Mauritius – For the fifth consecutive year, MCB Group was one of the main sponsors of the Africa CEO Forum, an annual event organised by Jeune Afrique that attracts over 1,000 senior African and non-African leaders who do business on the continent. This year's edition took place in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on 27 and 28 March.
Agrocenta, founded by Francis Obirikorang, which is to create an online sales platform that could connect smallholder farmers directly to an online market that has wider geographic size to sell their commodities has won the Seedstars Global Winner title and $500,000 cash prize in equity investment at the Seedstars Summit 2018 edition held in Lausanne, Switzerland on 12 April 2018.
Colombo – USAID and IOM, the UN Migration Agency, this week handed over new transitional homes to 120 families affected by the May 2017 floods and landslides in the Rathnapura district of Sri Lanka.
Switzerland – Deadly violence has forced millions of people from their homes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), bringing the total number of internally displaced persons in the country to 4.5 million.
Hardly had anyone drawn any parallel – however minimal - between Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio and former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo. The two men have a military background; fought wars within and out of their countries; served as military leaders after palace coups (albeit different circumstances ;) very religious and handed over power to civilian governments after successful elections and they both came back to power via the ballot box. There may have ended their comparison, at least for now as President Bio has just started a fresh journey.
NIGERIA – Supermodel Naomi Campbell said on Sunday in Nigeria that Vogue magazine should launch an African edition to recognise the continent’s contribution to a global fashion industry that has been criticized for its lack of diversity reported African News.
TOGO - The upgraded version of Ecobank’s mobile app has attracted 3 million new customers in just 6 months, taking the total number of users to 4 million.
The Embassy of Canada and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation hosted a panel discussion titled ‘Women in Displacement’ to mark the International Women’s Day in Bern, Switzerland.
SENEGAL – Bouba Diop looks in delight at his uncle’s newly refurbished food canteen in the poor township of Keur Massar on the outskirts of the Senegalese capital Dakar.
The Embassy of Algeria in Switzerland, with the support of the Chancellery of the Canton of Vaud, organized on Saturday 24 March 2018 a ceremony to pay tribute to Charles-Henri Favrod, a Swiss Journalist-photographer and writer for the role he played during Algerian revolution.
Ghana - The Ghanaian capital Accra will host for two days, the 5th edition of the African Summit of Palm Oil and Rubber. The event, entitled “moving forward with sustainable oil palm in Africa and improving smallholder’s productivity; continued resilience of natural rubber in the face of challenges” will be held next 25-16 April.
The Burkinabe government plans to increase its electrification rate to 45% from the current 20%, by 2020. This was announced by Paul Kaba Thiéba (photo), the Prime Minister during a parliamentary audience.
Siemens has provided automation equipment and industrial networks to assist Anglo’s Engineering Skills Training Centre (ESTC). One of the pillars of Digitalization is industrial networks and security and it is crucial that these engineers understand the role of this technology in the future of mining.
Switzerland - In 2021, a European rover is set to roll over the surface of Mars in the search for traces of life. At its heart is a Swiss camera, currently being tested in (almost) Martian conditions. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)
Ethiopia – Eritrea has officially responded to Ethiopia’s peace overture after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in his inaugural address on April 2 that he was ready to end years of misunderstandings.
ISREAL – In a head-spinning turnaround, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel announced on Monday that he had reached an extraordinary deal with the United Nations refugee agency to resettle thousands of African asylum seekers in Western countries. Within hours Mr. Netanyahu suspended the deal after coming under heavy criticism from his coalition partners.
SWITZERLAND – Donors gathered in Geneva on 3 April have pledged USD 2.01 billion for the humanitarian response in Yemen. Switzerland, which co-hosted the conference, announced a contribution of 13 million francs for 2018.
Yemen is currently experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis worldwide. Millions of people are deprived of water, food and medical care because of the armed conflict. Famine has struck several regions of the country.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategy and Finance of South Korea Kim Dong-yeon has described the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank led by the Bank President Akinwumi Adesina as the most important event on their calendar.
The Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) says it has commenced nationwide indefinite strike in earnest.
Obisesan Oluwatuyi, General Secretary of the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.
Mr Oluwatuyi said that they would not call off the strike until government meets their demands.
He said: "The soldiers have been let loose, no retreat, no surrender until government does the needful."
Members of the JOHESU had earlier threatened to embark on a nationwide indefinite strike beginning on Tuesday midnight, due to alleged federal government's failure to meet their demands.
Josiah Biobelemoye, president of the union, who issued the strike notice on Monday, attributed the industrial action to what he described as the "insensitivity and lackadaisical attitude of drivers of the health sector."
He directed all JOHESU members in federal health institutions across the country to commence the strike at midnight of April 17.
Mr Biobelemoye listed their demands to include upward adjustment of the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) Salary Scale, arrears of skipping of CONHESS 10 and employment of additional health professionals.
Other demands are implementation of court judgments and upward review of retirement age from 60 to 65 years.
Mr Biobelemoye said that the union suspended its last nationwide strike on September 30, last year, after signing a Memorandum of Terms of Settlement (MOTS), with the federal government.
According to him, the MOTS was supposed to be implemented within five weeks after the date of suspension of the strike.
He, however, noted that six months after the suspension of the nationwide strike, the government was yet to do anything tangible over the pending issues.
According to him, the union had on February 5 given a fresh 21 days ultimatum to enable government meet the agreement reached.
The JOHESU president stated that the union gave an additional 30 working days effective from March 5, after the expiration of the earlier 21 days ultimatum.
Mr Biobelemoye, who described the union members as peace lovers, emphasised that the 45 days was given simply because the union had the interest of the masses at heart.
"It is disheartening to note that after six months of suspension of our last strike and still counting, the Federal Government has not done anything tangible over pending issues, especially on the flagship issue of CONHESS adjustment and payment of arrears of CONHESS 10 skipping.
"JOHESU as a mature and responsible organisation gave 21 days notice on Feb. 5, this year, in the first instance to enable the Federal Government to do the needful.
"At the expiration of the 21 days notice, the leadership of JOHESU reconvened to re-appraise the situation on ground and noted the lackadaisical attitude of the government toward the implementation of the Memorandum of Terms of Settlement signed on Sept. 30.
"On April 5, 2018, the Minister of Labour and Employment invited the leadership of JOHESU for a meeting wherein we were told that our issues were still being looked into. This shows that government is taking JOHESU for a ride," he said.
He urged members at the states and local government health institutions on continuous sensitisation and mobilisation for possible solidarity strike, if government failed to attend to their demands.
He also called on well-meaning Nigerians including traditional leaders, elder statesmen, opinion leaders and the general public to prevail on government to implement MOTS entered into with JOHESU on Sept. 30, 2017.
Mr Biobelemoye said JOHESU members were not clamouring for equality with doctors but equity and justice, advising medical doctors and the Federal Ministry of Health to change their perception of the demands.
NAN reports that JOHESU draws its membership from the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Medical and Health Workers Union (MHWUN), and Senior Staff Association of University Teaching Hospitals.
Others include Research Institutes and Associated Institutions, Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals and Non-academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutes.
The residents of Kotu and environ, have complained of the terrible odour that emanates from the Sanitary field in the swamps near the hotel area.
Residents indicate to this reporter that the past few months saw them breathing the disgusting smell from the site. Many people lament that they don't know why the smell continues to escalate day by day.
One Marie Jallow Faye, said the smell has not only made it uncomfortable to live their lives, but that they find it difficult to enjoy their meals because of the stench; that she made several calls to the Ministry of Health regarding the issue, but to no avail.
Ndey Jatta of the same community, also voices her frustration regarding the foul odour and said the smell comes from the site; that the situation is gradually getting out of hand as the smell spreads to other environments.
Lamin Sanneh, another resident of the area said the Sanitary Company is not coming out plain to the people; that the Company is not applying the required chemicals at the site.
When contacted by the reporter, the Human Resources Officer at the Aqua Sanitary Field Amadou Camara, spoke differently.
Camara said the reason for the smell is because of the unwanted chemicals thrown in the field; that trucks from Tanji and Kartong, empty their solid waste at the site which is basically meant for industrial waste disposal but not waste that comes from fish processing factories.
Camara said the site has been in existence for more than half a decade, and has never smell like this; that when the smell started, they notified the authorities that something was wrong somewhere before they knew it was coming from the fish industry; that the problem will soon be resolved as their heads have met with the authorities from the National Environment Agency and the Minister, regarding the issue.
However, it was put to this reporter that the Minister had earlier visited the area amid complaints from the public.
Blantyre — Population Services International (PSI) Malawi intends to scale up its HIV Self Testing Africa (STAR) project in Blantyre District by among others increasing the number of HIV self-testing kits.
The STAR project promotes self-testing of people with limited access to current HIV testing services and accords the individuals with privacy. It also encourages re-testing among those at high risk.
Speaking with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Monday, Ian Khruza STAR Project Coordinator said the distribution of HIVST kits will be done in the informal sectors as well as urban slums of Blantyre.
Khruza said Blantyre urban has HIV prevalence rate of 18.5 percent which therefore calls for combined efforts if this is to be improved.
"In the project, we will be targeting the youth (15-24years) and adult men and other highly vulnerable groups in the urban slums and informal workplaces.
"We will also target partners of women who frequently test at the clinics and that way reduce transmission of HIV," explained Krauza.
He said PSI will use the peers of the targeted groups to distribute the kits.
"We have no specific number of people to target but we would like to reach out to as many people as possible," he revealed.
Penjani Chunda, District Health and Environmental Officer (DEHO) for Blantyre said the distribution of the self-testing kits will enable many people in the district to know their HIV status and seek relevant medical attention.
Chunda said many Malawians are reluctant to go to HIV testing centers because they are afraid of knowing the results of their status and also because of shame.
He then described the self-testing kits as the appropriate approach as it will give everyone an opportunity to conduct the test on his or her own.
"This is the best approach and through the project, we expect to reach out to as many people as possible and at the same time improve on the HIV prevalence," explained Chunda.
As of February 2018, PSI has managed to distribute 2,264 test kits.
Apart from the informal sector, the project will also target uniformed professionals and truck drivers.
The Self Testing Africa initiative project was launched on November 30th, 2015 at the 18th International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa (ICASA).
It is believed that, if well implemented, the project would greatly contribute to the global effort of achieving UNAIDS's 90/90/90 treatment targets set for 2020.
Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia are the three countries in Africa benefiting from the project.
The co-founder of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, has said Nigeria is one of the most difficult places to wipe out polio in the world.
Speaking at the joint forum of the Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting in Westminster yesterday, Gates said India, Nigeria and Pakistan has proven to be the most difficult places to wipe out the disease, adding that it was difficult but achievable.
Gates, who is the second richest man in the world, said the Commonwealth has to learn from itself in solving its own problems, stating examples of what Nigeria learnt from India in the eradication of the dangerous disease.
The philanthropist, according to The Cable, said: "If you want to do something better, find out who is already doing better than anyone else in the world, and adopt what they are doing, to your own challenges. The Commonwealth is ideal for this and you have positive outliers in almost every area of expertise, and you meet regularly to learn from one another.
"Polio eradication is a great example of this. For different reasons, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, are three of the places it has been most difficult to wipe out this disease. But India was declared Polio-free in 2014.
"The lessons learnt from there have helped Nigeria get to zero cases in 2017. And now Pakistan, which still has few cases, very few, is taking those experiences, particularly at the challenges of dealing with insecurity, and they have their cases down to the lowest areas ever.
"So, this success really goes back to the substantial commitments made in part at the Commonwealth meetings. Collectively, Commonwealth nations are experts in far more than just polio eradication.
"Nobody else is better in the world at education than Singapore. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have built very high quality primary healthcare systems, staffed primarily by women healthcare workers."
Gates was in Nigeria in March to discuss the need to invest more in health and education for the future of Nigeria.
The Nigerian government is in a dilemma as medical doctors on Tuesday warned it against acceding to some demands over which other workers in the health sector have called a strike.
The doctors who specifically opposed salary adjustment and harmonization, one of the major demands of the Joint Health Staff Union (JOHESU), said acceding to the demand would precipitate a crisis that may lead to the collapse of the health sector of the country.
JOHESU, the association of other health workers apart from medical doctors and dentists, on Monday announced its members will begin an indefinite strike from Tuesday night.
The association had called a nationwide strike last September.
Some of its major demands included salary adjustments, promotion arrears and improved work environment for members.
On the ninth day of the September strike, the union struck a deal with government.
But according to the union, six months after, government is yet to meet any of its demands.
Last month, the union gave the government a 30-day ultimatum to meet the demands. That ultimatum elapses Tuesday.
However, in an apparent continuation of the rivalry among health workers in Nigeria, the doctors, under the banner of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), described JOHESU as an 'illegal body' and urged government to ignore its threat.
"JOHESU is an illegal body. it is illegal because it is not registered. Just yesterday their leadership came on air to attack doctors, the strike they are planning is against medical doctors", the NMA president, Mike Ogirima, said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
The NMA insisted it is opposed to some of the demands by JOHESU, in particular about salary harmonisation.
"Nobody is preventing them (JOHESU) from getting a salary increase. But all over the world, there is relativity package for medical workers different from other health workers.
"In Nigeria and other countries, doctors are always at advantaged position, that is why most of these other health workers are trying by all means to get that degree called medical doctor. But we know the difference because doctors are trained in all paraphernalia of medical practice, that is why all over the world doctors have a different salary package from others", Mr Ogirima said.
He advised the government to thread with caution in engaging with JOHESU so as not to "allow rascality in the health sector."
"It is high time the government regulated the activities of this JOHESU, we are not going to fight with them, we are humane and the health of our patients is central."
Chiedozie Achonwa, the NMA chairman in Abuja, said medical doctors will be in the hospitals and continue to attend to patients even if JOHESU members across the nation embark on the proposed strike.
"I think everybody is entitled to make demands for an increase in salary including JOHESU. But what the government should put into consideration is that there is an internationally accepted relativity in remuneration for health workers and that relativity must be maintained. Any attempt to distort that relativity means they want the health sector to collapse and I don't think any of us wants that.
"We as medical doctors are not interested in strike. We are interested in the lives of our patients and doing medical outreach," Mr Achonwa said.
The NMA had earlier in an open letter to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said doctors are not prepared to receive same salary with other health workers.
Top on the list of issues raised in the October 3 letter was that JOHESU has no justification to demand for adjustment of salary scale as was done for CONMESS.
Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, CONMESS, is the salary structure for medical and dental officers in the federal public service while Consolidated Health Salary Structure, CONHESS, is the salary structure for pharmacists, medical laboratory, nurses and other health workers in the health sector of the federal public service.
The National Vice Chairman of JOHESU, Ogbonna Chimela on Tuesday however explained that the unions are not asking for salary harmonisation with medical doctors but for an adjusted CONHESS salary.
Mr. Chimela gave more insight on the salary issue.
"In 2009 the government approved the CONHESS and CONMESS salary structures, the former for medical doctors while the latter is for other health care professionals.
"Before, medical doctors enter service on grade level 9 while the rest of us enter on 8 but after the 2009 negotiation of salary structure, medical doctors started entering service on grade level 12 while we enter at that same 8.
"So relativity had been established at the point of entry because they spent six years in school while other health workers spend five or four years, so you can see the years of training of the both groups are different that, is why government allows doctors to enter service at grade level 12 while we enter at 8 to maintain relativity.
"In 2014 there was an adjustment to the CONMESS salary and we are just agitating for our own to also be adjusted. So tell me if our salary is adjusted by 20 percent and we are on grade level 8, can it be the same as some one entering service on grade level 12?
"They are thinking that we want to start asking for same quantum of salary with them, but it can never be the same because our point of entry differs because if I enter service at grade level 8, before I can get to grade level 12, I would have spent nine years in service.
"So there is no way our paths can ever cross, they will continue to gain more until they leave service. So they are the ones that are even oppressing us, they just don't want our own adjustment to see the light of the day," he said.
On the allegation that JOHESU is an illegal body, the union leader also gave an explanation.
He said the unions that make up JOHESU in the health sector were registered by Decree 22 of 1978.
He isted the unions as Senior Staff Associations of Universities, Teaching Hospitals and Research Institutes; National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives; Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria; Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals and Non Academic Staff Union (NASU).
Mr. Chimela said the five unions came together and formed JOHESU as an umbrella body due to constant pressure from NMA.
"So if the parent entities are registered but because of the pressure from NMA, we now formed a pressure group, would you say it is illegal? The parent bodies are legitimately registered and known by law."
On Monday, the Health Minister, Isaac Adewole, said the government was already working out modalities to avert JOHESU members going on strike.
"We are reaching out to abort the strike. Almost all demands have been met. Government is looking into remaining issues to address them comprehensively," he said.
It remains to be seen, however, how the government will pacify JOHESU members without provoking the medical doctors.
Dodoma — The government has set aside Sh100.5billion in the 2018/19 financial year to construct hospitals in 67 municipalities across the country, and each is expected to cost Sh1.5billion, the parliament heard on Friday April 13.
This was revealed by the Deputy Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr Faustine Ndugulile.
He was responding to a question raised by special seats MP Aida Khenan who sought to know the government plans to improve provision of health services in municipalities, especially maternal health.
The girls are joined by founder of the Hangover, That Bubbly Lissy as they have a cosy one-on-one with musical sensation, Takura pending his album launch. Adding one plus one, we appreciate the inspiration behind his fresh album and where his love life is headed. How do you quit alcohol? Anyone? We take you down the path that few of us have walked and hold your hand
Nigerian pop artiste, Davido, won big at the just concluded Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMAs).
The DMW boss edged out his Nigerian/African counterparts including Wizkid, Too Fan, Cassper Nyovest, Nasty C, Olamide and Tiwa Savage to take home the prestigious "African artiste of the Year" award.
Nigerian singer, Runtown, won the same award in 2017.
The new win adds to Davido's inventory of awards.
At home, the superstar singer leads this year's Headies Awards nominees list with the highest number of nods - six (6), with two of his hit singles (IF and FIA) competing in the same category "Best pop single".
Prolific Ghanaian rapper, Sarkodie, took home "Hiplife/Hip-hop Artiste of the Year" and "Best rapper of the year" respectively while veteran Ghanaian singer, Naa Amanua Dodoo, was honoured with the "Lifetime achievement Award"
The event was held at the International Conference Centre in Accra, Ghana.
See full list of winners below:
Highlife Song Of the Year
Dream - Kumi Guitar
Bronya - Wutah
Odo - KiDi - WINNER
Angela - Kuami Eugene
Over - R2bees
Hustle - Ebony
Gospel Song Of The Year
Bo Noo Ni - Joe Mettle ft Loigi Maclean - WINNER
Boot 4 Boot- Joyce Blessing
Obi Nyanime - Patience Nyarko
Efatawo - Nacee
Adom - Gifty Osei
Jehovah - Ceccy Twum
Hiplife Song of the Year
Total Cheat - Fancy Gadam ft Sarkodie - WINNER
Boys Boys - Nacee F. Guru
Obi Agyi Obi Girl - Captain Planet ft Kofi Kinataa
Ayoo - Shatta Wale
One Corner - Patapaa
Hip-Hop Song Of The Year
State Of The Art - Teephlow
Light It Up - Sarkodie
Grind Day (Remix) - Kwesi Arthur ft Sarkodie & Medikal - WINNER
Pen and Paper - Kojo-Cue & Shaker
Dear God - B4Bonah
Reggae/Dancehall Song Of The Year
Until The Dawn - Efya
My Own - Samini - WINNER
My Name - Stonebwoy
Faya Burn Dem - Article Wan
Rewind - Mzvee
Dem Confuse - Shatta Wale
Afro Pop Song Of The Year
Makoma - Adina
Oh Yeah - King Promise
Say You Love Me -KiDi
Sing My Name -MzVee
Jennifer Lomotey - Kurl Songz
Sponsor - Ebony - WINNER
My Baby - Magnom
Come From Afar - Stonebwoy
Gospel Artiste Of The Year
Joe Mettle - WINNER
HighLife Artiste Of The Year
Kuami Eugene - WINNER
Reggae/Dancehall Artiste Of The Year
Stonebwoy - WINNER
Songwriter Of The Year
Kumi Guitar: Dream - Kumi Guitar
Joe Mettle: Bo Noo Ni - Joe Mettle
Bullet: Maame Hw3 - Ebony - WINNER
Kofi Kinaata: Last Show - Willis Beatz
Samini: My Own - Samini
Stonebwoy: My Name - Stonebwoy
Best Music Video Of The Year
Dream - Kumi Guitar - Abass
Selfish - King Promise - Vertex
My Girl - B4Bonah - David Nicol Sey
Wedding Car - Opanka - Bra Shizzle
Obi Agyi Obi Girl - Captain Planet - Gyo-Phamous Filmz - WINNER
Pen & Paper - Kojo Cue & Shaker - E Kumodzi
Record Of The Year
Dream - Kumi Guitar
My Own - Samini
Glory - Sarkodie
State Of The Art - Teephlow - WINNER
Hiplife/Hip-hop Artiste of the Year
Sarkodie - WINNER
Best Male Vocal Performance
Joe Mettle - Bo No Nii - WINNER
King Promise - Selfish
Kidi - Odo
Kuami Eugene - Angela
Mugeez - Over
Samini - My Own
Best Female Vocal Performance
Adina - Makoma - WINNER
Nana Yaa - Don't Leave Me Alone
Efya - Love
Mzvee - Bright Lights
Becca - Summuy3
Best Group of the Year
Wutah - WINNER
Best Rapper of the Year
Eno Barony - Fear No Man
Teflon - Phlowducation
Sarkodie - Light It Up - WINNER
Shaker - Pen and Paper
Ko-jo Cue - Pen and Paper
Strongman - Transformer
Best Collaboration of the Year
Bo Noo Ni - Joe Mettle Ft Luigi Maclean
Sing My Name Remix-- Mzvee Ft Patoranking
Jennifer Lomotey-- Kurl Songs ft Sarkodie
Pain Killer-- Sarkodie ft Runtown
Taking Over-- Shatta Wale Ft S.M Militants - WINNER
Obi Agye Obi Girl-- Captain Planet ft Kofi Kinata
Na Wash-- Becca ft Patoranking
African Artiste of the Year
Davido - WINNER
Best New Artiste of the Year
Kuami Eugene - WINNER
Album of the Year
Epistles Of Mama - Stonebwoy
Highest - Sarkodie
Daavi - Mzvee
Bonyfied - Ebony - WINNER
Song of the Year
Joe Mettle - Bo No Nii
Shatta Wale - Ayoo
King Promise - Oh Yeah
Sarkodie ft Runtown -Painkiller
Patapaa - One Corner
Ebony - Sponsor
Kuami Eugene- Angela
KiDi - Odo
Shatta Wale ft S.M Militants - Taking Over
Fancy Gandam ft Sarkodie - Total Cheat - WINNER
Captain Planet ft Kofi Kinaata - Obi Agi Obi Girl
Wutah - Bronya
Artiste of the Year For VGMAs 2018
Ebony - WINNER
UNSUNG Artiste Of The Year 2018
Kelvyn Boy - WINNER
Lifetime Achievement Award
Naa Amanua Dodoo - WINNER
Celebration Of Cameroon And Her Cultural Riches" is to be presented to the public by June this year.
"Celebration of Cameroon and Her Cultural Riches," released in 2017, is the fruit of a desire to see Cameroonians love and celebrate their God-given riches. The album "visits" all of Cameroon's 10 regions in 7 tracks, with emphasis on "Cameroon Praise Song," which brings out the virtues of "Africa in miniature," explains Nnah Faith Um, leader of "Jubilee Praise Team." "We portray Cameroon, rich in different languages, dialects, soils, climates and costumes for people to know, love and appreciate the riches of our land," she adds.
The album is produced by JPT Productions. The tracks are "Cameroon Praise Song" - perhaps the most popular song - "Yahweh dieu du Cameroun," "Sesa dina la Sango," "Cameroun loue l'Eternel," "Tu es l'Eternel," "Mandem Ariacha" and "Comba." The group plans to organise and participate in more prayer moments and carry out evangelism in orphanages and hospitals to share the love of God to Cameroonians.
They will visit South Region this August and hold "Hymns Hour" next June. "Jubilee Praise Team encourages Cameroonians to love, pray and invest in the country. We will not stop building spiritual altars until we see righteousness and peace flood our streets, market places, offices, etc," says Faith.
Founded in May 2010 during Cameroon's 50th anniversary, "Jubilee Praise Team" is an inter-denominational, non-lucrative worship team that "seeks to build an altar of worship unto the Most High God and to pray for peace and unity in Cameroon." Its first recorded effort was in 2013 with the track, "Cameroon Praise Song."
According to Nnah Faith Um, 43, president of the group of 25 artistes from 14 denominations, their vision is to "lift praise unto God under an inter- denominational umbrella. This is because the peace and serenity Cameroonians have enjoyed was the handiwork of God. So, we praise Him for the many years of peace and protection He offered us."
Three of Zimbabwe's top gospel artists are expected to illuminate the album launch of gospel crooner Mathias Mhere to be held at the 7 Arts Theatre in Avondale in Harare on Friday.
Renowned music choral group, Vabati VaJehovha will also be part of the star studded line up of performers on the day. Kudzi Nyakudya, Olinda Marowa, Bethany Pasinawako and the Extreme Afrique gospel choir will serenade guests at the launch of Mhere's seventh album.
The guests' gospel artists are no strangers to live performance and boasts of years of experience with vast and diverse discography. From her days of the popular tune, "Ndinzvereyi" to her current album "Paita Nyasha" Bethany's music has matured over time, as attested in her clear, improve and distinct vocals especially on the track "Ndakuziva Ndiwe," off her latest album.
Her efforts on the launch will be ably complemented by Olinda who despite her hiatus from the gospel scene still commands respect as one of the best gospel divas to have emerged on the local scene.
Many still remember her for tunes like "Ndinouya Baba", "Mwari Wangu Munopenya" and "Jehovah Tshuvah", which raised her profile within a few years after she became a gospel artist.
The exceptional vocal talent behind her discography comprising four albums has instilled joy in her fans over the years, making her music worth listening to.
On the other hand, Kudzi is a household name who has carved a name for himself as among the consistent gospel musicians in Zimbabwe, having started his career more than a decade ago. A self-confessed admirer of the late Lundi Tymara, Kudzi is currently doing well with his album titled "Tsvimbo YaMoses". The young crooner has never disappointed in all his live performances, and will no doubt give out his best act on Friday.
The combination of the gospel artists is expected to illuminate the stage during the launch of Mhere's album.
The nine track album titled "Panogara Nyasha" was recorded by his long-time friend, Lyton Ngolomi under Lyton Studios. Mhere will have an opportunity to play some of the songs on the album that include "Munhu Kuvanhu", "Tirivakundi", "Wadya Muchero", "Sarafina", "Porofita" and the title track, "Panogara Nyasha".
In an interview with Mhere, expressed his optimism that everything will go according to plan.
"I have been working hard to ensure that the album launch becomes a success. I am grateful for all the support that I have been receiving from all over," he said.
Coming just a year after the release of his sixth album, "Old Testament", a social commentary which proved to be popular with gospel fans, it remains to be seen whether, Mhere struck the right chords on this new album.
Having sustained all his six albums on the same beat, which was almost becoming monotonous and easily recognisable on most of his tracks, his fans are hoping that he will give them value for money, this time around.
United States dancer-cum musician Gshytt affectionately known as 'G' is in the country for a week ahead of his African projects courtesy of African Fire Media.
Gshytt who is not new to Zimbabwe arrived in Harare yesterday, his second visit to the country in less than a year. Gshytt came to Zimbabwe last year to shoot his musical video 'Vibe is Right' which was produced in Zimbabwe.
The video was shot by controversial and award winning Vusa Blaqs in Vumba, Forest Hills Resort.
The musician is expected to hold a press conference today (Tuesday) at Chez Zandi in the capital in the morning before meeting some of his fans.
In an interview Gshytt's tour media manager Larry Kwirirayi, said the artiste was back in the country to embark on several projects, expected to put the local arts industry on map.
"We want to showcase Zimbabwe as destiny of choice for entertainers to work and make videos.
" We are excited to have Gshytt back in the country as part of the latest African Fire Media project. We believe in a strong positive connection between Zimbabwe and the diaspora," he said.
Kwirirayi said the musician is expected to record with some of the local producers at the African Fire (AF) in collaboration with Pablo'Z studios.
"He will work with several producers among them Chiweddar, Saint Emmo, Dj Tamuka and Mega T. Ammara and Poptan will also work with Gshytt and we are still in talks with Tammy Moyo to see how we can collaborate.
"We are also looking at the possibility of shooting another video and the key here is to show Zimbabwe as a strategic film destination," he said. The artiste has to date collaborated with youthful crooner Bryan K and Delroy.
During his stay Gshytt will also donate reusable sanitary pads to Jairosi Jiri Home.
"The donation of the reusable tampons for girls is an important part for us. We will give prizes to the girls and run a competition to test their knowledge about Zimbabwe," he said.
Gshytt comes from a dancing background and has worked with several renowned artists among them LeBron James, Rihanna, Ciara and Beyonce.
Senegalese singer and songwriter Youssou N'Dour is expected in Kigali for his inaugural performance on April 29, to headline the Mo Ibrahim Concert at this year's Mo Ibrahim Governance Weekend.
The Ibrahim Governance Weekend, a flagship event of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, is held every year in a different African country.
The three-day event brings together prominent African political and business leaders, representatives from civil society, multilateral and regional institutions as well as Africa's major international partners to debate issues of critical importance to Africa.
The 2017 Laureate, former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, will be celebrated at a Leadership Ceremony on April 27.
N'Dour will be performing with the band Super Étoile de Dakar, alongside Rwandan artists Riderman (Emery Gatsinzi), Knowless (Butera), Phiona Mbabazi, and Charly na Nina. Kenyan afro-pop band Sauti Sol and Nigeria's PSquare will also perform at the concert.
The Mo Ibrahim Concert will take place at the Kigali Convention Centre from 6pm, and it will be free of charge.
Born in Dakar, Senegal in 1959, N'Dour is most well known for his biggest international hit single 7 Seconds with Neneh Cherry, and his Grammy Award winning album Egypt.
He wrote and performed the official anthem of the 1998 Fifa World Cup with Axelle Red La Cour des Grands.
With more than 40 albums and film soundtracks to his name, N'Dour has enjoyed a music career spanning several continents over four decades, during which he has collaborated with artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Wyclef Jean, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Axelle Red, Alan Stivell, Bran Van 3000, Cherry, Paul Simon, Tracy Chapman, James Newton Howard, Branford Marsalis, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Dido, Lou Reed, Bruce Cockburn, and others.
N'Dour also went into acting, and played the role of the African-British abolitionist Olaudah Equiano in the movie Amazing Grace, which chronicled the efforts of William Wilberforce to end slavery in the British Empire.
Omuthiya — Some students who graduated from the University of Namibia (Unam) last week were furious over their incorrect and missing certificates.
Some graduates who spoke to New Era said they were surprised to learn their certificates were not available when they went to collect them prior to graduation day. They further alleged that some who received their certificates had spelling mistakes in their names and some details omitted, while others claim that some certificates were blank and only contained names.
"I went to collect my degree, but to my surprise when they handed the envelope to me, they did so together with a form telling me that I should fill in what was missing. So I proceeded to open the envelope but there was no degree inside. All along they knew things were not right but they are not informing us," fumed one graduate from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, who declined to be named.
"What kind of graduation is this when you do not have your hard-earned qualification, just to go there, to sit and pretend all is okay? This is a joke," lamented another graduate.
"They are not telling us how long the correction will take or when one can come back to collect the certificate - we are being kept in the dark. Next time they should put their house in order and not disappoint us like this at the last minute," stressed a science graduate.
Meanwhile, Unam spokesperson Simon Namesho urged the graduates to remain calm and rather approach their respective faculties in order for the mistakes to be rectified and reprinted by the university at no cost to the students.
"Once a graduate's degree has been conferred at a graduation ceremony either in person or in absentia, they will automatically receive a qualification certificate. Qualification certificates are either presented to graduates at a graduation venue of their choice on the days before, during or after the graduation ceremony. Alternatively, they can be collected by a confirmed proxy in a manner advised by the university," explained Namesho.
In addition, Namesho said in some instances the qualification certificate can be withheld by the university especially in cases where the graduate has an unsettled account or unreturned library book, until such dues are settled.
"Thus, not yet receiving one's qualification certificate on a day of a graduation ceremony does not imply incorrect certificates," he stressed.
Offices set alight, tyres slashed, eight students injured according to SRC
Police used rubber bullets and teargas to disperse students from Msunduzi Tvet College in Pietermaritzburg who marched to the administrative offices on Tuesday. Two students were taken to hospital. They were shot with rubber bullets.
Eight students were injured said SRC president Cleo Ntombela. Students have been protesting since last week, demanding their accommodation fees from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
On Tuesday students marched to the central office. They forced themselves into the administrative office where a fire was set. Workers locked themselves in the offices. The tyres of the principal's car were damaged.
One student said they wanted to "send a strong signal" to university management which had been "ignoring" the students.
"Since last week there has been no solution from the management. They locked themselves inside their offices. They don't come out. What are we supposed to do? "
Ntombela said students would force their way into the boarding house from which they have been evicted. "Students have no place to stay. They are carrying their blankets and their luggage. They have nowhere to go."
"We were not armed," said Nomfundo Shezi. "They came with their big guns and started shooting. What we want is a solution. Many of us are from a poor background. We are not doing this for entertainment. We need accommodation. I'm from Nquthu [over 200km away]. I cannot sleep under the trees. They must tell us what we should do," said Shezi.
Police spokesperson Nqobile Gwala said no incident of shooting had been reported to the police.
The principal, Ntombi Ntshangase, could not be reached for comment.
Makerere University has suspended Mr Edward Kisuze, a senior administrative assistant in the Academic Registrar's Department for allegedly harassing a female student in his office.
In a letter dated April 17, 2018, the Acting Vice Chancellor, Professor William Bazeyo said Kisuze had been suspended from university service on half pay with immediate effect to allow a smooth investigation into allegations that he harassed the student on Tuesday from his office at Senate Building.
"I hereby suspend you from university service on half pay with immediate effect to allow a smooth investigation into the matter. You are strongly advised to desist from any access to the senate building premises and interactions with students of Makerere University until investigations are completed," reads part of Professor Bazeyo's photo.
The student is said to have told police that Kisuze forcefully kissed her thighs and later licked her private parts against her will.
Incoming UCT Vice-Chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng says universities should have had a conversation about historic symbols on campuses long before the Rhodes Must Fall movement in 2015.
"Somehow, institutions never had those kinds of conversations," she told News24 in a sit-down interview on Monday.
The Rhodes Must Fall movement was sparked in 2015 when students threw faeces and urine on the base of the Cecil John Rhodes statue at UCT during a protest against "white imperialism". Following a series of protests, the statue was eventually removed.
Phakeng said she believed that it was not only black students who had felt uncomfortable by the presence of the statue on campus. Others too, including Afrikaans people, were also uncomfortable about its presence, she said.
She added that black pain continued to be felt by students who did not even have firsthand experience of apartheid.
"Young, white people also have issues that they have to deal with," she said.
Phakeng said, while she disagreed with students in terms of their approach when raising concerns, she "understood their struggles".
'We reached a level of anger and desperation'
Under outgoing Max Price's leadership, the university has seen, over the last few years, many protests over issues including student housing, financial exclusions and outsourcing.
Some students disrupted university activities and damaged public property, leading the university to go to court to secure urgent interdicts.
Clashes with private security and police, sometimes resulting in students being arrested, led to increased frustration and antagonism.
Phakeng said she wanted to create a university culture where young people felt their issues were being heard, so they didn't reach the levels of anger and desperation that had resulted in various protests over the years.
"Sometimes I sit and say: What would you do if you have an issue to raise, you want to talk to people about it and nobody is willing to listen? How far would it push you? What would it push you to? Should we maybe perhaps not also critique ourselves on how we generally responded?"
Phakeng, who takes over from Price in July, said what happened at a certain level of anger was not always controllable.
"I think we got to that stage because things the students are raising are not new. They have been raised over and over again," she said.
"I think we reached a level of anger and desperation. It is painful because the costs are high. The costs mean that students themselves might lose what they are here for."
'It's a critical point'
Phakeng said it was the responsibility of all academics to understand, engage with, and solve these issues.
"I would like us to have a different environment that allows for engagement, an environment that allows us to be challenged, without us wanting to hold onto the past simply because the past was a little more comfortable."
She added that, just as Capetonians were having to imagine a new relationship with water, universities too would need to look at new ways of doing things.
"The thing about the past... is that you think, 'Why change it? It's been working', when we can see it is not sustainable. It worked, but it is not sustainable.
"It's quite a delicate position to be in, because things can either become better or fall apart completely. It's a critical point."
Phakeng believes she has the stamina and skills, as well as a capable team, to get things done.
"I understand it is going to be a mammoth task. It is going to be difficult because not everyone might be willing to walk the journey."
She is adamant that UCT will stand out if it becomes "unapologetically African" and continues pursuing questions that are of local relevance, while continuing with its rigorous way of doing its scholarship.
"I like saying that UCT is the best university in Africa. We have got to keep that, but more than that, we have got to work at being the best for Africa."
Kenya's public university lecturers are on strike, barely three months after another lengthy work stoppage. Ishmael Munene spoke to Moina Spooner from The Conversation Africa about why the strike is happening and what can be done to stop the cycle.
What are the demands of the lecturers from public universities?
Academic staff from Kenya's public universities have been on strike for over a month now. The issue: an agreement which covers salaries and benefits for 2017-2021 meant to have been negotiated, replacing the expired 2013-2017 agreement.
This new Collective Bargaining Agreement is between the University Academic Staff Union and the Inter-Public Universities Councils' Consultative Forum, which negotiates on behalf of the state.
The current highest salaries for various academic ranks range from about Ksh 250,000 (USD$ 2,507) for a professor to Ksh 121,000 (USD$1,211) for an assistant lecturer.
Over a year ago, the University Academic Staff Union made its offer for the 2017 - 2021 period. The highest pay range was put at USD$15,626 for a professor and USD$4,704 for an assistant lecturer.
Since then, the Inter-Public Universities Councils' Consultative Forum has promised to table its own counter offer four times but has failed to do so. The negotiations should have been finalised on 31 May 2017 so that implementation could begin in July 2017.
This has resulted in strikes. The most recent one ended in December after both parties agreed to conclude negotiations by 28 February 2018.
In view of the continued failure by the government to meet its end of the bargain, lecturers have rightly concluded that the state has failed to negotiate in good faith.
To what extent do these demands address the most pressing challenges facing public universities?
Staff wages are a huge challenge facing Kenya's public universities. But they're not the only one.
University worker salaries, unlike those of other public sector workers such as judges and legislators, have not kept pace with inflation or remuneration. This leads to brain drain from Kenya's public higher education institutions. Academic staff departure in critical disciplines is a persistent problem. For instance, between 2004 and 2007, Moi University departures were 31% in law, 18% in information sciences and 14% for business and economics.
And now, due to deep shrinking revenues and an expensive budget, Kenya is slashing budgetary allocations to various sectors. That includes universities. In 2017 public university funding for capital assets was reduced by Ksh 6.7 billion (USD$ 67,000,000). Research allocation went down by Ksh 454 million (USD$ 4,540,000). These cuts put a strain on the maintenance and development of facilities, as well as on the production of academic research.
This financial crisis has been exacerbated by the Commission for University Education's decision that universities only admit students with a minimum C+ grade. This means those with a lower score will not be admitted in the self-sponsored Module II (parallel) programmes that universities used to admit part-time students paying market rate tuition fees. These programmes have been a veritable cash cow for universities. Their elimination makes a serious dent in the universities' bottom line.
Low enrollment is a serious challenge to the sustainability of universities. In the most recent enrolment, some universities had less than a quarter of their enrolment capacity taken up. Of the 615,773 candidates who sat exams last year, only 70,000 made the cutoff grade of C+ to join university.
Equally problematic for universities is the overall decline in quality. This is evident in the declining resources for teaching and infrastructure, poor governance and outdated approaches to teaching, curricula and assessment. All of this has left universities unable to maintain high quality teaching and learning.
Strikes by university professors aren't uncommon in the country. What impact does this have?
A major impact is the disruption of learning. For maximum effect, faculty strikes occur during term time when students are learning. So far in this current strike, students have lost more than half a semester of instruction. This means students will take longer to complete their academic programmes; it will be more expensive for them and the institution.
Faculty strikes also heighten the divide between the academics on one hand, and the university administrators and government on the other. To resolve the numerous problems confronting universities, a cordial and collaborative relationship between the three stakeholders is paramount. However, in a climate defined by militant faculty unions and inflexible administration and government, it's not possible to forge common ground to address institutional challenges.
Finally, frequent and prolonged strikes are detrimental to the development of industrial labour relations in universities. Labour unions for academic staff were only revived in 2003, having been outlawed in 1979. Since then the relationship between the union and the state has been adversarial. The union has defied court orders to call off the strikes. The government has also failed to honour agreements with unions concluded after protracted negotiations. These violations run counter to the development of good labour practices in universities.
What must be done to avoid future disruptions?
While academic salaries are contentious the world over, the current model of reviewing university salaries in Kenya is outdated. The Collective Bargaining Agreement award salary increases without regard to faculty productivity and market performance of their discipline.
I have suggested a model that takes into account the cost of living, productivity of academic staff, and the competition universities face in attracting and retaining academics in specific disciplines.
This approach requires that salary increases have three components:
a cost of living pay which increases salaries to cover the changes in the cost of living
performance pay that takes into account an academic member's output based on an agreed matrix, and
the competition that universities face in attracting academics in specific disciplines.
If implemented, disruptions would be a thing of the past since academics would be able to seek salary increases based on performance and market conditions.
Windhoek — Now that the dust has settled, a lot of parents whose children were not fortunate enough to secure scholarships or bursaries must be lamenting about why they didn't begin saving sooner.
Unfortunately for them there is no silver lining in the clouds and the light at the end of the tunnel is that of an oncoming train as the bills have just begun piling up. Books, transport, accommodation, food, clothing, these are but a few things that their children will need, the list is endless and will continue to grow in the next four years or at least until their child graduates.
"As a parent, you have an enormous emotional investment in your child and a big part of it is the desire to equip him or her to be a successful participant in and contributor to the world. Inevitably, that means being able to provide the best educational opportunities. The problem is that, if one considers university, just one year could cost about N$200 000 and that includes the cost of residence or transport to and from classes if you are fortunate enough, otherwise that is just for the courses," Standard Bank's PR and Communication's Manager, Surihe Gaomas-Guchu said this week.
She explained that for the ordinary man that amount is granted to break their bank within the first year, never mind if they multiply it by the number of years that their child will have to study.
"One can get overwhelmed simply just by thinking about how much it costs, however if you objectively think about it, one of the smallest hatch-back sedan cars, brand new, is going to set you back at least N$200 000. If you include the interest on a five-year finance plan, it's going to cost you as much as N$250 000. Your monthly payments will be about N$4 000 a month, for five years.
You'll probably replace that car every five or seven years, when prices will have gone up - as will your monthly repayments. So, just replacing a car three times during your child's first 18 years is going to cost you N$750 000, that is more than a three-year degree," Gaomas-Guchu explained.
Using that logic, saving for your child's education will cost you way less than replacing your car 3 times in the 18 years before your child goes to university. Additionally, a car begins to depreciate in value the moment you drive it off the lot, however your savings will grow every year and you end up having more money than you
"If you save N$1500 per month for your child's education on 5% interest rate, you will find yourself with about N$290,791 at the end of 10 years. Obviously, the rate of interest increases as the amount in the savings account grows. So, the earlier you start saving, the more capital you'll accumulate. And, because interest compounds, you'll start earning interest on the capital. You'll be surprised at how rapidly your savings grows," she pointed out.
If you are serious about saving for your children's education, then you should make use of special investment vehicles such as education or endowment policies than simply putting the money into an ordinary savings account.
These investment vehicles will ensure that your monthly payments keep up with inflation and increases in the costs of education; give you higher interest on your savings because you're investing over a longer period of time and make it difficult for you to dip into the funds when you have a sudden shortage of cash for day to day living.
"An integral part of being good parents is to provide our children with a sound educational foundation, one that will help them reach their full potential and fulfil their dreams. This doesn't come cheap, or happen by chance. So start saving today and ensure your children have the bright future you envisaged for them the minute you first laid eyes on them," she concluded.
Puntland security forces were reported to have seized UAE officials with luggage and boxes at Bosaso airport on Saturday morning.
Sources at the airport told Radio Shabelle that the security forces blocked UAE team to load military equipment on to the plane after refusing to have their luggage and boxes scanned.
The move has sparked standoff at the airport between UAE military trainers and Puntland security officials, according to a local official who spoke to Radio Shabelle by phone.
UAE trains and pays salaries for Puntland maritime police forces [PMPF] and has a military base in Bosaso city, the commercial hub of Puntland, located in northeastern Somalia.
This came days after Somali Federal government has seized last Sunday $9.6 million cash from UAE plane at Mogadishu's Aden Abdulle International Airport.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has reiterated that Lagos State has the potential to become Africa's tourism hub.
According to the minister, the Federal Government will support it in developing the sector.
The minister said this on Monday in Lagos, at the Lagos Tourism Summit with the theme; "Destination Lagos: Towards a Sustainable Tourism Drive".
Mohammed commended Gov. Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos for his interest in the tourism and creative sectors of the economy; both at the state and national level.
The minister said the Federal Government had identified the tourism and creative sectors as alternative to oil, adding that his ministry was working toward developing the industry.
Mohammed recalled that upon assumption of office, his ministry organised a national tourism summit to provide the platform for harnessing the potential in the sector.
He said the ministry had revived the national tourism master plan to catalyse the development of the sector and also hosted a round-table on financing tourism.
The minister also disclosed that Nigeria would host the 61st edition of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)/Commission for Africa (CAF) Meeting, scheduled for June 4 to June 6, 2018 in Abuja.
He also disclosed that the ministry would partner with relevant stakeholders, particularly, the people of Ile-Ife in Osun State in hosting the 2018 "Olojo" festival.
"Olojo is not just only Yoruba new festival, but the oldest known festival in the world started by Ooni Ogun with the wearing of the world's oldest monarchical crown, the sacred Aare Crown.
"The festival will bring 35 of the top Africa-American travel writers, group travel agents, travel bloggers and travel film crews to the Olojo 2018 festival," he said.
Former President of Ghana, John Mahama commended Ambode for his contributions toward developing Lagos to a mega city and a potential tourism hub.
Mahama, who was the keynote speaker at the event, underscored the need for Africa to develop tourism sector in order to solving the challenge of unemployment.
He also suggested a development of integrated tour packages between Nigeria and Ghana that would attract international tourists from Lagos to Accra and vice versa.
Earlier, Gov. Ambode said that his administration was committed to funding alternative platforms, particularly the tourism sector to enrich the state.
The governor said that the tourism sector contributed N800 million to the state's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2017.
He said as parts of efforts to transforming Lagos to tourism hub, the Lagos government was reclaiming a 50 hectares of land at the Oworonshoki end of the lagoon, for aquatic tourism purposes.
He stated that the summit would help the state to develop its tourism master-plan that would be implemented within a specified number of years to turn Lagos to continental tourism hub. (NAN)
Geneva — Sudan Permanent Envoy to Geneva , Dr Mustafa Osman Ismail , met in his capacity of coordinator of African group for UNCTAD Affairs with the African Union Commissioner for Infrastructures, Information Technology , Energy and Tourism , Amani Abu Zaid who is taking part in E- Trade Week which began on Monday and will last until April 20th.
The meeting sought ways of participation of African countries in electronic trade system , especially development of INTERNET infrastructures , total coverage and transfer of technology and it had agreed to maintain cooperation between Geneva and Addis Ababa to implement joint projects in fields of capacity building and development of African free trade area.
Envoy of South Africa to World Trade Organization(WTO) , Coordinator of African Group for WTO and Central African Republic and Coordinator of the least developed countries (LDCs) took part in the meeting.
A new cruise ship company has announced that their expedition ship - the Silver Discoverer - will now be based in the Indian Ocean for a number of inter island trips. The company - Silversea - will start its operation to coincide with Seychelles' cruise ship season, which lasts from October to April.
The chief executive officer of Seychelles Tourism Board, Sherin Francis, said that the addition of the new company will be a boost for the tourism sector.
"A lot of our suppliers in Seychelles, be it big or small, stand to benefit with the increase in cruise ship visits to our shores, provided it is well managed and provided it is the right kind of cruises," said Francis.
"Silversea is a renowned company, and its increased presence in the Indian Ocean will definitely benefit all of the islands," said Francis
The chief executive added that "the various cruise ship calls will give the Seychelles islands the chance to showcase itself to potential visitors with the hope that their short experience will whet their appetite for future visits. That is why it is of paramount importance that their short stays are as real and enriching as possible."
According to the business development manager of the Seychelles Port Authority (SPA), Vincent Didon, the arrival of the new company will give a further boost to the Blue Economy concept that has become significance as part of the livelihood of maritime-forward countries such as Seychelles.
Didon said that "despite the containment of maritime insecurity issues in certain parts of the Indian Ocean region, Seychelles is fortunate that the number of cruise ship calls continues to improve."
"More cruise liners want to position their vessels in the Indian Ocean region and including Seychelles on their cruise schedule. Costa Crosier and AIDA Cruises, which are two of eleven brands operated by one of the world's largest cruise lines - the Carnival Group, have confirmed that they will be sending a bigger vessel to Seychelles for the 2018-2019 cruise seasons," Didon said.
According to the Seychelles Ports Authorities, the cruise season of 2017/2018 has brought 41 cruise ship calls. Silversea Cruise Ships are known for their smaller sizes luxury ships for the discerning travelers wanting discovery in style.
MS Costa Riviera and MSC Sinfonia -- two cruise ships from Italian-based companies -- were the first to dock in Port Victoria in October, carrying 1,900 and 1,400 guests respectively.
In recent years, marketing efforts have been made to have more cruise liners include the vanilla islands on their itinerary. The Vanilla islands -- an affiliation of islands in the Indian Ocean -- was set up as a travel destination brand. It comprises of Seychelles - a group of 115 islands -- Mauritius, Madagascar, Reunion, Mayotte, and the Maldives.
In July this year, Seychelles came out as the top sought-after destination for cruise ships in the region, winning the Indian Ocean's Leading Cruise Destination at the World Travel Awards 2017.
The majority of cruise ships to Seychelles dock in Port Victoria -- the main port of the island nation, which opened in 1972. Upon arrival visitors are greeted at a special reception area, accompanied by traditional music and dances of the islands.
The passengers can then be whisked away on tour buses to be guided through lush and scenic granitic mountains and beach-side scenery as well as walking tours in the islands' tiny but friendly capital of Victoria.
The Ministry of Tourism has said the World Bank has reduced funding for construction of the Jinja based Hotel and Tourism Training from the initial $13m (Shs46.2b) to $7m (Shs25.2b)
Addressing journalists in Kampala, Ephraim Kamuntu the Tourism minister, said together with the Work Bank funded Competitive Enterprise Development Programme (CEDP) they expect the ground breaking ceremony for the construction works to begin next month even as funding has been slashed.
Asked where they will get the balance of the money to top up the deficit, Stephen Asiimwe the executive director Uganda Tourism Board said there the difference had been occasioned by dollar fluctuations and it would be adjusted to reflect the current dollar rates.
The Uganda Hotel and Tourism Training Institute, is a government hotel and tourism professionals training institute established by Parliament in 1994 to train Ugandans in hotel management and tourism-related courses.
It is housed in the former Crested Crane Hotel in Jinja.
The rehabilitation and construction of a modern hotel and tourism training institute in the country has turned into lip-service after a number of probes into financial losses in the tourism sector have pointed fingers towards it as a conduit for theft of donor funds.
During the probe into the loss of the World Bank funded Protected Areas Management and Sustainability Unit management project in the Uganda Wildlife Authority, it was mentioned as one of the areas which received funding without any visible work that the money had done.
However, now that rehabilitation of the institute is imminent, Prof Kamuntu, said the institute will go as far as affecting the hotel sector management.
"If you go to all the top hotels in the country, you will find that they are managed by foreigners. We do not have Ugandans there so we must build our local expertise. Anytime next month we shall be going for the ground breaking ceremony," he said.
According to Prof Kamuntu, the institute is expected to be upgraded to one of the finest training standards in the country given that tourism currently ranks top among Uganda's foreign exchange earners.
The sector has taken over coffee, tea and foreign remittances from Ugandans living abroad.
He said they will collaborate with other training institutions around the world to set up facilities so that Ugandans are able to get international skills.
According to Mr Assimwe, among the activities they have undertaken to streamline services in the leisure and hospitality sector standardising different facilities in the tourism and hospitality chain.
"We have been inspecting hotels, restaurants, lodges and guest houses, sensitizing the owners about the minimum standards as well as carrying out an inventory of the different types of facilities we have in the country," he said.
The tourism sector has been growing over the years, becoming the biggest foreign exchange earner. It has overtaken coffee, tea and foreign remittances . Currently the sector earn about $1.4b (Shs5 trillion).
The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MoTAC) has hinted of its readiness to digitize the collection and administration of fees at tourist sites and national monuments to effectively rake in the needed revenues.
The move has become necessary to reduce the systemic corruption and siphoning of state financial resources into private hands, said the sector Minister, Mrs. Catherine Afeku.
The initiative, she noted, would ensure rigorous monitoring of the revenue to be collected by blocking all financial loopholes to stop siphoning of monies into private pockets.
Speaking recently on a tour to Cape Coast and Elmina Castles to access the current state of National tourist facilities in the central region.
Plans for tourist sites facelift
She also mentioned plans by her outfit to construct a wooden ship on the high rise-deep-seated sedimentary rock close to the Cape Coast castle to add to the Region's numerous magnificent historical buildings, monuments and cultural artifacts to generate more wealth and employment.
Campaign against open defecation
In a recent video documentary, in which certain individuals were filmed openly defecating close to the Cape Coast Castle, at a time some tourists were visiting.
Mrs Afeku stated that the Ministry was poised to lead a consortium of inter-ministerial Committee, made up of Regional Ministers from the Central, Volta, Western and the Greater Accra Regions to effectively collaborate to end the shameful menace.
"The MoTAC in collaboration with the Ministry of Sanitation, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Local Government Ministry and the Information Ministry and some of the tourism ambassadors, we would embark on a campaign against open defecation especially among people mainly in the coastal areas," she said.
At the Regional level, she indicated that a team of key stakeholders made up of the Regional Minister, metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) and Assembly members would lead the crusade.
The Minister called on the various traditional authorities to join forces with the Ministry to drastically reduce open defecation at tourist sites without qualms as to the health, economic and social consequences of their action and in action, to that effect.
She cautioned the public against perpetuating acts that prevent tourists from visiting various tourist attractions sites in the country, saying that was detrimental to tourism development.
The Central Regional Minister, Mr. Kwamena Duncan, who accompanied the Minister, pledged to work together with the Regional Committee to practically reduce the open defecation especially along the central coast.
He assured that he will engage the fisher folks who operate close to the Castle who end up defecating and dumping refuse close to the Castle for relocation to sanitize the facility.
Dr Daniel Nyamwasa and Dr Jean Damascene Gasanabo, the moderator (left).
Commissioner of Police Dr Daniel Nyamwasa released his second book on Saturday in which he interrogates what pushed one section of Rwandans to kill fellow citizens with whom they lived together in peace and harmony for at least 856 years before colonialism.
Organised by the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), the book launch, which took place during Café Littéraire -- a reading session -- at Kigali Convention Centre, was attended by First Lady Jeannette Kagame, among other senior officials.
Nyamwasa, who has previously headed Kigali Forensic Laboratory under Rwanda National Police, was born in 1957 in Rwanda, and two years later, his parents briefly flew the country and returned in 1961 but went back to exile the same year following persistent persecution against the Tutsi.
He joined the RPF-Inkotanyi after 31 years in exile to offer his contribution toward the struggle to liberate the country.
Titled "Le mal rwandais", which literally translates as "the Rwandan Evil", the book, written in French, narrates how Rwandans were neither considered as nationals in exile, nor recognised as Rwandans back home.
"We had no identity and that thing pushed me to narrate our situation at the time. I would ask myself why my neighbour and I were in exile. Before the colonial era, Rwandans had lived in harmony for centuries, without conflict, they intermarried, shared the same religion; so I kept on asking myself what pushed them to hate each other," Nyamwasa said during an interview.
The author says that he also wanted to know why the international community crossed arms as the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi claimed over a million people, wondering if this would have been the case had it happened elsewhere.
"That is the reason why I wrote this book for the future generations for them to know the truth, whether they are in Rwanda or overseas," he added, saying that he has been working on the book for several years.
"I don't understand why they (international community) failed to intervene. Only the RPF, with a small and ill-equipped force, managed to stop the Genocide. Of course, it was a matter of life and death for us (RPF) but the only necessary thing was to save lives," he added.
Nyamwasa says nothing will help the country grow faster than the unity of its people.
Costing Rwf17,000 (17 euros), the book is available at Caritas and Ikirezi bookshops in Kigali, and online.
It is also on the shelves of Kigali Genocide Memorial in Gisozi and at the National Liberation Museum at Parliament in Kimihurura.
The book will be translated into English in a few months, according to the author.
Abuja — The federal government has ordered the purchase of 140 books titled 'Overcoming Security Challenges' for distribution to unity schools across the country to boost the fight against terrorism which of recent has beamed its light on schools.
The author of the book is erstwhile Inspector General of Police and Chairman, Board of Trustees, Security Awareness and Justice Foundation, Mr. Mike Okiro.
The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who disclosed this in Abuja, during the inauguration of the central committee on security education and awareness campaign for principals and teachers of federal government colleges, said school security is vital to effective teaching and learning.
He said kidnapping and other vices have resulted to poor attendance in schools thereby leading to the production of half baked individuals and the rejection of transfers of teachers to crisis prone areas.
"Over the past decade, Nigeria has grown insecure largely to ethno-religious crisis and Boko Haram, two of which are in the north, kidnapping, cultism and ritual killings mostly in the south and our educational institutions have become targets now. Today, parents and guardians are worried about their children.
"School security is vital to effective teaching and learning and presently the safety of the Nigerian child is of primary concern to us as stakeholders in the education sector. It is still fresh in our memory how the 276 Chibok girls were abducted in Borno State in 2014 and 110 girls in Dapchi, Yobe State and subsequent bombings in schools of which have drawn condemnation by international community," he added.
On his part, Okiro reiterated that the foundation will collaborate with the government to raise the quality of life of every child regardless of ethnic and religious creed to achieve their full potential without the fear of security perversivenes in their schools or recruited by terrorists.
"Our focus in this project shall be our children to whom we remain committed. According to schools global terrorism index, the insurgents and terrorists regularly feast to a large extent on the recruitment and contribution of children who are trained to carry out acts that are detrimental to our moral, social and economic value as a nation.
"Chibok and Dapchi girls are Nigerian examples where school children have been abducted by terrorists for clandestine reasons. The story would have been averted if the children had been given adequate safety awareness education."
The committee is expected to give and work according to the stipulated time line given.
The Oromia Education Bureau has started developing content for textbooks and teachers' guide to replace disposed books. The books had errors in language and vague descriptions of words used in the books.
A group of 12 experts, selected from zones and colleges, started the preparation of the content for the Oromifa language textbooks mid last week. The books are expected to teach the Oromifa language to more than eight million elementary students whose mother tongue is Afan Oromo.
For the content preparation and validation sessions, that will be held with representatives from 20 zones and 19 city administrations, the Bureau allocates 1.5 million Br. The content preparation and validation sessions are expected to be finalised in a months time.
It also plans to print 10 million textbooks for the coming academic year. With a cost flexibility of 50 million Br, considering the contingency.
"We are adopting the national syllabus which was one of the shortcomings of the defected textbooks," said Efrem Tessema, deputy head of the Bureau. "Close supervision of the process and all the precautionary methods are going to be taken to avoid similar mistakes," he added.
The defected books which were printed with 27 million Br were meant to be used for the current academic year. Along with the errors in language and vague descriptions, the cover of the books was also another reason for the discharge of the books.
"The logo of the regional state education bureau was not printed on the cover, the books instead had the federal one, the Ministry of Education (MoE)," said Efrem. "It raised constitutional questions, as the regional state is entitled to prepare books for elementary schools."
The MoE printed the former books with the financial assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The then Research Triangle Institute (RTI), founded in the 1970's and assists developing countries, researched eight regions and recommended the amendment of teaching guides and procedures at elementary levels.
The RTI was founded by the United States government to alleviate the nations lowest education status. After calling around 300 professors from the globe, the Institute found out that the reading, writing and calculating skills of the students in the researched seven states, were the base of the problem.
Basing the recommendation of the RTI, the Ministry gathered experts from the regional state which developed the content. However, the response from the localities was not as expected, as they claimed that the content does not represent them, according to Efrem.
The discontent led to the removal of the books and the reprint of 3.2 million textbooks this year. About 15,729 schools located in the 333 weredas and 19 towns were obliged to use the previous textbook for two years.
For Seyoum Kebede, dean of Jimma Teaching College, the previous mistakes were critical, and the disposition was choiceless.
"The defected book changed the alphabet structure from A-Z to start with the letter L," he said. "You start to teach from the easiest word to writing, but you don't have to change the natural alphabetic structure."
The Bureau will announce a tender in a months time, to hire a company which will print the books, according to Efrem.
The Constitution of Mauritius is now available in Braille. The new version was launched on Wednesday 11 April by Attorney General Maneesh Gobin at the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre.
In a statement, Gobin declared that "it is important that a citizen feels connected to his country" and that the Constitution is "the basic document that does so". The Attorney General added that with this new version of the Constitution, an even greater portion of the population would now have access to the supreme law of the land.
Town and district councils have been supplied with Braille copies of the Constitution for general access at their respective public libraries. Braille was invented by Louis Braille in 1824. It is used by visually impaired people through a system of tactile writing on embossed paper.
A book on "A Decade of ECOWAS Electoral Assistance in West Africa" has been unveiled in Abuja by an official of the German Development Agency, GIZ, which provided funding for the publication, commending ECOWAS' electoral assistance for adding value to elections in the region, a press release said yesterday.
"ECOWAS Electoral Assistance elections in recent past in the region have seen great improvement and the German government will continue to support this laudable initiative," declared Ludwig Kirchner, Head of GIZ Support Programme to the ECOWAS Commission.
He spoke during the presentation of the book, published by the ECOWAS Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security at the on-going Abuja International Conference on Opportunities and Challenges in the use of Technology in Elections.
The ECOWAS Director of Political Affairs Dr. Remi Ajibewa outlined the various forms of electoral assistance provided to member states, which include financial and logistical support, Observation, Security, Needs Assessment, Fact-finding and Follow-up Missions, Mediation and Preventive Diplomacy.
Authored by Paul Ejime, an International Media and Communications Specialist, the work is a rich resource material on ECOWAS' laudable initiatives at consolidating democracy through the promotion of credible elections and using electoral assistance as a tool for conflict prevention.
It traces the genesis of ECOWAS Electoral Assistance, started some two decades ago, the progress so far, challenges, lessons learned and the way forward.
The publication also documented the commitment of regional leaders to democracy and good governance, which drives initiatives such as the electoral assistance, engagement of civil society, with a range of interviews, including ones with Prof. Attahiru Jega, former Chair of Nigeria's Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), who supervised Nigeria's 2015 general elections, Dr. Kwaduo Afari-Gyan, former Chair of Ghana's Electoral Commission and Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, former Executive Secretary and President of ECOWAS Commission, who is now Head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS).
There are also insightful perspectives by former ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Mr Halima Ahmed, who penned the Foreword, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chair and President of the governing board of ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC), with his now famous quotation that "it is better and more cost-effective to deploy ECONEC in peacetime, than to deploy ECOMOG" (the regional military force) after failed elections."
The book also contains views by Francis Oke, Head of ECOWAS Electoral Assistance Division, Chukwuemeka Eze, Executive Director of the West African Network for Peace building (WANEP), election experts, observers, and Heads of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) in the region, including those of Burkina Faso and Cape Verde, on election related issues such as political inclusivity, gender, youth and persons with disabilities, the role of the media, including social media performance during elections, and the challenges of technology deployment in the electoral process.
The publication also documents the contributions of development partners such as GIZ, EU, the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), UNDP, UK and Norwegian governments, Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA), Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), which has been providing financial support to ECONEC since its inception in 2008.
Things Fall Apart, the first novel written by late Nigerian literary icon, Chinua Achebe, has made the list of 12 "Greatest Books Ever Written" compiled by Encyclopedia Britannica.
According to the compilation written by John Pecoraro, the book, which now exists in 57 translations across the world, is one of the greatest ever written novels on the website of Encyclopedia Britannica in recent times.
Things Fall Apart, often considered Achebe's best, is the most widely read book in modern African literature.
Other novels that made the list include; "Anna Karenina," by Leo Tolstoy, "To Kill a Mockingbird," by Harper Lee, "The Great Gatsby," by F. Scott Fitzgerald and "One Hundred Years of Solitu by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Others are "A Passage to India," by E.M. Forster, "Invisible Man," by Ralph Ellison, "Don Quixote," by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, "Beloved," by Toni Morrison, "Mrs. Dalloway," by Virginia Woolf, "Jane Eyre," by Charlotte Bronte and "The Color Purple," by Alice Walker.
The honour comes months after the 60th anniversary of the publication of the novel and the release of a new edition of the classic novel with cover artwork by Nigerian artist, Victor Ekpuk.
Lilongwe — One of the country's renowned nongovernmental organizations, Girls Empowerment Network (GENET) is on a rare mission of empowering girls in schools in order for them to achieve their goals.
Speaking in an interview with the Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Friday, GENET Programs Officer, Twambilile Kayuni said many girls in schools in the country face various challenges which interrupt them to go further with their education.
"In schools girls are the most vulnerable that face more problems which leads them to drop out; these problems include but are not limited to sexual abuses and lack of learning materials," said Kayuni.
She added that GENET has established clubs known as 'Ant Sexual Gender Based Violence' in 35 primary schools in the areas of Traditional Authority Kayembe and Chakhaza in Dowa district aimed at protecting girls against sexual gender based violence.
She said GENET has managed to drill 55 male and female teachers from Traditional Authorities Chakhaza and Kayembe as matrons and patrons of the ant sexual gender based violence clubs.
Kayuni said the teachers have been imparted with ant sexual gender based violence, child protection and case management strategies in order to assist in solving issues of sexual gender based violence and other related cases in schools.
She said the teachers have also been equipped with roles and policies of safeguarding rights of girls and their education.
According to Kayuni their organization believes in working with teachers saying that teachers spend more time with students.
"As GENET we believe in involving teachers in our various projects as teachers spend over 80 percent of their everyday time with pupils," the GENET Programs Officer explained.
Kayuni also said as GENET in conjunction with OXFAM Malawi they are also working with chiefs, parents and community mother groups in order to eradicate early marriages in communities and promote girls' education.
She said the main focus of GENET is to amplify the voice of the girls in order to claim and defend their rights by forming girl's networks which she said promote girls rights in schools and communities.
Currently the organization has introduced different projects in Dowa, Phalombe and Nkhata Bay which include; Improved girls access to Sexual reproductive health information, Girls not brides, Marriage not child's play and The enabling girls to challenge gender based violence project.
GENET projects are being fully funded by COMIC Relief through OXFAM Malawi as a lead partner, according to Kayuni.
"We must confess we allowed patriarchy to oppress you," president of the ANC Women's League Bathabile Dlamini said at the state funeral of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
"We allowed the media and apartheid imperialism to define who you are," she said during her speech at the service at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday.
"Today women don't have their own history and struggle credentials," said Dlamini.
She said women are either referred to as someone's wife or as someone's ex-wife.
In the run-up to last year's ANC elective conference, Dlamini campaigned for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and the Women's League decried the descriptions of Dlamini-Zuma in terms of being former president Jacob Zuma's ex-wife.
"uMama Winnie did not set herself apart from the people," Dlamini said.
"uMama Winnie was a true icon."
She said young women must aspire to be president of this country.
"We will never stop calling for a woman president until we have a woman president!" she said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa with Zenani Mandela-Dlamini and Zindzi Mandela at Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's funeral in Orlando Stadium on Saturday. (GCIS)
After her Sipho Hotstix Mabuse performed, and then ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe took to the podium, even though he wasn't on the initial programme released on Friday.
He said the ANC leaders were told not to use funerals for political statements.
"It's for mourning," he said.
He said the funeral was a "celebratory send-off of a great leader of the ANC".
"We are sending off a leader of the people," Mantashe said.
"We are sending off a friend of the working class.
"The spirit of Mama Winnie must unite the ANC," he said.
He added that with the "new dawn" - a phrase associated with President Cyril Ramaphosa's presidency - the ANC will be united.
"Comrade Winnie's spirit must continue to be omnipresent."
Mantashe was followed by British supermodel Naomi Campbell, who said she first met Madikizela-Mandela and Nelson Mandela in New York in 1990.
She said she was "rightly the mother of this nation", but she was much more than that.
"She was a heroine, of a whole continent, a courageous symbol of resistance for all of us. She was the eyes and ears of the world during those dark days," she said.
"Without her, we wouldn't know anything of grandpa's [Nelson Mandela] struggles, and what he was going through.
"She was always striving for equality, and to keep South Africa at the forefront of people's thoughts."
Denis Sassou Nguesso, president of the Republic of Congo, said his country had lost a model and source of inspiration.
"The unforgettable image of her fighting for freedom and human dignity will remain in our hearts," he said.
Namibian president Hage Geingob greeted the mourners with a cry of "Amandla!".
"What distinguished her from her peers [is] that Comrade Winnie never elevated her[self] above the people," he said.
"She remained rooted to the people of South Africa."
Khartoum — The Secretary-General of the Council of African Political Parties (CAPP), DR Nafie Ali Nafie has underscored that CAPP is assured of capabilities and creation of women in Africa as well as in their effective roles in achievement of development of the continent and well-being of its people.
He called , while he was addressing meeting of Executive Office of CAPP' Women Wing at Communication Tower in Khartoum, Saturday, the Office to work for attaining major achievements in Africa , saying it falls on your shoulder task of empowerment of African women politically and economically.
Dr Nafie pointed out that the CAPP has given concern to political development inside the member parties by calling for boosting values of freedom, democracy, integrity and transparency in addition to building f independent partisan institutions.
He unveiled that the CAPP has decided to form a coordinating body in each region of the five African regions to be an effective instruments in achievement of the Council through boosting the joint work between the African political parties , and directing efforts towards attainment of the continent's major goals propounded by AU.
Deputy Chairperson of CAPP's Women Wing , for her part, said the CAPP Women Wing represents voice of African women , calling for taking steps for assisting women to carry out their roles towards the continent.
Many girls routinely skip up to a week of school every month because they don't have sanitary pads.
MOST Zimbabwean women are now using contraceptives to avert their menstrual cycle due to prohibitive charges for sanitary wear, an MP has revealed.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women and Youth Affairs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said regular access to sanitary wear remains a challenge to most local women and young girls.
“There is policy discord; hospital officials are saying they are giving contraceptives for free, yet women are telling us that they are buying them at the hospitals,” said Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
She was speaking on the side-lines of a public hearing on effects of hormonal contraceptives on women in hospitals in Zvishavane.
“There is an issue that is of concern to us; I came across young girls who said they are using contraceptives so that they do not experience their menstrual cycle because it is expensive to buy sanitary wear.”
The firebrand politician has been lobbying government to provide free sanitary wear to women and young girls countrywide.
She said while there was no clarity on government`s part on the issuance of contraceptives to underage girls there was a need for a look into the issue as some girls are indulging in sex.
“There is no clarity on at what point should we issue contraceptives to young girls. I think if a child is already sexually active it is ridiculous not to give them contraceptives,” she opined.
“If someone knows they are having sex the best way is to give them contraceptives.”
The issue of giving girls contraceptives has divided opinion with some parents insisting that school going children should not be given contraceptives while others are in support of the initiative.
-Says its intervention has helped to reduce court dockets
The Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL) said it has resolved 545 cases through mediation.
The Association's president Attorney Vivian D. Neal made the disclosure over the weekend in Bentol City, Montserrado County, at the start of a two-day retreat and mediation training of female lawyers, indicating that they achieved success in covering the period of 2016-2017.
According to Atty. Neal, based on the work members of AFELL have done over the years, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) jointly provided a grant to the Association, to undertake series of cases for women, children and indigents in need of legal redress.
"Our members are encouraged to come to the office to assist with some of the mediation and legal representations in court," Atty. Neal added.
Atty. Neal makes remark at the retreat
She added that through the European Union, AFELL is seeking speedy trial for pre-trial detainees, including women and youth, particularly in Nimba, Bong and Lofa counties.
AFELL is also spreading awareness on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in those counties.
Additionally, Atty. Neal said between January and September, 2017, statistics recorded a total of 892 SGBV cases.
Of that number, 506 are raped cases, while 475 included minors.
"The public look to us as one of the leading organizations in the fight to minimize this unwholesome practice or bring it to an end, because our practice behooves us to help find remedy to those problems," Neal said.
The Bentol City retreat intends to review and reassess AFELL's mandate so as to chart a new course in the future.
Liberia's former Chief Justice, Francis Johnson Morris challenged her colleagues not to be complacent, but to tap on the gains they have made over the years.
Jamel Liverpool and Cllr. Abla G. Williams presented papers on issues surrounding mediation.
A recent study commissioned by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) reveals that Ethiopian women have continued to be misrepresented in the manufacturing sector in Ethiopia.
The study entitled 'Women in the Manufacturing Sector' and covers seven priority manufacturing sub-sectors, stated that the participation of women in the labour market has grown and reached 77.8pc by 2015.
However, 36pc of them are working in the informal sector. The overall participation of women in the large and medium manufacturing sectors is still low standing at 33.3pc. Only 15pc of the labour force is in the finishing stage.
From the overall estimate, the study shows that the average ownership of women in large and medium-size manufacturing firms is about 16pc.
A powerful international coalition of civil society organisations launches a new campaign in London today to fight back against the threatened resurgence of malaria.
The organisations will hold "Malaria Summit London 2018" ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to announce investments totalling more than U.S. $3.8 billion in the fight to eliminate the scourge.
They will urge the the leaders of the 52 nations of the Commonwealth - which although comprising a third of the world's people, account for half of malaria cases and deaths - to cut in half the number of cases in five years.
The organisations say in a news release that in 2016, for the first time in a decade, "the number of malaria cases in the world was on the rise and in some areas there is a resurgence."
Bill Gates, co-chair of the foundation which bears his and his wife's name, and Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, are scheduled to speak at the summit.
"History has shown that with malaria there is no standing still," Gates said in a statement ahead of the summit. "We move forward or we risk resurgence."
Malaria is "preventable, treatable and ultimately beatable," he added, "but progress against malaria is not inevitable."
One of the reasons malaria threatens to return and spread is that the mosquito and the malaria parasite are developing resistance to the interventions used to fight them.
"This has been compounded by a plateau in global funding for malaria since 2010, climate change, which intensifies incidences of malaria, and acute malaria outbreaks found in areas of crisis, war and conflict," say the summit organisers.
They add that at the summit, government leaders, business and philanthropic and international organisations will together pledge support "to drive innovation, cutting-edge research, better data and increased access to life-saving malaria interventions."
"Collective action would prevent 350 million cases of malaria and save 650,000 lives across the Commonwealth."
"Thousands of scientists from more than 70 countries... will gather to share the latest research in the fight against malaria and discuss best practices moving forward to end the epidemic for good," said the organisers of the London summit, ahead of that gathering.
The London summit will also be co-hosted by the governments of Rwanda, Swaziland and Britain.
For full details of what can be expected at the summit, see the organisers' press release.
- Collective action would prevent 350 million cases of malaria and save 650,000 lives across the Commonwealth.
- Leaders from donor and malaria-affected country governments, business, philanthropy and international organisations will come together in London today to reignite efforts to beat malaria: pledging investment worth over £2.7 billion ($3.8 billion) alongside high level political support to drive innovation, cutting edge research, better data and increased access to life-saving malaria interventions.
- HRH The Prince of Wales will join Heads of State and Government expected from 15 Commonwealth countries, Bill Gates and special guests speaking at the Malaria Summit London 2018.
Today, the global malaria community will urge Commonwealth leaders to make a game-changing commitment to halve malaria across the Commonwealth within the next five years. This would prevent 350 million cases of malaria and save 650,000 lives, predominately children and pregnant women who are most at risk.
This call will be made by leaders attending the Malaria Summit London 2018, co-hosted by the governments of Rwanda, Swaziland and the United Kingdom. This global Summit takes place on the eve of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) as the Commonwealth and its citizens are disproportionally affected by malaria – accounting for more than half of all global cases and deaths, but just one third of the world's population. The call for leaders to be Ready to Beat Malaria at the Malaria Summit today is expected to profile significant commitments from governments, businesses and philanthropists ready to catalyse progress towards a goal of halving malaria.
The Malaria Summit is being held to galvanise renewed action on the disease as progress has stalled. In 2016, for the first time in a decade, the number of malaria cases in the world was on the rise and in some areas there is a resurgence, according to the World Health Organization. Malaria is fighting back as the mosquito and the parasite develop resistance to the interventions we use to fight them. This has been compounded by a plateau in global funding for malaria since 2010, climate change, which intensifies incidences of malaria, and acute malaria outbreaks found in areas of crisis, war and conflict.
To accelerate the fight against this disease there needs to be better deployment of existing tools and development of new and innovative solutions. Today's commitments focus on three important areas to fight resurgence of the disease.
INCREASED FUNDING AND POLITICAL LEADERSHIP
Renewed commitments to accelerate progress against this disease will include:
- The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria - which uses co-financing mechanisms to help incentivize and increase investment from both donors and malaria-affected countries to scale up the malaria response – will announce commitments totalling $2 billion from 46 countries affected by malaria between 2018-20.
- The UK Government has re-affirmed its commitment to spend £500 million a year on malaria through to 2020-21. As part of this, the UK announced a further £100 million match fund commitment to the Global Fund to match new contributions from private donors pound for pound. The UK also announced a new malaria programme in Nigeria worth £50 million which will run until 2024 and £9.2 million of new research funds to develop new triple artemisinin combination treatments.
- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will extend its investments in malaria by an additional $1 billion (£700 million) through to 2023 to fund R&D efforts and to reduce the burden of the disease towards ending malaria for good. As part of the announcement, the Gates Foundation also pledged £50 million in matching funds against the UK's £100 million commitment to the Global Fund announced by Prime Minister May yesterday.
- Uganda committed to establish a dedicated malaria fund - the Presidential Malaria Fund Uganda (PMFU) - to help mobilize additional resources of $785 million by 2020 to accelerate national progress against malaria.
- United Nations Foundation's Nothing But Nets campaign will commit to raise and provide UN partners with at least $5 million by the end of 2020 to help protect the most vulnerable populations from malaria including refugees, internally displaced persons and marginalised indigenous communities.
Our most effective tools (nets, sprays and treatments) in the fight against malaria are under threat from drug and insecticide resistance. The malaria parasite and the mosquitoes that carry it are evolving resistance to existing interventions - malaria is fighting back. The Malaria Summit will call for new tools to stay ahead of the disease, announcing commitments to invest in future innovations including:
- GSK is committing to invest a further £175 million in its R&D efforts against malaria, including toward delivering a new single dose treatment for relapsing malaria and piloting implementation of the world's first malaria vaccine; they anticipate these new interventions – delivered on a not-for-profit basis - will reach over 3 million people by 2025.
- Novartis will invest more than $100 million through 2023 to advance research and development of next-generation treatments to combat emerging anti-malarial drug resistance including global clinical trials for its two new malaria drug candidates.
- Five crop protection companies, BASF, Bayer, Mitsui Chemicals, Sumitomo Chemical Company & Syngenta, will launch ZERO by 40, a joint initiative supported by IVCC and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to accelerate development of innovative vector control tools and extend their commitments to help end malaria for good.
BETTER DATA DRIVEN SOLUTIONS
Knowing where and when to target malaria interventions is critical to accelerate progress and help prevent resurgence. Commitments will include:
- The Visualize No Malaria Initiative, backed by eight leading technology companies, are committing $2.6 million in cash and in-kind resources to expand its work in Southern Africa, enabling timely visual analytics for country-level officials and health workers to support malaria elimination planning and response.
- The African Leaders Malaria Alliance and the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance will promote regional and national malaria progress tracking mechanisms, allowing leaders to easily see and respond to progress and challenges.
Other significant pledges expected to feature at the Malaria Summit include commitments from a number of Commonwealth Heads of State and Government, private sector partners as well as international organisations and civil society partners determined to reignite the fight to end malaria for good.
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, co-hosts of the Malaria Summit said:
"The UK is a proud leader in the fight against malaria, which has seen deaths cut by 60% and saved 7 million lives since 2000. We have made a major contribution to that progress, including investing £500m each year over the next three years, developing new drugs and technologies and making life-saving solutions available to millions at risk from malaria.
"But the job is not yet done. Today there are millions still at risk, economies held back and a child's life needlessly taken every 2 minutes from this disease. This is why I am championing a new Commonwealth commitment to halve malaria across member countries by 2023.
"The UK, working in partnership across the Commonwealth and beyond, is committing to sustaining its leadership and investment in tackling malaria. We will support and incentivise others to invest in what is needed, from cutting edge research to ensuring access to malaria treatment and prevention for those most at risk."
Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation who are co-convening the Malaria Summit, said:
"History has shown that with malaria there is no standing still – we move forward or risk resurgence. The commitments made today, from the UK, country leadership and the private sector, show that the world is ready to beat malaria. It's a disease that is preventable, treatable and ultimately beatable, but progress against malaria is not inevitable. We hope today marks a turning point against the disease, and that the Commonwealth takes a leading role in saving lives and ending malaria for good."
Dr Winnie Mpanju-Shumbusho, Board Chair, RBM Partnership to End Malaria comments:
"People living in Commonwealth countries are on the frontlines of the fight against malaria, a disease that sucks the lifeblood out of communities and economies, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Strong leadership and investment within malaria affected countries is fundamental.
A commitment by leaders to halve malaria in the Commonwealth would help drive dramatic progress in the next five years, putting the world back on track to end malaria for good. We hope today's Malaria Summit will mark the start of this new movement and pave the way towards ending history's oldest and deadliest killer and save millions from this preventable disease."
James Whiting, Executive Director of Malaria No More UK who are the Summit organisers, said:
"It's exciting to see the UK and the Commonwealth stepping up. It's now time for the rest of the world to do the same. The coming together of governments, the private sector, philanthropists and NGOs demonstrates the determination to beat malaria."
Seventy days before CHOGM, David Beckham launched a public facing global campaign - Malaria Must Die, So Millions Will Live - backed by a wide coalition of organisations and celebrities, to help build a public mandate for renewed global and collective Commonwealth action to prioritise the fight against malaria, or risk undoing decades of unprecedented progress.
Running in parallel with CHOGM 2018 and the Malaria Summit, the 7th Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Pan African Malaria Conference will also be taking place this week in Dakar, Senegal. Thousands of scientists from more than 70 countries around the globe will gather to share the latest research in the fight against malaria and discuss best practices moving forward to end the epidemic for good.
More than 445,000 people die every year, mostly pregnant women and children under five. Malaria is the world's oldest disease and today half the world's population is still at risk from malaria – a child dies every two minutes. It is a preventable disease that costs less than $1 to treat. Some 90% of the Commonwealth population live in malaria affected countries.
Fifteen Heads of State and Government from across the Commonwealth are due to attend the Malaria Summit together with senior ministerial attendance and leaders from the world of business, science, civil society and international organisations.
Co-Convenors of the Malaria Summit
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. www.gatesfoundation.org / @gatesfoundation
The RBM Partnership to End Malaria is the global platform for coordinated action against malaria. It mobilizes for action and resources and forges consensus among partners. The Partnership is comprised of more than 500 partners, including malaria endemic countries, their bilateral and multilateral development partners, the private sector, non-governmental and community-based organizations, foundations, and research and academic institutions. www.rollbackmalaria.com / @RollBackMalaria
Malaria Summit Organisers:
Malaria No More UK. A UK based charity determined to end malaria by inspiring the global public, businesses and governments to fight for a malaria-free world. www.malarianomore.org.uk / @malarianomoreuk
The Malaria Summit has been made possible thanks to the support of the following sponsoring partners Abbott, Fever-Tree, JC Flowers Foundation, Goodbye Malaria, GSK, MMV, Nando's, Novartis, Sanofi, Sumitomo Chemical, Vestergaard.
Malaria Must Die is a global campaign backed by a wide coalition of organisations and celebrities, who are calling upon leaders to prioritise the fight against malaria, or risk undoing decades of unprecedented progress. (Malaria No More UK is convening the campaign on behalf of the global malaria community). www.malariamustdie.com / #MalariaMustDie
Some African countries have recorded democratic victories in the past 12 months. Ethiopia has a new leader whose ascent holds great promise for change, despite the country's problematic 2015 election. Liberia and Sierra Leone have new leaders.
But elsewhere on the continent, leaders continue to disregard their countries' own constitutions and laws governing presidential tenure. The Democratic Republic of Congo's Joseph Kabila has been in power since 2001. He refuses to go even though he was meant to step down in December 2016. In Uganda, Yoweri Museveni has clung to power since 1986. Denis Sassou Nguesso has ruled Congo for almost 30 years.
Their refusal to step down at the appointed time flies in the face of several governance blueprints adopted as African countries shifted away from liberation politics to the new post independence struggle for democracy in the early 2000s.
The Organisation of African Unity was transformed into the African Union in 2001 with this shift in mind. The continent adopted progressive governance tools like the African Peer Review Mechanism. This was spearheaded by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and South Africa's Thabo Mbeki as a tool for African countries to review one another's performance.
Numerous African countries adopted and agreed to uphold the terms of the African Union Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. It came into force in 2012 and was designed to guard against undemocratic governance.
These plans promised a great deal. They were designed to usher in good governance, democracy and security. It was hoped Africa's image as a continent of ignorance, poverty, disease, misrule and corruption could be erased.
The rhetoric pointed in the right direction. But not all African leaders were willing to be swept by this wave of democratic reforms. Some are quite simply addicted to power, as shown by their reluctance - if not outright resistance - to leave at the end of their legal terms.
Leaders continuing to overstay their welcome undermines Africa's attempts at overhauling its leadership and negates the noble intentions of the AU's founders.
Term limits regulate leadership succession. They are meant to counteract leaders' temptation to overstay their welcome. This helps to consolidate and legitimise democratically elected leadership.
Of course, they're not enough. Regular transfer of power as seen in countries like Mauritius, Ghana, Botswana and Zambia, among others, cannot guarantee political and socio-economic stability. Other ingredients such as accountable, legitimate leadership are critical.
But regular transfers of power give citizens hope that new policies, programmes and approaches will be adopted by the new leadership. In turn, this could overturn numerous political, social, economic impacts of uninterrupted strangleholds on power in Africa.
The benefits of frequent power transfers are evident in African countries that have them, such as Senegal; Botswana and Mauritius. Incumbents are kept on their toes because there's a real chance they can be removed from power if they fail to govern properly.
Term limits have recently become controversial and divisive. Some leaders have used dubious constitutional amendments to extend their stay in power. Usually, governing parties and their leaders almost exclusively pass such amendments with minimal or no opposition participation. That's what happened in Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Congo Republic.
Similarly, despite constitutional provisions and regular elections, countries such as Angola, Togo, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea are virtually de facto one party or one leader repressive states wherein resignation, retirement and term limits are meaningless.
Leaders have different reasons for refusing to leave office. In some countries, the answer lies in a lack of succession planning to transfer power. In others, leaders blatantly refuse to resign because of their despotic and kleptocratic tendencies. They abuse their states' minerals, oil and money with their families and friends. Stepping aside would cost them these "benefits".
For instance, the eventual departure of Angola's Eduardo Dos Santos from office after decades in power has left his family exposed. His children stand accused of amassing billions during their father's many terms.
Without strong constitutional safeguards and a democratic culture to counter the negative consequences of the "sins of incumbency" - as corruption associated with state power is often described by South Africa's governing party, the African National Congress - can be menacing. It breeds "Big Men, Little People", to borrow a phrase from the title of a book by journalist Alec Russel.
Weaning leaders off power addiction
Perceptive leaders know when to leave office, whether through resignation or retirement. Botswana's past and current presidents have established this practice despite the country's continued one-party domination.
With the emergence of a strong democratic culture, South Africa has experienced the opposite of such presidential power mongering. Two presidents were recalled by their political party the ANC, albeit for different reasons. Thabo Mbeki readily accepted his fate when he was told to pack up and go, although he was not accused of any specific wrong doing. Jacob Zuma remained defiant and only stepped aside when faced with the very real prospect of a vote of no-confidence.
African voters are not blameless. They habitually relax their vigilance on leaders and fail to hold them to account after elections. This, coupled with winner-take-all election systems, renders some African countries vulnerable to autocratic, despotic and non-accountable leaders who would rather die in office than leave.
What, then, is the solution? It may be time for ordinary voters across the continent to begin to collaborate through non-governmental organisations and other cross-border institutional mechanisms to share experiences and begin to enforce durable continental democracy. Africa needs democracy from below.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of children die gasping for air. This could help change that.
A minuscule fist has escaped, startled, from under the pink blanket. Damaris Atienogingerly reaches into the clear plastic crib for her baby, whose head is dwarfed in a red knitted hat.
"She doesn't have a name yet," says Atieno, looking overwhelmed slightly in the way mothers of newborn babies often do. For the young woman, who comes from a remote farming area of Kenya, the hospital surroundings are unfamiliar, and the array of machines and pipes is bewildering.
Two prongs are inserted in her baby's tiny nostrils, and an oxygen tube covers part of her face. She needs it to breathe.
The baby weighed only 1.6kg when she was born six days ago. Atieno was 10 weeks shy of her due date when she went into labour. She was rushed to the Siaya County Referral Hospital in western Kenya.
This is the only reason the very premature baby is alive: here she had access to oxygen therapy.
"We can save the lives of preterm babies who can't breathe normally," explains Gladys Odembo, the nurse in charge of the neonatal unit. "This is because oxygen is at arm's reach."
Over the past 60 years, Oxygen has probably become the single most common medicinal product given to newborn preterm babies, according to a 2007 article published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal.
Why? Because the earlier babies are born, the less prepared their bodies are for the outside world, the World Health Organisation (WHO) explains on its website.
They may have difficulty breathing because the lungs may not be fully developed and can lack surfactant - a substance that allows the lungs to expand. A lack of oxygen can have lasting impacts for children, including, for instance, developmental delays, learning difficulties and in some cases cerebral palsy, a disorder that affects a child's movement, muscle tone or posture, according to the American medical research organisation Mayo Clinic.
Odembo checks the pulse oximeter on the baby's tiny wrist. The device measures the oxygen saturation of the blood.
With a satisfied smile, she says: "She has gained weight and is doing well."
Oxygen has likely become the single most common medicinal product given to newborn preterm babies. (Claudia Daut, Reuters)
In Europe and the United States, most hospitals make oxygen onsite. But in Africa, less than half of health facilities have reliable access to medical-grade oxygen, the WHO estimates. A 2010 survey found that only 44% of facilities in 12 African countries said they had access to oxygen on a continuous basis.
Outside of central hospitals, health facilities often don't have the money or technology to buy oxygen and health workers don't know how to use it, writes Bernard Olayo, a Kenyan public health specialist, in a blog published in The Lancet in 2017. He describes a rural health centre in western Kenya, 50km from the nearest hospital that has oxygen, where staff "used to send two or three children with severe pneumonia on the long journey to the referral hospital each day. Many died before reaching these better-equipped facilities."
Although oxygen has been on the WHO's essential medicines list for more than 30 years, it was only recommended as a must-have for procedures requiring general anaesthesia.
Updated every two years, the document outlines drugs that global experts think are crucial for any health system and helps guide national drug procurement policies around the world.
Medical experts and the international non-profit health organisation PATH have long argued that oxygen is essential to save the lives of the most vulnerable patients, including newborns and children.
More than one in 10 deaths among children under five are caused by the respiratory infection pneumonia, show WHO 2015 statistics. Globally, the condition remains the single largest infectious cause of death in children worldwide.
"Many cases of pneumonia are easily treated through affordable medicines, such as antibiotics," explains Bonnie Keith, senior policy and programme officer at PATH, in a 2016 blog on the organisation's website.
"However, by the time many children in low- and middle-income countries reach a health facility and are diagnosed, their pneumonia is severe, and antibiotics may not be enough. At this stage, children may be hypoxic and struggling to breathe, requiring swift oxygen treatment."
Hypoxaemia develops when a person's blood oxygen levels are very low and the condition, Keith writes, can be fatal if untreated. But oxygen therapy can reduce childhood pneumonia deaths by at least a third in rural hospitals in developing countries, studies show.
After a global campaign led by PATH, the WHO included oxygen as an essential medicine for patients - especially children - with hypoxaemia in its latest list.
Olayo writes this is a life-changing decision but warns this means developing countries will have to find ways to provide oxygen at rural health clinics. In most resource-scarce countries, the gas is supplied mainly using pressurised cylinders that are often moved from bed to bed as needed. These canisters are filled at oxygen-generating plants and then transported long distances on bad roads. Poor transport infrastructure and weak, and often expensive, supply chain processes lead to shortages of oxygen canisters, he notes.
"Hospitals in developed countries have wall outlets supplied with liquid oxygen from frozen storage tanks," Olayo explains. "We cannot simply take technologies from Europe or the United States and apply them without thought."
Hundreds of infants die each year gasping for air. Now, many won't have to. (Claudia Daut, Reuters)
For years Siaya County Referral Hospital, like most other rural health centres in Kenya, couldn't afford to give its patients oxygen. It would buy four cylinders a week, each costing 4 800 Kenyan shillings (US$48), says Andrew Hongo, the facility's health administrative officer.
The hospital had to pay to have these canisters transported from Kisumu, the main town in the region, after buying them from a Nairobi-based company nearly 500km away. This meant that patients often had to wait for hours - even in emergencies - or go without it.
Here, as in most of East Africa, the supply of oxygen has mainly been in the hands of the private sector.
But four years ago an oxygen plant was opened at the referral hospital. Since then the facility has never had an oxygen stock-out but it now also provides the life-saving gas to 68 more health facilities in seven counties - an area with more than six million people.
Called Hewa Tele - Kiswahili for "abundant air" - the project was the brainchild of Olayo, who started the nonprofit health organisation Centre for Public Health (CPHD). The programme not only provides the oxygen, Adudans says, but also vital training for health workers to use the oxygen safety. Just as important, Hewa Tele also distributes and maintains the equipment needed to administer the oxygen.
To keep costs low and to make sure the programme is sustainable, the CPHD got the public sector involved. This is the first public-private partnership providing medical oxygen in Kenya, CPHD Director Steve Adudans says.
Now, the county pays the salaries of the five workers running the plant and provides the premises free of charge. Meanwhile, being able to run the oxygen plant from hospital grounds cut out transport costs, Adudans explains.
As part of an agreement with Hewa Tele, the hospital pays half price for oxygen in exchange for hosting the plant. Other facilities are charged 3 200 Kenya Shillings (US$ 32) per cylinder.
The project also receives funding from the philanthropic arm of the US power and manufacturing company General Electric as well as technical help from the charity Assist International.
There has been so much interest in the Hewa Tele model that global firm Frog Design is working on business plans to make sure the project can be replicated elsewhere. Meanwhile, more plants have been built in neighbouring counties and Rwanda has also implemented the project.
Oxygen. You may take it for granted, but for "preemie" babies, it can be a matter of life or death. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins, Reuters)
At the Siaya County Referral Hospital all the wards now have oxygen, says nurse Florence Matagaro, while discharging an asthma patient. "This has reduced congestion. We used to put all the patients who needed oxygen in one ward that had oxygen cylinders. Now we don't have to push the cylinders around or waste time looking for them."
The impact of the oxygen supply here is still being assessed but deputy county director of health Bob Awino insists that the "availability of oxygen has reduced pneumonia-related fatalities and the time patients stay in hospitals".
Damaris Atieno, the mother of the preterm baby, doesn't know how long she will have to stay in hospital. Nurses have explained that the infant may also be able to get oxygen therapy at home once she is strong enough to be discharged. When that happens, her mother will be given a pulse oximeter and shown how to use it.
The prospect is daunting, but Atieno has come to trust the nurses' judgement.
"They were the ones who told me she needed oxygen," the young mother says. She frowns and tucks on her faded green hospital gown. "Thank God she is alive."
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Napier — Rarely has the press been as powerful as it is today. Thanks to the advent of social media, the use of which has grown exponentially, the combination of the formal press, newspapers, television and radio is now strengthened, and itself even kept in check by social media. Jo and Joanne citizen have found a voice, not infrequently with the power of a political and social tsunami.
What does this mean for the greater good? Is this helpful to governments to have so much feedback, so quickly?
The role of global policeman has changed from one powerful government or several governments to what used to be called the Fourth Estate, the press frequently on the back of social media.
In many developed and developing countries public opinion has rarely been so vocal, gone are the days of the so called silent masses.
From the Arab spring to the near independence of Catalonia, the plight of Rohingha refugees to name just a few, the negative effects of climate change, the driving force has been the voices of ordinary people, fleshed out by effectively 24-hour analysis by news agencies, newspapers, blogs and just about anyone with access to the internet.
This new role of public opinion is weighty, often meaning that the weight of opinion can condemn before due process has had a chance to examine both sides of an argument.
At this point it is up to the media to step in and to try to analyse with some objectivity the groundswell from so many voices pronouncing on an event or events. It means that only the most determined governments, those determined to censor or limit both traditional and social media, can make laws without the huge onslaught of public opinion holding sway.
That said, the latest scandal that has hit social media giant Facebook and the abuse of data provided by users, whether voluntary or involuntary, means that the integrity of social media platforms is now heavily in question.
On the other hand, the formal media come into their own at this point as newspaper, TV and radio revel in a blow by blow analysis of the problems facing the governance and security of social media, thus the press versus the informal press creates a degree of self regulation.
Facebook is now obligated by the US and other governments to provide more security to users. Thus even the social media has its own checks and balances. Whether they will be sufficient to self-regulate in the future will depend on how vigilant users are themselves and the ethics of the platform administrators, owners and big business which through advertising keeps social media alive.
The fact remains that despite actual and potential abuses of press freedom to influence voters and the public in general or governments to change policies or address issues, we have effectively gone too far to turn back.
More to the point, with political parties everywhere dependent on their ability to influence voters through their appeal to the media and more lately social media, or for that matter, the public to lobby governments and or the private sector to raise awareness about anything from politics to environmental, social and health issues, we rely on the media to convey information, whether the traditional media or social media platforms.
The real issue is whether or not the media at large has sufficient ability to self-regulate or has it already spiralled out of control in terms of influencing opinion, be it about the evils of unlimited plastic consumption or mass migration, to bringing down governments and major private interests.
We need the media to raise awareness to help governments create, regulate and enforce laws but we also need to ensure that uninformed opinion does not dominate and cause as much if not more harm than is already possible at the government level.
If we limit the power of social media, we are limiting citizens' rights to make their voices heard and yet in all things a degree of control is needed. Can we therefore trust those who would undertake such controls not to go too far so that social media, as has happened with the traditional media, is not used as a weapon in itself. This is the dilemma that Facebook is confronting, the outcome of that debate will be the ultimate litmus test for scial media, and in a sense for traditional media as well.
There would be passion from ordinary Gambians to watch the 2018 World Cup. Not that the country qualified for the global soccer event, in fact far from it, but because one of their own, in the shape of Bakary Papa Gassama, will be out there hitting the big times.
St Petersburg will be the place. With two months until the jamboree, locals are already itching for it and cannot wait. The juice of this news was brought home to many after FIFA named Gassama as one of six referees picked from Africa for the World Cup, last Thursday.
Though the announcement came as moment of excitement to Gambians, it was, however, expected. Potential referees are assessed through intensive procedural means and Gassama, being the continent's best in the game the last thirty-six months, merited his inclusion.
By this, he set yet another tall order benchmark -the first ever Gambian to not only be assigned to take charge of a World Cup game but to appear in it on two consecutive occasions. His debut appearance was four years ago in the event hosted by Brazil.
Hailing from a West African nation rarely a footballing hot bed, the 39-year-old is an ambassador from our part of the continent.
Climbing to relevance
Fifteen years ago, he wasn't any close to getting the adulations thrown at him today.
Starting out as a constable in Gambia's Police Department, Bakary wasn't dreaming of the illustrious career he has this moment, when he first took up the whistle. A player for his local hometown team, his journey teed off when he was called to oversee an impromptu nawettan qualifier game. Relying only on his rather too basic knowledge of the offside rules and fouls, he mustered the courage to take up the challenge. Such games are symptomatic with controversy with chances of getting bullied by losing team's angry fans at end of matches, high. Unfazed, he marshalled proceedings and the result was praises being lavished at him by both teams for his impressive showing. Emboldened by this thrill, soon it became not only an ambition to become of a referee but an obsession.
And under the reigns of ex-referee association's boss Lamin Camara, Papa's rapid rise in the art was apparent.
Four years into the formative years of his new trade, the police officer secured a FIFA referee badge in 2007. This set the motion buttons. An indication of trust and recognition of progression, with a FIFA badge, the Gambian glided into the big stages with almost relative ease, taking charge of Caf Confederation Cup, Champions League and CHAN qualifier encounters. As his displays earned rave reviews in caf referee assessment meetings, temptation to include him in the elite group of notable arbiters was obvious. It began with assignment to handle Caf Champions League first, second round matches then to the group stages. By January 2012, he'd won favour to officiate events in the Africa Cup of Nations namely the Gabon-Morocco and Zambia-Sudan clashes. The start of a breakthrough occurred seven months later having been tasked to oversee the Olympic Games particularly the Brazil-New Zealand showdown.
A year following this exploit, he was the undisputed choice to referee the Orange Caf Champions League second-leg final which had Egypt's Al Ahly and South Africa's Orlando Pirates slugging it out for the staked prize. Then the U-20 World Cup followed in June 2013 where he controlled two games before the Club World Cup December that year which Africa was hosting for the first time in Morocco.
In spite of his near impeccable records and for all FIFA's talk about Fair-Play, there was still that malice towards Africa's referees often overlooked in favour of their contemporaries from other continents. So, the fast-rising Gassama had to contend with the semis game between the Bayern Munich and China's Guangzhou Evergrande.
Still the 39-year-old's stock kept rising, morphing into a referee guru whose reputation for judicious rulings has no room for compromise.
At a flicker, aged 35, he'd turned out to be the man handling virtually all high profile Caf tournament finals, prompting FIFA to name him as one of referees for the 2014 summer World Cup in Rio, in the soccer governing body's slight loosening of its overly derided rules to accommodate arbiters from the black soil.
The preceding twelve months, brought better luck dose, as Bakary got appointed to his first Africa Cup of Nations final - a nerve-wracking showdown involving Ghana and Ivory Coast. Then came the Caf Glo-Awards where he scooped the Africa referee of year gong for the second time in a row, an accolade he will now probably keep for life following Ahmed Ahmed's decision to scrap the prize in this year's awards event.
Bribery allegations and of petitions that nearly ruined a legend's reputation
With an unblemished character in the game, the 39-year-old who enjoys watching wrestling at his leisure, has also had his fair share of antagonism.
There are no protagonists without villains and Pap cuts a classic example of that.
The first attempt to stain his persona spans back in 2012. He got mired in a furore he never helped stir. By conventional rules, referees are accorded three days of sabbatical however; a miscalculation by caf's referee committee had his reputation almost in tatters. Gassama was wrongly assigned to a TP Mazembe Champions League match when he'd featured in a Confederation Cup game two days before. The committee realised their howler, withdrawing the erstwhile policeman, naming a Senegalese as his replacement without a notice of explanation of the sudden alternations to the concerned clubs. The changes sparked a media frenzy amid a bout of speculation, mainly from the North African press, suggesting Papa's swift replacement was linked with bribes he allegedly accepted from cash-loaded Congolese champions Mazembe behind the scenes. The story did the rounds and Caf were forced to issue a statement fending off the allegations.
Then referee boss Lamin Camara supplemented, in the wake of the continental governing body's dispatch, telling Foroyaa Sport: 'I am hearing this around but it is not true. I have not heard from him (Papa) but I am sure it's not true. The boy is not that type.'
In 2016, a football-mad Algerian fan set up an online petition against the Gambian referee after taking umbrage at what he called the then 36-year-old's controversial ruling in a qualifier game between the Desert Foxes and Nigeria's Super Eagles.
The petition, contesting Obi Mikel's goal said to be from an offside position which Bakary allowed, attracted over hundred signatures. Video experts also weighed into the saga backing the complaint, recommending for Gassama's suspension from all Algeria's World Cup qualifier games.
However, nothing of substance came of the petition.
Gambia's football saga almost wrecked Gassama's World Cup hopes
Papa's plans to go to this year's Russia event would have hit the buffers had FIFA institute disciplinary action against Gambia which at worst would have taken the form of a suspension. The National Sports Council and Gambia Football Federation are caught up in a controversy with the latter intent on probing the Football House of a myriad of alleged vices. Of the charges they've levied against the federation include corruption, tax evasion amongst others - a move perceived as running foul of FIFA's uncompromising stance on third party interference in the administration of football.
FIFA's vice president Fatma Samoura jetted to Banjul to ensure the dispute is resolved. The Lausanne-based body gave out an ultimatum which calmed the tension before police entered into the equation.
A ban would mean tacit acceptance that Gassama's plans to officiate in this year's event are as good as over.
Pride of a nation
Certainly not a man out of his comfort zone when put on the big stage. He'll be flying Gambia's flag high where the country's footballers have failed.
Boasting over hundred international matches under his belt, he sure will be calling the shots come June. And by then, millions from across the world, would be glued to their televisions to watch him deliver rulings as well put to check egos of the sport's very best multi-millionaire footballers.
Papa's performances in Numberstatistics
Totals: Home Away Total
Penalties 12 2 14
Red 6 5 11
Yellow 118 155 273
Averages: Home Away Total
Penalties 0.12 0.02 0.14
Red 0.06 0.05 0.11
Yellow 1.18 1.55 2.73
based on 100 international matches
From left: IEBC commissioner Yakub Guliye, Chairman Wafula Chebukati, commissioner Boya Molu, and vice chair Consolata Nkatha Bucha Maina when they appeared before select committees of both Senate and National Assembly on the elections law amendments proceedings at Nairobi County Hall on October 5, 2017.
The Great Rift Valley Lodge was the unlikely setting last Friday for what could pass as the proverbial night of long knives for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
The Public Procurement Oversight Authority, backed by the Treasury, had organised a two-day procurement seminar for the electoral agency's staff, including its six commissioners, under a routine induction of state agencies on how to stem the huge losses the government was incurring through inflated or contested contracts leading to compensation claims.
When the official business was done, chairman Wafula Chebukati invited the five commissioners to a caucus on the crisis at the IEBC prompted by the forced leave of chief executive officer Ezra Chiloba.
This was the first time Mr Chebukati was coming face to face with his deputy Ms Connie Nkatha Maina, and commissioner Dr Paul Kurgat - who had both walked out of a meeting last week in which he and commissioners Prof Abdi Yakub Guliye and Boya Molu had voted to send Mr Chiloba on a three-month compulsory leave over 2017 election tenders.
The decision to send Mr Chiloba home was made on April 6, when Commissioner Margaret Mwachanya was in Dubai on official duty. Ms Nkatha and Dr Kurgat openly questioned Mr Chebukati's decision. In the view of one commissioner, the chat was to help heal the seething anger but this was not to be.
The room was all set: Mr Chebukati was furious that his decision had been questioned, Ms Nkatha and Dr Kurgat were agitated by the rushed decision while Ms Mwachanya was eager to be told why such a "weighty decision" had been made while she was away.
"There was raw anger. People were angry, and they all wanted answers. Every one of us said what we felt in a raw chat, not minuted, but very critical all the same. We all spoke, each saying what they felt," a commissioner said. Tantrums reigned and that was to be the last meeting the commissioners had together as Ms Nkatha's team resigned three days later on Monday.
Mr Chebukati, however, said the Naivasha meeting on April 13 was meant to give the resigning commissioners a chance to air their grievances. "They did not. They would also have introduced a motion to ask the commission chair to review the plenary decision," he said in a statement, insisting that sending Chiloba on leave was in line with his oath to protect public funds.
The chairman said the behaviour of those opposed to the action on Chiloba "demonstrates lack of capacity to lead in difficult times and accommodate divergent views."
After the meeting, Ms Nkatha drove to Nairobi, Mrs Mwachanya took a flight to Mombasa as Dr Kurgat headed to his Eldoret home. However, they had agreed on a common cause of action: consult with friends and family and compare notes later. This prompted the decision on Sunday to resign which was communicated on Monday.
"A lot of discussions went into this. We did an analysis of all we have gone through and I remember we read Proverbs 22: 1, about a good name being more desirable than riches," another commissioner said.
Ms Mwachanya was tasked with preparing a joint statement, which would be approved by the team before being read out to the media the next day at 10am. The invites were sent out to the media by a local public relations firm, which concealed its identity, only saying that some state officers will make a "major announcement."
The announcement was probably only rivalled by Dr Roselyn Akombe's resignation last year, 10 days to the controversial October 26 repeat election.
"Given the severe deterioration of confidence in the commission chair, we find our position as commissioners under his leadership no longer tenable. Consequently, we regret to announce our resignation from the commission with immediate effect," the commissioners said in their statement.
The intrigues of the last meeting came as the IEBC said that the security of Mr Chebukati, Prof Guliye and Mr Molu had been withdrawn.
"The withdrawal of security is likely to expose the chairman and the two commissioners to security risk. The action undermines their effectiveness in executing the work of the commission," said Mr Andrew Limo, IEBC's communications manager.
The obligation to provide security, over which Mr Limo said they had written to the Inspector-General, should be throughout the commissioners' tenure, and ceases only when the contract expires.
On Tuesday, sources in Parliament intimated that a petition to force the removal of Mr Chebukati, Prof Guliye, and Mr Molu was in the final stages of being drafted and was likely be tabled this week.
The grounds of the petition were a matter of conjecture but documents filed in court by Mr Chiloba to challenge his forced leave could feature prominently.
The petition was also likely to focus on the apparent gross misconduct and conflict of interest on the part of Mr Chebukati following revelations that Cootow and Associates, a firm he founded in 2006, represented the IEBC in at least six petitions.
National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale accused Mr Chebukati of failing to create synergy within the secretariat, the political parties, or even his commissioners. Now, he has no legal basis for a plenary or to give directions," Mr Duale told Citizen TV. He said that Parliament had set itself a 50-day deadline to "fix" the IEBC.
Reported by Patrick Lang'at, Samwel Owino and David Mwere
Former president Robert Mugabe and his family left the official presidential residences in a terrible state, with leaking roofs, broken flush handles and unkempt tennis courts, a private newspaper reported on Tuesday.
State House and Zimbabwe House, which face each other across a central Harare road, are now undergoing major renovations and Mugabe's successor Emmerson Mnangagwa is yet to move in, reports the private NewsDay.
'Things were a mess'
"State House was no longer State House when I got there. Things were in a mess that's what I can tell you," Douglas Tapfuma, director of state residences told the paper.
He would not say how much is being spent on renovating the two houses.
"We are not worried by the money. We just want to restore these houses to a state where they are a national pride. These are the houses that show the status of our nation and surely they should be maintained to those levels," he said.
Mugabes moved out years ago
State House is used for formal receptions, while Zimbabwe House is understood to be where the president lives. Mugabe moved out to his own private mansion around 12 years ago though he did still receive international visitors at State House.
NewsDay, quoting insiders, said at Zimbabwe House trees were growing out of the tennis courts and new ones will have to be built. It said even flush handles on toilets had been left broken.
Sources told the paper that Mnangagwa won't move into the official residence until after elections in July "in case he loses".
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President Emmerson Mnangagwa and First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa greet children at the 38th Independence Day celebrations children’s party in Harare.
Our national anthem, "Simudzai Mureza wedu WeZimbabwe", is a powerful rendition which expresses the pride of our national liberation, thanks Almighty God for our blessings and serves as a calling for leadership. Over the last few months, I have thought a lot about liberation, leadership and legacy.
The life of a nation travels through many different cycles, and this is certainly true of our nation Zimbabwe, which today celebrates the 38th anniversary of its independence, alongside a timeless history without measure or compare.
When Professor Solomon Mutswairo first wrote the beautiful and inspirational words to our anthem, our nation was reborn after throwing off foreign and colonial rule.
We would now be the masters of our own fate and the land would revert to its original and indigenous owners.
Before independence, we experienced many difficult years where many of us sacrificed blood, sweat and tears to work towards freeing Zimbabwe. Many of our families and friends paid the ultimate price, but their sacrifice was not in vain as we liberated our land.
This year we are also celebrating a second independence, as we enter a new period of openness and freedom.
This new Zimbabwe is one the heroes of our Chimurenga, who we remember daily, would have been proud to have fought for, one where our people are free to speak their mind, vote their conscience and seek greater unity towards reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction.
We must as a people all become leaders and enthusiasts for Zimbabwe's tomorrow, for our bright and prosperous future.
We must work together in righteous unity, free of the distinctions which separate us, yet secured by the flag and national ethos which bind us.
When I travel abroad and greet foreign guests in Zimbabwe, many want to talk about our natural resources and potential for investment.
I tell them that our greatest natural resource is our hardworking and talented people. I tell them that if they join me in having faith and investing in our people they will reap the greatest of dividends.
I tell them Zimbabwe is a rich nation with enormous and untapped potential.
Not because of the lithium under our ground or the soil beneath our feet, but in our minds and imagination as we develop our ICT industry, in our hands as we craft and manufacture, and in our hearts as we push harder to complete the task facing us.
Regardless of our profession or vocation, we are a nation of leaders which has never lost hope or become exhausted by the challenges facing us.
We demonstrated that many times over the previous century which led to our hard-earned independence and we once again displayed it last November when the people demanded a new tomorrow for themselves and their children without bloodshed, acrimony or revenge.
Now that we have taken back our future, we look at our children and grandchildren with renewed hope and energy.
The sparkle of optimism for our nation has returned to our eyes and theirs.
It is our task now to lead our nation forward to a new and exciting chapter, but we must do it carefully, constructively and with deep compassion.
I believe just as we previously liberated the land, now we must as a people finally be fully liberated. We need to be liberated not only from without, but also from within, from hate, prejudice and discord.
Together, we are liberating Zimbabwe one day at a time, and our vision of great progress, development and economic resurgence is one we will be able to reach if our minds and souls are liberated along with our bodies, and we work hand-in- hand towards building a better future for every single Zimbabwean in unity, love and resolution.
This will be the legacy we leave to our children and future generations.
Our country needs leadership by consensus. Our leaders must listen to the people and heed their advice and listen to their voices, the voices of a liberated, unified and free people.
I am honoured to be your servant as together we lead our nation, liberate ourselves and those around us anew and restore the legacy of our great nation.
Happy Independence Day
Paul Biya, Président du Cameroun lors de son discours à la jeunesse 10.02.2018
How Paul Biya has held onto power for 35 years despite spending much of it abroad.
On the podium for the World's Longest-Serving President, Paul Biya currently holds the silver medal. At an impressive 35 years in office, the Cameroonian leader's ability to keep hold of power over the decades has been remarkable - perhaps all the more so because of how little he actually exercises it.
In our recent investigation with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, we found that Biya has spent huge chunks of his presidency outside Cameroon. In some years, he has been abroad for a third of the time. Overall, he has spent at least four and a half years on "brief private visits to Europe", often at the 5-star Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva. His official foreign trips add up to at least one additional year.
In response to these eye-opening findings, the government in Yaoundé accused us being "a real office of destabilisation" and defended the president. "Even when Biya is abroad, for republican needs, he governs Cameroon in a very beautiful way," said Higher Education Minister Jacques Fame Ndongo in a radio interview, "with ICT, it is possible to pilot an organisation from wherever you are".
The reality, however, is that Biya is neither working from home nor working remotely. Rather, Cameroon is a country with a ghost captain at the helm, a Titanic knocking into one iceberg after another.
In October 2016, when an overloaded train derailed in Eseka, killing at least 82 people, Biya was in Geneva. A year later, when protests broke out in the English-speaking North West and South West regions, he was there again on another "brief private visit". In fact, that time, the president stayed in Switzerland for another three weeks as security forces at home cracked down on the demonstrations, killing several civilians and arresting hundreds. Those violent actions contributed to the emergence of a separatist conflict that continues to escalate.
Even when Biya eventually responded to the unrest, he was clearly out of touch. He claimed the situation was "stabilising" when the reality was the opposite. Meanwhile, his creation of a Ministry of Decentralisation and Local Development, headed by an Anglophone official, was seen as largely symbolic given Cameroon's repeated past failures to devolve power.
In this vacuum of meaningful action or even dialogue, calls for secession - once a fringe idea - garnered mass support in the English-speaking regions. Several armed groups emerged and murdered a handful of security forces in guerrilla attacks. The Cameroonian army retaliated, killing dozens of people and torching whole villages, forcing 20,000 refugees to flee into Nigeria.
How Biya maintains control
According to the renowned Cameroonian political scientist Achille Mbembe, President Biya's prolonged absences are not just a side-effect of his wanderlust. Rather, they part and parcel of a political strategy that has kept him in power for so long.
"His way of exercising power is to not decide," argues Mbembe. Biya's approach, he says, "is basically to do nothing at all or to do very little", making him a "ghostly figure" hidden behind a cloud of mystery. "Nobody knows what Biya thinks, or what he'll do," continues Mbembe, "everything can be changed from one day to the next".
This form of governance affects the whole administration. Afraid of losing their government jobs in a country with few high-paying options in the private sector, officials simply avoid taking decisions. In this way, they replicate the president's withdrawn management style, rendering Cameroon's bureaucracy inept at accomplishing even the most basic tasks.
At the same time, Biya wields high-level government posts - lucrative positions thanks to pervasive corruption - as incentives for loyalty. "Everyone is near their radio, they are waiting to be appointed, and when it's not right away, they keep on hoping that it will be next time," says Mbembe. "Nobody moves because all are waiting to be appointed."
By expanding his patronage network for over three decades, Biya now has over 60 ministers and state secretaries with whom he rarely convenes. The last ministerial cabinet meeting, held in March 2018, made international headlines because it was Cameroon's first since 2015.
One of the latest victims of this capricious carrots and stick system was Martin Belinga Eboutou. He was one of the president's closest aides and had racked up nearly three years' worth of trips alongside Biya, according to our investigation. Yet despite decades of service, Eboutou was kicked out of his job in a March government reshuffle without any apparent reason. He's reportedly refused to vacate his office.
Others have fared worse. Former Minister of Energy and Water, Basile Atangana Kouna, and a few others were accused of corruption and arrested in the recent shake-up. Once a minister falls into disgrace, Biya's anti-corruption Epervier operation often fast-tracks them to the VIP quarters of Yaoundé's Kondengui prison. There, they can join a couple dozen other former officials. Some joke that there's enough of them there to form a whole shadow government.
The People's Choice?
When the country holds its presidential elections this October, it is unlikely to lead to regime change. Despite widespread disaffection, Biya's political strategy has already allowed him to weather several decades of crises. He won the 2011 elections with 78% of the vote under the slogan "The People's Choice".
In his characteristic laissez-faire fashion, President Biya has yet to officially announce his candidature for the October vote. But if he does and wins as expected, it will allow him to maintain power for another seven years.
Sooner or later though, the 85-year-old's rule will have to come to an end. Even for a ghostly president governing from far-flung lands, ruling Cameroon from beyond the grave would surely be a step too far.
A group of Kenyans living in London on Tuesday staged an anti-Jubilee government demonstration outside Chatham House, where President Kenyatta delivered a talk.
After giving his much-anticipated speech at a venue that is associated with the core values of democracy and freedom, Mr Kenyatta emerged to confront rowdy, placard-wielding protesters chanting "respect human rights" and "respect rule of law".
The demonstrators accused President Kenyatta of human rights abuse, ignoring the rule of law and mismanaging the Kenyan economy.
Speaking to the Nation on phone from London as the demos went on, Mr Sebastian Onyango, one of the organisers, said they were protesting against the government's failure to bring to justice the killers of over "370 Kenyans" whose only sin was to demonstrate against alleged "electoral theft".
"We are protesting the disrespect for the rule of law and subversion of the supremacy of court orders," he said.
"We are fighting for electoral and social justice, inclusivity and for values and interest of Kenyans to be upheld by the leadership."
Mr Onyango said they were against a regime that had come to an institution associated with democracy "to hoodwink foreigners with empty rhetoric about democracy, rule of law and non-existent economic growth that only benefits the political elite, cronies, their children."
And in a statement sent to the Nation, the group dismissed the so-called handshake between Mr Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga as "a self-serving move".
The statement was signed by the group leaders Janet Suton, Jennifer Kiplagat, Kevin Were, Aggrey Kikaya, Maurice Owidi and Sebastian Onyango.
They said they rejected "personality cults" and demanded that Kenyans' interest must remain at the core of any political agreement between the two.
"We reject corruption and looting of Kenyan wealth by political class while the people continue to lead a life of desperation, misery with no proper medical and educational facilities and a half-baked infrastructure that is killing many due to corruption-driven procurement and investment," the statement read in part.
They demanded the unconditional return of Dr Miguna Miguna, the self-declared National Resistance Movement 'general' who was denied entry in March and is now in Canada.
"We demand the return of the Kenyan-born NRM general and reject the decision to allow non-Kenyans to land on Kenyan soil while denying fellow Kenyans the same right as is the case of General Miguna."
Last year, another group affiliated to Mr Kenyatta's Jubilee Party held a similar protest when National Super Alliance (Nasa) leader Raila Odinga gave a lecture at the same venue.
Speaking at Chatham House, Mr Kenyatta assured Kenyans abroad that they will be allowed to vote during the 2022 General Election.
"By 2022, all mechanisms will be put in place to ensure that the entire Diaspora will be able to participate in the General Election," said President Kenyatta, who was responding to a question from a participant.
Britain's Prince Harry hosted Malawian President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika at Buckingham Palace in London when they has a private audience on Tuesday.
According to Presidential Press Secretary Mgeme Kalilani, the Prince and the Malawi leader discussed how to further promote wildlife conservation as one way of enriching benefits that Malawi gets from its tourism industry.
Prince Harry is a nature conservationist and is doing several conservation projects in Malawi including the relocation of elephants from densily populated national parks to those with less elephant populations.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Emmanuel Fabiano said the President's meeting with the Prince was "fruitful."
Meanwhile, Mutharika has hailed the long standing partnership which Malawi enjoys with the All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) in the United Kingdom Parliament.
APPGs are informal United Kingdom cross- political party groups which work as lobby groups for various national and global interests in vast thematic areas such as human rights and political governance.
Adressing members of the group, President Mutharika who was accompanied by the First Lady Gertrude Mutharika highlighted strides that his government has made to develop Malawi in all sectors.
Lord David Steel was leading the United Kingdom's APPG at the audience.
David Steel is also the 1st Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament.
The first Africa Blue Economy Forum (ABEF) is to be held in London on 7-8 June 2018, to coincide with World Oceans Day. More than 150 delegates and speakers are expected to attend, including government ministers, business leaders, ocean experts and environmental and maritime organisations, to discuss the economic contribution of the African oceans.
The blue economy is an integral part of the African Union’s Agenda 2063. The debut forum will address this agenda and enable businesses and policy makers to understand, explore and invest in Africa’s blue economy, to harness its potential and create a sustainable business model for the future.
Leila Ben Hassen, founder of ABEF 2018 and CEO of the event’s organiser, Blue Jay Communication, said: “At ABEF 2018, we will discuss crucial issues, such as how the blue economy can help create jobs and accelerate sustainable growth and development across the continent.
“We will also examine which economic policies will facilitate better ocean economy and open up opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs. In Africa, where 70% of the states are coastal, the ocean is not only a key driver for global trade but is also a major source of food and energy,” Ben Hassen added.
Paul Holthus, President and CEO of World Ocean Council, an official partner of ABEF 2018, remarked: “At the World Ocean Council, we address cross-cutting issues affecting ocean sustainable development, science and stewardship. We are committed to advancing the development and implementation of industry-driven solutions to ocean sustainability challenges. ABEF 2018 is a key gathering for raising awareness and developing the network around the African ocean economy and especially the sustainable development and related business opportunities that Africa has to offer”.
The blue economy covers aquatic and marine spaces, including oceans, seas, coasts, lakes, rivers and groundwater. It includes a wide range of productive sectors, such as fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, transport, commerce and trade, shipbuilding, energy, protection and restoration. The blue economy also encapsulates extractive industries, for example underwater mining and offshore oil and gas, provided they are undertaken in a manner that does not cause irreversible damage to the ecosystem.
Welcoming the initiative, Dr Carlos Lopes, former Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) said: “Several African countries already are formulating strategies to mainstream the blue economy into their national development plans. For instance, the Seychelles has established a ministry dedicated to promoting the blue economy.
“In South Africa, Operation Phakisa is expected to create one million new jobs by 2030 and add ZAR177 billion [GBP10.2 billion] to the country’s GDP. More countries must follow suit to reap from the available socio-economic opportunities,” Dr Lopes added.
Confirmed speakers at ABEF 2018 include representatives from: UN Environment, World Trade Organisation, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Kingdom of Morocco, Republic of Gabon, Republic of Cameroon, Republic of Seychelles, World Ocean Council, WWF, Ghanaian Centre for Maritime Law and Security, One Earth Future Foundation, PWC, MAST Security, Resolute Marine Energy, The Global Ocean Trust Grid Arendal, and Sea Shepherd.
For full details and to register attendance, visit the website: https://www.abef2018.com/
About ABEF 2018
The first Africa Blue Economy Forum (ABEF) will take place on 7-8 June 2018 at Radisson Blu Portman Hotel, London, UK. Recognising the blue economy as a major source of wealth and prosperity for the continent, the forum will bring together government officials, high-level experts, investors, businesses, policy leaders, international organisations, civil society, public institutions and other opinion leaders, to highlight and debate on the wide range of opportunities emerging from Africa’s aquatic and marine spaces. The two-day event features panel discussions, case studies and networking opportunities. For the full agenda and list of speakers, and to register, visit the website.
About Blue Jay Communication
Blue Jay Communication – the organiser of ABEF 2018 – is an international communications, public relations and events agency, focusing on Africa. With more than 15 years of experience in communications in Africa and internationally, Blue Jay works with multilateral organisations and governments, to build a strong, positive image of Africa and break the negative stereotypes that have surrounded it for years. Leila Ben Hassen is the agency’s CEO and founder of ABEF 2018.
For media enquiries, please contact:
M: +44 (0)7808 206 928
Transport Minister Blade Nzimande has announced that 510 people died on South African roads over the Easter holidays.
This is a 14% increase from last year's figure of 449.
The accidents were recorded between March 29 and April 9.
The highest increases in fatalities were recorded in the Northern Cape, North West and Limpopo.
Nzimande announced the preliminary statistics at the Imbizo media centre at Parliament on Tuesday.
Over 18 900 law-enforcement officers countrywide were deployed over the long weekend, especially in areas where there is a high accident rate, to ensure all road users were safe.
Nzimande was joined by the MECs for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, as well as authorities and officials responsible for road safety, traffic and law enforcement in the country.
A nationwide bus strike is set to start on Wednesday, the South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council (SARPBC) said on Monday.
The strike will put at least 80% of the country's passenger buses on lock-down over a pay dispute.
"The impact is going to be felt right across the republic," Gary Wilson, secretary general of SARPBC told News24.
A last resort will be to approach the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) for help after there was no change of heart by unions and employers in the 30 days' cooling off period which started on March 16 after a deadlock was declared, he said.
The strike will affect short and long-distance journeys, with a few exceptions such as Intercape.
The SARPBC will apply for the CCMA's help in terms of section 150 of the Labour Relations Act, which could give the minister of transport permission to step in and help resolve the impasse, Wilson explained.
In the meantime, bus companies are urging passengers to make other arrangements and for companies to be flexible for their employees who will battle to travel to work.
Golden Arrow, MyCiti services suspended
"If the strike action goes ahead, Golden Arrow will institute a company-wide lockout in order to ensure the safety of our passengers and staff for the duration of the strike," a statement from JH Dammert, the Cape Town-based company's human resources and corporate affairs executive said.
"Services could, therefore, be suspended from 18 April 2018.
"In the event of a strike, weekly and monthly clip cards that are valid when the strike commences will be extended when service resumes.
"We will endeavour to keep our passengers informed of any new developments via all communication channels available to us," Golden Arrow's Dammert said.
The City of Cape Town will also suspend MyCiTi services from Wednesday, until further notice.
"No MyCiTi buses will be operating and commuters are requested in advance to please make alternative arrangements," member of the mayoral committee for transport Brett Herron said.
Increase in traffic anticipated
This is because the vehicle-operating companies will institute a "lockout" at their properties on Wednesday.
Capetonians are already struggling with the alternative, Metrorail, which is trying to get its central line going again after severe vandalism and cable theft, and crime along that route.
The strike means that there will be a significant increase in cars on the road countrywide because bus travellers will use minibus taxis or their own vehicles to get to work and back.
South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) spokesperson Zanele Sabela said Satawu, the Transport and Omnibus Workers' Union, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and the Tirisano Transport Workers' Union had been negotiating since January.
The negotiations have been facilitated by the SARPBC with the employer associations, the Commuter Bus Employers' Organisation and South African Bus Employers' Association.
This is what is at stake:Unions want a 12% across the board wage increase;They want the minimum basic wage to be R8 000 per month;They want full pay for dual drivers on long distance;Unions want night shift to be between 16:00 and 06:00, instead of the current 20:00 to 03:00.Employees are offering a three-year across-the-board increase - 7% for year one, 7.25% for year two, and 7.5% for year three.
Satawu said employers want to keep the current basic minimum wage at R6 070.
Employers also want industry first-timers to earn R6 070 regardless of whether the company's minimum wage is higher or not.
Workers also want to be compensated for "sleeping out", and want "decent" accommodation.
Thousands of commuters will wake up on Wednesday to the nationwide bus strike that is set to kick off at 05:30 while taxi and rail operators are bracing for crowds and long queues.
Nationwide bus services such as MyCiTi in Cape Town, Putco, Rea Vaya and Gautrain bus service in Gauteng and Algoa Bus Company in the Port Elizabeth area are among those whose services will be suspended.
Others include Greyhound, Buscor and Mphakathi in Mpumalanga, Bojanala in the North West, Mayibuye in East London, Go George in George, Areyeng in Tshwane and Lowveld Bus Company in Limpopo.
Bus drivers are demanding better pay and working hours.
The National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) of SA, which has members in the bus sector, said they had rejected a 7% increase and were demanding 12%.
Other demands included a subsistence allowance for drivers who did doing long distance travel, and were forced to sleep out.
"Numsa wants to inform the public that the decision to embark on a strike was not taken lightly. In fact, we took this decision as a last resort," said the union's general secretary Irvin Jim.
He urged bosses to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible for a quick settlement.
"Obviously our taxi ranks are going to be packed," said Central Unity Taxi Association (CUTA) chairperson Ernest Stofile.
While having no beef with the bus drivers' strike, CUTA is expecting Wednesday to be very busy, and will start operations earlier than usual at 04:00.
However, Stofile said taxi owners were bound by very strict route permits so they may not go off-route for commuters. Going off-route would lead to permits being revoked, so there are areas where they will not be able to operate.
Taxis ask for bus lanes to be kept open for them
For example, there is no direct legally permitted minibus taxi route between Table View, north of Cape Town, and the CBD, he said. This is due to agreements that set in place the Integrated Rapid Transport system which includes the MyCiTi bus, whose drivers will also be on strike.
Instead, to travel to Cape Town CBD for work by minibus taxi, Table View residents will have to catch a taxi to the Joe Slovo taxi rank, and then change taxis to catch a taxi into the CBD. The return journey is done in reverse.
Stofile said it would be a great help to taxi drivers if private vehicles kept the right-hand lane of the N2 open for them for ferrying commuters to work and back.
This lane is usually reserved for buses and taxis during peak hour.
JP Smith, member of the mayoral committee for safety and security and social services for the City of Cape Town, urged drivers of private vehicles to obey the law in this regard
"I have no clue how I am going to get into town tomorrow," said one student at the MyCiTi Civic Centre terminus in Cape Town.
"There are no taxis in my area, so I will have to walk quite far to get to an area where there are taxis," he added. "I just don't know what I am going to do."
A woman waiting for a bus at the Golden Arrow bus station in Cape Town, works in a tuck shop, and said that her boss told her "safety first" regarding the bus strike, and gave her the option of staying at home.
"So I will probably stay at home," said the woman who was not sure if she would get her pay for the day of work she would probably miss.
She does not live near a rail route, but Metrorail said it would monitor the situation and extend service times where possible.
The vendors who rely on passing trade at the Golden Arrow bus station said they would probably also stay at home for the day as a precaution.
A cellphone repairman said he would make the call on Wednesday morning whether it would be safe for him to go into work next to the bus station.
"I will just wake up and decide," he said.
Meanwhile talks to resolve the bus drivers' pay dispute could start at the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) as soon as Thursday.
"Unfortunately we were not able to stop the strike. But we hope to start at the CCMA on Thursday," said Gary Wilson, secretary general of the South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council on Tuesday afternoon.
Comment was not immediately available from the CCMA, but South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union spokesperson Zanele Sabela said the union had just received the news that the CCMA would intervene.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga
Government has, with immediate effect, fired all striking nurses after they refused to return to work even though the employer acceded to their demands and availed over $17 million. President Mnangagwa has endorsed the dismissal to ensure new people were immediately engaged to save the lives of patients.
The Health Services Board (HSB) has been instructed to speedily employ jobless trained nurses.
The HSB has also been directed to recall retired nurses.
In a statement yesterday, Vice President General Constantino Chiwenga (Retired), in his capacity as the supervisor of the Social Services Cluster, said the behaviour by the nurses was politically-motivated.
"Against a background of a series of meetings involving Government, the Health Services Board and the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA), which were meant to resolve the industrial action by nursing staff in the public health sector and the subsequent decision by Government yesterday to accede to the demands made by the striking nurses, Government regrets to note that the industrial action in this essential service sector has persisted," said VP Chiwenga.
He added: "What makes the whole action (by nurses) both deplorable and reprehensible is the fact that as agreed yesterday, Government released and transferred a sum of $17 114 446 into the account of the Ministry of Health and Child Care for on-payment to the striking nurses.
"While this demonstrated good faith on the part of Government, the prompt transfers which have been effected against demonstrable economic challenges facing our nation has not, quite surprisingly, persuaded the striking nurses to go back to their work stations in the interest of saving lives and helping hapless patients placed under their care."
VP Chiwenga said Government "now regards this lack of remorse as politically motivated" and "as going beyond concerns of conditions of service and worker welfare".
"Accordingly, Government has decided, in the interest of patients and of saving lives, to discharge all the striking nurses with immediate effect," he said. "Further, Government has instructed the Health Services Board to speedily engage, as appropriate, all unemployed, but trained nurses in the country. It has also authorised the board to recall retired nursing staff into service."
The funds originally released to meet the demands of the striking nurses will now be re-directed and allocated towards meeting the costs of effecting the new directive and arrangement, which takes immediate effect.
"In the meantime, Government pays tribute to all nurses who have loyally remained at work and to those from the ranks of the striking nurses who have heeded its call for them to return to work," said VP Chiwenga.
"Their commitment to duty and patients, both pointing to a deep regard for life as required by their professional oath, is noted and much appreciated."
Government has appealed to people visiting public health institutions to be patient while services are being restored.
It has urged Zimbabweans to practise good hygiene at home and in public places in view of sporadic cases of cholera reported in parts of the country.
The decision by Government to dismiss the striking nurses followed a series of meetings with them.
On Monday, ZINA met the HSB and Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa and matters were escalated as they met VP Chiwenga.
It was at that meeting that an agreement was reached through the release of the $17 114 446 yesterday into the account of the Ministry of Health and Child Care to take care of all the issues raised by ZINA.
The agreement was that ZINA would get all its members back to work, but the nurses still did not report for duty.
VP Chiwenga then called for a second meeting yesterday to find out what was happening.
The meeting was attended by Minister Parirenyatwa, officials from the Ministry of Finance and the HSB.
The officials from the Ministry of Finance confirmed that $17 114 446 had been transferred into the Ministry of Health and Child Care account and $4 million had by that time been transferred into the accounts of the striking nurses.
Minister Parirenyatwa reported that the nurses had not reported back for work.
It was after the update that it was realised the nurses were out for a showdown with the State.
Three recommendations were then made - to dismiss all the striking nurses, recruit all qualified, but unemployed nurses and recall retired nurses.
The recommendations were taken to President Mnangagwa, who met VP Chiwenga, Minister Parirenyatwa, the HSB and officials from the Ministry of Finance.
Endorsing the recommendations, President Mnangagwa said: "Government has done everything to comply with the demands of the striking nurses and the striking nurses have done everything to defy the directive by Government. This leaves us with no option, but to dismiss them."
The International Monetary Fund, IMF, said yesterday that Nigeria's economy might not be so lucky despite the growth projections from various quarters.
Giving his opening remarks at the unveiling of the 2018 World Economic Outlook, Maurice Obstfeld, IMF's chief economist, said commodity exporting countries would need to diversify their economies to boost further growth.
With a 0.8 percent growth signalling an exit from its 2016 recession, Nigeria's economy was projected to grow by 2.1 percent in 2018.
He said: "Emerging and developing economies present a diverse picture, and among those that are not commodity exporters, some can expect longer-term growth rates comparable to pre-crisis rates.
"Many commodity exporters will not be so lucky, however, despite some improvements in the outlook for commodity prices.
"Those countries will need to diversify their economies to boost future growth and resilience."
The report attributed Nigeria's growth projection to improved revenue and foreign exchange availability.
According to him; "In Nigeria, the economy is projected to grow 2.1 percent in 2018 and 1.9 percent in 2019 (up from 0.8 percent in 2017), reflecting improved oil prices, revenue, and production and recently introduced foreign exchange measures that contribute to better foreign exchange availability."
Reduced crude oil prices had negatively impacted oil exporting economies and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) reached an agreement to cut back supply to the market to jolt prices.
As at 5pm on Tuesday, Brent Crude, the international benchmark of crude oil, was trading at $71.28 per barrel.
Ali Sowe over the weekend became the best scorer in Albania's Super League.
The Gambian netted in table-topping Skenderbeau Korce's hard-fought 3-2 win over mid-table occupants Kamza.
The 23-year-old grabbed the second goal to put Korce two goals up before Kamza rallied late to equalise 2-2 prior to Adeniyi stabbing in the winner. It was Sowe's 13th league goal with seven games to end of the season.
Ali now headlines the goal chart, one ahead of Bakaji, Reginaldo and Guri who're all on 12 goals each.
It would be time well spent in Albania for the former Gamtel FC attacker if he goes on to win the title and golden boot.
Dubbed Drogba by locals back home, Sowe is putting up a strong case to be considered for a starting berth by Chievo Verona at end of his loan spell in Albania.
The Gambian is on a season-long loan at Albanian Super League side from parent club Chievo Verona of the Italian Serie A.
Ali is offloaded there to rake up playing time in efforts to return a finished product for the Italian outfit.
And the erstwhile Gamtel FC front-man seems to be achieving just that after scoring thirteen times in twenty-seven games he'd started in attack.
His newfound goal scoring streak is a far cry from the dipped form that once dogged and reduced him to a desolate figure ridden with successive injuries last term.
Elsewhere, Musa Barrow was handed his first Serie A start against Inter Milan in a game that ended goalless with the 19-year-old Gambian getting subbed out in the second-half.
Gambia Cricket national team over the weekend bit the dust to hosts Nigeria in the T20 Africa qualifiers.
Staged at the Tafawa Balewa Cricket Oval in Lagos, captain Chimezie Onwuzulike inspired a Nigerian outfit into a straight two wins after they also spanked Sierra Leone in the opening fixture.
In a game that had Basiru Jaye as the standout for Gambia, saw Nigeria wheel into 175 runs of 5wickets in 20 overs.
Then Nigeria's vice-captain Ademola Onikoyi top scored with 75 runs out of 33 balls with nine hours and two sixes. The routing continued with Gambia's Pa Assan Faye, Muhammed Manga Andrew Jarju batting on 29 runs of 16 balls, 24 and 15 runs respectively.
In other games, Ghana eased past Sierra Leone, setting up a must-watch rivalry between them and Nigeria.
The International Cricket Council World T20 Africa 'A' wraps up April 22nd, 2018.
Day 14 matches of the national championship took place in stadiums across the country on Sunday April 15, 2018.
Three teams are dominating the away phase of the MTN Elite One championship for now. That is the result of the 14th playing day of the national championship that took place in stadiums across the country on Sunday April 15, 2018. They are Coton Sport of Garoua, UMS Loum and Fovu of Baham. The teams are leading the league table with 27 points each and are separated by goal difference.
A total of nine matches were played with 25 goals scored and one draw recorded. Coton Sport, the current league leaders, humbled Feutcheu FC 4-0 at the Bafoussam Omnisports Stadium. The away win puts Coton Sport on top of the league table. That was the best result for the team since the start of the season and the second victory for Coton Sport in the last five games.
At the CAF Football Training Centre in Mbakomo Yaounde, current champions, Eding Sport FC, lost to APEJES Academy 1-2. At the Limbe Centenary Stadium Bamboutos beat UMS Loum 2-1.
The victory was the first for Bamboutos and two draws and two defeats in five matches. At the Yaounde Military Stadium Dragon Yaounde beat Yafoot 41. Dragon now occupies the 13th position on the league table with 15 points. Dragon now has three wins and two defeats in the last five matches.
In all, 25 goals were scored with four home wins from teams like YOSA, Union Douala, Astres Douala and APEJES. Four teams won away from home. They are Coton Sport, Dragon, UMS, and Fovu. One game ended in a draw.
The match between Stade Renard and AS Fortuna ended in a 0-0 tie. AS Fortuna now records four draws and one defeat in the last five games while Stade Renade has two draws and two defeats with only one victory.
Some players also distinguished themselves during the 14th playing day in the likes of Marius Mouandilmaji of Coton Sport who increased his goal tally to ten this season while Junior Rostand Mbai scored the hat trick for Dragon bringing his goal tally to nine for this season. Meanwhile, three teams are in the relegation zone.
They are Colombe of Dja and Lobo 14 points, Yafoot 14 and Aigle Royal 10 points. The 15th playing day has been billed for Wednesday April 18, 2018.
Even though the country won three medals, their output at the games leaves much to be desired.
The 21st Commonwealth Games have come and gone. The event ended at the Carrara Stadium in Gold Coast on Sunday April 15, 2018. For close to two weeks over 6,600 athletes and team officials from 71 countries in the Commonwealth competed in 18 sports disciplines and seven para sports.
Cameroon took part in the competition in six disciplines with 42 athletes. The disciplines are boxing, weightlifting, badminton, basketball, wrestling and basketball.
Cameroon's performance at the games leaves much to be desired. Before leaving the country the Minister of Sports and Physical Education, Bidoung Mkpatt challenged the athletes to be worthy ambassadors of Cameroon through brilliant performances and exemplary conduct. However, the reverse was true given the poor showing and misconduct of the athletes in Gold Coast.
Out of the six disciplines only boxing, weightlifting and athletics won medals for Cameroon. Clémentine Meukeugni won bronze in weightlifting, Seyi Wilfired won silver in boxing and Marcel Mayack II got bronze in triple jump. Cameroon finished 32nd out of 71 participating countries.
The performance of team Cameroon at the 21st Commonwealth Games is the worst since their first participation in Kuala Lumpur in 1998. In the last edition in Glasgow in 2014, Cameroon won seven medals; one gold, three silver and three bronze.
Even in weightlifting where Cameroon has had its best performance in the Commonwealth Games, only a bronze medal could be won. The absence of medal hopefuls like Auriol Dogmo, African shot put champion, also affected the performance of Team Cameroon.
Apart from the performances of the athletes, Cameroon's participation at the Commonwealth Games has been described as disgraceful by many following the defection of eight athletes from the group. Out of the eight runaways five were boxers who left the group for reasons best known to them.
That has always been the case in previous editions. The fact that some of the athletes absconded was enough reason to discourage the others and even hamper their performance in the course of the competition.
Efforts by government to ensure the smooth participation of athletes at the Commonwealth Games have not received attention from all and sundry as some believe it is an opportunity to seek for adequate training and better lives.
However, government is continuing with its efforts in providing the best conditions for the training of athletes for future international competitions.
Windhoek — President Hage Geingob yesterday showered praise and warm congratulatory messages on Namibia's veteran marathoner Helalia Johannes and amateur boxing sensation Jonas Junias Jonas for making the country proud at the just-ended Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Both Johannes and Jonas hogged international headlines when they scooped gold medals in their respective disciplines, with ever-shining boxer Jonas overwhelmingly outfoxing his Canadian opponent Thomas Blumenfeld to clinch gold in the men's 64kg category, while Namibia's veteran campaigner Johannes was in brilliant form as she outpaced her more fancied opponents to bring home the country's second gold medal at the games.
The president particularly singled out Johannes for becoming Namibia's first female athlete to claim gold at the international quadrennial games since the country's maiden appearance at the games in 1994, which then saw legendary sprinter Frank Fredericks bringing home gold and bronze medals.
Geingob called on both athletes to continue hoisting the country's flag high on the international arena and strive to repeat the same feat at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
"With hard work, organisation, collective effort and discipline, Namibian sport can reach greater heights," said the president briefly, as he summed up Namibia's performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, where the country finished 19th overall on the medals table.
Queensland State police on Tuesday said missing Kenyan boxer Brian Agina is still in Australia legally as his visa remains valid.
They told the head of Kenya's delegation to the Commonwealth Games, Mr Barnaba Korir, that should Mr Agina not be traced after the expiry of the visa on May 15, the boxer would have violated the country's immigration rules.
The boxer mysteriously disappeared from Kenya's games camp at the athletes' village in the city of Gold Coast on Sunday night.
Australian authorities still hope the 19-year-old will be found.
"I went to the police station at the games village in the morning and this evening, and still, the boxer hasn't been traced. There are no leads about his whereabouts," Mr Korir told the Nation.
The Kenyan High Commission said it is also awaiting for a formal communication from Australia's foreign ministry authorities.
The High Commissioner, Mr Isaiah Kabira, said protocol must be observed and would not comment until the matter is brought to his attention.
But Mr Kabira said he remains hopeful the boxer will be traced.
Mr Korir said the final group of Kenyan officials would leave Gold Coast, the venue of the April 4 to 15 Commonwealth Games, today, with the boxer's matter being left to the Australian authorities.
"The police said if the boxer shows up and seeks asylum, then the case will take a different dimension. It could call for the intervention of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees," Mr Korir said.
Last week, eight Cameroonian athletes vanished from the village and are still at large.
The five boxers and three weightlifters failed to take part in the competition.
Besides Mr Agina, the disappearance of Tanzanian table tennis player, Fatia Fazi, was also reported on Monday.
The Kenyan boxing team arrived in Nairobi on Tuesday.
Boxing Association of Kenya President John Kameta has Mr Agina's passport, but he will begin his journey to Kenya on Wednesday.
"Should the boxer surface before May 15, he will be granted temporary travel papers to return home," Mr Korir said.
Mr Agina lost his preliminary round fight of the 52kg category to Pakistan's Syed Muhammad Asif.
The coming technological revolution means more - and less - than you might think for the world's poor
What does the coming "Fourth Industrial Revolution" - an economic transformation built on artificial intelligence, robotics and other technological fusion - mean for the world's poor? Both more - and less - than you might think.
Fully 75 percent of the world's poor are not-very-productive rural farmers, many of them in Africa, says Gargee Ghosh, who is studying challenges around the uptake of new technology in things like health, sanitation and agriculture for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Technological advances might give them easy and low-cost access to detailed digital soil maps and better weather information via smartphones, for instance, which alongside new seeds resistant to climate change extremes could improve incomes and food security, she said.
But that connected, productive new world might not be so easily achieved. Women are 14 percent less likely to have a mobile phone, according to the mobile phone industry association, Ghosh said - and women are the ones doing a lot of the farming in Africa. In Asia, women are 40 percent less likely than men to have a phone, she said.
"If you think you're going to reach women with better medical care and farm advice (using mobiles), we have a way to go," she said. And the problem is not a technological one, about the price or design of phones, but rather about policy rules - like needing government-issued identification to get a phone account, and women being less likely to have that.
In terms of getting a tech revolution to work for people, "the accompanying policy ... is almost always as important as the product itself," Ghosh said.
And as rich countries worry about potential job losses to robots and artificial intelligence, plenty of poorer countries don't see the same looming problem - they already have legions of unemployed and may in some ways be uniquely poised to take advantage of the coming changes.
South Africa, for instance, may have the largest youth unemployment rate in the world, said Maryana Iskander, the head of Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, which is trying to move young people into work in that country.
There, as in much of Africa, "nobody has an expectation of a straight line from school to a tidy job", she said. "People are used to having to zig-zag in their economic life."
That ability, combined with help now to train people in entrepreneurial skills, could leave South Africa poised to benefit from the economic disruption of a new industrial revolution, said Nicola Galombik of Harambee.
But, again, the idea that near-universal access to mobile phones means clever new tech can easily be pushed out via the devices "is a myth", Iskander said.
Many of the 40,000 young people who have found a first job through Harambee share a mobile phone with two or three other people, and don't have a data plan, only texts and voice calls, she said - and they don't answer calls from out-of-town numbers they don't know.
What also needs a rethink, says Dan Ariely, an expert on behavioural economics and marketing at Duke University, is the assumption that a technological revolution able to reach more deeply and frequently into people's everyday lives will largely be a benefit for the poor.
He worries about what he calls "abusive technologies" - ones that, for instance, might entice people into spending their scarce cash unwisely by making it easier to buy.
"Think about the ability to resist temptation," he said. "Is this technology in the aid of people, or the company that is producing it?" Such technologies "have tremendous capacity to be the most abusive to the most vulnerable", he said.
Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Quality health care is essential for the welbeing of a society
In developing countries, the health care system is struggling with diverse health problems that stretch from communicable diseases like AIDS, malaria and non-communicable diseases like hypertension, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Moreover, other factors related to number, quality and capability of health care workers with less effective management of the sector are also declining the effectiveness of the system. Ethiopia, in order to overcome such aforementioned problems, launched national health care quality strategy in 2016 that is being implemented till 2020. The strategy aims to provide more effective, more accessible and more equitable care for every citizen, all the time. All patients regardless of age, geography, or income will have equal access to reliable, excellent clinical care which protects them from harm and treats them with dignity and respect.
The strategy has also its focus on health care system from prevention to palliative care. It gives special emphasis on reducing maternal mortality, prevention and management of sever acute malnutrition which affects about 40 percent of country's children, effective management of pressing diseases of communicable and non communicable which takes 30 percent share of causes of deaths in Ethiopia and timeliness of clinical and surgical services.
Of course Ethiopia has achieved a milestone in improving its public health care system in the past decades. It is one of exemplary countries in achieving millennium development goal through reducing children's mortality rate by nearly 70 percent even three years before the deadline.
Speaking at 54th annual conference of Ethiopian Medical Association last Thursday, Minister of Health Professor Yifru Birehan explained that Ethiopia also reduced malaria by 80 percent in the last ten years. Beyond this, guided by prevention oriented health policy, the nation has enjoyed so many improvements in advancing the rural community's knowledge of preventing diseases and expansion of health centers, according to him.
Despite of the smart programmes and past achievements, the sector has also a number of bottlenecks that resulted in negatively shadowing on the quality health care services citizens are receiving. To emphasize on some of them: lack of practitioners, health care centers and medical equipment facilities that are very crucial for the effectiveness of the services the sector provides.
Particularly when it comes to health care professionals, according to researchers on the issue like Dr. Tsion Assefa, even though the country is producing large number of medical doctors annually, many of them are found in abroad. She also added that in order to fill this gap and meet the public demand, the government decided to enroll massive number of students in health care profession studies.
Presenting the findings of her research on the conference, she said that there is a miss much between enrolment limit and resources available for training. But the government is working relentlessly to manage this constraint, she added.
Furthermore, Dr. Tsion recommends that ministries of health and education as well as medical schools need to work closely together to minimize consequences of the problems. "In addition to this, they should work on the underlying and basic problems. Physicians should also exercise free dialogue and tolerance with leadership and management." She also added that more longitudinal studies are needed to examine the effect of massive production.
Ethiopian Medical Association President Dr. Gemechis Mamo also said, "The association is working to enhance quality of graduating health professionals by updating their knowledge of their fields and technologies."
In spite of the aggressive expansion of addictive drug using habits that are against public health, the sector is showing good results that can enables to tackle its challenges. He also said that the number of medical schools is doubled ten times in last two decades and the private sector involvement in medical service provision is also highly increasing, but; "It needs all stakeholders hard working in order to provide quality and ethical medical services for the society," Dr Gemechis stressed.
As agriculture is the foundation of nation's economy accounting for 43 percent of the gross domestic products, 80 percent of exports and 83 percent of the total employment, working on accessing farmers with various technology and professional seed supply is crucial, according experts in the field.
Dire Dawa Agriculture bureau extension expert Mohammad Abdullahi said that areas with short rainfall season ought to be provided with necessary agricultural technologies.
Operation manager at Fair Planet, Israeli organization working to empower the small farm holders, Dr. Shoshana Hara said that her organization is working here to transfer skills and knowledge on usage of professional seed and improve the productivity and income of small holder farmers. "We are working with Haromaya University and local administration. Together with the Dire Dawa Agriculture bureau, we also developed a unique extension methodology in which we train the trainers, experts, and development agents. We train hundreds of lead farmers every year. We visit the farmers in their own fields. We had learnt that professional seeds are increasing farmer's yields more than five times. From a small plot of high quality vegetables in only one production season, farmers can double their annual income, improve livelihood.
"We are supplying farmers with best performing varieties of seeds suitable with local agro-climatic conditions and farming practices. Access to high-quality seeds leads to economic growth and better livelihood for smallholder farmers. We are working in Oromia State and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' State (SNNPS). We are witnessing that community's livelihood is improving," she added.
Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resource Dr. Eyasu Abreha for his part noted that the government has made agriculture its primary priority and the national strategy focuses on Agricultural Development Led-Industrialization (ADLI) strategy. "The concept underlying ADLI is an export led development strategy aimed at promoting economic growth in Ethiopia coordin ating agriculture and industrial development at same time. Within the framework of ADLI the government initiated Agricultural Development Programme with the objectives of ensuring food security," he added.
He further noted that the government has introduced specific policies and provided technical and institutional support to farmers, in its drive to increase food production through intensive cultivation. "These policies include fertilizer supply and distribution, improved seed supply and distribution, development of small scale irrigation, conservation, of natural resources and environmental, agricultural extension as well as marketing and price policy."
According to him, because of these policies, the country has achieved encouraging growth, double digit economic growth over a couple of decades.
"Improving agriculture and food security lies in improving the seed system since small holder farmers are facing shortage of quality seeds. Poor seed combined with climate change is exacerbating the already food shortage," Dr. Eyasu said.
The minister further said that the goal for vegetable crops in the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) is to increase the average productivity of vegetables from 109 Quintals/ha in 2017to 142 Quintals/ha by the end of 2020.The total volume of produce will increase from 960 thousand tonnes at the base year to 2.3 million tonnes at the end of the plan period, according to him.
He finally said that one of the major considerations to increase production and productivity with quality is the capacity to supply healthy, resistant and productive seed and seedling.
"As I understand the Fair Planet goal is to identify suitable vegetable varieties for various agro-climatic regions of Ethiopia and thereby bridge the gap between high quality seed sources and the small holder farmers need for quality seed," the minister stated.
The writer of this piece approached Fatuma Mohammad who was from Dire Dawa and the owner of a farm land of 1.8 hectare. She said, "I used to produce maize sorghum on rain seasons and breed animals that were not productive; but I contacted Dire Dawa Agriculture bureau to assist me how I should manage my farm and met my goal. I received quality seed and how to develop well water that transformed my income now I had potatoes and paper over 900 trees of hundred sustainable plants. Recently, I have supplied my products to the market and collected over 30 thousand Birr; I had more vegetables to sell. I am also planning to produce three times per year."
A small farm land owner from Hano village in Dire Dawa Sani Musa said, "We are blessed by the packages and we are producing vegetables. Apart from securing our food security, we are supplying the market. Through using professional seeds, we are producing quality products."
According to Dire Dawa Agriculture bureau extension, more than 969 households have benefited from the packages the government facilitated. It has been working with development partners like Fair Planet to scale up the best practices in the agriculture sector.
FDA Managing Director, C. Mike Doryen
At long last, following legislative approval on August 22, 2017, the Grebo-Krahn National Park was formally launched over the weekend in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, before a record crowd, including citizens of River Gee, an FDA release has said.
The ceremony, which was overwhelmingly graced by hundreds of concerned community dwellers, as well as chiefs and elders in the area, certainly indicates Liberia's reaffirmation to uphold biodiversity conservation efforts in the sub-region consistent with international best practices.
Speaking at the elaborate ceremony while officially launching the park for and on behalf of the Government of Liberia (GoL), FDA Managing Director C. Mike Doryen, who officially launched the project, lauded the citizens for their commitment and firm cooperation that generated the fruitful conduct of the historic event, which he said forms an important part of government's pro-poor policy.
Doryen said the government will exert all efforts to ensure that the park regularly remains Liberia's pride now and in the future.
According to the release, Mr. Doryen outlined the benefits the citizens stand to reap, such as job creation and other basic social and economic empowerment as a result of the establishment of the park.
He also praised and recognized the efforts of partners in the Liberian forest sector, who had over the years supported government's dream of creating the Grebo-Krahn Park, which Doryen described as a "worthy venture as far as preserving our heritage is concerned."
In separate statements, representatives of the collaborating partners, including GIZ/AMBERO, SCNL, WABICC, AHT/KFW, and Wild Chimpanzee Foundation (WCF), among many others, thanked the citizens for their understanding and cooperation in making the dream come true, a dream they described as a millstone for Liberia.
They pledged to always remain supportive in the effective management of the park.
Earlier the chiefs, elders and youth leaders who separately made remarks, praised government for the establishment of the park, but challenged partners to live up to their share of commitment.
They called for needed development initiatives within communities bordering the park in terms of satisfying their social and economic needs.
The superintendents of Grand Gedeh and River Gee counties made remarks, each admonishing the citizens to remain law abiding as opposed to pursuing violent means to solve problems.
Superintendent Kai Farley of Grand Gedeh County assured the citizens that he will ensure a proper representation of their interest, which will be consistent with benefits associated with the establishment of the park.
Farley also promised to ensure that the national interest attached to this park remains protected at all times in line with international best practices as far as the conservation of biodiversity is concerned.
In a related development, a similar launch of the Gola National Park is expected to take place in Tima Town,Gbarpolu County, tomorrow.
Through the 2006 National Forestry reform law, the Liberian government registered its commitment and firm political will to conserve 30 percent of its forest landscape as protected areas primarily to benefit present and future generations.
To this end, Liberia is cherished in the sub region for observing and upholding this policy thereby becoming a compliant nation in the sub-region consistent with international expectations.
The federal government, yesterday, said there is a need for the introduction of new strategies in order to attain sustainable development of African airports.
The Secretary to the Federal Government (SFG), Boss Mustapha while identifying the strategies at the 59th Airports Council International (ACI) Africa Conference, held at Oriental Hotel in Lagos, yesterday, named them to include: holistic planning for defined development targets; effective and efficient financing plan and successful implementation.
Mustapha, who pointed out that the role of partnership with the private sector cannot be over-emphasised, cautioned that these strategies also need to be complemented by a reliable legal, institutional and regulatory framework to institutionalise policy.
Speaking at the conference with the theme: "Business Transformation For Sustainable Development of African Airports", the SFG stated that the current administration has continued to promote infrastructural development, facilities renewal and the implementation of policies aimed at facilitating the growth and sustainability of the sector.
According to him, some of the key events and projects undertaken to achieve their objectives include: Hosting the international World Aviation Forum (MAP) in Abuja; Certification of two of the Nation's key Airports namely; Murtala Muhammed international Airport Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja; and construction of five new international Terminals (Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu) to expand passenger handling capacity to 15 million annually;
Others are: Implementation of Aviation Sector Roadmap which was approved by the President in 2016 aimed at opening opportunities for investment; Concession of four International Airports as well as the establishment of Search and Rescue Unit to be implemented through Public and Private Partnership; Establishment of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) with the mandate to remove bureaucratic bottlenecks and constraints to doing business in Nigeria and Issuance of Executive Orders aimed at facilitating and easing entry experience of investors, visitors and travellers at the nation's ports.
Emphasising the importance of aviation sector, Mustapha said "the importance of aviation as a critical tool for social and economic development cannot be over emphasized, given its potential for immense contributions to the broader economy. In 2017, the sector facilitated tie movement of over 7.6 billion passengers. 109 million tons of cargo and recorded 89 million aircraft movements. With a highly mobile population of 180 million people, these explain the importance Nigeria attaches to the sector and the reason why Mr. President readily approved the hosting of the event".
He commended ACI, stressing that their core objective as the voice of the world's airports makes the association a ready partner of member states numbering 176 countries with 1,940 airports.
In his own speech, president of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Dr. Benard Aliu pointed out that aviation has become a catalyst for sustainable social, economic and human development, directly and indirectly supporting 6.8 million jobs and generating 72.5 billion dollars in Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
He said that airports serve as veritable gateways to this development and prosperity, facilitating the connectivity, tourism and trade which in turn foster economic growth and new opportunities all over Africa today.
"That connectivity is presently being enhanced with the launch of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia earlier this year, as well as through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AF CF TA) which was newly established by African Heads of State at their meeting in Kigali, Rwanda this past March", Aliu said.
According to him, the current efforts being undertaken to reposition air transport in Africa, and ensure its sustainability, are in clear acknowledgment of the fact that regional air traffic is still forecast to grow at roughly 3.8 per cent annually through 2032.
In his speech, Minister of State Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika commended ACI for their initiatives, stating that the aviation industry has benefited from the Council. He therefore, pointed out that the government must collaborate with member states to improve aviation in Africa.
Sirika also noted that Nigeria has made giant strides through the hosting the International World Aviation Forum in Abuja; Certification of two of the Nation's key Airports, hosting of ACI Africa Conference amongst other milestones recorded.
"This is a clear indication that Nigeria is on the right track. You can see the result of what we are doing in our roadmap. It means that the world is in agreement of what we are doing", Sirika said.
To the ACI president, Engr. Saleh Dunoma, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is most delighted to host the 59th ACI Africa Board and committees meetings & regional Conference and Exhibition here Lagos, Nigeria.
Dunoma while speaking at the event, said that over the years, ACI Africa had focused on safety as a priority leading to the initiation of the world wide acknowledged Airport Excellence (APEX) in safety programme. This he said has recorded great achievements as major airports continue to requests for this programme.
Ethiopia is a country blessed with bountiful natural resources like arable land and water, if effectively harnessed, which will help come up with bumper harvest.
Also if well processed, the agricultural yields could go a long way in curtailing the outflow of the much-sought-after hard currency. The resources could as well help in fetching the same.
To substantiate the case in point, it suffices to reflect that though Ethiopia is marked for its green emerald or coffee Arabica, without value addition it exports this commercial crop for cheap and imports processed coffee. As compared to the former, the price of the latter is manifold.
The sad episode shows that if agro-processing industries mushroom in the country to come up with semi-processed or processed agricultural yields, the country could curtail the outflow of hard currency discouraging the importation of such commodities. Also, replacing imported commodities by the local products could augment its hard currency reserve. As many agree in terms of quality, the locally produced Macaroni and Pastas are nothing less than the imported ones, ubiquitous in the market.
In so far as, there are fresh fruits that get their way from the farm to the fork or processed here, there is no need to import fruits and beverages, which are seen inundating the market. At this juncture, it is important to note that there is a call for sensitizing the public to zoom focus to homegrown products going against the trend of lavishing fancy on imported commodities as a sign of refinement.
As the inclination towards Ethiopian-made leather clothes is seen growing on the wake of the burgeoning of leather industry in the country, the aforementioned habit will buy credence among the general public slowly but surely. Here, worthy to note is the unfolding of such habit on the part of citizens and foreigners here.
Most Ethiopian shoes made of pure leather are outsmarting the imported ones. But this trend presuppose the coming up with quality products. It is the coupling of affordable price with quality that could attract buyers to locally-produced commodities.
Also agro-processing industries thrive in Ethiopia, at the top of the table in Africa when it comes to the number of cattle countries in the continent have.
Investors who fight shy to join the sector must enjoy encouragement and incentives as such a move falls in line with the government's push towards industrialization that eyes at using the agriculture sector as a springboard. Though some changes in this regard are taking shape, there is a lot to be desired.
The coming into life of agro-industries opens wider room for job opportunities too. Aside from absorbing many unemployed citizens, mainly youths and women, the trend will bump up the tax revenue the government collects to turnaround the livelihood of citizens.
Gaps in the supply and demand of some industrial inputs are palpable.
Farmers must be patted on the back to use technologies that boost yields and productivity. But such technologies prove unaffordable to farmers .By way of incentivizing the trend, it sure is good the government subsidizes the sector. To multiply over quality there is also a call for making land available.
There is a call for additional policy changes in terms of incentives, finance , transport and logistics.
As the new prime minister noted recently the nation is beset by dearth of foreign currency as a result of shortfall in its exports. This is ascribable to inadequacy to emerge with commodities that brush shoulder with those circulating the global market. This has to be rectified.
Assessing performances in GTPII so far, the country must press ahead with augmenting its hard currency breaking bottlenecks.
Experts say conditions on the continent are great for virtual currency
Interest in cryptocurrency, a form of digital currency, is growing steadily in Africa. Some economists say it is a disruptive innovation that will blossom on the continent.
Cryptocurrency is not bound by geography because it is internet based; its transactions are stored in a database called blockchain, which is a group of connected computers that record transactions in a ledger in real time.
The difference between cryptocurrency and, say, Visa or Mastercard, is that a cryptocurrency is not now regulated by government and doesn't need middlemen, and transactions rely on the internet, which means they can happen anywhere in the world.
The big cryptocurrency global brands include Bitcoin, Litecoin, XRP, Dash, Lisk and Monero, but Bitcoin leads the pack in Africa. Created in 2009 by a person or people with the alias Satoshi Nakamoto, investors hope Bitcoin becomes the new mode of financial transaction in the digital age.
"Africa is rarely mentioned among the largest markets for cryptocurrency, but it may be set to steal a march over other markets," says Rakesh Sharma, a business and technology journalist.
Mr. Sharma says that citizens of countries battling high inflation are likely to opt for cryptocurrency, because "with their paradigm of decentralization, cryptocurrencies offer an alternative to disastrous central bank policies."
Stealing a march
South Sudan's inflation rate was 102% between September 2016 and September 2017, according to the World Bank. Other countries with double-digit inflation rates include Egypt, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is no surprise that some of these countries are among the main Bitcoin economies in Africa. The main Bitcoin countries are Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe, according to gobitcoin.io, a website dedicated to Bitcoin news in Africa. The BBC adds that cryptocurrency is gaining ground in Uganda.
When Zimbabwe's inflation skyrocketed in 2015, forcing authorities to print $100 trillion notes (each worth just $40), some Zimbabweans turned to Bitcoin.
Zimbabweans and citizens of other African countries transact in Bitcoin "as opposed to their local currencies, which are plagued with hyperinflation," comments Emmanuel Tokunbo Darko, vice president of marketing for ICOWatchlist.com, a platform that hosts cryptocurrency tokens.
There will be 725 million mobile phone subscribers in Africa by 2020, according to the GSM Association, which represents the interests of mobile operators globally. That means more Africans will have the tools to plug into the cryptocurrency ecosystem, says Mr. Sharma.
"I check my Bitcoin every day [on my mobile phone] and any chance I can get. Any minute, any hour, anytime, as often as I can," Peace Akware, a Ugandan millennial, told the BBC.
That African governments are not now regulating cryptocurrency may be a factor spurring its growth on the continent; however, there is no guarantee that governments will not change their current mindset.
Rather than simply not wanting to, governments may be powerless to regulate cryptocurrency, the Nigerian central bank indicated recently. Currently tackling the country's 12% inflation rate, the Nigerian apex bank announced that it could not control or regulate Bitcoin, "just the same way no one is going to control or regulate the internet. We don't own it."
Fearing a collapse of the banking industry or arbitrary appropriation of money by the government, Africans without access to banks and who live in politically unstable countries could be attracted to cryptocurrency. "Bitcoin transactions help to eliminate the procedural bottlenecks that plague traditional banking and financial services," Mr. Darko explains.
Some 15 cryptocurrency-related operations began in Africa in the past year alone, reports Mr. Sharma. But South Africa-based Luno Exchange, established in 2013 and now boasting 1.5 million customers in over 40 countries worldwide, is the first to be based in Africa.
Others, particularly cryptocurrency-based remittance services, are popping up in various countries. These services include Abra, which operates in Malawi and Morocco, GeoPay in South Africa, BitMari in Zimbabwe and London-based Kobocoin, which was launched by Nigerian entrepreneur Felix Onyemechi Ugoji.
The Plaas Application is a mobile app that enables farmers to manage their stock on the blockchain.
Launched in 2013, Kenya's BitPesa facilitates virtual remittances transfers to both African and international locations, to and from individuals' mobile wallets, where cryptocurrency is stored. LocalBitcoins.com in Kenya reported trading volumes in excess of $1.8 million as of December 2017, underlining the lucrativeness of the business.
"I started mining Bitcoin [in Nairobi, Kenya] in September 2017 and, so far, this is the best business I have ever tried," Gladys Laboi told Africa Renewal, adding: "Under six months, I earned $800 after investing in $700."
Not to be left out, some governments are moving into the virtual currency terrain. Tunisia's eDinar is a government-issued digital currency. Senegal is in the process of creating eCFA, which, if successful, could be emulated by other Francophone countries in Africa.
There will be government-issued cryptocurrencies in Africa in the near future, predicts Shireen Ramjoo, ceo of Liquid Crypto-Money, a South Africa-based cryptocurrency consulting firm.
Industry experts believe that cryptocurrency will be around for years. That Bitcoin users can send money to just about anywhere there is an internet connection for relatively small fees and with no third-party interference is an advantage that standard government-issued currencies cannot offer.
"Every single computer device on the surface of the planet with an internet connection can access information on the blockchain and make 'transactional' inputs onto it. The information cannot be distorted, deleted, modified or destroyed, and [the] computer device has the same information as everybody," says Mr. Darko.
Another recommendation is that transactions are anonymous, and users' information is private and safe; there is little possibility of identity theft, which is common with other forms of digital payment.
As of December 2017, the global demand for cryptocurrency had increased to the extent that a Bitcoin sold for $20,000. Its value had been $1,000 one year prior.
Nevertheless, some industry watchers refer to cryptocurrency as a risky and temperamental scheme, citing the crash to $8,700 in the value of Bitcoin last February, from a high of $20,000 in December 2017.
Without regulations, cryptocurrency is a double-edged sword; there may be gains from time to time, but any precipitous crash in price could leave investors with no escape route. Manasseh Egedegbe, an investment manager based in Nigeria, says that Bitcoin's frenzied prize surge seems like the dot-com bubble at the turn of the millennium.
There is also the fact that cryptocurrency can be used by criminals to funnel funds. In 2011 Bitcoin was a currency of choice for drug peddlers, according to the US Justice Department, which seized almost $48 million worth of illegal contrabands that year, and discovered that the criminals involved had made transactions totaling 150,000 Bitcoins (approximately $130 million.
Countries such as Bangladesh, Ecuador and Kyrgyzstan believe the risks outweigh the gains and have banned Bitcoin as well as initial coin offerings or ICOs, which are used by start-ups to evade the demand for capital by banks and other financing institutions.
Quartz Africa, an online business news publication, reported last December that a similar scheme, Mavrodi Mundial Moneybox (MMM), once had over two million users in Nigeria, while also operating in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
There are reports that South Africa's central bank is actively studying cryptocurrency and may institute guidelines to foster innovation. Those guidelines could be a slippery slope to regulation. The Sunday Times of South Africa reported in March that 27,500 individuals, including South Africans, lost more than $50 million when they were duped into transferring their Bitcoins into an online wallet. The publication called it "one of the biggest scams to hit South Africa."
At 22% (the world average is 48%), Africa has the lowest rate of Internet usage of any region, according to a 2017 report by the International Communications Union, which may undercut optimistic projections of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology on the continent. Also, poor power supply in many countries continues to impede the internet access on which cryptocurrency largely depends.
Despite some analysts likening Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to a Ponzi scheme, many Africans are taking the risk to invest in them.
Other experts, such as Mr. Darko, believe Africa should warmly embrace the innovation. "Truth be told, Africa needs blockchain technology and its resultant cryptocurrencies more than any part of the world," he says.
3D mock-up of the ZACUBE-2 satellite.
Science and Technology Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane will unveil South Africa's most sophisticated satellite on Tuesday ahead of its launch in India in July.
The nanosatellite, dubbed ZACUBE-2, was developed by Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and the French South African Institute of Technology as a follow-up to the previous nanosatellite, ZACUBE-1, which was launched from Yasny Launch Base in Russia.
At 4kg, ZACUBE-2 is significantly heavier than ZACUBE-1, which weighed 1.2kg. It is the fourth satellite which SA has launched.
Its dimensions are also larger than ZACUBE-1 at 10cm x 10cm x 30cm and it will circle Earth 550km up in a polar orbit.
Kubayi-Ngubane will attend the launch of ZACUBE-2 later this year.
Department of Science and Technology said the nanosatellite was a "precursor to future nanosatellites expected to constitute the next satellite constellation to be launched by the South African government in the framework of Operation Phakisa blue economy programme".
Developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), ZACUBE-2's imager payload will track forest fires as well as boats off South Africa's coast.
It will receive signals from the ship's Automatic Identification System which will enable authorities to track the position of local and foreign vessels in SA's coastal waters.
The department said that the cost of the launch was R3m and as the funders of the project, the department had already spent R14.7m so far.
The flagship human capital development programme involved 18 engineers and technicians, produced 59 Masters graduates and four PhD graduates as part of the push to develop local technical and engineering skills.
"Sansa strives to grow the local space industry through product, services and skills development. Supporting such programmes as ZACUBE-2, enables the country to benefit from trained and experienced young space engineering experts," said South African National Space Agency (Sansa) CEO, Dr Val Munsami.
Sansa manages the satellite programme in conjunction with the University of Montpellier, the French Embassy and the Paris Chamber of Commerce.
ZACUBE-2 will remain in CPUT's clean room until the end of May before it will be shipped to India for launch.
Johannesburg — ACCESS to digital technology has emerged among the most critical energy trends reshaping the way the energy industry, among other key industries, does business.
While access to energy is regarded as the foundation of life, progress, and education, similarly, as the world continues to change, access to technology is seen as just a vital, where the ability to connect to people, and machines, has been intertwined with that foundation.
Jean-Pascal Tricoire, the Chief Executive Officer of Schneider Electric, while speaking at the Paris Innovation, highlighted access to digital technology as a critical trend alongside decarbonisation, and decentralisation.
The executive pointed out the Internet of Things and the digitisation of devices had provided new methods of delivering data, automation, and analytics to better manage energy and increase productivity and efficiency.
This new technology has provided an opportunity to optimise the entire generation-to-consumption value chain.
"Schneider Electric are proving themselves to be at the forefront of innovation in this regard," Tricoire said.
Albert Fuchet, Schneider Electric Anglophone Africa Cluster President, said the company was the biggest supplier of digital infrastructure on a global scale, earning that position by providing customers with a guarantee of a full secure powertrain when it comes to their automation lines.
"At Schneider Electric South Africa, we speak electricity all the time. And for us, this enormous evolution of electricity we are experiencing is exciting; it has become a full revolution," Fuchet said.
While the information technology sector has traditionally played a marginal role in global electricity consumption at just 10 percent, the demands of the sector are expected to double thanks to the emergence of big data and multiplying at a rapid rate.
"This energy guzzler will become the fastest growing energy consumer in the years to come," Schneider Electric stated.
Against the backdrop of the Nigerian Government's initiative to encourage agriculture, Farmcrowdy is matching investors to small-scale farmers. Russell Southwood spoke to Farmcrowdy co-founder and CEO Onyeka Akumah about how the platform works and its future expansion plans.
Farmcrowdy's founders started doing research on their start-up business in 2016. They were trying to work out which farmers they could invest in and how to go about it.
The small-scale farmers they looked at had problems with things like: accessing loans to extend the area of land they could cultivate; having enough knowledge to use farm inputs; and selling their harvest at a decent price. From the investors' point of view there was no database of farmers of farmers to invest in, no way of knowing whether individual farmers would be a good bet and therefore no way to get a return.
According to Akumah:"We set up a platform to connect both sides and to see what the different available options were. This helped us identify farmers to partner with. The idea was to share the profits between the different stakeholders. The people doing that initial research became the co-founders of the company and we launched in November 2016. Since then, the team has grown to 27 people".
In the sixteen months from its launch, it has worked with 2,000 small-scale farmers across 8 states with its sponsors (which is the term it uses for investors) down US$2 million to back its small-scale farmers. It focuses on four farm crops - maize, soya bean, cassava, rice - and poultry for chicken meat.
The process of selecting farmers is key:"We looked at crop-growing areas and looked for farmer-ambassadors there. They would then introduce us to co-operatives or farmers' associations who in turn would introduce us to farmers in the categories we're looking". It looks for those with 2.5-7.5 acres and wants farmers with extra land they could cultivate.
"The community leaders identify the farmers and vouch for them. The pool of farmers take responsibility for individual farmers. We look for passionate farmers who in turn recommend other farmers (like them)".
Farmcrowdy's sponsors have two ways of engaging with its online platform. Firstly, they can become sponsors and if happy with their investment, encourage others to respond. In this way, it builds its reputation as a "trusted platform" and word-of-mouth encourages new sponsors.
Secondly, potential sponsors can simply sign up to the platform to follow a particular farmer, some of whom post pictures and videos. It helps them make an informed decision about whether to sponsor in the future.
There are around 8,000 farm followers and after every sponsorship cycle about 10% of them become sponsors because through following farmers, they understand the process. In November last year, it launched an app to access the platform and there have been 50,000 downloads. In this way, it's always lining up more sponsors.
So what does Farmcrowdy know about its sponsors?:"They are excited about the agricultural space and have been focused into it by the Government. They are middle class Nigerians aged between 28-40. If we identify farmers in a particular state, people from that state will start investing. Most of the sponsors are from Nigeria as you have to have a Nigerian bank account, which means that 99% are either from within the country or the diaspora".
Farmcrowdy has also built into its model various ways of helping the farmers' chances of making its sponsors a return:" We have expertise for farmers on our team, including technical field specialists who are agronomists. They help find the co-ordinators for the pools of farmers and provide partner forums for companies who want to engage with the farmers. For example, the technical specialist might work with a fertilizer company to help improve farmer yields. The companies cannot work with individual farmers but can work with groups of farmers and agricultural institutions across the states".
But how do you improve harvest prices?:"We get pre-arranged prices with the buyers and they give us a range for the purchase price. With that, we can then promise our sponsors a rate of return. Also with farmers, if they want to make some money, they can hold on to see whether there is a better price beyond the glut season. With the chicken farmers, it's based on a pre-arranged price for a particular weight of chicken".
In December 2017 Farmcrowdy closed a $1 Million seed investment round from Cox Enterprises, Techstars Ventures, Social Capital, Hallett Capital and Right-Side Capital; as well as angel investors Tyler Scriven, Michael Cohn, Josephine Group, FC Agro Allied SPV and Dr. Christof Walter.
Farmcrowdy's expansion plans over the next two years are two-fold: within the huge Nigerian agricultural sector and looking at some new countries outside of Nigeria:"Agriculture is a very interesting space. There are 38 million small-scale farmers in Nigeria. So we want to be working with more farmers and fine-tuning the business model. At present, it's a country model. It's Nigerians sponsoring Nigerian farmers so that Nigerians can eat. But in Q4, 2018 or Q1, 2019, we have eyes on Kenya, Ghana and Uganda. We want to see whether the same process will work in other countries".
Sophia, the Saudi-Arabian citizen and first Android national in history, will attend Egypt's Creative Industry Summit from 17th to 18th April in her first appearance on the continent.
Sophia, the most advanced robot and first artificially intelligent (AI) robot to be granted citizenship, is coming to Africa for Egypt's Creative Industry Summit. Since its launch in 2014, the summit focuses on the latest developments in advertising, marketing and design in Egypt and the Arab world.
It is no wonder that the summits organisers', Idea Bakers and The Worx, set their sights on Sophia - she is currently the most advanced Artificially Intelligent being around. Her recent appearances at the UN and the World Economic Forum Davos made it an easy choice to include her.
Mai Salama, the Creative Industry Summit's founding partner, said in a statement, "The summit mainly targets six key areas, namely advertising and marketing, art and design, film, radio and television, photography, business innovation, and music. We aim to develop creative industries by putting forth new and innovative ideas in these fields."
Salama added that through Sophia the organisers could showcase the latest breakthroughs in technology.
"We have always tried to bring whatever is new and a breakthrough in terms of technology. She's been very successful, having recently spoken at the UN and Davos. So, we felt we should try to bring the most advanced AI to Egypt."
In further comments to Startup Scene, Salama explained that AI is becoming an integral part of life. "There are agencies hiring AI as creative directors, and when you think about it, it will add a lot because a robot like Sophia can eventually come up with content."
Who is Sophia really?
Sophia, the brainchild of David Hanson, is the world's most advanced and 'real' android. According to an AFP article, her artificial skin consists of organic and non-organic material and she is able to express her 'emotions' through a number of facial expressions installed via a large number of motors under her 'skin'. It has also been said that her face was designed to match the legendary Audrey Hepburn.
Sophia has cameras installed in her eyes and torso to help her maintain eye contact and ensure she is able to recognise human faces. Her programming allows her to carry out non-scripted conversations, during which she is able to collect emotional data and form emotional relations.
Her ability to converse autonomously is demonstrated on her 'date' in a viral video with actor Will Smith.
Sophia's media appearances range from Elle magazine to Good Morning Britain and The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon. She also appeared in the movie The White King.
Intellectuals around the world have shared their concerns about AI as the development of robots like Sophia can represent a great danger to mankind.
Hanson robots are connected through Wi-Fi to a cloud to enable them to share information with each other in order to maximise learned experiences. In other words, they share their 'thoughts' and 'feelings'. This, however, also means they can be controlled or 'hacked'.
Elon Musk, CEO of Space X and Tesla, and Ben Goertzel, Hanson Robotics' chief scientist, have both warned about the dangers of AI. In an interview with AFP, Goertzel said, "There's reasonable speculation that if we don't build machines that really care, they'll have motives of their own."
These sentiments were echoed by economics experts at the World Economic Forum, who warned against the "killer robots," which, according to reports by Forbes, can be programmed to track down people and kill them. They were called "a threat to mankind".
For now, however, the threat is not imminent as AI technology is still in the "rudimentary" phase. So Sophia coming to Africa is merely a technological spectacle and an excuse to re-watch I, Robot.
A renewed hope is set for Africa as renowned Polish explorer Arkady Pawel Fiedler, who in February, inaugurated the first ever Electric Vehicle (EV) expedition with the world's most popular electric vehicle, Nissan LEAF car from Cape Town South Africa via West Africa to Europe by road stopped by in Nigeria.
The expedition is poised to build awareness for electric mobility and new cleaner technologies in Africa, Poland and the world at large.
Besides, the 100 per cent Nissan Electric LEAF is the world's first mass-produced and also bestselling electric car.
Fiedler drove alongside his companion, Albert Wojtowicz, an architect cum photographer in an entirely first generation electric Nissan LEAF car that is powered by a 30kwh battery with a range of 250 kilometres in a period of two months, covering 8,000 kilometres.
Addressing local automobile media in Lagos, Fiedler said, apart from being the first ever electric vehicle expedition across the African continent, the trip aims to build awareness for electric mobility and new cleaner technologies in Africa, Poland and the world at large.
The voyage, according to him, also seeks to change peoples' perception of the world and human choices with particular recourse to the impact of transport on the environment, Fiedler said.
"Care of the environment, home and family starts with us, with our subjective decisions and this journey are also proof that something apparently impossible can be achieved when given appropriate attitude and determination."
The explorers who are billed to proceed to the Republic of Benin in their schedule will also visit Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, before terminating in Poland.
Arkady and Albert had earlier being in Namibia, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, Gabon, and Cameroon since leaving Cape Town, South Africa in February.
Fiedler said the choice of the electric Nissan LEAF model wasn't by impulse.
"When it came to considering which kind of electric car I would drive across Africa, we took into account several brands, featuring similar specifications but this particular model was favoured.
It has been a proven model since 2010 and just in January 2018, the Nissan-Renault Alliance announced the delivery of the 300, 000th LEAF car sold worldwide."