Posts Tagged ‘africa’

Zambia is not immune to poverty. Over 60% of the population live on less than US $1 a day. PHOTO: whatdoesthismean.com

Hong Kong, Oct. 26 – Zambian leader Michael Sata has opposed intentions by the country’s bakers to increase the price of bread by K500 (US$0.10).

President Sata said Wednesday plans to hike the price of bread by K500 (1ct) were unjustified.

The price of bread in Zambia stands at K3 500 (US$0.71) and widespread poverty in Zambia means that an estimated 64% of the population of 13 million live on less than US$1 per day.

“The plans to increase the price of bread will largely hurt the poor. The poor consumer bears the blunt of such hikes which are not justified. Government will do everything possible to curb exploitation and maintain the price of bread, even if it means authorizing the importation of wheat into the country,” President Sata.

“We, therefore urge all stakeholders in the wheat value chain to exhaust consultations among themselves before taking positions that could undermine consumer interest and that of the industry itself in the long-run.”

He said government would not be blackmailed by any stakeholder in the food chain of essential commodities.

The Zambian Government is currently in dialogue with the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) and the Bakers Association of Zambia regarding measures meant to eliminate unnecessary cost elements so that the wheat industry becomes more competitive.

President Sata said he expected the bakers association and wheat farmers to reach a reasonable consensus that did not only serve their interests but the consumers.

He has since instructed his Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Emmanuel Chenda, to meet all stakeholders in the wheat industry.

Bread and rice are not regarded as a priority by many low and medium class Zambians who highly depend on corn meal dough as major staple food.

Bakers in Zambia have expressed intentions to increase the price of bread, citing increasing cost of wheat on the international market.

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Nooke to hold talks with various stakeholders in Zambia. PHOTO: neunzehnterzehnter.de

Hong Kong, Oct. 13 – Germany Chancellor Angela Merkal has sent her Personal Representative for Africa on a three day visit to Zambia.

Nooke will hold talks with Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda on Friday.

Guenter Nooke will be in Lusaka from October 13 to 15 and is scheduled to meet Zambia’s newly elected leader Michael Sata Wednesday.

The purpose of Nooke’s visit to Zambia is to convey Chancellor Merkel’s congratulatory message to President Sata on his election and seek the new administration’s political objectives.

Nooke is also expected to attend the opening session of Parliament Friday after which he will hold discussions with Civil Society Organisations representatives on various issues including the management of natural mineral resources, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and the political perspectives for Zambia after the September 20 elections.

Related article from Africanews

UK Prime Minister David Cameron "thumbs up" Zambian President Micheal Sata for poll victory. PHOTO:jimmysophia.blogetty.com

Hong Kong, Oct. 12 – United Kingdom Prime Minister, David Cameron,  has praised Zambian President Michael Chilufya Sata for his success at the September 20 presidential elections.

Cameron said in a letter dated October 10, 2011, “I write to congratulate you on your success at the presidential elections in Zambia on 20 September. The transparent and peaceful manner in which they were conducted is a major success for democracy in Zambia and is an example to others in the region and across Africa.’’

“The UK and Zambia have a strong bilateral relationship built on deep foundations going back many years, and we are keen to work closely with you. I hope my Minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham, will be able to visit Zambia soon, so that we can begin discussions with you on key areas of co-operation,’’ read Cameron’s letter.

He said, “I hope we can encourage British investment in Zambia, and a greater flow of trade between our two countries. Trade and integration within Africa is also critically important for tackling poverty in the region, and we look forward to supporting you in taking this forward over the next few years. We also hope to continue to work with your Government as a committed development partner to Zambia.’’

Cameron hoped to see the new Zambian Head of State at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth, Australia later this month, State House in Lusaka said Wednesday.

Mo Ibrahim to announce this year’s Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership on Monday October 10. PHOTO: Mo Ibrahim Foundation

Hong Kong Oct. 07 – The Mo Ibrahim Foundation will on Monday October 10 launch the fifth Index of African Governance and announce this year’s Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership.

Zambia’s former head of state, Rupiah Banda, is rumored to receive this year’s Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, after he honorably ceded power to Michael Sata, then opposition leader who won last September’s presidential vote in the southern Africa country.

Banda has received widespread praise for conceding defeat and stepping down at the time when some African leaders were refusing to step aside for legitimately elected leaders.

This year’s event also marks the fifth anniversary of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

Established in 2007, the Ibrahim Index is the most comprehensive collection of qualitative and quantitative data that provides an annual assessment of governance performance in every African country.

The Ibrahim Prize is the largest individual award in the world – worth US$5 million over ten years and US$200 000 a year for life.

The Prize, conferred by an independent Prize Committee made up of global figures, is awarded to a former executive Head of State or Government for demonstrating excellence and exceptional leadership.

Related link from Africa News.

Sanday Chongo Kabange in Hong Kong

Violent and bloody clashes have erupted in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka less than two weeks before Zambians elect a new and firth president.

Supporters of the governing Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) and the opposition Patriotic Front (PF) clashed Friday within Lusaka’s Central Business District, disrupting business for close to two hours.

Young democrats "cadres" clash over campaign posters. PHOTO: zambianwatchdog.com

Main city central highways like Lumumba, Freedom Way, Ben Bella and Chachacha Roads were blocked as they turned into battle grounds likened only to Libya’s Benghazi unrest.

The clashes in Lusaka erupted over the removal of rival campaign posters by the cadres of the two political parties.

Unconfirmed reports say one person has been killed in the election standoff that has tensed up the mood in the southern Africa state.

Supporters of the opposition PF are claiming that one of its supporters was killed by MMD cadres in a nearby south-western slum of Kanyama and this prompted the riots.

The claim of the death by the PF is yet to be confirmed.

Business was interrupted and shops were closed as business operators and residents ran for cover amid mass unrest in the Zambian capital.

Some cadres are said to have possessed machetes and other dangerous weapons.

Fears of looting have heightened and police have since been placed on high alert.

No arrests have been made, reported one private radio station in Lusaka.

Zambia Police spokesperson Ndandula Siamana has warned that any person perpetrating violence during and after the September 20 vote would face the law.

For the first time in Zambia’s election history, the U.S State Department has warned its citizens to be alert when getting into Zambia during the election period as signs of violent polls were eminent.

Related link: http://www.africanews.com/site/ZAMBIA_Cadres_clash_ahead_of_poll/list_messages/39602

Sanday Chongo Kabange in Berlin, Germany

Reliable Internet access and connectivity has for decades been a hindrance to Africa’s development agenda.

Several attempts to enhance connectivity and reliability for Africa’s Internet are currently underway and huge investments have so far been poured into these gigantic continental initiatives.

The African Union together with private investors are working in different projects that aim to enhance the continent’s unreliable Internet connectivity and accessibility.

In this regard, South Africa, the continent’s largest economy has demonstrated its prowess at the cutting edge of technology with the successful trial of an ultra-fast 500 Gigabits-per-second data transmission system that could enable download of 2,400 movies in 60 seconds.

An artist's impression of the Square Kilometre Array project. PHOTO: skatelescope.org

The high-tech expertise also highlights that country’s status as a front-runner to host the separate Square Kilometre Array project, a next-generation radio-telescope initiative providing high resolution pictures of the universe.

This week South Africa-based undersea cable company Seacom and US-based digital optical networking equipment supplier Infinera achieved a global first by successfully trialling a 500 Gigabits-per-second data transmission over Seacom’s newly built network between KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in South Africa.

“This event is a landmark achievement and a global first,” Seacom CEO Brian Herlihy said in a statement. “It also signals the international science research and development community that global projects such as the Square Kilometre Array are well within Africa’s reach.”

Live demonstration

The Seacom trial made use of five 100 Gigabit per second (100 Gb/s) channels of coherent optical transmission over a distance of 1,732 kilometres on Monday (August 1).

The trial was run over and looped back across Seacom’s newly built 930-kilometre Dark Fibre Africa fibre route, which links the Seacom Mtunzini cable landing station on the coast of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province to the Teraco data centre in Johannesburg.

The live demonstration, news of which has generated huge excitement in the industry, was witnessed by members of the scientific, research and development community at Teraco’s data centre in Johannesburg.

“The trial demonstrates Seacom’s commitment to increase the pace at which African networks are deploying cutting-edge telecommunications infrastructure technology to support Africa’s rise as a primary scientific and business destination,” said Herlihy.

Photonic Integrated Circuits

The trial used Infinera’s 500 Gb/s Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs), each of which integrates five 100 Gb/s coherent channels onto a single chip. The PICs were used for both transmitting and receiving the five 100 Gb/s signals during the trial.

At the consumer level, the 500Gb/s PIC technology enables the download of 2,400 high-definition Blu-Ray movie files in 60 seconds, or supports the streaming of 320,000 simultaneous high definition video channels over a single fibre pair.

Demand for large-capacity transmission

Fibre optic transmission technologies have been developing considerably to satisfy demand for large-capacity digital transmission in public telecommunication networks worldwide.

“With internet traffic growing at exponential rates, driven by video, cloud computing, and mobility, the 500G PIC technology is designed to support the required growth in network capacity, while reducing the per-bit cost, space, and power consumption,” said Infinera CEO Tom Fallon.

“These attributes are in line with Seacom’s vision to providing world-class infrastructure as African traffic continues to increase at record speeds.”

Related link: http://www.africanews.com/site/Africa_pioneers_highspeed_internet/list_messages/39380

Sanday Chongo Kabange in Berlin, Germany

Germany flag carrier and Europe’s largest airliner, Lufthansa, is this August expected to start flying into Zambia.

The Deutsche carrier which once serviced the southern Africa country before the liquidation of Zambia Airways in 1995 is expected to re-start flights into Zambia through a code –sharing partnership with other African carriers.

Germany airliner, Lufthansa to start servicing Zambia starting mid August 2011. PHOTO: Privilege Musvanhiri

Christoph Meier, Head of Corporate Communications Southeast Europe, Africa, Middle East & Pakistan disclosed in an exclusive interview, “We will in fact launch a code share service from Frankfurt to Lusaka, via Addis Ababa as early as August.  The Addis to Lusaka segment will be operated by our partner Ethiopian Airlines. Furthermore, Lusaka and Livingstone will be linked to Germany through code-share flights via Johannesburg in cooperation with South African Airlines”.

Zambia has not had a national airliner since the liquidation of loss-making Zambia Airways in 1995 and the subsequent failure by private operated Zambian Airways to assume the role of national flag carrier.

Zambian Airways had expressed its intentions to operate as the nation’s flag carrier but the 2008 global economic chew could not spare the airliner’s accounts and it too collapsed on 10 January, 2009.

Meier said Lufthansa was able to fly into a new market like Zambia based on the vast experience of its regional partners like Ethiopian Airlines or South African Airlines.

“These are examples illustrating the benefits of code-share cooperation. In turn, Zambia will be connected to Lufthansa’s 211 destinations worldwide, among them 127 in Europe. And last but not least, travel options and service quality for customers aiming at destinations Lusaka and Livingstone will be enhanced significantly. It’s a win-win-win solution,” he said.

The intention by Lufthansa to fly into Zambia has been granted a nod by line authorities in Lusaka with aggressive efforts from the Zambia High Commission in Berlin.

Meier explained, “The Zambian Ministry of Communications and Transport has been very supportive of Lufthansa’s plans to serve Lusaka and Livingstone on a code-share basis. The competent authorities have a clear strategy for the further economic development of the country and they see international air services as a key driver of economic growth. Thus, Lufthansa will be able to start the sale of tickets from Zambia to any of its worldwide destinations in mid August 2011. This will facilitate business travel to Lusaka, and provide an attractive travel option for European tourists to Zambia”.

Lack of a national airliner has adversely affected Zambia’s tourism inflows over the years. Despite boasting a number of natural tourists’ sites like the Victoria Falls in Livingstone, tourism growth in Zambia has been very slow and market analysts have attributed the erratic in-roads of visitors into Zambia to a poorly developed airline system.

Lufthansa will be able to start the sale of tickets from Zambia to any of its worldwide destinations in mid August 2011. PHOTO:Privilege Musvanhiri

The commencement of Lufthansa flights into Lusaka and Livingstone, the country’s tourist capital, is likely to enhance tourist visits into Zambia and also raise the country’s profile in Europe and elsewhere abroad.

Lufthansa’s flights into Zambia in mid August will be closely followed by yet another airliner which intends to start operating into Zambia in September.

Fly Zambia Airline which will be launched in September this year is currently in consultation with Zambian authorities on the possibility of adopting the logo which was previously used by the defunct Zambia Airways.

Fly Zambia Airline is a consortium of Zambian and South African investors.

Related link: http://www.lusakatimes.com/2011/08/01/lufthansa-start-zambian-flights/

Sanday Chongo Kabange in Berlin, Germany

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation is to pay homage to African youths for the role they have played in ousting authoritarian regimes across the continent.

Youths from the Arabic-speaking African countries have in the recent mounted rigorous campaigns using social media tools to ouster authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which works to promote governance and political reform in Africa, has announced it will host its annual gathering in the Tunisian capital Tunis, where it will pay homage to the youths for the role played in fostering good governance and political reforms.

Ibrahim, passionate about good governance in Africa. PHOTO: rnw.nl

The decision to host a series of events including a public concert, cultural celebration and the annual Ibrahim Discussion was arrived at during a meeting between Tunisian Prime Minister Beji Caid el Sebsi and Mo Ibrahim Foundation chief, Mo Ibrahim.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation annual gathering in Tunis will run from November 11-13, 2011 and will feature African superstars, Youssou N’Dour and Angelique Kidjo.

The cultural event will celebrate the critical role that Tunisia’s youth have recently played in that country.

The Discussion Forum will address ‘African Agriculture: from meeting needs to wealth creation.’ It will gather key stakeholders to examine the crucial issues underlying the potential of African agriculture, food security and rural development.

Mo Ibrahim said of the upcoming events, “In recognition of its leading role in sparking a movement for greater transparency and accountability by governments, we are looking forward to convening in Tunisia in November.  It will be an opportunity for our continent to pay homage to the young people of Tunisia and also to examine an issue that could either fuel unrest across the continent or drive forward its development.”

Members of African civil society, the private sector, governments, multilateral and regional institutions -as well as key partners from the international community – will gather over two days in Tunis for these events.

By Sanday Chongo Kabange in Berlin, Germany

Many African countries are grappling with the effects of climate change which environment experts say can be mitigated by improving on the use of solar energy to cut down on green house emissions, among other measures.

Climate change has serious effects on economic development because it will drastically change and determine the types of industries, size and quality while its effects are already leaving damage to the economy.

Anti nuclear energy poster on a German street with writings" Atomkraft? Nien Danke" meaning Nuclear Energy? No Thank You. PHOTO: Sanday Chongo Kabange

Drought, and conversely, floods have been the main features of weather patterns in the last ten years, as well as extreme cold weather.

Africa is experiencing the major cause of climate change which is deforestation mainly due to lack of sources of energy such as electricity and the absence of solar energy which is worsening the effects of climate change.

Experts say increased use of solar energy reduces dependence on environmental degradation.

Resources

Africa remains rich in an untapped solar resource and what is lacking, environment experts say, is commitment and at times resources to invest in solar energy.

Solar energy has great potential to improve economic growth at a minimal cost but up-front costs are usually high which inhibits interest in many African investors and their governments.

At the same time, many consumers in Africa have not appreciated the value of solar. The other great advantage of solar energy is that there is no threat of attacks on installations as they are powered by natural energy and this will ensure constant supply to the industries.

Solar energy is the solution to the present threats of climate change which is leaving ripple effects on Africa. These include extreme cold temperatures and hot weather.

Presently, the Horn of Africa is facing acute droughts and preliminary reports say the drought has come as a result of changing weather patterns globally.

“It (solar energy) does not emit green house emissions which have been blamed for the change in climate,” said Zambia’s Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources Technical Coordinator on climate change, Professor Prem Jain.

He said “one-third of the sun in the world falls on Africa which would make it easier to explore solar energy.

“Climate change cannot be avoided but mitigated,” explained professor Jain, who is also UNSECO chairman in renewable energy and environment and also lecturer at the University of Zambia.

Climate change has brought about temperature changes which are projected to rise by between 1.8 and 4.0 degrees in the next decade while more changes in rain patterns are also expected.

Researchers at the University of Zambia in Lusaka say the number of days in the rainy seasons is decreasing and pointers suggest climate change as the reason. The implication on agriculture is the need for adaptation by concentrating on growing crops that are suitable for the shortened rainy seasons.

Use of solar energy in the villages has the potential to replace the costly paraffin especially that connecting to the national power grid is costly while investment in power generation is very minimal to match the population growth and increased industrialisation.

Environmental Council of Zambia Manager for Planning and Information Management, Julius Daka noted that there have been extreme weather conditions whether, dry or wet, which is partly evidence of climate change which could leave an impact on the economy.

This is because of gas emissions, Industry processes that produce carbon dioxide, land use through agriculture activities, uncontrolled prescribed burning and use of fertilizer.

The availability of sun in Africa has not brought about much economic development but some European countries have launched plans to tap solar energy from Africa at commercial levels.

Investment

A consortium of German companies plans to build a US$555.3 billion solar power project in Africa to provide electricity to European households.

Although the project is a major development for Africa, the continent is likely not to benefit much from it as the bulk of the energy to be produced would be transmitted back to Germany for use by European families.

The interest by the Germany companies, led by the world’s largest reinsurer Munich Re, to tap solar energy in Africa shows the huge potential Africa has for solar energy.

The African continent is hugely endowed with sunshine throughout the year, but little has been done to harness the power.

This is despite the huge demand for energy on the continent.

In southern Africa alone, the region’s combined installed electricity generation capacity stood at 55,927MW as of April 2009 against an available capacity of 48,649MW, representing a deficit of 7,278MW.

Adequate investment in solar and other renewable energy sources such as wind can help the region boost its supplies as well as meet its demand.

An official from Munich Re said at the signing ceremony of the US$555.3 billion that will not a far-off vision, but technologically attractive and also achievable.

More companies from across Europe have since expressed interest in taking part in the world’s largest solar project named Desertec.

The project would mainly focus on North Africa, making it easy for the transmission of electricity to Europe via direct current high voltage network buried under the Mediterranean Sea.

Just after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, some European countries like Germany, are shutting down their nuclear plants and opting for alternative sources of energy like solar.

Anti-nuclear energy activists in Germany have been running widespread campaigns in which they carry specially made placards splashed with writings:  “Atomkraft? Nien Danke” meaning “Nuclear Energy? No Thank You”.

Projections

Preliminary projections claim that if about 0.3 percent of the Sahara was covered with solar panels, it would power the entire European continent. If up to one percent of the desert was covered, it could power the entire world.

Therefore, experts say, Africa cannot just wait while others implement such noble initiatives but must also take the lead to explore its solar energy.

Plans by Botswana to build a 200MW solar plant are an example that can be supported and encouraged so that other countries in Africa follow suit.

The 200MW solar plant in Botswana has the capacity to address most of the energy needs of the southern African country as its national power consumption needs stand at just about 450MW.

According to the African Development Bank, the continent could become a “gold mine” for renewable energy due to the abundant solar and wind resources that are now hugely sought after by international investors in their quest for a new clean energy frontier.

However, the development of this industry has been made difficult by lack of financial resources and poor infrastructure to tap the resource.

To address some of these pertinent challenges, Africa can do it the Madagascan way so people can benefit from its solar resource.

The island nation, which is the fourth largest island in the world, a few years ago embarked on a small scale exercise to harness its solar and provide power to the majority of its rural population, which is not connected to the national electricity grid.

Rural clinics and hospitals were equipped with solar technologies such as small solar panels to produce their own electricity and in the process enabling them to store vital vaccines and other medicines.

Prior to this development, patients were expected to bring their own candles to be attended to during the night.

Given the cost involved, it is no wonder experts are urging Africa to start with smaller solar projects that are cheaper to ensure power is available to the majority of its people while bigger projects can be done in partnership with willing investors.

Sanday Chongo Kabange in BERLIN, Germany

The newly unveiled social networking site by internet search giant, Google Inc. has hit Africa with a bang of severe mixed cocktails, promising much popular and archrival Facebook a run for their money.

Google Inc. has launched a social networking site called Google Plus (Google+ or G+) with similar or even better features than Facebook but the race for supremacy in the social networking business is yet to be highlighted clearly.

Google+ Is it a hit for miss for Africa? PHOTO: periscopepost.com

Although exact user figures are yet to come by, it is a known fact that in a very short span of time, Google+ has attracted many users worldwide.

In the US, where a limited field trial version of Google+ was launched before being rolled out to the rest of the world, one survey found that about 4.5 million people had joined Google+ within weeks of its launch. This figure is said to be climbing ever since.

This is the first time that social networking kingpin, Facebook is facing serious competition since it was launched in February 2004. As of July, 2011, Facebook had 750 million active users.

African voices

Facebook is the highest ranking and most popular social networking site in Africa. The interactive networking site is not only used as a socialite communication tool but also as a platform to mobilise young democrats pressing for democratic and political reforms in suppressed African states like Egypt, Swaziland, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.

Facebook popular in Africa. PHOTO: AP/Craig Ruttle

The global launch of Google+ field trial has not left the perceived “dark continent” in the dark. African social network users have been signing up on Google+ and offering their early impressions on the search giant’s new networking site.

Egidio Vaz, a communication and web marketing specialist from Mozambique who recently joined Google+ said, “well, am not used to it yet but I think it can add value to my day-to-day job.”

Kenyan multimedia journalist, Claire Mitchell, gave her first impressions. “One thing like about it (Google+) is that I can have a video conversation with more than one person unlike Facebook where you restricted to one person at a time.

An ardent social network user from Zambia, Irwin Fox Mainza said, “I have signed up to Google+ and I love it already. From what I have experienced so far, Google+ has potential to outdo Facebook. I just hope it will be able to allow connection with other applications. Good stuff so far.”

Privacy

With all the hype and raised hopes that have come with Google+, some newly signed up users are not very content with the new social networking site. Issues related to privacy are creeping into the Google+ buzz.

What worries many users doubt their presence on social networking sites is the protection and preservation of their personal data.

Google Inc behind Google+ initiative.PHOTO: pcadvisor.co.uk

There is fear that once one’s private data has been entered into a social networking site, the protection and preservation of that personal data is undermined.

Like Thabo Mbuli of Durban in South Africa observes, “I have refused to get on many of these socialising websites because I fear for my personal details being exposed to the public through Internet. I am not sure I will even sign up with this Google thing because I already deactivated my Facebook.”

Zambian blogger, Gershom Ndhlovu said Google+ was tacky compared to Facebook. “With Facebook, you just go straight into social networking business. With G+ you have to remove all the wrappers to get to the business. G+ needs a Smartphone app to make it easily accessible and enjoyable otherwise they risk going the way of G+ buzz”.

While debate rages on and the battle for top notch leadership continues in the social networking business, Africa will set at bay and only add up to user figures once both Google+ and Facebook face –off for a “hit or miss” tournament.