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South Africa’s Golden Girl Bonang Matheba’s US Invasion

Following her win as the first  African Influencer at the “E! People’s Choice Awards” in Santa Monica, California, the Queen B headed over to New York City where she had an open and honest conversation with DJ Envy and Charlamagne Tha God. In the interview, Matheba talked about her start in the entertainment industry, from her humble beginnings on SABC1 to the businesswoman she is today. 

SOURCE: IOL

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Afripedia is Live!

The landing page of Afripedia is breathtaking. It accurately depicts the varied quality African talent both in color and form. The curated visual platform, which was created by Swedish production collective Stocktown films aims to do away with misrepresentation within the creative industry and connect African creatives to their clients by giving them increased exposure. The platform comes five years after an initial 5-part documentary series which focused on creatives in Angola, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya and Senegal.

SOURCE: OKAYAFRICA

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Barry Salzman’s Latest Project as well as His Award-winning Series on the Rwandan Genocide

Zimbabwean-born photographer Barry Salzman began his journey into the world of photography during the historic anti-Apartheid uprisings. His family fled Zimbabwe and came to South Africa on the eve of the Soweto Uprisings of 1976. His interest in photography grew out of the idea of using the camera as a device to explore, grapple with and make sense of complex societal issues. Documenting areas of genocide led him to Rwanda, a country that marked the 25th Anniversary since the end of the Rwandan genocide.  

SOURCE: DESIGN INDABA

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Burna Boy to Donate Concert Proceeds to Nigerians Attacked in South Africa

Award-winning Afrobeats star Burna Boy is scheduled to headline a concert in South Africa, just two months after he vowed never to return to the country following a spate of xenophobic attacks there. The Nigerian superstar, who was among the celebrities who spoke out against September’s violence targeting Nigerians and others in South Africa, is expected to take to the stage in Capetown on November 23. he upcoming concert, billed as Africa Unite, is being organized by Nigeria’s Play Network and will include performances from artists including Kwesta, Jidenna, and Busiswa. 

SOURCE: CNN

Featured

Funny Moments Captured in the African Bush

Frightened fish, shy bears, sarcastic owls and birds that were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. These are the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards finalists – but we imagine there wasn’t much to laugh about for the subject of the winning image, above. It was taken by Sarah Skinner in Botswana, and shows a lion club “playing”… The young lioness “continues to thrive in the pride”, according to Sarah, who also wanted to “encourage everyone, as a collective” to do their best to help conserve wildlife “so that future generations can enjoy them in the same way I have during my career”.

SOURCE: BBC

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Bush To Beach – Combining A Safari In The Bush With Relaxation At The Beach

Africa is a world of its own – and very beautiful at that. It is one of the best destinations to travel to, boasting of majestic wildlife, crystal blue beaches, stunning topography, and a wealth of history and culture. If you’re planning a trip to Africa and are thinking about your travel itinerary options, we suggest a combination of the bush and beach. Blending the thrill of a safari in the bush with the relaxation at the beach is a great way to make the most out of your trip in Africa.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Mowana Sits High on the Botswana River Bank

On the banks of the Chobe River, in north- eastern Botswana on the outskirts of the town of Kasane, there’s no rush in any case- unless it’s to bring your camera or binoculars to your eye in this fabulous game viewing destination. Rather chill, catch a cocktail, as you enjoy views from the beautiful grounds across the river and the floodplains into Namibia on the far side. 

SOURCE: IOL

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South African Safaris for First-timers

A lifelong dream for many, a safari in South Africa can take as many forms as the multitude of creatures you encounter in the wild. From a remote escape in a bush camp to a luxurious idyll, the range of experiences can suit all tastes and budgets. And just like a giraffe picking and choosing amongst the canopy of leaves for the perfect snack, you’ll be rewarded for taking the time to create a safari that’s perfect for you.

SOURCE: LONELY PLANET

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The Women Explorers Who Sailed the Nile

Reading “Women Travelers on the Nile,” a 2016 anthology edited by Deborah Manley, one will find kindred spirits in the women who chronicled their expeditions to Egypt in the 19th century. The book is collections of letters and memoirs written by intrepid female journalists, intellectuals and novelists, all British or European. Relentlessly entertaining, the women’s stories reflected the Egyptomania that flourished after Napoleon invaded North Africa in 1798. The country had become a focal point for artists, architects and newly minted photographers — and a fresh challenge for affluent adventurers.

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Counting the Africa Investment Forum’s Kitty

The Africa Investment Forum declared it had secured $40.1 billion in investment – an increase on last year – after days of talking and intense boardroom negotiations at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. Hundreds of delegates from scores of countries around the world got together to try to attract billions from foreign investors to boost business and fill a huge infrastructure gap. Organisers and delegates joked that it was like : “speed dating on steroids”. Fifty six deals worth $67.6 billion made it to the boardroom discussions at the forum, a 44% increase on last year, of those, 52 made it to approval. The deals , from 25 countries, secured investor interest worth $40.1 billion – an increase on the $37.1 billion garnered last year in the first forum.

SOURCE: CNBC AFRICA

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The Risks Involved in the Hotel Sector in Africa

From high-end business hotels in Luanda to sprawling leisure resorts near Victoria Falls, the diversity of properties in the sub-Saharan African hotel industry is growing. A confluence of several factors, including solid economic growth, improved travel links and record tourist arrivals, are driving new investments by global brands. With a record 67m tourists arriving in Africa in 2018, up from 58m in 2016, the continent now ranks as the second fastest growing region for tourists globally. As the number of flights and routes into Africa continues to develop, both leisure and business visitors can be expected to grow and new hotel capacity will be required to accommodate these arrivals.

SOURCE: AFRICAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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SAA Grounded for the Weekend

South African Airways has extended the cancellation of all domestic and regional flights to Monday, it said, as a majority of its employees went on strike on Friday. The state airline said it was aiming to operate most of its international flights departing from Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport from Sunday. It said inbound flights from London, New York, Washington, Munich, Frankfurt and Hong Kong were set to operate from Monday. SAA, which has not turned a profit since 2011 and is without a permanent CEO, says the strike by unions representing more than half of its workforce will cost it 50 million rand ($3.36 million) per day and threatens its survival.

SOURCE: IOL

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Zimbabwe’s New Money

The effectiveness of the fresh liquidity injection will be tested this weekend when the country will be without its dominant mobile money platform, EcoCash. Demand for cash has been elevated in Zimbabwe despite the over reliance on mobile money, most likely because money supply is low. The Monetary Policy Committee of the Zimbabwean central bank admits that the country’s “broad money supply of 4% is low compared to regional and international levels of 10% to 15%”. The impact of the cash crisis has been best captured by consumers being forced to pay premiums of up to 50% to get their cash from mobile money agents as well as a run-away Zimdollar vs US Dollar parallel market exchange rate currently at 1:20 against 1:15 on the official interbank market. 
 

SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA

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Fishy Deals in Namibia

Two Namibian government ministers have resigned and the boss of Iceland’s biggest fishing company has stepped aside amid a spiralling scandal over alleged bribes paid to officials in the southern African country in exchange for trawling rights. Þorsteinn Már Baldvinsson, the CEO of the Icelandic fishing firm Samherji, and Namibia’s fisheries and justice ministers, Bernhard Esau and Sacky Shanghala, are the first heads to roll following revelations this week of a vast corruption case. Three thousand company documents released by WikiLeaks and investigations by the Icelandic magazine Stundin and the TV show Kveikur showed how Samherji had allegedly paid more than £6.2m since 2012 to ensure access to the fishing quotas, transferring the proceeds from the catches, mainly of horse-mackerel, via a web of offshore firms to a shell company in the Marshall Islands.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Africa’s Role in the Climate Change Fight

African governments need to speed up the implementation of environmental reforms if the continent is to match global efforts to combat climate change, according to a senior United Nations official. “As an African, I’m deeply aware of the existential crisis facing the continent, there’s no time to waste,” said Joyce Msuya, the deputy executive of the UN Environment Program. A significant challenge is the widely divergent capacities of individual countries to implement change, she said. “Making these changes are often very difficult and the fact is that a one-size-fits-all solution is not appropriate.” Msuya called for greater collaboration from “Africa’s global partners” to help make the switch to renewable energy. “The continent is blessed with resources, abundant minerals underground, including coal, and also enough sun to generate clean energy,” she said. “Sadly, the equilibrium between the value of extracting a resource, and the consequences thereof, aren’t in balance, something we’re striving to.”

SOURCE: MONEYWEB

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ECOWAS and Free Trade Tested with Border Closure

Nigeria and neighboring countries Benin and Niger have agreed to set up a joint border patrol force to tackle smuggling between the West African countries. Foreign ministers from the three countries met to discuss smuggling following a decision by regional giant Nigeria, which has Africa’s largest economy and biggest population, to close its land borders to trade until at least Jan. 31, 2020. The delegates also agreed that the ministers of finance and trade from the countries would set up a committee to promote intra-regional trade, and said they would ensure people crossing their borders would display travel documents recognized by the Economic Community of West African States regional bloc.
 

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

The Cost of Living in Libya’s Capital

Since forces holding much of the eastern part of the country launched an offensive on Tripoli in early April, more than 120,000 people have been displaced, according to U.N. estimates. A wide buffer zone was created behind the front lines, from which most residents were evacuated. Many flooded into the centre of the city of three million and have remained there as the offensive stalled. The cost of renting a furnished two-bedroom apartment has risen to about $2,140-$2,855 per month from 1,500 dinars before April, said real estate broker Abdulmajid Ben Mansour. Tenants are also being asked to pay six months rent as a deposit, usually in cash. Though a liquidity crisis has eased slightly since last year, salary payments are often long delayed and it can still be hard to withdraw cash from banks.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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One-stop Platform for Road Freight Connections in Sub- Saharan Africa

Digital freight forwarder Saloodo! a subsidiary of DHL Global Forwarding, the leading international shippers and transport providers in South Africa, bringing the first digital road freight solution to the region. An efficient road freight network is a key conduit of trade within a geographically wide-spread country such as South Africa but also with 16 landlocked countries within Sub-Saharan Africa. Backed by DHL’s global and regional footprint and expertise, all contractual relationships on the platform are organized via the existing local DHL entity, providing trust and peace of mind to carriers and shippers alike.

SOURCE: SUPPLY CHAIN DRAIN

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Grounding South Africa’s Airline Company

South Africa’s unions have disrupted operations of the country’s state-owned airline as it protests widespread job cuts in various government-controlled sectors. State airline South African Airways (SAA) cancelled “nearly all” flights scheduled for Friday and Saturday because of a strike over wage increases planned by a majority of employees. Unions representing about 3,000 of its 5,000-strong workforce said on Wednesday that cabin crew and other workers at SAA would strike over the airline’s refusal of salary hikes and its plan to cut more than 900 jobs in an attempt to stem severe financial losses. According to the report, only flights directly operated by SAA would be affected. Flights by subsidiaries Mango, SA Express and SA Air Link, as well as those of private operators, would not be affected.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

Zimbabwe’s New Money

The effectiveness of the fresh liquidity injection will be tested this weekend when the country will be without its dominant mobile money platform, EcoCash. Demand for cash has been elevated in Zimbabwe despite the over reliance on mobile money, most likely because money supply is low. The Monetary Policy Committee of the Zimbabwean central bank admits that the country’s “broad money supply of 4% is low compared to regional and international levels of 10% to 15%”. The impact of the cash crisis has been best captured by consumers being forced to pay premiums of up to 50% to get their cash from mobile money agents as well as a run-away Zimdollar vs US Dollar parallel market exchange rate currently at 1:20 against 1:15 on the official interbank market. 

SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA

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Ebola Case in Lesotho isn’t What it Seems

Reports that a woman who displayed symptoms associated with the Ebola virus crossed the Ficksburg border in the Free State have been revealed to have been a simulation exercise. Eyewitness News earlier reported that health officials had “confirmed its first case of Ebola” According to the report, the woman was rushed to hospital where tests “confirmed she had contracted the virus”. However, the International Health Regulations (IHR) in Lesotho said in a statement that there had been an Ebola Virus Disease exercise simulation on November 13 between the borders gates of Ficksburg and Maputsoe. It was undertaken to test the capacities in terms of risk communication, coordination, communication, surveillance, case management, preparedness and response, it said. 

SOURCE: NEWS 24

Featured

Namibia’s Ministers Caught in Fishy Deal

The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernhard Esau and the Minister of Justice Sacky Shanghala were accused of receiving bribes in return for giving preferential access to Namibia’s rich fishing grounds to Samherji, one of Iceland’s largest fishing companies. Esau and Shanghala stepped down “following press and media reports in which allegations of corruption have been made against” them, presidential spokesman Alfredo Hengari said in a statement. The resignations came in the wake of a joint investigation between Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, the Icelandic State Broadcaster RUV, and the Icelandic magazine Stundin based on leaked documents provided by the whistleblowing group WikiLeaks. Samherji is one of the country’s largest fishing conglomerates with an annual turnover of more than $700m. The company sells its fish to supermarket chains such as Marks and Spencer’s, Carrefour, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Menyesha Helps Rwandans Get Credit-Healthy – In Kinyarwanda

Growing numbers of Rwandans are taking control of their credit health through an innovative mobile credit reporting platform, Menyesha, which allows them to check their credit status in Kinyarwanda using their mobile phones. TransUnion Rwanda country manager, Jacqueline Mugwaneza, says “there has been steady growth in the use of the service since its launch nearly two years ago, as consumers increasingly realise the need to know their credit status. This is vital for anyone wanting to apply for a credit or a bank loan” being on mobile or classic lending. Menyesha gives consumers accurate, up-to-date information about their credit status in real time. It is easily accessible and convenient. People can check their credit status and order a credit report, a credit score and a clearance report, in either English or Kinyarwanda, by SMSing their ID numbers to 2272.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

Featured

Tackling Diabetes in Sub-Saharan Africa

The World Health Organization has launched a new initiative it believes will allow greater access to life-saving insulin at lower prices for a greater number of people suffering from diabetes.  More than 420 million people globally suffer from diabetes and are in need of insulin to stay alive.  Diabetes, a disease that once mainly affected rich countries, is now most prevalent in low-and-middle-income countries. The prequalification program is a tool for assessing the quality, safety and efficacy of a medicine.  Emer Cooke, director of regulation of medicines and other health technologies at the WHO, says anyone who buys a WHO prequalified medication can be sure that the product is safe and effective.

SOURCE: VOA

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Solving an Ancient Egyptian Mystery

Researchers say they have cracked the conundrum of where millions of mummified birds came from. Pharaohs and members of the nobility were often mummified, but the practice was not reserved for humans – cats, crocodiles, mice and mongooses are among the mummified animals that have been found. While some have been discovered alongside human burials, others – most notably the sacred ibis bird – were mummified as part of rituals designed to curry favour with the gods. The sheer quantity of mummified ibises left experts scratching their heads – where did all these birds come from? One suggestion is that they were reared on an industrial scale in hatcheries. That idea appears to have some support in ancient texts, such as the writings of Hor of Sebennytos, a priest and scribe in the second century BC, who wrote about feeding tens of thousands of sacred ibis with bread and clover.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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A Zimbabwean Activist’s Disillusionment

Evan Mawarire, a pastor, activist and founder of the #ThisFlag movement gained prominence in 2016 when he draped himself in a Zimbabwean flag and railed against government corruption and lack of accountability in an online video. His protests became popular and caught the attention of the Mugabe regime who detained him for “inciting public violence.” Mawarire was released a day later after mounting public pressure. Mawarire claims that, “In just two years, Emmerson Mnangagwa has charged more people who have spoken out against the government than Robert Mugabe did in 37 years.” Mawarire’s popularity and calls for justice continue to make him a thorn in the government’s side. An online video of him voicing his frustration during protests against a 130% fuel hike in January led to him being arrested and sent to jail once again.

SOURCE: CNN

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A $600m Loan to Boost Cocoa Productivity in Ghana

Ghanaian President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of AfDB Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, senior officials from Credit Suisse and ICBC, oversaw the signing of the facility, at a ceremony held at the 2019 Africa Investment Forum (AIF). At a press conference following the signing, President Akufo-Addo said the agreement would help to ensure higher incomes for Ghana’s cocoa farmers. The government has been looking for a mechanism to scale up the value chain of farmers, and that’s how AfDB came into place.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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The Cameroonian Who Left the Cloth for Hoops

For the first 17 years of his life, Pascal Siakam didn’t pick up a basketball much. It was just a game his older brothers played. Even though his father dreamed about one of his children growing up to play in the NBA, Siakam, the youngest of six siblings, was always more interested in other sports. Considering Siakam has been playing the sport for under 10 years, his resume is more than impressive. Now 25, last season he was crowned the NBA’s most improved player. He was a major contributor as the Toronto Raptors won their first NBA championship title.  Born in Douala, Cameroon’s economic capital, Siakam spent much of his youth at St Andrews Seminary, training for the priesthood in a small town called Bafia.

SOURCE: BBC

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Meet the African Women on the Front Line of Animal Conservation

A 2016 World Wildlife Fund survey of 570 rangers across 12 African countries including Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa found that just 19 percent were women. According to Malawi’s department of national parks and wildlife, since 2006 there has been an increase in women rangers. However, the intake has been low – the Kasungu park only has eight female rangers out of 82 field rangers. In all national parks in the country, there are only 52 female rangers out of a total of 478 rangers, representing 11 percent.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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How South Africans Got Richard Branson to Change his Status

Richard Branson apologized after tweeting out a photo full of white people to announce the grand opening of his new Centre of Entrepreneurship in South Africa. The lack of diversity in Branson’s photo made some Twitter users question the sincerity of his stated mission to empower entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa. South Africa is a country of 55.4 million people, of which 81% are black. “The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship is for all South Africans, but yesterday’s choice of a photo to go with my tweet clearly lacked diversity. Apologies,” Branson tweeted along with a photo of him standing with two people of color and five other white people. The new South African center is one of several initiatives aimed at addressing global causes, including ocean protection, access to clean energy, and climate change, in addition to entrepreneurship.

SOURCE: CNN

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Africans Charged More Than 3.5 Times The “Affordable” Rate For Mobile Data

People living in Africa are charged an average of 7.1 per cent of their monthly salary for a gigabyte of mobile data, more than 3.5 times the threshold considered affordable. That’s according to a report by the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), which classifies the affordable rate as 2 per cent of monthly income. It finds that progress towards competition is stalling across low- and middle-income countries amid consolidation between mobile and internet operators. The trend threatens to jeopardise the push towards affordable internet access for all, with half the world’s population still unable to connect. Even though the 50 per cent mark was reached at the end of last year, that’s still far short of the UN’s goal of universal access.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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How Instant Mobile Services have Changed Nigeria’s Healthcare Game

Around 12,000 students are enrolled in Nigeria’s nursing schools each year. As it is in many health professions, these students often find it challenging after graduation when they search for and start their first job. They feel unprepared and have difficulties to put their knowledge from school into practice. Researchers have found that tools such as WhatsApp groups can be a source of learning. In addition, they permit togetherness of geographically distant professionals. The increasing use of WhatsApp by health professionals in Nigeria and elsewhere carries, however, considerable risks that also need to be considered. These include issues like the protection of privacy of both the health care provider and the patient and circulation of incorrect information.

SOURCE: THE CONVERSATION

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Rwanda’s Great Apes Survive Extinction

Three great apes are all part of the world’s longest-running gorilla study — a project begun in 1967 by famed American primatologist Dian Fossey. Yet Fossey herself, who died in 1985, would likely be surprised any mountain gorillas are still left to study. Alarmed by rising rates of poaching and deforestation in central Africa, she predicted the species could go extinct by 2000. Instead, a concerted and sustained conservation campaign has averted the worst and given a second chance to these great apes, which share about 98% of human DNA. Last fall, the Switzerland-based International Union for Conservation of Nature changed the status of mountain gorillas from “critically endangered” to “endangered,” an improved if still-fragile designation.

SOURCE: VOA

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South Africa’s Catch 22

South Africa’s post office is cutting several hundred jobs, the second state-owned company in as many days to detail plans to lay off workers as the government looks to slash its wage bill. The state owned entity will pay voluntary severance packages to about 776 employees at the end of November, as part of a phased reorganization, company executives told parliament on Tuesday. A day earlier, cash-strapped South African Airways announced plans to cut 944 jobs. Finance Minister Tito Mboweni signaled last month he’s intent on lowering the government’s payroll costs, which consume 35% of national spending. The cuts are part of a plan to defend the nation’s last remaining investment-grade credit rating, which has a negative outlook. Labor unions have argued that their members shouldn’t have to contend with the fallout of years of mismanagement and alleged graft at state companies. With 29% of the workforce unemployed, those who do lose their jobs face an uphill battle to find new ones.

SOURCE: BLOOMBERG

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The Cost of Living in Libya’s Capital

Since forces holding much of the eastern part of the country launched an offensive on Tripoli in early April, more than 120,000 people have been displaced, according to U.N. estimates. A wide buffer zone was created behind the front lines, from which most residents were evacuated. Many flooded into the centre of the city of three million and have remained there as the offensive stalled. The cost of renting a furnished two-bedroom apartment has risen to about $2,140-$2,855 per month from 1,500 dinars before April, said real estate broker Abdulmajid Ben Mansour. Tenants are also being asked to pay six months rent as a deposit, usually in cash. Though a liquidity crisis has eased slightly since last year, salary payments are often long delayed and it can still be hard to withdraw cash from banks.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

One-stop Platform for Road Freight Connections in Sub- Saharan Africa

Digital freight forwarder Saloodo! a subsidiary of DHL Global Forwarding, the leading international shippers and transport providers in South Africa, bringing the first digital road freight solution to the region. An efficient road freight network is a key conduit of trade within a geographically wide-spread country such as South Africa but also with 16 landlocked countries within Sub-Saharan Africa. Backed by DHL’s global and regional footprint and expertise, all contractual relationships on the platform are organized via the existing local DHL entity, providing trust and peace of mind to carriers and shippers alike.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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Righting Jammeh’s Wrongs

A public national truth and reconciliation commission in Gambia began hearing testimony from citizens who say were victims of what commission officials are calling “witch hunts” ordered by Yahya Jammeh, the former president who ruled for 22 years before fleeing abroad in 2017 with his fleet of luxury cars. The commission is designed to investigate atrocities perpetrated during his long reign. As president, Mr. Jammeh jailed dissidents, ordered extrajudicial killings and forced AIDS patients to quit their medications and submit to an herbal regimen of his own invention, according to human rights advocates. He also branded some of his citizens as witches, a tactic his critics say was central to his effort to divide his country and consolidate power.

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

Featured

Funny Moments Captured in the African Bush

Frightened fish, shy bears, sarcastic owls and birds that were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. These are the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards finalists – but we imagine there wasn’t much to laugh about for the subject of the winning image, above. It was taken by Sarah Skinner in Botswana, and shows a lion club “playing”… The young lioness “continues to thrive in the pride”, according to Sarah, who also wanted to “encourage everyone, as a collective” to do their best to help conserve wildlife “so that future generations can enjoy them in the same way I have during my career”.

SOURCE: BBC

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Gambia Takes Myanmar to the World Court

Myanmar is to face accusations of genocide at the UN’s highest court over its treatment of Rohingya Muslims. A 46-page application has been submitted to the international court of justice by the Gambia, alleging Myamar has carried out mass murder, rape and destruction of communities in Rakhine state. The Gambia, a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, has taken the legal lead in drafting the claim against Myanmar. It is being supported by other Muslim states. An initial hearing is expected at the ICJ in December. In the application, the vice-president of the Gambia, Isatou Touray, describes her state as “a small country with a big voice on matters of human rights on the continent and beyond”.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Tracking Blast Fishing in Tanzania

Across the Indian Ocean, in Tanzania, a collective of local nonprofits called the Tanzania Blast-fishing Monitoring Network has since 2014 been training fishermen to record blasts from the shore. Scattered along a 500-mile coastline, 24 monitors record blasts and later, their data is analyzed and shared with government officials. Also in Tanzania, marine scientist Gill Braulik has installed acoustic recorders on the seabed on five sites along the coast, with funding support from the data journalism initiative Code for Africa. The hydrophones can pick up blasts from 19 miles away.

SOURCE: OZY
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Tunisia’s Answer to the #MeToo Movement

Outrage over photographs of a politician appearing to sexually harass a student led hundreds of women to speak out about abuse. Many of the posts carried the hashtag #EnaZeda, Tunisian dialect for #MeToo. Women of every age and social background started to share their experiences of harassment and abuse, sometimes anonymously, often for the first time, in a private #EnaZeda group that has grown to have more than 17,000 members and through a public Facebook page with more than 70,000 posts and comments. But whether the #EnaZeda movement will have a long-term impact to match its rapid rise may depend on the fate of the legal case around the student’s accusation, which remains at an early stage, with formidable obstacles ahead.

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Nigerien Authorities’ Growing Efforts to Intercept Drugs in Transit

It is a flourishing business that, according to government officials, fuels insecurity along the country’s perilous borders with northern Mali, where multiple armed groups compete for territory since Tuareg-led militias declared a unilateral independence in 2012. The illicit trade risks deepening local divides. But according to an internal document from Niger’s security forces, seen by Al Jazeera, the hub of drug trafficking has recently shifted from northern Mali to Niger, under the pressure of multiple military campaigns in Mali, including France’s Operation Barkhane which launched in 2014. 

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Burna Boy to Donate Concert Proceeds to Nigerians Attacked in South Africa

Award-winning Afrobeats star Burna Boy is scheduled to headline a concert in South Africa, just two months after he vowed never to return to the country following a spate of xenophobic attacks there. The Nigerian superstar, who was among the celebrities who spoke out against September’s violence targeting Nigerians and others in South Africa, is expected to take to the stage in Capetown on November 23. he upcoming concert, billed as Africa Unite, is being organized by Nigeria’s Play Network and will include performances from artists including Kwesta, Jidenna, and Busiswa. “The first of many! Part of the proceeds will be donated to the victims of Xenophobic attacks by me! I really hope we can all keep contributing in our own way to make the world a better and safer place for each other. # Africansunite, it’s bigger than all of us,” he tweeted.

SOURCE: CNN

Featured

Find Out the Alphabet of Being An African Content Creator

A– Write as if the world is going to read your content. When people read your content they should experience your passion through your words and pictures. Your voice should resonate with pride and dignity.
B-Take the time to read, re-read and edit your content before posting. Remember that you’re not just writing just for you, your writing and representing your culture and continent.
C-Remain humble to the power of your content. Not everyone will agree with your content, they should see you as truthful, honest and authentic.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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[WATCH] Building African Classrooms

Ecologists are urging creative solutions to clean up plastic waste choking waterways and threatening ecosystems across the globe. The United Nations Children’s Fund partnered with a Colombian company to turn piles of plastic into the building blocks of education in Africa. 

SOURCE: VOA

Featured

What Will it Take to Open Nigeria’s Borders?

The federal government of Nigeria has announced five conditions that must be met for the reopening of its borders to neighbouring countries in the Economic Community of West African States. Some key areas that the conditions would address include the fact that Nigeria would not accept imported goods that were repackaged by neighbouring countries; goods imported for the Nigerian market must be escorted directly from the port of member states directly to the nation’s land borders; dismantling of all the warehouses along common borders with Nigeria and presentation of recognized recognized travel documents at entry points by foreigners.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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Waiting for the New Zim Dollar

Heralded by Zimbabwe’s central bank and its President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the answer to an acute cash shortage that has hamstrung the country’s economy, new low-denomination banknotes were due to enter circulation on Monday. But by noon they had seemingly failed to arrive. The government unexpectedly re-introduced the Zimbabwe dollar in June to end a decade of dollarisation. It hopes the new notes, at lower denominations than those currently in circulation, will help end the cash shortage, bring down inflation and speed up the restoration of the long neglected domestic currency.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Breaking the Speed Record

The Bloodhound land speed challenger is likely to be back out on its South African lakebed track early next week. Engineers are now satisfied they understand why a heat alarm has been triggering on the car when it runs. Bloodhound was in the middle of trying to post a speed of 550mph (885km/h) on Friday when the sensor system alerted driver Andy Green that temperatures might be too high in the engine bay. He aborted, pulling up early having reached only 481mph (774km/h). Known as a “firewire”, the sensor is essentially two parallel wires running through a plastic sheath. This wiring criss-crosses the engine bay. When it gets too hot, the plastic melts and the two metal cores touch, triggering the alarm.

SOURCE: BBC

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Experience Afrochella for Yourself

The theme of this year’s Afrochella, which will take place on December 28 at the El Wak Stadium, is “Diaspora Calling,” and will highlight the process of various African cultures transcending across borders without losing their heritage, through events like the Afrochella Talks conversation series featuring panels discussions with the likes of artist Adjo Kisser and photographer Amarachi Nwosu.

SOURCE: CN TRAVELER

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Indulge with the African Journey Collection

Drawing on his childhood fascination with The Adventures of Tintin by cartoonist Hergé, wildlife illustrator and author Duncan Butchart has conceived these stylised depictions of iconic places on the African continent. His adoption of Hergé’s signature ligne claire style of illustration makes for a whimsical interpretation of destinations such as Etosha, Victoria Falls and Zanzibar, reminiscent of 1950s posters used by airlines, travel companies and tourism agencies.

SOURCE: VISI

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Ko-Jo Cue Addresses the Struggles of Young African Men In ‘For My Brothers’

Ko-Jo Cue isn’t a new name in the Ghana music space. Having consistently released music from as way back as 2010 until now, he has proved his skill and dexterity as a rapper several times over. However something had been lacking, especially from a rapper of his caliber: a project. This month Ko-Jo Cue set out to resolve that, with the release of his much anticipated debut album, For My Brothers, a 15-track offering from the BBnz Live signee. For My Brothers is more than just an album, though. It’s an unreservedly honest and heartfelt letter to all young men, addressing what it means to be a man and the struggles young African males face today.
 

SOURCE: OKAYAFRICA

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Nigeria’s Oscars Dream Crushed

The Academy has disqualified Nigeria’s “Lionheart” from the Oscar race in the Best International Feature Film category, dropping the number of films competing for the award to 92 from what had been a record 93 entries. “Lionheart,” is partially in the Igbo language of Nigeria. But it is mostly in English, which violates an Academy rule that entries in the category must have “a predominantly non-English dialogue track.” The film had not been vetted by the Academy’s International Feature Film Award Executive Committee in advance of the Oct. 7 announcement of qualifying films but was recently viewed and determined not to qualify in a category that until this year was known as Best Foreign Language Film. It was the first film ever submitted to the Oscars by Nigeria.

SOURCE: THE WRAP

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The African Flare in Cuban Art

An exhibition of Cuban propaganda posters and magazines in London shows the support Fidel Castro gave to African liberation movements during the Cold War. The art works were produced for Castro’s Organisation of Solidarity of the People of Asia, Africa and Latin America (Ospaaal), which was born out of the Tricontinental Conference, hosted in Havana in 1966, to combat US imperialism. Cabral led the fight against Portuguese colonial rule in Guinea-Bissau and the Cape Verde islands, but was assassinated in 1973, a year before Guinea-Bissau became independent. Ms Ahmad says more Tricontinental Conferences were planned, but never happened so Ospaaal’s publishing arm became an important way to keep in contact and share information – and posters were folded up and put inside its publications.

SOURCE: BBC

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How to Shop in a Moroccan Market

The dazzling souks of Marrakesh are teeming with beautiful objects to be taken home; colourful spices, walls of brightly lit lanterns, and radiantly patterned ceramics, to name a few. They could cost you a small fortune elsewhere but these simple haggling tips will get you a fair price and some unique purchases. Until you become a seasoned expert, it’s easier to let the shopkeeper begin the numbers game so you have a foundation to work with. 

SOURCE: LONELY PLANET

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Africa Dominates List of World’s Best Resorts

Situated within 6 million acres of pristine wilderness, Londolozi has been owned and run by the Varty family for over 90 years. The word londolozi comes from the Zulu language and means ‘protector of all living things’. Once endorsed by Nelson Mandela, who described it as “a dream I cherish for a model of nature preservation in our country,” it’s one of the best places in the world to see leopards in the wild. Some of Londolozi’s most popular features are its state-of-the-art photographic studio and it’s safari Healing House. Breeding herds of elephant and buffalo roam throughout Londolozi, while white rhino and lion concentrations are among the highest on the African continent.

SOURCE: CN TRAVELER

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Discover Seychelles’ Rich Biodiversity in New Nature Trail Competition

The 25km trail run will be held on Mahé on May 3, 2020 and will start in the region of Port-Glaud round Anse Major, through the well-known hiking routes including the Mont Le Niol and Congo Rouge area finishing at Grand Anse. The event plans on attracting and engaging nature- and sport enthusiasts in the region and across the globe to Seychelles. This is the first of its kind on the beautiful island and hoped to add to the prestige of the already multifaceted destination. 

SOURCE: GETAWAY MAGAZINE

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The Victoria Falls are Calling

There’s really no better time to visit the falls, than right at this moment, says Desmond O’Connor, Head of kulula holidays. “We reckon the low-season, from October to January is ideal for seeing the rainbow’s hues in the spray of the falls, as well as the region’s renowned hospitality and outdoor activities. 

SOURCE: IOL

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Egypt Uses its Ancient King to Lure Visitors

The country has seen an alarming slump in visitor numbers in recent decades thanks to turbulent politics, including the 2011 revolution and the unrest that followed, and a number of devastating terrorist attacks. King Tut’s pitstop in Paris earlier this year – the second leg of the tour after Los Angeles – became the most popular exhibition in France’s history and raised $10m for Egypt, Hawass noted. The money will be spent on the enormous and much-delayed Grand Egyptian Museum project in Giza, which authorities insist will finally open late next year.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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DRC General Gets Tough ICC Sentence

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has sentenced a Congolese former rebel leader known as “The Terminator” to 30 years in prison after he was convicted earlier this year of war crimes, including murder, rape and sexual slavery. The sentence on Thursday was the highest-ever penalty handed down by the Hague-based court. Bosco Ntaganda was found guilty in July of directing massacres of civilians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) volatile, mineral-rich Ituri region in 2002 and 2003. In total, he was convicted of 13 counts of war crimes and five of crimes against humanity. He was the first person to be found guilty of sexual slavery. The first-ever suspect to voluntarily surrender to the ICC, Ntaganda walked into the United States embassy in the Rwandan capital Kigali in 2013 and asked to be sent to the court in the Netherlands. During his trial, Ntaganda was portrayed as the ruthless leader of ethnic Tutsi revolts amid the wars that convulsed the DRC after the 1994 genocide of Tutsis in neighbouring Rwanda. 

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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How to Run Like a Kenyan Athlete

Last month, Eliud Kipchoge finished a marathon in 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds — an audacious feat that no one had ever accomplished before. Kipchoge is from the Kenyan Rift Valley region. A day after he made history, Brigid Kosgei destroyed the women’s world record at the Chicago Marathon. She’s also from the Kenyan Rift Valley. East Africans — especially Kenyans and Ethiopians — have dominated marathons for decades, dashing across finish lines as their exhausted competitors barely made it. In the process, they’ve toppled their own records or those of their fellow citizens. And people are taking note — marathoners from all over the world go there to train before major races. Kenyan marathon runners are such a phenomenon that research organizations have done studies on why they dominate long distance races. And experts say it’s mixture of several things including location, the way of life and the environment.

SOURCE: CNN

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Batswana Not Convinced about Birthplace of Humankind Tag

A study in the journal Nature tracing the origins of modern human life to Botswana has drawn mixed reviews from experts in the Southern African nation. The study, based on genetics, points to human life emerging around an ancient, massive lake in northern Botswana. But some archaeologists question the study’s findings.  The study in the journal Nature is based on genetic findings rather than archaeological evidence, and University of Botswana history professor Fred Morton raises some caution about the conclusion. “To me, the argument is a bit suspicious without some kind of additional evidence to support the genetics,” he said. But while there is caution, local archaeologists such as Phillip Segadika say the report should spur further research of the area.

SOURCE: VOA

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Bridging Ghana’s Digital Skills Divide

Equipping Africa’s large and rapidly growing youth population with the digital literacy and coding skills they need to succeed in the digital economy is no small task. With more than 60% of its population aged 25 and under and the fastest-growing youth population in the world, Africa is expected to add 15 to 20 million youth to its workforce every year for the next three decades. Focused on driving digital literacy in Ghana, the DreamOval Foundation is a social enterprise that manages all the corporate social responsibility initiatives of DreamOval Limited, one of Ghana’s largest and most successful FinTech companies. Set up in 2013, the DreamOval Foundation aims to bridge the knowledge gap in Ghana through the creation, sharing and utilization of knowledge within the education and technology sectors.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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Mauritius Polls: Legacy or New Ideas?

Mauritians will have their first chance to decide if Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth should continue to rule since he was hand-picked for the job when his father stepped down more than two years ago. Nearly a million people are registered to vote in the parliamentary election in Mauritius, a stable democracy in the Indian Ocean. Jugnauth succeeded his father, Anerood Jugnauth, as prime minister without a popular vote when the older man stood down in 2017, two years ahead of schedule. The 57-year-old is asking voters to judge him on his short time in office, pointing to his record on modernising public infrastructure and economic reforms in the former British colony. But he faces two opponents who say his appointment to the island’s top job amounted to little more than nepotism.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Deadly Ambush in Burkina Faso

Thirty-seven civilians were killed and more than 60 wounded when gunmen ambushed a convoy transporting workers of Canadian gold miner Semafo in eastern Burkina Faso, regional authorities have said. The attack on Wednesday is the deadliest in recent years as the military struggles to contain Islamist violence that has overrun parts of Burkina Faso, located in west Africa. Two security sources said the military vehicle leading the convoy was struck by an IED on a stretch of road where there is no cellphone network. Shortly after the initial explosion, an unknown number of gunmen opened fire. One of the sources said it appeared that they targeted the buses as well as the military escort, which was unusual.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Zambian Whistleblower Calls for Protection

A conservationist and a journalist in Zambia say they are living in fear after they exposed that 80 black lechwe had “gone missing” in a protected area in the north of the country. Conservationist Nsama Musonda-Kearns blew the whistle last month on the relocation of the antelope species native to the south-central region of Africa. Ms Musonda-Kearns says the black lechwe were moved from their natural habitat in Bangweulu Wetlands, in north-eastern Zambia, without consulting the community as required by law. But the government has denied any wrongdoing, saying the animals were moved to two privately owned ranches after a capture permit was issued in March. Minister of Tourism Ronald Chitotela has accused Ms Musonda-Kearns of being sponsored by people wanting to dent the image of President Edgar Lungu and ordered police to investigate her. Ms Musonda-Kearns, who has since written to human rights watchdog Amnesty International, wants her rights as a whistle-blower to be protected.

SOURCE: BBC

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Op-Ed: Global Remittances at the Forefront of Reducing Inequalities in Emerging Markets

While there have been some significant achievements in reducing financial inequalities around the world, half of the global population living in extreme poverty (on less than $1.90 per day) live in just five countries – India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and Bangladesh. Reducing inequalities in these countries is essential to global development. One of the ways to reduce this inequality is to increase the availability of affordable and accessible financial resources. This, in turn, increases financial inclusion and provides access to life-enhancing opportunities and services. 

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Kenya Makes Bold Economic Moves

President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed a law that scraps a cap on banks’ commercial lending rates which had been blamed for stalling lending to businesses. The government and the country’s banks had blamed the cap, which the government imposed in 2016 to curb high interest rates, for constricting private sector lending growth and reducing the effectiveness of monetary policy. Besides boosting credit flow to businesses, lifting the cap is also expected to help unlock a stand-by credit facility with the International Monetary Fund, once the government shows sufficient commitment to closing a gaping fiscal deficit.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Somali Woman Beats the Trolls to Represent a US State

The second-largest city in Maine, home to thousands of African newcomers, has elected a Somali American to its city council. Safiya Khalid, 23, soundly defeated a fellow Democrat for a seat on the Lewiston City Council in a campaign that was marred in the final days by nasty attacks and threats fueled by social media. Shrugging off the attacks, Khalid declared that her victory is proof that “community organizers beat internet trolls.” A photo of Khalid flipping off the camera when she was a high school freshman and references to her opponent being taunted were featured in the online attacks, most of which originated outside of Maine.

SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

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Social Enterprises in Ethiopia on the Rise

From ex-prostitutes making jewelry out of bullet casing to drones delivering blood, rising numbers of businesses with a mission to help address social problems are emerging in Ethiopia as the economy opens up. An estimated 55,000 social enterprises operate in Ethiopia, the second-most populous country in Africa and fastest growing economy in the region where about a quarter of 109 million people live below the poverty line, according to the World Bank. But the number of ventures set up to do good is on the rise since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came in 18 months ago and vowed to open the economy to private investment, raising hopes of official recognition for the sector and easier access to funds.

SOURCE: VOA

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Sudan Launches its First-ever Satellite

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of Sudan’s sovereign council says, “The satellite aims to develop research in space technology, acquire data as well as discover natural resources for the country’s military needs.” China’s state news agency, reported that the Sudan Remote Sensing Satellite (SRSS-1), was launched on Sunday from the northern Chinese province of Shanxi. Sudan, which is battling an economic crisis, has been involved in a national space programme for decades covering activities such as remote sensing and geo-informatics.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Protesting Zimbabweans Dealt a Heavy Blow

Civil servants stung by Zimbabwe’s galloping inflation staged what they hoped would be a crippling one-day strike on Wednesday in a demand for increased wages, saying that their earnings are disappearing under skyrocketing prices. It is the first time that government workers in Zimbabwe have been allowed to strike against their employer, and the action in the Southern African nation comes as inflation stands at approximately 300 percent. On Tuesday, government fired 77 striking doctors who were pressing for better salaries and better working conditions, paralysing all major public hospitals. The government is using military doctors to attend to patients in some public hospitals while negotiating with Cuba to help with its medical personnel. Zimbabwe doctors in October rejected a pay rise of 60% which resulted in the government instituting disciplinary hearings on the defiant doctors. The doctors, who earn a minimum of $100 a month, say their salaries have been eroded by inflation. The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) which represent junior and middle-level doctors have remained defiant, accusing the Harare government of negotiating in bad faith. 

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES | BUSINESS DAY LIVE

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How Huge Swaths of South Africa’s Eastern Cape Could be Transformed from Brown to Green

Since Addo Elephant National Park was opened in 1931, it’s been a tale of two biomes for the Eastern Cape. Outside of protected areas, overgrazing has created “a vast man-made desert” that’s resulted in carbon losses greater than 100 metric tons per hectare. A new pilot reforestation project could allow farmers to continue to graze livestock (or game), while also earning annual carbon credits to the tune of $20 per acre. Ecologist Anthony Mills is hellbent on turning back the clock, if successful, his mass planting project could capture 750 million metric tons of CO2. While research has led to spekboom – a fleshy shrub with purple stalks and leaves like bloated ticks – being championed as a “wonder plant” by marketers and eco-leaning yuppies in South Africa.

SOURCE: OZY

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Bolstering Ghana’s Education System

The World Bank’s Board of Directors has recently approved a $150 million fund for the Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes Project (GALOP). The fund is aimed at improving the quality of education for more than two million children in low performing basic education schools. “The project focuses on underserved areas and on improving the quality of education for increased human capital and supports the World Bank’s twin goals of ending poverty and promoting shared prosperity,” said Pierre Laporte, the World Bank Country Director for Ghana. The Ghanian educational system is divided into parts: Basic Education, Secondary Education and Tertiary Education. Basic education in Ghana is free and the curriculum is compulsory. In spite of this, about 623,500 children of primary school age are still not enrolled in primary school. One out of four children aged 4 -5 years are not in pre-school, with about 20 percent of children living with disabilities are not enrolled.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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Competition in Egypt’s Ride-hailing Industry Increases

Operators say there is a lot more room for growth. Egypt’s population will soon be swelling to 100 million. Taxis, minibuses, tuk-tuks and motorbikes shuttle passengers and deliveries through crowded, chaotic streets. The biggest players are Careem and Uber, which had its IPO in May and posted a wider third-quarter loss on Monday as it tries to outspend competitors. The firms still operate separately despite their merger in March. Industry experts expect more mergers as start-ups try to gain market share for bus or motorbike services. Egypt is among Uber’s top 10 markets globally, and is seen as a regional tech hub – start-ups such as digital payments firm Fawry have set up shop in a tech park outside Cairo.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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What to Expect in Guinea Bissau’s Elections

Despite huge amounts of support, including a sizeable UN mission, Guinea-Bissau, a country of 1.8m people dependent mostly on the export of cashew nuts for foreign exchange, cannot seem to produce even a vaguely capable government. It is a lesson in the difficulty of changing deep-rooted systems of corrupt politics in weak states. On October 29th the president, José Mário Vaz, sacked his government and appointed a new prime minister, though the dismissed one, Aristides Gomes, refused to leave office. If he does, it will bring to eight the number of prime ministers since Mr Vaz won the presidential election in 2014.

SOURCE: THE ECONOMIST

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Traumatised Soldiers Learn a Different Warrior Pose

In Sierra Leone, a yoga-program, led by the army, is helping soldiers overcome decades of trauma caused by the civil war of the 1990’s and the 2014 Ebola epidemic. Sergeant Felixson Musa first shared the physical and mental benefits of yoga to his superiors in 2014. The yoga instructor disclosed that introducing this idea in the military was not easy. Corporal Michael Kargbo was abducted as a child rebel at the age of 12. “It was at that age that they took me, and I was with them until I grew up. I had no one to help or encourage me, and no one to help me get back to a normal life, no one. I continued to fight with them, to accumulate traumas, to kill innocent people.” He said the that yoga has helped him to forget the bad memories of the past.

SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

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Why Africa Needs To Focus On Its Mental Health Care

One of the biggest challenges to getting treatment for mental health is poverty, and this is not just in Africa, but around the globe. In certain countries in Africa, governmental leaders sometimes overlook how important mental health care is and whether this is because of lack of knowledge, stigma, or financial issues, the results are all the same – those who need the help are just unable to get it. More research has been done recently to encourage making mental health care a priority and it has shown that people in Africa who have untreated mental illnesses are more likely to become infected with infectious diseases such as tuberculosis or HIV. 

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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The African Flare in Cuban Art

An exhibition of Cuban propaganda posters and magazines in London shows the support Fidel Castro gave to African liberation movements during the Cold War. The art works were produced for Castro’s Organisation of Solidarity of the People of Asia, Africa and Latin America (Ospaaal), which was born out of the Tricontinental Conference, hosted in Havana in 1966, to combat US imperialism. Cabral led the fight against Portuguese colonial rule in Guinea-Bissau and the Cape Verde islands, but was assassinated in 1973, a year before Guinea-Bissau became independent. Ms Ahmad says more Tricontinental Conferences were planned, but never happened so Ospaaal’s publishing arm became an important way to keep in contact and share information – and posters were folded up and put inside its publications.

SOURCE: BBC

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Master’s Students Make A Solar Powered Home for Africans

A portable, energy-efficient home that was originally built for a competition may be available on the market soon in Africa. The design was created by team Jua Jamii, a group of 40 former university students from countries including Tanzania, Nigeria and Swaziland. It uses recycled shipping containers and is 100% powered by solar energy. When Jua Jamii started building the house, the plan was simple — to create affordable and energy-efficient housing for middle-income families in Africa. The team expanded from six members to 40 in 2018 to make room for the implementation of all ideas. By gathering shipping materials from a port in Morocco, they were able to lay the foundation for the building. Jua Jamii also focused on equipping the house with a 24-hour power supply.

SOURCE: CNN

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Nigeria’s Oscars Dream Crushed

The Academy has disqualified Nigeria’s “Lionheart” from the Oscar race in the Best International Feature Film category, dropping the number of films competing for the award to 92 from what had been a record 93 entries. “Lionheart,” is partially in the Igbo language of Nigeria. But it is mostly in English, which violates an Academy rule that entries in the category must have “a predominantly non-English dialogue track.” The film had not been vetted by the Academy’s International Feature Film Award Executive Committee in advance of the Oct. 7 announcement of qualifying films but was recently viewed and determined not to qualify in a category that until this year was known as Best Foreign Language Film. It was the first film ever submitted to the Oscars by Nigeria.

SOURCE: THE WRAP

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Anti-malaria Drones to Spray Silicon Film over Zanzibar Fields

Scientists plan to use drones to spray silicon film over rice fields in Zanzibar to see if it stops the spread of malaria. The rice fields collect stagnant water, which is where malaria-carrying mosquitoes lay their eggs. The researchers from Radboud University in The Netherlands will monitor whether the film will prevent anopheles mosquitoes’ eggs from hatching by blocking the larvae from attaching to the surface of the water. The tests are at an early stage. After the trial, the researchers aim to publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals before testing it again across the continent. Malawi has used drones to map mosquito breeding sites but the researchers in Zanzibar say preventing pupae and larvae from attaching themselves to the surface of the water takes the malaria fight to the next level.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Nigeria’s Largest Market Up in Smoke

Nigerian firefighters battled two fires that broke out almost simultaneously Tuesday at a busy market in central Lagos, the country’s largest city and commercial center. Balogun Market, where the fires erupted, is one of Nigeria’s largest textile markets. The fire started in the morning and became a major blaze by midday, with firefighters trying to keep the flames from spreading. The Balogun market sprawls across many blocks on Lagos Island. It is well known as one of the best places in Lagos to buy colorful Nigerian fabrics, apparel and shoes. Fires and other disasters are frequent on Lagos Island where the Balogun market is located. In March, at least 20 people, most of them schoolchildren, died with the collapse of a three-story building housing a school, residential apartments and shops.

SOURCE: BLOOMBERG

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Washington Mediates A Deadlock in Building One of Africa’s Largest Hydro Plants

The US will host the foreign ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, as well as the president of the World Bank Group, David Malpass,  in Washington on Wednesday for a discussion about a giant hydropower dam project on the Nile River. The controversial project in Ethiopia’s section of the river has been the focus of an escalating feud between Ethiopia and Egypt over scarce water resources. Cairo has long-sought external help to mediate the conflict. Addis Ababa wants to keep the negotiations on a tripartite level and has previously rejected outside mediation. Neighboring Sudan, which has less at stake in the conflict, has confirmed that it will attend. Under the 1959 Nile Waters Agreement between Egypt and Sudan, Egypt can take up to 55.5 billion cubic meters of water from the Nile each year, and Sudan can take up to 18.5 billion. The agreement was reached shortly before Egypt began constructing its own megadam, the Aswan High Dam.

SOURCE: VOA

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[OPINION] Tunisians are Feeling Nostalgic for the Relative Stability of the Days of Dictatorship

If any exceptional qualities are to be ascribed to Tunisia, there are perhaps just two; firstly, the country has autonomy over its own political process, rather than extensive foreign interference. Secondly, because political power is so diffuse in the country, no one could hope to play a zero-sum game and win. But rather than celebrating this achievement, Tunisia’s politicians are feeling the heat. The country faces a glut of structural problems, a slumping economy, rising food prices, a lack of jobs and a populace clamoring for greater social services.

SOURCE: WASHINGTON POST

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What Humans and these East African Birds have in Common

A study published in Current Biology shows that the vulturine guineafowl of eastern Africa, like humans, have many-layered societies. In the past, scientists hypothesized that such social structures require a lot of brainpower. But the pea-brained guineafowl are revealing the flaws in that assumption. These hefty birds can fly, but rarely choose to. Instead, they stroll across the landscape in packs, often walking so closely that their bodies touch “People have long hypothesized that living in complex society is one of the reasons why we’ve evolved such large brains,” Dr. Farine said. Researchers have found evidence for multilevel societies in some other large-brained mammals, such as monkeys, elephants, giraffes and sperm whales. But as Dr. Farine studied baboons, he also watched the vulturine guineafowl wandering around his study site.

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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How to Ease the Pressure on Sudanese Population

Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said on Monday the country is discussing several scenarios such as cash transfers for poor people to accompany planned subsidies for food and other basic goods. Shortages of bread, fuel and medicine coupled with hefty price rises brought people out in protest and led to the toppling of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in April. In August Hamdok said Sudan needed $8 billion in foreign aid over the next two years to cover its import bill and help rebuild its economy.

SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

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Egypt Uses its Ancient King to Lure Visitors

The country has seen an alarming slump in visitor numbers in recent decades thanks to turbulent politics, including the 2011 revolution and the unrest that followed, and a number of devastating terrorist attacks. King Tut’s pitstop in Paris earlier this year – the second leg of the tour after Los Angeles – became the most popular exhibition in France’s history and raised $10m for Egypt, Hawass noted. The money will be spent on the enormous and much-delayed Grand Egyptian Museum project in Giza, which authorities insist will finally open late next year.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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The Perfect Combo For A Unique Safari Experience

Explore the best of East Africa’s safari reserves when you create an itinerary that combines iconic national parks and reserves from the two leading safari destinations – Kenya and Tanzania. You can even take a bus ride from Nairobi to Arusha or Dar Es Salaam and vice versa. The combination tours are numerous and you can be sure of getting a reliable tour operator to tailor-make any combination country tour for you. Here are some of our favorite destinations across both countries.

SOURCES: AFRICA.COM

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Africa’s Most Stunning Churches And Cathedrals

No matter how remote the place, there is always a church somewhere. One amazing thing about churches is the out of this world aesthetics they come with. Church designs usually come with some uncommon cryptic details of belief, time past and their style of representation. To truly appreciate their structure and architecture one needs to have a sharp and heightened sense of appeal.

SOURCES: HOW AFRICA

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Marrakech One Of Top 20 Places To Visit In 2020

Forbes named Marrakech in their top 20 places to visit in 2020. Marrakech is one of the popular cities in Morocco that record a continuous increase of tourists annually. Marrakech is the hotspot for tourists who are active and adventurous and who are interested in exploring different cultural experiences. From city walks through the Old City and the New City, to coastal wellness retreats mixing up yoga and surfing. Enjoy local restaurants serving up seasonal produce and sustainable-yet-stylish lodging. Don’t miss a private visit to Yves Saint Laurent’s home and the Majorelle Gardens!

SOURCES: MOROCCO WORLD NEWS

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The Ultimate Safari Bucket List

Safari is often and best experienced as a combination of elements, an equation of ‘safari and…’ bush and beach; Botswana and Victoria Falls; Kruger, Cape Town and the Winelands. If you’re coming this far, you should experience as much as you can. Here is a list of new reasons to go on safari and exciting ways to extend your trip that you will be talking about for the next two decades.

SOURCES: GO2AFRICA

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Exploring Africa’s Deepest Lakes

Africa is home to some of the largest, deepest, and all-round awe-inspiring lakes in the world. Most of the major lakes on the continent are part of what is known as Africa’s “Great Lakes”. These are a series of lakes that lie along the East African Rift Valley and connect with both the Nile and Congo rivers.

SOURCES: AFRICA.COM

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Temple Graffiti Reveals Stories from Ancient Sudan

A new exhibit of temple engravings at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology tells the story of the ancient Sudanese kingdom of Kush. These graffiti can still be seen today at several sacred sites in what was the kingdom of Kush – on a pyramid and in a temple at El-Kurru, at a seasonal pilgrimage centre called Musawwarat es-Sufra, and in the Temple of Isis at Philae, at the border with Egypt. The graffiti allows a glimpse into some of the activities of non-elite people and their religious devotion to particular places. 

SOURCES: DESIGN INDABA

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Rare Photos from 1950s Senegal Tell a Story of Political Change

Shedding a glimpse onto a pivotal point in Senegal’s history, 1950s photos by Roger DaSilva capture the energy of youth culture and the nascent independence movement. The recently unearthed archive of over 100 of his images, will debut at AKAA (Also Known As Africa) art and design fair in Paris for the first time next month. It will mark the first time that the images are shown outside of Senegal. “Roger DaSilva’s work brings to life a reality little documented until now,” reads a statement from the Albers foundation. “In the pivotal historical context surrounding Senegal’s accession to independence, it provides us with a fresh perspective on Senegalese cultural and social history and makes a significant contribution to West African photography.”

SOURCES: OKAYAFRICA

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Southapedia Mural Festival

A recent happening in Durban, the Southapedia Mural Festival, brought artists and building owners together to create site-specific, large-scale murals celebrating South African culture. Southapedia Mural Festival was created to give invited artists the opportunity to work on a site-specific mural that relates to the area and the building, get paid decently and that can be used to promote their work. 

SOURCES: VISI

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Scientists Say The Birthplace Of Human Kind Was In Botswana

New DNA research continues to point to Africa as the cradle of civilization, but not where you think. Instead of East Africa’s Great Rift Valley, it now appears that human kind first developed some 200,000 years ago south of the Great Zambezi River. This region was pinpointed by studying mitochondrial DNA, known as the “mitogenome” which is passed on only by the mother, which means it is not jumbled up in each generation. The analysis, published in Nature, shows that the earliest population of modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) arose 200,000 years ago in an area that covers parts of modern-day Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

SOURCES: QUARTZ

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Preschools in Kenya and Tanzania Boost Learning

Countries across sub-Saharan Africa have made impressive progress towards achieving universal school enrollment over the past few decades. But schooling isn’t the same as learning. Recent studies reveal that children in this region learn remarkably little at school. For example, only one in five third-grade students in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda have second-grade literacy and numeracy skills, and less than one third of sixth-grade students in Southern and Eastern Africa can solve a simple subtraction problem.

SOURCE: Conversation

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The Peddling of ‘Soft Power’ in Africa

China’s increasing state-backed media presence in Africa has stoked fears among Western observers. But current evidence shows the plan to increase Chinese soft power through official outlets who portray the Asian giant in a positive light has had limited impact. Instead, it is Africa’s rapidly evolving landscape of digital technology that offers Chinese media influence the most room for growth. The African continent—a major destination for China’s Belt and Road projects, international trade, and private businesses—is at the forefront of this effort.

SOURCE: Quartz Africa

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Lessons From The Prudhoe Community

South Africa embarked on a land reform process in 1994 to address the country’s tragic history of inequitable land distribution along racial lines. One of the aims of the process is to provide redress for people dispossessed of their rights in land as a result of racially discriminatory laws or practices.

SOURCE: Africa.com

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South Sudan’s Machar Urges Delay to Unity Government

The spokesman for former rebel leader Riek Machar said he did not believe he would be able to join a unity government on Nov. 12 – a deadline agreed in September after months of talks, broken ceasefires and pressure from the United Nations, the United States and regional powers. There was no immediate comment from President Salva Kiir or from other countries who helped broker the accord. U.S. officials said this month they would not accept any more delays and might impose sanctions if deadlines are not met.

SOURCE: Reuters

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Search For More Bobsled Talent Ensues After Olympic History

On a warm September morning in Lagos, as more than 30 Nigerian athletes prepared to take part in the country’s maiden bobsled and skeleton tryouts, Seun Adigun was there to encourage them. She represented Nigeria on both occasions, in 2012 in London for the women’s 100-metre hurdles and in 2018 in PyeongChang as part of the women’s bobsled team.

SOURCE: Aljazeera

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Don’t Sleep on Tunis

“This would never have happened so openly even 10 years ago,” one of a group of young Tunisians shouts to me over the bass pulsing out of refrigerator-size speakers. We are at a garishly lit, open-air nightclub in Gammarth, a suburb of Tunis so packed with bars it resembles a theme park for adults. There’s a swimming pool, and a few people in the crowd seem like they’re just a cocktail away from jumping in.

SOURCE: New York Times

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Tanzania’s Economy Rises By 7.2 %

Tanzania’s economy grew by 7.2 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2019, up from 6.1 percent in the same period a year ago, buoyed by growth in construction, mining and communications sectors, official data showed on Sunday. In the first quarter of 2019, the East African nation’s GDP grew by 6.6 percent, according to the state-run National Bureau of Statistics.

SOURCE: CNBC Africa

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Plight Of An Ethiopian Journalist

A court in Ethiopia has sentenced a journalist to seven years imprisonment, a number of local media outlets reported. Fekadu Mahitemework who worked with the Enku Magazine, a local media outlet, was sentenced on charges of tax evasion. He was also handed a 7000 birr fine by the court.

SOURCE: Africa News

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South Africa’s Efforts To Avoid Day Zero

South Africa has imposed emergency measures, including rationing, to save dwindling water supplies after an abnormally hot, dry summer coupled with below average rainfall and a spike in usage pushes the country towards a crippling shortage.

SOURCE: Reuters

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Explore Africa’s Deepest Lakes

Africa is home to some of the largest, deepest, and all-round awe-inspiring lakes in the world. Most of the major lakes on the continent are part of what is known as Africa’s “Great Lakes”. These are a series of lakes that lie along the East African Rift Valley and connect with both the Nile and Congo rivers.

SOURCE: Africa.com

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Humanity’s Birthplace Pinpointed In Botswana

Where was the evolutionary birthplace of modern humans? The East African Great Rift Valley has long been the favoured contender. Our new research has used DNA to trace humanity’s earliest footsteps to a prehistoric wetland called Makgadikgadi-Okavango, south of the Great Zambezi River. Analysis, show that the earliest population of modern humans arose 200,000 years ago in an area that covers parts of modern-day Botswana.


SOURCE: Conversation

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Seychelles Leader Champions Climate Change Fight

President Danny Faure in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press says small island nations like his are the least responsible for the problem but among the most vulnerable as sea levels rise. “The science is clear,” he said. “The scientists have spoken. We all know that we have a problem. What is needed is responsible global action.”

SOURCE: VOA News

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Looming Catastrophe That Could Hit 2.3 Million Zambians

Communities across southern Africa have been affected by drought since late 2018. This year, large parts of southern and western Zambia received their lowest seasonal rainfall totals since at least 1981, the base year from which normal rainfall is benchmarked. At the same time, northern and eastern parts of the country were affected by flash floods and waterlogging, resulting in poor harvests.

SOURCE: Ventures Africa

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Google Doodle Honours Nigeria’s Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti

These days in Nigeria Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti is often remembered as “Mama Fela”, the mother of Afrobeat legend, band leader and activist Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. But Ransome-Kuti was a legend in her own right particularly when it comes to the story of Nigeria’s battle for independence and for gender equality. That’s why Google has recognized the matriarchal icon for its users in Nigeria.

SOURCE: Quartz

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A Marveling 900 Year Old Village On A Mountain

Shonke village is a 900-year-old settlement on the top of a mountain in Ethiopia’s Amhara region. Residents say they prefer their traditional stone-built homes to Ethiopia’s “shining cities”. About 20 generations have lived in the village, but residents now say half of the village’s estimated households have left in search of farmlands down the hill.

SOURCE: BBC

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What May Scuttle Plans For Congo’s Billion Dollar Dam Project

Serious disagreements between groups of Spanish and Chinese developers that want to build a 11,000-megawatt hydropower plant in the Democratic Republic of Congo may scuttle plans for the $14 billion project. The Inga III dam would be the biggest hydroelectric power station on Africa’s second-longest river and provide electricity to Congo and other nations, including South Africa.

SOURCE: Bloomberg

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Doctors Association Set Up Crowdfunding Initiative in Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) has set up a crowdfunding initiative to appeal for donations from the public amid an ongoing industrial action which commenced six weeks ago. This is geared towards providing a way to help desperate medical personnel to ease the financial problems faced by its members.

According to Tawanda Zyakada, a representative of ZHDA, the most recent issue has been the withholding of October salaries for all doctors who haven’t been reporting to work due to the fact that they are financially liquidated.

SOURCE: Venture’s Africa

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Mysterious Vanishing of Cape Town’s Great White Shark

“Seal Island is probably the world’s most famous location for seeing great white sharks,” says Chris Fallows, a well-known shark expert, photographer and tour boat operator. After countless documentaries and Shark Week appearances on the Discovery Channel, in 2019, Fallows is forcing himself to talk about these awesome sharks in the past tense. The great whites didn’t just disappear overnight. There has been a steady decline, then, most likely, a dramatic collapse, says Stellenbosch University marine biologist Sara Andreotti.

SOURCE: CNN

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10 Things to Do in Malawi

Malawi is one of the most breathtaking places on earth. From her beautiful blue lake, to her ever-smiling, welcoming people, Malawi should surely be on your list of places to visit, and when you do, here are ten things we recommend you do while there.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Coach Behind World’s Greatest Runners

Countless stars from Ethiopia throughout the last few decades have trained under the tutelage of the Adilo family, who, as former athletes, understand the slog. Thus, the brothers are constantly talking to their athletes and consulting with each other to see how each individual is feeling physically and emotionally.

“Our philosophy is structured around the athletes maintaining interest and excitement in the training,” Adilo says. “So one day we might go to Entoto for endurance training, but then we may drop down to [lower-altitude] Sebeta for speed work.”

SOURCE: OZY

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The two Side’s of Mining Ghana’s valuable Bauxite

Below the towering mahogany trees that blanket this lush mountainside, hidden beneath the brown-red soil, lie millions of tons of very valuable rock.

This world-renowned forest reserve, called the Atewa, is the source of three major rivers that provide water to 5 million people. It is also home to an estimated 165 million tons of bauxite, a sedimentary rock used to create aluminum products such as aircraft parts, kitchen utensils and beer cans.


SOURCE: Washington Post

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Mozambique’s Filipe Nyusi Retains Power

Nyusi secured 73% of the vote in the presidential race, the National Election Commission (CNE) said on Sunday, while his party, the ruling Frelimo, also won big in the legislative and provincial contests.

His main rival Ossufo Momade, of former guerrilla movement turned main opposition party Renamo, trailed behind with 21.88% of the vote, CNE Chairman Abdul Carimo told a news conference.


SOURCE: Reuters

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Kenya’s Agritech Startup Goes Pan-African

The high rate of waste and the lack of effective distribution are two major problems plaguing the agribusiness value chain across African countries. A startup tackling both issues has just bagged major funding.

Twiga Foods, the Kenya-based food logistics startup, has raised $23.7 million in a Series B round led by US investment bank Goldman Sachs. The company also raised an additional $6 million in debt. The latest funding follows a $10 million round last November.

SOURCE: QUARTZ

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Nigeria’s Border Closure Impacts Trade Flow

Nigeria recently partially closed its border with Benin in an effort to stem the smuggling of rice. It then went on to close its land borders to the movement of all goods from Benin, Niger and Cameroon, effectively banning trade flows with its neighbours.

Border closures are not new in Africa. But Nigeria’s actions raise important concerns about the seriousness and prospects of regional integration in Africa.

SOURCE: Conversation

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A piece of Finland in Uganda

When Ukko Liikkanen and Niina Prittinen first visited Uganda in 2013, they were not thinking of swapping the polar circle for the equator.

Now four years later the Finnish couple live in Entebbe, Uganda, permanently. They run a tour operating company, A Piece of Uganda Safaris, but there is another passion: Finnish sauna. The couple have built a sauna in the sweltering heat of the East African country.

SOURCE: BBC

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The Beauty Industry Looks to Africa for Growth

In recent years, there has been a sharp rise in African beauty brands or African diaspora niche brands that have organically built a customer base providing products made for those with black skin and hair. With Africa’s beauty and personal care market estimated at $11 billion in 2017, the continent is being seen as a major growth frontier for majors including L’Oréal and Unilever pursuing increasing activity in the region. In 2013, L’Oréal acquired the Kenyan company behind Nice & Lovely, a well-known mass-market skin and hair brand, for an estimated $17.6 million. The next year, L’Oréal bought Carol’s Daughter, a business that was started by Lisa Price in her Brooklyn, New York kitchen in 1993, but was valued at $27 million at the time of acquisition. A few years later in 2017, Liberian-born Richelieu Dennis, the founder of one of the best known black skin & hair brands, Shea Moisture, sold his New York-based company Sundial Brands to Unilever. At the time of sale his company was estimated at a whopping $240 million.

SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA

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A Find Like No Other

A team of Egyptian archaeologists found a “distinctive group of 30 coloured wooden coffins for men, women and children” in a cache at Al-Asasif cemetery on Luxor’s west bank. The intricately carved and painted 3,000-year-old coffins were closed with mummies inside and were in “a good condition of preservation, colours and complete inscriptions”. The coffins will undergo restoration before being moved to a showroom at the Grand Egyptian Museum, due to open next year next to the Giza pyramids. The discovery is the latest in a series of major finds of ancient relics that Egypt hopes will revive its tourism sector, which has been badly hit by political instability since the 2011.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Two Sides of Rwanda’s President

African youth are enthusiastic about Kagame. It is not uncommon to see calls on social media for Kagame to be “borrowed” as president of their respective countries, even if just for a few months to “fix things”.  Outside of Africa, Paul Kagame raises mixed feelings, with human rights groups classifying him as an authoritarian leader, who curtails press and political freedoms and presides over an undemocratic nation whose constitution he changed to remain president beyond his legal term. But on the continent, the 19 years under his charge has seen the country become stable, prosperous, unified and, in large part, reconciled. Social services, such as education, healthcare, housing and livestock are provided to the needy, with no distinction of ethnicity or region of origin – two forms of discrimination that characterised the governments leading up to the genocide against the Tutsi, which Kagame, as leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), brought to an end. 

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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How to Spot Fake African Art

African art is becoming a larger and larger target. Fakes are flooding the South African market and while a range of artists is affected, it’s mostly the black modernists (1960 – 1990) whose legacy is suffering. To illustrate: If you use Google images to search for the work of Lucky Sibiya, the artist being used as part of a yet to be published study at the University of Pretoria, you’ll find that 30% of all the works yielded in the search are fakes. It’s the same with his contemporaries, among them George Pemba, Welcome Koboka, Nat Mokgosi, Martin Tose, Dumile Feni, Julian Motau and Eli Kobeli. They are just eight of a list of 21 artists identified as being forged. In the ongoing work researchers have traced the bulk of the fakes we’ve studied to a group we call the African Modernist Fake School – a trained artist or group of artists working together to create fakes on demand. The demand is created by an equally well organised group of “galleries” and auction houses.

SOURCE: THE CONVERSATION

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Botswana Faces a Genuine Electoral Contest

The Botswana Democratic Party, in power since independence day, faces an unusually tough parliamentary vote, after the country’s former president and political heavyweight Ian Khama fell out bitterly with his hand-picked successor, President Mokgweetsi Masisi, earlier this year. There is no clear winner in sight and little to distinguish the contestants on policy. But whichever party wins will inherit the unenviable task of tackling high unemployment, inequality and over-reliance on dwindling diamonds, which turned Botswana into one of Africa’s wealthiest nations but cannot lift living standards forever.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Leading Africa into the 4th Industrial Revolution

Ideas like smart cities and industrialized entrepreneurship no longer seem like far-fetched terms, but like actual solutions to some of our social problems. To improve the infrastructure of different countries in Africa, people need access to the relevant digital platforms.  To mention just one example, in Kenya, people started looking for ways in which to improve dairy farming – both for the farmer and for the industry as a whole.  Technology can now be used to digitally detect illnesses in cows to alert farmers of the type of medicine they will need.  Capturing data in such a way has immensely improved the efficiency in dairy farming. However, behind the scenes, in the background of an ever demanding society, creative entrepreneurs are working on finding technological methods to create solutions to some of our social problems.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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African Youth Weigh in on Africa’s Problems

The World Bank has announced the launch of this year’s Blog4Dev competition, an annual writing contest that engages the Sub-Saharan African Youth to share their views on critical issues that affect the region’s economic development. It also gives them the platform to suggest solutions about development topics that are important to them. The theme for this year’s contest is ‘What will it take to end child marriage in your country’? Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest level of child marriage with four in ten young women married before age 18, a UNICEF report shows. 

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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An Ant in the Sahara Clocks in Record Speed

Scientists have recorded the speed of the world’s fastest ant, which lives in the Sahara and is able to travel 108 times its own body length per second. The Saharan silver ant, Cataglyphis bombycina, can reach speeds of 0.855 meters per second with its high-frequency strides. The ants’ silver color also gives them some relief from the heat, as their shiny coats reflect sunlight and infrared, helping to keep them relatively cool. The team had to look for digging ants or follow a foraging ant back to its nest. Once they had located one, an aluminum channel was joined to the entrance with food at the end — to entice the ants out. The scientists then filmed them from above to work out their speed. They also excavated a nest, which they took back to Germany to record the ants running more slowly in cooler temperatures. The team’s findings, based on experiments conducted in Tunisia, will be published in the Journal of Experimental Biology. 

SOURCE: CNN

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This Malawi Village Harnesses the Power of Radio

The Nkhotakota radio programme in Malawi is being credited with  changing people’s lives. Realising that few other programmes catered for women’s issues, it created a segment where local women are invited to the studio to discuss topics that affect them. At the end of the show solutions are suggested to the topics discussed. The show even empowered a village to successfully demand a bridge from the local government so that its children would never miss school when it rains.

SOURCE: BBC

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African Women and Girls on Self-defence

In African slums, boxing clubs are seen as a good way to keep young men off the streets, let them take out their frustrations through sport rather than crime, and provide a way out of poverty. In Uganda, though, one woman has stepped into the ring to not only win medals on the continent, but also empower young women to stay off the streets and defend themselves.  Kampala’s Katanga slum is home to 20,000 urban poor, who live in crowded conditions and where women are often victims of crime. The coach at Katanga’s Rhino Boxing Club, Innocent Kapalata, says more and more young women in the slum are joining the club.

SOURCE: VOA

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Empowering The Ocean Women

Our oceans play a major role in everyday life, but they are in grave danger. To protect the ocean, we must look to a crucial, largely overlooked component: gender.

For World Oceans Day this year, which occurs every year on Jun. 8, the United Nations and the international community is shining a spotlight on the intersections between the ocean and gender—an often underrepresented and unrecognised relationship.

“Gender equality and the health and conservation of our oceans are inextricably linked and we need to mainstream gender equality both in policies and programs and really in our DNA,” UN Women’s Policy Analyst Carla Kraft told IPS.

Founder of Women4Oceans Farah Obaidullah echoed similar sentiments to IPS to mark the occasion, stating: “It’s a great step that the UN is recognising the importance of addressing gender when it comes to achieving healthy oceans. You can’t achieve healthy oceans without achieving gender equality.”

Women make up approximately 47 percent of the world’s 120 million people, working in fisheries around the world, outnumbering men both in large-scale and small-scale fisheries.

However, women in the fisheries sector are largely concentrated in low-skilled, low-paid seasonal jobs without health, safety, and labour rights protections. In fact, women earn approximately 64 percent of men’s wages for the same work in aquaculture.

At the same time, women’s contributions both towards ocean-based livelihoods and conservation efforts remain invisible.

“There’s a disproportion valuation or recognition of women’s work and skills in marine and coastal development and ocean and marine resources,” Kraft said.

“Women’s economic empowerment is very much related to ocean activities and resources so it’s really about having gender equality as both a goal and a process through which we can conserve, preserve, and use the ocean in economic activity,” she added.

As ocean degradation and climate change deepens, women are left with even less access to economic resources, protection, and stable livelihoods, which thus exacerbates gender inequalities.

According to UN Women, women and children are 14 times more likely to die or get injured in natural disasters due to unequal access to resources.

While women’s political participation is increasing, Obaidullah noted that women are still left out of the table in decision-making and lack recognition around fisheries and ocean governance, telling IPS of her own experiences as an ocean advocate.

“It’s difficult—sometimes it’s because I’m a woman, sometimes it’s because of my ethnic background—to have my voice heard in certain settings. I’ll go to a conference and try to talk about serious topics with fellow delegates but [only to] be put down,” Obaidullah told IPS.

“I have seen how women have left the conservation movement and academia because of being in the minority in the fields that they work. And that has to change because we are losing out on all this capacity, intelligence, and training because of the inequality in this sector,” she added.

For instance, UN Women found that in Thailand men make 41 percent of decisions compared to 28 percent by women regarding fish farming. Such decisions are often related to establishing farms, business registration, feeding, and dealing with emergencies.

Obaidullah highlighted the need to empower  and support women across the globe to ensure sustainable ocean governance, including at the UN.

“Bringing in different voices from different backgrounds and from different genders is essential if we are going to set a healthier course for humanity…. we need to be making role models across geographies, across cultures if we are to get people motivated and inspired to take action for the ocean,” she said.

“There are a lot of women and people from different cultures and countries that are really on the ground fighting the fight for our ocean but they don’t get the spotlight.”

Already, the work towards inclusive conservation has begun.

In Seychelles, numerous organisations have put women and youth at the centre of efforts. One such organisation is SOCOMEP, a woman-run fisheries quality and quantity control company.

In Kenya, women are promoting conservation education within the mangrove forests through the Mikoko Pamoja mangrove conservation and restoration project, helping contribute to ecotourism, better health care and education while generating an income.

Kraft pointed to the need for data as the intersections between gender and the ocean still remain unexplored.

“One of the biggest issues right now that we have is the lack of sex-disaggregated data so it makes it harder to make really adequate policy responses when we don’t know the exact status of where women are in the economic activities in ocean and marine-related fields,” she said.

At the end of the day, the international community must also recognise that gender is related to and should be mainstreamed through all sectors.

“We have gone too long without having a gender lens really used for all of these policymakers…gender equality will benefit sustainable ocean governance and sustainable ocean governance with a gender lens will contribute to gender equality and women’s economic empowerment,” Kraft said.

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Recapitalising Ethiopia’s State-owned Enterprises

Ethiopia will use some of the proceeds from partially privatising state companies to pay off government-guaranteed debts issued by lenders, including the largest state bank by assets. The two main state lenders are Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, which accounts for more than 60% of the nation’s financial-services industry; and the Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE), which allocates credit as directed by the government. Ethiopia’s privatisation plan is part of a shift in strategy under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to reduce national debt, generate foreign exchange and strengthen large swaths of the economy of Africa’s second most-populous nation. Ethio Telecom and assets owned by Ethiopian Sugar Corporation are first on the list, with rail, industrial parks and logistics assets among those slated to follow.

SOURCES: BUSINESS DAY LIVE

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New York Continues to be the Most Important Hub for Nonstop Travel to Africa

Half of the nonstop routes out of the United States to the continent are routed out of either John F. Kennedy International Airport or Newark. American Airline’s new Philadelphia to Casablanca route will be the airline’s first flight into the African continent. But the new United route is not the first time the airline has flown nonstop to Africa. Three years ago, United discontinued a Houston to Lagos, Nigeria, route that serviced travelers in the energy and oil industries. Airlines are increasingly introducing nonstop flights, dramatically reducing travel time and further linking the United States to major African nations.

SOURCES: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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A Resurgence of Resource Nationalism Across the Continent

Last week, Sierra Leone abruptly cancelled an iron ore mining license with Gerald Group, a metals trader, “with immediate effect”. The action is the latest in a string of disputes between governments and mining companies in Africa, which is home to rich resources of iron ore, copper, gold and diamonds. A number of African governments are working to right what many see as historic imbalances in favor of foreign companies rooted in colonialism and to readdress contracts signed at earlier stages of certain economic cycles. Commodity prices have rebounded since the end of the China-driven boom in 2015, with increased use of metals, including cobalt and copper, in renewable energy technologies such as batteries and wind turbines.  The Sierra Leonean government’s actions came as iron ore prices remain elevated at $94.5 a metric ton, having surged to a five-year high above $125 earlier this year.

SOURCES: OZY

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Liberia’s Economy is on the Rocks

The aid money that held the country steady after its brutal civil wars is ebbing and inflation has surged to more than 25%. Many businesses are struggling to stay afloat. But one industry seems to be weathering the storm: shipping. The tiny west African country, with a gdp of just $2.1bn, has one of the largest seagoing fleets in the world. Over 4,400 vessels which is about 12% of global shipping fly its flag. And the number is growing. The secret of this maritime success is an old practice known as the flag of convenience. In the 1920s shipowners began to register their vessels abroad for a small fee. This allowed them to avoid taxes and labour laws back home. Liberia had few regulations and made it easy to sign up. By the 1960s it had the largest merchant navy in the world.
 

SOURCE: THE ECONOMIST

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Halting Food Smuggling into the Continent’s Most-populous Nation

The shutdown of Nigeria’s land borders to tackle rampant food smuggling and encourage an agricultural revival in Africa’s top oil producer is having an unintended side effect: higher inflation. A spike in food prices saw the annual consumer-inflation rate rise to 11.2% in September, after falling to a 3 1/2-year low in the preceding month, the National Bureau of Statistics. Food-price growth accelerated for the first time in four months, rising 1.3% from August. In late August, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the partial closing of its boundary with Benin to curb smuggling of rice, a staple. With a population barely 5% of Nigeria’s, Benin has turned into the world’s No. 2 exporter of rice while Nigeria is expected to be the biggest buyer of the grain this year. The policy has hurt food sellers in the capital, Abuja, who say Nigerians prefer imported food items because they’re more affordable. Prices of imported products such as rice, palm oil and frozen chicken have gone up by more than 50%, they say.
 

SOURCE: BLOOMBERG

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Looking to Gain more Ground on the Continent

As part of its expansion plans into Africa, global ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies launched a pilot test of their taxi boat service on Friday in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub. To attract customers who want to avoid the city’s frequently congested roads, Uber will operate a two-week pilot phase of the boat service in conjunction with the Lagos State Water Authority (LASWA) and local boat operators. The service will be available only on weekdays for the next two weeks and will cost $1.30 per trip. Lagos has an estimated population of about 22 million people and counting, more than double London or New York’s tally. One study said commuters in Lagos an average of 30 hours a week stuck in traffic.

SOURCE: CNN

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A Bid for Ethiopia’s Telcos Space

Safaricom, is considering buying a stake in Ethiopia’s telecoms monopoly under a privatization plan. The company joins many other mobile operators like Orange, MTN, Etisalat, Zain and Vodafone with interest in Ethio Telecom. Acquiring a stake by Safaricom would be a much easier solution for the company than starting afresh and setting up its own telecommunication company. The rigorous process of buying land, constructing buildings, recruiting staff and growing its brand in the Ethiopian market is time-consuming and hectic. Not to mention competing for users with the dominant Ethio Telecom. With a subscriber base of 44 million, Ethio Telecom makes Ethiopia the largest single-country customer base in Africa. This figure, coupled with Ethiopia’s fast-growing mobile market, is an attraction for global investors.
 

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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Addis Ababa is Undergoing its Most Radical Facelift in a Generation

The old station will anchor a vast development project, also called La Gare, in the heart of the city comprising malls, offices, five-star hotels, more than 4,000 luxury apartments and a surrounding park, as well as, in theory, low-cost housing for the district’s current residents. Covering 36 hectares and with a price tag of $1.8bn, Eagle Hills’ project was the largest and most expensive of its kind in the country’s history when it was announced last year. It is now already about to be surpassed: by a Chinese company who is investing $3bn in a 37-hectare, upmarket complex in Addis Ababa’s Gotera district. And more projects are coming, with offcials citing potential interest from European, American and Turkish investors.
 

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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Cashing in On the Infrastructure of Africa’s Mobile Revolution

Helios Towers rose 1.8% in London after raising $364 million in a long-delayed share sale that gives investors a foothold in Africa’s fast-growing wireless tower industry.  Shares in the company backed by billionaire financier George Soros priced at 115 pence apiece in the initial public offering, the bottom of the range, the company said in a statement. Shareholders including Millicom International Cellular SA and Bharti Airtel sold down their stakes in the London IPO, with Helios set for a market valuation of 1.15 billion pounds. Helios has more than 6 800 towers spread across five African countries and the money raised from selling new shares will help it to roll out fourth-generation mobile services and keep pace with soaring mobile data consumption on the continent. It was originally looking to raise as much as $500 million.

SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA

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SA’s Rough Diamonds Take on the Industry

A passion for diamonds drove South African sisters Mathole and Ramodipa to drop their careers as an investment banker and an optometrist. The siblings run one of the few women-owned diamond polishing businesses in the world. And, despite the slumping global market for diamonds, and a shrinking industry in South Africa, they’ve managed to keep shining and developing new female talent. After qualifying as diamond valuators, in 2008 they started a cutting and polishing shop, Kwame Diamonds — the first and only one run by sisters in South Africa. The sisters cut their way into the diamond industry, selling only responsibly sourced, certified stones bought from mining companies operating in South Africa.

SOURCE: VOA

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How China’s Africa Alliance is Shifting World Order

When the United Nations General Assembly met in 2007 to vote on North Korea’s human rights record, only 10 of the 56 African countries voted with the U.S.-led western coalition.

The overwhelming majority followed China – either by voting against or abstaining from the resolution.

This has not always been the case. Just three decades prior, the consequential General Assembly vote to replace the Republic of China (Taiwan) with the People’s Republic of China – signaling international recognition of Communist Party rule – was met with resistance from the United States. Although the resolution was passed, African countries did not abide by any side.

In the interim three decades, China rose to be one of the world’s most formidable economic and military powers, surpassed the United States as Africa’s largest trading partner and financed more than 3,000 large, critical infrastructure projects.

More than 10,000 Chinese firms operate in Africa, claiming nearly 50 percent of Africa’s internationally contracted construction market.

China transitioned from the world’s supplier of cheap labor to a leading financier of the developing world, aiming to build bridges – both figuratively and literally – through economic cooperation. Its chief foreign policy project – the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – has connected 152 countries across continents and facilitated more than 1.3 trillion in trade.

Yet to the west, China’s ascent means an authoritarian challenge to the liberal international system.

In a foreign policy address last December, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton warned that China has been “deliberatively and aggressively” undermining U.S. interests.

“China uses bribes, opaque agreements, and the strategic use of debt to hold states in Africa captive to Beijing’s wishes and demands,” Bolton said. “Such predatory actions are sub-components of broader Chinese strategic initiatives… with the ultimate goal of advancing Chinese global dominance.”

Although Washington is becoming increasingly alert on Africa, Beijing devised its own Africa strategy long before the twenty-first century.

Shortly after China’s founding in 1949, much of the developing world was still struggling with anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism. China’s then-premier Zhou Enlai saw this as an opportunity to position China – a country that triumphed in the same struggle – as a leader of the developing world.

“Africa’s always been important for China going back to the 1950s,” Dr. Stanley Rosen, professor of political science at the University of Southern California’s US-China Institute, told IPS.

“In the earlier period under Mao, it was because of the number of countries in Africa that had votes at the United Nations and the fact that China was promoting revolutionary movements, so it’s very political.”

“Shortly after the reforms began in China in 1979, Africa became more important economically,” Dr. Rosen added.

In the 1990s, encouraged by then-President Jiang Zemin’s “Go Out Policy” – a government-backed program to incentivize private overseas investment – Sino-African trade grew by 700 percent. With the help of the low-interest loans from the Chinese Export-Import Bank, companies like Huawei spearheaded a new generation’s quest for markets abroad.

Dr. Rosen told IPS that China now seeks to build mutually beneficial relationships with resource-rich countries regardless of their domestic political situation.

In September last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged that China will provide an additional $60 billion in financial support to Africa for at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) through foreign direct investment (FDI) and infrastructure loans.

Perhaps more telling of China’s attraction, more African countries attended FOCAC than the similarly-timed UN General Assembly meeting in 2018.

Xi calls China’s foreign policy, “major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics” – a doctrine that prioritizes peaceful cooperation than single-power domination.

However, regardless of Xi’s intentions, China’s investment has boosted domestic economic growth and gained political sway over willing African leaders who need technical aid and infrastructure development.

More importantly, China has shown that the western-dominant model of development characterized by neoliberal economic policies and democratic political principles is not the only way. By doing so, China is shifting the eye of world affairs eastward.

In June, 43 African countries drafted a statement to oppose the U.S. veto power on judicial appointments at the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the world’s highest trade court. Again, they sided with China.

China has urged the WTO to oppose U.S. veto power since early last year. Zhang Xiangchen, China’s WTO ambassador, said the international trade system is facing “grave challenges,” referring to President Trump’s trade policy.

“The most urgent and burning question that the WTO has to answer now is how to respond to unilateralism and protectionism,” Zhang said. “What is most dangerous and devastating is that the U.S. is systematically challenging fundamental guiding principles by blocking the selection process of the Appellate Body members.”

“If left untreated, [the policy] will fatally undermine the functioning of the WTO,” Zhang added.

China’s challenge to the U.S.-dominant world order doesn’t stop with the WTO. China has set up international institutions such as the New Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to further solidify its position as the developing world’s financier.

While some have argued that these institutions are potential rivals to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), some are more cautious to assume that China is attempting to change the international order because of China’s lack of clarity in its policy implementation process.

Dr. Yuen Yuen Ang, associate political science professor at the University of Michigan, told IPS that China’s intentions are “not verifiable.”

“While observers are free to speculate upon China’s intentions,” Dr. Ang said. “What we should and can know for sure is a persistent gap between policy formulation and implementation.”

Dr. Ang explained that the implementation of BRI has been “fragmented and uncoordinated,” causing confusion for international partners and participant companies and blurring Beijing’s strategic vision.

Despite its flaws, however, the BRI is showing the world the China way.

On the 95th anniversary of the Communist Party’s founding, Xi announced to a hall of thousands that the Chinese people “are fully confident in offering a China solution to humanity’s search for better social systems.”

As China continues to form alliances in Africa and around the globe, the west may soon need to acknowledge Xi’s foresight.

Source: IPSNews

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Cashing in On the Infrastructure of Africa’s Mobile Revolution

Helios Towers rose 1.8% in London after raising $364 million in a long-delayed share sale that gives investors a foothold in Africa’s fast-growing wireless tower industry.  Shares in the company backed by billionaire financier George Soros priced at 115 pence apiece in the initial public offering, the bottom of the range, the company said in a statement. Shareholders including Millicom International Cellular SA and Bharti Airtel sold down their stakes in the London IPO, with Helios set for a market valuation of 1.15 billion pounds. Helios has more than 6 800 towers spread across five African countries and the money raised from selling new shares will help it to roll out fourth-generation mobile services and keep pace with soaring mobile data consumption on the continent. It was originally looking to raise as much as $500 million.

SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA

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Looking to Gain more Ground on the Continent

As part of its expansion plans into Africa, global ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies launched a pilot test of their taxi boat service on Friday in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub. To attract customers who want to avoid the city’s frequently congested roads, Uber will operate a two-week pilot phase of the boat service in conjunction with the Lagos State Water Authority (LASWA) and local boat operators. The service will be available only on weekdays for the next two weeks and will cost $1.30 per trip. Lagos has an estimated population of about 22 million people and counting, more than double London or New York’s tally. One study said commuters in Lagos an average of 30 hours a week stuck in traffic.

SOURCE: CNN

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The Most Observed Election in Southern Africa

Mozambique held general elections Tuesday. Officials said the elections were being closely observed.  But civil society groups say thousands of would-be election monitors were denied credentials by the authorities. During the last election there were about 10,000 observers, now there’s more than 40,000.

SOURCE: VOA

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Tanzania Has a New Capital City

President John Magufuli has fulfilled his pledge to have the entire government relocate to the country’s new capital of Dodoma by the end of 2019. Dodoma, which was elevated to city status last year, was designated as the capital city by the country’s founding president, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere in 1973. Its central location, compared to the coastal Dar es Salaam is considered ideal for bringing government services closer to the people. The president also urged Tanzanians to register to vote in the forthcoming November 14 civic elections. Following the 2017 move to Dodoma by the country’s prime minister, Kassim Majaliwa, followed by several ministries and the vice president Samia Suluhu Hassan, the entire Tanzanian government is now installed in the new capital.

SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

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The Worst Part of Sampling a Dead Gorilla for Ebola

The task described by Dr. Karesh — a former chief field veterinarian at the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs New York’s zoos — was part of an unusual research project. Scientists were trying to predict human Ebola outbreaks by detecting them first in apes and other forest animals. The team recently published a study in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B detailing 12 years of this work in the Republic of Congo. In some ways the study, which lasted from 2006 to 2018, was a failure. Only 58 samples were gathered from dead animals, and none was positive for Ebola. Therefore, the team’s hypothesis — that animal sampling could be an early warning system for human outbreaks — was not proved.

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Innovative Ways to Empower African Women

Studies in Sub-Saharan Africa have shown that, on average, women with secondary education have three fewer children than those with no education at all. As a result of these benefits, as well as the importance of ensuring that the rights of women are upheld, the UN has made women empowerment an important part of sustainable development goals.  Five innovative ways that are already being recognized as restoring dignity and creating educational and economic opportunities for women are: eradicating child marriages, advocating for women’s rights, empowering women through social media, empowering African women through small businesses and empowering women through technology and energy.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Another Win on the Cards for Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s central bank is confident the country will receive a further $1 billion from the World Bank over the next fiscal year after the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced a new, three-year economic program. The Washington-based lender in October last year approved $1.2 billion for the government’s agenda to liberalize one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and attract more foreign capital. In September, the government unveiled its latest plan, known as Homegrown Economic Reform.

SOURCE: BLOOMBERG

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Scammed African Footballer Returns Home

A Nigerian footballer has returned home from Mongolia following an ordeal that saw him scammed by a shady agent who promised a glittering sports career that never materialised. In August, Al Jazeera reported on his plight and that of many other aspiring African footballers who are now stranded in several countries. In Afolabi’s case, a Nigerian man who lived near his home in Osogbo, in the southwestern Nigerian state of Osun, spun him a tale, took his savings and sent him to play for local Mongolian club Western Khovd FC. Christopher Hannah, a Scottish businessman who had lived in Mongolia for six months, read and empathised with Afolabi’s story.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Opportunity for Manscaping Entrepreneurs in Africa

Beard grooming emerged from the evolved manscaping industry which is worth over $60 billion globally. In line with global trends, more men are paying attention to their appearance, and African men are not left out. South Africa’s Brother’s Beard is one of the sprouting beard grooming brands in Africa. The company operates in Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia through distributors. In Zambia, Beards of Lusaka is an online community to teach men how to take proper care of their beards and offers a set of grooming products from Brother’s beard. Nigeria’s Beard and Butter skincare company is another notable brand in the business of male grooming.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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What to Expect in Eritrea

State-owned EriTel is the sole provider of telecom services. The service it provides is bad, and tightly controlled by the government. Sim cards are like gold dust in Eritrea. Citizens need to apply to the local government administration to get one. Set up in 1939 by Italian engineer Luigi Melottia, Asmara Brewer is the only brewery in the country. State-owned Eri-Tv is the only television station based in Eritrea. It is the government’s mouthpiece, but if you have a satellite dish you can watch international channels. The government has imposed restrictions on the amount of money depositors can withdraw from their bank accounts. Even if they have millions of nakfa, the Eritrean currency, in their account, they can only withdraw and equivalent of $330 a month.

SOURCE: BBC

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Kipchoge’s “Moon‑landing Moment”

Eliud Kipchoge is the first person to run the marathon in less than two hours, clocking in  1:59.40.2. His feat came with the meticulous preparation seen in space missions. He was wearing a souped-up version of Nike Vaporfly trainers, which contain a special curved plate that allows runners to roll through instead of bending toes and losing energy. Without doubt it has been a game-changer, given it has been worn by those running the five quickest official marathons, all of which have taken place in the past 13 months.  Kipchoge was surrounded at all times by a team of 41 pacemakers to minimise wind resistance. Laser beams shone on the road shows the pace Kipchoge needed to maintain and the pacemakers their positions.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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[OPINION] Why I Nominated Abiy Ahmed for the Nobel Peace Prize

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the 100th Nobel Peace Prize to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali, for “his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation” and for his “decisive initiative” to end the long-running military stalemate with neighbouring Eritrea. When Awol K Allo, a Lecturer in Law at Keele University, submitted the nomination in January 2019, Abiy had only been in office for nine months, and Ethiopia was still in the grip of Abiymania. In the nomination letter, I wrote: “By saving a nation of 108 million people from the precipice of an economic and political explosion, he captured the imagination of his own people and people across the African continent as an embodiment of hope … and his messages of peace, tolerance, and love and understanding are being felt far beyond Ethiopia.”

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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A Resurgence of Resource Nationalism across the Continent

Last week, Sierra Leone’s abruptly cancelled an iron ore mining license with Gerald Group, a metals trader, “with immediate effect”. The action is the latest in a string of disputes between governments and mining companies in Africa, which is home to rich resources of iron ore, copper, gold and diamonds. A number of African governments are working to right what many see as historic imbalances in favor of foreign companies rooted in colonialism and to readdress contracts signed at earlier stages of certain economic cycles. Commodity prices have rebounded since the end of the China-driven boom in 2015, with increased use of metals, including cobalt and copper, in renewable energy technologies such as batteries and wind turbines.  The Sierra Leonean government’s actions came as iron ore prices remain elevated at $94.5 a metric ton, having surged to a five-year high above $125 earlier this year. 

SOURCE: OZY

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SADC Gets Proactive About Adverse Climate

The Southern Africa Development Community has taken a huge step regarding disaster risk management and financing in the region after signing a deal with the African Risk Capacity. Over time, the southern African region has experienced several climate and natural disasters. These include droughts, floods, tropical cyclones, storms, and epidemics, which have had devastating impacts on the populations and their livelihoods. With the Memorandum of Understanding, the regional agency will help put in place proactive measures for reducing the negative impacts of disasters and other vulnerability drivers for better adaptation in the southern African region. The African Risk Capacity assists member-states to strengthen their capacities to better plan, prepare and respond to extreme weather events and natural disasters, thereby achieving the food security for their populations.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

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Will Mozambique Change Course?

The face of President Filipe Nyusi beams from flags billowing across Mozambique’s city of Beira, where T-shirts and posters colour the streets with his Frelimo party’s signature red in what is usually an opposition stronghold. Frelimo’s show of force ahead of presidential, provincial and legislative elections on Oct. 15 could signal problems for the main opposition party Renamo, and also threaten a peace agreement signed between the two civil war rivals in August. Under the deal, provincial governors will now be picked by the main party in each province, rather than the government in Maputo, and Renamo is banking on traditional provincial strongholds such as Sofala to gain influence.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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Telecoms, A Key Driver For Development In Zimbabwe

Like most African countries, Zimbabwe still relies on a self-declaratory system to oversee the telecoms sector.  However, this leaves loopholes – encouraging scams and fraudulent activities and robbing the country of a vital revenue stream.  However, without the correct tools Zimbabwean authorities do not have sufficient visibility of the sector.  Which means it is unable to measure the exact volume of telecom transactions that are subject to taxes and regulatory fees. When it comes to international calls, for example, Zimbabwe faces a double pitfall: a lack of visibility over the real volumes of calls exchanged between local operators and international carriers and the current licensing regime.

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

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Another President Wants to Overstay their Term

Police in Guinea have fired tear gas and bullets to disperse thousands of opposition supporters, civil society groups and trade unionists gathering to protest against a bid by the president to extend his time in office. President Alpha Conde’s mandate ends in December 2020 but he seeks a referendum to allow a third term in the West African nation. According to media reports, residents in the Wanindara district of the capital say that two young men were wounded by bullets Monday. The National Front for the Defense of the Constitution, the coalition group that called for the march, said six of its leaders were detained over the weekend and it demanded their release.

SOURCE: VOA

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Ghana’s Movie Posters Become Art

In the late 1980s, mobile cinema businesses were burgeoning in Ghana, bringing film screenings to villages and rural areas without theaters or electricity. These makeshift “video clubs” — usually made up of a diesel generator, a VCR and a TV or projector loaded onto a truck — would travel around the country showcasing Hollywood and Bollywood blockbusters, as well as West African films. To attract viewers, the video clubs needed to advertise their offerings. But they did not have the original movie posters, or the means to print alternatives — the country’s military rulers had even restricted the import of printing presses. So they made their own, commissioning local artists to hand-paint them on used flour sacks. They were large, usually 40 to 50 inches in width, and 55 to 70 inches in height. The posters have since made ripples in the art world, with early originals commanding high prices from collectors.

SOURCE: CNN

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A Love Letter to Nairobi

Prominent author Zukiswa Wanner, born to a South African father and a Zimbabwean mother in Zambia, has a complicated relationship with Nairobi, the Kenyan capital and her adopted city of seven years. The award-winning author of nine books, with themes revolving around gender, sex, race and nationality, is also the moderator of regular talks with African artists in a series sponsored by Goethe-Institut Nairobi, a nonprofit cultural association. Ms. Wanner says Nairobi is a magnet for a reason. “What I love about Nairobi is how accessible it is to the rest of the continent and the world. I often feel like I’m staying in the center of the world. Its people, across the economic brackets, also have beautiful appreciation of art that warms the heart.”

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Africa’s Megacities A Magnet For Investors

Megacities, cities with a population of at least 10 million, are sprouting everywhere in Africa. Cairo in Egypt, Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Lagos in Nigeria are already megacities, while Luanda in Angola, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Johannesburg in South Africa will attain the status by 2030, according the United Nations.

Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire and Nairobi in Kenya will surpass the 10 million threshold by 2040. And by 2050 Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, Bamako in Mali, Dakar in Senegal and Ibadan and Kano in Nigeria will join the ranks—bringing the total number of megacities in Africa to 14 in about 30 years.

The number of people living in urban areas in Africa will double to more than 1 billion by 2042, according to the World Bank.

The University of Toronto’s Global Cities Institute, which monitors cities’ population growth and socioeconomic development worldwide, forecasts that Lagos will be the largest city in the world by 2100, housing an astonishing 88 million people, up from 21 million currently.

In a 2016 paper titled African Urban Futures, published by the Institute for Security Studies, an African independent research organization that aims to enhance human security on the continent, researchers Julia Bello-Schünemann and Ciara Aucoin wrote: “The current speed of Africa’s urbanisation is unprecedented in history. For some it is the ‘single most important transformation’ that is happening on the continent.” They add that African “cities and towns will increasingly shape the lives of people living on the continent.”

Africa’s demographic transition, caused by the “youth bulge,” an increase in the population of people between 15 and 29 years of age, will continue to fuel a move to the big cities because “young people are generally more prone to migrate to urban areas” than older people, according to Ms. Bello-Schünemann and Ms. Aucoin.

While millions of rural Africans move to cities in search of high-paying jobs and a better quality of life, these burgeoning metropolises also offer strong incentives to investors foreign and domestic.

Power Of Population

Lagos is a prime example of the economic power in Africa’s megacities. From its technology hub ecosystem—Africa’s largest—to its successful banking sector and prosperous film industry, venture capitalists see many investment opportunities in Nigeria’s commercial capital.

According to a report by the telecom trade body GSM Association, there are 31 tech hubs in Lagos, 29 in Cape Town and 25 in Nairobi. The value of innovative tech spaces to African economies is massive, as investors pump capital into start-ups and hence contribute to countries’ GDPs.

In 2017 outgoing Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode announced that the state’s GDP had reached $136 billion, about a third of Nigeria’s GDP ($376 billion) and more than the combined GDPs of Ghana ($47 billion) and Tanzania ($52 billion).

Steve Cashin, founder and CEO of the private equity firm Pan African Capital Group, believes that investors are focusing on Africa’s megacities because of market size.

“My firm does a lot of business in Liberia, and one of the main constraints to growing businesses and attracting investment there is the population size and density. When the entire country’s population is just about 4 million, and you’re likely only to reach a small fraction of that, it is harder to make a compelling business case,” says Cashin.

A single Lagos district can be a market the size of an entire country such as Botswana. Because people in Lagos are concentrated, companies can benefit from lower fixed costs and easier distribution. “The economics are just more attractive,” he adds.

Overstretched Infrastructure

But highly populated cities have both positives and negatives. Rapid urbanization strains already overstretched infrastructure and creates complex problems for local governments.

For example, the population of Kinshasa is forecast to grow by 61 people every hour until 2030. People will have to look for jobs and use public transport and other social services.

Bello-Schünemann and Aucoin elaborate: “Most of Africa’s urban residents live in informal settlements or slums, lack access to basic services, face precarious employment conditions and are vulnerable to various forms of urban violence.”

They add: “Global climate and environmental changes, and pressure from water, food and energy insecurities, compound the challenges for human development and the complexities of contemporary urban governance on the continent.”

Around 75% of homes in Kinshasa are in slums, and Lagos has dozens of them: places like Somolu, Bariga and the floating slum of Makoko. If infrastructure growth fails to keep up with increasing population, more slums will develop, experts warn.

To address these problems, Africa’s fast-growing cities require all-inclusive infrastructure development, advises Cashin. “The importance of deliberate and thoughtful urban planning cannot be understated, not only for the efficiency and productivity of these cities but also for the safety of its inhabitants.”

He adds that “proper urban planning requires significant upfront investment” and that “local governments also need to harness the potential of these rapidly growing cities by making strides to formalise the economy.”

Informal Economies

In sub-Saharan Africa the informal economy—economic activities that are not regulated and therefore not taxed—represents up to 41% of GDP and provides 85.5% of total employment, reports the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the UN body that sets international labour standards and promotes social protection.

Without collecting enough taxes, cash-strapped city authorities cannot finance critical infrastructure such as roads, hospitals and power.

Some local administrations depend on foreign direct investment (FDI) or opt for the BOT system—build, operate, transfer—in which investors finance a project (such as a bridge) and recoup their investments by, for example, collecting tolls for a limited period.

Investors who are attracted to densely populated cities are also repelled by a lack of infrastructure and incompetent city authorities.

The State of African Cities 2018, a UN report, says that Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi are the leading FDI attractions in sub-Saharan Africa.

Private investors often accompany financing with technological know-how. For example, smart city projects across South Africa, such as Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, require a diverse range of talent not often found in that country. Foreign investors with expertise in this field can draw on their own experience and contacts to put a skilled team in place.

In sum, the key to urban planning and attracting investors is to plan with an eye toward future population growth, notes Jonathan Hall, assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Department of Economics and Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.

He adds that, “People will continue to move to the megacities until unemployment is so high, and the infrastructure is so overstretched, that their quality of life is roughly the same in the city and the countryside.”

Authorities managing Africa’s megacities have their work cut out for them. Investors who are attracted to densely populated cities are also repelled by a lack of infrastructure and incompetent city authorities.

“Cities need strong, competent and democratic governments [that can] work with their low-income populations, rather than, as all too often happens, evicting them,” says David Satterthwaite, senior fellow with the Human Settlements Group at the think tank International Institute for Environment and Development.

Source: IPSNews

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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

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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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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.

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