KW 08: Locust plague in East Africa, Digital banks in South Africa, Unity government in South Sudan

– NEWS –

Locust plague in East Africa: A plague of locusts is spreading across East Africa, threatening the food supply of tens of millions. The insects behind the mayhem are desert locusts, which, despite their name, thrive following periods of heavy rainfall that trigger blooms of vegetation across their normally arid habitats in Africa and the Middle East. The United Nations has warned that massive food assistance may be required. There are fears that the locusts – already in the hundreds of billions – will multiply further. Aerial spraying of pesticides is the most effective way of fighting the swarms but countries in the region do not have the right resources. The United Nations has called on the international community to fund the spraying of the affected areas with insecticide.,

Digital banks in South Africa are booming: Traditional financial institutions in South Africa are coming under pressure. Bank closures and issues with the community at large are increasing. Taking advantage of the niche left by the old banks, modern banks are thriving with a new approach to consumer behavior. The new “TymeBank”, which set up an ATM in a supermarket in Cape Town, promises financial services without bureaucratic hurdles. A bank employee assists customers who want to get started. They need only an identity card and mobile phone number to promptly receive a debit card from the ATM. The country’s financial ecosystem gives an indication of what future business models will look like – closer to the customer, without complicated terms and conditions.

Possible unity government in South Sudan: South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir said on Saturday he was cutting the number of states from 32 to 10, unlocking a stalled peace deal and paving the way for the formation of a long- awaited unity government. Disagreement between Kiir and former rebel leader Riek Machar over the number of states as well as a failure to integrate different fighting forces have been major obstacles to completing the peace process. South Sudan’s five-year civil war erupted soon after the country’s formation in 2011 and created the worst refugee crisis in Africa since the Rwandan genocide.

German development minister wants EU to focus on Africa: In a recent interview, Germany’s Development Minister Gerd Müller criticized the fact that the topic of Africa was not up for discussion at the Munich Security Conference. Müller called on the EU to find a common solution to the challenges that are emerging on the continent. He pointed out that Africa’s population will double by 2050 – water shortages, hunger and misery are becoming apparent in many places. During visits to Nigeria and Sudan, the minister learned of the role that climate change plays. These countries are most affected by climate-related droughts and water shortages. Müller wants higher investments on the part of the EU and a “contract of the century”. So far, the EU has hardly been present in the fight against destabilizing factors that cause terrorism and war.

Audit finds suspicious financial dealings in African soccer: An audit of the governing body for soccer in Africa has uncovered millions of dollars of financial irregularities. The accountancy firm PWC, hired to audit the Confederation of African Football, found problems across the board, including with the dispensation of millions of dollars of soccer development funds sent to the African soccer body by FIFA. The report also cited payments for gifts and, in at least one instance, for organizing a funeral. The report expressed particular concern about the amount of transactions which were carried out in cash and without the necessary supporting documentation.,

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Startup wants to improve healthcare through modern monitors: The startup “GOAL-3” is named after the third sustainability goal of the United Nations: Healthcare for everyone. The focus is primarily on Africa because improving healthcare there is extremely important at the moment. As a tropical doctor, co-founder Niek Versteegde has seen this with his own eyes in an incubator ward in Tanzania. His company develops smart hospital monitors that measure vital signs such as pulse and blood pressure. The startup wants to expand the monitors so that they prevent all deaths from curable diseases. Blood poisoning is a common problem in many African countries – with modern measurement of oxygen levels, however, it is possible to noticeably reduce deaths.

Climate activist Nakate against oil drilling: Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate was recently erased from a photo taken of climate activists by the Associated Press at the World Economic Forum. The act received a lot of backlash from institutions in Africa describing it as silencing of black African voices. “You didn’t just erase a photo. You erased a continent. But I am stronger than ever,” Nakate said later on Twitter. She is now using the symbolic power of the image to attract more attention to her concerns. Africa is often forgotten in climate discussions, even though the continent is severely affected by heat and drought. The 23-year-old tells the story of how difficult it is to create a strong momentum for climate activism like in Europe – the focus of most Africans is on financial hardship – interest in climate protection is limited.,,

Radio still popular in Africa: The radio is still the most popular medium to get access to information in Africa. People here most often listen to the news on battery-powered radios, especially in rural areas that don’t have secure access to electricity. In addition, many cell phones in Africa have FM reception. The growing popularity of social media has yet to affect the number of listeners. But radio stations are also adjusting to digital technologies and are increasingly offering radio formats on Facebook and Twitter. Political stability remains an obstacle – authoritarian governments are preventing the expansion of radio communication. In more stable countries like South Africa, on the other hand, there is a conversion to digital transmission standards.

Uncertainty about Russian mercenaries in Africa: Nearly 200 Russian mercenaries have deployed in recent months to Mozambique to combat a growing Isis offshoot there, even as the Russian government is taking steps toward building a military port in the Horn of Africa that could become Russia’s first permanent base on the continent. Russia is steadily expanding its military influence across Africa by increasing arms sales, security agreements and training programs for unstable countries or autocratic leaders. Other recent actions by Moscow include quietly deploying mercenaries and political advisers to several countries, including the Central African Republic. Hundreds of Russian fighters have arrived in Libya in recent months as part of a broad campaign by Russia to intervene on behalf of General Khalifa Haftar to shape the outcome of Libya’s civil war.


Africa’s elephant population has dropped from 1.3 million animals to just a quarter of that number since 1979.


“The situation in Libya is extremely worrying. The conflict parties’ ceasefire is hanging by a thread and has been broken more than 150 times.”

The UN deputy special envoy for Libya, Stephanie Williams, talks about the conflict in the North African state.


Kenyan represents international students at the University of Oldenburg: 29-year-old Seith Onyango from Kenya has been elected to represent the international students at the university and send requests for improvements to the school’s administration. Among other things, he aims to expand language courses and support for doctor visits. But the young man also developed a special passion in Oldenburg: kale, or green cabbage. Onyango organizes cabbage rides with fellow students to learn more about German culture.

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