US president Donald Trump seeks strengthening partnership with Egypt in a message to president Sisi
Charting the next 25 years of democracy
Ethio-Djibouti Railway to Double Freight, Passenger Train Services
Rwanda: UN Peacekeeping Mission Training Opens in Musanze
Rwanda: Nuclear Tech - Rwanda Hosts Training on Transportation of Radioactive Materials
Zimbabwe: Govt Targets 20m Tonnes Coal Output
Egypt Today – Egypt
By: Angy Essam
The cinema will remain always the truest and the most real archive of history.
As we are commemorating July 23 revolution anniversary, we cannot forget that Egyptian filmmakers presented many movies that portrayed the revolution that changed both the Egyptian and the international history at that time.
Egyptian cinema has played a great role in blessing the revolution through monitoring and documenting it. It conveyed the revolution through a series of distinguished films.
It monitored how it was planned and its positive results, and presented the negative aspects as well. The Egyptian cinema history contain movies that immortalized the great revolution in the minds and hearts of Egyptians over generations.
Some films focused on the revolution advantages, while others focused on the revolution disadvantages. From the movies that reflected the revolution, its goals and positive results is the famous movie Rudda Qalby (Give me my heart back) which was produced in 1957.
The great late Egyptian director Ezzeldin Zulfikar succeeded to convey to the audience the life of a poor peasant who his son (Ali) performed by the veteran actor Shoukry Sarhan, managed despite his difficult circumstances to join the aristocrats-only military faculty.
Later Ali rose to power after the revolution, all of these historical social facts were presented while covered by a sweet immortal love story that took place between the most famous couple in the Egyptian cinema who were princess Angy, performed by the late great actress Mariam Fakhereldin and Aly.
This amazing love story that love thrive to overcome all social differences between them, to live happily ever after at the end.
‘Port said’ movie from the movies that have showed the bright side of the revolution and its leader, the Egyptian President at that time Gamal Abdel Nasser. The ending scene of the movie was for an Egyptian brigade singing the name of Nasser.
‘Port Said’ movie showed true scenes of destroying the statue of Ferdinand de Lesseps in Port Fouad city. The statue was the symbol of European Colonialism.
Al-Aydi Al-Naema (The Soft Hands) movie was produced in 1964, it reflected how Nasser after the revolution managed to minimise the big gap between the high class and the new middle class.
Al-Aydi Al-Naema focused on the importance of work as the main tool to judge people not their social class.
The Egyptian cinema producers after the revolution produced movies that conveyed the corruption and the bad circumstances that existed before the revolution like El Qahira 30 (Cairo 30) and Fi Baytona Ragol (A Man in Our Home), they criticised the past and provided context for the revolution.
‘Allah Maena’ (God with us) movie dealt with the officers’ participation in the war in Palestine and how they were severely injured, which led to anger among them.
As a result of this outrage the Free Officers Movement headed by Nasser were formed.
This movement was formed from army officers to save Egypt from King Farouk and his entourage corruption. The movie ends by ousting the king and the rose of the revolution.
In 1976 there were a lot of Anti-Nasser campaigns, and as he was the revolution symbol, the revolution was subjected as well to a lot of criticism.
This was crystal clear from the type of movies that were produced at that time. Al-Karnak (1975), the 1978 Wara Al-Shams (Beyond the Sun), and the 1979 Ihna Bitua' Al-Autobis (We Were Just Riding a Bus), all revolves around the same theme condemning the practices of both Nasser and the Egyptian intelligence against citizens.
They focused on citizens’ unfair arrests and torture in prisons, in addition they showed the oppression and injustice that the citizens were subjected to from Nasser regime.
The New Times – Rwanda
By: Joseph Rwagatare
Everyone knows about Egypt, even if many may not be able to place it on the map. Most have learnt its history and geography in school, starting as early as primary school.
They learn about it as the land of the Pharaohs and Mummies, pyramids and the Sphinx.
Others have come to know about it from Holy Scriptures as the land in which holy men dwelt – from Abraham to Moses and Jesus Christ.
Many know Egypt as a centre of learning in ancient times, boasting of mathematicians, astronomers and physicians long before modern day western Europeans left their forests and caves.
The great of Europe, Asia and Africa, including famous generals, have at some point fallen captive to its charms.
Egypt is an inexhaustible treasure house for historians and archaeologists, and tourists’ most sought after destination. It has inspired poets and artists of every generation.
Looking at it this way, you may think that Egypt exists only in history. You would be mistaken. Yes, Egypt is an ancient civilisation, but it is also new and modern. It has a great past, but is also building a future to match.
This is what a group of senior media managers from across Africa have learnt on an ongoing visit to the country during which they toured its historical marvels and present-day achievements.
Yours truly hitched a ride and went with the great media people and so was able to experience some of what they saw, the summary of which us that post revolution (that’s a new reference point) Egypt is doing great things and going places. One of those places is the rest of Africa.
Let’s first say that the Egyptians are very proud of their historical landmarks and those they are building now. One of them that stretches across three centuries is the Suez Canal through which ships have sailed from the Atlantic Ocean, across the Mediterranean Sea into the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean for over 150 years carrying commerce between west and east.
The canal was dug in the nineteenth century when Egypt was under British rule. It cut across Egypt and separated Africa and Asia. It was a revolutionary achievement that considerably cut the time and cost of shipping from Europe to Asia and the east coast of Africa, and increased international trade.
The Suez Canal was owned and operated by the United Kingdom and France until President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised it in 1956 and effectively took control of it after a military face-off with the British in which he emerged victor.
Then five years ago, following what is widely known here as the revolution of 2011 which has become a reference point for Egyptian renewal, it was expanded to enable more ships to go through it and faster.
The sand excavated in the expansion process was used to build the New Ismailia City to house 300,000 people initially.
The Suez Canal is therefore not just an example of engineering feat or a crucial route for world trade. It is a national monument of huge proportions, or as officials of the authority that runs it say, a great national symbol of the past as well as the future, of national glory (the preferred word here is bravery) and a living testament of Egyptian ability.
That is matched by improvements in industry. There is a big and growing manufacturing sector, with branches in Africa and the Middle East, and markets even beyond that has made it necessary to build a new industrial city outside Cairo.
One such industry with a presence in north, west and southern Africa is Elsewedy Electric that manufactures smart electric and water meters, cables of every kind, and transformers of all sizes.
The same can be seen in the field of culture. They have built a huge media production facility that they have called the Egyptian Media Production City, and it is indeed a city.
Sitting on five hundred acres, the city houses various recording studies for radio, television and cinema production. It has houses and streets representing different historical periods and architectural designs, mainly of Egyptian and Arab culture, for shooting films.
There are also outdoor and even underwater settings for cinema.
Whether it is the Suez Canal, manufacture of electrical products or textiles, or the media production city, there is the unmistakable tune: it is our brains and hands and money doing all this, and it is the biggest anywhere in the world.
A sceptic might ask: are these real or hyped claims? There is a genuineness about them, whether it is the greatness of the past or present achievements or projections for the future, that convinces you even before you see the evidence. Then you see it and you believe.
There is a sense of self-belief that they have the ability to achieve what they set their mind to and failure is not an option. As an official of the Suez Canal Authority said, failure means you stop dreaming and then you die or descend into despair, and that amounts to treason.
In the years following the revolution at the beginning of the decade, Egypt has set its eyes and mind on several things. There is a determination to reclaim its prominent position and role in Africa.
This is being done by economic reconstruction, redefining its diplomatic priorities and repositioning itself within Africa as an important continental player. This is a period in which it is rediscovering what made it great in the past.
Expect to hear more of this kind of statement. After the revolution this and that was done at home and abroad. The revolution has become the starting point and defining moment for new Egypt.
For the economy it means a quick march forward. In African relations, it is eyes south.
The Herald (Harare)
By Beaven Dhliwayo
Information Communication Technologies (ICT) can revolutionise the Zimbabwean farming sector and benefit farmers, including small landholders.
Agriculture is the most important sector, with the majority of the rural population in developing countries depending on it.
The traditional approaches of agriculture have numerous challenges in terms of production, marketing and profit, among others.
The challenges of traditional agriculture are addressed significantly by using ICT that can play an important role in uplifting the livelihoods of the rural smallholder farmers.
ICT helps in growing demand for new approaches. It also helps in empowering the rural people by providing better access to natural resources, improved agricultural technologies, effective production strategies, markets, banking and financial services.
Recently, President Mnangagwa said farmers should embrace new farming technologies to improve productivity and reduce the country’s dependence on imports.
“As a farmer, I want to embrace technology for the betterment of production,” he said. “For example, as a farmer, I continuously interrogate the latest technology in agriculture to mechanise and modernise our agriculture.
“Our farmers at every level, the small (scale) farmer, the medium (scale) farmer and the commercial farmer, the big farmer; we should not be content with how we entered agriculture; we must continuously seek to improve productivity on our land.”
True to President Mnangagwa’s sentiments, Zimbabwe has a lot to learn from other agricultural projects across the world, particularly in countries like India, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana and Bolivia, which have embraced ICT.
For instance, mobile technology is increasingly being used to improve smallholder farming across Kenya, as it holds considerable potential to improve operations, reduce weather-related and post-harvest losses, and offers an efficient and transparent means to distribute millions of tonnes of state-subsidised equipment and supplies.
Both public and private entities have moved to roll out mobile platforms for the industry.
Although wide-scale adoption is constrained by limited resources and lack of awareness, early successes elsewhere indicate that these programmes could have a dramatic impact on output and incomes.
Also, in May 2015, Vodafone announced plans to introduce its Farmer’s Club initiative in Kenya, following a successful launch in Turkey in 2009.
The Turkish programme has helped nearly 1,2 million farmers improve efficiency and boost both crop yields and farm-gate incomes over the past six years, and there are plans to introduce it in Ghana, Tanzania and India, eventually offering mobile services that include early warning for weather events, information on ideal planting and harvesting times, mobile financial services, and a virtual marketplace where farmers can sell produce.
Through ICTs, Kenyan state allocations to the Fertiliser and Seed Fund fell from KSh4,5 billion (US$49,5 million) in fiscal year 2014/15 to KSh3 billion (US$33 million) in 2015/16, making efficient delivery of subsidised inputs critical.
Tech-based schemes will help stabilise fertiliser prices and shield farmers from seasonal price fluctuations and food insecurity.
Zimbabwe is facing a problem where the population is growing, whereas farm output is increasingly falling.
This is often due to factors like weather changes and migration from rural to urban areas, meaning that there are fewer young people to work on the land.
Government has been using many policies to improve this situation, but greater change is required to ensure that local food supply is secure.
Most communities in the country still use old farming implements like hoes and cutlasses.
Meanwhile, the few that try to access new technologies face challenges with financing issues.
Entrepreneurs in the country are now expressing an interest in how farmers work and how they can be helped to increase agricultural output.
With financing sorted out, Zimbabwean farmers, both small-scale and commercial, will have the opportunity to grow their farm yields and businesses.
Examples of the kinds of digital technologies that have made it into Africa include satellites and drones, weather forecasts and soil sensors.
In other African countries that are embracing ICTs in agriculture, automated systems have also been installed to warn farmers beforehand of changes in weather patterns, by examining soil temperature and nutrients.
Embracing ICTs helps farmers use the right fertilisers and pesticides, and irrigate their fields at the right pace.
Other available technologies include drip-irrigation sets that allow a few droplets of water to constantly irrigate the crops using solar energy to power the entire system.
These reduce water losses during regular irrigation, thus protecting a scarce natural resource.
These technologies, and many more are becoming more accessible to African farmers, and have confirmed increase in productivity.
Additionally, major global corporations are trying to advance the digitisation of African agriculture by launching payment schemes, credit platforms and digital insurance.
These allow farmers to handle their earnings better, to improve standards of living for themselves and their families.
ICTs in agriculture should also utilise the youths who are tech-savvy, thus creating opportunities for them as there are mostly unemployed, but have the brains to better the country.
Without them, the brain drain problem — alongside the migration crisis — will continue to sap the country’s strength at a time of critical challenges in places where innovation is needed most.
Yet for young Zimbabweans, seeking opportunity in the tech sector, working in agriculture will become intertwined with sophisticated weather forecasting and messaging, unmanned aerial monitoring and fintech service.
That means a significant number of jobs in agriculture tied to tech will be available.
“The entrepreneurial spirit of Africa’s youths visible in many parts of the continent reflects how Africa is becoming innovative in finding locally relevant solutions to daily challenges in agriculture, health and education,” the Byte by Byte authors note.
Case studies from Ghana, Rwanda and elsewhere illustrate the tech advances underway.
In Kenya, the FarmDrive start-up is an example of how data-driven assessments are used to make it easier for creditworthy farmers to get much-needed loans.
In the four years FarmDrive has been up and running — through October 2018 — more than US$300 000 in loans has been made available to smallholder farmers.
At least 37 percent of those farmers were young Kenyans eager to benefit from technology.
In Zimbabwe, electricity, infrastructure and policy development remains a challenge, but nurturing the culture of entrepreneurship will be key to success in the agricultural sector.
That’s is why it is vital for the country to invest in education that will ensure digital literacy for youths, and the innovation hubs that will support research and development to empower farmers that Zimbabwe is depending on to feed its future.
Zimbabwe seeks to achieve an upper-middle-income status by 2030, hence the transformation of agriculture into a productive, high value, market-oriented sector, and with forward linkages to other sectors should be one of the important pillars to achieve the vision.