Wed. Jan 22nd, 2020

Stay Smart About Africa

Africa Top10 News

Liberians Gutted after a Devastating Fire

Devastating Fire

Twenty-six children have died after a fire broke out in a boarding school in a suburb outside the Liberian capital Monrovia.The children were sleeping in a building attached to a mosque at the Quranic Islamic School in Paynesville City when it caught fire at around 11 pm Liberia time. The children, some as young as 10, were not able to escape the building because there was no fire exit and there were security steel bars on the windows. Two teachers are also among the dead. While two survivors were taken to a local hospital and remain in a critical condition. Liberia’s President George Weah visited the site Wednesday morning and later tweeted his condolences to the families of the bereaved. “My prayers go out to the families of the children that died last night in Paynesville City; as a result of a deadly fire that engulfed their school building. This is a tough time for the families of the victims and all of Liberia. Deepest condolences go out to the bereaved.” he victims were buried on Wednesday in line with Islamic funeral rites.


Relief for Senegal’s Cancer Sufferers

Senegal's Cancer Sufferers

Senegal’s government says that women suffering from breast or cervical cancer will be offered free chemotherapy in public hospitals from the beginning of October. For other types of cancers, 60% of the costs will be reimbursed, the government says. For other types of cancers, 60% of the costs will be reimbursed, the government says. Other countries, like Rwanda, Namibia and Seychelles, also offer free chemotherapy. An estimated $1.6bn has been allocated by the Senegalese government for this new measure. Already, in 2015, the government agreed to cover at least 30% of the cost of treating all cancers. But many other obstacles remain when it comes to effectively and affordably treating cancer. For example, more mammograms, which detect the presence of breast cancer, need to be offered to women in Senegal. In many circumstances, radiotherapy is needed, in addition to chemotherapy, to control the disease in the tissues where the cancer began, Dr Benjamin Anderson, professor of surgery and global health medicine at the University of Washington explained.


Looking into Madagascar’s Crystal Industry

Madagascar's Crystal Industry

Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world, but beneath its soil is a well-stocked treasure chest. Rose quartz and amethyst, tourmaline and citrine, labradorite and carnelian: Madagascar has them all. Gems and precious metals were the country’s fastest-growing export in 2017 – up 170% from 2016, to $109m. While the crystal business is booming, and largely among consumers who tend to be concerned with environmental impact, fair trade and good intentions, there is little sign of the kind of regulation that might improve conditions for those who mine them. Refining the stone in Madagascar means creating steady jobs and keeping more of the value of the crystals in the country. With stone that was exported rough and then carved in China or the US, almost none of the profit stayed in Madagascar.


It Just Got Easier to Trade with Angola

Trade with Angola

Angola is adopting an electronic payment system to facilitate the registration for import, export, and re-export trade, a process known to be strenuous due to bureaucracy in the administrative procedures.  With the new system, payment during registration will be made through Automated Teller Machines, Internet banking platforms, express multi-box, among other banking tools, Alexandre said at a meeting organized to introduce the software to members of the Chamber of Official Brokers. The new procedure represents a welcome upgrade on the current payment system that requires dispatchers to resort to fiscal districts to make the payment after which they bring the proofs to the Ministry of Commerce to be launched in the importers’ process. The process of importing goods into Angola is reportedly time-consuming and highly bureaucratic. In the category of Trading Across Borders, the World Bank Doing Business 2019 ranks Angola among the countries with the most time-consuming import procedures worldwide at 174 out of 190 countries assessed. Moreover, import procedures in Angola require an estimated $460 and 96 hours for import document compliance.  In comparison regionally, sub-Saharan Africa averages $283.5 and 97.7 hours for import document compliance.


This Staple Could be Stunting African Children

African Children

Zambia has called for a radical change in the eating habits of the nation, saying people should ditch the staple, maize meal, for more nutritious foods – a proposal akin to telling Italians to stop eating pasta. Maize meal is hugely popular across much of southern and East Africa – research shows that sub-Saharan Africa consumes 21% of the maize produced in the world.Many people eat maize meal twice or three times a day. Some say they have not eaten unless they have had maize meal, which is known as nshima in Zambia, nsima in Malawi, sadza in Zimbabwe, papa or pap in South Africa and Lesotho, and ugali in Kenya. Some nutritionists say the maize meal sold in supermarkets is highly processed and therefore lacks nutrients, vital for the health of our skin, hair and brain. When eaten in its original form, maize contains nutrients such vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and fibre, but all the goodness is lost if it is over-processed, they say. Maize meal is popular, especially in poor families, because it is often subsidised by governments.

A Turn of Events in Tunisia’s Elections

Tunisia's Elections

Tunisia’s independent electoral commission confirmed the stunning victories of two political outsiders in the first round of presidential voting — results seen as a major rebuff of the post-revolution political establishment. Final results place law professor Kais Saied and business tycoon Nabil Karoui in first and second place respectively, capturing more than 18% and 16% of the vote. They now face a runoff in what is Tunisia’s second-only free and democratic presidential election. Turnout was less than 50% — another marker of voter disaffection. Tunisian journalist Tarek Mami of France Magreb 2 radio says Tunisians got rid of one system during the revolution — that of autocratic President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Now, they’re getting rid of the system that replaced him. Widespread corruption and soaring food prices helped to fuel voter anger.


Africa’s Biggest Economies are Also the Unsafest

Africa's Biggest Economies

Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Egypt were named among the world’s most dangerous places to live and work in, for expatriates. The latest Expat Insider Survey, done by InterNations, polled 20,259 expats representing 182 nationalities and living in 187 countries or territories, covering topics such as quality of life, cost of living, personal finance, safety and security and more. South Africa and Nigeria, along with Brazil were the worst rated destinations in the safety and security category, which covers peacefulness, personal safety and political stability.


Can Botswana Afford to Ban Vegetables from its Neighbours?


A group of vegetable producers from across Botswana are calling for a permanent ban on imports of tomatoes, potatoes, cabbages, carrots, beetroot and green peppers from South Africa and other vegetable exporting countries. The group recently approached the Botswana government to discuss the idea of a permanent ban on such imports, saying local farmers could meet national demand for these vegetables. Spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture said that such a ban would be difficult to implement because Botswana was a signatory to trade agreements aimed at liberalising trade between Botswana and Southern African Development Community countries.


Lesotho Farmers Tangled in a Ball of Lies

Lesotho Farmers

Chinese businessman, Guohui Shi, and his Lesotho Wool Centre were awarded a monopoly over the wool and mohair trade in the Southern African mountain kingdom, meaning Moteane and other small brokers would have to shut down. Since then, thousands of farmers have had to wait a year or more to be paid by Shi’s brokerage; some say they’ve been underpaid, and others not paid at all. Approximately 75% of Lesotho’s population lives in rural areas and relies on wool and mohair for income. Some herders have been forced to eat their flocks to survive.


Will Re-greening Africa’s Sahel Region Combat Climate Change?

Africa's Sahel Region

The Great Green Wall is ambitious African-led initiative to grow an 8,000-kilometre forest across the entire width of Africa’s Sahel aims to combat the spread of the Sahara Desert and improve the state of one of the world’s poorest regions. More than a decade into the project, the Great Green Wall is about 15 percent complete. Those involved in the process believe land restoration can help improve food security, provide jobs and, ultimately, stem migration.