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Monday, 25 March 2019

A maths and physics teacher from a secondary school in a remote village in Kenya's Rift Valley has won the $1m Global Teacher Prize for 2019, organisers have said.

Peter Tabichi, who is giving away 80 percent of his salary to support poor students, received the prize at a ceremony on Sunday in Dubai, hosted by Hollywood star Hugh Jackman.

On winning the prize, Peter Tabichi said:

“Every day in Africa we turn a new page and a new chapter. Today is another day. This prize does not recognise me but recognises this great continent’s young people. I am only here because of what my students have achieved. This prize gives them a chance. It tells the world that they can do anything.

“As a teacher working on the front line I have seen the promise of its young people – their curiosity, talent, their intelligence, their belief. Africa’s young people will no longer be held back by low expectations. Africa will produce scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs whose names will be one day famous in every corner of the world. And girls will be a huge part of this story.

“I believe science and technology can play a leading role in unlocking Africa’s potential. We all know that scientific discovery and innovation fuel progress, facilitate development and can tackle issues such as food insecurity, water shortages and climate change.

“It’s morning in Africa. The skies are clear. The day is young and there is a blank page waiting to be written. This is Africa’s time.”

Peter Tabichi, who is also a Franciscan brother teaches at a rural Kenyan school in Pwani Village, with only one computer, poor internet and a student-teacher ratio of 58:1.

Nearly all his students are from poor families, and almost a third of them are orphans or have only one parent.

Tabichi gets online educational content by visiting internet cafes and using them offline in class, according to his profile from the Varkey Foundation.

Despite teaching in a school with only one desktop computer with an intermittent connection, Peter uses ICT in 80% of his lessons to engage students, visiting internet cafes and caching online content to be used offline in class. Through making his students believe in themselves, Peter has dramatically improved his pupils’ achievement and self-esteem.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulated Tabichi in a video message, saying "your story is the story of Africa, a young continent bursting with talent".


By: Ebenezer Sasu



Published in World

Kigali could soon have more car-free zones, a concept that was introduced in 2015 when a pedestrian-only street was introduced in the capital's Commercial Business District.

Officials at City Hall are now reviewing feasibility studies with the development likely to be introduced on the debut of the revised Kigali City Master Plan in June this year.

While most agree that it's a step towards a modern city, some argue that the first and only car-free zone has not been fully utilised yet it affected some businesses operating on the street. Most argue that the continent failed to take into consideration existing businesses, did not have enough consultation as well as lacked a clearly laid-out strategy on installations on the zone.

For instance, a walk on the car-free zone towards Ecole Belge reveals that a street that was pre-2015 busy now has significantly less foot traffic causing a number of businesses to change address.

Fred Mugisha, the Director of Kigali Urban Planning and Construction One Stop Centre, City of Kigali said that they are finalising studies on other potential car-free zones within the city.


"We mapped out streets and are looking at improvements that can be made to make it friendlier for the aspect. We have done studies on pedestrianizing streets," he said. 

Aware that there are perceptions of the consequences of the development given previous experience, he said that they are working out models that will not hamper business on the targeted streets.

"We are finalising studies; we are now mobilising funds to ensure that it can be pedestrianised without hampering business. We are mapping out dedicated streets. It will not be a closure of the street; it remains open for cycling and other non-motorised uses. All this will be done without affecting business activities," he said.


Parking space

The New Timesunderstands that one of the streets that could be dedicated a car-free zone is the stretch at Kisementi, from around Rosty and 514 bars towards Zigama-CSS headquarters.

The street has a chain of bars, fast food outlets, liquor stores and restaurants and is characterised by heavy foot traffic. Emmanuel Mwiseneza, who runs a liquor store-cum-bar on the busy street, told The New Times such a development calls for consideration and planning for aspects such as availability of convenient parking spaces.

He said that to ensure that the development serves purpose, it would also be important to pave the streets to make it possible to use the streets as sitting space for the clients.

Business, he said should also be allowed to install tents on roadside, especially during rainy season. Others say that that the inaccessibility of streets by cars should be restricted to a number of hours so as not to inconvenience businesses.

This, they say, would allow for social events on the streets in the night time and normal traffic flow during the day.

Others argue that car-free zoning of city streets should involve more than just stopping vehicles from using the said streets and to a great extent should have installations such as street benches, mobile coffee shops and restaurants that can be rented out to businesses, among others.

Sylvie Rukundo, a city resident, said that the authorities should seek partnership with investors who can set up installations such as modified shipping containers to serve as coffee shops, bars, and restaurants.

"If you benchmark from cities that have successfully implemented this, you notice investment in facilities that are rented out to businesses to serve as fast foods and vending outlets. It should be more than just restricting motorists from using the street.

"Considering that this could be too high of an investment for the City (authorities) it would be a good idea to interest and partner with private investors. The same can also be done for the current car-free street," she said.

Mugisha said that the plans are in line with having a greener city that is more vibrant.

"Within the CBD we want to have dedicated streets for pedestrians if we are to achieve the green goals. We need to prioritise green trips," he said.

Admitting that full potential of the city's single car-free zone has not been achieved yet, he said that there are ongoing efforts to make it more 'vibrant' and beneficial to city residents and businesses.

Kigali BeforeAfter

"What we are doing is seeing what we can do to make it more vibrant and effective for everyone and to benefit everyone. We have planned different things to make it vibrant and beneficial for everyone," Mugisha said.

Social media users have over the recent months been on an advocacy campaign, calling on Kigali City authorities to adequately utilise the car-free zone. Currently, the zone is occasionally used for exhibitions and concerts.


Source: New Times Rwanda

Published in Travel & Tourism

A week after the Cyclone Idai hit, the extent of devastation is still unclear. The government disasters body said today that 90,000 people are now in 109 accommodation centres. (bit.ly/MozCyclone10) But many were able to walk to schools and other public buildings being used as accommodation centres in Beira and Dondo, after their houses were destroyed.

Uncounted tens of thousands of people are still stranded in the huge rural flooded area, many without food for the past week. Rescue is largely by local canoes and fishing boats.

World Food Programme has a warehouse in Beira, but it was largely destroyed in the cyclone and much of the food lost. It is using the food that survived to feed about 4000 people a day in Beira and Dondo, according to Gerald Bourke of the World Food Progamme. (Listen to the interview by Borges Nhamire on bit.ly/MozCyclone11 ) South African and Indian military planes and helicopters are also dropping food to stranded people.

Beira is still cut off and only accessible by plane or boat. A ship with 25 containers of donations from Maputo should arrive tomorrow night, and some food is being flown in. But because they do not know the scale of the disaster, "we don't know what the needs are," admitted Bourke. But he stressed it is "beyond the means of any country to solve alone." International help is essential and the "recovery effort is going to take months".

The city still has no electricity and Beira's main hospital is running out of diesel fuel for its generator. Roofs were ripped off and 60% of the hospital's buildings were totally or partially destroyed. The main operating theatre and blood bank were destroyed by the cyclone, and some wards were flooded, reports AFP. "Wet beds stand empty in water-logged wards, workers navigate the corridors in gumboots and a nauseating smell exudes from all sides." Only the most urgent surgery is being carried out because the risk of infections is high

Flood waters will continue to fall in the Pungue and Buzi rivers, according to the daily national hydrology bulletin issue this afternoon, but remain above flood levels.

Election registration delayed but elections will take place this year

Election registration, which was due to start on 1 April, has been delayed indefinitely, until there are acceptable conditions in flood and cyclone affected areas, the National Elections Commission (CNE) announced this afternoon. It also opened the possibility of delaying the elections, but said they must be held this year. Carte de Moçambique today reported that the CNE gave the Council of Ministers three choices: continue with the present date of 15 October, or delay to 15 November or 15 December. The last will be particularly difficult because it is in the rainy season. Changes in the electoral law and calendar will be needed.


Credit: Mozambique News Reports

Published in Economy

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has estimated that the country’s inflationary rate will rise to 12 percent and thereafter moderate.

The Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele stated this on Thursday in Lagos at the Businessday post election economic agenda conference, adding that the apex bank would also keep the current monetary policy stance of the bank.

“The CBN has set the post-election agenda for the nation’s monetary policy, projecting that the current monetary policy stance of the bank is expected to continue while inflation is estimated to rise to 12 per cent and moderate thereafter,” he said.

The inflation rate is currently put at 11.31 percent for February, according to statistics from the CBN and the National Bureau of Statistics.


Hinging the monetary policy stance of the bank on rising inflation expectations, the CBN governor however noted that the bank would adjust the policy rate in line with unfolding conditions and outlooks, adding that the bank would continue in its drive to ensure that the policy interest rate was set to balance the objectives of price stability with output stabilisation.

Emefiele, who disclosed that the apex bank based the inflationary projection on productivity gains in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, said the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, was expected to pick up in the first half of the current year owing largely to the continued efforts at driving indigenous production in high-impact real sector activities.

Speaking on the bank’s foreign exchange rate policy, Emefiele said the CBN, in spite of expected pressures from the volatility in the crude oil markets, would maintain its stable exchange rate over the next year.

“Gross stability is projected in the foreign exchange market, given increased oil production and contained import bill,” he said.

Published in Bank & Finance
A production halt ofBoeing's 737 Max jets could be felt well beyond the aerospace giant's quarterly profits, according to J.P. Morgan.

Michael Feroli, the bank's chief U.S. economist, said in a note to clients that annualized U.S. GDP could fall by 0.6 percentage points if production of the beleaguered airplane is halted temporarily.


"This year sales of the 737 were projected to total about $35 billion, with about 90% accounted for by the MAX model, or about one-quarter of total domestic aircraft production," Feroli said.

Boeing is still building the 737 Max, but deliveries of the jet have been halted while U.S. officials conduct an investigation into the aircraft's approval. Earlier this month, a 737 Max jet operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed, marking the second disaster involving the plane in less than six months. The plane was certified to fly by the Federal Aviation Administration.

After the second crash, several airlines and countries grounded all flights that involve the plane. Boeing shares are down sharply since then, falling more than 11 percent.

"Boeing is continuing to produce the plane, with most, if not all of the final product, being put into inventory pending the completion of the investigation. In principle, this means that GDP should be largely unaffected for now," Feroli said.

However, News men learned through a source that Boeing sent employees an email about slowing work at one of the company's plants next week. The email said: "For three days next week we will focus on completing work that was previously delayed. While the production lines will not pulse forward on those days, work will continue in every area inside and outside the factory. We are using buffer days already built into schedule to help us recover from the impact of the winter storms and supplier delays."

Published in Travel & Tourism

The Nigerian Stock Exchange has revealed that a total of N5.5 billion was recorded as foreign outflows from the stock market for the month of February.

This was contained in its latest foreign portfolio investment report published on its website on Friday.

It stated that the figure increased by 97.8 per cent from N27.81bn in January 2019 while foreign inflows increased by 91.24 per cent from N22.97bn to N43.93bn between January and February.

Total foreign transactions also increased by 48 per cent from N66.85bn in January to N98.94bn in February.

Published in Business

It has been a little over a month since Felix Tshisekedi became the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC’s) head of state.

Protests that followed the presidential election seem to be dwindling. And internationally the African Union and Western countries, including France and Belgium, have recognised his takeover.

But Tshisekedi faces an uphill struggle to establish his legitimacy. The poll was contested by the platform that supported Martin Fayulu in the presidential election. The coalition, called Lamuka, seems to have come round to accepting that it failed to win power. Fayulu is seeking to fit into the current political scheme. But it’s clear that he’s called on his supporters to remain vigilant to make sure Tshisekedi doesn’t renege on promises he’s made.

Other aspirant presidential candidates have also fallen into line. The political parties associated with Fayulu in the coalition have made it clear that they recognise the current authority of the country. This includes the National Union of Federalists of the Congo party under the leadership of Gabriel Kyungu, Mouvement social pour le renouveau under Pierre Lumbi and a wide range of members of Ensemble under Moïse Katumbi.

The Catholic Church, which was first to contest the result of the poll, has also recognised the new head of state.

All this suggests that the race for the presidential chair is over. The question now is to identify where the real power lies. And what capacity the new president has to run the country. The hard truth is that Tshisekedi can’t set up a government to fulfil his political project unless he takes one of two options - cohabitation or forming a coalition.

A difficult and complex beginning

For the first time, a peaceful and civilised handover of power took place in the country, between Joseph Kabila and Tshisekedi. But these stories are quiet about one fact: that the old regime remains firmly in place.

Tshisekedi’s power is being undermined by the outgoing regime in a number of ways. Firstly, Kabila loyalists were put in key positions to run essential state services. Examples include the army, police and intelligence services.

Secondly, Kabila’s cabal has made sure that it retains power through institutions like the national assembly and provincial governments. This is clear from the fact Tshisekedi has lower representation in the national assembly.

There are already signs of tension. One was Tshisekedi’s recent decision to suspend the process of installing senators and electing provincial governors, amid allegations of procedural irregularities and corruption.

Kabila’s camp considers these decisions a violation of the country’s laws, while Tshisekedi’s supporters view his decision as part of the president’s duty as the guarantor of the constitution and stability of the republic.

Difficult choices

The option of cohabitation would see him poach members of the Common Front for Congo, which has the largest number of parliamentarians.

This approach would be interesting because it would allow him to infiltrate the majority parliamentary group and get it to support his political project as head of state.

If that doesn’t work, he’d be forced to form a coalition with other minority parties to counterbalance the weight of Common Front for Congo. This option is rather complicated because he would have a weak hold on both the parliament and the government. He would be a president without power. In other words a puppet.

Yet another option is to form an alliance with Common Front for Congo. If this happens, some thorny questions will be raised about the control of the parliamentary leadership. For example, who would lead such a coalition – Kabila, who holds the the moral authority of the Front Commun pour le Congo, or Tshisekedi?

Another tricky question would be which political programmes or projects should be given precedence.

And lastly, will it be possible to take the country in a new direction while there’s a continued reliance on people who for almost 18 years plundered the country?

To eat with the devil, you need a long fork

Tshisekedi doesn’t seem to have many options to set up his first government as head of state. Initially, he will probably have to deal with the current parliamentary majority which is held by Kabila’s supporters, the Common Front for Congo.

Hopefully, he can reshape it during his term in power. In the meantime, he should not lose sight of the popular wisdom that eating with the devil requires a long fork. Despite the apparent cordiality between himself and Kabila, he should not forget that the former head of state remains a political opponent.

If, following Nelson Mandela’s example after his release from prison, Tshisekedi calls all Congolese to reconcile and to work together for the good of the nation, he must not lose sight of the need for justice (for all) as the basis of the rule of law.

Only then will he be able to claim an alternative rule and new perspectives for the Congolese people.The Conversation


Albert Kasanda, Researcher in Political Philosophy and social sciences, Czech Academy of Sciences

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published in Opinion & Analysis
  1. Opinions and Analysis


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