– NEWS –
Many countries have not accepted debt relief: In April, the finance ministers of the 20 largest industrialized nations (G20) gave 68 countries the opportunity to postpone their interest payments on bilateral loans due in 2020 to the years 2022 to 2024. A total of more than 17 billion euros was made available for short-term economic aid and the fight against the pandemic. But many African countries have not accepted this offer, although the pandemic with its economic slump and high health costs threatens a financial collapse. This is due to the fact that the aid only covers bilateral debts – but not loans from multilateral donors such as the World Bank or debts on the financial markets via government bonds. In order to meet the high administrative burden and the conditions, the short-term benefits would not pay off, explains Iolanda Fresnillo from the European Network for National Debt and Development (eurodad).
The number of infections is increasing: The number of new coronavirus infections is rapidly doubling in Africa. More than a million cases have now been recorded. This has consequences for the fight against malaria: the coronavirus measures taken by African countries are having an immense impact on activities to prevent malaria. The World Health Organization (WHO) warned in April of a drastic increase in malaria deaths. British researchers from “Nature Medicine” came to the conclusion that more than twice as many people south of the Sahara will die of malaria.
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Nile dam continues to cause conflict: The tensions among Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile escalated after Ethiopia announced that it had started filling the dam’s reservoir, an action contrary to Egypt’s mandate that the dam not be filled without a legally binding agreement over the equitable allocation of the Nile’s waters. Over the years, Egypt has used its extensive diplomatic connections and the colonial-era 1929 and 1959 agreements to successfully prevent the construction of any major infrastructure projects on the tributaries of the Nile. As a consequence, Ethiopia has not been able to make significant use of the river’s waters. Although Egypt has persistently argued that the 1959 agreement between Egypt and Sudan is the legal framework for the allocation of the waters of the Nile, Ethiopia and other upstream riparian states reject that argument.
Mauritius declares environmental emergency: The island nation of Mauritius has declared a “state of environmental emergency” after a vessel offshore began leaking oil into the ocean. The MV Wakashio ran aground on a coral reef off the Indian Ocean island on July 25th and its crew was evacuated. But the large bulk carrier has since begun leaking tons of fuel into the surrounding waters. Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth declared the state of emergency late on Friday. He said the nation did not have the skills and expertise to refloat stranded ships as he appealed to France for help. Happy Khambule of Greenpeace Africa said thousands of animal species were at risk of drowning in a sea of pollution, with dire consequences for Mauritius’ economy, food security and health.
Protests and arrests in Zimbabwe: Scores of people were arrested on July 30th in Zimbabwe as hundreds of military troops as well as police attempted to thwart an anti-government protest, with streets empty and many people hiding indoors. A number of activists went into hiding after police published a list of names of human rights defenders who are wanted for questioning in connection with the planned protests. Several opposition leaders are also understood to be wanted by the police, while six others have already been arrested. Tensions are rising in Zimbabwe as the economy implodes. Inflation is more than 700%, the second highest in the world. Now the coronavirus burdens the threadbare health system. President Emmerson Mnangagwa described the planned protest as “an insurrection to overthrow our democratically elected government.”
Mali: Deaths after attacks: Chaos has broken out in Mali since the parliamentary elections. The government is shooting at an unarmed opposition and imprisoning the opposition’s spokesman. There are a dozen dead and many injured. The population feels left in the lurch by the international community. Europe is supporting the anti-democratic government and is thus partially contributing to the unrest.
– BACKGROUND –
Local news in Africa need innovation – and money: Ntibinyane Ntibinyane says that African local news outlets need innovation — and money. The founder of the INK Centre for Investigative Journalism highlights that journalism in Africa is facing increasing threats. Even before the pandemic, the traditional business model for newspapers underpinned by advertising and circulation was in a free fall. The virus has now forced unprepared media organizations to hurriedly transition to digital platforms, says Ntibinyane. The problem, however, is that they have not figured out how to make money online. News outlets, in particular newspapers, are running out of money and time during this crisis. Ntibinyane warns that this forced transition will lead to the deaths of many newspapers on the continent.
Victory for residents of Owino Uhuru against years of lead poisoning: A Kenyan community whose children and residents were sickened by lead from a battery smelting plant has been awarded $12 million following a civil lawsuit. The court ordered the government to clean up Owino Uhuru, a village on the outskirts of Mombasa, within four months and gave the relevant agencies 90 days to pay out the compensation money. Environmental activist Phyllis Omido, who launched a legal challenge against the government and the smelting plant owners, had worked at the lead-acid battery recycling plant, Metal Refinery EPZ, as a community relations manager in 2009. She quit after three months when her baby became sick and doctors found lead in her son’s blood test they said he might have ingested from her breast milk.
German popular in Africa: An increasing number of people from Kenya and the Ivory Coast are learning German. A total of 430,000 schoolchildren and students are currently learning the language in class in Kenya. That’s twice as many as five years ago, according to a study by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office. The city of Bongouanou is considered to be the heart of German language learning in Kenya. Students here can start language classes in fifth grade.
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– NUMBER –
Since June 25th, 1000 tons of oil from the freighter “Wakashio” have leaked off the coast of Mauritius.
– QUOTE –
“The challenge for African news organizations at this very hour is to find ways to make money online and survive post-COVID-19. This requires innovation not only at the technological level but at policy, strategy, and operational levels.”
Ntibinyane Ntibinyane, founder of the INK Centre for Investigative Journalism, highlights that journalism in Africa is facing increasing threats.
– AT LAST –
12 African tech startups selected for The Future is Female Program: Twelve startups have been selected for The Future is Female, a PR and communications mentorship program dedicated to the business development needs of African tech female founders. The program was launched by C. Moore Media last month to provide the underserved market of African female founders of early-stage startups with the PR and communications insights, knowledge, and skills needed to gain visibility and grow their business.