thanks public, military for support

CAPE TOWN, (Xinhua) -- South African President Jacob Zuma will no longer travel to Zimbabwe on a mediation mission as previously planned, the Presidency announced on Wednesday.

Zuma had planned to visit Zimbabwe to mediate a peaceful solution to the Zimbabwean political crisis on Wednesday. He cancelled the plan following the resignation on Tuesday of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe’s resignation was announced by Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda during a joint sitting of Senate and National Assembly that was debating his impeachment motion.

Under a decision made on Tuesday by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ Troika Plus SADC Chairperson Summit in Angola, Zuma, in his capacity as the SADC Chairperson, and Angolan President Joao Lourenco, also Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, should travel to Zimbabwe to assess the situation on behalf of SADC on Wednesday.

In light with the latest development in Zimbabwe, the visit has now been postponed until further notice, presidential spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said in a statement. 


AU, EU welcome Mugabe resignation

HARARE, (Xinhua) --The African Union (AU) and European Union (EU) have welcomed the resignation of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s decision will go down in history as an act of statesmanship that can only bolster President Mugabe’s political legacy, said Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission in a statement later Tuesday.

Mugabe resigned on Tuesday after pressure from the military and Zimbabweans, ending his 37-year grip on power.

His resignation was greeted with wild scenes of celebration by Zimbabweans who now look forward to a new political dispensation in the country.

President Mugabe will be remembered as a fearless pan-Africanist liberation fighter, and the father of the independent Zimbabwean nation, AU’s statement said.

Faki Mahamat noted that AU recognizes that the Zimbabwean people have expressed their will that there should be a peaceful transfer of power in a manner that secures the democratic future of their country.

He said he is confident that the people, together with all their leaders, will remain steadfast in their commitment to fulfill their legitimate aspirations.

The AU looks forward to Zimbabwe continuing to play a leading role in the affairs of the African continent, as a democratic and prosperous state meeting the aspirations of its people, he said, adding the Southern African country has AU’s full support in the period ahead.

In a statement, the EU said Mugabe’s resignation had shown that he has listened to the voice of the people.

EU high representative Federica Mogherini said the new government must now work on consolidating constitutional order and ensuring that inclusive dialogue is established to encourage acceleration of key reforms in the country.

“An orderly and irreversible transition towards genuinely democratic elections is our shared objective. The consolidation of the constitutional order and respect for fundamental rights and freedoms are key,” said Mogherini.

She said the EU stands ready to assist Zimbabwe in achieving a more prosperous and democratic future in cooperation with the AU and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).


Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa makes first public appearance after being sacked

HARARE, (Xinhua) --Zimbabwe’s incoming president Emmerson Mnangagwa is greeted with wild cheers by supporters at ZANU-PF headquarters as he makes his first public appearance after being sacked by former president Robert Mugabe on Nov. 6. 

During a public address made at the headquarters, Mnangagwa thanked Zimbabweans for receiving him back into the country.

“Today we are witnessing the unfolding of democracy in our country...I appeal to all genuine, patriotic Zimbabweans to come together so that we grow our economy,” he said.

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation said earlier on Wednesday that Mnangagwa will replace ex-president Robert Mugabe who resigned Tuesday. The swearing in of Mnangagwa will take place Friday.

The ruling ZANU-PF party on Sunday reinstated Mnangagwa into the party and nominated him to replace Mugabe as party leader.


Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa to be sworn in as president Friday: state media

HARARE, (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s incoming President Emmerson Mnangagwa will be sworn in on Friday to replace ex-president Robert Mugabe who resigned Tuesday, the state broadcaster said Wednesday.

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation said Mnangagwa, who had been out of the country since he was fired by Mugabe on Nov. 6, was expected to arrive back in the country Wednesday evening.

The swearing in of Mnangagwa comes after the ruling ZANU-PF party on Sunday reinstated him into the party and nominated him to replace Mugabe as party leader. 


Zimbabwe advocacy group underscores democratic
election following Mugabe resignation

HARARE, (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean advocacy group, the Election Resource Center (ERC), said on Wednesday it welcomed Mugabe’s resignation but highlighted the efforts Zimbabweans must make to ensure a democratic election and a democratic government.

“The ERC insists that a smooth transition must be characterized by a clear road map towards democratic elections in Zimbabwe,” it said.

Zimbabwe is due to hold national elections no later than September 2018.

Mugabe resigned Tuesday following military takeover of government and protests by Zimbabweans for him to resign. The resignation brought to an end Mugabe’s 37-year grip on power and was received by wild celebrations by Zimbabweans.

The new government, the ERC said, must focus on strengthening state institutions such as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

The new administration must also immediately align electoral laws with the Constitution of Zimbabwe and create a secure political environment that allows citizens to freely express themselves, it added.

“Only then can the current transition truly benefit Zimbabweans who have been yearning to freely express themselves in democratic processes without fear or favor.

“Zimbabweans must not only register to vote in the ongoing Biometric Voter Registration process but continuously engage and hold those in authority accountable,” it said.


China’s policy towards Zimbabwe will not change: FM

BEIJING, (Xinhua) --China’s policy towards Zimbabwe will not change and China expects to enhance cooperation with Zimbabwe under the principles of equality and mutual benefit, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said Wednesday.

Lu made the remarks at a daily press briefing in response to a request for comment on the resignation of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Lu said that as a good friend of Zimbabwe’s, China appreciates the peaceful and appropriate settlement of relevant issue through talks and negotiations within the framework of law.

Robert Mugabe, aged 93, resigned as Zimbabwe’s president Tuesday, a week after the army and his former political allies moved to end his four-decade rule.

According to reports, Zimbabwe’s former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to be sworn in within days and serve the remainder of Mugabe’s term until the general election, which is scheduled for next year.

“A stable and developing Zimbabwe is in line with fundamental interests of its own people,” said Lu. “China attaches great importance to relations with Zimbabwe and is willing to make joint efforts with Zimbabwean side to facilitate cooperation in all fields.”

“China respects Mr. Mugabe’s decision to resign. He remains a good friend to the Chinese people,” Lu said. “Mugabe had made historic contributions to Zimbabwe’s independence and liberation, and he is an active advocator of the Pan-Africanism movement. He also made important contributions to China-Zimbabwe and China-Africa relations.

China is confident that Zimbabweans are capable of maintaining their country’s political stability and development, said Lu.

“China has always adhered to the principle of not interfering in internal affairs of other countries. China respects Zimbabwean people’s choice,” Lu said, adding that China also hopes that other countries will not meddle in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs either. 


Zimbabwe’s incoming president thanks public, military for support

HARARE, (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s incoming president Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday thanked Zimbabweans and the military for their support.

In his first public address to supporters upon his return to Zimbabwe from exile, Mnangagwa said he was humbled by the outpouring of support after he was sacked by former president Robert Mugabe two weeks ago.

He immediately pledged to serve the people, saying all Zimbabweans need to unite and grow the economy for employment creation.

“We want peace in our country, we want jobs for our people,” he said.

Mnangagwa, due for swearing in on Friday, said Zimbabwe needs the support of the international community in order to rebuild its battered economy.

He said he had already begun to receive pledges of support from several foreign countries.

Zimbabwe, he said, was witnessing the founding of new democracy after the military helped to depose long-serving former president Mugabe from power.

He also praised the military for the peaceful manner in which it handled its operation that culminated in Mugabe resigning Tuesday, ending 37 years of his grip on power.

He said he had survived many attempts on his life by Mugabe’s administration, including his poisoning in August while at a ZANU-PF rally.

“Exactly 16 days ago, I received a letter firing me from the government of Zimbabwe as Vice President. Within two hours I was informed about plans to eliminate me. Realizing that on the 12 of August this year I was subjected to poisoning which resulted in my being airflifted to South Africa and again I thank you Zimbabweans for your prayers. I survived that poisoning,” Mnangagwa told hundreds of cheering supporters at the ZANU-PF headquarters in the capital.

He also thanked the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda for resisting pressure from some quarters that wanted to derail the process of ousting Mugabe from power. 


Nigerian forces destroy Boko Haram bomb factory in airstrike

ABUJA,  (Xinhua) --Nigerian government forces have killed an unknown number of Boko Haram fighters and destroyed a bomb-making factory of the terror group in an airstrike in the northeastern state of Borno on Wednesday, the air force said.

In a statement, the air force said the bomb-making factory was destroyed in Yiwe forest, located 23 kilometers south of Konduga in the northern state.

The air force said its previous intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance had revealed that the bomb-making facility also served as a hideout for the Boko Haram group, from where they often plan their attacks.

According to the air force, it was from that location that the terror group planned a twin suicide attack in Borno on Nov. 18, in which five people were killed.

The airstrike had sparked a huge flame within the settlement, caused by the cache of explosives stored by Boko Haram, while a few fleeing terrorists were further strafed with cannons and rockets, the air force added.

Nigeria has made considerable gains against the terror group, dislodging its fighters from the Sambisa Forest, the group’s largest training camp in the country, early this year.

Boko Haram has been blamed for the death of more than 20,000 people and displacing of 2.3 million others in Nigeria since 2009.


Algeria deals with Chinese firm to complete last artery motorway section

ALGIERS, (Xinhua) --Algeria announced on Wednesday deal with China’s CITIC to finalize the remaining 84 km eastern section of the east-west highway near the Tunisian border, reported APS news agency.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika approved the contract between the Algerian Motorways Agency (AAA) and the Chinese construction firm of CITIC, the source said.

A statement of the Council of Ministers specified that Bouteflika instructed the government to finish the mega project as soon as possible.

In October of 2014, the Algerian government cancelled the contract with the Japanese public work consortium Cojaal over delay in the completion of a 84 km section part of the east-west motorway.

By then, the government said the completion works would be assigned to other companies, noting that works would be done at lower cost than that proposed by Cojaal.

In 2006, Cojaal, a group of Japanese companies, snatched a 5 billion U.S. dollars worth contract to establish 359 km section part of the east-west highway, from the eastern province of Bourdj Bou Arreridj to the Tunisian border, within a 40 months term.

However, the Japanese group required additional payments to complete the project but the government rejected.

Algerian highway authorities have issued two formal warnings to Cojaal about the growing delays plaguing the project. In response, the Japanese consortium decided to take a legal action against the Algerian government at an international arbitration court. 


Algerian president calls for big turnout at local polls

ALGIERS, (Xinhua) -- Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Wednesday called upon his people to vote massively at the local elections due on Nov. 23, to choose their representatives at municipal and prefect assemblies.

Bouteflika chaired a Council of Ministers, as he hailed the role of Thursday’s elections in terms of “rising up the efficiency of public service sector, given that municipal and prefect assemblies are the main tool for developing public resources for the benefit of citizens.”

Some 23 million Algerians are eligible to vote, according to recent figures of the Interior Ministry.

The figures show that nearly 165,000 candidates, representing 50 political parties, four alliances and independent lists, are running to be represented at the 1,541 municipal assemblies.

Some 18 percent of candidates are women, while 51 percent of them are under the age of 40.

More than 16,000 candidates are competing to grab seats at the existing 48 prefect assemblies, 28 percent of whom are women.

As many as 12,457 polling centres and 55,866 polling stations are established for Thursday’s polls, the Interior Ministry said.

Army troops are due to be deployed inside the poll centers to ensure that the elections take place in good conditions. 180,000 police officers are also mobilized to secure the polls, while the National Gendarmerie said its elements are due to be present at 7,722 voting centers, nationwide.

Candidates has campaigned for three weeks, as Head of the Independent High Commission for Election Monitoring Abdelouahab Darbal said the campaign was conducted in calm and acceptable conditions.


Somalia leader lauds peaceful elections in Somaliland

MOGADISHU, (Xinhua) --Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has congratulated Muse Bihi Abdi on his election as a president of the republic of Somaliland.

In a statement issued in Mogadishu on Tuesday evening, Farmajo praised the peaceful elections conducted in Somaliland, saying the Nov. 13 presidential polls enhanced reputation and honor to Somali people in general.

“I am thanking all parties and candidates who competed in the democratic way. I was closely watching registration procedure, election campaign and vote casting that showed civilization and patience,” Farmajo said.

Farmajo pledged to continue talks between Somalia and the Somaliland.

“To the elected president Muse Bihi Abdi, I am promising that I will work with you on speeding up talks between the Federal Government of Somalia and Somaliland to restore the confidence of people,” Farmajo said.

His message comes hours after National Electoral Commission (NEC) declared Abdi as the winner of the Somaliland presidential election conducted on Nov. 13.

Abdi garnered some 350,909 votes or 55.1 percent of the total votes cast. 


Egypt’s prosecution orders detention of 29 over spying for Turkey

CAIRO, (Xinhua) -- The Egyptian prosecution ordered on Wednesday the detention of 29 people over charges of spying for Turkey against the Egyptian national interests, official MENA news agency reported. 


Update: Egypt arrests spy network backed by Qatar

CAIRO, (Xinhua) --The Egyptian General Intelligence Agency said Wednesday the previously arrested spy network financed by Turkey was also supported by Qatar, official MENA news agency reported.

The 29-member spy ring worked upon directives from the Turkish intelligence which financed them with a clear Qatari support, said the intelligence investigations.

Earlier on Wednesday, Egypt’s top prosecutor Nabil Sadeq ordered a 15-day detention of the 29 defendants, along with other fugitives, who are accused of espionage in favor of Turkey to harm Egypt’s interests, joining a terrorist group, involved in money laundering and illegal currency trade and other charges.

Egypt’s ties with Turkey have been tense since the Egyptian military removed former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 and later blacklisted his Muslim Brotherhood group as a terrorist organization, a move that has been officially rejected by Turkey that hosted fleeing Brotherhood members and supporters.

The investigations of Egypt’s Homeland Security agency revealed that the 29 defendants and others passed international online calls through Turkey-hosted servers collecting information about negative and positive conditions inside Egypt to plot against the country from Turkey.

“The second direction is based on the establishment of media outlets and platforms aired from abroad using the collected information and date to make up fake news and rumors to turn the public opinion against the state institutions,” said the investigations.

According to the investigations, the money gained from passing illegal international calls has been used in the establishment of such media platforms abroad and financing acts of aggression in Egypt.

Over the past few years, the Egyptian economy suffered shortage of foreign currency necessary for trade and imports.

The government accused the Brotherhood and its supporters of being engaged in the currency black market to maintain the dollar shortage and offering expatriates higher exchange rates to lure them against transferring foreign currency to Egyptian banks.


Egypt rejects accusation of using Sudan’s Nile water quota

CAIRO, (Xinhua) -- Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry rejected on Wednesday the statements of his Sudanese counterpart that Egypt used some of Sudan’s Nile water quota for many years.

In statements published by Egypt’s official MENA news agency, Shoukry said that Sudan’s annual Nile water quota had been, for some time in the past, far more than its capacity, thus any surplus would normally flow to Egypt through the river.

Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said during a recent interview with Russia Today that Egypt had used some of Sudan’s water quota for many years.

Meanwhile, Shoukry wondered how Sudan could have possibly stopped the normal flow of water when it was totally out of its hands.

This “unexpected” surplus had been “a burden on and a threat to” the Aswan High Dam in Egypt, which could not store extra amounts of water especially in times of floods, said Shoukry, adding that Egypt had to vainly discharge this part of Sudan’s unused water to the Toshka Lakes behind the dam.

Shoukry said he was surprised that Ghandour would put it as a “creditor-and-debtor” relationship, which is impossible where natural resources are concerned.

The Egyptian FM questioned the reasons and motives behind such “inaccurate” statements in this time.

The Sudanese minister’s statements came days after Egypt’s negotiations with Ethiopia and Sudan failed to approve an initial study on the effects of the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the downstream states.

The irrigation ministers of Ethiopia and Sudan did not approve the consultant company’s introductory report of the studies despite Egypt’s initial approval, while asking for amendments that would affect the studies and make the report contentless.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn are scheduled to meet in Cairo next month to discuss the deadlock.

Egypt is worried about its annual share of 55.5 billion cubic meters of the Nile River water amid the GERD’s rapid construction.

Egypt’s ties with Ethiopia have seen ups and downs since the latter started the dam project since April 2011 as Egypt has been suffering from turmoil following an uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.

When President Sisi took office in 2014, he showed understanding of Ethiopia’s aspiration for development through the GERD that would produce around 6,000 megawatts of electricity to the country.

In March 2015, the leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed an initial cooperation deal on the principles of sharing the Nile River water and the construction of the GERD, which will be Africa’s largest dam upon completion.

Earlier in 2010, an agreement was signed among some Nile Basin states in Uganda’s Entebbe about the sharing of the Nile River water, but it was rejected by Egypt and its downstream partner Sudan, citing the deal affects their usual annual share of the Nile water.

On the other hand, relations between Egypt and Sudan have been tense over the past years on various issues.


Rwanda says its door wide open to African migrants in Libya

KIGALI, (Xinhua) --Rwandan foreign ministry on Wednesday said its door is wide open to African migrants in Libya, following media reports that said African migrants were being sold as slaves in Libya.

A CNN report that included video footage of a slave auction last month outside the Libyan capital of Tripoli, where about a dozen migrants were sold as slaves in a matter of minutes, triggered international outcry.

Libya is a preferred point of departure for migrants, mostly sub-Saharan Africans, who wish to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe due to the insecurity and chaos in the North African country following the 2011 uprising.

“Rwanda, like the rest of the world, was horrified by the images of the tragedy currently unfolding in Libya, where African men, women and children who were on the road to exile, have been held and turned into slaves,” said Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and East African Community of Rwanda in a statement.

“Given Rwanda’s political philosophy and its history, Rwanda cannot remain silent when human beings are being mistreated and auctioned off like cattle,” said the statement.

“The government and people of Rwanda stand in solidarity with our African brothers and sisters still held in captivity,” said the statement, adding that Rwanda may not be able to welcome everyone but “our door is wide open.”

The foreign ministry further said Rwanda is ready to work closely with the African Union, the private sector, as well as other friends and partners to ensure that they can provide minimum comfort to those in need.


Cinnamon helps burn energy: study

CHICAGO, (Xinhua) --Cinnamon, a common holiday spice, might be enlisted in the fight against obesity, a study of the University of Michigan (UM) found.

The study is scheduled to be published in the December issue of journal Metabolism.

UM researchers found that cinnamaldehyde, an essential oil that gives cinnamon its flavor, improves metabolic health by acting directly on fat cells, or adipocytes, inducing them to start burning energy through a process called thermogenesis.

The researchers tested human adipocytes from volunteers representing a range of ages, ethnicities and body mass indices. When the cells were treated with cinnamaldehyde, the researchers noticed increased expression of several genes and enzymes that enhance lipid metabolism. They also observed an increase in Ucp1 and Fgf21, which are important metabolic regulatory proteins involved in thermogenesis.

Adipocytes normally store energy in the form of lipids.

“Cinnamon has been part of our diets for thousands of years, and people generally enjoy it,” said Jun Wu, an assistant professor of molecular and integrative physiology at the U-M Medical School. “So if it can help protect against obesity, it may offer an approach to metabolic health that is easier for patients to adhere to.”

As obesity epidemic rises, researchers have been looking for ways to prompt fat cells to activate thermogenesis, turning those fat-burning processes back on.


Libya’s Benghazi hospital appeals for urgent help

TRIPOLI, (Xinhua) --Libya’s Benghazi Central Hospital on Wednesday launched an urgent appeal for provision of medical supplies, Libyan eastern-based news agency reported.

“The hospital’s departments of obstetrics and gynecology, emergency, intensive care, operations and shelter suffer from a severe shortage of medicines and first aid kits,” said Khalil Qweder, the hospital’s head of information office.

“The hospital’s patients need continuous medical supplies,” said Added Qweder, calling on eastern authorities to urgently provide assistance and aids for the hospital.

Libya is suffering a severe medical crisis, with public hospitals lacking medical supplies and equipment due to deteriorated financial situation.

The country is also plagued with political division amid insecurity and chaos.


Tunisia reports slight decline in industrial production index

TUNIS, (Xinhua) --The industrial production index was down 0.9 percent in the first nine months of the current year, compared with the same period of 2016, National Institute of Statistics (INS) of Tunisia announced Wednesday.

Regarding the reasons for this regression, the INS mentioned in particular the decrease in the sector of non-mineral mining products by 5.6 percent.

However, the extraction of non-energy products increased by 20 percent, mainly due to the resumption of phosphate production of 3.54 million tonnes in the first nine months.


Kenya launches laboratory complex to boost exports to EU

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --Kenyan on Wednesday launched a 2.5 million U.S. dollar laboratory complex that will ensure international agricultural standards are attained as part of efforts to increase exports to the European markets.

Deputy President William Ruto, who opened the laboratory complex constructed by Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate (KEPHIS) and the European Union, said the facility will also be used to test genetically modified (GMO) foods and relieve Kenyans of fears associated with them.

“The factory will help the government to access the international rules for seed, fertilizer and water testing that promote trade between Kenya and EU among other countries,” said Ruto.

He said the facility will also ensure seeds, soils, fertilizers and water are tested before farmers use them as well as ensure healthy plants, safe trade and sustainable agro-environment for the development of the agricultural sector. 

Ruto said the government is putting more emphasis on the development of the agricultural sector, which remains the engine of economic growth, by coming up with initiatives aimed at adding value to farmers’ produce.

According to Ruto, the complex will ensure the country has good quality seeds, fertilizers and tested water and soils that will improve production for domestic and commercial purposes and thus results in higher exports to European markets and others across the world.

“The value of the laboratory will be measured by what we achieve in exporting food products and access to markets outside the country for our tea, coffee, flowers and other farm produce,” he said.

Hubert Perr, EU Delegation Head of Development and Cooperation, said the government through KEPHIS has put in place measures to ensure high quality produce hits EU markets.

Perr also promised to deepen ties with the organization to ensure more of its agricultural produce reaches markets. 


Feature: Online shops offer Kenyans great bargains as e-commerce booms

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --Some years ago, Kenyans seeking bargains for various merchandise that include mobile phones, shoes and clothes would walk from one shop to another.

In the capital Nairobi, citizens would look for the items in shops on River Road and Tom Mboya Streets, which are famed for good prices.

Others would travel to Eastleigh, a suburb on the outskirts of Nairobi inhabited by mainly Somalis.

But that is in the past, today all the citizens have to do is visit online shops, a majority of which are currently offering ‘crazy deals’ ahead of Christmas, luring thousands.

The online shops which are currently being flocked by thousands of Kenyans include Kilimall, owned by the Chinese, and Jumia.

The two are the most popular in the East African nation and are recording a huge traffic, thanks to their Black Friday offers.

A lot is up for grabs, from handbags to jewellery, dresses, shoes, mobile phones, baby diapers, computers, fridges, TVs and watches.

And the prices have been dropped considerably during the promotion, whetting Kenyans appetite for shopping.

Men’s shirt, for instance, on one of the sites is going for 9 U.S. dollars down from 29 dollars while watches go for 15 dollars, down from 25.

Prices of mobile phones, fridges and computers have been reduced by between 2 dollars and 50 dollars, offering consumers best deals.

Black Friday is regarded as the first day of the Christmas shopping season, on which retailers make many special offers.

While in many countries Black Friday promotion is only a day, in Kenya the online shops have sweetened the deals for consumers by offering 30 days of shopping.

“I have become such an addict of online shopping that I no longer go out to buy. Most of my things currently I am now buying from the virtual shops, from lipstick to clothes and shoes,” Mary Ambani, a communication officer with a local firm, said Wednesday.

Ambani has taken advantage of the ongoing Black Friday promotion to buy a fridge, a number of dresses, shoes and a mobile phone.

“I looked at the prices of the goods online and checked in the shops and did not even think twice. I saved 40 dollars on the fridge I bought from the online shop and they delivered. Why can’t I be happy?” she said.

Victor Mwangi, a marketer in Nairobi, termed the online shops as the best thing to have happened to the Kenyan consumer market after the malls.

“I have embraced the online malls fully, switching from the physical malls. I buy online everything I need save for food because it is not offered. The latest thing I bought on Wednesday is a phone charger, which they dropped at the office,” said Mwangi.

Jumia Kenya Managing Director Sam Chappatte last week said that their Black Friday promotion, which started on Nov. 13, had attracted more than 3 million customers in about two weeks, logged to secure deals.

The growing e-commerce trade in the East African nation is luring several players to join the market, with the latest being leading telecom Safaricom.

Safaricom on Tuesday launched its e-commerce platform named “Masoko” as it seeks to offer its customers online shopping experience.

The platform is modelled after retail e-commerce giants Alibaba (Chinese) and Amazon (US), and is offering more than 20,000 items from 160 vendors.

“We view this as part of our ongoing initiatives to drive value for our customers. Masoko will form part of the 320 million dollars we are investing on our platform this financial year,” said Safaricom Director-Strategy, Joe Ogutu.

“Several things are boosting e-commerce on the online malls among them great bargains, booming mobile money use, convenience, free delivery especially in Nairobi and the concept of pay upon receiving goods,” said Bernard Mwaso, a consultant with Edell IT Solution.

He noted that trust in e-commerce was low when pioneers insisted on paying first before receiving goods, but this changed.

Kenya has some 40 million mobile phone subscribers, about 30 million of whom are using mobile money, according to the Communication Authority of Kenya. The surging numbers point to better times for e-commerce ahead.

However, as e-commerce booms, Gibert Wandera, a computer dealer in Nairobi said that the online shops have disrupted their businesses.

“The shops are offering lower prices for laptops that they are denying me market. I am hoping that another Black Friday would not come soon,” said Wandera.


Kenya’s bourse rallies on renewed investor confidence

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --Turnover at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) hit 10 million U.S. dollars mark on Wednesday as the benchmark index too rose, highlighting renewed investor confidence.

Equity turnover closed the day at 10.2 million dollars on a volume of 35 million shares, from 27.2 million worth 6.5 million dollars on Tuesday. The market had not crossed the 10 million dollars mark for several weeks.

Similarly, the benchmark NSE 20 Share Index gained 21.69 points to close at 3,839.46, with the surge adding to the 39 points gained Tuesday. On the other hand, the NSE All Share Index (NASI) was up 3.90 points to close at 172.17 points.

Safaricom, Equity Bank, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), East African Breweries Ltd and Cooperative Bank accounted for 83 percent of the total turnover.

At the bonds market, turnover went up by 61 percent to stand at 23 million dollars from 14 million dollars in the previous session.


Kenya shilling sustains upward trend against dollar

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --The Kenya shilling gained more ground against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday, sustaining an upward trend that started Monday after President Uhuru’s Kenyatta’s win was upheld by the apex court.

The shilling traded at an average of 103.35, up from 103.60 on Tuesday, a level last witnessed in mid-October.

The Central Bank of Kenya quoted the shilling in the Wednesday trading at a new high of 103.37, an improvement from 103.60 in the previous session.

Commercial banks in the East African nation, on the other hand, placed the currency at between 103.20 and 103.40, up from an average of 103.50 in the previous session.

Forex traders in the financial institutions attributed the surge to increased inflows from various sectors following improved political climate.

The sectors included agriculture and the debt market, where foreign investors are trooping back to buy government securities.

Against the British Pound, the shilling similarly gained considerably closing the day at 136.9, a rise from 137.19.

While the shilling is expected to gain in the coming days, analysts noted it may stagger at the 103.00 level due to increased dollar demand from importers.


Feature: Board a naval ship for health: China’s
Peace Ark treats hundreds in Tanzania

DAR ES SALAAM, (Xinhua) --On a cloudy Tuesday Afternoon, Susan Emmanuel Mahaligewi, a mother of four children, walked out of the Chinese naval hospital ship Peace Ark wearing a broad smile.

“I have undergone free medical check-up conducted by Chinese doctors in the ship and they have told me I have a clean bill of health,” said 37-year-old Mahaligewi after disembarking the ship with a length of 178 meters, a beam of 24 meters and a height of 35.5 meters.

“For quite some time I have been through nightmares thinking I was a victim of breast cancer since I started feeling pains in one of my breasts in April this year,” she told Xinhua in an interview.

Chinese naval hospital ship Peace Ark arrived on Sunday morning in Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam, starting an eight-day humanitarian mission of providing free medical services to local residents. 

Since arrival of the ship, crowds of Tanzanians have swarmed to the Dar es Salaam port and sign up for medical check-ups.

“The visit by the Chinese doctors to provide free medical care is a blessing to me. I have been seeking treatment in various hospitals since April without getting proper diagnosis,” said Mahaligewi.

Apart from getting free medical check-ups, Mahaligewi was also given medicines without being charged.

Mahaligewi was among more than 6,000 Tanzanians who have lined up for treatment by the visiting Chinese doctors.

On the same day, a team of about 11 Chinese doctors from the ship visited the Kurasini Children’s Home (KCH), a government-owned center established in 1968 to look after abandoned, lost and abused children, where they provided free medical care and donated school bags and toys.

The children wore faces of joy on seeing their Chinese visitors, who also entertained them with Chinese martial arts.

More than 40 of the home’s 75 children underwent free medical check-ups and were given free medicines.

Aurelia Michael, a nursing officer at the KCH, told Xinhua that a good number of the children were suffering from malaria, skin diseases, HIV/AIDS, pneumonia and diarrhea.

The nurse thanked the Chinese doctors for their kindness in extending a helping hand to the poor children staying at the home, which is running out of medicines and depends on donations to survive.

“We are very grateful for the visit by the Chinese doctors. Your visit shows how much you love us,” said Beatrice Lawrence Mgumio, KCH officer in charge.

The arrival of the Peace Ark, its second visit to the East African country in seven years, was received with much joy.

At the welcome ceremony held at the Dar es Salaam port, Task Group Commander of Peace Ark Guan Bailin said the crew will carry out free medical services, humanitarian assistance and medical training to promote friendly relations and deepen professional exchanges between China and Tanzania.

Tanzania Navy Commander Richard Mutayoba Makanzo thanked China for sending the Peace Ark to Tanzania again.

In 2010-2015, the Peace Ark visited 29 countries and regions in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Oceania. A total 120,000 people received free on-board medical and humanitarian services.

The current tour has taken the ship to Djibouti, Gabon, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola and Mozambique in Africa, prior to Tanzania. 

MOGADISHU, (Xinhua) -- (L-R) Somalian Deputy Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Elmi Omar Ainsane, Chinese Ambassador to Somalia Qin Jian, and UNICEF Somalia Representative Steven Lauwerier pose for photos during a donation ceremony in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Nov. 21, 2017. Chinese government on Tuesday donated 2 million U.S. dollars to the UNICEF to help reach 15,000 young children suffering from severe acute malnutrition in the southern and central regions of Somalia.XINHUA PHOTO: CHEN CHENG

Roundup: Agriculture experts, policymakers urge
further actions on bio-technologies in Africa

ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua) -- Agriculture sector experts and policymakers are calling for further actions in the agricultural bio-technologies sector so as to bring sustainable food systems and nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The experts and officials made the call at a three-day regional meeting organized by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) on agricultural bio-technologies in sustainable food systems and nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa. The meeting is held at the headquarters of the African Union in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa from Nov. 22 to 24.

Wang Ren, FAO Assistant Director-General for Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department, told the meeting that bio-technologies “are relevant all along the value chain from the farm to the fork, but it has also been uncovered that access to these technologies has not been even.”

Noting that bio-technologies are part of the set of innovations that have transformed agriculture and people’s livelihoods in other parts of the world, Wang said that there is a greater sense of urgency in Africa to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which dictates to eradicate hunger and poverty by 2030.

Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, also stressed that up to 15 African countries have been categorized as severely food insecure since the break of this millennium and the trend has continued until today, despite reports of advanced agriculture.

“Since 2015 until now the state of food insecurity in Africa report shows that over a quarter of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa (26.6 percent) experienced hunger and stunting continues to worry the continent,” she indicated.

“This alone lends credit to the need for investing in bio-technologies. Africa needs to promote and invest in technologies that allow the use of efficient and effective water management,” Sacko said.

Eyasu Abraha, Ethiopian Agriculture and Natural Resources Minister, also indicated that the east African country is presently striving to promote utilization of bio-technologies that are crucial in enhancing agricultural products and production.

According to Abraha, Ethiopia has made a series of strides in promoting biotechnology in the country, including preparation of the National Biotechnology Policy and Strategy, in addition to the Biotechnology Law approved by the Parliament in 2015.

He also indicated that the Ethiopian government has established the National Biotechnology Institute, which is responsible in leading and coordinating biotechnology activities of Africa’s second populous nation.

“To make use of the full potential of biotechnology as described in the National Biotechnology Strategy, Ethiopia is aggressively investing in human capacity development at various levels”, Abraha said.


Kenyan Olympic champion Cheruiyot to grace Great Ethiopian Run

ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua) --Kenyan Olympic champion Vivian Cheruiyot will be a guest of honor at the Great Ethiopian Run (GER), an Ethiopian official said on Wednesday.

GER Director Ermias Ayele said the invitation to Cheruiyot, 2016 Rio Olympics 5,000m champion, is part of a wider strategy to introduce the annual 10kms road race to the wider world. The mayor of Addis Ababa city Diriba Kuma will be another guest of honor at the road race.

Ethiopia is a fierce competitor with southern neighbor Kenya in the middle distance and long-distance competitions as both countries work in recent years to advertise their countries as international running destinations.

According to Ayele, the 10km race is expected to have record total of 47,500 runners.

The road race will also feature participation of 2,000 foreigners composed from Ethiopia’ s expat community and tourists.

“The race is part of GER’s efforts to promote running and healthy lifestyle among the Ethiopian public,” Ayele said.

The race was initiated in 2001 by Ethiopian running legend Haile Gebreselassie as part of his efforts to turn running from an elite sport into a hobby of life.



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