1Saving Kenya’s Heritage from a Cloud of Smog
Campaigners in Kenya who fear their country is turning its back on its green goals are hoping to stop construction of a coal plant that would increase greenhouse gas emissions by 700%. Activists in Kenya are marking World Environment Day with a protest against plans to build the country’s first coal-fired power station. At least two-thirds of Kenya’s electricity is currently generated by renewable resources and it has pledged to reduce its small carbon footprint by nearly a third over the next decade. The new plant will sit alongside an ambitious new $25.5bn development on the Kenyan coast at Lamu – an historic 700-year-old fishing and trading town, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site. The Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor project includes a vast 32-berth container port, an oil terminal, road and railway links, and a “resort city”. The first phase of the port building project is almost complete. Chinese dredging vessels are cutting a deep channel in the bay and are using the sand and rocks to reclaim land and build the first three container ship berths, which stretch for almost a mile.
2One in Three African Children are Stunted
In an urgent call for action, a study by the African Child Policy Forum said that nearly 60 million children in Africa do not have enough food despite the continent’s economic growth in recent years. Nine out of 10 African children do not meet the criteria for minimum acceptable diet outlined by the World Health Organization, and two out of five don’t eat meals regularly. Liberia, Congo and Chad are at the bottom of the chart when it comes to children aged six to 23 months receiving sufficient and diverse food with a healthy frequency. They are followed by Zimbabwe, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Hunger impairs growth and cognitive development of children, but also hits the economic performance of the country they come from. Child hunger can cost African countries almost 17% of their GDP, according to the report. The continent’s present GDP is estimated to have been reduced by 10% because of stunting alone. Annually, child hunger costs Ethiopia 16.5% of its GDP. The rate for Rwanda is 11.5%. The report says “for every dollar invested in reducing stunting, there is a return of about $22 (£17) in Chad, $21 in Senegal, and $17 in Niger and Uganda”, and if the investment is made early in the child’s life, the return rates can be even higher: up to $85 in Nigeria, $80 in Sudan and $60 in Kenya.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
3Recovering Nigeria’s Lost Millions
Authorities in Jersey say they have seized more than $267 million from the family and associates of late Nigerian military dictator Sani Abacha. According to Jersey’s Civil Asset Recovery Fund, the laundered funds recovered from confiscated assets, belonging to the son of the late dictator, Mohammed Abacha was “derived from corruption,” during the military leader’s rule in Nigeria. The money was found in a Channel Islands account held by shell company Doraville Properties Corporation. It had been frozen by a federal court in Washington in 2014 at the request of prosecutors pursuing criminal proceedings against Mohammed Abacha and his associates. The stolen funds have now been recovered and paid into a special recovery fund after a five-year legal battle, and it will be shared between the Nigerian government, Jersey and the US government, according to Jersey authorities overseeing the case.
4Rwanda Enters the Multipurpose Housing Game
A project dubbed “Rugarama Park Estate” a joint venture between Shelter Africa, Development Bank of Rwanda in partnership with engineering and construction firm Remote Group, has recently been launched where the construction of over 2000 affordable housing for an average Rwandan’s income. Rugarama is a sustainable integrated community development, whose objective is to develop a high-density housing estate (2700 units+) that will, cater for lower and medium income populations of the society; provide a wealth of civic and community facilities –e.g.: schools, parks, religious sites, medical centres and commercial opportunities; Integrate sustainable eco-friendly initiatives. The Government of Rwanda has currently considered affordable housing as one of its priorities although there are a number of strategic incentives to attract local and international investors in the sector. The country targets to have 35 per cent of urbanization by 2024 from 18.4 per cent in 2017, the move that will need more dwelling units. Housing experts, however say that due to different challenges, the country has not even managed to satisfy 10 per cent of affordable housing needs. Shelter Afrique is the only pan-African finance institution that exclusively supports the development of the housing and real estate sector in Africa. The company is owned by 44 African Governments, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Africa Reinsurance Company.
SOURCE: CAPITAL FM
5Calling All Coin Collectors
South Africa’s Kruger rand, the most widely held and actively traded bullion coin worldwide, issued a new set of collectible coins commemorating 25 years of democracy. The series consists of five new 2-rand ($0.14) coins and a 5-rand coin, and will be released over the next few months. The coins were produced by the South African Mint and are the first to be designed with input from the public, which helped develop themes that include children’s, environmental and educational rights. More than 60 million Kruger rands — a one-ounce unit introduced in 1967 — have been sold, according to the South African Gold Coin Exchange.
6Landslide Destroys Ugandan Village
Five people died and dozens were missing after heavy rains triggered a series of landslides in eastern Uganda. A statement from the office of Prime Minister said “there are reports of displacement and destruction of property as well as missing persons” in the country’s mountainous Bududa district. “There’s a team of Red Cross and … local authorities on the ground in a rescue operation,” said Julius Mucunguzi, a prime minister’s office spokesman. The Red Cross said about 50 people were believed to be missing and 150 houses had been destroyed after the mudslides on Tuesday night in the foothills of Mount Elgon – an extinct volcano with five major peaks. The local Red Cross branch volunteers together with the local police joined efforts and retrieved the bodies. The affected areas have steep slopes. It is threatening to rain again [and] officials say that accessibility is still a challenge. Bududa district, which lies on the border between Uganda and Kenya, is a high-risk area for landslides. In 2010, at least 100 people were killed in a mudslide and at least 41 died after a river in the region burst its banks in 2018.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
7Living with Wild Animals
Villagers in southern Cameroon are relocating following a series of lion attacks on their livestock. Cameroon authorities and wildlife conservationists are warning about the growing threat to endangered animals from human-wildlife conflict. A forest rancher deployed by Cameroon wildlife officials to the area, says their first mission is to make sure the population is safe. But he said the lions should also be secured and returned to their natural habitat. He said the villagers should remain calm, avoid being isolated, and desist from coming out to fight back when the lions attack. Officials suspect the lions came from overcrowded reserves like the Benoue, Kalfou, or Waza wildlife parks in northern Cameroon for greener pastures. Save the Cameroon Forest’s wildlife conservation expert Rigobert Bihina said communities need better incentives for development that also involve wildlife conservation. He said the government and its development partners should pay particular attention to people who live in villages surrounding national parks.
8African Countries no Longer Need to Choose between the US and China for Development
During the Cold War the Russians provided diplomatic, economic, military, and educational support for numerous African liberation movements. These included Algeria, Angola, Cape Verde, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, Madagascar, Sao Tome & Principe, and Tanzania. As a result many young Africans were educated in Moscow. Russia began to trade and interact with these states routinely. It sent in military intelligence officers to establish a strong presence and ensure that Africa was not purely influenced by the West. The Russians developed relations with Africa so intensely that for the 10 years between 1950 and 1960 it surpassed the influence of colonizing powers. When Putin came to power in 1999. Under his leadership Russia has started to regain its economic and political clout in Africa. Putin has jumpstarted Russia’s diplomatic, economic, and military ties with its former African allies. Russia’s interests have mainly been in energy, oil and gas as well as defence, and has been accused of political interference in some African elections. Researchers say that the danger for Moscow is that, the more progress it makes with African governments, the more likely it is that its interests will collide with those of either China or the US—or both.
SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA
9All Eyes on Sudan
Sudan’s military ruler offered to resume talks with opposition groups without conditions on Wednesday, in an apparent olive branch two days after security forces mounted a deadly raid on a protest camp in central Khartoum. Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan’s offer marked a step-back from the army’s decision to cancel all deals with the opposition after the raid – and came as international criticism of the violence mounted. At least 60 people died in the operation and subsequent unrest, medics linked to the opposition said on Wednesday – the worst outbreak of violence since the army ousted president Omar al-Bashir in April following months of mass protests against his rule.
SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA
10The Team Behind Your Favourite Treats
If you like marshmallows or M&M’s chocolate candies, then you’ve eaten acacia gum without even knowing it. Collected from the acacia tree, acacia gum is used in the food industry as a stabilizer, emulsifier and thickening agent. It is one of those environmentally friendly ingredients that are providing jobs for farmers in the Sahel region, mostly in Senegal and Sudan, even though large-scale production extends all the way to Somalia. TRUE Africa went to Dakar and Dahra in Senegal, so to visit the production facilities of Alland & Robert, a family-owned company that has become one of the world’s leading exporters of acacia gum. The teams observed the local harvesting methods and supply chain process and interviewed Frédéric Alland, the CEO at Alland & Robert who happens to be a sixth-generation owner of the 135-year-old company.
SOURCE: TRUE AFRICA