1African Solutions to African Problems
African leaders have called on other African States and friends of Africa to support the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund which is an initiative of the Food and Agricultural Organisation an agency of the United Nations. The call was made at the 54th Annual Meeting of the Africa Development Bank in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema urged his fellow African leaders to lend a helping hand so that the continent can get the needed support. African and non-regional donors pledged $17 million to replenish the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund, an initiative which has been lauded for providing innovative solutions for African agriculture and food systems. Officially launched at the 38th session of the Food and Agricultural Organisation meeting in June 2013, the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund aims to support countries experiencing food insecurity. 41 countries have so far benefited from the assistance. But the continent’s leaders want an even greater commitment to reach more beneficiaries. The bank is fully aware of the challenges the continent faces in the area of food security and agriculture.
SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS
2Motorcycle Taxis are Part of a Futuristic Tech-enabled Lagos
Some consider motorcycle taxis dangerous, but venture capitalists are investing millions in these ride-hailing startups. While the Lagos State government does not officially promote motorbike taxis, growing demand for ways to reduce maddeningly long commute times is making an increasing number of people jump on the backs of two-wheeled taxis in Nigeria. Tech companies are now trying to make it easier for riders to link up with motorcycle taxis no matter where these urban passengers may be. Last year, several ride-hailing applications designed to connect riders with motorcycle taxis were launched such as the Gokada app. Residents in Lagos call these two-wheeled taxis “okadas”, because they are so much faster than cars. Okada is the name of Nigeria’s first private commercial airline, Okada Air. During those early years, okadas got a bad reputation because of reckless operators and gruesome accidents. Back then, the number of broken bones and bloody limbs grew so fast that local media nicknamed a section of the National Orthopaedic Hospital Igbobi the “okada ward”. Today, riding okadas is a little safer because Lagos State restricts them to certain inner streets.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
3Chefs across Africa are Pushing the Envelope when it Comes to Food
Whether it’s bringing foraging to the forefront of the culinary landscape or finding ways to make familiar flavors stand out, three African chefs are taking cuisine on the continent to new heights. South African chef and restauranteur Chris Erasmus believes that when it comes to food the process is just as important as the outcome, he specialises in the fine art of foraging and heritage food. His philosophy of “being conscious” evident not only in the menu at his award- winning restaurant ‘Foliage,’ but in how he runs it. In Lagos Gbubemi Fregene also know as Chef Fregz is determined to make Nigeria the continent’s number one food destination. After studying at one of the top culinary schools in the world, Le Cordon Blu in Paris, Fregene moved back to Nigeria and now he’s one of the most sought after chefs in the country. His speciality is combining western ingredients with traditional African dishes which has proved a big hit, but his dream is to take Nigerian cuisine global. Selassie Atadika wants to change the way you eat. Through her new movement: the nomadic dining experience, she encourages diners to ditch restaurants and move meals outside. Atadika worked across Africa with the UN for different agencies, her humanitarian work further proved to her how food ties communities together.
4Delayed Peace Deal Affects South Sudanese Refugees
Uganda hosts Africa’s largest refugee population – one and a quarter million people, with two thirds having fled conflict in South Sudan. Last year’s peace deal raised hopes for some South Sudanese that they could soon return home. But the fragile peace has discouraged many from leaving Uganda’s refugee camps, despite struggles for adequate aid. Conflict, hunger and disease forced nearly 700,000 people to flee South Sudan to become refugees in neighbouring countries in 2017. More than 70 percent of those fled in the first half of 2017, when multiple military offensives occurred in Upper Nile, Unity, Jonglei, and the Greater Equatoria region. Since 2013, over 4.2 million people – about one in three South Sudanese – have been displaced within the country. More than 2.2 million people are now refugees in countries across the region, including Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
5Egyptian Artifact Shouldn’t be on Auction List
Authorities are trying to stop the auction of a statue of Tutankhamun’s head at Christie’s auction house in London next month after concerns were raised that the bust might have been stolen from the Karnak temple in Luxor. The statue, a brown quartzite head of the young pharaoh, which portrays him as the ancient god Amun, is expected to raise more than £4m at auction on 4 July. But Egyptian officials have called on Christie’s to prove the statue left the country legally. The 28.5cm-high statue is more than 3,000 years old and “exudes strength and serenity”, according to the Christie’s listing. It shows the head of Amun with the “slightly drooping lower lips, and almond-shaped, slanted eyes with a deep depression between the eyes and eyebrows” of Tutankhamun. The listing says similar representations of Amun with Tutankhamun’s facial features were carved for the temple of Karnak in upper Egypt. Egyptian officials fear the statue was taken from the Karnak temple complex, a vast ancient site in the southern city of Luxor.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
6Creating an Educational Model Designed for Africa
African Leadership Universities have disrupted the traditional balance of power in the university upside down by making the experience student-centric instead of professor-centric. Ghanaian entrepreneur Fred Swaniker has examined what has changed over the last several hundred years in university development, and designed a university that takes advantage of technology and the proliferation of information that was not so readily available in the past. With the internet making straight factual information so accessible, the role of the professor and the traditional text book is diminished. Hence, Swaniker’s educational philosophy involves self-directed student learning and students learning from one another, a cornerstone of Stanford University’s MBA programme from which Swaniker graduated. Instead of presenting students with a backwards focused menu of subject areas from which to choose, students define the global challenge that they wish to address in the future. One student is looking at urbanization, and the challenges that Africa’s rapid urbanization will create over the next few decades. This means that the student must master concepts in housing, education, public health, resource management, etc. Students are also then required to intern within an organization that addresses their area of concern, which provides a pragmatic validation of the academic area of interest. Students then return to the classroom with real world understanding of their area of interest, and can re-calibrate their understanding of the subject matter accordingly, including the effectiveness of their approach to solving this challenge.
7Mapping Drought Patterns in Africa for 2019
Failed rains across eastern Africa, southern Africa, and the Horn of Africa are seeing another dire season for farmers, increasing food prices and driving up the aid needs of tens of millions of already vulnerable people across the three regions. More than 45 million people will struggle to find enough food across 14 countries in 2019, many feeling the compounded effects of years of drought. It’s the second time in three years that an El Niño event has disrupted weather patterns. In 2017 – a year in which the UN labelled the crisis the worst in decades – some 38 million people were in need. Drought again in 2018 was followed by significantly below-average rains at the beginning of this year – down by 50 percent in parts of southern Africa. In the Horn and eastern Africa, delayed rains finally arrived in May, allowing some regrowth of pasture for grazing. But it has not been enough to offset the damage to people’s livelihoods and overall food security. The UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund has released $45 million to encourage major donors to do more to combat the effects of drought in parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya.
SOURCE: THE NEW HUMANITARIAN
8In Loving Memory of Revered Kenyan Author
Echoes of the award-winning novel The River and the Source continue to reverberate almost eight years after the death of its author Margaret Atieno Ogola. US tech giant Google honoured the late novelist, paediatrician, and human rights advocate with a doodle on what would have been her 60th birthday. “Happy to celebrate Kenyan award-winning author, activist and doctor, the late Dr Margaret Ogola, author of The River and the Source,” wrote Google on Twitter. A doodle is an aimless or casual scribble, design, or sketch on topics that happen to be flowing in a writer’s mind. According to Google, the doodles represent a “fun, surprising and sometimes spontaneous changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries and the lives of famous artists, pioneers and scientists”.
SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA
9East Africa Plans to Increase Spending on Infrastructure Projects
But the question many ask is whether those countries can afford it? Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi will unveil plans to fund the building of more roads, railways and power plants, as well as expand services such as health care and education, for the year starting July 1. In most cases, this will raise budget gaps as a percentage of gross domestic product, and increase borrowing requirements. Spending will probably climb about 10% in Kenya in the next fiscal year, 17% in Uganda and 11% in Rwanda, while it will be broadly flat in Tanzania, the nations’ respective governments have said in forecasts. While the governments forecast that revenue will increase by double digits next year, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania all have plans to approach the debt markets to help raise the funds to finance their deficits. GDP in East Africa will probably expand 5.9% in 2019 and 6.1% in 2020, according to the African Development Bank, making it the fastest-growing region on the continent.
SOURCE: CGTN AFRICA
10Hot Off the African Runway
Fashionistas have been parading through Senegal’s capital, Dakar, over the last week to see the latest African creations, with futuristic designs from Congo-Brazzaville the talk of the town. Dakar has a fashion hub in Africa since Senegalese designer and entrepreneur Adama Paris started Dakar Fashion Week in 2002. Renowned designers and new talents – like Queen Tawa (above left) – were part of the line-up. A young singer from Congo-Brazzaville, Queen Tawa recently launched her label Liputa Swagga – Afro-futuristic extravaganza at its best. Other designers launching their new collections came from Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Morocco, Niger – and also included home-grown talents such as Rama Diaw.