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World Bank disputes alleged cover-up by its IFC division over sexual assault in Kenya

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Ajay Banga, the president of the World Bank, has denied that the bank’s International Finance Corp (IFC) division attempted to conceal claims of sexual assault at a network of for-profit schools in Kenya that it owned from 2013 to 2022.

When asked about the IFC’s response to an independent investigation into the claims at Bridge International Academies, Banga disputed the notion that the IFC was engaged in a cover-up during a public event hosted by the Centre for Global Development.

Civil society organisations have voiced concern that, up until the World Bank’s Office of Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (Cao) received complaints from parents in 2018 and launched an inquiry, IFC disregarded evidence of child sexual abuse at several of Bridge’s Kenyan schools.

The $13.5 million Bridge equity investment was unloaded in March 2022 as part of a commitment to exit for-profit education, and this month, the IFC Board of Executive Directors is set to publicly discuss an action plan in response to the Cao’s findings.

Although Banga was not selected for the position of World Bank president at the time of the divestment, he will still have to cope with the fallout while trying to improve the lender’s operations.

If a cover-up “is proven to be so, I will take all the action that is necessary, but merely conjecture that is in a public space, I will refuse to sign up. That’s who I am; I’m sorry if you don’t like it.” Banga said.

Banga, who is a former Mastercard CEO has reiterated committed to reducing bureaucracy and increasing the World Bank’s emphasis on enhancing lives.

Musings From Abroad

US keen on expanding bilateral trade with Nigeria

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According to the US Consulate in Nigeria, it is looking for ways to guarantee prosperity for Nigeria by increasing bilateral trade and investment.

 

The Consulate, in a statement, maintained it was looking for ways to develop bilateral investment and trade as well as guarantee prosperity between the US and Nigeria.

 

Mike Ervin, the chief of the Political and Economic Section of the US Consulate in Lagos made this statement on Wednesday during a working visit to the governor of Abia State, Alex Otti, on Wednesday,

 

He noted that the consulate covers the 17 southern states of Nigeria; hence its mission “to expand bilateral trade and investment and ensure prosperity between the United States and Nigeria”.

 

“In the US consulate in Lagos, we cover the 17 southern states and our top job more than any other is to seek ways to expand bilateral trade and investment and expand shared prosperity between our people.

 

“Our people share a long history of partnership and that was highlighted by the visit of our Secretary of State, Anthony Blinkin, in Nigeria a couple of weeks ago, where he spoke eloquently and strongly on the significance and importance of US-Nigeria bilateral relationship. And our desire is to seek ways of expanding that relationship to build prosperity for our people,” he stated.

 

The petroleum/mining and wholesale trade industries account for the majority of foreign direct investment from the United States, which is the country that invests in Nigeria the most. The value of goods traded both ways in 2022 between the US and Nigeria exceeded $8.1 billion.

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Musings From Abroad

UN sanctions six Congolese rebels over crisis in its eastern region

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Six members of five armed organisations in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council as violence between the Congolese army and M23 Tutsi-led rebels, who are backed by Rwanda, has escalated.

 

The fighting in this decades-long battle has made it more likely that Rwanda and Congo could go to war, which might draw in armies from nearby countries like South Africa, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, and Malawi.

 

The Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Robert Wood, told a meeting of the 15-member Security Council that “The United States firmly supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the DRC and lasting peace for all Congolese people. Rwanda and the DRC must walk back from the brink of war.”

A travel ban, asset freeze, and arms embargo were placed on two leaders of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), one commander of the Twirwaneho armed organisation, and one leader of the National People’s Coalition for the Sovereignty of Congo (CNPSC) rebels by the Security Council’s DRC sanctions committee.

The military spokesman for the M23 Tutsi-led rebels, allegedly backed by Rwanda, and a leader of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), an organisation started by Hutus who left Rwanda after participating in the 1994 genocide that killed over 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were also placed on the UN list.

“These individuals are responsible for numerous abuses,” Wood said of the six sanctioned individuals.

After replacing a previous U.N. operation in 2010 to aid in reducing insecurity in the country’s east, Congo has been home to a UN peacekeeping force known as MONUSCO for more than 13 years.

Felix Tshisekedi, the president of the Congo, requested in September that the peacekeepers’ withdrawal be expedited, and the UN Security Council granted his request, allowing the deployment to terminate in December.

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