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India ,Mozambique sign deals on pulse trading, drug trafficking



In a significant bid to boost food security, India on Thursday signed a long term agreement for purchase of pulses from Mozambique as the two sides decided to fast-track cooperation in the agricultural sector.

“Mozambique’s strengths are also the areas of India’s need,” Modi said in a joint press statement with Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi following delegation-level talks here.

“And what Mozambique requires is available in India,” he said.

Observing that Nyusi had highlighted agricultural development as his top priority, he said experts from both sides have since held discussions on how to work together to improve agricultural infrastructure and productivity in Mozambique.

“Today, we agreed to put this cooperation on the fast track,” Modi said.

Stating that the both the countries were strengthening their partnership in food security, he said: “India’s commitment to buy pulses from Mozambique would help meet India’s requirement. It will also facilitate long-term investments in commercial farming, generate farm employment and raise farmer’s incomes in this country.”

A long-term agreement was signed following Thursday’s talks for purchase of pulses from Mozambique for India.

Two other memorandums of understanding were also signed – one on cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking and the other on youth affairs and sports.

The Prime Minister said health care was another area in which India’s capacities and Mozambican needs match well.

Modi also stressed on the safety and security of the people of the two countries.

“President Nyusi and I recognise that terrorism is the gravest security threat facing the world today,” he said

“Mozambique and India are no exceptions. Terrorism impacts India and Mozambique equally. The networks of terror are inter-linked with other trans-national crimes.”

He said the agreement signed between the two sides on prevention of drug trafficking was a testimony to the shared determination to combat the menace of terrorism and its networks.

Modi said he and Nyusi have agreed to strengthen the bilateral defence and security relationship in view of the emerging strategic and security challenges in the maritime domain.

At a banquet hosted in his honour by Nyusi, Modi said that India wanted to build on its already flourishing trade and investment ties with Mozambique.

He said India applauded Mozambique as one of the fastest growing economies of the world in recent decades.

“Our trade and investment ties have particularly flourished in recent years,” he said.

“We want to build further on it. For this, India remains ready and committed to share its experiences, technology, capacity and concessional credit with Mozambique, in line with your priorities.”

Mozambique is the destination of around a quarter of India’s investments in Africa totalling around $8 billion.

Modi also visited the Mozambique National Assembly and met its President Veronica Macamo.

“Prime Minister lauded the fact that 93 out of 250 Mozambican parliamentarians were women,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup told the media.

“He invited Macamo to lead a delegation to India and also called for the formation of a group of young parliamentarians from both countries,” he said.

Modi later visited the Centre for Innovation and Technological Development (CITD) at Maluana near here that has been built with Indian aid and interacted with students.

The CITD is situated at the Science and Technology Park, built with an Indian line of credit.

The Prime Minister planted a sapling of African mahogany and donated four buses to the centre.

Earlier on Thursday, Modi was accorded a ceremonial welcome after his arrival in Maputo on the first leg of his four-nation Africa tour.

He is scheduled to interact with members of the Indian community in this southeast African nation before leaving for South Africa in the evening.

This is Modi’s first official visit to mainland Africa and is also the first prime ministerial visit from India to Mozambique in 34 years since the visit of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1982.

Apart from Mozambique and South Africa, he will also visit Tanzania and Kenya during his African sojourn.


South Africa’s chief prosecutor set to announce decision on Zuma corruption charges



Jacob Zuma

South Africa’s chief prosecutor will announce on Friday whether he is reinstating corruption charges against former president Jacob Zuma, who was forced to resign by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) last month.

Zuma faces 783 counts of corruption relating to a 30 billion rand ($2.5 billion) government arms deal in the late 1990s. They were filed but then dropped by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) shortly before Zuma ran for president in 2009.

The deal to buy European military kit has cast a shadow over politics in Africa’s most industrialized economy for years.

Zuma – then deputy president – was linked to the deal through Schabir Shaikh, his former financial adviser who was jailed for corruption.

Shaikh’s conviction almost torpedoed Zuma’s bid for president but the charges against him were dropped on a technicality in 2009.

He became president shortly afterwards, but his opponents fought a lengthy legal battle to have them reinstated. Zuma countered with his own legal challenges.

Chief Prosecutor Shaun Abrahams will make his announcement at 1330 GMT, according to NPA spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku.

Zuma has already been informed of what Abrahams has decided, the spokesman said.

South Africa’s High Court reinstated the charges in 2016 and the Supreme Court upheld that decision last year, rejecting an appeal by Zuma and describing the NPA’s initial decision to set aside the charges as “irrational”.

It then fell to Abrahams to decide whether or not the NPA would pursue a case against Zuma, who resigned as head of state on Feb. 14 on the orders of the ANC.

Zuma said in 2016 that an investigation into the arms deal he ordered five years earlier had found no evidence of corruption in the selection process of arms suppliers. Nor had it found evidence that officials were bribed in an attempt to influence the deal, he said.

Zuma has also been implicated by South Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog in a 2016 report that alleges the Gupta family, billionaire friends of Zuma, used links with him to win state contracts. The Guptas and Zuma have denied any wrongdoing.

Source : Reuters

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Nigerian admits more than 100 missing schoolgirls have been ‘abducted’

Buhari, a former military ruler, was elected in 2015 on a promise to end the Boko Haram insurgency, which since it started nine years ago has claimed at least 20,000 lives.



Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari

More than 100 girls missing for a week after a Boko Haram attack on their school in northeast Nigeria were kidnapped, the government said for the first time on Monday.

The authorities in Abuja had previously stopped short of saying the 110 girls were seized during the raid on the Government Girls Science and Technology College in Dapchi last Monday.

The attack has revived painful memories in Nigeria of the mass abduction of 276 girls from another boarding school in Chibok in April 2014. Nearly four years on, 112 are still being held.

President Muhammadu Buhari said his government was determined to ensure the release of everyone taken by the Islamist militants and to bring “the abducted girls to their families”.

“This is especially against the backdrop of the recent incident where another group of girls were abducted on January 19 from the Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe state,” Buhari told a reception in Abuja for former captives of jihadists.

Buhari added that he had ordered the country’s security agencies to ensure the safety of schools and students.

Nigeria’s reluctance to admit the kidnapping comes in part due to Chibok, whose shadow hung over the previous administration and many believe contributed to its election loss.

Buhari, a former military ruler, was elected in 2015 on a promise to end the Boko Haram insurgency, which since it started nine years ago has claimed at least 20,000 lives.

The abduction in Dapchi comes after repeated claims from the military and government that Boko Haram was on the verge of defeat.

It has led to questions about the extent of the government’s grip on security and why promises to improve security of schools appears not to have been implemented, despite Chibok.

Boko Haram, whose name translates roughly from Hausa as “Western education is forbidden”, has repeatedly targeted schools teaching a so-called secular curriculum.

The jihadists want to establish a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria.

It has used kidnapping as a weapon of war, seizing thousands of women and young girls as well as men and boys of fighting age.

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South African President Jacob Zuma resigns

Zuma, who has been in power since 2009, faces numerous allegations of corruption.



Jacob Zuma

Johannesburg, Feb 15 : South African President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday resigned from his office with immediate effect making the announcement in a televised address to the nation.

The 75-year-old has been under increasing pressure to give way to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, the ANC’s new leader.

Zuma, who has been in power since 2009, faces numerous allegations of corruption.

His resignation came at the end of a long speech in which he said he disagreed with the way the ANC had acted towards him.

According to BBC, he said he did not fear a motion of no-confidence, adding: “I have served the people of South Africa to the best of my ability.”

Zuma also said that violence and division within the ANC had influenced his decision to step down.

“No life should be lost in my name and also the ANC should never be divided in my name. I have therefore come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect,” he was quoted as saying.

“Even though I disagree with the decision of the leadership of my organisation, I have always been a disciplined member of the ANC.

“As I leave I will continue to serve the people of South Africa as well as the ANC, the organisation I have served… all of my life.”

Meanwhile, the ANC said Zuma’s resignation provided “certainty to the people of South Africa”.

Deputy Secretary General Jessie Duarte told reporters: “President Zuma remains a principled member of the ANC. The ANC wants to salute the outstanding contribution he has made.”

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