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Zimbabwe: Meikles Defers Dividend Payment Due to Lockdown

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[263Chat] Meikles Limited has deferred payment of interim dividend to its shareholders which was scheduled for April 8 and will now be paid around end of month due to administrative constraints arising from the Coronavirus lockdown, 263Chat Business has learnt.

Kenya: Kenyatta Partially Locks Down Nairobi, Three Other Counties for 21 Days

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[Nairobi News] President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday ordered cessation of all movements into and out of Nairobi Metropolitan area, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties in a bid to contain the spread of Covid-19.

South Africa: Man Who Posted Fake 'Contaminated COVID-19 Test Kits' Video Arrested

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[News24Wire] The man who posted a fake video relating to Covid-19, claiming testing kits are possibly contaminated, has been arrested.

Kenya: Coronavirus Cases in Kenya Rise to 158 After 16 Additions

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[Capital FM] Nairobi -Kenya on Monday confirmed 16 more coronavirus cases bringing the total number to 158, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced.

Malawi: COVID-19 Cases in Malawi Now At 5, Another 'Imported' From UK

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[Nyasa Times] Malawi which recorded its first three confirmed cases of the coronavirus last week Thursday and on Saturday registered another patient, has recorded a new confirmed case of the virus pandemic and now the number has risen to five.

Kenya: President Uhuru Spells Out Tougher Measures to Contain COVID-19 in Kenya

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[East African] Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced a new raft of measures aimed at combating the spread of Covid-19, which has so far infected 158 people and claimed the lives of six patients.

Coronavirus: Ethiopian says staff layoff reports is 'fake news'

Africanews  

The coronavirus epidemic continues to disrupt life across the world. The disruption is all but gathering steam in affected even virus-free African countries. The rate of infection is lower on the continent as compared to Europe, Asia and parts of the Americas, where lockdowns are in place. The impact on gatherings is an area that most African governments have moved to control. A number of business conferences were cancelled on account of the pandemic. A number of governments have also declared State of Emergencies. South African president Cyril Ramaphosa extensively outlined the economic impact of the pandemic on the economy – mining, tourism – in his first address on Saturday. In Nigeria, the government is looking to revise the current budget. Our main coronavirus hub is seized with major developments around the epidemic. This piece will focus on the impact on business with emphasis on a raft of incidents that have been undertaken. Ethiopian dismisses layoff reports as fake news AfDB approves $2m package for WHO’s Africa response Ethiopian suspends ops to over 80 destinations East Africa betting down by 99% Kenya pay cuts, tax reviews Nigeria, Egypt to shut down all airports Rwanda fines companies guilty of price gouging MTN Nigeria, Cameroon tweak mobile money charges African Finance Ministers meet ECA boss via technology Nigeria to slash budget by Ghana, Kenya telcos review mobile money charges South Africa apex bank warns against currency scam Nigeria reduces petrol price Rwanda, Ethiopia move to control prices of essentials Nambia economy hit Zimbabwe suspends international trade fair African airlines to lose big – IATA April 6: Ethiopian says layoff reports ‘fake news’ “Ethiopian Airlines strongly refutes the fake news which appeared in some social and traditional media and which wrongly states as it Ethiopian Airlines is laying off employees. Ethiopian Airlines has not laid off any regular employee and has no plans to lay off any regular employee. “Needless to mention that the airline industry is passing through unprecedented crisis caused by the COVID-19 and Ethiopian Airlines is not an exception. “Ethiopian Airlines is losing significant part of its regular revenue. However, there is no plan to reduce regular employees,” the full statement read. A local Amharic newspaper Addis Admas is said to be the originator of the layoff story citing chairman of a workers union, himself affected by the said job cuts. The airline has substantially cut back on its passenger flights and is doing more cargo operations. As Africa’s most expansive and most profitable, it was one of the most hit airlines and almost the only one that continues to operate amid the coronavirus pandemic. Statement: AfDB approves $2m package for virus combat The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank on Tuesday approved $2 million in emergency assistance for the World Health Organization (WHO) to reinforce its capacity to help African countries contain the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impacts. The grant, which is in response to an international appeal by the WHO, will be used by the world body to equip Regional Member Countries to prevent, rapidly detect, investigate, contain and manage detected cases of COVID-19. It is one part of several Bank interventions to help member countries address the pandemic which, while slow to arrive in Africa, is spreading quickly and is straining already fragile health systems. Specifically, the WHO Africa region will use the funds to bolster the capacity of 41 African countries on infection prevention, testing and case management. WHO Africa will also boost surveillance systems, procure and distribute laboratory test kits and reagents, and support coordination mechanisms at national and regional levels. This grant “ will enable Regional Member Countries to put in place robust containment measures within 48 hours of COVID-19 case confirmation and also support the WHO Africa Region to disseminate information and increase public awareness in communities,” said the Bank’s Human Capital Youth and Skills Development Department. The grant will contribute toward a $50 million WHO Preparedness and Response Plan, which other partners including the United Nations system, are also supporting. It is estimated that Africa will require billions of dollars to cushion the impact of the disease as many countries scramble together contingency measures, including commercial lockdowns, in desperate efforts to contain it. Globally, factories have been closed and workers sent home, disrupting supply chains, trade, travel, and driving many economies toward recession. The Bank Group is expected to unveil a financial assistance package that will enable governments and businesses to undertake flexible responses to lessen the economic and social impact of this pandemic. Last Thursday, the Bank raised an exceptional $3 billion in a three-year social bond, the proceeds from which will go to help alleviate the economic and social effects of the pandemic. It is the largest dollar-denominated social bond launched in international capital markets to date. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Zimbabwe, Nigeria cash transfers to vulnerable The Zimbabwean government on Monday (March 30) reported that it had budgeted over $600 million to cover one million vulnerable households under a cash transfer programme for the next three months. The move is part of efforts to mitigate the impact of Covid-19, for which reason government imposed a 21-day total lockdown to contain its spread. The measure announced last Friday started yesterday. According to Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube, the Social Welfare Department will use its structures to identify the beneficiaries under the facility. An amount of half a billion dollars has already been provided to fight Covid-19. The ministry said it was ready to attend to more requests. “Vulnerable groups in our society are the most exposed under this Covid-19 crisis,” he said. “Accordingly, Treasury has set aside resources to cover one million vulnerable households under a cash transfer programme and payment will commence immediately,” he added. Zimbabwe recently okayed the use of the US dollars due to coronavirus related economic squeeze. The country’s health system is one of the continent’s most fragile. With 7 confirmed coronavirus cases and a death, health workers have threatened to abandon their posts if not provided with the needed protective gear to face the virus. Over in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, President Buhari in an address last Sunday ordered financial intervention schemes be rolled out for the vulnerable. Lagos state and other states are rolling out state-level interventions. Sadiya Farouk, minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development, confirmed on Monday that the ministry has commenced cash transfer to poorest households in the country to cushion effect of the COVID19 pandemic. Records indicate that as of February 29th, 2020, the Federal Government had identified 10,695,360 individuals in 35 states across the country as the poorest and most vulnerable Nigerians, during this crisis of COVID-19 pandemic. Nigeria’s population is at 200 million. Two states and the federal capital, Abuja, are currently on lockdown imposed by the federal government. The country has 131 confirmed cases with two deaths. The commercial hub of Lagos as at Monday March 30 accounted for 61% of the total number of cases. As at February 29th, 2020, the Federal Government has identified 10,695,360 individuals in 35 states across the country as the poorest and most vulnerable Nigerians, during this crisis of #COVID19 pandemic, President MBuhari</a> directed the <a href="https://twitter.com/FMHDSD?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">FMHDSD to look and take care of them. pic.twitter.com/kvr9Xm5QFv— Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) March 30, 2020 Ethiopian’s operational updates Africa’s most expansive and profitable airline, Ethiopian Airlines, says it has suspended flights to over 80 destinations as at March 29 due to the impact of COVID-19. The Airline in a statement said all its cargo operations remain intact. “We have continued to operate all our domestic services, but our domestic market has declined by 50%,” they said in a statement. Ethiopian outlined a series of health and safety measures it had put in place to help combat the virus which has adversely impact air travel across the world. Among others, disinfection of all work areas, strictly adhering to social distancing among employees and all associates of the company, regular measurement of body temperature and instituting a culture of proper hand washing. “So far, we have consumed more that half a million each (gloves and masks) and we have more than 300,000 each in our stock so that there is no shortage. We have signed a contract with multiple suppliers for a constnous supply of as many as we require,” the statement added. The Airline said it had made deliveries of coronavirus donation by Chinese businessman Jack Ma to 51 African countries and some European countries. “We are helping save lives, and this is one of the greatest intrinsic satisfaction in life, for which our brave men and women are proud of,” the statement concluded. pic.twitter.com/6qApRAEnFs— Ethiopian Airlines (@flyethiopian) March 29, 2020 Betting going extinct The gambling sector in East Africa is in a “total mess” following the collapse of global sport in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a Ugandan betting company has said. “In terms of sales, we’ve lost about 99% because most of our people are not too much into online betting,” Ivan Kalanzi, a brand ambassador for GAL Sport Betting website, told BBC Sport Africa. Betting markets have dramatically shrunk in light of the suspension of the world’s leading football leagues, which has left little for people to gamble on. But in east Africa, the market has been particularly hard-hit because few in the region bet online. Kenya pay cuts, tax reviews Kenya’s president has announced pay cuts for himself and his deputy as well as a category of top government officials. All savings are expected to go into helping combat the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking on Wednesday, President Kenyatta said himself and deputy Ruto will forgo 80% of their salaries whiles Cabinet Secretaries and Chief Administrative Secretaries to take 30% pay cut each and 20% for Permanent Secretaries. The president also confirmed that the number of cases in the country had increased by four and now stood at 28. Other details he gave during his briefing were: One patient has recovered from COVID-19 National Treasury to offer 100% tax relief to persons earning less than Sh24,000; Income tax down from 30% to 25%. Daily curfew from 7pm to 5am effective Friday, March 27, 2020. All State and Public Officers with pre-existing medical conditions or aged 58 years and above to take leave or work from home. Kenya Airways to fly citizens for free “As our last flight departs JFK today, we are offering one-way complimentary tickets to Nairobi, to Kenyan citizens in urgent need. Please contact our team on +1(866)5369224 for more information,” this is a tweet from Kenya Airways, KQ, the East African country’s national carrier. “*All passengers will be subjected to entry/screening procedures instituted by the MOH,” KQ added. The airline has suspended all flights in and out of the country whiles government has also announced the closure of all borders in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Kenya currently has 16 confirmed cases with government announcing stricter measures aimed at arresting further spread. Kenyans have hailed the embattled airline for the current gesture. The Nairobi – New York route was relaunched in October 2018. KQ got permission to operate direct flights to the US in September 2017, after several failures due to non-compliance at its airports. Instead of 22 hours, the travel time over 13713km between Nairobi and New York had been cut to 15 hours, saving up to seven hours. The historic direct flight is expected to help the company recover from a $267 million debt. As our last flight departs JFK today, we are offering one-way complimentary tickets to Nairobi, to Kenyan citizens in urgent need. Please contact our team on +1(866)5369224 for more information. *All passengers will be subjected to entry/screening procedures instituted by the MOH pic.twitter.com/LNmUbpVGGY— Kenya Airways (@KenyaAirways) March 24, 2020 Egypt, Nigeria shut down all airports Two of Africa’s economic giants, Nigeria and Egypt have shut down all airports to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Nigeria had till now shut down all but the Lagos and Abuja airports. The order starts on Sunday March 23 as the country continues to experience rising confirmed cases of the disease. Egypt will shut down its airports and air travel starting March 31 to contain the outbreak of the coronavirus. The new measures will heavily impact the country’s economy and tourism sectors. Some 138,000 jobs are immediately at risk and 1 billion us dollars in airline revenues has been lost, according to IATA. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Rwanda fines 44 company for hiking prices Rwanda’s Ministry of Health has fined a number of companies engaging in price gouging in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the attendant race to stock food and get some critical items. Forty-four companies and business people in Kigali alone have been fined to the tune of 3.81 million Rwandan Francs. The Ministry along with the Kigali City authorities said the fines related to raising prices of some food products, intentional use of unapproved weighing scales, issuance of illegal invoices, substandard and/or poorly manufactured items. Asked if the current action related to items that had their prices set and controlled by government, the Ministry clarified: “Only for essential crops. However, in this particular times fighting the spread of Covid-19, we have decided to control prices of basic food items to avoid speculation.” MTN reviews tariffs in Uganda, Cameroon Mobile phone giants, MTN, are tweaking their tariffs in the area of mobile money transfers in some African countries with the aim of reducing contact with cash amid the coronavirus pandemic. The latest developments are in Uganda and Cameroon where the operator is waiving costs on transfers done with their mobile money platform. The MTN Uganda offer included among others: For 30-days, customers can send up to Ushs 30,000/- (about $8) Mobile Money every day to other MTN MoMo customers free of charge. The offer is meant to reduce the risk of transmission by avoiding the physical exchange of currency notes. The offer comes alongside a day-time data bundle that will enable Ugandans stay on-line and work from home. Customers will get 1GB of data at just Ushs 2,000 valid between 9am and 5pm. MTN is also complementing government’s sensitization drive by availing UGX 500 million ($130,000) in cash and free media channel space (radio, tv, social media, SMS, call centre IVR platform) to promote the Ministry of Health’s sensitization messages. MTN Cameroon said the suspension of payment of fees starts today: “Within the framework of its response plan to the health crisis caused by the Coronavirus / COVID-19, MTN Cameroon announces the suspension, effective Friday, 20 March 2020, of the payment of fees on money transfers between MTN Mobile Money accounts. “This measure suspending the payment of fees concerns money transfers for amounts up to 20,000 FCFA (twenty thousand francs). The measure will be limited to 3 transactions per day, per account, and will be valid for a period of 30 days. This may be reviewed based on the evolution of the health crisis. “MTN Cameroon, by suspending the payment of money transfer fees between Mobile Money accounts, seeks to provide its support in the fight against this Coronavirus, by reducing the use of cash as much as possible, and favoring distance payments,” an official statement of March 19 read in part. MTN Cameroon puts its customers first and suspends payment of money transfer fees by Mobile Money to fight against the spread of #COVID19https://t.co/uQnVPI8xbj#stopcovid19 #BienEnsemble #GoodTogether pic.twitter.com/OdluQmouPN— MTN CAMEROON (@MTNCameroon) March 19, 2020 Impact of coronavirus on African economies – Analysis .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } African finance ministers in virtual meeting with ECA boss The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, ECA, has turned to technology as it seeks to gauge the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on economies across the continent. ECA boss Vera Songwe in Addis Ababa is host of the virtual meeting expected to last two hours. It is co- chaired by two Finance Ministers; Ghana’s Ken Ofori-Atta and South Africa’s Toto Mboweni. The ECA headquartered in the Ethiopian capital cancelled a scheduled conference of minister last month at a time that the pandemic was at the stage of an epidemic and was arriving in Africa. As of today (March 19), there are over 630 confirmed cases with 16 deaths across 34 African countries. The numbers continue to rise as governments move to implement a flurry of restrictions including closing borders and imposing strict public guidelines. South Africa president Cyril Ramaphosa in an address last Sunday admitted that the country’s economy especially in the area of mining and tourism had been badly hit by COVID-19. Ghana’s finance minister told parliament recently that a $100 million fund announced by President Nana Akufo-Addo was not readily available and the country may have to turn to international lenders to raise part of the money. Nigeria to cut budget by 1.5 trillion naira The record budget of Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer estimated at 34.6 billion dollars for the year 2020 will likely be revised downwards, according to the Ministry of Finance. This is due to the sharp drop in the price of crude oil which is also related to the coronavirus pandemic. The proposed revised figure will be 1.5 trillion naira (about $5 billion) less the original figure of 10.9 trillion naira. World oil demand is expected to contract this year for the first time in more than a decade, as the coronavirus epidemic is causing a blockage in economic activity, the International Energy Agency disclosed recently. Another trigger effect of the crisis on the oil market is the tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia, two OPEC heavyweights that have caused the production pact between the two countries to collapse. The 2020 budget, adopted in December, was calculated assuming crude oil production of 2.18 million barrels per day at a price of $57 per barrel. Nigeria is still struggling to emerge from the 2016 recession, which was caused by the collapse of oil prices at the end of 2014, with economic growth currently hovering around 2%. Ghana, Kenya tweak mobile money charges As part of measures to reduce handling of cash amid the coronavirus pandemic, Telecom operators in Ghana have agreed with the Bank of Ghana, BoG, to waive charges on a certain amount of transaction. All transfers of 100 cedis (about $18) or below will attract no charge according to a current directive from the BoG. the measure is supposed to be in place for the next three months. “The Bank of Ghana has agreed with banks and mobile network operators on measures to facilitate more efficient payments and promote digital forms of payments for the next three months, subject to review, effective March 20, 2020,” a BoG statement noted. The West African country has a high mobile network coverage with most people preferring money transfers using mobile transactions that banks. All networks have platforms that offer a wide range of services from sending and receiving money to the payment of utility bills etc. Kenya’s major network operators had also announced a similar measure days back. Kenya’s M-Pesa is one of the most efficient mobile money transaction platforms across Africa. South Africa central bank warns against currency scammers The South African Reserve Bank (SARB), the apex bank, on Tuesday issued a public warning that persons posing as officials purportedly collecting contaminated bank notes were fraudsters. Reports indicate that some people had been going round asking South Africans to surrender their contaminated bank notes and that it was part of the SARB efforts to curb spread of coronavirus. The BBC reports that persons involved in the scam have been issuing fake receipts for the money collected, saying banks will compensate them. “The SARB will never ask members of the public to hand over their cash,” the bank said. In a Twitter thread, it said no banknotes or coins had been withdrawn and no instruction issued to hand in money that might be contaminated. It also urged members of the public to contact the police when approached by “individuals purporting to be SARB employees or representatives”. Zimbabwe cancels trade fair Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared a national disaster over coronavirus even as the country is yet to confirm any case. Mr Mnangagwa has also postponed independence day celebrations scheduled for 18 April and banned all public gatherings of more than 100 people. The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) that was to take place in the south-western city of Bulawayo from 21-25 April has also been postponed. The ban will affect church gatherings, weddings and sporting events for 60 days. The president told a press briefing at his office in the capital, Harare, there would be no travel ban, but discouraged travellers from countries that had confirmed coronavirus cases from visiting Zimbabwe. He also advised Zimbabweans against travel abroad until the pandemic was under control. Namibia records economic dip Business dips in Windhoek following Namibia’s first two coronavirus cases on Saturday. Small scale enterprises are lamenting of poor sales as people desert public places as precautionary measures. “Personally for my job, it went down a bit, because the clients now don’t want to be in public places. I work in a salon and nobody wants to show up because it is crowded most of the time”, a barber said. For Sylvia Ashipala “Our Namibia is a poor country and there is no medicine or vaccination. What will happen to us with this coronavirus, what can be done? If there is no medicine in the pharmacy? “For example we work in the government, when we got to the pharmacy to buy pills, we are refused because the pharmacy says the government doesn’t pay, now who will help us? Our country has nothing, no vaccine, no pills.” Namibia has joined a host of African countries that have taken drastic measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Windhoek has shut down buildings like the National Gallery and libraries in a bid to prevent social gatherings. Notices posted to the premises said the facilities will be reopened on April 14.

South Africa: TV Personality Vinolia 'V-Mash' Mashego Dies

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[News24Wire] South African TV personality, Vinolia Mashego - popularly known was V-Mash - has died.

Nigeria: COVID-19 Confirmed Cases Hit 238

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[Daily Trust] The Nigerian government says the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country is now 238.

Chad: Chadian President to Boko Haram Leader Shekau - Surrender or Die

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[Daily Trust] Chadian President, Idriss Deby, has called on the Boko Haram's factional leader, Abubakar Shekau, to surrender or be killed inside his Dikoa hideout.

Grounded! COVID-19 pulls brakes on Africa's 'frequent-flier' presidents

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The coronavirus pandemic could narrow one gaping inequality in Africa, where some heads of state and other elite jet off to Europe or Asia for health care unavailable in their nations. As countries including their own impose dramatic travel restrictions, they might have to take their chances at home. For years, leaders from Benin to Zimbabwe have received medical care abroad while their own poorly funded health systems limp from crisis to crisis. Several presidents, including ones from Nigeria, Malawi and Zambia, have died overseas. The practice is so notorious that a South African health minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, a few years ago scolded, “We are the only continent that has its leaders seeking medical services outside the continent, outside our territory. We must be ashamed.” Now a wave of global travel restrictions threatens to block that option for a cadre of aging African leaders. More than 30 of Africa’s 57 international airports have closed or severely limited flights, the U.S. State Department says. At times, flight trackers have shown the continent’s skies nearly empty. Perhaps “COVID-19 is an opportunity for our leaders to reexamine their priorities,” said Livingstone Sewanyana of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, which has long urged African countries to increase health care spending. But that plea has not led to action, even as the continent wrestles with major crises including deadly outbreaks of Ebola and the scourges of malaria and HIV. Spending on health care in Africa is roughly 5% of gross domestic product, about half the global average. That’s despite a pledge by African Union members in 2001 to spend much more. Money is sometimes diverted to security or simply pilfered, and shortages are common. Ethiopia had just three hospital beds per 10,000 people in 2015, according to World Health Organization data, compared to two dozen or more in the U.S. and Europe. Central African Republic has just three ventilators in the entire country. In Zimbabwe, doctors have reported doing bare-handed surgeries for lack of gloves. Health experts warn that many countries will be overwhelmed if the coronavirus spreads, and it is already uncomfortably close. Several ministers in Burkina Faso have been infected, as has a top aide to Nigeria’s president. An aide to Congo’s leader died. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. “If you test positive in a country, you should seek care in that country,” the head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. John Nkengasong, told reporters Thursday. “It’s not a death sentence.” In Nigeria, some worried their president might be among the victims. Long skittish about President Muhammadu Buhari’s absences from public view, including weeks in London for treatment for unspecified health problems, they took to Twitter to ask why he hadn’t addressed the nation as virus cases rose. Buhari’s office dismissed speculation about his whereabouts as unfounded rumor. When he did emerge Sunday night, he announced that all private jet flights were suspended. International airports were already closed. An even more frequent overseas traveler, Cameroon’s 87-year-old leader, President Paul Biya, faces rising criticism over his public absence since the virus spread to his country. Cases in Cameroon leapt Friday to over 500, the second most in the sub-Saharan region after South Africa. While travel restrictions have grounded the merely wealthy, political analyst Alex Rusero said a determined African leader probably could still find a way to go abroad for care. “They are scared of death so much they will do everything within their disposal, even if it’s a private jet to a private hospital in a foreign land,” said Rusero, who is based in Zimbabwe, whose late President Robert Mugabe often sought treatment in Asia. Perhaps nowhere is the situation bleaker than in Zimbabwe, where the health system has collapsed. Even before the pandemic, patients’ families were often asked to provide essentials like gloves and clean water. Doctors reported using bread bags to collect patients’ urine. Zimbabwe’s vice president, Constantino Chiwenga, departed last month for unrelated medical treatment in China, as the outbreak eased in that country. Zimbabwe closed its borders days later after its first virus death. Chiwenga has since returned — to lead the country’s coronavirus task force. But some in a new generation of African leaders have been eager to show sensitivity to virus-prevention measures. The president of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi, initially defied his country’s restrictions on travel by government employees to visit neighboring Namibia for its leader’s inauguration. But he entered self-quarantine and now reminds others to stay home, calling it “literally a matter of life and death.” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced he had tested negative, just ahead of a three-week lockdown in Africa’s most developed country. Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina has as well. Other leaders, including Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kabore and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, have tweeted images of themselves working via videoconference as countries encourage people to keep their distance. While African leaders are more tied to home than ever, their access to medical care is still far better than most of their citizens’. In Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, medical student Franck Bienvenu Zida was self-isolating and worried after having contact with someone who tested positive. The 26-year-old feared infecting people where he lives, but his efforts to get tested were going nowhere. In three days of calling an emergency number to request a test, he could not get through. AP

Nigeria: COVID-19 - Nigeria Eyes U.S.$7 Billion From IMF, World Bank, Others

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[This Day] Nigeria is seeking about $7.050 billion or an equivalent of N2.679 trillion from multilateral financial institutions as well as $150 million from the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) to combat the impact of COVID-19 on the economy.

Kenya: Jack Ma Signals More COVID-19 Supplies to Kenya, Other Countries

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[Nation] Chinese billionaire Jack Ma has, once again, come to the aid of Africa with a second batch of donations of medical equipment to fight coronavirus.

Kenya: Brace for Second Wave of Locust Invasion - Experts

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[Nation] The second wave desert locusts, 20 times bigger than the first one, will soon ravage farms in Kenya and East Africa, experts have warned.

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwean Makes It On Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 List

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[The Herald] Zimbabwean youthful businessman, Paul Makaya has been named in the Forbes Africa's 30 Under 30 list.

Nigeria: NAFDAC Alerts Nigerians On Circulation of Fake Chloroquine Tablets From China

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[Premium Times] The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Monday alerted Nigerians on the circulation of fake chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets.

Nigeria: Funke Akindele, Husband to Serve 14 Days Community Service

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[Premium Times] Funke Akindele Bello and her husband Abdulrasheed Bello have been sentenced to 14 days community service.

Ex-Somali president cautions govt after spy outfit threatened top journalist

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Somalia’s former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has cautioned against efforts that could derail Somalia’s march towards democracy. He was weighing in on a recent incident that saw the country’s intelligence outfit label one of Somalia’s top journalists, Harun Maruf, as a national security threat. In a tweet on Monday, the 8th president of Somalia wrote: “Security agencies that threaten the journalists and leaders who mislead the public through fake news and investing heavily unethical social media propaganda is a recipe to dictatorial tendency which is the demise of any nascent democracy like ours in Somalia.” National Intelligence & Security Agency (NISA) posted a tweet on April 2 declaring Maruf, an employee of the Voice of America (VOA) as a security threat. The tweet further stated that the journalist had committed “acts outside the media discipline.” Security agencies that threaten the journalists and leaders who mislead the public through fake news and investing heavily unethical social media propaganda is a recipe to dictatorial tendency which is the demise of any nascent democracy like ours in Somalia.— FP Hassan Sheikh (@FPHassansheikh) April 6, 2020 Torrent of support for Maruf But soon after the tweet was posted, a torrent of reactions followed slamming the intelligence outfit for targeting the journalist who is a key reference point with respect to news on Somalia and the wider East and Horn of Africa region. He is also the co-author of a book on the insurgent group, Al-Shabaab. “For me, Harun Maruf will always Remain as the best investigative journalist. he always uses his profession and connections to get information and interviews to uncover deep truth. You can disappoint him, but we will never,” one tweet response read. The Federation of Somali Journalists, FESOJ, reacting to the news said it: “strongly condemns the online smear campaign to discredit the investigative VOA journalist Harun Maruf by the Somalia’s intelligence agency (NISA) which threatens on Thursday to take legal action against him for having links deemed “threat” to national security.” The U.S. Embassy in Somalia and a number of press rights groups have called the designation an attack on press freedom and independent media. Somalia year in and out ranked among the most dangerous places to practice journalism by the Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders. Amnesty report on dangers of being journalist A few months back, human rights group Amnesty International reported that journalists in Somalia are “under siege”, facing bombings, beatings, attacks and arrests. The East African nation has long been seen as one of the riskiest places to work as a journalist, with the twin threats of reporting on conflict and draconian restrictions imposed by the authorities. But now the situation is getting even worse, Amnesty said, in a report titled “We live in perpetual fear”, detailing what it called a “dramatic deterioration” in press freedom. “A surge in violent attacks, threats, harassment and intimidation of media workers is entrenching Somalia as one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist,” Amnesty said, calling on the government to take action. Journalists face threats on all fronts, from attacks by Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-allied Al-Shabaab fighters, to the internationally backed authorities. However, Somalia’s government rejected the report, calling it a “fabrication” and “ludicrous allegations”, and accusing journalists who had fled the country of making up stories to secure asylum abroad. “We find no concrete evidence worthy of accusing the Federal Government of Somalia of abuses against journalists,” the Ministry of Information said in a statement. At least eight journalists have been killed since 2017, and at least eight more fled the country fearing for their lives, the report said.

Kenya: Kenyatta Spells Out Tougher Measures to Contain COVID-19

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[Nation] President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced a new raft of measures aimed at combating the spread of Covid-19, which has so far infected 158 people and claimed the lives of six patients.

Nigeria: COVID-19 - Nigeria Revises 2020 Budget, Adjusts Fiscal Benchmarks

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[Premium Times] The Nigerian government has amended the 2020 Appropriation Act to reflect the current economic realities as a result of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the global economy.

Nigeria: Govt Declares Friday, Monday As Public Holidays to Mark Easter Celebration

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[Premium Times] The federal government has declared Friday, April 10 and Monday April 13, as public holidays to mark the 2020 Easter Celebration.

Ashburn Update