Access to Remote Learning Coming to One Million Nigerian Children; Tanzania, Burundi sign more deals, plan grand entry into Congo

Access to Remote Learning Coming to One Million Nigerian Children

Data Science Nigeria and Malezi have partnered with the Mastercard Foundation to create possibilities for continuous learning while schools are closed and to strengthen the Nigerian education system’s long-term resilience in the face of future school calendar disruptions.

Over the previous six months, prolonged school closures caused by the COVID-19 outbreak have left millions of children in Nigeria without access to formal education. Learners who have been cut off from any instruction, feedback, or engagement with their teachers are at risk of losing crucial learning gains and will have to make up for the lost time. 

Hence, the ‘Learn at Home’ initiative, which aims to provide learning access to 1 million children in Nigeria within the next 12 months, will enable remote learning through multiple channels, including radio, mobile, and web. The Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program has made this initiative possible.

Tanzania, Burundi sign more deals, plan grand entry into Congo

Tanzania and Burundi have agreed to multibillion-dollar infrastructure projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo, focusing on the lucrative market there. 

The agreements come as the Democratic Republic of Congo moves closer to joining the East African Community after its candidacy was approved by the EAC technical committee. The Council of Ministers is scheduled to decide in November, just in time for the Summit of Heads of State.

President Samia declared at a press conference in Dodoma after hosting President Ndayishimiye that their talks focused on connecting the two nations by building the 240-kilometer Uvinza-Msongati-Gitega railway line. At least 160 kilometers of the route will run through Tanzania. 

Tanzania’s National Backbone ICT Trunk, which connects Burundi and the rest of the EAC, was also reviewed, as were health services, which mainly focused on specialized facilities to battle Covid-19, and vaccination.

S. Africa says Zimbabwe is ‘killing’ its business with Africa

Due to ongoing renovations on the two nations’ main border, South Africa has accused Zimbabwe of ‘killing’ its business with the rest of Africa. 

According to South Africa, this causes significant delays for haulage trucks. 

Zimbabwe has started a $300 million initiative to rebuild the Beitbridge border post, which is Southern Africa’s busiest inland port.

However, Zimbabwe’s major commercial partner is South Africa. Though border  controls have been a point of contention between the two countries on several occasions, illegal immigrants enter South Africa through Zimbabwe’s porous borders.

KQ, British Airways deal eases flying in Europe, Africa

Kenya Airways has announced a code-share arrangement with British Airways, allowing passengers flying to the UK to connect to 26 locations across the UK and Europe. 

The alliance will increase business and tourism between African and European regions. Tourists and business travelers will benefit from the increased travel alternatives and improved flight schedules provided by the two airlines’ hubs in Nairobi and London.

Kenya Airways said on Friday that the agreement would allow it to expand its service offerings by allowing it to use its flight code on British Airways’ trips from London to Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow, Barcelona, and Munich. 

Customers of the British carrier will also be able to fly to Mombasa, Zanzibar, Lusaka, Doula, Addis Ababa, Entebbe, Mauritius, and Seychelles, among other African cities.

Uganda: Soldiers face court-martial for killing civilians in Somalia

The African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) has recommended that Ugandan soldiers accused of killing civilians in a confrontation with Al-Shabaab insurgents face a court-martial. According to a team reviewing the August incident, Ugandan authorities should prosecute the troops who were found guilty.

Soldiers operating in the Golweyn area of the Lower Shabelle region of Southern Somalia, about 110 kilometers south of Mogadishu, killed innocent civilians on August 10, according to Amisom investigators. 

According to the AU mission, the implicated soldiers will be held accountable based on the recommendations of a six-member board tasked with conducting a full investigation.

Rwanda appoints members to Atomic Energy board for power plant set up

Rwanda is moving forward with plans to build a nuclear power plant, which the government claims will be necessary to overcome supply gaps as the country strives to achieve middle-income status in 14 years.

Bunnaj, however, learned that it is still unclear how much Kigali will invest in the two-phase project — with Rosatom Global, a Russian government nuclear parastatal — expected to see energy supply ramped up to more than 10,000 megawatts by 2035.

Kenya: President Kenyatta pledges $225m stimulus for jobs before 2022 polls

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta presented a Ksh25 billion ($225 million) economic stimulus package on Wednesday to kick-start the economy, generate jobs and appease his political base ahead of the 2022 General Election. 

Tea, coffee, sugar, and animal farming — sub-sectors that are crucial in putting money in people’s pockets or improving purchasing power — will be the focus of the stimulus package.

In an economy where persons under the age of 25, primarily secondary school and college graduates, have been the hardest hit by job cuts, the President also unveiled the third phase of Kazi Mtaani, a Ksh10 billion ($90 million) scheme that will offer 200,000 adolescents menial jobs. 

Kenya’s economy suffered around 730,000 job losses last year due to coronavirus-induced lockdowns that resulted in layoffs and wage cuts, but the country’s economy is now rebounding.

Uganda marijuana firm exports 400kg to Germany, targets local market

Uganda has shipped 400 kg of medical marijuana to Germany, the country’s fourth shipment to a foreign country since the government approved the industry. The marijuana was exported on October 16 by Industrial Hemp Uganda, a private company with a license to grow and process medical cannabis. 

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 2015 permits for medical marijuana cultivation, manufacture, and export, as well as requiring the Health Minister to grant formal approval for medical marijuana. 

Although more than 20 enterprises applied for authorization to participate in the profitable industry, the government has only issued Industrial Hemp licenses.

Namibia to suspend use of Russian COVID-19 vaccine

Namibia’s health ministry announced on Saturday that it would halt the deployment of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, days after South Africa’s pharmaceuticals authority raised concerns about its safety for HIV-positive patients. 

However, Namibia’s decision, according to the Gamaleya Research Institute, was not based on any scientific evidence or research.

The decision to stop using the Russian vaccine was made “out of (an) abundance of caution that men (who) received Sputnik V may be at higher risk of contracting HIV,” Namibia’s health ministry said in a statement, adding that it had taken SAHPRA’s decision into account.

Namibia claimed the suspension would persist until Sputnik V received a World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing. People who received a first dosage of Sputnik V, on the other hand, will be given a second dose to finish their immunization course.

Writer, journalist, and legal researcher, Alafarika for Studies and Consultancy.

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