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South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria to Set Key Interest Rates

Interest Rates

Central banks in key sub-Saharan African economies are expected to diverge on policy when they make interest-rate calls in the next week as some seek to tame inflation and others to boost growth. Factors outside the usual ambit of monetary policy committees will also influence their calls. Since these panels last met, a deteriorating fiscal outlook in South Africa placed it one step closer to a full house of junk credit ratings, Ghana raised its budget-deficit forecast and Kenya scrapped a controversial law that capped interest rates. Zambia’s central bank faces a choice between stemming inflation that’s at a three-year high and propping up production hit by rolling blackouts that last more than 15 hours a day. A slowdown in consumer-price growth could prompt the Bank of Mauritius to cut its interest rate to another record low to boost economic growth.


Child Labour in the Spotlight in Zimbabwe

Child Labour

Mukwasine, a sugar plantation largely made up of farmers who resettled under late president Robert Mugabe’s 2000 land reform programme, has seen the practice of child labour grow in recent years. According to a US Department of Labor report published in September 2018, children in Zimbabwe engage in the what they define as the “worst forms” of child labour, including mining and agriculture. The report notes that the deterioration of Zimbabwe’s economy has contributed to an increase in child labour. Lack of access to basic education may also increase the risk. The lucrative sugar business has been rattled by an upsurge in cases, with the government threatening to begin an investigation.


Remembering the Woman Who Began the Rebellion of Ethiopian Women 

Bogaletch Gebre

Bogaletch Gebre, an Ethiopian women’s rights activist and scientist who helped lead a successful campaign in her homeland against female genital mutilation, died on Nov. 2 in Los Angeles. Her birth date is not known, but she was said to be 66. Her death was announced by the website of the nonprofit organization she founded, KMG Ethiopia, which in its two decades has helped end the culturally entrenched practice of genital mutilation and has empowered women in that country. Through her efforts, the rate of female genital mutilation in the areas where KMG Ethiopia operated dropped to 3 percent from 100 percent over 10 years, according to a 2008 UNICEF study. In addition, some of these areas banned child marriage, bride abduction, polygamy and domestic violence. The UNICEF study recommended that the KMG model be replicated in other parts of Africa.


Harnessing the Sun to Grow Rwanda’s Crop Industry

Rwanda's Crop Industry

Agriculture is the backbone of Rwanda’s economy, it’s the key to the country’s growth and poverty reduction strategy, employing 79 percent of its population. However, dependence on rains and lack of irrigation has proven to be a major hindrance in productivity and food security. However, with the introduction of Energy 4 Impact in Rwanda, an initiative was launched in 2008, aimed at developing a small-scale solar irrigation market in Rwanda as a way of increasing farmers’ productivity and the country’s food security. Energy 4 Impact is a non-profit organisation working with local businesses to extend access to energy in Africa. With a target of 3,000 smallholder farmers, technology suppliers, and lenders across the country, the company sought to create a sustainable market by increasing awareness. Energy4 Impact set up a demonstration farm, to showcase a range of solar irrigation equipment, suitable for the needs of smallholder farmers.


Large-scale Tourism has Returned to Tunisia

Dunes Electroniques music festival

The Dunes Electroniques music festival, launched in 2014, was revived last weekend on the set where US director George Lucas created the desert planet of Tatooine. The festival marked a joyous and noisy comeback after a three-year silence following several deadly attacks in the North African country which also badly hit its tourism sector. In a sign of the growing appeal of the remote Saharan region and its other-worldly landscapes, more than 20 international and local DJs and thousands of revellers converged on the desert site of Ong Jmal in southwest Tunisia for the two-day extravaganza. A Saharan ultra-marathon, the Tozeur International Film Festival and a Sufi music festival called Rouhaniyet have all been launched. Hotels are more often fully booked and tourists are starting to stay a little longer.


In the DRC Selling Insects is More Lucrative than Selling Fruit

DRC Selling Insects

A small pile of grasshoppers fetches the equivalent of $0.60. Gathering them costs nothing but time. Caterpillars are more valuable still. Once they are boiled and salted, a large handful will sell for $1.20—the same price as ten bananas. Households in Kinshasa, the country’s sprawling capital, consume about 300 grams of caterpillars about 80, if they are averagely juicy a week.Throughout November dozens of grasshopper-hunters gather at Goma airport most mornings. It is one of the few buildings in the city with constant electricity, and the lights that mark the runway attract swarms of the bug. People stuff them into plastic bottles to take to market. Buyers season them with salt and eat them with rice or cassava. 


The Return of African Artifacts

Return of African Artifacts

As part of its commitment to return artifacts stolen during colonial times, France is returning a sword that belonged to a 19th century Islamic scholar and ruler in Senegal. He eventually signed a peace treaty with France in 1860. And according to French historian, Jean Suret-Canele, Saidou Tall died from a gunpowder explosion in 1864. After his death, his sword and books from his library were seized by the French. The French Prime Minister, Philippe said giving back Saidou Tall’s saber was “the first step” in a project tailored at returning more west African artifacts that are currently in French museums.


Why We Need To Pay More Attention To African Teens’ Mental Health

African Teens’ Mental Health

Many African teens with untreated mental illnesses turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate, which will compound the issues as well. While it is difficult for the parents or other caregivers to recognize the signs of mental health disorders sometimes, recognizing a drug or alcohol abuse problem may be the first sign and can be a clue that your child needs help. Although there is a lack of research done in Africa on young people and mental health, with help from the World Health Organization (WHO), this issue is now being addressed.  Studies done on the mental health of adolescents in African countries have shown that although there is a large number of teens with mental illnesses, there is little to no mental health care for them. Getting for your teen therapy in any of these countries is extremely difficult if not impossible, whether you have the finances or not, just because of the lack of care available. And the statistics of teen suicide deaths being at 9% is giving the WHO even more of a reason to promote mental health care for teens.


Condom Recall Causes Panic in Uganda

Condom Recall Uganda

The National Drug Authority (NDA) has ordered Marie Stopes Uganda to recall about 4 million Life Guard condoms from the Ugandan market. Marie Stopes, an NGO that offers reproductive services is also the sole distributors of Life Guard condoms in Uganda. According to a letter issued by the NDA, Life Guard condoms from batches 19040205 and 19050105 manufactured in April and May 2019 with expiry dates for March and April 2024 do not meet market standards. The product safety officer at NDA says the condoms were not free from holes and burst properties. It is estimated that over 4 million condoms produced in the batches will be affected.


Nollywood Takes Stock after Oscar Rejection


Nigeria’s Oscar Committee is urging the country’s filmmakers to use more native languages in their productions.  This, after the U.S. Academy Awards disqualified a Nigerian entry in the International Feature Film category because the movie used too much English.  While some in Nigeria’s Hollywood – known as Nollywood – support the idea of more native languages in films, others argue that non-English films limit their audience reach.  Nigeria’s Oscar Selection Committee says the rejection should motivate Nollywood filmmakers to create more movies in the country’s over 500 native languages.


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