African Civilization

Rwanda, SoftBank Inaugurate World’s First 5G Connectivity from Stratosphere

The Government of Rwanda and SoftBank announced that on September 24, 2023, they successfully tested SoftBank’s proprietary 5G communications payload in the stratosphere installed on a solar-powered High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) prototype.

The demonstration, conducted for HAPS research purposes in Rwandan airspace by SoftBank and the Government of Rwanda, marked the world’s first publicly announced delivery of 5G connectivity from a HAPS UAV in the stratosphere*1. The successful 5G connectivity demonstration follows a stratospheric flight test conducted in Rwanda in June 2023, during which the HAPS UAV prototype carried a mockup of the payload with a similar weight and dimensions.

SoftBank’s stratosphere-ready communications payload continuously delivered 5G connectivity for approximately 73 minutes in the stratosphere at a maximum altitude of 16.9km and performed as expected in demanding atmospheric conditions.

During the test, the stratosphere-ready 5G communications payload enabled a 5G-based Zoom video call between a smartphone at the test site in Rwanda and SoftBank team members in Japan. Since the radio waves transmitted and received from the 5G communications payload installed on the HAPS UAV prototype in the stratosphere operated on the same frequencies as existing smartphones and devices, a regular 5G smartphone was used in the test.

The successful stratospheric 5G communications test is a milestone achievement that originates from a Memorandum of Understanding signed in July 2020 by SoftBank’s subsidiary HAPSMobile Inc.*2 and the Ministry of ICT and Innovation of Rwanda, under which both parties pledged to conduct a Joint Research Project (JRP) that aimed to study the productive use of HAPS to provide mobile Internet connectivity in Rwanda and other solutions. More recently, SoftBank and the Government of Rwanda’s Ministry of Education signed a Partnership Agreement in June 2023 to provide educational technology (EdTech) services in Rwanda using Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN) solutions.

Building on the results of this successful stratospheric 5G connectivity demonstration, SoftBank and the Government of Rwanda will study potential HAPS use cases and commercial implementation in Rwanda, and other regions of Africa, in the JRP framework. Use cases under consideration include digitalizing schools and communities in rural communities without Internet connectivity.


Germany, Algeria Strengthen Energy Partnership.

The energy partnership between Germany and Algeria was recently intensified with a focused debate on the planned conversion and expansion of the natural gas corridor for hydrogen.

The debate took place at the fifth German-Algerian Energy Day in Algiers on the 23rd of October.

The hydrogen infrastructure would run from Algeria through Tunisia, Italy, and Austria, to southern Germany, following the same path as existing gas infrastructure.

The purpose of this project is to cover up to 10% of Europe’s needs for renewable hydrogen which is forecast to stand at 20 million tonnes/year by 2030 within the European Union.

Germany alone is estimated to import between 50-70% of its 95-130TWh/year hydrogen demand by 2030 and is seeking to develop multiple import avenues with several different partners.


Algeria has ambitions to be an exporter of renewable hydrogen in the coming years and is seeking to accelerate the country’s solar energy capacity, with a boost offered from tenders earlier this year.

Algeria’s state-owned utility Sonelgaz accepted 77 proposals for solar energy projects for 2GW of solar energy capacity in late July after 90 bids were submitted.

Data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said that Algeria had approximately 435MW of installed solar capacity at the end of 2022, but the Algerian government has plans for 15GW of solar capacity by 2030.

The country is intending to produce 40TWh/year of hydrogen by 2040.


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.

Eswatini, Malawi, Countries that Could Cut Biggest Part of their Carbon–New Study.

  • Biochar can cut more than 30% of emissions in Eswatini and over 20% in Malawi and Ghana, according to a new study.
  • African countries top the list of those who can cut the greatest proportion of their carbon by sequestrating carbon as a soil improver.
  • Biochar both improves soil health and its ability to retain water. 

African countries top the list of those who can see the best results using biochar as a way to seclude carbon, while also improving crop yields – according to a new study. 

Eswatini and Malawi are the countries that could cut the biggest part of their carbon, according to the study in the peer-reviewed journal Biochar, commissioned by the International Biochar Initiative (IBI).

It suggests that African countries can reduce their emissions while supporting farmers on a continent experiencing the worst impact of climate change.

“For example, cocoa farmers in Ghana reported increased average yields of 30% after using biochar, a substantial figure in a country where deforestation has wreaked havoc on soil quality,” the report said.

Biochar is created by heating crop or wood residue instead of letting it decompose, locking in the carbon. When added to soil, biochar helps with water and nutrient retention, with results that can be noticeable over centuries. 

In total, the study says, up to 6% of global annual carbon emissions can be reduced via biochar. But in some African countries, the percentage of their total emissions is far higher than in developed countries. 

The study comes just over two months before the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), to be held at Expo City in Dubai, where answers to Africa’s climate change crisis will be hotly sought. 

African countries are the lowest-emitting countries, but the hardest hit by climate change.

As such, the authors of the report argue that biochar research in these countries is imperative.

Biochar can remove more than 30% of Eswatini’s emissions, more than 20% in Malawi and Ghana, and at least 10% in Burundi, Rwanda, Mali, Senegal, Togo, and Uganda, according to the report.

“As the global community approaches COP28, this research presents an urgent call to action for world leaders to ensure this powerful solution is in every country’s climate change strategy,” said Wendy Lu Maxwell-Barton, IBI’s executive director. 

“Biochar not only safely locks away carbon, but it is also a circular solution to help feed the world, decarbonize the built environment, and remove pollutants in water and soil. To stay on a 1.5°C pathway, we must accelerate biochar use and include it in our climate toolbox,” she said.


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.

Afreximbank Commences Development of Morocco-Africa Trade and Investment Promotion Program.

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government of Morocco, represented by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, to develop a $ 1 billion Morocco-Africa Trade and Investment Promotion Program.

According to the terms of the MoU, the program will aim to facilitate and guide future cooperation in areas of common interest between Afreximbank, the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Morocco, other government departments, and Moroccan economic operators.

Areas of collaboration under the program will include financing and promoting intra- and extra-African trade through the implementation of credit, risk-bearing, and trade information and advisory services. It will also include support for engagements, missions, exchange of information, and capacity building.

Nadia Fettah, the Minister of Economy and Finance of Morocco discussed the move at the MoU signing ceremony: “This agreement marks an important step towards consolidating the relationship between the Kingdom of Morocco and Afreximbank.

“It also affirms the continued commitment of the government to increasing trade promotion and cooperation and the development of Africa.”

In addition, under project finance, the MoU facilitates access to information on the potential pipeline of investment projects in Morocco, or from Moroccan entities to African countries, which would be suitable for financing from Afreximbank.

Afreximbank will cooperate with the Ministry and relevant Moroccan entities and economic operators to develop and deploy appropriate project structuring and financing solutions.

Benedict Oramah, president and chairman of the board of AfreximBank, also discussed the partnership at the ceremony. He explained: “This MOU sets the stage for deepening the collaboration and relationship between Afreximbank and the Kingdom of Morocco.

“Our mandate to transform trade and support economies in Africa is firm and today’s agreement is another crucial step in achieving this objective.”

Afreximbank will support Morocco’s economic operators across three years as part of the program. This will be implemented using loans and guarantee facilities, as well as investment banking and advisory services.

The program is based on Morocco’s firm engagement – playing a key role in promoting intra-African cooperation. It is also based on the efforts of the Ministry of Economy and Finance to establish mutually beneficial partnerships with African/regional financial institutions to promote financial and economic cooperation between Moroccan economic operators and their African counterparts.

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution mandated to finance and promote intra- and extra-African trade. For 30 years, the Bank has been deploying innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that support the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, accelerating industrialization and intra-regional trade, thereby boosting economic expansion in Africa. A stalwart supporter of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Afreximbank has launched a Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) that was adopted by the African Union (AU) as the payment and settlement platform to underpin the implementation of the AfCFTA. Working with the AfCFTA Secretariat and the AU, the Bank is setting up a US$10 billion Adjustment Fund to support countries to effectively participate in the AfCFTA. At the end of 2022, Afreximbank’s total assets and guarantees stood at over US$31 billion, and its shareholder funds amounted to US$5.2 billion. The Bank disbursed more than US$86 billion between 2016 and 2022. Afreximbank has investment grade ratings assigned by GCR (international scale) (A), Moody’s (Baa1), Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR) (A-) and Fitch (BBB). Afreximbank has evolved into a group entity comprising the Bank, its impact fund subsidiary called the Fund for Export Development Africa (FEDA), and its insurance management subsidiary, AfrexInsure, (together, “the Group”).


Morocco, UAE Sign MoU to Enhance Cybersecurity Cooperation.

In a significant step towards enhancing cybersecurity cooperation and securing the digital space, the General Directorate of Information Systems Security Administration of the National Defence of the Kingdom of Morocco and the Cyber Security Council for the United Arab Emirates have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on October 19, 2023, at Dubai Gitex.

This landmark agreement represents a shared commitment to collaborate on cybersecurity initiatives to address the growing challenges and risks in the global cyberspace landscape. The MoU aims to create a broad framework for cooperation between Morocco and the UAE in cybersecurity. By doing so, both nations recognize the critical role cybersecurity plays in the success of their digital transformation efforts and overall economic and social growth. As technology continues to advance, the need for robust cybersecurity measures to counteract the growing threats has become paramount.

Under the wise leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Morocco has been engaged, since 2011, in the process of developing national capabilities for information systems security and enhancing digital trust. In line with the royal vision and directives, the Kingdom has enhanced cybersecurity by securing information systems, public departments, institutions, and vital infrastructure against cyberattacks.

The MoU establishes a joint committee that will be responsible for planning and overseeing the implementation of these cooperation activities, along with setting the timelines for these initiatives. This committee will meet annually, alternating between Morocco and the UAE, and as needed to address pressing cybersecurity issues.

The MoU highlights the commitment of Morocco and the UAE to establish a secure digital environment and leverage their collective expertise to enhance their respective cybersecurity capabilities. By fostering cooperation in these crucial areas, the two nations aim to contribute to the broader efforts to secure cyberspace regionally and globally.

This historic MoU marks the beginning of a new chapter in cybersecurity collaboration between Morocco and the UAE, serving as a model for international cooperation in the ever-evolving cybersecurity domain.

Tanzania to Benefit from Power Interconnection Project.

Tanzania is at the edge of reaping the benefits of the Kenya and Tanzania Power Interconnection Project (KTPIP). This project is a significant infrastructure development project that aims to improve power distribution and boost electricity trade in the region. With its completion nearing, the project is poised to transform Tanzania’s energy landscape and unlock new opportunities for economic growth and regional cooperation. Funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB), the KTPIP is expected to enhance Tanzania’s energy security, enable cross-border electricity trade, and facilitate the harnessing of surplus power.

The Kenya and Tanzania Power Interconnection Project

The project is a $258 million project that involves the construction of a 510-kilometer power line capable of transmitting up to 2,000 megawatts of electricity. The power line will connect the Kenyan and Tanzanian grids, enabling electricity trade between the two countries. This interconnection will not only allow Tanzania to purchase electricity from neighboring countries when needed but also create an avenue for selling surplus electricity to the region. The project, which is 99% complete, is expected to be energized in November 2021, following the completion of equipment tests.

Benefits for Tanzania

The KTPIP will address the issue of power distribution in several Tanzanian regions, bringing electricity to areas that previously had limited or no access. This will have a significant impact on the lives of Tanzanian citizens, improving living conditions, and stimulating economic growth in these regions. By interconnecting with Kenya’s power grid, Tanzania will reduce its dependence on domestic power generation, thereby enhancing energy security. This connection will ensure a more reliable and stable power supply, minimizing the risk of power outages and enabling businesses to operate more efficiently.

The KTPIP has the potential to generate revenue for Tanzania through fees from Southern African countries using the country’s network to purchase power from Ethiopia. By acting as a conduit for regional electricity trade, Tanzania can position itself as a hub for power transmission, further strengthening its economy. The interconnection project will facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources into Tanzania’s power grid. With Kenya’s advanced renewable energy sector, the project will enable Tanzania to access clean and sustainable energy, reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and contributing to global efforts to combat climate change.

Regional Cooperation and Economic Integration

The KTPIP not only benefits Tanzania but also fosters regional cooperation and economic integration. By enabling cross-border electricity trade, the project promotes collaboration between neighboring countries, fostering a sense of shared prosperity and stability in the region. The interconnection will create opportunities for power exchanges, allowing countries to optimize their energy resources and reduce costs. It will also encourage investment in renewable energy infrastructure, as countries seek to capitalize on the benefits of interconnected grids.

The completion of the Kenya and Tanzania Power Interconnection Project marks a significant milestone in Tanzania’s energy sector. By improving power distribution, enhancing energy security, and fostering regional cooperation, the project will have transformative effects on Tanzania’s economy and the lives of its citizens. The interconnection with Kenya’s power grid will position Tanzania as a key player in regional electricity trade, driving economic growth and sustainable development. As the project nears its energization phase, Tanzania stands on the cusp of a new era of energy resilience and prosperity.

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.

Producers Team up to Process Slag as Zambia Targets Higher Copper Output.

Metals processing group Jubilee Metals has partnered with Zambia’s Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) in a project seeking to produce copper and cobalt from retreating mining waste.

The joint venture (JV) comes at a critical time for the state-owned MCM, which is looking for a strategic investor as it has been struggling to make a profit.

Sibanye-Stillwater is among the bidders vying for the copper assets, which can be considered critical to the green economy as the world transitions from environmentally damaging fossil fuels.


A successful bidder could be announced any time this month after a delay in finalizing the adjudication process.

For London and JSE-listed Jubilee, the JV allows it to showcase its ability to retreat waste materials and turn them into assets. 


Jubilee and MCM will appoint a special-purpose vehicle to facilitate the JV for processing the slag at the MCM facility in Mufulira. Its mandate could also be expanded to incorporate the treatment of material from tailing dumps and oxide ore sourced from small-scale miners.

The overarching strategy is to extract value from MCM plants under care and maintenance.


Under the targeted JV, Jubilee is exclusively appointed to design, implement, and operate the new processing facility with the first right to fund the implementation of the project in collaboration with MCM. 


The supervisory board made up of representatives from both companies will also be formed to oversee the JV.

“This slag project not only offers further scale to our current project portfolio but also high-value metal content material,” Jubilee CEO Leon Coetzer said in a statement on Tuesday. 

“The project holds the potential to accelerate investment into the Mufulira area, which will benefit not only the JV partners but all stakeholders.”

He added that the project formed part of a greater waste recovery initiative championed by Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema to achieve 3 million tonnes of copper output per annum. 

Its shares rose 2% to R1.35 in midafternoon trade on the JSE, but are down almost 40% so far in 2023.

In June, Jubilee entered into a new partnership agreement to expand its chrome footprint and platinum group metals feed in SA.

Jubilee aims to grow its local operational footprint by almost two-thirds over the next two years to reach a production rate of 2 million tonnes per year. 

The agreement — set down for six years with the option of another four — will see the company being appointed as the exclusive process solution provider committed to retrofitting and operating an existing chrome processing facility, located adjacent to the chrome ore producer.

Mozambique to Sign More Contracts for Offshore Hydrocarbon Exploration.

According to the reports, the Mozambique National Petroleum Institute (INP) revealed that the concession contracts awarded late last year for the 6th licensing round will be signed by December.

The China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) netted the bulk of the six awarded contracts, securing two in the Save region off the coast of Inhambane Province and three in the Angoche region near Nampula Province. Italian oil company Eni secured the remaining contract, also for the Angoche region.

The contracts will be valid for eight years, according to INP Chairman Nazário Bangalane, “which will allow operating companies to mature the research process … [ensuring] that more resources are produced, with particular emphasis on natural gas”. INP is “immensely satisfied” that the technical sessions, now at an advanced stage, have clarified most of the concerns raised by investors, he added.

INP launched the 6th licensing round in November 2021, offering 16 new areas across four regions: the Rovuma Basin (5); Angoche (7), the Zambezi Delta (2),` and Save (2). Thirteen companies from various countries competed, with CNOOC, SINOPEC, and PetroChina giving China the largest representation among them. 

While contracts for 16 areas were on offer, the companies involved only submitted bids for the six areas eventually awarded to CNOOC and Eni. Bangalane still views the round as a success, citing the interest of the winning companies as “evidence of the importance of the country’s sedimentary basins” and their potential to contribute to the energy transition.

Mozambique holds the third largest proven natural gas reserves in Africa, at around a trillion cubic feet. The emphasis on natural gas in the new contracts, Bangalane noted, will “ensure the injection of cleaner and more accessible energy” into the national and international markets.


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.


Anuga 2023 Brings Tunisian Agri-Food Industry to Spotlight.

Forty Tunisian exhibitors operating in the agri-food sector are participating in the world’s leading trade fair for food and beverages, “Anuga 2023,” organized October 7th-11th, in Cologne, Germany.

Spearheaded by the Export Promotion Centre (CEPEX), the Tunisian 25th consecutive participation in this event includes exhibitors specialized in olive oil, canned food (tuna, sardines, and harissa), dates and by-products, pastry, charcuterie, pre-prepared dishes, and dried tomatoes.

Anuga which brings together all the key players, producers, buyers, and decision-makers in the sector, is considered to be the world’s leading agri-food event, with a record number of exhibitors exceeding 7,800 and over 200,000 professional visitors, CEPEX said on Monday.

The Tunisian exhibitors succeeded in making contact with trade visitors from over 55 foreign countries, according to CEPEX.

Tunisia’s participation in this trade fair also served to showcase a fairly comprehensive range of Tunisian products and to promote Tunisia’s strengths in a market that offers real export opportunities.

A cooking show space was set up to offer visitors the opportunity to sample flavors concocted from products on display in the 435m² national pavilion.

As part of its strategy of supporting SMEs, CEPEX offered five small Tunisian companies operating in the agri-food sector the opportunity to exhibit in a “NewComer” space.

A working meeting was held with all the exhibitors. Discussions focused on export opportunities and potential business development alternatives in the German market.

The meeting also offered an opportunity to discuss the promotional program of the Tunisian Embassy in Berlin for 2024.

Germany ranks second on the list of countries with which Tunisia can considerably develop its exports, with an untapped potential estimated at $1.1 billion.


TotalEnergies Uganda rEVolution hackathon; Ai Utilizing Solution Clinches First Place.

An innovative solution utilizing artificial intelligence to identify optimal locations for Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points has clinched the top spot in the prestigious ‘TotalEnergies Uganda rEVolution hackathon.’

This ingenious solution that was presented by the TBKN team was unveiled as the winner during an awards ceremony in Kampala on Oct.11, marking the culmination of a three-month hackathon challenge initiated by TotalEnergies Uganda. 

This challenge aimed to provide young Ugandans with an opportunity to devise solutions for identifying the best locations for EV charging points in Kampala.

TBKN, the team that emerged the winner, was awarded a cash prize of Shs 18.5 million. The first runners-up, ISBAT University, secured a prize of Shs 11.1 million. Data Knight and Shalom were tied for third place, each receiving Shs 3.7 million.

Philippe Groueix, General Manager of TotalEnergies EP Uganda and Country Chair of TotalEnergies in Uganda, said the energy company is actively involved in Uganda’s e-mobility think tank and supports innovation aligned with e-mobility.

He said the e-mobility rEVolution hackathon challenge was launched to foster youth engagement and innovation, aligning with the company’s pillar of Youth Inclusion.

The hackathon received over 400 applications from Ugandans aged 18 to 45 between July and September 2023, with Outbox Uganda executing the challenge on behalf of TotalEnergies Uganda.

“This hackathon demonstrated that young people still have a role to play in addressing societal challenges in partnership with the private sector. We remain steadfast in our commitment to ensure that the solutions selected can be considered for operationalization by TotalEnergies in Uganda and other mobility actors in Uganda,” Team Principal, Outbox Uganda, Richard Zulu added.

The initial evaluation led to the shortlisting of 16 teams, each composed of four members, who were tasked with proposing innovative ideas utilizing data on Kampala city’s road infrastructure, electricity networks, and traffic patterns.

The teams received mentorship and coaching to refine their ideas before presenting them to judges. The judging process considered criteria such as the innovativeness of the ideas, team composition, presentation, and alignment with business objectives.


GIS Launches 7-Year Strategic Plan.

The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) recently launched a seven-year strategic plan intended to change the face of migration in the country. The plan, which begins from 2023 to 2029, will provide a roadmap for the GIS to operate efficient, fair, and firm immigration work systems through digitalization.

The initiative, launched in Accra yesterday, was attended by government officials, the Ga Mantse, King Tackie Teiko Tsuru, heads of security agencies, members of the diplomatic corps, civil society organizations, and development partners, among others.

Development of the plan

The Comptroller-General of Immigration, Kwame Asuah Takyi, said since 2011, his outfit had been developing strategic plans to guide its operations and administrative activities.

With the expiration of the 2018–2022 plan, he said the service commenced the development of the new plan with technical assistance from the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) under a project called “Strengthening Border and Migration Management in Ghana” which was funded by the Denmark Government.

Mr. Takyi said the plan was developed through a participatory approach that involved officers at various levels across the GIS regional commands, departments, sections, and units, as well as stakeholders from the government, international organizations, development partners, and civil society representatives.

The process of formulating a new strategic plan, the Comptroller-General added, offered the service the opportunity to take stock of past successes and failures in line with best practices.

He, therefore, said the plan would help the service to position itself strategically in its operational environment by aligning effectively with the changes taking place in its environment.

Mr Asuah Takyi, however, called for more support for the successful implementation of the plan and said “The long-term survival of GIS depends on sound strategic decisions effectively implemented.

“We will, therefore, require all hands on deck to realize our vision”, he added.

The Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery, commended the GIS for the initiative and said the plan was well thought through because it clearly outlined strategies the service would adopt to realize its mandate.

He said he was aware of the extensive consultations in the development of the plan “so we can be assured that the concerns of all relevant stakeholders have been captured”.

Mr Dery, therefore, urged stakeholders in the migration management space to support activities outlined in the plan.

“As we continue our commitment to promote a humane and orderly management of migration, it is necessary for us to collectively maintain a well-coordinated multi-sectoral intervention to aid the process”.

Human rights

The project manager of ICMPD, Ghana, Lulia Jolley Socea, said: “At the center of migration are actual people, individual migrants affected by the work of border agencies such as the GIS which is why respect for human rights and integrity and gender-responsiveness are important themes in this strategic plan”.

Migration governance, she added, was not a one-agency job and, therefore, appealed for further support to implement the “ambitious plan”.

The Danish ambassador in Ghana, Tom Norring, said Denmark placed importance on migration, hence the reason for its continuous support of the GIS initiative. 

Four African Countries Get Elected Into the UN Human Rights Council.

On Tuesday, the United Nations General Assembly conducted an election to appoint 15 new member countries to serve on the Human Rights Council, of which four of the new members are African nations. These four African members are Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Malawi.


Assembly President Dennis Francis officially announced the new members after the casting and tallying of ballots. The new members are Albania, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, China, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, France, Ghana, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Malawi, and the Netherlands.

The assumption of their three-year term role will commence on the 1st of January 2024. Remarkably, China, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, France, and Malawi secured re-election for their second terms. 


The Human Rights Council is a prominent UN body responsible for the global promotion and protection of fundamental human rights. The Human Rights Council established in 2006 consists of 47 member states selected through a secret ballot by the majority of the General Assembly members.


The council tries to ensure a fair distribution of seats across geographical regions by allocating its seats to regional groups of states: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin American and Caribbean, Western Europe, and others.


Among the African nations that voted for the council, Malawi received the highest number of votes with 182 votes, followed closely by Cote d’Ivoire with 181 votes, Ghana with 179, and Burundi with 168.


This also marks the first time the Dominican Republic has been elected to the Human Rights Council.


The new members will join the existing Human Rights Council members on the 1st of January 2024 which include Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Cameroon, Chile, Costa Rica, Eritrea, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Honduras, India, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, and Luxembourg.


Furthermore, Malaysia, Maldives, Montenegro, Morocco, Paraguay, Qatar, Romania, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, the United States of America, and Vietnam are part of the council.


Djibouti Inaugurates First-ever Green Energy.

Djibouti inaugurates its first-ever green energy, maiden wind farm of the 60 MW Red Sea Power (RSP). This is expected to boost the country’s free trade zone development. The project near Lake Goubet is linked in order to boost the overall capacity by 50 percent while averting 252,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.

As was divulged, this first significant international investment in the energy sector in Djibouti, the USD122 million project, which was inaugurated by President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh will create the country’s first Independent Power Producer (IPP) further setting a template for further private investment.

The investors responsible for the said project are now mulling an additional capacity of 45 MW of renewable energy.


For this compound project, the consortium of investors behind RSP includes; Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank FMO, blended finance fund manager Climate Fund Managers (CFM), and Great Horn Investment Holding (GHIH), an investment firm owned by a unit of the Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority.


Until now, Djibouti has been entirely reliant on power generated from fossil fuels, as well as hydro-generated power imported from their neighboring country, Ethiopia. For the East African nation, the new clean energy will spur industrialization, job creation, and economic stability as Djibouti seeks to take advantage of its strategic location as a global transshipment hub.


With its extensive coastline and dedicated port facilities positioned strategically along the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, Djibouti has a central role to play in the global energy market.


The country has enough wind, solar, and geothermal resources to triple its existing capacity to at least 300MW. Leveraging its seaports to diversify the economy, Djibouti set out to build an industrial zone in 2017, sparking preliminary discussions on boosting energy capacity. 

The consortium for the wind farm was formed in 2018 and subsequently provided all-equity construction bridge financing via AFC, FMO, CFM’s Climate Investor One fund, and GHIH, which propelled the project to achieve financial close in a record 22 months. Construction kicked off in January 2020 and continued at pace despite the global supply challenges caused by Covid-era lockdowns.

The site’s 17 Siemens turbines each produce 3.4 MW, served by a robust 220 megavolt amperes (MVA) substation and connected by a 5km overhead transmission line to the local grid operator.


The electricity generated is to be sold under a long-term power purchase agreement to Electricité de Djibouti (EDD), the national state-owned utility. Using the project as a template for future IPPs, the Government of Djibouti is already working on several other plants for additional geothermal and solar capacity.


The project stands out as a demonstration of the use of innovative equity financing to accelerate development impact through de-risking, while showcasing the commercial viability of transformative projects in Africa, thereby crowding in diverse capital sources, and enabling replication of similar projects at reduced financing costs.


EDD’s payment obligations under the power purchase agreement (PPA) were backed by a government guarantee, and in turn, the government’s obligations were also backed by political risk cover provided by the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).


“Djibouti has abundant renewable resources for sustainable and clean energy production,” said Aboubaker Omar Hadi, Chairman of GHIH, adding, “Our aim is to be the first country in Africa to be 100 percent reliant on green energy by 2035. Investment in renewable energy infrastructure is the key to enabling our ambitions, and the inauguration of the groundbreaking Red Sea Power wind farm today is a major milestone. 


A reliable and cost-effective energy solution is vital to drive Djibouti’s infrastructure growth. With the development of Industrial Free Zones projects, we estimate that the country faces a projected demand of 3700 MW in the next decade. Tapping into renewable resources like solar, geothermal, wind, and tidal is crucial to bridge this gap.”


Francois Maze, CEO of Red Sea Power, in accordance, said, “Access to electricity is vital for business growth, job creation, education, healthcare, social services, and infrastructure. In a country currently served entirely by fossil fuels and electricity imports, large-scale renewable energy solutions are urgently needed to mitigate and increase resilience to climate change. Today’s inauguration is an important milestone in Djibouti’s aim to be entirely served by renewable energy sources by 2035.”


In addition to the new wind farm, the Red Sea Power partners have built a solar-powered desalination plant that was also inaugurated today. The plant will provide drinking water to villages near the farm. Some parts of Djibouti are currently experiencing a major national water crisis, with 20 percent of rural areas lacking access to clean water. Many households have insufficient water to meet basic needs, particularly during the dry season, resulting in widespread loss of livelihoods and income.


AFC holds a 51 percent majority stake in RSP; FMO and CIO of Climate Fund Managers hold 19.5 percent each while GIHH holds 10 percent.

GEB 2023: Zim Exhibit Pleases Botswana President.

The huge presence of Zimbabwean companies participating at the 2023 Global Expo, Botswana, and the display of high-quality products has charmed President Eric Mokgweetsi Masisi.

There was a total of 23 companies from different sectors of the economy in Zimbabwe exhibiting their goods and services at the expo. They were seeking to leverage the platform to expand their market footprint and seal trade strategic synergies. 

Global Expo Botswana (GEB) is the country’s premier International multi-sectoral business-to-business exhibition that is managed by BITC on behalf of the government of Botswana. The annual expo is held towards the end of the year, and it attracts exhibitors and business people from the region and globally.

This expo brought together multiple sector players and industry leaders in agriculture, education, energy, finance, health, and ICT, many industry experts, policymakers, and entrepreneurs. During this two-day event, guests have the opportunity to participate in business-to-business sessions, round table discussions, and workshops on specific sectors, including the health and pharmaceutical sector, financial and business services including green financial services, Manufacturing and ICT, and innovation.

The key highlights of the Global Expo Botswana include an Exhibition of cutting-edge products and services from diverse industries, engaging in seminars and workshops on market trends and emerging opportunities, networking sessions with key decision-makers and industry experts, and B2B meetings for potential collaborations and partnerships.

President Masisi conducted a tour of the exhibition stands which included Zimbabwe. He engaged with several exhibitors and admired their products and displays. He expressed particular excitement with the leather products, agriculture, and value addition thrust shown by Zimbabwean firms. 

Botswana boasts a competitive advantage as one of Southern Africa’s fastest-growing economies with preferential market access to SACU, EU, SADC, and MERCUSOR markets.

This event will Promote investment opportunities in Botswana, encourage Joint Venture Partnerships between citizens and foreign exhibitors, promote intra-regional trade and further integrate Botswana into the Global Trading System, and Offer exhibitors and visitors a platform to explore new markets, secure new business, build new partnerships and grow business.

GEB has various value-added services that run concurrently to the exhibition such as workshops, one-on-one buyer-seller meetings, and an international Investment and Trade Conference.

This year, in collaboration with the European Union, will launch the EU-Botswana Business Forum (EBBF). The EBBF is a collaborative effort between the European Union and the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) to bring together the business community from Europe and Botswana.

GEB came into existence in 2006 and has been held successfully on an annual basis since its inception. This major trade and investment platform offers businesses an exciting opportunity to do business in one of Southern Africa’s and Africa’s most stable and fastest-growing economies, given the geographical centrality of Botswana in the SADC region.

This year’s expo will last till the 14th of October.

Mental Health: Kite Flying Event at Heideveld Sports Field.

On Tuesday, Cape Mental Health organized a kite flying at the Heideveld Sports Field in Manenberg to raise awareness about mental health ahead of the 29th Cape Town Kite Festival, scheduled for Sunday 29 October on Melkbosstrand Beach.

At the event, themed The Sky Is Your Canvas, young children from various early childhood development centers and schools ran around, yelling excitedly, flying bat kites and bird kites. Rainbow-coloured kites were distributed free of charge. Children were also delighted to see a green kite mascot.

Cape Mental Health deputy executive officer Carol Bosch said, “It’s world mental health day today, but October is also mental health awareness month. So, this event is about creating awareness about mental health and the importance of taking care of yourself.”

“It’s a fun activity, having the community fly kites and just creating lightness. Mental health is not an easy subject to talk about for a lot of people.”

Bosch said many of the children present had mental impediments and were in special education and care centers.

“Some of them obtain their milestones much later, others not at all, so what we try to do at our special education and care centers is to try and stimulate development. Just because you have an intellectual disability does not mean you are not able to grow,” said Bosch.

Founded in 1913, Cape Mental Health provides essential mental health services in the Western Cape. According to the organization, they serve about 50,000 people and their families a year. There are 22 intervention programmes with 133 staff.

Vernecia Creighton, of Manenberg, was flying a rainbow kite with her two-year-old twins and their two-year-old cousin. She came across the event by accident.

“There is so much going on in our communities, like drugs and crime, which can contribute to people struggling with mental health,” said Creighton.

Bosch said, “There are so many social issues in the communities we work in – high unemployment, high crime rates. A lot of our children are growing up traumatized by witnessing killings.”

“We all need good mental health – it is the way we look at life, the way we approach life, it is how resilient we are.”


Gambia, EU Seacop Partnership Making Waves in Disrupting Maritime Drug Trafficking.

Gambia is a key transit point for South American cocaine being smuggled to Europe. In February, over 800 kg of cocaine that had been transferred from a larger ship in the open sea was confiscated from a Gambian fishing boat in Senegalese waters. In 2021, Gambian authorities seized almost three tonnes of the drug, hidden in a shipment of industrial salt from Ecuador.

Gambia’s government has admitted to the allegations that the country is being used as “transit/storage for cocaine, heroin, and cannabis originating from source countries and the sub-region entering the country through the sea, land, and air borders”. 

A police officer with the Drug Law Enforcement Agency (Dleag), who requested anonymity, said the rise in maritime cocaine smuggling in the country could be traced back to the early 2000s. At that time, the opening of global markets saw traffickers start using West Africa as a transit point for cocaine shipments from South America to Europe.

The country’s 200 km coastline and limited resources to effectively police its maritime domain make it an attractive location and practical transit point for cocaine trafficking. Transnational organized criminal groups have also capitalized on the limited law enforcement capacity at the country’s ports.

Under Yahya Jammeh’s rule, the government faced substantial challenges in investigating and prosecuting drug crimes, according to Michael Davies, Executive Director of Public-Private Integrity, an anti-corruption civil society organization. He told the Enact organized crime project that this primarily stemmed from “inadequate case management, a shortage of staff in the judicial sector and court overload — and the criminals knew that”. The country’s former leaders and institutions have also been implicated in drug trafficking.

In recent years, however, Gambia has been fighting back. Ismaila Sow, a police officer with Dleag, said the current administration was working with regional and international partners to share intelligence, run joint operations, train law enforcement, and improve capacity to detect and intercept drug trafficking boats. The country’s 2021 agreement signed with Nigeria indicated its willingness to fight the maritime drug trade, said Sow.

Gambia has also improved its legal framework. The amended National Drug Control Council Act (2005) established the independent National Drug Enforcement Agency to enforce, regulate, and coordinate all matters related to illicit drug trafficking and abuse. The act has since been amended four times to enhance its enforcement capabilities. In 2014, the drug enforcement agency was reconstituted as the Dleag to ensure compliance with international standards.

These advances, along with increased investment in law enforcement agencies, have resulted in more drug seizures, drug-related arrests, and prosecutions QTV reports that from January 2021 to April 2023, the Dleag recorded 1,629 cases involving 1,665 accused. In the same news story on World Drug Day 2023, Minister of Interior Seyaka Sonko expressed the government’s determination to “dismantle any organized crime network in our jurisdiction”.

In January, Gambia signed an agreement with Seacop, the European Union-funded Seaport Cooperation Project that works with countries to disrupt and prevent maritime trafficking. The project’s main implementing partner, Expertise France, aims to build capacity and strengthen cooperation in countries on the trans-Atlantic cocaine route. 

To achieve results, however, Gambia must prioritize improved information sharing, intelligence gathering, and joint operations between police, customs, and port authorities, as called for by the agreement. A specialized maritime task force dedicated to combatting drug trafficking must be established, comprising members of various security agencies, including the police, navy, and customs. The unit will need resources and training to investigate and apprehend traffickers.

Akala said the Seacop project would provide Gambia’s drug enforcement agencies with equipment and training in October. Seacop emphasizes intelligence-driven approaches and technology to identify high-risk containers and detect illicit goods. It will provide authorities with advanced container scanning equipment and data analysis tools that should significantly improve Gambia’s ability to identify and intercept contraband.

Combatting maritime drug trafficking also requires a close working relationship with neighboring countries and regional partners. Gambia shares a long border with Senegal — a major transit point for drug traffickers. Gambia’s maritime security is linked to activities in the Gulf of Guinea, a significant hotspot for piracy and other crimes. Any efforts to combat drug trafficking and other marine crimes must include joint operations and patrols, and the harmonizing of legislative frameworks.

Gambia must also get involved in the development and implementation of a regional maritime security strategy, as called for by the Yaoundé Code of Conduct — the backbone of maritime security for West and Central Africa.  

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.

Zimbabwe Gold Delivery increases by 26.24% in September

Gold deliveries to Fidelity Gold Refinery (FGR) saw an outstanding increase of 26.24% in September compared to August, according to the latest data. This surge in gold deliveries reflects a recovery in the production of the precious metal in Zimbabwe. The country has set a target of producing 40 tonnes of gold this year.

In September, a total of 2,479.7759 kilograms of gold were delivered to FGR, surpassing August’s figures. However, when compared to the same period in 2022, gold production in September was down by 7.28%, with last year’s September deliveries amounting to 3,376 kilograms.

While breaking down the September deliveries, it was discovered that large-scale gold producers contributed 961.1361 kilograms, while artisanal miners delivered 2,169.5769 kilograms of gold to FGR.

Data from FGR reveals that over the first nine months of the year, Zimbabwe produced a total of 22,465.8953 kilograms of gold. Small-scale miners accounted for 61.87% of this production, with large-scale gold producers contributing the remaining portion.
Despite the increase in gold deliveries in September, doubts persist regarding Zimbabwe’s ability to reach its target of producing 40 tonnes of gold this year. Earlier in the year, gold deliveries were significantly impacted by heavy rains, resulting in a nearly 16% decline in the first four months compared to the same period in 2022.

In May, Henrietta Rushwaya, the President of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation, expressed optimism that the sector would surpass the previous year’s gold production of 33 tonnes, despite a slow start.

Notably, gold has been a key contributor to Zimbabwe’s exports, with the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) reporting that a substantial portion of exported goods in August 2023, worth US$603.2 million, came from gold. Gold accounted for 21.6% of these exports.

ZimStat also noted that Zimbabwe’s trade deficit had decreased, dropping from US$179.8 million in July 2023 to US$170.1 million in August 2023. This decrease was attributed to increased exports, which rose by 7.7% in August, compared to July. Key exports included semi-manufactured gold, nickel mattes, tobacco, and other mineral substances.

Ginkgo Bioworks, Government of the Republic of Madagascar Sign MoU.

Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE: DNA), and the Government of the Republic of Madagascar today announced that they have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with the intent to develop and implement new biosecurity capabilities in Madagascar.

Ginkgo’s biosecurity unit, Concentric by Ginkgo, aims to support Madagascar’s public health institutions with infrastructure and tools to bolster its biosecurity efforts against COVID-19 and other new or existing biological threats. Through bioinformatics training, digital pathogen monitoring dashboards, and genomic sequencing technologies, Concentric will support Madagascar’s initiatives to detect pathogens at key ports of entry and throughout the surrounding region. 

As part of this multi-phased program, Madagascar aims to leverage Concentric’s expertise in travel biosecurity programs to implement a wastewater and voluntary nasal swab monitoring program at the Ivato International Airport and other ports of entry.

This collaboration aims to set up a key node in Concentric’s international biosecurity network, which collects data to help public health and national security officials develop biodefense capabilities and help policymakers make informed decisions about biological risks. The partners plan to bolster biomonitoring capabilities across Africa, to detect and respond to biological threats, following Concentric’s announced partnerships with Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda.

“We look forward to our work with the Republic of Madagascar as we share a commitment to bolstering biosecurity in the country and throughout the region,” said Matt McKnight, General Manager of biosecurity at Ginkgo Bioworks. “Programs like these can create strong global biosecurity infrastructure such as a global radar to monitor the spread of pathogens, which is key to mitigating biological threats and giving national security and public health officials an early warning to help keep ports of entry open safely.”

“As Madagascar continues to prioritize our public health initiatives, we look forward to collaborating with Concentric and leveraging the team’s expertise to further build our biosecurity capabilities and better protect our country—and the world—from biothreats,” said Dr. Valéry M. Fitzgerald Ramonjavelo, Minister of Transport and Meteorology of the Republic of Madagascar.


Kenya: PlantwisePlus Program to Support Smallholder Farmers.

The CABI-led PlantwisePlus program has been supporting smallholder farmers in Taita Taveta County, Kenya, with training on better banana agronomy which can help them increase their livelihoods, crop yields, and food security.

PlantwisePlus works in partnership to help support low and lower-middle-income countries to predict, prepare themselves for, and prevent plant health threats in a changing climate. Through the PlantwisePlus Toolkit, for example, a range of digital products, help farmers grow crops more sustainably.

This includes the CABI BioProtection Portal– a free tool to enhance the awareness and uptake of biocontrol and biopesticide products by growers and advisors – and the Plantwise Knowledge Bank and the Plantwise Factsheet Library app.

Tackling a range of crop pests and diseases

Scientists from CABI’s regional center for Africa in Nairobi helped deliver a four-day training for smallholder farmers to help them tackle a range of crop pests and diseases of bananas including nematodes, moles, thrips, banana weevils, cigar end rot, and Panama disease.

Over 50 million people in East Africa depend on highland bananas for their food and/or income. Annually, the crop’s production is worth around $4.3 billion, However, pests and diseases, nutrient deficiencies and drought stress continue to affect the average productivity of bananas.

The sessions, which were held together with the Micro Enterprise Support Program Trust  (MESPT) which are running a banana project under the Danish partnership program Danida Market Development Partnerships (DMDP), focused on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies for banana but also tomato and general pest management.

In this program, MESPT uses Business Service Providers (BSPs) who oversee farmers’ activities. The BSPs are clustered into estates with a defined number of farmers under them. The main role of the BSPs is to train and follow up farmers to ensure the adoption of different technologies and train farmers in planting and general agronomic practices.

The organisation is also working with 12 lead farmers who have established demonstration farms which are used to train other farmers on different technologies and how these can help keep pests and diseases at bay.

Safe use of pesticides and KS1758 standard  

The event – held in Taveta town – was attended by 44 Business Service Providers, lead farmers, and agronomists from MESPT. The trainees also gained valuable insights into the safe use of pesticides and how to meet the KS1758 standard-Horticulture Code of Practice focusing on fruits and vegetables.

Meanwhile, tomato is one of the most important vegetables grown in Kenya and plays a critical role in income generation and creation of employment for both rural and urban populations, in addition to meeting food nutritional requirements.

However, since it was first reported in Kenya in 2014, the tomato leafminer (Phthorimaea absoluta) has become a serious threat to the sustainable production of tomatoes in Kenya with nearly 98% of tomato farmers affected. 

It has become invasive in introduced ranges having escaped the biotic constraints, that keep their populations in check in their regions of origin. Infestation by this pest can cause yield losses of up to 100%.

On the first day of the training, Peter Karanja, Assistant Training Officer – PlantwisePlus, delivered a session on banana and tomato pest management for the BSPs and lead farmers. This included the demonstration of bio traps – such as the TutaSan pheromone trap and the Delta trap – as well as insect sticky cards used as part of an IPM strategy.

Mr Karanja also spoke about the ‘Ukulima True’ campaign which has been launched – in collaboration with the CBCC (Centre For Behaviour Change and Communication) and the Department of Agriculture, Nakuru County, to help reduce the risks to farmers, consumers, and the environment from chemical pesticides.

Samples of biopesticide products were also on display. The trainees were shown how to navigate through the CABI BioProtection Portal and the Pest Control Products Board (PCBP) website to find biopesticides available and registered for use in Kenya.

Day two of the training saw Mr Stanley Mruu Nganga, Regional Manager, PCPB, Coast Region, talk about the safe use of plant protection products. This included looking at pesticides and why they are regulated by the government as well as the safe purchase, transport, and storage of pesticides.

He also emphasized the importance of reading the pesticide label, the use of personal protective equipment during mixing and spraying as well as the correct dosage. These are key topics in the KS 1758-Horticultural Code of practice.

Importance of soil and substrate management

To close the training on days three and four, Mr Patrice Ngenga, a KS 1758 trainer from the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya(FPEAK), spoke about the KS 1758:2016-Horticulture code of practice. The KS1758 is a Kenyan horticultural code of practice that is anchored on 4 pillars Food safety, Environmental sustainability, Worker Health and safety, and Plant Health. This code applies to the procurement of inputs, production, and placement of horticultural produce in the market. The topics covered by Mr. Patrice included the importance of soil and substrate management, cultivation, soil erosion, soil fumigation, and site selection.

He also emphasized aspects of irrigation and water management, fertilizer usage, and sanitation for propagation materials.

The BSPs are expected to pass the valuable training to the farmers they are serving. CABI in collaboration with MESPT hopes to further capacity build the BSPs and lead farmers to help bridge the extension gap. It is hoped that moving forward, a good number of BSPs and lead farmers could be trained as plant doctors. These staff, once trained, will be expected to operate PlantwisePlus plant clinics where smallholder farmers can take samples of their plant health issues for diagnosis and advice on treatment.

Lesotho, South Africa Teams up to Fight Illegal Mining.

On Thursday, South Africa and Lesotho agreed to work together to strengthen commerce and other ties between the two countries while also pledging to combat illegal mining. According to South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, “We were deeply saddened by the unfortunate loss of lives of illegal miners in Harmony Gold Mine in Welkom.” The mining firm and our respective governments are collaborating on the best techniques and a strategy to remove the miners’ remains without jeopardizing the rescue workers.

He noted that the issue is extremely delicate and “emotive,” especially for the people of Lesotho, and South Africa “will do everything we can to make sure this whole challenge… is properly handled.” According to Ramaphosa, both presidents are conscious of the “sensitivity and complexity” of the situation.

At the binational commission’s initial meeting in Pretoria on Thursday, he and Prime Minister Samuel Matekane of Lesotho both spoke. The president praised Matekane’s pledge to give the comprehensive national reform process top priority for implementation and conclusion.

It is evidence of the steadfast resolve to strengthen relations that the bilateral commission of cooperation between the two nations has been upgraded to a binational commission, he claimed.

“South Africa attaches great importance to its bilateral relations and cooperation with Lesotho. Our relationship is anchored in historic bonds of language‚ culture, and heritage. Economic relations between our two countries have grown over the years and continue to mutually benefit our respective peoples‚” said Ramaphosa.

While Lesotho’s water resources continue to serve this nation, South African firms there help to create jobs, he said. People from Lesotho have labored in South African mines and farms for many years. He added “It is important for the governments of both countries to work together to resolve challenges faced by businesses and put in place mechanisms to ensure investments are protected.

“South Africa highly appreciates the cooperation on water resources between the two countries. In particular‚ we welcome Phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project as a vital development to enhance water security in Gauteng province and other parts of South Africa.

“The Lesotho Highlands Water Project also contributes to job creation in Lesotho and the construction of new roads‚ bringing access to previously inaccessible areas of Lesotho. South Africa is ready to cooperate with Lesotho to resolve any challenges that may arise in the implementation of the project.”

South Africa was also keen to work with its neighbor on four proposed renewable energy projects, he said.

Ramaphosa reaffirmed that South Africa will continue to support the idea of the mediation reference group and the panel of elders from the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to help the Basotho complete the national reform process.

Matekane claimed that the purpose of his travel to South Africa was to celebrate the beginning of the binational commission agreement as well as to deepen relations between the two nations.

“The official launch of the binational commission ushers in a new beginning in the relationship between South Africa and Lesotho,” he said. “For centuries our forebears freely interacted and enjoyed people-to-people relations that continue to underpin our relations even today.” 

Matekane noted that the economies of both countries are not only intertwined but interdependent. “As we hold this historic first session of the BNC‚ our duty is to build on the rich history between the countries and the cooperation that is strong in many fields.

“The BNC will serve as a platform for dialogue when we discuss issues of mutual concern‚ explore new opportunities in areas of cooperation and develop innovative solutions to our common challenges that will foster a deeper cooperation and understanding between our two nations.”

The commission will accelerate stronger cooperation in critical areas such as migration‚ trade‚ green energy‚ water resources‚ infrastructure development‚ transport‚ agriculture‚ mining‚ digital technologies‚ defense and security.

The two countries will continue to hold diplomatic consultations to harmonize positions on regional‚ continental and international issues of concern and interest‚ said Matekane.

Zambian Government Set to Introduce Incentives in 2024 National Budget.

Finance and National Planning Minister, Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane recently revealed that the Zambian government is set to introduce a series of incentives in the 2024 national budget aimed at stimulating economic growth and increasing revenue generation.

Speaking at the National Symposium on the Proposed 2024 National Budget in Lusaka, Dr. Musokotwane emphasized the importance of these incentives across various sectors, noting that they play a crucial role in bolstering the nation’s economy while contributing to the Treasury’s financial resources.

Furthermore, Dr. Musokotwane highlighted the need for agricultural farm blocks in the country to embrace technology as a means to enhance productivity and promote increased exports of agricultural products. This move is in line with the government’s broader strategy to develop and modernize the agricultural sector.

The Finance Minister also underscored the government’s commitment to budget credibility, emphasizing that they have diligently adhered to spending limits approved by Parliament, ensuring fiscal responsibility and transparency in financial management.

Dr. Musokotwane stressed the importance of focusing on sectors where Zambia has a comparative advantage, such as agriculture and mining, to drive economic growth and sustainable development.

In addition to Dr. Musokotwane’s remarks, Bank of Zambia Deputy Governor Francis Chipimo outlined the central bank’s objectives for the coming year. He expressed the Bank’s commitment to reducing inflation from the current double-digit rate of over 12 percent to a target range of 6-8 percent. The Bank of Zambia will also maintain a flexible exchange rate regime to support the implementation of the 2024 national budget.

Dr. Chipimo further revealed plans to introduce a Credit Guarantee Scheme, designed to facilitate SMEs’ access to finance at affordable rates, a move aimed at promoting economic inclusivity and entrepreneurship.

Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) Commissioner General, Dingani Banda, disclosed the authority’s revenue collection goals. He stated that ZRA expects to collect 125 billion kwacha, a significant increase from the current projection of 103 billion kwacha. Value Added Tax (VAT) is expected to account for a larger portion of this revenue. Banda emphasized that ZRA’s focus has shifted towards collecting more revenue from consumption taxes rather than Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) taxes, as had been the traditional norm.

Secretary to the Treasury, Felix Nkulukusa, highlighted the 2024 national budget’s focus on addressing the rising poverty levels in the country while concurrently promoting increased investment. Mr. Nkulukusa emphasized that the government is committed to pursuing long-term economic growth rather than quick-fix solutions.

At the same event, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Zambia expressed the importance of increased investments in critical sectors such as education and health for Zambia’s sustained growth. Peter Wiebler, the USAID Zambia Head of Mission, reiterated the United States’ commitment to partnering with Zambia in implementing the 2024 budget to advance the nation’s development goals.

Dr. Musokotwane had previously presented the proposed 2024 national budget, which outlines a planned expenditure of 177.9 billion kwacha. The budget reflects the government’s comprehensive strategy to promote economic growth, reduce poverty, and enhance fiscal responsibility.

Kenya to Commence Construction of New JKIA Terminal in January.

The Kenyan government plans to modernize and break ground on the construction of a new terminal at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to begin in January next year, as it seeks to make it competitive regionally. The Chairman of the Kenya Airport Authority (KAA), Caleb Kositany said the government will soon float a tender for the construction of the terminal to increase the capacity of the airport as it will reduce congestion at Kenya’s main port of entry and exit. 


However, Kositany stated that the agency is yet to make projections on the exact cost of the project. “We will be breaking ground on a new terminal in January next year to boost the capacity of JKIA to handle more passengers,” said Mr Kositany when he received the maiden ASKY Airlines flight to Nairobi from Lome in Togo. he also noted that the new facility will reinforce JKIA’s status as Africa’s premier hub and gateway into East and Central Africa.

The airline will be flying four times a week between the two nations and Its expansion to Kenya now provides travelers with connecting flights to Abidjan, Abuja, Accra, Bamako, Bangui, Bissau, and Beirut. Others are Brazzaville, Conakry, Cotonou, Dakar, Douala, Freetown, Kinshasa, Lagos, Libreville, Monrovia, N’Djamena, Niamey, Ouagadougou, Pointe Noire, & Yaounde.


JKIA is the hub of national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ), its subsidiary Jambojet and other airlines. The airport was built in 1978 to serve just over two million passengers annually and has two terminals: Terminal 1 (1A, 1B, 1C, 1D and 1E) and Terminal 2. However, throughout the years, the number of people utilizing the airport has drastically increased, necessitating an increase in capacity. There are currently 6.5 million passengers served yearly, and more passengers are anticipated in the upcoming years.


Mr. Kositany said, “We will be issuing an open tender soon to build the terminal. It will be most likely a PPP (public-private partnership) project or whatever proposal we get that will be friendly and help us deliver the project as soon as we can. As a board we want to do it as quickly as we possibly can and within the law.” 

He noted that the airport is heavily congested especially during peak hours, adding that the construction of the new terminal will also include more parking space for customers.


Uhuru Kenyatta, the former president, had started work on the $650 million greenfield terminal at JKIA in December 2013. Following estimates that the project would cost more than $1 billion, it was later discontinued. Its significance was also diminished as a result of Terminal 1A’s capacity being enhanced after reconstruction.


In an effort to improve airport security screening, KAA recently performed upgrades to terminals 1B and C at a cost of Sh936 million. 

WeMed Award Sets Date for 2023 Edition in Tunisia.

The WeMed Mediterranean Sustainability Award is one of the first awards that aims to recognize an inclusive transition to sustainability in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean faces a wide batch of environmental and social challenges; Climate change, biodiversity loss, rapid urbanization, and increased resource consumption and waste are just a few of these challenges that require radical measures to confront.


The WeMed Mediterranean Sustainability Award stands as a groundbreaking initiative, acknowledging the inclusive journey toward sustainability. A flagship of the UNEP/MAP Mediterranean strategy, this award is not just a ceremony; it is a call for radical change. Climate change, biodiversity loss, urbanization, and resource consumption demand innovative approaches, and the WeMed Awards aim to spotlight those at the forefront.


The third edition of the WeMed Mediterranean Sustainability Award will be giving out six prices in a total of €9,000 each, given in the form of consulting services and technical assistance. 


This edition is targeting Business Support Organizations and Entrepreneurs/ start-ups that are or have been direct beneficiaries of at least one of the 19 EU-Projects analyzed under RESET in the field of Green Business Creation and Circular Economy. Applicants should have benefited from one of the Outputs (Best Practices, Knowledge, Tool) in one of the Mediterranean-eligible regions within the ENI CBC MED Program and have women (no age limit) and/or youth (up to 35 years old) in their team. 


This award ceremony is on the horizon, ready to recognize and celebrate pioneers in sustainable development. The 2023 edition is a crucial part of the RESET project. This project, focused on sustainable, green, and circular business support achievements, serves as a bridge to replication and policy-making, emphasizing the importance of EU projects in the region.


The Grand Celebration will be held in Tunisia on the 23rd of October. The event promises a deep dive into the best practices in green entrepreneurship and circular economy, followed by the awarding ceremony and networking opportunities. 


The WeMed Award has been created by MedWaves as part of the Switchers Support Programme. The WeMed Award is a flagship initiative of the UNEP/MAP Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development.  This edition of 2023 is funded by the ENI CBC Med Programme.

Katanga Alumni Holds Annual Psychiatric Donation.

Katanga Alumni is made up of students who were residents of the University Hall known as Katanga during their tertiary education at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. 

The members of this association recently donated to the Accra Psychiatric Hospital. They presented food items which included four sacks of rice, a sack of maize, bags of water, 10 crates of eggs, 100 tubers of yam, and two gallons each of palm oil and vegetable oil. They also presented a box of tomatoes, a sack each of ginger, soya beans, and beans, four American tins of agushie, two mini sacks of onions, a sack of maize, a bucket of margarine, and a sack each of salt and pepper.

While making this presentation, the President of the Global Katanga Alumni Association, Nana Otu Turkson noted that the donation was their way of supporting those considered vulnerable in society. He explained that this gesture was also in line with the association’s tradition of assisting the psychiatric hospital on an annual basis. He also acknowledged the effort of all the members of the group who assisted in their ways to make the donation possible. 

He said, “This engagement started around 2007 by those before us and we have at least been consistent and made sure that every year, we come to support. Mental illness is actually a matter of a sliding scale. We all experience it at some point or the other and therefore we take this as a very serious social responsibility to give back to our brothers and sisters who find themselves in such unfortunate situations because we never know when we might need the services.”

A Nurse and Public Relations officer of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, Francisca Ntow, received the items on behalf of the hospital and expressed her gratitude for their gesture. In the same breath, she advised men to seek mental health assistance when faced with an emotional problem. She explained that most men often struggle to open up about their emotions because of societal expectations of them, and this can subsequently lead to depression. 

She said, “Men would actually shield everything to get to the point where they can’t take it anymore and then they are admitted. So currently, we see a lot of men on admission than we see women at the hospital,” she said.

Consequently, she urged the public to pay attention to their health, saying, “Include mental health checks in your regular general medical check-ups so issues are picked up early. Walk to any facility or psychiatric hospital to see and tell the doctor or the nurses that you think you need to be assessed mentally. It’s not wrong.” 

After presenting their donation, the management of the hospital led the members who were present on a tour of the wards. 


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.

Zimbabwe: Media Stakeholders Hold Workshop, Validate Sexual Harassment Policies.

Stakeholders in the media industry in Zimbabwe consulted and came up with a common and enforceable plan to end sexual harassment across the industry. Most media industries already have policies that curtail sexual harassment but their enforcement levels vary.

The stakeholders met at a workshop in Harare to validate the draft policy. The minister of Information, publicity, and broadcasting services was in attendance and validated the sexual harassment draft policy at the workshop which was co-hosted by the Zimbabwe Media Commission Women in News. The minister was of the opinion that it would help rid the industry of sex perverts in the media sector. 

The function was also attended by media executives, civil society, and media stakeholders. The document is expected to provide safety for media practitioners notwithstanding gender.

While launching the workshop, Muswere hammered on how necessary the policy is to society as the sexual harassment issues inhibited media industry growth. He said, “As a government, we believe that we do not have a monopoly of knowledge and this is precisely why we are participating in this sexual harassment validation workshop. Of importance, as we develop the Sexual Harassment Policy that will take care of all the shortcomings that we have in terms of the gender policies in all newsrooms in the country, it is very important that we redefine what sexual harassment is. What is the scope? How do we triangulate that we have connected?” he added.

The data that would be collected would provide an opportunity to end the challenges associated with sexual harassment. He mentioned that the vice needed to be redefined by getting perspectives from males who were also victims of the vice. He also said the draft should be aligned with the existing laws that regulate the labor processes. 

The deputy executive of WAN-IFRA, Jane Godia while complaining of the rise in sexual harassment of female journalists said “We have been training women to gain skills in leadership and newsroom management. We realized that there are barriers to women progressing in the newsroom. When we asked around one of the issues that came up was sexual harassment was rife in the media and we decided to conduct research in 2017.” The research revealed that 48% of women who are working in the media have experienced either physical or verbal sexual harassment.”

Lesotho Defense Force Participate in Military Training Program in South Africa.

Members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) are in South Africa under a cooperation agreement that is aimed at furthering air arm training.

Ad Astra intern Nondumiso Ndhlela reported that the LDF delegation arrived at South African Air Force Headquarters on 28 August, and will be in South Africa until 1 September.

“The purpose of the visit from the Lesotho Defence Force was to follow up on a cooperation agreement which was signed by the SA National Defence Force, authorizing the Kingdom of Lesotho Defence Force Air Wing to take part in the military training programs,” Ndhlela explained.

SAAF and LDF officials were scheduled to discuss the hosting of LDF Air Wing members in South Africa for courses, and the introduction of joint exercises between the two organizations.

Some members of the Lesotho delegation previously underwent an Officer Forming Course in South Africa and said they were proud products of the SA Air Force.

LDF Colonel Tsukudu said, “We are gladly looking forward to exchanging knowledge on how we are going to maintain and improve our cooperation as well as solutions on the development of aviation. It has been a while since we had our intakes with the SA Air Force, which was in 2009. We are delighted to be here to kickstart our cooperation.”

The LDF Air Wing relies on outside sources for pilot training as it has no capacity of its own. The SAAF has trained numerous pilots from its landlocked neighbor, while others have received training at commercial flying schools.

The LDF has a small Air Wing, whose most modern aircraft are three Airbus Helicopters H125s. Several C212s and a single GA-8 Airvan fixed-wing aircraft are also believed to be in service, along with several Bell 412s, and a couple of BO 105s.

The LDF is mainly tasked with border control and managing internal security issues, such as cattle rustling, as well as search and rescue. It is contributing a company-sized infantry force to the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), with the Air Wing providing a C212 for light transport duties.


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.

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.


Tanzania: Mara Records 1,000 Children with Malnutrition Receives Treatment.

Mara Regional Medical Officer (RMO), Dr. Zabrone Masatu announced that at least 1,090 children under the age of five with malnutrition have been treated in the past year, out of whom 608 had their health completely improved. Some parents believed that the minors were bewitched and 20 out of 1,090 children were taken from the hospital to traditional healers. 

However, Dr. Masatu affirmed that Community Health Workers (CHWs) were looking out for children to bring them back to hospitals while also identifying more malnutrition cases in society. He noted that “Wrong beliefs are somehow hindering the efforts. We keep on educating traditional healers not to handle such minors.”

He appreciated the ‘USAID Afya Yangu-RMNCAH project, which is implemented by the Tanzanian government to provide technical support in the aspect of capacity building to staff, on how best to solve nutrition complications. The initiative is in collaboration with various stakeholders in Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar, and malnutrition is one of the many diseases it treats.

The ‘Afya Yangu-RMNCAH’ project is being funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) which costs 66.8 million USD. The RMO informed the community that ongoing efforts will be made to combat malnutrition, given that the area has a range of nutritional meals.

Also, service providers and CHWs are required to encourage expecting mothers to attend clinic sessions and give birth in hospitals in order to ensure close supervision of both mothers and newborns. They also do regular meet-ups with the healers for public education, on especially malnutrition symptoms and the negatives.

Ms. Lucy Mwalwayo, Bunda Town Council Nutrition Officer also reiterated that the search is in progress to bring the children back to hospitals from traditional healers. She revealed, “Traditional healers are now on our side as they immediately communicate use after receiving children with such symptoms, adding that some children do come back to hospitals in severe condition, of which the recovery is not guaranteed.”

Mr. Malegesi Masije, a traditional healer in Bunda’s Manyamanyama neighborhood, acknowledged that he was unintentionally killing the youngsters with the incorrect dosages he administers.

“We give only traditional medicines for oral and bathing uses. However, the children whose parents violate our traditions, such as killing a python do experience the same malnutrition symptoms, a reason why we accommodate the victims,” he said. Additionally, in maternity wards and clinic visits, mothers receive training on how to make nourishing meals for the kids at home.


President of Botswana to Visit Bahamas on Terms of Collaboration.

Botswana President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi, as well as senior members of his Cabinet, will visit The Bahamas this week, the Office of the Prime Minister said yesterday.

“The visit, scheduled from the 12th to the 15th of September 2023, underlines the expanding diplomatic ties between The Bahamas and African nations as our country repositions itself on the global stage,” OPM said.

OPM reported that the Bahamas and Botswana are looking toward possible collaboration in the fields of financial services, education, agriculture, tourism, and the environment.

“As we strive to solidify The Bahamas’ presence on the global stage, fostering strong ties with African countries like Botswana is essential,” Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis said. “This visit provides an unparalleled opportunity to deepen our relationship and explore areas for mutual benefit and growth.”

Masisi will visit Davis on Wednesday, “laying the foundation for prospective collaborations that stand to benefit both nations,” OPM said.

“Meetings with counterpart ministers will be held with a view to signing a memorandum on political and technical cooperation that will ensure that institutional relationships are forged now and in the future,” the statement said.

“As is customary during a state visit, a state reception will be held in honor of His Excellency Dr. Mokgweetsi E.K Masisi.

“This visit signifies the Davis administration’s commitment to strengthening its diplomatic and economic relationships with African countries to diversify the Bahamian local economy and forge closer political and cultural ties between peoples.

“On Friday, 15th September, both leaders will depart for the Group of 77 States Summit on Science, Technology and Innovation.”

In 2000, Botswana’s then-president, Festus Mogae, visited The Bahamas.

Liberia to Launch Rehab Centers in Four Counties.

The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. D. Zeogar Wilson has announced the launch of rehabilitation centers for at-risk youth across four counties in Liberia. The project targets Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Bomi, and Margibi Counties, respectively.

Scheduled to commence on 21 August 2023, the program’s initial phase aims to relocate more than 1,000 at-risk youth to rehabilitation centers across the four counties.

They will be taken to those centers for screening and comprehensive support, effectively addressing the diverse challenges they encounter.

Minister Wilson disclosed that there are plans for an additional six detoxification centers and thirteen rehabilitation centers to be distributed across the four respective counties.

“For the detoxification centers, Montserrado and Margibi are each set to have two centers, while Bomi and Bassa will each host one center.”

He further expressed hope that the at-risk youth will embrace the program and actively participate in its recruitment process.

During the early 2023 fundraising campaign for at-risk youth, President George Manneh Weah pledged $1 million. Meanwhile, Minister Wilson has highlighted the government’s achievement in raising $556,000 to fund the project.”

He said the recruitment process for the at-risk youth is expected to take place across several locations, including Montserrado County at the Pennoh Building on Center Street, and the Invincible Sports Park in Sinkor. Bomi and Brand Bassa counties will have two recruitment sites each.

According to Mr. Wilson, the process has been underway in collaboration with multiple partners for several years. He indicated that President Weah’s stance is to maintain a non-political approach that clearly focuses on addressing the prevailing issue.

Wilson revealed that while the program is administered by the government, its progress was impeded by the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges, he said the previous year still saw significant advancements.

For her part, the United Nations Liberia Resident Coordinator Christian N. Umutoni has appreciated the government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports and other line ministries for their collaboration on the at-risk youth program.

She noted that the collaborative effort between the Government of Liberia, the United Nations, and its partners reflects the commitment to securing a brighter future for Liberian youth and contributing to lasting peace and stability.

She noted that by harnessing the collective effort of the United Nations and the Government of Liberia, they seek to provide comprehensive support of $3 Million that will empower at-risk youth, nurture their potential, and guide them toward positive contributions to society.

“However, this is just the beginning, the emergency plans will pave the way for a wilder and more sustained program that will address the multifaceted challenges faced by at-risk youth in Liberia over the coming years,” she said.

Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, the Minister of Health, said the government’s technical team had been diligently working behind the scenes to create a viable evidence-based model for treating individuals with drug addiction.

She advised people with medical or addiction problems to seek help through the various facilities that were listed.

Dr Asamoa-Baah Public Health Champion

The World Health Organisation Regional Office for Africa (WHO AFRO), recently named Dr Anarfi Asamoa-Baah  Public Health Champion. This is in recognition of his outstanding contribution to global public health.

Dr. Asamoa-Baah received the award alongside a former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, and former Regional Directors of WHO in the Africa Region.

“This award is in recognition of your outstanding service to public health and promotion of the wellbeing of the people of Africa,” the citation presented to Dr. Asamoa-Baah by the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, at the organization’s 75th-anniversary awards in Gaborone, Botswana, read.

The event was part of activities at the 73rd WHO Regional Committee for Africa Meeting held in that country.

In response, Dr. Asamoa-Baah described WHO as a force for good and expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to serve the organization for many years.

“I am grateful to the WHO Regional Office for Africa for this recognition and appreciation. I am happy that WHO is recognizing the role of member states and staff as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the organization,” he said.

Dr. Asamoa-Baah, a Ghanaian public health professional, joined WHO in 1998, serving the global public health for 19 years and rising to become the Deputy Director-General of WHO in 2007, until his retirement in 2017.

Dr Asamoa-Baah was instrumental in the establishment of the 2005 International Health Regulations and the raising of Global Visibility for Neglected Tropical Diseases.

His other notable achievements included the revitalization of primary health care; the establishment of a pre-qualification program as part of the WHO essential medicines program, and the development of the first global strategy for traditional medicine.  

“Dr. Asamoa-Baah is a distinguished global public health expert who deserves this recognition.

“Even in retirement, he continues to offer valuable service and contribution to both national and international efforts to promote the health and wellbeing of people,” the WHO Representative to Ghana, Prof. Francis Kasolo, said.

In 2020, President Akufo-Addo appointed Dr. Asamoa-Baah-Baah as Presidential Coordinator for the government’s COVID-19 Response Programme, where he coordinated the country’s response programs.  

Dr Asamoa-Baah was also recently appointed Chair of the National Vaccine Institute and interim Head of the Ghana Health Security Centre.

Rwanda to Offer Clean Cooking Technologies on Carbon Market.

According to Juliet Kabera, the Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), the carbon market framework designed by Rwanda will “unlock financial incentives for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions associated with traditional cooking methods”.

The country’s carbon emission trading structure, which complies with Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, was explained to the cabinet on September 11th.

Through the carbon market, countries that contribute to global warming can fund initiatives to cut their emissions. They can continue to emit greenhouse emissions while incorporating these reductions into their own climate goals.

“Bioethanol cooking fuel” is one of the clean cooking technologies that Rwandan carbon market participants expect to replace traditional cooking techniques. This fuel is made from agricultural waste, like the leftovers from the manufacturing of sugar.

Given that charcoal and wood are the most common cooking fuels in Rwanda and are directly to blame for the indoor air pollution that claims thousands of lives every year, according to Kabera, the development of clean cooking technology is opportune.

According to statistics, household air pollution from unclean cooking fuel causes over 7,000 fatalities annually. Children under the age of five account for more than half of all fatalities. The primary cause of deforestation in Rwanda is the charcoal industry. In addition, every week, mothers and kids spend seven hours collecting wood.

Studies revealed that we must make greater investments to cut down on air pollution from cooking and transportation. The air is contaminated by firewood and charcoal, according to Kabera. By 2030, Rwanda wants all people to have access to clean cooking.

During an exhibition last week on Clean Air Day, the Ministry of Environment showcased KOKO Company’s plan to launch a nationwide “clean fuel utility” as part of Rwanda’s efforts to achieve its target of universal access to clean cooking.

Rwanda signed an agreement with the firm to establish a $25 million (Rwf30 billion) bioethanol cooking fuel utility.

Cameroon Opens Door to Training in Renewable Energy.

In an effort to generate employment and advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the battle against climate change, Cameroon has opened its doors for higher education training in renewable energy with the establishment of departments in that sector at all 11 state universities.

The action was confirmed by a press release issued on August 14, 2023, and signed by Higher Education Minister, Jacques Fame Ndongo. According to the statement, studies in renewable energy will start in the academic year 2023–24, which begins in October.

Ndongo claims that the action is in keeping with a choice made by higher education officials in the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) zone to guarantee that the area has the necessary workforce to handle anticipated investments to accelerate growth and speed up integration. He pointed out that renewable energy is one of these focused investment areas.

Cameroon, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic make up CEMAC, and to foster regional integration, Cameroon long ago opened its doors to all CEMAC countries for higher education training in different professional fields. 

“We are glad to offer this opportunity in renewable energy training and hope this will help accelerate investments and economic growth in the region,” Ndongo said in a briefing on state radio shortly after the news statement was released.

At the 15th ordinary session of the Conference of Heads of State in Yaounde, Cameroon, on 17 March 2023 presided over by Cameroonian President Paul Biya, the leaders renewed their commitment to accelerate sub-regional integration and fostering growth in investments in different sectors, including energy.

Cameroon, like other countries in the region, faces urgent problems of energy shortages, rural poverty, and climate change, which require investment in people and infrastructure development, Ndongo said. As climate change challenges such as drought and floods worsen entrenched poverty, countries in Africa are multiplying efforts to meet the SDGs.

According to a 2021 World Health Organization report, sustainable solutions to SDGs must target African countries left behind in the quest for global energy access.

“Unless efforts are scaled up significantly in countries with the largest deficits, the world will still fall short of ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy by 2030,” according to the report.

Energy experts say the growing demand for off-grid, decentralized renewable energy solutions in the CEMAC zone is challenged by a shortage of skilled professionals to design, finance, sell, install, operate, and maintain systems, thus the need for training.

“We need advanced training to tackle renewable energy solutions in Africa. We can no longer rely on imported labor when our youths are in dire need of employment,” Dr Augustine Njamnshi, executive director of the African Coalition for Sustainable Energy and Access and chair of political and technical affairs with the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance told University World News.

Higher education officials in Cameroon say such training will not only encourage self-employment with skills in the entire renewable ecosystem but also lead to reduced cost and greater access to energy by the local population.

“The problem of persistent blackouts and rise in hydro-energy costs is making access difficult and stalling business in our communities. The training in alternative energy will encourage local investments and improve affordability,” Professor Maurice Aurelien Sosso, rector of the University of Yaounde I, told University World News.

“The need to embrace renewable energy as an enabler to a sustainable energy future in Africa in general, and CEMAC in particular, is progressing and this is imperative. To achieve this, the different countries need to have the right manpower and the enabling environment to attract investors in the sector,” Njamnshi said.

Much of the rural population across Sub-Saharan Africa where local clinics are frequently unable to provide adequate diagnostic and treatment services due to unreliable power supply, face this climate change-induced predicament, he said.

Environmental experts, however, caution the population and other stakeholders to not relent in their drive to protect the environment and achieve sustainable energy production.

“The energy crisis is linked partly to the depletion of our natural resources, especially trees. When persistently felling our trees, we encourage drought and, without water, the energy supply is at risk,” said Martin Etone, a coordinator at the Cameroon-based environment protection NGO Community Action for Development.

Linus Mofor, a senior environmental affairs officer at the African Climate Policy Centre in the Technology, Climate Change & Natural Resource Management Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, applauded the training initiative at the university level. He, however, said the training in renewable energy may not be as impactful as integrating sustainable development in all university courses.

GWR: Nigerian Holds New Record for Ladder-Climbing with Ball on atop Head.

On Wednesday, the Guinness World Record (GWR) announced Nigerian man, Tonye Solomon as the new record holder for the most steps climbed on a ladder while balancing a football on his head. The announcement was made on the GWR website after Solomon set the record in August in Bayelsa State, Nigeria. 

According to the GWR’s statement on its website, Solomon achieved the feat by climbing 150 steps to the top of a 250-foot – 76-meter-tall radio mast while excellently having control of the football on his head.

GWR said that Solomon had earlier walked 60km (37 miles) with a football on his head from Amassoma to Yenagoa in Bayelsa State amid doubts from his compatriots. It explained further that his latest record was achieved to prove the critics wrong which he demonstrated with his skills.

“After Tonye Solomon walked 60 km (37 miles) with a football on his head from Amassoma to Yenagoa in Bayelsa State, Nigeria, many of his compatriots doubted the authenticity of his story,” GWR said.

“So, to prove them wrong, Tonye decided to demonstrate his skills by setting a Guinness World Record title for the most steps climbed on a ladder while balancing a football on the head.

“He successfully achieved the dizzying feat last month by climbing 150 steps to the top of a 250-foot (76-meter) tall radio mast while expertly keeping control of the ball atop his head,” the Records stated.

Solomon reportedly stated that he intended to establish this record in order to push himself and “inspire others to do great things.”

He was claimed to have trained for it for two months, using all of his free time to practice until he was sure he would succeed. During the record attempt, he was said to have appeared unaffected by the steep incline, finishing the climb in just 12 and a half minutes.

Solomon climbed all 150 steps, flung the ball down, and raised his fist in triumph. “It wasn’t easy,” he said. “I thank the Nigerian Civil Defense Bayelsa State Command for allowing me to use their facility for this.”

Tunisia’s Bardo Set to Resume After Two Years of Closure.

The Bardo National Museum in Tunisia will soon reopen, the Ministry of Culture announced on Tuesday, two years after it was shut down when President Kais Saied shuttered the parliament, which is housed in the same building.

The Bardo, which is housed in a historic palace and has one of the most outstanding collections of ancient Roman mosaics in the world, has undergone some restoration work, but the ministry did not provide a timetable for its reopening.

On July 25, 2021, Saied took the majority of the authority in what his detractors referred to as a coup, sealing both buildings while he rewrote the constitution and organized elections for a new, much less powerful legislature. Saied then dispatched tanks to surround the parliament.

The national museum, one of the primary attractions in the capital of a nation whose economy is dependent on tourism, has remained closed since the new parliament began its job this year.

After the revolution in Tunisia in 2011, the parliament became the most powerful elected body under the new democratic system, and its arcade-ringed chamber served as the setting for some of the most transparent political debates in any Arab nation.

However, when a series of coalition governments failed to produce prosperity, many Tunisians began to blame the parliament and the major political parties for years of economic stagnation and political inaction.

More than 20 people were killed in the Bardo and its surroundings in a terrorist attack in 2015 that was directed against visitors. This was just after the building underwent a significant repair.

Throughout the museum are enormous mosaics with intricate detailing and vibrant colors, including those depicting the Roman sea god Neptune, hunting scenes, and amazing arrays of marine life.

Tunisia is swamped in ancient-era sites and archaeological relics since it was once the home of ancient Carthage and its Punic culture, as well as a significant Roman colony that helped feed the empire.

The Bardo mosaics were taken from the opulent villas constructed during the Roman era and throughout late antiquity, along with others found in the museums at Sousse and by the amphitheater at El-Djem.


Rwanda Signs Nuclear Energy Generation Deal.

The government of Rwanda has signed a nuclear energy generation deal with Canadian-German nuclear company, Dual Fluid, as the country takes a big step in exploring nuclear in expanding its energy sources needed to power its development.

The first outcome of the deal signed this week by the Rwanda Atomic Energy Board (Raeb), will be the construction of a demonstration Dual Fluid nuclear reactor in the country, to be operational by 2026, followed by testing of the Dual Fluid technology expected to be completed by 2028.

According to Raeb CEO Ndahayo Fidele, the nuclear energy project is expected to contribute up to 300 MW to the grid. “This deal is intended to expand Rwanda’s energy generation mix, Dual Fluid has patents to this technology, it will provide laboratory equipment and set it up, train our people in this technology, and conduct tests.”

“Next will be the construction of a plant to generate nuclear energy to be added to the grid,” said Ndahayo.

In the deal, the government of Rwanda agreed to provide the site and infrastructure for the project, while Dual Fluid is responsible for the technical implementation of the partnership.

Dual Fluid aims to realize an entirely new type of nuclear fission, based on liquid fuel and lead coolant, that could exponentially increase the performance of current nuclear power.

The new reactors will be used to produce electricity, hydrogen, and synthetic fuels at costs below those of fossil fuels.

Ndahayo said this project will help Rwanda meet its growing energy demand to boost the development of its industrial sector and build an economy that is resilient to climate change.

Rwanda is increasingly establishing strategic cooperation partnerships with start-up companies involved in the design and development of small modular nuclear reactor technologies.

“Rwanda is actively involved in efforts geared towards utilizing nuclear to generate energy, this comes in addition to the existing small modular reactor technology,” said Infrastructure Minister Ernest Nsabimana.

It is indicated that the dual fluid technology has in-built nuclear safety design features that make it accident-free.

The technology will produce relatively low amounts of radioactive waste that will be safely managed, in line with existing international radioactive waste management safety standards.

“Our demonstration reactor will show that a better, far more efficient way of generating nuclear energy is possible and within reach in the near future,” said the Dual Fluid CEO Götz Ruprecht.

The country faces an uphill task of closing a 30 percent electricity access gap, from its current 70 percent rate, if it is to achieve its universal access (52 percent on-grid, 48 percent off-grid) targets by the end of 2024.

Estimates show that about 44 percent of Rwanda’s energy sources are renewable.

Currently, the country’s total installed capacity stands at 332.6 MW from different power plants. 51 percent is from thermal sources, followed by hydro sources (43.9 percent) and solar sources with 4.2 percent.

inDrive Expands its Ride-Hailing Service to Lesotho.

InDrive, an e-hailing ride service announced the expansion of its services to Lesotho, in line with the company’s ongoing expansion in Southern Africa. The e-taxi app is quite different from conventional ride-hailing apps as it permits drivers and passengers to determine their own fares rather than complying with prices set by algorithms.

With inDrive, passengers can describe their trip and suggest a fare while drivers may accept, decline, or make a counteroffer without any penalties. The decision can be made by considering factors like the fare amount, car type, estimated arrival time, and driver ratings, Also the drivers are able to select profitable and convenient requests.

According to the Business Development Representative for Southern Africa, Vincent Lilane, “There is a clear need for a new approach to ride-hailing. inDrive’s unique fare negotiation model empowers drivers and passengers to agree on a price without algorithmic restrictions”.

He said, “We believe that this method offers a sound solution to many current challenges in the Southern Africa ride-hailing market”.

inDrive’s expansion into southern Africa is well-timed as the platform positions itself to be a viable alternative to Uber and Bolt in the region. In Lesotho and Botswana, Uber and Bolt are unavailable, and inDrive has become the defacto ride-hailing service.

Additionally, in South Africa, inDrive is capitalizing on the endless struggles of Uber and Bolt. driver strikes over commission fees, concerns over customer safety, and fights with minibus taxi drivers are issues Bolt and Uber have had to deal with this year.

InDrive stands out since its service charge is far less than those of competing platforms. This fee has been completely eliminated in Lesotho, allowing drivers to keep all of their earnings. Before going back to the regular price, this no-commission deal is valid for six months.

Also, safety is a top priority for InDrive. Rigorous background checks are conducted on drivers, including verification of necessary documents and licenses. Passengers are encouraged to rate their rides, thereby offering insights into driver behavior and service quality.

Incorporated safety features in the app include real-time GPS tracking during trips, allowing passengers to share travel information with family or friends. An emergency button within the app enables immediate contact with authorities, backed by 24/7 dedicated support.


Gambia: 1,100 Solar Systems Deployed on Public Buildings.

By announcing a tender for the installation of solar systems in public buildings, the government of the Gambia, through its Ministries of Finance and Economic Affairs (MoFEA) and of Petroleum and Energy (MoPE), has made a brave step toward sustainable energy. The Sustainable Energy Services Company (SESCO), which is overseeing the project, wants to put more than 1,100 solar systems in hospitals and educational facilities around the nation.


Rooftop solar systems ranging in size from 2 kW to 240 kW are being supplied and installed, and SESCO has issued an invitation for bids. The submission of proposals and participation in the tendering process must be done by October 31, 2023. On the roofs of 99 hospitals and 1,000 schools across the nation, solar systems will be installed.


The project is an important step in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, especially SDG 7, which aims to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, dependable, sustainable, and contemporary energy. The Gambian government intends this project to lessen the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels, increase access to energy, and lower carbon emissions.


 The installation of solar power systems in public buildings will help the Gambian people in a variety of ways. First off, the solar power systems will offer a trustworthy and reasonably priced supply of electricity. As a result, less reliance will be placed on the pricey, unreliable diesel generators that are frequently employed in these public buildings. 


Second, the initiative will improve rural communities’ access to energy, which is now limited in many schools and medical facilities. The initiative will promote economic growth in these communities by supplying renewable energy, thereby raising living conditions and creating jobs.


Additionally, installing solar energy systems in public buildings will have a positive environmental impact. Utilizing renewable energy will lower carbon emissions and lessen the effects of climate change. The initiative will open doors for additional renewable energy investment in Gambia, promoting the growth of a sustainable energy industry.


 In conclusion, the government of the Gambia has taken a huge step towards sustainable development by deciding to install solar power systems in public buildings. Numerous advantages will result from the project, including improved access to electricity, economic growth, and environmental sustainability. It is believed that by leading by example, other African nations can speed up the shift to renewable energy and a cleaner, more sustainable future.


AFTSLusaka2023 to Expect Over 200 Organizations in Zambia.

As the Africa Fintech Summit gears up for its tenth anniversary, the scene is set for the largest confluence of fintech stakeholders from across Africa and the world. The summit, known for encouraging deep dialogue, alliances, and other ecosystem-enabling interactions, is slated to occur from November 2 to 3, 2023, at the Ciela Resort and Spa in Lusaka, Zambia.


The Africa Fintech Summit has developed into a venue where pioneers, businesspeople, policymakers, financiers, and other significant figures come together to set the direction of the continent’s fintech industry. The fintech business on the continent is experiencing exponential growth and change, therefore this year’s summit intends to quicken the pace of innovation, establish partnerships, and address the industry’s most pressing problems.


The public and commercial sectors’ most prestigious organizations will be represented at AFTSLusaka2023. The list of attendees for this year’s event is as vast and diversified as ever, including traditional financial institutions, regulatory authorities, and investment businesses in addition to cutting-edge fintech startups and disruptive digital enterprises. The following businesses and organizations have signed up for AFTSLusaka2023, speaking slots, or both.


Regulators, government, and NGOs that will present at the summit include; the office of the President of the Republic of Zambia, the Minister of Technology and Science (Zambia), Capital Markets Authority (Kenya), Prosper Africa, Africa Trade Initiative, U.S. Department of State, USAID, World Bank, UNCDF, Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Africa, Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank, Norfund, and others.


Fintech companies like; Mastercard, Flutterwave, Pan-African Payments Settlement System (PAPSS), JUMO, Paystack, Yellow Card, Turaco, Multigate, PremierCredit, IDT Corporation/Boss Money, Fonbnk, Pastel, Power Financial, PrimeNet, OurPass, Minka, Chipper Cash, Tilt, PayGo Zambia, Klasha, ZeePay, dLocal, EBANX, Peach Payments, and others will be attending the summit.


Also, other companies from the banking and telecommunications sector (Ecobank, First City Monument Bank, MTN, and others), non-fintech (Amazon Web Services, Thales Group), ecosystem associations and players (Payments Association of Zambia, Bankers Association of Zambia, Kenya Bankers Association, and others), and industry research and consultants will be gathered. 


FAO Launches Emergency Livelihood Response Plan in Sudan.

In order to combat the growing food insecurity in Sudan, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has developed an Emergency Livelihood Response Plan, which will supply local populations with emergency seeds, animal treatment kits, veterinary assistance, and equipment for fisheries and fishing.

The Plan expands on the work done by FAO to address the severe vulnerabilities brought on by the ongoing violence in communities of small-scale farmers, herders, and fishermen. It complements the recent FAO operation to provide emergency seeds. This program assisted farmers in increasing cereal production, preventing asset depletion, and fostering seed diversity. For the approaching 2023 harvest, the anticipated production will help to cover the grain demands of at least 13 million and maybe as many as 19 million people. 

According to FAO Representative in Sudan, Hongjie Yang, “Millions of people across Sudan are facing a battle for survival as the food security crisis worsens. “This emergency response plan aims to provide farming, herding, and fishing families with the basics they need to keep production going and feed themselves and their communities.”

The FAO plan aims to assist 50,000 people (10,000 fishing households) with fishing inputs (such as fishing boats and gear) and related training, to ensure steady access to high-protein, quality foods and maintain functional local economies.

It also plans to support a total of 10.1 million people who would receive certified quality seeds of cowpea, groundnut, millet, okra, and sorghum for the 2024 summer season, and chickpea, cucumber, pigeon pea, tomato, and watermelon for the 2023 winter season. They will also be trained in good agricultural practices, such as better handling of farm commodities after harvest.

FAO will need $123 million to carry out the plan over the following 12 months and reach the targeted farmers, herders, and fishermen in 17 of Sudan’s most food-insecure states.

More than 3.8 million people have been forced to flee the nation due to the ongoing bloodshed, and more than 960,000 people have been compelled to seek safety abroad.


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.