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Les fonds de la solidarité publique pour le Covid-19 gérés dans l’opacité par les autorités camerounaises

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NEW YORK, USA, le 29 Septembre 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/-Lorsque des Camerounais ont commencé à tomber malades du Covid-19, le président Paul Biya a lancé un appel à la solidarité publique pour aider le gouvernement à soutenir un système de santé déjà en ruines du fait notamment des crises sécuritaires qui affectent le pays.

Des dizaines de personnes et d’entreprises ont immédiatement versé d’importantes sommes sur un fonds créé à la hâte. Celui-ci aurait dû venir en complément du Fonds de solidarité pour la santé, une réserve d’urgence créée par le gouvernement en 1993 et à laquelle les établissements médicaux versent chaque mois 10 % de leurs recettes, ce qui a pour effet d’augmenter le coût des soins, déjà hors de portée de nombreux Camerounais.

Mais le gouvernement a géré ces deux fonds dans le plus grand secret, rendant impossible la traçabilité des ressources publiques. De fait, on ignore si et comment l’exécutif a dépensé cet argent, ainsi que les 226 millions de dollars (190 millions d’euros) qu’il a reçus du Fonds monétaire international (FMI) en appui à sa réponse au Covid-19.

Alors que le virus progressait à travers le pays, des membres des équipes médicales nous ont affirmé en juin que leurs hôpitaux n’avaient reçu aucune aide financière supplémentaire, ce qui limitait leur capacité à soigner les malades ou à fournir un équipement de protection adéquat au personnel.

C’est seulement sous la pression publique que le ministère de la santé, invoquant « l’urgente nécessité de la transparence », a publié le 29 juillet, dans un communiqué de deux pages, des informations sommaires sur la manière dont il avait dépensé 22 milliards de francs CFA (33,5 millions d’euros), affirmant qu’il s’agissait du total de ses dépenses en réponse au Covid-19 au cours des cinq mois précédents. Hélas, ce communiqué n’est qu’une parodie de transparence.

Des aides de la BAD et du FMI

Les informations fournies sont trop générales pour permettre un véritable contrôle de la part du public. On y apprend par exemple, sans plus de détails, que 1,75 milliard de francs CFA ont été consacrés à « réhabiliter, rénover et agrandir » les blocs d’isolement de trois hôpitaux de Yaoundé.

De la même manière, le communiqué contient une liste générique d’équipements censée correspondre à une dépense supplémentaire de 3,92 milliards de francs CFA enregistrée sous l’appellation « acquisition d’équipement médical pour distribution aux établissements de santé ».

En outre, on peut craindre que le peu d’indications ne soient pas entièrement exactes. Des observateurs qui ont visité ces trois hôpitaux de Yaoundé et se sont entretenus avec le personnel deux semaines après la publication du communiqué ont ainsi été dans l’impossibilité d’identifier le moindre travail de construction censée préparer ces établissements à recevoir des malades du Covid-19.

Deux d’entre eux avaient simplement installé des tentes à l’extérieur pour servir de centres de dépistage, tandis que dès le 16 juillet, une pancarte installée à l’Hôpital général de Yaoundé annonçait que l’établissement n’admettait plus de malades du Covid-19.

Des groupes citoyens de surveillance tels que l’Association pour le développement intégré et la solidarité interactive (Adisi), avec sa plateforme numérique Data Cameroon, ont également souligné que ces 22 milliards de francs CFA ne représentent pas la totalité des fonds reçus par le gouvernement pour faire face au Covid-19.

La déclaration du ministère de la santé contient une liste de 65 personnes et compagnies ayant fait des contributions d’un total d’environ 1 milliard de francs CFA au fonds de solidarité du président. Mais le ministère n’a rendu publique aucune information spécifique sur les recettes et les dépenses du Fonds de solidarité pour la santé, qui semblent n’être régies par aucune législation.

Enfin, cette somme que le ministère affirme avoir dépensée est bien inférieure au montant effectivement reçu sous forme d’assistance internationale dans le cadre d’au moins 43 projets relatifs à la lutte contre le Covid-19, dont 100 millions de dollars de la Banque africaine de développement (BAD). L’Initiative internationale pour la transparence de l’aide (IITA) assure la traçabilité des fonds destinés à ces projets mais ne fournit pas le détail complet des dépenses ni ne rend compte de l’utilisation des 226 millions de dollars reçus du FMI.

Plus de 20 000 cas et 416 décès

Dans une lettre sollicitant ce prêt, le ministre des finances soulignait l’importance de ces fonds « pour couvrir des besoins urgents en matière de modernisation du système de santé ». Cette lettre contenait un engagement à publier tout document concernant des acquisitions d’équipements liés à la lutte contre le Covid-19, y compris les noms des propriétaires des compagnies auxquelles les contrats étaient attribués, mais nous n’avons pas pu trouver ces contrats.

Dans sa lettre, le ministre promettait également de publier les résultats d’un audit indépendant avant la fin de l’année fiscale 2020, à savoir le 31 décembre.

La traçabilité de cet argent est une question qui va au-delà du devoir qu’a le gouvernement de répondre à la solidarité publique par une gouvernance responsable ; elle est aussi essentielle pour assurer que des fonds indispensables pour lutter contre une pandémie soient distribués dans leur totalité et de manière équitable à travers le pays. Le Cameroun a signalé davantage de cas de Covid-19 et de décès que la plupart des autres pays d’Afrique centrale (20 431 cas dont 416 décès au 21 septembre). Pourtant, six mois après le début de la pandémie, de nombreux hôpitaux demeurent dramatiquement impréparés.

Nous nous sommes entretenus avec un médecin travaillant dans un hôpital de la région du Nord-Ouest, gravement affectée par des violences depuis fin 2016 et dont les établissements médicaux ont été attaqués à plusieurs reprises par les forces gouvernementales et par les séparatistes armés. Il a affirmé que les dix structures médicales de son district ont reçu un total de 10 millions de francs CFA début août. Avant cela, dit-il, son hôpital n’avait reçu que douze masques, vingt boîtes de gants et quatre blouses longues, pour près de 50 employés.

L’argent reçu a permis à son établissement d’acheter des équipements de protection pour quelques employés, des médicaments et deux machines de réanimation, affirme-t-il, mais c’est loin de suffire aux besoins de l’hôpital, qui ne dispose toujours pas d’équipements de protection en quantités suffisantes, ni d’une alimentation adéquate en électricité, ni même d’une ambulance. En outre, l’argent est arrivé terriblement tard : une infirmière d’un hôpital proche est morte du Covid-19 en juin.

Les Camerounais ont fait la preuve de leur solidarité. Il est grand temps que le gouvernement en fasse autant et publie un compte-rendu complet de toutes les dépenses effectuées en rapport avec le Covid-19, y compris de celles effectuées à partir du Fonds de solidarité pour la santé.

Distribué par African Media Agency (AMA) pour Human Rights Watch.

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African Media Agency -English

The Global Benefits of Online Transfers in Zimbabwe

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Byline: By Susan Sitemere, Country Manager, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, WorldRemit

HARARE, Zimbabwe, 23 November, 2022,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- A combination of rapidly evolving technology and the restrictions imposed by the COVID -19 pandemic has resulted in nothing short of a revolution in the online money transfer sector.

Globally, there have been drastic shifts in how people pay for goods and services, with electronic payments increasingly displacing traditional cash and more recently, cryptocurrency and digital currencies emerging in the market1.

In Zimbabwe, the use of mobile money has become pivotal to the way that citizens interact and exchange money during the pandemic. The number of active mobile money subscribers in the country increased from 4.05 million to 4.13 million in 20222. According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, mobile money interactions witnessed a steady upward trend with average monthly growth of 21% and 16% in volumes and values2. This movement has been truly significant at all levels of society, with users taking advantage of the rapidly evolving technologies of mobile wallets and contactless cards to make payments and move their money around the globe.

According to the World Bank, mobile money accounts drove a massive increase in financial inclusion in Sub – Saharan Africa as two–thirds of adults worldwide now send or receive digital payments, with the share in developing economies increasing from 35% in 2014 to 57% in 20213.

For many in Western society, the acceleration in technology makes for an easier and more convenient experience when dealing with digital remittances. However, for those citizens of emerging countries, the innovation and growth surrounding the global payments sector is resulting in a wide range of benefits.

Digital remittances are a lifeline

Remittances hugely sheltered many Zimbabwean families from the challenging economic situation that COVID-19 brought over the last few years, with remittances sent to Zimbabwe surging from about US$ 1 billion in 2020 to US$1.4 billion in 2021. The country also hit record-high foreign currency inflows of US$9.7 billion during that period.

With statistics like that, it is essential that adequate systems are put in place to make money transfers a secure and straightforward procedure. Online money transfers help countries gain financial inclusion in emerging markets, thus improving economic development and alleviating poverty.

Banking for the unbanked

According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the number of financially included Zimbabweans reached 83% this year, with about 12.45 million now on banking platforms through various systems, including mobile money. This comes after 14 tough years for Zimbabweans, who first grappled with domestic currency shortages before the local currency crashed in 20085.

Until recently, migrant communities faced several stressful challenges when sending money abroad. Long queues, unfamiliar paperwork, and sky-high fees were usual hurdles at the beginning of a transfer that could take weeks to process. Once the money had finally reached its destination, the recipients needed access to banks or shops to collect their cash.

Today, with digital payment services like WorldRemit, people can receive money in a matter of minutes through airtime top-ups, cash pick up, and transfers to their EcoCash mobile wallets. 

These options that allow people to choose how to receive their money are essential in countries like Zimbabwe here in sub-Saharan Africa, where a significant proportion of the population remains unbanked. 

Fortunately, this choice is facilitated by a boom in cheap and widely available smartphones that allow consumers and small enterprises to transfer money at the touch of a button seamlessly. Aided by FinTech vision and investment, Africa has become a world leader in mobile money. Again, the economic upshift facilitated by the new technology has contributed to a drop in the number of households living in poverty.

A safe and convenient service

Digital payments service, WorldRemit uses industry-leading technology to enhance protection for online money transfers. This technology is also swift, meaning that most transfers are ready within minutes.

The increase in secure digital remittances, especially mobile-to-mobile transfers, has lowered the need for cash transactions. Consequently, opportunistic crime in many cash-heavy markets has been reduced, however, cybercrime remains a very present threat, which money transfer companies must work hard to combat.

Moving forward together

The transition to digital payments and online money transfers has positively impacted migrant communities and emerging countries. This transition has made the process of sending remittances easier and more secure. It has also lowered the barriers to financial inclusion in emerging countries by allowing people without bank accounts to receive money quickly.

By offering flexible ways of sending and receiving money, more people worldwide can access financial services and ultimately free themselves from the manacles of poverty.

Find out how WorldRemit can help you move your money around with online digital payments.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of WorldRemit.

Notes to Editors

1.   Chambers and partners. Fintech 2022. March 2022

2.   ITWeb Mobile money gains traction in Zimbabwe – despite regulatory wrangling. Feb 2022

3.   World Bank Group. Covid – 19 Drives Global Surge in use of Digital Payments. June 2022

4.   Press Reader. Business Weekly Zimbabwe. June 2022

5.   Press Reader. Markets warm up to financial inclusion strategy. August 2022

About WorldRemit

We’re a leading global payments company and, along with Sendwave, part of Zepz, a group powering two global payments brands. 

We disrupted an industry previously dominated by offline legacy players by taking international money transfers online – making them safer, faster and lower cost. We currently send from 50 countries to recipients in 130 countries, operate in more than 5,000 money transfer corridors worldwide and employ over 1,200 people globally.

On the sending side WorldRemit is 100% digital (cashless), increasing convenience and enhancing security. For those receiving money, the company offers a wide range of options including bank deposit, cash collection, mobile airtime top-up and mobile money.

Backed by Accel, TCV and Leapfrog – WorldRemit’s headquarters are in London, United Kingdom with regional offices around the world.

www.worldremit.com

Media Contact

WorldRemit Press Office

media@worldremit.com

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The 2022 U.S.-Africa Business Forum and Multiple Sideline Events in Washington DC

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WASHINGTON, DC, USA,22 November 2022, /African Media Agency/-The Corporate Council on Africa is pleased to announce it is co-hosting the 2022 U.S.-Africa Business Forum (USABF) on December 14, which will bring together African heads of state and U.S. and African business and government leaders to discuss the most promising sectors in which to advance mutually beneficial two-way trade and investment. USABF is a key pillar of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit (USALS) which U.S. President Joe Biden will host in Washington, DC, December 13-15.

Under the theme, “Partnering for a Prosperous and Resilient Future,” USABF will be hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Prosper Africa initiative. The goal of the USABF forum is to bolster Africa’s role in the global economy, scale innovation and entrepreneurship, create jobs, drive advancements in key economic sectors, and foster inclusive and sustainable growth on both sides of the Atlantic.

The invitation-only USABF will feature networking opportunities for over 500 attendees and a series of high-profile panels featuring leading U.S. and African CEOs, African Heads of State, and heads of U.S. Government agencies focused on topics and sectors critical to the present and future of U.S.-Africa trade and investment relations.

The Corporate Council on Africa will also host multiple side events from December 11-16 with topics spanning trade, food security, climate change and health (click here for more information on several side events that CCA will host). With speaker confirmations already rolling in, CCA is pleased to announce the folloing African Heads of State who have confirmed their attendance and will be guest speakers:

·    H.E. Filipe Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique

·    H.E. Mokgweetsi Masisi, Republic of Botswana

·    H.E. William Ruto, President of Kenya

·    H.E. Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria

“The U.S.-Africa Business Forum is a momentous occasion to continue building bridges between the United States and Africa and forge two-way trade and investment partnerships. The Corporate Council on Africa is honored to work with our partners at the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Prosper Africa to unite U.S. and African government and private sector leaders to engage on several critical issues impacting the U.S.-Africa economic relationship. We look forward to the business connections that will be made, the new deals that will be solidified and the new partnerships that will be launched,” says Florie Liser, President and CEO of Corporate Council on Africa.  

For more information about the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, please visit the CCA’s website

For questions about the 2022 U.S.-Africa Business Forum, please email USABF2022@trade.gov.

For questions about CCA’s sideline events, please email usabf@corporatecouncilonafrica.com

Distributed byAfrican Media Agencyon behalf of Corporate Council on Africa

ABOUT CORPORATE COUNCIL ON AFRICA (CCA)

Corporate Council on Africa is the leading U.S. business association focused solely on connecting business interests between the United States and Africa. CCA uniquely represents a broad cross section of member companies from small and medium size businesses to multinationals as well as U.S. and African firms. Learn more at www.corporatecouncilonafrica.com

Media Contact:

Stacey Pompey, spompey@corporatecouncilonafrica.com 

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Hantec Financial set on further global expansion into African markets

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HONG KONG, SAR, 22 November 2022,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Hantec Financial an award-winning brand, under Hantec Group, officially announced its ongoing global expansion into Rwanda. Hantec offers its prestigious financial services and opens the doorway to new global trading opportunities.

Global regulated and offering diversified financial service

Hantec with over 30 years of experience and authorized with 12 regulatory licenses, is constantly exploring opportunities to expand its business to new markets. The group is now present in 19 cities across 14 countries worldwide, covering Greater China, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Australia, the UK, Europe, South America, the Middle East, Africa etc. Also offers a variety of financial assets including forex, CFDs, commodities, indices and US stocks with competitive spread and leverage. 

A credible brand to ensure fund safety and secure trading

Hantec Financial as a trusted financial service provider believes in the power of technology to protect customer assets and improve service levels, it continuously optimizes its platform by keeping up with changes in the market and adapting to investor preferences.

The team has obtained the ISO 27001 and ISO 20000 international certifications. It ensures that Hantec Financial meets the international security level in the power of protecting customer assets and offers a smooth, stable, and safe trading experience for investors.

Hantec Financial strive to deliver professional localized financial services for all

In 2022, Fxdailyinfo.com awarded Hantec Financial as “Best Forex Broker APAC” at the Broker Awards 2022 to recognise its professional and excellent financial services in the APAC region. Hantec Financial has the expertise and experience to make high-quality investment services for all people. 

“Expanding the footprint into Rwanda and the rest of Africa enables us to offer more international trading opportunities for our valued clients,” said Freddy, CEO of Hantec Group. Hantec Financial also draws up a highly localized approach by cultivating local teams, and integrating local culture into its operations, to serve investors and clients from all over the globe.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Hantec Financial

About Hantec Financial:

https://hantecfinancial.com/

Media Contact: 

csd@hantec.com

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