African Beauty

Guinness World Records: Nigerian Woman Endeavours to Set Record of Longest Nail Painting

At only 19 years old, Lisha Dachor, hailing from Plateau state, Nigeria, embraced an extraordinary feat: meticulously painting over 4,000 nails within a mere 72-hour span. Using an array of vibrant hues such as blue, pink, and purple, she embellished numerous fingernails at a local events center in her hometown.

 

The culmination of her three-day marathon came to a nail-biting finish on Wednesday. To potentially break the Guinness World Record (GWR), Dachor had to meticulously paint 60 fingernails per hour, adhering strictly to GWR regulations. Now, she eagerly awaits the review of her evidence by GWR.

 

Dachor’s drive for this challenge extends far beyond personal accomplishment; she seeks to reshape perceptions surrounding teenage mothers, a group she belongs to herself. “My goal is to inspire hope, particularly among single mothers, as many believe we lack potential,” she conveyed to the BBC.

 

With almost three years of experience as a skilled nail technician, Dachor also strives to highlight women from northern Nigeria. Furthermore, she envisions her record-breaking attempt as a means to draw attention to Plateau, her home state, situated at the crossroads of Nigeria’s Muslim north and Christian south.

 

Despite its picturesque landscapes, Plateau has grappled with persistent insecurity and tension among diverse ethnic and religious communities.

 

 Dachor sees highlighting Plateau’s positive attributes as a way to confront prevailing negative stereotypes. “People tend to judge the Plateau based solely on its surface. Beyond the ethnic challenges, Plateau is a stunning locale. I received support from individuals of all ethnic backgrounds during this endeavour,” she stressed.

Hope for Bajuni Language as First Native Books Published.

There is a ray of hope for the Bajuni language in Lamu County and the Coast at large with the launch of books in Kibajuni.

This is the first time books in the Bajuni dialect have been published.

The books are meant to safeguard the cultural heritage of the Bajuni, oral traditions, and poetry.

The Bajuni language (Kibajuni), also known as Tikulu (Tikuu), is a Bantu language related to Kiswahili.

It is spoken mainly by the Bajuni people who inhabit the tiny Bajuni Islands in the northern part of Kenya’s Coast and Southern Somalia around Kismayu.

The launch was at the Mwana Arafa Hotel on Lamu Island. It was attended by renowned authors, officials from the National Museums of Kenya (NMK), Unesco, British Council officials, and Lamu elders.

The new books are part of a cultural heritage documentation project on the Bajuni language, oral traditions, and poetry.

It is being implemented by Twaweza Communications Centre in partnership with the Shungwaya Welfare Association and Swahili Resource Centre.

The project is funded by the British Council Cultural Protection Fund and the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport.

It is the first time the language viewed as a dialect of Swahili has been the object of such books.

Twaweza Communications lead partner Prof Kimani Njogu said the documentation “will result in new records about the language and the history of the community”.

It will also lead to the creation of a vital resource for current and future generations, he said.

“I am happy to be part and parcel of this event to launch Bajuni language books. The Bajuni language is important because it is the root of Bajuni identity, history, and knowledge system. It defines who they are and should be protected and promoted,” Njogu said.

Shungwaya Welfare Association Secretary General Omar Lali said since the language is not taught in school, many Bajuni youth today cannot write it.

Lali challenged the Bajuni youth to value their language and speak it without feeling inferior.

“Your language tells the history of your people. It is your cultural resource,” Lali said.

Among the newly launched books is the Chusomeni Kibajuni for Grades 1, 2, and 3.

The book is expected to greatly promote literacy.

Mohamed Lali, the chairperson of the Shungwaya Welfare Association, hopes that a Bajuni Resource Centre will be built to increase learning and preserve the cultural heritage of the community.

“It will also contribute to more research and cultural tourism,” Mohamed said.

Other books launched are Mashairi a Kibajuni, an anthology of more than 100 poems in Kibajuni edited by Omar Lali, and Omar Maulana and assisted by Prof Kimani Njogu.

Shivulani ni Shaulani is a narrative poem in six parts by spoken word poet Mohamed Kombo, and a collection of essays Bajuni Land, Language and Orature edited by Kimani Njogu and Athman Lali Omar.  

These learners’ books are accompanied by teacher’s guides to ensure that skills are imparted according to the Competency-Based Curriculum guidelines.

The project also involved building a Bajuni cultural heritage website and training youth on how to document cultural heritage.

The project also contributes to the implementation of the Constitution of Kenya, which recognizes the importance of the languages of the people of Kenya.

Unesco regional adviser on culture Nagaoka Masanori said the Bajuni books launch is a crucial step towards the continued preservation and protection of culture and promotion of Lamu as a Unesco World Heritage site.

Lamu Old Town 2001 was named a Unesco World Heritage site due to its historical significance as an epicenter for trade in the East Africa Region.

Masanori called it the “living embodiment of Swahili cultural heritage”.

“The Bajuni language is part and parcel of the cultural heritage of this place. I am, therefore, happy to preside over this historic event to launch Bajuni language books,” Masanori said.

In attendance were British Council country director and East Africa lead Tom Porter, assistant director of the Kenya National Commission for Unesco Emily Njeru, implementing partners, Lamu county government representatives, and community members.

Rwanda’s Kenza Ameloot Shines as Miss Belgium 2024.

On Saturday, February 24 at the grand finale of the Miss Belgium beauty pageant, Rwandan-Belgian model Kenza Johanna Ameloot was crowned Miss Belgium 2024 which took place at the Proximus Theater.

Julie Mortier and Estelle Toulemonde took first and second runner-up places in a competition that had thirty-two competitors competing for the prestigious title that acts as a gateway to Miss Universe. Arwen Van Gucht and Marie Rousseaux both earned places in the top 5.

After Emilie Vansteenkiste was crowned Miss België and Miss Universe Belgium 2023, the 22-year-old became victorious in the tournament.

Ameloot was born to a Belgian father and a Rwandan mother, and she works as a professional model while studying international business.

The beauty queen named Rwanda as her favorite place to travel, especially on vacations, in a recent interview with Isimbi TV.

She also noted that she was working on a project that aimed to help Belgian students who are having difficulties finishing their education get back into the classroom.

Ameloot succeeds Sonia Rolland, the 2000 Miss France winner, as the second Rwandan to win a major beauty contest.

Born to a Belgian father and a Rwandan mother, Kenza Ameloot is a Belgian model who hails from Sint-Amandsberg, East Flanders. The stunning beauty queen is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in international business.

On winning the national crown, Kenza took to her official social media as she wrote, “I am super proud and extremely grateful that I get the opportunity to make a difference as Miss. I am very proud and grateful that I have this opportunity to invest as Miss. I am beyond proud and grateful for receiving this chance to mean something as a Miss.”

South African Airways Marks Nine Decades Of Excellence In Operations.


South Africa airways commemorates 90 years of resilience and excellence since its establishment on February 1, 1934, making it one of Africa’s oldest and most enduring airlines.

Globally celebrated at its destinations, South African Airways marked the occasion with a movie reception and get-together for top travel agents at its Lagos office in Nigeria.

In an earlier statement, the airline’s CEO, John Lamola, acknowledged South African Airways’ history, acknowledging both its challenges and triumphs. He expressed the commitment to celebrate and reflect on this heritage throughout February while striving to advance SAA’s story as a premier world-class African airline.

Commencing the celebration of the airline’s impressive 90-year journey, Kemi Leke-Bamtefa, the Country Manager in Lagos, expressed gratitude to travel agents, recognizing their exceptional contributions. Their remarkable efforts, acknowledged as pivotal to the airline’s success, place them at the heart of the festivities, and their support is sincerely appreciated.

Reflecting on her decade-long business journey, Abosede Yusuf from Quantum Travels commends South African Airways (SAA) for its consistent support. In the travel industry for the past 10 years, Yusuf appreciates SAA’s dedicated staff who have been instrumental in resolving issues promptly and facilitating smoother sales processes.

She expresses admiration for the airline’s assistance, acknowledging its positive impact on her business. Yusuf extends her best wishes for SAA’s continued growth and success in the industry. While acknowledging the support received, she also encourages the airline not to overlook the interests of travel agents, emphasizing the importance of improved commissions and additional benefits. Her hopeful message signals appreciation for the existing collaboration while advocating for ongoing enhancements that benefit both parties.

Affirming the airline’s longstanding service excellence, Surline Isiagu, CEO of Luchia Travels, highlights a five-year partnership with South African Airways (SAA). Describing SAA as a supportive ally, Isiagu expresses well wishes for the airline’s 90th anniversary. She hopes for SAA’s continued expansion in both fleet and destinations, anticipating ongoing prosperity for their business.

Expressing satisfaction with South African Airways, the speaker praises the airline for its remarkable responsiveness. They commend the efficient and supportive staff, emphasizing the quick and attentive response to customer requests. The speaker declares their intent to continue choosing SAA for travel and extends wishes for the airline’s continued success, saying, “More grease to their elbows.”

AFCON 2023: People Behind Curtains.

As Nigeria – the Super Eagles advance to the finals of the 2023 AFCON tournament, after a victorious and thrilling win against their opponent South Africa – Bafana Bafana in a 4-2 match on a penalty shoot-out, the Nigerian national team will go head-on with the Elephants of Ivory Coast, who played against DR Congo in a 1-0 match at the Abidjan Stadium.

Nigeria’s inexplicable performance which secured them a spot in the final against South Africa has brought joy and happiness to the faces and hearts of Nigerians in the country and the diaspora. 

Social media platforms, especially X formerly known as Twitter are buzzing with celebration tweets from Nigerians. There has also been banter between Nigerians and South Africans. South Africans are being dragged for expecting to win the semi-finals following their win at the Grammy Awards with Tyla’s ‘Water’ for Best Africa Music Performance.

Since their most recent triumph in 2013, Nigeria has booked their place in the AFCON finals for the first time, edging past South Africa 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in a thrilling semi-final clash.

However, there would not be a successful match without the people behind the scenes who are not often talked about and applauded.

The VAR, media, security, and commentators of the 2023 AFCON competition are also to be commended as much as accolades are been given to referees, coaches, and players, for a job well done during and after the matches of AFCON 2023. They all played crucial roles in ensuring the excellence and success of the games played.

Nigeria’s ‘Man of the Match’, goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali was raised as the hero for Nigeria after he saved efforts by Teboho Mokoena and Evidence Makgopa in a 4-2 shoot-out win, which only provided a partial account of an incredible match in which VAR was the center of attention.

 

VAR – Video Assistant Referee

Alongside the game officials, the VAR operated in tandem as a team.

In the 85th minute of Nigeria & South Africa match, Nigeria thought they had secured their place in the final when Victor Osimhen tapped home to add another goal to William Troost-Ekong’s second-half penalty, but referee Amin Omar was told to intervene. 

The VAR revealed that South Africa’s Percy Tau had been fouled inside the penalty area at the start of the move and the score went from 2-0 for Nigeria to 1-1.

Also, after the full time of the Nigeria match, during the extra-time, Osimhen was substituted with Terem Moffi, whose first involvement resulted in Kekana being sent off. Moffi had a collision with Kekana just outside the box.

VAR was again required and the referee Omar decided Kekana had fouled Moffi but the contact was just outside the area. Grant Kekana was given a red flag.

 

SECURITY

The AFCON Security team is also to be acknowledged for ensuring the safety of those who visited the venue and also the footballer’s safety. The security team of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) provided stricter measures to ensure that visitors and football enthusiasts experienced a safer and more secure stay. 

According to the Head of Safety and Security at CAF, Dr. Emeruwa Christian, they worked closely with the Local Organising Committee, Government, Safety and Security Agencies to guarantee visitors’ safety at the AFCON matches.

 

MEDIA

CAF General Secretary, Veron Mosengo-Omba said: “Media plays an important role in making the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations a success. It is important for the CAF to introduce the best possible conditions for the media to do its work. The Main Media Centre will centralize media events and services. This means media do not need to travel between the two venues for pre-match media conferences.”

The Main Media Center (MMC) was introduced for media services during the games. It provided the media including photographers and broadcasters with a unique working environment. It also ensured that the media in Abidjan were able to follow press conferences from other venues daily.

 

COMMENTATORS

The commentators also did explicitly well in reporting the activities on the pitch. Even without visuals of the games, one could understand and visualize the game from the reports of the commentators. From the passes of the players to the dribbling of the ball, and netting the ball, the commentators did an excellent job of reporting. 

 

In a final heat, the Super Eagles and Elephants go head-on against each other on Sunday, February 11, 2024, at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium Abidjan. Africans eagerly anticipate this brutal battle, which will reveal the might of the Ivory Coast’s elephants and Nigeria’s tenacious Eagles.

 

Miss Agriculture Ghana Increases Enthusiasm Among Women in Agriculture.

In 2018, Oheneba Akosua Kyerewaa Yeboah-Ghansah, the 2nd Runner-up of the TV3 reality show Ghana Most Beautiful, embarked on a mission to transform the perception of agriculture among women in the nation.

She believes that women can actively participate in agriculture while maintaining their beauty. To promote this idea, she introduced a reality show named Miss Agriculture Ghana.

The program encompasses more than just agriculture, incorporating elements typical of beauty reality shows, including catwalk, fashion, eloquence, and stunning appearances.

 

The motivation behind the show is the recognition that farming is no longer limited to the elderly, the uneducated, or school dropouts; instead, it has evolved into a substantial business for generating significant income.

 

The criteria for the reality show fundamentally depict that young women can engage in farming while maintaining their beauty, even in farm attire.


To enter the competition, a participant must express a passion for agriculture, have initiated a venture within the agribusiness value chain, or show an interest in starting one. Additionally, they should be between the ages of 18 and 30.

In the past five years, there has been a burgeoning enthusiasm among young women for the show. Many contestants hail from diverse tertiary educational institutions; some are actively involved in agricultural projects across the agricultural value chain.


Utilizing beauty pageantry to rally and mentor youth and women towards improved agripreneurship, wealth generation, employment, and food security, the reality show draws in young women from all 16 regions. They bring forth varied ideas, projects, and innovative initiatives to foster extensive participation and advancement of women and youth in agribusiness within the nation.

 

Starting with 25 contestants in the inaugural reality show in 2018, the number surged to 45 in 2019, reached 65 in 2020, escalated to 83 in 2021, and peaked at 103 in 2022. The trend continued in 2023, with the highest participation of 113 contestants. Notably, all the winners from the show’s inception are currently thriving in pursuits such as mainstream farming, animal rearing, processing, packaging, or marketing agricultural products.

 

In the roll call of winners, Afriyie Obeng-Fosu, the inaugural edition winner, combines mushroom production with his role as an agricultural economist and Agric Officer at the Adenta Municipal Authority (AdMA). Margaret Afriyie, the 2019 winner, is engaged in vegetable production. Miss Agriculture 2020, Naliz Sakitey, manages a poultry farm and produces chicken spice, focusing on animal rearing. Rendy Abam, the 2021 winner, has found success as a greenhouse vegetable farmer.

 

Hannah Larten, the 2022 winner, excels in cassava value-chain production, while the current champion, Ruth Adolwina Awintanga, focuses on guinea fowl farming. Their substantial contributions to the agricultural value chain have a cascading impact on sector growth, as they serve as influential role models, drawing young women into the sector.

 

The seventh edition of the 2024 competition has commenced, with the deadline set for next Monday, February 12. After this date, a panel of judges will evaluate the link established for applicants to submit their candidacy for the awards and proceed to shortlist successful candidates



Seychelles’ President Reiterates Commitment with Mauritius to Defend their Peoples’ Rights.

President Wavel Ramkalawan has called for Seychelles and Mauritius to reaffirm their commitment to promote and defend the dignity and rights of their people and to continue to be an example for other countries.

According to State House, Ramkalawan made the address at an official wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the 189th Anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery in Mauritius on Thursday, February 1, of which he was the chief guest.

Present at the ceremony were the Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, the Vice President of Mauritius, and the Cabinet of Ministers.

Ramkalawan said he was honored to be present and to share in this historic and emotional moment with the people of Mauritius and that the ceremony paid tribute to all the ancestors who suffered from the crime of slavery, and were oppressed by forced labor.

“We will never forget them and their contribution in building our society. Slavery in all its forms is one of the darkest chapters in human history. For several centuries, millions of men, women, and children suffered the toughest form of oppression that we can imagine, where their freedom and dignity were taken away from them, treated as simple commodities, and their human bodies and spirits were broken by a cruel and oppressive system,” he said.

The President added “The slave trade and business fuelled by greed for money and a false belief in racial superiority, destroyed families and communities and completely devastated many civilizations.”  

He noted that the history of slavery and its suffering continues to cast a shadow on their consciousness and that it reminds them of the human cruelty that existed in society.  

Ramkalawan underlined the importance of not forgetting all the millions of people around the world who are victims of modern slavery and exploitation today, in one form or another, caused by global conflicts, economic imbalances, lack of education, lack of basic services, starvation, diseases among others.

“It is our duty, especially in knowing our past, to continue to sensitize the international community to this modern scourge and see how we can contribute to its elimination,” he said.  

Ramkalawan affirmed that Seychelles and Mauritius would remain engaged in their collective efforts to promote and defend human rights, human dignity, and freedom of the two nations.

“The history of Mauritius and Seychelles is one highlighted by tears, suffering, struggle, and sacrifice of our ancestors. Whether in the sugarcane plantations of Mauritius, the coconut plantations in Seychelles, or on the islands, many generations of African slaves, followed by the laborers in this barbaric system, worked under the tropical sun and nourished the fertile soil of our island with all their might and their blood. From that period of slavery until our independence, our two nations have gone through many challenges and obstacles,” he added.

Ramkalawan said, “Today when we recognize the progress we have made, let’s not forget our common heritage and shared destiny that unites us.”  

He reiterated Seychelles’ position regarding the issue of Chagos.

“We fully and unreservedly support Mauritius in its efforts and progress to return Chagos under Mauritian sovereignty. Our support is based on the principles of justice, national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and respect for international law. Mauritius has every right to the Chagos and we strongly denounce all attempts to deny its sovereignty. Together, we will continue to stand with Mauritius and firmly support it in its course for the recognition of its sovereignty and justice,” he said.  

He also noted that through all the obstacles encountered, the two nations came out stronger and more resilient, united in their determination to build a future based on the principles of freedom, legality, social, material, and spiritual well-being, and justice for all our citizens.

“Let us reaffirm our commitment to promote and defend the dignity and rights of all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, or belief. Let us stand together as two proud and independent nations, united in our shared heritage and our common humanity. We have come out of the shadows, in the darkness we have been in, progressing on the path of development and prosperity,” said Ramkalawan.

He added that “Today, Mauritius and Seychelles are universally recognized and considered as beacons of hope in our region. Our shared history and our exemplary bilateral relations go beyond all borders and limits. Let us, together, continue to be an example of hope in this divided world. Let us continue to work together for a future anchored in the values of freedom, dignity, and legality for all our citizens.”

Le Morne International Slave Route Monument is a tangible expression of the history of slavery in Mauritius and around the world, especially with the inscription of Le Morne Cultural Landscape on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Ethiopia National Palace to Open to Public Tomorrow.

After commencing in April of last year with an estimated one-year timeline, the long-awaited renovations of the National Palace are expected to conclude by mid-February. Sources reveal that doors will be opened to visitors during the last weeks of February.

To facilitate the full renovation process, all items within the palace were being carefully wrapped and packed, then relocated to an undisclosed location, in preparation for the palace’s renovation.

Originally named the Jubilee Palace in honor of Emperor Haile Selassie’s Silver Jubilee in 1955, the palace has served as the Emperor’s primary residence. Despite its status as an iconic national structure, it has never been accessible to the public and has been used exclusively as an official residence for the president and hosting official functions.

The renovation project, which will end shortly, is part of the French government’s commitment to bolster the Ethiopian Heritage Program. This commitment has been solidified following a visit by high-ranking French government officials to Addis Ababa in March 2019.

 

On July 16, 2020, an agreement was signed between Ahmed Shide, Minister of Finance, Valérie Tehio, the Country Director of the French Development Agency (AFD), and Frederic Bontems, the then Ambassador of France to Ethiopia and the African Union. This agreement secured 12 million euros in financing from AFD for the first phase of the palace renovation project.

Furthermore, the government has announced plans to construct a new building for the presidential office, which is currently situated within the same compound as the Prime Minister’s office. The president is expected to relocate to this new building and presidential residence, located near the US embassy.

According to sources, the rehabilitation of the palace will preserve its original architectural beauty and integrity. However, comprehensive maintenance activities, as well as additional construction work, will be undertaken to transform it into a premier tourist attraction in the city.

The first phase of the project, costing 20 million euros, will involve opening the palace to the public. The palace administration oversaw the implementation of the project with the support of French experts. French public agencies and prominent organizations, such as the Versailles Palace, renowned for their expertise in international technical cooperation, also contributed to the renovations.

In line with efforts to expand tourist destinations and boost income, the government opened the Menelik Palace, built by Emperor Menelik in 1887, to the public in 2019 after extensive renovation works that spanned over a century.

Similarly, the French government is providing funding and technical support for the renovation projects of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Ethiopia, further demonstrating their commitment to preserving and promoting Ethiopia’s cultural heritage.

 

Zimbabwe, Mozambique to refurbish, expand rail link.

Zimbabwe and Mozambique have agreed to refurbish and extend the 10km railway line that stretches from Machipanda to Mutare within the next three months.

 

Both Transport Ministers yesterday confirmed the development during a tour of the facing Forbes and Machipanda border posts.

 

On Wednesday, Mozambique’s Transport and Communications Minister Mr Mateus Magala arrived in the country to hold bilateral meetings on cooperation in transport and transport infrastructure with Zimbabwean Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona.

 

His visit comes after President Mnangagwa joined his Mozambican counterpart President Filipe Nyusi in witnessing the commissioning of the rehabilitated US$200 million Beira-Machipanda railway line last November.

 

Speaking at the commissioning of the railway line in Manica, Mozambique, President Mnangagwa said not only will the rehabilitated 318-kilometer railway line reduce transport costs, but it will also ease congestion at Forbes Border Post in Mutare.

 

After the two ministers toured Forbes and Machipanda Border Posts yesterday, Minister Magala said: “We had an opportunity to discuss and agree on major issues that we need to address in order to have efficient, modern, and progressive infrastructure that facilitate trade and integration of our countries. We basically want to open borderless countries because Zimbabwe and Mozambique have a unique history.

 

“I am very happy that we managed to agree on what we need to do and stressed the urgency of those actions. One of them is that in the next three months, we want to see the railway line from Machipanda to Mutare operational at the highest standards. So we commit to do that. The second thing is that we want to see the train from Beira to Harare and beyond also happening in the shortest time.

 

So if we work the way we are working now, that can happen in the next two years, three years maximum, if not in two years but I will say in two years, we will have everything done,” he said.

 

He said the two Governments needed to collaborate with many people, institutions, the private sector and development agents.”

 

There was now a need to bring in others for the US$17 million work the double border post would need.

 

Minister Mhona also said during the meetings, they shared many issues that were before them, including the railway line issue.

 

“I am happy that the essence of this trip was basically to exchange notes and as a follow-up to our meeting that we had with our principles, His Excellency Dr Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, the great leader of Zimbabwe and the great leader of Mozambique Felipe Nyusi who then directed that we must move with speed and meet and precisely within two months regardless of the holidays that we had, we are here working, implementing what has been directed.

 

“And I am happy that we shared on a number of issues that were before us and as you know, the railway line which is very topical, our roads are being damaged each and every day and we need to move cargo from the roads to the rail. And I am happy that the dear brother here has done tremendously well in rehabilitating the rail from Beira and now the missing link is the 10km into Mutare.”

 

The two countries need mitigatory measures in terms of decongesting their border posts.

 

“You could witness a 30km stretch of trucks and again we then collaborated, it was just a phone call away where I spoke to him to say we need to implement 24/7 at our border posts, Forbes-Machipanda and this is what we have done and as from Monday we were hearing statistics which is quite pleasing that the incremental value in terms of business has also been enhanced,” he said.

“So we are saying basically this is what is in tandem with the Second Republic, being championed by His Excellency Dr Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa that we must promote ease of doing business. And we are standing here in Mozambique and also we have a bottleneck of this bridge (at the border) that you are seeing and we have agreed that in the short term we need to create another parallel bridge to the existing one so that we enhance the trafficability of our trucks.

 

“At the end of the day, as we then look at the bigger picture of the One-Stop border post, we will have mitigated the bottleneck that we are witnessing. So I am happy that these are initiatives that we are not just talking about, we are implementing and you shall see great exploits as we have started working together,” Minister Mhona said.

 

The tour was attended by senior officials from both countries.

Dar es Salaam Introduces BRT System.

Tanzania’s solution to being able to move around the city affordably, efficiently, and safely around the city is the transformative Bus Rapid Transport System (BRT). This system delivers fast, comfortable, and cost-effective services like a metro.

It has bus-only lanes, dedicated stations, off-board fare collection, and fast and frequent operations.

Before the BRT system was introduced, there were certain challenges the citizens faced; the normal public buses took many hours on the road due to traffic which caused people to be late for their daily activities. With the BRT system, people get to their destination in good time. 

The first phase began construction in 2012 with support from the World Bank and it opened in 2016 with 29 stations and five terminals.

The impact of this system was immediate; with the introduction of the BRT system, places that took three hours for people to get to started taking 45 minutes.

With the increase in commuter demand, the system is being expanded with phase II opening soon, phases III and IV under implementation, and phase VI being planned.

A total of 140 km of dedicated BRT corridors will have been built by the government with the support of development partners and investors when the network is fully open.

The system once fully opened will be able to transport two million passengers per day. It will use a system of integrated routes, hubs, and stations. Paper tickets for the BRT will be replaced with cards and digital passes. There will also be cleaner running buses across the network. There are also thoughts about transforming lines III and IV into electric instead of the usual diesel.

The BRT system can transport several people at once, compared to regular cars, this is an added advantage as it will reduce the usage of cars and emissions.

The system design makes it safe and reliable for all users, they even have services that care for people with special needs. When the bus arrives, the people with special needs get to enter first.

This development is highly applaudable as infrastructure development can transform cities and change lives. 

Ghana to Participate in ‘Reconnecting Afro Root’ Carnival in Salvador.

Ghana will take part in this year’s Reconnecting Afro Root Carnival in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, from February 9 to February 14.

Taking place under the theme ‘Reconnecting with our Roots,’ the carnival aims to unite African American blacks for cultural exchanges and commercial community connections.

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), in collaboration with the Ghana Embassy in Brazil, would oversee Ghana’s participation in the international event. Members of the business community, the diaspora, musicians, and cultural artists would all be on the delegation.

Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture Mark Okraku Mantey announced Ghana’s participation in Accra Wednesday, saying the carnival offered a chance for everyone to learn about the history of slavery and the subsequent resistance that resulted in its abolition.

He pointed out that the trafficking of Africans to various areas of the world, which caused the breakup of families, had the opposite impact of slavery. According to him, the percentage of persons identifying as black or mixed-race had increased from 44.7% to 50.7%, thus placing African Brazil as the majority for the first time.

“We must therefore learn and teach the horrific history of slavery. We must learn and teach the history of Africa, and the African Diaspora whose people have emerged and excelled in every field of human endeavor,” he said.

According to him, the carnival would investigate trade and business opportunities and aid in the reunification of Black people worldwide.

In order to increase investment opportunities, Mr. Mantey reaffirmed the government’s commitment to forging connections between Black people in Ghana and other countries.

The ambassador of Ghana to Brazil, Abena Busia, stated that there were cultural, traditional, musical, and other commonalities between the black people of Ghana and Brazil. She noted that inviting Ghana to take part in the carnival also opened the door for black Brazilians to travel to Ghana for cultural exchanges on special occasions.

She urged companies in Ghana to make the most of the festival to find influential investors who can support their company’s expansion.

Madam Busia claimed that DNA testing would be used to help black Brazilians who want to trace their African origins in addition to the cultural interactions.

Ben Anane-Nsiah, the GTA’s deputy chief executive officer (CEO), stated that Ghana was aiming to use these kinds of gatherings to forge connections with the continent’s dispersed African family and that the GTA was concentrated on making the partnership advantageous for both Ghana and Brazil.

Edmond Moukala, the UNESCO representative in Ghana, described the carnival as a commendable endeavor to fortify the bonds between Africa and Africans abroad, particularly in Brazil, to foster cultural heritage and advance the rights of individuals of African descent.

 

 

African Giant to Perform at 66th Grammy Award.

Damini Ogulu, famously known by his stage name Burna Boy, a Nigerian music artist has been added to the 2024 Grammy performance schedule.

The Recording Academy revealed Burna Boy’s performance alongside Travis Scott and Luke Combs on Monday morning. The Grammy organizers said on its X handle“Attention: African Giant @BurnaBoy will take the #GRAMMYs stage on Sunday, February 4th at 8 PM ET / 5 PM PT on @CBS.” They also posted: “@BurnaBoy, @LukeCombs, and @trvisXX have been added to the performer lineup for the 2024 #GRAMMYs. They join previously announced 2024 GRAMMYs performers @BillieEilish, @DuaLipa, and @OliviaRodrigo.” This means other acts including Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish, and Dua Lipa have already been confirmed.

The “City Boy” crooner was already shortlisted for three Grammy Award nominations, which are, Best Global Music Performance for “Alone,” Best Melodic Rap Performance for “Sittin’ On Top Of The World,” and Best African Music Performance for “City Boys.”

The 66th Annual Grammy Awards will honor the best recordings, compositions, and artists from October 1, 2022, to September 15, 2023, as chosen by the members of The Recording Academy on Sunday, February 4, 2024. In its 21st year at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, the ceremony will be broadcast on CBS and available to stream on Paramount+ and will be hosted by Trevor Noah for the fourth time. For the 2024 ceremony, the academy announced several changes for different categories and eligibility rules

Sierra Leonean Cinches Star Prize Winner Future Africa Leaders Awards Winner 2023.

The Future Africa Leaders Awards (FALA) 2023 Grand Finale which was held in Lagos, Nigeria, saw the emergence of 23-year-old Mariam Gendemeh from Sierra Leone as the star prize winner of the year. She came top out of thousands of entries reviewed from all 54 countries on the continent.

The yearly event recognizes and empowers young Africans between the ages of 16 and 23, who have effectively initiated multifaceted projects and initiatives, that have brought about positive change and innovative advancement in their communities throughout the continent.

The top 10 finalists for the year 2023 that were announced at the grand finale include Katleho Mojakisane Queen from Lesotho, Grace Lamane Fatime from Chad, Alieu Sasay from Liberia, Annick Bado from Burkina Faso, Clinton Arko Agyemang from Ghana, Emma Kwaje from South Sudan, Lyna Bossa Tchydre from Togo, Matilda Kahunde from Uganda, and Wissal Rida from Morocco.

The 10 finalists were awarded a grant of $10,000 each, while the Star Prize Winner, Mariam Gendemeh, was awarded an additional $25,000 for embodying the highest standards of visionary leadership in 2023.

Speaking on her emergence as the Star Prize winner, a thrilled Gendemeh declared that winning the award was not only a personal achievement but a testament to the greatness of her home country, Sierra Leone. “It means so much to me and my country because we have suffered so much”, she stated.

Held under the distinguished chairmanship of Nigeria’s former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, the event saw the likes of Rt. Hon. Jemma Nunu Kumba, Speaker of the National Legislative Assembly, Republic of South Sudan as a guest and former President Republic of Malawi, Dr Mrs Joyce Banda, as Special Guest of Honour.

At the grand finale, the President and Founder of the Future Africa Leaders Foundation (FALF), Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, D.Sc, D.Sc, D.D asserted that “Every nation has young people and investing in the young people is investing in the future. Every nation must recognize this. Our efforts in this regard have helped train, inspire, and motivate young people worldwide.”

Pastor Chris Oyakhilome also acknowledged the challenges and problems that Africa has faced in the past, stating: “If we will chart a new course for Africa, we must do something about Africa’s young people. Our young people have done amazing things throughout the continent, inspiring others and contributing to their countries, communities, and generations. Tonight’s award further serves to encourage our young people; we realize that they hold the future in their hands.”

He encouraged young people to intentionally live beyond themselves and make a difference in their world. “You can do a lot about your country, community, and the world. When you look beyond yourself and live a life beyond yourself, you really begin to experience your inner greatness because in each one of you is a seed of greatness.”

In his remarks, Nigeria’s former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, emphasized the need for peace, stability, and security of lives in Africa and the world. He opined that Africa’s future lies in the people of Africa, particularly the youths of Africa. Speaking on the ongoing wars in the world, he opined that “we must all embrace a world of peace, security, harmony, and love. Without peace, there can be no development; without development, there is no progress.” He charged all the award recipients to view the recognition as a challenge and a call to duty rather than a reason to rest of their oars. He encouraged all African youths to; “not be despondent about the situation on the continent, their countries, communities, or the world at large. Things are getting better. There are leadership qualities in each one of you, bring it out. That’s what this award is all about. Inspiring and empowering you to bring out those leadership qualities to make Africa, the great continent God intended it to be – a land flowing with milk and honey”.  

Similarly, Rt Hon Jemma Nunu Kumba, Speaker of the National Legislative Assembly, Republic of South Sudan, averred, “Africa has all the resources it needs to position itself positively on the global stage. We have the brains, the resources, and the knowledge of our situation. We need to continue praying, collaborating, and building the capacity of our young people, men and women, to take a lead in that. Only Africans can solve Africa’s challenges because we are the only ones with a vested interest in making the continent the best it can be. Any other party claiming concern for Africa may have exploitative agendas. Therefore, we must learn to rely on ourselves and use our resources effectively to provide services to the African people. Thus, this award focuses on young people so they can have a different attitude towards development, providing services to the people and not self-centered leaders focused on lining their pockets.”

Dr. Joyce Banda, former Malawian president, opined that her years of leadership have taught her that “leadership is a love affair. You must love the people you serve, and do things that will make the people fall in love with you; this will make you serve, or work beyond status. Young people in Africa are suffering, and it’s the duty of everyone who finds themselves in leadership positions to create opportunities for them to thrive. We are failing our children, and that is why this award is a unique program.”

Addressing the young awardees, she declared, “There is hope for Africa; we need more young people involved in the peace processes.”

The Future Africa Leaders Foundation has been instrumental in identifying, honoring, empowering, and mentoring young Africans from all parts of the continent over the past 11 years. These individuals have voluntarily taken on leadership roles in their local communities and have successfully launched various grassroots initiatives to address some of Africa’s most pressing challenges through innovative and indigenous solutions. 

Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded over $1.4 million to 123 youths from 30 African countries. The event, hosted by the Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International, underscores the Foundation’s unwavering commitment to nurturing the next generation of African leaders and accelerating Africa’s systemic change by fostering a spirit of innovation, responsibility, and service among young leaders. 

ABOUT 2023 STAR PRIZE WINNER MARIAM GENDEMEH ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 

Mariam is a farmer, philanthropist, and the Executive Director of Fresh Veggies Agro Company Limited. A platform she founded when she was 19 years old, to be a powerhouse for her multifaceted initiatives focused on uplifting and enhancing the lives of women, children, and young girls. She secured funds through personal savings, donations, and grants from NGOs to fuel impactful projects spanning Agriculture for food and income, Advocacy, Capacity Building, Food Support to malnourished kids, and Scholarships for vulnerable school girls.

In its inaugural year, her company generated $1,200, created job opportunities for 15 young people, and directed 40% of the funds toward community feeding programs during the Ebola outbreak. 

She has a 50-hectare rice farm and the largest vegetable farm in Kenema. In 2022 and 2023, Mariama’s rice cultivation resulted in a harvest of 850 tons. Her company’s Food Systems Resilience Programme has impacted over 1,300 members, earning her the title of the YOUNGEST MASTER FARMER in her district and the entire country.

 Mariama’s “Save the Malnourished Kids” project, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Community Health Centers, has helped over 10,000 malnourished children annually in the Kenema District. She also initiated the Orange Fresh Sweet Potatoes program, which has benefited 12 women groups in six communities, providing a sustainable food source for school feeding programs.

Mariama has also spearheaded several outreach programs in 110 communities, providing essential sanitation materials, soap, and education on protective measures. Through her advocacy, she and other female leaders successfully championed a 30% inclusivity of women in governance in her country, resulting in crucial appointments and wins during the 2023 general elections. She also organized a SHE LEADS Summit in her country that empowered 500 girls with leadership skills and catalyzed mentorship platforms in six schools, reaching 400 girls. Mariama Gendemeh truly deserves her win and serves as a stellar example of the incredible potential of the African youth.

 

Algeria’s Strategic Move: ‘Phosphate Diplomacy’.

In a strategic move referred to as ‘phosphate diplomacy’, Algeria has donated 16,000 tons of urea 46 fertilizer to Kenya. The donation is part of Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s commitment to development aid in Africa and follows his promise to Kenyan Speaker Moses Wetangula to supply phosphate and fertilizers.

To Improve Bilateral Cooperation

The intent behind this act of generosity is to enhance agricultural yields in Kenya, thereby promoting stronger bilateral cooperation. This move is expected to create the path for increased trade between the two countries across various commodities, including Kenyan tea, coffee, and roses, and Algerian oil, gas, and fertilizers.

More Than Just Generosity

However, this gesture is also interpreted as a tactical effort by Algeria to secure support within the Kenyan government for the Polisario Front, a group campaigning for independence for Western Sahara. Western Sahara, a territory also claimed by Morocco, has been a longstanding contentious issue. This context is especially relevant since Kenya currently recognizes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), a state declared by the Polisario Front.

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Extending the Phosphate Diplomacy

Algeria’s phosphate diplomacy is not limited to Kenya. The African nation has made similar overtures to Angola, another supporter of the SADR. Algeria has pledged financial aid to Angola to prevent the possibility of Angola withdrawing its support for the SADR. In a clear signal of Algeria’s ambitions, President Tebboune has expressed his country’s aspiration to meet Africa’s fertilizer needs and criticized Morocco’s approach to the issue. The ultimate aim is to establish Algeria as a leading phosphate producer on a global scale.

 

Ethiopian Navy to Establish Naval Facility in Somaliland.

The recently revived Ethiopian Navy is preparing to establish a naval facility in Somaliland, following an agreement with the government. The Navy has identified the land chosen by the government as one of the potential locations for a future operational base in the area.

Rear Admiral Nassir Abadi, the Deputy Chief of the Navy, stated during a recent visit by the Peace and Foreign Affairs Standing Committee to the Naval Force Headquarters that the agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland is one of the responses the Naval Force had requested regarding naval bases along the coast. He also mentioned that they anticipate further responses.

Another senior officer stated, “Through different missions, we have proven ourselves capable of carrying out operations effectively. We view the current lease agreement as a positive step towards engaging in international operations.” He further explained that former naval officers have been involved in various responsibilities throughout the reform process.

The Ethiopian navy, one of the most renowned naval forces on the continent, was disbanded in the early 1990s when the Derg regime fell and Ethiopia lost its coastline due to Eritrea’s secession. However, the restoration of the naval force was one of the initial initiatives undertaken by the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed when he assumed office in early 2018.

Over the last five years, the Naval Force has been formally reestablished with the assistance of friendly nations, with efforts focused on organizing the military subdivision and training officers. Naval Force officials have stated that the navy has been well-organized in recent years, with ongoing efforts for further expansion. They also mentioned that the navy has been involved in on-ground activities, such as participating in life-saving operations in the Somali region during recent flooding incidents.

The Naval Force is currently providing training for its officers abroad, and plans are underway to establish a naval training facility in Bishoftu, a naval academy in Bahir Dar, and other locations. The construction of the naval headquarters in the Marsh/Musiqegna Camp area, located between Minilik Hospital and Jan-Meda, is also being prepared. The current headquarters is temporarily located at the former Ministry of Defense headquarters near the National Theater in the city center.

Five years ago, the Naval Force conducted a comprehensive study to identify suitable coastal regions for the future naval base. The study suggested several potential sites in the surrounding area, and naval officers confirmed during the recent tour and discussion that they are ready to proceed with the development of the facility in Somaliland.

Dreams Come True: Yemi Alade To Compose Theme Song For AFCON 2024.

 

At the age of 34, Yemi Aládé, the Nigerian Afropop singer, expressed her excitement about working with renowned African musicians such as the iconic Ivorian group Magic System and Egyptian singer Mohamed Ramadan to produce the theme song for the African Cup of Nations 2024. Having started her career in 2009, she values the opportunity to contribute to the AFCON 2024 Anthem.

 

Yemi Alade, in a recent interview with journalists, shared her excitement about the official AFCON anthem titled ‘Akwaba,’ which translates to ‘welcome’ in Baoule. Produced by the French maestro Dany Synthe, the anthem’s accompanying video was released under Universal Music Africa.

 

Expressing her gratitude for the opportunity to represent Africa, Yemi Alade emphasized the significance of fostering healthy competition in a sport cherished globally. Being part of the official AFCON anthem was, for her, a dream come true, especially collaborating with other African music royalties in the creative process.

 

In anticipation of the competition, Yemi Alade conveyed optimism about the ability of African footballers to capture the interest of the global football community. Reflecting on her involvement, she stated, “Honestly, it’s an honor to represent my continent and encourage healthy competition in a sport loved globally. It’s a dream come true for me to have created the official anthem for AFCON alongside African music royalties.”

 

As she looks ahead, the ‘Johnny’ crooner sees this collaboration as a platform to showcase the rich musical talent of Africa while contributing to the cultural vibrancy of the tournament. Yemi Alade’s words echo her commitment to the celebration of African identity and the role of music in uniting people across borders.

 

Anticipating the upcoming AFCON, Yemi Alade expressed her belief that the global audience will fervently support their favorite countries during the tournament, envisioning it as a pivotal platform for players’ career launches. She eagerly awaits the acknowledgment of female championships worldwide and encourages active participation in supporting African football, whether by attending games in Ivory Coast or watching on TV.

 

Reflecting on her notable 2023, marked by Grammy nominations and a successful ‘African Baddie’ tour across 40 countries, Yemi Alade assured her fans that she has more to offer in 2024. Teasing a year-end treat, ‘Mamapiano,’ she hinted at upcoming collaborations and new music projects.

 

As the 34th edition of Africa’s premier football competition approaches, Yemi Alade, known as ‘Mama Africa,’ is set to grace the opening and closing ceremonies. Rising to prominence after winning the Peak Talent Show in 2009, she has since released two studio albums, garnered multiple awards, and collaborated with various artists. Signing with Effyzzie Music Group, her debut single, ”Johnny,” in 2013, marked the beginning of a successful musical journey.

Kenya Emerges as South Africa’s Top Tourism Source in Africa.

Kenya has emerged as the center of South Africa’s tourism success story, as Statistics South Africa releases official international arrival numbers for January to November 2023.

 The East African country recorded a staggering 94.2% increase in tourist arrivals to South Africa.

 This increase in numbers is due to Kenya’s strategic decision to simplify its visa regime earlier this year, as well as a targeted and effective insight-based marketing campaign.

 The seamless connectivity established by Kenya Airways between Nairobi and South Africa, particularly Johannesburg and Cape Town, has contributed significantly to the impressive growth in passenger numbers between the two countries.

 The increased accessibility and convenience of direct flights has encouraged more Kenyan and South African travelers to explore the opportunity, leading to increased tourism, business initiatives and cultural exchanges.

 Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille was pleased with the impressive numbers from the African continent and underlined the importance of the region.

 She said Kenya’s impressive achievements were due to the government’s strategic decisions, simplifying visa requirements and implementing effective marketing strategies.

 The joint efforts of the Department of Tourism, South African Tourism and the wider tourism sector played a key role in achieving such impressive results on the continent.

 She expressed her determination to work with her partners and government colleagues to remove obstacles such as visa requirements, security concerns and restrictions on air access.

 In closing, the Minister highlighted South Africa’s unique landscapes, tourism products and experiences and thanked all South Africans for their continued hospitality and warm welcome to visitors.

 The future is bright for South Africa as the country continues to strive for  attractiveness, attraction and constant growth in tourism.

 

It has been a year since Kenyans were able to travel to South Africa visa-free for  90 days  a year.

This announcement was made at a joint press conference on November 9, 2023 by Dr.William Samoei Ruto, CGH, President of the Republic of Kenya, and H.E. Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa.

At the time of the announcement, President Cyril Ramaphosa was making his first official visit to Kenya from 8 to 9 November 2022 at the invitation of President Ruto.

The increased accessibility and convenience of direct flights has encouraged more Kenyan and South African travelers to explore opportunities, leading to increased tourism, business activity and cultural exchange.

 This increased freedom of movement not only has a positive impact on the aviation industry, but is also  a testament to the strengthening of ties and mutual benefits between Kenya and South Africa.

 Kenya Airways flies direct to  Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa.

 

Calabar Carnival to be Televised to Over 15 Million People.

Over 15 million people across the globe will witness the main event of this year’s Calabar carnival that will be televised live on DSTV on Thursday.

 

Erasmus Ekpang, the Cross River Commissioner for Information, revealed this to the News Agency of Nigeria. He added that hundreds of people had already arrived in the state for the major occasion, known as “Carnival Calabar.”

 

As of Tuesday, when the annual carnival’s cultural event took place, the state was already overcrowded, according to the commissioner, who hailed the 20th edition of the carnival as a great success.

 

“What we have seen so far has us genuinely excited, and we know that things will only get better. As I speak with you, Calabar’s hotels are so packed that guests are forced to stay on pushcarts.

 

“As there isn’t a hotel room available, our three visitors from Mali are currently sleeping with one of my friends. The only people grinning today are the guests who reserved their lodgings in advance, he said.

 

Regarding the sponsorship of the carnival, the Commissioner stated that DSTV and a few banks are collaborating with the state government.

 

According to NAN, the state administration added some new elements to this year’s carnival, which began in 2004.

 

He claimed that the carnival was organized in the state’s Northern and Central senatorial districts to provide a feeling of community for the locals.

 

“The government also brought back the children’s section of the carnival, which took place on Wednesday (today).” “Ogoja in the North and Ikom in the Central took turns hosting the carnival last week.”

 

 NAN reports that Major roads and streets in the city have been lightened up with street lights.

 

NAN reports that no fewer than 15 states and two African countries took part in Tuesday’s cultural aspect of the 31-day carnival which kicked off on December 1. Calabar has been given a makeover for the carnival, including a large roundabout and specially renovated roadways. Street lights have been installed on the city’s main thoroughfares.

 

According to NAN, the 31-day carnival, which began on December 1, is celebrating its cultural aspect on Tuesday. It involves participation from no fewer than 15 states and two African nations.

 

Nigerian Man Sets to Translate Physics Textbook to Igbo Language.

An Igbo linguistic expert recently commenced the translation of a physics textbook into the Igbo language. The Igbo linguistic expert, Maazi Ogbonnaya Okoro made this known in a Twitter post on Sunday, the 10th of December. 

  • The translation is in progress and will be completed in 2024.
  • Mazi Okoro said that once he is done with Physics, he will begin the translation of Chemistry and Biology.
  • He has written over 58 books in Igbo, some of which are approved in all secondary schools in Igbo-speaking communities. 

Mazi Okoro took to his Twitter page to announce that the work will be ready in 2024 and also stated that once he is done with that, he will translate Chemistry, Biology, and other STEM subjects. He tweeted, “By 2024, I should be done translating Physics textbook into the Igbo Language. Once I am done with Physics, I will go over to Chemistry, Biology, and other STEM subjects.” 

He also stated in a separate post that was made in 2021, that he had done other major works in the Igbo Language. In his words “Now I have over 25 published books in Igbo and a total of 58 published and unpublished manuscripts in Igbo Language. Translated the BBC guidelines in Igbo before the launching of BBC Igbo Service; translated Igbo for the UNESCO.”

Mazi Ogbonnaya Okoro is experienced in teaching and researching the Igbo language, literature, history, and culture and has been for over 15 years. He is also a professional tutor of the first language, second language, and foreign language learners of Igbo. Mazi Okoro studied Linguistics and Igbo Language at the University of Nsukka and later on went on to study  Translation and Movie Subtitles at Newcastle University and the University of the West of Scotland, UK. He has written over 58 books and The Ministries of  Education has approved his Igbo books for all the secondary schools in Ebonyi, Imo, Anambra, Enugwu, Abịa, and Delta. He also has books that have been approved for undergraduate, Master, and PhD students of Igbo Literature in various universities and Colleges of Education across Igbo land.

Mazi Okoro was the BBC Igbo’s first translator. He has translated works for different national and international organizations such as UNESCO and the United Nations, in Igbo. Currently, Igbo Translations Director, Abibiman Publishers, UK. His book in Igbo was signed to be published by the Griots Lounge Publishers, Canada to have Igbo content for North Americans. He is passionate about the Igbo language and its sustainability as well as preservation against extinction as predicted by UNESCO. He is an Igbo Language and Cultural Advocate. He has taught many African-Americans, Africans, whites, children, and adults the Igbo language.

There were mixed reactions to this innovation Mr. Nize said “While it is good to do these translations, I am wondering how we can make it useable in our schools. We have the Igbo bible and many Igbo people either don’t know how to read it or find it difficult and uninteresting. How can we make sure your efforts are not wasted?” Mr. Victorsmog also said, “This is awesome. Physics will be easier to learn.”

Even though curiosity is the leading emotion about how this will eventually turn out, the initiative is highly welcome and it will make learning more fun.

Chinese, Beninese Artists’ Exhibition Celebrates Flourishing Cross-Cultural Exchanges.

A celebration of the flourishing cultural exchanges between the youth of China and Benin, an exhibition showcasing the works of eleven Chinese and Beninese artists debuted on Saturday in Cotonou.

Visitors to the show, which took place at the Chinese Cultural Center in Cotonou, included diplomats, members of the media, Confucius Institute students, and other cultural figures.

The exhibition brought together 35 works created by six Chinese artists and around 20 works of art and sculptures by five Beninese artists. The artists convey their ideas about the world through painting, sculpture, and other artistic mediums.

                                    

The minister of tourism, culture, and the arts for Benin, Carole Borna, praised the cross-cultural fusion and anticipated more of it between the two countries’ young talents.

“It’s a great pleasure to see this cohesion, this ongoing passion between young Beninese and Chinese artists. I congratulate them on this exhibition, which takes us on a journey and makes us dream,” she said.

China and Benin have been friends for many years, according to Chinese artist Wang Guangzhou, and this exhibition is a great way to encourage deeper cultural ties between the two nations.

He hoped that the exchange would continue to further the cultural advancement of the two nations. “We prepared this exhibition with our young Beninese friends, and we were very impressed by their attitude and approach to art,” he said.

Algeria Inaugurates Pavilion at Expo 2023.

The Algerian pavilion in the International Zone of Expo 2023 Doha was recently inaugurated by the Ambassador of Algeria to Qatar, H E Salah Attia, Expo 2023 Doha Commissioner General, Ambassador H E Bader bin Omar AI Dafa, and Expo 2023 Doha Secretary-General, Engr. Mohammed Ali AI Khouri.

The inauguration was held in the presence of a number of their Excellencies heads of diplomatic missions accredited to the State, those interested in environmental affairs, as well as members of the Algerian community in Qatar.

               

Algeria’s rich legacy, cultural history, customs, and traditions are all on display at the pavilion. It provides a comprehensive overview of Algeria’s agricultural legacy and history, including its innovations and future ambitions, and it depicts the country’s bright and sustainable future.

The Algerian ambassador thanked Qatar for hosting the 2023 Horticultural Exposition and praised Ambassador Bader bin Omar Al Dafa’s leadership for the successful outcome of the event. He continued by praising the pavilion as a display of Algeria’s many tourist attractions, which include breathtaking landscapes and the country’s natural beauty in its mountainous and desert regions.

According to the ambassador of Algeria, Qatar was successful in putting together an international exhibition that showcases the agricultural and environmental advancements of the participating nations together with a variety of cultures from around the globe. He emphasized how critical it is to address global concerns on water, agriculture, sustainability, horticulture, and the environment.

                

He continued by saying that Qatar organized Expo 2023 Doha as a response to these problems and invited all nations to participate in this global showcase. Additionally, he gave recognition to everyone who helped plan the event and make the exhibitors’ experiences easier.

According to Mokhtar Attar, head of the Algerian Pavilion, the exhibit showcases the most cutting-edge and contemporary technologies that Algeria has employed in desert agriculture while also narrating the country’s struggle and triumph in the fight against desertification. He mentioned that Algeria started farming in a lot of desert areas more than 50 years ago to stop desertification.

The Algerian Pavilion at Expo 2023 Doha is expected to be a highlight attraction, drawing more and more tourists to see the country’s distinctive cultural and economic story.

 

Seychelles Scoops World’s Most Romantic Destination for 4th Time.

Tourism Seychelles, the marketing division of the Tourism Department, said on Tuesday that Seychelles had earned the title of World’s Most Romantic Destination for the fourth year at the 30th World Travel Awards 2023.

This year’s event was held at Dubai’s renowned Burj Al Arab on December 1.

Bernadette Willemin, Director General of Destination Marketing, commended the partners for their steadfast dedication to providing outstanding service.  

“Truly Another World, Seychelles calls for escapism in romance. Our small paradise, where blue waters whisper love stories and a soft breeze conveys a romantic tune.  It is without a doubt that whoever experiences the destination would uncover the chapters of their love story,” Willemin. 

The recognition is evidence of the Seychelles’ lasting attractiveness as a romantic retreat.

Tourism Seychelles stated that “renowned as a paradisaical haven for romance, the archipelago’s natural splendor provides a tranquil and picturesque backdrop for couples yearning to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.”

The beautiful beaches, surrounded by swaying palms and lapped by glistening turquoise waters, are perfect for picnics, romantic strolls, and strolls at dusk, it continued. Seychelles offers plenty of options for couples to enjoy intimate moments together, be it in a secluded cove or on a crowded beach.”

Seychelles has lush scenery, a visual feast, and gorgeous beaches.

Visits to the national parks, botanical gardens, and wildlife reserves within the archipelago situated in the western Indian Ocean are ideal for couples. A trek through the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you may observe the rare coco de mer palm, the largest nut in the world that is native to the Seychelles, and see unusual bird species.  

Travel According to Seychelles, the island nation stands out for having some of the best tourist accommodations in the world, making it the perfect destination for a romantic getaway for two people.  Private villas and upscale resorts are among the alternatives, offering unparalleled seclusion and luxury.

The main driver of the Seychelles’ economy is tourism.

King Letsie III Unveils “The Revival Torch” in Lesotho.

In a radiant ceremony at the Royal Palace in Maseru, His Majesty King Letsie III unveils the revival torch a symbol of hope and rejuvenation.

His Majesty said the national revival torch is a monument aimed to be a beacon of hope and light at the beginning of this journey.

He said the country is faced with different challenges that include assaults, murders, and other criminal activities, saying the nation has lost its founding values urging the nation to introspect and advocate for change in this regard.

He said he hoped that by lighting this lamp God would help the nation to return to its foundations of peace and prosperity.

His Majesty applauded Project REE and its partners for having hosted this event, asking Basotho to stand together and mend the image of Lesotho.

Archbishop Lerotholi Tlali delivered a powerful address, invoking the message of unity, resilience, and collective determination. His words echoed the spirit of solidarity, urging the nation to come together to pursue a brighter future.

Archbishop Tlali said that the Christian Council of Lesotho they are saying the event they have launched should be given a clear name that represents the event, saying the name they have for this event is Jubilee Year.

He noted that the terms of Jubilee indicate the time for reflection, revival, and repentance, saying one condition of Jubilee is rebirth and resuscitation of the founding values of this nation.

The Royal Palace grounds buzzed with excitement and reverence as attendees marveled at the significance of the occasion. The Revival Torch, now an emblem of hope, was met with awe and admiration from all present, symbolizing a commitment to overcome adversity and forge a path toward prosperity.

The presence of the Prime Minister and key cabinet members underscored the government’s support for this initiative, emphasizing the importance of national unity and progress in Lesotho’s journey ahead.

The event concluded with a sense of optimism and determination lingering in the air, as the Revival Torch’s glow lit not just the Royal Palace but also the nation’s aspirations. It served as a testament to the enduring spirit of the people and their collective resolve to build a brighter tomorrow.

The unveiling of the Revival Torch at the Royal Palace stands as a testament to the unity and determination of Lesotho, symbolizing a new chapter of hope and progress under the guidance of His Majesty King Letsie III.

 

Ethiopian Airlines Increases its Boeing 737 Max Fleet.

On Tuesday, Ethiopian Airlines revealed a partnership with Boeing, outlining plans to purchase 20 737 MAX aircraft and an additional 11 787 Dreamliners at the Dubai Air Show. The CEO of the East African airline, Mesfin Tasew, asserts that this marks just the start.

This serves as the initial phase, and we anticipate undertaking another round of fleet renewal in the coming years, during which we plan to procure additional airplanes.

As per Tasew, Ethiopian Airlines anticipates utilizing options to acquire an additional 21 narrow-body planes. Furthermore, there are purchasing options for an extra 15 787-9 Dreamliner jets.

Ethiopian Airlines secures a historic order for a maximum of 67 Boeing jets, marking the largest-ever aircraft purchase in African history at a single time. For additional details, refer to the provided link.

The airline plans to reveal an order for wide-body jets, specifically the Boeing 777X or Airbus A350, in the upcoming months. However, the CEO declined to disclose the quantity of wide-body jets to be ordered.

In reference to the 2019 MAX crash, Mesfin Tasew expresses a renewed trust in the single-aisle aircraft.

The incident involving the 737 MAX four years ago was profoundly tragic, leaving a lasting impact on our memory. We mourn for the victims of that accident. After thorough examination, we have verified that Boeing has completely rectified the design flaw of the aircraft. Consequently, we have regained our trust in it.

The 737 MAX crash in March 2019, occurring shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa, resulted in the tragic loss of all 157 individuals on board.

The incident marked the second involving a Boeing MAX in under five months and prompted a global suspension of all MAX jets for nearly two years.

The accidents revealed an issue with a system on the plane, resulting in the global grounding of the model. This move incurred a cost of around $20 billion for the U.S. plane-maker and triggered legal proceedings that brought to light deficiencies in the certification process.

Characterized by Boeing as the most extensive acquisition of Boeing aircraft in African history, the sale’s specific price point remains undisclosed.

Harare-Beitbridge highway Nears Completion.

The rehabilitation of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway is about 80 percent complete with 470 km out of the total 580 km of the road now opened to traffic, a move hailed by motorists.

 

Yesterday, the Government opened a 5.4km stretch in Mvuma which was recently reconstructed.

The rehabilitation of the Harare-Beitbridge highway and modernization of the Beitbridge Border Post to bring in efficient systems aimed at reducing or eliminating delays are some of the signature projects of President Mnangagwa’s administration.

 

Beitbridge Border Post has already been commissioned by the President and users of the busiest land border in the SADC region have commended the speed with which they are being cleared.

Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona yesterday led a delegation on a tour of the highway where he opened the 5,4km part of the road in Mvuma, starting from the Gweru turnoff.

 

In an interview, Minister Mhona said he was happy with the progress made so far along the highway.

 

“I am happy as the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development standing here to demonstrate that we are in the Second Republic and you don’t see us in offices.

 

“Just to mirror what our iconic leader His Excellency Dr Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa is doing, we now have to walk the talk and we have opened today, a 5.4km stretch which was the outstanding stretch between Harare and Masvingo.

 

“The stretch is in a wetland so it took time for the contractor (Fossil Contracting) to work on the particular stretch. What I like about the Second Republic is that we are building our nation in line with the President’s mantra “Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo” and we are using our resources.

 

“We have done close to 470km and if we talk of Harare to Masvingo which is close to 296km, the only missing link is the Manyame Bridge and also at Fairfields where we have a 1km stretch.

 

“Why that is the missing link is because we are going build a road over the rail bridge and we are also working at Manyame Bridge so that the connectivity now between Harare and Masvingo, the 296km will be complete,” he said.

The government would also work on other feeder roads such as from Mvuma to Gweru and Mvuma going to Kwekwe.

 

These would offload the burden from Harare-Bulawayo Road so that those who want to go to Gweru would also come through Chivhu, Mvuma then to Gweru.

 

“But the exciting thing about this movement we are running with as a Ministry is the idea to pursue and run with stalled projects. You have seen across the country, in cities we are busy attending to the stalled projects and a number of these projects are being completed just before the advent of the rains.

 

“We have said to the rural district councils, in particular Chirumanzu, that we also need to move with speed so that we rehabilitate our rural roads that had been neglected for some time,” the Minister said.

 

On the Harare-Chirundu Road, Minister Mhona said the ministry had already engaged the contractors and they would soon start from Beitbridge going to Bulawayo and then Victoria Falls.

 

Fossil Contracting general manager Engineer Kudzaishe Magodoro said: “We want to thank the Second Republic for giving us this opportunity to do this road. So far, we have done 116km in total and today we are opening 5,4km of part of the road and we are so happy.”

 

Motorists interviewed by The Herald along the highway thanked the Government for attending to and reconstructing the country’s major roads which were in a bad state.

 

Mr Tawanda Gandawa said he was happy that the stretch had finally been opened and hoped the Government would soon complete the project. He urged other motorists not to get over-excited and speed along the highway as this would cost lives.

 

Another motorist Mr Stephen Sithole called on law enforcement agents to increase visibility on the roads to curb road carnage.

 

Mr Givemore Nsingo said: “We are happy that the road has finally been opened to traffic as we were finding it difficult to drive through some of the detours near this stretch. We should abide by the speed limits and obey traffic rules and regulations”.

 

The entire north-south corridor has been divided into three sections: the 580km Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway together with eight toll plazas, the 342km Harare-Chirundu highway with six toll plazas, and the 59km Harare Ring Road with three toll plazas.

 

These tolls are aimed at paying for the rehabilitation and maintenance of roads.

Moroccan Investors Express Interest to Establish Partnership With Libyan Counterparts.

Moroccan investors recently expressed their desire to establish partnerships with their Libyan counterparts and invest in the Libyan market to strengthen the economic partnership between the two countries.

This announcement came in a meeting for the Minister of Economy and Trade of the Government of National Unity, Mohammed Al-Huweij, and leading Moroccan businesspeople and investors in all fields on the sidelines of the Moroccan-Libyan Business Forum in Tangier, according to a Ministry statement on Monday.

“The visit of the Prime Minister to Morocco and his meeting with the Moroccan government paves the way for improving our partnerships. It strengthens the distinguished relations between the two peoples through holding meetings of the joint supreme committee.” Al-Huweij said.

He added that Libyan-Moroccan relations were further strengthened during that visit in terms of developing memoranda of understanding, expressing his confidence that more cooperation opportunities between businesspeople from the two countries would take place, wishing to increase the levels of joint trade exchange in the coming period. He also reiterated the importance of inaugurating air and sea routes between the two countries to overcome the difficulties faced by businesspeople. 

Last Saturday, the Head of the Moroccan Exporters Association, Hassan Al-Santisi Al-Idrissi, announced that they will soon organize a forum bringing together investors, importers, and exporters in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. Meanwhile, 17 Libyan companies and institutions, 20 Moroccan companies, and more than 90 Libyan businesspeople participated in the Tangier Forum and Exhibition.

AGOA Has Created Job Opportunities in Lesotho___ Lesotho Trade Minister.

Lesotho trade minister Mokhethi Shelile said the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) had helped Lesotho to create job opportunities and lift thousands out of poverty and based on his interaction with American buyers at the Agoa Forum in Johannesburg, there is scope for many, many more.

“I spoke to a major South African buyer and they buy 17 million clothes annually, but then I spoke to an American buyer and they were looking to source 100 million, so as much as Agoa has helped Lesotho over the past two decades, there is the potential for much more,” Shelile said.

A major constraint on the further expansion of Lesotho’s clothing exports to the US is that it sources a fair amount of its textiles from China and the US has banned the import of textiles that contain cotton allegedly grown using forced labor.

Three Chinese textile manufacturers have been banned from exporting their goods to the US as international human rights watchdogs have accused the Chinese government of setting up internment camps in the north-western city of Xinjiang to use forced labor from Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities, including Kazakhs and Kyrgyz in growing cotton. These companies were sanctioned under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA).

The Chinese government has for years denied the accusations of minority persecution and the use of forced labor.

“As Lesotho, we now have to certify that the textiles we use in our clothing do not use cotton grown using forced labor, so that adds to our costs,” Shelile said.

Lesotho exports of articles of apparel, knit or crocheted to America was $222.33 million in 2021, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.

In 2020, global exports of textiles and clothing products were valued at $147.6 billion (R2.8 trillion) and $573.5bn representing about 0.9% and 3.3% of the world merchandise trade, respectively, but China dominates this trade with a share of around a third as it is the largest exporter of textiles and clothing products globally.

“We are aiming to diversify our export offering and expand our share of the supply chain. So although we export leather seats to four motor manufacturers in South Africa, we want to do more. That is why we are excited about American investment interest in aquaculture, as Lesotho’s water is amongst the purest in the world,” he said.

Double Celebration as Oba’s Birthday Coincides with Seventh Coronation Anniversary.

The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II recently celebrated the 7th anniversary of the throne of his forebears in Benin. This royal celebration also doubled as his birthday celebration as his birthday was coincidentally on the same day. 

Every available space at the palace was filled by the friends and well-wishers of the Oba from all walks of life.

 

The celebration started with two days of free healthcare and ended with Thanksgiving on Saturday at the National Church in Benin.

 

Omo N’Oba Ewuare on Saturday rose from the inner chambers amidst drumming and praise singing by Iweguae society, waving to the seated audience who responded with a thunderous ovation.

 

The Friday event ended in the early hours of Saturday before the Thanksgiving service.

The royal father sat on the ancient throne of his ancestors at the Aruo- Ozolua axis of the palace where he received homages.

 

The traditional homages were paid for by different traditional rulers, dignitaries, palace chiefs and functionaries, native doctors of various classifications, priests, and priestesses of different deities, traditional worshipers, and a host of others.

 

The Inne Theatre Troupe, Efesoghoba Palace Troupe, Epko-Avbiama, Igbabonelimi from Esan land, and others from different states took turns to perform to the delight of the audience.

 

Oba Ewuare, who was full of praises to almighty God and ancestors, thanked everyone for celebrating with him. Traditional Chiefs, including Osaro Idah, the Obazelu of Benin Ozigbo Esere, and the Osuma Of Benin, hailed the Benin king for his achievements since ascending the throne of his ancestors.

 

However, the Benin ruler urged members of the Edo State House of Assembly to consider some important cultural bills that would promote and strengthen cultural norms and value systems in the land.

According to Oba Ewuare, such bills would in no small measure curtail the surging social crimes amongst youths in the country. The royal father made the call when the speaker of Edo House of Assembly Mr Blessing Agbebaku led principal officials of the house to celebrate with Oba at his palace.

 

He admonished Edo lawmakers to be focused on their legislative business rather than being tied to the apron string of the executive arm of government. Omo N’Oba posited that the independence of the legislature was key to robust democracy, insisting that the lawmakers must live up to the expectations of the people who voted them into power.

Oba Ewuare hailed the assembly’s leadership, just as he pledged palace support for the lawmakers.

 

The speaker, Agbebaku had told the monarch that they were at his palace to congratulate him on the occasion of his birthday and the 7th coronation anniversary on the throne.

 

Agbebaku also pledged the Edo assembly’s loyalty and promised to work with the palace for the overall development of the state. 

Mr. Eazi’s ‘The Evil Genius’ Drops; Features Other African Artists.

After the long suspense, Mr. Eazi’s debut album, “The Evil Genius”, is finally out and now available under the artist’s emPawa Africa Label.

This project was painstakingly crafted across diverse locations with African locations making up a greater part of it. The locations involved include Ouidah and Cotonou in Benin, Kigali in Rwanda, Accra and Kokrobite in Ghana, Lagos in Nigeria, London, Los Angeles, and New York City.

This really interesting album features some of the artist’s most personal work, he dives deeply into subjects like love, betrayal, loneliness, and family, which he expresses through three distinctive acts. 

The Evil Genius also boasts a remarkable lineup of guest features, with contributions from luminaries like Angelique Kidjo from Benin, Grammy-winning Soweto Gospel Choir from South Africa, Efya from Ghana, and Nigerian artists Tekno, Whoisakin and Joeboy. The album also had contributing producers like; Kel-P from Nigeria, Knucks from U.K, Michael Brun from Haiti, Andre Vibez from Nigeria, Yung Willis from Nigeria, and Nonso Amadi from Nigeria/Canada among others.

Recognizing a deficiency of meaningful collaboration between Africa’s rapidly growing pop music scene and the continent’s fine art creators, Mr. Eazi has selected 13 artists from eight different African countries to create a unique, physical art piece to represent each of the album’s 16 tracks, thereby adding the role of art curator and patron to his already impressive collection.

As part of the rollout, Mr Eazi has been inviting the public to experience the music alongside the art at multi-sensory exhibition listening experiences. The first two of these events were held in Accra, Ghana at Gallery 1957 and in the U.K. during the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair at Somerset House in London from October 12-15. For the album’s cover art, Mr Eazi collaborated with the celebrated Nigerian stylist, designer, and photographer Daniel Obasi, known for his work with luminaries such as Beyoncé and Louis Vuitton.

Namibia, Zambia to Only Require ID Cards to Cross Borders Soon.

On Tuesday, 24th of October, Zambia celebrated its 59th independence anniversary, with a call to expedite economic development. The commemoration saw the presence of Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan and her Zambian counterpart, Hakainde Hichilema who commenced with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Freedom Statue in honor of those who sacrificed their lives during the struggle for independence.

During the commemoration of the Independence celebrations in Windhoek, Namibia’s Minister of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety, and Security, Dr. Albert Kawana made an announcement stating that Namibia and Zambia will soon only require identification cards for citizens crossing their borders.

Dr. Kwana further stated that the two countries are working closely together to ensure that the use of passports is abolished. He informed the audience that Zambian citizens would be next to be allowed to enter Namibia using their identification cards. 

This year saw Namibia and Botswana become the first countries in Southern Africa to abolish the use of passports for travel between the two countries. The High Commissioner of Zambia to Namibia, Stephen Katuk, spotlighted the depth of the bilateral relations between Namibia and Zambia, which dated back to Namibia’s struggle for independence. 

In light of these bilateral relations, both countries recently agreed to allow convicted offenders from either country to serve the remainder of their sentences in their home countries.

Zambia’s independence was celebrated under the theme “Accelerating National Development Through Equitable Distribution of Resources.” while the Tanzanian President was giving an address, she said that the independence was not only meant to make the continent politically free but economically free as well. She said “When we talk about equitable distribution, we mean people to be at the center of development,”

She also added that Governments in Africa will continue to put policies in place to ensure that people are at the center of development, adding that the two countries are currently working on various programs to enhance people-to-people cooperation through trade.

Hichilema said that this year’s independence theme underscores the government’s determination to extend development to all corners of the nation. He reiterated the government’s dedication to promoting inclusive development and a just society, as these are the prerequisites for expediting economic growth and job creation.

While acknowledging the selfless efforts of the freedom fighters who secured political emancipation, Hichilema stressed that the current leadership must strive to achieve economic and social emancipation while ensuring the equitable distribution of resources.

The Zambian president also lauded the bilateral cooperation between Zambia and Tanzania, emphasizing its enduring importance to benefit both nations’ citizens.

Morocco, African Development Bank Sign Financing Agreement.

Morocco has signed three financing agreements with the African Development Bank  (AfDB) worth more than 2.9 billion dirhams ($281.96 million), the Morocco state news agency (MAP) reported on Tuesday.

The first agreement would finance a health infrastructure program with about $126.4 million, while another agreement would support a social coverage program with about $155.6 million.

The third agreement is for financing an emergency assistance project following the deadliest earthquake in the country’s recent history in September, with $1 million.

The three agreements were signed by Minister Delegate to the Minister of Economy and Finance, in charge of the Budget, Faouzi Lekjaa, and AfDB Resident Representative in Morocco Achraf Tarsim, in the presence of Minister of Economic Inclusion, Small Business, Employment and Skills, Younes Sekkouri and Minister of Health and Social Protection, Khalid Ait Taleb.

Lekjaa praised the quality of cooperation relations between Morocco and the AfDB, hailing the institution’s “valuable and constant” support to the kingdom, particularly in carrying out structural reforms in a range of fields.

Meanwhile, Tarsim emphasized that these agreements, which enable the AfDB to demonstrate its solidarity with Morocco, will be used in particular to finance two related operations, namely the extension of social coverage and the development of health infrastructure.

“These initiatives, actions, and projects reflect the strong and historic relationship that the Kingdom of Morocco and the AfDB have enjoyed for over half a century. A partnership that is exemplary on the continent and has a bright future ahead of it”, he said.

Ait Taleb highlighted the importance of the agreements signed in supporting Morocco’s reforms, particularly in strengthening the resilience of the healthcare system and upgrading health infrastructures.

Sekkouri, in a statement, noted the importance of this partnership with the AfDB, crowning as it did, Morocco’s achievements in several fields, notably in improving employability.

The AfDB has been a close development actor in Morocco. Recently, the bank mobilized more than $422 million in funding healthcare and the development of a sustainable road network in the country.

Seychelles Hosts Inaugural IFBB Event.

Seychelles will host the 2023 IFBB International Grand Prix for the first time with the participation of over 20 athletes vying for the top prize. 

The competition, which is being done in collaboration between the International Fitness and Bodybuilding Federation (IFBB) and local body Seychelles Elite Pro Amateur Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation, will take place on Saturday, at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Beach Resort.

The chairperson of the Seychelles Elite Pro Amateur Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation, Chantal Pinchon, told SNA that “it was during the IFBB congress last year, that we met with the president, and there the idea of Seychelles hosting an IFBB event came around and was agreed upon.”  

The event will start at 6 p.m. and eight participants from Seychelles, six men, and two women have already confirmed their participation. Savio Larue, Elicks Rapide, Jean-Luc Belle, Andy Anthony, and Derrick Mensah will compete among the ladies, while Shereen Azemia and Lindsay Payet will compete.

Pinchon explained that while this tournament is reserved for amateur bodybuilders, Ziad Meckdachi, who retired as a professional, will not be able to compete.

“There will be seven IFBB pro cards up for grabs, to the winners of each category. Getting an IFBB Pro Card means the bodybuilder becomes part of the elite. At this point you’ve made it, and have the opportunity to follow a genuine career as a professional bodybuilder, earning a decent income by competing and winning,” she said.

There will be six categories for men – bodybuilding, physique, classic physique, classic bodybuilding, junior classic bodybuilding, and junior men’s physique.

The ladies will compete in the bikini fitness, and bikini physique, as well as in the fit model categories.

Pinchon said that one of the advantages of Seychelles hosting the competition is that the participants will not have to deal with the expenses of going abroad.

She said she was hoping to get more local participants.

“I want the athletes to be more serious with the sport, where they have to ensure that they are ready in time for such competitions,” said Pinchon, who revealed that Seychelles will in fact hold a second international competition on June 22, 2024.

Tickets for the competition cost SCR300 ($22) while those wishing to attend the competition and the buffet dinner must pay SCR1200 ($90).

 

Algerian-Sahrawi Trade Union Solidarity Week.

The Algerian-Sahrawi Trade Union Solidarity Week was inaugurated on the 9th of October at the Mohamed Bouguerra University in Boumerdes, Algeria, in the presence of the President of the Consultative Council, a member of the National Secretariat, Mr. Mohamed Lamin Ahmed, representing the President of the Republic, Secretary-General of the Polisario Front, Mr. Brahim Ghali, with the participation of 100 Sahrawi trade unionists, as well as representatives of the Algerian civil society and international figures active in the defense of the right of peoples to self-determination.

The opening ceremony of the Algerian-Sahrawi Trade Union Solidarity Week ran until October 14, under the slogan “The Algerian-Sahrawi Trade Union Solidarity Week … Half a Century of Struggle, in Fidelity to the Path of the Heroes.”

 

The President of the university hosting the event, Mr. Mustafa Yahia, welcomed the Sahrawi people, including officials and executives, and pointed out that the international situation has changed as a result of the transformations taking place in the world, which is favorable to the just Sahrawi cause.

Mustafa Yahia reiterated Algeria’s steadfast position on the Sahrawi issue, reaffirming that this stance will not change regardless of the circumstances, as it stems from the positions of the Algerian state and the principles of the immortal November Revolution.

 

The Secretary-General of the Algerian Trade Union Confederation, Mr. Amar Taqjout, in his speech, renewed his support and solidarity with the Sahrawi people and their just cause, based on the strong and unwavering positions of the Algerian people and leadership in its struggle for the achievement of its inalienable right to freedom and independence.

For his part, the Secretary-General of the Sahrawi Workers’ Union, Mr. Salama Basheer, after expressing his gratitude to the General Union of Algerian Workers for organizing this trade union solidarity event, explained that this week of solidarity represents an opportunity for Sahrawi labor leaders to benefit from the rich experience of the Algerian labor movement.

 

During the opening ceremony, two documentary films were presented, one about the Algerian labor experience during the liberation revolution and the other about the Sahrawi labor experience.

World Travels Award 2023: Seychelles Clinches an Award.

Seychelles has yet again shone at the World Travel Awards 2023 claiming the Indian Ocean’s Leading Honeymoon and Cruise Destination awards.

Seychelles won the awards at the World Travel Awards Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony, held on October 15 and 16 at Atlantis The Royal, Dubai.

 According to a press release made by Tourism Seychelles, the marketing branch of the tourism department, winning the two awards reaffirms the island nation’s magnetic appeal to travelers in search of extraordinary and enduring experiences.

“Seychelles, renowned for its unspoiled beaches, verdant landscapes, and thriving marine ecosystems, has consistently garnered international favor among globetrotters. These prestigious accolades, conferred by the World Travel Awards, stand as a testimony to the nation’s unwavering commitment to tourism excellence and the heartfelt warmth of its hospitality,” said Tourism Seychelles.

The destination scooped two additional titles, both won by its national airline, Air Seychelles, namely the Indian Ocean’s Leading Airline – Economy Class 2023 and the Indian Ocean’s Leading Airline Brand 2023.

The island nation’s representative in the Middle East, Ahmed Fathallah, expressed his profound pride and gratitude for these latest achievements.

“We are elated to be the recipients of these prestigious awards and extend our heartfelt gratitude to the World Travel Awards and the numerous supporters who cast their votes in favor of Seychelles. These accolades signify the dedication and tireless efforts of the Seychellois people and the tourism industry at large. We remain committed to delivering exceptional experiences to all our visitors,” he said.

Bernadette Willemin, director general for destination marketing, said she is delighted to see Seychelles continuing to thrive as a destination.

“We are incredibly humbled by this award yet again. We have held the titles for a few years now and couldn’t be happier to reinforce our position as regional leaders. The accolade is a tribute to our country’s hard work, devotion, and enthusiasm. I am grateful to our hotel industry partners for their contributions to local companies, tour operators, and the community at large. Most importantly, we are deeply appreciative of the faith and support that our tourists have shown in our destination,” she added.

Crowned as the Indian Ocean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination underscores Seychelles’ irresistible allure to couples seeking an enchanting and romantic escape.

Tourism Seychelles said that the nation’s “splendid array of luxury resorts and intimate settings make it an idyllic haven for honeymooners looking to celebrate their love amid the natural beauty of the Indian Ocean.”

In its capacity as the “Indian Ocean’s Leading Cruise Destination,” Seychelles continues to captivate cruise lines and operators seeking to offer passengers an unforgettable exploration of these idyllic isles.

Residues From 2,500-year-old Ceramic Vessels Contain Ancient Embalming Ingredients.

Ancient Egypt left lasting gems, this can be seen around the world as most art and architecture are derivative of ancient Egypt. Even its antiquities can be found in museums in crooks and crannies of the world.

The one thing ancient Egypt is famous for is its gigantic pyramids, but equally long-lasting are its many mummies, including those of great pharaohs embalmed many thousands of years ago. Even though we’ve come a long way in understanding how the ancients prepared bodies for mummification, many of the fine details have been unknown.

Recently, a new study has made exciting new revelations about this ancient practice of preserving the dead. A German-Egyptian team of researchers analyzed chemical residues from vessels unearthed at an embalming workshop in Saqqara, close to the pyramid of Unas in Lower Egypt, where ancient Egyptians used to embalm the corpses of the elite more than 2,500 years ago, during the 26th Dynasty of Egypt (664-525 B.C.).

In the process, the chemical analysis of the 31 ceramic vessels revealed the nature of many embalming ingredients that were previously cryptic in recipes from surviving ancient papyrus texts. By identifying these substances, the researchers not only enriched our understanding of the complex mummification process but also inferred a rich cultural story, deciphering the meaning of some terms used in ancient texts and demonstrating the role that mummification had in fostering long-distance trade from as far as South-East Asia.

“For me, the most fascinating result was the chemical knowledge of the ancient embalmers without having any idea about microbiology – they just had centuries of experience and observation of which substances contribute to better preservation of the human body,” Philipp Stockhammer, Professor of archaeology at Ludwig-Maximilians-University and co-author of the new study told ZME Science.

Mummification involves removing moisture from the body and applying certain chemicals and natural preservatives to desiccate the flesh and organs. Many ancient cultures employed this time-honored tradition, imbued with deep religious significance, including the Chinese and many pre-Columbian societies in South America. But it was in ancient Egypt that mummification reached its pinnacle, a sophistication that mirrored the ancient Egyptians’ obsession with the afterlife.

The ancient Egyptians strongly believed that when a person died, their spiritual essence would survive and immediately embark on a journey where they would encounter various divine and demonic entities. Ultimately, the traveling soul would meet Osiris, the god of the dead, who would judge if the wandering spirit is worthy of joining the gods in an eternal paradise.

But for this spiritual journey to be successful, the physical body had to remain intact for as long as possible, much to the distress of the common folk who were too poor to afford this very expensive embalming.

“It is clear that only a small (rich) part of the Egyptian elite was mummified. The poor farmers were just buried in pits in the desert. Moreover, we know from ancient texts that depending on your financial possibilities, you could invest in different “quality packages” for the mummification/embalming,” Stockhammer said.

Since mummification was a matter of life after death, great care and much deliberation were put into this process, which was refined over the centuries to perfection — despite the lack of formal knowledge of what we would call today microbiology. Indeed, the ancient Egyptians had no idea that microbes even existed, but through much trial and error, they found the right mixtures and procedures that preserved thousands of mummies even to this very day.

Unfortunately, the exact steps in this mortuary practice are largely a mystery. We know more about the rituals involved in mummification rather than the actual process itself. The little we know from the particularities of the practice comes from a few surviving texts, and largely from non-Egyptian sources to boot, such as The Histories by Herodotus, which describes three levels of mummification.

However, the researchers of the new study came across the finding of a lifetime. Traveling to Egypt to the Saqqara workshop, they were amazed to find numerous vessels employed by skilled craftsmen to mummify the dead. The remarkable vessels still contained evidence of their past contents, no doubt ingredients used in embalming.

That’s not all. These vessels were also labeled with their contents and even had instructions for use, such as “substance for the head” or “for making beautiful skin”.

The researchers analyzed the chemical residues in the vessels and then compared the molecular remains to the actual ingredients listed on them.

This is how they came to learn that the substance labeled as anti, previously translated as myrrh or frankincense, is a mixture of many different ingredients. The blend that the craftsmen in Saqqara called antiu contained cedar oil, juniper, cypress oil, and animal fats.

“For the first time, we know what terms like “anti” mean (at least in the early 1st mill BC in our workshop), as Egyptologists could only speculate about its meaning for the last almost 200 years. This will enable/force a new reading of many Egyptian texts,” Stockhammer said.

The pistachio resin and castor oil were used only to preserve the head, while other mixtures were used to wash the body or soften the skin. The pistachio resin, cedar oil, and bitumen were probably sourced locally in the Levant. Other identified ingredients, such as dammar gum and elemi resin, could only come from tropical Africa and Southeast Asia.

Without explicitly mentioning this, the ancient residues and labels on the ceramic vessels thereby paint a remarkable picture of extensive and sophisticated trade networks that connected Egypt with tropical Africa and Southeast Asia. These trade networks were already cemented nearly 3,000 years ago.

“Egyptian embalming was probably a driver forward towards early globalization and long-distance trade. Now, we have to rethink the intensity and complexity of early globalization and rethink our dominating notion that global connectedness is a phenomenon limited to modernity,” the German archaeologist said.

All of this is quite consequential for archaeology and the study is bound to cause waves in Egyptology for many years to come — and it’s all thanks to a couple of dozen seemingly unsuspecting old pieces of pottery. But the authors would also like to remind us all that such invaluable work is not always without sacrifice.

“By far the biggest challenge was the premature death of the excavator of the embalmers’ workshop, Ramadan Hussein, in March 2022. Maxime, Ramadan, and I had already finished large parts of the manuscript and it was very much Ramadan’s last wish to see the fruits of his years of research getting published. We are happy that this has now become possible in such a wonderful way,” Stockhammer said.

 

Inclusive Tourism in South Africa; Tourism Minister Signs MoU.

Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille has announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between her department and Airbnb to support the continued recovery of the tourism sector and build inclusive tourism in South Africa.

“The MoU will see the Department of Tourism work closely with Airbnb to advance tourism services that are aimed at growing tourism in South Africa and creating more jobs in the sector,” Minister De Lille said. The MoU seeks to grow collaboration between the government and the private sector, as it is “a collective responsibility to grow and enhance the tourism sector”.

“As a government, if we want to significantly grow tourism and its contribution to the economy and job creation, collaboration with the private sector is vital. We are delighted to be the first African Ministry of Tourism to sign a collaborative MoU with a successful global company such as Airbnb,” she said.

Airbnb is an American-based company operating an online marketplace for short- and long-term homestays and experiences.

Minister De Lille explained that by leveraging Airbnb’s global reach and understanding of the market, the collaboration seeks to create a positive impact on local communities, travelers, and the tourism industry as a whole.

“The primary goal of this collaboration is to develop a relationship between the Ministry, entity, and Airbnb to harness and drive tourism domestically and internationally.

As part of the MoU, the parties will have regular engagements to evaluate opportunities for strategic collaboration on driving inclusive tourism and ensuring fair and proportionate regulation of short-term rentals.

Velma Corcoran, Regional Lead: Middle East Africa at Airbnb, said they look forward to working with the Department of Tourism to help build a more inclusive and sustainable tourism economy in South Africa.

Corcoran said the Airbnb platform can help anyone, anywhere, to become a tourism entrepreneur, and that they hope to continue to break down systemic barriers to entry and enable more South Africans to participate in the sector.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with the department to develop a clear, proportionate national framework for the regulation of short-term rentals and see huge power in public and private sector collaborations. We also know from our work with the Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy, that together, we can make a tangible difference and enable more people, in more places, to benefit from tourism,” said Corcoran.

The signing of the MoU is in line with the aims of the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan, which is key to the country’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.

The Tourism Sector Recovery Plan (TSRP) was adopted by the Cabinet in March 2021 to facilitate the recovery of the sector to preserve jobs and livelihoods, facilitate new job opportunities, match demand and supply, and strengthen transformation.  

 

Senegalese Pair Win Caine Prize.

For the first time since the Caine Prize for African Writing started in 2000, the award was won by a duo. Mame Bougouma Diene and Woppa Diallo, a Senegalese writing duo, have won the prestigious Caine Prize for African Writing for their short story, A Soul of Small Places.

Diallo is a lawyer and feminist activist, while Diene is a Franco-Senegalese American humanitarian, and writer. He serves as the francophone spokesperson for the African Speculative Fiction Society and contributes as a columnist to Strange Horizons, an online speculative fiction magazine.

According to African literature specialist Caroline D. Laurent, their short story echoes deeper trends in the country’s literature while picking up on the growth of horror and speculative fiction from across the continent. 

Diallo’s inspiration to write a story that explores themes of violence, revenge, love, and loss was drawn from her personal experiences. Diene on the other hand often blends elements of horror, social issues, and local beliefs in his work, and “A Soul of Small Places” is an example of his preferred genres.

The annual Caine Prize Award acknowledges a short story written in English by an African Author. The award aims to introduce African literature to a broader readership. Winning this prize provides the writer the opportunity to discuss their work in the Caine Prize anthology with the prospect of gaining recognition, as well as serving as a springboard for further publication. It creates an opportunity for writers to discuss their works, engage with other writers, and meet with the press.  It has helped launch the careers of its previous winners, the likes of; Helon Habila, Tope Folarin, NoViolet Bulawayo, and Namwali Serpell. 

The Caine Prize includes a cash prize of U.S.$12,000 and publication of the winning work in the 2023 Caine Prize anthology. The award, presented to the best short story by an African writer in English, received a record-breaking 297 entries from 28 different countries in the current year. It aims to promote African writing to a broader audience and past winners include notable authors such as Nigerian novelists Helon Habila and Tope Folarin, Zimbabwean novelist NoViolet Bulawayo, and Zambia’s Namwali Serpell. This was also the first time a Senegalese won the prize.

A Soul of Small Places is about Woppa, a young girl who lives in the rural town of Matam in Senegal. Woppa has the task of protecting her younger sister Awa on their way to school. Indeed, girls going to school are often the prey of men who sexually assault them and force them into early marriages. Woppa and Awa’s daily experience of fear to and from school highlights the lack of response from both the authorities and citizens. Gender-based violence remains shrouded in silence, suppressed by feelings of shame and guilt. Hence the intervention of the Soukounio, a flesh-eating djinn who, in this narrative, serves as a protector and avenger of young girls. When all else fails, it is only the gods who can safeguard the girls of Matam.

A Soul of Small Places is a beautifully written short story that the Caine Prize judges have aptly described as “tender and poetic”. However, it’s also a harrowing and infuriating tale. The power of literature to focus on individuals and their personal experiences lends a human face to an unresolved social issue. The author’s skillful use of suspense and horror to convey this idea leaves a profound impact on the reader, with the hope of prompting them to consider the issue and take action.

Diallo and Diene’s story is deeply rooted in its local setting. Matam is described as the second hottest place in Senegal and the heat is palpable in the description of the landscape, where nature is both menacing and protective. References to different gods and spirits also highlight the environment in which Woppa and her family live. However, this short story can also resonate with the fears experienced by young girls and women globally. The anxiety of girls walking home after sunset is something many women have experienced. A Soul of Small Places portrays experiences that, unfortunately, are all too universal. The lack of adequate responses also resonates, regardless of where one lives.

Recently, Senegalese fiction has engaged with important issues in Senegal, whether about homophobia – as seen in Mohamed Mbougar Sarr’s De Purs Hommes (Pure Men) – or gender-based sexual violence, as seen in A Soul of Small Places.

Also worth noting is that Diallo and Diene wrote their story in English, not French, the language of Senegal’s former colonizers. The choice to write in English works to dismantle the neocolonial use of languages based on one’s origin and the colonial past of one’s country. In this sense, English appears more as a global language. The Kiswahili Prize for African Literature, where authors write in African languages, complements the Caine Prize. The fact that languages are being redistributed points to the dynamism of African literature, challenging the use of the languages of former colonizers in different ways.

Senegalese literature plays a vital role in encouraging people to read, reflect upon, and engage with significant matters in the country. Literature serves as a tool for recognition, understanding, and action. A Soul of Small Places is a beautiful, terrifying example of this.

Rwanda Among Africa’s Pocket ‘Pocket of Resilience’.

According to the latest World Bank forecast, Sub-Saharan Africa is bracing itself for a slowdown in economic growth, with projections indicating a decline from 3.6 percent in 2022 to 2.5 percent in 2023.

Based on the World Bank’s findings, it emphasized the urgent need for stability, increased growth, and job creation to avert a potential “lost decade.”

 

“With up to 12 million young Africans entering the labor market across the region each year, it has never been more crucial for policymakers to revamp their economies and provide better job opportunities for the people,” Andrew Dabalen, the World Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa stressed.

The report reveals that regional growth is projected to slow to 2.5 percent in 2023, dropping from 3.6 percent in the previous year, with an anticipated rebound to 3.7 percent next year and 4.1 percent in 2025. However, in per capita terms, the region has not experienced positive growth since 2015, as economic activity has failed to keep pace with the rapid increase in population.

The report also notes that while approximately 12 million Africans join the labor market annually, the current growth patterns generate only 3 million jobs in the formal sector.

South Africa, the continent’s most developed economy, is expected to grow by a mere 0.5 percent this year, primarily due to its severe energy crisis.

Similarly, economic growth in Nigeria and Angola, top oil-producing nations, is anticipated to slow to 2.9 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively. Sudan, amidst a major internal armed conflict, faces a significant 12 percent contraction. Excluding Sudan, regional growth is estimated at 3.1 percent.

Bright Spots; Pockets of Resilience Identified by World Bank.

Despite domestic challenges and uncertain global growth, the World Bank identifies “pockets of resilience” within the region. For instance, the Eastern African community is projected to achieve a growth rate of 4.9 percent in 2023, while the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) anticipates a growth rate of 5.1 percent.

Analyzing the speed and persistence of per capita growth over two timeframes –2001-2019 and 2022-2025 — the report shows that a few countries, including Rwanda, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Mauritius, and Uganda, had demonstrated economic resilience, maintaining growth rates above 2.5 percent in both periods

According to the World Bank, Rwanda’s economic activity had a robust start in 2023, with real GDP growing by 9.2 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, following an 8.2 percent increase in 2022. The Bank attributes this expansion to robust growth in private consumption and increased net exports.

While inflation is downward, it remains above central bank targets in most regional countries, including Rwanda. Contributing factors include a global demand slowdown, easing global supply chain disruptions, lower commodity prices, and contractionary monetary policies, all leading to lower inflation. In 2023, inflation is expected to decrease to 7.3 percent, down from 9.3 percent in 2022.

 

Ugandan Start up Turns Banana Stems Into Useful Fiber.

Africans have always cultivated the habit of utilizing every single thing, they try not to waste anything or see the usefulness in a lot of things and one such thing is banana stems.

According to a Ugandan startup, that’s buying banana stems in a business that turns fibers into biodegradable handicrafts, it is a fresh idea in this East African country that’s a banana republic. Uganda has the highest banana consumption rate in the world and is Africa’s top producer.

According to figures from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, bananas can contribute up to 25 percent of the daily calorie intake in rural areas.

In Uganda, the consumption of bananas is embedded in local customs and traditions. For many, a meal is complete with a serving of matooke.

To harvest the crop, the stem must be decapitated, they’re often left to rot in open fields.

But local startup TEXFAD, which describes itself as a waste management group, is now taking advantage of this abundance of rotting stems to extract banana fiber that’s then turned into items such as hair extensions.

John Baptist Okello, TEXFAD’s business manager, says it makes sense in a country where farmers “are struggling a lot” and have tonnes of banana-related waste.

The company, which collaborates with seven different farmers’ groups in western Uganda, pays $2.7 (USD) per kilogram of dried fiber.

TEXFAD also takes material from a third party, Tupande Holdings Ltd., whose trucks deliver banana stems from central Uganda farmers.

Tupande’s workers sort through stems, looking for desirable ones. Machines then turn the fiber into tiny threads.

“Our contribution in the value chain is that we put extra income in the hands of the farmer, we turn this waste into something valuable that we sell to our partners who also make things that they can sell,” explains Tupande team leader Aggrey Muganga.

“We are doing this to create extra income, to create employment for ourselves, and to contribute to the industrialization of Uganda and betterment of the lives of Ugandans.”

Tupande Holdings Ltd. deals with more than 60 farmers that supply the raw material.

That number is only a small fraction of what’s available in a country where more than a million hectares are planted with bananas.

Banana production has been rising steadily over the years, growing from 6.5 metric tonnes in 2018 to 8.3 metric tonnes in 2019, according to figures from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.

At a plant in a village just outside the Ugandan capital Kampala, TEXFAD employs more than 30 people who use their hands to make items from banana fibers.

The company exports its rug and lampshade products to Europe.

Such items are possible because “banana fiber can be softened to the level of cotton,” explains Okello.

Working with researchers, TEXFAD is also experimenting with possible fabrics from banana fibers.

The company is also designing hair extension products it believes could help rid the market of synthetic products.

All products by TEXFAD are biodegradable, says Faith Kabahuma from the company’s banana hair development program.

She says the company’s hair extensions will soon be on the market.

“The problem with synthetic fibers, is they do so much clogging, like everywhere you go, even if you go to dig in the gardens right now, you would find synthetic fibers around, so it’s not environmentally friendly,” says Kabahuma.

Ugandan Startup, TEXFAD Turns Banana Wastes into Biodegradables.

A  local startup firm in Uganda called TEXFAD which operates as a waste management group has developed an initiative where banana stems are turned into fibers and then later into biodegradable handicrafts such as hair extensions. The company has proven that banana plants are not just useful for its fruits but also for other purposes. 

Uganda has the highest banana consumption rate in the world and is Africa’s top producer. The idea is a fresh one in the East African country that is literally a banana republic. According to statistics from the U.N Food and Agriculture Organization, bananas can contribute up to 25% of the daily calorie intake in rural areas.

TEXFAD has taken advantage of the decapitated stem, which is often left to rot in open fields to extract banana fibre that is later turned into items like hair extension. The consumption of bananas in Uganda is embedded in local customs and traditions. For many indigenes, a meal is complete with a serving of matooke.

According to TEXFAD’s business manager, John Baptist Okello, it makes sense in a country where farmers “are struggling a lot” and have tonnes of banana-related waste. The company has also collaborated with seven different farmers’ groups in west Uganda and pays $2.7 (USD) per kilogram for dried banana fiber.

Aside from its partnership with different farmer’s groups, TEXFAD also takes material from a third party, Tupande Holdings Ltd. which delivers banana stems from central Uganda farmers. The workers at Tupande put in extra effort by sorting through stems and looking for desirable ones. After sorting, machines then process the fiber into tiny threads. 

The Team Leader at Tupande, Aggrey Muganga says, “Our contribution in the value chain is that we put extra income in the hands of the farmer, we turn this waste into something valuable that we sell to our partners who also make things that they can sell”. “We are doing this to create extra income, to create employment for ourselves, and to contribute to the industrialization of Uganda and betterment of the lives of Ugandans,” he further added.

Tupande Holdings Ltd. has more than 60 farmers that supply the raw material and this is only a small fraction of what is available in a country where more than a million hectares are planted with bananas. Over the years, according to data from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, banana plantation has risen steadily, growing from 6.5 metric tonnes in 2018 to 8.3 metric tonnes in 2019.

TEXFAD employs more than 30 people at a plant in a village just outside the country’s capital, Kampala, who use their hands to make items from banana fibers. TEXFAD produce or products like rugs and lampshades are exported to Europe; the business manager explains that “banana fiber can be softened to the level of cotton, ” making it possible to produce such items. TEXFAD has also moved ahead to experiment with possible fabrics from banana fibers in collaboration with researchers. It is also designing hair extension products which the company believes could help rid the market of synthetic products. 

According to Faith Kabahuma from the company’s hair development programme, all products by TEXFAD are biodegradable, further disclosing that the company’s hair extensions will soon be on the market. “The problem with synthetic fibers is they do so much clogging, like everywhere you go, even if you go to dig in the gardens right now, you would find synthetic fibers around, so it is not environmentally friendly,” she noted. 

“Naija to The World” Tour Confirmed.

Organizers of the event “Naija to the World” confirmed today, that ‘Naija To The World’, the innovative pro-Nigeria showcase kicking off with a premiere dedicated to the Niger Delta, will tour multiple cities and venues, over 12 months, in response to feedback on the original announcement for a New York City Apollo debut. 

This was confirmed in a statement today by Efe Omorogbe, CEO of BuckWyld Media. Omorogbe says the tour will span Nigeria, Europe, and the United States of America. A full list of programming is set to be released when the producers convene in New York City for a flag-off media launch on September 16, 2023.

 Naija To The World was created by Buckwyld Media and BHM as a platform to provide an alternative narrative to the stories out there about Nigeria and Nigerians as part of an ongoing initiative to help the world understand and engage better with the country responsible for two of the world’s leading creative industries – music and film. 

 And a Niger Delta debut, organizers say, helps pay tribute to a region mostly known for crude oil, militancy, and protests with most not aware of its tremendous contribution to arts and culture, music, film, and fashion for over 100 years. At least 50 percent of the current crop of leading talents and executives in Nigeria’s creative industry are from the region; with top names including Burna Boy, Rema, and Timaya.

 “We want to provide an inaugural event that not only celebrates the incredible talent emerging from the Niger Delta but also captures the essence of its unique stories and heritage,” Omorogbe adds.

Performances and exhibitions will not only showcase the rich cultural heritage and inspiring stories of the Niger Delta but will also take audiences on a transcendent journey that spotlights the region’s unique artistic brilliance.

We are thrilled to announce that ‘Naija To The World’ will embark on a 12-month journey, crisscrossing Nigeria, Europe, and America,” says Efe Omorogbe, Chief Executive Officer, Buckwyld Media Network (BMN), organizers of the event.

 “This extended tour allows us to offer a comprehensive exploration of the Niger Delta’s cultural tapestry to audiences worldwide. It is an opportunity to celebrate the incredible talent emerging from the region and share its unique stories and heritage,” Efe adds.

 The flag-off event, scheduled to take place in New York City, will serve as the inaugural moment of the tour. During this event, organizers will unveil the tour’s itinerary, innovative format, and thrilling surprises. It will be a vibrant celebration of the cultural richness of the Niger Delta and its profound influence on the world stage.

 Over 1,500 lucky fans will witness this historic series of events live, while an additional 10 million viewers worldwide will tune in through broadcast partners spanning North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

 

Afro Nation Announces its Debut in Nigeria.

Afro Nation, an annual three-day music festival produced by Live Nation, Event Horizon, Smade Entertainment, and Memories of Tomorrow is being hosted for the first time in Nigeria and the dates have officially been locked in. 

This event which was founded by Obi Asika, and Smade in association with BBC 1 Xtra in 2013 promises to be a two-day thrilling event set to take place from the 19th of December to the 20th of December 2023.

The location of the event is set to be in Lagos and it is gearing up to showcase an extraordinary lineup of top-tier artists and electrifying performances. 

This event being hosted in Nigeria is very significant as it marks the homecoming of the festival to the birthplace of Afrobeats. This Nigerian edition is poised to become the standout event of 2023 which will unite the diaspora in the heart of Afrobeats.

The thrilling announcement was divulged through the festival’s official social media channels, intensifying the anticipation and enthusiasm among music enthusiasts worldwide. 

Afro Nation Festival, which initially debuted four years ago in Portugal, has been on an expansive journey, including a highly successful U.S. debut in Miami this past May.

Co-founder of Afro Nation, Adesegun Adeosun Jnr, widely known as Smade, expressed his sentiments regarding the decision to bring the festival to Lagos, Nigeria. He remarked, “Nigeria is home to numerous international superstars who have propelled Afrobeats into a globally cherished genre. As someone who grew up in Lagos and later spent years promoting African music in London and beyond, this is a full-circle moment for me. Bringing the Afro Nation show back home to Lagos is a dream come true. We can’t wait to witness the grandest celebration of African music the world has ever seen!”

this event will draw many tourists and increase tourism activities in Nigeria, making an impact on the economy of the nation.

Katara Opens ‘Sudan, Land of Colors’ Exhibition.

The Katara Cultural Village Foundation in Doha, Qatar has announced the opening of an exhibition titled “Sudan, Land of Colors” by Sudanese artist, Nour El Hadi.

The 47 paintings at the exhibition, which runs through September 17, according to the artist Nour El Hadi, “embody the most wonderful aspects of Sudanese culture and heritage” through their vivid colors and intricate details.

           

Despite the difficulties they are currently facing, he continued, the exhibition shows how united the Sudanese people are in their hope for a better future and our interconnectedness as a single, interwoven thread.

Nour El Hadi stressed that his works of art convey his yearning for Sudan, with its rich cultural and physical diversity. Because he thinks that strong women create strong nations, he noticed that most of his paintings feature women.

According to the artist, the vivid and varied colors he utilized to create his works of art represent the substantial diversity of Sudan’s features, from north to south and from east to west, in terms of diversity, dialects, and civilizations.

Notably, Nour El Hadi has taken part in a number of group exhibitions and is a member of the Qatar Fine Arts Association. He has also contributed to Katara’s mural initiative.

Along with ambassadors, representatives from diplomatic missions, a group of artists, and fans, the opening was attended by HE Ahmed Abdel Rahman Mohamed Hassan Siwar Al Dahab, ambassador of the Republic of Sudan to the State of Qatar, and Dr. Khalid Ibrahim Al Sulaiti, general manager of Katara. 

Also known as Katara, Katara Cultural Village was soft-launched in October 2010 at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival. It is a cultural and commercial complex in Doha that is located on the eastern coast between West Bay and the Pearl.

Rwanda Celebrates 19th ‘Kwita Izina’, Attracts World’s Prominent People.

The 19th Gorilla Naming Ceremony, locally known as Kwita Izina took place on Friday in Kinigi, northern Rwanda. The event is not just a name but an homage to Rwandan culture, signifying respect and importance. Kwita Izina salutes conservation heroes, pays tribute to nearby communities, and appreciates nature.

The yearly Gorilla Naming Ceremony highlights Rwanda’s conservation efforts and its sustainable approach to gorilla tourism, both of which have contributed to the survival of the gorilla population and the communities that live among them. 10% of the money made from wildlife tourism is put back into the neighborhood. 

The celebration of the nation’s success in safeguarding the critically endangered mountain gorilla species is in its 19th year and brought together celebrities, philanthropists, and diplomats.

The star-studded line-up to name baby gorillas at the foothills of the Volcanoes National Park includes British Actor – Idris Elba and his wife Sabrina Dhowere Elba, who is a model, activist and UN Goodwill Ambassador for Ifad, Nigerian-French Singer -Songwriter Bukola Elemidie, (aka Asa), American comedian and actor Kevin Hart.  

The list also includes foreign government officials, business leaders as well and creative artists including the UK’s Minister for Africa Andrew Mitchell, Ambassador Hazza Alqahtani, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Rwanda, Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary General, United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO),  Audrey Azoulay, Director General of United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), Prof Ozlem Tureci, Chief Medical Officer, BioNtech SE and Dr Sierk Poetting, Chief Operating Officer BioNtech SE among others.

The duo, Prof. Ozlem Tureci, and Dr. Sierk Poetting named a gorilla, ‘Intiganda’. “The name captures the essence of someone who has the courage to face challenges and pursue ambitious goals while maintaining a sense of humility and selflessness”.

The ceremony saw the naming of 23 newborn mountain gorillas born in the previous 12 months, bringing the total number of baby gorillas named since the naming ceremony’s start in 2005 to 374. The baby gorillas are members of the Agashya, Muhoza, Mutobo, Hirwa, Pablo, Ntambara, Dushishoze, Segasira, Isimbi, Musirikari, Kwitonda, Igisha and Sabyinyo families.

At Kwita Izina, everyone was in a good mood. As they enjoyed enthralling performances by our very own gifted artists, the audience was humming with excitement. It celebrates how community, culture, wildlife, and conservation efforts can come together for a good cause.

 

Zero Polémik; DRC Festival Promoting Peace.

The 3-day event that took place in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo brought together fans of stand-up, improv’ and farcical comedy among other genres.

The event’s organizer Joyeux Bin Kabojdo says it aims to promote and consolidate peace and social cohesion within local communities in the DRC and the Great Lakes region at large.

“The festival exists for greater social cohesion that advocates education through entertainment, in other words, we think it’s possible to educate through laughter and that’s why every year for the past 6 years, we’ve been getting together around laughter with the public here in Bukavu. Humour remains today one of the components of development itself, and above all a foundation of social cohesion.

DR Congo’s east has been for decades the battlefield of rebel groups and regional armies.

Bukavu is located near the border with Rwanda

Évelyne Mulashe, a young comedian at the school of humor, shares how her art contributes to fostering peaceful coexistence.

“Humor allows us to tackle some of life’s most pertinent subjects, to get a message across. Of course, when delivering and hearing the message we laugh at first, but still people need to stop to think about it. I believe that somewhere a show, depending on its message, really helps to raise people’s awareness on certain issues.”

Ivorian comedian Kouamé Gilles Romuald goes by the stage name Boukary. For him, making people laugh is not merely a job, it’s a mission.

“Through my work as a comedian, I promote joy. You know that joy that comes with peace. When I’m on stage, those in the public don’t ask each other where their political affiliations lie or which side they support.”

“Everyone is here, attending Bukary’s show. We laugh together, fall on each other laughing; never knowing who supports which political party. What matters to me is promoting peace,” he concluded.

The Zéro Polémik festival ended on August 27. Comedians headlining this year’s edition included Ivory Coast’s very own Michel Gohou and Clémentine Papouet.

 

Nigeria’s Flag Designer Dies at Eighty-seven.

Micheal Taiwo Akinkunmi, commonly referred to as Mr. Flag Man was a Nigerian Civil servant best known as the Nigerian Flag designer. Taiwo, the older of a set of twins was born in Ibadan on May 10 1936  but originally hails from Abeokuta in Ogun State.

 

He relocated to the North when he was 8 years old and began his early education there. After his father retired, he came back to the West and re-enrolled at Baptist Day School, Idi-Ikan in Ibadan. He finished there in 1949 and proceeded to Ibadan Grammar School in 1950 where he enjoyed a very good education, leaving in 1955. 

 

He took an appointment as an agriculturist at the Western Region Secretariat in Ibadan as a civil servant. He worked there for years before gaining admission to the Norwood Technical College, currently known as Lambeth College in London where he studied electrical engineering. 

 

He designed the Nigerian flag while still studying at Norwood Technical College. He came back to Nigeria in 1963, returning to the agricultural department at the secretariat in Ibadan, and continued where he stopped.

 

He worked as a civil servant till 1994 when he was hired as the Assistant Superintendent of Agriculture. He was honored as an officer of the Order of the Federal Republic and honorary life presidential adviser on 29 September 1994 at the Abuja Conference Center. He has also been honored with the MON (Member of the Order of the Niger) Award by President Goodluck Jonathan. He got married and had kids of his own.

 

Taiwo came across the competition to design the red flag in a library and he entered it. In 1958, his design was selected as the best among those that entered the competition; in his own words “I took details of what is [to be] expected to design a flag that would be used by a country that was about to witness [its] independence”. Micheal Taiwo Akinkunmi unveiled the world’s largest national flag in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.

 

The original design of the flag is the usual green, white, and green featuring a red sun with streaming rays on the white band. The overseeing committee in charge of the flag eventually did away with the sun to produce the present design. Taiwo’s design was selected because of its ingenuity and profundity; the representation of the forests and natural wealth of the country, and the representation of peace. He was awarded 100 pounds by the government when his design was selected and the flag was officially hoisted on Independence Day instead of the British Union Jack. 

 

Pa Akinkunmi died on the 29th of August, 2023 at the age of 87. His son, Samuel Akinkunmi announced his death on Wednesday, 30th of August, in a recent post where he wrote “Life is indeed transient; I can say boldly you lived a life with a landmark. Continue to rest on, my father! Pa Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi (O.F.R) Great Man has gone.”

 

Congolese Sculptors Showcase Wood Carving Skills.

An astonishing sculpture show takes place at the Place du Jardin des Droits de l’Homme, a peaceful area in the heart of Brazzaville, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

It is the third Woodworking Trade Fair that has drawn artists from all across the city to display their creations. They create a range of lovely items using indigenous woods including limba, kambala, ayous, and wengé or ironwood.

Magloire Ndassa, a master craftsman, showcases his most recent creation in an interview with African News. He says, “This is an elephant. It is gentle and friendly to everyone. Even foreigners who come to Africa, love to see the elephant. This one’s made from grey ebony, a very precious wood, very rare in the world, but found here in the Congo.”

The trade fair offers numerous options available for individuals interested in purchasing. Along with animals, you may also discover culinary items and a variety of other ornaments. Many find inspiration in this genre of work, including the artist Ludovic Mboum.

Ndassa explains “When you carve on wood, you find it precious. There’s not only its charm and the stripes of certain woods. But there’s also its softness. It’s beautiful because of its nature. The beauty of nature is priceless.”

Hundreds of sculptors are participating in the fair and showing not only their talents but also the rich legacy of their nation. 

Another participant at the trade fair, Christian Sanga Pamba says “We create art to elevate our culture and our creations. Although I do not personally create sculptures, the items I’m displaying here were left by our forefathers. They display a past way of life. We live the lifestyles we do now because of them.”

With wood being the second-largest sector of the Congolese economy, shaping this precious raw material is a significant source of employment. 

The National Artisans Agency organized the event, whose director general is Mireille Opa Elion. She says “You can see all the beautiful carvings we have. The country has a law requiring state buildings to be decorated or adorned with the work of Congolese craftsmen.”

Sculptors are participating in the event from six additional African nations.

Tanzanian Plans to Market Fashion as New Tourism Draw.

The Tanzanian government plans to give more push to fashion as a tourism product with great potential. This will be a component of efforts to diversify the nation’s current abundance of wildlife-centric tourist attractions.“We want to see cultural tourism climbing higher. It can turn around our tourism,” said the deputy minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mary Masanja.

When the Tourism Deputy Minister attended the Maasai Fashion Night at the Gran Melia Arusha, she noted the vibrant Maasai traditional fashion as something that ought to be conserved and promoted for both the benefit of future generations and tourists.

Ms. Masanja, who was dressed as a Maasai woman and joined in the traditional dance, was certain about the importance of promoting cultural tourism.“The government will fully support such initiatives. We should position cultural tourism as top of our priorities,” she explained.

The Maasai Festival, which will take place in Arusha in October of this year, is preceded by the Maasai Fashion Night, which drew large numbers of members of the ethnic community dressed in elaborate garb.

The Festival will be put on by Wonderland Travel, a Dar es Salaam-based company whose CEO and founder Saidi Rukemo stated: “Culture should complement wildlife in Tanzania’s tourism scene. Today is a day to honor Maasai attire. Any of our 120 tribes should represent us the following time.

He claimed that if they are not kept or passed down from one generation to the next, Tanzanian cultural artifacts such as music, clothing, and artifacts may be lost. An exhibition of decorated Maasai cultural artifacts, including headdresses, necklaces, earrings, and ankle bracelets, took center stage at the fashion show.

The vibrant event drew supporters of the cause from as far away as Houston, Texas in the United States of America (USA). Ms. Asia Idarus Khamsin, who owns a store in the US named “Mother of Fashion Tanzania,” did not try to hide how pleased she was by “the beauty of the Maasai.” “The Maasais are rich in culture. Let us stick to our culture. Many artists here are putting on nothing else but the colorful Maasai attire,” she told The Citizen.

The Zanzibar-born Ms. Khamsin dressed out in all the typical Maasai celebration decorations, including jewelry, necklaces, earrings, headbands, and other items. Given Tanzania’s vast collection of cultural artifacts, the 64-year-old fashion designer claimed that the fashion business holds significant economic potential for the nation.

For the past 15 years, she has spent her time in the US, Tanzania’s top source market for tourists, promoting the nation’s fashion designs. She has worked in the fashion industry for nearly 40 years in total.

The director of Maasai Fashion, Mr. Lekoko Lepilal, spoke at the well-attended event and pleaded with the tourism stakeholders to support cultural trends in addition to wildlife-based tourism. He pointed out that “Cultural tourism is not confined to fashion (traditional attire) but cuisine, songs, lyrics, and artifacts.”

According to him, Tanzania won’t reach its goal of five million tourists (per year) by 2025 unless it adds some fresh products to the state’s well-known tourist attractions, adding that the promotion of Tanzania as a top tourist destination in Africa would be sparked by fashion designs and other elements of cultural tourism.

Without introducing some new items alongside the well-known tourist sites, he claimed Tanzania will not reach its goal of five million tourists (per year) by 2025.

He pointed out that the promotion of Tanzania as a top tourist destination in Africa would be sparked by fashion designs and other aspects of cultural tourism. Mr. Lepilal asserts that the fashion sector has the ability to employ fashion designers and other individuals involved in its value chain.

 

Ivory Coast: Toumodi Town Hosts First Edition of Nzramah Festival.

The Lake District is believed to have enormous cultural and economic potential. The initiators of the N’Zrama Festival at the stadium in Toumodi, a town in the center of the Ivory Coast, see it as a cultural showcase more than that, it is also an economic pillar providing a solution to unemployment.

In central Ivory Coast, the town of Toumodi hosted the first edition of the Nzrama Festival, attempting to position the Ivorian Lake district as a major economic hub.

This festival which has been dubbed a cultural showcase by its creators, enabled the region’s cooperatives to display their craft, derived from local cultures aiming to source funding to industrialize their labor.

“We’re looking for and finding structures to help us process our products. Because we process our products by hand. If we have someone, a company or the state can help us with the processing,” shares Dorothée Ando, Boutique Manager

“We manufacture cassava and other food products, and we process them, not without difficulty. We lack the proper material. We need help,” added Kouamé Akissi, Cooperative President. 

These requests are at the heart of the Lake District’s new policy, which aims to breathe new life into what was formerly known as the prosperous cocoa loop.

”We have a duty to bring in investors, encourage our people, and help the young, after all, it’s the year of youth, so we must help young people achieve their goals and continue to empower women,” shares Dr. Raymonde Goudou Coffie, Minister-Governor of the Lake District. 

In recent years, the Ivorian government has launched an extensive regional empowerment project. With more than 60% of its land being arable, the Lake District holds an untapped economic potential.

Moroccan King’s 60th Birthday, Celebrated as Model of Stability.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, who celebrated his 60th birthday on Monday 21st August,  has been seen as maintaining effective stability as well as modernizing the economy at home while pursuing assertive diplomacy abroad.

In his most recent speech on July 30, the king called for  the achievement of “new milestones on the path of progress and creating projects of greater scope, worthy of the Moroccan people.”

Since his coronation after the death of his father Hassan II on July 23, 1999, King Mohammed has focused on the economy, foreign affairs, defense, and security in his North African nation.

“While his father was greatly present on the political stage, Mohammed VI’s style seems to differ from that of his father’s. According to political analyst Mohamed Chiker, he prefers to silently steer the ship while controlling the levers of power.” 

The king has supervised the building of major infrastructure and business projects over the years.

These include the Tanger Med industrial port, the gigantic Noor solar power plant, and the Tangier-Casablanca high-speed rail line, alongside developing Morocco’s automotive and aerospace industries, and more recently, so-called green hydrogen projects and the “Made in Morocco” label.

Furthermore, to boost Moroccan soft power abroad, he took the initiative to partner with Spain and Portugal in a joint bid to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup.

On the international stage, Mohammed has diversified partnerships that were once the virtual monopoly of former colonial ruler France and other European countries, embracing a more prominent continental role since Morocco’s return to the African Union in 2017.

The Western Sahara has remained the king’s top foreign policy priority, repeatedly describing the former Spanish colony  as “the prism through which Morocco views its international environment.”

Since 1975, a low-intensity conflict over the contested territory has pitted Rabat against Sahrawi separatists of the Algeria-backed Polisario Front.

Morocco has also secured Spain’s support for an “autonomy plan” that would place the vast mineral-rich desert region under Rabat’s sole sovereignty.

The Polisario has for decades called for a UN-supervised referendum on self-determination.

In December 2020, the United States recognised Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara. Israel followed suit last month, deepening ties with Rabat and drawing a predictable backlash from Algiers.

He did not only achieve diplomatic wins, but Mohammed also addressed societal inequalities at home, which has earned him the nickname “king of the poor”.

Under his leadership, a long-awaited aid project for Morocco’s most disadvantaged families is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

In 2004, the monarch approved the adoption of a family code aimed at boosting women’s rights.

Over the past two decades, Morocco has also shown a commitment to strengthening women’s representation in all sectors, considering it a priority step towards combating discrimination, exclusion, and marginalization.

The reforms, the king said in July 2022, enshrine “equality between men and women in rights and duties and, consequently, establish the principle of parity as an objective that the state must seek to achieve.”

The king also shed light on the fact that the purpose of the reforms was to allow women to “enjoy their legitimate rights,” reaffirming that in Morocco, “it is no longer possible for women to be deprived of their rights.”

Rise in Tourists Arrival in Tanzania.

TANZANIA has been ranked the second country in Africa for receiving a large number of tourists in the first quarter of this year (January to March).

According to the statistics unveiled by the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) for the period between January and March this year, Tanzania received 409,082 foreign tourists compared to 289,372 tourists received in a similar period last year.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources Dr Hassan Abbasi revealed that yesterday when briefing journalists about the 66th meeting of the UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa (CAF) held last week in Mauritius.

Dr. Abbasi said the success recorded in the country in the first quarter of this year was attributed to the Tanzania Royal Tour documentary featuring President Samia that aimed at marketing the country’s tourism sector.

“The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has named and recognized Tanzania as the second country in Africa for recording a large increase of tourists in the first quarter of this year (January to March), the first country is Ethiopia with Morocco taking the third slot,” Dr. Abbasi pointed out.

In particular, he said the organization also recognized Tanzania as the second country in Africa after Morocco in terms of attracting many foreign investment projects in the tourism sector.

He added: “The recorded success is attributed to the sixth phase of government commitment under President Samia to promote and develop the tourism industry in the country.”

The PS also highlighted another achievement acquired by the country from the 66th UNWTO meeting where Tanzania, for the first time in history, attained various positions in the UNWTO.

“For the first time since joining UNWTO, Tanzania has been able to occupy top positions in the organization through elections held in this meeting, including being elected to the post of Vice-President of the UNWTO General Meeting,” Dr Abbasi said.

Having Tanzania has been elected to the post, Dr. Abbasi said, Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Mohamed Mchengerwa will represent Africa in the position of Vice-President at the General Assembly of the UNWTO.

He added that through this position, Tanzania will be able to market tourism attractions in various tourism platforms in the world through meetings and events organized by UNWTO.

Moreover, he said, the country has been also elected as a member of the UNWTO Executive Council, adding that through the acquired position, the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism will represent the country in making decisions on how to develop the tourism sector in the United Nations World Tourism.

“As a member of the UNWTO Executive Council, Tanzania will use the opportunity to attract tourism development projects in the country and Africa in general,” PS added.

UNWTO was formed in 1974 with 160 full members and other associate members who bring together more than 500 tourism stakeholders in the world.

Tanzania attained full membership status in 1975, and since then it has been carrying out its duties and activities of the organization, including paying the annual membership fee, participating in meetings, and implementing guidelines and resolutions provided by UNWTO.