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Ukraine withdraws troops from DR Congo’s MONUSCO peacekeeping mission

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The Ukrainian government has withdrawn its 250-strong troops from the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, MONUSCO, saying the country’s military needs the soldiers back home to help fight the invading Russian forces.

The withdrawal of Ukraine’s aviation unit from the mission was earlier announced in March, but experts had warned that the withdrawal could leave the UN mission seriously short of helicopters for its aerial operations.

Ukraine had contributed eight fighter helicopters to the mission which made up a third of the UN fleet in the MONUSCO but the withdrawal of the troops on Saturday means that the vital components of the mission has been removed.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, the Eastern European country has pulled out its troops from other UN peacekeeping missions where they had been deployed.

A DR Congo’s parliamentary defence committee member, Jacques Ndjoli, who spoke with the BBC on the withdrawal, said it was relatively serious, but pointed out that bringing peace to the country was primarily the responsibility of the Congolese Army.

In the past few months, the UN mission in the DR Congo has been under immense pressure to wind down its operations in the country with widespread criticism over its failure to restore peace in the eastern parts of the country where different armed groups have operated for three decades, killing, raping and looting the region’s rich minerals resources such as gold and diamonds.

Many have also called for the operation of the mission which has been in the country for 22 years, to be winded down as it has become one of the largest and most expensive of the UN’s 12 peacekeeping missions around the world.

Metro

Despite hardship in Nigeria, Tinubu insists on harsh economic reforms

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Despite the hues and cries of agony by Nigerians over the excruciating high cost of living and economic challenges occasioned by the policies of the present administration, President Bola Tinubu says his administration remains steadfast in implementing his economic reforms that he believes will facilitate business growth and create investment opportunities that support Nigeria’s growing population.

The Nigerian President, who made the pledge on Thursday when he recieved a delegation from the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) led by Florizelle Liser, its President and Chief Executive Officer, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, further expressed his administration’s
unwavering commitment to Nigeria’s economic growth and stability, emphasizing that he was not relenting until his vision for Nigeria was achieved.

Tinubu emphasized that though he is not oblivious of the fact that a large percentage of Nigerians are currently going through unbearable conditions, his bold reforms will, in the long run, come good and Nigerians will be better off.

While addressing the delegation, the President said he would not relent until his vision for Nigeria was achieved.

”I am happy that the Council is interested in various segments of Nigeria’s economy. We are right in the middle of a challenging stage of our reforms. We have headwinds, no doubt, but we are not going back,” he said.

”We are challenged, and we believe we will overcome the challenges. I have a can-do attitude that must be translated into a must-do attitude. We have a good team, and we must remain focused to get the goal accomplished,” he reiterated.

President Tinubu also reaffirmed his commitment to creating an enabling environment for business to thrive, emphasizing that his administration’s focus on investing in key sectors, such as agriculture, solid minerals, energy, health, physical infrastructure, trade promotion, financial services, digital enterprise, and the creative economy is underpinned by the need to ensure the welfare and prosperity of citizens.

”We are going to do more on security and investing in education, as we believe that education is the greatest weapon against poverty. We welcome partners like CCA, and we will strengthen our partnership to achieve our goals,” he added.

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Zambia: Opposition FDD calls for creation of agric bank

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Zambian opposition party, the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), has called on the government to re-establish an agricultural bank in the country.

The party’s Information and Publicity Secretary, Caeser Liteta, who made the call in a statement on Wednesday, said it was important that government to set up an agricultural bank to provide financing for farmers to invest in irrigation facilities as a result of the drought being experienced in the country.

Liteta added that government should take stock of affected small scale farmers through the extension officers under the Ministry of Agriculture and ensure that a true reflection of affected small scale farmers was captured and prioritised as beneficiaries of farming inputs during the 2024 – 2025 farming season

“The UPND government must consider re-establishing a farmers’ bank similar to the defunct Lima Bank Limited to provide financing need to invest in irrigation facilities,” Liteta said.

He noted that the effects of climate change had become visible and more pronounced and it was high time President Hakainde Hichilema and his Cabinet considered re-establishing the farmers’ bank to help mitigate effects of climate change in the agricultural sector.

“The current Super El Nino being experienced in the country has devastating effects on the rainfall pattern and going by media reports, we may only have a few days of rainfall in the next five weeks, but sustained rainfall is finished for the 2023 – 2024 farming season, especially for farmers in Lusaka, Central, Eastern and Southern Provinces,” Liteta said.

Liteta stated that the FDD as a party, had taken effects of climate change seriously and, as a policy matter, had developed the soon to be adopted Environmental Strategic Plan that was centred on Agriculture, health and water and sanitation respectively.

“Through the programmes, our party hopes to mitigate effects of climate change in areas of agriculture, associated diseases and challenges in depleting sources of clean water both, rivers and boreholes.”

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