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  • Tanzania president endorsed for re-election, rejects third term idea again
    Chama Cha Mapinduzi, CCM; Tanzania’s ruling part has endorsed the candidature of President John Pombe Magufuli for upcoming presidential polls. The president doubles as the CCM national chairman. His endorsement was at a National Congress in the capital Dodoma today, July 11. He also affirmed the choice of Samia Suluhu as his running mate. Magufuli yet again rejected talk of him running for a third term. The idea was raised by retired president Ally Hassan Mwinyi. Magufuli in rejecting the proposition said the former leader was cracking some usual jokes. Mwinyi who heaped praises on Magufuli said he had more in stall for which reason he should consider a third term. “Why didn’t you extend your term in office? Why didn’t presidents Mkapa and Kikwete extend their terms in office?” Magufuli quizzed. December 2019: Magufuli rejects third term In December 2019, Magufuli pledged to respect the constitution that stipulates a two-term limit for the office of president. ‘‘I have been insisting that I will respect the constitution and laws governing the country after completing my term in office,’‘ Magufuli said while launching a water project in the Geita region. Magufuli said at the time that he was determined to discourage Tanzanians from harbouring such thoughts, arguing that all 55 million Tanzanians have the ability to lead the country, with the help of God. CCM picks candidate for Zanzibar presidency Meanwhile, the former president’s son Hussein Mwinyi has also been endorsed as the CCM’s flagbearer for the Zanzibar presidency in the general elections which will be held in October. Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania. The archipelago was once the separate state of Zanzibar, which united with Tanganyika to form the United Republic of Tanzania. President Magufuli picks Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan as his running mate in the October 2020 General Elections pic.twitter.com/qvbRtbGWlW— The Citizen Tanzania (@TheCitizenTZ) July 11, 2020 The CCM’s Congress also passed its party manifesto for the next five years should Magufuli secure re-election. The main priority being to protect and strengthen the principles of human dignity, equality, justice and good governance in order to preserve unity and solidarity of the nation. CCM secretary-general Bashiru Ally said the economy remained a major plank, along with agriculture, health and utility service delivery as well as decent housing for rural and urban dwellers.
  • Somalia's regional presidents meet: national polls top agenda
    Presidents from Somalia’s Federal Member States, FMS, are meeting today in the central town of Dhusamareb in the Galmudug region. Reports indicate that key issues to be discussed with the federal representatives are the electoral process and relations with federal government. There has been reports of tensions between the regional leaders and the Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo led federal government in Mogadishu. The host president, Ahmed Abdi Karie, posted on Twitter that the Consultative Meeting is for the leaders to have a unified position on national elections. Late last month, elections commission head, Halima Ismail Ibrahim, told federal lawmakers that prevailing conditions made it impossible to hold polls. She said the earliest an election could hold in the country was in March 2021. In her address to the lower house of parliament, she presented two options – an election based on biometric registration which would be possible in August 2021 or a manual-based registration that can be held in March 2021. A mandate extension for the current government has been strictly rejected by the opposition with the President and his Prime Minister also recently stating their disagreement with an extension. Somalia currently is divided into six regional states. Puntland, Galmudug, Jubaland, South West State, Hirshabelle and Somaliland. The later continues to hold itself out as an independent state, though officially it is a semi-autonomous part of Somalia. BREAKING: Five Somali regional leaders’ meeting opens in the central town of Dhusamareb. Among the key agendas to be discussed is electoral process and relations with federal leaders as some of the regional figures expressed serious differences with pres M_Farmaajo and his govt. pic.twitter.com/tn9t1yJvEk— Harun Maruf (HarunMaruf) July 11, 2020
  • Tutu: historical animation film of Ghana’s Ashanti kingdom
    A decade between conceptualization and delivering the proof of concept. A mission extending centuries back, one that merges the worlds of historians and animators. This is what the team at AnimaxFYB Studios are engrossed in. The team is on a mission to tell history in a unique way, with a unique target audience and this history is of the great Ashanti Kingdom. One of the continent’s most powerful present-day traditional domains. Ancient Ashanti history stretches as far back as the 17th Century. Tutu – The Untold Story of a Kingdom is the name of the project and at the heart of it is AnimaxFYB led by creative director Francis Y. Brown. The inside story of Tutu AnimaxFYB Studios website described the project as: an epic adventure filled with ingenuity, love, challenges, courage and a whole lot of magic! “Tutu not only promotes cultural pride, but stands to preserve our African history as we have collaborated with historians, writers and creatives across the continent to ensure its accuracy. “Rooted in unity, Tutu is a family friendly animation that conveys the theme “united we stand, divided we fall” and also draws upon ancestral connection and harmonizing with nature – a concept important in our global endeavours to conserve our environment.” Yaw Frempong Boakye, the writer says of the story: “… it came to me as a life story way back in 1988; and I thought that as it celebrated some part of our glorious past as a people of this geographical area, it also sets good examples for us in terms of understanding how unity can bring small entities together for them to do great things. Celebrating ancient Tutu in a time another Tutu reigns Tutu – The Untold Story of a Kingdom essentially goes back years ago to dig up the rise of Ghana’s Ashanti Kingdom. The main characters are Osei Tutu and Okomfo (priest) Anokye, the two characters work to unite their people and birth a powerful era that continues till date. Incidentally, the current occupant of the Ashanti throne (Golden Stool) goes by the stool name of the 17th century legend. He is Nana Asantehene, Otumfuor Osei Tutu II. The Asantehene is arguably one of Africa’s most influential royals who leads the most prestigious royal domain in the West African country. He is based in the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi, the capital of resource rich Ashanti region – land of cocoa, timber and gold among other natural resources. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } The team working on the dream – history meets art Creative director Francis leads a multi-disciplinary team working to deliver an accurate and entertaining account of history. The on-ground team based in the Ghanaian capital Accra includes 3D Generalists, animators and concept artists. But Francis stresses the importance of liaising with the writer and with historians every step of the way. “… the project is not 100% historical because as an artist, I wanted to have the artistic liberty to express certain aspects of our way of life as a people especially in the 1600s. “This meant, mentally travelling into that era and reliving the lives I see through the visuals we create. But of course, all of this cannot be possible without the facts and account of events given to us by our historians,” he added. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Target audience and challenges “I will say the 3 main challenges for this project is funding, funding and distribution,” Francis told Africanews in an interview. He bases much of the challenges also on the now teething animation ecosystem in the country. He however maintains a positive outlook about signals that the ecosystem is on the brink of significant strides and possibly a boom. “Proper distribution has always been one of the major challenges for Ghanaian and African films. Without the right distribution channels, it makes it hard for a good product to reach its target audience.” Talk of target audience, AnimaxFYB has their audience cut out. “Our content fills a very unique and virtually deserted niche market, targeting Africans and African descendants worldwide, who constantly seek content that represents, educates and entertains them. “Our primary target audiences are people within early teenage to adulthood. The Tutu series seeks to educate and entertain the younger generation and doubles as a knowledge refresher to adults who have a fair or no idea of the story of the Ashantis.” Tutu is not the first historical account to be told by the team. The story of Agorkoli is one that traced the history of modern-day Ewes in Ghana’s eastern Volta region. It traces their history from north through to east Africa and eventually to their current location. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }
  • Nigeria coronavirus: 31,323 cases; Atiku rejects WAEC cancellation
    Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, as at end of June 2020 was Africa’s third most impacted country only behind South Africa and Egypt. As Africa’s biggest economy, the federal government has continued to enforce regulations across the board even though most state governments have moved to relax restrictions. The national response is led by the Presidential Task Force, PTF, led by SGF Boss Mustapha along with a national coordinator and relevant ministers – chief among them, Health, Foreign Affairs and Education ministries. At the heart of the response is the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC. This article is dedicated to covering events from the country throughout the month of July. Our May 2020 page and June 2020 coverage also gives you a rundown of major developments. July 11: 31,323 cases; govt launches test kit The federal government has launched a diagnostic kit, which can detect the causal agent of COVID-19. It is known as RNASwift, The kit was outdoored tt a press conference on Tuesday by the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), the agency that developed it. NABDA director-general Alex Akpa, told journalists the RNASwift test kit is an indigenous diagnostic test kit designed, developed and validated in Nigeria for the identification of the causal agent – SARS-Cov-2 – which causes COVID-19. He stressed that the kit will not only revolutionalise Africa’s PCR-based COVID-19 testing but also expand the capacity by at least, 50 times. Another advantage it presents was the reduced cost by over 500 percent as compared to the conventional kit in use. He said the diagnostic kit is “very accurate and sensitive’’ and competes favourably with conventional and commercially available kits for the diagnosis of COVID-19. The project was undertaken in collaborative effort between NABDA, Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and Nigerian Institute for Medical Research (NIMR). It is not known as yet when it will be deployed to test samples. On the education front, whiles the federal government has put off the reopening of schools, the canceling of the West Africa Examination Council, WAEC; exams has received a high level condemnation. Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has kicked against the move saying that Nigeria stood to lose. “As a parent and investor in the education sector, I wish to register that the Nigerian government’s policy of unilaterally cancelling the West African Senior School Certificate Examination, held annually by the West African Examinations Council, is not in Nigeria’s best interest. “At a time of the global COVID19 pandemic, it is understandable that an abundance of caution be put in place to save lives. However, caution, without consultation, and thoughtful action, may be counterproductive. “1.5 million Nigerian youths write the West African Senior School Certificate Examination annually. To abruptly cancel this examination is to set back our nation’s youth, and place them behind their contemporaries in other West African countries,” he said in a Twitter thread on Friday. In giving an alternative to the cancellation, the former veep wrote: “We could mobilise all available public & private infrastructures, including primary schools, stadia, and cinemas, for the examinations. In the alternative, the Federal Government can prevail on WAEC to have staggered examinations with a different set of questions for each shift. “Doing so will allow WAEC Nigeria to implement social distancing and achieve the goal of carrying out the examinations. A win-win scenario.” Confirmed cases = 31,323 Active cases = 17,819 Recoveries = 12,795 Number of deaths = 709 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of July 10, 2020 We are getting ready to start the hand over event of critical medical equipment from #Ecowas /OoasWaho to NigeriaGov to help support #COVID19 response in #Nigeria. pic.twitter.com/9baEU9Mw5C— Federal Ministry of Health, NIGERIA (@Fmohnigeria) July 11, 2020 July 9: 30,249 cases; China knocks busybody lawyers Nigeria crossed the 30,000 mark on Tuesday when the NCDC reported that caseload had hit 30,249 in pattern with an increase of above 400 cases daily. Government also announced that federal schools will not be reopened whiles regional examination for final year students have also been cancelled. Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu addressing the media at the PTF briefing in Abuja said the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) cannot determine the resumption date of schools for Nigeria. Subsequently, no Nigerian school will participate in the WASSCE earlier scheduled for August 5 to September 5. Adamu stressed that he would prefer that Nigerian students lose an academic year than to expose them to dangers. Ghana has said it will go ahead with the examinations. The Chinese embassy on Tuesday also took a swipe at a group of lawyers that filed a suit seeking damages against China over the coronavirus pandemic. A statement by the press secretary of the Embassy of China in Nigeria called the action “frivolous” and “shoddy.” It argued that China put its best food forward at the outset of the pandemic and that it was equally impacted as any other nation. “COVID-19 has caught the whole world by surprise. China, like other countries is a victim. Confronted by an unknown virus, we have acted responsibly to protect people’s life and health and safeguard global public health.” It concluded by stressing its victimhood and called on the lawyers to engage in actions that boost ties between the two nations rather than dance to the tune of a certain unnamed country to “hype up the situation.” Confirmed cases = 30,249 Active cases = 17,192 Recoveries = 12,373 Number of deaths = 6684 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of July 8, 2020 Statement by Press Secretary of the Embassy on some Nigerian lawyers’ attempt of filing frivolous lawsuits. pic.twitter.com/decFormTiX— Chinese Embassy in Nigeria (@china_emb_ng) July 8, 2020 July 8: 29,789 cases; domestic flights restart Domestic flights started operations in the country after months of suspension. The restart is according to the federal government’s three-tier reopening scheme announced by aviation minister Hadi Sirika a week ago. The Civil Aviation Authority shared photos of the first flight – operated by Arik Air – with passengers going through formalities and boarding at the Murtala Mohammed Airport in the commercial capital, Lagos. Queues are formed with strict physical distancing rules from the check in counters through to the boarding area as temperature readings are also taken. All passengers are wearing masks. The Environment Department of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria on Tuesday decontaminated the Domestic Terminals of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja in preparation for the resumption of domestic flights. The full reopening will span a week with Abuja and Lagos reopening today. Others will reopen on July 11 (Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri and Maiduguri) and the rest on July 15, according to the government. Confirmed cases = 29,789 Active cases = 17,012 Recoveries = 12,108 Number of deaths = 669 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of July 7, 2020 Passengers boarding the first flight (Arik Air) to kick start domestic flight resumption at the MMA GAT 1, Lagos around 8am today Fly Safe,Stay Safe. pic.twitter.com/eimXSxweBc— Nigerian CAA (@NigerianCAA) July 8, 2020 July 6: 28,711 cases; Oyo schools reopen, Ebonyi governor infected Schools across south western Oyo State have resumed as of today despite protests by the federal government insisting that conditions were not right for such a measure. Local media reports suggest that strict virus prevention measures were being implemented with the return to school. All students, pupils are wearing some form of mask or face shield. Temperatures are taken before learners are allowed into classrooms and there are handwashing points stationed at vantage points. There is also distancing between seats in the classrooms. Others states have held off reopening of schools despite a progressive lifting of strict lockdown measures. Over the weekend, reports emerged that Ebonyi State governor David Umahi had contracted the virus along with some of his aides. He joins the likes of Rotimi Akerodolu of Oyo and Delta State’s Ifeanyi Okowa – who are still receiving treatment after recent infections. Total confirmed cases = 28,711 Total recoveries = 11,665 Total deaths = 645 Active cases = 16,401 Figures valid as of close of day July 5, 2020 Students for Oyo State West Nigeria ?? don return to school afta two months for house. See foto of di kain measures wey di schools don arrange to cancel coronavirus spread. pic.twitter.com/WmgaCNpkRK— BBC Pidgin (@bbcnewspidgin) July 6, 2020 July 2: 26,484 cases, domestic flights start July 8 Domestic flights can begin operations from July 8, Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika announced via Twitter on Wednesday. The latest big move as Africa’s most populous country relaxes coronavirus restrictions. The full reopening will span a week with Abuja and Lagos opening on July 8. Others will reopen on July 11 (Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri and Maiduguri) and the rest on July 15, the government said on its official Twitter account. On the subject of resumption of international flights, Minister Sirika said: “Date for international (flights) to be announced in due course. Bear with us, please.” Confirmed cases = 26,484 Active cases = 15,729 Recoveries = 10,152 Number of deaths = 603 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of July 1, 2020 I am glad to announce that Abuja & Lagos airports will resume domestic operations on the 8th of July, 2020. Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri & Maiduguri to resume on the 11th. Other airports on the 15th. Date for international to be announced in due course. Bear with us, please ??????— Hadi Sirika (@hadisirika) July 1, 2020 July 1: 25,694 cases, Delta governor infected Today marks the first day of the eased lockdown Phase II. “The primary aim of Phase Two was to sustain the gains of the earlier Phase in terms of pandemic control, while allowing additional sectors of the economy to restart. “This will help achieve the desired balance between saving lives and ensuring that the wellbeing and livelihood of citizens are protected, the PTF said in a statement detailing the raft of new directives. The key ones being: Maintaining the current nationwide curfew (10pm – 4am); Maintaining the restrictions on mass gatherings and sporting activities; Re-commencement of domestic aviation services; Allowing movement across state boundaries only outside curfew hours; Allowing students in graduating classes (Primary 6, JS3 & SS3) to resume in preparation for examinations; Federal and State Government offices to maintain current timing of 9am – 2pm as Officers on GL. 14 and above, and essential staff from GL.13 and below are to continue to report for duty; and Mandatory use of non-medical facemasks in public spaces with access to government and commercial premises to be denied for persons not wearing facemasks: ‘No mask, no entry. No mask, no service.’ Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa today confirmed that he had contracted COVID-19. According to a post on Twitter, he said he had contracted the virus along with his wife. His disclosure comes barely 24-hours after that of Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who said he was asymptomatic and self-isolating. The list of infected governors thus includes Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, who also confirmed being infected early this month. Governors Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna, Senator Bala Mohammed of Bauchi and Seyin Makinde of Oyo, have all recovered from the virus. Confirmed cases = 25,694 Active cases = 15,358 Recoveries = 9,746 Number of deaths = 590 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 30, 2020 My wife and I have tested positive for COVID-19. We are well and continuing with our isolation/medication. We thank you all for your continued prayers for us and our daughter. pic.twitter.com/NzBWB96Q91— Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa (@IAOkowa) July 1, 2020
  • Death of PM Coulibaly: Abidjan residents express shock
    Ivorians are mourning the passing of the country’s prime minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly.Days after his death people are still in a state of shock. On the streets of the economic capital, Abidjan many have paid tribute to a man they described as a great politician. Nicknamed AGC, Amadou Gon Coulibaly died on Wednesday after he collapsed during a cabinet meeting. He was one of president Alassane Ouatara’s trusted confidants. Ibrahim Dembele, a carpenter said of the deceased: “He was the RHDP candidate because he’s a hard worker, he was the one we were waiting for to complete the work done by Alassane Ouattara, so his death is shocking.” For Sawadogo Mahamadi, a security guard: “Amadou was like our father, really, he did a lot for the Ivorian nation.” “I was shocked because he recently returned home from France, so I thought it he was fine, so I was shocked to hear his passing,” Johanne Ibo Kouakou, a shopkeeper said. 61-year-old Coulibaly suffered from heart problems. He had gone to Paris at the beginning of May for medical check-up following a heart transplant eight years ago. The late prime minister stayed in France for two months before returning to Côte d’Ivoire on July 2.
  • DRC ruling party protests appointment of 'tainted' election boss
    Democratic Republic of Congo’s Haut Katanga province has been under an exclusive coronavirus lockdown from Thursday to Saturday. However supporters of the the ruling UDPS party believe the measure is essentially aimed at preventing protests. The demonstrations have been organised to denounce the appointment of the new head of the electoral commission, Ronsard Malonga.  “The UDPS was unhappy and planned this protest but since the governor of Katanga is a member of the FCC he wanted to play smart by planning an abrupt lockdown so we couldn’t protest,” one supporter said. People have taken to the streets to denounce the governors announcement. Protesters have clashed with the police leaving 4 dead many injured. This has not stopped the demonstrators who believe the new CENI chief is part of the former regime. “This gentleman is a Kablist (supporter of Kabila) several times he has been on the news next to Kabila, that means that Kabila cabal just wants to manage CENI for the moment. “We are afraid to see the same nonsense, the same nonsense for 2023, that’s why we are on the streets, we want to be given someone neutral,” another protester said. Dialogue between the demonstrators and the police has helped to restore calm. However, the supporters of the opposition coalition LAMUKA, have also promised to take to the streets on Monday.
  • To run or not: Ivorians await Ouattara's third term move
    The ruling party in Ivory Coast has to return to the drawing table to pick a candidate who can win upcoming polls. The RHDP currently led by president Ouattara was plunged into disarray on Thursday after the sudden death of its candidate for the October polls. The candidate was Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly. Commentators said his demise was a devastating blow to a country still scarred by a low-level civil war. The news headlines captured their sentiments: “Ivory Coast in a state of shock,” headlined the daily L’Inter. “Thunderclap,” said Soir Info. “Sledgehammer blow,” said Fraternite Matin. Coulibaly was appointed prime minister in 2017, tasked with pursuing economic recovery in a country battered by slumping prices for its key exports of cocoa and coffee. The French-educated engineer gained a reputation for hard work and a fiery temper. The 61-year-old was named in March as the candidate for President Alassane Ouattara’s RHDP party ending months of speculation as to whether the 78-year-old incumbent would run again. Citizens and analysts are back in the speculation zone after reports emerged that the president could be on the ballot again. A day after Coulibaly’s demise, the RHDP said it would consider Ouattara’s candidacy for a third term. “All options are on the table, including a new candidacy for President Ouattara,” the party’s executive director Adama Bictogo said as he arrived to a meeting of the party’s political council. In 2011, Ouattara defeated the then-president, Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to leave office after losing elections. The months-long standoff claimed some 3,000 lives and left divisions that linger today. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }
  • Mali president calls for dialogue amid crippling protests
    Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita went on national television early Saturday, urging dialogue with his opponents just hours after thousands of anti-government protesters marched through the capital with some pushing their way into state television offices. Friday’s developments marked a major escalation in the growing movement against Mali’s president, who still has two years left in office in this West African country long destabilized by Islamic extremists. Earlier in the day, anti-government protesters had barricaded roads and burned tires in the capital, Bamako. Keita’s overnight address to the nation took a conciliatory gesture days after he had tried to appease the protesters by promising to revamp the constitutional court whose legislative election results back in April have been disputed by several dozen candidates. “I would like once again to reassure our people of my willingness to continue the dialogue and reiterate my readiness to take all measures in my power to calm the situation,” he said in closing. The movement against Keita’s government is now known as the June 5 Movement, or M5, a reflection of when demonstrators first took to the streets en masse. Keita’s gestures in recent days so far have failed to win favor with the opposition group, which still wants the National Assembly dissolved. While the group has officially backed down from its calls that Keita leave office, some protesters still want him gone. Keita came to power in the aftermath of a French-led military operation to oust Islamic extremists from power in northern Mali’s towns in 2013, winning the first democratic elections organized after a military coup the year before. Despite the presence of U.N. peacekeepers, and French and regional forces backing Malian troops, the extremist groups have continued to mount attacks. Last year was particularly deadly for the army as hundreds of soldiers were killed in the north, forcing the military at one point to even close down some of its most remote and vulnerable outposts. Those losses prompted criticism of how the government was handling the crisis in the north. Tensions mounted in late April after legislative elections were held, and several dozen candidates disputed the official results issued by Mali’s constitutional court. A mission from the regional bloc known as ECOWAS has suggested that the government re-hold elections in the localities where results are contested. The last democratically elected leader before Keita, President Amadou Toumani Toure, was overthrown in the 2012 military coup after a decade in power. The political chaos that ensued has been blamed for creating a power vacuum that allowed the Islamic insurgency to take hold in the northern towns. Following international pressure, that coup leader later handed over power to a civilian transitional government that organized elections. AP
  • Ghana special needs school
    Having worked for years in Ghana’s capital Accra with children and young adults with special needs, 34 year old Emma Elinam Shallah decided it was time her hometown benefits from her rich experience. Her motivation was borne out of the fact that a number of children with disability in the area are being left out of education because their parents cannot afford to send their children to the regions only special school located about 204 kilometres away. “I went back to the assembly and inquired from them if we could do something and they were like yes yes yes if I could organize myself and put few things together yes we could start something because the children the few who are able to go to school from here, go all the way to Hohoe and the rest are at home”, said Emma Elinam Sallah, founder, Anlo special school. She concedes the support of friends and her seafood business is not enough to sustain the project. “The whole thing is self-funded, we don’t take money from any parent, so I will say we need financial support and yes so we don’t have a proper classroom structure so that is our most pressing need for now,” add Emma Elinam Sallah. With her Anlo Special needs school, Emma Elinam Sallah is gradually dispelling the stigma surrounding children with physical disabilities.
  • Africa COVID-19 stats: 559,446 cases; 12,769 deaths; 271,826 recoveries
    There are now more than over 550,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the continent, with a number of African countries imposing a range of prevention and containment measures against the spread of the pandemic. According to the latest data by the John Hopkins University and Africa Center for Disease Control on COVID-19 in Africa, the breakdown remains fluid as countries confirm cases as and when. As of May 13, every African country had recorded an infection, the last being Lesotho. We shall keep updating this list largely sourced from the John Hopkins University tallies, Africa CDC and from official government data. SUGGESTED READING: Africa’s COVID-19 deaths pass 100,000 mark Major African stats: July 11 at 7:00 GMT: Confirmed cases = 559,446 Active cases = 274,851 Recoveries = 271,826 Number of deaths = 12,769 Countries in alphabetical order Algeria – 18,242 Angola – 458 Benin – 1,285 Botswana – 314 Burkina Faso – 1,020 Burundi – 191 Cameroon – 14,916 Cape Verde – 1,591 Central African Republic – 4,259 Chad – 874 Comoros – 314 Congo-Brazzaville – 2,028 DR Congo – 7,905 Djibouti – 4,968 Egypt – 80,235 Equatorial Guinea – 3,071 Eritrea – 232 Eswatini – 1,257 Ethiopia – 7,120 Gabon – 5,942 (The) Gambia – 64 Ghana – 23,834 Guinea – 5,969 Guinea-Bissau – 1,842 Ivory Coast – 12,052 Kenya – 9,448 Lesotho – 184 Liberia – 963 Libya – 1,342 Madagascar – 4,143 Malawi – 2,069 Mali – 2,404 Mauritania – 5,203 Mauritius – 342 Morocco – 15,328 Mozambique – 1,111 Namibia – 668 Niger – 1,099 Nigeria- 31,323 Rwanda – 1,252 Sao Tome and Principe – 727 Senegal – 7,882 Seychelles – 100 Sierra Leone – 1,613 Somalia – 3,038 South Africa – 250,687 South Sudan – 2,021 Sudan – 10,204 Tanzania – 509 Togo – 710 Tunisia – 1,240 Uganda – 1,006 Zambia – 1,895 Zimbabwe – 942 SUGGESTED READING: rolling coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in Africa II
  • Mali protesters 'take over' public broadcaster, attack parliament
    Protesters in Mali have stormed the premises of the national broadcaster and the national assembly during demonstrations that took place today especially in the capital Bamako. Their action is part of a civil disobedience call by protest leaders piling pressure on the Ibrahim Boubacar Keita government for wide ranging reforms across the country. Journalists closely following the developments posted updates on Twitter among others that an administrative zone where most government offices were located and two major bridges had been blocked. The national assembly has also been torched and ransacked by irate protesters which situation has claimed one life according to hospital authorities. #Mali #Crise #Désobeissance #M5 L'assemblée nationale attaquée. pic.twitter.com/aEjV5tlcU7— JournalduMali (@JourDuMali) July 10, 2020 The national radio and television offices in Bamako had earlier in the day being besieged by protesters before the said attack which according to some reports had caused the TV signal to go off. Protest leaders issued a 10-point plan in relation to the civil disobedience which included forcing all government operations except the health delivery system to a halt. They also asked citizens to not pay taxes whiles asking them to do so without violence. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } #Mali #Crise #M5 De nombreux édifices administratifs assiégés par les manifestants. pic.twitter.com/TMhKEChp8X— JournalduMali (@JourDuMali) July 10, 2020 #Mali #Crise #M5 Les manifestants devant l'Ortm pic.twitter.com/bDMRpSiVr8— JournalduMali (@JourDuMali) July 10, 2020
  • Ethiopia arrests two suspects over death of famed Oromo musician
    July 10: Hachalu’s ‘murders’ arrested The Ethiopian government says it has identified three people believed to have been behind the killing of Hachalu Hundessa. According to the federal attorney general, Adanech Abeibe, the suspects have confessed to their crimes. Two of the suspects are in custody whiles one is on the run. Tilahun Yami is identified at the gunman while Abdi Alemayehou is accused of being an accomplice. The suspects held three meetings with a their ‘instructors’ as they planned the murder, the attorney general added. Authorities say that they were given instructions to undertake the killing by a group called Shane, which broke away from the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). OLF is a former rebel group currently registered as a political party. It is one of the main opposition parties in the Oromia region. The region was the epicenter of protests that killed over 230 people demanding justice for the famed musician who was shot dead in Addis Ababa. The government cut internet as protests began to spread last week. The capital Addis Ababa also recorded significant violence. Calm has been restored by the government has kept an internet outage in place since July 30. Over 3,500 people were also arrested for their roles in instigating violence. TPLF tells Ethiopia PM to face challenges, stop scapegoating .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } July 2: Hachalu buried in Ambo, blast rocks Addis The funeral of Oromo protest singer Hachalu Hundessa has been held in his hometown of Ambo in the Oromia regional state, the BBC reports. The event was under heavy security as a sparse crowd joined the final rites for the artist whose killing earlier this week sparked spontaneous protests in parts of the country leading to at least 80 other deaths. Pictures on national television show the funeral procession at a stadium in the singer’s hometown of Ambo, about 100km (62miles) west of the capital, Addis Ababa. Photos courtesy: BBC Africa LIVE page Meanwhile there are reports of a deadly blast in the capital Addis Ababa with most people on Twitter citing local police. It will be the fourth blast in the last few days. Police confirmed three blasts during protests against Hachalu’s murder on Tuesday. “Reports coming in of blast in Ethiopian capital Addis. Possibly hand grenade. Scores killed,” Rashid Abdi, a researcher and analyst of the Horn of Africa tweeted. A Reuters report also said police fired in the air to prevent mourners entering the Ambo stadium for the funeral. Members of the military, federal police and regional police were out in force, and two residents said police were firing in the air to deter mourners. A live broadcast showed sparse numbers of people seated inside. One resident said large crowds had been turned away by police. The slain singer’s wife, Santu Demisew Diro, gave a short speech after mourners laid wreaths. “Hachalu is not dead. He will remain in my heart and the hears of millions of Oromo people forever,” she said. “I request a monument erected in his memory in Addis where his blood was spilt,” she added. Shimelis Abdissa, President of Oromia region had earlier announced that a statue commemorating the deceased will be built in Addis Ababa. The privately-owned Addis Standard reported that a relative dispelled talk of the family wanting him to be buried in the capital Addis Ababa. Hundesa Bonssaa said “it was not our opinion. Why was this needed? His father, his mother and his family wanted him to be laid to rest in Ambo. To blame this on the government is not correct. This is tantamount to burying Hachalu’s truth.” Federal and regional officials were present at the funeral including Head of Oromia’s Bureau of Agricultural and Natural Resource, who laid a wreath on behalf of the regional state. July 1: Hachalu to be buried in Ambo, Thursday The BBC is reporting that the burial of famed Ethiopian singer Hachalu Hundessa will take place in the town of Ambo in the Oromia region on Thursday, July 2. The musician was assassinated in Addis Ababa according to police in his car, federal police chief Endeshaw Tasew is quoted to have said the assailants followed him and entered his car where they shot him. It was “well organized & sophisticated.” He stressed that the aim of the act was “plunging” the country “into chaos.” A joint task-force between Addis Ababa and federal police is handling the investigation, he added. Hachalu, famed for his political songs critical of the government, will receive a hero’s farewell, with flags flying half-mast for five days in the region, the BBC report added. A Reuters report said the death toll as of late Tuesday was 10 with over 80 others wounded from the protests. PM in a televised address Tuesday night called the killing of musician “an evil act.” “This is an act committed and inspired by domestic and foreign enemies in order to destabilise our peace and to stop us from achieving things that we started,” he said. Ethiopia federal agents arrest Jawar Mohammed, OMN Addis office closed Meanwhile Committee for the Protection of Journalists, CPJ; and Amnesty International are calling on the government to turn on the internet on one hand and to fully investigate the assassination. “Amnesty International is also calling for the security forces to exercise restraint when managing the ongoing protests and refrain from the use of excessive force.” “Ethiopian authorities’ persistence of old patterns of censorship in response to crises, when the public most needs access to timely news and information, is deeply disappointing,” CPJ’s sub-Saharn Africa lead Muthoki Mumo said in a June 30 statement. June 30: Death reported from protests There are differing reports of deaths arising from protests across Ethiopia due to the killing of Hachalu Hundessa, the iconic Oromo artiste. The BBC Africa LIVE page reported two deaths earlier in the day. Privately-owned Addis Standard portal reported that “At least seven people killed in Adama, Chiro as protests engulf Oromia regional state. A Reuters report put the death toll at eight. At least eight people have been killed and 80 injured in protests in the Ethiopian town of Adam, the Reuters report said citing a doctor. Adama is about 90 km (56 miles) southeast of the capital, Addis Ababa. Six people died on their way to hospital and two died in intensive care, said Dr Mekonnen Feyissa, the medical director of Adama’s main hospital. The hospital received around 80 injured patients, he said. Most had been shot but some had been hit with rocks or stabbed. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Jawar Bekele arrested in Addis Ababa The arrest of prominent Ethiopian pro-democracy activist Jawar Mohammed has been confirmed by multiple sources from the country. His media outfit, Oromia Media Network, OMN, has also been shut down by authorities. The arrest comes in the wake of mass protests against the shooting and killing on Monday night of a famed Oromo musician and activist in Addis Ababa. Hachalu Hundessa, was celebrated as a symbol for the Oromo people – Ethiopia’s most populous ethnic group. His songs spoke out about their political and economic marginalisation and became a rallying point for activists in their fight against Ethiopian regimes. The musician had also been imprisoned for five years when he was 17 for taking part in protests, an analysis on the BBC Africa LIVE page added. Jawar was reportedly arrested along with Bekele Gerba, a veteran opposition activist. The duo were arrested at the Oromo Cultural Center in Addis Ababa, where they were attending the funeral of Hachalu. OMN outlets raided, Jawar reacts to death Media magnate, pro-democracy activist and opposition politician, Jawar Mohammed, reacted to the killing of Haacaalu on Tuesday with a facebook post that said the Oromo nation had been attacked. “They did not just kill Hachalu. They shot at the heart of the Oromo Nation, once again !!...You can kill us, all of us, you can never ever stop us!! NEVER !! La Aluta Continua,” he wrote. Meanwhile, his media outfit the Oromia Media Network, OMN, reported on Tuesday that its offices in the capital Addis Ababa had been raided and staff taken away by security agents to an undisclosed location. The notice posted in Afaan Oromo on their verified Facebook page said the premises had been taken over by state security actors. Mourners believed to be escorting the body of the deceased to the city Ambo in Oromia were also forced to retreat. Reports say the body is currently back at the Oromo Cultural Center in Addis Ababa. #ሰበርዜና፦ የፌዴራል ፖሊስ የOMN አዲስ አበባ ስቱዲዮ ጥሶ በመግባት ሠራተኞቹን እንዳሰረበት የቴሌቪዥን ጣቢያው በፌስቡክ ገጹ አስፍሯል። | #Breaking OMN is reporting its #AddisAbeba studio has been raided by Federal Police, employees under custody pic.twitter.com/pD7Kgk8ck0— EthioTube (@EthioTube) June 30, 2020 Death of Oromo artist: Protests, internet outage, social media reactions Thousands of Ethiopian youth on Tuesday accompanied the body of a famed Oromo singer and songwriter to the city of Ambo in the Oromia regional state for funeral rites and burial. His body was retrieved from the St. Paulos Hospital. The death of artist Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, was widely reported on Monday evening in local media. Addis Ababa police commission confirmed the incident and said arrests had been made. Commissioner Getu Argaw told the state broadcaster EBC, that 36-year-old Haacaaluu, was shot dead in Akaki Kality Sub City Wereda 4, Galan Condominium site. Accompanied by thousands of youth, the body of #HachaluHundessa departed to #Ambo from St. Poulos Hospital. #Ethiopia#Oromia pic.twitter.com/Z7Nka8rI8Y— Haimanot Ashenafi (@Haimanotwua) June 30, 2020 Protests amid calls for calm The officer appealed for calm as did Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who posted an Amharic message on social media. Whiles expressing condolences to those affected by the loss the PM Abiy said it was necessary to remain measured and allow the police to fully investigate the incident. “We are at a time when, by understanding the depth of the incident, we pay attention to events happening in our country. Let’s express our grievances while taking care of ourselves and preventing additional crimes,” PM Abiy said. Songs of the deceased are said to have played a crucial role in promoting freedom and rights for his Oromo ethnic group. The popular Oromo uprising was crucial in the coming to office of Abiy in 2018. Despite the calls for calm, a number of security watchers and journalists are reporting protests in parts of the capital Addis Ababa. “Unrest in Addis far more serious, according to one source. Youths engage riot police in running battles in many districts. Internet shut down. Sustained gunfire reported on the Hill – where the National Palace, govt offices located,” Rashid Abdi, a regional researcher and analyst tweeted. #BREAKING Massive protests are currently going on in Addis Ababa & other parts of Ethiopia after a well-known singer was murdered last night in Addis Ababa. Hundessa’s songs are in the Oromo language were played during the protests that led to the resignation of the former gov’t. pic.twitter.com/Hg9CCQaspX— Mowliid Haji Abdi (@MowliidHaji) June 30, 2020 Internet outage reported Internet access has been cut nationwide, the Access Now group has confirmed. A number of activists have also confirmed the development. Ethiopia has in the past taken the same route of blocking the internet. One of the most recent being a year ago when the federal government reported having thwarted a coup d’etat in the northern Amhara region. The then army chief, Seare Mekonnen, who was working to restore order was also killed with another retired general in Addis Ababa. But PM Abiy is on record to have said, Ethiopia will cut the net as and when necessary: “For sake of national security, internet and social media could be blocked any time necessary. “As long as it is deemed necessary to save lives and prevent property damages, the internet would be closed permanently, let alone for a week,” he told lawmakers in August 2019. Confirmed. Complete internet shutdown and blackout in #Ethiopia. Literally zero traffic. #KeepItOn https://t.co/uYJaCmlqYV— Berhan Taye (@btayeg) June 30, 2020 Social media reactions “I express my deepest condolences to his family, friends, and the entire country, expressing my deepest condolences on the death of the artist,” WHO DG Tedros Ghebreyesus tweeted on Tuesday morning. በአርቲስት ሃጫሉ ሁንዴሳ ግድያ የተሰማኝን ጥልቅ ሀዘን እየገለፅኩ ለቤተሰቦቹ ፣ ለወዳጅ ዘመዶቹ እንዲሁም ለመላው አገራችን መፅናናትን እመኛለሁ፡፡ pic.twitter.com/8mSsZSGF0q— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) June 30, 2020 “This was a brother you could believe. There was the sense that he was not in it for something. That was the extraordinary thing about him. He was in it because of his commitment to our liberation.” — James Turner. That’s the #HaacaaluuHundeessaa I knew. pic.twitter.com/Fzrj1GYpY0— Mohammed Ademo (@OPride) June 30, 2020 May his family and loved ones find comfort, hope and inner strength in this time of great pain and difficulty. May justice, peace, freedom and sustainable life return to our country.— Obang Metho (@ObangMetho) June 30, 2020 Last night we didn’t only lose #HaacaaluuHundeessaa, a husband, a father of 3, a son, & a brother; we lost the #Oromo nation’s institution of conscience; a star, who, through his music, was the melodic company of the struggles, dreams & hopes we continued to live through. R.I.P✊? pic.twitter.com/tsn1mI6FXV— Tsedale Lemma (@TsedaleLemma) June 30, 2020 My deepest condolences to the people of Ethiopia on the shocking murder of Hachalu Hundessa, one of the finest musicians of his generation. His music, protest lyrics united and galvanised the whole nation, let not his death sow division. Rest in Peace Legend ! pic.twitter.com/q1SwIe1u6C— Rashid Abdi (@RAbdiCG) June 30, 2020 Hachalu_Hundessa, a young, energetic superstar artist & brilliant songwriter whose songs of resistance gave wide currency to popular youth movement aka QEERROO, was shot dead tonight in Finfinnee/Addis Ababa, #Ethiopia. His death promptly triggered nationwide protest in Oromiya. pic.twitter.com/iMFvxf4NCa— Leta T. Bayissa (Letabayissa) June 30, 2020
  • As South Sudan turns nine: elusive quest for peace amid bloodshed
    South Sudan marks its ninth independence anniversary. Looking back at a historic moment when the country became Africa and the world’s youngest nation. The country had in effect around since the original creation of Sudan, one of Africa’s largest countries in 1956. Nine years on, the cry for durable peace, stability and development remains concrete challenges. The war ended after the Sudanese government and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, paving way for the referendum through which the southerners voted for secession on January 9th, 2011. On the 9th of July 2011, South Sudan gained independence from Sudan after the two decades of earth – scorched civil war which culminated in the 2005 agreement which ended Africa’s longest civil war. The hostilities claimed the lives of 2.5 million people with four million displaced. Happy Independence Day to South Sudan! Here’s a clip of the independence celebrations in Juba, 9 July 2011. At the end of the clip Salva Kir takes the oath to become the country’s first president. From Reuters. pic.twitter.com/LXZpgPDc57— Derek R Peterson (Unseen_Archive) July 9, 2020 At the time, the US–backed secession was hailed as a way forward to peace and stability but it did not end the plight of the South Sudanese. Nine years on, conflict is still a fact of life in many parts of the country, as the previous fighting between Khartoum and Juba gave way to infighting among the South Sudanese. Civil war broke out in 2013, when President Salva Kiir fell out with his first vice-president and ex – rebel leader, Riek Machar, who he accused of attempting a coup. The two leaders represent South Sudan’s largest ethnic groups. Their [Nuer and Dinka] provoked a largely ethnic conflict that killed an estimated 380,000 people and uprooted 4 million people from their homes over five years. Although a peace deal was signed in August 2018 between president Kiir and Machar’s SPLM-IO (IO means ‘In Opposition’); the ceasefire was partially held but bloodshed and instability persisted plus stalling of the peace process. The UN Mission in South Sudan allegedly recorded 415 violent incidents in the first five months of 2020 alone. Armed conflict continues between the government and non-signatories to the peace agreement in some areas, while in others, inter-communal violence fueled by competition over resources, easy access to arms and weak rule of law is on the rise. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } President Salva Kiir, in his keynote speech for ninth anniversary, said previous independence days weren’t celebrated due to the political violence but this year, public’s celebration has been affected by the COVID – 19 pandemic. The president admitted that the permanent ceasefire is largely holding while interrupted by coronavirus and inter – communal violence across the country. “Unfortunately, our success in ending political violence is now threatened by a different sort of violence; inter – communal conflict that is ragging in different parts of our country,” said president Kiir. “As the government, we will not allow this new threat to reverse our gains. We shall pursue a multi-layered approach to resolve this problem once and for all.” Kiir said his government in due days will initiate inter and intra – communal dialogue so that they can address the root causes of this fighting both between and within the communities. “Alongside this process, we shall launch a full – scale disarmament of the civil population, an exercise which is already underway in some parts of the country,” said Kiir. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Despite what have been achieved in terms of implementing the revitalized peace deal, Kiir admitted that he is acutely aware that the peace implementation remains painfully slow and far below people’s expectations. “We must therefore collectively act in a decisive fashion to pick up the pace in resolving sticky issues in the implementation of the agreement,” said Kiir. President Kiir further calls upon the parties to the peace deal to sort out pending matters through amicable political understanding. “It is also critical that we, the parties to the agreement desist from adopting uncompromising positions in the hope that the mediation will eventually back them. We must move away from such attitudes because the peace we seek to consolidate is our own peace as South Sudanese – it is only us who stand to benefit or lose in its success or failure,” Kiir said. “Our regional partners and the international community are only there to lend support, but they will never prescribe solutions to our problems. Therefore we must find solutions ourselves through meaningful and genuine dialogue geared towards finding practical solutions rather than scoring political points or maneuvering for future political advantage,” he added. Despite fears of an uncertain future, citizens of South Sudan, who spoke to this media, cling to the hopes of a peaceful South Sudan. Some members of the public who spoke to Africanews say the dreams and aspirations of millions of South Sudanese who voted in 2011 have been crushed by poor leadership. The UN mission in South Sudan said the South Sudanese leaders should reflect on the reasons they waged longest war to be free and then collaborate to settle unresolved matters to achieve vibrant a nation. “It was a proud moment for the people who fought so hard for the right to determine their own future,” said UNMISS in the press statement. “However, there is still much work that needs to be done to end the outbreaks of violence and to ensure that we have a truly unified government that makes collaborative decisions in the best interests of its citizens,” added in its part. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Several observers have criticized South Sudan’s political leaders for dragging the country into violence and continued political instability. President Kiir concluded his address by a rallying call: “let us all work tirelessly irrespectively of our political leanings to restore trust among ourselves and to amend the social fabric that was torn apart by war we are now putting behind us. “Let us all desist from unnecessary propaganda and instead work together as South Sudanese to put our country permanently on the path of peace.” South Sudan’s rival leaders officially started the process of forming a transitional coalition government in late February after it was postponed twice, but the security arrangements remained an outstanding challenge, which triggers violence. Secession was hailed as the path to peace, freedom but it was being blighted by violence and corruption in the landlocked country. Since 2011, South Sudan has ranked at the bottom of global peace indexes, quality of life and human development indexes, Press Freedom index, among others. Moreover, the citizens and analysts believe the current leaders have betrayed the ideals that they fought for, including the vision of the late Dr. John Garang. South Sudanese leaders are yet to move the country towards sustained peace and development. By Deng Machol Africanews Correspondent in Juba, South Sudan
  • Sudan reshuffles cabinet amid mounting economic, protest pressures
    Sudan’s transitional government announced a major cabinet reshuffle on Thursday, hoping to defuse public discontent over economic collapse and other crises that have tested the country’s path toward democracy. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok accepted the resignation of six ministers, including the finance minister criticized for failing to rescue the plunging economy. He also dismissed the health minister in the wake of a coronavirus outbreak that has hit the country hard. A government statement named the acting replacements for the seven posts, which also include foreign, energy, agriculture and transportation ministers. “The trust that the people have given the transitional government obliges us to listen to the voice of the street,” said Hamdok, referring to the sweeping protest movement that toppled longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in April last year. He added that the changes were aimed at meeting “accelerated economic and social changes.” Following al-Bashir’s ouster, Sudan’s military and pro-democracy protesters reached a power-sharing agreement to form the Sovereign Council, made up of army generals and civilians, to rule the country until elections can be held in 2022. Still, the military has retained the upper hand in many ways. The Cabinet shake-up was widely expected after hundreds of thousands rallied in Sudan’s major cities again on June 30 to pressure the government for reform. Protesters demanded the speedy appointment of civilian provincial governors, the formation of a legislative council and the completion of peace deals with rebels in the country’s restive provinces. At the time, Hamdok pledged to take “decisive steps” within two weeks. Reshuffling gives the government room to appoint several ministers from rebel groups, as a condition of peace negotiations expected to conclude in the coming week. The Sudanese Revolutionary Front, an alliance of rebel groups, visited the capital of Khartoum this week to discuss a few outstanding points in the deal, such as rebels’ participation in the yet-to-be-formed legislative council. Sudan has for decades been convulsed by insurgencies in the west and south, and last year’s power-sharing deal required the government reach a peace agreement within six months. Although the deadline has expired, Khartoum wants to ink a settlement and reduce military spending, which takes up 80% of the budget. Heba Ali, a key official in the finance ministry, was appointed to replace Finance Minister Ibrahim Elbadawi, who inherited a collapsed economy after decades of mismanagement under al-Bashir. Elbadawi was spearheading ambitious economic reform plans sought by foreign donors and the International Monetary Fund, which included painful steps like the slashing of fuel and other subsidies. Earlier this week, in a move toward restructuring Sudan’s unwieldy security apparatus, Hamdok fired the police chief and his deputy, apparently over ties to al-Bashir. The reshuffle seems unlikely to satisfy demonstrators, said Osman Mirghani, a Sudanese analyst and the editor of the daily al-Tayar. Other key officials, such as the commerce minister, have kept their jobs despite calls for them to be dismissed. “Hamdok was actually forced to do this,” he said. “But I do not think the government has any real road map for how to create deeper change.” AP
  • TPLF tells Ethiopia PM to face challenges, stop scapegoating
    Ethiopian opposition party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), has accused Prime minister Abiy Ahmed and his government of being in chaos and trying to thrive in chaos. “It has become fashionable to blame TPLF for everything that goes wrong in the country,” Getachew Reda, a TPLF spokesman told the BBC denying that the front had any hand and or interest in the killing of Oromo entertainer Hachalu Hundessa early last week. In a six page document titled “Context and Updates of Current Issues in Ethiopia,” the PM’s office cited two main factors for the assassination and subsequent deadly protests and mass arrests. The document said “Unabated attempt made by aggrieved forces to perpetuate political tensions and increasing political polarization and the negative role of media in creating ethnic tensions;” were at the heart of the issues. “It’s a flat-out lie,” Reda told the BBC stressing that the TPLF “doesn’t believe in eliminating individuals to make political scores.” The PM’s statement did not specifically mention TPLF but made inferences to them. The paragraph that seemed to be pointing at the TPLF read: “... it should be mentioned here that the government is under constant and unrestrained pressure from disgruntled forces, organizing and supporting anti-peace elements, by using the economic and political muscles they have built over the last three decades, in order to undermine this inevitable reform process.” Escalating war of words between PM Abiy administration and TPLF extremely dangerous, irresponsible. Strategy of demonising TPLF deflects some of the Oromo anger but risks deepening sense of siege, victimhood in Tigray Region and stoke, potentially, new armed conflict.— Rashid Abdi (@RAbdiCG) July 10, 2020 Aside the TPLF, the governing party had also accused former Oromo rebel group of being behind the shooting of Hachalu Hundessa. Amid high security deployment, Addis Ababa and Oromia regional state remains peaceful according to reports. Ethiopia is in the tenth day of an internet blackout that was effected the morning after the musician was killed. It is the longest blockade since Abiy came to power. A spokeswoman has defended the move. “... if the internet is being used by certain forces to spread hate speech and vitriol, that is perpetuating and initiating ethnic, religious and communal violence, then ensuring human security supersedes,” Billene Aster Syoum told the BBC.
  • Diarrhea outbreak hits Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo
    An outbreak of diarrhea has killed nine people out of more than 1,800 cases in the past month in Zimbabwe’s second city, highlighting the problems for a weak public health system already struggling with rising cases of COVID-19. The government and aid agencies are rushing to the southwestern city of Bulawayo, where residents going for days without tap water are succumbing to the latest outbreak. Residents in the city only get water once a week, if lucky, while the sewer system is dilapidated. Aid agencies such as Doctors Without Borders are also providing medicines, water buckets and personal protective equipment such as gowns, surgical gloves and masks to prop up a struggling public health system beset by shortages of basic medicines, equipment and strikes by nurses and doctors. “The outbreak compounds an already existing public health crisis posed by Covid-19,” said the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights. The government should invest more in water infrastructure to mitigate “unnecessary morbidity and mortality from water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid,” said the association in a statement. The outbreak highlights how existing and historical vulnerabilities such as shortages of unsafe drinking water could be more potent than the coronavirus in some poor parts of the world. In many parts of Zimbabwe, residents have gone for months without tap water come into their homes, forcing them to dig shallow wells and boreholes that have been contaminated by raw sewage flowing from burst pipes. This has resulted in repeated outbreaks of water-borne diseases such as diarrhea and cholera. More than 4,000 people died in a cholera outbreak at the height of the southern African country’s economic problems in 2008. Since then, water and sanitation infrastructure has been collapsing rapidly.
  • Nigeria's anti-graft boss suspended, faces corruption probe
    July 10: Buhari approves Magu’s suspension Nigeria’s anti-corruption chief has officially been suspended days after he was invited by a panel at the presidency and subsequently detained. “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate suspension of Ibrahim Magu as Agcting Chairman of the EFCC in order to allow for unhindered inquiry by the Presidential Investigation Panel under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act and other relevant laws,” the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami said in a statement on Friday. According to the statement, President Buhari has also approved that the EFCC Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar, should take charge and oversee the activities of the commission pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation and further directives in that regards. This is contained in a statement issued by Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice made available to newsmen on Friday the 10th day of July, 2020.— Government of Nigeria (@NigeriaGov) July 10, 2020 July 7: Magu invited, quizzed, detained Local media widely reported that Buhari has suspended the acting EFCC chairman on charges of embezzlement. Magu was on Monday invited to appear before a Presidential Panel that reviews the agency’s activities. His summons is believed to have been the result of a recent petition from Nigeria’s Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami. The acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was questioned for hours by an inter-agency committee led by a former Court of Appeal judge, Ayo Salami. He was subsequently detained for further questioning. Ibrahim Magu has been the EFCC’s acting chairman since 2015, with his appointment twice rejected by Nigeria’s Senate due to a damaging report about his suitability for the role. But many observers say Magu’s suspension is politically motivated adding that many Nigerian elites want him sacked. AFP
  • Global startup queen Joy Ajlouny reveals how entrepreneurs can make their millions
    Dubai-based serial entrepreneur, Joy Ajlouny, is a self-proclaimed ‘bull in a china shop’. She’s been described as a ‘grenade’ in her field, and by never taking no for an answer she believes she’s, ‘gamified rejection’. Born in California to Palestinian parents, the investor & advisor has carved out a reputation for successful startups & business ventures worldwide. She’s also raised more than $100mn in funding. She shared with Inspire Middle East, her top tips for young entrepreneurs looking to raise capital. “You’ve got literally the first two minutes to get your value proposition across, to make the investors understand what it is you have that’s exciting,” she told Rebecca McLaughlin-Eastham. “Pitching is everything and in the beginning you’re not profitable, so you have to sell your team and you have to sell the idea. They have to believe in you.” Ajlouny is the co-founder of Fetchr, the Silicon Valley-backed tech company which disrupted the delivery-courier sector in the Middle East region, by eliminating the need for a physical address. The business, which now operates in five countries with more than 4,500 staff, was titled ‘Number 1. Startup in the Middle East’ by Forbes. Global startups IMAGE: IME – S03E25 – Main – Secondary Picture Startups brainstorm for ideas According to Startup Genome, the US-based startup policy advisors, the global startup economy creates an estimated $3 trillion in value. Seven of the top 10 companies operate within the tech space, and the report states that more than 70% of global startups saw their revenue drop since the start of the pandemic. The Middle East’s startup scene is rapidly developing, but like the rest of the world, it’s reeling from the COVID-19 crisis. That’s not to say there isn’t hope, with SG’s report referencing that approximately 50 tech unicorns were founded between 2007 and 2009. Moreover, businesses that raised venture capitalist money in the Great Recession of 2008 included Facebook & LinkedIn. Startups are a key driver of wealth and job creation, and Middle Eastern cities like Abu Dhabi and Dubai made the top 100 of Startup Genome’s Emerging Ecosystem Rankings. Abu Dhabi ambitions The UAE is where Ajlouny calls home, and she’s especially inspired by what she’s sees taking shape in the capital, namely the global tech ecosystem Hub71. “I say this with a lot of pride, what the government of Abu Dhabi – and basically the Abu Dhabi Investment Office – what they’re doing, it’s spectacular,” she says. “They’re building an infrastructure to invest in startups, and not just startups, but venture capital. They understand that startups are the future and the future has to be investing in tech, in bright ideas and the youth.” When comparing the business models of Silicon Valley in the United States and MENA’s tech startup hubs, Ajlouny is encouraged by the region’s ‘blank canvas’ potential. “In this part of the world, what’s exciting is that there’s so much that needs disruption,” she told Inspire. “There’s huge population here that needs disruption in…FinTech, EdTech, HealthTech. I think the good news is that policy here can be done overnight. So, there’s an opportunity here for real change, real fast, because it’s not being tied in to bureaucracy.” Women in business IMAGE: IME – S03E25 – Main – Secondary Picture 2 A company gathers for a meeting It’s estimated that less than 3% of global venture capital is raised by women. The tech space, says Ajlouny, has also been traditionally been dominated by men. Adding that whilst a gender rebalance is occurring in the sector, its emergence has been slow. As a passionate supporter of women positively disrupting the conventional world of work, Ajlouny hopes that the next generation of MENA startups, will be not only be pitching, but also playing in a billion-dollar tech league. “The ones that do get funding, and it is a known fact – and I say this with pride – that the returns for women venture capitalist’s are higher,” she says. “And the returns on women founders, have been hitting it out of the ball park with billion-dollar companies.” SEEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA: FINDING PURPOSE Swiss consultant Sarah believes women can cut their own path and “create their own legacy.” Voir cette publication sur Instagram HOW DO I CONTINUE SHOWING UP IN MY BUSINESS WHILE NAVIGATING THESE TIMES? ⠀ How do I move forward in my business right now? What will people think of me? Is it selfish of me to continue working in my business and selling at this time? etc. etc. ⠀ Uhm who else is thinking this too? ⠀ I chatted with some of my clients who do not know how to continue working in their business with everything happening. They have actively started educating themselves, showing up to dismantle racism within + without and they want to do better not just now but as they move forward. ⠀ But they also run businesses. And they need to continue showing up as the heart leaders, CEOs of their businesses. ⠀ All of these are valid questions, that I’ve asked myself too. Are you wondering the same? ⠀ I feel and believe that this is a movement and it requires us to be in it for the long run (as mentioned in my last post) AND the world needs more women empowered in their businesses, finances and in all ways because that’s how we get things movin’ & create change ? ⠀ No one f*cking wins when women play small. No one benefits when we hide. In fact we would probably not have gotten to this point if more women ran the show! ?✊ ⠀ So please, continue to show up WHILE you continue to do the inner shadow work and take the actions that you feel you need to take right now and beyonddd. ⠀ But don’t play small, don’t hide, don’t dim your light any longer! The world still needs you to shine your heart. ⠀ Show up in your business. From your heart. Take aligned actions, build your empire, grow your income and your impact – that’s what is needed now and always: empowered women, empowering women everywhere! ⠀ And if you feel stuck in your business and are ready to up-level your income & impact, schedule a FREE 30 min intuitive business strategy call with me (link in my bio or DM me for more info) and let’s get things moving! ✨❤️ Une publication partagée par Abundance & Biz Strategy ??✨ (@sarahlewisco) le 9 Juin 2020 à 9 :16 PDT
  • Uganda virus caseload passes 1,000 mark; no deaths till date
    July 10: Cases pass 1,000 mark Uganda’s virus cases reached 1,000 as of July 9. The updated tally this morning indicated that six new cases had taken the caseload to 1,006 cases. Total recoveries stand at 938, one of the highest relative to number of cases. There is no death recorded till date. The total number of tests so far is 221,675, a Ministry of Health press release confirmed. The country is among the least impacted in the East, Horn of Africa region where the likes of Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti have recorded figures between 10,000 and 2,000 cases. Sudan = 10,158 Kenya = 8,975 Ethiopia = 6,973 Djibouti = 4,955 Somalia = 3,038 South Sudan = 2,021 John Hopkins University statistics valid as of July 9 #Uganda #COVID19 update, July 9, 2020 ? New cases 6 ? Total cases 1,006 ? New recoveries 30 ? Total Recoveries 938 ? New samples 2,048 ? Total tested 221,675* N̳e̳w̳ ̳c̳a̳s̳e̳s̳: 2 truckers and 4 contacts from Malaba, Busia, Amuru, Kyotera pic.twitter.com/1pSpjvUrdi— The Observer (@observerug) July 10, 2020 June 28: Uganda repatriating ‘distressed’ citizens globally Uganda is receiving hundreds of nationals via repatriation flights with the latest being arrivals from Afghanistan, South Sudan and Ethiopia, local news outlet, the Monitor reported. Most of the 137 Afghan returnees were private security guards who Saturday evening aboard Egypt Air. Other arrivals at the Entebbe International Airport included 72 humanitarian workers and diplomats from Juba, South Sudan and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They arrived aboard Ethiopian Airlines. A Health Ministry official confirmed that all 207 people were transported to various quarantine centres, all private hotels. Uganda is also expecting repatriations from South Africa, the US, United Arab Emirates and India. Meanwhile a report that nationals living in China had refused to return home continue to stoke reactions which are disputing widely reported claims made by the foreign affairs minister last week. Minister Henry Okello Oryem told Daily Monitor newspaper that many Ugandans in China had resumed work after their government intervened following reports of mistreatment. The ministry in a press statement termed the protests by Africans living in China against mistreatment there as having been a result of “miscommunication among local authorities about how to handle foreign nationals as they control the spread of coronavirus”. Total confirmed cases = 859 Total recoveries = 794 Total deaths = 0 Active cases = 65 Figures valid as of close of day June 27, 2020 Uganda’s president on Monday expressed his frustration with the World Health Organisation (WHO), saying they are not gods and should be modest as they set out guidelines to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Museveni, who was addressing the country on the latest government efforts to deal with the coronavirus pandemic specifically took issue with WHO’s protocols on the tally of confirmed cases in Uganda. “While I am not like Trump who is fighting the World Health Organisation, I think it should be modest. We cannot be responsible for people that got infected from another country,” Museveni said. Museveni in May this year directed the country’s health ministry to deduct from the country’s tally, all positive tests from neighbouring countries. WHO on the other hand insists that such cases should be recorded and treated in the territory or country where they are detected. “Following a Presidential Directive of deducting all foreign truck drivers from Uganda’s case count,” the ministry said at the time. Uganda has sent back at least 167 nationals of neighbouring countries who tested positive in Uganda, and Museveni advised WHO to interest itself in Africa’s cultural context where hosts have a right to welcome or reject visitors. By the time the president addressed the nation, Uganda had 774 confirmed cases, of which Museveni pointed out that nearly half (373) are truck drivers transporting good across the East African region. The president also congratulated Ugandans and specifically the doctors on working tirelessly to keep the Covid-19 losses at a minimum. The country has not recorded any coronavirus deaths and registered 631 recoveries. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }
  • Sudan govt to sign final peace deal with rebel groups
    Sudan’s transitional government and rebel groups negotiating in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, will sign a final peace deal in two weeks’ time. The news emerged after a delegation of South Sudanese mediators returned from Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. The peace talks, had been stalled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The negotiations recently resumed via video conferencing between the government’s delegation in Khartoum and the rebel groups in Juba. Tut Galwak, South Sudan’s presidential security adviser and chief mediator in the peace process, also went to Khartoum as he said some sticking points could not be discussed via video link. Mr Tut said Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was to join the discussions on Thursday via video link from Khartoum – his first time to join the negotiations. He added that once the security arrangements are finished after two weeks, President Salva Kiir will invite friends of Sudan to witness the signing in Juba. The peace talks incorporate rebel groups operating in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions which had been fighting the government of former President Omar al-Bashir before his overthrow in April 2019.
  • Ivory Coast ruling party could field Ouattara for third term
    Leaders from Ivory Coast’s ruling party agreed at a closed-door meeting late Wednesday to press President Alassane Ouattara to seek a third term in October’s presidential election. This follows the sudden death of Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, two sources said on condition of anonymity. “All options are on the table, including a new candidacy for President Ouattara,” AFP reports the ruling party’s executive director, Adama Bictogo, as saying. Ouattara announced in March that he would not stand for re-election after 10 years in office and designated his closest ally prime minister Gon Coulibaly, as the RHDP party’s candidate. Gon Coulibaly’s death on Wednesday, less than a week after he returned to Ivory Coast from an extended medical leave in France for heart issues, left the RHDP scrambling to choose a replacement. A formal leadership meeting is in the works ahead of the July 31 candidate submission deadline. The election is expected to be the most hotly contested since 2010, when Ouattara’s victory over Laurent Gbagbo sparked a brief civil war in which 3,000 people died.
  • U.S. 'backs' Taiwan - Somaliland cooperation
    The United States government has commented on “controversial” diplomatic overtures between Taiwan and Somaliland. “Great to see Taiwan stepping up its engagement in East Africa in a time of such tremendous need. Taiwan is a great partner in health, education, technical assistance, and more!” the US National Security Council, NSC; posted on Twitter late Thursday, July 09. Reports of the relationship between Hargeisa and Taipei has been cast in the shadows of the wider U.S. – China rift and overall influence in Africa especially under the Trump administration. According to the White House website “The NSC is the President’s principal forum for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and cabinet officials. The Council also serves as the President’s principal arm for coordinating these policies among various government agencies.” China has expressly condemned the diplomatic overtures with its envoy in Somalia meeting with President Mohammed Abdullahi Farmaajo in the wake of Taiwan – Somaliland relations. Commenting on the US position, Rashid Abdi, a Horn of Africa researcher and analyst, described the move as unprecedented. “This is unprecedented – US National Security Council lauds Taiwan for recognising Somaliland’s independence. “While rivalry with China in the Red Sea certainly main driver, the potential gains for Somaliland in long-term seems clear,” he tweeted. But for people pushing for Somaliland independence, they have camped under the NSC tweet thanking the US government for “recognition,” others are calling for the rest of the world to do same. The Somaliland government has however not commented on the development as yet. Taiwan on July 3, appointed Ambassador Lou Chen-hwa, as the head of Taiwan Representative Office in Somaliland. On the other hand, Ambassador Hagi Mohamed is set to head the reverse office in Taipei. Great to see #Taiwan stepping up its engagement in East #Africa in a time of such tremendous need. #Taiwan is a great partner in health, education, technical assistance, and more!https://t.co/wVej4KieZ4— NSC (@WHNSC) July 9, 2020
  • Sierra Leone coronavirus: places of worship, main airport to reopen
    July 10: Places of worship to reopen President Julius Maada Bio on Thursday announced the lifting of a raft of virus restrictions as the country reopens to face the post – lockdown era. Three main areas are affected by the latest announcement which the president posted on social media platform, Twitter. Reopening of places of worship, curfew hours and reopening of the main airport. 1. All mosques, churches, and other places of worship shall be open for congregation and worship – Monday, 13th of July 2020, 2. On the same day curfew hours will be eased to 11 pm to 5 am. 3. Lungi International Airport will be re-opened on Wednesday, 22nd Jul 2020. Confirmed cases = 1,598 Active cases = 412 Recoveries = 1,123 Number of deaths = 63 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of July 9, 2020 Effective Monday, 13th of July 2020, all mosques, churches, and other places of worship shall be open for congregation and worship. Starting Monday, 13th of July, curfew will be eased to 11PM to 5AM. Lungi International Airport will be re-opened on Wednesday, 22nd Jul 2020.— President Julius Maada Bio (@PresidentBio) July 9, 2020 June 23: Lockdown restrictions eased President Julius Maada Bio on Tuesday announced a raft of measures aimed at further relaxing coronavirus restrictions across the West African nation. The key takeaway being the adjusting of a curfew duration and the lifting of inter-district travel. “Effective immediately, the curfew is adjusted to the period 11pm to 6am. I announce a lifting of the ban on Inter-District travel starting on Wednesday, 24th June 2020. “Once all measures are in place, commercial flights will resume in the very short run,” the president said in a Twitter post. #SierraLeone’s president PresidentBio has eased some of the #Covid19 restrictions. The ban on inter-district movement is lifted from tomorrow. The 9pm – 6am curfew now starts 11pm. But churches & mosques remain closed. He admitted they could’ve better responded to the pandemic— Umaru Fofana (@UmaruFofana) June 23, 2020 On the country’s fight against COVID-19, the president said: “...we have had high recovery and discharge rates, lower infection rates, and proportionally lower death rates three months on. This is because we have got a lot of things right over those three months.” The Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary School, in consultation with stakeholders, has developed comprehensive health and safety guidelines for teachers, pupils, and communities for the purpose of providing safe environment for students who are taking public examinations, the president added. Confirmed cases = 1,340 Active cases = 497 Recoveries = 788 Number of deaths = 55 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 22, 2020 June 1: Compulsory wearing of face masks kicks off The wearing of face masks in public has been made compulsory in Sierra Leone effective today (June 1). The move is part of COVID-19 containment measures ordered by government. On the case load front, as of close of day May 31, the total confirmed cases stood at 861 out of which 454 had recovered and been discharged from treatment centers. The death tool was at 46 with 361 active cases. On the last day of May, a single-digit new case tally of nine was recorded, for the first time in almost three weeks. In an address to parliament on May 28, President Julius Maada Bio announced a raft of measures the government was taking to combat the coronavirus pandemic. “In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, my Government rapidly activated all Emergency Operations Centre pillars. We have instituted international best practices in contact tracing and surveillance,” he told lawmakers. I am pleased to announce to this House that Cabinet has approved $19.8 Million for the construction of a National Diagnostic and Radiotherapy Cancer Treatment Centre with modern facilities. pic.twitter.com/MoUX6Sb3H0— President Julius Maada Bio (@PresidentBio) May 28, 2020 May 24: Record one-day infection Sierra Leone today recorded 100 new infections of COVID-19. A record number over 24-hours and more than double its highest daily jump since the index case was confirmed in the country on 31 March. 67 of them are from among 85 Sierra Leoneans repatriated on Friday from Kuwait where they’d been working mostly domestic workers. Sierra Leone now has a total to 721 confirmed cases. According to a journalist Umaru Fofafna, the daily deaths have continued with the toll currently at 40. “Concerns are now turning into worry in a country where most people don’t seem to have taken the pandemic seriously,” he wrote in a tweet. ...for resident violators from several countries including #SierraLeone. The 85…are those who qualified”. The nature of their offenses isn’t clear. They’ve been quarantined at the medical school for the mandatory 14 days under the country’s #Covid19 measures, EOC says.— Umaru Fofana (@UmaruFofana) May 23, 2020 May 13: No case, UAE donation arrives Sierra Leone recorded zero new cases for the first time in almost exactly one month on May 12. The last time it did was on 13 April. The total number of confirmed cases stands at 338. The death toll is at 20 whiles the recoveries are at 72. The country remains one of West Africa’s least impacted so far. Meanwhile, a consignment of COVID-19 supplies were delivered to the country from the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, May 12. “The Government and people of Sierra Leone are most grateful for the medical supplies you sent us. Your generosity in this hour of need will further strengthen our response to COVID-19,” president Bio wrote in a tweet thanking the UAE ruler Mohammed bin Zayed. Accra Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Niger have also benefited from the UAE Aid, which is a leading soft power outlet of the Emirati government. I want to thank my very good friend, His Highness, MohamedBinZayed. The Government and people of #SierraLeone are most grateful for the medical supplies you sent us. Your generosity in this hour of need will further strengthen our response to #COVID19. pic.twitter.com/83TMXjqbFn— President Julius Maada Bio (PresidentBio) May 12, 2020 May 4: President tests negative after self-isolation President Julius Maada Bio has tested negative after a 15-day self-isolation, he confirmed on Twitter today. “After my fifteen-day self-isolation period, all tests for #coronavirus are negative. I am very healthy and determined as ever to fight this Corona pandemic in Sierra Leone,” he said in a tweet. President Bio entered self-isolation after a bodyguard of his tested positive for the virus. He, however continued to work from home. He is set to resume work in his office on Wednesday. Sierra Leone is currently under a three day nationwide lockdown that ends tomorrow. Maada Bio imposed it to contain community transmission of the virus. The case statistics as of May 4 were as follows: 166 confirmed cases, nine deaths and 29 recoveries. After my fifteen-day self-isolation period, all tests for #coronavirus are negative. I am very healthy and determined as ever to fight this Corona pandemic in Sierra Leone. #washhands#StayHome #Maskup#Staysafe— President Julius Maada Bio (@PresidentBio) May 4, 2020 April 30: Three-day nationwide lockdown imposed President Maada Bio has subsequently imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown starting Sunday May 3. He cited “epidemiological data and other evidence” that indicated that “there is community transmission of the virus.” In a nationwide address he said the government had decided “to intensify contact tracing and detection; scale up testing and isolation and expand treatment.” Banks are expected to open on Friday and Saturday ahead of the lockdown. Sierra Leone more than doubled its coronavirus cases in the last 10 days (April 20 – 30 from 64 cases to 124). As of May 1, twelve new cases had been detected bringing the tally to 136 confirmed cases. The number of people in quarantine has more than doubled and now stands at 2,642. Authorities said they are widening the tracking net in order to ring fence all possible suspects. Epidemiological data and other evidence indicate that there is community transmission of #COVID-19 in #SierraLeone. I therefore declare a three-day nationwide lockdown covering the period Sunday, 3rd May to Tuesday, 5th of May, 2020.— President Julius Maada Bio (@PresidentBio) April 30, 2020 April 21: President Bio enters in quarantine Sierra Leone president Julius Maada Bio is to undergo 14-day self-isolation after one of his bodyguards tested positive for COVID-19, reports from the West African country indicated as of Monday evening. The president’s spokesperson confirmed the development to journalists and said the president was going to be working from home during the period. No one in the household of the first family had, however, shown any symptoms related to the virus. “The EOC is testing all contacts of one of my security staff who had been in a 14-day quarantine and has tested positive for #COVIDー19. My government will continue to be transparent and urges citizens to protect themselves by following all hygiene and other protocols,” the president posted on Twitter. Sierra Leone’s COVID-19 statistics as of April 21 stood at 43 cases with six recoveries and no deaths. Yesterday (April 20) was the 6th consecutive day Sierra Leone recorded new cases. Eight cases were confirmed yesterday alone. The figure represented an increase of more than 200% from five days ago. Six of the eight cases were from the capital Freetown and one each from Kenema and Port Loko districts. President Maada Bio becomes the second known African leader to self-isolate, the first being Botswana president Eric Masisi who self-isolated after attending an inauguration ceremony in Namibia. At the time his country was uninfected whiles Namibia had recorded three cases. A number of African presidents have also confirmed taking the tests with all of them having tested negative. South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, Ghana’s Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari have all tested negative. April 2: Sierra Leone announce 3-day lockdown with two cases Twenty-four hours after confirming an index case, Sierra Leone announced a second case which involved a medical doctor with no links to the first patient. Both cases were registered in the capital Freetown. On Wednesday April 1, authorities announced a three-day nationwide lockdown as a containment measure against the spread of the virus. Defence minister and national COVID19 Coordinator, Brig (Rtd) Kellie Conteh announced that coming Sunday, Monday & Tuesday (April 4 – 6) are stay-at-home days. Meanwhile, doctors in the country are pushing for a two-week lockdown instead of three days. They argue that 14 days being the virus incubation period could help identify any potential cases. They also called for protective gear for all health facilities and a “designated and adequate facility” for affected frontline health workers”, plus compensation. In next door Guinea, which is also under a state of emergency, a big jump in figures have been recorded. Twenty-one new cases have shot the tally to 52. The new cases emerged from a list of primary contacts of earlier patients from Europe. March 31: Sierra Leone confirms index case Sierra Leone president Julius Maada Bio has confirmed that the country has its first case of COVID-19, multiple media outlets in the West African country have confirmed. The country becomes the 48th African country to record a case as well as the last in West Africa to do so. Already a raft of measures have been imposed to check the entry and subsequent spread of the virus. Earlier today, government announced the latest leg of measures which included that schools and other learning institutions throughout Sierra Leone will close today, indefinitely. Government had closed all borders last week after neighbours Guinea and Liberia did so. Guinea also announced a 9pm – 5am curfew throughout the country to stem the spread of the coronavirus. President Alpha Conde also isolates the capital, Conakry with no vehicular movements allowed to and from the rest of the country. This, after the country’s COVID numbers doubled. Guinea’s current tally stands at 22. Sierra Leone records index case of #COVID19 – Implication: All of West Africa infected – Govt implementing raft of measures including state of public health emergency – Country becomes 48th African country infected – Most recent is Botswana on March 30#coronavirus https://t.co/ak2T4jZ1PK— Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban (@AlfaAfrican) March 31, 2020 March 27: Sierra Leone closes borders for 30 days Virus-free Sierra Leone on Friday announced closure of its borders for a 30-day period barely days after President Julius Maada Bio announced a state of public health emergency. According to reports, the measure was to keep out the coronavirus which has engulfed all of West Africa except for Sierra Leone. The country tested two cases which turned out to be negative. The border closures come in the wake of same action taken by neighbours Guinea and Liberia. Guinea president Alpha Conde declared a state of emergency on Friday also for 30-days over the virus. The closure will last for a renewable period of 30 days excepting cargo vehicles which will be limited to two apprentices & a driver. They’ll be subjected to a 14-day surveillance by both countries on entry and exit. All learning institutions & entertainment centers have been closed for 14 days, as have churches & mosques. All cultural events have been prohibited. Liberia is currently in a lockdown over the pandemic. The three countries were at the heart of the Ebola epidemic that killed thousands years ago. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } March 24: President Maada Bio declares 12-month state of Public Health emergency Despite being among 11 African countries that have not recorded any cases of the coronavirus, Sierra Leone president Julius Maada Bio has imposed a twelve-month state of public health emergency effective today March 24. Our correspondent in Free Town, Eric Sylas Kawa, had reported last week that government had imposed a raft of measures but the president in an address said a lockdown was not on the cards. Today’s move signifies that the country is not taken any chances with the pandemic which has affected all its neighbours in the region. #SierraLeone Sierra Leone’s President, Julius Maada Bio has declared a state of Public Health Emergency to tackle the Corona Virus. The 12 months state of emergency starts on the 24th of March. Sierra Leone is among few countries to be free of #COVID19africanews africanewsfr— Eric Sylas Kawa (EricSylas) March 24, 2020 Sierra Leone records COVID-19 scuffles over quarantine at airport The Freetown International Airport, Sierra Leone’s main entry point via air witnessed a coronavirus related scuffle after passengers aboard a Kenya Airways flight refused necessary health protocols. One of the country’s experienced journalists Umaru Fofana reported the said flight had a that passengers aboard the flight had a suspected COVID-19 case leading to the decision to quarantine all the passengers. It is not known how authorities detected the case in question. “At least three passengers refused to be isolated saying they’d rather return to where they’d come from…,” Fofana said in a tweet. “Meanwhile passengers who’ve just arrived on an Air Peace flight from Nigeria have also been asked to be quarantined. They’ve refused, citing the (Sierra Leone) government policy which says only passengers from countries with up to 50 confirmed cases of coronavirus should be automatically quarantined,” he said in a follow up tweet. Sierra Leone remains one of a handful African countries yet to record a coronavirus case. But like all governments are doing, the presidency released a detailed statement that outlined directives crucially banning overseas travel for all government officials and urged members of the public to heed same. An initial statement had directed thus: “Public gatherings should not be attended by more than One Hundred (100) persons,” the second directive read. But a Ministerial team that visited the airport on Monday had urged passengers to adhere to health protocols. A statement from the president on the pandemic read: “I have directed the military to immediately deploy to our international airport and land crossing points in order to enhance security and support compliance with all public health directives advisories.”
  • Sudan eases lockdown restrictions, locals lament economic crunch
    After three months of drastic restrictions in an attempt to contain the coronavirus pandemic, Sudan has begun to relax its lockdown in and around the capital Karthoum. Since Wednesday, the usual pedestrian and vehicular movements has resumed in the city streets, shops and restaurants have also been reopened. Khartoum resident Abdelrahman Mohammed, laments the hardships of the last few months: Our days have become so long, the living conditions are difficult, the population can no longer bear it, people have respected the rules, but they will no longer be able to respect them because of their financial situation. In April, the authorities had interrupted government services and closed local markets and restaurants in Khartoum province, allowing only small grocery stores to open during authorised hours. However, these containment measures have exacerbated the ongoing economic crisis in the country. Osama al-Badawi, a merchant, shares the pain of the ordinary Sudanese: “The people were very affected, and a lot of the goods got rotted. We have high rents to pay, in addition to our daily expenses. “The best season for shopkeepers is usually Ramadan, but the shops have been closed, and shopkeepers have to pay the charges out of their own pockets”. Marked by inflation and a shortage of foreign currency, Sudan’s fragile economy justifies the increase in the price of basic food items. In spite of the ease, some restrictions demand compliance. A curfew remains in place whiles reports say, government services will gradually resume as of 19 July.
  • Progress in Africa's fight against tax evasion [Business Africa]
    Significant progress for many African countries in the fight against tax evasion and money laundering *. African countries have made “significant” progress in reaffirming their commitments and building their capacity to achieve tax transparency. This is the main conclusion of the recent report on “Tax Transparency in Africa” of the Africa Initiative, which shows that the five African countries committed to fighting these phenomena have recorded almost $12 million in additional revenue, and eight countries on the continent have collected $189 million in additional revenue between 2014 and 2019”. Somali economy weakened by COVID-19 Hundreds of companies dangerously impacted by Covid-19 are on the verge of bankruptcy. The Somali economy is being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic that is affecting the entire world. From SMEs to large companies, everything is affected, and even the fast-growing aviation sector is all in the red. However, the country can rely on the cancellation of part of its debt and the approval of several IMF economic programmes to boost its economy.
  • Nigeria's imported fuel more toxic than black market supply [Business Africa]
    Fuel imported into Nigeria said to be extremely toxic and of lower quality than what is produced on the black market, with serious health consequences – the results of a laboratory analysis show. That dirty fuel, as in many African countries, is of lower quality than those from illegal refineries in the Niger Delta. This is the finding of the international resource monitoring group, Stakeholder Democracy Network; that oil stolen from rudimentary refineries is less polluting than the highly toxic diesel and gasoline that Europe exports to Nigeria.
  • Ethio-Eritrea deal progressing, two years on; Asmara jabs 'detractors'
    The Eritrean government says a 2018 peace deal with Ethiopia remains in good shape and was progressing despite efforts by detractors to portray it as a stalled failure. Information Minister Yemane Meskel posted the general state of the deal which chalks its second anniversary today, July 9. “Overall progress made so far remains significant by all contemporaneous standards,” he said in a tweet. Today is the 2nd Anniversary of the historic Eritrea-Ethiopia Peace Agreement that was signed in Asmara bringing to an end the state of intermittent wars that existed between the two countries for almost 80 years and ushered in “a new era of peace and friendship” between them pic.twitter.com/V72v3xhYOf— Yemane G. Meskel (@hawelti) July 9, 2020 Adding: “ This is in spite of the desperate, last-ditch efforts of the regressive forces of inertia and darkness – TPLF and its ilk – to scuttle and rollback enduring peace with its dividends to the two countries.” TPLF is the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front, the ruling party in Ethiopia’s Tigray region – it shares a long boundary with Eritrea, hosting the border crossing that were opened to fanfare but have all been shut unilaterally by Eritrea, according to reports. TPLF is currently an opposition party to the new ruling party at the federal level, Prosperity Party led by PM Abiy Ahmed. “The Eritrea-Ethiopia peace process has catalysed a conducive climate of regional cooperation. Substantial challenges that still remain will no doubt be scaled in the period ahead through resolute and concerted action on the basis of shared vision & prevailing political good will,” the minister added. “It is important to remember there is no formal peace treaty between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Border controls have been reinstated. Talks on economic cooperation, use of ports stalled. “What is holding Abiy & Isayas together is their mutual antipathy to TPLF and Tigray. Nothing more,” these were recent views shared by Rashid Abdi, a former Crisis Group researcher who is a keen political watcher for the Horn and East Africa region. The second anniversary of the July 9 deal comes at a time Abiy is dealing with an internal crisis that spared protests in the capital and surrounding Oromia region. Over 200 deaths and 3,500 arrests have been made whiles today is the tenth straight day that internet access has been cut. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }
  • China also a COVID-19 victim: embassy jabs 'busybody' Nigerian lawyers
    July 8: China is a victim of coronavirus The Chinese embassy on Tuesday (July 8) took a swipe at a group of lawyers that filed a suit seeking damages against China over the coronavirus pandemic. Local media outlets say the group of 11 lawyers file a yet to be heard case in the High Court accusing China of failing to promptly inform the World Health Organization (WHO) about the virus. They are demanding $200bn in damages for the “loss of lives, economic strangulation, trauma, hardship, social disorientation, mental torture and disruption of normal daily existence of people in Nigeria.” But a statement by the press secretary of the Embassy of China in Nigeria called the action “frivolous” and “shoddy.” It argued that China put its best food forward at the outset of the pandemic and that it was equally impacted as any other nation. “COVID-19 has caught the whole world by surprise. China, like other countries is a victim. Confronted by an unknown virus, we have acted responsibly to protect people’s life and health and safeguard global public health.” “China was the first country to report cases to WHO and promptly share information with relevant countries and regions, the first to sequence the genome of the virus and share it with the world, the the first to publish guidelines for treatment and containment. “In the fight against Covid-19, solidarity and co-operation is our most powerful weapon,” the statement read in part. It concluded by stressing its victimhood and called on the lawyers to engage in actions that boost ties between the two nations rather than dance to the tune of a certain unnamed country to “hype up the situation.” Confirmed cases = 30,249 Active cases = 17,192 Recoveries = 12,373 Number of deaths = 6684 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of July 7, 2020 Statement by Press Secretary of the Embassy on some Nigerian lawyers’ attempt of filing frivolous lawsuits. pic.twitter.com/decFormTiX— Chinese Embassy in Nigeria (@china_emb_ng) July 8, 2020 May 18: Trump jabs WHO over China mistreatment on Africans US president Donald Trump continued his funding threats to the World Health Organization, WHO; with a May 18 letter that threatened outright withdrawal of the US from the organization. The four-paged letter addressed to the WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the body had 30-days to undertake needed reforms. “I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the World Health Organization permanent and reconsider our membership in the organization,” Trump threatened. But at the heart of the letter was an accusation that WHO had virtually been captured by China, and that their missteps and failure to hold Beijing accountable had led to the escalation of the coronavirus spread. A portion of the letter also accused WHO of overlooking racist treatment of Africans in parts of China. It queried why the WHO has all along remained mute on the issue. “On April 11, 2020, several African Ambassadors wrote to the Chinese Foreign Ministry about the discriminatory treatment of Africans related to the pandemic in Guangzhou and other cities in China. “You were aware that Chinese authorities were carrying out a campaign of forced quarantines, evictions, and refusal of services against the nationals of these countries. You have not commented on China’s racially discriminatory actions. “You have, however, baselessly labeled as racist Taiwan’s well-founded complaints about your mishandling of this pandemic,” the relevant paragraph read. A number of African leaders in April came to the defense of Tedros when Trump launched an attack against the organization relative to funding cuts. “The W.H.O. really blew it. For some some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation,” Trump posted in a April 7 tweet. The African Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, posted support for the WHO and Tedros in a tweet of April 8. That tweet set off a reaction from a number of Africa leaders. Among others Paul Kagame, Hage Geingob and current AU chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa all joined in. READ MORE: Tasks ahead for the non-physician who leads WHO April 17: New outrage as new Chinese racist video trends As China continues diplomatic efforts to quell a recent surge in protests by African governments and the African Union, AU, there is a new round of outrage on social media after a new visibly racist video was posted on Twitter on Friday. The 38-second video has since gone viral on the social media platform. It shows Chinese officials masked and with temperature guns blocking a black woman from entering a mall. The video originally posted on TikTok by a user @claudi405 had a series of caption amongst which were “This is the treatment black people get in China now, they were not allowed to get inside of the shopping mall.” As the blacks are stopped from entering a white shopper walks past the security, another white shopper tries to intervene but fails. “Chinese government says black people are not welcome, because they the cause of the corona virus,” another caption read. The location and date of the video is not readily known. But the video feeds into the recent outrage in southern China’s Guangzhou where Africans were reportedly forcibly evicted and in some cases quarantined and tested for COVID-19. Meanwhile, opposition voices in the southern Africa region have written to South African president Cyril Ramaphosa who doubles as Chairperson of the AU to call for an investigation into mistreatment of Africans in China. “As Africans we are appalled by the reports of poor treatment of African nationals who are residing in China. We call for all Africans to be treated with dignity and as equal to all other residents of China,” the statement signed by five regional oppostion leaders stated. The Chinese Foreign Ministry in a statement earlier this week said it acknowledged the concerns of African countries and stressed that the reported cases will be probed by authorities in the Guangdong Province. Beijing also stressed historical ties between the two parties and vowed to do all it takes to maintain, bolster and consolidate them despite the current rift. It also said the government had a zero tolerance towards discrimination and treated all persons equal. This is really painful to watch. The African Union must take action to help our African brothers and sisters who are living and working in China. We must take a clear stand as a continent. pic.twitter.com/qUQtP41VfW— Mmusi Maimane (@MmusiMaimane) April 18, 2020 April 14: China says 111 Africans test positive for coronavirus A major Chinese news outlet, the Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday that as of Monday, April 14, over 100 Africans in China’s southern city of Guangzhou had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Xinhua quoted Chen Zhiying, executive vice mayor of Guangzhou, as saying of the 111 confirmed cases, 19 were imported. The vice mayor also confirmed that a total of 4,553 African people in the city had undergone nucleic acid testing since April 4. Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province had made news headlines after a number of Africans were evicted from their places of lodging amid reports of racist abuse related to coronavirus. The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday admitted receipt of complaints by African governments that foreigners of African appearance in the city of Guangzhou were being subjected to forceful testing for the coronavirus, quarantines and ill treatment. U.S. diplomats also reported that Africa-Americans had been targeted. The statement read in part: “During our fight against the coronavirus, the Chinese government has been attaching great importance to the life and health of foreign nationals in China. All foreigners are treated equally. We reject differential treatment, and we have zero tolerance for discrimination. “Since the outbreak, the authorities in Guangdong attach high importance to the treatment of foreign patients, including African nationals. Specific plans and proper arrangements are made to protect their life and health to the best of our ability, thanks to which we were able to save the lives of some African patients in severe or critical conditions. It added: “The foreign ministry will stay in close communication with the Guangdong authorities and continue responding to the African side’s reasonable concerns and legitimate appeals. “The virus knows no borders. The pandemic, a challenge to all mankind, can only be defeated through concerted international efforts. With mutual understanding, mutual support and cooperation, we are ready to continue working with African friends to achieve the final victory.” April 12: African nations berate China over COVID-19 linked racism in Guangzhou African officials are confronting China publicly and in private over racist mistreatment of Africans in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, and the U.S. says African-Americans have been targeted too. Some Africans in the commercial hub have reported being evicted or discriminated against amid coronavirus fears. And a U.S. Embassy security alert on Saturday said that “police ordered bars and restaurants not to serve clients who appear to be of African origin,” and local officials have launched mandatory testing and self-quarantine for “anyone with ‘African contacts.’” That’s in response to a rise in virus infections in Guangzhou, the U.S. said, adding that “African-Americans have also reported that some businesses and hotels refuse to do business with them.” The U.S. statement is titled “Discrimination against African-Americans in Guangzhou.” A recent increase in virus cases in China has been largely attributed to people arriving from overseas. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with health problems, it can cause severe symptoms like pneumonia. The police and public health bureau in Guangzhou on Tuesday told reporters that officials had responded to rumors that “300,000 black people in Guangzhou were setting off a second epidemic,” which “caused panic.” Officials said the rumor was untrue. African diplomats in Beijing have met with Chinese foreign ministry officials and “stated in very strong terms their concern and condemnation of the disturbing and humiliating experiences our citizens have been subjected to,” Sierra Leone’s embassy in Beijing said in a statement Friday, adding that 14 citizens had been put into compulsory 14-day quarantine. The diplomats reminded officials of their support of China during the pandemic, especially in the early days. Some African nations that had scores or even hundreds of students stranded during China’s earlier lockdown had sided with Chinese officials against calls for evacuations, and many African nations publicly praised Beijing for its virus response. Separately, in an unusually open critique of Beijing, the speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives tweeted a video of himself pressing the Chinese ambassador on the issue. “It’s almost undiplomatic the way I’m talking, but it’s because I’m upset about what’s going on,” Femi Gbajabiamila says. “We take it very seriously,” Ambassador Zhou Pingjian replies. Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said he summoned the ambassador to express “extreme concern” and call for an immediate government response. The scoldings continued Saturday as African nations that have openly praised China’s development model or assertive investment in the continent in recent years made it clear that racist treatment of their citizens wouldn’t be tolerated. Ghana summoned the Chinese ambassador as Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey condemned the “inhumane” treatment, a statement said. The chair of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said he summoned the Chinese ambassador to the AU, Liu Yuxi, to express “our extreme concern.” Kenya also has spoken out. A foreign ministry statement noted “unfair responses against foreigners, particularly of African origin,” from some locals in Guangzhou, especially landlords. The statement said the Chinese embassy in Nairobi has told Kenya’s foreign ministry that authorities in Guangzhou “have been tasked to take immediate action to safeguard the legitimate rights of the Africans concerned.” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Thursday told reporters that China’s most urgent task is to prevent “overseas imports” of the virus but acknowledged that “there might be some misunderstandings in the implementation of measures.” China treats all foreigners equally, Zhao said. AP
  • COVID-19 impact on agriculture: assessment of recovery efforts
    At a time when Africa’s COVID-19 caseload was at over 300,000 cases and close to 10,000 deaths, governments introduced several containment measures like lockdowns and border closures to prevent further spread. The virus and accompanying restrictions have greatly impacted livelihoods and businesses in both the government and private sector. Sectors like transport, travel and tourism have been badly hit by border closures and restrictions on movement. This article specifically explores the impact on agriculture and looks at how Africa’s development partners are supporting efforts to help individuals and enterprises recover. Why Agriculture? The restrictions imposed to prevent spread of the coronavirus caused disruptions in food chains, which in turn poses a twin threat of exacerbating poverty and hunger in vulnerable populations. Millions of people in rural areas rely on subsistence farming for their food and supplementary income. “Agriculture contributes 65% of Africa’s employment and 75% of its domestic trade. However, the rich potential of agriculture as a tool to promote food security and fight poverty is at risk from the effects of COVID-19,” former African leaders Olusegun Obasanjo and Hailemariam Desalegn said in explaining why COVID response should address agriculture. And yet several factors including locust invasions, floods and insecurity in parts of Africa have contributed to a growing food insecurity crisis. Thankfully, a number of African countries placed agriculture in the essential services category and made efforts to keep borders, ports open for cargo. How Covid affected farmers Measures taken by governments to prevent the spread of the coronavirus have affected transport, which in turn impacts many other processes in the food chain. Access to markets be it to buy inputs or sell outputs has been heavily hit and farmers say they have been forced to sell produce at giveaway prices. “Governments are rolling out large-scale campaigns against the coronavirus, and battle plans should include measures aimed at lessening the shocks to their food supply chains,” FAO’s Chief Economist Maximo Torero Cullen recently warned. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned in 2019 that up to 250 million people in Africa are considered to be extremely food insecure. Border closures and restrictions negatively affect global food trade. “One of every five calories people eat have crossed at least one international border, up more than 50 percent from 40 years ago,” Torero explained. Countries like Kenya which export vegetables and flowers to the European Union are reeling from reduced demand for their produce. “Supply disruptions have been isolated; however, logistics are under pressure and costs are being driven up by travel restrictions, border checks, curfews, delays caused by staff shortages, and a general reduction in volume,” a McKinsey report said this month. What needs to be done FAO’s Torero believes governments have a significant role to play in helping smallholder farmers recover from the Covid disruputions. “Temporary cash handouts for poor farmers are essential, as well as grants to restart production. Banks can waive fees on farmers’ loans and extend payment deadlines.” “Governments can during the emergency make a point of purchasing agricultural products from small farmers to establish strategic emergency reserves for humanitarian purposes.” Collaboration and integration Munu who also works with the Economic Policy Research Center in Uganda says at a regional level, East African countries have done well with policy implementation. “What they’ve done in terms of promoting agriculture is trade, extending market access, for instance in the East African communities, implementing the common markets which allows free movement of goods and services across the member states.” Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and other East African nations have also collaborated in their Covid response, jointly tackling issues like testing of truck drivers at border points and tracking of cargo/drivers. AfDB’s support is hinged on ownership of the agricultural agenda by national governments. “The other aspect that is critical is regional integration. More than ever supply chains will need to be resilient to be able to provide nutritious food to Africa’s populations, hence regional coordination is important to ensure that regional trade for food is enhanced, as well as, increased marketable surplus for value addition,” Toda said. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } AfDB’s commitment to agriculture African Development Bank (AfDB) is supporting African governments and businesses, with an aim of lessening the economic and social impact of Covid 19. “There is also a framework that is being developed for emergency operations, called the FEED AFRICA RESPONSE TO COVID-19 (FAREC) and this includes short, medium longer term options to structure our support to Regional Member countries,” Atsuko Toda, the director of Agriculture Finance and Rural Development Department at AFDB said. “Supporting farmers to help them afford inputs is a very good investment. That is why the Bank is advocating input support in our emergency interventions.” Through its Feed Africa strategy, AfDB has been supporting companies like the Moroccan phosphate company across Africa, especially to increase the capacity of production for Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP) to serve the African fertilizers market. Special consideration has also been made for countries fighting the pandemic alongside pre-existing security headaches. A $20m grant was recently approved to support vulnerable communities in the Sahel region (Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad and Mauritania) where governments are fighting extremists. Somalia’s Covid response has also been supported by the bank with $2.6m, specifically to finance water and sanitation programs. Challenges Martin Luther Munu, an economist at the Institute for Globalisation and International Regulation IGIR says Africa’s agricultural policies are affected by inadequate political will to improve the sector. “Africa is not a very integrated continent like the EU where the common agricultural policy is very strong and has a huge response to the crisis,” Munu said. “We have the 2014 Malabo declaration, where the AU members committed to allocate 10% their national budget to agriculture, but this has never been realised.” AfDB says lockdowns and other Covid mitigating measures also affected the speed at which it could implement projects, especially with the private sector. “We have to also keep in mind that it’s a big change, everything came very quickly and very rapidly and reallocating the food allocation within a couple of weeks, redesigning the whole strategy within a couple weeks for the whole year in order to cope with the crisis, it’s been a big success for the bank to do that,” Eren Kelekçi, the bank’s Chief of Private Sector and Blended Finance Investment Agriculture and Rural Finance Division said. The Covid crisis has caused many African countries to take on even more debt, allocating borrowed resources to health, logistics and communication. Even before the pandemic, many experts warned against the scale of Africa’s debt and non-governmental organisations have been petitioning lenders to forgive some of the debt. Many of Africa’s lenders like China however opted for debt relief, to enable countries to allocate resources in the fight against Covid. AfDB believes that efforts to relieve governments of financial strain through its interventions would go a long way in helping them manage their debt obligations. “From the private sector perspective, it is not something we not are looking at confidently. We might read just the cash flow projections and ease a little bit in terms of payment deadlines maybe,” Kelekçi said. The World Health Organisation has advised countries to work towards learning to live with the coronavirus. This means that governments must draw long-term plans to cushion affected individuals and communities. Restrictions on movement and travel must be steadily lifted so farmers can have uninterrupted access to markets. Efforts of partners like the African Development Bank (AfDB) to provide financing and inputs like fertilisers to cushion farmers who risk losing their produce, incomes and life’s work because of factors like coronavirus, floods, locusts and insecurity among others.
  • Ghana coronavirus: 22,822 cases; 90% Education Ministry staff infected
    Ghana is West Africa’s most impacted nation behind Nigeria, at a point in May 2020, Ghana led the regional case load. June has started with progressive lifting of more virus restrictions. President Akufo-Addo in his tenth address announced that whiles borders remained closed, some categories of academic institutions are allowed to resume, religious places can also reopen with strict conditions and the observance of health protocols. Social gatherings -weddings, funerals etc. – are to be allowed under certain conditions – among others with maximum 100 participants. As the 2020 polls loom, even political activity is allowed to be undertaken. This article will be focused on tracking case increases and major developments from the West African country. It will build on our April – May 2020 updates page. July 9: 22,822 cases; 90% Education Ministry staff infected Education Minister Mathew Opoku Prempeh on Wednesday disclosed on a local radio station that 90% of staff at the Ministry had tested positive for COVID-19. According to him, a mass testing regime was implemented after he tested positive for the virus weeks back and was admitted to the leading virus treatment center in the capital, Accra. He told Peace FM’s listeners: “After my second result came out as positive, testing was conducted on all staff at the ministry and the results showed that out of every 50 persons, about 45 had contracted the virus. Most of them are asymptomatic so they are isolating at home. “For all the 52 years of my life, I’ve never been admitted to the hospital before and it was not a pleasant experience. The disease is very real and I don’t wish it on even my foe,” he said. The Ghana Education Service, GES, is however adamant that senior high schools will remain open and also conduct terminal examination for final year students. THis is despite advice by the medical association to the contrary. “We’re going ahead with the WASSCE, we’ve not received any directive to hold on. We are going to conduct the exams and WAEC is preparing for that.” “We have holding rooms in all the schools and we have trained health personnel there so when they come across any COVID-19 symptoms, the person is isolated. We have also mapped all schools to a health facility,” GES PRO told local media. Confirmed cases = 22,822 Active cases = 5,129 Recoveries = 17,564 Number of deaths = 129 Ghana Health Service stats valid as of July 9, 2020 Ghana's COVID-19 UPDATE Visit https://t.co/fIBe1RWjtG for the details pic.twitter.com/yr1z3opH14— Ministry of Health, Ghana (@mohgovgh) July 9, 2020 July 8: 21,968 cases; CJ self-isolates, ministry closes Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah has gone into self-isolation according to local media portals. The Judicial secretary in a statement said the CJ was doing so “in compliance with COVID-19 protocols.” President Akufo-Addo is still isolating after he was exposed to the virus over the weekend. Education and Health Ministers have been released from the University of Ghana Medical Center, UGMC; where they were receiving virus treatment. The call for high schools to close have been heightened after Accra Girls Senior High School recorded infections earlier this week. The minority in parliament is calling for the closure of schools whiles the reported virus-related death of a student has led to the dismissal of a school head in the Ashanti region. Employees of the Ministry of Finance have been asked to work from home as the ministry waits for results of tests taken by all staff. An internal memo to all staff said staff who test positive for the virus will be informed “and will receive the necessary care from appropriate health authorities designated by the Minister of Health.” “In view of the preparations towards the mid-year review of the budget, a core team of staff will work from approved location to complete the Mid-Year Review,” the memo also noted. While the Finance Ministry is taking a precautionary measure, other outfits like the Ghana Cocoa Board’s Accra office was closed after infections as was the case with Tema office of the Ghana Grid Company, GridCo; and the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited, BOST. Meanwhile, a one-time Finance Minister and current “Senior Minister” at the office of the president Yaw Osafo-Maafo became the latest top government official to test positive for the virus, government confirmed his infection on Tuesday. Confirmed cases = 21,968 Active cases = 4,683 Recoveries = 17,156 Number of deaths = 129 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 12, 2020 July 6: 20,085; prez self-isolates The number of cases in the country passed the 20,000 mark. Only the fourth African country to hit that figure – behind South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria. Ghana has thus consolidated its place as Africa’s fourth most-impacted country. Recoveries are heading to the 15,000 mark whiles deaths are at 122 according to records released on Sunday, July 5. President Akufo-Addo is on self-isolation after a close aide tested positive for COVID-19, the information ministry announced over the weekend. Parents have thronged a school in the capital Accra after reports emerged that six students of Accra Girls High School had contracted the virus. A batch of final year students resumed classes last week as government continued to ease lockdown measures. Meanwhile, concerns continue to be raised over ongoing voter registration exercise which many fear could lead to spike in cases across the country. Most people visiting these centers have openly flouted mask wearing orders and physical distancing rules. Total confirmed cases = 20,085 Total recoveries = 14,870 Total deaths = 122 Active cases = 5,093 Figures valid as of close of day July 5, 2020 Parents of final year and Gold Track second year students of the Accra Girls Senior High School are demanding an immediate release of their wards from the school following an alleged outbreak of COVID-19 in the school, reportedly contracted by six students and one teacher. pic.twitter.com/b6RsdjvttF— Ghana News Agency (@GHANANEWSAGENCY) July 6, 2020 July 2: 18,134 cases; protocol flouting in voter registration The Electoral Commission insists it has done well in managing coronavirus safety protocols at registration centers amid ongoing voter registration exercise across the country. The EC got the apex court’s go-ahead to conduct a new registration exercise after a case brought by the main opposition NDC was dismissed. Concerns continue to be raised over the conduct of people who went to centers to register. Photos shared on social media showed that virus protocols were being flouted in many places with people crowded at some centers with disregard for basic social distancing. Most of them also did not have masks even though it is an offence per a presidential Executive Instrument. Cases in the Greater Accra region have passed the 10,000 mark with the Ashanti region in a distant second with over 3,600 cases, the oil-rich Western Region completes the top three regions with over 1,550 cases as of today. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Confirmed cases = 18,630 Active cases = 4,467 Recoveries = 14,046 Number of deaths = 117 Ghana Health Service stats valid as of July 1, 2020 #DAWURO Greater Accra Region’s Coronavirus cases cross 10,000 mark#UTVGhana #UTVNews #DespiteGroup pic.twitter.com/o8AnFj2alV— UTV Ghana (@utvghana) July 2, 2020 June 25: 15,473 cases; mask arrests, apex court ruling Case load as of today hit a total of 15,473 cases with 11,431 recoveries and 950 deaths, according to stats released Friday evening by the Ghana Health Service. The new cases were 460 which tally brings the active cases to 3,947. Arrests over lack of wearing of masks also dominated” local news headlines”:https://t.co/mFVtCxfZtI?amp=1 as people bemoaned the police for highhandedness in the implementation of an Executive Instrument that made mask wearing in public an obligation. The Greater Accra regional police disclosed that it undertook an operation in which some people were arrest in the central business district of the capital for being without masks. The arrests came a day after the government said it was engaging the police on some areas of mask wearing. Wearing of mask in Cars: Government engaging Police on E.I 164 pic.twitter.com/EpLZuxgQi8— Ministry of Information (@moigovgh) June 23, 2020 A major news development is the Supreme Court’s decision today to throw out a suit against the election body’s decision to compile a new voters register ahead of December 2020 general elections. The Electoral Commission, weeks back completed a nationwide pilot for the exercise. Opponents of the exercise have cited rising virus numbers and the lack of adherence to social distancing and hygiene protocols. The ruling party is in favour of the move whiles the main opposition were stiffly against it. Currently there are limits on public gatherings even though political and other religious meetings are allowed under strict conditions. Confirmed cases = 15,473 Active cases = 3,947 Recoveries = 11,431 Number of deaths = 95 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 12, 2020 .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } June 22: 14,154 cases; how recoveries jumped Ghana recorded a boom in recoveries over the weekend as over 6,000 patients were added to the tally which now stands at 10,473 according to authorities. “Ghana has adopted the WHO’s new COVID-19 recovery protocol, thus leaving it with a total recovery record of 10, 473 patients,” the president clarified in an address. There are currently 14,154 cases as of Sunday June 21 when president Akufo-Addo delivered his latest address on measures to mitigate the spread of the virus as the country continues with a phased reopening. After the reopening of places of worship was announced in his lat address, Sunday’s address centered much on the reopening of Senior High Schools for final year students. Some of the major takeaways included that government was absorbing the final exam fees. Government to provide enough food to students on campus through the National Food Buffer Stock Company and that all schools had been disinfected ahead of today’s reopening. Finalists and Second Year Gold Track students of the Accra Academy Senior High School started arriving as early as 0630 hours today, June 22, to complete the semester course and exit examinations.#GHnewsagency pic.twitter.com/uf03HfzDct— Ghana News Agency (@GHANANEWSAGENCY) June 22, 2020 Confirmed cases = 14,154 Active cases = 3,596 Recoveries = 10,473 Number of deaths = 85 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 21, 2020 June 15: 13,203 cases; law enacted to penalize mask flouters Case load hit a total of 13,203 cases with 4,548 recoveries and 70 deaths, according to stats released Friday evening by the Ghana Health Service. The new cases were 274 which tally brings the active cases to 8,585. The non-wearing of face masks in public is now punishable by law per an Executive Instrument, E.I. 164, signed by President Akufo-Addo on June 15. Flouters of the directive could face a jail term of between four and 10 years or pay a fine of between GHS12,000 and GHS60,000 or both. The EI says the mandatory wearing of face masks will be enforced for a three-month period as parts of measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19. Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah urged local authorities to do their best to ensure compliance of the wearing of face masks. “The Executive Instrument that makes the wearing of face masks mandatory is out and while we salute the efforts of those who have already started higher levels of compliance, we want to encourage those who have not that the EI is out and they are expected as regional ministers, MMDCEs to step up enforcement within their own jurisdiction,” he said at a press briefing on Thursday. Section 6 of Act 1012 states that “a person who fails to comply with the restrictions imposed under the Executive Instrument issued under subsection 1 of Section 2 commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than 1,000 penalty unit (Gh¢12,000) and not more than 5,000 penalty units (Gh¢ 60,000) or to a term of imprisonment not less than four years and not more than 10 years or to both.” Section 4 (1) of the E.I. 164 states that the police have the authority to make random checks to “ensure enforcement compliance” Total of 13,203 COVID-19 confirmed cases with 4,548 Recoveries and 70 Deaths New Cases: 274 Active Cases:8,585#JoyNews pic.twitter.com/98H3nshqyI— Joy 99.7 FM (@Joy997FM) June 19, 2020 June 17: 12,193 cases; health insurance boss infected Head of Ghana’s Health Insurance Authority, NHIA, Dr Dsane-Selby announced on Monday that she had tested positive for COVID-19. She made the disclosure in an interview on a local network. She said the decision to test was after she started experiencing tiredness, bodily pains and headaches. She asked for her ample to be taken for a test subsequent to which the positive result returned. She went into self- isolation to prevent her from exposing others to the virus. Dr Dsane-Selby also contacted those she had come into contact with to go for voluntary testing, the Ghana News Agency added. She becomes the fourth known government official to have tested positive for COVID-19. The first being Papa Owusu- Ankomah, Ghana’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, who has since recovered. Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu’s infection was reported last week whiles Mr Anthony K. K Sam, the Mayor of Sekondi-Takoradi, also succumbed to the disease on Friday, June 12. Total confirmed cases = 12,193 Total recoveries = 4,326 Total deaths = 58 Active cases = 7,809 Figures valid as of close of day June 16, 2020 June 15: 11,964 cases; schools reopen, masks obligatory etc. President Akufo-Addo on Sunday delivered an address on measures being taken to combat the spread of the coronavirus as Ghana’s case load neared 12,000. The address touched on a myriad of issues from the reopening of schools and new orders around wearing of masks. The president also used it to reiterate his calls for the populace to take charge of their safety. He also confirmed the death vias the virus of a mayor of the oil-rich Sekondi Takoradi and infection of Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang Manu. The case of the minister’s infection has attracted social media debate after a journalist reported that the minister had denied he had tested positive rather that he was only resting at a major health facility in the capital, Accra. Confirmed cases = 11,964 Number of deaths = 54 Recoveries = 4,258 Active cases = 7,652 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 14, 2020 June 13: 11,118 cases, NDC advocates mass testing Ghana’s case load as of this morning stood at 11,118 cases with the disclosure of 262 new cases. According to the Ghana Health Service (GHS), 58 more persons have recovered as the new figure in that regards increases to 3,979. The death toll still stands at 48 whiles active cases pass the 7,000 mark reaching 7,091. The Greater Accra region accounts for 6,888 cases with the Ashanti and Western regions completing the top three slots with 1,989 and 909 cases respectively. Multiple local media sources reported late Saturday that Health Minister Kwaku-Agyemang Manu has been infected with the virus and was currently hospitalized. He becomes the highest profile member of government to be infected. Weeks back a top legislator alleged that infections had hit parliament but his claims were disputed by the lawmaking chamber. Main opposition NDC’s COVID-19 technical team is advocating for mass testing as the easing of restrictions means tertiary institutions are set to open. The team said current trends “do not suggest that students, teaching and non- teaching staff can avoid significant risk of exposure to the virus as the epidemic is not under control.” Government is on record to have insisted that mass testing was not an immediate option but that it will be considered on an as and when basis. Citing May 2020 tallies which pointed to widespread community transmission, the NDC suggested that all students, teaching and non-teaching staff be tested “to preempt any potential spread on secondary schools and university campuses.” Their call is in line with that of major stakeholders like the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) which proposed mass coronavirus testing of students, teaching and non-teaching staff of Senior High Schools (SHSs) before they are reopened. June 10: Cases pass 10,000 mark as rapid test kit makers advance Ghana reached 10,000 mark in terms of confirmed cases on Tuesday (June 9); the case load reached 10,201 with deaths still at 48, 3,755 recoveries and 6,398 active cases. Ghana joins an exclusive club that includes South Africa (52,991 cases), Egypt (35,444 cases), Nigeria (13,464 cases) and Algeria with 10,382 cases. The Food and Drugs Authority has confirmed that nine companies were so far seeking approval for rapid test kits for COVID-19 a process that could last between a month and two months. One of the companies, Kumasi-based Incas Diagnostics, are diversifying from their pregnancy test kit production to focus on COVID-19 test kits which will be an antibody test kit. The company is also working with other developers across Africa on a mobile app to help trace potentially high-risk virus patients. Incas Diagnostics founder and CEO Laud Anthony Basing told Reuters he expected its kits to cost about half as much as imported tests as they will be cutting out middlemen by producing them in Ghana. “The app will basically work well with the rapid test kit because once classified as high risk you need to test the person,” he said, stressing the need for mass testing given that Ghana had entered community transmission stage of virus spread. The Reuters report added that Incas’ kits, which were developed with funding from the French development agency and the Mastercard foundation, could retail for about $5 but will mostly be donated to help fight the pandemic. June 9: 9,910 cases, bar operators appeal to govt Ghana’s case load is heading towards the 10,000 mark; as of close of day June 8, the tally stood at 9,910. Deaths have also gone up to 48. Over in the Ashanti Region, drinking bar and pub operators have appealed to the government to consider easing some of the restrictions to enable them to resume their operations, the Ghana News Agency reports. According to them, the continued closure of their businesses as a result of the COVID-19 was advsersely affecting them. Emmanuel Antwi Baah, regional Chairman of Pubs and Spot Operators Association said there were ready to enforce necessary protocols and guidelines. Restrictions on gatherings were significantly watered down in president Akufo-Addo’s tenth address which allowed social gatherings like places of worship, weddings and funerals to take place with limited attendees and the observance of strict hygiene protocols. Mr Baah appealed to the government to extend the COVID-19 stimulus package to members of the Association to enable them to stay in business, the report added. Total confirmed cases = 9,910 Total recoveries = 3,645 Total deaths = 48 Active cases = 6,217 June 8: 9,638 cases, govt evacuation plans Government has confirmed that it was preparing to evacuate some Ghanaians stranded overseas due to the COVID-19 disruption. Foreign Affairs Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchway in a written response to Parliament late last week, she said the ministry and relevant departments and agencies had been liaising for weeks how to undertake the phased evacuation. There are four categories of evacuees for the purpose: those with the ability to pay, government-funded evacuation, distressed or destitute and deportees. So far evacuations have been don from Kuwait (May 23 of 230 persons), Lagos, Mauritania, Turkey and Washington – all thigs being equal must have happened by today. Some of the biggest evacuations being worked on are over 670 people from China and 500 form the United Arab Emirates. Ghanaians in neighbouring countries will be bussed back under special conditions considering that all borders have been and remain closed. The first day of church reopening was on Sunday after the lifting of strict sanctions of public gathering. Only a handful churches agreed to undertake what were brief services amid the observance of health protocols as by law required. Those that did not reopen cited the need for more time to guarantee safety of congregants. Last Friday, the situation was the same for most mosques. The national chief Imam asked that facilities remain closed even though a number of mosques went ahead with service. Total confirmed cases = 9,638 Total recoveries = 3,636 Total deaths = 44 Active cases = 5,958 Figures valid as of close of day June 7, 2020 June 7: 9,462 cases, deaths hit 44 The Managing Director of a major private health care facility in the capital Accra reported testing positive for the virus. Elikem Tamaklo of Nyaho Hospital confirmed that he contracted the disease in the community. The hospital located in a residential area of Accra said the MD had not been physically at post for two weeks as part of social distancing guidelines to help contain spread of COVID-19. His family was also affected and all of them were undergoing treatment, a statement said. “I am currently doing well … The stigma that some have had to endure is unfair, unfounded and has no basis,” he told workers in a recorded video message. “We all need to continue to do our best and remain disciplined by observing all the recommended preventive measures, such as washing hands with soap under running water, frequent use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and maintaining social distancing measured when in public and in enclosed spaces,” he added. The elections body has meanwhile said 15 out of 16 regions have undergone a successful pilot for upcoming voters registration – back by government and opposed by opposition parties. The body has been hauled to court over its plans amid virus spread. Ghana’s death toll whiles relatively very low, have reached 44. It remained sub 40 even when cases had passed 6,000. President Akufo-Addo weeks back thanked God for sparing Ghana huge deaths compared to other countries. Total confirmed cases = 9,462 Total recoveries = 3,547 Total deaths = 44 Active cases = 5,871 Figures valid as of close of day June 6, 2020 June 3: 8,297 cases; govt defends ban on football Sports Minister, Isaac Asiamah has defended government’s decision to maintain a ban on football despite the recent lifting of a raft of restrictions. He was speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday. According to the Minister, the cost of putting necessary measures in place, from the regular disinfection of stadia to testing players, was too high. Restrictions on non-contact sports were lifted in the president’s 10th address. “How do we disinfect all the stadia, the hotels because the players sleep there? How do we test all these players?” Asiamah quizzed. He also pointed out that it would be near impossible to keep fans from gathering during games. “In our environment, is it possible to play football without our supporters? The figure that came out from the NSA was about GHS 60,000 per match. That’s a major challenge.” Football is Ghana’s most followed sport. The local league only returned after a corruption probe involving the former association president Kwesi Nyantakyi caused the league to be suspended. A normalization committee took charge of affairs till a new set of executives were voted into office. Total confirmed cases = 8,297 Total recoveries = 2,986 Total deaths = 38 Active cases = 5,273 June 2: Minister issues guidelines for churches, mosques The Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Samuel Kofi Dzamesi, has expanded on a government plan for reopening of places of worship across the country. He was speaking at a multi-sectoral press briefing on Monday, a day after the president delivered his tenth COVID-19 address to the nation. Some of the key planks of the directives include: As part of the guidelines, every church or religious body is to registered with the Registrar General’s Department and with the respective Municipal, Metropolitan or District Assembly. The religious bodies are expected to observe preventive protocols, including providing thermometer guns or thermal scanners to check the temperature of congregants at entry points of all venues Enforce a ‘No mask: No entry’ Policy, provide adequate waste management facilities and toilet facilities for use by members. Cleaning and disinfection of frequently used communal places like toilet surfaces and frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs or handles, preferably every one – two hours depending on the rate of utilisation. A holding room or area where a person who becomes sick at the premises can be isolated from others while making arrangements for evacuation. Every worshiper must be registered with their details, including names, phone numbers, manually or digitally, adding that digital registration can be done on GH COVID-19 APP or the PANABIOS App, which can be downloaded at no cost. Religious leaders would equally be held liable, adding that the District Assemblies and other agencies will monitor and ensure compliance with the directives. Religious activities were thus to begin on Friday, June 5, with Muslims worshiping at the mosques, and Adventists and Christians following on Saturday Sunday, respectively. Govt to close down religious institutions who flout anti-Covid-19 directives – GNA report June 1: 8,070 cases, conditional lifting of most restrictions Ghana’s case load passed the 8,000 mark on last day of May 2020 as president Akufo-Addo addressed the nation lifting conditionally a raft of restrictions. Schools are to open in mid-June, religious places can reopen with strict conditions and the observance of health protocols. Social gatherings are to be allowed under certain conditions. The address, the tenth by the president, also spelled out measures that government was putting in place to curb the spread of the virus. “Consensus from stakeholder consultation recommend a phased approach to easing anti Covid-19 restrictions,” he said. With effect from Friday 5th June, Ghana will begin the implementation of gradual easing of restrictions Final year university students to report to school on 15th June, 2020 Faith-based organisations to start communal worship, effective Friday, June 5, amid social distancing and hygiene protocols All schools, both private and public remain closed. Only final year students access those facilities. Each student, teacher and non teaching staff will be provided with reusable face mask by the Ministry of Education prior to reopening for final year students Weddings with not more than 100 guests can be organized Public political activities, except for rallies, to resume with less than 100 people, amid observation of social distancing and hygiene protocols 218, 425 Covid-19 tests conducted so far Total confirmed cases = 8,070 (new cases = 189) Total recoveries = 2,947 Total deaths = 36 Active cases = 5,087
  • Africa's top virus deaths: 'Progressive' South African queen succumbs
    The death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic across Africa is heading is gone past the 1,000 mark as of April 18, 2020. The casualties cut across age groups. From the death of a 6 year-old in Kenya, older patients in most instances and persons in the youth bracket. While each death is reported with a sombre mood and with condolences to affected families, some of the casualties have united a country in grief, in other cases united the continent and people beyond Africa’s borders. From top politicians – former presidents, prime ministers and lawmakers, to entertainment icons and top sportsmen, the virus has left in its wake prominent casualties who could hardly get the send-off they would have been accorded in “normal times.” This article briefly profiles as many casualties as possible: July 9: South African queen dies A prominent traditional ruler in South Africa has died after contracting coronavirus, the state-owned SABC has reported. The 56-year-old monarch died on July 8 from COVID-19 complications. Queen Noloyiso, widow of the late King Maxhobha Sandile, passed away on 8 July 2020 following a short illness, the government said. Reacting to the news today, president Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his sadness and extended condolences at the passing of Regent of the Royal House of the amaRharhabe, Queen Noloyiso Sandile. “We join the Great Place of Mngqesha and amaRharhabe in mourning her passing; at the same time we pay tribute to her for her deep and unwavering commitment to the upliftment of her people and to her country. May her soul rest in peace,” said the President. Adding: “At a time when we face a grave public health emergency in the form of coronavirus, Queen Noloyiso actively mobilised support for the national effort to combat the pandemic, including calling on communities to halt traditional initiations.” South Africa currently accounts for over 43% of Africa’s caseload according to the WHO Africa region stats. Cases continue to gallop in the country as government implements an aggressive testing regime which has seen over 1.9 million tests conducted so far. South African stats by close of day July 8 Confirmed cases = 224,665 Tests conducted = 1,944,399 Recoveries = 106,842 Number of deaths = 3,602 Major African stats: July 9 at 7:00 GMT: Confirmed cases = 522,643 Active cases = 257,466 Recoveries = 252,944 Number of deaths = 12,233 President mourns passing of AmaRharhabe Queen Noloyiso Sandile https://t.co/TAXzyYwwHu pic.twitter.com/13lafnLIiX— SAgovnews (SAgovnews) July 9, 2020 Ghana’s medical, political losses The Ghana Medical Association, GMA, has reported the loss a number of skilled medics – all of them lost to the coronavirus pandemic. Among them are: An Orthopaedic Surgeon, A General Surgeon, A paediatrician and a Consultant Physician / Academic. The latter casualty was Professor Jacob Plange-Rhule, whose death occurred in the early hours of Friday (April 10) in the capital Accra specifically at the University of Ghana Medical Centre, where he had been on a brief admission. It was later confirmed that it was due to the virus. The others were Dr. Harry Boateng, a Specialist Paediatrician and Medical Superintendent at the Kwadaso SDA Hospital. A retired Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr. Emmanuel Twagirayesu as well as Dr. Richard Kisser, a Consultant Surgeon with the Trust Hospital in the capital Accra. The leading local news portal Ghanaweb said in a report that: “Over 150 medical practitioners had been infected by the virus since the outbreak in March 2020. “The GMA further wishes to bring to the notice of all members that over 150 medical doctors and dentist have been infected with SARS-COV 2 since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. “In view of the unfortunate increasing trend of infections among health workers, all members should consciously ensure their safety at all times in the care of all patients regardless of the point of care,” a GMA release read in part. On the political front, the president in an address confirmed that Anthony K. K Sam, the Mayor of the Western Region’s oil-rich twin city of Sekondi-Takoradi had succumbed to the disease on Friday, June 12. The ruling New Patriotic Party was joined by Ghanaians to mourn the death of a former general secretary of the party, Kojo Owusu Afriyie, who died whiles receiving treatment for the virus. He was serving as head of Ghana’s Forestry Commission at the time of his demise. Ghana has also recorded increasing infections among top government officials with the president currently in isolation after being exposed to a positive patient. pic.twitter.com/kkDXypk7gG— Nana Akufo-Addo (@NAkufoAddo) July 2, 2020 June 25: Ex-Nigerian governor succumbs Abiola Ajimobi, a two-term governor in Nigeria’s southwestern Oyo State, was reported dead today with reports saying he had died from underlying health conditions after contracting coronavirus. He passed away in Lagos at the age of 70. His death had been dispelled by the family last week when his situation reportedly intensified even though some journalists reported that he had died. At the time of his death, he was a deputy national chairman of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC. The current governor of Oyo, Seyi Makinde contracted the virus and recovered. Other sitting governors to have recovered include Kaduna State’s Ahmed El-Rufai and Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State. Nigeria’s COVID-19 stats per John Hopkins Uni tallies as of June 24, 2020 were: Confirmed cases = 22,020 Active cases = 13,865 Recoveries = 7,613 Number of deaths = 542 Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un. I received with shock the death of Sen. Abiola Ajimobi—the immediate past governor of Oyo State. May Allah SWT ease the burden of the loss on the family and grant him the highest place in Jannah.— Senator Bala A. Mohammed (@SenBalaMohammed) June 25, 2020 Good night former GOVERNOR ABIOLA AJIMOBI of Oyo State. My sincere condolences to the family… RIP. pic.twitter.com/Rxym8ciGy6— Dele Momodu Ovation (@DeleMomodu) June 25, 2020 June 21: Veteran AP video, photo-journalist in Congo dies of COVID-19 John Bompengo, who covered Congo’s political turmoil as a freelance photographer and video journalist for The Associated Press over the course of 16 years has died, relatives said Sunday. He was 52. The cause of death was complications due to the coronavirus. Bompengo had been hospitalized for about a week but his condition rapidly deteriorated Friday and he died the following day. Bompengo had contributed to AP since 2004, including coverage of the Ebola outbreak in northern Congo, in 2018. He also worked for the U.N.-backed news service, Radio Okapi. Andrew Drake, the AP’s Africa news director remembered Bompengo as a “stalwart colleague and an impressive storyteller.” “John could talk his way in and out of places where others couldn’t to get striking images,” Drake said. “He had great contacts and friends across the entire country. Whether news was breaking in Kinshasa or across the river in Brazzaville, John was always on top of things, fast to arrive on the scene and with a plan to get the best pictures. “He was committed to covering the flow of Congo’s sometime violent politics, always to be found at the heart of the action on the streets taking photos and video, but soon after he would be back in his suit covering the president.” Among his memorable assignments was covering Congo’s 2006 election, the country’s first multiparty vote in more than 40 years — held nine years after the death of Mobutu Sese Seko. When dangerous clashes broke out after one opposition party decided to boycott, Bompengo went out into the streets to film them even when other journalists stayed back. “There were angry protesters throwing stones at cars, clashing with police and attacking journalists,” recalled Khaled Kazziha, now AP’s senior producer for East Africa. “That afternoon John arrived with incredible video of the clashes.” “He had an incredible knack at navigating around the often chaotic streets of Kinshasa at the worst of times, and to pacify the most angry crowds, ensuring our safety.” Jerome Delay, AP Chief Africa photographer, said Bompengo was a valued colleague. “I have known and worked with John for the past 15 years. “I have rarely seen such a dedicated field journalist. ... John was a one man band international multi-format news agency — TV, radio, print and photos — he would excel in all fields. We have lost a brother.” The deceased is survived by his wife and nine children. AP May 13: Eritrean freedom fighter, ex-diplomat dies in UK Former Eritrean diplomat and freedom fighter has died in the UK after contracting coronavirus. The family of Afwerki Abraha confirmed his demise to the BBC. He had been in intensive care in London for a month, and did not have any underlying health issues. “Afwerki Abraha was a man who easily made the transition from a fighter to a professional and a loyal person,” his colleague and senior diplomat Haile Menkerios told the BBC. According to the BBC, after Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia, Abraha became the first Eritrean diplomat to be posted to Ethiopia. He was a chemist by profession having received training in Russia. From his ambassadorial role, he moved on to London, where he was officially based from 1996 until 2001. Along with his ailing wife Fatina Ahmedin, herself a former fighter, the couple opted to stay in the UK. A relative told the BBC that the deceased was devoted to his wife’s care for 20 years “never leaving her alone.” Photo credit BBC May 10: Somali envoy to Egypt, Arab League dies The Somali government on Monday confirmed the death of its ambassador to Egypt, Abdikani Mohamed Wa’ays. The Prime Minister and Ministry of Foreign Affairs celebrated the diplomat for his service to the nation. The confirmation was mute on cause of death. A privately-owned portal, Garowe Online, disclosed that the ambassador had succumbed to COVID-19 in Kuwait after he was admitted to a health facility for a week. He tested positive for the virus at the facility, Garowe’s sources confirmed. He doubled as Somalia’s envoy to the Arab League which is based in the Egyptian capital, Cairo. He had served in different portfolios before his last deployment. The diplomat is said to have been suffering from diabetes. He joins a list of Somalis who have been lost to the virus; among them are Khalif Mumin Tohow, a regional state official who died in Mogadishu; ex-Prime Minister Nur Adde and music icon Ahmed Ismail Hussein – both of whom died in the UK. Somalia COVID-19 stats: May 11 at 7:00 GMT: Confirmed cases = 1054 Number of deaths = 51 Recoveries = 118 May 2: Nigerien minister succumbs to virus Coronavirus caused the death of Niger’s minister of employment and labour, Mohamed Ben Omar, public television announced Monday after several media outlets had linked his death to the virus. The Social Democratic Party (PSD) which he belonged to confirmed that Ben Omar, 55, had died on Sunday at the main hospital in the capital Niamey but did not list the cause. “Alas, it is this terrible disease which took the life of minister Mohamed Ben Omar,” public television Tele Sahel reported. Before announcing the news, the channel broadcast a recent message from the minister urging workers to protect themselves from the coronavirus. “COVID-19 is a reality, it’s not a state of mind. It’s deadly. It kills. It spreads at the speed of light,” Mohamed Ben Omar told the station. “We must get a grip of ourselves in order to say ‘stop this virus.’ It is discipline alone that will be the weapon to destroy this virus,” he said. READ MORE – Niger Labour Minister dies from virus April 28: Revered Kenyan Bishop dies in Italy Media in Kenya earlier this week reported the death of a former Catholic Bishop who died of COVID-19 in the Italian city of Turin. According to reports Bishop Silas Njiru succumbed to the disease while undergoing treatment at the Rivoli Hospital. He was 92 years old. Njiru was bishop of Meru county in central Kenya over a period of 28 years (from 1976 until 2004). Bishop Salesius Mugambi, who took over from him told a local newspaper that Njiru lived in an retirement home where two other elderly priests had contracted the virus. Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto in paying tribute to the retired Bishop referred to him as a “tender-hearted and gracious man with steadfast religious credence, which he instilled to many.” Kenya’s COVID-19 file as of May 1 is as follows: 396 cases, 17 deaths and 144 recoveries. Major African stats: May 1 at 7:00 GMT: Confirmed cases = 38,825 Number of deaths = 1,634 Recoveries = 12,543 Infected countries = 51 Virus-free countries = 1 (Lesotho) April 18: Sékou Kourouma: Guinea’s chief of staff succumbs Guinea recorded a second high-profile death from COVID-19 within a 24-hour period after that of elections body head Amadou Salif Kebe was announced on Friday, April 17. The new death was of Sékou Kourouma, the secretary general of the government and a relative of President Alpha Condé. He died on Saturday after contracting the COVID-19 disease, the Guinean government announced on Sunday (April 19) in a statement. “Several senior state officials (have died) from complications from Covid-19,” the government statement confirmed. Before Kourouma and Kebe, Victor Traoré, a former director of Interpol in Guinea had also succumbed to the pandemic. As of April 20, Guinea has officially reported 579 cases of coronavirus. Five people died whiles 87 others have recovered from the disease, according to the National Agency for Health Security, the official body managing the pandemic. A presidential order that made face masks mandatory in the West African country came into effect from April 18 as part of measures to help curb the progression of the virus. This measure is in addition to others already taken, such as the establishment of a night curfew, the closing of schools, borders and places of worship as well as restrictions on gatherings. April 17: Nigeria president’s top aide succumbs Chief of Staff to Nigeria president Muhammadu Buhari died on Friday April 17, the presidency confirmed in a statement posted by Buhari’s spokespersons on early Saturday. Spokesman Garba Shehu posted on social media: “The Presidency regrets to announce the passage of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari. The deceased had tested positive to the ravaging COVID-19, and had been receiving treatment. But he died on Friday, April 17, 2020.” Kyari who was in his 70s was an influential figure in the Buhari administration. It was reported that the running of government business largely revolved around him. He has been in the role for as long as Buhari has been president, since 2015. He had been diagnosed with coronavirus which he is believed to have contracted whiles on official duty in Germany. He was transferred from the capital Abuja to Lagos for medical care. Reports indicate that Kyari had a history of medical complications, including diabetes. He is tagged as the gatekeeper to the president. Many who wish to deal with Buhari must go through Kyari, including Nigeria’s top politicians and business owners. April 17: Amadou Salif Kebe: Guinea elections boss dies Amadou Salif Kebe chairperson of Guinea’s elections body has died of the coronavirus according to French online news portal, Jeune Afrique. The Independent Electoral Commission, CENI, in a statement confirmed that Kebe had died on Friday April 17, 2020; it did not mention the cause of death. The Jeune Afrique report, however, cites persons close to the deceased confirming that he died on the virus which he is believed to have contracted during the last elections held in the West African country. The polls of March 22 involved a controversial referendum staunchly resisted by the oppostion and a partial parliamentary election. It was met with violence that resulted in the loss of lives. As of April 18, Guinea’s file had 477 confirmed cases with 59 recoveries and three deaths. Benedict Somi Vilakazi: South Africa mourns celebrant of history Benedict Somi Vilakazi had been surrounded by history. His grandfather was South Africa’s first black lecturer at Witswatersrand University and produced an English/Zulu dictionary, enormous achievements in a country then divided sharply by race. The most famous street in Soweto shares his name, and two Nobel Peace Prize winners — Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu — lived along it. Vilakazi was proud of that past and put a mural about his grandfather in his coffee shop that was popular with tourists and locals alike. Some of them gathered, carefully, keeping a distance and many wearing facemasks, on Thursday to mourn the 57-year-old Vilakazi, who died of COVID-19. The pallbearers wore full protective suits. READ MORE: AP photo report Emeka Chugbo: Nigerian doctor infected on duty, dies A Nigerian doctor, Emeka Chugbo, succumbed to COVID-19 after contracting the virus while managing an infected patient at his private clinic. The doctor was admitted to Lagos University Teaching Hospital on Monday, April 13 and died on Wednesday, according to the hospital’s director Chris Bode. Mr Bode said the doctor was brought to the hospital with severe symptoms. The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) said the deceased was exposed while managing a patient who died last Friday. The association is quoted by the Vanguard newspaper as saying that the 51-year-old doctor was asthmatic. The NMA has in the past urged the state governments to provide enough protective gear to all health workers. The association urged patients to be honest about their medical, travel and contact history to help doctors quickly identify a potential coronavirus case. BBC report Words cannot express man. This was sudden, this feels illegal. Known you since I was a kid. You were the 1st person ever to express and give me confidence in my intellectual abilities. One of the smartest people I ever knew. Dr. Emeka Chugbo ??? RIP Unc! I love u die! pic.twitter.com/2P6NkcOmtB— ᵗᵃᵐᵃᶰʲᶤ (@TopWAV) April 15, 2020 April 12: Khalif Mumin: Top Somalia regional official Somalia lost a regional official to COVID-19 on Sunday, April 12. The death of Khalif Mumin was the second in the Horn of Africa nation. He died at a hospital in the capital Mogadishu. The Maritini Hospital is Somalia’s only coronavirus treatment center. The deceased was a top official of the Hirshabelle region of Somalia. He served as Minister of State for Justice. News of his infection was reported two days earlier. He is the first serving Somali minister to succumb to the disease. Earlier this month, a former Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein also known as “Nur Adde” died of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom. Somalia also lost an iconic of its modern music, Ahmed Ismail Hussein Hudeydi, who also died in the UK. The coronavirus file for Somalia as of April 12 stood at 21 cases, 2 deaths and 2 recoveries. The country only recently achieved testing capacity given that samples used to be sent to Nairobi, Kenya. BREAKING: Khalif Mumin Tohow, #Hirshabelle’s justice Minister who was also a regional MP dies of Coronavirus at Martini Hospital in the capital #Mogadishu. This is the second confirmed #Covid19 death in the country. pic.twitter.com/TjNn3A1ybG— Somalia Latest News (@NaziifAbdullahi) April 12, 2020 April 10: Professor Jacob Plange-Rhule: Ghana loses renowned physician A renowned Ghanaian physician has been lost to COVID-19, local media portals reported on Saturday. The death of Professor Jacob Plange-Rhule, occurred in the early hours of Friday (April 10) in the capital Accra specifically at the University of Ghana Medical Centre, where he had been on a brief admission. He was the Rector of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, despite succumbing to COVID-19 a senior member of the Ghana Medical Association, (GMA) who confirmed the death stressed that Prof Plange-Rhule had an underlying medical condition. Justice Blankson, GMA General-Secretary, said it was too early to tell whether the deceased got infected in the line of duty or not. For a man who dedicated the better part of his life to curing the sick, his death has been described as an incalculable loss by persons within and outside the medical fraternity. Prof. Plange-Rhule was a former President of the GMA as well as the Ghana Kidney Association. He recently served as Head of the Department of Physiology of the School of Medical Sciences, Kumasi and a Consultant Physician in the Department of Medicine, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) where he started the Hypertension and Renal Clinic and oversaw its operations for the past 20 years, local news portal Myjoyonline said in a report Photo credit: LM Photography, Facebook Ahmed Ismail Hussein Hudeydi: Father of modern Somali music The second Somali in days to die of the COVID-19 pandemic is Ahmed Ismail Hussein Hudeydi, reputed as one of the founders of modern Somali music. He died in London at the age of 92, reports noted. Known as “the King of Oud” – the instrument that he played – Hudeydi became a key figure “during the anti-colonial movement and decolonisation period” in Somalia, according to Hanna Ali, director of the London-based Kayd Somali arts organisation. “In short, his music embodied the sound of the long struggle to freedom and independence,” she added in a statement. He was born in the port city of Berbera in 1928, grew up in Yemen but returned to Somalia as a young adult, Ms Ali said. Apparently he discovered the Oud as a boy growing up in Yemen. He moved to London in the 1990s during the civil war in Somalia. Somalis took to social media platform Twitter to send their condolence to family and friends and to celebrate the memory of the late musician. Ex-Libyan PM who served after Gaddafi ouster Mahmud Jibril was a former head of the rebel government that overthrew Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. He died of the coronavirus in an Egyptian hospital, his party confirmed on April 5. The 68-year-old former Prime Minister was in Cairo where he had been hospitalised for two weeks, said Khaled al-Mrimi, secretary of the Alliance of National Forces party founded by Jibril in 2012. Reports indicate he was admitted to the hospital on March 21 after suffering a heart attack, before testing positive for the new coronavirus and being quarantined. He served as head of the interim government in March 2011, a few weeks after the outbreak of the Arab Spring uprising in Libya. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Ex-Somali Prime Minister “Nur Adde” Last week, Somalis united on Twitter to pay tribute to a former Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein, also known as “Nur Adde,” who died of coronavirus in London. The 82-year-old, was prime minister between November 2007 and February 2009. He was a one-time attorney general under the tenure of President Siad Barre who was overthrown in 1991. He was a police officer who trained as a lawyer, acquaintances hailed him for his hands-on leadership. “We extend our most profound condolences to the Somali people, friends and bereaved family of Somalia’s former Prime Minister, HE Nur Hassan Hussein who passed away in London, UK,” Somali PM posted on Twitter. BREAKING: Former Somali Prime Minister, Nur Hassan Hussein “Nur Adde” has passed away in London after recently contracting the #CoronaVirus, sources. Nur Adde was PM between Nov 2007 and Feb 2009. He was also the President of Somali Red Crescent for many years. He was 82. pic.twitter.com/LEFgB18nPN— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) April 1, 2020 Senegalese journalist, sports administrator – Pape Diouf Senegal mourned its first coronavirus death which came with extra pain because it involved an illustrious son of the land, journalist and sports administrator, Pape Diouf. The 68-year-old was a former president of French soccer club Marseille between 2005-09. Authorities confirmed that he had been in intensive care in Dakar. Senegal President Macky Sall wrote on his official Twitter account that he had followed Diouf’s health closely after he was admitted for treatment. “I pay tribute to this great figure in sport,” Sall wrote. “I pay tribute to the medical staff at Fann Hospital who spared no effort to save him.” Relatives said Diouf was meant to be moved to France. He had recently traveled to several countries in the West Africa region. Diouf was a charismatic and popular leader who was close to the fans and players at Marseille, the only French team to win the European club title. “Pape will forever remain in the hearts of Marseille people and (is) one of the great architects of the club,” Marseille wrote under a photo of Diouf. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Top Zimbabwean broadcaster becomes first COVID-19 casualty A prominent broadcaster Zororo Makamba (30 years) became the first person to die of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe. The deceased was the son of business mogul and ruling Zanu PF politician James Makamba and had been admitted to hospital after his condition deteriorated. The Ministry of Health and Child Care via Twitter confirmed the death of Zororo Makamba, the second person to test positive in Zimbabwe. He had underlying medical conditions, making him more vulnerable to complications arising from the virus. He had travelled to New York in February 2020 and returned home on March 9, transiting through Johannesburg in neighbouring South Africa. Government said he begun showing mild flu-like symptoms on March 12 that progressively worsened. He consulted a doctor and was instructed to self-quarantine. He launched his media career at local radio station ZiFM Stereo, where he hosted current affairs programmes. He moved to television where one of his most popular shows was “Tonight with Zororo”, which aired on MNet’s Zambezi Magic. He won several accolades including a National Arts and Merit Award and Best Male Achiever at the Zimbabwe Youth Achievers Awards. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Aurlus Mabele – Congolese ‘King of Soukous’ Over in Central Africa, coronavirus claimed a music star from Congo reputed by his fans as ‘King of soukous’ – a high tempo dance music enjoyed across the continent. Aurlus Mabélé real name is Aurélien Miatsonama, was from Congo-Brazzaville and moved to France in the 1980s. He died in a Parisian hospital, aged 67. The announcement of his death according to Congolese local news site IciBrazza was first posted by his compatriot Mav Cacharel on Facebook. “Good evening everyone, I have sad news to announce the death of my famous friend, brother and collaborator Aurlus Mabélé, which happened this Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 14 pm, in the Paris region, from the follow-up of (a) coronavirus (case),” Cacharel’s post read in part. The deceased’s daughter, singer Liza Monet, also tweeted on Thursday that her father had died of coronavirus. “Thank you for honoring his memory. It is a great legend of the Soukouss that the Congolese people have lost today. I am inconsolable and collapsed,” a translation of her tweet read. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Ex-Congolese president Yhombi-Opango In late March, a former president of the Republic of Congo died after contracting coronavirus. Jacques Joaquim Yhombi-Opango breathed his last at the age of 81 in a Paris hospital. His family confirmed that he had underlying health conditions before contracting the virus. Yhombi-Opango was president of Congo-Brazzaville from April 1977 until he was toppled in February 1979 by the current president Denis Sassou Nguesso. He spent years in prison till the country introduced multi-party democracy in 1991. He served as Prime Minister under the government of Pascal Lissouba between 1992 and 1997, until a civil war broke out in 1997. He went into exile in France, before being allowed to return home 10 years later. ?#Congo – Ancien Président de la République (4 avril 1977- 5 Février 1979), ancien Premier Ministre (juin 1993 – aout 1996) sous le régime du Président Pascal Lissouba (1992-1997), Jacques Joachim Yhomby-Opango, est décédé ce jour 30/03/2020 en région parisienne (#France) pic.twitter.com/A7SklmyL7P— ICIBRAZZA (@ICIBrazza) March 30, 2020 African music icon, Cameroon’s Manu Dibango Cameroonian Afro-jazz legend, Manu Dibango’s death is one that hit the continent and beyond. The ‘Soul Makossa’ author died at the age of 86. His family disclosed in a Facebook post that the singer and celebrated saxophonist’s death was as a result of the new coronavirus. Dibango is celebrated for one of the biggest planetary hits in world music, “Soul Makossa” (released in 1972). he was said to be the first global celebrity to die from the virus. He died in a Parisian hospital, manager of his music publishing business, Thierry Durepaire told AFP. A statement released by the family read: “It is with deep sadness that we announce to you the loss of Manu Dibango, our Papy Groove, who passed away on 24th of March 2020, at 86 years old, due to covid-19.” Born in 1933 in the city of Douala, he attended church from where he honed his music skills. Celebrated for a unique blend of jazz, funk and traditional Cameroonian music. Influenced bands from Kool and the Gang in the 1970s to hip-hop in the 1990s. Best known for his hit Soul Makossa. He served as the pioneer chairman of the Cameroon Music Corporation. UNESCO appointed him Artist for Peace in 2004 Collaborated with several artists including Nigeria’s Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti and US pianist Herbie Hancock. On record to have sued Michael Jackson and Rihanna in 2009, accusing the duo of unlawfully adopting some of his lyrics. He eventually settled out of court. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Mukendi wa Mulumba – top legal aide to DRC president Still in Central Africa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, President Felix Tshisekedi lost a top legal aide to the virus. Jean-Joseph Mukendi wa Mulumba was the acting head of the president’s legal advisory council. He is believed to have contracted the coronavirus whiles in France for a medical check-up. Mr Mulumba was a celebrated personality in the country’s harsh opposition terrain. As a reputed lawyer he also championed numerous human rights causes. He was an aide to the president’s father and veteran opposition figure, the late Etienne Tshisekedi. He also represented opposition politician Moïse Katumbi and others who opposed former President Joseph Kabila’s attempt to extend his term in office. Katumbi in a statement said he was inconsolable at the loss of a more than a lawyer and friend; a big brother and father. Many in DR Congo have described Mr Mukendi wa Mulumba’s death as a huge loss. Rights activist Anneke Van Woudenberg wrote on Twitter: “He was one of the greats. His country, and the human rights movement, will miss him.” Notre grand frère le Bâtonnier Mukendi, défenseur infatigable de la justice en #RDC, vient de nous quitter. Paix à son âme. ?? Mon message de condoléance : ?? pic.twitter.com/n5Klm8AcOa— Moise Katumbi (@moise_katumbi) March 24, 2020 Ms Rose Marie Compaore: Top lawmaker becomes Burkina Faso’s first COVID-19 casualty On March 17 March Burkina Faso recorded its first coronavirus death. The authorities confirmed that the patient was Ms Rose Marie Compaore, who was the first-vice president of the parliament. She died aged 62 and was said to have diabetes, an underlying health condition. President Marc Roch Kabore and Speaker of the National Assembly, Alassane Bala Sakande, were among those that sent condolences to the family via social media platform Twitter. “This tragic event calls us all to recognise the scale and seriousness of the problem which confronts us all,” said Martial Ouedraogo, Burkina Faso’s COVID-19 response coordinator. “This is a very contagious illness that is potentially fatal and that for now has no treatment aside from prevention,” he stressed. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } @AlfaAfrican Shaban Abdur Rahman Alfa Digital journalist alfa.shaban@africanews.com
  • Ethiopia updating virus stats via WHO tallies as net outage remains
    Ethiopia is one of East / Horn of Africa’s least impacted nations as compared to rate of COVID-19 case growth and infection of its neighbours. A state of emergency lasting five-months has been imposed by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed led government. All land borders have since been shut as a virus control measure with a raft of restrictions and enforcement of physical distancing and mask wearing measures. Elections planned for May this year were also postponed citing the effect of the pandemic. Ethiopia played an instrumental role in the deployment of virus supplies donated by Chinese businessman Ali Baba. This article will focus on major developments coming from the country. May 19: 60 cases in two days Total confirmed cases = 365 (new cases between May 17 – 19 = 60) Total recoveries = 120 (new recoveries = 8) Total deaths = 5 Active cases = 238 Ethiopia’s case count spiked on Monday by 35 new cases (a daily record) whiles 14 new cases were recorded today. Added to 11 cases recorded last Sunday, 60 cases have been recorded in the last three days. The tally now stands at 365. Concerns had been raised by analysts over the spate of new case increases after it took just a week to go from 200 to go past the 300 mark as against a much lengthier period from 0 to 100 and 100 to 200. The country, however, remains one of the least impacted in a region where neighbour Djibouti, Somalia and Sudan has crossed the 1000 mark. Kenya is past 900 confirmed cases as of today. Major African stats: May 19 at 6:00 GMT: Confirmed cases = 88,264 Number of deaths = 2,832 Recoveries = 33,898 Active cases = 51,534
  • Ethiopia girds to fill GERD regardless, Abiy jabs anti-democratic forces
    Ethiopia will proceed with filling of its gigantic dam on the Blue Nile despite inconclusive talks with impacted neighbours, Sudan and Egypt. Addressing lawmakers on Tuesday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that recent domestic unrest would not derail government’s plan to fill the dam. “If Ethiopia doesn’t fill the dam, it means Ethiopia has agreed to demolish the dam,” he told lawmakers. Touching on recent unrest in the country following the death of a prominent musician, he reiterated that it was part of a plot to derail the country’s democratization project. “If Ethiopia becomes like Syria, if Ethiopia becomes like Libya, everybody loses.” The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), set to be Africa’s largest hydroelectric project, has been a source of tension in the Nile basin ever since Ethiopia broke ground on it nearly a decade ago. Ethiopia says the project is essential for its development. Addis Ababa has been vocal about its plans to start filling the reservoir this month. According to Egypt the construction of the dam endangers the lives of 150 million Egyptians and Sudanese. The Nile is a lifeline, supplying both water and electricity to the 10 countries it passes through. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }
  • Nigeria: Fuel from illegal refineries
    A new laboratory findings has revealed that samples from illegal refineries in Nigeria’s Niger Delta is of a higher quality compared to imported petrol. According to the report, black market fuel from illegal refineries hidden deep in the creeks of the Niger Delta is less polluting than the highly toxic diesel and petrol from Europe. Publisher, Energy Times in Lagos,Nigeria, Kayode Ekundayo said diesel importation is deregulated in Nigeria and gives marketers avenue to import and make profit. Adding that marketers can sought for cheap products across the world and bring them into the market. Ekundayo reiterates that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) remains the only importer of petrol due to unreconcilable difference between the Federal Government and oil marketers on access to forex and some other issues. He says NNPC on its side, looks for cheap product in order to cut cost. Executive Chairman, Africa Energy Chamber NJ Ayuk noted that it is not a surprise to see local refineries producing better quality product for local consumption. “I think this is something that is not new, it has always been there and I think there is always an issue where it comes with quality control. We have not done a good job not just in Nigeria or Niger Delta but across Africa in really checking on the quality of the product that comes in because what we have is that in Nigeria and across Africa, many of the products that comes in with poor quality that comes in from European refineries or middle east refineries in some case does not stand to the standard of as required in international best practices,” he added. Ayuk reiterated that some marketers in the sector, give the business a bad name adding that such individuals should be dealt with. “There is always going to be an unscrupulous character always trying to make an extra dollar or so but they but the real issue there is how are we going to maintain the standard, seeking compliance and ensuring that these standard are met. We have seen that in the product supply business, sometimes you need to have real government action in preventing fraud,” Ayuk said. According to a recent report from Reuters, the United Nations Security Council, estimates that Nigeria lost $2.8 billion of revenue to oil theft in 2017, although Kpler says the minimum 100,000 barrels per day of $3 billion to $8 billion a year identified in a 2013 Chatham House report better approximates current losses. Nigeria’s military in May this year, dismantled illegal refining sites in Niger Delta region which held 174 ovens laden with about 14,434 barrels of suspected stolen crude oil. Although Nigeria presently has four conventional refineries chiefly controlled by the Federal Government under the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), but none operate above 60 percent of its design capacity. In an attempt to provide solutions to the above unfavorable scenario, the country is left with the following options: Establishment of more conventional refineries, legalization of illegal refineries, swapping of crude oil with refined products from other countries and setting up of modular refineries around the country.
  • Egypt reopens Giza pyramids amid pandemic
    Egypt reopened its famed Giza pyramids to the public after a three-month closure. The reopening marked the restart of a vital tourism industry battered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Dozens of excited tourists snapped selfies as they wandered around Egypt’s most iconic ancient site. The pyramids were the country’s first tourist attraction to reopen, along with the Egyptian Museum next to Cairo’s Tahrir Square, ground zero of the 2011 revolution. Director-General of the Giza Plateau, Ashraf Mohi Al-Din spoke about the reopening: “We are announcing the reopening of the archaeological site of Giza to visitors as of today. We have received about a hundred people, of course following the procedures laid down by the Ministry of Health.” Farid Cortes, a Colombian tourist is among the first to visit: “We decided to come to the pyramids today because, since they have been closed for so long, we felt that the energy will be very clear and we wanted to explore the pyramids in this setting.” But for tour guide Mohamed Farouk, the reopening is a new phase after a historic closure: “The closing of the pyramids for four months has rarely happened in history, it has almost never happened that the pyramids were closed and no one entered them. “So this is our chance to be among the first people to visit the pyramids after their reopening (to the public)”. Egypt decided in mid-June to reopen its airspace as well as some of its touristic sites. This, in order to revive tourism, a sector that suffered heavy financial losses during a three-month closure due to Covid-19 disease. Authorities are hoping holidaymakers will brave flying and head to Egypt after international flights resumed on Tuesday under loosening travel restrictions. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }
  • Egypt's royal museum to reopen for first time since 2001
    Egypt’s Royal Carriages Museum project is ongoing. After years of closure, the museum will reopen its doors to visitors to admire the exquisite royal carriages of members of the Mohamed Ali family. Restoration and development work will be completed soon, with a reopening slated within the next two months. Mennatallah Magdy, secretary of the royal carriages museum relishes the prospect of reopening: “This museum contains royal carriages since the time of the khedive (viceroy) Ismail Pacha to King Farouk. “The most important carriage in the museum is this carriage, which was given as a gift from the French empress Eugénie and her husband emperor Napoleon III, at the inauguration ceremony of the Suez Canal.” On display are some of the 20th century’s most luxurious, fascinating carriages made by veteran designers who spent their lifetime making unique carriages only dedicated to the royal family. Heba Galal, restorer at the royal carriage museum: “This museum includes 74 carriages, all of them were completely damaged. The restoration department made a lot of effort to restore them for visitors.” According to the government, the restoration works cost up to 63 million Egyptian pounds, an equivalent of 3.9 million US dollars. This shows the Egyptian government’s support for traditional antiquities. Ahmed Samir, restorer working on metal pieces spoke about the joy oh his work: “Restoring this carriage needed a group of specialists who focus on restoring fabric, glass, wood, metal, and leather. All the carriages we had were in a very bad conditions.” The museum has been closed since 2001 for renovation. It was established during the reign of Khedive Ismail. The restoration has brought the place back to life after been neglected.
  • Domestic flights resume in Nigeria amid strict virus protocols
    Nigeria resumed domestic flights on Wednesday, July 8, after a hiatus of three months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Airports in the capital, Abuja, and commercial hub Lagos reopened for operations. A handful of other airports will open on July 11 whiles the rest resume operations on July 15. According to reports, passengers waiting to enter the Abuja airport used markings on the floor to observe social distancing. Other safety measures in place include airport workers taking the temperature of passengers and spraying bags with decontamination fluids. Handwashing facilities have also been installed outside airport buildings. The resumption of flights is the latest step by the government to reopen Africa’s biggest economy, which has also been hit hard by low oil prices. In recent weeks it has lifted a ban on interstate travel, some states allowed pupils to return to school despite the federal governments protestations whiles others have permitted places of worship to open. No date has been given for the resumption of international flights. Major African stats: July 9 at 7:00 GMT: Confirmed cases = 522,643 Active cases = 257,466 Recoveries = 252,944 Number of deaths = 12,233
  • Ghana awaits first female VP if opposition wins 2020 polls
    Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang has been selected by former Ghana president John Mahama as his running mate for this year’s presidential election. Representing the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), she becomes the first woman on a major Ghanaian party’s presidential ticket. The 69-year_old Opoku-Agyemang, is a former education minister and university professor. She was also the first female vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Coast in 2008. The former president called her “God-fearing, a distinguished scholar, a conscientious public servant and a role model”. The Dec. 7 poll will pit Mahama, who governed from 2012 to early 2017, against his successor, President Nana Akufo-Addo, who defeated him in the late 2016 election. The presidency has changed hands repeatedly between the ruling New Patriotic Party, NPP and ex-president Mahama’s NDC since 1992 in a series of peaceful elections that have cemented Ghana’s reputation as one of West Africa’s most stable democracies.
  • Kenya cancels 2020 school year, classes to resume next year
    Kenya has declared the academic year of 2020 lost because of the coronavirus pandemic. All primary and secondary schools in the East Africa nation will remain closed until January 2021. The Ministry of Education announced on Tuesday (July 7) that the decision was arrived at following consultations with all industry stakeholders. According to Education Minister George Magoha, students will repeat a year as schools had closed in mid-March, three months after the academic calendar had begun. Nevertheless, colleges and universities are to reopen in September if they abide by strict guidelines for containing the virus. The ministry also ordered schools to refund fees of the annulled year or agree to put it towards next year. Despite learning been paralysed owning to the coronavirus pandemic, the government has been providing school programmes via radio, television and online. The country’s academic year runs from January to November. Meanwhile, Kenya coronavirus cases continue to soar. As of July 7, the country recorded 8,067 cases and 164 deaths.
  • Rajoelina not infected by virus: Madagascar dispels fake news
    July 7: Rajoelina hasn’t tested positive – Presidency The Malagasy presidency had reason to issue an official statement denying social media reports that President Rajoelina had tested positive for the COVID-19. The July 7 statement (in French) said the president was occupied with leading the country’s fight against the virus and was exercising full control over the governance machinery. Spike in cases especially in the capital Antananarivo has precipitated the reinstatement of a lockdown to control spread of the virus. Press release denying rumors about the state of health of the President of the Republic (Translation) The Presidency of the Republic formally denies rumors about the state of health of the President of the Republic, Andry Rajoelina, relayed by social networks and or published on websites. President Andry Rajoelina is in good health and is not affected by covid-19 at all. He has never left Malagasy territory since the start of the health crisis to date. He faces with all the Malagasy people, the global health crisis which affects our country today and he continues to find, with all the specialists and all the State entities, suitable solutions in the management of this pandemic. He directs the councils of ministers and several meetings by videoconference to respect the health rules required to prevent the spread of this covid 19 virus. Confirmed cases = 3,573 Active cases = 1,779 Recoveries = 1,761 Number of deaths = 33 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of July 9, 2020 Major African stats: July 9 at 7:00 GMT: Confirmed cases = 522,643 Active cases = 257,466 Recoveries = 252,944 Number of deaths = 12,233 .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } June 18: Madagascar to produce COVID-Organics capsules Madagascar is in the process of equipping its health facilities in order to produce most medicines it currently imports, president Rajoelina announced on Thursday. The president was reacting to the receipt of state-of-the-art equipment to equip the new pharmaceutical plant “Pharmalagasy.” The consignment was delivered by the Pharma Wing section of Ethiopian Airlines. “Thanks to the work of Malagasy researchers and foreign scientists, Pharmalagasy will launch CVO+, a curative and preventive capsule against Covid-19 made from artemisia,” Rajoelina added stressing that the move was part of Madagascar positioning “itself on the global pharmaceutical market.” COVID-Organics has now transited from the usual liquid form, even as government backtracked on administering it via injectables. The capsules are the new form that the president is announcing. Meanwhile, the WHO and Africa Centers for Disease Control, Africa CDC, have yet to release any findings or developments from their interactions with Malagasy authorities over the purported virus cure. The country has also announced a partnership with a Bionexx, a company specialized in the culture of artemisia, a move that will make Madagascar the first African producer of medicines based on the medicinal plant, Rajoelina added. L’État Malagasy lance un partenariat avec l’entreprise Bionexx, spécialisée dans la culture de l’#Artemisia afin de faire de #Madagascar le premier producteur africain de médicaments à base de cette plante aux grandes vertus médicinales ! pic.twitter.com/NjC4lel6Px— Andry Rajoelina (@SE_Rajoelina) June 18, 2020 COVID-Organics at a glance Rajoelina says it was developed by Malasy Institute of Applied Research. Says it is of two type, the curative and preventive It is made from Artemisia – an anti-malarial plant that grows on the island Another name for it is Tambavy CVO The WHO – global and Africa offices have cautioned against it and other unproven herbal drugs It is freely distributed in schools and in other public places A number of African countries officially requested for them, among others Tanzania, Congo, DRC, Chad, Comoros Madagascar made a donation to West African nations in the ECOWAS bloc. But the ECOWAS Commission clarified it hadn’t ordered for or endorsed the potion. Africa Centers for Disease Control is in talks with Madagascar over the potion According to Rajoelina, the country will sign a confidentiality clause with WHO on the formulation of the drug. A number of Africa countries are subjecting the donation to tests before administering if at all. Confirmed cases = 1,403 Number of deaths = 13 Recoveries = 463 Active cases = 927 John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 18, 2020 June 10: Chad takes more deliveries of COVID-Organics Last week, the Republic of Chad sent a jet to Madagascar for another round of COVID-Organics. President Rajoelina said the second donation was because of the positive effects the first achieved in the Central African country. 20,000 doses of the curative and preventive types of the herbal mixture was subsequently carted off by a delegation sent by the Chadian government. Chad remains one of the least impacted countries in the Central African region. According to the John Hopkins University tallies, it has 850 confirmed cases with 73 deaths and 720 recoveries. 57 active cases remain under treatment as of today, June 16, 2020 at 07:00 GMT. Madagascar’s statistics include: 1,290 confirmed cases, 10 deaths, 384 recoveries and 896 active cases as of today. Suite aux effets positifs constatés sur sa population, le #Tchad a demandé à recevoir pour la seconde fois du #CovidOrganics pour lutter contre le #Covid19. Ainsi, 20000 doses curatives et préventives ont été transmises aux émissaires du Président IdrissDebyI ce jour. pic.twitter.com/OizKyUdtJN— Andry Rajoelina (SE_Rajoelina) June 10, 2020 June 4: Minister sacked over sweets plan for bitter COVID-Organics A Malagasy Minister was fired over plans to buy sweets for children taking COVID-Organics in schools. Education minister Rijasoa Andriamanana planned to order $2.2m worth of sweets. Hoping to ease bitterness that the purported virus cure gave patrons, AFP news agency reported. She had shelved the plan even before being fired. President Rajoelina – chief patron of COVID-Organics – had rejected the idea. Each student in the country was expected to get three sweets, AFP added. The Thursday statement confirming her sacking, her counterpart in the higher education ministry, Elia Béatrice Assoumacou, was asked to double as education minister in acting capacity. Total confirmed cases = 1,026 Total recoveries = 212 Total deaths = 8 Active cases = 806 Figures valid as of close of day June 6, 2020 May 29: Retreat on COVID-Organics injectables Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina’s position that the purported remedy for COVID-19 will be administered in clinical trials has been clarified by director of the country’s judicial studies department. Rajoelina this week reiterated a clinical trial plan he announced last week saying the trial will involve administering the in its bottled form and also as injectables. However, Michelle Sahondrarimalala, a medical doctor and director from Legal Studies at the presidency, in clarification said the president had been misunderstood. She disclosed that there had at no point been the thought of putting artemisia in an injectable form further stressing that the scientific committee hadn’t considered this. Reports indicate that the National Medical Academy also cast doubt on the efficacy of the artemisia-based drink, warning of its potential health implications. Doctors are on record to have said the main treatment protocol in the country was not COVID-Organics. Total confirmed cases = 656 Total recoveries = 154 Total deaths = 2 Active cases = 500 Figures valid as of close of day May 28, 2020 May 21: Rajoelina speaks with Tedros President Andry Rajoelina says Madagascar will sign a confidentiality clause with the World Health Organization on the formulation of COVID-Organics, the purported cure for the coronavirus pandemic. He disclosed this after a teleconference with WHO boss Tedros Adhanom Ghabreyesus on Wednesday. He also said the WHO had agreed to support the country’s clinical observation process. “Successful exchange with Dr. Tedros who commends Madagascar’s efforts in the fight against COVID-19,” he posted on Twitter. Confirming the call, the WHO boss tweeted: “Good call with HE Rajoelina, President of Madagascar, about the #COVID19 situation in his country. “We discussed how to work together on therapeutics research and development. And we agreed that solidarity is key to fighting the pandemic and keeping the world safe,” he added. Madagascar case stats as of May 21 12:00 GMT Confirmed cases = 371 Recoveries = 131 Deaths = 2 Active cases = 238 Successful exchange with DrTedros who commends #Madagascar’s efforts in the fight against #Covid19.WHO will sign a confidentiality clause on the formulation of the #CovidOrganics and will support the clinical observations process in #Africa. pic.twitter.com/SCZZRDKheV— Andry Rajoelina (@SE_Rajoelina) May 20, 2020 May 11: Madagascar prez dismisses ‘all critics’: would they doubt European cure? President of Madagascar Andry Rajoelina has delivered a scathing verdict of persons increasingly speaking against the country’s purported traditional cure for COVID-19. In an exclusive interview with French broadcasters, France24 and RFI, Rajoelina said his country will continue to administer and develop the cure which according to him accounts for majority of its virus recoveries. “We have 171 cases, including 105 cured. The patients who were cured took only the COVID-Organics medication,” he confirmed. Asked about warnings issued by WHO, ECOWAS and Africa CDC, he dismissed them stressing that the warnings are meant to detract and discourage progress of the drug, which Madagascar was not going to allow. “If it weren’t Madagascar, but a European country that had discovered the remedy COVID-Organics, would there be so many doubts? I do not think so…” “We say bad things about the Tambavy CVO product, when it only does good. They want to slow us down, discourage us, forbid us to move forward …” he further stressed. #EXCLUSIF – #Coronavirus : “On a eu 171 cas, dont 105 guéris. Les patients qui ont été guéris ont pris uniquement le produit #COVID_Organics.” Le président de #Madagascar ?? Andry #Rajoelina parle du remède développé sur l‘île et répond à MPerelman et ChBoisbouvier de RFI ⤵ pic.twitter.com/GfKaAvTeXv— FRANCE 24 Français (France24_fr) May 11, 2020
  • COVID-19 could push 50m Africans into extreme poverty - AfDB report
    Nearly 50 million Africans could be pushed into extreme poverty owing to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the African Development Bank, West and Central Africa stand to be most hit by the economic slump. Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country, would see the greatest rise in poverty. In the bank’s latest economic outlook, roughly a third of the continent was already expected to live below the international poverty line of 1.90 US dollars per day in 2020. Health crisis and ensuing lockdowns have destroyed jobs, crippled incomes and devastated economies continent-wide. With this in mind, the AfDB expects Africa to suffer a major recession, with GDP forecast to contract between 1.7 percent to 3.4 percent this year. Furthermore, the institution says that between 24.6 and 30 million jobs would be lost this year due to the virus crisis. Nevertheless, the bank noted that Africa’s economic growth could rebound in 2021, provided that governments manage the COVID-19 infection rate well.
  • Kenyans protest police brutality in Nairobi - yet again
    Kenyan police earlier this week fired tear gas and detained protesters demanding an end to police brutality. About 100 people took part in demonstrations across the capital, Nairobi. Many Kenyans have been angered by a fresh wave of alleged police abuses while enforcing coronavirus restrictions. David Oluoch, a protester: “We are not armed and we just wanted to take our petition very peacefully, but as you can see they (referring to police) are very armed. “They have arrested some of us and they have injured some of us. Even in that vehicle there is one of us who has been arrested.” Rights group Amnesty International said Kenyan police had killed at least 100 people in 2020, with 21 related to COVID infractions, such as curfew enforcement or mask violations. At least six people were killed in the first 10 days alone, according to Human Rights Watch. President Kenyatta had cause to apologize for police excesses in one of his coronavirus addresses. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }
  • Amadou Gon gone: Ivory Coast Prime Minister dead - Official
    The Ivorian government has confirmed the death of Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly. He died at the age of 61 in the capital Abidjan. Multiple news sites including Jeune Afrique reported the death late Wednesday citing multiple official sources. The deceased returned home last week (July 2) after a two-month absence during which period he was receiving medical treatment in France. Coulibaly is a close ally of Ouattara and has held the Prime Minister portfolio since 2017. He was the presidential candidate of the ruling Rally of Republicans party in upcoming polls meant to choose a new president as incumbent Alassane Ouattara leaves office after two terms. The party elected him as flag bearer in March 2020 for the October polls. “I am back home to take my place at the President’s side, to continue the work of development and construction of our country, Côte d’Ivoire,” Coulibaly said upon his return. He had been part of a cabinet meeting this morning according to reports. His official Twitter handle posted messages lauding the efforts and leadership of Ouattara. A translation of one read: “Having a vision does not mean adopting short-term policies but anticipating and planning development projects for decades to come, in order to ensure sustainable development.” La Côte d'Ivoire n’aurait pu obtenir les résultats qui ont été les siens au cours des dix dernières années sans la compétence, le leadership et la vision du Président Alassane Ouattara. Cette vision, il a su l'insuffler à l'ensemble du Gouvernement. pic.twitter.com/Ptx9×6QweB— Amadou Gon Coulibaly (@AmadouGon) July 8, 2020
  • Ethiopia protest death toll hits 239; 3,500 arrests, net still blocked
    July 1: ‘Several’ killed in Ethiopia unrest after singer shot dead At least 239 people have been killed and 3,500 arrested in more than a week of unrest in Ethiopia that poses the biggest challenge yet to its Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister. In the Oromia region, the toll includes 215 civilians along with nine police officers and five militia members, regional police commissioner Mustafa Kedir told the ruling party-affiliated Walta TV on Wednesday. Officials earlier said 10 people were killed in the capital, Addis Ababa, eight of them civilians, amid outrage after a popular singer was shot dead last Monday. Hachalu Hundessa had been a rallying voice in anti-government protests that led to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed taking power in 2018. Abiy swiftly introduced political reforms that also opened the way for long-held ethnic and other grievances in Africa’s second most populous country. The military was deployed during the outrage that followed Hachalu’s death. In remarks last week while wearing a military uniform, Abiy said dissidents he recently extended an offer of peace had “taken up arms” in revolt against the government. He hinted there could be links between this unrest and the killing of the army chief last year as well as the grenade thrown at one of his own rallies in 2018. The 3,500 arrests have included that of a well-known Oromo activist, Jawar Mohammed, and more than 30 supporters. It is not clear what charges they might face. The Oromo make up Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group but had never held the country’s top post until they helped bring Abiy to power. Local reports have said that in some places ethnic Oromo have attacked ethnic Amhara, and in Shashamane town some people were going home to home checking identity cards and targeting Amhara residents. Businesses have now begun opening slowly in Oromia after the violence in which several hundred homes in Ethiopia were burned or damaged. But Ethiopia’s internet service remains cut, making it difficult for rights monitor and others to track the scores of killings. July 6: Weekend offline amid high security, mass arrests Ethiopian police over the weekend were patrolling the country’s troubled Oromia region and the capital, Addis Ababa, following a week of unrest in which 166 people were killed and more than 2,000 arrested, after a popular singer was shot dead. In Oromia, 145 civilians and 11 members of security forces were killed, Girma Gelam, deputy police commissioner in the region, told the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate. Another 10 people were killed in the capital, eight of them civilians. The internet was cut last week to try to dampen the protests and made it difficult for rights monitors to track the scores of killings. Update: It’s now day seven of #Ethiopia‘s national internet shutdown as the country enters a new work week offline; real-time network data show national connectivity at just 11% of ordinary levels with ordinary users remaining cut off from the world ? ? https://t.co/y5ATw7JHAh pic.twitter.com/KDXC8um9vs— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) July 6, 2020 More than 2,280 people were arrested in Oromia and Addis Ababa, said police. Arrests included that of a well-known Oromo activist, Jawar Mohammed, and more than 30 supporters. It is not clear what charges they might face. The Oromo make up Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group but had never held the country’s top political post until Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018. The arrest of opposition figures “could make a volatile situation even worse,” Human Rights Watch has said. The unrest erupted after popular singer Hachalu Hundessa was killed. He had been a prominent voice in anti-government protests that led to Abiy coming to power. The singer was buried Thursday in a ceremony shown on national television. The new disturbances amount to the prime minister’s greatest domestic test since he took office, say analysts. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year for dramatic reforms, including welcoming home once-banned exile groups. However, Abiy’s steps to open political space have been used by some Ethiopians to air ethnic and other grievances. At times it has led to deadly violence, and human rights groups have accused security forces of abuses. Speaking about the week of unrest, Abiy said he had recently extended an offer of peace to dissidents, but they have “taken up arms” in revolt against the government in a week. Those who participate “in the destruction of the nation cannot be considered guardians of the nation,” Abiy said on Friday. “It’s a moment when people need to pause and de-escalate,” said Murithi Mutiga, project director for the Horn of Africa with the International Crisis Group. He cited a series of challenges in Ethiopia including an armed insurgency in parts of the country and tension over the timing of the next election. The government recently delayed the vote, citing the coronavirus pandemic. “This is not the first but one in a long line of grave provocations by an actor not yet identified,” Mutiga said, adding that the “wiser course of action is to strive to create an atmosphere of reconciliation and dialogue.” The past week appears to be the most serious challenge yet to Ethiopia’s transition to multifaceted democracy, Mutiga said. “Thankfully, the situation seems to have calmed down in Addis and parts of Oromia but the scale of the violence, the degree of grievance witnessed on the streets and the danger of instability was quite high.” AP July 1: ‘Several’ killed in Ethiopia unrest after singer shot dead Ethiopia’s prime minister says “several people” have been killed in unrest that followed the killing of a popular singer this week. Some reports say over 50 people were killed. Three bombs exploded in the capital Tuesday, police said. It was not clear whether anyone was killed. Angry protests were reported Tuesday in the capital, Addis Ababa, after Hachalu Hundessa was shot dead on Monday. He had been a prominent voice in anti-government protests that led to a change in leadership in 2018, with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed taking office. The killing was a “tragedy,” Abiy said Tuesday, vowing that the perpetrators would be brought to justice and declaring that “our enemies will not succeed.” “Our enemies think they can easily disintegrate us; however we will use this incident to unify the country and to ensure our plans for peace and security of the country continue. The government will step up its works to realize the peace and stability and sovereignty of the country,” he added. Internet service has been cut again in Ethiopia, where tensions continue after the government delayed this year’s national election, citing the coronavirus pandemic. The singer Hachalu is set to be buried Thursday in his hometown in the Oromia region. A well-known Oromo activist, Jawar Mohammed, was among 35 people arrested during the latest unrest. There was no immediate sign of protests in Addis Ababa on Wednesday and roads were empty. AP June 30: Ethiopia arrests Oromo activist Jawar Mohammed, OMN shut down The arrest of prominent Ethiopian pro-democracy activist Jawar Mohammed has been confirmed by multiple sources from the country. His media outfit, Oromia Media Network, OMN, has also been shut down by authorities. The arrest comes in the wake of mass protests against the shooting and killing on Monday night of a famed Oromo musician and activist in Addis Ababa. Hachalu Hundessa, was celebrated as a symbol for the Oromo people – Ethiopia’s most populous ethnic group. His songs spoke out about their political and economic marginalisation and became a rallying point for activists in their fight against Ethiopian regimes. The musician had also been imprisoned for five years when he was 17 for taking part in protests, an analysis on the BBC Africa LIVE page added. Jawar was reportedly arrested along with Bekele Gerba, a veteran opposition activist. The duo were arrested at the Oromo Cultural Center in Addis Ababa, where they were attending the funeral of Hachalu. OMN reported on Tuesday morning via its Facebook page that their offices had been raided by federal security agents who ‘arrested’ employees. They also said the OMN offices in Addis Ababa was under control of the state. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Jawar vs. Abiy: Season II The latest incident is the second major face off between Jawar and state security agents. In October 2019, Jawar – now a member of the Oromo Federalist Congress, OFC; was shielded by supporters after he announced that the state wanted to arrest him. Jawar’s supporters demonstrated against Abiy after Jawar said police had surrounded his home and tried to withdraw his government security detail. Protests in the capital and other cities resulted in 16 deaths and dozens of wounded. “The majority of people believe the transition is off track and we are backsliding towards an authoritarian system,” Jawar said, sitting in his heavily guarded Addis Ababa home-office at the time. In December 2019, Jawar joined the Oromo Federalist Congress, OFC, led by veteran politician Merera Gudina. The OFC has joined a bloc of other opposition parties in the Oromia Regional State. The state is Ethiopia’s largest and most populous. It is also the home region of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Abiy and Jawar fell out last year after the PM told parliament of media personalities who were fomenting unrest with their outlets, Jawar said the claims were an attack on him. Social media reactions BREAKING: Jawar Mohammed arrested, Oromo Media Network shut down – Oromo activists, VPN comms. Now that is pouring petrol on fire.— Rashid Abdi (@RAbdiCG) June 30, 2020 Wow! The arrest of Jawar_Mohammed will definitely ignite more anger among the Oromo people. It seems the Ethiopian government is unraveling & trying to control flow of information by shutting down opposition media networks & the internet. Could the military intervene? #Ethiopia https://t.co/Oj64QhOQiC— Adel El-Adawy (adeladawy) June 30, 2020 The Gov’t of #Ethiopia arrested Jawar_Mohammed the prominant activist and founder of OMN Tv. They also arrested #Bekele_Gabre the Oromo Federalist Coalition (OFC) leader. The gov’t also closed OMN Tv Studio in Addis Ababa. Internet was also shutdown. Undemocratic action!!! pic.twitter.com/lakjCRmIgq— Abdinasir Abdullahi (Abdinasir_Abdul) June 30, 2020 Police and state authorities should deescalate as much as possible to control this situation. Let people express their anger, heartbreak, mourn their icon, and grieve. Arrests and knee-jerk reactions are only going to lead to more protests and devastation. #HaacaaluuHundeessaa pic.twitter.com/19Ahz0VeAR— Mohammed Ademo (@OPride) June 30, 2020 Obbo Berkele Gerba, a prominent Oromo politician, was arrested alongside Jawar Mohamed. This is a man who’s been through a lot at the hands of Ethiopian state apparatus for much of the last decade. Hidhaaf Ajjeechanis, asumatti nurraa dhaabatuu qabdi! #HaacaaluuHundeessaa— Fatuma Bedhaso (@FBedaso) June 30, 2020
  • Africa's coronavirus cases hits half a million, about 12,000 deaths
    July 8: Africa’s confirmed COVID-19 cases now above a half-million Africa now has more than a half-million confirmed coronavirus cases. The continent-wide total is over 508,000, according to figures released Wednesday by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and corroborated by the John Hopkins University tallies. It comes after South Africa – by a mile Africa’s most impacted nation – recorded another day of more than 10,000 confirmed cases as a new global hot spot. The true number of cases among Africa’s 1.3 billion people is unknown as its 54 countries continue to face a serious shortage of testing materials for the virus. “A tremendous problem, a real crisis of access,” the World Health Organization’s Africa chief, Matshidiso Moeti, said last week. The continent reached the 400,000 mark on July 1 when John Hopkins tallies put the caseload at 405,171. It means that over 100,000 cases were recorded within the space of one week to reach the half a million milestone. Confirmed cases = 508,114 Active cases = 251,103 Recoveries = 245,033 Number of deaths = 11,978 John Hopkins University tallies as of July 8 at 10:00 GMT The five most impacted countries are as follows: South Africa = 215,855 Egypt = 77,279 Nigeria = 29,789 Ghana = 21,968 Algeria = 16,879 So far most testing has been concentrated in capital cities, but infections in many cases have spread beyond them. Africa’s health systems are the most poorly funded and thinly staffed in the world, and already more than 2,000 health workers have been infected by the virus, according to the WHO. This week alone, some anxious health workers in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Congo and Sierra Leone have gone on strike or demonstrated for adequate protective gear or better pay. The African continent has just 2.2 health workers — and 0.3 doctors — per 1,000 people, according to the WHO. Experts have warned that even if badly needed supplies such as ventilators are provided to African nations, another challenge is having enough trained workers to operate them. Africa reaches the half-million-case milestone as a growing number of its countries decide to reopen their skies to commercial flights, saying their economies are sick, too. Months of closed borders bought time to prepare for the pandemic but hurt the delivery of badly needed humanitarian aid. AP July 1: Cases pass 400,000, deaths pass 10,000 The continental case load crossed the 400,000 mark as of July 1 according to John Hopkins University tallies. The death toll also surpassed 10,000. There are over 201,800 active cases against 193,000 recoveries across Africa. South Africa remains the most impacted with over 150,000 cases from over 1.6 million tests. The top five countries are South Africa (151,209), Egypt (68,311), Nigeria (25,), Ghana (17,741) and Algeria (13,907). These statistics are valid as of July 1, 2020 at 11:01 GMT. Confirmed cases = 405,171 Active cases = 201,864 Recoveries = 193,149 Number of deaths = 10,158 Africa’s figures continue to be very low compared to other continents. Europe and America alone accounted for over 50% of cases when the WHO recently confirmed that global figures had gone past 10,000,000. Over in South America, Brazil remains one of the worst impacted along with Iran in the Middle East. Russia and India also have very high case loads. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } June 22: Cases pass 300,000 mark Africa’s case load passed the 300,000 mark late Sunday according to statistics by the John Hopkins University tracker. As of 07:30 GMT of June 22, the figure had reached 306,000 with 8,116 deaths. The active cases were at 151,937 with recoveries at 146,337. The continent’s most impacted remains South Africa whose tallies are almost a third of confirmed cases – current case load stands at 97,302. Egypt (North Africa) and Nigeria (West Africa) complete the top three slots with 55,233 and 20,244 respectively. The most impacted in East / Horn of Africa region is Sudan (8,580), whiles Cameroon is Central Africa’s most hit (11,892). Africa breached the 200,000 mark on June 10 according to the AU’s Africa Centers for Disease Control, which at the time reported that there were 203,899 cases along with 5,530 deaths and 91,398 recoveries. Concerns continue to be raised across the continent relative to testing strength of countries especially at a time when the virus is said to have reached the stage of community transmission in most places. Despite that, governments are easing lockdowns and reopening economies as populations are urged to embrace the new normal and play a more active role in helping to combat the virus. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } May 22: Cases pass 100,000 mark Confirmed cases of coronavirus across Africa passed the 100,000 mark barely 24-hours after the deaths hit 3,000. This is according to tallies from the John Hopkins University tracker. The figures as of May 22 14:30 GMT stood at 100,399 with 39,481 recoveries and 3,098 deaths. The number of active cases stood at 57,82. The five most impacted nations were as follows: South Africa: 19,137 confirmed cases Egypt: 15,003 Algeria: 7,728 Morocco: 7,300 Nigeria: 7,016 South Africa is the most impact across the continent and in the southern African region. Egypt tops across North Africa and Nigeria in West Africa. Cameroon is the leader in Central Africa with 4,288 cases whiles Sudan tops in the East / Horn of Africa region with 3,138 cases. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } April 18: Cases across Africa pass 20,000 mark Confirmed cases of coronavirus passed the 20,000 mark barely 24-hours after the deaths topped 1,000. This is according to tallies from the John Hopkins University tracker. The figures as of 13:30 GMT stood at 20,075 with 4,600+ recoveries and 1,026 deaths leaving a little over 13,350 active cases. Egypt remained the continent’s most impacted whiles the North African region generally contributed for some of the highest numbers. Egypt with 2,844 cases, Morocco with 2,600+ cases and Algeria with 2,418 confirmed cases. South of the Sahara, South Africa’s 2,700+ cases was the highest with Cameroon in a distant second with 1,017, Ivory Coast’s 732, Djibouti’s 732 and Ghana’s 641 completed the top five slots. Meanwhile the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, UNECA, has warned that cases could spike across the continent as more testing is rolled out in the coming weeks. Africa could see 300,000 deaths from the coronavirus this year even under the best-case scenario, according to a new report released Friday that cites modeling from Imperial College London. Under the worst-case scenario with no interventions against the virus, Africa could see 3.3 million deaths and 1.2 billion infections, the report by the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa said. Even with “intense social distancing.” under the best-case scenario the continent could see more than 122 million infections, the report said. Any of the scenarios would overwhelm Africa’s largely fragile and underfunded health systems, experts have warned. Under the best-case scenario, $44 billion would be needed for testing, personal protective equipment and treatment, the report said, citing UNECA estimates. The worst-case scenario would cost $446 billion. Additional files on UNECA report from AP April 17: Africa’s coronavirus deaths pass 1,000 mark as cases approach 20,000 Africa’s coronavirus deaths have surpassed the 1,000 mark according to tallies by the john Hopkins University. As at 18:30 GMT of April 17, 2020; Africa had recorded 1,002 deaths. Since the virus arrived on the continent on February 14 in Egypt till date, the number of confirmed cases stood at 19,417 whiles recovered cases were 4,546. The country with the highest number of fatalities being Algeria with 364 victims. Egypt despite being the continent’s most impacted in terms of infections have recorded 205 deaths as against Morocco’s 135. In sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Niger occupied the top 5 death slots with 48, 33, 23, 22 and 15 respectively. Two African countries remain uninfected till date, they are Comoros and Lesotho. The United Nations has sounded a warning that Africa could be the next epicenter of the virus. Meanwhile through the Africa Centers for Disease Control, the continent is seeking to roll out a million test kits to make up for shortfall in testing rates across the continent.
  • Ivory Coast: Kouadio Konan Bertin rejects party decision [Morning Call]
    Ivory Coast’s Presidential hopeful and member of the PDCI-RDA party, Kouadio Konan Bertin, is contesting his party’ decision to invalidate his candidacy to run on the party ticket. In an interview with Africanews, he said, he is not ruling out the possibility if running as an independent candidate again. Watch video.
  • Congo's Mokoko in critical health condition [Press review]
    The health state of the Congolese opponent ,General Jean Marie Mokoko seems to be of little concern to President Denis Sassou Nguesso analyst say. What is the true story. Details in today’s press review segment.
  • Senegal: COVID-19 slams Agric sector [Grand Angle]
    In Senegal, the agricultural sector is hard hit by the Covid-19 crisis. Agriculture represents 15% of the GDP and a large part of the population located in the coastal zone of Niayes, between Dakar and Saint-Louis depend on it. 80% of the fruit and vegetables on the Dakar market come from this region; while cultivation is abundant, sales are made on a shoestring basis.
  • South Africa hits 205,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases
    South Africa on Saturday reported more than 10,000 new coronavirus infections, the highest daily jump on record for the country as it hurtles towards an anticipated spike. Daily tallies released by the health ministry showed 10,853 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, taking the cumulative tally since March when the virus first arrived in the country to 187,977. The death toll stands at 3,026 after 74 new fatalities were recorded. Health authorities have been expecting a surge in cases after the gradual loosening of a strict lockdown that was imposed on March 27. With the nation’s economy projected to shrink more than seven percent in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic — the worst slump in 90 years — the government is battling to strike a balance between saving lives and the economy. “What we have been seeking to do is to balance… saving lives of our people and also preserving liveloods, and it’s a delicate balance,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday. Africa’s most economically developed country now has the highest number of coronavirus cases on the continent. AFP
  • Zimbabwean president sacks health minister
    Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has sacked his health minister, who has been charged with corruption over illegally awarding a $20 million contract for coronavirus testing equipment. 66 year old Obadiah Moyo, was arrested in June following an investigation by the country’s anti-corruption commission. He has been released on bail and is scheduled to appear in court on July 31. Presidential chief secretary Misheck Sibanda confirmed that Moyo has been sacked from office for “conduct inappropriate for a government minister”. The sacked-Moyo is accused of awarding a $20 million contract to Drax Consult SAGL, a Dubai-based company created just months ago, to supply personal protective equipment and COVID-19 test kits. After Zimbabwe’s opposition condemned the deal, the government cancelled all contracts with the company, according to local media reports. Moyo also faces charges in two other cases, which date back to last year for the supply of general medical equipment to public hospitals. Agencies

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