Egypt looks to work with IOF to support African countries: Sisi
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Zimbabwe: US Impressed by Finance Minister's Economic Reforms
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Al Ahram Weekly – Egypt
Since Sinai’s liberation from Israel’s occupation in 1982, connecting the peninsula to the mainland, as a key first step towards comprehensive development of that region, has been one of the major challenges facing Egypt. On Sunday, and coinciding with the 37th anniversary of Sinai’s liberation, this long-standing dream came true following the inauguration of four tunnels in Ismailia and Port Said, and a number of floating bridges, which will ease crossing from and to Sinai.
The tunnels, dug deep beneath the Suez Canal, are the biggest in the history of Egypt, and worldwide, in terms of length and diameter, the workload, and the record time for execution.
This mega project is probably the best reward for the people of that dear part of Egypt after withstanding years of relentless war against terrorist organisations who have attempted to turn Sinai into a safe haven for criminal activities. While Egypt’s army and police will continue this war against terrorist groups, the Egyptian government has recognised the urgent need to ease tough living conditions for the people of Sinai.
The four tunnels President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi inaugurated Sunday will reduce the crossing time between the two sides of the Suez Canal to nearly 20 minutes, instead of previous overcrowding on ferries that forced trucks and cars to wait for up to five days. Previously, crossing between Sinai and the Nile Valley was only limited to Ahmed Hamdi Tunnel, and the Peace Bridge in Ismailia, as well as ferries, which did not fit the size of growing transport and trade from and to Sinai. Unfortunately, due to the confrontation with terrorist groups, such as the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda, the Peace Bridge has been mostly closed, and boarding on ferries became a major burden for Egyptians who want to cross from Sinai to the mainland.
Two of the four tunnels opened this week will accommodate the crossing of 50,000 cars daily, making life much easier for Sinai residents, and achieving giant economic revenues. The tunnels, provided with latest security systems, were built at the depth of 70 and 53 metres beneath the navigational course of the Suez Canal at the cost of LE12 billion, or $699 million. More than 3,000 engineers, technicians and Egyptian workers worked hard to finish this ambitious project in the period between July 2016 and 2019.
The projects come in line with Sinai Peninsula Development Plan launched by Al-Sisi shortly after taking office in 2014. This plan is set to be completed by 2022 at a cost of LE275 billion, or nearly $16 billion.
In addition, Al-Sisi on Sunday inaugurated the New Ismailia City, one of the most valuable third generation cities, consisting of six residential areas. It will accommodate the population growth and urban expansion of Ismailia city and the surrounding governorates. This city will also serve the anticipated workforce in the Suez Canal development projects. It is expected to provide more than 100,000 job opportunities during the construction period.
Moreover, the president opened on the same day a new drinking water station in New Ismailia, a new Corniche of Fisherman’s Lake, a tourist walkway on the same lake, a new developed fish market, the floating Sarabium Bridge in Ismailia, and the Bridge of Martyr Ahmed Omar Shabrawi in Suez.
One key point Al-Sisi stressed during the inauguration was that these projects were implemented by civilian Egyptian companies, refuting false claims that the national army was expanding its role beyond its key mission of defending the country’s borders and national security.
Al-Sisi said that some of the projects were implemented under the army’s supervision only, to make sure that the civilian companies carrying out the work would meet the required deadlines. According to Al-Sisi, “it is illogical to claim that military personnel have such huge capacity needed to serve millions of citizens,” noting that claims on the expansion on the army’s role were only aimed to spread false rumours by enemies of progress in Egypt.
The army does play an important role in Sinai, as well as at the western border with Libya and the southern border with Sudan, mainly because the population is small in these areas, and due to the need to fight terrorism. Without security and stability, it will be an illusion to speak about development or bringing investment to the country, Al-Sisi said.
Following the events Egypt witnessed in 2013, and the rise of terrorist activities by the Muslim Brotherhood group, several brotherly Arab countries provided generous help and support for the country. With the inauguration of the ambitious projects in the Suez area Sunday, we can confidently say that Egypt has started the stage of depending mainly on its own efforts and development plans. As the president has repeatedly underlined, “Only hard work, stability, peace and the fight against terrorism would help build Egypt.”
The New Times - Rwanda
By: Stephen Rodriques
There are hundreds of millions of people across the world who, every day, face severe poverty and hardships. To help them, we need to know who they are, where they are and, also, what causes them to be poor.
For decades, the global community has been looking at income – counting the number of people who earn less than US$1.90 per day – to determine who is poor. Although income is a good measure, it does not tell the full story of whether people have enough to eat, can attend school, have proper health care, and so on.
In 2010 UNDP and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) combined efforts globally to create and introduce the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) to complement the monetary or income-based measurement of poverty.
The aim was to assist countries to better understand the multiple faces of poverty, and the reasons people are poor and remain poor even when incomes rise. Since then, UNDP has published the MPI annually, covering over 105 countries.
The global MPI has three dimensions - education, health and standard of living. It uses 10 robust indicators covering these dimensions to analyse whether people are poor only in income terms alone or also poor in other dimensions, and in how many of these dimensions they are poor.
For example, it tells us whether the poor have access to proper education, to good health care, and to a decent standard of living and whether people have access to one, two or all three of these dimensions. People who are poor in more than one dimension are referred to as being multidimensionally poor.
From the 2018 global MPI, we found that over 1.3 billion people live in multidimensional poverty and that 83% of these people live in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Furthermore, 85% of the poor live in rural areas, and half are children and youth aged 0-17 with nutrition being the largest contributor to their poverty.
The trend on multidimensional poverty in Africa is encouraging - it has declined in 30 out of 35 countries over the last two decades, with Rwanda being among the top performers in reducing multidimensional poverty over this period.
Poverty often takes different forms across Africa; for example, East African countries have greater deprivations in living standards such as inadequate cooking fuel, electricity, flooring, and sanitation, while in West Africa child mortality and poor educational performance are significant challenges.
This kind of data can help policy makers across the region design more effective policies and programmes to address their specific challenges.
Earlier this year, UNDP Rwanda was very pleased to join with UNICEF Rwanda and the National Institute of Statistics Rwanda (NISR) to develop and publish Rwanda’s national Multidimensional Poverty report and the Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) of Child Poverty report.
Rwanda is the first East African country to develop these national measures and the third in Africa, following Mozambique and Nigeria. These tools are extremely important if Rwanda is to achieve its national goal to eradicate poverty in all its forms.
Using the national MPI, multidimensional poverty declined from 32.9% in 2013/14 to 28.9% in 2016/17. In the same period, income poverty using the national poverty line only declined from 39.5% to 38.5%, which is minimal. It is also notable that close to 18.4% of the population is both income and multidimensionally poor.
While Rwanda has now joined the select group of countries using this measure, this is a first step. Experience of other countries suggest that the real benefit of MPI is when it is used as a tool to inform and shape responses by national and subnational governments to eradicate poverty.
The MPI is useful in at least 4 critical ways. First, it can help improve targeting of the poorest groups in a country. Second, the MPI can help to enhance monitoring and accountability of national development plans.
Third, the MPI can also be used by countries to effectively address geographical disparities through budget allocations – that is, by identifying regions which are the poorest and using the MPI data to inform how much resources are transferred to those regions.
Last, but not least, the MPI can help to enhance policy coordination by revealing the interconnections between deprivations and encouraging multisectoral and integrated responses. Several developing nations, such as Mexico, China, Vietnam, and Senegal have successfully used one or more of these above strategies to both identify and alleviate poverty.
There are more lessons to be learned, including from MPI pioneers such as Colombia and Mexico. One lesson, from the case of Colombia, is that the MPI yields maximum results when it is institutionalised and is championed by the highest levels of government.
When the National Development Plan to reduce poverty was introduced in 2011, the MPI was used to establish a Poverty and Inequality Round Table – a committee involving executive branches of the government responsible for addressing and monitoring poverty reduction.
The MPI helped create accountability and transparency in the national implementation process and also led to the design of national programmes to support the plan, such as the Families in Action Plus- covering over 13 million people with conditional cash transfers, accompanied by safety net initiatives covering over 7 million people.
A second lesson comes from Mexico, which adopted the MPI in 2009. The MPI was used to hold cabinet ministers accountable for the results in all the dimensions related to their portfolios. Accordingly, the MPI became an integral part of the policy cycle, affecting government programme design, implementation and monitoring, as well as public expenditure allocation.
As a result, two major social security programmes were created: the “National Crusade Against Hunger” (CNCH), targeting over 7 million people, and the “Pension Programme for the Elderly” (PPE), guaranteeing a minimum income for all Mexicans above 65 years.
In conclusion, while the experiences of these countries are encouraging, it is unfortunate that only few countries in Africa are using the MPI and MODA to guide policy or programming. I believe there is an opportunity for Rwanda to once again be a pioneer in demonstrating the effective use of these measures in combatting poverty and inequality.
I commend the Government of Rwanda for taking the initial decisive step to adopt the MPI and MODA.
The New Times (Kigali)
By Eugène Kwibuka
Legal experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are in Rwanda for a three-day mission to train Rwandan officials about the international legal framework on how to ensure nuclear safety, security, and civil liability for nuclear damage.
Rwanda, which became a full member of IAEA in 2011 with an aim to achieve safe, secure, and peaceful use of atomic energy, is busy setting up the right legal framework in order to undertake activities to generate nuclear or atomic energy.
The country is also looking to set up a Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology (CNST) within the next five years.
Below are five important things that you should know about nuclear energy:
- Nuclear energy is generated by splitting atoms, mostly uranium atoms
Nuclear energy, also called atomic energy, comes from splitting atoms in a reactor to heat water into steam, turn a turbine and generate electricity.
Given that reactors in nuclear power plants use uranium, the technology doesn't produce dangerous carbon emissions such as those produced by fossil fuels such as coal power plant.
But nuclear power process heat has many other essential uses across multiple sectors, including consumer products, food and agriculture, industry, medicine and scientific research, transport, and water resources and the environment.
- Many developed countries use nuclear energy to generate electricity for their homes and businesses
Many European countries have a significant share of their electricity generation made from nuclear energy. France leads others in this area, deriving about 75 per cent of its electricity from nuclear energy.
Then it is followed by Ukraine with 55.1 per cent, Hungary with 50 per cent, Belgium with 49.9 per cent, and Sweden with 39.6 per cent.
In North America, the atomic technology is also used to generate electricity, with about 15 per cent of Canada's electricity coming from nuclear power while in the U.S. 20 percent of generated electricity comes from nuclear power. In Russia, the rate is at 17.8 per cent.
In Africa, only South Africa currently has a nuclear power plant.
- How much electricity does a nuclear power plant generate?
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the R. E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant in New York is the smallest nuclear power plant in the United States, and it has one reactor with an electricity generating capacity of 582 megawatts (MW).
The Palo Verde nuclear power plant in Arizona is the largest nuclear power plant in the United States with three reactors and a total electricity generating capacity of about 3,937 MW.
- How much does it cost to build a nuclear power plant?
Nuclear energy power plants are very expensive to build because they have an extremely high initial cost.
The cost for building a nuclear power plant is so large that private companies are normally unable to handle the financial risk without guarantees and subsidies from governments.
A nuclear reactor requires about $10 billion to build but the high cost is normally driven by regulation standards to ensure security and safety of people and the environment while building and managing the plants.
- Africa could soon embrace nuclear energy to respond to its electricity demands
In Africa, only South Africa currently has a nuclear power plant providing about 5 per cent of South Africa's electricity.
On a continent where only about 50 per cent of the population is connected to electricity, some countries have recently shown interest to go nuclear to address their energy challenges.
Among them include Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan, which have already engaged with the IAEA to assess their readiness to embark on a nuclear programme.
Rwanda, Algeria, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia are also considering the possibility of acquiring nuclear power.
The Herald – Zimbabwe
By: Emmanuel Koro
If you think rural to urban migration only applies to human beings, think again. In Botswana, it now applies to elephants as well.
Previously known to roam in rural areas, Botswana’s ever-increasing elephants are now “spilling” from the iconic Chobe National Park into the nearby Town of Kasane, where they are unwelcome immigrants.
With a total of about 130 000 elephants, Chobe National Park has the biggest elephant population compared to other national parks in Africa and in the world.
Previously known to only happen in rural areas, human-elephant conflict around the iconic Chobe National Park is now increasingly felt in Kasane Town, where a herd of elephants fatally attacked a 54-year-old local resident Mr Merafhe Cappie Shamukuni on May 3, 2019.
Mr Merafhe’s death has put a spotlight on the severe and increasing human-wildlife conflict that communities settled next to national parks of southern African countries experience daily. The herd of elephants killed Mr Shamukuni just about 700 metres from his home in Kasane last week.
He was coming from a local township called Plateau, where he had spent an evening with friends.
Then while going back home around 10pm, he came across a herd of elephants. His vision was not good and also elephants are dark in colour and this made it even more difficult for him to realise that he was among them.
Therefore, when he later noticed that he was among elephants, he tried to run, but it was too late. The elephants attacked and killed him instantly.
As elephant populations in southern African countries continue to increase, so is human-wildlife conflict, limiting freedom of movement, opportunities for agricultural production, and causing social and economic crises through deaths of loved ones, including breadwinners.
Elephants are also destroying people’s properties.
In neighbouring Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park that is also facing an elephant over-population problem, Mr Biggie Shoko recently survived an elephant attack and tells a harrowing story in which an elephant almost trampled him to death early in the morning while going to work.
“I believe it is God who saved me from being killed by that elephant,” said Mr Shoko.
“I thought I was going to die as the elephant kept on trampling on my leg and I started screaming, saying ‘hey you elephant, please leave me alone’. The elephant miraculously left me, but I can no longer perform difficult tasks and provide for my family like I used to do before the elephant attack.”
Back in Kasane Town of Botswana, Mr Charles Shamukuni, the father of the fatal elephant attack victim said that they never used to have elephants attacking people in Kasane Town.
“The fact that we are now being attacked and killed by elephants in town suggests that there should be an elephant overpopulation problem in the nearby Chobe National Park,” said Mr Shamukani.
“I used to like elephants before they killed my son, but I now hate them. They did a cruel thing to me and I hope we could be compensated when our loved ones and breadwinners are killed by elephants.”
He said that his late son Mr Merafhe Cappie Shamukuni used to talk about how elephants were restricting people’s freedom of movement in Kasane before he died.
He said it was very painful to lose a son that way.
“My son was not sick, he was fresh as anything. Now when you just hear that you son has died, instantly it is painful.”
Mr Shamukuni said that the Kasane police came to his house and broke the “saddest” news that elephants killed his son.
A Kasane councillor Boitumelo Kanye confirmed that Kasane residents are increasingly getting killed by elephants.
“Human-elephant attacks never used to happen before in Kasane, but for the first time since Kasane Town was built, about three people have so far been killed by elephants,” said Clr Kanye. “We are worried and unhappy.”
The Chobe National Park is part of the Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) in which the governments of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe are jointly managing 250 000 elephants, (biggest elephant population on planet earth) in their neighbouring national parks. The KAZA TFCA is larger than Germany and Austria combined and nearly twice as large as the United Kingdom.
It lies in the beautiful Kavango and Zambezi River basins where Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe converge.
Mindful of the increasing human-elephant conflict, regional leaders held the Kasane Elephant Summit under the theme: “Towards a Common Vision for the Management of our Elephants”.
Meanwhile, the Kasane Elephant Summit has agreed that there is need to provide public awareness and education on techniques to ensure public safety and reduce human-elephant conflict. Among other things, the Kasane Elephant Management Summit agreed to develop or review legislation to ensure that revenue generated by tourism benefits those most impacted by human-wildlife conflict.
The loss of a loved one to an elephant attack can cause little-known social problems.
For Mr Shamukuni, the loss of his son, who was affectionately known as Cappie, has meant that no one will be able to take care of him because he is wheel-chair-bound and needs assistance to go to the toilet, including bathing and dressing himself.
“I know that the reason why elephants continue to uncontrollably over-populate Chobe National Park is because over the past five years we have not been able to thin out their population size following the ban on hunting in Botswana,” said Mr Shamukuni.
“If I happen to meet these Westerners, I will them to them to stop interfering with the hunting programmes of Botswana because we used to hunt elephants and when elephants saw you, they would run away. Today, when the elephants see you, they don’t run away, they attack you.”