New International East African e-Passport To Launch In 2 Weeks

eac-passport1455632522124400The much anticipated international East African e-passport will be launched during the 17th Ordinary East African Community (EAC) Heads of State Summit in Arusha, Tanzania.
The East African Community (EAC) Heads of State Summit is set to launch the much-anticipated e-passport that will allow citizens from member states to move with ease within and outside the community.

The launch of the new international East African e-passport will fulfill one of the EAC’s mandate which is to integrate members of the region for easier and faster movement of people.

The unveiling of the electronic passport will be done during the 17th Ordinary East African Community (EAC) Heads of State Summit set for February 29, 2016, in Arusha, Tanzania.

At the beginning of the year, EAC Secretary General Richard Sezibera expressed enthusiasm about the launch of the new generation passports. The e-passports will be availed to citizens in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi. The regional electronic passport was set for launching in November 2015 but was postponed.

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7 Top Reasons Why Africa Is Still Poor, 2016

top-angola1455736358272“While $134B flows in each year, predominantly in the form of loans, foreign investment and aid; $192B is taken out, mainly in profits made by foreign companies, tax evasion and the costs of adapting to climate change.” – Health Poverty Action.
The presence of some of the world’s fastest growing economies in Africa serves as fodder for the Africa rising narrative. A walk around capital cities of Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Luanda, and others, will put a stamp on the discourse that Africa is rising at a significant rate. The crane-filled skylines, construction of road networks and railway lines, multi-million dollar mansions and business malls erupting across major towns and cities, and growing technologies are just but a few indications of the continent’s ascent to prosperity.

But even as people across the globe engage in discussions about how fast the continent is growing, ironically, the other discourse that goes hand in hand with this narrative is the astounding number of people who are still grappling with deep-rooted poverty in the continent.

One can only wonder why there is still a widening gap between the rich and the poor and why Africa is still struggling with poverty despite the fact that it is home to a major percentage of raw materials that are in hot demand around the globe.

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New conference centre opens Cape Town

New-conference-centre-opens-Cape-Town-800x400The Century City Conference Centre and Hotel is now open and has the capacity to accommodate close to 2 000 guests in 19 venues. The new centre has already secured 75 conference bookings for the year ahead. The hotel adjacent to the centre has expanded from 125 rooms to 600. Century City Conference Centre’s joint CEOs, Glyn Taylor and Gary Koetser, said on Monday that the centre was a great new asset to the hospitality industry and a perfect opportunity to increase the number of business travellers to South Africa and Cape Town.

Speaking at the opening of the conference centre at the weekend, Western Cape Economic Opportunities MEC, Alan Winde, said the province had already secured conference bids worth almost R2bn in the current financial year. He said just two of these conferences — the World Ophthalmology Congress 2020 and the International Fiscal Association 2022 — would bring 5 600 delegates and generate R262 million (€14 million) for the provincial economy.

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SA Tourism to close one of its country offices?

SA-Tourism-to-close-one-of-its-country-offices-800x400Tourism Update understands that SA Tourism will close its Italy office at the end of May, although SA Tourism has denied this. “At this point there has not been any decision taken by SA Tourism to close any office,” the organisation said in a statement. From 2014 to 2015 there was a 10,6% decline in Italian tourists visiting South Africa, with 52 377 arrivals in 2015 compared with 58 614 arrivals recorded in 2014. Italy is South Africa’s fifth biggest source market in Europe. In 2015, South Africa recorded 407 415 arrivals from the UK; 256 646 arrivals from Germany; 128 436 from France; and 121 880 from The Netherlands.

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Immigrant children denied access to school

On 13 January, irate parents in Diepsloot West accused Muzomuhle Primary School and the education department of discriminating against their children because of their foreign national status.

A month later, a district school official spoke to GroundUp on condition of anonymity. The official, who fears reprisals for talking to the media, said between 30 and 40 children were turned away because they were not South African.

“Their documentation was not in order,” said the official. “You’ll find that because parents are illegally in this country, they forge documents just to be able to get their children into a school. You’ll get applications where there are two children with the same birth certificate and ID numbers.”

The official said such desperate measures were taken by parents when their asylum status lapsed or they had not been granted new work permits. “In Diepsloot, there are many undocumented [people] and they bring their children with them to this country while they are trying to survive.”

Muzomuhle Primary is used as the central point through which all school admissions for the area are processed. According to the school official, the school asks for the child’s birth certificate, the parents proof of residence and proof of asylum or work permit.

In January, News24 quoted Zimbabwean national Donias Tshuma. He said that his asylum status expired in October 2015 and that attempts to live in South Africa legally were hampered by officials at Home Affairs demanding bribes.

Acting spokesperson for the Gauteng Department of Education, Oupa Bodibe, said district officials had confirmed with the department that each rejected student was asked to get proper paperwork in place, and to reapply when admissions opened again for 2017. Admissions for 2016 are now closed.

Bodibe could not immediately provide figures for how many children were turned away from the schooling system because of documentation problems. Nor did the department know how many of the rejected students had managed to find school placement elsewhere this year or if their parents were successful in gaining the proper documentation for school next year.

“Remember, if you are here illegally, as a department, we can’t do anything to assist you as that perpetuates the problem,” he said.

But an attorney in the Strategic Litigation Unit at Lawyers for Human Rights, Wayne Ncube, said the Constitution was clear that children have a right, regardless of documentation or legal status in the country, to gain admission in a school.

“The policy applies equally to nationals and non-nationals,” he said. “Not following the precepts of the department of education is not a basis on which the child should be expelled from the school.”

Ncube encouraged the parents to contact a suitable aid organisation to assist them with challenging the school district decision. He said the decision appears to be unconstitutional.

“This is not to say that the issue of the legal status of the parents in South Africa should not be addressed. It should be, but perhaps from the efforts of another department in government.”

Ncube said, “What has become very clear is that such decisions should not be taking place particularly in dealing with children. Children should always come first. I am sure that this issue is something that can be resolved if they (the parents) get the right assistance from an equipped organisation or law firm.”MuzomuhleHigh-20160215-BenitaEnoch