Africa Top10 News

1It’s No Surprise that the African National Congress Emerged Victorious 

president Cyril Ramaphosa

But the changing profile of its rivals shows that political landscape of Africa’s most advanced economy is beginning to transform radically, to the left and the right. Land is the center of both sides of the debate. Despite their victory, this is the ANC’s worst performance yet. At 57.5% of the national vote, the ANC continues a steady decline. Despite president Cyril Ramaphosa’s promises of a new dawn, the party couldn’t shake its darker recent past of corruption, slow economic growth and factional fighting. Ramaphosa’s focus on land redistribution and anti-corruption did not quite yield the results the party had hoped and it struggled to hold on to the economic hub, Gauteng. Its nearest rival, the Democratic Alliance, did not fare much better, earning 20,7% of the national vote, down from 22,23% in 2014. The liberal party maintained its stronghold in the Western Cape, but for the first time since 1994, failed to grow its support. The party’s first black president, Mmusi Maimane, may be out of a job soon, analysts said. Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters party looks set to become the official opposition by the next election, growing its share of the national vote from 6.35% in 2014 to 10,79%. With its leftist policies and the impatient slogan, “Our Land and Jobs, Now!” the EFF not only tapped into the frustration of disenfranchised youth, but peri-urban communities throughout the country.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

2Seeking Justice from Cairo

Giulio Regeni

The parents of Giulio Regeni, the Italian student murdered in Cairo three years ago, have written to the Egyptian president demanding he extradite five men to Italy to face trial. Paola and Claudio Regeni published their emotional plea in an open letter to Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. They condemned what they see as false promises by Egyptian authorities to investigate the murder of their son, and a cover-up. “As long as this barbarism remains unpunished, until all those who are guilty, regardless of their position, are brought to justice in Italy, no one in the world can stay in your country and feel safe,” the letter reads. Regeni’s mutilated body was found by the side of an outlying Cairo desert road in February 2016, bearing clear signs of torture, following his disappearance on 25 January that year. The 28-year-old’s mother, Paola, later stated she only recognised that the corpse belonged to her son by “the tip of his nose”.  Letters were carved into the side of Regeni’s body by one of his torturers and there was evidence that Regeni had been followed and investigated by the Egyptian security services prior to his death.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

3The African Union’s Plan on Creating a Close-knit Relationship amongst Members

African Union

In 2013, the AU designed Agenda 2063, a framework with set objectives to aid the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years. The vision is to maintain integration of Africans on the continent. One of the ways the union is doing this is through the proposed launch of a continental passport known as the AU passport. The passport will grant visa-free access to every member state so Africans can move freely across the continent. Presently, only Seychelles and the Republic of Benin have no visa restrictions for Africa travellers. The AU passport is not yet available to the public but is exclusive to heads of state, top diplomats and persons of interest in Africa. But easy travel within the continent is not the passport’s only objective, it is also about opening up borders for economic growth and Intra-Africa trade. There’s a substantial amount of evidence to show that free movement boosts the economies of countries. Residents of other countries are able to contribute skills for human capital development and to the labor market of the receiving countries. The Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), one of the AU’s frameworks to keep the continent integrated, is an agreement allowing free access to markets and market information in Africa. In 2018, leaders of 44 African countries met in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city and endorsed the AfCFTA. Since then 52 countries, including South Africa, have joined in. The agreement creates a single market that removes trade barriers says Hafsatu Lawal Garba, one of the researchers who worked on the AfCFTA. By removing barriers, it will allow Africa owned companies and businessmen to expand and enter new markets. This, in turn, widens their customer base, leading to new products and services.

SOURCES: CNN

4[WATCH] Nigeria’s Pre-teens Code Solution to Doing Chores

Nigeria's Pre-teens

They’ve only been coding for a year or two, but these Nigerian children are already using their skills to make daily tasks that little bit easier. Twelve-year-old Fathia Abdullahi revealed that folding of cloths is one of the major challenges in her house so she used coding to build a clothes-folding robot. Oluwatobiloba Nsikakabasi Owolola, who is also 12, has programmed a robot grabber that senses nearby objects and moves them.

SOURCES: BBC

5Zimbabweans Dealt another Blow

Zimbabwe Electricity

The country’s state power utility imposed the worst rolling blackouts in three years on Monday, with households and industries including mines set to be without electricity for up to eight hours daily. The power cuts are bound to stoke mounting public anger against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government as Zimbabweans grapple with an economic crisis that has seen shortages of U.S. dollars, fuel, food and medicines as well as soaring inflation that is eroding earnings and savings. Many Zimbabweans say life is getting harder and that Mnangagwa is failing to deliver on pre-election promises last year to rebuild an economy shattered during Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule. The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), citing reduced output at its largest hydro plant and ageing coal-fired generators, said power cuts would start on Monday and last up to eight hours during morning and evening peak periods. The country last experienced such serious blackouts in 2016 following a devastating drought.

SOURCES: CNBC AFRICA

6Setting Up an African Development Centre

African Development Centre

American technology giant Microsoft Corporation has unveiled plans to set up an African technology development centre in Kenya. The technology centre will be Microsoft’s 7th globally and will not only be the corporation’s gateway to the region, but will carry huge potential for jobs and business opportunities for tech-savvy Kenyan youth in the various ICT specializations. The new development sites carry great potential for talent development and technology transfer among Africa’s youth especially in countries with good ICT literacy ratings such as Kenya, adding that the corporation would be hiring 100 local engineers as a start. According to Microsoft, the Africa Development Centre will be a premier hub of engineering for the US technology company and its affiliates. The centre will leverage the diversity of the regional landscape to build world-class talent capable of creating innovative solutions for global impact. Further, the centre is expected to establish a collaborative engineering springboard for new technology investments in Kenya.

SOURCES: CGTN AFRICA

7Plans for Egypt’s New Capital Hit a Snag

Egypt's New Capital

Egypt’s government wants to start running the nation from a new capital in the desert from mid-2020, but the $58 billion project is struggling to raise funds and needs to overcome other challenges after investors pulled out. Workers are rushing to build core areas of the new city to replace Cairo, the existing capital on the Nile that has become a traffic-clogged, urban sprawl of more than 20 million people. The project, launched in 2015 by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi a year after he was first elected president, aims to offer a clean and efficient base for the government and finance industry, as well as homes for at least 6.5 million people. But the project, which also seeks to lift an economy dented by political turmoil after 2011, lost a lead investor from the United Arab Emirates and is now being run by the Housing Ministry and the army’s Engineering Authority. Officials say “the large scale of the work leads to large scale problems”, such as finding enough skilled labor to wire up the “smart city” and raising about 58 billion in financing over coming years from land sales and other investment. A promotional video depicts a green city, running on cashless systems for transport and other services, that contrasts with Cairo, much of whose elegant 19th and early 20th century architectural heart has fallen into disrepair. The new city, known for now as the New Administrative Capital, is eventually expected to cover about 700 square km. The first phase, covering about 168 square km, will have ministries, residential neighborhoods, a diplomatic quarter and a financial district. A large mosque and cathedral, as well a hotel and conference center, have already been built.

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

8Terror Attacks Rock Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso attacks

Gunmen killed at least six Christians in a Catholic church in the Burkinabe town of Dablo on Sunday. The worshippers were attending morning mass when at least 20 men surrounded them and shot six dead, according to a government statement. The attackers then torched the church and set fire to a shop and two vehicles, in the second attack on Christians in as many weeks in a nation increasingly overrun by jihadis. At the end of April, five Christians were killed in an attack on a Burkinabe Protestant church. The pastor was among those killed in the raid in the small town of Silgadji. Both Dablo and Silgadji are in the north of Burkina Faso, which has suffered from increasingly frequent and deadly attacks attributed to a number of jihadi groups, including the Ansarul Islam group, the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.

SOURCES: Deutsche Welle

9Keeping Congolese in Check about Ebola

Ebola in Congo

As medical teams work to fight the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, local media organisations and activists are waging a second war against rumours that sow doubt about the disease and distrust of vaccines. Many locals are suspicious of medical workers and believe the outbreak, which has killed more than 1,000 people since last August, was orchestrated by politicians. Conspiracy theories are rampant on social media, with some users rejecting the existence of Ebola, and others claiming that it is a biological weapon created to decimate the population or that medical teams are more interested in making money than in containing the disease. The hostility has been underscored by violence toward medical workers in North Kivu province, in eastern Congo, where the outbreak has hit hardest. Treatment centers have been targeted, and a nurse and doctor were killed in recent months in attacks believed to have been carried out by local militias. Distrust of the disease was heightened after the North Kivu cities of Beni and Butembo were excluded from voting in the presidential election in December, with authorities citing the Ebola outbreak, said our Observer Sammy Mupfuni, a journalist who co-founded the fact-checking website Congo Check. The site recently began identifying and debunking rumours surrounding Ebola. Congo Check also aims to raise awareness of the disease by reminding locals that Ebola is spread by bodily fluids and that many people have been successfully treated at the medical centres, known as CTEs.

SOURCES: THE OBSERVERS

10[WATCH] Tanzania’s Top Male Model Publicly Embraces his Condition

Miko Deo

A long-term condition began robbing his skin of its color a decade-and-a-half ago. Miko Deo, who has vitiligo, is pushing back against the stigma and self-doubt by pursuing a career in modelling. He says it makes him unique. Initially embarrassed by his condition he found inspiration from fashion models like Winnie Harlow who has helped bring vitiligo to the limelight.

SOURCES: VOA