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Gambian leader Describes New Constitution as All-inclusive
March 31, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

President Adama Barrow

State House, Banjul, March 30, 2020 – President Adama Barrow has said that the new Constitution, premised on strong foundations and all-inclusiveness, will provide a safe haven for all citizens to enjoy the path to peace, freedom and prosperity.

The President made this remark in receiving the draft new Constitution presented by the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) at the State House on Monday.


The drafting process took the 11-member Commission, headed by Justice Cherno Jallow, under two years to consult, draft, review and submit a validated new Constitution to His Excellency, President Adama Barrow.

The exercise was meant to provide Gambians with a constitutional framework to enjoy their rights as citizens of the country.

Constitution Review commission team with Barrow

“This springs off from the belief that every Gambian should comfortably relate to the Constitution, and that our institutions must be structured for sustained performance,” President Barrow said at a ceremony attended by Speaker of the National Assembly, Chief Justice of The Gambia and a cross section of Cabinet Ministers.

He added that it would promote and nurture best practices, as well as to maintain the country’s values as a nation.

“Accommodating our diversity allows us all to enjoy the fundamentals of democracy, freedom and the rule of law,” he maintained, noting that the new Constitution will allow Government to focus on development, and create the environment for all to enjoy their citizenship and realise their full potentials.

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubacarr Tambadou described the submission of the new Constitution by the CRC as progress that is “most profound and satisfying” for him.

He said a number of Bills tabled before the National Assembly for enactment, on top of this new Constitution, will radically transform the legal landscape of the country, particularly with respect to the country’s criminal justice system.

“[It] marks another fulfilled promise to the people of this country. You promised a new Constitution within two years and you have delivered on your promise. It is now up to us, the Gambian people, to uphold our part of the bargain,” Aboubacarr Tambadou said.

Justice Jallow, Chairperson CRC

In June 2018 the eleven-member Constitutional Review Commission was sworn into office and mandated to execute their assignment in two phases: First, to review the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia and write a new Constitution; second, to prepare a report with regard to the new Constitution.

The CRC Chairperson, Justice Cherno Jallow reported that they adhered to these statutorily established functions and exercised their discretionary powers “in a fair and balanced manner”, bearing in mind at all times matters that it considered to be in the best interest and future of The Gambia.

“Constitution-building is a serious business,” said Chairman Jallow. “But it is also a herculean task, especially when the drafters of the new Constitution are confronted with tons of wishes and aspirations for inclusion in that Constitution,” he added.

Mr. Jallow said when President Barrow tasked them to review the 1997 Constitution, he was emphatic about the need to develop a Constitution that will serve the test of time. Hence they were grateful to be given both the strength and the commitment to achieve this for their country and as their leader expected of them.

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Mozambique: President Nyusi declares state of emergency
March 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge dos Santos*

President Nyusi
President Nyusi

Mozambique should be in a state of emergency from 00:00 on 1 April, for 30 days in response to Covid-19, mozambican president Filipe Nyusi announced on Monday night saying that he himself submitted the proposal to parliament hoping it should be ratified on Tuesday.

In a statement to the nation, Nyusi also announced new measures to be implemented in the framework of strengthening prevention against the new coronavirus. Mozambique has a record of eight confirmed cases, of which six were imported cases of the virus and two were transmitted locally.

The measures include 14 days obligatory quarantine for all people who have recently travelled outside the country or who have had contact with confirmed cases of covid-19; a ban on any public or private event, such as religious worship, cultural, recreational, sporting, political, associative, tourist or any other idol except for unavoidable issues of State or social;

The internal circulation of people in any part of the national territory has been limited as well as the entry of people at land borders, airports and ports except for reasons of State interest or transport of goods and merchandise related to health.

Nyusi also said that commercial establishments of entertainment or similar should be closed; There should be monitoring of the prices of essential goods for the population including those necessary for the prevention and combat of the pandemic; The industrial sector is now oriented to the production of inputs necessary to combat the Covid-19.

Sustainable fiscal and monetary policy measures should also be adopted to support the private sector to face the economic impact of the pandemic and to introduce labour turnover or other modalities according to the specificity of the public and private sectors as well as to ensure the implementation of the prevention measures announced by the Ministry of Health in all public and private institutions.

Nyusi admitted that, although the measures are phase 3, and not lockdown, they are extreme and called for people to obey unconditionally.

“Stay home and break the network of the disease spreading,” he said.

*jorgedossantosmz@gmail.com

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Equatorial Guinea shortlists companies for Key Energy Projects under its Year of Investment
March 30, 2020 | 0 Comments
Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons.
The decision was adopted during a meeting on March 19th, 2020

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, March 30, 2020/ — The Board of Directors of the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons (MMH) of Equatorial Guinea has selected and revealed the key companies shortlisted for the execution of its landmark projects under its ongoing Year of Investment. The decision was adopted during a meeting on March 19th, 2020.

At Punta Europa, where most of Equatorial Guinea’s gas and energy activities are currently located, the country is building a modular refinery, storage tanks and a methanol-to-derivatives plant. Interested companies for the modular refinery include American oil company Marathon Oil, a Spanish-Russian consortium of Selquimica International with Engineering and Energy, and British company Rosslyn Energy.

The latter is also interested in the development of the Storage Tanks, along with British company Orange Resources Worldwide and the China Communications Construction Company.

Finally, the Methanol-to-Derivatives project has attracted the interest of South African company Pan African Energy, Nigerian company Bugabi Group, and Danish catalysis company Haldor Topsoe.

At Kogo South of the nation’s economic capital Bata, the second Modular Refinery project has attracted the interest of Egyptian company Petrojet, British company Rosslyn Energy, the Spanish-Russian consortium of Selquimica International with Engineering and Energy, and UAE-based SDLE International DMCC. Meanwhile, South African company Grindstone Resources and Omani company MSS LLC are both shortlisted for the gold refinery project and the Minerals Industrial Zone.

While the MMH is still registering interest from additional players, including Chinese companies, these are the shortlisted potential investors for these projects so far.

“Equatorial Guinea has postponed most investment conferences under its Year of Investment in 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus, but we keep working with our team and our partners on having all these projects break ground as soon as possible. These are landmark infrastructure development projects that will ensure the sustainable growth of our hydrocarbons and minerals industry, create jobs and generate income for the state and citizens for decades to come,” commented H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons.
*African Energy Chamber

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MePlaylistTM “a 100% African Start-Up for Music Streaming and Promotion” attracts Investment from Mathew Knowles and other Global Investors
March 30, 2020 | 0 Comments
Investors Mathew Knowles and Michael Kiladejo
The company which was founded by Olakunle Oladehin, a seasoned entertainment industry insider, is poised to revitalize the streaming market


LAGOS, Nigeria, March 30, 2020/ — MePlaylistTM (https://www.MePlaylist.com/) a 100% African solution to music consumption and promotion has earned the attention of global investors and partners like Mr Mathew Knowles, father of artists Beyoncé and Solange Knowles. Mr Knowles believes MePlaylistTM offers music consumers in Africa a unique experience that is much more simplified for a continent where internet penetration and the use of smartphones is projected to experience significant growth.

“MePlaylistTM is Africa’s own answer to the popular music streaming platforms, but it takes streaming a step further by personalizing the experience for each consumer based on their consumption patterns and the technology available to them. This and the population of Africans both on the continent and in the diaspora is why I am proud to have invested in MePlaylistTM“, he said in a statement.

With increasing mobile phone usage in Africa and the global prominence of African acts like Diamond Platinumz, Davido, Tiwa, Wizkid, Yemi Alade and Burna Boy, convenient and reliable platforms with expansive catalogues of streamable are far from the norm on the continent. Many streaming platforms prioritize commercialization efforts in high-income countries and pay less attention to low and middle-income countries. This has created a gap between Africa’s rich musical contents and the need to reach fans through channels that make monetization and exchange of value easier and convenient.

It is solving this challenge that birthed MePlaylistTM; a music streaming platform that presents music content to users in an intuitive and data-friendly fashion, projecting African acts to the world and vice versa. The platform comes with a unique administrative royalty distribution, multiple plan types and subscription currencies, high-quality audio, plus DDEX standards for ingesting and reporting usage. These amongst others have attracted global music stakeholders to the platform, hence making it possible to partner with music distributors globally.

According to a year-end report (https://bit.ly/2UELjEM) from the RIAA, revenues from streaming services grew nearly 20% in 2019 to $8.8 billion, accounting for 79.5% of all recorded music revenues, which means the streaming music services’ share of total music revenues is bigger than ever. With the global music industry now worth about $19.1 billion, the African market is still largely untapped with its 1 billion-plus mostly young population and still accounts for a mere 2% of the global recorded-music sector and less than 1% of the royalties collected.

Unfortunately for music consumers in Africa, many of whom fall between the ages of 17 and 22, streaming services though ubiquitous, are not without their challenges. Consumers have over time complained about the high cost of subscribing to some platforms, the unresponsive and unexciting user interfaces and catalogues not as exhaustive as consumers would love. This has presented a challenge for content creators in Africa to earn suitable revenue from their work.

MePlaylistTM is a 100% African solution to music consumption and promotion. The company which was founded by Olakunle Oladehin, a seasoned entertainment industry insider, is poised to revitalize the streaming market by providing a music consumption and promotion service that will make music consumers enjoy their listening experience on an optimized app without breaking the bank or running out of options. MePlaylistTM users will also be able to curate their own playlists and get followers to enjoy new music from all over the world.

According to Olakunle, “our focus is to put our users and their music consumption habits first; our platform has been designed with the understanding that people are mobile and constantly in need of new content, so from our interface to our catalogue options, we are making the MePlaylistTM experience the best in the market”. Olakunle further emphasised the increasing importance of user-generated content (UGC) to give more visibility to music that matters. In his words “MePlaylistTM has been designed to be an intelligent music App that applies artificial intelligence to give each user a unique experience.”

His words are echoed by Ayodeji Oyenekan the Head of Technical Innovation at MePlaylistTM who says the MePlaylistTM app has been built to make expanding the catalogue on offer and other features as seamless as possible. “Because of the innovative app we have built, MePlaylistTM will offer artists, aggregators and other content owners the opportunity to better monetize their content and reach a wider audience.”

Mr Knowles’ Music World Entertainment Corporation is joining other global industry majors who have invested in Nigeria’s rapidly growing music industry. Mr Michael Kay Kiladejo, Managing Partner of Music World International, and CEO of Track Record Entertainment LTD, UK, expressed optimism in the African music landscape and cited reasons for investing in MePlaylistTM. In his words “We are very confident in the technical capabilities and expansion strategies for MePlaylistTM to deliver world-class service to music lovers in Africa and beyond. To this end, it is a timely move to be able to facilitate the availability of the iconic Music World catalogue on the MePlaylist platform, and simultaneously take advantage of access to the dynamic new market it offers to artists on the Track Record Entertainment label.”

MePlaylistTM Founder Olakunle Oladehin believes that everyone will find their favourite kind of music on the app and anticipates that pre-launch subscription figures will shoot up significantly in the coming days as more Nigerians experience the seamless features of the MePlaylistTM app. “Whether you are looking for the next Wizkid, Burna Boy or Tiwa Savage song or your taste is more Obesere and King Sunny Ade, we have something for you on an app that makes the music more interesting for you”.

Legal and Transaction advisory services for the MePlaylistTM project was provided by leading Entertainment Law Firm in Nigeria, RBMM Solicitors. According to Demilade Olaosun, the Lead Solicitor at the Firm, it was a privilege working with the MePlaylistTM Management Team to iron out critical equity acquisition terms between the Company and Mr Mathew Knowles and his team. Olaosun strongly believes the African Entertainment industry stands to gain a lot from this strategic collaboration and he is excited about the prospects of MePlaylistTM in shaping music consumption in Africa and across the world.

About MePlaylist:
MePlaylistTM (https://www.MePlaylist.com/) is a subscription and ads based On-Demand music streaming application, creating an intuitive and unique media to access unlimited music. The app collects data about user tastes and preferences to create custom-curated playlists in the app for users to listen to. MePlaylistTM is available on the Google Play Store and all Web Browser services and is home to an entire streaming catalogue of new music, curated playlists, music and more.
About Music World Entertainment Corporation:
Music World Entertainment Corporation has expanded and diversified over the last two decades into one of the world’s leading music and entertainment conglomerates, with record sales exceeding 300 million worldwide. Under Music World Artist Management, Destiny’s Child became a global phenomenon and was named the Best Selling Female Group of All Time in popular music, as well as Billboards Top Ten Best Selling Artist of the Decade, selling over 100 million records and collecting nearly 200 awards globally.

Its founder Mathew Knowles, MBA, PhD, is a public speaker, #1 best-selling author and a university professor currently teaching at Prairie View A&M. Under his leadership, Music World Entertainment Corporation catalogue label boasts major names like Chaka Khan, Kool & The Gang, The O’Jays, Solange, Michelle Williams and countless others.

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Opinion: Young Jamaican’s invention could help tackle spread of viruses like COVID-19
March 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Patricia Scotland*

Patricia Scotland, Commonwealth Secretary-General

Five years ago more than 40 babies born in Jamaican hospitals became infected with lethal bacteria – half of them died.

The bacteria Klebsiella, like the coronavirus, is spread from person-to-person or via contaminated surfaces. It can be killed by hand-washing with warm soapy water.

The situation caught the attention of technology student Rayvon Stewart based in Jamaica who set about finding a way to curb the spread of harmful germs.

“I made a determined decision that I was going to find a solution to limit the transfer of pathogens to multiple surfaces, thereby saving lives,” says Rayvon.

Young innovators in health

I met Rayvon at the Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting (CHMM) in Geneva last year. He was among the finalists shortlisted for last year’s Commonwealth Health Innovation Awards. He took part in an exhibition on the theme ‘Universal Health Coverage: Reaching the unreached, ensuring that no-one is left behind’ which highlighted how young people are tackling age-old challenges with modern technology and disruptive thinking.

The event underlined Commonwealth commitment to empowering young people as outlined in our charter and also our contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

I spoke to five extraordinary innovators who made it as finalists of the Commonwealth Health Innovation Awards which recognise outstanding young people whose groundbreaking projects have made a real impact in helping their countries achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3, which is to ‘ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’.

William Wasswa was working on a digital pathology platform for automated diagnosis and classification of cervical cancer from pap-smear images. Then there was Midia Hassan using 3D printing technology to provide prosthetics to amputees living in refugee camps and poverty zones.

Another timely invention is that of Nitash Jangir who was one of 15 finalists at our SDG innovation awards. Nitash invented a neonatal breathing support device for low resource settings, with multiple powering options. It maintains respiration and oxygenation in premature neonates with Respiratory Distress Syndrome by providing constant airflow and pressure to keep the lungs open during transport to a tertiary care setting.

I was struck by the ability of young minds to find solutions to real problems in their communities, and their persistence in finding support to scale-up their projects.

In Rayvon’s case, he focused on the most common places where bacteria and viruses could easily be left by one person and picked up directly by another. He came up with what he calls ‘Xermosol’- a simple-to-install device that automatically disinfects door knobs and handles after each use.

The innovation uses ultraviolet light to target and specifically kill harmful microorganisms, while being harmless to human beings.

The potential to save lives

The potential impact of Rayvon’s invention could now be even more important than when he first conceived it, as the world battles the frightening COVID-19 pandemic.

The coronavirus lives up to two or three days on stainless steel and metal, and several hours on fabric depending on factors such as temperature and humidity.

Field and laboratory testing has validated Xermosol’s efficiency in killing more than 99.9% of deadly pathogens. In addition to health facilities, Rayvon hopes it could help reduce transmission of germs in other public spaces such as schools and businesses.

Tests carried out in conjunction with University of Technology, Jamaica and University of the West Indies show Xermosol destroys organisms such as MRSA and E-coli and destroys viral cells such as influenza virus H1N1.

This is a huge step in the fight against microorganisms and offers new ways of thinking around combatting viral cells such as Coronavirus.

Supporting young people to innovate

Rayvon says the recognition he received from the Commonwealth Health Innovation Awards was a key moment in Xermosol’s progress, generating immense interest in the project.

But now the production of Xermosol faces a number of considerable challenges – from development funding to finding a manufacturer to mass produce.

Financing options are mostly focused on large-scale innovation, but the Commonwealth is exploring and proposing that all 54 member-countries go into partnership with the Global Innovation Fund to help young innovators like Rayvon.

Over the past two years, the Commonwealth Youth Health Network has worked closely with the Commonwealth Secretariat and member states to leverage the unique capabilities of young people and drive forward progress toward SDG3 (which includes a bold commitment to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other communicable diseases) and health-related development goals.

Citizens aged under 30 comprise 60 per cent of the Commonwealth’s population – a proportion that is 10 per cent higher than the global average. In the course of my interaction in and with our member countries I am continually impressed by the drive of these 1.4 billion young people. They have the ideas, energy and talent to make a huge difference in their communities – and they are doing so.

* Patricia Scotland is the Commonwealth Secretary-General

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Covid 19: Foreign nationals flee ahead of lockdown in Ghana.
March 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica

The Ghana immigration services have picked up 22 Malians who tried sneaking out of the country through unapproved routes from Tatale in the Northern Region. 

10 Guinean nationals who are eloping through Tamale have tested positive for coronavirus following their arrest and quarantine. While others are running away from the partial lockdown in some parts of Ghana, others were also sneaking in as well. According to the Ghana immigration service, 14 Nigerian and a Ghanaian was also picked up at the Aflao- Togo border. 

Few hours after the president’s announcement on the partial lockdown of some parts of Ghana, Ghanaians at the affected areas have been moving to their hometowns to avoid the restriction order. Foreign nationals from the sub- region are not left out using unapproved routes, despite the closure of the country’s borders.

This, the joints security force is warning will not be tolerated. Briefing the media today, the operations directorates of the Ghana Immigration has advised that Ghanaians and other nationals in Ghana cooperates with the directive given to curb the spread of the virus. Failure to do so he said will mean that the security services will have to use force. DCOP Dr. Sayibu Gariba, Director of National Operations, Ghana police service and the Director of operations at the Ghana Armed forces Col.William Nortey said  the service is poised to ensure compliance of the orders and would need maximum cooperation from the populace. 

According to DCOP Dr. Sayibu Gariba, the security agency does not intend to terrorize the citizenry but it is crucial they adhere to directives to ensure effective operation.  

“It is a humanitarian operation; not a war. We’re not going to intimidate anybody, we’re going to support to achieve the overall objective of the president of Ghana,”. As at the time of filling this report, Ghana has recorded eleven (11) new cases of the coronavirus according to the Ghana Health Service (GHS). This makes the total number of cases in the country 152. 

“As of 29th March 2020, at 10:30 hrs, 11 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Ghana. Ten (10) of the new cases were among persons who were under mandatory quarantine in Tamale under the direction of the Regional Security Committee of the Northern Region.

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COVID-19 Gambia: Jack Ma Donates Test Kits, Face Masks, and Protective Gears
March 29, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Chinese billionaire has donated The Gambia  20, 000 test kids, 100, 000 face masks and protective gears to effectively fight the Coronavirus pandemic.

The medical consignment is flown into the country by Ethiopian airline flight on Saturday, donated by Jack Ma through his Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations in China.

The supplies are part of the continent-wide donation in support of actions towards the implementation of the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 led by the African Union through the Africa Centre for Disease Control.

Authorities were gathered at the Banjul International Airport to receive the consignment. The Chinese Ambassador to The Gambia, Ma Jianchun said China decided to provide emergency medical assistance to Africa considering the challenges confronting the continent at the difficult time of intensifying spread of the virus.

“China and Gambia are friends and reliable partners. At the moment, the coronavirus has already hit The Gambia and I would express our sympathy and support and solidarity with the Gambia government and Gambian people,” he said at the handing over ceremony.

“Today we are here to receive more medical supplies donated to The Gambia by two Foundations in China; Jack Ma Foundation and Ali Baba Foundation. These supplies include 100, 000 face masks, 20, 000 testing kits, 1000 protective clothes. These supplies represent sincere friendship from the Chinese people to The Gambian people.”

Dr. Amadou Samateh, Health Minister of The Gambia,  hailed the Foundations for the timely support.

“With the donations of the equipment, these protective gears, the test kits, etc. we are going to deal with the cases we currently have in a better way. We pray against it but if we do have more cases, we will be in a better position to deal with it,” he said.

Modou Njie, Director of Health Promotion and Education,  assures that the equipment will be put into good use in combating the virus

Wanja Kaaria, World Food Programme Country representative,  said the cooperation in fighting to end the virus is key and challenged Gambians and those living in the country to take precautions to contain the spread of the virus.

“To date Gambia has recorded a very few cases and among those we have seen only one unfortunate death, several people continued to be under isolation and several more in self-quarantine. Indeed today, we are pleased to receive a sizable consignment as donation for the African continent and the Gambia from Jack Ma Foundation, the founder of Alibaba,” she said.

Dr. Desta Tiruneh, Country Representative for the World Health Organization (WHO),  said the donation to The Gambia is part of the response to COVID-19 pandemic which was shared among all the 54 states in Africa.

“This support was directed to the African Union, African Centre for Disease  `Control and Prevention has brought several partners together to save and expedite the delivery to The Gambia. The WHO globally and the Gambia will continue to respond to the response of COVID 19 pandemic,” he said.

“The test kits and other materials received will go a long way in the fight against COVID 19 locally against the pandemic. The fight against the COVID-19 is a global fight. We are all together and this is why we are here today. Multiple stakeholders are putting together their resources and everything for the same cause of global threat to humanity. The donation is an excellent demonstration of solidarity.”

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COVID 19; Ghana to go on a partial lockdown.
March 29, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jessica Ahedor

  Effective 1 am on Monday, March 30, 2020, Ghana will be partially locking down some parts of her regions believes to be the ‘’hot spot’’ for the covid 19 pandemic.

The areas include parts of the capital Accra- Greater Accra Metropolitan Area, Awutu Senya East and Kumasi Metropolitan Area for two (2) weeks. The president Nana Akufo Addo under imposing Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1012) on Friday evening outlines these measures as the recorded cases of the virus keeps growing.

The lockdown, according to the president, is to restrict movements of people in these areas as contact tracing is becoming a difficult task. As at the time of this report, Ghana has recorded 141 cases with 5 death. Services exempted from this partial lockdown are media, members of parliament, electricity companies, among other key stakeholders.‘’ if you must go out, it must only be to get essential items such as food, water, medicine, undertake banking transactions, or to use public toilet facilities. But, as much as possible, stay at home’’ the president emphasized.

It is expected that, during this period, no inter-city movement of vehicles and aircraft for private or commercial purposes for the areas of the restrictive measures, except for vehicles and aircrafts providing essential services and those carrying cargo. Riders of motorbikes are not allowed to carry any additional person, and all intra-city passenger vehicles, such as trotros and taxis, must reduce the number of passengers to observe social distancing and hygiene protocols.

Individuals and institutions providing the following services shall be exempted from the restrictions. Members of the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary, Production, distribution and marketing of food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, medicine, paper and plastic packages. Environmental and sanitation activities, VALCO staff, Road and Railway construction workers, Mining workers, Fisherfolk, members of the security agencies assigned lawful duties, the staff of electricity, water, telecommunications, e-commerce and digital service providers, and fuel station’s staff.

According to the president, Ghana cannot copy blindly due to the peculiarity of her system. “In doing this, we cannot afford to copy blindly and do all the things some other well-developed countries are doing. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to this pandemic. We have a unique situation in our country, and we must take it into account in dealing with the disease, whilst meeting all the six (6) key WHO guidelines on the most effective ways of combating the pandemic’’.

Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare in a statement today 29th march 2020 she maintained the members of the executive arm of government the President referred to include Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Senior Staffers and Special Assistants.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Members of the Executive refers to; Hon. Ministers, Deputy Ministers of State, Senior Staffers at the Presidency and Special Assistants. All other Members of the Public Service are to comply with the circular issued by the Public Services Commission with reference No. AB 296/349/01 dated 23rd March 2020 which is aimed at reducing the number of staff working at the same time while ensuring the continuous delivery of core services as mandated’’.
 

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Covid-19: The South West Region is Free from Coronavirus — Martin Mokake, Director Buea Regional Hospital
March 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

Three suspected persons test Negative to the coronavirus

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

We have also provided personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Doctors, nurses to make sure the y can be protected while delivering the services needed against the coronavirus says Dr Martin Mokake
We have also provided personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Doctors, nurses to make sure the y can be protected while delivering the services needed against the coronavirus says Dr Martin Mokake

(Buea-Cameroon) Dr Martin Mokake, Director of the Buea Regional Hospital in Cameroon, and Chief Medical Officer of the said institution has in a press outing said the SWR at the moment is free from the coronavirus pandemic.

This comes after three persons, two in Buea and one in Limbe were suspected to have contracted the virus. Test conducted has however indicated that the three cases are negative of the virus.

“There is no case in the region, but we have this tendency of taking anybody who present such symptoms to make sure that we can be able to keep the population safe because when we leave that person there is a potential for more persons to be contaminated. We had such persons, and we took the samples and send to Yaounde and none of those cases tested positive,” Dr Martin Mokake said.

He went further to add that: “A few of those persons had travel to other countries that are heavily hit by this pandemic. Some people came from other countries that were moderately hit, but they transited through some countries that were fairly hit. They had symptoms like sore throat, fever, and later went to dry cough. Some persons here in Buea had travelled to other regions affected to do businesses and interacted with people who we could not say were positive or not. It was our responsibility to go there and keep them confined until proven negative.”

The Regional Hospital in Buea is amongst the two centers in the South West Region that is capable of responding to a positive case in the region. The other is the Regional Hospital in Limbe.

Observers say this is not enough to adequately respond to positive cases in the entire region couple with the security problems the Region has been facing in some parts, in recent times.

“We are readying as our content is,” Dr Mokake noted responding to how ready the Buea Regional Hospital is to respond to positive cases. “We also have the responsibility in educating the population to make sure that the measures put by the government are respected as we have been carrying out a lot of sensitization.”

“…prevention continues as we have increased the hand washing points in the hospital. We have activated our borehole to make sure that we have constant water in the hospital. We have about 40 sanitizer dispensers at the entrance of every building in the hospital, and we have also made sure we have those sanitizers in wards.”

With medical Doctors nurses and caregivers being infected by the coronavirus globally, the Buea Regional Hospital has taken necessary steps from preventing such cases. “We have carried out in the house trainings; specified trainings have been organized to some staff members. We have also provided personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Doctors, nurses to make sure the y can be protected while delivering the services needed. So those heroes who put out their lives to safe the community deserve some protection, and that is what we are doing.”

Space is obviously very important for patients to be treated and medical practitioners to have a comfortable environment to work in

The total number of confirmed cases in Africa for the coronavirus stands at 3033 and counting. South Africa is the hardest hit on the continent with 927 confirmed cases at the writing of this report. Egypt has 495 confirmed cases while Algeria is at 367 confirmed cases. Cameroon is at 88 confirmed cases. More than 461000 people have been diagnosed with the disease, 20000 of whom have died.

The positive about the coronavirus outbreak is that many people continue to recover from the virus. More than 113000 people have recovered from the novel coronavirus across the globe, according to several sources tracking the global number of Covid-19 cases. China, which had the most Covid-19 cases, also had most of the total recoveries, with more than 73000. 

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Cameroon: Heavy Rain causes Flooding, Damage Homes, and Havoc on Roads in Buea
March 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

Heavy downpour has completely wreaked many houses and buildings in Buea, Fako Division of the South West Region.

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

At about 2pm local time, March 24, heavy down pour was witnessed in the Buea municipality, chief town of the South West Region which at the end left many homes damaged, and some roads impassable.

With the floods giving no warnings, many people had to abandon their homes in search of shelter, while other braced up for any unforeseen inevitability.

The downpour triggered runoffs with some houses completely destroyed. Videos and photos online shows a resident’s car partly submerged in water. Calls boxes were tumbled, houses destroyed in some localities, and in other places the road was impassable.

The runoff in some localities caused damage on roads. The population could be seen using their bare hands to remove debris from the road.

“The citizens of Buea should know where to construct their houses because when such incidents occur they always tend to blame the council for what happens forgetting they were the cause for their houses being destroyed,” Barrister David Mafany Namange said in an interview.

Locals have blamed the poor drainage system in the municipality, the non-respect of building codes, lack of culverts are some reasons for the cause of the damage caused by the runoff. Across, the municipality one can hardly find a good drainage system where the runoff can be channelled.

Poor building plans in Buea are another cause for concern. Inhabitants hardly consult contractors when building their homes and some build without even making a passage for runoff.

Drainage, graveling and compacting affected roads, filling gullies with rubber; building culverts and drifts on roads are some urgent measures that need to be implemented to prevent the situation from being witnessed again.

“Every one hundred years, the gods of the Mountain cause such to happen in the Buea municipality,” one inhabitant noted, though this statement cannot be totally verified by this reporter.

The Governor of the South West Region Bernard Okalia Bilai was on the scene this March 25 to assess the damages due to the downpour. Nothing was however said by him as to how the government plans to take care of those whose houses were destroyed, and damages caused.

In the locality of Bokwai village, the rainfall caused damages on the crops and other properties of inhabitants. In Greet Soppo, many houses were destroyed as water swept belongings belonging to one inhabitant of the area.

These damages caused serious freights in mind is of the villagers, while the victims were looking for ways on how to secure themselves and their properties; others ran away from the area with the fear that it might be more dangerous.

Some villagers said it is the Bakweri tradition  that every after 10 or 15 years Buea always experience such fall from the mountain, others said it may be that the gods of the mountain (Epasa Moto) are not happy with the people.

According Moki Mokondo, a lecturer in UB, what happened in upper Buea is what they call in geology, “Mud Flow” cause by an unusual rain fall or sudden thaw. “The fall was just made of mud, water plus fragments of a rock, and other debris which often behave like flood and this happens when it rains severely up the mountain and when the soil gets saturated of keeping the water, it runs off.”

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COVID -19: Gambia Declares State of Public Emergency
March 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

President Adama Barrow

Gambian President, Adama Barrow has declared a state of public emergency on Friday to curb the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a Televised address to the national Barrow said the declaration came on the heels of the proclamation he signed on 18th March 2020, which was published in the gazette as in accordance with the law, hinting that with a persisting situation existing, could lead to a declaration of public emergency.

“I have now signed a second proclamation declaring a state of public emergency throughout the Gambia. Under this proclamation, the following measures shall be enforced with effect from today, 27th March 2020: all non-essential food outlets in all markets and enclosed shopping areas shall be closed.

“All non-essential public places such as bars, cafeterias, cinemas, video clubs, gymnasiums, museums, night clubs, public swimming pools, event halls, casinos, gaming parlour, and sporting venues shall be closed.

“All public places of worship shall be closed. The number of people attending any social gathering such as weddings, naming ceremony, and funerals shall be restricted to the maximum of ten people.

“All public transports shall carry half of the total number of passengers they are allowed to transport by law,” he stated.

The Gambia’s case confirmation remains at three so far with one death. The authorities said the closest contact to the deceased has had inconclusive test results and it was to be rerun. 

The president also invokes his powers under the Emergency Powers Act of the law of The Gambia, to sign a series of regulations, including freezing of prices of all essential commodities to prevent any form of hoarding. 

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Makerspaces offer Authentic Student-Centred Learning and Skills for Employability in the 21st Century
March 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

Dr. Ahmed Shaikh *

Professor Ahmed Shaikh is an academic and researcher and serves as the Managing Director of REGENT Business School, in South Africa

In the past week, discussions at the World Economic Forum (WEF) have once again highlighted how we are living in a time of accelerated change and disruption in which society faces increasing pressure to evolve its systems and processes to meet the demands of the 21st century and beyond. Within this perspective education is the most sophisticated social technology of societal transformation for cocreating and contributing to sustainable, regenerative and thriving futures.

However, the global Higher Education (HE) sector finds itself at a critical juncture in this period: The profound impact of disruptive and exponential technologies, shifting labour market dynamics coupled within dramatically-new needs for skills in the creative economy are all challenging the very raison d’etre of HE. Vexing questions are being asked as to whether HE is able to adapt quickly enough to match the rate of evolution of new types of jobs, professions and occupations that require a new set of skills for agile and collaborative work teams. Current and prospective ‘users’ of HE are increasingly challenging the model, approach and impact that traditional HE is able to offer.

But it is not all doom and gloom. Each industrial revolution, with its general purpose technologies, has also led to new employment opportunities, with greater decentralisation of the economy, and increasing distribution of power and resources across the economy.

In the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the powerful and lucrative alliance between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and a data-driven society is redefining how business and commerce benefits from the digital footprints of countless human interactions daily. The ever expanding range of exponential technologies are already impacting virtually every facet of human endeavour from healthcare and education to the economy and the planet.

Given this increasing social and economic complexity in all domains of human life, the time is opportune to re-conceptualise the purpose and design of education. It is in this context that progressive HE institutions are exploring new ways of engaging ‘users’ of HE for more meaningful educational outcomes and employability competencies.

A crucial element for business and educational leaders is to align workplace needs with higher education preparation systems to promote student success in a career after graduation, rather than simply focusing on traditional academic achievements or grades.

Academic Makerspaces are therefore increasingly being looked to as a method for engaging learners in creative, higher-order problem-solving and active learning skills through hands-on design, construction, and iteration. Consequently, the interdisciplinary, collaborative and empowering natures of these makerspaces help prepare students for a future that one cannot imagine.

Makerspaces provide powerful contexts and opportunities for students to learn and develop new skills and draws upon the innately human desire to make things using our hands and our brains. They provide this necessary outlet for students, fuelling engagement, creativity and curiosity. Research has shown that students who participate in activities involving innovation were inquisitive, imaginative and motivated and they are eager to solve real problems that could help people.

Student-centred learning in a Makerspace can also empower students, helping them to shift from being passive consumers of information and products to active creators and innovators. It allows students to take control of their lives, be more active, and be responsible for their own learning. Furthermore, it is the ‘process of making’ that emerges as a powerful experience for students, not necessarily the completion of a final project. These experiences can significantly enhance a student’s thinking and work in many different fields.

There is a strong body of research that shows how active, meaningful, project or problem-based learning activities coupled with flipped learning and student-centred (or constructivist) pedagogies can significantly improve students’ acquisition of skills and retention of learning. In addition, if such pedagogies are deployed in 21st century learning environments such as makerspaces, this provides formidable opportunities to radically reform education and training for the creative economy of the current era.

Education within a Makerspace fosters curiosity, tinkering, and iterative learning, which in turn leads to better thinking through better questioning. This learning environment fosters enthusiasm for learning, student confidence, and natural collaboration. Ultimately the outcome of maker education and academic makerspaces leads to determination, independent and creative problem solving, and an authentic preparation for the real world by simulating real-world challenges.

Honoris United Universities, through one of its partner institutions in South Africa, REGENT Business School, has established its academic makerspace under the auspices of the iLeadLAB.

The iLeadLAB providesits students, alumni communities and business partners opportunities to bridge the gap between learning and work through Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) immersion, work-related learning and internship bootcamps, thus reducing the educationjob mismatch and increasing employability competencies of its graduates.

Through these new innovations, Honoris United Universities is challenging the idea of a traditional classroom by exploring how new physical and virtual learning environments can affect and improve not only learning outcomes but empower the students and unemployed individuals to become innovative entrepreneurs and productive members of an inclusive economy.

*Professor Ahmed Shaikh is an academic and researcher and serves as the Managing Director of REGENT Business School, in South Africa

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