Lesotho Defense Force Participate in Military Training Program in South Africa.

Members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) are in South Africa under a cooperation agreement that is aimed at furthering air arm training.

Ad Astra intern Nondumiso Ndhlela reported that the LDF delegation arrived at South African Air Force Headquarters on 28 August, and will be in South Africa until 1 September.

“The purpose of the visit from the Lesotho Defence Force was to follow up on a cooperation agreement which was signed by the SA National Defence Force, authorizing the Kingdom of Lesotho Defence Force Air Wing to take part in the military training programs,” Ndhlela explained.

SAAF and LDF officials were scheduled to discuss the hosting of LDF Air Wing members in South Africa for courses, and the introduction of joint exercises between the two organizations.

Some members of the Lesotho delegation previously underwent an Officer Forming Course in South Africa and said they were proud products of the SA Air Force.

LDF Colonel Tsukudu said, “We are gladly looking forward to exchanging knowledge on how we are going to maintain and improve our cooperation as well as solutions on the development of aviation. It has been a while since we had our intakes with the SA Air Force, which was in 2009. We are delighted to be here to kickstart our cooperation.”

The LDF Air Wing relies on outside sources for pilot training as it has no capacity of its own. The SAAF has trained numerous pilots from its landlocked neighbor, while others have received training at commercial flying schools.

The LDF has a small Air Wing, whose most modern aircraft are three Airbus Helicopters H125s. Several C212s and a single GA-8 Airvan fixed-wing aircraft are also believed to be in service, along with several Bell 412s, and a couple of BO 105s.

The LDF is mainly tasked with border control and managing internal security issues, such as cattle rustling, as well as search and rescue. It is contributing a company-sized infantry force to the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), with the Air Wing providing a C212 for light transport duties.


Lagos Blue Rail Line Commences Operations.

On the 30th of August, the Lagos State Government announced that the Blue Line Rail will commence on the 4th of September 2023. This rail will move from Marina to Mile 2.

On Tuesday, the Managing Director, of Lagos State Metropolitan Area Transport Authority while speaking at the Blue Rail Line Terminal in Marina, said that the Governor of Lagos State was expected to be the first passenger at exactly 9 a.m. on Monday. She also stated that partial passenger operations would begin on Tuesday, the 5th of September from 6:30 am to 10 am, for the morning peak; and the afternoon peak, from 4 pm to 9:30 pm.

The partial operations, according to Akinajo will start with 12 trips for two weeks, which will later be increased to up to 76 trips per day. 

As stated, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu arrived at Blue Line Rail and flagged off its commercial operations in the state. He implored the guests to behave in an orderly manner as well as obey the instructions to make the journey smooth.

He also boarded one of the Blue Line Rail trains at 9:07 a.m. as a signal to the commencement of commercial operations on the state’s intra-city train service.  

Six minutes later, at 9:13 a.m., the train taxied with Sanwo-Olu, his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat; permanent secretaries, political leaders, and some passengers on board the train. 25 minutes later, the train was at the Mile 2 station despite stopping for two minutes each at the National Theatre, Orile, and Alaba train stations.

Sanwo-Olu, who thanked President Bola Tinubu for putting in place the intermodal transportation master plan for the state, which included rail, water, and road infrastructure, said with the completion and kick-off of commercial operations of the Blue Line Rail, the Red Line Rail project would be commissioned by the President.

He said the commissioning would be done before the end of the year. He also disclosed that train stations and bridges built along with the Red Line rail project would be commissioned by the first week of October.

Trans-Kalahari Corridor Significant for Regional Growth.

Works and Transport Minister John Mutorwa said that the erection of the Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat offices in Windhoek aims to facilitate trade and propel the development agendas of Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa.

Mutorwa also stated that the transport corridor is extremely significant for the growth of the region, particularly when it comes to the movement of goods and people.

The Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC) is a tripartite transboundary corridor management institution established with a political and economic vision to pursue or contribute towards deeper regional integration programs of SADC, SACU, and indeed NEPAD.

“In 2007, a hosting agreement was signed to give practical meaning to the establishment of a secretariat office here in Windhoek,” Mutorwa highlighted on Friday at the inauguration of the new offices.

On 3 November 2003, the transport ministers of Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa signed an agreement at the coastal town of Walvis Bay for the development and management of TKC.

In the preamble of the agreement, the three nations committed themselves to the ideals, objectives, and principles which include the common vision of new partnerships for Africa’s development to eradicate poverty and place those countries individually and collectively on a path of sustainable growth and development.

South Africa’s transport minister, Sindisiwe Chikunga said it is the collective interest and that of the region and the continent that this collaboration succeeds in providing invaluable lessons to address similar challenges in the region and elsewhere on the continent.

“Transport is the heartbeat of social development and economic growth. It enables access to infrastructure and amenities for our people and without efficient transport, our respective economies would stagnate,” she said.

Chikunga added that this is a partnership that must be built on as a stepping stone to giving practical expression to the African Continental Free Trade Area.

She said: “The transport sector, particularly the TKC, must lead the charge in dismantling the bottlenecks to the free movement of goods and people between our respective countries and the continent.”

Botswana’s transport minister and chairperson of the TKC, Eric Molale, said he hopes infrastructure development of this nature will not be an opportunity for illegal trade and other unwarranted activities on the continent.

“We have to make sure that the road is safe to use. We have a scourge of human trafficking; we don’t want this road to be associated with that. Another is a scourge of gender-based violence and we don’t want the corridor to be associated with that scourge,” Molale stressed.

The TKC is a road network spanning approximately 1900 kilometers across the territories of Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. It starts in the Gauteng Province in South Africa and continues through Rustenburg and Zeerust in the North-West Province, through Lobatse and Kanye in Botswana, the Mamuno and Trans Kalahari Border Posts, through Gobabis, Windhoek and Okahandja right through to the Port of Walvis Bay.

“Naija to The World” Tour Confirmed.

Organizers of the event “Naija to the World” confirmed today, that ‘Naija To The World’, the innovative pro-Nigeria showcase kicking off with a premiere dedicated to the Niger Delta, will tour multiple cities and venues, over 12 months, in response to feedback on the original announcement for a New York City Apollo debut. 

This was confirmed in a statement today by Efe Omorogbe, CEO of BuckWyld Media. Omorogbe says the tour will span Nigeria, Europe, and the United States of America. A full list of programming is set to be released when the producers convene in New York City for a flag-off media launch on September 16, 2023.

 Naija To The World was created by Buckwyld Media and BHM as a platform to provide an alternative narrative to the stories out there about Nigeria and Nigerians as part of an ongoing initiative to help the world understand and engage better with the country responsible for two of the world’s leading creative industries – music and film. 

 And a Niger Delta debut, organizers say, helps pay tribute to a region mostly known for crude oil, militancy, and protests with most not aware of its tremendous contribution to arts and culture, music, film, and fashion for over 100 years. At least 50 percent of the current crop of leading talents and executives in Nigeria’s creative industry are from the region; with top names including Burna Boy, Rema, and Timaya.

 “We want to provide an inaugural event that not only celebrates the incredible talent emerging from the Niger Delta but also captures the essence of its unique stories and heritage,” Omorogbe adds.

Performances and exhibitions will not only showcase the rich cultural heritage and inspiring stories of the Niger Delta but will also take audiences on a transcendent journey that spotlights the region’s unique artistic brilliance.

We are thrilled to announce that ‘Naija To The World’ will embark on a 12-month journey, crisscrossing Nigeria, Europe, and America,” says Efe Omorogbe, Chief Executive Officer, Buckwyld Media Network (BMN), organizers of the event.

 “This extended tour allows us to offer a comprehensive exploration of the Niger Delta’s cultural tapestry to audiences worldwide. It is an opportunity to celebrate the incredible talent emerging from the region and share its unique stories and heritage,” Efe adds.

 The flag-off event, scheduled to take place in New York City, will serve as the inaugural moment of the tour. During this event, organizers will unveil the tour’s itinerary, innovative format, and thrilling surprises. It will be a vibrant celebration of the cultural richness of the Niger Delta and its profound influence on the world stage.

 Over 1,500 lucky fans will witness this historic series of events live, while an additional 10 million viewers worldwide will tune in through broadcast partners spanning North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.


Afro Nation Announces its Debut in Nigeria.

Afro Nation, an annual three-day music festival produced by Live Nation, Event Horizon, Smade Entertainment, and Memories of Tomorrow is being hosted for the first time in Nigeria and the dates have officially been locked in. 

This event which was founded by Obi Asika, and Smade in association with BBC 1 Xtra in 2013 promises to be a two-day thrilling event set to take place from the 19th of December to the 20th of December 2023.

The location of the event is set to be in Lagos and it is gearing up to showcase an extraordinary lineup of top-tier artists and electrifying performances. 

This event being hosted in Nigeria is very significant as it marks the homecoming of the festival to the birthplace of Afrobeats. This Nigerian edition is poised to become the standout event of 2023 which will unite the diaspora in the heart of Afrobeats.

The thrilling announcement was divulged through the festival’s official social media channels, intensifying the anticipation and enthusiasm among music enthusiasts worldwide. 

Afro Nation Festival, which initially debuted four years ago in Portugal, has been on an expansive journey, including a highly successful U.S. debut in Miami this past May.

Co-founder of Afro Nation, Adesegun Adeosun Jnr, widely known as Smade, expressed his sentiments regarding the decision to bring the festival to Lagos, Nigeria. He remarked, “Nigeria is home to numerous international superstars who have propelled Afrobeats into a globally cherished genre. As someone who grew up in Lagos and later spent years promoting African music in London and beyond, this is a full-circle moment for me. Bringing the Afro Nation show back home to Lagos is a dream come true. We can’t wait to witness the grandest celebration of African music the world has ever seen!”

this event will draw many tourists and increase tourism activities in Nigeria, making an impact on the economy of the nation.

Ethiopia Government, World Bank Sign Corridor Project Agreement.

The Ethiopia Government and the World Bank recently signed a $730 million corridor project agreement, to improve a major route between Addis Ababa and Djibouti.

Ethiopia Ministry of Finance in a statement said the HoA Regional Economic Corridor Project (under Ethio-Djibouti) is trying to enhance the connectivity and logistics performance between the East African countries via the strategic Addis–Djibouti road corridor.

It elaborated that the project will finance the construction of 142 kilometers of road from Miesso to Dire Dawa, improving its quality and safety, reducing time spent traveling and costs, and increasing transport capacity and efficiency.

According to the statement, the route covers more than 90% of Ethiopia’s Maritime trade.

“The project will also support local communities along the road section area by constructing infrastructures to improve access to education, health, and water, as well as linking them to the main corridor by constructing secondary roads.

“The project is part of the HoA Initiative, a regional partnership platform that promotes integration among others, through infrastructure development, linking to one of the priority corridors identified under the Initiatives, Djibouti- Berbera corridor”, the Ministry said.

The Agreement was signed virtually between the Ethiopian Minister of Finance, Ahmed Shide, and the Regional Integration Director of the World Bank, Ms. Boutheina Guermazi.

Shide also expressed gratitude to the World Bank for its bold support and reiterated Ethiopia’s commitment to regional integration.

“As a current Chair of the HoA Initiative and Finance Minister, I strongly believe that infrastructure development is essential for achieving long-term growth and stability in our region”, said Shide.


South Sudan: International Airport Under Construction in Akon Village.

According to a local official and a company manager, a new international airport is being built in the Akon Village of Gogrial West County, Warrap State.

Akon is the home village of South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

Gogrial West County Commissioner Victor Wek koordit told Radio Tamazuj over the weekend that the construction of the Akon International Airport is underway, saying Wunkoc Engineering Company, a South Sudanese company, is doing the work.

“The construction of the airport has started. Wunkoc Engineering Company has brought 120 trucks from Juba and has been bringing murram from Malek Alek in Aweil South county of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State,” he explained.

The local official said the new airport, if completed, will improve business and transportation in the greater Bahr el Ghazal region.

“The airport is important because it will provide services to people and improve business in the Bahr el Ghazal region and make air transport easier since people used to go to Kuajok, Aweil, and Wau for air transport,” Commissioner Wek said.

The commissioner, nevertheless, did not disclose the cost of the project. The bidding process and how the contract was awarded to the company remains unclear.

For his part, Malek Riing, the Director of Administration at Wunkoc Engineering Company, confirmed the construction of the new airport in Akon, saying the project will be completed within two years.

“Our work is going well and will take two years to finish. The contract was signed on February 15, 2023. We take murram from Malek Alek town because the community agreed that we take murram from them,” he said.

“We talked to the community of Malek Alek, and the company will build for them a hospital and a bridge because their current bridge used to cut them off from accessing markets,” he added.

The airport construction is the second development project in Akon after the tarmac road construction.

Last month, the residents of Akon were upbeat about witnessing the construction of the first asphalt road in the area and the entire state. The works are being done by African Resources Corporation LTD, which has been contracted by the national government to construct several interstate highways in South Sudan.

Uganda: National Carrier Launches Mobile App to Ease Ticketing.

In a bid to ensure travelers conveniently access the national carrier’s services, Uganda Airlines celebrates and marks the launch of the Uganda Airlines Mobile App on 15th August at the Sheraton Hotel in Uganda. 

The Launch was an important milestone in the airline’s drive to improve its service delivery, ensuring a convenient and user-friendly booking and ticketing process and an overall delightful buyer experience for its customers. It was attended by notable aviation enthusiasts, stakeholders, and the media. The event showcased the airline’s dedication to enhancing the passenger experience through modern technology.

Speaking at the launch, Jennifer Bamuturaki, CEO of Uganda Airlines said that the company is aware that guests rely heavily on their mobile phones for regular activities, including travel, and therefore it’s essential for the company to provide a high level of convenience to all travelers with this new app.

“With this app, we are taking a significant step towards enhancing the overall travel experience for our customers. This app reflects our commitment to providing convenience, simplicity, and efficiency and allowing travelers to seamlessly access our services at their fingertips. As we continue to grow and improve, our focus remains firmly on prioritizing the needs and preferences of our valued passengers,” she said.

Bamuturaki noted that consumers will able to effortlessly book a ticket on the app, pay for the ticket, check-in, and print the boarding pass with the launch of the app. “Normally, a customer would have to call a call center to book a ticket, but now you can interact with only Uganda Airlines and can select the flight and the time you want to fly”, she added.

The app is equipped with a range of features such as flight booking, real-time updates, check-in services, viewing personal flight details, and the ability to access digital boarding passes. Also, safety measures have been put in place as the app has a number of security features to safeguard passenger data, such as robust encryption and authentication measures.

According to Bamuturaki, the mobile app is a reflection of the airline’s dedication to modernizing travel and embracing technological advancements as it aligns with Uganda Airlines’ broader strategy to innovate and improve its services.

The information Technology Manager at Uganda Airlines, Don Mubiru said their top priority with the app is seamlessness and priority. 

The app is a one-stop store for customers as it provides all of Uganda Airlines’ flight information and customer service tools. It is available on iOS and Android smartphones. 

Rise in Tourists Arrival in Tanzania.

TANZANIA has been ranked the second country in Africa for receiving a large number of tourists in the first quarter of this year (January to March).

According to the statistics unveiled by the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) for the period between January and March this year, Tanzania received 409,082 foreign tourists compared to 289,372 tourists received in a similar period last year.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources Dr Hassan Abbasi revealed that yesterday when briefing journalists about the 66th meeting of the UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa (CAF) held last week in Mauritius.

Dr. Abbasi said the success recorded in the country in the first quarter of this year was attributed to the Tanzania Royal Tour documentary featuring President Samia that aimed at marketing the country’s tourism sector.

“The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has named and recognized Tanzania as the second country in Africa for recording a large increase of tourists in the first quarter of this year (January to March), the first country is Ethiopia with Morocco taking the third slot,” Dr. Abbasi pointed out.

In particular, he said the organization also recognized Tanzania as the second country in Africa after Morocco in terms of attracting many foreign investment projects in the tourism sector.

He added: “The recorded success is attributed to the sixth phase of government commitment under President Samia to promote and develop the tourism industry in the country.”

The PS also highlighted another achievement acquired by the country from the 66th UNWTO meeting where Tanzania, for the first time in history, attained various positions in the UNWTO.

“For the first time since joining UNWTO, Tanzania has been able to occupy top positions in the organization through elections held in this meeting, including being elected to the post of Vice-President of the UNWTO General Meeting,” Dr Abbasi said.

Having Tanzania has been elected to the post, Dr. Abbasi said, Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Mohamed Mchengerwa will represent Africa in the position of Vice-President at the General Assembly of the UNWTO.

He added that through this position, Tanzania will be able to market tourism attractions in various tourism platforms in the world through meetings and events organized by UNWTO.

Moreover, he said, the country has been also elected as a member of the UNWTO Executive Council, adding that through the acquired position, the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism will represent the country in making decisions on how to develop the tourism sector in the United Nations World Tourism.

“As a member of the UNWTO Executive Council, Tanzania will use the opportunity to attract tourism development projects in the country and Africa in general,” PS added.

UNWTO was formed in 1974 with 160 full members and other associate members who bring together more than 500 tourism stakeholders in the world.

Tanzania attained full membership status in 1975, and since then it has been carrying out its duties and activities of the organization, including paying the annual membership fee, participating in meetings, and implementing guidelines and resolutions provided by UNWTO.

Egypt: Underwater Military Museum to be Established in Red Sea.

The local media reported that the Red Sea Governorate recently announced a new project to establish Egypt’s first underwater military museum by drowning 15 warships.

This project aims to establish the first museum in Egypt and Africa to combine three alternative diving sites in Hurghada, in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and Red Sea Reserves and civil society organizations, after years of careful planning and preparation.

The locations of the sites are off the coast of the Red Sea Governorate, where the most crowded sites are located to relieve pressure on natural coral reefs and create new ones.

It aims to provide an unforgettable experience combining history and the natural beauty of the marine environment.

The general secretary of the Red Sea Governorate stated that military equipment consisting of 15 warships, each of which has a unique story and special importance, will be dumped in three locations – Sha`b al-Saqala, Uruq al-Tawil, and Erq Jame` in Magawish, which will create new diving sites in Hurghada.

This move is scheduled to be celebrated on Thursday in Hurghada’s tourist marina, in the presence of Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad and several Arab environment ministers from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.