Posts tagged as: world

Nigeria: NCC to Punish Telcos Over Pre-Registered SIM Cards

By Ugo Onwuaso

Nigerian Telecommunications Commission (NCC) has ordered mobile telecommunications firms to block pre-registered SIM cards, believed to be what criminals, especially kidnappers, armed robbers and fraudsters are using to perpetuate crime across the country.

Ismail Adedigba, NCC deputy director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, also warned that severe punishment awaits any provider whose network is still carrying pre-registered sim card

Adedigba, who chaired the commission’s 87th consumer outreach in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, frowned at complaints about the existence of pre-registered sim cards insisting that “I expected to hear that all sim cards are registered. But I have issues with Service Providers here, how did we get these pre-registered Sims to start with?

“I think your networks should have the total number of available lines and the total number of subscribers in your database, and as such you should be able to know which Sims age registered and those that are not registered and automatically deactivate those that are pre-registered and those that are not properly registered.

“But a situation where are still having pre-registered SIM cards with the advancement in technology today, is a surprise to me, and note that a severe punishment awaits any provider whose network is still carrying pre-registered SIM cards.”

The Deputy Director also urged the service providers to step up their services to save some of the frustrations their consumers are going through because of poor service delivery.

According to him, there is presently no known cancer case or any other health challenge traceable to telecommunication masts and asked the public to save themself the fear that the electro magnate radiation from the network equipment causes skin cancer or any other type of disease.

He said: “As at today, there is no health implication, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). So there is no health research and well-known health implication of mast as at today. You should not prevent the service provider from deploying masts.

The more masts we have, the better quality service we have.

“At the NCC, we believe consumer is the king in the palace market. Therefore, the consumer must accord basic rights such as rights to be heard, right to be educated, right to redress as well as right to safety.”


Govt Asks Court to Return Nnamdi Kanu to Prison

The Federal Government has urged a Federal High Court in Abuja to revoke the bail it granted leader of the pro-Biafra… Read more »

NTSA to Use New Gadgets to Nab Drunk Drivers

By Ouma Wanzala

The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) will from Friday use its latest advanced breathalyser as it steps up war against drunk driving on Kenyan roads.

The gadgets give results faster than the previous ones.

NTSA Director General Francis Meja said they have acquired 50 new gadgets from the World Bank, and distributed them across the country.

“We intend to use them from tomorrow (Friday) during our random drink driving operation in towns and major highways,” he said adding that the gadgets will boost their evidence-based operations.


Since January, more than 1,762 people have died in road crashes, according to NTSA.

Mr Meja has said 80 per cent of accidents in Kenyan roads are attributed to human behaviour.

“Alcohol impairs a drivers cognitive ability turning them into a hazard on the road. It impairs vision, judgment sensory ability. All being critical aspects of safe driving,” he said.

The NTSA boss said their operations have deterred many motorists from driving under the influence of alcohol.

“We have noted a number of revellers opt to take a taxi rather than driving, which is very encouraging,” he said.


In April this year, beer lovers and bar owners got false reprieve after reports that the Court of Appeal had nullified use of alcoblows.

For the next few days, motorists, who had been arrested after failing alcoblow tests were released by magistrates due to the misinterpretation.

However, it later emerged that the Appellate Judges had ruled that it was illegal for motorists to be charged under the rules that operationalised the Traffic Act instead of the Act.

Put differently, the judges wanted offending motorists charged under the substantive Act itself and not the rules, meaning only the charges were defective and not the law as had been interpreted.

NTSA has since been charging drunk drivers under Section 44 (1) of the Traffic Act, which prohibits driving under the influence.


Opposition MP Urges President Magufuli to Emulate Kenyatta

Arusha Urban MP (Chadema) Godbless Lema has called on President John Magufuli to borrow a leaf from Kenyan counterpart… Read more »

JKT Decorates Victorious Simbu

By Jimmy Lwangili

NATIONAL Service (JKT) yesterday feted national athletics team, following their recent feat at the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships in London, UK, pledging to rollout more quality athletes.

JKT organised a grand reception to congratulate the four athletes – Alphonce Simbu, Emmanuel Giriki, Steven Guche and Magdalena Shauri, who are army employees for putting up a scintillating performance in London.

JKT awarded them certificates of recognition, sports equipments and trophies for performing well at the world’s event. Long distance runner, Simbu managed to put his mark again in the world’s map, winning men’s marathon bronze at the championships on August 6th, this year.

Simbu won the glittering bronze medal after finishing third in the 42 kilometres men’s category in a time 2:09:41. He was surpassed by Kenyan athlete Geoffrey Kipkorir Kirui and Ethiopian runner Tamirat Tola, who clocked 2:08:27 and 2:09:49 respectively. It is the first medal for the country in the championships since 2005.

The only medal Tanzania has ever won in the event was in 2005 edition, when Christopher Isegwe won silver in Helsinki, Finland. His feat came after disappointing campaigns in 2009 Berlin, German, 2011 Daegu, Korea, 2013 Moscow, Russia and 2015 Beijing, China.

And Simbu’s success has thrilled Chief of National Service, Major General Michael Isamuhyo, who has promised that JKT will continue rolling out more top quality athletes to represent the country at the international events.

“We will continue to produce and develop top quality athletes and the objective is to make sure that they represent and win honours for the country at the international events,” Isamuhyo said.

“Through these young athletes, we have realised that there are many talented sportspersons in the country and if they are well organised, there is a possibility of winning more medals at the continental and world level,” he said.

Isamuhyo added; “It is our duty to cooperate with other sports stakeholders in supporting the talented athletes for the benefit of our country,” he said. Athletics Tanzania (AT) Secretary General, Wilhelm Gidabuday thanked JKT for drilling the athletes.

“They are all well baked athletes and always behave in cooperative manner, patriotic and disciplined, that is why they are always performing well in different competitions,” said Gidabuday. He said through the JKT athletes, their teammates learned a lot and developed the spirit to compete and win for the country.

National Sports Council (NSC), Secretary General, Mohamed Kiganja has also lauded JKT for producing classic athletes, requesting them to continue fine turning and train young athletes. “We believe through JKT, the talented youth will not only develop their talents, but also maintain highest standard of discipline and spirit of competing at the top level.

MultiChoice Tanzania Pubic Relations Manager, Johnson Mshana said they will strengthen cooperation with JKT and other sports stakeholders to make sure the country’s athletes continue to win big at the international stage.

On behalf of others in the team, Simbu who is the team captain thanked JKT for the support and training that encouraged them to perform well in the competition. He said through JKT, they are learning many things but the most important was the influence that the army was putting behind them to perform better in different competitions.

On Tuesday, Gidabuday pleaded for more support from government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), to push the sport further as it seeks extra medal-hunt in international competitions.

Nigeria: Over 50 Die of Unidentified Disease in Kogi

By Yekini Jimoh

Lokoja — No fewer than 50 people have been confirmed dead in Okunran, Okoloke and Isanlu-Esa communities all in Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State following an outbreak of an unidentified disease.

Owing to the development, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has sent a medical team to the community to assess the situation.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Saka Audu, disclosed this thursday after he visited the affected villages on Wednesday.

According to him, the state government was assessing the situation that had claimed the lives of so many people in the villages to determine the cause of deaths and then quickly address it.

“As part of the policies of this government, irrespective of the remote location of the communities, we must make sure that we take health care to the door steps of the rural dwellers.

“We want to reassure them that the government is with them, and whatever happens, we will take full responsibility of those who are already healed and to make sure that we arrest the spread of this unknown disease.

“For now, it is clear and has been confirmed that it is not Lassa fever, but whatever it is, we will carry out further investigation with the information we have and come up with a definitive diagnosis,” he said.

The commissioner stressed that the information on the outbreak of the strange disease got to his ministry last week and they immediately sent a technical team to take the samples which were sent to the General Hospital in Irua, Edo State, for lab tests.

“We are going further to find out what the real cause may be; we don’t know what it is currently, but all hands are on deck to make sure that we find out the definitive cause of the mysterious deaths among these children,” he added.

Also speaking, a Consultant at Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) Hospital in Egbe, Dr. Jannette Hathorn, said a child of two and half years was brought to the hospital but later died after 12 hours.

“We had definitely had misleading news about patients bleeding, so we tried to diagnose for viral hemorrhagic fever (Lassa fever), but the lab results came out negative.

“We are sure it is not Lassa fever, but on the other hand, our concern is that we do not know exactly the cause of what was happening. We had differences but we never came to a definitive diagnosis. Two other adult patients were also brought in; one presented with ulcer-viral illness but there was no bleeding component of any hemorrhagic symptom.

“We isolated them and both were treated for malaria. So, when they started improving, we let them go. But our concern was a couple who brought their child to the hospital and pleaded with us for help that about 40 to 50 people had died in their villages with similar symptoms as their child in the last three weeks. “So, we called the World Health Organisation and our local state officials, who came after the child had died yesterday to take the samples. We must know exactly what we are dealing with,” she said.

The traditional ruler of the community, Oba Joshua Ogunyanda, in the company of the commissioner, expressed his appreciation for coming to see them in spite of the difficulty in getting to their communities and the neighbouring Fulani settlements.

According to him, the settlements were the worst hit, including some of his people in the host community

He said the outbreak started over three weeks ago and they immediately alerted the local government administrator to come to their aid. Also reacting, the leader of the Fulani settlement, Damina Ibrahim, told journalists that the outbreak started about three weeks ago and mostly children and adults were affected.

Nigeria: ‘What3words Will Boost Nigeria’s Addressing System’

interviewBy Adeyemi Adepetun

Chris Sheldrick is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of what3words, the simplest way to communicate locations. The UK-based company solves the problem that roughly 75 per cent of the world faces: inconsistent, complicated, poor, or no addressing. By carving the global map up into 57 trillion 3mx3m squares, what3words created a universal addressing system that uses a unique string of three words to specify any location. The new solution is to be adopted in Nigeria through NIPOST partnership. Sheldrick, in a telephone interview with ADEYEMI ADEPETUN, spoke on how the new solution would aid Nigeria’s addressing system, eCommerce services, among others. Excerpts:

Can you shed more light on what what3words is all about in “lay man’s language” that the average Nigerian can understand?

Around the world, 75 per cent of the countries have insufficient, complicated or even no addressing systems at all. That means four billion people do not have an address. This hampers economic and social growth; businesses can’t be found, individuals don’t receive urgent medical attention in time, remote assets are difficult to manage, lands titles are sometimes hard to administer, among others. While there are other alternatives in place, they are not good enough for today’s needs; street addressing is very costly, landmark addressing is frustrating and not scalable, and GPS coordinates are nearly impossible to communicate without mistakes. So what3words is a global address system, describing any location in Nigeria, or the world using just three words. We have divided the whole world into 3m x 3m squares. There are 57 trillion 3m x 3m squares in the world, and we’ve named every square with three words. For example, if I say to you “table.chair.spoon”, that is the name of a 3m square. And you can use the free app to discover your three word address; you can give it to somebody else, they will type in the three word address, and they would find your house.

What benefit does it bring to the current addressing system in Nigeria?

The clearest benefit is this: absolutely everybody in Nigeria will have an address by using this system. This is because at the moment, many streets are not named in Nigeria. And even the streets that are named, the house numbers are inconsistent or perhaps don’t exist. When people type in a street address into a map app on their phone, it often doesn’t take them to the right place. So the big benefit is that from today, everybody in Nigeria can just use a three word address to describe where they live, which is enormously valuable. We currently have it in Djibouti, Cote D’Ivoire. Nigeria is the third.

Have you considered those in the very remote parts of Nigeria?

NIPOST will shortly start an education campaign around the whole country, by using their network of post offices, workers, communication channels through TV, radio, to encourage everybody to find their three word addresses. Now perhaps in the villages, it will take a little bit longer for the message to reach them, but with the assistance of NIPOST and family members, they too will be able to discover and use their three word address.

What triggered the partnership between your company and NIPOST in Nigeria?

Whilst many letters are now replaced by emails, there is still no other solution for parcels than to be physically delivered. And there as well, NIPOST is determined to improve its quality of service and the number of people it delivers to. Today, NIPOST only delivers to 20 per cent of households. In two years, through the Mail for Every House Initiative (MEHI), it hopes to reach 70 per cent, and even 90 per cent in 2020.

Implementing the what3words addressing system will help achieve these targets. They are looking for an address solution that works today, without having to wait for all of the street naming and numbering to be sorted out, which could take decades. We supply NIPOST with software so they will be able to use three word addresses at scale. The people of Nigeria can access the free app called what3words that is in the app store. And for anyone in Nigeria, it is free to use this app to find their own address and to use it.

Looking at the booming e-commerce sector in Nigeria, how will this add up for the players?

It will boost the sector because the e-commerce stores and the courier services become more efficient. That means they can lower the price of delivery for people, and that means people are going to be keener to have things delivered to their homes or offices, and they will trust the service. So, we will be reducing costs for the key businesses involved, improving the customer experience for the consumers themselves, and lowering the prices for the consumers so they can make more purchases. It is a whole ecosystem improvement.

The what3words ecosystem, is there any link between it and Google map system?

What3words works with any map on the what3words app, it works with Google maps, but we also display 3-word addresses on top of many other maps including “Esri” and OpenStreetMap. We can work with any Nigerian mapping providers too. Whilst we choose to use Google Maps for our apps, we can work with any mapping provider.

You say the app is free, what then is the bottom-line for your company?

We have a licence with National Post Services in countries, including NIPOST. It’s the businesses we charge and we will be charging any other courier providers in Nigeria, but for consumers, it is entirely free. All you have to do is to download the what3words app, and find your 3-word address, share it with people, and they can use it to find you.

Does the app work offline?

Yes it does. Once you have downloaded the app, you can use it offline as well. Also what3words is integrated in a number of offline map apps too, like Navmii, the world’s biggest offline mapping app. It’s a big benefit even for people in rural villages – what3words works offline, even if you have no data connection at all.

Africa: President Jacob Zuma – New Development Bank Africa Regional Centre Launch

press release

Remarks by President Zuma on the occasion of the launch of the New Development Bank (NDB) Africa Regional Centre, Sandton, Johannesburg

Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers,

Mr Kamath, the President of the New Development Bank,

Captains of industry and finance sectors,

Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good day to you all.

We are truly delighted to share this extremely important occasion with you.

The launch of the Africa Regional Centre of the New Development Bank is a historic occasion as it marks the strengthening of the BRICS formation and also underlines the BRICS commitment to the development of the African continent and emerging markets.

This is a critical milestone not only for South Africa, but for the African continent as a whole. We are thus celebrating it as a shared achievement.

The idea of establishing a new Bank with a new mission and orientation was first discussed in Durban in 2013, when we had the honour of hosting the BRICS forum.

We later agreed to establish a centre in Africa to take care of the important developmental needs of this continent.

The launch of the Africa Regional Centre is testament to our commitment that BRICS and the New Development Bank should benefit not only BRICS countries, but should also benefit the whole of Africa and the developing world as a whole.

This is therefore truly a proud moment which points to a brighter future for the people of our continent and the developing world in general.

Programme Director,

In the two years of the Bank’s existence, I have been most pleased at the progress made.

Notable achievement in this regard includes the signing the founding agreement of the New Development Bank, which paved the way for the opening of the Bank’s head office in Shanghai, China. The issuance of the first set of loans – amounting to 1,5 billion dollars (approximately 20 billion rands) in total – to fund renewable energy projects in member countries is a significant step forward.

The Bank’s very first green bond issuance in the Chinese capital market, mobilising about 450 million dollars in the process is also noteworthy.

And most recently, the approval of a general strategy that will guide the Bank’s operations in the next five years demonstrates that we are on the right path.

Today we gather to celebrate yet another milestone, the launch of the Africa Regional Centre. I wish to thank The New Development Bank President, Mr Kamath and his team for the excellent work over the years, which has brought us to this momentous occasion.

We are confident that the Bank will build on these achievements and grow from strength to strength.

Next, the Bank will start the process to consider new members and finalise the project pipeline for the second batch of loans to be offered in the 2017/2018 financial year. We wish the Bank well in these endeavors.

The biggest challenge is that Africa remains largely un-industrialized with the result that our economies are over exposed to the whims of commodities’ markets.

African countries generally do not have adequate infrastructure interconnections. As a result, we cannot maximize the benefits of regional trade. Worse still, the continent does not have adequate social infrastructure for the provision of basic services such as health and education, and we therefore are not able to significantly improve the living standards of our people.

Indeed, due to this infrastructure gap, Africa has been unable to unlock its growth potential, and bring prosperity to her people.

Given these challenges, the African continent has great expectations for the New Development Bank.

We expect that the Bank, through the Africa Regional Centre, will contribute to accelerating infrastructure investment in energy, transport, water and other productive sectors.

South Africa, since its joining of BRICS in 2011, has advocated for inclusivity of the Global South, especially the African continent.

We are therefore happy to know that the Bank is working on expanding its membership to other countries beyond BRICS. We certainly trust that African countries will be among the first to take up membership at the New Development Bank.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Seventy years after the end of the Second World War, the world continues to be plagued by the endemic problems of poverty and human suffering, more so in the African continent. The recent bout of violence and military confrontation in some countries in the Middle East and Africa has notably exacerbated this problem.

These tragic realities highlight the need for new and sustainable solutions. We therefore call on the New Development Bank and like-minded institutions to test new boundaries, explore new possibilities and deliver sustainable solutions that will better serve humanity.

I am encouraged by the recent announcement made at the Second Annual Meeting of the New Development Bank Board of Governors in New Delhi to increase the Bank’s lending to 2,5 billion dollars in the 2017/2018 financial year. This announcement has come at an opportune time for South Africa as we need more projects.

We have great expectations for this regional office.

We would like to see an office that is geared towards fulfilling the New Development Bank’s founding objectives. These are to foster the development of member countries, support economic growth, promote and facilitate job creation and to build a knowledge sharing platform among developing countries.

The regional office will have to extend its core focus beyond project identification and preparation if it wants to truly realise these objectives. The office should in time be given the autonomy to extend loans to qualifying countries in the continent, whilst also serving as a node for capacity building and knowledge sharing.

However, the Bank is still in its infancy stage and understandably, such an expansion would be carried out in phases.

Distinguished guests,

It is fitting that we celebrate this launch in the same year that we celebrate the centenary of one of our founding fathers, Isithalandwe Oliver Reginald Tambo.

This giant of our liberation struggle envisioned an Africa that was at peace with itself and the world. He also envisaged one in which all its citizens enjoyed unlimited economic prosperity through cooperation and shared ideas.

The launch of the New Development Bank’s first regional office is a major step towards the realisation of OR Tambo’s vision for our country and indeed our continent.

Indeed, this is a turning point for Africa and its development.

This new Bank will enable continued fruitful cooperation with our global partners which will help us promote sustainable development through integration, industrialisation and infrastructure development on the continent.

The launch takes place during the week in which we are hosting the 37th Southern African Development Community Heads of State and Government Summit in our country.

The Summit takes place under the theme: “Partnering with the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains”.

SADC celebrates 25 years of existence this year and membership has grown to 15 countries. The combined population is about 300 million people.

South Africa will assume the chair of SADC this week and projects such as the New Development Bank will be supported and promoted in earnest as part of advancing Africa’s development agenda.

Mr Kamath, Ministers, distinguished guests,

It is my pleasure and honour to declare the Africa Regional Centre of the New Development Bank officially open for business!

I thank you.

Issued by: The Presidency

Kimetto to Face Defending Champion Kirui in Chicago

Nairobi — Defending champions Abel Kirui and Florence Kiplagat will line up alongside world record-holder Dennis Kimetto, half marathon world record-holder Zersenay Tadese and three-time Olympic gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba at the IAAF Gold Label road race, Chicago Marathon October 8.

In a tactical race last year, Kirui held off Dickson Chumba to win by three seconds in 2:11:23. The two-time world champion has a personal best of 2:05:04 and finished fourth at this year’s London Marathon in 2:07:45, his fastest time since winning the second of his world titles in 2011.

Kimetto returns to Chicago for the first time since setting a course record of 2:03:45 in 2013. Prior to that, he ran the fastest marathon debut in history in Berlin in 2012 (2:04:16) and in 2014 he became the first athlete in history to cover the marathon within 2:03, clocking a world record of 2:02:57 in Berlin.

Tadese, a six-time world champion on the roads and cross-country, has only finished three marathons. While his official personal best is 2:10:41, the 2004 Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist ran 2:06:51 in the Breaking2 marathon so will be looking to replicate that kind of form in Chicago.

Kenya’s Stephen Sambu made his marathon debut in Chicago in 2016, finishing fifth in 2:13:35. With PBs of 26:54.61 for 10,000m and 1:00:41 for the half marathon, it would appear the 29-year-old is capable of significantly improving his marathon PB.

Japanese quartet Kohei Mastsumura, Yuki Takamiya, Chihiro Miyawaki and Ryoichi Matsuo add further strength to this year’s field. Matsumara is the fastest of the four, having set a PB of 2:08:09 at the 2014 Tokyo Marathon.

Kiplagat returns to chase her third title in a row and her fourth podium finish. The 2010 world half marathon champion has a marathon PB of 2:19:44 and held the half marathon world record until earlier this year.

Dibaba started 2017 by becoming the third-fastest woman of all time when she finished second in London in 2:17:56.

Dibaba is a three-time Olympic gold medallist, a five-time world champion on the track and a four-time winner of senior titles at the World Cross. She made her marathon debut in 2014 with a third-place finish in London in 2:20:35. More recently, she took the silver medal in the 10,000m at the IAAF World Championships London 2017.

Valentine Kipketer returns to Chicago after finishing third last year in 2:23:41. The Kenyan finished sixth at this year’s Boston Marathon.

Australia’s Lisa Weightman heads to Chicago on the heels of her best career performance to date, a 2:25:15 fifth-place finish at this year’s London Marathon. She has represented Australia at three Olympics and numerous World Championships. She earned the bronze medal in the marathon at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Others in the field include Poland’s Karolina Nadolska, Mexican record-holder Madai Perez, Danish Olympian Jessica Draskau Petersson and Peru’s Rocio Cantara Rojas.



Opposition to Challenge Kenyatta’s Victory at the Supreme Court

History is repeating itself. Once more, just like in 2013, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his arch rival, Mr Raila Odinga,… Read more »

Muhitira, Hakizimana Hailed After Brazzaville Triumph

By Richard Bishumba

RWANDA Athletics Federation (RAF) has applauded middle distance runners Félicien Muhitira and Jean Hakizimana after their heroic performance at the 14th Semi-marathon International de Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo on Monday.

The 22-year-old track and field runner won the half marathon using 1 hour, 4 minutes and 31 seconds and his compatriot Hakizimana took bronze in 1:08:17, which was 9 seconds behind silver medalist Wilson Kipotich from Kenya.

The APR athletics club star Muhitira becomes the first Rwandan to win the annual competition, which has been dominated by Kenyans in the previous editions.

The one-day multi-category race attracted over 500 participants, professionals and amateurs, from all over the world.

Muhitira has a personal best of 1:02:31 that he posted from the 2014 IAAF World Half-marathon championships in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Speaking to Times Sport on Wednesday, RAF president Paul Munyandamutsa saluted the duo and tipped them to win more competitions before end of the season.

“Muhitira and Hakizimana did an incredible job in Brazzaville. It’s a win for the country. They are talented and focused athletes. I believe there is no limit to what they can achieve if they keep working hard,” Munyandamutsa said.

He added, “With the limited means that we have, we will keep supporting them in whichever way possible to realize their dreams.”

Muhitira told the press in Brazzaville that,” I am very happy to win this competition. This win is a dedication to my country. What makes it even more special is winning it for the first time after years of domination by Kenyans and Ethiopians.”

Muhitira walked away with US$4,500 (about Rwf.3.76m) in cash prize while Hakizimana, who also finished third in the men’s half marathon at this year’s Kigali International Peace Marathon, pocketed US$2,500 (Rwf2 million).

Meanwhile, it was an all-Kenyan affair in women’s and junior men’s category. Agnes Barsossio clocked (1:11:52) to win a gold medal while compatriots Bornes Jerikrui (1:12:01) and Josephine Chepkoech (1:15:00) finished second and third respectively.


All Set for Kagame’s Inauguration

President-elect Paul Kagame will be sworn in on Friday for another seven-year term in office. Read more »

UR, University of Westminster Ink Deal to Boost Social Entrepreneurship in Rwanda

By Hudson Kuteesa

The University of Rwanda (UR) and the University of Westminster have penned a deal aimed at boosting social entrepreneurship capabilities in Rwanda.

Information from the University Rwanda shows that the ground-breaking agreement enables both universities to develop collaborative opportunities which embrace a range of subjects, including business, life sciences, entrepreneurship, rural development and financial planning.

The partnership seeks to develop collaborative projects supporting the founding objectives of developing undergraduate and postgraduate social enterprise projects for implementation in Rwanda, identifying development opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate course students, visiting scholars, as well as developing research opportunities.

Initial funding has been secured through the Quintin Hogg Trust, which will allow undergraduate students from both institutions to collaborate via inter-university teams.

Teams will be asked to generate ideas for social enterprise projects in Rwanda.

These projects will be assessed by a panel of academics, local entrepreneurs and funding bodies. The winning projects will then be considered for further development and funding.

This collaboration will also provide participating students with a unique transformative learning experience aimed at developing essential employability skills, such as cross-cultural communication, project management, business strategy and management, according to UR.

Speaking about the partnership, Professor Philip Cotton, University of Rwanda’s Vice Chancellor, said that the initiative provides “a great opportunity” for students from both universities to work together to develop projects as a part of their undergraduate learning journeys, to put knowledge into practice and to anticipate future success.

“This project is a great way to explore what employability means for universities while expressing essential values of community investment and community benefit,” he said.

Jon Pike, the Director of Internationalisation, Westminster Business School, said the University of Westminster is “dedicated to preparing students for employment across the world, inspiring them to grow intellectually throughout life and to add value by providing skills to help shape civilised and inclusive societies. This project fits this objective perfectly.”

The University of Westminster is a public university in London, United Kingdom. With students from 165 countries, staff from across the world and a highly international alumni community, the University of Westminster embraces global engagement in all its forms. The institution has a rich mix of international partnerships in over 20 countries worldwide, and place particular emphasis on providing international opportunities for students.


All Set for Kagame’s Inauguration

President-elect Paul Kagame will be sworn in on Friday for another seven-year term in office. Read more »

Nigeria: Halt Lassa Fever in Its Tracks

Lassa fever, one of this country’s most dreaded contagious diseases, recently resurfaced in several states all at once. It made a deadly appearance at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital where two patients died and 15 others have been infected. Lassa fever virus is known to be transmitted to human beings who eat food items contaminated with faeces or urine of rodents, mainly infected rats. Afterwards, any person who has physical contact with a Lassa fever infected person could also be infected. In this way it spreads faster than most other dangerous viruses, perhaps second only to Ebola.

First identified in Lassa community in Borno State in 1969, each time Lassa fever resurfaces in Nigeria, we are reminded of our half-hearted and cosmetic approach to problems which provides the fertile environment for them to germinate and spread out in more ferocious ways. For instance, in 2012 when its outbreak confounded the country with 70 deaths and 623 cases in 19 Northern states, the concern over its spread generated the alarm that should have spurred government and researchers in the health sciences to work on a formidable response to the disease. But we did not. In 2016, the country recorded another alarming outbreak. The World Health Organisation [WHO] said that 273 cases were recorded that year, including 149 deaths in 23 states of the federation.

In reaction to the frequent outbreaks of Lassa fever, the Federal Government set up the Lassa Fever Eradication Committee in January 2016 headed by a former President of the Nigeria Academy of Sciences, Professor Oyewale Tomori. The committee, in collaboration with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control [NCDC] was supposed to produce a roadmap for the control and prevention of Lassa fever in Nigeria. However, it is not clear what came out of the committee’s work. That is why the recent outbreak has caused panic all over the country, especially the fact that some medical personnel who attended to the patients at LUTH also became infected with the virus.

It is very unfortunate that in Nigeria, there is only one Lassa fever diagnostic centre, which is the Lassa Fever Research and Control Centre, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Edo State. For a deadly disease like Lassa fever this is unacceptable because in other climes, government would have set aside enough funds for research into, not just Lassa fever’s diagnosis but its cure and containment. By now there should have been many such centres spread out in most if not all states of the federation. Though WHO says the disease is prevalent in West Africa, Lassa fever occurs most frequently in Nigeria. It is therefore imperative for this country to take the lead in the effort to find a lasting solution to it.

We call on the government and the Ministry of Health to work towards setting up Lassa fever diagnostic centres in all tertiary hospitals across the country. The least should be a diagnostic centre in each of the geopolitical zones in the country. Lassa fever is not restricted to one part of Nigeria. Recent reports say the outbreak has occurred in the North-West, North-East, South-West and South-South states. Taking blood samples from North-East all the way to Edo State for laboratory tests takes much time, enough time for the disease to kill patients and also spread to many people who innocently have contact with a Lassa fever infected patient, including health workers.

Apart from diagnostic centres, government should vigorously educate Nigerians on the need to maintain a clean environment which does not attract rats and other rodents. Cleanliness is a habit and proper education at the grassroots, even in slums in urban areas, would help greatly. Government must not watch Nigerians die cheaply from deadly but preventable diseases every now and then.


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