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South Sudan appoints 6th finance minister in four years

South Sudan appoints 6th finance minister in four years

SOUTH Sudan's President Salva Kiir has appointed his 6th finance minister in four years. Economist Marial Deng was appointed as the new Finance Minister, replacing Awow Daniel Chuong, who was axed after being in office for only four months.  The frequent changes in the finance ministry come amid economic challenges for South Sudan. The country's economy has been strained by ongoing communal violence and reduced crude oil export revenue, which has been impacted by the 2013-2018 civil war and more recently by export disruptions due to conflict in neighbouring Sudan. In May, central bank governor James Alic Garang reported that…
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Double tragedy: the Zimbabwe farmers affected by illegal mining and climate change

Double tragedy: the Zimbabwe farmers affected by illegal mining and climate change

SMALLHOLDER farmers in rural Gwanda, a region in Zimbabwe that borders South Africa, have been affected by a double shock – a combination of heat, droughts and floods caused by climate change, and water contamination and damaged land caused by illegal, small-scale mining. Droughts in Gwanda have significantly affected rural farmers and increased over the past 40 years. This has left many families impoverished after harvests failed. Illegal, small-scale mining for gold in Zimbabwe has resulted in deforestation, land degradation, water pollution, and loss of biodiversity in the area, making the problem worse. Not all small-scale mining in Zimbabwe is…
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Kenyan President William Ruto fires entire cabinet amid violent protests

Kenyan President William Ruto fires entire cabinet amid violent protests

IN an unprecedented move, Kenyan President William Ruto has dismissed his entire cabinet following violent protests that have rocked his administration. This drastic step comes as the second major action taken by Ruto to address the escalating unrest, which has gripped the nation in response to a controversial finance bill. Thirty-nine people were killed and scores injured during the protests. The finance bill, which many citizens blamed for sparking the violence, was withdrawn from Parliament by Ruto last week in an effort to quell the public outrage. However, the protesters have threatened to continue, prompting Ruto to take even more…
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Burkina Faso set to become 32nd African nation to criminalize homosexuality

Burkina Faso set to become 32nd African nation to criminalize homosexuality

IN a move that continues a concerning trend across the African continent, Burkina Faso is poised to become the 32nd out of 54 African countries to ban homosexuality. The military junta currently ruling the West African nation following a coup, has adopted a draft amendment to the country's family code that would criminalize same-sex relations. Interim Justice Minister Edasso Rodrique Bayala announced in a statement:  "From now on, homosexuality and related practices are prohibited and punishable by law." This development marks a significant shift for Burkina Faso, which has been one of the few African nations where same-sex relationships were…
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Lesbian daughter of Cameroon president set the proverbial cat among pigeons

Lesbian daughter of Cameroon president set the proverbial cat among pigeons

A member of Cameroon's influential first family has come out as a lesbian and advocating for legal reforms in her home country. Brenda Biya, 27, daughter of long-serving President Paul Biya, shared her experiences living abroad and expressed hope for changes to certain laws in Cameroon. Speaking from her current residences in the United States and Switzerland, Biya revealed aspects of her private life that have sparked widespread discussion in Cameroon. In an interview with French newspaper Le Parisien, she addressed the country's legal system, particularly focusing on laws that carry severe penalties for certain personal relationships. "It may be…
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Ghana is planning its first nuclear energy plant: what’s behind the decision

Ghana is planning its first nuclear energy plant: what’s behind the decision

GHANA is considering bids from five companies for the construction of what would be its first nuclear power plant. The companies are France’s EDF, US-based NuScale Power and Regnum Technology Group; China National Nuclear Corporation; South Korea’s Kepco and its subsidiary Korea Hydro Nuclear Power Corporation; and Russia’s Rosatom. The Conversation Africa’s Godfred Akoto Boafo interviewed Seth Kofi Debrah, director, Nuclear Power Institute, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, on the pros and cons of adding nuclear power to the country’s power mix, and why Ghana needs to diversify and identify new energy sources. What makes the nuclear option attractive to Ghana?…
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Mastermind in multimillion-rand bank collapse gets 495 years imprisonment

Mastermind in multimillion-rand bank collapse gets 495 years imprisonment

A banker who played a central role in the collapse of the VBS Mutual Bank in South Africa, leading to losses of multimillion savings for its mostly rural poor customers, has been jailed for his actions. Tshifiwa Matodzi, 47, the former Chairperson of the VBS Mutual Bank Board was sentenced to a total of 495 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to several offences, including corruption, theft, fraud, money laundering, and a pattern of racketeering activities that culminated in the downfall of VBS Mutual Bank. Matodzi has pleaded guilty to 33 counts which include corruption, theft, fraud, money laundering,…
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Extreme weather in South Africa is disrupting tourism – research tracks the impact on coastal areas

Extreme weather in South Africa is disrupting tourism – research tracks the impact on coastal areas

SOUTH Africa has experienced some extreme weather events in recent months. These have included floods and an uncommon tornado in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, floods in the Eastern Cape and mid-latitude cyclones in the Western Cape. Kaitano Dube, a human geographer who has researched tourism, extreme weather and resilience to climatic threats, says these severe storms are set to disrupt tourism. Is climate change affecting tourism in South Africa? The increase in carbon emissions has caused a rise in global temperature, a key driver of climate change. In the past two years, and 2024 in particular, temperatures have reached record…
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160 dead or missing in Atlantic migrant crossing

160 dead or missing in Atlantic migrant crossing

AT least 89 people have died and as many as 72 are still missing following the latest deadly shipwreck on the Atlantic Ocean migration route between the west coast of Africa and the Spanish Canary Islands. The boat – a traditional fishing vessel – set sail from near the Senegal-Gambia border and capsized on 1 July off the coast of Mauritania. The Mauritanian Coast Guard rescued nine survivors on 4 July.  An increasing number of people have been setting out by boat from West Africa for the Canary Islands in recent years, despite it being considered perhaps the deadliest migration route in…
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