1Dark Times Ahead as South Africans Anticipate More Power Outages
On Wednesday, the state utility firm, Eskom revealed it is technically insolvent and will fail to exist at the current rate by April. The company’s debt now stands at R420 billion, posing a significant risk to the economy. South Africa’s Minister who is in charge of state owned entities, Pravin Gordhan said the public deserved an apology, but mismanagement and corruption had to be taken into account for the problems the power utility is experiencing today.
2Two Sides to Africa’s Palliative Care Story
In West Africa there are just 52 palliative-care centres such as hospices for about 360m people. Many of these do not have enough drugs. Across sub-Saharan Africa nine-tenths of cancer sufferers in moderate or severe pain die without the relief granted by opioids. The morphine shortage stems from bad policies. In the 1980s and 1990s, as part of its “war on drugs”, America cut aid and imposed sanctions on countries that were not tough enough on trafficking. In 2015 the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked palliative-care systems on measures including training and access to drugs. Uganda scored higher than richer countries such as Malaysia and Hungary. There are several reasons for Uganda’s success. The first is its adoption of oral morphine, a cheap and effective painkiller.
SOURCES: THE ECONOMIST
3A Chilling Discovery in Sudan
BBC Africa Eye has analysed dozens of dramatic videos filmed during the recent uprising, and spoken with witnesses who have survived torture. Dramatic footage filmed by protesters in Sudan shows masked security agents chasing down protesters, beating them and dragging them away to secret detention centres. Some of these protesters told the media agency about a secret and widely feared holding facility – The Fridge – where the cold is used as an instrument of torture.
4New Netflix Feature Film is Based on a true Malawian Story
It stars, and is directed by, British-Nigerian Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor and is adapted from a book by a Malawian author and innovator William Kamkwamba. The Boy Who Harnessed the Windis set in 2001 Malawi with the Kamkwamba family struggling to make ends meet but parents remained focused on their children’s education, despite the financial cost. Their 13-year old son William is forced to leave school due to money problems, but he is determined to help not only his family but a village facing famine. To this end he builds a wind turbine which helps farmers to irrigate their land. The film, which was shot in Malawi, is released globally on Netflix on Mar. 1 2019.
SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA
5Looks like a Two-horse Race for the Nigeria Polls
Not much separates the two front-runners contesting Nigeria’s presidential election. Both are men in their 70s with previous experience of high-level politics. Both are from the same ethnic group. And both are Muslims from the north of the country. In one corner is incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, of the All Progressives Congress party, known as the APC, and in the other Atiku Abubakar, of the People’s Democratic Party, or PDP. On Saturday, the eyes of the world will once again be on Nigeria to see if this presidential election, the sixth since 1999 can really be free and fair and, more importantly, hold without widespread violence.
6Setting the Stage for Somalia’s National Theatre
The building opened in 1968, eight years after independence from Britain, and treated its first audience to a comedy called “Womanizer”. But it was closed seven years ago after a suicide bomb attack. Even though the insurgency continues renovations are underway to get the theatre ready for the premiere of a classic Somali musical extravaganza titled “Caretaker Government” in May. The government and local businesses have clubbed together to raise $3 million for the restoration.
7Funds to Rebuild South Sudan have Instead Built Mansions
The Guardian says it has seen two sets of internal government documents that show that in December and January more than $135,000 was authorised by the National Pre-Transitional Committee – the group charged with overseeing the initial phases of the peace deal and managing money allocation – to renovate two politicians’ houses. They include the home of first vice president Taban Deng Gai, and that of the late Dr John Garang. His widow, Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior, is expected to be one of the country’s five vice presidents under the new agreement. The war-torn nation has been struggling to pay for the bulk of the peace deal’s implementation, citing a lack of funds and calling on the international community for help.
SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN
8A Dream to Build one of North Africa’s Biggest Ports
Libya is now in final talks to award a U.S. firm a $1.5 billion deal to set up a “mega port” intended to transform the picturesque coast where families go for picnics into a vast container hub. Ravaged by fighting between rival groups and split into different administrations, Libya urgently needs jobs for youths who otherwise look to a bloated public sector or take up guns to earn their daily bread. Beyond oil, Libya has little successful economic activity, even importing milk. The port could provide 2,500 jobs. Guidry wants to win local and foreign investment to help with financing and would like to start construction in October.
SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA
9Uganda Expects to Begin Producing Oil in 2022
Uganda discovered crude reserves more than 10 years ago but production has been repeatedly delayed by disagreements with field operators over taxes and development strategy. A lack of infrastructure such as a transportation pipeline and a refining facility have also held up output. In April 2018 Uganda signed a deal with a consortium, including a subsidiary of General Electric, to build and operate a 60,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery that will cost $3bn-$4bn. The refinery is expected to be operational by 2023.
SOURCES: BUSINESS DAY LIVE
10These Lionesses are the Pride of Kenya
The Kenyan women’s rugby team, nicknamed the Lionesses, were crowned African champions in 2016 and finished sixth in the Commonwealth Game. Now they hope to qualify for the World Rugby Sevens Series. That would mean more funding, as well as regular tournaments against the best teams in the world. Kevin Wambua has coached the Lionesses for nearly seven years, in which time he’s overseen a remarkable period of progress. Teams like New Zealand, Australia and England are able to offer their Sevens players full time contracts and state-of-the-art training facilities, but Wambua thinks his side can more than match its more prosperous rivals.