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AFRICA/CARRIBEAN NOW: Malawi Signs African Cultural Renaissance Charter

Malawi has signed the charter for the Africa Cultural Renaissance to become the 32nd nation to commit itself to the continental blueprint towards the promotion of Africa’s rich cultural heritage, history and cultural products, Malawi 24 reported.

Signing the charter on behalf of President Peter Mutharika, Malawi’s ambassador to the African Union (AU), Chimango Edward Chirwa said the charter is important because it brings African countries together in rewriting the continent’s history and rebranding its identity that has been distorted in the lens of the world.

“African culture has suffered many historical wrongs including suppression of indigenous values, falsification of history, destruction of artefacts, and the systematic attempts at erasing cultural identities throughout the dark eras of slave trade and imperialism,” Chirwa said.

Private Sector Commits to Fighting Genocide Ideology

Members of the Private Sector Federation (PSF), an advocacy organization for Rwanda’s business community, have vowed to foster unity and inclusive economic transformation in the fight against discrimination and genocidal tendencies, The New Times, Rwanda’s leading daily, reported Sunday.

According to Stephen Ruzibiza, PSF’s chief executive officer, some influential business leaders played a major role in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi class and it is upon the current crop of business moguls to cultivate unity and reconciliation, not only in their companies but among Rwandans as a whole.

Ruzibiza made the proclamation Friday during a commemoration event organized by the association of petroleum dealers at the Kigali Genocide memorial, where roughly 200 attendees paid respect to over 250,000 victims buried there.

Groups Launch Initiative to End Female Genital Mutilation

Traditional elders from all 13 clans within the Kurya community in Mara Region are teaming with other organizations combating gender-based violence for an initiative that seeks to end the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).

The Tanzania Daily News reported Sunday, April 15 that the initiative “is aimed at sensitizing parents and around 2,000 mostly underage girls in Tarime and Rorya districts who are exposed to the widely condemned ritual, practiced at two-year interval in turns amongst the clans.”

Though FGM is illegal, authorities struggle to curb the practice, as parents and guardians coerce their children to undergo the traditional ritual and later marry them off in return for hefty dowries, the Daily News reported.

Nujoma Announces Birthday Plans

The annual birthday celebration of Sam Nujoma, the iconic first president of Namibia, will take place next month at his birthplace of Etunda in the Okahao Constituency, his office said this week.

Nujoma’s birthday has been celebrated annually under the auspices of the 12 May Movement since 2012, The Windhoek Observer reported Friday, April 13.

The 12 May Movement was initiated by the SWAPO Party Youth League (SPYL) under the then-leadership of Elijah Ngurare and was sanctioned by the party to be an annual event to celebrate Nujoma’s legacy.

The birthday celebrations will be held this year under the theme: “Building the future through unity and solidarity.”

The fetes are being organized by the Sam Nujoma Foundation Trust in conjunction with the business fraternity.

Asylum Considered for African Athletes at Commonwealth Games

Some Commonwealth Games athletes who have disappeared from the Gold Coast Athletes Village in Australia last week could have legitimate cases for asylum in Australia because of human rights concerns in their home countries, the Refugee Council of Australia said.

The Commonwealth Games Federation confirmed reports that Rwandan and Ugandan athletes were missing, along with eight competitors from Cameroon.

A Gold Coast migration agent said his business had spoken to more than 40 Commonwealth Games athletes, mostly from African nations, inquiring about how to stay in Australia.

Refugee Council CEO Paul Power said the likelihood of a successful asylum claim would depend on the athletes’ personal circumstances.

Jamaica PM Welcomes Help to End Corruption

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness has underscored his administration’s commitment to address the issue of corruption, welcoming the commitment of the Organisation of American States (OAS) to deal with the scourge, the Jamaica Gleaner reported.

Addressing the VIII Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, on Saturday, Holness said, “The imperative of addressing the prevalence of corruption in our hemisphere arises from increasing recognition that corruption poses a serious threat to the rule of law and our social order. The attendant commitment to work collectively and collaboratively towards attaining constructive and practical solutions to the challenge of corruption have set a firm and positive foundation for further sustained economic growth and sustainable development in our hemisphere.”

Bahamas PM Promotes Investment in Country

As he addressed regional leaders in Lima at the Summit of the Americas, Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis on Friday, April 13, invited business leaders to invest in his country.

The Nassau Guardian reported that Minnis pointed to the Commercial Enterprises Act, which liberalizes the granting of work permits to an enterprise that wishes to establish itself in the Bahamas.

“We are positioning ourselves to become a hub for technology, innovation and industry,” he said. “We recently enacted the Commercial Enterprises Act. This legislation encourages both domestic and foreign investment in The Bahamas in strategic sectors such as nanotechnology, computer technology, software design, data storage, maritime trade, aviation registration, wealth management, captive insurance and manufacturing enterprises. The new Commercial Enterprises Act is also designed to provide for economic zones with favorable terms for business development.”

CDB Assisting with British Virgin Island Recovery

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has launched a Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Project in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), which will assist the country in recovering from the effects of Hurricane Irma.

The project will be funded through a $65.3 million loan and a $300,000 grant.

Speaking at the launch Friday, April 13, Diana Wilson Patrick, CDB general counsel, noted that the project is a further extension of CDB’s efforts to help BVI recover from the impact of the extreme weather event. In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the bank provided an emergency relief grant of $200,000, and immediate-response loans totaling $2.25 million.

“It was with a sense of some pride that the management and staff of the Caribbean Development Bank were able to work with our counterparts in the Government of the Virgin Islands to have financing towards the proposed rehabilitation and reconstruction activities approved by the Bank’s Board of Directors on December 14, 2017,” she said.

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