Category: Charity

Agriculture Underfunded


In addition to the last article from the UN Services, slightly singing their own praises by reporting approaches to end food insecurity in Africa and extolling their apparently stimulating agricultural aid in Rwanda,  I’d like to share this article with you, which was published at the exact same day…

EAST AFRICAN BUSINESS WEEK

by Dias NYESIGA 22 July 2013

Photo: Prison Fellowship Rwanda

With only five percent of the latest budget being allocated to the country’s leading employment sector – agriculture, experts are saying there is need for the government to increase this money to support rural economic development.

“The government should focus more on regulation and policy environment to encourage the participation of the private sector in rural farm financing,” Patrick Oketa, a finance and agro-business specialist told East African Business Week, Agriculture accounts for over 90% of the labour force and contributes about 36% of the GDP.

About 70% of the country’s export revenues come from mainly coffee and tea. Women dominate farming with 53% involved in working in the fields.

Rwanda’s budget allocated to agriculture rose steadily from 3.3 per cent in 2006 peaking at 6.4 per cent in 2009/10 and has slightly declined to five per cent in the current 2013/14 budget.

However, this is below the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) pledge by countries to allocate 10% of their national budgets to agriculture.

But one of the major setbacks governments face as they work to increase agricultural spending is the dearth of information about which types of agricultural investments contribute the most to development goals.

“In some cases governments may have clear principles on how to prioritize their scarce public resources. But they often lack the requisite information to formulate policies, outlining the principles, and designing strategies,” Sula Nuwamanya, from Action Aid said.

To address this challenge, Oketa said governments must increase research in the sector so that the government take action while selecting priority areas for financing.

Nuwamanya said regardless of government policies, some way has to be found to allocate resources across different agricultural sub-sectors with the fundamental goals of increasing efficiency, maximizing productivity, and reducing poverty.

” As a result, government may end up allocating expenditures to activities that have large value for money, but may be less inclusive in impact,” he said.

The government is also investing RWF 163.2 billion in rural development to transform the agricultural sector into a modern commercial sector, reduce rural poverty and improve the quality of life and economic well being of people living in rural areas.

However there is a view that the government involves more of the private sector to take a lead in investment.

This could generate more revenue for the economy.

“There is need to increase incentives such as tax incentives for the private sector to get involved in agriculture, which is more sustainable,” Dickson Malunda, a senior Research Fellow at Institute of Policy and Research- Rwanda said.

More on ActionAid:

ActionAid has been fighting poverty worldwide for over 30 years and working in more than 40 countries. The charity works within regions such as Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean; it is secular and has no political affiliations. The charity campaigns and lobbies against the root causes of poverty, to try to ensure that poor people are treated fairly by governments, companies and international institutions whose decisions affect these people’s everyday lives and their basic human rights. ActionAid works in partnership with communities on practical projects aiming to improve the opportunities for these communities and provide them with facilities such as wells, water systems, schools and health centres in order to tackle the causes of poverty.…Learn more

Source: allafrica. com, ActionAid

Germany Unblocks U.S.$26 Million Suspended Aid to Rwanda


photo: Steve Terrill

Berlin Government has announced its decision to release the Aid to Rwanda following its suspension over UN accusations that Rwanda was backing M23, a rebel group in DRC; Germany will be releasing €21Million (US$26m)

Germany Minister for International Cooperation announced the decision following an official visit of Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo to Bundestag Berlin, on behalf of the government of Rwanda.

Berlin government is convinced that Rwanda is working on finding permanent solution for the Eastern Congo and that any reports or allegations claiming Rwanda to cause insecurity in the DRC could be baseless and false.

According to the information from Rwanda Envoy to Germany, Ambassador Nkurikiyinka on 31 January 2013, the release of the suspension of Germany aid to Rwanda Proves once again that allegations against Rwanda are groundless.

Reports say, almost all parties across the German political scale agree to the releasing of suspended aid to Rwanda

Planned German aid to Rwanda had suspended in response to a UN report accusing the central African country of supporting rebels in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

Source: News of Rwanda

National Bank Governor Gatete says: Aid Cuts Will Not Stop Rwanda Economy


Rwanda’s economy is expected to grow faster than initial projections for 2012, the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) Governor, Claver Gatete, has said.

Photo: Steve Terrill (file photo)

Gatete said although recent donor aid cuts cannot go unnoticed; they are not potent enough damage the healthy Rwandan economy.

“We are going to maintain our macroeconomic regulations to ensure that the Rwandan economy continues to flourish and attract more investments,” he said.

The BNR is basing its optimism on current positive trends in some sectors of the economy, especially in the financial sector which is mainly dominated by the banking industry, and continuing private foreign capital inflows.

Gatete explained that even as donors withheld aid, private foreign capital continued to flow into Rwanda.

“Since a lot of capital has been coming into the country even during the hard global economic crisis, this is what will yield the expected high growth,” he said.

Clare Akamanzi, the Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the institution charged with speeding up investments in the country, says Rwanda may register over US$1billion in investments this year surpassing the initial target of around US$800 million.

Last year, investments registered hit US$626 million.

Stability factor:

Over the same period, Rwanda’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 9.4% beating the initial projection of less than 9%. The growth was mainly fueled by good performance in all sectors coupled with low inflation.

While inflation in some neighboring economies went as high as 30%, Rwanda managed to maintain it at 8.3% by December 2011, which was the lowest in the five member bloc of the East African Community (EAC) bringing together Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi.

The reason for increased investments this time–both domestic and foreign–is the stable economic growth and business environment. Rwanda makes it easier to start a business, pay taxes and register property which helps to attract more investors.

Rwanda also has attractive investment opportunities in various sectors with energy especially in electricity generation, construction especially commercial and residential houses and agro processing topping the list. Others include financial sector mainly investment banking, Information Technology Communications (ICTs) especially software development and skills development especially in higher learning education.

The central bank says the increase in investments has resulted in increased imports mainly of capital goods and resulted in a 4% depreciation of the Rwandan Franc against the US dollar. But the Central bank says the depreciation is not “alarming”.

Banking boom:

The banking industry, according to the regulator, BNR, continues to register increases in the amount of loans to the businesses which are further assurance that the economy is expanding with high demand for of capital.

BNR statistics indicate that the total loans this year have increased to Rwf839.574billion from Rwf631.267billion by end of December in 2011, representing an increase of about 32%. Banks have even exceeded the highest loan to deposit ratio which, at 94%, stands slightly above the standard measure of 80%.

The increase in loans, says Anand Sanjeev, the Managing Director of Banque Commerciale du Rwanda (BCR) which was recently bought by Kenya’s I&M Bank, is attributed to low lending rates which are currently between 15.9% and 17%, according to the latest BNR statistics.

Sanjeev says that commercial banks are increasingly lending to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which comprise over 80% of the taxpayers in Rwanda, and are considered the next movers of the economy.

Gatete said the central bank will propose to the government to limit public spending and prioritise its expenditures.

“Government spending now is what we will have to deal with in order to ensure that it is done within the limits of available funds while long term solutions are being pushed to politically to ease the case.”

Gatete says the fine performance of the financial sector may help prop-up growth in the entire economy which is largely dependent on the agriculture sector.

“Judging from what we have witnessed in the financial sector in the recent three quarters, there is more enthusiasm that the little money that donor countries have delayed to disburse will not deter our country’s growth,” Gatete said recently during a press conference in Kigali.

Many western donors have suspended aid to Kigali following allegations that the Rwandan government was backing Congolese rebel group M23.

The EU, Germany, Sweden and Holland have all delayed aid disbursements to Rwanda, increasing fears that a deficit in the development budget may hinder growth which was projected at 7.7% this year.

Belgium also recently suspended military aid and the U.S government froze US$200,000 meant to support the newly opened senior army officers’ college.

However, UK government which had equally suspended its aid to Rwanda later unfroze part of it and recently opened a debate on whether the remaining portion should be released.

 

 

Source: MATTHEW RWAHIGI, 12 DECEMBER 2012, The Independent (Kampala)

 

‘Sweet Poison’ – Aid as Business


The African premiere of ‘Sweet Poison’, an 89-minute documentary on the blessings and curse of foreign development aid took place at Kigali Serena Hotel on Tuesday.

 

Kenya’s Turkana Fishplant in ruins.

Written and directed by Peter Heller, the film had its first world premiere two weeks ago at the Hamburg Film Festival in Germany.

The movie’s subtitle ‘Aid as Business’ displays a clear view of foreign aid from various African perspectives. It is estimated that over 800,000 people worldwide survive on aid.

 

 

Production crew during a shooting session of the film.

Another scene in the movie that demonstrate the orgies of aid.

Focusing on Mali, Kenya and Tanzania as case studies, from over a period of thirty years, ‘Sweet Poison’ demonstrates that development aid has had only limited and sometimes questionable effects.

First, the documentary reveals the initial impression Africans get as they receive aid in the form of food, infrastructure and machinery. But as a result, the aid creates a dependency syndrome among the people/countries who end up discarding activities that sustained them before.

The film also highlights the taboos of north to south relations and the African complex with provocative analytic statements, views and opinions from African journalists and experts. It then offers options for African countries to develop towards a self-determined future.

Once aid is then withdrawn, people become vulnerable and are compelled to cope up with the situation.

Heller, who is a veteran filmmaker, has made films for the last 40 years. “For forty years, I have been making films on Africa- our neighbouring continent, searching, observing and analysing its connections and relations,” Peter Heller, of ‘Sweet Poison’ told The New Times.

 

Another scene in the movie that demonstrate the orgies of aid.

“I felt that as most African countries have had 50 years of independence, what the progress has been made so far-especially as most of them receive foreign aid?” he posed.

The film’s premiere comes in at a time when Rwanda is currently embroiled in a tussle with powerful Western nations over ‘Foreign Aid’.

“I was very satisfied with the strong reactions people expressed after its screening. I didn’t expect people to welcome and appreciate it that way,” he added.

The filmmaker is expected to begin the promotional tour of his film promotional tour throughout his native Germany in November, alongside Mohammed Gueye, one of the commentators in the film.

 

Official Trailer “Süsses Gift”, Peter Heller (german):

 

 

 

 

 

Source:  ANDREW ISRAEL KAZIBWE, 27 OCTOBER 2012, The New Times, allAfrica.com

Mushikiwabo Says EU Aid Story Designed to Mislead


Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo has rubbished a story by AFP yesterday, that claimed the European Union is suspending new aid to Rwanda following allegations that the country is backing rebels in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Michael Mann, the spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, was quoted yesterday by AFP as saying,

“The EU is not interrupting ongoing projects, which are there to help the poor. But (it) is delaying decisions on additional budget support in the pipeline pending clarification of Rwanda’s role and its constructive engagement in search of solutions.”

According to AFP, the decision follows a report by experts of the UN Security Council’s sanctions committee alleging Rwandan support for M23 rebels, led by renegade Bosco Ntaganda, who launched an uprising in April.

Mushikiwabo used her twitter account to say the AFP story on EU suspending “new aid” to Rwanda is either old news or is designed to mislead. “No such decision has been taken,” she added.

Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo

Mann also allegedly said Ashton had told Kigali in talks recently, “that we expect Rwanda to act constructively – in words and actions – for a lasting peace solution in the eastern DRC.”

Early this month, the UK unfroze about £8m ($12.74m) in blocked aid to Rwanda. Andrew Mitchell, UK’s then international development secretary, praised Rwanda for ‘constructively working towards resolving a crisis in the Great Lakes region, where 220,000 people have been displaced since April’.

“Given this progress, and recognizing that the government of Rwanda has continued to demonstrate its strong commitment to reducing poverty and improving its financial management, Britain will partially restore its general budget support to Rwanda,” Mitchell said in a statement to parliament then.

 

 

Source: The Rwandan Focus, 26.09.2012

Rwanda hits MDG4 target and is about to hit MDG5 target…


Early this week, Rwanda hit its MDG4 (Millenium Development Goals) target on child mortality, according to a report from UNICEF, however it has also registered remarkable progress with MDG5.

 

Two-year-old Augustin, who is malnourished, eats a peanut paste mix at a UNICEF-supported health centre in DR Congo

MDG5 is about improving maternal health with a target of reducing by three quarters between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio and by achieving universal access to reproductive health by 2015.

Dr Fidel Ngabo, the Coordinator of Maternal and Child Health in the Ministry of Health stated that maternal deaths in Rwanda had greatly reduced as well.

“We came from 1071 maternal deaths to 476. Maternal deaths have reduced by 50 percent which is a tremendous achievement. We are still intensifying efforts to ensure that they reduce even further,” he said.

Doctor Ngabo said that more hospitals and maternities are being built to reduce maternal deaths.

He added that more women are also having safe births from health facilities and sleeping under treated mosquito nets. Nearly 7 in 10 deliveries occur at a health facility compared to 5 in 2007-2008.

Dr Ngabo said that Community Health Workers have also helped a great deal as they offer help to pregnant women.

“Community Health Workers have been given phones to call for quick medical intervention and ambulances whenever an expectant mother seems to have complications,” he said.

The Ministry of Health also launched a training program for Traditional Birth Attendants that teaches them basic nursing and midwifery skills, to reduce maternal and child deaths.

The training of the traditional birth attendants in rural areas helped reduce maternal mortality rate.

Doctor Ngabo urged the community to be more involved and participate in issues related to improving their health.

He noted that Rwanda used to have only one training school for midwives, but now has five.

 

MDG4: Reduce Child Mortality

MDG5: Improve Maternal Health

 

Sources: Maria Kaitesi, 15.09.12, The New Times: “How is Rwanda Performing With MDG5?” , Unicef

‘Permanent Aid Can Make a Person Become Useless’


China offers “a new choice for African nations,” says Mr Kagame. “The Chinese certainly have a different view than the West. They are what they are. They have clear objectives; they do not export their values together with assistance. They make decisions faster.”

Appearing in the latest issue of the magazine, the President’s comments come on the heels of a new investment deal with China and the establishment of sovereign fund that has raised some Rwf 15billion in two weeks. A visit to China this week by the President has yielded a $25m grant and numerous incentives for Rwandan exports to Chinese markets.

Answering in usually strong comments, the President says in comparison the west pretend to care more for Africans than the Africans themselves. “Some in the West think we are being fooled and they claim they are there to look after us, to warn us about the Chinese. I think they are more concerned with themselves,” said Kagame.

But even with Chinese cash and investments pouring into Rwanda, Mr Kagame says the ultimate decision about the development of Africa remains with the Africans. With particular reference to Rwanda, Kagame said: “No nation, even the ones who supported the genocide, owes us a favor.”

“I have said many times to our people, “Why should the taxpayers of another nation put food in our mouths and for how long?”…” said Kagame, also giving a rare insight into how his background has shaped his politics.

At the moment in Rwanda, Parliament has 56 percent female representation. Is that accidental, deliberate or politicking? President Kagame says women have always played a bigger role in Rwandan society.

“During the struggle to return to our country and to stop the genocide, women took very responsible positions in collecting information, fundraising, and even fighting,” said the president.

“But we don’t do these things because the world appreciates our gender equality policies. We do them because we could hardly fight for our freedom, and have women fight just as hard, and then deny them the rights to govern. We do it because we are working for development and prosperity, and leaving half our population out of this task just doesn’t make sense.”

On DRC Congo, where there is an ongoing international uproar over alleged Rwanda support to rebellions in the east of the country, President Kagame said “soon we will have long-lasting stability in our region.”

“You know, the violent history of Congo began long before I was born,” said Kagame. “It is a matter of public record that the royalty of Europe and the colonial powers decimated the people and stole their vast underground wealth for a century.”

However, the President said Rwanda was committed to being part of the solution to pacify DRC.

“However, we are working closely with the government of DRC to ensure that this threat is removed completely. We have also noticed a fresh spirit of cooperation from the international community to focus on the root cause of conflict in the DRC, and I am confident that soon we will have long-lasting stability in our region. This will allow us to focus on economic development, which is what our people want.”

 

Read full interview here: http://hir.harvard.edu/crafting-the-city/building-rwanda

 

Source: allAfrica.com

Agaciro Fund Hits Rwf7 Billion…


Voluntary contributions to the newly created Agaciro Development Fund  totaled more than U.S.$3 million two weeks after it was launched to help the country raise funds in light of recent aid cuts from the United States, Britain and Europe.

Contributions to the Agaciro Development Fund (AgDF) has so far reached Rwf7 billion (ca. 11,570,247 USD), the Minister of Finance, John Rwangombwa, disclosed two weeks ago.

Speaking at a news briefing, the Minister applauded Rwandans for giving selflessly, consequently contributing to the development of the nation.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame greets a crowd (file photo): Kagame said the new fund will not replace traditional sources of state revenues, including donor aid, but will supplement them.

“Agaciro Development Fund is voluntary contribution and it’s for the benefit of all Rwandans. We have been overwhelmed by the massive number of Rwandans willing to contribute to this Fund. We should keep up this good spirit and keep our self worth,”

Rwangombwa said.

The Agaciro Fund was officially launched end of August by President Paul Kagame during an even that saw initial contributions surpass Rwf1.2 billion.

The Fund, set up to supplement the existing sources of revenue, including donor aid, will finance various projects as the country seeks to accelerate its development goals as outlined in Vision 2020.

Among the outstanding contributors to the Fund were residents of Huye District in the Southern Province, who raised Rwf 1.1 billion.

As part of the drive, the management and staff members of the National University of Rwanda (NUR) raised Rwf 711 million towards the AgDF.

Speaking at the fundraising event in Huye, NUR Rector, Prof Silas Lwakabamba, congratulated all staff members and the university community for their commitment towards the country’s development.

Dr Charles Karangwa, a lecturer, reaffirmed their commitment towards the country’s development.

“As we have been actively engaged in other developmental programmes, we also understand the essence of Agaciro Fund,” Karangwa observed.

Authorities in the southern province continue with the drive to collect contributions to support the Fund. On Thursday 30th of August, at least Rwf 55 million was raised from Ruhango District residents and on Friday 31th of August, over 240 million was raised from Nyaruguru.

On the same day, Nyamagabe district held a fundraising event in which the residents raised Rwf 337 million.

Staff of the Ministry of Agriculture gave Rwf 420 million while the residents of Kicukiro district, on Sunday 2th of August, contributed Rwf 501m.

Yousuf Mudaheranwa, a resident of Kicukiro, said:

“My family had decided to contribute Rwf 5 million, but because I have understood the role of this fund, I raised it to Rwf 7 million.”

The Mayor of Kicukiro, Paul Jules Ndamage, thanked the residents for the huge contribution and said it was just the beginning.

The Finance Minister  noted that the government wants to find a way of making the fund sustainable since it will have a big impact on the development of the nation, especially in reducing poverty.

Two weeks ago the minister told journalists that different modalities were being devised to facilitate Rwandans make their contributions.

“Some have even suggested a kind of a voucher that can be availed at all retail shops where someone can just buy it and automatically the money goes to the fund and these are some of the options we are still looking at. Our wish is to ensure that everyone who wants to make a contribution is facilitated to do so,” Rwangombwa said

For contributions or further information on the Agaciro Development Fund , please click on the link below:

“I’d like to contibute to AGACIRO DEVELOPMENT FUND”

Bill Clinton and daughter inaugurate cancer treatment center in Rwanda


Rwanda’s First Cancer Treatment Center

Butaro, 18 July 2012

“The Ministry of Health of Rwanda in collaboration with Partners In Health/Inshuti Mu Buzima (PIH/IMB), Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, and the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation (JGCF) inaugurated today the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence (COE), which will serve as the first national cancer referral facility in rural Rwanda. President William J. Clinton, 42nd president of the United States of America, presided the inauguration.

Dr. Lawrence Shulman of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute joins former President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton in an inaugural tour of the new Butaro Cancer Center.

An outpatient Infusion Center will be set up on the Butaro Hospital campus to care for patients requiring chemotherapy infusions, blood transfusions, and family counseling. Until now, biopsies have been sent to supporting Boston-based hospitals; however a fully equipped pathology lab is being developed so that Butaro can serve as a national referral pathology lab, allowing for in-country cancer-related testing and diagnosis. ”

“Among all NCDs, cancers have been the most daunting and under-addressed. The national cancer registry in Rwanda revealed that 3,420 patients had been diagnosed with cancer between the years 2007 – 2011; of these cancer patients, 320 were children.

Since 2007, the MOH and PIH/IMB have provided cancer care to over 100 patients at PIH-supported Rwinkwavu Hospital.”

From left: Dr. Lawrence Shulman, the Honorable Dr. Agnes Binagwaho (Rwanda’s minister of health), Chelsea Clinton (PIH trustee), former President Bill Clinton, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, and Dr. Paul Farmer participate in the Butaro Cancer Center inauguration July 18, 2012.

Read whole article:

Governement of Rwanda: “Rwanda gets its first comprehensive cancer treatment center”

Read also:

Revolutionary Cancer Care in Rwanda

Good to know:

In April 1994, a genocide erupted in Rwanda due to a conflict between Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups. Over the next few months, an estimated 500,000 to 1 million Rwandans, mainly Tutsi, were killed. By July, the Rwandan Patriotic Front took over the country. Although the Clinton Administration and the international community was aware of the genocide taking place in Rwanda, no action was undertaken. By the end of July, nearly two million of Hutus fled the country for safety, spawning the growth of refugee camps in neighboring countries. As thousands of people died of disease and starvation in these refugee camps, Clinton ordered airdrops of food and supplies for the Hutu refugees, including known genocidaires. In July, he sent 200 non-combatant troops to the Rwanda capital of Kigali to manage the airport and distribute relief supplies. These troops were subsequently withdrawn by October 1994. Clinton and theUnited Nations faced criticism for their non-response to the genocide. When Clinton traveled to Africa in 1998, he said that the international community, presumably including the US, must accept responsibility for the failure to respond to the massacres. When speaking about the Rwanda Crisis, Clinton called it his worst failure, admitting “I blew it.

Wikipedia: “Foreign Policy of the Bill Clinton administration”

President Clinton offers his condolences for the genocide four years earlier and his promise to the people of Rwanda of an international effort to make reparations in the country and bring back safety and prosperity to the people. March 1998

 

Bill Clinton on rebuilding Rwanda

 

 

Sources: Partners in Health, Wikipedia, Youtube, Ted (Ideas worth spreading)

Let’s call it a little update on what happened the last couple of months….


FINALLY (!), I FOUND THE TIME TO SIT DOWN AND GIVE YOU A LITTLE UPDATE ON WHAT HAPPENED THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS. 

KABILA has won a new five-year term as president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, after a campaign marred by violence, in which at least 24 people died… 

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UNICEF requires it needs US$31.8 Million for the next three months to provide humanitarian support to crisis affected children and women in four countries (Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti). As for Kenya, Unicef might have trouble finding internal support as medical practitioners, pharmacists and dentists union members are  in the middle of strikes for better pay and working conditions. But for Somalia this could actually be manageable as Britain decided their new year’s resolution is to intervene in their former colony…

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WHILE OKELLO Oryem, minister of Foreign Affairs declared, that Uganda won’t tolerate acts of sexual abuse perpetrated on minors and other vulnerable people by homosexuals in the name of practicing their gay rights, the Zimbabwean legislator Mrs Lillian Kirenyi has been arrested for calling President Robert Mugabe a homosexual… 

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Despite of all the protests and opposition, Joseph Kabila has been sworn in as President of the Democratic Republic of Congo for the next five years. Fears of another civil war are rising as Kabilas rival Mr. Tshisekedi is determinate to be sworn in as President this week.

On 9 December the Democratic Republic of Congo announced that President Joseph Kabila was sworn in for a second term. But this announcement was immediatly rejected by his rival Etienne Tshisekedi and his supporters, who said Tshisekedi is the real winner. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that there had been at least 24 deaths in the capital, Kinshasa, where Tshisekedi has strong support. The elections were the first to be organised locally since the end of a devastating civil war in 2003, which left some four million people dead. Mr Tshisekedi supporters said they had evidence that security forces had tried to cover up the deaths. Western observers think that the electoral process had been too flawed to be credible.

BBC News reports: DR Congo police ‘killed 24 civilians’ after elections (22.12.2011)

Unicef just published their “Unicef Humanitarian Action Update- Horn of Africa crisis”. It says that US$31.8 million are needed for urgent life-saving actions to prevent the deaths of an estimated 480,000 severely malnourished children in drought affected Kenya, Somalia Ethiopia, and Djibouti. A further 1,649,000 children are moderately malnourished.  All crisis affected persons are at high risk of disease outbreaks including measles, acute watery diarrhoea and pneumonia.

The “Update” ends with five pages of  “FUNDING REQUIREMENTS AND RECEIPTS”, where schemes can be found of the requirements per sector, such as health, nutrition, education, child protection etc. of all four countries. The point is to show the rate of unmet/unfunded requirements for each sector. For most countries the rate is at 30-80% in the main sectors. But what’s striking is the high rate of unfunded requirements in the “Cluster coordination sector”, which is at a 100% in almost all four countries.

Problem: First of all the report doesn’t explain how Unicef gets to compile the values in these statistics, nor how the reader could access more detailed values. 

We come to the conclusion that Unicef’s most unfunded sector in the horn of africa is the “cluster cordination”, which means that from this US$ 31.8 Million a greater part will be needed to invest in people with the requisite functional competencies to coordinate large groups of agencies with divergent mandates and approaches.

Question: Is this ‘professionalisation’ of  cluster coordination still serving the purpose of humanitarian aid, help for self help or is it more an end in itself rather than a means to an end?

Role of Clusters: Clusters assume a ‘coordinating’ function that oscillates between facilitation and cooperation. Its role is to complement, and, where government is dysfunctional or non-existent, to supplement government capacity to lead and manage sectoral aspects of crisis; to act independently as ‘honest broker’ in advising all stakeholders of appropriate technical and managerial (best-) practices; and to facilitate consensual decision-making (including through enhanced information management systems). Cluster partners should engage in programme implementation wherever clear comparative advantage can be demonstrated. What Clusters cannot do is coordinate in the hierarchical line-management sense. Firstly, it has no mandate with its peer non-governmental agencies to do so, which leaves them free to ‘cherry-pick’ what they want to do; and second, it is the government of the country concerned that must assume its responsibilities on behalf of its population. 

Kenya Medical Strike (uploaded by TV2Africa 06.12.2011)

Frustration has been mounting at the high cost of food and fuel in Kenya, which holds a general election next year, compounded by a collapse in the value of the local currency against the dollar. About  2,300 members of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union stopped working after the government said it could not meet their demands for a 300 percent pay rise. The doctors at state hospitals say their terms haven’t been looked at for more than a decade.

“We have called off the strike so that top union officials can negotiate with the government. I have made an appeal to the striking doctors to go back to their work after the government assured us there will be no victimisation,” Boniface Chitayi, the union’s secretary general, told Reuters by phone.

In2EastAfrica.net reports: Kenyan doctors call off strike- Union official (13.12.2011)

Britain plans to deepen its involvement in the East African State as piracy in Somalia has become a major cause for British concern.
Uk’s Prime Minister Mr. David Cameron is concerned about tourists and aid workers from the UK being attacked and kidnapped, the rise of piracy and the potential for the East African country to become a place of extremist indoctrination for increasing numbers of young Muslims from the UK.
Mrs. Lillian Kirenyi, the Zimbabwean legislator from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party was charged with undermining the authority of President Mugabe.
The court was told that the MP committed the alleged offence during an address to party supporters on December 9.
She allegedly said:
“Zanu PF (President Mugabe’s party) members been attacking MDC president Tsvangirai alleging he is pro-homosexuals yet Robert Mugabe has practiced homosexuality with (Professor) Jonathan Moyo (former Information minister) and Canaan Banana (Zimbabwe’s first ceremonial president).”
Sources: guardian.co.uk, independent.co.uk, bbc.co.uk, clustercoordination.org, In2EastAfrica.net, allAfrica.com, youtube.com, google.com