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Outcomes of South Africa and Nigeria’s Tête-à-tête

South Africa and Nigeria

The leaders of Nigeria and South Africa have pledged to take “concrete measures” to stem future outbreaks of xenophobic violence, during a state visit to South Africa by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. “We’ve agreed that we are going to set up mechanisms between our two countries, early warning mechanisms will be set up so that once we see that there is restiveness. We will be able to inform one another to find ways — and active ways — of ensuring that we do not have recurrences. And at the same time, we will cooperate at a number of levels, including the policing level, including the intelligence-sharing information level.” Buhari’s three-day visit will also include a business forum and a meeting of a bi-national commission that seems to boost cooperation between the two countries. He will also meet with Nigerian expatriates in Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city. 


Protecting Kenya’s Small Farmers

Kenya's Small Farmers

Thomas Njeru is a co-founder and the chief financial officer of Pula, a four-year-old microinsurance firm that serves 1.7 million smallholder farms of 0.6 acres or less in 10 African countries and India. Pula, based in Nairobi, Kenya, partners with government agencies and loan providers to cover the cost of the insurance, which is included in the price of seed and fertilizer; there is no direct charge to the farmer. Among the coverages Pula provides is weather index insurance to cover failures of seed germination, using satellite data to determine whether there has been sufficient rainfall. Longer-term coverage, called yield index insurance, compensates farmers with replacement supplies in the event of a poor harvest.


Nigerian Neurosurgeon Fights Brain Drain in His Country

Dr. Olawale Sulaiman

Dr. Olawale Sulaiman, 41, is a professor of neurosurgery and spinal surgery and chairman for the neurosurgery department and back and spine center at the Ochsner Neuroscience Institute in New Orleans. He lives in Louisiana, but splits his time between the US and Nigeria, spending up to 12 days each month providing healthcare in the country of his birth — sometimes for free. Born in Lagos Island, Lagos, Sulaiman says his motivation comes from growing up in a relatively poor region. In 2010, Sulaiman established RNZ Global, a healthcare development company with his wife, Patricia. The company provides medical services including neuro and spinal surgery, and offers health courses like first aid CPR in Nigeria and the US.


Wearing this Hat in Uganda Can Get You Arrested

Bobi Wine

Police in Uganda detained supporters of pop star and presidential hopeful Bobi Wine for wearing red berets, a banned symbol of his “People Power” pressure group. Authorities in Uganda announced on Monday that the red beret and tunic would henceforth be designated as official military clothing, essentially banning the uniform of opposition leader Bobi Wine and his supporters. The pop star turned leading opposition figure, who has announced he is running for president against longtime leader Yoweri Museveni in 2021, has made the red beret his signature, calling it a “symbol of resistance”.


Smart Cities Looking to Thrive Will Invest in The Big Six

Smart Cities

The term Smart City is not a new one and, while some examples already exist on the African continent, it is not as widespread as it should be. Cities looking to thrive in the future are encouraged to invest in creating Smart, Safe and Sustainable applications enabled by a Shared, Scalable and Secured Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure in what so called Six S’s smart city model. The smart city IoT applications will have various requirements with direct implications on the City ICT infrastructure. These requirements will vary in terms of data volume, throughput, number of devices and the latency pattern for transferring the data. This in return mandates the need to have a robust and flexible infrastructure to support a wide range of use cases that would be implemented as part of smart city.


Is Zambia Thumb-sucking its Budget Forecast?

Zambia budget

Zambian Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu plans to obtain almost 10% of the southern African nation’s total income next year from undisclosed sources, raising concerns about the accuracy and sustainability of government spending plans for 2020. The budget, which Ng’andu presented to lawmakers at the end of September, contains $515 million of “exceptional revenue” that could further stretch the finances of Africa’s second-biggest copper producer if it doesn’t materialize. Government debt has surged from 20% of gross domestic product a decade ago to a projected 91.6% this year, prompting the International Monetary Fund to warn that Zambia is at high risk of debt distress.


Mauritius Launches Plans to Cut Traffic Jams

Mauritius Traffic Jams

The railway’s first stage of 13 km inaugurated by Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth will connect Rose Hill, a town in the central part of the island, to the capital Port Louis. When completed, the 26 km (16-mile) route will connect Curepipe, a town in central Mauritius, to the capital Port Louis and comes at a cost of $525 million. It is expected to have 19 stations and four interchanges. 


Smuggling Rice Hits Benin 

Benin's Smuggled Rice

Benin Republic, is grappling with economic costs from the border closure by President Muhammadu Buhari. Several businesses, mostly in the agriculture and transport sectors, have been hit hard by the blockade. Smuggling is chronic across Nigeria’s porous borders, and in the case of Benin, it goes in both directions. Large quantities of frozen chickens, rice, fabric, and cars are often illegally routed to Nigeria after being taxed locally at the port of Cotonou, Benin’s economic capital. The transport sector in Benin has also been hit due to the shortage of cheap Nigerian fuel after the boundary was closed.


The Chibok Girls are Still Missing

Missing Chibok Girls

Five years after she last saw her daughter, Yana Galang fears the world has forgotten a tragedy that splintered families and is now the subject of an award-winning documentary. The mother of one of the 112 Nigerian schoolgirls of Chibok still missing after being abducted by Boko Haram in 2014 came to the city during the UN general assembly, on a mission to remind the world that – five years on – their children still have not been brought home. It was the silence surrounding the once huge story that led Nigerian film-maker Joel Kachi Benson to visit Chibok last year. What he found was a town still traumatised by loss and enduring not just the uncertainty of their daughter’s fates but also the grinding hardship of poverty. He decided to make a film there.


Somalia Back in the US’ Good Books

Somalia US

The United States has reopened its embassy in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, nearly three decades after it was shut as the Horn of Africa nation plunged into civil war. Washington closed its embassy during the 1991 overthrow of then-President Siad Barre’s military regime which ushered in decades of chaos. However, diplomatic relations have strengthened in recent years.  A permanent diplomatic presence was established in Mogadishu in December 2018, but was operated out of Nairobi in neighbouring Kenya.


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