Archive for October 9th, 2017

Africa: Uganda National Day

Press Statement Rex W. Tillerson Secretary of State Washington, DC October 9, 2017 On behalf of the people of the United States, our best wishes to all Ugandans as you celebrate the 55th anniversary of your independence. The U...
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News in Brief 09 October 2017 (PM)

Deadly attack on blue helmet base in eastern DRCTwo peacekeepers have reportedly been killed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Nations said on Monday.This follows an attack against a base of the UN mission in the country, MINUSMA, loc...
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Zimbabwe’s Mugabe Names New Finance Minister Amid Currency Crunch

HARARE Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has replaced Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa � who will lead a new Security Ministry � with Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo in a cabinet reshuffle, the government said in a statement Monday.

The move comes against the backdrop of a severe hard currency shortage that has dealt a fresh blow to confidence and investment in the southern African economy, which uses the U.S. dollar.

Chinamasa was appointed finance minister in 2013 after Mugabe was re-elected and his move to head a newly created ministry of cybersecurity, threat detection and mitigation was unexpected.

Chombo, who does not have a finance background, is a staunch Mugabe supporter who comes from the 93-year-old leader's rural home district. He was a surprise choice for minister of finance.

The new finance minister will have to contend with a serious shortage of foreign currency that has seen U.S. dollar bank balances lose value against cash dollars, fanning a thriving black market.

The worthless Zimbabwe dollar was replaced by the U.S. dollar in 2009, but the economy has struggled over the last 18 months because of a massive domestic shortage of greenbacks.

As a result, cash � especially crisp, new, $100 bills � has enjoyed a steady 10 percent to 20 percent premium over dollars stored electronically in bank accounts � nicknamed "zollars."

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa lost oversight of the Justice Ministry to the head of Zimbabwe's spy agency Happyton Bonyongwe. In total, 10 cabinet ministers changed posts while two were dropped entirely.

Source: Voice of America

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Girls in South Sudan Least Likely to Go to School, Report Says

LONDON Girls are least likely to be in school in South Sudan, with nearly three-quarters of school-age girls out of the classroom, followed by Central African Republic, Niger and Afghanistan, all countries hit by conflict, a report said on Tuesday.

Nine of the top 10 countries where girls fail to get an education are in Africa, while other crisis-crippled countries, including Somalia and Syria, failed to make the list due to insufficient data.

"Over 130 million girls are still out of school � that's over 130 million potential engineers, entrepreneurs, teachers and politicians whose leadership the world is missing out on," said Gayle Smith, president of the ONE Campaign that published the index ahead of the International Day of the Girl.

"It's a global crisis that perpetuates poverty."

In South Sudan, 73 percent of girls aged 6 to 11 are not in school. In the Central African Republic, there is only one teacher for every 80 students and in Niger only 17 percent of girls and women are literate, the report found.

"This index shines a necessary spotlight on the barriers that girls face to accessing a quality education in Africa," said Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO of children's humanitarian organization, Plan International.

"The quality of a country's education is linked to the resources governments invest in it," said Albrectsen, who called for the closing of the education funding gap and addressing the barriers preventing girls from going to school.

The report found exceptions, however, such as Burundi, one of the poorest countries in the world, that outperformed 18 wealthier countries when it came to girls' education.

Thousands of girls are kept from school due to poverty, early marriage, dangers in traveling to class and having too many chores at home, according to the United Nations' children's organization, UNICEF.

In Ethiopia, two in every five girls marry before their eighteenth birthday while just one percent of girls in Burkina Faso complete secondary school, according to the report.

Attitudes toward education for girls are starting to change across Africa as more parents see sending their daughters to school not only as a chance to improve their futures, but also to boost the family's fortunes, experts say.

But generations of women have been left behind, with women accounting for almost two-thirds of the world's illiterate adults.

"Extreme poverty and gender inequity drive the injustice that not only keeps girls out of school, but forces them into child marriages," said Fiona Mavhinga, a lawyer and one of the first girls in Zimbabwe supported by international educational charity Camfed to go to university.

Without an education young woman are "locked away from a better future," she said.

Source: Voice of America

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