Stay Smart About Africa

19 June 2019



How Planting a Tree has Saved these African Communities

TreeSisters’ philosophy is different: local, community-based reforestation with native trees in the tropics. In Madagascar, the charity is helping Eden Reforestation Projects replant lost mangrove and dry deciduous forests on the north-west coast. Mangroves are a wonder-tree for local and global ecosystem services; they protect human communities from coastal floods but also filterriver flows out to sea and prevent soil washing into the ocean and destroying coral reefs. In the project’s first year, eight people planted 100,000 mangroves. Now Eden employs more than 1,000 people to plant trees, with 225m new mangrove trees planted since 2006. A similar emphasis on reforestation for local people is driving the restoration of deforested Mount Kenya. Local charities such as Mount Kenya Environmental Conservation work with local women to establish small nurseries of native trees at the forest fringe. The sales of these tree seedlings provide the groups with an income, which is then distributed as loans to help women’s farms and businesses. Native trees are planted directly into deforested areas, while a new scheme enables local people to temporarily grow potatoes in reforested areas, the cultivation helping native trees grow free of weeds for their first few years.


YouTubers Emerge as Unofficial Spokespeople for Algeria's Youth

A key catalyst of the protests has been the emergence of a new generation: tech-savvy, politically conscious and hungry for change. Growing up in a context of rising inequality and limited opportunities, and faced with a moribund official media ecosystem - long closed to any dissenting voices - millions of young Algerians have had to forge their own alternative spaces, principally on social media platforms. Leading the charge, a wave of YouTube pioneers, operating from their bedrooms and their neighbourhoods, have posted videos chronicling - with wit, irreverence and candour - the daily realities and tribulations of their lives and those of their fellow Algerians. Boasting high production values and delivered in a colloquial idiom, these videos stand in marked contrast to the stuffy, crude offerings of official media. Fittingly enough, and bringing things full circle, the protests have themselves elicited countless responses on YouTube and elsewhere, inspiring a new generation of artists and creators.


And the Best Airline in Africa Is...

Ethiopian Airlines has taken the coveted prize for the third consecutive year at the Skytrax 2019 World Airlines Awards held in Paris on Tuesday. Additionally, Ethiopian has won ‘Best Business Class in Africa’ and ‘Best Economy Class in Africa’ at the award ceremony. "We have grown to more than 120 destinations worldwide with 115 ultra-modern fleet, offering excellent connectivity with one of the best travel experiences that helped us become the best airline in Africa and one of the frontrunners in the world,” said Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines. The airline says it has stood the test of time and achieved most of its overarching goals, going halfway through its projected 15 year plan, Vision 2025. The company is now expanding its footprint to underserved global destinations and is serving global travelers with its signature Africa’s flavored Ethiopian hospitality onboard and in the air. Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed in March, killing all 157 people on board and drawing scrutiny to the new Boeing model’s anti-stall system.


Assisted Suicide on the Spotlight in South Africa

A leading pro-euthanasia activist Sean Davison is to serve three years under house arrest after he was found guilty of premeditated murder for helping three people to kill themselves. Assisted suicide and euthanasia are illegal in South Africa. The 57-year-old New Zealand-born forensic scientist is the founder of right-to-die organisation DignitySA. He was arrested in September last year in connection with the death of his friend Anrich Burger in 2013, who had become a quadriplegic after a car accident. He pleaded guilty at Western Cape High Court to helping her. He also admitted to helping Justin Varian and Richard Holland end their lives. The presiding judge accepted a plea deal, meaning that Davison received a sentence of eight years in total, five of which are suspended. Davison became a campaigner for the right to assisted dying after he was arrested in New Zealand in 2010 for helping his 85-year-old mother, who was ill with terminal cancer, to die four years earlier.


Mining Diamonds from Namibia's Seabed

Five African commercial banks have partnered in a $375 million financing deal to build a new diamond mining vessel for a subsidiary of Anglo American’s diamond unit De Beers. Nedbank Namibia, RMB Namibia, Standard Bank, ABSA and Bank Windhoek agreed to provide 80% of the funding for the ship, which will be the world’s largest of its type. Debmarine Namibia - a 50-50 joint venture company between De Beers and the government of Namibia - will provide the balance of $94 million. The ship, to be known as the AMV3, will be the seventh in the Debmarine Namibia joint venture’s fleet, which mines high-quality diamonds from the ocean floor using hi-tech surveying equipment. The AMV3 has the capacity to add 500,000 carats of annual production from 2022, and is expected to contribute $137.64 million a year in taxes and royalties to the Namibian treasury in its first five years of production.


Fake News on Social Media Damper Sudan Awareness

Some Instagram accounts have been accused of using a social media campaign that aims to promote solidarity with victims of unrest in Sudan merely to gain more followers on the platform. Last week, people on social media started turning their profile pictures blue in a bid to raise awareness about the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Blue was chosen to honor Mohamed Hashim Mattar, a 26-year-old Sudanese who was allegedly shot dead by the Sudanese paramilitary Rapid Support Forces during a crackdown on protesters in the country's capital, Khartoum, on June 3. In a Twitter post, Amnesty International Australia said blue was reportedly Mattar's favorite color. While celebrities including Rihanna put up the color on their profiles, along with hashtags like #BlueForSudan, others apparently decided to set up bogus Instagram accounts to exploit the campaign to get more followers and shares. One account, @SudanMealProject, gathered nearly 400,000 followers in less than a week before Instagram removed it for violating its policies.


Big Win for One of Africa's Largest Wildlife Parks

Niassa Reserve is marking a year without losing a single elephant to poachers. The last elephant killed by poachers in the Mozambique animal preserve was May 17, 2018. The New-York based Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the reserve with Mozambique's government and several other partners, credits the achievement to the formation of a rapid response police force that is far better equipped than former game wardens. The force has access to better weapons, as well as helicopters and a small plane for aerial surveillance. The officers have also been granted the power to arrest poachers or would-be poachers. Tougher laws have also been put into place, including a maximum sentence of 16 years in prison for anyone caught with a weapon inside Niassa's boundaries. Poaching had drastically reduced the number of elephants in Niassa, from more than 12,000 as recently as 2010 to a little more than 3,600 in 2016.  


Entrepreneur Thione Niang’s Mission To Do Good And Change Lives

As a child, Thione Niang used to listen to his mother cry at night, and promised himself he would change her life. Creating that change meant escaping his childhood, spent growing up with 28 siblings in a polygamist family in Senegal. Twenty-five years later, and after moving to the United States with $20 in his back pocket and no grasp of the English language, Niang was appointed an Ambassador of Energy by then-United States President Barack Obama. While Obama’s presidency has ended, Niang is continuing to work to change lives, not just for his mother, but for people right across Africa, by teaming up with international music superstar Akon on sustainable energy enterprise Akon Lighting Africa. As well as Akon Lighting Africa, Niang, who spoke to students at Bond University’s Transformer hub recently, travels the world speaking on social entrepreneurship, has his own government relations and public relations firm, and has published several books.


Magufuli’s Vision of an Industrialised Nation is Well Underway

The Development Vision 2025 is focused on creating peace and stability, freedom from corruption, investment in the education of the Tanzanian people and a competitive and sustainable economy. The key to Magufuli’s Vision is industrialisation. The construction of Tanzania’s US$14.2 billion Standard Gauge Railway, stretching 2,561 kilometres connecting Dar es Salaam port to its land-locked neighbours, is an infrastructure project that will enhance trade opportunities for Tanzania. The Tanzania Port Authority is working toward this same agenda with the construction of the Dar es Salaam Maritime Gateway Project (DMGP), which “will support the financing of crucial investments in the Port with the aim of improving its effectiveness and efficiency for the benefit of the public and private stakeholders. In addition to opening new doors for local and international trade, Tanzania has signed a groundbreaking contract with Egypt to build a new 2,115 MW hydroelectric power station. In an effort to decrease reliance on fossil fuels, the Rufiji Hydro Plant will be the largest in East Africa and is invaluable to Tanzania’s transformation.


Malawi's First Madam Speaker

Two women are in the race to become speaker of the Malawian National Assembly, Esther Mcheka Chilenje, a lawmaker with the ruling Democratic Peoples Party, DPP, is tipped as likely winner of the vote that has 190 MPs voting. Incidentally, her main opponent in the race is Mzimba North East MP (MCP) Catherine Gotani Hara. he last speaker belonged to the main opposition Malawi Congress Party, MCP, Karonga Nyungwe Richard Msowoya served between 2014 – 2019. He was also a MCP lawmaker and at the time its vice president. Whichever of the two women emerges victorious will join a growing league of women leading legislatures across Africa. Amongst others, South Africa, The Gambia, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are current examples..


We are committed to Africa.

Unlike many global publications, for nearly a decade we have been committed to showing a complete picture of Africa – not just a single story.  Offended by one sided coverage of wars, disasters and disease, the founders of created a news site that provides a balanced view of Africa – current events, business, arts & culture, travel, fashion, sports, development, etc.  If you are able to, please support with as little as $1. It means a lot to us.

Will you support us?

Contribute Now
Copyright © 2019, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.