U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says humanitarian aid to Africa is facing 'irrevocable crisis.' Ghana-born Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan has declared that "The humanitarian needs of the victims of war and natural disasters in many parts of Africa are nearing irrevocable crisis proportions." Annan said he was "alarmed by the poor response of the international community" to the crisis in Africa. "The U.N humanitarian agencies and their partners require $796 million to assist over 12 million people in Africa, yet only $352 million have been received." In Angola, he said, it is estimated that 200 lives are lost each day as the conflict between government and UNITA forces intensifies. Also see commentary on Annan.


Machine gunfire burn parts of Somalia as armed gangs, police and Islamic activists batlle, again, for control. According to eyewitness accounts cited by AP the clashes broke out late Friday August 13, after residents of the southern Hodon district tried to establish their own Islamic court, challenging the authority of the current courts. Somalia has had no central government since the 1991 ouster of the late dictator Mohamed Siad Barre by a coalition of rebels. After Siad Barre's ouster, the rebels turned against each other, and the country disintegrated into fiefdoms protected by clan-based militias and so-called ethnic warlords.
Zuma says DR Congo rebels must join peace deal. The two rival factions of the rebel Congolese Rally for Democracy must both be made party to a peace deal in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to South Africa's foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana Zuma. Speaking to the SABC, she said "Heads of state should find a way of making sure that when that announcement is made ... the final resolution does not leave a group of people feeling that they want to go to war. It should leave them feeling that they want to go forward with the peace process."
She recently met with the two rival factions -- one supported by Uganda and the other by Rwanda -- in Kisangani, in northeastern DRC. The wrangle between the two groups is stalling the implementation of the Lusaka accord, which was signed by Kabila, all foreign belligerents in the war and a second rebel movement. USAfricaonline/MG
Senegal's Toure becomes first African woman to lead regional IPPF
. Tamaro Toure, chairperson of the Senegalese Association for Family Welfare has assumed office to head the executive committee of the African region of the International Planned Parenthood Federation. During her three-year mandate as head of the IPPF-Africa executive committee, comprising 43 sub-Saharan countries, Toure will also sit in the IPPF's Governing Council. The IPPF was set up in 1952. Toure, a trained lawyer and a retired labour inspector, is esteemed for a brilliant career in the civil service of Senegal.
Web site launched for imprisoned South African poet, Mbuli. The campaign for the Release of Mzwakhe Mbuli has launched a web site to publicize the case of the renowned artist. Mbuli is known as South Africa's "people's poet" for his daring appearances during the apartheid struggle. The site is at www.mzwakhe.org. It contains background information and an on-line petition calling for Mbuli's release. by Norm Dixon

HEALTHWATCH
Luo to chair HIV/AIDS conference in Lusaka. Professor Nkandu Luo, Zambia's Minister of Health will chair the 11th International Conference on HIV/AIDS from September 12-16 in Lusaka Zambia. Luo has recently written several opinion pieces on the devastating epidemic that has swept the Continent, especially the southern region. Luo (in pix) has done collaborative work with the office of the U.S. vice president Al Gore on AIDS in Africa. Her insight on AIDS and the African continent will appear in USAfrica The Newspaper and here on USAfricaonline.com.
Also, Houston congresswoman
Sheila Jackson-Lee has been actively engaged with other legislators and health experts on Africa-related issues, especially in the fight to halt the devastation of the virus across Africa. Her views on this issue will be publish on the two media formats of USAfrica.


NEWS INSIGHT
Atrocities continue in the Sudan despite U.S. assurances to significantly halt abuses

Three months after Senator Brownback, congressmen Donald Payne and Tom Tancredo argued that 'US support is needed to free Sudan' from slavery, religious extremism and other human rights crimes, and a congressional hearing, local sources inside the Sudan and others who have fled the country informed USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica The Newspaper that "not much has been done to halt the terrible deaths and abuses our people are still facing." One of them said "We are praying that (President) Clinton will help us. We're dying, every day." The lawmakers who recently returned from Sudan are making the case that the United States should step up its support for all groups fighting the National Islamic Front government of President Omar el-Bashir. Additional USAfricaonline report appears at Sudan branded over Slave Trade. Also, see Human rights, Sudan and media

BUSINESS
$350 Million fund for Investments in Africa launched by Washington DC-based OPIC. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has launched a $350 million equity fund for investment in sub-Saharan Africa-the largest single fund in OPIC's history. The fund was formally launched at a Capitol Hill ceremony July 22 sponsored by Congressmen Bill Archer (R-TX), Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), Philip M. Crane (R-IL), Sander M. Levin (D- MI), Sonny Callahan (R-AL), Benjamin A. Gilman (R-NY), and Sam Gejdenson (D-CT).

The New Africa Infrastructure Fund responds to the commitment made by Congress and the Clinton Administration to increase private investment in sub-Saharan Africa. It is expected to leverage an additional $2 billion of investment in Africa which will create approximately 6,800 new jobs for Africans and generate almost $50 million in annual revenues for the countries of sub-Sahara Africa. It will also generate an estimated $350 million in American exports while creating U.S. jobs-- all at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer. Investments will focus on basic infrastructure needs such as telecommunications, transportation, and power. "I commend the Congress and the Administration for identifying Africa as one of the biggest growth opportunities for American business in the world," George Munoz, OPIC President and CEO said. "As this fund-the largest in OPIC's history-demonstrates, we are strongly committed to increasing U.S. direct investment in Africa."

"OPIC is also committed to working with the nations of sub-Saharan Africa as partners in growth and to help facilitate the integration of Africa into the global economy," Munoz continued. "The New Africa Infrastructure Fund is the fourth OPIC equity fund supporting investment in Africa. OPIC has signed new bilateral investment agreements with 14 sub-Saharan African countries since 1997. In addition, OPIC is providing almost $900 million of support in approximately 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa." PANA


eBANKING
Chase, First Union, Wells Fargo e-billing network 'fortified' for Y2K
Three of the U.S major banks Chase Manhattan, First Union and Wells Fargo who announced on June 24 in New York that they will form a company to facilitate electronic receipt and payment of bills for individuals and businesses plan to announce additional and what some of their executives say will be the "most secure transaction methods" and and Y2K-proof protocol for their customers by the end of summer.
Onwuchekwe elected president of Houston's IPC; Obiechina becomes board chair
The Igbo Peoples' Congress in Houston elected on Friday August 6, 1999, new officers. Chibuzo E. Onwuchekwe, P.E, (in pix) secured the position Executive President, while Aloy Obiechina was elected the Board Chairman. Onwuchekwe holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering.
The president-elect informed USAfricaonline.com and
NigeriaCentral.com that "my first task is to enhance our comunity's awareness about things here and build a stronger presence here. From it, we'll impact and contribute to shape issues and events back home in Nigeria. I have a plan to strongly to work with the house of delegates of the IPC and reach out to the communities they represent." He is licensed in the State of Texas and holds almost 14 years of practice in the area of environmental engineering. He founded Merit Environmental and Blessings Homecare Services in 1993. Currently serves as the President of both companies. He is married to Victoria Ngozi Onwuchekwe, RN, who serves as director of nursing at Blessings. Mazi Onwuchekwe is vice President of Ndi Ichie Cultural Club of Houston, vice President, Aguata-Orumba Association and member, People's Club of Nigeria, Houston.
On his part, Obiechina also informed USAfricaonline.com that "it's a new day for our organization and we'll do our very best to refocus our community . There's a lot of work ahead, and we believe it can be done." Onwuchekwe said that one of his objectives will be to "make the voice of my community and people here in Houston very distinct and respected." by Chido Nwangwu