Category Archives: Development

Cuban doctors recalled from Somalia-border regions

Authorities in Kenya withdrew 10 Cuban doctors from the northeastern region, where suspected Al-Shabaab gunmen abducted two medics last week and moved them into neighboring Somalia. (Image: illustration).

The doctors were recalled from Wajir, Tana River, Garissa, Isiolo and Lamu counties, according to the Kenyan Ministry of Health. The regions are either along or next to those at Kenya’s border with Somalia, where the al-Shabaab militants are active.

The Kenyan government hired 100 Cuban doctors last year to boost healthcare in the country’s underserved areas. The two abducted were based in Mandare county. Elders from the area followed the suspected militants into Somalia to negotiate release of the doctors, Nairobi-based Star newspaper reported.

 

Tanzania children victims of witchcraft

Tanzania has launched a manhunt for suspects in the abduction and murder of up to 10 children in January in cases believed to be linked to witchcraft and black magic, the home affairs minister said.

Officials in the Njombe district in southern Tanzania told local media this week at least four dead bodies of missing children had been found abandoned near bushes with missing body parts, which are believed to be used in black magic rituals.

Our preliminary investigations have established that these incidents are caused by superstitious beliefs,” Kangi Lugola told parliament, replying to a lawmaker who had demanded to know what the government was doing to stop the killings.

Superstition is deep-rooted among some communities in Tanzania. Albinos, who lack pigment in skin, eyes and hair, are among groups targeted by assailants who kill them or chop off their limbs.

 

EU supports Ethiopia ambitious agenda

On 19 November 2018, the Council adopted conclusions on Ethiopia. The Council notes that Ethiopia has witnessed momentous change and that political and economic reforms have gained a new impetus under the leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. His ambitious agenda towards a more democratic and just Ethiopian society is a positive example for the region and beyond.

The Council welcomes the commitment of the government of Ethiopia to multi-party democracy, respect for human rights, the rule of law and gender equality. The EU encourages the government to continue its efforts in this area and towards developing an inclusive dialogue with all stakeholders, including federal and regional authorities, opposition groups, civil society, youth groups and media, on sustainable solutions towards better governance, justice and accountability, elections, job creation, and security challenges.

There are presently 21 EU Member States represented in Ethiopia, in addition to the EU and like-minded partners, such as Norway and Switzerland, constituting the EU+ group. In recent years, the EU+ group disbursed annually around € 1 billion of ODA, equivalent to roughly a quarter of total external aid to Ethiopia and can reach up to 10% of the country’s annual federal budget in certain years. In this context, joint programming is not only about aid effectiveness, but most importantly, has a strong political dimension and is one of the instruments in support to the implementation of the wider EU-Ethiopia strategic engagement.

EU: Water as tool for peace

On 19 November 2019, the EU Council adopted conclusions on water diplomacy. The Council recalls that water is a prerequisite for human survival and dignity and a fundamental basis for the resilience of both societies and the environment. Water is vital for human nutrition and health, and essential for ecosystem management, agriculture, energy and overall planetary security.

The Council notes the potential of water scarcity to affect peace and security, as water related risks can have grave human and economic costs, all of which can have direct implications for the EU, including through migration flows.

The Council intends to enhance EU diplomatic engagement about water as a tool for peace, security and stability, and firmly condemns the use of water as a weapon of war. The Council also underlines the EU’s commitment to promoting transboundary and integrated water management as well as effective water governance.

The Council reaffirms the EU’s commitment to the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, as components of the right to an adequate standard of living. It underlines the EU’s strong commitment to the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda and highlights that progress on Goal 6 (“Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”) is essential for the achievement of other Sustainable Development Goals.

The Council stresses the essential link between water and climate change, and welcomes recent discussions at the UN Security Council linking water, climate, peace and security. The EU confirms its continued commitment to address water challenges around the world and to give the necessary consideration to the importance of water and sanitation in the programming of future financial and technical cooperation with partner countries.

China trade in donkey hides devastates communities

Describing the scale of the animal abuse in Chinese trade in donkey hides and its devastating impact for local communities in developing countries, especially in Africa, the Members of the European Parliament called for an urgency of action to protect the equidae as an indefensible contributor to harmonious rural lifestyle.

During the European Parliament Strasbourg Plenary MEPs of the EU Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals considered the welfare of equines – horses, donkeys and hybrids, largely neglected within the existing laws and suffering abuses in Europe, however it is the Chinese traditional medicine, which causes the most abhorrent practices, with systemic torturing and killing of donkeys in pursue of their precious hides. Some farms in Europe also act as suppliers of donkey hides for China, however their activities are far too small to cover the huge demand of Chinese traditional medicine, looking for the animals all over the world, including the poorest villages in Africa, where people depend on donkeys for transport of water and goods.

Chaired by Jacqueline Foster MEP (ECR, UK),  the hearing featured speakers from World Horse Welfare, The Donkey Sanctuary and BrookeAction for Working Horses and Donkeys shared the numerous problems of equines welfare in the EU and worldwide, especially abhorrent abuses of donkeys in Chinese trade.

The Intergroup focused on the trade of donkey hides and the social, economic, and welfare problems that it raises. Ian Arthur Cawsey, UN Ambassador at The Donkey Sanctuary, explained the threat this trade represents, causing a global crisis for donkeys welfare, and even more so for people who depend on them.

During the last decades, China has seen the demand for donkey skins explode to produce ‘ejiao’, a substance used in traditional medicine, health and beauty products. Currently, the Chinese demand is assessed around 4 million donkey skins a year. As the result the global trade in animals increases, and donkeys are being traded and stolen all around the world.

However, these animals support the livelihood of 500 million people across the world and some of the world’s poorest communities. When donkeys are sold or stolen, the additional burden of taking on their work often falls on the most vulnerable members of the society: children and women. “If you have no donkey, you are a donkey yourself“, explains the Ethiopian proverb, hinting on animal key function in fulfilling daily hard work.

Since the skin is valued so much more than the meat, the premature death of the donkeys from deprivation of food and water is actually considered  by Chinese traders as ‘helpful’. The cruel practices also raise serious concerns for public health and the environment, while the growing Chinese demand for donkey skins clearly will never lead to regulated, humane or sustainable production practices.

Petra Ingram, Chief Executive Officer of the Brooke – Action for Working Horses and Donkeys, and Dr. Jennifer Wathan, Senior Manager, gave a presentation on the local impact of the trade in donkey hides on livelihoods in Africa, advocating to think global and act local. A donkey is a valuable asset that provides multiple essential functions to a household. The growing Chinese trade of donkey skins therefore deeply impacts poorest communities in Africa.

Donkeys provide a huge contribution in developing countries all over the world. For example, every day a donkey earns users and owners in Kenya between $5-12, doing tasks such as collecting water, carrying goods to market or in farming. Loss of a donkey not only results in that income being jeopardised, but also increases the burden on families to carry out manual work themselves. Our research shows that vulnerable people are particularly affected, especially women and the elderly who use their donkeys for daily chores and transportation. This can even keep children out of school” Petra Ingram said.

“We hope that highlighting this issue to the MEPs who attended or observed online today will prompt more research, and ultimately bring us closer to tackling the devastating effects of an unregulated trade in donkey hides. Brooke has made some progress, but this is a global crisis, too large for us and other charities to tackle in isolation, so we must work together to raise awareness and gather more evidence to support positive change for the donkeys and the people who depend on them,” Ingram concluded.

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May vows to invest in Africa

Theresa May has announced plans to boost the UK investment in Africa after leaving the European Union. The declaration of intention took place during her first trip to the continent as prime minister.

In a speech in Cape Town, May pledged four billion pounds in support for African economies, especially aiming on fighting unemployment among young people.

May also pledged a “fundamental shift” in aid spending to focus on long-term economic and security challenges rather than short-term poverty reduction.

The prime minister will also visit Nigeria and Kenya during the three-day travel though the continent.

On her way to South Africa, the prime minister dismissed warnings from the chancellor about possible economic damage of no-deal scenario could would cause.

Talking to journalists on board RAF Voyager on Tuesday, 28 August, May reiterated that she believed a no-deal Brexit was still better than a bad deal – adding no-deal “wouldn’t be the end of the world“.

Prime minister’s Common Wealth trip foreseeing meetings the presidents of all three countries – aims to deepen economic and trade ties with growing African economies ahead of Britain leaving the EU end of March 2019.

Outstanding diplomat Kofi Annan passed away

Kofi Annan passed away on August 18 at the age of 80, the UN Migration Agency confirmed. Annan, a former diplomat from Ghana, led the United Nations from 1997 to 2006.
Annan was the first black African to take up the role of the world’s top diplomat, serving two terms from 1997 to 2006.

He later served as the UN special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Annan’s tenure coincided with the Iraq War and the HIV/Aids pandemic.

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