1Kenya has Africa’s Largest Wind Power Farm
In a bid to boost electricity generating capacity and to meet the country’s ambitious goal of 100% green energy by 2020. The farm, known as the Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) will generate around 310 megawatts of power to the national grid and will increase the country’s electricity supply by 13%. An international consortium of lenders and producers, which includes the African Development Bank, came together to install the 365 wind turbines, which cost around $700m, the largest private investment in Kenya’s history. The 52-meter blade span windmills will take advantage of high winds in the remote area. In the past years, Kenya has made progress in investing in clean sources of energy. According to the Renewables 2018 Global Status Report, the country is 9th in the world for its geothermal power generating capacity of up to 700 megawatts. Kenya’s LTWP is not the only existing wind power project on the continent. Africa has fully operational wind farms in Morocco, Ethiopia, and South Africa providing sustainable energy.SOURCE: CNN
2South Africa’s Corruption Watchdog Comes Under Fire
A Constitutional Court’s decision to uphold a cost order against Busisiwe Mkhwebane only adds to the embattled Public Protector’s woes. A number of Mkhwebane’s reports have either been set aside or taken under review. According to Business Day, a total of 30 Public Protector reports have been taken on review to date. In addition, her fitness to hold office is being looked into by Parliament’s justice and correctional services portfolio committee. After being in office for more than two years, Mkhwebane has faced criticism for some of her reports, and it has been said that she is “incompetent” and that her credibility has “plummeted”. President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday said he would be seeking an urgent judicial review of Mkhwebane’s report which found that he had violated the executive code of ethics by not declaring donations to his ANC presidential campaign in 2017. Mkhwebane previously said that her office was going through “testing times” and that the institution was faced with attacks from every angle, including the “most unfair reporting in the media”.
SOURCE: NEWS 24
3Kenya’s Finance Minister Caught with Hands in the State Coffers
Henry Rotich and other treasury officials were arrested Monday on corruption and fraud charges over a multi-million dollar project to build two mega dams. Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji had ordered the arrest and prosecution of Rotich and 27 other top officials on charges of fraud, abuse of office and financial misconduct in the latest scandal to rock graft-wracked Kenya. Rotich, his principal secretary and the chief executive of Kenya’s environmental authority then presented themselves to the police. Haji said the conception, procurement and payment processes for the dam project — part of a bid to improve water supply in the drought-prone country — was “riddled with irregularities”. According to the contract, the project was to cost a total of $450 million (401 million euros), but the treasury had increased this amount by $164 million without regard to performance or works. Some $180 million has already been paid out, with little construction to show for it. Another $6 million was paid out for the resettlement of people living in areas that would be affected by the project, but there is no evidence of land being acquired for this, the chief prosecutor said.SOURCE: VOA
4Giving Sierra Leone the Counselling it Deserves
Sierra Leone witnessed a decade-long civil war and the worst Ebola outbreak ever, leaving hundreds of thousands traumatised in one of the world’s poorest countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 10 percent of the country’s population of seven million has mental health problems. Due to an unknown number of unreported cases, the reach of depression, psychosis or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is likely to be higher. Psychological help for these disorders is hardly available as there are only two practising psychiatrists in the country. With more than half the population living in extreme poverty, daily hardships and misery can turn into what scientists call “toxic stress” and trigger or amplify mental health problems. For children growing up in adversity, this “toxic stress” can have damaging effects on learning, behaviour and health throughout their life. For a long time, there was a lack of political will to change the situation. But now, individuals, activists, medical professionals and NGOs are coming together to help the country come out of the dire situation.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
5Growing African Agriculture One Byte At A Time
As agriculture yields fall, digital services are providing smart solutions that are increasing smallholder farmers’ productivity, profits and resilience to climate change—a threat to agriculture. Econet Wireless have partnered with the Zimbabwe Farmers Union – which represents more than one million smallholder farmers – to offer the ZFU EcoFarmer Combo, a bundled information and financial service. Members pay one dollar for a membership subscription. Through it they receive crop or livestock tips based on their farming area as well as weather-based indexed crop and funeral insurance. EcoFarmer, a mobile platform developed by Econet Wireless, the largest telecommunication services company in Zimbabwe. The EcoFarmer mobile platform provides innovative micro insurance for farmers to insure their inputs and crops against drought or excessive rain. They access these services via sms and voice-based messages on their mobile phones.
6The Desert Warriors Take the AFCON Title
Algeria won the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in nearly three decades on Friday, beating Senegal, 1-0, in the final with a deflected goal in the opening seconds by striker Baghdad Bounedjah. Bounedjah’s shot on Algeria’s first attack deflected off Senegal defender Salif Sané and looped over goalkeeper Alfred Gomis at Cairo International Stadium. The goal was timed at 79 seconds — the fastest in a Cup of Nations final for at least 39 years — and delivered Algeria just a second African title and first since 1990. WATCH how the sporting heroes were welcomed back home.
SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES
7Democratic Republic of Congo’s Health Minister Quits
Oly Ilunga, resigned on Monday in protest at the presidency’s announcement last week that it would take control of the response to the Ebola outbreak instead of his team. In a resignation letter posted on his Twitter account, Ilunga decried “interference in the management of the response” to the outbreak, which is the second deadliest in history, the creation of parallel chains of authority and criticised outside pressure to deploy a second Ebola vaccine manufactured by Johnson & Johnson (J&J) over his objections. Ilunga says the J&J vaccine has not been proved to be effective and that deploying a second vaccine would confuse people. The company has said the vaccine, which has gone through phase 1 trials, is safe. He has overseen the nearly year-long response to DRC’s latest Ebola epidemic, which is the second deadliest in history. It has killed more than 1,700 people and infected more than 800 others.SOURCE: BUSINESS DAY LIVE
8Nigeria Payments Firm Goes IPO Route
Interswitch has hired advisers to resurrect plans for a stock-market listing in London and Lagos later this year. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Standard Bank Group Ltd. are among the firms working on an initial public offering, which may value the financial technology company at $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion. Interswitch, owned by private equity firm Helios Investment Partners, has engaged with banks in recent weeks after a thwarted IPO attempt two years ago. The potential listing would follow those of two other major African and Middle Eastern tech company share sales this year. Jumia Technologies AG, dubbed the Amazon of Africa, listed in New York earlier this year, while Dubai-based payments firm Network International Holdings Plc went public in London. Helios is among several private funds that specialize in investing in African assets as the economic recovery taking place across the continent bolsters investor sentiment and infrastructure plans.SOURCE: BLOOMBERG
9Travel Advisory Halts Flights to Cairo
British Airways and Lufthansa abruptly suspended flights to Cairo from Saturday over security concerns, but giving no details about what may have prompted the move. “We constantly review our security arrangements at all our airports around the world, and have suspended flights to Cairo for seven days as a precaution to allow for further assessment,” British Airways said in a statement. Lufthansa later said it had cancelled its flights to Cairo on Saturday from Munich and Frankfurt and will resume its flights on Sunday.
SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS
10Entrepreneurs Thrive in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp
Kakuma in north-western Kenya has an annual economy of over $56m, with a customer base of over 180,000 people. Refugee camps like Kakuma are effectively large towns with their own mini-economies. Although remote, Kakuma has a population of more than 185,000 people. Refugees here come from many backgrounds, and money circulates as they take on casual odd jobs – from construction to washing clothes – or start small businesses. Commercial financial services tend to ignore the refugee market – despite its potential profitability. That limits refugees’ ability to safely bank the small savings they make, remittances from friends and family abroad, or to tap into business opportunities. SOURCE: THE NEW HUMANITARIAN | BBC