KW 24: African Union calls for more coronavirus tests, Cape Town is struggling with coronavirus, Coronavirus is boosting e-commerce across Africa

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African Union calls for more coronavirus tests: African countries have secured 90 million test kits for the coronavirus for the next six months, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday, urging states and donors to boost testing capabilities on the continent as quickly as possible. “We needed to increase our testing very quickly to about 10 to 20 million tests to move ahead of the curve. This is a call to action which means we have to rally everybody,” said John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a branch of the African Union bloc. Nkengasong presented a new initiative, the Partnership to Accelerate Testing in Africa, which aims to increase testing across the continent. He added that 3.4 million tests have been conducted in Africa so far, about 1,700 tests per 1 million people, compared to 37,000 tests per 1 million in Italy and 30,000 per 1 million in Britain.

Cape Town is struggling with coronavirus: Even as South Africa eases its coronavirus lockdown, infection numbers have started to rise quickly and President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday he was particularly concerned about the province around Cape Town. Western Cape has become the country’s main coronavirus hotspot, with around two-thirds of the country’s total 40,792 cases. It has also recorded 651 out of the country’s total of 848 deaths. Ramaphosa visited Cape Town on Friday to be briefed on efforts to tackle the virus, including the opening of a new temporary field hospital for mild to moderately sick patients. The government is expecting an escalation of cases ahead of a predicted August/September peak and rising community infection rates in densely packed poor townships. But it is struggling with shortages of test kits, healthcare staff and hospital beds.

Coronavirus is boosting e-commerce across Africa: African anti-virus efforts have dealt a heavy economic blow, with retailers especially hard hit as governments have shut markets and restricted the flow of goods and people. The sudden change has driven some consumers to use e-commerce platforms. Precise data on African e-commerce trade is hard to come by. But officials who spoke to AFP suggested that the coronavirus crisis has been a boon for some online delivery platforms. Africa’s e-commerce giant, Jumia, appears to be one of the companies benefiting from a virus-driven bump in online sales. In an earnings report on Wednesday, Jumia said it had seen a surge in demand in early March due to coronavirus restrictions. The uptick in online sales follows years of growth in the sector, which has appealed to a young and urban internet-savvy population, and a growing African middle class.

Fulbe gangs are a growing threat in Nigeria: The Fulani people (also known as Fulbe or Peul) are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa, with at least 25 million members. However, because the Fulani are scattered throughout the region, in most states they are a minority. Traditionally, they live as nomadic pastoralists. Conflicts occur frequently. Even though the situations vary according to the country and region, there are recurrent patterns. In Nigeria alone, one must distinguish between three types of incidents, says Nigerian journalist Aliyu Tilde. First is the conflict over land between nomadic herders and farmers. There is also the possibility of gang criminality. The third type is the most problematic: In the struggle for political supremacy in Nigerian states, local rulers would often strengthen their own ethnic groups and agitate against minorities.

Another Ebola outbreak in the Congo: Health officials have confirmed a second Ebola outbreak in Congo, the World Health Organization said Monday, adding yet another health crisis for a country already battling the coronavirus and the world’s largest measles outbreak. Congolese health authorities have identified six cases including four fatalities in the north near Mbandaka, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. The victims died May 18 but test results confirming Ebola only came back over the weekend, according to Congolese Health Minister Dr. Eteni Longondo. WHO said it already had teams on the ground.

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African climate activists are demanding more attention: Africa only makes up three percent of global CO2 emissions, but the continent suffers the most from the consequences of climate change. The UN predicts noticeable economic losses due to extreme weather. Activists like Vanessa Nakate from Uganda and Happy Khambule from South Africa call for more attention to the issue of climate protection. They explain that in many African countries there is little awareness of the topic and there is a great deal of action to be taken. Khambule explains that campaign work in Africa has to be done differently than in Western Europe and North America. A cult following for activists as was the case with Swedish activist Greta Thunberg is difficult to imagine in Africa.

Elephants are still endangered: Ivory has long been considered an exotic luxury product. Although buying the tusks of pachyderms is now frowned upon in many places, the business of poachers continues to flourish. The focus has shifted. While the threat to elephants is due to colonization by Europeans, the main customers are now from another region. In China in particular, the country’s financial elite is acquiring ivory and endangering the shrinking pachyderm population.

Why collaboration isn’t helping in the fight against the coronavirus: Andreas Eckert, professor at the Seminar for African Studies at Humboldt University, explained in an interview that the voices of African intellectuals have been largely ignored. The continent’s intellectual elite called for pan-African solutions, but authoritarian governments in particular are not interested in them. Eckert, however, sees a major threat to the population – the labor market is at great risk, illnesses are increasing, and a grasshopper plague continues in East Africa.

Economist fears lost decade in Africa: Economist Robert Kappel sees a long-term economic risk for Africa because of the coronavirus. The continent could be hit twice – on one hand by the collapse of its own market, on the other hand by the financial difficulties of its cooperation partners in Europe and China. Financial support programs are threatened in the long term. Kappel says the African economies need to conclude new trade agreements and become more independent.


The number of German students in Africa has increased by 50 percent.


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Bitcoin boom in Africa: African countries have the highest cryptocurrency adoption rates in the world. A new report from Arcane Research shows that the unique combination of Africa’s economic and demographic trends makes the continent a potentially enormous crypto industry. South Africa ranked third throughout the world with 13 percent of its internet users owning or using cryptocurrencies. Nigeria took the fifth spot with 11 percent of internet users owning digital assets. The worldwide average for the same stands at 7 percent.

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