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As the world mourns the passing of Diego Maradona, Argentinan journalist, Joaquin Chomicki and Nigerian broadcaster, Temisan Okomi speak with NewsCentral TV’s Tolu Shotade on the “magic footballer” today on In The Game.

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Health

AU Secures Additional 400m Doses of COVID-19 Vaccines

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Africa Centre for Disease Control has revealed that the African Union has gotten an additional 400m doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

This is barely a week after 270m doses of the vaccine were acquired.

Many African countries have not started vaccinating their citizens as they cannot afford the cost of purchasing vaccines amid a growing vaccine nationalism.

“An additional 400 million doses of vaccines have been secured from the Serum Institute of India,” Africa CDC director, John Nkengasong told a press conference.

“If you add 400 million doses to the 270 million doses, I think we are beginning to make very, very good progress.”

Africa is also expected to benefit from the World Health Organisation’s COVAX initiative.

The 670m doses already secured from the SII are part of India’s production using the Oxford-AstraZeneca formula.

Africa will need at least 1.5bn doses to vaccinate 60% of its 1.3bn population, and less than half of have been secured.

Economic giants- South Africa, Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt and others have finalised plans to buy vaccines from manufacturers.

South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa had on Tuesday accused the big countries of the world of hoarding COVID-19 vaccines to the detriment of the developing nations.

South Africa was also confirmed to have paid a higher price for doses of vaccines in comparison with richer EU countries.

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Business News

Kenyan Banks Restructure 54.2% of the Banking Sector Loan Book

By the end of 2020, personal and household loans amounting to KSh 333 billion had their repayment period extended. Banks also restructured loans amounting to KSh 1.29 trillion issued to sectors like trade, manufacturing, agriculture, and real estate.

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The Central Bank of Kenya have announced that Kenyan banks have restructured loans amounting to KSh1.63 trillion, equivalent to 54.2% of the total banking sector loan book by the end of December 2020.

In March last year, the Central Bank introduced emergency measures in the banking system in order to offer relief to borrowers affected by the pandemic.

By the end of 2020, personal and household loans amounting to KSh 333 billion had their repayment period extended. Banks also restructured loans amounting to KSh 1.29 trillion issued to sectors like trade, manufacturing, agriculture, and real estate.

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The percent of gross non-performing loans to gross loans increased to 14.1% in December 2020 from 12% in December 2019. The percent of gross non-performing loans to gross loans measures the health of the banking system and a high percent shows that banks are struggling to recover issued loans and interest on the loans.

The pandemic adversely affected businesses in Kenya and limited their ability to repay loans. According to the Central Bank, Kenyan banks registered an increase in non-performing loans in the transport and communication sector, agriculture sector, and the real estate sector in 2020.

Despite the sharp increase in non-performing loans in the past year, the Central Bank of Kenya says Kenya’s banking sector “remains stable and resilient, with strong liquidity and capital adequacy ratios.”

 

 

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North Africa

Amnesty Calls for Probe into Death of Teen Hit by Tear Gas in Tunisia

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Amnesty International has demanded an investigation into the death of a young man who was hit by a tear gas canister during protests that rocked Tunisia on the 10th anniversary of the 2011 Jasmine Revolution.

Amnesty International, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Amna Guellali, said two young men – Haykal Rachdi and Aymen Mahmoudi – were injured under similar circumstances in the western town of Subaytilah late on January 18.

The relatives of the 21-year-olds were told that they were hit by tear gas canisters fired by riot police.

Rachdi died from his wounds several days later while Mahmoudi underwent serious surgery to repair bone wounds.

Amnesty International’s Deputy Director, Amna Guellali says “the tragic death of Haykal Rachdi, a young man who was seeking a better future, must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated.

She recommends that the investigation should include interviews with witnesses and an independent forensic medical examination, and those responsible for his killing must face justice.

“Security forces must respond to demonstrations that are a genuine expression of social hardship with restraint and respect for freedom of assembly, using force only when absolutely necessary and doing so proportionately. Police impunity has long been a concern in Tunisia – to break the cycle of violence, judicial authorities should investigate all incidents of unlawful use of force, including tear gas, and ensure that police are held to account.”

The rights group also called for a thorough probe into Mahmoudi’s serious injury.

Relatives of both men told Amnesty International that the two were hit by tear gas canisters when they were passing by the area of protests.

The NGO said, citing Subaytilah residents, that riot police fired tear gas indiscriminately during protests, often in the middle of densely populated residential neighborhoods, with some canisters even landing in people’s homes.

The group urged the Tunisian authorities to respect people’s freedom of assembly and stop reckless use of tear gas.

Nationwide demonstrations broke out in Tunisia in mid-January after the government imposed a new coronavirus lockdown.

The unrest coincided with the anniversary of the Jasmine Revolution, with the protesters expressing frustration over a lack of political and economic reforms a decade on.

The protests are accompanied by road blockades, acts of vandalism and clashes with police.

Hundreds of demonstrators have been detained, the majority of whom are under 25 years old.

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