Following concerns from conservationists in Zimbabwe, who accused two Chinese companies of exploring for coal in the biggest national park, Hwange, the government has banned mining in all its national parks.
After a cabinet meeting, information minister Monica Mutsvangwa told reporters on Tuesday that “mining on areas held by national parks is banned with immediate effect. Steps are being undertaken to immediately cancel all mining title held in national parks.”
The move came after campaigners took the government to court to prevent “ecological degradation” in parks.
Hwange, in western Zimbabwe, is home to the country’s biggest elephant herd with more than 40,000 of them, also with large prides of lions as well as buffalo, among other game and birds that are popular with tourists.
Earlier, ANN reported elephants have been dying mysteriously in Zimbabwe. There are more than twenty-two fatalities among the elephant population in the Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls. Zimbabwe National Parks and wildlife Management Authority suspects bacterial infection, possibly from eating poisonous plants, could be responsible for the deaths.
Mutsvangwa also announced a ban on mining along most river beds, in a decision that would affect small-scale Chinese and local gold miners.
Before the halt, two Chinese firms, Afrochine Energy and Zimbabwe Zhongxin Coal Mining Group had planned to mine in the park in a joint venture with the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.
China is a major investor in Zimbabwe and a close ally of the government.
Uganda: Sickle Cell Awareness Fundraising Campaign Launched
A sickle cell awareness fundraising campaign has been launched by Uganda’s ministry of health to create awareness about sickle cell disease and to provide free screening services to stakeholders.
The exercise is expected to help give specialized health care, to promote awareness and testing, and to provide tele-medicine services.
The campaign is a joint effort with CTI Africa Uganda sickle cell rescue foundation.
A study has shown a prevalence of sickle cell trait at a very high rate of more than thirteen percent. As a result, health authorities have called for premarital and newborn screening.
The ministry’s director-general for health services, Dr. Henry Nwebesa, says the ministry will strengthen partnerships and ensure every sickle cell child is able to live a quality life.
Sickle cell is a chronic illness that effects people from childhood and restricts them for participating in many activities that could affect their conditions.
Ivory Coast President Says New West African Currency Launch May Take Five Years
The plan to launch a new currency to replace the CFA franc-being used by several French speaking west African countries has been postponed. Ivory coast president Alessane Ouattara, said the coronavirus pandemic has derailed the project to introduce the eco currency this year.
Last December, the eight countries of west Africa’s monetary union decided to sever the financial colonial link with France by switching to a new currency called the Eco, which the union says would be pegged to the European Union’s euro. Other countries that do not use the CFA franc, like Nigeria and Ghana, are also interested in adopting the new regional currency.
The plan has been affected by the economic fallout of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Eco launch may not happen for at least five years. The international monetary fund predicts sub-Saharan Africa’s economy will contract by more than 3% this year.
Nations in the bloc, former French colonies, like Benin, Mali, Niger and Senegal have agreed to work towards reducing their budget deficits to below 3% of GDP, a measure of the value of their economies.
Anti-Nigerian Hashtag Trends In South Africa
South Africa`s internet is buzzing with top trending hashtag on twitter #NigeriansMustGo in a latest sign of growing xenophobia in the country. Last week, a protest was held outside the Nigerian high commission where locals were asking that South Africans be put first.
Demonstrators held a small protest at the Nigerian diplomatic building in Pretoria, under the hashtag #PutSouthAfricansFirst.
During last week’s protest, Nigeria’s high commissioner Bala Kabiru said “we don’t accept the profiling of Nigerians in South Africa.”
Some South Africans accuse immigrants of taking the jobs of locals, and of being involved in crime. Others say most immigrants are law-abiding, and should not be blamed for South Africa’s economic and social problems.
Digital forensic research lab – which is made up of forensic researchers who track conflicts – said last week, it had identified a dismissed lance corporal in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) running a fake Twitter account used to fuel xenophobia.
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