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Briefing: DRC’s Moise Katumbi Returns; South Sudan Plans Fete

; Africa Free Trade Plans Boom

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Moise Katumbi (Internet photo)

Former presidential hopeful and wealthy Congolese businessman Moise Katumbi returns to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) today Monday, May 20, 2019.

The plane carrying the controversial businessman will touch down at 10:00am in the city of Lubumbashi.

Several opposition figures arrived in the city on Sunday ahead of today’s event.

His arrival will mark an end to his three-year self-imposed exile.

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Katumbi, a former governor of the mineral-rich southern Katanga province, left DRC in May 2016 following sharp disagreements with his former comrade and President Joseph Kabila.

He was accused of hiring foreign mercenaries, accusations that compelled him to cross through Namibia enroute to Brussels.

His attempts to return to DRC to participate in the recent general elections did not bear fruit as authorities blocked him at southern border with Zambia border.

President Felix Tshisekedi recently sent travel documents to Katumbi in Brussels to facilitate his return.

The new president also dropped charges against the businessman.

Katumbi, who owns Katanga’s most popular football team, TP Mazembe, was expected in DRC on July 1 but never showed up, saying government had blocked his return. Kinshasa vehemently denied the accusation.

President Tshisekedi’s government has since directed that all planes taking off or landing in DRC must obtain clearance from the office of special advisor on security, François Beya.

It remains unclear if Katumbi is still popular in the area which was recently split into four provinces.

South Sudan Plans Liberation Fete

Nunu meeting with Kiir this past week

South Sudan has intensified preparations of the National Day celebrations slated for May 16, 2019.

SPLM Acting Secretary General Jemma Nunu says the ruling party has organized a number of activities for the commemoration of the day such as “donations for the wounded soldiers, and doing a number of talk shows to remember the fallen heroes and heroines.”

The celebrations are aimed at keeping alive the memory of great sacrifices by South Sudanese and fallen heroes, and to acknowledge the tremendous contribution made by gallant SPLA forces in the marginalized areas of Sudan.

Dr John Garang de Mabior spearheaded the founding of the SPLM/SPLA in 1983.

ChimpReports understands Nunu met with President Salva Kiir at the State House this past Monday to discuss the preparation for the celebrations.

Nunu told President Kiir the party would celebrate the day by remembering the heroes and heroines that died for the liberation of the country.

Kenya First Lady Rallies World to Embrace Physical Exercises

Margaret Kenyatta was presented with the  WHO Director General’s Health Leaders 2019 award

Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has made a clarion call to the world to embrace physical exercises as a way of promoting healthy living and curbing non-communicable diseases.

The First Lady pointed out that the burden of non-communicable diseases, especially in developing countries, has taken a toll on already fragile health systems, a situation that demands a change of tact to address the pandemic.

“It (the burden of non-communicable diseases) has shifted our health focus from mortality driven by infectious diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, cholera and typhoid, to mortality driven by non-communicable diseases like diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases,” the First Lady said.

“We have been challenged to shift our thinking and consider long-term health system strengthening, that adopts a holistic lifestyle approach and behavioral change,” she added.

Ms Kenyatta spoke shortly before she led participants of all ages and from all walks of life in the 2019 annual WHO’s  “Walk the Talk” race in Geneva, Switzerland where she was the chief guest.

Participants in the open health promotion event, that aims at creating awareness on the importance of physical activity as part of a healthy sustainable future and recognition of the role played by the city of Geneva as the hub for global health, were divided into three groups including those who ran, walked or used wheelchairs to cover the eight, five and three kilometres segments of the exercise.

Among participants from Kenya were Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki and marathon runner Mary Keitany.

During the event, the Kenyan First Lady was presented with the WHO Director General’s Health Leaders 2019 award in recognition of her outstanding advocacy on global health matters.

The First Lady emphasized that physical activity is the bedrock of healthy living adding that physical exercising has many benefits to the well-being of the human body most importantly being prevention of illnesses.

“Linking this to good nutrition and reinforcing healthy habits including physical exercise, is something we as leaders, need to encourage in our communities,” she said.

Africa Free Trade Plans In High Gear

Faki (R) says Africa Free Trade plans have gained momentum

African countries are working around the clock to market high value goods ahead of the launch of the much-anticipated African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The AfCFTA will enter into force on May 30, 2019.

The Chairperson of the AUC Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, flanked by the African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Albert Muchanga recently received two deposits of instruments of ratification of AfCFTA from Sierra Leone and Saharawi Republic.

The two deposits meet the minimum threshold of ratifications required under Article 23 of the AfCFTA Agreement for it to enter into force thirty days after deposit of the 22nd deposit made by the Saharawi Republic.

The Chairperson hailed the two deposits as timely and significant steps towards removing the fragmentation of African economies and markets, a process that will create a large market that is critical to increasing trade and investments on the continent.

AfCFTA, which has the potential to create the largest free-trade area in the world – uniting fifty-four African countries with a combined population of more than one billion people and a combined gross domestic product of more than US $3.4 trillion – has also engendered much debate about the challenges of harmonizing disparate tax, fiscal and regulatory regimes as well as the varied socio-political make-up of nations on the continent.

All that is now left is for the African Union and African Ministers of Trade to finalize work on supporting instruments to facilitate the launch of the operational phase of the AfCFTA during an Extra-Ordinary heads of state and government summit on 7th July 2019.

The supporting instruments are: rules of origin; schedules of tariff concessions on trade in goods; online non-tariff barriers monitoring and elimination mechanism; digital payments and settlement platform; and African Trade Observatory Portal.

AfCFTA is meant to create a tariff-free continent that can grow local businesses, boost intra-African trade, rev up industrialization and create jobs.

The agreement creates a single continental market for goods and services as well as a customs union with free movement of capital and business travelers. Countries joining AfCFTA must commit to removing tariffs on at least 90% of the goods they produce.

AfCFTA opens up more markets for Ugandan goods and services to be exported but other countries will as well be exporting to Uganda duty free.

The African Ministers of Trade are scheduled to meet in Kampala, Uganda in the first week of June this year to review work on these supporting instruments ahead of the Extraordinary Summit on the AfCFTA.

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