Thursday, 31 May 2012



INAUGURATION OF THE NEW AFRICAN UNION CONFERENCE CENTER

DSC_0059_small.jpgAddis Ababa, 28th January 2012 – The 100 meter tall, 20 story African Union Conference Center (AUCC) incorporating a 2,500 capacity plenary hall, built by the Chinese government as a gift to Africa was inaugurated today 28th January 2012, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The AUCC was built at a cost of USD200 million

In his opening remarks, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) expressed his heartfelt gratitude to both the governments of Ethiopia and China. “Our dream came true and we are now overlooking a modern architectural jewel symbolising the historical relations between China and our continent” said Dr Jean Ping. Highlighting the efforts made by his predecessor Professor Alpha Oumar Konare, the Chairperson further added that the new conference centre will help promote the AUC’s presence and its competitiveness in the global arena, as well as improve its working capacity.

The modern and fully equipped facility sitting on over 100,000 m2 of land donated by the Ethiopian government represents a historical milestone for the AUC and Africa as it marks the fulfilment of decades old aspirations of African leaders and member states of the African Union.

The magnificent new head quarters of the continental organisation which has been at the center of the struggle for the African integration and development is a symbol of the rise of Africa, said the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Mr. Meles Zenawi in his opening remarks. He noted that over the past decades and despite rampant hopelessness throughout the continent, China-Africa cooperation has gone from strength to strength. “The future prospects of our partnership are even brighter and it is therefore very appropriate for China to decide to build this hall”, said Mr Meles.
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Mr. Jia Qinglin, Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) on his part congratulated Africans on “this monumental achievement” and assured his governments’ readiness to continue extending maximum support to Africa. He valued China’s involvement in Africa to USD150 billion with more than 2,000 companies working throughout the continent with growing economic and cultural ties.

Mr. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and Chairperson of the African Union stated that the new conference centre, is a reflection of the new Africa, and that it endows Africans with the right tools to showcase their human and natural resources.

The inauguration of the tallest tower in Ethiopia concluded with the presentation of gifts to seven Chinese officials who played a key role in the construction of the centre followed by the handing over of the golden key of the conference center to the Chairperson of the Union who then handed it over the Chairperson of the AUC.

Following a group photograph and amidst cultural performances drawn from Member States of the AU, a Statue of Kwame Nkrumah was unveiled. There was also a brief ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the construction of an African Union Human Rights Memorial.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012




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UNION AFRICAINE


UNIÃO AFRICANA

Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA  P. O. Box 3243  Téléphone : 5517 700  Fax : 5511299
Web site :   www.au.int
Directorate of Information and Communication
                                                                                               


THE AU DECLARES THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS IS LESOTHO FREE, FAIR AND CREDIBLE
Maseru, 28 May 2012 – “The AU Observer Mission concludes that the 26 May, 2012 National Assembly Elections in the Kingdom of Lesotho were free, fair and credible” affirms the preliminary statement of the African Union released by General Yakubu Gowon, team leader of the AU EOM during a press conference on 28 May 2012.
Gen. Gowon also commended the Basotho for their political maturity and for the peaceful conduct of the National Assembly Elections, General Gowon. Indeed, in 2010, the Kingdom of Lesotho has marked the Year of Peace and Security which culminated in the lighting of the Flame of Peace in September 2010.
According to the AU EOM, the electoral process, as a whole, was peaceful and held in accordance with the Constitution and the electoral law of the Kingdom of Lesotho. In this regard, the AU EOM has commended the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) for the smooth management of the electoral process, the voters’ education and the professionalism of its agents during the Election Day.
Amongst others, the AU EOM recommended to simplify the electoral process, to sustain the training of electoral agents and to maintain civic and electoral education so as to increase the rate of participation of the electorate.
General Gowon, once again, called upon all Basotho stakeholders to accept the outcome of the elections and to use appropriate channels provided for in the electoral law to resolve disputes.


29th May 2012

Charles Taylor sentencing 30 May – Global Witness spokespeople available in London, The Hague and Liberia

Global Witness spokespeople are available for comment on the sentencing of former Liberian president Charles Taylor by the Special Court for Sierra Leone , sitting in The Hague , which will take place on Wednesday 30 May.
Last month the Court found Taylor criminally responsible for aiding and abetting in crimes including pillage, murder and rape committed during Sierra Leone ’s bloody civil war, and convicted the former warlord of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Taylor’s trial has focused attention on the pivotal role he played in Sierra Leone ’s bloody diamond trade and has highlighted how natural resource looting finances armed conflict and human rights abuses internationally.
The sentencing this week finally provides the people of Sierra Leone with justice for the crimes committed against them and sends a message to those in power bent on terrorising their people that they will be held to account.

Global Witness will attend the sentencing and will be available for comment in The Hague , London and from Greenville , Liberia . The organisation played a key role in exposing Taylor ’s use of diamonds and timber to finance conflict in both Sierra Leone and Liberia .

Our briefing paper, The Charles Taylor Verdict: A Global Witness briefing on a dictator, blood diamonds and timber, and two countries in recovery, lays out these issues, including the role of diamonds and timber and the need for justice for Liberia .


Chairperson Ping: the Spirit of Global Pan-Africanism must Prevail in the African Family
Johannesburg, South Africa 25 May 2012 - “Our presence here today marks the celebration and fulfillment of the dreams and visions of our illustrious predecessors such as Marcus Garvey, Sylvester Williams, Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure, Ben Bella, Haile Selassie, Julius Nyerere, Gamal Abdel  Nasser, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nelson Mandela and the entire corps of the first generation of our captains of state who sweated and labored to ensure that Africa is one and projected as such in a dynamic and meaningful way on the world arena”.  
Dr. Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), was speaking while addressing the Global African Diaspora Summit holding today, Friday 25 May 2012 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The opening ceremony was chaired by Mr. Boni Yayi, Chairperson of the African Union and President of the Republic of Benin, in the presence of Mr. Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa, Heads of State and Government of the AUC and  the Caribbean Community, South and Latin America States .
Chairperson Ping underlined that “History is in the making today” taking place on the Africa Day, celebrated on May 25 all over the African continent and its Diaspora, forty-nine years to the day, African leaders established the Organization of African Unity (OAU), 25 May 1963.  “This year’s Africa Day is being witnessed by our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora re-kindles the spirit of global pan-Africanism . I thank God that we all form part of this historic event a prelude to the 50th anniversary which will take place next year”, Mr. Ping noted.
The Chairperson recalled that the history of the initiative of bringing the African family together. He expressed satisfaction with the successful holding of the Global Diaspora Summit in South Africa, commending the South African Government for hosting this important historical event. Mr. Ping called on the parties to reinforce regional Diaspora networks that would serve as interlocutors for AU goals and objectives. “Concomitantly, we must now devote more efforts to establish appropriate structures that would facilitate more effective Diaspora participation in the affairs of the Union”. He emphacised.
The Commission of the African Union , Chairperson Ping said, shall dedicate itself to ensuring the implementation of the outcomes of the Global Diaspora Summit.  “It is our plea and submission to our leaders that this Initiative will be a living project and the Declaration would be a living document that generations after us will come to applaud, refine, respect and implement”, he said. (see complete speech of Chairperson Ping on the AU website: www.au.int .)
Former President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr. Thabo Mbeki, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo, as well as Mr. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the of AUC and the Commissioner of Political Affairs of the AUC Mrs.  Julia Dolly Joiner were present at the Summit.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

FOR  QUEEN  AND  COUNTRY:THE  ROYAL  GARDEN  PARTY


                                         HER  MAJESTY  THE   QUEEN


Today  I was   honoured  to be  invited  to  join  Her  majesty  Queen  Elizabeth  at  the  Royal  Garden Party  which took  place  today  at Buckingham  Palace  in  London.





Today  I was   honoured  to be  invited  to  join  Her  majesty  Queen  Elizabeth  at  the  Royal  Garden Party  which took  place  today  at Buckingham  Palace  in  London.





The  party  took  place between 4.00 pm and 6.00 pm, although the Palace gates are open from about 3.00 pm. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied by other members of the Royal Family, entered the garden at 4.00 pm, when the National Anthem was  played by one of the two military bands playing selections of music during the afternoon.

After the playing of the National Anthem, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, together with other members of the Royal Family, circulate among the guests through 'lanes' which are peculiar to Royal garden parties. Each takes a different route and random presentations are made so that everyone has an equal chance of speaking to Her Majesty and members of her family. 


The Queen and other members of the Royal Family eventually arrive at the Royal tea tent, where they meet further guests. In  the Royal  Tent  i  saw  lots  of  VIPs  including  the  Rwanda  ,  Kenya   and  Ghana  High  commissioner 






 Tea and other refreshments were served from long buffet tables. The quantities served are enormous. At a typical garden party, around 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake are consumed. Some 400 waiting staff are involved in the serving. 


At about 6.00 pm, The Queen and other members of the Royal Family left the garden, when the National Anthem was  played to mark the end of the party. 







At Buckingham Palace the Yeoman of the Guard, Gentlemen at Arms and Gentlemen Ushers are on duty. At the Holyroodhouse garden party the Royal Company of Archers and the High Constables of the Palace are on duty.
















This  man  is  a  train  driver   who  saved  a passenger's  life  from  a  knife welding  maniac  and  sustained  injuries on  a  night  train.He  was  being honoured  today







What  a  day






All  the  invited  guests   must  have  done   an  exemplary   and  distinguished  service  to  Queen   and  Country

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The Africa Business Breakfasts

Gordon Brown (above) spoke at a breakfast in June 2011. He is flanked by Lord Malloch Brown (chair of the RAS) and
HE Peter Allan Kallaaghe High Commissioner of Tanzania

 The Africa Business Breakfasts are a series of early morning gatherings for senior executives of companies, policy makers, officials, representatives of NGOs and think tanks, and other experts.

Hosted by the Royal African Society, they provide an opportunity to deepen understanding of economic and social development and commercial issues in Africa and discuss what companies can and should do to maximise the contribution of business to socio-economic development in African countries.

Chaired by Lord Malloch Brown, Chairman of the RAS, the breakfasts are by invitation only and usually off-the-record. They also provide a forum for business leaders to meet and talk informally with colleagues as well as policy makers, opinion formers and stakeholders from outside the business sector.

The Africa Business Breakfasts are sponsored by CDC which provides private equity funding for companies in Africa, and held at the Simpson's in the Strand, 100 Strand, London WC2R.

The Africa Business Breakfasts are by invite only. Due to the popularity of the breakfasts the RAS prioritises invitations to its corporate members. To find out more about corporate membership please email rasmembership@soas.ac.uk or accessour membership page.