1The Expanding Capacity of Direct Flights between Africa and China
On an average day, eight direct flights operate between China and African nations, a huge increase from less than a decade ago: In 2010, airlines averaged less than one flight a day. The expansion of air traffic between the African continent and China coincides with a period of rapid expansion of Chinese investment. Chinese firms have been voraciously bidding on and winning infrastructure projects in Africa. Chinese firms have helped build airports in Kenya, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, the Republic of Congo, Togo, Sierra Leone, among others in recent years. Most of the expansion is driven by Ethiopian Airlines. It didn’t have a single Africa-China route in 2010. Now, it operates almost half of the 2,616 annual flights. It has more than doubled the size of its fleet in the last decade and become the largest airline operator in Africa. Ethiopian wasn’t the first to try tapping the Chinese market for growth. Kenya Airways started a route between Guangzhou, China and Nairobi, Kenya in 2013 and dropped it in 2015; South African Airways had one route between Johannesburg and Beijing from 2013 to 2015; Air Algeria has kept the same capacity over the last decade; EgyptAir kept about the same number of flights to Beijing and expanded its services to Guangzhou.SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA
2African Women Chosen to Cover Vogue’s Most Read Issue
The Duchess of Sussex is guest editing British Vogue’s September issue, focusing on women who “break barriers”. The cover features 15 women, including Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Somali boxer Ramla Ali and South Sudanese model Adut Akech. Meghan chose not to put herself on the cover, the magazine’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful said, as she felt it would be a “boastful thing to do”. The duchess said she hoped people would be as inspired as she was by the women featured in the magazine. She added: “Through this lens I hope you’ll feel the strength of the collective in the diverse selection of women chosen for the cover as well as the team of support I called upon within the issue to help bring this to light.” Enninful, the editor-in-chief, said Meghan was the first person to guest edit the September issue – traditionally considered the most important issue of the year.
3Boko Haram Deals Devastating Blow
An attack this weekend by suspected Boko Haram fighters on a funeral in the northeastern state of Borno, Nigeria, has left at least 65 people dead, almost three times the initial toll. Dozens more bodies were discovered on Sunday following the assault a day before by gunmen on a village close to the regional capital, Maiduguri. Bulama said he thought the attack was in retaliation for the killing two weeks ago of 11 Boko Haram fighters by residents when the fighters approached their village. The group has waged a decade-long armed struggle in northeast Nigeria that has killed around 27,000 people and displaced more than two million others. In 2016, the group split into two main factions, one following longtime leader Abubakar Shekau and another following Abu Musab al-Barnawi. Shekau’s group tends to hit softer targets including civilians, while al-Barnawi’s Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) has ratcheted up its campaign against the military since last year.SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
4Rwanda Prepares for Climate-resilient Cities
Rwanda’s National Roadmap for Green Secondary Cities Development was developed by the government with assistance from the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) in 2016 and provides guidance for the development of six climate resilient secondary cities in the country. It also outlines how they can grow sustainably while also contributing to Rwanda’s national urbanisation strategy, which according to the roadmap is to “achieve 35 percent urbanisation by 2020 for each of the secondary cities”. Rwanda, along with its development partners, hopes to soon implement the first stage of the dynamic plan that will kick off in Nyagatare, a district that borders Uganda in the northeast. On Thursday, Jul. 11, environmentalists, private sector stakeholders and government officials convened for a workshop in Kigali to discuss the integration of green growth in Rwanda’s secondary cities. The establishment of the secondary cities is a key part of Rwanda’s priority to tackling climate change. Rwanda was awarded 600,000 dollars by Green Climate Fund (GCF) for the project, which will not only protect the environment but will consolidate the land use in the six districts.
5A Sweeping Snapshot of Life as an African Man
Inua Ellams spent six weeks in Africa researching his play, whittling 60 hours of recordings down into this two-hour show. Sometimes the script is almost too rich – there’s so much information to take in – but it’s an undeniably beautiful thing, packed with authentic dialogue and stunning flashes of insight. There’s passionate political and personal debate as the men discuss Mugabe, Mandela, fallen leaders and absent fathers. Perhaps the most surprising aspect is just how tender this all-male play feels. Sure, there’s posturing and showboating, especially when Demmy Ladipo’s “bad boy” is showing off to the lads. But there are so many gentle moments in here too: a hard-up old man is given a free haircut; a barber offers a young dad some beautiful advice (“Listen to your child – he will teach you the right language”); and an anxious young actor finds a place to relax and confess his fears.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
6Waste Management Still a Big Problem Across African Cities
As Africa faces a population boom unmatched anywhere else in the world, millions of people are moving to fast-growing cities while decades-old public facilities crumble under the pressure. Sewage is a scourge for residents of this community on the outskirts of Uganda’s capital, Kampala. There are no public toilets for 1,200 people. The sanitation crisis echoes that of cities across the developing world. Some 2.5 billion people, most of them in Africa or Asia, lack access to adequate toilets, U.N. figures show. One of the fastest-growing cities in the world, Kampala is home to at least 1.5 million people, but authorities say over 3 million pass through daily, usually for work. Poor sanitation costs Uganda $177 million annually in economic losses linked to disease treatment and lost productivity as people search for places to relieve themselves, according to a World Bank report in 2012. A sanitation program backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation focuses on emptying septic tanks in households not easily reached by vacuum trucks, which are privately operated. Using a tool resembling a giant syringe, men in safety suits pump fecal waste into drums that are emptied into a movable tank, for a tiny fraction of the roughly $50 that would be paid to a vacuum truck operator.
7African Investment Scheme Focuses on Cash Cows
Cattle have long been considered a measure of wealth across Africa – but it is not just farmers cashing in. A pioneering app in South Africa lets investors, eager to benefit from rising global beef demand, buy shares in a cow from their mobile phone for as little as $41. Self-styled “crowd-farming” company Livestock Wealth connects investors with small-scale farmers via its “MyFarmbook” app, where they can buy their own cow and receive interest rates of between 5% and 14% depending on where they put their money. Launched in 2015 with 26 cows, the project now includes more than 2,000 cows and has taken in 50 million rand, with 10 percent of investors coming from outside South Africa. Groups of investors can buy a whole cow, while individuals can purchase shares in a pregnant cow or young calf. Livestock contributes around 51% to the agricultural economy in South Africa, with global sheep and beef prices rising after droughts in major producing areas.SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA
8Full Steam Ahead for Tanzania’s Controversial Project
At a ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the construction of a hydroelectric plant at Stiegler Gorge, in the Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania’s president John Magufuli defended the project and insisted he was serious about conservation. Construction work on the plant on the Rufiji River is being carried out by two Egyptian companies at an estimated initial cost of almost $4 billion. For the government of the East African nation, the project marks a decisive step in the process of improving the electricity supply countrywide. With an output of 2.1 gigawatts, the power plant should more than double Tanzania’s current energy production. Magufuli said the project would benefit conservation because more access to electricity meant less tree felling for charcoal, which many Tanzanians depend on for cooking. The project has been widely criticized as it involves large-scale destruction of the game reserve which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some experts doubt whether building the dam actually makes sense, not least because people living in remote areas often lack a connection to the electricity grid.SOURCE: DEUTSCHE WELLE
9Biblical Scenes Carved into Mokkatam Hill at the Seven Caves of the Coptic Orthodox Church
Polish sculptor Marius Dybich, also known as Mario puts final touches on his latest creations. In his 23 years in Egypt, Mario will have made about 70 works. A feat for this 51-year-old man, who had no experience in sculpturing at the time. Married to an Egyptian woman, the artist still does not have Egyptian nationality. Yet, he cannot imagine living anywhere else than in Cairo, the adopted country where he has forged close friendships and shared unique experiences. On the walls of the vast cave, which can accommodate up to 20,000 people for mass religious gatherings, the artist’s works preach the gospel. Mario said “our message is to make people understand that we do not carve statues to worship. We tell the story through biblical art. It’s like an artistic language, like the pharaohs when they told stories through their drawings.”
SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS
10Ethiopia Plans to Break Record by Planting 200m Trees in a Day
The numbers haven’t yet been independently verified, but the country’s technology minister tweeted earlier that more than 220 million trees had been planted. It is part of the Green Legacy Initiative by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who has dug in with a few seedlings of his own in ArbaMinch, southern Ethiopia, on Monday morning. Mr Abiy started the campaign to create awareness about the importance of fighting environmental degradation in the country and public offices in the capital, Addis Ababa, have been shut down for civil servants to take part in the campaign. The UN says Ethiopia’s forest coverage has fallen from 35% of the total land in the early 20th Century to a little above 4% in the 2000s. The country has also faced severe droughts in recent years. Ethiopia, a country of 100 million people, would need each citizen to plant at least two seedlings, to make the record.
SOURCE: THE EAST AFRICAN