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Cambodia Sends 218 To Join Peacekeeping Mission In Mali1 minute read

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Cambodia has dispatched 218 Blue Helmets to join the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission in Mali.

A ceremony to send them off on Friday was presided over by Director-General of the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces (NCPF) Gen. Sem Sovanny at the Phnom Penh International Airport.

According to NCPF, the 218 peacekeepers, of whom 18 are women, are replacing the equal number of Blue Helmets who are on their way back home.

Speaking at the event, Gen. Sovanny said the personnel being sent have certificates stating that each individual has tested negative for COVID-19 before departure and upon arrival will undergo 14-day quarantine before beginning their mission.

According to him, Cambodia takes COVID-19 transmission seriously and will take all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus and protect the peacekeepers.

He said the NCPF also reminds all Cambodian forces who are on overseas missions to be vigilant and take measures to prevent transmission of the virus.

“Despite the global pandemic, Cambodia is committed to keep sending personnel for peacekeeping missions as part of its obligations as a member of the United Nations,” Gen. Sovanny was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

According to NCPF, Cambodia has so far committed some 800 of its Blue Helmets, including 80 women, to UN peacekeeping missions across Lebanon, South Sudan, Mali and the Central African Republic.

North Africa

US Defense Secretary to Visit Morocco, Discuss Counter-terrorism

It has become a regular practice for American and Moroccan security officials to exchange visits to discuss cooperation and means to boost collaboration.

Bernard Akede

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US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is expected to arrive Morocco

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is expected in Morocco on Friday to discuss cooperations between both countries in counter-terrorism.

Esper’s visit to Morocco comes after trips to Tunisia and Algeria, a tour marking his first visit to Africa since he assumed office.

The defense secretary will open his tour on Wednesday with a visit to Tunisia to hold “bilateral talks with President Kais Ssaied and Tunisia’s Minister of Defense Ibrahim Bartagi.”

Esper is then expected to deliver a speech at the American military cemetery in Carthage, where American soldiers who died in North Africa during World War II are buried.

There are reports that the primary purpose of the visit is to further strengthen ties with Tunisia, a major ally in the region, and to discuss the threats posed by extremist organizations such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda, in the North African country. This was according to a senior US military official.

On Thursday, the Pentagon chief will then leave for Algeria to hold talks with President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

According to US military sources, the visit to Algiers seeks to “deepen cooperation with Algeria on key regional security issues, such as the threat posed by extremist groups.”

Esper’s Maghreb tour will end in Rabat to “strengthen the already close relations” in the aspect of security with Morocco, recalling that the African Lion military exercise which seeks to further strengthen cooperation between international partners to combat terrorism and insurgency, is hosted by Morocco.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event had to be canceled.

While speaking to AFP, the senior official who chose to remain anonymous did not reveal whether the US defense secretary would be personally received by King Mohammed VI.

Esper’s visit to Morocco comes a week after the US ambassador to Morocco David Fischer, was received by the country’s General Director of National Security and Territorial Surveillance – DGST-DGSN – Abdellatif Hammouchi. While on that visit, bilateral cooperation between the two countries in several fields, including security was discussed.

It has become a regular practice for American and Moroccan security officials to exchange visits to discuss cooperation and means to boost collaboration.

The U.S long ago described the Moroccan anti-terror approach as “comprehensive.”

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Southern Africa Politics

Tanzania To Introduce Electronic Budgeting System

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Tanzania’s Ministry of Finance and Planning says it has concluded plans to introduce an electronic budgeting system in the 2021/22 financial year.

The move will reduce revenue loss and strengthen financial accountability, a senior official said on Monday.

Mary Maganga, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the ministry, said the new system known as ‘PlanRep’ is web-based planning and budgeting system.

She added that PlanRep will replace the spreadsheet programme used by government agencies, institutions and corporations.

She told a five-day capacity building training seminar on the electronic budgeting system in the capital Dodoma that the new system will incorporate strategic plans, revenue projection, budgets, expenditure tracking and physical implementation.

The electronic budgeting system will help increase efficiency in management and monitoring of investments by public organisations and corporations.

Subsequently, it will increase the performance and government revenue, Athumani Mbuttuka, the country’s Treasury Registrar said.

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North Africa

EU, UNODC and UNICRI Launch Anti-Corruption and Money Laundering Project in Libya

This joint project is a testament to the shared commitment of the European Union, UNODC and UNICRI to support Libya in building long-term sustainable national capacities to counter corruption and money laundering.

Bernard Akede

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The EU announced yesterday that it was launching a new project

The EU announced on Monday that it is launching a new project entitled “Building Libya’s National Capacity to Prevent and Combat Corruption and Money Laundering”. This project will be in collaboration with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).

The project which will last three years and is funded by the European Union with 2.5 million Euros, is expected to train Libyan authorities and law enforcement agencies to enable them to better combat corruption and financial crimes. Authorities will also receive trainings in techniques to trace, confiscate, and recover assets linked to such crimes.

This new project will be complementary to other initiatives financed by the European Union aimed at improving governance of national and local institutions, to contribute to fair and transparent management of public funds in Libya.

While welcoming the project, Cristina Albertin, UNODC Regional Representative for the Middle East and North Africa said “This joint project is a testament to the shared commitment of the European Union, UNODC and UNICRI to support Libya in building long-term sustainable national capacities to counter corruption and money laundering. This new intervention supplements and expands UNODC’s long-standing partnership with Libyan Authorities in countering trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, related financial crimes and terrorism financing as well as in supporting prison reform.”

According to UNICRI’s Director Antonia Marie De Meo, “Libyans have suffered from corruption for too long.  They deserve accountability and transparency from all public officials.  The Libyan people should also benefit from the recovery of stolen assets which – when recovered – can be directed to key public sectors such as health care and education.” The Libyan Government has already been receiving assistance from UNICRI in tracing assets valued at hundreds of millions of US dollars, the statement said.

Also according to the press statement, the European Union, in collaboration with UNODC and UNICRI, will strengthen Libya’s criminal justice system, to investigate and prosecute corruption and related financial crimes, through this new project.

The principal beneficiaries of the project include the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NAAC), the Administrative Control Authority (ACA), the Audit Bureau, the Central Bank of Libya (CBL), the Financial Information Unit, the Ministry of Interior, the Office of the Attorney General, the Ministry of Justice, the National Economic Development Board (NEDB) and the Libyan Asset Recovery and Management Office.

Project experts will employ the services of civil society organizations and universities to enhance their capacity to prevent corruption and promote a culture of integrity and transparency in Libyan society, the statement concluded.

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