The Midday Recap

AFRICA DAY

The African continent is commemorating today, Tuesday May 25 as Africa Day. 

Formerly known as African Freedom Day and African Liberation Day, the day is the annual commemoration of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on May 5, 1963.

The organization later transformed into the African Union on July 9, 2002 in Durban, South Africa, but the holiday continues to be celebrated on May 25.

The day is celebrated in various countries on the African continent as well as around the world.

This year’s Africa Day theme is Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want.

SUDAN

In the East of Africa, Sudan has declared a state of emergency and imposed a night curfew in some parts of the coastal Red Sea state, after tribal violence that killed at least five people.

But the state governor media office in a statement gave no details of the clashes and did not mention casualties.

However, a local medical official said the clashes left at least five people dead and 13 wounded.

The clashes broke out in some areas in the city of Port Sudan.

Red Sea state, in eastern Sudan, has a history of deadly clashes between the Beni Amer and Nuba, even after leaders from the two tribes signed a peace agreement to stem the violence in 2019.

D.R. CONGO

Sustained tremors shook the Congolese city of Goma on Monday, unnerving families still reeling from a volcano eruption at the weekend that destroyed nearby villages, displaced thousands and killed at least 32 people.

Mount Nyiragongo, one of the continent’s most active and dangerous volcanoes, erupted on Saturday evening, sending a smoldering wall of lava half a mile wide downhill towards the city of 2 million people.

The lava flow stopped a few hundred meters short of the city limits, but wrecked 17 villages on the way.

The head of civil defence in North Kivu province, said Joseph Makundi, the death toll rose to 32 on Monday, including seven killed by lava, three by smoke, two asphyxiated by volcanic gas and four who died trying to escape Munzenze prison in Goma.

MALI

In the West of the continent, the United Nations Mission in Mali has demanded the immediate release of President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane, following reports that they were detained by soldiers.

The mission also called for calm in the West African nation.

There were reports that interim President Ndaw and Ouane were driven by soldiers to the Kati military camp near the capital, Bamako.

This has raised fears and speculations of a second coup within a year in the country.

Defense Minister Souleymane Doucouré has also reportedly been detained.

The African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, the EU and the U.S. have all condemned the arrests, demanding that Mali’s top politicians be released without preconditions.

THE GAMBIA

Staying in West Africa, Gambian President Adama Barrow has declared that the national guard of the Armed Forces be on standby to assume police duties to tackle the upsurge of deadly crimes.

Barrow says some individuals and groups have taken advantage of the prevailing free and democratic environmenthis government allowed since 2017 to unleash violent assaults.

The crimes include illegal possession of arms, robbery, burglary and rape, some of which tragically ends in fatalities. 

Barrow promises the military and the police will protect the lives and property in the country.

The Gambia Police Force’s recent operation to bust criminals fell short of meeting the public expectation.

Barrow adds that the police capacity will be enhanced via training and equipment.

AFRICA COVID-19 UPDATES

ETHIOPIA

In East Africa, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health has registered 306 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 269,500 on Monday.

The ministry says eight new deaths were reported, bringing the national death toll to 4,084.

Meanwhile, the country reported 2,027 more recoveries, taking the national count to 230,784.

Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous country, has so far reported the largest number of COVID-19 cases in the East Africa region.

The ministry adds that Ethiopia currently has 34,630 active COVID-19 cases, of whom 485 are said to be under severe health conditions.

Ethiopia is among the countries hardest hit by COVID-19 in Africa, following South Africa, Morocco and Tunisia.

NIGERIA

In West Africa, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has registered 42 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 166,061.

The NCDC says the new infections represent an increase from the 40 cases logged on Sunday and the 35 reported Saturday.

It adds that the new cases were registered from seven states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The agency says the new cases included 14 from Lagos, 11 from Gombe, 5 from Osun and Kano, 4 from FCT and 1 from Edo, Kaduna and Rivers.

The NCDC says there are over 7,000 active cases across the country as of May 24.

WORLDWRAP

VACCINE CRISIS

Director General of the World Health Organization Tedros Ghebreyesus, says 75 percent of COVID-19 vaccines are administered in only 10 countries.

He described the ongoing vaccine crisis as a scandalous inequity that is perpetuating the pandemic.

Ghebreyesus, in his address to 74th World Health Assembly, said there’s no diplomatic way to describe vaccine inequality.

According to him, COVAX has shipped roughly 72 million doses to some 125 developing nations but those vaccines represent barely one per cent of their combined populations.

The director general reported more COVID-19 cases in 2021 than 2020; almost 18 months into the defining health crisis of our age, the world remains in a very dangerous situation.

WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY

In the meantime, Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for the application of wartime logic in the international battle against COVID-19.

He was speaking at the opening of the World Health Organization’s main annual assembly of member states. 

Guterres lamented a tsunami of suffering sparked by the coronavirus crisis.

He pointed out that more than 3.4 million people had died and some 500 million jobs had disappeared since the virus first surfaced in 2019.

AFGHANISTAN

Australia will shut its embassy in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Friday, as the withdrawal of international troops’ proceeds.

Canberra also cited increasingly uncertain security environment in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Australian diplomats will visit Afghanistan regularly – but will be based elsewhere in the region.

There are fears that the withdrawal of the U.S.-led NATO force could plunge Afghanistan back into a full-scale war.

In April, U.S. President Joe Biden said American troops would leave by September 11, after 20 years of military involvement in Afghanistan.

At least 2,500 U.S. troops are part of the 9,600-strong NATO Afghan mission.

BUSINESS

NIGERIA

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has set new capital requirements for payment firms in the country. 

The CBN disclosed the capital requirements in a circular on Monday titled ‘New license requirements for the payments system’.

The CBN stated that to have a Payment Terminal Service Provider licence, a firm was required to have N100m shareholders’ funds unimpaired by losses. 

It retained super agent’s licence at N50 million; Switching and Processing firm’s licence at N2 billion; Mobile Money Operator’s licence at N2 billion; Payment Solution Services at N250m and Payment Solution Service Provider at N100 million.

The CBN specified non-refundable application fee of N100, 000 via the licensing fees. 

According to the capital requirements, the payment firms must have an escrow of refundable N2 billion into CBN PSP share capital deposit account.

D.R. CONGO

The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo Félix Tshisekedi is seeking a review of some mining contracts with foreign companies as a lobby warns that the country will potentially lose at least $3.7 billion in skewed mining and oil deals with controversial Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler.

Kinshasa has already lost out on nearly $2 billion in revenue by selling mining and oil assets to Gertler, according to a coalition of Congolese and international organizations, which has urged the government to review the deals.

Companies owned by Gertler, who is under U.S. sanctions for alleged corruption in Congo, stand to gain $1.76 billion in the next 20 years from copper and cobalt projects in the country.

However, Gertler, a close friend of former Congolese President Joseph Kabila, denies any wrongdoing and He has never been charged with a crime.

SPORTS

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY

Nigeria’s Coach Gernot Rohr has selected Captain Ahmed Musa, deputy captain William Ekong and home boys, John Noble and Anayo Iwuala among the 24 Super Eagles who will do battle with five-time African champions Cameroon in a prestige friendly in Austria on Friday next week.

The list also has goalkeepers Maduka Okoye and Francis Uzoho, defenders Ola Aina and Chidozie Awaziem, midfielders Wilfred Ndidi and Abdullahi Shehu, and forwards Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon and Simy Nwankwo,

Nigeria, who have won the Africa Cup of Nations three times but have been bumped by Cameroon in the final of the competition on three other occasions, defeated the Indomitable Lions 3-0 in a friendly in Belgium in October 2015, and have not lost to the Lions in regulation time since a 1990 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Yaounde on 27th August 1989.

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