Sunday 17 December 2017
(Voice of America 07/25/17)
The U.S. government says the HIV epidemic is "coming under control" in Swaziland, the country with the world's highest prevalence of the virus. The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) said Monday that new infections among adults in Swaziland have dropped by nearly half since 2011. It said the latest research also shows that life-saving anti-retroviral treatment has doubled in the country during the same time period and now reaches over 80 percent of infected adults. PEPFAR has focused much of its efforts on increasing access to anti-retroviral drugs for over 11 million people, mostly in sub-Saharan
(Voice of America 07/25/17)
European and African ministers are meeting in Tunisia about efforts to regulate the flow of refugees from Africa to Europe, primarily along the deadly central Mediterranean route originating in Libya. In a declaration Monday in Tunis, the capital, the ministers said they agreed on a multi-pronged approach to the crisis, including informing people about the risks of illegal migration and the possibility of voluntarily returning home, addressing why migrants leave home and beefing up actions against human traffickers. Participating in the meetings were interior ministers from Algeria, Austria, Chad, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Libya, Mali, Malta, Niger, Slovenia, Switzerland, Tunisia and Estonia, which currently holds the EU Council presidency. Through the first half of 2017, nearly 84,000 migrants arrived in...
(AFP (eng) 07/24/17)
Swaziland, which bears the world's heaviest HIV burden, has almost halved the rate of new infections in five years by boosting access to virus-suppressing drugs, researchers said Monday. The country -- where one in three adults is infected with the AIDS-causing virus -- has vastly expanded public programmes to test people for HIV infection and put them on life-saving anti-retroviral treatment (ART). "The rate of new HIV infections has been reduced by half," Velephi Okello of the Swazi health ministry told journalists at an HIV science conference in Paris. "Remarkable progress has been made... in controlling the HIV epidemic." In 2011, 31 percent of adults (aged 18-49) out of a total country population of just over 1.2 million were infected...
(APA 07/24/17)
Workers at Nedbank Swaziland embarked on a strike on Monday over a salary dispute, crippling operations at the financial institution and leaving scores of customers stranded. The strike followed a salary impasse between the management and the Swaziland Union for Financial and Allied Workers (SUFIAW). “The workers are demanding a 10-percent cost of living adjustment, which the bank has failed to put forward,” SUFIAW secretary general Jabu Shiba said in a statement. The employees said they would not accept the seven-percent offered by the bank, hence the resolution to engage in a strike. “The bank cited removal of cash deposit fees as the main reason they cannot give an offer above seven percent,” the secretary general said.
(Zambia Daily mail 07/21/17)
KING Mswati III has commended Zambia’s development efforts based on a people-centred approach and the commitment by President Lungu to lead the people of Zambia to prosperity. King Mswati particularly noted the impressive infrastructure development programmes taking place in most parts of the country. This is according to a joint communiqué issued yesterday after President Lungu’s three-day state visit to Swaziland at the invitation of King Mswati. “The King observed that there is need for the two countries to explore areas of cooperation and potential for trade, as well as share information, exchange experiences, best practices and visits.
(APA 07/21/17)
Cases of watery diarrhoea have increased from 71 percent to 92 percent in Swaziland between June and the first week of July, Health Minister Sibongile Simelane said on Friday. Simelane said in a report that “this type of diarrhoea remains high when compared to diarrhoea with severe dehydration and persistent diarrhoea.” The minster however assured the country that the figures do not mean there was an outbreak of diarrhoea in Swaziland but only that people are now more aware of the dangers of the disease and visit clinics when they observe the symptoms. "The ministry has been monitoring the prevalence of diarrhoea in the country's public hospitals," she said. The minister was speaking at the launch of the July diarrhoea...
(AFP (eng) 07/21/17)
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations will expand from 16 to 24 teams and be staged in June and July, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced on Thursday. The tournament has traditionally been held in January and February, with the timing of the tournament a source of frustration to European clubs forced to release players in the middle of the season. The CAF executive committee confirmed the changes to the format following a two-day symposium in Rabat, although the tournament will continue to be held every two years and exclusively on African soil. The decision to increase the number of teams mirrors a similar one taken by UEFA to expand the European Championship, with 24 nations taking part at...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/20/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa's major central banks are entering an easing cycle as they try to stimulate growth after months of drought, austerity drives and confidence issues across the continent, a Reuters poll found on Thursday. Much of southern and eastern Africa is still recovering after an El Niño-related drought wilted crops last year. Poor business confidence in South Africa and foreign exchange restrictions in Nigeria have also hampered growth. "We expect that African monetary policy is entering a widespread and protracted period of policy easing. This will provide a boost to growth," said John Ashbourne, Africa analyst at Capital Economics. Ghana, which agreed a three-year fiscal discipline deal with the International Monetary Fund in exchange for aid in 2015,...
(Bloomberg 07/19/17)
Vodacom Group Ltd. sees the expansion of mobile-banking services into new markets in sub-Saharan Africa as a top priority following a shareholder vote to rubber stamp its purchase of a 35 percent stake in Safaricom Ltd., Kenya’s biggest company. “We will use Safaricom to enter other markets where neither Vodacom nor Safaricom are,” Chief Executive Officer Shameel Joosub said in an interview at the wireless carrier’s annual general meeting in Johannesburg on Tuesday. The two businesses have a combined 30 million mobile-banking customers, giving them “a very sizeable platform on the continent,” he said. Vodacom’s purchase of the Safaricom stake from U.K. parent company Vodafone Group Plc gives the South African company access to the fast-growing M-Pesa platform, which processed...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/18/17)
Three years after he risked his life crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy on a small boat crammed with migrants, 22-year-old Sow Muhammed can hardly believe his luck. The former street hawker from Guinea now works as a caterer in Venice, rents his own apartment, and sends money back home regularly to his mother and siblings in the West African nation. "I am happy I came to Europe, and my family is also happy," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation as he packed up leftovers at a training event for people who work with refugees, where he had served a menu which included traditional African dishes. "I talk to my family frequently, ask them their needs, and help...
(Xinhuanet 07/17/17)
Africa is making progress towards the establishment of a trade zone by Oct. 30 that will cover approximately half of the continent's member states. The Common Market for the Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Director of Trade and Customs, Francis Mangeni, said in a commentary published in the Star Newspaper on Monday that so far 19 of the 26 countries involved have signed the agreement. "Three outstanding annexes had meant the tripartite agreement was not complete and this was advanced by some countries as the reason they could not sign or ratify the agreement. However their adoption represented a milestone in the negotiation, as it removed the last obstacle to signing and ratifying the agreement," Mangeni said. The tripartite free...
(Cnbc Africa 07/12/17)
"Africa is an awakening giant," according to the former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk speaking at the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul. The leader who oversaw the transition of his country's power to Nelson Mandela said Tuesday that the future looks bright for a continent previously blighted by war, famine and a lack of infrastructure. "I believe Africa is an awakening giant and, yes, it is not performing according to what we expected soon enough, but it will perform," he said. De Klerk believes that African countries are primed to take advantage of the world's growing size. "If we look at food shortages for the rest of the world with a growing population, Africa is the solution," he...
(APA 07/11/17)
Robust energy and water infrastructure is crucial to the success of efforts by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to achieve rapid industrial development, Swazi Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini said on Tuesday. Officially opening a joint meeting of ministers responsible for energy and water in SADC, Dlamini said there is need for substantial investment in energy and water infrastructure to ensure rapid and inclusive industrialisation in the region. “We know that faster industrialisation is the key to more rapid economic growth and greater prosperity in a sustainable manner and we are aware that without a sustainable development of energy and water infrastructure our development plans cannot be achieved,” he said. SADC has since 2014 set its sight on transforming the...
(APA 07/11/17)
As many as 28 coaches from the Premier League and national First Division League are undertaking a FIFA MA youth training course in Swaziland, APA learned on Tuesday. The topics for this course include “structuring a training session”, “the youth and fitness for young players”. Swaziland is the host country for the five-day course held at the Swaziland Water Services Corporation (SWSC) Building in Ezulwini, where former South African Football Association (SAFA) technical director and former Bloemfontein Celtics mentor Serame Letsoaka is the instructor. Frederick Mngomezulu, CEO of the National Football Association of Swaziland, said the course was vital because the future of the beautiful game relied on the competence...
(Voice of America 07/11/17)
In the past five years, terrorist attacks have killed nearly 20,000 people across Africa. Two groups, Boko Haram and al-Shabab, accounted for 71 percent of reported incidents and 91 percent of fatalities. But, while these and other militant groups remain active, fatal terrorist attacks across the continent are on pace to fall for a second straight year, and the total number of attacks is running far below 2012 highs. These findings are part of VOA’s original analysis of data from ACLED, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project. ACLED tracks political violence, protests and terrorist events across Africa. Their reports include attacks since 1997 based on data collected from local news media, government statements, non-governmental organizations and published research...
(Bloomberg 07/10/17)
Many cell phone companies are rethinking their headlong rush into the continent. Only Orange is staying the course. Back when African countries were auctioning off mobile licenses by the boatload to serve the region’s young, tech-savvy population, investing in the continent’s fast-growing economies seemed like a no-brainer. Some of the world’s biggest wireless carriers rushed in. Now they’re wondering if they made a mistake. Increasing government and regulatory scrutiny, as well as a lack of expansion opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa, are making it harder for operators such as Vodafone Group Plc, Orange SA and Bharti Airtel Ltd. to grow. Their choice: Pull back or double down. Two companies beating at least a partial retreat are Millicom International Cellular SA, which...
(APA 07/07/17)
The Swazi government has appointed a 13-member task force to spearhead its fight against money-laundering and terrorism, APA reports here on Friday. Finance Minister Martin Dlamini announced the team through Legal Notice No 101 of 2017 which he said was in line with efforts by the Central Bank of Swaziland and the Swaziland Bankers Association to curb crime. The committee, which is chaired by Joseph Nxumalo, will assist in the enforcement of the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act of 2011 as amended. “This legislation provides for principles and standards to be applied in deterring and detecting money laundering and terrorist financing risks in the financial system with a view to prevent criminals from using the banking system for laundering...
(APA 07/07/17)
Swaziland’s national soccer team, Sihlangu was ranked in position 132 in June, down from 90th position the previous month, according to the latest rankings released by FIFA on Thursday. The drop is said to be sharp as the national team was sitting at position 88 out of 206 just two months ago. National Football Association of Swaziland spokesperson Muzi Radebe attributed the decline to inactivity by the squad during the past few months. In Africa, Swaziland was ranked at position 37 out of 54. FIFA rankings are essential for a football-playing nation as they improve a country’s profile and also have impact in the seeding process during international competitions.
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
The African Union's new chair Moussa Faki Mahamat on Wednesday questioned US commitment to fighting terrorism on the continent after it blocked efforts to get UN funding for an anti-jihadist force in the Sahel. "This is a specific case of a certain number of African states taking the initiative to create a dedicated force to fight terrorism. So, we don't understand how the United States could hold back or not engage in the fight against terrorism," Faki said in an interview with AFP. Faki's January election as chairperson of the AU commission came days after the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, who has proposed slashing US funding for aid projects and multilateral institutions like the UN. The former Chadian...
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
The costs of diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa could double to almost $60 billion annually just 13 years from now, as obesity fuels an explosion of the disease, a report said Thursday. In 2015, the overall diabetes cost in the region was nearly $20 billion (18 billion euros), or 1.2 percent of total economic production, according to research published by The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. This included medication and hospital stays, and loss of labour productivity due to illness or death. About half of all treatment costs were paid for by patients themselves.

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