Africa Top10 News

1Remote Classrooms to Improve Higher Learning in Africa

Higher Learning in Africa

Unicaf University is an African institution founded in 2012 in Zambia with programs in fields like business, education and health care management. Offering degrees largely online, with some blended learning options, Unicaf reaches 18,000 students across the continent, many of them working adults. Unicaf offers the convenience of anytime, anywhere study — as long as the internet service is sufficient. Initially, Unicaf was essentially a distance-learning platform, taking courses offered by British and American universities, translating them to an online environment and marketing them to Africans. Partner institutions set admissions standards, approve hiring and determine whether students meet graduation requirements. The cost of a degree, about $4,000, is not cheap by African standards, but it is within reach of the region’s growing middle class, and many students receive scholarships. Ms. Kamizi, a former safety worker in a mine, got a full ride after she won a Unicaf-sponsored business competition with an idea for manufacturing low-cost sanitary napkins. Africa’s longstanding public universities have wrestled with the pressure to expand capacity without sacrificing quality, and not always successfully, said Jamil Salmi, a higher education consultant and former World Bank official from Morocco. Such universities have grown up, but they vary in caliber and can be costly. Going abroad to study is an option for only a select few.


2UN Predictions about Mali Come True

Dogon village Mali

At least 95 people have been killed in an overnight attack on an ethnic Dogon village in central Mali, local officials have said, in the latest bout of violence to hit the region. Nineteen others were missing since unknown armed men attacked the village of Sobane-Kou in the Mopti region in the early hours of Monday, the government said in a statement. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but tensions have been rising since an ethnic Dogon militia was accused of carrying out a massacre in an ethnic Fulani village in March. Last week, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had warned of a “high risk” of atrocities and called on the government to strengthen its response to armed groups. “If these concerns are not addressed, there is a high risk of further escalation that could lead to the commission of atrocity crimes,” he wrote in a report to the UN Security Council. In Monday’s statement, the Malian government expressed its condolences and said “every measure will be taken to arrest and punish those responsible for this bloodshed.”


3Getting Around Africa’s Logistical Nightmare

Getting Around Africa

Industries can make a variety of goods, but they struggle to transport them safely and quickly to customers without established networks. According to global property consultancy Knight Frank, the cost of transport takes up 50-75% of the retail price of goods. But there is hope, from both foreign investment and home-grown solutions. For example, in Nigeria, digital start-up Kobo360 developed an app that revolutionises cargo delivery by making sure that everyone in the supply chain is connected to ensure the safety and accountability of cargo in transit. n the Senegalese capital, Dakar, more and more people are shopping online, and getting goods delivered to your front door is a growing trend amongst shoppers. Quicarry is a service that delivers packages in Senegal from international ecommerce websites, particularly targeting young adults. There are other start-ups in Senegal also trying to offer new solutions, such as delivery app Paps, which aims to deliver anything you want to your front door in half an hour. But technology isn’t enough to fix Africa’s logistics problems – more support is also needed to help new businesses get off the ground.


4Some Good News for the African Elephant

African Elephant

Fifteen years ago, half a million African elephants roamed the continent. The animals were moved off endangered lists, and the population even seemed to be going up in some areas. Then, because of poaching, those numbers dropped. Africa lost more than 100,000 elephants between 2006 and 2015, the worst poaching surge since the 1980s, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. A new study finds that the number of elephants dying from poaching is declining, with a mortality rate of 10% in 2011 falling to 4% in 2017. The cause? Reduced ivory demand, specifically from Chinese markets — the biggest driver behind poaching in Africa, according to the study, which appeared last month in the journal Nature Communications. It’s basic supply and demand, according to the study. The supply for ivory, which poachers get from the elephants’ tusks, is always low, but when demand is high, more people try to meet that demand. China banned all trade in ivory in 2017, which may have helped blunt demand, the study says. But trade and poaching bans in China and in Africa have also had the negative effect of driving the value of ivory up.


5Red Tape and Bureaucracy for African Researchers

Bureaucracy for African Researchers

The Home Office is being accused of institutional racism and damaging British research projects through increasingly arbitrary and “insulting” visa refusals for academics. In April, a team of six Ebola researchers from Sierra Leone were unable to attend vital training in the UK, funded by the Wellcome Trust as part of a £1.5m flagship pandemic preparedness programme. At the LSE Africa summit, also in April, 24 out of 25 researchers were missing from a single workshop. Shortly afterwards, the Save the Children centenary events were marred by multiple visa refusals of key guests. There are echoes of the wider hostile environment across the Home Office, with MPs on a parliamentary inquiry into visa refusals hearing evidence that there is “an element of systemic prejudice against applicants”. In a letter in today’s Observer 70 senior leaders from universities and research institutes across the UK warn that “visa refusals for African cultural, development and academic leaders … [are] undermining ‘Global Britain’s’ reputation as well as efforts to tackle global challenges”.


6Difficulty Repatriating Revenues Earned in African Air Travel

African Air Travel

The International Air Transport Association says that a number of African countries are holding up funds by airline operators as a result of foreign exchange crunch. At its annual General Meeting in South Korea early June 2019, IATA said as at the ending of March 2019, five African countries were holding a total of $413 million meant for airlines. Amongst them are Eritrea, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Angola and Algeria. Eritrea is holding a total of $73 million of such funds with six million of the chunk belonging to Ethiopian Airlines. Other airlines impacted by the same situation include Egypt Air, Turkish Air and Fly Dubai. Reports say the financial difficulty had forced Qatar Airways and Luthansa to abandon the route. According to the IATA, Zimbabwe holds USD 192 million, Sudan 84 million, Algeria 80 million, Angola seven million.


7The Tanzanian Journalist Taking on Magufuli

Kizito Makoye Shigela

Kizito Makoye Shigela is a brave man, the journalist is unafraid to openly criticize the Tanzanian President, John Magufuli, whom he accuses of abusing the constitution. He feels that the country is returning to dictatorship, just like other East African countries. People disappear. Azory Gwanda—a reporter who researched a story that might have proven embarrassing for the powers that be—is currently missing. Opposition leader Tundu Lissu was said to be the victim of an assassination attempt in September 2017. He is still being treated by doctors in Belgium. Tanzania slipped from 93rd to 118th place in the latest Reporters Without Borders ranking. In February, the Tanzanian government closed the English language newspaper The Citizen for a week. The editors reported on the situation of the Tanzanian shilling and its strong fluctuation against the US dollar. The report put Tanzanian economic policy to the test. The publishers of The Citizen were meant to understand the one-week ban as a warning.


8A Campaign of Civil Disobedience has emptied Khartoum’s Streets

Khartoum’s Streets

The opposition says 118 people were killed in last week’s violence. Authorities put the death toll at 62. Army officers who overthrew President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in April after four months of protests have cancelled all agreements with the civilian opposition alliance and scrapped talks over power sharing. Security forces fired in the air to disperse demonstrators in the north of the city. The scenario unfolding in Sudan seems straight out of the playbooks of generals in Egypt who manipulated the 2011 Arab Spring to their advantage instead of introducing greater freedoms.


9Cause for Concern in Ethiopia’s Path for Polls

Census Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s parliament postponed a national census for a second time on Monday, citing security concerns but potentially undermining logistics for the first election under reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Ethiopia is due to hold a national vote some time in 2020, and the census — already postponed once from 2017 — is a crucial step towards demarcating constituencies. But parliamentarians in both houses voted overwhelmingly to delay the census again by a year, due to an upsurge in ethnic conflicts that has forced 2.4-million Ethiopians out of their homes, according to UN figures. The next vote will test Abiy’s reformist agenda that has included ending hostilities with Eritrea, opening the economy to foreign investment and freeing political prisoners.


10How Youth Mentorship Can Help Shape South Africa

South Africa Youth Mentorship

In 2010, youth in South Africa, people aged 15-34, constituted 37% of the population, numbering 19.1 million individuals. Young people in today’s world grapple with socio-economic challenges which will ultimately impact on their ability to access opportunities in their future. They are also vulnerable in the labour market, with high levels of youth unemployment. Peer mentors are friends, advisers, role models, coaches or companions who can fill existing gaps in support and help teenagers to navigate stress, peer pressure and other negative influences in their lives. Through mentorship programmes, such as the SAB 18+ Be The Mentor programme, which aims to promote harm reduction, reduce underage drinking and contribute to broader change in communities, youth gain self-confidence and improve in attitude and behaviour. The SAB 18+ Be The Mentor mentorship programme works via its digital mentorship programme and a network of SAB’s Smart Drinking Squad (SDS) who give guidance to peer mentors on how to avoid the negative effects of alcohol abuse and underage drinking. They also provide support in other aspects of their lives.