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ECOWAS Insists Mali Junta Must Hand Over To Civilian Immediately2 minutes read

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has rejected the 18-months transitional period proposed by the military junta in Mali, insisting on immediate switch to civillian rule.

The chairman said this in Accra as a deadline expired for the ruling junta to appoint interim leaders.

The military had on August 18 ousted President Ibrahim Keita from power, with the 15-member regional bloc responding with immediate sanctions.

The military junta, known as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) and led by Colonel Assimi Goita, had initially proposed a two-year transitional plan. But the ECOWAS had insisted on a transitional government, lasting one year and headed by a civilian.

The junta, however, pushed through a charter on Saturday that says the interim president can be a soldier or a civilian and has not yet indicated when the new government would be named.

Regional presidents met junta leaders on Tuesday in Ghana in an attempt to quicken the transition.

“Today is supposed to be the day that the junta is to put in place a government, which should respond to the criteria we set out in August.

“That has not been met,” said Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo, the acting ECOWAS chair, before the start of talks.

Regional leaders fear the coup could set a dangerous precedent in West Africa and undermine a fight in Mali and neighbouring countries in the Sahel region against militants with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State.

“That country can no longer afford any delay in putting a responsible government in place,” he said.

West African leaders have not said what the consequences would be for failing to meet the deadline.

The existing sanctions include border closures and the suspension of financial flows.

The charter approved at multi-party talks in Mali also calls for an 18-month transition, while ECOWAS had said that fresh elections should be held within a year.

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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