MoU signed on consultation mechanism between Foreign Ministry and GCC General Secretariat

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Migration and Tunisians Abroad, Nabil Ammar, and Secretary General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), Jassim Muhammad Al-Budaiwi, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Monday at the Ministry’s headquarters, concerning a consultation mechanism between the Ministry and the Council’s General Secretariat.

The memorandum, which was signed at the end of a working session between delegations from the two parties, aims to intensify consultations between the two parties and to develop relations of cooperation and consultation, in particular by establishing a work programme for the coming years in various fields, said a press release issued by the ministry.

The memorandum also aims, according to a document received by TAP, to strengthen bilateral relations between Tunisia and the Gulf countries through the portal of the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which would be a framework and a platform for defending Tunisia’s interests in this vital region of the world, particularly in the fields of the economy, investment and finance.

This memorandum will also help to strengthen the presence of Tunisian expertise in the region and to benefit from all the forms of support provided by the GCC countries to a number of sister countries such as Jordan, Morocco, Iraq and Egypt.

On the fringes of this visit, a meeting was organised to bring together the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Migration and Tunisians Abroad and the Secretary General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf with the ambassadors of the member states of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf accredited to Tunisia, in order to work together more closely to consolidate existing cooperative relations between Tunisia and the Gulf states.

At the start of the working session, Mr Nabil Ammar recalled the historic ties that bind Tunisia to the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, stressing Tunisia’s commitment to further strengthening these relations and raising them to levels appropriate to the challenges of the current stage and the achievement of mutual interest.

For his part, the Secretary General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, according to the communiqué, praised Tunisia’s longstanding and distinguished relations with the GCC as well as with all the Arab countries of the Gulf, highlighting the status it enjoys among the leaders of these countries and their brotherly peoples.

Former Secretary General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf, proposed on June 7, 2021, to sign a memorandum of understanding between the General Secretariat of the Council and Tunisia (represented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Migration and Tunisians Abroad).

The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) is a regional Arab organisation based in Riyadh, founded in 1981 and comprising six member states: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and the Sultanate of Oman. The Council’s main objectives are to promote coordination, integration and interdependence between member states.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Italian PM to pay friendship and working visit to Tunisia Tuesday [Upd 1]

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni will pay “a friendship and working” visit to Tunisia on Tuesday, at the invitation of President Kais Saied, the Presidency said in a statement Monday.

Kaïs Saïed and Giorgia Meloni had spoken over the phone last Friday about the ‘special relations between the two countries and the strategic links between Tunisia and the European Union.’

The phone call was also an opportunity to discuss the initiative launched by President Kaïs Saïed, to organise a high-level conference between the countries concerned by migration, in particular the countries of North Africa, the Sahel and the Sahara, and the countries of the northern Mediterranean.

The aim is to address the causes of irregular migration and identify appropriate ways of putting an end to the humanitarian crisis it causes, the Presidency of the Republic had indicated in a press release.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

PM meets with GCC S-G

Secretary General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), Jassim Muhammad Al-Budaiwi, said in a meeting with Prime Minister Najla Boudin Romdhane on Monday at the Kasbah government palace that the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Tunisia and the GCC secretariat on a consultation mechanism between the two parties would be an important cornerstone in the process of cooperation with the Gulf countries and a starting point for drawing up an executive plan for the coming years.

According to a press release issued by the Prime Ministry, Al-Budaiwi added that taking care of the Tunisian community in the Arab countries of the Gulf and developing investment in Tunisia would be the most important priorities for cooperation.

For her part, the Prime Minister noted the depth of the cooperation relations between Tunisia and the Gulf countries, calling for the need to continue to work towards consolidating the year of consultation between the two parties in order to extend it to various fields.

She also stressed that the government would give priority to speeding up the implementation of development projects financed by Gulf investment companies while seeking to attract new investments within the framework of the government’s guidelines and take advantage of Tunisian skills and expertise within the country’s borders.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Migration and Tunisians Abroad, Nabil Ammar, and Secretary General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), Jassim Muhammad Al-Budaiwi signed a memorandum of understanding at the Ministry’s headquarters on Monday concerning a consultation mechanism between the Ministry and the Council’s Secretariat General.

According to a press release issued by the ministry, this memorandum aims to intensify consultations between the two parties and to develop relations of cooperation and consultation, in particular by establishing a work programme for the coming years in various fields.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

EBRD to expand its activities by adopting regional economic advisor in Tunisia

Premier Najla Boden Romdhane met a delegation from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), led by the Bank’s Senior Vice-President Juergen Richtring, on Monday evening at the Government Palace in Kasbah.

During the meeting, EBRD’s first vice-president said that the bank was going to expand its activities by adopting a regional economic advisor in Tunisia, noting the level of cooperation between Tunisia and the bank, says a press release issued by the Prime Ministry.

For her part, the Prime Minister praised the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s support for Tunisia and the projects it has carried out in several areas, notably sustainable development, transport and energy.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Mega Water Dam To Solve Kenya- Uganda Border Conflict

The government, through the Kenya Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project (KDRDIP), has constructed a mega dam with a capacity to hold 50 million cubic litres of water near the Kenya-Uganda border.

It is located at Lomesepus, Turkana West Sub County, which is 60km from Uganda and 30km from South Sudan.

Speaking during a two-day tour of Turkana West Sub-County to assess KDRDIP projects, Principal Secretary in Charge of the State Department for ASALS and Regional Development, Idris Dokota, said the dam will help avert conflicts due to water.

‘The interventions will go a long way in protecting our people from moving to neighbouring countries in search of water,’ said the PS.

Dakota added that the KDRDIP has also drilled and equipped 30 boreholes and eight water pans in Turkana West Sub-County.

Mr. Dokota made the remarks at Lomesepus, where he inspected the ongoing construction of a mega water pan implemented by KDRDIP.

Already, KDRDIP has drilled and equipped a borehole at Nadapal Border, near the South Sudan Border.

The KDRDIP projects also aim to foster peaceful coexistence between host communities and refugees living in Kakuma by reducing stress on resources.

The project has also seen the construction of the first ever mortuary in Turkana West sub-county at Kakuma Hospital.

The facility will reduce the costs incurred by families in transporting the bodies of their loved ones to Lodwar, which is 120 kilometers away.

The PS also toured a water borehole drilled to support households living at Lokore. He challenged the residents to take advantage of the borehole to plant trees in line with the government’s agenda of planting 15 billion trees in the next 10 years.

The PS was accompanied by KDRDIP project manager Wilfred Omari, Turkana county coordinator Amfrey Amoni, and county police commander Samuel Ndanyi, among other senior officials.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Call To Action For Clubfoot Cases

Children with disabilities are one of the most marginalized and excluded groups in society.

And for that reason, parents in Uasin Gishu County have been urged to seek treatment for children affected by clubfoot, as the service is free of charge at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH).

Senior director of clinical services at MTRH, Dr. Philip Kirwa, said that clubfoot is one of the most common birth deformities, causing the foot to be turned inward and downward.

‘MTRH, in collaboration with Clubfoot Care for Kenya (CCK) and the Ministry of Health, seeks to eradicate disabilities caused by clubfoot in Kenya,’ he said.

‘Our work entails advocacy, that is talking to the parents and communities to ensure they come for treatment as early as possible, as the treatment given to the child can be corrected before he or she takes their first step by using the ponseti method of treatment,’ said Kirwa.

He noted that the rate in society is that for every 1000 births, there is one child born with deformities of the foot and can affect one or both feet.

‘In MTRH, we have treated over 5000 children, and we are making an impact in society to ensure these children live a normal life, ‘he said.

He further explained that, in terms of misconception, a lot of parents hide these children as they feel embarrassed as they believe it might be witchcraft or a curse in the family, but this is just a condition like any other, and it is curable.

Chairman Clubfoot Care for Kenya and coordinator from the Ministry of Health, Alex Kisanga, noted that globally, around 174,000 children are born with clubfoot each year, and in Kenya, close to 2,000 children are born with clubfoot per year.

‘We have partnered with public health facilities to establish weekly clubfoot clinics where children born with this condition can access proper treatment, ‘he said.

‘We build the capacity of health workers, provide clubfoot treatment supplies, continuously monitor and assess clubfoot cases, and enhance community awareness and involvement,’ noted Kisanga.

Violet Namkhosi, a parent who has been seeking treatment for his child at the MTRH clubfoot clinic, said that since she gave birth to his son with the clubfoot, he has been receiving treatment, and his child has shown great improvement.

‘Since we started the treatment, the doctors have been great, and my child’s feet are much better. Soon he will stop wearing special shoes as his feet are back to normal,’ said Namkosi.

She noted that most parents lack knowledge about clubfoot and do not know where to seek treatment once the child is born, and she urged them to consult doctors to ensure they get treatment immediately.

Source: Kenya News Agency

‘Enchengeria’ Dictionary To Preserve Ekegusii Language

The outgoing Vice-Chancellor of Kisii University, Professor John Akama, and three other authors have launched a dictionary dubbed ‘Enchengeria’ in a bid to revive the indigenous Ekegusii language.

The dictionary is written in three languages, namely Ekegusii, Kiswahili, and English, and caters to the needs of all readers in terms of punctuation and spelling.

Speaking during the launch, Prof. Akama said they had engaged respondents, including former teachers of Ekegusii and other knowledge experts of the Gusii culture, in the production of the book.

‘The main reason we wrote this book is that researchers, particularly those dealing with languages in UNESCO, are saying that the Ekegusii language will soon become extinct due to the decline in the number of users,’ he noted.

The Vice-Chancellor added that most people from the Gusii community had moved to major towns and cities and no longer spoke the language among themselves.

Similarly, Akama pointed out that those living abroad discouraged their children from speaking their mother tongue and instead embraced the English language.

However, he expressed optimism about the newly launched dictionary, saying that it clearly outlined how the Ekegusii words should be pronounced and would help in the preservation of the language.

The ‘Enchengeria’ dictionary is co-authored by four people, namely, Prof. John Akama, Dr. Evans Mecha, Dr. Peter Otieno, and Dr. Peter Getenga.

The book is expected to be uploaded online for everyone to download free of charge as well as contribute further by adding words that might be missing from the dictionary.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Call For A Shift To Agroecology For Sustainable Food

Youths from 24 countries in Africa have demanded a swift shift towards agroecology, especially in these times of climate and food crises.

The youth who were in Kenya for the last three days for the 1st ever Africa youth summit on food systems also declared unwavering commitment to advocating for an immediate transition to agroecology for sustainable food in Africa.

‘As representatives of Africa’s vibrant and dynamic young generation, making up at least 60 per cent of the continent, we recognize the pressing need to address the critical challenges facing the future of our continent’s food systems and sovereignty,’ the youth who met under the umbrella of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty Africa (AFSA) said.

Reading a declaration on behalf of the youth at the end of the summit, Joyce Brown, coordinator of the Youth Platform of AFSA, said agroecology represents a sustainable agricultural practice, and by adopting it, we can nurture a regenerative and inclusive food system that respects cultural heritage, preserves social values, and safeguards African identity.

‘From all the deliberations we have had, it has been agreed that the time to transition to agroecology is now, so we are calling on governments to support that transition because agroecology addresses the common global challenges that we face and particularly the challenges facing Africa in terms of food security’, she said.

She explained that the youths are very enthusiastic about agroecology because they understand that it is the sustainable way to farm, to protect and preserve the ecosystems, as opposed to industrial farming, which destroys ecosystems and biodiversity.

‘The youth are getting involved in soil management, for example, by making organic fertilizers instead of inorganic chemicals that degrade the soils. We are also into biodiversity conservation as well as agro-ecological entrepreneurship to show that it works’, Brown added

As farmers, the youth asked governments to ensure there are policies that safeguard the land rights of youth, particularly women and marginalized and indigenous groups, by ensuring equal distribution of resources to empower their entrepreneurial endeavors.

‘Tailored financial assistance such as grants and subsidies must be provided to bolster the efforts of young farmers and agro-ecological entrepreneurs, as this will enable them to invest in sustainable agricultural practices, innovate technologies, and engage in value-added activities’, Brown said.

The youth also called for support when it comes to education, saying they will require skills for sustainable farming practices, climate change adaptation, and seed management and conservation.

‘This can be done through integrating agroecology and environmental education into school curricula and establishing vocational training centers for youth in the agriculture sector. Empowering the next generation of farmers will pave the way for a resilient and sustainable future,’ they said.

Lastly, the youth demanded a seat at the table when it comes to policy and programme design by including their voices in agriculture, climate change, and food system policy discussions.

Dr. Billion Belay, General Coordinator at AFSA, said they have started a youth wing in order to promote agroecology and that the youth leaders from the 24 countries in Africa are discussing the role of the youth in agriculture and specifically the agriculture that is needed.

Through this meeting, the youth leaders are planning to organize the biggest youth convention in Africa next year, where more than 1000 youths will come together to discuss the future of African agriculture,’ he added.

Belay said that food imports in Africa are increasing and also exporting instead of the continent trading among itself instead of exporting outside, and this has made African countries continue to be in debt.

‘We are wallowing in debt. African countries agreed in the Maputo Declaration to allocate 10.5 of their GDP to agriculture, but they cannot do it since they do not have the money. The debt is so great that African governments borrow money to pay the debts; hence, the debt level is increasing’, he noted.

The coordinator noted that the investment level is also becoming difficult since the majority of payments are for the purchase of fertilizer and agrochemicals, yet the countries can go organic and produce food in a healthy way and thus cancel the debts.

There is a need to have an African levy on food policy both at the country level and the continental level just to encourage countries to produce their own food and also to sell amongst themselves, Belay said.

Warda Mohammed, 20, an environmental champion from Kisumu who nurtures young kids between five and six years old by putting up kitchen gardens, said that what motivated her into agroecological farming was her grandmother.

‘We have been making kitchen gardens by recycling materials, namely plastic bottles and hair braids for fencing, and this summit has helped me learn even more and gain ideas on how I can expand my farming,’ she said.

Warda said that her message to the youth, not only in Kenya but in Africa, is to go back to their culture and roots when it comes to growing traditional food and not rely so much on western foods.

‘The young people are being advised to get involved in agroecology because the future is ours. If we destroy the soils today, we destroy the ecosystems today. We will only be depending on junk food, which is not good for our health,’ she emphasized.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the youth have already made significant steps forward in getting climate issues on the world stage, noting that the youth are key to transforming agrifood systems for the better, creating a new system that can meet modern challenges and provide nutrition for a growing population.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Linturi Urges Farmers To Register To Help In Planning

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi has called on farmers who did not register with the government during the first phase to do so in order to help in terms of planning.

Speaking during this year’s Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) show in Meru, Mr Linturi said the farmers register was important for the ministry to do its planning for future interventions aimed at increasing agricultural productivity.

‘We have so far issued around 3 million subsidized bags of fertilizer, and more are on the way. We also want to assure farmers that we will soon be focusing on other subsidies, including quality seeds and pesticides, and to succeed in this, we need to have the exact number of farmers in the country,’ said Mr Linturi.

He said the current problem of food shortages can only be addressed by getting back to our farms, and the government is committed to supporting farmers in all their endeavors.

‘As you know, the agricultural sector remains the key pillar in food security because of its role in production, income generation, and a source of livelihoods for the majority of Kenyans in rural areas.

Transforming agricultural productivity would quickly turn around the economic fortunes of our country due to the large number of Kenyans who practice agriculture.

The government has already shown its commitment to supporting sustainable production and the transition from subsistence to a commercially and globally competitive industry.

He added that the government has prioritized agriculture as one of the economic pillars owing to the fact that it has the capacity to create jobs, enhance foreign exchange, promote industrialization, and lower the cost of living.

‘The only way to realise food security in our country is through these subsidies, and we are therefore calling on our farmers to take these programs seriously, even for their financial empowerment,’ said Mr Linturi.

He added that the government was also keen on adding value to agricultural products in order to fetch more money and even engage young people in agricultural activities.

‘We want to ensure the young generation engages in agricultural activities by ending the notion that agriculture is meant for the old. This will be possible through value addition, and we are keen to implement the program,’ said Mr Linturi.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Kenya-American Grammy Partnerships To Promote Local Talent

The government has opened negotiations with the American Grammys to nurture and support local talent.

Once finalized, the move will see young, talented Kenyans secure training and recording opportunities with the world’s most prestigious music awards organizers to polish and monetize their content.

Youth Affairs, Sports, and Arts Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ababu Namwamba said the talks come after the successful signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Trace TV to promote local talent.

He said the two agreements were a milestone in the government’s plan to help local creatives earn a decent living from their content.

Through partnerships with the county governments, he said an elaborate programme was being structured to identify and nurture talent to benefit from the programs.

He said the initiative, which is under the government’s Talanta Hela programme, was set to unlock opportunities for youths across the country.

A competition dubbed ‘Who’s Kenya’s next big star?’ He said it has been planned and will be implemented in the counties to scout for local talent.

‘The competition is being structured and will be announced officially next week,’ he said.

Each county, he added, will organize competitions at the grassroots, with the best of the best meeting at the nationals to select winners to benefit from the Trace TV and Grammys scholarships.

Trace, which runs a radio and TV station, will absorb 30 young artists every year.

The beneficiaries will receive training at the Trace Academy and receive support to record content, which will then be promoted on Trace TV and radio.

The Ministry, he added, plans to develop academies across the country to support creatives.

‘We are seeking to explore all creatives in music, fashion, pageantry, fine art, film, comedy, theatre, and performing arts to ensure that all artists monetise their content,’ he said.

Speaking during the inaugural Kisumu Arts and Culture Festival, Namwamba challenged the media to scale up airtime for local productions to support the growth of the creative industry.

He said local productions, despite being of superior quality, continue to be shunned by the local media, dealing a blow to the growth of the sector.

His ministry, he added, was also negotiating with social media giants Meta, Tiktok, and Google to open up avenues for local content.

‘We want to feed more local content into the platforms, including our archives and national drama festivals,’ he said.

Source: Kenya News Agency