Quotes of the Week

1. “As Africans, we need to share common recognition that all of us stand to lose if we fail to transform our continent.”- Thabo Mbeki.

Thabo Mbeki

2. “African leaders should not turn the continent into a giant collector of donations and loans from wealthy nations—they must find other plausible means to help established their economic security so as to minimize poverty. This incoherent blunder on the mainland must be scrutinized.” – Duop Chak Wuol


Release #Angola15 Activist!

Fifteen young activists have been unlawfully detained in Angola. Among them is the rapper Ikonoklasta whose real name is Luaty Beirão. They have spent the last few months behind bars on charges of plotting to overthrow Angola’s government.

Photo Credit: Vice News

As the controversial trial opens this week, the case has elicited international outcry from politicians and activists around the world against a government that appears determined to stifle dissent within the nation. The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) has governed the country since it declared independence from Portugal in 1975, and controls Angola’s valuable oil and mineral reserves. Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos has been in power for 36 years. (Vice News)

Bodies such as Amnesty International have expressed concerns on the imprisoned activists receiving a fair trial, due to the tightening of freedom by the government in the past few months.

“Our major call is really for them to be released unconditionally.” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Southern Africa.

The Angola 15, as the group has become known on social media, wore beige prison jumpsuits and — in a small act of protest as the long-awaited trial began — strolled into the courtroom barefoot for their first appearance on Monday. They were arrested during a politically oriented book club meeting on June 20, and their trial is expected to wrap up next week. Domingo’s da Cruz and Osvaldo Caholo, two other affiliated activists who are also set to face trial, have been out on bail since their arrests on June 21 and June 24.

Various youth organisations and activists have joined their voices to speak for a fair trial and/or unconditional release of the freedom fighters.

The African Youth Corner urges Africans, especially young Africans to join in this fight for their release using the hashtag #Angola15 or #liberdadeja on social media.

We are Africans, standing with and for Africa!!!

#Codegirls: Team Code Gurus Created App that Detects Vaginal Bacteria

Team Code Gurus, a team of Ugandan students, has created an app that detects vaginal bacteria.

The app, coupled with the a test kit known as a Her Health BVkit, takes readings from urinal/vaginal samples and transmits data for diagnosis, CCTV-AFRICA reported. After receiving the data, the mobile app reads the pH levels, analyses the amount of healthy versus unhealthy bacteria, and offers a recommendation of whether the user is healthy or should seek medical attention.

The app also uses health information from a nearby hospital to yield information about vaginal infections and preventative measures.

Bacterial vaginosis is an abnormal vaginal condition that is characterised by vaginal discharge and results from an overgrowth of atypical bacteria in the vagina.

Source: thisisAfrica.me

Gabonese President Ali Bongo Could be a Nigerian

Indications have emerged that the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba is a Nigerian of the ethnic Igbo stock. It is said that he was adopted during the Biafran war by his father, Omar Bongo who handed over to him as President. This development may soon be confirmed as a court in western France on Thursday allowed a family member of Omar Bongo to view the birth certificate of Ali Bongo following accusations that he lied about his country of origin. The Gabonese constitution demands that one must be born Gabonese to serve as the head of state, but French investigative journalist, Pierre Pean alleged in a recent book that the President was actually a Nigerian and was adopted during the Biafran war in the late 1960s.

The court in Nantes allowed 25 year-old Onaida Maisha Bongo Ondimba, a daughter of former president Omar Bongo, to view the documents in full, which her lawyer, Eric Moutet hailed the decision as “enormous”, though “diplomatically complex”. Ali Bongo is the only one of ex president Omar Bongo’s 54 declared heirs not to have produced the identification documents. He claims he was born in Brazzaville in 1959, former capital of French Equatorial Africa. The Nantes civil registration centre is responsible for all birth certificates of people born in French Equatorial Africa up to 1960, when the former colonial countries in the region gained independence to become Gabon, Congo, Chad and the Central African Republic.

Source: Daily Post

Five Minute Ebola Test Kit Developed by Ugandan Doctor

Dr Misaki Wayengera developed a rapid diagnostic test but lack of funding and government support threatened to derail the project

Ugandan scientist, Dr Misaki Wayengera has developed a rapid diagnostic test that can detect Ebola proteins in less than five minutes at the point of care in the community, a giant step in African medical innovation and in the fight against Ebola.

However, the process of developing the test kit has been marred by funding challenges and bureaucratic setbacks which threatened to derail the project.

According to New Times, Dr Wayengera did not receive financial support from the government although at the time, “the president’s office acknowledged the importance of his research for biodefence and pledged full support”.

Through Dr Wayengera’s efforts, his research team at Makerere University College of Health Sciences eventually secured funding from Grand Challenges Canada, a non-profit initiative funded by the Canadian government. The team initially received $100,000 Canadian dollars (US$95,600) grant from the organisation before being offered a further $1.5 million by Grand Challenges Canada.

Ebola-suit-300x167Dr Wayengera’s invention, “is the first rapid diagnostic test that is able to detect various strains of the Ebola and Marburg viruses.”

The inventor is reportedly to have applied for a patent with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation and the World Intellectual Property Organisation in 2013 and 2014.

“On average it takes about one year for a patent to be awarded by the World Intellectual Property Organisation and five years for it to be awarded by the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation,” New Times reported.

The breakthrough is expected to reduce the Ebola death rate through quicker diagnosis of the diseases.

Source: New Times

Technology: Facebook Satellite to Boost Internet Access in Africa

Facebook Inc said it would launch a satellite in partnership with France’s Eutelsat Communications to bring Internet access to large parts of sub-Saharan Africa. The satellite, part of Facebook’s Internet.org platform to expand internet access mainly via mobile phones, is under construction and will be launched in 2016, the companies said on Monday. The satellite, called AMOS-6, will cover large parts of West, East and Southern Africa, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.

“To connect people living in remote regions, traditional connectivity infrastructure is often difficult and inefficient, so we need to invent new technologies,” Zuckerberg said.

The Internet.org platform offers free access to pared-down web services, focused on job listings, agricultural information, healthcare and education, as well as Facebook’s own social network and messaging services.

Growth in the number of people with access to the Internet is slowing, and more than half the world’s population is still offline, the United Nations Broadband Commission said last month.

Facebook has nearly 20 million users in major African markets Nigeria and Kenya, statistics released by it showed last month, with a majority using mobile devices to access their profiles. The company opened its first African office in Johannesburg in June.

Tech news website The Information reported in June that Facebook had abandoned plans to build a satellite to provide Internet service to continents such as Africa.

Source: The African Exponent