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Review: Mental Health in Africa: Solutions to Challenges

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This week on Village Square Africa on News Central, mental health experts from Kenya, Ethiopia and Nigeria helped to unpack mental health in Africa.

In highly engaging and educating discussions, experts called for better awareness and care for mentally-challenged people on the continent.

The experts discussed the religious and superstitious beliefs that have affected the reaction of people to mental health and said it’s not a disease and people who go through challenges should not be stigmatised.

With 80% of Africans who need mental health attention still lacking care, or access to services, the experts made calls to the government to help the mental health departments in various countries toward better performance.

Teenage suicide and depression has been on the increase in Africa, and many cases go unreporated. Experts say this be reduced minimally if all hands are on deck.

See videos on Mental Health, depression and suicide below;

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AfCFTA

Afreximbank, AAAM Sign MoU on Africa Auto Industry Financing

Under the terms of the MoU, Afreximbank and AAAM will work together to enhance the emergence of regional value chains with a focus on value-added manufacturing created through partnerships between global original equipment manufacturers, suppliers, and local partners.

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The African Export-Import Bank and the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers have signed a memorandum of understanding on the financing and promotion of the automotive industry in Africa.

Afreximbank President, Prof. Benedict Oramah, notes the strategic partnership with AAAM will facilitate the implementation of the bank’s automotive programme, which aims to catalyze the development of the automotive industry in Africa as the continent commences trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Under the terms of the MoU, Afreximbank and AAAM will work together to enhance the emergence of regional value chains in Africa with a focus on value-added manufacturing created through partnerships between global original equipment manufacturers, suppliers, and local partners. 

Both organizations plan to undertake studies to map potential regional automotive value chains on the African continent in regional economic clusters, in order to enable the manufacture of automotive components for supply to hub assemblers.

The Afreximbank and AAAM will also collaborate to provide financing to industry players along the automotive value chain in order to support the emergence of the African automotive industry.

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Potential interventions will include lines of credit, direct financing, project financing, supply-chain financing, guarantees, equity financing, among others in Africa.

The MoU also provides for the partners to support, in conjunction with the African Union Commission and the AfCFTA Secretariat, the development of coherent national, regional, and continental automotive policies and strategies on the continent. 

According to the AAAM: with an integrated market under the AfCFTA, abundant and cheap labor, natural resource wealth, and a growing middle class, African countries are increasingly turning their attention to support the emergence of their automotive industries.

Therefore, the alliance between Afreximbank and AAAM will be an opportunity to fuel the aspirations of African countries towards re-focusing their economies on industrialization and export manufacturing and fostering the emergence of regional value chains.

The African Association of Automotive Manufacturers CEO David Coffey has also commended the move saying the signing of the MoU with Afreximbank is an exciting milestone for the development of the automotive industry in Africa.

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AfCFTA

Zambia Tenders AfCFTA Ratification to AU Commission

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Zambia has submitted the instruments of ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement to the AU Commission.

The southern African nation deposited its instrument of ratification to the AU Commission through its envoy, making it the 36th AU member to fully accede to the agreement, the 55-member pan African bloc disclosed.

With Zambia’s ratification, only 18 members are left to comply with the requirement.

The UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), which helps AU members in crafting their own national AfCFTA strategies, said on Monday that Zambia’s ratification comes as the country finalises its national AfCFTA strategy, which will guide its implementation of the agreement.

Trading under the continental free trade pact started officially on January 1 2021.

The UNECA, through its African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), has been working with the AU Commission and member states to deepen Africa’s trade integration and effectively implement the agreement through policy advocacy and national strategy development.

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Nigeria: SSANU, NASU Begin Nationwide Strike Today – Officials

The demand of the unions includes rectifying inconsistencies in the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS), non-payment of arrears of minimum wage, delay in renegotiation with government, NASU and SSANU 2009 agreement, among others.

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SSANU, NASU Begin Nationwide Strike Today

The Leadership of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the non-teaching staff unions of universities says it will proceed with its nationwide strike on February 5.

The industrial action is meant to force the Federal Government to address their pressing demands, a statement from the unions has said.

The non-teaching staff of the Joint Action Committee are made up of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of the Universities (NASU).

NASU General Secretary, Peters Adeyemi, made this disclosure in a statement jointly signed by Mohammed Ibrahim, SSANU president, on Thursday, in Abuja.

The Joint Action Committee of both NASU and SSANU had last week made threats to embark on an indefinite strike starting on February 5, to press home its demands.

The demand of the unions include rectifying inconsistencies in the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS), non-payment of arrears of minimum wage, delay in renegotiation with government, NASU and SSANU 2009 agreement, among others.

Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige, and other government officials, had on Wednesday converged at a meeting, with the purpose of addressing most of the unions’ demands.

A joint committee had been set up to address certain anomalies which both unions complained about and an ultimatum of 48 hours given to communicate a possible date for the next meeting.

According to Adeyemi, in view of the outcome of the meeting, the leadership of the Joint Action Committee of NASU and SSANU at the branches had been directed to convene joint general meetings on Friday, February 5.

“This is to give reports on the outcome of the conciliation meeting and agree on resolutions for a way forward. The resolutions of the branches must reach the respective National Secretariats on or before Tuesday, February 9.

“In the meantime, the nationwide strike takes effect from 12 midnight, 5 February, 2021, pending any contrary resolution by the branches,” Adeyemi said.

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