African heads of state are in Addis Ababa. They attend on Saturday and Sunday their first in-person summit since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Per the agenda, this year’s theme is “Building Resilience in Nutrition on the African Continent” but a stack of files is awaiting the 55 member-states leaders.
On Saturday, for the 35th Ordinary Session of the Assembly, South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa will review the continental strategy for tackling the covid-19 outbreak.
On the agenda as well, the epidemic of coups that has recently shaken Western Africa. Following unconstitutional regime changes in Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea and Soudan have been suspended from the institution by the Peace and Security Council.
The session has already seen Congolese president Felix Tshisekedi reward photographer and author Osvalde Lewat with the first Pan-African Litterature prize.
The organization, that will celebrate its 20th birthday during the summer, also faces challenges. Discussions surrounding the observer status that was granted the state of Israel will take place. When the news came last year, Algeria and South Africa regretted a decision taken unilaterally by Moussa Faki Mahamat, the president of the African Union commission
Congolese Félix Tshisekedi will pass the baton to Macky Sall as the Senegalese takes over as the new chairperson of the African Union.
On Friday, Cameroonian Issa Hayatou won an appeal ruling which overturns his ban by Fifa.
The Swiss Court of Arbitration for Sport said, on Friday, it upheld Hayatou's appeal since “there was insufficient evidence” of misconduct. The court announced its verdict on the eve of the final of CAF's marquee African Cup of Nations tournament hosted in Hayatou's home country, Cameroon.
Hayatou was banned for one year after following an alleged breach of "duty of loyalty" rules.
Last August , a Fifa investigation concluded the 75-year-old man had signed an anti-competitive 12-year deal worth about $1 billion. The agreement signed with France-based sports agency Lagardère which gave exclusive rights to CAF competitions including the Cup of Nations and African Champions League through 2028.
The court said its panel of three arbitrators, who held a hearing by video link in December, also ordered FIFA to contribute to Hayatou's legal costs. It also overturned a fine of 30,000 Swiss francs ($33,000).
The FIFA case did not affect Hayatou's honorary membership of the International Olympic Committee. He got honorary status after his 15-year membership ended in 2016.
Hayatou was the president of CAF for 29 years until being unseated in a 2017 election where his opponent was supported by FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
Liverpool teammates Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané — two of African football's leading forwards — will be facing off as rivals for the continental title.
Salah didn't even get a chance to take a penalty for Egypt in a 3-1 shootout victory over Cameroon in the African Cup of Nations semifinals on Thursday after the hosts failed to score three times from the spot.
It was Clinton N’Jie's miss wide that secured Egypt's progress after the seven-time African champions scored their first three penalties. Goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal, who wears the name Gabaski on the back of his jersey, also made two saves for Egypt.
The game ended 0-0 after 120 minutes with the biggest flashpoint coming toward the end of regulation when Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz was sent off. He will now be banned from the touchline for Sunday's final against Senegal.
It was the first game back at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde since eight fans died after a crush outside Cameroon's last-16 game against Comoros last Monday.
The same venue will stage the final on Sunday when Mané's Senegal will be seeking its first African title after losing the last final in 2019 to Algeria. Senegal should be fresher after having an extra day's rest and beating Burkina Faso inside 90 minutes on Wednesday.
The tournament has been taking place in the middle of the European season, frustrating leading European clubs like Liverpool that have been without key players like Salah and Mané.
Diplomats in Burkina Faso on Friday said they would help the junta that seized power last month restore security to the jihadist-wracked country, the Chinese ambassador announced on their behalf.
The junta's leader Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba has in the past week been in talks with international organisations and donors after ousting president Roch Marc Christian Kabore on January 24.
Kabore's toppling came after public anger over his handling of a jihadist insurgency in the impoverished country that has claimed more than 2,000 lives and displaced 1.5 million since 2015.
Diplomats representing China, the European Union, France and neighbouring Mali on Friday met Damiba.
Chinese ambassador Li Jian said after the meeting that those who attended would contribute to restoring security in the country.
"We will make our contribution, we will walk together in a spirit of solidarity and brotherhood so that (Burkina Faso) can restore peace and security as soon as possible," he said, without providing more details.
Mali is also ruled by a military junta following two coups since August 2020 and battling jihadists on its soil.
France has around 4,000 troops deployed across West Africa's Sahel region to fight the jihadists.
Scientists in South Africa have successfully made a copy of the Moderna Covid vaccine, in a game-changing breakthrough that could end vaccine scarcity in developing countries.
The development was announced by Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines, a biotechnology company based in Cape Town.
"The aim is therefore to have a very, very, superefficient and safe drug substance, but that the drug product will have a different stability and more suitable to be distributed at temperatures which is feasible and possible for Africa," said Petro Terblanche, the managing director of Afrigen.
The company is working on cloning the vaccine as a part of the WHO's effort to make technology and treatments related to Covid more widely available around the world.
Moderna's jab is made with mRNA technology.
It said it hoped to start clinical trials later this year.
Moderna's shot was chosen since the company said it would not enforce its patent restrictions during the pandemic.
Africa is the least vaccinated continent in the world, with countries depending on donations from richer nations.
This has prompted calls for Covid vaccines to be made on the continent, to end what activists have termed as vaccine apartheid.
The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has launched the Government of Ghana Staff and Travel Card (e-travel card), designed to promote transparency and accountability in the management of funds during travels by public officials.
The card will replace all manual systems of managing imprest in the public service in a bid to promote transparency and accountability and make it easy for the cashless disbursement of travel and other related funds by government and all other public officials.
All government office employees will receive a personalized card, which will enable their travel expenditures to be tracked and monitored as part of the implementation process.
The new platform comes on the back of several digitalization initiatives undertaken by the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) including the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System and the Electronic Payslip system.
The Vice President launched the card at the end of the three-day annual conference of CAGD held in Cape Coast on the theme: “The Role of CAGD in Advancing the Digitalisation Agenda of Ghana.”
Launching the card, Dr Bawumia observed that the manual system currently in place provided an avenue for some public officials to engage in overspending and fraudulent activities with impunity when they embarked on official travels.
He said the e-travel card would, therefore, enable the CAGD to “strengthen monitoring and control of budgetary allocations for official travels to avoid overspending”.
“It will eliminate risks with cash transactions for official travels and cash disbursements and eliminate the misapplication of funds, over expenditures and fraud associated with imprest,” he added.
The Vice President observed that the world was increasingly tilting towards cashless economies and systems and urged the affected public to embrace the new platform.?
“It is important that we move toward e-travel cards to make sure that we can engage in transactions freely when we travel,” Dr Bawumia stressed.
He commended the Ministry of Finance and the CAGD for their efforts in keeping the digitalisation agenda of government alive.
The Vice President appealed to the public to do their maximum best they could to position the country in a better situation, adding that everyone had a crucial role to play.
“Let us maintain at all times, quality corporate attitudes, transparency, professionalism and patriotism in the discharge of our duties,” he added.
Work is progressing steadily on the Trede District Hospital in the Atwima Kwanwoma District in the Ashanti Region.
The hospital is the signature project of the government’s Agenda 111 programme earmarked for across the country.
In August 2021, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo cut the sod for the construction of the hospital to formally launch the Agenda 111 programme.
The programme is aimed at making health care accessible to the people as part of efforts by the government to attain the UN Sustainable Development Goal Three.
The programme involves the construction of hospitals in districts where there are none, including the establishment of two psychiatric hospitals for the middle and the southern belts, seven regional hospitals and the rehabilitation of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital.
In August 2021, the government announced that it had secured a US$100-million start-up fund through the Ghana Investment Infrastructure Fund (GIIF) for the commencement of work on the projects.
The Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, also said a project implementation committee, chaired by the Chief of Staff, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei Opare, had secured sites and land titles for 88 out of the number of hospitals to be built, and that each unit would cost US$17 million, while each hospital was expected to be completed within 12 months.
And during the presentation of the 2022 budget by the Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, in Parliament last November, he indicated that work had begun on some of the hospitals, and that “cadastral plans for 91 district hospital sites have been completed and work has begun at a number of sites”.
The European Commission proposed on Wednesday three new EU-wide taxes to help to repay the joint government borrowing in the 27-nation bloc for their 800 billion euro ($904 billion) COVID-19 recovery fund.
The first measure will introduce a levy on CO2 emitted by fuels for buildings and cars under a new carbon market while using the EU’s existing carbon trading system to impose CO2 costs on ships and increase existing payments from airlines.
A quarter of such CO2 revenues, which currently largely go to governments, would in future go to the EU budget, providing 12 billion euros annually on average from 2026 to 2030, according to the Commission’s proposal.
The second would impose carbon costs on imports of goods from countries with weaker CO2 emissions standards, with three-quarters of those proceeds going to the EU budget, providing 1 billion euros per year on average over 2026-2030.
The third tax would give the EU budget a 15% share of the residual profits from large multinational companies that will be re-domiciled in EU countries under a G20 and OECD agreement on a reallocation of taxing rights.