Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has highlighted the imperative of tapping into unexplored trade opportunities between Bangladesh and African countries. He attended at an interaction session held on Thursday at the Commonwealth Trade and Investment Forum Bangladesh 2023 in Dhaka. Bangladesh sends humanitarian aid to flood-affected Libya Momen underscored the critical need to establish robust trade and investment relations with African countries, particularly in key sectors such as pharmaceuticals, textiles, energy, blue economy and information and communication technology (ICT). The session also shed light on Bangladesh's visionary 'Look Africa' policy, which represents a strategic commitment to bolster relations with African nations. This outlines various areas of cooperation, including trade and the economy, education, IT and ICT, air and maritime connectivity, healthcare, contract farming, people-to-people contact and visa waivers for diplomatic and official passport holders. This multifaceted approach demonstrates Bangladesh's dedication to fostering deeper connections with the African continent. CWEIC chairman applauds Bangladesh’s “incredible” economic success story The foreign minister also stated that Bangladesh is one of the world's fastest-growing economies. The country's focus on enhancing engagement with African nations aligns with its ambitious economic and social development trajectory, aimed at achieving Vision 2041 and creating a Smart Bangladesh. He also highlighted that new African markets have opened doors for Bangladeshi enterprises, leading to diversification in export destinations. Despite challenges, the potential for economic cooperation between Bangladesh and African nations remains promising, Momen said. Devastation in Libya: Bangladesh PM expresses deep shock He also stated that Bangladesh will welcome any election observers from African countries in our upcoming National Parliament Election scheduled to be held in early January 2024. Ministers from several African countries, High level government delegates and business entities attended this event.
The group of the world's 20 leading economies is welcoming the African Union as a permanent member, a powerful acknowledgement of Africa as its more than 50 countries seek a more important role on the global stage. U.S. President Joe Biden called last year for the AU’s permanent membership in the G20, saying it’s been “a long time in coming.” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the bloc was invited to join during the G20 summit his country is hosting this week. The African Union has advocated for full membership for seven years, spokesperson Ebba Kalondo said. Until now, South Africa was the bloc's only G20 member. Here’s a look at the AU and what its membership represents in a world where Africa is central to discussions about climate change, food security, migration and other issues. Read: India hopes for progress on global agenda as G20 leaders meet despite rifts over the war in Ukraine WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR AFRICA?Permanent G20 membership signals the rise of a continent whose young population of 1.3 billion is set to double by 2050 and make up a quarter of the planet's people. The AU's 55 member states, which include the disputed Western Sahara, have pressed for meaningful roles in the global bodies that long represented a now faded post-World War II order, including the United Nations Security Council. They also want reforms to a global financial system - including the World Bank and other entities - that forces African countries to pay more than others to borrow money, deepening their debt. Africa is increasingly courting investment and political interest from a new generation of global powers beyond the U.S. and the continent's former European colonizers. China is Africa’s largest trading partner and one of its largest lenders. Russia is its leading arms provider. Gulf nations have become some of the continent’s biggest investors. Turkey ’s largest overseas military base and embassy are in Somalia. Israel and Iran are increasing their outreach in search of partners. African leaders have impatiently challenged the framing of the continent as a passive victim of war, extremism, hunger and disaster that's pressured to take one side or another among global powers. Some would prefer to be brokers, as shown by African peace efforts following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Granting the African Union membership in the G20 is a step that recognizes the continent as a global power in itself. Read: G20 must urgently tackle global poverty with financial inclusion: deVere WHAT DOES THE AFRICAN UNION BRING TO THE G20?With full G20 membership, the AU can represent a continent that's home to the world's largest free trade area. It's also enormously rich in the resources the world needs to combat climate change, which Africa contributes to the least but is affected by the most. The African continent has 60% of the world’s renewable energy assets and more than 30% of the minerals key to renewable and low-carbon technologies. Congo alone has almost half of the world’s cobalt, a metal essential for lithium-ion batteries, according to a United Nations report on Africa's economic development released last month. African leaders are tired of watching outsiders take the continent’s resources for processing and profits elsewhere and want more industrial development closer to home to benefit their economies. Take Africa’s natural assets into account and the continent is immensely wealthy, Kenyan President William Ruto said at the first Africa Climate Summit this week. The gathering in Nairobi ended with a call for fairer treatment by financial institutions, the delivery of rich countries’ long-promised $100 billion a year in climate financing for developing nations and a global tax on fossil fuels. Finding a common position among the AU's member states, from the economic powers of Nigeria and Ethiopia to some of the world’s poorest nations, can be a challenge. And the AU itself has long been urged by some Africans to be more forceful in its responses to coups and other crises. The body's rotating chairmanship, which changes annually, also gets in the way of consistency, but Africa “will need to speak with one voice if it hopes to influence G20 decision-making,” Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, a former prime minister of Niger, and Daouda Sembene, a former executive director of the International Monetary Fund, wrote in Project Syndicate this year. Read: China's Xi will skip G20 summit in India during a period of soured bilateral relations African leaders have shown their willingness to take such collective action. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they united in loudly criticizing the hoarding of vaccines by rich countries and teamed up to pursue bulk purchases of supplies for the continent. Now, as a high-profile G20 member, Africa’s demands will be harder to ignore.
Mutinous soldiers in Gabon said Wednesday they were overturning the results of a presidential election that was to extend the Bongo family’s 55-year hold on power. The central African country’s election committee announced that President Ali Bongo Ondimba, 64, had won the election with 64% of the vote early Wednesday morning. Within minutes, gunfire was heard in the center of the capital, Libreville. Read: Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa wins re-election after troubled vote, officials say A dozen uniformed soldiers appeared on state television later the same morning and announced that they had seized power. The soldiers intended to “dissolve all institutions of the republic,” said a spokesman for the group, whose members were drawn from the gendarme, the republican guard and other elements of the security forces. The coup attempt came about one month after mutinous soldiers in Niger seized power from the democratically elected government, and is the latest in a series of coups that have challenged governments with ties to France, the region’s former colonizer. Unlike Niger and two other West African countries run by military juntas, Gabon hasn’t been wracked by jihadi violence and had been seen as relatively stable. Read: Niger's neighbours running out of options as defence chiefs meet to discuss potential military force In his annual Independence Day speech Aug. 17, Bongo said “While our continent has been shaken in recent weeks by violent crises, rest assured that I will never allow you and our country Gabon to be hostages to attempts at destabilization. Never.” At a time when anti-France sentiment is spreading in many former colonies, the French-educated Bongo met President Emmanuel Macron in Paris in late June and shared photos of them shaking hands. The coup’s leaders vowed to respect “Gabon’s commitments to the national and international community.” Bongo was seeking a third term in elections this weekend. He served two terms since coming to power in 2009 after the death of his father, Omar Bongo, who ruled the country for 41 years. Another group of mutinous soldiers attempted a coup in January 2019, while Bongo was in Morocco recovering from a stroke, but they were quickly overpowered. Read: At least 10 killed in southwest Congo as intercommunal violence worsens over land rights and taxes In the election, Bongo faced an opposition coalition led by economics professor and former education minister Albert Ondo Ossa, whose surprise nomination came a week before the vote. There were concerns about post-election violence, due to deep-seated grievances among the population of some 2.5 million. Nearly 40% of Gabonese ages 15-24 were out of work in 2020, according to the World Bank. After last week’s vote, the Central African nation’s Communications Minister, Rodrigue Mboumba Bissawou, announced a nightly curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., and said internet access was being restricted indefinitely to quell disinformation and calls for violence. Every vote held in Gabon since the country’s return to a multi-party system in 1990 has ended in violence. Clashes between government forces and protesters following the 2016 election killed four people, according to official figures. The opposition said the death toll was far higher. Read: 5 killed in Kenya as concerns grow over increasing terror attacks Fearing violence, many people in the capital went to visit family in other parts of the country before the election or left Gabon altogether. Others stockpiled food or bolstered security in their homes.
Chad replaced Bangladesh as the country with the most polluted air in 2022.With the only real-time, publicly available source of air quality data for the entire country of Chad being provided by a single air quality monitor in the city of N’Djamena, the spotlight on global air quality data coverage disparities shines bright on the continent of Africa, according to the 2022 World Air Quality Report.N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, ranked number one as the most polluted regional city with an annual average PM2.5 concentration of 89.7 µg/m3, a 12 percent increase from 2021, the report said.In 2022, Bangladesh ranked fifth in the overall rankings with 65.8 points. Read More: River pollution: Artists take to unique protest in Habiganj In some of the capital cities in the region (Dhaka, Bangladesh; Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; Islamabad, Pakistan; Colombo, Sri Lanka) the percentage of low-cost sensor stations is more than 80 percent.Iraq, Pakistan and Bahrain held the second, third, and fourth positions in the AQI ranking for 2022 respectively with 80.1, 70.9 and 66.6 points.The top five most polluted cities in the world in 2022 were: N’Djamena, Chad (89.7); New Delhi, India (89.1); Baghdad, Iraq (86.7); Manama, Bahrain (66.6); and Dhaka, Bangladesh (65.8).The 2022 World Air Quality Report reviewed the state of global air quality in the year. The study contains statistics on PM2.5 air quality from 7,323 cities in 131 nations, regions, and territories. Read More: Govt committed to doing all it can to defeat pollution: Environment MinisterThis report's data was compiled from over 30,000 regulatory air quality monitoring stations and low-cost air quality sensors, the report said. Governing authorities, research institutes, non-profit non-governmental groups, universities and educational facilities, commercial corporations, and citizen scientists run these monitoring stations and sensors all around the world, said the report.The PM2.5 data in this report is measured in micrograms per cubic meter (g/m3) and uses the World Health Organization (WHO) air quality recommendations and interim objectives from 2021 as a basis for data visualization and risk communication. Read More: 6 vehicles, 5 institutions fined in anti-pollution drive in Dhaka
Senegal star Sadio Mané has been ruled out of the World Cup after undergoing surgery for his leg injury, Bayern Munich and the Senegalese soccer federation said Thursday. Bayern said the 30-year-old Mané had an operation in Innsbruck, Austria late Thursday to reattach a tendon to the head of his right fibula bone, treating an injury he sustained playing for Bayern in a German league game against Werder Bremen on Nov. 8. “The FC Bayern forward will therefore no longer be available to play for Senegal at the World Cup and will begin his rehab in Munich in the next few days,” Bayern said. Senegal team doctor Manuel Afonso earlier announced the end of Mané's lingering hopes of playing at least some part in the World Cup. “Unfortunately, today’s MRI shows us that the progress was not as favorable as we had hoped,” Afonso said. “The result is unfortunately us withdrawing Sadio from the World Cup.” Read more: Qatar World Cup: 5 Dark Horses to look out for Senegal, the reigning African champion, had hoped that Mané, a two-time African player of the year, could return at some point during the tournament. Most of Senegal’s squad arrived in Qatar for the World Cup on Sunday. The team’s first game in Qatar is against the Netherlands on Monday. Senegal plays host Qatar four days after it faces the Netherlands. Its final game in Group A is against Ecuador on Nov. 29. Senegal won its first major title at the African Cup in February, when Mané scored the winning penalty in a shootout to beat Egypt in the final. Mané also scored the winning penalty in a playoff that sealed a place for Senegal in Qatar. Read more: FIFA World Cup 2022: Preview of African teams, key players, group phase fixtures Senegal — with Mané — was rated by many as the best African team to ever go to a World Cup.
Speakers at a hybrid seminar on Sunday laid emphasis on greater efforts to strengthen Bangladesh’s relations with the African countries by forging strong and diverse economic partnerships. They said many countries of the world including India and China are giving much focus on Africa, and being another Asian country with similar economic appetite, Bangladesh sees huge potential to strengthen and widen its relations with Africa, which has immense economic potential. Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen spoke at the seminar as the chief guest organised by Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) at its auditorium. Secretary (East), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mashfee Binte Shams delivered the keynote speech at the seminar chaired by BIISS Chairman Kazi Imtiaz Hossain. BIISS Director General Major General Sheikh Pasha Habib Uddin delivered welcome remarks. The Foreign Secretary urged the business community to come forward and play their role in exploring the opportunities while the government will facilitate them. “We have goodwill on our side.” Read more: PM seeks Saudi fuel with deferred payment schedule Secretary Mashfee said Bangladesh needs to connect with the African countries in the sectors where economic complementarities exist to sustain the momentum of the country’s development. She said the current food, energy, health and commodity insecurities and the disruption in the supply chain are affecting all countries. Secretary Mashfee said challenges emanating from climate change and natural calamities also demand special attention. “Therefore, Bangladesh looks to engage more with the African countries to harness the synergies for mutual benefit,” she said, adding that the African market can be the next potential destination for export. Read more: Dhaka, Riyadh to sign 2 deals on security cooperation Apart from trade and investment, Bangladesh wants to enhance its cooperation with the African countries in a number of areas including agriculture, contract-farming, research and education, IT and ICT and SME.
Islamic militants have stormed a hotel in Somalia's capital, engaging in an hours-long exchange of fire with the security forces that left at least 20 people dead, according to police and witnesses. In addition, at least 40 people were wounded in the late Friday night attack and security forces rescued many others, including children, from the scene at Mogadishu's popular Hayat Hotel, they said Saturday. The attack started with explosions outside the hotel before the gunmen entered the building. Somali forces were still trying to end the siege of the hotel almost 24 hours after the attack started. Gunfire could still be heard Saturday evening as security forces tried to contain the last gunmen thought to be holed up on the hotel’s top floor. The Islamic extremist group al-Shabab, which has ties with al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest of its frequent attempts to strike places visited by government officials. The attack on the hotel is the first major terror incident in Mogadishu since Somalia's new leader, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, took over in May. In a Twitter post, the U.S. Embassy in Somalia said it “strongly condemns” the attack on the Hayat. Read: Gunmen kill 4 in attack targeting lawmaker in NW Pakistan “We extend condolences to the families of loved ones killed, wish a full recovery to the injured, & pledge continued support for #Somalia to hold murderers accountable & build when others destroy,” it said. There was no immediate word on the identities of the victims, but many are believed to be civilians. Mohamed Abdirahman, director of Mogadishu’s Madina Hospital, told the AP that 40 people were admitted there with wounds or injuries from the attack. While nine were sent home after getting treatment, five are in critical condition in the ICU, he said. “We were having tea near the hotel lobby when we heard the first blast, followed by gunfire. I immediately rushed toward hotel rooms on the ground floor and I locked the door,” witness Abdullahi Hussein said by phone. “The militants went straight upstairs and started shooting. I was inside the room until the security forces arrived and rescued me.” He said on his way to safety he saw “several bodies lying on the ground outside hotel reception.” Al-Shabab remains the most lethal Islamic extremist group in Africa. The group has seized even more territory in recent years, taking advantage of rifts among Somali security personnel as well as disagreements between the government seat in Mogadishu and regional states. It remains the biggest threat to political stability in the volatile Horn of Africa nation. Forced to retreat from Mogadishu in 2011, al-Shabab is slowly making a comeback from the rural areas to which it retreated, defying the presence of African Union peacekeepers as well as U.S. drone strikes targeting its fighters. The militants in early May attacked a military base for AU peacekeepers outside Mogadishu, killing many Burundian troops. The attack came just days before the presidential vote that returned Mohamud to power five years after he had been voted out.
African officials outlined their priorities for the upcoming U.N. climate summit, including a push to make heavily polluting rich nations compensate poor countries for the environmental damage done to them. The continent will also focus on how countries can adapt to global warming and how the continent can best halt further climate-related disasters. Africa has seen debilitating droughts in the east and Horn of Africa and deadly cyclones in the south. Other key areas for discussion include moving from high-carbon energy sources like oil and gas to renewables, and “carbon credit” schemes, where foreign governments and companies pay for tree planting in exchange for producing greenhouse gases. The U.N. climate conference, known as COP27, will be held in Egypt in November. How much funding Africa gets is the biggest factor for how prepared it will be for a hotter future, said Harsen Nyambe, the director of sustainable environment at the African Union Commission. Read: Mideast nations wake up to damage from climate change “We recall the $100 billion that was promised has never been fulfilled and current assessments show that even that amount is not enough,” Nyambe said, referring to a 12-year-old pledge by rich nations to provide climate funding for poorer nations. “Africa must be given adequate time to transition and transform its energy infrastructure. We cannot transform abruptly. We need resources, capacity, technology transfer and finance to power our development,” he added. A commitment made in the previous international summit in Glasgow to spend half of climate funds on helping developing nations adapt to the effects of a warming world by having infrastructure and agriculture that's resilient to more volatile weather systems, must be followed through, said Jean-Paul Adam, director of climate change for the U.N.'s Economic Commission for Africa. He added the continent only received about 7.5% of its promised $70 billion in climate funding between 2014 and 2018. Africa needs around $3 trillion to fulfill its self-determined emissions targets, known as nationally determined contributions, that each country is required to submit as part of the 2015 Paris agreement on climate, according to U.N. and Africa Development Bank estimates. More meetings between the continent's climate leaders are set to follow ahead of COP27.
Rebels attacked a hospital in Congo and killed at least 13 people, including infants and patients, according to hospital and military officials. The Congolese army said three attackers were killed when the military intervened. Also read:Suicide bomber attacks bar in eastern Congo, killing 6 Some hospital staff are missing and several houses were burned in the attack Thursday night on the medical center in Lume, North Kivu province. It's the largest health facility in the region. Among those killed in the attack were three infants and four patients, hospital chief Kule Bwenge told reporters. “Four blocks of the medical center were set on fire. Several sick guards, as well as a nurse, are missing,” he said. The reason for targeting the hospital was unclear. In the nearby village of Kidolo, four other people were killed with machetes and shot, apparently as part of the same attack. North Kivu military spokesman Anthony Mualushayi said the attackers were Mai-Mai militia members from the Dido group. In addition to the attackers who were killed, one was captured in the ensuing clashes, he said. But local civic groups accused rebels of the Uganda-based Allied Democratic Forces, or ADF, of carrying out the attack. ADF rebels have been active in eastern Congo for decades and have killed thousands in the region since they resurfaced in 2013. Other attacks were reported last week in the nearby towns of Bulongo and Kilya, also in North Kivu. North Kivu is in eastern Congo and borders Uganda and Rwanda. Eastern Congo sees daily threats from armed groups battling for the region’s rich mineral wealth, which the world mines for electric cars, laptops and mobile phones.
Former Angolan president José Eduardo dos Santos died Friday in a clinic in Barcelona, Spain, after an illness, the Angolan government said. He was 79 years old and died following a long illness, the government said in an announcement on its Facebook page. The announcement said dos Santos, who ruled Angola for almost 40 years from 1979, was “a statesman of great historical scale who governed ... the Angolan nation through very difficult times.” Dos Santos had mostly lived in Barcelona since stepping down in 2017 and he reportedly had been undergoing treatment there for health problems. Angola’s current head of state, Joao Lourenco, announced five days of national mourning starting Friday, when the country’s flag will fly at half-staff and public events are canceled. Dos Santos came to power four years after Angola gained independence from Portugal and became enmeshed in the Cold War as a proxy battlefield. Read: Angolan president pledges investments to modernize public television His political journey spanned single-party Marxist rule in post-colonial years and a democratic system of government adopted in 2008. He voluntarily stepped down when his health began failing. In public, dos Santos was unassuming and even appeared shy at times. But he was a shrewd operator behind the scenes. He kept a tight grip on the 17th-century presidential palace in Luanda, the southern African country’s Atlantic capital, by distributing Angola’s wealth between his army generals and political rivals to ensure their loyalty. He demoted anyone he perceived to be gaining a level of popularity that could threaten his command. Dos Santos’ greatest foe for more than two decades was Jonas Savimbi, leader of the UNITA rebels whose post-independence guerrilla insurgency fought in the bush aimed to oust dos Santos’ Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, or MPLA.