Liberian Born Int’l Security Expert Receives Prestigious MLK Award In US

Detroit,  MICHIGAN —-A Liberian born and American trained security specialist and special investigator in the Washington D.C. Metro Area, Garretson Al Smith, has received the Martin Luther King Jr Humanitarian and Leadership Award during the World Conference of Mayors held in Detroit, Michigan on October 26, 2017.

Garretson Alvin Smith Receiving MLK Award
Mr. Garretson Alvin Smith Receiving MLK Award

The award was presented recently to Smith by the founding president of the Mayors’ conference, former Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford, and the current president of the World Conference of Mayors, Ed Jones, who is also the current Mayor of Grambling, Louisiana.

In attendance at the global mayors’ conference were more than four hundred mayors from the world, including those from the United States, Canada, Africa and Asia.  Others in attendance included the Canadian Consul General Sebastian Roy, the Africa Union ambassador accredited to Washington DC, Her Excellency Dr. Arikana Chihbori Qauo and other members of the Diplomatic Community as well as global business executives.

The World Conference of Mayors was held in Detroit, Michigan from October 23 – 29, 2017.

Investigator Smith was invited to the conference by Detroit City Mayor Mike Duggan to do a presentation on human rights and related issues, including investigations into war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Speaking on the theme “We Are Ahead of Perpetrators In The International Legal System,” during what is described as the ‘Law Enforcement Night’ at the Conference, Smith addressed a gathering of several state attorneys-general from across the United States on the challenges and possibilities in ensuring international justice.

Smith, who is a former member of the K- For Kosovo Forces and the Multi-National Battle Group East NATO International Security Mission in the Balkans under the auspices of the United States Department of Defense, informed the audience at the conference about the need for peace and reconciliation around the world within the context of international justice.

Smith is a well respected security specialist and a well-regarded international special investigator.  He has served as a former Contractor Staffer at the United States Department of Justice, the United States Department of Homeland Security, The White House Visitors Center, and the International Monetary Funds among others.

Smith is believed to be the first Liberian and one of few Africans to received the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian and Leadership Award at the Mayors’ Conference.

West African Journal Magazine

UN Security Council Press Statement on Elections in Liberia


The following Security Council press statement was issued Wednesday, November 22, 2017 by Council President Sebastiano Cardi (Italy):

UN Security Council Session
UN Security Council Session

The members of the Security Council congratulated the Liberian people and Government as well as political leaders, civil society organizations, and the media, for the peaceful conduct of October 10 presidential and House of Representative elections. They commended international partners and the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) for their support in elections preparation, and applauded the role of international, regional, and domestic election observation missions for their contributions to the transparency of the electoral process. They also commended Liberia’s National Elections Commission’s conduct of an expeditious tallying process and timely announcement of results.

The members of the Security Council commended the Government of Liberia, political parties, and the National Elections Commission for the use of established legal mechanisms to address complaints over the conduct of the October 10 election. The members of the Security Council called on Liberian claimants and institutions to resolve any disputes, including pending litigation, in an appropriate, fair, transparent, and expeditious manner with a view to permit the timely conclusion of Liberia’s electoral process and a peaceful transition of power to a new President in accordance with timelines outlined in Liberia’s Constitution. The members of the Security Council called upon leaders of all political parties to continue to refrain from incitement of followers toward any violent action.

Liberia tourism destinations
Map of Liberia

The members of the Security Council noted the importance of a credible and peaceful second round presidential election and called upon Liberians to ensure the elections are free, fair, credible, and transparent, including through the full participation of women. The members of the Security Council reiterated that the responsibility for the preparation, security and conduct of free, fair and transparent elections rests with the Liberian authorities. They also reiterated their call on international partners to continue to support the Liberian authorities, including through deployment of international electoral observers, with a view to ensuring the credibility of the second round of elections.


ADB Approves $10M Investment to Boost Agriculture and Nutrition In Africa

Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire – A $10 million equity investment  has been approved by the Board of Directors of African Development Bank (ADB) in the South African based private equity investment company  Phatisa Food Fund2 (PFF2) to boost agriculture and nutrition across Africa.

Maize Field in Malawi

A press statement issued in Abidjan and copied to West African Journal Magazine says the project will cover the entire African continent, with a sharper focus on Sub-Saharan Africa.

PFF2 will focus on food/consumer related investments including integrated food production, processing, services and inputs (seed, fertilizer & chemicals), mechanization, distribution, logistics and infrastructure, packaging, food services and retail, the release said.

Farming In Liberia
Market Stalls in Liberia

PFF2  is averaging investments of about #0 million in the West African countries of Ghana, Nigeria, and Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and in Ugandan, Kenya and Tanzania in East Africa and southern African countries of Zambia, Malawi,, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The release further said, PPF2’s investment strategy is aligned with the Bank’s High5 priorities of feeding and industrializing Africa. It is in line with the Bank’s Ten Year Strategy, focusing on inclusive growth, strengthening agriculture and food security, and access to local finance, among other Bank strategies as well as government agriculture and agro-industry policies across African countries.

Press Statement – AFDB

1.1 Billion Barrels Of Oil Uncovered Offshore The Gambia

An Australian company West African explorer FAR Ltd. says  that the small West African nation of the Gambia has uncovered an estimated 1 billion dollars of offshore oil.

Map of Gambia
Map of Gambia

The company which has a portfolio offshore West Africa said,  an audit of geo-technical data show the Samo and Bambo prospects off the coast of Gambia hold combined best estimate prospective reserves of 1.1 billion barrels, the Point website reports.

According to the data, the Sama prospect in particular holds substantial promise, with an estimated chance of success of more than 50 percent. Managing Director Cath Norman said in a statement that Gambia could be a “huge prize” if data analysis turn into real barrels.

“Given the eight successful wells drilled on the shelf to date in Senegal and into the key reservoirs in the Samo prospect, the geological chance of success for drilling this prospect is high for a frontier exploration well,” she said.

Oil Drilling
Oil Drilling

The permit area offshore Gambia, which covers 1,000 square miles, is adjacent to FAR’s flagship SNE discovery offshore Senegal. The initial oil discovery at the SNE field was made in 2014 and the find was quickly lauded as one of the larger discoveries in the world. The field met the minimum threshold to be considered a commercial opportunity by the third quarter of 2016.

 In October, African Petroleum said its subsidiaries in Gambia filed requests for arbitration at an international dispute chamber to protect two of its offshore licenses.

West African countries have been at odds over their maritime borders, while officials there have been vetting their corporate options as the potential for oil evolves.

Exxon Mobil recently announced that it was pulling out of oil prospecting off shore another West African nation Liberia, following its inability to find substantial reserves.

“We are naturally disappointed by the lack of hydrocarbons in the targeted reservoir sands in the Mersurado-1 well,” said Arthur Millholland CEO of COPL, which holds a 17 percent in the Liberian project. 

“The lack of hydrocarbons at this location where our seismic data presented attributes indicative of hydrocarbons will cause us to do additional work on the 3D seismic over the Block, and reevaluate the other leads we have mapped on LB-13,”  the COPL executive told Offshore Energy Today website.

West African Journal Magazine

Guinea Bissau Revokes Recognition of Kosovo

The West African nation of Guinea Bissau has revoked its 2011 recognition of Kosovo, Serbia’s Foreign Minister says.

Map of Balkans States

“The prime minister of Guinea-Bissau informed me of this today,” Dacic told Tanjug late on Tuesday.

He added that the African country also sent a note to Pristina informing them of the revocation.

According to the Belgrade B92 website, Foreign Minister Dacic explained that Guinea-Bissau in this way officially annulled a letter, and recognition contained in that letter, sent in 2011, which Pristina was manipulating with.

Prime Minister Umaro Sissoco Embalo, who has been in office since November 2016, spoke in Belgrade last week to say that his country never recognized Kosovo – that is, that he “did not see any paper on the recognition of Kosovo.”

At the same time, media in Pristina published a facsimile of Guinea-Bissao’s verbal note on the recognition of Kosovo, signed by the country’s president, at the time who in the meantime died, as well as a photo of then deputy foreign minister of Kosovo, Vlora Citaku, receiving the note.

That note was officially annulled on Tuesday, according to the Foreign Minister

The first state to withdraw its recognition of Kosovo was Suriname, which made the decision on October 27, 2017.

Recently, the media in Kosovo also reported that Pristina updated the list of countries that have recognized it to remove Nigeria and Uganda from it, because these countries’ notes of recognition were “never received.”

“Liberia’s Challenges Will Be Resolved Constitutionally”-Buhari

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari says the current political challenges in Liberia will be resolved through constitutional means.

President Buhari Meets Ecowas Chair President Gnassingbe in Abuja

The Nation newspaper reports that President Buhari gave the assurance on Tuesday when he received President Faure Gnassingbe of Togo, who is the current Chairman of ECOWAS, at the State House, Abuja on Tuesday.

The Nigerian Chief Executive expressed hope that the outcome of the Li eria’s Supreme Court verdict would be acceptable to all in order to ensure a peaceful transfer of power.

President Buhari, the paper said. also urged all parties in the crisis to exercise patience while waiting for the verdict of the Supreme Court.

Country Map of ECOWAS

Turning to the political situation in Guinea Bissau, President Buhari told the ECOWAS Chairman that the leading political actors in the country should agree to a resolution and a transition that would pave way for elections in the country in 2018.

The ECOWAS Chairman President Gnassingbe said he had met with Buhari on a number of challenges facing the West African region and seek his counsel on the best way to resolve the issues.

Gnassingbe said they reviewed the political situations in Liberia, Guinea Bissau and Togo, and also talked about the ongoing reform in ECOWAS.

Both African leaders expressed satisfaction at the efforts.

West African Journal Magazine

Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe 37 Year Rule Ends; Resigns

Zimbabwean President Robert has resigned.

Zimbabwe Parliament

His resignation comes in the midst of impeachment proceedings triggered by the members of Parliament of the ruling Zanu PF.

In power for 37 years, the veteran African leader was under heavy pressure to step aide. The military of the southern African nation over a week ago inserted itself in the political situation and called for a stop to Mugabe’s purge of the ruling party.

Zimbabweans Celebrating in Harare

I, Robert Gabriel Mugabe in terms of section 96 of the constitution of Zimbabwe hereby formally tender my resignation… with immediate effect,” the letter read said.

Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans marched over the weekend to call for Mugabe’s resignation. In his resignation letter read by the Speaker of Parliament, Mugabe did not say who is in charge of the country.

The ruling Zanu PF has installed dismissed Vice President Emnerson Mnangagwa as it’s leader. Mugabe, who had earlier fired the VP, had called Mnangagwa to return for talks but the overture was declined.

Mnangagwa instead called on Mugabe to step down immediately.

West African Journal Magazine is monitoring citizens celebrations in the capital Harare following Mugabe’s resignation.

According to the Washington Post, Mugabe resignation leaves Zimbabwe at a crossroads – with the military technically in charge of the country, but with a wide array of political groups now angling for power. Former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was fired by Mugabe earlier this month, appears most likely to inherit the presidency, at least in the short term.

Social media is reacting to the news of Mugabe”s resignation.

West African Journal Magazine and Wire Services