The Numbing Experience of Living Through Africa’s Growing Internet Shutdowns
The internet shutdown that engulfed Ethiopia last week caught many by surprise. Authorities restricted social media platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram and disabled SMS text messaging in measures aimed at deterring cheating during national secondary school exams. There has been a marked rise in recorded web disruptions globally, but African countries are dominating the leader board of national shutdowns in 2019. The orders for these interruptions are mostly coming from those at the helm, with dictatorships and partial democracies the biggest offenders. Regulators and telecommunication companies aren’t providing advance warnings or justification for these suspensions too—even though some have linked them to preserving public safety, limiting hate speech, and reducing exam cheats.
SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA
They Thought This HIV Strategy Couldn’t Work. But It Did
In low-income countries, “test and treat” is not the typical approach to prevention. There has been no research to support it. 10 years ago, researchers began planning a massive study of treatment as prevention in South Africa and Zambia. “People didn’t think we could provide antiretroviral therapy in sub-Saharan Africa at all,” says study co-leader Richard Hayes of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “There was a lot of skepticism.” The study provided “test and treat” to communities containing a total of about 1 million people in South Africa and Zambia from 2013 to 2018. The $130 million project is called PopART (Population Effects of Antiretroviral Therapy to Reduce HIV Transmission). The findings show that the practice could play a crucial role in controlling the AIDS epidemic.
Why President Buhari is Still Reluctant to Sign the AfCFTA
Nearly a month after reports surfaced that Nigeria may be ready to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), President Muhammadu Buhari has blown the lid off, stating reasons for the country’s reluctance to commit to the trade pact. “I don’t think Nigeria has the capacity to effectively supervise and to ensure that our colleagues in AU (African Union) don’t allow their countries to be used to dump goods on us to the detriment of our young industries and our capacity to utilise foreign exchange for imported goods,” President Buhari said, in a meeting with the National Council of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in Abuja. While concerns over the disadvantages of the AfCFTA to Nigeria’s local manufacturing may be valid or true, there is enough empirical evidence to show that the advantages of free trade outweigh the likely costs if properly prepared for. An August 2018 independent survey of 512 business leaders and owners by the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) reportedly showed an “overwhelming expectation of positive impacts of AfCFTA on businesses and the economy”.
SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA
The US Reaffirms its Unwavering Commitment to Africa and South Africa
The US has and will continue to invest in people and build partnerships that promote better health, jobs, skills, education, opportunity, and security, writes Tibor Nagy. “South Africa faces some tough choices as it seeks to increase economic growth and come to grips with how best to manage and reform struggling state-owned enterprises. The United States is South Africa’s third largest trading partner, with two-way trade in 2018 at $13.7bn. Our imports from South Africa include everything from precious metals, iron, steel and aluminum, to automobiles, auto parts, and millions of cartons of citrus and table grapes from the Northern and Western Cape. The hallmark of American companies is that they are employing South Africans in good jobs, transferring skills, and developing talent – all the while improving the competiveness of South Africa in the global economy.” — Read the full speech delivered by US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa on June 21, 2019.
SOURCE: NEWS 24
African Soccer Wants Action Against Cameroon
The head of women’s soccer in Africa wants Cameroon to face punishment for the conduct of players in their Women’s World Cup loss to England. The Cameroon team rebelled against three officiating decisions in a 3-0 loss to England in the round of 16 on Sunday. After the game, Cameroon manager Alain Djeumfa accused officials of a “miscarriage of justice.” According to the official from Sierra Leone, the CAF should take action even if FIFA doesn’t pursue a case against the Cameroon team. As Cameroon players seethed and wept at times on the field, there was at least one high-profile advocate of their behavior: the head of the FIFA administration. FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura tweeted that the Cameroon players “inspired many young girls,” with “passionate and talented play on the field that made your fans proud and your country is proud of you.”
Ethiopia Failed Coup: Fifth death, national mourning, mastermind killed
Attorney General of Ethiopia’s Amhara region has succumbed to injuries sustained after an attack that led to the death of the region’s president over the weekend. Migbara Kebede becomes the fifth casualty of the coup attempt in Bahir Dar, the regional capital. The BBC also reports that the mastermind of the attack, Asaminew Tsige, had been shot dead by police, on Monday. The death of Ambachew Mekonnen and Ezez Wasie – the regional president and his advisor respectively was confirmed by the government on Sunday. The United Nations has called for restraint even though the African Union, AU, based in Addis Ababa; has yet to issue a statement on the developments. Regional neighbours have, however, reacted amongst others, Eritrea and Somalia in the Horn of Africa. Turkey and Qatar on Monday issued strongly worded condemnations.
SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS
Sudan Must End Repression and Give Monitors Access, UN Rights Boss Says
Sudanese authorities must grant human rights monitors access to the country, end “repression” against protesters and restore the country’s internet, UN human rights boss Michelle Bachelet said on Monday. Her office had received reports that more than 100 protesters were killed and many more injured during an assault by security forces on a peaceful sit-in outside the defense ministry on June 3, she said. Sudan’s uprising “has been met with a brutal crackdown by the security forces this month”, Bachelet said in a speech opening a three-week session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. AFP reports that Sudan’s army rulers on Sunday appealed to the AU and Ethiopia to unify their efforts in outlining a blueprint for a political transition in the crisis-hit country. The generals expressed reservations about an Ethiopian proposal that, according to protest leaders, calls for a civilian-majority ruling body.
SOURCE: BUSINESS LIVE
Mandela’s Widow Warns Leaders Failing Pledge to End World Hunger
The world is nowhere near to achieving a global goal to end hunger and malnutrition by 2030 because of a lack of accountability and responsibility by decision-makers, Nelson Mandela’s widow warned on Saturday. Graca Machel told ministers, ambassadors and representatives from 194 nations at the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome that the failure was at all levels – international, country and individual. “If the current situation persists, Africa will be fulfilling only 13% of its food needs by 2050,” she said. “I want people to change their attitudes toward hunger,” said Machel, a former first lady of Mozambique, whose first husband, President Samora Machel, died in a plane crash in 1986. She urged international donors and governments to boost investment in rural areas and scale up efforts to end hunger.
Realising Women’s Land Rights Still An Uphill Battle
The issues of land and gender in South Africa are interlinked and cannot be easily separated. We continue to see women being discriminated against when it comes to land ownership and it is important that women are not side lined in the ever-present land debate. Many traditional leaders continue to regard women as minors who cannot own land in their own right and must be represented by men. This means that when land is allocated, women continue to take a back seat. By side-lining women in the land debate women will continue to be disempowered and this will deprive them of the opportunities that may have been open to them were they included in land reform initiatives. The message to both traditional leaders and government needs to be clear: women’s land rights are human rights and land reform and allocation of land should be reflective of this.
10 Most Beautiful Dive Sites In Mozambique
Do you love diving? If yes, Mozambique’s dive sites will leave you in awe. Here, you can explore the country’s underwater world to see an array of sea life. Your experience will be an unforgettable one. You’ll enjoy pristine beaches, exceptional cuisine and the friendly company of locals. Find the full list of the top 10 dive sites in Mozambique at Africa.com.