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Preparing for Mugabe’s Final Send Off

Mugabe's Final Send Off

The body of Robert Mugabe has arrived back in Zimbabwe after a private flight from Singapore, where he died last week aged 95, he had been receiving hospital treatment in Singapore. The specially chartered flight carrying Mr Mugabe’s body landed at about 13:30 GMT. A convoy of vehicles with “RG Mugabe” number plates was seen next to the runway and a crowd of people, some wearing the former president’s image on T-shirts, awaited the arrival of the plane. Mr Mugabe’s wife Grace was also on the flight, and The body will be taken to the family home known as the “Blue Roof” in Harare. On Thursday and Friday, Mr Mugabe is due to lie in state at Rufaro Stadium, in Mbare township in Harare, where he was sworn in as Zimbabwe’s first prime minister after independence from the UK in 1980. His official state funeral will take place on Saturday at the 60,000-seat National Sports Stadium in Harare. The government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared him a “national hero” for his role in helping Zimbabwe gain independence, and a grave has been reserved at Heroes’ Acre, a shrine in Harare for all those who fought against colonial rule.


Naspers’ Next Move


South African e-commerce group Naspers is listing its global empire of consumer internet assets under the name of Prosus – and the jewel in the crown is a 31% stake in Chinese tech titan Tencent. The spin-off in Amsterdam marks the end of an era for Naspers as it looks to move beyond the legacy of former CEO Koos Bekker’s prescient investment of just $34 million in Tencent when it was a startup in 2001, one of the most lucrative bets in corporate history. The stake in Tencent, the world’s biggest videogame company and home to the hugely popular WeChat social media platform, is now worth $130 billion and has buttressed Naspers’ rapid growth towards becoming Africa’s most valuable listed company. Due to that holding, Prosus should have a market value of more than $100 billion in one go, which would make it the third-largest stock on the Amsterdam exchange after Shell and Unilever, and Europe’s No.2 tech firm after Germany’s SAP. 


Using Tech to Provide Nigeria’s Lifeline

Nigeria's Lifeline

Nigeria needs up to 1.8 million units of blood every year, but the National Blood Transfusion Service collects only about 66,000 units per year, leaving a deficit of more than 1.7 million pints of blood, according to a 2017 report quoting the country’s health ministry. LifeBank, a blood and oxygen delivery company, says it is trying to improve the numbers by encouraging Nigerians to donate blood and safely getting required blood to patients who need it urgently. The company currently connects registered blood banks to hospitals in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, and Lagos. Through a partnership with Google Nigeria, LifeBank incorporated Google maps into its mobile application, mapping out locations connecting doctors, blood banks, hospitals, and dispatch riders. The company is the brainchild of Temie Giwa-Tubosun, a health manager who suffered complications when she was seven months pregnant in 2014. Her team gathers inventory data from about 52 blood banks across Lagos and responds to requests from hospitals based on the data provided by the banks.


Africa’s Post-colonial Familiarity with Jekyll-turned-Hyde Autocrats

Jekyll-turned-Hyde Autocrats

Across Africa, those who led the fight against colonial rule and those who came after them became just as brutal as those they had deposed. As Mmusi Maimane, leader of South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance noted last year in a speech in the Senegalese capital Dakar, the same pattern is repeated. “First comes the era of colonial rule – unjust and exploitative. Then comes independence along with a new, democratically elected government. And then follows years, even decades, of oppression by the very same people who were meant to deliver freedom.” Sadly, for many Africans, liberators do not always take this to heart as they pursue and maintain power. There is little recognition among governing elites today that the failure to reform the inherited colonial systems of oppression embodied in the state continues to be at the root of the continent’s malaise.


A Catalogue of Great African Music can be Found on this Platform

Great African Music

It has been a long road to the platform for Africori — a digital music licensing and distribution company based in Johannesburg and London. Hundreds of artists and labels are signed up, including biggies like Ghanaian hip-hop artist Pappy Kojo, Kenyan rapper Nyashinski, South African producer Gemini Major, House Afrika Records and Sol Generation Records, as well as obscure artists from Zimbabwe, Malawi, Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia. Now, Francophone African musicians from Sierra Leone, Burundi, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and more are jumping on the bandwagon, and Kenan is on the move all the time. After all, Africa is an “artistic volcano” waiting to erupt, and offering services like curating African music playlists via Afriquency for a global audience. On a continent where musicians have been making money only through telecom giants, who buy songs to use as ringtones, digital streaming revenue would be a breakthrough, especially given rampant piracy and hazy royalty laws. Africori works to make sure its artists have a global streaming footprint and retain the rights to their music.  

Improved Strategies to Work towards Sustainable Cocoa Production

Cocoa Production

Ivory Coast and Ghana will meet major chocolate makers and grinders in Abidjan on Wednesday to make plans to regulate the industry’s efforts to source cocoa sustainably. The plan comes after years of attempts by industry to self-monitor their sustainable sourcing practices and wipe out the blight of child labour and deforestation from the cocoa sector in West Africa. Industry fears the new move might represent a major and costly overhaul of the certification schemes they use to boost their brands in highly competitive markets where both consumers and investors are growing increasingly eco-conscious. The two countries produce two-thirds of the world’s cocoa, have already imposed a fixed “living income differential” of $400 a tonne in July on all cocoa sales for the 2020/21 season in a bid to tackle pervasive farmer poverty and deforestation.


Is Uganda Ready for the Death Penalty?

Yoweri Museveni

President Yoweri Museveni has asked the courts to impose mandatory death sentences for people convicted of murder following a series of kidnapping and killings, including one in which his nephew died. “You may commit a crime, carelessly taking away the lives of others; however, you will also lose your own life. We need to make this clear to the courts. It must be an eye for eye,” Museveni wrote in a blog post. The president’s nephew, Joshua Rushegyera, was found dead with a gunshot wound near a car parked on a popular highway in Kampala on September 5. A woman with bullet wounds was found dead in the vehicle, according to a statement by the Uganda Police Force investigating the case. No arrests have been made. Museveni said security is being beefed up and law enforcement is deploying technology to identify and apprehend criminals swiftly.


Living with Albinism in Nollywood

Albinism in Nollywood

Damilola Ogunsi, 40, — popularly known by his stage name, the Gold Fish — is an albino on a mission. As a teenager he suffered intense discrimination, but Ogunsi says acting gave him a voice. Before his acting career started, Ogunsi worked as a merchant banker for a nearly decade. Now, he frequently appears on Nigerian movie screens. Some two million Nigerians live with albinism, according to the Abuja-based Albino Foundation. Many face discrimination and marginalization on a daily basis. Although a few like Ogunsi have risen above the societal bias against their condition, officials from the Albino Foundation say that situation is serious. The Albino Foundation was created to debunk the wrong information that people have about people with albinism and to create an equal opportunity for everybody with albinism to thrive in the society.”


Is Ethiopia Ready for the Cabs of the Future?

Ethiopia cab

Leaving Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport airport, the first things to stand out are the taxis. Cruising the city’s streets alongside newer car models imported from Asian imports is a sizeable population of sky blue, mid-century Peugeot 404 and 504s. Due in part to high tariffs, limits on auto imports and the reliability of the car, some of these vehicles are still working full time almost 60 years after they were built. Leaving Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport airport, the first things to stand out are the taxis. Cruising the city’s streets alongside newer car models imported from Asian imports is a sizeable population of sky blue, mid-century Peugeot 404 and 504s. Due in part to high tariffs, limits on auto imports and the reliability of the car, some of these vehicles are still working full time almost 60 years after they were built.


Removing Part of Senegal’s Cultural Identity

Senegal’s Cultural Identity

In Dakar, the capital of Senegal, the city’s horse-drawn buggies have long been a staple means of getting around, are under an emerging threat from motorized rickshaws. Some city officials see the horse-drawn carts as a vestige of a poorer country, incompatible with the modern highways in a capital that is booming economically. The carts, in their view, are too slow, block traffic and cause accidents. The move toward electric rickshaws got a big lift after a recent visit by President Macky Sall to India, where he saw motorized cabs widely in use and liked what he saw. He asked for, and was given, a gift from the state of 250 of them to try an experiment in clean-energy transportation in Dakar.


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