Gadgets Changing Africa’s Healthcare Game
Sub-Saharan Africa has, on average, the worst
healthcare in the world, according to the World Bank. It accounts for nearly a
quarter of all disability and death caused by disease worldwide, yet has only
1% of global health expenditure and 3% of the world’s health workers. But new
technologies — from drones to apps and computer-controlled vending machines —
are helping to break down these barriers and provide access to vital medicines
for many more people. Omomi helps pregnant women and mothers in Nigeria monitor
their children’s health and chat with doctors on a pay-as-you-go or
subscription basis. In Uganda, clinical trials are testing an app and device
for diagnosing malaria. Hello Doctor, a South African app, provides essential
healthcare information, access to advice and a call back from a doctor for $3 a
A Bid for Ethiopia’s Telcos Space
Safaricom, is considering buying a stake in Ethiopia’s telecoms
monopoly under a privatization plan. The company joins many other mobile
operators like Orange, MTN, Etisalat, Zain and Vodafone with interest in Ethio
Telecom. Acquiring a stake by Safaricom would be a much easier solution for the
company than starting afresh and setting up its own telecommunication company.
The rigorous process of buying land, constructing buildings, recruiting staff
and growing its brand in the Ethiopian market is time-consuming and hectic. Not
to mention competing for users with the dominant Ethio Telecom. With a
subscriber base of 44 million, Ethio Telecom makes Ethiopia the largest
single-country customer base in Africa. This figure, coupled with Ethiopia’s
fast-growing mobile market, is an attraction for global investors.
SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA
Ivory Coast’s Dwindling Rainforests could be “Wiped Out”
A new law will see legal protections removed from thousands of
square miles of classified forest and unprecedented power handed to industrial
chocolate manufacturers. Civil society groups, environmental campaigners and
workers’ cooperatives have warned that the new forestry code, ratified by the
National Assembly and currently being implemented, will encourage unsustainable
cocoa production and legalise large-scale deforestation in already ravaged
areas. The majority of the Ivory Coast’s 7,700 square miles of protected
forests are considered heavily degraded, with levels of deforestation at 75% or
more. These will be turned into “agro-forests” under the control of
international companies including Olam Cocoa and Siat. National parks and forests
that are considered relatively intact will remain protected, according to the
law, while a middle category will be gradually restored.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
Making Kenya’s Classrooms Safer
Hundreds of informal schools in Kenya will be shut down after a school building collapsed in Nairobi last month, killing eight children. Officials blamed poor construction and overcrowding. Now, the education ministry has ordered 300 informal schools to be closed, affecting approximately 10,000 children. They are supposed to be transferred to nearby public schools which are already overcrowded.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
The Spread of Egyptian Designers Selling New Extra-long Swimwear
An extra-long loose burkini that frequently comes with a burqa is
dividing Egypt over questions of gender, religion, safety and discrimination,
all centered on an unlikely subject: swimwear. In Egypt two years ago, several
swimming pools banned the burkini, citing a very different reason: safety. They
argued that the bodysuit made it hard for clubs to determine if a swimmer had
wounds that could contaminate the water. This August, the Egyptian government —
which had wavered in its response to the 2017 decision by some pools — ordered
all clubs to ensure that no woman is barred from swimming for wearing a burkini
as long as it’s made from the same material as standard swimwear.
Halting Food Smuggling into the Continent’s Most-populous Nation
The shutdown of Nigeria’s land borders to tackle rampant food
smuggling and encourage an agricultural revival in Africa’s top oil producer is
having an unintended side effect: higher inflation. A spike in food prices saw
the annual consumer-inflation rate rise to 11.2% in September, after falling to
a 3 1/2-year low in the preceding month, the National Bureau of Statistics.
Food-price growth accelerated for the first time in four months, rising 1.3%
from August. In late August, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the
partial closing of its boundary with Benin to curb smuggling of rice, a staple.
With a population barely 5% of Nigeria’s, Benin has turned into the world’s No.
2 exporter of rice while Nigeria is expected to be the biggest buyer of the
grain this year. The policy has hurt food sellers in the capital, Abuja, who
say Nigerians prefer imported food items because they’re more affordable.
Prices of imported products such as rice, palm oil and frozen chicken have gone
up by more than 50%, they say.
Turning a Toxic Ingredient into Ecologically Friendly Products
In Cameroon’s port city of Douala, most used cooking oil from
hotels and restaurants was once dumped down the drain, where it fouled up
plumbing systems and caused pollution. A Cameroonian chemist decided to use
his knowledge to change that practice and makes soap and detergents. He says
the idea of recycling used cooking oil came when a hotel made the request after
realizing that it produced huge quantities of used oil. At the time, the used
cooking oil was discharged into nature. It’s now a business that produces 165
kilograms of soap and two tons of liquid detergent per month. Environmental
scientists say oil waste clogs up sewers and drains, pollutes the environment,
and can harm wildlife. Recycling the oil reduces toxic pollution and creates a
new and valued product.
Africa’s Mineral Wealth May Just Have To Stay In The Ground To Protect A Changing Climate
As a result of climate change, resource extraction industries in
Africa will be impacted by asset stranding, researchers say. As a result of the
impact of climate change, Africa has difficult options when it comes to its
mineral resources, researchers say. Can it keep the resources in the ground and
risk economic stagnation or find profitability in clean energy sources? But
many African countries are extracting coal, gas and oil with new discoveries,
signalling future fortunes that could be difficult to forfeit. For the African
continent, a latecomer to the fossil fuel boom, arguments for asset stranding
could influence development gains and also interrupt economic growth.
Easing Congestion Between Kenya’s Economic Corridor
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta opened a new $1.5 billion
Chinese rail line linking the capital Nairobi to the Rift Valley town of
Naivasha, despite delays in establishing an industrial park there to drive
freight traffic. The extension links to the $3.2 billion line between the port
of Mombasa and Nairobi that opened in 2017, also suffering from underutilisation
of its cargo services. Both sections were Chinese-funded and Chinese-built. The
development of Kenya’s railways has been part of China’s “One Belt, One Road”
initiative, a multi-billion dollar series of infrastructure projects upgrading
land and maritime trade routes between China and Europe, Asia and Africa.
SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA
The Delights of Visiting Senegal
Simb is an interpretation of a legend involving a lone hunter
who once faced a lion and left with part of its soul. During the rainy season,
regular men become possessed by the spirits of lions, transforming into “false
lions.” They cover their faces with thick, terrifying face paint and wear manes
made of dried reeds and goat fur. They lose their words, resorting to grunts,
growls and roars. They chase crowds of screaming children through the
neighborhood after dark. They dance — leaping into the air, spinning in
circles, throwing high kicks and windmilling their arms with feverish abandon,
undaunted by the September humidity that makes the air feel as heavy as a lead
blanket and wet as a bath. If they catch you, it’s because they’re hungry and
you’re too slow. And money is the only thing that satiates them.
SOURCE: THE NE YORK TIMES