African countries embracing biometrics, digital IDs

From the spread of digital apps, like the Nigerian-based FarmCrowdy, which is helping farmers utilize technology to improve their operations, to Mpesa – the mobile money in East Africa, to the millions of mobile phone connections in sub-Saharan Africa, bypassing fixed-telephone line services, there are countless examples of how technology is transforming Africa. The continent has embraced biometrics technology. By measuring people’s unique physical characteristics, typically through fingerprint, facial or iris recognition, biometric solutions can easily authenticate identity. The…

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Three die as new Ebola outbreak declared in southern Guinea

This is the first time the disease has been reported in the country since the deadly 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa which claimed over 11,000 lives. “It’s a huge concern to see the resurgence of Ebola in Guinea, a country which has already suffered so much from the disease”, Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said. “However, banking on the expertise and experience built during the previous outbreak, health teams in Guinea are on the move to quickly…

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Ethiopia: ‘Incomplete but troubling picture’ reveals impact of Tigray crisis on children

Humanitarians are learning more about the dire situation of children in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, where fighting continues between Government troops and regional forces of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). As more supplies and emergency personnel reach the area, “an incomplete but troubling picture” is emerging which reveals children are experiencing severe and ongoing harm, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported on Friday. “The partial picture emerging of the impact the crisis in Tigray has had on children –…

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Northern Mozambique Violence leaves many helpless

Worsening conflict, combined with a precarious humanitarian situation, has forced more than 300,000 people to flee their homes and villages in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, leaving them completely reliant on humanitarian assistance, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has said. “We are deeply concerned about the unfolding humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado where conflict and violence have left people without access to food and livelihoods,” Antonella D’Aprile, WFP Representative for Mozambique, said in news release, on Tuesday. “The growing…

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Tracking Africa’s coronavirus cases
Most countries on the continent have put in place restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus [Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters

Experts warn fragile healthcare systems in many nations could be overwhelmed in the face of a severe COVID-19 outbreak. The outbreak of the new coronavirus has reached every nation in Africa, a continent of 1.2 billion people. As of September 20, the confirmed coronavirus death toll on the continent stood at 33,818, with deaths including the former president of the Republic of the Congo, Jacques Joachim Yhombi-Opango, and Somalia’s former Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein. There are 1,399,186 confirmed…

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Nigeria sentences 13-year-old boy to 10 years in prison for blasphemy

Child rights agency UNICEF has condemned the sentencing of a 13-year-old boy to 10 years in prison for blasphemy in northern Nigeria. Omar Farouq was convicted in a Sharia court in Kano State in northwest Nigeria after he was accused of using foul language toward Allah in an argument with a friend. He was sentenced on August 10 by the same court that recently sentenced a studio assistant Yahaya Sharif-Aminu to death for blaspheming Prophet Mohammed, according to lawyers….

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WHO warns against potential Ebola spread in DR Congo and beyond

Ebola is spreading in a western province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), raising fears that the disease could reach neighbouring Republic of Congo and even the capital, Kinshasa, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. The outbreak in Equateur Province emerged in early June and has now spread into another of its 17 health zones, bringing the total number of affected zones to 12. So far, there have been 113 cases and 48 deaths.  “The…

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Togo overcomes ‘sleeping sickness’ as a public health problem

The West African nation of Togo has eliminated human African trypanosomiasis or “sleeping sickness” as a public health problem, becoming the first in the continent to achieve the milestone, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) has said. Sleeping sickness is a neglected tropical disease that is caused by protozoan parasites (single-celled microorganisms) belonging to the genus Trypanosoma. The parasites are transmitted by infected tsetse flies and if untreated the disease is almost always fatal. “Togo is a pathfinder in…

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Mali: UN chief demands ‘immediate and unconditional release’ of President

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for the immediate restoration of constitutional order and the rule of law in Mali, after mutinying troops arrested the country’s leader and other senior officials on Tuesday. Soldiers had initially staged a mutiny at a base near the capital, Bamako, before subsequently detaining President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and other members of his government, according to media reports. “The Secretary-General strongly condemns these actions and calls for the immediate restoration of constitutional order and…

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COVID-19 cases in Africa surpass 1.1M

Virus-linked death toll stands at 25,618, 834,262 patients have recovered ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia/YAOUNDE, Cameroon The number of people infected with the novel coronavirus in Africa surpassed 1.1 million on Monday, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said. At least 25,618 people have died across the continent, while 834,262 patients have recovered, the latest figures show. Southern Africa recorded 621,900 cases, North Africa 194,500, West Africa 147,900, East Africa 102,900 and Central Africa 51,600. At least 12,600 people…

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