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Africa

AU Vows To Intensify Efforts To Tackle Ebola Crisis As Death Toll Reaches 1,782

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The African Union (AU) on Wednesday urged concerted efforts against the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as the death toll climbed to 1,782.
“The AU Commission, through the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), is reinforcing its support to the Ebola response in the DRC and other parts of Africa, following the declaration of the outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern,” the AU said in its monthly bulletin issued on Wednesday.
According to the 55-member pan African bloc, a total of 1,782 deaths were reported due to the ongoing Ebola outbreak in DRC as of July 27, in which the overall Ebola fatality ratio has reached 67 percent.
Figures from the AU also indicate that a total of 2,659 Ebola cases were reported as of July 27, in which some 2,565 cases were confirmed while the remaining 94 cases are said to be probable Ebola cases.
The AU also said that some 767 people have recovered from the deadly disease as of stated period.
The continental bloc also stressed that its “expanded plan in the fight against Ebola will not be limited to the DRC but also includes countries that share borders with the DRC and other countries within the region.”
The AU also disclosed the deployment of experts to DRC’s neighboring countries that are South Sudan and Uganda “to assess their level of preparedness and identify gaps and areas requiring support.”
“The Africa CDC will also post additional experts to these and other countries in the region to support preparedness and surveillance, and response in case there is an outbreak in those countries,” the statement read.
Noting its plan to deploy more members of the African Voluntary Health Corps to the DRC and neighboring countries, the AU also called on its member countries for an immediate deployment of healthcare experts.
The African Voluntary Health Corps is a team of epidemiologists, anthropologists, and communication, laboratory and logistics experts, from different parts of Africa who are on standby for deployment when there is a disease outbreak or public health emergency.
Africa CDC, which has been supporting response efforts in the DRC since August 2018, presently operates with 41 experts who were deployed in the field.
Last week, the AU had also disclosed its plan to convene a fundraising forum of African private sector and donors to support the ongoing response against the Ebola virus outbreak in the DRC.
The AU, which reiterated its grave concern over the Ebola outbreak in the DRC, said that the high-level continental forum under the theme “Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust Fund” will be held during the first week of September 2019, in a bid to mobilize resources for the continental Ebola response efforts.
The AU had previously convened a continental fundraising forum back in 2014 for a similar cause when the Ebola virus disease outbreak battered West African countries.
The West African Ebola epidemic, which is regarded as the largest in history, started with cases of Ebola virus in the forested rural region of southeastern Guinea, as reported by the WHO in March 2014.
Cases of Ebola were soon after reported in Liberia and Sierra Leone, which border Guinea.
According to the AU, the 2014 resource mobilization forum that brought together African private sector as well as international partners “was instrumental in bringing to an end the Ebola virus disease in West Africa.”
“This showed the importance of strong African solidarity during times of crisis in the continent,” the AU said.

Politics

Shoot Anyone Carrying AK-47 in Bush -President Buhari

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Nigeria’s President Gen. Muhammadu Buhari has directed security agencies to shoot anyone seen with AK-47.

Presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu disclosed this directive during an interview with the BBC, saying the president directed a clampdown on bandits who have refused to surrender.

On the efforts being made to rid Zamfara and other northern states of bandits, Shehu said the government is resorting to lethal force.

“The president has ordered security forces to go into the bushes and shoot whoever they see with sophisticated weapons like AK-47,” he said in the interview monitored by TheCable.

“He ordered that whoever is seen with terrible weapons at all should be shot immediately.” ‘Jets being used to transport arms to Zamfara’ Shehu also said the Federal government declared Zamfara a no-fly zone following intelligence that arms are being transported to the bandits with private jets.

He said the jets are also used to cart away gold from the state to Dubai, which, according to him, prompted the ban on mining activities also announced on Tuesday.

“These jets are being used to pick up gold that is being mined in some parts of Zamfara and exported. This is strong because at the moment,” he said.

“There is a Nigerian gold market in Dubai. The government is losing, the people of this country are losing, that’s why it is said that gold mining is banned for those who are not made by the government.”

The ban on mining activities in Zamfara was first announced in April 2017 amid reports that actors going after the state’s gold reserves are fuelling its security crisis.

Commitment to end insecurity lacking — North-East govs Meanwhile, North East Governors, yesterday, called on Federal Government to be more proactive and committed to the fight against insurgency and terrorism in the country, saying the current situation suggests that the commitment was not there.

The governors’ position came on a day Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, asked the Federal Government to also extend to Benue, Taraba and Borno the ‘’no fly zone’’ order placed on Zamfara State by President Muhammadu Buhari, arguing that choppers also drop arms in these states for bandits and insurgents.

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South-Africa

Eswatini Ranked Lowest In Promoting Businesswomen

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The Kingdom of Eswatini is not convulsive for women that want to take a slot in business as well as in top public positions, according to the recently-published World Bank Women, Business and Law 2021 report.

The UN Development Programme lists 46 of Africa’s 54 countries as sub-Saharan, excluding Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan and Tunisia. 

In sub-Saharan Africa, Eswatini has been placed third from the bottom with 46.3 out of 100 index points. 

According to World Bank, Women, Business and the Law 2021 is one of a series of annual studies measuring the laws and regulations that affect women’s economic opportunity in 190 economies. 

The project presents eight indicators structured around women’s interactions with the law as they move through their lives and careers. 

The indicators include mobility, workplace, pay, marriage, parenthood, entrepreneurship, assets, and pension.

Eswatini has scored a zero in the entrepreneurship indicator capturing differences between men and women in that area. 

This year’s report updates all indicators as of October 1, 2020 and builds evidence of the links between legal gender equality and women’s economic inclusion. 

“By examining the economic decisions women make throughout their working lives, as well as the pace of reform over the past 50 years, Women, Business and the Law 2021 makes an important contribution to research and policy discussions about the state of women’s economic empowerment,” reads the report in part. 

At the top of the rankings are Mauritius, South Africa, and Zimbabwe while Eswatini, Guinea Bissau and Sudan are listed at the bottom. 

Globally, 10 economies—Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Portugal, and Sweden—score 100 on the Women, Business and the Law index. 

The Women, Business and Law 2021 report is a global ranking that assesses laws and reforms in 190 countries, looking at efforts made to eliminate gender-based discrimination and support women.

In the foreword, the report highlighted that the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic exposed and deepened global inequality. 

“For many women around the world, this could mean not only economic insecurity, but also threats to their health and safety. In times like these, a legal environment that encourages women’s economic inclusion can make them less vulnerable in the face of a crisis. 

“Yet in difficult moments many women start at a disadvantage,” shared the report. 

Mari Elka Pangestu Managing Director – Development Policy and Partnerships at The World Bank endorsed the report. 

The report suggested that locally,  both Women and Law in  Southern Africa and (WLSA) and the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs was consulted during the research.

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East-Africa

Uganda Forests Risk Depletion Due To Rapid Population Growth

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Ugandan experts have revealed that the country’s population is expected to rise to 75million in the next decade warning this could directly and negatively impact on forests.

The revelations come at a time the world is celebrating World Wildlife Day observed on 3 March in order to celebrate the flora and fauna of the world and also raise awareness about them.

The theme for World Wildlife Day 2021 is ‘Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet’. The United Nations aims to highlight the significance of how forests give a livelihood to many communities, especially indigenous and local communities.

Robert Bitariho, Director of Uganda’s Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation said on Wednesday that use of forests is by large unsustainable in Uganda because of high population density. If in 2031 the Ugandan population is at 75 million how much forests are we going to lose?

“On average 75% of forest produce is consumed at the household level with only 25% being traded. This indicates how much forests mean to the survival of the local community,” he said.

Tom Obong Okello, Executive Director National Forestry Authority submitted that “whatever effort we are doing to address sustainable forest management we must manage forests outside gazetted forest protection areas.”

According to Obong, Forestry in Uganda is being recognized as a primary growth sector and a contributor to the goal of sustainable industrialization for growth, employment and wealth creation.

Meanwhile, Sam Mwandah, Executive Director of Uganda Wildlife Authority says “Forest loss greatly derails Uganda’s efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change and without forests, our survival is in jeopardy.”

David Duli, Country Director WWF said that the population is overwhelming as we have seen in Bwindi natural forest area. There is the demarcation of boundaries but the gardens are going up to the edge of the forest.

Uganda’s forest cover includes tropical forests, woodlands and plantation forests.

According to Matthias Schauer the EU representative in Uganda,”The damage done to forests and woodlands in Uganda in the past 25 years has been dramatic. We destroy unique biodiversity and intruding natural habitats hence fueling future wildlife conflicts.”

The UN plans to introduce forest wildlife management models and practices on World Wildlife Day 2021. Celebrating the livelihoods that are based in forest, the UN aims to promote practices that can help in sustainable development, including traditional practices and knowledge.

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