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Chad to receive new C-27Js


Defenceweb.com

Written by Guy Martin, Monday, 14 October 2013

Chad’s Air Force will soon receive two new C-27J Spartan medium transport aircraft from Alenia Aermacchi, with the aircraft undergoing final assembly at the company’s site in Italy.

The first C-27J for the Force Aerienne Tchadienne (Chad Air Force) is mostly complete, having had its engines installed ahead of a provisional mid-December delivery, and is undergoing avionics and mission systems installation. The fuselage of the second aircraft will shortly arrive at Alenia’s Caselle site in Turin, where the C-27J final assembly line is located.

Training of Chadian flight crew and technicians is currently underway in preparation for delivery of the aircraft later this year.

The Chad Air Force has a small transport fleet, comprising of a couple of Antonov An-26s (which entered service in 1994) and a single Lockheed Martin C-130 (which entered service in 1989). It is possible that the An-26s will be replaced by the C-27Js.

Chad began discussing the possible purchase of Spartans some years ago, with a leaked 2009 US diplomatic cable discussing the possibility of Chad buying C-130Js or C-27Js. “Purchasing C-27Js would be more economical for the GOC [Government of Chad] than buying C-130Js and might be no more expensive than buying refitted C-130Hs,” the cable read. “The C-27Js can land at many more airports in Chad than the bigger C-130s, either Js or Hs, thus complementing USG [US Government] efforts to make the Chadian military capable of combating terrorism in Chad’s vast, remote, under-populated, and under-governed northern Saharan and Sahelian regions.”

Morocco is the only other C-27J operator in Africa, having bought four Spartans in October 2008. The first was delivered in July 2010. Morocco selected the C-27J for its ability to operate without under extreme environmental conditions, and without deployed ground support.

Alenia Aermacchi is gearing up to deliver another two C-27Js to Australia, as part of its May 2012 order for ten, and the final three of 21 for the US Air Force, which will place them in storage after the 2012 decision to stop flying the type.

The C-27J has been selected by more than ten countries, including Australia, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, the United States, Lithuania, Romania, Morocco, Slovakia, Mexico and Chad and has flown missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The aircraft has a payload capacity of 11.5 tons and can carry 60 troops or 36 litters with six attendants.

The Spartan’s closest competitor, the Airbus Military CN235/C295, has also been pushing for African sales, and has gained orders in Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt and Ghana.

Russian Helicopters Return To Africa


strategypage.com

Afghan National Air Corps MI-17 helicopters ta...
Afghan National Air Corps MI-17 helicopters take off in a formation practice. Air Force mentors assigned to Defense Reform Directorate Air Division under Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan provide guidance to soldiers with the Afghan Maintenance Operations Group. U.S. Air Force photo Tech. Sgt. Cecilio M. Ricardo Jr. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

October 2, 2013

Russia recently announced that it had sold some Mi-17 helicopters to Cameroon. This was a big deal because it was the first sale of Russian military equipment to Cameroon. Russia sees this as a trend as it seeks to revive Cold War era markets in sub-Saharan Africa. All that disappeared with the end of the Cold War and the Soviet Union in 1991. After that the new country of Russia (half the population of the Soviet Union) could no longer offer attractive financing terms, and many Soviet era customers saw Russian gear as second rate and switched to Western suppliers. But Russia persevered. It eventually provided better after market support for Soviet era equipment than the Soviets ever did and were quick to supply Mi-17s and Russian pilots for UN peacekeeping operations in Africa. East European contractors also established a good reputation with their leased Mi-17s and contract pilots. All this paved the way for the return of Russian aircraft salesmen and now, actual sales.

The Mi-17 has been very popular outside Russia for decades. Even the U.S. has bought over a hundred of them for Afghanistan, and then Iraq, as part of American military aid. These Russian choppers have Western electronics installed and are often rebuilt to make them more reliable and durable. Russia has made it easier for customers to install Western electronics and other accessories.

The cost of these Mi-17s varies widely. Some second hand ones from Eastern European nations cost less than a million dollars each. Iraq obtained 22 Mi-17 helicopters from Russia for about $3.7 million each. At one point the U.S. bought 24 refurbished Mi-17s for $4.4 million each. The most expensive purchase was for 22 Mi-17s equipped for night operations and with American electronics. These cost nearly $15 million each. Afghans and Iraqis prefer the Mi-17, as they have used Russian helicopters for decades.

The Mi-8/17 is a twin engine helicopter roughly equivalent to the U.S. UH-1 “Huey.” Both these helicopters arrived about the same time (Vietnam War era), but the Mi-8/17 is still in production and is the most widely exported (3,000 out of 12,000) helicopter on the planet. For many bargain conscious nations Russian helicopters are preferred. The Mi-8 is about twice the size and weight of the American UH-1, although it only hauls about 50 percent more cargo. However, the Mi-8 has a larger interior and can carry 24 troops (or up to 40 civilians), versus a dozen in the UH-1. The UH-1 was replaced by the UH-60 in the 1980s, while the Mi-8 just kept adding better engines and electronics to the basic Mi-8 frame.

The UH-60, while weighing twice as much as the 4.8 ton UH-1, could carry as much as the 12 ton Mi-8. However, the Mi-8 costs less than half as much as a UH-60, so if you want mobility for the least cost you get the Mi-17. Many peacekeeping and humanitarian operations go for the Mi-17, which can be leased from Eastern European firms, complete with maintenance crews and English speaking pilots.

Ex-Clinton aide wins court ruling against African country


Thehill.com

By Kevin Bogardus – 08/26/13 06:12 PM ET

A U.S. court has ruled that the Republic of Equatorial Guinea must pay Lanny Davis, who served as special counsel to former President Clinton, more than $158,000.

In an opinion signed Monday, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras awarded the sum to his firm, Lanny J. Davis & Associates, for his “unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses” owed by the tiny African country.

In 2010, Davis entered into a joint contract with his then-law firm McDermott Will & Emery to represent Equatorial Guinea. Under the more than $2 million contract, Davis and others were to embark on “a comprehensive reform program” for the oil-rich nation, according to Justice records.

Equatorial Guinea has not been a shining beacon of democracy.

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo seized power in 1979 through a military coup. The country has been beset by allegations of human rights violations, and Obiang’s son was the subject of a probe by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for moving millions of dollars through the United States.

In October 2011, Davis filed a complaint against the country for breaching their contract by not paying back his expenses. Davis noted that he traveled several times to Africa, wrote a speech for Obiang and worked with senior State Department officials and the U.S. ambassador to Equatorial Guinea on behalf of the country.

Equatorial Guinea did not respond to Davis’s complaint in court.

Mark Zaid, an attorney representing Davis, said the large sum of money awarded is to pay back Davis for expenses he accrued while representing Equatorial Guinea that the country didn’t reimburse.

“This will cover out-of-pocket expenses that Lanny spent while representing Equatorial Guinea and trying to bring them into law and democracy, for things like airfare and other travel expenses. It also covers interest on the underlying debt for the past two years from the unpaid bills,” Zaid said.

Davis came under criticism for representing Equatorial Guinea, but Zaid said Davis was working to reform the country.

“He [Davis] was hired to persuade the country to act more democratic, to open up its relations with the United States. The job was to bring established democracy to the people of Equatorial Guinea. Unfortunately, the country not only turned its back on that effort but stiffed Lanny in the process for those out-of-pocket expenses,” Zaid said.

Zaid said they will pursue the country’s assets here in the United States in order to recoup Davis’s expenses.

“We will be going around the country and trying grab Equatorial Guinea’s assets here in the United States to pay back this judgment. Eventually, we will get it,” Zaid said.

Conflict minerals reporting guidance published


SupplyManagement

October 1, 2013 | Helen Gilbert

The guidance, compiled by the Responsible Sourcing Network and Enough Project, has been produced ahead of the 31 May 2014 deadline that requires companies who source minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo to submit their first conflict minerals disclosures to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Policies should articulate a commitment to ensuring sourcing practices do not support conflict, human rights abuses including forced labour, mass atrocities and crimes against humanity, the Expectations for Companies’ Conflict Minerals Reporting guidance stated.

It detailed how firms should commit to exercising supply chain due diligence and consider the implementation of a supply chain transparency system that allows for the identification of the smelters and/or refiners in its minerals supply chain.

The metals tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold – also known as 3TG – should only be sourced from conflict-free covered countries, while companies should only use 3TG minerals from smelters that have been audited and verified as conflict free by a credible programme such as the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative, the document states.

Other recommendations include developing a conflict minerals programme that incorporates a description of the steps that will be taken to identify, assess, mitigate and respond to risks.

At a minimum steps should include supply chain surveys, supplier training, supplier and smelter encouragement, and an obligation to participate in the Conflict Free Smelter programme or equivalent, provided such industry schemes adhere to international standards, audits and unannounced spot checks, the report stipulated.

Darren Fenwick, senior government affairs manager at the Enough Project and report co-author said advocates for a clean minerals trade were keen to understand how companies, who are connected to the Congo through mineral sourcing, are addressing their connection to the conflict that has resulted in millions of deaths.

“Companies whose reports show compliance benefit from positive public sentiment and increased brand recognition,” he said.

Fellow co-author Patricia Jurewicz, Responsible Sourcing Network director added: “Investors would like to see their companies establish baselines the first year and specify the steps they are taking so we can then measure improvements in transparency and accountability reporting over time. Our paper provides a set of specific indicators that can be tracked to allow for comparability between annual reports.”

 

African surveillance market on the rise


Defenceweb

April 18, 2013

The size of the African surveillance market is expected to increase dramatically over the next five years, notably due to unrest affecting the continent.

As unrest and security threats continue to escalate, particularly in Northern Africa, it is reasonable to assume that there will be an increased demand for surveillance technology within the next six months, from various security forces across the region as new opportunities for companies providing surveillance solutions are being created, according to Vislink, a global company specialising in the design and manufacture of secure video communications systems.

Vislink, with offices in South Africa, the UK, USA, UAE, Australia and Singapore, said that the African military and surveillance sectors are still not mature in terms of the technology available to them and so considerable investment in this technology will be required.

“Vislink is ideally situated to capitalise upon this demand, providing the high-quality but affordable equipment necessary to deliver an all-encompassing security effort,” stated Ali Zarkesh, Business Development Director at Vislink.

Globally, the company is doing well in the surveillance and military markets – in 2011, Vislink’s activity in the military field represented 16% of the company’s total revenues and the global market for Vislink’s surveillance products currently sits at around £200 million. Vislink’s activity in the law enforcement sector, which represents 70% of total surveillance revenues, is specifically driven by the growing need for robust video surveillance.

At present, the biggest opportunities in the military and surveillance space are coming from the Middle East, Far East and Latin America, Zarkesh said. Growth in the Middle East is driven by the volatile geopolitical environment and subsequent rising trend in upgrading military communications systems and networks. Vislink is also seeing significant opportunities from coalition forces deployed around the world. These bodies require a reliable means of communication to connect foot patrols, airborne units and command centres.

North African countries, in particular, are currently investing in surveillance solutions in order to help return a level of stability to the region. The political and security situation that has escalated in the past two years has created several opportunities for Vislink in this sector.

“It is also important to consider that several other countries in this part of the world have a heavy military focus. Wide ranging budgets are allocated to the defence sector in order to secure the country’s borders and protect its inhabitants. As a result, Vislink’s main opportunities across developing regions stem from growing covert surveillance demands,” Zarkesh said.

However, the future is not all bright as there are big challenges as well as opportunities in the defence industry. For instance, the UK spends around £34 billion on defence each year, yet the armed forces have recently seen the biggest budget cuts to their sector since 1991. This presents a unique challenge in itself, with military personnel requiring the same high-quality surveillance solutions as before, but now without the premium price tag, Vislink pointed out.

Vislink specialises in the production of satellite, wireless, video and IP solutions and targets government, surveillance, broadcast and news markets. For instance it delivers news gathering tools for the media and surveillance options for the government and military.

The company recently launched its Mantis MSAT, which it claims is the world’s smallest and lightest satellite data terminal, weighing 12.5 kg (27.5 lb). “Following a successful launch, the product has been deployed by several military forces around the world,” Vislink said. The Mantis MSAT can deliver voice, video and data communications, including HD video. Initial military orders have been filled and Vislink’s MSAT terminals are currently undergoing field trials for battlefield, command centre and special operations implementations.

Nigeria: States urged to adopt public procurement system to enhance transparency


Nigerian Tribune

by  Gbolahan SubairAbuja

April 11, 2013

THE Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) has advised state governors to set up a public procurement system as a way of ensuring further transparency and accountability in government.

Director-General of the BPP, Mr Emeka Ezeh made this call while speaking at a high level interactive session with a delegation of the Lagos State public procurement agency at the state house office in Abuja.

Mr Ezeh praised Lagos State for their procurement reform initiative, adding, however, that the nation would benefit as a whole if more states joined Lagos, even as few other states that have already introduced the reform.

The BPP boss emphasised the fact that there was no alternative to ensuring accountability, transparency and value for money in the public expenditure and contractive process if national development is to be guaranteed.

According to him, due process is the cardinal focus in the implementation of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda, and it is also a common mantra in the international economics system and development.

Mr Akin Onimole, the General Manager and CEO of the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency, who led the delegation on the familiarisation visit to the Bureau, emphasised the fact that the Bureau of Public Procurement has set a standard through its public procurement reform that should be emulated in all the states. He stated that the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency has, in the last few years, watched with keen interest the giant strides of the Bureau and as such is most willing to follow in the same path.

Public Works as a Safety Net: Design, Evidence, and Implementation


World Bank

Synopsis

PWBookCover

Public Works as a Safety Net: Design, Evidence, and Implementation reviews the conceptual underpinnings and operational elements of public works programs around the world. Drawing from a rich evidence base including program documentation, policy papers, peer-reviewed publications, and empirical data from over 40 countries, it provides an overview of the state of public works programs and how they function as part of wider social protection systems.

The book provides a comprehensive analysis of the design features and alternative models of public works implemented under diverse country settings. Topics covered include program objectives, institutional and financing arrangements, targeting, costs and benefits, gender considerations, and monitoring and evaluation. Political economy issues that inform the development and effectiveness of public works programs are also addressed, bringing into focus the centrality of governance and transparency to ensure the achievement of program outcomes.

The comprehensive nature of the review, and its thorough analysis of available data, fills a gap in knowledge related to public works program design and implementation. The book should benefit both policy makers and practitioners involved in public works planning. It will also help inform future efforts to incorporate public works as an important tool of integrated national social protection systems, that will help respond to unpredictable global shocks leading to sudden declines in employment, whether seasonal or systemic. Download the report here.

Ethiopia: WFP Buys Record Quantity of Maize From Ethiopian Cooperative Unions


AllAfrica.com

February 26th, 2013

Addis Ababa — The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has announced that local farmers cooperatives in Ethiopia have begun delivering the largest amount of maize they have ever sold to WFP, enough to support more than 1.8 million people for a month.

Before the planting season last year, WFP signed forward contracts with 16 cooperative unions in Ethiopia for purchase of more than 28,000 metric tons of maize. The first deliveries on those contracts began arriving at WFP warehouses last week. The maize will be used for WFP relief distributions in Ethiopia.

“Our goal here is to support Ethiopia feeding itself,” said WFP Country Director Abdou Dieng. “Buying food for our Ethiopia operation right here in Ethiopia makes sense in cost-effectiveness, and in providing a boost for the local economy by helping small farmers to get closer to markets.”

This is being done under WFP’s Purchase for Progress initiative (P4P), which is financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented in collaboration with the government of Ethiopia through the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA).

The forward delivery contracts signed with the cooperatives are one approach the P4P pilot initiative is testing to promote small farmers’ access to markets. To support the cooperatives in fulfilling their contracts, WFP provides technical assistance to farmers associations for storage and post-harvest handling and logistical support. Through agreements with local banks, several agricultural cooperatives were able to use their WFP contracts as collateral for loans to buy new equipment and aggregate more maize from their members.

In Ethiopia, WFP buys food grown locally in two ways: It buys from small-scale farmers and farmer cooperatives through P4P, and also buys large quantities of locally grown commodities through its regular procurement tender process.

In 2012, WFP purchased more than 112,000 metric tons of food in Ethiopia, more than any other country on the continent.

About 90 percent of this food has been used directly for WFP operations within Ethiopia. For example, more than 37 schools taking part in the WFP school meal programme in Ethiopia receive food harvested nearby.

Last year WFP assisted more than six million people throughout Ethiopia, including refugees.

 

Somalia: UN experts on use of mercenaries urge greater oversight for private security contractors


UN News Centre

18 December 2012 – The Government of Somalia must do more to ensure the security of its citizens while increasing regulations on private military and security companies, a United Nations expert panel urged today at the conclusion of its seven-day visit to the Horn of Africa country.

“As Somalia rebuilds its security institutions, the Government should ensure that private security forces are properly regulated and do not become a substitute for competent and accountable police,” said Faiza Patel, who currently heads the UN’s Working Group on the use of mercenaries.

“All Somalis have the right to security, not just those who can afford to pay for it,” she added.

After decades of factional fighting, the East Africa country has been undergoing a peace and national reconciliation process, with a series of landmark steps that have helped bring an end to the country’s nine-year political transition period and the resulting security vacuum which rendered Somalia one of the most lawless States on the planet. These steps included the adoption of a Provisional Constitution, the establishment of a new Parliament and the appointments of a new President and a new Prime Minister.

The Working Group commended the formation of the new Government and its efforts to establish a functioning, peaceful and democratic nation. It noted, however, that the new administration needed to reinforce its control over the private armed security sector through redefined laws and offered its assistance in developing such legislation by drawing on best practices learned from other countries.

“Such laws and their consistent application are critical to guarantee that private security providers operate in a legal, transparent and accountable manner,” Working Group-member Anton Katz stated, adding that the availability of private security should not detract from “the urgent need to provide security for all Somalis.”

In its findings, the Working Group noted that some private security contractors have not always operated transparently in the East African country and, occasionally, veer away from their prescribed goals of providing simple protection from armed factions, bandits and pirates.

Pointing to one instance in the state of Puntland, the UN experts cited incidents involving the Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF) which was created with the aim to repel the continuing scourge of piracy afflicting the Somali coast.

The Working Group established that the PMPF had engaged in operations unrelated to piracy, including a recent case in which the police force had worked to prevent a candidate for the Puntland presidency from campaigning in Bossaso, the area’s largest city.

Ms. Patel warned that the PMPF was operating outside the legal framework and called on local authorities to integrate the force into “the agreed-upon Somali national security structure and ensure that it is used strictly for the purposes for which it is intended.”

Turning to the issue of piracy – a problem which has long affected international shipping in the heavily trafficked waterways off the coast of Somalia – the UN experts said they were satisfied that piracy had decreased over the past year, although they expressed concern at the continuing use of armed guards aboard vessels.

Ms. Patel called upon the international community to reach an agreement on regulations and procedures regarding the use of armed personnel in the shipping industry, cautioning that a failure to do so created risks for human rights violations at sea.

At the same time, the Working Group also examined the use of private contractors by the UN as well as the UN-backed African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and welcomed efforts to ensure that the security providers had a clean human rights record and maintained the “gold standard” when it came to human rights issues.

In addition to Ms. Patel of Pakistan, the working group is currently composed of Patricia Arias of Chile, Elzbieta Karska of Poland, Anton Katz of South Africa, and Gabor Rona of the United States and Hungary. Reporting to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, they are independent from any government or organization, and serve in their individual capacities.

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