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‘Not African Enough’ Explores the Diversity of Kenya’s Fashion Landscape

In a challenge to African stereotypes, the Nest Collective has issued their second book, ‘Not African Enough,’ which profiles the wide range of creative forces that define African fashion. In the first chapter, Joy Mboya, the director of the GoDown Arts Centre in Nairobi, unpacks Kenyan national identity and how it relates to art. In particular, a 2004 project titled Sunlight Quest for a National Dress is described as an attempt to create recognisable symbols of identity through fashion.

SOURCES: DESIGN INDABA

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How Ndlovu Youth Choir Stirred Our Souls

It’s the first time that an African group made its way into the America’s Got Talent finals, and they wowed the world with their soulful music.  They may not have won the competition, but they captured hearts around the world.  Their journey started in June when the youth choir delivered a powerful performance of ‘My African Dream’ and received a standing ovation from the audience. They have not looked back since and won a legion of fans around the world with their uplifting and moving performances.

SOURCES: CNN

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‘Stolen Moments’ Uncovers the Namibian Music That Apartheid Tried to Erase

A whole generation never knew about the rich musical history of Namibia thanks to the cultural suppression that came with apartheid.  A new photo exhibit at the Brunei Gallery in London sheds light on the practice that squashed the country’s musical legacy in favor of propaganda. The ‘Stolen Moments” project began in 2010 in an effort to champion Namibia’s unsung musical innovators.

SOURCES: OKAYAFRICA

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The Case for Johannesburg as the Capital of Africa’s Art Scene

A new owner and a fresh outlook are reshaping FNB Art Joburg and legitimizing South Africa’s economical capital city as the new epicenter for the best of the best of African art. As the market for contemporary art from Africa gathers heat, many collectors are eagerly waiting for tastemakers on the continent to pinpoint a region on which to concentrate.

SOURCES: ARTNET

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10 Best Destination Countries in Africa

Historic vestiges such as the Egyptian pyramids, the rock churches of Ethiopia, the South African Robben Island Prison where Nelson Mandela stayed for 27 years, or the island of Gorée in Senegal, a symbol of the memory of the slave trade in Africa, as well as safari parks and other grandiose landscapes (Victoria Falls, Sahara desert) are all assets that make the African continent an increasingly coveted tourist destination.

SOURCES: AFRICA.COM

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Seychelles Offers a Fantastic Mix of the Exotic and African Feel

A one-hour ferry ride away from magical Mahe lies Praslin, one of the jewels in the crown of the Seychelles islands. Considered one of the most beautiful islands in the world, it’s easy to see why visitors flock here. Praslin is all about breathtaking beaches, Creole cuisine, locally produced rum and of course the Coco de Mer – the world’s largest nut which is unique to the island. 

SOURCES: IOL
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Namibia’s Most Exquisite Scenery

One of southern Africa’s most significant wetlands, this lagoon is home to thousands of migratory birds, with exquisite birdlife including great white pelicans, Cape gannets, sandpipers, plovers and even the African Purple Swamphens finding refuge in the sheltered water among the flamingos. Another picturesque lagoon, Sandwich Harbour, is just an hour’s drive away, and is also a favourite of bird lovers.

SOURCES: GETAWAY

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Get a Taste of Africa

Gastronomic tourism also includes the promotion of heritage sites that are known to revolve around dishes that are of historic importance. They enhance the travel experience, they encourage the acquisition of knowledge and a cultural exchange. There is a unanimous view that vast amounts of knowledge have been lost to history and there is a huge knowledge gap in African societies as a result of colonization and urbanization.

SOURCES: FORBES AFRICA

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Where to Invest in Africa 2020

Morocco overtakes South Africa in the RMB investment attractiveness rankings. RMB Global Markets Research is proud to present its ninth edition of Where to Invest in Africa, which analyses 54 African economies according to their investment attractiveness. The latest publication returns to where it all began — focusing on the traditional and alternative sectors driving African countries to reach ever-higher levels of economic growth. This year, Guinea, Mozambique and Djibouti recorded the strongest gains in the rankings, with notable advancements in their operating environments. The rankings are as instructive on the downside, identifying countries that have either stagnated or outright deteriorated in one or more aspects of our methodology. South Africa, Ethiopia and Tanzania are among the more prominent countries to have taken a tumble. A deterioration in the ease of doing business has contributed to their relative underperformance and, in addition, South Africa is enduring a cyclical downturn.

SOURCES: IOL

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Kenya’s $200m Dam Stopped

The building of a controversial dam in Kenya has been cancelled by President Uhuru Kenyatta after an investigation found that the project was financially and technically unfeasible.The president had asked a team to look into the building of two dams in Elgeyo Marakwet County, in western Kenya, after a corruption scandal broke in July over the awarding of a contract for their construction. The investigation found that no reliable feasibility study had been conducted for Kimwarer Dam, no thought given to the compensation that would need to be given to residents in the area that would be flooded and the technical design was problematic. The second dam – Arror – was found to be economically viable but some changes would have to be made to make it more affordable.

SOURCES: BLOOMBERG

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The Tallest Building in Africa Set in Africa’s Richest Square Mile

Africa’s tallest building is set to open next month as its developers seek to cash in on security fears and traffic jams by building a high-rise residential and retail complex in the heart of Sandton’s CBD. Designed by Johannesburg’s Co-Arc International Architects, the Leonardo supersedes the Carlton Centre as the tallest building on the continent. The 222m Carlton Centre in the city centre opened in 1972 as a hotel owned by Anglo American and now serves as the headquarters of Transnet. Of Africa’s 10 tallest buildings, four are in Johannesburg, three in Dar es Salaam, two in Nairobi and one in Lagos. Construction of the 314m Pinnacle Tower in Nairobi has stalled.

SOURCES: BUSINESS DAY LIVE

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Great Renaissance Dam Hits another Snag

Ethiopia has rejected a proposal by Egypt to operate a $4 billion hydropower dam that Addis is constructing on the Nile, further deepening a dispute between the two nations over the project.  In a press conference in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, Sileshi Bekele, minister for water, irrigation and energy described Egypt’s plan including the volume of water it wants the dam to release annually as “inappropriate.” The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, announced in 2011, is designed to be the centrepiece of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter, generating more than 6,000 megawatts. The two nations disagree over the annual flow of water that should be guaranteed to Egypt and how to manage flows during droughts. Egypt relies on the Nile for 90% of its fresh water and it wants the GERD’s reservoir to release a higher volume of water than Ethiopia is willing to guarantee, among other disagreements.
 

SOURCE: CNBC AFRICA

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Andela’s Next Phase of Growth Means Job Losses

Pan-African tech firm, Andela announced that it is laying off up to 420 junior engineering jobs across its operations in Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya. Approximately 250 junior engineers and staff from its Nigeria and Uganda hubs were affected with another 170 potentially impacted in Kenya, the company said in a press release. The move comes as the company looks to restructure its talent pool to more closely align with global market demand, it added. “As the talent world has evolved, we have as well, and over the past few years it’s become increasingly clear that the world needs what Andela provides: high-quality engineering-as-a-service,” Andela co-founder and CEO, Jeremy Johnson said. Additionally, the company is partnering with Co-Creation HUB in Nigeria, iHub in Kenya, and Innovation Village in Uganda to help connect impacted developers with opportunities in their local ecosystems.
 

SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA

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Tips for Investing in Africa’s Hotel Businesses

A new report from JLL, the world’s largest professional services firm specialising in real estate, has revealed that people seeking to finance a new hotel project in Africa will be much more successful if their hotel is part of a mixed-use development. A driving factor for this trend is that hotels rent their rooms in euros and US dollars rather than in local currency which, from a financing perspective, reduces the risk to the lender and lowers the interest rate paid by the borrower. The research comes a week ahead of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum  Africa’s highest profile gathering of the hospitality and tourism industry, which takes place in Addis Ababa.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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10 Renewable Energy Start Ups in Africa

M-Kopa sells solar home systems to Kenya’s low-income earners by allowing them to pay in installments over the course of a year using mobile money. Mobile Solar Cell Phone kiosk is an alternative solar-powered mobile kiosk that charges phones and connects communities in Rwanda. Established to bring safer lighting solutions to off-grid communities who live in informal settlements and rural areas across South Africa, Shakti Energy is a South African startup that provides an alternative energy solution to thousands of households. iCoal Concept is a Kenyan startup that transforms waste from the charcoal industry and processes it into modern energy. Global Energy Solutions is a Nigerian company that develops renewable power projects and provides solar energy solutions to rural Nigeria.
 

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Somali Women on the Move

Zamzam Yusuf, a grandmother of 29, is breaking barriers by entering the once men-only camel trading industry in Somalia. Of the world’s estimated 35 million camels, Somalia, a country of more than 15 million people, houses more than seven million camels – the highest number per country globally. Livestock is the backbone of the Somali economy with more than 65 percent of the population engaged in some way in the industry, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. But it is extremely rare to see a woman at any of the busy camel markets in the East African country. The milk, often referred to as white gold, also brings in a decent return. In Kismayo, one litre of camel milk is sold for $1 and Zamzam’s herd produces at least 400 litres a day.  In a bid to expand her business, which employs 10 people, Zamzam decided to join forces with two other traders.  In a bid to expand her business, which employs 10 people, Zamzam decided to join forces with two other traders. 
 

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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A Made in Senegal Drone

Mamadou Wade Diop has been working with drones both in the photography and health sectors for years. But recently, he decided to work with local blacksmiths and construct a drone made entirely in Senegal. He goes by Dr. Drone on social media and is the only person in the Dakar area who can fix broken drones. But recently, he’s taken his knowledge a step further, consulting with drone makers across the world on how to construct one of his own. Though he does a lot of work in the audio-visual sector, renting his services out to news and documentary crews as well as collecting drone footage of various places in Senegal to sell, the purpose of his drone will be in the health sector – a drone that can spread chemicals to prevent mosquito breeding in stagnant water.

SOURCE: VOA

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Setting Up a Successful Airline

Kenya Airways must avoid picking a board packed with politically-connected individuals after it is renationalised in order to ensure future success, its chairman said on Tuesday. Chairman Michael Joseph said the requirement for professionals to be put in charge of the airline is being built into draft laws that will guide the renationalisation. “We do not want to create a situation that we had before, where you nationalise the airline and all it becomes is a department of government. The board of directors is loaded by friends of politicians.” Under the model approved by lawmakers, Kenya Airways will become one of four subsidiaries in an Aviation Holding Company.
 

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Giving Burkinabe Prisoners Tools for Healthy Expression

Aguibou Bougobali Sanou is on a mission to share his love of dance with an unexpected group of students – the inmates of Bobo-Dioulasso prison in Burkina Faso. The Burkinabe choreographer aims to give them something that is in short supply in their overcrowded cells: Hope. Sanou hopes that in his classes, he can help his students work through their emotions and reflect on their pasts. He aims to provide them with skills that will stop them from reoffending once they are free citizens. Bouba contests that none of those who left the prison has so far reoffended. In the absence of hope and opportunity, the example given by Bouba shows how the marginalised, poor and forgotten can also build towards their own dreams, as long they as they are self-reliant, positive and determined.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Urgent Need to Formalise Land Policy in Windhoek’s Informal Settlements

Informal settlements are increasingly emerging in cities in developing countries across the world, including Africa. Today an estimated 25% of the world’s urban population live in informal settlements. These settlements have limited or no access to basic services like water and sanitation; lack proper infrastructure like roads and formal housing structures. Namibia’s capital city, Windhoek, is no exception when it comes to unplanned urbanisation. Researchers say that if the Namibian government wants to improve the living conditions of the urban poor, it needs to introduce policies that recognise the complex nature and relations of informal settlements.

SOURCE: THE CONVERSATION

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Cameroon’s law courts are at a standstill

Cameroon’s law courts are at a standstill as lawyers for a third day Wednesday defy government threats and continue to protest what they say are widespread unbearable rights violations that include torture, illegal and prolonged detention of accused persons. Observers say the strike may compromise the national dialogue ordered by President Paul Biya to solve the separatist conflict rocking the country. Three hundred and eighty cases have been on the schedule at the Ekounou tribunal in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde, since Sept. 16 and none of them have been heard. Political analysts say the lawyers’ strike may affect the national dialogue Biya announced Sept. 10 to resolve issues in his country, which is in the midst of a separatist conflict that pits its French and English-speaking populations against each other.

SOURCE: VOA

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Football with a Cause

Two missing Kenyan children who featured in a social media campaign run by Italian soccer side AS Roma have been found, the club said. On Sunday, a 13-year-old boy was found and reunited with his family, while on Tuesday, an eight-year-old girl was found. The image of the missing boy was posted on Twitter alongside a picture of the club’s new summer signing, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, following his loan move from Arsenal, while the girl appeared in Chris Smalling’s transfer announcement in August. In a campaign that started this summer, the Serie A team partnered with charities National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), Telefono Azzurro, Missing People and Missing Child Kenya. While Roma has received praise for raising awareness through its social media, the club’s head of strategy, Paul Rogers, emphasized the campaign has nothing to do with “self-promotion.”

SOURCE: CNN

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South Sudan’s Future Generation Tainted by War

UN investigators have warned that despite the fragile peace in South Sudan, the recruitment of children into the army and militias is on the increase as each side seeks to bolster infantry numbers. The investigators also warned that sexual violence against women and localised ethnic violence are increasing tensions that could return the country to civil war. According to the UN, South Sudan is not alone. In 2018, their research identified 14 countries which they say are guilty of recruiting and using children in conflict: Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Globally it is estimated that there are up to 250,000 child soldiers, 40% of whom are believed to be girls, according to children’s charity Theirworld.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Most African Cities are not Configured for an Explosive Population Growth

The story of Egun fishermen, like that of many of the urban poor in Lagos and megacities across the continent, is one of displacement. Urbanization is often considered from a western perspective, with young professionals crammed into megacities, living in pods in ever-taller skyscrapers made from sustainable materials. But it is Africa that will drive global population growth over the next 30 years — and how urbanization affects people there now informs how the greatest chunk of humanity will live in 2050.

SOURCE: OZY

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10 Renewable Energy Start Ups in Africa

M-Kopa sells solar home systems to Kenya’s low-income earners by allowing them to pay in instalments over the course of a year using mobile money. Mobile Solar Cell Phone kiosk is an alternative solar-powered mobile kiosk that charges phones and connects communities in Rwanda. Established to bring safer lighting solutions to off-grid communities who live in informal settlements and rural areas across South Africa, Shakti Energy is a South African startup that provides an alternative energy solution to thousands of households. iCoal Concept is a Kenyan startup that transforms waste from the charcoal industry and processes it into modern energy. uaint Global Energy Solutions is a Nigerian company that develops renewable power projects and provides solar energy solutions to rural Nigeria.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Mobile App Slashes the Time it Takes to Detect Ebola

Until recently, following up with people who have come into contact with Ebola was a complicated task for contact tracers, working in one of the epicentres of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where suspicion can quickly reach a fever pitch. Now contract tracers only need to carry their mobile phone. The information they gather can be sent to their supervisor straight from the field. This is thanks to Go.Data, a mobile application that the World Health Organization introduced in Beni on 1 September. Created by the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network group, WHO and partner organizations, Go.Data is a major innovation in outbreak investigation tools for field data collection. Epidemiologists can access the data almost in real time, enabling them to act quickly.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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Tunisia’s Ousted Leader Dies in Exile

Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali died in exile in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, days after a free presidential election in his homeland. Ben Ali fled Tunisia in January 2011 as his compatriots rose up against his oppressive rule in a revolution that inspired other Arab Spring uprisings abroad and led to a democratic transition at home. A former security chief, Ben Ali had run Tunisia for 23 years, taking power when, as prime minister in 1987, he declared president-for-life Habib Bourguiba medically unfit to rule. During that era, his photograph was displayed in every shop, school and government office from the beach resorts of the Mediterranean coast to the impoverished villages and mining towns of Tunisia’s hilly interior.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Liberians Gutted after a Devastating Fire

Twenty-six children have died after a fire broke out in a boarding school in a suburb outside the Liberian capital Monrovia.The children were sleeping in a building attached to a mosque at the Quranic Islamic School in Paynesville City when it caught fire at around 11 pm Liberia time. The children, some as young as 10, were not able to escape the building because there was no fire exit and there were security steel bars on the windows. Two teachers are also among the dead. While two survivors were taken to a local hospital and remain in a critical condition. Liberia’s President George Weah visited the site Wednesday morning and later tweeted his condolences to the families of the bereaved. “My prayers go out to the families of the children that died last night in Paynesville City; as a result of a deadly fire that engulfed their school building. This is a tough time for the families of the victims and all of Liberia. Deepest condolences go out to the bereaved.” he victims were buried on Wednesday in line with Islamic funeral rites.

SOURCE: CNN

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Relief for Senegal’s Cancer Sufferers

Senegal’s government says that women suffering from breast or cervical cancer will be offered free chemotherapy in public hospitals from the beginning of October. For other types of cancers, 60% of the costs will be reimbursed, the government says. For other types of cancers, 60% of the costs will be reimbursed, the government says. Other countries, like Rwanda, Namibia and Seychelles, also offer free chemotherapy. An estimated $1.6bn has been allocated by the Senegalese government for this new measure. Already, in 2015, the government agreed to cover at least 30% of the cost of treating all cancers. But many other obstacles remain when it comes to effectively and affordably treating cancer. For example, more mammograms, which detect the presence of breast cancer, need to be offered to women in Senegal. In many circumstances, radiotherapy is needed, in addition to chemotherapy, to control the disease in the tissues where the cancer began, Dr Benjamin Anderson, professor of surgery and global health medicine at the University of Washington explained.

SOURCE: THE EAST AFRICAN

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Looking into Madagascar’s Crystal Industry

Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world, but beneath its soil is a well-stocked treasure chest. Rose quartz and amethyst, tourmaline and citrine, labradorite and carnelian: Madagascar has them all. Gems and precious metals were the country’s fastest-growing export in 2017 – up 170% from 2016, to $109m. While the crystal business is booming, and largely among consumers who tend to be concerned with environmental impact, fair trade and good intentions, there is little sign of the kind of regulation that might improve conditions for those who mine them. Refining the stone in Madagascar means creating steady jobs and keeping more of the value of the crystals in the country. With stone that was exported rough and then carved in China or the US, almost none of the profit stayed in Madagascar.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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It Just Got Easier to Trade with Angola

Angola is adopting an electronic payment system to facilitate the registration for import, export, and re-export trade, a process known to be strenuous due to bureaucracy in the administrative procedures.  With the new system, payment during registration will be made through Automated Teller Machines, Internet banking platforms, express multi-box, among other banking tools, Alexandre said at a meeting organized to introduce the software to members of the Chamber of Official Brokers. The new procedure represents a welcome upgrade on the current payment system that requires dispatchers to resort to fiscal districts to make the payment after which they bring the proofs to the Ministry of Commerce to be launched in the importers’ process. The process of importing goods into Angola is reportedly time-consuming and highly bureaucratic. In the category of Trading Across Borders, the World Bank Doing Business 2019 ranks Angola among the countries with the most time-consuming import procedures worldwide at 174 out of 190 countries assessed. Moreover, import procedures in Angola require an estimated $460 and 96 hours for import document compliance.  In comparison regionally, sub-Saharan Africa averages $283.5 and 97.7 hours for import document compliance.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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This Staple Could be Stunting African Children

Zambia has called for a radical change in the eating habits of the nation, saying people should ditch the staple, maize meal, for more nutritious foods – a proposal akin to telling Italians to stop eating pasta. Maize meal is hugely popular across much of southern and East Africa – research shows that sub-Saharan Africa consumes 21% of the maize produced in the world.Many people eat maize meal twice or three times a day. Some say they have not eaten unless they have had maize meal, which is known as nshima in Zambia, nsima in Malawi, sadza in Zimbabwe, papa or pap in South Africa and Lesotho, and ugali in Kenya. Some nutritionists say the maize meal sold in supermarkets is highly processed and therefore lacks nutrients, vital for the health of our skin, hair and brain. When eaten in its original form, maize contains nutrients such vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and fibre, but all the goodness is lost if it is over-processed, they say. Maize meal is popular, especially in poor families, because it is often subsidised by governments.

SOURCE: BBC AFRICA

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A Turn of Events in Tunisia’s Elections

Tunisia’s independent electoral commission confirmed the stunning victories of two political outsiders in the first round of presidential voting — results seen as a major rebuff of the post-revolution political establishment. Final results place law professor Kais Saied and business tycoon Nabil Karoui in first and second place respectively, capturing more than 18% and 16% of the vote. They now face a runoff in what is Tunisia’s second-only free and democratic presidential election. Turnout was less than 50% — another marker of voter disaffection. Tunisian journalist Tarek Mami of France Magreb 2 radio says Tunisians got rid of one system during the revolution — that of autocratic President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Now, they’re getting rid of the system that replaced him. Widespread corruption and soaring food prices helped to fuel voter anger.

SOURCE: VOA

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Africa’s Biggest Economies are Also the Unsafest

Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Egypt were named among the world’s most dangerous places to live and work in, for expatriates. The latest Expat Insider Survey, done by InterNations, polled 20,259 expats representing 182 nationalities and living in 187 countries or territories, covering topics such as quality of life, cost of living, personal finance, safety and security and more. South Africa and Nigeria, along with Brazil were the worst rated destinations in the safety and security category, which covers peacefulness, personal safety and political stability.

SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

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Can Botswana Afford to Ban Vegetables from its Neighbours?

A group of vegetable producers from across Botswana are calling for a permanent ban on imports of tomatoes, potatoes, cabbages, carrots, beetroot and green peppers from South Africa and other vegetable exporting countries. The group recently approached the Botswana government to discuss the idea of a permanent ban on such imports, saying local farmers could meet national demand for these vegetables. Spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture said that such a ban would be difficult to implement because Botswana was a signatory to trade agreements aimed at liberalising trade between Botswana and Southern African Development Community countries.

SOURCE: FARMERS WEEKLY

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Will Re-greening Africa’s Sahel Region Combat Climate Change?

The Great Green Wall is ambitious African-led initiative to grow an 8,000-kilometre forest across the entire width of Africa’s Sahel aims to combat the spread of the Sahara Desert and improve the state of one of the world’s poorest regions. More than a decade into the project, the Great Green Wall is about 15 percent complete. Those involved in the process believe land restoration can help improve food security, provide jobs and, ultimately, stem migration.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Zambia’s Inspirational Beekeeping Model

A former hedge fund manager has become one of Africa’s most prolific single-source honey producers through a social enterprise that impacts thousands of families. An initial attempt at large-scale farming in Zambia near Victoria Falls failed, but a friend then invited Martin Zuch to collaborate in exploring the commercial potential of beekeeping. So 10 years ago Mama Buci was born, with the aim of producing high-quality honey in the virgin forests of Zambia. Meaning “Mother Honey” in Bemba, the local language – the company has since grown to provide more than 10,000 families with income. They have also built a school that started with 60 pupils and now has 400, and they want to replicate that model as they continue to grow. Zuch said environmental concerns are also central to the project, explaining that lack of pesticides greatly increases the taste of the honey, enough of which is left in each hive to sustain production. They also hope to introduce blockchain technology so each jar of honey could be traced back to the exact hive where it had been produced. In the next 12 months they are expecting to harvest 550-560 tonnes of honey, the equivalent of roughly 1.2m jars. From there they will sell it, mainly in bulk, to retailers in South Africa and Britain, who then repackage it and sell it as their own high-quality honey.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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An Online Information Battle is Happening in Algeria

Protesters are trying to swat away annoying trolls – dubbed “electronic flies”. The protesters use the term “electronic flies” to describe the troll-like accounts pumping out pro-government or pro-establishment messages. Protest slogans have been written about them and their actions have been reported on by local media. In an attempt to control the spread of information about the protests, access to the internet was disrupted in several parts of the country, according to NetBlocks, an organisation which monitors internet freedom. Comments and posts published by “electronic flies” seem to focus on a small number of topics, mostly aimed at undermining the protest movement. Many other comments posted by the “electronic flies” suggest that there is still broad popular support for Mr Bouteflika and the army. Protesters who want further reforms have continued taking to the streets – and the fight over the country’s future has been particularly fractious on social media, which has been flooded with disinformation and fake news.

SOURCE: BBC AFRICA

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Pros & Cons of the Rapid Growth of African Cities

Africa is rapidly urbanizing. Its rate of urbanization soared from 15% in 1960 to 40% in 2010, and is projected to reach 60% by 2050, according to the UN-Habitat, The State of African Cities. This isn’t necessarily bad news. Urbanization is often linked to economic prosperity. It, oftentimes, creates opportunities for economic development and the chance of survival for the poor. However, the growth in African cities is binary; the African continent is like a coin on its side which can either result in a head or a tail flip. As The World Bank puts it in the overview article for the Urbanization in Africa: Trends, Promises, and Challenges event in 2015, “The continent’s urbanization rate, the highest in the world, can lead to economic growth, transformation, and poverty reduction. Alternatively, it can lead to increased inequality, urban poverty, and the proliferation of slums.” This accurately paints the edge, or the cliff, where Africa has found itself.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Is their Room for Grace in Zimbabwe?

Grace Mugabe doesn’t share the complex legacy of her husband. She’s unpopular in many corners, and now that her husband is dead, her assets and future in the country could even be at risk. It’s a dramatic turnaround for Zimbabwe’s former first lady, whose ambition to take her husband’s job was cut short in 2017 during an apparent coup that she was the catalyst for. Once Mugabe’s funeral is over, and the wreaths are taken away, Grace may find herself exposed on all fronts. Mnangagwa has initiated an anti-corruption commission that has seen several former Mugabe loyalists face investigations. Grace may well be asked to account for the source of her wealth now that Mugabe has gone. The best solution for Grace now may well be perhaps to live out her days in Singapore, where Mugabe died, and far from the very people she tried to destroy.

SOURCE: CNN

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The Potential Value of African Food

There is currently very little public information to pique the interest of tourists about African food. World-renowned South African chef Nompumelelo Mqwebu sought to remedy this with her self-published cookbook, Through the Eyes Of An African Chef. By self-publishing, she has ultimately contributed to a value chain that has linked local food producers and suppliers, which includes agriculture, food production, country branding and cultural and creative industries. There is a widely-held view that the African continent is not doing enough to maximize its potential to also position itself as a gastronomic tourism destination, using its unique edge of indigenous knowledge systems. Writer and historian Sibusiso Mnyanda says current innovations in African food technology are born out of necessity, rather tourism and cultural ambitions.

SOURCE: FORBES AFRICA

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Setting Up a Successful Airline

Kenya Airways must avoid picking a board packed with politically-connected individuals after it is renationalised in order to ensure future success, its chairman said on Tuesday. Chairman Michael Joseph said the requirement for professionals to be put in charge of the airline is being built into draft laws that will guide the renationalisation. “We do not want to create a situation that we had before, where you nationalise the airline and all it becomes is a department of government. The board of directors is loaded by friends of politicians.” Under the model approved by lawmakers, Kenya Airways will become one of four subsidiaries in an Aviation Holding Company.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Being a Reformed Militant in Nigeria

Adamu, 30, is a former Boko Haram fighter who now lives in a refugee camp. He claims he was captured by the group and joined in 2014, along with his wife and four children. They lived with Boko Haram, but one year into their “captivity”, fighters killed his family members, he said. In 2017, he managed to flee. But reintegrating back into society has been near impossible. After leaving, ex-fighters must complete a government-led rehabilitation programme, which lasts up to one year. At the end, they receive about $125, a sum aimed at helping them kickstart their new life. When Adamu arrived back in Gwoza, a northeastern town near Cameroon of almost 400,000 people – mostly Muslims, local elders had already decided not to accept back anyone who had lived with Boko Haram. In an instant, Adamu was an outcast. He moved into a refugee shelter in Maiduguri, the capital of the northeastern state of Borno, living alongside displaced people, many of whom had lost loved ones to Boko Haram attacks.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Andela’s Next Phase of Growth Means Job Losses

Pan-African tech firm, Andela announced that it is laying off up to 420 junior engineering jobs across its operations in Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya. Approximately 250 junior engineers and staff from its Nigeria and Uganda hubs were affected with another 170 potentially impacted in Kenya, the company said in a press release. The move comes as the company looks to restructure its talent pool to more closely align with global market demand, it added. “As the talent world has evolved, we have as well, and over the past few years it’s become increasingly clear that the world needs what Andela provides: high-quality engineering-as-a-service,” Andela co-founder and CEO, Jeremy Johnson said. Additionally, the company is partnering with Co-Creation HUB in Nigeria, iHub in Kenya, and Innovation Village in Uganda to help connect impacted developers with opportunities in their local ecosystems.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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The Reputational Damage that Juba has Suffered

U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan Thomas Hushek said it will take time for the international community to regain their trust in the South Sudan government because the Kiir administration still lacks transparency in managing the country’s resources, including oil. Hushek made the remarks Saturday during a public lecture entitled Institutional Readiness to Implement the Revitalized Agreement. Speaking at the same event, Labor Minister James Hoth Mai said the international community lost trust in the South Sudan government because financial donations made to the country have not been used for their intended purpose.

SOURCE: VOA

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US President Meets the World’s Best Teacher

Kenya’s Peter Tabichi, the world’s best teacher, is set to address the 74th United Nations General Assembly, which brings together world leaders from the organisation’s 193 members. Tabichi, who won the 2019 Global Teacher Prize in March this year, is a member of the St Franciscan Friars, a religious order founded by St Francis of Assisi in the 13th century. On Tuesday, the White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, shared a picture on Twitter showing that Tabichi, had met with US president, Donald Trump.  Tabichi, who won the $1m best teacher prize, teaches science at Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School at Pwani village in Njoro, Nakuru County. Brother Tabichi is set to recite the popular St Francis prayer before the start of the general assembly, according to Brother Tony Donald from Ireland. Tabichi will also share his inspirational story with delegates at the assembly.

SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

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A Made in Senegal Drone

Mamadou Wade Diop has been working with drones both in the photography and health sectors for years. But recently, he decided to work with local blacksmiths and construct a drone made entirely in Senegal. He goes by Dr. Drone on social media and is the only person in the Dakar area who can fix broken drones. But recently, he’s taken his knowledge a step further, consulting with drone makers across the world on how to construct one of his own. Though he does a lot of work in the audio-visual sector, renting his services out to news and documentary crews as well as collecting drone footage of various places in Senegal to sell, the purpose of his drone will be in the health sector – a drone that can spread chemicals to prevent mosquito breeding in stagnant water.

SOURCE: VOA

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Nile Talks Resume

Egypt’s foreign minister said Cairo had resumed talks with Sudan and Ethiopia over a $4 billion dam Addis Ababa is building on the Nile which had been suspended for over a year. The three countries’ irrigation ministers met in Cairo on Sunday to resume negotiations over filling and operating the dam, which Egypt sees as a threat to its water supplies. Ethiopia disputes the mega dam will harm Egypt, in the past Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said he wanted to preserve Egypt’s Nile River rights. Officials hope the negotiations, due to continue on Monday, would lead to agreement on a firm timeline for talks that will eventually lead to a binding agreement on the dam’s filling and operation.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Boko Haram: The Thorn in Buhari’s Side

A full decade into the war, Boko Haram militants are still roaming the countryside with impunity. Their fighters now have more sophisticated drones than the military and are well-armed after successful raids on military brigades, according to local politicians and security analysts. The military announced in August that it is pulling back its troops from far-flung outposts in the countryside and gathering them into fortified settlements it calls “super camps.” The super camps are inside of garrison towns where the Nigerian military in recent years settled tens of thousands of civilians — either after Boko Haram chased them away, or soldiers burned their villages and rounded them up, saying it would secure the countryside. The garrison towns are ringed by trenches to slow militant invasions, but the pullback has allowed Boko Haram fighters free rein in the barren countryside.

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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What Went Down at Mugabe’s Funeral

Thousands of people including foreign dignitaries bid farewell to former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in a memorial service on Saturday. A number of current and former African leaders attended the memorial at the national stadium in Harare. Although the service was open to public, many seats in the arena remained empty as the turnout failed to match the crowds seen during the body viewing earlier this week. South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa was heckled by the crowds during his speech, a response to a recent spate of xenophobia attacks against African immigrants in his country. Mugabe will be buried in the country’s National Heroes Acre monument. Mugabe’s family had been at loggerheads with the current President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa over where the funeral should take place.

SOURCE: CNN

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Somali Women on the Move

Zamzam Yusuf, a grandmother of 29, is breaking barriers by entering the once men-only camel trading industry in Somalia. Of the world’s estimated 35 million camels, Somalia, a country of more than 15 million people, houses more than seven million camels – the highest number per country globally. Livestock is the backbone of the Somali economy with more than 65 percent of the population engaged in some way in the industry, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. But it is extremely rare to see a woman at any of the busy camel markets in the East African country. The milk, often referred to as white gold, also brings in a decent return. In Kismayo, one litre of camel milk is sold for $1 and Zamzam’s herd produces at least 400 litres a day.  In a bid to expand her business, which employs 10 people, Zamzam decided to join forces with two other traders.  In a bid to expand her business, which employs 10 people, Zamzam decided to join forces with two other traders. 

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Tips for Investing in Africa’s Hotel Businesses

A new report from JLL, the world’s largest professional services firm specialising in real estate, has revealed that people seeking to finance a new hotel project in Africa will be much more successful if their hotel is part of a mixed-use development. A driving factor for this trend is that hotels rent their rooms in euros and US dollars rather than in local currency which, from a financing perspective, reduces the risk to the lender and lowers the interest rate paid by the borrower. The research comes a week ahead of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum  Africa’s highest profile gathering of the hospitality and tourism industry, which takes place in Addis Ababa.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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Easing Africa’s Energy Woes Lies in Innovation

According to a new global commission, advances in micro energy grids and renewable energy technologies could “dramatically accelerate change” and transform lives in rural areas of sub-Saharan African and south Asia. The Global Commission to End Energy Poverty met for the first time this week to set out plans to accelerate the UN’s sustainable development goal to ensure access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for all people by 2030. Under the initiative, the distributed networks would help connect homes, businesses and schools to small-scale solar power projects to deliver cheap, sustainable electricity that can help power local economic growth. The commission also plans to help set up new regulation in developing countries to accelerate the rollout of new energy systems, and make the projects more attractive to international investors.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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African Leaders Should Shoulder the Blame for Xenophobia

While diplomatic tensions between South Africa and other African countries remain idling, President Cyril Ramaphosa has been hard at work in trying to mend things between South Africa and the continental leadership. The president ditched his presidential duties at the United Nations General Assembly to take care of matters at home, and currently, South Africa is the least favourite country for Africans. According to the country’s Minister for higher learning, science and technology, the xenophobic violence could have been avoided if South Africa was not seen by other countries as the scapegoat. While he stated categorically that he denounced xenophobia, he added that we cannot ignore a glaring fact, which is that “African leaders themselves must get their act together.” Nzimande suggested that if African leaders did not destroy their countries, foreign nationals would not be seeking asylum in South Africa.

SOURCE: THE SOUTH AFRICAN

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Harnessing the Potential of Ethiopia’s Sugar Industry

More than 300 chiefs representing Liberia’s rural and traditional bloc have called on the president to set up a war and economic crimes court as part of measures to fight impunity that has impeded the growth of Africa’s oldest independent republic. The representative chiefs are powerful and particularly influential in political decision-making and voting processes in the rural belts. In their statement, released at the close of a week-long gathering in the capital, the chiefs expressed disappointment over the government’s handling of millions of U.S. dollars since George Weah assumed the presidency. This includes $104 million in newly-minted local banknotes and $25 million withdrawn from the Federal Reserve accounts for infusion into the economy to strengthen the local currency. The government has so far failed to properly account for those funds, the group said.

SOURCE: THE CONVERSATION

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Water Roller Invention has come in Handy for Kenyan Women

Rolling Springs is a Kenyan invention to relieve women and children and the elderly from carrying water on their backs. The rollers are made from a combination of recycled materials like old tyres and local wood. The roller currently retails for $60 and this is far beyond what many women here can afford. But the inventor says he plans to make it cheaper through the manufacturing process of moulding. The World Health Organization said 263 million people the world over spend over 30 minutes per trip collecting water.

SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

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Documentary on Missing Chibok Schoolgirls Wins at Venice Film Festival

Daughters of Chibok’ tells the harrowing story about the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram. The powerful documentary debuted at this year’s festival and won in the category of best virtual reality documentary. The film’s director, Joel Kachi Benson, said in his acceptance speech: “With this VR film, all I wanted to do was to take the world to the women of Chibok, who five years after their daughters had been kidnapped, are still living with the incredible pain of their absence. I felt it was wrong for us to forget or even doubt and move on.”

SOURCES: CNN

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This Artist Brings Myths of the Black Diaspora to Life through Self-Portraits

In a new series of self-portraits, photographer Ayana V. Jackson explores the sea-related myths that arose during the traumatic voyages of the slave trade. Jackson divides her time between Paris, Johannesburg, and New York—cities on the three continents that marked the triangular slave trade. The history of the black experience in each of her home regions saturates her images, titled “Take Me to the Water”.

SOURCES: ARTSY

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Photos: A Look Inside Nigeria’s Alté Subculture

In subversion of Nigeria’s more conservative cultural norms, the Alté subculture glorifies the different or “alternative” in music and fashion.  What was originally intended to be an expression of the alien or outcast is now becoming all the rage. Just like most cultural waves that come from Nigeria, the roots of the alté subculture can be traced back to Lagos. The bubbling populous city is home to innovative hustlers and a large youth population which leads to a lot of experimentation and creation of new sounds and subcultures happening within.

SOURCES: OKAYAFRICA

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Lebo Mashile Breathes Inner Life into the Story of Saartjie Baartman

In a powerful new staged production, Lebo Mashile explores the complex life of the artist Saartjie Baartman, otherwise known as the Hottentot Venus, a Khoi woman who was exploited in 19th century freak shows. Titled Saartjie vs Venus, the narrative’s exploration of the effects of slavery, the hypersexualisation of the black female body, and the silencing of minority voices created a relevant tapestry of matters for modern theatre audiences to grapple with.

SOURCES: DESIGN INDABA

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Defining the Contemporary South African Furniture Design Aesthetic

A look at some of the most interesting offerings from South African designers demonstrates that storytelling is an important part of the design aesthetic. The rise of these designers gives us a peek at the developing product design landscape informing the elusive contemporary South African furniture and lighting design aesthetic. One can’t resist the feeling that the South African home is being redefined, not only for South Africans with a taste for the vernacular in contemporary design, but for a global marketplace that is ready to see African craft and design beyond the curio, beyond safari lodges, and in everyday homes.

SOURCES: DAILY MAVERICK

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A Catalogue of Great African Music can be Found on this Platform

On a continent where musicians have been making money only through telecom giants, who buy songs to use as ringtones, digital streaming revenue would be a breakthrough, especially given rampant piracy and hazy royalty laws. Africori works to make sure its artists have a global streaming footprint and retain the rights to their music. Hundreds of artists and labels are signed up, including biggies like Ghanaian hip-hop artist Pappy Kojo, Kenyan rapper Nyashinski, South African producer Gemini Major, House Afrika Records and Sol Generation Records, as well as obscure artists from Zimbabwe, Malawi, Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia. Now, Francophone African musicians from Sierra Leone, Burundi, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and more are jumping on the bandwagon.

SOURCES: OZY

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A Foodie Tour through Ghana

The Street food crawl led by food stylist, chef, television host, and blogger Mukasechic is the perfect way to start a food-first immersive tour of Accra. Jay, better known as food personality Mukasechic, has the inside track on where to find the very best versions of Ghana’s most beloved dishes from red red to fufu and everything in between. Sunshine Slad Bar serves up amazing healthy eats, fresh juices, and smoothies with rapid-fire service. Stopping here for a mango, mint, and cardamon smoothie is a bet on the deliciousness that’ll hold you over through dinner. Round up the food experience at Fulani Dine on a Mat, and prepare to sit, relax, and enjoy while learning about the culinary traditions of the Fulani tribe by eating the same way they have for centuries – with some modern twists.

SOURCES: TASTEMAKERS AFRICA

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Front Row Seats to Southern Africa’s Majestic Falls

A breakfast cruise on the Zambezi River is the perfect way to prepare your body and soul for a day of sightseeing in Victoria Falls. Many of the cruise operators do regular pickups at the major hotels in the town, so getting to the jetty in time for a 7 am departure is easier than you think. A two-hour cruise flies by as guests spot hippos playing in the water and crocodiles sunning themselves on the riverbank.

SOURCES: IOL

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Senegal’s Capital Due for a Modern Twist

In Dakar, the city’s horse-drawn buggies have long been a staple means of getting around, are under an emerging threat from motorized rickshaws. Some city officials see the horse-drawn carts as a vestige of a poorer country, incompatible with the modern highways in a capital that is booming economically. The carts, in their view, are too slow, block traffic and cause accidents. The move toward electric rickshaws got a big lift after a recent visit by President Macky Sall to India, where he saw motorized cabs widely in use and liked what he saw. He asked for, and was given, a gift from the state of 250 of them to try an experiment in clean-energy transportation in Dakar.

SOURCES: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Important Highlights from WEF Africa

A key component of WEF Africa was establishing where Africa’s macro-economy is headed. This topic was covered through a panel discussion exploring the comprehensive economic outlook for the continent. WEF Africa, which took place in Cape Town, was disrupted by major protests demanding that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa respond to the crisis of widespread violence against South African women. WEF responded to the protests in real time by convening a special panel discussion on what can be done to address gender based violence. An interactive session explored a key driver of international investment into Africa’s huge infrastructure projects asking whether Africa could implement and deliver the promise of these megaprojects. The challenges identified were that these projects can go off the rails in terms of budget or time or both. Source: AFRICA.COM

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Africa’s Biggest Firm Lists in Europe

South African e-commerce group Naspers listed its global empire of consumer internet assets under the name of Prosus – and the jewel in the crown is a 31% stake in Chinese tech titan Tencent. The spin-off in Amsterdam marks the end of an era for Naspers as it looks to move beyond the legacy of former CEO Koos Bekker’s prescient investment of just $34 million in Tencent when it was a startup in 2001, one of the most lucrative bets in corporate history. The stake in Tencent, the world’s biggest videogame company and home to the hugely popular WeChat social media platform, is now worth $130 billion and has buttressed Naspers’ rapid growth towards becoming Africa’s most valuable listed company. Due to that holding, Prosus should have a market value of more than $100 billion in one go, which would make it the third-largest stock on the Amsterdam exchange after Shell and Unilever, and Europe’s No.2 tech firm after Germany’s SAP. Source: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Exclusive: Sola David-Borha on Technological Innovation

Africa.com sat down with Sola David-Borha, Chief Executive, Africa Regions Standard Bank at the 2019 World Economic Forum Africa in Cape Town. David-Borha oversees Standard Bank in 19 countries across the African continent, including East, West, Central and Southern Africa.  She speaks about convergence of technology and how to remain relevant. Standard Bank is bringing fintech innovation into its fold through a variety of cutting edge investments that include mobile banking in Ethiopia and value added services for digital payments, as well as cloud computing partnerships with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement, according to David-Borha, has good prospects for being adopted, and in turn, playing an important role in unifying the continent for the mutual benefit of all of its economies. She commented on the importance of infrastructure investment, both traditional as well as digital, in order to achieve the continent’s full economic potential.Source: AFRICA.COM

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ROI on Human Capital

Last year, WEF introduced a new methodology to the Index which strengthens the importance of “the role of human capital, innovation, resilience and agility” in the context of the technological changes prompted by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Unfortunately, the new methodology has not dramatically led to an improvement in Africa’s performance. With an average score of 46.2, sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest GCI score among all regions, and demonstrates the weakest average regional performance in 10 out of 12 pillars. Yet despite traditional weaknesses, innovation and the potentially exciting transformations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution can still play their part in the continent’s future, according to the report’s authors. Kenya is developing into a strong innovation hub comparable to South Africa and Mauritius. Some of the continent’s improving metrics “herald the possibility to leapfrog, by more adeptly tapping into digital business models and private sector development,” says the report.Source: AFRICAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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Impact Entrepreneurs in Africa Will Continue to Rise

There has been an explosion of African startups all over the continent, and investors are missing out by looking for the same business models that work in Silicon Valley being run by people who can speak and act like them. In South Africa, empowerment funds and alternative debt fund structures are dedicated to investing in African businesses, but local capital in other African countries may not also be labelled or considered impact investing, but they do still invest in job creation and provision of vital services. The emergence of National Advisory Boards for Impact Investing in South Africa and social economy policies white papers being developed; are all good news for social entrepreneurs.Source: FORBES AFRICA

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Africa’s Investment Potential

With a population of over a billion people, rapid urbanisation and accelerating economic growth, the African market presents a valuable proposition for Japanese investors. Key to maximising the benefits of this investment, is being able to identify the correct opportunities. Standard Bank has been at the forefront of major developments across Africa. Among the key growth sectors that have been identified is oil and gas. As Africa’s largest bank, Standard Bank, is ideally placed to deliver on its purpose of “Africa is our home. We drive her growth.” With a local presence in 20 markets across the continent, and a history spanning over 156 years, the bank is the ideal partner to assist international clients negotiate the intricacies of doing business in Africa.Source: STANDARD BANK

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Ethiopia is Open for Business

Ethiopia will host the Next WEF Africa in 2020, and a“framework for cooperation” should be a central theme for that conference. The country – a leader in the establishment of ACFTA – is pushing hard to industrialise by liberalising aspects of its economy, among the fastest-growing in the world over the past decade. East Africa is drawing attention as regional firms seek to expand in Ethiopia, the likes of Standard Banks, Credit Suisse and Citigroup have already made inroads. The Horn of Africa nation has the continent’s second-largest population and an economy the International Monetary Fund predicts will expand more than 7% a year through 2024. Telecoms, financial services and fintech, consumer goods and infrastructure are industries where there are exciting opportunities.Source: EWN

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A SWOT Analysis of Intra-trading in Africa

In a report earlier this year, the International Monetary Fund dubbed the free-trade deal a “game changer” if African governments are able to bring down tariffs and boost trade within the continent. Beyond the sizable political and bureaucratic hurdles standing between governments and the implementation of the deal, there are broader challenges vexing African economies. By some calculations, the continent needs to generate a million jobs a month to satisfy the demands of a booming generation of young people desperate for employment — and to ensure that what could be a demographic dividend doesn’t become a dangerous liability. Africa needs an estimated $90 billion-100 billion a year in investment in infrastructure, including a huge expansion of its woeful power supply. A more integrated African market only raises the stakes for what some have dubbed a new “scramble” for Africa. China’s ever-expanding footprint on the continent has provoked frequent complaints of neocolonialism. But there’s also been a flurry of recent investment and engagement from India, Japan, Turkey and Brazil, as well as the major powers of the West. This, ultimately, may be a boon for Africa.Source: WASHINGTON POST

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Creating Enabling Environments for Africa’s Entrepreneurs

According to the 2018/2019 report from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, African countries such as Angola and Madagascar have some of the highest rates of entrepreneurship in the world. These entrepreneurs often operate on an informal, micro-enterprise scale, however, and their contribution to economic activity is minimal. This is a shame because, excluding South Africa, most industrial sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa are not dominated by large firms that tend to keep entrepreneurs at bay in more advanced economies, thus presenting opportunities for significant growth. Although foreign multinationals have (and are already playing) a key role in GDP growth in these countries, the tendency to repatriate their earnings ultimately diminishes their contribution to local gross national income (GNI). Furthermore, these businesses are often attracted to larger, better organized markets on the continent, where they can readily capture value using products and processes developed in their home countries. This leads to a scenario where residents in larger African cities have access to much of the same products and services one might obtain in the developed world, while outside these regions, residents are left to deal with the consequences of commercial neglect.Source: THE CONVERSATION

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Brexit’s Implications on the Commonwealth

The United Kingdom (UK) has agreed to an economic partnership agreement with the Southern African Customs Union and Mozambique that will allow business to keep trading freely after Brexit. This agreement will be subject to final checks before it is formally signed, and allows businesses to continue to trade on preferential terms with South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Eswatini and Mozambique. The SACU+M nations are an important market for UK exports of machinery and mechanical appliances worth £409 million in 2018, motor vehicles worth £335 million, and beverages including whisky worth £136 million.Source: BUSINESSTECH

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South Africa is a Country at War with Itself

Sexual offences and murder rates have risen significantly in South Africa over the past year, according to new official crime figures. Murders recorded by by the police are now at their highest level for a decade, and sexual offences including rape have risen by 4.6% since last year. The release of the figures comes amid growing concern about violence against women after a number of high-profile rape cases and murders in recent weeks. Thousands of people took to the streets earlier this month to protest against the attacks.Police Minister Bheki Cele and top police management told Parliament’s police committee that most contact crimes like murder, rape, common assault and robbery were up from the previous financial year. South Africa recorded over 21,000 murders for the 2018/2019 year, an increase of 686 murders from the previous year. The latest crime stats show how all nine provinces have recorded increases in contact crime, with the greatest volumes recorded in KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and the Eastern Cape. This, according to the members of the police committee, needs to be urgently addressed.

SOURCE: BBC | EYE WITNESS NEWS

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Chaos as Zimbabweans View Mugabe’s Body

Numerous people have reportedly been injured in a stampede at the viewing event for founding Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, as those in attendance jostled in an attempt to see the late leader’s body. Prior to this, it was reported that Mugabe’s body had arrived at Rufaro Stadium in Harare where the ceremony is taking place on Thursday afternoon. Earlier, the body was taken to Mugabe’s Harare villa, known as the Blue Roof for its blue pagoda-style structure, where family and supporters gathered to mourn. His body has since been laid out for the public at the stadium and will later be transported to his homestead Zvimba for a wake. President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared Mugabe a national hero after his death, indicating he should be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre monument. These plans were rejected by the late former president’s family, who say the body will be displayed in his home village of Kutama on Sunday night, adding that he will then be buried in a private ceremony.

SOURCE: THE CITIZEN

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Giving Victims of Ethiopian Airlines Closure

The International Police Incident Response Team (IRT) has identified the remains of all victims of the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crash, 48 of whom were matched through fingerprints. INTERPOL said 100 Disaster Victim Identification experts from 14 countries including Africa, the Americas and Europe worked with the agency’s IRT during a mission that lasted 50 days to identify victims of the tragic accident that is subject of multiple wrongful death lawsuits filed against plane manufacture Boeing in the United States. 157 passengers of 35 nationalities including 36 Kenyans and 22 United Nations affiliated travelers died when flight ET 302 plunged into the ground in Bishoftu, southeast of the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, six minutes after takeoff for a routine flight to Nairobi.

SOURCE: CAPITAL FM

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A Platform for Nigerians to Stay Abreast of Global Market Trends

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has introduced a mobile app, X-Mobile. The user-friendly app is designed to provide market participants with convenient, faster and real-time access to market activities. The platform features market snapshots, stock prices, market analytics, financial news, dealing members directory, and trade simulation. Users will also be able to create personalized watchlists to keep track of chosen securities, eliminating the need to access multiple information sources. The Divisional Head of Trading Business at the NSE, Jude Chiemeka, said that the bourse will continue to “leverage technology with a customer-centric focus to make financial services more inclusive and to provide a superior customer experience in the access and use of capital.”

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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West Africa and Congo Basin are Hotspots for Forest Loss

According to a report on the New York Declaration on Forests, signed in 2014 with the aim of halting deforestation globally by 2030, the new hotspots of increasing forest loss are in west Africa and the Congo basin.  In the Democratic Republic of the Congo rates of deforestation have doubled in the past five years. Much of the demand for logging comes from China, which has taken a strategic interest in the continent, buying land and doing resource deals with governments in exchange for internal investment and development cash. 

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Nairobi Cuts Politicians’ Perks

Kenya plans “brutal” cuts to spending, including on government officials’ overseas trips, in an effort to rein in the fiscal deficit. Acting Finance Minister Ukur Yatani said all non-core expenditure will be reviewed to ensure the government can make savings and fund its programmes without relying too much on debt. Yatani’s predecessor, Henry Rotich, was criticised for increasing spending in June and unveiling additional tax measures on already squeezed taxpayers. As well as runaway spending, Kenyatta’s government has been criticised for failing to stamp out widespread corruption as hundreds of billions of shillings in government funds are lost every year. Rotich was removed as finance minister after he and other senior officials were charged over the misuse of funds for the construction of two dams.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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How Technology is being Harnessed to Protect Africa’s Wildlife

In conservation hotspots across the world, artificial intelligence, drones, and surveillance platforms are among the technologies that have become the latest line of defence against the $23bn global illegal wildlife trade, which claims the lives of 800 rhinos – along with 15,000 elephants and untold numbers of pangolins, impalas, bushpigs, warthogs and other animals – in Africa every year. Research indicates that tech innovations have already helped to curb poaching in Africa. Black and white rhinoceros – the continent’s two rhino species, classified as endangered and threatened, respectively – have increased in population in recent years, reports WWF. Working with park officials, Connected Conservation helped design and build a Reserve Area Network (RAN). It was supported by trackers placed on vehicles entering the reserve, sensors installed beneath fences to detect guns and other metal objects, and wi-fi to alert rangers instantly to potential poachers so they could dispatch a security response.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Zim Teen Changes the Face of this Extreme Sport

Tanyaradzwa ‘Tanya’ Muzinda is not your average teenager. At 15, she is already one of Zimbabwe’s Motocross champions. Held on off-road circuits, Motocross is a form of motorbike racing that is dangerous, expensive and requires a lot of training. But these challenges have not stopped Tanya from competing in local and international tournaments. Born in Harare, Zimbabwe’s most populous city, she says she started riding when she was only five years old, inspired by her father, a former biker. In 2017, she fell off a 100 feet long jump, hurting her hip, while practicing for a race. But recurring back pain has not stopped Muzinda in her tracks. She came in third place at the 2017 HL Racing British Master Kids Championships at the Motoland track in England, which she says is still her most memorable race. She is also an honorary ambassador of the European Union to Zimbabwe for Youth, Gender, Sports and Development. Despite the financial difficulties she faces, it has not stopped Muzinda from giving back to people in her community. In August, she paid tuition for 45 students to attend school in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, and hopes to pay for at least 500 more students by the end of 2020.

SOURCE: CNN

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Liberia’s Traditional Leaders Want Justice

More than 300 chiefs representing Liberia’s rural and traditional bloc have called on the president to set up a war and economic crimes court as part of measures to fight impunity that has impeded the growth of Africa’s oldest independent republic. The representative chiefs are powerful and particularly influential in political decision-making and voting processes in the rural belts. In their statement, released at the close of a week-long gathering in the capital, the chiefs expressed disappointment over the government’s handling of millions of U.S. dollars since George Weah assumed the presidency. This includes $104 million in newly-minted local banknotes and $25 million withdrawn from the Federal Reserve accounts for infusion into the economy to strengthen the local currency. The government has so far failed to properly account for those funds, the group said.

SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

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Rwandan Poachers Turn over a New Leaf

These days, Felicien Kabatsi sings about the importance of gorilla conservation. You wouldn’t know from his lyrics that he used to hunt gorillas and other wild animals in Volcanoes National Park in northern Rwanda. He was a poacher for 30 years and served four months in jail for it. Then one day a buffalo killed his brother. After talking with animal conservationists, Kabatsi had a change of heart and joined their side. He now makes a living at Gorilla Guardians Village, where he plays traditional musical instruments for tourists. In a bid to boost conservation and make Rwandans feel more connected to wildlife, Rwanda also began an annual gorilla naming ceremony in 2015. At this year’s event, 25 baby mountain gorillas were named, bringing the total number to 281.

SOURCE: VOA

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Preparing for Mugabe’s Final Send Off

The body of Robert Mugabe has arrived back in Zimbabwe after a private flight from Singapore, where he died last week aged 95, he had been receiving hospital treatment in Singapore. The specially chartered flight carrying Mr Mugabe’s body landed at about 13:30 GMT. A convoy of vehicles with “RG Mugabe” number plates was seen next to the runway and a crowd of people, some wearing the former president’s image on T-shirts, awaited the arrival of the plane. Mr Mugabe’s wife Grace was also on the flight, and The body will be taken to the family home known as the “Blue Roof” in Harare. On Thursday and Friday, Mr Mugabe is due to lie in state at Rufaro Stadium, in Mbare township in Harare, where he was sworn in as Zimbabwe’s first prime minister after independence from the UK in 1980. His official state funeral will take place on Saturday at the 60,000-seat National Sports Stadium in Harare. The government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared him a “national hero” for his role in helping Zimbabwe gain independence, and a grave has been reserved at Heroes’ Acre, a shrine in Harare for all those who fought against colonial rule.

SOURCE: BBC

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Naspers’ Next Move

South African e-commerce group Naspers is listing its global empire of consumer internet assets under the name of Prosus – and the jewel in the crown is a 31% stake in Chinese tech titan Tencent. The spin-off in Amsterdam marks the end of an era for Naspers as it looks to move beyond the legacy of former CEO Koos Bekker’s prescient investment of just $34 million in Tencent when it was a startup in 2001, one of the most lucrative bets in corporate history. The stake in Tencent, the world’s biggest videogame company and home to the hugely popular WeChat social media platform, is now worth $130 billion and has buttressed Naspers’ rapid growth towards becoming Africa’s most valuable listed company. Due to that holding, Prosus should have a market value of more than $100 billion in one go, which would make it the third-largest stock on the Amsterdam exchange after Shell and Unilever, and Europe’s No.2 tech firm after Germany’s SAP. 

SOURCE: MONEYWEB

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Using Tech to Provide Nigeria’s Lifeline

Nigeria needs up to 1.8 million units of blood every year, but the National Blood Transfusion Service collects only about 66,000 units per year, leaving a deficit of more than 1.7 million pints of blood, according to a 2017 report quoting the country’s health ministry. LifeBank, a blood and oxygen delivery company, says it is trying to improve the numbers by encouraging Nigerians to donate blood and safely getting required blood to patients who need it urgently. The company currently connects registered blood banks to hospitals in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, and Lagos. Through a partnership with Google Nigeria, LifeBank incorporated Google maps into its mobile application, mapping out locations connecting doctors, blood banks, hospitals, and dispatch riders. The company is the brainchild of Temie Giwa-Tubosun, a health manager who suffered complications when she was seven months pregnant in 2014. Her team gathers inventory data from about 52 blood banks across Lagos and responds to requests from hospitals based on the data provided by the banks.

SOURCE: CNN

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Africa’s Post-colonial Familiarity with Jekyll-turned-Hyde Autocrats

Across Africa, those who led the fight against colonial rule and those who came after them became just as brutal as those they had deposed. As Mmusi Maimane, leader of South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance noted last year in a speech in the Senegalese capital Dakar, the same pattern is repeated. “First comes the era of colonial rule – unjust and exploitative. Then comes independence along with a new, democratically elected government. And then follows years, even decades, of oppression by the very same people who were meant to deliver freedom.” Sadly, for many Africans, liberators do not always take this to heart as they pursue and maintain power. There is little recognition among governing elites today that the failure to reform the inherited colonial systems of oppression embodied in the state continues to be at the root of the continent’s malaise.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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A Catalogue of Great African Music can be Found on this Platform

It has been a long road to the platform for Africori — a digital music licensing and distribution company based in Johannesburg and London. Hundreds of artists and labels are signed up, including biggies like Ghanaian hip-hop artist Pappy Kojo, Kenyan rapper Nyashinski, South African producer Gemini Major, House Afrika Records and Sol Generation Records, as well as obscure artists from Zimbabwe, Malawi, Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia. Now, Francophone African musicians from Sierra Leone, Burundi, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and more are jumping on the bandwagon, and Kenan is on the move all the time. After all, Africa is an “artistic volcano” waiting to erupt, and offering services like curating African music playlists via Afriquency for a global audience. On a continent where musicians have been making money only through telecom giants, who buy songs to use as ringtones, digital streaming revenue would be a breakthrough, especially given rampant piracy and hazy royalty laws. Africori works to make sure its artists have a global streaming footprint and retain the rights to their music.  

SOURCE: OZY

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Improved Strategies to Work towards Sustainable Cocoa Production

Ivory Coast and Ghana will meet major chocolate makers and grinders in Abidjan on Wednesday to make plans to regulate the industry’s efforts to source cocoa sustainably. The plan comes after years of attempts by industry to self-monitor their sustainable sourcing practices and wipe out the blight of child labour and deforestation from the cocoa sector in West Africa. Industry fears the new move might represent a major and costly overhaul of the certification schemes they use to boost their brands in highly competitive markets where both consumers and investors are growing increasingly eco-conscious. The two countries produce two-thirds of the world’s cocoa, have already imposed a fixed “living income differential” of $400 a tonne in July on all cocoa sales for the 2020/21 season in a bid to tackle pervasive farmer poverty and deforestation.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Is Uganda Ready for the Death Penalty?

President Yoweri Museveni has asked the courts to impose mandatory death sentences for people convicted of murder following a series of kidnapping and killings, including one in which his nephew died. “You may commit a crime, carelessly taking away the lives of others; however, you will also lose your own life. We need to make this clear to the courts. It must be an eye for eye,” Museveni wrote in a blog post. The president’s nephew, Joshua Rushegyera, was found dead with a gunshot wound near a car parked on a popular highway in Kampala on September 5. A woman with bullet wounds was found dead in the vehicle, according to a statement by the Uganda Police Force investigating the case. No arrests have been made. Museveni said security is being beefed up and law enforcement is deploying technology to identify and apprehend criminals swiftly.

SOURCE: BLOOMBERG

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Living with Albinism in Nollywood

Damilola Ogunsi, 40, — popularly known by his stage name, the Gold Fish — is an albino on a mission. As a teenager he suffered intense discrimination, but Ogunsi says acting gave him a voice. Before his acting career started, Ogunsi worked as a merchant banker for a nearly decade. Now, he frequently appears on Nigerian movie screens. Some two million Nigerians live with albinism, according to the Abuja-based Albino Foundation. Many face discrimination and marginalization on a daily basis. Although a few like Ogunsi have risen above the societal bias against their condition, officials from the Albino Foundation say that situation is serious. The Albino Foundation was created to debunk the wrong information that people have about people with albinism and to create an equal opportunity for everybody with albinism to thrive in the society.”

SOURCE: VOA

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Is Ethiopia Ready for the Cabs of the Future?

Leaving Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport airport, the first things to stand out are the taxis. Cruising the city’s streets alongside newer car models imported from Asian imports is a sizeable population of sky blue, mid-century Peugeot 404 and 504s. Due in part to high tariffs, limits on auto imports and the reliability of the car, some of these vehicles are still working full time almost 60 years after they were built. Leaving Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport airport, the first things to stand out are the taxis. Cruising the city’s streets alongside newer car models imported from Asian imports is a sizeable population of sky blue, mid-century Peugeot 404 and 504s. Due in part to high tariffs, limits on auto imports and the reliability of the car, some of these vehicles are still working full time almost 60 years after they were built.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Removing Part of Senegal’s Cultural Identity

In Dakar, the capital of Senegal, the city’s horse-drawn buggies have long been a staple means of getting around, are under an emerging threat from motorized rickshaws. Some city officials see the horse-drawn carts as a vestige of a poorer country, incompatible with the modern highways in a capital that is booming economically. The carts, in their view, are too slow, block traffic and cause accidents. The move toward electric rickshaws got a big lift after a recent visit by President Macky Sall to India, where he saw motorized cabs widely in use and liked what he saw. He asked for, and was given, a gift from the state of 250 of them to try an experiment in clean-energy transportation in Dakar.

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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French Airline Aigle Azur Leaves Thousands Stranded in Algeria

In an interview with French TV channel RMC, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, France’s secretary of state for transport said: “There are 13,000 passengers who bought their tickets and will need to be repatriated. Among them, 11,000 are in Algeria, six in Mali, then in Lebanon, in Moscow and in Senegal.” The airline, which carried around 1.9 million passengers last year, filed for bankruptcy last week and on Friday night canceled all of its flights. Djebbari confirmed that the airline’s failure has not only affected its 1,150 employees, including 500 crew members, but thousands of travelers too. Aigle Azur specialized in flying between France and Algeria, before pursuing an unsuccessful expansion “to the whole Maghreb,” according to Djebbari. The airline has received 14 takeover bids: among the bidders are Air France and EasyJet, while the The Dubreuil Group, which owns Air Caraibes submitted a partial takeover offer. Interested parties could be attracted by Aigle Azur’s landing slots at Orly, Paris’ second largest airport.

SOURCE: CNN

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Foreign Nationals on Tenterhooks in South Africa

At the heart of the Mayfair neighbourhood of Johannesburg, the elders of the city’s Somali community hold urgent meetings about the attacks on foreign-owned businesses and traders that have been surging for more than a week. On Sunday, two people were reportedly killed and the police had to use teargas and rubber bullets to disperse groups of men armed with machetes and sticks while shouting anti-immigrant slogans.According to community leaders, the attacks last week had been building for several months. Anti-immigrant rhetoric has been circulating on social media and among groups who allege immigrants cheat their customers with out-of-date produce in their shops, take jobs from locals and defraud the state. But Marc Gbaffou from the African Diaspora Forum, an umbrella group that campaigns for the rights of migrants in South Africa, said there was no political will to stop the violence. “Now the whole world has seen the truth,” he said.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Standing in Solidarity Against Xenophobia

Over the last few days, South Africa has been deeply saddened by a wave of violence against our fellow Africans. We stand ashamed before our African brothers and sisters and before the world. On behalf of all of us at the Standard Bank Group, I offer our deepest sympathy to all who have suffered and lost. We stand in solidarity with our fellow Africans. We stand in solidarity with the great majority of South Africans who live by the values of our Constitution, which commands us to defend the rights and dignity of everyone who lives here. Like many other South African companies, our businesses throughout Africa are essential to our success and enable us to tackle unemployment, inequality and economic exclusion. When South Africans attack their fellow Africans, we are hurting ourselves. We call on all South Africans to support the authorities and civil society in their efforts to restore law and order and to ensure that all perpetrators answer for their actions in a court of law. I am very sad that this is the second time during my tenure as Group Chief Executive that I have had to write to the Group about xenophobic violence in South Africa. I hope and pray that I will not have to do so again.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Kenyan Officer Saves the Day

A Kenyan police officer is being praised for teaching pupils whose teachers failed to turn up for work after a non-governmental organisation posted a photo of him in class on Facebook. The Education Development Trust said Jairus Mulumia was found teaching a class at Forole Primary School, which is near Kenya’s border with Ethiopia. “When our team visited the school last week, some teachers had not reported due to insecurity obtaining in the area. The pupils were idle in class,” the NGO said. “After getting permission from the headteacher, Mulumia, a trained teacher, got into class five and started teaching mathematics.” It said that there had been a series of attacks in the area by bandits, which had left several people dead. The officer was part of a team deployed to the school to provide security for pupils.

SOURCE: KENYANS

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Africa’s Largest Mobile Phone Maker Lists

Shenzhen Transsion Holdings Co., whose mobile handsets outsell iPhone and Galaxy smartphones in Africa, is planning an initial public offering on Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style Star Board to raise about $423 million. Transsion, known as the “King of Africa” on the continent, according to the filing has overtaken Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc. as the largest mobile phone maker there, tapping into a huge and fast-growing market. Since founding the Tecno Mobile brand in 2006, founder Zhu Zhaojiang has overseen an expansion that now claims a 48.7% market share in Africa, according to the filing. Transsion shipped 94.44 million mobile phones to Africa in 2018, out of a total of 124 million global shipments. The company plans to issue as many as 80 million A-shares in the IPO and will set the price on Sept. 17. Proceeds will be used to pay for mobile phone manufacturing base projects and research and development, the filing said.

SOURCE: BLOOMBERG

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Keeping an Eye on Ghana’s Farms

Smallholder farmers in Ghana are adopting drone technology for crop surveillance in a bid to increase yields and incomes. The new technology is being used as farmers’ cooperatives are slowly abandoning manual labor as they seek higher efficiency. Some, however, think the use of the drones is too costly and may shut out poor farmers. companies now sponsored by the Netherlands-based Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, a European Union-funded institute, in a bid to attract more young Africans to agriculture. CTA estimates that streamlining agriculture through technology could earn the continent $2.6 billion every year. While not all farmers can afford to work with drones and many fear they could lose their jobs to technology, some see it as a way of increasing yields, compared to traditional techniques. Delegates are meeting in Accra to discuss ways to transform agriculture on the continent, and drones are just one of the topics they are discussing as a way to  improve Africa’s food security.

SOURCE: VOA

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New Challenge for Sudan’s New Government

The flooding that has killed scores of people and destroyed more than 100,000 homes is the first crisis to test Sudan’s new prime minister, the African country’s first civilian leader in 30 years. The communities hit by the floods, which started in July, have been mostly left to fend for themselves or rely on aid with little help from authorities, just as they did under the previous regime, according to residents, community groups and charity workers. The flood crisis comes at a time of huge transition for Sudan, as months of protests ushered in a transitional government that must also tackle a full-blown economic crisis and internal conflicts, issues that helped bring down the three-decade rule of Omar al-Bashir.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Shell’s Daily Losses in Nigeria

Shell’s subsidiary in Nigeria says the oil giant is losing 10,000 barrels of oil a day to thieves in the West African nation – at a cost of $560,000 a day. The losses by vandals attacking oil pipelines in the southern Niger Delta are equivalent to $204.4m over a year. The announcement was made by Igo Weli, general manager of the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, which is a joint venture between Shell and the Nigerian government. “These attacks were on critical assets that produce the crude oil, which accounts for over 90% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings and the bulk of government revenue.” Since 2012 he said the company had discovered and removed 1,160 points where thieves were stealing the oil. But this did not seem to be stemming the problem as 9,000 barrels a day were being stolen in 2017, 11,000 last year and 10,000 this year.

SOURCE: CGTN AFRICA

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The Africa x China Exchange

Direct airline flights between Africa and China have jumped over 600% in the past decade. Planes today are not only full of workers and traders seeking prosperity, but also short-term tourists and students, seeking leisure and knowledge. China’s “Go Out” policy, implemented in 1999, sent employees of Chinese state-run companies to Africa, as well as investment money. China’s official record shows there were around 200,000 Chinese construction workers, engineers, translators, company executives, and the like in Africa in 2017. Africans are also going to China to make money. Unlike the Chinese, they are often not supported by their home country. Some are traders and entrepreneurs going to China to make deals and export Chinese goods to their home countries and regions. There are also small business owners and fashion models, who faced social and legal hurdles. The largest African immigrant community in China is in Guangzhou, a manufacturing hub and trading port in southern China. The Chinese authorities counted 200,000 entries to the city by African visitors in 2016. Business travelers may have initiated the demand for easier air travel between Africa and China, but flights today are increasingly serving leisure-seeking tourists.

SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA

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Ethiopia’s First Political Satire Show

Min Litazez, which translates to “How may I serve you?” In the three seasons it has been on air, Min Litazez has built an enthusiastic and loyal audience among a population starved for political commentary and a new kind of comedy after almost 27 years of dictatorship during which such things would have been unthinkable. “We’re not just trying to make people laugh, but raise awareness because we want to create a better country”, said Behailu Wase, creator of Min Litazez. But after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018, he instituted a number of political and economic reforms, including loosening restrictions on the media and freedom of speech. The sitcom-satire is set in a cafe, meant to be a metaphor of the country as a whole. In each episode, the cafe owner’s life tries to mirror and reflect the challenges faced by the country’s new leadership. Past episodes have dealt with issues like government inefficiency, ethnic nationalism and authoritarianism – despite attempts to censor some of the content and, at times, even temporary suspension of the show itself.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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CNN’s Inside Africa Investigates The Conservation Of Zambia’s Black Rhinos

This week on Inside Africa, CNN International visits North Luangwa National Park, the heart of Zambia’s black rhino conservation effort. There were once around 12,000 black rhinos in Zambia but the population was wiped out, with rhinos being declared extinct in the country in 1998. Since 2003, conservationists have been working hard to reintroduce the animals and are now discovering new ways to sustain their growing population. Rodgers Lubilo, the Natural Resources Community Manager at North Luangwa, tells the programme about Zambia’s love for the black rhino, “We have missed the black rhino in this country. And that’s why what we are doing in North Luangwa is loved by everybody because we are getting back the species that everyone wants to see.”

Ed Sayer, the programme manager at North Luangwa, tells CNN about Zambia’s place in African rhino conservation, “There’s approximately 20,000 white rhinos in Africa, and less than 5,000 black rhinos. That’s the major difference. Zambia we’re still minnows in the black rhino world. The leading countries are South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Namibia but we’re coming up. Now we’re siting between 50 and 100 [black rhinos] today.”

The conservationists are dedicated to their work, using a mixture of technology and on-foot tracking to cover the 22,000 square kilometre park. Sayer explains how demanding the typical schedule is, “The aircraft will be in the air three, four times a week, and the scouts on the ground will be out all day every day. There’s a rotation, so once one team comes out, another team comes in. It’s relentless, it’s nonstop.”

With so much land to cover, and a constant rotation of staff, over 400 scouts are employed from the local area to protect the wildlife on the ground. Sayer describes the importance of employing local people, “The best way to protect this area is through the people and we really try hard to ensure that all scouts that come and work here are employed from their local communities. It’s that sense of ownership and that sense of pride which we have to just maintain and ensure that people remain involved to kind of manage these areas sustainably.”

Another important part of North Luangwa National Park’s local impact is their educational programme. Since it started in 2003, it has reached around 2,500 children. Inside Africa meets Michael Eliko, a conservation education officer, who talks about why education is such an important part of the park. He says, “The young generation are the future leaders. Because if we teach them, we show them real animals in real life, it will be easy when they grow up to conserve without waiting for someone to ask them to do that, because they will grow up with that love.”

The conservation at North Luangwa National Park is important for the local area, for Zambia as a whole, and for black rhino numbers across the world. Rodgers Lubilo emphasises his own feelings about the project, “Personally for me it’s something that I’m ready to die for. We feel so proud. We are excited and it’s encouraging and we just hope that others can one day have one opportunity to see the black rhino.”

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Thebe Magugu Wins the 2019 LVMH Prize

In a first for Africa, South African fashion designer Thebe Magugu has won the prestigious LVMH prize, which bestows serious funding and mentorship for emerging talents. Designers selected – amongst them, Nigerian designer Kenneth Ize, British designer Bethany Williams or Hed Mayner from Israel – had to present a collection to over 63 judges including Dior creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Louis Vuitton creative director Nicolas Guesquière, US designer from the eponymous label, Marc Jacobs and Executive Vice President of Louis Vuitton, Delphine Arnault. Shining a light on what it means to be an African designer, focusing on ready-to-wear and creating clothes that are deeply embedded into South Africa’s culture, Magugu is resolute about his future and what he wants to achieve. “In very basic terms, I really do want to make sure that I am happy in the life I’m living but I also want to make sure that if ever I do leave, God forbid, that I would have contributed something quite solid not only to the industry but the world in general. I just want to have made an impact and contributed to something bigger than myself.”

SOURCES: VOGUE

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Mayra Andrade is Pushing Cape Verdean Music Forward

Get to know the music of Mayra Andrade, which is rooted in the traditional sounds of Cape Verde, but integrates global music for a truly fresh and modern sound. Now living in Lisbon, the Cape Verdean pop singer firmly plants one half of herself in her mother island while the other swims into sounds from beyond. Her fifth and most recent album, Manga, released in February, is a fresh take on old styles. Andrade has always lovingly trespassed the stodgy borders of traditional Cape Verdean music. Manga takes it further, hitting up the ranks of West African pop and Lisbon’s Afro-Portuguese dance music for inspiration.

SOURCES: OKAYAFRICA

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With Her Latest Novel, Petina Gappah Sees an Obsession Through

It was a 21-year journey, but Zimbabwean author, Petina Gappah wanted to get the story right. Through extensive research, she has compiled an epic tale based on the true story about the transport of the explorer David Livingstone’s body out of Africa. It took that long because the story she wanted to tell was a complex one: that of the arduous, nine-month journey in 1873 of 69 workers as they transported the body of the explorer David Livingstone from the interior of Africa to the coast of Zanzibar, where he was carried to Britain for burial. It took so much research that Gappah, 48, finished and published three other books over the time she worked on it, while navigating a career as an international trade lawyer in Geneva.

SOURCES: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Rolecia Janse van Rensburg’s Quirky Approach to Interior Design

One of the Design Indaba Emerging Creatives, Rolecia Janse van Rensburg brings a fun, colorful perspective to her interiors and furniture design. She created LightWell designs to evoke a joyful response from customers and products that can be used to create new exuberant interior spaces. Some of the products she created include handles which resemble Liquorice All Sorts of sweets and can be attached to any cupboard. She recently added to the range colourful reading lights.

SOURCES: DESIGN INDABA

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An African Marvel: The Diasporic Symbolism of Simone Leigh’s Brick House

Inspired by the Commodore’s song ‘Brick House,’ artist Simone Leigh has created a powerful sculpture that incorporates references to numerous aspects of African culture and will reside temporarily on New York City’s High Line. The classic tune raises vibration and positively affirms the strength, beauty, and mightiness of black women. Given the history of enslaved African men and women in America, Leigh’s Brick House subverts narratives surrounding European-American architecture as superior to African design. The mere presence of Brick House on the High Line reminds us of the importance of African art and invites viewers to engage with African architecture on a grand scale.

SOURCES: ATLANTA DAILY WORLD

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A Whale of a Time on this SA Coast

Hermanus comes to life during the annual Whale Festival in September. It is the best time to see and celebrate the southern right whales, as they make their yearly pilgrimage to the waters of Walker Bay in the Western Cape.

SOURCES: GETAWAY

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Transforming Malawi’s Wildlife Destinations

Famous for being the ‘warm heart of Africa’ and for its vast glittering lake, the country is on its way to being renowned as an exciting safari destination. Thanks to conservation organisation African Parks, three beautiful reserves – Majete, Liwonde and Nkhotakota – once decimated through poaching and poverty, are now blossoming with life.

SOURCES: LONELY PLANET

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The Moroccan Village with Only One Paragraph in the Travel Guide

Lonely Planet called Bhalil a “curious village… worth a visit if you have your own transport.” It is also a testament to the idea that travel without a plan is sometimes the best plan. Bhalil consists of several inhabited hillsides, the guesthouse on one of them. Looking south from Kamal’s third-floor deck you can see a ridge with houses partway up, then rocks and cliffs, and at the top a flat band of ocher earth.

SOURCES: IOL

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Eco-friendly Surf Shop Starts New Wave

A lack of infrastructure and education surrounding proper waste disposal in the Senegalese capital has resulted in piles of litter inundating the city’s streets and beaches. Babacar Thiaw is taking matters into his own hands by turning his restaurant into a waste-free haven. It’s the first of its kind in the region. Thiaw has spent the past year working with local conservation groups to transition his business into a zero-waste restaurant. He hopes other beachside restaurants will follow suit. At the official launch of Thiaw’s newly transitioned restaurant, attendees could read any of the roughly dozen plaques that described the steps Copacabana has taken to reduce waste. 

SOURCES: VOA

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The Writing’s On the Wall in Brazzaville’s Shopping District

Shops in the Republic of the Congo’s capital use colourful depictions of the goods they sell to get around the lack of a common tongue.  In Brazzaville languages spoken include French, Lingala and Kituba, alongside about 60 others. Many businesses use such paintings as a visual lingua franca to communicate what goods they sell. The most popular paintings concern personal grooming and sharp dressing and are seen on beauty salons, barbershops, shoe stores, clothes and fabric shops. In the commercial sections of the city, there are murals of electrical appliances, mobile phones, televisions and computers. There are also advertisements for photographic portraits, paintings of music stars – as well as pictures of food, especially meat.  

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

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Financial Emigration Demystified: South Africans Need The Full Picture

Financial emigration is often misunderstood, and with the jump in the number of South Africans applying to move themselves and their wealth offshore, it’s time to unpack the big questions before you dust off your suitcases. International trust and structuring company, Sovereign Trust (SA) Limited, looks at why investing in an off-shore retirement plan can be a less dramatic move that will still offer a tax-efficient way of preserving and growing wealth.

Financial emigration, also known as formal emigration, is the process of changing your South African resident status with the Reserve bank to that of a non-resident. ”Apart from the obvious benefit to South Africans of protecting themselves from certain local taxes and currency volatility, one of the most important benefits is that retirement savings and annuities can be withdrawn and transferred offshore, even if the person is under the age of 55,” says Coreen van der Merwe, Managing Director of the South African arm of the Sovereign Group, which provides international trust and structuring services to South Africans.

Van der Merwe warns that financial emigration has inherent benefits, like certain tax exemptions, but can also be fraught with tax-related, and other, risks if not done hand-in-hand with professional, respected service providers. Many South Africans believe they are 100% tax exempt in SA once they have formally emigrated – this is one of the biggest misconceptions.  

  1. Tax efficiency

When considering moving your assets off-shore, it is critical that you research the tax efficiency of the recommended structures. You need to explore their nature, including where they are domiciled and the costs. 

  1. Where is the money going to be invested?

You also need to understand how your money will be invested and whether the investment strategy will enable you to achieve your goals. The professionals who advise you must be knowledgeable about legislation in more than one jurisdiction, and the advice must take your overall financial circumstances, tax position and estate planning, into account.

People often want to keep things simple by taking wealth offshore in the form of a bank account in the interest of hedging against the rand. “In this case, Mauritius is an easy option to consider, as the process doesn’t require face-to-face interviews with the bank,” says van der Merwe. Generally speaking, overseas banks request you to fill out a ‘Know your Client’ document which is similar to our FICA. It includes a certified copy of your passport and proof of address, CV, professional reference letter and or bank reference letter as well as proof of the source of the funds. This is not an exhaustive list and additional documents may be required.

Also take into consideration which countries are more difficult to get money out of in the case of a deceased estate and where inheritance taxes (estate duties) are high. Countries that come to mind are South Africa, the UK and the USA to name a few.

  1. Use your foreign investment allowance

Sovereign often advises clients asking about diversification and offshore investments to use their foreign investment allowance to contribute to an international retirement scheme. Choose one that generates future retirement benefits that can be paid anywhere in the world, including South Africa. This type of retirement plan would currently be considered a tax-free pension in Guernsey. The foreign investment allowance is currently R10-million (discretionary) and R1-million (travel) but you can apply to SARS for dispensation to increase this.

The Sovereign Group offers a pension product, called a Conservo, which falls under Guernsey’s regulated international retirement annuity trust schemes (Rats). “Your investment can be a regular contribution and/or a lump sum that was earned outside South Africa, or you can use your foreign investment allowance. However, you can’t claim your contributions to a Rat as a tax-deduction in South Africa, as you can with contributions to a local retirement annuity fund, because the Guernsey fund is not registered under the Pension Funds Act in South Africa,” says van der Merwe.

Does formal emigration mean that you are not considered a SA tax resident anymore? 

Once you’ve formally emigrated for exchange control purposes, you will no longer be a South African tax resident on the condition that you don’t meet the “ordinary resident test” or the “physical presence test” – the two tests in South Africa that determine whether you are an SA tax resident or not. Therefore, your new status does not mean that you will necessarily stop paying South African taxes all together. 

Sovereign outlines that if, for instance, you receive rental income for immovable property you own, then you’ll be liable for SA tax. And, if you decide to sell this property, you will also be subject to capital gains tax. 

You can also throw the concept of tax migration into this mix. “When you live in a country that has a double taxation agreement with South Africa and your permanent home is in that country, you will be taxed on your foreign salary in that country and not in SA,” explains van der Merwe. If on the other hand, you have a permanent home in that country and also in SA, then the question becomes, where is your centre of financial influence? “If the answer is permanent residency in the other country, then SA can’t tax you on your salary – but the same rules as outlined above – apply with regard rental income and capital gains tax if you rent or sell South African property.” There will still be a tax liability in SA. It is also worth noting that this also applies even when you have formally emigrated and broken your ties with SA. 

There are good people with the right answers when it comes to unpacking the baggage around financial emigration and expat tax, just make sure you take off the rose-tinted shades and do the groundwork.  It will make all the difference to mitigating risks and navigating the right path.

The Sovereign Trust (SA) Limited Annual International Retirement Seminar 2019 is taking place in Johannesburg on the 28th of August, and in Cape Town on the 30th August. To find out more information or to register, please go to https://www.sovereigngroup.com/events/sovereign-trust-sa-limited-annual-international-retirement-seminar/ 

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Why Millennials In Africa Are Turning To Bitcoin

When a society develops or changes, it is usually the younger generations that embrace these changes and utilises them in the best ways. This is certainly true in different areas of life but prominent when it comes to technology. Although older generations do embrace technology to an extent, they do not match up when it comes to millennials and technology.

This has proved to be the case in all corners of the globe, including Africa where more millennials are choosing to welcome Bitcoin into their life. Just like a millennial in other parts of the world, their smartphones are loaded into their skinny jeans or within easy reach at all times – and so are their Luno bitcoin wallets. Here we will look at why so many millennials in Africa are turning to Bitcoin.

Bitcoin and Africa: The Perfect Cocktail?

There is already a case that Africa presents the perfect continent for Bitcoin to grow. One of the core arguments is that Africa already has a culture that is based on transferring money by unconventional means. Whereas Europeans and Americans may always opt to send money by bank transfer, Africans tend to favour money transfers by smartphone apps. This way of conducting money transfers is a ready-made fit with the way Bitcoin works in a society. However, these are not the only reasons why Bitcoin and Africa are a match made in crypto heaven:

  • Bitcoin can reduce criminal activity in Africa where some countries are rife with corruption
  • The spread of internet access has grown rapidly across Africa making Bitcoin trading and use a much more realistic possibility
  • Bitcoin can reduce local corruption
  • Bitcoin is cheaper and faster than alternative peer-to-peer transferring options
  • Bitcoin and crypto education is being offered to many millennials in these regions

Why Millennials are Specifically Using Bitcoin

For many millennials in Africa, they are fresh out of university and on the job market. However, the economies in many African countries present limited opportunities even for society’s most well educated and qualified professionals. For this reason, many Africans turn their attention to side hustles and try to make money in more ways than just their regular day jobs. This is a trend not exclusive to Africa but one that many Africans are likely to explore further.

Buying, investing in or trading Bitcoin is one of these lucrative avenues for millennials without a job or in need to raise more money for a better quality of life. Unlike other side hustles this one has a string of other benefits that were listed above. This means choosing to embrace crypto is not just a way to improve life and finances, it offers benefits for day-to-day living.

One of the biggest obstacles that millennials in these countries face is a lack of regulations and central banks actively opposing the use of cryptocurrency. Nevertheless, millennials here still adopt crypto and make it work for them.

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Five Things African Businesses Should Know About The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Getting To Know The Chamber

The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a non-profit organisation which has supported the business community in Dubai for more than five decades. The organisation has watched the city grow from a trade and logistics gateway between Africa and the United Arab Emirates, to a financial investment hub that offers attractive returns on investment for businesses who want to tap into the UAE market. Their message about investing in Dubai is clear:

“Whether it’s a start-up or established multi-national, Dubai provides a wealth of opportunities for businesses looking to make an impact in the wider Middle East, South Asian and African markets.  Dubai is known for its rich business events calendar and networking opportunities alongside its mature and business enabling regulatory and legislative policies.”

Expanding Its Footprint In Africa

Director of Marketing and Corporate Communication at Dubai Chamber, Rami Halawani said, “We were tasked with looking at Africa in a structured and systematic way, part of that meant developing a strategy that would dispel perceptions about doing business in Africa. We used data obtained from our own research and other institutions to compile a tool that gives an in-depth look at what is going on in Africa’s biggest economies.”

The chamber has used this information to open regional offices in Kenya, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Ghana, with plans underway to open offices in Rwanda, Uganda and other countries. The research and physical presence has helped Dubai businesses to invest in key sectors in Africa such as construction, ports management and financial solutions. The offices also serve as a base for African private and public companies who want to access the Dubai market.

Linking Dubai Businesses And Their African Counterparts

The chamber has also developed the Africa Gateway Smart Application, a free app and website that facilitates access to African investment opportunities. The platform provides potential investors with everything needed to set up a business in Africa. The African Gateway Dubai Chamber helps businesses who want to “understand market dynamics, bid for tenders or connect with businesses in Africa.” The portal houses case studies, news articles as well as facts and figures needed to make an informed decision about the business opportunities available in Africa.

Tapping Into The Continent’s Biggest Resource 

Several reports have cited how Africa has the advantage of a young population in the future. Young people are responsible for many social, political and tech changes that the continent has witnessed so far. The Dubai Chamber understands the limitations and challenges that young people face back home.

The Chamber currently nurtures upcoming businesses in Dubai through the Start Up Hub, an accelerator programme where the chamber aims to connect new businesses with access, knowledge and partnerships with companies in the city. The initiative is now open to African startups who are redefining business through impressive solutions. Earlier this year, the chamber hosted an event dubbed a chamberthon, which saw five African Startups and their Dubai counterparts vie for a spot in a mentorship programme.

The African startups included  FarmGate Africa, a startup using advanced technologies to connect international buyers and farming clusters, Quip.link, an online marketplace for renting and selling construction equipment, Complete Farmer, a crowd-farming platform focused on building sustainable farms, Engineering Hub Ltd, a provider of IT services and solutions for mobile and banking integration platforms and lastly, RideSafe, a mobile application offering real-time health solutions. At the end of the mentorship, the startups will have an audience with business and government leaders attending Global Business Forum Africa to pitch for backers.

A Chance To Build Meaningful Networks 

Under the banner “Scale Up Africa”, the chamber will host its fifth Global Business Forum in November 2019 where the conversation will centre around restoring business confidence in Africa. GBF Africa 2019 is touted as the pivotal destination for business, finance and government leaders to identify business opportunities and develop the fast‐growing ties between Africa and Dubai.

The event aims to forge connections that will enable and accelerate growth and explore how the two regions can work together to build powerful and creative partnerships among aspiring young entrepreneurs, established businesses and governments. The programme relies on four pillars: An accelerator eco-system, scaling up through collaboration, leveraging Africa’s market power through digital trade and Africa and Dubai working together to rewire trade for the digital era.

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“Africa is One of the World’s Viable Destinations for Investment” – Tony O. Elumelu

In an impassioned keynote speech, delivered before global leaders, at the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Yokohama, Japan, African investor and philanthropist Tony O. Elumelu, challenged the Government of Japan to invest 5% of its $50billion commitment to Africa, in empowering African entrepreneurs. “At TICAD 2016 in Kenya, Japan pledged $30billion for Africa. This year you have generously increased this to $50 billion. If we invested just 5% in Africa’s new generation of entrepreneurs, following my Foundation’s robust, proven model of getting capital directly to those best placed to catalyse growth and create real impact, we could touch 500,000 lives, across the 54 African countries, broadening markets, facilitating job creation, improving income per capita, and laying the key foundation for political and economic stability”, said Mr. Elumelu. The Tony Elumelu Foundation, in just five years has assisted over 7,500 African entrepreneurs across every African country, with seed capital, capacity building, mentorship and networking opportunities through its $100 million Entrepreneurship Programme. Mr. Elumelu’s statement captured his vision of a relationship between Japan and Africa, which prioritises economic and shared prosperity. He outlined the three key pillars of a bold and transformative structure: investment in infrastructure, partnership with the African private sector, and investment in Africa’s youth.
 

SOURCES: CNBC AFRICA

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Africa needs a Digitalization Strategy to Compete in the Global Economy

Siemens, in conjunction with Frost & Sullivan, have put together a comprehensive research project outlining the current state of key industries across the continent and identifying challenges and opportunities. The study, named ‘The dawn of digitalization and its impact on Africa’, considers growth predictions and where the adoption of smart technology would be most beneficial in expanding industries to drive sustainable growth. For the purpose of this study, focus was placed on four key sectors: Water, Manufacturing, Mining and Minerals, and Food and Beverage. Some of the key findings in the report are: The adoption of digital technologies, innovation as well as a range of digital customer offerings are expected to remain varied across industries, markets and geographies. Manufacturing, while the most mature in its transformation and adoption of digital technologies in Africa, remains a marginal player struggling to make a bigger impact on country GDPs. In the mining industry which has been witnessing subdued investment, rising cost pressures and increasing labour issues, a combination of mechanization, efficient extraction of resources and better use of data can make it easier for mine operators to cut costs and create a leaner and more efficient mining operation.

SOURCES: IT NEWS AFRICA

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[OPINION] Nigeria’s First Step Towards Realising the Potential of its Business Sector

The CFTA has highlighted the soft underbelly of Nigeria’s protectionist trade policy, which it has employed for decades – without much to show for it. Although the economy has made significant strides in some areas, particularly in services, the successes are few compared to the opportunities the policy has provided. The share of manufacturing as a percentage of GDP, for example, has lingered at around 10%, rising slightly to 13% in 2018. Economists say that under the right conditions, Nigeria should be able to increase this to over 40% by 2030. It is not yet clear whether the free trade agreement will help or hinder Nigeria’s ability to reach this target. In acceding to the free trade agreement, there are bound to be many positive outcomes for resilient Nigerian companies. But the country may also end up paying the price of years of relying on restrictive trade policies, rather than investing in productive capacity, to grow the economy. History shows the damage that was done to many companies across Africa during the liberalisation of African markets in the 1980s and 90s after years of surviving behind high tariff walls. Signing the free trade agreement may be painful for Nigeria for a while but it also may be the first step forward in realising the enormous potential of its business sector as a competitive force in Africa.

SOURCES: AFRICAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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Egypt’s Remittance Strategy Pays Off

Remittances of Egyptian expatriates rose to 42.8 per cent in May 2019. According to the Central Bank of Egypt the expatriate’s remittances rose to $3 billion in May. Remittances in April were worth about $2.1 billion. On a year-on-year basis, remittances rose by 15.3 per cent, worth $2.6 billion in April 2018. Remittances carried out through the formal banking system increased after the liberalisation of the Egyptian pound on 3 November 2016, and the dollar has the same prices both at the official and black markets. Before the decision to liberalise the pound, the dollar exchange rate difference between the official and the black market was about 100 per cent, making the black market thrive.
 

SOURCE: MIDDLE EAST MONITOR

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Nearly 55% Of South African Labour Force Affected By Skills Mismatch

The skills of nearly 55% of people working in South Africa are redundant or inadequate for the position they are in. Report comes as world economy seen to lose USD 5 trillion from inadequate training of workers. Human-centric skills development can boost GDP growth by up to 2%. A report published today by global management consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG), WorldSkills Russia and energy company Rosatom has identified new ways for governments and employers to address the growing skills crisis and boost economies. The report, Mission Talent– Mass Uniqueness: A Global Challenge for One Billion Workers, has been presented at the World Skills Conference 2019 in Kazan, as concerns increase around the world about how to address the dramatic shift in employment caused by new technologies and business models, as well as rapid and continuing urbanization. The skills mismatch already impacts over 50% of employers. By 2030, 1.4 billion workers will not have the right skills for their jobs. A third of all existing professions are expected to change by 2035 with the expansion of IT, AI and robots. 
 

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Financial Solutions for African Problems

A package of $251 million in support of the African Development Bank’s AFAWA initiative to support women entrepreneurs in Africa has been approved at the G7 summit. The risk-sharing mechanism used by AFAWA (Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa) is a practical approach to international commitments. It is a direct response to the demand by women to ease access to financing, specifically on the need to establish a financing mechanism for women’s economic empowerment, adopted during a summit of African heads of state in 2015 and assigned to the African Development Bank for implementation. The Bank’s president Akinwumi Adesina applauded the “extraordinary support of all the G7 heads of state and government, which will provide incredible momentum” to the AFAWA programme. He added that currently, women operate over 40% of SMEs in Africa, but there is a financing gap of $42 billion between male and female entrepreneurs. A gap that must be closed quickly. AFAWA aims to raise up to $5 billion for African women entrepreneurs and the African Development Bank will provide $1 billion financing. The AFAWA initiative, backed by the G7 nations, is based on three fundamental principles. The first is to improve women’s access to financing through innovative and adapted financial instruments, including guarantee mechanisms to support women entrepreneurs.

SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

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Russia Champions Nuclear for Africa’s Power Woes

Russia is attempting to gain influence in Africa and earn billions of pounds by selling developing nations nuclear technology that critics say is unsuitable and unlikely to benefit the continent’s poorest people. Representatives of Rosatom, the Russian state corporation responsible for both the military and civil use of nuclear energy, have approached the leaders of dozens of African countries in the past two years. The company, which is building a $29bn reactor for Egypt, has concluded agreements with Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana, South Africa and others. Nigeria has a deal with Rosatom for the construction of a nuclear reactor, and less ambitious agreements of cooperation have been signed with Sudan, Ethiopia and the Republic of the Congo. Rosatom is among international groups that are exporting light-water technology and is building a $13bn light-water reactor in Bangladesh. But such reactors typically generate more than 1,000 megawatts and very few countries in sub-Saharan Africa have the capacity to distribute that amount of power.
 

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Botswana’s Plans to Boost Economic Growth

The central bank cut its benchmark interest rate for the first time in two years, to the lowest level since at least 2007. The monetary policy committee reduced the rate by a quarter percentage point to 4.75%, the first cut since October 2017, when the central bank reduced it by 50 basis points. Officials hope the move will help the economy expand an estimated 4.2% in 2019 and 4.4% in 2020. Inflation is seen as remaining weak given subdued demand pressures in the economy. Consumer inflation was 2.9% in July, below the central bank’s 3% to 6% target range. It hasn’t breached the upper end of the band since at least 2014. Botswana imports much of its goods from neighbour SA, where inflation eased to 4% in July.
 

SOURCE: BUSINESS DAY LIVE

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Cleaning Up Ghana’s Banking System

Up to 70,000 people could be facing financial ruin after a massive government directive that reduced the number of lenders by a third, closed 23 savings-and-loans and triggered a run on banks which couldn’t sell their holdings fast enough to meet demand. An estimated $1.6 billion has been wiped out. That’s more than 33 percent of the assets that private fund managers supervise for retail and institutional investors, Bloomberg reported. Ghana’s main financial regulator, its Securities and Exchange Commission, has increased pressure on at least 20 fund managers suspected of violating the rules. Ghana’s SEC is blocking these money managers from accepting new investments, concerned they may use the funds to pay out existing investors. The chances are slim of the Ghanaian government bailing out burned investors, Bitcoinist reported. The central bank targeted the savings companies servicing the investors. Many are already blaming the government for not having a plan in place to prevent such financial fallout.

SOURCE: MOGULDOM

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Africa Needs to Invest in Teaching for Future Jobs

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in 2016, sub-Saharan Africa had a literacy rate of 76% compared to 89% in South and West Asia, 87% in the Arab states and 98% in the developed nations. We are living in an era characterized by the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) where technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain are changing all aspects of our lives. Factories are automating. Because of these changes, the nature of work is changing. These changes in society because of 4IR require new sets of skills. For us to thrive in the 4IR era also requires our educational experience to be multi-disciplinary. In our limited institutions of higher learning, students enrolled for programs in the human and social sciences must also study technological subjects.
 

SOURCE: FORBES AFRICA

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Lesser Known Safari Parks In Africa

With scenic landscapes, amazing culture, delightful cuisines, and an abundance of wildlife, Africa is a destination that will surely amaze and inspire any visitor. The more popular safari destinations like the Serengeti in Tanzania, Masai Mara in Kenya, and the Kruger Park in South Africa continue to enjoy an influx of visitors from all over the world every year. A true testament to their grandeur and greatness. But what about the lesser known parks across Africa? They are also worth visiting in their own right and can provide a unique experience that makes you appreciate the majesty of the African continent even more. 

Planning an African safari tour? Here are some lesser known safari parks to consider:

Tanzania – Lake Manyara National Park

Located on the edge of the Rift Valley beneath the cliffs of the Manyara escarpment, Lake Manyara National Park is a paradise for bird lovers and provides breathtaking views of rolling grasslands, ground water forests, and baobab strewn cliffs. Its algae-streaked hot springs are a favorite stop among visitors and offer an incredible ecological variety in such a small area. Lake Manyara hosts an incredible array of birdlife that thrives on its brackish waters. Against the grey minerals of the Lakeshore, you can spot pink flamingos as the stoop and graze by the thousands, yellow-billed storks swoop, and herons flap their wings against the sun-drenched sky. Aside from being famous for its tree-climbing lions (the only kind of their species in the world), Lake Manyara National Park is also home to the largest concentration of baboons in Africa. 

Uganda – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

A swath of steep mountains covered in a thick, steamy jungle, there’s hardly a more reminiscent African destination than the impenetrable forest of Bwindi. Gazetted a national park in 1991, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley. Its mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by one of Uganda’s ancient and biologically diverse rainforests, which contains almost 400 plant species. The stars of the show, however, are the approximately 400 mountain gorillas (roughly half the world’s population), including several habituated groups that can be tracked. The combination of its broad altitude span and its antiquity has produced an incredible diversity of flora and fauna, resulting in some 120 mammal species and over 350 bird species that call Bwindi home.

Kenya – Lake Nakuru National Park

Flanked by rocky escarpments, waterfalls, and pockets of acacia forests, Lake Nakuru National Park is among Kenya’s finest national parks. It is gorgeous all year round and is home to lions, hippos, and the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe. It is one of Kenya’s premium parks, and a paradise for bird lovers. Originally protected as a bird sanctuary, Lake Nakuru National Park hosts over 400 bird species, including five globally threatened species. Tourists can go game driving, enjoy the view of the lake, take great photos, and even have picnics on picnic tables present at the site. Tourists can also take a short hike to visit the nearby Makalia falls.

Zambia – Lower Zambezi National Park

Dotted with acacias and flanked by a steep escarpment on the northern side, the Lower Zambezi National Park covers a large stretch of wilderness area along the northeastern base of the Zambezi river. On the opposite bank in Zimbabwe, is the Mana Pools National Park, together the park constitutes one of Africa’s finest wildlife areas. It is home to a variety of mammal species including elephants, puku, impala, leopards, lions and wild dogs. The Lower Zambezi National Park also boasts over 400 bird species. Like many other African safari parks, the best time to visit the Lower Zambezi National Park is from May through October.

Namibia – Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park is located in the Kunene region and shares boundaries with the regions of Oshikoto, Oshana, and Otjozondjupa. It is home to hundreds of species of mammals, birds, and reptiles, including several threatened and endangered species such as the black rhino. As one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country, visitors can catch a glimpse when animals flock to the Okaukuejo waterhole at night. You can spot elephants and lions as they emerge into the illuminated area around the pool to drink their fill and wander off in the darkness.

South Africa – Addo Elephant National Park

Located in the beautiful Eastern Cape province of South Africa, Addo Elephant National Park is home to over 600 elephants and is known for its rich biodiversity. Split into several separate areas including the main inland wildlife area and two coastal conservation areas located north of Sundays River, Addo Elephant National Park incorporates a wide range of different habitats. Though elephants are the parks main highlights, it is also home to buffaloes, leopards, lions, and rhinos. Addo also boasts an incredible variety of birdlife with more than 400 species recorded within the park boundaries. Self-drive safaris, guided safaris, horse riding, and marine adventures are some of the popular things to do while at the Addo Elephant National Park.

Discover some of the lesser known safari destinations today. As you can see here, there are plenty of them and in these places, the crowd of tourists will be less and you feel more alone in the wild. 

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Sudanese Women Get a Seat at the Table

In a solemn ceremony in Khartoum, Sudan, 11 people placed their hands on Korans to be sworn in to lead the country. The moment was historic for many reasons, including the group’s composition — the council includes two women. The representation raises expectations that women will be granted additional rights and minority groups of all types will be given a voice in a new Sudan. Hopes are resting with women such as Ayesha Musa Saeed, an educator and longtime women’s rights activist named to be one of six civilians on the sovereign council. The other woman on the council, Raja Nicola Issa Abdul-Masseh, is a Coptic Christian. Some observers hope she can be a voice for the many ethnic and religious minorities who were persecuted under Bashir. SOURCE: VOA

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Testing Uganda’s Freedom of Speech

A Ugandan student living in the US is suing President Yoweri Museveni for blocking him on Twitter after he referred to the head of state as “a dictator” and said he had to go. In the lawsuit, Hillary Innocent Taylor Seguya, a global youth ambassador and master’s student of international relations at Harvard University, contends that by blocking him on Twitter, Museveni bars him from online conversation. It leaves him unable to see or respond to tweets on the president’s official handle which is used as a public forum to disseminate information relating to the activities of his public office in his official capacity and to get feedback from citizens. Seguya has petitioned the civil division of the high court in the capital, Kampala, to declare Museveni’s action as illegal, procedurally improper, unreasonable and irrational. The case comes less than a month after Stella Nyanzi, a Ugandan women’s rights activist who branded Yoweri Museveni “a dirty, delinquent dictator” and “a pair of buttocks”, received an 18-month jail sentence for cyber harassment against the president. She was acquitted of a charge of offensive communication.

SOURCE:  THE GUARDIAN

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The Woman Keeping the Health of Rwanda’s Endangered Gorillas in Check

Elisabeth Nyirakaragire is not just the first female vet treating the precious mountain gorillas in Rwanda but she is the first vet to work with the mammals. Being the first and the oldest veterinarian for mountain gorillas in Rwanda, the 56 year old doctor, is still passionate and determined to spend the next few years taking care of the mountain gorillas. When Nyirakaragire began her job in 1987, the mountain gorilla population of the Virunga Massif was estimated to include only 240 individuals, with 4 habituated tourist groups. Today, there are an estimated 1000 gorillas in the Virunga Massif with 12 habituated tourist groups. Nyirakaragire is a proud to have contributed to the survival and the growth of the mountain gorillas, whose status has recently changed from being “critically endangered” to just “endangered” species.

SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

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The Main Transit Route for Cheetah-trafficking in the Horn of Africa

Some 300 young cheetahs are trafficked out of Somaliland every year — around the same number as the entire population of adult and adolescent cheetahs in unprotected areas in the Horn of Africa, according to the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF). The animals are smuggled across Somaliland’s porous border, then stowed away in cramped crates or cardboard boxes on boats and sent across the Gulf of Aden towards their final destination: the Arabian Peninsula. The overwhelming majority of these cheetahs end up in Gulf Arab mansions, where Africa’s most endangered big cats are flaunted as status symbols of the ultra-rich and paraded around in social media posts, according to CCF and trafficking specialists. As the world’s fastest land mammal, cheetahs need space to run and a special diet. Vets says most Gulf owners do not know how to care for the cats, and the majority of captive cheetahs die within a year or two.

SOURCE: CNN

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A Fund Created by African Children to Help their Peers

Brain Squad, a group of five Nigerian girls, has invented an app that helps less privileged children go to school. Ivana Mordi, Munachi Chigbo, Jadesola Kassim, Ayomikun Ariyo and Pandora Onyedire came up with this idea when studies showed that over 10 million children are out of school in Nigeria, with problems mainly from poverty. The app, Handsout, won the People’s Choice award at this year’s global Technovation competition in Silicon Valley, California. More than 19,000 teenage girls were featured. Handsout allows people all over the world to easily donate to Nigerian children and their families to help them pay for school fees, stationary and medication. BrainSquad is partnering with financial institutions to open a trust to handle all cash donations and are looking to partner with organizations and foundations to select the recipients as well as logistic companies to assist with transportation of any non-cash donations to designated communities. Handsout is a hub for children by children where donors’ funds can be directed to the children who need it, using charities like International Women’s Society (IWS) and Slum2School. Credible NGOs who work directly with children and orphanages around Nigeria

SOURCE: BBC

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Is this How Kenyan Athletes Become so Fast?

Al Jazeera says it has uncovered doping among Kenyan athletes, training alongside some of the world’s top runners. The country’s officials say they are doing their best to stop it. But banned drugs – such as the blood-booster EPO – are easily available, their use is an open secret. Kenya suffered international embarrassment in 2016 when a string of doping scandals brought the country famed for its distance runners within a whisker of disqualification from the Rio Olympics. Between 2004 and August 2018, 138 Kenyan athletes tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, according to a World Anti-Doping Agency report published in September 2018. The report concluded that nandrolone, an anabolic steroid, corticosteroids and EPO were the substances most used by local athletes. However it found there was “no evidence of an institutionalised system” of doping in Kenya.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Gambia Mourns its Founding Father

Dawda Kairaba Jawara, Gambia’s first post-independence president who led the West African country for 24 years before being deposed in a 1994 coup, has died at the age of 95. The office of President Adama Barrow, whose election in 2016 brought an end to the rule of the army officer who toppled Jawara, Yahya Jammeh, hailed the late president as “an elder statesman” and Gambia’s “founding father”. A veterinarian by training, Jawara in 1959 founded the Protectorate People’s Party, later rechristened the People’s Progressive Party, which emerged as the dominant political force following independence from Britain in 1965. He served as prime minister from 1962-70, as the newly-independent Gambia, a sliver of land along the banks of the Gambia River and Atlantic coast surrounded by Senegal, remained a constitutional monarchy under Queen Elizabeth II. In 1970, Gambia adopted a republican constitution by referendum and Jawara was elected its first president. Over the next two decades, he presided over a multi-party political system in a region plagued by authoritarian rule and frequent civil unrest.

SOURCE: WASHINGTON POST

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Transforming the Fate of a Community Ravaged by War

Marial Ajith community in northwestern South Sudan is very fertile and has plenty of rivers and basins. Agricultural production used to be high and vegetables were exported from the region to the rest of South Sudan. Years of conflict, however, made this area a dangerous place to harvest the land; many people left their homes and lost their livelihoods. But with FAO’s help the community is doing its part to realize the area’s potential. In late 2018, FAO started helping mothers enhance and diversify the diets of their children to fight malnutrition. To complement their diet over the long term, FAO provided investment vouchers to every family in the community to buy a minimum of three goats and five chickens. With the training they received, they can now get milk from goats and eggs from chickens and sell their surplus. Women’s skills in farming as a business have improved, and so has their income, filling the current local production gap and demand for vegetables, which were mainly imported from neighbouring countries before.

SOURCE: FAO

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Kenyan Inventor of 1st Flying Taxi in Africa

Morris Mbetsa, a 28-year-old Kenyan, surprised many with his ingenious invention, of Africa’s first flying taxi. He joined the exclusive club of renown aeronautical engineers with his giant leap to the sky, in 2018, when he came up with a drone big enough to fly passengers. Mbetsa acknowledged that his interest in technology, started as far back as to when he was six years old, when he realized that he had a knack for technology. He began his dream of flying taxis when he realized that the developed countries were not planning to share this innovation with Africa. The electrically powered drone can carry one passenger for up to 25 minutes at a speed of over 120 kilometres per hour with an elevation between 10 and 30 feet above the ground level. More than one way has been designed to fly this impressive invention. One can manually fly it or control it using a remote control. Mbetsa also affirmed that he, together with his team, were working on an air traffic control system, to enhance communication between all the flying taxis while on a flight.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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South Africa’s Capital on Edge

Chaos descended on parts of the Pretoria CBD on Wednesday as foreign-owned shops were looted and burned by a mob that was on a mission to rid the city of drug dealers. The morning started with taxi drivers blocking several roads in the CBD, protesting against the shooting of one of their own on Tuesday. After the shops were looted, they were set alight. Police officers and firefighters were eventually forced to retreat as the looting continued. A large police contingent finally moved into the area firing rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades in an attempt to disperse the crowd. Taxi drivers said they had taken to the streets on Wednesday to rid the CBD of drug dealers – targeting mostly foreign nationals. This came after a taxi driver was shot and killed on Tuesday after taxi operators allegedly found the police were involved in drug dealing.

SOURCE: NEWS 24

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Sub-Saharan Africa Join Forces To Accelerate Elimination Of Neglected Tropical Diseases

On the sidelines of the African Union Summit, national and international leaders join the “No to NTDs” movement to reduce the burden of neglected tropical diseases in sub-Saharan Africa

The high-level side event was convened as part of the African Union Summit, by policy and advocacy tank Speak Up Africa, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and First Lady of Niger, H.E Mrs. Aïssata Issoufou. Held under the High Patronage of His Excellency Mr. Mahamadou Issoufou, and chaired by the First Lady of Niger, the convening saw high level speakers from across the region discuss the challenges to NTD elimination and collaborative strategies to accelerate progress against diseases that currently blight the lives of millions of people across the region.

Over 100 participants attended the event including H.E Mrs. Sika Kaboré, First Lady of Burkina Faso, H.E Mrs. Hinda Deby Itno, First Lady of Chad, H.E Mrs. Antoinette Sassou Nguesso, First Lady of Congo and current President of the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD), the Queen of ESwatini, Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Abdourahmane Diallo, Executive Director of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, Mrs. Joy Phumaphi, Executive Secretary of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), Dr. Idi Illiassou Mainassara, Minister of Health of Niger, Mrs. Françoise Vanni, External Relations Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The event provided attending leaders with a platform to assess the progress toward NTD elimination on the continent and learn from best practices for informed decisions on the creation of sustainable partnerships for universal health coverage.

His Excellency Mr. Mahamadou Issoufou, President of Niger, underlined the importance that his government attaches to health, particularly through the implementation of Niger’s Renaissance program, which will help the country achieve its universal health coverage objectives.

H.E Mrs. Aïssata Issoufou, First Lady of Niger, commented: “After all progress, particularly in countries most heavily burdened with NTDs, depends on strong and consistent country leadership and regional coordination, to ensure that all people, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalized, have access to quality health services and NTD prevention methods.”

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of communicable diseases which affect more than 1.5 billion people worldwide, 39% of whom live in Africa. NTDs affect the most vulnerable members of society, and whilst there has been some progress in recent years, attendees at the event emphasized that failing to do more to fight NTDs now, including developing new tools and resources, will have significant consequences for future generations in Africa.

In Niger, NTDs including lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis and trachoma are endemic. A highlight of the event was therefore the formal launch of a new monitoring and accountability tool to help better manage NTD prevention and treatment initiatives in Niger. Launched by the Government of Niger, the new NTD ‘scorecard’ will measure national and sub-national progress against NTDs, including the number of cases of these diseases reported in each region, the number of interventions supplied to prevent cases of NTDs, and the rate of treatment offered to those affected.

Dr Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, commented: As we make progress in the fight against NTDs, the momentum presented by universal health coverage is a unique opportunity to harness our synergies to ensure that no one is left behind”.

Ms. Yacine Djibo, Executive Director, Speak Up Africa, commented: “The elimination of neglected tropical diseases is within reach. All of us here, in this room and beyond, have a responsibility to act to accelerate the elimination of these diseases by 2030. More than ever, we need to mobilize our financial and technical resources. The commitment and ownership of this NTD control and elimination by the communities remains crucial to overcome these diseases.”

At the meeting, HE Mrs. First Lady of Niger Aïssata Issoufou stressed the need to adopt new innovative approaches. Three days before the meeting, the government of Niger launched a national coalition against NTDs, which aims to strengthen coordination among partners to maximize available financial and technical resources and diversify partners fighting for the elimination of NTDs. This marks the launch of the ‘No to NTDs’ campaign in Niger, implemented in partnership with Speak Up Africa. The campaign aims to increase commitment and ownership of NTD elimination at all levels of society.

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Shifting from Peacekeeping to Peacebuilding in Darfur

Sudan has called on the United Nations Security Council to lift its suspension of troop withdrawals and ensure all peacekeepers leave Darfur by June 2020 as well as end restrictions on the government’s movement of arms and troops in and out of the region. However, the African Union said overall security in the vast western region “remains volatile.” The UN currently has almost 5,600 so-called Blue Helmets in Darfur, though plans had been in place to reduce the force’s size to 4,050. The Darfur conflict began in 2003 when ethnic Africans rebelled, accusing the Arab-dominated Sudanese government of discrimination. In late June, the Security Council voted unanimously to put the brakes on the withdrawal of the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force from Darfur, as the country dealt with a political crisis. It extended the mandate of the force, known as UNAMID, until October 31, and it asked the UN and AU to make recommendations by September 30 on what the council should do about continuing the withdrawal.SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Calls to Make South Africa’s Booming Food Delivery Market Safer

Migrants around the world have long signed up for dangerous jobs, but experts warn that the gig economy makes it even harder for the authorities to monitor working conditions and enforce labor laws. According to the Motorcycle Safety Institute, a local organization that collects accident statistics, at least 70 delivery riders — most of them food couriers — have died in South Africa over the past year. Hundreds more have been injured. In South Africa, the dangers of being a food courier are particularly acute. The country is infamous for its high rates of traffic mortality, with more than twice as many fatalities per 100,000 people in 2016 than in the United States, according to the World Health Organization. Last year, Uber Eats introduced free insurance coverage in South Africa, including for emergency medical care and payouts for death and disability. But the payouts are capped at about $13,000 — and riders qualify for them only when they are on active trips, not if they are returning from a delivery.

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Nigeria Called Out for Treatment of Former Trafficked Victims

In a new Human Rights Watch report titled ‘You Pray for Death:’ Trafficking of Young Women and Girls in Nigeria, reserachers said many rescued victims on their return are kept in “abhorrent” conditions in Nigerian shelters similar to those they faced when they were trafficked. The report said though Nigeria has taken steps to address trafficking problems in the country by signing on to international laws and creating shelters, authorities have failed to provide adequate resources that survivors need to rebuild their lives. Some of the women told HRW they were detained in government-owned shelters run by NAPTIP for months without adequate food, toiletries and medical care. Others said they were kept in closed shelters and denied access to their families. They also told HRW they were kept in the dark about their rehabilitation process and officials did not give them information on when they would be reunited with their families. HRW said the report was based on field research between 2017 and 2018, which included interviews with 76 trafficked victims, experts, NGOs and authorities working with survivors in Nigeria. However, officials from NAPTIP’S public education unit said the report did not capture many aspects of their work in rehabilitating trafficked victims.

SOURCE: CNN | HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

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Kenya’s Wonder Source of Biofuel

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SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Cape Verdean Singer Remembered in a Google Doodle

Cesária Évora, the Cape Verdean singer who became known as the “Barefoot diva”, is being remembered in a special Google Doodle on what would have been her 78th birthday. Born on 27 August, 1941, Évora took up singing as a girl, and as an adult began her career by performing at bars in her hometown of Mindelo. After several years of singing without financial success, she was eventually spotted by former musician and record producer José da Silva, who urged her to record her music in France.Genre-wise, Évora specialised in morna, the traditional music style of Cape Verde. Her songs typically had melancholic, poetic undertones. One of her most famous songs is a recording of the coladeira song “Sodade”, which encapsulates the nostalgia of emigrants from Cape Verde. Évora was an ambassador for the United Nations’ World Food Programme, a humanitarian food-assistance initiative that delivers food in emergency situations and works to improve nutrition in communities around the world.

SOURCE: THE INDEPENDENT

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Malawi’s Initiative to Nurture and Encourage Future Female Scientists

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SOURCE: VOA

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U.S. Disillusioned with the State of Zimbabwe

A senior State Department official said, “The disappointment just keeps getting worse and worse, unfortunately. The government seems to be getting even more violent in their response to any form of opposition.” The official said Washington had made clear to the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa what it would take to improve relations between Zimbabwe and the United States. Officials have previously called on Mnangagwa to change Zimbabwe’s laws restricting media freedom and allowing protests. In March, President Donald Trump extended by one year U.S. sanctions against 100 entities and individuals in Zimbabwe, including Mnangagwa, saying his government had failed to bring about political and economic changes.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Algeria Feels the Pinch of Protests

On the face of it, Algeria’s state-dominated economy has weathered six months of turmoil well, with flightloads of public sector workers heading abroad for holidays even as protesters who ousted the veteran president in April now target his allies. But business, and leisure, as usual for the North African country’s army of state employees masks a growing economic drama behind the standoff between political, business, labour and military elites and those determined to force them out. The country’s rich oil and gas resources are still flowing, but thousands of jobs are on the line and growth is stuttering in an economy where official data shows one in four of the under-30s, who form 70 percent of the population, is unemployed. 

SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

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Bringing Back a Species from the Brink of Extinction

Najin is one of the last two northern white rhinos on the planet. As part of an ambitious plan to bring back the subspecies, her eggs were successfully harvested, to be used in IVF with the sperm of a deceased northern white rhino male. An international team that included the Dvůr Králové Zoo, the Kenya Wildlife Service, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, and Avantea, an Italian animal reproduction lab, devised a scheme to regenerate the northern white rhino population through in vitro fertilization, a process in which egg and sperm are fertilized outside the body. In preparation for attempting the procedure on Fatu and Najin, the team honed their extraction skills by practicing extracting eggs from scores of southern white rhinos. It’s a delicate process because of the risk posed by anesthesia and the presence of nearby large blood vessels. Upon completing the procedure, the team rushed the retrieved eggs to a mobile laboratory fashioned from a shipping container. The team will now wait to see which egg cells mature and fertilize them with frozen northern white rhino semen. Should the fertilized eggs develop into embryos, the scientists will cryopreserve them until they perfect their technique for transferring them into a southern white rhino surrogate.

SOURCE: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

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Uganda Airlines Takes Off

The country relaunched its national carrier hoping to take a slice of the East African aviation business that is dominated by Ethiopian Airlines. Officials are banking on its emerging oil industry and the traditional tourism sector to generate international traffic to sustain the airline. “We undertake to be a world class airline that will exceed customer expectations through high quality service,” Ugandan Airlines Chief Executive Ephraim Bagenda said at a ceremony at Entebbe, the country’s sole international airport. Though air traffic in Africa is forecast to grow 6 percent a year, twice as quickly as mature markets, over the next two decades, most state-owned flag carriers on the continent are losing money. The airline will initially fly to seven regional destinations in Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia, South Sudan, and Burundi. 

SOURCE: IOL

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Time To Completely Ban Canned Lion Hunting In Africa

The lion population is dropping rapidly throughout Africa. A century ago, around 200,000 lions roamed the continent, and now there are a mere 25,000 left. At this rate by 2119, there may be none left. About 200 facilities across South Africa breed lions for canned hunting, and as many as 6,000 lions are stockpiled for hunters.

South Africa is considered the top destination for canned lion hunting and international animal welfare organization, Network for Animals (NFA), has urgently called for South African decision makers to address the legislative gaps around this cruel practice.

Canned lion hunting is illegal in South Africa, but captive-bred lion hunting is allowed. Lions are bred in captivity and held in small enclosures until they are shot and killed. 

NFA’s chief campaigner David Barritt said there was a fine line between the two – and regulations differ by province, creating confusion that canned lion hunters take advantage of.

“The result is that South Africa is now the worst offender in Africa for a practice that has been universally condemned as cruel. Our country is now the world’s largest exporter of trophy lion heads,” he said.

“No government can condone the drugging and shooting of captive animals in a travesty of hunting that frequently leads to a lion dying a slow, lingering death, riddled with bullets. It’s time for the legislative loopholes to be closed because – make no mistake – canned lion hunting brings shame to South Africa.”

Barritt said government had so far been ignoring calls to completely outlaw canned lion hunting. Trophy hunting is big business in South Africa and according to BBC News, it was worth almost a billion rand in 2013 ($70m, £50m).

“But this is generally understood to be for wild animals, not those bred in captivity just to be shot,” the BBC reported, then posing the question: “Are lion hunters in South Africa shooting tame animals?”

“The clear answer to that is yes. When a lioness gives birth, her cubs are forcibly taken from her, and used as a petting tool for tourists, who often pose and take photographs with them. When these tamed lions get bigger and harder to handle, they are moved to an enclosed area and stay there until someone pays to shoot them,” said Barritt.

They can’t run, hide or defend themselves in any way. These animals are frequently drugged to make it easier for hunters, who often shoot the creature while sitting in their nearby vehicles. In most cases, it takes several shots before the animal dies. And canned lion hunting is not the only danger lions face.

 “Lions are being poached for their feet and bones to be exported to Asian countries, where they are marketed as virtual magic potions, a cure for all ills. It’s ridiculous nonsense with no scientific foundation and if left unchecked, it will wipe out the lion population in Africa,” said Barritt.

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Resistance And Collaboration: Asameni And The Keys To Christiansborg Castle In Accra

“Yes, you can see the keys. But, you must make an appointment and come back another day. After all, now that we know who you are, for all we know, you may have come to collect the keys from us, and take them back to Denmark,” Nana Samanhyia Darko II, the Gyaasewahene (Chief of Staff) mischievously chuckled.

As instructed, exactly one week later, I sat at Bogyawe Palace in Akwamufie, the Akwamu capital, anxiously waiting to see the Paramount Chief, Akwamuhene Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III to request permission to see the keys to Christiansborg Castle.

As a Ghanaian descendant of Carl Gustav Engmann, a Danish Governor at the castle (1752-7), I was conducting archaeological excavations at the site. Hence, the Gyaasewahene’s comments.

Collectively, the keys to Christiansborg Castle comprise 26 keys made of silver. They lie in an old, small wooden box called apem adaka (a box with a 1000 pieces of gold), since formerly used to store gold and gold dust.

The story of how Christiansborg Castle’s keys come to be at the Bogyawe Palace is an intriguing one.

The story is as follows.

Seizing The Castle

The Akwamu Empire (1600-1730), at its acme, controlled a territory extending 200 miles along the coast and 100 miles into the interior, with Nyanaose as its capital. The Akwamu controlled the gold, ivory and slave trade routes from the interior to the coast. By 1670, the Akwamu directed their attention to Accra, which had become an important trading centre where Portuguese, Dutch, English, Swedes and Danes engaged in coastal trade. In 1681, the Akwamu took over Accra. They began to strategise to take hold of all the forts and castles on the coast.

Christiansborg Castle was vital to this plan.

Christiansborg Castle was situated in Osu, Accra (today’s Ghana). At the castle, Danes and Africans exchanged guns, ammunition, liquor, cloth, iron tools, brass objects and glass beads for gold, ivory and captive Africans. Between 1660 and 1806, the Danish transported 100,000 – 126,000 Africans to the Danish West Indies (St Croix, St John and St Thomas islands).

In 1693, Asameni, an Akwamu royal, planned to seize control of the castle by way of a cunning ruse. A successful trader and warrior, Asameni moved to Accra, became proficient in the Danish language and disguised himself as a cook and interpreter to secure work at the castle. He studied the site, and its occupants and operations, including the ships’ arrivals and departures as well as those of traders, merchants and others who worked and visited the castle.

A contemporary drawing of Christiansborg Castle in Accra. Danish National Archives

Akwamuhene Ansa Sasraku II then bestowed the necessary royal directives.

Asameni informed the Danes that he would escort a group of Akwamu traders to purchase ammunition. In June 1693, Asameni and 80 armed men impersonating traders entered the castle. Since it was accepted practice to test merchandise prior to purchase, the men were given ammunition. But they’d also hidden ammunition, powder and shots under their clothes.

Once in the castle, the Akwamu attacked the unsuspecting Danes. A fierce battle ensued. Severely wounded, Governor Janssen escaped to nearby Fort Crevecoeur. Many Danish merchants and officials were injured, and some were taken to Akwamu as captives. Asameni and his men captured the castle.

Asameni appointed himself “Governor” of Christiansborg Castle and donned a Danish governor’s uniform. He replaced the Danish with the Akwamu flag. The Akwamuhene kept the castle’s keys as a trophy, but Asameni kept its merchandise, worth 1,400 gold marks. He invited English and Dutch ships’ captains to trade with him at the castle, where he entertained them lavishly, and frequently ignited canons in their honour.

Asameni occupied the castle for a year and a half, until negotiations resulted in the Akwamu returning the castle and captives to the Danish, in exchange for 1600 pieces of silver.

The Akwamu seized Christiansborg Castle so that they could dictate trade terms between themselves, African traders from the interior, and Europeans on the coast. They understood the financial rewards accrued from the gold and slave trades. Besides, the castle was on Akwamu-controlled land. And eventually they wanted to take hold of all European coastal fortifications.

The Akwamu participated in the Danish transatlantic slave trade with the stipulation that no Akwamu be enslaved.

Yet, later, many Akwamu, including royals, were transported to the Danish West Indies, enslaved and worked on plantations under brutal and dehumanising conditions. For instance, in 1733, 150 enslaved Akwamu launched a rebellion on St. John’s island that lasted six months. It was eventually crushed. As punishment, men and women were burned slowly to death at the stake, sawn in half, impaled and had their heads and hands cut off after torture with hot pinchers. Others committed collective suicide.

Ultimately, the Akwamu did not accept a subordinate status.

African Agency

Today, in Akwamu, Christiansborg Castle’s keys are referred to as state keys; they form part of Akwamu royal regalia and stool property. The Akwamu also sing Ɛdɔm nsafoa (Christiansborg Castle key’s song).

A bronze statue is dedicated to Asameni, the brilliant strategist, and his capture of the castle. Wearing a batakarikese (woven smock), symbolising his army of warriors disguised as traders, his left leg rests on a canon accompanied by cannon balls, symbolising the European forts and castles. Asameni holds a Danish flintlock gun in his right hand and a bunch of keys in his left hand.

The story of Asameni and Christiansborg Castle’s keys reveals the complexities of African agency during the transatlantic slave trade, in particular, resistance and collaboration.

Akwamu resistance to the Danish at the castle was not because the Akwamu were against the transatlantic slave trade. Resistance was not a moral or ethical act. Rather, the Akwamu collaborated with the Danish. Akwamu objections concerned the manner by which the transatlantic slave trade was conducted.

The keys to the castle provide material evidence that the Akwamu Empire seized power from the Danes and as a consequence influenced the terms of the transatlantic slave trade.

In the final analysis, as the Akwamu are quick to point out, the Danish only paid 600 pieces of silver to reoccupy Christiansborg Castle. There are 1000 pieces of silver still outstanding.

I am most grateful to Akwamuhene Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III. Thanks also to Nana Samanhyia Darko II.

Original Source: The Conservation

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SOURCES: THE CONVERSATION

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SOURCES: AFRICA.COM

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SOURCES: IOL

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SOURCES: DESIGN INDABA
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SOURCES: OKAYAFRICA
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SOURCES: ARCHITIZER

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SOURCES: VIBE

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SOURCES: BLOOMBERG | QUARTZ AFRICA

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SOURCES: BUSINESSTECH

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[OPINION] Africa’s Future Food Security

New technologies are transforming farming systems across the world, including in developing countries. Innovations range from drones that help detect crop pests earlier to mobile systems that link previously “unbankable” smallholder farmers with vital financial services. For the 12 million young people entering into the workforce in Africa each year, this could all help make farming and food production much more appealing. Director of the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development, Michael Haily says, “We need more young Africans to farm. Let’s give them the tools to do so. ” These opportunities range from designing new platforms or software to making use of technology and creating access to new markets using blockchain. One such example is the EzyAgric solution based in Uganda. The platform provides access to finance and markets for farmers and agribusinesses through a network of youth agents equipped with smartphones and other digital technology. It creates an employment opportunity for Uganda’s youth, at one end, and helps farmers improve yields and market access at the other.

SOURCES: AFRICAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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This US Deal could have a Major Impact on Mozambique’s Economy

The U.S. Export-Import Bank said on Thursday its board intends to vote on a $5 billion direct loan for the development of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Mozambique, the bank’s biggest export financing deal in years. If approved, the transaction would support U.S. exports of goods and services for the engineering, procurement and construction of the onshore LNG plant and related facilities on the Afungi Peninsula in northern Mozambique. “This critical project is not only a win for American companies and workers, supporting over 10,000 jobs in the United States, but also for the people of Mozambique as well,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. EXIM said the Mozambique LNG project would begin to develop the Rovuma Basin, one of the world’s most extensive untapped reserves of natural gas.
 

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Top African Money-making Routes

The most lucrative route is Emirates flying between Johannesburg’s Oliver Tambo International Airport and Dubai International Airport, which made over $315 million during the year’s review period (between April 2018 and March 2019). In second place is the British Airways route between Oliver Tambo and Heathrow, which made $295 million over the same time. Domestically, South African Airways’ route between Cape Town and Joburg generated the fifth-highest amount in Africa at $185 million. However, ‘while South African Airways (SAA) features as having one of the most lucrative routes in the world, it goes against OAG’s analysis in that it is not turning a profit at all,’ says Business Tech. The struggling airline has yet to publish its 2017/18 financial results, which are nearly a year-and-a-half overdue. Two other international routes, between Cape Town and Dubai with $176.7 million and between Cape Town to London with $174.6 million are also listed.
 

SOURCE: GETAWAY

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Update on the Zimbabwe Economy

Zimbabwean Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said the country would not introduce new monetary notes to replace the quasi currency bond notes as yet, but would instead introduce replacement notes to address imbalances between cash in circulation and electronic money. The move comes on the back of reports that Zimbabwe was ready to introduce new bank notes under the Zimdollar banner to replace the bond notes. Ncube also reiterated that the Zimdollar remained constituted of bond notes, electronic funds and mobile money. Commerce companies such as retailers and wholesalers have also started to have in-house bureau de changes to manage exchange rate distortions fuelled by the parallel foreign exchange markets. The return to a fully fledged local currency exchangeable outside the country’s borders will be backed by an undisclosed amount of foreign-exchange reserves, gold and loans.
 

SOURCE: IOL

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This Intervention will Change how Rwandans do Business

Rwanda has introduced the use of electric motorcycles as part of its efforts to protect the environment and cut fuel costs. One electric bike costs $1,300 — less expensive than the $1,600 price for fuel motorcycles. Two charging stations exist in Kigali. A moto-taxi driver has to bring an exhausted battery to take a charged one, which runs for 70 kilometers (43 miles). The price for recharging an electric vehicle is equal to the cost of the fuel for traditional cycles. In 2016, four entrepreneurs from different countries formed a start-up called Ampersand with a mission to transform Rwanda into a mass market for commercial electric motorcycles. Josh Whale, the company’s chief executive officer, said electric motorcycles, also known as e-Motos, have great potential in Rwanda — a country known for its environmental initiatives.
 

SOURCE: VOA

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Unlocking Value In The Sub-Saharan Africa Mobile Market

Mobile network operators can avoid the challenges more mature markets have experienced by focusing on their customers. Mobile phone operators in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are playing on borrowed time. Robust network investments, cheaper smartphones and data, and a rapidly expanding population of connected youth have fueled strong growth for the US$60 billion SSA mobile market. But as the market matures, operators risk falling into the “doom scenario” that has plagued their counterparts around the globe: saturated markets, an uneven response to evolving consumer preferences, and falling revenues. . To create the right conditions for growth, operators must first improve network coverage and capacity through targeted, demand-based investments.
 

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Bringing more Sierra Leoneans into the Financial System

Kiva, a San Francisco-based tech nonprofit organisation, is using blockchain to create an online ID database in Sierra Leone allowing people who struggle to get loans to prove their credit history. President Julius Maada Bio officially launched the system in the capital Freetown this week. Kiva facilitates small loans in 80 countries, but Sierra Leone is the first country to implement an online credit system designed by the organisation. The platform will enable lenders to look up citizens’ credit histories using fingerprints and other biometric data that was collected a few years ago by Sierra Leone’s government to print voter ID cards. Ordinary Sierra Leoneans appear excited by the prospect, more than three quarters of Sierra Leone’s population lies outside the formal banking sector, according to data from the central bank. Informal institutions like community banks and microfinance lenders are more common, but they rarely share credit information and often charge extortionate interest rates.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Doha to Enter Investment Partnership with Mogadishu

Qatar plans to build a new seaport at Somalia’s Hobyo, a potentially strategic investment in an area of East Africa fiercely contested by Gulf rivals. Hobyo, in the central region of Mudug, is an important Somali port owing to its proximity to the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, which is one of the most important sea crossing points in the world, with the potential for access to international markets. The Hobyo port will “will contribute to opening new horizons of cooperation between the two countries” and bolster Somalia’s commercial ties to new markets in Africa and further afield, the ministry’s statement said. The small but wealthy Gulf state has looked to strengthen ties with Somalia, donating a fleet of 68 armoured vehicles this year and airlifting Mogadishu’s mayor to Doha for emergency medical treatment last month after an ultimately fatal attack by al-Shabab.
 

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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A Small Victory in Nigeria’s Fight against Polio

Nigeria has gone three years without a case of polio, putting it on the brink of being declared free of the disease. This is a dramatic change from 2012 when the country accounted for more than half of all polio cases worldwide, the World Health Organization has said. The head of the primary health care agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said Nigeria had reached a “historic milestone”.  But it will be several months before the country can officially be labelled polio-free. The first criteria, no case for three years, has been achieved. It has taken the effort of thousands of volunteers who have risked their lives in some instances to deliver the much-needed vaccines to all parts of the continent. But “to end polio, at least 95% of children must be vaccinated, no matter where they live.” SOURCE: BBC

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Is IS Behind Recent Attacks in Southern Africa?

Experts are warning that a focus on alleged Islamist militant ties is hindering efforts to respond to insurgencies in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Local insurgent groups have claimed ties to Islamic State to increase their clout, but the groups operate autonomously, experts who study the regions say. On July 24, IS released a video featuring a man named “Sheikh Abu Abdul Rahman” who called for an end to division and infighting among Muslims in Central Africa. He also called for the creation of a caliphate. The video features heavily armed fighters in a forested area pledging allegiance to IS. Some saw the proclamation as a sign of solidarity between the Mozambican and Congolese extremist groups. But experts are unsure whether links to IS signal a new threat or simply reflect the groups’ attempts to raise their profile. Ryan O’Farrell, an extremism researcher studying at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, said experts have found virtually no evidence that IS has trained, funded or equipped its African affiliates. Sierra Leone’s government aims to have the the system in use by all banks and microfinance institutions in the country by the end of this year, Bio said.

SOURCE: VOA

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A South African Innovation Goes on Display

A research team from the University of Cape Town (UCT) will be showcasing its eco innovation – a ‘bio-brick’ made from urine – at an Austrian art museum as part of the Vienna Biennale for Change 2019.  The pioneering bio-brick will showcase this South Africa’s innovation at the Vienna-based Museum of Applied Arts’ Design Lab – a floor in the museum dedicated to contemporary design. UCT’s urine bio-brick will be on loan to the Vienna museum for four years, but arrived in time for the Vienna Biennale exhibition, which opened on 28 May and runs until 6 October 2019. The Vienna Biennale is the first event of its kind to combine art, design and architecture with the aim of generating creative ideas and artistic projects to help improve the world. In 2018 Dr Dyllon Randall, of UCT’s Department of Civil Engineering, and his students presented the world’s first bio-brick ‘grown’ from human urine. The resulting bio-brick boasts innovative use of waste materials, which the team demonstrated could be used for building materials.

SOURCE:  GETAWAY

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Six Months after a Wave of Protests Began in Algeria

People are still demonstrating and the military-backed government appears determined to keep its grip on power. The demonstrations have gained a familiar rhythm since tens of thousands of Algerians first took to the streets on 22 February. Thousands of students turn out on Tuesdays and there are larger protests each Friday. “We didn’t come to negotiate, we came to kick you out,” read one placard brandished last Friday. On Tuesday this week the number of demonstrators swelled as older Algerians joined students in the heat, defiant in the face of government efforts to curb the protests by closing off areas of the capital and introducing new rules for demonstrations. The interim president, Abdelkader Bensalah, remains in power alongside the all-powerful army chief, Ahmed Gaïd Salah, while protesters say they will persist until the military-backed government is replaced by a civilian democracy. 

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Bringing more Sierra Leoneans into the Financial System

Kiva, a San Francisco-based tech nonprofit organisation, is using blockchain to create an online ID database in Sierra Leone allowing people who struggle to get loans to prove their credit history. President Julius Maada Bio officially launched the system in the capital Freetown this week. Kiva facilitates small loans in 80 countries, but Sierra Leone is the first country to implement an online credit system designed by the organisation. The platform will enable lenders to look up citizens’ credit histories using fingerprints and other biometric data that was collected a few years ago by Sierra Leone’s government to print voter ID cards. Ordinary Sierra Leoneans appear excited by the prospect, more than three quarters of Sierra Leone’s population lies outside the formal banking sector, according to data from the central bank. Informal institutions like community banks and microfinance lenders are more common, but they rarely share credit information and often charge extortionate interest rates.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Unlocking Value In The Sub-Saharan Africa Mobile Market

Mobile network operators can avoid the challenges more mature markets have experienced by focusing on their customers. Mobile phone operators in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are playing on borrowed time. Robust network investments, cheaper smartphones and data, and a rapidly expanding population of connected youth have fueled strong growth for the US$60 billion SSA mobile market. But as the market matures, operators risk falling into the “doom scenario” that has plagued their counterparts around the globe: saturated markets, an uneven response to evolving consumer preferences, and falling revenues. . To create the right conditions for growth, operators must first improve network coverage and capacity through targeted, demand-based investments.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Zimbabwe: No Laughing Matter

Samantha Kureya, who is known by her stage name Gonyeti, is a Zimbabwean comedian whose skits have been critical of police brutality and the Zimbabwean government. According to Zimbabwe’s News Day, Gonyeti was allegedly taken from her home in Mufakose by masked and armed men who reportedly beat her and members of her family. Gonyeti was eventually found by one of her colleagues in a nondescript bush in the capital, Harare. Comedians and artists have always faced varying consequences for criticizing the government or the police. Veteran musicians such as Oliver Mtukudzi and Thomas Mapfumo, had their respective protest songs “Wasakara” and “Corruption in the society”, banned from being played in the country altogether. Mapfumo was eventually exiled to the United States in 2004 but returned last year. Another Zimbabwean musician, Raymond Majongwe, recorded his popular album Dhiziri kuChinhoyi in South Africa, after recording studios outright refused to have any part in the project for fear of retaliation from then President Robert Mugabe.

SOURCE: OKAYAFRICA

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Museveni Takes On Donor Groups

Nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) in Uganda have been told to submit financial information including budgets and donor lists to the authorities, in a move rights groups said was another attempt to muzzle criticism. This month a letter circulating on social media showed the head of the Financial Intelligence Authority, a government agency that tracks and combats money laundering, writing to a commercial bank requesting financial records of 13 pro-democracy NGOs including FHRI. Over the last year several government officials have been quoted in local media accusing Bobi Wine, a musician-turned-legislator who says he will seek the presidency at the next election, of being funded by unnamed foreign agents.

SOURCE: BUSINESS DAY LIVE

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This Senegalese Show is Not for Sensitive Viewers

In the most controversial scene of “Mistress of a Married Man,” a hugely popular new television series in Senegal, the show’s protagonist, Marème, dons a daring magenta pantsuit and heads out for a date with a married man — but not before pointing below her belt. “This is mine,” she tells her best friend. “I give it to whomever I please.” The series, which debuted in January, has quickly reached a “Sex and the City” level of popularity, setting off a fierce debate over contemporary womanhood in a largely Muslim West African nation that like much of the region, is urbanizing at breakneck speed. The pilot alone has received more than three million views on YouTube, a number nearly equivalent to the entire population of Senegal’s capital region. It is part of a burst of woman-driven television and film production across Africa in which writers, producers and actors openly assert female sexuality, challenge traditional gender roles and present distinctly African stories to African audiences.

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Ghana’s New Music Scene has Taken Hold

FOKN Bois is made up of friends M3NSA and Wanlov the Kubolor who use their music to challenge the status quo. Using the tools of parody, humour, and protest, they highlight social issues and call for political change. But they, along with a new generation of artists – who produce songs, poems, murals, clothes, and more – are investing in home. Capturing drone footage, shooting videos on iPhones, editing songs in private studios, and streaming music online, they spread a message of confidence and self-love. Using the power of the internet, they contradict mainstream views of their communities, call out politicians, and challenge the messages of megachurches. But as they push for change, at times the road to progress looks longer than ever, and their work threatens to drain them. Over the course of five years, Ghana Controversial follows musicians like M3NSA, Wanlov the Kubolor, Adomaa, Worlasi, Akan, Mutombo Da Poet and Poetra Asantewa as they shake things up at home. They have written and produced new songs and videos exclusively for this film in collaboration with Swiss filmmakers.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Bringing Dignity to Somalia’s Victims of War

Amina Hagi Elmi, 60, has spent the past three decades trying to protect other women from the helplessness she felt when the civil war broke out. While a bloody armed conflict, severe drought and attacks by the extremist group Al Shabab have made an estimated 2.6 million people refugees in their own country, Elmi has fought for women’s dignity with sanitary pads, scarves and soaps. She was one of 24 women being honored by the United Nations for World Humanitarian Day on Aug. 19. In 2011, her campaign was recognized by international agencies when her “dignity kits” were included in the emergency package that displaced people receive from the United Nations-led Shelter Cluster. Each kit contains traditional Somali dresses, scarves, underwear, pants, sanitary pads, soap and laundry detergent. Since then, the organization Elmi co-founded and is directing, Save Somali Women and Children (SSWC), has distributed an estimated 70,000 dignity kits to displaced women and girls in makeshift refugee camps in southern and central Somalia. Since its founding in 1992, Mogadishu-based SSWC has expanded and now employs almost 300 people working on projects such as a center for survivors of gender-based violence and campaigns for breastfeeding.SOURCE: OZY

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Benin’s Mostly Peaceful Democracy May not be Immune to Terrorism’s Contagion

When Mr. Fiacre Gbédji and two French tourists he was guiding deep within Pendjari National Park were kidnapped by terrorists, the international response to the men involved was far different. The tourists were rescued 10 days later by the French military. Amid the international attention on the kidnapping, Mr. Gbédji disappeared; if he was mentioned at all, it was mostly just “their guide.” He was shot and killed by the kidnappers, officials said, his remains eaten by animals. The incident has become a fearful omen in Benin. It was emerging as a safari destination, and Pendjari, under new leadership, as a jewel of the country. The kidnapping has upended that progress and drawn attention to how the terrorism wracking Burkina Faso and other neighbors could also threaten Benin. Al Qaeda and ISIS-linked groups have pushed toward Benin as they flee military assaults on their former strongholds in Mali and Niger, according to security experts. They have found recruits and refuge under cover of dense parkland.

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Sudan Turns a New Leaf

Sudan’s top general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has been sworn in as head of a military-civilian council that will run the country until elections are held. Prime minister-nominee Abdalla Hamdok is expected to be sworn in by the end of the day. Burhan is scheduled to lead the Sovereign Council for 21 months, followed by a civilian leader for the next 18. The new council was set up under a power-sharing deal between military leaders and protesters who demanded a civilian-led government. According to the agreement, the opposition coalition is allowed to choose five members of the council and the military another five, with the two sides jointly choosing a civilian as an eleventh member. The agreement also provides for a 300-member legislative assembly to serve during the transitional period and a cabinet of technocrats. The main challenge for the new government will be an economic crisis stemming from a shortage of foreign currency, resulting in a cash crunch and long lines for fuel and bread. A power-sharing agreement signed Saturday paves the way for a transitional government and eventual elections. It provides for a sovereign council as the highest authority in the country but largely delegates executive powers to the cabinet of ministers.

SOURCE: VOA

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Old Wounds Still Hurt South Africans

The country’s equality court has ruled that gratuitous displays of the apartheid-era flag is a form of hate speech, discrimination and harassment. The Nelson Mandela Foundation asked the court to ban “gratuitous displays” after the flag was on show during protests against the murders of white farmers in October 2017. They weren’t asking for a complete ban of the flag. The flag would still be allowed in “museums, documentaries and cathartic creative works”, the foundation explained previously. But the Afrikaner lobby group AfriForum challenged the request, arguing that any restriction would threaten freedom of speech. Judge Phineas Mojapelo ruled in favour of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, saying that the apartheid-era flag “represents racial segregation, separation and oppression”. He went on to say: “Not a single person has suggested feeling embraced by the display of the flag and not a single white person has suggested that the display is a demonstration of love and tolerance towards black people. On the very contrary the evidence of those who oppose the complaint application confirms that the display of the flag has potential to cause harm.” The orange, white and blue flag was first used in 1928, and came to represent white-minority rule during the apartheid era. It was replaced in 1994 by one which sought to represent the entire “Rainbow Nation”, as South Africa came to be called.

SOURCE: IOL

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New Species Discovery in North Africa

Remains of a stegosaurus, an armoured dinosaur instantly recognisable by the plate-like bones protruding from its spine and spikes on its tails, were studied by a team from the Natural History Museum and belong to a new genus that walked the earth around 168m years ago. Despite the specimen including only a few vertebrae and an upper-arm bone, scientists concluded it was a new species and genus which dates to the middle Jurassic period – much earlier than most known stegosaurs. The team, led by Dr Susannah Maidment, named it Adratiklit boulahfa, meaning “mountain lizard” in the Berber language. Boulahfa is a reference to the area in the Middle Atlas mountains of Morocco where the specimen was found.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Dirty Tricks in Malawi Democracy

In response to a petrol bomb attack targeting the home and car of Malawian human rights defender and activist Timothy Mtambo, which took place in the early hours of this morning, Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa, said: “This cowardly and malicious attack on Timothy Mtambo’s property is a clear act of intimidation, designed to deter him from carrying out his human rights work.” Timothy and his family narrowly escaped harm after three petrol bombs were thrown into his compound.  One hit and torched his car while the second was thrown at the gate and the last narrowly missed his house. The incident comes weeks after Mtambo received threats for organizing demonstrations, calling for the Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson Jane Ansah to resign from her position over allegations of mismanaging the of May 21 election. Timothy Mtambo is the Chairperson of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), a local Non-Governmental Organisation working to defend human rights. He is also the executive director of the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) as well as the vice chairperson of Southern African Human Rights Defenders Network.

SOURCE: AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

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Pressure is Again Building on the Naira

Faced with the prospect of a weakening naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria is digging out its 2015 playbook to stem the currency’s decline. After losing out then, traders are betting on history to repeat itself. Four years ago, Governor Godwin Emefiele curbed dollar supplies for imports on 41 products from glass to toothpicks. Now, he wants dairy on the list, while President Muhammadu Buhari wants to add food. It’s a last-gasp bid to avoid marking down the naira for the third time since February 2015, when the currency was pegged for 15 months against the dollar. But curbing greenbacks at the height of the 2015 currency crisis and in the face of tumbling oil prices came at a cost. The measures drained Nigeria’s reserves from almost $50 billion in 2013 to below $24 billion in October 2016. It also pushed the inflation rate to an almost 12-year high because it limited supplies, contributing to the economy’s first full-year contraction in a quarter century.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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East Africa Neighbours Kiss and Make Up

Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda have signed a peace deal to end the tensions between them. They reached the deal on Wednesday on a second meeting in the Angolan capital, Luanda. It was in presence of presidents of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and the Republic of the Congo who played mediation roles. Political tensions have lasted nearly three years. Rwandan authorities accuse Uganda of illegally jailing and torturing its citizens whilst Uganda accuses Rwanda of spying on its territory. The agreement says that they will “resume as soon as possible the cross-border activities between both countries”.  SOURCE: BLOOMBERG

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Ex VP Says the Harare Police are Out to Get Him

Zimbabwe’s former Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko has appeared in court on corruption charges and has been granted bail. Mr Mphoko was a co-vice-president under Robert Mugabe. He served alongside current President Emmerson Mnangagwa when Mr Mugabe was ousted by the military in November 2017, but the two former deputies have fallen out. The Mail and Guardian reports that Mr Mphoko was part of a faction that wanted Mr Mugabe’s wife, Grace, to succeed him rather than Mr Mnangagwa. The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) said on Tuesday they wanted to talk to Mr Mphoko about alleged abuse of office and that he was being treated as a fugitive after fleeing from anti-corruption officials. Mr Mphoko’s lawyer, Zibusiso Ncube, told the BBC that his client had not run away but feared for his life and was concerned that he would be “injected with a poison”. The allegations against him are “sensationalist”, Mr NCube added.

SOURCE: MAIL & GUARDIAN

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South Africa’s Lion Man Dies

A man has been mauled to death by his own captive lions in a game reserve in South Africa. Leon van Biljon was killed at the Mahala View Lion Lodge, near the northern town of Cullinan, as he attempted to fix a broken fence in the lion enclosure. Van Biljon offered “exclusive lion lectures, feedings and game drives for guests,” according to the Mahala View Lion Lodge website. The lodge website said three lions — named Rambo, Katryn and Nakita — were kept on the property, which functions as a safari lodge and offers accommodation, game drives and conference facilities. Between 6,000 and 8,000 lions are bred and held in so-called lion farms and sanctuaries in more than 200 facilities in South Africa, according to scientists studying the practice — far more lions than there are in the wild in the country.

SOURCE: CNN

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A Ruling that can Cause Chaos in Cameroon

A military court in Cameroon has sentenced 10 leaders of the country’s anglophone separatist movement to life imprisonment in what activists have described as a sham trial. The head of the movement, Julius Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, and nine of his followers were convicted of charges including terrorism and secession and given a fine of $350m after an all-night sitting by the court. The separatist leaders sang protest songs as the sentence was handed down in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The severity of the sentence has raised fears that the bloody conflict playing out in Cameroon’s anglophone regions between separatist rebels and military forces will be prolonged, and that no ceasefire will be possible. In January 2018, Ayuk Tabe was arrested with 46 other separatists in a hotel in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, allegedly by Nigerian special forces. They were then handed over to Cameroon – a move that was ruled illegal by a Nigerian court in March this year. The defendants refused to recognise the right of the military tribunal in Yaounde to try them. Their lawyers are meeting to draft an appeal, which has to be filed within 10 days.SOURCE: DEUTSCHE WELLE

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A Leading Voice of Resistance to Moroccan Repression

To Sahrawis, the formerly nomadic peoples native to the region, Aminatou Haidar is the “Gandhi of Western Sahara,” a tireless advocate for peaceful resistance who brings international attention to their much-forgotten plight. To the Moroccan government in Rabat, she’s a dangerous agitator and separatist who continues to defy what the kingdom calls its “southern provinces,” though no other country recognizes this claim. At 20 she disappeared without trial to a secret facility not far from her home, where guards tortured her, subjecting her to starvation and threats of rape — the price for painting graffiti and circulating leaflets calling for a free Western Sahara. Now, at age 53, she’s become a voice of restraint — pitted against a new generation of pro-independence activists who Haidar fears are too eager to launch a full-scale war, with tensions rising along the world’s longest militarized border.

SOURCE: OZY

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Doha to Enter Investment Partnership with Mogadishu

Qatar plans to build a new seaport at Somalia’s Hobyo, a potentially strategic investment in an area of East Africa fiercely contested by Gulf rivals. Hobyo, in the central region of Mudug, is an important Somali port owing to its proximity to the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, which is one of the most important sea crossing points in the world, with the potential for access to international markets. The Hobyo port will “will contribute to opening new horizons of cooperation between the two countries” and bolster Somalia’s commercial ties to new markets in Africa and further afield, the ministry’s statement said. The small but wealthy Gulf state has looked to strengthen ties with Somalia, donating a fleet of 68 armoured vehicles this year and airlifting Mogadishu’s mayor to Doha for emergency medical treatment last month after an ultimately fatal attack by al-Shabab.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Location, Location, Location, Halts UN Summit

The UN has postponed an anti-torture conference due to take place in Cairo, following an outcry from human rights activists who accused the organisation of “whitewashing” the Egyptian government’s abuses. The conference on “defining and criminalising torture in the Arab region” was scheduled for 4 and 5 September. A draft copy of the agenda listed participants including the UN special rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, as leading discussions on the prohibition of torture alongside Egyptian government officials. News of the UN’s choice of location for the conference sparked outrage from Egyptian human rights campaigners, who said the conference was simply a cover-up of the Egyptian government’s record on torture.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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A Study of Festivals across Africa Shows how they Create more Sustainable Cities

During the FIFA World Cup in 2010, the Cape Town Carnival was introduced to provide opportunities for creative expression, employment, skills development, social cohesion and economic development. Although an enjoyable spectacle, the carnival happens at night, meaning only a minority of residents with access to transport can participate. The Got Ramogi festival in Kenya’s Kisumu City was set up in 2015 to preserve and protect the traditional culture, sacred sites and myths of the Got Ramogi people. Researchers highlighted the considerable benefits these festivals bring. New infrastructure such as roads, sanitation and power lines must be built to organise and deliver events, as part of a wider ecotourism strategy.

SOURCE: THE CONVERSATION

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New Beer in Rwanda Doesn’t Sit Well

A beer company in Rwanda has apologised after critics said jokes that appeared on their bottles were sexist. One of the jokes on a Kroll bottle of Skol asked, “when can a woman make you a millionaire” with the answer “when you are a billionaire”. Kroll launched the beer labels with the jokes printed on them on Friday but on Monday promised to stop using them. Among those to react was Gender Minister Soline Nyirahabimana, who shared a picture on twitter saying the jokes were “demeaning to women” and said that it was “not acceptable” in Rwanda and “should be punished by law”.

SOURCE: BBC

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What The CITES Vote Means For African Elephants

The vote taken on the future of wild African elephants by members of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) this past weekend is a step in the right direction, but leaves a lot of questions unanswered. The 183 members voted on Sunday (18 August)on a proposal to ban the live trade in African elephants. By a two thirds majority, they decided that ‘appropriate and acceptable destinations’ for African elephants should be in situ conservation alone. Among those not in favour of the ban included South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia – which profit financially from the trade. Animal welfare organisation, Network for Animals (NFA) chief campaigner David Barritt said: “The vote is certainly a step in the right direction but a lot of questions are still unanswered, such as when such a ban will be implemented and what measures will be taken to enforce it. This means that African elephants should only be moved between elephant-suitable habitats, in places where elephants traditionally roam,” said Barritt.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Abiy’s Missed Opportunity to Fully Promote Ethnic Harmony and Cooperation

In June, Ethiopia, which has been on a path of democratic reform since prime minister Abiy Ahmed came to power last year, was rocked by two fatal attacks within a few hours, one in the Amhara regional capital of Bahir Dar and the other in the federal capital of Addis Ababa, in the most significant challenge to the country’s new era yet. In what the government described as a coup led by regional security chief Asaminew Tsige, Amhara president Ambachew Mekonnen was killed. In Addis Ababa, the chief of staff of the national security forces, Seare Mekonnen, was fatally shot by his bodyguard. The unrest brings to light the possibility of insecurity and ethno-nationalism in Ethiopia’s nine federal regions, which are organised largely on ethno-linguistic lines, as Abiy, the country’s first Oromo prime minister, steers Ethiopia away from the rule of the Tigray minority who have been dominant for almost three decades. The threat is compounded by the fact that the central government doesn’t wield a monopoly of force. Ethiopia’s federal arrangement grants each region the right to its own security forces alongside Ethiopia’s federal army, the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF), which is undergoing reform.  SOURCE: AFRICAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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New Currency Set for Harare

Zimbabwe will issue new notes and coins soon to replace the country’s quasi-currency that was introduced three years ago in a failed attempt to counter a crippling shortage of cash, and that’s pushed inflation to the highest rate since 2008. The return to a fully fledged local currency exchangeable outside the country’s borders will be backed by an undisclosed amount of foreign-exchange reserves, gold and loans

SOURCE: BUSINESS DAY LIVE

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Using the Beautiful Game to Dispel Stereotypes in Kenyan Society

Allan Herbert, founder and team captain of Black Albinism Football Club, Kenya’s first football team made up entirely of young people living with albinism, says the sport brings people together.It’s his way of helping people with the genetic disorder fight for their space in Kenya. This past weekend, the team won its debut match in what Herbert says he hopes is a first of many. Across East Africa, people with albinism have been targeted in brutal ritual killings for their body parts to be used in witchcraft, mainly due to their white skin — a condition that is caused by lack of pigmentation. Isaac Mwaura, a senator in Kenya, has been campaigning for the rights of people with albinism. He is Kenya’s first and only lawmaker living with albinism.

SOURCE: VOA

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Ex Sudan President Called to Account

Omar al-Bashir received $90 million in cash from Saudi royals, an investigator told a court at the opening of the deposed Sudanese strongman’s corruption trial. Large amounts of cash were found at this residence after he was toppled and the investigator said the case brought forward to the court probed some of that money. Bashir looked calm during the nearly three-hour session and according to the investigator, Bashir had said he also received two previous payments of $35 million and $30 million from Saudi King Abdullah, who died in 2015. The next hearing was scheduled for August 24.SOURCE: THE TELEGRAPH

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#MeToo Awareness Replaces Business as Usual in Ugandan Market

Tired of suffering physical and verbal abuse at one of the Ugandan capital’s largest markets, female vendors are holding perpetrators to account. The work of a local organisation, the Institute for Social Transformation, has increased awareness about sexual harassment among women at Nakawa. A protocol for dealing with cases has now been established; before, women in the market could only hold perpetrators to account informally. The market is divided into six zones, each with 40 departments. Every department has a women’s representative, and they are the first port of call for sexual harassment complaints. Next is the zone leader, and above that the market’s disciplinary committee. A researcher at pan-African feminist organisation Akina Mama Wa Afrika, is optimistic that the convention will lead to improvements, despite Uganda leading a successful motion to remove a recommendation that LGBT people be included in a list of vulnerable groups to be protected.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Sharing Ideas To Build African Content Creators

The continued growth of African content creators is being seen in the global expansion of Africans that are sharing their digital stories. Whether their stories are personal, professional, collaborative, political or based on social issues there are more African bloggers than ever before. Digital infrastructures are allowing Africans to build businesses using their cell phones and tablets. Technology is opening new doors to compete and collaborate and the world is noticing on Social Media and digital commerce. There are many African bloggers not sure how to start and where to go for help. The availability of WordCamp conferences and other tech workshops, meetups and meetings helps tremendously. Understanding and comprehension of how to apply content creation is important. Blogging is not and will not die because of the diversity that is available. Sharing from my experiences to help bloggers on the African content are from my experiences as a blogger, speaker, volunteer, advocate and organizer at WordCamp, Bar Camp and other tech events.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Zimbabwe Forces Show Heavy Hand at Protestors

Police in Zimbabwe have banned a planned march by the country’s main opposition in the city of Bulawayo, days after brutally dispersing protesters who defied a similar order in the capital. Last week, opposition group the Movement for Democratic Change called for protests beginning in the capital, Harare, over the government’s handling of the economy. The MDC challenged the ban in the high court early on Friday but judges upheld the order. Scores of protesters, many of them from the MDC, defied the ban and gathered in a square where the march was supposed to start. Demanding an end to Mnangagwa’s rule, protesters decried a severe and deepening economic crisis that has led to skyrocketing inflation for basic goods like fuel, while wages have remained stagnant. Police used batons, whips and tear gas to disperse the protesters, wounding several people. Dozens of people were arrested.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Libyan Comedy Skit Crosses the Racial Line

Blackface, a racist entertainment device with roots in 19th-century America, is alive and well in mainstream Arab entertainment. The targets of that humor — most often from Sudan, a sprawling Arabic-speaking country in Africa — say there is nothing funny about it. As in the United States, blackface in the Arab world is rooted in a history of oppression. For centuries, Arab enslavers captured black Africans and transported them by dhow to the Persian Gulf. Today, African domestic workers often face rampant abuse in the same region. After years of silently ignoring offensive skits on television, some Arabs are turning to social media to vent their anger and demand change. A recent Libyan monkeys-in-the-baby-carriage sketch has sparked calls for a campaign “to punish everyone involved.”

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Cameroon’s Weeks of Darkness

Businesses, media and hospitals in Cameroon’s capital have been brought to a halt because of an unprecedented power failure that has gone on for nearly two weeks. The government has ordered the electric company, ENEO, to restore power within seven days but the company says it needs at least three months to repair equipment destroyed in a fire. The power supply disappeared on August 4th, the day a fire ripped through the city’s main power station, destroying much of the equipment, and leaving more than one million people without electricity. “The government wishes to laud the patience, understanding and civic sense showcased by the inhabitants of the capital city. Instructions have been given to ENEO to provide a general calendar of the rationing of supply to the public of the city of Yaounde.”

SOURCE: VOA

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The Disappearance of Two South African Men in Vietnam is Under Investigation

Nongovernmental organisation Gift of the Givers, which fears they may have fallen prey to an organ harvesting syndicate. John Bothma and Mushfiq Daniels did not know each other, but both South Africans had been teaching English in Ho Chi Minh City. Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman said they shared mysterious acquaintances — two US women he described as having had contact with both men and who paid for their flights around Southeast Asia and treated them to lavish gifts. Sooliman said all evidence now pointed towards the men having become caught up in an organ harvesting ring, based on the prominence of the black-market trade in Vietnam and the details surrounding their disappearance resembling those of past crimes. SOURCE: BUSINESS DAY LIVE

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Relieving Climate Change Impacts on Senegal

With the help of the local population, Haidar el Ali has led a program that has planted 152 million mangrove buds in the Casamance Delta of southern Senegal over the past decade. The reforestation project in southern Senegal has become one of the largest of its kind in the world. Mr el Ali, who served as Senegal’s Minister of Environment, says the mangroves are vital to help cope with the effects of climate change, as well as contributing to the local economy. Mangroves store large amounts of carbon. Studies have shown that mangrove forests sequester at least two to four times more carbon than other tropical forests. They also provide breeding grounds and nurseries for fish, prevent erosion during tropical cyclones, and help cleanse waters of pollutants.

SOURCE: BBC

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Nigerian Visual Artist Haneefah Adam’s Playing with her Food

A medical scientist by training, Adam first made a name for herself in 2015 when she transformed Barbie into Hijarbie – a hijab-wearing Muslim doll. Now, she’s building a career out of rejigging food into art. “I do regular portraits, I sew and paint, but what excites me the most is food,” she says. Adam is inspired by random things, including life experiences and culture. She sees everything around her as something that can be made into art. In 2016, she won the #TechMeetsArtNG exhibition, sponsored by Samsung Nigeria and Rele Gallery. The competition was a culinary exhibition aimed at exploring the artistic presentation of some of Nigeria’s local meals. Her winning entry, pictured above, was inspired by one of her favorite childhood meals, ogbono soup, a southern Nigerian delicacy made from the dried seeds of mangoes. She says the art represents an African woman adorned in vibrant colors.

SOURCE: CNN

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Was Sierra Leone’s One-month Fishing Ban Enough To Replenish Fish Stocks?

The Sierra Leone government closed the country’s waters to fishing during the entire month of April to give flagging fish stocks a chance to rebuild. During that period industrial fishing companies were not allowed to fish, but artisanal fishers were.

Both industrial and artisanal fishers appeared to support the closure, the first of its kind, amid declining catches and an influx of virtually unregulated foreign fishing vessels that locals complain are wiping out fish stocks and putting them out of business. Officials declared the closure a success, as part of Sierra Leone’s broader effort to formalize and gain regulatory control of its fisheries. However, outside experts have expressed doubt that the move would do much to improve the country’s fisheries.

The fisheries minister, Emma Kowa Jalloh, said at a March 28 press conference that the main reason for the closure was to give the fish an opportunity to breed. She expressed concern over the numerous challenges the country is facing as a result of illegal, unreported and unregulated (often called IUU) fishing.

Kowa Jalloh said the government is taking a suite of measures beyond the one-month closure to ensure the country’s enormous fisheries potential is fully harnessed. Among them, she said, will be pushing for co-management of the country’s fisheries by stakeholders from industry, government and civil society; improving the reliability of data to enhance marine resource management; registering artisanal fishing boats; and appointing a national master fisherman to handle the affairs of fisherfolk. She pointed to a newly built fish-landing facility in the town of Tombo as an example of progress.

“Guinea and Senegal implemented closed seasons, other countries also have closed areas,” the ministry’s director of fisheries, Khadijatu Jalloh, told Mongabay. “Sierra Leone is trying to implement both.”

In addition to the closed season Jalloh described the ministry’s restriction of industrial trawlers from working within 6 nautical miles (11 kilometers) of shore and the designation in 2012 of four marine protected areas closed to certain kinds of fishing. Seven years on, however, these protected areas have yet to be implemented. She also pointed to efforts to make artisanal fishing more sustainable by training local fishermen to report crimes to the authorities.

Despite the difficulties, the fishing sector is growing: according to Jalloh, in 2012 a comprehensive canoe registration effort recorded 10,700 canoes; in 2018 the number had grown to 12,000. “Everybody sees fishing as a lucrative business; you go in the morning, by the time you come back in the evening you have something to sell and make money,” Jalloh said.

Despite taking a hit to their bottom lines, the country’s industrial fishing sector cheered the recent closure. “The close season affected our business; certain overheads have to be covered by our own reserve,” Bassem Mohamed, president of Sierra Leone’s industrial fishing association and managing director of Freetown-based Sierra Fishing Company, one of the country’s top seafood suppliers, told Mongabay. “But in the end we support the idea because it is a big step the government took to tackle the challenge of fish depletion.”

An artisanal fisherman from Tombo, Mohamed Suma, said he and his colleagues were elated about the closure. For the first time, he said, locals felt the government was concerned about them and had taken a step to protect their interests. “The closed season is relevant for the restoration of the fish stock; however, the period is too short,” he told Mongabay.

According to Suma, things have gotten so bad that fishermen now spend days at sea, only to return with smaller catches than before. He outlined a number of grievances against the industrial fishing vessels: encroachment into the coastal zones meant for exclusive use by artisanal fishers, accidental yet costly destruction of artisanal fishers’ gear, and tragically, collisions at sea that have injured and killed artisanal fishers. He called on the government to take immediate action to protect artisanal fishers’ interests and safety.

Officials were likewise positive about the effect of the closure. A public notice from the ministry declaring the end of the closed season states that the navy, Joint Maritime Committee, Maritime Police and Artisanal Fishermen Consortium monitored the waters during the closure, and a specially formed task force monitored the supply chain to ensure no illegally caught fish entered.

“I consider the closed season a success; for the first time in the history of Sierra Leone there is a breathing space for fish,” said Salieu Sankoh, director of the World Bank’s West African Regional Fisheries Program (WARFP) in Sierra Leone, which funded two seven-day surveillance boat patrols during the closure. “You will liken it to every day 10 thousand boats are in the sea running after these fish stocks and about 100 industrial fishing boats rove those waters 24 hours, chasing the same fish stocks.”

Since 2010 the World Bank has been attempting to assist Sierra Leone and other West African countries improve governance and sustainable management of their fisheries and reduce illegal fishing. This has included helping artisanal fisherman develop local bylaws that restrict fishing using certain kinds of gear and during certain days, according to Sankoh.

A key principle of the overall effort has been controlling access to fish stocks, he said. “In Sierra Leone people don’t need to obtain permission to engage in fishing activities, so one can build a canoe in the morning and go fishing the evening,” he said.

However, not everyone was so optimistic about the effect of the closure. “A fishery closure is always welcome, but it has to make sure that it is long enough, and that backdoor fishing (illegal fishing) is controlled,” Dyhia Belhabib, a fisheries researcher at the NGO Ecotrust Canada, with expertise in the fisheries of West Africa, including Sierra Leone, told Mongabay in an email. “If we look at the case of Sierra Leone, and how rampant illegal fishing is, there is no way a one-month ban of industrial fishing achieves much.

“Even if it did, and even if there was effective control of all fishing (legal and illegal), the moment the fishery opens again, the fishing frenzy by industrial vessels will start again,” Belhabib added.

She said about 20 percent of the industrial vessels licensed to fish in Sierra Leone have been involved in criminal activity and nearly 80 percent of fishing companies operating in the country have vessels involved in IUU fishing — and that’s not counting unlicensed vessels. “We are talking about banning high risk vessels from fishing in a country where MCS [monitoring, control and surveillance] is relatively weak,” she said, adding that satellite tracking of automatic identification system signals from fishing vessels indicated there was plenty of fishing taking place in Sierra Leone’s waters during the April closure.

“While I think that a fishing ban for industrial vessels is urgent, if this ban is not accompanied with a strong monitoring control and surveillance strategy, it may only increase illegal fishing and mask its effects,” Belhabib said.

Weak enforcement of fisheries laws is an acknowledged problem in Sierra Leone. According to a fisheries ministry official who requested anonymity to avoid putting their job at risk, even when illegal fishing vessels are detained, no sooner they are brought to shore than they are released again. “Our efforts seem futile, and there is not much we can do, as the orders from above upturn our good work,” the source told Mongabay. “Mostly, we are caught between the lines; they see us as the bad people,” the source said, referring to upper-level ministry officials.

Uzman Unis Bah’s work has been featured in print and online in Pan African Visions Magazine. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from the University of Sierra Leone and a certificate in media campaigns for development and social change from the Radio Netherlands Training Center. In 2018, he represented Sierra Leone at the forum for Internet Freedom Conference in Accra, Ghana.

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YouTube is Helping African Music Acts Go Global, Here’s How

While many dream of using YouTube as their launching pad to stardom, discovery doesn’t come easy. Thanks to a new partnership between YouTube and Mr. Eazi’s emPawa Foundation, however, emerging talents from Africa are getting a leg up and the chance to develop a global audience. The idea for emPawa was motivated by the need to give back to Africa’s music industry says Mr Eazi. In 2018, he called for online demo music submissions from artists across Africa using the hashtag #empawa100. Out of 10,000 entries received from 14 countries, 100 were handpicked and their videos funded at $3,000 apiece. Now, emPawa has many moving parts. The incubator helps artists market their music, provides them with access to TV and radio stations for airplay, and enrolls some of them for classes with top business managers so they can become independent music entrepreneurs. 

SOURCES: CNN

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OkayAfrica Presents: ‘The Adinkra Oracle’ with Simone Bresi-Ando

We’re all familiar with seeking guidance from the stars, but what about our ancestors?  In a new series from OkayAfrica, Simone Bresi-Ando teaches us about Adinkra and provides us with monthly readings. The Ghanaian-British PR expert, social commentator and activist developed Bresi-Ando Tools For Living—a lifestyle hub providing ‘tools for life’ to help one get through the ups and downs utilizing what we already have, to manifest what we want. One of her tools you’ll be getting to know through this series is the Adinkra Ancestral Guidance Cards—a deck comprised of 44 Adinkra symbols to help you channel information, messages and direction from your ancestors using Adinkra symbols. As many may know, the Adinkra is an ancient language linked with the Akan people of Ghana and the Gyaman people of Ivory Coast. 

SOURCES: OKAYAFRICA

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How Blackboard is Helping Kids Unleash their Creativity

To inspire a new generation of diverse creatives, Blackboard is teaching kids from South Africa’s townships about career opportunities in fields such as animation, photography, film-making and design. The initiative works with kids just entering high school and continues to work with them throughout their high school careers. The students are registered in grade 8 and from there the team at Blackboard are able to identify the ones who are determined to follow a career path in the creative industry. 

SOURCES: DESIGN INDABA

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The Folklore is the Online Shop of your Dreams

If you’re looking for luxe African fashions, you need to check out the Folklore, an online shop founded by Amira Rasool, which celebrates the best of African design. Now with a lucrative business and consistent clientele through online sales and pop-up shops, founder Amira Rasool is launching a crowdfunding campaign via iFund Women. The campaign will help The Folklore continue their business as well as create a bigger budget to connect with more African designers.

SOURCES: ESSENCE

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See Africa by Train

On a continent where taking things slowly is compulsory, it won’t come as much of a surprise the 46-hour journey along the 1160-mile (1860km) route from Tanzania’s port city to New Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia often ends up taking far longer. Then again, few trains in the world offer the chance – and we should point out that it’s a chance rather than a guarantee – of spotting big game from your seat, but the Tazara (Tanzania and Zambia Railway Authority) does exactly that. For many, the highlight is neither the scenery nor the wildlife, though; it is the chance to spend two days watching everyday life out of the window, and enjoying the clamour and chaos when the train pulls to a halt, scheduled or unscheduled.

SOURCES: LONELY PLANET

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More than Sandy Beaches in this African Gem

Mauritius holds several beautiful circuits for hiking and nature lovers. The heart of the island, is bordered by volcanic peaks which in addition to being accessible on foot, also offers amazing panoramic views. The island offers professionals, passionate amateurs and beginners no less than ten 18-hole courses and three 9-hole courses in perfect conditions for the game. Whether you wish to view the island’s beauty from the sea or you want to revel in a leisurely day, shaded from the sun from the windfilled mainsail, a wide choice of sea excursions is available to suit all preferences. Mauritius holds over ten natural parks and leisure parks. All it takes is a stroll around to understand that Mauritians love street food. Every corner presents a variety of local specialities. 

SOURCES: GETAWAY

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Togo’s Enchanted Castle still a Crowd Pleaser

When people talk about Togo, they often mention the Queens of African fabric known as the Nana Benz, they speak of the remains of the slave trade of Agbodrafo or they may speak of the German Cathedral of Lomé. It’s not Versailles, but the Viale castle. It’s in the town of Kpalimé, 120 km northwest of the capital Lomé and a few kilometres from the Togo-Ghana border. Above the town is Mount Kloto, where Château Viale stands, a presidential residence since 1975. Over time, the castle has deteriorated and lost its brilliance. However, its beauty and historical significance keeps it a local tourist attraction.


SOURCES: AFRICA NEWS

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Casablanca is a Destination Full of Surprise

A large metropolis of 4 million inhabitants,the economic and financial capital of Morocco, a more modern city where thousands of foreigners come from all over the world not only to visit the city, but also to work and live. Behind these realities is a city full of history with an architectural heritage, ancient and recent, a dynamic city, proud of its past and confident in its future. With its contemporary buildings dedicated to business, Casablanca offers an active and dynamic image of Morocco in the 21st century. Take for example the business activities of Casanearshore Park and the enormous Technopark building that greets you while entering the city from the airport. Here, you will plunge into the roots of the country’s history by traveling through the ancient city of Casablanca. Surrounded by walls, it unrolls its shady alleys around the Great Mosque. You may also feel the pulse of the city on a stroll along the Cornich, where you can take in views of the sea.

SOURCES: AFRICA.COM

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Addis Ababa

From July 2018 through June 2019 the city registered an absolute average daily rate (ADR) of US $163.79 when measured in constant currency, which removes the effects of inflation. It’s a 1.1% increase year on year. The next closest STR-defined markets in Africa were Accra, Ghana ($160.34) and Lagos, Nigeria ($132.51). Addis Ababa’s occupancy over the same 12-month time period was 58.4%, up 6.5% year over year. Cairo & Giza was the continent’s occupancy leader at 74.5%. Cape Town Centre, South Africa (65.0%), ranked second in the metric followed by Accra (59.7%). This according to the most recent 12-month data from STR when surveying hotels on the continent.

SOURCES: IOL

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Residents of Tunisia’s Gabes Go on an Environmental Pushback

Close to the Chott Essalem beach and in front of a rare coastal oasis, the state-owned Tunisian Chemical Group (GCT) has been processing phosphate since the 1970s. Around 13,000 tonnes of chemicals and waste are channelled into a Tunisian bay that was once a rich spawning ground for marine life. Now devoid of the formerly plentiful fish and crabs, the locals call it the “fatal shore” and believe it is responsible for an increase in cancer and disease. As Tunisia plans to increase its export of phosphates, used in agricultural fertilizer, environmental groups are warning of the damage being done to land and sea. The Gulf of Gabes is an important spawning ground for Mediterranean fish. But phosphate mining and processing, industries that are important for Tunisia’s economy, have left it heavily polluted.
 

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Luanda’s Rep as the Most Expensive City in the World has Come to an End

In contrast to the Angolan capital’s established ranking at the top of the annual cost of living index compiled by global consulting firm Mercer, it has tumbled in the last two years. Rankings released in June show Luanda placed 26th out of 209 cities—a twenty place drop from last year when it ranked 6th. In fact, Luanda is now the fourth highest ranked African city, behind Ndjamena, Kinshasa and Lagos. Mercer’s index is based on the prices of goods and services including food, utilities, transport logistics and accommodation (collectively referred to as a “basket”), that expats purchase. It then compares costs by converting prices from local currencies to US dollars. And that’s the root of Angola’s fall in the rankings: in Jan. 2018, the government ditched its currency peg to the dollar and essentially devalued its local kwanza currency. Luanda becoming cheaper for expats doesn’t make it cheaper for locals given their vastly different shopping preferences.

SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA

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The New Crop Keeping Kenyan Farmers Afloat

As drought and erratic weather wreak havoc across rural Kenya, a growing number of farmers are abandoning traditional crops such as maize and rice for the more lucrative muguka, a potent legal stimulant that relieves fatigue. A variety of khat, which produces a mild high when chewed, muguka is fast-growing, making it less vulnerable to large swings in weather conditions, and uses about half as much water as maize. But it is bad news for food supplies, said agriculture experts and local politicians, who warned of a potential food crop shortage as farmers clear their fields of staples to make way for muguka. There is no official record of how many farmers have switched from growing food crops to muguka, said Mwangi. Nor is there data on how much land is being used for muguka, according to Kenya’s Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA). But Francis Kimori, chair of the Mbeere Muguka Farmers Sacco, a savings and credit co-operative, estimated that four out of every five households around the Mount Kenya region, including in Embu County, are farming the stimulant in some quantity.
 

SOURCE: BUSINESS DAY LIVE

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West Africa’s Gold Sector is where the Sun is Rising

Africa’s largest money manager sees “significant investment opportunities” in West African gold mining as the industry at the southern endof the continent declines. Investor-friendly policies can help Ghana and other countries in the region drive the next “gold-mining boom,” said a mining research analyst at South Africa’s Public Investment Corp. Low-cost deposits in Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Ivory Coast offer the long-term investment potential the PIC prefers, rather than the five to 10-year lifespan of projects in South Africa. South Africa’s gold industry, which has produced half the world’s bullion ever mined, has been shrinking amid the geological challenges of exploiting the world’s deepest mines. AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. and Gold Fields Ltd. have shifted production to lower-cost operations, including West Africa, with the former in the process of selling its last underground mine in South Africa. Both companies are expanding output in Ghana, which has leapfrogged South Africa to become the continent’s largest bullion producer.
 

SOURCE: MONEYWEB

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Here’s What’s Grinding the Lagos Economy to a Halt

The city is unhealthily crowded. Despite being the smallest state in the country, it has the highest urban population with an estimated population of 22 million people and counting, more than double New York or London’s tally. More than eight million people, moving in five million vehicles cram into a tiny network of just 9,100 roads every day. This is the reason why Lagosians spend an average of 30 hours in traffic each week — or 1,560 annually — while drivers in Los Angeles and Moscow traffic spent only 128 and 210 hours respectively in the whole of 2018. Traffic congestion, with its noise and environmental pollution, takes a huge toll on workers’ mental and physical health. Health professionals have even linked its overall damage to the increasing rate of suicide in the city. The situation is also killing workforce productivity. While working conditions across the globe are fast evolving, some Nigerian companies are reluctant to enable their employees to work from home. Traffic jam stifles both state and national economies. The Lagos business community alone loses $30.5 million monthly. While the gridlock at Nigeria’s largest seaport, Apapa, costs the country $19 billion annually — a loss higher than the country’s 2016 budget.
 

SOURCE: CNN

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Did Zimbabwe Get a Clean Break from Mugabe’s Autocratic Rule and Economic Mismanagement?

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s opponents now fear he is more dangerous than his predecessor. The number of government critics charged with “subverting a constitutional government,” a form of treason, during Mr. Mnangagwa’s 21 months at the helm already outstrips the figure during Mr. Mugabe’s 37 years in office, according to a coalition of 22 Zimbabwean rights watchdogs. Mr. Mnangagwa has been traveling extensively throughout Africa, promoting and developing plans for economic reform. He wants to be seen as a modernizer, and he portrays Zimbabwe as once again “open for business.” He opened a dry port for Zimbabwean trade in Namibia. He has reduced the paperwork needed to open companies, and he loudly seeks foreign investment in the mining, tourism, agricultural and textile industries. But Zimbabwe is suffering from vast shortages of fuel, bank notes, water and electricity. Drivers typically wait three hours for gasoline, and civil servants line up all morning to receive part of their salaries in cash. Half of the capital Harare receives running water only once a week, and electricity blackouts last up to 18 hours a day in many areas. An inflation rate of more than 175 percent has put some food and medicine beyond the reach of middle-class Zimbabweans. Shoppers emerging from a Harare supermarket complained of a sevenfold rise in the price of bread since this time last year.
 

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Africa’s Unbanked Find Another Solution to Tap into Formal Economy

Mobile money is the fastest-growing source of income for wireless-network operators like MTN Group Ltd. and Vodafone Group Plc’s Safaricom unit, outpacing data since many Africans don’t have the latest smartphones. The service has become an indispensable part of how Africa’s 1.2 billion people live, from buying funeral cover to borrowing money. The number of registered users in Ghana soared 11-fold between 2013 and 2017, International Monetary Fund data shows. Across the continent in Kenya, where it was pioneered, the value of such transactions amounts to almost half of gross domestic product, according to the World Bank. Sub-Saharan Africa has more mobile-money accounts than anywhere else in the world with about 396 million registered users at the end of 2018, a 14% increase from a year earlier, according to the GSM Association. As it catches on around the world, South Asia saw 29% growth in 2018, and it was 38% for East Asia and the Pacific.
 

SOURCE: BUSINESS CHIEF

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SA President Signs Controversial National Credit Amendment Bill into Law

Informally known as the ‘debt relief bill’, the new act aims to provide relief to over-indebted South Africans who have no other means of extracting themselves from over-indebtedness. Specifically, the act will allow certain applicants to have their debt suspended in part or in full for up to 24 months. This debt may then be extinguished altogether if the financial circumstances of the applicant do not improve. South Africa’s banking industry has previously raised concerns with the bill after it proposed writing off billions of rands worth of debt from every-day South Africans. The Banking Association of South Africa (Basa) made it clear that it does not support the principle of debt forgiveness – for very obvious financial reasons, but also for what it would do to the lending and credit industry.

SOURCES: BUSINESS TECH

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Christine Lagarde’s Legacy in Africa

A striking example of this came in 2014 with the Ebola epidemic outbreak in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. The IMF was the first to respond with $130m in immediate assistance to help balance payments and meet fiscal needs. Lagarde, a former French finance minister, faced criticism that the epidemic wasn’t a balance of payments crisis, and the IMF wasn’t in the business of humanitarian aid. A lawyer by trade without the technical training of an economist, she saw the IMF as an agency that tackles problems with far-reaching economic consequences. Her role has been more as a diplomat or politician, who “has a much broader vision” of economics. “I think that’s really brought her closer to Africa and Africa closer to her,” says Plant.Lagarde was seen as a fair arbiter, a force for growth and a “great” partner to African nations, says Alain Ebobissé, the CEO of the 28-nation infrastructure fund Africa50.

SOURCES: AFRICAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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Meet Africa’s Serial Entrepreneur

According to a report by Component, globally, the massive open online courses (MOOCs) market is estimated to hit $20.8 billion by 2023. Iyinoluwa Aboyeji wanted in. He set up a company in Abuja called Fora.com focused on incorporating MOOCs into the university environment especially for courses that were relevant but not provided by Nigerian universities due to a lack of quality resources. The firm began to gain some traction. People were paying for the application courses and Aboyeji decided to pilot a loan program where financial institutions would offer loans to students. This where Aboyeji stumbled on a new gold mine and Andela was born. He started with one person and began teaching him how to code. He repurposed the team from Fora into coding masters, bid masters and operational staff, and shifted the focus of Fora because they had the flexibility to do it. The company has since gone on to raise $180 million in venture funding from the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and other notable investors from Silicon Valley. Aboyeji left the company after three years in search of his next adventure but is still a major shareholder in Andela. That voyage led him to co-found Flutterwave, an integrated payments platform for Africans to make and accept any payment, anywhere from across Africa and around the wo rld. Under his watch, the company processed 100 million transactions worth $2.5 billion. Turning his eyes firmly on future opportunities has led Aboyeji to set up his own family office called Street Capital, with a focus on identifying passionate and experienced missionary entrepreneurs with the integrity and courage to flawlessly execute in Africa.
 

SOURCES: FORBES AFRICA

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Embedding A Culture Of Design Thinking

There is little doubt that technology has fundamentally shifted enterprise goalposts and redrawn the lines that once were the parameters of the business. It is embedded in every business, integrated into every person’s life and heavy with potential as it continues to evolve. However, this potential comes at a cost. It puts pressure on organisations to constantly compete in fragile and fragmented markets. It pushes consumers in multiple directions, challenging their loyalties and their attention. These intelligent solutions offer up a tasty tray of technology titbits that are hard to resist. They are also redefining how organisations shape their cultures and their business models.

A recent Forrester survey – The Global Business Technographics Priorities and Journey Survey 2018 – asked more than 2, 000 global enterprises what they were doing to drive innovation. More than 40% stated that emergent technologies were driving their shift towards new business models that would allow them to change how they innovate with technology.  And this is where design thinking becomes a core component of how the organisation changes its engagement with customers and innovation.

“Design thinking is a tool that organisations can use to understand their customers better,” says Phathizwe Malinga, Managing Director at SqwidNet. “It is a tool that induces empathy towards a customer and leads the organisation down the right paths to communication. To ensure that what they offer remains as profitable as possible, a company needs to bed down a culture of design thinking. It is this that will allow them to adapt alongside the constantly changing market by understanding their customer pain points and needs far better.”

In markets powered by disruption and transformation, the one constant is change. Customers are constantly looking to improve their quality of life and to get as much value as possible for their investment. They want what they buy to have emotive and functional weight when balanced against their chequebook. This is where design thinking steps in. It allows the company to adapt to how customers think and speak to them in a language that they understand.

“The Internet of Things (IoT) is one area which is ideally suited to supporting the growth of design thinking within the organisation,” says Malinga. “IoT is about increasing company awareness of the effectiveness of its capabilities, whether these are internal or external. If a company can match the rate of change between the needs of the customer and its own capabilities, then it will not only remain profitable, it will likely have a far better brand image and identity. It is designing for the thinking of the customer.”

Design thinking helps an organisation to understand the changing needs of its customers over time, thereby providing insight into the effectiveness of products and solutions for these customers. IoT allows for deeper control over these processes, providing the organisation with insights into spending the right amount of capital at the right time to ensure it meets the right deadlines. A combination of IoT and design thinking will help any company to shift from an intuition-driven model to data-driven leadership. It allows for the enterprise to avoid the over-engineering anti-pattern where the company uses or borrows capital to build a ton of features into their products just in case the customer’s taste changes to, well, anything.

“This anti-pattern is usually called ‘futureproofing’ and the product becomes the Swiss army knife of leadership’s imagination,” says Malinga. “Design thinking ensures that the company knows and understands the customer, especially their frustrations, and then uses emergent technologies such as IoT to generate the right insights that allow for fundamentally intelligent improvements to products and services.”

To embed a culture of design thinking into the organisation, enterprises should first invest in a good training provider who can teach leadership and employees how to use design thinking tools. Then it is simply a matter of using every opportunity to use these tools, whether in design when creating products, or in the field when trying to understand how a product is being used. The more people learn to put the customer at the forefront of every decision, the more design thinking will seep into the fabric of the organisation.

“Companies should organise themselves around this understanding, not the other way around,” says Malinga. “For example, when it comes to traditional banking, why is the bank open when people are at work but closed when they knock off? They close early on the day that people do errands. This has forced a rapid adoption of digital banking, which is not a bad thing, but nobody should be surprised when more branches close as they are not designed for customer needs.”

Design thinking offers tangible rewards to those who invest in its potential. In the short term, it allows for the enterprise to gain a deeper understanding of customer needs and this will allow for improved innovation and more relevant products and solutions. It is a far richer path to follow than to simply copy what the competition is doing. In the long term, when embarking on research and development to innovate products, a design culture allows for the enterprise to instinctively put the customer first and thereby design solutions that are precisely what the customer needs, not what the business thinks they need. Which is definitely the right way forward in a highly competitive and challenging market.

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Zero Tolerance for Crimes Against People Living with Albinism

A Malawi court has convicted and sentenced two men and a woman to death for killing a person with albinism. This is the second death sentence handed down in the country in the past three months following one in May this year for the murder of albino teenager Mphatso Pensulo in 2017. Malawi has not carried out any executions since 1994, with death sentences commuted to life imprisonment. The Association of People Living with Albinism welcomed Tuesday’s ruling, hoping it will deter attacks on their members. Of 163 cases reported in the country since November 2014, 22 have been murders, Amnesty International said in May 2019, criticising impunity for the crimes. Just 30% of those attacks have been properly investigated, according to official statistics.

SOURCE: BUSINESS DAY LIVE

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Bringing Coding to Refugee Camps

Senegalese Marieme Jamme, once a child prostitute, has made it her mission to teach one million women and girls — including refugees — how to program computers by 2030. In Britain, Jamme, driven by a love for math and science, taught herself computer programming. She became the CEO of a business consultancy firm and has advised organizations such as Google, Ernst and Young, Microsoft, and U.N. Women, in addition to many African governments. There is a long way to go to reach Jamme’s goal to teach one million students. But since 2011, “iamtheCode” has trained thousands of women and girls — and that’s something to celebrate, especially in a refugee camp.

SOURCE: VOA

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Burundi on High Alert

Burundi has started vaccinating its health workers against Ebola, beginning with those near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The country has had no reported cases of the deadly haemorrhagic fever, but the viral disease has been spreading in eastern Congo since August 2018 in an epidemic that has now killed at least 1,800 people. Efforts to control the outbreak have been hampered by militia violence and some local resistance to outside help. The WHO said Burundi’s health ministry had begun vaccinating health workers at the Gatumba border crossing point using the Merck’s rVSV-ZEBOV. Neighbouring Uganda has also been on high alert since two people, part of a family visiting from Congo, died of Ebola. A third member of the family died after returning home.SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Casablanca is a Destination Full of Surprise

A large metropolis of 4 million inhabitants,the economic and financial capital of Morocco, a more modern city where thousands of foreigners come from all over the world not only to visit the city, but also to work and live. Behind these realities is a city full of history with an architectural heritage, ancient and recent, a dynamic city, proud of its past and confident in its future. With its contemporary buildings dedicated to business, Casablanca offers an active and dynamic image of Morocco in the 21st century. Take for example the business activities of Casanearshore Park and the enormous Technopark building that greets you while entering the city from the airport. Here, you will plunge into the roots of the country’s history by traveling through the ancient city of Casablanca. Surrounded by walls, it unrolls its shady alleys around the Great Mosque. You may also feel the pulse of the city on a stroll along the Cornich, where you can take in views of the sea.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Getting the Facts Right in Africa’s News Cycle

Facebook, in partnership with fact-checking organisation Africa Check, has started checking for fake news in African languages. The program, which was launched in Sub-Saharan Africa last year, will now add languages including Yoruba, Igbo, Swahili, Wolof, Afrikaans, Zulu, Setswana and Sotho. Stories deemed false will appear further down in Facebook users’ newsfeeds, in the hope that they won’t be shared as much. Facebook says it relies on feedback from the Facebook community to raise potentially false stories for review. Facebook has previously been under fire over the spread of fake news and hate speech on its platform. In Africa alone, more than 130 million people use Facebook.

SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

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It’s Tense in Harare ahead of Planned Demonstrations

At least three men with links to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were abducted and badly beaten before being dumped on the streets of Harare on Wednesday. Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the MDC, has called a day of strikes and marches to protest a spiraling economic crisis. Mr Chamisa, who claims he won a disputed presidential election last year, is demanding the formation of a transitional authority to address the country’s economic crisis and ensure confidence in future elections. Previous MDC-led protests over the past year have ended in deadly violence, and government and opposition leaders have accused one another of plotting disorder. Soldiers killed at least six people when they opened fire on an MDC protest that turned violent following the disputed elections last year.  In January, 17 people were killed and many more raped and beaten by soldiers following protests over a sudden rise in the price of fuel.  

SOURCE: THE TELEGRAPH

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From Rising to the Top of the Criminal Pyramid in Kibera Slum to Voice of Change

George Okewa once terrorised his community. Spurred on by violence, drink and drugs, he believed that one day his lifestyle would cause his death. Today Okewa is director of community relations for Shining hope for communities (Shofco), a 514-strong charitable organisation, which he co-founded with Odede in 2004. Okewa and his fellow disciples spend their time building relationships with the police and government in an effort to keep Kibera’s young people alive and divert them from crime, while building infrastructure that supports Kenya’s poorest. Okewa’s first lesson to the youth: respect for oneself and for women. It is the persistent political influence over the gangs that Okewa believes continues to make Kibera a tinderbox, triggering violent uprising across the country during election time and leading to clashes with police and loss of life on both sides of the divide.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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West Africa’s Gold Sector is where the Sun is Rising

Africa’s largest money manager sees “significant investment opportunities” in West African gold mining as the industry at the southern endof the continent declines. Investor-friendly policies can help Ghana and other countries in the region drive the next “gold-mining boom,” said a mining research analyst at South Africa’s Public Investment Corp. Low-cost deposits in Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Ivory Coast offer the long-term investment potential the PIC prefers, rather than the five to 10-year lifespan of projects in South Africa. South Africa’s gold industry, which has produced half the world’s bullion ever mined, has been shrinking amid the geological challenges of exploiting the world’s deepest mines. AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. and Gold Fields Ltd. have shifted production to lower-cost operations, including West Africa, with the former in the process of selling its last underground mine in South Africa. Both companies are expanding output in Ghana, which has leapfrogged South Africa to become the continent’s largest bullion producer.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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UNAIDS Welcomes the Appointment of Winnie Byanyima to the Fold

Ugandan Winnie Byanyima, who heads UK charity Oxfam, has been appointed as the next executive director of UNAids. “Ms Byanyima brings a wealth of experience and commitment in harnessing the power of governments, multilateral agencies, the private sector and civil society to end the Aids epidemic around the world,” UNAids said in a statement. A former MP and engineer by training, Ms Byanyima succeeds Michel Sidibé, who has been appointed Mali’s health minister. “I am honoured to be joining UNAids as the executive director at such a critical time in the response to HIV. The end of Aids as a public health threat by 2030 is a goal that is within the world’s reach, but I do not underestimate the scale of the challenge ahead.” Ms Byanyima, 60, tweeted that she embraces the role with “humility, passion and faith”. She served for seven years as director of gender and development at the United Nations Development Programme before she joined Oxfam in 2013. She has also worked for the African Union Commission on a women’s rights project to help reduce the disproportionate effect of HIV on the lives of women on the continent.

SOURCE: UNAIDS

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Nigeria Takes its Focus on Agriculture to the Next Level

President Muhammadu Buhari has instructed the country’s central bank to stop providing foreign currency for food imports, according his spokesman, the move is aimed at improving Nigeria’s agricultural production and attaining more food security. Agricultural expert Ayokunle Afolabi Toye says a restriction on foreign exchange for food importers is a good move for local food producers to grow, but it needs to be supplemented with additional policies to be effective. As a way of diversifying the country’s economy and reducing its dependence on oil, policies aimed at stimulating the growth of the agricultural sector have been put forward over the past years. In 2015, the Central Bank of Nigeria presided over a ban on the access to foreign currency for 41 items that the bank felt could be manufactured in the country, including rice and poultry. In July, it announced that it would stop importers of milk and other dairy products from getting foreign currency, arguing that local production of milk should be encouraged instead. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, imports of agricultural products were valued at about $640 million in the first quarter of 2019. These policies are expected to reduce how much is spent on imports and encourage local production of goods.SOURCE: CNN

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Fighting Food Insecurity In Africa – Lessons From The United States

The U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green recently concluded a one-week visit to USAID-funded programs at several African countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Kenya and Mozambique. His goal was to promote sustainable paths to self-reliance, including in the context of food security programs.

Finding sustainable pathways to self-reliance, especially for many African countries whose citizens continue to be affected by hunger and food insecurity, is indeed important. Presently, over 257 million African citizens are hungry. In addition, according to a recent report titled For Lack of Will – Child Hunger in Africa, over 50 percent of all child deaths in Africa are caused by hunger.

Importantly, achieving food security will set the stage and pave way for African citizens to meet their food needs, create surpluses for export and tap on the opportunities that come with urbanization and transition from developing to emerging economies.

There are many strategies and pathways that African countries must implement to attain food security, and this includes learning from countries that have made remarkable progress in this area, including the U.S.

Of course, no country is perfect and hunger and food insecurity is still an issue that affects close to 40 million people in the U.S., (around 12 percent of the population). Still, the U.S. has made remarkable progress and great strides in achieving food security for all its citizens.

As a result, there are lessons African governments can learn from them as they work to attain food security and improve childhood nutrition.

The frameworks that have propelled the U.S. to become food secure encompass a multitude of several interlinked targeted strategies and initiatives, including prioritizing the agricultural sector, investing in innovative agricultural initiatives that are resilient and responsive to new challenges such as climate change, and building safety nets that can be tapped upon by citizens who need the help.

Further, many of the initiatives have clear goals, targets, benchmarks and indicators of success. In addition, these initiatives have built-in monitoring and evaluations systems to ensure they achieve the intended outcomes.

Take California, for example, also referred to as the agricultural powerhouse of the U.S. Despite facing drought, one of the extremities that comes with a changing climate, recent Agricultural Statistics Reviewshows that investing in innovative agricultural initiatives has allowed the State to maintain sustainable agricultural crop production, and, consequently become food secure.

The State of Illinois ranks nationally and internationally in maize and soybean output, and has maintained these rankings despite the many challenges farmers face including a changing climate. By using all the available and recent agricultural technologies and tools such as improved seed varieties, farmers have been to maintain crop yields, translating into food security. Furthermore, the United States Department of Agriculture continuously supports all states and provides detailed reports and resources that farmers can consult.

Importantly, the frameworks that have allowed the U.S. to be food secure have a common backbone — the land-grant university system. Through it, many Land-Grant Universities in the U.S. such as University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Cornell University, Purdue University, consistently carry agricultural research coupled with a functioning extension service arm that delivers discoveries and recent science-based information to farmers and rural communities.

For example, Purdue and University of Kentucky recently collaborated with USDA in an effort to provide research, extension and other assistance to rural communities.  Cornell University has Small Farms program dedicated to supporting farmers.  Other Land-Grant universities with similar programs include Penn State UniversityVirginia State University, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Complimenting these efforts have been investments by both the State and Federal governments agencies such as the USDA and advancements in new technologies and equipment, irrigation systems, soil health building systems, access to water and electricity, improved production systems and production practices, infrastructure like roads, and sound policies as well as risk management.

The USDA, for example, recently announced that it would support all U.S. farmers impacted by recent trade disruption. This is in addition to several other programs for farmers that are impacted by other extremities that come with a changing climate.

At the same time, the U.S. also invested in improving its phytosanitary standards, further allowing it to trade commodities, allowing for export-led economy. In addition, U.S. citizens have access to food they cannot produce all the times.

A recent technical brief showed that many African countries phytosanitary standards are not up to date, further limiting African countries from benefiting from exporting and importing food.

Countries in Africa that are the most food secure such as Tunisia, Mauritius, Morocco, Algeria, Ghana, Senegal and South Africa and those which are making progress toward being more food secure such as Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nigeria and Kenya have achieved their progress by using some of the same strategies as the U.S, through USAID Feed the Future Initiative, and other USAID funded programs and initiatives such as USAID Feed the Future Innovation labs .

Other African countries can follow suit. Of course, other foundational frameworks these countries have are stable democracies and export-driven economies.

Building a food secure future can be achieved when countries are open to weighing in on proven strategies.  Time is now.

Esther Ngumbi is Distinguished Post Doctoral Researcher, Entomology Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Illinois, World Policy Institute Senior Fellow, Aspen Institute New Voices Food Security Fellow, Clinton Global University Initiative Agriculture Commitments Mentor and Ambassador

Article IPS News

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Africa’s Unbanked Find Another Solution to Tap into Formal Economy

Mobile money is the fastest-growing source of income for wireless-network operators like MTN Group Ltd. and Vodafone Group Plc’s Safaricom unit, outpacing data since many Africans don’t have the latest smartphones. The service has become an indispensable part of how Africa’s 1.2 billion people live, from buying funeral cover to borrowing money. The number of registered users in Ghana soared 11-fold between 2013 and 2017, International Monetary Fund data shows. Across the continent in Kenya, where it was pioneered, the value of such transactions amounts to almost half of gross domestic product, according to the World Bank. Sub-Saharan Africa has more mobile-money accounts than anywhere else in the world with about 396 million registered users at the end of 2018, a 14% increase from a year earlier, according to the GSM Association. As it catches on around the world, South Asia saw 29% growth in 2018, and it was 38% for East Asia and the Pacific.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Leading the Revolution for Cleaner Cooking Methods in African Cities

The widespread use of charcoal for cooking in African cities can cause devastating damage to forests up to 300 kilometers away, scientist Sebastia n Rodriguez-Sanchez found while working on energy and agriculture issues in West Africa. So in 2015, he co-founded a business to try to fix the problem by weaning people off charcoal — made by smoldering wood — and onto bottled gas. So far, efforts to introduce cleaner stoves that burn less fuel have been led mainly by aid agencies working in rural parts of Africa and Asia — and have had limited success. For families in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam, where Rodriguez-Sanchez started his business, KopaGas, the $150 cost of a gas stove and canister equals half the average monthly wage, making it hard to afford. As a result, four out of five residents in a city generating 40% of the East African nation’s GDP still depend on a fuel that damages both forests and their health to make daily meals. KopaGas hopes to spur uptake of gas cooking using a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) system it developed. For an upfront fee of 15,000 Tanzanian shillings ($6.50), a household gets a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cooking kit that includes a canister fitted with a smart meter. The gas supply is unlocked by mobile phone payments and the meter monitors consumption, feeding back data via the Internet of Things. KopaGas has signed up 3,500 households for its PAYG service, and supplies another 20,000 with traditional gas bottles. Its services reach about 117,000 people in total, a number it aims to boost to 1 million in Tanzania by the end of 2021.SOURCE: VOA

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South Africa’s First Restaurant to Focus Exclusively on Insects

A South Africa-based company, Gourmet Grubb, produces ice cream made from an insect-based dairy alternative they’ve named EntoMilk. It’s made from Hermetia illucens, the black soldier fly. And since June, they’ve been operating a pop-up food concept in Cape Town called The Insect Experience, where dishes featuring insects are plated with the same care and precision as any gourmet delicacy. The pop-up was originally slated to close by the end of August, but Bessa and her partners now hope to keep it open through the middle of 2020, possibly springing up every few months in new locations. Most of the insects used at The Insect Experience come from South African farms, Bessa said. The only exception are the mopane worms, a southern African delicacy that are sourced from neighboring Zimbabwe. There are more than 1,900 known edible insect species consumed around the world, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Edible insects are incredibly healthy, according to Bessa. They’re high in protein that has the right amino acid profile for human consumption. They’re also high in iron and zinc, high in fiber, and they have a healthy fat profile.

SOURCE: CNN

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Did Zimbabwe Get a Clean Break from Mugabe’s Autocratic Rule and Economic Mismanagement?

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s opponents now fear he is more dangerous than his predecessor. The number of government critics charged with “subverting a constitutional government,” a form of treason, during Mr. Mnangagwa’s 21 months at the helm already outstrips the figure during Mr. Mugabe’s 37 years in office, according to a coalition of 22 Zimbabwean rights watchdogs. Mr. Mnangagwa has been traveling extensively throughout Africa, promoting and developing plans for economic reform. He wants to be seen as a modernizer, and he portrays Zimbabwe as once again “open for business.” He opened a dry port for Zimbabwean trade in Namibia. He has reduced the paperwork needed to open companies, and he loudly seeks foreign investment in the mining, tourism, agricultural and textile industries. But Zimbabwe is suffering from vast shortages of fuel, bank notes, water and electricity. Drivers typically wait three hours for gasoline, and civil servants line up all morning to receive part of their salaries in cash. Half of the capital Harare receives running water only once a week, and electricity blackouts last up to 18 hours a day in many areas. An inflation rate of more than 175 percent has put some food and medicine beyond the reach of middle-class Zimbabweans. Shoppers emerging from a Harare supermarket complained of a sevenfold rise in the price of bread since this time last year.

SOURCE:  THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Mozambique MPs Criminalise Digital Snooping

Anyone who now gains access to phones, computers or other gadgets belonging to someone else without permission will face up to two years in prison. For those who illegally produce, sell or distribute “non-public information” obtained from such devices without permission, the penalty will be a jail term of up to five years. The law now also stipulates that offenders will in addition be fined at least the equivalent of one year’s minimum salary of about $816. The revision aims to adapt criminal law to the realities of modern communication technologies to give individuals and businesses protection. Less of than half of Mozambique’s 31 million inhabitants have mobile phones.

SOURCE: CHANNEL AFRICA

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Multinationals Fined for Bribing African Officials

Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz and two associates are to stand trial for allegedly bribing Guinean officials to win mining licences. The trio allegedly paid $10m to one of the wives of former Guinean President Lansana Conte. Mr Steinmetz and his mining company Beny Steinmetz Group Resources (BSGR) have previously denied any wrongdoing. The prosecution is seeking prison terms of two to 10 years. The prosecutors, who opened an investigation into the alleged bribery six years ago, allege that Mr Steinmetz obtained the mining rights in the Simandou region of south-eastern Guinea just before Conte died in 2008. They charge that the money was paid to a wife of the country’s former president partially through Swiss bank accounts. In February this year, Guinean authorities dropped corruption charges against Mr Steinmetz and BSGR in exchange for relinquishing rights to the Simandou mine.

SOURCE: BBC

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The New Crop Keeping Kenyan Farmers Afloat

As drought and erratic weather wreak havoc across rural Kenya, a growing number of farmers are abandoning traditional crops such as maize and rice for the more lucrative muguka, a potent legal stimulant that relieves fatigue. A variety of khat, which produces a mild high when chewed, muguka is fast-growing, making it less vulnerable to large swings in weather conditions, and uses about half as much water as maize. But it is bad news for food supplies, said agriculture experts and local politicians, who warned of a potential food crop shortage as farmers clear their fields of staples to make way for muguka. There is no official record of how many farmers have switched from growing food crops to muguka, said Mwangi. Nor is there data on how much land is being used for muguka, according to Kenya’s Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA). But Francis Kimori, chair of the Mbeere Muguka Farmers Sacco, a savings and credit co-operative, estimated that four out of every five households around the Mount Kenya region, including in Embu County, are farming the stimulant in some quantity.SOURCE: BUSINESS DAY LIVE

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Pulling South Africa into the Electric Car Era

Nissan Motor Co., BMW AG and Volkswagen AG are among carmakers in talks to bring the electric-car revolution to South Africa, as the nation’s auto-factory floors risk being left behind in the global switch to greener vehicles. The industry is preparing a unified stance on electrification to present to the government by the end of the year,  according to Mike Mabasa, chief executive officer of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa. Among the goals is persuading lawmakers to reduce or drop a 23% import tariff on electric vehicles to help ramp up nascent domestic sales, he said. Another is to roll out a charging infrastructure in a country where the state-owned power monopoly is in deep financial crisis. To date, there are no firm plans for electric-car or hybrid production in South Africa, but the government and industry agreed in 2018 to extend a manufacturing incentive program, creating jobs and enabling models like the BMW X3 sport utility vehicle and Nissan’s Novara pickup to be produced locally.

SOURCE: BLOOMBERG AFRICA

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[LISTEN] How Our African Ancestors Made Sound In The Stone Age

The Middle and Later Stone Age, which lasted from about 300 000 to 300 years ago in South Africa, was an important time for the African continent. During this period humans developed many different strategies to produce a variety of stone tools. They used fire as an engineering tool and to cook. As expert hunter gatherers, they successfully inhabited many parts of Africa. But one thing that’s been missing from our understanding of this epoch is sound, noise or music. There’s been very little research on the role of sound production during the Stone Age. That’s very surprising since we know that the latter part of this period was an important one for the development of complex cognition, symbolic expression and social dynamics among human ancestors. So it stands to reason that groups which were communicating in complex ways might also explore sound for expression. One reason to account for this lack of research may be that sound-producing instruments are usually made of organic materials which typically don’t survive well, archaeologically.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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West African Countries To Adopt ‘Eco’ As Single Currency

The Authority of Ecowas Heads of State and Government has elected President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger as the chairman for a one-year term and adopted ECO as the name of the single currency to be issued in January 2020.

President Issoufou was elected at the 55th Ordinary Session of the Ecowas leaders on Saturday in Abuja, taking over from President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria.

A communiqué read by Mr Mustapha Suleiman, Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary, said the leaders lauded President Buhari for his unrelenting commitment to regional integration.

Ecowas also agreed to hold its next ordinary session on December 21 in Abuja.

The leaders congratulated the Ministerial Committee on the single Currency for the progress in the implementation of the revised roadmap.

The Authority instructed the Ecowas Commission to collaborate with the West African Monetary Agency.

The leaders also instructed the commission to work with the West African Monetary Institute and the central banks to accelerate the implementation of the revised roadmap with regard to the symbol of the single currency.

President Issoufou said the revised roadmap still stipulated that the single currency would be issued in January 2020.

“We have not changed that but we will continue with assessment between now and then.

The heads of government and state of 13 of the 15 member states were in attendance. They were from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

Cape Verde was represented by Mr Julio Cesar Lopes, the Regional Integration minister, while Senegal was represented by Mr Amadou Ba, the Foreign Affairs minister.

Source: TheEastAfrican

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Tanzanians Begin the Week with Heavy Hearts

Tanzania has laid to rest most of the 71 people who died while trying to collect leaking petrol from an overturned fuel tanker that exploded. The deadly blast, which took place on Saturday near the town of Morogoro, west of the economic capital Dar es Salaam, is the latest in a series of similar disasters in Africa. President John Magufuli declared a period of mourning through Monday. He was represented at funerals by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa. Majaliwa spoke at a ceremony in Kola, less than 20 minutes from where the disaster occurred some 200 kilometres  west of Dar es Salaam. White coffins were lowered into graves by members of the security forces, after which Islamic or Christian clerics said brief prayers and tossed handfuls of earth on them. A Pentecostal pastor named Mechak said in a service broadcast on television that “this should serve as a lesson to us. When there is an accident like this we should steer clear and let rescue workers do their job.” DNA tests will be carried out on bodies that were burnt beyond recognition, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Jenista Mhagama said, adding that families could take the remains of their loved ones and organise their own burials if they preferred.SOURCE: NEWS 24

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New Evidence Suggests Ancient People have Been Living in Ethiopia’s Mountains for Centuries

Scientists have discovered what is by far the oldest evidence of human occupation at extreme altitudes: a rock shelter strewn with bones, tools and hearths 11,000 feet above sea level. People lived at the site, in the mountains of Ethiopia, as long as 47,000 years ago. The research contradicts the long-held view that high elevations were the last places on Earth settled by humans. That notion was based more on assumptions than hard evidence, it now appears. In East Africa, paleoanthropologists have long focused their attention on the Rift Valley and other archaeological sites at lower elevations. In Africa, even more tantalizing clues have come to light. Simple stone tools have been found at high elevations in Ethiopia, and they appear to be hundreds of thousands of years old. They might have been left there by members of our species — or an earlier hominid species. Still, it’s hard to know whether these findings mean that humans were living at these altitudes, or just making a brief sojourn.

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Here’s Why Living in Lagos Can Take a Mental Toll

The city is unhealthily crowded. Despite being the smallest state in the country, it has the highest urban population with an estimated population of 22 million people and counting, more than double New York or London’s tally. More than eight million people, moving in five million vehicles cram into a tiny network of just 9,100 roads every day. This is the reason why Lagosians spend an average of 30 hours in traffic each week — or 1,560 annually — while drivers in Los Angeles and Moscow traffic spent only 128 and 210 hours respectively in the whole of 2018. Traffic congestion, with its noise and environmental pollution, takes a huge toll on workers’ mental and physical health. Health professionals have even linked its overall damage to the increasing rate of suicide in the city. The situation is also killing workforce productivity. While working conditions across the globe are fast evolving, some Nigerian companies are reluctant to enable their employees to work from home. Traffic jam stifles both state and national economies. The Lagos business community alone loses $30.5 million monthly. While the gridlock at Nigeria’s largest seaport, Apapa, costs the country $19 billion annually — a loss higher than the country’s 2016 budget.SOURCE: CNN

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The Growing Tribe of Musicians Challenging Museveni

Inspired by rapper Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Bobi Wine’s quick rise from a political nobody to the Ugandan opposition’s strongest bet against incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, a wave of music artists is joining politics in the country, seeking election to positions ranging from the presidency to legislators, and mayors to district and village leadership. In a country with the world’s second-youngest population — only Niger’s median age is lower than Uganda’s nearly 16 years — they’re replacing mainstream politicians as torchbearers of hope for youth against Museveni’s government. In July 2018, Wine’s candidates won a third of all village-level elections across the country, even though their movement was less than a year old. Those wins also demonstrated that the campaign he is leading to unseat Museveni is finding resonance not just in urban Uganda, which mostly listens to pop music, but in the country’s rural hinterland too. 

SOURCE: OZY

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Luanda’s Rep as the Most Expensive City in the World has Come to an End

In contrast to the Angolan capital’s established ranking at the top of the annual cost of living index compiled by global consulting firm Mercer, it has tumbled in the last two years. Rankings released in June show Luanda placed 26th out of 209 cities—a twenty place drop from last year when it ranked 6th. In fact, Luanda is now the fourth highest ranked African city, behind Ndjamena, Kinshasa and Lagos. Mercer’s index is based on the prices of goods and services including food, utilities, transport logistics and accommodation (collectively referred to as a “basket”), that expats purchase. It then compares costs by converting prices from local currencies to US dollars. And that’s the root of Angola’s fall in the rankings: in Jan. 2018, the government ditched its currency peg to the dollar and essentially devalued its local kwanza currency. Luanda becoming cheaper for expats doesn’t make it cheaper for locals given their vastly different shopping preferences.

SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA

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Residents of Tunisia’s Gabes Go on an Environmental Pushback

Close to the Chott Essalem beach and in front of a rare coastal oasis, the state-owned Tunisian Chemical Group (GCT) has been processing phosphate since the 1970s. Around 13,000 tonnes of chemicals and waste are channelled into a Tunisian bay that was once a rich spawning ground for marine life. Now devoid of the formerly plentiful fish and crabs, the locals call it the “fatal shore” and believe it is responsible for an increase in cancer and disease. As Tunisia plans to increase its export of phosphates, used in agricultural fertilizer, environmental groups are warning of the damage being done to land and sea. The Gulf of Gabes is an important spawning ground for Mediterranean fish. But phosphate mining and processing, industries that are important for Tunisia’s economy, have left it heavily polluted.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Does Zimbabwe have a Plan to Bring the Lights Back On?

Government has secured two loans of more than $42.5m from India to boost the generation of electricity in the country. The Herald Newspaper says the loans of $23m and $19.5m obtained from the Export-Import Bank of India are for upgrading power plants in Bulawayo and Hwange.  Business representatives believe the blackouts have cost the country $200m in lost revenue and that the new deal will unlikely ease rolling blackouts in the short term. Declining water levels in Lake Kariba have plunged most parts of the country into darkness for longer periods per day. There are fears that if the water levels continue to decline in Lake Kariba, power generation could stop by early October, which will almost complicate the situation.

SOURCE: THE HERALD

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The New Crop Keeping Kenyan Farmers Afloat

As drought and erratic weather wreak havoc across rural Kenya, a growing number of farmers are abandoning traditional crops such as maize and rice for the more lucrative muguka, a potent legal stimulant that relieves fatigue. A variety of khat, which produces a mild high when chewed, muguka is fast-growing, making it less vulnerable to large swings in weather conditions, and uses about half as much water as maize. But it is bad news for food supplies, said agriculture experts and local politicians, who warned of a potential food crop shortage as farmers clear their fields of staples to make way for muguka. There is no official record of how many farmers have switched from growing food crops to muguka, said Mwangi. Nor is there data on how much land is being used for muguka, according to Kenya’s Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA). But Francis Kimori, chair of the Mbeere Muguka Farmers Sacco, a savings and credit co-operative, estimated that four out of every five households around the Mount Kenya region, including in Embu County, are farming the stimulant in some quantity.SOURCE: BUSINESS DAY LIVE

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Conflict and Climate Change Affect Religious Practices in Cameroon

Cameroon Muslims are looking for alternatives for the sacrifice as recommended by prophet Muhammad on the day of the Eid al-Adha feast. Sheep, traditionally slaughtered, have become very scarce as a result of the Boko Haram conflict and separatist war in the country’s main production areas. In 2016, the World Bank approved a $100 million fund to help Cameroon improve the productivity and competitiveness of livestock production over six years. It said besides replenishing what had been lost as a result of the Boko Haram conflict, the program would help build resilience to climate change and improve the nutrition status of vulnerable populations.

SOURCE: VOA

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The First African to be Made into a Barbie Doll

South African musician and businesswoman Lerato “Lira” Molapo has coined the term “African Barbie” by becoming the first African to have a Barbie doll made in her image. The ‘Lira doll’ is part of Barbie’s 60th-anniversary campaign to inspire more girls through diversity. Lira joins the global list with likes of tennis star Naomi Osaka, who tweeted earlier this year about being viewed as an influential female figure to young children. Other artists include Frida Kahlo, NASA mathematician and physicist Katherine Johnson, supermodel Adwoa Aboah, US actress Yara Shahidi and US filmmaker Ava DuVernay. Lira further announced how proud she is to be awarded a one-of-a-kind Lira Barbie doll.

SOURCE: iAFRICA

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Letter From Ethiopia

“This began as a letter written by my colleague and friend, Melissa Cook, Founder of African Sunrise Partners. She wrote to her family, explaining why she had been in a cone of silence for several days during the Addis Ababa portion of a two-week Africa trip.”— Teresa H. Clarke, Africa.com

Always the Most Interesting Country—This Time, for the Wrong Reasons

A regular business trip to Ethiopia—for the purpose of selling locomotives, meeting with business contacts, and speaking to policymakers—turned more eventful than usual starting on Saturday, June 22. Ethiopia is always one of the most interesting places in which I do business—during my September 2018 trip, the Prime Minister opened the border with Eritrea and released hundreds of political prisoners. The streets of Addis were filled with people, most of whom were celebrating. This time, things were a bit more difficult.

A Dinner Party Provides Insight—And Insightful Conversations

I arrived in Addis from Johannesburg on Friday afternoon and checked in to my usual hotel, the Radisson Blu. On Saturday evening, the internet went out and I did not know why.

On Sunday evening, my local business partner Taye invited me to join him with one of his business partners, the owner of a large pan-African civil engineering firm, for drinks and dinner. We had a relaxing evening in the executive’s beautiful home with a very diverse and interesting group of people.

Guests included a Canadian/Ethiopian healthcare and energy policy expert, a politician, a Sudanese intellectual working to organize support for civilian governance in his country, a leading Kenyan businessman, and an American entrepreneur seeking to disrupt the highly competitive Ethiopian beverage sector. Needless to say, the conversations were interesting and thought-provoking on many levels.

Tragic Politically-Motivated Killings

During the gathering I learned why the internet had gone out. On Saturday night the president of the northern Amhara state (the second most populous state, and the root of the country’s Amharic language) was assassinated along with two other officials and a bodyguard.

News sources including Reuters report that the killers had been released under the PM’s recent amnesty program for political prisoners. These sources also report that the group of assassins were trying to mount a coup in the state, and they went on to attack the police station and political headquarters, reportedly killing dozens of people.

Later the same night, the bodyguard to the military chief of staff murdered him and another general in central Addis.

To give Americans a sense of the magnitude of the shock, imagine that someone went into the governor of California’s office and shot him and his staff and then shot the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington in an effort to destabilize the president’s agenda.

Communications: Back to the 1980s

After the killings, the authorities immediately shut down the internet—even SMS texts would not go through. Everyone in Ethiopia (and across Africa) uses social media to communicate. Mass communications on Facebook, YouTube or WhatsApp can quickly escalate isolated incidents into a full-blown crisis (or, can turn small protests into a mass political movement). Life without the internet can be very challenging!

Fortunately, I had my 2G “feature phone”, a local SIM and lots of airtime. I successfully firmed up my meeting schedule using regular old direct phone calls. Just like in the 1980’s.

Buying a plane ticket from Addis to Nairobi was an interesting exercise at the Ethiopian Airlines ticket office inside the Hilton Hotel. Travelers arrived with backpacks filled with bricks of cash., and receipts were printed on dot-matrix printers. Fortunately, the Ethiopian Airlines servers were still working.

Given the gravity of the national security threat this time, no one in Addis criticized the shutdown. Everyone just adapted their business practices and work went on.

Ethiopia’s History is Complex—And We’re in an Era of Major Change

Ethiopia is a tribal society, and loyalties run very deep. After 1,000 years as a feudal state under an empire, the country went through decades of harsh Communist/Marxist rule under the military Derg government. Much of the Derg economic philosophy has remained; the current Prime Minister’s political and economic reforms are designed to change that for the people of Ethiopia. The concept of capitalism and free markets will take a generation to develop here. It is difficult for any outsider to fully understand the highly nuanced political and historical backdrop here.

Addis Ababa, the capital city, is at over 7,700 feet elevation. The country has vast mountain ranges, huge rivers and much diversity of land and people. Ethiopia has over 100 million people in a country three times the size of Texas. Half of the population is under the age of 18 and poverty is highly visible.

Drought, war, and famine have affected nearly every Ethiopian, either directly or through family. This reality shades philosophies, policies, and priorities throughout the country.

Prime Minister’s Reforms: Unleashing Long-Buried Passions and Conflicts

The current prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, is 43 years old and came to power in April 2018. He is a reformer and very progressive. Half of his new cabinet and the President of Ethiopia are women. He is shifting the economy toward a more market-driven, open approach. He is privatizing state-owned firms including Ethiopian Airlines, ethio telecom, the shipping and logistics company, sugar plantations, and more. Foreign investors are being allowed in to key sectors for the first time. But slowly. Retailing and banking remain closed to foreign investors.

Prime Minister Ahmed is opening up the political dialogue. This is always a risky proposition. In Ethiopia, the impact is magnified by the fact that until the election of the new PM, leaders from the minority Tigray ethnic group dominated political power for decades. Prime Minister Ahmed is from Oromia, the largest state in Ethiopia. Oromia has historically been under-represented in Ethiopia’s government, and its people have long sought more political self-determination. The Rio 2016 Olympic marathon winner who went through the finish line with his forearms crossed above his head represented this group.

The state has historically maintained tight control of the economy, national security, the media, and political discourse—but now, things are changing. This explains the bubbling up of long-suppressed disputes and grievances.

National Mourning

On Tuesday evening during dinner I watched the continuous Ethiopian TV coverage of the funerals which took place that day, and the commentary on the lives of the men who were killed (programming was in Amharic, but the visuals were easy to comprehend). All senior members of government attended the very emotional ceremony.

Postscript

The internet in Ethiopia was turned back on at about midnight on Thursday, but responsiveness has been spotty. News has been trickling out, and it’s clear that the danger was greater than the calm in Addis led us to believe. 

Despite the ever-changing situation, I remain bullish on Ethiopia. The unpredictability of this and other markets is just part of the cost of doing business in Africa, in my opinion, and it does not shake my long-term confidence in the continent’s potential for growth and prosperity.

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Kagame Launches Model Village For 240 Families

President Paul Kagame on Wednesday launched a model village in Karama Cell, Kigali Sector in Nyarugenge District which was built by Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) Reserve Force.

The village – Karama Integrated Model Village – will be home to 240 families that were relocated from high risk zones around the City of Kigali.

It comprises living apartments, a secondary school, and an Early Childhood Development Centre (ECD).

Kagame was welcomed by thousands of residents from Nyarugenge and surrounding districts.

The launch of the village, which was built within a period of six months, is part of the activities lined up for the 25th anniversary of the national liberation, which was spearheaded by the then Rwanda Patriotic Army, which later became RDF.

Other activities lined up for the Liberation Day celebrations include a media tour held on Tuesday, where media practitioners in the country and within the region taken for a guided tour to different sites of historical significance to the four-year liberation struggle that started in October 1994 and ended in July 1994.

Other planned activities include the screening of The600, a movie that tells an inspirational story that honors the sacrifice and courage of the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) soldiers through the eyes of the 3rd Battalion better known as The 600.

The documentary film will be screened on Wednesday evening.

The 600 soldiers, were meant to offer protection to politicians from Rwanda Patriotic Front who were supposed to be part of a transitional government as negotiated between RPF and the then government.

Their mandate however suddenly changed after the then government started killing its own people in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and the force, which was already surrounded, was ordered by President Kagame, the then commander in chief, to do everything possible to stop the Genocide.

They later left their base at the current Parliamentary Building and managed to rescue thousands of Tutsis in Kigali and surrounding areas.

Meanwhile, the highlight of the celebrations will be the national celebration to be held on Thursday July 4 at Amahoro National Stadium.

At least seven foreign presidents are expected to attend the ceremony that will be presided over by President Kagame.

Source: NewsTimeRwanda

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: “Women Do Not Need To Be Extraordinary To Be Admirable”

The latest issue of British Vogue is dedicated to “Forces of Change,” one of whom is Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who cites her hopes for women and society. “Policy is important, laws are important but changing cultural norms and mindsets matter even more,” came Adichie’s response, when Vogue asked how we can bring about change. “Take ambition, for example. We praise ambitious men, and judge ambitious women. The behaviour is the same; the body exhibiting it is different.” Regarded as one of the most original writers of her generation, Adichie’s novels, which include Purple Hibiscus (her first, published when she was just 26 years old), Half of a Yellow Sun and Americanah have been read, and loved, by millions, claiming some of the most prestigious prizes in literature along the way.   

SOURCES: BRITISH VOGUE

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New Species of Dinosaur Discovered After Decades in South African Museum

Initially misidentified as a common form of dinosaur, Massospondylus, one of the first named dinosaurs. The remains of a South African creature that had been hidden in plain sight in a museum collection for 30 years have now been identified as something entirely new. A detailed analysis of the 200m-year-old skeleton, which includes an almost complete skull, led researchers to conclude that the remains not only represented a new species but belonged to an entirely new genus too. Named Ngwevu intloko, which is Xhosa for “grey skull”, the creature measured about 4m from the tip of its snout to the end of its tail and may have weighed as much as 300kg. It walked on its hind legs and had a barrel-shaped body, a long, slender neck and a small, boxy skull. Though predominantly a plant-eater, Ngwevu may have taken small animals too when the opportunity arose.    

SOURCES: CNN

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Architect Sename Koffi Agbodjinou on Building African Smart Cities

Countries across Africa have been excited by the prospect of building technologically-advanced, “smart” cities, but a Togolese architect is prompting new dialogue on how African innovation can help to revive existing cities and advance the poor.  Sénamé Koffi Agbodjinou has been working on building a different kind of “smart city”. To him a smart African city is about more than images of tall buildings. “You can have a very old city that is smart just because a lot of little technology. Those people who are talking about smart cities in Africa should show us the technology they want to implement in the city to make it smart. What I also say is that if it is an African smart city project, you have to make the effort to use technology developed in Africa,” he says.

SOURCES: DESIGN INDABA

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Mati Diop’s ‘Atlantiques’ Will Be Making Its US Debut at the 57th New York Film Festival

After critical acclaim at Cannes, ‘Atlantiques,’ a film about the refugee crisis by Senegalese-French director Mati Diop, is now about to hit the big screen in America. Diop’s film is a response to the migrant/refugee crisis, following the story of a young woman from Dakar whose lover has mysteriously disappeared. Believed to be dead, he returns to their village in Senegal.  

SOURCES: OKAYAFRICA

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David Adjaye Designs Magdalene Odundo’s Ceramics Exhibition at Sainsbury Centre

It’s beauty and drama on display at the latest exhibit at London’s Sainsbury Centre, which features the work of Kenyan-born artist, Magdalene Odundo, in an environment designed by acclaimed architect, David Adjaye. A series of ovoid, round and semi-circular plinths in various shades of grey have been arranged in the six interconnected spaces that house the exhibition. “The concept inspiration is derived from an archipelago, a cluster of objects found within an open space,” said Adjaye. Interspersed with more than 50 pieces of Odundo’s work are a selection of objects chosen by the artist from around the world. More than 30 of these objects are taken from the Sainsbury Centre’s permanent collection.

SOURCES: DEZEEN

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Angola is Home to One of Africa’s Biggest Waterfalls

The Kalendula Falls, boast an impressive width of 410 metres and a drop of 105 metres. The thundering noise, mist and setting are overwhelming. The best way to experience the falls is by hire car from Luanda, a six-hour drive on fairly rudimentary roads through varied landscapes. Alternatively, travel by train to the regional capital, Malanje, and then drive north for an hour via Lombe and Calandula. Stay at the charming Pousada Calandula. The six rooms have incredible views and the noise of the waterfall. The falls are best enjoyed from the B&B’s veranda with its bar. 

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

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Seychelles has Africa’s Best Wild Beach

This isn’t your typical tropical hideaway: you need to trek through a vanilla and coconut plantation to reach these pink-hued shores in the Seychelles. You can see how copra (dried coconut kernel) is made at an on-site mill, and visit a cemetery where the first settlers on the island are buried. When the heat starts to get too much, head in the direction of the giant rock formations and you’ll find your way to picture-perfect Anse Source d’Argent. Here, weathered granite boulders are nestled firmly in the rosy sands looking out over crystalline waters, and you can snorkel to catch a glimpse of giant tortoises gliding by. Once you’ve earned your place on this seaside slice of heaven, you’ll never want to leave.

SOURCES: LONELY PLANET

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The Most Visited Attraction in all of Morocco

Luring 850 000 tourists a year, Le Jardin Majorelle, rescued by Yves St. Laurent, is now overrun by tourists. Once you’re inside, the scene usually leans far from serene. Travellers swarm the blocky buildings and pack the palm-shaded paths, snapping selfies. The snug, on-site Berber Museum provides some crowd relief with exhibits of colorful costumes and angular jewelry from the Moroccan tribe that inspired both Majorelle and YSL. During their first jaunt to Morocco in 1966, French-Algerian fashion designer Yves St. Laurent and his lover and business partner Pierre Bergé discovered Marrakesh’s Jardin Majorelle, a decrepit two-plus acre complex of plantings, cubist buildings and fountains created by early 20th-century French artist Jacques Majorelle in the tony Gueliz neighborhood.


SOURCES: IOL

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Ghana’s Tranquil Escape from the Clogged Capital

Aburi is an escape from Ghana’s traffic- and waste-clogged capital. Forty-five minutes away (or less, depending on how enthusiastic you are to get there), the town is a carpet of green — mountains, hills, banana and palm trees — bursting in every direction. Located in the Akuapim South municipal district of Ghana’s eastern region, it is part of the Akwapim-Togo mountain range, with hills averaging 1,500 feet. Hills hushed in silence, interrupted by the occasional songful chirp of birds. The Botanical Gardens (20 GHC, or $5), opened in 1890 and occupying about 64.8 hectares of land, is home to 350 plant species and is literally the seedbed of the production of cocoa and rubber in southern Ghana. It’s the perfect place to set up a picnic, lie in the grass, listen to the whistle of trees and enjoy the cool air. There are also birds and butterflies to spot. Centuries-old trees to marvel at. A picturesque procession of palm trees at the entrance.

SOURCES: OZY

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What Went Down at Gabon’s First Event Dedicated to Jazz Music

Music lovers were treated to good music at the “Gaboma jazz rock festival”. The open air concert in the heart of the Gabonese capital Libreville. The richness and originality of this genre of music was the basis for this unique music festival. Some 100 artists and groups took part in the Jazz music festival which attracted hundreds of music lovers who had fun at the free outdoor concert. Due to the unique history of Libreville a city founded by freed slaves, organizers wanted to popularize this genre of music, which originated from the southern part of the United States from African-American culture. To do this, the majority of the work was reserved for local amateur and experienced groups and artists. “We were thinking, jazz in the heart of the 6th arrondissement, we’re going to do it, but we don’t know. So as people came, we educated the audience that came in droves today and sang with us. They kept singing with us, that made me cry, said Gabonese artist Naneth Nkoghe.

SOURCES: AFRICA NEWS

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Africa Scrambles to Build Innovation Hubs across the Continent

A recent meeting of stakeholders of the Africa50 infrastructure fund warned countries that if they continue at the current rate of industrialisation, and fail to invest in their knowledge economies, they will face 100m jobless citizens across the region by 2050. Innovation ecosystems require basic infrastructure, such as road networks and ports, digital infrastructure including cheap broadband, supportive business and regulatory environments, technology, and talented scientific and mathematical minds, and in too many countries these basics are desperately lacking. Africa50 is drawing from a $871m fund to deploy early-stage risk capital to help lure local and global talent to Africa by giving early-stage startups and hi-tech ventures the financial freedom to grow.But as countries scramble for resources to build their digital ecosystems, areas of the continent are still struggling for electricity to power basic digital technology. Bridging the continent’s infrastructure gap is estimated to cost $160bn a year – without this, the potential of innovation hubs may be a distant dream.
 

SOURCES: AFRICAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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Ghana Named as Host of the African Continental Free Trade Area

In support of the new trade bloc, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo pledged to donate $10 million to the AU to support the operationalization of the secretariat of the AfCFTA. Although the AfCFTA will be economically transformative for Africa in the long-term, the immediate benefits will be restricted due to the macro-economic uncertainties of regional trade. The opportunities for Africa with this new trade bloc are immense. The Economist Intelligence Unit estimates that the AfCFTA will create the world’s largest continental free-trade area, provided all 55 African Union (AU) members join, and has the potential to create an African single market of 1.2 billion consumers whilst eliminating about 90% of tariffs on goods over the next five years. The AfCFTA is expected to boost the economies of African countries through employment creation and the promotion of made-in-Africa goods. But Kayode Akindele, a partner at TIA Capital, a pan-African investment partnership focussed on credit-based investing across sub-Saharan Africa, is not opening up the bubbly just yet.
 

SOURCES: FORBES AFRICA

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South Africa’s Central Bank Outlines Quick Moves to Save the Economy

Removing policy uncertainty in South Africa, allocating new broadband spectrum and changing visa regulations could immediately boost the country’s flagging economy and reduce the crisis-level unemployment rate, Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Kuben Naidoo said. While the central bank has long called on government for structural reforms to lift economic growth, its senior leaders have until now been reluctant to flag specific changes that could be made and have simply said these fall beyond the scope of monetary policy and the inflation-targeting mandate. Rolling out the 5G network to accommodate new spectrum allocation could boost direct investment by between 0.25% to 0.5% of gross domestic product, lower data costs and create new markets. Relaxing visa laws for tourists, which can be done “with a click of the finger”, could create as many as 300 000 full time and 600 000 part-time jobs for every 1 million visitors to the country, making inroads into the 29% unemployment rate, Naidoo said. Making it easier for skilled migrants to live and work in the country should be a “no-brainer” because that could create four unskilled jobs per skilled migrant, he said.

SOURCES: FIN24

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The Impact Of Lab-Grown Diamonds On The African Diamond Trade

Prior to the political war thriller Blood Diamond being released onto the silver screen in 2006, most of the world was blissfully unaware of the immense suffering often associated with the African diamond industry.  While diamonds are inherently associated with love, joy, and commitment, many inhabitants of Africa’s diamond-producing countries believe that the shimmering stones are more of a curse than a blessing. Up to this day, diamond mining still fuels a number of evils including worker exploitation, environmental dilapidation, and brutal civil wars. When you purchase a lab-grown diamond you can be 100% sure of its origin. Not only are diamonds that are grown in the lab genuinely conflict-free but they are also significantly more environmentally-friendly as well as substantially more affordable. The African environment can benefit greatly by increased demand for grown diamonds as they do not result in erosion water and soil contamination, loss of biodiversity, and the creation of sinkholes whatsoever. 
 

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Gloves Off in the Zambia vs Vedanta Row

The government of Zambia has defended its efforts to kick London-based copper miner Vedanta Resources out of the country, in an escalating row over tax and alleged underinvestment. The southern African nation’s national mining vehicle, ZCCM, is seeking to have Vedanta subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), its partner in the country’s largest copper mine, placed into liquidation. Vedanta responded earlier this week by seeking to have the case referred to arbitration in South Africa. A South African court has ruled that the sale process should be halted but the government has pressed on regardless. One source within the Zambian tax authorities said the company owed about $100m in VAT, customs duties and other taxes, even once refunds due to the company were taken into account. The source added that KCM, which has previously been criticised over pollution, has also withheld $10m in dividend payments.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Building Green Breweries in Africa

Diageo, the British owner of iconic brands including Guinness and Johnny Walker, is going green at brewing sites across Africa with an ambitious $218 million investment drive. The beverages multinational will overhaul the electricity mix at its African brewing sites across the continent and install solar power, biomass boilers and new water recovery equipment. The spending consists of an initial $60 million upfront investment in equipment and installation with $158 million earmarked for long-term maintenance and operations costs. The plans are a key commitment in one of Diageo’s most important market with the continent currently accounting for 13% of its global sales. And there’s potential for significant upside as Africa’s $13 billion beer market is the fastest growing globally. But the increased focus of global brewers targeting market share in Africa (in some cases by producing both premium beer brands and locally brewed low-end options), also comes with the risk of alcohol-related health problems as the African market is doubly attractive for brewers given weaker regulation for sales and advertising compared to western markets.

SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA

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African Bank Sets Agenda for Regional Integration

Ethiopia and the African Development Bank Group have signed a $98 million grant agreement from the African Development Fund (ADF) to help finance phase one of the Ethiopia–Djibouti Road Transport Corridor Project. The total cost of the project is $255 million, comprising an ADF grant of $98 million to the government of Ethiopia, an ADF grant of $5.3 million to the government of Djibouti and a co-financing contribution of $151 million by the government of Ethiopia. The project will kick off in 2020 and be implemented over a five-year period. The ADF grant to land-locked Ethiopia’s road transport sector is part of the Bank’s efforts to boost regional integration and connectivity, especially access to seaports. The project consists of the construction of the first 60 km of a 4-lane expressway section of the new 126 km stretch from Adama to Awash and includes the design of a one-stop border post at Dewele. The project will enhance trade by significantly reducing transport costs, thereby accelerating the economic growth of Ethiopia and its neighbour Djibouti, as it is part of the main import-export corridor. The expressway is expected to improve access to markets for farmers and rural communities. Other beneficiaries include some 3,000 truck-drivers who work the 900 km between Djibouti and Addis Ababa, and youths, who will receive over 95% of the job opportunities during the construction phase.

SOURCE: AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK

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REPORT: The “Grand-scale Corruption” which the Sassou-Nguesso Family Continues to Engage

A new investigation by anti-corruption NGO Global Witness has discovered the apparent theft of more than $50 million in public funds from the Republic of Congo by Denis Christel “Kiki” Sassou-Nguesso, son of the country’s president, Denis Sassou-Nguesso. The resulting report alleges the younger Sassou-Nguesso, 44, laundered the money through a “complex and opaque corporate structure” spanning six European countries, the British Virgin Islands, and the US state of Delaware. It’s far from the first time the nation’s first family has been accused of embezzling funds from their country’s treasury. In 2007, Global Witness fingered Kiki, a Congolese parliamentarian, as having spent “hundreds of thousands of dollars of money that may derive from sales of state oil on lavish designer shopping sprees in Paris, Marbella and Dubai.” His sister, Claudia Sassou-Nguesso—also an elected member of Congo’s parliament—allegedly pilfered nearly $20 million in state monies to buy a condo in New York City’s Trump International Hotel & Tower, according to a Global Witness report released in April. (The Congolese government called the charges “fake news.”)

SOURCE: DEUTSCHE WELLE

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Madagascar’s First Locally Owned Sea-cucumber Farm

In much of the Far East, sea cucumbers are a delicacy, fetching a high price for their purported health benefits. In Tampolove, a tiny windswept village of mud huts and sandy paths squeezed between the coast and the forest in south-west Madagascar, they have provided a major boost to the local economy and environment. The delicacy is transforming the lives of people who have typically earned no more than a dollar a day, while at the same time helping to alleviate the pressure on marine species. Sea cucumbers belong to the echinoderm family, along with starfish and urchins, and come in all shapes and sizes. They spend their days buried in silt, emerging at night to feed, sifting through the sediment for particles, a practice that provides an essential filtration service that benefits the wider ecosystem. n 2004 the local community, with the support of a British NGO, Blue Ventures, came together to decide what to do about the rapid decline in fish and octopus stocks in their coastal waters. They set up an association, comprising representatives from several villages on this stretch of coast, whose responsibility it would be to manage fishing and the environment. They called the protected area Velondriake, which translates from the Vezo language as “to live with the sea”.
 

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