Reports emanating from Haiti indicate that online petitions in support of the country’s new constitutional amendments have been created by the founder and leader of Jeunes Dirigeants Haïtiens Progressistes, Mr Werley Nortreus, and other leaders.
It was gathered that the petitions, available via Change.org and MesOpinions.com through Werley Nortreus on the search bars, are in two versions; English and Fresh, with some signatures garnered from supporters of the move, who believe the Caribbean nation needs a new constitution that guarantees equal opportunity for all its citizens.
Haitians across Haiti and in the Diaspora believe the new constitution should allow candidates over the age of 25 and older to run for the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches. They believe the outcome of the old constitution did not bring any results in the country after many years under its law. Therefore, many feel it is worth amending the constitution. All Haitians deserve a chance too.
The former Haitian President and other officials initially suggested the new constitution, but it was delayed due to a high COVID caseload. Most leaders believe the former President’s proposed constitution needs to be modified as amendments. The additional amendments should allow 25-year-old and older candidates to run for the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial.
The current Prime Minister will have to amend and establish the new constitution that the former president and other officials suggested, so candidates under the age of 35 will have the chance to participate in the upcoming general elections to be elected in one of the branches of government of their choice. The new constitution also suggests a number of additional beneficial changes for the nation that will improve the lives of all of its citizens.
The creator of the petitions is among the leaders who are engaged in a bid to change the country’s situation. It is an opportunity for a new Haiti, where everyone is included in the country’s prosperity after many years of suffering.
Mr Nortreus is a Haitian musician, author, entrepreneur, and rising politician. He was born and raised in Haiti. He is currently known as the founder and leader of some political organizations, including Jeunes Dirigeants Haïtiens Progressistes, which is a political party based in Haiti.
Throughout his career, he is known as a black leader who keeps speaking out about racism, discrimination, inequality, and other issues in the world.
He created petitions asking for new amendments to the constitution in Haiti because he believed everyone deserved equal opportunities and a better life. Most notably, his home country of Haiti, a heavily exploited country that has become the poorest country in the world.
The rising politician is known for many quotes, including political quotes on Haiti. “Haiti needs young educated people with strong leadership skills to take over and lead the country in the right direction”, Werley Nortreus wrote as a quote on leadership and Haiti.
“The only way to have a new Haiti is to establish a new constitution that gives candidates who are 25 years old and older the right to run for a position among the three branches of the government according to their choice. A new constitution where everyone is included is the only way Haitians will be able to change the miserable situation that Haiti is in because of its old constitution”, Werley Nortreus said about why he created the petitions.
Mr Nortreus also informed the media that Haiti must focus on constitutional changes, security for the country, and fair elections that also include younger candidates in all three branches.
Global Food Crisis: UN Raises Alarm on Risk to Youths in Nigeria, Others
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By Adedapo Adesanya
Five agencies of the United Nations on Thursday called for urgent action to protect millions of malnourished children in the 15 countries hardest hit by the unprecedented food and nutrition crisis, including Nigeria.
The appeal was issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
They warned that more than 30 million under-fives are suffering from wasting, or acute malnutrition, brought on by conflict, climate shocks, ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the rising costs of living.
Children with the condition have weakened immune systems and are at higher risk of dying from common childhood diseases. Eight million are severely wasted – the deadliest form of undernutrition – meaning they are 12 times more likely to die than children who get enough to eat.
The agencies urged the international community to accelerate progress on the Global Action Plan on Child Wasting to prevent the growing crisis from becoming a tragedy.
Speaking on this, Mr Qu Dongyu, the FAO Director-General, warned that the situation is likely to deteriorate even further this year, adding that there must be availability, affordability, and accessibility of healthy diets for young children, girls, and pregnant and lactating women.
“We need urgent action now to save lives and to tackle the root causes of acute malnutrition, working together across all sectors,” he said.
The Global Action Plan aims to prevent, detect and treat acute malnutrition among children in the countries worst affected by the cascading crisis: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Yemen.
It addresses the need for a multi-sectoral approach and highlights priority actions through maternal and child nutrition policy shifts aimed at the food, health, water and sanitation, and social protection systems.
With needs mounting, the UN agencies have outlined five specific actions that will be effective in addressing acute malnutrition in countries affected by conflict and natural disasters and in humanitarian emergencies.
They include enhancing analysis of the determinants of child wasting, ensuring essential maternal and child nutrition interventions for early prevention, such as regular screening, and introducing specialized nutritious food products as part of emergency food assistance.
Scaling up these actions as a coordinated package will be critical both for prevention and treatment and for saving lives, the partners stressed.
“At UNHCR, we are working hard to improve analysis and targeting to ensure that we reach children who are most at risk, including internally displaced and refugee populations,” said Mr Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
“The global food crisis is also a health crisis and a vicious cycle: malnutrition leads to disease, and disease leads to malnutrition,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General.
“Urgent support is needed now in the hardest hit countries to protect children’s lives and health, including ensuring critical access to healthy foods and nutrition services, especially for women and children,” he added.
By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh
After he was appointed, the new Chinese Foreign Minister, Qin Gang, paid a working visit to Africa, and without mincing words, this has multiple geopolitical implications and significance for further strengthening relations between China and Africa.
In fact, details are not needed here, but readers could guess and imagine what these mean to both China and Africa. At a glance, Minister Qin Gang was in Addis Ababa, the East African city and the capital of Ethiopia, the headquarters of the continental organization popularly referred to as the African Union.
According to various reports, the Chinese Foreign Minister held discussions with African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat. The bilateral talks are related to various strategic development issues in which China largely plays appreciable roles for the benefit of Africa and its people.
There is no need to list all the development questions here, but one important point is that Qin Gang’s visit was principally connected to ribbon cutting ceremony marking the completion of the newly constructed building – the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) headquarters in Addis Ababa.
The building is one of the best-equipped centres for disease control in Africa, allowing Africa CDC to play its role as the technical institution coordinating disease prevention, surveillance and control in the continent in partnership with the national public health institutes and ministries of health in African countries.
Located in the African Village, south of Addis Ababa, the new site covers an area of 90,000 m2 with a total construction area of nearly 40,000 m2. It includes an emergency operation centre, a data centre, a laboratory, a resource centre, briefing rooms, a training centre, a conference centre, offices, and expatriate apartments, – all constructed, furnished and equipped by the Government of China.
Ethiopia is part of a week-long tour of the continent and was joined by Moussa Faki Mahamat at the opening of the $80 million headquarters, which was also built and equipped by China. Worth noting here that it financed this complex’s construction, as it previously did for the headquarters of the AU itself, also based in the Ethiopian capital.
According to Gang, the project was a testament to the growing relations between his country and Africa – is seen as the latest example of China’s increasing investment in the continent. Beijing accelerated its involvement in tackling health crises after the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014. Four years later, it announced its plan to build the Africa CDC headquarters. The agency led the continent’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During his talks, he also emphasized China’s partnership with Africa in security and economic development. Gang rejected the idea that China is competing in Africa with the United States, which last month sought to reassert its influence with a U.S.-Africa summit in Washington.
Instead, he underlined that what Africa needs is solidarity and cooperation, not block competition. China has invested heavily in infrastructure in African countries, including roads, railways and hospitals.
In his contribution, AUC Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat told a joint press conference that Africa’s lack of permanent representation on the Security Council is a “burning issue” considering that most issues on the council agenda are related to African countries. China is one of the council’s five permanent members.
In fact, the Security Council is made up of fifteen members, five of whom are permanent and have veto-wielding power: the United States, Russia, China, France, and Britain. The other ten positions are filled by other countries for two-year stints, five of which are announced each year.
“It is unacceptable that others decide in the place of others. It is not fair. We need a new order at the international level which will respect the interests of others,” he said.
Moussa Mahamat underlined the fact that “Africa refuses to be considered to be an arena of exchange of influence. …We are open to cooperation and partnership with everybody, but our principles, our priorities and our interests have to be respected. The partnership we have with China is based on these principles.”
While in Addis Ababa, Gang also met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and other government officials and announced a partial cancellation of Ethiopia’s debt to China during the visit, though neither side provided details. Ethiopia has borrowed $13.7 billion from China since 2000 and has been seeking to restructure its debt to foreign lenders since 2021.
Ethiopia is a key Chinese ally, partly due to its geopolitical significance in the Horn of Africa since the country is the seat of the African Union. It is also strategic for China as it seeks to expand its multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative.
Beijing was willing to expand bilateral cooperation in various fields and would “encourage more Chinese companies to invest in Ethiopia and participate in the reconstruction process”, he said, according to a Chinese foreign ministry readout.
According to the Chinese Loans to Africa Database at Boston University’s Global Development Policy Centre, China pledged $13.7 billion in loans to Ethiopia between 2000 and 2020 that have gone into building roads, power dams and railways.
He will also visit Gabon, Angola, Benin and Egypt. Reports indicated that China has strong security ties to Egypt and Angola. Visiting Benin and Gabon shows ambitions to expand Beijing’s Belt and Roads infrastructure – building drive – long focused mainly on the Indian Ocean region – into western Africa.
Qin Gang, now 56, who was appointed in December, is on his first overseas visit as foreign minister and has started a week-long trip to Africa. The new foreign minister is following in the footsteps of his predecessors, who have for more than three decades started each year with a trip to Africa. It shows that China attaches great importance to the traditional friendship with Africa and the development of China-Africa relations.
By Dipo Olowookere
The new Managing Director of Shelter Afrique, Mr Thierno-Habib Hann, has promised to grow the company’s portfolio with quality assets, boost its capital base and generate impact for stakeholders.
Mr Hann made this pledge as he resumed his new office following his appointment last year.
The management of Shelter Afrique changed in 2022, with Mr Kingsley Muwowo piloting the affairs of the organisation in an acting capacity.
The new MD joined the Nairobi-based Pan-African housing development financier from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), where he served as the Asia/Pacific Lead for housing finance, based in Bangkok, Thailand.
Mr Hann has extensive international experience in housing finance, capital markets/investment banking and structured finance spanning over 20 years. He brings a wealth of leadership experience in development and investment, sharp insight into the real estate landscape and a strong track record of delivery.
Mr Hann is expected to strengthen governance, be an embodiment of the organisation’s values and drive the investment strategy of the company focused on delivering large-scale affordable housing.
“I’m happy and honoured to take on the new role at Shelter Afrique; I would like to extend my appreciation to the shareholders and the board of directors for their confidence in me.
“I would like to thank the staff, partners and stakeholders for their warm welcome and their commitment to the mandate of Shelter-Afrique.
“I am also grateful to my former colleagues at the IFC and World Bank. The institution and title may have changed, but I believe we all share a joint commitment and goal of developing our world, and I look forward to collaborating with them.
“I would especially like to thank Mr Kingsley Muwowo for the role he has played in the transition and for his personal and professional support; his service to the company as CFO and eventually as Acting CEO has been invaluable to the company,” the new man in charge said.
Speaking on his plans for the firm, the native of Guinea (Conakry) and co-founder of AngelAfrica, a Pan-African thinktank, said, “My immediate focus will be to optimise the organisation’s performance and ensure we deliver on our mandate.
“To do this, in the immediate term, management is committed to strengthening the brand and corporate governance, ensuring financial sustainability with a strong execution capability, strengthening risk management framework as well as deepening capacity within the organisation and advocating for innovative solutions in the delivery of affordable housing.”
“I also plan to embark on broad stakeholder engagement to understand other ways to address our mandate; we welcome the views of our shareholders and partners as the task of delivering affordable housing is a shared one, and no single organisation can address the growing housing crisis alone,” he added.
Mr Hann, who described housing as critical to the development of any nation, said he wants to bridge the deficit in Africa, noting that, “It is an honour to lead this team, and together, we will work towards harnessing national resources to improve local populations’ living conditions and to achieve Shelter Afrique’s mandate,”
Mr Hann began his career at the consulting firm Arthur Andersen, LLC as a Senior Consultant in Financial Services and Capital Markets in New York City. He has worked at JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs as Manager and Vice President, respectively and led investment teams issuing mortgage-backed securities (RMBS/CMO) and credit derivatives (CDS) in these organisations.
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