Deaths from an 11-month-old epidemic of Ebola in eastern DR Congo have crossed the 1,600 mark and a new fatality has been reported near the border with Uganda, the health ministry said on Friday.
As of Thursday, the health authorities had recorded 2,382 cases of Ebola, of which 1,606 had been fatal, it said.
A ministry spokesman told reporters that a patient whose infection had been reported on Monday in Ariwara, in Ituri province bordering Uganda, had died.
The fatality is a mother from neighbouring North Kivu province whose five children had become infected with Ebola, two of whom had died.
She had gone to Ituri in order to evade Ebola response teams, the ministry said.
Ariwari lies in northern Ituri, about 10 kilometres (six miles) from Uganda and some 60 kms from South Sudan.
“So far, 177 people who have been in contact with the family have been identified in Ariwara and 40 have already been vaccinated,” the ministry said.
The disease broke out in North Kivu before spreading to Ituri.
Two people also died in Uganda in June after a family returned from eastern Congo where they had buried an Ebola-stricken relative.
The current epidemic is the worst on record after more than 11,300 were killed Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in an outbreak between 2014-2016.
Ebola spreads among humans through close contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected person, or objects contaminated by such fluids.
Separately on Friday, the UN said the Ebola risk in Ituri was being heightened by violence that has caused people to flee their homes, forcing them to gather in places with poor hygiene that were vulnerable to disease spread.
Masiyiwa to Bid for Ethiopian Telecoms License
Zimbabwean Billionaire and founder of Econet Global Ltd, Strive Masiyiwa has disclosed his position on acquiring a telecommunications license in Ethiopia, which is opening up the industry to foreign investment for the first time.
The Horn of African country has announced plans to sell as much as 49% of the state-owned monopoly, Ethiopian Telecommunications Corp and to issue two new spectrum licenses.
Carriers including Orange SA, MTN Group Ltd. and Vodacom Group Ltd. have already shown interest in the country of more than 100 million people, which has a relatively low level of data penetration and internet access.
Econet, through a number of its subsidiaries, is actively developing interests in Ethiopia.
Econet has operations in Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Burundi, with investments in Europe and South America.
The government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had scheduled the liberalization of the industry for early this year.
However, it is yet to provide guidance on the exercise, including any limits on foreign ownership.
Common Customs bond in East Africa will to reduce costs
Importers in East Africa will from July, operate under a common Customs bond, to guarantee uniform import duties and taxes across all partner states.
Currently, the value of Customs bonds varies from country to country because of the application of different duty rates, valuation and sensitivity of goods.
Kenya requires importers of transit goods to secure a Customs bond issued by an insurance company, while delicate or sensitive cargo requires a bank or cash guarantee. In Uganda and Rwanda, the Customs bond is issued by an insurance company with rates based on the taxes charged by the destination country.
According to the East Africa Community Single Custom Territory Monitoring and Evaluation Committee, the common Customs bond will reduce the cost of doing business and goods turnaround time.
This common Customs bond is expected to be adopted during the Council of Ministers in July as part of the pillar to create a Customs Union. It is meant to create a level playing field for the region’s producers by imposing uniform competition laws, Customs procedures and external tariffs on goods imported from countries outside the EAC.
To secure cargo movement in the region, revenue commissioners from Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda in attendance, say they are already implementing cargo tracking systems and before the end of this year, there will be one data control centre to monitor and track cargo.
The new data control centre involves computerisation of all Customs systems and it will help in enhancing online tools, which include a regional dashboard, transport observatory system and a geographic information system.
A regional cargo tracking system is already operational on the Northern Corridor and has reduced cargo loss to close to zero in 2019.
According to the committee, the EAC secretariat in collaboration with Trade Mark East Africa and other partner states particularly the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) are looking into the possibility of interfacing the TRA Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTs) platform with existing ECTS systems along the central corridor.
Kenya Revenue Authority regional co-ordinator Southern Region Kenneth Ochola said they are setting up internal mechanisms in consultations with the Kenya Bureau of Standards to monitor compliance.
Carrefour faces Kenyan fines over unfair supplier deals
Kenya’s competition watchdog has fined Carrefour and ordered the French retail giant to review all its supply agreements within 60 days after the supermarket chain was found to be exploiting traders who supply it with goods.
The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) also ordered Carrefour through its franchise holder, Majid al Futtaim’s (MAF) to expunge six items from its supplier contracts that are said to give the store the power to offer ultra-competitive pricing to boost sales and increase market share.
The clauses include forcing suppliers to pay a non-refundable fee to do business with it and forcing merchants offering the retail chain goods to provide extra rebates or discounts.
Carrefour was found to be in breach of the law for forcing suppliers to post their own staff at its outlets at the expense of the suppliers. It was also accused of rejecting goods already delivered.
The retail giant has also been barred from delisting suppliers unilaterally without notice for failure to meet its stringent supply contract.
According to the CAK Director-General, Wang’ombe Kariuki, all current supply agreements of Majid Al Futtaim Limited relating to its Carrefour Hypermarkets in Kenya be amended forthwith and in any event within 60 days of service of this order to expunge all offending provisions.
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