A system of governing where citizens elect people to represent them, make decisions on their behalf and guide them is known as Democracy. For the black continent, it is a system just evolving and gaining more acceptances.
As such, some countries seem to have gotten the hang of democracy over the years while others like Zimbabwe and others, not so much.
These African countries have been identified to have the most efficient and long-lasting democratic governments.
Zambia, which was known as Northern Rhodesia, became a republic after it gained independence in 1964. It is a country with a population of 16 million people, and has enjoyed a long stint of democracy since 1991. This is after its Prime Minister; Kenneth Kaunda voluntarily resigned after 3 decades of ruling.
In 2010, Zambia was named of the world's fastest economically reformed countries by the World Bank. As at 2016, the country was ranked 77 on the Global Democracy Index.
Although Kenya went through a political turmoil during Presidential elections in 2007, it has one of the most stable democracies in Africa. There have been over five successive transitional processes in the country since independence. Also, an attempt by the Military to seize power in 1982 was stopped by people's efforts.
Kenya’s position on the Democracy Index as of 2016 is currently 92.
Tanzania got its independence from the Britain in 1962, and has since enjoyed democratic transition of power. In the country, president and members of the country's National Assembly serve for five year before facing another election.
Last year, the country elected a new President, Mr John Magufuli, and he has begun reform processes that strengthen public institutions in the country.
Tanzania is currently number 83 on the Democracy Index as of 2016.
Senegal is a country of 13 million citizens. It is one of the few African states that has never experienced a coup or any harsh authoritarian leadership since Independence.
Senegal's first president, Léopold Sédar Senghor, voluntarily handed over power to his Prime Minister in 1981.
In 2016, the country is ranked 75 on the global democracy index.
Botswana gained independence from the Britain in 1966, and recently celebrated 51 years of freedom. With a population of 2 million citizens, the country boasts of having the fastest growing economy worldwide.
Just like Senegal, Botswana has been lucky not to have experienced a military coup or non-democratic leader.
Botswana ranked 27 on the Democracy Index as of 2016, thus making it one of the highest-ranking African countries on the index.[Business Insider]
The United States has laid claim to $300 million stashed abroad by Nigeria's late military dictator, Sani Abacha.
According to reports, America allegedly told a court in an unnamed foreign country that it had an interest in the loot because it was saved in its currency, the US dollar. Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN) and rights activist Mr Femi Falana (SAN) made the claims in Lagos.
Falana also accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of failing to remit over $21.7 billion since 1999. He urged the Federal Government to extend efforts to recover looted funds to “the few Nigerians who have been indicted in the Panama and Paradise papers. The EFCC and the Federal Inland Revenue Service should recover appropriate taxes from the offshore companies set up by such individuals,” Falana said.
Falana, who accused the United States, Switzerland, the UK and other western nations of hypocritical behaviour in Nigeria’s quest to recover loot stashed in their banks, identified the US as the country concerned.
He said: “Nigeria traced part of the Abacha loot (over $300m) to Jersey, an island in the United Kingdom. The Attorney-General filed a process to – by the way I was in that country when the person was convicted. The money left Nigeria through Kenya and landed in Jersey. It was from the late Abacha. Nigeria wanted to collect the remaining loot. But the United States filed an objection, saying the money could not be released to Nigeria. The court asked why; the US said if the money must be released, it should be released to the US government, so that ‘we can manage it for Nigeria. The other one, $321 million, Switzerland, a notorious conduit for corruption, had the temerity to say that ‘unless the World Bank is going to manage this money, we are not going to release this money.’”
Falana urged the Federal Government not to depend on the West in its loot recovery drive.
“The United Nations Convention against Corruption has made adequate provisions against corruption; mandating countries to assist each other but western countries have not been helping us. Our government should stop relying on the west.”
He said he had advised, and the government was considering, suing foreign banks illegally holding onto funds stolen from Nigeria. He added: “From five cycles of independent audit reports covering 1999-2012 the National Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative revealed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, some oil companies and certain agencies of the Federal Government have withheld $20.2 billion from the Federation Account.
Stakeholders have identified multiplicity of regulatory agencies, cumbersome documentation process, poor import infrastructure, high and duplicated charges as reasons why Nigeria exports are rejected abroad.
Speaking in Lagos through its President, Lucky Awimero, the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), said until agencies responsible for export are streamlined, Nigeria export would continue to be rejected abroad.
The agencies responsible for exportation in Nigeria include pre-Shipment Inspection of Export Agents, Federal Department of Forestry, Federal Produce Inspection Service and the Plant Quarantine Service.
He said, “The duplication of the four agencies needs to be streamlined, as it constitutes serious bottleneck due to lengthy and cumbersome process and cost, which resulted to associated delays, that necessitated the movement of our products to neighboring West African ports and the rejection of our products in international markets.”
He continued, “the duplicated Shipping Line and Terminal Charges (THC)(TDC) that are not tied to service should be streamlined, including the lengthy and cumbersome procedures, to ease the burden of delays and high cost of shipping.”
Amiwero who also complained over the collapse of scanners at seaports and land borders across the country said the collapse had led to increase in cost of doing business.
“The collapsed scanners at the Port contributes to laborious and costly inspection, manual, physical inspection, with limitation and double handing to terminal operator, the Customs officers and the Licensed Customs Agent who are at risk of unwholesome importation, are part of the problem.
“Others are malfunctioning scanners. Scanners are installed as security and facilitating tools , contracted under Build, Own, Operate and Transfer basis (BOOT) from 2006 to 2013 and the Transfer process was meant to address the state of collapse, which has attracted extra cost to Licensed Custom Agents/Importers. The state now constitutes a serious threat to the Customs officers who are compelled to conduct physical examination in contravention of international standards.
“Scanners are essential tools to aid trading across borders and reduce the illicit cross border movement of unwholesome goods, which is prevalent today in our ports and border station.”
He however advised that the scanners should be repaired in line with recommendations of the committee setup by government.
“The scanners should be repaired in line with the recommendation of Transition Implementation Committee.”
Speaking on duplication of charges by shipping companies and terminal operators, the NCMDLCA boss said shipping companies and terminal operators charges on storage contravenes the Customs and Excise Management (CEMA) Act.
“Shipping companies and terminal operators’ charges on storage contravenes sections 20, 31 and 97 of the Customs and Excise Management Act that limit the days for rent charges and conferred authority to Nigeria Customs to charge rent after specific days by the Board.
“Duplication of charges such as terminal delivery charges/ terminal handling charges, deposit repayment delays and clumsy processes contribute to the challenge”, he said.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh has said Nigeria’s non-oil sector is growing with N261.92 billion earnings in the second quarter of the year from Agric exports.
Ogbeh spoke at the official unveiling of the Nigeria Agribusiness Resource Centre for Agricultural Investment at the weekend in Abuja.
Highlights: He said agricultural export increased by 82 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016 and earnings from the sector stood at about N30 billion in the first quarter of the year.
Ogbeh said in the first quarter, N3.4 billion was made on Soya bean export to Russia, N1.2 billion to Greece, N2.2 billion was earned from the export of frozen Shrimps to Netherlands, N1.8 billion made from cashew nuts export to Vietnam and crude palm kernel oil export to The Netherlands netted N1.2 billion.
The minister listed destinations of agricultural exports in the second quarter as including to Asia, Europe, America, Africa and the Oceanic.
He said the country earned N13.5 billion from cashew nuts export to Vietnam with N12.6 billion, India (N1.4 billion) and Kazakhstan (N6.34 million).
African Lead Regional Director Carla Denizard said the resource centre was established in response to the request by the ministry’s Department of Agriculture and Marketing to bridge the knowledge gap in the sector and enable investors to have access to information.
The French government, a former friend of Biafra in the 1967 secession bid, has ruled out any support for the secession of any part of the country, particularly Biafra.
France’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Denys Gauer, told The Guardian, that his country would not in any way work with any group agitating for the dismemberment of the nation.
He said France was working with Nigeria and supporting it as a country.
Speaking against the backdrop of France’s previous support for Biafra during Nigeria’s civil war, Gauer pointed out that Nigeria has evolved since the civil war.
France has been cooperating with the country to overcome its challenges, especially the fight against insurgency.
However, Leader of the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Uchenna Madu, told The Guardian that the struggle for Biafra “is real and cannot be stopped by any man created by God”
He added: “We in MASSOB do not believe what he said because that does not represent the position of France. France is a friend of Biafra and even during the Nigeria/Biafra war, they assisted us so much.
“In this current agitation for Biafra, France has sympathy for us. We advise our people to disregard what he said. We think that the Nigeria media misinterpreted what the French envoy said.
But the French envoy further pointed out that there is no future for Biafra and urged proponents of secession or Biafra to continue to be part of the country.
“We are working with Nigeria and we are supporting it as the only country. This is absolutely clear and I don’t think there is any kind of future for Biafra. They are part of Nigeria and Nigeria has to remain as the only country,” he said.
He disclosed that France is working with the country in its fight against insurgency, saying the fight against Boko Haram has brought the two countries together, more than before.
The Ambassador explained how France helped the former Goodluck Jonathan government to organise a regional meeting with neighbouring francophone countries, Chad, Cameroon and Republic of Benin, in Paris, in 2014, following which the Multinational Joint Task Force, MJTF, was established to fight Boko Haram.
“Apart from encouraging neighbouring African countries to cooperate with Nigeria we have also developed a strong bilateral relationship with the Nigerian Armed forces.
In May 2015, the Defence Ministers of Nigeria and France signed a cooperation agreement between the two armed forces, which we did not have before.
Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Tukur Buratai, recently warned those agitating for an independent state to “forget it.”
The groups are Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) .
Though they have the same aim but are rival groups; they have consistently clash with themselves and with security agents.
Speaking in Abuja after receiving an award conferred on him by a coalition of over 80 civil society organisations (CSOs), Buratai said the army would not condone any act that could lead to the disintegration of the country.
“Those individuals and groups that are bent on destablising our country I think they have to wait till may be the next three or four millennium for them to do that.
That is, may be the next generation of officers and men will allow them at all,” he said.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration says Kenya has complied with international safety standards and can have direct flights to the U.S. after waiting for more than a decade.
The FAA in a statement Thursday said Kenya has received a category 1 rating under the agency’s International Aviation Safety Assessment Program. With that rating, Kenyan air carriers can establish services to the U.S.
Kenya’s transport minister James Macharia described the category 1 status as a major milestone in the country’s aviation industry. Kenya is East Africa’s largest economy.
Kenya transformed its main airport after a 2013 fire destroyed its international terminal because the airport had only one fire engine working. Some rescuers, including police, looted ATMs and forex bureaus instead of fighting the blaze
Abiodun Dabiri, Managing Director, Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), told newsmen in Alausa that Commuters using the LAGBUS and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) buses in Lagos will pay more from March 1, following the Lagos State Government’s approval of upward review in their fares.
The Lagos State Government said on Monday that it had approved fare increase ranging from 20 per cent to 50 per cent on different routes plied by the buses.
The new fare structure for regulated bus operators in the state would take effect from March 1.
He said that though the government was mindful of the current financial difficulties residents were going through; it approved the fare increase to save the bus schemes from collapse.
Dabiri said what the bus operators spent on fuel had gone up 71 per cent, oil by 64 per cent and tyre by 90 per cent, threatening their continued operations.
“In view of this and with government’s responsibility to avert a collapse of the franchise scheme, which currently serves over 500,000 commuters daily, government had to consider request by the operators for an upward review of bus fares,” he said.
Dabiri said the current fares charged on some of the schemes had stayed constant for more than six years in the case of some operators.
He said that though the government granted the request for fare increase, it will not allow transport users to do so arbitrarily.
According to him, the operators have also been advised to improve their cost efficiency and effectiveness.
“It will be difficult to pass the entire cost of operations to the consumers, bearing in mind that a lot of the users are in the low income bracket,” Dabiri said.
He appealed to commuters to show understanding as the new fares take effect.
From March 1, commuters from Ikorodu to Mile 12 would pay N100 as against N75.
According to Dabiri, combining two zones like going from Ikorodu to Fadeyi will be N200 instead of N120, while combining three zones – Ikorodu to CMS – will be N300, instead of N200.
Giving a breakdown of the new fares on the LAGBUS routes, its Managing Director, Idowu Oguntona, said that the fare from CMS to Ajah would be N200, up from N150.He said that commuters from Leventis to Eko Hotel would pay N100 instead of N70, while those going to CMS from Oshodi would pay N150 as against N100.
South Africa will introduce a national minimum wage of 3,500 rand (261 dollars) per month in 2018, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday, following protracted negotiations between the government and labour unions.
Supporters of a minimum wage say it can stimulate growth as workers can spend more, as well as reducing inequality.
Critics say it could lead to increased unemployment as employers will be unable to afford higher wage bills.
Credit ratings agencies have said agreeing a minimum wage would help Africa’s most industrialised economy hold onto its investment-grade rating by stabilising the labour market and reducing the number of strikes.
“The balance we have sought to strike is that it must not be too low, so that it doesn’t affect the lowest paid workers, but not too high that it leads to massive job losses,” Ramaphosa told a news conference.
Ramaphosa said the national minimum wage, which equates to 20 rand (1.50 dollars) per hour, would come into effect in May 2018.
Businesses that are unable to afford the minimum wage would be permitted to apply for an exemption of up to 12 months, Ramaphosa said.
The Treasury had also thrown its political weight behind the policy initiative.
Chief economist at Nedbank Dennis Dykes said the agreement was a sign of an improving relationship between labour, business and government, but warned that its implementation needed to be monitored.
“It is by no means certain this will lead to job creation.
Speaking yesterday at the 14th yearly lecture of the Centre for Value and Leadership, with the theme: Living well together, tomorrow: The challenge of Africa’s future cities, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said that by 2020, Lagos State aspires to be the third largest economy in Africa. Towards this, investments in infrastructure and all other social economic efforts are geared towards making it ready to accommodate the new status.
He maintained that the state has all it takes to be the third largest economy on the continent, as it has not just a huge population and market, but also technology and human and material resources to drive it.
Aside revealing the commitment of his administration to take yellow buses off Lagos roads this year without mentioning a definite month, he reiterated that by July, the city would become cleaner and healthier, as concerted efforts were already being made to ensure better management of waste.
He said the daily inflow of migrants challenges the government to be on its toes to provide the facilities and infrastructure to accommodate the new residents.
The keynote speaker, Prof. Paul Collier, said that between now and 2050, the population of cities on the continent would triple and for any mega city to work, issues of energy, connectivity, housing and land are critical, which means investment in infrastructure is necessary.
In another development, the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, has cautioned against use of ‘hate-speeches’ by Nigerians.
Kazeem spoke yesterday at a Price Media Moot Court Competition organised by the University of Lagos (UNILAG), in collaboration with the University of Oxford.
According to him, hate-speeches have the propensity to cause public disorder.Read More