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These are essential steps to achieving sustainable and inclusive growth, bolstering its economy, and improving the well-being for all citizens

The World Bank approved a Development Policy Financing (DPF) operation of $80 million, which supports the Republic of Congo’s reforms to strengthen revenue mobilization and public financial management and improve the conditions for inclusive and sustainable growth. 

The reforms supported by the Development Policy Financing are critical to enhancing the country’s fiscal performance and governance while diversifying the economy.This DPF is the second in a programmatic series of three over the period 2022-2024 financed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA)* with the aim of putting the economy on the path of recovery in line with the Governments’ National Development Plan 2022-2026.

“The reforms supported by the Development Policy Financing are critical to enhancing the country’s fiscal performance and governance while diversifying the economy,” says Cheick Fantamady Kante, World Bank Country Director for the Republic of Congo. “These are essential steps to achieving sustainable and inclusive growth, bolstering its economy, and improving the well-being for all citizens”.

The operation supports two priorities: The first aims to strengthen fiscal sustainability and governance through modernizing tax and customs administration, strengthening regulation of the oil sector, improving the oversight of public finances, and enhancing the efficiency of the public procurement system. The second focuses on supporting economic diversification and inclusion through improved business environment, social protection for the most vulnerable populations, and improved access to electricity and basic services like health and education.

These efforts will be essential to building the country’s resilience to future shocks while expanding fiscal space for investments in infrastructure and human capital. Improving budget allocation and spending on technical and vocational education can equip trainees with the practical skills needed to compete in the job market, contributing to economic growth and reducing poverty. Operationalizing the national safety net program will also enhance social protection, targeting the most vulnerable segments of society.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The World Bank Group.

One of the Kenya Airways Boeing Dreamliners at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) Nairobi on July 26, 2023.[Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Kenya Airways (KQ) has explained why its flight from Kenya to Dubai turned back on Friday, December 15.  In a statement, KQ said that there was a need for a technical inspection after tyre debris from the plane was found on the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) runway. 

“On 15 December 2023 at approximately 21:20 HRS, JKIA Air Traffic Control encountered tyre debris during a regular runway inspection. Upon further inspection, it was established by the KQ operations team that the tyre debris was from KQ 310, which had departed on a scheduled operation from Nairobi to Dubai,” reads the statement.

KQ says its operations team contacted the Crew and agreed on a precautionary air turnback to Nairobi for further technical attention.  The plane landed at 11:46 pm safely and all its passengers were provided with accommodation as arrangements are being made to rebook them on the next available flight. By Esther Nyambura, The Standard

Westmeath Senior hurler Conor Shaw is hosting a series of workouts on St Stephen’s Day in aid of Tanzanian Heavenly Homes.

The personal trainer is calling for everyone and anyone to attend at Brownstown Community Centre on December 26 and take part.

Mr Shaw said he decided to do the fundraiser in advance of a trip to the African country next summer.

“Me and my girlfriend Aoife have been thinking about going to Tanzania for a while as we’ve heard all about the great work that John [McCauley] has been doing there,” he said. 

“He places an emphasis on the people and spends a lot of time working with the children in orphanages and stuff like that and I come from a teaching background.

“I’m also looking to get some perspective on life and appreciate the things we have at home more.”

Mr Shaw said the money raised through the workouts will all go to the people of Tanzania.

“We’re going to do workouts on December 26 and there will be a bucket at the door for donations,” he said.

“I know there’s lots on around the Christmas, but we’re doing it nice and early in the morning so hopefully we can get a good turnout for a good cause. 

“Even if you donate €1 or €2, I really don’t care, I’m just hoping to get the ball rolling with fundraisers before I go over there.”

Mr Shaw said he’s “grateful for the opportunity” to go to Tanzania and is looking forward to the trip.

“The workouts should be fun too and it’s doubly beneficial in the sense that you get your exercise in over Christmas and give money to something worthwhile,” he said.

The time slots available are 8.30am, 9.15am and 10am and they can be booked by calling Conor Shaw on 0857279426. Westmeath Examiner


The situation in food security deteriorated due to the increase in prices of goods such as food and fuel

The Government of Japan announces its support to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) Rwanda’s programme for providing food assistance to asylum seekers and Rwandan returnees, amounting to USD 1.2 million. 

Considering the nature of urgency in the humanitarian situation, the financial support from the people of Japan to WFP was swiftly approved by the Japanese Diet to respond to urgent needs of asylum seekers and Rwandan returnees in in-kind food assistance, aiming to ensure the access to adequate and nutritious food.

The situation in food security deteriorated due to the increase in prices of goods such as food and fuel, which has brought aversive effects to asylum seekers and Rwandan returnees who are largely depending on WFP’s humanitarian food assistance.

 This generous support from Japan is vital as the growing needs in Rwanda surpass WFP’s current funding to help refugees and asylum seekers with food assistance

“This generous support from Japan is vital as the growing needs in Rwanda surpass WFP’s current funding to help refugees and asylum seekers with food assistance. We sincerely appreciate Japan’s crucial contribution, which helps meet the basic needs of many people fleeing from violence and insecurity,” comments Mr. Andrea BAGNOLI, WFP Rwanda Country Director.  

The Embassy of Japan expresses its great pleasure that, through WFP, Japan will contribute to address the needs for vulnerable people such as asylum seekers and refugees by providing food assistance, ensuring access to nutrition services, and increasing economic opportunities for both refugees and host communities.

Japan’s assistance is underpinned by the concept of “Human Security in the new era” that is articulated in the Development Cooperation Charter of Japan, highlighting in particular “Human-centred cooperation” and “Solidarity” with various actors. In this regard, this collaboration with WFP embodies the concept of “Solidarity” in this humanitarian situation.

Japan highly acknowledges the tireless efforts and dedications made by the Government of Rwanda and WFP in response to urgent humanitarian needs, and Japan remains committed to addressing the needs of vulnerable people. Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Food Programme (WFP).

A collage of President William Ruto shaking hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden. PHOTO  PCS, JOE BIDEN

A report by the United States government has alleged that China is leveraging its economic influence from African countries to achieve its quest for global supremacy.

In the 2023 report to the US Congress, the US-China Economic and Review Commission claims that the majority of the African countries, including Kenya, fall victim to China's demands owing to the challenges of servicing the debt. 

Some of the demands issued to Kenya include the deportation of 45 Taiwan nationals to face charges in a telecom scam involving Chinese nationals. 

"In one high-profile case, Kenya, one of the highest recipients of BRI investment in Africa, agreed to extradite to mainland China 45 Taiwan citizens implicated in a telecom equipment scam that targeted Chinese nationals, despite protests from Taiwan."

The US noted that following the deportation, Kenya received a Ksh768 billion loan from China to open a railway from the Mombasa port to Naivasha.

"Kenya continues to deepen its economic relations with China. The year following the deportations, Kenya opened a major railway from the port of Mombasa to the city of Naivasha, financed by a Ksh768 billion ($5 billion) loan from a Chinese bank, and as of 2022, China serves as Kenya’s largest external creditor, at 22 per cent of its external debt," read part of the report.  

"Amid Kenya’s deepening reliance on Chinese financing, in 2023 Kenya’s Cabinet endorsed a formal extradition treaty with China that appears to encompass Taiwan citizens, as well, if ratified by the National Assembly."

The aim, according to the report, is to expand the One-China policy.

The One-China policy is the principle held by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that states there is one sovereign state under the name of China, which involves the inclusion of Taiwan as part of China.

President Joe Biden-led administration accused China of using programs such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to achieve the policy.  

Launched in 2013, the BRI project aims to strengthen China's connectivity with the world by changing Africa's infrastructure. Currently, over 155 countries have signed up for the project, signalling over 75 per cent of the world's population. 

According to the United States, China has resisted appeals from other international countries over constant funding of loans to African nations.

"After a decade of predatory lending through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), nearly 60 per cent of China’s loan holders were in financial distress in 2022, up from just 5 per cent in 2010. Beijing has resisted global appeals to address these debt challenges, instead seeking to leverage these troubles and international events to expand the use and reach of the Chinese currency."  By Brian Kimani,


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