Kenya: Drug Abuse Is Major Threat to Street Kids12 July 2013
Nigerian deported alongside Antony Chinedu sneaks back to Kenya
Rwanda: Truck Monitoring Project to Ease Transport Across Central Corridor
The Transport Observatory Project (TOB) designed by the Central Corridor Transport Facilitation Agency (CCTFA) was launched on Wednesday in Tanzania to streamline the route where a quarter of East Africa's total trade passes.
TOB involves government and private transport actors.
"This marks a critical new phase in upgrading a key route for East African Trade by identifying and mapping all unnecessary barriers to free flowing trade to create a platform that policy makers can use to overturn these obstacles," Rukia Shamte, the executive secretary of CCTFA, said at the launch.
The development comes at a time when the region's economy is surging and the need for smooth trade becoming more important.
The central corridor connects the east African hinterland to the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam. A similar initiative was last year established on the northern corridor that connects Mombasa port. According to the beneficiaries, the project has tremendously improved transportation of goods.
Theodore Murenzi, the secretary-general of Rwanda Truckers' Association, said as truck drivers they were optimistic about the new scheme. He said the time of transportation on northern corridor has reduced ever since the introduction of Transport Observatory Project. "The weighing bridges were reduced from eight to five between Mombasa port and Malaba with plans to decrease them to two. This has simplified movement; in our business, time is money and we hope that the new project on central corridor will also be of great significance," Murenzi said.
Rwanda depends on both Mombasa and Dar ports for imports and exports. According to Murenzi, Tanzania has committed to reduce the weigh bridges. Currently, trucks have to stop at about seven weighbridges from Dar port to Nyakahura at Kagera River on the border between Rwanda and Tanzania.
The new project will continuously monitor the performance along the Central Corridor by identifying total time delays from all possible causes as a means towards establishing an evidence-based regional platform that can be used by the Central Corridor Transport Facilitation Agency as well as by the region's policy makers.
The delays will be analysed using indicators of cause, location, date, time of day as well as parameters such as direction of travel, origin of vehicles and types of cargo. Information from this process will be disseminated to partner states through various government agencies, private sector and civil society organisations as well as the media, to inform decision making, problem solving and policy formulation on the Central Corridor's performance.
The data will provide informed and evidence-based opportunities for the development and implementation of policies to resolve these delays for cost effective operations.
The project is supported by TradeMark East Africa (TMEA). "TMEA is proud to be associated with this project. All evidence shows that where trade flourishes, prosperity does too and this is a key step to streamlining the Central Corridor on which so many businesses and lives depend," said Scott Allen, the TMEA deputy chief executive.
The new Kenyan government has promised regional countries to improve the performance of Mombasa port. Recently, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered Mombasa port authorities to ensure they reduce delay time at the port, saying the current situation where containers take 18 days to reach Kampala from Mombasa was untenable.
Kenyatta directed the port authorities to ensure this is reduced to five days.
Kenya: South Sudan Oil Refinery Delayed, Equipment Stranded in Kenya
According to Unity state's former governor, Taban Deng Gai, the opening was due to coincide with the second anniversary of South Sudan's independence from Sudan in 2011. The South took with it 75% of Sudan's oil production but none of the infrastructure needed to export or to refine its oil, for which there is a high demand in the country.
Since independence South Sudan has been forced to import fuel from neighbouring countries, often at a high cost.
Unity state's deputy governor Michael Chiengjiek Geay told Sudan Tribune on Thursday that the postponement was due to vital equipment still not reaching the refinery.
During South Sudan's second anniversary celebrations in Juba on Tuesday, president Salva Kiir Mayardit said that the country's oil infrastructure has progressed significantly since separation Sudan.
The Unity state refinery will be inaugurate in August 2013, with the Tangrial oil refinery in Melut area of Upper Nile state scheduled to open in 2014, he said. Unity state produces South Sudan's best quality petroleum but Upper Nile state is the largest producer.
The deputy governor told Sudan Tribune that he was concerned that some of the heavy equipment stranded in Mombasa will be difficult to transport now the seasonal rains have started.
Geay said that the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining in Juba is working hard to complete the refinery so that South Sudan can produce its own fuel, for national consumption.
The deputy governor said that once the purifying equipment arrives the construction will be completed and the refinery will be up and running within a very short time frame. It is hoped that, when complete, the two new refineries will reduce the cost of fuel in South Sudan.
In January 2012 South Sudan stopped exporting its oil through Sudan over a dispute over transit fees. Tensions between Juba and Khartoum led to the north closing the border for trade forcing the price of oil to increase dramatically. Juba has been exporing the possibility of building a new pipeline to the Kenyan or Djibouti coast.
The lack of hard currency caused by the shutdown - oil revenues accounted for 98% of government income before the shutdown - has also affected the young nation's ability to import vital items such as fuel and other commodities.
After a long impasse the two sides agreed a new oil deal in September last year but differences over security issues and disputed border areas, meant that oil production did not resume until May, following a further deal signed in March.
However, Sudan's president recently threatened to permanently stop oil from the landlocked South Sudan crossing northern territory, accusing Juba of continuing to back rebel groups fighting his government in South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur.
Earlier this month South Sudan's vice president, Riek Machar visited his Sudanese counterpart, Ali Osman Taha in Khartoum, where they reaffirmed their commitment to the previous agreements they had signed.
Kenya police net ivory at the Mombasa port which is said to be a major transit route for smugglers.
KENYA'S port of Mombasa is being used as the major transit route for the ferrying of illegal ivory from the East and Central Africa region, the Star has learnt. This was revealed following the interception of a second consignment within the last six days on Monday.
Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Revenue Authority and police officials confirmed that 444 pieces of ivory weighing 3.3 tons enroute to Malasyia was intercepted. This is the biggest haul impounded this year so far, with an estimated value of Sh65 million.
The consignment was packed and labelled as groundnut bags and was intercepted after the customs official became suspicious of its content. There has been an increase in the number of ivory consignments being intercepted at the port by KRA.
Reports have also emerged that the recent seizures of ivory consignments at the port involves an intricate syndicate that includes different officials. It is feared that intercepted consignment are diverted and repacked for sale in order to earn millions after being impounded and verified.
KRA officials have intercepted two containers of ivory in the last six days being ferried through the port. Last week, a container which had 775 pieces of raw ivory and six bags of worked ivory was impounded at a private yard at Changamwe, Mombasa.
The ivory which had a street value of Sh29 million originated from Kampala, Uganda, was declared as sun dried fish maws and was destined for Portklanga west port Ehsan, in Malaysia.
Two other containers suspected to be carrying ivory were also sent for verification at the port, one from Uganda and another one from DRC destined for Vietnam. In January, 640 pieces destined for Thailand were intercepted at the port.
KRA has intercepted six major consignments being smuggled through the port in the last three years. The consignments were destined for Hong Kong, Cambodia, United Arabs, China, Thailand and Malaysia with the biggest seizure being a haul of 727 elephant tusks valued at more than Sh200 million in December,2011.
Last week, KRA warned that dealers in ivory trade have gone a notch higher in ensuring the contraband goods pass scanning machines. KRA deputy commissioner in charge of customs port operations John Changole said dealers in ivory have resorted to working on the tusks before packing them for transit.
Ivory is normally chopped into small pieces, polished and neatly cut into small cubes and circles to conceal the tusk shape during the scanning process. The ivory chips are then packed in sacks and hidden inside a container which is then declared as normal export goods.
"These people are coming up with a new mode of parking the ivory where they polish the ivory by working on it to conceal its shape. You can easily be cheated if you are not keen," said Changole.
Speaking to the Star yesterday, KWS assistant director in charge of coast Arthur Tuda said most of the ivory originate from Botswana, South Africa, Congo, Cameroon, and Mozambique.
Tuda dismissed claims that KWS is conspiring to divert intercepted ivory, saying all intercepted animal trophies are in record and under custody of KWS. The official said three clearing agents have so far been arrested in connection with different ivory smuggling syndicates.
"Poaching should be termed as an economic crime, and it should be known that this is a regional problem and not for Kenya alone," he said. He said all intercepted ivory is intact since the last batch was torched by former Kenya's second president Daniel arap Moi.
"We want to assure you that all our ivory is intact dating back in 1989.We were audited in 2007 by the efficiency and anticorruption department and we use the assessment management t system to manage our stocks," said Tuda.
He however admitted that the dealers have gone 'hi-tech' saying, "They started by inserting the ivory in sculptures then Mazera stone and now food stuff," he said.
He said the increased number of seizure is due to ncreased surveillance by KWS, KRA and the port management in the fight against contraband.
KPA risks being earmarked as a centre for shipment of contraband goods if appropriate measures are not put into consideration concerning sell of wildlife products.
Tuda said Kenya is among seven African countries whose port facilities have been blacklisted under the Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species, hence they risk been named a centre for contraband goods if security measures are not beefed up.
Last month, Commissioner of Customs Services Beatrice Memo announced new regulations to curb ivory trade through the port of Mombasa. The rules includes proper scrutiny of goods leaving the country for Middle East and Asia, a destination the authority said are notorious markets for ivory from the country.
The Middle East has been identified as a ready market threatening poorly guarded and porous sources in Africa, with Kenya falling victim of the illegal trade.
The new procedure will also ensure all export goods are packed under the supervision of KWS, KRA, police and other government agencies. The containerization will be strictly done at container freight services outside the port before the goods are escorted for shipment.
The increased ivory trade also saw First Lady Margaret Kenyatta called for an immediate end to foreign countries buying ivory from Kenya. Mrs Kenyatta said stopping trade in ivory from the country will discourage poaching.
In May, MPs overwhelmingly approved a motion to increase the number of game rangers and the passing of an emergency amendment to the Wildlife Act.
The move will also raise penalties for killing wildlife especially elephants and rhinos to up to 15 years in jail and or a fine of up to Sh10 million. Kenya's elephants declined from 160,000 in 1960s to 16,000 in 1989 due to poaching. Today Kenya is home to only 38,500 elephants and 1,025 rhinos.
Capital FM (Nairobi)
Kenyan Authorities Seize Three Tonnes of Ivory At Port9 July 2013
The consignment was intercepted in a 20-foot container awaiting shipment to Malaysia. KRA Public Relations and Corporate Affairs officer Fatuma Yussuf said that the ivory tusks were packed in Kenya. Speaking to the press, Yussuf said documents indicate that ivory was disguised as groundnuts, wrapped and some stashed in sacks.
"Some of the ivory weighs almost 60 kilograms an indication that they were hacking off ivory from big elephants," she noted. Arthur Tudor the director Kenya Wildlife Service's Coastal region said the kind of ivory originated from elephants from the savannah that include Kenyan national parks and neighbouring countries .
"This is the largest consignment of ivory to be seized this year. We have intensified our operation by collaborating with other security agencies including KRA to curb smuggling of ivory," Tudor affirmed.
Speaking to Capital FM News, Kenya Wildlife Service spokesman in Mombasa Paul Mbugua said the ivory weighed 3,287kgs. "The ivory weighing 3,287.21kilogrammes comprised 382 whole pieces and 62 cut pieces. The consignment had been declared as 240 bags of groundnuts. About the value we do not have since this black market... we don't have a fixed price for ivory."
Warning poachers he said: "We have already stepped up the fight against poaching." Police are investigating the exporter, Fresh Produce Company based in Nairobi, the consignee Hai Chauna enterprise in Malaysia and the clearing agent SeaFate Freight based in Mombasa in-connection with the seizure.
On Tuesday last week more than 775 pieces of ivory estimated to be worth Sh29 million were also impounded at the port of Mombasa.
The ivory was hidden among dry fish maw in a container from Uganda destined for Malaysia.
A combined force of KRA, Kenya Wildlife Service, Port Police and the Kenya Ports Authority intercepted the 1,476.4 kilos in a 20-foot container. KRA Deputy Commissioner in charge of Port Operations John Changole revealed that officers started tracking the suspicious container since June 13 when it entered at the Malaba border after the details declared became suspect.
Kenya: Tullow Strikes New Oil Well, Doubles EstimatesBy Winfred Kagwe, 4 July 2013
The company in a statement released last weeksaid the find is located at Etuko-1 well in the expansive Turkana County of northern Kenya.
This is the same County that hosts Ngamia and Twiga South, which have previously been found to hold oil that meets commercial viability standards.
According to the statement announcing the new find, Tullow expects a flow rate potential of 5,000 barrels a day based on Ngamia-1 and Twiga-South-1, and estimates there are 250 million barrels of oil in place. The company said this forecast could only increase given the indications in the other blocks currently being explored.
The company, which has been focusing most of its efforts on eastern Africa, has previously had a good run in Uganda and drilling plans are underway.
The recent discovery put East Africa in a pole position to start producing and exporting oil in what will be a major reprieve to a region that has seen the price of the commodity spiral to unimaginable levels.
Apart from exploration efforts in Africa, Tullow is already producing and selling oil Ghana, a major income stream to finance the capital intensive exploration activities.