Climate Crisis Tears Through Southern Africa With At Least Nine Million Facing Acute Food Insecurity | [Daily Maverick] Critical humanitarian aid is needed to rescue plunging food security and save the lives of millions of climate-shocked people across

Climate Crisis Tears Through Southern Africa With At Least Nine Million Facing Acute Food Insecurity

Climate Crisis Tears Through Southern Africa With At Least Nine Million Facing Acute Food Insecurity

Climate Crisis Tears Through Southern Africa With At Least Nine Million Facing Acute Food Insecurity

Climate Crisis Tears Through Southern Africa With At Least Nine Million Facing Acute Food Insecurity

Climate Crisis Tears Through Southern Africa With At Least Nine Million Facing Acute Food Insecurity

Climate Crisis Tears Through Southern Africa With At Least Nine Million Facing Acute Food Insecurity
Climate Crisis Tears Through Southern Africa With At Least Nine Million Facing Acute Food Insecurity
  • By: allafrica.com
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Critical humanitarian aid is needed to rescue plunging food security and save the lives of millions of climate-shocked people across southern Africa. This warning comes from several United Nations agencies, relief organisations and independent experts.

"Countries within the region have experienced failed agricultural seasons back to back. They've not had adequate time to recover from one season before another shock sets in. In some countries, national grain supplies are depleted, and governments and their development partners are looking to external sources to supplement the deficits," Oxfam regional director Nellie Nyang'wa told Our Burning Planet. "They need help urgently. The scale of the drought devastation across southern Africa is staggering."

The nine countries battered by severest levels of food insecurity are Angola, eSwatini, Lesotho, Namibia, Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe, according to the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA. In a joint call, the UN World Food Programme (WFP), UN Children's Fund (Unicef) as well as the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) cite even more disturbing numbers.

"More than 11-million people are now experiencing crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity" due to the "deepening drought and climate crisis", the three organisations declared.

"Severe" or...

Restoring Central Banks' Credibility Will Require a Break From the Usual Playbook

Restoring Central Banks' Credibility Will Require a Break From the Usual Playbook

Central banks face tight constraints, which means that their response to the next recession may prove insufficient.

Recent jumps in equity prices and bond yields suggest that recession fears are receding. But the global economic expansion cannot last forever, and when the next recession comes, central banks may not be adequately prepared to respond. Enhancing central-bank credibility to bolster the effectiveness of monetary policy is thus an urgent priority.

Before the 2008 financial crisis, central bankers could rely on slashing interest rates to spur consumption, investment, and employment. But that playbook no longer works as well as it once did. One reason is elevated uncertainty, owing to globalisation, societal ageing, changing consumer preferences, growing income and wealth inequality, rising healthcare costs, rapid technological change, and other factors. Even in the absence of recession, for many households and businesses, the future seems daunting and unpredictable.

This uncertainty will exacerbate the downturn when it comes. When uncertainty spikes, low or even negative real (inflation-adjusted) interest rates may not induce higher spending. Rather, savings may rise and investment may falter even as interest rates plunge. If governments are unwilling or unable to boost demand with fiscal policy, the result will be a prolonged...

Medics Root for Cheaper Hepatitis Drugs

Medics Root for Cheaper Hepatitis Drugs

Political will from governments to negotiate with drug manufacturers has been suggested as one of the ways that African countries can reduce prices of viral hepatitis drugs, and be able to save many lives lost to the disease.

World Health Organisation (WHO) data shows an estimated 257 million people living with chronic hepatitis B and 71 million people living with chronic hepatitis C worldwide.

WHO estimates that chronic viral hepatitis is now the second biggest killer after tuberculosis and in Africa, it affects over 70 million people (60 million with Hepatitis B and 10 million with Hepatitis C), and the disease affects the most youthful and productive Africans, causing catastrophic financial liability in the treatment of advanced liver disease and emotional distress and stigmatisation.

Treatment for hepatitis is still a challenge in Africa, costing hundreds of dollars in some countries, and medics and activists have called for governments to take steps in negotiating with drug manufacturers so that patients access the drugs at subsidized prices.

Medics gathered in Kigali for the International Conference on AIDS and STIs (ICASA) have said that the prices can go lower if political will is available for local, regional and global collaborations to reduce the prices.

Craig McClure, a director at the Clinton Health Access Initiative highlighted the importance of getting the lessons learnt from the fight against HIV and apply them into fighting viral Hepatitis, among which making effort to drag down the price of commodities, diagnostics and drugs.

He gave Rwanda as an example. Hepatitis C drugs in the country stand at 60 USD - having been reduced from high prices - at some point Hep C drugs used to cost about 8000 US Dollars.

"We need much more activism now for viral hepatitis from communities," he said.

Sharing Rwanda's experience, Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana the Director-General of the Rwanda Biomedical Centre, said that reduction of prices does not only require funds alone but partnerships and negotiations.

"The beginning for us was more of talking to people who had the medicine. We had the patients on this side, and they had the medicine on the other side. We were in-between so as that we make sure that the medicine gets to the people when they need it," Nsanzimana said.

"Our patients did not have the money; the government was not able to pay the funding. But we managed to come to reasonable costs that helped us to treat the first a thousand patients.

"It is not just the money, its part the partnerships and negotiation."

Kenneth Kabagambe, a board member on the World Hepatitis Alliance who is also a patient living with Hepatitis B, said that as measures are being taken for fighting Hepatitis, success will be registered if patients are put at the forefront

"Most of the successes registered in the HIV fight have come simply because the patients were put at the forefront of all the program. It should also be the same the same with viral hepatitis programs, we need to put the patients at the forefront.

A representative from Gilead Sciences an American Biotechnology company that researches, develops and commercialises drugs told the participants in the session that the secret remain for better access of drugs is "the political commitment,"

"I think we have two remarkable examples as Egypt and Rwanda," he said.

Prosecutors Urged to Collaborate in Fight Fighting Cross-Border Crimes

Prosecutors Urged to Collaborate in Fight Fighting Cross-Border Crimes

Justice Minister Johnston Busingye has called on the African Prosecutors' Association to always move fast - and with efficiency - in helping combat cross-border crimes.

Without addressing issues of speed and efficiency, he noted, whatever else "we are planning" will always be years behind crime and criminals.

Busingye, who is also the Attorney General, was addressing a meeting of prosecutors from 17 African countries in Kigali.

The world, he said, was increasingly becoming a global village and that "when it comes to cross-border crime and the combating thereof it becomes a real small village."

One crime planned in any of the countries, he noted, easily spreads to all countries simultaneously or faster than each individual country can contain it.

"The need to collaborate effectively and fast becomes more urgent each day. While our governments get stuck in 30-year-old red-tape practices, spend forever negotiating and never concluding cooperation agreements, MoUs and extradition treaties, it is clear to all of us that crime is fast and furious and criminals conclude their collaboration agreements in minutes," he noted.

The prosecutors gathered in Kigali seeking to strengthen their collaboration in combating crime and ensuring accountability for transnational crimes.

Genocide fugitives

One of the aspects of the theme for the meeting was fighting genocide.

African prosecutors have previously voiced commitment to work with Rwanda to extradite and or prosecute fugitives of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The Genocide claimed more than one million lives and caused devastating consequences to the country and its citizens.

Busingye recalled legal consequences caused by the Genocide, stressing that the challenge at hand which requires collective attention is to bring to justice perpetrators.

"These fugitives are in countries on this continent, probably including some represented here. Rwanda has sent indictments and extradition requests to the countries concerned. Rwanda is yet to receive sufficient cooperation," he said.

Countries like South Africa are yet to execute arrest warrants for fugitives on their territories - which were issued by Rwanda or the United Nations tribunal set up to prosecute key players in the Genocide.

Among others, Protais Mpiranya, one of the three most wanted Genocide fugitives dubbed the 'Big Fish' by the UN, is believed to be in South Africa.

Mpiranya was the commandant of the notorious presidential guards, known for their viciousness in killing people during the Genocide.

Minister Busingye also recalled that genocide is a culmination of a way of thinking of a people, an ideology that promotes hate, dehumanisation, discrimination, results in a "we versus them" reality.

"This ideology is thought out, propagated and spread by people who do it deliberately with intent that it results in a genocide. This ideology is criminal. A number of countries have criminalised genocide ideology, hate speech and so on," he noted.

"Let us, on our continent beware. Let us be on our guard. If such ideologies crop up anywhere let us know how to spot and confront them."

He implored the delegates to create an effective permanent forum for cooperation and coordination among their institutions regarding the gathering of information and pertinent investigations, in addition to creating ad hoc joint task forces to handle specific issues.

"Let us endeavour to facilitate the tracking of fugitives and investigation of crime across our different jurisdictions. Africa should not accept to be a safe haven for suspects of organised criminality," he said.

Reluctance and lack of cooperation among African administrations only creates safe havens for fugitives, he observed, and "ultimately threatens the continent's social fabric, particularly delayed justice for victims and, eventually, impunity and failure to deliver any kind of justice."

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