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Coronavirus – Africa: 46 countries reporting a total COVID-19 4,282 cases, 134 deaths, and 302 recoveries

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Countries (46) reporting a total COVID-19 4,282 cases, 134 deaths, and 302 recoveries by region:

Central (214 cases, 9 deaths, 6 recoveries):  Cameroon (99, 2, 2), Central African Republic (6, 0, 3), Chad (5, 0, 0), Congo (19, 0, 0), DRC (65, 6, 1), Equatorial Guinea (13, 0, 0), Gabon (7, 1, 0).

Eastern (324, 4, 6): Djibouti (15, 0, 0), Eritrea (6, 0, 0), Ethiopia (16, 0, 4), Kenya (38, 1, 1), Madagascar (28, 0, 0), Mauritius (102, 2, 0), Rwanda (60, 0, 0), Seychelles (8, 0, 0), Somalia (3, 0, 0), Sudan (5, 1, 0), Tanzania (13, 0, 1), Uganda (30, 0, 0).

Northern (1,716, 98, 211): Algeria (454, 29, 77), Egypt (576, 36, 121), Libya (3, 0, 0), Mauritania (3, 0, 0), Morocco (402, 25, 12), Tunisia (278, 8, 1).

Southern (1,230, 2, 31): Angola (3, 0, 0 ), Eswatini (8, 0, 0), Mozambique (8, 0, 0),  Namibia (6, 0, 0), South Africa (1,170, 1, 31), Zambia (28, 0, 0), Zimbabwe (7, 1, 0).

Western (798, 21, 48): Benin (6, 0, 0), Burkina Faso (207, 11, 21), Cape Verde (5, 1, 0), Côte d'Ivoire (140, 0, 3), Gambia (3, 1, 0), Ghana (141, 5, 2), Guinea (8, 0, 0), Guinea-Bissau (2, 0, 0), Liberia (3, 0, 0), Mali (18, 0, 0), Niger (10, 1, 0), Nigeria (97, 1, 3), Senegal (130, 0, 18), Togo (28, 1, 1).

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Coronavirus – Nigeria: 665 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Nigeria

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Thirty-eight new cases of #COVID19 have been reported:

23 in Kano
5 in Gombe
3 in Kaduna
2 in Borno
2 in Abia
1 in FCT
1 in Sokoto
1 in Ekiti

As at 11:10 pm 20th April there are 665 confirmed cases of #COVID19 reported in Nigeria.

Discharged: 188
Deaths: 22

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Liquidity: Managing Cash Flow when Revenue and Funding Dry Up

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Africa.com has convened the largest ever gathering of Africa’s CEOs, managing directors, finance directors, private equity and venture capital investors, bankers, asset managers, corporate law partners, senior executives and diplomats. Over 8,000 business leaders from 81 countries – 41 countries on the continent and 40 countries throughout the world, registered for Africa.com’s “Crisis Management for African Business Leaders,” a four-part webinar series hosted by Africa.com and faculty from Harvard Business School.

The next session of this weekly series will take place on April 22, 2020 at 15:00 South African time, on the topic of Liquidity: Managing Cash Flow When Revenue and Funding Dry Up.

Speakers include: Sim Tshabalala, Chief Executive, Standard Bank Group; Kunle Elebute, Chair, KPMG, Africa; Welela Dawit, CFO, GE Africa; Admassu Tadesse, Chief Executive, TD Bank.

Teresa Clarke, Chair & CEO of Africa.com said, “When we surveyed the 8,000 registrants for the webinar series, liquidity was the number one concern. Business leaders are worried about how they will fund their companies when their revenues have plummeted. African business leaders are also very concerned about how they can support their employees, their communities and their nations when their own resources are drying up.”

The webinar series features panel discussions led by faculty from Harvard Business School, in conversation with African business leaders including:

  • Sola David-Borha, Chief Executive, Africa Regions, Standard Bank
  • Welela Dawit, CFO, GE Africa
  • Kuseni Dlamini, Chair, Massmart
  • Kunle Elebute, Chairman, KPMG Africa
  • Nolitha Fakude, Chairman, Anglo-American Management Board
  • Foluso Phillips, Chair, Phillips Consulting
  • Funke Opeke, Founder and CEO, MainOne
  • Jay Ireland, Former President and CEO, GE Africa
  • Admassu Tadesse, Chief Executive, Trade and Development Bank
  • Fred Swaniker, Founder & CEO, African Leadership Group
  • Sim Tshabalala, Chief Executive, Standard Bank Group
  • Rob Shuter, President/CEO, MTN Group Ltd.

More information and free registration at https://bit.ly/2wz86dg.

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Cloud-computing solutions can help significantly to reduce banking costs in Africa

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More than 700 million Africans lack access to a bank or mobile money account and only 41% of Africans are financially included. This is due to the high cost of providing financial services in Africa which forces many financial services providers to remain focused on serving wealthier customers.

These are some of the many insights from the report Cloud Banking in Africa: The Regulatory Opportunity by Genesis Analytics (www.Genesis-Analytics.com) and Orange Business Services (www.Orange-Business.com/en) on how the application of cloud computing in financial services can help financial services providers reach and serve the poor.  Download the full report from the Genesis Analytics (https://bit.ly/2zj5PnD) site.

Part of the cost problem is that financial institutions in Africa are so much smaller than elsewhere – the biggest bank in Africa (SBSA with assets of $148 billion) ranks 296th globally; most banks in Africa have assets of less than $5 billion. But African consumers are increasingly expecting these banks to provide the same range of digital services as banks in other countries. This is why consumers have been turning to mobile banking in such numbers. The telecommunications companies have been much more successful at delivering affordable financial services than banks are, but also need to find new ways to reduce costs if they are to reach out to even poorer customers. 

Cloud computing creates an opportunity for providers of financial services to rethink their technology spend and significantly reduce costs. Cloud computing involves using internet technologies to provide virtual infrastructure that is scalable and delivered as a service. Fixed costs can be converted into a subscription-based approach and upfront capital investments are converted into operational costs. Cloud computing allows banks to pay less for ICT infrastructure and services and achieve higher utilisation on ICT spend. Particularly for small banks in small markets where specialised ICT skills are in short supply, cloud computing can ease a critical operational constraint.

The most compelling reason to move to the cloud is undoubtedly cost savings, but there are other business reasons too. The flexibility of cloud-based operational models allows financial institutions to experience shorter development cycles for new products, which supports a faster and more efficient response to the needs of customers. Cloud computing provides the computer power necessary to deliver analytical insights in real time, which enables financial institutions to move towards a customer-centric model where the financial needs of customers are fully understood. Financial institutions can also gain a higher level of data security, resilience, fault tolerance and disaster recovery from cloud computing.

A few international and African banks have already realised the value of cloud banking. WeBank is China’s first digital bank that is based in a private cloud and uses innovative technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence and blockchain, to effect an extraordinarily high volume of transactions at a very low cost. WeBank has been able to run at 95% lower cost than that of traditional banks’ IT operations and has passed this cost saving onto their customers in the form of low account fees. TymeBank is a new digital entrant to the South African banking sector and has made a 56% cost saving compared to other startups by using cloud services from AWS.

Before financial service providers can adopt cloud banking, regulators need to support and approve the use of cloud technology within the financial sector. Some international regulators are already allowing the use of cloud banking in the financial sector. The European Union has been at the forefront of defining an enabling regulatory environment for cloud banking services, which has involved both the regulation on the use of data and privacy and protection of data. Under the regulations, financial institutions have to ensure that consumer personal data is gathered legally and under strict conditions and that consumer data is fully protected. Other developing markets like Turkey and Argentina have adopted similar legal and regulatory environments, which has enabled the use of cloud banking in their financial sectors. 

Africa’s financial sector regulators’ approaches are very much work in progress. The report urges African regulators to develop clear policy positions and regulations on data privacy, risk and security; data sovereignty; cybercrime; protection of intellectual property; vendor risk; and migration complexity and operational risk to enable financial institutions to reap the benefit of cloud banking.

Genesis Analytics is a global African firm that has worked in more than 74 countries across the world, 41 of which are on the continent, and Orange Business Services is a network-native digital services company and the global enterprise division of the Orange Group, connecting, protecting and innovating for enterprises around the world.

Full link to report Cloud Banking in Africa: The Regulatory Opportunity: https://bit.ly/2zj5PnD

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Coronavirus – NCDC Activates 13 Molecular Laboratories Nationwide – Dr. Ehanire

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The Honorable Minister of Health, D. Osagie Ehanire has disclosed that 13 molecular laboratories had been activated nationwide by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) so far, stating also that the target is to double the current national testing capacity of 1,500 tests per day.

The Minister made this known on the 20th of April, 2020, at the Presidential Task Force briefing as he confirmed a total of 627 persons in 21 states and FCT to have COVID-19. He said that the 86 new confirmed are distributed as follows: 70 in Lagos, 7 in FCT, 3 in Akwa Ibom and Katsina and 1 each in Bauchi, Borno and Jigwa. 21 deaths have been recorded so far one of whom is Mallam Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to His Exellency President Muhammedu Buhari. He informed also that 170 people had recovered from COVID-19 in Nigeria and had been discharged while 146 persons are currently recovering from COVID-19.

Dr Ehanire revealed that there are presently increased testing and mobilization on the community at the grassroots. This new strategy is as a result of the frequency and increase in the number of new persons with COVID-19 being recorded daily at the community level. He hinted that the further intensified strategic house-to -house and cluster testing in communities had helped towards promptly detecting, testing and isolating to mitigate the on-going community transmission. Health Minister emphasized on further increasing and improving isolation facilities “since finding more infected persons without facilities to accommodate them, does not contribute to a solution”. “Isolation and treatment centers are available to meet security and privacy requirements of all persons”, he said.

The Minister made known that all persons entering Nigeria from abroad, will undergo a 14-day quarantine at a designated facility. He stated that state governments are collaborating to prepare a minimum of 300 beds for isolation and treatment while also exploring all options including engaging hotels for quarantining persons who may have COVID-19 with or without symptoms needing little clinical management.

According to Health Minister, “the Federal Government has the responsibility and capability to manage this viral infection safely, in the interest of public safety and national security, but can share this responsibility with private sector hospitals who meet laid down criteria”. He advised they work with the Ministry of Health and NCDC on surveillance and referral of patients for testing, or to isolation and treatment centers.

Dr. Osagie Ehanire expressed his condolences to families of professional colleagues who had lost their lives while on duty and used the opportunity to also call on them to take precautions while attending to patients in health facilities.

The Minister urged citizens to continue to take responsibility through physical/social distancing, appropriate use of masks or improvised face coverings to be used outside the homes, especially in hotspot states of Lagos, Kano and FCT, maintenance of hand and respiratory hygiene, as well as strict adherence to the lockdown measures and regulations.

Speaking earlier, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha stated that “the PTF recognizes regrettably the unintentional violation of the principles and protocols that form the core of our messaging to Nigerians, at the funeral of the late Chief of Staff”. He said lessons had been learnt and that appropriate measures had been taken to close all gaps. He assured Nigerians of their safety and the determination of the PTF to combat the pandemic. He further stated that “We must all come together because we face a common enemy and potential risk. We must flatten the curve at all cost and restore our country to full activity”.

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Coronavirus – Uganda: Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Uganda is now 56

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– 1 new case confirmed today.

– The new case is a 46 year old Burundian refugee who arrived from Tanzania and was quarantined in Rakai district.

– Total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Uganda is now 56.

– 1,177 samples tested today.

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Coronavirus – Somalia: Update on COVID-19 in Somalia (20-04-2020)

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– New cases confirmed today: 73

– Male: 51

– Female: 22

– Recovery: 1

– Death: 1

Total confirmed cases: 237

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Coronavirus – Africa: African Union Member States reporting COVID-19 cases (21-04-2020)

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African Union Member States (52) reporting COVID-19 cases (23,505) deaths (1,158), and recoveries (5,833) by region:

Central (1,912 cases; 75 deaths; 384 recoveries): Burundi (6; 1; 4), Cameroon (1,163; 42; 305), Central African Republic (14; 0; 10), Chad (33; 0; 8), Congo (143; 6; 11), DRC (350; 25; 35), Equatorial Guinea (79; 0; 4), Gabon (120; 1; 7), Sao Tome & Principe (4; 0; 0).

Eastern (2,542; 56; 590): Djibouti (846; 2; 102), Eritrea (39; 0; 3), Ethiopia (111; 3; 16), Kenya (281; 14; 69), Madagascar (121; 0; 41), Mauritius (328; 9; 224), Rwanda (147; 0; 80), Seychelles (11; 0; 5), Somalia (237; 8; 3), South Sudan (4; 0; 0), Sudan (107; 12; 8), Tanzania (254; 8; 11), Uganda (56; 0; 28).

Northern (10,052; 817; 2,326): Algeria (2,718; 384; 1,099), Egypt (3,333; 250; 821), Libya (51; 1; 11), Mauritania (7; 1; 2), Morocco (3,064; 143; 350), Tunisia (879; 38; 43).

Southern (3,525; 70; 969): Angola (19; 2; 6), Botswana (20; 1; 0), Eswatini (24; 1; 8), Malawi (17; 2; 3), Mozambique (39; 0; 8), Namibia (16; 0; 4), South Africa (3,300; 58; 903), Zambia (65; 3; 35), Zimbabwe (25; 3; 2).

Western (5,474; 140; 1,564): Benin (54; 1; 27), Burkina Faso (581; 38; 357), Cape Verde (67; 1; 1), Côte d'Ivoire (879; 10; 287), Gambia (10; 1; 2), Ghana (1,042; 9; 99), Guinea (622; 5; 122), Guinea-Bissau (50; 0; 0), Liberia (99; 8; 7), Mali (246; 14; 56), Niger (655; 20; 124), Nigeria (665; 22; 188), Senegal (377; 5; 235), Sierra Leone (43; 0; 6), Togo (84; 6; 53).

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Coronavirus – Africa: Background Briefing on COVID-19 in Africa and the U.S. Response – April 22, 2020

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EVENT:   Please join us on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 for a telephonic press briefing with a senior U.S. official speaking on background about the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa.

BACKGROUND: 

The United States is the undisputed leader in the provision of health and humanitarian aid, around the world and has continued to demonstrate its global leadership in public health and humanitarian assistance in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. State Department, USAID, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are working together to support health systems, humanitarian assistance, and economic, security, and stabilization efforts worldwide with $2.7 billion in emergency supplemental funding. In Africa, the U.S is providing more than $65 million in health assistance that will help governments with laboratory preparations, case-finding activities and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, risk communication, infection prevention and control, and more.

DETAILS: 

Date: Wednesday, April 22, 2020 

Time: 14:00 SAST (Johannesburg) | 12:00 UTC | 08:00 EDT

          Please use Time Zone Converter to determine the start time of the event for your location. 

Languages: English.  French interpretation will be offered.

Ground rules: ON BACKGROUND, Attributed to a Senior Administration Official

Dial-in Info: To be provided upon RSVP  

RSVP: Please RSVP here 

LOGISTICS:  

  • Callers should dial in to the conference call at least 10 minutes early.  The operator will ask for your name, press affiliation, and location. 
  • Speaker will give brief opening remarks, and then the moderator will open the floor to questions.
  • Participants will be instructed to press “1”, then “0”, on their phones to enter the question and answer queue. You may also submit questions in advance via email to afmediahub@state.gov .
  • Questions from French line must be submitted in ENGLISH in advance via Eventbrite (when you RSVP), or during the call via email to afmediahub@state.gov.
  • If you experience technical difficulties during the call, you may email afmediahub@state.gov to alert the moderator.

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Coronavirus – Rwanda: Update on COVID-19 Coronavirus – 20 April 2020

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Cases: 147 (0 new)

Tests today: 1,299

Recoveries: 80 (4 new)

Deaths: 0

Active cases: 67

All active cases are in isolation in stable condition, and one patient is receiving oxygen therapy as a precaution.

The prevention measures announced by the Government of Rwanda must continue to be rigorously observed, especially frequent hand-washing and staying at home. In addition, face masks must be worn in public and in multi-family compounds.

Withholding information related to contact tracing or Covid-19 symptoms jeopardises public safety and will be punished in accordance with applicable laws.

The key symptoms of coronavirus are dry cough, shortness of breath, and fever. Automated screening is available by dialling *114#. Symptoms can also be reported to a medical professional, or as follows:

Phone: 114 (toll-free)

WhatsApp: +250 788 20 20 80

Email: callcenter@rbc.gov.rw

Let's continue to work together to defeat this pandemic.

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Africa’s energy transition must be African at heart and in practice (By Verner Ayukegba)

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By Verner Ayukegba

Africa is at an energy cross-road. On one hand, the most talented, better educated, most entrepreneurial and competitive generation the continent has ever had is rising and taking on leadership positions that will propel African companies to become more competitive.

After many turbulent decades, most corners of the continent have found the necessary political and economic stability to strategize for a better future making use of their natural resources and wealth. Nowhere else on planet Earth are economies and populations expected to grow faster than in the mother-continent.

After such a long time dealing with the problems of the past, Africans can look to the future with the promise of a better life. After all, when it comes to natural resources such oil, gas, coal, diamonds, rare earths, woods, or agricultural potential and legacy-free technological development, there is no place like Africa. Over the last decade, most of the world’s biggest oil and gas discoveries took place on the African continent, and rapidly developing indigenous companies are ensuring these resources serve Africans and African economies more than they ever did before, resources that will power industries, light homes and create wealth.

Our time to rise is finally here

I have had the chance to witness this with my own eyes. From Equatorial Guinea to South Africa, from Angola to Mozambique and from Kenya to Senegal, the energy industry, the one I know best and the one closest to my heart, is revolutionizing life. Political leaders are willing to learn from the mistakes of the past to improve resource management, contract negotiations and environmental protection policies. 

Most of all, they have developed local content policies that potentiate the participation of Africans in these industries. Oil and gas training programmes and university degrees that cater to the industry like engineering are now more common than ever. These programs are educating and giving opportunities for numerous Africans to find work in the industry and further, to start their own companies within the industry’s supply chain. While the drive to strengthen the integration of the energy sector and other extractive industries with the rest of the economic system is far from complete, it has certainly been fundamental in developing Nigeria’s indigenous upstream sector or in building a truly native gas industry in Equatorial Guinea. In Nigeria for example, this critical mass of local talent has been instrumental in the establishment of regional energy giants like Seplat Petroleum, Sahara Energy, Atlas Petroleum International Limited and Shoreline Natural Resources, whose influence is felt more and more beyond Nigeria’s boarders.

Local content clauses in contracts are the way African leaders assure that the exploitation of the local natural resources has a trickle-down effect on the local economy, through job-creation and increasing local participation in the value chain the industry brings with it. Furthermore, most recent localization strategies for the oil and gas sector have been successful in developing truly native associated industries, particularly within the natural gas supply chain. As the Africa Energy Chamber has advocated since its establishment, we are finally seeing petrochemical plants, fertilizer plants and gas-fired power plants popping up across the continent. An African natural gas economy is growing where before the plague of flaring stood unmatched.

Intra-African trade in both natural gas and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is also likely to rise significantly, on the back of rapid urbanization and development across the continent which is set to increase energy consumption on the continent by more than 50% before 2040, This will speed up wealth creation and capacity building across borders.

Following the oil price crash of 2014, many countries across Africa have sought to reposition themselves to attract investment into their energy sectors through the introduction of varying incentives. These incentives ranged from granting tax breaks to potential investors to reducing bureaucracy affecting the sector. On the other hand, the recent global climate change discourse which has also intentionally sought to demonize and simply hinder investments into Africa’s oil and gas sector, poses a new challenge to the growth of the sector in Africa.

Worryingly, these two issues are taking attention away from the need to ensure that the African energy industry benefits Africans at large and fulfils its transformative potential to raise the continent out of poverty.

The African energy transition will not be made in the West

The issue of climate change has come to dominate the global debate over the energy sector. An energy transition is necessary to tackle the effects of CO2 emissions on a planetary scale. While Africa has contributed only a miniscule part of those emissions, it stands to suffer the most from the effects of this change, and must as well prepare for a progressive shift in its energy structure. In many ways, the channelling of natural gas for power generation and the upgrading of oil and gas infrastructure and equipment to improve efficiencies and reduce the industry’s carbon footprint is already going a long way to achieve that. New renewable energy projects from Kenya to South Africa will also help balance out the continent’s energy matrix as it expands its electrification rates to reach every African in every corner of the continent.

Many international and foreign institutions have already started to share their expertise and support with African governments and many foreign investors have started to develop their own projects in the mother-continent. Wind farms, solar parks, geothermal drilling, hydropower plants, etc, are taking advantage of each region’s available resources. Here too, these renewable resources must be used for the benefit of Africans, and they must be developed with the participation of Africans and in a manner that is sustainable economically and to a scale that is capable to supporting the growth of industry that provides for good paying jobs.

It is fundamental that these new technologies and sources of energy suit the communities which they are meant to serve. Climate concerns cannot side line discussions over local content and localization strategies. They must go hand in hand, be one and the same, or else we may again find ourselves dependent on foreign knowledge to provide for our energy needs. Such dependence is unlikely to lead to the mass scale of development with the potential to lift large swaths of the population out of poverty.

Education programs and employment clauses are a fundamental step of the energy transition and not a secondary aspect of it. Market-driven local content frameworks need to be designed for capacity building, employment generation and overall enforcing a value-adding multiplying effect in our economies.

This debate is now more important than ever, as Africa opens up to new industries and to greater trade integration. As more and more African nations gain the expertise to explore their natural resources for the betterment of their economies and their people, we need to see further integration and cooperation between them, so that the continent can take advantage of synergies that different regions and industries can offer.

Already, we see examples of gas-poor countries like South Africa investing in natural gas and LNG projects in gas rich Mozambique with the aim of reducing their growing energy deficit. As demand rises, exploration will accelerate and so will the use of the vast gas resources, including those that continue to be wasted through flaring. The African Continental Free Trade Zone is an ideal platform to promote the development of an intra-African natural gas trade that will promote widespread economic growth and access to power. Again, it is fundamental that these developments are pegged to well implemented and designed local content policies, so that Africans can truly benefit from the exploitation of their continent’s resources, and by so doing, ensure that Africa’s energy transition will be driven and made sustainable by those that will transition with it.

Verner Ayukegba is the Senior Vice President with the African Energy Chamber and Director of Operations at DMWA Resources, a pan-African energy marketing & investment firm.

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Voice from ‘CEOs’: CAMON 15 Premier – the true camera Phone with ultra clear and night shot

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It’s been a few days since TECNO Mobile (www.TECNOMobile.com) gave a select group of 300 Camera Experience Officers the chance to try out the brand-new CAMON 15 series smartphone, now the ‘CEOs’ have finished their experience period. This evet has raised heated discussion among photography and technology fans about the persuasive performance of CAMON 15. Feedbacks from ‘CEOs’ are all tend to be surprisingly positive. 

Selected with the help of TECNO’s fans on social media for their knack at capturing stunning photos, these Camera Experience Officers, or ‘CEOs’ for short, are a core group of fans chosen to pilot what promises to be TECNO’s highest-performing smartphone camera. As well as helping showcase what this latest addition to the CAMON lineup offers, involving them is also giving us the chance to hear back from real users on how well the camera lives up to its promise.

So far, it looks like a smart choice for TECNO, with first impressions of this much-anticipated new phone ringing positive.

300 talented impressions converge

For everyone anticipating the CAMON 15, having 300 ‘CEOs’ means having 300 unique insights on a host of new features, from 64-megapixel ultra-high resolution to AI-powered camera modes like Super Night Mode.

According to one ‘CEO’, the CAMON 15’s true distinction is its night shot capabilities, transforming the challenges of low-light or even super-dark scenes into an effortless pleasure.

In her own words, “It really lets each individual element of a night shot scenario show through without getting lost in the shadows. Instead of the usual dimness, there is a special glow to these photos, which makes night shots an opportunity to be really artistic with a scene.”

For those who like to focus on human subjects when they have the camera out, another ‘CEO’ impression about the AI Beauty Shooting feature is likely to pique interest.

“When you want to capture people in dynamic photos that highlight their features, AI camera features are the edge you need. That’s something the CAMON 15 has plenty of, and I really appreciate how AI Beauty Shooting can help accentuate a subject’s natural features to deliver a truly stunning portrait of them.”

What comes up over and over, though, is the CAMON 15’s Ultra HD capabilities.    

“With quad cameras becoming a more common feature on smartphones, this one still manages to blow me away. When it comes to sheer power and zoom, it’s all about the 64-MP main camera, but the AI Lens camera adds so much finish, with support for all types of scenarios,” one ‘CEO’ with an impressive portfolio of CAMON 15 shots to show for it reported.

Zooming out on the CAMON 15

Firsthand user reports are always valuable, and TECNO has gone further than most brands in seeking out opinions from people who really know how to get the most out of a smart camera.

That means getting 8x zoom not just when you’re shooting but afterward as well, letting you scale up your shots without losing even the tiniest details.

With a powerful Sony 64-MP smart camera and a whole regime of supporting features, the CAMON 15 has plenty to boast of on its own. Even getting 8x zoom not just when you’re shooting but afterward as well, the details are still marvelously clear. Scale up your shots without losing even the tiniest details.

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Apple Services Now Available in More Countries Around the World

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Apple® (www.Apple.com) announced that starting today, even more customers around the world can enjoy many of Apple’s most popular Services. The App Store®, Apple Arcade™, Apple Music®, Apple Podcasts® and iCloud® are now available in 20 more countries, and Apple Music is available in 52 additional countries.

“We’re delighted to bring many of Apple’s most beloved Services to users in more countries than ever before,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and International Content. “We hope our customers can discover their new favorite apps, games, music and podcasts as we continue to celebrate the world’s best creators, artists and developers.”

The App Store, Apple Arcade, Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and iCloud are now available in the following countries and regions:

  • Africa: Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Libya, Morocco, Rwanda and Zambia.
  • Asia-Pacific: Maldives and Myanmar.
  • Europe: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia.
  • Middle East: Afghanistan (excluding Apple Music) and Iraq.
  • Oceania: Nauru (excluding Apple Music), Tonga and Vanuatu.

Apple Music is also expanding to the following countries and regions:

  • Africa: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Chad, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Tunisia.
  • Asia-Pacific: Bhutan.
  • Europe: Croatia, Iceland and North Macedonia.
  • Latin America and the Caribbean: the Bahamas, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Turks and Caicos and Uruguay.
  • Middle East: Kuwait, Qatar and Yemen.
  • Oceania: Solomon Islands.

The App Store, now in 175 countries and regions, is the world’s safest and most vibrant app marketplace, with over half a billion people visiting each week. It is the best place for users to discover new apps and allows developers of all sizes to distribute their apps to customers around the world. The App Store features many ways for developers to build their businesses, and since it launched in 2008, developers have been creating innovative apps that influence culture and change lives.

Apple Arcade is a groundbreaking game subscription service within the App Store, offering users unlimited access to the entire catalog of more than 100 exclusive games, all playable across iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch®, Mac® and Apple TV®. Apple Arcade is adding new games and expansions every month from some of the world’s most visionary game developers.

Apple Music is the most complete music experience, now available in 167 countries and regions and offering more than 60 million songs.  With world-class music experts and tastemakers curating thousands of playlists and daily selections, and the renowned global radio station Beats 1, Apple Music is the best music service for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch®, Apple TV, Mac, HomePod® and CarPlay®, and is also available on Android and and other devices.

New Apple Music subscribers in the 52 additional countries can enjoy a six-month free trial of the service, with locally curated playlists including Africa Now, Afrobeats Hits, Ghana Bounce and more. In addition, users have access to world-class music experts, tastemakers, and artist-led programs from globally celebrated creators including Virgil Abloh, Billie Eilish, Elton John, Pharrell, and more.

Apple Podcasts is the best place to browse and listen to the world’s largest catalog of podcasts, now featuring over 1 million shows in more than 100 languages and 175 countries and regions.

iCloud is an essential service that keeps users’ personal content safe, up to date, and available across all their Apple devices, allowing them to store a lifetime of photos, keep important documents at their fingertips, and share and collaborate with ease. iCloud backs up iPhone, iPad and iPod touch automatically and includes Find My to help locate and secure missing devices. With Family Sharing, up to six family members can share access to Apple Services, including Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple Music, iCloud storage, as well as individual music, movie, TV, book and app purchases. Available in 175 countries and regions, iCloud comes with 5GB of free storage and offers affordable 50GB, 200GB and 2TB plans.

For a full list of Apple Media Services availability around the world, please visit Apple Support (https://apple.co/34SAX9d).

Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple’s five software platforms — iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s more than 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.

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Africa's lockdown nightmare (By Victor Oladokun)

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By Victor Oladokun

Across Africa, affordable housing is in acute short supply. It is one of the reasons why lockdowns and social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic are unimaginable and unsustainable. The pandemic is therefore a time bomb waiting to explode in Africa's most densely populated informal settlements.

During this global lockdown, millions in the West will have the luxury of couch surfing through endless hours of Netflix or Tik Tok. But in Africa’s most congested and highly populated cities and slums, millions of families will be confined to less than 2 square meters of living space in unsanitary conditions.

What is urgently needed is a radical re-think.

Ticking Time Bombs

Slums and inhumane living conditions have been permanent fixtures of Africa's urban landscapes for decades. The rapid growth of informal settlement is the result of a combination of factors. Accelerated urbanization, policy flip flops, the absence of adequate planning and foresight, the lack of infrastructure, low income levels, and the desperation of tens of thousands who arrive daily in pursuit of an even more elusive golden fleece.

In these epicenters of misery, millions of Africans, stripped of their dignity, live in appalling make-shift conditions with no hope of decent lives, nor access to water, sanitation and other basic necessities. The social and economic aberration runs deep. The slums exist on the periphery of more opulent and upscale neighbourhoods.

With a combined population of almost 50 million people, three of Africa's megacities, Lagos, Cairo, and Kinshasa, are the continent's most densely populated. Major centres of commercial activity, they attract the lion’s share of their respective country’s domestic and foreign investment. This is where the jobs are. And so, each day, millions of Africans travel commute for hours on crowded buses with poor ventilation, in order to engage in manual labour that barely covers the cost of transportation.

Face Me – I Face You

In Nigeria, with a population of 180 million people, and where I spent my formative years, millions are aware of what is known as ‘Face me – I Face You' dwellings. These are communal buildings with rooms that face one another divided only by a long corridor. In appalling cramped conditions, families occupy single rooms with shared toilet facilities and little or no access to water and sanitation.

Yet, residents in these living-hells are a notch higher on the social pecking order, for want of a better expression. At a level lower are the millions of day labourers who pay the equivalent of 20 cents or less a night for the 'privilege' of laying their head for a few hours on a bare floor in a communal room with as many as 10-15 other grown men.

The short-term abodes are known as ‘Taan lese’ or better still ‘Ta lo le se.”  Translated from the Yoruba language, this means “Who's leg is it?” The phrase aptly describes the packed sardine-like conditions in which the occupants spend the ‘night’, literally toe to toe.

They must rise early before dawn and make room for others who will occupy the same space during the day. For them and millions of 'Face Me – I Face You' slum dwellers, these inhumane living conditions are death traps, one way or the other.

This week, as the long-term impact of the lockdown began to take effect in some countries, groups of young hungry men broke into supermarkets and homes in search of food.

Given the restrictions Covid-19 imposes and the lurking dangers ahead, short- and long-term solutions are urgently needed to decongest thousands of slums, improve the lives of millions of poor families, and stop the transmission of this and other future pandemics.

Africa and it’s Diaspora are not lacking in skills, imagination, creativity or talent. What is required are resources, partnerships, and cutting the red tape of bureaucracy and corruption.

Decongesting Africa's Slums

Here are a few viable solutions.

  1. The enactment of viable short-term emergency measures to house the most vulnerable during this pandemic, particularly the elderly, disabled, and those infected and recovering.
  2. Urgent engagement with public, private sector and non-governmental partners to address and resolve immediate challenges. Working in conjunction with the private sector the innovative Africa Investment Forum, USAID, DFID, Germany's KfW, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JAICA), and Agence Française de Développement’s Proparco, are all excellent platforms for crowding in resources for housing development, healthcare facilities, water and sanitation.
  3. Long-term plans including the conversion of low-level agricultural spaces and brown sites into residential areas. Also, the conversion of abandoned or under-utilised commercial buildings into housing units, will boost supplies.
  4. Increased public spending on affordable housing would provide millions living in marginal communities with either free or heavily subsidised housing, electricity and water.
  5. Incentives to attract private sector players into the housing construction business.
  6. Decongesting urban areas and decentralising development by moving some government ministries and industries across provinces or states.
  7. The promotion and creative use of sustainable materials to build affordable housing, instead of a primary reliance on steel and concrete.
  8. Removing policies, processes and practices, that get in the way of eradicating slums and rent seeking slumlords.

Waiting: An illusive luxury

For the benefit of all and in the face of a virus that does not respect geographical boundaries, Africa's leaders must urgently, creatively and radically address the chronic shortage of housing, water and sanitation, as well as the distribution of free masks.

Ultimately, a re-arrangement of national space, a reimagining of dwellings, a boom in the construction of housing, and the use of sustainable building materials, will have ripple multiplier effects. It will create jobs, enhance skills, improve qualities of life, reinvigorate local economies and incentivise the private sector.

We risk losing whole populations who have no defence against a ravaging pandemic.

Waiting is an illusive luxury. Time has run out!

  • Victor Oladokun, is the former Director of Communication, African Development Bank Group

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Coronavirus – Nigeria: UN, Nigerian Government Launch a COVID-19 Basket Fund to Harmonize Investments in National Pandemic Response Plan

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The UN system in Nigeria, in collaboration with the Government of Nigeria, has launched the COVID-19 Basket Fund to complement ongoing efforts to mobilise resources in support of the National COVID-19 Multi-Sectoral Pandemic Response Plan, developed by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

The Basket Fund will serve as the One COVID-19 Financing and Investment Platform for diverse stakeholders (UN and other multilaterals, bilaterals, private sector, foundations, philanthropists, among others) to channel their financial support to ensure an efficient, effective and impactful response to the coronavirus pandemic. The COVID-19 Basket Fund will be facilitated and implemented by the UN system in Nigeria, through a Project Management Board comprising representatives of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Response, relevant Government agencies, contributing donors and the UN system.

“We applaud the Nigerian government at all levels for its efforts and measures to urgently mobilize resources to address the impact of COVID-19. But the Government cannot do it alone. For the country to succeed in fighting back the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, we must all come together across all sectors to support the government at this time of great need,” said Mr Edward Kallon, United Nations Resident Coordinator and Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Nigeria.

The National COVID-19 Response Plan is developed around 10 pillars, encompassing scaling up surveillance, testing, isolation, contact tracing, infection prevention and control (including protection of medical staff), case management of critically unwell COVID-19 patients, risk communication and community engagement, research and emergency preparedness, security and logistics for mass care, and coordination and resource mobilization. The UN system is supporting the Government of Nigeria through the Basket Fund and urging others to invest in the 10 pillars of the national response plan. Where called upon by Government and donors, the Basket Fund will also fund socio-economic measures, such as cash transfers or food distribution to vulnerable groups adversely affected by measures instituted to control further spread of the pandemic.

Under the Delivering as One framework, the UN in Nigeria, through the Basket Fund, has already mobilized and deployed over USD $2 million from the UN system for the procurement of essential medical supplies that will boost the efforts of the Nigerian Government in containing COVID-19 and caring for those confirmed cases in need of serious medical attention.

Reflecting on the magnitude of the impact of COVID-19 and the need for actors to come together, the Chairperson of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 Response, Mr Boss Mustapha, stated that “the Government of Nigeria appreciates the role the UN is playing to rally partners to support the country’s efforts to fight  the pandemic, and that the operationalization of the COVID19 Basket fund will be a great help in complementing Government’s own efforts to coordinate mobilization and rapid deployment of assistance where it is needed the most.”

Other key donors have welcomed the creation of the Basket Fund as a mechanism to channel urgent assistance. “At this time of need, Nigeria is not alone, the European Union is commiting to supporting the Government of Nigeria in addressing the challenges of the pandemic. The COVID19 Basket Fund avails us with the opportunity to cooperate and act rapidly in the deployment of assistance that can help enhance the healthcare services and cushion the most vulnerable,” noted Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, Head of European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS.

 “We must also commend the Executive Director of Global Fund for exhibiting flexibility, which has allowed Nigeria to submit a proposal to reprogramme savings from existing Global Funds grants to urgently scale up surveillance, diagnostics, infection control and other strategic measures to support the national COVID-19 response plan,” added Dr Osagie Ehanire, Honourable Minister of Health for Nigeria.

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Coronavirus – Kenya: National Security Council sanctions cessation of all movement by road, rail or air

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To contain & limit the spread of the coronavirus disease to other parts of the Country, the National Security Council has sanctioned cessation of all movement by road, rail or air in & out of Nairobi Metropolitan Area & the counties of Kilifi, Kwale & Mombasa.

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Coronavirus – Africa: Stronger partnerships crucial for successful implementation of SDGs in light of COVID-19

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The Bureau of the Sixth Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) has met and adopted an action plan establishing key priorities for implementing key messages from the forum that was held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, in February.

Chaired by chaired Zimbabwe’s Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Mr. Paul Mavima, this was the Bureau’s first meeting since the adoption of the Victoria Falls Declaration on the Decade of Action for Sustainable Development in Africa. 

The Decade of Action calls for accelerating sustainable solutions to all the world’s biggest challenges, ranging from poverty and gender to climate change, inequality and closing the finance gap.

With the coronavirus pandemic raging on the continent, members of the bureau recognized the unprecedented and serious challenges being caused by COVID-19 and noted with grave concern the growing loss of human lives and huge negative economic and social impacts of the crisis on the continent.

Africa, the agreed, was likely to be disproportionately affected by the pandemic given the region’s underlying vulnerabilities. 

The Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) recent analysis on the impact of the pandemic estimates that economic growth on the continent is expected to drop from 3.2 percent to 1.8 percent. As of March 2020, a decline of 1.4 percentage points is expected from the effects of COVID-19. Africa’s Finance Ministers have called for an initial support package of US$ 100 billion in 2020 to cushion their nations from impacts of the pandemic.

The bureau agreed that COVID-19 reinforced the need for stronger global and regional partnerships if the sustainable development goals are to be fully achieved and to build resilience to social, economic and environmental shocks and calamities. 

Member States and other actors were urged to take urgent and collective measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, provide the necessary support to affected communities and address the social and economic implications of the pandemic.

Bureau members, Zimbabwe (Chair), the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Liberia and Morocco, pledged their full commitment to expand outreach, and to take and promote concrete actions in following-up and implementing the outcomes of the sixth ARFSD. 

The action plan, which will be implemented with the support of ECA, regional organizations and the rest of the UN Development system, recognizes the challenges and need for quality and timely data and statistics for evidence-based planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting on the 2030 Agenda and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.  

The Bureau is expected to finalize by August, the strategic framework of the Solidarity Fund for Statistical Development in Africa, as agreed in the Marrakech Declaration of the Fifth session of the regional forum; and develop a regional strategy to operationalize the Victoria Falls Declaration on the Decade of Action and delivery for sustainable development and key messages of the sixth regional forum by November 2020.

Outcomes of the Victoria Falls forum will be conveyed to the 2020 meeting of the High-level political forum on sustainable development to be convened under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Council in July.

The Bureau committed to contribute to strengthening the capacity of member States and catalyse concrete multi-level actions to follow-up and implement outcomes of the regional forum by carrying out advocacy campaigns at key conferences and other events at global, regional, sub-regional and national levels.

Members also agreed that they will take forward and expand initiatives to strengthen the capacity of subnational authorities in selected countries to conduct Voluntary Local Review to better domesticate and bolster local action to accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.

They requested the ECA, which supported the virtual meeting as the Secretariat, and its partners to develop a monitoring and evaluation tool that will enable tracking and comparability of progress of implementation across countries in the region.

The ARFSD is an intergovernmental forum convened by the ECA in collaboration with the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and agencies of the UN system. 

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Coronavirus – Response to Covid-19 in Mali: United Nations provides support amounting to over US$6 million

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The United Nations in Mali through MINUSMA signed on Monday, April 6, with the Malian Ministry of Health and Social Affairs three (3) memoranda of understanding that will enable an integrated and rapid response to the health crisis prompted by the Covid-19 virus.

With a total amount of US$2,732,043 or nearly 1,650,000,000 CFA francs financed by MINUSMA, these memoranda implemented by the Ministry of Health with the technical support of the World Health Organization (WHO), outline three projects aimed at acquiring specialized medical equipment and materials without delay. They will also provide health-care personnel with adequate training in order to operationalize measures to prevent and mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the same vein and in order to save more lives, the United Nations agencies, funds and programmes will provide support in various sectors amounting to US$ 3,449,982, or nearly 2,040,000,000 CFA francs. The scope of this support is expected to be even broader, with in-kind contributions based on the comparative advantages of each entity.

For Bamako region, the most affected by the upsurge of the virus, in addition to mitigation measures, the project will focus on the acquisition of vital equipment to support health structures. It will also support health and security centres, particularly at Bamako airport to better monitor passengers on domestic and international flights. The same arrangements will be made through two other projects for the regions of Mopti, Gao, Ménaka, Taoudéni, Timbuktu and Kidal.

“These projects support the Government of Mali in responding quickly and effectively to the Covid-19 pandemic. Together with the implementing partner, the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, we must ensure that the epidemic is contained with this donation of equipment and training while continuing prevention and awareness,” said Mahamat Saleh Annadif, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations family in Mali.

“The support that has been materialized today through the signing of these three memoranda of understanding is proof of our integrated and multisectoral approach to have an impact on the Malian people and meet their expectations. Our support covers all 10 regions of Mali. It strengthens the measures already taken by the government in terms of prevention, including hand washing, social distancing, diagnosis, treatment and also isolation, not to mention control at entry points,” said Jean-Pierre Baptiste, WHO Representative in Mali.

MINUSMA and the United Nations system together with their partners remain committed to working alongside the Government and people of Mali to strengthen the response against the spread of Covid-19. New initiatives, including through the Trust Fund for Peace and Security in Mali, will be announced shortly. The United Nations system has realigned its efforts in the fight against Covid-19, but continues all its humanitarian, peace and development efforts.

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The Bizcommunity: Not taking lockdown lying down

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In true South African spirit, even in times of adversity, daily stories of generosity and ingenuity abound. Never have we been more proud of how business communities are using our publishing platforms than since the outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Recent comments from UK press (https://bit.ly/3aPhB6T) referring to South Africa’s 'formidable leadership' in the handling of the coronavirus are telling: “South Africa seems to have acted faster, more efficiently, and more ruthlessly than many other countries around the world…a government so often attacked as corrupt and inefficient, and a private sector so often seen as aloof and greedy, are rising to meet what is widely anticipated to be the greatest challenge this young democracy has ever seen.”

Praise aside, income and job losses are only too real, posing economic threats almost as serious as health-related ones. Bizcommunity’s essential daily business-to-business information provides a snapshot overview of 19 industry sectors that helps companies keep a virtual presence alive. From government directives to daily updates on labour law (https://bit.ly/2XkMCvw), business survival plans (https://bit.ly/2yBRVMV), here’s a guide to who’s publishing what by sector right now to keep business virtual, as usual, on Biz:

Marketing & Media (https://bit.ly/2JKc8Cw)
During Covid-19 the M&M and greater communications industry (https://bit.ly/34fr3xX) has shown up with stockpiles of ideas on how to weather economic crises – doing what it does best, reputation management, anticipating client needs, identifying audiences, embracing digital solutions and staying relevant. A survey by Jacaranda FM and East Coast Radio (https://bit.ly/2UMig3D) found radio to be a lifeline amid the global pandemic; we have seen virtual and online solutions in action from IAB Bookmarks migrating their awards event and monthly seminars digitally; a Loeries-led campaign (https://bit.ly/2V4h9eE) inviting our creative capital to meet coronavirus pandemic challenges. The sector is ideally positioned to advise socially-isolated audiences what to watch, listen to or consume, such as Openfield (https://bit.ly/2JFEqOJ) advising on how to keep marketing sports relevant, Multichoice sharing programming highlights (https://bit.ly/39OU6cO) and PR company Hewers (https://bit.ly/34gqFzo) on crisis communication best practices.

Agriculture (https://bit.ly/3dZaOd6)
The essential essential service. Publishing real-time information on food-related trade, production, consumption, stocks and prices are top of mind right now, as are directives around food security (https://bit.ly/2UMwdOX) and supply chains. Nutritional information and guidelines would also be valuable.

Automotive (https://bit.ly/3bWw6WN)
Biz Automotive portal shows any sector can get creative in pandemic efforts. Brands behaving responsibly so far include Jaguar Land Rover SA (https://bit.ly/34flEqD) making 11 vehicles available to the South African Red Cross Society (SARCS) to help the organisation in its coronavirus (Covid-19 ) efforts and Sumitomo Rubber SA’s (https://bit.ly/3e1tpF5) 'Don't Take The Road' message urging the public to adhere to lockdown directives; Transport minister, Fikile Mbalula announced a 30-day grace period (https://bit.ly/3e1tpF5) for vehicle, driver’s licences and permits due to lockdowns.

Construction & Engineering (https://bit.ly/2UQbKJj)
In the short term, conveying information about projects (https://bit.ly/2XdbMwd) put on hold, the shutdown of plants, labour or other lockdown-related impacts are advisable. Around the world, many built environments are being repurposed: hotels and convention centres into hospitals, quarantine units or mobile ICUs; workspaces evolving into 'centres of human interaction’ (https://bit.ly/39OXTXL); transport hubs providing more multi-use and communal facilities. Potentially an exciting space to watch.

CSI & Sustainability (https://bit.ly/2Xkxs9X)
Repository of the most heartwarming humanitarian stories of business in Covid-19 action – from the Atlantis factory of Polo fashion brand converting production to 250,000 commuter masks (https://bit.ly/2xRIHvO) to Santam Group’s R200m toward the government’s Solidarity Fund (https://bit.ly/3dXqAoE); the R50m appeal (https://bit.ly/34h28u3) by non-profit food redistribution organisation FoodForward SA, which has received an over R11m response to its donation appeal so far; an emergency fund (https://bit.ly/34fsgoZ) set up by Charities Aid Foundation Southern Africa (Cafsa); African Development Bank's $3bn Fight Covid-19 Social Bond (https://bit.ly/2Re1ojY); 1st for Women (https://bit.ly/2xPjnGP) that has donated emergency supplies to social workers – the list, which positions our region as proactive and resourceful, goes on…

Education & Training (https://bit.ly/3bZ9gOu)
Webinar content and upskilling platforms are proliferating in response to a collective reset of personal and professional goals. Online learning and digital migration service providers are in demand. An announcement such as SA’s Sasol Foundation (https://bit.ly/34gt2SX) of a free online education resource platform for learners and parents; Think Ahead, in partnership with iStore Meets offering free online virtual coding classes (https://bit.ly/3aO9l7o) to children during South Africa's 21-day lockdown; and the many brands that have been quick to react, provide resources for people bound by extended quarantine periods. It is a privilege to be able to share innovative initiatives as in this space widely as possible.

Energy & Mining (https://bit.ly/39OYgl7)
Agility, in the form of tax incentives from the SA Government Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) programme, compliance measures, the conversion of hostels into quarantine units to reduce infection spread and others has been encouraging (https://bit.ly/3dYSlNF). We also look forward to hearing how oil prices will impact in real terms.

Entrepreneurship (https://bit.ly/2XdxekL)
Micro, small and medium enterprises are among the hardest hit by Covid-19 lockdown directives. In an article on Bizcommunity, last week, Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni announced that government would introduce support measures for SMMEs (https://bit.ly/2XfN2ng) during this extremely difficult time in the form of a Debt Relief Fund; many major banks are also starting to extend lifelines to SMME clientele. The simultaneous health and economic crises experienced around the world are necessitating entrepreneurs to dream up even more entrepreneurial (https://bit.ly/3bUKi2v) models. 

Finance (https://bit.ly/2JKtorq)
In the true South African spirit of Ubuntu – the Xhosa term that literally means humanity – the Solidarity Fund (https://bit.ly/2wW0NwB), launched by SA President Cyril Ramaphosa, has seen swift uptake from individual and corporate benefactors, with Harry Oppenheimer, Johann Rupert and Patrice Motsepe donating R1bn each and prominent businesses and organisations such as Shoprite (https://bit.ly/34hcl9C), Aquelle (https://bit.ly/3bXbptW), Santam (https://bit.ly/2xVW8uM) coming on board with donations to supplement the R150m state pledge, which will be used to contain the impact and spread of Covid-19 among the country’s most vulnerable. In addition, the crisis is seeing SA’s major banks (https://bit.ly/2UNt41y) offering debt repayment holidays, extended loan periods or short-term credit extensions with constant updates evolving in this short space of time. 

Healthcare (https://bit.ly/3aPyDSm)
Bizcommunity’s dedicated Covid-19 Special Section (https://bit.ly/34qgs3D), Useful links (https://bit.ly/3aJ7vVc), Healthcare (https://bit.ly/3aO9J5Q) and company news portals feature daily updates and breaking news, such as this from Cipla (https://bit.ly/2Vaovgs) partnering with Cricket SA for the Covid-19 awareness #NoHands challenge; The Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (CRPM), the Product Development Technology Station (PDTS), the Centre on Quality of Health and Living (CQHL) and CUT Innovation Services (CUTIS) collaborating with government to print 3D masks (https://bit.ly/3e19aaE) for non-invasive ventilation and other Covid-19 related challenges.

HR & Management (https://bit.ly/39PZ2hE)
Communication, communication, communication! HR companies are providing advice on matters such as the impact of coronavirus on conditions of employment, sick leave entitlement and labour relations. Shifts necessitated by recent work from home directives are likely to impact long after lockdown. Digital and management consultants (https://bit.ly/2wXNdZF) come into their own as virtual meetings, project management, web conferencing, scheduling and workflow become the new norm. In a move designed to assist South African companies track indicators of Covid-19 in the workplace, data monitoring company The Social Collective has created a free platform (https://bit.ly/2XemFOc) that allows decision-makers to monitor key metrics daily. We look forward to more directives from this key job sector. 

IT & Telecommunications (https://bit.ly/39NyWvC)
With global economies migrating to digital platforms virtually overnight, unlimited opportunities exist in the ICT sector. Connectivity, digital marketing, e-commerce, development, data analysis, cyber security (https://bit.ly/2UOsBfn) and more offer opportunities, potentially opening up new markets and modus operandi.

Legal (https://bit.ly/34fw1L7)
The Biz Legal portal (https://bit.ly/39I3tLu ) has showcased info around Covid contracts, cancellation and confusion. So far, there’s a handy podcast series by Fluxman (https://bit.ly/3bWAF3n); how courts work (https://bit.ly/2Rd4Jj9) during lockdown; retail tenant and labour agreements (https://bit.ly/34fo2xB) and more as they happen.

Lifestyle (https://bit.ly/2UPUYKh)
Whether restaurants, bars, clubs, coffee shops, music, arts and entertainment fall under formal or informal sectors is debatable, but we do know that the livelihoods of these often young, dynamic, diverse SMME job creators are the least likely to have financial safety nets and be one of the hardest hit by travel bans and stay at home orders.   

Last week, Biz Lifestyle editor Ruth Cooper showcased such economy-boosting content such as EatOut’s crowdfunding (https://bit.ly/2UNvcpQ) initiative for restaurants and staff; 'quarantine cuisine' (https://bit.ly/3aZ9uFf) – which sees six SA chefs, keeping spirits up during #SALockdown with super nutritious content; Spur Corporation (https://bit.ly/2xVXZ2I) suspending franchise fees; a #Playitforward fundraiser from SA superstar Ard Matthews (https://bit.ly/2Rd5EjB), donating 75% of his live virtual rooftop performance to beneficiaries nominated by the public; SA Department of Sport, Arts and Culture finalising R150m Covid-19 relief fund for artists and athletes (https://bit.ly/2yvSec3); SA celebs (https://bit.ly/2UNv5La) giving up #AtHomeWithMe, #HappyAtHome, #FitAtHome content on TikTok to inspire and provide entertainment for uncertain and challenging times. Globally, we have heard reports from Berlin of DJs livestream sets and this trend is likely to spread. 

Logistics & Transport (https://bit.ly/3dZjYGp)
Supply chain professionals are essential service providers who will ensure medical supplies, food and goods remain operational. Read about amendments to the new 21-day National State of Disaster Covid-19 cargo ships (https://bit.ly/2Xd5cpu), airfreight and port regulations implemented by SA Government and other innovations in the sector.

Manufacturing (https://bit.ly/34dN0gW)
Last month, Albert Louw, the marketing manager at Lasher Tools (https://bit.ly/2yvSV59), announced on Bizcommunity that the company had gained new business as a consequence of the outbreak of coronavirus in China and urged local manufacturers and government to stand together to expand the crucial manufacturing job creation sector. We have been heartened by the stories above of the Polo factory repurposed to produce commuter masks, CRPM 3-D printed masks and hope that the downturn in tourism revenue will see a long-overdue injection of investment into the local manufacturing economy and pharmaceuticals.

Property (https://bit.ly/3bWIaHI)
As per the news from the Construction sector, the Property industry needs to innovate. Flyt Property Investment (https://bit.ly/39Mb6Rb) recently published that the Eaton Square development in Cape Town has made suitably sanitised units available to those requiring Covid-19 quarantine stays. Work-fromhome (https://bit.ly/2JHH9ah) habits are also likely to have shifted irrevocably post-lockdowns, and this may impact on future demand for home office space, location desirability or repurposing of existing work hubs to more multi-use offerings. 

Retail (https://bit.ly/39Tn0c9)
Stocks, staff, safety and solidarity (https://bit.ly/2wm1VJy) – all top of mind for retailers. Keeping communication channels open remains a priority. A surge in ‘contactless commerce’ is likely and would love to hear more from services in this sector. Retail brands raising the bar include Pernod Ricard South Africa (https://bit.ly/2ULIxPj ) #KeepTheSpirit initiative committing R2m to support nearly 1,000 bartenders and waitrons during the lockdown. Analysis from research partners Nielsen Global (https://bit.ly/2wiAJLL) Intelligence and Kantar (https://bit.ly/3bT4YYL) on Biz, last week, unpacked some early insights on new consumer patterns and behaviour. Abovementioned actions by brands such as Shoprite (https://bit.ly/34cHw6e), Aquelle (https://bit.ly/2xPAp7A), Santam (https://bit.ly/2RfuVJY), Polo, Spur and others can only benefit all in the longer term.

Tourism (https://bit.ly/2XbWl7y)
The global travel lockdown sees this sector hardest hit, especially in South Africa where estimated job creation was projected to somewhere around 9%. Despite this, many are not taking lockdown lying down, keeping brand awareness alive, publishing travel insurance-related and other information; SA’s Department of Tourism (https://bit.ly/3dZvfGD) pledged R200m for tourism and hospitality sector SMMEs under particular stress due to the new travel restrictions. Travel journalist Jared Ruttenburg, shares #SAwinelockdown and other interim initiatives; Tintswalo Safari Lodge (https://bit.ly/2UKTHUw) is offering free virtual game drives, including wildlife sightings and game rangers on patrol. From Egyptian relics to Everest expeditions, technology such as AI and VR captures may soon see new carbon-free travel. But please don’t leave home yet.

Africa (https://bit.ly/2wYz9z7)
Never has intra-African connectivity been more important. As real borders close, virtual opportunities open up (https://bit.ly/3aO8nI7). Sectors such as finance, healthcare, energy, food security and NPOs have vital roles to play in opening up both channels of communication and revenue. Let’s connect!

Virtual community, real business
The Bizcommunity nine-dot logo represents connection. As communities physically distance but virtually come together, our online business platforms continue to provide a valuable snapshot of the energy and enterprise of business communities of our continent and region, as we proudly unite to meet these most challenging of times from one of the most economically challenged positions in the world

The Biz team is working remotely, as usual, ready to promote your company news, virtual events, courses, seminars and crowd-sourced activations on the indispensable business-to-business website from South Africa to the world.

Thank you for staying home, staying healthy and staying connected on Biz.

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APO

Africa – COVID-19 Surveillance Update: 6 April 2020 5:00 p.m

Published

on

Total number positive cases in #Africa 9,457

51 countries

442 deaths

848 recovery cases by Region

African Union Member States (51) reporting COVID-19 cases (9,457), deaths (442), and recoveries (848) by region: 

Central (917 cases; 33 deaths; 30 recoveries):  Burundi (3; 0; 0), Cameroon (650; 9; 17), Central African Republic (9; 0; 3), Chad (9; 0; 1), Congo (45; 5; 2), DRC (161; 18; 5), Equatorial Guinea (16; 0; 1), Gabon (24; 1; 1)

Eastern (841; 18; 38): Djibouti (90; 0; 9), Eritrea (29; 0; 0), Ethiopia (44; 2; 4), Kenya (158; 6; 4), Madagascar (82; 0; 2), Mauritius (227; 7; 7), Rwanda (104; 0; 4), Seychelles (11; 0; 0), Somalia (7; 0; 1), South Sudan (1; 0; 0), Sudan (12; 2; 3), Tanzania (24; 1; 3), Uganda (52; 0; 0)

Northern (4,204; 321; 420): Algeria (1,320; 130; 90), Egypt (1,173; 78; 247), Libya (18; 1; 0), Mauritania (6; 1; 2), Morocco (1,113; 71; 76), Tunisia (574; 18; 5)

Southern (1,757; 16; 55): Angola (8; 2; 0), Botswana (6; 1; 0), Eswatini (9; 0; 1), Malawi (5; 0; 0), Mozambique (10; 0; 1), Namibia (16; 0; 3), South Africa (1,655; 11; 45), Zambia (39; 1; 5), Zimbabwe (9; 1; 0)

Western (1,741; 54; 306): Benin (22; 1; 5), Burkina Faso (345; 17; 90), Cape Verde (6; 1; 0), Côte d'Ivoire (261; 3; 37), Gambia (4; 1; 2), Ghana (214; 5; 3), Guinea (111; 0; 5), Guinea-Bissau (18; 0; 0), Liberia (13; 3; 3), Mali (47; 3; 1), Niger (184; 10; 13), Nigeria (232; 5; 33), Senegal (226; 2; 92), Sierra Leone (6; 0; 0), Togo (52 3; 22)

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APO

Africa – COVID-19 Surveillance Update: 6 April 2020 5:00 p.m

Published

on

Total number positive cases in #Africa 9,457

51 countries

442 deaths

848 recovery cases by Region

African Union Member States (51) reporting COVID-19 cases (9,457), deaths (442), and recoveries (848) by region: 

Central (917 cases; 33 deaths; 30 recoveries):  Burundi (3; 0; 0), Cameroon (650; 9; 17), Central African Republic (9; 0; 3), Chad (9; 0; 1), Congo (45; 5; 2), DRC (161; 18; 5), Equatorial Guinea (16; 0; 1), Gabon (24; 1; 1)

Eastern (841; 18; 38): Djibouti (90; 0; 9), Eritrea (29; 0; 0), Ethiopia (44; 2; 4), Kenya (158; 6; 4), Madagascar (82; 0; 2), Mauritius (227; 7; 7), Rwanda (104; 0; 4), Seychelles (11; 0; 0), Somalia (7; 0; 1), South Sudan (1; 0; 0), Sudan (12; 2; 3), Tanzania (24; 1; 3), Uganda (52; 0; 0)

Northern (4,204; 321; 420): Algeria (1,320; 130; 90), Egypt (1,173; 78; 247), Libya (18; 1; 0), Mauritania (6; 1; 2), Morocco (1,113; 71; 76), Tunisia (574; 18; 5)

Southern (1,757; 16; 55): Angola (8; 2; 0), Botswana (6; 1; 0), Eswatini (9; 0; 1), Malawi (5; 0; 0), Mozambique (10; 0; 1), Namibia (16; 0; 3), South Africa (1,655; 11; 45), Zambia (39; 1; 5), Zimbabwe (9; 1; 0)

Western (1,741; 54; 306): Benin (22; 1; 5), Burkina Faso (345; 17; 90), Cape Verde (6; 1; 0), Côte d'Ivoire (261; 3; 37), Gambia (4; 1; 2), Ghana (214; 5; 3), Guinea (111; 0; 5), Guinea-Bissau (18; 0; 0), Liberia (13; 3; 3), Mali (47; 3; 1), Niger (184; 10; 13), Nigeria (232; 5; 33), Senegal (226; 2; 92), Sierra Leone (6; 0; 0), Togo (52 3; 22)

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