Merck Foundation célèbre la Journée Mondiale de Science à travers l’autonomisation des Femmes et des Jeunes dans les Science, Technologie, Ingénierie et Mathématiques (STEM) en Afrique

Merck Foundation (http://www.Merck-Foundation.com), la branche philanthropique de Merck KGaA Allemagne, célèbre la Journée Mondiale de Science par le biais de son sommet de recherche « Merck Africa Research Summit–MARS Awards 2020 for best Young African Researchers and best Women African Researcher ».

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and One of 100 Most Influential Africa (2019, 2020) explique : « Merck Foundation habilite les Femmes et les Jeunes dans la Recherche Scientifique grâce aux prix « MARS Best Young African Researchers Awards » et « MARS Best African Women Researchers Awards ».

La Fondation Merck a lancé ces prix en 2015.

« Nous annoncerons les gagnants MARS 2020 avant la fin de cette année. Les lauréats seront éligibles à une bourse de formation pour améliorer leurs compétences et leur niveau de recherche scientifique », a ajouté le Dr. Rasha Kelej.

La Fondation Merck lance ces prix pour reconnaître la contribution exceptionnelle des jeunes et des femmes scientifiques africaines pour les autonomiser dans la recherche et faire progresser leur contribution aux STEM (science, technologie, ingénierie et mathématiques). Ce programme est en partenariat avec l’Union Africaine et les Ministères Africains de la Santé, des Sciences, de l’Education et du Genre.

Le programme STEM (science, technologie, ingénierie et mathématiques) de Merck Foundation s’associe à des institutions et organisations mondiales et locales pour autonomiser les femmes et les jeunes dans les domaines de la science et de la technologie. La Fondation Merck estime que l’éducation est un facteur important dans la promotion du bien-être économique en Afrique.

La Fondation Merck a célébré plus de 40 lauréats des prix ‘Merck Africa Research Summit – MARS’ dans les éditions précédentes, provenant de 18 pays africains dont le Botswana, le Burkina Faso, le Cameroun, l’Éthiopie, le Gabon, la Gambie, le Ghana, le Kenya, Maurice, le Maroc, le Nigéria, le Rwanda, Sénégal, Sierra Leone, Afrique du Sud, Tunisie, Ouganda et Zimbabwe.Distribué par APO Group pour Merck Foundation.

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À propos de la Fondation Merck :
La Fondation Merck (http://www.Merck-Foundation.com), créée en 2017, est la branche philanthropique de Merck KGaA Allemagne. Elle vise à améliorer la santé et le bien-être des personnes et de faire progresser leur vie grâce à la science et la technologie. Nos efforts sont principalement centrés sur l’amélioration de l’accès aux solutions de soins de santé innovants dans les communautés mal desservies, le renforcement des capacités de recherche scientifique et de santé et l’autonomisation des personnes dans les STEM (Science, Technologie, Ingénierie et Mathématiques), en mettent l’accent sur les femmes et la jeunesse. Tous les communiqués de presse de la Fondation Merck sont diffusés par courrier électronique dès qu’ils deviennent disponibles sur le site Internet de la Fondation Merck. Veuillez aller sur http://www.Merck-Foundation.com pour en savoir plus et/ou pour vous inscrire en ligne : Merck Foundation (http://www.Merck-Foundation.com), Facebook (bit.ly/347DsTd), Twitter (bit.ly/2REHwaK), Instagram (bit.ly/2t3E0fX), YouTube (bit.ly/2E05GVg) and Flicker (bit.ly/2RJjWtH).

UNICEF planning ‘mammoth operation’ to deliver COVID-19 vaccines

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is working with more than 350 logistics partners, including major airlines, shipping lines and logistics associations from around the world, to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to over 92 countries, as soon as doses become available.

On Monday, Etleva Kadilli, Director of UNICEF’s Supply Division, highlighted the importance of the partnership to ensure capacity for the massive undertaking.

“As work continues to develop COVID-19 vaccines, UNICEF is stepping-up efforts with airlines, freight operators, shipping lines and other logistics associations to deliver life-saving vaccines as quickly and safely as possible,” she said.

“This invaluable collaboration will go a long way to ensure that enough transport capacity is in place for this historic and mammoth operation. We need all hands on deck as we get ready to deliver COVID-19 vaccine doses, syringes and more personal protective equipment to protect front line workers around the globe,” she added.

To kick-start preparations, UNICEF along with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), briefed major global airlines last week on the expected capacity requirements and discussed ways to transport close to 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines doses next year. This is in addition to the 1 billion syringes that need to be transported by sea-freight.

In the coming weeks, UNICEF is also assessing existing transport capacity to identify gaps and future requirements.

“The procurement, delivery and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is anticipated to be the largest and fastest such operation ever undertaken,” it added.

UNICEF is leading efforts to procure and deliver vaccines from manufacturers that have agreements with the COVAX Facility. In collaboration with PAHO, UNICEF will coordinate the purchase and delivery for 92 low- and lower middle-income economies as quickly and securely as possible.

The efforts build on UNICEF’s longstanding efforts with the logistics industry to transport supplies around the world despite restrictions related to the pandemic. Since January, it has delivered over $190 million worth of COVID-19 supplies such as masks, gowns, oxygen concentrators and diagnostic test kits to support countries as they respond to the pandemic.

As the largest single vaccine buyer in the world, UNICEF normally procures more than 2 billion doses of vaccines annually for routine immunization and outbreak response on behalf of nearly 100 countries.

FIFA slaps five year ban on African soccer president Ahmad

Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Ahmad Ahmad delivers a speech during the 40th CAF ordinary general assembly on February 2, 2018 in the Moroccan city of Casablanca. / AFP PHOTO / FADEL SENNA (Photo credit should read FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)

FIFA, the world’s highest governing body of football decided on Monday to ban African soccer confederation and FIFA vice president, Ahmad Ahmad for five years over financial misconduct and other ethics violations.

In addition to the five-year ban, Ahmad was also fined $220,000.

FIFA launched an investigation into Ahmad’s conduct while in charge of the Confederation of African Football between 2017-2019. The inquiry concluded that Ahmad breached codes relating to duty of loyalty, offering and accepting gifts abuse of position as well as misappropriation of funds.

An audit of CAF finances pointed to irregularities under Ahmad’s leadership. The report was ordered by FIFA while it effectively took over running the organization for six months.

CAF appeared to pay about $100,000 for 18 people, including Ahmad and the heads of some of the continent’s 54 national member federations, to travel on the pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

Ahmad can appeal his sanction at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) once he has received the full grounds for the decision, a process that can take up to 60 days.

Story compiled with assistance from wire reports.

COVID-19 surge forces world’s top surgical glove maker to close half its factories

A Malaysian company that is the world’s biggest manufacturer of surgical gloves will close over half of its factories after a surge in coronavirus cases among workers, authorities said Monday.

Top Glove has seen a huge jump in demand since the start of the pandemic as countries scrambled to stock up on protective equipment, pushing up both its profits and share price.

But there has been a cluster of virus outbreaks among Top Glove employees — many of whom are low-paid migrant workers — at factories in an industrial area near the capital, Kuala Lumpur.

More than 1,000 cases were recorded Monday, prompting the government to order the plants to close.

“Based on advice from the ministry of health, it was agreed at a special meeting today to shut down 28 Top Glove factories… in stages to allow the workers to undergo tests and quarantine,” said Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Top Glove said in a statement it would “cooperate fully with the relevant authorities to implement the temporary stoppage”, and plant closures had begun.

About 5,700 workers have already been screened and the rest will also undergo tests, it said. Top Glove did not say how the closures would affect its ability to meet orders.

The company operates 47 factories — 41 in Malaysia — and many of its workers are from Nepal and live in crowded dormitory complexes.

The company can produce more than 70 billion gloves a year and is a major global supplier.

Merck Foundation marks World Science Day through empowering women and youth in STEM – PML Daily

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation during her visit to National Cancer Institute (PHOTO/File)KAMPALA — Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, marks World Science Day through their Merck Africa Research Summit–MARS Awards 2020 for best Young African Researchers and best Women African Researchers.


Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and One of 100 Most Influential Africans (2019, 2020) explains, “Merck Foundation empowers Women and Youth in Scientific Research through “MARS Best Young African Researchers Awards” and “MARS Best African Women Researchers Awards”.


Merck Foundation started these awards in 2015.
“We will announce the MARS 2020 Winners before the end of this year. The winners will be eligible for a scholarship of training programs to advance their skills and standard in scientific research” Dr. Rasha Kelej added.


Merck Foundation launches these awards to recognize the outstanding contribution of African Youth and Female Scientists to empower them in research and advance their contribution to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). This program is in partnership with the African Union and African Ministries of Health, Science, Education, and Gender.


Merck Foundation’s STEM program (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) partners with global and local institutions and organizations to empower women and young people in the areas of science and technology. Merck Foundation believes that education is an important factor in promoting economic well-being in Africa.


Merck Foundation has celebrated over 40 winners of Merck Africa Research Summit–MARS Awards in the past editions, from 18 African Countries including Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

Africa’s digital landscape to continue to grow post-COVID-19 pandemic: Huawei

Africa’s digital landscape will continue to grow post-COVID-19 pandemic, Huawei said on Saturday.

Chen Lei, president of Huawei Southern Africa, said in a commentary published in the Saturday Standard that many of the technologies that have helped the continent through the worst of the pandemic and the lockdowns, hold the key to success and prosperity in the post-lockdown era.

“The new ways of interaction that emerged this year – characterized by remote work, distance education, remote healthcare, online shopping and mobile money will define how society works in the future,” Chen said.

He said that the move online has happened across society – not only in education but in workplaces, retail as well as entertainment and this move will be permanent.

“This explains why data traffic soared by more than 40 percent while digital services boomed across sub-Saharan Africa,” he noted.

He revealed that African governments have responded quickly to the demand, releasing temporary spectrums and making policy recommendations, such as the ones done by South Africa’s presidential commission on the Fourth Industrialization Revolution.

Chen added that policy moves by governments that open the door for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies to make greater contributions to social-economic development should be encouraged.

“Governments can further enable ICT-led development through policies to ensure rapid deployment of infrastructure, lower cost of spectrum, and provide tax relief to make smartphones more affordable,” he said.

The Huawei official said that another strategy for building a better Africa through ICT is to invest in digital skills.

“We need to invest more in digital skills for people, to digitally empower them, so that they can use digital technologies not only for consuming others’ ideas but also to develop their own,” Chen added.

He noted that Huawei is constantly investing skills and infrastructure to provide the networks and give people the ability to use them for their own upliftment.

“We aim to bring digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world,” Chen said.

G20 leaders seek to help poorest nations in post-COVID world

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – NOVEMBER 21: European Council President Charles Michel attends G20 Summit via video conference in Brussels, Belgium on November 21, 2020. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Pool/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

G20 leaders on Saturday vowed to ensure a fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, drugs and tests around the world and also ensure that they do what is needed to support poorer countries struggling to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reported.

Top of the agenda on the first day of a two-day summit under the chairmanship of Saudi Arabia, was the COVID-19 pandemic, which has thrown the global economy into a deep recession this year, and efforts needed to underpin an economic rebound in 2021.

G20 leaders are concerned that the pandemic might further deepen global divisions between the rich and the poor.

To do that, the European Union urged G20 leaders quickly to put more money into a global project for vaccines, tests and therapeutics – called Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator – and its COVAX facility to distribute vaccines.

“At the G20 Summit I called for $4.5 billion to be invested in ACT Accelerator by the end of 2020, for procurement & delivery of COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines everywhere,” European Commission Head Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter.

Germany was contributing more than 500 million euros ($592.65 million) to the effort, Chancellor Angela Merkel told the G20, urging other countries to do their part, according to a text of her remarks.

Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to provide Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to other countries and said Moscow was also preparing a second and third vaccine.

China, where the pandemic originated a year ago, also offered to cooperate on vaccines. China has five home-grown candidates for a vaccine undergoing the last phase of trials.

Polling stations for Burkina Faso’s presidential and parliamentary elections open

Polling stations for Burkina Faso’s presidential and parliamentary elections opened at 6 a.m. local time on Sunday.

A total of 6,492,686 voters will elect the President of the Republic and 127 deputies who will sit in the parliament.

A total of 13 candidates are vying for the presidency, including outgoing President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, while 10,652 candidates are engaged for the election of the National Assembly.

“The Burkinabe are called to the polls to elect the president of (Burkina) Faso for the five-year period 2021-2025, as well as their representatives in the National Assembly. This coupled election marks an important turning point for the consolidation of our democracy,” President Kabore tweeted.

G-20 summit opens as leaders urge united response to virus

The Group of 20 summit opened on Saturday with appeals by the world’s most powerful leaders to collectively chart a way forward as the coronavirus pandemic overshadows this year’s gathering, transforming it from in-person meetings to a virtual gathering of speeches and declarations.

In this handout image provided by DGDA, Diriyah Gate Development Authority of Saudi, a family photo featuring members of the G20 is projected onto the walls of Salwa Palace, At Turaif on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2020 in Diriyah, on the outskirts of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Meshari-Alharbi, DGDA via AP)

The pandemic, which has claimed more than 1.37 million lives worldwide, has offered the G-20 an opportunity to prove how such bodies can facilitate international cooperation in crises — but has also underscored their shortcomings.

“We have a duty to rise to the challenge together during this summit and give a strong message of hope and reassurance,” Saudi Arabia’s King Salman said in the summit’s opening remarks.

While G-20 countries have contributed billions of dollars toward developing a vaccine for the virus, they have also mostly focused on securing their own vaccine supplies. Countries such as Britain, the U.S., France and Germany — all G-20 member st

ates — have directly negotiated deals with pharmaceutical companies to receive billions of doses, meaning that the vast majority of the world’s vaccine supply next year is already reserved.

U.S. President Donald Trump highlighted what the U.S. has done to response to the coronavirus and rebuild the economy and work on vaccines, which are expected to become available soon, according to White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. Trump, however, appeared not to have acknowledged that Joe Biden won this month’s presidential election.

“It’s been a great honor to work with you and I look forward to working with you again for a long time,” Trump said, according to audio obtained by The Guardian. The South China Morning Post reported similar comments.

A day before the summit, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that while $10 billion has been invested in efforts to develop vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, another $28 billion is needed for mass manufacturing, procurement and delivery of new COVID-19 vaccines around the world.

Guterres called on more G-20 nations to join COVAX, an international initiative to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to countries worldwide. The United States has declined to join under Trump.

The pandemic has had a far-reaching economic impact on developing countries and pushed millions into extreme poverty. It has also plagued the world’s wealthiest nations, with nine G-20 countries ranking highest globally for the most cases of COVID-19 recorded. The United States tops the list, followed by India, Brazil, France, Russia, Spain, the U.K., Argentina and Italy, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Three G-20 leaders participating in the summit have been infected by the coronavirus this year: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Trump.

The virus shows no signs of abating as major cities in the U.S. and Europe bring back lockdowns and curfews. The World Health Organization says more cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the past four weeks than in the first six months of the pandemic.

The International Labor Organization says an equivalent of 225 million full-time jobs were lost in G-20 countries alone in the third quarter of 2020. G-20 member-countries represent around 85% of the world’s economic output and three-quarters of international trade.

In a sign of the times, the traditional “family photo” of leaders in the summit was digitally designed and superimposed on a historical site just outside the Saudi capital, Riyadh, which would have hosted the gathering. The kingdom has presided over the G-20 this year.

As part of the summit, seven leaders released video messages on “Pandemic Preparedness and Response”. France’s President Emmanuel Macron warned of the challenges in obtaining “universal access to health technologies against COVID-19”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for strengthening the World Health Organization and stressed the pandemic can only be overcome if an affordable vaccine is available to all nations.

In a video statement released ahead of the summit, Johnson appealed to global leaders to harness the resources of the world’s wealthiest nations to end the COVID-19 pandemic and tackle climate change.

“Our fates are in each other’s hands,” said Johnson, who plans to attend two virtual events at the summit while self-isolating at home in London after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

Bolsonaro, who spent months downplaying the severity of the virus while deaths mounted rapidly inside Brazil, emphasized in a video message that world leaders “should take care of people’s health and of the economy at the same time.”

President Trump also participated in the closed-door virtual sessions that are taking place Saturday and Sunday. It does not appear that any leaders dropped out of the summit, despite calls by rights groups, lawmakers and EU parliamentarians for leaders to boycott the gathering to protest Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and war in Yemen.

G-20 heads of state last gathered virtually for an emergency meeting in March as the coronavirus was fast-spreading around the world. At the time, they vowed “to do whatever it takes to overcome the pandemic.”

G-20 nations have since agreed to suspend debt payments for the world’s poorest countries until mid-2021 to allow those nations to focus their spending on health care and stimulus programs. The U.N. secretary general, however, has called on the G-20 to extend debt repayments through the end of 2021 and expand the scope to middle-income countries in need.

“I am confident that the Riyadh summit will deliver significant and decisive results and will lead to adopting economic and social policies that will restore hope and reassurance to the people of the world, ” King Salman said.

South Africa records nearly 3,000 new COVID-19 cases

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA – AUGUST 19: A general view of Clairwood Hospital which is one of the quarantine and isolation health facilities for Covid-19 patients on August 19, 2020 in Durban, South Africa. According to a media release, the Premier’s visit comes after the release of Covid-19 related procurement in the province and the visit was to demonstrate how money has been spent on refurbishing the hospital. (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

South Africa recorded 2,888 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 757,144.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the total number of deaths rose to 20,556 after 123 more COVID-19 related fatalities were reported.

“We extend our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the healthcare workers that treated the deceased,” he said.

He said the cumulative number of COVID-19 tests conducted since the virus was first reported about eight months ago is now 5.1 million with nearly 30,000 tests conducted in the past 24 hours.

The minister further said that 701,534 people have recovered from the virus, which translates to a recovery rate of 92.6%.

South Africa is the 16th most-affected country globally in terms of infections and is the most affected on the African continent.

Story compiled with assistance from Andalou Agency