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Seychelles president announces 2020 re-election bid1 minute read

Seychelles would hold a referendum ahead of the elections on whether citizens living abroad should be allowed to vote

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Seychelles president announces 2020 re-election bid | News Central TV
Seychelles President, Danny Faure. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP)

Seychelles President, Danny Faure on Monday announced that he would seek re-election in presidential polls in 2020.

“It is with a great deal of humility that I inform the Seychellois people of my decision to stand as a candidate in the presidential election next year,” Faure said in a public address, according to a statement from the presidency.

The 57-year-old took office in 2016 after his predecessor quit following a crushing defeat in legislative elections for the party which had been in power for four-decades.

Faure also announced that the country would hold a referendum ahead of the elections on whether citizens living abroad should be allowed to vote.

The country’s current three-decade-old constitution does not allow for residents abroad to vote, a matter Faure said had been cause for much debate.

“As a people, we need to make a decision on this matter, to ensure that the constitution and electoral laws reflect what the Seychellois people want,” he said, according to the statement.

He said he would ask the electoral commission to set a date for the elections within seven days from Tuesday.

Seychelles is made up of about 115 islands and tourism is one of the main drivers of an economy which boasts the highest gross domestic product per capita in Africa.

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Ethiopia to divest 40% of Ethio Telecom

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The Ethiopian government is finalizing plans to sell a 40 percent stake in Ethio Telecom- the country’s sole telecommunication provider . The plan was announced by Ethiopia’s State Minister of Finance, Eyob Tekalign Tolina.

Ethiopia’s telecommunication industry is considered one of the last closed markets. It has been one of the government’s plans to liberalize the country’s economy launched by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Ethio Telecom has a large market serving a population of around 110 million.

The government will retain ownership of the remaining 60 percent.

Foreign firms in the telecom sector will be invited to bid and a percentage of the minority stake will be sold to Ethiopian citizens. South Africa’s MTN and Kenya’s Safaricom have shown interest in expanding into Ethiopia in the past.

Ethiopia’s communications regulator says the country would proceed with the privatisation of the telecommunications sector despite the novel coronavirus outbreak.

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Covid-19: Kenyan researchers test efficacy of local herbal medicine

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Dr. Festus Tolo, co-researcher in traditional medicine at his office at Kemri headquarters shows some of the pilot products. PHOTO|ANGELA OKETCH| NATION

Kenya’s leading research institute has begun exploring the efficacy of one of its herbal and traditional medicines likely to treat Covid-19.

Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) has identified Zedupex, an in-house herbal medicine used in the treatment of genital herpes, a common viral disease that causes sores on the mouth and genitals.

The drug licensed by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board in 2015 was developed by Kenyan scientists from medicinal trees.

The search for both a cure and a vaccine for the coronavirus has intensified around the globe, including in Kenya, as medical researchers race to find the elusive remedy.

Dr. Festus Tolo of Kenya’s Medical Research Institute is the lead scientist tasked with finding out whether a herb-based drug will be effective against COVID-19. Zedupex, developed in 2015 by Kenyan researchers, has been used in the treatment of herpes.

Tolo says his team does not know yet whether the drug will work against the virus.

“We are still in very early stages. We cannot be able to say, knowing that the herpes simplex virus is a DNA virus and the coronavirus is an RNA virus,” he said.

“This really means that we need to, first of all confirm or check whether there’s activity before we can be able to really say this is a product we can explore further for COVID management.”

The WHO’s Kenya representative Rudi Eggers says that standardizing the various herbal cures could be quite a challenge.
“In other medicines, we find that there are specific levels of the active ingredient and in herbal cures you frequently find varied components and the levels of those components in there,” Eggers said.

“So, in fact you’d have to standardize these cures to make sure that you know what is in them and what component is actually acting. So that’s quite a step to be taken before actually evaluating these cures.”

Zedupex is sold in small-scale through the institute’s production department. The researchers will be working in the laboratory to test the activity and safety of the compound on Covid-19 treatment.

The trials are being carried out at Kemri’s laboratory. The drug has not been administered to any coronavirus patient.

But as Kenya tries to explore the treatment of the virus with traditional medicines, the African Union says it will now start testing the controversial herbal remedy for Covid-19 from Madagascar.

At least five African countries continue to receive supplies of the remedy despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) warning about its use.
Despite these hurdles, researchers at KEMRI are pressing ahead with their study of herbal treatments for COVID-19.

Kenya itself has seen more than 1,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease so far, and about 50 deaths.

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World Bank grants Africa, Asia $500 million to battle locust invasion.

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The World Bank has approved $500 million in grants and low-interest loans to help countries in Africa and the Middle East combat swarms of desert locusts that had been eating their way across vast swaths of crops and rangelands.

Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda; the Four of the hardest-hit countries will receive $160 million immediately, according to Holger Kray, a senior World Bank official.

“The Horn of Africa finds itself at the epicenter of the worst locust outbreak we have seen in a generation, most probably in more than a generation,”

Kray says, noting that the new coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating the crisis.

The World Bank emphasized that this pestilence had infested 23 countries across East Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, the biggest outbreak in 70 years posing a grave danger to food supplies in East Africa where nearly 23 million people are facing food shortages. Now coupled with the coronavirus pandemic, the situation becomes more worrisome.

The World Bank estimates that the Horn of Africa region could suffer up to $8.5 billion in damage to crop and livestock production by year-end without broad measures to reduce locust populations and prevent their spread further. Even with these measures, losses could be as high as $2.5 billion, the lender adds.

In Kenya, the locusts are eating in one day, the amount of food consumed by all Kenyans in two days, Kray explains.

The new World Bank program will help farmers, herders and rural households by providing fertilizer and seeds for new crops and cash transfers to pay for food for people and livestock. It will also fund investments to strengthen surveillance and early warning systems to make the region more resilient over the medium- to longer-term, Kray explained

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