Tanzania Selects HID Global’s Solutions for Electronic Visa and Residence Permit Services in e-Immigration Program

The new web-based visa and residence permit services allow visitors and residents to apply for and receive validated credentials for traveling or living in the country

Rob Haslam, Vice President of Sales, Citizen ID business with HID Global

HID Global® (www.HIDGlobal.com), a worldwide leader in trusted identity solutions, on Monday announced that the government of Tanzania has selected HID’s citizen ID solutions to add e-Visa and e-Permit capabilities to its e-Passport, which HID helped deploy last year as part of the Tanzania e-Immigration program.

The new web-based visa and residence permit services allow visitors and residents to apply for and receive validated credentials for traveling or living in the country.

“This is an important milestone as we continue to work with HID Global to enhance and broaden the capabilities of our e-Immigration ecosystem,” said Dr Anna Peter Makakala, Tanzania’s Commissioner General of Immigration. “We plan to continue expanding this solution to our country’s border crossings and across the broader global community as we become a showcase for efficient, comprehensive and integrated e-Immigration solutions.”

“We are pleased to be entering this second deployment phase with the government of Tanzania, building on the success of the country’s e-Passport roll-out last year,” said Rob Haslam, Vice President of Sales, Citizen ID business with HID Global. “Immigration officers in Tanzania now have a convenient and efficient toolset for completing their vital mission of vetting and granting electronic visa and residence permit credentials to applicants.”

Since early 2018, HID Global has been Tanzania’s primary supplier of an end-to-end solution for issuing e-Passports with advanced physical and electronic security features, automated verification capabilities and a tamper-proof contactless chip embedded in a polycarbonate datapage. The country now has a single citizen identification system that spans the entire identity journey from data capture to issuance and can be used to support e-Passports, e-Visas, e-Permits and other physical electronic documents.

HID’s solutions can be found in sixty percent of all government-issued electronic identity projects around the world.  As a solutions provider, HID is delivering complete, end-to-end system solutions that meet governmental requirements for national ID, e-Passport, foreign resident ID, driver license, vehicle registration and other programs. 

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IMF Staff says Seychelles’ Economic outlook for 2019 remains positive

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff team led by Mr. Amadou Sy in Seychelles says delays in the implementation of Air Seychelles’ restructuring plan could undermine government’s efforts to sustain strong fiscal primary surpluses and jeopardize medium-term public debt reduction goals.

President Danny Faure

The team visited Victoria from March 6‒19 to conduct discussions on the 2019 Article IV consultation and the third review under the Policy Coordination Instrument Arrangement with Seychelles.

At the conclusion of the visit, Mr. Sy issued the following statement:

“Macroeconomic performance continued to be strong in 2018. Economic growth reached 4.1 percent, reflecting increased tourism earnings and stronger output in the fishing industry. Helped by prudent monetary policy and a stable exchange rate, inflation was contained throughout 2018. The external current account deficit narrowed to 17.1 percent of GDP, while net international reserves exceeded the program target by US$31 million. Supported by lower than budgeted capital outlays and strong tax revenue growth, the 2018 primary fiscal surplus reached 3.2 percent of GDP, comfortably exceeding the program target. The end-2018 inflation target (annual average) was met by a comfortable margin, due to prudent monetary policy and declining international fuel prices in late 2018.

“Economic outlook for 2019 remains positive. The declining trend in international fuel prices up to early 2019 could have a positive impact on the external balance in 2019, while some of the fiscal measures in the 2019 budget could put pressure on inflation and on the balance of payments. International reserves are expected to remain at an adequate level, anchored by prudent macroeconomic policies. Downside risks to the outlook stem largely from the external sector.

“The mission discussed permanent fiscal measures in 2020 that would help secure the medium-term debt reduction target. It also stressed that delays in the implementation of Air Seychelles’ restructuring plan could undermine government’s efforts to sustain strong fiscal primary surpluses and jeopardize medium-term public debt reduction goals. The team concurred with the authorities about the need to address structural weaknesses and promote inclusive growth, including through further diversification in the context of the Blue Economy initiatives, improving the business climate, Fintech, and strengthening the state-owned enterprise sector. The Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) should continue to maintain a flexible exchange rate while limiting foreign exchange interventions to the extent needed to avoid excess volatility and preserve reserve coverage at an adequate level. At the same time, the CBS is called upon to remain vigilant to inflationary pressure stemming from rising domestic demand including from fiscal measures in the 2019 budget.

“Subject to the approval of IMF Management, the IMF Executive Board is expected to discuss the completion of the review and the Article IV consultation in June 2019. The mission appreciates the high quality of the discussions and thanks the authorities for their hospitality, as well as the open and constructive dialogue.”

The team met with His Excellency President Danny Faure, Minister of Finance, Trade, Investment, and Economic Planning Loustau-Lalanne, and Governor of the CBS Caroline Abel, as well as other government officials, members of the National Assembly, and representatives of the private sector and civil society.

Kenya will increase her forest cover to 10% by 2022 – Kenyatta

By Alpha Bedoh Kamara

Kenya president Uhuru Kenyatta has committed his country’s willingness to increase forest cover to 10% by 2022 at the One Planet Summit discussions held at the UN complex in Gigiri.

At the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, French president Macron and Kenyan President Kenyatta co-chair a summit of the One Planet Coalition on the sidelines of the assembly. The meeting showcased innovative projects to accelerate the global shift to a low-carbon economy.

“My Administration has set clear targets through the National Green Growth Strategy in order to achieve global sustainable development goals. I pledge that Kenya will increase her forest cover to 10% by 2022 as we play our part as a member of the global community.

“We have further enacted a Public Private Partnership legislation that supports engagement of the private sector in public programmes. These partnerships between communities and the private sector will enhance the sustainable management of our forests. Kenya is working hard to do her part in the preservation and conservation of forest resources, as the safe and best pathway for the survival of humanity and life as we know it. Let us all pull together as nations of One Planet with a common sense of purpose”.

The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) is the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment. UNEA enjoys the universal membership of all 193 UN Member States and the full involvement of major groups and stakeholders. It gathers ministers of environment in Nairobi, Kenya every 2 years. 

Macron in Nairobi to attend the United Nations Environment Assembly

French President Emmanuel Macron is in Kenya to attend the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi.

President Macron had earlier visited Djibouti and Ethiopia after he embarked on a four-day tour of East Africa on Monday evening.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said, “I am delighted to host my friend His Excellency President Emmanuel Macron of the Republic of France at State House, Nairobi in his historic visit to Kenya. Kenya and France enjoy a cordial relationship that has helped spur growth in different areas for the benefit of our people“.

More than 4,700 people including heads of states, environmentalists, and heads of business corporations are expected to attend the Assembly

Macron and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta will also co-chair a summit of the One Planet Coalition on the sidelines of the assembly. The meeting will showcase innovative projects to accelerate the global shift to a low-carbon economy.

Beyond climate action, Macron and Kenyatta are expected to discuss a range of issues, including funding for AU’s mission to combat the Islamist militant group al Shabaab in neighbouring Somalia (AMISOM), as well as 

The Makpele Success Story: Solidaridad Holds Workshop on Responsible Land Based Investments in Sierra Leone

By Ahmed Sahid Nasralla (De Monk)

Solidaridad on 26th February 2019 hosted a one-day national learning and exchange workshop on practical applications of the provisions of the national land policy in the context of agricultural investment in Sierra Leone at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Aberdeen, Freetown.

In partnership with Natural Habitats the workshop was organized in collaboration with the Government of Sierra Leone, NAMATI, a legal empowerment organization and FAO, the Food and Agricultural Organization, bringing together all stakeholders- land owning families/land owners, Paramount Chiefs and other local authorities, Government of Sierra Leone, private sector companies, CSOs, women groups, youth groups, donors and the media to share lessons and experiences from their involvement in agricultural investments in the country and charting the way forward to responsible land based investments.

The objective of the workshop focused on the lessons and experiences from the LEGEND project and to incorporate the learning in further roll out of the National Land Policy, specifically to guide land based investments in a responsible way.

The discussion centered mainly around Solidaridad’s successful implementation of the UKaid funded LENGEND (Land: Enhancing Governance for Economic Development) project in Makpele chiefdom, Pujehun District, Southern Sierra Leone; foiling potential conflict between community land owners and a company called Natural Habitats Sierra Leone (NHSL), investing in large scale oil palm plantation in the chiefdom.

The company had inherited a lease agreement of 30,700 hectares of land for palm oil cultivation from an initial investing company called West Africa Agriculture 2 in which the deal was not known to the land owning families and devoid of the transparency espoused by the palm oil industry principles- Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). Apparently signed by few local stakeholders on behalf of the community, the disclosure of the lease agreement brewed disenchantment between the land owning people of Makpele and the company. Conflict was already brewing when Solidaridad intervened and brought all stakeholders together using the ‘open talk’ model to resolve the issue in favour of every party after a massive reduction of the original 30,700 hectares concession to 2,320 hectares.

The Paramount Chief who signed the original lease on behalf of the community had passed away, but his successor (PC Seffa Tamu) and other community stakeholders- Mammy Queen, the local court Chairman, youth leader and representatives of chiefdom organizations protecting the rights of land owners and land users were all present at the workshop. Each of them gave a brief account of their involvement and their roles in resolving the land dispute, and pledged their commitment to ensure NHSL operate in the chiefdom- within the boundaries of the newly agreed lease-  without any hindrance from the community people.

Giving a power point presentation after showing a documentary of the intervention in the chiefdom, Solidaridad Sierra Leone Country Representative, Nicholas Jengre, outlined the six strategies used in their intervention namely, inclusive stakeholder engagement, establishment of chiefdom Multi-Stakeholder Platform, gender-sensitive land tenure trainings, capacity building of all stakeholders to participate effectively in the process, contracting a legal non-governmental organization NAMATI to review NHSL lease to ensure compliance with the National Land Policy of Sierra Leone and alternative livelihood.

The key results from the application of these strategies include transparency in the NHSL lease agreement; recommended land acquisition steps in Makpele chiefdom developed; 28,000 hectares ceded to the land owners; a new lease signed in the presence of all key stakeholders and the press; 35% of women are signatory to the new lease; peace and unity in the chiefdom restored; capacity of stakeholders built on land governance, with greater negotiation ability of land owning families in future land deals; while 6,500 people across seven Chiefdoms in three districts trained on key provisions of the National Land Policy (NLP).

The intervention also included supporting 900 farmers in eight communities in the Makpele Chiefdom in the cultivation of rice, cassava and groundnut. Additionally, 20 village savings and loan schemes involving 543 members (441 female and 102 male) have been established, trained, supported with kits and are currently making significant savings.

“The lessons we learnt from our intervention are key for any future land based investment in the country,” said Nicholas.

These lessons, include the importance of inclusive stakeholder engagement;the multi-stakeholder platform as necessary for building trust and fostering peaceful negotiations; respect for divergent views;  building capacity of key stakeholders; importance of alternative livelihood support schemes; institutional collaboration for leveraging on different expertise and the importance of women and youth participation in decision making.

Two Ministers of Government, Lands and Rural Development, Hon. Dr. Denis Sandy and Hon. Tetema Tondoneh, hailed Solidaridad and its partners for the success story of Makpele and urged the agri-based organization to replicate its strategies to other hot spots in the country. However, both ministers lamented the exclusion of their ministries in many of the lease agreements signed in the rural areas by potential investors and land owning communities and warned for the practice to desist henceforth.

The United Kingdom’s Department for International Development’s Economic Growth Team Leader in Sierra Leone, Bobby Stansfield, indicated that responsible agricultural investment is an important focus of UK Aid DFID’s work to promote trade, investment and private sector development and, it is right for the small West African country. The LEGEND project which is financed by DFID is in the right direction.

“This is an area that the UK Government believes passionately about. Responsible agricultural investment is right for the environment, it is right for business and the economy, it is right for communities- especially women, and it is right for Sierra Leone,” said Stansfield.

Meanwhile, a key takeaway from the workshop is for the effective implementation of the National Land Policy with a legal empowerment focus to guarantee responsible agribusiness investment in the country.

Government of Ethiopia to present updates on National Electrification Program 2.0 (NEP) during East Africa conferences this month

Two co-located energy meetings taking place in Addis Ababa from 27 – 29th March welcome a special update on the new version of Ethiopia’s National Electrification Program 2.0 (NEP), presented by the Government of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

This update will be the first since the NEP 1.0 launched in 2017, taking place during the co-located ‘Regional Energy Co-operation Summit’ (www.East-Africa-Summit.com) and ‘Africa Energy Forum: Off the Grid’ (www.AEF-Offgrid.com) meetings.

The NEP outlines how the country plans to achieve universal energy access by 2025 using a sector-wide integrated approach, with a special focus on off-grid electrification. The Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy (MoWIE) and the Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU) have already commenced pilot projects with Ethiopia’s first ever mini-grids, electrifying 12 remote communities across the country with roll-out phase of hundreds of such mini-grids.

MoWIE will be joined by local and international stakeholders to delineate the next steps on power sector reform. This includes the implementation of cost reflective tariff adjustment, further unbundling of generation and transmission operations, and loss reduction with improved performance to attract the private sector and encourage renewable IPPs in coming years.

Karmen Tornius, Programme Manager for the East Africa conferences, commented, “This will be the first time the market has heard these announcements, so it’s an exciting time for Ethiopia’s energy sector. The country presents many unique investment opportunities with its rapidly growing economy and population. Coupled with a more open landscape for private investment, the potential is huge.”

The Government has already announced the commencement of a tender for six mega solar projects worth USD 798 million, with an estimated capacity of around 750 megawatts (MW). According to the Ministry of Finance, these will be followed by hydropower IPPs and further investments in large-scale wind and geothermal projects.

Both meetings will welcome H.E Seleshi Bekele, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Ethiopia alongside government officials from Djibouti, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya and international financiers, donor organisations and power developers. Active participation of energy sector institutions MoWIE, EEU (Ethiopian Electric Utility), EEP (Ethiopian Electric Power) and the EEA (Ethiopian Energy Authority) is core to the event.

IMF Management Complete the First Review under the Staff-Monitored Program with Somalia

The Management of the IMF on February 5, 2019, completed the first review under the third 12-month Staff-Monitored Program (SMP III) with Somalia, which covers the period May 2018–April 2019.

This current SMP, together with the previous two SMPs (covering May 2016 to April 2018), has been designed to help guide the Somali authorities as they rebuild key economic institutions and undertake critical policy reforms to re-establish macroeconomic stability and establish a track record on sound policy and reform implementation

Thanks to the authorities’ strong commitment, program implementation has been satisfactory, and capacity continues to strengthen, despite a challenging environment.

Somalia’s economy is recovering but further efforts are needed to secure economic resilience and reduce poverty. Since 2017, growth has rebounded, inflation has slowed, and the trade deficit has narrowed. For 2018, real GDP growth is projected at 3.1 percent and end-year inflation at 3.5 percent. The exchange rate has remained stable. But further efforts are needed to improve economic conditions, increase employment and make a significant reduction in poverty. Development and humanitarian partners are working with the authorities on enhancing the country’s resilience. Nevertheless, risks to the outlook and program remain.

The authorities’ efforts to improve domestic revenue mobilization has strengthened revenue performance. This reflects efforts to broaden the tax base, and to develop the tax policy framework and administrative capacity to collect taxes. Data through November 2018 show that domestic revenue reached $161 million (31 percent higher than the same period in 2017), and the overall cash fiscal position was in surplus by $8 million. New budget support grants from the EU and the World Bank are increasing grant revenues and providing further support for reforms and social transfers. Staff commends the authorities for their concerted efforts to improve domestic revenue mobilization.

Bold steps to strengthen public financial management need to continue. Reforms to improve the fiscal framework are ongoing, and the authorities continue to exhibit greater fiscal discipline and are implementing regular monthly fiscal operations reporting.

The authorities’ stepped-up efforts to develop the financial sector are welcome. Staff encourages continued progress on implementing the authorities’ action plan (the Financial Sector Roadmap) for reforming and developing the financial sector. Staff urges the rapid implementation of planned changes to the organizational and governance structure of the Central Bank of Somalia. Staff urges the authorities to bring the mobile money sector under its supervisory and regulatory umbrella as soon as possible. Finally, compliance with anti‑money laundering and combatting the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regulations must be improved and identified gaps in the framework addressed.

The authorities need to complete a number of additional preparatory steps before launching the first phase of the currency reform. These include securing the needed funds and operational support; operationalizing the accountability framework; and completing the detailed project timeline and communications strategy.

Staff encourages the Somali authorities to sustain their reform momentum. The successful completion of the first two 12-month SMPs (from May 2016 to April 2018), as well as satisfactory performance under the current SMP III, reflects the strength of the authorities’ policy and reform commitment. This continued commitment will help pave the way towards securing the necessary support, including from donors, for eventual debt relief and arrears clearance under the HIPC Initiative. Staff urges the authorities to begin the process of securing the necessary financial assurances to cover the costs of both HIPC debt relief and clearing arrears to the international financial institutions.