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Somalia is Open for Business

On its path to transforming its petroleum industry and attract the attention of new investors, Somalia has made significant progress in recent years. This year, the country passed a new petroleum law which enabled it to make progress in exploration and development, and attract interest from oil and gas majors. Minister invites investors to enter the country’s exploration and development industry. Rich in hydrocarbons and possessing a favorable geological structure, Somalia holds huge opportunities for investors looking to enter the East African market, said the country’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Hon. Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed at the Africa Oil & Power conference. 

SOURCES: AFRICA OIL & POWER

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[OPINION] There’s a Gas Demand that is Occurring in Africa

Exxon Mobil has taken another step toward the creation of Africa’s largest liquefied natural gas facility — a project so sweeping that it will have implications for both the continent’s and the world’s energy landscape. The $33 billion enlargement of Mozambique’s Rovuma LNG complex will transform the country’s $15 billion economy, create thousands of jobs, give government more money to work with, and raise people’s standard of living. If these reserves are exploited effectively, experts predict that Mozambique could become the world’s third largest LNG exporter, increasing Africa’s roughly 8 percent share of global gas exports. At the same time, it will position Mozambique as a key supplier to African countries wishing to use gas to stabilize their unreliable electrical power grids — a continent-wide problem that has hurt African economic growth for decades.

SOURCES: AFRICAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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There’s a Blockage in the Renaissance Dam Project

Ethiopia is condemning an Egyptian proposal for water allocation amid tense negotiations over the countries’ use of Nile River waters. In an Oct. 5 statement, the Ethiopian government called Egypt’s conditions for filling the massive reservoir of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam “unjustified” and disruptive to “the positive spirit of cooperation.” The countries disagree about how to divert water from the Nile. Ethiopia’s proposal calls for the reservoir to be filled over four to seven years, a slower pace than the two-to-three-year time span the country says it could pursue. But on Aug. 1, Egypt submitted a counterproposal that would require Ethiopia to receive approval at various points, a step Egypt said is necessary to avoid droughts. Ethiopia rejected the conditions, saying they reflect colonial-era laws that don’t account for the rights of upriver countries.

SOURCES: VOA

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Where Are The Highest Paying Jobs In Africa?

Thanks to growing economies and the improving political situation in many African countries, Africa now has plenty of job opportunities to explore. Different countries have their own main economic activities, which largely determines what kinds of job opportunities are available locally. The entry of large multinational companies into Africa has further opened up a competitive job market that is constantly in search of top talent from across the continent, as well as across the globe. Some of the key factors to consider when moving for better job opportunities include: security, cost of living, economic growth and inflation, ease of accessing work permits or visas, job promotion prospects, employment income taxation regime, and remuneration benefits among others. Before beginning to make applications or accepting a job offer from a foreign country, you need to have factual information to better assess the suitability of a job.
 

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Africa’s First Smartphone Factory in Rwanda

Mara Phone, a smartphone by the pan-African conglomerate Mara Group, has opened its first factory in Rwanda as the company hopes to pioneer a brand of African-made smartphones. Located in Kigali’s special economic zone, the factory employs over 200 people to manufacture high-tech smartphones for the local market and further afield. With two models on sale for $159 and $229, the Android phones are hoping to compete with Asian manufacturers like Tecno and Samsung who currently dominate Africa’s markets. Smartphone penetration in Rwanda currently stands at around 15% with the most basic Tecno and Samsung models sold at $40 and $70 respectively. The bulk of the market is characterised by feature phones which use USSD technology to access digital services; a general trend across the continent.
 

SOURCE: FAST COMPANY

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Zimbabwe’s Dark and Difficult Times

Zimbabwe has raised its average electricity tariff by 320 percent to ramp up power supplies at a time of daily blackouts. The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) said it had approved an application by Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) to raise the tariff. ZERA said the tariff rise was necessary after inflation soared – the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it was about 300 percent in August. Zimbabwe introduced an interim sovereign currency – the Real Time Gross Settlement dollar or Zimdollar – in February which quickly fell prey to black market speculation. Consumers seem set for more price increases after the energy regulator said that, starting November, the power utility would index its tariff to the US dollar to enable it “to recover from inflation and exchange rate changes”. The new tariff would allow ZETDC to raise money to repair its generators, as well as pay for imports from South Africa’s Eskom and Mozambique which cost $19.5m every month, the regulator said.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Dangote in a Hard Place With Operations in Tanzania

Dangote Cement is locked in a dispute with the government of Tanzania – its most profitable market in the first half of this year – over the company’s failure to fulfill a regulatory obligation. The Nigerian-based cement maker last week was accused of not filing its operations report with the Tanzania Investment Center according to government regulations. From September 30, the company was given a seven-day ultimatum to tender the document but reports suggest it has failed to do so. It is through the report that TIC and the government would get to know of the Dangote Cement’s project history, plans for expansion, taxes paid, profits, challenges, and recommendations. Dangote had previously experienced issues with President John Magufuli’s administration over tax on diesel imports to run its plant and a ban on coal import. At some point last year, the firm suspended its operations, citing technical problems and high production costs.
 

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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Equatorial Guinea’s Economy Under Threat

New currency controls enforced by the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) could ruin the oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Guinea. Equatorial Guinea, a small West African member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, derives more than 90% of its foreign revenues from its oil and gas industry. The BEAC rules introduced in June are aimed at bringing order to a monetary bloc awash with petrodollars which, owing to lax controls, often end up in offshore bank accounts after bypassing local economies completely. Businesses say the restrictions are causing dire currency shortages and delaying transactions. The minister, Gabriel Obiang Lima, said they were jeopardizing investments by multinational energy companies in Equatorial Guinea’s oilfields.
 

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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AfDB President Up for Re-election

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated Akinwumi Adesina for re-election as the president of the African Development Bank (AfDB).“We have gone some way climbing the steep mountainside of Africa’s development, yet there’s still much way to go until we reach the mountaintop,” he said. Adesina said he worked hard during his four years as president of the AfDB and intends to keep up the good work. The former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria also shed light on some of the achievements the organization has recorded so far, which includes “providing 70 million people with improved agricultural technologies to achieve food security.” Upon his inauguration as the 8th elected leader of the Bank Group, Adesina set down a new five-point agenda, popularly known as the High 5s. The High 5s include Light Up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life for the people of Africa.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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Educating Batswana about Modern Farming Practices

Amanda Aminah Masire’s firm, Greenhouse Technologies is plugging the gap between farmers and government with a company that provided everything from consultancy to cucumber seed. Between 2013 and 2018, Greenhouse Technologies’ “horticulture in a box” solution helped 430 Botswanans to become farmers. In the process, she’s reduced the country’s reliance on imported fruits and vegetables to the tune of 2,100 acres of productive land. Masire owes her success to wrapping up a sizable chunk of the horticulture value chain. Masire is determined to stay several steps ahead of the competition, she outlines plans to incorporate beekeeping, integrated livestock farming, the internet of things, fish farming, steel-bending and pollination by drone into her business offerings. And she plans to expand the model to other African countries.

SOURCE: OZY

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There’s Need For More Disruption In Africa’s Tech Scene

BYOlukayode Kolawole

For most people living outside Africa, they imagine the continent as the home of poverty, corruption, internet fraud, infrastructure deficit, and everything that describes under-development, marginalization, oppression, bad leadership, insecurity, diseases, and many more. Although the continent is truly beset with some perennial development issues, some of these notions are preposterous and not entirely peculiar to Africa. No doubt, for a continent that is richly blessed with numerous natural resources, the economies of the countries within it should be enviable and have the capacity to truly compete with the First World countries.

Home to 54 countries, with Nigeria and South Africa having the biggest economies, the continent has a population of 1.2 billion people, projected to rise to 2.5 billion by 2050. It is the second most populated after Asia and second growing economy in the world after East Asia, with a 3.5% annual growth rate. Average age is about 20 years, and 30% of its population make up the middle class which is expected to grow by 80% between 2020 & 2030. An estimated 473 million people are connected to the internet in Africa, which represents 36% of its population, while 1 billion people who have access to mobile phones, represents 80% of its population.

There are a number of laudable achievements the continent has earned for itself. These achievements, although rarely spoken of, have positioned the continent on a global map, earned it positive recognition from First World countries, changed its narrative to something better and more appealing, and made it a sought-after destination for business investment, leisure and entertainment. This article will dwell on the business investment opportunities that have changed the fortunes of the continent, and how these businesses are impacting and transforming the quality of lives in Africa.

E-commerce is one of the business sectors powering the engines of commerce and trade in the continent. It has brought many untold opportunities for both the consumers and the micro, small, medium enterprises. In Nigeria for instance, Jumia paved the way for e-commerce in 2012, provided consumers access to hundreds of thousands of products, and expanded access for discerning entrepreneurs who quickly took advantage of the many unique opportunities presented by these platforms, to reach more consumers and sell more products. The convenience of e-commerce made a compelling case for early adoption of online shopping by customers who until then only shopped from brick and mortar stores.

The bold move by Jumia and other ecommerce players paved the way for many e-commerce startups in the country today. Although many of these platforms have been phased out due to a number of challenges, the truth still remains that the story of how Jumia led the way for e-commerce in the country continues to reverberate the entire sector, and has today, yielded many positive results. It was not too long after Jumia launched in Nigeria that it expanded its operations to 13 other African countries, in which it has operations today, covering 75% of the entire continent’s GDP, and about 75% of internet users.

The Case of e-commerce and Jumia

Yet, the continent is still perceived to be growing slowly compared to other developed continents such as Europe, Asia, South & North America when it comes to online commerce. For instance, online retail penetration accounts for less than 1% of all the transactions in Africa, compared to 12% in the US and 20% in China. There is a ratio of 1 shop to 67,000 Africans versus 1 shop to 1,000 Americans. The shift from physical stores to online stores is happening gradually as a result of ecommerce platforms becoming increasingly relevant to both the consumers and sellers in Africa. Let’s use Jumia, a Pan African e-commerce platform as a yardstick to illustrate this gradual but steady growth.

On the Jumia platform as at March 31st 2019, there were over 81,000 active sellers across Africa selling over 30 million products to about 4.3 million active customers, according to the company’s prospectus on the New York Stock Exchange. Who are these sellers, and where did the consumers come from? Sellers who until 2012 were primarily selling offline and reaching very few consumers within their geographical proximity. Same consumers who grew up going to physical stores to make a purchase, wasting time and effort, and in some cases money. These same traditional offline shoppers and sellers embraced a convenient method of shopping, started to spend money and time saved from walking a distance to physical shops on other priorities, whereas the sellers started reaching more buyers, even those outside of their geographical reach. 

Where are the products they sell sourced from? The sellers and consumers are not the only beneficiaries of e-commerce. The economy of the various countries with ecommerce presence benefits the most through the promotion of locally made products i.e. Made in Nigeria. Majority of the sellers on the Jumia marketplace sell locally made products, especially fashion items. These local producers enjoy unprecedented exposure and access to millions of customers across Africa. This therefore makes for a strong case because 75% of most African economies derive their revenue from micro, small and medium enterprises. It thus means that the more exposure these local businesses enjoy on the Jumia platform, the more revenue will be generated for the countries.

As a result of the precedence set by the pan African ecommerce platform Jumia, investment opportunities started knocking on the continent. Established ecommerce platforms in other regions, such as Amazon, started eyeing the many opportunities to establish its presence in Africa. For instance, Souq, a Middle East player was bought by Amazon in 2017 to establish a presence in Egypt; Naspers owns Takealot in South Africa, competing with Jumia’s fashion retail platform, Zando. Others are local competitors such as Mall for Africa, Afrimarket in West Africa, and KiliMall in Kenya. From time immemorial, Nigerians, and maybe some Africans, prefer to physically see and inspect a product they are buying before making a purchase; it was more cultural and behavioural than instinctive. As a result, many thought the idea of e-commerce might not hold waters in the continent because unlike the physical stores, it doesn’t provide an opportunity to feel and touch a product before it is purchased. Yet, over 4 million Africans today enjoy the convenience of ecommerce, especially due to the provision of Cash on Delivery as a mode of payment, and return policies put in place by most platforms including Jumia. 

But, the pie needs to grow. Less than 1% of all retail transactions in the entire continent is still a very small pie. In the words of Jumia co-CEOs Sacha Poignonnec and Jeremy Hodara, the company will continue to remain focused on its core operations in driving consumer adoption and engagement on its marketplace, will continue to invest in infrastructure such as warehousing & logistics. It will also continue to increase the penetration of JumiaPay, its proprietary payment solution which is a one-stop solution for any customer that buys on Jumia and enables him to pay with any of the available payment methods in the respective markets.

Jumia’s operations in Africa have proved sceptics wrong that there’s a viable opportunity for ecommerce to help sellers grow their businesses exponentially by giving them access to millions of consumers; to help consumers find any product they desire from a large pool of product assortment, which the company continues to expand to accommodate new consumer demand; and to help individual and large logistics companies who are part of the Jumia logistics network grow their businesses and make more deliveries. In fact, in 2018 alone, through these logistic partners, Jumia made 14.6 million deliveries across Africa.

According to the African Tech Startup Report published by Disrupt Africa, 210 African tech startups raised a total of US$334.52 million in funding in 2018 from foreign investors. The number of startups that raised funds grew by 32.1 per cent, and total funding jumped by an impressive 71.5 per cent. In terms of sectors, the fintech space continued to dominate, remaining a clear favourite among investors and, at US$132.75 million, accounting for 39.7 per cent of total funds raised. This was an increase on previous years, but nonetheless, there are strong signs of progress in other sectors, with multiple ed-tech, e-commerce, e-health, transport, logistics and agri-tech startups raising funding as investors saw opportunities in a large number of areas (Source: CNBC Africa).

Gabriella Mulligan, co-founder of Disrupt Africa, said: “2018 was an incredible year for tech startups in Africa. The continent’s entrepreneurs have grabbed the attention of investors, accelerators, and media both locally and globally this year with their innovative solutions and business models, and it’s great to be able to report on such strong results across our ecosystem.”

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Nigeria’s Mental Health Crisis

One in four Nigerians – some 50 million people – are suffering from some sort of mental illness, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The 10th of October is observed as World Mental Health Day and researchers find that the country is nowhere near equipped to tackle the problem. There are only eight neuropsychiatric hospitals in Nigeria. With dire budget and staffing shortfalls prompting doctors to go on strike, leave the country, or quit the medical profession altogether, the prognosis looks as grim for psychiatric care at Yaba hospital as it does for Nigeria’s healthcare system as a whole. The seventh-largest country in the world, Nigeria has Africa’s highest rate of depression, and ranks fifth in the world in the frequency of suicide, according to WHO. There are less than 150 psychiatrists in this country of 200 million, and WHO estimates that fewer than 10 percent of mentally ill Nigerians have access to the care they need. 

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Tunisia’s Elections Take an Interesting Turn

One of the two candidates in the runoff to become Tunisia’s president was released from prison on Wednesday, just four days before the vote. As he stepped from the prison on Wednesday night, the candidate, Nabil Karoui, was greeted by the cheers of his supporters, who had gathered outside, with some waving flags with his face on them. Mr. Karoui, leader of the secular Qalb Tounes, or Heart of Tunisia party, had been arrested on Aug. 23, as part of an investigation into money laundering and tax fraud. Mr. Karoui has said the allegations amounted to a politically motivated smear campaign. He’s called for a the election to be delayed for a week so he can campaign.

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Progress Report on Containing the Ebola Virus in the DRC

The World Health Organization reports progress in containing the Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, but says many challenges to its elimination remain.  WHO reports the number of cases in the outbreak now stands at 3,207, including 2,144 deaths. The executive Director of WHO Health Emergencies, Michael Ryan, says he is largely optimistic that aid workers are getting control of the Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo.  But, he says, it is impossible to say the outbreak is over. In fact, the virus has come full circle.  Ryan notes the disease has moved from Butembo and other urban areas to the remote, rural town of Mangina, the epicenter of the outbreak.  He says the virus is back where it began when the Ebola outbreak was declared August 1, 2018.

SOURCE: VOA

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What’s On the Minds of Girls Living in Kibera?

Girls in Kenya’s biggest slum are breaking their silence about parental and sexual abuse, thanks to “talking boxes” placed in schools where they can share their secrets. The metal boxes have been installed in 50 schools across the vast slum by a UN-funded non-governmental organisation, Polycom Development. Girls write down their problems or questions on pieces of paper and post them through a slot in the boxes, which are often placed outside bathrooms or in other discreet locations to give them more privacy, especially in mixed-gender schools. A 2010 report by rights group Amnesty International indicates violence against women and girls is endemic in slums, and is linked to the lack of access to sanitation and public security. Another report released in 2014 by the African Population and Health Research Centre shows in Kenya about 30% of young people aged between 10 and 24 are urban slum dwellers.

SOURCE: BBC

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AfDB President Up for Re-election

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated Akinwumi Adesina for re-election as the president of the African Development Bank (AfDB).“We have gone some way climbing the steep mountainside of Africa’s development, yet there’s still much way to go until we reach the mountaintop,” he said. Adesina said he worked hard during his four years as president of the AfDB and intends to keep up the good work. The former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria also shed light on some of the achievements the organization has recorded so far, which includes “providing 70 million people with improved agricultural technologies to achieve food security.” Upon his inauguration as the 8th elected leader of the Bank Group, Adesina set down a new five-point agenda, popularly known as the High 5s. The High 5s include Light Up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life for the people of Africa.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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Equatorial Guinea’s Economy Under Threat

New currency controls enforced by the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) could ruin the oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Guinea. Equatorial Guinea, a small West African member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, derives more than 90% of its foreign revenues from its oil and gas industry. The BEAC rules introduced in June are aimed at bringing order to a monetary bloc awash with petrodollars which, owing to lax controls, often end up in offshore bank accounts after bypassing local economies completely. Businesses say the restrictions are causing dire currency shortages and delaying transactions. The minister, Gabriel Obiang Lima, said they were jeopardizing investments by multinational energy companies in Equatorial Guinea’s oilfields.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” Bill

Uganda plans to enact a law that would impose the death penalty on homosexuals, saying the legislation would curb a rise in unnatural sex in the east African nation. The bill, which is supported by President Yoweri Museveni, will be re-introduced in parliament in the coming weeks and is expected to be voted on before the end of the year. Campaigners are optimistic it would pass with the necessary two-thirds of members present – a shortfall in numbers killed a similar bill in 2014 – as the government had lobbied legislators ahead of its re-introduction.“Our current penal law is limited. It only criminalises the act. We want it made clear that anyone who is even involved in promotion and recruitment has to be criminalised. Those that do grave acts will be given the death sentence.”

SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

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Ethiopian Airlines is in the Market for a New Fleet

The airline is reportedly at the final stages of striking a $1.6 billion deal with European aerospace giant Airbus for the purchase of 20 of its narrow-body A220 jets. This is not the first time Africa’s largest air carrier is looking at purchasing the 100-seat Airbus A220s for its fleet. The airline was considering European jets last year, however, it eventually had decided to go with larger Boeing 737 family aircraft. According to Tewolde, Ethiopian Airlines faced difficulties operating large Boeing 737 MAX, as it had to stop off at a second destination on flights from Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to cities including Windhoek in Namibia and the Botswana capital Gaborone for refueling. Operating Airbus A220s will allow direct flights with no additional stops.

SOURCE: eTURBO NEWS

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One More Sleep Before Zuma Knows his Fate

Former president Jacob Zuma, who is the subject of multiple court orders to repay an estimated R26m in legal costs and could lose his Nkandla homestead if he fails to repay his VBS bond, will know on Friday if his corruption trial will go ahead. Three judges at the Pietermaritzburg high court will rule on Zuma’s claims that the case against him has been tainted by undue delay and political interference and must be permanently stayed.

SOURCE: BUSINESS DAY LIVE

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Movie Review: Being Nigerian in the UK in the 60s

Inspired by his own experiences, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s drama about black children adopted by white UK families is gruelling but intensely heartfelt. It’s an intensely personal, autobiographical work from actor-turned-director, where he was “farmed”, or adopted, as many children with a Nigerian background were in the 60s and 70s, with white, working-class families in the UK. A little like Shola Amoo’s recent The Last Tree, Farming touches on the alienated experience of fostering and the culture shock of going back to Nigeria.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Where Are The Highest Paying Jobs In Africa?

Thanks to growing economies and the improving political situation in many African countries, Africa now has plenty of job opportunities to explore. Different countries have their own main economic activities, which largely determines what kinds of job opportunities are available locally. The entry of large multinational companies into Africa has further opened up a competitive job market that is constantly in search of top talent from across the continent, as well as across the globe. Some of the key factors to consider when moving for better job opportunities include: security, cost of living, economic growth and inflation, ease of accessing work permits or visas, job promotion prospects, employment income taxation regime, and remuneration benefits among others. Before beginning to make applications or accepting a job offer from a foreign country, you need to have factual information to better assess the suitability of a job.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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The First Black Woman to Visit Every Country is African

Jessica Nabongo, a UN employee turned travel blogger, set out to visit all 193 countries in the world in 2016, and on October 6 arrived the last on her list, Seychelles, according to a post on her Instagram page. She also clocked up a couple of what the UN calls “non-observer status” territories, taking her total to 195. Born in Detroit to Ugandan parents and holding two passports, Nabongo’s epic odyssey hasn’t just been about getting her name in a record book. She’s hoping to pave the way for women and people of color to do the same. And despite being a self-identified African, that didn’t mean everything was smooth sailing when Nabongo traveled around Africa. A few times, she watched in frustration as she was forced to wait behind white tourists or forced to pay bribes in order to cross borders that should have been open to her.To support her travel habits, she founded a company called Jet Black, which organizes custom itineraries for small group trips in Africa, plus sells travel gear like branded T-shirts and passport covers. 

SOURCE: CNN

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The Africans Fighting to Save the Environment

In Kenya Kaluki Paul Mutuku has been actively involved in conservation since college, where he was a member of an environmental awareness club, and has been a member of the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change since 2015. Raised in rural Kenya by a single mother, Mutuku’s vigorous activism, was inspired by the direct challenges his family and wider community faced from the effects of climate change. He acknowledges the young children in Kenya and Nigeria and other parts of the developing world who make toys out of recycled plastic and metal, and who would probably not know to call themselves climate advocates.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Zimbabwe’s Dark and Difficult Times

Zimbabwe has raised its average electricity tariff by 320 percent to ramp up power supplies at a time of daily blackouts. The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) said it had approved an application by Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) to raise the tariff. ZERA said the tariff rise was necessary after inflation soared – the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it was about 300 percent in August. Zimbabwe introduced an interim sovereign currency – the Real Time Gross Settlement dollar or Zimdollar – in February which quickly fell prey to black market speculation. Consumers seem set for more price increases after the energy regulator said that, starting November, the power utility would index its tariff to the US dollar to enable it “to recover from inflation and exchange rate changes”. The new tariff would allow ZETDC to raise money to repair its generators, as well as pay for imports from South Africa’s Eskom and Mozambique which cost $19.5m every month, the regulator said.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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AfDB to Incentivise Countries Boosting Women in Business

The African Development Bank will soon start tracking how much loan is given to women across the continent through its new initiative, the Women Financing Index. The index is to take note of African countries that accord women a priority in loan disbursement. Nations that perform well according to data obtained would benefit more from financing from AfDB. The bank’s chief further explained that institutions will be rated by their development impact which is based on the rate and volume at which they lend to women. “Top institutions will be rewarded with preferential financing terms from the African Development Bank,” he added. Over the past decade, the number of women entrepreneurs in Africa has grown substantially. AfDB’s Africa Gender Equality Index shows that female entrepreneurship on the continent is the highest in the world and they make a sizeable contribution to Africa’s economy. Across steel manufacturing companies in South Africa, Ethiopia’s textile and clothing designing, high-tech development in East Africa and agribusinesses in West Africa, female entrepreneurs are taking their place in the business landscape.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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Rwanda Deports Controversial Pastor

An American missionary who ran a conservative evangelical church and radio station in Rwanda was arrested in Kigali, the country’s capital before he could hold a news conference to denounce the government for clamping down on churches like his. The Rev. Gregg Schoof is one of several outspoken evangelical pastors who have criticized the Rwandan government for allowing access to abortion and birth control, and for teaching evolution. Until last year, Rwanda imprisoned women accused of having abortions. But a law passed last year allowed abortion in cases of rape, forced marriage, incest, or when the pregnancy posed a health risk to the mother. Earlier this year, Mr. Kagame ordered the release of nearly 400 women and girls who had been jailed for having or aiding in abortions.

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

Featured

Educating Batswana about Modern Farming Practices

Amanda Aminah Masire’s firm, Greenhouse Technologies is plugging the gap between farmers and government with a company that provided everything from consultancy to cucumber seed. Between 2013 and 2018, Greenhouse Technologies’ “horticulture in a box” solution helped 430 Botswanans to become farmers. In the process, she’s reduced the country’s reliance on imported fruits and vegetables to the tune of 2,100 acres of productive land. Masire owes her success to wrapping up a sizable chunk of the horticulture value chain. Masire is determined to stay several steps ahead of the competition, she outlines plans to incorporate beekeeping, integrated livestock farming, the internet of things, fish farming, steel-bending and pollination by drone into her business offerings. And she plans to expand the model to other African countries.

SOURCE: OZY

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Spotlight on Maternal Care in African Hospitals

A medical journal in The Lancet found that more than one-third of new mothers in four poor countries are abused during childbirth. A study carried out in Ghana, Guinea, Myanmar and Nigeria by the World Health Organization, found that 42% of the women experienced physical or verbal abuse or some form of stigma or discrimination at maternity health facilities. The study also found a high number of Cesarean sections, vaginal exams and other procedures being performed without the patient’s consent. Of the 2,016 women observed for the study, 14% said they were either hit, slapped or punched during childbirth. Some 38% of the women said they were subjected to verbal abuse, most often by being shouted at, mocked or scolded. The authors of the study urged officials to hold those who mistreat women during childbirth accountable. They also urged the governments to put into place clear policies and sufficient resources to ensure that women have a safe place to give birth.

SOURCE: VOA

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Buhari Goes After Oil Profits

Nigeria is seeking to recover as much as $62 billion from international oil companies; using a 2018 Supreme Court ruling that the state says enables it to increase its share of income from production-sharing contracts. The proposal comes as President Muhammadu Buhari tries to bolster revenue after a drop in the output and price of oil, Nigeria’s main export. It’s previously targeted foreign companies, fining mobile operator MTN Group Ltd. almost $1 billion for failing to disconnect undocumented SIM-card users, and suing firms including JPMorgan Chase & Co. in a corruption scandal.

SOURCE: BLOOMBERG

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Ethiopia’s PM is the Bookmakers’ Favourite to Win a Nobel Peace Prize

During a high-level meeting at Ethiopia’s foreign ministry in July, officials were shocked by social media reports that their prime ministe, Ahmed Abiy was visiting Eritrea. His second since clinching a peace deal last year that ended two decades of hostility between the two neighbours. The surprise visit is typical of Abiy, who both fans and critics say often relies on bold personal initiatives and charisma to drive change instead of working through government institutions. The deal with Eritrea won Abiy international plaudits.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Young South Africans Want To Farm

Persistent unemployment has become synonymous with the youth experience across South Africa. Youth unemployment rates are almost four times higher than the regional average – 62% of South Africans between 15 and 35 years are unemployed and of these 60% have never been employed.

Add to this the fact that even those who have jobs are earning below what is considered to be a monthly living wage and what emerges is youth employment crisis.

The agricultural sector could be a key source of job creation for young people. But conventional opinion has it that they are turning their backs on the sector despite high levels of unemployment. So what gives?

Drawing on personal narratives collected from 573 young people across three provinces in South Africa, recent research has begun building a picture what young people think and feel about work in agriculture.

Overall, the prevailing notion that they are turning their backs on the sector seems to hold true. Over 60% of respondents felt that it was harder to make career decisions relating to agriculture than other careers.

But our research dispels the view that this is because of a lack of interest. Based on our interviews, more than half of those surveyed suggested that they saw a place for agriculture in the long-term visions for their lives. This was either as a useful stepping stone, or as an exciting option in its own right.

The problem wasn’t a lack of interest: rather it had to do with the fact that jobs in agriculture were either back-breaking and financially unappealing – at the subsistence level – or they were in large agri-businesses where workers are often treated appallingly.

These voices present a clear mandate to those interested in the future of youth, land and employment in South Africa: open up an economic space for viable family farming in South Africa and young people will throw their energy into the sector.

Stigma, Risk and Reward

Unsurprisingly, agriculture appears to carry a stronger set of negative stigmas than other careers. Examples included themes around agriculture being for poor and elderly people, on the one hand, or, on the other, for wealthier white people.

Agriculture was also perceived by many as a risky career path that involved a lot of hard work for little financial reward.

One 27-year-old put it this way:

I was 17 and had to put through my university application. I sat my parents down and told them that I wanted to do farming as one of my career choices. They said no, farming was for old people and they didn’t put me {through} school to get dirty running after pigs. They wanted me to do an office job. I had to choose between my parents funding and career.

Other themes that emerged included peer pressure, shaming, racism and substantial family pressure when considering agriculture as a career choice.

A 20-year-old from Limpopo said:

I once went to a certain farm to buy tomatoes, while I was there, there was a huge argument between the white boss and a worker who put wrong grades of tomatoes, she was kicked and fell on tomatoes in front of the customers, I started to have questions about working in agriculture.

Nevertheless, over a third of the young people we spoke to expressed positive vies about working in agriculture.

Many want to work in agriculture. But they said they battled to navigate the spaces between their own vocational motivations, the available work opportunities and the pressures they encountered from friends and family.

A 25-year-old from Kwa-Zulu Natal put it this way:

I studied agriculture at university. It was a very good career path. I enjoy doing it a lot while my friends were against it, but I carried on {to} finish my year. But the problem came when I have to apply for a job. I didn’t get any job and that was painful to me and it felt like it {was} a waste of time because my parent have faith in me now I’m sitting home with my degree. But I still have hope.

Context

Stepping back to look to contextualise youth narratives within the broader food system presents good news and bad.

The bad news is that there aren’t enough farmers who fill the space between subsistence agriculture and large-scale agri-businesses. This “missing middle” leaves young people feeling trapped.

They either feel trapped by the poverty, isolation and backbreaking drudgery associated with rural subsistence agriculture. Or they face the unappealing prospects of unskilled minimum wage jobs on increasingly industrialised (and often racialised) commercial farming operations.

Seen in this light, it’s not surprising that young people are turning away from agriculture. The choices they are making simply reflect the fact that they are avoiding work that is demeaning.

There is some good news: many young people see potential. They aspire to entrepreneurial work with a deeper social purpose. Encouragingly, many believe that the act of working on the land to produce food is meaningful work.

Original Source:The Conversation

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Here’s What South Africa’s Richest Men are Investing In

Fans of the Pretoria-based club should start planning their trophy celebrations now, because it looks like a serious windfall is coming their way – thanks to two of South Africa’s richest men. As it stands, Johann Rupert owns a 50% stake in the Blue Bulls. But Patrice Motsepe is understood to be preparing a bid that claims 37.5% for himself, and reduces Rupert’s input to the same number. Together, they would form a multi-billion rand alliance and take a controlling stake of the club, leaving just 25% for other investors. The ties between the Pretoria-based outfits are likely to strengthen once Motsepe gets on board. With him and Rupert controlling the chequebooks – and boasting a combined fortune of $9 billion in the coffers – a new dawn is on the horizon for this domestic giant.

SOURCE: THE SOUTH AFRICAN

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Whistleblower Takes On Ethiopian Airlines

The airlines’ former chief engineer said in a whistleblower complaint the carrier accessed the maintenance records of a Boeing 737 Max jet a day after it crashed this year, a breach he contends was part of a pattern of corruption that included fabricating documents, signing off on shoddy repairs, and even beating those who got out of line. Yeshanew’s criticism of Ethiopian’s maintenance practices, backed by three other former employees who spoke to AP, makes him the latest voice urging investigators to take a closer look at potential human factors in the Max saga and not just focus on Boeing’s faulty anti-stall system, which has been blamed in two crashes in four months. Yeshanew alleged in his report and interviews with AP that Ethiopian was growing too fast and struggling to keep planes in the air now that it carried 11 million passengers a year, four times what it was handling a decade ago, including flights to Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington and Newark, New Jersey.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Mozambique Tries to Shake Off its Legacy of Unrest

The head of Mozambique’s poll observer mission was shot dead on Monday in a governing party stronghold, the latest killing in the run-up to next week’s elections, a monitoring group said. Gunmen fired several shots at Anastacio Matavele as he was driving away from a workshop in Xai-Xai, the capital of the southeastern Gaza province. The attackers were involved in a car accident as they fled the scene, said the group. One died in the crash, another was taken to hospital and a third was arrested. 

SOURCE: BUSINESS DAY LIVE

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Kenya’s Land Dispute

The Sengwer, an indigenous hunter-gatherer community in western Kenya, presented a petition to the government in Nairobi demanding the return and protection of what they call their ancestral lands. The community says it faces threats of eviction as Kenya’s government takes over conservation of the country’s forests and water supplies. Hundreds of members of the Sengwer, a community that lives in the Embobut forest, spent two days marching from their ancestral land in Kenya’s North Rift Valley to Nairobi in hopes of meeting President Uhuru Kenyatta. Dressed in traditional regalia, they sang traditional songs as they arrived in Nairobi with the petition to the government. Embobut forest is listed as one of the five most important water catchment areas in Kenya. Since the 1970’s, Kenya’s government, through its Forest Service guards, has carried out a series of forceful evictions of the Sengwer in Embobut. An Amnesty international report said that during evictions in 2017, forces burned more than 300 houses, injured hundreds and killed a Sengwer man.

SOURCE: VOA

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Facebook Expands its Fact-checking Network in Africa

Working with a network of fact-checking organizations, certified by the non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network, the service will now be available in Ethiopia, Zambia, Somalia and Burkina Faso through AFP, Uganda and Tanzania through both Pesa Check and AFP, Democratic Republic of Congo and Cote d’Ivoire through the France 24 Observers and AFP, Guinea Conakry through the France 24 Observers, and Ghana through Dubawa.  When third-parties fact-check a news story, Facebook will show these in Related Articles immediately below the story in News Feed. Page Admins and people on Facebook will also receive notifications if they try to share a story or have shared one in the past that’s been determined to be false, empowering people to decide for themselves what to read, trust, and share. 

SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

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A South African Reserve Can Make You a Game Ranger

The students, from places as diverse as Italy, the U.K. and South Africa, are a third of the way through the six-month Professional Field Guide Course offered by Bushwise Field Guides near Hoedspruit in South Africa. The course — which is split between a thatch-roofed classroom and a 27,000-hectare private game reserve that’s home to all of the Big 5 (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhinoceros) — covers everything from identifying raptors to learning how to handle a .375 rifle when an angry (cardboard cutout of a) buffalo is bearing down on you. Students who pass the final exam are qualified to work as game rangers, revealing the wonders of the African bush from a Cruiser with a rifle on the dash.

SOURCE: OZY

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This Could be the Largest Criminal Prosecution of Protesters in Egyptian History

More than 100 children are among thousands of people detained in Egypt in an effort to prevent further protests against the rule of Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi. Many were held by security services after they were stopped at checkpoints, where officials demanded to see their phones in order to check for “political” material. Local rights groups as well as the government’s own National Council for Human Rights condemned the practice as unconstitutional. Detainees were added to a single charge sheet, accused of aiding a terrorist group, spreading false information, misuse of social media and participation in unauthorised protests. Amnesty International said this included at least 69 minors aged between 11 and 17.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Dangote in a Hard Place With Operations in Tanzania

Dangote Cement is locked in a dispute with the government of Tanzania – its most profitable market in the first half of this year – over the company’s failure to fulfill a regulatory obligation. The Nigerian-based cement maker last week was accused of not filing its operations report with the Tanzania Investment Center according to government regulations. From September 30, the company was given a seven-day ultimatum to tender the document but reports suggest it has failed to do so. It is through the report that TIC and the government would get to know of the Dangote Cement’s project history, plans for expansion, taxes paid, profits, challenges, and recommendations. Dangote had previously experienced issues with President John Magufuli’s administration over tax on diesel imports to run its plant and a ban on coal import. At some point last year, the firm suspended its operations, citing technical problems and high production costs.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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Sex for Grades Saga Continued

The University of Lagos has suspended a lecturer who was caught on film propositioning and sexually harassing an undercover BBC reporter. Boniface Igbeneghu, also a pastor, has been condemned by his church. He was one of several academics secretly filmed as part of a year-long investigation by BBC Africa Eye. The film, which has sparked widespread social media comment, explored alleged sexual harassment by members of staff at two top West African universities. A number of high-profile figures, including celebrities and politicians, have joined in the conversation about the issues it raised. The report also saw students, some with their identities hidden, making allegations about their own experiences with professors. Many Twitter users condemned the actions seen on the film and called for a swift response, while others shared their own alleged experiences. 

SOURCE: BBC

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Africa’s First Smartphone Factory in Rwanda

Mara Phone, a smartphone by the pan-African conglomerate Mara Group, has opened its first factory in Rwanda as the company hopes to pioneer a brand of African-made smartphones. Located in Kigali’s special economic zone, the factory employs over 200 people to manufacture high-tech smartphones for the local market and further afield. With two models on sale for $159 and $229, the Android phones are hoping to compete with Asian manufacturers like Tecno and Samsung who currently dominate Africa’s markets. Smartphone penetration in Rwanda currently stands at around 15% with the most basic Tecno and Samsung models sold at $40 and $70 respectively. The bulk of the market is characterised by feature phones which use USSD technology to access digital services; a general trend across the continent.

SOURCE: AFRICAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE | AFRICA.COM

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African Languages Growing in U.S. Homes

Newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau spotlights African languages among the top ten fastest growing languages spoken at home in the U.S. The list featured three groups of African languages: Swahili and other Central/Eastern/Southern African languages; Yoruba, Twi, Igbo, and other Western African languages; and Amharic/Somali. Analysts credit the development to recent immigration trends. Although African immigrants make up a small share of the nation’s immigrant population, their overall numbers have doubled every decade since 1970, according to the Pew Research Center. Africans now make up 39% of the total foreign-born black population, up from 24% in 2000. This trend is already having an impact on the U.S. In the upcoming 2020 census, the country will, for the first time, have printed guides in three additional African languages—Igbo, Yoruba, and Twi. The previous census in 2010 had guides printed in five African languages all of which were from East and South Africa.

SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA

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African Leaders Take on the Access to Healthcare Challenge

In spite of international stereotypes of healthcare on the continent, African leaders were particularly active in the discussions surrounding Universal Health Coverage (UHC) at the UN meeting. Rwandan President Paul Kagame underlined its importance in his speech, pitching the “transformational potential” of UHC at the top of the global health agenda. He also released an op-ed alongside WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, drawing attention to just some of the steps which African nations have already taken toward achieving this ambitious goal. A global goal of universal health coverage – that is, access to quality preventative, curative and palliative health services regardless of an individual’s ability to pay – is a lofty one indeed. Rwanda, Senegal and Kenya have taken important steps towards better healthcare and their experience should be considered by other African countries hoping to improve the wellbeing of their populations. 

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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Undercover in West African Universities

Academic institutions in West Africa have increasingly been facing allegations of sexual harassment by lecturers. This type of abuse is said to be endemic, but it’s almost never proven. After gathering dozens of testimonies, BBC Africa Eye sent undercover journalists posing as students inside the University of Lagos and the University of Ghana. Female reporters were sexually harassed, propositioned and put under pressure by senior lecturers at the institutions – all the while wearing secret cameras. Reporter Kiki Mordi, who knows first-hand how devastating sexual harassment can be, reveals what happens behind closed doors at some of the region’s most prestigious universities.

SOURCE: BBC

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Tapping into Nigeria’s Sleeping Giant

Iyalode Lawson, president of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture believes with the right market conditions, Nigeria’s leather industry could be worth $1bn annually by 2025. The global leather industry has an estimated trade value of $100 billion every year, and Lawson hopes that Nigeria’s long history with leather will count for something. While cheap local leather products adorn market stalls in Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria’s indigenous leather industry has been a sleeping giant of the country’s north for over a century. Nigeria has some of the oldest tanneries on the African continent, where young artisans still cure and treat animal hides in the same pits that their ancestors did. For many years, it was a burgeoning industry, earning valuable foreign exchange for the local economy, alongside cocoa plantations in the south, groundnut and rich cotton fields up north.

SOURCE: CNN

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A German Device Goes Beyond its Potential in Kenya

Martin Drewes remembers fretting over children subsisting on “a little bit” of bottled water, while the rest was too dirty to drink. That led to his device’s unique water wheel turning non-potable water drinkable.  He then teamed up with researchers and local village women along Kenya’s Isiukhu River, to test it where potable tap water isn’t taken for granted In the case of the Waver, “the main challenge is to build the pump in the community where it is used,” Müller says. Drewes estimates that it will take five years to develop a local industry in countries like Kenya. That process could use something as ubiquitous as discarded beer kegs to fashion water wheels, although some filter components, costing as much as $1,100 apiece, would still need to be shipped from Europe or elsewhere.

SOURCE: OZY

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There’s a Block in the Renaissance Dam Talks

Egypt said that talks with Sudan and Ethiopia over the operation of a $4 billion hydropower dam that Ethiopia is constructing on the Nile have reached a deadlock, and it called for international mediation. 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. Ethiopia last month rejected a proposal by Egypt to operate the dam. Addis Ababa did not say how much water it wants to release, but Egypt wants the dam to release a minimum of 40 billion cubic metres of water annually. Ethiopia’s minister at the talks, Seleshi Bekele, rejected the Egyptian request for a mediator.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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A Week Before Mozambique’s Polls

An escalating insurgency, attacks on political campaigners and a terrified population have set a worrying scene for Mozambique’s election on October 15. While the poll looks, on the surface, like a simple two-way contest between the long-ruling Frelimo party and the opposition Renamo party, analysts say it’s a complex situation for the Southern African nation. In fact, analysts are worried the poll will lack two essential qualities — the first being fairness. Nor is the election bringing what this war-torn nation badly needs: peace after decades of conflict between the government and the armed wing of the opposition. Despite a recent peace deal, human rights experts say they suspect the accord will not last.

SOURCE: VOA

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Is Kigali’s Popular Spot Under Siege?

Rwandan police say 19 attackers have been killed and others are on the run after their assault on a popular tourist area killed at least 14 people over the weekend. The district is popular with tourists visiting nearby Volcanoes National Park to see gorillas. It is not yet known whether tourists were among those killed. Eighteen Rwandans were wounded. Dozens of rebel groups are active in mineral-rich eastern DRC, and the Rwandan district has been attacked repeatedly in the past. The Rwanda Development Board, which promotes tourism, says in a statement that order has been restored in the area.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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The War on Terror Spreads in the Sahel

Around 20 people have been killed in an attack on a gold mining site in northern Burkina Faso, security sources said, the latest in a spate of violence blamed on a jihadist insurgency across the region. The attack over the weekend took place in Soum province not far from where alleged jihadists blew up a bridge linking two northern towns in mid-SeptemberThe west African nation has become part of a four-and-a-half year jihadist insurgency in the Sahel region, which covers the region south of the Sahara from the Atlantic coast across to the horn of Africa. Many of the attacks have been attributed to groups affiliated with al-Qaida, and others to the so-called Islamic State group.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Ethiopia’s Oromos Celebrate Thanksgiving

Huge crowds turned out in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, as it hosted for the first time in more than a century the annual Irreecha thanksgiving festival of the Oromo, the country’s largest ethnic group. In one Irreecha tradition, freshly cut grass and flowers are placed in water to thank God for the end of the rainy season and the beginning of spring. Previously, the annual festival had been celebrated in Bishoftu, 40km away, but similar gatherings have taken place in other parts of Oromia at different times of the year. The move to the capital, which is surrounded by Oromia, is seen by some as a recognition of Oromo culture by the authorities. For years, Oromo people had complained of cultural and political marginalisation.

SOURCE: BBC

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Kenya Vs. Tanzania – What Is The Best Place To Go On Safari

Kenya Vs. Tanzania – What is the Best Place to Go on Safari?

A safari adventure. Everyone has some idea of what it might involve — plush tented camp set in a remote wilderness, vast rolling grasslands, lush valleys, towering mountain peaks, sprawling lakes, and of course, an assortment of wild animals roaming diverse terrains. The experience is not something one can easily put in words, so the best advice is to just go for it and see for yourself. The only question now is where?

East Africa is where the notion of “Safari” was born, with Kenya and Tanzania being at the forefront of a quintessential African wildlife safari since the ’80s. Making a choice between a Kenya and Tanzania safari can be daunting, even if you’ve experienced one before. Both countries offer the classic wilderness safari circuits as well as the option to venture off the beaten path. As with all travel, deciding on the ideal safari destination is a “choose your own adventure” experience, so here’s a breakdown of their strengths and weaknesses to help you make an informed choice:

International and Local Travel 

Kenya and Tanzania are both well connected to the rest of the world with their respective airports being frequented by several airlines from different countries. That being said, flights to Kenya tend to be cheaper since it usually has more available flights than Tanzania. Nevertheless, if your heart is set on Tanzania, then you could consider flying into Nairobi, Kenya and then catch a connecting flight to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania — you might find this to be cheaper than flying direct. Alternatively, you can fly to Kenya and take a bus to Tanzania. This is the cheapest option. For local travel, Kenya’s infrastructure is typically more reliable than Tanzania’s when it comes to taxis, public transport, and domestic flights. 

Wildlife and Birdlife Viewing 

The spectacular sight of wildlife roaming in their habitat is the biggest reason people go on a safari, and there’s definitely great wildlife viewing in both Kenya and Tanzania. In this case, your choice of destination will come down to what kind of wildlife you want to see. In terms of wildlife density and diversity, Tanzania takes the cake, boasting the larger concentration of animals per square kilometer. Some of the popular animals you’ll see here are cheetahs, elephants, and chimpanzees. Kenya, on the other hand, is an excellent place to see big cats (lions, leopards, Serval cats, caracals) as well as some endangered species like rhinos. Whichever you choose, you’ll still be able to see other animals like giraffes, zebras, elands, wildebeests, warthogs, hippos, and many more, as well as hundreds of bird species.

Accommodation 

Accommodation options in Kenya and Tanzania are varied and will typically depend on your budget and taste. From basic tents and camps to lodges and luxurious hotels and private reserves, you have a wealth of options at your disposal. Keep in mind, however, that during peak season, these accommodation options tend to fill up pretty fast, especially when you’re planning to visit popular destinations like the Serengeti in Tanzania or the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya. So for instance, if you’re looking forward to a Serengeti camping experience mid-year, then you’ll want to start planning at least nine months in advance.

The Great Migration

This annual event sees the largest migration of wildlife in the world between Tanzania’s Serengeti and Kenya’s Masai Mara. If you’re hoping to witness the Great Migration, then the time of year will pretty much decide where you should go. From December through June, the herds are in Tanzania; come July and August, they start crossing into Kenya where they’ll stay until late November.

Crowds 

Kenya has taken great strides in marketing itself internationally as the safari destination of Africa. This translates to more visitors, especially around the time of the Great Migration. Tanzania does receive its fair share of crowds during peak season, but being a larger country, it also has some pretty good off-the-beaten-path destinations that you can explore instead if large crowds aren’t your thing. 

The Verdict

Kenya and Tanzania are basically an extension of each other, and the fact is you can’t really go wrong with either. For a more enriching experience, it only makes sense to go to the country that is more suited to your interests. If you’re looking for a more accessible country, with better tourism infrastructure and a good balance between modern cities and natural attractions, then Kenya is the way to go. However, if you’re looking for a more adventurous experience, with lots of open roads and an authentic African bush appeal, then choose Tanzania. 

Still undecided? Why not just combine both countries in your itinerary so you can enjoy the best of both worlds. 

Featured

African Economies Dominate Rankings for the Top 20 Markets

Côte d’Ivoire came first out of 66 countries for having the greatest potential for future growth, according to Standard Chartered’s Trade20 Index. Kenya ranked third and Ghana thirteenth, based on metrics such as economic dynamism, trade readiness and export diversity. Researchers found that while existing trade powers like China and India continue to rapidly improve their trade potential, African countries such as Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire have cemented their positions as East and West African trading hubs from a relatively low starting point. Huge investments in infrastructure, e-commerce and ease of doing business have also started paying off in Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya where the business environment has seen a marked improvement.

SOURCES: AFRICAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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When the Going Gets Tough, Africans Get Creative

Nigerian digital marketing agency, Wild Fusion has been named one of the top creative and marketing agencies in the world across 14 industries, according to Clutch, a global rating platform. In its new report, Clutch highlighted the top-performing digital agencies in different industries including automotive, business services, dental, e-commerce, education, financial services, financial technology, healthcare, hospitality, legal, media, nonprofit, real estate, and retail. Clutch noted that Wild Fusion “understands the specific needs of the markets they work within”. The integrated marketing communications agency launched in Nigeria in 2010 and has expanded to Ghana and Kenya over the years, providing top quality digital services to an elite clientele.

SOURCES: VENTURES AFRICA

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REPORT: The Dirty Footprint of the Broken Grid

The six biggest users of back-up generators are: Nigeria, India, Iraq, Pakistan, Venezuela, and Bangladesh. In western Africa, private generators provide the equivalent of 40% of what’s generated by the grid. In the subregion’s largest economy, Nigeria, the study conservatively estimates the installed capacity of generators is between 15-20 GW compared with a grid capacity of 5-15 GW. Overall, the full cost of using generators is estimated to be between 40 cents to several dollars per kWh particularly for those in the most remote locations due to logistics and transport expenses. In Sub Saharan Africa, one out of every five liters of diesel and petrol is used in a back-up generator. One of the ironies for African countries with poor electricity supply and heavy generator use is that these petrol and diesel machines are “substantial contributors to environmental and health burdens.”

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

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Zimbabwe Backtracks Ban on Mobile Money Services

Zimbabwe’s central bank has lifted its ban on mobile money to cash transactions after three days of public outcry and criticism even as the government continues to struggle to contain the country’s economic crisis. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on Monday stopped operators of mobile-money services, the dominant way in which money is moved in the country, from paying out cash. It also tightened the spread at which dealers and bureaux de change can exchange the Zimbabwe dollar to between 3% and 5% from the official rate, down from a 7% spread imposed less than two weeks ago. On September 28 it banned the quoting of prices in foreign currency. Ecocash, a mobile-money service operated by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, has 6.7 million active users in a nation of about 14 million people. It’s the first time since its introduction in 2011 that its users haven’t been able to use the so-called cash-back service. Econet is studying the directive and won’t comment on it yet, spokesman Fungayi Mandiveyi said by text message.

SOURCE: MONEYWEB

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Africa’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

Decent jobs are so scarce in Africa that many people create their own. Surveys by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor find that one in three working-age adults in sub-Saharan Africa either runs a new business or is trying to start one, compared with one in six Americans and one in 20 Germans. In Tanzania informal firms created four-fifths of new non-farm jobs between 2002 and 2012.

SOURCE: THE ECONOMIST

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Protecting Kenya’s Small Farmers

Thomas Njeru is a co-founder and the chief financial officer of Pula, a four-year-old microinsurance firm that serves 1.7 million smallholder farms of 0.6 acres or less in 10 African countries and India. Pula, based in Nairobi, Kenya, partners with government agencies and loan providers to cover the cost of the insurance, which is included in the price of seed and fertilizer; there is no direct charge to the farmer. Among the coverages Pula provides is weather index insurance to cover failures of seed germination, using satellite data to determine whether there has been sufficient rainfall. Longer-term coverage, called yield index insurance, compensates farmers with replacement supplies in the event of a poor harvest.

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Is Zambia Thumb-sucking its Budget Forecast?

Zambian Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu plans to obtain almost 10% of the southern African nation’s total income next year from undisclosed sources, raising concerns about the accuracy and sustainability of government spending plans for 2020. The budget, which Ng’andu presented to lawmakers at the end of September, contains $515 million of “exceptional revenue” that could further stretch the finances of Africa’s second-biggest copper producer if it doesn’t materialize. Government debt has surged from 20% of gross domestic product a decade ago to a projected 91.6% this year, prompting the International Monetary Fund to warn that Zambia is at high risk of debt distress.

SOURCE: BLOOMBERG

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Mauritius Launches Plans to Cut Traffic Jams

The railway’s first stage of 13 km inaugurated by Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth will connect Rose Hill, a town in the central part of the island, to the capital Port Louis. When completed, the 26 km (16-mile) route will connect Curepipe, a town in central Mauritius, to the capital Port Louis and comes at a cost of $525 million. It is expected to have 19 stations and four interchanges.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Kenya’s Highest-value Banknote Makes Way for a New-look

In June 2019, the Central Bank of Kenya announced that the 1,000-shilling banknote will cease to be legal tender in four months’ time. A newly designed 1,000-shilling note would go into circulation along with smaller denominations. Kenya also asked its neighbors, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, not to allow 1,000-shilling notes, valued at around $9,60. Kenyan authorities said scrapping the old note would be a way of ending the corruption that has deeply entrenched in the country. Billions of the high-denomination notes were suspected to be stashed away by corrupt officials, tax evaders and money launderers.

SOURCE: DEUTSCHE WELLE

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10 Reasons Why Africa is a Source for Top Tech Talent

Technology is fast growing in Africa and so is tech talent. The continent is experiencing transformative impact as a result of technology. From rural Ghana where low income earners are able to buy insurance policies through their mobile phones to the streets of Nairobi, Kenya, where residents are able to send and receive money through their mobile phones, technology has become the order of the day in the continent. Whenever a list of successful tech startups in the world is mentioned, you never miss two or three that have their roots in Africa.  The continent prides itself in having numerous successful tech startups that have endured the test of time. Today, some have been in operation for more than 10 years, providing solutions to some of our most pressing socio-economic and communications problems. They also thrive by having a pan-African scope in service delivery. These startups include Ushahidi founded in Kenya, Instabug in Egypt, RoamSmart in Tunisia, Skyrove in South Africa, Njorku in Cameroon, Bonglive in Tanzania, among many others.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Outcomes of South Africa and Nigeria’s Tête-à-tête

The leaders of Nigeria and South Africa have pledged to take “concrete measures” to stem future outbreaks of xenophobic violence, during a state visit to South Africa by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. “We’ve agreed that we are going to set up mechanisms between our two countries, early warning mechanisms will be set up so that once we see that there is restiveness. We will be able to inform one another to find ways — and active ways — of ensuring that we do not have recurrences. And at the same time, we will cooperate at a number of levels, including the policing level, including the intelligence-sharing information level.” Buhari’s three-day visit will also include a business forum and a meeting of a bi-national commission that seems to boost cooperation between the two countries. He will also meet with Nigerian expatriates in Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city. 

SOURCE: VOA

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Protecting Kenya’s Small Farmers

Thomas Njeru is a co-founder and the chief financial officer of Pula, a four-year-old microinsurance firm that serves 1.7 million smallholder farms of 0.6 acres or less in 10 African countries and India. Pula, based in Nairobi, Kenya, partners with government agencies and loan providers to cover the cost of the insurance, which is included in the price of seed and fertilizer; there is no direct charge to the farmer. Among the coverages Pula provides is weather index insurance to cover failures of seed germination, using satellite data to determine whether there has been sufficient rainfall. Longer-term coverage, called yield index insurance, compensates farmers with replacement supplies in the event of a poor harvest.

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Nigerian Neurosurgeon Fights Brain Drain in His Country

Dr. Olawale Sulaiman, 41, is a professor of neurosurgery and spinal surgery and chairman for the neurosurgery department and back and spine center at the Ochsner Neuroscience Institute in New Orleans. He lives in Louisiana, but splits his time between the US and Nigeria, spending up to 12 days each month providing healthcare in the country of his birth — sometimes for free. Born in Lagos Island, Lagos, Sulaiman says his motivation comes from growing up in a relatively poor region. In 2010, Sulaiman established RNZ Global, a healthcare development company with his wife, Patricia. The company provides medical services including neuro and spinal surgery, and offers health courses like first aid CPR in Nigeria and the US.

SOURCE: CNN

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Wearing this Hat in Uganda Can Get You Arrested

Police in Uganda detained supporters of pop star and presidential hopeful Bobi Wine for wearing red berets, a banned symbol of his “People Power” pressure group. Authorities in Uganda announced on Monday that the red beret and tunic would henceforth be designated as official military clothing, essentially banning the uniform of opposition leader Bobi Wine and his supporters. The pop star turned leading opposition figure, who has announced he is running for president against longtime leader Yoweri Museveni in 2021, has made the red beret his signature, calling it a “symbol of resistance”.

SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

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Smart Cities Looking to Thrive Will Invest in The Big Six

The term Smart City is not a new one and, while some examples already exist on the African continent, it is not as widespread as it should be. Cities looking to thrive in the future are encouraged to invest in creating Smart, Safe and Sustainable applications enabled by a Shared, Scalable and Secured Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure in what so called Six S’s smart city model. The smart city IoT applications will have various requirements with direct implications on the City ICT infrastructure. These requirements will vary in terms of data volume, throughput, number of devices and the latency pattern for transferring the data. This in return mandates the need to have a robust and flexible infrastructure to support a wide range of use cases that would be implemented as part of smart city.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Is Zambia Thumb-sucking its Budget Forecast?

Zambian Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu plans to obtain almost 10% of the southern African nation’s total income next year from undisclosed sources, raising concerns about the accuracy and sustainability of government spending plans for 2020. The budget, which Ng’andu presented to lawmakers at the end of September, contains $515 million of “exceptional revenue” that could further stretch the finances of Africa’s second-biggest copper producer if it doesn’t materialize. Government debt has surged from 20% of gross domestic product a decade ago to a projected 91.6% this year, prompting the International Monetary Fund to warn that Zambia is at high risk of debt distress.

SOURCE: BLOOMBERG

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Mauritius Launches Plans to Cut Traffic Jams

The railway’s first stage of 13 km inaugurated by Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth will connect Rose Hill, a town in the central part of the island, to the capital Port Louis. When completed, the 26 km (16-mile) route will connect Curepipe, a town in central Mauritius, to the capital Port Louis and comes at a cost of $525 million. It is expected to have 19 stations and four interchanges. 

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Smuggling Rice Hits Benin

Benin Republic, is grappling with economic costs from the border closure by President Muhammadu Buhari. Several businesses, mostly in the agriculture and transport sectors, have been hit hard by the blockade. Smuggling is chronic across Nigeria’s porous borders, and in the case of Benin, it goes in both directions. Large quantities of frozen chickens, rice, fabric, and cars are often illegally routed to Nigeria after being taxed locally at the port of Cotonou, Benin’s economic capital. The transport sector in Benin has also been hit due to the shortage of cheap Nigerian fuel after the boundary was closed.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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The Chibok Girls are Still Missing

Five years after she last saw her daughter, Yana Galang fears the world has forgotten a tragedy that splintered families and is now the subject of an award-winning documentary. The mother of one of the 112 Nigerian schoolgirls of Chibok still missing after being abducted by Boko Haram in 2014 came to the city during the UN general assembly, on a mission to remind the world that – five years on – their children still have not been brought home. It was the silence surrounding the once huge story that led Nigerian film-maker Joel Kachi Benson to visit Chibok last year. What he found was a town still traumatised by loss and enduring not just the uncertainty of their daughter’s fates but also the grinding hardship of poverty. He decided to make a film there.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Somalia Back in the US’ Good Books

The United States has reopened its embassy in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, nearly three decades after it was shut as the Horn of Africa nation plunged into civil war. Washington closed its embassy during the 1991 overthrow of then-President Siad Barre’s military regime which ushered in decades of chaos. However, diplomatic relations have strengthened in recent years.  A permanent diplomatic presence was established in Mogadishu in December 2018, but was operated out of Nairobi in neighbouring Kenya.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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How A Pilot Project In Kenya Helps Refugees Go To University

Across the world, armed conflict, instability, drought and famine are driving more people from their homes for longer periods of time. On average, displacement lasts almost 20 years. This means that displaced children and youth are likely to experience most, if not all, of their education outside their countries of origin.

Kenya, for instance, hosts one of the largest refugee populations in the world, 150 000 of whom live in Kakuma Refugee Camp and Kalobeyei Settlement in the north. For many, Kakuma is the only home they know, and their only opportunity for education.

Education has therefore become central to humanitarian aid and long-term development efforts, usually carried out by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in partnership with other organisations and host governments. This has increased the number of children that can access pre-primary, primary, and secondary school – though refugees are still marginalised.

Higher education is a significant challenge. Just 1% of refugees in the world are able to continue education beyond secondary school. Legally, their movement is often restricted – so they can’t access learning institutions – and if they can, they often cannot afford tuition and boarding fees.

When higher education is available, it is traditionally through scholarships. This means the refugees have to go where the higher education institutions are. Though these programmes can be hugely beneficial to individuals and their communities, opportunities are limited, competitive, and costly. They also tend to exclude older learners, heads of households (on whom others rely), and those who have finished schooling in a different country.

It’s a model that isn’t sustainable or scalable. Large numbers of young people are left with few opportunities to continue formal education.

I did a study on a burgeoning university hub in Kakuma Refugee Camp that is testing a subsidised tuition model. It’s a cost-sharing programme which brings higher education to refugees and the communities that host them, who also have challenges accessing universities.

I found that while bringing higher education to remote areas – where refugee camps are often located – is a good way to expand access, cost is still an issue. Because refugees can’t work, they struggle to cover the fees, even when subsidised. It’s crucial that future programmes get the fee-subsidy balance right.

Expanding opportunities

In 2015, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) – a Kenyan public university – built a satellite campus on the outskirts of Kakuma Refugee Camp. Today, nearly 460 students are enrolled in the university’s certificate, diploma, and degree programmes. More than half of them are refugees, and the rest are Kenyans, largely from the camp’s surrounding host community.

A group of 26 refugees were the first cohort in a pilot cost-sharing programme, which they helped to create.

They were all men, and most of them had been working in the camp as teachers and social workers, taking advantage of opportunities to learn offered by UNHCR and partner organisations. Some had earned certificates for on-the-job training, while others had spent their free time studying at one of the camp’s online learning centres. Many were ineligible for existing scholarships because of their age or because they completed portions of schooling outside of Kenya.

The pilot programme was designed to accommodate the challenges of covering fees. It has a cost-sharing structure where students contribute 40% of their tuition fees, UNHCR covers 40%, and the university waives the remaining 20%.

This is a unique approach because refugees choose their programme of study, and contribute to tuition costs as they work and study.

The first graduates of this pilot partnership continue working and pursuing their studies in Kakuma. One is now a part-time lecturer at the university. Several have applied to and enrolled in a newly offered Master’s programme.

But even this reduced tuition structure remains a challenge.

Challenges remain

Most of the pilot cohort couldn’t cover their fees while earning an “incentive” salary. Because refugees are legally not allowed to work, they are compensated with a monetary “incentive,” which is lower than the minimum wage.

The university tried to adapt to the refugees’ needs, allowing students to attend class and sit exams despite late tuition payments. But upholding this commitment put a strain on both the individuals and university resources. Some students completed their studies but weren’t given the accreditation for the degree because of the outstanding fees.

The current payment plan is being reassessed, and more experimentation is needed to reach an ideal balance for refugee contributions in a context where earnings are so limited.

More innovation

Though significant challenges remain, this pilot cost-sharing programme has offered some valuable lessons about the need to experiment and innovate in low-resource contexts. Bringing universities to refugee populations can improve access, but they need more financial support.

Opportunities could present themselves through the arrival of new higher education actors who are showing interest in the region. The Turkana West University Campus, for instance, is set to open in the next few months. Partnership with MMUST means shared resources and physical infrastructure, which will keep organisational costs down. Hopefully the growing network will lower the costs for students too.

Original Article: The Conversation

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The Odds are Against Kenya’s Betting Industry

Over 2,500 people who depend directly on Kenya’s betting industry will be jobless in the coming days after two of the most prominent sports betting firms in the country have announced their exit. The firms – SportPesa and Betin – have halted their operations in the eastern African nation after a longstanding tax dispute with the government. Both companies are said to control more than 60 percent of the market share in Kenya. The betting companies blamed their exit on the government’s decision to impose heavy taxes on the industry which, according to them, made the business no longer viable. Recent reports show that the Kenyan legislature recently imposed a 20 percent excise tax on all betting stakes, much to the displeasure of SportPesa.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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Dangote and Gates’ Friendship over the Years

That was the scenario when the second world’s richest man Bill Gates met Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote in an event in New York. “As soon as we shook hands, it was clear we had a tonne in common. We were both super interested in global health. So we made sure to sit next to each other at dinner,” Bill Gates wrote on his social media pages. That first meeting sparked the beginning of a fruitful friendship that led them to start a business in the 1970s. “We chose to start foundations aimed at improving health and education. We formed the Dangote Foundation,” Bill Gates said. Gates in 2000 founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. He said they both love to geek out over things that make some people’s eyes glaze over, like cement, fertilizer, and iodized salt. In 2016, their foundations announced a joint, five-year $100 million commitment to reducing malnutrition in Nigeria.

SOURCE: THE STAR

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An 18th Century Ethiopian Crown will Finally be Returned Home

The relic was hidden in a Dutch flat for 21 years until Ethiopian Sirak Asfaw, who fled to the Netherlands in the late 1970s, discovered the crown in the suitcase of a visitor and realised it was stolen. The management consultant has protected it until he felt safe to send it back. “Finally it is the right time to bring back the crown to its owners – and the owners of the crown are all Ethiopians,” he told the BBC. The crown is thought to be one of just 20 in existence. It has depictions of Jesus Christ, God and the Holy Spirit, as well as Jesus’ disciples, and was likely gifted to a church by the powerful warlord Welde Sellase hundreds of years ago. It is currently being stored at a high security facility until it can be safely returned.

SOURCE: BBC

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The Sussexes Draw Inspiration from Africans’ Generosity and Resilience

Prince Harry said that Africa’s embrace had helped him cope with the death of his mother, Princess Diana, as he and his wife Meghan championed job creation and entrepreneurship on the continent on the final day of their 10-day tour. “Ever since I came to this continent as a young boy, trying to cope with something I can never possibly describe, Africa has held me in an embrace that I will never forget, and I feel incredibly fortunate for that… I always feel – wherever I am on this continent – that the community around me provides a life that is enriching, and is rooted in the simplest things – connection, connections with others and the natural environment.”

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Can Africa’s Largest Fund Save Face?

The image of Africa’s biggest fund manager has been damaged by allegations of misconduct and breaches of corporate governance and the institution must now strive to preserve what’s left of its reputation, its interim chairman Reuel Khoza said. The Public Investment Corporation, which oversees $139 billion of mainly South African government worker pensions, has been the subject of a commission of inquiry. That’s involved months of public testimony into allegations of political interference and questionable investment decisions. The board is an interim one as the commission is scheduled to make recommendations on how the money manager is run by the end of this month.

SOURCE: BLOOMBERG

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A Kenyan Village Terrorised by Snakes

In the village of Simotwo, everyone knows someone who’s been bitten by a snake. The semi-arid environment of Simotwo and most parts of Baringo County are favourable habitats for a number of snake species. Despite the local government’s efforts, barriers to solving the snakebite problem include poor road networks, the lack of public health education and absence of anti-venom in rural health facilities.  Kabartonjo sub-district hospital is rated level four by Kenya’s Ministry of Health, meaning it is better equipped than the pharmacies in and near Simotwo. Despite promises from local officials, Simotwo residents said they had not yet received training in how to deal with the snakes.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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10 Reasons Why Africa is a Source for Top Tech Talent

Technology is fast growing in Africa and so is tech talent. The continent is experiencing transformative impact as a result of technology. From rural Ghana where low income earners are able to buy insurance policies through their mobile phones to the streets of Nairobi, Kenya, where residents are able to send and receive money through their mobile phones, technology has become the order of the day in the continent. Whenever a list of successful tech startups in the world is mentioned, you never miss two or three that have their roots in Africa.  The continent prides itself in having numerous successful tech startups that have endured the test of time. Today, some have been in operation for more than 10 years, providing solutions to some of our most pressing socio-economic and communications problems. They also thrive by having a pan-African scope in service delivery. These startups include Ushahidi founded in Kenya, Instabug in Egypt, RoamSmart in Tunisia, Skyrove in South Africa, Njorku in Cameroon, Bonglive in Tanzania, among many others.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Nigeria’s Geeks Stand Up to the Police

The tech community in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is fighting back against what its leaders say is alleged police harassment and extortion of tech workers. The campaign, titled #StopRobbingUs, was launched in September after Akinmolayan Oluwatoni, a software developer tweeted about being harassed by officers of the state’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Lagos, the country’s commercial hub. Tech company founders in Nigeria have used crowdfunding to raise up to $38,300 to finance lawsuits as well as support existing initiatives fighting police brutality. 

SOURCE: CNN

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Young Tanzanians Tackle Stereotypes

Used to fear, abandonment, even attack, a group of young people in a remote rural community are learning that photography can tell their stories and give them a place in society. The Umoja Photographers are a group of young Tanzanians, with and without albinism, who have become passionate photographers. For the past three years, they’ve been taking part in a summer workshop run by Standing Voice facilitator Yohana Tumaini and a London-based photographer, Brian Benson. Here, Hajira Sadru (left, with Tumaini at this summer’s workshop), a 28-year-old mother, focuses on framing. Like many with albinism, she grew up being taunted as “ zeru, zeru” – “ghost” – and told she was incapable of achieving anything.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Ghana Hopes To Benefit From Hosting Africa’s Free Trade Area Secretariat

Ghana has been chosen by the African Union (AU) to host the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area. It beat other competing countries including Egypt, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar and Senegal to win the bid.

As a free trade area, member countries have come together and agreed not to impose tariffs, quotas and other trade barriers on goods and services. The agreement is expected to enlarge markets and diversify exports, particularly manufactured goods. According to US-based think tank the Brookings Institute, intra-African trade stands at about 14%, while the share of manufactured goods to the rest of the world stands at 18%. Trade among Asian countries is much higher – at 59% – and even higher among European countries at 69%. The hope is that the African free trade area will boost trade across the continent by 52% by 2022 .

The core mandate of the secretariat will be to implement the free trade agreement, which has been ratified by 25 out of 54 countries. Once all have ratified the deal, it will create the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organisation in 1995.

Africa’s free trade area will cover a market of 1.2 billion people with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$2.5 trillion.

The secretariat’s job will be to recruit personnel, train them, and develop organisational capability. The secretariat will also have to implement policies handed down by the governing body, keep the media informed, organise conferences and identify potential funding sources. It will also monitor and evaluate the progress of policies and programmes.

This is a first for Ghana which has not hosted a continental secretariat. The hope is that it can emulate the success of other African capitals that have befitted from hosting the AU and the United Nations. Addis Ababa is home to the AU headquarters while Nairobi hosts two of the UN’s biggest bodies. For its part, South Africa hosts the Pan-African Parliament.

The presence of the AU in Addis Ababa has been credited with an increase in property valuations as well as job creation.

In making its bid, Ghana took advantage of its strategic geographical location in West Africa. It has put a great deal of effort into making the country a gateway and a trade hub in West Africa.

Hosting the free trade area secretariat will come with costs and benefits – direct and indirect.

Why Ghana

In establishing its credentials to host the secretariat, the Ghanaian government would have set out the country’s most notable achievements.

These would have included the fact that it’s been an exemplary member of the AU. For example, in 2007 it was among the first countries to be reviewed by the African Peer Review Mechanism – the self-assessment mechanism used to measure good governance.

The fact that it put its hand up sent a signal to other countries that the peer review process was credible.

Other factors that would have played in Ghana’s favour are that the country’s economy has been showing strong growth.

It is one of the fastest growing economies in the world with an average GDP growth of about 6%. In addition, it comes second to Cape Verde in West Africa in terms of the United Nations Human Development index.

In one of the most unstable sub regions in the world, Ghana also has a tradition of relative peace and security, a key parameter for hosting a secretariat.

In addition, Ghana has had the advantage of learning about trade collaboration through its membership of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas).

Costs and Benefits

Ghana has been part of the 15-member Ecowas since its formation in 1990. The regional body introduced a common external tariff in 2015 .

While Ghana has enjoyed benefits from the arrangement, like many other West African States, it has not been able to harness its full potential. For example, border controls remain cumbersome, delaying transits due to the numerous check points, huge unofficial payments at the borders.

The most direct cost to the country will be the $10 million pledged by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to support setting up the secretariat. The AU is also expected to contribute funds and appeals have been made to international funding agencies.

Ghana’s hope is that hosting the secretariat will boost the hospitality sector – and more broadly the services sector – and generate increased international exposure.

There should also be a boost for job creation as the secretariat hires staff; ranging from economists to translators, administrators and technicians.

There is no clear deadline on when the secretariat is expected to be up and running. The AU itself still has to clear a number of hurdles,, including adopting a structure, staff rules and regulations, and the secretariat’s budget.

Original Source: The Conversation

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Uncovering Uganda’s Dodgy Adoptions

A Ugandan mother who had her child taken through a fraudulent adoption has filed a petition to revoke the adoptees’ legal guardianship, in what her lawyers say is the country’s first legal case of its kind. She says her child was removed from her in 2013 after she was declared to be deceased in court documents. Her lawyer says all involved in the adoption case knew she was in fact alive and that a fake NGO engineered the adoption without her consent. The mother’s case is not unique – as outlined in an Al Jazeera Faultlines investigation, ‘Adoption Inc: The Baby Business’, Anna Cavell uncovered cases of fraud and exploitation in adoptions between Uganda to the US. In one case, two parents thought they were sending their children to boarding school – only for them to be legally adopted and sent to the United States without their knowledge and consent.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Getting Sudan’s Economy Going

France will host a conference with Sudan’s international creditors to help Khartoum address debt issues as soon as the United States removes the country from its state-sponsored terrorism list. In efforts to stabilize the country and to repair an economy battered by years of U.S. sanctions and government mismanagement during Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year rule, Sudanese transition government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok is holding talks with Washington to see Sudan withdrawn from the list. Sudan has been unable to tap the International Monetary Fund and World Bank for support because the United States still lists the country as a state sponsor of terrorism.

SOURCE: VOA

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Prince Harry’s Baobab Campaign

The Duke of Sussex curated a set of images of forest canopies each taken by National Geographic photographers, which went out to the publication’s 123 million followers. The idea was to highlight the importance of conservation while spotlighting the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy campaign, which will result in two national parks being created in South Africa, where Harry is touring. As part of the campaign, 50 countries have either dedicated indigenous forest for conservation or committed to planting millions of new trees to combat climate change.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Zimbabwe Tightens the Noose

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on Monday stopped operators of mobile-money services, the dominant way in which money is moved in the country, from paying out cash. It also tightened the spread at which dealers and bureaux de change can exchange the Zimbabwe dollar to between 3% and 5% from the official rate, down from a 7% spread imposed less than two weeks ago. On September 28 it banned the quoting of prices in foreign currency. Ecocash, a mobile-money service operated by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, has 6.7 million active users in a nation of about 14 million people. It’s the first time since its introduction in 2011 that its users haven’t been able to use the so-called cash-back service. Econet is studying the directive and won’t comment on it yet, spokesman Fungayi Mandiveyi said by text message.

SOURCE: MONEYWEB

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Officials Hit the Brakes on Kenya’s Ride Hailing Buses

Safaricom-backed ‘Little’ and Cairo-headquartered ‘Swvl’ were operating under a tours license instead of a commuter service authorization, according to the director-general of the National Transport and Safety Authority, Francis Meja. The two companies, he also said, had “never contacted the authority to show any intention to operate as commuter service providers.” Swvl and Little Shuttle allowed riders to book a seat and board at specific hours in dozens of routes across the capital using clean and quality vehicles. Since launching pilot phases in January, both companies have quickly scaled their operations, with Swvl injecting $15 million into the Kenyan market in August. In Egypt, Swvl is facing off with Uber, which launched its first global bus service in Cairo last year and is working on plans to offer its bus system to Lagos.

SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA

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Getting to Know South Africa’s Biggest Township

Soweto, once the country’s largest black township, was a symbol of the united resistance to the racist apartheid regime and home to the anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela. Today, Soweto embodies the social and class divisions within South Africa’s black majority. It is a place of flashy cars and grand mansions, but also of shanty towns and high unemployment. Soweto is nevertheless a showcase for the progress that some black South Africans have made. In the 1980s, Sowetans refused to pay for services like electricity as part of a multipronged campaign against apartheid spearheaded by, among others, Cyril Ramaphosa, the current South African president. After the end of apartheid, this culture of nonpayment continued. Today, more than 80 percent of Sowetans do not pay for electricity.

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Bitcon Not Welcome in Uganda

Uganda’s ministry of finance and the central bank have urged consumers not to use cryptocurrencies, saying the government does not recognise them as legal tender. Uganda has joined dozens of countries trying to deter people from buying things online with these digital currencies. Central banks around the world have expressed concerns about the increasing use of currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, which are created by a complex mathematical digital formula. Bitcoin in particular has fluctuated wildly in value. The Ugandan government has warned people that most cryptocurrencies are not backed by assets or government guarantees, which can make them worthless. The finance ministry has also warned cryptocurrency users in Uganda that they are not entitled to any consumer protection.

SOURCE: INDEPENDENT

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Madagascar’s Juvenile Centres

Children accused of stealing vanilla beans in Madagascar can spend nearly three years in prison without trial. The island is the world’s largest producer of vanilla beans, where a booming industry has led to rising theft. But the conditions for child prisoners can be worrying, with some being given just one meal a day.

SOURCE: BBC

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Homecoming for Burundians Who Fled

Burundi said that a first group of its refugees in Tanzania would return home on Thursday, as a mass repatriation planned by the two governments begins.  Burundi and Tanzania agreed in August that repatriations of 200,000 Burundi refugees in Tanzania would start on Oct. 1, sparking fears of forced returns among some of those who crossed the border to escape violence. Hundreds of Burundians have been killed in clashes with security forces since 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third, disputed term in office. Over the same period, more than 400,000 have fled abroad, predominantly to Tanzania, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Lagos was an Orderly Urban Environment 70 Years Ago

The foundations of orderliness for any city are planning and management. Lagos had this in place in the early days. Two developments added to pressures on the city. Its population burgeoned while infrastructure lagged behind. This period marked the beginning of the decline of planning for the city.The collapse of zoning all over Lagos also led to residential neighbourhoods such as Victoria Island and southwest Ikoyi being converted for commercial use. The military had no reasoned response to Lagos’ urban challenges. Instead, it took the decision in 1975 to establish a new capital in Abuja.

SOURCE: THE CONVERSATION

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African DNA was Largely Excluded from the Genomics Field Until Now

There is greater genetic diversity in Africa than in any other continent, studies have consistently shown. Such variations have the potential to reveal insights that enable the development of treatments for health conditions that affect Africans and non-Africans alike. One such project is already underway and making rapid progress: Nigerian health tech startup 54gene, billed as “the world’s first pan-African biobank,” with a mission to address some of the continent’s most serious health challenges. 54gene makes the genetic material in its biobank available to pharma companies and academic and clinical researchers to facilitate the development of healthcare solutions. Core targets for treatment include cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neuro-degenerative disease.

SOURCE: CNN

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How Many Landmines are there in Angola?

Photographer Antonio Olmos visited the village of Cabio in Benguela Province to document the work of the women of the Halo Trust who are clearing the anti-personnel mines left over from the Angolan civil war. Last January, the Halo Trust, the British landmine charity, set up camp in the village, bringing with it a small army of its own in the form of 18 Angolan women mine clearers. Having since removed 197 mines and 50 items of unexploded ordnance from the area, it hopes to complete the job next month – at which point the land will be returned to the villagers. The mine clearers, who live on site for 24 days at a time, are part of 100 Women, a project that aims to empower those involved, as well as to clear mines. So far, 78 have been recruited.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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The Hammer Comes Down on Malabo Fleet

A fleet of luxury, high-performance cars seized from the son of Equatorial Guinea’s president have been auctioned off for more than $23 million. The 25 cars were seized by Swiss authorities after an investigation into money laundering.   They once belonged to Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, who is also vice president to Equatorial Guinea’s 40-year ruler President Theodora Obiang. Among the cars sold Sunday were Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Bentleys, Rolls Royces and a McLaren. A rare white Lamborghini Veneno Roadster, one of only nine built, sold  for $8.3million to an anonymous buyer. Proceeds from the auction will go to a charity to fund social programs in the tiny oil-rich Central African country.

SOURCE:  VOA

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Central African Republic’s Murky Partnership

Hoping to wrest control over the diamond trade and piece the Central African Republic back together, the government has turned to a new partner — Russia — in what some lawmakers fear is a dangerous bargain that trades one threat for another. The Central African government has welcomed the Russians, betting that stability will enable it to sell more diamonds legally and use the money to rebuild the nation. But Russia’s help comes at a cost. Its representatives have struck deals with the government to mine diamonds where the trade is legal — one of many signs that Russia’s push into the country is closely tied to the profits it can reap.

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Al Shabaab Taunts the US

Separate attacks in Somalia have targeted a US special forces base in the town of Baledogle and a European military convoy in the capital, Mogadishu. The al-Shabab armed group claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack at the Baledogle base located in the Lower Shabelle region, about 100km (60 miles) west of Mogadishu. No immediate casualties from the attack, which involved twin vehicle-borne bombs, were reported. Al-Shabab said its fighters stormed the base after using a car bomb to blast through its gates. The US Mission to Somalia denied al-Shabab fighters penetrated the camp’s defences, saying Somali security forces repelled the attack.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Baby Factories Closed Down in Lagos

Nigerian police have freed 19 pregnant women from properties in Lagos, which they describe as “baby factories”. Most of the women had been abducted “for the purpose of getting them pregnant and selling the babies”, a police statement said. Two women who operated as untrained nurses have been arrested but the main suspect is on the run. Police said that male babies would be sold for $1,400 and the females for $830. They added that the children were to be trafficked, but it was not clear who or where the potential buyers were. Stories of these so-called “baby factories” are not uncommon in Nigeria. There have been several raids in the past including one last year when 160 children were rescued.

SOURCE: BBC

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Dodgy Deals Plague South African State Entity

South African state logistics firm Transnet said on Monday irregular expenditure in 2019 increased six-fold to around 49 billion rand from 8 billion rand in the previous year, mainly due to train replacement contracts. A number of Transnet’s top executives, including its chief executive and chief financial officer, have been suspended or fired in the wake of an official corruption inquiry into a 54 billion rand contract to buy 1,064 locomotives.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Kenya’s Highest-value Banknote Makes Way for a New-look

In June 2019, the Central Bank of Kenya announced that the 1,000-shilling banknote will cease to be legal tender in four months’ time. A newly designed 1,000-shilling note would go into circulation along with smaller denominations. Kenya also asked its neighbors, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, not to allow 1,000-shilling notes, valued at around $9,60. Kenyan authorities said scrapping the old note would be a way of ending the corruption that has deeply entrenched in the country. Billions of the high-denomination notes were suspected to be stashed away by corrupt officials, tax evaders and money launderers.

SOURCE: DEUTSCHE WELLE

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Cameroon’s Treatment of Children Revealed

A new report on child abuse in Cameroon shows that over 50 percent of Cameroon’s children have suffered various forms of abuse, with children with disabilities suffering proportionally far worse. The study was carried over a three-year period by the Cameroon Baptist Hospital Services in partnership with the Netherlands-based Liliane Foundation, using a variety of methods including focus group discussions and in-depth interviews. While previous studies focused primarily on identifying the prevalence of violence and abuse against children, the latest study sought to “identify the factors contributing to the abuse of children with disability, and to determine appropriate measures and strategies to reduce such abuse so as to improve on the wellbeing for children with disabilities. 

SOURCE: CRUX NOW

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East Africa’s Buy Local Campaign

The East African Community (EAC) has introduced policies for the establishment of special fashion days and weeks in the region. Officials say the declarations would enhance local consumption of East Africa-made products and enhance our productive capacity in the textile sector. However, the initiative has been greeted with mixed reactions. While some residents welcome the idea of wearing of new locally made attires, others claim that their prices are much higher (compared to imported used clothes), which discourage buyers. The latest declarations will be implemented in all EAC member states – Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, and South Sudan. And the annual fashion week will be hosted in all member states on a rotational basis each year.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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Kenya’s Best Food is a Kaleidoscope of Flavors

Thanks to a host of geographical and cultural influences, Kenya’s cuisine is incredibly diverse with far-ranging ingredients and flavors. The people who are in Turkana or the Masai Mara, they are traditional people and their cuisine is influenced by their livestock. The people at the coast, their cuisine is influenced by the trade they have done with Arabs and Indians

SOURCES: CNN

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These Chinese Vloggers Are Changing How China’s Rising Middle Class See Africa

Although China’s mainstream media is criticized for presenting a distorted, propagandized view of Africa, some ambitious vloggers are providing a more balanced look at African life and dispelling stereotypes in the process. When Beijing-born video producer, Fyjo Molly, relocated from Berlin to Johannesburg three years ago, she was enthusiastic about the move. Earlier this year, she launched her Instagram and YouTube channels with the goal of challenging stereotypes prevalent in Chinese and western media. She does this through making fun, quirky videos of her experiences in South Africa, but also when traveling round the continent to countries including Ethiopia, Zambia and others.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

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Mpho Vackier’s Journey to International Acclaim

Although she only launched her furniture brand, Urbanative, two years ago, Mpho Vackier’s beautiful designs are attracting a wide following and solidifying her place as a major talent. Vackier says she was inspired to create Urbanative as a way to show her son the cultural crossover between her and Belgian husband. Vackier is showing no signs of slowing down. Earlier this year, Vackier along with several other South African designers exhibited their work for the first time at Milan Design Week.

SOURCES: DESIGN AFRICA

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Africa Center Gets $25 Million in Donations to Complete Vision

Thanks to a major gift from Nigerian businessman, Aliko Dangote, New York’s Africa Center should be well on its way to solidifying its mission to become a premier resource for all things African.    Six years after the Africa Center announced a broad mission to explore the continent through programming devoted to culture, business and public policy, the organization is taking steps to fulfill that goal.    

SOURCES: WALL STREET JOURNAL

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South Africa is the Ideal Place for Bikepacking

Following a surge in popularity around the world, bikepacking is beginning to take off in SA. It’s a new way of travelling by bicycle that emphasises exploration and getting off the well-worn roads.  In response to the growing interest, PE-based Momsen Bikes has produced two gravel bikes ideal for bikepacking. A local father-and-son team has launched a website, Bikepacking.africa, to create a database of free-to-ride routes around the country. 

SOURCES: GETAWAY

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Behind the Scenes of Giza’s Grand Egyptian Museum

The building will supersede the world-famous Egyptian Museum, sometimes called the Museum of Cairo, which was built in the centre of the city in 1901 and currently houses the world’s largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities, including the iconic gold funeral mask of Tutankhamun. The new museum will contain 7,000 sq metres dedicated to the boy-king, with the 5,400 objects retrieved from his tomb displayed together for the first time, including his three coffins and the funeral mask. Officials said they hoped the Grand Egyptian Museum would attract five million visitors every year, helping to boost tourism and, in turn, the country’s finances.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

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10 Most Sought After Suburbs in Africa

The compulsion to escape from the pressures of the modern world to imaginary utopias has long been a lucrative selling point for urban developers. This is a true phenomenon in many cities in Africa. The rise of middle class is being witnessed all over the continent as well as the steadily growing number of high net worth individuals – those with net assets of $1 million or more. This group leads the property boom as they search for their own little ‘utopias’. 

SOURCES: AFRICA.COM

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Strategies to Develop Ethiopia’s Tourism Industry

Lensa Mekonnen, the CEO of state-owned Tourism Ethiopia, is determined that tourism – which can boost the economy, champion local culture, and reinvent the country’s public image. Ethiopia’s tourism sector supports 2.2 million jobs, and is vital to the East African nation’s development transformation. Lensa sees untapped potential in historic sites that are little known or have fallen into disrepair. Tourism in Ethiopia grew by 48 percent in 2018, far surpassing the global average of 3.9 percent. But as Lensa strives for change, she still faces some pushback.

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

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A Nightmare for Gambia’s Tourism

Thomas Cook Group, the travel operator that brought around 40% of Gambia’s annual visitors seeking sun and white-sand beaches, has collapsed and cancelled all future flights and hotel bookings. A blow for Africa’s smallest country whose locals make most of their money in the tourist season, which is just about to begin. Vendors at the Senegambia craft market said they had taken out loans ahead of the tourist season to boost their stocks of traditional instruments, wood carvings and jewellery. Around 57,000 British customers had already booked hotels or seats on charter flights for the upcoming season, according to the national hotel association. This equates to around a quarter of all tourists to Gambia during the whole of last year

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

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Zimbabwe has the Highest Inflation in the World

Annual inflation in Zimbabwe was 300 percent in August, according to new data released by the International Monetary Fund. Annualised inflation in Zimbabwe was measured at 175.66 percent in June, up from 97.85 percent in May. In a statement released this week, IMF head of delegation Gene Leon said Zimbabwe was experiencing what he described as severe economic difficulties. Leon was a part of an IMF delegation that was recently in the country to assess progress on the implementation of a Staff Monitored Program that measures economic performance and Zimbabwe’s commitment to reforms. The programme is a key step towards unlocking IMF funding. Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube banned the publication of annual inflation numbers in July to allow the country’s statistical agency, Zimstat, to compile new price data, which will only be published in February 2020, Ncube said.

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

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New IMF Chief to Hit the Ground Running with Africa

“Kristalina Georgieva brings a world of professional and personal experience, having worked in Africa and with African countries and African leaders…This is not a managing director who is going to have to be educated about the situation or challenges facing Africa. This is somebody who comes with a long experience of having personally and professionally been engaged with the continent. That’s a big plus.” As a veteran of the World Bank and European Commission, Georgieva brings with her a rich patchwork of knowledge and experience of developing countries spanning climate change policy, sustainability, gender equality and disaster management.

SOURCES: AFRICAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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The African Development Bank Goes Green

The African Development Bank has launched a $500m initiative to assist African nations to shutter coal-fired power plants in favour of renewable energy. Speaking at the UN climate action summit, the bank’s president Akinwumi Adesina told delegates the bank’s $500m “green baseload scheme” will help African countries transition from coal and fossil fuel to renewable energy. It will be rolled out in 2020 and is expected to yield $5bn of investment.

SOURCES: BUSINESS DAY LIVE

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Official Signing and Global Launch of the Principles for Responsible Banking

The Principles will open the door to leverage the power of the US$ 134.1 trillion banking industry, which is responsible for more than two-thirds of all financing globally, and 90% of financing in developing countries – making their engagement critical to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Already endorsed by 130 banks from over 45 countries representing more than US$47 trillion in assets and with that over one third of the global banking industry, the Principles are the most significant mechanism ever created jointly between the UN and the global banking industry.
 

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Kenya to Host “Davos with the Poor”

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: THE GUARDIAN

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A Forest Fund for Africa

Gabon will become the first African nation to receive funding to preserve its rainforests to mitigate the effects of climate change. As part of a 10-year deal, Norway will pay $150 million to Gabon to battle deforestation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The deal is part of the Central African Forest Initiative, which was launched by the United Nations in 2015 to link European donors with countries in Africa. The partnership sets a carbon floor price of $10 per certified ton and will be paid on the basis of verified results from 2016 through to 2025. Gabon, which is on the Atlantic Ocean, has just 2 million people and abundant natural resources. Forests cover almost 90% of the country. Since the early 2000s, it has created more than a dozen national parks to preserve the forests. Gabon also has around 12% of the Congo Basin forest, which is considered the world’s second largest tropical rainforest. The country hosts 60% of Africa’s surviving forest elephants, which CAFI describes as “a key indicator of sound natural resource governance.”

SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA

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South African Banks Breathe Sigh of Relief

The bank strike crashed at the 11th hour but Cosatu and its affiliate, the SA Society of Bank Officials (Sasbo), have vowed to regroup for a fight to stop the job loss bloodbath in the industry. The labour union has appealed to their members to respect the Labour Court judgment interdicting their planned national shutdown, but promised to organise an even bigger protest. Business Unity SA (Busa) succeeded in its bid to halt the protest action that was scheduled for today. Earlier this year, Standard Bank announced that it would close 91 of its branches, 49 of which are in Gauteng. Sasbo has warned that if financial sector employees fail to take a stand by the end of the year, 10 000 jobs could be lost. The union said it has been trying to resolve the problem without resorting to industrial action, but even after a facilitator was appointed by the CCMA no solution could be reached.

SOURCE: IOL

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Landmark Seed Round Boosts North African SMEs

In what is one of the largest ever seed rounds raised by a start-up in the MENA region, Egyptian-based e-commerce platform, MaxAB, disclosed the completion of a $6.2 million funding. Founded in November 2018 by Egyptian and Libyan entrepreneurs Belal El-Megharbel and Mohamed Ben Halim, the B2B start-up connects informal food and grocery retailers with suppliers in the country’s most under-served geographies via an easy-to-use app. Egypt’s $45 billion FMCG food retail market is heavily fragmented and multi-layered, which presents multiple trade obstacles for the country’s 400,000+ traditional retailers.  The goal is to re-engineer the informal grocery and food market in Egypt, using empowering technologies and innovative supply chains designed to fit the needs of retailers in the areas they serve.
 

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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Sowing Morocco’s Next Generation of Farmers

Unemployment is high in Morocco’s Al Haouz province. Young farmers are migrating to cities and climate change is raising concerns about declining harvests. To make matters worse, agricultural techniques handed down from generation to generation remain obsolete. But now, agricultural cooperatives have been formed with support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Moroccan government. For many young people in Al Haouz, cooperatives have improved their production techniques. About 33,000 smallholder farmers and herders are involved in the project. The programme aims to increase participation of women and young people and also engage them in value addition of products.

SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

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Changing the Way Uganda Deals with Waste

Faith Aweko of Uganda describes herself as a “waste-preneur.”  She has come up with an innovative way to transform discarded plastic bags into backpacks for everyday use.  Aweko and her colleagues, through the Reform Africa project, wanted to do something with the plastic bags that litter streets across Uganda, soiling the environment. She works with women who are hired to collect and wash plastic bags in the Mpigi district of southern Uganda. The bags are then transformed into durable, sustainable, waterproof and beautiful bags. In Uganda, the most popular imported polythene bag is the 30 microns polythene.  Research has shown that it will take 1,000 years for each bag to decompose.

SOURCE: VOA

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Kenya to Host “Davos with the Poor”

A global conference on poverty is to take place in Africa’s largest slum in an effort to make sure the poorest get a voice. The inaugural World Poverty Forum will be announced on Wednesday in New York at the Decade of Action event taking place during UN general assembly week. Social entrepreneur Kennedy Odede, who was raised in the slum of Kibera, in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, has founded the event to bring world leaders and policymakers together to “change the dynamic” of the way the big global issues are discussed. He said it was about making “worlds collide”. Odede says that they will have a 50/50 split of influential leaders and of community leaders from Kibera, from Africa, from India, from Brazil, who have been left out of the conversations for too long.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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PODCAST: Sola David-Borha on the UN Principles for Responsible Banking

In this podcast, Africa.com CEO Teresa Clarke, talks with Standard Bank’s Sola David-Borha, about the historic Principles for Responsible Banking as part of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative. Standard Bank, Africa’s largest financial services organisation, has become a founding signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Banking – a framework aimed at driving sustainable economic development and ensuring the prosperity of current and future generations.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Zimbabwe’s Facing an Acute Water Shortage after this Year’s Drought

Authorities in Zimbabwe are scrambling to meet the water needs of the country’s capital Harare after the city’s main water treatment plant was shut down on Monday, leaving 1 million people without tap water. The Morton Jaffery water plant, which supplies Harare and surrounding towns with water had been struggling to stay in operation since June before it shut down on Monday. The southern African nation is struggling to cope under the double impact of the drought and a cyclone that devastated food harvests in March. Zimbabwe was hit by a severe drought between October 2018 and May this year, but Harare’s Deputy Mayor Herbert Mupamaonde said a prolonged shortage of foreign currency to import water purifying chemicals has worsened the situation.

SOURCE: CNN

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Accra on High Alert

Ghana said police foiled a suspected coup last week when they arrested three people believed to have been amassing makeshift bombs, weapons and computer equipment in a plot targeting the presidency. The Information Ministry said the men were taken into custody after 15 months of surveillance during which they tried to obtain weapons from military personnel and secure funding “for the purpose of taking over the reins of government”. Its statement said one of the suspects, acting on behalf of the alleged ringleader, had contacted a number of serving military personnel about the plot. It was not clear how advanced any threat was, or whether the suspects were known to authorities, although one was identified as a Ghanaian weapons manufacturer.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Strategies to Develop Ethiopia’s Tourism Industry

Lensa Mekonnen, the CEO of state-owned Tourism Ethiopia, is determined that tourism – which can boost the economy, champion local culture, and reinvent the country’s public image. Ethiopia’s tourism sector supports 2.2 million jobs, and is vital to the East African nation’s development transformation. Lensa sees untapped potential in historic sites that are little known or have fallen into disrepair. Tourism in Ethiopia grew by 48 percent in 2018, far surpassing the global average of 3.9 percent. But as Lensa strives for change, she still faces some pushback.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Plastic Ban Does Little to Ease Litter in Malawi

Malawi banned the use of thin plastics in 2012. However, the ban was suspended after the Plastic Manufacturers Association of Malawi obtained a court order negating it, saying the ban posed a danger to their businesses. Although the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the ban in July this year, communities living along Lake Malawi still complain of plastics flooding the lake. Ripple Africa has introduced an initiative that mobilizes communities to pick up the bags in and around the lake. 

SOURCE: VOA

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Sowing Morocco’s Next Generation of Farmers

Unemployment is high in Morocco’s Al Haouz province. Young farmers are migrating to cities and climate change is raising concerns about declining harvests. To make matters worse, agricultural techniques handed down from generation to generation remain obsolete. But now, agricultural cooperatives have been formed with support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Moroccan government. For many young people in Al Haouz, cooperatives have improved their production techniques. About 33,000 smallholder farmers and herders are involved in the project. The programme aims to increase participation of women and young people and also engage them in value addition of products.

SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

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Africans More Open to Adopting Cryptocurrencies

Global cryptocurrency platform, Luno is working to improve cryptocurrency education and awareness for consumers across Nigeria. The Luno Meetup is a free quarterly event that gathers people with different levels of understanding of cryptocurrencies, from experienced traders to beginners, and provides a platform for them to learn and share ideas on the evolving trends of the market. Where traditional ways of exchanging value are very expensive, prohibited or subject to fraud across Africa, Luno believes savvy people will love the distribution and access cryptocurrencies provide. The firm also predicts that African markets may be quicker to adopt cryptocurrencies than more developed markets. These factors highlight the need to improve the understanding of how cryptocurrencies work.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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Madagascar is Now Africa’s First Source of Caviar

While the island off the coast of Mozambique may be more synonymous with lemurs than a luxury delicacy—it’s set to release more than 10,000 lbs of caviar into the global market this year. That’s the handiwork of three French entrepreneurs who established Africa’s first caviar farm, Acipenser, on the waters of Lake Mantasoa back in 2009. The dynamic trio operates an online store under the Rova Caviar label and in addition to supplying coveted caviar to France, the United States and Reunion island, the black pearls regularly appear on the menu at local high-end eateries. Last year, Rova Caviar’s stock sold out in just a couple of week.

SOURCE: ROBB REPORT

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It’s the Battle of Ideologies in the DRC

In the urgent struggle to stop the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo, doctors are rolling out powerful vaccines and lifesaving antiviral drugs, but the year-old outbreak, mired in violence among warring militias, is now caught between expert groups feuding over the best strategy to stamp out the disease. A dispute between two major players in the epidemic response — Doctors Without Borders and the W.H.O. — erupted on Monday, just as the W.H.O. announced that a new vaccine, the second to be deployed, would be introduced into the region. On Monday, Doctors Without Borders accused the World Health Organization of “rationing Ebola vaccines and hampering efforts to make them quickly available to all who are at risk of infection.” The W.H.O. quickly fired back, saying it was “not limiting access to vaccine but rather implementing a strategy recommended by an independent advisory body of experts and as agreed with the government of the D.R.C. and partners.”

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Where to for Passengers Stuck in North Africa?

The collapse of Thomas Cook has plunged governments across Europe and Africa into crisis-planning mode as they help with the repatriation of more than 500,000 stranded tourists and begin to count the cost of the holiday company’s demise on already-battered economies. Many of Thomas Cook’s German subsidiaries have stopped trading, but at present the group’s German airline, Condor, is still operating. About 240,000 people are booked to return home on Condor flights, but the airline will not carry those who booked their trips via Thomas Cook. The situation in Germany could get worse if Condor fails in its attempt to secure a $200m bridging loan from the German government. About 50,000 holidaymakers are stranded in Greece, 21,000 in Turkey, 15,000 in Cyprus and 4,500 in Tunisia. Thousands of tourists are also stuck in the US and dozens of other countries. Most of the tourists are from the UK with an estimated 150,000 people, followed by Germany with about 140,000 holidaymakers.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Saving Africa’s Rainforests

Gabon will become the first African nation to receive funding to preserve its rainforests to mitigate the effects of climate change. As part of a 10-year deal, Norway will pay $150 million to Gabon to battle deforestation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The deal is part of the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI), which was launched by the United Nations in 2015 to link European donors with countries in Africa. The partnership sets a carbon floor price of $10 per certified ton and will be paid on the basis of verified results from 2016 through to 2025. Gabon, which is on the Atlantic Ocean, has just 2 million people and abundant natural resources. Forests cover almost 90% of the country. Since the early 2000s, it has created more than a dozen national parks to preserve the forests. Gabon also has around 12% of the Congo Basin forest, which is considered the world’s second largest tropical rainforest. The country hosts 60% of Africa’s surviving forest elephants, which CAFI describes as “a key indicator of sound natural resource governance.”

SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA

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Moroccan Women Take On Government

A group of women gathered outside the Ministry of Health in Rabat, Morocco to wage war on Morocco’s abortion laws, which prohibit abortion in all cases except when the life of the mother is in immediate danger. Their weapon of choice? Sanitary towels covered in fake blood and slogans they affix to the walls of the ministry. They’re part of a growing movement that’s relying on an unorthodox mix of tools — eyeball-grabbing public campaigns, Islam’s tenets, political pressure and health documentaries — to demand that Morocco relax its restrictions on abortion. Mobilizing for Rights Associates, a women’s rights group, organized a sit-in outside Parliament in June demanding a repeal of Article 449 of the Moroccan Criminal Code, which punishes women who abort unless their life is at risk, and those helping them. Abortion carries a jail term of six months to two years for the woman, while those who help receive even stricter punishment: between five and 10 years in prison.

SOURCE: OZY

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[OPINION] Banks Must Take a Leadership Role to Accelerate Positive Impacts in Africa

As Africa strives to compete in a rapidly-changing geopolitical environment, it is clear that financial institutions have a vital role to play. As banks, we need to look beyond traditional commercial indicators and deepen our understanding of the indirect impact of who and what we finance. This means thinking about the positive and negative social, economic and environmental impacts associated with our businesses. Weighing up commercial and societal impacts to make appropriate decisions – whether it be to fund a new project, enter into a business relationship, select one supplier over another or to restructure a business – should be integrated in our day-to-day business operations.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Senegal’s Legalization and Regulation of Sex Work Applauded

Signing up to a government scheme that regulates the sex industry in Senegal means sex workers must register with police, attend mandatory monthly sexual health screenings, test negative for STIs and carry a valid ID card confirming their health status. If a sex worker contracts HIV, they’re given free antiretroviral therapy treatment before being allowed to continue soliciting clients. Some public health experts suggest that Senegal’s registration system opened dialogue about sexual behavior and laid the groundwork for future HIV prevention programs targeting vulnerable populations. It’s also the only nation on the continent where sex work is legal and regulated by health policy, according to the Global Network of Sex Work Projects, which advocates for decriminalization of the profession. At 0.4%, HIV prevalence in the country is significantly lower than many of its West and Central African neighbors; the average for the region is 1.5%, per UNAIDS. That figure is even higher in East and Southern Africa, where HIV prevalence is 7.1%.

SOURCE: CNN

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Malawians Make the Choice between Safety or Poverty

About 75 of the Malawians displaced by recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa have returned home. Malawi’s government repatriated them last week, after they spent weeks at a guarded camp in Johannesburg.  Some say they will never go back to South Africa.  Others are not so sure. The World Bank says more than half of Malawi’s population lives below the poverty line, and about a quarter of them survive on less than two dollars a day. For many, migrating to South Africa as a domestic laborer is their only option to escape poverty. That fact appears to have prompted some Malawians to remain in South Africa, despite threats to their safety. The Malawi Red Cross Society, which provided temporary shelters for the repatriated victims, says it will continue to assist them as they reintegrate into Malawian society.

SOURCE: VOA

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The Church Calls Out Burundi’s Government

Catholic bishops in Burundi came under fire from authorities for “spitting venomous hatred” over a  message read out in churches denouncing intolerance and political violence in the run-up to elections next year. The message issued by the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Burundi and read out in churches on Sunday expressed their “concern” eight months before the May 20 presidential election, which comes five years after President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term plunged the country into crisis. In the letter, seen by AFP news agency, the bishops raised the alarm over efforts to “suffocate and assault certain political parties and to persecute their members”.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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A Win for Zimbabwe’s Economy

The gap between Zimbabwe’s black market and official currency rates vanished after the central bank tightened regulations on trade in foreign exchange by bureau de change operators. On Monday, black market rates for the Zimbabwe dollar ranged from 14.7 to 15 to the U.S. dollar, according to Marketwatch.co.zw., a site run by financial analysts. The official rate was at a record low of 14.91, according to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The central bank said on Sept. 21 that bureau de change rates would need to be within 7% of the official rate after they slumped to as low as 23 to the U.S. dollar.

SOURCE: BLOOMBERG

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SA Teen Makes Straws Good Enough to Eat

A 19-year-old South African student has created her own brand of edible, biodegradable straws.  Leila Siljeur, a chemical engineering student of Stellenbosch University, developed Eat Me Straws as a solution to combat the proliferation of plastics and its impact on the environment, particularly the ocean. She’s also of the opinion that paper straws, which are supposedly greener alternatives, are not durable. She and a team of eight young girls began researching and experimenting until they came up with something that works. Her straws come in three ranges; regular, vegan, and health, and are the texture of liquorice. The regular straws are made of gelatine, the vegan straws are plant-based, and health straws are fruit-based with no sugar. Eat Me Straws can also be infused with alcohol, on order. Siljeur says she makes red wine or gin-infused straws for bars and restaurants. 

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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Driving Africa’s Growth by Doing Business the Right Way

Standard Bank, Africa’s largest financial services organisation, has become a founding signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Banking – a framework aimed at driving sustainable economic development and ensuring the prosperity of current and future generations. More than 100 banking CEOs from five continents, along with UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative, launched the Principles for Responsible Banking at the annual UN General Assembly in New York on Sunday. Sola David-Borha, Standard Bank Group’s Chief Executive for Africa Regions, signed the Principles document on behalf of the group, which played a role in developing the framework over the past two years. Standard Bank, which houses the Stanbic brand, operates in 20 African markets.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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The Companies Fueling Juba’s Crisis

A South Sudanese oil consortium directly financed militias accused of committing atrocities in the country’s civil war, according to an investigative report by watchdog group the Sentry. Founded by the actor George Clooney and John Prendergast, a rights activist, the report linked the consortium, Dar Petroleum Operating Company, in which Chinese- and Malaysian state-owned oil companies have large stakes, to episodes of violence, corruption and environmental degradation. It also outlined ties between forces loyal to the government of President Salva Kiir and the company, a relationship apparently forged in an effort to protect the oil fields and keep revenues flowing. While experts say there are few accountability mechanisms in place in South Sudan, the naming and shaming of major international organizations and individuals could prove financially damaging. The authors also hope the report would spur action from banks and governments, such as seizing assets and imposing sanctions on those named.

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Harry and Meghan Begin Tour of Africa

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have begun the first engagement on their 10-day tour of southern Africa. Beaming from ear to ear, Harry thanked the crowds of well-wishers who had gathered in Nyanga township to welcome him and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex. The royals visited a project that provides self-defense classes and female empowerment training to girls and young women on the first day of a royal visit to South Africa, Prince Harry says it is time to rethink what masculinity means. Justice Desk, a human rights organization that operates in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, educates children about their rights, self-awareness and safety, and provides self-defense classes and female empowerment training to young girls in the community.

SOURCE: CNN

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Malawi Finds Ways to Contain Overfishing in its Largest Body of Water

Lake Malawi, the third largest lake in Africa, has long been the economic hub for thousands of fishing communities along the lakefront areas. However, locals say unsustainable fishing practices and climate change have led to dwindling catches, forcing some fishermen to look for alternatives. Many believe that the fish have been depleted because of climate change.  Others point to the increase in fishing vessels on the lake, resulting in stiff competition for the catch. Meanwhile, the government is trying to sensitize communities on regulations designed to reduce overfishing. These include a ban on some fishing nets and a two-month annual ban on fishing in the lake, from November 1 to December 31. Lakeside communities have formed committees to help reinforce the regulation. In some areas, the villagers have set up by-laws which have instant penalties to those violating the regulations.

SOURCE: VOA

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The Power of Radio During Africa’s Worst Tragedies

After the Rwanda genocide ended in July 1994, humanitarian agencies were faced with a raft of problems – how to heal the wounded, how to feed the hungry, how to house the homeless. And how to reunite lost children with their families. But – in a time long before the internet or mobile phones, when people have run away with nothing, when a country is in turmoil – how do you start to find what family they had left? A plan was hatched to create a short, 15 minute programme which would be broadcast by the BBC into Rwanda, and the surrounding countries. It would start with a news bulletin and be followed by people appealing for their missing relatives.

SOURCE: BBC

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Throwing Zimbabwe a Lifeline

Gemcorp Capital LLP, an independent investment management firm, has announced its plans to support the revamping of Zimbabwe’s economy with a $250 million loan for 5 years. The would help the country boost the importation of essential goods like electricity, fuel, and medicine. Although the country has gradually moved out of the historic 2008 crisis, cash shortage continues to affect local businesses and the importation of foreign goods. This is where Gemcorp comes in. The intervention of Gemcorp, which was established in 2014 to provide support for emerging markets through credit and macro opportunities has been identified as a kind gesture to the cash-strapped nation. Founded by Atanas Bostandjiev, Gemcorp marked its entrance into the emerging markets in Africa when the company offered a credit line of about $500 million to Angola at a time the country’s economy was battered because of dwindling oil prices.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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African Presidents Set for General Assembly

African heads of state including Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, Egypt’s Adel Fattah el-Sisi, Senegal’s Macky Sall and Democratic Republic of Congo’s Felix Tshisekedi are already in New York for the General Assembly. South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa will be one of the notable absentees, having opted to deal with pressing domestic issues back home. Ghana will occupy the first seat in the Hall for this year’s session, including in the main committees, followed by all the other countries, in English alphabetical order. Every year in September, all 193 members of the United Nations meet at the General Assembly at the organisation’s headquarters in New York. The General Assembly is one of the six main organs of the UN, where several international issues covered by the Charter of the United Nations, such as development, peace and security, international law are discussed.

SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

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Mugabe’s Cause of Death Revealed

Former Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe died from cancer after chemotherapy treatment was stopped because it was no longer effective, a state-owned newspaper quoted President Emmerson Mnangagwa as saying, the first time the government has given the cause of his death. Mugabe is still to be buried because the government is building a mausoleum at Zimbabwe’s national shrine reserved for liberation war fighters in the capital. His body is being kept at his Blue Roof residence in Harare.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Nigeria Told to Prepare for the Worst

Meteorologists are warning Nigerians to expect more flooding nationwide, raising fears of food shortages. Food supplies are threatened in northwest Nigeria where floods have destroyed crops. Dozens of people have been killed recently and thousands of homes washed away.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Post-Mugabe Boom Catches the Attention of International Art Collectors

A new wave of young artists in Harare are attracting attention from collectors and curators worldwide. Zimbabwe is enjoying an unlikely boom in contemporary art, despite an economic crisis and unstable, sometimes violent, politics. The success is linked to its problems, the artists say. Art from across the African continent has enjoyed a surge of international interest in recent years, with works newly visible in art shows, featured in the specialist media and sought after by major institutions. The devastating economic legacy of Mugabe’s 40 year rule means artists in the former British colony face many obstacles: a lack of exhibition spaces, limited opportunities to sell their work and difficulties getting basic supplies of artistic materials. Curators are concerned that the lack of a major domestic art market will mean that little work currently being produced remains in the country.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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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

Currently, there are about 50 biogas digesters slated for Kenya, these machines transform a mix of water hyacinth and cow dung into biogas for cooking, as well as material for other household tasks such as incubating chicks and purifying water. In Dunga, some are connected to multiple family stoves so that altogether they produce enough gas to serve about 60% of the village’s population. Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), an aquatic plant native to South America, first appeared in countries in Africa in the early 1900s. Scientists there dubbed it the “world’s worst aquatic weed”, after it spread from the Cape in the early 1900s and started clogging up major dams and rivers. In east Africa, the nefarious invader arrived with Belgian colonists in Rwanda, who liked the look of its glossy leaves and delicate purple flowers floating in their garden ponds. It turns out the floating plant isn’t just good at being abundant – its foliage also contains a high ratio of carbon to nitrogen. It’s a magic combination that has captivated researchers’ imaginations since as early as the 1980s when, across the world, they began to explore its potential as a biofuel. Just about 4kg of the dried plant was enough to cater for a large family’s daily energy needs, early research predicted.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN