NEW YORK | NAIROBI - Kenya’s tea planters are in for a much-needed lift with or without caffeine as trade with one the world’s 10 biggest tea-consuming nations comes on line.
East African tea exports to Iran are expected to jump more than fivefold by 2019 as trade with the Persian Gulf nation normalizes after western sanctions are lifted, a regional tea traders’ association said.
NEW YORK | ADDIS ABABA - Surely, Ethiopia would rather be known for something other than the cyclical hunger-producing droughts spurred in part by regular episodes of El Nino.
Ethiopia is the world's fastest growing economy. Ethiopia has been doing very well over the last about 15 years. Millions of people have been lifted out of poverty as the economy has been growing faster than anywhere else in the world.
Some in the international community may not even remember 1984, when a drought compounded by political unrest developed into a famine that killed more than a million people.
NEW YORK | KAMPALA - The unspoiled Zika forest, located on the edge of Lake Victoria, home to birds, leopards, rabbits, pythons and other wildlife, is suddenly abuzz with curious western journalists and others eager to visit the birthplace of the mosquito which has been linked to an alarming condition among new-borns in Brazil.
"People have been calling me and saying, 'What are you going to do with that mosquito? What are you still doing there?'” recounted a bewildered Gerald Mukisa, the caretaker and tour guide at the forest. “I tell them that I have lived here for seven years and nothing has ever happened to me."
NEW YORK | PRETORIA - An ill wind of layoffs, company closings and unpopular labour reforms are taking a toll on South Africa’s once powerful trade union movement.
Membership in the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has slumped from a peak of 2.19 million four years ago to 1.8 million, following the expulsion of its largest affiliate, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa.
NEW YORK | PRETORIA - A protracted battle over pricey upgrades to the country estate of President Jacob Zuma – charged to the national treasury – appears close to settlement.
In an about-face, President Zuma has agreed to pay back state money for some of the upgrades. The President was scheduled to appear in the week beginning February 9 before South Africa’s Constitutional Court on the issue.
ADDIS ABABA (IDN) - The African Union Commission (AUC) has bestowed two distinguished African Scientists with the prestigious Kwame Nkrumah Continental Scientific Awards 2015, sponsored by the European Union since 2009 as a sign of recognition for top African scientists at national, regional and continental levels.
NEW YORK | KAMPALA - The Ugandan manufacturers of a solar-powered bus are showing off their creation at a stadium in Kampala. A 35-seater, it uses two batteries and the direct rays of an equatorial sun.
Solar panels attached to the roof power the 35-seater. Hopefully, partners will be found to help manufacture the bus for the mass market.
The brainchild of Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC) of Uganda, the bus was dubbed ‘Kayoola’ – loosely translated as ‘mass carrier’.
NEW YORK | NAIROBI - Africa appears to be registering lower AIDS infection rates around the continent but with some exceptions. A new pediatric study has found that 19,000 children in Homa Bay county, Kenya, are infected with HIV.
While HIV is rarely a page one story these days, the virus is particularly rampant in Kenya where one in every four people in the county of Homa Bay, bordering Lake Victoria, lives with HIV. The area contributes the highest number of new infections in the country, recording 15,000 new HIV infections in 2013 alone, according to the Kenya HIV Prevention Revolution Road Map 2014.
NEW YORK | TUNIS - Thousands of Tunisian police rallied for pay raises on January 25, joining a growing movement of Tunisian citizens turning up the heat on Prime Minister Habib Essid with demands for “work, freedom and dignity”.
Once hailed as the success story of the Arab Spring for its democratic progress, Tunisia has become a poster child for the dangers in ignoring economic malaise, alienation and frustrations of North African youth.
Five years ago, a college graduate turned fruit vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, ended his life after he faced abuse from police. On January 24, a copycat suicide ended the life of Ridha Yahyaoui who was refused a job. His action sparked riots in some of the same impoverished towns that brought down the previous regime.