Posts tagged as: northern

Tullow Oil Reports Oil Discovery in Lokichar

Photo: Jared Nyataya/The Nation

Lokichar trading centre in Turkana.

By Jeremiah Kiplang’at And Sammy Lutta

More oil has been discovered in South Lokichar basin in Turkana, boosting efforts to spread exploration of the commodity.

Tullow Oil on Wednesday announced that it had found oil in the Emekuya-1 well in the basin after a similar discovery early in the year in two other wells drilled last year.

The firm said it had drilled through 75 vertical metres of rock that holds oil.

“Downhole pressure measurements and fluid samples suggest that the main oil reservoir is on the same static pressure gradient as the Etom-2 well which demonstrates that a major part of the Greater Etom structure is oil-filled,” said the company.

Tullow’s Country Manager Martin Mbogo said the discovery had boosted their efforts of exploring for more oil in the basin.

“This is a good result. The well was drilled close to the Etom-2 well which was a very successful well drilled in late 2016. Finding more oil here in the northern part of South Lokichar basin is good news and will add more oil to the overall resources that we have in the basin. We found oil at Etom-2 and at Erut (in early 2017) and we are now trying to find out if there’s more oil in between these two oil discoveries,” he said, adding that they would drill more wells in the area in order to ascertain the amount of oil that could be harvested from the basin.

“This is a very good start to this process. It shows us that the Greater Etom area (the part of the basin that goes beyond just the Etom discovery itself) does indeed have oil. We’ll have to drill more appraisal wells in the area to find out how much oil there is,” he added.

Exploration Director Angus McCoss said that they now look forward to the remainder of the Kenya exploration and “appraisal campaign in support of the ongoing work to prepare this important asset for full field development.”

The new discovery comes two months after Tullow signed a production agreement with the government which paved the way for the transportation of the first consignment of crude oil from Turkana fields to Mombasa for export.


Former President Kibaki’s Bodyguard Sues For 2002 Accident

A bodyguard involved in a road accident with former President Mwai Kibaki has alleged in a court case he was mistreated… Read more »

Congo-Kinshasa: Speed, Co-Ordination Needed to Curb Ebola

analysisBy Jacqueline Weyer, University of Pretoria

Three people have died and more than 125 are suspected to be infected with the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The outbreak comes less than two years after the most deadly spread of the disease in West Africa. Jacqueline Weyer explains how the outbreak compares to those in the past.

Are there any links between this outbreak and the one that hit West Africa between 2014 and 2016?

There isn’t an expectation that a direct link will be found between the outbreak in West Africa and the one in the DRC. Sequencing data will reveal more information, most importantly the strain of the virus involved and how it relates to Ebola viruses reported in previous outbreaks.

The Ebola virus is known to occur in the DRC and outbreaks are not entirely unexpected. In fact the virus derives its name from the Ebola river in the northern Democratic Republic of Congo.

There have been more Ebola outbreaks in the DRC than in any other country. Over the past ten years there have been four: 2007, 2008-2009, 2012 and in 2014.

Nevertheless, whatever the virus or strain involved, outbreaks of viral hemorrhagic fever are always concerning. The unavailability of proven prophylaxis, effective treatment and high mortality rates are the reasons why these diseases are feared.

Outbreaks like this also often occur in areas that are impoverished. This poses particularly tough challenges in managing cases and containing an outbreak.

What is the difference between an outbreak and an epidemic? At which point will the outbreak become an epidemic?

The two terms actually have the same definition and are often used interchangeably. Both imply an increase in the number of cases of a disease occurring in a population at a specific time, or if there’s an expectation that the disease will spread.

The term “outbreak” is sometimes used when describing an event that happens suddenly and is limited in size and to a particular area. Epidemic, on the other hand, is used to describe a more profuse and dispersed disease event over time. But the line is grey.

What word is used is less important than the fact that outbreaks of viral hemorrhagic fever are always concerning.

What lessons have been learnt from previous outbreaks?

A swift response is critical to containing an outbreak. One major challenge in West Africa was the delay in recognising the outbreak. This meant that the disease was already spreading profusely which made it more complicated to contain the outbreak.

Containment efforts are complex and require many pieces of a puzzle to be put together to achieve success. This includes:

supporting hospitals to limit transmission of the virus to health care workers while treating patients,
engaging with communities so that they can understand the problem, and participate and support the containment efforts themselves,
and active case tracing to identify potential contacts and new cases in order to ultimately interrupt the chain of transmission.

All these efforts have to be supported by adequate communication and logistics. The quicker all these actions can come together, the better the outcome of the containment effort.

Parts of the DRC are still plagued by violence. How would this exacerbate the current outbreak?

The violence in the country has had a massive impact on the availability of health care services. This is obviously a challenge and could hamper international efforts as relief workers and containment teams find it hard to reach the areas in need.

The good news is the country has experience in dealing with Ebola outbreaks, including some in country laboratory capacity for testing samples from suspected cases.

It’s still early days and much depends on how the situation unfolds in the DRC. But there are good examples of the challenges of delivering health care in conflict zones. There are many initiatives and strategies for trying to ensure safe delivery of and access to health care in conflict zones by many governmental and non-governmental agencies around the world. The situations in Syria and South Sudan come to mind.

Disclosure statement

Jacqueline Weyer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

The Conversation is a non-profit + your donation is tax deductible. Help knowledge-based, ethical journalism today.

How Shirimpumu Used a Salary Loan to Become a Model Farmer, Employer

analysisBy Emmanuel Ntirenganya

It’s 11am and Jean Claude Shirimpumu is inspecting his piggery project in Kageyo sector, Gicumbi District in Northern Province. The farmer can be seen stroking a sow as he feeds it.

Shirimpumu rightly calls pig farming his ‘gold mine’ as he has been able to amass assets worth over Rwf250 million in about six years, thanks to the project.

The farmer rears the big, long type of pigs that weigh up to 350 kilogrammes each. The sow he was feeding is worth about Rwf1 million in monetary terms since a kilogramme of pork is Rwf3,000, according to Shirimpumu.

“Pig farming is a gold mine and a money-spinning business when one practices it effectively using quality breed, proper feeding and ensuring proper care,” the farmer told Business Times.

Starting out

Shirimpumu said he started pig farming in 2009 as a side income generating project to complement his salary while working at Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC).

That is what gave birth to Vision Agribusiness Farm, which is also involved in other farming activities. He was earning Rwf900,000 per month then. The farmer, who holds a master’s degree in project management, said he started piggery business with a salary loan of Rwf10 million from Bank of Kigali that he used to buy five pregnant pigs and feeds, as well as build shed. The entrepreneur had engaged in poultry farming previously.

“Through needs assessment study, I realised that people need eggs and meat to improve their nutrition,” said the 45-year-old father of three.

Over the years, the piggery project expanded to about 600 pigs (though the number changes as he keeps selling some pigs and more are born). Of these, 45 are sows, which ensure project sustainability.

With the growth of the project, Shirimpumu was able to repay the bank loan with ease, and even quit his job at RBC in 2013 to concentrate on pig farming.

“I realised that pig farming was earning me far much more than my job. However, it needed more time for better results. So, I decided to quit my job to dedicate all my time and energy to the project,” Shirimpumu told Business Times in an interview at his Gicumbi farm.

Production and marketing

Shirimpumu sells three category of pigs, including adult or pregnant pigs for breeding (about 10 per month), piglets (about 150 per month), and old pigs for meat estimated to between 10 and 20 per month.

The entrepreneur is the chairperson for the Rwanda Pig Farmers’ Association established in February 2017.

He said he advocated for the establishment of the association as a means to solving issues of low prices of meat (about Rw1,200 a kilogramme) that farmers largely get, leaving the middlemen to pocket hefty profits at the expense of farmers as they resell a kilo at Rwf2,000.

He said the other challenge that needs to be addressed is lack of modern abattoirs to process pig meat in the country. The issue of high cost of animal feeds, ranging from Rwf200 and Rwf250 a kilogramme, is also a hindrance as it is not affordable to pig farmers, he added.


Shirimpumu has gotten many assets from the project, including a five-hectare piece of land worth Rwf60 million, which he uses for his agriculture activities. His pig farm sits on a three-hectare piece of land; the farmer is also involved in agro-forestry, and acquired two cars – one for the family and another to facilitate his farming activities.

Investment and profit compared

He said people have a misconception that pigs consume a lot of food, noting that ‘modern’ pigs consume only three kilogrammes per day.

He said pig farming is a good business that ensures return on investment in a short period of time.

Alexis Ndayambaje, the production officer at the farm, explained that three kilogrammes of quality feed (worth about Rwf600) translate into a kilogramme of meat or between Rwf1,200 and Rwf1,500 per kilo in monetary terms.

Ndayambaje is a graduate of rural development.

Using the money from the piggery project, Shirimpumu bought a five-hectare piece of land where he grows vitamin A-rich yellow maize. The farmer harvests about six tonnes per hectare.

Contribution to community

Currently, he employs 12 permanent workers and about 30 casual labourers in his farming activities.

He said he pays some of his workers more than Rwf900,000 per month.

After six years since the establishment of his business, Shirimpumu said he has helped over 200 entities (including farmers and cooperatives) get improved pig breeds. Ndayambaje said apart from good pay, he has gained skills in job-creation and project management.

He added that he wants to pursue post-graduate studies using his salary.

Alexis Mbaraga, a farmer, told Business Times that he bought three pigs from Shirimpumu at Rwf150,000 each three years ago but now has 200 pigs. The City of Kigali resident whose pig farm is in Nyanza District, Southern Province, said Shirimpumu’s pigs are productive, multiply quickly and are not prone to diseases.

“I earn about Rwf10 million per year from piggery. What is good with Shirimpumu is that he trains farmers and make follow ups to ensure they profit from the pigs bought from Vision Agribusiness Farm,” he said.

In fact, Shirimpumu’s company also trains other people interested in piggery on how they can best do it to get desired profits. Vision Agribusiness Farm also offers internships to both secondary and university students who study veterinary and agriculture courses.

Setting up a breeding centre

The farmer plans to set up a breeding centre that will offer many services, including artificial insemination and farmer capacity building. It will also have a fattening lot to increase meat production to satisfy the market, especially for export. He said the centre will employ more youth particularly those with requisite technical skills.

Pig population

There are about one million pigs in Rwanda, according to figures from the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB).

According to Worldwatch Institute, a US-based development research organisation, pork (pig meat) is the most widely consumed in the world followed by poultry, beef and mutton.

One Dies in Gaaga Bus Crash

By Clement Aluma

Arua — One person died on the spot and six other passengers sustained serious injuries when a Gaagaa bus travelling from Koboko to Kampala crashed at Irriri trading centre in Ullepi Sub-County on the Arua-Nebbi highway.

The accident happened at about 10pm on Saturday, according to police.

The driver of the bus, regional police spokesperson Josephine Angucia says, was trying to avoid a head-on collision with an oncoming vehicle that was driving on the right instead of the left.

She says the unnamed driver swerved the bus and it overturned multiple times.

Police identified the deceased as Embassy Rashid, a security guard who was returning to resume work in the northern Lira District after leave.


Police Deployed As Evictions Starts Along Kampala-Entebbe Road

Police has deployed along Kampala- Entebbe road as Uganda National Roads Authority takes a whip on encroachers of the… Read more »

Africa: Who Will Be the Next WHO Chief Executive?


Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Ethiopia’s foreign minister, launched his candidacy to head the World Health Organization (WHO) at a press conference in Geneva.

opinionBy Zaeem Ul Haq

Over the past several months, many colleagues in global health have asked who I think should be the next Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO). I’ve also been subtly encouraged to campaign on behalf of one candidate or another. So far, I have more or less remained neutral, not only because of some conflicting loyalties (see below), but also because I hadn’t yet had a chance to analyse the candidates’ manifestos and appraise these impartially to make an informed choice. Now that I have finally found time to do this, I would like to share the reasons behind my choice – and I invite other members of the global health community to do the same.

First, for those who haven’t followed this issue closely, a little background is in order.

In brief, the names of candidates nominated by WHO member states were announced in September 2016. During October and November, the candidates presented their vision for WHO to member states and responded to their questions. In January 2017, the WHO executive board short listed 5 candidates, who then presented their manifestos and were interviewed by the board. The top three finalists were selected and have been put forward to the world health assembly to be held in May 2017, where member states will cast their votes and elect the next DG, who will take over from Margret Chan on July 1st, 2017. These three final candidates are:

Dr David Nabarro, nominee of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Dr Sania Nishtar, nominee of the Government of Pakistan.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, nominee of the Government of Ethiopia.

To begin, there’s no doubt that all of these finalists have top-end credentials, and that I can think of countless reasons (such as those below) to be biased for all three, which makes the choice even more difficult than it probably is for someone else.

Two of them are nominees from my home (Pakistan) and adopted (UK) countries, so I inherently feel an obligation to support their candidature;

One of them, Dr. Nishtar, was my teacher in MPH, the other two I can proudly say, are fellow-alumni from the London School;

Two are medical doctors, another two public health specialists;

One worked in the same role with the organisation that I’ve worked for over the past decade (Save the Children), another pioneered and championed the community health approach that I have worked so passionately for over the past decade;

One is an eloquent speaker, another a proficient writer and the third an ardent practitioner;

All three are profound thinkers and great leaders in their own right, and thus it’s impossible to make distinction based on their profiles alone.

The choice should thus be based on their track record, achievements and their vision for the World Health Organisation over the next decade. And against those benchmarks, there is a clear winner, at least from my perspective.

Dr Tedros stands out as the most promising candidate to lead the World Health Organisation at this crucial time – with ever-increasing population, political, epidemiological and environmental challenges. My top three reasons reflect the facts that:

He has spearheaded the health sector reform in his country and providing exemplary leadership over the past decade;

He has galvanised bilateral and multi-sectoral partnerships that culminated in his country achieving the millennium development goal for child survival;

He has forged regional partnerships and generating global momentum for accelerating sustainable development;

Dr Tedros would be the first African to lead the WHO. As such, his hands-on experience effectively leading the national ministries of health and foreign affairs, wherein he accelerated progress towards increasing equitable access to basic health and nutrition services, will be instrumental for his governance. This experience will help ensure the WHO continues to provide global leadership to improve health outcomes and achieve sustainable development goals for health, for the hundreds of millions in need, in particular the most vulnerable and marginalised communities in Sub-Saharan Africa and in all fragile and conflict-affected states.

Zaeem Ul Haq, MBBS MPH is a public health physician who has worked over the past 15 years to improve health and nutrition outcomes for children and communities across low and middle income countries globally. Presently he is a health advisor with Save the Children, and provides strategic direction and technical support to country programmes globally, with a special focus on child survival and health systems strengthening in fragile states. He has previously worked for international organisations such as International Rescue Committee, Medecins Sans Frontineres and the Aga Khan Foundation.

Nigeria: Nigeria Meningitis Death Toll Tops 1,000

Photo: Premium Times

(file photo).

More than 1,000 people have died in an outbreak of meningitis in Nigeria, the Centre for Disease Control said Thursday, but added that the spread of the disease is slowing.

The outbreak has mostly affected children in Africa’s most populous country.

As of May 9, a total of 13,420 suspected cases had been reported in 23 states with 1,069 deaths, giving a fatality ratio of eight per cent, the CDC said in a statement.

The northern states of Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina and Kebbi, which were the worst affected, have all seen a drop in the number of cases.

Two others which were also badly hit — Kebbi and Niger — recorded no deaths, the CDC said.

A new strain of meningitis C was first reported in Zamfara last November and spread to 22 other states in northern Nigeria. A mass vaccination programme was started to limit its spread.

The CDC said a new batch of vaccines was expected to arrive in the next few days.

Meningitis is caused by different types of bacteria, six of which can cause epidemics. It is transmitted between people through coughs and sneezes, close contact and cramped living conditions.

The illness causes acute inflammation of the outer layers of the brain and spinal cord, with the most common symptoms being fever, headache and neck stiffness.

Nigeria lies in the so-called “meningitis belt” of sub-Saharan Africa, stretching from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east, where outbreaks of the disease are a regular occurrence.


Many Chibok Girls Radicalised, Married Off – Source

The Chibok community in Abuja has confirmed the identities of 73 of the 82 recently-released school girls, saying they… Read more »

Uganda: Family of Four in Kisaasi Motor Crash

[Monitor] Two out of four members of the same family involved in an accident on the Northern Bypass in the city suburb of Kampala, have died. Police have named the dead as Joshua Musasizi, reported to be in his late 40s and a resident of Seeta in Mukono, and his five-year-old daughter Christabella Mirembe.

Ethiopia: Huge Cement Plant Inaugurated

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, his minister of Industry, Ahmed Abitew , and Abiy Ahmed , head of Oromia Urban Development & Housing Bureau with the rank of vice President of Oromia Regional State, have inaugurated the nation’s six largest cement plant last week, Habesha Cement Share Company.

Erected near the town of Holeta, 35Km north-west of Addis Abeba, the plant took 80 million dollars in investment and two year to complete. However, the company, when it was incorporated eight years ago, was the only among the cement manufacturers owned by the public, with shareholders numbering over 16,000, with a registered capital of 300 million Br.

The Chinese Northern Heavy Industries Group Co Ltd. was contracted to do the plant erection job; it is the same company that has erect the plant owned by National Cement Company, in the outskirts of Dire Dawa.

Eskinder Desta, Mesfin Abi and Gizaw Teklemariam, the latter two engineers worked for the state owned Mughar, were early promoters of the project, before a South African investors joined them later. Tamru Wondimagegnehu, a prominent lawyer chairs the board of directors of nine of which three represent the PPC International Holdings and Industrial Development Corporation.


Council of Ministers Says No to Increase in 2017/18 Budget

The 2017/18 East African Community budget will be relatively smaller compared to the current closing financial year… Read more »

Kenya: Sound Policies, Expansion Key to Realising Full Benefits From SGR

opinionBy James Macharia

As the country gears up for the commissioning of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) at end of the month, it is important to understand that its economic benefits will be fully realised only if we put the necessary supporting infrastructure and policies in place.

This is especially true of the freight component of the business that the SGR is expected to handle. Thus, the ongoing expansion and modernisation of the Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Embakasi, Nairobi, is critical.

The works, estimated to cost Sh21 billion, will not only provide a solution to some of the capacity constraints facing Mombasa Port, but will also improve the overall efficiency of cargo transport within the Northern Corridor and optimise the use of the SGR.

The numbers tell the story of an increase in capacity. Each freight train will pack a haulage volume of 216 Twenty Foot Equivalent Units or a trailing load of 40,000 tonnes, moving at 80 kilometres an hour. Annually, the SGR is designed to move 22 million tonnes. China Road and Bridge Construction (CRBC) is the project’s EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) contractor.

Work at the Embakasi Depot, financed by the Kenya Government and the China Exim Bank, comprises railway and container yards, under Phase I of the SGR, which is 472 kilometres.

We are confident that it will be completed by the end of May as planned. Already, the 18 buildings required are 88 per cent complete.

The new gantry cranes are on site, with 85 per cent already assembled.

The work required to expand the ICD is 80 per cent done. Equally critical to the efficiency of the ICD and SGR Corridor are the road links.

A key component is the construction of two access roads linking the depot through the Southern (Road A-2.122 Km) and Eastern (Road B-3.004 Km) by-passes.

The improvement of access into and out of the ICD through the Eastern by-pass is 90 per cent complete. The same pace of progress has not been achieved on the Southern By-pass due to challenges around relocations.

This link is critical due to the congestion around the ICD. With the expected increase in cargo traffic from 30,000 TEUs to 450-500,000 TEUs in the next five years, the expanded ICD can only serve the country up to 2023.

The government must acquire more land to boost cargo handling capacity. The huge investment in freight handling, storage and transport capacity will only make sense to Kenya and the region if it is fully utilised by importers and exporters.

Global best practice is that rail freight costs must be 30 per cent cheaper than the road option to attract freight. Discounts and promotional tariffs are the other tools for use to drive the shift from trucking to SGR. A number of policies are crucial.

They include setting weight bands of containers that must be carried by rail. We could also require that all transit cargo terminate at the ICD, with rail handling. Inter-modality of the SGR and the existing Meter Gauge Railway (MGR) at the ICD should be promoted.

There is also a need to reduce cargo dwell time at the port, half of which global research shows, is due to Customs release processes.

The Kenya Revenue Authority should consider innovations such as green channels and post-clearance audits. Volumes and early bird discounts are another form of incentive.

For now, SGR capacity is limited to containerised cargo, yet 30 per cent of port traffic is bulk freight. Its capacity to convey bulk freight like clinker and grains must be developed to achieve the target 40 per cent modal share of the freight market.

There is potential for bulk freight handling terminals at Makadara, Nairobi, which accounts for 60 per cent of the national milling capacity and Athi River, with its cement plants.

With 45 per cent of the cost of doing business in the region accounted for by freight logistics, the SGR will cut transit times from over 30 hours to just eight, making East Africa competitive and sparking economic takeoff.

Mr Macharia is the Transport Cabinet Secretary

Kenya: Southern Engineering Company Gets Sh1.7mn Kisumu Oil Jetty Tender

By Kennedy Kangethe

Nairobi — Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) has awarded the Sh1.7 billion contract for the construction of the Kisumu oil jetty to Southern Engineering Company (SECO).

The local company was awarded the contract after a competitive process that involved five other local and foreign bidders.

The firm is 60-year old engineering company, specialises in a range of land and marine, civil, mechanical and structural engineering and the flagship company of Alpha Group’s Marine Division.

SECO will commence construction the oil jetty this month and will take six months to complete the project.

KPC Managing Director, Joe Sang said the completion of Kisumu Oil Jetty will increase KPC’s competitive edge in the region as the leading oil transporter.

“The oil jetty’s target market will create integrated marine fuel transportation in the region, making it more efficient and commercially viable and reduce transportation costs for the oil marketing companies,” said Sang in a statement.

He said the Jetty project will also turn Kisumu into a focal point of oil and gas commerce in the region and one of the busiest inland ports in Africa boosting throughput in Kisumu by one billion litres a year in phase one and up to three billion litres per year by 2028.

“KPC remains focused on becoming a major regional player supporting regional growth by lowering the cost of doing business by ensuring that we operate a cost effective and highly efficient pipeline and related infrastructure system,” said Sang.

The move follows the completion of the new Sinendet-Kisumu Pipeline that has enhanced petroleum product availability in the Western Kenya and the export market of Uganda, Eastern DRC, Rwanda, Burundi and Northern Tanzania.


Paying for Change? Trial Offers Cash to Parents Willing to Vaccinate Babies

Researchers have shown that monetary incentives lead to infants being immunised on time. Read more »

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