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Accélérer la transition énergétique de l’Afrique

PARIS – Presque partout en Afrique, on estime essentielle sur le plan environnemental la transition des combustibles fossiles vers des formes d’énergie plus propres. Puisque les combustibles fossiles occupent la plus grande part — autant que 70 % dans certains cas — du profil énergétique des pays africains, la situation écologique du continent est vraiment sombre.


Or, la transition énergétique de l’Afrique est également urgente sur le plan économique. Chaque année, les subventions à la consommation de pétrole accaparent 1,5 % de PIB du continent — environ 50 milliards $. Il y a là assez d’argent pour distribuer de l’énergie solaire à plus de 300 millions de personnes. Si le continent pouvait rééquilibrer sa consommation énergétique, en s’éloignant progressivement des hydrocarbures, ces subventions pourraient être réaffectées de manière à générer des avantages économiques et environnementaux.

Aujourd’hui, ni les exportateurs ni les importateurs de pétrole ne sont assez isolés contre les fluctuations de prix. Lorsque les cours du pétrole ont plongé en 2015, par exemple, des pays africains importateurs d’énergie ont réduit leurs coûts en pétrole, tout en exportant vers des pays ayant subi des revers financiers. Lorsque les prix ont rebondi, la relation s’est inversée : les revenus des pays exportateurs d’énergie se sont mis à remonter, pendant que les pays importateurs peinaient à maintenir leur niveau de consommation.

Ces cycles ne sont pas nécessaires, car intégrer une énergie plus propre dans les systèmes d’énergie nationale non seulement relèverait les capacités localement ; mais libérerait aussi des stocks d’hydrocarbures pour l’exportation. Les recettes pourraient être investies dans de nouvelles formes d’énergie. Cette transition, à laquelle doit participer le secteur pétrolier, promet d’insuffler un élan au progrès socioéconomique.

Parmi les plus grands avantages, on y retrouverait l’électrification de régions qui, dans l’état actuel des réseaux de distribution, sont littéralement dans le noir. Aujourd’hui, uniquement 30 % de l’Afrique a accès à un réseau fiable de distribution d’électricité. Pourtant, avec une capacité totale estimée autour de dix térawatts, le parc installé de centrales solaires en Afrique pourrait grandement élargir l’accès. En fait, selon certaines estimations, la production accrue d’énergie solaire d’ici 2030 pourrait atteindre de 15 à 62 gigawatts.

Les combustibles fossiles ne sont pas prêts de disparaître de sitôt, mais une consommation d’énergie laissant beaucoup plus de place à l’énergie solaire amènerait des avantages économiques majeurs à l’Afrique, surtout dans les régions où l’agriculture est le secteur économique dominant. L’électrification des régions agraires faciliterait le stockage et le transport des produits d’élevage, améliorerait la sécurité alimentaire et développerait la capacité des exploitants agricoles de générer des revenus.

Dans sa recherche d’un bilan énergétique équilibré, le continent africain possède un avantage déterminant sur les économies développées : c’est un terrain vierge. La filière d’énergie la plus porteuse pour l’Afrique réside dans l’énergie verte, car l’Afrique a relativement peu investi dans les technologies du passé. Même si chaque pays doit composer entre ses propres besoins en énergie et le recours aux sources d’énergie renouvelable, en particulier à l’énergie solaire, cette stratégie s’avère la moins coûteuse pour stimuler l’essor économique de tout le continent.

Les quelques centrales photovoltaïques qui commencent à être exploitées en Afrique témoignent de ce potentiel. Par exemple, la centrale solaire Senergy 2 du Sénégal distribue son électricité à la Société nationale d’électricité du Sénégal à un prix, ce qui abaisse le coût du bilan énergétique de 50 %. Des solutions similaires en solaire sont mises en œuvre par les sociétés de télécommunications africaines pour électrifier les tours de communication.

La meilleure façon d’accélérer la transition des hydrocarbures vers des formes d’énergie plus écologiques serait de réaffecter vers les énergies renouvelables une portion des subventions nationales accordées au secteur pétrolier. Ceci créerait des incitatifs pour réduire la consommation des carburants fossiles, tout en encourageant les investissements et la croissance de la production d’énergie renouvelable. Pour les régions rurales de l’Afrique, de telles politiques auraient également l’avantage de sortir les collectivités de la noirceur et d’avoir des effets d’entraînement sur l’implantation d’autres infrastructures essentielles à la croissance économique.

Même si les énergies renouvelables détiennent la clé de la prospérité à long terme de l’Afrique, la transition du continent vers des énergies plus propres ne devrait pas mener à un abandon immédiat et complet des hydrocarbures. Le secteur pétrolier aura toujours un rôle important à jouer. L’expérience des intervenants du secteur sur le continent sera nécessaire pour mener à bon port la transformation énergétique. Et, puisque les combustibles fossiles feront encore partie du bilan énergétique du continent, il faut à tout prix intéresser les pétrolières à régler elles-mêmes les problèmes qu’elles génèrent.

Ceci semble être une alliance improbable. Mais pendant que des responsables politiques de tout le continent s’efforcent d’assurer des approvisionnements d’énergie propre pour générer une croissance économique rapide, inclusive et qui satisfait les critères de viabilité environnementale, ils se rendront probablement compte qu’il n’y a pas d’autre possibilité. La coopération entre le secteur des énergies conventionnelles et celui des nouvelles formes d’énergie est peut-être le seul moteur de croissance qui puisse vraiment faire progresser l’Afrique.

Traduit de l’anglais par Pierre Castegnier

Charlotte Aubin est PDG de GreenWish Partners, un producteur d’énergie renouvelable qui consacre ses activités à l’Afrique subsaharienne.

Charlotte Aubin

Une réponse réellement mondiale au changement climatique

 

BONN – La lutte contre le changement climatique ne porte pas uniquement sur la limitation des températures mondiales. Elle peut également être le moteur du développement et de la réduction de la pauvreté dans le monde. Lors de la 23e Conférence des Parties à la Convention-cadre des Nations unies sur les changements climatiques, la COP23, qui s’est tenue à Bonn, Allemagne, en novembre, les institutions multilatérales de développement se sont montrées plus déterminées que jamais à soutenir et à financer ces objectifs essentiels.


Le climat politique actuel est incertain. Mais le changement climatique ne l’est pas. Des partenariats mondiaux doivent être développés dans le cadre de l’effort global pour effectuer une transition en douceur vers un développement économe en carbone et respectueux du climat. A cet égard, les institutions multilatérales de développement sont particulièrement pertinentes.

Le développement respectueux du climat s’avère également judicieux au plan économique et commercial, en particulier en matière d’infrastructures durables. Nous avons déjà constaté une croissance phénoménale des énergies renouvelables, accompagnée de la création d’emplois et de nouvelles perspectives commerciales. De nombreux investissements intelligents au plan du climat peuvent aussi contribuer à réduire les embouteillages et la pollution atmosphérique. Développer aujourd’hui les capacités de résistance fera économiser de l’argent demain. Nous sommes déterminés à soutenir un avenir intelligent au plan climatique.

En tant qu’institutions multilatérales de développement, nous réaffirmons notre engagement envers l’accord de Paris sur le climat. Notre rôle est de faciliter le financement public et privé qui est la pierre angulaire des solutions devant être apportées au changement climatique.

C’est la raison pour laquelle, deux ans après la négociation fructueuse de l’accord de Paris, nous alignons de plus en plus les actions et les ressources en soutien des objectifs des pays en développement. En juillet dernier, le plan d'action Énergie et climat pour la croissance du sommet du G20 de Hambourg a intégré l’accord de Paris dans les politiques du G20 et noté qu’une utilisation plus efficace du financement apporté par les institutions multilatérales de développement était la clé de l’innovation et des investissement privés dans la lutte contre le changement climatique.

Rien qu’en 2016, les institutions multilatérales de développement ont engagé plus de 27 milliards de dollars pour financer la lutte contre le changement climatique et nous continuons à développer nos activités, déterminés à élargir le financement public et privé mobilisé pour les actions contre le changement climatique lors de la COP23.

Nous nous engageons à :

• Tenir les promesses faites en 2015 d’augmenter notre soutien aux investissements dans le domaine du climat dans les pays en développement, à la fois au moyen de nos fonds propres et en mobilisant un financement extérieur ;
• Mobiliser davantage les investissements du secteur privé en appuyant des réformes politiques et réglementaires, au moyen notamment de l’alignement des signaux-prix, de l’utilisation novatrice d’instruments politiques et financiers et, le cas échéant, en tirant parti des financements à des conditions de faveur (inférieures au taux d’intérêt du marché monétaire) pour intensifier les investissements publics et privés dans des projets climatiques.
• Renforcer les efforts internationaux en travaillant ensemble et avec d’autres institutions de financement du développement pour améliorer la transparence et la cohérence du suivi du financement de la lutte contre le changement climatique et des rapports sur les émissions de gaz à effet de serre ;
• Mettre le changement climatique au centre de notre action, faire des politiques climatiques une partie intégrante de nos activités et aligner les flux financiers aux objectifs de l’accord de Paris ;
• Soutenir les plans d’actions climatiques des pays, villes et territoires et créer les conditions d’une nouvelle génération ambitieuse de telles contributions ; et
• Travailler avec nos clients pour soutenir les initiatives qui protègent les zones les plus vulnérables des effets du changement climatique, dont les petits États insulaires en développement, tout en mobilisant davantage de financement pour les pays en développement afin qu’ils puissent renforcer leur résilience et adapter leurs infrastructures, communautés, écosystèmes et entreprises aux effets du changement climatique.

Chacune de ces mesures reflète notre ferme engagement envers les Objectifs de développement durable. En poursuivant ces objectifs, la lutte contre le changement climatique deviendra une partie intégrante fondamentale du travail de la communauté internationale pour placer les infrastructures et le déploiement de nouvelles politiques et technologies pour l’énergie, l’eau et la mobilité au centre du développement durable.

Il s’agit d’une réponse sérieuse à un défi majeur. Le changement climatique représente une grave menace pour l’environnement naturel, la croissance économique et les vies de l’ensemble de la population mondiale, et en particulier des plus pauvres et vulnérables.

Il est opportun que cette menace pour les économies nationales et pour chaque personne sur cette planète, ainsi que l’occasion de s’attaquer à ce problème, soit contrée avec l’appui des institutions multilatérales de développement. Nous invitons d’autres parties prenantes à se joindre à nous en plaçant la lutte contre le changement climatique au cœur de leurs activités, en augmentant le financement dédié à cette lutte et en suivant l’impact de ce financement partout dans le monde.

Akinwumi Adesina est le président de la Banque africaine de développement (BAD). Suma Chakrabarti est le président de la Banque européenne pour la reconstruction et le développement (BERD). Bandar M. H. Hajjar est le président de la Banque islamique de développement (ISDB). Werner Hoyer est le président de la Banque européenne d'investissement (BEI). Kundapur Vaman Kamath est le président de la Nouvelle banque de développement des BRICS. Jim Yong Kim est le président de la Banque mondiale. Jin Liqun est le président de la Banque asiatique d'investissement dans les infrastructures (AIIB). Luis Alberto Moreno est le président de la Banque interaméricaine de développement (BID). Takehiko Nakao est le président de la Banque asiatique de développement (BAD).

 

Par Akinwumi Adesina, Suma Chakrabarti, Bandar M. H. Hajjar, Werner Hoyer, Kundapur Vaman Kamath, Jim Yong Kim, Jin Liqun, Luis Alberto Moreno et Takehiko Nakao

MOD official wants ECOWAS intervention

The Deputy Minister of Defense for Operations Jerome Larbelle, has urged the members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to continue its support towards the electoral process in Liberia.


According to a release from the Liberian Embassy in Abuja, the Liberian Deputy Defense Minister made the assertion during the 39th Ordinary Meeting of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council (MSC) at the Ministerial Level that held on December 12, 2017.

The MSC is part of series of the annual end-of-year Statutory Meetings of ECOWAS that are taking place in Abuja, Nigeria. The meetings come on the heels of this weekend’s 52nd Ordinary Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government.

According to the release, the Deputy Minister of Defense represented the Liberian side at the MSC, where security issues and the creation of a more stable region dominated the discussions.

The release adds that the Liberian Deputy Defense Minister noted that the return of ECOWAS’ team to help the country’s National Elections Commission (NEC) with the Final Registration Roll (FRR) will help maintain the peace and security in Liberia.

He asserted that peace in Liberia means peace in the sub-region.

Earlier, the President of the ECOWAS Commission Marcel de Souza, in his welcome remarks, talked about the sub regional body’s support for electoral activities in member States.

The President also noted other security concerns, including transhumance, farmers-pastoralists clashes as well as the scale of humanitarian situation. He however stressed that the Commission was on top of the situation.

Mr. Souza stressed the importance of adopting a comprehensive and all inclusive approach to enduring security architecture in order to have a more stable region.

The ECOWAS Commission’s President who gave an overview and a situation report in Member States while briefing the ministers on the social and political developments in the regional community, cited some Member States where terrorism, violent extremism and inter-communal conflict continue to be major threats to peace and security. These countries include Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Mali, Niger and Nigeria.

At the same time, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and African Integration of Togo and Chair of the MSC, Professor Robert Dussey, who declared the meeting opened, stressed the need to consolidate on the gains made so far by the Council.

According to him, it has become more imperative for all security issues with the potential of destabilizing the region to be treated with utmost care.

Among the issues considered by the Ministers were the Report of the 27th Meeting of the MSC at the Ambassadorial Level were memoranda on the political and security situation, and on the status of maritime security in the region.

The final report of the MSC would be forwarded to the ECOWAS Council of Ministers who meet on the heels of the MSC preparatory to the Summit of the Heads of state and Government on the 16th of December 2017.

The meetings continued on Wednesday and Thursday, December 13 to 14, 2017, with the 79th Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers.

Liberia’s Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Finance and Development Planning, Honorable Marjon V. Kamara and Boimah Kamara, are representing Liberia at the event.

Earlier, the 22nd Meeting of the Administration and Finance Committee (AFC) and the 27th Ordinary Meeting of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council at the Ambassadorial Level previously preceded the MSC meeting.

The 52nd Ordinary Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government climaxes the meetings this weekend, the release concludes.

“Liberia IPDP will be heart of Africa”

The Director General at the Intellectual Property Development Plan (IPDP) Mr. Roosevelt Gould has promised to make Liberia's Intellectual Property Development Plan the heart of Africa.


“My vision is to make the IPDP here in Liberia the heart of the African, where we will be compared to our neighbors in this region in the creative industry,” Mr. Gould said recently at the YMCA Conference Hall up Crown Hill in Monrovia at the start of a two - day stakeholders review workshop of the intellectual property development plan in partnership with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

He says the creative industry here in Liberia and the work of the Liberia Intellectual Property Office have been sidelined by the government, with most of government's attention allegedly focused on Poverty Reduction Strategy and other initiatives across the country.

The draft intellectual property strategic plan meant to be integrated into the country’s national development agenda has been validated by stakeholders in the creative industry.

The document is titled "Intellectual Property Development Plan," The strategic use of IP for technological capacity building, economic growth and development.
The document validated recently through a workshop in Monrovia aims at encouraging and facilitating useful creations, critical developments and management and protection of IP at the national level, as well as providing support to creative industry societies, and challenges facing the creative industry.

The IPDP document is a crosscutting one which links with diverse policy areas to ensure effective coordination with other activities that strengthen the country’s ability to generate economic growth, both in terms of GDP and human capital from IP.

LIPO Director General Roosevelt Gould says this IPDP, when developed into government development agenda will attract foreign investment, promote research, and create an innovation and entrepreneurial culture.

Mr. Gould adds that as the country fights to become a middle income country in about two decades, it cannot be achieved without innovation, which is important tool of technological and economic development.

“With this document, government will encourage inventive activity and also to promote the development, exploitation and the commercialization of local inventions, by providing the inventor with the relevant support," Mr. Gould says.
According to him, one of the benefits of this document when integrated into national development agenda is the establishment of an innovation center to promote innovation and support innovators with the necessary funds.

With this center, he says innovators and creative individual will be able to receive special loans or subsidies and grants for development of certain inventions and innovations.

Director Gould further says with this plan, government will now be in the position to ratify lots of intellectual property treaties like the ARIPO Swakopmund protocol on the protection of traditional Knowledge, WIPO Copyright Treaty, and Beijing Treaty for Audio – visual performances and lots more- which are important treaties for the utilization of IP for economic growth and development of creative industry.

He notes that these treaties come with lots of benefits, but in the absence of these treaties not being ratified, it becomes difficult for the benefit to be realized.
“This [is] why this document comes in to change the way things have been. The world is now being controlled by IP, and so, this IPDA plan will bring about [the strengthening of the] IP infrastructure for economic growth and lot more,” he notes.

He reveals that his vision is to make Liberia the hub of innovation and the creative art, noting that the strategy document will be used as a roadmap for systematic input of the citizens in the achievement of its goal in order to make Liberia hotspot of creativity in Africa.

By Lewis S. Teh--Edited by Winston W. Parley

NMCP launches 2016 malaria prevention report

The Ministry of Health through the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) has launched the 2016 Malaria Indicator survey report with a glaring call to prevent the wide spread of malaria across the country.


The 2016 Liberia Malaria Indicator Survey (LMIS) is the third Malaria Indicator Survey conducted in Liberia since 2009 as part of the DHS Program, and activates here in Liberia.

The LMIS was designed to provide estimates at the national level, for urban and rural areas, and for five regions and Monrovia specifically.The launching of the 2016 LMIS report which was held Tuesday, 5 December at the Ministry of Health in Congo Town, Tubman Boulevard brought together both media representatives from various media intuitions.

The 2016 Liberia MIS provides populations-based estimates on malaria indicators including malaria prevention, case management, malaria, and anemia prevalence to inform strategic planning and program evaluation.

The report explains that all children between the ages of 6-59 months living in selected households were eligible for the malaria and anemia testing. Accordingly, the malaria testing was done through rapid diagnostic testing, and the anemia testing was also carried out using the hemocue system.

The report notes that of the 3,250 eligible children, 86% of them provided blood for RTD and anemia. In total 2,872 children were tested for malaria, and 2,873 were tested for anemia.

The 2016 MIS report suggests that the best way to prevent malaria is by suing Insecticide Treated Bednet (ITN), adding that the Intermittent Preventive Treatment (IPT) for pregnant women to prevent themselves from malaria, and the treatment consists of two doses of fansidar at least once during antenatal care.

Speaking to this paper in an interview, the Communication Associates at Democratic Health Survey (DHS) Mrs. Anne Linn says the 2016 survey targeted about 4,000 households, and it ran from September to November 2016.

According to her, the objective of the 2016 LMIS report is to provide current information for policymakers, planners, researchers, and program managers to have an insight on the danger of malaria.Mrs. Linn names topics in the report as Ownership, Access, and the Use of Mosquito bednets.

By Lewis S. Teh--Edited by Winston W. Parley

AME University students donate to Louisianan Township

Assorted materials valued over US$150.00 have been presented to the Township of Louisianan by 80 students from the Africa Methodist Episcopal University or AMEU.


The materials, which include one wheelbarrow, one bag of white wash, a pack of candies and biscuits, two rakes, dozens of washing and bath soap, Fenol central disinfectant, carton of Pop Tile Soap, three shovels, two grass cutters, cartoon of cholera and cutlasses.

Presenting the items on behalf of his colleagues, Student Prince N. Weah, says they were gratified that the AME University could contribute to the development of Louisianan.He discloses that the students, who are reading Public Administration, Sociology and English, among others, could not visit the township without identifying with the place.

Speaking earlier, Instructor Darlington A. P. Smith, who took the students on a field visitation to Louisiana Township, expresses gratitude to the leaders of the township for the smooth development of the area.

Mr. Smith continues that the intent of the students’ visit was to intellectually interact with the leadership of Louisiana, including youth of the area, including sports.
During the intellectual interaction held at the newly constructed Louisiana Town Hall, the students asked several questions regarding the function and structure of local government, education and health facilities, source of income generation by residents and youth and the sale of dangerous drug substances.

Responding to the many inquiries from the AME University students were the Commissioner of Louisiana Township Solomon Miller and the Council Secretary-General Mr. Wilton Saysay.

The two local officials adequately addressed all of the students’ inquiries, lamenting that the township through the intervention of the traditional devil has been able to stop sales of dangerous substances to youth of the area.

According to them, the first action taken by the township leadership did not produced sufficient result as dealers continue to trade the substance to people, thereby craving the intervention of the traditional devil, which put the situation under control. Following indoor interaction, the male and female teams of the AME University clashed with the youth of Louisiana in both soccer and kickball.

By Emmanuel Mondaye -Editing by Jonathan Browne

“We are ready to vote UP out”

Some diehard partisans of opposition Coalition for Democratic Coalition (CDC) say they are prepared to vote out ruling Unity Party (UP) at the presidential runoff which still faces legal challenge by defeated opposition Liberty Party (LP) presidential candidate Cllr. Charles Brumskine.


The runoff is suspended by the Supreme Court to allow the National Elections Commission (NEC) hear and decide Cllr. Brumskine's complaint of alleged fraud and irregularities in the 10 October presidential and representatives elections in which he emerged third among 20 presidential candidates.

CDC partisans told this paper in separate interviews over the weekend that despite the prohibition placed on the run-off election expected between CDC's Sen. George Manneh Weah and UP's Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, they are in readiness to prove to the world that the CDC is the winner of the elections.

According to them, attempt by LP's Brumskine to destabilize the runoff process has reenergized supporters of the CDC, vowing that nothing will stop them from whipping Vice President Boakai who they say supports the other losing political parties. Patrick Moore, Solumie Jackson and Samuel Livingstone who identify themselves as strong supporters of the CDC, said that no amount of threats from the losing parties can change the minds of CDC partisans from turning out to reconfirm that CDC is the frontrunner of Liberian politics.

They oppose claims by other opposition politicians that the election process was marred by irregularities ties and fraud. The CDC supporters who appear very angry, say Liberians are tired of suffering under a Unity Party led-government, claiming that the ruling party has nothing substantial to offer the people who twice voted it into power.

“If Brumskine, Boakai and Urey think that their action can stop us from going to the poll to vote and elect Sen. George Weah as Liberia’s next president, then they must be making a big mistake because all supporters of the CDC throughout Liberia have resolved to kick the UP government out of power”, the CDCians say.

They say they will disgrace the political ‘Junta’ of Liberty Party, Unity Party, and All Liberian Party in any re-run declared by the NEC at any time. The CDCians conclude that they are fed up with the treatment of the UP government and its associates.

By Emmanuel Mondaye --Edited by Winston W. Parley

Motorcyclists appreciate Ellen

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has received appreciation from the Commercial Motorcyclists Union of Liberia (CMTUL) for 12 years of uninterrupted peace and for creating the space for motorcyclists to carry out their normal duties. “Madam President, because of the maintenance of peace under your able leadership we are able to ride our bikes, build our homes, sent ourselves to school and feed ourselves, we say thank you very much Madam President; you will be remembered even after your administration has come to an end,” he said.


An Executive Mansion release said, the assertion was made at a program marking the appreciation of President Sirleaf by Commercial Motorcyclists Union of Liberia, which took place at the Monrovia City Hall on Sunday, November 5, 2017.

Speaking on behalf of the Motorcyclists, John Kenyon, head of the Union said President Sirleaf as the first democratically female President in Africa has done well and should be appreciated while she is still alive. Presenting a copy of a movie to President Sirleaf entitled: “Pem-pem boys nonviolent movie”, he noted that President Sirleaf has created the space for motorcyclists to succeed and improve their lives. He furthered: “We are productive citizens of Liberia and not to be called all kinds of names,” he said.

He used the occasion to congratulate Deputy Inspector General of Police, Abraham Kromah for the level of transformation over the period. Using a biblical maxim, Mr. Kenyon described Col. A.B. Kromah as transitioning from “Saul to Paul”. Mr. Kenyon encouraged motorcyclists to avoid being used by politicians for their selfish interest and ensure peace always and at all times.

He told the gathering that the Union has purchased a parcel of land in Margibi County to construct a vocational school to enhance their ability. He then appealed to President Sirleaf on behalf of the Union to be captured in the next national budget to buttress their development efforts.  Responding, President Sirleaf thanked the Motorcyclists and described them as “Professional Entrepreneurs” and not just “Motorcyclists” because they carried sick children and pregnant women to various places. She commended them for their outstanding contributions to the Liberian economy by providing transportation services throughout the country.

The Liberian leader assured the Motorcyclists of her government’s commitment to improving the lives of all Liberians including motorcyclist’s all over Liberia adding, “Although we having reach the place we want to reach due to some delays including the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus for two years and others, we are committed to connecting our roads including county capitals; All financial requirements has being put in place to begin the roads pavement as we approach the dry season” She said.

Speaking further, she noted despite the challenges encountered, her government has made sufficient progress both nationally and internationally including building of roads, among others. Describing the ceremony as a family gathering, she urged motorcyclists to respect the rule of law and be good citizens because according to her the future rest with them. She promised to sponsor a movie presented to her entitled “Pem-Pem Boys Non Violent Movie”.

In separate remarks, Deputy Inspector General Abraham Kromah and Cllr. Yvette Chesson-Wureh lauded the motorcyclists for coming together and encouraged them to remain law abiding at all times. They pledged their continued support to the Motorcyclists.

Donald Trump’s Federal Reserve

CAMBRIDGE – With the appointment of Jerome Powell as the next Chair of the United States Federal Reserve Board, Donald Trump has made perhaps the most important single decision of his presidency. It is a sane and sober choice that heralds short-term continuity in Fed interest-rate policy, and perhaps a simpler and cleaner approach to regulatory policy.


Although Powell is not a PhD economist like current Fed Chair Janet Yellen and her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, he has used his years as an “ordinary” governor at the Fed to gain a deep knowledge of the key issues he will face. But make no mistake: the institution Powell will now head rules the global financial system. All other central bankers, finance ministers, and even presidents run a distant second.

If that seems hyperbolic, it is only because most of us don’t really pay attention to the Fed on a day-to-day basis. When the Fed gets it right, price stability reigns, unemployment remains low, and output hums along. But “getting it right” is not always easy, and when the Fed gets it wrong, the results can be pretty ugly.

Famously, the Fed’s efforts to tame a stock-market bubble in the late 1920s sparked the Great Depression of the 1930s. (Fortunately, of the candidates Trump was considering for the Fed post, Powell is the one least likely to repeat this mistake.) And when the Fed printed mountains of money in the 1970s to try to dull the pain of that decade’s oil shocks, it triggered an inflationary surge that took more than a decade to tame.

At times, the rest of the world seems to care more about Fed policy than Americans do. Little wonder: perhaps more than ever, the US dollar lies at the heart of the global financial system. This is partly because much of world trade and finance is indexed to the dollar, leading many countries to try to mimic Fed policies to stabilize their exchange rates.

Powell will face some extraordinary challenges at the outset of his five-year term. By some measures, stock markets look even frothier today than they did in the 1920s. With today’s extraordinarily low interest rates, investors seem ever more willing to assume greater risk in search of return.

At the same time, despite a strongly growing US and global economy, inflation remains mystifyingly low. This has made it extremely difficult for the Fed to normalize policy interest rates (still only 1%) so that it has room to cut them when the next recession hits, which it inevitably will. (The odds of a recession hitting in any given year are around 17%, and that seems like a good guess now.)

If Powell and the Fed cannot normalize interest rates before the next recession, what will they do? Yellen insists that there is nothing to worry about; the Fed has everything under control, because it can turn to alternative instruments. But many economists have come to believe that much of this is smoke and mirrors.

For example, so-called quantitative easing involves having the Fed issue short-term debt to buy up long-term government debt. But the US Treasury owns the Fed, and can carry out such debt purchases perfectly well by itself.

Some argue for “helicopter money,” whereby the Fed prints money and hands it out. But this, too, is smoke and mirrors. The Fed has neither the legal authority nor the political mandate to run fiscal policy; if it tries to do so, it runs the risk of forever losing its independence.

Given that monetary policy is the first and best line of defense against a recession, an urgent task for the new chair is to develop a better approach. Fortunately, good ideas exist, and one can only hope that Powell will quickly move to create a committee to study long-term fixes.

One idea is to raise the Fed’s inflation target. But this would be problematic, not least because it would breach a decades-long promise to keep inflation around 2%. Moreover, higher inflation would induce greater indexation, ultimately undermining the effectiveness of monetary policy. Paving the way for effective negative-interest-rate policy is a more radical – but by far the more elegant – solution.

Bank regulation is also part of the Fed’s mandate. The 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-reform legislation, which has spawned 30,000 pages of rules, has been a boon for lawyers. But the massive compliance costs ultimately fall on small and medium-size businesses. It would be far better simply to require banks to raise much more of their resources in equity markets instead of through bonds. That way, shareholders, not taxpayers, would take the big hit in a crisis.

I have not mentioned the elephant in the room: the threat to the Fed’s independence posed by a president seemingly intent on challenging all institutional norms. When President Richard Nixon was intent on being re-elected in 1972, he put heavy pressure on then-Fed Chair Arthur Burns to “juice” the economy. Nixon was re-elected, but inflation soared and growth collapsed. No one should be wishing for a replay – even if Nixon eventually was impeached.

Kenneth Rogoff, a former chief economist of the IMF, is Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Harvard University.

By Kenneth Rogoff

Cybersecurity Starts at the Top

LONDON – Every time a major corporate cybersecurity breach occurs, the response looks pretty much the same: cry “havoc!” and call in the cyber first responders to close the breach. But by the time an executive or two stands before a few government committees, proffering some explanation and pledging to beef up security protocols, people – including the hackers – have largely moved on. And with each breach, the cycle accelerates: people either dismiss the threat – it probably won’t happen to them – or accept it as an unavoidable pitfall of modern life.


The truth is that the threat posed by cybersecurity breaches is both acute and avoidable. The key to mitigating it is to understand that cybersecurity isn’t simply a technology issue; it is also an urgent strategic issue that should be at the top of the agenda for every board and management team. After all, from Yahoo! to Equifax, data breaches have often been rooted in internal forces of human error, carelessness, or even maliciousness.

Already, the scale and speed of attacks is massive. It has now emerged that the 2013 Yahoo! data breach affected all three billion accounts. In May, the WannaCry ransomworm attack affected dozens of the UK’s National Health Service trusts, and spread globally at lightning speed.

The recently revealed Equifax data breach – which occurred during two months when the company had a patch to a known security vulnerability, but hadn’t applied it – gave the hackers access to 145.5 million consumers’ personal and sensitive data. According to testimony provided by now-former Equifax CEO Richard F. Smith to the US Congress, the breach reflected the negligence of one individual in the IT department.

The risks are only growing. The United Kingdom’s National Cybersecurity Centre, founded last year, has already responded to nearly 600 significant incidents. The department’s director recently predicted that our first “category one cyber-incident” would occur in the next few years.

One problem is that many organizations simply don’t have cyber-security on their radar. They believe they are too small to be a target, or that such breaches are limited to the tech and finance sectors. But, just recently, the US fast-food chain Sonic – not exactly a tech giant – revealed that a malware attack on some of its drive-in outlets may have allowed hackers to secure customers’ credit card information.

The fact is that many types of companies use, if not depend on, technology. And they collect many types of data, about everything from customers and employees to distribution systems and transactions. Consumers often don’t comprehend the extent of companies’ data collection, failing to understand even the basics of the “cookies” being used when they surf the web. According to a March 2017 report by the Pew Research Center, many Americans, for example, “are unclear about some key cybersecurity topics, terms, and concepts.”

Of course, consumers must be informed and vigilant about their own data. But even those who are, find that if they want to engage fully in modern life, they have little choice but to hand over personal data to organizations in both the private and public sectors, from utility and finance companies to hospitals and tax authorities.

With automation, this trend will only accelerate, with people counting on technology to do everything from ordering groceries to turning on the lights and even locking the doors. The power this gives to the likes of Google and Amazon, not to mention an ever-growing array of startups, is obvious. What is not obvious is that consumers can rely on companies’ knowledge and duty of care to protect the information they collect.

No company can afford a laissez faire attitude about cybersecurity. Yet even tech companies took some time to recognize the extent of their technical responsibilities, including the need for a C-level executive to manage their technology needs. Not long ago, such companies often maintained a “helpdesk” mindset: just make sure people could use the product and have someone to call if something went wrong.

But, with data breaches proliferating, often with business-critical consequences, there is no excuse for such inertia. Such breaches can cripple companies both operationally and financially, owing to the direct theft of funds or intellectual property and the cost of plugging the security hole or paying punitive fines. They can also diminish a company’s reputation and credibility among investors, business partners, and communities, even in cases when the breach is minor and doesn’t compromise sensitive information.

While board members do not all have to be technology experts, they do need to keep up with the state of their company’s technology, including how well secured it is. A board’s risk committee can conduct in-depth reviews. But regular status updates to the full board, like those for other crucial issues affecting the business, are also needed.

In today’s world, no organization – public or private, commercial or non-profit – has an excuse not to be supremely vigilant and pro-active about securing their data and systems. It is not enough to meet legal requirements, which don’t keep up with technological change. Instead, those requirements should be viewed as a starting point for a much more robust, closely monitored, and effectively adapted system that truly protects the data on which our societies and economies increasingly depend. Data breaches are not a fact of modern life. They are an artifact of modern indifference.

Lucy P. Marcus is CEO of Marcus Venture Consulting.

By Lucy P. Marcus

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