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SHE WILL BE MISSED: Bi Kidude, Zanzibar’s Taarab singer who lived for over 100 years has died.

Posted by African Press International on January 2, 2014

A cherished singer is gone

IN SUMMARY She lifted the veil off the Zanzibari woman

  • “I cannot say that I know myself,” she once told a journalist, “but my birth was at the time of the Rupee.” The Rupee, which replaced cowry shells as a medium of exchange, was introduced by Asian traders on the East African Coast before the German invasion.

Many, many years ago, somewhere in the Mfagimaringo village of Zanzibar, a baby girl was born on a date that remains a mystery. The birth was premature, and so the tiny baby girl, wrapped in the clothes of the time, struggled to survive the first few days of her life.

And survive she did, even though her uncle had reservations about that. The man had been among the first who trooped in to see the new bundle of joy, but what he had seen had deflated his hopes.
“This is hardly a baby,” he is said to have exclaimed. “It is just a teeny-weeny little ‘thing’”.

The uncle, however, did not say those words in English, but in the Kiswahili tongue of the people of Mfagimaringo. ‘Teeny-weeny little thing’ translates to kidude in Kiswahili, a word used to describe anything that is so small that the speaker lacks the adjectives to explain it.

Yes, Fatuma Binti Baraka was that tiny, and that kidude description stuck on her until her death last week, only that this time it was not used in the quasi-derogatory manner of her formative years, but as a stage name for a woman who had become the face and voice of Zanzibari music.

Bi Kidude travelled the world using the name, and wherever she went the crowds related it Tanzania’s rich cultural heritage.

Despite a career that span across decades, much of Bi Kidude’s life story is uncorroborated. There are numerous fables about her exploits in Oman and other Arab countries as she toddled her first steps in the world of music and entertainment, but few of these have been backed up by material evidence.

Also worthy of note is the fact that her age, estimated at about 100 years, had not been confirmed by the time she died and was only based on her accounts and the guesstimates of Swahili historians.

“I cannot say that I know myself,” she once told a journalist, “but my birth was at the time of the Rupee.” The Rupee, which replaced cowry shells as a medium of exchange, was introduced by Asian traders on the East African Coast before the German invasion.

As a child, she quickly gained prominence courtesy of her fine voice and, in the 1920s, sang with various cultural troupes, combining an understanding of music with an equally important initiation into traditional medicine.

After running away from a forced marriage at the age of 13, she moved to mainland Tanzania, from where she toured East Africa with a Taarab group.

In the 1930s, she ended up in Dar es Salaam, where she joined the Egyptian Musical Club before returning to Zanzibar in the 1940s and acquiring a small mud hut that was to become her home for years to come.

But, her age and formative years aside, Bi Kidude was no doubt a musical marvel, seen through her first performances and compositions by Siti Binti Saad, the first female singer on the Isles who singled her out in her teens for her vocal ability.

The “Grand Old Lady of Taarab”, as Bi Kidude was known, went on to carve a major effect on the music and culture of Zanzibar. Singing in Arabic and Kiswahili, she influenced the evolution of Taarab, a music style that originated in Egypt and is usually accompanied by fiddles, flutes, drums and rattles.

From the teachings of Siti Binti Saad, she went on to conquer the world through her songs, such as Muhogo wa Jangombe, which was later re-done by Lady Jay Dee.

In 2005, Bi Kidude received the prestigious WOMEX Award for her outstanding contribution to music and culture in Zanzibar; and, in a documentary titled As Old As My Tongue by Andy Jones, she was depicted as a living legend of Zanzibar.

Rebecca Corey, the managing director of Busara Festivals in Tanzania, says Bi Kidude will go down history as an artiste who advertised the country’s rich cultural heritage and history.

“She was exceptional in promoting the country’s identity wherever she went and was a great role model to many,” says Ms Corey, adding that the fallen star was the greatest musician to ever have graced the Taarab genre, and that she was “unstoppable”, not even by age and poor health.

“Nobody could stop her,” says Ms Corey. “She would take to the microphone no matter what.”

In one of her many interviews, Bi Kidude admitted that her earliest performances were for Arab traders on the Isles, and that she would dress as a sailor boy. She never wore shoes because she “was born barefoot” and believed wearing shoes “would weaken her”.

Bi Kidude was an active participant in initiation ceremonies, where she prepared young Swahili women for their transition through puberty, taught women how to live with their husbands, and lectured against sexual abuse and oppression.

She never had any children, and whiled away her time smoking cigarettes and, every now and then, swigging her favourite gin, Konyagi.

But alcohol and Islam do not mix, so this obsession with the bottle irked many of her family members and close friends. She, however, explained that she only did it “for fun”, and that her religious beliefs and morals were still intact.

Bi Kidude owned a small house in Zanzibar where, towards the end, she settled down to a life grounded in the roots of the society.

Apart from singing, she also made a living off body painting and making henna and wanja, the dark-coloured cosmetics used to draw flowery patterns on the bodies of Muslim women, especially for ceremonial purposes.

A favourite of sultans, presidents and sailors, her story is remarkable; a challenge to most people’s perception of age and of women in the Muslim society.

That is why she was, in 2011, nominated for the best collaboration at the Kilimanjaro Music Awards with a local group called Offside Trick for Ahmada, a popular song in Tanzania and across the border in Mombasa and Nairobi.

The following year she was awarded the all-time Sports and Culture award by President Jakaya Kikwete.

End

———————–

Renowned veteran Tanzanian musician Bi Kidude has died.

Bi Kidude, whose full name was Fatuma Binti Baraka, died on Wednesday at her nephew’s home in BububuZanzibar, after a long illness.

“We are taking her body to her home at Raha Leo, Unguja. She will be buried today,” said a close relative Baraka aka Rasta. In September last year, word went round that she had died but it turned out she was in hospital. Although Bi Kidude’s date of birth is unknown, many claimed that she was more than 100 years old.

Much of her life story is uncorroborated with claims that she lived in Oman and other Arab countries giving her an almost mythical status.

Even in the twilight of her career and suffering the ravages of ill health, which doctors said was due to her advanced age, she would still pull in crowds whenever she performed mostly taarab songs.

Her last performance was at a festival in February. In the 1920s, she sang with cultural troupes, and was also introduced to traditional medicine.

After fleeing from a forced marriage at the age 13, she moved to mainland Tanzania and toured mainland East Africa with a taarab ensemble, visiting all the major coastal towns barefoot. She never remarried and died childless.

She was well-known for performing the “Unyago” an initiation ceremony that prepares teenage girls for adulthood. She also used traditional rhythms to teach women how to pleasure their husbands.

She went on to conquer the music world through her songs such as Muhogo wa Jangombe which was re-done by Lady Jay Dee her performing prowess.

In 2005, Bi Kidude received the Womex award for her outstanding contribution to music and culture in Zanzibar and she was a favourite of sultans, presidents and the public.

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Fatuma binti Baraka (c.1910s – 17 April 2013),[1][2] aka Bi Kidude, was a Zanzibari-born Tanzanian Taarab singer. She is considered the undisputed queen of Taarab and Unyago music and was also a protégé of Siti binti Saad.[citation needed] Bi Kidude was born in the village of Mfagimaringo, she was the daughter of a coconut seller in colonial Zanzibar. Bi Kidude’s exact date of birth is unknown, much of her life story is uncorroborated, giving her an almost mythical status.

In 2005 Bi Kidude received the prestigious WOMEX award for her outstanding contribution to music and culture in Zanzibar. She died on 17 April 2013.

As a child, she was singled out for her fine voice and, in the 1920s, sang locally with popular cultural troupes, combining an understanding of music with an equally important initiation into traditional medicine. At age 13, after a forced marriage, she fled Zanzibar to mainland Tanzania. Bi Kidude toured mainland East Africa with a taarab ensemble, visiting the major coastal towns and inland as far west as Lake Victoria and Tanganyika. She walked the length and the breadth of the country barefoot in the early 1930s, fleeing another unhappy marriage. In the 1930s, she ended up in Dar es Salaam, where she sang with Egyptian Taarab group for many years. In the 1940s, she returned to Zanzibar, where she acquired a small mud hut to be her home. She is known for her role in the Unyago movement which prepares young Swahili women for their transition through puberty. She was one of the experts of this ancient ritual, performed only to teenage girls, which uses traditional rhythms to teach women to pleasure their husbands, while lecturing against the dangers of sexual abuse and oppression. Moreover Bi Kidude goes down history as one of the greatest music composer characterized by real African tune as featured to African culture, some of commentators considered her to be “the myth” and “the legend”. The very bad lack of her is that, there is no any published book documenting her life apart from the known video documentary “As old as my Toungue-The Myth and Life of Bi Kidude” by director Andy Jones. Some of musical experts call upon the Government of United Republic Of Tanzania to come up with full Biography of this icon.[edit]Early life

[edit]Fame within Zanzibar

Her fame has been widely acknowledged throughout the local Zanzibari and Zazibari tourism community, with the luxury hotel on the island, ‘236 Hurumzi’, naming their restaurant ‘Kidude’ in her honour. She was often found residing within the lobby of this hotel in Stonetown.[citation needed]

[edit]Musical works

Bi Kidude has worked with various Taarab groups, but her first solo work is called Zanzibar, it demonstrates Bi Kidude at the peak of her performing power.

[edit]Awards and nominations

[edit]Won

[edit]Awarded

  • 2012 President of United Republic of Tanzania awarded Bi Kidude ‘sports and arts award’ of all time

[edit]Nominations

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Norway contributes US$ 10 million to support climate services

Posted by African Press International on November 21, 2013

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 21, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/– The World Meteorological Organization has partnered with leading research, UN agencies and humanitarian organizations to launch the Climate Services Adaptation Programme in Africa in an effort to increase the climate change resilience of some of the world’s most vulnerable countries.

The programme, funded by a grant of US$ 9 750 000 (NOK 60 000 000) from the Government of Norway, is the first multi-agency initiative to be implemented under the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). It represents a unique approach that includes natural and social scientists as well as large development and humanitarian agencies working on the ground in a bid to ensure that climate services are tailored to the practical needs of the user community.

The challenges are huge. An estimated 70 nations, including many of the Least Developed Countries, have inadequate or no climate services and are ill-equipped to meet the challenges of both natural variations in the climate and human-induced climate change.

WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud and State Secretary Hans Brattskar of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs signed the agreement today during the annual climate change conference taking place in Warsaw.

“The Climate Services Adaptation Programme in Africa is a model of how a wide range of partners can unite to ensure that the benefits of scientific advances reach those who are most at risk from weather and climate-linked hazards,” said World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “The funding from Norway will allow us to roll out climate services to help African countries adapt to our changing climate and to increase resilience to droughts and floods and other extremes.”

“Africa is the continent most vulnerable to a wide range of impacts of climate change. Africa is already facing a decrease in food production, floods and inundation of coastal zones and deltas, as well as the spread of waterborne diseases and malaria. Often it is the most vulnerable people that suffer the most, and there is an urgent need for effective and coordinated action. Norway firmly believes that with this multi-agency climate services program, we can deliver climate services to those vulnerable people and also contribute to strengthening the global framework as the knowledge and action hub of climate services,” said Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Børge Brende.

The provision of more and better climate services will allow farmers to fine-tune their planting and marketing strategies based on seasonal climate forecasts; empower disaster risk managers to prepare more effectively for droughts and heavy precipitation; assist public health services to target vaccine and other prevention campaigns to limit climate-related disease outbreaks such as malaria and meningitis; and help improve the management of water resources. These activities all contribute to appropriate adaptation planning to a changing climate.

The main countries to benefit initially will be Malawi and the United Republic of Tanzania. The programme will build on existing climate services in food security, nutrition and health, and disaster risk reduction at national, local and regional level. It is intended that the Climate Services Adaptation Programme will become operational in other African countries in the future and will serve as a model for other parts of the world.

“The Norwegian support for the GFCS project in Malawi will enable consideration of how to better meet user needs in Malawi, and provide opportunity to make progress,” said Mr. Jolamu L Nkhokwe, Director of Climate Change and Meteorological Services in Malawi. “While a great emphasis in Malawi has been placed on the ability to forecast large-scale rainfall patterns, it is a known factor that users often request tailored packages that integrate a variety of information, including more detailed features of the expected rainfall, other climate variables, and information about the consequences of the expected climate. Within this project, a number of simple methods of statistical downscaling of the large scale climate product will be turned into the type of rainfall information requested by many users in Malawi.”

Dr Agnes Kijazi, Director General of the Tanzania Meteorological Agency, said “The Programme will be a significant opportunity for enhancing availability of wide range of data and assuring better access to all available data and information. Furthermore, the programme will empower the meteorological agency to better serve our key customers, in particular the agriculture sector and the authorities responsible for disaster management in the country. This in turn will contribute to improved food security and disaster management for the country.”

The Climate Services Adaptation Programme in Africa is implemented by seven partner organizations: WMO; the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS); the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO); the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI); the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC); the World Food Programme (WFP); and the World Health Organization (WHO).

There is growing momentum towards the provision of climate services in both developed and developing countries alike within the context of the Global Framework for Climate Services. This is a country-driven initiative to provide accurate and accessible climate services to users such as disaster management authorities, water and energy utilities, public health agencies, the transport sector, and farmers, as well as the community at large.

This new programme is building on achievements made under another Norwegian supported programme. The GFCS Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction in Africa programme started in 2011 with the aim of contributing to the amelioration of weather and climate related disasters and to climate change adaptation in Africa through operationalizing the Global Framework for Climate Services. Tangible impacts obtained so far with Norwegian support include the holding of roving seminars for farmers in 17 different African countries, during which the farmers have received information about weather and climate, future climate change and the implications in their region, climatic risk in production of different crops in their region and better risk management.

The World Meteorological Organization is the United Nations System’s authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water

 

SOURCE

World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

 

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Agricultural Non-State Actors Forum (ANSAF) of Tanzania has been named winner of the 2013 ONE Africa Award

Posted by African Press International on November 11, 2013

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 8, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The announcement was made today by ONE’s Africa Director (http://www.one.org), Dr. Sipho S. Moyo, at a ceremony held at the UN Conference Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The ceremony, which was attended by ONE co-founder Bono, Board Chairman Tom Freston and CEO Michael Elliott, took place at the Africa Media Leaders Forum.

Now in its sixth year, the annual $100,000 USD prize celebrates the innovations and progress made by African civil society organisations towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa.
“The ONE Award is an incredible opportunity for us at ONE to shine a spotlight on some the most innovative Africa-led, Africa-driven efforts and initiatives by civil society organizations that are working hard to build a better future for African citizens. These organizations often tie public service delivery efforts to robust advocacy tactics so that systemic change can be achieved,” Dr. Moyo said, while announcing the winner.

ANSAF is a network of non-state stakeholders in Tanzania’s agricultural sector that brings the voices of struggling smallholder farmers to the policy-making table. The organization monitors Tanzania’s agricultural budget and advocates for the government to allocate 10% of its national budget to agricultural and rural development in accordance with the 2003 Maputo Declaration.

ANSAF is also using cashew nuts to develop an advocacy model aimed at improving the entire value chain of agriculture in the country. Tanzania was once one of the world’s leading exporters of cashew nuts. Regaining this position could contribute significantly to curbing poverty in rural areas that produce the nuts.

“The work ANSAF is doing to give smallholder farmers a seat at the policy table and to use the cashew industry as a model for finding the right solutions to increasing agricultural productivity and finding markets for that produce, holds enormous promise for the economy of Tanzania.  We’re proud to partner with them and with our board member Howard Buffett, who has dedicated much of his life to agriculture development and funds this special award,” said Michael Elliott.

Accepting the trophy from Tom Freston, ANSAF’s Executive Director Audax Rukonge said:

“This is Award is for Tanzanian and African smallholder farmers who work had to ensure Africa has enough food to feed the nations.”

Speaking at the ceremony, Bono described the information revolution taking place in Ethiopia and around the world, and how it is empowering civil society organisations to hold governments to account.

“The quality of governance depends on the quality of civil society, ” he said. “And the quality of civil society depends on the quality, the accuracy, and the relevance of information,” Bono added.

He also spoke about ONE’s work with civil society organizations campaigning for transparency to fight corruption:

“Transparency plus insight equals transformation. Capital flight is always at night, in the dark.  Phantom companies, with more wealth than some governments, can’t stand the daylight that would unmask who owns them.  Corporate and government corruption is killing more kids than any disease.  But there is a vaccine, and it is information. It’s transparency.”

Addressing the Africa Media Leaders Forum, which hosted the ceremony, Bono spoke out on the importance of media freedom and commented:

“To try and pretend the revolution in information technology isn’t happening is like King Canute putting his hand up to try and stop the waves. They can’t be stopped, they are tidal waves.  I would encourage this government, which has done such incredible work on human development, to surf these waves.  Not to fear journalism, but to encourage it.”

Two hundred and fifty-seven NGOs from across Africa entered this year’s competition for the prestigious award. Previous winners include Positive-Generation (PG) of Cameroon in 2012; Groupe de Réflexion et d’action, Femme Démocratie et Développement  (GF2D) of Togo in 2011; SEND-Ghana of Ghana in 2010; Slums Information Development and Resources Centres (SIDAREC) of Kenya in 2009; and Development Communications Network (DEVCOMS) of Nigeria in 2008.

Runners-up:

Runners-up of this year’s ONE Award include Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS) of Zambia; Doper l’Entrepreneuriat par la Finance Innovante et Solidaire (DEFIS) of Mali; Jerusalem Children and Community Development Organization (JeCCDO) of Ethiopia; Friends of the Global Fund Africa of Nigeria; and Réseau Accès aux Médicaments Essentiels (RAME) of Burkina Faso.

*******************************************’

About ONE –

ONE (http://www.one.org) is a campaigning and advocacy organization of more than 3.5 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Co-founded by Bono and strictly non-partisan, we raise public awareness and press political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency in poverty-fighting programs.

ONE is not a grant-making organization and does not solicit funding from the public or receive government funding. ONE is funded almost entirely by a handful of philanthropists and foundations. We achieve change through advocacy. Our teams in Washington, D.C., London, Johannesburg, Brussels, Berlin, and Paris educate and lobby governments to shape policy solutions that save and improve millions of lives. To learn more, go to ONE.org.

Agricultural Non-State Actors Forum (ANSAF) – Tanzania

In Tanzania, poverty remains rampant in rural areas where smallholder farmers struggle to make a living. Yet Tanzania’s agricultural sector offers immense opportunity to lift millions out of poverty…an opportunity that is not often exploited because the farmers’ voices go unheard…

ANSAF is using one commodity to change this trajectory. Tanzania was once a world leader in exporting cashew nuts.  Farmers now find themselves mired in redtape and bureaucracy as they try to get their cashews to the market and make a profit. If Tanzania could get cashews right, its economy would benefit enormously.

ANSAF is bringing farmers’ voices to the policy-making table in Tanzania. And with the African Union and Tanzania’s leadership zeroing in on smallholder farmers in the coming year, the prospects for Tanzania’s farmers will have no limit.

SOURCE

ONE

 

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Changing lives of children through social entrepreneurship

Posted by African Press International on November 8, 2013

Tigo set to change lives of children through social entrepreneurship

Interested candidates are invited to present their innovative ideas online by applying through the Tigo Tanzania website

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, November 8, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Tigo (http://www.tigo.co.tz) in partnership with Swedish non-profit organization Reach for Change launched today the ‘Tigo Reach for Change’ initiative, which focuses on identifying and supporting local social entrepreneurs with solid ideas on improving the lives of Tanzanian children.

Tigo Tanzania General Manager Mr. Diego Gutierrez said, “Statistics show that children less than 18 years of age constitute almost half of Tanzania’s population. But to date the investment in addressing their needs is not proportionate with their share of the population or their role as tomorrow’s leaders and human capital. Investing in children is the single most important investment in national development”.

Mr. Gutierrez added that “Tigo has for many years been deeply involved in addressing challenges concerning children and youth in Tanzania. We believe the most effective way to bring about sustainable change is to empower motivated individuals with the right tools to bring to life innovative ideas that can change their society. Tigo Reach for Change initiative allows us to do just that!”

Interested candidates are invited to present their innovative ideas online by applying through the Tigo Tanzania website: http://www.tigo.co.tz. Each application will be reviewed by a panel of experts and the strongest and most promising applicant will be invited to join a three year incubator programme where their ideas will be transformed into sustainable ventures. In addition to this, they will receive funding of USD 25,000 a year for up to three years, as well as mentoring and professional advice from senior employees of Tigo.

For the duration of the 3 years programme the social entrepreneur’s business idea will undergo evaluation to ensure that they attain required key performance indicators until their project is fully developed and self-sustainable.

Children in Tanzania have right to participation, development, protection, freedom from discrimination and an identity. “Despite the progress made to date in fulfilling these rights a lot need to be done to ensure children grow to their full potential hence become contributing members of the society. We are determined to address challenges which hinder children development/realization of their rights by empowering local individuals with solutions that will improve lives of children. We believe that local problems are better solved by local individuals who thoroughly understand the issues at hand. This is the second year in a row that we are partnering with Reach for Change and there has been great impact from the winning projects from last year. We are looking forward to this year’s applications with great expectation”, said Woinde Shisael, Tigo’s Corporate Responsibility Manager.

Last year’s program received over 1000 applications. The three winning projects included an initiative to empower children with disabilities with vocational skills; mobile classes for street children; and a project aimed at bridging the rural-urban digital divide. All the projects are still ongoing and are changing the lives of many children across Tanzania.

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About Reach for Change

Reach for Change is a non-profit organization established in Sweden and co-founded by Kinnevik, the founding company of Millicom. The search for social entrepreneurs first began in Sweden in 2010, followed by Russia in 2011, before embarking, in that same year, as a pilot project for Africa in Ghana, which has recently reported an improvement in the livelihoods of over 140,000 children.

About Tigo

Tigo (http://www.tigo.co.tz) started operations in 1994 as the first cellular network in Tanzania. It now covers 30 regions in mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar.  Tigo strives to be Tanzania’s most innovative mobile phone operator, offering services ranging from affordable mobile voice communications to high speed Internet access and mobile financial services through Tigo Pesa.

Tigo is part of Millicom International Cellular S.A (MIC) which provides affordable, widely accessible and readily available cellular telephony services to more than 45 million customers in 13 emerging markets in Africa and Latin America.

The success of Tigo is based on the “Triple A” strategy, which stands for Affordability, Accessibility and Availability. We create a world where mobile services are affordable, accessible and available everywhere and to all. This guarantees that our subscribers experience the best services at the most affordable rates throughout our 30 regions in both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.

 

SOURCE: Tigo Tanzania

 

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IMF Mission to Tanzania

Posted by African Press International on November 6, 2013

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, November 6, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – A mission from the International Monetary Fund, led by Paolo Mauro, visited Dar es Salaam from October 23 to November 5, 2013; it conducted the biennial Article IV discussions, assessed performance under the Standby Credit Facility (SCF), and began discussions on a possible new Policy Support Instrument (PSI) program.1 The mission met with Hon. Dr. William Mgimwa, Minister of Finance, Professor Benno Ndulu, Governor of the Bank of Tanzania, and other senior government officials. The discussions also drew from inputs received during brainstorming meetings on medium-term economic policy priorities held in August with the government, the central bank, parliamentarians, the private sector and civil society, and development partners.

Mr. Mauro released the following statement at the end of the mission:

“The economy has continued to perform well, growing by 7 percent in the first half of 2013. The economic outlook is promising, with growth projected to continue at a similar pace for the full year. Overall inflation fell to 6.1 percent in September with core inflation (excluding food and fuel prices) at 5.8 percent. In light of broadly benign developments in domestic food prices and with a continued prudent monetary policy stance, inflation is projected to decline to the authorities’ medium term target of 5 percent by mid-2014. The current account deficit declined somewhat, but remained large, at 13½ percent of GDP in July 2012 – June 2013.

“Fiscal pressures emerged during the last fiscal year (2012/13, July to June). Net domestic financing of the government was in excess of targets agreed under the government’s IMF-supported program, by about 1 percent of GDP. For the current fiscal year (July 2013 – June 2014), tax revenues are likely to fall short of initial projections. This is likely to require sizable adjustments to the budget in the upcoming mid-year review to align expenditure plans with the available resources. The government has reaffirmed its commitment to the agreed fiscal deficit target of 5 percent of GDP. To sustain economic growth and to stem fiscal pressures during the current and next fiscal year, priorities include mobilizing additional revenues by reducing and simplifying tax exemptions and bringing the power sector to financial sustainability.

“Key medium-term policy challenges include fostering continued strong growth through productive infrastructure investment, while preserving priority social spending, and maintaining debt sustainability; enhancing the institutional framework to ensure that possible future revenues from newly discovered natural gas deposits benefit all citizens; and improving the business climate.

“Discussions will continue in the coming weeks; the next IMF Executive Board meeting on Tanzania is tentatively planned in early 2014.

“The mission wishes to thank the authorities for their warm hospitality and for the constructive and open dialogue on policy issues.”

1 The SCF supports LICs that have reached broadly sustainable macroeconomic positions, but may experience episodic, short-term financing and adjustment needs, including those caused by shocks. The SCF supports countries’ economic programs aimed at restoring a stable and sustainable macroeconomic position consistent with strong and durable growth and poverty reduction. It also provides policy support and can help catalyze foreign aid. (See http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/scf.htm.) The PSI is an instrument of the IMF designed for countries that do not need balance of payments financial support. The PSI helps countries design effective economic programs that, once approved by the IMF’s Executive Board, signal to donors, multilateral development banks, and markets the Fund’s endorsement of a member’s policies (see http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/psi.htm). Details on Tanzania’s current SCF are available athttp://www.imf.org/tanzania

 

SOURCE

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

 

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Tanzania’s wife beaters: Ward tribunals have made it easy for survivors to report cases of gender based violence

Posted by African Press International on November 5, 2013

In Tanzania, most cases of domestic violence are never reported

DAR ES SALAAM, – Aisha*, a 35-year-old mother of six endured repeated, painful and humiliating violence from her husband until she reported the matter to the local village court, or ward tribunal.

The husband was fined and warned he would be taken to the police if he continued the abuse.

Ward tribunals were set up in the mid-1980s as part of efforts to devolve governance. They have a legal mandate to “secure peace and harmony… by mediating and endeavoring to obtain just and amicable settlement of disputes.”

Aisha, who lives with her family in Kijitonyama in the outskirts of the commercial capital Dar es Salaam, said she was satisfied with this form of restorative justice.

“I think I won because the beatings not only ended, but he was ordered to pay me money [the equivalent of US$100] to treat my injuries. We are a happy family now.”

It was not always so.

“It was bad because he would beat me anytime he came home drunk. He was jobless and I was providing for the family from my small business earnings.

“I decided to report him to these people because I feared the police,” Aisha told IRIN.

“As a woman, you feel helpless when you have nowhere to seek help when battered by a husband or you are raped,” Aisha said.

Ward tribunals are not proper courts: their members are drawn from the local community and need no special training, and there are no rules of evidence or procedure. Their priority is to see litigants resolve their own differences, but if that fails, they can impose measures such as public censures, fines, community work and even detention, although this has to be endorsed by a local magistrate.

“Most people fear the police but feel comfortable reporting to us because we are known to them and we have a legal backing because we are mandated by the government to do what we do. For cases that really need to proceed to the police, we provide the link”

“We don’t go looking for cases, but people come and report to us and we record those cases and carry out our own investigations to ascertain the truth. In cases where we feel the courts should be involved, we report to the police and we help push them forward,” Oscar Meck, chairman of one such ward in Dar es Salaam, told IRIN.

“Most people fear the police but feel comfortable reporting to us because we are known to them and we have a legal backing because we are mandated by the government to do what we do. For cases that really need to proceed to the police, we provide the link,” he added.

“However, we treat rape cases as an emergency and report them straight to the police so that victims can receive adequate and immediate medical attention.”

Reluctance to report to the police

Gender-based violence (GBV) is widespread in Tanzania, and it is seen as socially acceptable in most rural regions of the country.

Just over half of the 10,000 polled for the 2010 Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey, said their husband would be justified in beating them if they did just one of the following: went out without telling him, neglected the children, argued, refused sex, or burnt the food.

According to the same survey, 44 percent of married women have experienced GBV from an intimate partner in their lifetime.

Such spousal abuse is rarely reported to the police.

“We have desks where women and girls can report cases of abuse and we even give the option of them being handled by a female police officer. I can’t say things are bad like before, but many women still think the police are not friendly,” Jumbe Makoye, a senior police officer, told IRIN.

There is no legislation in Tanzania which specifically outlaws domestic violence.

“Many women still feel the police will dismiss cases of domestic violence as private or some will ask for a bribe to even open a file,” Juniata Joseph, 27, told IRIN from her tailoring shop in Kariokor in downtown Dar es Salaam.

When the police are involved, cases “frequently follow a circuitous pathway,” according to the International Centre for Research on Women.

Ward tribunals have made it easy for survivors to report cases of gender based violence

“The result is an exceedingly slow, cumbersome process that neither prioritizes a survivor’s needs nor responds to violence as an emergency situation.”

A success?

Experts like Jovither Barongo, a GBV programme officer at Pathfinder International, a sexual and reproductive health NGO, told IRIN that ward tribunals provided an acceptable source of justice for domestic violence.

“I think the success of such tribunals have been aided by the ease with which they give the victims the opportunity to report. The fact people know they can summon perpetrators is in itself an effective deterrence,” Barongo said.

GBV perpetrators at times do so because they do not adequately understand the legal consequences of their actions, she added.

“If people are able to comprehend the legal repercussions of meting sexual and physical violence against women, they would stop. These committees have the opportunity to explain to perpetrators the consequences of their actions.”

A 2012 survey by the Legal Facility Services says: “Ward tribunals and village committees have limited resources and technical capacity to perform their functions, despite a strong commitment and a willingness on the part of community members to seek settlement of disputes outside the court system.”

Organizations like Pathfinder International have partnered with the government to build the capacity of the tribunals to effectively handle issues related sexual and gender-based violence.

A senior government official in the Ministry of Youth, Children, and Women, agreed.

“They need more support than they are receiving now. The members are there on a voluntary basis and receive no compensation at all. They need training on the relevant laws,” he said.

For some activists, cases such as Aisha’s should not be concluded at the village level.

“I think they [tribunals] should act as an avenue to receive people early enough before they go through the legal machinery. [But] serious cases like wife-battering should automatically be referred to the courts of law if victims are to receive fair justice,” Teodosia Muholo, executive director of the Women’s Legal Aid Centre, a local legal aid services NGO, told IRIN.

*not her real name

ko/cb  source http://www.irinnews.org

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Let Kenyan Lady musician Sonie Sishikiki entertain you in English and Kiswahili

Posted by African Press International on September 11, 2013

 

Sonie originally comes from Kenya and now resides in The Netherlands.

 

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Can oil and water mix

Posted by African Press International on July 24, 2013

Fishing communities in Malawi fear their economic interests will be overlooked as the country looks to the mineral sector for greater revenues

NGARA,  – Civil society’s shorthand for Malawi’s drive to expand its extractive resource sector is T2 – “trouble or treasure”.

While Malawi has dabbled in mineral exploitation in the past, it only formed a mining and minerals ministry in December 2012. The country hopes to ramp up the sector’s contribution to GDP from less than two percent a few years ago to a forecast 20 percent by 2016; currently, the sector’s contribution to GDP is about 10 percent.

Mines minister John Bande said the country’s new approach to the minerals sector would rebalance an economy reliant on agriculture amid “climate-related challenges” and global anti-smoking campaigns that have reduced demand for tobacco – Malawi’s main foreign currency earner.

But Malawi’s plans are causing tensions with neighbouring Tanzania over the disputed border in Lake Malawi, which is being explored for oil. Civil society has also warned that the push to exploit minerals is racing ahead of any comprehensive legislative regulatory framework. Communities in potentially mineral-rich areas, meanwhile, say they fear their livelihoods are being threatened by a get-rich-quick gamble.

Living off the lake

Ngara, a northern village on Lake Malawi, has about 1,400 registered households, but its population swells for months on end as fishermen and their families come for what is widely considered the best spot for catching the local usipa fish.

Snapshot of life in a Lake Malawi fishing village
 View slideshow

Bwaia Maxwell, 60, has fished Lake Malawi since 1971 and has a crew of eight. On a good day, they make about 120,000 kwacha (US$363) from the usipa catch.

“We are not supporting that [oil extraction],” he told IRIN. “And there are thousands of fishermen working on the lake. We live off the lake, and when the oil starts, it will kill the fish, and then we will not have any work. Fishing paid for my children’s schooling and everything else. We won’t allow it, but there is nothing we can do. We don’t have a voice.”

Fishing fuels all of Ngara’s economic activity, from providing start-up capital for taxi businesses to supporting service enterprises like hair salons.

Elizabeth Kaira, 48, a mother of five, has worked as a fish trader for 30 years. She makes a daily profit of about 50,000 kwacha ($149), and sells the fish in the capital Lilongwe, the city of Blantyre, and in neighbouring Zambia as well.

“They don’t need to take the oil,” she told IRIN. “We earn a living from the lake; it pays for our life. The water we use for drinking. If it is contaminated, it will be no good for us to use.”

Ngara community leader Manuel Kanyika told IRIN, “I accept the oil extraction as a source of wealth. We have experienced fuel shortages, and it might be a solution if we have our own oil. [But] the fish – that is our wealth. Oil will have a negative impact on our lives. It is good for government, but what benefit will it have for individuals here?”

Laws needed

Catch from the lake is estimated to provide 20 percent of the protein requirement for Malawi’s population, according to Christopher Mwambene, executive director of Coordination Union for Rehabilitation of the Environment (CURE), a Blantyre-based environmental NGO. He told IRIN that about 1.7 million Malawians rely “exclusively” on the lake. Tanzanians and Mozambicans derive livelihoods from it, as well.

Though Mwambene agrees Malawi must find additional revenue sources, he says the rush to bring the minerals sector on line carries inherent dangers, from the resource industry’s reputed lack of transparency to the government’s poor capacity to engage with the industry.

“There are always risks in economics, and the higher the risk, the higher the returns. The epicentre [of oil exploration] is in the northern part of the lake, and if something happens like in the Gulf of Mexico [2010 BP oil spill], the pollution would be concentrated, and there would be no capacity to address it,” Mwambene said.

There is also no guarantee the shift towards resource extraction will bring tangible benefits to all Malawians, he says.

Rheinford Mwangonde, executive director of the Lilongwe-based NGOCitizens for Justice, told IRIN, “If you are engaging an industry which is very strong, very shrewd and without proper laws [or] enough capacity to implement [them], the contracts are going to be very poor, and Malawians will not make anything from it. That’s the problem with this big rush, and government says it is going to rush. But it has not put its house in order.”

Leonard Kalindekafe, principal secretary of Malawi’s mining ministry, told IRIN the NGOs’ concerns were well-founded and that the absence of a regulatory framework was problematic: “We have to sort it out. They are right.”

“There is no alternative. This country cannot sit and be poor or continue to be poor”

He said the government was relying on mining laws from 1981, petroleum exploration legislation from 1983, and laws such as the 1968 Explosives and Blasting Act. “The challenge there is we must quickly move towards revising existing laws and, if those laws don’t exist, produce new laws, and there are so many of these [new laws needed]. So we have to move very, very quickly in a short period of time. Otherwise, if the sector booms and we don’t have good laws and policies, it is going to cause problems.”

New mining legislation is expected “by Christmas”, but for now contracts are being drawn up on an individual basis, Kalindekafe said, adding that any decision on oil extraction from the lake was several years off.

“It’s a lot of pressure. But what is the alternative? There is no alternative. This country cannot sit and be poor or continue to be poor – the alternative is doing nothing, and that to us is a non-starter.”

Bright Phiri, biodiversity programme officer at the Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy, told IRIN, “People see mining as the only mechanism to allow Malawi to climb up the ladder. But mining should be seen as catalyst to economic growth, and we should not lose focus on agriculture. Minerals are not [a] renewable resource.”

Investment environment

Unlike its regional neighbours, Malawi has no tradition of large-scale commercial mining, and the extent of its mineral reserves has yet to be mapped. Still, there is interest on the part of the extractive industries.Surestream Petroleum, a British-based company, was awarded an exploration licence covering 20,000sqkm of Lake Malawi in 2011.

Malawi has also known reserves of uranium, coal, rare earth minerals and niobium. The $300 million Kanyika Niobium project, a joint Chinese-Australian venture is expected to begin operations in 2015 and to have an annual production of 3,000 tons of niobium oxide, an ingredient for “superalloys”, and 150 tons of tantalum, a cell phone component. Mkango Resources, a Canadian-based company, has been granted rare-earth prospecting licences covering 1,751sqkm in southern Malawi.

But the reception for foreign investors in Malawi has not always been to their liking.

Gregory Walker, international affairs general manager of Paladin Energy, told IRIN the Australian company’s initial $300 million investment in the Kayelekera uranium mine, some 50km west of Karonga, had climbed to more than $500 million, with little to show for it.

The mine was “a pathfinder” for the country’s anticipated mineral revolution, but “the difficulty with Malawi is that there was no track record [of commercial mining]. So there was a leap of faith [by Paladin],” he said. “Malawi now has a track record – and it is not good.”

He said government was not supportive of the enterprise, which has “has never made a cent”. Paladin had so far spent $15 million on community projects, the lion’s share for a state-of-the-art water system in Karonga, Walker said, but the company has still faced criticism over health concerns and its community-development obligations.

All it would take for the government to head-off such criticism would be a two-line statement saying the company was abiding by its contractual commitments, but this was not forthcoming, he said.

“There has been a lot of disappointment and frustration. I have had to explain that development is a process, and it is a little slower than a lot of people were expecting”

The government is a 15 percent shareholder in Paladin, but it profits from 3 percent of the uranium royalties regardless of the company’s performance.

When the mine was conceived, the uranium price was $70 a pound “and expected to go north. Today it is $39.50… No one factored in the impact of Fukushima [the 2011 Japanese nuclear disaster] and the impact that had on the demand for uranium.” Paladin must choose between closing the operation or “soldiering on” in hopes that uranium prices will eventually rise, he said.

A teacher at Kayelekera Village, who declined to be named, said it was Paladin’s responsibility to help the community, and not the government’s, and dismissed its claims of losses. “If they are not making money, they would have closed already, but they are still doing the same thing. That means they are still making profits. If you don’t make money in business, you stop doing it.”

Jim Nottingham, Paladin’s corporate social responsibility officer, told IRIN: “When we came here people thought the presence of the mine was going to transform the north, and a lot of people were going to be rich, but it has not happened that way. There has been a lot of disappointment and frustration. I have had to explain that development is a process, and it is a little slower than a lot of people were expecting.”

go/rz  soure http://www.irinnews.org

 

 

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Norway condemns attack on UN and AU in Sudan

Posted by African Press International on July 20, 2013

Norway condemns the attack against UN peacekeeping forces in Sudan on 13 July. “The attack must be investigated and those responsible brought to justice,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

On Saturday 13 July, seven people were killed and 17 injured in an attack on an African UnionUnited Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) patrol. UNAMID has a mandate from the UN Security Council to bring stability to Darfur.

“The attack against UN/AU personnel cannot be tolerated. They have a right to be protected in their work for the hard-pressed civilian population in Darfur,” said Mr Eide.

All seven of the people killed were UN military personnel from Tanzania. Among the injured were two female police advisers, also from Tanzania.

Saturday’s attack was the most serious since the UN and the AU took on joint peacekeeping responsibility in the conflict-torn region of Darfur in Sudan in 2008. Approximately 40 UNAMID personnel have been killed in Darfur since 2008. It is not yet clear who was behind the attack. Norway has previously participated in UNAMID, but no Norwegian personnel have taken part in the mission for the last couple of years.

 

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There is concern about new DRC Intervention Brigade

Posted by African Press International on June 1, 2013

Photo: MONUSCO
Tanzanian UN Intervention Brigade commander Brig-Gen James Makibolwa shakes hands with Tanzanian troops

GOMA,  – Nineteen international NGOs have sent a joint letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to express concern over the peace process in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and future military operations by a new UN Intervention Brigade.

The letter, dated 23 May and made public this week, asks the secretary-general to call on the 11 African states that signed the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework (PSCF) in Addis Ababa in February to implement the agreement, and to work with UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Mary Robinson.

The letter also recommends that the UN Security Council “should seriously consider suspension of the [UN Intervention] Brigade if it does not perform well or if the Congolese government does not make sufficient progress in implementing its commitments under the PSCF” agreement.

The brigade of 3,069 troops from Tanzania, South Africa and Malawi, which the UN peacekeeping department says should be operational by mid-July, has been given a more offensive mandate than any previous contingent with a UN peacekeeping mission. UN Security Council Resolution 2098 empowers it to carry out “targeted and robust offensives… with a view to neutralizing and disarming armed groups”, whilst “taking into account the necessity to protect civilians and reduce risks”.

The NGOs’ letter asks Ban for his leadership “in ensuring that the operations of the Brigade… are clearly linked to the realization of the PSCF” and that it “is part of a broad, comprehensive approach to achieve long-term peace and stability”.

The NGOs also call on Ban to ensure that “planning and conduct of the Brigade’s operations prioritize mitigation of harm to civilians” and to urge “the Congolese government… to put in place a fully independent national oversight mechanism to oversee the implementation of its commitments outlined in the PSCF”.

Dialogue and DDR

Under this heading, the letter says “this should include local level dialogue to address the local causes of conflict and community grievances, as well as comprehensive Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) options for combatants, irrespective of nationality.”

During his visit to the North Kivu provincial capital Goma on 23 May Ban made it clear that the UN does not see the Brigade as the sole solution to eastern DRC’s conflicts.

“The Intervention Brigade will address all this violence” he told local media, “and will try their best to protect human lives, human rights and human dignity – but you should also know that this is only one element of a much larger process. I think a peace deal must deliver a peace dividend, health, education, jobs and opportunity.”

NGOs fear being linked with military action

One of the concerns that prompted NGOs to write the letter was the possible impact on their own work of future operations by the Brigade, said Frances Charles, advocacy manager for NGO World Vision (which sent the letter on behalf of the signatories).

“The issue of how the Brigade is related to the rest of the integrated mission and how independent humanitarian actors such as NGOs relate to MONUSCO is, I think, a very big issue.

“We need a lasting peace and that peace will have to be imposed by striking hard against negative forces”

“We have to preserve independent humanitarian access. MONUSCO needs to make clear to communities how all the different parts of the (UN) mission work together.

“One thing we are very concerned about, as World Vision, is being linked to any military action. We are independent and we want to make sure that our access to communities is maintained.”

Peacekeeping versus offensive action

Several observers have questioned whether MONUSCO’s existing role of protecting civilians, particularly in displaced peoples’ camps, will be possible in areas where the Brigade attacks armed groups, as this could result in retaliation against all UN military and civilian personnel as well as against other aid workers and civilians.

The interim head of MONUSCO’s office in Goma, Alex Queval, told journalists that all necessary precautions would be taken to ensure that peacekeepers continue all their existing work, but he did not go into details.

For its part the M23 rebel group has suggested that the Brigade will need to work in different areas to the other peacekeepers.

“It’s a very complicated situation for us,” M23 spokesman Rene Abandi told IRIN this week. “Blue helmets come with an offensive mandate while others are deployed in the same areas with a peacekeepers’ mandate. They have really to separate areas so that we can make the distinction.”

Speaking to the UN News Centre on 29 May, the commander of the Intervention Brigade, Tanzanian Brig-Gen James Aloizi Mwakibolwa, acknowledged there are fears among some observers that the Brigade will exacerbate tensions.

“Perhaps they expect collateral damage to the extent that several people are not positive about the Brigade,” he said.

“It should be understood that our first concern should be the protection of civilians as we take on the armed groups,” he added. “A UN peacekeeper is a person who must protect UN staff and UN property but, above all, he must protect the civilians.”

The brigadier stressed that while he heads the brigade, he is not the head of the UN force in the country. “We are part of MONUSCO and our instructions come from the force commander of MONUSCO,” he said.

Goma groups support Brigade

Civil society groups in Goma are generally supportive of the Intervention Brigade and its offensive mandate.

“For the first time people feel they can look forward to a better future – because the new force has a mission to put an end to the armed groups,” said Goyon Milemba, team leader of the North Kivu civil society association’s working group on security issues, after the arrival of the Brigade’s headquarters staff in Goma last month.

“If people think you can protect civilians by stopping attacks on armed groups, they are wrong. We need a lasting peace and that peace will have to be imposed by striking hard against negative forces,” the president of the North Kivu civil society association, Thomas d’Aquin Muiti, told IRIN.

He acknowledged there would be collateral damage but said the situation for the people in displaced camps is intolerable.

“This does not mean MONUSCO should stop protecting displaced people,” he said. “Rather it should reinforce protection.”

He added that the government should recognize it will have an additional responsibility for protection as the Brigade starts offensive operations.

nl/cb source http://www.irinnews.org

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Food security: Cassava flour is consumed by millions in Africa

Posted by African Press International on May 9, 2013

“Super-fly” threatens “Rambo” cassava, food security

Cassava flour is consumed by millions in Africa

JOHANNESBURG,  – A tiny, rapidly breeding cyanide-munching insect, dubbed a “super-fly” by scientists, is threatening the food security of millions of Africans.

The Bemisia tabaci – one of several whitefly species – carries lethal viruses that cause cassava brown streak disease (CBSD) and cassava mosaic disease (CMD), which have decimated the hardy cassava plant.

Cassava, a tropical root crop, is the third most important source of calories in the tropics, after rice and maize. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), it is the staple food for nearly a billion people in 105 countries, where it comprises as much as a third of daily calories consumed. The cheapest known source of starch, cassava is grown by poor farmers – many of them women – often on marginal land; for these people, the crop is vital for both food security and income generation.

The threat to cassava is particularly alarming as the plant is often called the “Rambo” root for its ability to withstand high temperatures and drought. With climate change expected to take a major toll on maize in the coming decades, many hope cassava will offer an alternative route to food security in Africa. Cassava may also prove to be an important source of biofuel.

Experts plan to take aim at the whitefly this week, at a conference of the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (GCP21), at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in Italy. The conference is dedicated to “declaring war on cassava viruses in Africa.”

Pandemics

From the 1980s to the mid-2000s, CMD ravaged more than 4 million square km in Africa’s cassava-growing heartland, stretching from Kenya and Tanzania in the East to Cameroon and the Central African Republic in the West. But in recent years, the scientific community developed cassava varieties resistant to CMD.

James Legg, a leading cassava expert at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), who works out of Tanzania, told IRIN, “The premature celebrations for this apparent victory were very soon squashed, however, as sinister new reports were received of the occurrence and apparent spread of CBSD in southern Uganda.”

Bemisia tabaci on a cassava leaf

Until then, scientists had assumed that the viruses causing CBSD could not spread at medium-to-high altitudes; the disease had previously only been reported in coastal areas of East Africa and the low-altitude areas around Lake Malawi. “The spread recorded from Uganda instantly cast doubt of the validity of that earlier theory,” said Legg. “Worse still, the disease spread out from Uganda over following years, and into the neighbouring countries of Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.”

CBSD is now a pandemic, threatening Nigeria, the world’s largest producer and consumer of cassava. The cassava starch industry in Nigeria generates US$5 billion per year and employs millions of smallholder farmers and numerous small-scale processors.

Only in 2005 were scientists able to confirm that the whitefly responsible for spreading CMD was also responsible for spreading CBSD.

“With this realization, it became clear that the spread of these two disease pandemics was really only a consequence of the fact that East and Central Africa was experiencing a devastating outbreak of the whitefly that transmits both of them,” explained Legg.

He told IRIN that in the 1980s, researchers recorded an average of less than one fly per plant, but by the mid-1990s, the number of whiteflies had increased a hundredfold.

“These insects also seem to have a close relationship with the viruses that they transmit, and some evidence has shown that the insects do better on virus-diseased plants”

Arms race

It seems Bemisia tabaci has been assisted by climate change: The warmer temperatures occurring in higher altitudes have created optimal conditions for the insect to breed rapidly, speeding its adaptation and evolution. More importantly, said Legg, is the fact that these flies seem to have worked out how to do better on cassava plants, whose cyanide production deters all but a very small group of insects. As the whitefly population has exploded, rapid spread of the viral diseases – CMD and CBSD – was an inevitable consequence.

What makes a bad situation even worse, however, is that these diseases, in turn, may promote the whitefly. “These insects also seem to have a close relationship with the viruses that they transmit, and some evidence has shown that the insects do better on virus-diseased plants, leading to an ‘I scratch your back, you scratch my back’ type of mutually beneficial relationship,” Legg said.

Scientists are working towards solutions. A member of Legg’s team is examining the impact of climate change on the whitefly in search of ways to deal with the pest. Other planned projects are working to control whiteflies directly, either through introducing other beneficial insects that kill whiteflies, or through producing varieties that combine whitefly and disease resistance.

Efforts to breed high-yielding, disease-resistant plants suitable for Africa’s various growing regions will involve going to South America, where cassava originated, and working with scientists at the cassava gene bank of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), IITA’s sister organization, in Colombia. CIAT is the biggest repository of cassava cultivars in the world.

Experts at the conference in Italy will also discuss a more ambitious plan to eradicate cassava viruses altogether. The aim will be to develop a regional strategy that gradually replaces farmers’ infested cassava plants with virus-free planting material of the best and most disease-resistant cultivars. Approaches to developing these cultivars will include new molecular breeding and genetic engineering technologies to speed up selection. The hope of the team is that by joining forces, and employing the whole range of technologies available, a lasting impact will be made in tackling a crop crisis that poses the single greatest challenge to the future of Africa’s cassava crop.

jk /rz source http://www.irinnews.org

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Mozambique’s first HIV vaccine trial underway

Posted by African Press International on April 30, 2013

HIV vaccine trial underway

MAPUTO,  – Mozambique has completed its first HIV vaccine trial and is set to embark on a second, a demonstration of the country’s increased HIV research capacity.

Last month, Researchers at Mozambique’s Polana Cancio Centre for Research and Public Health completed a trial evaluating the safety of an HIV vaccine candidate. The study was conducted through the UK HIV Vaccine Consortium’s Tanzania and Mozambique HIV Vaccine Programme (TaMoVac). Preliminary results from the Phase I trial indicated the vaccine was safe, but researchers say it will be months before they know if the vaccine produced an immune response in participants.

The country also launched its second HIV vaccine trial, this one of a Phase II HIV vaccine candidate, also through TaMoVac, this week. As part of this multi-site study, which is taking place in both Mozambique and Tanzania, Mozambique will recruit 20 percent of the 200-patient sample.

According to Ilesh Jani, director general of Mozambique’s National Institute of Health, the studies, while small, mark important first steps towards bolstering clinical trial and research capacity for diseases such as HIV and malaria. These diseases, along with malnutrition, continue to drive death rates in the country.

“We should be in the driver’s seat, not sitting in the back of the car waiting for someone to find the answer,” Jani told IRIN/PlusNews. “We need to get involved and take leadership to find the solutions.”

“Maybe we don’t yet have the capacity to develop these products in the lab, but we have the capacity to test them and accelerate discovery,” he added.

Larger HIV vaccines trials in the pipeline

The centre – which is located on the outskirts of the capital city, Maputo – aims to help the National Institute of Health understand the health concerns of the country’s increasingly peri-urban population.

“Maybe half of Mozambique will be living in peri-urban areas in the next 10 years,” Jani said. “It’s a setting where we don’t completely understand the determinants of health.”

Understanding these determinants will require household mapping and an HIV prevalence study. Researchers at the centre expect that this study will show an HIV prevalence rate of at least three percent in the local community.

If this is true, Polana Cancio could become a clinical research site for larger, more advanced HIV vaccine trials. Nationally, Mozambique has an HIV prevalence rate of about 11 percent, according to UNAIDS.

The centre will also be conducting a study into common causes of fever.

Jani added that, while it might not be possible for the all the products tested by the centre to enter the market patent-free, he hopes that products tested at the centre – and found to be effective – will be affordable for use in countries like Mozambique.

llg/kn/rz source http://www.irinnews.org

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Oslo the 26th April 2013: Tanzanian’s Celebrated UNION Day – Their ambassador to the Nordic countries attended the Occassion

Posted by African Press International on April 28, 2013

The name “Tanzania” derives from the names of the two states, Tanganyika and Zanzibar, that united in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which later the same year was renamed the United Republic of Tanzania.

 

 

The President is Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, elected in 2005. The country changed its capital from Dar es Salaam in 1996, moving it to Dodoma, where the country’s parliament and some government offices are located. The main coastal city of Dar es Salaam was the capital between independence and 1996. Now the city is Tanzania’s principal commercial city and seat of most government institutions.

Tanzania, which is officially known as the United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordering Uganda, Rwanda,KenyaBurundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia, Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro mountain is Africa‘s highest.

The country is divided into many regions, with five of them on the semi-autonomous islands of Zanzibar.

For our readers and viewers who want to sing along, just click on the video above – video nr 2 in the middle and sing along when the people in the video start singing the anthem in Kiswhaili language and it goes like this:

 

“MUNGU IBARIKI AFRIKA”

Mungu ibariki Afrika

Wabariki Viongozi wake

Hekima Umoja na Amani

Hizi ni ngao zetu

Afrika na watu wake.

  • Chorus:

Ibariki Afrika, Ibariki Afrika

Tubariki watoto wa Afrika.

Mungu ibariki Tanzania

Dumisha uhuru na Umoja

Wake kwa Waume na Watoto

Mungu Ibariki Tanzania na watu wake.

  • Chorus:

Ibariki Afrika, Ibariki Afrika

Tubariki watoto wa Afrika.

In English language it goes like this:

 

“GOD BLESS AFRIKA”

God Bless Africa

Bless its leaders

Wisdom Unity and Peace

These are our shield

Africa and its people.

  • Chorus:

Bless Africa, Bless Africa

Bless the children of Africa.

God bless Tanzania

Preserve Freedom and Unity

His sons and daughters

God Bless Tanzania and its people.

  • Chorus:

Bless Africa, Bless Africa

Bless the children of Africa.

 ——————————————————————

Mungu ibariki Afrika is the national anthem of Tanzania. The anthem is the Swahili language version of Enoch Sontonga‘s popular hymn Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika that is also used as Zambia‘s anthem (with different words) and part of South Africa‘s.[1] It was formerly also used as Zimbabwe‘s anthem. The word Mungu in Swahili means God and the title of the anthem therefore translates as God bless Africa.

In Finland the same melody is used as the children’s psalm Kuule Isä Taivaan (Hear, Heavenly Father). In this form the song has found its way to the common book of psalms used by the major church of Finland.

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The Conference on sexual violence against women” held in Oslo, Norway

Posted by African Press International on April 20, 2013

The conference was held on the 2nd of March 2013 organised by Amathea, a service provider for pregnant women and organization “Women Vision” both based in Norway.

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African beat – Tanzania – Saida Karoli – Ndombolo

Posted by African Press International on April 20, 2013

Enjoy African Beats..

Tanzanian – Saida Karoli – Ndombolo. So interesting!!! I love how Africa has so much rhythm, life and flavour!!! It is something that no one will ever take away from them!!! Not poverty. Not even slavery! The slaves taken from Africa continue to carry on this african rhythm in Jamaicans, black Americans spirit etc…viva AFRICA!!!

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African beat: Rafiki by – mr. nice

“rafiki” means “friend”,a translation of the song:the love btw me and you friend will never end,let those who talk talk,our friendship will be broken up by death.When i have money my friend we drink and feast.GOD bless me and make my enemy my friend.Life is a long journey and a GOD’s hand is needed to pass through it.To obtain,to not obtain,who Created is the Creator.Do not get upset with me, i am your friend,in life and death,in good times and bad.If i have wrong you,forgive me

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