- The President of Germany, Horst Koehler, arrived in Freetown today on a three-day state visit to Sierra Leone. The German President, ex-leader of the IMF, brought a large delegation of business executives that may be interested in investing in the reconstructing country.
On arrival at the Lungi International Airport, President Koehler was received by Sierra Leone's President, Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. Also present to welcome him were the Vice President, Solomon Berewa, several ministers, heads of diplomatic missions and top government officials.
President Koehler, who until recently was the Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), is accompanied by his wife, Eva Luise Koehler, and a ninety-member delegation, including business executives, politicians, public sector officials and journalists.
The German President and delegation will be in Sierra Leone from the 6 to 9 December, during which time he will hold discussions with President Kabbah and visit key German-funded institutions and projects. The delegation will also pay visits to Kenema in the Eastern Province, Bo in the Southern Province and the diamond-rich town of Koidu where the business delegation is to undertake a tour of the Kimberlite mines.
Other highlights during the visit a planned meeting with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Ambassador Daudi Mwakawago, a visit to the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone, a visit to a UNHCR refugee camp at Gondama, near Bo in the Southern Province, a meeting with the Mayor of the City of Freetown, at which ceremony the mayor will confer on the visiting President the title of "Freeman" of the municipality.
On Thursday, President Koehler is to leave Sierra Leone to continue his African roundtrip in Benin. In Cotonou, the German President is to meet Beninese President Mathieu Kérékou, representatives of German organisations and Beninese artist.
On Sunday, the German delegation heads on to Ethiopia, the final destination on this roundtrip. In Ethiopia, Mr Koehler is to meet the President and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. During the latter meeting, German and Ethiopian Ministers will join the two men as an agreement of debt cancellation is to be signed.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.