Westlands district of Nairobi, Kenya. Photo LUIS TATO/AFP or licensors
A UK company, Camellia Group, agreed to settle legal claims from a number of Kenyan and Malawian women over gross human rights abuses and rape allegations.
The firm's guards have been accused of committing atrocities ranging from killings, rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence.
The Macadamia, tea and avocado company paid a total of over $9.7 million to 85 women in Muranga country in central Kenya and Mulanje and Thyolo districts of Malawi.
A statement from the company’s update on February 11 reads: “In January 2020, Camellia Plc announced that it and certain UK subsidiary companies faced legal claims in the UK based on allegations against two businesses in its African operations, namely Kakuzi in Kenya and EPM in Malawi. These claims have now been resolved at settlements costing up to £4.6m in relation to the Kenyan claims,and £2.3m in relation to the Malawian claims.”
Camellia Group has also vowed to address any issues that will culminate later from any misconduct from workers.
They also promised to build new roads and employ safety marshals to provide security to communities and workers.
Besides the pay, the group also vowed to improve safety for female employees, facilitating community amenities and training programs for its employees.
“The settlement is intended not only to resolve the claims themselves but also to help Kakuzi to strengthen its relations with the local communities and to continue to support the thousands of smallholder farmers who rely on Kakuzi to get their avocados to market,” said Camellia. - Michael Oduor, AfricaNews
KIGALI, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- Rwanda recorded a decline of 47.1 percent of investments in 2020, from 2.46 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 to 1.3 billion dollars, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) said in a statement on Thursday.
RDB attributed the decline to the COVID-19 pandemic that affected the global economy. According to the statement, real estate and construction and manufacturing accounted for 48 percent and 20 percent respectively of investments in 2020, and other sectors that attracted significant investments included agriculture, information communication technology (ICT), energy, mining and financial services.
Foreign direct investments contributed 51 percent of the total investments registered in 2020, while joint ventures and local investments contributed 29 percent and 20 percent, respectively, it said.
"The year 2020 was challenging for investment and business in general. Despite the global economic slowdown resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Rwanda registered significant investments in key sectors of our economy," said RDB CEO Claire Akamanzi in the statement.
The government of Rwanda is committed to supporting businesses recover through initiatives like the economic recovery fund.
However, the investment arm of the Rwandan government last week said 24 more companies from China were registered in Rwanda last year, bringing in investments totaling 300 million U.S. dollars. - Xinhua
The African Development Bank (AfDB) grants South Sudan $14 million to boost agriculture. Photo AFP
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has signed an agreement with South Sudan to give Juba a $14 million grant to boost agriculture.
According to a statement seen by The EastAfrican, The Agricultural Markets, Value Addition and Trade Development five-year project which aims to enhance agricultural productivity will be implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in close liaison with South Sudan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.
“The project will help increase productivity and incomes of almost 20,000 farming families in Central and Eastern Equatoria and Jonglei states, most of whom are formerly internally displaced persons who have now returned to their homes.
“The project will create aggregation business opportunities for farmers and traders, including women and youth, and provide them with new skills and the agro-processing equipment they need to produce competitive products. Farmer groups joining the aggregation centres will have their products not only tested and quality certified, but also traded with the private sector on their behalf,” the statement says.
Speaking during the signing ceremony in Juba on Wednesday, South Sudan’s Minister of Finance and Planning Athian Ding Athian praised AfDB for the great support granted.
“A diversified economy away from oil and long-term growth depends on promoting agribusiness development.
“With the support from our partners, we are building an improved marketing and trade environment for agribusinesses, increasing people’s incomes and creating new jobs, particularly for the youth,” he said.
AfDB South Sudan Country Manager, Benedict Kanu, said, “a key factor explaining Africa’s and indeed South Sudan’s low level of agricultural value addition is the inefficient marketing infrastructure. This prevents farmers and processors from realising the full value of their produce, even in their raw form.”
South Sudan has considerable unrealised agricultural potential, but the effects of continued violence combined with unprecedented flooding have seriously damaged food production, resulting in a huge food import bill, according to AfDB.
“Thanks to this generous contribution from the African Development Bank, farmers will move faster from subsistence to commercial agriculture by having access to new technologies, markets and linkages with other services and actors,” said Meshack Malo, FAO Representative in South Sudan.
Despite the country’s agricultural potential and 78 percent of the population employed in agriculture, the sector contributes only one-tenth of the GDP of South Sudan.
The country’s agricultural products struggle to find their way into international markets due partly to the lack of adequate food quality controls, according to reports.
In January 2020, President Salva Kiir said he was banking on oil money to revive South Sudan’s stalled agriculture and save its population from perennial dependence on food imports and relief supplies.
The plan, which he announced last year after visiting his farm in Gorom in the capital Juba, sought to tap into the earnings from oil and reinvest it into agricultural production as part of efforts for the country, ravaged by civil conflict since 2013 and 2016, to return to normalcy.
But the then Agriculture and Food Security Minister, Onyoti Adigo, cautioned against relying on the promised funds.
“We don’t need to count our eggs before they hatch. We have seen several scenarios where the council of minister approves monies but my ministry didn’t get them,” he said.
“The president should take strict decisions which require the Finance ministry to release those funds so that we can implement this plan successfully.”
Since 2015, agriculture has been severely neglected despite the huge potential South Sudan has with sufficient arable land. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), only about 5 per cent of South Sudan is cultivated due to the civil war that started in 2013, and inadequate investment in the agriculture sector. - Garang A. Malak, The EastAfrican
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