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South African Consumers Face Rising Debt Levels Following COVID-19 Lockdown

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South African Consumers Face Rising Debt Levels Following COVID-19 Lockdown

South African consumers are seeing a rise in debt levels as their net incomes have drastically declined following COVID-19 lockdowns that took effect in April.

The finance minister said in an emergency budget in June South Africa’s economy is expected to decline by 7.2 percent this year because of the pandemic, its worst performance in nearly a century.

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Consumers in the country have gone deeper into debt, affecting more of those with higher incomes.
Many South Africans are now having trouble making ends meet as a result of poor economic performance

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Data from the central bank confirms an increase in unsecured loans which has become a concern to many economists and analysts.

Mid and lower income families are said to be in a relatively better position and their debt levels haven’t escalated to the same levels as the high-net-worth families.

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The sluggish economy has also triggered a rise in unemployment.

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Uganda: Sickle Cell Awareness Fundraising Campaign Launched

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Sickle cell is a chronic illness that effects people from childhood and restricts them for participating in many activities that could affect their conditions.

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Ivory Coast President Says New West African Currency Launch May Take Five Years

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Anti-Nigerian Hashtag Trends In South Africa

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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.

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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.

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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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