African Characteristics

Namibia Tightens Tobacco Regulations

A five-day tobacco training workshop was held by the Ministry of Health and Social Services with assistance from WHO in order to develop national tobacco control policies. Through stakeholder participation, the workshop that began on September 11, 2023 in Rundu, Kavango East, also sought to improve participants’ knowledge, abilities, and competencies. Participants came from a range of industries and government agencies, including law enforcement. The workshop was attended by numerous health partners, including members of civil society. 


In November 2005, Namibia accepted the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The WHO FCTC requires member states to set up a system, commit to limiting tobacco use, and encourage public understanding of the hazards associated with tobacco use.


Dr. Ester Muinjangue, Namibia’s Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, gave the inaugural address during the training workshop’s formal opening. 

Muinjangue pointed out that Namibia has a track record of tobacco control accomplishments and complies with WHO FCTC requirements. For instance, even before the Tobacco Products Control Act of 2010 was enacted into law, the Namibian government outlawed all tobacco product promotions, billboards, and commercials in electronic and print media.


Furthermore, smoking was outlawed in all government buildings in Namibia in 2005, and it is also not permitted in any hospital or other public building. Every public area is also smoke-free. In 2010, the Tobacco Products Control Act was enacted into law, and in 2014, the regulations followed. 


According to Muinjangue, these legal tools altered the landscape of tobacco control initiatives. Also, “the Government took a stance to encourage farming in other cash crops other than tobacco. The Government wishes to make tobacco consumption an expensive undertaking through annual increases in customs and excise duties and levies,” Muinjangue explained.

In addition, there are measures to ensure the control of contraband tobacco by the Namibian Customs and Excise Department and the Ministry of Health and Social Services through the country’s borders. Despite these efforts, Muinjangue feels further “intensification can be encouraged through strengthened and empowered health workforce within the Ministry of Health and Social Services supported by our development cooperation partners”.

Muinjangue reminded government officials and policymakers attending the workshop to implement suitable policies and strategies to enable market conditions for tobacco farmers, by switching them to growing food crops to curb the food crisis. She also urged green activists and public social welfare associations to collaborate in promoting efforts to stop the growing of tobacco. 

The Health Ministry’s Deputy Minister further said countries should respond to the tobacco epidemic through the full implementation of the WHO FCTC. “To achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of a one-third reduction in non-communicable diseases premature mortality by 2030, tobacco control must be a priority for governments and communities worldwide,” highlighted Muinjangue. 

She further cautioned: “As it stands, the world is not on track to meeting this target”. She also urged the workshop participants to raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco. She called on the workshop participants and stakeholders to ensure that tobacco control in the country is strengthened and extensively implemented in all sectors. “Significant reduction in tobacco use will ensure declines in non-communicable diseases and promote healthier lifestyles,” stressed Muinjangue. 

The training workshops were conducted over a period of two weeks.  The first week had participants from the Zambezi, Kavango East and West, Ohangwena, Kunene, Omusati, Oshana and Oshikoto regions and the second training was from 18 September and included participants from Otjozondjupa, Khomas, Hardap, !Khomas, Omaheke and Erongo regions. 

The meetings recommended revisions  to the regulations that would strengthen enforcement and provide better protection against tobacco smoke for all.  


East Libya Authorities Announce Fund Creation for Reconstruction of Derna.

On Wednesday, the authorities in eastern Libya declared the foundation of a fund to rebuild Derna, a city devastated by terrible floods, as a meeting to discuss the first “projects” is scheduled for October 10th. The eastern government made the announcement in a press release, saying it had given its “approval to the creation of a fund for the reconstruction of the city of Derna and the areas affected” by the September 10th floods. 

The Eastern government also said that it would organize an “international conference” on October 10th to help with the port city’s restoration, despite the fact that this was not acknowledged internationally. The conference, it stated on Wednesday, will “open the door for international companies to present the best-suited projects for the city’s nature and terrain”, contrary to its initial invitation to the entire “international community” to take part. 

However, it did not indicate how the new fund would be financed, but Libya’s House of Representatives, also based in the east, has already allocated 10 million dinars ($2 million) for construction. The rival UN-recognized government based in the western capital, Tripoli has so far ignored these announcements and has not said whether it will send representatives.

According to the latest toll announced by the eastern authorities on Tuesday, at least 3,893 people died in the disaster. International aid groups have said 10,000 or more people may be missing. Libya has been wracked by division since a NATO-backed uprising toppled then killed veteran dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

Libya has been riven by divisions since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and is governed by two rival administrations: one in the west, headed by Abdelhamid Dbeibah, and the other in the east, embodied by the Parliament and affiliated to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

Riddled by internal strife since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya is governed by two rival administrations: one in the west led by Abdelhamid Dbeibah, the other in the east, embodied by Parliament and affiliated to the camp of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

“Institutionally”, the eastern authorities “do not exist as they are not recognized internationally”, so “it is unlikely that countries will give money to the east”, Jalel Harchaoui, Libya specialist at the British Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), told AFP. 

“In all likelihood, (international) funds would have to pass through Tripoli”, he said, stressing that the Dbeibah government was seeking to take advantage of the tragedy to unlock Libya’s foreign assets and investments.

Tens of billions of dollars of these assets, managed by the sovereign wealth fund Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), had been sequestered in 2011 by the UN to prevent misappropriation. The floods, caused by storm Daniel and amplified by the bursting of two dams upstream from Derna, have claimed 3,893 lives, according to the latest provisional death toll announced on Tuesday by the government in the east.

Kenya: Mombasa to Host World Habitat Day Commemoration.

This year, the National World Habitat Day activities will take place on October 2 in the coastal city of Mombasa, Kenya. Every year on the first Monday in October, World Habitat Day is observed both internationally and locally and this year’s celebration is tagged; Resilient Urban Economies. Cities as Drivers of Growth and Recovery”. 

As the second-largest city in Kenya and a key hub for international trade in east and central Africa, Mombasa fits with the topic of resilient urban economies, according to Kenya’s UN-Habitat Permanent Representative Jean W Kimani. “Mombasa’s rich history as a melting pot of diverse cultures along the Indian Ocean coast makes it an apt host for this year’s events,” Kimani said. 

According to Kimani, the celebration in Mombasa will demonstrate Kenya’s dedication to improving sustainable urbanization and putting the New Urban Agenda into practice.

She pointed out that in order to fulfill the demands of Mombasa’s expanding population, both the national and county governments have invested significantly in renovating the city, upgrading the infrastructure, and supplying basic services.

The government’s efforts to enhance the land tenure system and establish programs for affordable housing to ease the housing shortage, according to the Permanent Representative, have benefited Mombasa.

“The Kenya Permanent Mission to UN-Habitat is dedicated to collaborating with other stakeholders to promote inclusive multilateralism in addressing urbanization challenges and harnessing the potential of cities as engines of economic development,” she said. 

During this year’s celebrations, Kenya will spotlight its efforts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly goal 11 on sustainable cities and communities, at the local level.

Kimani said UN-Habitat looks forward to galvanizing global collaboration and partnerships to address the sustainable urbanization challenges in the rapidly urbanizing world.

“It is with great pleasure that we join in celebrating World Habitat Day, which is marked on the first Monday of October every year as per the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 40/2020A of December 17, 1985,” she said. 

This year, the global celebrations will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan. This day also marks the beginning of urban October, a month dedicated to promoting a better urban future.

Kimani said Kenya, as the headquarters of UN-Habitat and other UN offices, is a center for global discourse on sustainable urbanization and human settlements.

She said this year’s celebration of World Habitat Day holds particular significance as it has been held four months since Kenya hosted the Second Session of the UN-Habitat Assembly in June, during which more than 10 resolutions addressing various sustainable urbanization and human settlements issues were adopted.

South Sudan Makes Effort to Replace Currency.

The transitional parliament in South Sudan has passed a bill that would replace the current currency, the South Sudanese Pound with a new currency to be called the South Sudan Pound. The bill, known as Banking and Other Financial Institutions Bill 2023 was passed on Monday and presented by the chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Finance and Economic Planning, Changkuoth Bichiok Reth.


According to Changkuoth, the change is necessary to assert South Sudan’s sovereignty and to create a currency that is unique to the country. He said, “In all countries, the money belongs to the country and is named after the country which people belong to, so the money should be called the South Sudan Pound”. 


On the point that Changkuoth made, the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Addis Ababa Othwo agreed with him, saying the change is in line with international best practices. “The practice in the region when it comes to currency is to name the currency after the country,” he remarked. He further noted, “In Kenya, they call it Kenya Shillings and in Uganda, they call it Uganda Shillings that is why we are changing it from South Sudanese Pounds to South Sudan Pounds.”


Some MPs, however, opposed the modification, saying it was unnecessary and might cause confusion. Although, Charles Majak, a representative for Warrap State in the parliament and a member of the ruling SPLM was not in agreement with the notion as he said the currency belongs to the people, not the nation, 


“When this bill was brought for the second reading I objected to the amendment of the South Sudanese Pound to the South Sudan Pound and I said this word Sudanese is used for possession because money is a medium of exchange otherwise, we have what we call barter trade,” he said.


“It is the people who possess those resources in the form of money. Why would you delete Sudanese and put Sudan? South Sudan does not own the resources, it is the people who own the resources, and they are living within the international border in a place called South Sudan,” he added.


The Bank of South Sudan has not yet announced a timeline for the introduction of the new currency, but despite the objections, the bill is anticipated to pass through Parliament and become law in the coming weeks. The change in currency comes as South Sudan is dealing with a number of economic difficulties, including high inflation, a shortage of foreign currency, and widespread corruption. 


The country is also attempting to recover from a deadly civil war that caused millions of people to flee their homes. However, some analysts have cautioned that the adoption of a new currency could further destabilize the economy and raise prices, while others contend that the shift is required to reestablish public confidence in the government and lay the groundwork for economic revival.

Kenya to Begin Construction of First Nuclear Power Plant.

Kenya has announced the commencement of its first nuclear power plant in 2027 as the country seeks to enhance its energy generation in the midst of rising demand and push for zero-carbon energy. 

In an interview, the acting CEO of the Nuclear Power and Energy Agency (NuPEA), Justus Wabuyabo said the agency has advanced plans to float international tenders for the construction of the plant either in Kilifi or Kwale counties of Kenya.

In fact, he further revealed that a tender has been floated which gained the approval of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2021 for Kenya to go ahead with setting up the infrastructure for the plants. 

According to Wabuyabo, the bidding stage will begin between 2026 and 2027 while construction will commence in 2027. He noted that “construction ranges from six to ten years so we are looking at 2034 to 2035 to commission the first plant”.

“We are now focusing on Kilifi and Kwale as our ideal sites. They have met most of the criteria but before we determine the final site, we have to do a detailed scientific study as provided for by IAEA like seismic tests,” he remarked.

Plans to construct the nuclear power plant have been in the works since 2009 despite the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) giving its approval in 2021 for the country to begin setting up the plant, with initial construction expected to start in 2024.

The goal of Kenya to build a nuclear power station is motivated by the anticipated rise in electricity demand as the nation strives to become a middle-income economy by 2030. If everything goes as planned, the plant which is expected to have a capacity of 1,000 (MW) will be pivotal to helping boost the electricity supply to the economy and help reduce reliance on dirty thermal plants.

As of May, geothermal energy made up the largest portion of the electricity produced, contributing 45.21 percent, followed by hydropower (21.05 percent), wind (16.08 percent), and solar energy (3.92 percent).

But in addition to the pricey nuclear facility, Kenya will also need to update its electrical transmission system in order to supply nuclear power plants with dependable and off-site power.

The current power grid will need to be significantly improved, according to joint research by the NuPEA and SGS consortium, because of the strict safety requirements placed on nuclear facilities and the magnitude of such installations.  

Only South Africa in all of Africa has a commercial nuclear power station, which produces 5% of the nation’s electricity. 47 percent of the electricity produced in the US is nuclear. Over the years, Kenya has increased its attempts to realize its nuclear energy ambition and has sent hundreds of students abroad to nuclear-using developed economies to improve their skill sets and make sure that the nation does not entirely import the workforce.

The construction of the power station is in line with the country’s plan of embracing cleaner fuels for electricity and it is costed at Ksh500 billion to Ksh600 billion.


KVM to Manufacture Roam’s Electric Buses for Matatu Industry.

The first totally electric shuttle bus, known as Roam Move, will be built by Thika-based Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers (KVM) as the transportation company looks to take advantage of tax breaks.

A variety of tax benefits are available to those who assemble electric vehicles in the nation, including zero percent excise duty, ten percent import charge, and zero-rated value-added tax (VAT).

The Roam bus has a 170 kilowatts per hour (kWh) battery pack and a 51-passenger capacity.

“Assembled entirely in Kenya, the bus exemplifies Roam’s commitment to supporting local manufacturing while advancing the nation’s sustainability goals,” said Roam in a statement.

“We are thrilled to introduce ‘The Roam Move,’ Kenya’s very own electric shuttle bus. This achievement aligns perfectly with our vision of fostering sustainable transportation solutions that positively impact our environment and our communities,” said Dennis Wakaba, Roam’s country sales executive.

The National Treasury owns a 35 percent investment in KVM, along with CMC (32,5%), and DT Dobie (32,5%).

It combines several automobile brands, including those from CFAO Motors (Volkswagen) and Urysia (Peugeot).

The one-and-a-half-hour fare for the 13.5-tonne shuttle bus. The matatu (public service vehicle) market is its target market. The business also builds motorcycles and the Roam Rapid mass transport vehicle.

In Nairobi’s Mombasa Road, the Swedish-Kenyan electric vehicle manufacturer Roam opened a facility where it plans to eventually assemble up to 50,000 motorcycles annually.

BasiGo, a rival of Roam, collaborated with Associated Vehicle Assemblers (AVA) to have its buses assembled in Mombasa.


Christopher Olusa Attempts to Break GWR for Longest Speech.

On Thursday, a 24-year-old Federal University Of Technology Akure (FUTA) Alumnus, Christopher Olusa, announced his determination to break the already existing Guinness World Record (GWR) for the Longest Speech Marathon by an individual.

Olusa mentioned that he had obtained approval from Guinness World Records and divulged that he was set to break Ananta Ram’s Guinness World Record for the longest speech marathon of 90 hours and two minutes.

Ananta Ram, a Nepali, is the current record holder after achieving the longest speech marathon of 90 hours and two minutes in Kathmandu, Nepal, from August 27 to 31, 2018.

Speaking with journalists in Akure, the Ondo State capital, the young graduate said he was attempting to set aside the existing record with a 120-hour (five days) word-to-word speech.

Oluta, who is currently a FUTA Postgraduate student, said: “The genesis of this remarkable endeavor was borne from an unwavering commitment to inspire positive change in society.

“I had sought and got the approval from GWR and the event is scheduled for 11- 15 September 2023 in Akure the Ondo state capital. Dejavu Hotel, Akure has been chosen as the venue for the momentous occasion and it will kick off on the 11th of September, 2023.”

Olusa further explained that the upcoming Speech Marathon is an event that embodies the very essence of transformation and inspiration.

“I am Christopher Olusa, and I stand before you today as a young Nigerian with an unwavering passion for change. As a proud alumnus of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, I have consistently strived to make a positive impact on society, as the owner of the #TalkWithTheDuke platform which has been a platform for advocacy, engagement, and innovation.

“My journey has been one marked by dedication to the cause of change and the relentless pursuit of knowledge. It is with this same spirit that I bring you today’s announcement regarding the upcoming Speech Marathon, an event that embodies the very essence of transformation and inspiration.

“The genesis of this remarkable endeavor was borne from an unwavering commitment to inspire positive change in our society. It is about transcending boundaries, shattering limits, and aspiring towards something extraordinary.

“I am overjoyed to announce that our unwavering dedication has borne fruit, as Guinness World Records has granted us their esteemed approval for what promises to be an unprecedented feat.

“Our Speech Marathon is not just another event; it is a testament to human determination and the unyielding power of words. Our Speech Marathon is not just another event, it is a testament to human determination and the unyielding power of words. Over five days, we will embark on a journey of enlightenment, as I read speeches from inspirational figures spanning the annals of history.

“From past and present world leaders to influential individuals who have left an indelible mark on our world, I will draw wisdom and inspiration from their words. It is about transcending boundaries, shattering limits, and aspiring towards something extraordinary.

“I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to our partners and sponsors who have already lent their invaluable support to this noble cause. Your faith in our mission has been instrumental in bringing us to this point, and I humbly request your continued support as we set out to make history.

“My commitment to this endeavor extends beyond words. I am in the peak of physical fitness and mental readiness to undertake this monumental challenge,” Olusa stated.

He also mentioned that all funds raised during the marathon will be dedicated to the noble cause of training children with aphasia, a brain disorder that affects speech and comprehension.

“This initiative will be conducted under the banner of the #TalkWithTheDuke Foundation, reflecting our commitment to making a meaningful impact on those in need,” he stated.


Kenya Enters into Three Green Investment Trade Deals.

With the intention of reinventing food security and air travel, Kenya has signed three agreements with Sweden, South Africa, and Hong Kong that promote environmentally friendly commerce and investment. This occurred at a side event for the Nairobi, Kenya, climate summit in 2023.

As part of the agreement with the Swedish company Cool Go Green, food preservation will be powered by sunshine in an effort to cut down on food waste and post-harvest losses. In the next five years, the company plans to invest $200 million (Sh28.9 billion) in the establishment of 40,000 cooling units around the nation.

According to Peter Korner, the company’s founder, the agreement will aim to give farmers and Kenyans in general the tools they need to use solar-powered cold storage containers to preserve food for a longer shelf life. Due to the high expense of both purchasing and maintaining preservation equipment, it is estimated that up to 40% of food in Kenya is lost after harvest. 

“A significant number of farmers in Africa do not have access to reliable electricity and storage facilities. In addition, our technology sustains optimal cold storage conditions for up to seven days without external power sources,” Korner said.

Agri All Africa, a South African company, plans to invest $102 million (Sh14.7 billion) in climate-smart rice irrigation on 31,000 hectares of land in the Tana Delta. This is anticipated to assist Kenya in producing roughly 560,000 metric tons of rice annually and enable the country to avoid spending $690 million (Sh99.95 billion) on the importation of the crop.

Priscilla Motlhako, the company’s director, claims that this has resulted in more than 37,500 jobs and 175,000 carbon credits.

The government also reached an agreement with the taxi-hailing service Volar Air Mobility to launch the world’s first air taxi ride-hailing facility, providing a way to fly without polluting the atmosphere.

Volar Air provides a variety of services, including air taxis, flight schools, precise mapping, agricultural spraying, logistics, air ambulance, and humanitarian activities. Through the agreement, Kenya becomes the first nation in Africa where Volar Air Mobility will launch operations aimed at tourists who care about the environment. 

The improvements, according to Trade CS Moses Kuria, would also improve air travel conditions and generate more than 40,000 employment, reducing the nation’s reliance on food imports. 

According to Investment Promotion PS Abubakar Hassan, the innovations in the agriculture sector are in line with the government’s target to reduce food imports. “In Africa, about $48 billion (Sh6.9 trillion) worth of food is wasted annually. This contributes to the huge budgets the continent spends on food imports,” he said.


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.