Leopard sighting in Cameroon raises hopes of conservationists

In recent years, ecologists have been able to confirm the existence of species previously thought to be lost from former parts of their range. For example, in 2020, lowland gorillas were confirmed to persist in central mainland Equatorial Guinea by researchers from the University of the West of England. This year, Babirusa, a southeast Asian wild pig species, were documented for the first time in 26 years on Buru Island, Indonesia.

Leopard sighting in Cameroon raises hopes of conservationists

By deploying cameras in wildlife habitat, researchers can gather valuable information about the animals that live there and how many may be left. This is especially important in areas subject to intense human pressure, which has increasingly left species under threat.

In 2019, researchers deployed 19 camera traps in southern Cameroon. A sighting of an adult leopard was captured by camera traps in the Campo-Ma'an area. This was the first sighting of a leopard in 20 years. The findings were valuable in confirming the presence of leopards in the area but a great deal more work needs to be done, according to Robert Weladji PhD, Professor of Biology at the Concordia University.

Gas-powered buses to operate on Nigerian roads

As the world shifts attention from petrol-powered vehicles, Austrian Technologies Nigeria has introduced natural gas-powered vehicles into the Nigerian market; promising to substantially reduce carbon emission from vehicles and the attendant danger to human health. The firm announced this in a statement which also provided details of the full range of the ECO-Green buses.

Gas-powered buses to operate on Nigerian roads

The Chief Executive Officer of Austrian Technologies Nigeria, Johann Rieger, said the buses built with European standards for critical climate and infrastructure were targeted at private and public transport operators in Nigeria.  The buses are rated among the safest and most economical mass transit vehicles globally and can reduce carbon footprints by 95 per cent and operating cost by 30 per cent.

He said, "We also have 5.4m (Hiace type), as well as 6.5m and 7.5m (Toyota Coaster) type buses. This is crucial for the further development of the Nigerian transport sector to include Danfo operators and other stakeholders in public transport operations." He further added that the buses had been equipped with gas engines of higher emission standards (Euro 5) with no toxic, smog or smoke; guaranteeing reduced noise and lower fuel cost.

The ECO-Green buses featured roof mounted CNG cylinder with up to 500km range and gas leakage detection system; tyre pressure monitoring system; two emergency roof hatches (front/rear); fire extinguisher in driver's cabin and automatic fire extinguishers in engine compartment; all disc brakes with automatic slack adjuster and ABS.

Other safety features included speed limiter; alcohol test and driver's fatigue detection with driver's biometric identification, CCTV camera system that can be directly integrated into the city surveillance system; reverse camera; handicapped ramp and wheelchair area.

Up to 70 per cent of all components of the ECO-Green buses will be manufactured or assembled locally within five years of operation, including the first green engine. The company offers bus simulators, bus scanners, telematics and ICT and intensive training of drivers and maintenance personnel to assure proper maintenance of the vehicles.

WHO and the Government of Japan establish a port health facility in South Sudan

To improve capacity for coordination and communication to mitigate the risk of cross-border spread of disease and other public health threats, WHO with support from the Government of Japan has established and handed over a port health facility at the Juba International Airport to the Ministry of Health in South Sudan.

WHO and the Government of Japan establish a port health facility in South Sudan

The international health regulations (IHR (2005)) mandate countries to designate, strengthen, and maintain capacities at points of entry to mitigate the risk of cross-border disease spread and preserve international public health security.

"Establishing a port health facility in Juba and other designated points of entry will help South Sudan to expand surveillance and response capacity to timely detect, assess, report and respond promptly and effectively to public health risks among international travelers at the frontiers, said Honorable Dr Victoria Anib Majur, Undersecretary, Ministry of Health. "I am grateful to the Government of Japan and WHO for the generous support" Honorable Dr Anib added. He urged the port health team at Juba International Airport to use the facility to the maximum and ensure that surveillance and public health measures are in place to protect travelers and ensure the people of South Sudan.

The Government of Japan, in partnership with the UN agencies, has supported South Sudan's effort to combat COVID-19 and other diseases through various projects including construction and improvement of health facilities, provision of thermal scanners and medical supplies, and improvement of vaccine cold chain.

"Japan's assistance to South Sudan through WHO will help in preventing the cross-border spread of COVID-19 and other diseases and accordingly saves more lives", said H.E. Tsutsumi Naohiro, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of South Sudan.

Dr Fabian Ndenzako, the WHO Representative a.i. for South Sudan noted that South Sudan has reached a significant milestone by establishing the Port Health facility at the Juba International Airport, in fulfillment of its obligation under the IHR (2005) and in line with the South Sudan National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) 2020-2024.

South Sudan has continually faced an increased risk of emerging diseases like Ebola virus, yellow fever, cholera, the ongoing COVID-19 and other diseases with a threat to international public health security due to cross-border diseases spread. To reduce their impact, WHO is working collaboratively with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders to strengthen capacities for in-country and cross border surveillance and response within the framework of the integrated disease surveillance and response (IDSR). The IDSR is the core strategy for strengthening national disease surveillance systems in the WHO African Region and was approved by the Regional Committee in 1998.

Kenya to adopt DNA barcodes to protect and save fish resources

Kenya will use fish DNA barcodes to fight illegal exploitation and smuggling of sea resources. The scientific exercise involves harvesting different species, generating molecular specimen and profiling them to build a reference library of the country's aquatic organisms, to enable the government to conclude different pending cases as a result of illegal fishing.

Kenya to adopt DNA barcodes to protect and save fish resources

Before the DNA barcoding begins, researchers will collect random, different kinds of fish from fishermen, which will be photographed. Fin clips obtained from the dorsal fins will be stored immediately, in 100% ethanol, before long-term storage in a freezer at -20°C.

Thomas Mkare, a senior research scientist at Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) said: "even though Kenya has more than 6,000 commercial species, for years they could not claim any illegally harvested fish originated from the country. With this scientific exercise, we will be able to claim our resources since even though fish look similar physically, each has special molecular identification which is associated with a certain region," he said.

MTN invests $35 million in network expansion and upgrades

MTN has invested US$35 million towards network upgrades and expansion in the KwaZulu-Natal province this year. It has also allocated resources towards rebuilding informal shops that were destroyed during the unrest in the province in July. The multi million dollar investment is part of its network modernization of South Africa project (MONZA).

MTN invests $35 million in network expansion and upgrades

The investment will see an upgrade and expansion of network infrastructure throughout the province. This year’s investment is almost double compared to previous year to achieve long-term evolution (LTE or 4G) coverage of 92 percent throughout the province.

“Our strategy is on track to deliver accelerated growth over the next two-and-a-half years in the KZN region by optimizing key nodes, modernization, investment, further LTE rollout and 5G expansion,” said Matthew Khumalo, MTN General Manager: KwaZulu-Natal. The investment will allow MTN to further expand its 5G network in the region.

Vodacom invests in solar-powered sites as part of energy saving drive

Vodacom has spent US$563K on solar-powered sites as part of its energy and carbon management strategy and commitment to reducing impact on the environment. The facilities by the South African-based company have been installed in Bloemfontein, Polokwane and Vereeniging.

Vodacom invests in solar-powered sites as part of energy saving drive

These sites are in addition to a solar project installed at a base station controller site in Randburg, Gauteng, in May last year. Collectively, the three new sites will generate approximately 127 MWh of energy on an annual basis, which will help to reduce the telco’s carbon emissions and lower its electricity consumption.

“As the demand for digital services grows, we will need more energy to keep these services running,” said Takalani Netshitenzhe, Executive Director of External Affairs at Vodacom South Africa. “In anticipation of this growth, and despite the current economic challenges, we are investing in strategies to decrease our energy consumption while reducing the use carbon intensive sources of energy,” Netshitenzhe said. Netshitenzhe said by reducing carbon footprint, Vodacom’s aim was to mitigate climate change and its effects on the planet.

“Solar-powered sites are just one of the innovative ways to introduce cleaner, more sustainable energy sources to keep our mobile networks running and our customers connected in an ever increasing digital society,” the official said. The solar projects are aligned with Vodacom’s purpose-led journey, in which the company has committed to improve the lives of 100 million people and reduce its environmental impact in half by 2025.

Madagascar tops African countries in terms of Internet speeds

The development of the internet & technology and its emergence worldwide have brought several advantages to its population. It has allowed people to substantially improve the quality of their lives, earn a living through the internet, and also allowed people to know things that they didn't know before.

Madagascar tops African countries in terms of Internet speeds

Africa is one of those continents that has a huge number of internet users, with the number ranging to be about 525 million users according to a report from 2020. This figure is significantly greater than those in Latin America & the Caribbean and the Middle East. Despite having so many internet users, African countries generally lag behind many countries in terms of internet speeds.

The top ten African countries in terms of Internet speeds including Madagascar (32.07) which places the country at the top of Africa and 33rd Globally, which is a bit surprising as it is ahead of developed countries like the UK and Australia. The improvement in the internet speeds is because of the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System that is supplying the country with fiber broadband speeds. Madagascar has had the fastest internet in the continent since 2018 and has been topping the charts since.

Cape Verde is ranked at number two, with the second-fastest internet speeds in Africa with an average internet speed of around 27.53 Mbps that puts the islands at 136th place globally. In early 2017, only 19% of the people in the country owned a cellular phone out of which only 70% of them had access to the internet but with the efforts of government and ISPS like Vizocom in the country, the internet access, and speeds have improved greatly.

At third place is the Republic of Seychelles which is an archipelagic island country in the Indian Ocean at the eastern edge of the Somali Sea. The country has an average internet speed of 26.76 Mbps which makes it the third-fastest in Africa and because it is one of the top tourist destinations in Africa, there is no surprise that the internet in this country is of great quality.

The remaining seven countries include Ghana at number four (23.98 Mbps), South Africa is number five with an average speed of 23.17 Mbps. Gabon is in the list of the top 10 with an average internet speed of 21.89 Mbps. Liberia is number seven on the list with an average internet speed of 21.34 Mbps. Togo is currently ranked #8 in Africa, with an average internet speed of 20.14 Mbps.  Mauritius is providing an average speed of 19.24 Mbps to the consumers in the country that ranks it and number nine on the list and Senegal comes at ten on the list with an average internet speed of 18.65 Mbps.

Kenya keeps dominating the world in track athletics

Kenya is one of those countries that is known for producing top athletes year in and year out. In the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Kenya managed to get a total of 10 Medals ( four gold, four silver, and two bronze) and in the 2016 Rio Olympics, Kenya managed to get six gold medals and a total of 13 medals.

Kenya keeps dominating the world in track athletics

Kenya is known for producing world-class track stars and Kenyan athletes are so dominant in the whole world. It is a tradition that Africa has been producing some very talented and world-class athletes but no other nation on the continent of Africa has the ability to produce champions year in and year out like Kenya.

There are many theories as to why this is the case and why Kenyan athletes are dominating the whole world in track. Some say that it is their genes while others say that most of the runners are from the Rift Valley, a part of the country that is located at high altitude and this gives an advantage to the athletes over the rest but whatever the reasons may be, there is no denying that Kenyan athletes are no less than world-class.

The government of Kenya treats athletes as role models and then uses them as a way to inspire young athletes. This not only encourages the young athletes to stay motivated and keep working to achieve higher goals.

This approach is also helpful for the athletes as they have an institutional structure and background support. In other countries, the athletes are usually not respected by governments and do not help them. This is not only discouraging for the athletes but also for younger athletes who are discouraged by this and do not pursue this as a career choice.

The British World and Olympic Champion Mo Farah tells the story about the dedication of the Kenyan athletes that he witnessed when he decided to train with Kenyan athletes and saw them only doing three things; “just eat, sleep and train and nothing else” All of this was a huge shock for the British athlete and he was surprised to see the level of dedication of the Kenyan athletes and how devoted they were to their job.

This level of dedication, devotion, professionalism, and intense hard work is what distinguishes Kenyan athletes from the rest of the world. Kenyan athletes are managed by the same kind of people who manage the top athletes such as Usain Bolt and Mo Farah and this explains that if you are being managed by high-level people then it means that you are doing everything right and competing at the highest level. This gives them the chance to compete with the best and become the best in the world.

This is not only the case for Kenyan athletes. In various other countries of Africa such as Nigeria, the government is paying special attention to sports and is actively supporting the athletes. Even in other games such as Board Games, Nigeria has made a name for itself and is considered the most Scrabble-Obsessed nation in the world. Nigeria is a champion in Scrabble and the government is supporting the Scrabble players to become the best in the world.

The players have also been trying their best to excel at the game by getting help from different tools such as Scrabble Word Finder  which helps the players to tackle difficult situations in the game. The Scrabble players have also been practicing their Scrabble skills on similar word games like Words With Friends  to improve at the game as much as possible. All of this is done by the support of the government which not only encourages the current players to keep grinding to become the best but also motivates the young, emerging players to choose this as a career path.

This is what differs these athletes and players from the rest of the world. In these countries, even high schools are encouraging the athletes and the young athletes also see the economic potential in this sport that’s encouraging the athletes in Kenya.

Mastercard Foundation to develop African youth leaders

The Mastercard Foundation and University of Rwanda announced a 10-year, $55 million partnership to enable higher education access for 1,200 young Africans - with a focus on women pursuing STEM, young people with disabilities, and refugee and displaced youth - as part of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. 

Mastercard Foundation to develop African youth leaders

Launched in 2012, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is committed to developing Africa's next generation of transformative leaders by providing economically disadvantaged students with skills training, leadership development, counseling, mentoring, internships, and career services. The Scholars Program has committed nearly 40,000 scholarships to date.

Established in 2013, the University of Rwanda is the largest and most comprehensive higher education institution in Rwanda with a mission to produce transformative and highly enterprising leaders who contribute to building a more just and sustainable world.

"We are thrilled that the University of Rwanda has become a partner in the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program," said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation. "The mission and programs of the University are inextricably linked to the country's national goals. That's why this partnership is especially compelling as it will be preparing young people for careers across multiple disciplines and for real-life problem-solving," she added.

The new partnership will build the University of Rwanda's capacity to deliver inclusive, blended learning and contribute to a robust knowledge ecosystem that supports new and meaningful pathways to work for young people. It is aligned with the Mastercard Foundation's Young Africa Works strategy to enable 30 million young Africans, particularly young African women, to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.

"The University of Rwanda believes strongly in the vision of the Mastercard Foundation," said University of Rwanda Vice Chancellor Professor Alexandre Lyambabaje. "That is why we made the decision to partner with the Foundation to scale up our efforts in training transformative leaders and highly enterprising graduates and prepare them to make meaningful change on the African continent. This program aligns with the Rwanda National Transformation Strategy and its impact will resonate at the University of Rwanda, among our stakeholders, and through the larger East African Community."

The University of Rwanda joins a global network of 29 Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Partners committed to ensuring that all young people, no matter their starting point in life, have an equal chance to obtain quality education and pursue their aspirations.

The University of Rwanda (UR) is a public, multi-campus institution offering a wide range of academic studies. Established in 2013 through the merger of previously independent public institutions of higher education, UR has since graduated a total number of 49,477 students with 36% being females and 64% males. 

The University runs undergraduate, postgraduate, and certificate courses in the STEM and non- STEM fields at its six colleges (Science and Technology, Medicine and Health Sciences, Business and Economics, Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Education, and Arts and Social Sciences). 

The University  hosts the African Centres of Excellence in Internet of Things, in Data Sciences, in Renewable Energy and in Teaching Sciences, and Mathematics. Other Centres of Excellence are: Regional Centre of Excellence for Vaccines, Immunization and Health Supply Chain Management (EAC RCE-VIHSCM), the Regional Centre of Excellence in Biomedical Engineering and eHealth (CEBE), and the East African Institute for Fundamental Research (ICTP-EAIFR).

UAE - South Africa to strengthen trade ties

Abdullah Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry has received Paul Mashatile, Official Special Envoy of South Africa's President, Cyril Ramaphosa, and the accompanying delegation, at the chamber’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi. Members of the Chamber’s Executive Office, Mohamed Helal Al Mheiri, Director-General of the Chamber, and his Deputies Abdullah Ghurair Al Qubaisi and Helal Al Hameli, attended the meeting as well. The sides discussed increasing economic and trade cooperation relations between their countries.

UAE - South Africa to strengthen trade ties

Al Mazrouei said that the UAE is very keen to increase and diversify its exports to South Africa considering the pivotal and promising investment opportunities in the African continent, especially South Africa. He explained that South Africa demonstrates strong economic growth rates and is one of the biggest countries on the African continent. "It is a strategic hub for African and international markets," he added.

Al Mazrouei affirmed the readiness of the Abu Dhabi Chamber to provide all the necessary services and support to open new doors for fruitful trade cooperation and form new partnerships in different sectors as well as drawing new plans for work together and increasing trade visits and the flow of investments between Abu Dhabi and Africa.

Special Envoy Mashatile, who is currently on a business visit to the UAE, expressed his delight at visiting the Abu Dhabi Chamber and its interest in cementing the economic and trade cooperation with his country, emphasizing that the bilateral relations between the two sides are witnessing increased development in different fields due to the support of their countries’ leaderships.

Mashatile pointed to the importance of allowing Emirati investors to explore new investments in South Africa and to expose them to all the available investment opportunities and promote the attractive investment environment of Abu Dhabi amongst South African businesses. 
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