Featured

Plastic Bag Bans are Working and are Especially Effective in African Nations

As of June 1, travelers to Tanzania will have to pack very carefully. The country announced the implementation of the second phase of its plastic bag ban on May 16. Visitors are advised to avoid packing or carrying any plastic bags as they’ll have to leave these at a designated desk in the airport. The first phase of the country’s anti-plastic initiative began in 2017 to “protect the youth and environment,” with an initial ban on the manufacture of plastic bags and in-country distribution. Phase two extends to tourists. There are exceptions to the new rule for medical, industrial, construction, agricultural, and waste management packaging, as well as for the small “ziploc” bags used to carry toiletries (as long as these leave the country when the visitors do). Still, Tanzania aims to be plastic bag free, and it’s just one of 34 African nations fighting against single-use plastics with such bans. In fact, the African continent is leading the world in plastic bag regulations. Notably, 31 of these bans have been passed in sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya, the penalties for ignoring the ban are the world’s most punitive. Manufacturers, importers, distributors, and users found with plastic bags face up to $38,000 in fines or four years in prison. The ban has faced resistance, and enforcement is also a problem—it’s spotty, which means that plastic bags are still circulating despite the potential penalties. Still, in a country that once used about 100 million plastic bags a year, according to UN estimates, the reduction efforts are notable and seem to be effective. Rwanda is aiming to be the world’s first plastic-free country, and its prohibitions appear to be working. The UN named the country’s capital, Kigali, the African continent’s cleanest city, thanks in part to a 2008 ban on non-biodegradable plastic.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

Changing the Message about Disease in Africa

Dayn Amade, founder of Maputo-based technology company Kamaleon, is calling for the World Health Organization and aid groups to reassess how people on the African continent are educated about disease prevention. Amade is the creator of a digital platform called the community tablet, an interactive platform through which people can be educated and informed about issues impacting their lives. The device, which runs on up to six large, solar-powered LCD screens and is transported on a trailer, can be attached to anything from a car to a donkey, enabling it to reach even the most remote or isolated rural communities. Amade offers his tablets as part of the solution to educating those most affected by the disease. Created in 2015, Amade claims the device has helped to educate over a million people across 90 communities. Presentation is critical when explaining health initiatives, Amade said. Using images of people of the same ethnic appearance, dress and dialect as the audience can make people more receptive, encouraging them to feel they are being engaged by one of their own rather than just handed a printed pamphlet.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Featured

Will it be out with the Old in Malawi?

Malawi’s outgoing President, Peter Mutharika, 78, takes another shot at extending his political career on Tuesday in an uncertain presidential election, where he will face an opposition leader and two members of his own government. More than 6 million voters of the poor and agricultural southern African country, which is highly dependent on international aid, will also elect their MPs and local councillors on the same day. Peter Mutharika, who has been in power since 2014, is running for a second term against seven other candidates. His presidency has been tarnished by corruption cases, despite his commitment to fight this scourge. He was personally involved in a $3.9 million bribe case. He first stated that he was “convinced that it was an honest donation”, before being forced to repay $200,000. During campaign, Mutharika carefully avoided mentioning the scandal. Mutharika’s main opponents on Tuesday – his Vice-President Saulos Chilima, his Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi and opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera – naturally made the fight against corruption one of their main campaign arguments.

SOURCES: AFRICA NEWS

Featured

The DRC’s Underground Doctors

Some doctors fighting the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history are afraid to wear scrubs. They mask their identities to avoid harassment and violence in Congo, where the epidemic is spreading at the fastest rate since it started in August — and where rampant misinformation fuels a distrust of outsiders in medical garb. The World Health Organization has logged 119 attacks this year against health workers. Eighty-five have been wounded or killed. Fear is changing tactics among aid staffers, who set out to convince communities that Ebola is real and they were there to help end it. Now some downplay their mission in public, swapping white coats for street clothes and attention-grabbing SUVs for motorbikes that blend into traffic. “Our staff has to lie about being doctors in order to treat people,” said Tariq Riebel, emergency response director in Congo for the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a global aid group.

SOURCES: WASHINGTON POST

Featured

Rwandan Genocide Survivor Starts Empowerment Programme

Safi Mukundwa knows what it means to be young, fearful and desperate. She was just 8 years old when she hid among bloodied bodies, emerging as the only one in her family to survive the 1994 genocide that swept through Rwanda. She remembers the man who killed her mother and brother. “I told God that if I can get out of this place alive, I will dedicate my life to helping others,” she says. Now 33, Mukundwa has made good on that commitment through Safi Life, the nonprofit organization that she inspired. Its mission is to educate, empower and advance young Rwandan women. Safi Life was formally launched in 2012, growing out of a friendship between its namesake and Devon Ogden. Both women were college students when Ogden, an American from California, visited Rwanda in the summer of 2007 and heard Mukundwa’s testimony at the Kigali Genocide Memorial. They met over lunch, and Ogden eventually asked how she might help the young Rwandan. The foundation’s Facebook page brims with photos of college graduates. In early 2018, Safi Life launched an outreach project to aid young women, especially those who are single and pregnant or with young children. It opened a center in the Kigali suburb of Karembure, welcoming dozens to learn knitting, tailoring and other income-producing skills. The project, called Ndashoboye, a Kinyarwanda word that means “I am capable,” also provides mentoring on how to run a business. A second center opened in January in Ndera, a few kilometers from the capital city’s downtown.

SOURCES: VOA

Featured

SA Tourists in the Line of Fire

At least 17 people were wounded in an explosion that targeted a tourist bus on its way to visit Egypt’s Giza pyramids. The bus was carrying 25 South African citizens when a device exploded near the bus, while the windshield of another vehicle was damaged. Tourists arrived in Cairo airport at noon Sunday and were on their way to visit the Great Pyramids of Giza when the blast hit their bus, a tour guide and one of the tourists told CNN outside Al-Haram Hospital where they were taken. Ten tourists and seven Egyptians were brought to Al-Haram Hospital with minor injuries. Egypt’s Minister of Tourism Rania A. Al Mashat called it a “minor explosion” in a Twitter post. “Of the 28 passengers on the bus we can confirm some minor injuries with three being treated at the hospital as a precaution,” she wrote. South Africa’s government issued a statement on Sunday, saying the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, had been informed about the incident.

SOURCES: CNN

Featured

Mozambique’s Muslims Struggle to Observe Ramadan

In an ordinary year, the villagers would be observing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, fasting from sunrise to sunset and praying, but this year, life seems extraordinarily difficult. Many are trying to rebuild their lives nearly a month since Cyclone Kenneth ripped through the northern coast, where the majority of Mozambique’s Muslims live. The country’s central region was still reeling from Cyclone Idai that made landfall over two days in mid-March causing devastation across three Southern African countries, killing over 1,000 people. A handful of men and very few women regularly attend prayers in the mosque where the old roof has been badly damaged. In previous years the meal would be shared with poorer members of the community, Amad says this Ramadan there is no communal meal. Instead, worshippers come for sunset prayer with small lunchboxes of food to break the fast with others. 

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

Featured

Human Rights in Kenya’s Domestic Affairs

A charity in Kenya is calling for the introduction of laws to protect domestic workers, commonly referred to as housegirls, to ensure their safety. In Uganda, young women are leaving their homes to try and find jobs as domestic workers, but for some their new lives can lead to mistreatment and abuse. BBC Africa Eye has been investigating why young women living near Uganda’s border are leaving their villages to find work in Kenya.  On arrival in Nairobi, the girls find accommodation in informal settlements, several of them decide to share a house to cost share on costs. Meanwhile, the influx of girls migrating from Uganda to Nairobi looking for housemaid jobs is making life difficult for local house helps. The girls come in illegally; they are desperate and can take any amount of money. One Kenyan domestic worker tells BBC,” Employers now prefer Ugandan workers for they accept low wages and don’t travel back to Uganda often.” She says employers now pay locals very low wages because the Ugandan ladies are setting the bar too low.

SOURCES: BBC | THE STAR

Featured

South Sudan Trims the Fat

South Sudan will close some of its embassies abroad as the war-torn country seeks to trim government costs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Mawien Makol Ariik said. Most of the land-locked East African nation’s revenue comes from oil sales, which have been hampered by a decline in prices and an uprising in neighboring Sudan where its exports are shipped from. Ariik said didn’t say how many embassies would be shut.  Last week the government sacked 40 overseas diplomats for not showing up for work, some of them for years. The foreign ministry in Juba said it had tried in vain “to engage with these diplomats who went Absent Without Official Leave (AWOL) over the past few months and years”, including some posted to embassies in the United States and United Kingdom. None had replied or returned home after finishing their postings – prompting their mass firing in a terse memo issued by the foreign ministry.

SOURCES: BLOOMBERG | CHRONICLE

Featured

A Resilience of an African Art Scene that Refuses to Go Away Quietly

Just when everyone thought the Algerian political crisis had caused its Pavilion to disappear from the official map with the country’s first-time participation in the Venice Biennale postponed to 2021, some of the artists chosen for the show, curated by Hellal Mahmood Zoubir, have decided to stage a guerrilla exhibition, titled Time to Shine Bright. Since its independence in 1962, Algeria has mostly been absent from major international cultural events. As a major African country, artists believe Algeria, like Ghana and Madagascar, deserves to have its first pavilion at the Venice Biennale this year, alongside other newcomers like Malaysia and Pakistan. It is not only that Algerian artists wanted to present their work within an artistic project of a pavilion, but believe it is a responsibility and a civic duty to honor the country of Algeria and its flag at the most important Biennals. The Venice Biennale is an international intellectual competition of contemporary arts, and for some the aim is to compete and win the Golden Lion.

SOURCES: TRUE AFRICA

Featured

Expert View: 7 Leading Photographers from Across the African Continent

As the market for African art has experienced explosive growth, so too has the interest in and proliferation of African photography. CNN asked 4 African art experts for their picks of today’s most promising talents. Touria El Glaoui is the creative force behind 1-54, an international art fair helping to introduce leading African artists to the global market. She spotlighted photographer Phumzile Khanyile from South Africa. Helen Jennings, editorial director and co-founder of Nataal magazine, a digital and print publication focused on contemporary African fashion, arts and culture, chose to highlight visual artist Prince Gyasi from Ghana. Maheder Haileselassie Tadese, member of the Everyday Africa collective which aims to change perceptions about Africa, spotlighted Kenya’s Brian Otieno. As the founder and director of the international art fair, Art x Lagos, Tokini Peterside has helped amplify African artists’ voice in the global market. She selected two Nigerian photographers, Kadara Enyeasi and Lakin Ogunbanwo.         

SOURCES: CNN

Featured

The Africa-Inspired Furniture Designs of Jomo Tariku Are Just Gorgeous

Kenyan born and of Ethiopian descent, designer Jomo Tariku has introduced a line of furniture inspired by Africa to make you swoon. His beautiful wood pieces are handmade and inspired by the artisans of Sub-Saharan Africa. The two chairs in his collection are the result of his obsession with traditional three-legged stools. The Nyala chair came from a sketch developed after seeing the beautiful horns of the male mountain antelope, and the MeQuamya chair was inspired by the T-shaped prayer staffs used in Ethiopian Orthodox church ceremonies. Tariku says when he started in 2008,  the standard definition of African furniture was either European furniture upholstered with colorful batik fabrics, or hand-crafted pieces, or recycled or upcycled furniture, masks, and so on. That did not align with his approach to designing modern African furniture. 

SOURCES: ELLE DECOR

Featured

Video: Wanuri Kahiu on How ‘Rafiki’ Took the World by Storm Since Premiering at Cannes

Although still banned in the director’s home country of Kenya, ‘Rafiki’ has become an international sensation since it debuted in Cannes, the first Kenyan film to be invited to the prestigious festival. In ‘Moments With: Wanuri Kahiu,’ OkayAfrica sat down with Kenyan director, Wanuri Kahiu where she touches on the inspiration behind ‘Rafiki,’ the continued challenge to lift the ban of her film in her home country, Afrobubblegum and more.

SOURCES: OKAYAFRICA

Featured

The Day Apartheid Died: Photos of South Africa’s First Free Vote

Recent elections in South Africa marked 25 years since the fall of apartheid, and this photo essay commemmorates the country’s first free election. It was the first in which citizens of all races were able to vote — horrific acts of violence threatened to undermine the hopes for a South Africa freed from white minority rule. White supremacists assassinated a young black leader in his driveway. A mob stoned and stabbed an American volunteer to death, shouting “one settler, one bullet.” And in the black townships, political rivalries set off deadly attacks in which people were burned alive. Yet, the final transfer of power was a remarkably peaceful, joyful four days. Millions of black South Africans, finally full citizens in the land of their ancestors, stood in line for hours, patiently waiting for the chance to vote for new leaders and end the brutal subjugation of the apartheid system. 

SOURCES: THE NEW YORK TIMES

Featured

Colors of the Earth: Ghana’s Incredible, Rammed Earth Walls

Rammed earth construction is gaining new popularity as an economical, sustainable and potentially beautiful form of architecture, especially at the hands of Ghana’s Joelle Eyeson. The young African entrepreneur, is betting that it may be the answer to the housing deficit in her region. This is a rudimentary construction system in which earth is compressed into wooden boxes and the clay is horizontally placed in layers of 15 cm in height, and compacted with manual or pneumatic tools, to achieve its ideal density creating a resistant and durable structure. Rammed earth constructions are not a novelty, on the contrary, some sections of the Great Wall of China were made using this technique. Relegated and replaced by modern methods of construction, the mud walls are currently re-emerging as an economic, sustainable solution, with low environmental impact. In addition to its low cost, another benefit of building with earth is that it can cool interior spaces, decreasing the use of air conditioning systems. Its maintenance is also low and there is no need to paint the walls. The walls are sound and termite-proof, as well as free of chemicals and toxins that may be present in cement.

SOURCES: DESIGN INDABA

Featured

One of the Greatest Wildlife Experiences can be Found in Africa

Chimpanzees may get much less hype in the travel media than endangered mountain gorillas, but tracking our closest relative through the African jungle is in fact one of the world’s most thrilling wildlife encounters. Although there are around 300,000 chimpanzees left in the equatorial forests of Africa, observing them in their natural habitat is a rare treat. One of the best places to do so is Kibale Forest National Park in Uganda as it’s home to five habituated groups that are within easy walking distance .The gorillas may be Uganda’s star attraction, but coming face-to-face with a wild chimpanzee is every bit as breathlessly exhilarating. In fact, this experience is arguably better, because the terrain is much easier, the forest less dense, the chimpanzees easier to find, and the price significantly cheaper. All good reasons why you might want to consider putting chimps right at the top of your must-see list.

SOURCES: LONELY PLANET

Featured

Where to Stay in Marrakesh

Marrakesh’s hotel scene is constantly changing – helped by more than 1,000 riad hotels squeezed in among the narrow alleyways and souks of the Medina neighbourhood. These mini-Edens – all with a central courtyard garden (where the word “riad” comes from) – have been mushrooming in the Medina, veering between simplicity and no-holds-barred luxury. Then there’s the Ville Nouvelle and the lush palm groves of La Palmeraie north of the city, if you’re looking for something a bit further away from the action.

SOURCES: THE INDEPENDENT

Featured

Join the Hashtag Crowd with a Trip to Cape Town

The Mother City is famous for its natural beauty. Mountain ranges that form spectacular skylines, unique endemic fynbos, boulder-lined, sandy beaches, winelands that boast striking views: Cape Town has it all. No person with any form of camera hasn’t spent time capturing its lovely scenery, whether to appreciate it again and again or to show it off to friends. Hoppa, a travel comparison company, has recently voted Cape Town as one of the world’s most Instagrammable cities. The rank of a city was determined by number of times its hashtag was used on social media between March 2018 and March 2019. The Cape Town hashtag has been used close to 10 million times. The list consisted of 50 global cities, where each was also rated for what it was most popular for. The categories included selfies, scenery, sexually suggestive content, food, and couples.

SOURCES: GETAWAY

Featured

Africa’s 25 Most Liveable Cities

Many cities on the continent offer attractive environments in which to do business, and the quality of living is an essential component of a city’s attractiveness. The appeal of cities as a place to live and work is a key aspect of attracting talent as well as global and local businesses. In Africa, Port Louis is the city with the best quality of living and also the safest. It was closely followed for overall quality of living by the South African cities of Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg, though these cities still rank low for personal safety, and issues around water scarcity contributed to Cape Town. Gambia’s progress toward a democratic political system and improved international relations and human rights meant that Banjul had the most improved quality of living in Africa, but also in the world, rising six places this year. Victoria, the capital city of the Republic of Seychelles also features in Africa.com’s list alongside Tunis, Rabat, Dakar, Accra and Lusaka.

SOURCES: AFRICA.COM

Featured

Top Destinations for South African Travellers

London saw a spectacular year-on-year growth of 47%, while Lagos and Mauritius reported year-on-year increases in numbers of respectively 35% and 34%. In fourth and fifth place are Harare and Dubai: traffic to Harare from South Africa increased by 24% and flights to Dubai were up 17%. With more and more South African companies seeking to exploit opportunities north of our borders, it is not surprising to see Lagos place as the second fastest growing business destination for South African travellers. The fact that Mauritius with its attractive tax regime and stable economy is the third fastest growing business destination comes hardly as a surprise. The country ranked as the highest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa on the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ Index and the country’s banks have become beacons of growth and stability in sub-Saharan Africa.

SOURCES: IOL

Featured

South African Firms Dominate Africa’s Top 250 Companies by Market Capitalisation

Business in Africa is changing, highlighted by new companies in entertainment, health, construction and food entering the top continent’s top business ranking. Although mining, financial services and telecoms still take most of the top spots in Africa’s Top 250 Companies 2019, measured by value, Africa’s biggest company is a forward-facing global media giant, Naspers which just announced plans to spin off some holdings this year and create Europe’s largest listed consumer Internet company.  Another trend is that companies in several of the fast-growing African economies are eating into the number of South African firms in the top ranking, which although they are still dominant make up a little under half the companies featured. Biggest gains go to Egyptian companies whose number in the top 250 ranking rises to 39, from 34 last year. Zimbabwe has nine companies, up from five last year, and Kenya added two to total 14 companies. A Mozambican brewery and a Malawian telco also joined the ranking. Ranking in the Top 250 Companies report is according to the value of shares listed on a stock exchange (“market capitalisation”), expressed in US dollars at 31 March 2019, although many exchanges closed trading on Friday 29 March.

SOURCES: AFRICAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Featured

Africa’s 25 Most Liveable Cities

Many cities on the continent offer attractive environments in which to do business, and the quality of living is an essential component of a city’s attractiveness. The appeal of cities as a place to live and work is a key aspect of attracting talent as well as global and local businesses. In Africa, Port Louis is the city with the best quality of living and also the safest. It was closely followed for overall quality of living by the South African cities of Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg, though these cities still rank low for personal safety, and issues around water scarcity contributed to Cape Town. Gambia’s progress toward a democratic political system and improved international relations and human rights meant that Banjul had the most improved quality of living in Africa, but also in the world, rising six places this year. Victoria, the capital city of the Republic of Seychelles also features in Africa.com’s list alongside Tunis, Rabat, Dakar, Accra and Lusaka.

SOURCES: AFRICA.COM

Featured

The Biggest Obstacle to Business for SME’s in African Countries

Entrepreneurs have a pivotal role to play in Africa’s unemployment crisis. Today over a third of the continent’s young workforce (those aged 15-35) are unemployed. Another third are in vulnerable employment. By 2035, Africa will contribute more people to the workforce each year than the rest of the world combined. By 2050 it will be home to 1.25 billion people working aged. To absorb these new entrants, Africa needs to create over 18 million new jobs each year. But access to financing remains an obstacle, young entrepreneurs often face double digit interest rates from local banks. And venture capital penetration is still extremely low. Top end 2018 estimates put it at about $725 million for the whole continent. To tackle the problem, African countries continue to start new entrepreneurship funds. In July 2017 Ghana launched the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan. The aim is to provide integrated national support for start-ups and small businesses. Almost a year later, Rwanda secured a $30 million loan from the African Development Bank for the establishment of the Rwandan Innovation Fund. This will focus on investments in tech-enabled SMEs.

SOURCES: FORBES AFRICA

Featured

MTN Lists in Nigeria

MTN Nigeria has signed a $653 million loan with seven local banks, a day after it floated its shares on the Lagos stock market. The seven-year loan deal coordinated by Citibank was signed with a consortium of Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Zenith Bank, Fidelity Bank , FCMB, United Bank for Africa and First Bank. MTN Nigeria, majority owned by South Africa‘s MTN Group , floated its shares in a $6.5 billion listing on Thursday turning into the second-largest company on the exchange after Dangote Cement. The Lagos-listed shares gained a further 10% on Friday, its second day of trading. The shares, which listed at 90 naira, closed 10% higher at 99 naira on Thursday. The MTN unit has 52.3 million users in Nigeria in 2017 and accounts for a third of the Johannesburg-based parent’s profit. However, it has had fraught relations with the Nigerian authorities, including rows over SIM cards and tax payments. It listing follows MTN Group’s agreement with Nigerian regulators to settle most of those disputes.

SOURCES: MONEYWEB

Featured

Creating a Cashless Africa

Across Africa, there has historically been a heavy reliance on cash, with around 95 percent of retail transactions taking place in cash. Global and local organisations are investing in innovative digital payment systems and new disruptive payments tools to displace cash, while delivering new levels of inclusion to the benefit of consumers, businesses and governments. One of the leading technology companies in this realm is Mastercard. From a consumer perspective, cash is inconvenient, dangerous to carry and expensive. This remains true across several other African countries where people often have to trade off the demands of an hourly job with the need to travel long distances to access cash or stand in line to pay a bill. Many people also face the danger of being robbed when they come home with their wages.​ Cash also has several negative implications for merchants and small businesses. Not only does it cost these businesses to access, secure, transport and store cash, but it can also hamper business growth if they do not accept electronic payments. For example, entrepreneurs cannot access the credit or loans they need to grow their businesses without a financial record or credit history. They can also lose out on revenue when their customers don’t have enough cash to pay for goods.

SOURCES: AFRICA.COM

Featured

Goldman Sachs Group Banks on Cyril Ramaphosa

The US investment bank seeks to tap into fast economic growth on the continent. The lender is partnering with Investec on equity trading, which will allow both firms to extend their trading operations from Johannesburg to the rest of Africa. Goldman Sachs, which has had a presence in South Africa for 20 years, will also offer fixed-income products, including foreign exchange and South African government securities, to corporate and institutional investors in the country. The firm already provides advisory, wealth- and asset management services to corporations, investment firms, government institutions and individuals in South Africa. The expansion comes after South African elections in which President Cyril Ramaphosa led his African National Congress to victory on pledges to reignite economic growth, streamline his cabinet and stamp out corruption. Colin Coleman, who has headed the sub-Saharan African division of Goldman Sachs since 2000, is a supporter of Ramaphosa and his drive to attract more investments into Africa’s most industrialized economy.

SOURCES: DAILY MAVERICK

Featured

The African Union’s Plan on Creating a Close-knit Relationship amongst Members

In 2013, the AU designed Agenda 2063, a framework with set objectives to aid the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years. The vision is to maintain integration of Africans on the continent. One of the ways the union is doing this is through the proposed launch of a continental passport known as the AU passport. The passport will grant visa-free access to every member state so Africans can move freely across the continent. Presently, only Seychelles and the Republic of Benin have no visa restrictions for Africa travellers. The AU passport is not yet available to the public but is exclusive to heads of state, top diplomats and persons of interest in Africa. But easy travel within the continent is not the passport’s only objective, it is also about opening up borders for economic growth and Intra-Africa trade. There’s a substantial amount of evidence to show that free movement boosts the economies of countries. Residents of other countries are able to contribute skills for human capital development and to the labor market of the receiving countries. The Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), one of the AU’s frameworks to keep the continent integrated, is an agreement allowing free access to markets and market information in Africa. In 2018, leaders of 44 African countries met in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city and endorsed the AfCFTA. Since then 52 countries, including South Africa, have joined in. The agreement creates a single market that removes trade barriers says Hafsatu Lawal Garba, one of the researchers who worked on the AfCFTA. By removing barriers, it will allow Africa owned companies and businessmen to expand and enter new markets. This, in turn, widens their customer base, leading to new products and services.

SOURCES: CNN

Featured

Setting Up an African Development Centre

American technology giant Microsoft Corporation has unveiled plans to set up an African technology development centre in Kenya. The technology centre will be Microsoft’s 7th globally and will not only be the corporation’s gateway to the region, but will carry huge potential for jobs and business opportunities for tech-savvy Kenyan youth in the various ICT specializations. The new development sites carry great potential for talent development and technology transfer among Africa’s youth especially in countries with good ICT literacy ratings such as Kenya, adding that the corporation would be hiring 100 local engineers as a start. According to Microsoft, the Africa Development Centre will be a premier hub of engineering for the US technology company and its affiliates. The centre will leverage the diversity of the regional landscape to build world-class talent capable of creating innovative solutions for global impact. Further, the centre is expected to establish a collaborative engineering springboard for new technology investments in Kenya.

SOURCES: CGTN AFRICA

Featured

Getting Around Africa’s Mapping Issues

The growth of e-commerce in Africa is plagued by an array of issues that include fraud and delivery difficulties. Addressya is a platform that seeks to solve this by providing access to a precise and easy address system. All you need is your smartphone, download the app and simply create your profile. With Addressya users can share their address with friends, businesses and customers whenever they like, and for as long as they like with full control over their personal data. The app can also be used to locate customers for smooth deliveries.

SOURCES: CNBC AFRICA

Featured

Plans for Egypt’s New Capital Hit a Snag

Egypt’s government wants to start running the nation from a new capital in the desert from mid-2020, but the $58 billion project is struggling to raise funds and needs to overcome other challenges after investors pulled out. Workers are rushing to build core areas of the new city to replace Cairo, the existing capital on the Nile that has become a traffic-clogged, urban sprawl of more than 20 million people. The project, launched in 2015 by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi a year after he was first elected president, aims to offer a clean and efficient base for the government and finance industry, as well as homes for at least 6.5 million people. But the project, which also seeks to lift an economy dented by political turmoil after 2011, lost a lead investor from the United Arab Emirates and is now being run by the Housing Ministry and the army’s Engineering Authority. Officials say “the large scale of the work leads to large scale problems”, such as finding enough skilled labor to wire up the “smart city” and raising about 58 billion in financing over coming years from land sales and other investment. A promotional video depicts a green city, running on cashless systems for transport and other services, that contrasts with Cairo, much of whose elegant 19th and early 20th century architectural heart has fallen into disrepair. The new city, known for now as the New Administrative Capital, is eventually expected to cover about 700 square km. The first phase, covering about 168 square km, will have ministries, residential neighborhoods, a diplomatic quarter and a financial district. A large mosque and cathedral, as well a hotel and conference center, have already been built.

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

The First Black African Woman to Reach the Summit of Mount Everest

On the way to the top of Mount Everest, there is garlic and mushroom soup with popcorn for starters, daily lectures on altitude sickness, and wipes instead of showers. That is what Saray Khumalo, a Zambia-born Johannesburg resident, shared on social media in the build-up to finally summiting the highest peak in the world, with an elevation of 8,848m, on Thursday morning. According the data which Khumalo is sharing live, she has travelled 8.3km since she started heading to the highest point in the world on May 14, at an average speed of just 170m an hour (0.17km/h). It was fourth time lucky for Khumalo, whose previous attempts were thwarted by weather. She abandoned her 2014 attempt after an avalanche killed 16 sherpas. Her 2015 attempt was cut short after a devastating earthquake in Nepal. She reached the mountain’s South Summit in 2017, but strong winds and frostbite scuppered her climb.

SOURCES: TIMES LIVE

Featured

Bird Species thought to be Extinct Rises from the Ashes

Scientists say a previously extinct species of bird returned from the dead, reclaiming the island it previously lived on and re-evolving itself back into existence. The white-throated rail colonized the Aldabra Atoll in the Indian Ocean and evolved to become flightless, before being completely wiped out when the island disappeared below the sea around 136,000 years ago. But researchers found similar fossils from before and after that event, showing that the chicken-sized bird re-appeared when sea levels fell again a few thousand years later, re-colonized the island and again lost the ability to fly. The parent species of the rail, indigenous to Madagascar, would frequently see its population explode; forcing the birds to migrate in great numbers from the island off the coast of East Africa. Many of those that flew north or south drowned in the Indian Ocean, and those that went west landed in Africa, where they were eaten by predators. But the lucky few who went east ended up on islands including Mauritius, Réunion and Aldabra, the latter of which was studied by the researchers. Unlike the dodo, which became extinct in the 17th century, the white-throated rail was resurrected to tell the tale once the island re-emerged and birds started migrating to the destination again. That means one species of bird from Madagascar gave rise to two separate species of flightless rail on Aldabra in the space of just a few thousand years.

SOURCES: CNN

Featured

Africa’s 25 Most Liveable Cities

Many cities on the continent offer attractive environments in which to do business, and the quality of living is an essential component of a city’s attractiveness. The appeal of cities as a place to live and work is a key aspect of attracting talent as well as global and local businesses. In Africa, Port Louis is the city with the best quality of living and also the safest. It was closely followed for overall quality of living by the South African cities of Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg, though these cities still rank low for personal safety, and issues around water scarcity contributed to Cape Town. Gambia’s progress toward a democratic political system and improved international relations and human rights meant that Banjul had the most improved quality of living in Africa, but also in the world, rising six places this year. Victoria, the capital city of the Republic of Seychelles also features in Africa.com’s list alongside Tunis, Rabat, Dakar, Accra and Lusaka.

SOURCES: AFRICA.COM

Featured

Is Burundi Playing Dirty?

The Supreme Court has ordered the seizure of assets belonging to opposition activists in exile. The ruling applies to 32 politicians, rights campaigners and journalists living abroad, and also to nine military officers jailed in Burundi over a 2015 coup attempt, according to a statement by the prosecutor general and Supreme Court president. One of the opposition politicians in exile named in the ruling said it made a mockery of Burundi’s judicial system. Prosecutor General Sylvestre Nyandwi said he had informed the registrar of land titles that buildings belonging to people on the list must be seized. In power since 2005, President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to stand for a third term in 2015 was denounced as illegal by the opposition, triggering protests and a failed uprising. Nearly half a million people have fled since his reelection. In March, Burundi forced the United Nations to shut its local rights office after 23 years, declaring it had made sufficient progress so the bureau was no longer justified. The U.N. and international rights groups say there are credible reports of violations in Burundi and that political freedoms have shrunk dramatically since 2015. The government denies this and has accused former colonial power Belgium, the European Union and neighboring Rwanda of trying to destabilize Burundi.

SOURCES: CGTN AFRICA

Featured

Egyptian Filmmaker to Document Christchurch Attack

A film about the Christchurch mosque shootings, in which 51 people died, is to be directed by Egyptian film-maker and academic Moez Masoud. According to Variety the film’s title will be Hello, Brother, the words spoken by 71-year-old victim Hati Mohammed Daoud Nabi, who opened the door to the gunman of Al Noor mosque, where 42 people died. The central characters are “a family facing death and destruction in Afghanistan who escape with their lives”. Masoud announced the film at the Cannes, where producing company Acamedia is looking for backers. Masoud said: “In Christchurch, on 15 March, the world witnessed an unspeakable crime against humanity. The story that Hello, Brother will bring to audiences is just one step in the healing process, so that we might all better understand each other, and the root causes of hatred, racism, supremacy and terrorism.” Outside film-making, Masoud is a prolific writer and activist, currently at No 31 in the Muslim 5oo list of influential people. He added that he wanted to “bring people all over the world together to discuss that day and continue a positive dialogue for a future based on genuine mutual understanding”.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Featured

Saving the African Rhino

The survival of the rhino is under threat. That is according to the World Wildlife Fund, which says that more than 8,000 rhinos have been poached for their horns since 2010. They are killed to meet the high demand for horns in Asia, but in South Africa staff at a wildlife reserve say they have found a way to try and save the species. Rhino Rescue Project has infused 700 horns with toxins and has since lost only 2 rhinos to poachers. To deter poachers from the horns, a medicinal compound called ectoparasiticides is injected into the rhino’s horns, which  is safe for the animals except for some minor risks associated with immobilization,the formula can be compared to what pet owners use to combat ticks and fleas.

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

Featured

Giving Zimbabwe Farmers the Legal Right to their Land

Most white commercial farmers were pushed off their land in the early 2000s by the government and replaced by black farmers.  Those new farmers have no guarantee they will be allowed to stay, and no collateral to use to borrow money from banks. Without those, the Commercial Farmers Union argues that farms cannot be productive. Even blacks who benefited from the land reforms say unless the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe addresses chronic shortages of cash and finds a way to preserve the value of the local currency, the bondnote, the southern African country’s economy will not recover.

SOURCES: VOA

Featured

Getting Around Africa’s Mapping Issues

The growth of e-commerce in Africa is plagued by an array of issues that include fraud and delivery difficulties. Addressya is a platform that seeks to solve this by providing access to a precise and easy address system. All you need is your smartphone, download the app and simply create your profile. With Addressya users can share their address with friends, businesses and customers whenever they like, and for as long as they like with full control over their personal data. The app can also be used to locate customers for smooth deliveries.

SOURCES: CNBC AFRICA

Featured

No Safe Ground for Burkinabes

Deadly attacks on Christians in a “safe haven” for thousands fleeing violence in Burkina Faso mark a new phase of crisis, the United Nations said on Thursday. About 16 people died in three attacks on churches and a religious procession in the last two weeks, threatening to upend traditionally peaceful relations between the Muslim majority and Christians, who make up a quarter of Burkinabes. Centre-Nord hosts about one-third of 170,000 people who have fled their homes, most driven southwards by rising violence in the country’s northern Sahel region, the militants’ stronghold. Burkina Faso has been beset by a rise in attacks this year as groups with links to Islamic State and al Qaeda based in neighboring Mali seek to extend their influence over the porous borders of the Sahel, the arid scrubland south of the Sahara.

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

Formula 1 is in Talks to Hold a Race in Morocco

If the event comes off, it would be the first F1 race held in Africa since the 1993 South African Grand Prix. “We race on five continents and the last habitable continent that we don’t race in is Africa,” commercial boss Sean Bratches said. “We have proactively been approached by Morocco and Marrakech to take a grand prix there. There is a high degree of interest.” Bratches said it was “really important” for F1’s owner Liberty Media to have a race in Africa and that they were also looking at a race in South Africa “in the short term”. The all-electric Formula E championship already holds an event in Morocco – a street race in Marrakech. Formula E already hosts races in Marrakech, Morocco. The last grand prix to be staged in Morocco was in 1958, when Stirling Moss won in Casablanca.

SOURCES: BBC

Featured

A Drop-off in the Number of Non-immigrant Visas Issued to Nigerians

The United States embassy has announced an immediate indefinite suspension of interview waivers for visa renewals for applicants in Nigeria. Known as “drop-box,” the interview waiver process allowed Nigerian applicants who met certain eligibility criteria to renew their visas by submitting their passports and supporting documents for review without going through a new in-person interview each time. With the new waiver suspension, all applicants—first time and recurring—will now be required to appear for in-person interviews at US embassies in Nigeria. The suspension also comes one month after news that Trump administration has been considering new immigration measures to impose visa restrictions on countries whose citizens have a track record of overstaying beyond the validity of their short-term US visas. Nigeria accounted for the third highest number of US visa overstays last year. The proposed measures included reducing visa validity periods, making it tougher for citizens from countries like Nigeria to receive visas at all and the long-term possibility of outright bans.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

African Countries Leaning towards Anti-NGO Measures

In a dozen countries across Africa, governments have enacted laws or policies that “improperly constrain” nongovernmental organizations and imperil civil society, the democracy watchdog Freedom House says in a new report. “Freedoms Under Threat: The Spread of Anti-NGO Measures in Africa” looks at efforts since 2004 to restrict civil society, especially groups working on human rights and governance issues. Curbs on NGOs have “a serious impact on the capacity of organized civil society, and citizens, to hold governments to account and to protect human rights,” said Godfrey M. Musila, author of the report. . He added that governmental limits “are of course accompanied by other measures to restrict other kinds of freedoms” and to bolster control by the state or strongmen. Measures such as complicating registration or limiting foreign workers and financial aid have been implemented in a dozen countries: Algeria, Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia. ​The report says anti-NGO measures are pending or possible in Egypt, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sudan and Zambia.

SOURCES: VOA

Featured

Sudan’s Way Forward

Sudan’s military leaders have announced an agreement with the opposition alliance for a three-year transition period to a civilian administration. The Transitional Military Council (TMC) said the alliance would have two-thirds of the seats on a legislative council. However, the two sides are yet to agree on a sovereign council – the top tier of power, where both want a majority. At a joint news conference, Lt Gen Yasser al-Atta said a final agreement on power sharing would be signed with the opposition alliance – the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) – within 24 hours. That would include the forming of a sovereign council which will rule the country until elections. “We vow to our people that the agreement will be completed fully within 24 hours in a way that meets the people’s aspirations,” he said. Gen Atta said the DFCF would have two-thirds of the seats on a 300-member transitional legislative council, while the rest would be taken by parties not members of the alliance. The agreement for a three-year transitional administration including a parliament dominated by opposition groups is a major step towards civilian rule. A cabinet will also be appointed by the opposition Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces. But the question of who will be ultimately in charge remains unanswered.

SOURCES: BBC

Featured

Goldman Sachs Group is Expanding in South Africa

The US investment bank seeks to tap into fast economic growth on the continent. The lender is partnering with Investec on equity trading, which will allow both firms to extend their trading operations from Johannesburg to the rest of Africa. Goldman Sachs, which has had a presence in South Africa for 20 years, will also offer fixed-income products, including foreign exchange and South African government securities, to corporate and institutional investors in the country. The firm already provides advisory, wealth- and asset management services to corporations, investment firms, government institutions and individuals in South Africa. The expansion comes after South African elections in which President Cyril Ramaphosa led his African National Congress to victory on pledges to reignite economic growth, streamline his cabinet and stamp out corruption. Colin Coleman, who has headed the sub-Saharan African division of Goldman Sachs since 2000, is a supporter of Ramaphosa and his drive to attract more investments into Africa’s most industrialized economy.

SOURCES: BUSINESSTECH | IOL

Featured

Emboldened Female African Designers Call for a Fashion Overhaul

Africa has become a hub for designers unafraid to create fashion statements embellished in colors as bold as the continent’s sunsets and in prints as culturally rich as its people. Their designs are cat-walking across runways both at home and around the world from New York to London to Tokyo. Despite its budding international fame, the African fashion industry has long ways to walk before “made in Lagos” rings the same as “made in Paris.” For the meantime, the paucity of internal and external investment is a barrier frustrating attempts to move forward. In recent times, African fashion has not just dipped its toes but fully plunged into the world’s fashion scene. Anisa Mpungew, a Tanzanian designer and creator of Loin Cloth & Ashes, says “Africa is not afraid of patterns and colors, that’s the one thing we do in our sleep, so we use it to be louder amongst our foreign friends.” According to the African Development Bank, the Rwandan government established a “foundation to establish garment factories and boost the textile and fashion industries.” As governments across the continent follow Rwanda’s steps and begin to esteem the fashion industry, they need to invest in the skills and qualifications of their people. Fashion programs such as LISOF School of Fashion in South Africa and Vogue Style School of Fashion and Design in Ghana need to be in abundant supply, not scarce, across Africa. Furthermore, governments across the African continent should set quotas on the import of second-hand clothing from the West.

SOURCES: SHE LEADS AFRICA

Featured

The Best Books about Sudan Available in English

Most Sudanese literature is in Arabic and so, to many readers, the country remains an enigma. The volume and quality of translators has increased in recent years but their rarity still poses an immense challenge to reach an international audience. Aside from the odd writer working in a European language, much of what is available is written by people passing through; academics, adventurers, diplomats, and aid workers. Altogether, it adds up to a collage that is incomplete and warped.  A new generation of writers has since grown up in the shadow of repression. Despite these difficulties writers have continued to work and publish, both within the country and abroad. In a climate where newspapers are regularly censored, journalists detained and print runs seized, books have remained cherished items to be passed around with reverence.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Featured

Zambia Arrests Minister Who Cost the Country UK Aid

Emerine Kabanshi was arrested “for abuse of authority of office”, according to a statement from Zambian anti-corruption and anti-money laundering agencies. Kabanshi was community development and social services minister when Britain alleged corruption in the disbursement of social grants. She was released on bail and will appear in court at a date yet to be fixed. Britain froze aid payments to Zambia last September, highlighting concerns of alleged fraud and corruption by the government of President Edgar Lungu. Britain’s development ministry said it earmarked $63.1m in aid for Zambia in the 2017/2018 fiscal year, but did not indicate how much was withheld over graft.

SOURCES: BUSINESS DAY LIVE

Featured

Is Angola’s Former First Family Under Threat?

One of the daughters of former Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos says she “fled” her country after being threatened by the Angolan secret service. In a message to Angolan journalists, Welwitschia dos Santos said she left Angola for the UK after a former minister of dos Santos was, according to her, “kidnapped”. Welwitschia dos Santos, an MPLA MP, is in the UK, as is Isabel dos Santos, the eldest daughter of the former president. But unlike her half-sister, she continues to criticize the current president Joao Lourenço, whose resignation she is demanding.

SOURCES: AFRICA NEWS

Featured

Netflix’s Bad Swahili Subtitles Leave Viewers Shook

Netflix, the world’s leading internet entertainment service, has just introduced Swahili subtitles to its TV and film services in Kenya. But just a few days later, it’s evident that the translators at Netflix have a very poor grasp of Swahili. The streaming service has come under fire in Kenya for botching Swahili subtitles on its TV and film services. In an article, Nairobi News says the subtitles indicate “the translators at Netflix have a very poor grasp of Swahili”, the most common language spoken in East Africa. Netflix has more than 148 million paid memberships in more than 190 countries, enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can also play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

SOURCES: NAIROBI NEWS

Featured

Saving Gabon’s Unique Wildlife

Government has vowed to find and punish those responsible for the disappearance of more than 350 containers of protected hardwood worth nearly $250m. In late February and early March, the authorities uncovered and seized 392 containers with 5,000 cubic metres of illegally felled kevazingo wood in the port of Owendo. By the end of April, 353 of those containers had disappeared. Forestry is a major industry for the central African country, almost 80 percent of which is carpeted in rainforest. But the rare kevazingo tree, which can take 500 years to grow to its full height of 40m (130 feet), is protected by law. Demand in Asia for kevazingo remains high despite the ban in Gabon. The kevazingo in the stolen containers would have a market value of at least $241m.

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA | REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

The Biggest Obstacle to Business for SME’s in African Countries

Entrepreneurs have a pivotal role to play in Africa’s unemployment crisis. Today over a third of the continent’s young workforce (those aged 15-35) are unemployed. Another third are in vulnerable employment. By 2035, Africa will contribute more people to the workforce each year than the rest of the world combined. By 2050 it will be home to 1.25 billion people working aged. To absorb these new entrants, Africa needs to create over 18 million new jobs each year. But access to financing remains an obstacle, young entrepreneurs often face double digit interest rates from local banks. And venture capital penetration is still extremely low. Top end 2018 estimates put it at about $725 million for the whole continent. To tackle the problem, African countries continue to start new entrepreneurship funds. In July 2017 Ghana launched the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan. The aim is to provide integrated national support for start-ups and small businesses. Almost a year later, Rwanda secured a $30 million loan from the African Development Bank for the establishment of the Rwandan Innovation Fund. This will focus on investments in tech-enabled SMEs.

SOURCES: FORBES AFRICA

Featured

Bloodshed Taints Sudan’s Peaceful Protest of Military Rule

Four Sudanese protesters and an army major were shot dead Monday in the capital, hours after protest leaders and the ruling generals reached a breakthrough agreement on transitional authorities to run the country. The latest developments came as the prosecutor general’s office said ousted president Omar al-Bashir had been charged over the killings of protesters during anti-regime demonstrations that led to the end of his rule last month. The major and a protester were killed at a sit-in outside the army headquarters in Khartoum where thousands of protesters remain camped for weeks, demanding that the army generals who took power after ousting Bashir step down. Three soldiers and several protesters and civilians were also wounded when “unidentified elements” fired shots at the Khartoum sit-in, the ruling military council said. The committee later said three more protesters had been shot dead, but did not specify if they were actually killed at the sit-in.

SOURCES: VOA

Featured

The Journey of Creating One of South Africa’s Patriotic Symbols

In 1994, Frederick Brownell delivered on what may be the hardest and most consequential assignment any designer could receive: Design a flag to unite a nation—and do it in a week. “It scared the living daylights out of me,” he said to the BBC in 2014. Brownell, who passed away at age 79, was the head of the South Africa Department of Arts and Culture’s Bureau of Heraldry during a time when the country was in the midst of abolishing apartheid. He was tasked with the assignment after a drawn-out design contest that yielded 7,000 entries went nowhere. With barely two months before the inauguration of its newly elected president Nelson Mandela, South Africa needed a new unifying graphic symbol—fast. As Brownell outlines in his 2015 PhD dissertation, the the six-color, Y-shaped design first came to him while attending the Féderation Internationale de Associations Vexillologiques (FIAV) conference in Zurich in 1993. Like many brilliant back-of-the-napkin ideas, Brownell had actually been stewing over a new flag design for several years. He sensed that South Africa may need a unifying symbol after Mandela was released from prison in 1990.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

Time Runs Out for Liberians Living in the US

A form of immigration status known as Deferred Enforced Departure which had protected Liberian migrants from deportation and allowed them to work legally – was due to expire in March, meaning they would have had to leave the country voluntarily or be deported. It was all part of the effort by President Donald Trump’s administration to widen its crackdown on legal and illegal immigration to the United States. Days before the March deadline, Trump granted Liberians a reprieve to last through March 30, 2020. Though relieved, community members recognized that the clock was simply reset for the thousands of Liberians who fled civil war and instability in their home country in the 1990s and early 2000s.

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

Somalia’s Shutdown of the Internet isn’t for Repressive Reasons

The country has postponed national high school exams after discovering that papers were being sold and shared on social media. Any exams that have already been taken have been invalidated, Education Minister Abdullahi Godah Barre said during a broadcast on national TV. The cancellation has sparked student protests in the capital, Mogadishu. The exams will now take place over five days at the end of May and social media will be shut down to avoid leaks. It is unclear how the blockade would be implemented and if will be for the whole country. Mr Barre also did not say which social media platforms had been used to post the papers in the first place. Over 31,000 students, across five of Somalia’s regional states, will be affected by the postponement. A video has been shared online of Mr Barre and the police boss trying calm down students who were protesting against the postponement. Students have been sitting their final year exams since Saturday and they were supposed to end on a week’s time, but Mr Barre said the postponement was necessary.

SOURCES: BBC

Featured

Zimbabwe Sells Elephants to China and Dubai for $2.7m

Money from the sales will be used to support conservation efforts. Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority says the agency was having difficulty controlling the population in its national parks, and that proceeds from the sales, made over a six-year period, will be used for the upkeep of its remaining elephants. “We are struggling with a ballooning number of elephants. We believe in sustainable utilization of our resources, and these elephants must pay for their upkeep,” Farawo told CNN. He said water levels were running low in rivers in its parks and officials have been using alternative water sources to feed the animals. The 98 elephants were airlifted to parks in China and Dubai and they were sold for prices ranging from $13,500 to $41, 500 each, the reports said. They were exported between 2012 and 2018, the Zimbabwe Chronicle reported.

SOURCES: CNN

Featured

Beautifying the Ethiopian Capital

A fundraising effort aimed at beautifying the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, has raked in over $25 million dollars from a section of the project supporters. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office disclosed on that the latest amount of funds had been raised from local and international support including from the Italian government which contributed 5,000,000 Euros. Two United Nations outfits gave a million dollars each whiles the African Development Bank, AfDB, gave 600,000 dollars. The largest tranche of over 17 million dollars were deposits at the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia. The development project will run along the two biggest rivers in Addis Ababa – stretching 23.8kms and 27.5kms respectively – all the way from the mountains of Entoto through to Akaki River. The funds paid towards the ‘Beautifying Sherger Project,’ will culminate in a dinner event ‘Dine for Sherger,’ slated for later this week. A seat at the event is valued at 5 million birr. Among others, donors get a plaque with their names along the project route and a photo opportunity with the PM.

SOURCES: AFRICA NEWS

Featured

This is How South Africa’s Lawmakers will Look Like

South Africa’s sixth Parliament will sit in a week, after an intensely fought election. A record number of 14 parties will take up the 400 seats in the National Assembly. The previous high was 13 parties. With voters leaving the ANC and Democratic Alliance (DA), there is now space for new faces, to sit next to some faces that have been in Parliament for a long time. Newcomer parties that have made the cut to serve the country include former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille’s GOOD party and the African Transformation Movement with two seats each. Al Jama-ah — which according to its website is a Muslim party — secured one seat. The growth of these small parties, and of the FF+ and EFF, has meant fewer votes for other parties, and some parties not even making it to Parliament.

SOURCES: MAIL & GUARDIAN

Featured

Evidence that African Players are Thriving in the Premier League

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has admitted his pride at sharing the Golden Boot with Liverpool’s Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah. The Arsenal forward’s two goals against Burnley on the final day ensured he ended the season on 22, matching the tally of Senegal’s Mané and Egypt’s Salah, who also became the sixth player to win the award in successive seasons. It was the most prolific campaign for African players in England’s top-flight, surpassing the 2006/7 season when Chelsea’s Didier Drogba finished as the top scorer with 20 goals and Blackburn’s Benni McCarthy came second with 18. But while Aubameyang will not be in action in Egypt this summer along with Mané and Salah following Gabon’s failure to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations, the 29-year-old believes their club achievements are “a good sign for the continent”.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Featured

It’s No Surprise that the African National Congress Emerged Victorious

But the changing profile of its rivals shows that political landscape of Africa’s most advanced economy is beginning to transform radically, to the left and the right. Land is the center of both sides of the debate. Despite their victory, this is the ANC’s worst performance yet. At 57.5% of the national vote, the ANC continues a steady decline. Despite president Cyril Ramaphosa’s promises of a new dawn, the party couldn’t shake its darker recent past of corruption, slow economic growth and factional fighting. Ramaphosa’s focus on land redistribution and anti-corruption did not quite yield the results the party had hoped and it struggled to hold on to the economic hub, Gauteng. Its nearest rival, the Democratic Alliance, did not fare much better, earning 20,7% of the national vote, down from 22,23% in 2014. The liberal party maintained its stronghold in the Western Cape, but for the first time since 1994, failed to grow its support. The party’s first black president, Mmusi Maimane, may be out of a job soon, analysts said. Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters party looks set to become the official opposition by the next election, growing its share of the national vote from 6.35% in 2014 to 10,79%. With its leftist policies and the impatient slogan, “Our Land and Jobs, Now!” the EFF not only tapped into the frustration of disenfranchised youth, but peri-urban communities throughout the country.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

Seeking Justice from Cairo

The parents of Giulio Regeni, the Italian student murdered in Cairo three years ago, have written to the Egyptian president demanding he extradite five men to Italy to face trial. Paola and Claudio Regeni published their emotional plea in an open letter to Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. They condemned what they see as false promises by Egyptian authorities to investigate the murder of their son, and a cover-up. “As long as this barbarism remains unpunished, until all those who are guilty, regardless of their position, are brought to justice in Italy, no one in the world can stay in your country and feel safe,” the letter reads. Regeni’s mutilated body was found by the side of an outlying Cairo desert road in February 2016, bearing clear signs of torture, following his disappearance on 25 January that year. The 28-year-old’s mother, Paola, later stated she only recognised that the corpse belonged to her son by “the tip of his nose”.  Letters were carved into the side of Regeni’s body by one of his torturers and there was evidence that Regeni had been followed and investigated by the Egyptian security services prior to his death.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Featured

The African Union’s Plan on Creating a Close-knit Relationship amongst Members

In 2013, the AU designed Agenda 2063, a framework with set objectives to aid the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years. The vision is to maintain integration of Africans on the continent. One of the ways the union is doing this is through the proposed launch of a continental passport known as the AU passport. The passport will grant visa-free access to every member state so Africans can move freely across the continent. Presently, only Seychelles and the Republic of Benin have no visa restrictions for Africa travellers. The AU passport is not yet available to the public but is exclusive to heads of state, top diplomats and persons of interest in Africa. But easy travel within the continent is not the passport’s only objective, it is also about opening up borders for economic growth and Intra-Africa trade. There’s a substantial amount of evidence to show that free movement boosts the economies of countries. Residents of other countries are able to contribute skills for human capital development and to the labor market of the receiving countries. The Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), one of the AU’s frameworks to keep the continent integrated, is an agreement allowing free access to markets and market information in Africa. In 2018, leaders of 44 African countries met in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city and endorsed the AfCFTA. Since then 52 countries, including South Africa, have joined in. The agreement creates a single market that removes trade barriers says Hafsatu Lawal Garba, one of the researchers who worked on the AfCFTA. By removing barriers, it will allow Africa owned companies and businessmen to expand and enter new markets. This, in turn, widens their customer base, leading to new products and services.

SOURCES: CNN

Featured

Zimbabweans Dealt another Blow

The country’s state power utility imposed the worst rolling blackouts in three years on Monday, with households and industries including mines set to be without electricity for up to eight hours daily. The power cuts are bound to stoke mounting public anger against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government as Zimbabweans grapple with an economic crisis that has seen shortages of U.S. dollars, fuel, food and medicines as well as soaring inflation that is eroding earnings and savings. Many Zimbabweans say life is getting harder and that Mnangagwa is failing to deliver on pre-election promises last year to rebuild an economy shattered during Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule. The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), citing reduced output at its largest hydro plant and ageing coal-fired generators, said power cuts would start on Monday and last up to eight hours during morning and evening peak periods. The country last experienced such serious blackouts in 2016 following a devastating drought.

SOURCES: CNBC AFRICA

Featured

Setting Up an African Development Centre

American technology giant Microsoft Corporation has unveiled plans to set up an African technology development centre in Kenya. The technology centre will be Microsoft’s 7th globally and will not only be the corporation’s gateway to the region, but will carry huge potential for jobs and business opportunities for tech-savvy Kenyan youth in the various ICT specializations. The new development sites carry great potential for talent development and technology transfer among Africa’s youth especially in countries with good ICT literacy ratings such as Kenya, adding that the corporation would be hiring 100 local engineers as a start. According to Microsoft, the Africa Development Centre will be a premier hub of engineering for the US technology company and its affiliates. The centre will leverage the diversity of the regional landscape to build world-class talent capable of creating innovative solutions for global impact. Further, the centre is expected to establish a collaborative engineering springboard for new technology investments in Kenya.

SOURCES: CGTN AFRICA

Featured

Plans for Egypt’s New Capital Hit a Snag

Egypt’s government wants to start running the nation from a new capital in the desert from mid-2020, but the $58 billion project is struggling to raise funds and needs to overcome other challenges after investors pulled out. Workers are rushing to build core areas of the new city to replace Cairo, the existing capital on the Nile that has become a traffic-clogged, urban sprawl of more than 20 million people. The project, launched in 2015 by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi a year after he was first elected president, aims to offer a clean and efficient base for the government and finance industry, as well as homes for at least 6.5 million people. But the project, which also seeks to lift an economy dented by political turmoil after 2011, lost a lead investor from the United Arab Emirates and is now being run by the Housing Ministry and the army’s Engineering Authority. Officials say “the large scale of the work leads to large scale problems”, such as finding enough skilled labor to wire up the “smart city” and raising about 58 billion in financing over coming years from land sales and other investment. A promotional video depicts a green city, running on cashless systems for transport and other services, that contrasts with Cairo, much of whose elegant 19th and early 20th century architectural heart has fallen into disrepair. The new city, known for now as the New Administrative Capital, is eventually expected to cover about 700 square km. The first phase, covering about 168 square km, will have ministries, residential neighborhoods, a diplomatic quarter and a financial district. A large mosque and cathedral, as well a hotel and conference center, have already been built.

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

Terror Attacks Rock Burkina Faso

Gunmen killed at least six Christians in a Catholic church in the Burkinabe town of Dablo on Sunday. The worshippers were attending morning mass when at least 20 men surrounded them and shot six dead, according to a government statement. The attackers then torched the church and set fire to a shop and two vehicles, in the second attack on Christians in as many weeks in a nation increasingly overrun by jihadis. At the end of April, five Christians were killed in an attack on a Burkinabe Protestant church. The pastor was among those killed in the raid in the small town of Silgadji. Both Dablo and Silgadji are in the north of Burkina Faso, which has suffered from increasingly frequent and deadly attacks attributed to a number of jihadi groups, including the Ansarul Islam group, the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.

SOURCES: Deutsche Welle

Featured

Keeping Congolese in Check about Ebola

As medical teams work to fight the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, local media organisations and activists are waging a second war against rumours that sow doubt about the disease and distrust of vaccines. Many locals are suspicious of medical workers and believe the outbreak, which has killed more than 1,000 people since last August, was orchestrated by politicians. Conspiracy theories are rampant on social media, with some users rejecting the existence of Ebola, and others claiming that it is a biological weapon created to decimate the population or that medical teams are more interested in making money than in containing the disease. The hostility has been underscored by violence toward medical workers in North Kivu province, in eastern Congo, where the outbreak has hit hardest. Treatment centers have been targeted, and a nurse and doctor were killed in recent months in attacks believed to have been carried out by local militias. Distrust of the disease was heightened after the North Kivu cities of Beni and Butembo were excluded from voting in the presidential election in December, with authorities citing the Ebola outbreak, said our Observer Sammy Mupfuni, a journalist who co-founded the fact-checking website Congo Check. The site recently began identifying and debunking rumours surrounding Ebola. Congo Check also aims to raise awareness of the disease by reminding locals that Ebola is spread by bodily fluids and that many people have been successfully treated at the medical centres, known as CTEs.

SOURCES: THE OBSERVERS

Featured

Zimbabwean Scholar Named One of the Most Inspiring Women in the World

Meet Tererai Trent, a Zimbabwean scholar, who is one of ten women being honored with statues for their inspiring efforts to promote gender equality. She was nominated alongside media mogul Oprah Winfrey, Hollywood stars Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett, and the popstar Pink. The list includes conservationist Jane Goodall, activist Janet Mock, chemist Tracy Dyson, author Cheryl Strayed and Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas. All 10 women will have life-size bronze figures unveiled by StatuesforEquality in the United States on Women’s Equality Day on August 26. Trent, 54, was kept out of school for most of her childhood because of poverty and being a female but she taught herself how to read and write while living with her parents in rural Zimbabwe. She relocated to the US in 1998 after she was discovered by an American non-profit that visited her village. She has since achieved her dreams of getting a masters and a doctorate. The US-based academic faced domestic abuse in the pursuit of her dreams and continues to champion girls and women empowerment through education. Her inspirational story caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey who gave Trent $1.5 million donations to rebuild her elementary school in Zimbabwe in partnership with Save the Children in 2011.

SOURCES: CNN

Featured

Ozwald Boateng’s Fashion Show at the Apollo Was an Exploration of Authentic Identity

The latest collection from British-Ghanaian fashion designer, Ozwald Boateng, was inspired by his African roots and the Harlem Renaissance and proved to be a celebration of authentic identity. When he announced he’d be staging a fashion show about “AI,” most people assumed he was talking about artificial intelligence. But to Boateng, who presented a collection at New York City’s legendary Apollo Theater, AI stood for “authentic identity.” And the show’s looks left no doubt about his commitment to that ideal. The looks took West African design touches and combined them with nods to the Harlem Renaissance. Fitting, as the Apollo is one of Harlem, and the country’s, most iconic showplaces for black culture. In addition to being a spectacle in its own right, the show is one of many events taking place all over Harlem and the rest of New York City between 2018 and 2020 to mark the centennial of the Harlem Renaissance. Models, who included a few famous faces like “The Wire” actor Michael K. Williams and musician Jidenna, showed off natty three-piece suits made of kente cloth, brightly patterned silk headwraps and enormous wooden circle bracelets that resembled the lip plates traditionally worn by Mursi tribeswomen in Ethiopia.

SOURCES: OKAYAFRICA

Featured

Ghana’s Buzzed-About Venice Biennale Pavilion is a Clear First Step in the Country’s Bid to Become a Global Art Destination

Ghana is making a splashy first foray into the Venice Biennale with a masterful pavilion designed by architect David Adjaye and artwork from a stellar roster of African artists. The Venice Art Biennale, the world’s most celebrated international art event, has a history that is inextricably bound up with colonialism. Although states such as China have in recent years begun to present prominent national pavilions, African countries have been thin on the ground. This year, however, that balance is subtly shifting: Ghana has burst on to the scene with an exhibition featuring artists based in the country and from its diaspora. The paintings, photographs, films, sculptures and installations are presented in a series of deftly curving spaces designed by the architect Sir David Adjaye, whose most celebrated work includes the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC. He is also the architect of a planned interdenominational National Cathedral of Ghana. The first-ever Ghana pavilion officially opened on Wednesday in the presence of the country’s first lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo. The artists shown include Turner-prize-nominated painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, and Nigeria-based, Ghana-born El Anatsui, who is exhibiting some of his glimmering sculptures made from reused bottle tops.

SOURCES: ARTNET

Featured

5 African Luxury Interior Designers You Should Know

For the greatest in African interiors, look no further than these 5 stylemakers. Nigerian-German interior designer and home décor expert, Eva Sonaike, has a perfect stake in the growing global interest in African design, textiles and products. Taking the world by storm, her aim is to position the ‘African’ aesthetic in the global textiles and interior industry as part of luxury interior and lifestyle brands. Ethiopian, Brooklyn based designer, Hana Getachew started Bolé Road Textiles out of a desire to merge her love of Ethiopian handwoven fabrics with her career in interior design. Her affinity for vibrant colors and graphic patterns finally merged with her upbringing infused with traditional Ethiopian textiles, and Bolé Road Textiles was born. Most known for his interior collaborations with luxury knitwear designer, MaXhosa by Laduma in 2014, Mlondolozi Hempe is a creative in architecture that explores design by tapping into numerous avenues of spaces. He not only curates product and furniture design, but also spatial planning for exhibitions, design events and interiors.

SOURCES: ONCHEK

Featured

Kordae Henry Imagines an Alternative African History and Future

In a debut short film, Kordae Henry uses science fiction, sound, dance and Afrofuturism to alter the historical and future narrative of the black experience. “I believe that vision is the only idea until we can begin to build futures that involve the mythic, black and the underrepresented in its horizons… I use this as a way to talk about bigger ideas of alienation, the spirits, automation, artificial intelligence, to really allow us to see black bodies in future spaces,” he says. These two things form the basis of his debut short film, Earth Mother, Sky Father: 2030. The film looks at the unethical exploitation of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s mineral resources through the creation of a utopian future where colonialism, slavery and corruption do not exist. In this, the Congolese people of Henry’s fictitious world have chosen to protect their wealth from deep within the ground. The story unfolds further through his use of visuals, sound and dance. This film is a segue into the future work Henry wants to do. Combining science fiction, afro-futurism and the future of black cinema, he hopes to explore and fill historical gaps through film.

SOURCES: DESIGN INDABA

Featured

An Afro-Roman Palace Set between Water and Desert

Crossing the wide expanse of Chobe waters from Botswana to Chobe Water Villas in Namibia, all one sees is the row of A-frame peaks, like the zigzagged scales on a crocodile’s tail. Organic textures, desert sand and seed-pods capturing the essence of Namibia’s simple beauty. Stylish, chic, elegant, arty and many other adjectives apply. The attention to detail is noteworthy, furnishings, fixtures reflect a fine eye for design with an enviable artistic flair. So too the architecture.

SOURCES: IOL

Featured

Take a One-day Guided Hike along South Africa’s Longest Uninterrupted Beach

A new 16 Mile Beach Challenge, in which participants set off for a gruelling but beautiful endurance hike has been launched. The 16 Mile Beach Challenge incorporates parts of the West Coast National Park, which hosts some of the oldest archeological sites in our country and is internationally known for its extensive bird and plant species. Participants will experience and discover this area in a unique way – through the eyes of Honorary Field Rangers who have been working for many many years in the park on a volunteer basis and know the area like the back of their hand.” This short but captivating experience, which is only an hour away from Cape Town, is not only a wonderful personal challenge but also a great opportunity for a breakaway – to disconnect from stress, reconnect to the beauty of nature, and with yourself. 

SOURCES: GETAWAY

Featured

Reasons why Ethiopia Needs to Move to the Top of Your Bucket List!

Salt Farms in Makale where farmers still lead their camels for 7 days to these ‘farms’ to breakdown and transport salt blocks all across Ethiopia in 40 degress Celsius weather. The Danakil Depression is so hard to put into words. The depression is in the northern part of the Afar Triangle or Afar Depression in Ethiopia, a geological depression that has resulted from the divergence of three tectonic plates in the Horn of Africa. Think multicolored sand and water. The best way to describe the Addis night scene  is beautiful people, amazing music and just an amazing vibe all around.

SOURCES: AFRICA.COM

Featured

Cable Car Set for Mount Kilimanjaro

Around 50,000 tourists climb Africa’s tallest mountain, Kilimanjaro annually. A cable car could increase tourist numbers by 50 percent by providing access to the mountain for those unable to climb it. The country is conducting feasibility studies on possible routes at the moment as well as environmental impact assessments will be carried out. Authorities say the length of the route has not been finalised, with various options under consideration depending on cost and engineering issues.

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

Vegan Friendly Travel in Africa

Young entrepreneurs in South Africa have tapped into the trend and transformed veganism to create food that is meat-free and comforting. Sinenhlanhla Ndlela founded dairy-free ice cream business Yococo, which features traditional South African flavors like rooibos tea and granadilla. Chef Elisha Madzivadondo built a vegan following through hearty and satisfying plant-based burgers using homegrown ingredients. Similarly, many traditional Ethiopian dishes are vegan. Ethiopian Orthodox Christians observe 180 fasting days a year, and on those days they eat mostly vegan meals. Many traditional African meals are already vegan: yam and vegetables, Ghanaian beans and plantains, South African pap and chakalaka, and Kenyan chapati and vegetable stew. These everyday African meals contain no meat, dairy, or eggs.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

The Market is Closely Eyeing South Africa’s Election Results

The JSE has had a tough time on Thursday, with the all-share index down more than 1% on the first trading day following the national and provincial elections.  However, this is unrelated to the South African vote: trade tensions between the US and China have wreaked havoc in markets across the world. The real market barometer for elections is the rand – and that has remained steady following largely peaceful elections. Much has been made of the “mandate threshold” for ANC support in the election; most professional investors believe that if the ANC secures a strong enough level of support, it will become easier for President Cyril Ramaphosa to institute economic reforms, according to an Intellidex survey. The survey found that investors believe the magic level is 58%, so if the ANC gets more than that, it may trigger a rally in the rand, bonds, and shares. After 80% of the polling stations had tallied the results, the African National Congress stood at 56.99% of the vote, while the Economic Freedom Fighters had 10.1% and the Democratic Alliance 21.83%. Analysts say if the ANC and EFF together breach 66% of the total national vote, they could have a mandate to change the Constitution, which may inject some uncertainty in the market. Investors are also carefully eyeing what is happening in Gauteng, given its importance to economic activity, employment and the tax base.

SOURCES: BUSINESS INSIDER

Featured

Signs that Africa’s Financial Markets are Starting to Grow

With Africa’s population expected to overtake China’s by 2025, the continent’s economic potential is undeniable. At a time of slowing global growth, the world is starting to take notice of Africa’s fast-growing population and markets, and the opportunities they hold. Between 2010 and 2016, more than 320 embassies were opened in Africa, while global investment is beginning to pour in. If Africa truly wants to become an economic powerhouse of the future, it needs to get serious about reforming its financial markets. A broad, all-inclusive financial market that makes it easy for investors will enable Africa to grow. Fortunately, we can see large strides towards progress. The recent ratification of the African Continental Free Trade agreement promises to create a single market with a combined GDP of US$2.5trn and access to 1.2bn people. everal countries have recently progressed in migrating to market-determined foreign exchange regimes, implementing local content policies, and creating more transparent and well-regulated capital markets, which have been supported by an improving tax environment. This is vital for drawing foreign investment, encouraging domestic participation in capital markets, and aiding the development of the local capital markets. Equally impressive is the increased financial inclusion through better design, implementation, and regulation of savings institutions. This has widened opportunities for people in these countries to access capital markets.  Progress has also been made through policies that have increased the size of assets held by local investors, creating opportunities to develop financial products and enhance market liquidity.

SOURCES: AFRICAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Featured

Ethiopians Pay Heavy Price for Industrialisation

Ethiopian garment factory workers are now, on average, the lowest paid in any major garment-producing company worldwide, a new report says. The report by the New York University Stern Center for Business and Human Rights comes as Ethiopia, one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, pursues a bold economic experiment by inviting the global garment industry to set up shop in its mushrooming industrial parks. “The government’s eagerness to attract foreign investment led it to promote the lowest base wage in any garment-producing country — now set at the equivalent of $26 a month,” according to the authors of the report, Paul M. Barrett and Dorothée Baumann-Pauly. In comparison, Chinese garment workers earn $340 a month, those in Kenya earn $207 and those in Bangladesh earn $95. Drawn by the newly built industrial parks and a range of financial incentives, manufacturers for some of the world’s best-known brands — among them H&M, Gap, and PVH — employ tens of thousands of Ethiopian workers in a sector the government predicts will one day have billions of dollars in sales. The new report is based on a visit earlier this year to the flagship Hawassa Industrial Park that opened in June 2017 in southern Ethiopia and currently employs 25,000 people. According to the report, most young Ethiopian workers are hardly able to get by to the end of the month and are not able to support family members.

SOURCES: WASHINGTON POST

Featured

MTN’s Largest Market is also its Most Problematic

While it dominates market share and infrastructure, the South Africa-owned giant’s biggest battles are with the local authorities rather than other telecoms rivals. Over the past five years, MTN has faced potential fines of up to $15 billion in Nigeria for a range of alleged misdeeds. A permanent resolution is crucial as MTN looks to continue doing business in its most important market. Amid murmurs and a denial of shutting down its Nigerian unit, there’s ample sign of how costly these disputes can be for investors. After the tax debt claims by Nigerian authorities, MTN’s stock tanked and closed at a nearly 12-year low. MTN has long maintained that its legal tussles with Nigeria’s government will not dent its interest in its biggest market despite investor concerns. Indeed, the company has committed to launching a mobile money service this year in Nigeria. Regardless, the disputes have had an impact: MTN has already revised plans for a highly anticipated initial public offering on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. While it will still list its shares locally, the company has taken up a listing by introduction option which will see it only list already existing shares without raising new funding or issuing new shares.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

Fred Swaniker has been on a Roll over these Last Two Months

Last week he was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Important People in the World. And last month, the organization he founded, African Leadership University, was named one of the 50 Most Innovative Companies in the world by Fast Company Magazine. Swaniker successfully launched the African Leadership Academy eleven years ago. This pan-African high school located in South Africa attracts the best and the brightest from across the continent, and its college placement record reads like every parent’s dream: Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc. Despite the global recognition of the fine work he does in recruiting and educating Africa’s “talented tenth,” Swaniker was not happy that these brilliant young minds were leaving the continent behind to pursue their higher education. Swaniker’s response? Build the Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge of Africa. Sound ambitious? If anyone can do it, it is Swaniker. Over the last four years he has launched three African Leadership Universities in Mauritius, Rwanda and Kenya.  The universities have reinvented tertiary education for the new millennium. They have also reinvested the university concept for a uniquely African context.

SOURCES: AFRICA.COM

Featured

Mugabe’s Assets Up for Auction

Zimbabwe’s former President Robert Mugabe is auctioning off five combine harvesters and other farm equipment.  An advert by a local auction firm announced plans to sell off at least 40 of his vehicles, including a luxury car and five Toyota Hilux pick-up trucks. Mr Mugabe was ousted in 2017 after a military takeover. Observers say the sale could be sign that his family’s business empire – including 21 farms – could be in financial trouble. Zimbabwe’s Herald newspaper reported that it was not immediately clear why the family was auctioning the items but its business empire built up during Mr Mugabe’s 37 years in power, has been facing lawsuits over unpaid debts.

SOURCES: BBC

Featured

A Calculated Move Got this Entrepreneur Back on the Forbes’ List

Abdulsamad Rabiu is a business mogul and Nigeria’s third richest man, who cemented his return to Forbes’ African Billionaires List this year since dropping off it in 2015. He says he owes his $1.6 billion net worth to being a disruptor – and to being stubborn. A firm believer in strategy, the cement and sugar tycoon boosted his fortunes by a whopping $650 million this year when he merged Kalambaina Cement, a subsidiary company of his BUA Cement, with the publicly traded Cement Company of Northern Nigeria (CCNN), where he was a controlling shareholder. He says his fall from the coveted list was due to the devaluation of the Naira, which meant that the exchange rate went from N190 against the dollar, to N300. “That was the main reason I dropped off the rich list. Also, most of our other assets were not being considered because once you are not listed, it becomes more challenging to get an accurate valuation. His return to the billionaire boys’ club is due to five years of strategic expansion and a much more stable Nigerian economy.

SOURCES: FORBES AFRICA

Featured

Testing if Universal Basic Income in Africa Works

From Kenya and southern India to Alaska and Finland, cash payment schemes have been claimed to show that UBI “works”. In fact, what’s been tested in practice is almost infinitely varied, with cash paid at different levels and intervals, usually well below the poverty line and mainly to individuals selected because they are severely disadvantaged, with funds provided by charities, corporations and development agencies more often than by governments. Experiments in India and Kenya have been funded, respectively, by Unicef and Give Directly, a US charity supported by Google. They give money to people on very low incomes in selected villages for fixed periods of time. Giving small amounts of cash to people who have next to nothing is bound to make a difference – and indeed, these schemes have helped to improve recipients’ health and livelihoods.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Featured

The World Bank plans to Boost Lending to African Countries to Help Fight Poverty

David Malpass, who has pledged to step up the bank’s antipoverty mission, visited Madagascar, Ethiopia and Mozambique from April 29 to May 3, meeting leaders and stakeholders and visiting World Bank-funded projects. Malpass said he had visited Africa because the continent was a central part of the World Bank’s focus on alleviating poverty, as well as to assess the damage done by a cyclone that battered Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi in March. The bank said on Friday that it had increased emergency support for the three affected countries to $700m. “The key take-away is that the economic challenges [in Africa] are really big, but the countries themselves are trying to work with those challenges and the World Bank is having programmes so that can help with that process.”

SOURCES: BUSINESS DAY LIVE

Featured

Egypt’s Drive to Lure Back Investors who Left during the Arab Spring

The country expects the 1.6 gigawatt solar park it is building in the south of the country to be operating at full capacity in 2019. The $2 billion project, set to be the world’s largest solar installation, has been partly funded by the World Bank, which invested $653 million through the International Finance Corporation. Some parts of the park are already operating on a small scale, while other areas are still undergoing testing.  Egypt aims to meet 20 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2022 and up to 40 percent by 2035. Renewable energy currently covers only about 3 percent of the country’s needs. Most of the foreign direct investment Egypt attracts goes toward its energy sector.

SOURCES: EGYPT INDEPENDENT

Featured

A Zimbabwean Scholar will be Honored with a Life-size Statue in New York

Tererai Trent alongside media mogul Oprah Winfrey, Hollywood stars Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett, and the popstar Pink will receive this honour for their work championing gender equality, they are among 10 women who have been named most inspiring women in the world. The list includes conservationist Jane Goodall, activist Janet Mock, chemist Tracy Dyson, author Cheryl Strayed and Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas. All 10 women will have life-size bronze figures unveiled by StatuesforEquality in the United States on Women’s Equality Day on August 26. Trent, 54, was kept out of school for most of her childhood because of poverty and being a female but she taught herself how to read and write while living with her parents in rural Zimbabwe. She relocated to the US in 1998 after she was discovered by an American non-profit that visited her village. She has since achieved her dreams of getting a masters and a doctorate. The US-based academic faced domestic abuse in the pursuit of her dreams and continues to champion girls and women empowerment through education. Her inspirational story caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey who gave Trent $1.5 million donations to rebuild her elementary school in Zimbabwe in partnership with Save the Children in 2011.

SOURCES: CNN

Featured

Creating a Cashless Africa

Across Africa, there has historically been a heavy reliance on cash, with around 95 percent of retail transactions taking place in cash. Global and local organisations are investing in innovative digital payment systems and new disruptive payments tools to displace cash, while delivering new levels of inclusion to the benefit of consumers, businesses and governments. One of the leading technology companies in this realm is Mastercard. From a consumer perspective, cash is inconvenient, dangerous to carry and expensive. This remains true across several other African countries where people often have to trade off the demands of an hourly job with the need to travel long distances to access cash or stand in line to pay a bill. Many people also face the danger of being robbed when they come home with their wages.​ Cash also has several negative implications for merchants and small businesses. Not only does it cost these businesses to access, secure, transport and store cash, but it can also hamper business growth if they do not accept electronic payments. For example, entrepreneurs cannot access the credit or loans they need to grow their businesses without a financial record or credit history. They can also lose out on revenue when their customers don’t have enough cash to pay for goods.

SOURCES: AFRICA.COM

Featured

Tackling the Socialisation of Young African Girls

Breast ironing is common in West and Central Africa, including Guinea-Bissau, Chad, Togo, Benin, Guinea-Conakry, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya and Zimbabwe. It’s particularly prevalent in Cameroon: there, the number of girls who have been subjected to breast ironing is estimated be as high as one in three (around 1.3 million).There has been renewed calls for stronger action against the practice, which is observed to prevent the development of a girl’s breasts and subsequently reduce the sexual attention she may receive. It involves using an object to massage, pound, or press the breasts flat. According to the United Nations, 3.8 million teenagers worldwide have been affected by breast flattening. It’s estimated that about 1,000 girls from West African communities across the UK have been subjected to the practice, but the figure could be much higher. UK Aid, for example, funds a social movement called The Girls Generation which works throughout Africa to reverse the social norms underpinning female genital mutilation.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

The Road from Teacher to Principal isn’t an Easy One for South African Women

Of Africa’s 54 nations, South Africa ranks fourth on the United Nations’ gender equality index. As in most countries, South African women face barriers of patriarchy. What’s contributed to making the country’s education leadership gender gap worse than others is the legacy of decades of apartheid-era laws that mandated women be paid less than men. In 2013, in an effort to redress the balance, the DBE introduced a program called Support Networks for Female Principals. Thus far, says the DBE’s chief education specialist, Selaelo Makatu, six of South Africa’s nine provinces have launched their own support networks for female principals, and discussions have reached 3,283 female leaders.

SOURCES: OZY

Featured

Putting Africa Firmly on the Biennale Map

The Venice Art Biennale, the world’s most celebrated international art event, has a history that is inextricably bound up with colonialism. Although states such as China have in recent years begun to present prominent national pavilions, African countries have been thin on the ground. This year, however, that balance is subtly shifting: Ghana has burst on to the scene with an exhibition featuring artists based in the country and from its diaspora. The paintings, photographs, films, sculptures and installations are presented in a series of deftly curving spaces designed by the architect Sir David Adjaye, whose most celebrated work includes the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC. He is also the architect of a planned interdenominational National Cathedral of Ghana. The first-ever Ghana pavilion officially opened on Wednesday in the presence of the country’s first lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo. The artists shown include Turner-prize-nominated painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, and Nigeria-based, Ghana-born El Anatsui, who is exhibiting some of his glimmering sculptures made from reused bottle tops.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Featured

The Indian Ocean has made its Mark on the Global News Cycle this Year

In March, tropical cyclone Idai made headlines as one of the most severe storms to have made landfall in Mozambique. Current estimates indicate that more than 1,000 people died. This makes it the most deadly tropical cyclone ever to have made landfall on the southern African subcontinent. Six weeks later tropical cyclone Kenneth, a category 4 tropical cyclone made landfall over the border of Mozambique and Tanzania.  Tropical cyclones require a sea surface temperature of 26.5°C to form, while the highest intensity storms require much warmer sea surface temperatures of 28-29°C. This is important because it’s one of the reasons why southern Africa is experiencing more intense tropical cyclones. The South Indian Ocean is warming rapidly. This means that regions that previously experienced the temperatures of 26.5°C that facilitated tropical cyclone formation are now experiencing temperatures as warm as 30-32°C. 

SOURCES: THE CONVERSATION

Featured

Eyes on the Leaderboard after South Africa’s Most Contested Poll

Votes are being counted in South Africa’s election, with President Cyril Ramaphosa hoping to prevent a slide in support for the governing African National Congress (ANC). With results declared in some 54% of districts, it has won about 57% of the ballot, well ahead of the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) on 23%. The ANC took 62% at the last general election in 2014. Anger over the economy and corruption may have eroded its appeal. The radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is in third place with 10%, based on the official early results. Turnout was about 65% in the twin parliamentary and provincial elections – a drop compared to the 73% registered five years ago. Some six million young people didn’t register to vote. Full results are due on Saturday.

SOURCES: BBC | DAILY MAVERICK

Featured

Zimbabwe is Open for Business, at what Cost?

Zimbabwe has clamored for outside investment in recent years, but villagers north of the capital are resisting a Chinese mining project they say will spoil the environment and fail to bring them much benefit. The villagers are from Domboshava, a rocky area north of Zimbabwe’s capital, and they are disputing a Chinese company’s decision to start quarry mining. The villagers do not think Aihua Jianye will create the 500 jobs in the area it promised. They also say the quarry mining will leave large ponds filled with dirty water. Zimbabwe Deputy Minister of Information Energy Mutodi – who is the parliament member for the area – is also against the $500 million quarry mining project. He says he is not going against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mantra that “Zimbabwe is open for business.” “It is open to business, but not to business that is going to affect our environment. We want to preserve the environment. We want our community to develop, yes. But let our environment remain intact. We cannot have a situation come here take the proceeds, enjoy it in other countries, yet our people remain poor,” Mutodi said. Some locals say the project will affect a graveyard and a natural spring. Now the project waits for the country’s Environmental Management Agency to make a final call if the Chinese company can go ahead.

SOURCES: VOA

Featured

All Hands on Deck to Curb Surge in Ebola Cases

World Health Organization experts recommended a dramatic expansion of vaccination against Ebola in Congo after a surge in cases showed that the strategy of vaccinating those known to be exposed to the disease was no longer sufficient. Health workers fighting against the second worst Ebola epidemic in history are now implementing a “ring” strategy, vaccinating anyone directly exposed to known cases of Ebola, and a second ring of those exposed to people in the first ring. But after four weeks of sharp increases in cases, the World Health Organization’s strategic advisory group (SAGE) of outside experts said the vaccine programme was no longer big enough. It recommended a number of changes, including expanding vaccination to a third ring of people exposed to those in the second ring, and “geographic” vaccinations that would target everyone at a location without trying to track their exposure. To prevent supplies of the vaccine, made by Merck, from running out in a much larger vaccination programme, the WHO experts recommended using smaller doses. A second experimental vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson should also be rolled out.

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

How to Document the History of Loango

Loango kingdom existed at the turn of the 15th century. Its territory included parts of present day Republic of Congo, Angola and Gabon. With a powerful king at the helm, Loango was complete with an economic, military and political structure unique from others. The kingdom however began losing its influence owing to a series of misfortunes. One of those was slave trade. Loango Bay, on the Atlantic coast in south-west Republic of Congo was the point to departure for millions of slaves from central Africa. Congo recently held a symposium to discuss ways to document the history of Loango and how it took a disturbing turn with slave trade. The initiative is supported by UNESCO.

SOURCES: AFRICA NEWS

Featured

South Africans Gripped by Voting Fever

Barring minor incidents, it is a case of so far so good, as South Africa showed its democratic might. With each person who owns a smartphone being a broadcaster, they revelled in photographing inked thumbs (the sign of having voted) or creating short videos and posting these. Democracy went viral across the country by Wednesday morning as South Africans went to cast their ballots in the sixth national and provincial ballot. There are 48 political parties contesting the polls this year, up 300% from the number that did so in 1999. This tells the story of a democracy festival with voters presented with a healthy smorgasbord of options to choose who will represent them. The South African political landscape is settling into a three- party system with this election largely being one among the ANC, DA and the EFF which polls suggest will scoop up between 80% and 90% of all available votes. By establishing a track record of running efficient, credible and largely free and fair elections, the IEC has proven itself to be one of the resilient institutions of democracy. It forms a healthy spinal column for the electoral system and marks South Africa’s young democracy as an outlier at a time when the credibility of elections is taking such strain across the globe. The IEC is managing over 28,000 voting stations and it has overseen the printing of 50-million ballot papers of an extraordinary length. Its staff have put in place 220,000 ballot boxes, set up 44,529 voting booths and distributed 56,255 stationery packs.

SOURCES: DAILY MAVERICK

Featured

Fred Swaniker has been on a Roll over these Last Two Months

Last week he was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Important People in the World. And last month, the organization he founded, African Leadership University, was named one of the 50 Most Innovative Companies in the world by Fast Company Magazine. Swaniker successfully launched the African Leadership Academy eleven years ago. This pan-African high school located in South Africa attracts the best and the brightest from across the continent, and its college placement record reads like every parent’s dream: Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc. Despite the global recognition of the fine work he does in recruiting and educating Africa’s “talented tenth,” Swaniker was not happy that these brilliant young minds were leaving the continent behind to pursue their higher education. Swaniker’s response? Build the Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge of Africa. Sound ambitious? If anyone can do it, it is Swaniker. Over the last four years he has launched three African Leadership Universities in Mauritius, Rwanda and Kenya.  The universities have reinvented tertiary education for the new millennium. They have also reinvested the university concept for a uniquely African context.

SOURCES: AFRICA.COM

Featured

Cairo at the Centre of an Organ Trafficking Ring

An Al Jazeera investigation has revealed that an Egyptian hospital and officials at the Yemeni embassy in Cairo were involved in a large-scale organ-trafficking ring from 2014 that included hundreds of patients and brokers from Yemen and Egypt. Through interviews and documents obtained by Al Jazeera, the investigation exposes officials who have been giving out false papers for personal gain in order to facilitate the organ trafficking. The organ-trafficking ring preyed on poor Yemenis willing to travel to Egypt and sell a kidneyfor $5,000 in a desperate bid to gain income that would keep them going, at least for a while. At the time, Yemen was not yet home to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and the destructive war that has left 80 percent of its population in need of humanitarian assistance. But it was already the poorest country in the Middle East with half the population living below the poverty line.

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

Featured

MTN’s Largest Market is also its Most Problematic

While it dominates market share and infrastructure, the South Africa-owned giant’s biggest battles are with the local authorities rather than other telecoms rivals. Over the past five years, MTN has faced potential fines of up to $15 billion in Nigeria for a range of alleged misdeeds. A permanent resolution is crucial as MTN looks to continue doing business in its most important market. Amid murmurs and a denial of shutting down its Nigerian unit, there’s ample sign of how costly these disputes can be for investors. After the tax debt claims by Nigerian authorities, MTN’s stock tanked and closed at a nearly 12-year low. MTN has long maintained that its legal tussles with Nigeria’s government will not dent its interest in its biggest market despite investor concerns. Indeed, the company has committed to launching a mobile money service this year in Nigeria. Regardless, the disputes have had an impact: MTN has already revised plans for a highly anticipated initial public offering on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. While it will still list its shares locally, the company has taken up a listing by introduction option which will see it only list already existing shares without raising new funding or issuing new shares.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

A New Plan to Save the Casbah from its Creeping Decline is in Trouble

Much of the capital is boiling over with stifled anger at 20 years of police-state repression. But the Casbah, in the heart of Algiers, is strangely quiet, the ancient stone alleys empty in the glare of the sun. There is no need for demonstrations in the historic district to underscore the dead hand of the state. Even before revolution convulsed Algeria this year, its decay was evident all around and some have taken offense some for government’s invitation to the French, the former colonizers, for help in saving the Ottoman-era district. During Algeria’s war of independence from France, which ended in 1962, the Casbah played a critical role as a place to organize and hide insurgents. At independence, the poor fled for the more modern neighborhoods abandoned by the departing French. The ultranationalist, modernizing Algerian government had little interest in the neighborhood, founded in the 10th century. International efforts to save the neighborhood have been limited, for fear of further offending the prickly Algerians. Intensely nationalistic, the government for decades has been reticent about seeking outside help of any sort.

SOURCES: THE NEW YORK TIMES

Featured

Testing if Universal Basic Income in Africa Works

From Kenya and southern India to Alaska and Finland, cash payment schemes have been claimed to show that UBI “works”. In fact, what’s been tested in practice is almost infinitely varied, with cash paid at different levels and intervals, usually well below the poverty line and mainly to individuals selected because they are severely disadvantaged, with funds provided by charities, corporations and development agencies more often than by governments. Experiments in India and Kenya have been funded, respectively, by Unicef and Give Directly, a US charity supported by Google. They give money to people on very low incomes in selected villages for fixed periods of time. Giving small amounts of cash to people who have next to nothing is bound to make a difference – and indeed, these schemes have helped to improve recipients’ health and livelihoods.  

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Featured

Sudanese Use Ramadan to Reflect

Youth volunteers unrolled long green carpets before distributing loaves of bread and bowls of stew to the seated faithful. Nearby, dozens of others cheer and wave Sudanese flags. It is Ramadan in Sudan, and at a sit-in in Khartoum, where thousands of people have camped out since April demanding an end to military rule, no one seems ready to go home — and few seem to have lost their energy for protest. Instead, the protesters have organized an iftar to break their fast, with food for more than 2,000 people, according to volunteers. Despite the heat during the day, student protester Khalid Sharif Ibrahim Abdallah says they will keep demonstrating until they see real change in government. Muslim faithful do not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset.

SOURCES: VOA

Featured

The World Bank plans to Boost Lending to African Countries to Help Fight Poverty

David Malpass, who has pledged to step up the bank’s antipoverty mission, visited Madagascar, Ethiopia and Mozambique from April 29 to May 3, meeting leaders and stakeholders and visiting World Bank-funded projects. Malpass said he had visited Africa because the continent was a central part of the World Bank’s focus on alleviating poverty, as well as to assess the damage done by a cyclone that battered Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi in March. The bank said on Friday that it had increased emergency support for the three affected countries to $700m. “The key take-away is that the economic challenges [in Africa] are really big, but the countries themselves are trying to work with those challenges and the World Bank is having programmes so that can help with that process.”

SOURCES: BUSINESS DAY LIVE

Featured

How Repair Work on one of Johannesburg’s Major Highways has Impacted South Africa’s Biggest Banks

Lenders are stepping up security after the closure of parts of the M2 freeway diverted traffic through the central business district — already flooded with pedestrians, buses, street vendors and minibus taxis. In a city that’s no stranger to crime, the snarl-ups made bank workers sitting ducks as thieves struck one car after the next, stealing whatever they can at gunpoint. To combat the thugs taking advantage of the gridlock, businesses are meeting weekly with city officials and metropolitan police who direct traffic and monitor crime hotspots. First National Bank provide shuttle services for staff, let employees work from home, come in during off-peak times or use satellite offices. The banks are among a handful of companies like AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. to have stayed in the central business district after the end of white minority rule 25 years ago. Other corporations moved north to plush buildings in suburbs like Sandton, known as Africa’s richest square mile, Illovo or Midrand.

SOURCES: BLOOMBERG

Featured

African Men’s Traditional Wear Inspires New York Fashion Show

When British designer Ozwald Boateng announced he’d be staging a fashion show about “AI,” most people assumed he was talking about artificial intelligence. But to Boateng, who presented a collection at New York City’s legendary Apollo Theater, AI stood for “authentic identity.” And the show’s looks left no doubt about his commitment to that ideal. The looks took West African design touches (Boateng is of Ghanaian heritage) and combined them with nods to the Harlem Renaissance. Fitting, as the Apollo is one of Harlem, and the country’s, most iconic showplaces for black culture. In addition to being a spectacle in its own right, the show is one of many events taking place all over Harlem and the rest of New York City between 2018 and 2020 to mark the centennial of the Harlem Renaissance. Models, who included a few famous faces like “The Wire” actor Michael K. Williams and musician Jidenna, showed off natty three-piece suits made of kente cloth, brightly patterned silk headwraps and enormous wooden circle bracelets that resembled the lip plates traditionally worn by Mursi tribeswomen in Ethiopia.

SOURCES: CNN

Featured

Ethiopians Pay Heavy Price for Industrialisation

Ethiopian garment factory workers are now, on average, the lowest paid in any major garment-producing company worldwide, a new report says. The report by the New York University Stern Center for Business and Human Rights comes as Ethiopia, one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, pursues a bold economic experiment by inviting the global garment industry to set up shop in its mushrooming industrial parks. “The government’s eagerness to attract foreign investment led it to promote the lowest base wage in any garment-producing country — now set at the equivalent of $26 a month,” according to the authors of the report, Paul M. Barrett and Dorothée Baumann-Pauly. In comparison, Chinese garment workers earn $340 a month, those in Kenya earn $207 and those in Bangladesh earn $95. Drawn by the newly built industrial parks and a range of financial incentives, manufacturers for some of the world’s best-known brands — among them H&M, Gap, and PVH — employ tens of thousands of Ethiopian workers in a sector the government predicts will one day have billions of dollars in sales. The new report is based on a visit earlier this year to the flagship Hawassa Industrial Park that opened in June 2017 in southern Ethiopia and currently employs 25,000 people. According to the report, most young Ethiopian workers are hardly able to get by to the end of the month and are not able to support family members.

SOURCES: THE WASHINGTON POST

Featured

Italy’s Homage to One of the most Shocking African Migrant Tragedies

The 90ft fishing boat sank on the night of 18 April 2015 between Libya and the Italian island of Lampedusa, after it collided with a vessel that had responded to its distress call in which between 700 and 1,100 people perished. There were only 28 survivors. The people on board were mostly trapped in the hold as the boat capsized. The boat has been brought to Venice to provide a sombre reminder of those events in a project masterminded by the Swiss-Icelandic artist Christoph Büchel. The idea had come while visiting a grassroots community association in Palermo, during 2017’s Manifesta art project in the city. But the reality of bringing the vessel to Venice proved more complex than anyone had imagined.  The tragedy caused the then Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, to compare the situation for migrants trying to reach Europe to the killing of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica during the Balkans conflict.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Featured

Namibian Government Declares a National State of Emergency

A statement from the presidency attributed to the president Hage Geingob said: “the State of Emergency exists on account of the natural disaster of drought in all regions of the Republic of Namibia.” Officials say they will subsidise farmers who reduce their herds as part of its drought intervention. Other initiatives by the agriculture ministry was implementing include the provision of water tankers for communities with no alternative sources of water in all regions, except Khomas. The water tankers will benefit 10 000 households. Except Khomas, the ministry will also rehabilitate and restore boreholes in all regions. Farmers adversely affected will also benefit from lick supplements.

SOURCES: AFRICA NEWS

Featured

Tanzania Wants to Boost Visitors by Putting a Cable Car on Mount Kilimanjaro

Around 50,000 tourists climb Africa’s tallest mountain, Kilimanjaro annually. A cable car could increase tourist numbers by 50 percent by providing access to the mountain for those unable to climb it. The country is conducting feasibility studies on possible routes at the moment as well as environmental impact assessments will be carried out. Authorities say the length of the route has not been finalised, with various options under consideration depending on cost and engineering issues. The move has been criticised by guide groups who take tourists up the mountain saying they oppose the project because they fear cable cars will reduce the number of climbers. Loishiye Mollel, head of Tanzania Porters’ Organization, said visitors normally spend a week climbing the mountain. “One visitor from the U.S. can have a maximum of 15 people behind him, of which 13 are porters, a cook and a guide. All these jobs will be affected by a cable car,” he said. “We are of the view that the mountain should be left as it is.”

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

Lupita Nyong’o’s Met Gala 2019 Hairstyle had a Secret Meaning

On the first Monday of May, the Met Gala delivers an array of red carpet looks that veer away from orthodox ballgowns and instead towards fun and experimental ensembles. A whole host of celebrities interpreted this year’s theme – “Camp: Notes on Fashion” – through a string of show-stopping hair and makeup moments, but it was Nyong’o’s that made the biggest impact. The Kenyan actor enlisted the help of celebrity hairstylist Vernon Francois to create her look for the evening, resulting in a towering afro complete with a crown of five gilded afro picks. Aside from complementing her rainbow-inspired dress perfectly, the gold combs, which featured “Fight the Power” raised fists as handles, served another purpose. ““The raised fist logo represent unity, solidarity. Also known as Black Power. I will leave it there for now… Our goal is to continue to demonstrate the power of our hair texture that it is the most mouldable and luxurious hair texture there is,” he captioned in a social media post.

SOURCES: INDEPENDENT

Featured

World Bodies Call for Civilian Rule in Sudan

The African Union and the United Nations have said they are supporting a civilian-led transitional government in Sudan following last month’s overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir. AU Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and said there is no question of sustaining the military council that assumed power after al-Bashir’s ouster, saying “it is not acceptable”. But he said military members could be part of a civilian government. The AU initially gave the military 15 days to hand over power but extended the deadline to 60 days. Mahamat said talks are under way. The UN-AU communique welcomes and supports “AU-led efforts to facilitate a consensual and civilian-led transition, in close coordination with the UN”.

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

Featured

South Africans Prepare to Vote

Political researchers Ipsos have released their facts and figures for the most popular leaders in South Africa. The survey pits the three main party front-men against each other, as Cyril Ramaphosa, Mmusi Maimane and Julius Malema are judged on whether they are “doing a good job” or not. Roughly 26.7 million registered South African voters will cast their ballots in the country’s sixth democratic elections. The elections are set to be the most contested in South Africa’s democratic history, with a record-breaking 48 political parties contesting.  The Independent Elections Commission (IEC) said close to 60 million ballot papers were printed for the country’s 22 924 voting stations.

SOURCES: THE SOUTH AFRICAN

Featured

A Calculated Move Got this Nigerian Entrepreneur Back on the Forbes’ List

Nigeria’s business mogul and third richest man, Abdulsamad Rabiu cemented his return to Forbes’ African Billionaires List this year since dropping off it in 2015. He says he owes his $1.6 billion net worth to being a disruptor – and to being stubborn. A firm believer in strategy, the cement and sugar tycoon boosted his fortunes by a whopping $650 million this year when he merged Kalambaina Cement, a subsidiary company of his BUA Cement, with the publicly traded Cement Company of Northern Nigeria (CCNN), where he was a controlling shareholder. He says his fall from the coveted list was due to the devaluation of the Naira, which meant that the exchange rate went from N190 against the dollar, to N300. “That was the main reason I dropped off the rich list. Also, most of our other assets were not being considered because once you are not listed, it becomes more challenging to get an accurate valuation. His return to the billionaire boys’ club is due to five years of strategic expansion and a much more stable Nigerian economy.

SOURCES: FORBES AFRICA

Featured

More Africans are Going back to Being Vegan

Young entrepreneurs in South Africa have tapped into the trend and transformed veganism to create food that is meat-free and comforting. Sinenhlanhla Ndlela founded dairy-free ice cream business Yococo, which features traditional South African flavors like rooibos tea and granadilla. Chef Elisha Madzivadondo built a vegan following through hearty and satisfying plant-based burgers using homegrown ingredients. Similarly, many traditional Ethiopian dishes are vegan. Ethiopian Orthodox Christians observe 180 fasting days a year, and on those days they eat mostly vegan meals. Many traditional African meals are already vegan: yam and vegetables, Ghanaian beans and plantains, South African pap and chakalaka, and Kenyan chapati and vegetable stew. These everyday African meals contain no meat, dairy, or eggs.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

Day 1 for South Africa’s Presidential Election

After what appeared to be a jittery start for the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), things have turned out pretty smoothly on the first day of the elections 2019 special vote process. Over 770 000 South Africans were expected to cast their special vote between 6 and 7 May, a privilege that was approved by the electoral body in consideration of those who would not be able to cast their ballot on election day. Hundreds of IEC officials manned the fort at designated voting centres across the country, while others visited the homes of those who, due to health reasons, could not travel to a voting station. Archbishop Desmond Tutu was also part of the process. Scores of media personnel and party agents crowded outside his residence as IEC officials processed his vote.

SOURCES: THE SOUTH AFRICAN | AL JAZEERA

Featured

Kenyan Athlete Sets Sights on Beating his Own Record

Kenyan world record holder Eliud Kipchoge is to make another attempt at breaking two hours for the marathon later this year, probably in Britain, in a project backed by Jim Ratcliffe, the billionaire owner of chemical firm INEOS. Last year he lowered the legal world record by an astonishing 78 seconds when posting 2:01.39 in Berlin and last week ran the second-fastest time in history when winning the London marathon in 2:02.37. With an Olympic marathon gold and an amazing record of 11 wins from 12 races over the 26.2 mile distance, breaking two hours would appear to be the only thing missing from the CV of a man ranked among the greatest his sport has seen. Kipchoge ran two hours and 25 seconds in his “Breaking Two” project on Italy’s Monza motor racing circuit in 2017, though the time was not ratified for record purposes as he used “in and out” pacemakers and a moving drinks station.

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

The Biggest Security Threat Facing Africa’s Largest Economy Today

The crisis started as tit-for-tats between rural farmers and herders over cattle destroying crops in 2011. But it has now exploded into a full-fledged ethnic conflict between two of Nigeria’s most prominent communities: the Fulani, traditional herders with a population of seven million, and the Hausa, farmers with an estimated population of 25 million in Africa’s largest nation. The violence has claimed more than 300 lives since the start of 2019, security experts say, threatening to exceed the 411 civilians who died in clashes with Boko Haram in all of 2018. To many Nigerians, the spiraling ethnic conflict is also a reminder of the political neglect that fed the rise of Boko Haram. As internal refugees move to neighboring states, the parallels are only growing. Refugees escaping Boko Haram are today spread across the Lake Chad region. Major Nigerian cities — from Abuja to Kaduna, the capital of the Northwestern province by the same name — have recently witnessed large protests by youth demanding more proactive political engagement from the country’s government to cool the ethnic crisis.

SOURCES: OZY

Featured

Egypt’s Drive to Lure Back Investors who Left during the Arab Spring

The country expects the 1.6 gigawatt solar park it is building in the south of the country to be operating at full capacity in 2019. The $2 billion project, set to be the world’s largest solar installation, has been partly funded by the World Bank, which invested $653 million through the International Finance Corporation. Some parts of the park are already operating on a small scale, while other areas are still undergoing testing.  Egypt aims to meet 20 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2022 and up to 40 percent by 2035. Renewable energy currently covers only about 3 percent of the country’s needs. Most of the foreign direct investment Egypt attracts goes toward its energy sector.

SOURCES: EGYPT INDEPENDENT

Featured

Streets in Khartoum Turn into Story Boards

Murals have been mushrooming on the walls around the military headquarters in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, as thousands keep up a vigil to see a return to civilian rule. Many of the artworks carry the message that bullets and bombs are not the order of the day – and the demonstrators want a peaceful transfer of power. The area of the sit-in protest, sandwiched between the northern perimeter of the airport and the Blue Nile, is now the beating heart of the city and it is also where the university campus is based. An art collective has formed there – and a dove mural, expressing the freedoms achieved so far, marks the entrance to the vocational training centre. Many of the artworks use of the blue, yellow and green colours of Sudan’s first flag, from independence in 1956, the old flag was dropped in 1970 by a military junta, which adopted the current pan-Arab colours of red, white, black and green. The hashtag #Sudaxit has been popular with the protesters and harks back to Sudan’s African, rather than Arab, identity. Scores of people are continuing to take part in this outpouring of creativity – and even soldiers have been seen among those coming out to paint the walls of Khartoum.

SOURCES: BBC

Featured

Educating Vietnamese Consumers about Africa’s Rhino Poaching Crisis

Vietnam is one of the world’s largest consumers of rhino horn, contributing to the continued poaching of rhinos in the wild. Last year in Africa 1,100 rhinos were killed by poachers. And today there are only about 29,500 left in the world. Considerable efforts have been devoted to reducing the demand for rhino horn in Vietnam. In 2015, the government of Vietnam increased sanctions on the illegal trade and use of rhino horns.  Aside from being used as medicine, rhino horn is considered a status symbol. Consumers said that they shared it within social and professional networks to demonstrate their wealth and strengthen business relationships. Gifting whole rhino horns was also used as a way to get favors from those in power. Researchers found that the use of rhino horn doesn’t attract a stigma in Vietnam. The consumers we interviewed said they weren’t concerned about poaching or the plight of rhinos. The killing of rhinos in Africa was seen as a remote issue, something that happened far away, out of their influence because they didn’t kill the rhinos themselves.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

Uneasy Standoff with Soldiers in Benin

Soldiers broke up demonstrations with gunfire after the opposition called for the annulment of last Sunday’s parliamentary election. Life returned back to near-normal in much of Cotonou a day after soldiers broke up demonstrations with gunfire around the home of former-President Thomas Boni Yayi, which had become a focal point of anger over Sunday’s parliamentary polls, which took place without opposition parties. The opposition says they will not give up the push for a new direction in Benin.

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

Featured

Zamalek, RS Berkane to Face Off in CAF Showdown

Zamalek of Egypt and RS Berkane of Morocco will contest the final of the 2018/19 Total CAF Confederation Cup after aggregate wins in their respective semifinals. RS Berkane advanced to their first-ever continental tournament final after a 3-0 second leg win over CS Sfaxien at the Stade Municipal de Berkane stadium in Berkane, Morocco. Meanwhile, 10-man Zamalek held hosts Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia to a draw. Goalkeeper Mahmoud ‘Gennesh’ Abdel Rahim was sent off for the visitors in injury time for a second yellow card. Berkane hosts the first leg in Morocco on May 19 with the return leg in Egypt on May 26. Zamalek will be hoping to end a 16-year wait for a continental championship while Berkane will hope to become the fifth Moroccan winners of the Confederation Cup.

SOURCES: CGTN AFRICA

Featured

Total Extends its Role in Africa

French energy major Total said on Sunday it had reached a binding agreement with Occidental to acquire Anadarko assets in Algeria, Ghana, Mozambique and South Africa for a consideration of $8.8 billion. The firm said the transaction was contingent upon Occidental entering into and completing its proposed acquisition of Anadarko and approval of relevant authorities. The deal is expected to close in 2020. Total said the assets represented around 1.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) of 2P reserves, of which 70 percent is gas, plus 2 billion boe of long term natural gas resources in Mozambique.

SOURCES: AFRICA NEWS

Featured

Hitting the Right Notes Without a Tenor Horn

Tosan Arugha plays the saxophone almost note perfect — but he plays it differently from how you might expect. The 31-year-old has been dubbed the human saxophone because he makes a sound remarkably similar to the woodwind instrument using just his mouth. Through coordinated blowing similar to whistling, Arugha thrills audiences with renditions of popular Afrobeats songs from Nigerian performers such as Teni Entertainer and Burna Boy. The unusual talent has made his Instagram videos an instant hit, with thousands reposting them on the social media site. He has also received cash donations from fans impressed with his mouth saxophone skills. Arugha’s story is, however, tinged with tragedy. In 2010, he survived a bomb blast in Nigeria’s oil-rich but volatile Delta region.  He sustained injuries, including burns to his face, but said music kept him going during the hospital stay. A graduate of Delta State Polytechnic, southeast Nigeria, Arugha says he is currently perfecting his talent by rehearsing songs and practicing to get better.

SOURCES: CNN

Featured

Boardroom Shake Up at Africa’s Biggest Wireless Carrier

MTN Group Ltd. appointed former South Africa Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas as chairman; he will replace Phuthuma Nhleko, who plans to step down in December after almost two decades as chairman or chief executive officer of the Johannesburg-based company. Jonas, who was already a non-executive director of MTN, was deputy finance minister for almost three years before being removed by former President Jacob Zuma in 2017. Nigeria’s ex-central bank Governor Lamido Sanusi has been appointed as a non-executive director this comes as MTN prepares to list its local Nigerian unit on the Lagos stock exchange, a condition of the settlement of a $1 billion regulatory three years ago. The business is the largest of MTN’s 20-market portfolio, accounting for almost a quarter of all subscribers, and has been hampered by a series of government and local authority disputes that have hurt the company’s share price. Sanusi is now the Emir of Kano, a high-ranking position in Africa’s most populous nation and biggest crude producer. A separate board of prominent people to advise on broader African issues will be headed by former South African President Thabo Mbeki and includes John Kufuor, ex-leader of Ghana and Nhleko will also be a member of that committee. The stock held onto gains and traded 2.4 percent higher. MTN shares have gained almost 19 percent this year, valuing the company at 199 billion rand.

SOURCES: BLOOMBERG

Featured

How US Sanctions Affect these African Nations

Sanctions against the Democratic Republic of Congo were introduced in 2006 and then extended several times. Like other countries, the US barred officials from entering its territory and froze assets and operations of officials and organisations linked to them. In 2007 the US imposed unilateral economic sanctions against Sudan. Thirty Sudanese companies have lost the opportunity to trade with America and receive funding from US banks. Their assets in the US were frozen. In 2011 the US imposed sanctions against then president Laurent Gbagbo, his wife and supporters because Washington did not like the cancellation of elections in some cities in that country. In February 2011 then President Barack Obama signed a decree imposing unilateral financial sanctions on then Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, his government and family members.  According to the decree all property and bank accounts belonging to Gaddafi, his government and four relatives were frozen. A ban was imposed on any banking operations with the government of Libya. In 2014 amid clashes between the government of South Sudan and the rebels, sanctions were imposed. The restrictions included the freezing of assets belonging to individuals and Americans were barred from engaging in financial transactions with them. Sanctions against Zimbabwean leaders were imposed in 2003.  Those in the list of targeted sanctions also had their assets frozen and they were barred from travelling to America. The US sanctions have been renewed annually since then. The US has maintained its theory that the sanctions are “targeted” at 141 entities and individuals in Zimbabwe. At the same time, the US administration claims that the sanctions apply only to representatives of the country’s leadership, a number of banks and enterprises. Washington maintains the sanctions are not directed against the people of Zimbabwe. In reality of the situation is that the sanctions are broad-based and are squeezing the heart of Zimbabwe’s economy — the financial services sector.

SOURCES: THE STANDARD

Featured

Can South Africa’s Unequal Society be Redressed?

It’s well-established that South Africa has one of the most unequal income distributions in the world. Despite significant efforts by the State to stimulate inclusive growth, the income gap between the rich and the poor has continued to widen in post-apartheid South Africa. A less explored topic is that of wealth inequality and, relatedly, the potential use of wealth taxation to reduce wealth inequality while also further diversifying the sources of much-needed government revenue. In 2015, the wealthiest 10% of South Africa’s population owned more than 90% of the total wealth in the country while 80% owned almost no wealth. These findings resonate with more recent findings documented in reports produced by Oxfam (2018) and the World Bank (2018). There’s a clear racial dimension to this inequality with an average African household holding less than 4% of the wealth held by an average White household. It’s a challenge to economic development when the bottom 80% of the population own no wealth, especially when a vibrant middle-class is a key ingredient in economic progression, as evidenced in advanced economies. If a non-zero wealth tax rate were to be applied, it should be progressive in nature, for example, by providing a high threshold below which no tax is payable. In turn, this data would provide the South African Revenue Service with improved data to test whether high net worth individuals are being taxed correctly within the income tax system.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

Nigeria Uses Tech Solutions to Protect its Oil

From algorithms to track “dark” ships smuggling stolen crude oil to an online licensing system to undercut corruption, one Nigerian government agency hopes it can use new technology to tackle theft which has cost the country billions. But some say the initiative by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) may be too late to stem the migration of energy majors to the relative safety of drilling at sea, driven offshore by an illegal trade that Nigeria’s sprawling bureaucracy has for decades proved unable or unwilling to tackle. Africa’s top oil exporter has turned to French data firm Kpler, just six years old and staffed by a hundred mostly young employees, to help it ferret out the smugglers from the thousands of ships plying Nigerian waters. The DPR began its collaboration with Kpler in December and unveiled it this month, among other tech-focused plans to detect what it calls “rogue” or “dark” ships.

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

Small Business Owner Takes on Retail Giant and Wins

Just before close of business on Jan. 7, Shannon McLaughlin, founder and owner of Ubuntu Baba posted a 2,000-word blog explaining how she felt South African retail giant Woolworths had copied the name, color scheme and design of her company’s signature baby carriers, and was selling them at a third of the price. Ubuntu Baba carriers are handmade from organic hemp in South Africa versus the copycat carriers mass produced in China and made out of polyester. Just like that, the 36-year-old sent a shock wave through big retail in South Africa and showed small businesses around the country that big checkbooks and expensive lawyers can be beaten. The carriers were pulled from Woolworths’ shelves almost immediately, but the situation was only resolved a month later, when Woolworths promised not to keep any profits from the sale of the carriers, give Ubuntu an undisclosed payout, donate a “large portion” of the proceeds to support small business and implement intellectual property training across the company.

SOURCES: OZY

Featured

How Young Kenyans are Milking Spaces in Farming

Kenyan innovators are betting on digital technologies to attract young people to an agriculture industry that currently is dominated by an aging population. With a 98 percent mobile phone penetration, the cellphone is proving to be an important source of extension services in areas where such resources are not available. As a young girl in central Kenya, Peninah Wanja witnessed firsthand the challenge of raising cattle without professional help. She came up with DigiCow, a mobile phone application that offers expert advice to farmers and allows them to keep up-to-date records on their cows. The app is an example of how technology can be used to bridge the knowledge gaps in the farming sector, while at the same time, ensuring food security. To deal with issues of illiteracy, DigiCow has a voice-based service — which Wanja says has proven helpful to the older farmer. Eighty percent of Kenya’s population is made up of small-scale farmers, according to the World Bank.

SOURCES: VOA

Featured

Classroom Experiments Give Birth to a Thriving Business

Rwandan science teacher Cephas Nshimyumuremyi had to start his business with six years ago, with just $10. It may sound less than promising, but Nshimyumuremyi made that initial initial investment go a long way. Today, his company Uburanga Products, which makes herbal jelly and soap from local medicinal plants, is worth $40,000 and employs more than 12 workers. His idea for natural cosmetics with healing properties came from trying to teach his students how the science they were learning in class could be applied in practical ways: “I teach chemistry so I showed my students how you can test a plant, and know the capacity of that plant to kill bacteria,” says the young entrepreneur, who launched his company in a bid to supplement his income from teaching
Don’t think that you need a lot of capital. Start with little, but use the knowledge and the environment that you already have. Nshimyumuremyi also wanted to use the local medicinal plants, used by some traditional healers, in a scientific way. He says his future goal is to provide the solution for “some skin diseases in Africa.”

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

Tanzanian Self-made Media Magnate and Philanthropist Dies

Reginald Mengi passed away in Dubai at the age of 75. Mr Mengi, through his manufacturing, mining and media conglomerate IPP Group, owned newspapers and radio and TV stations. In 2014, Forbes estimated his wealth at $560m. He was born into a poor family close to Mount Kilimanjaro and finished his education in Scotland. President John Magufuli paid tribute to his role in the country’s development. Mr Mengi initially worked as an accountant when he returned to Tanzania, but the origins of his business empire are in a ball-point pen assembly plant. Starting in the early 1980s he turned the IPP Group into one of the largest private conglomerates in East Africa, employing more than 3,000 people, according to the company website. It owns prominent local English and Swahili TV stations, ITV and Capital TV, as well as the English-language daily Guardian newspaper. As a media mogul, Mr Mengi was accused by some, including cabinet ministers, of using his influence against them. The IPP Group also manufactures one of Tanzania’s best-known brands of bottled water and is moving into smart-phone and tablet manufacturing.

SOURCES: BBC

Featured

Delivering Health Services to Women and Children in Rural Kenya just got Savvy

In a bid to improve services for nomadic women, Dahabo Adi Galgallo, an epidemiologist at Moyale Sub-County Hospital started a project to give 50 solar-powered bracelets with Global Positioning System (GPS) trackers to expectant mothers. As pastoralists move in search of water and grazing for their livestock, tracking and caring for mothers in the field seems the best solution to prevent maternal deaths. When the itinerant healthcare trial began in February last year, 168 expectant mothers were enrolled at 10 sites, mostly in pastoral communities selected by local leaders. The health team informs a community volunteer or village head when a doctor, nurse and nutritionist will visit, bringing medicines. Being waterproof, small and culturally designed with bright orange beads made it acceptable for them to wear, she added. In 2017, Galgallo won a $100,000 Grand Challenges Africa grant from the African Academy of Sciences, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to put her concept into practice.

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

Tanzanian Self-made Media Magnate and Philanthropist Dies

Reginald Mengi passed away in Dubai at the age of 75. Mr Mengi, through his manufacturing, mining and media conglomerate IPP Group, owned newspapers and radio and TV stations. In 2014, Forbes estimated his wealth at $560m. He was born into a poor family close to Mount Kilimanjaro and finished his education in Scotland. President John Magufuli paid tribute to his role in the country’s development. Mr Mengi initially worked as an accountant when he returned to Tanzania, but the origins of his business empire are in a ball-point pen assembly plant. Starting in the early 1980s he turned the IPP Group into one of the largest private conglomerates in East Africa, employing more than 3,000 people, according to the company website. It owns prominent local English and Swahili TV stations, ITV and Capital TV, as well as the English-language daily Guardian newspaper. As a media mogul, Mr Mengi was accused by some, including cabinet ministers, of using his influence against them. The IPP Group also manufactures one of Tanzania’s best-known brands of bottled water and is moving into smart-phone and tablet manufacturing.

SOURCES: BBC

Featured

Motorcycle Service Launches in Mogadishu

The Go! app launched in the Somali capital promises affordable and convenient options in the city’s bustling transport sector. The e-hailing service is starting out with 20 motorcycles, allowing customers to order their rides online or hail them on the street after identifying the drivers with their yellow helmet and bikes. The platform was launched by Gulivery, a delivery startup that provides third-party door-to-door services. The moto-taxi service makes the company the first in the Horn of Africa nation to venture into and digitize the motorcycle business. While Uber-style taxi apps like Waryaa Taxi and Dhaweeye have existed before, those firms only used cars. The increase in digital transportation options comes as life in Mogadishu regains a semblance of normalcy after decades of war. That has led to increased traffic in the city. The city also has a fragmented transportation system, with three-wheeled motorized tuk-tuk and hundreds of dilapidated buses servicing a fast-growing population that currently stands at almost three million people. Getting around African cities like Mogadishu and Nairobi can be demanding given the poor infrastructure, insufficient street addresses, the absence of reliable public transportation, and increasing urbanization that is fueling congestion.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

“My Biggest Goal is to Make Africa Proud” – Tiwa Savage

Universal Music Group (UMG) has signed an exclusive global recording agreement with Nigerian singer-songwriter Tiwa Savage, the company announced on Thursday (May 2). Under the terms of the deal, Savage’s future music will be released by UMG in over 60 countries worldwide. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Savage started as a backup singer for artists such as Mary J. Blige and George Michael before attending Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music on scholarship. Several of her recent singles, including “Mr Lova Lova” ft. Duncan Mighty and “Tiwa’s Vibe,” have hit No. 1 on charts across Africa, making her one of Afrobeats’ biggest stars. She’s also carved out a career as a successful songwriter, including for American artists such as Kat DeLuna (“Push Push”) and Fantasia (“Collard Greens & Cornbread”). In 2018, Savage won best African act at the MTV European Music Awards (EMAs), making her the first woman to receive the honor. In December of last year, she was handpicked by Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin to perform at the Global Citizen Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa. She also performed at Jay-Z’s Made in America Festival in Philadelphia in 2017. “It’s an amazing time for Nigerian music right now,” Savage told Billboard in an interview last year. “I’m proud to be part of a growing movement that is influencing mainstream and pop culture globally. [Artists] like Fela [Kuti] paved the way for artists like me to stand on this platform. Much of music’s origin stems from the motherland, so it was only a matter of time before the spotlight fell on Africa.” 

SOURCES: BILLBOARD

Featured

Another Go at Peace Deal in Juba

South Sudan’s warring parties are set to hold talks in Addis Ababa on Thursday in a bid to salvage a stalled peace deal, with just days to go until a unity government is meant to be formed. President Salva Kiir, rebel leader Riek Machar and a handful of other groups inked the peace deal in September 2018. It is the latest in a long line of efforts to end a devastating conflict now in its sixth year. However, the parties have failed to resolve several crucial issues before a power-sharing government is to be installed on May 12, and are at odds over how to proceed. The government has insisted the meeting must focus on how to push forward with the formation of the unity government, while Machar’s camp wants a delay of six months to resolve issues such as security for his return. He is set to return as first vice president under the new deal. Observers say crucial steps envisioned in the deal such as establishing a unified army and discussing security control of the capital have yet to take place.

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

Featured

No One Left Behind in Ethiopia’s Plan

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed lauded the efforts of Ethiopian Muslims in ensuring national unity stressing the need for all and sundry to do more to guard the current peace.  Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country is also one of the most religious nations on the continent according to a Pew Research. It has one of the strongest Orthodox churches on the continent. Its faithful celebrate all festivities as relates to Orthodoxy as well as the Gregorian system. The mélange of religions spans Christianity (Ethiopian Orthodoxy, Pentay, and Catholic) accounts for over 62%, Islam at 33.9% and a handful Jewish community.

SOURCES: AFRICA NEWS

Featured

Changing the Slave Mentality towards Africans in Pakistan

Pakistan’s Sheedi community can trace its roots back to East African slaves brought to India by the Portuguese, hundreds of years before the partition of the subcontinent. Marginalized and overlooked for decades, the group has found its commanding, charismatic voice in Tanzeela Qambrani — in the halls of the Sindh provincial legislature. The 40-year-old lawmaker, whose ancestors came from Tanzania, is proud of her Sheedi heritage. But for a majority of her people, “Sheedi” is a word steeped in shame, often used as an expletive by racist non-Sheedis. The xenophobic undercurrent, still prevalent hundreds of years after the slave trade in South Asia, Qambrani reveals, is the reason behind her community’s lack of progress and visibility in society. In office, Qambrani has focused intently on education. She successfully pushed through a resolution in March to penalize educators who display racist behavior in the classroom toward Sheedi students. She’s hoping for more quality educational institutions for Sheedis — for those who have dropped out, and programs to keep kids in school longer. But that requires money, which she’s trying to raise locally and internationally.

SOURCES: OZY

Featured

How US Sanctions Affect these African Nations

Sanctions against the Democratic Republic of Congo were introduced in 2006 and then extended several times. Like other countries, the US barred officials from entering its territory and froze assets and operations of officials and organisations linked to them. In 2007 the US imposed unilateral economic sanctions against Sudan. Thirty Sudanese companies have lost the opportunity to trade with America and receive funding from US banks. Their assets in the US were frozen. In 2011 the US imposed sanctions against then president Laurent Gbagbo, his wife and supporters because Washington did not like the cancellation of elections in some cities in that country. In February 2011 then President Barack Obama signed a decree imposing unilateral financial sanctions on then Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, his government and family members.  According to the decree all property and bank accounts belonging to Gaddafi, his government and four relatives were frozen. A ban was imposed on any banking operations with the government of Libya. In 2014 amid clashes between the government of South Sudan and the rebels, sanctions were imposed. The restrictions included the freezing of assets belonging to individuals and Americans were barred from engaging in financial transactions with them. Sanctions against Zimbabwean leaders were imposed in 2003.  Those in the list of targeted sanctions also had their assets frozen and they were barred from travelling to America. The US sanctions have been renewed annually since then. The US has maintained its theory that the sanctions are “targeted” at 141 entities and individuals in Zimbabwe. At the same time, the US administration claims that the sanctions apply only to representatives of the country’s leadership, a number of banks and enterprises. Washington maintains the sanctions are not directed against the people of Zimbabwe. In reality of the situation is that the sanctions are broad-based and are squeezing the heart of Zimbabwe’s economy — the financial services sector.

SOURCES: THE STANDARD

Featured

Travel Noire asks Which African Country is at the Top of your Travel To-do List?

For many African-Americans it seemed like traveling there was off-limits but now, not so much. Timelines are filled with travelers that have gone and seen the homeland that hosts the rich heritage that many want to indulge in and since 2019 is the “Year of Return,” acknowledging the first slave ship departure 400 years ago. Ghana features high on the list as it hosts a huge event called Panafest. Tanzania was another popular country that travelers want to visit. Although the east African country has some very strict LGBTQ laws, there are plenty of things to do. Take a trip to the Serengeti National Park where tourists can visit all types of wildlife or prepare to hike up Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. South Africa has been on many travelers’ radars for a while now because of their lavish beaches and AfroPunk being hosted there. Morocco is filled with exotic gardens and beautiful mosques; it’s a prime location for romance and to explore spirituality.

SOURCES: TRAVEL NOIRE

Featured

Kenya’s Deaf Rugby Team determined to Try for National Support

Rugby is one of Kenya’s most popular sports, and the country’s national team has played in the World Cup. Inspired by the national team’s success, members of Kenya’s deaf community launched a deaf rugby team last year. The team, which is has been training for just more than a year now, has big dreams for the future. There’s no whistle here, the team’s coach, Brennan Rashid, communicates with players through sign language. In a professional deaf rugby match, the referee waves a white flag to draw the attention of the players. The players in Nairobi haven’t played a game yet and don’t have a sponsor. They make do with what they have: one ball and mismatched secondhand uniforms. Okwatch says the team is currently self-supporting.

SOURCES: VOA

Featured

South Africa’s Darling Athlete Dealt a Heavy Blow

South African 800m Olympic champion Caster Semenya has lost her landmark legal case against athletics’ governing body, the IAAF, in a decision that will send shockwaves through sport. It means Semenya will have to take medication to reduce her testosterone if she wants to run internationally at events between 400m and a mile. Semenya, who has long argued that her unique genetic gifts should be celebrated not regulated, confirmed that she was considering an appeal and insisted that she believed the DSD regulations would be one day overturned. “I know that the IAAF’s regulations have always targeted me specifically,” she added. “For a decade the IAAF has tried to slow me down, but this has actually made me stronger. The decision of the Cas will not hold me back. I will once again rise above and continue to inspire young women and athletes in South Africa and around the world.”

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Featured

Future of Cancer Treatment in Africa

Preliminary research from around the world indicates that immunotherapies for cancer are less toxic than conventional therapies like chemotherapy and radiation. They also have the potential for fewer and less severe side effects. This means that immunotherapies could improve patients’ quality of life. For developing countries like South Africa, finding immunotherapy solutions is particularly important given the country’s weak health system and the high cost of cancer drugs. The University of Cape Town has set up the country’s first medical biotechnology-based immunotherapy laboratory. The lab is strongly committed to the development of novel therapeutic and diagnostic tools for cancer. Most cancer research has been done on populations of European descent. This means that there’s minimal data on African populations. The lab aims to fill this knowledge gap by diagnosing and treating patients of African descent. The aim is to identify immunotherapy targets in this underrepresented population.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

Church becomes Home for those Waiting Out the Aftermath of Mozambique’s Latest Cyclone

Situated in the heart of this predominantly Muslim but diverse city ravaged by Cyclone Kenneth, the Maria Auxiliadora parish houses those displaced by the storm in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique’s northernmost province. The government has said 41 people have died after the cyclone made landfall on Thursday, and the humanitarian situation in Pemba and other areas is dire. More than 55 centimetres of rain have fallen in Pemba since Kenneth arrived just six weeks after Cyclone Idai tore into central Mozambique. This is the first time two cyclones have struck the country in a single season, and Kenneth was the first cyclone recorded so far north in Mozambique in the era of satellite imaging.

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

Featured

South Africa’s Missing Middle Feels Neglected

The country’s black middle class is growing numerically – and growing politically restive.  But sluggish economic performance, coupled with a decade of state capture and the scorn former President Jacob Zuma felt towards “clever blacks”, has left the black middle class angry and wary. While 67% of black middle class voters do intend to vote, a third will stay at home on 8 May, cursing all political parties for failing to represent their interests, according to the survey. Chunks of the black middle class may vote, but far from enthusiastically. And a great many will not vote. Research says the ruling African National Congress has never been able to sustain a strong appeal to higher educated or higher income voters. The main opposition Democratic Alliance has now fallen back dramatically in these areas – the party is viewed as a “white” party, or a party in hock to white interests – and calculations makes it clear that the new firebrand Economic Freedom Fighters hold more appeal to black middle class voters. 

SOURCES: THE CONVERSATION

Featured

An African Boy’s Odyssey to the Snow

Tété-Michel Kpomassie, grew up in West Africa but he was obsessed with the Arctic after discovering a book about Greenland. When he was 16 years old he ran away from his village in Togo determined to reach Greenland. It took him eight years but in 1965, he finally arrived. He then went north to fulfil his dream of living among the indigenous people. Years later, he wrote an award-winning account of his odyssey, An African in Greenland, which has been translated into eight languages. The autobiography that chronicles his journey, was awarded the Prix Littéraire Francophone International in 1981, and its English translation was one of The New York Times’ Notable Books of the Year in 1983. 

SOURCES: BBC

Featured

Renovations at West Africa’s Oldest University

Fourah Bay College, founded as far back as 1827, is the oldest university in West Africa and the first western-style university in the region. For years now, students have been yearning for hostels which have not been in operation due to rehabilitation works. The situation has since then left many students arriving on campus late for academic work. Others coming from provinces across the country find it very difficult to get residences in order to ease their lives. Fast forward to 2019, the prayers of students at Fourah Bay College are close to being answered as the hostel facilities are almost at their completion stage. With the rehabilitation of the hostels, many students who couldn’t find fixed settlements in the urban area, will find it easy to make it for classes and will reduce the cost used by many students on transportation. However, some students have called on the college administration to make ways for disabled students to have easy access to the buildings.

SOURCES: AFRICA NEWS

Featured

Is Business Sabotaging Zimbabwe’s Economic Ambitions?

President Emmerson Mnangagwa accused “unpatriotic” members of the business community of thwarting the government’s economic program, saying recent price increases are unjustifiable. The southern African nation has been struggling with shortages of bread, fuel and foreign currency, with inflation accelerating to almost 67 percent in March. “My government will not stand by and leave workers and the generality of our people at the mercy of a small group with rent-seeking profiteering tendencies,” he said. The annual inflation rate is at its highest since a peak of 500 billion percent in 2008, which prompted the government to abandon the Zimbabwe dollar a year later. Bond notes that aren’t accepted outside the country were introduced in 2016 at par value with the U.S. dollar. In February they were converted into what is effectively a new currency known as RTGS$ and have been allowed to gradually devalue on an interbank market.

SOURCES: BLOOMBERG

Featured

If things don’t Change the African Giraffe could be Endangered

Federal wildlife officials said that they would officially consider listing the giraffe as an endangered species, a move long sought by conservationists alarmed by the African mammal’s precipitous decline and a growing domestic market for giraffe products. Designating giraffes as endangered or threatened would place restrictions on their import into the United States and make federal funding available for conservation efforts. The market for products derived from giraffes has also increased in the United States. According to a report released last year by the Humane Society of the United States, more than 40,000 giraffe parts were imported from 2006 to 2015 to be made into expensive pillows, boots, knife handles, Bible covers and other trinkets.

SOURCES: THE NEW YORK TIMES

Featured

Meet the Woman Telling African Stories in Film

Kenim Obaigbena is a Nigerian-British-American filmmaker and entrepreneur. With a background in fine art painting, creative writing, photography and photoshop editing, Kenim began her film career in 2007, now she’s focused on her production vehicle OVG Media where she produces and directs films, documentaries, drama series and other scripted content for broadcast TV and digital media. She was raised in the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Togo, and the USA. She has lived in many cities around the world, making her both a true global citizen and a versatile filmmaker. At the age of 15, Kenim founded Scoop Magazine with her two sisters, the teen publication was distributed across Lagos, Nigeria.

SOURCES: SHE LEADS AFRICA

Featured

Undiscovered Canvas, Mekanova Gallery Cannes Launch African Art

Mekanova Gallery in partnership with Undiscovered Canvas today announced the first visual arts residency program for talented South African artist, Giggs Kgole. The residency program is aimed at inspiring young African artists through learning about the French culture and living experiences in France, and to enable productive collaborations between French artists and the young African artists. During the residency, Mr. Giggs Kgole will be living and working in Vallauris for six months, affording him the opportunity to collaborate with numerous artists from the French Riviera, and have two solo exhibitions in Cannes, one solo exhibition in London and participate in one group exhibition in Paris later in the year.

SOURCES: AFRICA.COM

Featured

Game Changing Somali Model Features in Sports Illustrated

Two years ago, Halima Aden made history as the first-ever contestant to compete in the Miss Minnesota pageant in a hijab and burkini. Now, the Somali-American is making history again, this time as the first model to be featured in Sports Illustrated’s annual Swimsuit Issue wearing a hijab and burkini. Aden journeyed back to her stomping grounds of Kenya to shoot her first Sports Illustrated Swimsuit spread, which was special for the 21-year-old who was born at a refugee camp and lived in the country before leaving for the United States at age seven. “Don’t change yourself .. Change the GAME!! Ladies anything is possible!!! Being in Sports Illustrated is so much bigger than me. It’s sending a message to my community and the world that women of all different backgrounds, looks, upbringings… can stand together and be celebrated,” Halima wrote in an Instagram post announcing her SI feature.

SOURCES: ELLE

Featured

How to Treat Depression in African Societies

For most of the 20th century, the view that “mental health” was exclusively a problem of the wealthier west was widely held by doctors, mental health professionals and cultural theorists. JC Carothers, a psychiatrist and consultant to the WHO, represented one typical branch of this belief. In 1953, he published an influential paper on the “African mind”, in which he argued that the continent’s inhabitants lacked the psychological development and sense of personal responsibility necessary to experience depression. In 2005, the World Health Organization reported that a number of countries – including Afghanistan, Rwanda, Chad, Eritrea and Liberia – had just one or two psychiatrists in the whole country. Today, Zimbabwe has friendship benches at 72 health clinics in three cities where an estimated 40,000 patients have been treated in the last two or three years, most of them women. The project by Dr Chibanda also launched benches in rural areas, and one for adolescents, which will be staffed by their peers. The model is also being adapted in other places, from Malawi and Zanzibar to New York.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Featured

Nigeria Uses Tech Solutions to Protect its Oil

From algorithms to track “dark” ships smuggling stolen crude oil to an online licensing system to undercut corruption, one Nigerian government agency hopes it can use new technology to tackle theft which has cost the country billions. But some say the initiative by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) may be too late to stem the migration of energy majors to the relative safety of drilling at sea, driven offshore by an illegal trade that Nigeria’s sprawling bureaucracy has for decades proved unable or unwilling to tackle. Africa’s top oil exporter has turned to French data firm Kpler, just six years old and staffed by a hundred mostly young employees, to help it ferret out the smugglers from the thousands of ships plying Nigerian waters. The DPR began its collaboration with Kpler in December and unveiled it this month, among other tech-focused plans to detect what it calls “rogue” or “dark” ships. 

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

Remote African Island Tops Airbnb Listings

When it comes to Airbnb occupancy rates in Africa, a volcanic island that sprang out of the ocean three million years ago leads the way. The remote Indian Ocean island of Réunion has all the top 10 locations for average occupancy in the accommodation-sharing site, according to data from short-term rental analytics firm AirDNA. These listings include entire homes, private or shared rooms occupied between March 2018 and February 2019. During this timeframe, L’Ermitage Les Bains area was listed as having one of the highest average Airbnb revenues in the whole of Africa, preceded only by Moses Kotane and Bela Bela towns in South Africa. In 2010, UNESCO included the island’s volcanic peaks and ramparts in its list of natural World Heritage Sites. The Piton de la Fournaise, one of the most active volcanoes on the planet, attracts tourists particularly as it gains ground on the ocean during certain lava flows. In total, more than 550,000 tourists arrived on the island in 2017, according to the World Tourism Organization.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

The African Princess who Criticized Imperialism and Representations of Africa and the Middle East

Born in 1844, the daughter of the Omani Sultan of Zanzibar, Said bin Sultan, and his concubine Djilfidan, Sayyida Salme was brought up in a world of privilege and hierarchy. Early in her life, however, she stood out as a daring and unconventional princess. In her memoirs, Salme confronted the rationale that colonization was a humanitarian act of civilizing the peoples of Africa and the Middle East. She questioned the right of Europeans to view others as “unenlightened” and wrote that her intention was to remove “many misconceptions and distortions current about the East.” For an Arab woman to criticize the European powers was unheard of at the time. “Even in this century of railroads and rapid communication, so much ignorance still exists among European nations of the customs and institutions of their own immediate neighbors,” she wrote. In her later years, Salme found a home in Beirut, which offered her room for both her European and Arabian identities. Despite several attempts at recovering her inheritance, her appeals were consistently rejected by the Zanzibar court..

SOURCES: OZY

Featured

Growing Up in War Torn Mali

On the night of 23 March, the village of Ogossagou was attacked, leaving 46 children dead, according to United Nations estimates. On top of providing medical assistance, UNICEF and our NGO partner Coopi are helping children overcome trauma. But the psychological needs of the children here remain enormous. Grave violations against children including killing and maiming, attacks and threats on schools and teachers, as well as sexual and gender-based violence, are all on the increase. But beyond grave violations, there is a slow burn crisis happening as well. Food prices are rising, insecurity is forcing schools to close and is compromising access to health centers, and displacement of the most vulnerable families is accelerating. In short, the crisis in central Mali is impacting all aspects of children’s lives — jeopardizing their right to safety, protection, to health and to education.

SOURCES: CNN

Featured

As if on Cue, Benin Shuts Down the Internet

When authorities turned off the country’s internet during parliamentary elections Sunday, they became the ninth African government to restrict access this year. As the norm, officials didn’t explain reasons for the outage, but the usual reason on the need for security and civil order is likely. Data from The NetBlocks Group, a nonpartisan organization that tracks global internet freedom and monitors outages, indicate the serious economic and social impacts of even a short outage. In Benin, a one-day shutdown costs the country $1.54 million, according to data compiled by NetBlocks and The Internet Society, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization focused on internet freedom. Benin’s outage lasted 15 hours and encompassed all internet services, including social media, according to NetBlocks. Press freedom and human rights groups, meanwhile, continue to sound alarms about the impact of internet outages on journalists’ abilities to gather and report news.

SOURCES: VOA

Featured

Sudanese Women Want Equal Representation Post Bashir

In the crowded streets of Khartoum, an even more indelible shift is taking place: Women, who were deprived by Bashir of freedoms afforded to men, are demanding equality. From the stages at the center of a massive sit-in here to the tea stalls that dot its periphery, women addressed the new military government and the organizers of the protests, who are almost all men, saying: You will not overlook us. “We cannot get our freedom unless we are essential parts of the new government, not in soft positions in which decisions are not made.” Under Bashir, a quarter of parliamentary seats were reserved for women, who were mostly stand-ins for their husbands, many political analysts said. Laws in Sudan compel women to get a male relative’s approval to marry or divorce and govern how they can dress. Bashir’s interpretation of Islamic law was more lenient than, say, that of Saudi Arabia, where women have only recently been allowed to drive on their own. But Sudanese society is deeply conservative, and in addition to discriminatory laws, powerful societal roles such as judge or minister are entirely closed off to women.

SOURCES: WASHINGTON POST

Featured

Boeing Sued for Ethiopian Airlines Crash

Boeing is being sued by two Canadians who lost 10 family members in the March crash of a 737 Max in Ethiopia, adding to the aircraft manufacturer’s legal woes stemming from two deadly crashes by the jet. Among the 157 people who died when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed minutes after takeoff on March 10 were plaintiff Manant Vaidya’s mother, father, sister, brother-in-law and two nieces. Also on the doomed flight were the wife and three children of Paul Njoroge, the other plaintiff. The Kenyan Foreign Affairs ministry has asked families of victims of the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash to secure a Grant of Representation from court in order to get compensation. A Grant of Representation is a document that confirms the legal status and ability to deal with the estate of someone who has died. It grants the bearer the powers to administer the estate of the deceased.

SOURCES: CGTN AFRICA

Featured

Zimbabwean-born Fashion Designer Incorporates Braille into Her Clothes

Tapiwa Dingwiza says she wants fashion to represent and celebrate blind people. S.VINGO Bespoke’s first collection has been inspired by childhood experiences and is characterised by craftsmanship, creativity and embossed braille personal messages for a confident, classic and playful man while the woman is distinctive, modern and dares to be different with a timeless appeal. The womenswear is also characterised by the use of exaggerated volume and shapes.  The label seeks to create a relationship between a wearer and a garment by simply having a secret message, a memorable event or inspirational words written on your garment in braille.

SOURCES: BBC

Featured

The Man behind Liberia’s First NGO Dedicated to Environmental Law

An effort to ensure Liberia’s tropical forests remain intact is why Liberian lawyer Alfred Brownell, 53, was among those granted the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. After the end of Liberia’s civil war in 2003, the government sought to generate much-needed funds for growth through agricultural concessions and logging permits. Brownell had by then established Green Advocates, to look at how powerful palm oil companies were scrambling for rainforests; he sought to help conserve the nation’s majestic natural resource from the companies aiming to clear-cut it all for profit. In 2010, Liberia’s government signed a 65-year concession agreement to develop over 543,000 acres of land with Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) and affiliates, yet the company was immediately accused of clearing community forests and desecrating burial grounds and sacred sites without notifying residents or adequately compensating them. With his rising profile, Brownell was targeted for his work; for representing community members against the state and he found himself at the center of a national manhunt eventually escaping with his family in mid-December 2016 to the United States. The Upper Guinean Forest is considered one of the world’s most biologically diverse ecosystems, a dense tropical rainforest in West Africa stretching from Sierra Leone to Nigeria.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Featured

The Latest on the Floods in Mozambique

Cyclone Kenneth dumped heavy rains in northern Mozambique on Sunday, flooding parts of a provincial capital, prompting evacuations and complicating efforts by rescuers to reach remote areas. Thirty-eight people have been confirmed dead in the aftermath, the second deadly cyclone to hit the country in six weeks. Mozambique’s disaster management institute said Monday the death toll, previously at five, had risen as the country braced for more rain. Many roads were washed out, and aid officials said they had been able to reach some badly affected areas only by helicopter. Rains were heaviest in Pemba, the capital of Cabo Delgado Province, which lost power. Rescue teams were evacuating residents, and 4,500 people have sought shelter in refuge centers. Officials express concern that worse could be ahead. Many fear a repeat of the mass floods that killed some 600 people last month in central Mozambique; Cyclone Idai, unleashed rains that caused two rivers to overflow into towns and villages, stranding many others for days on rooftops and trees.

SOURCES: THE NEW YORK TIMES

Featured

Betting on South Africa’s Ruling Party Winning the Election

A South African election outcome that sees the ruling party win 55-60 percent of the vote could boost shares in banks and insurers, retailers, locally focused industrial companies, property firms and telcos, according to UBS Group AG. An opinion poll released Monday showed the ANC is likely to secure 61 percent support. UBS has listed a basket of 20 stocks correlated to rand strength, including financials, retailers, industrials, property and telcos. The second of the six-month products is based on a group of 10 domestically focused, “South Africa Inc.” stocks tipped to benefit most from lower bond yields, a stronger currency and improved growth and consumer sentiment. While South African equities look expensive, “opportunities exist within sectors such as financials and property stocks benefiting from lower bond yields, and retailers and food producers on attractive valuations relative to history and exposed to the consumer,” Pillay said.

SOURCES: BLOOMBERG

Featured

A Documentary about Extreme Hoarding in Egypt

Old cameras, forgotten travel bags, a broken mixer, a favourite phone having “karakib”, or clutter in Egypt, is a national habit. It is found on rooftops and balconies, in family homes and on noisy streets. In some homes, owners keep expensive mementos of days gone by or objects to remember a deceased relative. In others, clutter helps save money, as old furniture is reupholstered and broken machines are fixed. Director, Nehal Elkoussi, went on a fascinating journey to understand the phenomenon of keeping clutter in Egypt. Karakib is an interesting journey into the most private places in Egyptian homes, which hold things that contain priceless memories. Interviews of Hussein Kadry, a journalist from the upper-middle class who lives between Cairo and London unearthed dozens of old cameras, old phones and more than 20 suitcases. His clutter is expensive and valuable. Afaf, a housewife from the middle class, has a different type of clutter. The cameras caught old utensils, old cups and old bottles, and she is always trying to make this old and cheap clutter useful in her everyday life. Before shooting the documentary characters were selected from different age groups, in order to monitor the diversity of “clutter” from different times.

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

Featured

How Young Kenyans are Milking Spaces in Farming

Kenyan innovators are betting on digital technologies to attract young people to an agriculture industry that currently is dominated by an aging population. With a 98 percent mobile phone penetration, the cellphone is proving to be an important source of extension services in areas where such resources are not available. As a young girl in central Kenya, Peninah Wanja witnessed firsthand the challenge of raising cattle without professional help. She came up with DigiCow, a mobile phone application that offers expert advice to farmers and allows them to keep up-to-date records on their cows. The app is an example of how technology can be used to bridge the knowledge gaps in the farming sector, while at the same time, ensuring food security. To deal with issues of illiteracy, DigiCow has a voice-based service — which Wanja says has proven helpful to the older farmer. Eighty percent of Kenya’s population is made up of small-scale farmers, according to the World Bank.

SOURCES: VOA

Featured

This African Country has been Offline for a Year

Salim Azim Assani, who lives in Chad, is finding out the hard way after living under internet censorship for more than 365 days and counting. Assani, 33, runs WenakLabs, a digital co-working space in the Chadian capital of N’Djamena and has resorted to using expensive Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to circumvent the shutdown. A VPN acts as a secure tunnel between devices and the internet; it protects users from snooping and censorship and allows them to mask their location on the internet. The social media blackout began in March 2018 after recommended reforms to the constitution that would allow President Idriss Deby to stay in power until 2033, when he will be 81. The country’s internet services were shut down almost immediately after the planned reforms were announced. Internet shutdowns in 10 sub-Saharan African countries led to a deficit of more than $235 million from 2015 to 2017, according to a Collaboration of International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) report. Economists estimate the shutdown has cost the Chadian economy at least $20 million since it began last March, and Assani, of WenakLabs, has been feeling the real-life impact.

SOURCES: CNN

Featured

A New Mosque in Algeria is Set to Break New Global Records

After seven years of construction and over $1 billion in expenses, the Great Mosque of Algiers, or Djamaa El Djazair, sits on an area of 400,000 square meters and has a 265 meter minaret that houses observation decks. The compound’s domed sanctuary and outside courtyard overlooking the Bay of Algiers can house up to 120,000 worshippers and has an underground parking space with a capacity of 7,000 cars. The mosque’s complex includes a Koranic school, a library, a restaurant, an amphitheater, along with a research center dedicated to the history of Algeria. The Algiers mosque also takes the lead as having Africa’s tallest minaret, relegating the 670-feet tower of the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco to a second place. By building this large religious center, some observers have noted that it’s a way to supplant extremist ideologies and co-opt clerics who might foment anti-government opposition. Others have also seen it as a symbol of the North African state’s turn towards Islamification and religious intolerance. The Algiers mosque constitutes a new feat for the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), a huge multinational that is involved in building heavy industry and infrastructure in Africa and across the world. The company won the bid for the project of the Great Mosque in 2011, considered at the time among the largest of its overseas projects.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

Small Business Owner Takes on Retail Giant and Wins

Just before close of business on Jan. 7, Shannon McLaughlin, founder and owner of Ubuntu Baba posted a 2,000-word blog explaining how she felt South African retail giant Woolworths had copied the name, color scheme and design of her company’s signature baby carriers, and was selling them at a third of the price. Ubuntu Baba carriers are handmade from organic hemp in South Africa versus the copycat carriers mass produced in China and made out of polyester. Just like that, the 36-year-old sent a shock wave through big retail in South Africa and showed small businesses around the country that big checkbooks and expensive lawyers can be beaten. The carriers were pulled from Woolworths’ shelves almost immediately, but the situation was only resolved a month later, when Woolworths promised not to keep any profits from the sale of the carriers, give Ubuntu an undisclosed payout, donate a “large portion” of the proceeds to support small business and implement intellectual property training across the company.

SOURCES: OZY

Featured

Only Air Zimbabwe Plane Grounded

A small fire incident on an Air Zimbabwe flight on Sunday night has forced the carrier to ground its only operating aircraft. The Boeing 767-200ER, which has to be one of the hardest-working aeroplanes in the aviation industry, serves the Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls routes as well as Johannesburg. The plane suffered a “malfunction” in one of its engines after flying out of South Africa’s main international airport, causing a “brief tail pipe fire”, the carrier said in a statement. It, however, continued on its journey and landed safely in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. Investigations will be carried out to find the cause of the fire. The grounding has disrupted travel and left many passengers stranded.  Air Zimbabwe has been burdened by debts which reportedly amount to more than $800m. Authorities have been trying to turn around the airline’s fortunes, and to acquire additional planes to boost the fleet.

SOURCES: IOL

Featured

Jumia Execs Talk Listing and the Legacy they Want to Create

It’s been a remarkable couple of weeks for Jumia, the largest e-commerce operator in Africa, as it made tech history by listing on the New York Stock Exchange. The company’s initial public offering has been lauded as game-changing in African tech circles especially given previous concerns about a lack of exits for investors in tech startups as well significant operational challenges in e-commerce across the continent. Quartz Africa spoke to Sacha Poignonnec, co-founder and chief executive of Jumia, to discuss the company’s operations across African markets, the possible impact of its landmark initial public offering and the sustained debate over the company’s identity. “When we started the business, we were a group of founders and there were a lot of people working for Jumia and the last thing we were wondering was “where are you from?” and “what’s the color of your skin?” It was just about being a bunch of entrepreneurs believing we can make this work. Our goal and dream is to bring the e-commerce business to the African consumer and African seller and that’s what we do. This is our exclusive focus.”

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

Commonwealth Forges New Relevance among its African Members

A voluntary association of 53 independent countries, most of which are former British colonies, the Commonwealth has long been seen by its 19 African member states as a useful, if occasionally anachronistic, forum for global multilateral cooperation. Yet in recent years the Commonwealth has arguably been overshadowed in Africa by continental and regional associations such as the African Union and ECOWAS, as well as the rise of dynamic multilateral clubs explicitly focused on wealth creation, dealmaking and rapid economic development, including the BRICS and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. Under the leadership of secretary general Baroness Patricia Scotland, the Commonwealth is attempting to recast itself as a global champion of free trade and economic opportunity in an era where African member states look to multilateralism as a ticket to multi-billion dollar infrastructure deals.  Baroness Scotland says that Africa’s “profound shift” towards finally implementing the Continental Free Trade Area – a years-long process she likens to Waiting for Godot – will be crucial to maintaining momentum.

SOURCES: AFRICAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Featured

Can the Ramaphosa Express Salvage South Africa’s Economy?

One of the most effective slogans of the African National Congress (ANC), South Africa’s ruling party, has been “a better life for all”. The trouble is, when one party has nearly all the power, the kind of people who seek power in order to abuse it and grow rich flock to join that party. Corruption, always a problem, became so widespread under Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s president from 2009 to 2018. In those nine lost years Mr Zuma’s chums systematically plundered the state. Honest watchdogs were sacked. Investors fled, economic growth stalled, public debt soared and unemployment (even by a narrow definition) rose from 23% to 27%. Eskom, the bloated, looted national electricity firm, can no longer reliably keep the lights on or factories humming. Corruption has crippled public services. With an election next month, there are questions whether incumbent President Cyril Ramaphosa is the right person to turn the party’s image around and in turn, change the country’s fortunes.

SOURCES: THE ECONOMIST

Featured

How to Democratize the Stock Market in Zimbabwe

C-Trade is the first service in Africa to offer combined desktop, mobile app and text message stock trading. Accessible to anyone with a Zimbabwe-based bank account who wants to swap shares in the 56 active listed companies on the country’s stock exchange, C-Trade has seen an average of $300,000 in trades each month since its launch last July.  The innovation forged by Collen Tapfumaneyi, who has created numerous finance platforms such as the Financial Securities Exchange (Finsec), Corpserve Registrars — Zimbabwe’s first independent share-registry company — to help companies launch IPOs, manage shares and pay dividends. This evolved into the Escrow Group, which now commands a 42 percent market share in Zimbabwe with offices in Kenya and Zambia. The market cap for Finsec, which democratizes trading of a wide variety of securities by bringing them to a central online marketplace, is $320 million. By global standards, the amount is minuscule, but Tapfumaneyi is thinking far beyond his 17 million-strong homeland. He’s establishing himself as one of the continent’s innovators, with a goal of facilitating a stock market revolution: do-it-yourself public stock offerings.

SOURCES: OZY

Featured

How Africa can Lure Youths into Agriculture

Agriculture is best suited to provide a great many jobs as it can absorb much labour, and because prospering farms trigger employment opportunities in the rest of the economy. To lure young people into farming, policymakers and development actors emphasise the need for modern technology, including agricultural mechanisation. But surprisingly little is known about the opinion of young people in rural areas. Few have asked them what farming and rural areas need to look like to be more attractive. Researchers spoke to young respondents who emphasised more low-tech solutions such as increasing farm diversity, having water wells and using draught animals, which is already an advantage over manual labour. This suggests that policymakers and development practitioners need to pay more attention to the actual aspirations of young people in rural areas to avoid well-intended but misguided policies. In addition, the findings suggest that there is a need for several policies to reflect several types of young people in rural areas.

SOURCES: THE CONVERSATION

Featured

Large Amounts of Gold are Leaving Africa Tax Free

A Reuter’s exclusive says billions of dollars’ worth of gold is being smuggled out of Africa every year through the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East – a gateway to markets in Europe, the United States and beyond. Customs data shows that the UAE imported $15.1 billion worth of gold from Africa in 2016, more than any other country and up from $1.3 billion in 2006. The total weight was 446 tonnes, in varying degrees of purity – up from 67 tonnes in 2006. Much of the gold was not recorded in the exports of African states. Reuters assessed the volume of the illicit trade by comparing total imports into the UAE with the exports declared by African states. Industrial mining firms in Africa told Reuters they did not send their gold to the UAE – indicating that its gold imports from Africa come from other, informal sources. Informal methods of gold production, known in the industry as “artisanal” or small-scale mining, are growing globally. They have provided a livelihood to millions of Africans and help some make more money than they could dream of from traditional trades. But the methods leak chemicals into rocks, soil and rivers. And African governments such as Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia complain that gold is now being illegally produced and smuggled out of their countries on a vast scale, sometimes by criminal operations, and often at a high human and environmental cost.

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia makes History

Ethiopia’s largest commercial bank opened an all-female branch in the capital, Addis Ababa. The CEO of CBE, Ato Bacha Gina, at the inauguration, highlighted the important roles women play in the economy and the need to spotlight them. Gina also revealed the bank’s plans of opening more all-female branches in major regional states and also announced the bank’s intentions of launching an exclusive credit facility for women aimed at promoting women entrepreneurship, the statement further disclosed. Named after veteran banker Leikun Berhanu, the new all-female branch follows a recent trend of having more women at the forefront in workplaces and political positions in a bid to have greater female representation in the Horn of Africa nation with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed spearheading the campaign.

SOURCES: FACE2FACE AFRICA

Featured

The First Carrier to Operate the New CRJ-series Atmosphere Cabin in Africa

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has received two Bombardier CRJ900 jets from Canada at Entebbe International Airport. The arrival of the new planes, with the words Ugandan Airlines on the sides of the aircraft, marks the official comeback for the East African country’s national carrier that was grounded in 2001. Authorities hope that revival of the national carrier will help the economy and boost tourism. Commercial flights are expected to start in July, and two more bombardier planes are to be added to the fleet later this year. Atmosphere cabin design allows passengers to carry and store an “oversized” roller bag within the aircraft cabin bins, which minimizes the need to check bags at the counter or the gate. According to the manufacturer, the new model atmosphere cabin sets new standards of passenger experience in the regional jet market segment. Key features of the new interior comprise of larger passenger living space, wheel-first roller bag capability, more spacious lavatory, increased cabin connectivity options, all integrated into a contemporary design and material choices. Uganda paid $74,885,202 for the first two planes, and will operate the CRJ900 in dual-class configuration with 76 economy seats and 12 first class seats.

SOURCES: AFRICA NEWS

Featured

Algeria Goes After the Country’s Richest Man in Graft Probe

Five Algerian billionaires, some of them close to former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika who quit over mass protests, have been arrested as part of an anti-graft investigation. The five are Issad Rebrab, considered the richest businessman in the energy-rich North African nation, who is especially active in the food and sugar refining business, and four brothers from the Kouninef family. Rebrab is chair of the family-owned Cevital firm, which imports raw sugar from Brazil and exports white sugar to Tunisia, Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East. The Kouninef family is close to Bouteflika, who ruled Algeria for 20 years.

SOURCES: FRANCE 24

Featured

3 Ways to Network in the Diaspora

With the current online social media landscape, there is no excuse for not having a social network of people that you interact with and get inspiration from. It is becoming increasingly important to have a social network of people who you can get feedback from, especially if you are an entrepreneur or are running a business in the African diaspora. One of the ways for creating a networking relationship in the diaspora is by attending conferences or workshops where people who are interested in similar things as you are meeting. Secondly, Social media is now one of the most utilized tools for building a network. It is a crucial tool for keeping your network organized and up to date. Finally, Ii the diaspora, people in your network are prone to change location frequently. This can often make it hard to keep up with people and plan meetups. The challenge in keeping up with people in the diaspora is that people are not always online at the same time due to time zone differences and other factors. This becomes a challenge especially when you need to communicate or discuss a potential future partnership or need confirmation on a business deal in an instant. A good way to combat this challenge is by having a set time or schedule of contacting your network online and being consistent with it.

SOURCES: SHE LEADS AFRICA

Featured

How to Democratize the Stock Market in Zimbabwe

C-Trade is the first service in Africa to offer combined desktop, mobile app and text message stock trading. Accessible to anyone with a Zimbabwe-based bank account who wants to swap shares in the 56 active listed companies on the country’s stock exchange, C-Trade has seen an average of $300,000 in trades each month since its launch last July.  The innovation forged by Collen Tapfumaneyi, who has created numerous finance platforms such as the Financial Securities Exchange (Finsec), Corpserve Registrars — Zimbabwe’s first independent share-registry company — to help companies launch IPOs, manage shares and pay dividends. This evolved into the Escrow Group, which now commands a 42 percent market share in Zimbabwe with offices in Kenya and Zambia. The market cap for Finsec, which democratizes trading of a wide variety of securities by bringing them to a central online marketplace, is $320 million. By global standards, the amount is minuscule, but Tapfumaneyi is thinking far beyond his 17 million-strong homeland. He’s establishing himself as one of the continent’s innovators, with a goal of facilitating a stock market revolution: do-it-yourself public stock offerings.

SOURCES: OZY

Featured

Ghana Begins Drone Delivery to Supplement Health Services

The New Tafo Government Hospital is the first in Ghana to sign up to the government’s new medical drone delivery program which hopes to use unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver medical products to hard to reach communities in a timely manner. The medical drone program was officially launched this week by Ghana’s vice president Mahamudu Bawumia, who first made the announcement a year ago.  Ghana Health Service is working with Zipline, the drone company best known for starting blood delivery services in Rwanda. Ghana’s health policymakers hope faster drop-offs will improve its health outcomes including reducing its maternal and infant mortality rates. According to the World Health Organization, “severe bleeding during delivery or after childbirth is the commonest cause of maternal mortality and contributes to around 34% of maternal deaths in Africa.” The timely access to safe blood could save many lives. The launch at Zipline’s Omenako center outside of the capital Accra is the first of four centers it hopes to complete by the end of 2019. The drones will be able to travel to 500 health facilities within an 80-kilometer-range from the Omenako center which is stocked with emergency medicines, vaccines, blood and blood products. The delivery program is also hoped will help reduce the incidence of wastage of medical products, a result of overstocking at hospitals.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

African Island the First Victim of Cyclone Kenneth

As Kenneth passed to the north of Comoros, which has a population of around one million people, it was packing sustained winds of around 140km per hour with significantly higher gusts. This makes it equivalent to a category-1 Atlantic hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Tropical cyclones in this region are rare as they do not tend to form within 10 degrees of the equator because the Coriolis force is not strong enough. The Comoros islands are between 11 and 13 degrees south in latitude and have only had three damaging cyclones since 1983. Thus, it is the strongest storm on record to hit the islands. The powerful storm is rapidly strengthening as it approaches northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania. This will be the first time in history that two storms of category-2 strength or higher have hit Mozambique in the same season. Rising waters will be a big concern but it is hoped that as the strongest winds and storm surge get pushed towards the south of the storm, the worst of Kenneth’s landfall impacts may end up in the sparsely populated Quirimbas National Park region, including the Quirimbas Archipelago.

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

Featured

Large Amounts of Gold are Leaving Africa Tax Free

A Reuter’s exclusive says billions of dollars’ worth of gold is being smuggled out of Africa every year through the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East – a gateway to markets in Europe, the United States and beyond. Customs data shows that the UAE imported $15.1 billion worth of gold from Africa in 2016, more than any other country and up from $1.3 billion in 2006. The total weight was 446 tonnes, in varying degrees of purity – up from 67 tonnes in 2006. Much of the gold was not recorded in the exports of African states. Reuters assessed the volume of the illicit trade by comparing total imports into the UAE with the exports declared by African states. Industrial mining firms in Africa told Reuters they did not send their gold to the UAE – indicating that its gold imports from Africa come from other, informal sources. Informal methods of gold production, known in the industry as “artisanal” or small-scale mining, are growing globally. They have provided a livelihood to millions of Africans and help some make more money than they could dream of from traditional trades. But the methods leak chemicals into rocks, soil and rivers. And African governments such as Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia complain that gold is now being illegally produced and smuggled out of their countries on a vast scale, sometimes by criminal operations, and often at a high human and environmental cost.

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

Deforestation in Africa Still on an Upward Trend

Millions of hectares of pristine tropical rainforest were destroyed in 2018, according to satellite analysis, with beef, chocolate and palm oil among the main causes. Research shows that forest destruction jumped by 60% in Ghana and 26% in Ivory Coast, driven by gold mining and cocoa farming. “The good news is the cocoa industry has taken steps to combat this trend,” said Caroline Winchester, a  Global Forest Watch research analyst. “In 2017 the cocoa and forests initiative launched to end further deforestation.” However, 70% of tree felling in Ghana and Ivory Coast was in protected areas, she said. In the DRC, primary forest loss was 38% higher in 2018 than the average from 2011-2017. Expansion of small-scale forest clearing for agriculture and firewood is thought to have caused about three-quarters of this loss.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Featured

Two of Ethiopia’s Greatest Athletes Go Off Track

Mo Farah and Haile Gebrselassie have become embroiled in a spat after the Briton alleged he had been robbed during a stay in the Ethiopian Olympic gold medalist’s hotel in Addis Ababa in March 2019. During an April 24 news conference ahead of Sunday’s London Marathon, Farah told reporters money and a watch were stolen from a hotel room in Yaya Village, an athletic training center in the Ethiopian capital. Four-time Olympic champion Farah, who finished third in the London Marathon last year, had been staying at the hotel in March as part of his final preparations for his home race. Gebrselassie, a previous marathon world record holder who won two Olympic gold medals for the 10,000 meters, said in a press release sent to CNN that all residents at his hotel are offered safes for cash over the value of $350; which he said Farah refused. Gebrselassie said the hotel was not legally liable for the theft as a result. Gebrselassie said that the reported robbery was handed over to the police, with five employees being taken into custody before being released.

SOURCES: CNN

Featured

Be Careful what you Say about this Man

The Supreme Court in Rwanda has rejected a challenge to a law which says it is a crime to insult the president.The law which was introduced last year means that anyone insulting President Paul Kagame faces between five and seven years in prison. Lawyer Richard Mugisha had argued that the law was unconstitutional as it undermined freedom of expression. The court ruled that it should remain due to the responsibility that the office holds. The same court ruled that a law which prohibits writing articles or drawing cartoons that humiliate MPs, ministers or other government officials should be annulled.

SOURCES: THE CITIZEN

Featured

Cabinet Revamp on the Cards for Senegal

Senegal’s government approved a plan to scrap the post of prime minister, the first initiative of President Macky Sall’s second term in office. Sall, who was comfortably re-elected in February, announced the plan earlier this month, telling the Prime Minister Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne, to abolish his own job. That announcement was a surprise, as it had not been part of Sall’s re-election campaign. When Sall originally announced his plan, Dionne said the aim was to reduce administrative bottlenecks and “bring the administration closer to the people to speed up (economic) reforms so they have more impact”. Sall told his ministers that he wanted to better control the “lifestyle” of the state machinery, including the administration’s telephone, water and energy bills as well as the cost of the fleet of official vehicles.

SOURCES: AFRICA NEWS

Featured

Malawian Musician Challenges Myths about Albinism through Song

A busker named Lazarus Chigwandali has risen to challenge the myths and superstitions about people with albinism. Growing up in Nankumba village, 50 miles south of Malawi’s capital, Lazarus was subjected to violence and marginalisation first-hand. Malawi is home to an estimated 10,000 albinos – a condition that affects the production of the pigment that gives skin, hair and eyes their colour.  But a widely-held belief that their body parts can impart wealth or good luck means people with albinism are frequently abducted, murdered or mutilated in East Africa. Others are raped due to a myth that sex with an albino can cure HIV. The first single from the sessions was released earlier this year. Called Ndife Alendo (We Are Strangers), it talks about how we are all visitors on Earth, who will one day return home to Heaven. But it is also a metaphor for the plight of people with albinism. The message will spread even further when a documentary about Lazarus’s life premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York this weekend. It has been produced by Madonna, who has championed the musician in his home country, inviting him to share a stage with her at an open-air concert last year.

SOURCES: BBC

Featured

The #SaveTheOldCityofTripoli Campaign

As a new war reached the Libyan capital, businessman Mustafa Iskandar opened an art gallery and cultural centre, hoping to draw attention to a long-neglected old city in need of revival. One of the best preserved in North Africa with monuments going back to the Romans, Tripoli’s old city has been rundown for years, with garbage filling the narrow streets and its ancient white buildings in dire need of repair. Most Libyans who can afford it have long moved out of the old city to more modern districts of Tripoli, home to 2.5 million. But Iskandar bought a derelict house close to the landmark Roman Mark Aurelius arch, investing  $720,000 to refurbish it as a gathering point for artists. He hung paintings and moved in old furniture collected for years in Europe for his centre, which is located next to a hotel that was once bustling with tourists who used to come to Libya until Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011. Under Gaddafi, authorities restored a handful of old buildings and were planning a larger rehabilitation project when the 2011 uprising broke out, stopping the work. Little has happened since then, given the country’s chaos, but officials hope to reopen the national museum housed in the Red Castle from the Ottoman era, closed since 2015 over security concerns.

SOURCES: YAHOO NEWS

Featured

Interpol Raids Hot Spots for Modern Slavery in West Africa

Police have rescued 216 human trafficking victims, mainly children, from forced labour and prostitution in a major operation in Benin and Nigeria. Operation Epervier II involved 100 police officers across the two countries rescued 157 child slaves, said the global police organisation, which coordinated the raids in early April. Many of the children were working in markets peddling goods, carrying heavy loads or fetching water, while others worked as housemaids or were forced into prostitution, Interpol said. Of the minors rescued, 36 were boys and 121 were girls. Investigations are underway to dismantle the crime networks active in Benin and Nigeria, which source, transit and destination countries for human trafficking, said Paul Stanfield, Interpol’s director of organised and emerging crime.

SOURCES: CGTN AFRICA

Featured

The Mystery behind Lake Chad’s Shrinkage

Lake Chad is the world’s shallowest lake; a great inland body of fresh water shared by Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. It’s critically important, both economically and culturally, for millions of people in one of the world’s most impoverished regions. Its levels have varied dramatically for decades with heads of state, their cabinets, and Western aid organisations have presumed that Lake Chad was on a downward path – a victim of global climate change. These concerns led the four countries’ governments to commission several studies between 2008 and 2010. From this, an extensive report was published in 2014. One study, as yet unpublished, gathered data to determine whether irrigation may have adversely affected the lake; another, contained in the 2014 report, examined how much water would be needed to restore it to its former large state. This second study had a geopolitical angle: if the lake’s ills could be pinned on the forces of global change, international climate change negotiations would hold the promise of dozens of billions of dollars needed to build and maintain an inter-basin water transfer system, to bring waters from the Congo Basin into Lake Chad’s main tributary. This would be an economic boon for the region.

SOURCES: THE CONVERSATION

Featured

Airbnb’s Impact in Africa Worrying for Some

Among African governments and the hospitality sector, there’s a growing call to regulate the world’s biggest accommodation-sharing site: Airbnb. South Africa’s hotel federation last week said the platform was taking business away from registered hotels and eating into their profits. The 70-year-old industry body described Airbnb as a “massive problem,” and said existing laws failed to keep up with a fast-changing sector. It also asked the government to create a level playing field. The move follows calls to regulate and tax the short-term rental service in countries including Kenya, Tanzania, and Namibia. Kenya’s tourism sector, for instance, said this year it was working with Airbnb to facilitate registration of all properties on the platform and start remitting taxes by July. In Tanzania, homeowners were ordered to register their facilities last September or face arrest. The same happened in Namibia in 2017, where regulators ordered accommodation establishments with two or more bedrooms to register with the tourism board.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

East Africa Braces itself for a Storm

Authorities in Tanzania have advised people in southern coastal regions to move to safer ground ahead of the expected arrival of a cyclone. Cyclone Kenneth is predicted to also hit neighbouring northern Mozambique with winds of up to 200km/h (124 mph) and torrential rain. Residents have been told to expect damage to their houses and farms. Tanzania’s Lindi, Mtwara and Ruvuma regions have been listed as the most prone to the weather, which is predicted to hit the country on Thursday. Mozambique is still reeling from Cyclone Idai which killed hundreds of people and left thousands homeless. The storm made landfall near the port city of Beira on 14 March, packing winds of up to 177 km/h and bringing torrential rain which caused extensive flooding. More than 700 people were killed in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe and at least three million were left in need of humanitarian assistance.

SOURCES: BBC

Featured

A Piece of Livingstone’s Legacy in Africa

The diary of an African attendant on the Scottish explorer David Livingstone’s final journey into the continent has been published online, containing the only handwritten witness account of the the Victorian missionary’s death in 1873. The manuscript was written by Jacob Wainwright, a member of the Yao ethnic group from east Africa and the only African pallbearer at the explorer’s funeral in Westminster Abbey in 1874. The diary contains a rare insight into the role of Africans involved in British colonial exploration and Livingstone’s death aged 60 in the village of Chitambo, present-day Chipundu, Zambia, after suffering from fever and excruciating back pain that prevented him from walking. Livingstone was one of the most famous 19th-century European explorers of Africa. In 1855, he became the first European to see Victoria Falls – and gave the landmark its European name.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Featured

3 Ways to Network in the Diaspora

With the current online social media landscape, there is no excuse for not having a social network of people that you interact with and get inspiration from. It is becoming increasingly important to have a social network of people who you can get feedback from, especially if you are an entrepreneur or are running a business in the African diaspora. One of the ways for creating a networking relationship in the diaspora is by attending conferences or workshops where people who are interested in similar things as you are meeting. Secondly, Social media is now one of the most utilized tools for building a network. It is a crucial tool for keeping your network organized and up to date. Finally, Ii the diaspora, people in your network are prone to change location frequently. This can often make it hard to keep up with people and plan meetups. The challenge in keeping up with people in the diaspora is that people are not always online at the same time due to time zone differences and other factors. This becomes a challenge especially when you need to communicate or discuss a potential future partnership or need confirmation on a business deal in an instant. A good way to combat this challenge is by having a set time or schedule of contacting your network online and being consistent with it.

SOURCES: SHE LEADS AFRICA

Featured

Floods Leave Trail of Destruction in South Africa

Fifty-one people have died in floods that ravaged parts of the coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa’s southeast, local authorities said. The flooding began on Monday after heavy rain caused mudslides in several towns in Durban, the largest city in KwaZulu-Natal officials said there were reported incidents of collapsed buildings, walls and flooded homes in the area. Makeshift shelters and food are being provided for those displaced from their homes in the aftermath of the flooding. State-owned broadcaster SABC puts the number of those displaced at over 1000. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was forced to cut short his trip to the African Union (AU) summit in Egypt to visit the areas affected by the tragedy. South African Weather Service has warned there could be more rains in the coming days.

SOURCES: CNN

Featured

The First Carrier to Operate the New CRJ-series Atmosphere Cabin in Africa

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has received two Bombardier CRJ900 jets from Canada at Entebbe International Airport. The arrival of the new planes, with the words Ugandan Airlines on the sides of the aircraft, marks the official comeback for the East African country’s national carrier that was grounded in 2001. Authorities hope that revival of the national carrier will help the economy and boost tourism. Commercial flights are expected to start in July, and two more bombardier planes are to be added to the fleet later this year. Atmosphere cabin design allows passengers to carry and store an “oversized” roller bag within the aircraft cabin bins, which minimizes the need to check bags at the counter or the gate. According to the manufacturer, the new model atmosphere cabin sets new standards of passenger experience in the regional jet market segment. Key features of the new interior comprise of larger passenger living space, wheel-first roller bag capability, more spacious lavatory, increased cabin connectivity options, all integrated into a contemporary design and material choices. Uganda paid $74,885,202 for the first two planes, and will operate the CRJ900 in dual-class configuration with 76 economy seats and 12 first class seats.
 

SOURCES: AFRICA NEWS

Featured

Angola’s Poisoned Chalice

Angola’s Luanda Province, home of the nation’s capital, is surrounded by water. But clean water is not available for many of its residents. While Angolan authorities work to improve access to portable water, delivery services are cashing in. The lack of clean water is also an opportunity for hundreds of drinking water delivery boys. They say people need this water because in the neighborhood where they sell it, there is no water whatsoever. There are taps, but they have never had running water. Luanda’s water company says financial issues have slowed progress, but production projects in the works will eventually improve access to clean water. Meanwhile, Angolans do their best to get by, using what dirty water they have or the clean water they can sell. Luanda Province is surrounded on three sides by water — the Bengo and Cuanza Rivers, and the Atlantic Ocean.

SOURCES: VOA

Featured

The Moroccan Fight Club you Can Talk About

The North African country has often been portrayed in the West as mysterious and exotic, a land of belly dancers, enticement and Arab enchantment. This outmoded stereotype is firmly laid to rest by the country’s burgeoning combat sports scene. In Casablanca, the regional qualifying stage of the Moroccan amateur boxing championships is just weeks away and the young boxers at the Bateha club are training for the biggest fights of their lives. It’s here that a 75-year-old parking attendant and former Moroccan featherweight champion, Saleh Rouman, mentors fresh young boxing talent. Saleh founded Bateha in 1979 and his honours board boasts national champions. He gets a government subsidy for rent and electricity but has to fund the rest from his day job, devoting all his free time to nurturing young boxers in the modest Derb Ghallef area of town. “There are kids without any education or trade, I save them from the street and encourage them to be productive. I point them in the right direction, but in the end, it’s up to them. I do my best with them.” His club was the first in Casablanca to admit female fighters and Sanaa Akeel was a four-time national champion.

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

Featured

Giving Children a Fighting Chance against Malaria

Malawi is rolling out a malaria vaccine pilot programme for children in a bid to prevent the disease which kills hundreds of thousands across Africa each year. The RTS,S vaccine, the first to give partial protection to children, trains the immune system to attack the malaria parasite, which is spread by mosquitos. After more than three decades in development and almost $1bn in investment, the cutting-edge vaccine is being rolled out in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe followed by Kenya and Ghana in the coming weeks. Children between 5 months and 2 years of age will be inoculated and, according to the WHO, the vaccine will reach some 360,000 children a year until the end of 2022 across the three countries. Malawi, Kenya and Ghana were selected for the pilot introduction due to the high number of malaria cases they record. The protein-based RTS,S vaccine went through five years of clinical trials on 15,000 people in seven countries. In one clinical trial, children who received doses of the vaccine had a lower chance of developing malaria and severe malaria, the WHO says. A study showed that the innovative vaccine prevented about four in 10 malaria cases among children and “overall, there were 29 percent fewer cases of severe malaria in children who received the vaccine.”

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

Featured

Imam Training to Help Sub-Saharan Countries Facing Militancy

Every year 100 women are admitted to study for up to three years at the Moroccan Muslim teaching institute in Rabat, run by Morocco’s ministry of religious affairs. Morocco, which is nearly 100 percent Muslim, has marketed itself as an oasis of religious tolerance in a region torn by militancy – and has offered training to imams and male and female preachers of Islam from Africa and Europe on what it describes as moderate Islam. It currently trains 1,300 people mostly from the sub-Sahara nations of Mali, Senegal, Nigeria, Guinea, Gambia and Chad, where Al Qaeda and Islamic State are active. Students at the institute receive $208.33 a month in addition to free accommodation, plane tickets, and health insurance. Admission criteria include having a Bachelor university degree. The curriculum covers Islamic studies along with philosophy, history of religions, sexual education and mental health. “We show them that the concepts of democracy and human rights serve purposes rooted in Islamic values,” said institute director Abdeslam Lazaar.

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

Counterfeit Medicines Circulating in African Countries

Last month the World Health Organization’s Global Surveillance and Monitoring System for Substandard and Falsified Medical Products issued an alert over the circulation of confirmed fake meningitis vaccines in Niger. WHO called for increased vigilance at all levels of the supply chain—particularly in West Africa after it was discovered the meningitis vaccine’s batch number and expiry date did not correspond to genuine manufacturing records. In the same month, WHO warned of the circulation in Cameroon of fake hypertension drugs; that had been found to contain glibenclamide instead of hydrochlorothiazide, these have adverse effects reported for patients who took them. Genuine hydrochlorothiazide is used as an antihypertensive and diuretic medicine, whereas glibenclamide is an antidiabetic medicine. This alert came at a time the Cameroon Customs had just seized thousands of drugs of questionable quality. The proliferation of substandard and fake drugs in Africa is complex, making its understanding difficult. But initiatives to roll back the scourge whose impact remains extremely damaging are coming to the fore. In 2018, Tanzania was commended for reaching an important milestone, being the first confirmed country in Africa to achieve a well-functioning, regulatory system for medical products. Franck Verzefé, a Cameroonian pharmacist, developed True-Spec, a portable device that uses artificial intelligence called RAI (Real Active Ingredient) to enable hospitals, pharmacies, pharmaceutical laboratories and quality control centers verify if certain drugs are genuine.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

One of West Africa’s more Peaceful and Moderate Countries in the Grips of Terror

Like much of eastern Burkina Faso, the government has no control over what happens in Bartiébougou; local militants, backed by West African extremist groups, do. Over the past two years the authorities have lost control of large regions to a spreading insurgency. Conflict has escalated dramatically, researchers say. Over the past five months, the civilian death toll has risen by 7,000% compared with the same period last year. Much of the east has been carved up under several local leaders, allied with Ansarul Islam, the Islamic State in the Greater Sahel (ISGS), and Mali’s al-Qaida affiliated Nusrat al-Islam (JNIM). There appears to be no conflict between the factions; according to Savadogo, they use the same techniques, meaning they probably have common trainers. No outsiders can openly enter these areas so it is unclear whether the extremist groups give instructions as well as supplies. The Bartiébougou resident, who for his safety cannot be named, said the town has been revitalised by the armed men, formerly local farmers and herders. Foreigners have been chased out of nearby gold mines. The solar panel trade is booming: the electricity provider cannot get to Bartiébougou to deliver bills, so has cut the supply.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Featured

Why Agriculture is often Unattractive for African Youths

Agriculture is best suited to provide a great many jobs as it can absorb much labour, and because prospering farms trigger employment opportunities in the rest of the economy. To lure young people into farming, policymakers and development actors emphasise the need for modern technology, including agricultural mechanisation. But surprisingly little is known about the opinion of young people in rural areas. Few have asked them what farming and rural areas need to look like to be more attractive. Researchers spoke to young respondents who emphasised more low-tech solutions such as increasing farm diversity, having water wells and using draught animals, which is already an advantage over manual labour. This suggests that policymakers and development practitioners need to pay more attention to the actual aspirations of young people in rural areas to avoid well-intended but misguided policies. In addition, the findings suggest that there is a need for several policies to reflect several types of young people in rural areas.

SOURCES: THE CONVERSATION

Featured

Ethiopian Football Gets the German Touch

German champion football club Bayern Munich has signed an agreement to open its first soccer school in Africa, locating it in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. FC Bayern Munich says that it is inspired by the young football players and fans in Ethiopia, which is ranked 150th worldwide, according to the international soccer governing body, FIFA. “Two-thirds of the Ethiopian population is younger than 25 years. We will support the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) in terms of young development and coaches education programs,” Holger Quest, team leader of media operations at FC Bayern Munich. The international FC Bayern Youth Cup tournament took place in Nigeria in 2018 and 2019. The success of the tournament led to the idea to give young athletes around the world a way to showcase their talents, and include those players from disadvantaged areas. The soccer school would accept 30-40 young athletes aged of 8-10, with their training costs covered by Bayern Munich.

SOURCES: VOA

Featured

Investigating the Mysterious Deaths of Hippos in Protected Areas

The bodies of at least 28 hippopotamuses have been found in Ethiopia’s national park in the southwest of the country. The semi-aquatic mammals died in the Gibe Sheleko National Park, a part of the Gibe River, between April 14 and 21 and the cause of their deaths is presently unknown. The Gibe Sheleko National Park, was only established in 2011, is reportedly home to about 200 hippos and covers approximately 36,000 square kilometers in land area. Although the cause of death of the hippos remains unclear, the animals are described as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN). Hippo populations are threatened by poaching, disease, loss of habitat, deforestation, and pollution, according to experts. They are hunted by poachers who export their long canine teeth from African countries to places such as Hong Kong and the United States where they serve as substitutes for elephant tusks, says the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.

SOURCES: CNN

Featured

Algeria Goes After the Country’s Richest Man in Graft Probe

Five Algerian billionaires, some of them close to former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika who quit over mass protests, have been arrested as part of an anti-graft investigation. The five are Issad Rebrab, considered the richest businessman in the energy-rich North African nation, who is especially active in the food and sugar refining business, and four brothers from the Kouninef family. Rebrab is chair of the family-owned Cevital firm, which imports raw sugar from Brazil and exports white sugar to Tunisia, Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East. The Kouninef family is close to Bouteflika, who ruled Algeria for 20 years.

SOURCES: BUSINESS DAY LIVE | BLOOMBERG

Featured

Egypt’s Food Challenge: A Good Effort But Not Enough

A 2018 UNICEF report on Egypt explains maternal and child malnutrition are influenced by inadequate dietary intake and disease. The report further states that inadequate dietary intake refers to poor access to “a balanced diet among the poorest sections of society, as well as poor dietary habits, lifestyle and lack of nutritional awareness across the population, as opposed to issues of food availability.” It also notes that not being able to optimise breast feeding plays a role in this. In addition, poor sanitation and hygiene are also underlying causes of malnutrition. On the other hand, the undernourishment rate in the total Egyptian population between 2014 and 2016 was less than five percent according to the World Food Programme. Undernourishment, according to FAO, is “an estimate of the proportion of the population whose habitual food consumption is insufficient to provide the dietary energy levels that are required to maintain a normal active and healthy life.”  The prevalence of five percent is the same as most industrialised countries, showing that the situation is not as critical as in sub-Saharan Africa. In Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi, for instance, one in every three people is undernourished. But the problem lies not only with Egypt. All Arab countries face complex food challenges, as identified by the Food Sustainability Index (FSI), developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit with the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition (BCF). Overall, the picture of food security in Egypt appears positive and negative at the same time. The situation must be kept under control by authorities, farmers and all Egyptians themselves.

SOURCES: AFRICA.COM

Featured

The First South African Actress to Lead an American Television Series

The search for the lead role in Barry Jenkins’s adaptation of The Underground Railroad, has come to an end: Thuso Mbedu has officially been cast as Cora, the main character of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel. Jenkins has given the main roles of Cora, Homer, and Caesar, three slaves who seek freedom from Southern plantations via the Underground Railroad, to actors who are relatively new to American audiences.  Mbedu may not be very well known to American audiences right now, but she is already a bona fide star in South Africa. Although she only began acting four years ago, when Mbedu stars in The Underground Railroad she’ll make history. The 27-year-old spent the past year starring on one of South Africa’s most popular television series, a soap opera called Generations: The Legacy, and also scored two International Emmy Award nominations for portraying a young woman named Winnie on Is’thunzi, a teen drama series for the country’s Mzansi Magic channel.

SOURCES: W MAGAZINE

Featured

African Countries Affected by Donald Trump’s Continued Clampdown on Immigration

The Trump administration is considering a new immigration measure to impose visa restrictions on countries whose citizens have a track record of overstaying beyond the validity of their short-term US visas. As part of the proposed measure being discussed by senior White House officials, visas could become harder to get for applicants from countries with high rates of overstaying visas and, when issued, the visa validity periods could also become shorter. In the long-term, such countries could also face outright bans with the White House looking to tighten rules around student and investor visas. As it turns out, several African countries whose nationals have high rates of overstaying their visas, including Nigeria, Chad, Eritrea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, could be on the receiving end if the measure, which will likely be legally challenged, is seen through. Under the Trump administration, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Eritrea and most recently Ghana have also been issued visa restrictions (ranging from tourist, business, exchange and student visas for government officials and their families) for failing to or delaying accepting their nationals ordered removed from the United States.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

The Latest from Libya

Tunisian authorities have stopped more than 20 armed European diplomats attempting to cross into the country from neighbouring Libya. “An armed group consisting of 13 French nationals attempted to cross the border in 4×4 vehicles with diplomatic license plates at the Ras Jedir crossing on Sunday,” said Abdelkareem Zubaidi, the minister of national defense. According to the local Mosaique FM radio station, the group was denied entry into Tunisia after failing to disclose the entirety of its arms inventory. The French embassy in Tunis said the individuals were members of a security detail attached to the French diplomatic mission in Libya which is based in the Tunisian capital

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

Featured

Netflix Adds to its Growing Slate of African Content

The streaming service commissioned its first original animated series, “Mama K’s Team 4,” produced by South Africa’s award-winning Triggerfish Animation Studios and British kids’ and family entertainment production company CAKE. The series follows four teenage girls living in a futuristic version of Lusaka, Zambia, who are recruited by a retired secret agent to save the world. It was created by Zambian writer Malenga Mulendema, who in 2015 was one of eight winners of the Triggerfish Story Lab, a pan-African talent search backed by the Cape Town-based animation studio and The Walt Disney Co. The series is designed by the Cameroonian artist Malcolm Wope. In the past decade, Triggerfish has become a powerhouse in South Africa’s burgeoning animation industry. Its first two animated features, “Adventures in Zambezia” (2012) and “Khumba” (2013), are two of the five top-grossing South African movies of all time.

SOURCES: VARIETY

Featured

Search Party for DRC Boat Tragedy Intensifies

As many as 150 people are missing after a passenger boat sank on Lake Kivu in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, President Felix Tshisekedi said. The disaster happened Monday evening, but details of the incident were only just emerging Wednesday. President Tshisekedi said he was “very saddened” by the news and extended his condolences to the families of the missing.arly investigations into the disaster revealed that passengers were not wearing life jackets and a passenger manifest was not available to account for the total number of people on board the boat. Fatal boat accidents frequently occur along waterways in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the Congo River and on the country’s lakes, where water is a primary means of transport for residents outside its major cities.

SOURCES: CNN

Featured

Bashir’s Fall from Grace

Ousted Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir has been transferred from a holding facility into jail, multiple reports have confirmed. He was forced out of power a little over a week ago by the military on the back of massive protests. The Transitional Military Council, TMC, confirmed his arrest days after his ouster. Media reports that he is being held in the capital Khartoum at the Kobar maximum security prison. They added that he is being held in solitary confinement under tight security. The Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA), leading the revolt, has called for sweeping change to end violent crackdowns on dissent, purge corruption and cronyism and ease an economic crisis that worsened during Bashir’s last years in power.

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

Seeking Closure over Ethiopian Airlines Crash

A Kenyan family has filed a lawsuit in Chicago against American aviation giant Boeing over a March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people. Siblings of 29-year-old engineer George Kabau said they wanted to force the company to release documents and emails relating to its 737 MAX 8 model, which was grounded worldwide after two major plane crashed in Ethiopia and Indonesia. A preliminary report released earlier this month indicated Ethiopian Airlines pilots wrestled with a computer system that repeatedly ordered the nose down because of faulty sensor data. The same system was a focus of the preliminary report into the October Lion Air crash in Indonesia, which killed 189 people. Kenya had the largest number of citizens on the flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi. At least 32 Kenyans were on board, the airline said at the time, although that number may be larger because some of the travellers were dual nationals and the full manifest has still not been released.

SOURCES: CNBC AFRICA

Featured

Regenerating One of Africa’s Largest Slum

In Kibera’s Soweto East neighbourhood, for example, 1,200 households have been relocated to a less risky area next door in Langata with improved homes and basic services, while 900 housing units and 250 market stalls have been built in Soweto. And 205,000 Kenyans have already registered for a new government scheme called “Boma Yangu” (My Home), which aims to provide 500,000 affordable homes in the next five years. Kenya’s ministry of devolution and the National Youth Service, meanwhile, kicked off a major programme for services and infrastructure in Nairobi’s informal settlements three years ago, focused on building roads, clearing sewers, providing water and lighting streets. Nairobi County’s 2018 development plan showed more than 80%  of residents had access to piped water, with only 1% taking more than 30 minutes to reach a water point. Cleaning up the slums has been another priority for the city government, which has purchased new trucks to enable daily rubbish collection.

SOURCES: BUSINESS DAY LIVE

Featured

Connecting Artists in the DRC

The Kinshasa Academy of Fine Arts honours the work of its students in the Master class photography. On the program, several days of exhibition of the photographic works of eleven students. From digital work flow to pictorial design, from lighting to reporting and from narrative editing to exhibition, the masterpieces of this intensive photography course are now been assembled in this gallery. The exhibition is organized under the unifying title of “connected”. It is a successful outcome of a project initiated in 2017. For some of the students, it is a connection between art and family ties. This exhibition is the beginning of an important step on the road to the upcoming opening of a photography course in visual communication and a permanent learning centre at the Academy of Fine Arts.

SOURCES: AFRICA NEWS

Featured

Nigeria Changes its Tone on Human Trafficking

Nigeria’s anti-trafficking agency is trying a new approach to preventing women’s exploitation abroad by sharing inspirational stories of women who made it at home. The “Not for Sale” campaign was rolled out last month with posters, TV and radio adverts in which women talk about how they were tempted by Europe but instead pursued their dreams and found success in Nigeria. They end with the statement “I am not for sale.” Thousands of Nigerian women and girls are lured to Europe each year by the promise of work, but end up trapped in debt bondage and forced to sell sex, the United Nations says. Most prevention campaigns in Nigeria have focused on the horror stories and dangers of trafficking, but this has proved ineffective, said Richard Sandall of Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID), which is supporting the campaign. The campaign includes a website with links to women’s empowerment groups, job sites and entrepreneurship programs, and a form where people can submit their own success stories.

SOURCES: VOA

Featured

Big Name African Investors Invited to Back Local Startups

Already in the first quarter we’ve had two nine-figure later-stage funding rounds with Andela’s $100 million Series D in January and this week fintech player Branch raised $170 million in a debt and equity Series C round. Impressive rounds are happening in all types of sectors—off-grid solar company PEG Africa raised $25 million in debt and equity for its Series C last month. Depending on whose numbers you use, African startups raised between $700 million and $1.2 billion last year. As the pipeline of well-run businesses improves, interest is growing in new funds being created to target later- stage African startups. They’re moving well beyond the experimental, impact-only, five-figure grant model seemingly necessary to get things started in many African markets even five years ago.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

Africa Saw a 700 Percent Rise in Malaria Cases in 2018

This, the UN said is the most dramatic cases in the history of the epidemic, which has weakened vaccination coverage in other regions. At least 800 children have died from measles since September in Madagascar, where creeping malnutrition and a history of poor immunization are leading the world’s worst outbreak. Measles is an airborne infection which causes fever, coughing and rashes. It can be deadly in rare cases and the disease had been officially terminated in many countries with advanced healthcare systems. Measles, which is highly contagious, can be fully prevented through a two-dose vaccine. But the World Health Organization( WHO) recently published a full report on dwindling vaccination rates.

SOURCES: AFRICA NEWS

Featured

New Tax has Kenyans Seeing Red

There has been an angry response in Kenya to a decision by the authorities to introduce a new salary levy to help build low-cost homes. From next month, employees will pay 1.5% of their pay to the housing fund and that amount will be matched by the employer. The anger stems from suspicion that the extra money could be lost through corruption. The government aims to build 500,000 affordable homes by 2022. The total monthly payment per person will not exceed $50, but it is hoped that $500m will be raised every year. The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) says the move to introduce the levy is against a court order, which suspended its introduction pending a hearing on the FKE’s objection. A trade union umbrella body has also opposed the money-raising move.

SOURCES: BBC

Featured

Côte d’Ivoire: Returning to Glory

By many standards, Côte d’Ivoire (also known as Ivory Coast) is the economic glue to the eight-country West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). The country once accounted for 40 percent of the GDP in the union, and it is the largest and most diversified country in the union, which includes Senegal, Mali and Niger. Côte d’Ivoire is fundamental to trade for its landlocked UEMOA neighbors: Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. It is also gaining greater influence as one of sub-Saharan Africa’s more populated countries. Recent fundraising of more than $430 million by electricity production company, CIPREL, to finalize power plant expansion speaks to the excitement surrounding the country. An investment fund company Amethis Finance’s purchase of Petrolvoire, a downstream oil and gas operator in Côte d’Ivoire, demonstrates that first-time fund managers are approaching the country with zeal. A new investment code – recently passed in June 2012 – that introduces new tax incentives, new commercial courts and improved investment protection mechanisms – further underscores investor confidence. The transformation of the mining sector, including oil and gas, is well under its way, with many investors speaking of unimaginable potential for the country, especially if it has similar offshore success seen by neighboring Ghana.

SOURCES: AFRICA.COM

Featured

Institutionalised Exclusion of Somali Nationals in Decision-making Process for Aid

The Somali Congress of Trade Unions (Scotou) says it frequently receives complaints from Somali aid sector staff who talk about lack of respect and unfair treatment by foreign managers. “It is difficult to access these international organisations,” says Scotou general secretary, Ahmed Hassan. “They are based inside Mogadishu airport, which is heavily guarded; there is nothing much we can do to advocate for the rights of local workers. Somali staff members, especially casual workers who report to the base every day, are not even allowed to use their mobile phones at work for security reasons, which means they cannot call their family members even in an emergency. This is unacceptable.” Somalia’s fragile government is recovering from a decades-long civil war and is under frequent attack from the al-Shabaab militia group. Last month, militants attacked the ministry of labour, killing 11 people including deputy minister, Saqar Ibrahim Abdalla.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Featured

The African Union Comes into the Sudan Mix

The organisation has warned Sudan’s military that the country has 15 days to install a civilian government or risk getting kicked out of the bloc, as a sit-in demanding the army hand over power entered its 11th day on Tuesday. Sudan must aim to hold “free, fair and transparent elections” as soon as possible, the AU’s Peace and Security Council said it in a statement. “A military-led transition would be completely contrary to the aspirations of the people of Sudan,” it added. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Monday became the first foreign leader to meet with members of Sudan’s ruling military council and pledged his support for the neighbouring country. The military council is yet to formally respond to those demands, which include the transfer of power to a civilian-headed transitional authority for a period of four years, at the end of which elections will be held. It has, however, made a number of moves in an apparent bid to appease the protesters, including the lifting of the night-time curfew.

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

Featured

Zimbabweans Living below the New Breadline

The price of bread nearly doubled in Zimbabwe on Tuesday, another burden for citizens already struggling with a weakening currency and rising prices for basic goods. Bread now costs 3.50 RTGS dollars a loaf, up from 1.80 on Monday. Bread is the most consumed staple after maize meal, and the increase follows that of other products like cooking oil, sugar and milk. In February, faced with acute shortages of U.S. dollars, Zimbabwe introduced a new currency, called the Real Time Gross Settlement dollar. The RTGS has been losing value ever since, forcing companies to increase prices. Year-on-year inflation raced to 66.8 percent in March, up from 59.39 the previous month, according to statistics agency Zimstats. On Tuesday, the RTGS dollar was trading at 3.19 to the dollar on the interbank market and 5 on the black market. That means a loaf of bread costs about 70 U.S. cents a loaf, in a country where the average income is around $4 a day.

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

Botswana Addresses the Elephant in the Room

The president of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi likened the country’s travails with its numerous pachyderms to the number of Africans who have migrated to Europe to find a better life. Botswana, where the number of elephants is estimated at anything between 115,000 and a quarter of a million, has been praised for its wildlife policies, which have included a ban on both the hunting and culling of elephants and a strong response to poaching. That has encouraged elephants from neighboring states – Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia – to move into Botswana, he said. Together the countries host about half of the world’s African elephant population. Masisi’s suggestion that the hunting ban not be renewed has touched off a firestorm of criticism from conservationists and Masisi’s predecessor, Ian Khama. Khama said lifting the ban would damage tourism, which along with diamonds accounts for most of Botswana’s foreign exchange. The current leader plans to hold public hearings on the impact of elephants and how to manage them, particularly in rural areas where people have been attacked and crops damaged.

SOURCES: BLOOMBERG

Featured

South Africa’s Savings Clubs

The name stokvel is a mashup of the “stock fairs” in which 19th-century Xhosa tribespeople would pool resources to trade livestock with the British settlers. In their current form, stokvels date back to the 1930s, when migrant labor — with little access to formal banking structures — flocked to the gold mines on the Highveld. These days stokvels exist alongside, not instead of, formal savings vehicles. In fact, data shows they are on the rise: Penetration was 49 percent of the Black population in 2008. The Savings and Investment (SIM) — now in its 11th year — is the result of face-to-face interviews with 1,000 metropolitan households across seven South African cities. But, if anything, stokvels are probably even more popular in rural regions. According to the National Stokvel Association of South Africa, there are around 800,000 stokvels in the country, each comprising an average of 27 members, with a total annual market of $3.5 billion. Like South Africans, stokvels come in many shapes and sizes. In the purest form, members contribute every month (or week, or quarter) and take turns claiming the kitty. This negates the need for a bank account and greatly reduces trust issues, as the money can be gathered and distributed during the same meeting (these are a big part of stokvels, as are written rules and strict penalties for late payments).

SOURCES: OZY

Featured

Seychelles President Does First Live Speech from a Submersible

President Danny Faure went deep sea diving into the Indian Ocean to call for protection of “the beating blue heart of our planet.” “This issue is bigger than all of us, and we cannot wait for the next generation to solve it. We are running out of excuses to not take action, and running out of time.” Faure, who has made environmental protection a top priority, was taken down more than 120 metres (400 feet) in the submersible vehicle Ocean Zephyr which is being used for a mission dubbed “Nekton Deep Ocean Exploration” and which is rated for depths of more than 500 metres. From next year, Seychelles plans to designate 30 percent of its marine surface as a protected zone. The nation is particularly vulnerable to the destruction of coral reefs that comprise many of its smallest atolls. The Nekton mission is to spend seven weeks studying underwater life, mapping the sea bed and placing captors at depths of up to 2 000 metres in the nation’s waters.

SOURCES: IOL

Featured

Two North African Nations Face their Hardest Test

Protesters continued with their Khartoum sit-in, demanding the military council to ‘immediately transfer power to a civilian government’. Revolutions rarely end happily – and it remains to be seen whether the Sudanese can make theirs stick. Algerians, for example, will be following events closely. Similar demands for root-and-branch reform ignited this month’s upheaval in Algiers in which Abdelaziz Bouteflika, another elderly president who outstayed his welcome, was defenestrated by popular demand. Unlike Khartoum, civilian politicians remain in control in Algiers. But the fear there, too, is that the “system” will not change. The army’s top general, Ahmed Gaid Salah, has backed a Bouteflika crony as interim leader, pending new polls. Salah warned protesters last week against making “persistent, unrealisable demands”.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Featured

Africa Stands to Benefit most from Artificial Intelligence

Internet technology giant Google has officially opened its Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Centre in Ghana with high hopes of finding solutions to Africa’s problems. Artificial intelligence is an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and reacts like humans. It helps find solutions to real-world problems. It can help people focus on what is relevant and open up new ways to solve problems in almost every imaginable field such as AI helping pathologists to spot cancer cells on slides, advising farmers on how to address problems with their crops and helping manufacturers detect equipment breakdowns. Google is optimistic the lab in the West African country – the first in Africa – will transform lives by coming up with bespoke solutions for the continent’s problems including natural disasters. Machine Learning researchers and software engineers run the AI centre to populate the system with local AI content. Google is collaborating with stakeholders such as universities and start-ups to enhance AI development on the continent.

SOURCES: GHANAWEB

Featured

Play Therapy Reveals How Children were Affected by Idai

One month after Cyclone Idai ripped through Mozambique and killed at least 750 people, children there are showing signs of severe psychological stress, the charity Save the Children has warned. After speaking with families at a center for internally displaced people in the port city of Beira, the charity said it was concerned that the “urgent and long-term needs of children continue to grow,” following the cyclone. During Save the Children’s investigation, the agency asked children to draw their homes before and after the cyclone and to describe what they had witnessed. In their pictures, children drew devastating images of adults and children crying and people drowning in floodwaters. The charity used only the first names of the children and adults in its study.

SOURCES: CNN

Featured

Women from DRC Mining Town Lead Revolution

The mining town of Kamituga is located in an area with vast mineral resources estimated to be worth $24 trillion in untapped deposits, but despite this the region has one of the lowest levels of GDP per capita in the world. According to the mining code first drafted in 2002 and amended on March 9, 2018, artisanal mining activity is “every activity where a person from Congolese nationality performs either the excavation or concentration of mineral resources, using artisanal tools, methods and procedures, within an area characterised by a limited size and a depth that can’t be over thirty metres”. So far, artisanal mining has previously been known for corruption and child labour. However, since 2006, women have started to unite in associations and a decade later have built a tight-knit network known by the French acronym of RENAFEM (National Network of Women in Mining).

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

Featured

What Should Happen to Bashir Now?

Al-Bashir’s whereabouts is of interest because he’s wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide in Darfur. The fact that al-Bashir has been deposed will again raise questions about whether there’s a possibility of seeing the former Sudanese president facing trial at the ICC. Commentators have already expressed different opinions on whether he will or won’t end up facing trial at The Hague. Views either highlight the fact that he’s likely to face trial because he no longer enjoys the privileges associated with his position. Or that he still has influence over the new government and, as such, bringing him to The Hague would be extremely complicated. The ICC’s case stretches back to 2005 with the publication of a UN report that accused the Sudanese government of systematic abuses in Darfur. The United Nations Security Council then referred the suspects to the ICC.In the following years, the ICC would release two arrest warrants against al-Bashir – in 2009 and in 2010 – on several counts of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. In 2014, the ICC’s Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda shelved the case due to a lack of cooperation in pushing for al-Bashir’s arrest. Many saw the shelving as emblematic of the court’s lack of power over powerful individuals, especially sitting heads of state.

SOURCES: CNBC AFRICA

Featured

Kenya and the WikiLeaks Connection

In many ways, the story of WikiLeaks and its transformation from an underground hacking outfit into a global anti-secrecy organization began in Kenya. After founding WikiLeaks in 2006, Julian Assange traveled there in 2007 to attend the World Social Forum in Nairobi. The meeting was first held in Brazil in 2001 and coincides annually with the gathering of political and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More than 80,000 people gathered at the anti-capitalist forum that year, with many hoping to network with other activists and protest global policies they said hurt the poor. British police this week arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in response to a US extradition request on charges that he helped hack Pentagon computers in 2010. The arrest marked the end of an era and the beginning of a new one for the white-bearded Assange, whose embattled web organization emboldened whistleblowers, exposed the secrets of the moneyed and powerful, and redefined journalism and the meaning of journalistic ethics in the digital age.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

Trump Enjoys an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

Ivanka Trump toured businesses run by women in Ethiopia on Sunday while promoting a White House global economic program for women. President Donald Trump’s daughter and senior adviser visited a coffee shop and textile company in Addis Ababa. It was her first stop in Africa on a four-day trip to Ethiopia and Ivory Coast on behalf of a White House project intended to boost 50 million women in developing countries by 2025. Aiming to offer assistance and learn about the struggles of women in business, she took part in a traditional coffee ceremony, visited with weavers and announced new financial support for businesses. This is Ivanka Trump’s first visit to Africa since the president launched the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative. It’s a program she hopes will outlast an administration better known for “America First” isolationism. She has drawn praise for taking on this project and for making the trip. But thousands of miles from Washington, she is sure to be shadowed by her father’s efforts to cut international aid, as well as his past disparaging comments about Africa.

SOURCES: CBS NEWS

Featured

Deciphering Nigerian Songs

Current Nigerian hip-hop artistes also reflect on socioeconomic realities in their songs, performances and records. This landscape includes cyber-criminals, commonly known as “Yahoo Boys” – the people who set up fake internet accounts with the express intention of defrauding their victims. In a recently published paper researchers tried to unpack the complexity of the relationship between Nigerian musicians and Yahoo Boys by analysing hip-hop lyrics that feature the cyber fraudsters. While many Nigerian hip-hop artists glamorise Yahoo Boys, some also condemn them. Through analysing the lyrics of hip-hop artists, Yahoo Boys are a reflection of Nigerian society and that hip-hop artists, with all their flaws, are often simply attempting to hold a mirror up to these complicated times in Nigeria. In that way, they follow in the footsteps of the hip-hop greats.

SOURCES: THE CONVERSATION

Featured

Extreme Motorsports Race for Women Only

The annual Rallye Aicha des Gazelles sees all-female teams driving off-road across the Sahara desert in Morocco. Competitors can only use a map, navigational plotter and compass – GPS, binoculars and cell phones can’t be used. The winner isn’t the fastest, but the team who have travelled the shortest distance between checkpoints. It is the only women’s rally in the world that takes place 100% off-road since 1990, in Morocco.

SOURCES: BBC

Featured

A Case Study of How African Tech Start-ups can Grow

Jumia, the largest e-commerce operator in Africa, has today launched its landmark initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange. The IPO marks a pivotal fork in the company’s journey since first launching operations in Nigeria in 2012 and expanding over time to 14 African countries with businesses across several verticals including food delivery, real estate, logistics, hotel and flight bookings. The company was initially slated to launch its IPO on Apr. 11 but moved it by a day to allow investors get up to speed with its updated numbers for the first quarter of 2019. Jumia will trade using “JMIA” as its ticker. The IPO is being underwritten by some of Wall Street’s best known banks including Morgan Stanley and Citigroup. Citadel Securities will be serving as the Designated Market Maker. Jumia set a share price range between $13 and $16 with its updated S1 filing showing the company will offer 13.5 million shares for purchase. But following a roadshow to gauge investor interest, Jumia’s shares were priced at $14.5, the midpoint of its initial range. The company confirms it has raised $196 million through the IPO.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

Lessons from the DRC’s Deal of the Century

The Sino Congolaise des Mines (Sicomines) was the most significant Chinese investment project in Africa when it was agreed in 2007. The infrastructure agreement gave Chinese partners mining rights to cobalt and copper in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). These minerals are used in electric vehicle batteries and electronics, including smartphones and laptops. In exchange, China agreed to build much-needed infrastructure projects such as urban roads, highways and hospitals. The infrastructure agreement gave Chinese partners mining rights to cobalt and copper in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). These minerals are used in electric vehicle batteries and electronics, including smartphones and laptops. In exchange, China agreed to build much-needed infrastructure projects such as urban roads, highways and hospitals. In addition to new infrastructure, the Sicomines deal was expected to provide a significant boost to the DRC’s economic growth. The view was that the agreed volumes of mineral production would contribute to higher levels of exports, tax revenue and inflow of US dollars. More than a decade on, the Sicomines deal has not lived up to expectations. There have been infrastructure project delays as well as unexpected costs. There have also been problems associated with poor quality roads and infrastructure and inadequate environment and social impact studies.

SOURCES: FORBES AFRICA

Featured

Sudanese Billionaire and Activist Weighs in on why Africans Go to Europe

The migration of Africans to Europe and North America should be viewed as a positive phenomenon, not a threat, Sudan-born billionaire Mo Ibrahim. Experts said at a weekend conference hosted by Ibrahim’s foation in Abidjan, Ivory Coast that Africans make up about 14% of the global migrant population, a much smaller share than the 41% from Asia and 23% from Europe. “Migration is healthy. It’s not a disease. Migration is about aspirations, not desperation. People who migrate are mostly capable, ambitious young people who are migrating to work and to build successful lives. They add wealth to the countries they go to.” Ibrahim also cited statistics to rebut anti-migration politicians who say Africans have inundated Europe. “Europe is not being flooded by Africans,” Ibrahim said, citing statistics that show 70% of African migrants relocate within Africa. The 72-year-old philanthropist earned his fortune by establishing the Celtel mobile phone network across Africa.

SOURCES: THE NEW YORK TIMES

Featured

Is Johannesburg’s Place of Lights Dimming?

With its edgy galleries, artisanal shops, and popular Sunday market, the downtown Johannesburg district Maboneng was a symbol of how urban decay could be conquered through property development. A decade after it opened to the public, however, the architects of this at-times controversial turnaround have caved to some tough realities. Jonathan Liebmann founded Propertuity at just 24, and went on to build Maboneng, which means “place of lights” in seTswana, into a multi-dimensional commercial and residential district with a property portfolio of over 1 billion rand ($70.8 million). Many welcomed Propertuity’s efforts to revive Johannesburg’s inner-city. He enlisted local artists, creatives, and businesspeople to change the working class neighborhood, largely abandoned by white tenants at the end of apartheid, and was celebrated for turning  “an inner city slum into a hipster hangout.” As a private property investor, he spotted an opportunity where few dared to even look. On April 15, 18 properties in the area will go under the hammer in a liquidation sale, marking the end of Propertuity, the company behind the precinct. The sale will includes assets in South Africa’s coastal city of Durban, where Propertuity tried a similar mode of reclaiming the inner-city.

SOURCES: BUSINESSTECH

Featured

Remittances to Africa Hit Record in 2018

A recent analysis by the Pew Research Center of World Bank data found that money sent by immigrants to their home countries in sub-Saharan Africa reached a record $ 41 billion in 2017. This represents a 10 percent jump in remittances on the previous year, the largest annual growth for any world region.  Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Kenya received the most remittances among sub-Saharan nations in 2017.  The report found that these four countries are also among the leading origin countries for sub-Saharan migrants living in Europe and the US. “Since 2009, Nigeria has received more than half of all remittances sent each year to sub-Saharan African countries, by far the largest share of any country in the region,” the Pew study explained. Nigeria’s regional dominance can be compared to Mexico’s in South America and the Caribbean. In 2017, a record $22 billion in remittances were sent to Nigeria, which has the region’s largest population and economy, although its population of 1.3 million Nigerians who have emigrated is smaller than that of Somalia (2 million) and South Sudan (1.8 million). The World Bank projects the record remittances could become the largest source of external financing this year but warned gains were being undermined by high fees charged by money transfer operators.

SOURCES: INFO MIGRANTS

Featured

A Future Driven by Africa’s Youngest Entrepreneurs

The Anzisha Scenario campaign concept was born after heated discussions and exchanges internally in response to a research paper that was released in 2018, and the resulting coverage it got in the media. The research took a position that older founders in the US have been more successful as entrepreneurs generally, and, particularly, when it comes to scale and job creation. This then became the next driver of investing in a campaign as a pan-African, inclusive, multi-stakeholder scenario planning exercise. On April 15, during the inaugural Very Young Entrepreneur Education and Acceleration Summit, an experts’ panel and launch the draft position paper. Questions tackled by this panel include: What are the drivers, barriers and opportunities? What are the roles of parents, teachers, students, policy-makers and other stakeholders in making the choice of “entrepreneurship as a career” desirable and supported, with appropriate income as you grow? The Anzisha Scenario as a conversation on campus has already begun to influence curriculum planning and their role in promoting and supporting entrepreneurship as a career path.

SOURCES: FORBES AFRICA

Featured

Sierra Leone’s New National Development Plan

The government of Sierra Leone, which marks its first year in office in April, has made increased rice production one of the key pillars of its development strategy, with hopes of achieving self-sufficiency in the staple food in “the shortest possible time”. In addition to the $34m set aside in this year’s budget to support the cultivation of rice and other food crops, the government recently signed a $12m financing agreement with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) that will channel funding and other support to smallholders. This scheme will provide assistance to those engaged in the production of cash crops like cocoa and coffee. Sierra Leone’s economy is essentially agrarian, with upwards of 75% of its 7.5m people employed in agriculture. Approximately 70% of the youth population are unemployed or underemployed, and policymakers believe that agriculture could help to solve the problem. Since 53% of the workforce of 3m is made up of women, the government believes that a coherent strategy will also benefit this traditionally disadvantaged group.

SOURCES: AFRICAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Featured

How this Tanzanian Hustler is Shaping the EdTech Industry

Ali Khatau strongly believes in the power of a good education and how it can transform the life of an individual. The 23 year old is a fifth year medical student at Hubert Kairuki Memorial University in Tanzania and a Social & Tech entrepreneur. Ali founded the EdTech company ElimuTanzania, an online platform that helps increase Tanzanian students’ pass rates, as well as improve their IT literacy. The platform currently has over 50,000 users and has donated hundreds of books that have gone on to help thousands of people read and learn. In the following interview with Africa.com, Ali delves into his journey from growing up in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania to becoming a serial entrepreneur. “Instilling entrepreneurial values and knowledge among children will definitely increase the number of entrepreneurs in Africa and that will bring about massive change altogether. I’d also like to see a mindset change among young African university and college graduates where you think about entrepreneurship and starting your own enterprise rather than about being employed by others.”

SOURCES: AFRICA.COM

Featured

Zimbabwe’s Plans to Revive its Mining Industry

Zimbabwe may withdraw mining rights from companies that take too long to dig for minerals, the deputy mines minister, part of efforts to lift output in a sector vital to the country’s economic revival. Zimbabwe sits on the second-largest known platinum deposits after SA and President Emmerson Mnangagwa is keen to revive mining after years of reticence by foreign investors during the Robert Mugabe administration. Speaking to investors and executives at a mining conference in Johannesburg, Polite Kambamura said details of the “use it or lose it” approach to mining policy would be made available in due course. As part of plans to boost mining export revenues to $12bn  a year as of 2023 from $3bn now, Kambamura said the country was putting policies in place to make it easier for mining companies to boost production, while urging investors to restart mines that closed in periods of political upheaval.

SOURCES: BUSINESS DAY LIVE

Featured

Women Join South Africa’s Illegal Mining Scene

On the outskirts of Durban Deep, an abandoned mining town with a labyrinth of underground tunnels long since abandoned by the big gold companies has seen a growing number of women driven into this dangerous world, earning less than £10 a day for crushing up to 20kg of rock retrieved from Johannesburg’s disused mineshafts. The threat of sexual violence is all too common. Grinding piles of rough stones into white, gold-flecked silt on a large concrete slab is one of the jobs of the ghostly dust-covered zama zamas – artisanal miners, mostly illegal – who have turned to scavenging in disused gold and diamond mines across South Africa. According to a 2015 report by the South African Human Rights Commission, the country’s burgeoning illicit gold trade has been fuelled by the formal mining industry’s collapse combined with the failure of the ruling African National Congress to regulate the informal mining sector. Political and economic turmoil in a number of neighbouring countries has only compounded the problem.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Featured

Sudan’s Military is Now in Charge

Crowds converged outside Sudan’s military headquarters in central Khartoum on Thursday to hail news of President Omar al-Bashir’s removal. The scene was one of jubilation, with protesters and members of the armed forces cheering amid celebratory gunfire. A statement by Sudan’s Minister of Defense, Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf confirmed that President Omar al-Bashir had been forced from power and his government dissolved after months of demonstrations calling for his ouster. A two-year military council has been established to oversee a transition of power, ending Bashir’s three decades of rule. The defense minister said that Bashir had been forcibly removed and was now being “kept at a safe place.” Sudan’s cabinet, its National Assembly and municipal bodies have been dissolved, and the country’s constitution suspended, Ibn Auf said. The judiciary, public prosecution, embassies and diplomatic entities will continue to function as normal. All political prisoners, detained by the country’s security services since a wave of anti-government demonstrations first gripped the nation in December will be released.

SOURCES: CNN

Featured

Less Money Means Trouble for Some of Africa’s Aid Programmes

Experts have warned that the fight against global poverty has taken a backward step after the publication of new figures showing foreign aid has fallen for a second successive year. Aid levels dropped last year by 2.7% from 2017, with the poorest countries worst hit, according to figures published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Bilateral aid – direct, country-to-country assistance – to the least developed countries fell by 3% in 2018, with support to the African continent down 4% and humanitarian assistance dropping by 8%. Money from donors, the private sector and foundations, defined by the OECD as external finance, accounts for more than two-thirds of the funding for the world’s least developed countries and so offers a crucial lifeline.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Featured

A Ride on Ethiopia’s State-of-the-art Train

In 2011, the government announced that a new electrified railway would be built between Addis Ababa and the tiny neighboring country of Djibouti, aided by Chinese loans and expertise. Five years and $3.4 billion later, the first freight train made the 470-mile journey, revolutionizing landlocked Ethiopia’s access to the Red Sea, where Djibouti’s Doraleh Port processes 95 percent of its international trade. After several postponements, a passenger service went online in January 2018, and quickly became a symbol of Ethiopian ambition — the first stage of a planned network which, if realized, will span 3,000 miles. For tourists, it promised cheap, air-conditioned travel far from the Rift Valley scarps and rock-hewn churches of Ethiopia’s Northern Circuit, in a region that nonetheless incorporated some of the most remarkable sights in the African Horn.

SOURCES: THE NEW YORK TIMES

Featured

Putting the Brakes on Jumia’s Listing

The initial public offering launch by Jumia, the largest e-commerce operator in Africa, has been delayed by a day. Abdesslam Benzitouni, Jumia’s media relations rep, says the company moved the IPO as it “wanted to update the market with some numbers” for its first quarter of 2019 and so “a day is needed for them to digest.” There’s an unexpected upside to the postponement though. As Uber, the global ride-sharing giant, is reportedly set to file for its IPO today, moving its launch will see Jumia inadvertently avoid being drowned out by what’s likely to be frenzied coverage of Uber’s offering. Uber’s IPO is expected to be the largest in the US this year and likely rank as one of the ten largest ever, raising close to up to $10 billion.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

Zimbabwe’s Plans to Revive its Mining Industry

Zimbabwe may withdraw mining rights from companies that take too long to dig for minerals, the deputy mines minister, part of efforts to lift output in a sector vital to the country’s economic revival. Zimbabwe sits on the second-largest known platinum deposits after SA and President Emmerson Mnangagwa is keen to revive mining after years of reticence by foreign investors during the Robert Mugabe administration. Speaking to investors and executives at a mining conference in Johannesburg, Polite Kambamura said details of the “use it or lose it” approach to mining policy would be made available in due course. As part of plans to boost mining export revenues to $12bn  a year as of 2023 from $3bn now, Kambamura said the country was putting policies in place to make it easier for mining companies to boost production, while urging investors to restart mines that closed in periods of political upheaval.

SOURCES: BUSINESS DAY LIVE

Featured

Africa’s Pangolin Species on the Decline

Singapore has seized nearly 26 tonnes of pangolin scales – the most ever recorded – in two separate operations over the past week, increasing calls for improved protection for the endangered species. The scales, linked to four types of pangolin in Africa, would have together come from 38,000 pangolins. The latest shipment was found on April 8 in a shipping container on its way from Nigeria to Vietnam which was labelled as “cassia seeds”. The scales were packed into 474 bags. The pangolin, once common across Asia and Africa, is a shy and largely nocturnal type of anteater that rolls up into a ball when it feels threatened. It is protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, as well as under national laws.

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

Featured

How Brexit will Affect Africa

Morocco, Ghana and Tunisia are among African nations that would lose the most if the U.K. doesn’t negotiate a deal by the time it has to exit the European Union. Total export losses from 20 African countries could be as much as $420 million, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development. The study shows 11 nations on the continent would boost their exports by a total of $3.66 billion, led by South Africa, Mauritius and Botswana.

SOURCES: BLOOMBERG

Featured

African Migrants Stuck in No Man’s Land

They trekked through the Sahara in hope of crossing the Mediterranean to a better life in Europe – but instead ended up in squalid detention centers and are now engulfed by war. Thousands of African and Syrian migrants and refugees are trapped in Tripoli as a battle for the city draws closer. The United Nations wants to move them urgently to safety, but this week only managed to relocate 150 to a protected facility with proper shelter, food and space for children. So desperate is the situation that one detention center manager said he flung open the doors as fighting drew near.

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

Capital Punishment in Africa

Five African countries applied the death penalty in 2018, a report by international rights group Amnesty International revealed on Wednesday. Of the quintet, four were in sub-Saharan Africa and one in north Africa region. Egypt was the only country up the Sahara to apply the measure. They are classed in the Middle East and North Africa, MENA, region; according to the report. In Sub-Saharan Africa: Botswana, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan used the measure. Somalia being the main user due to the incidence of terrorism related crimes by military courts against Al-Shabaab insurgents. As numbers dropped in Somalia, they were on their way up in South Sudan, the report said. Most of these sentences were related to violent crimes amid a country embroiled in a security crisis.

SOURCES: AFRICA NEWS

Featured

A Throwback to Burkina Faso’s Nightlife

A new London exhibition and photo book features the work of photographer Sanlé Sory, showing young dancers and musicians in Burkina Faso between 1965 and 1980.  The photo book Peuple de la Nuit is published by Stanley/Barker. The exhibition is at the David Hill Gallery in London from 5 April until 31 May 2019. Sory spent much of his career at his photo studio in western Burkina Faso, working in the daytime. At night, he would visit remote villages along the Kou Valley, north-west of the city of Bobo-Dioulasso, to capture flourishing music scenes. The parties would last until after sunrise, at which point the farmers and herders would head straight back to work to tend their fields and cattle. “Life was cheap and everyone could have a ball. You could always go out and have some fun,” Sory said.

SOURCES: BBC

Featured

Sudan’s Protest Symbol

The image is striking: a young woman, alone, standing above the crowd, urging them on with songs of revolution. Taken on Monday night in the centre of Khartoum, as tens of thousands thronged the roads in front of the heavily guarded complex housing the headquarters of the military and the feared intelligence services, the picture of the woman in white with gold circular earrings has become an icon of a protest. Commentators say the woman’s earrings are the gold moons of traditional bridal jewelry and the entire outfit “is also a callback to the clothing worn by our mothers and grandmothers in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s” while demonstrating in the street against previous military dictatorships. “Sudanese everywhere are referring to female protestors as ‘Kandaka,’ which is the title given to the Nubian queens of ancient Sudan whose gift to their descendants is a legacy of empowered women who fight hard for their country and their rights.” Lana Haroun told CNN she had taken the picture. “She was trying to give everyone hope and positive energy and she did it,” she said. “She was representing all Sudanese women and girls and she inspired every woman and girl at the sit-in. She was telling the story of Sudanese women … she was perfect.”

SOURCES: CNN

Featured

Zambians Take on Mine Company for Environmental Damage

Two thousand Zambian villagers who say their lives have been ruined by toxic runoff from the world’s second-largest opencast mine have won the right to pursue a claim through the English courts. In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court ruled that the mining conglomerate Vedanta Resources, which is based in London and its Zambian subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) can be held to account by English judges, despite the companies’ arguments that they should defend themselves in Zambia. The decision opens the doors to a range of other cases to be brought against parent companies based in the UK for the actions of their subsidiaries overseas. The case was brought by 1,826 residents of the Chingola region, in Zambia’s Copperbelt province, who say that effluent from the Nchanga opencast mine has polluted their water supplies. A vast operation covering nearly 30 sq km, the copper mine and its processing plant lie close to the Kafue River and its tributaries. Chemicals believed to be draining into the local water supply include heavy metals such as lead and cadmium, which the claimants say have led to them suffering chronic illnesses and deaths.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Featured

A Future Driven by Africa’s Youngest Entrepreneurs

The Anzisha Scenario campaign concept was born after heated discussions and exchanges internally in response to a research paper that was released in 2018, and the resulting coverage it got in the media. The research took a position that older founders in the US have been more successful as entrepreneurs generally, and, particularly, when it comes to scale and job creation. This then became the next driver of investing in a campaign as a pan-African, inclusive, multi-stakeholder scenario planning exercise. On April 15, during the inaugural Very Young Entrepreneur Education and Acceleration Summit, an experts’ panel and launch the draft position paper. Questions tackled by this panel include: What are the drivers, barriers and opportunities? What are the roles of parents, teachers, students, policy-makers and other stakeholders in making the choice of “entrepreneurship as a career” desirable and supported, with appropriate income as you grow? The Anzisha Scenario as a conversation on campus has already begun to influence curriculum planning and their role in promoting and supporting entrepreneurship as a career path.

SOURCES: FORBES AFRICA

Featured

Tidings of Peace for South Sudan

South Sudanese leaders will meet Pope Francis and other spiritual leaders at the Vatican, ahead of the start of the implementation of the peace deal to end a brutal civil war which erupted in December 2013.  According to the Vatican press services, Sudanese President Salva Kiir, rebel leader Riek Machar, and religious leaders in South Sudan will participate in a “spiritual retreat” for peace in the country billed for April 10 and 11. The meeting with South Sudan’s warring sides will take place at Vatican’s Sainte-Marthe residence. President Salva Kiir is scheduled to be accompanied by four of the five designated vice-presidents: rebel leader Riek Machar, James Wani Igga, Taban Deng Gai and Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior. Eight members of the South Sudan Council of Churches will also be present.

SOURCES: AFRICA NEWS

Featured

Honoring those who Died in the Rwandan Genocide

Uganda’s Rwandan community has marked the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, which saw over hundreds of thousands of people killed over a 100 days of ethnic majority Hutus targeting minority Tutsis. Many Tutsis fled to neighboring countries like Uganda. The Rwandan Students Association at Uganda’s Makerere University re-enacted the bloody events that began in April 1994 by performing a play.  They sang songs to remember the dead and to keep their memory alive. Rwanda’s ethnic majority Hutus’ genocidal campaign against minority Tutsis left over 800,000 people dead in just over three months. Rwandan elders in Uganda worry that without this annual tribute, Rwandan youth, who have no memory of the genocide, may one day forget.

SOURCES: VOA

Featured

South Africa’s Liberation Hero Remembered

Chris Hani’ s family says he would have been disappointed to see leaders looting and serving their own interests instead of serving the people they swore to during the liberation struggle. Twenty-six years ago today, Chris Hani was gunned down outside his Boksburg home in front of his 10-year-old daughter. When he was murdered by Janusz Walus on April 10, 1993, there were real fears that the negotiations to end apartheid would collapse, and that there would be serious violence on the streets. While there were protests and some violence, the country managed to survive this clear attempt to derail the move to democracy, in no small measure due to the wise leadership of the ANC.

SOURCES: NEWS24 | EWN

Featured

No, No Algeria’s Protests Won’t Go

Police in Algeria’s capital have fired tear gas and water cannon at thousands of students protesting against the appointment of a new interim president who is a part of the ruling order they have been seeking to remove.  The demonstration in central Algiers on Tuesday took place as parliament officially confirmed upper house Speaker Abdelkader Bensalah as acting head of state for the next 90 days to replace Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who resigned last week under pressure from the weeks-long, youth-led protests. Bensalah’s appointment is in accordance with Algeria’s constitution but the protesters who drove Bouteflika out after 20 years in office are unsatisfied with the move because he is a key ally of the former president and a seasoned establishment insider.

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

Featured

Making the Move from Zimbabwe to Canada

Moving to a whole new country, a whole new continent may seem like the scariest choice you could ever make. Will you like your job; will the move be worth it, or what if you never manage to settle in? These are just a few questions you may ask yourself. On the upside, what if it becomes the best decision you will ever make, what if you find a great group of friends and your job is the best career choice you could have made? Chiedza has previously detailed her experience on immigrating to Canada to be a lawyer. Starting as a Masters student, she got an internship at one of the biggest law firms in the country and currently is completing her articles at McMillan LLP.

SOURCES: SHE LEADS AFRICA

Featured

Ugandans Praised for Giving Saudi Family Closure

The body of a Saudi tourist who fell and drowned in the River Nile in Uganda while apparently trying to take a selfie has been recovered. Alsubaie Mathkar was with friends at the popular Kalagala Falls in central Uganda when he slipped and fell into the river on Saturday. “The tourist slipped because the surface is wet and he had leaned backwards to take a selfie of fast-running water in the background.” His body was recovered some 10km (six miles) away on Tuesday, following a search by the police marine unit and local fishermen. Relatives of the Saudi Arabian tourist could not hold back tears as his body was retrieved from River Nile Nasser’s two sons and other officials from the Saudi Arabian embassy led by the Saudi Ambassador to Uganda Dr Abdullah Fahd Alkahtani and his deputy Bander Alfafi, pitched camp near the spot where Nasser drowned from Sunday to aid the search for the body.

SOURCES: NEW VISION

Featured

Getting Ahead of the Ebola Crisis

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday said it had reconvened an expert panel to consider whether an outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo constitutes a public health emergency of international concern. The panel, which first met on this issue in October 2018, will also give updated recommendations on how global health officials should manage the outbreak, the WHO said in a statement from its Geneva headquarters. At least 740 people have died among the more than 1,100 infected in this epidemic, which began in August 2018. Declaring the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern”, or PHEIC, would ramp up the international response with a formal alert that puts governments on notice and helps to mobilize resources and research.

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

Is Johannesburg’s Place of Lights Dimming?

With its edgy galleries, artisanal shops, and popular Sunday market, the downtown Johannesburg district Maboneng was a symbol of how urban decay could be conquered through property development. A decade after it opened to the public, however, the architects of this at-times controversial turnaround have caved to some tough realities. Jonathan Liebmann founded Propertuity at just 24, and went on to build Maboneng, which means “place of lights” in seTswana, into a multi-dimensional commercial and residential district with a property portfolio of over 1 billion rand ($70.8 million). Many welcomed Propertuity’s efforts to revive Johannesburg’s inner-city. He enlisted local artists, creatives, and businesspeople to change the working class neighborhood, largely abandoned by white tenants at the end of apartheid, and was celebrated for turning  “an inner city slum into a hipster hangout.” As a private property investor, he spotted an opportunity where few dared to even look. On April 15, 18 properties in the area will go under the hammer in a liquidation sale, marking the end of Propertuity, the company behind the precinct. The sale will includes assets in South Africa’s coastal city of Durban, where Propertuity tried a similar mode of reclaiming the inner-city.

SOURCES: BUSINESSTECH | QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

Remittances to Africa Hit Record in 2018

A recent analysis by the Pew Research Center of World Bank data found that money sent by immigrants to their home countries in sub-Saharan Africa reached a record $ 41 billion in 2017. This represents a 10 percent jump in remittances on the previous year, the largest annual growth for any world region.  Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Kenya received the most remittances among sub-Saharan nations in 2017.  The report found that these four countries are also among the leading origin countries for sub-Saharan migrants living in Europe and the US. “Since 2009, Nigeria has received more than half of all remittances sent each year to sub-Saharan African countries, by far the largest share of any country in the region,” the Pew study explained. Nigeria’s regional dominance can be compared to Mexico’s in South America and the Caribbean. In 2017, a record $22 billion in remittances were sent to Nigeria, which has the region’s largest population and economy, although its population of 1.3 million Nigerians who have emigrated is smaller than that of Somalia (2 million) and South Sudan (1.8 million). The World Bank projects the record remittances could become the largest source of external financing this year but warned gains were being undermined by high fees charged by money transfer operators.

SOURCES: INFO MIGRANTS

Featured

Former England Footballer David Beckham Leads New Anti-malaria Campaign

In the short film, Beckham begins by speaking in English before appearing to converse fluently in Spanish, Kinyarwanda, Arabic, French, Hindi, Mandarin, Kiswahili and Yoruba. Using AI video synthesis technology, producers created a 3D model of the football legend which they re-animated with the voices of eight others. Each language and voice represent a part of the world affected by malaria in both the past and present. Beckham ends the film in English, saying: ‘Speak up and say “malaria must die”. Organisers hope that people around the world will log on and add their voices. The resulting “voice petition”, as they call it, will be used to put pressure on world leaders as they prepare to make decisions about the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

SOURCES: METRO

Featured

Calling All Sides of the Libyan Battle to the Table

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is calling on all parties in Libya to immediately engage in dialogue to reach a political resolution to conflict there, declaring “there is no military solution.” In his statement late Monday, Guterres offered U.N. help to get the dialogue started. Fighting for control of Tripoli between Hifter’s forces and those of the U.N.-backed government during the past week has left dozens of people dead. The United Nations issued an “urgent appeal” for a two-hour truce in the suburbs of Tripoli to evacuate civilians. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the truce would allow for “the provision of emergency services and the voluntary passage of civilians, including those wounded, from the areas of conflict.” He said the clashes are affecting residential areas, and “an unknown number of civilians are unable to flee these locations.”

SOURCES: VOA

Featured

Giving Families from Ethiopian Airlines Crash Closure

Ethiopia will send DNA samples taken from the victims of last month’s Boeing Co. 737 Max jet crash for identification tests in London. According to officials the remains of the 157 people who died are currently in a hospital in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopia capital. Human tissue has been gathered by a team led by Interpol and the U.K.’s Blake Emergency Services, the official said, without saying exactly where the tests will be carried out. The Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 that crashed south of Addis Ababa on March 10 was carrying 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, 18 Ethiopians including crew members, eight Chinese, eight Italians, and eight United States nationals among others, according to a list provided by Ethiopia’s ruling party-controlled Fana Broadcasting Corp. Ethiopian police have been working in collaboration with Interpol and Blake in gathering the remains

SOURCES: BLOOMBERG

Featured

Women Join South Africa’s Illegal Mining Scene

On the outskirts of Durban Deep, an abandoned mining town with a labyrinth of underground tunnels long since abandoned by the big gold companies has seen a growing number of women driven into this dangerous world, earning less than £10 a day for crushing up to 20kg of rock retrieved from Johannesburg’s disused mineshafts. The threat of sexual violence is all too common. Grinding piles of rough stones into white, gold-flecked silt on a large concrete slab is one of the jobs of the ghostly dust-covered zama zamas – artisanal miners, mostly illegal – who have turned to scavenging in disused gold and diamond mines across South Africa. According to a 2015 report by the South African Human Rights Commission, the country’s burgeoning illicit gold trade has been fuelled by the formal mining industry’s collapse combined with the failure of the ruling African National Congress to regulate the informal mining sector. Political and economic turmoil in a number of neighbouring countries has only compounded the problem.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Featured

Nigeria’s Health Industry Needs Resuscitation

According to some estimates, about 2,000 doctors have left Nigeria over the past few years. Doctors have blamed the mass exit on poor working conditions – only four percent of Nigeria’s budget is allocated to health. While the annual healthcare threshold per person in the US is $10,000, in Nigeria it is just $6. Reasons for emigrating include better facilities and work environment, higher salaries, career progression and an improved quality of life. With an estimated population of over 180 million, there is one doctor per 5,000 people in Nigeria, according to Isaac Folorunso Adewole, the health minister, compared with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation of one per 600 people.  There are 72,000 doctors registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN); over half practise outside the country.

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

Featured

An Egyptian Dig Reveals More Treasures

Egypt has unveiled the 2,500-year-old mummy of a high priest at an ancient cemetery south of Cairo. Egyptologist Zahi Hawass and an Egyptian team opened three sealed sarcophagi from the 26th Dynasty. One contained the well-preserved mummy of a powerful priest, wrapped in linen and decorated with a golden figure depicting Isis, an ancient Egyptian goddess. The team also opened two other sarcophagi, one containing a female mummy decorated with blue beads and another with a father in a family tomb.

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

The African Carnival Everyone Needs to Attend

The streets of Mindelo in the island of Sao Vicente in the North of Cape Verde come alive for the first weeks of March every year for Carnival. Sao Vicente is one of 10 islands in Cape Verde, best known as the home of the legendary musician, Cesaria Evora. Officially, carnival in Mindelo, Sao Vicente lasts a week, but locals will tell you Carnival fever begins as early as the end of the previous year. While Sao Vicente’s population is 80,000 people, the league which organized this year’s carnival (LIGOCSV) gave an unconfirmed estimate of as many as 50,000 additional visitors to the island for the carnival. This includes visitors from all the other nine islands in Cape Verde in addition to international visitors and press. The estimate is based on the fact that as early as end of December 2018, most hotels and other accommodation were fully booked. All flights to Sao Vicente were full. The country’s second largest island in terms of population has gone from being a mostly uninhabited island until the mid to late 19th century to becoming a cultural powerhouse attracting thousands of visitors to the country each year

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

Tensions are High as Protesters Head to Bashir’s Residence

Security forces in Sudan fired tear gas at protesters in an attempt to break up a demonstration in front of the defence ministry in central Khartoum. The tear gas fired on Monday morning was felt by residents in an upscale Khartoum district some five kilometres away from the army complex. Thousands of people have rallied outside the headquarters of the Sudanese army in Khartoum since Saturday, urging the country’s military to back their demands for Bashir’s resignation. Chanting “Sudan is rising, the army is rising,” crowds massed on Sunday outside the complex, which also houses Bashir’s official residence and the defence ministry.

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

Featured

Ethiopians Bulldozed for a Glitzy New Capital

Addis Ababa – “new flower” in Amharic – is one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa, with an official population in excess of 4 million, but the true number is likely to be much higher. Construction sites dot the city, many of them funded by China. Two light rail lines, funded and operated by Chinese companies, were completed in 2015. The city’s Bole international airport is being expanded to three times its size, also funded and built by Beijing. A new Chinese-built 60,000-seat national stadium is under construction, and the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, the work of the China State Construction Engineering Corporation, will be the tallest building in east Africa when complete. According to the local Redevelopment Unit, which manages planning of Piassa, the 2014 demolitions that first made Sulman and his neighbours homeless were part of a larger redevelopment plan to build a light rail station, new malls and condominium buildings. In total, 800 families in Piassa have been relocated, a representative from the Redevelopment Unit said, but many residents, including Sulman, claim they were not informed in advance of the redevelopment plan or the demolition of their homes.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Featured

How this Tanzanian Hustler is Shaping the EdTech Industry

Ali Khatau strongly believes in the power of a good education and how it can transform the life of an individual. The 23 year old is a fifth year medical student at Hubert Kairuki Memorial University in Tanzania and a Social & Tech entrepreneur. Ali founded the EdTech company ElimuTanzania, an online platform that helps increase Tanzanian students’ pass rates, as well as improve their IT literacy. The platform currently has over 50,000 users and has donated hundreds of books that have gone on to help thousands of people read and learn. In the following interview with Africa.com, Ali delves into his journey from growing up in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania to becoming a serial entrepreneur. “Instilling entrepreneurial values and knowledge among children will definitely increase the number of entrepreneurs in Africa and that will bring about massive change altogether. I’d also like to see a mindset change among young African university and college graduates where you think about entrepreneurship and starting your own enterprise rather than about being employed by others.”

SOURCES: AFRICA.COM

Featured

Sudanese Billionaire and Activist Weighs in on why Africans Go to Europe

The migration of Africans to Europe and North America should be viewed as a positive phenomenon, not a threat, Sudan-born billionaire Mo Ibrahim. Experts said at a weekend conference hosted by Ibrahim’s foundation in Abidjan, Ivory Coast that Africans make up about 14% of the global migrant population, a much smaller share than the 41% from Asia and 23% from Europe. “Migration is healthy. It’s not a disease. Migration is about aspirations, not desperation. People who migrate are mostly capable, ambitious young people who are migrating to work and to build successful lives. They add wealth to the countries they go to.” Ibrahim also cited statistics to rebut anti-migration politicians who say Africans have inundated Europe. “Europe is not being flooded by Africans,” Ibrahim said, citing statistics that show 70% of African migrants relocate within Africa. The 72-year-old philanthropist earned his fortune by establishing the Celtel mobile phone network across Africa.

SOURCES: VOA

Featured

The Battle for Libya Continues

A warplane attacked Tripoli’s only functioning airport on Monday as eastern forces advancing on Libya’s capital disregarded global appeals for a truce in the latest of a cycle of warfare since Muammar Gaddafi’s fall in 2011. Analysts say the fighting threatens to disrupt oil supplies, fuel migration to Europe and wreck U.N. plans for an election to end rivalries between parallel administrations in east and west. The eastern Libyan National Army (LNA) forces of Khalifa Haftar – a former general in Gaddafi’s army – said 19 of its soldiers had died in recent days as they closed in on the internationally recognized government in Tripoli. Seizing Tripoli, however, is a much bigger challenge for the LNA. It has conducted air strikes on the south of the city as it seeks to advance along a road toward the center from a disused former international airport. The United Nations said 2,800 people had been displaced by clashes and many more could flee, though some were trapped.

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

Museveni, Trump Happy about Rescue Operation

Ugandan police deny a ransom was paid in the rescue of American tourist Kimberly Sue Endecott and her driver Jean Paul. The two were rescued in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday, five days after their abduction in a Ugandan national park. American tourist Kimberly Sue Endecott and her Ugandan driver Jean Paul were abducted last Tuesday afternoon in Queen Elizabeth National Park, which borders Congo. On Monday, President Donald Trump tweeted about the abduction. He said, “Uganda must find the kidnappers of the American tourist and guide before people will feel safe in going there. Bring them to justice openly and quickly.” This was the first kidnapping of any foreign tourists in Uganda in 20 years.

SOURCES: AFRICA NEWS

Featured

Zimbabwe Government Called Out for Poor Judgment after Judiciary Purchases

The Zimbabwe government has come under fire after it emerged that it spent thousands of dollars on importing legal wigs from the UK for local judges, with critics lambasting the purchase as a colonial hang-up and a waste of money. Local media reported that the country’s Judiciary Service Commission placed an order for 64 horse-hair wigs from Stanley Ley Legal Outfitters in London, at a cost of $2,428 per wig and totaling $155,000. Wigs from the outfitter range in price from $599 for a standard barrister’s wig, to $3,265 for a judge’s ceremonial wig. Wigs are still worn in countries such as Malawi, Ghana, Zambia, and in the Caribbean, while South Africa and many Australian courts have abandoned the practice. Nonetheless, lawyers and rights campaigners have expressed anger at the purchase, arguing that the tradition of wearing expensive wigs represents a mismanagement of financial resources, and also fails to improve access to legal services for average Zimbabweans.

SOURCES: CNN

Featured

The Hunter becomes the Hunted

A suspected rhino poacher was trampled to death by an elephant and his body devoured by lions in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. South African rangers have recovered the skull of the man in the vast Kruger sanctuary, after they were alerted by the victim’s alleged accomplices who told his family that he had been crushed to death by an elephant. Four of the man’s accomplices have since been arrested and are expected to appear in court this week. The demand for rhino horn has placed Africa at the epicentre of a global poaching and trafficking crisis. South Africa, which is home to about 80% of the world rhino population, has been hit hardest, with much of the poaching concentrated on the Kruger Park. In 2018, 769 rhinos were poached in South Africa alone, according to the country’s environment ministry. More than 7,100 animals have been killed over the past decade.

SOURCES: EYE WITNESS NEWS

Featured

Building a Vast African Catalog in a Short Time

Boomplay, the music streaming company that has expanded rapidly since it was first launched in 2015, has received a major shot in the arm as it doubles down on dominating on the continent. The streaming service has raised $20 million in a Series A round led by Maison Capital with participation from Seas Capital. The company says the funding will be aimed at backing its expansion plans with “a focus on content acquisition, product optimization [and] recruitment.” News of Boomplay’s funding round comes after it recently agreed licensing deals with Universal Music and Warner Music, expanding its catalog to allow users access a vast library of music from international stars—and nullifying the advantage held by global streaming services including Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

Get a Piece of this African Online Retailer

Jumia, the pan-African conglomerate of e-commerce businesses, has set a price range of $13 to $16 per share ahead of an initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The online retailer will offer 13.5 million American depository shares for purchase, according to an updated version of its IPO filing with US regulators, and could raise as much as $216 million, depending on investors’ appetite. If traded at the mid-point of that price range, for instance, Jumia’s valuation will be pegged around $1.1 billion. Jumia, which will trade as “JMIA” on the NYSE, has also received a cash injection ahead of its public offering: in a private stock sale, the company has confirmed a $56 million private placement from Mastercard Europe.

SOURCES: TECHPOINT

Featured

Can Uganda Avoid the Oil Trap?

Researchers have long worried about a “resource curse”, as oil distorts economies, corrupts politics and fuels wars. Now some warn of a “presource curse”, which strikes even before the first drop is pumped. Ghana and Mozambique found large reserves, of oil and gas respectively, at around the time that Uganda did. Both lurched into economic crises. Uganda is trying to learn lessons. “Like shoe polish”, is how one oilman describes Uganda’s black stuff. It is waxy when heated and solid at room temperature. Some 6bn barrels lie in the western region around Lake Albert, of which 1.4bn may be recoverable. Commercial discoveries were first made in 2006—the biggest onshore oil finds in sub-Saharan Africa for two decades. Production is not expected to begin until 2022 at the earliest.

SOURCES: THE ECONOMIST

Featured

Capitalising on Tourism in West Africa

From The Gambia’s sandy Kotu Beach to Mali’s Bandiagara Cliff Villages and Ghana’s slave fortresses, with the right planning and investment the West African tourist sector could rake in millions more in foreign exchange earnings and create much-needed employment opportunities for the teeming youth population. Despite these challenges, West African nations still have a chance to grab a larger share of international tourism receipts. Some countries are already putting in place ambitious plans to boost the sector. Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and Ghana have all taken to tourism to rejuvenate their economies, each creating long-term plans to consolidate or revive the industry. The World Tourism Organisation predicts that the number of arrivals in Africa will more than double to 134m by 2030, but if West African nations are to grab their share, policymakers and industry representatives need to turn their plans into reality through concerted reforms.

SOURCES: AFRICAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Featured

Budding African Entrepreneurs can now Apply for the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative

The application process which is in partnership with Nailab was officially opened by Jason Pau, Senior Director and Chief of Staff International to Jack Ma, Alibaba Group Executive Chairman. “Africa Netpreneur Prize is about looking for heroes. We are looking to shine the spotlight on existing African entrepreneurs’ whether they are in the traditional sector or tech sector or men or women who come from any of the 54 countries that are part of this continent” said Pau. For the next ten years the foundation will host a pitch competition in Africa where ten finalists from across the continent will compete for $1 million in total prize money. The prospective entrepreneurs will get assistance from experts.

SOURCES: FORBES AFRICA

Featured

Volkswagen’s Bet on Rwanda is Part of its Expansion Strategy in Africa

The carmaker’s renewed interest in Africa is driven by the demand for brand new cars propelled by an emerging middle class as well as competition from companies like Toyota, Nissan, and Peugeot who are ramping up production in the continent. In Rwanda, Volkswagen set up a $20 million operation expected to produce up to 5,000 vehicles a year and create about 1,000 jobs. In Kigali, VW also placed a wager on another first for its global operations: ride-hailing services. The project is part of an initiative to use Rwanda to test the future potential of a fully-fledged ride-hailing service, says VW Rwanda chief executive Michaella Rugwizangoga. Dubbed “Move,” the digital mobility concept entailed the company owning and managing the entire value chain: from supplying their own cars and drivers to providing insurance, refueling, and maintenance services. The venture was a first for Rwanda too, whose small, but fragmented, transportation system is yet to be disrupted—unlike those in larger East African cities—by app-based car-hailing and bus-sharing services.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Featured

Vodacom Boss in Hot Water in Tanzania

Tanzanian authorities have charged the managing director of Vodacom Tanzania and other telecom executives with economic crimes. Egyptian Hisham Hendi and other telecom executives “intentionally and wilfully organized a criminal racket, which caused the government … to suffer a pecuniary loss” of more than $2.55 million, said documents seen by Reuters. The executives were not allowed to enter a plea nor apply for bail, and were held in police custody until the case comes up on April 17. Vodacom, a subsidiary of South Africa’s Vodacom Group, is Tanzania’s leading telecom company by the number of mobile subscribers, with about 32 percent of the country’s 40 million mobile subscribers, ahead of Tigo Tanzania, a subsidiary of Sweden’s Millicom, and a local unit of India’s Bharti Airtel. Vodacom’s biggest competitor, MTN, faced a number of accusations in countries like Nigeria in recent years over regulatory and tax breaches. Fortunately, the Tanzania operation is not as big for Vodacom as Nigeria is to MTN, which may quell investor worries at group level. In 2018, Tanzanian authorities levelled similar charges against executives at mobile operators Halotel Tanzania and Zantel as part of President John Magufuli’s crackdown on corruption.

SOURCES: BUSINESS DAY LIVE

Featured

Getting the Ball Rolling on Free Trade in Africa

Gambia’s parliament has approved the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), becoming the 22nd nation to do so, and effectively meeting the minimum threshold for the agreement to come into force. The AfCFTA which was enacted in 2018 seeks to create the largest trade zone in the world, increase intra-African trade by 52% by the year 2022 and remove tariffs on 90% of goods. African Union’s Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Albert Muchanga led celebrations of the historic achievement, posting on his office Twitter account that ‘the AfCFTA market is ready for launch of its operational phase in July this year’.

SOURCES: AFRICA NEWS

Featured

House Hunting in Nigeria

Nigerians searching for their dream home to buy or rent are turning to the internet in droves, leading to a surge in the number of property-focused technology firms. The emergence of these “proptech” companies is due to the country’s rapid population growth, faster broadband speed and cheaper smartphones that have also benefited other sectors from retail to gambling in the last few years. Nigeria has the highest number of internet users in Africa, with approximately 107 million internet data subscribers – an increase of around 85 percent over 5 years, according to the country’s communications commission. The country’s proptech companies typically adopt a subscription model, charging property agents a listing fee and property developers a commission on completed transactions. But risks are attached to the convenience of online listings in Nigeria’s largely unregulated property market.

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Featured

Reviving Rwanda’s Dormant Textile Industry

Wool has gradually lost its popularity, and only one percent of it was used globally in 2018. However, despite being a small market, this fiber is starting to make its mark in Rwanda, while also opening opportunities for some of the most vulnerable women in the country. Handspun Hope imports merino sheep from Kenya and employs local farmers to look after them. After the farmers sheer the sheep, the wool is collected and brought to Handspun Hope’s workshop, where it goes through many stages before products are made. Rwanda doesn’t have a market for their creations. Therefore, the products are exported to the US where they are sold in more than 100 boutiques. The price for each item ranges from $28 to $225.

SOURCES: CNN

Featured

The State of the Kenyan Nation

A lifestyle audit, prosecutions and severing ties with erstwhile allies are the morning announcement that came from State House ahead of the much awaited State of the Nation address. In a brave show, what Kenyans are now used to, President Kenyatta on Thursday said rich Kenyans who have not been paying their taxes will be required to disclose sources of their wealth. “I want everyone in Kenya to know that no matter your standing in society, we are all equal before the law. Cases against corr