1Africa’s New Travel Hot Spot
Ghana has unveiled a 15-year-long tourism plan that seeks to increase the annual number of tourists to the country from one million to eight million per year by 2027. Ghana’s travel industry is projected to raise $8.3 billion a year by 2027, plus associated benefits, according to the plan. When some of the most well-known faces from the African diaspora arrived for a recent vacation in Accra, Ghana, it looked like just another gathering of famous people. Actors including Idris Elba rubbed shoulders with supermodel Naomi Campbell, TV sports presenter Mike Hill, and author Luvvie Ajayi. The meet-up of box office stars, fashion royalty and top creatives was a focused and ambitious strategy to make Ghana a major tourist destination.
2A Patented Home-grown Remedy Fails to Help Nigerians
The successful development of a drug for the treatment of a sickle cell anaemia using a traditional herbal remedy by Nigerian scientists was widely regarded as a very significant breakthrough in medicine in 1998. Niprisan was developed by Nigeria’s National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) from one of the many traditional herbal medicines that have been used for treating the disorder in Nigeria long before colonization. The new drug was a product of the advocacy for collaboration between scientists and local traditional herbal healers to develop drugs from Africa’s rich biodiversity and traditional knowledge of medicinal plants. But the commercialization of Niprisan, even with a potential market opportunity estimated to worth over $1 billion, has been mired in controversy for over a decade. It has ended up denying millions of people affected by the scourge of the disorder an opportunity of having a better life.
SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA
3Exploited by Ebola Workers on the Frontline
An Ebola vaccination programme in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has become engulfed in allegations of impropriety, amid claims that women are being asked for sexual favours in exchange for treatment. Research by several NGOs has revealed that a deep mistrust of health workers is rife in DRC and gender-based violence is believed to have increased since the start of the Ebola outbreak in August. In a statement, the health ministry said it took such claims seriously, and advised that women should only meet with recruiters wearing an official badge.
SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN
4Silent Killer in South Africa’s Biggest Township
Mountains of waste from Johannesburg’s omnipresent gold industry may be ruining the health of nearby residents. Winds stir up dust from the dunes and carry it to nearby homes where it settles on roofs, roads, and areas where children play, often in South Africa’s poorest townships. What have become natural landmarks in the townships are from the country’s 130-year-old gold industry and contain heavy metals like lead and arsenic as well as radioactive waste. The dust causes violent coughing and vomiting and, in some households, children have severe neurological disorders.
SOURCES: AL JAZEERA
5A Statue of Ethiopia’s Last Emperor Now Stands at the AU Headquarters
The likeness of Haile Selassie is being given pride of place outside the building in recognition for his role in establishing its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU. Haile Selassie was more than 30 years into his reign when he helped establish the OAU. Its first meeting, in May 1963, was held in Addis Ababa. “May this convention of union last 1,000 years,” was Haile Selassie’s toast at the opening. Ethiopia – which has never been colonised although it was subjected to a five-year military occupation by Mussolini’s Italy – had served as a symbol of African independence throughout the colonial period.
6Jilted DRC Presidential Hopeful wants a Do Over
The runner-up in DR Congo’s controversial presidential election has proposed staging the poll again within six months. In a letter to the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Martin Fayulu restated his allegation that the vote result had been rigged, and said the DRC’s Independent National Election Commission (CENI) had “quite simply fabricated the results it published”. He pointed to reports from independent election monitors and observers from his own coalition, Lamuka, as well as to vote tallies by the CENI itself that have been leaked to the press.
7Scientists find Treasure Trove in Gabonese Shale Deposits
A 2.1-billion-year-old black shale from a quarry in Gabon is the earliest evidence of a revolutionary development in the history of life on Earth, the ability of organisms to move from one place to another on their own. The researchers discovered exquisitely preserved fossils of small tubular structures created when unknown organisms moved through soft mud in search of food in a calm and shallow marine ecosystem. The fossils dated back to a time when Earth was oxygen-rich and boasted conditions conducive to simple cellular life evolving more complexity, they said.
SOURCES: FORBES AFRICA
8The Evolution Of Made In Rwanda Campaign
In 2018, the government of Rwanda officially launched the Made in Rwanda policy a product of the 2015 domestic market recapture strategy. In this CNBC Africa debate Host Eugene Anangwe engages the major players to understand the evolution and the prospects that the “Made in Rwanda Campaign” hold for local producers and manufacturers in Rwanda.
9The United States is Scaling Back its Security Assistance to Cameroon
The central African country is a key U.S. security partner, and about 300 U.S. troops are based there to train and assist the Cameroonian military, including in its fight against extremism in its far northern region. Human rights groups have reported that Cameroonian security forces have targeted civilians in the far north and in the country’s unstable southwest and northwest regions, where the military is battling English-speaking separatists fighting to create a breakaway nation called Ambazonia. “We emphasize that it is in Cameroon’s interest to show greater transparency in investigating credible allegations of gross violations of human rights security forces, particularly in the Northwest, Southwest, and Far North Regions,” said the State Department.
SOURCES: WASHINGTON POST
10The Flipflopi’s Maiden Voyage Raises Awareness in East Africa
At 9-metres long the unusual rainbow-coloured dhow is made of recycled plastic waste and discarded flip-flops gathered from beaches and roadsides. The boat’s captain says they sailed south along East Africa’s coast to raise awareness of the threat plastics pose to the oceans. Along the way the boat made six stops, with its crew joining local people, schools and officials for beach clean-ups and events highlighting the effect of plastic pollution on the seas. The FlipFlopi’s expedition came ahead of the United Nations Environment Assembly in March, where more than 190 nations will discuss innovative solutions to make production and consumption greener, and other critical environmental challenges.
SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA