At the recent “First Southern Sudan Microfinance Conference,” microfinance practitioners discussed the need to expand the microfinance industry in Southern Sudan by focusing on two objectives, building capacity and listening to clients. The conference was billed as the first of its kind and was attended by Sudanese government officials, donors, technical experts and microfinance practitioners with the aim of sharing best practices and discussing ways to expand the sector.
The conference was sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Generating Economic Development through Microfinance in Southern Sudan (GEMSS) project. The GEMSS project was launched in 2009 by the Academy for Educational Development (AED) and the Agricultural Cooperative Development International/Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA), US-based nonprofits that support growth and work to improve health, education and economic development in developing countries. The 3-year project is intended to strengthen Southern Sudan’s microfinance sector by providing technical assistance and lending capital towards expanding loan services.
The GEMSS project was launched in partnership with the government of Southern Sudan, the Microfinance Association of Southern Sudan and the Southern Sudan Microfinance Development Facility, a microfinance investment facility supported by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning of Southern Sudan.
During the conference discussion, several key obstacles to expanding loan services were noted, mainly the industry’s inadequate physical and legal infrastructure and the low financial literacy and technical competency of both customers and staff. Practitioners agreed that they could improve the sector by investing in such changes as increased legislative advocacy efforts and staff training and education.
As of 2010, Southern Sudan operates semi-autonomously of the central Sudanese government in Khartoum, as described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Sudan.
For a suite of tools intended to improve the impact of international development efforts, you may visit http://www.kdid.org.
By Jennifer Shevock, Research Associate
About the United States Agency for International Development (USAID):
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is a United States government agency that provides international economic and humanitarian assistance. It focuses on areas such as economic growth, agriculture and trade, global health, democracy, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance. Under the Development Credit Authority (DCA), it provides partial credit guarantees that cover up to 50 percent of defaults on loans made by private financial institutions to institutions that lend to underserved borrowers.
Sources and Additional Resources:
“Southern Sudan Microfinance Industry Seeks to Expand Loan Services” August 16, 2010. http://www.acdivoca.org/site/ID/news-Southern-Sudan-Microfinance-Industry-Seeks-to-Expand-Loan-Services
MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: “Southern Sudan Holds Microfinance Conference with Sponsorship from United States Agency for International Development (USAID)” July 27, 2010.
MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: “Southern Sudan Microfinance Development Facility (SSMDF) Provides $92k to Rural Finance Initiative (RUFI), a Microfinance Institution (MFI), for Technical Assistance and On-Lending” March 2, 2010.
MicroCapital Universe: United States Agency for International Development (USAID): http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=United+States+Agency+for+International+Development+%28USAID%29
Browse the MicroCapital Universe and add your entry to the wiki at: http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/
By Mabior Philip www.borglobe.com
Juba (Borglobe) ....the preliminary investigation in to the white helicopter saga confirms the war of proxy the north has been waging against S, grossly manifested in staggering armament of tribes and creation of armed factions, Gier Chunag Aluong, the Minister for Internal Affairs said yesterday.
“We have brought the white helicopter, evidence that contends the international community”, he said at New Sudan hotel, rolling on some power point slides, and showing George Athor in a video clip talking to his forces and chiefs before the helicopter was impounded the next day.
Flown to Juba yesterday and viewed by representatives of various countries, in Africa and overseas, the white helicopter impoundment timely revealed bad intentions harbored by the north against the south despite the 2005 peace deal.
Gier said it evidently defines the Sudan as a confused country, where one part works to destroy the other; a country that is ruthlessly killing itself. “ Sudan remains confused as it is where criminals are protected, condoned; a disgruntled country”.
It is prospected that only the end of the peace deal will change the country through a vote of secession next year. “Having got the white helicopter to day, I don’t know what the world is going to say”, he said in a statement. “What used to be claimed by the SPLM today has become a reality”.
According to the video clips, Athor was waiting furiously for the Khartoum-loaded white helicopter, which, according to the investigation, was delivering food supplies and arms. Some children swept floors for the former renegade general, armed rebel security bosses made phone and radio calls, and some young men shouldered non-proportional guns, according to the clips.
The rebel forces spoke one local language, with similar accents, suggesting that the rebellion is being carried on by tribal men if not clannish members. Chiefs were apparently motivated by the news of the arrival of the helicopter the following day only to be arrested shortly. “Have you seen boss, everything needs to be tightened, it is you only who will sleep but all of us will not”, one chief told George Athor in a local language.
The government spokesperson, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, said this white helicopter, which used to hover and drop cargo most of the days, has convinced “doubting Thomas”. He said however much harder the north tries to destabilize peace in the south, the government will work with in all its capacities to maintain regional security and ensure that the 2011 independence vote is conducted in time and in a free environment.
The spokesperson of , Kuol Deim Kuol, said the army has since been complaining of the white helicopter delivering arms to Pibor, Akobo and parts of Western Bhar al-Ghazal. “It is a reality; most of the insecurity situation in Southern Sudan is created by Khartoum ”, he said. “Instead of the international community coming together to investigate these, we are paid deaf ears. People don’t believe us; what ever we say is not taken completely”, he added.
In the white helicopter were two Russian crews and another third foreign crew. The captured helicopter is one of the white two said to be under Sudan Airway. According Kuol Deim, investigation has found that they belong to Sudan Security forces. Athor’s second in command James Yor and Athor’s driver were among the eight passengers arrested with the helicopter. National Intelligence Service hid Yor in vain.
By Mabior Philip www.borglobe.com
Juba (Borglobe) ...the preliminary investigation in to the recently impounded white helicopter saga has indicated that the splinter Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for Democratic Change was clearly behind the coordination of George Athor’s infamous rebellion, officials revealed yesterday.
Lam Akol, the SPLM-DC chairman, provided a financial support of 200,000 Sudanese Pounds for a ten-hour operation, said yesterday at a press conference in New Sudan hotel.
He said Lam was ardently instrumental in linking the former renegade general George Athor to the National Intelligence Security Services, but noted that the two couldn’t reach a harmonious settlement.
“Athor does not seem to accept most of their proposals”, Gier said in a power point presentation, after which he regretted that no insufficient evidence was found to implicate the party members suspected of taking part in a horrendous killing in the Uper Nile last May.
Former SPLM-DC , who defected from the party citing no vision among other reasons, was said to be a supporting source of the information.
Armed skirmishes in southern Sudan threaten to jeopardize the independence vote, but will be contained according to officials.
“Any one who will interfere with it will be responsible for what will come after ”, Gier said.
In June, Gier wrote to the former Minister of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development, Micheal Makuei Lueth, seeking legal advice on how to investigate suspected SPLM-DC members of Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly. SPLM-DC MPs’ immunity was waived resultantly.
Minister for Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development John Luk Jok wrote to the Speaker of Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly James Wani Igga, informing the house that investigation has found no sufficient evidence implicating the accused members in the killing. The regional parliament is yet to finalize on whether to restore the waived immunity of the SPLM-DC members.
By Chris Kitching, QMI Agency
WINNIPEG - Investigators in Winnipeg have issued a Canada-wide warrant for a 26-year-old man who two women have accused of infecting them with HIV, but failing to warn them of his condition before sex.
Police said Apay Ogouk is wanted for two counts of aggravated assault, and that he may be in Calgary.
The women, who are only being identified by their first names and ages – Christine, 29, and Tamara, 24 - said they are relieved police have secured a warrant and publicly released the man's name and photo Thursday.
"I hope that they arrest him and I have faith that they will," Christine, 29, said.
An aggravated sexual assault conviction carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Police refused to comment on Ogouk's health status or reveal details of the allegations.
The women told police they had sex with Ogouk separately while he was living in Winnipeg and both tested positive for HIV earlier this year.
The pair accused Ogouk of spreading the virus, which causes AIDS, and failing to tell them he is infected.
The women said Ogouk is from Sudan, moved to Canada from Africa about 10 years ago, and has split his time between Winnipeg and Calgary.
Police spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen said police alerted the public in an attempt to locate Ogouk and notify people they may be at risk.
Michalyshen said only two complainants have contacted police.
The women wonder if there are more.
Tamara said she had unprotected sex with the man during a steady relationship.
Christine said the man removed a condom she insisted he wear during their only encounter.
Police are seeking the public's help to locate Ogouk.
He is black, 6-foot-2, 140 pounds, has a thin build and dark brown eyes, police said.
Anyone with information about Ogouk's whereabouts is asked to call their local police department or Winnipeg police at 986-6222.
The women said Ogouk was friends with Clato Mabior, an HIV-positive man convicted of not disclosing his infection to his partners.
Mabior, also from Sudan, is seeking to overturn his 14-year prison sentence.
He was convicted in 2008 of six counts of aggravated sexual assault and one count each of invitation to sexual touching and sexual interference.
None of his victims have been diagnosed with HIV.
THE Rift Valley Railways (RVR) and the Ugandan and Kenyan governments have signed a revised concession pact to pave way for the release of about $250m (sh2.2 trillion) to boost operations along the Kenya-Uganda railway line.
Jim Mugunga, the Privatisation Unit spokesperson, said the agreement will fast track the introduction of a professional operator to manage the network and attract development partners to invest in the sector.
Finance minister Syda Bbumba and Kenya’s trade minister Amos Kimunya officiated at the function that took place at the finance ministry offices in Kampala on Wednesday.
However, yesterday Bbumba referred all inquiries regarding the date of commencement of works to transport minister John Nasasira, whose phones were all switched off.
“All the terms and conditions are determined by the transport ministry, mine is divestiture,” Bbumba said.
The two governments have been at loggerheads with RVR’s principal shareholder, Citadel Capital, over the inclusion of two crucial railway lines in a concession.
The company was contracted to manage the Mombasa-Kampala railway line for more than two decades.
The signing ends the row between the Egyptian equity firm and a section of Ugandan and Kenyan businessmen, who did not want the Tororo-Pakwach and Kampala-Kasese railway lines included in the concession, against Citadel Capital’s demands.
The two lines, leading to two regions endowed with minerals, oil, and agricultural potential as well as the sprawling Southern Sudan market, are now in the concession.
The development also confirms Citadel Capital as the principal shareholder in RVR (51%) with Kenya’s investment powerhouse TransCentury taking up 34% of the shares. Ugandan investors bag 15%.
However, in a bizarre twist, RVR officials, who did not want to be named, said there had been no signing following a cancellation letter from the finance ministry on Monday.
“The letter suspended the signing till further notice,” said an RVR official, who declined to disclose the details of the letter to New Vision.
RVR Uganda managing director Christina Wadulo said she was on leave and unable to comment on the matter.
The revamping of activities along the Kenya-Uganda railway have dragged on since 2005, when the Kenyan and Ugandan governments handed over the railway management to RVR, which was then under the shadowy South African investment firm, Sheltam Rail.
Controversy crippled in after the firm’s chief executive officer, Roy Puffet, secretly sold off 49% of RVR shares to wealthy Egyptians, who demanded to chair the RVR board.
This sparked off a bitter row with other shareholders, who included Kenya’s TransCentury (20%), Centum Ltd (10%), Tanzania’s Mirambo Holdings (15%), Prime Fuels of Kenya (15%) and Babcock Investments Holdings of Australia (10%).
The shareholder’s stakes, apart from TransCentury’s, were later liquidated after the World Bank intervened to settle the boardroom wars (New Vision).
The government is to appeal against the Wednesday Constitutional Court ruling on the law of sedition. Information and National Guidance Minister Kabakumba Masiko said yesterday that the Attorney General was not satisfied with the ruling “because the ruling seems to focus on the acceptability of criticising the person of the president as a politician, and doesn’t address other areas.”
Five judges of the Constitutional Court led by Deputy Chief Justice Letitia Kikonyogo unanimously agreed that the existence of sedition in the Penal Code is unconstitutional as it infringes on the freedom of speech and expression of Ugandans.
The judgment followed a petition by the East African Media Institute and Mr Andrew Mwenda in 2005 when he was arrested over statements he made while political editor at Daily Monitor and host of Andrew Mwenda Live programme on KFM Radio.
Mr Mwenda was accused of inciting public hatred towards the person of the President when he said, during the programme, that the government of Uganda was partly responsible for the death of former President of South Sudan John Garang.
She also said because the issues presented to court were those of law and not of fact, the Attorney General thinks court erred in their judgment. Ms Masiko said the same law is found in leading democracies like the US (Daily Monitor).
Three residents of the Sudanese city of Port-Sudan have frozen to death in a fridge while seeking shelter from the heat, local media said on Thursday.
Enterprising local businessmen set up the banana refrigerator as a cool-down facility for the melting Sudanese. They charged 5 Sudanese pounds per hour (about $2) for people to sit inside it, local media said.
Port-Sudan medical officials said at least 13 people had suffered from heatstroke over the latest week.
August is the hottest month in northeastern part of Sudan.
KHARTOUM, August 26 (RIA Novosti)
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and presidents
from Rwanda, Somalia, south Sudan and Comoros are
among those expected at the event
SPECIAL REPORT BY XINHUA CORRESPONDENTS
Daniel Ooko and Ben Ochieng
DAKAR (Reuters) - Crimes committed by Rwanda's army and Congolese rebels in Congo during the 1990s could be classified as genocide, a leaked draft U.N. report says, a charge that will stir tensions between Kigali and the U.N.
A Congo expert said diplomats were wrangling over whether to include the highly sensitive genocide accusation in the final version of the document.
The report details crimes committed in the former Belgian colony between 1993 and 2003, a period that saw the fall of dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and a five-year conflict involving six foreign armies, including Rwanda's Tutsi-led force. Millions of people died, most from hunger and disease rather than violence.
After quashing the 1994 genocide of 800,000 Tutsis in Rwanda, Kigali's army invaded Congo, ostensibly to hunt down Hutu fighters who had taken part in the killings and then fled into the east of Congo, known then as Zaire.
In the process, Rwandan forces swept the Congolese AFDL rebels of Laurent Kabila to power in Congo. Both forces have been accused of a string of rights abuses against Hutu soldiers and civilians across the country.
"The systematic and widespread attacks (against Hutus in Congo) described ... reveal a number of damning elements that, if proven before a competent court, could be classified as crimes of genocide," said the report, seen by Reuters on Thursday.
"The extensive use of edged weapons ... and the systematic massacres of survivors after (Hutu) camps had been taken show that the numerous deaths cannot be attributed to the hazards of war or seen as equating to collateral damage."
France's Le Monde newspaper said Kigali had threatened to withdraw peacekeepers from Sudan over the charges, but Rwandan officials were not available for comment to Reuters.
A spokesman for the U.N.'s High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), which drafted the 545-page report, said the leaked document was a draft, and had some errors.
The report details some 600 serious crimes committed by various forces from a number of nations but Congo expert and author Jason Stearns said Rwanda comes off worst.
"The allegation that the Rwandan army could be guilty of acts of genocide against Hutu refugees will greatly tarnish the reputation of a government that prides itself of having brought to an end the genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda," he said.
The final report is due to be presented next week by the UNHCHR, but Stearns said that there was still debate over the inclusion of the genocide accusation, which risked hurting Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who has just won re-election but faces unprecedented dissent within the Tutsi elite.
"While most of the dissenting officers were also involved in these alleged massacres in the Congo, this report could further rock the regime," he said.
The report was intended as a mapping exercise of the most serious crimes committed in Congo, which is still seeking political stability, battling economic woes and debating the future role of U.N. peacekeepers ahead of elections next year.
Congo's President Joseph Kabila, who took over when his father Laurent was assassinated, wants U.N. troops out of the country next year but also regularly calls on them to help his weak army face down local and foreign rebels still active there.
It is intended as a historical document to detail the most serious crimes and provide the Congolese authorities with information that they can use to seek justice.
Congo's last main war, which ran from 1998-2003 and at times turned into a scrap for the vast nation's minerals, inflicted so much damage it became known as Africa's World War.
Kenya on Thursday proved the best in track and field after they finished top of the pack at the end of the athletics programme of this year’s East Africa Secondary School Games in Nakuru.
Of the five countries that presented teams for track and field competition at the Afraha stadium, Kenya collected 47 medals: 16 gold, 18 silver and 13 bronze.
Uganda finished second with 35 medals: 13 gold, 12 silver and 10 bronze while Rwanda were third with one gold and four bronze. Tanzania finished fourth with three bronze, while Southern Sudan and Zanzibar did not win any medal.
A total of 90 medals were won; 30 gold 30 silver and 30 bronze. Whereas Kenya relied heavily on men to win the gold medals, 12 in number, Uganda had their girls to thank for collecting the country’s 11 gold medals.
Uganda’s men won two gold six silver and seven bronze. Women won 11 gold, six silver and three bronze. Kenya coach Samson Kimombwa on Thursday admitted that the competition was difficult for Kenya because of the stiff challenge posed by other countries and in particular Uganda, who provided a very strong women team.
Uganda coach Abdallah Mohammed said the high-quality displayed by the runners showed athletics would be the most popular in the championships in future.
From next year the East African family could increase if Ethiopia, Democrantic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe, who have applied to be admitted, are allowed in during the Federation of East Africa secondary Schools Sports Association council meeting that is to take place in Nakuru.
Uganda proved a powerhouse in field events and sprints with one athlete Agnes Aneno emerging with most medals after winning 200metres, 400m and helping her relay teams clinch gold both in 4x100m and 4x400m.
Aneno’s Fame Athletics Club coach James Mugeni was impressed with her performance and said he would take the runner to Nairobi to run in the Kenyan trials for the Commonwealth Games trials on Saturday to gain more exposure.
But Kenya dominated the long distance races, bagging medals in men 5000m through Albert Rop who won in 14:15.81. Behind Rop was former world cross country junior bronze medalist Japhet Korir in 14:17.11.
As expected in the girls’ 800m, Annet Negesa of Uganda, fresh from the World Junior Championships in Mocton, Canada, beat Kenyan Fancy Cherotich and Emmaculate Chebet. Negesa clocked 2:07.63 for gold, while Cherotich took silver (Daily Nation).