Malawi remains one of the few nations in the world that has not gone into a coronavirus lockdown as the government rushes to meet the conditions of a court order to implement a cash transfer scheme for the poor before doing so. But as some parts of the world are slowing coming out of their lockdowns, it could be likely this southern African nation won’t go into one as the rerun of the country’s presidential election nears.
The combination of rife insecurity, food insecurity and more than 7.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance has left the Sahel a region in crisis, with the global coronavirus pandemic expected to exacerbate the situation.
“As tall as he is, if he continues to do that I will kick him out of the country,” thundered Zimbabwe’s former President Robert Mugabe in 2008, his anger aimed at the then United States ambassador James McGee after the diplomat questioned the results of Zimbabwe’s 2008 general elections.
Food security in sub-Saharan Africa is under threat. The ability of many Africans to access sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs has been disrupted by successive natural disasters and epidemics. Cyclones Idai and Kenneth, locust outbreaks in eastern Africa, and droughts in southern and eastern Africa are some examples. The COVID-19 pandemic is just the latest catastrophe to have swollen the ranks of 240 million people going hungry in the region. In some countries, over 70 percent of the population has problems accessing food.
With very weak health systems and overall capacity constraints to effectively respond to the deadly coronavirus disease, Africa’s fate against the invisible enemy, was going to be nothing short of catastrophic according to early predictions. Although Africa is yet to reach its peak, many countries are not seeing the exponential growth in case numbers, or in mortality rates as seen in other regions of the world. So far, the continent has the lowest mortality rates with higher recovery rates globally.
The COVID-19 insurgence has highlighted the need for multilateral cooperation among sustainability stakeholders. As the journey towards achieving Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is fraught with imminent global challenges, global environmental leaders agree that now is the time to act collectively for nature, leaving no one behind.
Ida Njeri was a civil servant with access to a Savings and Credit Cooperative Society (SACCO) through her employer, and her husband a private consultant in the information and communication sector, when she began taking low-interest loans from the cooperative so they could buy up land in Ruiru, Central Kenya. She’d willing done it. Part of their long-term plan together for having a family was that they would acquire land and eventually build their dream home. But little did Njeri realise that 12 years and three children later the law would stand against her right to owning the matrimonial property.
While simultaneously suffering from the coronavirus pandemic, flooding and a locust crisis, Somalia, could well see a rise in the number of people who are susceptible to human trafficking.
The African Continental Free Trade Area was launched two years ago at an African Union (AU) summit in Kigali. It was scheduled to be implemented from 1 July 2020
. But this has been pushed out until 2021 because of the impact of COVID-19 and the need for leaders to focus on saving lives.
Shurugwi communal farmer, Elizabeth Siyapi (57) can no longer be scammed by unscrupulous middlemen to sell her crops cheaply. Nowadays, before she takes her produce to market she scours her mobile phone, which has become an essential digital agriculture data bank, for the best prices on the market.
It was only when 17-year-old Eva Muigai was in her final trimester that her family discovered she was pregnant. Muigai, a form three student who lives with her family in Gachie, Central Kenya, had spent her pregnancy wearing tight bodysuits and loose-fitting clothes that hid her growing baby bump.
Many well meaning education benefactors and commentators
in South Africa have expressed that in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic
online self-guided learning could solve some of the current teaching problems and address the educational backlog. What learners need, the reasoning goes, is to get free internet access
to educational support materials on offer online.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Earlier this year, just before the coronavirus virtually shut down international travel, I sat under a mesquite tree and listened to a rambling speech by a South Sudanese general at a military base outside of the capital, Juba.
In 2011, when Rwanda committed to restoring 2 million hectares of land in a global effort to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested areas by 2020 — it seemed like a big ask.
Sub-Saharan Africa has a debt problem. According to the most recent World Bank debt statistics
, in 2018 the region had about $493 billion in long term external debt.
Sitting on the southern tip of Africa during a time of social distancing, while the entire planet fights Covid-19, we cannot help but reflect on how vulnerable our country is to this scourge.
We live in a different world to the one we inhabited six short months ago.
With more than 4 million people infected and over 280,000 dead globally by mid May 2020, Covid-19 has ruthlessly exposed the vulnerability of a globalised world to pandemic disease. People are slowly coming to terms with the frightening and heartbreaking death toll, and we are still not out of the danger.
Malawi is not doing enough to enforce its laws on human trafficking, resulting in a number of cases against perpetrators being dismissed by the courts, according to a local rights group. But local officials say that this Southern African nation — one of the poorest countries in the world — just doesn’t have the financial resources to do so.
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe' second city of some 700,000 people, has experienced a shortage of vegetables this year, with major producers citing a range of challenges from poor rains to the inability to access to bank loans to finance their operations. But this shortage has created a market gap that Zimbabwe smallholders — some 1.5 million people according to government figures — have an opportunity to fill.
The coronavirus pandemic underscores the profound fragility and unsustainability of today’s world. It exposes the chronic underinvestment in human health and well-being and the consequences of a relentless exploitation of biodiversity and the natural environment
Experts across Africa are warning that as hospitals and health facilities focus on COVID-19, less attention is being given to the management of other deadly diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, which affect millions more people.