Connect with us

Africa Today

Russian Aluminium delivers Sputnik V vaccine to Guinea

Published

on

Russian Aluminium (RusAl), a leading global aluminium producer, has delivered to Guinea a consignment of the world’s first registered vaccine against COVID-19 Sputnik V, as well as medical preparations and consumables for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.

A delegation of the Russian Foreign Ministry, as well as representatives from RusAl, arrived in Conakry with a medical cargo. The ceremony took place at the capital’s airport where 10,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine were delivered in the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guinea, Ibrahima Kalil Kaba, who, on behalf of the President of Guinea, thanked the Russian partners for their help in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Thereafter, the Russian delegation held working meetings with the President of Guinea Alpha Conde and the Prime Minister Ibrahima Kassory Fofana, to discuss a wide range of issues around Russian-Guinean cooperation. RusAl’s significant contribution to the development of economic relations between Russia and Guinea was noted.

Commenting on the results from the visit, Yakov Itskov, Director of RusAl’s Alumina Business, said: «RusAl has been successfully operating in Guinea for 20 years and has traditionally supported Guinean healthcare. We fought Ebola together, and now we are fighting a new coronavirus infection. The delivery of the Sputnik V vaccine to Guinea is another important step in strengthening relations between our countries.»

RusAl was the first private company to assist Africa in fighting against the spread of dangerous infections. During the Ebola epidemic outbreak in Kindia in 2015, RusAl built the Centre for Epidemic and Microbiological Research and Treatment (CEMRT). The centre has since been acknowledged nationally as one of the sites for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 in Guinea, as well as receiving the first patients with coronavirus. In June 2020, the new multifunctional medical centre for the treatment of infectious diseases was constructed in Fria.

In addition, in July 2020, RusAl delivered an aircraft to Guinea with medical humanitarian cargo intended to combat the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic. The cargo included dozens of medicines, as well as modern medical equipment and consumables for the treatment of patients with coronavirus. In November 2020, RusAl supplied two new ambulances to Guinea, both equipped for providing emergency medical care and resuscitation of patients, including ventilators.

Three representatives from the RusAl medical team were honoured with the national Katala 224 Award, for their contribution in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in Guinea. RusAl has been awarded the Guinea Best Company Award 2020 for its contribution to the fight against COVID-19 and socially responsible policy during the pandemic.

RusAl has been operating in the Republic of Guinea since 2001 and is today one of the largest international investors in the country. In Guinea, RusAl owns Compagnie des Bauxites de Kindia (CBK), as well as the Friguia bauxite and alumina production facility.

RusAl continues with the implementation of a project aimed at developing the world’s largest bauxite deposit Dian-Dian in Boke. The proven reserves of this field amount to 564 million tons. With an estimated population of 12.4 million, this country has a wealth of diverse natural resources and largely depends on agriculture and mineral production. Guinea is a coastal country located in West Africa.

MD Africa Editor Kester Kenn Klomegah is an independent researcher and writer on African affairs in the EurAsian region and former Soviet republics. He wrote previously for African Press Agency, African Executive and Inter Press Service. Earlier, he had worked for The Moscow Times, a reputable English newspaper. Klomegah taught part-time at the Moscow Institute of Modern Journalism. He studied international journalism and mass communication, and later spent a year at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. He co-authored a book “AIDS/HIV and Men: Taking Risk or Taking Responsibility” published by the London-based Panos Institute. In 2004 and again in 2009, he won the Golden Word Prize for a series of analytical articles on Russia's economic cooperation with African countries.

Continue Reading
Comments

Africa Today

Partnership with Private Sector is Key in Closing Rwanda’s Infrastructure Gap

Published

on

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has pushed the Rwandan economy into recession in 2020 for the first time since 1994, according to the World Bank’s latest Rwanda Economic Update.

The 17th edition of the Rwanda Economic Update: The Role of the Private Sector in Closing the Infrastructure Gap, says that the economy shrank by 3.7 percent in 2020, as measures implemented to limit the spread of the coronavirus and ease pressures on health systems brought economic activity to a near standstill in many sectors. Although the economy is set to recover in 2021, the report notes the growth is projected to remain below the pre-pandemic average through 2023.

Declining economic activity has also reduced the government’s ability to collect revenue amid increased fiscal needs, worsening the fiscal situation. Public debt reached 71 percent of GDP in 2020, and is projected to peak at 84 percent of GDP in 2023. Against this backdrop, the report underlines the importance of the government’s commitment to implement a fiscal consolidation plan once the crisis abates to reduce the country’s vulnerability to external shocks and liquidity pressures.

“Narrowing fiscal space calls for a progressive shift in Rwanda’s development model away from the public sector towards a predominantly private sector driven model, while also stepping up efforts to improve  the efficiency of public investment,” said Calvin Djiofack, World Bank’s Senior Economist for Rwanda.

According to the Update, private sector financing, either through public-private partnerships or pure private investment, will be essential for Rwanda to continue investing in critical infrastructure needed to achieve its development goals. The analysis underscores the need to capitalize further on Rwanda’s foreign direct investment (FDI) regulatory framework, considered one of the best in the continent, to attract and retain more FDI; to foster domestic private capital mobilization through risk sharing facilities that would absorb a percentage of the losses on loans made to private projects; and to avoid unsolicited proposals  of public–private partnership (PPP) initiatives; as well as to build a robust, multisector PPP project pipeline, targeting sectors with clearly identified service needs such as transport, water and sanitation, waste management, irrigation, and housing.

While the report findings establish clearly the gains of public infrastructure development for the country as whole, it also stressed that these gains tend to benefit urban and richer households most.

 “Rwanda will need to rebalance its investment strategy from prioritizing large strategic capital-intensive projects toward projects critical for broad-based social returns to boost the potential of public infrastructure to reduce inequality and poverty,” said Rolande Pryce, World Bank Country Manager for Rwanda. “Any step toward the Malabo Declaration to allocate 10 percent of future infrastructure investment to agriculture, allied activities, and rural infrastructure, will go a long way to achieving this goal.

Continue Reading

Africa Today

Greenpeace Africa responds to the cancellation of oil blocks in Salonga National Park

Published

on

© Kim S. Gjerstad

On Monday the UNESCO World Heritage Committee decided to remove Salonga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from the List of World Heritage in Danger. The decision follows clarification “provided by the national authorities that the oil concessions overlapping with the property are nul[l] and void and that these blocks will be excluded from future auctioning.”

Oil blocks overlapping with Salonga were awarded by President Joseph Kabila in the twilight of his regime. Greenpeace Africa has repeatedly demanded their cancellation, while local leaders voiced their opposition to the project in light of its impacts on communities. 

“A decision by President Felix Tshisekedi to cancel all oil blocks in Salonga Park must be followed by a decision to cancel oil blocks in Virunga Park and across the Cuvette Centrale region. These are vast areas rich in biodiversity that provide clean water, food security and medicine to local communities and which render environmental services to humanity,” says Irene Wabiwa Betoko, International Project Leader for the Congo Basin forest. 

The Salonga National Park, which is Africa’s largest tropical rainforest reserve, was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1984. The park plays a fundamental role in climate regulation and the sequestration of carbon. The park is also home to numerous endemic endangered species such as the pygmy chimpanzee (or bonobo), the forest elephant, the African slender-snouted crocodile and the Congo peacock. Salonga had been inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1999, due to pressures such as poaching, deforestation and poor management. The government of DRC later on issued oil drilling licences that encroached on the protected area, posing a threat to the wildlife-rich site.

“DRC’s auctioning of oil blocks has not only been scandalously lacking transparency and menacing for particularly sensitive environmental areas – they neither benefit Congolese people nor the planet. Instead of privileging a small group of beneficiaries of the toxic fossil fuels industry, diversifying the DRC’s economy should be done through renewable energy investments that will make energy accessible and affordable for all,” Irene Wabiwa concluded.

Greenpeace Africa urges full transparency from both UNESCO and the DRC government and calls for the publication of all supportive documents regarding the decision to cancel the aforementioned oil blocks, as well as the map of the nine oil blocks that are still being auctioned in the Cuvette Centrale region.

Continue Reading

Africa Today

Domestic violence, forced marriage, have risen in Sudan

Published

on

photo: UNDP/Ahmed Alsamani

Deteriorating economic conditions since 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic have fuelled an increase in domestic violence and forced marriage in Sudan, a UN-backed study has revealed. 

Voices from Sudan 2020, published this week, is the first-ever nationwide qualitative assessment of gender-based violence (GBV) in the country, where a transitional government is now in its second year. 

Addressing the issue is a critical priority, according to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Government’s Combating Violence against Women Unit (CVAW), co-authors of the report. 

“The current context of increased openness by the Government of Sudan, and dynamism by civil society, opens opportunities for significant gains in advancing women’s safety and rights,” they said

Physical violence at home 

The report aims to complement existing methods of gathering data and analysis by ensuring that the views, experiences and priorities of women and girls, are understood and addressed. 

Researchers found that communities perceive domestic and sexual violence as the most common GBV issues. 

Key concerns include physical violence in the home, committed by husbands against wives, and by brothers against sisters, as well as movement restrictions which women and girls have been subjected to. 

Another concern is sexual violence, especially against women working in informal jobs, but also refugee and displaced women when moving outside camps, people with disabilities, and children in Qur’anic schools.  

Pressure to comply 

Forced marriage is also “prominent”, according to the report. Most of these unions are arranged between members of the same tribe, or relatives, without the girl’s consent or knowledge. 

Meanwhile, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) remains widespread in Sudan, with varying differences based on geographic location and tribal affiliation.  Although knowledge about the illegality and harmfulness of the practice has reached community level, child marriage and FGM are not perceived as key concerns. 

Women’s access to resources is also severely restricted.  Men control financial resources, and boys are favoured for access to opportunities, especially education. Verbal and psychological pressure to comply with existing gender norms and roles is widespread, leading in some cases to suicide.  

The deteriorating economic situation since 2020, and COVID-19, have increased violence, especially domestic violence and forced marriage, the report said. Harassment in queues for essential supplies such as bread and fuel has also been reported.  

Data dramatically lacking 

Sudan continues to move along a path to democracy following the April 2019 overthrow of President Omar Al-Bashir who had been in power for 30 years.  

Openly discussing GBV “has not been possible for the last three decades”, according to the report.   

“GBV data is dramatically lacking, with no nation-wide assessment done for the past 30 years, and a general lack of availability of qualitative and quantitative data,” the authors said. 

To carry out the assessment, some 215 focus group discussions were held with communities: 21 with GBV experts, as well as a review of existing studies and assessments. 

Research was conducted between August and November 2020, encompassing 60 locations and camps, and the data was scanned through a software for qualitative analysis, followed a model first used in Syria. 

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

Trending