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Ivory Coast’s AI Engineer Becomes First Woman To Win Africa prize1 minute read

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An Ivorian woman, Charlette N’Guessan, has won this year’s Royal Academy of Engineering Africa prize for engineering innovation.

The 26-year-old technology entrepreneur is the first woman to win the highly coveted prize.

N’Guessan’s team invention, Bace API, uses facial recognition and artificial intelligence to verify identities remotely, the academy said.

Bace API takes live images or short videos recorded on phone cameras to detect whether the image is of a real person or a photo of an existing image.

It is aimed at institutions that rely on identity verification. Two financial institutions are already using the software to verify customers’ identities, the academy said.

N’Guessan won £25,000 – $33,000 – for the top prize.

The winner was voted for by a live audience during a virtual awards ceremony held on Thursday where four finalists delivered presentations.

Three runners-up – Aisha Raheem from Nigeria, Dr William Wasswa and David Tusubira both from Uganda – received £10,000 ($13,000).

Nigeria’s Raheem emerged tops with her digital platform which provides farmers with data to improve their efficiency; Wasswa’s invention, a low-cost digital microscope, speeds up cervical cancer screening while Tusubira devised a system that manages off-grid power grids by monitoring the condition of solar rays.

“Fifteen shortlisted Africa Prize entrepreneurs, from six countries in sub-Saharan Africa, received eight months of training and mentoring, during which they developed their business plans and learned to market their innovations,” the academy said in a statement.

Health

COVID-19 Vaccine Will Not Be Available Until 2021 – Nigeria’s Health Minister

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The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has again cautioned Nigerians against non-adherence to COVID-19 recommended measures, as this could lead to spike as being experienced in some parts of the world.

According to the Honourable Minister, “It is important to remind ourselves that COVID-19 is real and spreading wildly in some parts of the world as we speak. Some countries are experiencing the so-called second wave, with all the complications that go along with this easily spreading disease; another country is to go under lockdown again. This is something Nigeria must endeavour to avoid.”

Dr. Ehanire gave this caution during the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Press Briefing in Abuja on Thursday, 17th September, 2020, where he appealed to Nigerians to comply with the recommended protocols for reducing the spread of the virus in the country as vaccine will not be available until next year.

“Compliance with all recommended measures, like wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding gatherings etc. will go a long way to help. Vaccines will not be available till next year at best, and no new reliable therapeutic has been confirmed, but we must restart businesses, including travel, to allow citizens to earn their livelihoods”, he said.

It is important to remind ourselves that COVID-19 is real and spreading wildly in some parts of the world as we speak.

The Minister reported that, as at 17th September 2020, the country has so far recorded a total of 56,604 COVID-19 positive cases out of a total of 482,321 samples tested, with 47,872 persons treated and discharged, while 1091 persons were sadly lost to the disease.

Speaking further, Dr. Ehanire appealed to people who tested positive to COVID-19 especially the elderly and those with underlying health conditions to immediately report to a treatment facility, as it has been observed that most fatalities are among those reporting late for treatment, when their clinical condition has worsened. He added that there are enough facilities across the country to cater for them. “There is no shortage of beds reported from any of the States”, he said.

The Honourable Minister also informed of Federal Government’s plan to distribute oxygen concentrators and ventilators to various health institutions across the country, to enable them provide oxygen therapy to persons presenting with respiratory distress, till they are referred to treatment centres; thus improving their chances of survival. He added that the Federal Government is working with State Government officials to sustain sample collections and response activities, with emphasis on surveillance and treatment, in order to drive containment.

Further, Dr. Ehanire reported that Nigeria on Thursday, 17th September, 2020 joined the rest of the world to commemorate the World “Patient Safety Day”, a day set aside by the World Health Assembly, to recognise and highlight the safety of patients under treatment, as a global health priority. The theme for this year, he said was, “Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety”, with the slogan of “Safe health workers, safe patients.”

The Minister pointed out that although we are confronted with the global pandemic, “The heroic role of frontline healthcare workers to keep the rest of us safe must be recognized. They work odd hours, endure stigma, risk infection and even their lives.”

While commending the efforts of the health care workers, Dr. Ehanire again appealed to the striking members of Joint Health Sector Union to put the plight, safety and well-being of their patients into consideration and to call off their industrial actions, while differences are being addressed by negotiation.

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Kenya’s Cargo Plane Crashes Into Fence At Mogadishu Airport

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A Kenya-flagged aircraft on Saturday crashlanded at the Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu, Somalia.

The twin-engine Fokker aircraft, which was carrying cargo to Somalia, slid off the runway and rammed into a concrete fence after landing at Mogadishu airport.

The turboprop plane was severely damaged in the impact. It is reported to have belonged to Kenya’s Silverstone Air.

“Kenyan registered plane 5YMHT, Fokker 50, slid off the runway at Mogadishu Aden Adde Airport this morning. No fatalities co-pilot slightly injured and captain was stuck in the cockpit for a while. Silverstone air services doing domestic flights within Somalia,” a Twitter user said on the microblogging platform.

It is not immediately clear what could have caused the incident.

The authorities have dispatched rescue crews to deal with the incident.

Conflicting reports say four to five people were evacuated from the plane. No casualties have been reported so far, although some crew members were injured.

The Aden Adde airport is home to foreign diplomatic missions and is a gateway for humanitarian shipments delivered to Somalia.

The East African nation is still reeling from three decades of hostilities and relies heavily on international aid.

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COVID-19: Kenyan Courts Deliver 7,000 Judgements Digitally

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Courts in Kenya delivered over 7,000 judgement by electronic means during the COVID-19 restrictions in the country, Chief Justice David Maraga has said.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted everyday activities globally, with countries forced to impose lockdowns and restriction of movement. Courts had also switched to the hearing of cases digitally to avoid the delay of justice.

Chief Justice Maraga, who received computer donations from the European Union (EU), noted that the pandemic has “provided an opportunity for us in the justice sector to reflect on how to address the current gaps related to technology in the enhancement of justice.”

Court proceedings in Kenya have been altered due to the crisis. Some cases are heard in open spaces in efforts to limit the risk of spreading the virus in the country; cases have been heard on video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Skype.

However, Maraga – who doubles as Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya – noted that digital operations in the justice sector had not reached the required levels.

“It may take a while to reach a critical level of operations but with determination, we will enhance our services using technological platforms available,” he said.

By Friday, Kenya had reported 36,724 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 646 deaths, according to data published by the ministry of health.

The East African country is one of only eight in Africa to register more than 30,000 COVID-19 cases.

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