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“Anyone can make war, but only the most courageous can make peace”

US President Donald Trump

Africa

Morocco and Nigeria take on next steps for gas pipeline deal

Morocco and Nigeria signed a joint declaration on Sunday, laying out the next steps to complete the gas pipeline deal. The line will be built onshore and offshore.

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Rumors of this agreement first emerged in December 2016. Both countries launched feasibility studies to this effect and ended with a plan to build the pipeline onshore and offshore.

According to a joint declaration by Morocco’s National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the choice was made on a combined onshore and offshore route for economic, political, legal and security reasons.

Nigerian government finally Honours a President that never was

The Federal Government of Nigeria, on Tuesday, honored the presumed winner of the annulled June 12, 1993, presidential election, Chief M.K.O Abiola. The late Abiola was posthumously honored with the highest title in Nigeria (Grand Commander of the Federal Republic – GCFR) often reserved only to Presidents. The ceremony which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari also witnessed the honoring of two other Nigerians who are considered to have been key players in the June 12, 1993, Presidential election.

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The honor came almost 20 years after Abiola died in detention after being jailed by the late military dictator, General Sani Abacha, for trying to claim his mandate. It is also 25 years after the said presidential election, which is seen as the freest in Nigeria’s electioneering history. President Buhari apologized to Nigerians and Abiola’s family while promising that Nigerians will never tolerate such perversion of justice.

The late M.K.O.  Abiola was a business tycoon, who established several banks in his lifetime. He was also the publisher of the National Concord, a Nigerian tabloid that held sway as the topmost newspaper in the 1980s and 1990s. Being Muslim from the South, he was overwhelmingly voted by Nigerians alongside his vice Babagana Kingibe, who is also a Muslim but from the North. It was, therefore, an election that saw the factor of religion thrown into the dustbin. Can this still happen in today’s religiously fractured Nigeria?

Cameroon set to construct the first largest Mall in Central Africa

By the end of 2019, a $53 million worth modern shopping mall will grace Cameroon’s economic capital city, Douala. And South African turnkey specialist, Raubex Renovo is making it happen. The Douala Grand Mall is, nevertheless, part of a larger development that will include a five-star hotel, offices and residential apartments.

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Earthworks had already begun at the grand mall early in January this year. An official handover of the project is, however, scheduled for November next year. Raubex Renovo’s team has 20 years’ experience of construction projects throughout Africa. The company’s capabilities encompass full projects including professional engineering, architectural and design services all managed by a professional construction and development team.

Poised to become the largest in the whole of Central Africa, the mall signals to the world that Cameroon is on the move, attracting more visitors for business and leisure. The project is also one of the country’s largest developments.

Amnesty International releases new damaging report on Cameroon’s Anglophone crisis

Amnesty International has accused Cameroon’s security forces of extra-judicial killings, indiscriminate burning of villages and torturing citizens of the Anglophone section of the country. In a newly released 37-page damning report, the human rights body acknowledges having spoken to more than 150 victims of violence orchestrated by both government forces and Anglophone separatist rebels.

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The report is titled “A turn for the worse: Violence and human rights violations in Anglophone Cameroon.” It highlights harrowing accounts of beatings and allegations of simulated electrocution and torture by the military, including attacks on schools and teachers by the Anglophone separatists. The spokesperson of the Cameroon military has, however, dismissed the report describing the findings as rumors.

The Washington Post has recently described Cameroon as the possible destination for the next civil war in Africa. This is coming at the hills of the escalation of a non-violent crisis on marginalization claims in 2016/2017, to a violent conflict in quest of a break-away independence English state of Ambazonia. How possible is this prediction by the Washington Post? The signs are clear but the weeks and months ahead shall tell.

Kenya Airways  issues Sh1.4 billion free shares to its staff

Kenya Airways wants to issue shares currently worth Sh1.4 billion to its staff for free, reinstating its suspended employee share ownership plan (Esop). The airline, known by its international code KQ, is still to issue the shares since the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed national carrier still working on rules to govern the scheme. Based on their annual report, the formation of the scheme was approved at an extraordinary general meeting held on August 7, 2017.  Accordingly, the directors allotted 142,164,558 shares to the scheme for zero cash consideration.

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Under the scheme, eligible employees may be granted shares at the discretion of the directors for no cash consideration. The move means the employees will automatically book a profit once the stocks are credited in their accounts.

This makes KQ one of the most generous Esops. Most other listed firms running stock-based compensation schemes require their workers to buy the shares at a discount.

Why is Portuguese Angola seeking to join the Commonwealth and Francophonie?

Angola is a Portuguese-speaking country, a former colony of Portugal and a member of, Lusophonie, an international organization that brings together former Portuguese colonies. But the government says Angola is inspired by Rwanda and Cameroon who are members of both the Commonwealth and la Francophonie. The nation is therefore also seeking to be a member of these two bodies.

According to Angolan President, Joao Lourenco, Angola is also surrounded not only by Portuguese-speaking but also by French-speaking and English-speaking countries. It is, therefore, necessary that the nation identifies with the Francophonie and Commonwealth to fully associate with their neighbors.

Angola is one of Africa’s oil giants. And it may be ready to meet up with the financial obligations of belonging to thee organizations. Nevertheless, belonging to many neocolonial organizations could be possibly more disadvantageous for the nation than advantageous.

South Africa’s Vodacom to increase black ownership

The South African mobile communications company Vodacom announced on Monday that they will increase the stake held by black shareholders. There will be an increase for a stake of between 5.8% and 6.25% in a $1.34 billion black empowerment transaction. The new empowerment structure called YeboYethu would also see to the acquisition of the shareholding based on an illustrative price of 152.50 rands per Vodacom Group share.

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According to the firm, YeboYethu is to replace an existing scheme in October and increase Vodacom Group’s black ownership to 20%. The existing scheme delivered a return of 7.5 billion rands ($575 million). Vodacom Group Chief Executive Shameel Joosub said, “this amounts to 6.7 times the original capital that was invested into the deal in 2008 and therefore has been one of the most profitable and successful transactions concluded in South Africa.”

Under black economic empowerment rules, South African companies are encouraged to meet quotas on black ownership. Meeting government rules on black ownership makes a company more likely to qualify for government tenders.

Zimbabwe’s parliament submits to Mugabe’s resistance on the diamond deal

Former Zimbabwean strongman Robert Mugabe has succeeded in escaping a probe by the Mines and Energy Parliamentary Committee in his country. The committee is investigating the disappearance of diamond revenue during the former president’s reign amounting to $15 billion.

Mugabe was summoned to appear before the committee following his comments on state media in 2016 that Zimbabwe had lost over $15 billion in diamond revenues through un-named corrupt cartels. The 94-year-old was given an ultimatum by the parliamentary committee to attend the hearing on Monday, May 11, 2017, after failing to honor two previous invitations by the committee.

The committee which has already interviewed other suspects like former ministers, police and intelligence chiefs on the matter, says the decision to drop Mugabe from the list of people to be probed was taken in consultation with the speaker of the parliament.

Morocco at the risk of Cyber Security

Cyber insecurity is becoming a serious threat to companies in Morocco due to inadequate security implementation. This is according to the Global State Information Security (GSIS).

According to a survey carried out by the GSIS, even if these companies dedicate 11% of their IT budget to cybersecurity against 4% in the world, they will still not be able to combat this threat, which 30% of such cases are of internal origin by the use of malicious software.

However, the survey also revealed that this malicious software was at the beginning of security incidents suffered in 2017.

Moroccan King invites President Buhari over; any link to the ECOWAS application?

The Nigerian President last Sunday visited the Kingdom of Morocco at the invitation of King Mohammed VI. It was the first of such a visit by a sitting Nigerian President to the North African Country. The visit has, however, come to strengthen the positive bilateral relationship between Morocco and Nigeria, since the earlier visit by the Moroccan king to Abuja in December 2016.

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Morocco is seeking to become a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and this visit provides an opportunity for both nations to begin building economic ties. “His Majesty King Mohammed VI and His Excellency President Buhari noted with satisfaction the milestones achieved and underscored their commitment to the Regional Gas Pipeline, which will connect Nigeria’s gas resources, those of some West African countries and Morocco, thereby fostering integration and development of countries in the West African region…” A statement issued after the visit stated.

Many Nigerians, especially those who always like to read President Buhari from a religious lens may not be comfortable with his new approach towards the mostly Muslim North Africa. However, Morocco, through the invitation to the Nigerian President may just be lobbying ECOWAS’ big brother for the consideration of application to join the organization. Considering the quest for increased Pan Africanism, it will be of ECOWAS’ interest to admit Morocco into the organization and tap the accompanying benefits.  

Senegal invests in a project to promote employment for youth and women

In an effort to promote employment, Senegal is setting up a FCFA 30 billion investment fund. The project seeks to create decent jobs and sustainable incomes through skill development.

It also plans to promote micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to involve youths and women in the country’s growth. The project will thus, give priority to sectors like fisheries, digital economy, agriculture, tourism, and energy.

The organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), as well as, its allied producers emphasize the need for healthy market conditions that will stimulate investment in the energy sector.

Ethiopian PM swears to God over Dam project

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed recently paid a two-day visit to Egypt in order to resolve the dispute over the Nile project. Talks over the grand renaissance Dam, Ethiopia’s $4 billion hydroelectric projects, have been deadlocked for months.

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At the end of the meeting, Egyptian president Sisi asked Prime Minister Abiy to swear as a form of assurance. 

“I swear to God, we will never harm you,” Ahmed repeated the words in Arabic.

According to Ahmed, Ethiopia will do everything to preserve Egypt’s own share of the water at all cost.

World

The mega-media merger: AT&T is a step closer to becoming a telecom-media giant

Back in 2016, AT&T was ready to drop $85.4 billion to acquire Time Warner and everything it owns – like HBO, CNN, TBS, TNT, and Warner Bros. But last year, the Justice Department stepped in and warned that it would make prices go up for consumers and hurt competition. But on Tuesday, a US District Judge, Richard Leon declined the Justice Department’s request to block the deal. The court said AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner is legal.

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Leon also didn’t impose any conditions on the deal, giving AT&T and Time Warner a total victory in the case. For AT&T, this marks a huge win in its bid to transform itself into a media powerhouse.

This opens the door for similar types of mega-deals called vertical mergers — when a business buys another business that’s not technically a competitor. Now, a serious case of media merger madness is expected to sweep corporate boardrooms. The next big deal may be coming: Comcast’s bid for 21st Century Fox. Comcast’s board reportedly met Tuesday night to discuss it. And if the cable giant has to go after Fox, it would set up an epic showdown with Disney, which also wants Fox. So, don’t be surprised if this issue ends up back in the courtroom for round two.

U.S. reclaims its Supercomputer crown from China

Twice every year, computer scientists in the US and Germany rank the world’s fastest computer. And for the last 5 years, China has owned that title. But until recently, a US-made supercomputer by IBM is expected to top the rankings for the first time in six years.

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Its name is Summit, and it’s really fast. According to IBM, Summit is 200 petaflops fast (a processing rate of 200,000 trillion calculations per second). It’s reportedly so fast that it would take 6.3 billion people to make a calculation at the same time, every second, for an entire year to match what this $200 million super machine can do in a single second. That performance is nearly twice as fast at its peak speed as Sunway TaihuLight, a Chinese supercomputer that for the last two years, has been the world’s fastest supercomputer.

While cloud computing is stealing a lot of thunder these days, experts believe high-performance computing is still a necessity for things like national security, science, and economic competitiveness. And Summit is the first of its kind to handle machine learning, neural networks, and other AI applications. The next ranking on June 25 comes against a backdrop of escalating tensions between the U.S. and China over trade and leadership in AI and advanced technologies deemed vital to national security.

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un rewrite world’s history at Singapore Summit

U.S President, Donald Trump and North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un have sent historians back to the books. This was after a record-breaking meeting between the two at the Singapore Summit on Tuesday. The summit ended with the two leaders signing a denuclearization and demilitarization deal. Political pundits now wonder on how these men will follow-up and implement the provisions arrived at. But what’s the content of the declaration?

The declaration, however, did not make any significant progress in committing North Korea to completely dismantle Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal. It’s a non-legally binding commitment from both leaders. And especially Kim, to “work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula”. Both sides also agreed to put a halt to the continuous military drills and campaigns along the Korean Peninsula.

Trump believes he has forged a brotherhood with Kim that’ll uniquely position him to preside over the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Nevertheless, the declaration did not include a pledge by Kim for an account of his missile and nuclear programs that many analysts see as a source of his strength. However, it will be fair to say that the Singapore summit has successfully relaxed the tense political atmosphere between North Korea and the West.

Is PayPal’s rival, Adyen bringing the world back to the dotcom bubble?

After raising €1.1 billion in its IPO and pricing its shares at €240 each on Tuesday night, Adyen went public on Wednesday with a bang. It opened for trading on Amsterdam’s Euronext exchange at €400 a share, an impressive jump of 67%. The share price is, however, currently €465, giving it a market cap of €13.692 billion at current exchange rates. This all represents a big jump on Adyen’s valuation.

Before the end of 2017, Adyen generated a net revenue of €218 million, a rise of 38% over the year before. Perhaps more importantly (when you compare it to other payment startups that have recently gone public), it is profitable. Adyen is not getting any share of the proceeds of this IPO, but it will use its new position as a public company to supercharge its growth by using it to leverage working with more and bigger customers.

The share surge is the more surprising because Adyen’s IPO came after several companies struggled to sell stock. Issuers in the region raised about €19 billion and postponed or withdrew IPOs worth close to $5 billion. For some, the share surge suggests another tech bubble is brewing, this time among fintech firms. At its current price, Adyen is trading at almost 100 times its projected 2018 earnings.

Did Bitcoin’s price nosedive due to Coinrail hack?

A cyberheist at a little-known virtual currency exchange has wiped billions of dollars off the value of bitcoin and other digital currencies. The price of bitcoin slumped more than 7% after South Korea’s Coinrail announced that cyberthieves targeted its crypto wallet. The exchange said it had suffered a security breach in which hackers stole about 30% of its virtual currencies. The news sent shock waves through virtual currency markets. As well as bitcoin, prices for other cryptos like Ethereum also plunged.

In about seven hours of trading, the hack wiped out nearly $30 billion in cryptocurrency wealth. The theft was of less well-known cryptocurrencies rather than bitcoin itself. But the fate of all cryptocurrencies is tied at the hip to bitcoin’s fate. So, if bitcoin’s price drops drastically, this induces selling pressure on all other currencies as well.

South Korea has emerged as a hotbed for trading in virtual currencies over the last year. And Coinrail is one of its less-well-known trading platforms. Before the breach, bitcoin was trading at around $6,750 in Asia. That’s near its lowest level in about two months and around half the price at which it started the year. Coinrail isn’t the only virtual currency exchange to fall prey to a cyberheist in recent months. In January, Japan’s Coincheck had its own share.

The World Cup 2018 and Russia’s security preoccupation

The World Cup 2018 is already on and the security of Participants is the preoccupation of the host country, Russia. Russia is aware that the gathering of football enthusiasts in the country is an avenue for attacks by elements that are against Russian activities in Syria. Russian security officials are therefore taking all necessary measures to guarantee the security of all visitors.

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At a surveillance center in Kaliningrad, monitoring teams are keeping a close eye on the city. The teams are studying CCTV images from more than 700 security cameras. Another 1,200 cameras have been installed at Kaliningrad Stadium, where England play Belgium on 28 June. Special forces have also been trained to intervene in security situations in the 12 venues.

Silicon Times

Events

  • Don’t miss the Men & Women Without Blemish Conference on June 16, 2018, at Eta Palace Hotel. Contact 675-595-656.
  • Be part of TechStars Startup Weekend Buea 07/18, starting from July 20, 8:00 AM – July 22, 2018, 10:30 AM at Catholic University Institute of Buea.
  • Don’t miss out on DEMO Africa Innovation Tour – Yaounde Edition on July 5, 2018, from 1:30 PM – 5:00 PM at ActivSpaces, First Trust Building, Buea.
  • Attend the event on Powering up at continent at POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa 2018 from July 17-19, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Make a date with Six African energy ministers to share success stories at 20th Africa Energy Forum from June 19-22, 2018 at Mauritius.
  • Don’t miss the East Africa Digital Construction from November 14 -15, 2018, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Attend the Live Smart City Travel, Live, Work & Startup at Abuja-The World’s First from November 23, 2018, 9:30 am to November 24, 2018, 6 pm at Sheraton Abuja Hotel, Nigeria.
  • Grab an amazing opportunity to meet Human Resources Professionals in the Workshop on Writing HR Policies and Procedures from November 12-16, 2018, 9am-5pm at HCA Learning Centre, Nigeria.
  • Attend Africa Trade and Investment Global Summit from June 24, 2018, 7:30 am to June 26, 2018, 9 pm at the World Trade Center, United States.                                        
  • Take part in the Global Conference on Applied Sciences, Environment & Industrial Engineering from June 16, 2018, 9:00 AM to June 17, 2018, 12:00 PM KST at Seoul,  Korea.

Jobs

  • Work as a Data Analyst personnel at Young Peacebuilders – Cameroon. Deadline July 20, 2018.
  • Apply as a Camp Manager at Associazione Volontari per il Servizio Innternazionale. Boa Vista – Brazil. Deadline: June 20, 2018.
  • IMA World Health needs the service of a Technical Offer – Social Support and Linkages. Kenya. Closing date: June 22, 2018.
  • Work as a Country Coordinator at Lighthouse Relief. Chalkida – Greece. Closing date: June 24, 2018.
  • Hurry and apply as an Accounting Manager at CARE Cameroon. Closing date: June 30, 2018.
  • Blue Cross organization is currently in need of a Customer Service Representative at Minnesota – United State.
  • The UN Children’s Fund foundation is in need of a National Consultant (Communication Advocacy Expert) at Accra – Ghana. Closing date: June 25, 2018.
  • Work as Head of Engagement and Sustainability personnel at Caritas Australia. Closing date: June 21, 2018.

Opportunities

  • Falling Walls Venture International Competition 2018 for science-based startups. Application Deadline: June 30, 2018.
  • Participate in Tech 4Her GSC 2018 BatchBi: Jumpstart A Career in Web & Mobile Apps Development and Get Microsoft Certification ( Tuition Free). Application Deadline: June 29, 2018.
  • Apply for the World Bank Group IFC Recruitment Drive 2018 for sub-Saharan African Professionals. Application deadlines vary with position.
  • Applications are open for the 2018 Google Impact Challenge Nigeria for nonprofits and social enterprises. Application Deadline: July 4, 2018.
  • Apply for Investec Bursary Programmes 2019 for Young South Africans. Application Deadline is August 31, 2018.
  • Participate in the Crick African Network’s African Career Accelerator (CAN ACA) Awards 2018 for African Post-Doctoral researchers. Application Deadline: August 1, 2018.
  • Grab the amazing opportunity and apply for L’Oreal South Africa Digital Marketing Internship Program 2018.
  • Call for nominations: Inspiring Fifty – South Africa 2018 for young South African women in Technology & Innovation. Application Deadline: July 9, 2018.
  • Leap Africa School 2 Work Programme 2018 for young Nigerian graduates. Application Deadline: June 20, 2018.
  • Apply for the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry ( METI) Government of Japan Internship Program 2018 (Fully Funded to Japan). Application Deadline: June 30, 2018

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