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TODAY NEWS AFRICA L.L.C. is Africa’s leading newspaper in the United States registered and headquartered in the District of Columbia. The newspaper focuses on major developments in Africa, and on Africa-US ties. Our publisher is veteran investigative journalist Simon Ateba. Our Twitter handle is @todaynewsafrica. Contact us: contactus@todaynewsafrica.com. news in africa, africa news, africanews.com todaynewsafrica.com, news africa, new in africa, african presidents, presidents in africa, women in africa, people of africa, tourism in africa, countries in africa, politics in africa, nigeria news, ghana news, south africa news, news today, africa news, stories in africa, breaking news in africa, south africa news, congo news, ethiopia news, kenya news, somalia news, egypt news, cameroon news, biya, buhari

TODAY NEWS AFRICA L.L.C. is Africa’s leading newspaper in the United States registered and headquartered in the District of Columbia. The newspaper focuses on major developments in Africa, and on Africa-US ties. Our publisher is veteran investigative journalist Simon Ateba. Our Twitter handle is @todaynewsafrica. Contact us: contactus@todaynewsafrica.com. news in africa, africa news, africanews.com todaynewsafrica.com, news africa, new in africa, african presidents, presidents in africa, women in africa, people of africa, tourism in africa, countries in africa, politics in africa, nigeria news, ghana news, south africa news, news today, africa news, stories in africa, breaking news in africa, south africa news, congo news, ethiopia news, kenya news, somalia news, egypt news, cameroon news, biya, buhari. todaynewsafrica.com africanews.com cnn.com bbc.com nytimes.com
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For most of its post-independence period, Africa’s trade and economic partnerships were largely dominated by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, especially Western Europe. However, over the last two decades, many other countries, led by China and India, have grown their trade with Africa, reflecting increasing investment and growth opportunities in a region which has been consistently rated as one of the fastest-growing in the world over the last decade. This diversification of trade partners has been beneficial to Africa, sustaining more resilient economic growth since 2000. Following that trend, the relationship between Africa and Russia, which played a key role in the struggle for independence across Africa, has been gaining momentum. Cooperation between the two partners is strengthening with bilateral trade flows witnessing a significant jump of 68 percent between 2017 and 2018.

Opportunities for partnerships of mutual benefit are significant. Russia can broaden its investment and trade with Africa beyond the natural resources sector to include healthcare, energy, rail, aviation, ICT, agriculture and other infrastructure goods and services.

These could accelerate the process of structural transformation and the diversification of sources of growth and exports needed to enhance Africa’s integration into the global economy. It will also provide timely support towards the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, which depends on modernization and expansion of infrastructure to support cross-border trade and growth.

At the same time, the growing partnership could provide the opportunity for Africa to further diversify the geographical destination of its exports and mitigate the risks associated with the economic fluctuation in traditional markets and keep Africa on a sustainable economic growth trajectory. Despite the relative increase over the last few years, Africa-Russia bilateral trade remains very low, offering tremendous opportunities for growth under growing economic cooperation. By expanding trade and investment relations we expect that Russia will facilitate the transfer of technology in many sectors. We hope that Russia will support the acquisition of technical skills by the young African population.

— Could you please tell us about the most important Russian-African projects in recent years?

— Although Russia-Africa trade and investment relations date back several decades, joining the shareholding of Afreximbank by Russian Export Cneter (REC) in late 2017 provided an institutional framework and a springboard for the effective promotion of Russia-Africa economic cooperation. Under that framework, Afreximbank and REC have been working together to support the implementation of projects in a wide range of sectors and industries across the continent, including the financial sector, the mining industry, chemicals/fertilizers, steel manufacturing, and infrastructure, especially energy and railways.

In less than two years of collaboration between Afreximbank and REC, projects and trade deals amounting to over USD 5 billion have been supported or are under consideration. There are mining projects with added processing capacities in Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe as well as the import of fertilizers by Zambia and Zimbabwe, while discussions are under way for the establishment of petrochemical plants in Angola under joint ventures between Russian and Angolan entities.

Following the execution of the MOU in November 2018, Afreximbank, REC and Russian Railways are currently building and screening potential projects for consideration by Russian Railways. Priority will be given to multi-country projects that are commercially viable themselves.

— What sectors and market segments do you think could be the most effective for cooperation?

Africa views Russia as a partner with which it can build a strong and mutually beneficial relationship in trade, finance and investments, among other things. Africa’s partnership with Russia is already visible in a growing number of strategic sectors, industries and markets. The impact is directly felt in the balance sheet of large Russian corporations investing in Africa and those engaged in bilateral trade between African countries and Russia. In addition to effectiveness from the execution of deals, we are giving more and more consideration to the impact and effectiveness of development. More specifically, to what extent the growing cooperation between Russia and Africa could accelerate the diversification of sources of growth and trade and reduce the risks associated with excessive dependency on natural resources across Africa. Industrialization and export development are one of the key pillars of Afreximbank’s Fifth Strategic Plan. They are also central to the AU Agenda 2063 and will further consolidate Russia-Africa relationships in the long term.

— Could you please describe the state and level of economic development in the African region? The African market is not very well known to Russian companies. Which countries are most open to trade relations with Russia?

— Africa has experienced high and continuous economic growth in the past decade, supported by improving macroeconomic management, growing domestic demand and favourable commodity terms of trade, increasing Africa-South trade and high returns on investment which are sustaining the growth of both cross-border African trade and foreign direct investment. Last year, six of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world were in Africa and Afreximbank growth forecasts show that Africa will be the second fastest-growing region of the world in 2019.

These growth prospects will be further enhanced in the medium and long term under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement, which has established one of the largest single markets for goods and services in the world with a population of 1.2 billion and combined consumer and business spending of about USD 6.7 trillion by 2030.

— What barriers (risks) could restrain mutual trade (both from African countries and from Russia)? How can Russian entrepreneurs protect themselves from risks on the African continent?

— The business climate in Africa has improved remarkably during the last decade, reflecting the improving macroeconomic environment and regulatory regimes. These positive developments have created an enabling environment for private capital inflows into the continent. Consequently, traditional risks associated with political and business environments have been reduced significantly. The major bottleneck in our view relates to the lack of knowledge about the potential trade and investment opportunities among Russian and African businesses. For instance, while the energy infrastructure gap in Africa is enormous, Russia’s contribution to the development of this infrastructure is rather paltry, not because of limited capacity but due to limited knowledge about the existence of viable projects across the continent.

We at Afreximbank could serve as the conduit for major Russian entities seeking such opportunities in Africa. Not only is Afreximbank providing twining (B2B) opportunities, it is also providing risk mitigation in the form of Country Risk, Investment, Contract Availability Guarantees and other forms of risk coverage to investors interested in African markets. Working with the Russian Export Center, trade and investment risks Africans may face in Russia or Russians may face in Africa can be effectively managed.

— In 2019, many events significant both for Russia and Africa are planned in Russia. Tell us about the importance of these events for the development of economic relations. What do you expect from these events?

— 2019 is a defining year for Russia—Africa relations, capping a sharp recent rise in trade and investment flows between Russia and Africa. The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) held in St. Petersburg and Afreximbank’s Annual Meetings held in Moscow have laid a strong foundation for the much-anticipated first-ever Russia—Africa Summit and Economic Forum, which will be held in Sochi this year. It is perhaps the first time that so many significant international events involving Africa have happened in a single country in one year, under the auspices of His Excellency, President Vladimir Putin.

The Afreximbank Annual Meetings created a platform to begin addressing the information and knowledge gap, which we consider fundamental to the promotion of trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Africa. It also allowed Russia to showcase investment opportunities and potential, particularly in the technology, energy, transport and related infrastructure sectors. The Sochi Summit and Forum, which have attracted very high- level government officials from Africa, will certainly lay the foundation for broader Government to Government (G2G) and Business to Business (B2B) collaboration over the medium to long term.

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In the “deeply religious” central African country full of gargantuan corruption and official brazen theft, a same sex relationship is seen as one of “the worst things on earth” and an “act of Satan”.

Having sexual relations with another man there is a crime punishable with up to five years in prison, making gays easy prey for racketeers and homophobes.

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However, in the capital Yaounde, some gay men seem to have found a way to live in community and enjoy life at least for a few hours a day in a secret club where you need to know someone to guide you to the address.

AFP / STR Secret home: The video club in Yaounde is a haven for gay men in a country where same-sex relations are illegal
A report published by the French news agency, AFP, says the “the club is secret. You have to know someone who will guide you to the address — off a busy street in Cameroon’s capital, down a dingy alley to a door with the unwelcoming message in chalk: “No entry.””.

“Inside is a rectangular room, dark and humid. The flickering light of a video screen illuminates faces of young men sitting on benches — members of a video club catering exclusively for gay men, a haven in a society where it is perilous to be same-sex attracted”.

“We opened this place in 2016 to give young people somewhere where they can just breathe for a while,” 51-year old Jean-Pierre, the founder of the club, who prefers not to give his full name, tells AFP.

“In the afternoon, we show documentaries about the gay community, with comedy series in the evening and later in the night, films of a sexual nature,” he explains.

AFP quotes Maxime, 30, and his companion as visiting the secret club several times a week. “It’s vital to be able to find our own kind, to talk with people who are like you, who understand you.”

The report says “When his family rejected him, Maxime found refuge at Jean-Pierre’s club. “I lived in this room for nine months, I had no place else to go,” he says.

AFP adds:

“On another bench, a young man is sleeping peacefully, a sheet drawn over his body and part of his face.

“A few feet away, two men openly flirt. “This is also a place for those who have no home, where they can meet,” Maxime says.

“Despite its secrecy, the refuge has become known to policemen of malicious intent”

“The premises have been raided at least four times this year, Jean-Pierre says, adding that he had recently been held for two weeks at a police station, where he said he was tortured”.

AFP /Countries in sub-Saharan African countries with anti-homosexuality laws.
“They told me, ‘confess you’re the queers’ godfather, you homo,’ and beat me on the soles of the feet with the flat of a machete blade,” he says

Criminals claiming to be plain-clothes police sometimes are also said to be showing up to extort gays, Jean-Pierre says. Between films, he will often instruct the audience “what to do in case of arrest, to know their rights.”

Maxime says one night they endured a terrifying experience. “They burst in here, put us in their truck, stripped us of all our things — money, cellphones and clothes as well — then they threw us out naked on the far side of town,” he recalls, his eyes looking at a spot on the wall.https://todaynewsafrica.com/inside-a-secret-club-for-gay-men-in-cameroon/

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Inside a secret club for gay men in Cameroon

Inside a secret club for gay men in Cameroon

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Simon Ateba

Simon Ateba

Simon is an investigative journalist and publisher of TODAY NEWS AFRICA L.L.C. based in Washington, District of Columbia, U.S.A. His twitter handle is @simonateba and his email is simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

Simon Ateba

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Simon Ateba

October 29, 2019

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Same sex relationships are illegal in Cameroon and those who are “caught” are not only punished by the state, they also suffer the humiliation the society – including family members, neighbors, colleagues or schoolmates – inflict on them.

In the “deeply religious” central African country full of gargantuan corruption and official brazen theft, a same sex relationship is seen as one of “the worst things on earth” and an “act of Satan”.

Having sexual relations with another man there is a crime punishable with up to five years in prison, making gays easy prey for racketeers and homophobes.

In 2018, 1,134 cases of violence and violations of the rights of LGBTI people were recorded in Cameroon, according to a report by two non-governmental organizations, Humanity First and Alternatives Cameroun.

However, in the capital Yaounde, some gay men seem to have found a way to live in community and enjoy life at least for a few hours a day in a secret club where you need to know someone to guide you to the address.

AFP / STR Secret home: The video club in Yaounde is a haven for gay men in a country where same-sex relations are illegal

A report published by the French news agency, AFP, says the “the club is secret. You have to know someone who will guide you to the address — off a busy street in Cameroon’s capital, down a dingy alley to a door with the unwelcoming message in chalk: “No entry.””.

“Inside is a rectangular room, dark and humid. The flickering light of a video screen illuminates faces of young men sitting on benches — members of a video club catering exclusively for gay men, a haven in a society where it is perilous to be same-sex attracted”.

“We opened this place in 2016 to give young people somewhere where they can just breathe for a while,” 51-year old Jean-Pierre, the founder of the club, who prefers not to give his full name, tells AFP.

“In the afternoon, we show documentaries about the gay community, with comedy series in the evening and later in the night, films of a sexual nature,” he explains.

AFP quotes Maxime, 30, and his companion as visiting the secret club several times a week. “It’s vital to be able to find our own kind, to talk with people who are like you, who understand you.”

The report says “When his family rejected him, Maxime found refuge at Jean-Pierre’s club. “I lived in this room for nine months, I had no place else to go,” he says.

AFP adds:

“On another bench, a young man is sleeping peacefully, a sheet drawn over his body and part of his face.

“A few feet away, two men openly flirt. “This is also a place for those who have no home, where they can meet,” Maxime says.

“Despite its secrecy, the refuge has become known to policemen of malicious intent”

“The premises have been raided at least four times this year, Jean-Pierre says, adding that he had recently been held for two weeks at a police station, where he said he was tortured”.

AFP /Countries in sub-Saharan African countries with anti-homosexuality laws.

“They told me, ‘confess you’re the queers’ godfather, you homo,’ and beat me on the soles of the feet with the flat of a machete blade,” he says

Criminals claiming to be plain-clothes police sometimes are also said to be showing up to extort gays, Jean-Pierre says. Between films, he will often instruct the audience “what to do in case of arrest, to know their rights.”

Maxime says one night they endured a terrifying experience. “They burst in here, put us in their truck, stripped us of all our things — money, cellphones and clothes as well — then they threw us out naked on the far side of town,” he recalls, his eyes looking at a spot on the wall.

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