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UN extends arms embargo on Somalia over government objections

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The United Nations Security Council have voted in favour of an extension to an arms embargo on Somalia despite the African country’s strong objections, saying the al-Shabaab terrorist group is still a serious threat to peace and stability in the region and sanctions are needed to degrade its activities.

The resolution which was made at the Security Council meeting on Thursday, also expressed concern at the continued presence of the al-Qaeda-linked group as well as affiliates of the Islamic State extremist group in the Horn of African nation.

The vote to extend the embargo was approved by a vote of 11-0 with Russia, China, Gabon and Ghana abstaining in support of the call by the Somali government, backed by the African Union, to lift the arms embargo.

The resolution which was drafted by the United Kingdom, however, modifies the arms embargo to reflect the government’s progress in improving its management of weapons and ammunition.

The modification includes allowing Somalia to import “portable surface-to-air missiles, higher-caliber mortars, anti-tank guided weapons, combat drones, some aircraft and vessels designed or modified for military use, and combat drones for use by its security forces and police — unless the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions objects within five working days of receiving notification from the government.”

Britain’s deputy U.N. Ambassador James Kariuki, said the benchmarks were identified following a recent technical assessment highlighting Somalia’s progress provided “a clear roadmap that will help this council make further changes to weapons and ammunition measures in the future.”

“The steps made today will simplify processes for Somalia and its partners, and help speed up the journey,” Kariuki said.

The Security Council had first imposed the arms embargo on Somalia in 1992 to cut the flow of weapons to feuding clan-based warlords who toppled dictator Mohamed Siad Barre the previous year, plunging the country into civil war.

Somalia established a functioning transitional government in 2012 and has been working to rebuild stability in the face of extremist attacks and one of the worst droughts the country has experienced that has brought thousands to the brink of famine.

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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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