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WB Supports Greater Access to Energy and Broadband Services in Rural Mozambique

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The World Bank approved today a $300 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA) that will support the Government of Mozambique’s efforts to increase access to energy and broadband services, as well as strengthen the operational performance of the country’s electricity utility.

“Mozambique’s economy can benefit from systematically harnessing the synergies of energy and digital connectivity in rural and fragile areas to enhance economic productivity, promote inclusive growth and build resilience in a sustainable manner,” saidIdah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank Country Director for Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius, and Seychelles.

Energy access remains low in Mozambique with significant rural-urban disparities. The rural electricity access rate is estimated at about 8%, against 72% in urban areas. Only 4% of the population in Mozambique has access to clean cooking solutions. Likewise, access to telecommunication services is limited, with only 30% of the population using the internet.

“We will focus on energy provision to the poor, to those displaced by conflict and to critical social services such as schools and hospitals where private sector participation is limited. This financing will also help local enterprises bridge market and capacity gaps and grow as reliable partners in the provision of energy and communication services,” said Samuel Oguah, Senior Energy Specialist, and the project’s co-task team leader.

The project financing will be utilized to expand on-grid peri-urban and rural grid electrification to over 3% of the nation’s population (1,1 million beneficiaries); expand off-grid electricity access and clean cooking solutions through increased availability and affordability with a particular focus on underserved areas of the northern provinces; and expand broadband access for at least 580,000 people thereby supporting efforts to improve service delivery and bridge the digital divide. Part of the funds will also be utilized to improve the electricity utility’s operational performance. The project leverages private sector investments and builds on development patterns’ interventions, particularly on clean energy solutions.

“Another area of our focus is on productive use of electricity particularly in agriculture,” added Claudio Buque, Senior Energy Specialist, and the project’s co-task team leader. “By investing in clean cooking solutions, we’ll contribute to reducing the health risks of women and children, particularly those associated with traditional cooking.”  

“Energy and information and communications technology (ICT) access increasingly go hand in hand – electricity is needed to power digital devices and networks, while mobile communications and payments can unlock new business models for low-cost solar home system deployment,” added Casey Torgusson, Senior Digital Development Specialist, and the project’s co-task team leader. “By adopting a coordinated approach in the deployment of energy and ICT, this project holds significant potential to improve access to energy and broadband services in rural areas, creating greater social and economic connection and opportunities in otherwise isolated communities.”

This project is co-financed by the Kingdom of Sweden and the Kingdom of Norway through the Mozambique Energy for All Multi-Donor Trust Fund with an additional amount of $38 million equivalent and the ESMAP Clean Cooking Fund in the amount of $5 million. It will contribute to the achievement of the government’s National Electrification Strategy, which aims to provide electricity for all Mozambicans by 2030. This operation is aligned with the World Bank Group Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Mozambique FY17-21, especially on its focus on inclusive growth and private sector development.

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The importance of Iran’s membership in the SCO

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The members of Majlis (the Parliament) have approved the emergency of the plan of Iran’s commitments to achieve the position of a member state in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), – informs IRNA from Tehran.

The  emergency plan was endorsed with 161 votes in favor, two against, and three abstentions.

Ali Adyani, the deputy vice president for parliamentary affairs, said that the plan was proposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was endorsed by the cabinet members, and sent to parliament to become law.

According to the official, Iran’s membership in the SCO is of great importance in terms of economic, social, and international affairs particularly because the opportunity would help the Islamic Republic get rid of illegal sanctions and enhance economic diplomacy.

Iran has been an observer of the SCO since 2005. Then, President Ebrahim Raisi called for full membership of the Islamic country in the organization in its last summer summit in Tajikistan.

The legislators have accepted to speed up scrutinizing the plan. Earlier, the Iranian parliament had endorsed the plan of accession of the Islamic Republic to the SCO.

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Sabah: ‘The Americans have deceived themselves, the Europeans and Ukraine’

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The US is repeating the same mistakes as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. Now – in Ukraine. So it seems inevitable that Washington will face another setback as a result of its ideological obsession, – writes prominent Turkish observer Bercan Tutar at “Sabah” newspaper.

Having suffered a complete failure in the Middle East wars, the Americans sent to Ukraine not only their ineffective weapons, but also their inadequate thoughts and strategies. But no matter what they do, their chances of defeating Russia are very slim.

The 330th day of the war, which began on February 24, 2022, has already been completed. After a short retreat, Russia began redeployment. However, the fact that Russia abandoned the siege of Kyiv and focused on control over Russian-speaking regions led Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky and the United States to false conclusions.

Encouraged by Russia’s cautious military actions, the United States applied its strategy in the war on terrorism in Ukraine and. According to American experts, the current US administration is following the deadly tracks of previous military propaganda in Ukraine, which proved unsuccessful in Afghanistan and Iraq.

While Russia is pursuing a military strategy that prioritizes its political goals, we see that the US is lacking in both military and political leadership. As soon as the war in Ukraine began, the first goal of the US was to rally its NATO allies against the Russian invasion. It was a smart strategy and it worked.

However, when the US reached the first target, a further one only increased its expectations. Russia was asked to leave not only Donetsk and Lugansk (Donbass), but also Crimea. Even further, the United States began to voice maximalist demands, such as regime change in Moscow. But it is absolutely clear that these demands can arise only in conditions of a total world war.

As a result, American fantasies lead Washington to attempt strategic suicide. The Americans have deceived themselves, the Europeans and Ukraine.

Russian leader Putin said on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the breaking of the blockade of Leningrad: “We tolerated it for a long time and tried to come to an agreement. As it has recently turned out, they were messing around with us; they were lying to us. This was not the first time this has happened to us. Yet we did everything in our power to settle the problem peacefully. It has become obvious now that it was an inherently impossible mission; the enemy was only preparing to bring this conflict to the hot phase. As I have said, there was no other way than to do what we are doing now.”

In short, some geopolitical officials in the US have dragged Zelensky into a ‘no-win war’ against a nuclear-armed Russia.

Now the world is focused on two options:

– either the US and its allies will perform a ‘miracle’ in Ukraine;

– or the Russians will crush Ukraine and then break the back of the NATO alliance.

Thus, the US strategic position in Europe will come to an end and a new world order will be born, perhaps with several centers of power outside of America.

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War games will take place off Durban between South Africa, China and Russia

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South Africa’s government has finally shown its colours by inviting Russia and China for war games next month, London’s ‘Daily Mail’ writes with indignation and indignation.

SA President Cyril Ramaphosa has ditched his supposed ‘neutrality’ to the war by hosting the naval drills off the country’s east coast near Durban and Richards Bay from February 17 to 27. The move is the strongest indication yet of the strengthening relationship between South Africa, and the anti-West authoritarian regimes of China and Russia.

The drills will take place around the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and bring more focus on the refusal of South Africa – a leading voice on its continent – to side with the West and condemn Russia’s actions. The South African government said last year it had adopted a neutral stance over Ukraine and called for dialogue and diplomacy.

But the upcoming naval drills have led the country’s main opposition party to accuse the government of effectively siding with Russia.

But the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), which incorporates all of its armed forces, said next month’s naval exercise would ‘strengthen the already flourishing relations between South Africa, Russia and China’. The aim of the drills was ‘sharing operational skills and knowledge’, the SANDF said.

The three countries also conducted a similar naval exercise in 2019 in Cape Town, while Russia and China held joint naval drills in the East China Sea last month.

The United States and European Union had hoped South Africa would support the international condemnation of Russia and act as a leader for other nations in Africa. But, South Africa appealed to be one of several African countries to ‘abstain’ in a United Nations vote last year condemning Russia’s special military operation.

South Africa and Russia share a long history, after the Soviet Union gave support to the ANC in its fight to bring down apartheid, the regime of repression against the country’s black majority, writes London newspaper. (And we should remember, how the British destroyed the Boers’ Transvaal and the Orange Republic of the at the beginning of the 20th century, and planted the apartheid regime here).

Apartheid ended in 1994 when the ANC won the first democratic elections in South Africa and Nelson Mandela became president.

South Africa is also a member of BRICS, a bloc of emerging economies, alongside Brazil, Russia, India and China.

South Africa’s obligations with respect to sanctions relate only to those that are specifically adopted by the United Nations. Currently, there are no UN-imposed sanctions on the particular individual, they say in Pretoria.

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