Practice and Prospect of Social Media in a Multi Ethnic Society

Recently social Medias are widely used by public officials, political parties and activist to interact with the community. Previously space in newspaper and airtime on radio and television were limited while online social networking sites such as Facebook have brought new hopes and opportunities by connecting youth with politicians and common interest groups to share information and opinions. Be aware of the power of social Medias compared with the conventional medias for public participations in good governance and democratic systems as well as bring in to the light on its prospects of possible threats on the platform including ever grown provoking and ethnic based incite engagement of users. and to bring attentions to stakeholders on how virtual community at grass root level effort at the community to fully exploit the potential of social media as well as collaborate with users towards making social media more Safe, Abuse Free, People Centered and Constructive.

The new platforms provide a great opportunity to politicians to reach out to their citizens and voters. The technology also link and facilitates interaction between community and elected parliamentarian representatives by providing a public online ‘Wall’, a space where community members can easily write comments in favor or against their political leaders’ decisions. Citizens´ demand for a transparent government is fermenting a new age of opportunities through social media, web-enabled technologies, mobile technologies and e-government. With social media, citizens became able to be journalists avoiding unnecessary mediation of traditional media if equipped with a mobile phone that can record and instantly upload to the global networks regarding any wrongdoing by anyone and anywhere. Social media is seen as technologically and financially accessible to youths. This helps citizens’ not more passive consumers of political party propaganda, government spin or mass media news, instead actually enabled to challenge discourses, share alternative perspectives and publish their own opinions. social media allows citizens not only to influence public debate, public opinion and public policy, but, on a more direct level, also to get the chance to tackle matters of consequences, for example to address deficiencies in infrastructure projects, improve project planning , uncover cases of corruption , promote concepts such as the independence of the judiciary, the development of civil society, multiparty systems and democratic institutions which are participatory, transparent and accountable.

In spite of the multidimensional advantages could be harvested form these platforms, the ever growing threat that hinders specially in a multiethnic and diverse community needs great attentions. Social media policies, research and strategies shall be raised from the virtual communities for avoiding polarized and extremist generated contents perpetuated among us. If anyone done research, Content generated by polarized social media accounts are highly provocative towards specific identifies. Polarized contents usually generated from fake profile including with names of celebrities, public officials and recognizable names comment towards ethnic identifies. If anyone could make some background check on Fake profiles, they usually lack regular posts in their timeline and with limited number of friends in their circle while they are actively comments on someone’s posts in the virtual space. In whatever importance of someone’s post; the comments from these intruders (the one with the fake ID) came up with irrelevant provocative and insane comments based on once ethnic, religious and other group lines. Most interestingly commentator remarks of fake accounts in any public posts usually controlling enough to hijacked/diverted the main discussion of the group and leads most of the users’ time with making angry response.

Even though platforms including Facebook and Twitter have their own filtering mechanisms’ for inappropriate contents and reporting systems, servers are usually operate with most common international languishes, this create a gap to proactively act on contents generated in thousands of languishes the global community have used every day. Making social media space healthy bring in to attention in recent years after troll farms from different countries are targeting different social lines for the economic and political advantages at the expense of making more division among community.

If the prospect of social media are not systematically approached , made with awareness campaign and useful strategy,  it will extended to the existed threats in fuelling the virtual online polarity towards the real civil conflicts . In response to this calamities social media companies, intergovernmental authorities and regional organization have to initiate policy framework and work with social media users to come up with user friendly reporting systems for inappropriate content as well as filtering server for provocative contents in local language in an effort of making the platforms remain benefiting its users at large.

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Leaders Commit Billions in Major New Development Initiative for the Horn of Africa

UN Secretary-General, WBG and IsDBG Presidents, and other Agency Heads Visit Region to Link Peace Efforts with Economic Progress

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, October 27, 2014—Leaders of global and regional institutions today begin an historic trip to the Horn of Africa to pledge political support and major new financial assistance for countries in the region, totaling more than $8 billion over the coming years. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the World Bank Group (WBG) President, Jim Yong Kim, as well as the President of the Islamic Development Bank Group and high level representatives of the African Union Commission, the European Union, the African Development Bank, and Intergovernmental Agency for Development (IGAD) are combining forces to promote stability and development in the Horn of Africa.

On the first day of the joint trip, the World Bank Group announced a major new financial pledge of $1.8 billion for cross-border activities in a Horn of Africa Initiative that will boost economic growth and opportunity, reduce poverty, and spur business activity.

The initiative covers the eight countries in the Horn of Africa — Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda.

“This new financing represents a major new opportunity for the people of the Horn of Africa to make sure they get access to clean water, nutritious food, health care, education, and jobs,”said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “There is greater opportunity now for the Horn of Africa to break free from its cycles of drought, food insecurity, water insecurity, and conflict by building up regional security, generating a peace dividend, especially among young women and men, and spurring more cross-border cooperation.”

Leading the trip to the Horn of Africa, the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon said “The countries of the Horn of Africa are making important yet unheralded progress in economic growth and political stability. Now is a crucial moment to support those efforts, end the cycles of conflict and poverty, and move from fragility to sustainability. The United Nations is joining with other global and regional leaders to ensure a coherent and coordinated approach towards peace, security and development in the Horn of Africa.” 

The European Union also announced that it would support the countries in the region with a total of around $3.7 billion until 2020, of which about 10 percent would be for cross-border activities; the African Development Bank announced a pledge of $1.8 billion over the next three years for countries of the Horn of Africa region; while the Islamic Development Bank committed to deploy up to $1 billion in new financing in its four member countries in the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda).

The Horn is diverse, with some of the fastest growing economies and huge untapped natural resources. However, it also has many extraordinarily poor people and populations that are now doubling every 23 years. Unemployment is widespread among growing numbers of young people. Women, in particular, face huge obstacles because of their gender, including limited land rights, limited education, and social customs that often thwart their ability to pursue economic opportunity, and improve living conditions for their families and communities.

Countries in the region are also vulnerable to corruption, piracy, arms and drug trafficking. Terrorism, and related money flows are significant and interconnected threats in the Horn of Africa. People-trafficking is also a growing problem in the region. However, there are commendable efforts being made through regional cooperation in parts of the Horn to tackle the root causes of these problems.

The new financing announcement will support those efforts and comes on the first day of the trip led by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to discuss peace, security, and resilience. In addition to the UN Secretary-General, other leaders making the trip are World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim; Islamic Development Bank Group President Ahmad Mohamed Ali; African Union Commission Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha; Intergovernmental Agency for Development (IGAD) Executive Secretary, Ambassador Mahboub Maalim; African Development Bank Group Special Advisor to the President, Youssouf Ouedraogo; DeputyDirector General for Development and Cooperation, European Commission, Marcus Cornaro and European Union Special Representative for the Horn of Africa, Alexander Rondos.

The World Bank Group said its new $1.8 billion packaging, which is in addition to its existing development programs for the eight countries, would create more economic opportunity throughout the region for some of the most vulnerable peoples, including refugees and internally displaced populations and their host communities. Wars and instability have generated more than 2.7 million refugees along with over 6 million internally displaced people. The Bank Group will also help the region build up its communicable disease surveillance, diagnosis, and treatment capacity.

Many of these diseases are associated with or exacerbated by poverty, displacement, malnutrition, illiteracy, and poor sanitation and housing. Increased cross-border trade and economic activity in the Horn of Africa will necessitate simultaneous investments in strengthening disease control efforts and outbreak preparedness.

The Bank Group will also support greater regional links between countries with regional transport routes, stronger ICT and broadband connectivity, more competitive private sector markets, increased cross-border trade, regional development of oil and gas through pipeline development, and the expansion of university and other tertiary education.

The Bank Group’s pledge includes $600 million from the IFC, its private sector arm, which will support economic development in the countries of the Horn. IFC investments under the new Horn Initiative will include a regional pipeline linking Uganda and Kenya; greater investment in agribusiness expansion in storage, processing, and seeds; possible public-private partnerships in pharmaceuticals, renewable energy and transport; and financial advice and support to government and companies to improve business confidence and investment, access to markets, and access to private finance. Another $200 million is for guarantees against political risks from the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.

A new World Bank Group paper forecasts that the Horn will undergo dramatic and lasting change when oil production starts in Kenya, Uganda, and possibly Somalia and Ethiopia.

For its part, the European Union’s Horn of Africa approach is based on a strategic framework adopted in 2011. Support programs for 2014-2020 will be guided by the same analysis that underpins the World Bank’s Horn of Africa Initiative and will focus on the development challenges that must be tackled to unlock the region’s considerable potential. EU support will mostly target the three pillars of the Horn of Africa Initiative: boosting growth, reducing poverty by promoting resilience, and creating economic opportunities.

“The EU stands ready to further deepen its long-standing partnership with the Horn of Africa – helping to build robust and accountable political structures, enhancing trade and economic cooperation, financing peace keeping activities and providing humanitarian assistance and development cooperation,” said European Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgsprior to the trip.

Other leaders on the trip said that the Horn of Africa region needs new development assistance in order to secure peace and opportunity to thrive and prevent future conflicts.

The Islamic Development Bank Group said its new financing for Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda over 2015-2017 would focus on critical infrastructure development, food security, human development, and trade. A further $2 billion could be provided by the Arab Coordination Group over the same period.

Commenting on this announcement, Islamic Development Bank Group President Ahmad Mohamed Ali said “The Horn of Africa is an important gateway to Africa and a bridge to Western Asia. Bringing stability and sustainable development to the Horn of Africa will undoubtedly significantly contribute to stability across the entire African continent. The Islamic Development Bank Group salutes this renewed focus on the Horn of Africa and stands ready to work with all partners, including the Arab Coordination Group, to support regional cooperation and the economic revival of the Horn of Africa, especially in its four member countries.”

Given the complexity of the environment prevailing in the region, we must convince ourselves that it is not the financial means that will win in the Horn of Africa region, but our commitment and determination to act under the leadership of the countries in a united and coordinated manner, said African Development Bank Group Representative, Youssouf Ouedraogo, Special Advisor to the President.

African Union Commission Deputy Chairperson, Erastus Mwencha, added, “Our efforts to create peace and stability must be reinforced by investments in the peoples and countries of the Horn.”

A new WBG regional study on the Horn of Africa released today at the start of the trip found reasons for hope for the region: “Despite the challenges the Horn of Africa faces, there are encouraging signs of political momentum for enhanced regional economic interdependence. Increasingly, Horn of Africa countries are members of the East African Community, IGAD in Eastern Africa, and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa. Some countries are showing strong political will to solve both security and development issues through increased cooperation—for example, many have sent troops to participate in peace-keeping efforts and have participated in diplomatic initiatives.”

“This mission is the apex of an ambitious partnership approach that will provide the necessary instruments to strengthen the resilience agenda in the IGAD region,” said IGADExecutive Secretary, Ambassador Mahboub Maalim.

For the UN’s Ban and World Bank’s Kim, this is their third trip in 18 months together to Africa. In 2013, the two travelled to the Great Lakes and Sahel regions, drawing attention to the need to promote both peace and development. During the two previous trips, Kim pledged $2.7 billion for regional projects for programs to improve health, education, nutrition, access to energy, and job training. To see the results of these previous peace and development regional initiatives, visit: http://www.worldbank.org/en/region/afr/brief/world-bank-group-sahel-and-great-lakes-initiatives

To see the new WBG regional paper on the Horn of Africa, please visit: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/2014/10/20316926/

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East African Community Appeals International Community To Help Drought-hit Somalia

NAIROBI, Sept 12 (BERNAMA-NNN-Xinhua) — East Africa’s bloc has appealed to the international community to help Somalia where more than one million people face food shortages.

The regional bloc, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), also hailed the measures the Somali government has undertaken to mitigate the devastating effects of the current drought in the country.

“IGAD hereby places an appeal to the international community to promptly assist the Somali government in its effort to overcome the challenges of drought before it becomes famine,” said the statement received in Nairobi.

The appeal comes after the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned of worsening food security situation in Somalia in the next several months as drought looms in the Horn of Africa nation.

Latest assessment findings by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network reflect a significant decline of food providing, owing to a lethal mix of drought, surging food prices and conflict.

Over one million people in Somalia face food insecurity today, up by 20 percent from 857,000 six months ago, bringing the total number of people in need of humanitarian assistance or livelihood support to over 3 million.

According to the UN, after gradual rebuilding of livelihoods since the 2011 famine that cost over 250,000 lives in excess mortality, fragile gains are now being eroded and malnutrition rates are again on the rise.

The regional bloc said the Somali government has not only established a Special Committee to tackle the drought and its effects, but also follows and addresses the needs of those who are affected as much as its capacity allows.

The Somalia government has declared the urgency of making food, water, medication and shelter available to the victims of the current drought, which has occurred within a very short span of time since the last devastating drought of 2011.

It has also allocated 500,000 U.S. dollars to the victims to reach intended recipients as soon as possible in the form of the items mentioned above.

“IGAD would like to add its voice to that of the government of Somalia in stressing the need for international assistance in the form not only of food, water and medication, but also vehicles and other technical support that would assist in moving the supplies to where they are most needed,” the statement said.

Food Security: AGRA to help implement new G8 Global Partnership Initiative

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has been given a key role in the G8’s next phase of a shared commitment to achieve global food security, the Alliance said in a statement made available to PANA here. It said the Scaling Seeds and Other Technologies Partnership, part of the new initiative focused on increasing agricultural food production in Africa, would be housed at AGRA and would focus on strengthening Africa’s seed sector.

“African food security will only be met by increased agricultural production,” the statement quoted Strive Masiyiwa, AGRA’s acting chair, as saying while addressing the G8 leaders and four African heads of state at the G8 Summit.

” The approach being put forward by the G8 is modeled on some of AGRA’s on-going work on behalf of Africa’s smallholder farmers and we are pleased to play a major role in this global initiative,” he said.

The Scaling Seeds and Other Technologies Partnership will strengthen the seed sector and promote the commercialization, distribution and adoption of key technologies to improve seed varieties, and other technologies to meet concrete targets in partner countries.

“AGRA is working with its main partners to create breadbaskets in Africa through support to smallholder farmers,” said Jane Karuku, AGRA President.  “We are now seeing smallholder farmers prospering due to bigger crop yields and entire communities benefiting from the growth of small agribusinesses.”

AGRA has also invested in training African scientists who will develop research capacity, and strengthen the capacity of seed companies both technically and in terms of management capability.

It has established MSc and PhD programmes at 13 key African universities – more than 400 post- graduate students have been enrolled, a hundred of whom have graduated. This represents a quarter of the scientists known to be working in this field today.

AGRA’s  experts believe that 1,000 new scientists in this field are required to sustain the Green Revolution. To date, these and other AGRA-supported scientist have produced 342 new crop varieties – a 100 percent increase in available improved varieties.

Host US President Barack Obama invited four African leaders to the recent G8 Summit at the presidential resort in Camp David to discuss food security in Africa.

The leaders are Presidents Boni Yayi of Benin, John Atta Mills of Ghana and Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, as well as Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

They were joined by business leaders and civil society groups to discuss agricultural development and food security in Africa as part of the G8 summit.

At the end of the summit, President Obama announced a US$3 billion pledge as a part of a policy to promote agriculture revolution on the African continent.

Pana 24/05/2012

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Food Security Trust Fund for Africa Soon

The creation of an African-funded trust fund to support food security in the continent was discussed at FAO’s Regional Conference for Africa, held last week in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo.

Complementing international resource mobilization, the Africa Trust Fund would raise resources in the continent to fight hunger and would also allow for the scaling up of successful activities to prevent and respond to food and agriculture crises in the region.

In support of the proposal, civil society organizations attending the Regional Conference made a symbolic donation to the trust fund.

FAO will engage in countries-led consultations in order to draft a detailed proposal for approval by participating member countries.

During the Regional Conference, the President of the Republic of the Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso and FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva called for African solidarity to help respond to recurring food security crises in the continent, with the Sahel and the Horn of Africa currently most affected.

Graziano da Silva said African oil-producing nations have a great opportunity to promote the continent’s social and economic development and lift it out of its continuing food insecurity situation.

“I would like to appeal to African nations, especially oil-producing countries to invest some of these resources in agriculture in a sustainable manner without damaging the environment,” the Director-General said.

“I am convinced ending hunger is possible, given true political commitment,” said Graziano da Silva, adding: “Each one of us has a contribution to make to achieve this goal: governments, the private sector, civil society, international and regional organizations and the media. I call upon all of you, all of us, to join forces to free the world from this curse.”

The President of the Republic of the Congo stressed the value of political commitment in ensuring food security and made a “vibrant appeal” for African governments to show solidarity with countries in the Horn of Africa and the African Sahel regions, where millions are currently in need of assistance.

Sassou Nguesso called for concrete efforts to achieve sustainable food security throughout the continent and to establish “a permanent climate of peace and consensus, without which all our dreams of development would remain mere fantasies and illusions”.

He continued, “That is why, the Republic of the Congo, my country, is issuing here in Brazzaville a vibrant appeal for a movement of solidarity on Africa’s part towards the countries of the Saharan and Sahel regions which are suffering the severe and relentless consequences of a crisis involving politics, security, food and the climate.”

He underlined that the situation in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel show “how much the degradation of food security in certain regions of our continent remains a challenge” and added that with will and determination Africa could overcome hunger.

The Horn of Africa and Sahel regions have been the scenes of recurrent droughts which, although often predictable, have triggered some of the worst food crises in recent history, bringing death, hunger and suffering to millions of people.

In Brazzaville, Graziano da Silva warned that funding gaps to assist herders, agro-pastoralists and farmers in the ongoing rainy season in the Sahel and Horn of Africa total over $110 million and called upon the donor community to maintain its support to a hunger-free Africa.

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AU wants to double Intra-African Trade

A document from the Commission, provided as background to this weekend’s heads of state summit, at which boosting intra-African trade is the main agenda item, points out that greater trade between African countries “will develop larger markets, and foster greater competition which in turn will lead to poverty reduction, growth and poverty reduction”.

“Pooling economies and markets through regional integration will provide a sufficiently wide economic and market space to make economies of scale possible for African industries and to allow Africa to play its rightful role in the global market”, the document argues.

This will require “political commitment and leadership” from African heads of state in order to reform trade policies and harmonise rules and regulations across the continent. Measures should be taken to “reduce cost and time for the movement of goods and services, business, investment and labor mobility across borders”, and to diversify African production capacities “in order to add value to Africa’s primary commodities and boost regional and continental value chains”.

The document also calls for “increased access to trade financing and establishing the framework for a viable continental payments system through banking and export guarantee systems”.

The continent-wide free trade area that is the AU’s goal requires the elimination of tariffs between AU members and “the application of simple and transparent rules of origin”, which all goods must conform with, if they are to enjoy duty-free and quota-free access. The document insists that non-tariff barriers will also have to come down.

Such an all-Africa free trade area would create jobs in the public and private sectors, the AU claims, and would increase food security by reducing protection on trade in agricultural products between African countries. The AU commission also predicts “increased competitiveness of Africa’s industrial products through harnessing the economies of scale of a large continental market of about a billion people”.

The document proposes the creation of a High-Level African Trade Committee (HATCH) with responsibility for overseeing “the effective implementation of the Action Plan for boosting intra-African trade and implementing the continental free trade area”.

One of the obstacles to free trade in Africa has been government fears of losing the revenue from customs tariffs. The document, however, points out that “recent experiences at the regional levels shows that government revenue can actually increase with the removal of tariffs on intra-regional trade. This is applicable to both small and large economies”.

On its own, a free trade area is not a panacea, and so the AU Commission also calls for “intensive investment in manufacturing and processing industries that add value to Africa’s raw materials”.

Preparations for an all-Africa free trade area would also need increased competitiveness and productivity in the individual economies – and that would require “the enhancement of workers’ skills, the improvement of firms’ organizational and management structures and the development of supportive economic policies and infrastructures”.

The existing regional economic communities will be the building blocks of the proposed free trade area. This means that the tripartite SADC-COMESA-EAC free trade area must be functional by 2014, and that by that date the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) should have completed its free trade area, ensuring that all ECOWAS members join.

These areas will be consolidated into the continental free trade area between 2015 and 2016 “with the option to review the deadline according to progress made”.

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