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United Nations lauds Africa for continental free trade deal.

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The United Nations has welcomed the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), congratulating the leaders upon creating one of the world’s largest trading blocs with over 50 countries.

In a statement issued by the global body’s secretary general, Antonio Guterres, the United Nations said the move is important towards achieving the sustainable development goals and delivering the African agenda on peace and prosperity.

‘‘With the joint African Union – United Nations Agreement for the implementation of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, as our common framework, the entire United Nations family stands ready to support the continent as it forges forward the entry into force of the Continental Free Trade Area in the coming months,’‘ read part of the statement.

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African leaders on Wednesday signed three major economic agreements during the African Union (AU) Extraordinary Session of Heads of State and Government in Kigali, Rwanda.

44 countries signed the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area, while 43 heads of state signed the Kigali declaration for the launch of AfCFTA and 27 signed protocols relating to Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment.

The AU Protocol on the Free Movement of Person paved the way for citizens of different member states to be issued with African passports in future and establish businesses anywhere in Africa.

The AU has set a 2018 deadline for the removal of visa requirements for all African citizens in all African countries.

Rwanda eased its travel restrictions starting January this year by allowing travellers from across the world to get a visa-on-arrival, a move adopted in Kenya for Africans.

Governments now have the next six months, by September this year, to ratify the protocol. Those that did not sign can also do so during the window.

Under the protocol, member states are required to remove visa requirements for Africans, allow 90-day stay, and right of residence for any African in a territory other than his or her country of origin.

The protocol also calls for issuance of African passport in corroboration with the AU.

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PM Abiy reiterates Ethiopia’s decision over latest clampdown.

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has finally spoken on ongoing anti-corruption and rights abuse clampdown stating that there was not going to be any backing down let alone retreat.

A statement from the Abiy’s office issued in Amharic tasked citizens to rally behind the development as a means of ridding the country of lawlessness and criminal elements.

State-affiliated FBC reported that the statement titled, ‘Let’s Fight (the) Cancer,’ said the government was bent on bringing people behind injustices to book.



The statement said the underlying objective of recent arrests was to get rid of Ethiopia criminals. “… criminals do not care about ethnicity, country, or morality; they only care for themselves.

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“The key to justice is to create a system for innocent citizens to live in freedom and dignity while criminals are held accountable and punished in accordance with the law,” the statement read in part.

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Since early this week, authorities have announced the arrest of over sixty former military and intelligence officials arrested in connection with rights abuse in prisons and gross corruption in the military run business conglomerate, Metals and Engineering Corporation, MetEC.

A former head of MetEC, Kinfe Dagnew; and a former intelligence chiefs, Tekleberhan Woldearegay and Yared Zerihun have all been detained and put before courts in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Head of security at the state monopoly, Ethio Telecom, Gudeta Olana, has also been arrested as has head of the entity and brother of ex-MetEC boss, Essayas Dagnew.

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New Zealand denies refusing refugees with holiday visas entry.

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New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, on Friday, rejected allegations that the country’s government was blocking refugees who wished to travel into the country from Nauru on visitor visas.

Nauru’s president, Baron Waqa, also claimed in an interview with Australian media that he had also personally brokered a deal for New Zealand to accept 80 refugees currently located on the island.



“It’s incorrect to say that there is some kind of agreement for 80 specific individuals to take residence or visit,’’ Ardern told media at the East Asia Summit in Singapore.

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“The request did not ask about whether refugees could visit New Zealand on holiday visas,’’ he added.

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The country assessed all applications for visitor visas on a case-by-case basis. This applies regardless of a person’s country of origin or nationality.

The country is under pressure to transfer the remaining 30 children from the island.

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