Namibia cricket has joined efforts with the "Eagles" brand to help revive the country's ailing tourism sector with the launch of the #EaglesChallenge on Thursday.
The initiative will see Namibia's national men and female cricket teams challenge other teams worldwide to a 5km run that would take place at a venue and time that suits every team, said Cricket Namibia CEO Johan Muller at the launch event in Windhoek.
"The race times are submitted as a screenshot of your running app on the Cricket Namibia website. The #EaglesChallenge race consists of various participation groups and is open to all entities including national teams, corporates, school teams and club teams," he added.
Muller said the aim of the challenge is to create awareness of a specific tourism entity in the country to hopefully increase their income when COVID-19 has passed.
"Any donations made through the challenge must be made directly into the account of the supported tourism entity," he said.
Muller further said the campaign will open an avenue for financial support to the specific and identified tourist organization of every team's choice.
"To challenge a team, download our changeable electronic flyer to use on social media platforms that will show the team you are challenging, and will also show which tourism organization you are supporting," he explained.
Tourism has been one of the hardest impacted industries by the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide and Namibia has not been spared.
Namibia as of Sept.1 opened its flagship international airport to leisure travelers and tourists under the country's tourism revival initiative.
MOZAMBIQUE has formally asked the European Union (EU) for support to battle Islamist militants in its gas-rich northern province of Cabo Delgado.
It has requested support in logistics and specialised training for its soldiers.
The southern African nation has been fighting the insurgents for three years with little success. At least 1,500 people have been killed and an estimated 250,000 have fled their homes.
The government has allegedly lost control of three coastal districts.
Foreign Affairs Minister Veronica Macamo has written to Brussels requesting the support after the EU expressed its willingness to assist.
In the letter, Ms Macamo also asked for assistance in development programmes as a way of reducing the vulnerability of the locals, mainly young people, to the allure of joining the insurgents.
Ecowas might lift painful economic sanctions against Mali once an interim president is inaugurated on Friday, the bloc’s envoy said on Thursday.
Nigeria’s former president, Goodluck Jonathan, said this after landing in Bamako for talks as head of a delegation from the bloc.
Recall that the military in Mali had staged a coup in the country on Aug. 18, a development which ousted President Boubacar Keita.
Comments suggest the 15-member ECOWAS could accept the candidates picked this week to lead the transition of power, although they do not have the fully civilian background the bloc had demanded.
The easing of sanctions would be a relief for Mali, whose imports have slumped 30 per cent since its neighbours closed borders and halted financial flows after the ouster of Keita.
“I am very happy with what is happening now in Mali.
“The young soldiers who have taken power are doing a job in line with what the (ECOWAS) leaders wanted,” said Jonathan.
It had not previously been clear if ECOWAS would agree with Monday’s nomination of former defence minister and Retired Col. Bah Ndaw as interim president, particularly as the leader of the junta that seized power, Col. Assimi Goita, is set to be vice president.
But Jonathan told journalists: “I hope that after the inauguration of the president on Friday the sanctions will be lifted.”
International powers feared the coup could further destabilise the country and undermine a joint fight against insurgents there and in the wider Sahel region.
Underscoring the insecurity, three Malian soldiers were killed on Wednesday when militants ambushed their patrol in Mopti region near the border with Burkina Faso, the defence ministry said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Malian Council of Shippers has said that the country could face economic crisis if the ECOWAS sanctions were not eased.
“In the coming days stocks will be exhausted, and we will see supply disruptions, production stoppages, layoffs, a paralysis of economic activity,” the group’s president, Ousmane Babalaye Daou, said.
Mali imports 5 million tons of goods annually, from woven cotton to cement, some of which arrive at ports across West Africa and are trucked hundreds of miles inland.
Stockpiles have cushioned the blow so far, but new orders from Asia or Europe take up to two months to arrive, Daou said.
Essential imports, including petrol, food and medicine, are exempt.
Source: African Examiner
Nine airlines are all set to resume business as soon as Uganda’s main airport at Entebbe resumes. These are Uganda Airlines, KLM, Turkish Airlines, Emirates, Brussels Airlines, Qatar Airways, Kenya Airways, Air Tanzania and Ethiopian Airlines.
The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority – UCAA has confirmed that Entebbe International Airport will be reopened for scheduled commercial passenger flights on October 1st, 2020.
However, the flights are restricted to only Ugandans returning home and tourists leaving or coming into the country.
Vianney Luggya, spokesperson for the Uganda Civil Authority-UCAA, confirmed Monday evening that the airport will be reopened, six months after its partial shutdown.
He says that in the meantime, the current arrangements for handling of cargo, emergency, evacuation and repatriation flights will continue.
Luggya says the regulator is still discussing a number of issues regarding the resumption such as transport to and from the airport and flow of movement inside the airport among others.
Eng. Ayub Sooma, the UCAA director for Airports and Aviation security on September 8th, wrote a letter to airlines executives saying that passenger flights would resume on October 1st, 2020. However, it would be President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to announce the actual resumption date.
Following Museveni’s directive to open the airport on Sunday night, UCAA managers have agreed that the resumption of passenger flights will take place next month.
Luggya says the reopening will be done in a phased manner. In the first three months, 13 flights to and from the airport have been cleared for the first day while 10 flights are confirmed for the second day.
These flights will be operated by Uganda Airlines, KLM, Turkish Airlines, Emirates, Brussels Airlines, Qatar Airways, Kenya Airways, Air Tanzania and Ethiopian Airlines.
The resumption of passenger flights is expected to improve on the revenue inflows for both UCAA, airlines and other stakeholders. For instance before the lockdown, UCAA was recording revenues worth 20 billion shillings a month but this has since dropped to 1 billion Shillings.
However, the tourism industry has been the most hit because it relies heavily on commercial flights bringing in foreign tourists.
Uganda airlines ready
The director commercial at Uganda Airlines, Roger Wamara says the national airline is ready to operate its first commercial flight next month.
“We are very excited and ready to fly in the region and where airports are open,” said Wamara. He said they will be going to Nairobi, Mogadishu and Juba when the airport reopens.
He however says the airline is yet to announce the airfares for the different flights. The rates will be influenced by the COVID-19 safety measures for airlines and crews such as wearing of face masks, regular disinfection of the aircraft among others.
Wamara adds that “Even if we do not increase our airfares, the passenger will have to spend an extra $65 US Dollars, about shillings 240,000 for a COVID-19 pre-flight test.”
Tour operators uneasy
Meanwhile, Irene Nalwoga the managing director for Renewills Tours and Travel, Women Tours and Travel and Renewills Real Estate Company is doubtful about the resumption date.
Nalwoga also says the presidential directive that tourists should not mix up with the general public may be difficult to implement.
To make matters worse, according to Nalwoga, travel agents are not eligible for the tourism intervention fund, a total of $18.4m, of which $10.8m is a loan from UDB and $5.7m is a grant from the EU.
She says some members of Uganda Hotel Owners Association – UHOA and Association of Uganda Tour Operators – AUTO have benefited from the fund and are not affected by the closure of the airport.
Richard Mujjuzi, the chairperson of The Uganda Association of Travel Agents (TUGATA) says travel agents need financial help because Uganda’s tourism industry could stabilize after the 2021 general elections.
Boda boda riders and special hire taxi operators are however excited about the reopening. However, they want President Museveni to reconsider the curfew hours.
Jivnath Pangeni, the general manager, K Hotels is excited about the resumption. The hotel currently one of the quarantine centres will have to first disinfect its premises before opening up for normal business.
Pangeni says that the hotel will charge the usual hotel room rate of $120 US Dollars a night though it has halved the rates for the quarantined travelers and returnees. The last lot of quarantined people at the hotel are expected to leave next week.
Meanwhile, James Kavubu, the head of sales and marketing for Imperial Group of Hotels said the resumption of flights will bring business but the group needs tangible results because people are fearing to travel due the pandemic.
The group has five hotels including Grand Imperial Hotel, Imperial Royale Hotel, Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel, Imperial Golf View Hotel and Imperial Resort Beach Hotel. Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel is the group’s only hotel that is being used as quarantine centre.
Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, host to more than half of the world’s mountain gorillas is experiencing an unprecedented baby boom never recorded before according to experts.
High up the ridges of what is known as one of Africa’s oldest rainforest, the population of mountain gorillas is growing.
Joseph Arinaitwe, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) warden tourism in-charge of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park told Xinhua in a recent trip to the park that since July 22 this year, Uganda has registered the birth of eight mountain gorillas, seven in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and another in Mugahinga National Park along the common border with Rwanda and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Arinaitwe attributes the baby boom to largely the conservation efforts that Uganda has undertaken over the years to protect the endangered giants.
He argued that several factors like high stress levels can make gorillas not to procreate. He said the stress is caused by poaching, fights among family members or different groups and uncontrolled tourism.
“It is a message that conservation is paying off, gorillas are getting stable. If there was no effort of creating an environment of comfort, there would be no boom. When there is crisis in a family, a man has no time for sexual intercourse. The assumptions here is that there is no pressure and therefore the baby boom,” Arinaitwe.
The conservationists argued that Uganda has over the years been able to fight poaching in the park. There is also controlled tracking of the gorillas to avoid stressing them.
When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the country in March, all tourism activities were closed in a bid to stop the spread of the deadly disease. Entebbe International Airport and the borders were closed to all incoming and outgoing travelers.
This lockdown had a major impact on the country’s tourism revenues which are largely used to conserve the wildlife. According to ministry of finance figures, the country could lose up to 1.6 billion U.S. dollars it annually earns as revenue from the sector. More than half of the tourism revenue is contributed by gorilla tourism, according to UWA.
Arinaitwe said that because of the lockdown and the closure of tourism activities, many people whose livelihood depended on tourism to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park were affected.
Those living close to the park resorted to poaching, setting up snares to hunt antelopes. These snares at times end up trapping the gorillas.
According to UWA figures, poaching in the park has gone up from about 7 suspects arrested in a year to 8 suspects arrested in a few months.
A vivid case happened in June this year when a poacher named Felix Byamukama and three accomplices killed a popular silverback gorilla named Rakifi. Byamukama, pleaded guilty to counts of trespassing in a protected area, killing a gorilla, a duiker and a bush pig and illegally possessing meat from the bush pig and duiker. He was sentenced 11 years in jail in July.
Arinaitwe said despite the challenges of reduced funding, they have increased foot patrols in the park. Despite the lockdown which started in March, the rangers continued to monitor the gorillas and other wildlife in the park. Some poachers have been arrested.
EASE OF LIFE
Uganda continues to ease the lockdown restrictions as it attempts to resuscitate economic growth. President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday announced that the airport was reopened to tourist arrivals.
UWA on Sept. 5 reopened all its primate parks after instituting strict standard operating procedures to stop the possible spread of COVID-19 from humans to the primates.
At Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, tourists are sanitized four times at different stages before they get to meet the mountain gorillas. Those with abnormal body temperatures are asked to step aside and if the situation worsens, there is a nearby health facility.
The distance between the visitors and the gorillas has also been adjusted to 10 meters from seven. Social distancing is emphasized throughout tracking the gorillas.
Buhoma town neighboring the park has also come alive again after a government directive that tourism reopens.
Denis Rubalema, co-director of Ride 4 A Woman, a community-based organization told Xinhua that they have been carrying out renovations at their accommodation facility and also encouraging the rural women, some of whom make hand crafts, to be prepared for an anticipated tourism boom.
The first Tobacco Transformation Index, released this week and made possible with funding from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, finds that most of the 15 largest tobacco companies are not making substantive progress in phasing out cigarettes and other high-risk tobacco products and transitioning smokers to reduced-risk alternatives.
A small group of companies have made public commitments to harm reduction and backed them with significant investments. A majority of companies have made no such commitment to tobacco harm reduction. With 1.3 billion tobacco users in the world, of which 8 million die annually from tobacco-related diseases, the stakes for global health are high. Adult cessation and tobacco harm reduction could reduce deaths within the next two decades.
The Tobacco Transformation Index is the first index to rank the world’s largest 15 tobacco companies (accounting for nearly 90% of global cigarette volume) on their relative performance, commitment, and transparency to deliver material progress in supporting tobacco harm reduction. The 2020 Index assesses tobacco companies’ activities from 2017-2019 related to: strategy and management, product sales, capital allocation, product offer, marketing, and lobbying and advocacy.
The 2020 Tobacco Transformation Index ranks Swedish Match, which divested its cigarette business in 1999, in first position. Phillip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Altria, Imperial Brands, Japan Tobacco, KT&G, ITC Ltd., Swisher International, Tobacco Authority of Thailand, Vietnam National Tobacco, Gudang Garam, Djarum, Eastern Co., and China National Tobacco Corp. follow Swedish Match in the overall rankings.
“Inspired by the success that indexes focusing on other sectors have demonstrated, the goal of the Tobacco Transformation Index is to stimulate external pressure and the industry competition needed to take combustion out of the cigarette market, accelerate change, and lower the unnecessary disease, death, and misery it causes so many people,” said Dr. Derek Yach, President of The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. “Society and large institutional investors such as banks and pension funds, which represent 85% of investment in publicly traded tobacco companies, have the leverage to push tobacco company management to drive measures that greatly improve health.”
Industry Progress in Tobacco Harm Reduction is Not Sufficient
In 2019, 13 of the 15 tobacco companies in the Index generated at least 95% of net sales value through high-risk tobacco products including cigarettes. In 2019, Swedish Match’s sales of reduced-risk products accounted for 44% of its net sales, followed by Philip Morris International at 19%, and British American Tobacco and KT&G at 5% each. Over the period of 2017-2019, eight of the 15 companies allocated 10% or less of research & development and capital investment expenditures to reduced-risk versus high-risk products.
During the Index’s review period of 2017-2019, several companies, including British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco, Philip Morris International, and KT&G Corp, made acquisitions of primarily cigarette businesses. These acquisitions were frequently focused on low-medium income countries (LMICs), where smoking rates are highest.
Among the six companies who made public commitments to harm reduction, between 30% and 55% of their marketing budgets were still devoted to high-risk products including cigarettes. “The tobacco companies are still spending a significant amount of their marketing budgets on high-risk products and, while a handful have increased their focus on youth access prevention, the impact of these policies is still unclear,” said Dr. Yach.
Overall progress in reducing smoking and the use of toxic smokeless tobacco products globally remains frustratingly slow. To accelerate progress, new strategies and tools are needed to complement ongoing tobacco control efforts. A concerted effort to transform the global tobacco industry via a strategy of tobacco harm reduction could reduce users’ current health risks and eventually help them to quit entirely.
State-Owned Tobacco Focused on Cigarette Sales
Nine of the world’s 15 largest tobacco companies were found to have no active commitment to tobacco harm reduction and/or announced targets to increase the production and sales of high-risk tobacco products. Among this group, China National Tobacco Corp. (CNTC), Vietnam National Tobacco Corp., and the Tobacco Authority of Thailand are 100% government-owned enterprises. Other companies such as Eastern Tobacco Co. (51%), Japan Tobacco (33%), and ITC Ltd. (24%) have partial government stakes. CNTC, the world’s largest cigarette manufacturer and marketer, controls about 44% of global cigarette market share.
A new research report, “Contradictions and Conflicts,” (https://bit.ly/3kE7Pcr) by international business and corporate governance scholar Daniel Malan, finds that nearly 50% of the global combustible cigarette market is controlled by World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) signatory governments that also own tobacco companies. FCTC is designed to reduce supply and demand for tobacco and improve public health. Of the six companies with some degree of state ownership in the Index, five are in the lower half of the rankings. If state-owned tobacco companies were to embrace tobacco harm reduction, they could have significant impacts on the health of their citizens, while addressing long term fiduciary needs healthily.
Tobacco Companies Focusing Reduced-Risk Product Efforts on Higher-Income Countries
Companies that offer reduced-risk products are mostly targeting their efforts on selected high-medium income countries, where overall smoking rates are lower and cigarette sales are already declining. Three large multinationals – British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco, and Philip Morris International – collectively offer reduced-risk products in 15 of the high-medium income countries in the 2020 Index scope of 36 countries. However, their reduced-risk alternatives reach just three low-medium income countries (LMICs).
“This first Tobacco Transformation Index reinforces that this industry is at the beginning of a long journey. True progress will come when we see all tobacco companies phase out their combustible cigarette businesses. For this to be possible, governments need to implement smarter regulations that support the transition, and WHO should actively support tobacco harm reduction. Bans, such as The Union’s call to prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products in LMICs, are not the answer and only impede progress,” said Dr. Yach.
The Tobacco Transformation Index was developed from 2019-2020 through a quantitative and qualitative research review conducted with grants received from the Foundation by consultants Euromonitor International, with guidance from an independent advisory panel and global stakeholder engagement program organized by advisory firm SustainAbility. The 2020 index is based on an assessment of 35 key indicators over the period 2017-2019. The analysis will be updated every two years.
Angola's debt to China is estimated at USD 20.1 billion, and is the country's largest creditor, said Finance Minister Vera Daves on Friday.
Of this amount, USD10 billion was used to capitalize the Angolan oil company Sonangol and the remaining USD 10.1 billion to finance various investment projects.
Speaking at a press conference, Vera Daves said that the issue of China's financing to Angola has generated a lot of controversy when analyzing the quality of the works carried out by Chinese contractors.
However, the minister explained that the quality of the works does not depend on the creditor - Chinese banks - but on the Angolan State that must inspect them, and on the contractors.
Vera Daves said that upon payment, the paying bank is based only on the invoices presented on the execution of the works. The bill is paid in China and the money does not circulate in the Angolan economy.
"There is always a very strong debate about deliverables, the quality of the works. This does not depend on the financier but on the relationship between the Angolan State and the contractors", she said, explaining that the financing entity, which is a bank, focuses on the invoices and not on the walls.
As for the debt service with China for 2020, standing at USD 2. 678 million, the minister said that the amortizations represent 78.8%, that is 2,103, while interest represents 21.2% (567 million).
She explained that the debt with that Asian giant is commercial and is paid in deadlines of up to eight years, unlike that with the IMF, which allows negotiation of interest rates and repayment terms.
On the discharge of the public debt, estimated at about 90% of GDP and 60% of the General State Budget 2020 (AKz 13.5 billion), ie, USD 5 billion, according to analysts from the Fitch Rating Agency, the director of Public Debt, Valter Pacheco, Angola needs at least 29 years.
However, the official explained that this is just a hypothetical example should the country no longer incur any debt. But this is not the case because the country needs to finance itself to meet needs.
"We will continue to go into debt, but in a more productive and responsible way. Angola will have to continue to finance itself, but with lower interest rates and longer terms ", said the official.
Facebook announced it will be opening an office in Lagos, Nigeria - its second office on the African continent.
Aimed at supporting the entire Sub-Saharan Africa region, the office is expected to become operational in H2 2021 and will be the first on the continent to house a team of expert engineers building for the future of Africa and beyond.
Facebook’s office will be home to various teams servicing the continent from across the business, including Sales, Partnerships, Policy, Communications as well as Engineers.
Commenting, Ime Archibong, Facebook's Head of New Product Experimentation said: “The opening of our new office in Lagos, Nigeria presents new and exciting opportunities in digital innovations to be developed from the continent and taken to the rest of the world. All across Africa we’re seeing immense talent in the tech ecosystem, and I’m proud that with the upcoming opening of our new office, we’ll be building products for the future of Africa, and the rest of the world, with Africans at the helm. We look forward to contributing further to the African tech ecosystem.”
The investment of the new Facebook office follows the 2018 opening of NG_Hub, its first flagship community hub space in Africa in partnership with CcHub, and the 2019 opening of a Small Business Group (SBG) Operations Centre in Lagos, in partnership with Teleperformance. Providing outsourced support to all English-speaking advertisers across Sub-Saharan Africa, the SBG office supports Small Medium Businesses (SMBs) through its Advocacy, Community & Education (ACE) programme, as well as its Marketing Expert sales programmes – all aimed at enabling SMBs to accelerate the growth and development of their businesses.
“Our new office in Nigeria presents an important milestone which further reinforces our ongoing commitment to the region”, commented Kojo Boakye, Facebook’s Director of Public Policy, Africa. “Our mission in Africa is no different to elsewhere in the world - to build community and bring the world closer together, and I’m excited about the possibilities that this will create, not just in Nigeria, but across Africa.”
Since the opening of its first office in 2015, Facebook has made a number of investments across the continent, aimed at supporting and growing the tech ecosystem, expanding and providing reliable connectivity infrastructures and helping businesses to grow locally, regionally and globally. This includes the recent rollout of its SMB Grants programme in Nigeria and South Africa, aimed at supporting over 900 businesses by providing a combination of cash and ad credits to help small businesses as they rebuild from COVID. The development of 2Africa, the world’s largest subsea cable project that will deliver much needed internet capacity and reliability across large parts of Africa, as well as its ongoing training programmes across the continent which support various communities including students, SMBs, digital creatives, female entrepreneurs, start-up’s and developers.
Nunu Ntshingila, Regional Director, Facebook Africa,said: “We’re delighted to be announcing our new office in Nigeria. Five years on from opening our first office on the continent in Johannesburg, South Africa, we’re continuing to invest in and support local talent, as well as the various communities that use our platforms. The office in Lagos will also be key in helping to expand how we service our clients across the continent.”