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African Leaders: Day 1 at the UN General Assembly

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Heads of State, Heads of Government and representatives of the 193 UN Member States are participating in the 71st General Assembly of the United Nations which opened with a summit for refugees and migrants on September 19, 2016.

The world leaders are addressing the Assembly in the General Debate which started on Tuesday, September 20.

The subject for the debate which will end on September 26 is – The Sustainable Development Goals: A Universal Push to Transform our World.

After the speech by the outgoing Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, 32 Heads of State addressed the Assembly including presidents of Chad, Malawi, Tunisia, South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia and Senegal.

Chad

President Idriss Déby Itno acknowledged Chad’s effort in the fight against Boko Haram through its contribution to the regional force to fight the Islamist group.

He stressed on the need for the international community to support African regional efforts to solve problems citing the situation in Libya, South Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR).

President Deby said he believes a political solution is needed in these countries including Burundi and Gabon urging the political players to engage in dialogue.

He expressed support for an independent and viable Palestinian State and called for continuation of the peace process.

Malawi

President Arthur Peter Mutharika expressed Malawi’s respect for basic human rights as it opened its doors to refugees from neighbouring countries.

He however outlined the effects of climate change on the country which has been struck by floods and drought rendering millions of people in need of food assistance.

President Mutharika stated that Malawi will sign the Paris Agreement. He also called on the international community to engage in business with Malawi.

Tunisia

President Béji Caïd Essebsi explained his country’s strides in promoting security and human rights since the revolution but requested for more support to improve its economy.

He emphasized Tunisia’s commitment to the African Union’s Agenda 2063, which was a call for action to build a prosperous and united Africa on the basis of shared values and a common destiny.

He called for a solution to conflicts in the Arab world and supported an independent Palestinian State.

South Africa

President Jacob Zuma recalled the progress made by South Africa over the years against colonialism and apartheid. He also outlined their deveopmental progress in line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Zuma called for inclusive growth where countries put global interests ahead of national ones. He finally requested for the transformation of the United Nations Security Council to include African countries.

Egypt

President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi called for support of developing countries to achieve the sustainable development goals.

He said Egypt had managed to preserve its stability in the midst of a highly unstable region and called on the conflicting countries in the Middle East to resort to a political settlement.

Al Sisi also called for support for the Somali government and also a resolution of the political crises in Burundi and South Sudan.

Nigeria

President Muhammadu Buhari highlighted Nigeria’s anti-corruption stance and effects of the global downturn on the country.

He also pointed out the effects of climate change on the region which has threatened the livelihoods of an estimated 30 million people calling for global attention.

Buhari addressed terrorism citing the September 11 attacks in the United States and the battle against Boko Haram. He called for international collaboration against terrorism but warned against unilateral decisions that could disrupt collective efforts.

He finally called for a UN reform to include Africa into the permanent membership of the Security Council.

Uganda

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni addressed the implementation of the SDGs to eradicate poverty as well as “bottlenecks” in the Agreement including “misguided ideology”.

“Ideology had to be singled out and must be addressed to prevent discrimination based on religion, gender and political orientation,” he said.

he also addressed African trade and the effects of the SDGs on local production.

Zambia

President Edgar Chagwa Lungu wanted least developed countries to get more attention because of their vulnerability during the implementation of the development goals.

He noted his country’s efforts towards the development of small- and medium-size enterprises and their solution to challenges including unemployment and access to health services.

Lungu also called for African representation on the Security Council.

Senegal

President Macky Sall addressed Islamophobia and peaceful co-existence which he believes will tackle all threats to international peace and security.

He called for respect for Africa which is developing rapidly with progress in good governance and business climate relevant for investment.

He also described Africa’s absence on the permanent seat of the Security Council as unjust although its countries represented almost one-third of all Member States.

24 Hours Across Africa

US House faults Trump attacks on congresswomen as racist

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Source: BBC-

The US House of Representatives has voted to condemn President Donald Trump after a series of attacks aimed at four congresswomen.

The symbolic resolution denounced Mr Trump’s “racist comments that have legitimised fear and hatred of New Americans and people of colour”.

Mr Trump had been accused of racism and xenophobia for telling the members of congress to leave the country.

The president has since tweeted: “I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!”

Tuesday’s debate in the Democratic-controlled chamber was a highly polarised debate,

with various Republicans insisting the vote itself was a breach of decorum.

It passed by 240 votes to 187.

Four Republicans and the House’s sole independent, former Republican lawmaker Justin Amash, joined all 235 Democrats to approve the resolution

The four Republicans were Texas congressman Will Hurd (the party’s only African American representative), Brian Fitzpatrick (Pennsylvania), Fred Upton (Michigan) and Susan Brooks (Indiana).

Passing a resolution – which is a statement of opinion and not legally binding – criticising presidential conduct is very rare.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Senate opens hearing into Facebook plans for Libra cryptocurrency

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U.S. lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were set to grill Facebook Inc on its cryptocurrency plans on Tuesday, as the project continues to draw intense scrutiny from financial regulators and politicians across the globe.

Facebook is fighting a rearguard action to get Washington onside after it shocked regulators and lawmakers with an announcement on June 18 that it was hoping to launch a new digital coin called Libra in 2020.

Since then it has faced criticism from policymakers and financial watchdogs at home and abroad who fear widespread adoption of the digital currency by the social media giant’s 2.38 billion users could upend the financial system.

“Facebook has demonstrated through scandal after scandal that it doesn’t deserve our trust,” Democratic senator Sherrod Brown, the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, said in his opening remarks. “We’d be crazy to give them a chance to let them experiment with people’s bank accounts.”

Critics have expressed anger that the company would have got so far in its plans for such a potentially groundbreaking project without extensive input from policymakers, especially when it is already in the spotlight over privacy issues.

The Senate Banking Committee is questioning David Marcus, the company’s top executive overseeing the project, on issues ranging from how Libra could affect global monetary policy to how customer data will be handled.

Marcus, who was president of PayPal from 2012 to 2014, tried to assuage concerns in his opening remarks by promising that Facebook will not begin offering Libra until regulatory issues are addressed.

“We know we need to take the time to get this right,” Marcus, who is also due to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, said.

Marcus is likely to get a frosty reception from other Democratic lawmakers who already believe the company is too large and careless with consumer data.

He is also likely to face skepticism from Republicans after U.S. President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin voiced concerns.

“They’re going to have to convince us of very high standards before they have access to the U.S. financial system,” Mnuchin said on Monday.

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