Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Artistic Appreciation

Posted: July 4, 2012 in News, Videos

Selection #9 : Mukusa 



An Islamic bank in Jordan, Sanabel, has bought up over a quarter of a Congo forest for ‘sustainable projects’

When I first read about the acquisition of 500,000 hectares of high value forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo by an Islamic investment bank in Jordan, I thought one thing: land grab.

Over the last couple of years, countries across the MENA region have been buying tracts of land all over Africa. Worried about the rising cost of food as well as declining natural resources locally, they have been trying to make sure that their eggs (so to speak) aren’t all in one basket. Egypt has bought up land in Sudan, Saudi Arabia has staked a claim on land in Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates has farms in Sudan, Morocco and Algeria.

However, this latest land acquisition by Sanabel is a little more interesting as it claims to come with some green credentials. According to news reports, Sanabel which is Jordan’s first Islamic investment bank is considering a number of “Sharia’ compliant forestry activities” for the land it has purchased. These range from afforestation and reforestation projects, and protecting the land from deforestation and sustainable agro-forestry projects.

I have written about the ethical aspects of Islamic banking in the past and also the important role they could be playing in protecting the planet, so it’s great to see some action being taken. Indeed Al-Sanabel Chairman and CEO Khaldoun Malkawi explained that these activities are entirely compatible with Islamic banking principles since they simultaneously help to fight climate change by protecting biodiversity, reducing poverty and promoting corporate social responsibility.

Sanabel did however also add that this purchase is part of their plans to capitalise on the rapidly growing carbon trading market. This means that the company “will develop forest carbon credits projects that will protect the role of forests in mitigating climate change.”

As such Sanabel will be hoping to get companies to pay them to preserve the forestland in Congo and protect it from deforestation in return for carbon credits which help them meet their carbon reduction targets.

This is, however, where it gets a little messy.

congo forestFirstly, the carbon credit market has been widely criticised for allowing business to continue spewing lots of emissions. It turns out that buying carbon credits from schemes such as the one that Sanabel will be running is a lot cheaper and easier for businesses than actually cutting their own emissions. So instead of protecting the environment and helping tackle global warming, these scheme just help companies continue their destructive practices.

The second issue that needs to be considered is the displacement of poor people living in these forests. For example, 70,000 indigenous people living in the western region of Gambella in Ethiopia were forced to relocate as the land had been living on was bought up by foreign investors. Saudi Star Agriculture Development was one of the companies implicated in this forced displacement.

Land ownership is a hugely contested issue and passing on ownership to a foreign government can only make the situation more complicated.

So whilst I’m happy to see Islamic banks consider green projects, I think they need to do better next time. They need to show that they aren’t out just to make a quick buck and also that they take their environmental responsibilities seriously.

Images of Congo forest via bobulix/flickr.

Author: Arwa Aburawa 
Original Article :


Posted: May 2, 2012 in General, News

Founded in 2000 by Petna, Sekombi and Katya Katondolo, Yole! Africa offers arts education, training, and mentoring to youth in eastern DRC.  Drawing the name from the cry used by central African shepards to gather their herds, the artists began Yole! Africa as a way to promote peace and reconciliation through arts and culture.

Yolé!Africa operates a cultural center in Goma which serves as a forum for young people from different backgrounds to come together and express themselves through art, sport, and other media.  The organization provides mentorship and artistic expertise for youth sharing their experiences, opinions, and views on peace and conflict through weekly music, dance and exhibitions at the center.

Yole!Africa also organizes The Salaam Kivu International Film Festival (SKIFF), “A cultural festival at the foot of the volcano”. The signature annual event and a vivid reflection of the rich artistic community and culture of eastern Congo, the 10-day festival highlights African filmmakers through public screenings and conversations, and promotes artist exchange across the central African region through workshops, concerts and performances. In the past two years, SKIFF has attracted more than 16,000 people including filmmakers, musicians and dancers from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Spain, Belgium, Finland, Brazil and the US.
In 2009, Yole!Africa worked with over 500 community youth on art, dance and music projects, with community performances attracting thousands of local residents.

In 2010, Yole!Africa received a $30,000 grant from ECI to train young, talented Congolese in the production of short films and audio pieces, and enable powerful storytelling that forces western audiences to reconsider negative stereotypes of Africa and Congo.


KONY 2012

Posted: March 26, 2012 in News, Videos

The video that started it all….and so the African community abroad and inland were split into two or three, if we count the neutral zone, separate camps, the for and the against. Below are two great articles that defends each camp. 

We deliver, we are in no way imposing any views or opinions to our audience.  Feel free to watch and construct your own viewpoints. 

Lingala de Poche

Posted: March 26, 2012 in General, News

Have your say. A Lingala pocket book for tourists or anyone not familiar with the language. An on the road guide for getting a better grasp of the local culture and how to’s in coping with everyday situations. 

* Ce guide présente le lingala parlé à Kinshasa et à Brazzaville car cette forme est la référence pour la diaspora congolaise du monde entier et est utilisée dans la plupart des chansons. Avec un minimum de connaissances grammaticales et de vocabulaire, vous deviendrez vite un interlocuteur de choix en maniant avec aisance les expressions proposées dans ce guide. (As described on the site : 

Africa in the Classroom

Posted: February 14, 2012 in General, News

What a revolutionary initiative, I must say the idea of valuing the importance of preserving our heritage and history by introducing the teaching and learning of other African languages in academic institutes is very exciting.  Although this is something that should have been done long ago, it’s never too late to start now.

Personally, I’m thrilled and hopeful that this implementation will give us back some sense of ownership, pride, self-respect and appreciation of our cultural wealth as a continent and as a people.  

Countries involved in this project are Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Niger, RD Congo, Senegal and Mali. Kudos to these nations, hopefully this will result in some kind snowball effect. 



Lancement à Bamako du projet ‘ELAN-Afrique’ pour la promotion des langues nationales africaines – Les ministres de l’Education de plusieurs pays africains et l’Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) ont procédé, mercredi, à Bamako, au lancement du projet Ecole et langues nationales (ELAN-Afrique), visant à faire la promotion des langues nationales africaines à côté du français, a constaté la PANA.
Le projet, qui concerne le Bénin, le Burkina Faso, le Burundi, le Cameroun, le Niger, la RD Congo, le Sénégal et le Mali, s’inscrit dans une démarche de promotion et d’introduction de l’enseignement bilingue au primaire s’articulant autour d’une langue africaine et du français.

Son objectif est surtout de contribuer à la mise en œuvre des plans d’actions nationaux en matière de promotion des langues nationales.

La cérémonie de lancement a été suivie par la signature d’un protocole d’accord entre l’OIF et les ministres de l’Education des pays concernés par le projet.

On précise que la concrétisation du projet a été rendue possible grâce à l‘Agence française pour le développement (AFD), au ministère français des Affaires étrangères,  à l’OIF et à  l’Agence universitaire francophone (AUF).

DRC: Land of wasted opportunity

Posted: February 14, 2012 in General, News

Author – Katrina Manson

No matter how low the Democratic Republic of Congo’s reputation for corruption, contract expropriation and inefficiency sinks, mining companies keep on coming.

Its southern Katanga province is not only the political powerhouse of the vast jungled country, but home to critical reserves of copper and cobalt.

So important is the $2bn investment from Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold of the US into the world’s largest cobalt producer at its Tenke Fungurume mine, for example, that Congo makes it on to a US list of top 20 sites to protect from terrorist attack.

Yet the country has all the hallmarks of an ill-governed, corrupt state: despite vast mineral wealth, it has slipped to the rank of the world’s least developed country and is falling in the World Bank’s “doing business” indicators.

“The whole place is one big scam and everybody’s being paid off,” one investor told the FT last year.

Years of conflict and graft have limited any chance the mining sector might have to drive growth in a country whose 70m population is among the world’s poorest. Gecamines, the former state mining company is about $2bn in the red, equivalent to the amount of mining investment expected to come into Katanga.

Yet mining is really all the country has to rely on, comprising up to 80 per cent of export earnings and 12 per cent of gross domestic product in an economy that Matata Ponyo, the finance minister, says is set to grow at 6 per cent this year, down from 7 per cent in 2011.

The World Bank says that, were Congo to steward its “superb mineral resource” better, it could bring in revenues equivalent to about 20 per cent of GDP by 2014. Copper and cobalt production could rise to $4.4bn by 2020, from $1.3bn in 2009 and provide $1.2bn in revenues in 2020, up from a measly $177m in 2009.

Congo sits, after all, on the world’s largest reserve of cobalt, with 5m tonnes, and provides half the world’s cobalt every year. It is also the second biggest copper-rich region, with 70m tonnes in reserves.

“Even if the copper price goes down there is no danger for us,” says Moise Katumbi, governor of Katanga, citing its high average grades of copper, at about 3 per cent, easily outstripping Chile’s 1 per cent. “That’s why people are investing. There is more appetite than we were thinking.”

Mr Katumbi is keen to avoid a repeat of the 2008 commodity crash, which saw thousands lose their jobs and mines close almost overnight after copper prices plunged from $9,000 a tonne to $2,500. Export earnings fell by more than $3bn in a single year.

Prices have since recovered, and Mr Katumbi says investors are further buoyed now that the uncertain and sometimes violent election period is over. Disputed results late last year and heavy-handed state security saw rival candidates each proclaim themselves head of state, while dozens were shot dead.

The re-election of Joseph Kabila as president assures many investors of continued stability. Some told the FT they were relieved they would not have to spend time bribing a new regime with which they were not familiar. Others hope claims of a rigged election will ensure Mr Kabila is aware he has less legitimacy than before and takes a more cautious line.

Price recovery and a long-term view about large reserves has seen China and South Korea strike multibillion-dollar deals of late, in agreements that offer infrastructure in return for minerals, although the projects are slow to get going. India is pursuing a similar strategy.

Glencore, the commodities trading company, is among the groups that have invested directly in mines. South African money is coming in alongside dozens of smaller scale miners – buying and processing operations run by Lebanese, Indian and Chinese concerns.

Many that have already established themselves and are keen to increase production are also behind target, however. Freeport, the largest investor and copper producer in the country, which has paid $516m in taxes since 2006 and has 6,700 workers, says that it will invest $850m in a two-year expansion of its operation this year.

The company is expecting to produce 195,000 tonnes of copper by 2013, up from 127,400 last year and still expects volumes to “expand significantly over time”.

Yet, like many set on expansion, regulatory headaches and a dearth of energy have meant long delays. The company was among those snagged by the mining review intended to reassure the World Bank and others, but which instead targeted companies that failed to get on with the more weighty part of the political elite.

The most obvious victim of the painfully protracted review of 61 companies, which cancelled 16 contracts, put Freeport on hold, and talked of “renegotiating” the rest via a variety of payments, was First Quantum of Canada.

Once it had fallen foul of the political establishment, there was no holding back. First Quantum lost its contested Kolwezi tailings concession in a contract expropriation that sold the licence on to London-listed ENRC via Dan Gertler. Then it lost two more mines, including the biggest copper mine in the county, Frontier.

Analysts say that the $1.25bn settlement that First Quantum elicited for the mines serves everyone up a “win-win” deal, but they rather forget the effect on the country. Five thousand jobs were lost, production put on hold at a time when prices were high and a national reputation further buried in the dust, raising political risk premiums.

“It [the $1.25bn settlement] does serve as a lesson; it should be harder to do these deals that are so obvious and blatant,” says Eric Joyce, a UK MP who is head of the Parliamentary Great Lakes of Africa Group. “There is strong concern about the kind of people you do business with when something is so obviously corrupt.”

He released documents on the eve of presidential elections that suggest Mr Kabila’s government has deliberately undersold state mining assets, many in Katanga, to anonymous offshore shell companies, losing the country more than $5.5bn.

Contract wrangles persist, over China Minmetals Resources’ recent acquisition of Anvil Mining, for example, and even ENRC has yet to determine its right to mine. Two other of its former First Quantum properties – Frontier and Lonshi – belong to a Hong Kong-registered company whose owners and ultimate beneficiaries have not been declared.

“We are pretty confident that this relationship [with Congo] will have no problems in the future,” says Felix Vulis, ENRC chief executive. Mr Katumbi, a millionaire businessman himself, insists Katanga faces no downside risk. “People just have to be patient; if Congo were corrupt, we wouldn’t have gone to the arbitration court,” he says.

More info click —->>

Traduction Française —->>


Posted: February 11, 2012 in General, Music, News

Ivory Coast to face Zambia in final

Sunday ( 02/12/12) in Libreville

For more information click here  —->>

Congolese people were out in London for the 2nd time this week protesting against the elections in Congo right now. Elections which have been marred in alleged corruption, fraud & election violence. Joseph Kabila has announced himself president & the international community recognised the results which many people & international observers have said are not valid. How can this happen? 

Congolese people want to be heard, to create a platform where the politics of Congo can be discussed. 

Mainstream media has not been reporting on the elections in Congo or the protests that have been happening in Canada, Belgium, US, France, UK & South Africa!

We need to change how Congo is reported & we need to start NOW! 


#TeamCongo ….Paris

Posted: December 13, 2011 in News, RD Congo, Videos
We deliver, we are in no way imposing any views or opinions to our audience.  Feel free to watch and construct your own viewpoints.