Development and Social Issues in Africa

Sunday, March 18, 2018

SITUATE AFRICAN SUFFRAGETTES IN THE HISTORY BOOKS



By Brenda Zulu 
The Justina Mutale Foundation has called for the recognition and documentation of African Suffragettes.


Speaking in a press release, the Foundation made the call during the ongoing United Nations 62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) in New York, which saw the launch of a traveling exhibition titled:African Suffragettes: A Journey of Africa’s Hidden Figures Through the Decades”  

“The African Suffragettes will be a travelling exhibition to celebrate and bring to the fore a greater recognition of African women’s contribution to national governance, leadership and political activity” said Ms Justina Mutale, President of the Justina Mutale Foundation.  

The Launch Event of the African Suffragettes highlighted Africa’s iconic women from various backgrounds in Africa, who for centuries have fought for the rights of women and girls, and the rights of their people as they engaged in acts of resistance and liberation struggles.

“It is imperative that we recognise and bring to the history books the major contributions made by the African women during colonisation, the struggle for independence, and the development of Africa”, Ms Mutale reiterated.

The launch took place during a CSW62 Side Event held at the African Union Permanent Mission to the United Nations and was officiated by Vice President of the Republic of the Gambia, Her Excellency Fatoumata Jallho Tambajang.

“African Suffragettes have already done the hard work for us through their struggles.  It is now up to us to take the mantle forward”, said Her Excellency Fatoumata Jallho Tambajang, Vice-President of the Republic of the Gambia

Other VIP speakers included the Minister of Health, Solidarity, Social Protection and Gender of the Comoros Islands, Dr Fatima Mohammed Mbarak; and Liberia’s female Presidential aspirant, Ms Macdella Cooper.

“The suffragettes set a good foundation for women’s participation in politics. We need more women at high-levels of decision-making process in politics, business and other public office”. Said, Dr Fatima Mohammed Mbarak Comoros Islands Minister for Gender

The Suffragettes Journey is expected to make is debut during the Commonwealth Women’s Forum, which will be held in the wings of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London.  The exhibition is aimed at providing a narrative that young women and girls of African origin can identify with and to instil confidence for them to participate with ownership in the 100 years Suffragettes campaign in the UK.

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Sunday, March 04, 2018

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Internet Data Bundles have opened up at Airtel “CHAOPENA”

By Africa Interactive Media Reporter


Airtel Zambia has got their game up with the continued data plans it has released on its subscribers, following the launch of the 4G network in some parts of the country in December 2017.

Use chaopena data bundles at all times 
The upgrade of the mobile network has brought in a “real deal” of affordable internet connectivity via the new ‘Chaopena data plans’. This deal offers reduced data bundles for as low as ZMK3 for a 60MB valid for a day up to ZMK1,500 for a 100GB valid for 90 days. With the fastest speeds of 4G, users can do various activities efficiently on their devices from downloading files, video and audio live streaming on various social media platforms like, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Networking couldn’t have gotten any easier and better than this.

An Airtel subscriber from within Lusaka Mr Martin Mtonga admits that he enjoys using ‘chaopena’ bundles because they are very economical to him which helps him stay connected anytime and anywhere. Martin mentions that in view of the reduction of bundles, Airtel is one leading mobile provider in the country that is setting a trend among Mobile Service providers in the country being the first to offer its customers with affordable data bundles and other promotional products/services that last longer. At a pace at which Airtel is moving when it comes to voice and internet connectivity, Mr Mtonga is confident that he will remain an Airtel subscriber to continue enjoying the ‘real deal’ offers.

Mr Mtonga’s ‘chopena’ story isn’t different for most Zambians on the Airtel network. Many Zambians across the country are enjoying with less top up for more internet bundles.

Airtel slashed off its data bundle rates as a result of the efficient running of the network it is enjoying after the upgrade. The activities of the upgrade from 3G to 4G has since helped Airtel Zambia save its operational costs thereby extending the benefits to its customers.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Lusaka Animal Welfare Society Free Rabies Clinic SUCCESS

By Brenda Zulu 

 The free Rabies Vaccination Clinic held at the Ndjovu Centre in Chibolya Township last weekend, proved extremely successful, with a total of 1 100 animals vaccinated.

In a press release made available to the Aafrica Interactive Media (AIM), Lusaka Animal Welfare Society (LAWS) in cooperation with Lusaka City Council and the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, the free rabies clinic attracted hundreds of local residents from Chibolya, Kanyama and John Laing Townships.

Over the four-day clinic, LAWS recorded 1070 dogs and 30 cats vaccinated against rabies. A few animals that were very sick were taken to a veterinarian, where they were treated and given medical assistance.

“The response from residents was astonishing,” said LAWS chairperson Caroline Pearce. “People turned up in their hundreds, most of which were little children, carrying their puppies, showing how much they care for their animals.”

Rabies is a deadly virus caused by the saliva of infected animals, especially dogs. Rabies causes fever, headache, paralysis and mental confusion. There is no treatment or cure for rabies and infection is almost always fatal. Unfortunately, rabies has been on the rise in the Lusaka area in recent times, including an incident in Chongwe where dozens of people were bitten by an infected dog.

Upon recognizing the increase of rabies cases, within the city of Lusaka over the past few months, this exercise was organized by LCC acting Pest Control Superintendent - Christopher Mulenga, Head District Veterinarian of Lusaka - Dr Magula Chikondo and Lusaka Animal Welfare Society.


If you have not vaccinated your pets, please go to your local veterinary clinic to vaccinate immediately. Vaccinating your pets is the only way to prevent rabies both in animals and humans. It is a very small cost compared to the price of your loved ones’ life!

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Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Zambia: UNDP Flagship Report Says a Diversified Economy will Spur Inclusive Development and Poverty Reduction



By Brenda Zulu
Zambia's latest Human Development Report urges the country to diversify its economy through prioritisation of its manufacturing and agricultural sectors. The report reveals that these sectors have created productive employment at a much faster pace than mining, and indicates that increasing productivity in these sectors is likely to lead to a path of inclusive development and poverty reduction.

The 2016 Zambia National Human Development Report (ZNHDR), launched by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country office today, argues that for industrialisation to drive growth, policies for targeting strategic industries need to be explored locally. The Report was produced by UNDP in conjunction with the Zambian government.

Its theme, “Industrialisation and Human Development: Poverty Reduction through Wealth and Employment Creation” is informed by the recognition that industrialisation offers unique opportunities for development, and that Zambia’s overall human development may well be shaped by the path of industrialization that the country pursues.

The purpose of National Human Development Reports is to stimulate the industrialisation debate in Zambia, foster change and catalyse action for national development. Zambia has produced six National Human Development Reports, the last was in 2011. The current Report is the seventh in the series and presents quantitative and qualitative data on the state of Zambia’s industrial sector and proposes ways to make industrialisation more supportive of human development in the country.

Among several recommendations, the  report states that the core of Zambia’s economic industrialisation  strategy should be a set of interlinked and integrated policies, ranging from human and educational development through to microeconomic and infrastructural support; all designed to promote the growth of the  industrial base and in turn reduce the dependence on copper production and revenue.

Other recommendations are that future industrial policy should focus on accelerated investments in research and development and human capital accumulation, with particular emphasis on science and technology skills. In this manner, labour can contribute to the development of Zambia's value-added sectors, as well as provide the basis for exploring profitable opportunities in new markets. Also, the expansion of secondary industry in Zambia requires strong, transparent, and efficient institutions within a supportive regulatory environment.

“We have experienced over the last year the challenges of dependence on a single major revenue base - copper; on a single major energy source - large-scale hydro; on a single major agricultural product - maize - and on top of that, lack of value addition in our productive sectors. Historically, Zambia’s economic growth has been led by copper mining. Other sectors such as agriculture and value-added manufacturing have received less attention, either from public or private investment.  And the supporting infrastructure and logistical network, and the educational and training base, to enable those industries to develop at a lower cost have also been missing,” says Janet Rogan, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Zambia.

Ms. Rogan said it is by creating productive employment that individuals improve the quality of their lives, and those of their families and communities. “Investment in value-added sectors through industrialization is a strategy the government can pursue and can lead in order to attract investment which in turn creates productive employment,” she said. 
Launching the Report today, Zambia’s Vice President, Inonge Wina said the government is firmly committed to the diversification of Zambia's economy through increased participation of other sectors in growth generation.

“The government has continued to address challenges faced by micro, small and medium enterprises such as access to finance, markets and technology, and the development of entrepreneurial skills. These interventions are expected to spur enterprise growth and contribute to job creation,” the Vice President said in a keynote speech delivered on her behalf by the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Margaret Mwanakatwe. 

Zambia is classified as a Medium Human Development nation and is ranked 139th out of 188 countries globally.  Several factors have placed Zambia in the bottom quartile of the world’s human development rankings. These include stunted per capita incomes which have kept poverty levels high, low fiscal expenditure in health of about 5 per cent of GDP, education and social protection, and poor access to rural health and education amenities.

The Zambian economy has grown at an average of 7 percent over the past decade, one of the fastest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Yet, the benefits of growth have been unevenly distributed; poverty and inequality levels are high in Zambia and, most importantly, of the economy's over-reliance on a single commodity to a single market.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

“Zambia has the potential to become a disability champion in the African region” – UN expert



By Brenda Zulu
“There are good opportunities to achieve the realisation of rights of persons with disabilities in Zambia,” today said United Nations Special Rapporteur Catalina Devandas, while urging the Government to fully implement a number of well-formulated and well-intended policies and strategies.

“Zambia has the potential to become a disability champion in the African region, provided that the Government makes it a priority to implement the policy and legal framework on disability,” Ms. Devandas said at the end of her first official visit* to the country to assess the level of enjoyment of the rights of persons with disabilities. 

In  a press release, the UN expert highlighted numerous initiatives by the Zambian authorities to improve the protection framework for persons with disabilities, including the strengthening of the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the production of a National Disability Survey, and the significant efforts undertaken to make its social protection framework inclusive of persons with disabilities.

In that regard, she encouraged the Government to continue advancing in the areas of accessibility, education, health, and employment, through the adoption of the necessary measures required to ensure the implementation and enforcement of the Persons with Disabilities Act and other relevant policies.
  
On the other hand, the Special Rapporteur also identified urgent challenges to be addressed, such as the stark disparities between rural and urban areas in relation to accessibility and availability of services. In addition, Ms. Devandas highlighted the situation of persons with albinism, who live in constant fear of being attacked and killed for their body parts, and urged the authorities to protect women and girls with disabilities, who are at heightened risk of sexual and gender-based violence.

The human rights expert also drew attention that the situation of persons with psychosocial or intellectual disabilities is of particular concern: “Deprivation of liberty on the basis of disability remains an accepted practice in Zambia,” she said pointing at the widespread assumption that persons with psychosocial or intellectual impairments have no legal capacity due to the lack of ‘mental capacities’.

During her stay, the Special Rapporteur visited the Chainama Hills Hospital in Lusaka and the psychiatric unit of the General Hospital in Ndola. “I was particularly appalled by the conditions of the psychiatric unit in Ndola, where persons with psychosocial disabilities are deprived of their liberty without their informed consent, are subjected to seclusion and forced treatment, including forced sterilization of women with disabilities,” she explained.

While she welcomed the efforts undertaken to draft a new Mental Health Bill, she urged the Government “to close the mental health settlements where persons with psychosocial disabilities are confined in remote areas of the country, and to invest instead in adequate and comprehensive community-based supports services.”

Other major challenges encountered by the independent expert are in the area of access to justice. “Complaints of abuse and discrimination by women and girls are mostly overlooked, and the majority of court buildings are inaccessible,” Ms. Devandas said. “Deaf persons are denied access to justice on equal basis with others, as sign language interpretation is not provided in courts.”

The UN Special Rapporteur visited the cities of Lusaka and Ndola, where she met with a variety of senior Government officials, and held discussions with persons with disabilities and their representative organizations, other civil society actors, the UN system, and international cooperation actors.

The UN Special Rapporteur will present a report to the Human Rights Council in 2017 on the main findings of her visit.

(*) Check the Special Rapporteur’s full end-of-mission statement: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=19890&LangID=E 

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Change in Mineral Royalty Tax is not a risk to Zambia’s sovereign sustainability


By Brenda Zulu
The Zambia Chamber of Mines dispel assertions in the Post newspapers of Monday, April 25,2016 by Moodys, lead Sovereign analyst for Zambia, Zuzana Brixiova that the proposed changes to the Mineral Royalty Tax(MRT) in the Mines and Minerals Development amendment Bill, before the Zambian Parliament, are a risk to sovereign sustainability.
According to a Press Release made available to the Africa Interactive Media (AIM), the announcement of changes to the mining fiscal regime in the 2015 national budget, the Chamber of Mines and its membership have been engaging government and other relevant stakeholders through a constructive dialogue process.
It must be noted that the disastrous consequences of the MRT regime as it stood, would have resulted in virtual death of the mining sector, something which would certainly have not boded well for the country. The industry together with government was looking for a longterm solution that would take the industry through the next 20 to 30 years. Increased production is fundamental to increasing government revenue.
It must be realized that having high nominal tax rate does not necessarily result in positive revenue. A realistic revaluation of tax rates that sustains the taxed sector is more progressive than an unsustainably high rate one that ultimately only serves to destroy the target sector.
What is an ideal mineral tax regime? It is one that delivers the maximum benefit for a country’s citizens from its mineral resources. Maximum benefit to the citizenry might not necessarily be the same as maximum benefit to the Government, in terms of tax receipts.
For example, a healthy mining industry has significant multiplier effects within the wider economy that far outweigh its contribution to the national coffers.
Studies by the International Mining and Minerals Council (ICMM) have shown that for every $1 generated by mining, at least an additional $3 are generated elsewhere in the host economy. In addition, for every one direct mining employee, employment is generated for further 3-5 employees elsewhere in the economy.
The broad aims of Government minerals taxation policy must therefore be to generate immediate and lasting revenue in a manner which:
• Has no adverse impact on the health of the Industry.
• Encourages (or, at least does not discourage) the investment needed for future development, which is the pipeline of future tax receipts.
Royalties are a blunt instrument; they are not sensitive to the distinctive circumstances of each mine. As MRT is based on production, it has no regard for costs – which will always vary between different mines. So, two mines with completely different cost structures and profit levels might end up paying the same royalty tax.
In fact, a mine can be making a loss and still have to pay the royalty – that is precisely what is happening across the Industry at the moment. Some loss making mines might even have to borrow money in order to make the payments.
A country report (No. 15/153, June 2015) by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggests Zambia’s MRT rates are too high.
“A comparison of prevailing royalty rates in 2014 shows that, at 6%, Zambia’s royalty rate was among the highest fixed rate among copper-producing countries.
A World Bank report (Making Mining Work for Zambia, June 2015), also suggests the country’s MRT levels are too high. “Zambia’s mineral royalty rates have in recent years tended to exceed the global norm, even before the rate jumped temporarily to 20 percent on open-pit mines in 2015. Most major mineral producers charge less than six Percent.”
According to the table below based on trends in Taxation by KPMG Global Mining Institute
Comparison with other national mining taxation regimes
COUNTRY ROYALTY CORPORATE INCOME TAX 
Australia 2.5%-5 % 30%
Brazil 2 per % 25%
China 0.5%-4 % 25%
Ghana 5% 25%
Indonesia 4% 25%
South Africa 0.5%-7% 28%
DRC 2% 30%
Zambia 30% 6%-9%
We in the mining industry have been restructuring our operations, lowering our costs and contemplating investments which improve our efficiency and try to keep people in work. But what are the right measures when we’re dealing at the level of an entire country.
This basic truth is tremendously encouraging for us in Zambia, for it tells us that despite the serious situation we currently find ourselves in, there is a way out. This explains why we, as an industry, are calling for a national strategic consensus among all stakeholders to promote the growth not just of the mining industry, but of the economy in general.
The long-term objective is a diversified high-growth economy in which the mining industry is no longer the sole contributor, but simply one of many industries selling products and services, creating jobs, and generating wealth for Zambia’s people and tax revenue for Government services.
Recent public pronouncements by His Excellency, President Edgar Lungu on the absolute necessity for a growing, diversified economy are encouraging, and show the government is alive to the need for such a transformation. As an industry, we stand ready to work with government, and all other stakeholders, to help make this a reality.

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Monday, March 14, 2016

NGOCC condemns stripping of a girl on youth day


The Non Governmental Organizations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) condemns in the strongest terms the violence and the stripping naked of an opposition girl by cadres of the Patriotic Front (PF) at the Freedom Statue on Saturday, 12th March 2016 during the commemoration of the International Youth Day. 

In Press release issued by Patricia Mubanga NGOCC  board publicity said the act by the ruling party cadres to undress the girl in public is not only criminal but barbaric and evil only reminiscent in lawless societies. It is despicable, that youths from the ruling party can conduct themselves in such a barbaric manner.

As an organization we have been made aware of a video clip that is even circulating on social media depicting this very sad incidence with identifiable ‘criminals’. We therefore call upon the Zambia police to immediately arrest the culprits who undressed the young girl in public. The conduct of the PF cadres to undress a woman in public is the highest level of indignity ever shown to women in the country, considering that President Edgar Chagwa Lungu on 8 March 2016 during International Women’s Day spoke strongly against the negative portrayal of women in the print media. This act by itself is not any different. Nothing justifies such barbaric conduct against a fellow human being, because every human being has the right to respect and to belong any political grouping.

Zambia is a democratic country where all citizens are free to belong to any political grouping without any intimidation. The behavior of the cadres to undress an opposition member just because she is dressed in her party regalia is unconstitutional and we expect the leadership of the party to act against these cadres.

NGOCC therefore demands an apology from the PF over this very sad incident. As we go to the elections on 11th August, there is need for civility from both the opposition and the ruling party.

As an organization we will not allow any of the political parties to abuse women and insult them in the manner the PF cadres behaved on Saturday 12th March 2016.

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