ANC’s Mashatile cautions against rushing from coal power to renewable energy

African National Congress (ANC) deputy president Paul Mashatile said while the country was committed to the implementation of the just energy transition plan, this should be done periodically, without disrupting the power supply.

FILE: ANC deputy president Paul Mashatile. Picture: Rejoice Ndlovu/Eyewitness News

Ndaedzo  Nethonzhe | 30 May 2023 19:42

JOHANNESBURG – African National Congress (ANC) deputy president Paul Mashatile has cautioned against rushing from coal-fired power stations to renewable energy.

Mashatile said that while the country was committed to the implementation of the just energy transition plan, this should be done periodically, without disrupting the power supply.

He was addressing business leaders at an ANC event in the North West.

Mashatile also warned that businesses may suffer if the move to renewable energy was rushed.

He said that with the abundance of coal in the country, South Africa must continue to utilise coal-fired power stations in order to ensure sufficient electricity supply.

“We have a lot of coal in South Africa and coal-fired power stations. We need to use those that are still workable to be able to provide the necessary electricity that we need. That will ensure that we don’t transition in the dark.”

Mashatile said South Africa would not be pressured into transitioning to renewable energy without a proper plan.

“It is important that South Africa does this in its own time frame. We know that there are those that want us to do things at their own pace.”

The ANC deputy president further said that the governing party would ensure that load shedding was reduced in the coming months.

Mozambique: TotalEnergies can resume its gas project, says head of state

Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi delivers his speech during the state funeral…   –   Copyright © africanews
Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/Copyright 2018 The AP. All rights reserved.

By Rédaction Africanews with AFP

The Mozambican president, Filipe Nyusi, assured on Wednesday that the conditions are met to allow TotalEnergies to resume its huge natural gas exploitation project in the country, suspended since 2021 following a major jihadist attack, a few kilometers away.

The poor but resource-rich northeastern province of Cabo Delgado, which has a Muslim majority and borders Tanzania, has been plagued by violence from armed groups since late 2017. Nearly 4,700 people have already been killed, including more than 2,000 civilians. One million have been forced from their homes.

At the end of March 2021, a coordinated attack on the coastal town of Palma forced the French group to suspend a 16.5 billion euro natural gas development project until further notice. Facilities still under construction on the Afungi peninsula were evacuated.

“The cooperation and coordination with Total is very good. The working environment is conducive for the company to resume operations at any time,” said Filipe Nyusi, speaking at a mining and energy conference in the Mozambican capital Maputo.

TotalEnergies has been cautious for several months about the possibility of restarting its operations in Mozambique. Its CEO, Patrick Pouyanné, visited the country in February and held talks with the Mozambican president.

Last month, the French giant’s Italian subcontractor, Saipem, announced preparations to resume work, saying it had been informed that “safety has improved.”

‘No funding’: Ivory Coast’s autistic children lack treatment

Issued on: 10/04/2023 – 09:45Modified: 10/04/2023 – 09:47

A child is assessed for autism at the Saint Raphael Centre in Bouaké, Ivory Coast. © screengrab FRANCE 24

Around 1% of the population in Ivory Coast could be affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to estimates from the World Health Organisation. ASD is an often taboo subject, however, and treatment is hard to come by as the country severely lacks the necessary medical resources to help patients. FRANCE 24’s Sophie Lamotte and Ange Nomenyo report from Bouaké.

Local health workers in Ivory Coast travel long distances to rural areas of the country to provide assistance to autistic children and their families. Poorly acknowledged and under-diagnosed, ASD affects the lives of many on the southern coast of West Africa and is often stigmatised by Ivorians.

“In Ivory Coast it is frowned upon when you have a child that has a disorder… It brings shame to the family, and sometimes they want to keep them in the house and lock them up,” says Nicolas Kouadio, a community health worker dedicated to bringing more awareness of the subject to local populations.

Apart from the need for de-stigmatisation, Ivory Coast is also in desparate need for resources. The country counts only 5 child psychiatrists for more than 11 million children under the age of 14.

Ivorian health authorities plan to launch a vast autism screening project in 2023, but currently there’s only one public care center in the country and less than a dozen doctors trained in the management of autism.

Scientists use DNA to uncover story of Charleston slaves

A marker outside the Charleston Gaillard Center honoring 36 enslaved people   –   Copyright © africanews
Mic Smith/AP

By Rédaction Africanews with AP

Scientists in the United States are using ancient DNA to reveal the stories of 36 people who were buried in unmarked graves in Charleston, South Carolina, in the late 1700s.

Situated on the east coast, its believed that over 40 per cent of all enslaved Africans passed through the city’s port. It was the largest point of disembarkation in North America during the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

The site, on Anson Street, was discovered in 2013 as construction workers dug foundations for a new arts centre. Since then, scientists have learned more about these people and their lives by pulling genetic material from their remains.

“The chemical signatures of the bone indicated that six individuals were likely born in Africa and the rest were likely born outside of Africa, in Charleston or in North America, ” said biological anthropologist, Raquel Fleskes of the University of Connecticut.

“This is a way of restoring dignity to individuals that should have always had this dignity all along,” she said.

It’s one of a growing number of projects using ancient DNA research.

The region is littered with the unmarked graves of these enslaved people, but most of their names and stories have been lost to time.

“They lived, they worked, they died. And, now, they’re being remembered forever,” said retired city planner, Ervin McDaniel Jr, and Yoruba drummer.

Now, 36 people living in the area, including McDaniel are serving as models, their hands to be cast in bronze, to represent each of the ancestors

They will become part of a memorial fountain at the site in Anson Street.

Community members have also submitted DNA samples, hoping to find a personal connection to one of the ancestors.

So far, there have been no matches, but La’Sheia Oubré, a community outreach organiser with the Anson Street African Burial Ground Project says that doesn’t matter.

“The one loving thing about this whole project is they’re just family. We are all just family of the 36 ancestors. And that their story is our story,” she said.

In 2019, the ancestors remains were reburied at the site during a traditional Yoruba naming ceremony.

Equatorial Guinea confirms eight more Marburg cases

Equatorial Guinea has confirmed eight more cases of the Marburg virus disease, bringing the total to nine since February when it was first declared.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said

the cases of the viral haemorrhagic fever were confirmed following laboratory analysis of additional samples.

It noted that there were 20 probable cases and deaths.

The new cases were reported from areas bordering Cameroon and Gabon.

The cases are from areas that are 50km (31 miles) apart, with the WHO suggesting a wider transmission of the virus.

It said it was working with national authorities to step up emergency response measures.

It comes days after Tanzania, on the other side of the continent, confirmed eight cases of the viral disease – including five deaths.

Marburg is transmitted to people from fruit bats and spreads among humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, surfaces and materials.

German firm signs $34bn Mauritania green energy deal

On March 9, 2023, 9:11 AM

A German company says it has signed a memorandum of understanding for a $34bn (£29bn) green energy project in Mauritania.

Egyptian and Emirati firms are also part of the deal.

The facility will produce up to eight million tonnes of green hydrogen and other hydrogen-based products annually in Mauritania.

The first phase is due to be completed in five years’ time.

Germany is involved with a number of clean energy projects in Africa as it moves away from dependency on fuel imports from Russia and tries to meet climate targets.

Green hydrogen is produced using renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.

Story By BBC

Namibia makes third offshore ‘light oil’ discovery


Namibia announced on Monday the discovery of light oil off the country’s southern coast, the third such find in a year.

“We are delighted to announce this third oil discovery,” state-owned oil firm National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (NAMCOR), said in a statement.

Further work is needed to determine the quality and size of the reservoir, located in deep water, some 270 kilometres offshore.

“This discovery has proven the exciting and world-class potential of the deep-water Orange Basin,” it said.

Shell and QatarEnergy each hold 45 percent interest in the joint venture with NAMCOR having 10 percent of the partnership.

This is the second find by the joint venture between Shell, QatarEnergy and NAMCOR, the first having been made in February last year.

A few weeks later France’s TotalEnergies announced the second discovery.

Namibia does not currently produce any fossil fuels, although its northern neighbour Angola is a major producer.

The promising result of the well “are a geological testimony of the significant hydrocarbon potential in the deep water,” NAMCOR said.

Kenya to expand use of world’s first malaria vaccine

A health worker vaccinates a child against malaria in Ndhiwa, Homabay County, western Kenya on September 13, 2019.   –   Copyright © africanews
BRIAN ONGORO/AFP or licensors

By Rédaction Africanews and AP

Kenya will expand the use of the world’s first malaria vaccine (or RTS,S), in the country.

At this centre at Kimogoi Dispensary Hamisi Sub-county in western Kenya, mothers bring their children to receive the jab.

Kenya is one of three countries, along with Ghana and Malawi, where the RTS,S malaria vaccine is already in use.

The Director General for Health details the vaccination campaign.

“We have so far vaccinated close to four hundred thousand children,” Patrick Amoth said.

“In Vihiga county alone at least twenty-five thousand children have been vaccinated against malaria. Within these areas, there has been a substantial reduction in deadly, severe malaria, a drop in child hospitalizations, and a reduction in child deaths.”

Isabella Osido says, vaccination has changed everything for her daugther, Faith.

Malaria is an acute febrile illness caused by parasites, which are spread to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes.

According to the World Health Organisation, the RTS,S vaccine acts against Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest malaria parasite globally and the most prevalent in Africa.

“Since I gave birth to Faith, at the beginning she was always sick with malaria.”

“She could treat at a rural clinic, and when I saw the writings of vaccines on the wall I asked the doctor who told me that they were for malaria, and that when Faith gets to the age of six months, she would receive it, then seven months until twenty-four months. When she finished the doses for Vaccine, the doctor forgot my name (meaning she has never gone back to the hospital with malaria again).”

The extension announcement by the Ministry of Health on Monday (Mar. 6), follows a recommendation from the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group for use of vaccinaton within Kenya’s lake-endemic region and the WHO recommendation for broader use of the vaccine among children in sub-Saharan Africa and in other regions with moderate to high malaria transmission.

Protestant Council of Rwanda bars abortions in its clinics

A fifteen years old woman who got pregnant after having been raped by rebels in the …   –   Copyright © africanews

By Rédaction Africanews with AP

The Protestant Council of Rwanda has directed all health facilities run by its members to stop carrying out all abortions.

The council’s decision earlier this month described abortion as a sin, echoing the stance of Rwanda’s more widely followed Catholic Church but conflicting with the East African country’s law which permits abortions for specific reasons.

The statement signed by 26 Protestant religious organizations instead called on parents to “guide” their daughters to seek abstinence until marriage.

Abortion previously was illegal in Rwanda, with a prison sentence for anyone who had an abortion or helped in terminating a pregnancy. But the law was changed in 2018 to say abortion is allowed in cases such as rape, forced marriage, incest or cases where pregnancy poses a health risk. The law requires that abortions be carried out only after consultations with a doctor.

“For us, we have our beliefs, and our beliefs cannot be taken away by the law. We are not opposing the law, but our belief does not allow us to support abortion,” Laurent Mbanda, the head of the Anglican Church in Rwanda, told The Associated Press.

He said the best way the council’s member health facilities can handle abortion cases is to make referrals to other hospitals.

The decision affects about 10% of Rwanda’s largest health facilities. The Catholic church owns 30% of the country’s health centers, most of them in rural areas, Cardinal Antoine Kambanda, the head of the church in Rwanda, told the AP.

Rwanda’s government views the Protestant Council’s decision on the sensitive matter as “undesirable,” an official from Rwanda’s health ministry told the AP. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

Some human rights groups urged the Protestant Council to reconsider.

“The Protestant church stance is likely to alienate their followers and (make them) seek other alternatives like unsafe abortions that can risk the woman and can cause death. It is better to allow women to seek these services in their hospitals to save life,” said Aflodis Kagaba, executive director of Health Development Initiative.

Sylvie Nsanga, a prominent women’s rights advocate, condemned the religious stance, describing it as “a disappointment.”

Issues of sexual and reproductive health often face debate in the largely conservative country.

Last year, parliament rejected a bill proposed by some members of civil society that would have allowed girls aged 15 to 18 access to contraceptive services in the interest of curbing teenage pregnancies. Some Rwandan lawmakers, however, argued that the bill instead might give teenage girls a “green light” to be promiscuous.

UNECA projects Africa’s economy to reach $1,977.6bn by 2030 through renewable energy

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has projected Africa’s economy to reach $1,977.6 billion by 2030 through the continent’s use of renewable energy.

Acting Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Mr Antonio Pedro

Mr Antonio Pedro, the Acting Executive Secretary, UNECA, said this at the Fifth African Science, Technology and Innovation Forum in Niamey, Niger, on Sunday, February 26, 2023.

The theme of the forum is: “Accelerating Development and Diffusion of Emerging Technologies for a Green, Inclusive and Resilient Africa’’.

“One key opportunity for us lies in the renewable energy market. The value in this market in 2020 was estimated at $881.7 billion and is projected to reach $1,977.6 billion by 2030.

“A 10 per cent share can easily add $200 billion to Africa’s economy.’’

Pedro said another opportunity Africa should not miss out on was the global digital economy.

He said the global digital economy was estimated at about $14.5 trillion, with about 60 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) now depending on digital technologies.

“Initiatives such as the African Trade Exchange (ATEX), which have been conceptualised by ECA and now fully operational under Afreximbank, can connect African entrepreneurs to the global marketplace more effectively.

“There are already many examples of transformative uses of technologies for this purpose across our continent.’’

He gave examples of sustainable development through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) several African countries were involved in to develop their economies.

“In support of SDG 6 – Ensuring access to water and sanitation for all in rural part of Arusha, Tanzania, a nanotechnology-based, low-cost water purification system is serving thousands of lives and creating hundreds of jobs for people.

“To facilitate access to affordable and clean energy, SDG 7, SOLEKTRA International has installed 100,000 solar street lamps and 1,200 solar micro-grids in 15 various countries bringing electricity to many for the first time.

“Various car-hailing services have cut down waiting time, enhanced transparency, and reduced cost of travel across African cities.

“Similarly in 2022, 11,200 bags of ground coffee were sold in a mere one second on the Alibaba E-Commerce platform, to name just a few examples.

“These are just some examples of real solutions that can accelerate the achievement of the SDGs.’’

Pedro, however, said Africa needed to strengthen the enabling environment through informed policies, increase investment in the research and development process, and harness the support of the private sector more effectively.

He said Africa should be at the forefront of a green transformation to accelerate growth, diversify economies and deliver on the SDGs and Agenda 2063.

Pedro further said UNECA was committed to supporting the transformation of Africa in its development process.

By Temitope Ponle