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President Hage Gottfried Geingob: A Nigerian’s Tribute to the Remarkable Pan-African Leader



By Dolapo Aina

When great men and women pass away, you pretty much remember with clarity where you were when you heard the news. Same goes for monumental historical events. You would recollect and not forget where you were or what you were up to. Sunday, the 4th of February 2024 was one of those days for Namibians, friends of Namibia and Namibians, Africa and the entire world.
I commence this long piece with a question. Where were you when you heard about the death of President Hage G. Geingob of Namibia on February 4th, 2024?
I was getting ready and preparing to attend church service in Kigali, Rwanda.

Considering that I had been following President Geingob’s health status since the last week of January 2024 when the Presidency revealed the President’s condition and his subsequent trip to the United States of America; like everyone else, I was of the opinion that President Geingob would get better. Alas, the sudden news on that fateful Sunday. Like everyone else, I was so certain the President would pull through that I sent in a letter requesting for an interview (later on in 2024 to talk about his life after office et al) to the Office of the Presidency ahead of President Geingob’s recovery. Alas, the sudden news of President Geingob’s demise.

On Saturday, the 24th of February 2024, I spent the large part of my Saturday watching people line up the streets from Parliament Gardens to Robert Mugabe Avenue, Sam Nuyoma drive; as the casket carrying the late President of Namibia; Dr Hage G. Geingob made a vehicular procession to the independence stadium in Windhoek.

Namibians loved their President and you could see it from people who came out in their thousands to pay their last respects to their beloved President. He was truly the people’s President.

He regaled me with historical happenings which were not only stories to him because he knew the actors on a personal level. I knew I had met more than my match when it comes to Pan Africanism and stories when he told me of stories of Castro, Che Guevera etc. From the global perspective, America and Africa were the regions to be in the 1960s and he saw it all as he was in the thick of things in that era. I came out of the State House in Windhoek realising I had interacted with an African witness of historical events in Africa and America, Latin and Central Americas. A sincere man. An internationalist. A Pan Africanist. When you met and spoke with the President, the connection is always deep.

That day, I left State House in Windhoek, went back to the venue of the event I was to attend and, in the evening, I did a lot of research on some of the things he told me to research on which was about his Nigerian mentor of 40 years, Professor Adebayo Adedeji. Professor Adedeji was the Under- Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) from 1975 to 1991. Speaking of Nigeria and President Geingob’s excellent memory, when I realised his strong connection to Nigeria, I remember during our conversation, I asked him if he knew some prominent diplomats whom I knew personally like Ambassador Olusegun Olusola who was Nigeria’s Ambassador to Ethiopia in the 1980s. He remembered him. Same response to Professor Bolaji Akinyemi but a faint recollection of General Ike Nwachukwu. Both were Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Ministers in the 1980s and 1990s.
Liverpool FC defeated Chelseas FC to win the EPL Cup on the same day President Geingob was being buried. The President was a strong supporter of Liverpool as I got to know during my interview with him. Considering African countries like Rwanda have partnerships with some football clubs, I asked during our conversation before the interview why cannot Namibia do likewise since The Land of The Brave had vast array of tourism locations. President Geingob replied that President Paul Kagame was on a State Visit in August 2019 and had been seen the beautiful country. President Geingob’s response to my question of sports cum country branding was that there would be an uproar in Namibia by Namibians. This made me realise the myriad of complexities faced by African Presidents steering their citizens for the collective good of the country.

Sitting down with President Hage G. Geingob and discussing at length, I remember the joke he cracked when he walked in. He stated; “You are a very tall man and taller than me. I don’t grant interviews to people taller than me.” I wasn’t expecting that joke which got everyone in stitches. My response was that I was still getting taller. I remember I had to inform him about his impeccable dress sense complete with pocket square, President Geingob smiled and complimented me too. I remember what struck me when I came out of the State House was that leadership is not a tea party. Presidents of Governments go through a lot which they don’t usually divulge to the public and their citizens. They carry that burden and usually keep sealed lips. My circa two-hour interaction with President Hage Geingob, I came to see the responsibilities of being an African President from a different perspective thereafter. He was a Pan African storyteller and orator with receipts (as Generation Zs would say).

During my interview with President Geingob, my final question to him was; “What is the title of the book you are currently reading?” His response commenced with his trademark infectious laugh and he went on to inform me that he was writing a book on a collection of subject matters.

My hope is that his book would be published and the world would have more than a glimpse into the brilliant mind of President Hage Geingob of Namibia. A President whose untimely demise revealed Namibia’s democracy. A seamless transition of governance. A beacon of democracy.
Watching the ceremonial route procession entourage of military vehicles (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles aka Humvees) drive through the roads of Windhoek, and seeing the camera angle of the national broadcaster NBC which focused on the military vehicle towing the casket draped in the flag of Namibia, as an African who met Namibia’s President Geingob and who was welcomed into his office and felt welcomed, chatted, spoke and interviewed the President; at 1.04pm on that Saturday, I had to raise my hand for a 2 minute salute and thereafter looked for some tissue papers. The side view angle of the NBC camera of the military Humvee and the casket was very poignant and would remain embedded in my memory (not an image I would share).

Those who knew President Hage G. Geingob personally or met him during the time he spent on this earth and to those whom he decided to pour wisdom (Presidential, fatherly, diplomatic or Pan-African) into; they never remain the same. You are awakened with a lifelong responsibility and you know what it is. Like former First Lady Monica Geingos said, President Geingob left a clear road map for his family and nation. Those who met him and spoke with him extensively would know they were also given a road map.

To all those who would visit Namibia in the near future, I would implore you to pay your respects by visiting the Heroes’ Acre which is an official war memorial of the Republic of Namibia. Built into the uninhabited hills ten kilometres south of the city centre of Windhoek. This is the final resting place of Namibia’s President Hage Gottfried Geingob. May his gentle soul rest in peace. Amen.

Dolapo Aina writes from Kigali, Rwanda

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Info Analytics Poll: Mahama Gaps Bawumia by 20% Votes




With nine months before the next General election in Ghana, the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dr. John Dramani Mahama, is commanding a 20 per cent lead over his closest rival, Dr. Mahamudu Bawunia of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).

This was revealed in a new poll conducted by research agency, Global Info Analytics.

The poll show that over 50 per cent of Ghanaians has expressed interest to vote Mahama as against nearly 35 per cent for the incumbent vice president.

Other candidates in the election shared the remaining percentage of a little over 15 per cent.

The Ghana election is expected to hold on December 7.

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Bassirou Faye Sworn-in As Senegal’s Youngest President




Bassirou Diomaye Faye, a left-wing pan-Africanist, has been sworn-in as Senegal’s youngest president after sweeping to a first-round victory on a pledge of radical reform 10 days after he was released from prison.

The 44-year-old has never before held an elected office but several African leaders attended the ceremony in the new town of Diamniadio, near the capital Dakar.

“Before God and the Senegalese nation, I swear to faithfully fulfill the office of President of the Republic of Senegal,” Faye said before the gathered officials.

He also vowed to “scrupulously observe the provisions of the Constitution and the laws” and to defend “the integrity of the territory and national independence, and to spare no effort to achieve African unity”.

The formal handover of power with outgoing President Macky Sall will take place at the presidential palace in Dakar.

Faye was among a group of political opponents freed from prison 10 days before the March 24 presidential ballot under an amnesty announced by Sall, who had tried to delay the vote.

Faye’s campaign was launched while he was still in detention.

The former tax inspector becomes the West African state’s fifth president since independence from France in 1960 and the first to openly admit to a polygamous marriage.

Working with his populist mentor Ousmane Sonko, who was barred from the election, Faye declared their priorities in his victory speech: national reconciliation, easing a cost-of-living crisis and fighting corruption.

The anti-establishment leader has vowed to restore national sovereignty over key assets such as the oil, gas and fishing sectors.

Faye wants to leave the regional CFA franc, which he sees as a French colonial legacy, and to invest more in agriculture with the aim of reaching food self-sufficiency.

But he has also sought to reassure investors that Senegal “will remain a friendly country and a sure and reliable ally for any partner that engages with us in virtuous, respectful and mutually productive cooperation.”

After three tense years and deadly unrest in the traditionally stable nation, his democratic victory was hailed from Washington to Paris, via the African Union and the European Union.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday spoke with the president-elect by telephone and “underscored the United States’ strong interest in deepening the partnership” between their two countries, the State Department said.

On the international stage, Faye seeks to bring military-run Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger back into the fold of the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) bloc.

New generation of politicians

Commonly known as Diomaye, or “the honourable one” in the local Serer language, he won the election with 54.3 percent of the vote.

It was a remarkable turnaround after the government had dissolved the Pastef party he founded with Sonko in 2014, with Sall postponing the election.

Faye, a practising Muslim from a humble background with two wives and four children, represents a new generation of youthful politicians.

He has voiced admiration for US ex-president Barack Obama and South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela.

However, Faye and the government he must unveil will quickly face major challenges.

He does not have a majority in the National Assembly and will have to look to build alliances to pass new laws, or call a legislative election, which will become an option from mid-November.

The biggest challenge will be creating enough jobs in a nation where 75 percent of the 18-million population is aged under 35 and the unemployment rate is officially 20 percent.

Many youths have considered the future so bleak they have risked their lives to join the waves of migrants trying to reach Europe.

Sall, meanwhile, has been appointed special envoy of the Paris Pact for People and Planet, created to combat poverty, protect the planet and support vulnerable countries.

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AfreximBank Inaugurates Kigali’s Office of Fund for Export Development in Africa




By Dolapo Aina

On Wednesday, the 20th of March 2024, The African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank)’s Fund for Export Development in Africa inaugurated its’ Kigali office with a keen eye on addressing Africa’s $110 billion equity financing shortfall. The bank unveiled its Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA) office in Kigali, capital of Rwanda.

While the Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA) became the Fund Manager of the US$1 billion AfCFTA Adjustment Fund in 2023, it is noteworthy to state that the Fund for Export Development in Africa is the impact investment subsidiary of Afreximbank set up to provide equity, quasi-equity, and debt capital to finance the multi-billion-dollar funding gap especially in equity which are needed to transform the trade sector on the African Continent.

According to an official statement by Afreximbank, FEDA pursues a multi-sector investment strategy along the intra-African trade, value-added export development, and manufacturing value chain which includes financial services, technology, consumer and retail goods, manufacturing, transport and logistics, agribusiness, as well as ancillary trade enabling infrastructure such as industrial parks.

The statement by Afreximbank further stated that FEDA was established to tackle Africa’s US$110 billion financing gap for intra-African trade, value-added export development, and industrialisation value chains, with Rwanda being the first among fifteen African nations to ratify its establishment agreement.

The event had in attendance Dr. Edouard Ngirente, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Rwanda’ President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, Professor Benedict Oramah; Executive Vice Presidents of Afreximbank, members of the Board of Directors of FEDA including Ms. Marlene Ngoyi, who is the Chief Executive Officer of FEDA; officials from the Rwandan Government; representatives from the business and diplomatic communities in Rwanda; just to name a few.
Rwanda’s Prime Minister Dr. Ngirente stated: “The establishment of FEDA in Rwanda reflects Rwanda’s commitment to not only fostering economic development within our borders but also to playing a pivotal role in the economic transformation of our continent. This initiative is a step closer to the realisation of the goals outlined in the Agenda 2063 of the African Union which lays great emphasis on the transformation of African economies and acceleration of economic growth on the continent.” The Prime Minister of Rwanda highlighted the fact that despite Africa’s significant resource endowments and contiguous markets, the continent had the lowest level of intra-regional trade in the world, adding that the continent’s share of value created remained the lowest across many products and commodities due to sub-optimal value addition.

President of Afreximbank, Professor Benedict Oramah in his speech stated that: “FEDA adds to the pool of institutions helping Africa to create its own capital base for development. With a focus on providing long-term, patient capital targeting all segments, from SMEs to corporates, and cutting across dynamic sectors of value-addition, services, and technology, FEDA is positioned to drive Africa’s development under a new vision of de-commoditised, growth-oriented pathways underpinned by a dynamic private sector. We all share the view that the goals of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will be a mirage, and its benefits will accrue to others unless tangible steps are taken to create tradable goods and services for the continental market. We also do recognise that the benefits of the Free Trade Agreement will not be evenly shared among all Participating States if pragmatic steps are not taken to equip all economies, especially small and fragile economies, with the capacity to produce goods or provide essential services necessary for the conduct of trade within the continent.”

Professor Benedict Oramah went further: “Less than four years since the commencement of operations, the evidence of the strategic importance of this institution is beginning to show as it has started to leave impactful footprints across the continent. Funds Under Management under different strategies amount to about 800 million US dollars. FEDA is using some of these funds to create and mobilise additional funds and is currently a co-promoter of a 500 million US dollar Africa Credit Opportunity Fund (ACOF). With seed funding provided by Afreximbank, it is also creating a 100 million US dollar Venture Capital Fund to focus on start-ups and SMEs. In 2023, FEDA became the Fund Manager of the 1 billion US dollar AfCFTA Adjustment Fund. Thanks to the equity and supporting debt instruments offered by Afreximbank, industrial complexes are emerging across Africa. The Fund has supported the emergence of Special Economic Zones in Gabon, Benin, and Togo. These Industrial Zones have changed the profiles of the countries from commodity-exporting countries to exporters of value-added or manufactured goods, attracting multiple times the values gained from commodity exports, helping to achieve economic diversification, creating dynamic local economies with strong domestic supply chains and, above all, jobs and stable incomes for the people. Similar investments are spreading and are expected to reach at least twenty countries, including Rwanda, Malawi, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Kenya, Congo Democratic Republic, the Republic of Chad, and Zambia, by year-end.”

On Rwanda, Professor Benedict Oramah posited in his speech that “Rwanda is also poised to benefit significantly. On the heels of the various supports provided by Afreximbank to Rwandan public and private sector entities, FEDA has progressed a significant deal pipeline in Rwanda. A number of investments are being processed across many sectors and industries, ranging from transport and trade logistics, manufacturing, agro-processing, and power generation. These equity investments, amounting to about 50 million US dollars, when concluded, will complement the over 300 million US dollars disbursed to Rwandan entities by Afreximbank in the past 5 years, boost local industrial actives, create domestic value chains, and elevate Rwanda’s preparedness to harness the benefits of the AfCFTA.”

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