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5 African Presidents, others meet to discuss Africa’s post-COVID economy at AEC – Organisers

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Presidents from five African countries are set to converge on Sal Island, Cape Verde, for the African Economic Conference, 2021, organisers said on Wednesday.

The presidents to be attending the high-level economic meeting include:  President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana; President José Maria Neves of the Republic of Cape Verde and President Felix-Antoine Tshilombo of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Others are President Paul Kagamé of the Republic of Rwanda and President Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal.

The 2021 event which has as its theme: “Financing Africa’s post-COVID-19 development”, will also feature more than 100 other speakers from African governments, private sector, and leading academics.

Scheduled to hold from Dec. 2 to Dec. 4, the annual event is organised by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

The focus of the meeting for 2021 would be to develop new ways to finance Africa’s post-Covid-19 recovery and accelerate its development.

The UNDP, AfDB and UNECA said for three days, decisionmakers will also reimagine development financing, discuss the reform of Africa’s financial systems to meet development challenges and assess whether Africa is on the verge of a new debt crisis.

“The COVID-19 crisis has increased Africa’s development financing challenges by constraining public finances, which has led to increasing debt and dwindling foreign direct investment.

“Across the continent, the pandemic has left more than 30 million people in extreme poverty and living on less than 1.90 dollars a day.

“Still, access to international capital markets, a growing debt financing source for many African countries, has declined as investors’ perception of the risks increases.

“Capital flight from Africa, estimated at over 90 billion dollars since January 2020, and investor risk aversion have caused volatile market movements.

Similarly, organisers said, tightening global financing conditions make it more expensive for governments to secure the financing they need to recover from the pandemic and refinance maturing debt.

It is therefore on the heels of the above listed premises that organisers are gathering policy makers and industry experts to converge on Cape Verde to chart a possible way forward out of the economic quagmire.

The UNDP, AfDB and UNECA argue that it had become pertinent to have such as discuss as populations across Africa are on the brink of extreme poverty, with African countries announcing stimulus packages to stem the tide.

Conference organisers added that while the packages are lifesaving, there was also an urgent need for significant additional gross financing in 2022.

The organisers added that for the conference, papers had been submitted by prominent researchers who have proffered innovative ideas on mobilizing domestic resources in the age of the digital revolution; enhancing Africa’s position in the international financial system; and reviewing the role of public development banks.

“These papers are also expected to guide the discussion of sustainable finance solutions, regional integration and the role of the global financial safety net; policy options for managing capital flow volatility; financial regulatory reforms and the role of climate risks,” they said. (NAN)

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International

Ruto Sworn In As Kenya’s President

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William Ruto takes Oath of Office as New Kenya President
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William Ruto was sworn in as Kenya’s fifth post-independence president at a pomp-filled ceremony on Tuesday, after his narrow victory in a bitterly-fought but largely peaceful election.

He was sworn in by the Chief Judge, Martha Koome, on Tuesday at a ceremony held in the packed Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani.

Amid cheers from the excited crowd, Ruto swore an oath of allegiance and another oath for the execution of the functions of the office.

“I William Samoei Ruto, in full realisation of the high calling I assume as president of Kenya, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the public of Kenya, that I will obey, preserve and protect this constitution of Kenya,” he said.

Ruto beat his rival Raila Odinga — who had been backed by outgoing president Uhuru Kenyatta — by less than two percentage points in the August 9 poll.

The 55-year-old rags-to-riches businessman, who once sold chickens on the roadside, now faces a daunting task to steer a polarised country gripped by a cost-of-living crisis and punishing drought.

His rise to State House has been closely watched by the international community, which looks to Kenya as a reliable and stable democracy in a turbulent region.

Foreign allies and independent observers praised the conduct of the vote, which was largely peaceful and free of the violence that has marred past elections in the country of 50 million people.

Ruto won by only around 200,000 votes out of 14 million but the Supreme Court on September 5 upheld his victory, dismissing his opponents’ claims of fraud and mismanagement.

Outgoing head of state Kenyatta, who in a stunning turn of events had backed his longtime arch-rival Odinga in the election race, has promised a smooth transfer of power.

Kenyatta finally shook hands with Ruto at a meeting at the presidential residence on Monday after pointedly failing to publicly congratulate his deputy for several weeks.
Ruto has struck a conciliatory tone, extending a “hand of brotherhood” to his rivals and their supporters.

“We are not enemies. We are Kenyans,” Ruto said after the court’s decision.

But Odinga turned down an invitation to attend Tuesday’s ceremony and instead travelled outside the country, charging in a statement that the election body did not conduct a “free and fair” poll.

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Queen Elizabeth II dies at age 96

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Queen Elizabeth II
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The United Kingdom’s longest serving monarch, Queen Elizabeth II has died

The Queen died at Balmoral at the age of 96, after reigning for 70 years.

Family members gathered at Queen’s Scottish estate after concerns grew about her health earlier on Thursday.

The Queen came to the throne in 1952 and witnessed enormous social change.

With her death, her eldest son Charles, the former Prince of Wales, will lead the country in mourning as the new King and head of state for 14 Commonwealth realms.

A statement by the Buckingham Palace said: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.

“The King and the Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

All the Queen’s children travelled to Balmoral, near Aberdeen, after doctors placed the Queen under medical supervision.

Her grandson, Prince William, is also there, with his brother, Prince Harry, on his way.

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International

Pakistan Flood: Death Toll Tops 1,000

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Pakistan Flood: Death Toll Tops 1,000
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The death toll from monsoon flooding in Pakistan since June has reached 1,033, according to figures released Sunday by the country’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

It said 119 people had died in the previous 24 hours as heavy rains continued to lash parts of the country.

The annual monsoon is essential for irrigating crops and replenishing lakes and dams across the Indian subcontinent, but each year it also brings a wave of destruction.

Officials say this year’s monsoon flooding has affected more than 33 million people — one in seven Pakistanis — destroying or badly damaging nearly a million homes.

The NDMA said more than two million acres of cultivated crops have been wiped out, 3,451 kilometers (2,150 miles) of roads destroyed, and 149 bridges washed away.

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