|Tuesday 04th of February 2020
Wuhan Coronavirus Looks Increasingly Like a Pandemic, Experts Say @nytimes #nCoV2019 #coronavirus
Law & Politics
The Wuhan coronavirus spreading from China is now likely to become a
pandemic that circles the globe, according to many of the world’s
leading infectious disease experts.
The prospect is daunting. A pandemic — an ongoing epidemic on two or
more continents — may well have global consequences, despite the
extraordinary travel restrictions and quarantines now imposed by China
and other countries, including the United States.
Scientists do not yet know how lethal the new coronavirus is, however,
so there is uncertainty about how much damage a pandemic might cause.
But there is growing consensus that the pathogen is readily
transmitted between humans.
The Wuhan coronavirus is spreading more like influenza, which is
highly transmissible, than like its slow-moving viral cousins, SARS
and MERS, scientists have found.
“It’s very, very transmissible, and it almost certainly is going to be
a pandemic,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National
Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.
“But will it be catastrophic? I don’t know.”
In the last three weeks, the number of lab-confirmed cases has soared
from about 50 in China to more than 17,000 in at least 23 countries;
there have been more than 360 deaths.
But various epidemiological models estimate that the real number of
cases is 100,000 or even more. While that expansion is not as rapid as
that of flu or measles, it is an enormous leap beyond what virologists
saw when SARS and MERS emerged.
When SARS was vanquished in July 2003 after spreading for nine months,
only 8,098 cases had been confirmed. MERS has been circulating since
2012, but there have been only about 2,500 known cases.
The biggest uncertainty now, experts said, is how many people around
the world will die. SARS killed about 10 percent of those who got it,
and MERS now kills about one of three.
The 1918 “Spanish flu” killed only about 2.5 percent of its victims —
but because it infected so many people and medical care was much
cruder then, 20 million to 50 million died.
By contrast, the highly transmissible H1N1 “swine flu” pandemic of
2009 killed about 285,000, fewer than seasonal flu normally does, and
had a relatively low fatality rate, estimated at .02 percent.
The mortality rate for known cases of the Wuhan coronavirus has been
running about 2 percent, although that is likely to drop as more tests
are done and more mild cases are found.
It is “increasingly unlikely that the virus can be contained,” said
Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, a former director of the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention who now runs Resolve to Save Lives, a nonprofit
devoted to fighting epidemics.
“It is therefore likely that it will spread, as flu and other
organisms do, but we still don’t know how far, wide or deadly it will
In the early days of the 2009 flu pandemic, “they were talking about
Armageddon in Mexico,” Dr. Fauci said. (That virus first emerged in
pig-farming areas in Mexico’s Veracruz State.) “But it turned out to
not be that severe.”
An accurate estimate of the virus’s lethality will not be possible
until certain kinds of studies can be done: blood tests to see how
many people have antibodies, household studies to learn how often it
infects family members, and genetic sequencing to determine whether
some strains are more dangerous than others.
Closing borders to highly infectious pathogens never succeeds
completely, experts said, because all frontiers are somewhat porous.
Nonetheless, closings and rigorous screening may slow the spread,
which will buy time for the development of drug treatments and
Other important unknowns include who is most at risk, whether coughing
or contaminated surfaces are more likely to transmit the virus, how
fast the virus can mutate and whether it will fade out when the
The effects of a pandemic would probably be harsher in some countries
than in others. While the United States and other wealthy countries
may be able to detect and quarantine the first carriers, countries
with fragile health care systems will not.
The virus has already reached Cambodia, India, Malaysia, Nepal, the
Philippines and rural Russia.
“This looks far more like H1N1’s spread than SARS, and I am
increasingly alarmed,” said Dr. Peter Piot, director of the London
School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “Even 1 percent mortality
would mean 10,000 deaths in each million people.”
Other experts were more cautious.
Dr. Michael Ryan, head of emergency responses for the World Health
Organization, said in an interview with STAT News on Saturday that
there was “evidence to suggest this virus can still be contained” and
that the world needed to “keep trying.”
Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, a virus-hunter at the Columbia University Mailman
School of Public Health who is in China advising its Center for
Disease Control and Prevention, said that although the virus is
clearly being transmitted through casual contact, labs are still
behind in processing samples.
But life in China has radically changed in the last two weeks. Streets
are deserted, public events are canceled, and citizens are wearing
masks and washing their hands, Dr. Lipkin said. All of that may have
slowed down what lab testing indicated was exponential growth in the
It’s unclear exactly how accurate tests done in overwhelmed Chinese
laboratories are. On the one hand, Chinese state media have reported
test kit shortages and processing bottlenecks, which could produce an
But Dr. Lipkin said he knew of one lab running 5,000 samples a day,
which might produce some false-positive results, inflating the count.
“You can’t possibly do quality control at that rate,” he said.
Anecdotal reports from China, and one published study from Germany,
indicate that some people infected with the Wuhan coronavirus can pass
it on before they show symptoms. That may make border-screening much
harder, scientists said.
Epidemiological modeling released Friday by the European Center for
Disease Prevention and Control estimated that 75 percent of infected
people reaching Europe from China would still be in the incubation
periods upon arrival, and therefore not detected by airport screening,
which looks for fevers, coughs and breathing difficulties.
But if thermal cameras miss victims who are beyond incubation and
actively infecting others, the real number of missed carriers may be
higher than 75 percent.
Still, asymptomatic carriers “are not normally major drivers of
epidemics,” Dr. Fauci said. Most people get ill from someone they know
to be sick — a family member, a co-worker or a patient, for example.
The virus’s most vulnerable target is Africa, many experts said. More
than 1 million expatriate Chinese work there, mostly on mining,
drilling or engineering projects. Also, many Africans work and study
in China and other countries where the virus has been found.
If anyone on the continent has the virus now, “I’m not sure the
diagnostic systems are in place to detect it,” said Dr. Daniel Bausch,
head of scientific programs for the American Society of Tropical
Medicine and Hygiene, who is consulting with the W.H.O. on the
South Africa and Senegal could probably diagnose it, he said. Nigeria
and some other countries have asked the W.H.O. for the genetic
materials and training they need to perform diagnostic tests, but that
will take time.
At least four African countries have suspect cases quarantined,
according to an article published Friday in The South China Morning
Post. They have sent samples to France, Germany, India and South
Africa for testing.
At the moment, it seems unlikely that the virus will spread widely in
countries with vigorous, alert public health systems, said Dr. William
Schaffner, a preventive medicine specialist at Vanderbilt University
“Every doctor in the U.S. has this top of mind,” he said. “Any patient
with fever or respiratory problems will get two questions. ‘Have you
been to China? Have you had contact with anyone who has?’ If the
answer is yes, they’ll be put in isolation right away.”
Assuming the virus spreads globally, tourism to and trade with
countries besides China may be affected — and the urgency to find ways
to halt the virus and prevent deaths will grow.
It is possible that the Wuhan coronavirus will fade out as weather
warms. Many viruses, like flu, measles and norovirus, thrive in cold,
dry air. The SARS outbreak began in winter, and MERS transmission also
peaks then, though that may be related to transmission in newborn
Four mild coronaviruses cause about a quarter of the nation’s common
colds, which also peak in winter.
But even if an outbreak fades in June, there could be a second wave in
the fall, as has occurred in every major flu pandemic, including those
that began in 1918 and 2009.
By that time, some remedies might be on hand, although they will need
rigorous testing and perhaps political pressure to make them available
In China, several antiviral drugs are being prescribed. A common
combination is pills containing lopinavir and ritonavir with infusions
of interferon, a signaling protein that wakes up the immune system.
In the United States, the combination is sold as Kaletra by AbbVie for
H.I.V. therapy, and it is relatively expensive. In India, a dozen
generic makers produce the drugs at rock-bottom prices for use against
H.I.V. in Africa, and their products are W.H.O.-approved.
Another option may be an experimental drug, remdesivir, on which the
patent is held by Gilead. The drug has not yet been approved for use
against any disease. Nonetheless, there is some evidence that it works
against coronaviruses, and Gilead has donated doses to China.
Several American companies are working on a vaccine, using various
combinations of their own funds, taxpayer money and foundation grants.
Although modern gene-chemistry techniques have made it possible to
build vaccine candidates within just days, medical ethics require that
they then be carefully tested on animals and small numbers of healthy
humans for safety and effectiveness.
That aspect of the process cannot be sped up, because dangerous side
effects may take time to appear and because human immune systems need
time to produce the antibodies that show whether a vaccine is working.
Whether or not what is being tried in China will be acceptable
elsewhere will depend on how rigorously Chinese doctors run their
“In God we trust,” Dr. Schaffner said. “All others must provide data.”
Coronavirus May Transmit Along Fecal-Oral Route, Xinhua Reports @business
Law & Politics
The coronavirus that’s infected more than 14,000 people in two dozen
countries may be transmitted through the digestive tract, Chinese
state media reported.
Virus genetic material was discovered in patient stool and rectal
swabs, Xinhua said Sunday. The finding was made by scientists from the
Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University and the Wuhan Institute of
Virology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences after noting that some
patients infected with the 2019-nCoV virus had diarrhea early in the
disease, instead of a fever, which is more common, the report said.
That means the pathogen might be transmitted along the fecal-oral
route, not just from coming into contact with virus-laden droplets
emitted from a sick person’s cough. Doctors have focused on
respiratory samples from pneumonia cases to identify coronavirus
patients, but they might have ignored diarrhea, a less apparent
potential source of the spread, Bloomberg News reported Saturday.
Diarrhea occurred in about 10-20% of patients afflicted with a related
virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome. A virus-laden
aerosol plume emanating from a SARS patient with diarrhea was
implicated in possibly hundreds of cases at Hong Kong’s Amoy Gardens
housing complex in 2003.
That led the city’s researchers to understand the importance of the
virus’s spread through the gastrointestinal tract, and to recognize
both the limitation of face masks and importance of cleanliness and
The first U.S. case experienced diarrhea before becoming ill with
pneumonia and his doctors at the Providence Regional Medical Center
Everett in Washington found specimens were positive for 2019-nCoV.
2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit: Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech at the opening ceremony
Law & Politics
September has just set in Beijing, bringing with it refreshing breeze
and picturesque autumn scenery.
As an ancient Chinese scholar once observed, “Only with deep roots can
a tree yield rich fruit; only filled with oil can a lamp burn
In addition, for those of Africa’s least developed countries, heavily
indebted and poor countries, landlocked developing countries and small
island developing countries that have diplomatic relations with China,
the debt they have incurred in the form of interest-free Chinese
government loans due to mature by the end of 2018 will be exempted.
Climate Models Are Running Red Hot, and Scientists Don't Know Why @business
Law & Politics
There are dozens of climate models, and for decades they’ve agreed on
what it would take to heat the planet by about 3° Celsius. It’s an
outcome that would be disastrous—flooded cities, agricultural
failures, deadly heat—but there’s been a grim steadiness in the
consensus among these complicated climate simulations.
Then last year, unnoticed in plain view, some of the models started
running very hot.
The scientists who hone these systems used the same assumptions about
greenhouse-gas emissions as before and came back with far worse
outcomes. Some produced projections in excess of 5°C, a nightmare
The scientists involved couldn’t agree on why—or if the results should
Climatologists began “talking to each other like, ‘What’d you get?’,
‘What’d you get?’” said Andrew Gettelman, a senior scientist at the
National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, which
builds a high-profile climate model.
“The question is whether they’ve overshot,” said Mark Zelinka, staff
scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Researchers are starting to put together answers, a task that will
take months at best, and there’s not yet agreement on how to interpret
the hotter results.
The reason for worry is that these same models have successfully
projected global warming for a half century. Their output continues to
frame all major scientific, policy and private-sector climate goals
and debates, including the sixth encyclopedic assessment by the UN’s
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change due out next year.
If the same amount of climate pollution will bring faster warming than
previously thought, humanity would have less time to avoid the worst
For now, however, there are doubts and worries. A higher warming
estimate “probably isn’t the right answer,” said Klaus Wyser, senior
researcher at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute.
His model produced a result of about 4.3°C warming, a 30% jump over
its previous update. “We hope it’s not the right answer.”
This uncertainty over how to read the models highlights one of the
central challenges of climate change.
On the one hand, policy makers and members of the public are turning
to scientists as never before to explain historic wildfires,
devastating droughts and spring-like temperatures in mid-winter.
And the bedrock of the science has never been more solid. But the
questions vexing experts now are probably the most important of all:
Just how bad is it going to get—and how soon?
Earth-system models are the workhorses of climate research, helping
scientists test ideas about the impact of ice-sheet melting, soil
moisture and clouds, all without waiting for the actual planet to fall
There are more than a hundred models used to forecast the relationship
between carbon dioxide and warming, developed by about two dozen
independent research groups.
One question modeling can help answer is called “climate sensitivity,”
an estimate of how much warmer the planet will be once it has adjusted
to atmospheric CO₂ at double the pre-industrial level.
(At current rates, CO₂ could reach a doubling point in the last
decades of this century.) This is the old, reliable number that’s come
out to 3°C for 40 years. It was as close as anything gets to
It takes climate modelers, who run hugely complex calculations on
supercomputers, more than a biblical six days to create their virtual
Modules for air, land and sea all churn together and interact, and
through early runs the researchers will make adjustments for
troubleshooting and debugging that amount to re-wiring the whole
The first step is to replicate actual conditions of the 20th century
within the model; then you can trust the software to forecast the
The model run by NCAR, one of American’s main climate-science
institutions, started producing unusual data last year while trying to
reproduce the recent past. “We got some really strange results,”
The scientists went on to try 300 configurations of rain, pollution,
and heat flows—something they can do as gods of their own digital
earth—before matching the model to history.
But by solving that puzzle, Gettelman’s team sent future projections
upward at an unheard-of rate. NCAR found that CO₂ doubling would lead
to 5.3°C world, a 33% jump from the model’s past reading on global
Soon there were multiple teams at other institutions putting out new
climate-sensitivity numbers that looked like worst-case scenarios on
The Met Office Hadley Center, the U.K.’s main research group, found a
doubling of CO₂ would deliver 5.5°C warming. A team at the U.S.
Department of Energy ended up with 5.3°C, and the Canadian model
topped out at 5.6°C. France’s National Center for Meteorological
Research saw its estimate jump to 4.9°C from 3.3°C.
In all, as many as a fifth of new results published in the last year
have come in with anomalously high climate sensitivity. There are
dozens still left to report, and their results will determine whether
these grim forecasts are outliers or significant findings.
If there does turn out to be a consensus around these new, higher
estimates, that could have real impact on how governments and
businesses respond to climate risk.
The 2015 Paris Agreement asks nations to keep global warming below
1.5°C, an increasingly distant hope given that we’re now two-thirds of
the way there.
But the timetable on which the world agreed to act in the name of that
goal was formed, in part, by reading the very same climate models that
are now producing higher estimates.
And that could mean the goal envisioned by Paris is already out of reach.
Wyser was expecting to get calls from journalists about the disturbing
“It was known in the research community for, let’s say, about a year,”
he said. But he didn't know how to go about communicating the
findings, and almost no one outside of the tight network of
researchers came looking for answers. “It more or less just passed
Two researchers recently suggested that the world is currently on a
pathway to warm 3°C by 2100. But that estimate could be as low as
1.9°C or as high as 4.4°C, depending on how sensitive the real-world
climate turns out to actually be.
That question hinges on if the hot-running models are a match for
reality or missing something.
Climate models have been doing a fine job projecting warming for a
long time. A recent study compared models as old as 1970 with
observations made in the decades since.
Some models warmed up too much, and some too little, but 14 of 17 past
projections turned out to be consistent with the measured path of
global average temperatures.
“Particularly impressive” were models from the 1970s because there
wasn’t much observable evidence for warming at that time. Back then,
the paper noted, “the world was thought to have been cooling for the
past few decades.”
To a degree, every scientist suspects their model is wrong. There’s
even an aphorism about this: “All models are wrong, but some are
Those now attempting to figure out the mystery of the hot climate
models think one factor might have caused the recent unusual results:
clouds. It turns out simulated clouds often cause headaches for
“We hope it’s not the right answer”
Klaus Wyser’s group “switched off” some of the new cloud and aerosol
settings in their model, he said, and that sent climate sensitivity
back down to previous levels.
A new research paper co-authored by Zelinka from the Lawrence
Livermore National Lab likewise pointed to the role of virtual clouds
in determining the results.
It’s not as simple as reverting to older versions of these
simulations. The challenge ahead, Gettelman said, lies in figuring out
how tweaks to models can introduce such turmoil into the final
“What really scares me is that our model looked better for some really
good physical reasons,” he said. “So we can't throw them out yet.”
In the next year, climate-modeling groups will peruse each other’s
results to figure out how seemingly good improvements in cloud and
aerosol science may have pushed the models into hotter states.
These conversations happen in the open, through peer-reviewed
journals, conferences and blog posts. The authors of the main UN
climate-science reports will follow along and try to stitch together a
big picture, for release in 2021.
In the meantime, Gettelman and colleagues around the world will push
ahead. “It’s like a giant puzzle,” he said, “where everybody gets a
Thousands of African students trapped in China's Coronavirus-province @AfricanBizMag
Around 4,600 African students are currently trapped in the Chinese
province which sparked the fast-spreading Coronavirus, according to
data gathered by Beijing-based consultancy Development Reimagined.
China’s central province of Hubei, a popular university destination
for African students, is the epicentre of the virus and where the vast
majority of deaths have occurred since the outbreak late last year.
Wuhan, the provincial capital of around 11m people, is in a state of
African students trapped in the region must follow the guidelines put
in place by the Chinese government which bans them from venturing
outside or any form of travel.
Should the students wish to return home, the Chinese government is
seeking assurances they will be safely quarantined for a period of
14-days on arrival.
“For these students the situation is much more severe due to the
strict quarantine procedures and transport bans across the province,”
says Hannah Ryder, CEO of Development Reimagined which provided the
The UK, US, France, Japan and Australia have already evacuated some of
their citizens who will be transferred to secure units for two weeks
in order to help curb the pandemic.
As the World Health Organization announces a global emergency, African
governments are scrambling to put together a response. Morocco and
Algeria have publicly announced their intention to evacuate citizens,
with a few other African countries expected to follow.
However, due to Africa’s relatively poor healthcare systems China is
reluctant to allow governments to repatriate citizens trapped in
Many African countries lack the technology needed to diagnose the
virus or properly quarantine those affected.
According to data seen by African Business, the countries with the
most students in Hubei province are Ghana (408), Nigeria (361),
Ethiopia (305), Zimbabwe (288) and Tanzania (281).
Outside the danger-province, African students are permitted to travel
despite facing tight restrictions to their normal lives.
“In other provinces apart from Hubei, students have been allowed to
return to Africa,” says Ivan Kamali, studying at the Capital
University of Economics and Business in Beijing.
“The problem is inter-city travel. Everyone has been urged to stay
indoors and the streets are empty.”
There were 81,562 African students studying throughout the whole of
China in 2018, according to government statistics.
As the number of cases in China spirals to 9,809, fears are growing
over how long these students will remain protected from the virus.
So far, there are only three international cases of the virus inside
China from Pakistani and Australian nationals.
Yet the window to leave the country may fast be shrinking as airlines
across the world cancel flights to China in a bid to halt the spread
of the virus.
In East Africa, Kenya and Rwanda have encouraged their national
carriers to suspend all flights to and from China until further
notice. Flights by South African Airways and Ethiopian Airlines
currently continue despite mounting concerns.
Africa’s largest carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, runs six flights a day
to five destinations in China including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou,
Chengdu and Hong Kong. The busy airport in Ethiopia’s capital Addis
Ababa serves as Africa’s gateway to its largest Asian trading partner.
As it stands, there are suspected Coronavirus cases in Sudan, Angola,
Kenya and Ethiopia, but so far none have been fatal.
Spreading to almost all regions in the world, authorities remain
concerned that the virus’s relatively benign death rate of 2% could
nonetheless have a devastating impact if spread among millions of
Unlike Ebola, which continues to blight parts of the African
continent, the mildness of the Coronavirus is precisely what makes it
so dangerous as it allows it to spread.
Portugal welcomes dos Santos' sales of stakes @ReutersAfrica
It’s good news that Angola’s Isabel dos Santos has decided to sell her
investments in Portuguese companies, Portugal’s Economy Minister Pedro
Siza Vieira told Reuters, saying that would avoid any potential damage
to them as she battles fraud charges.
Eurobic, where she is the biggest shareholder, and Efacec, where she
owns 65%, have both said dos Santos has started the process of selling
“Her willingness to divest quickly is helpful,” Siza Vieira said in an
“This is a good step because we want to avoid any reputational damage
impacts in the activity of these companies,” he said, adding that
judicial investigations had to run their course and that he was not
preempting their conclusions.
Dos Santos, Eurobic, and Efacec did not immediately comment. Galp and
NOS declined to comment.
The Bank of Portugal said last month it had asked Eurobic about
Sonangol banking account transfers between Angola and Dubai.
The central bank is also carrying out an inspection of Eurobic to
assess its anti-money laundering safeguards. The unlisted bank said
last month that it was complying with all requirements to prevent
Portugal’s prosecutor’s office said it would investigate the files
leaked by the media and Angola’s public prosecutor is also looking
into dos Santos’ business dealings.
“Society has become more intolerant with corruption, lack of
transparency, tax evasion,” Siza Vieira said.
Zimbabwe: ED Pleads With Church to Cast Out Demons Afflicting Zimbabwe @allafrica @NewZimbabweCom
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has pleaded with indigenous
interdenominational church leaders to fight 'demons' haunting
Zimbabwe, which have seen its economy on a free fall.
Speaking at the National Day of Prayer at the Indigenous
Interdenominational Council of Churches (ZIICC) at the National Sports
Stadium in Harare Saturday, Mnangagwa told the churches gathered it
was critical for them to pray for Zimbabwe and cast out demons.
"We continuously depend on the church for the spiritual guidance,
shaping and moulding of individuals and societal moral values," he
"I urge churches to continue fasting and interceding for us in
leadership as well as for the realisation of our national vision. God
does not give nations bad plans. God gives us good plans to prosper as
a country but we need to pray to God for that blessing.
"Through your prayers, fight spiritual wars which our mortal bodies
cannot fight. We ask you, churches and the leaders, we ask you to
fight those wars spiritually in our country so that we are healed as a
Mnangagwa urged Zimbabweans to refrain from committing sin, bad ways
and went on to read and quote Bible verse.
"2 Chronicles verse 7-14. 'If my people who are called by my name
shall humble themselves; and pray and seek my face; and run away from
their wicked ways then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their
sin and heal their land.'"
Egypt's population is expected to hit 100m this month. six in ten are under 29 years old; 97% of the population is crammed into just 8% of the land; and the workforce will reach 80m within a decade.
Like many others, she wants to move to one of the new satellite
settlements being built for a booming population whose rapid growth
President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has identified as one of Egypt’s
biggest challenges alongside terrorism.
“I want to move them (her two children) to a place where people have
better mentalities, where there is education,” said the 36-year-old
resident of the Ard Al Lewa district, where rows of apartment blocks
rise above dusty, unpaved streets.
“Unfortunately, things are very difficult in places like this...so I
hope to be able to live to a good social standard.”
Egypt’s 100 millionth person is expected to be clocked up on the
official statistics agency’s digital counter in central Cairo in
The newborn will join a nation where six people in ten are under 29
years old, said Aleksandar Bodiroza, representative of the U.N.
populations fund in Egypt.
Many Arab and African countries are struggling with rising
populations. But in Egypt the pressures are acute, because 97% of its
people live on just 8% of its territory, crowded along the Nile,
Creating new space for housing, schools and hospitals is a priority as
Egypt’s population grows by 2.5 million people a year, he said. In
inhabited areas, 1,400 people are packed into every square kilometer.
The biggest problem is jobs. The workforce will reach 80 million
within 10 years, the World Bank says.
But to create enough jobs, annual economic growth needs to be at least
triple the population growth rate, said Radwa El-Swaify, head of
research at Pharos, a Cairo financial firm.
Based on population growth of 2.5% this would require 7.5% GDP growth,
compared with the government’s forecast of up to 5.9% for the current
In addition, Egypt’s economy could be hit by water shortages caused by
climate change and a Nile dam being built upstream by Ethiopia.
Infrastructure, including roads and public transport, will also come
under pressure as the population grows.
“Thirty years ago this whole area was agricultural land,” said Nabil
Rawash, 60, who also lives in Ard El Lewa.
“But with the overcrowding and population growth, people started
coming here to build,” he added, standing in a street packed with
people and cars.
Officials say they have managed to bring down fertility rates thanks
to a “Two is Enough” campaign challenging the tradition of large
families in rural areas.
This is aimed at more than 1.1 million poor families with up to three
children. The Social Solidarity Ministry has trained volunteers to
encourage people to have fewer children.
“During 2019, we have conducted 2,680,000 home visits,” said Desiree
Labib, project director at the ministry. “Among these visits 407,000
women have asked to be referred to family planning clinics.”
She pointed to a U.N. study which found the fertility rate dipped to
3.1 in 2018 from 3.5 in 2014.
“If we apply more discipline, so that families have less children, we
can reach fertility rates of 2.1 by 2032,” said Abdelhamid Sharaf El
Din, a senior statistics official.
That still means the population will grow to 153 million by 2052, but
if the fertility rate were 3.4 it would hit 191 million, he said.
Either way, the government needs to do something about congestion in
Cairo, home to about one in five Egyptians. It is planning to start
moving ministries as soon as June.
But for many, moving there is not an option due to lack of transport
and jobs, said Timothy Kaldas, non-resident fellow at the Tahrir
Institute for Middle East Policy.
“The over-centralization of Egypt’s state and economy has led to this
overwhelming concentration of Egyptians in one metropolis,” he said.
Ghana's Cedi Is the Year's Biggest Winner Against the U.S. Dollar @markets
Ghana’s cedi, the world’s best-performing currency against the dollar
this year, extended its advance on Monday as investors await a
Eurobond sale that would bolster the government’s coffers.
The currency of the world’s second-biggest cocoa producer has
strengthened 3.9% in 2020, the most among more than 140 currencies
tracked by Bloomberg, a turnaround from last year, when it weakened
The coronavirus outbreak and the recent lunar new year holiday in
China has cut back travel and trade, reducing demand for foreign
currency from Ghanaian importers, according to Nana Yaa Faakye, Head
of Treasury at Republic Bank Ghana Ltd.
The West African country is concluding a series of meetings with
international bond investors Monday for a sale of as much as $3
billion in Eurobonds.
“With the impending Eurobond issuance, which is likely to increase
foreign reserves, some buyers are betting that the cedi will
strengthen further,” Faakye said.
The central bank’s tight monetary stance is also supporting the
currency, said Steve Opata, head of financial markets at the Bank of
Market reforms including the introduction of forward-rate foreign
exchange auctions since October, with a target of $715 million this
year, are another factor in favor of cedi gains, he said.
“The country’s high nominal interest rates matter to investors as it
will give them some immunity when the currency depreciates,” Stephen
Bailey-Smith, a investment strategist at Kolding, Denmark-based Global
Evolution, said by phone.
“We have obviously seen some guys come back into the market.”
The Swedish Government changes its strategy for development cooperation with Tanzania @SwedeninTZ @MinisterPeterE
The new strategy differs from the previous strategy in that it entails
reduced support, with reference to the negative democratic
developments in the country.
The new strategy means that Sweden will strengthen its efforts in
prioritised areas such as human rights, democracy and gender equality,
and environment and climate.
In recent years, negative developments have taken place in Tanzania
with regard to human rights and democratic space.
Through the new strategy, activities and choice of cooperation
partners will together contribute to strengthening the conditions for
more democratic development in the country.
“This new strategy needs to focus on marginalised groups and the
defenders and bearers of democracy, and that is what the strategy is
going to do. Sweden will work more selectively with the Tanzanian
state in areas that are necessary to ensure that we can make a big
difference for the poorest people. At the same time, to enhance
democratic development we will strengthen support to civil society and
private actors,” says Minister for International Development
Cooperation Peter Eriksson.
Locust swarms threaten more countries in eastern Africa - @FAO @ReutersAfrica
Swarms of desert locusts could ravage more countries in eastern Africa
and threaten the livelihood of many more people, the United Nations’
Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said on Monday.
The swarms, first sighted in December, have already destroyed tens of
thousands of hectares (acres) of farmland in Kenya, Somalia and
Ethiopia, threatening food supplies in the worst locust invasion in 70
“There also other countries at risk, especially South Sudan, Uganda,
Eritrea...,” said Bukar Tijani, assistant director-general of the
FAO’s agriculture and consumer protection department.
FAO said at least one locust swarm had already been seen in Eritrea,
and several had also been sighted in Oman and Yemen.
Even before the locust invasion, some 11 million people in Ethiopia,
Somalia and Kenya were experiencing food insecurity, and the swarms
will worsen the situation, the FAO said.
“Therefore, we need to make all possible efforts to avoid such a
deterioration,” said Dominique Burgeon, director of the FAO
Emergencies and Rehabilitation Division, during a visit to Samburu and
Kitui counties, two of 15 affected regions in Kenya.
“We know that these locusts... can create massive devastation not only
in terms of crops but also in terms of pasture and therefore affecting
the livelihoods of the pastoralist communities... The only solution
that works is aerial spraying (of pesticides).”
Conflict and chaos in much of Somalia make spraying pesticide by
airplane - which the FAO calls the “ideal control measure” -
impossible, the agency said in December.
Somalia’s agriculture and irrigation ministry said it had declared the
locust invasion a national emergency.
Esther Kithuka, a farmer in Mwingi in eastern Kenya’s Kitui County,
said she was worried the locusts would destroy their crops, and that
another growing season due to start in April would be too short for
any meaningful production.
“We depend a lot on this season and we worry that the locusts will
destroy our harvest and we will end up remaining hungry through the
rest of the year waiting for October for the next cropping season,”
09-DEC-2019 :: Revelation 6:12-13 When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth
Revelation 6:12-13 When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and
behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as
sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky
fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken
by a gale.
@realDonaldTrump Will Meet Kenyan President as Trade Talks Set to Begin @economics
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta will meet President Donald Trump in
Washington this week as the two countries prepare to announce
negotiations on a free-trade agreement, America’s first such deal with
a sub-Saharan nation.
The pair will hold an “expanded bilateral meeting” on Feb. 6,
according to Trump’s official schedule, released on Sunday.
The East African nation’s cabinet on Jan. 30 approved the commencement
of talks with the U.S. for a trade deal that “would help Kenyan goods
to have smooth access to the expansive U.S. market,” especially as the
African Growth Opportunity Act comes to an end, according to a
AGOA, which provides 39 sub-Saharan African countries duty-free access
to the U.S. for about 6,500 products ranging from textiles to
manufactured items, expires in 2025.
Bloomberg News reported on Jan. 28 that the Trump administration wants
the accord to be a model for future pacts with African countries,
according to a person familiar with the plans.
Macharia Kamau, Kenya’s principal secretary for foreign affairs, said
the government expects real progress on the agreement by the third
quarter of this year.