Africa Top10 News

1Seychelles President Does First Live Speech from a Submersible

President Danny Faure

President Danny Faure went deep sea diving into the Indian Ocean to call for protection of “the beating blue heart of our planet.” “This issue is bigger than all of us, and we cannot wait for the next generation to solve it. We are running out of excuses to not take action, and running out of time.” Faure, who has made environmental protection a top priority, was taken down more than 120 metres (400 feet) in the submersible vehicle Ocean Zephyr which is being used for a mission dubbed “Nekton Deep Ocean Exploration” and which is rated for depths of more than 500 metres. From next year, Seychelles plans to designate 30 percent of its marine surface as a protected zone. The nation is particularly vulnerable to the destruction of coral reefs that comprise many of its smallest atolls. The Nekton mission is to spend seven weeks studying underwater life, mapping the sea bed and placing captors at depths of up to 2 000 metres in the nation’s waters.

SOURCES: IOL

2Two North African Nations Face their Hardest Test

North African Nations

Protesters continued with their Khartoum sit-in, demanding the military council to ‘immediately transfer power to a civilian government’. Revolutions rarely end happily – and it remains to be seen whether the Sudanese can make theirs stick. Algerians, for example, will be following events closely. Similar demands for root-and-branch reform ignited this month’s upheaval in Algiers in which Abdelaziz Bouteflika, another elderly president who outstayed his welcome, was defenestrated by popular demand. Unlike Khartoum, civilian politicians remain in control in Algiers. But the fear there, too, is that the “system” will not change. The army’s top general, Ahmed Gaid Salah, has backed a Bouteflika crony as interim leader, pending new polls. Salah warned protesters last week against making “persistent, unrealisable demands”.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

3Africa Stands to Benefit most from Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence Africa

Internet technology giant Google has officially opened its Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Centre in Ghana with high hopes of finding solutions to Africa’s problems. Artificial intelligence is an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and reacts like humans. It helps find solutions to real-world problems. It can help people focus on what is relevant and open up new ways to solve problems in almost every imaginable field such as AI helping pathologists to spot cancer cells on slides, advising farmers on how to address problems with their crops and helping manufacturers detect equipment breakdowns. Google is optimistic the lab in the West African country – the first in Africa – will transform lives by coming up with bespoke solutions for the continent’s problems including natural disasters. Machine Learning researchers and software engineers run the AI centre to populate the system with local AI content. Google is collaborating with stakeholders such as universities and start-ups to enhance AI development on the continent.

SOURCES: GHANAWEB

4Play Therapy Reveals How Children were Affected by Idai

Play Therapy

One month after Cyclone Idai ripped through Mozambique and killed at least 750 people, children there are showing signs of severe psychological stress, the charity Save the Children has warned. After speaking with families at a center for internally displaced people in the port city of Beira, the charity said it was concerned that the “urgent and long-term needs of children continue to grow,” following the cyclone. During Save the Children’s investigation, the agency asked children to draw their homes before and after the cyclone and to describe what they had witnessed. In their pictures, children drew devastating images of adults and children crying and people drowning in floodwaters. The charity used only the first names of the children and adults in its study.

SOURCES: CNN

5Women from DRC Mining Town Lead Revolution

DRC Mining Town

The mining town of Kamituga is located in an area with vast mineral resources estimated to be worth $24 trillion in untapped deposits, but despite this the region has one of the lowest levels of GDP per capita in the world. According to the mining code first drafted in 2002 and amended on March 9, 2018, artisanal mining activity is “every activity where a person from Congolese nationality performs either the excavation or concentration of mineral resources, using artisanal tools, methods and procedures, within an area characterised by a limited size and a depth that can’t be over thirty metres”. So far, artisanal mining has previously been known for corruption and child labour. However, since 2006, women have started to unite in associations and a decade later have built a tight-knit network known by the French acronym of RENAFEM (National Network of Women in Mining).

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

6What Should Happen to Bashir Now?

Al-Bashir

Al-Bashir’s whereabouts is of interest because he’s wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide in Darfur. The fact that al-Bashir has been deposed will again raise questions about whether there’s a possibility of seeing the former Sudanese president facing trial at the ICC. Commentators have already expressed different opinions on whether he will or won’t end up facing trial at The Hague. Views either highlight the fact that he’s likely to face trial because he no longer enjoys the privileges associated with his position. Or that he still has influence over the new government and, as such, bringing him to The Hague would be extremely complicated. The ICC’s case stretches back to 2005 with the publication of a UN report that accused the Sudanese government of systematic abuses in Darfur. The United Nations Security Council then referred the suspects to the ICC.In the following years, the ICC would release two arrest warrants against al-Bashir – in 2009 and in 2010 – on several counts of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. In 2014, the ICC’s Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda shelved the case due to a lack of cooperation in pushing for al-Bashir’s arrest. Many saw the shelving as emblematic of the court’s lack of power over powerful individuals, especially sitting heads of state.

SOURCES: CNBC AFRICA

7Kenya and the WikiLeaks Connection

Kenya WikiLeaks

In many ways, the story of WikiLeaks and its transformation from an underground hacking outfit into a global anti-secrecy organization began in Kenya. After founding WikiLeaks in 2006, Julian Assange traveled there in 2007 to attend the World Social Forum in Nairobi. The meeting was first held in Brazil in 2001 and coincides annually with the gathering of political and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More than 80,000 people gathered at the anti-capitalist forum that year, with many hoping to network with other activists and protest global policies they said hurt the poor. British police this week arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in response to a US extradition request on charges that he helped hack Pentagon computers in 2010. The arrest marked the end of an era and the beginning of a new one for the white-bearded Assange, whose embattled web organization emboldened whistleblowers, exposed the secrets of the moneyed and powerful, and redefined journalism and the meaning of journalistic ethics in the digital age.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

8Trump Enjoys an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

Ivanka Trump Ethiopia

Ivanka Trump toured businesses run by women in Ethiopia on Sunday while promoting a White House global economic program for women. President Donald Trump’s daughter and senior adviser visited a coffee shop and textile company in Addis Ababa. It was her first stop in Africa on a four-day trip to Ethiopia and Ivory Coast on behalf of a White House project intended to boost 50 million women in developing countries by 2025. Aiming to offer assistance and learn about the struggles of women in business, she took part in a traditional coffee ceremony, visited with weavers and announced new financial support for businesses. This is Ivanka Trump’s first visit to Africa since the president launched the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative. It’s a program she hopes will outlast an administration better known for “America First” isolationism. She has drawn praise for taking on this project and for making the trip. But thousands of miles from Washington, she is sure to be shadowed by her father’s efforts to cut international aid, as well as his past disparaging comments about Africa.

SOURCES: CBS NEWS

9Deciphering Nigerian Songs

Nigerian Songs

Current Nigerian hip-hop artistes also reflect on socioeconomic realities in their songs, performances and records. This landscape includes cyber-criminals, commonly known as “Yahoo Boys” – the people who set up fake internet accounts with the express intention of defrauding their victims. In a recently published paper researchers tried to unpack the complexity of the relationship between Nigerian musicians and Yahoo Boys by analysing hip-hop lyrics that feature the cyber fraudsters. While many Nigerian hip-hop artists glamorise Yahoo Boys, some also condemn them. Through analysing the lyrics of hip-hop artists, Yahoo Boys are a reflection of Nigerian society and that hip-hop artists, with all their flaws, are often simply attempting to hold a mirror up to these complicated times in Nigeria. In that way, they follow in the footsteps of the hip-hop greats.

SOURCES: THE CONVERSATION

10Extreme Motorsports Race for Women Only

Rallye Aicha des Gazelles

The annual Rallye Aicha des Gazelles sees all-female teams driving off-road across the Sahara desert in Morocco. Competitors can only use a map, navigational plotter and compass – GPS, binoculars and cell phones can’t be used. The winner isn’t the fastest, but the team who have travelled the shortest distance between checkpoints. It is the only women’s rally in the world that takes place 100% off-road since 1990, in Morocco.

SOURCES: BBC

Thanks for reading and for your interest in South Africa. Content is produced in collaboration between iAfrica’s editorial team and partners — including nongovernmental organizations, private sector stakeholders, agencies and institutions. If you are interested in sharing stories to shine a spotlight on a particular issue, please email i-news@africa.com. We look forward to hearing from you.