Africa Top10 News

1It’s the Battle of Ideologies in the DRC

DRC

In the urgent struggle to stop the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo, doctors are rolling out powerful vaccines and lifesaving antiviral drugs, but the year-old outbreak, mired in violence among warring militias, is now caught between expert groups feuding over the best strategy to stamp out the disease. A dispute between two major players in the epidemic response — Doctors Without Borders and the W.H.O. — erupted on Monday, just as the W.H.O. announced that a new vaccine, the second to be deployed, would be introduced into the region. On Monday, Doctors Without Borders accused the World Health Organization of “rationing Ebola vaccines and hampering efforts to make them quickly available to all who are at risk of infection.” The W.H.O. quickly fired back, saying it was “not limiting access to vaccine but rather implementing a strategy recommended by an independent advisory body of experts and as agreed with the government of the D.R.C. and partners.”

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

2Where to for Passengers Stuck in North Africa?

North Africa

The collapse of Thomas Cook has plunged governments across Europe and Africa into crisis-planning mode as they help with the repatriation of more than 500,000 stranded tourists and begin to count the cost of the holiday company’s demise on already-battered economies. Many of Thomas Cook’s German subsidiaries have stopped trading, but at present the group’s German airline, Condor, is still operating. About 240,000 people are booked to return home on Condor flights, but the airline will not carry those who booked their trips via Thomas Cook. The situation in Germany could get worse if Condor fails in its attempt to secure a $200m bridging loan from the German government. About 50,000 holidaymakers are stranded in Greece, 21,000 in Turkey, 15,000 in Cyprus and 4,500 in Tunisia. Thousands of tourists are also stuck in the US and dozens of other countries. Most of the tourists are from the UK with an estimated 150,000 people, followed by Germany with about 140,000 holidaymakers.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

3Saving Africa’s Rainforests

Africa's Rainforests

Gabon will become the first African nation to receive funding to preserve its rainforests to mitigate the effects of climate change. As part of a 10-year deal, Norway will pay $150 million to Gabon to battle deforestation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The deal is part of the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI), which was launched by the United Nations in 2015 to link European donors with countries in Africa. The partnership sets a carbon floor price of $10 per certified ton and will be paid on the basis of verified results from 2016 through to 2025. Gabon, which is on the Atlantic Ocean, has just 2 million people and abundant natural resources. Forests cover almost 90% of the country. Since the early 2000s, it has created more than a dozen national parks to preserve the forests. Gabon also has around 12% of the Congo Basin forest, which is considered the world’s second largest tropical rainforest. The country hosts 60% of Africa’s surviving forest elephants, which CAFI describes as “a key indicator of sound natural resource governance.”

SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA

4Moroccan Women Take On Government

Moroccan Women

A group of women gathered outside the Ministry of Health in Rabat, Morocco to wage war on Morocco’s abortion laws, which prohibit abortion in all cases except when the life of the mother is in immediate danger. Their weapon of choice? Sanitary towels covered in fake blood and slogans they affix to the walls of the ministry. They’re part of a growing movement that’s relying on an unorthodox mix of tools — eyeball-grabbing public campaigns, Islam’s tenets, political pressure and health documentaries — to demand that Morocco relax its restrictions on abortion. Mobilizing for Rights Associates, a women’s rights group, organized a sit-in outside Parliament in June demanding a repeal of Article 449 of the Moroccan Criminal Code, which punishes women who abort unless their life is at risk, and those helping them. Abortion carries a jail term of six months to two years for the woman, while those who help receive even stricter punishment: between five and 10 years in prison.

SOURCE: OZY

5[OPINION] Banks Must Take a Leadership Role to Accelerate Positive Impacts in Africa

African Banks

As Africa strives to compete in a rapidly-changing geopolitical environment, it is clear that financial institutions have a vital role to play. As banks, we need to look beyond traditional commercial indicators and deepen our understanding of the indirect impact of who and what we finance. This means thinking about the positive and negative social, economic and environmental impacts associated with our businesses. Weighing up commercial and societal impacts to make appropriate decisions – whether it be to fund a new project, enter into a business relationship, select one supplier over another or to restructure a business – should be integrated in our day-to-day business operations.
 
SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

6Senegal’s Legalization and Regulation of Sex Work Applauded

Senegal's sex work

Signing up to a government scheme that regulates the sex industry in Senegal means sex workers must register with police, attend mandatory monthly sexual health screenings, test negative for STIs and carry a valid ID card confirming their health status. If a sex worker contracts HIV, they’re given free antiretroviral therapy treatment before being allowed to continue soliciting clients. Some public health experts suggest that Senegal’s registration system opened dialogue about sexual behavior and laid the groundwork for future HIV prevention programs targeting vulnerable populations. It’s also the only nation on the continent where sex work is legal and regulated by health policy, according to the Global Network of Sex Work Projects, which advocates for decriminalization of the profession. At 0.4%, HIV prevalence in the country is significantly lower than many of its West and Central African neighbors; the average for the region is 1.5%, per UNAIDS. That figure is even higher in East and Southern Africa, where HIV prevalence is 7.1%.

SOURCE: CNN

7Malawians Make the Choice between Safety or Poverty

Malawians

About 75 of the Malawians displaced by recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa have returned home. Malawi’s government repatriated them last week, after they spent weeks at a guarded camp in Johannesburg.  Some say they will never go back to South Africa.  Others are not so sure. The World Bank says more than half of Malawi’s population lives below the poverty line, and about a quarter of them survive on less than two dollars a day. For many, migrating to South Africa as a domestic laborer is their only option to escape poverty. That fact appears to have prompted some Malawians to remain in South Africa, despite threats to their safety. The Malawi Red Cross Society, which provided temporary shelters for the repatriated victims, says it will continue to assist them as they reintegrate into Malawian society.

SOURCE: VOA

8The Church Calls Out Burundi’s Government

Burundi's Government

Catholic bishops in Burundi came under fire from authorities for “spitting venomous hatred” over a  message read out in churches denouncing intolerance and political violence in the run-up to elections next year. The message issued by the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Burundi and read out in churches on Sunday expressed their “concern” eight months before the May 20 presidential election, which comes five years after President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term plunged the country into crisis. In the letter, seen by AFP news agency, the bishops raised the alarm over efforts to “suffocate and assault certain political parties and to persecute their members”.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

9A Win for Zimbabwe’s Economy

Zimbabwe's Economy

The gap between Zimbabwe’s black market and official currency rates vanished after the central bank tightened regulations on trade in foreign exchange by bureau de change operators. On Monday, black market rates for the Zimbabwe dollar ranged from 14.7 to 15 to the U.S. dollar, according to Marketwatch.co.zw., a site run by financial analysts. The official rate was at a record low of 14.91, according to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The central bank said on Sept. 21 that bureau de change rates would need to be within 7% of the official rate after they slumped to as low as 23 to the U.S. dollar.

SOURCE: BLOOMBERG

10SA Teen Makes Straws Good Enough to Eat

Leila Siljeur

A 19-year-old South African student has created her own brand of edible, biodegradable straws.  Leila Siljeur, a chemical engineering student of Stellenbosch University, developed Eat Me Straws as a solution to combat the proliferation of plastics and its impact on the environment, particularly the ocean. She’s also of the opinion that paper straws, which are supposedly greener alternatives, are not durable. She and a team of eight young girls began researching and experimenting until they came up with something that works. Her straws come in three ranges; regular, vegan, and health, and are the texture of liquorice. The regular straws are made of gelatine, the vegan straws are plant-based, and health straws are fruit-based with no sugar. Eat Me Straws can also be infused with alcohol, on order. Siljeur says she makes red wine or gin-infused straws for bars and restaurants. 

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA