Monday, May 23, 2011

From around the continent of Africa

  • Bangladeshi companies launch Africa farm lease plan
  • Joint statement: Sixth colloquium of international prosecutors
  • Bangladesh prods local investors to farm in Gambia
  • CAF Executive Committee Decisions
Bangladeshi companies launch Africa farm lease plan
BBC - Bangladeshi companies say they have leased thousands of hectares of farmland in Africa as part of their efforts to avoid future food shortages.
Two Bangladeshi companies have already signed deals to lease unused cultivable land in Uganda, Tanzania and Gambia.
Another agreement to lease around 30,000 hectares for 99 years will be signed with the Tanzanian government later this week.
Officials say African countries have huge amounts of unused cultivable land.
At the same time they say that Bangladesh has the manpower and expertise to produce staple crops all year round.
'Food security'
Under the plans, the Contract Farming System will enable Bangladeshi companies to get at least 60% of the produce.
In return Bangladesh will train African farmers in rain-fed rice cultivation, seed conservation and irrigation.
It is hoped that the new arrangement will increase food productivity and enable the country's expanding workforce to be deployed in Africa's farming sector.
"Basically this idea is mainly for proper management of our food security," said Wahidur Rahman, a senior Bangladeshi foreign ministry official.
"We are thinking of expanding our agriculture, but we do not have enough land to cultivate. Because of this we are thinking Africa may be the destination for our agriculture production."
Bangladesh is the world's fourth largest producer of rice and it harvested around 34 million tonnes last year.
Although the country produces enough to feed its population of 160 million people, it faces shortages at times because of natural disasters.
Officials say apart from rice there is also scope to cultivate other crops such as wheat and cotton in Africa.

Joint statement: Sixth colloquium of international prosecutors
WE THE PROSECUTORS, respectively, of the host institution – the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), the ad hoc International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda (ICTR), the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) and the permanent court – the International Criminal Court, following constructive discussions during the Sixth Colloquium of International Prosecutors convened in Freetown, Sierra Leone on the 14th and 15th of May 2011;
CONFIRM the importance of the expeditious and effective completion of our mandates, on behalf of the victims in the affected communities that we serve, by bringing to justice those who committed serious violations of international humanitarian and criminal law
REITERATE that the international criminal justice process is an essential element in combating impunity, including for crimes against women and children, strengthening the rule of law, engendering respect for human rights and maintaining peaceful and stable societies
REITERATE ALSO the fundamental requirement that all remaining and future cases involving international crimes be conducted in accordance with the relevant provisions of due process and universal principles of justice
EMPHASISE that the independence of the prosecutors is essential in the exercise of their mandate and call on all parties to recognize and support that independence.
EMPHASISE ALSO the critical importance of witnesses to the success of all the trials and the imperative that these witnesses be free to testify without fear that their personal safety and security will be endangered
STRESS the urgent need to locate, arrest and transfer fugitives to the international criminal courts and tribunals whose closures are fast approaching
URGE national authorities to ensure full commitment to the end of impunity and to eliminating safe havens for those suspected or indicted for international crimes
RECOGNISE the essential support and cooperation of States in enabling international criminal courts and tribunals to pursue their respective mandates
ACKNOWLEDGE the critical contribution of vibrant civil society movements in the fight against impunity.
STRESS the need to maintain sufficient resources to effectively and efficiently complete our mandates
ALSO STRESS the need to establish effective residual mechanisms which are provided with sufficient political and financial support from the international community to enable them to properly fulfill their functions and have the capacity to: establish and operate an effective regime of protection and support to victims, witnesses and confidential sources and that access to such a regime is assured provide timely and effective access to the public records of the courts and tribunals whilst continuing to protect sensitive and confidential information, especially information which could jeopardize the security of witnesses and confidential sources continue to disseminate information about its mandate and its activities and continue to engage with relevant national authorities consider the views of the prosecutors in all matters that affect pardon or commutation of sentence, security of witnesses and challenges to convictions and sentences
COMMIT to support and cooperate with national authorities to build their capacity to investigate and prosecute international crimes to the extent possible within our limited resources and primary mandates.
Brenda J Hollis, Prosecutor Serge Brammertz, Prosecutor Special Court for Sierra Leone International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia Andrew Cayley, Co-Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, Deputy Prosecutor Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of representing Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Cambodia Prosecutor, International Criminal Court
Richard Karegyesa, Chief of Prosecutions Daryl Mundis, Chief of Prosecutions representing Hassan Bubacar Jallow, representing Daniel A Bellemare, Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal Prosecutor, Special Tribunal for Lebanon
For Rwanda. FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE 15 May 2011/African Press Organization (APO).

Bangladesh prods local investors to farm in Africa
The Financial Express: The foreign ministry has cleared the way for Bangladeshi entrepreneurs to invest in farming sector in the vast and untapped rural expanse of Africa, said an official Tuesday.
The move comes after two fact-finding missions led by the foreign secretary last year found farming in the so-called dark continent "exceedingly lucrative" for Bangladeshi investors.
The teams headed by Mijarul Quayes visited Liberia, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Ghana and now foreign ministry wants the Bangladesh Bank and the agriculture ministry to take up the case for overseas farming.
"Bangladeshi entrepreneurs can invest in rice, wheat, cotton, coco and coffee farming in Africa. We want them to go fast before investors of other countries arrive," said a senior foreign ministry official.
The government sent the fact-finders in August and September last year as part of its efforts to ensure food security for the country's fast-growing population.
The country has been losing arable land to realtors and non-farm sectors at a very fast rate and under such circumstances, the government has been looking for alternative sources for food production.
Under the plan, the authorities would like the agro-investors to take substantial areas of largely unused farm land in Africa, on lease and bring back at least half of the output to Bangladesh in line with government-backed deals with the host countries.
"Already Chinese farmers have invested heavily in farmland in a number of sub-Saharan African nations. They are backed by their government. Some Middle East nations also made similar moves," said the official.
The official is familiar with the fact-finding missions and their recent reports. He was speaking on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to media.
"Two Bangladeshi investors have already scoured Tanzania, Gambia and Ghana to take on lease land for rice farming," he said, adding the government was "willing to cooperate with them in every possible way."
But unless they get foreign exchange clearance from the Bangladesh Bank, it was not clear how they would take land abroad under leasing arrangement, another official added.
Haideruzzman, an owner of Best Air, said he had taken 250,000 acres of land on lease in Tanzania and Ghana. But foreign officials have disputed his claims, saying they are not aware of any such deals.
Members of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) have also visited several cotton-producing nations in sub-Saharan Africa and are exploring joint-venture opportunities in cotton farming, officials said.
Bangladeshi textile millers who have now emerged as one of the world's largest cotton consumers, have visited Mali, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Lesotho and Burkina Faso to scale up import from some of the top cotton producers in the world.
Unlike China and India, Bangladesh imports the whole quantity of its required cotton from abroad and is extremely vulnerable to price volatility. Uzbekistan, India and the United States have been the main import sources for them.
But a record-breaking jump in international cotton prices prompted the local textile millers to explore opportunities in Africa, even though many of such nations lack basic shipment facilities.
"An investment in cotton farming in these nations will no doubt be risky, but can pay big dividend. It will help us enjoy some leverage in global clothing market," said a leading textile miller.
Based on the fact-finding missions, the foreign ministry early this month asked the agriculture ministry to prepare a guideline for overseas investment in farming sector, the official said.
In a letter to the agriculture ministry, the fact-finders said local entrepreneurs could also invest in African continent's livestock, fisheries, forestry and food and fruit processing sectors.
"We have emphasised the need for urgent adoption of a guideline by the agriculture ministry and the Bangladesh Bank to pave the way for investment in Africa by end of this year," he said.
"Especially, the existing foreign exchange guidelines of the Bangladesh Bank will have to be changed for local investors so that they can remit some dollars abroad," he said.  

Football: CAF Executive Committee Decisions
Cafonline - Decisions of the Confederation of African Football, CAF Executive Committee at its meeting on Monday, 16th May 2011, in Cairo, Egypt
Nomination of two CAF Vice-Presidents
M. Suketu Patel, from Seychelles, has been nominated as 1st Vice President of CAF and M. Almamy Kabele, Guinea, as second Vice President. The nomination, unanimously approved, was made by the CAF President Issa Hayatou.  The two previous Vice-presidents are General Seyi Memene who has reached CAF retirement age  and Molefi Oliphant OIG, who did not contest CAF Executive Committee election held in February 2011. In the same month, M. Oliphant OIG was co-opted to sit on the CAF Executive Committee as a member.
Reports on CAF U-20 Championship Orange held from April 17th and to May 1st
The Executive Committee expressed its satisfaction with the report presented; the Executive Committee has reiterated its thankfulness to SAFA for hosting the tournament at short notice. The tournament was to be held initially in Libya but was moved to a new venue due to the political situation in that country.  Nigeria, winner of the competition, Cameroon, Mali and Egypt are the qualified tams to participate at the FIFA  U-20 World  Cup  which will take place this year  in Colombia.
Progress report on Orange Africa Cup Nations Cup 2012
The Executive Committee welcomed positively the progress report presented  on CAN 2012 preparations on various aspects related to the hosting of the final tournament taking place in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. The competition will start on the 21st January ending on 12 February 2012. The final draw will take place in October 2011, exact date to be determined later.
FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, qualifying format revealed
Fifty-two (52) out of the 53-National Associations affiliated to CAF will take part in the qualifying series to determine the continent’s five slots for the next World Cup.
The qualifying series will begin with a preliminary round involving the bottom 24-bottom FIFA ranked teams according to the latest edition of FIFA ranking.
The 12 teams to qualifiy from the preliminary round will join the 28 teams, on a bye for the next phase.
The top team from each of the 10 groups will qualify for the final play-off, and will play on home and away basis to determine the five slots.
In all, 154 matches will played between November 2011 and November 2013.
WAFU reorganization
Considering the organizational  issues facing WAFU, made of  Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria and Togo, in organising competitions as well as complying fully with CAF statutes.
The Executive Committee decided to opt for a status quo ante in conformity with article 14 of CAF statutes which says that is divided into 6 Zones  
a) Northern Zone: Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia;
b) Western Zone A: Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone;
c) Western Zone B: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Togo;
d) Central Zone: Cameroon, Central Africa, Chad, Congo, DR Congo, Equatorial
Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tome E Principe;
e) Central East Zone: Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda,
Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda;
f) Southern Zone: Angola, Botswana, Comoros Islands, Lesotho, Madagascar,
Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
CAF will notify WAFU member-associations of the latest decision taken by the Executive Committee, and it’s also considering financial support for regular competitions as well as ensuring that General Assemblies are held.  
FIFA Presidential Election 2011, Motion voted supporting M. Blatter
Following a secret ballot, the CAF Executive Committee voted in majority to support the incumbent M. Joseph Sepp Blatter. The FIFA election will take place in Zurich 1st of June 2011.
CAF Executive applauded Madam Karam's 37 year of outstanding service to CAF
After 37 years of outstanding service and dedication to CAF, Madam Karam Mostafa is retiring at the end of May 2011.  Madam Karam serves as the Finance Director the Confederation of African Football. Ms Heba Bakr is the new Finance Director starting, from 1 June 2011.

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