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Kim Kardashian West, left, and Kanye West. Photo AP


Ugandan officials say Kanye West and his wife, the reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, have arrived in Uganda on a private visit.

Information Minister Frank Tumwebaze said late on Saturday that West's visit is "an endorsement of our tourism resources." Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said on Twitter that the American rapper was traveling with his wife.

They are reportedly vacationing in a luxury safari lodge with a view of the River Nile in the northern part of the East African nation.

Their presence in Uganda is seen as a coup for official tourism promoters, who recently were criticised by the president for allegedly not doing enough to promote Uganda's natural attractions. - Associated press/The National


The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide funding to assist 6,240 vulnerable small-scale farmers in rural Tanzania impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The IFAD grant will help farmers access inputs, provide market linkages and access agricultural and market information to improve their productivity and increase their resilience.  

Growth in Tanzania's agricultural sector was projected to decline from 5 per cent in 2019 to 2 per cent in 2020 due to the recent locust infestation and the COVID-19 pandemic. The decline in growth has resulted in a number of negative impacts including high cost of inputs and limited access to markets with small-scale farmers bearing the brunt. 

Through its Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF), IFAD will provide US$ 882,841 as part of its COVID-19 response in Tanzania. At this time when the COVID-19 crisis threatens to push another 500,000 Tanzanians into poverty, the grant aims to minimize the impact on livelihoods, resilience and food security. It will target farmers - half of whom will be women and 30 per cent youth, as well as agro-dealers, off-takers and extension officers in Dodoma, Njombe, Simiyu, Singida and Unguja regions. 

Despite the myriad of challenges they encounter, including low yields, crop cultivation remains the main economic activity for most small-scale farmers in Tanzania. To help boost their productivity, the grant will distribute 23,650 kilograms of bio-fortified maize seeds, 14,460 kilograms of sunflower seeds and 971,000 seedlings of fruits and vegetables. In addition, the grant will help safeguard the gains made under the Marketing Infrastructure, Value Addition and Rural Finance Support Programme (MIVARF) - an IFAD supported project that closed in 2020 – by using its existing agro-input distribution system to reach the targeted farmers.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the vulnerability of our food systems. To ensure we build a sustainable and resilient food system, we need to recognize the role small-scale farmers play and empower them to access inputs, information and markets for their produce," said Francesco Rispoli, IFAD Country Director for Tanzania. 


This handout satellite image obtained courtesy of Maxar Technologies shows a view of of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the Blue Nile River on July 11, 2020 AFP

The GERD, situated on the Blue Nile River and set to be Africa's largest hydroelectric project when completed

Ethiopia said on Tuesday it rejected "unwelcome meddling" by the Arab League in a long-running dispute with Egypt and Sudan over a mega-dam on a tributary of the Nile River.

The statement from the foreign ministry came as Egypt  slammed renewed filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), and as the UN Security Council prepared to revisit the row tomorrow.

The Arab League announced last month it was backing Security Council intervention, despite Ethiopia's insistence that talks proceed under an ongoing process led by the African Union.

"Ethiopia rejects the unwelcome meddling by the League of Arab States on the matter of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) following the League's submission of a letter to the UN Security Council and UN General Assembly to intervene in the matter," Tuesday's Ethiopia foreign ministry statement said.

"The League of Arab States has a reputation for its unfettered and unconditional support to any claim Egypt has presented on the issue of the Nile."

Foreign Ninister Demeke Mekonnen conveyed this position in a letter of his own to the Security Council on Monday, the statement said.

File Photo: Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Ethiopia on September 26, 2019 | Reuters

The GERD, situated on the Blue Nile River and set to be Africa's largest hydroelectric project when completed, has sparked an almost decade-long diplomatic stand-off between Addis Ababa and downstream nations Egypt and Sudan.

Ethiopia says the project is essential to its development, but Cairo and Khartoum fear it could crimp their water flow.

Both governments have been pushing Addis Ababa to ink a binding deal over the filling and operation of the dam.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government, however, has insisted it will move ahead with reservoir-filling in the absence of a deal.

On Monday Egypt said Ethiopia had begun the second phase of filling the reservoir, a process expected to capture 13.5 billion cubic metres of water.

Egypt expressed its "firm rejection of this unilateral measure."

Abiy's office and Ethiopia's foreign ministry did not respond to requests for confirmation that second-phase filling had begun.

But a senior water ministry official told AFP it would be in line with the calendar Ethiopia has long said it would follow.

Ethiopia argues that adding water to the reservoir, especially during the heavy rainfalls of July and August, is a natural part of construction. DT

"Filling goes in tandem with the construction," said a senior official at the water ministry. "If the rainfall is as you see it now in July, it must have begun."

  • A file image of Royal Air Force( RAF) Honorary Commodore, Veronica Pickering on June 30 2021 in England
  • A Kenyan has once again been honoured abroad. Veronica Pickering is the first black woman and Kenyan to be appointed Royal Air Force (RAF) Honorary Air Commodore.

    For over a century now, the Royal Air Force has defended the skies of Britain as well as expanding the nation's power and influence around the world. The air commodore is a one-star rank and is an air officer rank distinguished to a few since the air force's inception towards the end of World War 1 in 1918.

    Mid last month, the UK government has flown out 15 dogs and cats back to Scotland after the animals were left stranded in Kenya. This was after visiting families were forced to leave their pets in Kenya following a ban by the UK government on travel to red list countries.

    After negotiations between the families owning the pets and army officials, the UK agreed to fly the dogs back to Royal Air Force (RAF) Brize Norton.

    The aerial warfare faction (RAF) works with both local and international partners to patrol airspaces, respond to threats, prevent conflict, and provide assistance where instructed.

    Veronica Moraa Pickering was born in Kenya and moved to England with her parents in the late ’60s. She has accumulated over 25 years' worth of experience as a social worker, children's guardian. 

    Moreover, she has served as an International Child Protection Consultant for the UN (United Nations) and many NGOs(Non-Governmental Organizations) across Africa.

    A photo of Veronica Moraa Pickering
    A photo of Veronica Pickering in England during a past function.

    Veronica currently lives in North Nottinghamshire working as an Executive Coach and Mentor with a number of companies and organizations across the United Kingdom (UK).

    Often described as altruistic, she actively supports multiple Nottinghamshire charities and institutions. For many years she has been a strong supporter of arts and wildlife conservation efforts. Veronica is married to Nottinghamshire-born Artist Roy Pickering. She has earned recognition from Kenya's High Commission in the United Kingdom (UK).

    "Congratulations @vkpickering on being the first black woman and Kenyan to be appointed RAF Honorary Air Commodore. You definitely are making history. You will notch another first when you take up a royal appointment as High Sheriff in 2023. Pongezi sana,"   wrote Manoah Esipisu on his Twitter timeline.

    Kenya's High Commissioner to the UK Manoah Esipisu
    Kenya's High Commissioner to the UK Manoah Esipisu.


ON July 4, Rwanda will commemorate its 27th Liberation Day (Kwibohora 27) to mark the day the Rwanda Patriotic Front liberated the country and stopped the genocide against the minority Tutsi community.

Rwanda descended into mayhem from April 7, 1994 when the genocidal government and its militias began slaughtering the Tutsi.

One million people were killed in 100 days of bloodletting, in massacres which were meticulously planned and executed by the hardline genocidal regime.

The killings were halted after the Rwanda Patriotic Front led by the now president, Paul Kagame, defeated the regime and drove them out of power.

From the devastation and hopelessness that followed the horrors of the genocide, Rwanda has defied all odds to become a model country touted as the Singapore of Africa.

So grand was the socio-economic transformation that Rwandan refugees, who fled the country to Zimbabwe during its dark days and returned under a United Nations High Commission for Refugees “go-and-see” visit, could not recognise their own country.

Outlining the Liberation Day, Rwanda’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, James Musoni, said after driving out the extremist government, the Rwanda Patriotic Front set up a new governance system that promoted unity and reconciliation among the people of Rwanda.

It removed all forms of discriminatory norms and rules that were established by the previous regime. But the new government faced a myriad of serious challenges after the liberation of Rwanda.

Over one million of innocent Tutsis were killed and their bodies were scattered everywhere.

Up to 3,7 million people went into exile. Government coffers were emptied by the regime that executed the genocide. Rwanda was teeming with orphans, internally displaced people, injured and handicapped people with fresh wounds. All Government offices were dysfunctional including key social infrastructure such as schools and hospitals after teachers and doctors fled the country.

However, despite these overwhelming challenges, the victorious and dedicated RPF led by president Kagame transformed Rwanda into a model country revered across the African continent.

The RPF government successfully repatriated more than 3,4 million refugees that were camping close to Rwanda’s borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Burundi and Uganda.

“The refugees were all left to re-occupy their properties”, said Ambassador Musoni.

To ensure that victims of the genocide got justice, the RPF-led government, through home grown solutions, settled about two million cases related to the genocide in a short space of time.

In addition, the government introduced memorial sites around Rwanda to honour the remains of the innocent Tutsis that were scattered everywhere.

A fund to support genocide victims and survivors was established to cater for their basic needs such as health, education and housing.

In the year 2000, Kagame took over as president and immediately hit the ground running, introducing governance approaches that set the stage for Rwanda’s transformation.

“The policies quickly revamped different sectors of the country (political, economic and social development),” added Ambassador Musoni.

Rwandan leaders have espoused values of selflessness, self-reliance and self-determination, national identity, equity (including gender and youth), participation in the global community and good governance.

There is also a reinforcement of dignity in the conduct of Rwanda’s foreign relations. It has engaged constructively with other nations around the world through regional and multilateral organisations for the promotion of mutual and collective interests.

Rwanda strengthened its peace and security in order to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity and committed to the United Nations Charter principles.

The country is playing a prominent role in preventive diplomacy, peace keeping, peace-making, and peace building on the African continent and other parts of the world. Rwanda is one of the top contributors to UN peacekeeping forces.

The visionary leadership has also expended efforts towards the development of co-operation and partnerships, promotion of equitable world trade, and positioning Rwanda as a host country for regional, and international organisations and an airport hub for major international flights.

Rwanda was due to host the Commonwealth Summit but it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is due to host the inaugural Rwanda – Zimbabwe Trade and Investment Conference end of July.

Upon taking over a shattered country, the RPF-led government took an active role in revamping the economy from depression to attaining the current phenomenal status.

Rwanda is ranked second in the ease doing business rankings on the continent, with potential investors requiring only six hours to register a business.

Tourism and hospitality improved enormously from having no five-star hotel in 1994 to having about seven currently.  Rwanda’s infrastructure development is transforming the country into a regional hub for the services industry.

The World Bank’s Global competitive report index ranks Rwanda 3rd in Africa with best and quality roads after South Africa and Namibia.

Access to electricity has increased from less than three percent in 1994 to over 62 percent in 2021.

Kigali currently is top of the electrified cities in Africa rankings, with all the key streets having public lights.

As President Kagame once said; “It is evident that such a struggle is not simple, the struggle to reclaim our dignity, the struggle for progress, for Rwandans to live in security, peace and tranquillity, to be in good health, to earn a good education to work and develop, such struggle is not and has never been easy.” - The Sunday Mail

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