1EXCLUSIVE: Deep Dive Into The Historic Silicosis Class Action Case Settlement
iAfrica’s exclusive interview with the attorney that led this historic case that awarded over $350 million to gold mine workers. The silicosis and tuberculosis class action is unprecedented in its scope and ambition. The aim is to compensate former and current mineworkers from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, eSwatini, Mozambique, Lesotho and Malawi who contracted silicosis or tuberculosis on a gold mine owned or operated by Anglo America South Africa, Goldfields, Harmony, African Rainbow Minerals, AngloGold Ashanti and Sibanye Stillwater from 1965 to date. If the parties had continued with litigation as opposed to settling, it could easily take another ten years to finalise the litigation. The LRC has lost five of its thirteen class representatives – these people passed away. Two of them passed in past 6 months. The settlement shows an acknowledgement from both sides that achieving an outcome beneficial to the mine workers was urgently required. The settlement is important first and foremost for the mineworkers suffering from an incurable and progressive disease or their dependants that cared for them during their illness.SOURCE: iAFRICA
2Zimbabwe has Become a Country of Queues
In recent weeks, drivers have typically lined up for about three hours to refuel their cars with gasoline that has been diluted with ethanol, which makes it burn faster. Workers wait for hours in long lines outside of banks to receive their pay in cash, because of a shortage of Zimbabwean dollars. The price of bread has increased sevenfold in the past year, and some medicines are now 10 times more expensive, even as most wages remain stagnant. Added to that is Zimbabwe’s acute water shortage as a result of a particularly bad drought this year, a symptom of climate change. Poor water management has wasted much of the water that remains. Two of Harare’s four reservoirs are empty from lack of rain, but between 45 and 60 percent of the water that’s left is lost through leakage and theft, said Herbert Gomba, the mayor of Harare.
SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES
3Nigeria’s Fledgling Mobile Money Market Gets a Major Shake-up
MTN Nigeria, the country’s largest telecoms operator, has been granted a “super agent” license which allows it set up an agent network through which it can provide financial services. It’s the first step in MTN’s plans to finally roll out mobile money services in Africa’s largest economy as the company says it has also applied for a payment service bank license, which will allow it “offer a broader and deeper range of financial services.” The license comes after reforms by Nigeria’s central bank last October permitting telecoms operators to get mobile money and banking licenses in a bid to boost financial inclusion and facilitate the long-held ambition for a cashless society. As already seen in several African countries, the real-life application of mobile money among unbanked populations ranges from quick, seamless fund transfers to facilitating payments and boosting small businesses. In Ghana, the service has been adopted for investing as well with MTN’s selling shares for its landmark IPO mainly through mobile money. The West African country has recently become the fastest-growing mobile money market in Africa, with registered accounts increasing six-fold between 2012 and 2017.SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA
4Is Somalia Cutting Ties with the US?
The office of Somalia’s president says he is giving up his United States citizenship but it is not immediately clear why. A statement posted on Twitter on Thursday says President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed made the decision voluntarily, with lawyers involved. It says Somalia’s constitution allows for dual citizenship. Many in Somalia’s diaspora have it after fleeing the country long gripped by conflict. Mohamed lived for many years in the United States, working as a New York state transportation department official in Buffalo before being elected Somalia’s president in February 2017. During his time in office the U.S. has dramatically increased airstrikes against the Somali-based al-Shabab extremist group, re-established its diplomatic presence in Somalia and even presented Mohamed with a trucker cap that said “Make Somalia Great Again.”
5The Tale of Activists Involved in Leading the Way from Ethiopia to Sudan
Netflix has started streaming a movie based on the true story of the rescue of Ethiopian Jews escaping civil war. The Red Sea Diving Resort is about a fake resort in Sudan that was set up by an Israeli Mossad agent and used as a front for smuggling hundreds of Ethiopian Jews to Israel. It is written and directed by Gideon Raff and stars renowned actor Chris Evans, from Marvel’s Captain America. The story is based on covert Israeli military operations to rescue Ethiopian Jews in the early 1980s as they escaped famine and the brutal Marxist regime of Mengistu Hailemariam. Evans plays the Israeli agent who ran an operation with a ragtag team of spies, using a deserted holiday retreat as a front. The most famous real-life missions were Operation Solomon and Operation Moses, which airlifted thousands of Ethiopians to Israel via Sudan. There are currently more than 150,000 Ethiopian Jews now living in Israel. About 7,000 of them still remain stranded and in uncertainty in Ethiopia, waiting to reunite with their families in the Jewish state.
SOURCE: SCREEN RANT
6Who Moved Computers Destined for Kenya?
A container that should have been full of computers donated by China to Kenya’s parliament has arrived empty. Officials are mystified by the disappearance as the seals on the container had not been broken. The Chinese embassy in Kenya is equally puzzled, saying it was told the equipment was loaded and been shipped for delivery in July following a high-level parliamentary exchange earlier in the year. This was the first time any donations made to Kenya over the years had not arrived “safe and sound”, it added. Mr Kinoti, the police’s Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI), said an investigation had been launched.
7The Battle for African Eyeballs between Media Powerhouses
As part of its plan to strengthen its position in Africa’s movie market, French media giant, Canal+ Group, has acquired Nigerian production studio, ROK film studios from VOD company IROKO TV. Canal+ Group has been quietly making moves in Nollywood, one of the world’s largest film industries, and is now looking to create more African original content. According to a statement released by ROK on Monday, the studio, launched in 2013 by actor and producer, Mary Njoku, is Nigeria’s largest production house with more than 500 movies and 25 TV shows. The organization currently produce Ghanaian and Nigerian movies, reaching 15 million subscribers across DSTV and GOTV platforms, the statement said. Njoku says that Canal+ is working with ROK because the studio has the ability to create Nollywood content at scale. The French media company has turned its sights on African viewers as growth has declined in its home terrain due to competition from Amazon, Apple and Netflix.SOURCE: CNN
8Who Should be Funding Development in Africa?
Tanzania can avoid taking on more debt from the Western countries and firms by financing its own infrastructure, according to the central bank. “The tradition of looking to the West for loans to invest in infrastructure is a bit of weakness on the part of African countries,” said Governor Florens Luoga. This reinforces President John Magufuli’s plan to use the state’s resources to fund the development of a $2.9 billion hydroelectric plant. The government plans to spend $5.17 billion for infrastructure in 2019-20. The government is building a new railway linking its commercial Dar es Salaam hub to western neighbors Rwanda, Burundi and the natural resource-rich Democratic Republic of Congo. Other planned projects include a $700 million Rumakali hydropower plant and a $690 million Dar es Salaam port expansion.SOURCE: BLOOMBERG
9Walk a Mile in an African Slave’s Shoes
This month marks 400 years since the first recorded African slaves arrived in North America to work plantations in English colonies. In the centuries after, European slave traders shipped millions of African men, women and children across the Atlantic Ocean. Many died in horrific conditions on the slave boats, while survivors endured a life of misery and backbreaking farm work. For some of them, the terrible journey began here, deep inside Ghana. Kwaku Agyei is a pastor and elder in Obuasi. He tells the story of the slave trade to young workers in his neighbourhood, the indignity of it mixed with pride in his ancestors. Today, the Assin Manso site is a sacred place of remembrance. In this area of mangrove swamps, an image of slaves chained by the feet promises, “Never again.”
SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA
10The Taureg Band You Need to Hear
Fatou Seidi Ghali once had to practise on her brother’s guitar in secret. She and her band, Les Filles de Illighadad, are now taking the world by storm. The group are from a small village called Illighadad in the Tuareg region of the Sahara in western Niger. While the region has produced some celebrated guitarists, acts such as Bombino, Mdou Moctar and Tinariwen’s Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, Fatou is the first ever Tuareg woman to play guitar professionally. She started the band in 2016 with her cousin Alamnou Akrouni, who plays percussion and sings. A third member, Mariama Salah Aswan, recently left to start a family and was replaced by Fatimata Ahmadelher, the Tuareg’s second-ever female guitarist, who also contributes vocals and percussion. Tende music, named after the drum, is played at traditional Tuareg courting rituals, where all the women in a village sing to each other in a call-and-response style.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN