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Morocco meeting seeks to position Africa in wealth creation





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If the way to unlocking massive development in the heart of Africa is through asserting itself as a self-sustaining continent, then the key could be in the hands of technocrats seeking home-grown ways of generating the wealth of Africa from within.

This was one of the key themes emphasised in a conference dubbed “Atlantic Dialogues” – now in its seventh edition — that strives to tap the latent potential of mainly the southern Atlantic rim and Africa into tangible wealth and an ability to assert itself in the world geopolitical map.

The conference held under the theme, “Overcoming the Choke Points,” ended in Marrakesh, Morocco, on December 15 where it has been hosted for the past seven years.

The conference is a convergence of technocrats, think tanks, experienced international leaders in various fields and select young leaders in various fields.

Though it is held in North Africa, the meting does not confine its interest to the Atlantic sea board.

It sends out feelers of inclusion to East and Southern Africa, with a message that the continent can only maximise potential from all its spheres.

Invited this year from beyond the southern Atlantic region were experts in private and public sectors from East and Southern African countries that were variously called upon to present innovations that can be replicated on the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean rim nations.

From Kenya, two young delegates invited had been noted for leadership roles in the public and private sector — Raphael Obonyo and Jacob Ouma respectively. Other young delegates had been selected from over 30 African countries and other continents.

Three of the prime plenary sessions were moderated separately by Kenyan television personalities, Jeff Koinange and Uduak Amimo, each who pointed out to the panelists that the Atlantic initiative should be flagged an all-Africa initiative to empower the continent.

Even as emphasis was obviously on interests that the Atlantic dialogues conference has for the West and North Africa, the issues may as well be copy-pasted for East and Southern Africa.

A Moroccan think tank, Policy Centre for the New South (formerly OCP Policy Centre), which organises the conference, has its main mission as promotion of knowledge-sharing on economic issues and international relations among Atlantic States, especially those in the South including South America that share challenges of developing countries.

The think tank seeks to rally nations to contribute to strategic decision-making through four research programmes that matter most for Africa: Agriculture, environment and food security; economic and social development; finance, conservation of raw materials and manufacturing; and geopolitics and international relations.

Key issues that excited debate among delegates included; the effects of globalisation on Africa; how the continent can benefit from its demographic advantage; coping against the surge of protectionism by the developed nations and the WTO; the human dimension of the migration crisis affecting Africans; the effects of the declining power of the United States and other issues that touch every nation.

Panelists at the plenary-style conference were mainly dignitaries who had been at the top level of handling global issues in their nations or internationally, especially those that have interacted with Africa.


Former American secretary of state Madeleine Albright was the highlight of the plenaries as she examined the backlash against globalisation, alongside former president of Cape Verde Pedro Pires.

Ms Albright, 81, and just coming from launching her book — Fascism; A Warning — acknowledged globalisation had been tilted against Africa, even as she encouraged the continent to take advantage of its emerging status and powerful potential to chart its own course.

“Africa was always seen as the loser in globalisation, but increasingly now the continent is on the path to becoming a winner despite the negative effects that held it back for so long.

“And this is not just for this region (Atlantic side), but also for the North, East and Southern Africa. The continent has the chance, it must embrace it,” Ms Albright said in an interview on the sidelines of the conference.

She told African leaders not to be discouraged by those who still show a tendency to sideline the continent, making a thinly-veiled attack on US President Donald Trump for his policy to assert American power at the expense of the exclusion of former allies. She said at the plenary:

“When someone goes to the United Nations and talks about national power, it undermines the spirit of the UN. When the US is not represented in such a conference of like-minded allies such as this, we are pulling away from the world and into ourselves.

“Africa should surge ahead and focus on where it matters, like its young population that is the largest in the world. If systems that work can be built for them to earn a living at home, many would not even want to migrate.”

She commended students from Morocco, Kenya and Nigeria who had earlier sat in a session with her at the King Mohammed VI Technical University in Rabat, noting they had given her the main point to address at the conference — that young Africans just need empowerment through education, and the continent will change forever.

Other leaders from the South American delegations encouraged Africa to embrace self-belief and chart its course.

Former president of Argentina Federico Ramon Puerta, former Equador president Luis Osvaldo Hurtado Larrea and the Governor of Sao Paulo Geraldo Alckmin all dwelt at large on the topic, “learning from experience for new joint development.”

Handling the topics of Mediterranean and North African Dimensions and the Human Dimension of the Migration Crisis, most delegates drawn to contribute on issues of injustices meted out to the continent by the rich nations spoke strongly against the historic oppression of Africa by the North.

Former secretary general of the Arab League Amre Moussa, prompted by Kenyan moderator Jeff Koinange to comment on the role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in regime change in some North Africa nations, reacted that NATO should forever bear the blame for “destroying” some nations like Libya and Tunisia.

“NATO calls itself North Atlantic and it is only for the countries of the North, yet they allot themselves the role of intervening in Africa where they have no members. This should never happen again,” said Mr Moussa, drawing emotive comments by other delegates in support.

Migration of African seeking a better lives in Europe or escaping dire conditions, who risk their lives sailing on inflatable rubber boats from the beaches of North Africa to Italy and Spain, drew heated debate, with most delegates blaming the North for calling on itself the immigrants by oppressing the development of Africa nations and inciting and supporting conflict.

For East Africa, as most delegates interviewed on the sidelines and speaking in the plenaries said, the region should create its own forum to formulate common action on issues that pose bottlenecks to development and give guidance on the way to the future on issues identified as priorities for growth.


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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard




Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.


However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard




President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health




Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.


Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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