African DNA was Largely Excluded from the Genomics Field Until Now
There is greater genetic diversity in Africa than in any other continent, studies have consistently shown. Such variations have the potential to reveal insights that enable the development of treatments for health conditions that affect Africans and non-Africans alike. One such project is already underway and making rapid progress: Nigerian health tech startup 54gene, billed as “the world’s first pan-African biobank,” with a mission to address some of the continent’s most serious health challenges. 54gene makes the genetic material in its biobank available to pharma companies and academic and clinical researchers to facilitate the development of healthcare solutions. Core targets for treatment include cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neuro-degenerative disease.
How Many Landmines are there in Angola?
Photographer Antonio Olmos visited the village of
Cabio in Benguela Province to document the work of the women of the Halo Trust
who are clearing the anti-personnel mines left over from the Angolan civil war.
Last January, the Halo Trust, the British landmine charity, set up camp in the
village, bringing with it a small army of its own in the form of 18 Angolan
women mine clearers. Having since removed 197 mines and 50 items of unexploded
ordnance from the area, it hopes to complete the job next month – at which
point the land will be returned to the villagers. The mine clearers, who live
on site for 24 days at a time, are part of 100 Women, a project that aims to
empower those involved, as well as to clear mines. So far, 78 have been
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
The Hammer Comes Down on Malabo Fleet
A fleet of luxury, high-performance cars seized from the son of
Equatorial Guinea’s president have been auctioned off for more than $23
million. The 25 cars were seized by Swiss authorities after an investigation
into money laundering. They once belonged to Teodoro Nguema Obiang
Mangue, who is also vice president to Equatorial Guinea’s 40-year ruler
President Theodora Obiang. Among the cars sold Sunday were Lamborghinis,
Ferraris, Bentleys, Rolls Royces and a McLaren. A rare white Lamborghini Veneno
Roadster, one of only nine built, sold for $8.3million to an anonymous
buyer. Proceeds from the auction will go to a charity to fund social programs
in the tiny oil-rich Central African country.
Central African Republic’s Murky Partnership
Hoping to wrest control over the diamond trade and piece the Central African Republic back together, the government has turned to a new partner — Russia — in what some lawmakers fear is a dangerous bargain that trades one threat for another. The Central African government has welcomed the Russians, betting that stability will enable it to sell more diamonds legally and use the money to rebuild the nation. But Russia’s help comes at a cost. Its representatives have struck deals with the government to mine diamonds where the trade is legal — one of many signs that Russia’s push into the country is closely tied to the profits it can reap.
SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES
Al Shabaab Taunts the US
Separate attacks in Somalia have targeted a US special forces
base in the town of Baledogle and a European military convoy in the capital,
Mogadishu. The al-Shabab armed group claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack
at the Baledogle base located in the Lower Shabelle region, about 100km (60
miles) west of Mogadishu. No immediate casualties from the attack, which
involved twin vehicle-borne bombs, were reported. Al-Shabab said its fighters
stormed the base after using a car bomb to blast through its gates. The US
Mission to Somalia denied al-Shabab fighters penetrated the camp’s defences,
saying Somali security forces repelled the attack.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
Baby Factories Closed Down in Lagos
Nigerian police have freed 19 pregnant women from properties in
Lagos, which they describe as “baby factories”. Most of the women had
been abducted “for the purpose of getting them pregnant and selling the
babies”, a police statement said. Two women who operated as untrained
nurses have been arrested but the main suspect is on the run. Police said that
male babies would be sold for $1,400 and the females for $830. They added that
the children were to be trafficked, but it was not clear who or where the
potential buyers were. Stories of these so-called “baby factories”
are not uncommon in Nigeria. There have been several raids in the past
including one last year when 160 children were rescued.
Dodgy Deals Plague South African State Entity
South African state logistics firm Transnet said on Monday
irregular expenditure in 2019 increased six-fold to around 49 billion rand from
8 billion rand in the previous year, mainly due to train replacement contracts.
A number of Transnet’s top executives, including its chief executive and chief
financial officer, have been suspended or fired in the wake of an official
corruption inquiry into a 54 billion rand contract to buy 1,064 locomotives.
SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA
Kenya’s Highest-value Banknote Makes Way for a New-look
In June 2019, the Central Bank of Kenya announced that the
1,000-shilling banknote will cease to be legal tender in four months’ time. A
newly designed 1,000-shilling note would go into circulation along with smaller
denominations. Kenya also asked its neighbors, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, not
to allow 1,000-shilling notes, valued at around $9,60. Kenyan authorities said
scrapping the old note would be a way of ending the corruption that has deeply
entrenched in the country. Billions of the high-denomination notes were
suspected to be stashed away by corrupt officials, tax evaders and money
SOURCE: DEUTSCHE WELLE
Cameroon’s Treatment of Children Revealed
A new report on child abuse in Cameroon shows that over 50
percent of Cameroon’s children have suffered various forms of abuse, with
children with disabilities suffering proportionally far worse. The study
was carried over a three-year period by the Cameroon Baptist Hospital Services
in partnership with the Netherlands-based Liliane Foundation, using a variety
of methods including focus group discussions and in-depth
interviews. While previous studies focused primarily on identifying the
prevalence of violence and abuse against children, the latest study sought to
“identify the factors contributing to the abuse of children with disability,
and to determine appropriate measures and strategies to reduce such abuse so as
to improve on the wellbeing for children with disabilities.
SOURCE: CRUX NOW
East Africa’s Buy Local Campaign
The East African Community (EAC) has introduced policies for the
establishment of special fashion days and weeks in the region. Officials say
the declarations would enhance local consumption of East Africa-made products
and enhance our productive capacity in the textile sector. However, the
initiative has been greeted with mixed reactions. While some residents welcome
the idea of wearing of new locally made attires, others claim that their prices
are much higher (compared to imported used clothes), which discourage buyers.
The latest declarations will be implemented in all EAC member states – Rwanda,
Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, and South Sudan. And the annual fashion week
will be hosted in all member states on a rotational basis each year.
SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA