Tue. Feb 18th, 2020


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Nigeria Takes its Focus on Agriculture to the Next Level

Agriculture Nigeria

President Muhammadu Buhari has instructed the country’s central bank to stop providing foreign currency for food imports, according his spokesman, the move is aimed at improving Nigeria’s agricultural production and attaining more food security. Agricultural expert Ayokunle Afolabi Toye says a restriction on foreign exchange for food importers is a good move for local food producers to grow, but it needs to be supplemented with additional policies to be effective. As a way of diversifying the country’s economy and reducing its dependence on oil, policies aimed at stimulating the growth of the agricultural sector have been put forward over the past years. In 2015, the Central Bank of Nigeria presided over a ban on the access to foreign currency for 41 items that the bank felt could be manufactured in the country, including rice and poultry. In July, it announced that it would stop importers of milk and other dairy products from getting foreign currency, arguing that local production of milk should be encouraged instead. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, imports of agricultural products were valued at about $640 million in the first quarter of 2019. These policies are expected to reduce how much is spent on imports and encourage local production of goods.SOURCE: CNN

UNAIDS Welcomes the Appointment of Winnie Byanyima to the Fold

Winnie Byanyima

Ugandan Winnie Byanyima, who heads UK charity Oxfam, has been appointed as the next executive director of UNAids. “Ms Byanyima brings a wealth of experience and commitment in harnessing the power of governments, multilateral agencies, the private sector and civil society to end the Aids epidemic around the world,” UNAids said in a statement. A former MP and engineer by training, Ms Byanyima succeeds Michel Sidibé, who has been appointed Mali’s health minister. “I am honoured to be joining UNAids as the executive director at such a critical time in the response to HIV. The end of Aids as a public health threat by 2030 is a goal that is within the world’s reach, but I do not underestimate the scale of the challenge ahead.” Ms Byanyima, 60, tweeted that she embraces the role with “humility, passion and faith”. She served for seven years as director of gender and development at the United Nations Development Programme before she joined Oxfam in 2013. She has also worked for the African Union Commission on a women’s rights project to help reduce the disproportionate effect of HIV on the lives of women on the continent.


West Africa’s Gold Sector is where the Sun is Rising

West Africa's Gold Sector

Africa’s largest money manager sees “significant investment opportunities” in West African gold mining as the industry at the southern endof the continent declines. Investor-friendly policies can help Ghana and other countries in the region drive the next “gold-mining boom,” said a mining research analyst at South Africa’s Public Investment Corp. Low-cost deposits in Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Ivory Coast offer the long-term investment potential the PIC prefers, rather than the five to 10-year lifespan of projects in South Africa. South Africa’s gold industry, which has produced half the world’s bullion ever mined, has been shrinking amid the geological challenges of exploiting the world’s deepest mines. AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. and Gold Fields Ltd. have shifted production to lower-cost operations, including West Africa, with the former in the process of selling its last underground mine in South Africa. Both companies are expanding output in Ghana, which has leapfrogged South Africa to become the continent’s largest bullion producer.


From Rising to the Top of the Criminal Pyramid in Kibera Slum to Voice of Change

Kibera Slum

George Okewa once terrorised his community. Spurred on by violence, drink and drugs, he believed that one day his lifestyle would cause his death. Today Okewa is director of community relations for Shining hope for communities (Shofco), a 514-strong charitable organisation, which he co-founded with Odede in 2004. Okewa and his fellow disciples spend their time building relationships with the police and government in an effort to keep Kibera’s young people alive and divert them from crime, while building infrastructure that supports Kenya’s poorest. Okewa’s first lesson to the youth: respect for oneself and for women. It is the persistent political influence over the gangs that Okewa believes continues to make Kibera a tinderbox, triggering violent uprising across the country during election time and leading to clashes with police and loss of life on both sides of the divide.


It’s Tense in Harare ahead of Planned Demonstrations 


At least three men with links to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were abducted and badly beaten before being dumped on the streets of Harare on Wednesday. Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the MDC, has called a day of strikes and marches to protest a spiraling economic crisis. Mr Chamisa, who claims he won a disputed presidential election last year, is demanding the formation of a transitional authority to address the country’s economic crisis and ensure confidence in future elections. Previous MDC-led protests over the past year have ended in deadly violence, and government and opposition leaders have accused one another of plotting disorder. Soldiers killed at least six people when they opened fire on an MDC protest that turned violent following the disputed elections last year.  In January, 17 people were killed and many more raped and beaten by soldiers following protests over a sudden rise in the price of fuel.  


Getting the Facts Right in Africa’s News Cycle

Africa's News Cycle

Facebook, in partnership with fact-checking organisation Africa Check, has started checking for fake news in African languages. The program, which was launched in Sub-Saharan Africa last year, will now add languages including Yoruba, Igbo, Swahili, Wolof, Afrikaans, Zulu, Setswana and Sotho. Stories deemed false will appear further down in Facebook users’ newsfeeds, in the hope that they won’t be shared as much. Facebook says it relies on feedback from the Facebook community to raise potentially false stories for review. Facebook has previously been under fire over the spread of fake news and hate speech on its platform. In Africa alone, more than 130 million people use Facebook.


Casablanca is a Destination Full of Surprise


A large metropolis of 4 million inhabitants,the economic and financial capital of Morocco, a more modern city where thousands of foreigners come from all over the world not only to visit the city, but also to work and live. Behind these realities is a city full of history with an architectural heritage, ancient and recent, a dynamic city, proud of its past and confident in its future. With its contemporary buildings dedicated to business, Casablanca offers an active and dynamic image of Morocco in the 21st century. Take for example the business activities of Casanearshore Park and the enormous Technopark building that greets you while entering the city from the airport. Here, you will plunge into the roots of the country’s history by traveling through the ancient city of Casablanca. Surrounded by walls, it unrolls its shady alleys around the Great Mosque. You may also feel the pulse of the city on a stroll along the Cornich, where you can take in views of the sea.


Burundi on High Alert 


Burundi has started vaccinating its health workers against Ebola, beginning with those near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The country has had no reported cases of the deadly haemorrhagic fever, but the viral disease has been spreading in eastern Congo since August 2018 in an epidemic that has now killed at least 1,800 people. Efforts to control the outbreak have been hampered by militia violence and some local resistance to outside help. The WHO said Burundi’s health ministry had begun vaccinating health workers at the Gatumba border crossing point using the Merck’s rVSV-ZEBOV. Neighbouring Uganda has also been on high alert since two people, part of a family visiting from Congo, died of Ebola. A third member of the family died after returning home.SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

Bringing Coding to Refugee Camps

Senegalese Marieme Jamme

Senegalese Marieme Jamme, once a child prostitute, has made it her mission to teach one million women and girls — including refugees — how to program computers by 2030. In Britain, Jamme, driven by a love for math and science, taught herself computer programming. She became the CEO of a business consultancy firm and has advised organizations such as Google, Ernst and Young, Microsoft, and U.N. Women, in addition to many African governments. There is a long way to go to reach Jamme’s goal to teach one million students. But since 2011, “iamtheCode” has trained thousands of women and girls — and that’s something to celebrate, especially in a refugee camp.


Zero Tolerance for Crimes Against People Living with Albinism

Living with Albinism

A Malawi court has convicted and sentenced two men and a woman to death for killing a person with albinism. This is the second death sentence handed down in the country in the past three months following one in May this year for the murder of albino teenager Mphatso Pensulo in 2017. Malawi has not carried out any executions since 1994, with death sentences commuted to life imprisonment. The Association of People Living with Albinism welcomed Tuesday’s ruling, hoping it will deter attacks on their members. Of 163 cases reported in the country since November 2014, 22 have been murders, Amnesty International said in May 2019, criticising impunity for the crimes. Just 30% of those attacks have been properly investigated, according to official statistics.