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UN official calls for heavy investment to address youth unemployment in Africa

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(Xinhua/NAN) There is a need for heavy investment in key sectors to address youth unemployment in Africa, a UN official said on Wednesday.

Countries across the continent are not investing enough in youth development and their skills, said Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), at the opening of YouthConnekt Africa Summit in Kigali, Rwanda.

“More effort needs to be done to invest in our young people,’’ said Eziakonwa.

African countries can accelerate investment in young people towards the transformation of the continent with more partnerships, she said.

The annual gathering connecting youth from across Africa and beyond this year focuses on connecting skills development to meet emerging market opportunities to address the growing youth employment demand in Africa.

At the opening ceremony, Rwandan President Paul Kagame urged the youth to seize opportunities.

Hosted by the Rwandan Government in partnership with the UNDP, the three-day summit attracts about 10,000 participants, including policymakers, business leaders and young innovators from nearly 100 countries in Africa and other continents.

Over 20 youth ministers attend the summit.

The summit provides a platform for all partners involved in youth development to synergize policies, programmes and partnerships that will connect youth for continental transformation.

Of Africa’s nearly 420 million youth, aged 15-35, one-third are unemployed and discouraged, another one-third are vulnerably employed and only one in six is in paid employment, said an African Development Bank report released in 2016.

The youth in Africa face roughly double the unemployment rate of adults, with significant variation by country, said the report. (Xinhua/NAN)

AIB

Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde

Babatunde Abdulfatah: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

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Africa Day: Putin congratulates Africa, hails Russia-African close relationship

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Russian President Vladmir Putin has congratulated African Countries and leaders on the occasion of the Africa Day celebration, hailing the close relationship between the Continent and Russia.

In a message signed by Putin and obtained from the Russian Embassy in Abuja on Monday, Putin said that the day symbolizes the aspiration of the countries of Africa to freedom, peace and prosperity.

He added that the celebration was significant to both Russia and Africa as it reaffirms the relationship of the duo which dates back to the colonial era.

“This holiday assumes special significance in the run-up to the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and people celebrated this year.

“Decades ago, when many African Peoples were just embarking on the path of sovereign development, our country provided them with active political support, extensive assistance in the social and economic sphere, and training of civilian and military personnel.

“Today, African Countries are Russia’s significant and promising partners, who enjoy well-deserved authority on the global arena and play an active role in addressing topical international issues,” he said.

Putin noted that the Russia-Africa Summit which held in 2019 in Sochi, turned out to be an exclusively important milestone in the development of Russian-African relations.

According to him, the dialogue between our Countries has been brought to a qualitatively new level.

“The Russia-Africa Partnership Forum established during the Summit will undoubtedly contribute to building up mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields and coordinating efforts to counter the threats and challenges of our time.

”Including the COVID-19 pandemic, which has become a serious test for our Countries and Peoples.

“I whole-heartedly wish you good health, prosperity and every success in your state activities, and peace and prosperity to all your compatriots,” Putin said.

Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

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Africa javelin champ Yego looks to clinch gold in final Olympics

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Africa javelin champion Julius Yego hopes to use the Diamond League campaign to improve his throws ahead of the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.

Yego, 31, won silver with one throw at the last Olympics in Rio in 2016, before a groin and ankle injury slowed his progress.

However, after three years of rehabilitation, false starts and bruised egos, Yego is ready to pick up the gauntlet and stake his claim to the javelin gold at the delayed Tokyo Games next year.

Yego is eyeing the Diamond League to showcase his blossoming talent and reclaim his status on the world stage.

“I started my training early enough knowing that for the first time, I had no niggling injuries. I can say, I was doing very well in training and looked forward to start of the season,” Yego said in Nairobi on Monday.

His target will be to improve his personal best time. At the continental level in Rabat, Morocco last year, Yego threw a season’s best 87.73 meters to clinch the Africa title, just five meters off his personal best, which he set in Beijing in 2015 when he hurled the javelin 92.72m to win the world title.

“I feel this was to be my year. I had it all planned, but I have to go back and plan hoping to emerge stronger when the lockdown is lifted. It is important to remain fit and active so as to take little time to return to competition,” he added.

World Athletics has confirmed that the Diamond League will start in August.

“In Rio, I got silver because of injury. I was sure to win gold in 2020, but here we are, the Games are postponed. I still hope that I will achieve my dream of getting an Olympic gold next year because I believe it will be my last appearance at the Games,” said Yego.

The lockdown and closure of training camps in Kenya has not stopped Yego from training.

“I maintain a strict routine to keep fit through running and other small exercises,” added Yego. “I hope to regain my form, which I had in 2015. Time will tell.”

(XINHUA)

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Africa’s confirmed COVID-19 cases surpass 110,000: Africa CDC

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The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the African continent surpassed 111,348 as the death toll from the ongoing pandemic surged to 3,348 as of Monday afternoon, the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.

The Africa CDC, in its latest continental situation update report issued on Monday, showed that some 44,630 people who have been infected with the COVID-19 have recovered across the continent as of Monday afternoon.

Figures from the Africa CDC also showed that amid the rapid spread of the virus across the continent, the highly COVID-19 affected African countries include South Africa with 22,583 confirmed cases, Egypt with 17,265 confirmed cases, Algeria with 8,306 confirmed cases, and Nigeria with 7,839 confirmed cases.

The Africa CDC said that the Northern African region is the most affected area across the continent both in terms of positive COVID-19 cases, as well as the number of deaths.

The continental disease control and prevention agency added that the COVID-19 pandemic had spread across all 54 African countries.

(XINHUA)

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AU commission chief urges Africans to drive toward self-sufficiency

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Marking Africa Day, the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, on Monday underlined the need for Africans to chart their own course that seeks own solutions for problems of varied natures.

“In a world in which multilateralism is sorely tested, Africa must stop expecting solutions from others,” said the chairperson.

Reiterating that the African continent is endowed with enormous resources, the chairperson called for inward-looking and self-reliance approach, which will be a catalyst for the renaissance of African nations.

Mahamat said Africa mobilized itself from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, recalling that a continental response strategy was developed and implemented promptly.

“We should however redouble efforts, determination and perseverance in strictly implementing the pillars of the strategy. We should go beyond the present situation, by preparing for postpandemic conditions in the world.”

Africa Day is the annual commemoration of the founding of the Organization of African Unity, now AU, on May 25, 1963.

(XINHUA)

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Africa Day commemorated to build better Africa: PAP

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Pan-African Parliament (PAP) situated in South Africa believed that Africa Day should be used to reflect on how to build a better Africa and a better world.

Africa Day is the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organization of African Unity, now African Union (AU), on May 25, 1963.

The Acting PAP President Bouras Djamel told Xinhua that Africa Day is a reminder of the commitment made by AU members to address challenges facing the continent, to build inclusive and sustainable development.

“Commemoration of Africa Day is an opportunity for Africans to reflect on the journey, renew strength and motivation to realize the liberation and absolute freedom from foreign domination,” Djamel said.

PAP called for a deeper reflection on the common challenges that the continent faces in a global environment and to come up with solutions for the continent in the areas including development, health, digitalization, sustainability, jobs for young people.

Djamel stated that African made strides in empowering women, improving gender equality and boosting economies.

On this day, PAP takes this opportunity to commend all members for their courage and cooperation in the bid to save the lives of the African people from the rage of COVID-19, he said.

He called on members to reinforce political commitment and accountability to front-load investments to strengthen national health systems and provide long-term domestic resources needed to achieve health goals, grounded in principles of inclusivity, transparency and accountability.

(XINHUA)

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Economist warns S. Africa’s economy may take years to recover

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With most economic sectors set to reopen next week, an economist on Monday said South Africa’s economy might take a number of years to recover from COVID-19 lockdown devastation.

“The South African economy will likely remain in a recession for a prolonged time. The lost production in the past two months will be lost for many years,” chief economist with Efficient Group Dawie Roodt told Xinhua on Monday.

He was reacting to the president’s Sunday announcement that the majority of the economy would be opened on June 1 as lockdown measures were eased.

Roodt believed hardship would be on the rise.

“The economy was in a technical recession before, so this has worsened everything…hardship and poverty for a number of citizens would increase due to this,” he said.

The Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago last week said macroeconomic policies to deal with the lockdown problems should be implemented. Finance Minister Tito Mboweni will deliver a new budget that would respond to COVID -19 challenges in June.

Labor federation Cosatu said the budget to be tabled must be “decisive and bold” to deal with the “economic depression”. It said it must be aimed at kick-starting the economy and retaining jobs.

(XINHUA)

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S. Africa to start human trial for COVID-19 rapid breath test in June

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South African researchers, in cooperation with their U.S. counterparts, will start a ground-breaking human trial for COVID-19 rapid breath test in June.

The South Africa-based Ezintsha research group at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and U.S.-based Canary Health Technologies will collaborate on the trial, the researchers said in a statement emailed to Xinhua.

The trial will determine whether a highly accurate, non-invasive, disposable breath test that could detect virus before symptom onset could be on global market before the end of 2020.

The rapid breath test, if successful, can deliver results on site in less than five minutes, thus quickly detecting persons at risk to reduce transmission.

Using exhaled Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) found in human breath as biomarkers of the virus, this diagnostic test (COVID-19 RT BAP) could potentially identify those who are acutely infected with COVID-19 as well as those who have not yet developed clinical symptoms, according to the statement.

The initial phase of the trial will see the collection of breath samples from 150 people – both COVID-19 positive patients and those who do not have the virus. They will be asked to breathe for three minutes into the device. The device will then translate their breath biomarkers into electronic signals which will be transmitted to a centralized “lab in the cloud” for analysis.

The human trial is due to start in South Africa by the end of June, with preliminary results expected by the end of July. Similar trials are also planned in the UK and the U.S.

“We are very excited to partner with Canary on this game-changing technology. The holy grail is a real time, point of care device which can capture Volatile Organic Compounds or VOC as biomarkers,” said Prof. Francois Venter, an infectious diseases expert and Head of Ezintsha.

This could revolutionize testing for COVID-19, to then build a base to detect many other diseases, he said, adding that a non-invasive and accurate test that healthcare workers can carry in their pockets is a win-win for all.

Raj Reddy, CEO of Canary Health Technologies, said his institution is thrilled to collaborate with Ezintsha which is a world-class research unit focused on health innovations.

“We are confident that our highly responsive sensors and proprietary software can detect COVID-19 in less than five minutes without the need of a lab,” he said.

This handheld device with disposable sensors is ideal for use in doctors’ offices, nursing homes, airports and should be available before the end of the year, according to Reddy.

“We aim to set the gold standard in COVID-19 detection,” he said.

If this initial phase of the human trial is successful, Canary Health Technologies will seek to move quickly into a pivotal trial with a larger sample size for expedited regulatory approval with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other markets, for global use, the statement said.

(XINHUA)

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Elgar eyes South Africa test captaincy

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Dean Elgar would be willing to become South Africa’s next test captain as speculation about who will replace Faf du Plessis gathers momentum.

Elgar, who turns 33 next month, put his hand up in an interview with Cricket South Africa (CSA), released on Monday, and joins Aiden Markram on the list of players who have expressed interest in the job.

Quinton de Kock was expected to take over from Du Plessis, having succeeded him as captain of South Africa’s limited-overs teams, but CSA said it did not want to overburden the wicketkeeper-batsman and ruled him out of the test captaincy.

With CSA still trying to find a solution to playing their scheduled three-test series against the West Indies in July, the appointment of a captain has become more pressing.

“It’s definitely not an easy journey being a test captain but I think leadership is something that comes extremely naturally to me,” Elgar said.

“I’ve captained teams in the past, right up from school level to provincial level and at franchise level.

“I enjoyed it extremely and if I was asked to take on the captaincy, it’s definitely something I would think long and hard about because it would mean a lot to me.”

Du Plessis quit as captain after South Africa lost their home series to England at the start of the year.

Elgar twice deputised for Du Plessis as captain, losing the 2017 Lords test to England by 211 runs and overseeing a 107-run victory over Pakistan in early 2019.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/ (NAN)

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AU plans to raise 1 mln USD for COVID-19 response fund on Africa Day

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The African Union (AU) said it is to raise one million U.S. dollars on Monday for its COVID-19 response fund, as the 55-member pan-African bloc marks the Africa Day.

Established by the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat in March, the AU COVID-19 Response Fund aims to strengthen the continental response to COVID-19 and mitigate its socio-economic and humanitarian impact on African populations.

“This Africa Day, May 25, all Africans, people of African descent and friends of Africa are encouraged to give a little to the fund,” said the AU statement, reiterating that a target of one million dollars has been set for the day.

Stating that contributions can be made in any currency and this will be automatically converted into U.S. dollars, which is the original currency of the Fund account, the Union has also announced a website, where donation can be made.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases across Africa rose to 107,412 as of Sunday morning, the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said on Sunday.

The African countries are mobilizing resources and taking measures to fight against COVID-19.

Some countries on the continent have imposed night curfew and suspended international flights so as to curb the spread of the virus. Wearing face masks is mandatory at public places in many countries.

They also have the support from international organizations, and countries including China.

(XINHUA)

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Zimbabwe president castigates West for continued interference in affairs of African states

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Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa has castigated the West for meddling in the internal affairs of African countries and called on Africans to deepen the culture of democracy and good governance as taught by the continent’s founding fathers.

In his address to the nation on the eve of the 57th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity, now the African Union, Mnangagwa said former colonial powers had no authority to lecture Africa on democracy as the continent had fought to achieve the democracy being enjoyed to this day.

Africans should not be shy to express the rich cultural heritage, languages and identities, he added.

He said Zimbabwe continued to suffer from unwarranted interference and endure illegal sanctions imposed as punishment for reclaiming land.

“However, we are buoyed by the fact that we have re-united with our land, which is now irreversibly reposed into our hands, we its true owners,” he said.

“As we commemorate and celebrate the unity of our continent, we in Zimbabwe deeply thank our SADC region and the whole continent of Africa for standing with us. Africa has rejected and denounced the sanctions against Zimbabwe and the Sudan, urging those responsible for these illegal, heinous measures to immediately lift them without conditionalities.

“They are illegal, unjust, spiteful and undeserved. Above all, they go against the grain and spirit of civilized international relations as espoused in the United Nations Charter. We reiterate that sanctions have no place in modern international relations.”

He said Zimbabwe also continued to pursue robust cooperation with its neighbours and the continent as a whole; subscribing to a fully integrated continent of Africa.

“We must now urgently consolidate the implementation of cross-border projects, to improve our road networks, water, energy and ICT infrastructure, among others. This will inevitably accelerate multi-faceted sustainable development in the region and on the continent,” he said.

(XINHUA)

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Zimbabwe leader challenges Africa to emulate founding fathers’ vision as continent celebrates Africa Day

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Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday challenged Africa to pursue the vision of the founding fathers and promote economic integration and sustainable development for the continent.

In his address to the nation marking the 57th anniversary of the founding of the Organization for African Unity, now the African Union, on May 25, 1963, Mnangagwa commended Africans for defending the continent’s independence, state media reported.

“As we celebrate Africa Day, we are jubilant that the vision of our founding fathers has been by and large realized, kept and is jealously defended.

“Above all, that vision continues to be elaborated upon, notably through Agenda 2063 which envisions an economically integrated continent of Africa which will be a global powerhouse by 2063.”

He stressed on Africa’s desire to achieve sustainable development, through concrete manifestations of the pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity.

With the African Continental Free Trade Area that seeks to create a prosperous future now in force, integration and cooperation at all levels should be scaled up, Mnangagwa said.

Cooperation is imperative in the continent’s quest to achieve food security and to mitigate the impact of climate change and threats posed by disease outbreaks, he said.

“Conscious of Agenda 2063, we must continue to explore and exploit our vast natural resources. The value addition and beneficiation of our various resource endowments must be harnessed to modernize and industrialize Africa’s economies.

“In this ‘Decade of Action,’ let us give impetus to innovation. We must drive all facets of socio-economic development, leveraging on science, technologies as well as our rich heritage, history and cultures,” he said.

The promotion of human development and the economic empowerment of youth and women must result in an Africa that produces goods and services for itself through its own innovations and initiatives, Mnangagwa said.

“The realization of sustainable development and the great vision of an improved standard of living for our people must remain a top priority,” he said.

(XINHUA)

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Solutions to Africa’s problems reside within Africa itself: Ramaphosa

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as African Union (AU) chairperson, on Monday stressed the role of African countries in resolving African problems, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement marking the Africa Day, Ramaphosa said this event reminds Africans once again that “the solutions to Africa’s problems, be they overcoming disease or eradicating poverty and underdevelopment, reside within Africa itself.”

“Although the coronavirus pandemic is not an African problem alone, we have shown ourselves capable of agility and ingenuity,” Ramaphosa said.

This year’s Africa Day, the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organization of African Unity, now known as the AU, was overshadowed by the wide spread of COVID-19 across the African continent.

It has been a little over three months since the first case of coronavirus on the continent was confirmed.

“This pandemic has been a stark reminder that regardless of whether we are born into wealth or indigence, we are all mortal, and can succumb to disease,” Ramaphosa said.

As countries around the world battle to turn the tide against the pandemic, Africa has taken firm control of its destiny, by developing a clear strategy and raising financial resources from its member states, he said.

The African response to the coronavirus pandemic has received widespread praise. Despite the multitude of resource challenges they face, African countries have come together in remarkable ways, united by a common purpose, Ramaphosa said.

The countries of the Global South are more vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 because of low levels of development, insufficient resources and weak health systems, he said.

Although many African countries are ranking low on human development indices thus less capable to manage the fallout of a global health emergency of this kind on their own, “yet at the same time, some of the very health challenges African countries have wrestled with for decades have given us a clear understanding of what needs to be done, and how to do it,” said Ramaphosa.

African countries have been able to use their experience in managing outbreaks of malaria, cholera, HIV, tuberculosis and hemorrhagic viruses like Ebola and Lassa.

“Our understanding of communicable diseases and how to manage them has put us in good stead when it comes to coronavirus,” Ramaphosa said.

African governments have been swift and proactive in implementing measures to flatten the coronavirus curve, he said.

By early May, 43 African countries had full border closures, 53 had closed institutions of learning, 54 had limited public gatherings, 26 had instituted the compulsory use of face masks, 32 had instituted night-time curfews and 18 had imposed nation-wide lockdowns.

The AU has developed a comprehensive Joint Continental Strategy to guide cooperation among member states and set up a COVID-19 Response Fund.

A number of countries, including South Africa, have rolled out massive food relief and social assistance measures to support the vulnerable during this time.

African countries have scaled up their respective capacities for screening, testing and isolating. In April, the AU and the African Centers for Disease Control launched the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing to strengthen testing capacity in vulnerable countries, with the aim of testing 10 million people over the next six months.

Through this partnership, warehousing and distribution hubs are being set up across the continent to distribute medical supplies with the aim of pooling the procurement of diagnostics and other medical commodities.

Although there have been severe shortcomings and constraints, such as the shortage of personal protective equipment, testing kits and ventilators, there have also been stories of excellence and intercontinental collaboration, Ramaphosa said.

“Although it is clear we will continue to rely on the support of the international community and international financial institutions to bolster the existing continental effort and build economic resilience, African countries are holding their own,” Ramaphosa said.

The work being done to defeat the coronavirus is evidence of a continent determined to leverage its strengths and capabilities to resolve its own challenges, he said.

(XINHUA)

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South Africa to ease lockdown despite surge in COVID-19 cases

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South Africa will ease the COVID-19 lockdown from level four to level three, beginning from June 1, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Sunday amid a surge in confirmed cases.

“Moving to alert level three marks a significant shift in our approach to the pandemic,” Ramaphosa said in a televised address to the nation.

Level three will allow the opening of the economy and the removal of a number of restrictions on the movement of people, while significantly expanding and intensifying the public health interventions, said Ramaphosa.

With up to 8 million people returning to work, the implementation of alert level three will involve the return to operation for most sectors of the economy, subject to observance of strict health protocols and social distancing rules, he said.

The opening of the economy and other activities means that more public servants will be called back to work, accompanied by the phased re-opening of schools, Ramaphosa said.

All gatherings will remain prohibited, except for funerals with no more than 50 people or meetings in the workplace for work purposes.

The national borders will remain closed except for the transport of goods and repatriation of nationals.

Ramaphosa said the decision was based on wide consultations with various stakeholders across the country and guided by advice from the World Health Organization and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The stakeholders “are all united in their insistence that our central goal must be to save lives and protect livelihoods,” Ramaphosa said.

South Africa enforced a level-five lockdown on March 27 and eased it to level four on May 1, allowing certain businesses to reopen and limited movement of people.

“While the nationwide lockdown has been effective, it cannot be sustained indefinitely,” he said.

Even as the country moves to alert level three, it is important that South Africans should be aware that there are a few parts of the country where the disease is concentrated and infections continue to rise, the president said.

He emphasized that the easing of some restrictions does not mean that the threat posed by the coronavirus has passed or that the fight against the disease is over.

In fact, the risk of a massive increase in infections is now greater than it has been since the start of the outbreak in the country, warned the president.

As of Sunday, South Africa has recorded 22,583 confirmed COVID-19 cases, up by 1,240 from Saturday, the highest daily surge since March 5 when the country reported its first case.

The national death toll stood at 429, with 22 reported in the past 24 hours.

(XINHUA)

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South Africa wants COVID-19 vaccine to be shared by all: president

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Any COVID-19 vaccine, if developed in the world, should be made freely and equitably available to citizens of all countries, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday.

There is a massive global effort to develop a vaccine, of which South Africa is part, Ramaphosa said in a televised address to the nation.

The South African government is supporting and funding several research projects, including a plan to locally manufacture coronavirus vaccines as soon as candidates are available, said Ramaphosa.

South Africa will use the skills, expertise, infrastructure and organizations within the vaccine industry to produce and distribute the vaccines, he said.

As of Sunday, the country recorded a total of 22,583 confirmed COVID-19 cases, up 1,240 from Saturday, the highest daily surge since March 5 when the country reported its first case.

The country’s death toll stood at 429, with 22 reported in the past 24 hours.

As scientists had predicted, COVID-19 infections in South Africa have now started to rise sharply, with one third of the cumulative confirmed cases recorded in the last week alone, said Ramaphosa.

“And we should expect that these numbers will rise even further and even faster,” he said.

Various scientific models have showed that the coronavirus pandemic in South Africa is going to get much worse and the duration, scale and impact of the pandemic depends on human actions as a society and as individuals, Ramaphosa said.

“By following basic defensive practices, we can reduce both the number of infections and the number of deaths,” he said.

(XINHUA)

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Live COVID-19 updates: Africa’s total cases exceed 107,000, death toll surpasses 3,200

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The following are the updates on the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

– – – –

JOHANNESBURG — A total of 53 positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at Mponeng mine in Johannesburg, South Africa’s Gauteng Department of Health said on Sunday.

The department said all the positive workers have been isolated and they have sent s team to trace the close contacts.

– – – –

NAIROBI — Kenya’s Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 22 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the national tally to 1,214.

The official said that one patient succumbed to the disease while receiving treatment, bringing the total number of deaths to 51.

– – – –

DOHA — Qatar’s health ministry on Sunday announced 1,501 new infections of COVID-19, increasing the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 43,714.

“A total of 657 people recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 9,170, while two died, raising the fatalities to 23,” according to a ministry’s statement quoted by the official Qatar News Agency.

– – – –

ADDIS ABABA — The number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases across Africa rose from 103,933 on Saturday morning to 107,412 as of Sunday morning, the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday.

The continental disease control and prevention agency, which noted that the virus has so far spread into 54 African countries, also disclosed that some 42,626 people who have been infected with the COVID-19 have recovered across the continent as of Sunday morning.

– – – –

BEIJING — China, Japan and the Republic of Korea have set an example for the world in jointly fighting the pandemic, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Sunday.

(XINHUA)

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More than 50 cases of COVID-19 confirmed at S. Africa’s gold mine

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A total of 53 positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at Mponeng mine in Johannesburg, South Africa’s Gauteng Department of Health said on Sunday.

The department said all the positive workers have been isolated and they have sent s team to trace the close contacts.

“The Gauteng department of health can confirm that 53 employees at AngloGold Ashanti Mponeng mine have tested positive to COVID-19. The management of the mine has indicated that the underground production will remain closed until further notice,” said Gauteng Department of Health in a statement.

It said that it was informed by the mine management that 378 underground miners were tested and 274 results were out while 104 are still being processed.

Limited mining activities restarted in the country about a month ago.

In terms of lockdown regulations, employers are required to provide a workplace risk assessment plan that should include the provision of screening and testing facilities, sanitary and social distancing measures and measures to protect vulnerable employees.

(XINHUA)

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Africa’s COVID-19 death toll surpasses 3,200 as total cases exceed 107,000

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The number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases across Africa rose from 103,933 on Saturday morning to 107,412 as of Sunday morning, the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said on Sunday.

The continental disease control and prevention agency, which noted that the virus has so far spread into 54 African countries, also disclosed that some 42,626 people who have been infected with the COVID-19 have recovered across the continent as of Sunday morning.

The death toll due to the COVID-19 pandemic across the African continent also surged from 3,183 on Saturday morning to 3,246 as of Sunday morning, according to the Africa CDC.

The Africa CDC added that the Northern African region is the most affected area across the continent both in terms of positive COVID-19 cases, as well as the number of deaths.

(XINHUA)

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Roundup: UNECA plans to deepen partnership with China on Africa’s development

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The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on Saturday expressed its keen interest to deepen partnership with China with particular emphasis on building Africa’s socio-economic condition back to normal in the postCOVID-19 pandemic period.

The remark was made by Antonio Pedro, Director of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Sub-regional Office for Central Africa, as he emphasized the need to strengthen global partnership and collaboration in building back Africa after COVID-19 pandemic.

“The day after COVID-19 should not be the same as before COVID-19,” Pedro said in exclusively with Xinhua on Saturday, as he recalled a similar recent remark by the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the need to build climate-friendly economies in the postCOVID-19 pandemic era.

“We are looking for a world that’s greener with green economies and green jobs where impacts of climate change will be addressed, where our energy intensity will be reduced, and where we will have what we call the deep de-carbonization,” the ECA director said.

Members of a Chinese medical team pose for a group photo after donating medical supplies to Mvurwi Hospital in Mvurwi, Zimbabwe, May 19, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Yuliang)

Members of a Chinese medical team pose for a group photo after donating medical supplies to Mvurwi Hospital in Mvurwi, Zimbabwe, May 19, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Yuliang)

“Here, China is leading in many of these areas such as in electric cars, which will reduce carbon emissions,” Pedro told Xinhua on Saturday, as he emphasized that “all of these efforts are part of the package on building back better in terms of energy transitions as well as electrification of the transport systems.”

“We are looking for collaboration and partnership with China on that area as well. We will facilitate Africa’s participation in global value chains that we add value to our product so that we can generate more employment; because one of the unfortunate faces of COVID-19 is that the race of unemployment in Africa is already increasing,” said Pedro.

“It’s important that in building back better, we create more jobs on the continent and this, among other things, requires industrialization,” he said, adding that “we are looking forward to more of this collaboration and we appreciate the efforts that has been done so far.”

Commending the Chinese engagement and support to African governments and Pan-African institutions, such as the African Union, in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, the ECA director also called on countries across the globe to emulate China‘s positive engagement in strengthening the global solidarity against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Noting the need to strengthen the global solidarity in order to effectively contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in building back better after the coronavirus pandemic, Pedro also singled out China as a major player in propelling the much-needed global partnership and collaboration towards combating the virus.

“We see the Chinese engagement and the support that it is providing to African governments and to the African Union in terms of access to medical supplies, masks and other things as part of the global solidarity against the COVID-19 pandemic,” Pedro told Xinhua on Saturday.

Chinese Ambassador to Ghana Wang Shiting (C) donates food items to Ghana’s local communities in Accra, capital of Ghana, on April 17, 2020. (Xinhua/Xu Zheng)

Chinese Ambassador to Ghana Wang Shiting (C) donates food items to Ghana’s local communities in Accra, capital of Ghana, on April 17, 2020. (Xinhua/Xu Zheng)

According to Pedro, among the areas in which the UNEAC presently collaborating with China is the facilitation of access to business opportunities for Africa companies in China and beyond, which includes the ongoing partnership with the Chinese Alibaba Group’s Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) initiative that envisaged the promotion of African products in the global market.

The ECA regional director’s remarks in deepening partnership with China on building Africa’s socio-economic condition back to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic came as the UNECA recently disclosed that a one-month full lockdown across Africa would cost the continent about 2.5 percent of its annual GDP, equivalent to about 65.7 billion U.S. dollars per month.

Earlier this month, a UNECA report entitled “COVID-19: Lockdown Exit Strategies for Africa,” which indicated that at least 42 African countries applied partial or full lockdowns in their quest to curtail the pandemic, mainly proposed to African nations various COVID-19 exit strategies following the imposition of lockdowns that helped suppress the virus but with devastating economic consequences.

The report, among other things, proposed seven exit strategies that provide sustainable, albeit reduced, economic activity. The report also sets out some of the exit strategies being proposed and tried around the world and outlines the risks involved for African countries.

The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) disclosed that the number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases across Africa surpassed 103,933 as of Saturday morning as the death toll surpassed 3,183. Some 41,473 people had also recovered from the infectious virus so far.

(XINHUA)

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S. Africans allowed essential travel abroad amid coronavirus pandemic

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The South African government on Saturday approved essential travel for its nationals who want to return to countries where they are based.

Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi made the announcement following consultations with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the National Coronavirus Command Council.

South Africans who wish to leave the country are permitted to depart only for one of the following reasons: work, study, family reunion, taking up permanent residency and receiving medical attention, Motsoaledi said.

South Africa imposed travel restrictions in mid-March as part of the measures put in place to fight COVID-19, only allowing travel between countries under special circumstances.

Under the new policy, South Africans wishing to return to countries where they reside are required to provide necessary documentation. Moreover, if returning by road or connecting via flights, they need to submit permission from each transiting country.

The announcement came amid a surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.

As of Saturday, South Africa has recorded a total of 21,343 cases, the highest number in Africa, according to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.

Over the past 24 hours, the country has reported 1,218 cases, the highest single-day surge since March 5.

The number of deaths from COVID-19 has risen to 407, up by 10 from Friday.

(XINHUA)

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One-third of S. African university students to return to campuses under lockdown level 3

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A third of the South African universities students would return to the campuses when the country moves from lockdown level four to three, said Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Blade Nzimande on Saturday.

“Under level 3, a maximum of 33 percent of the student population will be allowed to return to campuses, delivery sites and residences on condition that they can be safely accommodated and supported in line with the health and safety protocols as directed by the department,” said Nzimande.

Currently, final-year students in programs requiring clinical training, particularly in medicine, have been returning since mid-May. All other students have to study through digital and other means until they can return.

Nzimande said some of those who will return first include those graduating this year and final year students who require access to laboratories, technical equipment, data, connectivity and access to residence and private accommodation.

Once Level 3 is announced, students will be given a period of two to three weeks from the announcement date to return back to their campuses. Institutions will issue permits to identified students to allow for their travel.

Students will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms at campus entrances.

(XINHUA)

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