, calling it a milestone and a new starting point.

Acknowledging the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, Xi said China and Russia shoulder an even greater expectation from the peoples of the two countries and the international community.

He added that the Chinese side is ready to join Russia in amplifying the positive effect of the two countries’ high level of political relationship, bringing more benefits of bilateral cooperation to the two peoples, and presenting more China-Russia options for global affairs.

Noting that the world today is becoming increasingly uncertain and unstable, Xi said enhancing the China-Russia relationship is the call of history, and a firm strategic choice by both sides.

He called on the two sides to strengthen strategic communication and coordination, and further their mutual support on issues regarding their respective core interests.

Xi also urged the two countries to further promote their economic and trade cooperation, push forward cooperation on major strategic projects as well as in emerging fields at the same time, and boost cooperation at local levels, and in economy and trade, investment, energy, technology, aerospace, inter-connectivity, agriculture and finance sectors.

The two sides, according to Xi, should actively push forward their cooperation to dock the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Eurasian Economic Union so as to promote regional economic integration.

To step up people-to-people exchanges, Xi said the plan for the China-Russia year of scientific and technological innovation from 2020 to 2021 should be well designed.

He said China and Russia, both permanent members of the UN Security Council, are going to continue working with the international community to safeguard the international order that is based on the international law with the UN at the core, maintain multilateral trading system and make new contributions to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Putin warmly welcomed Xi for his visit, saying that with joint efforts from both sides since the establishment of diplomatic ties 70 years ago, the Russia-China relationship has reached an unprecedented high level, and the two countries’ all-around exchanges and cooperation have been fruitful.

The Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination has not only benefited the two peoples, but has also become an important force for safeguarding global security and strategic stability, he said.

Putin called on the two countries not to be complacent about what they have achieved, but be dedicated to bettering their bilateral relations.

Xi’s visit is of great significance in the complicated and volatile international situation, and it will inject strong impetus into the development of the Russia-China ties in the new era, Putin said.

Russia and China should continue to strengthen coordination on major international and regional issues, jointly deal with the challenges of unilateralism and protectionism, and maintain global peace and stability.

The Russian leader said his country is committed to deepening cooperation with China in the fields of economy and trade, agriculture, finance, science and technology, environment protection, telecommunications and infrastructure construction.

Russia is willing to boost interactions at local levels, and promote exchanges in education, culture and tourism, according to him.

Putin also said Russia is ready to provide China with sufficient oil and gas, and export more soybeans and other farm produce to China, and expects a faster alignment between the Eurasian Economic Union and the BRI.

Also at the meeting, Xi and Putin were briefed by officials from both countries on bilateral cooperation in priority areas, and they exchanged views on the Korean Peninsula situation, the Iran nuclear issue and the Venezuela issue, among others.

The two heads of state agreed to step up communication and coordination in the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the BRICS, the APEC, and the G20 to jointly safeguard multilateralism and the norms of international relations.

Following the meeting, Xi and Putin signed the statements on elevating bilateral ties to the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era, and on strengthening contemporary global strategic stability.

According to the joint statement on the strategic partnership, the China-Russian relationship has entered a new era, and is facing new opportunities for greater development.

It said that the goal of such a new kind of partnership is for both sides to give more support to each other as they seek to take their own development paths, preserve respective core interests, and protect sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Therefore, said the statement, the two sides will closely coordinate with each other in aligning their development strategies, expand mutually beneficial cooperation in economy and trade, as well as investment, and further tap into the potential of bilateral ties.

The statement also said the two sides will give full play to the guiding role of the two heads of state in developing bilateral ties, and will regard political, security, practical, people-to-people exchanges, as well as international coordination cooperation as priorities of the China-Russia partnership.

The two leaders, after their meeting, have also witnessed the signing of a number of cooperation documents, met the press, visited an exhibition of cars produced by Great Wall Motors’ plant in Russia’s Tula region, and attended the inauguration ceremony of the panda house in Moscow Zoo.

Before their meeting, Putin held a grand welcome ceremony for Xi at the Kremlin.