Pres. Weah Dismisses UL President Weeks

Liberian Observer - 6 ore 8 min fa
— Makes additional appointments in gov’t

The administration of the state-run University of Liberia (UL) stood still late last night having heard of the dismissal of its president, Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks. She was the UL’s 14th president, and the second female to lead the institution since it founded in 1951.

President George Manneh Weah has meanwhile named Dr. Julius Sawolo Nelson in her stead.

President George Weah has made additional appointments in government affecting ministries, agencies and commissions. The appointments, according to an Executive Mansion release, take immediate effect, though subject to confirmation by the Senate, where applicable.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Edwin Juah, is named as Assistant Minister/European Affairs

Ministry of Internal Affairs: Esiaka Sheriff Assistant Minister for Research, Planning and Development

Ministry of Mines and Energy: George Gontor Deputy Minister/Energy, William T. Thompson II, Assistant Minister for Energy.

Ministry of Agriculture: Dr. George T. Forpoh Jr. Deputy Minister/Regional Development, Research and Extension.

Ministry of National Defense: Tarplah Davies, Deputy Minister for Operations.

Ministry of Post and Telecommunication: Varney Okai, Deputy Minister for Operations.

Ministry of Public Works: Macarthur Hilton, Assistant Minister for Rural Development.

Civil Law Court: Cllr. J Kennedy Peabody, Resident judge Sixth judicial circuit replacing Associate justice Yusif Kaba.

Liberian Embassy in Washington DC: Al Jerome Chede, Minister Counselor for Press and Public Affairs.

Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission: Cllr. Nbuduis Nwabudike Chairman, Kanio Bai Gbala vice chairperson, Charles Gibson Commissioner.

LIBTELCO/Board: George Howe Member, Chicago Bright Member, Cllr. Alexandra Zoe Member.

Civil Service Agency: Teetee Pailey, Deputy Director General for Administration.

Rural Renewable Energy: Joseph T. Williams, Executive Director,

Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment: Mariama M. Koon, Deputy Executive Director.

Liberia Medicine and Health Products Regulatory Authority: Keturah Chupee Smith, Executive Director. Center for National Documents and Record Agency: Emmanuel Lomax Director General.

National Food Assistance Agency: C. Neileh Daitauoh Director.

National Housing Authority: Henry Clarke Deputy Managing Director/Operations.

Mittal Operating Company Board Representative to the Board: Dr. Gonsahn Matardy, Member.

Liberia Electrical Corporation (LEC) Board: Cllr. Charles Gibson, Chairman.

National Oil Company of Liberia Board: Richard B. Devine Chairman.

Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company: Randolph Cooper, Chairman.

Categorie: Liberia

LRA Staff to ‘Go Slow’ Starting October 21

Liberian Observer - 6 ore 8 min fa

The revenue generation arm of the government may likely experience an unprecedented collapse if plans by employees of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) to stage a go-slow action against the recently introduced “salary harmonization,” which they say will badly affect their income, goes into effect.

The LRA, being the tax collector of the government and expected to help raise over US$575 million for the 2019/2020 national budget that was recently passed by the Legislature, may not begin this task actively as employees have already distributed circulars calling for a go-slow action beginning Monday, October 21, 2019.

The entity’s vision is to be a professional revenue administrator adhering to international standards as well as to serve as a model for revenue collection and service delivery. The mission is to professionally, fairly, transparently and effectively collect lawful revenues as well as facilitate legitimate trade and social protection for the people of Liberia. But with spiraling in the country’s economy, civil servants, including those in the security sector, are resolved to protest in order for their concerns to be addressed.

“Enough is enough, because we have come to realize that the LRA cannot help us out of this crisis in any way or form; so we need to stand together as a family,” yesterday’s circular quotes the employees.

The LRA employees, in a heavy-hearted and dissatisfied tone, said that the government continues to cut their salaries after the “Harmonization” exercise which, many of them has said, left them far below their previous earnings.

“Some of us were earning, as per our qualifications and positions, over US$1,000 besides the Liberian dollar component of our salary; but after the harmonization, we saw ourselves making US$325 with gross reduction in the Liberian dollar,” said an LRA employee.

The circular also quoted the employees as indicating that “because of the quietude of their voices for the sake of having a peaceful environment, coupled with respect for their jobs and positions, the government is taking advantage of the situation to deprive us of our just earnings by cutting our salaries regularly to the extent that we cannot meet the needs of our respective families.”

According to the LRA employees, besides the harmonization, the government has planned to cut additional 20% in their salaries, beginning with the first 6% for September pay, which they are yet to receive.

“While we are working hard and striving to collect legitimate taxes for the government, our take-home pay cannot take care of our family or the needs of our children. Also, our purchasing power is reduced regularly by individuals who think that they should have the right to everything, whilst we the true workers are being left with peanuts,” the employees said.

The employees added, “Yet other agencies are not being touched; they are enjoying immensely and contributing less to the national budget.”

In reference to the expressed emotions, the employees, in their circular, further added: “So, we are asking everyone in the employ of the LRA from the Head Quarters to rural areas, urban areas, Freeport, Liberia Business Registry, and Roberts International Airport to join us on Monday, October 21, 2019, to put all pens, papers, cars and computers down, as we carry on a go-slow, and wait for our concerns to be addressed and met by the rightful authority.”

Several calls made to the LRA Management for comments on the pending go-slow were not answered up to press time last night.

A demanding statement from the LRA employees also notes: “We say no to the frequent cut of our salaries; no to the 20% cut in our salaries starting with the first 6% as a test, pay according to our letter given us from the inception of our employment; no to any pay cut, and pay us on time.”

Protests and go-slow actions are becoming customary to the George Weah Administration which is at the verge of completing its second year since taking over from Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf through a peaceful and democratic transfer of power in January 2018.

The LRA employees’ planned go-slow, if effected, will follow immediately a go-slow action initiated by teachers assigned with the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS) that sparked a protest by students on October 14. The student protest turned violent, characterized by beating and tear gas fired by the police on the students who resorted to throwing stones. Several students are reported to have sustained multiple injuries from the Liberia National Police (LNP).

It will also follow decisions by the Faculty Association of the University of Liberia to disengage the classroom and demand that the government settle their salaries as well as repay all percentages being cut from them in the name of “Pro-poor Tax.”

Categorie: Liberia

‘LNP Compromised’

Liberian Observer - 6 ore 17 min fa
Family of murdered Steve Paul seeks President Weah’s intervention as “the best guarantee against a compromised police that have resolved to sweep the case under the carpet.”

Family members of murdered Steve Paul have called on President George Weah to intervene in seeking justice by constituting an independent investigation body, because they believe that authorities of the Liberia National Police (LNP) have been compromised.

Paul, 59, was allegedly beaten to death on November 8, 2018, by suspect Solomon Badio Giddings (at-large), at the deceased’s Camp Johnson Road office in Monrovia, an incident following which police charged Giddings with “negligent homicide” on grounds that Paul died as a result of “heart disease.”

The late Steve Paul, according to police investigation, died at the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Cooper Hospital following a fist fight with suspect Giddings in the aftermath of an argument that ensued between the two over a laptop keyboard.

In the melee that ensued as a result of the argument, police said Giddings struck Mr. Paul with a blow to the chest, causing the victim to go unconscious. Mr. Paul did not regain consciousness until he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The LNP’s purported investigative report was later rejected by Paul’s family, who has resolved to seek President Weah’s intervention by setting up an independent investigation team to conduct a “timely, credible, and transparent investigation.”

On Thursday, October 17, 2019, the victim’s brother, Alphonso B. Csaliyah, informed the Daily Observer that their request to the President aims to establish the alleged unprofessional investigation which authorities of the LNP conducted in order to establish the cause of Mr. Paul’s death.

“We are appealing to President Weah that the investigation should be carried out by a judicial or other competent authority void of the LNP; and be mandated to conduct prompt, impartial and effective investigations into the circumstances and causes of Paul’s death,” Csaliyah pleaded with Weah.

“President Weah’s involvement is the best guarantee against a compromised police that have resolved to sweep the case under the carpet,” Csaliyah said.

On the exclusion of the police, Csaliyah said that the family took the decision because the police had earlier refused to hand over Paul’s body to the family for burial.

“Police failed to do so, instead, they wrote the Samuel A. Stryker Funeral Services to release the body to the family after 11 months of delay in the case, which proved that the LNP is being compromised,” Mr. Csaliyah said.

An LNP letter under the signature of Police Inspector Abu B. Daramy, dated September 19, 2019, entitled, “Authorization for Release of Body,” and addressed to the Administration of the Samuel A. Stryker Funeral Services, said the body had been held there, pending post mortem examination, but did not say when said examination would be conducted.

“The body of the late Steve Paul was deposited at your funeral home by his family members for preservation after he was pronounced dead at the SD Cooper Medical Hospital, subsequent to a fight that ensued at Camp Johnson Road on November 8, 2019, pending the conduct of a post mortem examination by Montserrado County Coroner,” the letter reads.

It continues: “The bereaved family has, however, expressed their desire in undertaking funeral arrangements for their deceased relative, which was granted by police authority. In view thereof, we do hereby request that you kindly release his mortal remains to Alphonso B. Csaliyah, brother of the deceased on behalf of the family.”

“This document shall constitute your legal and sufficient authority,” the letter concludes.

Also, a medical report from the SD Cooper Hospital and which is in the possession of the Daily Observer, signed by Dr. Whyllah B. Blojay (MD), attributed the cause of Paul’s death to “Cardio-Pulmonary Arrest (background of domestic violence)”, indicating that Paul died on account of Giddings’ attack.

To corroborate the medical report, Cllr. Tiawan S. Gongle, a lead lawyer for the family, expressed the belief that Paul died as a result of Giddings’ punches in his chest, adding: “This case is not negligent homicide, because Paul’s death was not accidental.”

He expressed disappointment in the police for their refusal (then) to turn over the deceased’s body to the family, some of whom had come from abroad to bury their brother.

Details of the report say that Paul was rushed at the hospital emergency unit at the hour of 11:22 a.m., on account of a “sudden collapse as the result of a fight between Steve Paul and an unnamed individual, who hit Paul several times in his chest in his office,” Csaliyah said, challenging the police reversion of the incident.

“However, Paul was brought in gasping for air; difficulty breathing with unreadable vital signs from both digital and manual vital sign devices,” the medical report said.

During physical examination, Doctor Blojay said the patient was “unconscious, dyspeptic, with his hand held tightly to his chest and lying on his right lateral chest wall. Patient was immediately transferred to the ward for oxygen therapy and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation for which, despite all efforts, he died at 11:30 a.m.”

However, Dr. Blojay said that Paul was never treated at this “facility for any form of preexisting condition/ailment, and so there was no history of any pre-existing condition.”

Categorie: Liberia

Notorious Maryland Drug Lord Nabbed in Ganta

Liberian Observer - 6 ore 26 min fa
Suspect Jasper Hne was candidate for House of Representatives seat in Maryland District #2 during 2017 elections

Ganta Police Detail has nabbed a man identified as one of the notorious drug lords and a fugitive from Maryland County and several others during a raid in Ganta.

The man, Jasper Hne, who is also known as “Justice” was arrested on October 13, 2019 around the LMPC Bypass/Bangla Road in Ganta, during a police raid.

According to the Commander Adolphus Zorh, he and some other men were arrested with 30 pieces or parcels of heroin, which is also known as “Italian white.”

He explained that Mr. Jasper Hne is a wanted man in Maryland, where he resisted arrest from the Detachment of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency by the use of firearms in June 2019.

When contacted, the Maryland LDEA confirmed it and described him as the main supplier of narcotic substances to gangs around the Cavalla Rubber Plantation and the entire Maryland County.

The LDEA Maryland detachment also described Hne as notorious, who controlled a gang armed with single barrel guns with no regard for any law enforcement officers, especially the LDEA in County.

In June 2019, he and his gang allegedly forcefully released their colleagues from the LDEA cell, leaving several LDEA officers wounded.

According to the document in the possession of this paper, Pleebo Magisterial Court ordered a warrant under headline “Open Order of Arrest”, dated June 19, 2019 for Jasper Hne, a lady only identified as Oldlady and Amma, a Nigerian. But Oldlady and Amma were arrested, tried and sentenced to prison.

“He is a notorious criminal in Maryland and the brain behind the illegal tapping of rubber belonging to the Cavalla Rubber Plantation,” said a LDEA officer, who spoke on condition anonymity, because he is not clothed with the authority to speak to press.

“It was from his illegal activities that got him wealthy to contest the 2017 election,” the officer added.

Mr. Jasper Hne contested for the representative post in Maryland County District #2 in 2017 and came third to The Rep. Bhofal Chambers on the ticket of the Liberia People’s Party.

Ganta Police Commander Zorh explained that he was once arrested around the Ganta Main Street, selling drugs in late June and forwarded to LDEA for prosecution, where he was taken to Monrovia, but he was freed on bail allegedly because the road to Maryland was bad for his transfer.

Recently, the police began an operation, where several criminal hideouts, including the Methodist Rubber Farm on the Sanniquellie-Ganta highway, as well as LPMC Market, among others, were raided.

It was during the raid that fugitive Jasper Hne was arrested again, with some quantities of high profile drugs.

The LNP turned over Mr. Hne and the four others to LDEA, where they have been charged and sent to the Ganta Magisterial Court undergoing trial. They are presented in the court by former Nimba Circuit Judge, Cllr. Emery Paye. 

Categorie: Liberia

No Replacement for Suspended Nimba CEO?

Liberian Observer - 6 ore 27 min fa

There is a growing confusion among school administrations in Nimba County regarding the replacement of the county suspended Chief Education Officer (CEO). When authorities at the Ministry of Education (MoE) suspended Mr. Dologbay, they did not name anyone to act, thus leaving the entire county in confusion.

The situation has ignited much more debate as to finding Mr. Dologbay’s replacement in the meantime, to address the “salary impasse.”

In most cases, when a CEO is suspended or is absent for long long time, the resident DEO acts in his stead. However, in this case, it is not clear who was designated to act in the place of the suspended CEO,” said an elderly woman.

Report reaching the Daily Observer said that the suspended CEO has designated his assistant, Stanley Tozay, to act in his place until the suspension is lifted.

Nimba School Board Chair, P. Luogon Lah, confirmed that Dologbay designated Tozay to act in place of the suspended CEO.

He said the County School Board will abide by the MOE’s suspension order until the CEO can be reinstated, but said the CEO does not have any connection to the extra fees allegedly charged by the principals in the county.

Mr. Lah explained that the Board resolved that a small amount of L$ 250 should be added to the government stipulated fees from every student to enable the County School Board to complete the ongoing guest house project in Sanniquellie.

He said the board is totally against the idea of increasing fees, when they are yearning for free and compulsory education in the country.

In the wake of government free compulsory education, he said government is still collecting fees from public schools, with the stipulation of L$1,000 for elementary, L$2,000 for Junior High, while L$3,000 for high school session, respectively.

“If you say there should be small thing added because of no chalks, it should be very small and affordable to allow parents to send their kids to school, ” he said.

Principals have been complaining that whenever fees are collected from the students and since it through mobile money, they find it difficult to get back the school’s percentage from the fees, for running the school.

Some schools are even complaining of having not received any money from the Ministry of Education as percentage of the fees collected from students, while others said, their amounts came late and in small amounts.

Critics believe that the bureaucracy was too long for the schools to collect fees and send it to Monrovia, before their share can be remitted and that, it could be the reason that schools are adding money to enable them run the school.

“The Ministry should have just informed or instructed the school authorities to deduct the percentage for administration and the balance intended for the ministry be sent,” said one Joseph Mazar a parent of a child attending public school.

The sharp increase in this year’s school fees for public schools in Nimba has denied many children from school, because their parents cannot afford to pay all the fees upfront as was demanded.

“We are building new annexes and at the same time fixing more benches for the kids to enhance the learning process from the little fees we added,” a principal, who did not want to named, said in defense of the extra collection.

Categorie: Liberia

UN Commends Liberia’s Peacekeepers

Liberian Observer - 6 ore 27 min fa

The High Command of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), has commended the Liberia Contingent (LIBATT 6) for being extremely “professional, and well-trained in all aspects of peacekeeping activities in that troubled West African country, a release has said.

According to the release, the statement was made recently when the MMINUSMA Force Headquarters (FHQ) evaluated the training of the Liberia Force Protection Company (LIB FP Coy), which comprises 105 personnel. The LIB FP Coy is operating fixed sites in Timbuktu Camp/SWHQ with “good disciplinary records,” and predictable weekly and monthly schedules of personnel rotation.

The Unit Commander and Training officers are involved in all training activities coupled with high interest of all personnel.

“LIB FP Coy is exhibiting training commitments despite operational roles,” the release said.

LIB FP Coy has a very good performance in Quick Response Force (QRF) readiness.

Meanwhile, The AFL has successfully deployed its sixth batch of Peacekeepers under the command of Major Picos L. Flemming, as part of MINUSMA.

The deployment exercise followed the return of the fifth batch of LIBATT 5, commanded by Major James D. Fahnbulleh, II, after nearly two years, and eight months of service in Mali. The fifth batch of peacekeepers graciously returned on the October 5 and 6, 2019 respectively through the Roberts International Airport (RIA).

According to the release, personnel of the fifth Liberian contingent served the UN mission in Mali with distinction–bringing pride to Liberia among the comity of nations.

We salute them for the job well done, and acknowledged that indeed they are “A Force for Good.”

The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Maj/Gen. Prince C. Johnson, III, welcomed back home members of the AFL fifth Contingent, and thanked them for their high level of discipline and outstanding performance at the UN mission in Mali.

Johnson also admonished personnel of the outgoing Contingent to exhibit high level of discipline, be committed to duty, and serve with integrity.

He further called on them to maintain the oath of the AFL by protecting one another.

The 6th AFL Peacekeeping Contingent departed Liberia on the October 5 and 6, 2019 respectively.

Meanwhile Personnel of LIBBATT 5 are now undergoing a two-week post deployment training at the Armed Forces Training Command in Careysburg, Montserrado County before finally going to join their family, and specific units in the AFL.

This training enables the personnel to cope with post deployment trauma, and it also builds their resilience to coping with present-day realities in both the military and their social environments with which they are expected to reunite.

Categorie: Liberia

CPP Demands Gov’t Investigation in Brutality Against Students

Liberian Observer - 6 ore 28 min fa
…As NDC says it strongly denounces the atrocities committed by Weah’s government

Members of the four opposition collaborating parties on Thursday, October 17, 2019 demanded the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC)-led government to set up an independent board that will “swiftly investigate police misconduct”  against protesting students of the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS), and bring the perpetrators of the violence to justice.

On the other hand, the National Democratic Coalition of Liberia (NDC) says it strongly denounces the atrocities committed by President George Weah’s government against unarmed students, who were seeking an audience with him on behalf of their unpaid teachers.

“This latest attack by armed state police on peaceful students comes in the wake of a peaceful protest in support of their teachers. The teachers are on strike in demand of months of salary arrears the government owed them. This brutality by the government against peaceful students was unprovoked and absolutely unjustified,” NDC said in a statement.

The CPP also condemned the police brutality and violence meted out on Tuesday, October 15, 2019, against protesting students from several public schools in Monrovia, who were out of classes demanding the payment of salary arrears legitimately due their teachers.

The students’ action was parts of exercises to their fundamental rights, particularly as it relates to the right to education and freedom to peacefully assemble.

“The heavy-handedness of the government through the police, which employed excessive, and disproportionate force to deprive the students from exercising their right is “callous, irresponsible,” and must be condemned by all well-meaning Liberians, and the international community.

CPP release added: “The only crime the students committed, most of who children, was to ensure that the government meets its obligations to their teachers, who had boycotted classes, because their salaries had not been paid for two months; and the conditions for teaching are growing increasingly appalling all across the country.

Weah’s own Minister of Education decried the situation, and requested an increase in the national appropriation for education, which was unheeded.”

The CPP said they empathize with those students that sustained injuries (physical or emotional), and assure all Liberians that the collaborating parties remain committed to working with everyone in finding an alternative for better political leadership beginning 2020 to 2023.

They said video footage and news reports of police brutality, and excesses currently running across social media and television stations around the world are not only disheartening, but also undermines efforts at economic recovery in the continuous portrayal of our country as unstable, unsafe, misguided, and teetering on the verge of collapse.

CPP said it is time for the Weah administration to become sensitive to these occurrences and act on the side of Liberia and the struggling population which afforded him the chance to lead the great nation, as opposed to acting in galloping incompetence, partisanship, uncaring, disdain and division of the people.

“The Liberian people are right to expect that they will be paid on time and commensurate with the ever-increasing costs of living in the country.  Any caring and responsible government would prioritize this over the growing wastes in government’s expenditures, and the many useless international travels with oversized delegations on shameless spending sprees,” CPP said.

CPP said the government is running out of excuses, as well as persons and objects to blame after two years administration’s inability to pay Liberians, who are already wallowing at the bottom of the economic ladder, while a small circle of friends and loyalists enjoy at the top, noting, ”This is embarrassing, shameful and mindless.”

They said “Worse yet, it proves the administration’s incompetence and inability to fix the economy, which the administration contributed to undermining through poor decisions including misplaced priorities and unrelenting corruption in high places.”

CPP said they are left to reasonably conclude that the only real intention of the CDC’s so-called Pro-Poor Agenda is one which is a pro in making the nation poor.

They said, “the action against the students has taken us back to events of over 30 years ago when police and the army used excessive force to clamp down on students’ protests, thereby further exacerbating the anger of people already under the crushing weight of economic hardships.”

“This is why the CPP will continue to ensure that the rights of all Liberians under the constitution are respected and that no amount of police brutality will stop us from seeking the interests of the people,” CPP said.

In a related development, NDC said from every indication, President Weah’s government has demonstrated its insensitivity to education, as during his presidential campaign in 2017, education was in fact condemned by the current president.

NDC: “It is an irony at this time that public school teachers lack the requisite teaching gear, and materials for classroom instructions, while corruption, mismanagement and lavish spending by the president and government officials have become the order of the day in Liberia. While teachers and other professionals are left without pay for several months, many government officials make very fat salaries as indicated by the huge salary of the House Speaker (approximately US$29,000 per month – including perks), and that of the Chief Justice, both of whom have adamantly refused the proposed salary-cut that is popularly demanded by the tax payers.”

The NDC notes that justice must be done to all men.

According to the party, this latest attack on unarmed peaceful students is reminiscent of the March 18, 1986 Mass Student Protest led by the Liberian National Students Union (LINSU) for improvement of education in public schools

The NDC calls on the government to set its priorities straight in favor of education, health, the economy, and other important sectors of the society and to stop corruption and mismanagement to service the urgent needs of the Liberian people.

Meanwhile, the NDC admonishes the students to remain peaceful in their protest actions. the party reminds the government that “education is a right, not a privilege,” and that the government should engage the students for peaceful resolution of their concerns, and that of their teachers’ demands for salary payment.

The party’s release was signed by its international vice chairman, Dougbeh Chris Nyan Dougbeh Chris Nyan.

Categorie: Liberia

Achieving Broadband Access for All in Africa Comes With a $100 Billion Price Tag

Liberian Observer - 6 ore 28 min fa

Across Africa, where less than a third of the population has access to broadband connectivity, achieving universal, affordable, and good quality internet access by 2030 will require an investment of US $100 billion, the World Bank says. According to a report launched at the Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group, urgent action is needed to close the internet access gap while providing a roadmap to reach this ambitious goal.

The report from The Broadband for All Working Group gives practical insights and suggestions of what is needed to attain this objective, including an action plan for universal broadband connectivity in Africa. To achieve universal broadband access, African countries will need to bring about 1.1 billion more people online. This will require exceptional and coordinated efforts from governments, the private sector, development partners, and civil society, the report says, but the investment is worth it.

“The digital agenda is first and foremost a growth and jobs agenda,” says Makhtar Diop, the World Bank’s Vice President for Infrastructure. “The working-age population in Africa is expected to increase by some 450 million people between 2015 and 2035. If current trends continue, less than one quarter will find stable jobs. Broadening internet access means creating millions of job opportunities.”

While the number of broadband connections in Africa crossed the 400 million mark in 2018 (nearly twenty times 2010 levels), the regional average broadband penetration —including 3G and 4G connections— is only 25% in 2018. Mobile broadband coverage in Africa is still at 70% of the population. Even in North Africa, there is ample room for growth with 4G networks cover only about 60% of the population. Additional challenges, such as the lack of access to reliable and affordable electricity, make accelerating Africa’s digital transformation journey even more difficult.

According to the report, nearly 80% of all required investments are directly related to the need to roll out and maintain broadband networks. However, connecting the unconnected is about more than just infrastructure: about 20% of required investments consists in building the user skills and local content foundations, and another 2-4% should be allocated to setting up the appropriate regulatory framework, the report notes. While the private sector has driven most successful broadband initiatives, public agencies play a crucial role by implementing effective sector regulation, addressing potential market failures, and creating the conditions for an open, competitive broadband sector.

“In large parts of Africa, we are witnessing a lack of progress in extending access and network coverage. Affordability is also declining in many nations. Promoting greater digital inclusion is going to require more effective and innovative collaboration,” said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Executive Director of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development and Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. “We need to leverage our strengths and expertise. Governments can help with policies enabling new technologies, new business models and investment. The right policies will, in turn, provide the private sector with the incentives to build out infrastructure and explore new technologies and applications that will drive demand.”

Connecting the 100 million people in rural and remote areas that live out of reach of traditional cellular mobile networks will require strong private sector involvement, innovative business models, and alternative technologies, such as satellite and Wi-Fi based technical solutions, the report notes.

“Let’s be clear: no single actor will be able to meet the 2030 target and carry the burden of a $100 billion investment funding requirement. All stakeholders must come together and collaborate to realize universally affordable access to the internet for all Africans”, says Hafez Ghanem, the World Bank’s Vice President for the Africa Region. This includes: the African Union and regional economic communities; African governments and respective public investment agencies; sector regulators; multilateral development banks and regional development banks; the United Nations and other development agencies; the private sector; and civil society groups and nongovernmental organizations.

The Working Group on Broadband for All: A Digital Moonshot Infrastructure for Africa, led by the World Bank, was established in 2018 under the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development with the primary objective of identifying investment requirements and policy roadmaps to increase connectivity and to reach full coverage in Africa. This report draws upon the expertise of Broadband Commissioners and experts from around the world.

Categorie: Liberia

PADEV Orientates Forest Engagement Officers in FDA Project

Liberian Observer - 6 ore 28 min fa

On Wednesday, October 16, 2019, a local NGO in the forest sector, Partners in Development (PADEV), conducted a one-day orientation for its community engagement officers (CEOs), who the entity would send in the field for a 15-month Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Project which PADEV is implementing.

PADEV Lead Team Leader Nobeh S. Jackson, who spoke at the CEOs’ orientation, said the project will be conducted in 40 communities in Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Sinoe, Gbarpolu, Grand Cape and Grand Kru counties.

It is under the title, “Awareness Raising and Support for the Establishment of Community Forest Governance Entities for the Liberia Forest Sector Project.”

At Wednesday’s event, CEOs learned new methods they would use to educate community dwellers in those counties on the value of the forest as a resource as well as the products and services it provides to community members (non-timber forest products, fuel wood, fresh water, protein from hunting, building materials, etc.).

“You CEOs will also inform them about how economically productive and environmentally sustainable livelihood activities can be obtained from the forest,” Jackson said.

He further admonished them to serve as ambassadors of PADEV in the intervention zones.

“Collaborate and coordinate with FDA and the Liberia Forest Landscape program (LFSP) cadre assigned in the target communities in support of the implementation of project activities as well as provide support to resolve forest resource-related challenges and comprehensively document their mitigation approach.

The LFSP is financed by the Liberia Forest Landscape, but there are challenges portfolio-wide, including

the one which the CEOs will have to conduct during their regular field visits in designated communities; organize and conduct village-to-village information campaigns; participate in regular monthly coordination meetings, to review planned activities, determine the effectiveness of the implementation of project activities.

As part of the activities, you will identify challenges, revise activity plan where required and suggest recommendations through written reports; with the support of field-based coordinator, organize regular town-hall meetings with community stakeholders and representatives of forest governance entities, to discuss issues related to their forest resources,” Mr. Jackson told the CEOs.

Earlier, Attorney Gertrude W. K. Nyaley, Technical Manager, Community Forestry Department at FDA, said the LFSP is a project which is a support to the government from the Norwegian government.

“They decided to support us to build our capacity and practice sustainable forest management,” Atty. Nyaley added.

She further said that because the government through the FDA cannot do it on its own, it was partnering with PADEV, which is a civil society actor in the forest sector.

According to Atty. Nyaley, PADEV will create awareness on governance among community forest dwellers.

“Governance has become a very major issue in our country today. If we as technicians in the forestry sector don’t work together to make sure that we have a hold on governance, there would be a complete breakdown in community forestry,” she said.

Atty. Nyaley warned of several persons who are intervening and participating in community forestry and who, according to her, should not be a part of the exercise to protect the forest.

Attorney Roland J. Lepol, Deputy National Coordinator, REDD+ Implementation Unity, FDA, said that the LFSP is funded by the Norwegian government through the World Bank and that its project is being implemented by the FDA, together with six other “project implementing agencies.”

The agencies are all government-run entities, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Land Authority and Environmental Protection Agency.

Lepol said that the entity was working with PADEV to support communities in order to get them to manage their own forests, especially in the areas of governance system and increasing awareness, so that they are more knowledgeable about how the forest is managed.

He praised PADEV for doing a “very good job,” citing some of its initial reports as good.

PADEV was founded in August 2016, to contribute to national development by maintaining a cadre of staffs who worked for USAID ( United States Agency for International Development)-supported projects that administered community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) activities.

PADEV’s founders have extensive experience in CBNRM and development works, deeply rooted in their long-term services with national and international organizations.

Categorie: Liberia

Ateenah Foundation Pays L$300K for Scholarship Students In Grand Kru

Liberian Observer - 6 ore 29 min fa
— Cautions parents, school administrations, students to get involved

The District Coordinator in the office of Grand Kru County District #2 Representative J. Fonati Koffa wishes to announce the full 1st semester payment of L$300,000 for all 63 students on scholarships in 12 schools in five districts.

The payment, which began on Thursday, October 10, 2019, is expected to end on October 18.

The beneficiary schools are the Buah Central High, Barclayville Central High, J. Blamo Toe Elem. & Jr. High, A.A. Hoff Elem. & Jr. High and Richard Henry Elem. & Jr. High.

The rest include S.S. Chea Elementary, Dwekeh United Methodist Elementary, Nifu Elem. & Jr. High, Dioh Elem. & Jr. High, Betu Elem. & Jr. High, F.F. Doe Elem. & Jr. High and Fennitor Jr. High. They are located in Barclayville, Bua, Forpoh, Dorbor and Bob District.

On behalf of the principal, Thomas K. Toe of the Buah Central High School in Geeken Community, thanked Rep. Koffa, describing him as a “talk and do” lawmaker.

Grand Kru County District #2 District Coordinator Chris Jogboe said that financial aid scholarship still remains open to students in the district, in spite of the economic meltdown hitting the country and the world.

Mr. Jogboe said the Ahteenah Foundation Scholarship (AFS) is a unique and exciting opportunity for excellent students in the district to take advantage of and enroll in any schools when granted scholarships; students must maintain the required grade point averages.

Mr. Jogboe called on parents and guardians to earnestly contact the Ahteenah Foundation Scholarship headquarters in Buah District for more information.

“The requirements are that one must be a resident of the district, have the grade point average of 85% or above and maintain a grade point average of not less than 85%,” Jogboe added.

The Ahteenah Foundation Scholarship is funded by Rep. Koffa.

Meanwhile, Mr. Jogboe has urged the Barclayville Central High school administration to create programs to enhance the learning environment and seek timely sponsorship from partners to provide support than idly and naively making allegations of lack of support.

Categorie: Liberia