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Ethiopians Pay Heavy Price for Industrialisation

Ethiopian garment factory

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

SOURCES: THE WASHINGTON POST

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

African Migrant Tragedies

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

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

Namibian Government Declares a National State of Emergency

National State of Emergency Namibia

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

SOURCES: AFRICA NEWS

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

Cable Car on Mount Kilimanjaro

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

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

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

Lupita Nyong’o's Met Gala

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

SOURCES: INDEPENDENT

World Bodies Call for Civilian Rule in Sudan

Civilian Rule in Sudan

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

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

South Africans Prepare to Vote

South Africans elections

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

SOURCES: THE SOUTH AFRICAN

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

Abdulsamad Rabiu

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

SOURCES: FORBES AFRICA

More Africans are Going back to Being Vegan

Africans Being Vegan

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

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

 

[WATCH] Kenya’s X-Files

Kenya’s X-Files

The people of rural Kenya have spoken of the night runners for generations. They’re said to be villagers possessed by a demonic spirit which compels them to scare and terrorise their neighbours at night. But no-one really knows who the night runners are or what motivates them. BBC Africa Eye investigates the enigma of the night runners, shining fresh light on the reality behind the myths, and revealing exclusive footage of night runners in action.

SOURCES: BBC

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