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Kipchoge’s “Moon‑landing Moment”

Eliud Kipchoge

Eliud Kipchoge is the first person to run the marathon in less than two hours, clocking in  1:59.40.2. His feat came with the meticulous preparation seen in space missions. He was wearing a souped-up version of Nike Vaporfly trainers, which contain a special curved plate that allows runners to roll through instead of bending toes and losing energy. Without doubt it has been a game-changer, given it has been worn by those running the five quickest official marathons, all of which have taken place in the past 13 months.  Kipchoge was surrounded at all times by a team of 41 pacemakers to minimise wind resistance. Laser beams shone on the road shows the pace Kipchoge needed to maintain and the pacemakers their positions.


[OPINION] Why I Nominated Abiy Ahmed for the Nobel Peace Prize

Abiy Ahmed

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the 100th Nobel Peace Prize to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali, for “his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation” and for his “decisive initiative” to end the long-running military stalemate with neighbouring Eritrea. When Awol K Allo, a Lecturer in Law at Keele University, submitted the nomination in January 2019, Abiy had only been in office for nine months, and Ethiopia was still in the grip of Abiymania. In the nomination letter, I wrote: “By saving a nation of 108 million people from the precipice of an economic and political explosion, he captured the imagination of his own people and people across the African continent as an embodiment of hope … and his messages of peace, tolerance, and love and understanding are being felt far beyond Ethiopia.”


A Resurgence of Resource Nationalism across the Continent

Gerald Group

Last week, Sierra Leone’s abruptly cancelled an iron ore mining license with Gerald Group, a metals trader, “with immediate effect”. The action is the latest in a string of disputes between governments and mining companies in Africa, which is home to rich resources of iron ore, copper, gold and diamonds. A number of African governments are working to right what many see as historic imbalances in favor of foreign companies rooted in colonialism and to readdress contracts signed at earlier stages of certain economic cycles. Commodity prices have rebounded since the end of the China-driven boom in 2015, with increased use of metals, including cobalt and copper, in renewable energy technologies such as batteries and wind turbines.  The Sierra Leonean government’s actions came as iron ore prices remain elevated at $94.5 a metric ton, having surged to a five-year high above $125 earlier this year. 


Mogadishu’s Rebuilding Mission


Somalia’s government says it is setting up a national blood bank for the first time in more than two decades. The announcement comes on the second anniversary of the country’s deadliest bomb attack in the capital, Mogadishu, which killed nearly 600 people. The 14 October 2017 blast also wounded hundreds others with no group yet to claim responsibility. Militant group al-Shabab often launches similar attacks in Mogadishu. This facility would have a storage capacity of 10,000 units of blood. Efforts to save the lives of victims of violence in Somalia are often hampered by the lack of a blood bank.


SADC Gets Proactive About Adverse Climate

Southern Africa Development Community

The Southern Africa Development Community has taken a huge step regarding disaster risk management and financing in the region after signing a deal with the African Risk Capacity. Over time, the southern African region has experienced several climate and natural disasters. These include droughts, floods, tropical cyclones, storms, and epidemics, which have had devastating impacts on the populations and their livelihoods. With the Memorandum of Understanding, the regional agency will help put in place proactive measures for reducing the negative impacts of disasters and other vulnerability drivers for better adaptation in the southern African region. The African Risk Capacity assists member-states to strengthen their capacities to better plan, prepare and respond to extreme weather events and natural disasters, thereby achieving the food security for their populations.


Will Mozambique Change Course?


The face of President Filipe Nyusi beams from flags billowing across Mozambique’s city of Beira, where T-shirts and posters colour the streets with his Frelimo party’s signature red in what is usually an opposition stronghold. Frelimo’s show of force ahead of presidential, provincial and legislative elections on Oct. 15 could signal problems for the main opposition party Renamo, and also threaten a peace agreement signed between the two civil war rivals in August. Under the deal, provincial governors will now be picked by the main party in each province, rather than the government in Maputo, and Renamo is banking on traditional provincial strongholds such as Sofala to gain influence.


Telecoms, A Key Driver For Development In Zimbabwe


Like most African countries, Zimbabwe still relies on a self-declaratory system to oversee the telecoms sector.  However, this leaves loopholes – encouraging scams and fraudulent activities and robbing the country of a vital revenue stream.  However, without the correct tools Zimbabwean authorities do not have sufficient visibility of the sector.  Which means it is unable to measure the exact volume of telecom transactions that are subject to taxes and regulatory fees. When it comes to international calls, for example, Zimbabwe faces a double pitfall: a lack of visibility over the real volumes of calls exchanged between local operators and international carriers and the current licensing regime.


Another President Wants to Overstay their Term


Police in Guinea have fired tear gas and bullets to disperse thousands of opposition supporters, civil society groups and trade unionists gathering to protest against a bid by the president to extend his time in office. President Alpha Conde’s mandate ends in December 2020 but he seeks a referendum to allow a third term in the West African nation. According to media reports, residents in the Wanindara district of the capital say that two young men were wounded by bullets Monday. The National Front for the Defense of the Constitution, the coalition group that called for the march, said six of its leaders were detained over the weekend and it demanded their release.


Ghana’s Movie Posters Become Art

Ghana's Movie Posters

In the late 1980s, mobile cinema businesses were burgeoning in Ghana, bringing film screenings to villages and rural areas without theaters or electricity. These makeshift “video clubs” — usually made up of a diesel generator, a VCR and a TV or projector loaded onto a truck — would travel around the country showcasing Hollywood and Bollywood blockbusters, as well as West African films. To attract viewers, the video clubs needed to advertise their offerings. But they did not have the original movie posters, or the means to print alternatives — the country’s military rulers had even restricted the import of printing presses. So they made their own, commissioning local artists to hand-paint them on used flour sacks. They were large, usually 40 to 50 inches in width, and 55 to 70 inches in height. The posters have since made ripples in the art world, with early originals commanding high prices from collectors.


A Love Letter to Nairobi

Zukiswa Wanner

Prominent author Zukiswa Wanner, born to a South African father and a Zimbabwean mother in Zambia, has a complicated relationship with Nairobi, the Kenyan capital and her adopted city of seven years. The award-winning author of nine books, with themes revolving around gender, sex, race and nationality, is also the moderator of regular talks with African artists in a series sponsored by Goethe-Institut Nairobi, a nonprofit cultural association. Ms. Wanner says Nairobi is a magnet for a reason. “What I love about Nairobi is how accessible it is to the rest of the continent and the world. I often feel like I’m staying in the center of the world. Its people, across the economic brackets, also have beautiful appreciation of art that warms the heart.”


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