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The Leadership of the African Bar Association has deliberated on the needless controversy surrounding the affairs of the African Development Bank (AFDB), the Continent’s topmost Financial Institution.

The Association notes very clearly that the allegations formulated against the President of the Bank, Mr. Akinwumi Adesina had been thoroughly investigated by the Ethics Committee of the Bank which has the duty to look into such allegations as provided by the instruments which established and guides the operations of the Bank. The report of the Committee exonerated Mr. Adesina of any wrong doing or breach. Ordinarily, this should put the matter to rest but for the rejection of the report of the Bank’s Ethics Committee and a call for an external independent probe by some Foreign Shareholders of the Bank.

The position of the African Bar Association is that, though such Shareholders have a right of say in the affairs of the Bank, they however have no right to impose their views or private procedures on the Institution. The implication of the current imbroglio will spew more confusion if the so called independent Commission was to come out with a finding different from that of Bank’s Ethics Committee.

The implication is that Mr. Akinwumi Adesina, the current President of the Bank who is standing for Election for another term in office and is the sole Candidate for that election is being targeted for extraneous reasons.

The African Bar Association regrets that if the situation is not fairly and procedurally handled in accordance with the extant Laws and regulations of the Bank, the affairs could be jeopardized leading to dire consequences and this could spell a gradual descent into abyss marking the deliberate destruction of one of Africa’s surviving legacies that unites the Continent.

That Mr. Adesina’s current tenure has been marked with Giant strides and monumental achievements is not in doubt and it is our belief that these achievements and purposeful Leadership offered at any point in time should matter more to Shareholders and Promoters of the Bank. The African Bar Association has opted at this critical time to stand with Mr. Akinwumi Adesina for the continued growth and overall success of the African Development Bank (AFDB).

Dated in Monrovia, Liberia the 1st day of June, 2020.

Hannibal Uwaifo President

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Dearest Colleagues,

The sudden discovery and spread of the Corona Virus Pandemic otherwise also referred to as Covid-19 has brought untold disruptions and hardships to the lives of everyone living on planet earth including the Legal profession and especially members of the African Bar Association (AFBA). No doubt, Legal services and activities have been badly hit due to the very many and strict restrictions imposed by Nations across the globe in order to save lives and protect the future of national and global activities.

The reasons for the breakout and widespread of this flu varies as there are varied interests but the common denominator is that we all are affected. Some Nations have been badly hit than others, with many deaths and sufferings following.

Across the globe, many are in hospitals, health care facilities and isolation centers. Many lives have also been saved, others lost and some suffering from the disease. We see all these happenings every day.

On behalf of the African Bar Association, I give special thanks to our Doctors, Nurses and all our Health Care Workers, the world over. They are in the front line and protect us daily, caring for the sick and doing all that is possible to minimize the damage of this disaster. We thank their families for this Great sacrifices which they continue to make. We are extremely proud of you all for your courage in the face of this life threatening disease.

The African Bar Association is also very immensely grateful to the Media and Journalists the world over. Despite the risks associated with their jobs, they remain with our Health Care workers in the frontline bringing to our homes, to our attention very important and useful news materials and information necessary for the safety of the world. We are also very grateful for Leaders of Governments the world over and their officials for their daily updates and prompt actions taken to protect our Health Workers and providing facilities to take this destructive scourge. The African Bar Association remains committed to being part of the Continental and Global Solutions to wiping out this Pandemic.

Using appropriate and available medium of communication, we have offered several suggestions and participated in international efforts to ease the.

effects of the lockdowns that have badly affected the means of livelihood of citizens across the African Continent especially Lawyers who are unable to offer Legal services maximally due to the restrictions imposed to safeguard public health.

Recently, we organized and offered to our members online international conferences and seminars. These have met with a lot of applause and we are poised to organize more in the coming days and months to aid our professional practice. In the meantime, we urge you all to continue to make use of safe means for carrying out your duties particularly to children, women, the aged, weak and defenceless citizens.

The African Bar Association has made it stand very clear “The rule of Law and the Rights of Citizens are not suspended due to Covid-19 Pandemic”. We have a crucial role to play in ensuring that the rule of Law and its fundamental principles remains relevant and fully observed during this period especially the rights of citizens and access to Justice and judicial review.

We must continue to hold our Governments and Security agencies across the Continent responsible for the safeguard of the rights and protection of her citizens. It is in this direction that the African Bar Association condemns in strong terms the racial and discriminatory practices of the Chinese authorities and some of her citizens against Africans and blacks who are unfortunate to be in China at this period. This irresponsible conduct of segregating Africans and blacks is not only unfortunate but is not in the best interest of China. The African Bar Association calls on China to accept responsibility for these bad judgments and immediately reverse the trend. Our Association is studying this situation and will respond to these situations and other matters arising out of Chinese trade and political activities in Africa. Our responses will definitely include but not limited to international Legal challenges if our assessments warrants same. However, the African Bar Association is considering the suggestion of an open dialogue with Chinese authorities over discriminatory practices and an unfair trade practices.

The controversy surrounding Covid-19 Pandemic, health hazards and 5G technology has also been brought to the attention of our noble Association. While AFBA welcomes the debate just like any other type of public discourse, AFBA however believes that the giant strides recorded in modern science and technology is too significant to be lost in controversy and unempirical arguments with no proved scientific basis.

Whenever it becomes a matter of Legal argument in our Law Courts or a matter of Legal thesis, we encourage all our members to participate and help enrich the Law of science and technology. However, as a policy, the African Bar Association welcomes the introduction of 5G technology and we are of the 3 conviction that there is no hazard involved not already associated with modern discoveries and science.

We also are convinced that 5G technology has nothing to do with the Covid-19 Pandemic and we look forward to 6G science to advance Law and social engineering.

Distinguished colleagues, as we continue to battle the Covid-19 experience, let us be very cautious of our environment and those around us by observing and practicing the strict sanitation rules laid down by Governments and authorities in our Continent and the world over. Some of these measures are;

(a) Wash our hands very frequently with soap under running water, ensure your finger nails are properly cleaned.

(b) Use disinfectants and hand sanitizers on your hands and rub properly very frequently and as often as you touch any thing.

(c) Wipe surfaces, door handles and frequently touched places with disinfectants frequently.

(d) Expose shoes, clothes and other objects especially purchased items under the sun.

(e) Drink warm water, eat fruits and vegitables and immune system boosting foods frequently.

(f) Drink water frequently and remain hydrated always.

(g) Avoid touching your face, nose and mouth.

(h) Keep social distance and avoid crowded places or large gatherings.

(i) Stay indoors and only go out when absolutely necessary.

(j) Work from home except it is absolutely important to work from the office and use alternative means of mass communication particularly online and use more of online transactions for your financial needs.

Finally, I encourage all of us to persevere, be our neighbour’s keeper and like all other human difficulties and situations, we shall soon overcome. Best wishes to your families.

Hannibal Uwaifo

President of the African Bar Association

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The African Bar Association (AFBA) regrets to announce the rescheduling of the 2020 Annual Conference earlier billed to hold at the Mahatma Ghandi International Conference Center in Niamey, Republic of Niger from 19th -24th July to the February 28th - 5th of March 2021 at the same Venue.

This development is sequel to issues relating to the Corona Virus Pandemic currently ravaging the Globe and the attendant restrictions and other severe measures put in place by various Governments to tackle the disease and its spread.

Some of these measures which include lockdown of Cities, Businesses, National boarders and social distancing measures have led to prolonged stay at home, severe flight restrictions locally and internationally. The situation has also led to loss of businesses with the attendant financial and other logistical constraints.

This unavoidable decision which was made jointly by the AFBA Governing Council and the Niger Bar Association, was taken in the overall interest of the organizers and participants at the annual program. While regretting the attendant inconveniences that may arise from this decision, we urge everyone to continue to embrace all measures put in place to stop the spread of this deadly virus.

We look forward to an early solution to this global problem and return to normalcy to enable the conference activities take place as now rescheduled.

Dated in Lagos Nigeria this 13th day of May, 2020

Hannibal Uwaifo

Presiden

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THE AFRICAN BAR ASSOCIATION AFRICAN BUSINESS ROUND TABLE.

POLICY DIALOGUE COMMITTEE SERIES

TOPIC: CHINESE TRADE IN AFRICA: FOUL OR FAIR

Over the last few years, China has become the foremost global force in business and has dominated trade in goods and services across the world.

 Africa, mostly underdeveloped and underpriced as a result of several factors, some of which are self- inflicted and arising from corruption, lack of foresight, and armed conflict depends solely on Europe, America and Asia for survival of business, trade, infrastructural development, and recently, loan facilities. In the last twenty years, bilateral trade between China and Africa has exponentially doubled by over 65% and still growing.

However, this growth has seen Chinese businesses, mostly facilitated by the Chinese government, takeover every facets of businesses - top, middle, and low range commercial ventures in Africa. In fact, this has also led to a number of Chinese migrants, manning large business components and even retail businesses meant ordinarily, African locals.

It is pertinent to observe that, a review of the conditions, terms and agreements attached to or related to these Chinese businesses, and investments in Africa have raised several concerns on security, unfair trade balances, unfair trade terms, consumer protection, transparency, corruption, the debt trap diplomacy, immigration violations, human rights violations and neocolonialism.  These concerns are not far-fetched. For it is neocolonialism if the Chinese loan facilities are offered to African countries who do not have capacity to repay these loans and when these countries default on payments as they would invariably do, the Chinese would ponce on their national assets. It is worthy of note that most of the terms and conditions attached to these trade deals and businesses entered into by African countries with the Chinese are usually shrouded in secrecy. Further to this, Chinese business relations with Africa does not develop any local talent nor technology transfer as Chinese nationals are used to execute the contracts so funded by Chinese. 

In the wake of dwindling aid to Africa, less debt relieves, and stringent conditions attached to Western businesses; Africa is dancing to the firm grip of China and her tantalizing "Greek" offer.

Is this the case of the proverbial devil and the deep blue sea?

Is Africa not setting the stage for another throes of misery for her present and future generations? Or is this "Greek" prosperity?

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