– NEWS –
Deforestation in Africa: According to a study by UN agricultural authority FAO, Africa is becoming a hotspot for deforestation. For the first time ever, the continent has overtaken South America in terms of annual deforestation. The experts cited the high growth of the population and the need for small farmers to secure their livelihoods as central reasons for deforestation on the African continent. In Africa, an average of 3.9 million hectares of forest area have been lost annually in the past decade. In South America, the loss was 2.6 million hectares a year. Between 2000 and 2010 the deforestation area of the forests in South America was about twice as high.
Youth Olympic Games in Senegal postponed by four years: The 2022 Dakar Youth Olympics in Senegal have been postponed by four years, in further fallout from delaying the Tokyo Olympics to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. This means Africa will have to wait until 2026 for the continent’s first Olympic hosting duty. Rumors are circulating that Senegal needs more time for necessary infrastructure improvements. In addition to new sports facilities, Dakar had planned to build a new university campus and an express train – all with the support of Chinese companies.
East Africa fears second wave of locust plague: The warm, humid summer favors living and breeding conditions for locusts in Asia and East Africa. A first wave of locusts last year resulted in food insecurity for 20 million people in East Africa. Preparations have already begun for a potential second wave. Farmers can use an app to report grasshopper infestations – the government then sends spray aircraft with pesticides. The situation in Kenya is currently under control, but the unusually severe locust plague could worsen at any time.
Africa’s trade agreement postponed until 2021: African leaders have postponed the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The agreement was supposed to enter into force in July 2020. It will apply to around 1.2 billion people, making it the largest free trade agreement in the world. The World Bank predicts that the deal could generate 450 billion dollars. It could lift 30 million people out of poverty. The agreement is particularly important as a result of the pandemic – the economic slump is affecting many African countries.
Over 10,000 health workers infected with coronavirus: At least 10,000 health workers have been infected with Covid-19 in the 40 countries across Africa that have reported cases, according to the World Health Organization. “The growth we are seeing in Covid-19 cases in Africa is placing an ever-greater strain on health services across the continent,” said the WHO’s regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti. “In many African countries infection prevention and control measures aimed at preventing infections in health facilities are still not fully implemented.” First responders account for more than 5% of cases in 14 sub-Saharan African countries, despite limited data on the morbidity and mortality of health workers on the continent.
Ethiopia fills controversial mega dam: The first-year target for filling the controversial mega dam on the River Nile has been reached, Ethiopia announced last week. This would allow the first set of turbines to be tested. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s announcement came as Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan agreed to resume talks over the dam, following a virtual summit. The project has been a source of huge diplomatic tension since its construction began in Ethiopia in 2011. Egypt and Sudan, which are downstream, fear the dam will greatly reduce their access to water.
– BACKGROUND –
Skin bleaching – a dangerous beauty trend: Cosmetic products claiming to lighten skin are sold in several African countries. Women in particular want to achieve a lighter complexion and follow the common beauty ideal, which can sometimes result in serious health problems. Liver and kidney damage caused by chemicals in skin whitening products can even be fatal. These products are banned in Ghana – but a thriving black market has emerged.
Women record violence on film: Together with Deutsche Welle, the Ladima Foundation has called on women in Africa to record their experiences during the pandemic. Around 200 films from across the continent were submitted. It becomes clear how the pandemic affects women – sexual violence and economic hardship have intensified. For many, it was difficult to make a living when children could no longer go to school. The Ladima Foundation is dedicated to strengthening women’s rights. The foundation honored ten films – the winners received 500 euros and the opportunity to attend seminars.
A sustainable change to Africa’s economic system: The coronavirus pandemic has revealed the weak points of African economic models. International aid and debt deferrals only provide temporary relief. As a foreign employee, Hans-Joachim Preuß represents the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Cotonou (Benin) and warns that the consequences of the crisis will only become visible after these aid measures have expired. The economic systems are still not competitive enough – but Preuss fears that crisis management will cause necessary reforms to be suspended.
Measles in Africa: While the global community is focused on fighting the coronavirus pandemic, other infectious diseases are raging in many areas on the African continent. Medical professionals are particularly concerned about the spread of measles – there are 50,000 new cases this year alone. Vaccination campaigns have been suspended due to the coronavirus crisis – not just for vaccines against measles, but also against cholera, measles, meningitis, polio, tetanus, typhoid and yellow fever. A new health crisis could develop in the long term.
– NUMBER –
In the past week, the number of Covid-19 infections in Namibia has risen by 69 percent.
– QUOTE –
“Relatively few people die from the disease in relation to the population in African countries. This could be because the people there are relatively young, but it could also be because the exchange through travel etc. with the rest of the world is relatively smaller than ours. It is also possible that there are certain immunities to the disease in Africa. But the numbers could also increase.”
David Stadelmann, Professor of Development Economics at the University of Bayreuth, on the coronavirus pandemic in Africa.
– AT LAST –
Hotels owned by track legend Haile Gebrselassie set on fire: During the ethnic unrest in Ethiopia, two hotels owned by former marathon runner Haile Gebrselassie were set on fire. There have been weeks of unrest in Ethiopia, sparked in June by the killing of musician Hachalu Hundessa, a member of the Oromo ethnic group that makes up about 35% of Ethiopia’s population. Gebrselassie is demanding government compensation for the hotels.