Africa Top10 News

1Egypt Comes Down on Protesters


Authorities have arrested more than 1,000 people from two prominent rights groups — the Egyptian Centre for Freedoms and Rights, and the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights. The arrests came just days after hundreds of Egyptians took to the streets in different cities, demanding the resignation of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. Three renowned political activists known for their outspoken criticism of the president are among those arrested by the country’s security forces. Authorities have identified the detained activists as Hazem Hosny and Hassan Nafaa, political science professors at Cairo University, and Khaled Dawoud, a journalist and former head of the liberal al-Dustour party. Many of those arrested are being investigated for the alleged use of social media to spread false news, undermining national security, joining a banned terrorist group, and protesting without a permit, according to defense lawyers.


2South African Banks Avert a Shutdown

South African Banks

In a judgement handed down on Thursday, the court said that the action was unlawful  – effectively preventing what would have been South Africa’s largest banking strike in 99 years. The strike was planned by the country’s largest financial union, Sasbo, and had received additional support from the country’s largest trade federation Cosatu. Business Unity South African aimed to stop the protest, as Cosatu’s notice sent to the National Economic Development and Labour Council – under which Sasbo is planning to act – may not have satisfied the requirements for the action to be legally protected. Busa said that the Nedlac notice was first issued in August 2017 and should not be relied on in 2019.


3Duke of Sussex Visits Reforestation Project in Botswana

Duke of Sussex

Prince Harry has said the science on the climate crisis is undeniable as, he is in Botswana helping to create a new forest habitat after decades of deforestation because of locals gathering firewood and through elephant activity. The Duke, whose use of private jets has led to criticism and accusations of environmental hypocrisy, was working with a conservation organisation helping locals to create a nature and cultural park for the community. He shared the strain with a group of men to get a 10 metre baobab tree into the ground, then joined young schoolchildren planting mahogany saplings.


4Africa’s Drugs Crisis Stimulated By Poor Policy

Africa’s Drugs Crisis

A looming drugs crisis in Africa is being made worse by ineffective drug policy, fuelled by corruption and organised crime, says the ENACT transnational organised crime programme. African consumption of illegal drugs, including non-medical use of prescription opioids, threatens national development and is projected to become a public health emergency. Sub-Saharan Africa will see the world’s biggest surge in illicit drug users in the next 30 years, with its share of global drug consumption projected to double. But securitised responses have had unintended consequences and have done a disproportionate amount of harm for limited results achieved. 


5Landmark Seed Round Boosts North African SMEs

North African SMEs

In what is one of the largest ever seed rounds raised by a start-up in the MENA region, Egyptian-based e-commerce platform, MaxAB, disclosed the completion of a $6.2 million funding. Founded in November 2018 by Egyptian and Libyan entrepreneurs Belal El-Megharbel and Mohamed Ben Halim, the B2B start-up connects informal food and grocery retailers with suppliers in the country’s most under-served geographies via an easy-to-use app. Egypt’s $45 billion FMCG food retail market is heavily fragmented and multi-layered, which presents multiple trade obstacles for the country’s 400,000+ traditional retailers.  The goal is to re-engineer the informal grocery and food market in Egypt, using empowering technologies and innovative supply chains designed to fit the needs of retailers in the areas they serve.

6Changing the Way Uganda Deals with Waste

Uganda Deals Waste

Faith Aweko of Uganda describes herself as a “waste-preneur.”  She has come up with an innovative way to transform discarded plastic bags into backpacks for everyday use.  Aweko and her colleagues, through the Reform Africa project, wanted to do something with the plastic bags that litter streets across Uganda, soiling the environment. She works with women who are hired to collect and wash plastic bags in the Mpigi district of southern Uganda. The bags are then transformed into durable, sustainable, waterproof and beautiful bags. In Uganda, the most popular imported polythene bag is the 30 microns polythene.  Research has shown that it will take 1,000 years for each bag to decompose.


7Mining Tragedy in Chad

Mining in Chad

Dozens of people are feared dead after an illegal gold mine collapsed in Chad. Officials say that the mine caved in early on Tuesday at Kouri Bougoudi, a zone beset by illegal mining near the Libyan border. The Tibesti region where the accident occurred is home to various gangs and traffickers seeking to profit from a gold rush. Clashes in January between rival groups of miners left “dozens” dead, according to security and mining sources after fighting between groups of Arabs from Libya and miners from Chad’s Ouaddai community, the sources said.


8How Cape Town’s Water Crisis Spurred Change

Cape Town's Water Crisis

At the height of the water crisis, Cape Town introduced restrictions limiting residents to 50 liters per person per day. A combination of interventions led to a citywide water usage reduction of close to 50 percent in less than three years, and Day Zero was avoided. Bridging the Internet of Things (BridgIoT) developed a smart water meter idea. Called Count Dropula, the meter reports water use once a minute in real time. Many conventional meters only record data once an hour. During the pilot, the invention saved one school more than three million liters of water in three months. Another reduced its water usage 55 percent in four months. The system uses an app to send the user SMS and email notifications, and can alert users to the exact time and place a spike in usage occurs. A Smart Water Challenge encouraged behavioral change among students, including bringing water to school and harvesting rainwater.


9A Nightmare for Gambia’s Tourism

Gambia's Tourism

Thomas Cook Group, the travel operator that brought around 40% of Gambia’s annual visitors seeking sun and white-sand beaches, has collapsed and cancelled all future flights and hotel bookings. A blow for Africa’s smallest country whose locals make most of their money in the tourist season, which is just about to begin. Vendors at the Senegambia craft market said they had taken out loans ahead of the tourist season to boost their stocks of traditional instruments, wood carvings and jewellery. Around 57,000 British customers had already booked hotels or seats on charter flights for the upcoming season, according to the national hotel association. This equates to around a quarter of all tourists to Gambia during the whole of last year.


10US Returns Looted Relics from Egypt


US authorities have returned a stolen coffin to Egypt, two years after it was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The 2,100-year-old coffin of a priest called Nedjemankh was featured in an exhibit housing artefacts from Egypt. The stolen antique was sold to the museum by a global art trafficking network, which used fraudulent documents. The gilded coffin was looted and smuggled out of Egypt in 2011. The coffin, which dates back to the 1st Century BC, was bought by the prestigious museum for $4m from a Parisian art dealer.


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