malaria vaccine

Malaria Vaccine: Cameroon Introduces RTS, S/AS01, Targets 249,133 Children This Year

Cameroon is the first country to introduce the malaria vaccine into its vaccination program. This far, 1833 children have been vaccinated.

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Cameroon-Nigeria Golf Tournament: Friendship Triumphs

The Cameroon-Nigeria Friendship Golf Tournament lived up to its bidding, as friendship triumphed. Diane Momsa from Nigeria loved every bit of the game, won two, and lost one, but the best thing that happened to her was Mama Alisa, the host who was like a mother.

“I am inviting her to the Women’s Golf Open in Nigeria in February 2024”, Momsa extended her invitation.

Diane Momsa from Nigeria is in green and Alisa in Red.

Meanwhile, the tournament ended in parity, with 22 points on each side:

Day1 CMR 8 NIG 6
Day 2 CMR 5 NIG 8
Day3 CMR 9 NIG 8

The tournament ended with the award of trophies, winning, dining, and exchanging pleasantries, a show of friendship.

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Cameroon-Nigeria Friendship Golf Tourney Kick-Starts In Yaounde

Golfers from Cameroon and Nigeria are on the starting block as the Cameroon-Nigeria Friendship Golf Tournament kick-starts in Yaounde today.

The tourney which is part of the annual activities of the Cameroon Golf Federation was officially announced during a presser at the Yaounde golf club last evening.

It would not be only about the sport, but an avenue for business meetings for economic operators, civil engineers, and politicians from both countries. The legendary IBB International Golf and Country Club of Abuja is the special guest of the tourney.

During the presser last night, Prof. Wilfred Mbacham Cameroon captain stated that the host was going to match the Nigerian golfers with Cameroonian seniors. “it is the friendship that would be celebrated along the golf course to discover what each other does.” He urged Cameroonian golfers coming to the tournament to bring their business cards along as beyond golf, there is encouragement and exchanges.

The Nigerian captain stated that when two people come together, they start to understand themselves better, even as a governments.

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Cameroon-Born Francis Ngannou Seals Deal With PFL

By Etienne Mainimo

Cameron-born, former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou has sealed a multi-fight deal with the Professional Fighters League, PFL.

The announcement was made public on Tuesday, May 16, jointly by the heavyweight champion and PFL.

The CEO of PFL, Peter Murray in a statement said, “The PFL is excited to announce its groundbreaking strategic partnership with Francis Ngannou, the greatest heavyweight fighter in the world. Ngannou will anchor the PFL’s star-studded PPV Super Fight Division, serve on PFL’s Global Athlete Advisory Board, and will be a chairman and equity owner in PFL Africa.”

Murray added, “This is not an athlete deal. Francis is an icon today in the sport, he is the best in the world at what he does, but he’s in business with the PFL. We’re in business together.”

A press release also stated that “…Ngannou is the former UFC heavyweight champion, the first African heavyweight world champion in history, and the hardest-hitting fighter in MMA history.”

Speaking to the New York Times, Ngannou said, “The past few months have been a very interesting time to understand and see the landscape, but I’m very excited about this deal with the PFL because they basically showed what I was expecting.”

Ngannou said in a tweet:

The 36-year-old is expected to make his PFL debut in 2024 against an opponent to be announced. He is also keen on a professional boxing match, which his new contract with the PFL allows.

The PFL intends to launch multiple leagues across different continents in the coming years, with PFL Africa expected as soon as 2025. PFL Europe was launched this year. Ngannou failed out with UFC after becoming Champions in 2022. He said discussions with the UFC broke down primarily over non-financial issues. Since becoming heavyweight champion in January 2022, Ngannou hasn’t fought. An injury also kept Ngannou off the ring after he terminated his contract with UFC.

Protus-ARREY-TARKANG-PhD

“Synergistic Plants Could Be A Source Of Combination Therapy For Malaria”-Researcher

Africa bears the burden of malaria with children under five accounting for 80 percent of Malaria deaths. WHO announced a global technical strategy aimed at reducing the global burden of malaria with research and innovation as one of the focus areas. Africa has joined the race with the African Academy of Sciences, the European Union, and the African Union supporting research through a 25 million euro project, African Research for Scientific Excellence-ARISE. In an interview with Cameroon Factfinder, ahead of World Malaria Day, Dr. Protus Arrey Tarkang a grantee of the African Research Initiative for Scientific Excellence (ARISE) program talked about his research, drug resistance, and policy around the implementation of research results. Read the excerpt:

Cameroon Factfinder: Is there enough investment in terms of research for malaria drugs in Africa?

Dr. Protus Tarkang: Investment in terms of research for malaria drugs is substantial but we cannot say it’s enough in the present circumstances. First, Africa bears the greatest burden of malaria. According to the WHO World malaria report 2021, it accounted for 96% (241 million) of global malaria cases in 2020 and 98% of global malaria deaths, with the poor and vulnerable populations experiencing the highest burden. Children under five accounted for about 80% of all malaria deaths in the same year. Secondly, over the past two decades, research for malaria drugs has taken up approximately 25% of the total funding dedicated to malaria control in Africa. In 2015, WHO announced a new global technical strategy (GTS) for malaria 2016-2030, aimed at reducing the global malaria burden by 90% by 2030. One of the three major pillars of that strategy is Innovation and research, which includes research on drugs for malaria. WHO estimates that additional funding of $673 million annually is needed for malaria research, which includes drugs, thereby justifying the fact that the available funding is not enough. Finally, despite the significant efforts to tackle malaria in Africa over the last 20 years, progress stalled during the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to the emergence of resistance and poor health systems. Consequently, the envisaged goals in the GTS were not met and the funding gap between calculated needs and funds available has widened in recent years. This indicates that the total funding is inadequate to achieve the WHO global targets to reduce the malaria burden by 2030. Evidence for this is that the rate of withdrawal of malaria drugs from the list of essential drugs is higher than the rate of approval of new drugs. There is therefore a huge need for an increase in funding for malaria control, including research for malaria drugs.

What is the innovation in research around drug resistance?

Drug resistance is the reduction in the effectiveness of a medication in treating a disease or condition. In the context of malaria treatment, Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies (ACT) are the WHO-recommended treatment of choice for uncomplicated malaria. This consists of an artemisinin derivative and a partner drug that work together to reduce and eliminate the parasites. Therefore, we can talk about Artemisinin partial resistance, which is delayed parasite clearance after treatment with a drug containing an artemisinin derivative. Although a significant reduction of treatment efficacy has not been observed in association with delayed parasite clearance after treatment with a drug containing an artemisinin derivative, increases in the proportion of parasites carrying the malaria parasite mutation marker (PfKelch13) indicate that parasites with this mutation have an advantage under current treatment strategies and transmission dynamics. This could be due to higher transmissibility or improved fitness. Therefore innovation in research around malaria drug resistance is aimed at mitigating the risks and responding to the emergence and spread of antimalarial drug resistance, in accordance with the recommendations of the WHO strategy to respond to antimalarial drug resistance in Africa. Its objectives are to: i) improve the detection of resistance to ensure a timely response; ii) delay the emergence of resistance to artemisinin and artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) partner drugs; and iii) limit the selection and spread of resistant parasites where resistance has been confirmed. This strategy for attaining these objectives is centered around four pillars: strengthen surveillance of antimalarial drug efficacy and resistance, optimize and better regulate the use of diagnostics and therapeutics to limit drug pressure through pre-emptive measures, react to resistance by limiting the spread of antimalarial drug-resistant parasites, stimulate research and innovation to better leverage existing tools and develop new tools against resistance.

Can Africa attain zero malaria in terms of treatment?

Saying that Africa can attain zero malaria in terms of treatment will be an overstatement for the following reasons: First, zero malaria is a status that cannot be attained through treatment alone but through the implementation of many interlinked strategies, which include the product area (diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics), other areas of science (clinical trials, interventions, and product development, public health and cross-disciplinary), functional health systems and relevant policy implementation. All these areas contribute to their quota and require huge funding. Secondly, not all African countries possess the same level of national and international funding for malaria control or the same level of health delivery systems. Furthermore, extending malaria control measures to universal health coverage targets is a key challenge to many African countries. Insufficient investment contributes to the current intervention coverage gaps and the malaria burden. Finally, interlinkages between progress towards malaria elimination and economic wealth also imply that as countries get wealthier, they face graduation from donors’ funding while successful malaria elimination requires predictable sustained funding to reach and sustain malaria-free status, which is not the case for many African countries. Therefore, for Africa to attain zero malaria, it will need to do more.

What is your search on drugs about and how can this help Africa?

My current research is an African Research Initiative for Scientific Excellence (ARISE) project. Our focus is on the application of innovative mass spectrometry technologies for profiling bioactive molecules of selected synergistic antimalarial plants, combined with the development of high and medium-throughput screening methods, for the discovery of new therapeutic leads for malaria drug discovery. We are aware that plants have played a vital role in the therapeutics of malaria, by providing the main drugs such as quinine (and its derivative chloroquine), atovaquone, and artemisinin (and its derivatives). Furthermore, the rapid emergence of resistance in the malaria parasite to synthetic drugs compared to drugs sourced from natural sources indicate the relevance of plants. Therefore, in the context of combination therapies, synergistic plants could be a source of combination therapy for malaria. Hence, we can term this project “ looking back into the future” of malaria drug discovery.

The expected outcomes that will be useful for Africa include the: Implementation of a drug discovery platform with MTS and high throughput screening (HTS) liquid handling systems. Development of an advanced technological platform by direct combination of High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry (HRMS) and malaria parasite asexual blood stage-specific susceptibility, generating data to improve knowledge on malaria combination therapy, the discovery of synergistic plant secondary metabolites, as leads with established modes of action, to enable further development, promotion of national and international collaboration, development of Leadership skills and capacity building in Pharmaceutical medicine, training of graduate students, knowledge transfer, and dissemination of scientific knowledge, strengthening capacities for science in Africa by developing the human capital through training of students and scientists. Provision of scientific evidence for policy. ARISE fellowships are aimed at building the capacity of African researchers, particularly early-career scientists, to deliver cutting-edge research in contribution to efforts being made towards the transformation of Africa into a knowledge-based and innovation-led continent. Specifically, ARISE seeks to: enhance the capabilities of emerging African early career research leaders committed to a research and teaching career in Africa, strengthen institutional research management and support systems to enable pan-African research to thrive, and support the generation of cutting-edge research in contribution to the transformation of Africa into a knowledge-based and innovation-led continent. ARISE is a Euro 25 million program implemented by the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) in partnership with the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU).

What advice to malaria-endemic countries like Cameroon and other African countries?

My advice to malaria-endemic countries like Cameroon and other African countries would directly fall in line with the “Rethinking Malaria” global consultation forum of health experts, which through its discussions along governance, integrated service delivery, and training and capacity building, made the following recommendations on defined themes: Perception of the malaria problem: Malaria needs to be viewed as a societal problem of development, and not as a medical problem alone, the leadership of the malaria problem: Efforts must be led by endemic countries in partnership with multiple stakeholders within each country., investment in the health workforce: Health workers at all levels should be empowered through readiness, training, and education, visibility and use of reliable and real-time data, knowledge, and information: Malaria data needs to be valued and visible and used by the public and policy-makers, as it has been for COVID-19 decision-making, innovation: Globally, greater attention should be given to innovation and problem-solving and to support endemic countries in entrepreneurship, R&D, and manufacturing, strengthening health systems: Health for all means solving the problem of malaria as a pillar of universal health coverage.

What are some of the challenges around Malaria research in Africa?

Some of the challenges around malaria research in Africa include institutions with inadequate research support structures to attract relevant funding for research and promote fruitful collaborations, inadequate technological platforms to promote innovation, poorly developed health systems that hinder relevant health delivery, inadequate national and international funding to enable good science and relevant data generation poor remunerations for researchers, thereby encouraging researchers’ mobility to greener pastures, lack of strategies for the promotion of research results., inadequate exploitation of research results for policy.

Do African governments implement research results?

Implementation of research results brings about development in various domains. In this regard, the various indices of development of the various African countries would be evidence of their level of economic development and would reflect the government’s effort at the implementation of research results.

What advice in terms of policy around Malaria research?

When it comes to global strategies towards attaining certain policy objectives, it is advisable not to reinvent the wheel but to endeavor to explore the strategies at the disposal of policymakers before trying to propose new ones, because there is a lot to learn from their implementation. My advice in terms of policy around malaria will be to explore available documents such as the various annual world malaria reports, available scientific data, and especially the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030 and keenly consider the new information therein, which includes the following; under the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016–2030, annual investment targets per person at risk of malaria have been estimated and are expected to increase by 2030. The total investment needed for malaria control and elimination is not expected to decrease before 2030, reflecting in part population growth in currently high-burden countries and the costs of surveillance in countries near elimination. Therefore, considering the urgent need to increase domestic and international funding for malaria and health more generally, the priority of policymakers should be to ensure the efficient use of currently available resources to maximize value for money by investing in the health workforce, implementing technological innovation surveillance, and strengthening health systems.

Do you have any message to pass across concerning malaria?

Malaria control and elimination strategy is not a myth but a reality and the meaningful participation of everyone living in endemic areas is essential. Therefore, all stakeholders should endeavor to understand what is needed in order to know their role.

Interviewed by Leocadia Bongben

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Post &Telecommunication Minister Woos Potential Digital Partners To Ensure Internet Connectivity

By Elvis Patrick

Cameroon Post and Telecommunication Minister, Minette Libom Li Likeng has invited partners-organizations and institutions within the Commonwealth Alliance Digital Nations to partner in the digital sector to ensure internet connectivity for every Cameroonian.

Addressing the alliance, Libom Li Likeng shared the challenges of broadband connectivity in Cameroon and sought collaboration with potential international partners and sector members across the commonwealth to improve this situation.

Post and Telecommunication Minister at the London Alliance of Digital Nations

Some of the challenges Cameroon is facing are the fast-growing digital environment that poses a challenge to regulation and the high cost of the internet for low-income persons in Cameroon.

Against this backdrop, the minister said the government has sought the expertise of international partners like the World Bank to help Cameroon to put in place an enabling environment that takes into consideration a converging technological landscape, the convergence of service delivery; companies and businesses to meet up with consumer demands.

She maintained that the government is committed to enhancing regulatory instruments; institutional and decisional capacity to attract sector investments and enhance digital trust through efficient cybersecurity measures as well as skills.

Post and Telecom minister maintained that the government is open to any form of partnership with countries, organizations, and institutions within the Commonwealth to ensure that every Cameroonian is connected.

The minister is amongst 20 ICT state ministers across the commonwealth, taking part in the first-ever ministerial alliance for Digital Nations, underway in London in the United Kingdom.

Minister Libom Li Likeng is accompanied by a high-level delegation of the ICT sector in Cameroon including the Telecommunications Regulatory Board-ART and Cameroon Telecommunications- CAMTEL.

Minister Libom Li Likeng

The ministerial alliance for Digital Nations comes on the heels of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation Digital Week which kicked off on February 20th with a forum chaired by Cameroon.

The Digital Week ends on Friday, February 24th with major decisions expected to be taken with regard to the management of the CTO where Cameroon is the sector Development partner and member of the council.

Indomitable Lions

2022 Qatar World Cup: Three Talking Points As Cameroon Beat Brazil In World Cup Match

By Etienne Mainimo

The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon have bowed out of the ongoing World Cup in style defeating Brazil by 1-0.

The sensational and dramatic match puts Yaounde city dwellers on their feet as Vincent Aboubakar benefited from substitute Jerome Ngom’s cross to put Cameroon in the lead in stoppage time.

Despite a completely changed team, the Brazilians were seductive from the start, and this is also true for its public on fire. However, the lions were determined from the beginning right to the end.

Even though Cameroon came out victoriously, they failed to qualify for the next round of the competition as Switzerland beat Serbia 3-2 in another last-group match.

However, Cameroon has become the only African team to beat Brazil in the tournament face of the World Cup.

In the meantime, Vincent Aboubakar has become the first player to be shown a red card at the World Cup since Zinedine Zidane in 2006. Zidane was sent off after headbutting Marco Materazzi during a World Cup Match against Italy.

Aboubakar was shown the exit door after removing his shirt in celebration of his goal. He had earlier been booked for a cynical foul on Gabriel Martinelli in the second period of the game.

Worth noting is the smile from Aboubakar and the referee as he worked out of the pitch.

Devis Epassy, Man of the Match showed another side of his goalkeeping skills, after walking in the shadow of Andre Onana who took over as number one. Epassy qualified the Lions for the Africa Nations Cup when Andre Onana was suspended for taking an illicit substance.

Rigobert Song as a player in 2003 caused problems for Brazil and in 2022 as a coach, has led the Lions to beat Brazil, a nightmare for Brazil. Cameroon has broken the 20 years jinx to win a World Cup match.

Fai Collins, Lions Defender

We Would Give Everything To Avoid Any Regrets – Fai Collins

By Etienne Mengnjo

Cameroon’s international and right-back defender, Collins Fai, says the team would do everything possible to win against Serbia when they meet them in the second group match of the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Speaking during a press conference attended by the team’s coach Rigobert Song, Fai said, no mistakes will be allowed given that the slightest mistakes will be paid in cash.

“It is very important for us to show something different from what we did in the previous game. We must win to hope to go far in this tournament.”

“We are serene and we know what awaits us,” Fai continued indicating, “We know the level of Serbia. We are going to give everything so that we don’t have any regrets.”

According to Fai, “We don’t have any calculation to make; we just have to give everything to win this match. It is a high-level tournament; the slightest mistake will be paid in cash. We are determined, nothing has changed.”

Cameroon will face Serbia in a crucial must-win game in Qatar on Monday, November 28. In their first match, the Indomitable Lions lost to Switzerland 1-0.

Cameroon has also lost eight straight World Cup matches in a row. They are fighting to avoid equaling Mexico’s unwanted record of nine in that regard.

A win this Monday will spring up their next-round dream even though they will face Brazil in the last group match.

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Environmentalists Slam Cameroon Forestry Ministry Of Legal Irregularities In CAMVERT Project

Green Development Advocates and Greenpeace Africa have slammed the Cameroon government for legal irregularities.

An analysis note published on October 26 highlights three irregularities concerning the attribution of five timber sales in favour of the CAMVERT project. This project is found within the national domain in Campo in the South Region.

This is a worrying development especially a few days before COP 27, in which Cameroon, as in previous years, intends to take part, the NGOs state.  

Three violations of the law by the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Jules Doret Ndongo are: the sale of timber after the concession was already granted for the CAMVERT Project, logs outside the CAMVERT concessions verified and a concession of three years not renewable cautioned by a competent commission.

According to the forest defenders “the orders for the sale of timber were signed on February 16, 2022, whereas the provisional concession decree was signed on March 7, 2022 by the Head of State, giving Camvert the right to operate in the field. Indeed, according to the regulations, the opposite should have happened; in order to give a legal basis justifying the sales of logs at this period. The Minister has put the cart before the horse‘, says Aristide Chacgom, GDA coordinator. 

Green DevelopmentAdvocates and Greenpeace wonder how the extension was justified when the decree was not signed.

Article 2 common to the various decrees states that the sales of cuttings result from the implementation of the CAMVERT SA palm grove extension project. “At this stage of the project, how and why can the extension be justified when, at the time of the signing of the decrees, the provisional concession had not even been awarded? The absurdity continued with the allocation of a single sale of salvage logging on the area (39,923 ha) that the President of the Republic would later allocate as a provisional concession. Verification by means of the GPS coordinates provided in the decrees shows that the other four sales of timber are outside the area allocated for exploitation by CAMVERT,” adds Aristide Chacgom. 

The argument runs that f timber in the national domain are only attributed after three years after a competent commission has voiced its opinion.

In the forests of the national domain, sales of timber are attributed after the opinion of a competent commission for a period of three (3) years, which is not renewable.” Contrary to this provision of paragraph 2 of article 55 of law N°94/01 of 20 January 1994 on the regime of forests, fauna and fisheries, Minister Jules Doret NDONGO has provided in his decrees in articles 13 and 14 that sales of timber are attributed for a period of one year with a renewal procedure. “When analyzing the practice of this ministerial department, it is certain that such a modification opens the door to manipulation of both volumes and attributable areas,” concludes Aristide Chacgom. 

Greenpeace Forest Campaigner , Stella Tchoukep cautioned that, “It is necessary to stop deceiving Cameroonians, local communities and indigenous peoples whose lives depend on the forest; a few days before the climate conferences, we once again call on the Government of Cameroon to stop destroying forests in violation of the rights of local populations and its international commitments in relation to the fight against climate change.”

Baka

Indigenous People Reliving Their Way Of Life: An EU Parliament Law Helpful?

The indigenous people of the Congo Basin may once again walk short distances in the near future smiling as they move with baskets on their backs into forest to harvest herbs, fruit and wood like in the good old days before big agro-businesses and artisanal logging destroyed their habitat.

Reliving like before for the Bakas, Bageli and others would mean implementing the law passed by the European Union Parliament on September 13.

The law, bans the import of deforestation products into the European Union. Initially on palm oil, soya, coffee and wood, the law has now been extended to include rubber.

Henceforth, Timber from deforestation henceforth would no longer be accepted in the EU.

According to Greenpeace Africa, this is a victory for “local communities and indigenous peoples of the Congo Basin who suffer massive deforestation by rubber industries.

The law is timely,  passed at a time when, “in Southern Cameroon, rubber company Sudcam has destroyed just over 11,000 ha of forest for its plantation and palm oil company Camvert continues to clear 40,000 ha of forest for its plantation, both done with total disregard for the disastrous impacts on the lives of local indigenous communities and biodiversity”, Greenpeace states.

In August Greenpeace organized a peaceful demonstration in front of the EU headquarters in Cameroon to demand that rubber be included in the list of commodities to be included in the into law.  

“The wellbeing of indigenous people is constantly violated by agrobusinesses for the benefit of cultivation,” said Ranece Jovial Ndjeudja, Forest Campaigner at Greenpeace Africa.

The European Union will also consider  a law opposing the financial facilities that are granted to  agribusinesses by European banks,” he added.

“Greenpeace Africa calls world leaders, who are set to meet at major events to address climate change, to make decisions that prioritize the well-being of communities and the planet,” concluded Ranece Jovial Ndjeudja. 

Biya Macron

French President, Emmanuel Macron’s Visit: Key Facts

During Macron’s visit, president Biya could not hear the questions from journalists very well exposing his poor hearing ability.

President Biya maintained that he is not ready to hand over power despite his age, but ready to finish his mandate in 2025 and decide either to go to the village or stay on.

Macron maintained the need for dialogue to resolve the Anglophone crisis.

Biya/Macron
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AWCON2022: Final Squad List For Morocco Without Best Championship Goalkeeper

By By Brian Mboh

The Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon’s head coach Gabriel Zabo Toze has officially made public the final list of 26 players expected to part-take in the 14th edition of the Women’s African Cup of Nations, slated for July 2-23rd in Morocco without the best goalkeeper of the local league, Marthe Ogmahan.

There is also a conspicuous absence of players from the English speaking regions of Cameroon such as Wanki Rita, Mpeh Bissong, Tantoh Melvis, Brenda Tabe, Bongben Confidence. However many argue that players from these regions lack the quality and do not play in any of the best championships out of the country.

The list comes up after the lionesses double header friendly encounters against their Senegalese counter parts. In the away-leg Nchout Njoya and mates had picked a 2-2 draw in Douala at the Bepanda Reunification Stadium on June 15. Meanwhile, on June 18, AS AWA ‘s Kevin Ossol scored the victory goal for the lionesses as the game ended on a one goal to zero score. The goal earned Kevin Ossol a place in the final list.

Absent from the just published list is Raissa Feudjio, bearer of an injury sustained during one of the lionesses training sessions. The second best scorer of the championship, Lamine Mana is also absent from the list.

Nchout Njoya Ajara and mates will be leaving the Douala International Airport this Monday for France, where they shall take on the French Women’s national selection in another friendly on June 25.

To join the team in France are Estelle Johnson, Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene, Michaela Ambam, Ndzana Collete, Ewodo Ekodo and Voulania Dabda .

The lionesses are lodged in pool B alongside Zambia, Togo and Tunisia. And will be facing their Zambian counters at the Mohamed V Stadium, in their first game.

Joel Matip

Joel Matip Considering A Return To The Lions Den But…

By Elvis Patrick

Joel Matip has taken to his Facebook page to say he is considering a return to Lion’s den, but, “All I want is just seriousness that’s all”, he says.

Since Samuel Eto’o Fils became the president of the Cameroon Football Federation, efforts to bring back Joel Matip have multiplied. Appointed the new coach, Rigobert Song has equally made moves for Matip to come back to the den. Many before them have tried in vain.

Joel Matip who last played for Cameroon during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil turned his back on Cameroon due to what he termed ‘mismanagement issues’ in the national team.

Though he is considering a return he still maintains, ” All I want is just seriousness that’s all”.

“I admire a lot of what my big brothers Samuel Eto’o and Rigobert Song are doing for our country, to be honest with you, I have a lot of love for our country and den 🦁 I don’t have a Ballon d’Or yet though I deserve it too, hence I asked for some time to think about the call of big brother Song to be part of the World Cup squad”, Matip says.

Matip concludes, “I will give my vertical in October 2022, promise you”.

Though there have been reports that Song had secured a return for the Liverpool defender, Matip seems to still take his time to observe if things have changed at the football federation.

Matip is in top form having won the FA Cup with Liverpool and scoring even as a defender.

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How The Ukraine Crisis Is Affecting Africa

The Ukraine crisis is likely to aggravate liquidity issues constraining recovery, increasing food insecurity, see how.  

SRO-SA Director, Eunice G. Kamwendo, noted that African countries are most affected by the pandemic and the combined impact of the COVID-19 and the Ukraine crisis are likely to further aggravate liquidity issues constraining recovery. She reminded that as a region Southern Africa contracted the most out of all the sub-regions in Africa due to Covid-19.

 “According to estimates by the African Development Bank (AfDB) the region’s GDP contracted by as much as 6.3% in 2020, compared to a 2.1% recession for the rest of Africa,” said Ms Kamwendo.

She pointed out that Africa faces a high risk of food insecurity because Russia and Ukraine are major global suppliers of agricultural commodities such as maize, wheat, oils and fertilizers. “The two countries, combined, provide 30 per cent of the world’s wheat and barley needs; supply nearly one-fifth of maize globally, and account for over half of the global market share in sunflower oil, among other commodities.” 

The United Nations Resident Coordinator, Zahira Virani added that the war in Ukraine is forcing Africa to revisit its strategies. “Angola is leading the side event because Angola is in a unique position of facing adverse impacts and opportunities at the same time”. She said the African Continental Free Trade Area provided a great opportunity for intra trade and new markets for the country.

Angola Minister of Economy and Planning, Mario Augusto Caetano Joao, informed the meeting that to counter shocks Angola has engaged deep reforms and changed its business model by prioritizing local production and diversifying from focus on oil production to heavy investments in agri business, fisheries, and transport to give the country a comparative advantage. 

“Ten years ago, Angola’s oil dependence was 43% and now oil dependency is only 20% showing that the investments are bearing fruit and the country’s economy has stabilized despite the crisis”. 

Southern Africa participants benefited from the exchange of experiences from East Africa. Hon. Amos Lugoloobi, Uganda Minister of State for Finance, Planning and Economic Development encouraged Southern African countries to increase local food production to prevent the dependency on wheat. He gave an example of his country which has increased the production of its staple food and products such as bananas, maize, cassava, palm trees and potatoes. 

Mr Lugoloobi noted that Uganda is a net producer of its food supplies and export to neighbouring countries. The country has also embarked on increasing the production of sunflower oil to counter rising prices and be self-sufficient and able to face shocks.

On policy responses to the Ukraine crisis and COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting listened to three other presenters:  Dr. Yamungu Kayandabila the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Tanzania; Mr. Marcos Souto, IMF Country Director in Angola, Dr Eklou Attiogbevi-Somado, Manager for Agriculture and Agro-Industry for West Africa, African Development Bank and Mr. Mtho Xulu, President of South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The meeting, moderated by Joseph Atta-Mensah from ECA’s Macroeconomics and Governance Division, closed with an interactive Question and Answer session involving the panelists, journalists, and representatives of member States African member States,  who reiterated to ECA the importance of the annual Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (CoM) as a platform that allows stakeholders to debate key issues of relevance to Africa’s development.

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African Governments Urged To Adopt Targeted Social Protection; Provide Short-term Social Assistance…

The Economic Report on Africa has recommended that African governments adopt targeted social protection; provide short-term social assistance to the most vulnerable people; ensure health protection for all.

The EAR 2021 launched on May 15 suggests that in the long term, “African countries need to build resilience by investing in health protection for all, which also offers high potential for employment creation; Build a national and regional health emergency preparedness and response system for future pandemics; Build domestic capacity for vaccine production through initiatives such as the Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing; Leverage the African Continental Free Trade Area and other Africa-wide initiatives to create decent jobs and reduce poverty”.

Launched on the sidelines of the Economic Commission for Africa annual conference of Ministers of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, the report suggests that disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic pushed an estimated 55 million Africans into extreme poverty in 2020 and reversed more than two decades of progress in poverty reduction on the continent.

Titled: “Addressing Poverty and Vulnerability in Africa during the COVID-19 Pandemic”, the report shows that pandemic has caused job losses, reduced income and further limited the ability of households to manage risks. An estimated 12.6 per cent more people are likely to be pushed into poverty in one year alone more than the combined total of the additional poor since 1999

Furthermore, poor households move into and out of poverty because of exogenous shocks like the COVID-19 pandemic and that their inability to manage uninsured risks only increases their vulnerability. So, achieving sustained poverty reduction requires thoroughly understanding the nexus of poverty, risks and vulnerability.

“Under current projections, the pandemic is likely to increase the number of people living in extreme poverty, in Africa and globally,” says the report.

The report was produced by ECA’s Strategic Planning, Oversight and Results Division; the Gender, Poverty and Social Policy Division; and the Macroeconomic and Governance Division.

Hanan Morsy, ECA’s Deputy Executive Secretary said the report analyses the implication of COVID-19 in terms of poverty, but brings a new dimension stressing the vulnerability in Africa. It brings the element of people centric analysis of what has been happening during COVID-19 and what we need to do to ensure that the vulnerable population are protected in terms of social safety net and putting up the right policies.

“This report is particularly relevant given to what we have seen as the implications on the continent. The most critical implication of COVID-19 has been the reversal of the very hard-won gains that the continent had managed to achieve in reducing poverty,” said Ms Morsy.

While presenting the key findings of the report, Adrian Gauci, an Economic Affairs Officer at ECA said African countries responded to the poverty effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in part through expansionary fiscal and monetary policies to maintain consumption and aggregate demand and prevent firm closures and job losses.

“A major contribution of the report is the emphasis on the centrality of risk and vulnerability to shocks in the design of poverty reduction strategies in Africa,” said Mr Gauci.

“The report calls for an urgent need to explore innovative and affordable market-led insurance schemes which can insure the poor from future shocks. Collaboration of governments with the private sector is paramount.”

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the report says is an opportunity to build forward better Most African countries still depend on exports of raw materials and on imports of essential goods such as food items and pharmaceuticals.

“If AfCFTA is effectively implemented, intra-Africa trade is expected to be about 35 per cent higher than without the grouping by 2045,” says the report

“The AfCFTA would help Africa industrialize and diversify, reducing trade dependence on external partners and boosting the share of intra-Africa trade from roughly 15 per cent today to over 26 per cent.”

The key highlights of the report are on the economic trends, monetary policy performance, exchange rate, fiscal deficit and external debt and Africa’s trade trends.

Economic Trends

The COVID-19 pandemic has heavily disrupted the movement of people, goods, services and capital, and its impacts led Africa’s GDP to contract by an estimated 3.2 per cent in 2020. The pandemic is expected to weigh further on already slow economic growth.

Monetary policy performance

 In 2018 and 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, most African countries had accommodative monetary policy as inflation remained stable or declined

Exchange rate performance

In 2019, many African countries experienced exchange rate volatility as their currencies depreciated, mainly on trade-related uncertainties and capital outflows, as well as country-specific factors such as widening fiscal deficits, declining foreign exchange reserves and lower capital inflows.

Rising fiscal deficits and external debt

Africa’s fiscal deficit narrowed from 5.3 per cent of GDP in 2017 to 3.0 per cent in 2019, mainly because of government fiscal consolidation efforts.

Africa’s trade trends

The share of global exports decreased from 2010 to 2019 in Africa but increased in other global regions. The continent’s share fell from 2.48 per cent in 2019 to 2.14 per cent in 2020, though Asia and Europe were resilient, owing partly to continued supplies of consumer goods and medical goods during the COVID-19 pandemic

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