KW 4: AI-for-agriculture platform, Rainfalls and floods in East Africa, Vaccination campaign in Africa off to a very slow start

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AI-for-agriculture platform: Aerobotics is a startup out of South Africa that is using artificial intelligence to help farmers manage their farms, trees and fruits. Founded in 2014 by James Paterson and Benji Meltzer, Aerobotics is currently focused on building tools for fruit and tree farmers. Using artificial intelligence, drones and other robotics, its technology helps track and assess the health of these crops, including identifying when trees are sick, tracking pests and diseases, and analytics for better yield management. The startup has already raised $17 million in an oversubscribed Series B round.

Rainfalls and floods in East Africa: The death toll from storm Eloise rose to at least 12 on Monday, according to figures from authorities across south-eastern Africa, where heavy winds, rain and flooding have also destroyed buildings and crops. Six people were killed in Mozambique, the country’s National Institute for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction (INGD) reported, while the number of displaced people rose to more than 8,000. Ongoing rains, though lightening, threatened further floods.

Vaccination campaign in Africa off to a very slow start: While 39 million people in industrialized nations have already received a vaccine, the vaccination rate is much lower in Africa. The global unequal distribution of Covid-19 vaccines is becoming increasingly visible, criticized the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The industrialized nations have secured almost half of all vaccines worldwide. South Africa expects the delivery of 20 million vaccine doses in the first half of the year. However, President Cyril Ramaphosa criticized the fact that South Africa had to pay more than twice as much for the vaccine from the manufacturer Astrazeneca than, for example, Europeans. More and more people are calling for a patent protection revocation.

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Nigeria: Court overturns blasphemy verdict against students: A Nigerian teen who was convicted in the northwest of the country of blasphemy has had his sentence overturned, his lawyer said Friday. A Sharia court in Kano State convicted the teen in August last year and sentenced him to ten years in prison after he was accused of using foul language toward Allah in an argument with a friend. He will be released Monday after being in captivity for over five months with no access to family or lawyers. The appellate division of the Kano State High Court set aside his sentence because he did not have legal representation at his first trial, his lawyer said.

Biden to impose South Africa travel ban to combat new Covid variant: US President Joe Biden will impose a ban on most non-US citizens entering the country who have recently been in South Africa starting Saturday in a bid to contain the spread of a new variant of Covid-19. Biden on Monday is also reimposing an entry ban on nearly all non-U.S. travelers who have been in Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and 26 countries in Europe that allow travel across open borders. Some health officials are concerned that current vaccines may not be effective against the South Africa variant, which also raises the prospect of re-infection.

Heavy fighting erupts in Somali town near Kenyan border
South African virus variant may resist antibody drugs; Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine seems to work vs UK variant
Pirates kidnap 15 sailors in attack on Turkish container ship off Nigeria
The Okavango Delta could be in danger
Libya wants to take a new political approach


Africa doesn’t need white saviorism: Stars like Madonna or Ed Sheeran, but also high school graduates from Europe, England and the United States, travel to Africa to “help” the children and young people. This phenomenon now has a term: White Saviorism. “You need a specialized education in order to work with traumatized children in Europe,“ says Kenyan activist Sophie Otiende. “Why should it be any different here? Because whites know how to help Africans?“ But since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the „rescuers“ have stayed away. Europe and America are busy taking care of themselves. Nigerian molecular biologist Christian Happi has been researching the coronavirus for months and has even developed a vaccine with his team, especially based on African virus sequences. In animal testing, the vaccine shows an effectiveness of more than 90 percent. “Nobody would have thought that something like this could be developed in Africa,” explains Happi. The pandemic in particular has shown that Africa must use its own potential and find solutions itself. The supposed rescuers are currently thinking of themselves first.

How the EU wants to support African peace operations in the future: Soldiers from Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Burundi form the “Mission of the African Union in Somalia”, or AMISOM for short. The funds (1.5 billion euros) for the mission come from Brussels and without them the mission would probably not exist. The money specifically comes from the so-called „African Peace Facility“, which was previously run by the African Union. Now, the project will be structurally changed and renamed “European Peace Facility”. In the future, the EU will be able to work directly with individual regions, countries or armies in Africa. Regional alliances in particular could benefit from this.

Several fighters of the Al-Shabaab terrorist group killed in surprise attack: According to the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF), 189 suspected fighters of the Islamist terrorist group Al-Shabaab have been killed in a surprise attack. The UPDF said in a statement that its soldiers on Friday had raided al Shabaab hideouts in the villages of Sigaale, Adimole and Kayitoy, just over 100 km southwest of the capital Mogadishu. There was no immediate comment from al Shabaab on the attack. The group – which aims to topple Somalia’s government and impose its own harsh interpretation of Islamic law – controlled most of south-central Somalia until 2011, when it was driven out of Mogadishu by African Union troops.


374 people have been rescued off the coast of Libya.


„Whites are not needed to figure out where to go.“

Kelsey Nielsen tries to fight the colonial legacy with her organization No White Saviors.


DJ Khaled to host MTV Africa Music Awards Kampala 2021: Grammy-winning producer, DJ and record exec DJ Khaled will host the MTV Africa Music Awards Kampala 2021 (MAMA), broadcasting globally for the first time on MTV February 20. Due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, Khaled will host the virtual ceremony from his home in Miami.

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