Inside Business Africa INSIDE BUSINESS AFRICA APRIL 2019 - Page 11

Developing Story I N S I D E B U S I N E S S A F R I C A The unsettled Libya Khalifa Haftar, Libya's strongest warlord, makes a push for Tripoli K HALIFA HAFTAR'S decision would be troubling enough under normal circumstances. On April 4th Libya's strongest warlord ordered his men to march on Tripoli. His self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) already controls the east and took the south in a lightning offensive earlier this year. Now it turns to the capital, home to a weak United Nations-backed government that has no army of its own. A spokesman claims the LNA already controls three towns along a highway to Tripoli. The closest, Aziziya, is just 40km southwest. "Control" has many meanings in Libya, and the LNA tends to exaggerate its gains; it may be that locals simply let it pass. Regardless, though, it is knocking on the gates of the capital. In a remarkable stroke of arrogance, the offensive coincides with a visit by António Guterres, the UN's secretary- general. He is in Libya to prepare for a peace conference this month that, he hoped, would lead to long-delayed elections later this year. If the general does not quickly halt his offensive, the conference will be over before it starts. Libyans and diplomats were stunned by his audacity. One UN official sent a string of confused emojis by way of analysis. General Haftar had long threatened to take Tripoli. Until now he was posturing. But it seems he was encouraged by his recent romp through the south. Rather than fight the LNA, many southerners Plans for a UN peace conference are in disarray amid fears of a bloody battle for the capital welcomed it. Their region is rife with ethnic and tribal fighting, and with criminal gangs that run lucrative smug gling rings. Militants from neighbouring Chad and Sudan have joined the fray. Locals hoped the general would bring stability and let him capture towns and a major oilfield with little bloodshed. Many foreign powers involved in Libya have tolerated or encouraged the general's machinations. France hopes he can bring other militias to heel. Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) share his anti-Islamist politics. Russia has also sold weapons to General Haftar. All mistakenly thought they could control General Haftar 42 u t APRIL1 4 - 28, 2019 him, not least by threatening to restrict oil exports, and prevent the opening of a western front in Libya's long-running conflict. They now look feckless. America, Britain, France, Italy and the UAE put out a joint statement that did not even blame the general for the escalation. It merely urged "all parties" to restore calm. Egypt did not bother to sign it. Seizing the west will not be so easy, however. Militias from the port city of Misrata are deploying to Tripoli to counter the LNA's advance. They are the strongest force in western Libya and won a decisive victory over Islamic State in 2016. Misratans resent General Haftar's ambitions and have a personal link with the government in Tripoli: Fathi Bashagha, named interior minister last year, hails from Misrata. The LNA has an unmatched advantage in its modest air force, stocked with jets and helicopters either seized from the old Libyan army or donated by Arab allies. General Haftar may also hope that western militias will switch sides. Though he opposes the Muslim Brotherhood and its ilk, he has made common cause with the Madkhalis, an ultra-conservative sect backed by Saudi Arabia. A Madkhali faction in Tripoli is aligned with the UN-backed government. But Libyan analysts point to a meeting in March between General Haftar and King Salman of Saudi Arabia, and wonder if the Saudis pledged their support. Mr Guterres has flown to Benghazi to meet the general. The UN Security Council will convene in New York to discuss the situation. Diplomats may yet find a way to halt the offensive. But Libyans fear the ageing general, who had health problems last year, has decided to make his final push. One website posted photos of the central bank's governor decamping Tripoli for Tunis on a commercial flight. Last month Ghassan Salamé, the UN envoy, warned that the upcoming conference was the last chance for a peaceful arrangement in Libya. If it fails, he warned, "we will be faced with only two possible options: prolonged stalemate or conflict." General Haftar seems to have chosen his path. Developing Story THE MAGAZINE 0F THE CORPORATE WORLD Expanding the infrastructure Expanding IT Nigeria seeks additional US $461m to fix new airport terminals Construction work to begin on Namanve data center in Uganda C N igeria's Minister of State Aviation, Hadi Sirika is seeking US $461m to be approved by the National Assembly for additional work on the new airport terminals project ongoing across the country. Hadi Sirika explained before the Senate Committee that the amount was needed to tackle some challenges encountered in the process of building the terminals due to change in the structural design of the airports, foundation footing and escalators. Construction challenges "The challenges have resulted in the need for variation and additional works to the tune of US $461m, which has been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and China Exim Bank has also indicated willingness to consider funding additional works," he said. The minister also solicited the support of the National Assembly and other stakeholders to ensure all needed equipment necessary for safety and security were provided to Hadi Sirika meet the Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs) as outlined by regulatory aviation bodies. The funds were an additional to the extra US $500m loan already acquired from China Exim Bank. The minister acknowledged that the airports being worked upon were already wearing new looks befitting of modern airports. Two of the new terminals, in Port Harcourt and Abuja have been commissioned, while Lagos and Kano will be completed shortly. The provisions being made will enable completion of new terminal buildings at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu. Mr. Sirika also pointed out that there was a need to make provisions for the biggest modern aircraft, change in departure and arrival floors to flow with railway station, provision of adequate power supply and relocation of control tower and fire service station, among others. Akanu Ibiam International Airpor t, Enugu. T he minister assured that more bilateral and multilateral air service agreements would be signed for the benefits of travellers. t 11 u APRIL1 4 - 28, 2019 onstruction works on the multi million dollar Namanve data center in Uganda is set to begin after Ugandan data centre provider Raxio Data Centre Ltd launched the project. In February 2019, Ugandan cloud service provider Hamilton Cloud Services finalized an agreement to collocate their servers in Raxio Data Centre in Namanve, which will make the company Raxio's first officially signed customer for service when Raxio opens its doors in October 2019. "Today is an exciting day for Raxio. Not only are we proud to announce Hamilton as our first officially signed customer- but Hamilton is also a uniquely strategic kind of partner that will give other Raxio customers and opportunity to enjoy a seamlessly integrated data centre and local cloud service experience under one roof," said James Byaruhanga, General Manager at Raxio. Namanve data center Roko Construction won the contract from a total of six companies that were invited to bid for the civil works in a competitive process that started at the end of last year. The company will be responsible for all civil engineering works to be done. Robert Mullins and Brooks Washington, both Raxio directors and James Byaruhanga, the Raxio general manager signed the contract on behalf of Raxio, while Mark Koehler and Willie Swanepoel the Roko managing director respectively signed on behalf of Roko. Robert Mullins said that the project has already received clearance from u