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AU peace fund increases by $141mn, becomes operational from 20201 minute read

“The growing financial contribution demonstrates AU member states’ commitment to ensuring predictable and sustainable financing for peace and security activities in Africa,” Mahamat said.

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African leaders ready to sign AfCTA
Chairperson of the 55-member pan African bloc, Moussa al Faki Mahamat in an undated photo.

The African Union (AU) Commission on Tuesday disclosed that the financial contribution from AU member countries to the AU Peace Fund has surpassed 141 million U.S. dollars during the past three years period and that its operations would begin this year.

Chairperson of the 55-member pan African bloc, Moussa al Faki Mahamat said in a statement that “solid progress is being made in delivering on the 2015 Assembly decisions on financial autonomy,” during an ongoing high-level retreat on the operationalization of the AU Peace Fund.

Mahamat also stressed that “the full operationalization of the African Union Peace Fund in 2020 is one of the top priorities that I will personally lead on,” a Xinhua news agency report said.

According to Mahamat, the growing financial contribution “demonstrates AU member states’ commitment to ensuring predictable and sustainable financing for peace and security activities in Africa.”

The AU Commission Chairperson also stressed that the financial contribution to the AU Peace Fund is expected to “gradually increase to 400 million U.S. dollars by 2021.”

The AU, which aspires the Peace Fund to finance activities in three thematic areas that include mediation and preventive diplomacy, institutional capacity and peace support operations, envisaged that the continental Peace Fund, once fully operational, would “become the principal financing instrument for peace and security activities on the continent.”

African leaders had also back in November 2018 approved a sanctions regime against member states that would fail to make their annual financial contributions to the continental body.

The set of sanctions, among other things, include a total suspension of a member state from the AU assembly and other gatherings.

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UN condemns use of IEDs against civilians in Libya

“UNSMIL strongly condemns these acts, which serve no military objective, provoke extreme fear among the population, and violate the rights of innocent civilians…,” the UN said.

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A man inspects the wreckage of a car outside the Khadra General Hospital which is dedicated to treating people infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Libyan capital Tripoli on April 8, 2020, after it was targeted by forces loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar. (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP)

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has condemned the use of improvised explosive devices against civilians in the southern part of Tripoli, as the armed conflict between the east-based army and the UN-backed government continues.

UNSMIL “is extremely concerned about reports that residents of the Ain Zara and Salahuddin areas of Tripoli have been killed or wounded by improvised explosive devices placed in or near their homes,” UNSMIL said in a statement Monday.

“UNSMIL strongly condemns these acts, which serve no military objective, provoke extreme fear among the population, and violate the rights of innocent civilians who must be protected under international humanitarian law,” the statement said.

UNSMIL called on all individuals to “seek information and heed security advice to stay away from areas that have not been declared safe to enter by a competent authority or items of unknown origin which may be explosive devices”.

UNSMIL also commended the search and clearance work by Libyan Police and Military Engineers, reaffirming its continued support to Libyan partners, communities, and stakeholders “who are working tirelessly to rid Libya of the threat of explosive remnant of war (ERW)”.

The UN-backed government’s forces accused the rival east-based army of planting mines before withdrawing from conflict areas in southern Tripoli.

Since April 2019, the east-based army has been leading a military campaign attempting to take over Tripoli and topple the UN-backed government.

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Strike looms as public sector wage dispute enters arbitration in South Africa

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The ongoing face-off between workers in the public sector and the South African government continues. According to the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC), disagreement between the trade unions and government has moved the talks to arbitration for further hearing.

PSCBC General Secretary, Frikkie De Bruin explains that the arbitration hearings will begin by mid-June. An arbitrator will issue an award after the hearings are complete, with the matter potentially heading to court or resulting in a strike if the unions aren’t happy.

Ordinarily, public sector workers make up a third of South Africa’s expenditure. But with the coronavirus lockdown and income reduction, Pretoria seems unwilling to incur more debt.

If not handled carefully to appease the workers, the ruling African National Congress, (ANC) could lose its political dominance in the next local elections.

If no resolution is reached and the workers decide to resolve it an industrial action, it could erode all effort made by the government in the fight against the coronavirus.

The dispute started in February when the government affirmed that it could not fulfil its 2018 agreement on a three-year wage agreement.

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Ethiopia to divest 40% of Ethio Telecom

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The Ethiopian government is finalizing plans to sell a 40 percent stake in Ethio Telecom- the country’s sole telecommunication provider . The plan was announced by Ethiopia’s State Minister of Finance, Eyob Tekalign Tolina.

Ethiopia’s telecommunication industry is considered one of the last closed markets. It has been one of the government’s plans to liberalize the country’s economy launched by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Ethio Telecom has a large market serving a population of around 110 million.

The government will retain ownership of the remaining 60 percent.

Foreign firms in the telecom sector will be invited to bid and a percentage of the minority stake will be sold to Ethiopian citizens. South Africa’s MTN and Kenya’s Safaricom have shown interest in expanding into Ethiopia in the past.

Ethiopia’s communications regulator says the country would proceed with the privatisation of the telecommunications sector despite the novel coronavirus outbreak.

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